TWYN Rips the roof off with 'Ravana'

TWYN is the collaboration between two reputable, highly accomplished multi-instrumentalists from Miami, Florida who have been making waves for some years in supporting roles, winning a multitude of industry awards and touring internationally. Jason Matthews (keyboardist) and Aaron Glueckauf (drummer) together create music that spans multiple genres and decades. With the use of the TWYN synth collection and the guidance of Matthews’ direction, the shape of their sound becomes timeless and modern at the same time, finding the space within to showcase their flare for playful, unique moments. The union of Matthews’ noodlings, cosmic explorations and epic explosions along with Glueckauf’s energetic drumming and precise programming leads to a pairing that puts together a well-rounded sound that fits perfectly. Whether they are making more downtempo or high-energy tracks you still feel like the duo are fully focused on their vision to create highly imaginative, experimental electronica brimming with energy.

‘Ravana’ is a power-house track that blurs the lines between multiple genres such as jazz, electronic and breakbeat. Opening up with a commanding presence of two opposing synth lines, one epic and uplifting the other forbidding and almost oppressive, causing instant drama and tension. This is what I love in music, ‘Ravana’ grabs your attention from the first second and takes you on a  thrilling journey throughout, with highlighted elements of jazz drums, cosmic fluctuations and playful textures that really brings the track to life. 

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Nikitch & Kuna Maze mix genres masterfully for their 'Mush EP'

You would be forgiven for thinking, upon first hearing Nikitch & Kuna Maze’s ‘JPS’, that the duo hailed from the PNW; indeed, the track begins with a taste of that easy rolling house sound that’s become a signature of the area. But no sooner than when you start to get comfortable with that opening, the French duo flips the script and break the track wide open with a bright, syncopated synth line that propels you in new energetic directions, ultimately culminating into a satisfying downtempo crescendo.

But give the rest of the EP a listen, titled ‘Mush’, and you’ll see that switching things up is less a surprise than a central theme for these artists. No two tracks have the same tempo, the genre influences are blurry and indistinct. There’s a seamless blend of syncopated instrumentation, beautiful synth programming, and crisp polyrhythmic beats; and yet, each track is also undeniably equal parts jazz, funk, and soul. It’s no wonder, then, that acid jazz pioneer Gilles Peterson has already been supporting this release. It catches the spirit of acid jazz, and places it squarely in a context that could only exist right now. Stream JPS above, and you’ll see why.

You can find the entirety of Nikitch & Kuna Maze’s Mush EP on Bandcamp, as well as on Tru Thoughts Records.

— review by autonomy

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Smooth Sailing with Kurt Stewart's 'Cobblestone Bump'.

Everything about Kurt Stewart is unassuming. From his Spotify bio which simply reads “I love you” to the way he makes his beats. Especially ‘Cobblestone Bump’. We have reviewed Stewart’s releases in the past, most recently his soothing track ‘Laundry’. You can imagine Kurt up late nights crouched over his laptop with only the glow of the screen piercing the darkness as he drops into a state of flow becoming entranced by the latest sample that has grabbed his attention. 

Like in ‘Laundry’ you can see he is a producer that enjoys stretching out the possibilities of a one looped sample. Lovingly and playfully, dropping drums in and out and adding affects where he feels like it. The result is, as always, a well crafted instrumental that gives you a warm sense of nostalgia and chill. Stewart knows the value of his samples and he has a way of transcribing his passion for them that always leaves us wanting more.   

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Hungary's Àbáse serves up a thick cut of hip jazz

Hungarian producer and keyboardist Szabolcs Bognar, aka Àbáse, is here to keep jazz hip, while ensuring his beats make the masses hop. Àbáse recently released the above single, "Skeme Goes All City" in anticipation of his forthcoming full length album. Àbáse is the name of Bognar's collaborative jazz project. The album, which should drop later this year, is slated to feature a collection of Hungary's best and brightest in the world of jazz, hip hop, funk, afrobeat and more.

Bognar himself, has played a big part in the Budapest scene for a number of years, while honing his skills on his Rhodes keyboard and further developing his composition techniques. He has collaborated with singers, MCs, and instrumentalists, producing a wide range of sounds and flavors in the process, but always keeping things raw, urban and beat oriented.

Our featured track, "Skeme Goes All City" was recorded in the traditional jazz method, live in one take. It’s raw and uncut, with an analog sweetness. The title of the tune plays homage to New York graffiti artist Skeme, who similarly created his urban inspired art on the fly. The song features our man Szabolcs Bognar on Rhodes keys, Fanni Zahar on flute and vocals, Tamas Heilig on bass and Tamas Czirjak on drums. If this track is any indication of the rest of the album, we're in for a treat; think of standouts from the genre like Robert Glasper, Alfa Mist and Christian Scott, I expect this album to stand beside some giants, albeit a little more low profile.

While Àbáse's previous album, Elevate, could draw comparisons to greats like Guru, Nujabes, Pete Rock or Mablib; hip hop producers with a jazz edge, the new Àbáse project seems to be jazz first, with a hip hop undertone. However you want to classify Àbáse, whether he delves into hip hop, jazz, afro, funk or more; whether he releases tracks with vocals or delivers an album of all instrumentals, I for one, am more than excited to see what he brings us next and when the full album will finally be released.

If you like what you hear from Àbáse don’t hesitate to jump on the social media train via the following platforms:

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Serenity now with London's Sleepless

The classic downtempo, acid jazz sound is alive and thriving throughout Sleepless's 4th album, Serene.

While there isn't much info to be found on the man behind the beats, the music speaks for itself. It harks back to a simple time of bass heavy, laid back bobbers, with crisp snare snaps and the odd jazzy instrumental. I've been missing music like this. Sleepless recalls genre pioneers like DJ Cam, Dilla, Amon Tobin and more.

Serene, which dropped late last week is Sleepless's fourth album in five years. Each of his releases provide the lo-fi vibes which drew many of us into acid jazz and instrumental hip hop from the beginning. Serene, as an album is a pleasure. It's filled with smokey, back room sizzlers to help us fade into the night and early morning risers to bring us back. In our hard pounding, technological, unrelenting world, a little serenity is necessary to keep sane amidst the daily madness.

Stand outs from the 16 track album include 'Process' which features guitar work from Rax Beheshti, 'Don't Forget' which features smooth muted horns and the dreamy 'Where You At?'.

Don’t sleep on this release, go grab Serene on Bandcamp now.

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