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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Sebastian Kamae explores the dynamics of lo-fi in 'Nomad'.

By taking one look at Sebastian Kamae’s instagram, you will get a pretty good idea of the Dutch-born producers day to day life. Snapshots of mixing consoles, art work and collaborators tell the tale of a producer who only does one thing and that is eat, sleep and breath music! And it seems like Kamae has been on this path since a young age when he first took up piano. From there, he went on to start producing beats in middle school and performing in various bands playing keys. Then in 2017, Sebastian decided to focus solely on engineering and producing after a move to Chicago where he began his internship at SoundScape Studios. Since then, Sebastian has entered a prolific creative period, steadily dropping quality music across a number of international channels and labels.

‘Nomad’ is a track that reflects that long and focused journey of musical knowledge and application. Kamae is a bonafide triple treat, he’s an engineer, live performer/musician and producer so our earbuds are treated to the accumulation of all this knowledge and skill. A lot of lo-fi producers have a traditional approach to making beats, gathering a selection of elect samples and often jamming them out with heavy compression to give that warm vibrant timbre that we all love. But having the kind of skillset that Sebastian has at his finger tips gives him the range to take lo-fi in a slightly different direction and allows him to explore and put his own mark on the sound. While the arrangement seems somewhat familiar, his production style is playful, creating a colourful calando which gives a richness to his work. His tracks seem that bit more polished because of his approach and careful attention to the most subtle of changes in dynamics. I can only imagine the samples of keys are his own as you can hear the emotion in how the keys are played and it gives the track some really uplifting moments. Kamae could saturate the track in a slick polished sound, but he doesn’t, there is still a stripped back, lo-fi feel with bursts of that dynamic range that offset each other beautifully. ‘Nomad’ is a solid release and a pleasure to listen to and I would urge you grab it on bandcamp and check out Sebastian’s other fine releases while you’re there!

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Rising star Catching Flies set to explode

Multi instrumentalist, producer and DJ, Catching Flies, aka George King, has achieved a great deal in his musical career already. His tunes have received millions of hits and listens, he's got support from the UK's top DJs and taste makers and he's toured the world over supporting some of the biggest DJs and artists.

The one thing that has evaded him thus far is that illusive first full length album. However as 2018 inches to a close, Catching Flies is set to remedy that. With his album release on the horizon, Flies drops a tantalizing teaser in our above track, 'New Gods', featuring a pair of similarly rising stars, collaborating with singer Oscar Jerome and rapper Jay Prince.

Catching Flies, who usually operates alone, blending through the genres of jazz, soul, hip-hop, house, electronica and more delivers a tightly produced track in 'New Gods'. The trio each have ample time to shine as Jay Prince raps about life eternal, Oscar Jerome provides a soulful backdrop, all the while Flies sounds linger, guiding the listener from laid back electronica beats building to a crescendo of jazzy guitar/bass expressions.

The whole thing evolves over a mere 3 minutes time and leaves you longing for more. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a bit longer before his album drops, fortunately though, for those new to Catching Flies, like myself, our man George has more than an ample supply of music available online to satisfy that longing. Catching Flies has previously released an EP, another mini EP and loads of highly acclaimed DJ sets (such as the ‘On Deck’ Thump Mix) and mixes (such as his Solid Steel Radio Mix on Ninja Tune). He even has a monthly radio show on London based Radio station Radar Radio.

If you need any more help tracking Catching Flies as his star rises higher and higher, click onto platforms below:

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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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