Keyboard virtuoso Rob Araujo with his new beat-oriented side project- Shopan

Being a marvel on the keys just isn’t enough for accomplished pianist Rob Araujo who’s continually pushing his creative boundaries with new sounds, styles and collaborations. Growing up studying classical piano from the age of 5, to playing competitively throughout middle and high school, it wasn’t until Rob reached University that his tastes shifted to include Jazz and hip-hop, eventually layering his productions with an effortless groove on top of his already strong technical foundation.

With the creation of his new side project ‘Shopan’, these beat-oriented productions will now have a dedicated output. Launching this laid back, lofi alias is the track ‘Greens’ alongside rising Portland producer ‘Quickly, Quickly’.

The track sees the beatscene sensibilities of Quickly seamlessly combined with the undeniable musicality of Araujo’s signature keys. Relaxed drums and percussion provide the framework for moments of jazzed-out sundown bliss.

Concluding with a kind of care-free weightlessness, chirping birds and a whistling stroll leaves us with a sense of new-found optimism to carry us through the week.

Listen to more of Rob Araujo
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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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