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Album Reviews 0

“Black Noise” by Kirk Knight

By Landen Winkles

My pick of the week is from one of my favorite hip-hop collectives, Pro Era. Kirk Knight, one of the few artists I’ve been lucky enough to have seen live, dropped an instrumental-themed album titled “Black Noise.”

The first thing you’ll notice is the lovely art work that sets the vibe this album will give. Heavy, atmospheric and moderately psychedelic in tone, the sound really will hit the pallet of anyone who has enjoyed other hip-hop producers such as Madlib, Flying Lotus, and Shlohmo.

The first track completely enticed me with the lo-fi synthesizer making me reminisce about past summers listening to Kool and the Gang’s more soulful projects like “Light of the Worlds.” Throughout the album you can hear him upping the progressive nature such as “Mute,” and my personal favorite, “A.I.” The album finishes strong with a bonus track where Knight, also known as “The Kreeper,” lays some complex and meaningful lyrics that ends this project to make you feel like you had a full journey with Knight. This is definitely a project that’s worth listening to while you’re studying, working out, or even just chilling at home. The ambience brings an inner peace to your overall mood and well-being.

The focus on the production definitely shines in this project. It leaves you waiting and longing for more. After this I’ll be looking forward to him producing more for the rest of the Pro Era group.

New Releases 0

“The Chief” by Jidenna

By April Latham

Does anybody remember “Classic Man” and how big of a hit it was? Well that’s exactly how it feels to listen to Jidenna’s debut album, “The Chief.” Released February 17, it is already making news on social media. Just after listening to the first couple songs, I can already tell that this is a whole new side of Jidenna and I love it.

In the beginning of the album, the woman speaking tells Jidenna, “Jidenna, you are a stubborn bull…just like your father.” Already, that tells me that he is ready to prove something, and it’s that we’re in for greatness. We had a sample of the album from his hit single, “Long Live the Chief,” but little did we know that wasn’t going to be his best work. There are so many songs just as good or even better than LLTC that I felt like my head was going to explode.

A song that really stood out to me was “Helicopters/Beware.” They basically have the same meaning, but it’s told in two different styles and I find that so interesting. What I got out of it was that you need to be mindful of your surroundings and who you let in your circle. “Helicopters” is the hype part of the song, while “Beware” comes in to mellow everything out. All in all, I have to say that I am incredibly impressed with Jidenna’s debut album, and I’m excited to see where the future takes him.

New Releases 0

“Plural” by Electric Guest

By Jimmy Sears

A five-year absence brings about the return of Electric Guest, who released their first album in 2012. Their latest album, “Plural,” is the result of scrapping an entirely different album, which had to have been a huge toil for the band. Regardless, with immense effort, they return with a huge heart in hand hoping their music will get those who are down and turn their world upwards to lift their spirits.

My first impression was that the first track, “Zero’s” light, easy piano play and slow pace along with Asa Taccone’s high-pitched vocals felt somewhat conflicted, however the song picked up towards the end. As the song reaches its end, it concludes with a peaceful chord. This serves as a transition to “Glorious Warrior,” which is a bright track outlaid with a fast-paced tick along with a smooth beat that resembles a Florida sunset in the 80s.

Transitioning into track 3, “Back and Forth,” it becomes apparent that “Plural’s” strength lies within its variety and attempts to mix things up with its track placement, and each track tries to be original from the last. Perhaps my favorite track is “Sarah,” which may best resemble Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound”; Synthesized drums, whistles, violin plucks, along with Toccone’s excellent vocal performance adorns this track to make for an astounding fair. Overall, I’m happy to say that “Plural” proved to be a good round-about, because each track brings something different, which makes me appreciate “Electric Guest’s” craft.

New Releases 0

“No Plan EP” by David Bowie

By John Samuel Mecum

David Bowie would have turned 70 last year. His final album, “Blackstar,” was released on Bowie’s 69th birthday. Two days later, Bowie unfortunately passed away after losing a longstanding battle with cancer that had been kept hidden from public knowledge. The first posthumous release from Bowie, a four song EP, titled “No Plan,” contains the final three songs recorded by Bowie, along with “Lazarus,” the single from “Blackstar.

The songs were recorded during the “Blackstar” sessions and reflect a certain acceptance of one’s fate and perhaps a little inspiration from it. Bowie sings, “This is no place, but here I am, this is not quite yet” on the title track for the “No Plan EP,” pondering his soon to be non-existence. On the song, “Killing a Little Time,” Bowie confronts the steadily approaching darkness with the line, “I’m falling, man/I’m choking, man/I’m fading, man/Just killing a little time.” “The No Plan EP” reveals an artist at his most vulnerable, with four very sincere last gasps of breath before crossing over to the other side. This is something all of us must confront at some point, and Bowie, once again, manages to do it with a certain style all his own.

 

Album Reviews 0

“Future”

By Jordon Suber

Future’s self-titled fifth studio album has finally arrived. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, which aired on Beats 1, Future admitted to shutting down his social media presence around the time he started putting pieces together for an album to focus and put his all into his music.

“I wanted to give the fans all of me,” Future said. Future also said he wanted to “embrace everything including his success” on his new project. After this album, he said he wants to go back “underground” with his music. On this project Future has sought out familiar faces (Metro Boomin’, 808 Mafia leader Southside, Dj Khaled) while also adding on a new face to the lineup. DY is the producer Future has added on this album. DY is credited with three tracks on this project: “Super Trapper,” “High Demand,” and “Massage in my room.” Future has stated that “DY is the next one.” This is a huge compliment to the young producer from the mega-star.

“Super Trapper” is a reflection of the rapper’s life.. Future wanted to stay true to who he is and wanted to make the most of his environment. “Super Trapper” is taking the average person and making him into a superhero.

“Draco” is named after “Draco season,” and Future said he wanted capture energy with this title. In the DJ Khaled co-produced song, Future raps, “I got my empire up like Lucious.” I think the song is amazing and I love a good TV reference. In my opinion every song is a head-banger and I have a hard time choosing a favorite.

This unexpected album is nothing but fire. Future wanted to take his music in a new direction when he felt he earned the prestige and delivered on his promise.