Skip to main content

Featured Post

Jorge Velez - Roman Birds Music Album Reviews

Inspired by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, this five-track ambient wonder finds the New York producer letting pulses and motifs overlap until the tracks resemble the inside of a lava lamp.
Jorge Velez has long been prolific, but that’s been especially true in the past few years. Like many underground electronic musicians, the New York producer has taken advantage of the internet’s self-publishing opportunities—in particular, the direct-to-fans platform Bandcamp—to sidestep label gatekeepers, streaming services, and crowded retailers. (Velez’s Bandcamp page currently numbers 26 releases.) Velez first gained recognition a dozen years ago with blippy disco derivatives for labels like Italians Do It Better, but his output has gradually become more esoteric and inward-looking. He’s still capable of ebullient club tracks, as last year’s excellent Forza attests, but many of his long, undulating machine jams sound like late-night missives to himself.



Swamp Dogg - Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune Music Album Reviews

R&B’s weirdest—and most radical—weirdo modernizes his sound on an album that uses Auto-Tune to convey the ecstasies of love, the misery of loss, and the economic desperation of life in Trumpland.

If all Swamp Dogg was was weird, would we still care? The man born Jerry Williams Jr. found LSD and Frank Zappa in the late 1960s, and these discoveries prompted his transformation into R&B’s weirdest weirdo. He planted his freak flag on 1970’s ebulliently funky Total Destruction of Your Mind and the following year’s Rat On, with its indelible cover image of the Dogg happily riding a giant rodent. On more than 20 albums in 40 years, however, those eccentricities have led his music in fascinating directions—and they've accentuated rather than obscured his radical ideas about race, politics, and sex. His outrageousness has only intensified his outrage. The anger and despair and heartbreak and loneliness that underscore his songs have helped cement his status as one of pop’s great cult acts. As recently as 2014, he was railing against America’s history of racial oppression and erasure on an album titled The White Man Made Me Do It.

Now, he’s modernized his sound with an album called Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune. Rather than adopt the austerity of the soul revival, Swamp Dogg embraces this technology as something fresh and new, another tool he can use to get his point across and sound fabulous doing it. Producer Ryan Olson lends a hand, drawing more on his all-star ensemble Gayngs’ wiseacre R&B than on his band Poliça’s moody indie rock. Justin Vernon shows up with his Messina, a recently invented instrument that allows the singer to harmonize with himself in real time. There’s a string section. Someone named Viagra plays shakers. And everything is bathed in that sudsy wash of pitch correction.

The experiment succeeds because Swamp Dogg delivers on all three aspects of his album title: the ecstasies of love, the misery of loss, and the way Auto-Tune can be used to magnify those feelings. “I’ll Pretend” is a fairly straightforward soul number, with Swamp Dogg sing-speaking sentiments that are all the more affecting for being so mundane: “I’ll pretend you’ve gone on vacation, and you’ll be back in a week or maybe two.” The music is dank and slippery, with Texas blues legend Guitar Shorty noodling somewhere off in the distance, and the Auto-Tuned self-harmonies sound like the fevered inner monologue of a man so lonely he has to invent voices in his head just to have a little company.

The album works best when the technology evokes abject isolation. A cover of “Answer Me, My Love,” made famous by Nat King Cole in the ’50s, chops and screws an orchestra to punctuate Swamp Dogg’s appeal to a lost love, while a song actually titled “Lonely” warps a tight R&B combo of piano and sax as though it’s a bleary memory from the early ’60s. “You can make your mouth say you love me, but it don’t have to mean a thing,” Swamp Dogg declares on “$$$ Huntin’,” a song about unemployment. The words are slathered in Auto-Tune, but that only heightens the painful resonance of this Trumpland blues about hard times in America, a track both boisterous in its boasts and angry at how a bad economy forces you to prioritize money over love. “This is not a joke,” he testifies.

Despite the complexity and insight it offers in its lyrics, the jumbled rhythms on “$$$ Huntin’” trip up any groove the song might otherwise achieve. Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune often loses its footing at moments like this, when the tempo picks up. “I’m Coming With Lovin’ on My Mind” will remind you that chillwave was spectacularly unfunky, and there’s nothing sexy about “Sex With Your Ex.” All that technology just gets in the way of what should’ve been a satin-sheeted slow jam, turning Swamp Dogg’s argument—that fucking is a legitimate and meaningful way of connecting with another human being—into a banal punchline.

The album concludes with what may be its most divisive track, a cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.” The tune is older than 76-year-old Swamp Dogg himself, but in this version, the music sounds like a perverted Disney soundtrack, all shimmering starbursts, discordant strings, and gritty bass throbs. Yet Swamp Dogg sings it like it’s a stone R&B classic, rather than the stale standard presented on so many blah American Songbook albums. Carmichael recorded the song in 1927, when he was in his late 20s; here, it’s recast as a heavy-hearted, late-in-life reverie, the testimony of a man left only with memories. “Love is now the stardust of yesterday, the music of the years gone by,” Swamp Dogg sings. It’s an intriguing closing sentiment for an artist who has rarely sounded so rooted in the here and now.

View the original article here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

Apple iPad Pro 2018 vs Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Apple’s latest iPad Pros are a very tempting purchase, but should you stick with the tried-and-tested Surface Pro from Microsoft? We help you decide which tablet to buy.
Should I Buy The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Or Apple iPad Pro 11in (2018)? Two very competent 2-in-1s, one running Windows 10, the other iOS 12. For many this difference alone will inform the final choice, but both are top-notch tablets. 

Huawei P Smart 2019 Review

Huawei has updated its budget Android phone for 2019. It’s faster and better than before, but should you buy it? Read our review to find out.
Should I Buy The Huawei P Smart 2019?
The P Smart 2019 is a great upgrade from the 2018 model with a bigger screen and better performance. However, as with the original P Smart, Honor's version is better value.

Oppo RX17 Pro Review

Though similar to the OnePlus 6T the Oppo RX17 Pro is very different thanks to the software. Here’s our full review
Should I Buy The Oppo RX17 Pro?
The RX17 Pro is a great looking phone with good performance and a lush display. But with a Snapdragon 710 rather than the better 845 it’s just impossible not to compare it to the OnePlus 6T which looks the same, has better software for the western market and, importantly, costs less.
If you like the look of Oppo’s interface though then there’s a lot to like. The two colour options are premium as is the build quality and the cameras are above average if not great.

Synology Mesh Router MR2200ac Review

You probably know Synology for making NAS drives but the firm has also turned its hand to mesh networks. Here we review the MR2200ac.
Should I Buy The Synology Mesh Router MR2200ac?
Synology could do a little more to explain the many features of the MR2200ac for first-time users, but the strong performance of this mesh system, and the fine-control provided by its web browser interface make it a good option for business users or home users who have a little more experience of networking technology.

LG Gram 17 Review: Hands-on

LG’s Gram 17 was on display at CES 2019 and we got our hands on the ultra-thin, ultra-light device featuring a beautiful 17-inch display
Should I Buy The LG Gram 17?
The Gram 17 is an impressive bit of kit, but it is serving more of a niche audience than it perhaps appears.
A laptop with a display any bigger than 15 is perhaps approaching a point where it struggles to be called ‘portable’ due to it’s raw size. However, if that isn’t something that bothers you, the 17-inch display is fantastic for both working and watching your favourite films or series on.
Everything else aside the Gram is a beautiful, extremely light choice of laptop that manages to pack a lot of power and utility into an incredibly slim, slick package.

Like Fan Page