Tag Archive: dance music


I first heard of Nubiyan Twist when I went to see Joe Armon-Jones at The Crescent in York last November, as Joe introduced the band he got to bassist Luke Wynter he said he was in Nubiyan Twist from Leeds. My first thought was that’s a great name for a band and that there was another potentially great band coming out of Leeds. It turns out I was right this is another great band coming out of Leeds (though now based in London) and what’s more another great band that met and formed at Leeds College of Music. Leeds College of Music is a respected music education institution in the UK but if it keeps on producing the amount of quality bands it is currently it will become world famous and rank alongside the likes of Berklee in the USA.

But I got off the point for a while there It’s time to get back to talking about the music of Nubiyan Twist and their album “Jungle Run”. On the bands Facebook page under Band Interests it says “To encourage artistic and social unity between different cultures and musical styles.” This is definitely a mission statement the band achieves on this album, they combine the disparate styles of dance music (including House and Drum ‘n’ Bass), Dub, Latin, Afrobeat, Ethio-Jazz, Hip-Hop, Turntablism and Soul into a potent stew of sound. This is quite an achievement considering the band has ten members And also joined in this album by guests Nubiya Brandon (vocals), Tony Allen (drums) the inventor of the rhythms of Afrobeat and Mulatu Astatke (vibraphone) the inventor of Ethio-Jazz. I have to admit that I am very jealous of the fact that the band gets to work with two giants of African music. Another achievement is to not be subsumed by those legends on the track states they contribute to this is a band with a clear identity and incredible musical talent to boot. Bandleader Tom Excell also produced the record in the bands own studio in Oxfordshire in the UK and it’s an impressive feat to say the least to build to get all these competing instruments and talents to play nicely in a mix. This isn’t just an impressive album it’s a lot of fun to the irresistible beats make impossible for you not to dance and the catchy choruses will be in your head in no time.

I know I’m probably repeating myself here but it’s hard to overstate how incredible this album is not only as a musical achievement but something that truly represents what music can be in the 21st-century. This is an album of the Internet age don’t get me wrong there are albums made fused cells are music together before the Internet age but “Jungle Run” is something only truly achievable in a world where you can access any music at any time with the click of a button. This is a real Album of the Year contender and definitely check it out.

Let me know what you think of “Jungle Run” in the Comments.

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Late last year a single called ‘Yesterday’ by an Artist called Connie Constance popped up in a Spotify Release Radar playlist and I liked it and was intrigued by it. My first thought was that I couldn’t place what music might have influenced this combination of Synths and Soul. This week listening to Constance’s debut album “English Rose” it hit that it was Stevie Wonder that was the Artist ‘Yesterday’ was indirectly referencing. It’s this that really sums up Constance and her music, she’s really hard to pin down and reading her Artist bio it starts to make sense this is a person whose never fit in. Constance grew up in Watford a suburb of North London and pretty leafy, white middle class one at that. She stuck as a young mixed girl surrounded by white people.

This is a theme that continues throughout the album with neither Constance’s voice, lyrics nor the music styles and elements she’s using fitting nicely into easy categorization. Her voice can easily be compared to Otis Redding, Ari Up from The Slits and Bjork (though she doesn’t push her voice as far as a young Bjork did) and the music ranges from Neo Soul ballads to Indie Rock stomp via nods to contemporary dance music. Another helpfully reference point is Amy Winehouse due the F-Bombs, bitter songs about exes, unashamed use of her London accent and the fact that across the album she can sound both young and wise beyond her years. All-in-all though Connie Constance is Connie Constance a square peg in a round hole. Check out “English Rose” below and let me know what you think if the Comments below:

 

rocketnumbernine-meyouweyou

Rocketnumbernine are a relatively unknown duo made up of brothers Ben (synthesizers & FX) and Tom Page (drums) who formed in 2005, going on the release their debut album “You Reflect Me” in 2008. After meeting legendary drummer the late Steve Reid in 2010 the duo decided to take a more structured approach to their fusion of jazz, post-rock, electronic music and thick synth drones. This resulted in a live collaboration with Reid collaborator Four Tet at that year’s Mutek festival before releasing the single ‘Matthew and Toby’ on Four Tet’s Text label, followed by ‘Lone Raver’ the following year on Soul Jazz. At the start of 2013 the duo collaborated with Four Tet on the Floating Points produced single ‘Roseland/Metropolis’ that preceded this album.

The album opens with the echoing analogue synth and an acoustic drum break of ‘Lupe’, which develops into a filmic, dark and melodic monster across its five-minute length. Next up is ‘Rotunda’ which is firmly aimed at the dance floor with four to the floor electronic drums, energetic, tribal percussion, filthy wobbling bass line and a main melody that recalls DJ Mujava’s ‘Township Funk’. ‘Slide’ combines the previous two tracks approaches, starting with a thumping start-stop acoustic drum break which is swiftly joined by a descending synth sound and wriggling synth bass. There’s a great synth and drum build up that reaches its peak at 4 minutes in, with a ton of cymbals, acid synth and other synth FX bouncing around your ears.  

‘Steel Drummer’ opens with four to the floor bass drum, insistent cowbell and a stabby but thin synth riff. . Around a minute in a new more expressive and rich synth melody comes in building to the dropping of an acoustic drum break and rising, roaring synth bass that rattles the brain and adds an epic feel to the track. Everything breaks down to four to the floor drums swiftly followed by a thick, phat and funky synth bass line. Then the epic section kicks in again around 4 minutes in. It is a brilliantly structured and devastatingly effective track. ‘Deadly Buzz’ is a real album highlight opening with stuttering vocal sample and boxy drums before a whining synth and huge synth bass and delayed synth FX come in. Around two minutes in the track breaks down to an echoing computer vocal and drums while a doomy, heavy bass guitar builds in the background giving way to all out trash!! Epic, closer ‘Matthew & Toby’ manages to match a lighter sound with the live and intense feel of the album’s other tracks.

All-in-all “MeYouWeYou” is a great album that effortlessly combines live music influences with dance music influences and Rocketnumbernine are definitely a band to look out for in the future, they already have an album with Neneh Cherry confirmed for release later this year.

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