Emeli Sandé and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra-Crazy In Love (Cover)

Another one from that huge soundtrack for The Great Gatsby, and a track that arguably got overshadowed by the bigger names listed to appear on that OST.

Bad move to overlook this. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra provide a deliciously unique twist on Beyonce’s solo debut from almost 10 years ago (scary), switching out the high-octane production for bubbly horns, bouncy percussion and a great series of steps and progressions that make it a frighteningly-addictive backdrop. It’s a vintage style done so well that it sounds right out of the 1920′s; Boardwalk Empire fans will find that mental image quite easy to generate. Emeli absolutely plays her part too, delivering soulful vocals that ride along the vivacious horns very well, particularly on the hook where their synchronicity is such that the horns almost feel as though they’re operating in a backing vocal capacity. Her performance errs on the right side of ‘old-school’ without sacrificing the innate youthfulness of her voice, which does add a welcomed touch of modernism to the otherwise throwback track. A hugely fun listen, and yet another reason to grab that soundtrack when it arrives on 7th May.

M83-Oblivion OST (Full Album Stream)

We’ve had two releases from the official soundtrack for the upcoming Tom Cruise film Oblivion, and the M83-helmed project is now available to stream in its entireity.

The aforementioned releases affirmed that M83 have no problems adjusting their work to the level of grandeur required here. What interesting from a very brief listen of this album though is that they’ve really pushed through into a few new styles: alongside the traditional movie score string sections and M83-esque bubbly synths, there are flashes of a darker, near-cyberpunk vibe, ensuring this OST has pretty much all bases covered as far as a big budget Hollywood film goes.

Frankly, it’s made me a little more interested in seeing that film next weekend, and if you enjoy this stream, be sure to pick up the OST on 8th April.

Jimi Hendrix-Earth Blues

It was a great treat to have some unreleased Hendrix a short while back, and we’ve been gifted even more ahead of People, Hell and Angels‘ digital release on 5th March (the physical release lands on 1st April, for those that way inclined).

Whilst the aforementioned track had a much stronger rock and roll vibe, packed full of Jimi’s glorious wailing guitar, this one fits firmly within the ‘more experimental’ nature this album is said to take. The guitar’s are much more funk-driven, operating more as supporting melody rather than taking prominence, whilst the consistent, steady percussion offers a sense of regularity throughout that defies Hendrix’s slightly more freeform nature. The backing vocals on the hook also add a touch of structure and glamour, giving the track a real ’70s pop feel, and they cap off what’s probably going to be one of the more rounded and accessible tracks for new fans looking to ease into Jimi’s back catalogue. Certainly worth several listens, and be sure to get that album in a few weeks.

Jimi Hendrix-Somewhere

On 5th March, it appears we’re getting a brand new posthumous Hendrix album titled People, Hell and Angels. Set to feature 12 unreleased tracks recorded between ’68 and ’69, assumedly around the time of the breakup of The Experience.

This is the first single from that project, and Hendrix fans should love this. Full of characteristic guitar wails, riffs that most acts would die for (woops), and those wonderfully unstructured vocals, it’s got the hallmarks of a timeless Hendrix jam with some added vibrancy, courtesy of Buddy Miles on drums and Stephen Stills on bass. It’s bluesy, packed with unadulterated funk and yet another reminder of the timeless talent that Hendrix was, all backed and supplemented by some excellent percussion work and bouncy bass. The album is said to be some of his more experimental work, and with the promise of ‘horns, keyboards, percussion and a second guitar’, and given that it’s come off brilliantly here, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the LP.

9th Wonder-Black American Gangster (Mixtape)

9th wonder black
My word, this has unbelievable potential. Mash-up mixtapes are one thing, but when helmed by the veteran talent that is 9th Wonder, you know it’s going to be coated with a professionalism that trumps most other projects of this kind. Add to that the concept of blending the entire American Gangster album with some fantastic old-school pop and soul works, this becomes a must-have mixtape.

Those vintage inclusions feature such names as Curtis Mayfield, The Jackson 5, Kool & The Gang alongside more, whilst also seemingly retaining the original’s guest appearances. A combination that promises much, and you can grab the entire project for free below.

9th Wonder-Black American Gangster

Larry Lovestein and The Velvet Revival (Mac Miller)-You EP

My opinions on Mac’s music tends to go a little up and down, but this is a very interesting project that shows he has tastes and talents beyond the laidback hip-hop he’s best known for. On a side, he seems to be a fan of both alter egos and the name Larry, as he recently started producing under the guise of Larry Fisherman. Odd.

This side project is apparently a jazz EP, with Mac opting to sing rather than rap, though I’ve yet to actually listen to it due to hard drive issues, and hence can’t verify any of that. I’ve been on a jazz/old soul kick recently (nothing wrong with a bit of Fats Domino!), and hence this should be good listening.

Larry Lovestein and The Velvet Revival-You

Charles Bradley-The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

Two of my favourite songs of recent times are Stalley’s Petrin Hill Peonies and Asher Roth’s The World Is Not Enough (which I didn’t post, and profusely apologise for), and without question that’s down to the excellence of the sample they both use.

That sample would be the slice of excellence you’ve just pressed play on, the 2007 single from the ‘The Screaming Eagle of Soul’ (what I wouldn’t give to be the ‘screaming eagle’ of something), a track packed with deliciously bright instrumentation and vintage vocals right out of the 1950-60′s. In fact, the throwback nature of the track is so strong that on initially listening to the sample in the aforementioned rap tracks, I (and many others) believed it was from that golden era. It’s almost unbelievable that he only became a fully active performer 10 years ago, as there’s clearly a great deal of confidence in what he does, derived mostly from the outpouring of raw emotion throughout the track that often opposes the uplifting instrumental resulting in what is actually a rather bittersweet song. Frankly, I’m relieved to know there are acts out there still intent on making classic soul, and pulling it off as exquisitely as this. Support great music and an old soul just doing what he loves by grabbing this on iTunes now.

Flying Lotus-See Thru To U ft. Erykah Badu

This Autumn, Flying Lotus releases Until The Quiet Comes, the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Cosmogramma. Featuring the inimitable queen of leftfield R&B herself, Erykah Badu, ‘See Thru To U’ is one of the many highlights of an album composed, according to Flylo, as “a collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies”.

I’ve not got much of Lotus’ previous material, and if you’re anything like me, this is a great place to start. The production fuses all sorts of influences together, and the outcome is a jazz-style production with a heavy neo-soul sensibility. A modern sound in a vintage packaging. Erykah’s drifty vocals are seeded in an almost freeform manner throughout the track, and instead of the usual production-vocal division her tones are instead used in as another ‘instrument’, moulding into the production excellently and embellishing it in a non-extravagant manner.

An excellent slice of something very different, and that album should be worth a pre-order if this is anything to go by; grab the pre-order here if you’re already convinced. Thanks to the Warp team for dropping this off.

OTU Presents: The Winter EP: Volume 1

My love of ‘winter music’ has been far from secret here on OTU, and several discussions with music fans of various tastes have led me to believe many OTU readers share that appreciation.

We’re all about satisfying the fans, so welcome to our new 5-part feature. Each edition features a selection of tracks that are taior made for the dark winter period, and in keeping with OTU’s diversity code, expect some old tracks, some modern tracks, with a vast range of genres represented (in no particular order either; for example, Vol. 1 doesn’t necessarily have all of the best tracks!)

Just to really drive those frosty vibes home, we’ll even provide you with fresh, original artwork for each ‘EP’ for you to download at your pleasure and finish off those playlists. Kind aren’t we? Without further ado, click below for 5 tracks to get your winter started.
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Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Trombone Shorty, The Dap Kings and Zigaboo Modeliste-A La Modeliste

Following on from the superb DJ Premier and Berklee Symphony Orchestra track from a few days ago, the second track from the ReGeneration concept brings together a fantastic range of artists to infuse the wonderful New Orleans jazz style with a little hip-hop and soul.

Badu sounds as interested as I’ve heard her in a long time, as she comes through with a phenomenally addictive performance from start to finish, with vocals full of vibrancy and bounce that spans the range of genres to anchor them together in a cohesively funky sound. Zigaboo is relentless on the drums as he drives the track along, whilst Trombone Shorty provides energetic bursts of his horn that blend with the instrumentation brought by the Dap Kings to create a lovely feelgood vibe, with the overall combination proving a genuinely exceptional backdrop to Erykah’s vocals.

Another absolutely fantastic track from the ReGeneration project, and I hope this inspires more to try these styles out. In a music scene increasingly devoid of true character and worth to the music, the passion and purity of the music here makes for a brilliantly refreshing listen.

DJ Premier, Nas and The Berklee Symphony Orchestra-Regeneration

Follow DJ Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method as they remix, recreate and re-imagine five traditional styles of music. Our five distinctive DJs collaborate with some of today’s biggest musicians to discover how our musical past is influencing the future.

An incredible blend of styles here, as Preemo and Nas reunite over an excellent classical production. Dramatic strings swing the track across a variety of moods to open with, before focusing into a driven, uplifting style to back Nas’ ever-replayable raps. The orchestral work once again excellently shifts moods, whilst Preemo laces the symphony with some trademark scratches, enhancing that excellent crossover feel. Interestingly, ‘of all the takes, the one you hear is the “wild” version (which means they recorded it without the metronome in their headphones) and DJ Premier conducted himself’. Genuinely excellent, and a superb slice of eclecticism.

DJ Premier & The Berklee Symphony Orchestra-Regeneration ft. Nas

Gil Scott-Heron and Cookin' Soul-The Revolution Is Being Televised Mixtape

Inevitably, there will be a ton of tribute tracks and mixtapes surfacing in the aftermath of the untimely passing of Gil, but if you’re to check out one you could do an awful lot worse than go with Cookin’ Soul’s effort. They’re simply superb at putting remixes together, and I have faith they’ll do justice to both the quality of Heron’s back catalogue, and justice to the legacy of the man himself.

I expect many of the younger heads will be largely disaffected by the passing of Gil having had minimal exposure to his music, hence I’d recommend this should be checked out by those of you in that category, as inevitably Cookin’ Soul will put a modern twist onto his many classics. Free grab below.

Gil Scott-Heron and Cookin’ Soul-The Revolution Is Being Televised Mixtape

Swizz Beatz vs. Fela Kuti pt. 1

Swizzy’s artistic integrity has spiked recently, largely due to his recently-revealed talents as a painter (he’s unbelievably good!), and he continues that trend with a ‘mash-up mixtape’ (of sorts) with the musical stylings of the late, great Fela Kuti.

Meshing some of Swizzy’s most popular tracks with vintage efforts from Fela’s bac catalogue, it’s a valiant effort at blending old with new. It doesn’t quite work every time, and understandably so given the vast distances and time periods between the two styles, with Swing Your Rag/Who No Know Go Know in particular sounding very clashed and cluttered. Equally however, it does come off quite spectacularly in parts: the Money In The Bank/Yellow Fever crossover works brilliantly, and utilises the upbeat jazz style of Yellow Fever brilliantly to add a fun, jovial feel to Swizzy’s track. Worth grabbing overall, and respect is due to Swizz for what is a considerably original and brave idea. Another win for #MonsterMondays.

Swizz Beatz vs. Fela Kuti pt. 1

The Portland Cello Project-All of the Lights Orchestral Cover

This is unbelievably good. The interlude for the original was an enjoyable orchestral-style short, and the Portland Cello Project expand that into a full cover of both the interlude and the main song of the highest order.

It’s always great to see these crossovers from the classical world (as I recall, The String Quartet used to really lead the way in this respect. Are they still around?), and this most certainly makes for brilliant listening. They capture the energy, passion and uplifting vibe of the original without the use of any vocals, which is a fantastic testament to their ability as musicians. A must-watch.

Apple Juice Kid Remixes Frank Sinatra

Almost a year to the day that Apple Juice Kid dropped off his superb Louis Armstrong remix project, we’re treated to another retro-themed effort.

AJK goes with Frank Sinatra as his main subject here, and if the quality of the Louis Armstrong project is anything to go by, this will be fantastic. Preview and download available in the widget, or you can pick up the whole thing here.

Only Like Hip-Hop, Yeah?

Move along, this doesn’t concern you.

If you’ve made it to line 2; congrats. You’re in the inner circle. And yes, that is a picture of a horse playing frisbee.

65daysofstatic released their 4th LP in April, entitled We Were Exploding Anyway. For your listening pleasure is Weak04. Get instrumental up in your respective bitches.
65daysofstatic- Weak04

Next up, in a completely unrelated manner, from way back in 1957 (furthest throwback yet?) is Miles Davis’ Moon Dreams.  For some reason, jazz seems to remind me of the classic cartoon Tom & Jerry. Enjoy.
Miles Davis- Moon Dreams

Don’t be a fool, wrap your stool.

Louis Armstrong Remixed

Surely you know who Louis Armstrong is/was?

Producer Apple Juice Kid has released a free album compiled of remixes of the legendary Jazz musician’s music. The additions to the tracks are great, and really fit in without a problem. Even the dance remixes aren’t too tampered with. Genuinely a great piece of work, which really helps make Louis Armstrong much more accessible and listenable for our generation.

For those of you looking to try something a little different, and of course those of you with a keener taste for this sort of music, this is definitely worth checking out. If you do enjoy this, you can check out videos to all of the tracks here.

Louis Armstrong Remixed, by Apple Juice Kid