Browsing Tag

Frank Ocean


Dream-Rap? Is That Even A Thing?

Even with the amount of new music being made every day, with sheer weight of collective imaginations, the genre splicing experiments, the fusing and fusion of styles Garrison Carver seems to be on to something new here. Yes, there is a trippy trap beat, a cool R&B vibe and a rap delivery but that is then cocooned in something totally unexpected. Around these more expected elements he wraps a dream-pop haze, chilled psychedelia and electronic washes.

It’s confusing, but experience tells us that is a good thing, expectations are made to be subverted, rules are made to be broken and new musical horizons are their to be explored and DD does all of those things and more. Blissed out hip-hop? Ethereal R&B? Dream-rap? Are those even a thing? The fact that you have to invent whole new genres to put the music in is an indication of just how original this music is and how singular and lateral Garrison Carver’s thinking is.


HOURIGAN – Love In The Middle – A Direct Rap Sound With A Chill R&B / Neo-Soul Vibe

HOURIGAN is a versatile musician whose work stands out for its inner variety, as well as for the performer’s sheer talent and attitude. His recent studio release is a brand new single titled “Love In The Middle”. The track is a tasteful blend of R&B, soul and rap. The song truly manages to maintain a wide emotional spectrum and keep the audience’s engagement high at all times, conquering their attention with appealing hooks a la Pharrell and with many outstanding lyrical hooks that are really reminiscent of artists such as The Weeknd or Frank Ocean, just to mention but a few.

Hourigan is all about showcasing his great vocal range and mad rapping skills. With “Love In The Middle”, HOURIGAN truly set out to build a very detailed track with lots of great atmospheres. The song feels energetic, yet even and smooth, with a nice chilled out vibe to counteract the energy of these performances. The production of the song is very interesting, because it is not just about upfront beats: HOURIGAN carefully managed to provide an amazing melodic backbone, which really adds something special to the track.


Jamie Benkert Talks Wasted Love

There are two types of maverick artists: the ones who adopt different styles as a way of switching costumes, and the ones who take a variety of musical concepts and subvert them wholly to their own ideas, and their own identities. Jamie Benkert is clearly the latter. Her new single aptly entitled, “Wasted Love,” is a musical conglomerate of creativity, passion, and breathtakingly beautiful interpretations of musical sensation.

The song couldn’t have a better title.  The instrumentation employs a wide range of orchestrated sounds, dancing from subtle pop influenced patterns, to symphony infused arrangements, back to whimsical guitars yielding harmonious moments of both beauty and tension. The score is erupting with musical genius. Jamie’s voice dances all over this rhythmic beauty, her voice is boisterous, light hearted, and fun. I love the musical breaks, and the fun lyrics, I could easily hear this song blaring out of the speakers of a college dorm, suburban home, or just a teeny bopping teenage who knows good music. Solid track.


Jack Hodges Releases Alternative Pop Track “Strange Feelings”

“Strange Feelings” is a new and exciting single release from singer and songwriter Jack Hodges. The song immediately stands out for its lush, driven and direct textures. The snare sound in particular, is absolutely massive, as if it was echoing from deep down the bottom of a cave. I love the dark, haunting vibes of this track and Jack does a really great job at keeping up with the melodies and textures of this track with his laid-back and on-point vocal performance.

On this track, Jack reminds me of talented artists such as Frank Ocean or D’Angelo, combining unique textures with some stunning sonic ideas. The production value of this single is definitely worth mentioning. The track is absolutely world-class and the mix is balanced and masterfully executed.


Urban RnB Artist John Casper Releases Debut EP Smoking Blues

John Casper is a driven, passionate and charismatic artist with a unique approach to his music. His songs are melodic and catchy, yet energetic and uplifting, echoing the work of artists such as Drake, The Weeknd or Frank Ocean, just to mention but a few.

On his recent release, “Smoking Blues”, John mastered the fine art of writing songs that are deeply personal, yet easy to relate to. Smoking Blues is a particularly interesting release for its unique sonic signature, which remind me of the old school glory days of this genre, while looking at it from a more modern perspective.

I really love it when artists are able to re-contextualize music, exploring new ideas and combining their creativity with timeless structure, paying homage to their influences, while creating something completely original. To me, John Casper sounds like an artist who truly know where he is going, but who never lost track of where he actually comes from, in terms of sound and influences.

The artist managed to wrap up 5 exciting tunes that showcase a very open mind and an eclectic attitude, embracing influences from different genres, including pop, trap, neo-soul and R&B.


Morgan sets the bar with R&B track ‘Upgrade’

Singer and performer Morgan was aiming to set the bar higher with his most recent single, Upgrade – and we can certainly say he managed to accomplish that!

The track falls somewhere in between the beautiful melodies of R&B track and the energy of hip-hop, going for a unique approach that has the best elements from both words. The edgy 808-style beats and beautiful melodic synths are perfect to drive the sound of the music, making for a truly suitable backing track for Morgan’s unmistakable vocals.

His tone is clean, bright and lush, echoing the work of extraordinarily gifted performers, including Frank Ocean, Drake or even Prince, just to mention but a few. Morgan’s singing is a perfect showcase of his lyrical abilities, as well as his talent for crafting memorable melodies and hooks that will undoubtedly remain stuck in your head for quite some time to come.

Every element in this track is top-notch, ranging  from the audio production down to the lyrics, performance and the stunning cover photoshoot, executed to absolute perfection.


Micah Metje releases high energy track ‘Breakaway’

Micah Metje is a singer and songwriter whose music has a very multi-dimensional attitude. On one hand, his vocals are as appealing as the work of he best pop stars, but on the other hand, his music also has some rock energy and electro oomph that really adds something special to the mix. His studio single, Breakaway, has got an explosive concoction of EDM beats, chunky rhythm guitars and R&B-laced vocal hooks.

The work of this artist reminds me of performers such as Jason DeRulo, Frank Ocean or The Weeknd – there’s a lot of soulfulness in his voice, yet it is also energetic and dynamic, making for a truly unique balance. This song also stands out for its earnest personal lyrics. On Breakaway, Micah sings openly about living, loving and dreaming, while bringing so much energy to his audience.

I love how the chorus really opens up with stunning electric power chords and great rhythm sections. Combining rock and pop is not always as easy as it seems, but this talented young artist certainly got the mix just right.


A&R Factory Present: Rushes debut single “Wild High”

Contrast would be the best word to describe singer-songwriter/producer Rushes. Growing up in a small rural town in Ireland isn’t something you normally associate with soulful cutting edge electronic sounds. The time had finally come for Rushes to fly the coop and explore his opportunities by moving to Dublin permanently to refine his craft and link up with innovators who understood his vision.

In 2017, Rushes joined creative collection Diffusion Lab, who has the likes of Soulé and Jafaris in their ranks to bring his diverse ideas alive. Rushes draws inspiration from artists like N.E.R.D, D’Angelo, Frank Ocean, Radiohead, Jai Paul, Kanye West, Marvin Gaye and Prince but never limits his sonic palette.


Rushes debut single “Wild High” droped on May 26th. An alluring blend of electro-RnB infused with smooth wavy vocals and perfectly polished production.

With “Wild High”, Rushes launches himself into the eye of the music industry with the intent of being heard. For visuals, he teamed up with Gorilla – Nathan Barlow, responsible for Soulé, Jafaris recent music videos.



A&R Factory Present: Mac Original

Mac Original’s status does not do him justice, as so patently hinted in his name, he asserts originality and musical capability in his debut 13-track album Breathtaker. The album is a takeover of and R&B where there are inspirations and influences from Frank Ocean, Andre 3000 and Pharrell. The masterpiece becomes an adventurous story which is articulated by Mac Original himself, shedding light on the cold hard truths of reality.

The album shifts from high points to low points throughout, with elements of sorrow in ‘Breathtaker’ and ‘Meaning Of It (So Close)’, a damning journey of transformation in ‘Huger St’, whilst ‘Let it Breathe’ is glowing with blithe. However, what makes Mac Original’s prolific creation so audacious is how he presents the underlying issue of race. Rather than constructing the matter into a song of blues, he turns it around into a track of optimism, creating a contingent confidence to an ongoing problem. Mac Original delicately glosses over the plight of apprehension with a soothing melody lead by a piano, which sets the song aside from other tracks in the album as the moment becomes quite sincere. Remarkably, the song is anything but suffering, and becomes the meaning of hope and promise. “I’m just reflecting on some pain for my last name/You know my ancestors, yeah I had several/Every problem settled wasn’t no pulling the metal/More like whips to the back, shit I still feel that”. There is no hostility embodied in between the lyrics, neither is there enclosed in the melody. Mac Original’s primary goal is to focus on the truth, reminding us “don’t be afraid of the dark/because the new sun is a brighter year”.

What makes each track pop is the variety of Mac Original’s own personality. He reveals moments of misery, but shares the original characteristic of the album and that is feel good groove. ‘Let It Breathe’ flies high with aspects of soulful funk and jazz, with the use of brass instruments lifting the auspicious ambience. A string of buoyant beats infuses a cheery quality, completely transforming the summery vibe. What’s most promising about Mac Original’s outlook is how the depth of his material is set on the struggle he bears; however, he refuses to let his own personal troubles obstruct him from his growing success. Mac Original fruitfully articulates this understanding, whilst the song itself is stimulating to our own difficulties and is comforting to us.

Elsewhere, the cracks are earnestly displayed in ‘Huger St’, a soothing melody which heinously turns abruptly half way through the track. The rapid transformation in the song and the faint sound of police sirens in the background is almost damning to the listener and becomes a track thirsty for hope. The beat overlaps the rhythm creating a state of confusion, and where the ripple in the sound becomes ambiguous, the mood fluctuates to solemn disposition.

A recurring theme that flows through Breathtaker is the coming of age notion. Mac Original has experienced things he can’t express, he has seen things he can’t explain, and the method he copes with tragedy is through musical expression. ‘Breathtaker’ is a chilling track which pulls on the heart strings. Mac Original delves deep into his emotions, discussing how he’s been told what he should be and who he should be, but none of that truly matters when his close friend passed away, the only person mattered to him. As the album continues, Mac Original’s authentic narrative is so cohesive in its fundamental meaning. A connection is built between the listener and emotions run high, which is why the album is so easy to comprehend. ‘So Close’ is another example of Mac Original’s heartfelt work. He champions the R&B element of this track, and manages to portray his message across in a slow jam style. There is a trait of loneliness is Mac Original’s detached voice, and perhaps he hits a spot of reservation that his listeners can relate to. Lyrics that many can relate to, “So close so close so close/Yet so far from you”, and despite revealing such delicate emotions, this is when Mac Original is at his strongest.

In an attempt to parade all aspects of human emotion in Breathtaker, Mac Original constructs just that, and more than what he was bargaining for. Efficaciously, he tells a story of affliction, but in some cases, he extracts the goodness from the bad. The combination of alternate genres demonstrates artistic style and enterprise, and what therefore brands Mac Original as an innovative artist unique to American hip-hop.

Words Aly Mchugh