Google+ Beathearts: 01.2014


Melo-X - Yoncé-X (Beyoncé remix EP)

Stumbled over this this a few days ago. Now concept remix projects sometimes are more a curse than a blessing ever since the remix frenzy of Mr Carter's "The Black Album" but this is an exception. Sean Rhoden (a.k.a. Melo-X) is a diverse producer based in East Flatbush in Brooklyn. We earlier featured his work for/with Jesse Boykins III and a few years ago his rework of Maxwell's BlackSummersNight made some noise.

Sean on his rework of tracks from the new Beyoncé album:

"I've been doing remix albums for a while now. This Beyonce album was just so revolutionary and had so many layers and stories I kept hearing bits and pieces I could elaborate on. The remix album can also be looked at as a instrumental album because I'm sampling her music the way a producer would sample a old 1970's record. It's really a big art and passion project for me. I met Beyonce at a New Years eve party at Solange's house 2 years ago and gained even more respect and admiration for her."

"I bought the album the day it came out and vibed with it until Christmas day. On that night I made the whole Remix EP and spent the next week creating the video pieces and just refining the mixes. I decided to release the project [today] because it is Blue Ivy's birthday.  It's like the stars aligned all crazy and I couldn't pass this chance up"

Dark, experimental and beautiful. Get it while you still can!

Download: Melo-X - Yoncé-X


Sage The Gemini - Gas Pedal (MSSL CMMND remix)

One of our top selections of 2013, MMSL CMMND, starts the year in style with this surprising remix of Sage the Gemini's "Gas pedal". Changing the pace and adding that child's play piano in the vein of Nas "Yes, I can" is just brilliant.

Download: Sage the Gemini - Gas Pedal (MSSL CMMND remix)


Beathearts top selections 2013: Best releases

First of all, maybe we need to define what we mean by a "release". Or do we? Factmag recently described it brilliantly:

"Album lists aren’t just best-to-worst rundowns – they’re ways of demarcating what an “album” is (or isn’t) in the first place. 

Is a mini-album a full-length or an extended single? Should a clutch of Soundcloud demos be judged alongside a 3xLP pack? Are leaks off-limits – and, if so, why? In a year full of marketing campaign razzmatazz and big bruisers dropping surprise albums, it’s telling – and heartening – that much of the best music arrived through rogue channels. To quarantine mixtape releases, say, away from our albums list might have made sense a few years ago; now, it seems blockheaded and perverse. Mindful of not being Cnuts, we’ve no intention of holding back the tide.

Faced with navigating this increasingly complicated landscape, plenty of blogs have gone down the Grammys route of hyper-specification – Best Hip-Hop Albums That Aren’t Mixtapes;  Best Albums Under 15 Minutes That Aren’t Singles; Best Albums With A 16×16 Floor Tom; Best Albums That Didn’t Feature Nile Rodgers. We’ve elected to take the other road, allowing different formats to sit happily alongside one other. It doesn’t matter if it’s lengthy or snappy, physical or invisible – if it’s a great record, it’s in it." (FACT Magazine).

Amen to that! It's what we've been trying to say since day one, we enjoy good music no matter what the format, label or chanel. A rookie Soundcloud demo or a major label release. So well, here it is. Our top releases of 2013. Lessgo!

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #1 JoDef - Steps

1. JoDef - Steps (Soulection)

If you haven't heard the tracks already "Swim" is a filtered broken tune with a housy feel chopping up classic Sade vocals. "TookItThurr" is a rework of Slum Village/Dilla's classic "2U4U". I'm struggling to find words to describe the style but I just love the blend of influences and genres. Amazing!

"Steps' is a timely release that comes during an experimental and fluid epoch in electronic music which proves to be a soulful, west-coast inspired footwork masterpiece. With varying influences from Jukesquad to TekLife – the original Chicago footwork crews, Jo Def carefully combines west coast leaning, bass-heavy vibes with traditional syncopated footwork sounds to produce a cohesive listen all the way through." (

The album is a collection of reinterpreted tracks from a wide range of influences. From the two above mentioned to R.Kelly's "It seems like you're ready" and Louie Vega & Kenny Dope's deep house classic "Deep inside".

And as if that wasn't enough his label Soulection (label, radioshow and music collective) has decided to put out the album for free for a limited period. Absolutely essential. Get it now!

Takeaway track: "Ready"
Download: JoDef - Steps

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

So what's next?
That's it! There were of course plenty more good releases but these ten stand out for me and are all good representatives of the music we love here at Beathearts.

Was 2013 as surprising for you as it was for us? Do you agree with our selections or think we're out of our minds? Hit us up right here, via Twitter or Coming up is our predictions of what we'll think will blow up in 2014.

Beathearts top selections 2013: #2. Tall Black Guy - 8 miles to Moenart

2. Tall Black Guy - 8 miles to Moenart

One of our artist of the year 2012, Terrel Wallace a.k.a. Tall Black Guy sure seemed committed to stay on top of that list. His album dropped in May and we've had it spinning in our headphones ever since. It really had no weak tracks but was quality straight through as an album which is quite rare these days.

All in all, in a fast-paced-what's-next-kind-of-world, "8 miles to Moenart" is a keeper. It's that hidden green back yard garden you sometimes stumble upon walking through a metropolitan area. Sit down, take a breather, take a sip of your favorite beverage and kick back with Tall Black Guy. Read more? Check our track-by-track review.

Take-away track: "Funeral biz"
Buy via First World Records
Listen on Spotify: Tall Black Guy - 8 miles to Moenart  

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #3. Dâm-Funk & Snoopzilla - 7 days

3. Dâm-Funk & Snoopzilla - 7 days (StonesThrow)

This year Stones Throw dropped the long awaited and inevitable collaboration between L.A.'s finest Damon Riddick/Dâm-Funk (Pasadena) and Calvin Broadus/Snoopzilla/Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion (Long Beach). The album has conceptually been talked about for years but finally saw the light of day on December 10th. It's the logical next step in the development of the funk - what we like to call funk 7.0.

Funk 1.0: James Brown
P-Funk 2.0: Parliament/Funkadelic
M-Funk 3.0: Minneapolis/Prince/The Time
E-Funk 4.0: Electronic Funk, Mtume/Kashif/Juan Atkins/Mantronix
G-Funk 5.0: Snoop & Dr Dre
Nu-Funk 6.0: Dâm-Funk
H-Funk 7.0: Pasadena meets Long Beach to create H-funk - Harmonic Funk

"Funk is the dirty cousin of rock, soul, jazz, classical, house and electronic music. [---]The next phase is beautiful chords and harmonies on top of a hard beat. Imagine the song structure of Prefab Sprout or Thom Bell song (The Delfonics/The Spinners) were put on a funk beat with claps, kicks and basslines. That's the next phase - at least that's where I'm trying to go."
(Dâm-Funk 2013 - p3.soul)

When we chose what releases to write about we try to pick pieces that takes us places. "7 days of funk" is that kind of record. Now I have yet to pay L.A. a visit but during the last 30 minutes of funk the urge to jump the next flight to LAX has never been stronger.

Takeaway track: "I'll be there for you"
Read more: Funk 7.0 - The story behind 7 days of funk
Listen on Stones Throw Records

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #4. The Knife - Shaking the habitual

4. The Knife - Shaking the habitual (Rabid)

The Dreijer siblings put together the best live experience of the year. And they had the album and the concept to back it up. "Shaking the habitual" is not an album I listen to all at once. It's not an album to get you going in the morning. But it is without a doubt one of the albums I've gone back back to and listened to in parts over and over again all year.

They dare to be political. They dare to be artsy. They dare to challenge their audience which of course split opinions. I love it and I applaud their ballsy move not compromise and hope more artist go in that direction in 2014.

Takeaway track: "Wrap your arms around me"
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Soundcloud

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #5. Kelela - Cut 4 me

5. Kelela - Cut 4 me (FadeToMind)

LA producer and vocalist released this game changing R'n'B mixtape "Cut 4 me" featured producers about to blow up like Jam City, Kingdom and Nguzunguzu. To quote FadeToMind label manager Kingdom: "We wanted to make a bold new statement for r'n'b".

Indeed. Just as Aaliyah, Timbaland and Missy Elliot set a new standard for r'n'b back in the 90s, Kelala and her producers has re-written the rulebook.

This album was released as a free mixtape but competes quality wise with any major label release. It will be very interesting to see what the next move from Kelela and FadeToMind will be.

Takeaway track: "Cherry coffee"
Listen on Spotify
Download: Kelela - Cut 4 me

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #6. Factory Floor - FF

6. Factory Floor - FF (DFA LP)

Factory Floor's second album is kind of special to me. It was the only new album this year I discovered in a record store so I might be romantically biased about this album. But what the heck. Aren't all reviews subjective?

Early November I passed through one of last great standing record outlets in the world, Rough Trade Shoreditch, London. A magical place. Anyway they threw in a bonus disc with three songs (Green, Pink and Blue) which might not be exclusive to Rough Trade. But that track "Green" is an thick acid stomper and a great addition to a solid album.

Takeaway track: "Here again"
Buy in any of the Rough Trade stores
Listen on Spotify

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #7. Justin Timberlake/James Fauntleroy - 20/20 vision

7. Justin Timberlake/James Fauntleroy - 20/20 vision (RCA)

Friday Sep 27th, one of modern soul's best kept secret released his new album. Well sort of. The album was the completion of Justin Timberlakes' 20/20 vision project and I'm talking about one of the most prominent soul writers/producers of the 2010's James Fauntleroy.

Michael Jackson had Quincy Jones to distillate his genius and make his visions happen. Today's r'n'b artists have James Fauntleroy. Fauntleroy is co-writer on all tracks on 20/20 vision. Teaming up with Timbaland and Rob Knox the production trio calls themselves "The Y's". Up until this summer I have to admit I'd never heard of Fauntleroy but he's produced a pile full of the top r'n'b tunes the last couple of years. It's just that you had to read the small print liner notes to realize it. 

With the release of this double-album, there's no denying that Fauntleroy's production and song writing skills are now in the global spotlight. And with tracks like Timberlake's "Take back the night" even the most hardcore keep it real critics will have a hard time not to crack a smile. It will be really interesting to see where Fauntleroy will take it next.

Takeaway track: "Pusher love girl"
Read more: Beathearts story on modern soul's best kept secret - James Fauntleroy
Listen on Spotify

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #8. Julia Holter - Loud City Song

8. Julia Holter - Loud city song (Domino)

Loud City Song is Julia Holter’s third album but her first full length release to be studio recorded.

It's one of the most hauntingly beautiful records of the year. But don't get fooled by the sheer beauty. Listen close and you'll hear references  from all over the field (just as we strive for over here at Beathearts). Dark, beautiful but experimental at the core. Miss this album at your peril.

Takeaway track: "Maxim's 1"
Listen on Spotify

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #9. MSSL CMMND - why fight the space age?

9. MSSL COMMND - Hope and pray (Self-released)

Chad Hugo project MSSL CMMND was definitely one of the most thrilling roller coasters of the year.
Teaming up with Baltimore based DJ/producer Daniel Biltmore they've just release the first track off their upcoming mixtape entitled Why fight the space age. It blended fantastic club tracks with great rock songs, psychadelic skits and some very experimental tunes.

Anyway, "Hope & Pray" was one of the amazing highlights. It's an instrumental banger with ghetto tech vibes and that alone makes it worth getting the mixtape.

Takeaway track: "Hope & pray"
Download: MSSL CMMND - Why fight the space age (mixtape)
Download: MSSL CMMND - Hope and pray

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st 

Beathearts top selections 2013: #10. Disclosure - Settle

10. Disclosure - Settle (PMR)

We had great expectations that Orlando Higginbottom (T.E.E.D.) would deliver the 4/4-album of the year but instead it was the Disclosure crew who surprised us. My first introduction to the Lawrence brothers was Onra's re-edit of "F For you". The Onra edit is great (get it below) but I was curious about the original tune which sounded like a long lost 80s boogie funk tune.

Well, it was not. It was the first single off Disclosure's debut album which is one of the most solid deep house albums I've heard for a long time. Solid song writing, great vocalists and with a balanced kick to almost every tune on the album without crossing over.

And as if that wasn't enough just before christmas they released a remix album featuring dope additions among others by the above mentioned T.E.E.D. and that ace Jessica Ware "Running" remix.

Takeaway track: "January"
Download: Disclosure - F for you (Onra remix)
Listen via Spotify

Best releases of 2013: 10th  9th  8th  7th  6th  5th  4th  3rd  2nd 1st