First Thoughts: Son Little – Invisible

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Son little is the stage name of Guitarist, and Music Producer, Aaron Livingstone. Coming off the back of grammy award from his work with Mavis Staples he has released a short EP titled, ‘Invisible’. It’ll include a couple tracks from his forthcoming album ‘Aloha’ which comes out on the 31st January. Aaron caught my attention from his stunning, captivating NPR tiny desk performance, where he played a number of of his stand out tracks from his self titled ‘Son Little’ album.

The 80s funk infused and gripping soulful opening track, ‘Hey Rose’ sets a wonderful tone for the EP. the springing electric guitar which ebbs and flows between his vocals during the verses has a swinging 70s disco feel which would have moved dance floors. 

Son little’s manages to invoke so much emotion through his vocals from his tones, and the way expands some of his notes, all the while maintaining a delicate warmness in his voice. Stand out track, ‘I’m a builder’ blends more contemporary styles of soul as his gentle string play from the guitar leads the track. Along with the accompaniment of the strings along with his voice gives the track a wonderful contemporary blues feel. 

Little Son experiments a little more with his vocal notes in the track ‘About her. again’ , as the swinging momentous build in the instruments grow with the gradual raspy tones in his voice. Little Son oozes more blues and soul than I felt in his previous tracks, and puts the track in front as my favourite.

Check out his NPR tiny desk concert:

 

 

First Thoughts: Portable presents RANGEr

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Alan Abrahams aka Portable, is an artist very much defined by his past and his journey from South Africa to Paris via Berlin and Lisbon. This journey has seen him develop into a critically acclaimed producer, singer and video artist working with some of the biggest players in house and techno. His latest venture with recently turned record label Waella’s choice, run by Stamp the Wax founder; Aaron Levitt, and Andy Lemay (Dimension Festival), seems to draw upon a range of influences.

Three of the tracks feature South African Capella group ‘Korus’, who effortlessly take center piece with some beautiful native south African vocals. The first track ‘Bazonkonwaba’ is an amazing hazy tranquil piece, with lovely warm synths accompanying Korus’ vocals, giving an a kind of Afro-futuristic influence with heavy use of synths. This afro-futuristic theme is again spilled over in the next two tracks on the first side, (‘Normalizo’ and ‘Indaba’) with the Korus acapella group vocals.

The EP closes with the focus shifting to Portable’s arrangement in tracks ‘Vessel’ and ‘Reset’. Vessel transitions out of the cosmic journey from the first three tracks to an uplifting groovy jazz and funk production. With the wicked bassline riff remaining a constant throughout is reminiscent of some recent indie rock tracks. Whilst the bubbling synths, various percussion and keys bouncing off the electronic funk rhythm, makes the track so easy to nod to. A truly wonderful EP from Portable, definitely someone to keep tabs on if you’re not already, and of course, keep an eye out for any pending releases through Waella’s choice!

You can listen here: