*** [ dub / reggae / HK underground ] *** Hong Kong's Premiere Music Blog *** [ exclusive DJ mixes ] ***
Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:
 

 
The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.
 
“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:
 
Stone By Stone by Ikebe Shakedown
 
A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled debut album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download: 
 

 
In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:
 
Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown
 
And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:
 

 
Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:

 

 

The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.

 

“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:

 

 

A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled debut album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download:

 

 

In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:

 

Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown

 

And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:

 

 

Like aural chop suey, Hong Kong’s J-Hoon cuts beats and samples from a range of sources both Western and Asian to create a unique juxtaposition of soulful hiphop. Opening beat “The Bump” rides a thick clap with a very digital melody before giving way to a remix of Method Man’s “P.L.O. Style.” Again the drums are serious, but here it’s all about the crunchy groove sitting nicely beneath the vocals. Tracks three and four fully embrace the titular mentality of Slice n Stiches, as voice becomes instrument atop the beat on 陸小鳳 while beloved Cantopop singer Leslie Cheung’s melody provides the backdrop for classic hip-hop call-outs on “Wind Blows.” “DJ’s Tea Leaves” takes Flying Lotus to Manila for a mashup; “Trapped Light Beam” takes another HK legend, this time Roman Tam, into a bass-driven future. Regardless of track - though “The Blast” is a prime example - the vibe is hazy, the samples spliced, and the influences varied. “I Get High,” a re-imagining of Freda Payne [that was previously leaked as an unreleased b-side earlier this year], gets more proper exposure here courtesy of Dub Temple Records. Closer “Solace In Guiyang” seems poised to provide the soundscape for a gritty retro-future film noir, a la Blade Runner. Much more than just a beat tape:
 
Slice n Stiches by J-Hoon
Like aural chop suey, Hong Kong’s J-Hoon cuts beats and samples from a range of sources both Western and Asian to create a unique juxtaposition of soulful hiphop. Opening beat “The Bump” rides a thick clap with a very digital melody before giving way to a remix of Method Man’s “P.L.O. Style.” Again the drums are serious, but here it’s all about the crunchy groove sitting nicely beneath the vocals. Tracks three and four fully embrace the titular mentality of Slice n Stiches, as voice becomes instrument atop the beat on 陸小鳳 while beloved Cantopop singer Leslie Cheung’s melody provides the backdrop for classic hip-hop call-outs on “Wind Blows.” “DJ’s Tea Leaves” takes Flying Lotus to Manila for a mashup; “Trapped Light Beam” takes another HK legend, this time Roman Tam, into a bass-driven future. Regardless of track - though “The Blast” is a prime example - the vibe is hazy, the samples spliced, and the influences varied. “I Get High,” a re-imagining of Freda Payne [that was previously leaked as an unreleased b-side earlier this year], gets more proper exposure here courtesy of Dub Temple Records. Closer “Solace In Guiyang” seems poised to provide the soundscape for a gritty retro-future film noir, a la Blade Runner. Much more than just a beat tape:

 

This Hong Kong Music Update - and we all know #HKMU is trending like a champ - is hopefully not the last of 2013… but if it is, we’ve got plenty of mixes, ranging from trap to tech-house and psychedelia to funkafrocumbiasoul. That’s more ground covered than you might imagine, as HK’s diverse mixologists have prepared a solid representation of the full musical spectrum. I’ve even made my own timely contribution…
 
First up, Paragon member Johny Alpha makes his apparent Mixcloud debut with a proper musical odyssey, cramming in plenty of funky gems alongside a literal ‘A to Z’ between Archie Bell & The Drells and Zebra.
 

 
AkirA has released a few mixes recently, with huge party-influenced trap beats on Soundcloud and EDM into drum & bass over on Mixcloud’s “Dreaming of Nightmare.”
 


 
While I actually expected more mixes to have been posted from Clockenflap 2013 by now, Ocean Lam has made the full 3 hour shared set by herself, Devlar, and Casey Anderson available. Whole lot of well-mixed techno here. Individual sets? Ocean Lam // Casey Anderson
 

 
“Deep Blue Sea 4,” from Fun Key, is a smooth groove-driven house mix. Yes, it is funky. And a key to fun?
 

 
Ordinarily I would save my self for last, but the finale this update is just epic… so here is my latest mixtape “Dub Is A Virus.” A wide-ranging exploration of modern dub, the goal was to explore the heavy bass-filled depths…
 

 
Finally - and it’s worth the wait - Jim Brockman has kindly lent some cloud space to Nick The Book Man and DJ Nipper, who face-off in the 44th (!?) installment of what is apparently a psychedelic musical duel of legendary proportions. Prepare your third eyes, adventurers:
 

 
And there we have it. Catch your breath and your melted minds.
If you’re in Hong Kong, feel free to share any tracks or mixes you have (either by email above, or by PM on Facebook).
 
 
This Hong Kong Music Update - and we all know #HKMU is trending like a champ - is hopefully not the last of 2013… but if it is, we’ve got plenty of mixes, ranging from trap to tech-house and psychedelia to funkafrocumbiasoul. That’s more ground covered than you might imagine, as HK’s diverse mixologists have prepared a solid representation of the full musical spectrum. I’ve even made my own timely contribution…

 

First up, Paragon member Johny Alpha makes his apparent Mixcloud debut with a proper musical odyssey, cramming in plenty of funky gems alongside a literal ‘A to Z’ between Archie Bell & The Drells and Zebra.

 

 

AkirA has released a few mixes recently, with huge party-influenced trap beats on Soundcloud and EDM into drum & bass over on Mixcloud’s “Dreaming of Nightmare.”

 

 

While I actually expected more mixes to have been posted from Clockenflap 2013 by now, Ocean Lam has made the full 3 hour shared set by herself, Devlar, and Casey Anderson available. Whole lot of well-mixed techno here. Individual sets? Ocean Lam // Casey Anderson

 

 

“Deep Blue Sea 4,” from Fun Key, is a smooth groove-driven house mix. Yes, it is funky. And a key to fun?

 

 

Ordinarily I would save my self for last, but the finale this update is just epic… so here is my latest mixtape “Dub Is A Virus.” A wide-ranging exploration of modern dub, the goal was to explore the heavy bass-filled depths…

 

 

Finally - and it’s worth the wait - Jim Brockman has kindly lent some cloud space to Nick The Book Man and DJ Nipper, who face-off in the 44th (!?) installment of what is apparently a psychedelic musical duel of legendary proportions. Prepare your third eyes, adventurers:

 

 

And there we have it. Catch your breath and your melted minds. If you’re in Hong Kong, feel free to share any tracks or mixes you have (either by email above, or by PM on Facebook).