Music News (March 14th 2022): Karma Fields. Tate McRae. LUCIANBLOMKAMP. Holly Humberstone. Whatever The Weather. Father John Misty.

It’s still unclear what Karma Fields is, but they’ve recently dropped a funky Timebomb

Summer came early thanks to Karma Fields, who delivered the stellar “Timebomb”, a funk-infused track with a killer baseline that is sure to brighten up anyone’s day. Of course, the listening experience gets a lot better once you know (or realize you don’t know) who, or what Karma Fields really is. An AI musician featuring the visuals of Talib Kweli? A producer who wants to keep the mystery element going, a la Burial? Regardless, their output (one designed for future art history classes, if you ask us) has caused numerous Reddit blowouts, but the music really speaks for itself. Whether it’s the 8 minute-long trippy .me, the sick drop of An Underground System of Forgotten Machines, the generative architecture of the always surprising mega-visual album New Age Dark Age, Karma Fields seems to have found the code to decipher any genre, and perfectly bridges the gap between human and synthetic. If you haven’t discovered Karma Fields yet, then WOW, are you in for a treat!

Tate McRae continues her rise to stardom with dance anthem All I Wanna Be

We discovered Tate McRae in the unlikeliest of places – the OnesToWatch website, a massive resource for discovering talented new musicians, one which doesn’t discriminate by number of views or genres. Dubbed “Canada’s Billie Eilish”, McRae really impressed us with the chillout vibes of All My Friends Are Fake, Rubberband, and Lie To Me, through her relatable lyrics and impressive dance choreographies. Her latest single, she’s all I wanna be, is a tale of dance rivalries with a twist, a sort of Misbehavior turned dance musical, taking the relatability factor up to eleven. She’s got over a million [EDIT: correction – almost four] followers, is extremely popular on TikTok, but what sets her apart from other pop artists are a number of factors, including her propensity to be featured on a large number of Youtube chillout channels because of the production quality of the songs. And of course, of course: there’s already a slowed + reverb version of this one, but for once, we’re happy with the BPM and delightful hooks of this upbeat anthem just as they are.

LUCIANBLOMKAMP and IJALE drop distortion-heavy Ducks In A Row

Lucian Blomkamp is one of the brightest avant-garde electronic music producers, coming into our attention years ago with Help Me Out, an immense tune which blended twisted R&B with cutting-edge electronica and even jazz, all amounting to one of the decade’s best musical journeys, somewhere between Lapalux, Arca, Flying Lotus and The Bug. Blomkamp is, above all, the master of irreverent, experimental song structures and heavy distortion, which he features in most of his songs (we called him brightest, but his songs have the tendency get dark very, very fast). Between more adventurous releases like his Motto EP, over time he has dropped collaborations with Rromarin and Rosebud Leach, tackling everything from R&B to trip-hop with his unique, brash composition style. “Ducks In A Row” is a rapid-fire anthem put through the blender of Blomkamp’s wobbly bass, sick beats, with just a tinge of musicality coming through in the song’s chorus – which has Australian rapper IJALE “coming for you neck/ coming for respect” (yes, we realize we just said chorus when talking about a Blomkamp song). IJALE’s flow, his stunning live performances and his prolific songwriting make him one of the underground rap scene’s trailblazers; when it comes to him as a producer, both Don’t Run and Mi Goreng showcase his holistic approach to writing and creative freedom.

Holly Humberstone’s London Is Lonely homes in on pre-COVID isolation

By now, this news post is slowly becoming a showcase for synthetic vs. “human” music, contrasting the more experimental and the down-to-earth musicians. If you’ve ever taken a quick stroll through some parts of London’s underground tunnel, you might have asked yourself “why is there nobody else around?”. Apparently, not only is the underground an isolated place sometimes – a state perfectly captured by artist Aaron Parsons in his London’s Lonely Underground photographic series – but London also ranks as the loneliest city in the world according to some surveys. Breakout UK artist Holly Humberstone continues her series of stellar releases (Falling Asleep At The Wheel is our favorite, a distinctly British mix of iconic vocals with genre crossover potential and great arrangements) with London is Lonely, a single which describes the helpless, empty-space effect that distance has on the soul, proving that you only need to make one real connection to break out of the loneliness cycle, but the anxiety over losing it is all too real.

Whatever The Weather’s 17ºC Finds Ghostly Grace In Alien Abductions

Time to get your dance shoes on! We haven’t really followed the Ghostly label for some time now, but Whatever The Weather seems like the best reason to get back into it. Between gorgeous, moody ambient releases that play with shapes and textures – like her more recent 36°C – Loraine James has delivered a free-flowing, ambient/breakbeat masterpiece which might double as our favorite February video – definitely the trippiest we’ve seen so far. Featuring a tightly-edited interpretive dance routine punctuated by UFO lights and strange patterns in the night-sky, ending in a march-like frenzy of beats, “17 Degrees Celsius” is sort of like The Chemical Brothers’s aesthetics by way of Venetian Snares’s wild rhythms and experimentation: playfully cold, eerily ecstatic, overflowing with creativity.

Father John Misty Showcases Sublime Songwriting Skills With Q4 and Goodbye Mr. Blue

Following his release of Funny Girl, the cinematic, orchestral, spectral single off his latest “Chloë and the 20th Century” album, Father John Misty shared two death-infused tracks, Q4 and Goodbye Mr. Blue. Q4 is a psychedelic, moody, ’60s sounding ode to a writer named Simone and the indignities she must face as a writer and a woman, a narrative journey that keeps its mysterious edge until the tragic crescendo of an ending (coincidentally, Simone de Beauvoir is among Joshua Tillman’s favorite authors, and she did write a drama called “Useless Mouths”). Q4 often breaks your heart by going into wild interludes and then dropping lyrics like “Her sister was not long for this world”, contrasting them with the vacuous “deeply funny” mantra.

We will end this post by leaving you with Tilman’s Colbert performance of Mr. Blue, one of March’s magical moments, or as a Youtube user aptly puts it, “a traditional Country style tune with a slightly non-traditional arrangement”.

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Featured image is Creative Art from ThinkML’s piece on AI in Arts – the reading material for the day until we prepare an in-depth look at the use of AI in music composition and production.

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