LOYLE CARNER
KATHERINE GORINA
ANTON VALSKY
INTEGRAL
Loyle Carner — a twenty-five-year-old rapper from south London. A Yves Saint-Laurent model and King Krule's friend. He is Ben Coyle-Larner but changed the letters as a tribute to his dyslexia which is captivating in itself. Carner's debut album «Yesterday's Gone» (2017), named this way in honor of the track from his father's which had been recorded not a long time before he died. He had recorded but didn't release it.

This tells us a lot about Carner and his creation. His lyrics are focused on his friends and family. The music is as fragile and honest as his lyrics. Taken together it creates a feeling of something private and even a bit uncomfortable. In this new album, the feeling increases.

«Not Waving, but Drowning» has a minimalist, dreamy and well-produced sound expands because of the Carner's melancholy vocals as well as the featuring performers (tracks «Loose end», «Ottolenghi», «Desoleil»). It sounds difficult, harsh and follows the best traditions of British hip-hop which refer to the classic soul.

Here we can find the tender sound of the keyboard and restrained Nordic beats paired with a dimmed saxophone in the background («Krispy»). It is produced accurately and with a fantasy. It is no matter how masterfully it is performed, he still cannot be called an innovator. However, it is an achievement when you can call the second album, a master album.

It's a bit more difficult when it comes to the text. The album starts with a letter to Loyle's mother («Dear Jean»), which is extremely intimate and ends with a letter from a mother to her son («Dear Ben»). It doesn't get easier in the middle. Friends, sisters, brothers, parents. Loyle Carner's loved ones, endlessly speak to each other on this album, apologize, and make declarations of love and reflect on that. At some moment the album feels overloaded by the quantity and quality.

It's not exactly clear why this happens. We wanted honesty. We got it. However, a vague feeling appears that Carner's lyrics open a door that is better left closed. In order to balance between the questionable edge concerning openness and sentimental soul exhibitionism, it is very difficult and not clear if Carner finds what he is looking for.


Katherine Gorina
translated by Nick Brandin
edited by Eleonora Kap

TANGENT TO A CIRCLE
Native Londoner Loyle Carner is barely known outside the English-speaking world even though «Not Waving, but Drowning» was released by the same label, Virgin EMI Records, as Rihanna. His first LP «Yesterday's Gone» (2017) was critically acclaimed. Also, the album was nominated alongside alt-J and The xx for one of the most prestigious British awards. Loyle is not new to the mainstream. Rapping about his life and personal concerns deviates from the typical artificial character of the gangster rapper and drug dealer.

Amongst modern rappers (especially popular ones), it is extremely difficult to find — if not the poet, at least someone honest. As opposed to endless «cars, chicks, cocaine» and unnatural sufferings from ruminations of personal feelings. However, there are reasons for this. It was assumed that hip-hop performers who have feelings and thoughts could be sold if they fit into these rap formulas. One of the examples is Lil Skies: «She left. I'm empty inside so I smoke a lot of weed. Yes, I'm the rapper» or a conglomeration of exaggerated sad characters which work only in combination with the beat, autotune or character of a person who passed away such as Lil Peep. Loyle Carner is a notable break in the industry, avoiding such formulas.

His album begins with a poem addressed to his mother, with a minimalistic beat. It means that people inside the industry likely think that the pendulum has swung and such things can be sold.

Not so long ago, the thing to be sold by a successful performer was a lifestyle in which freedom and independence came first. All of the attributes of such a character: drugs, confederates, guns, and chicks, were one grotesque way to describe the degree in which the performer's character cont`rasts with the environment or fits in with it.

Loyle offers us poetic, confessional hip-hop. His flow is monotone, honed. Sometimes it's sharp but calm, honest — which connects it to the rap of the 80s and 90s. What comes to mind is Erik B & Rakim — the same monotone style and profound eloquence. The other famous alternative is MF DOOM («That's That»). However, he reminds the listeners of all of these performers due to his delivery and the ability to put the words together. His delivery is much calmer. Sometimes, you can even forget that it's rap. The album contains touching tracks such as «Desoleil (Brilliant Corners)» which was produced with the soul musician Sampha, who won the Mercury Prize in 2017.

Needless to say, the main goal of the hip-hop performer is «changing the game», which means bringing something into the genre, something that can change it forever, to become a part of this genre which you love, in order to bring a small part of your personality to the table. It's hard to say if the young British performer has managed it or if he will be able to do it in the future. Even though we can point out the fact of an attempt here, it speaks a lot by itself.

However, his first release was a little bit closer to the boom-bap of the 90s with its straight and clear instrumental part. The album included more rhythmical rap tracks that we got used to liking «Ain't Nothing Changed» which was produced by Rebel Kleff. On this album, there is just one track featuring him, «You don't know», which is far more soul-like and not as impulsive.

Be that as it may, for a jazz fan, it won't be easy to get over the association with background jazz or «an elevator or lounge». It can be boring despite the variety of different samples, beats and structure, and a perfect work of talented producers: Jordan Rakei and Tom Misch (both are famous for jazz and soul releases respectively).

Sure, it's not Madlib with his masterpiece compilation of jazz remixes «Shades of Blue» (2003). By the way, Madlib's album has a lot in common with «Not Waving, but Drowning» even the motive with a call recording and conversation with friends that begins and closes Loyle's tracks.

There's not enough angriness and experimentation. After all even «Angel» and «Looking Back» could only win if they used a brighter delivery. I'm sure that such a talented musician could be much more interesting if he could find a way to express himself. This lounge-style makes you bored. You stop listening to his speech which is the main thing that is worth listening to on this album.


Anton Valsky
translated by Nick Brandin
edited by Eleonora Kap
INTEGRAL
Loyle Carner — a twenty-five-year-old rapper from south London. A Yves Saint-Laurent model and King Krule's friend. He is Ben Coyle-Larner but changed the letters as a tribute to his dyslexia which is captivating in itself. Carner's debut album «Yesterday's Gone» (2017), named this way in honor of the track from his father's which had been recorded not a long time before he died. He had recorded but didn't release it.

This tells us a lot about Carner and his creation. His lyrics are focused on his friends and family. The music is as fragile and honest as his lyrics. Taken together it creates a feeling of something private and even a bit uncomfortable. In this new album, the feeling increases.

«Not Waving, but Drowning» has a minimalist, dreamy and well-produced sound expands because of the Carner's melancholy vocals as well as the featuring performers (tracks «Loose end», «Ottolenghi», «Desoleil»). It sounds difficult, harsh and follows the best traditions of British hip-hop which refer to the classic soul.

Here we can find the tender sound of the keyboard and restrained Nordic beats paired with a dimmed saxophone in the background («Krispy»). It is produced accurately and with a fantasy. It is no matter how masterfully it is performed, he still cannot be called an innovator. However, it is an achievement when you can call the second album, a master album.

It's a bit more difficult when it comes to the text. The album starts with a letter to Loyle's mother («Dear Jean»), which is extremely intimate and ends with a letter from a mother to her son («Dear Ben»). It doesn't get easier in the middle. Friends, sisters, brothers, parents. Loyle Carner's loved ones, endlessly speak to each other on this album, apologize, and make declarations of love and reflect on that. At some moment the album feels overloaded by the quantity and quality.

It's not exactly clear why this happens. We wanted honesty. We got it. However, a vague feeling appears that Carner's lyrics open a door that is better left closed. In order to balance between the questionable edge concerning openness and sentimental soul exhibitionism, it is very difficult and not clear if Carner finds what he is looking for.


Katherine Gorina
translated by Nick Brandin
edited by Eleonora Kap
TANGENT TO A CIRCLE
Native Londoner Loyle Carner is barely known outside the English-speaking world even though «Not Waving, but Drowning» was released by the same label, Virgin EMI Records, as Rihanna. His first LP «Yesterday's Gone» (2017) was critically acclaimed. Also, the album was nominated alongside alt-J and The xx for one of the most prestigious British awards. Loyle is not new to the mainstream. Rapping about his life and personal concerns deviates from the typical artificial character of the gangster rapper and drug dealer.

Amongst modern rappers (especially popular ones), it is extremely difficult to find — if not the poet, at least someone honest. As opposed to endless «cars, chicks, cocaine» and unnatural sufferings from ruminations of personal feelings. However, there are reasons for this. It was assumed that hip-hop performers who have feelings and thoughts could be sold if they fit into these rap formulas. One of the examples is Lil Skies: «She left. I'm empty inside so I smoke a lot of weed. Yes, I'm the rapper» or a conglomeration of exaggerated sad characters which work only in combination with the beat, autotune or character of a person who passed away such as Lil Peep. Loyle Carner is a notable break in the industry, avoiding such formulas.

His album begins with a poem addressed to his mother, with a minimalistic beat. It means that people inside the industry likely think that the pendulum has swung and such things can be sold.

Not so long ago, the thing to be sold by a successful performer was a lifestyle in which freedom and independence came first. All of the attributes of such a character: drugs, confederates, guns, and chicks, were one grotesque way to describe the degree in which the performer's character cont`rasts with the environment or fits in with it.

Loyle offers us poetic, confessional hip-hop. His flow is monotone, honed. Sometimes it's sharp but calm, honest — which connects it to the rap of the 80s and 90s. What comes to mind is Erik B & Rakim — the same monotone style and profound eloquence. The other famous alternative is MF DOOM («That's That»). However, he reminds the listeners of all of these performers due to his delivery and the ability to put the words together. His delivery is much calmer. Sometimes, you can even forget that it's rap. The album contains touching tracks such as «Desoleil (Brilliant Corners)» which was produced with the soul musician Sampha, who won the Mercury Prize in 2017.

Needless to say, the main goal of the hip-hop performer is «changing the game», which means bringing something into the genre, something that can change it forever, to become a part of this genre which you love, in order to bring a small part of your personality to the table. It's hard to say if the young British performer has managed it or if he will be able to do it in the future. Even though we can point out the fact of an attempt here, it speaks a lot by itself.

However, his first release was a little bit closer to the boom-bap of the 90s with its straight and clear instrumental part. The album included more rhythmical rap tracks that we got used to liking «Ain't Nothing Changed» which was produced by Rebel Kleff. On this album, there is just one track featuring him, «You don't know», which is far more soul-like and not as impulsive.

Be that as it may, for a jazz fan, it won't be easy to get over the association with background jazz or «an elevator or lounge». It can be boring despite the variety of different samples, beats and structure, and a perfect work of talented producers: Jordan Rakei and Tom Misch (both are famous for jazz and soul releases respectively).

Sure, it's not Madlib with his masterpiece compilation of jazz remixes «Shades of Blue» (2003). By the way, Madlib's album has a lot in common with «Not Waving, but Drowning» even the motive with a call recording and conversation with friends that begins and closes Loyle's tracks.

There's not enough angriness and experimentation. After all even «Angel» and «Looking Back» could only win if they used a brighter delivery. I'm sure that such a talented musician could be much more interesting if he could find a way to express himself. This lounge-style makes you bored. You stop listening to his speech which is the main thing that is worth listening to on this album.


Anton Valsky
translated by Nick Brandin
edited by Eleonora Kap
APOLLO BROWN
ANTON VALSKY
Katherine Gorina
RECURRING DECIMAL
Apollo Brown has been on the hip hop scene since the 90s, yet somehow he hasn't got wide recognition nor wild fame. Erik Stephens is a talented beatmaker, but he's probably most widely known for only one of his albums, «Clouds» (2011), and not even the whole thing, but only a few of tracks from there ‒ «Never in a million years» and «Choices».


On Wikipedia, the article about him exists only in French; the English one just sparingly covers his discography. «Why should we listen to some old guy from the beginning of 2000?», you might ask. Well, the answer is because his latest album, «Sincerely, Detroit» showcases a cross section of Detroit hip hop culture where, in addition to Erik, you can find quite a few musicians of varying importance.


Detroit is just as relevant for the modern culture as Liverpool is: the city that gave us not only The Beatles, but beat music in general; or as Seattle, the birthplace of grunge. Detroit is the home not just for techno which you couldn't have missed! (The «Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit» album, is where the name of the genre comes from), but also for hardcore punk and Midwestern hip hop. Once upon a time, MC5 with Iggy & the Stooges inhabited the city: they actually inspired the punk movement.


Both Liverpool and Seattle used to have many musicians that you probably haven't even heard of. Now, Detroit is filled with its own unknown artists. While Liverpool and Seattle music has rather died out, the Detroit underground scene still delivers some things special. «Sincerely, Detroit» is a collection of the current music scene (more than 50 artists took part in its creation) ‒ or a tribute to the city, if you prefer: from hardcore rap like Jedi Mind Tricks in «Oh Lord» to R'n'B and even soul in «Break the Code» or «In the Water».


The album fully demonstrates Apollo Brown's producing skills, it softly echoes boom bap; it is somewhat inhomogeneous, but it is not as harsh, all of the tracks connect to each other in a cohesive manner. Tracks change each other for 80 minutes straight, but the general feeling stays the same ‒ which is incredibly cool. The lyrics are, as usual, about the troubles and tribulations of life, yet each artist gave it its own flavor.


A word for beat maker's skills. The instrumental part is up there alongside with RZA and Madlib. Apollo Brown's style is instantly recognizable: soft whirring of vinyl, jazz, deep and muted bass notes, smooth percussions, speech records from the olden times, a couple of simple tunes and nostalgia ‒ in short, all the things that would turn it into boring low-fi hip hop if it's been done wrong. Nowadays, anyone can arrange music samples: even smartphones have tons of apps that do just that. Which is why it's so precious to find a great beat maker among the endless number of musicians.

Anton Valsky
translated by Marina Bazarnaya
edited by Eleonora Kap
HOLY √MOTORS COLLABORATION
Apollo Brown happens to be one of the most productive and gifted hip-hop producers today! He is known for being a true Luddite when it comes to music.

In his new album «Sincerely, Detroit», he puts together about 50 Detroit-based musicians: from Black Milk to Guilty Simpson; and from Royce da 5'9 to Crown Nation and many others as well. This is all used to record a love letter to Motor City. A love letter which is 21 songs long.

There are not as many cities that mean as much to art history as Detroit does.
Once a great city, Detroit gave us techno and truly unique hip-hop and R&B waves. Thus, it still remains great in some way.
Detroit symbolizes the «Founding Fathers» of techno: Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Eminem, Kid Rock, J Dilla — only to name a few.
This is 8 mile and The Wrestler; RoboCop and Only Lovers Left Alive.
Last but not least, this is Motown Records — a label which brought soul to the whole new level as well discovered artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross.

Detroit is very specific when it comes to sound. It is an easily recognizable style, one both gloomy and sensual; melancholic and vibrant.

This is full of nuances and details analog sound which unifies the entire album. Despite being densely populated, Sincerely, Detroit is really pleasant-sounding: with everything in its place and everyone entering and leaving the stage exactly at the right moment.

Freshmen and living legends, celebrities and underdogs taking turns, telling their own stories and the tales of the town. Some are bold («Deception & Woes»), some are full of grief and despair («Oh Lord»).

Right after the nostalgic 80s-like scratching, comes brutal rapping mixed with a magnetic female vocal («Break The Code», Supa Emcee feat. Kuniva, & Alexis Allon)

This is a common story for Sincerely, Detroit — to have more than two artists recording one track together. There are even four in the uplifting «Stopwatch», and that's not all.

Be that as it may, the entire album is shown as a single entity.

This is due to Brown's talent and professionalism that keeps the structure from falling apart, by providing it with mesmerizing integrity and confidence.

It is easy to see that this music is not just about talent and professionalism, but something way more than that.


Katherine Gorina
edited by Eleonora Kap
RECURRING DECIMAL
Apollo Brown has been on the hip hop scene since the 90s, yet somehow he hasn't got wide recognition nor wild fame. Erik Stephens is a talented beatmaker, but he's probably most widely known for only one of his albums, «Clouds» (2011), and not even the whole thing, but only a few of tracks from there ‒ «Never in a million years» and «Choices».


On Wikipedia, the article about him exists only in French; the English one just sparingly covers his discography. «Why should we listen to some old guy from the beginning of 2000?», you might ask. Well, the answer is because his latest album, «Sincerely, Detroit» showcases a cross section of Detroit hip hop culture where, in addition to Erik, you can find quite a few musicians of varying importance.


Detroit is just as relevant for the modern culture as Liverpool is: the city that gave us not only The Beatles, but beat music in general; or as Seattle, the birthplace of grunge. Detroit is the home not just for techno which you couldn't have missed! (The «Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit» album, is where the name of the genre comes from), but also for hardcore punk and Midwestern hip hop. Once upon a time, MC5 with Iggy & the Stooges inhabited the city: they actually inspired the punk movement.


Both Liverpool and Seattle used to have many musicians that you probably haven't even heard of. Now, Detroit is filled with its own unknown artists. While Liverpool and Seattle music has rather died out, the Detroit underground scene still delivers some things special. «Sincerely, Detroit» is a collection of the current music scene (more than 50 artists took part in its creation) ‒ or a tribute to the city, if you prefer: from hardcore rap like Jedi Mind Tricks in «Oh Lord» to R'n'B and even soul in «Break the Code» or «In the Water».


The album fully demonstrates Apollo Brown's producing skills, it softly echoes boom bap; it is somewhat inhomogeneous, but it is not as harsh, all of the tracks connect to each other in a cohesive manner. Tracks change each other for 80 minutes straight, but the general feeling stays the same ‒ which is incredibly cool. The lyrics are, as usual, about the troubles and tribulations of life, yet each artist gave it its own flavor.


A word for beat maker's skills. The instrumental part is up there alongside with RZA and Madlib. Apollo Brown's style is instantly recognizable: soft whirring of vinyl, jazz, deep and muted bass notes, smooth percussions, speech records from the olden times, a couple of simple tunes and nostalgia ‒ in short, all the things that would turn it into boring low-fi hip hop if it's been done wrong. Nowadays, anyone can arrange music samples: even smartphones have tons of apps that do just that. Which is why it's so precious to find a great beat maker among the endless number of musicians.

Anton Valskytranslated by Marina Bazarnaya
HOLY √MOTORS COLLABORATION
Apollo Brown happens to be one of the most productive and gifted hip-hop producers today! He is known for being a true Luddite when it comes to music.

In his new album «Sincerely, Detroit», he puts together about 50 Detroit-based musicians: from Black Milk to Guilty Simpson; and from Royce da 5'9 to Crown Nation and many others as well. This is all used to record a love letter to Motor City. A love letter which is 21 songs long.

There are not as many cities that mean as much to art history as Detroit does.
Once a great city, Detroit gave us techno and truly unique hip-hop and R&B waves. Thus, it still remains great in some way.
Detroit symbolizes the «Founding Fathers» of techno: Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Eminem, Kid Rock, J Dilla — only to name a few.
This is 8 mile and The Wrestler; RoboCop and Only Lovers Left Alive.
Last but not least, this is Motown Records — a label which brought soul to the whole new level as well discovered artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross.

Detroit is very specific when it comes to sound. It is an easily recognizable style, one both gloomy and sensual; melancholic and vibrant.

This is full of nuances and details analog sound which unifies the entire album. Despite being densely populated, Sincerely, Detroit is really pleasant-sounding: with everything in its place and everyone entering and leaving the stage exactly at the right moment.

Freshmen and living legends, celebrities and underdogs taking turns, telling their own stories and the tales of the town. Some are bold («Deception & Woes»), some are full of grief and despair («Oh Lord»).

Right after the nostalgic 80s-like scratching, comes brutal rapping mixed with a magnetic female vocal («Break The Code», Supa Emcee feat. Kuniva, & Alexis Allon)

This is a common story for Sincerely, Detroit — to have more than two artists recording one track together. There are even four in the uplifting «Stopwatch», and that's not all.

Be that as it may, the entire album is shown as a single entity.

This is due to Brown's talent and professionalism that keeps the structure from falling apart, by providing it with mesmerizing integrity and confidence.

It is easy to see that this music is not just about talent and professionalism, but something way more than that.


Katherine Gorina
edited by Eleonora Kap
Made on
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