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Masie Blu embraces change on visual album Transform

Masie Blu | still from video

Philly artist Masie Blu has released a visual album of her latest project, Transform. The theme is self-evident: embracing change to evolve into a better version of yourself. The visuals provide a stunning accompaniment to each song, the singer appearing in pop-color outfits in the woods, on the beach at night, at a party surrounded by friends. Continue reading →

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Masie Blu shares an enchanting visual for “Sankofa”

Masie Blu | photo via masieblu.bandcamp.com

Philly singer Masie Blu has debuted a dazzling new music video for the song “Sankofa”, shot and edited by Baffour Anim. The video features beautiful sepia toned shots of Masie Blu in angelic all white outfits, roaming through crowds at a festival along South Street, exploring the woods, and walking along the beach while singing positive messages of spirituality and self improvement. Continue reading →

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Masie Blu drops pulsating new track “Lit With Love”

Masie Blu | photo via facebook.com/MasieBlu

Philly soul-pop artist Masie Blu just released “Lit With Love,” an affectionate, synth-heavy crooner with producer Chase of Nazareth. Her echoing vocals and purposefully off-kilter harmonies add a layer of originality that sets Blu apart in the synth-pop scene. Her vocals sound under-produced, leaving an organic tone to her voice, something that isn’t seen too often. The soundscape behind her is full of echoing, pulsating beats, bass-heavy tones, and intermittent drum patterns. Overall, it’s a song dedicated to the rhythm, and the lyrics fit nicely into place. Stream “Lit With Love” below.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Masie Blu

Philly’s Masie Blu was vying for an unsigned artist spot at the 2017 Firefly Music Festival when she first grabbed The Key’s attention with the gauzey, cirrocumulus soundscape of “Kundalini.”

Masie wound up not winning that competition (called the “Big Break Contest” or something of a similar nature), and in a way, she’s probably all the better for it. For sure, she would have played a striking set at the Delaware megafestival, and while she isn’t averse to traditional venue gigs, her meditative style is much more at home in art spaces and open mics, in yoga studios and living rooms, in community centers with ital food simmering very nearby.

Masie Blu’s music circles around themes of love, creativity, and personal transcendence, and with the release of last year’s uplifting Transform EP, she brought her skills as a producer and songwriter to new heights, delivering soaring, Erykah Badu-esque melodies to imaginative tapestries of bright horns and buoyant beats. The set she played for The Key Studio Sessions touches on all of that, with the aid of two backing musicians: Antonio Robinson on electric upright bass, and Nathaniel Savoth on electric guitar.

The instrumental arrangements added light and texture to songs like the dancefloor groover “Mocha,” and the atmospheric zen koan “Warm Reflection of Cool Hues.” Their collective playing also transformed Masie’s music further, with the cosmic spoken word bounce of set closer “Balance,” where Masie folded up her laptop and riffed along to reflective instrumental licks as she accompanied her bandmates on kalimba.       Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Kilamanzego

I’m a sucker for hyper-specific genre names when I’m searching the internet for new music, so seeing that Kilamanzego tagged several of their recent tracks as “kalimba core” warms my heart.

For sure, it’s a reference to a song: this spring, the experimental electronic musician from West Philadelphia released an enchanting piece of music called “Picking My Kalimba From A Distance.” But “kalimba core” also works as a summary of their mission statement. Kila’s music is rooted in house, trance, dubstep, and ambient electronic styles, but draws influence from a variety of African sounds as well. Listen and you’ll hear Congolese rhythmic intricacies, highlife vocal samples, and that titular kalimba and its melodic leads — also known as the mbira (or colloquially as the thumb piano), it is an instrument with origins in central African countries.

Primarily, Kilamanzego’s music is indented to rock parties with high-energy beats — they’re part of the smth savant collective with MadamData and others, which organizes the backyardbxss event series — but they also look to push the possibilities of what those beats can sound like, merging Kila’s Ghanaian’s heritage with their punk rock roots and experimental spirit. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Jessie Reyez, Max Swan, Pusha T, Killiam Shakespeare and more

Killiam Shakespeare | photo via killiamseason.bandcamp.com

Think a holiday week means there’s no live music to keep you entertained? Think again. Starting tonight with rising R&B star Jessie Reyez, carrying through an album release from Killiam Shakespeare this weekend, and a Green Room showcase with DaniLeigh on Monday, here are twelve concerts you can see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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Kilamanzego joins ZenSupremacy roster, releases meditative track “Myth of the Groove”

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

Philly audio collager and beatmaker Kilamanzego recently made her debut on the Amsterdam-based label / collective ZenSupremecy with a new track called “Myth of the Groove.” Opening with spacious beats and haunting atmospheres in line with a vintage Aphex Twin joint, Kila kicks it into gear at the 40 second mark with an 8-bit melody, alluring pops and synthesizer moans, and an occasional rhythmic “AYYYE” interjection. It’s a 2 minute 40 second jam that brings you up in the same breath as it mellows your mind. Continue reading →