Friday, 30 September 2011

'3 Hours' - From Mary Anne Hobbs Xfm show

'3 Hours' - From Mary Anne Hobbs Xfm show by emika

Just a quick nod to he current undisputed Queen of sub bass. Her tracks are extremely impressive, with a rich and powerful use of bass, a love of vocals and an inventive use of percussion and rhythm. Her debut album is being released from the Ninja Tune Label and is available from iTunes from today and all sane record shops on Monday.

This is a little tease as played on Mary Anne Hobbs's show, expect to here a lot more tracks from her self titled debut album during her set on Tom Ravenscroft's BBC Radio 6 show, tonight from 9. So for those washing their hair or just too broke to go out like me, this will make for a thrilling alternative to Gardener's World.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Franky Fresco - Maldita Lisiada

Franky Fresco - Maldita Lisiada by frankyfresco

I'm openly not the biggest fan of what is often commercially considered dubstep. I find too often that producers, keen to jump on the band wagon, seem to think dubstep should be an assortment of obnoxious sounds pushed at full force through a frequency oscillator. The result is the audio equivalent of having a rabid dog barking at your ankles; if you expose yourself for it for too long your going to end up sick of life and foaming at the mouth.

These little gem's from Frankie Fresco have tried to resist this predictable temptation by flirted lightly with it, before smashing the pitch up and embracing the light. His use of airy, breezy synths and pleasant electronic noises make for a far from obnoxious sound. I like the homage to the 'stereotypical' sound, the way it which is cheekily mocked before being deconstructed into a breath of fresh air; which is what this piece is as a whole, in the context of dubstep.

There a plenty more tracks of differing genres on frankyfresco's SoundCloud, all with the same fun loving attitude. If the tone of a piece of music reflects the location in which it's produced, then sod the dark, bleak, disease riddled UK, I'm off to join the party in Mexico. Hasta luego.

FRFR - Clementina

FRFR - Clementina by frankyfresco

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Keep Calm & Carry On

Keep Calm & Carry On by TNTT

In my previous post I featured an excellent track by Awkoder remixing a TNTT track and felt that this band were worthy of a post in their own right.

Technoctitlan or TNTT, to me sound like a clean cut, take home to your mother, eighties INXS style Yeah Yeah Yeahs with some less bubblegum Lilly Allen thrown in for good measure. If this sounds like an unpalatable cocktail then I urge you to man up, trust me and try it.

Keep Calm Carry On is the name of the band's forthcoming album and the title track is a sensational piece of catchy pop; I look forward to the full album release. Also available on the SoundCloud page are a series of well produced dance tracks and remixes, pointing towards the heritage of the bands members, although they are a bit mediocre for my tastes.

Be Togeda

Be Togeda by TNTT


Awkoder by Stellar Kinematics

Back to La France now with this fantastic label, Stellar Kimematics. The definition of Stellar Kinematics as  posted on their SoundCloud page "is the study of the movement of stars without needing to understand how they acquired their motion."

This label name is inspired, as it really is the most apt way of describing the appreciation of their releases. Music journalists are always far to keen and eager to categorise and put music into genres. I don't know what genre this music falls into, electronic indie maybe, but that doesn't matter nor should it. This music is fantastic, why do I need to know where it comes from or what category it falls into in order to appreciate it?

The answer is that I don't. These tracks are immensely pleasurable pieces of music and I really respect the sound that this label is going for. I've picked out these two artists solely for the fact that they seem to produce the greatest level of output. There are in fact loads of artists linked with label that all well worth a listen and their page will provide many a hour of happy listening. Enjoy.


Eyeflash by Stellar Kinematics

Katie May & Dorzi High Maintainence

Katie May & Dorzi High Maintainence by MC Dorzi

What I loved about HaZZa, who featured in my previous post, was not only his cheekiness but his regional Bradford accent and it was though his page that I found a slightly more established artist also sporting those lush West Yorkshire tones. 

Previous efforts by Mc Dorzi ( such as The Next Generation and I'm a Poser, have a grimy, soulful feel to them, although the rhyming could be tighter, it shows a lot of promise. High maintenance however demonstrates Dorzi's progression, with a well produced track that serves as and excellent example from an often misunderstood genre.

The track has a lovely, stereotypically wobbly bass line, which complements the subject matter of the song, which is self deprecating and full of tongue and cheek. "Arguably the best lyricist in his home town of Bradford" Dorzi does have a decent flow. The bubbling nature of his rhyming gives me the urge to go out with the boyz and apparently start swapping my z for ss. It makes me want to show off in front of girls, before being systematically rejected by all of them. It makes me want start a dance off with a bunch of rude boys before comically scarpering through the crowd in fear, as our attempts to bump and grind them are inevitably met with violence. Any track capable of evoking those feeling must be worthy of mention.

The inclusion of a well judged female vocal, seals the deal for me and gives the track and this artist, the professional edge he may previously have been missing.

Quick random bar

Quick random bar by HaZZa. Uploaded with SoundCloud iPhone

Whilst on the subject of hip-hop, check out this young whipper-snapper. I found this completely by accident and checked him out based solely on his name, HaZZa. Then name reminded me of my old tag back in the day when I thought I could graff. Going for ultimate street cred I used to write KiZZy, in honour of my grannies dead dog.

Anyway, if you look at this lad's profile picture, he cannot be any older then 10, yet he's already talking about chirpsing girls and getting his hand under their jumpers. This demo shows a lot of promise in so many ways, quite impressive for someone so young and he may well be one to look out for in the future.

Nimekam Tena

Nimekam Tena by Suspect Z'ro

I think it interesting that I like listening to foreign language hip hop, especially considering that I haven't a clue what their rapping about. 

Being native English speakers we are exposed and expose ourselves predominately to English language hip-hop. Couple this with an English education and a native tougne that holds precedent as language of the internet, then it is some times easy to forget that poetry and especially rhythmical poetry, is possible and popular in other languages too. Poetry and rhythm is present in every language and although we do lose some of the impact in not understanding the lyrics of the track, for me that is not the point.

Foreign language rap produces vocal sounds and couplets that are just not possible in English, and this example all the way from Kenya proves my point. Although the production values on this are poor and the beat far from original, I like the sound of Suspect Z'ro's flow (I believe he is speaking Swahili but don't quote me), which due to the nature of the language has a refreshing rhythm to it.

This track has reminded me that hold as belief that there is another language, other than English, that is more suited to hip-hop. French. Years ago, when I was more reckless, I fell from a motorbike and gashed my arm open pretty badly. These two little French stoners whom we had met earlier arrived from nowhere and whilst I attempted to stitch myself up, ( I didn't fancy an Indian hospital) they thought it would be hilariously annoying to play some French hip-hop.

Sadly for them their plan backfired and I was oddly soothed by it. When I finally get round to sorting my stuff out, I'll dig out that scrap book, drenched in blood and tears, in which I listed in shaky, shocked prose some of those artists and post my findings on this blog.

Welcome to the first addition of the Cloud Toy Blog

111 by eleven tigers

My first offering for you on this musical odyssey is an album from a man who I've been following for many years now. Having already won acclaim from peers such as Mary-Anne Hobbs, Lithuanian born producer Jokubas Dargis set out to record and album in 111 days. 

The result is a truly phenomenal achievement. The sense of space that is created is not unlike the beautiful arid, soundscapes of Burial, yet Dargis is not afraid to explore the more colourful and industrial sounds of the spectrum. The result is something rich in depth and texture, life and colour, which gently coerces the listener into picturing and realising unseen, mystical worlds.

The heavily layered bass lines in this album provide a smooth, rolling texture to the sound and the use of a female, folk vocal throughout is inspired and adds another beautifully mystical, yet eery aspect to the piece. Couple these features with glitchy, distorted percussion that is peppered with syncopation and changes of pace and you get a truly moving musical experience. 

One of the many highlights of the album for me is the track Time, for the reasons stated above, but it's hard and in many senses wrong, to pick out a single track for praise. Like any decent album (this is why I despise the shuffle function on the iPod) this is designed and best appreciated as one long piece of music. 

The album was recorded live in this way (demonstrating further the incredible talent of this young musician) and it is therefore the way in which it should be best interpreted. You can see this awe inspiring process for yourself at You can also grab your free copy of the album here (although I encourage you to donate), which can only serve to further highlight how genuine the intentions of this man are.  

I will be featuring more from Eleven Tigers as the weeks go on as there is so much talent, maturity and ambition here. In the mean time should provide you with your Eleven Tigers history lesson; there are plenty more smoking tracks available for your audio inhalation. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Welcome to the mouthpiece of the revolution;

What you see before you today is the birth of something special; the play thing for the mystery that is Cloud Boy.

Back in 2006 and sporting what was a ridiculously misjudged mop of hair, a young man wearing a particularly vacant expression caused by a hard night before, was ridiculed for his similarities to a nimbus and christened as Cloud Boy.

He went on with a few friends to found the powerhouse that was Big Safe Radio, which ran on Leeds Student Radio ( for two years between 2007 and 2009. The show progressed from a one hour, graveyard slot piss up, to a slightly tipsy, two hour prime time show.

Specialising in electronic dance music but encompassing and accepting all genres of the musical spectrum, Big Safe Radio Big was established as a platform on which local producers and artists could display their work and earn some valuable airplay. The format of the show aimed to give the artists feedback on their music, not only from the presenters but from the listeners as well. Big Safe Radio strived not only to showcase new local talent, but wished to act as a live, new music forum, providing artists and fans with insight, knowledge and reviews of the music being produced within the local scene.

Whether the team's aims were achieved was questionable (one week our sole listener was Cloud Boy's mum) but it was the notion of promoting new artists that was important and it is this philosophy that has inspired and been carried into, the creation of this blog.

About The Cloud Toy Blog

SoundCloud is by the fair the greatest form of promotion available to fledgling artists, providing them with a very cheap platform on which to globally express themselves. Like a successful Big Safe Radio, SoundCloud enables users to gain that all important feedback directly from the music fans. We are able to circumvent the influence of the record companies, listening directly to an almost inextinguishable source of new music.

This is where all the hyperbole about revolution comes into play. As music fans, we have never been freer. Before the advent of the internet and SoundCloud, it was the music companies who vetted the demos and picked the releases, directly influencing what it was we listened to. Now however, we too have access to demos. This means that even though we are still reliant upon the record companies for physical releases, they must pay attention to which demo's are liked on SoundCloud when choosing those releases. For if they were ignore an artist's online popularity, they may well loose a potentialy lucrative signing to an independent digital release, that would prosper off the buzz built on the Cloud.

And so to The Cloud Toy Pledge.

It is this freedom that I, Cloud Boy, pledge to celebrate on this Blog. SoundCloud is the vessel towards our musical liberation, the perfect toy for fans of free will and nice sounds. The breathing amongst will now have grasped the origins of the blog's name from the subtly of my language.

Every week or two I will be posting my finest findings from SoundCloud and discussing them here. I will, when I see fit, be mentioning music from other sources and possibly going off on musically unrelated tangents but the main focus will be remain on SoundCloud and the gems to be found therein.

I hope you enjoy the blog and find it interesting and enlightening. Please feel free to get in contact if you don't and especially if you find any recommendations you feel are better than mine; I am always hungry for new music and fresh ideas.

I'd like to end with a quote from the blurb of the aptly named children's book, Cloud Boy by Rhode Montijo, which I feel is particularly relevant to what is going on here.

"High up in the sky lives a little cloud boy, who is feeling very lonely... Then one day he discovers a way to make new friends(.)"