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Artist of the Month
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July 2015
Ecstatic Vision
"Sonic Praise
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Heavy-psych three-piece Ecstatic Vision conjures cosmic soundscapes with their debut LP Sonic Praise (Relapse Records). Self-ordained as “primal,” the group’s orchestration is undeniably gripping and visceral, altering the embodied state of its listener at an instant. Pressing past the tropes of genre, Sonic Praise is a hypnotic example of the outfit’s versatility. The release of Ecstatic Vision’s tripped-out LP is hopefully the first of many.
 
Beginning with the well-titled “Journey,” Sonic Praise’s opening track unfolds like a swirling chant that gradually builds to bawdy, passionate dirge filled with buzzing riffs and drums. The song’s lyricism is straightforward yet amplified by the unrelenting progression of its instrumentation. The declaration of “Journey” is unapologetic. It’s not a conversation; it’s an invitation. At its climax, the resonance of the recording brings to mind similarly transcendent tracks like Moon Duo’s “Free The Skull” or Ty Segall’s “I Wear Black.”
 
“Astral Plane” is a tentative tip of the hat to the iconic Sun Ra’s masterpiece Space Is the Place, unfolding with driving riffs and drumbeats that elicit the sensation of being transported into the ether. By the two-minute mark, “Astral Plane” is in full swing, impressive guitar work resounding as the track’s earlier established foundation persists. Each component of the song’s structure expands as frontman Doug Sabolick’s vocals urge listeners to “Look in the mirror and tell yourself/this is the place to be.” Undoubtedly indicative of the cosmos (metaphorically or literally), “Astral Plane” is trancelike, with its instrumentation possessing the power to cast a psychedelic spell that lingers well past the song’s end. Nearly thirty seconds shy of thirteen minutes of length, the temporal duration of the recording is as well warranted as it is executed. “Don’t Kill The Vibe” is equally shamanistic, with riffage that feels psychotropic. The LP’s title track, “Sonic Praise,” begins with primeval distortion comprised of oscillating tempos and forlorn chants. The effect of its prelude is mesmerizing, dark, and strangely beautiful. Thematically cult like, “Sonic Praise” is satisfyingly otherworldly, seducing its listener to give in to Ecstatic Vision’s melodic ethos without hesitation. 
 
Sonic Praise’s final anthem “Cross the Divide” extends the mysticism of the album’s narrative, ending Ecstatic Vision’s debut on a plane similar to where it began - one of enlightenment and pure rock 'n' roll. - Dianca London Potts

 

 

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Asaad

New Track: "Blue Note Entendre" - Asaad

It feels like it has certainly been a minute since we revisited music from Asaad. That's not to say that we weren't feelin' him. It just seemed like the madness of the music industry had finally gotten to the boisterous emcee who is prone to controversy, and he decided to take down most of his recordings. Well, he's been back for a bit now, and on his latest single, "Blue Note Entendre," the jazz instrumentals hint at an artist possibly coming closer to some inner peace (as well as being influenced by the iconic record label); however, you can still feel the flames from Asaad's diction. There is the sound of a young man maturing on this one.

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Asaad Album Release Show at Silk City March 26

Asaad (born Saayid Asaad) has been one of the most prolific and controversial artists in the local hip-hop scene. Since dropping his debut mixtape Flowers in 2009, the North Philly emcee/producer has released seven other albums and nearly a hundred tracks. He first caught our attention with 2011's #DIRTYMIDDLECLASS, which helped to get him nominated for The Deli's annual year-end Best Emerging Artists Poll, where he won Philly's Readers'/Fans' segment of the competition. 2012 proved to be his most productive year to date with the release of New Black History Month, #WHITE, and #TROY, as major music media outlets began to take notice, but the venomous tongue of the brash, young talent and an album cover that depicted Tupac having sex with Notorious B.I.G. seemed to alienate him from the rest of the hip-hop world. An artist, who once thrived on the controversy, began to show signs of wear in 2013. Asaad surprisingly changed his stage name to Saudi Money, attaching it to a handful of releases, and then, after showing great dissatisfaction with the music industry (there were rumors of him being "blackballed" by the hip-hop community), he attempted to delete the existence of himself and his music from the internet. Well, it seems that the time out of the public's crosshairs has helped to rejuvenate the Philly-bred talent. He'll be returning this evening at Silk City under the name Asaad, once again, with a new record, Flowers II, in tow. Come out tonight and experience his rebirth! Silk City Diner, 435 Spring Garden St., 9pm, $10, 21+ (Photo by Snaps NY) - Q.D. Tran

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New Track: "Horror Film" (Feat. Saudi Money) - Reap Howard

Ha...in preparation for last night's Halloween festivities, we admittedly took it pretty easy yesterday as we donned our costumes and make-up with alcoholic beverage in hand, so we're playing a bit of catch up with releases in honor of the beloved holiday. After needing a break from the hustle and social media, Saudi Money, a.k.a. Asaad, provided us with a few bars on Reap Howard's track "Horror Film," reminding us that the controversial emcee is still alive and angry.

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Free Download: Black History Month II - Asaad

While Asaad continues to tease the release of his upcoming EP 006, the prolific North Philly emcee dropped a new mixtape Black History Month II to keep us entertained. You can pass the time today until your weekend starts with his latest below, which is also available for free download HERE.

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Free Download: "AK47" (Feat. Grande Marshall & Wyo) - Asaad

Below is a new track from Asaad called "AK47" that is available to be downloaded for free. It features verses from fellow local natives Grande Marshall and Wyo and production work from Nascent and QB. The nearly ten-minute single is the first offering from his upcoming release, 006, and premiered earlier today via Complex Magazine.

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