Kwabs : Love + War #Replay

Lately I’ve been walking through life on the rhythm of Kwabs’ baritone voice. He recently released his addictive debut Love + War on Deezer and it’s been pretty much on repeat since I first clicked “play”.

Normally I refrain from playing a song I like too often, because I don’t want to risk getting tired of it. Kwabs’ Love + War album however is so diverse, it doesn’t get old. It has so many layers and covers so many different styles, it keeps fitting every mood and still surprises. It varies from poppy tunes (you might get some boysband flashbacks when listening to Fight for Love, don’t know why, I just did), to classic R&B (with nineties and early nillies influences), to deep soul. Instant classic if you ask me.

Most of you might already know “Walk”. It has hit the radio charts hard. Listening to the CD it won’t be the only one of his songs that will demand airplay, they’re all radio-ready. If you haven’t heard “Walk” yet, you can take a listen and look here, because the clip is easily as intriguing as the song.

His lyrics tell complex stories and will speak to you again and again. Heartbreak, relationships, pride, … You usually feel more uplifted after listening to Kwabs. At least I do.

Personal favorite: Forgiven

If it’s too much for you to take,
Then save yourself and walk away
‘Cause we can’t stand on shaken stone
Head to head, two hearts alone

… and Saved

Are the synths and poppy effects not your style? He has acoustic sets too. Go to YouTube and type in “Kwabs” + “original” or “stripped back” and you get pretty damn good music videos with just him, a pianist or a guitarist, and some backing vocals.

At first listen he might remind you of James Blake, whose Retrograde had me mesmerized for a couple of weeks, and you would not be the only one. He even covered The Wilhelm Scream, which is pure bliss.

So if you’re looking for something fresh with substance, an infectious rhythm and a voice that gets under your skin, you might want to give this guy a try. Make sure to check out Kwabs’ YouTube channel as well, because his music video’s are all works of art.

Blue Daisy – Cries of the Beast

He describes himself as London’s best kept secret, but with music like this he won’t stay hush-hush for a long time. Blue Daisy (né Kwesi Darko) brings us twisted music that echoes the shadows of London city’s underground. A genre that our labelmaker finds hard to define. So let’s not try.

I can only describe it as a journey through the dark domains of my mind, body and soul.” ~ Blue Daisy, Pigeonsandplanes.com

In an interview with pigeonsandplanes.com he does list a bunch of his influences so as to give you an idea of the roots of his creative juice.

I listen to a whole loada shit across the spectrum, from black sabbath to The Body, from Vashti Bunyan to SZA, from Fever Ray to FKA Twigs, from Aphex Twin to Ben Frost, from Augustus Pablo to Massive Attack, from Beenie man to Dizzee Rascal (Boy in da corner), the list could go on. My sound is influenced by so much around me and so many sounds I hear in my general day to day life, but mostly deriving from a darker foundation.” ~ Blue Daisy, Pigeonsandplanes.com

Hors catégorie, if you ask me. Once he’s on your radar, his sound gets addictive. Bad-ass after-midnight hypnotism. So I advise you to check out the rest of his EP Psychotic Love. And for the instant fans who would like to dig a little deeper and get to know the entire musical spectrum he created the past couple of years, I gladly forward you to Blue Daisy’s soundcloud and also check out his work with/for FACT magazine.

Roar on!

 

Isabella Blow : Fashion Galore

In London, the Somerset House pays tribute to the late Isabella Blow (19 November 1958 – 7 May 2007). The exhibition “Fashion Galore” remembers the ever fabulous and fashionable magazine editor, stylist and muse of many talents (such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy). A woman who succeeded in establishing herself in the international fashion and art world.

The Somerset House lets you take a look into Blow’s private collection of dresses, hats and accessories.  The exhibition also features personal belongings and footage and fragments of her work. Like entering a walk-in closet that tells a story.

The duo (red. Curators Alistair O’Neill and Shonagh Marshall) also approached Blow’s husband, Detmar Blow, to obtain more personal items for the show. Her Rolodex with entries written in pink ink using her Waterman pen, stubs of her signature Chanel Rouge Coromandel lipstick, old business cards, self portraits drawn on napkins, and her false lashes are displayed, giving insight into her idiosyncrasies.” – Samantha Tse, Blouinartinfo.com

The exhibition showcases over a hundred pieces from her collection, which is thought to be “one of the most important private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design”. A value that is based on and fueled by the many designer talents she discovered and launched, such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald. For example, one of the more illustrious pieces in the collection is the 1992 graduate collection from Central Saint Martins, which she bought  in its entirety for £5,ooo, paying it off in £100 installments each week.

The curators really tried their best to make the exhibition display a lived life. Isabella’s clothes were not restored to appear as new. They want to show every tear, every missing bead, even lipstick stains, so as to preserve their stories.

We wanted to be able to say this is an amazing beaded McQueen jacket, yet it’s got rips and tears where she got it caught in car doors or when people treaded on it. It’s all a part of the story and I think that we need to be able to think about surviving the dress in this way now because those traces are actually quite important.” – Alistair O’Neill, Blouinartinfo.com

“Fashion Galore” promises to be a true an detailed reflexion of a controversial woman with a defiant and unapologetic artistic vision. A woman that let herself be intrigued by unconventional beauty and experimental artforms, combined with a gift for recognizing talent, which makes her a major influencer and icon of fashion history and fashion today.

“Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore”, 20 November 2013 – 2 March 2014, @ Somerset House, London