Help me choose!!

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 0

By now you know that my self financed album (Invincible Summer) is now out and also available on iTunes… Now it’s time for us to choose which single we send out to radio and shoot a new music video for. I’m having a hard time deciding. I need your help. Which song should be the ‘next single’? Aching Head or Hot Pink. Have a listen below and then let me know.

*This is my 100th post. Look how far we’ve come. Soon I will be giving this baby a facelift :)

Album Review (Chris Born – Maputo)

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 0

Summer 196 continues. What is Summer 196? Its me trying to get at least one review from all 196 countries. So far, so good. We’ve done South Africa and Switzerland. This time, we have someone from Mozambique. And that someone is Chris Born :)

A few years ago, I worked with Black Porcelain on ‘Green’, a bedroom collection of eclectic, breezy pop songs – the kind of fuzzy feelgood music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I use ‘bedroom’ quite literally here; it was a home studio affair plagued by barking dogs and a series of freak equipment failures that I prefer not to revisit.  I do look back at this early work with great fondness but have often wondered, as any self-loathing producer would, what Black Porcelain’s compositions would sound like in the splendor of a professional studio. Fortunately for me, this album looks to be just that:  A polished, well-produced pop album that gives us Black Porcelain as she deserves to be heard.

On the surface, “Invincible Summer” plays through like a greatest hits compilation with each song imparting a unique feel, in some cases even sounding like they’re from different eras or countries. Genre bouncing is a challenging proposition for any artist, but where many albums come unglued, Invincible Summer finds its bonding agent in Black Porcelain’s smooth, buttery vocals, teasing harmonies and lyrical pique.  Pairing up with producer Mark Goliath pays dividends here – his arrangements are articulate, well-structured and sensitive to her playful phrasing. With his prolific session background, I’m not surprised to find the instrumentation richly layered and sweet on the ears; an ideal bed for Black Porcelain’s soulful musings to toss and turn in.

Of course I have my preferences, one or two that didn’t really do it for me, and a good number growing on me with each listen. “Hot Pink” is an immediate favorite, a clubland romp lamenting the misery of day-to-day life before leading into an opulent chorus a la “We Are Family”. The lyrics are suggestive, Minoguesque (if I may, an ugly word for something youthful and joyously seductive) with soaring disco synths and superb harmony work. I’ll admit the song lured my imagination through the doors of an exclusive gay club. If I do finally attend such an event, I’ll be very surprised if this song isn’t playing.

“Perfect Lie” follows suit with an unapologetically synth-laden, uptempo pop epic. In some ways, this track emerges truest to the album’s title. I felt privy to love-struck girl chat here; it’s cheeky, brimming with pride, and like a tip of the hat to the divas before her, makes sure to mention how long Mr. Perfect can last between his kitchen and cleaning duties. With my personal allegiances to pre-1976 blues, funk and soul, I couldn’t help feeling really guilty for loving this one!

Other notable tracks include “It’s not News” a piano-driven R&B ballad I could have sworn was released in the early nineties – a good thing when you consider the gems of that era: early Mariah, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Ms. Braxton, Boyz II Men, Mary J., SWV, Badu, Janet and so on – without question a golden era. Black Porcelain captures this sultry urban vibe beautifully and had me reminiscing right away. “Time for Heartbreak” also rises from the pack, for completely different reasons – a lilting, brassy jazz number with classic double bass and piano performances. The velvety, luxurious features of her voice seem more prominent here, a fitting performance with all the accoutrements of a great jazz standard.

Beyond these personal favorites, the album is full of unexpected delights. She confidently interprets a number of pop angles – Ragga, dub-step, rock and hip-hop all feature in some form. Invincible Summer’s variety lends a worldly feel to the album, reinforced by Black Porcelain’s uncanny ability to veil any obvious accent – I really like this feature of her work; it’s receptive, free from the restrictions of any niche market, and hard to place geographically. I’m sure she’ll appreciate my use of “international mystique” here.

Invincible Summer shows Black Porcelain exploring her options; while it is undoubtedly ambitious in scope, the album shines brightest when she focuses on two of her many fronts: First, her sun-drenched mega-pop sound (“Perfect Lie”, “Scandalize March”, “Hot Pink”) and second her more vintage-voiced jazz/neo-soul vibe (“Time for Heartache”, “Johnny” and “Today is the Day”). At times Lauryn Hill, at times Nina Simone, and at times Kylie Minogue, Invincible Summer is the release of a confident, versatile singer. Black Porcelain has delivered a rich, creative pop album that is implicitly feminine, fun & seductive, occasionally romantic, and filled with all the ooohs, aaaahs and laaaaas you could possibly need for a drop-top cruise with the femfam. 

Overall, an impressive radio friendly debut that will appeal to anyone with an itch for unadulterated summer pop. I can see young listeners devouring this as they navigate puberty, Generation Y-ers appreciating the clever 90’s references and a more mature audience enjoying it for her voice’s vintage appeal. For me, it’s been the perfect guilty pleasure for my aging taste, and while it is a massive first step in her promising career, I have no doubt her best is yet to come.

– Chris Born (Maputo Mozambique)

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Chris lives in Maputo with his wife and many pets. As you can see, he enjoys sipping on espresso on idyllic beaches. I can’t say I’m mad at that AT ALL :)

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You’ve read the reviews, now get the album. Its available on iTunes. You can also buy it HERE via PayPal or using an EFT and we will send it to you… Whatever works for you :)

Jan Book 2 (Serial Killers)

posted in: Book Worm | 0

Jan Book 2 (Serial Killers)

Last year I read a similar book called ‘Born to be Killers’. I got both books at a book sale and it doesn’t say who the author is. The writing is not amazing, in fact I spotted many typos and bad grammar.

Besides that. it was fascinating to read about serial killers. It doesn’t just cover ‘modern’ serial killers. It covers (old) kings and queens that were serial killers too. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you’ll like this book.

Album Review (Jennifer Neves – Geneva)

posted in: The Music | 1

On Saturday I introduced Summer 196. Its my crazy idea to get reviews of Invincible Summer from all 196 countries. The first review was written by Nomsa Mdhluli (from Cape Town, South Africa). The next album review is from Geneva (Switzerland) and it is written by Jennifer Neves:

So I got my copy of Invincible Summer as soon as it listed on iTunes . It sat alongside several other similarly titled albums… most of them compilations of the club and rave music you would find on every self respecting Ibiza playlist!!! Lol If that is what you were hoping for when you picked up Black Porcelain’s Invincible Summer, then I suggest you put down the album sleeve and step away from the grown people’s section!! This album is mature and as regal as the queen on its cover.

It is eclectic in that it balances really feel good tracks like DON’T FROWN and HOT PINK with melancholic tunes like IT’S NOT NEWS and my personal favourite, JOHNNY….this song has magnificent runs and puts on display the artist’s captivating vocal ability accompanied only by a piano, simple in its arrangement and powerful in its delivery.

Love, love, love it….just one small observation, SLIP would make a sick dance tune….have you offered to sleep with David Guetta yet madam? If you haven’t, I suggest you get right on it….world dance hits don’t just make themselves you know :-))))))

– Jennifer Neves (Geneva, Switzerland)

Jen 2

Jen 1

Jennifer was born in Swaziland but now lives and works in Geneva… As a model. I’m kidding, but she is just gorgeous and funny.

CoverInvincible Summer is on iTunes. You can also buy it HERE using PayPal or EFT and we will post it you. If you want to review the album, leave a comment below :)

Album Review (Nomsa Mdhluli)

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 2

Being a D.I.Y artist means I get to have fun with this release. A few days ago I came up with an idea that I’m calling Summer 196. I want to see if I can get at least one review of my album (Invincible Summer) from all 196 countries in the world. So far I have about 10 lined up. The first one is by Nomsa Mdhluli.

Smooth, laid-back, sophistcated, a vaguely Jazzy sounds: aptly
describes the album: Invincible.

The track ‘Today is the Day’ best displays Black Porcelain’s alluring
and smooth voice, the music arrangement on the song is world class.
It’s no surprise that it’s attracting International attention.

Another of my favourite tracks on the album: Aching Head- offers a
giddy and catchy tune and is instantly memorable with clever lyrics.

This album will definitely be accompanying me on my next road trip!

- Nomsa Mdhluli (Cape Town South Africa)

nomsa 1Nomsa 2Nomsa currently lives in Cape Town and she works in radio as a producer and presenter. If you would like to be a part of Summer 196, leave a comment below and we’ll talk. I would like the next review not to be from South Africa though.

CoverThe album is out. Yay!! It is available on iTunes and you can buy it via PayPal or make  an EFT, we contact you and post it. So many options. Go HERE to choose one that works for you.

Valentines Day or something like that…

I have never celebrated Valentines Day. Not even when I was younger. It was interesting to watch other people get caught up in the spirit of love or whatevs. I once received flowers and a teddy bear when I was at university, but that is another story for another day.

As you know I’ve been tweeting over at CurateZAR‘s account this week. Every week a different South African tweets from that account and shares some of their experiences. It is a lovely way to see how different & similar some of our experiences are. I’ve even followed some other Rotation Curation accounts. I feel like my whole world just got bigger. One of the people following @CurateZAR is Sonia Cabano and she told me about a kitchen party she was hosting on Valentines Day at the V&A Waterfront Food Market. Food is my first love, so I took my beloved Marcee with me and we went to go and celebrate our love for food :)

The party was upstairs and I had to drag myself away from all the other food places. I need to go back to the market soon.
The party was upstairs and I had to drag myself away from all the other food places. I need to go back to the market soon.
We received a complimentary mojito to get things started. Mine was a little too sweet.
We received a complimentary mojito to get things started. Mine was a little too sweet.
They had me at Free WiFi :)
They had me at Free WiFi :)
The cooking started. Marcee was making wedges and I was making meatballs
The cooking started. Marcee was making wedges and I was making meatballs
How cool is this 'compostable' cup. Marcee was drinking G&T
How cool is this ‘compostable’ cup. Marcee was drinking G&T
Sat next to an 8yr old boy (he was there with his dad) who was reading this book. He read a few pages to me as we ate.
Sat next to an 8yr old boy (he was there with his dad) who was reading this book. He read a few pages to me as we ate.
We all got to make our own pizza. I had peppers, mushrooms, olives, rocket & basil pesto on mine. YUM!
We all got to make our own pizza. I had peppers, mushrooms, olives, rocket & basil pesto on mine. YUM!
I wore these earrings. Marcee bought them for me. Pink is becoming one of my favourite colours.
I wore these earrings. Marcee bought them for me. Pink is becoming one of my favourite colours.

Hope you had a great valentines day. Food & I really enjoyed our day together ;)

Jan Book 1 (The Sound & The Fury)

Jan Book 1 (The Sound & The Fury)

This book was both beautiful and challenging. I cannot explain how completely focused I was while reading it. William Faulkner is a genius and now I want to read another one of his books. He just has a such a way with words.

I was supposed to read this book while I was on holiday in December but I haven’t taken a holiday as yet (don’t ask). It was a lovely way to start a year of reading :)

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