SoundCloud, the online music platform for collaboration, promotion and distribution of audio recordings by over 5 million registered users, is an aural cornucopia of musical liquorice allsorts for any music lover seeking out the next big thing or something new, innovative and perhaps just a little weird.
For sure, the site does have contributions from almost all major commercial and independent music labels, but part of the SoundCloud charm is that anyone, anywhere in the world, from dubsteppers in wintry Scandinavian bed sits to avant garde student orchestras in Asia with a penchant for Zappa-inspired percussion solos, from standard four-on-the-floor riffology rock to just a girl and a guitar with a story to tell, all have a place to share their music with the rest of us.
From post-prog-math-rock to bagpipe-agit-funk and everything in between, here are some highlights (but by all means, not an exhaustive selection) from an evening in the SoundCloud universe.
Ernestine Deane (South Africa)
Lady Ernie is a local legend, having been the sultry vocal powerhouse forCape Town’s electro-funk group MoodPhase5ive during the early 2000s. Since the group split, she has been working with various collaborators from across the world, never pinning her colours to just one genre, and can be heard on SoundCloud easily jumping from hip-hop, R n B to more eclectic electronica, as well exploring the relationship between socio-politics and art in various pet projects. Highlights include the sumptuous Watersong with bassist Brydon Bolton.
The Kleptones (UK)
Eric Kleptone is rightly recognised as the Led Zeppelin of the underground mash-up community. While other proponents of the genre simply bash two songs together, the Kleptones make intricate and exciting journeyman rhapsodies from two or more sources. Easily bouncing, for example, a White Stripes riff off a Chemical Brothers break, while all tentatively balanced on a Bill Hicks rant, has made the Kleptones legendary in not only technique, but also danceable righteousness. Their few and far between concept albums, the best being 2006’s 24 Hours are all mash-up classics, and his more recent output and live sets continue to be genre game-changers. Highlights on SoundCloud include a moody hoedown between Laura Marling’s acoustic Devil’s Spoke and the vocals from Tool’s Vicarious.
Clerment Sefojane AKA MC Sfoj (South Africa)
Bloemfontein’s MC Sfoj makes deep minimal house draped in some funky guitar pickings that sound like Ronny Jordan from outer space. Its Sunday afternoon chill-out musings, but you can dance to it, slowly. House music, particularly South African House, can veer into predictability, thanks to the nature of the genre’s use of repetitive beats and synthy vamps, but Sfoj truly understands the old Miles Davis adage by way of Debussy, that “the space between the notes are just as important as the notes”. A remarkable talent to keep on eye on.
PROOFSOUND aka Michele Brustia and Paul Bjørling, (Denmark)
For fans of the innovative electronic orchestral soundtracks of Craig Armstrong and Hans Zimmer, Proofsound create electronic and acoustic soundscapes and farm them out for game and film soundtracks, as well as music libraries. What makes their music different is that it could easily stand out on its own, with epic elements of progressive rock phrasing and emotional build-ups, these short excerpts are listenable and likable, perfect background music for reading a dirty Euro crime novel.
Hunter Starkings (United States)
This derivative one-man math rock is fun and catchy, but also epitomises the true spirit of SoundCloud as being a platform for enthusiastic creativity and critics can be damned. The music veers into familiar glitchy beats and some nice cheesy synth lines at times, but you can hear he is having a lot of fun doing it. Well-versed in the Thrill Jockey catalogue, Starkings still adds a wholesome sense of humour in titles like “I Keep Overdosing in My Bouncy Castle” and “You Play A Lot Of Gameboy For A Teenager.”