Archives for category: Music

In the Zone

Being back at One Mic for what must be the third or fourth time was such a great experience, especially as two of my friends (Skillit and Khalaeliah) were also on the bill. The venue, Queen of Hoxton, is always an awesome place to play – the acoustics suit my flavour and the sound-man always manages to strike that delicate balance between the thumping bass of my percussionist and the clarity of my vocals – he’s done a fair few gigs of mine now.

On the night, I performed the track ‘Jim Beam’, taken off my ‘Breakfast’ mixtape for the first time. That was probably the highlight of my set, because I got to play the character I created in the song, and of course bring him to life.

Can’t stress how much fun it was, and how your receptiveness as an audience gave me another precious memory to cherish.

Thank you, and catch you on August 3rd at the next one. My website has all my upcoming performances.

One Mic

Breakfast Mixtape Cover

I’ve purposely left it a while between my last entry and this one. Firstly, I was making up for lost time since spending the best part of four weeks terribly ill; after all, there was the matter of a small mixtape to complete. Secondly, I didn’t want to give too much information away about the tape before it dropped, and for the couple weeks after release, it was important for it to simmer on its own accord. And most importantly, I was fully engrossed in the creative process to the point which nothing else mattered – I hadn’t felt so focussed since I was in my final year at Uni.

Anyway, for those who have the tape already, thanks for downloading, and for those who don’t, you can get here.

If you’d like a bit more information on the process behind the product, have a watch of this interview:

Precisely a year ago, I was wandering around Oxford Street with my good friend Michael ‘Forte’ Chang. We noticed there was some sort of uprising, and after walking further to discover what was going on, we saw an even greater sea of chaos. The first thought which popped into my mind was “this is history, we need to capture it”. The second thought was “via music”. We ran back to my flat not far from the location, grabbed your standard point and shoot camera (no better than a modern phone) and hit record. This my friends, was the outcome:

Been so busy handling the promo for the video itself, that I actually couldn’t summon the energy to blog it with my usual bit of prose. But here we are, precisely one week since the visuals dropped, and at least we now have the luxury of hindsight.

I’m very happy with how it turned out – the boys over at PHDLDN (directors) allowed me to incorporate my creative vision to the fullest. I wanted to capture the essence of performance, together with the sense of movement, and partnered with the use of minimal editing, creative camera play and good colour grading. Well, we have that.

It’s a warm up video, and so the key was to not get ahead of ourselves and maintain the middle ground between action and cutting. Seeing as my Exhibit A video worked so well, I thought it would be best to encapsulate some of that guerilla-style production value.

It’s been received well by various media outlets, with bloggers including DJ Semtex, SoulCulture, Hip Hop Chronicle, Yin&Yang, True Tiger and We Plug Good Music for example. The track was also placed on the A-list for a second week over at 107.3 Reprezent FM. I hope there is lots more good news to come, but for now.. lose your balance:

Also, here’s a little bonus, behind the scenes footage which was recorded via my friend Fuzzy Phase‘s mobile. The verse and outro is the actual take we used for the video!

Here’s a brand new track which I recorded recently. It’s a refix of J Cole’s Losing My Balance, taken from his The Warm Up mixtape. The track (in particular the music) really resonated with me on a deep level, so I felt to discuss some issues that I was going through at the time. I guess you could say it’s a very personal song, and I wanted to encapsulate that in the recording phase, so I ensured that the process was continuous from beginning to end – literally – if you listen closely you can even tell small differences between the choruses. I also wanted to incorporate a slightly different feel to J Cole’s version for the hook, so I worked out a singing part, as well as a couple of harmonies and brought in a friend of mine (Theo Llewelyn) to lay them down in some sort of hybrid Caribbean/Portuguese type accent. I shot a video to this a couple of days ago which should be online very soon! In the mean time, listen here:

http://hulkshare.com/u80h8gy22tiv
If you’d like to download the track, you can get it from: http://hulkshare.com/u80h8gy22tiv 

I’ve had this in the locker for a little while now. Written when Lil Wayne’s anthem was still fresh on the radar in 2008, this version is something I never got round to recording. However, having tracked it last week, here it is:

Over the years I’ve listened to and absorbed so many different brands of music, either as single tracks, mixtapes or albums. The challenge of making an album which works as a uniform force throughout is huge, and there aren’t too many albums that I’ve heard that can capture my attention through the entire journey. I decided to compile a list of ten of these that are the most influential in forming the person I am today.

Of course, I’ve left out some classic albums, artists/producers I deeply admire, and genres which are far more diverse than those stated here, but I wanted to be true to myself, take a step back and really analyse what was more than just music, more than just art, and was in fact a catalyst to my formative creative process. Not all of them fit my taste palette any more, or give me the same buzz as when I was in that state of mind, but they are nevertheless the soundtrack to my first few years of being an active musician. So without further ado:

1. 2Pac – R U Still Down?
2. Craig David – Born To Do It
 3. D’Angelo – Voodoo
 4. Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP
 5. Eminem – The Eminem Show
 6. Kev Brown Mixtape
7. Lloyd – Lessons In Love
8. Marques Houston – MH
9. Michael Jackson – Thriller
10. R. Kelly – TP-2.com

* In alphabetical order

A few which I believe deserve an honourable mention as they narrowly missed out include Common’s “Be”, Kanye West’s “College Dropout”, Kevin Mark Trail’s “Sketches”, Mario’s “Turning Point” and  Ryan Leslie’s “Transition”.

Unfortunately the much anticipated music video I recently shot for Travellin’ will not be made available for public viewing. My team and I had to make the decision after viewing the edit to not put it out for various reasons – the main ones being that it was neither an accurate representation of who I am/what I do, nor the vision I approached the director with to develop further.

It sets back my plans of course, the mixtape (Breakfast) I was going to drop in accompaniment has now had to be pushed to a later date, and so have other related projects which were pivotal to my future. But it is this kind of decision which is a testament to how much I deeply believe in becoming a success in the manner that best suits my persona.

Some new work will be dropping soon, and rest assured it will be very much the Cynikal you have come to know. Thank you for your patience, Happy Halloween.

UpRise Festival 2011



Full album on: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150339601378811.349379.13906268810&type=1

At Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club 2011



Full album on: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150339653668811.349385.13906268810&type=3

Here’s three recent performance videos I didn’t previously get a chance to post on here:

Lovebox, Victoria Park (footage by The Cut Newspaper):

UpRise Festival, Gillett Square, Dalston:

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Soho:

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