Category Archives: Music

Review: DodoCool Headphones

By DJ Courtney

I was fortunate to be travelling when I got the Dodocool DA158 to test & review, here goes.

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I’m a DJ by design so my standards are high. The Dodocool DA158 is ideal as an entry-level wireless headphone for people who like to listen to music.
Firstly, the design is good and the headphones are foldable and compact- thus great for when you’re on the go. It also comes with a nice & sturdy carrying case, which might seem bulky at first, but fits perfectly for travelling needs. I primarily used these headphones while in airplanes & walking around Las Vegas, so there was no shortage of opportunity to test the noise cancelling feature and overall I’d give it an average rating.
Even though these headphones are wireless, the Dodocool DA158 has the capability of using a headphone jack which is included in the box, and that’s a big plus! The Dodocool DA158 easily pairs to any Bluetooth device and to top that, when it came to answering calls it was magical. I heard my callers clearly and vice versa, it has mics built in the headphones…. Genius!
As for the battery life, the company states that the headphones can “provide up to 14 hours of playtime with a full charge.” I’ve used it for at least 8 continuous hours without needing to plug in, and that’s a definite plus for me.
In relation to comfort, it’s acceptable, however, after a while it felt a bit uncomfortable, but truth be told if you’re wearing it for long periods- that is expected.
Overall, I would certainly recommend these headphones, especially at the price point that they come (~$80USD) and again the big plus factor, is the ability to use a headphone jack even though it’s wireless.

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Shinola…The Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors

Shinola again offers accurate audio performance built into a beautiful design.
First off, they are $495 USD premium earphones for audiophiles. It would make a great gift for Father’s Day or any day for someone you love including yourself. The Shinola Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors I reviewed are black, wonderfully crafted ear monitors with detachable cords wrapped in quality braided fabric. It’s great because when you need to replace a cable you don’t need to invest in complete new headphones all over again.

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The Shinola box includes six pairs of ear tips made from silicone or foam neatly tucked inside. Great options for you to choose from, allowing you to find the best fit. Though noise-cancelling is not a prominently touted feature of these in-ear monitors. When I’m in bed while on vacation, I like to drown out any unwanted noise. It gives you great comfort for hours while listening to only what you want to hear.

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These monitors were developed in collaboration with Campfire Audio and its evident in the rich soundstage. If you’re an iPhone user, these Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors are truly designed for you with a multi-functional button and all that jazz.
At the end of the day, the only drawback is the price- at nearly $500USD, it’s a pretty penny and so not for everyone.

St. Lucia Jazz: Soleil Summer of Festivals

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Written by Tevyn Gill

Amidst the infinite Instagram posts, beautiful bouquets and other quintessential Mother’s Day celebrations, the Soleil Summer Festival’s St. Lucia Jazz event gave life to Pigeon Island National Heritage Park on May 13th. The first of four (4) feature events falling under the Soleil Summer of Festivals 2018, Saint Lucia Jazz (May 6th – 13th) kicked off an impressive line-up that also includes Saint Lucia Carnival (June to July), Roots & Soul Reggae concert (Aug. 31st to Sept. 2nd) and culminating with Arts & Heritage Month in October.

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Showcasing a combined display of local, regional and international acts, the final day of a week of diversely styled jazz events proved to be quite the climax to a jive weekend, while simultaneously ushering in the commencement of a crazy carnival season!

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Complete with designated parking areas and a convenient shuttle service upon arrival, the transition from your car to the entrance and finally into the colourfully decorated venue was impressively streamlined. The ambient aesthetic immediately prepared you for an elegant evening of jazz, with the music blaring gently from the grand half dome stage and the subtle buzz of casual conversation combining gracefully at the ear.

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It was almost natural to drift toward the bars as these alluringly decorated platforms that could be seen from anywhere in the venue beckoned all the way from the entrance. The Chairman’s deck was a connoisseur’s dream, with their list of delicious offerings of captivating rum creations. The Heineken deck was a haven for beer lovers at heart, with unbelievable deals on beer all day long.

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Excluding the VIP area, the promotional decks also serving as bars for their respective brands and a lightly covered sitting area near the food court- the layout remained very much park picnic styled.

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The lush lawn was littered with mats, blankets and portable chairs of every kind, with people sitting, laying, and some even standing, swaying to the smooth, soothing music that filled the open air.

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Though mainly patronized by a more mature crowd, the show attracted couples, families and groups of friends of various ages that all came out to enjoy the soulful sounds of The Frantz Laurac Quartet, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson & Friends and R + R = NOW to name a few.

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The initially sparse crowd grew gradually throughout the day as people filed in slowly and steadily until the venue looked mostly filled- but not quite resembling the masses of previous festivals. Still, the audience provided a nice mixture, comprised of people from all over the island and even from all over the world that flew in for the festivities.

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Spaces on the green continued to dwindle as people visibly fell deeper and deeper into a vibe and claimed their own spaces to do so. At this point, conversations also became easier and introductions became effortless as everyone mixed and mingled to the magical melody of jazz.

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If you hadn’t already made at least one new friend from Martinique, the UK, the US or even right here in St. Lucia as a result of one random interaction or the other, were you even there? Chatty socialites dominated the outskirts and bar areas while the jazz enthusiasts could be seen lounging closer to the stage, lost in the balanced blend of bass, piano and sax. When cocktails finally kicked in, a visit to the food court became vital. There was a satisfactory selection of eats available, from snacks like popcorn, nuts and chips, to a variety of fine caribbean cuisine on sale by local vendors. In the VIP section, there were also finger foods available for those fortunate enough, and those who were not inclined to sit outside for a full meal. After sampling a few of the festival foods, it was time to settle into a, now limited, space of your own to enjoy the rest of the acts.

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As night began to fall, we were treated to the delightful talents of Robert Glasper, rapper Terrace Martin, Trumpeter, composer and producer Christian Scott, Derrick Hodge – Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer, music producer, keyboardist & beatboxer Taylor McFerrin, as well as Justin Tyson, drummer extraordinaire. However, it would be the headliner, Avery Sunshine, that would finally steal the show and cap it all off with her thunderous, gospel bred pipes and heart-to-heart content. Her powerful presence and heavenly vocals blew all of Pigeon Island away with graceful ease. Her performance ended with an eruption of applause that signified the unfortunate end to St. Lucia Jazz, but a welcomed beginning to St. Lucia Carnival.

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The Soleil Summer Festival also ingeniously held an after party following the Jazz event. It essentially turned the elegant evening into a full-on Carnival Concert, featuring the likes of local artistes Mata & Migos, Ezra D Fun Machine, Shemmy J and Imran Nerdy. Regional superstars Destra Garcia and Shal Marshall also graced the Soca Stage for the after party, creating an infectiously familiar atmosphere with some of their biggest carnival hits, new and old.

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Redbull Thre3style World Champion, DJ Puffy, also made an appearance that turned the vibe all the way up with help from DJ Hollywood HP to give the show a well-rounded and star-studded feel from start to finish. Undeniably a good product overall, the St. Lucia Jazz offering of the Soleil Summer of Festivals is an event that can be enjoyed by music and event enthusiasts alike. And with a seamless transition into the next installment of the Festivals calendar of events, St. Lucia Carnival 2018, we can only expect great things for the upcoming June-July season.

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Review: The ThinkSound ON2 headphones

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The ThinkSound ON2 headphones are beautiful. The packaging has a premium feel and comes with a cotton carrying case and two detachable threaded 3.5mm headphone cables. All the materials are recyclable, which is a big part of the company’s vision.

I love how simple the package is. The headphones are made out of hand crafted natural wood housing, which helps to produce accurate music. There is a red marker on the inner right of the headphone so you always know which way to put them on. Each pair is made from a different piece of wood which gives it this natural unique look. The headphones also fold nicely for easy storage and travel.

My review of these will focus on wearing them for a while as I’ll be testing them while doing video editing on a project. The headphones are made with memory foam with a soft faux leather exterior. On ears are usually less comfortable over an extended period of time, so with all the padding I was excited to test these.

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The headphones sound great and the memory foam offers a great amount of silence when worn. The bass punch is very dynamic and not in your face which I liked. The lower frequencies also extend quite low. The mids are quite clear and the high frequencies are pleasant. They sound clear and crisp and I didn’t experience any audio distortion.

My only gripe with these headphones? I’m usually editing for a long period of time and the on-ear start to hurt after about 3 hours of use even though the padding is soft.

I was quite impressed with these headphones, ThinkSound, please make a full sized version JUST like this. If you prize audio quality over all other features, I’d get these headphones.

Kickin’ It With Bob Marley

In the gym with a soccer-loving reggae legend.

He sang about “one love,” but Bob Marley was passionate about many things, including the game of soccer. At home, in the studio, or on the road, Marley was never far from a ball.

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“Football is freedom,” he once said, and throughout his life, the game provided a refuge and release from the stresses of touring. In the summer of 1980, towards the end of the European leg of the Uprising Tour, Marley stopped doing formal interviews, instead organizing soccer games with members of the media and other musicians.

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One of these games took place inside a small West London gymnasium on July 16 of that year, when Marley’s team matched up with a squad led by fellow reggae artist Eddy Grant. Photographer Norman Reid was there to capture it.

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Marley, who by many accounts was a fierce competitor and hated to lose, wasn’t happy when his team went down early. “They went up on us quick — 2-0,” Garrick remembered. “So Bob called timeout. We told him, ‘Bob, you can’t call timeout — this isn’t basketball,’ but they gave us a break. That was their worst mistake.”

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While not big and strong, Marley was fast and agressive — and no stranger to small fields, having honed his game in the small yard outside his Hope Road home in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Once they understood the rules, the tables turned quickly, with Marley’s crew coming from behind to beat Grant’s team 5-2.

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Two months later, Bob Marley and the Wailers traveled to America to finish the Uprising Tour, with the last show taking place at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh on September 23, 1980. The performance would be the last of his career, as the legendary abd beloved talent died of cancer the following May at the young age of 36.

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Source: https://foto.gettyimages.com/sports/soccer/kickin-it-with-bob-marley/

Rolling Stone: Grace Jones on New Doc ‘Bloodlight and Bami

‘Slave to the Rhythm’ singer/style icon on opening up for the camera, her ‘Black Panther’ shout-out and more

She’s been a Grammy nominee and a disco glamazon, a supermodel and a slave to the rhythm, a Bond femme fatale and Conan the Barbarian’s cohort, a style icon and a Studio 54 habitué. She is Grace Jones, and this tall, fearsome Jamaican remains an instantly recognizable celebrity and a fertile creative force. But director Sophie Fiennes’ immersive and intimate documentary, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, reveals a side of the artist rarely glimpsed by her legions of fans: unguarded, tender, down-home, vulnerable. Rather than follow the standard cradle-to-comeback trajectory of a music biodoc, slotting in vintage performances and featuring famous talking heads discussing her influence, this portrait drops viewers into the here and now of Grace’s world.

Shot and edited over the course of 12 years, Bloodlight and Bami (the Jamaican patois of the title refers to recording lights in music studios and one’s daily bread) chronicles the head-spinning international whirlwind that is Grace Jones’ life. From sterling live performances and late-night dance parties to the sessions that produced her 2008 album Hurricane, the movie follows its subject from luxurious penthouse suites to shanties in Spanish Town, Jamaica. There’s plenty of fabulous moments: Jones donning a fantastic array of headgear (her stylized nun wimple and disco-ball bowler hat, in particular, mesmerize), dressing down longtime collaborator/producer Robbie Shakespeare over the phone. But it’s counterbalanced by a lot of behind-the-curtain moments that offer a completely different view of the Nightclubbingsuperstar.

Rolling Stone spoke to Ms. Jones about the film, her plan to stage a concert in outer space and how her twerking lessons are going.

Did you like your shout-out in Black Panther?
Yeah! I was told before I went and saw it in Los Angeles; I’m going to see it again here in Jamaica. I sat too close to the screen with my brother, who is near-sighted, and I’m far-sighted, so I want to see it again. It was quite funny getting mentioned in that movie. I did a film called Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior,where I play an African Queen, so I went ‘Wow.’ It brought all that back in a way.

There’s this distance and a real sense of toughness in both your persona and the characters you’ve played in films. And yet in Bloodlight and Bami, you reveal a more intimate side.
In those films, I’m playing characters. I’m trying to make sure you don’t think about Grace Jones in those films; you think about May Day (A View to a Kill) or Zula (Conan the Destroyer) or Strangé (Boomerang). I try to make sure those characters were completely apart from Grace Jones in performance.

Your 1982 longform video/concert film, A One Man Show, has never been available outside of VHS. Is there any chance it will ever be reissued?
Well, we’re talking about it, Chris Blackwell and me. We were producers of that film. It would be fantastic. I remember David Bowie told me that the performance on that film, you could just bring it out again and again after so many years, because it was really so far ahead of its time. People had their mouths falling down when they watched. It was so different. It really does stand the test of time, so we are talking about doing that. I just hope we can find the masters!

What struck you about Sophie’s film?
Ah, well [laughs] … what struck me was that I thought it was going to be so difficult to pull together. We had so much material after 12 years, and I didn’t see any of the film before it was finished. I love the way it went in and out of the performance side, the recording side. She really captured the stuff that you go through as you are working, doing talk shows and concerts. And then the whole part of me in Jamaica with my family, the way she went back and forth connecting [my] private, intimate life to the part where you’re performing, and then the audience is out there onstage with me. I just loved the way she saw that vision, because I lived it like that.

Was there any part of the film where you thought it was too personal?
No, never! Sophie, when she was filming, was like a fly on the wall. Obviously, I felt very comfortable with her, so she was like an insider. I felt like I could be myself.

Sophie also made a film about your brother [Fiennes’ debut film, Hoover Street Revival, focuses on Grace’s brother, Bishop Noel Jones]. What was it about that film that made you decide to let her tell your story?
The film with my brother was completely different: It was dealing with his church in South Central L.A. But that’s how I met her initially. I was invited to a screening for my brother’s film, and we hit it off. And I just said, “We should do something.” I also saw her other films and I knew she definitely has a vision and a passion for what she’s doing. So I felt completely safe in a way that I could be unsafe, you know? I could also let everything hang out. Literally!

In the film, there’s footage of you in the studio with Sly & Robbie working on Hurricane. During the Eighties, you worked with everyone from Nile Rodgers to Trevor Horn to C+C Music Factory. So what led you back to Sly & Robbie some 26 years after working with them on albums like Warm Leatherette and Nightclubbing?
When Chris Blackwell put Sly & Robbie together with me in 1980, I believe that being Jamaican and getting to know me – it just felt right. It just felt like this is when my voice is at its best, together with them. They’re like my brothers. I fight with them, I beat them up, but we’re like brothers and sisters. My voice seems to just meld perfectly with their rhythms, with their style. I love the fat bass, the percussion and rhythms. And I think they experiment more with me than with probably anyone else. We don’t mind experimenting together.

Are you working on a new album now?
Yes! I’ve been working on it for five years now. Hopefully another month to just work and not go anywhere and not have outside things happening. Between my memoir, the touring and now the film, we have to keep putting it on hold. But it’s very, very powerful. Sly & Robbie are on there in bits and pieces. I always call them in and say, “Let’s see what you can do with this.” And they always find something.

There’s a part in your memoir where you dismiss most modern pop stars for not being original and having their own vision – but what do you think about Jamaican artists? Have you ever thought about making a dancehall album?
Oh, I love dancehall! We do have a dancehall track that I’ve been performing live and on tour, but we haven’t put it in record form yet. It’s called “Shenanigans” and it has a dancehall riddim to it. But when we record it, I’d like it to drop even heavier, with a bit more edge. It’s too sweet still. When we finally do it, it needs to be edgier. I tried that whole bottom-shaking, twerking movement and almost broke my neck standing on my head to get my ass twerking. It’s really hard! But I’m taking lessons.

In the documentary, you reference Timothy Leary and talk about disco as being “like going to church with people on hallucinogens dancing.” How influential was acid on you in terms of your development?
It was like therapy, the way that I did it. I was born again in my own way; my eyes opened, the world got bigger but smaller at the same time. Bigger in the sense that it was mind-opening. It freed me up. I was a nudist during that time as well, so you get comfortable with yourself naked. And then from there, you see how small the world really is when you start traveling all over the place. One time I even hitchhiked to Paris on acid. It was amazing. You meet welcoming people and have good conversations and then grow from that. You learn just how small the world really is. It just encouraged learning and growing really with me. I felt like a gypsy going around the globe.

I always wanted to go to outer space, too. I always wanted to do a concert in outer space with David Bowie, Michael Jackson and myself. At one point I was like, “Let’s just call Bill Gates and have him fund it for outer space.”

Sadly, it would just be you now.
Well, now, with all the technology, you never know. Now we can just have a virtual reality concert in space.

Lauryn Hill announces 20th Anniversary Miseducation tour

Hill is revisiting her landmark album with stops across North America, including Toronto and Vancouver

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When the landmark album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was first released in August of 1998, Hill’s smart, infectious songs were everywhere — from cafés to stores to radio.

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Now Hill is revisiting the album with a North America-wide tour that kicks off July 5 in Virginia and includes stops in Toronto (July 18) and Vancouver (September 14), as well as Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, Los Angeles and more. She is also headlining the Pitchfork Music Festival.

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Hill was just 23 years old when she recorded the album, her first solo effort after her split with the Fugees.

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Recorded almost entirely at Bob Marley’s studio in Jamaica, The Miseducationblended rap, soul, reggae and pop, while the lyrics deftly delved into relationships, philosophy and faith.

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The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and sold over 400,000 copies in its first week, making Hill the first female artist to reach that mark. The Miseducation was also nominated for 10 Grammys and won five, setting more records. The album has since sold over 19 million copies worldwide.

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Since the album’s success, Hill has only performed sporadically — most recently this week at Nina Simone’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Tickets for the upcoming tour go on sale starting today.

Find the full list of tour dates here.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/blog/lauryn-hill-announces-20th-anniversary-miseducation-tour-1.4623494