Press Clipping
05/26/2017
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The Playlist: Matt Ox Delivers the Sound of This Second

Matt Ox, ‘Overwhelming'

Saying a song sounds like the future is typically a high compliment, but perhaps an even higher one is to say a song sounds like this exact second. Enter “Overwhelming,” the catchy slab of ethereal trap music made by Matt Ox who is, I’m guessing, around 12 years old. For someone who may not yet be out of junior high school, Matt Ox has a worthy catalog — check out the rugged “Michael Myers.” “Overwhelming” has some of the ferocious energy of the current wave of SoundCloud rap, though he delivers his verses with exuberant diffidence: “Used to hate on me, used to sleep on me/Now I’m almost at the top where I was dreaming to be.” The video, directed by Pipus and Kendra, is pitch-perfect: Matt Ox alternating between bouncing with joy and tough-guy cosplay, and scenes with a squad of preteen boys posted up on a street corner mean-mugging the camera while playing with fidget spinners. JON CARAMANICA

Franco and T.P.O.K. Jazz, ‘Koni Ya Bonganga’

A three-day festival of African and American music preceded Rumble in the Jungle, the 1974 heavyweight bout between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman staged in Zaire (now Congo). Performances by the American soul headliners have long been available, but after decades of legal wrangles the bulk of the African music — in what were state-of-the-art recordings — is just being released now, nearly 43 years later, as the album “Zaire 74.” (Will we ever see the film footage?) Two Congolese bands that would define decades of soukous to follow, Tabu Ley Rochereau & Afrisa, and Franco and T.P.O.K. Jazz, were on the bill, young and fiercely funky, and both of their sets are remarkable from start to finish. Franco, one of Africa’s greatest guitarists, led the many voices, horns and percussion players who generated “Koni Ya Bonganga,” a perfect polyrhythmic matrix. JON PARELES

Rita Ora, ‘Your Song’

“I’m in love,” the British vocalist Rita Ora proclaims in exploding harmonies, after she details a tryst — “kissing in the back of the cab” — that could lead further. Apparently it’s with a pop songwriter because, she adds, “Your song’s got me feeling like I’m in love.” “Your Song” matches the clinical precision of synth-pop with Ms. Ora’s chesty presence. Ed Sheeran, the pop guy who can summon sincerity, is one of the collaborators behind the words and music. This is manufactured passion, assessing its own effects. J.P.

Kirin J Callinan, ‘Down 2 Hang’

On this splendidly dyspeptic song, Mr. Callinan, an Australian musician with a penchant for creative provocation, splits the difference between industrial clangor and disco slither. “Down 2 Hang” is dense verging on exhausting, and also hilarious. Throughout the song, over nimble guitar breakdowns and wind-shear sounds alike, Mr. Callinan intones, “she’s down to hang,” but undercuts the phrase’s sensual import with increasingly ludicrous comparisons delivered in a fervent, lecturing tone: “like a Pablo Picasso or a Vincent van Gogh,” “Peking ducks at the Chinese buffet,” “like Jesus.” J.C.

Jlin, ‘Carbon 7 (161)’

Jlin — the electronic-music producer and DJ Jerrilynn Patton — got her initial inspiration from the jagged, breakneck, pure adrenaline percussiveness of the music for Chicago footwork. She has been rightly noticed by other artistic avant-gardes, and has collaborated with electronic composers and been commissioned by choreographers. “Carbon 7 (161)” from her new album, “Black Origami,” spreads percussion and synthetic sounds across a wide stereo space — drums, bells, cymbals, blips, chopped-up voices — and rushes ahead through a staccato wilderness of impacts and silences, of patterns that shatter before they ever get predictable. Corey Scott-Gilbert’s dance in the video clip, with its handsome and grotesque facial and physical contortions, is just one way to envision the music. J.P.

Charles Lloyd, ‘Passin’ Thru’

The tenor saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd, 79, has spent much of the past decade tightening his bond with a group he (still) calls the New Quartet: the pianist Jason Moran, the bassist Reuben Rogers and the drummer Eric Harland. “Passin’ Thru” is the title track from a forthcoming live album featuring all Lloyd compositions. The tune has a steadily bouncing cadence and a pat melody; it’s something like the old-country tune you’re forced to dance to at a cousin’s wedding, then go home singing. But the performance has all the hallmarks of Mr. Lloyd’s quartet. Coiled and synergetic, never quite touching the ground, the rhythm section matches his feathered poise with its own swift momentum. Mr. Moran issues a jostling, punctuation-filled solo that climaxes with a series of off-harmony dashes, then a quick rejoinder from Mr. Harland’s drums. Mr. Lloyd alights again just in time, capping the piano solo with a serrated streak of melody. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Washed Out, ‘Get Lost’

Nearly four years after the release of the album “Paracosm,” Washed Out — the recording project of Ernest Greene — re-emerges, still in its chillwave blur of nostalgia and anachronism. A disco-era groove, giggly party chatter, cool vibraphone plinks and distant sirens surround vocals mixed and processed to melt into the haze — it’s hard to decipher much beyond the phrase “get lost” — while in the video clip, animated photos conjure a Los Angeles of yesteryear, all sleek cars, sunny streets and casual smiles. It’s all atmosphere, and it lingers just long enough. J.P.

MØ, ‘Nights With You’

Here’s a paean to stolen polymorphous pleasures. “I just want to spend the nights with you,” MØ sings, “Don’t care about your boyfriend waking up alone.” MØ has been the fervent but neutral Scandinavian voice of hits with Major Lazer like “Lean On.” Here, against deep, grounded synthesizer lines, she urges someone to break down inhibitions. Even if she doesn’t succeed, there’s no question she tried. J.P.

Chon, ‘Waterslide’

There’s a tremendous amount of imagination and complexity hiding inside this cheerful and ethereal instrumental prog-rock jam. The alluring “Waterslide,” by the San Diego band Chon — the second single from its coming second album “Homey” — juxtaposes the major-chord optimism of Sublime with guitar shredding once removed from technical heavy metal and clear jazz influences. Plus, the video features a skateboarding dog. J.C.

Noah Cyrus, ‘I’m Stuck’

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” remade as a Tumblr diary and refracted through Kidz Bop Kids and the Lumineers. Can’t believe no one’s thought of this before. J.C.

Gary Allan, ‘Mess Me Up’

Few country singers of the last two decades have been as fluent in ache as Gary Allan, who sings like he’s on his fourth straight day of unrelenting tears. That Mr. Allan’s voice is as harrowing ever is a relief, and also indisputable, because his new single “Mess Me Up” is so slickly produced and written it threatens to flatten his burrs. Mr. Allan won’t have it, though. “Kiss some stranger just ‘cause she had eyes that were kind of like yours,” he sings with palpable desolation. Even though the lyrics of this song are abraded, the arrangement is optimistic and bright. Somewhere, there’s probably an acoustic demo too sad for words. J.C.

The Pollyseeds, feat. Chachi, ‘Intentions’

A few teasing bars of early-disco drums kick things off. A wavy synth traces a faint horizon line up top. The M.C. Chachi (a k a Problem) proclaims his affections, both cute and louche, in a tête-à-tête with the coyly sweet vocalist Rose Gold. A zip-zagging saxophone solo from Terrace Martin ties things up at the end. (You recognize that fine, scribbly-ballpoint alto sound immediately, don’t you? Mr. Martin produced and played on much of “To Pimp a Butterfly.” The keening lines on tracks like “Alright” and “These Walls” is his.) So goes our first taste of the Pollyseeds, a new project spearheaded by Mr. Martin and featuring some of his most deft Los Angeles confidantes. The group’s debut album, “Sounds of Crenshaw Volume 1,” releases in July. G.R.

Death Grips, ‘Steroids’ Megamix

Overload, barrage, vulgarity, speed, density and whiplash change are Death Grips’ defaults, and its 22-minute “Steroids” megamix runs true to form. The track slams together about seven more-or-less distinct sections, held together by words as the music thickens and lashes out, each one full of internal mayhem and relentless electronic drive. "Restraint cease to function," MC Ride (Stephan Burnett) blurts somewhere before the halfway mark. When his raps — in many tones — are intelligible amid the noise,they can be hostile, raunchy, reckless or haunted by death, but what goes on around them (concocted by the producer Zach Hill and the engineer Andy Morin) is equally or more crucial: the sound of relentless motion and noise, closing in. J.P.