Thursday, 14 February 2013

#ESPspotlight Review: '7 Days, 7 Mixtapes To Set The Valentine Mood' 1. 'SOUL:SERIES' by KOF

Though diverse and not all of a romantic nature, so to speak; the ménage à trois of topics and raw emotion combined within Kof's 'Soul:Series' make for some pretty vulnerable and thus enticing 'love time listening'.

The cubic package is a triple set of themes with three tracks a piece giving insight into the Liverpool-native's thoughts, feelings and fears for society.

'Soul: LOVE' is available as a Free Download
'Soul:Love' is the perfect place to kick things off with 'Fire On The Mountain' letting go of past relationship. I'm not going to talk about the insanely hot video that take the vocals to a whole other place, since this feature is about the sounds - you'll have to catch that in another post coming later today. But I almost feel sorry for the poor ex that inspired this; you (quite rightly) want to hate a man who doesn't just tell you he's "tired of" and "can't stand to be around you" (Ouch), but actually sings about it (Game Over). The problem for the typical female heart is that he sounds like that while he's doing it! On behalf of females everywhere: could you not at least hit a bum note as you break a heart? Sound at least slightly less appealing - try to have a little mercy and quit seducing the next while you drop out the ex over your dubstep, would you please? It's the Christian thing to do. Just saying...

Moving swiftly on...Literally; 'Last Night' recounts tales of naughty (but clothed...I think) activities with a new friend. The mellow, funky house vibe that evokes visions of coming back to chill after a night of raving and spending what's left of the  early hours doing...whatever you feel to with a cheeky charmer armed with a dimpled smile. Somewhere around that first chorus, you realise that Kof is one of those innocent-looking, undercover bad boys your Mummy started warning you about way back in the day; when you first started noticing how Ken slicked his hair back for Barbie...but you kinda don't want to listen. Temptation is a hell of a drug; right Girls?

'Riding Round The City' is that reflective moment about the ex he's still thinking of and you realise that maybe 'Fire On The Mountain' was more about lashing out and bravado to cover a heart just as broken, than cruelty towards another. There's not a poor cow that stands a chance as he croons invitingly about finding "the right road that leads to you". Who knew that it would only take 2:52 of mic love over a funky house beat to discover the reason that chastity belts were invented...

'Soul:LIFE' is available as a Free Download
Things get serious for 'Soul:LIFE', as life trials take centre stage. 'Never Sober' is the war cry of a forgotten, unwanted nation aspiring to heights beyond their government class and the evils they need inner strength to battle. This is one of those strong award contenders that will resonate with anyone not born with a silver spoon strategically placed.

'Runaway' implores that young, struggling one to stand strong against the difficulties that might seem too hard to face. An uptempo, motivational moment more suited to daily play in schools (at least it should be), than the bedroom. The only restraints inspired by this are for an unruly younger sibling in need of straightening out; go strap them to a chair, slap on some headphones and stick this on repeat. Yes, I am available for babysitting.

'My Child' is the soul-wrenching letter to an unborn child that would thaw the frostiest heart. I doubt there's a female alive that isn't choked up by the time Kof arrives at the chorus. Never an easy subject for anyone to tackle; you have to commend men who are willing to address the topic of abortion and its consequences from the male perspective and breech the edges of their emotions. A sudden, controversial end to this chapter; you're left feeling unsteady and drowning in someone else's open wound.

Just as well then, that the final chapter takes you to that other thing this amazing singer does best. You've been charmed, you've been challenged, it's only right that you're comforted with 'Soul:Live' - the final instalment that focuses solely on what Kof can do in twelve and a half minutes if given a mic and a spotlight.

'Soul:LIVE' is available as a Free Download
I remember when I first heard 'Thugz Mansion / Smells Like Teen Spirit' performed on Trevor Nelson's Live Lounge (BBC 1Xtra) almost 2 years ago. It was one of those 'stop in your tracks, drop what you're doing, pause the outside world' type of moments, where you realise that something BIG is on the verge of happening. You remember what you were doing, the time of day and the snapshot of everything else about the event - they're that rare. Second only to seeing him perform live for the first time, if you never listen to anything else that this ridiculously talented man does (and why would you not? Are my words not registering?) THIS is the rendition that proves the man is, as 1Xtra's Mistajam describes him, "The Future" of acoustic Soul.

'All Falls Down' is an original spin on the Kanye classic that can't help but entice. This is the track that mixes the messages of the first two sets and serves them up afresh. Slow and seductive in the mellow delivery, the messages about acting without thinking ahead keep the social consciousness that Kof has become known for, alive and well. The modern day, male take on Lauryn Hill's 'Doo Wop (That Thing)'; this makes you want to put a call in for a living room performance...conveniently forgetting that you don't own a piano (my nephew has a mini-Casio - will that work?)

Then he has the gall to finish with a cover of D'Angelo's 'Brown Sugar'. Ladies...He's really not right for this one. It's actually an insult to your draws. Just be glad he's only coming through your speakers. For those of you actually catching him live though - remember those aforementioned chastity belts? Hand someone stronger than you the keys. HEED MY WARNING! That's really all I can tell ya... 

And that's it! '7 Days, 7 Mixtapes To Set The Valentine Mood' delivered straight to you, with a breakdown on each and every one. In case you missed them (firstly, errr where have you been), here's a rundown from 7 to 2, click each title to go get your download:

And just as an extra special something to you Ladies...hold on to your drawstrings, I've got an #ESPspotlight Valentine's Interview with the super sexy, I mean, um...supremely talented Kof coming for you shortly! Sorry to mess with your Valentine's plans Fellas, but I'm giving Females everywhere my own gift of love. You should all adore me. Ok maybe not the guys so much. (Not) Sorry - the way too made me do it.

Damn I
ES ;)