LIVE: Mind Over Matter, live at the ANU Bar, Canberra (07-04-11)

Coptic Soldier and Johnny Utah.

I Forget, Sorry! can be credited for really broadening my interest and faith in hip-hop. The Australian based collective create some brilliant, innovative music that deserves much more attention than it’s currently receiving. I’ve been a fan for quite a while, and recently I was lucky enough to catch a few of them live on Mind Over Matter’s Just Like Fireworks tour.

My friend and I arrived at the ANU Bar a bit before 7. The place didn’t look incredibly lively, but by the time the first supports took to the stage there were a few people wandering around. Unfortunately I think Illy playing a show the next night may have had a small effect on the turnout, but everyone looked like they enjoyed themselves throughout the night. Even if they’ve probably played to bigger crowds before.

If I’m blunt, I don’t remember a whole lot about some of the local supports. That’s not an insult to Canberra’s hip-hop scene (if there is one – I’m new here), it’s just they didn’t grab my attention and I was hanging out with a few mates. Although I do remember a duo called Domesticated Apes. Their songs got better towards the end of the night, although a few were hit and miss. Repeatedly saying “Sh*t C**ts” over and over didn’t do much for me to be honest.

I think it was about 9.30 or so before Coptic Soldier and Johnny Utah came on. To say the least, I was a little excited. Johnny Utah’s EP The Welcoming Party was a solid release, and I love Coptic’s acoustic stuff I’ve heard lately. At any rate, these guys have been a part of my hip-hop diet for almost a year now, and I was pumped to see them perform live. They did not disappoint.

Coptic Soldier and Johnny Utah (with Count Effectz DJ’ing)

That night was the first time Coptic and Johnny had performed live together, and I was incredibly impressed. The interplay between the two was great. Playing tracks they would normally perform individually, each knew the right moment to jump in and the right moment to hang back. As a result, the older songs sounded collaborative and fresh, but didn’t take anything away from the original.

The duo went through tracks from Johnny’s debut EP and Coptic’s The Sound of Wings. We even got to hear “I Hate Sleep” from The Sound of Wings 2, the acoustic release (which you should all buy by the way! – acoustic hip-hop sounds brilliant. I’ll have a review up soon). I was lucky enough to hear some of Johnny’s new songs too, which will hopefully feature on his debut album Handful of Gravel. They sounded brilliant, and I’m keen to hear the studio versions.

Coptic Soldier and Johnny Utah were a great support act, and despite the fact they didn’t have a live band like Mind Over Matter, they energy they put into the performance was amazing. Great songs performed by great musicians, with enough energy to get everyone pumped up. Count Effectz was DJ’ing for them and did a great job as well. Seeing these guys was a highlight of the night, and has only reinforced my belief that I Forget, Sorry! deserve more attention across Australia.

Mind Over Matter

Next up Mind Over Matter came on stage, and the crowd reacted incredibly well. I haven’t heard Just Like Fireworks yet, although I’ve heard good things about it. After seeing them live, I’m convinced I’ll enjoy it. The songs they played had amazing hooks and sing-a-long choruses (see “Be A Pirate”), and everyone really got into it.

The addition of a live band did the set wonders. Ernst Carter Jnr’s back-up vocals were amazing and added a whole new dimension to the songs. It really did sound great, and the live bass and drums gave the whole act more stage presence. Everyone had more to look at, and the way it all meshed together is a testament to their talents and preparation.

The general consensus from the media is that Mind Over Matter have really launched themselves into the Australian hip-hop scene with this album. Their live show reflects this in a way that you have to see to understand. I thought they were going to play longer, but I think noise restrictions came in or something. At any rate, they put on a great show, and for $10, I think everyone felt like they got more than their money’s worth.

Mind Over Matter

It’s a pity that brilliant artists like the ones that performed all night aren’t getting the recognition or airplay they deserve. I could go into a large rant about support of Australian musicians, but it’d detract from the review. Suffice to say, like Coptic and Johnny, Mind Over Matter put on an incredibly entertaining and engaging show. In my case, familiarity with the songs means that I personally enjoyed Coptic and Johnny a tiny bit more. In some cases familiarity can go a long way, but Mind Over Matter buck that trend. Despite the fact I knew only one or two songs they played, their show emphasised their talent as live artists, and these days that talent can be quite rare.

I Forget, Sorry! are a brilliant collective. Download the free mixtape I put together last year and give them a go.

Don’t forget to get over here and check out the rest of their dates. You should definitely head along.

REVIEW: Mind Over Matter – “Free The Wolves” Mixtape

Mind Over Matter are an Aussie hip-hop duo consisting of Willow and Smiles Again, and “Free The Wolves” is their second mixtape, arriving after their debut LP “Keepin’ It Breezy”.

The release begins with a bit of a monologue, and it’s nothing short of ear-opening. Just exactly what you’re in for here is up for debate as soon as it begins, but luckily what follows is a solid selection of original material, remixes, and collaborations with other prominent local hip-hop names, like Coptic Soldier, Phatchance, and Drake MC.

Standout single “It’s Not A Secret” has something truly alluring about it. The beat consists of a sample of ping-pong balls being hit, but the timing and sound that they get from it is something I’ve never quite heard before. With light strings being plucked behind all of this, it’s a good example of the creative ideas Mind Over Matter bring to the table.

Musically the mixtape becomes much more interesting in later tracks, like the orchestral vibe of “Willow & Smiles’ 7th Symphony”. They make great use of samples, featuring a few more than familiar melodies (I’m looking at you “Still Skinny (Remix)” and “For Real Radio Better Play Me Right Now”), but if you go in expecting something fun then you’ll get what you’re after, and there’s more than enough original material for the die-hard fans.

The rapping is solid, and the interplay between Smiles and Willow works well. Phatchance’s production skills manage to balance things out well, and altogether it sounds great.

When it comes down to it, “Free The Wolves” is solid, but doesn’t feel revolutionary for me. It feels consistent, but not very cohesive (at least not until the second half of the album). That said, while it got off to a rocky start, this is a mixtape, not an album. There’s some great songs here, and the vast majority of them are good fun. Well worth a go, especially if you’re into the Australian hip-hop scene.

Verdict: Positive.

Check out some of Mind Over Matter’s stuff from their Unearthed page, or download my I Forget, Sorry! mixtape here.

MIXTAPE: On The Tune Mixtape Vol. 3 – I Forget, Sorry! mix

Hey everyone. I’m going to be doing some reviews for Aussie collective I Forget, Sorry! over the next few weeks, so I thought it’d be a good idea to introduce you all to some of their stuff.

They’re primarily a hip-hop collective, but they merge other genres and styles through their music, so it’s a pretty interesting listen. Check ‘em out.

Tracklist:

1. Coptic Soldier & Miriam Waks – Why Suffer

2. Elgen and Johnny Utah – Matchbox ft. Phatchance & Steve Hollins

3. Mind Over Matter – It’s Not A Secret

4. Coptic Soldier & Miriam Waks – No More Waiting feat. Phatchance

5. PhatchanceInvisible Queen

6. Elgen and Johnny Utah – When The Rain Hits ft. Steve Hollins

7. Mind Over Matter – Still Skinny (Konfuzion Remix)

8. Phatchance – Mountain Of Glass

Download

Size: 25.16 mb

Don’t know how to unzip stuff? Download 7zip here.
Don’t know which download link to click? I don’t know what .msi files are either. Do you use Windows? Try this one.

I’ve already reviewed Elgen and Johnny Utah’s “The Welcoming Party”, so look out for reviews of Coptic Soldier & Miriam Waks, Mind Over Matter, and Phatchance over the next month.