Exclusive Artist Review: Juan Manuel Ruiz – “Cutouts” Album

Hailing from the landscapes of Spain, recording artist and composer Juan Manuel Ruiz began his journey into the market when he released his debut album ‘Will’ in 2018. Since that time, Ruiz has manifested into a multifaceted and versatile artist with distinctively glistening compositions and melodies, creating a signature sound that is dynamic, emotional and progressively innovative. Ruiz throughout 2019 and 2020 would continue to write, compose and put together another album of songs that would enhance his stylization and showcase his compositions in a way that is genuine and effective; subsequently raising the bar since his debut. Now, in 2021, he has brought these songs to fruition with his newest sophomore release ‘Cutouts’, comprised of 10 visceral tracks that are crafty, creative and completely self-written and produced.

One thing you’ll immediately notice on this album is Ruiz’s composition style and ability to construct a strong melody. He takes a distinctive chord progression and diligently enhances its foundation into a glowing instrumental that really gives you a visceral listening experience. Opening title track “Cutouts” is a direct example of this and really showcases the anthemic aura that encompasses just about every song on the album. With the production value adding textures of chorus and reverb to give the song a more subtle tone, this track dynamically emanates passion, emotion and moods combined with rhythmic touches. It’s one of the unforgettable songs on this record and really casts a crucial spotlight on Ruiz’s musicianship factors. Another notable song with a similar approach is “In My Dreams”, which easily compliments the opening track in a very effective way, delving deeper into Ruiz’s overall signature sound. This song especially has an emotion-driven melody that brings out many angles of his talent, and really captures a melodic atmosphere that is heard throughout this album’s duration. These first two tracks start the album out very strong and really set the tone for what’s to come in the subsequent songs.

Another track that really grabs at your attention is “Fata Morgana”. Definitely one of the more upbeat tracks on the record, this song has a haunting melody that is ominous and mysterious. It’s a multi layered song with colorful interludes and transitions, giving it a more story-telling feel similar to a film score or soundtrack. This track especially explores many facets of Ruiz’s songwriting structures and really casts a spotlight onto the production value and artistic merit that is made apparent throughout the album. It’s a diligently crafted piece that is highly versatile and effectively showcases Ruiz’s skills both as a musician and producer. Overall, ‘Cutouts’ is a triumphant effort that will capture many musical hearts and fans of rising composers. It’s a glistening follow-up to his debut record that continues to set the bar higher as each fan discovers him. You can get your copy of the album on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad we recommended it.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Elektragaaz – “The Synaesthetic Picture Show Now Playing Part 1” EP

Very few artists have achieved the technical uniqueness of Elektragaaz. Comprised of Netherlands-based electronic composer/songwriter Poppo Redband (or just Redband for short) and a slew of guests/contributors, Elektragaaz‘s dynamic and versatile signature sound began laying down its foundation in 2017 and began hitting the ground running since its inception. Even though there is a big level of mystery surrounding primary project leader Redband, Elektragaaz‘s atmospheric textures are laid down diligently in epic proportions on their debut EP “The Synaesthetic Picture Show Now Playing Part 1”.

This six-track juggernaut is likely unlike anything you’ve ever heard when it comes to style and composure. Blasting into an upbeat tempo with opening track “Cabin Fever”, this record immediately launches into an atmospheric assault that balances style and execution. The attentiveness to detail is very apparent from the start and continues through the track’s duration with a vast array of instrumental choices and melodic measures. This opener is highly effective and really delves deeply into the musicianship factors that Elektragaaz shows no shortage of. Another highlight of this album is the song “She Walks It Like She Talks It” which also incorporates dynamic tempos but brings the levels of uniqueness in a slightly different effective direction. But one song that has an anthemic quality is closing track “Dancin’ With The Queen of Hearts” which stylistically is more ballad-like but maintains a type of intricacy that focuses more on the distinction of energy as opposed to the more in-your-face technical touches this EP has plenty of. This track is definitely a standout of its calibre and further encapsulates the distinct uniqueness that is heard throughout the runtime of this EP and really showcases the artistic merit of this project in several angles.

This EP is also a record that has staying power – the power to stay with you even long after it’s over, and will undoubtedly entice you to dive deeper into the Elektragaaz discography and career altogether. This EP is available now on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and several other digital music streaming platforms. This is a record you need to hear to believe.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Forest Robots – “Amongst A Landscape Of Spiritual Reckoning” Album

We were beyond impressed with solo artist Forest Robots‘ third album when we reviewed it last June. Now in 2021, he has conjured up a fourth album that exceeds all expectations. The new record ‘Amongst A Landscape Of Spiritual Reckoning’ diligently showcases Forest Robots‘ evolution and really brings his signature sound to the forefront in this ten-track juggernaut.

Comprised of ambient guitar swells, atmospheric textures and anthemic electronic additives throughout the album’s duration, ‘Amongst A Landscape…” truly encompasses a multi layered sound that is articulately crafted and cleverly executed. The performance and production value parallels each other perfectly and the atmosphere of the album sets a tone that encapsulates many moods throughout. It has brilliant touches of Jazz, Indie, and Orchestral instrumentals with tons of different flavors in each song to bring a unique and captivating listening experience to anyone that encounters this album. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions that have steep ups and downs, which really explores many different angles of Forest Robots‘ unique ambient style. It’s a record you need to hear to believe.

Each song meshes beautifully with the next and goes together like a storybook or concept album. The track “All Great Things Must Grow Through Dirt First” has a sampled sound of rain in the background and really puts an atmosphere into the song that is rarely heard. The dynamic use of sounds of nature really breathes life into this album and enhances the listening experience through the textures and chemistry that is conveyed in every song. It has insatiable staying power – the power to stay with you even long after it’s over.

This album deserves multiple listens and you’ll discover something new each time you encounter it. You can listen to it exclusively on BandCamp and you can find several Forest Robots releases on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and several other digital music streaming platforms.


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