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The Listening Pod: Episode I

Welcome to The Listening Pod, a new series on this blog where people from QM Records can share the music that they have been listening to with you. The focus will be on emerging and breakthrough talents, as well as artists that belong to the underground music scene. Expect variety, expect new listening experiences, and most of all, expect regular updates to your playlists.


Nineteen-year-old Col3trane just dropped his new mixtape titled BOOT, an acronym for ‘Breathing Out of Time’, and I am here to instruct you all to go out and cop it right now.

It builds on his debut EP called Tsarina, which dropped late last year and caught the eye of current pop sensation, Dua Lipa. As a result, she added him as a support act on her UK & Ireland spring tour. In a very recent BBC 1Xtra interview, Cole let us know that — start to finish — the mixtape took about seven months to produce. This newcomer is bursting with creativity on BOOT, bringing a sophisticated melting pot of R&B and trap sounds that would have people thinking he’s been in the game for more than a couple of years.

BOOT takes you on a trip through the winding path of self-growth as a burgeoning young-adult in a world that flings him between countries and cultures frequently; a kaleidoscopic reflection of the people he meets and the fickle state of mind that his sudden life changes have brought to him. The EP starts us out on a hallucinatory trip that took inspiration from the cult film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), with the track bearing a similar name to the film. It’s an introduction to the first single from the mixtape, Britney. The two tracks sit interlinked and although initially, it seems that Britney is about a young girl Cole is trying to court, the track actually reveals a hallucinatory trip that is reminiscent of the visuals from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is all wrapped up in warped sounds juxtaposed by a thumping distorted drum beat when the pre-chorus comes in.

The energy undulates throughout the mixtape and the closing track is a soulful contemporary R&B/hip-hop track titled Tyler with yet another film reference, although this time its Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom: “Bringing Camp Ivanhoe problems / got Suzy in the closet”.

BOOT is an accomplished project that tantalises its listeners with the promise that Col3trane’s talent is only in the making. He is one to put on your radars now because this kid is about to blow up, for real.


Another nineteen-year-old next, Bellaire is the Parisian house producer making waves on the underground scene in France with his jazz-inflected and hip-hop inspired beats. He is a producer who is very new to my radar, I was only introduced to him at a house party last week, but I am already hooked onto his infectious groove. Bellaire’s audience has been growing online, and earlier this year he played alongside DJ Seinfeld at Paris’ renowned venue, Concrete. This French native is one to watch, particularly after the drop of his debut EP Paris City Jazz.

The EP opens with the namesake track, Paris City Jazz, which has garnered well over two-million views on the Houseum Youtube channel since its upload during May last year. The track starts with the crackled sounds of a gramophone and a building hearty bass, which grows into a light tinkling of symbols and jazzy piano chords. As the track builds to its first drop, Bellaire’s classical training comes into play as he shows off his saxophone skills. It’s a track that would get even the most reluctant dancer off their feet, throwing their hips around and two-stepping into the sunrise.

Another star track from the EP is Street Blues. It showcases Bellaire’s high-quality production and taste for pure fun with a sped-up sample from Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s track Ill Street Blues, accompanied by breaks that seem to include, to my ears, a xylophone.

As an introduction, Paris City Jazz throws us into a fun-filled listening experience that doesn’t feel repetitive and has so much soul that it practically explodes through the sound system. Plus, there's more material online, which includes the single Ah! and a six-track mixtape called Saint Amour. We should feel lucky that the incredibly young producer abandoned his hip-hop ventures to explore house music. With the saturation of house producers all over the online sphere of music, Bellaire is a breath of fresh air, and one can only hope he makes more trips to the UK soon.


Finally, I’d like to introduce you to a supernova of a rapper and someone I frequently vibe to, Ciscero. His songs are true collaborations, working with the flows of featured vocalists and showcasing their talents as much as his own. Here’s a list of a few rappers and singers that Ciscero has worked with over the past three years: Goldlink, Jay Prince, April George, Elujay, and Sugg Savage. These are merely a few of the many talents Ciscero has brought along during his creative process, and he has noted in past interviews how he enjoys pulling friends onto tracks and the way that each talent ‘[brings them] to life’ for him.

Ciscero’s sound is a culmination of East Coast influences, as he was born in New York and moved to Maryland when he was twelve-years-old, but he is a DMV representative through-and-through. His collaborations are evident of that, as both Goldlink and April George are from Washington, D.C..

Ciscero’s flow bounces and the production often includes bass-lines that pulse and grind low with scattered trap-inflected snare beats, especially on the tracks Pressure (feat. April George and Matt McGhee) and Function (feat. Cheakaity, Goldlink, and April George) that were produced by Supah Mario from Atlanta. Ciscero’s flow is mad on the Goldlink track Fall in Love, and he effortlessly navigates the nostalgic groove-beat that renowned producers BADBADNOTGOOD and KAYTRANADA threw in.

We are still waiting for his longer project, the Devil’s Pie EP, to drop. In the meantime, I advise checking out his discography so far and get hooked because with Goldlink blowing up the way he is, Ciscero won’t be far behind.

by April Izzard

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