In the Mix: Channel your inner 90s R&B funk

Sons of Soul – Tony! Toni! Toné!: Sons of Soul was released on June 22, 1993. This is the group’s third studio album, that would go on to generate the most success. The trio falls under several genres such as R&B, soul, and funk. Tony! Toni! Toné! consists of brothers Raphael and D’wayne Wiggins, and their cousin Timothy Christian Riley. Sons of Soul was written and produced entirely by the group in Trinidad. The trio worked with various musicians and incorporated important contemporary and old school recording equipment.

The album works as a cohesive piece of funky art. Each song that follows the next is related and fits into this hour-long love story and journey to self-discovery. ‘Leavin,’ is an emotional, sonically sound, romantic track about wanting to escape with someone. The vocal delivery in this track is impeccable and natural. The first track titled, ‘If I Had No Loot,’ is a highly regarded, distinct track. ‘My Ex-Girlfriend,’ is a playful, funny, and groovy track on the album. The tune features jazz instruments, and explicit details about a past girlfriend being a ‘hoe.’

Some of the vocals in the tracks may sound dangerously similar, but it doesn’t take away from the trio’s creativity and talent. The group is able to fit into the 90s R&B genre of their time, yet remains one of the only R&B groups at this time that was still mastering the funky and soulful sound characterized by the music of the 70s and 80s. The group works together to write music, however, the lead singer and bassist of the trio, Raphael Wiggins, handled most of the songwriting on this album.

The three musicians really progressed with this album, mastering their unique sound and ability to write fun, yet meaningful lyrics. ‘Slow Wine,’ features an interlude before the track begins about their trip to Trinidad and when they tried this ‘slow wine.’ With this record, you can tell how creative these guys are. The track titled ‘Anniversary,’ was one of the most popular songs from their most successful album. The chorus repeats, “Do you know what today is? It’s our anniversary, made for you and me,” sings the trio. The interesting thing about this group is their ability to sing simple, real lyrics that sound like so much more. They had a vision, conducted it and then built upon it — sonically creating their own boundaries in a time dedicated to grunge, rock and roll and West Coast rap.

Marc Romboy & Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra Boiler Room Live Performance: Music is an ever-lasting medium of expression that is constantly changing and adjusting to the world we live in. Mark Romboy & Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra demonstrate how possible it is to combine entirely different genres effectively and create a sound unlike any before.

 The full performance begins with a beautiful tune from a flute, that then transcends to a majestic tune with the violin and flute. Several rhythmic layers are added to the beautiful tune. Finally, every instrument is used to add to this powerful sound. The harp comes in perfectly at around four minutes in. This instrument adds incredible depth to the performance. Mark Romboy does an excellent job in properly and gracefully cueing his musicians.  

The performance segues from light harmonics, to deep rooted harmonics. Adding layers, then taking them away without a clear transition. The orchestra is trained to master this crescendo.

At 10 minutes in, rhythm is added to the performance and the technical experts make the performance even better; now it is complete and perfect.

The musical technicians add sound bytes that create even more of a profound sound and turn this tune into a more psychedelic, groovy performance. At 14 minutes in, the violins and  bass players join the drummers, flutes and harps, and the set begins to sound like a techno EDM song.

At 18 minutes in, the orchestra works together to maintain that spiritual, heavenly sound. At 21 minutes in, the orchestra begins their next tune with the DJs behind the producing boards. The sounds produced are unique and vibrant, and escalate further with the addition of instrumentation. Romboy and the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra work together to explore the unconventional nature of integrating elements of electronic EDM and classical music.

We’re surprised to find just how well these two genres can go together with the proper usage of elements from each. The group uses drops in EDM music, but implements the importance of the instrumental sound that adds such great and unique value. At 33 minutes in, the producers turn the performance to a house-like EDM beat. Incandescent sounds vibrate throughout the room and the melody forms with the help of these skillful instrumentalists. For the first time, an orchestra has gotten me to bob my head to and fro as if it is a rap or EDM song.