FEATURED EP: Oscar Jerome

London-based musician and singer-songwriter Oscar Jerome released his eponymous debut EP last week. After spending years grafting in the music scene and refining his talent, the young artist unveils a work consisting of four weighty tracks that are certainly a testament to that.

It’s hard to define Jerome’s sound as it’s a peculiar mixture. The influences of jazz, hip-hop and soul are clear, but it’s more aptly described as alternative. With contemplative and obscure lyrics, and arrangements that have carefully been thought out, he creates something original and mysterious that captures your attention from start to finish.

Casually, Jerome rap-sings on the up-beat opening track “Give Back What You Stole From Me,” featuring a cool, repetitive hook; whereas on the slower “2 Sides” words slip out, which, coupled with the moody tone, forges a hazy recount from what feels like a dark room in his head. When he shouts sometimes his voice becomes fiercely coarse, and throughout the EP Oscar’s delivery sits comfortably in amongst the instrumentation of electric guitar, drums, bass, saxophone, trumpet, keys – there’s even a string quartet on the last track “Evil Song”.

Produced by Jerome, Jay Sylvian, Thomas Heigl and Maxwell Owin, this EP feels like getting lost in a mystery novel. The ambient and abstract nature of his compositions is dream-like and well worth a listen. And if you’re slightly bewildered or dazed after the first listen, that’s a good thing – it means you should give it another spin.

EXHIBITION: “Don’t Trust These Walls” at 123space

You never know what to expect when you walk onto Stokes Croft any night of the week. There are dozens of cafes and bars always packed with brooding or buzzing punters socializing their sorrows away, music is always pulsating through the walls of these same establishments, and there is certainly an ever-present people-driven spirit that supports and welcomes art of pretty much any format. Last Wednesday, siblings Beulah Davina, ThisisDA and Eric Sings picked the rustic and minimalistic 123space to host an exhibition displaying their art and music.

Creative talent obviously runs strong in the blood and it’s really nice to see a sister and her two brothers collaborating this way. It was a successful night with many of their friends in attendance, as well as several curious passers-by who wandered in to take a look (even a white cat snuck in to see what the fuss was about). I brought my friend Salma along and after making the rounds we pondered the overall vibe. To both of us we perceived pain, juxtaposed with peace and self-identity, and of course strength of familial bonds. At the end of the night ThisisDA got up on stage and gave us a few verses. Take a look:

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