“Alive” by German producer @NiklasIbach is a compelling story awash in 80’s melodic bliss


“Alive” by Germany’s Niklas Ibach is one of the more distinctive songs that I’ve heard lately for many different reasons that have to do with the talent that it is the mix.  Firstly it’s a compelling story of being dedicated to someone, no matter how much they may question you, written by the always ace pairing of Charlie Mason and Daniel Volpe.  Secondly, that’s Daniel – erstwhile known as singer/songwriter Zorro Blakk – singing (uncredited) in a much lower octave than I’ve heard before.  He ends up sounding a lot like UK singer Peter Murphy at times, and that puts a unique 80’s spin on the song.  Lastly, 20 year old Niklas’ production offers poignantly crafted melodic bliss that suggests a Vince Clarke in the making, to counteract the brash-sounding vocal and support the conviction of the story.  All in all “Alive” comes across as somewhat familiar but also stands out proudly from the rest.

Published in: on September 22, 2018 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Perfect Mess” is a cornucopia of worldwide talent: @SteveVoidmusic @Navarramusic & @Laurellmusic

STEVE VOID & NAVARRA featuring LAURELL, “Perfect Mess” (free DL)

Music is a global effort, and being from one part of the world or another no longer seems to matter if the talents all gel, as is the case with “Perfect Mess”.  With effervescent synths fashioned by The Netherlands’ prolific Steve Void and fellow Dutch production duo Navarra, it’s a timeless, seamless song co-written and sung by Canadian singer Laurell, who you’ve recently heard on Quintino’s “Good Vibes”.  One of her co-writers here is Germany’s Daniel Volpe, whose songs have graced these blog pages over many years including as recently as Friday co-writing Sean Smith’s “Fire”.  “Perfect Mess” seems to be destined for clubs all over the world with its universal appeal.  It’s got a great balance of potent vocal, graceful melodies that switch it up, and effects that don’t run rampant over the best parts of the song.  Kudos to all involved – get it for free at the link above while you can 🙂


Published in: on November 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cheers to friendship and original songs like “Brothers” by @Saxity featuring #Strøm

SAXITY featuring STRØM, “Brothers”

Cologne, Germany-based duo Saxity have been noted this year for a variety of cover versions – from “Closer” and “In The Name Of Love” to “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and “Renegades” – and remixes.  They also successfully flourish separately, as Koni and Stan Sax, and with Saxity they bring out a happy collaboration of EDM songs that infuses live instruments, particularly guitar and saxophone.  So when I got asked – you read that right – if I knew any songwriters that might be interesting for Saxity to work with, the first one to come to mind was the illustrious Charlie Mason, about whose songs I’ve written too many times to count.  And while working with someone whose song (“Rise Like A Phoenix”) won Eurovision in 2014 might have not been on their radar, the extended collaboration, which also brought in the equally amazing Daniel Volpe, has worked like a charm.  And I don’t use that adage lightly here, because “Brothers” is loaded with charm, an ode to friendship and good ol’ brotherly love, enhanced even one step further by the gritty but sincere vocal by Strøm.  So this is where the suggestion has led (cue big cheesy grin) 😀 “Brothers” has everything that pop and dance music fans will adore – an unintrusive deep house rhythm, guitar, saxophone, contemporary lyrics that sink in deep, and a melody that simply gleams.  “Brothers” will make you smile and/or dance as it should.  Saxity has a real winner – not to be missed.  Listen to it at the Spotify link above and download it from your favourite digital store.

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Very Good News Indeed! It’s The Fairy Tale of Zorro Blakk (@zblakk)!


ZORRO BLAKK, The Fairy Tale Of Zorro Blakk

The Fairy Tale of Zorro Blakk is about as enjoyably unconventional as a dance/pop album might be.  As I posted about his duet with Lulu Bell on the just lovely “Fireworks” a while back (and it’s included in the album), the good Zorro (aka songwriter Daniel Volpe) has crazy way with melody, and he pulls out all stops in various ways, with some addictive ear candy in the mix.  Why do I want to write about Jeff Lynne/ELO-like melodic comparisons? 😉

So we are offered ballads like “Fireworks” and “So Beautiful”; emotional, empathetic dance pop like “The Red BMX” and “I Am The Night”; and full throttle dance blasts, which to me are the showcase pieces of the album, namely the opener “Big City Girls (Don’t Fall In Love With Small Town Boys)” (which needs both Matt Stormby and Ricardo Autobahn remixes, pretty please 😀 ) , and the fine collaboration with Deniz Olivieri on the singalong “Good News (For People Who Love Bad News)” (and a rollicking trance-y Tim Tim remix bound to tease and please club-goers and DJ’s).  

Zorro has a slight but fine-sounding boy-next-door kind of voice, and I sure prefer it without the effects… the only song truly out of place here is “Red & Gold” which sounds like it was meant for another record.  Otherwise The Fairy Tale of Zorro Blakk is beautifully and carefully produced and a great start to the career of Daniel’s alter ego.  Buy it on iTunes and listen below to the premiere of “Good News (For People Who Love Bad News)” on Larry Flick’s Sirius-FM show The Morning Jolt, featuring the one and only My Fizzy Pop (Paul Reynolds) himself.  

Published in: on May 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ballade suprême! Meet Zorro Blakk @zblakk & Lulu Bell with “Fireworks”


Soft songs are often in so much competition with upbeat ones that a really strong one has to soar above the rest.  “Fireworks” by Zorro Blakk & Lulu Bell does exactly that.  Their two voices blend together fluidly which makes the emotion and sincerity in the song very real.  But there’s more to this than just the song and performance (and despite kind of a plain-ish video).  For Zorro Blakk’s alter ego is the marvelous Daniel Volpe, who along with co-writers Thomas Lipp and Charlie Mason, placed Kaden’s “Black Light” and “I Have A Name” by Osvaldo Supino in my 2013 year end at #2 and #38 respectively.  And there’s more to come – the full album The Fairy Tale Of Zorro Blakk arrives (hopefully worldwide) tomorrow.  

Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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