At the very end of July, Manchester producer and rapper Abnormal Sleepz released his latest album ‘The Meditape III’ – and we’ve pretty much had it on repeat all month.
So, it was only fair we crowned it The Manc Audio ‘Album of the Month’ for August.
If you’re familiar with Abnormal Sleepz, you’ll know that he’s all about honest, introspective and contemplative lyrics.
His music is a refined blend of soul, hip-hop and rap which produces a laid-back, easy-listening soundscape which compliments a multitude of moods.
And as Sleepz has become more versed in his craft and more experienced as an artist, he’s fast-become an integral part of the urban music scene in Manchester.
Armed with a clear vision for his music, he set out on the release of his first solo series of mixtapes ‘The Meditape’, based on the ‘Ten Perfections’ that are practised in Buddhist culture.
Above anything, the project’s experiment concept is testament to Sleepz’ fresh approach to music making. And this latest album, ‘The Meditape III’ is the third instalment to the mixtape series.
The Manc Audio caught up with Abnormal Sleepz to learn more about this intriguing project.
“The Meditape mixtapes are really about a sound being a metaphor for how I identify with myself and the person I want to become through my growth in life and music,” said Sleepz. “They each stood for different times of my life, all a few years apart.”
So, as number three in the series, we wanted to know how this one differs from its predecessors.
“It differs in a way that this is the first Meditape I have included my own production on,” said Sleepz. “The growth, quality and flow of this one makes it its own. It has feels of the earlier tapes with a newer sound – it’s a lot more mature now.”
“‘The Meditape III’ is all about easy-on-the-ear vibes. It isn’t supposed to be too serious, and is more of a vibe to allow myself and others to just get on through life whilst being present.
“The importance of now is a big thing these days. But the main thing was growth, where I was to where I am, and how life experiences and my relationship with spirituality have helped me get to this point.”
On listening to the album, you’ll spot that Sleepz is a big fan of collaborating.
So, you might recognise the voices of some fellow Manchester artists throughout the mixtape. For example, features from [ K S R ] on the track ‘Down Down’, with Francesca on ‘Saturday Story’ and with HMD on ‘Running’.
“Collaborating always allows me space to think and do more,” he said. “More brains are greater than just one sometimes. So, to be able to connect and have these people on my journey in different ways was a blessing.
“I work with people I’m a fan of regardless of their status and how known they are.”
We’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite song.
But stand-out tracks include ‘Lem & Ginger’ – a deeper insight into the usual Abnormal Sleepz productions – as well as the more upbeat ‘Not Today Satan’ which is on a total different vibe.
But both highlight the peaks and troughs that make up the journey on this album.
Sleepz admits this is actually the second version of the album, after scrapping the first. He’d been working on the first version for about a year before deciding to reinvent it into what it is now.
Whilst this might have added a couple of months to the production time, it proves Sleepz’ attentive and committed approach to producing the best possible work – and that you can’t argue with.
So, with the success of the Meditape trilogy, we’re keen to know what Sleepz is working on next. The answer: lots.
“I’m looking to provide a few more visuals, feature releases and productions. “I’d like to spend time pushing the tape and getting on as many stages as possible. The creative process never stops. So, of course, more music will be made for the next rodeo.”
Co-op Live is the first of its kind to be built with concert acoustics as a priority.
Not only will gig-goers experience state-of-the-art acoustics, there’ll be nothing to detract from the visual spectacles on stage either – the bowl will feature no corporate branding, and soundproof black curtains will be used in the suites that line the edges of level two.
A spokesperson for the venue said: “This morning I am happy to reveal that Co-op Live will be opening our doors to fans in April 2024.
“It’s huge kudos to BAM, and the dozens of local subcontractors working on the project, that we are well within our original timeframe and on-budget given the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, supply chain shortages, and an energy crisis.
“We’re proud to be on the home stretch to delivering Co-op Live and we can’t wait to invite fans in to experience the biggest and most sustainable arena in the UK.”
Liam Gallagher apologises on Noel’s behalf for brother’s ‘p*ss poor’ Joy Division cover
Liam Gallagher has issued an apology “on behalf of [his] family” for his brother’s cover of a song by another legendary Manchester band.
Stop the presses, breaking news – the Gallagher brothers are slagging each other off again.
In what will be a shock to absolutely no one, Liam Gallagher has hopped onto his favourite social media platform Twitter once again this week to take another unprovoked aim at his beloved older brother – and this time, call him out for his recent cover of the iconic 1980 hit ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by fellow Manchester band Joy Division.
Noel Gallagher recently performed a rendition of the Joy Division classic on BBC Radio 2 as part of the radio station’s popular Piano Room series, and was accompanied by his band, High Flying Birds, for the track, alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra.
The former Oasis co-lead vocalist and guitarist explained that he had chosen to cover the song as he would often play “this version of it at home down the years”.
But Noel did reveal to host Vernon Kay that he was cautious about doing so, and went on to express some initial trepidation about performing his rendition and putting it out into the world, mainly because “it’s such an iconic song, and being from Manchester… well, this is going to be tricky.”
The 56-year-old admitted he kept asking himself “How can I get away with that?”
He continued: “But now I’ve got my own studio, I went and did a little demo of it and I was like ‘you know what? I think I might be able to pull this off.”
One person who clearly didn’t think Noel could “pull this off” was his brother Liam, though.
Reacting to the cover in typical Liam Gallagher fashion, the former Oasis frontman wrote in a now-viral tweet yesterday evening: “I must once again apologise on behalf of my family for r kid’s p*ss poor and damn rite blasphemous version of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart.
“Tut f***ing tut SORRY.”
And unfortunately for Noel, the comments underneath BBC Radio 2’s post of a snippet of the cover on its official Instagram account appears to show that a fair few others agree with Liam on this one.
“If you wanna win a race, choose NG as a competitor. The only one that’s been able to destroy Oasis, his band, the music. Terrible cover,” one person wrote.
“That’s a terrible terrible cover,” another person simply stated.
A third wrote in the comments: “Kinda sounds boring doesn’t it? I love Noel, but this cover ain’t it chief,” while a fourth added: “I hope he realise by himself that this is one of his worst covers ever,” and another, at least politely, claimed it was: “Definitely a bit different to the original.”