SINGLE REVIEW: MABGATE (ft. August Charles) – ‘Tell It How I See It’ 


Oh wow, this is bloody amazing. This burns with an emotional feel that somehow lies under what you hear. It’s chock full of beautiful sounds that thrill, that leave you gasping for breath.

I could carry on like this, but I think I need to step back for a moment here. You see when I saw that MABGATE had teamed up with August Charkes it made me more than a little excited. August Charles was my random Long Division artist last year, and what I heard was frankly astounding. He has a voice that encompasses jazz, soul and something quite theatrical, a voice that is pure emotion. I just knew that the combination of him and MABGATE would produce something amazing. I wasn’t wrong.

The sound here is a magical mix of desert blues, jazz and soul. The emotion of the track is conveyed in this angular sparse sound where instruments dart in and out over an oddly off-kilter drum. It’s sparse until a piano bursts in with a sound that sits somewhere near big band jazz and classical. Now this sounds as though it’s going to be an awkward fit, and it is to a certain extent. But you see, that’s the entire point; it’s all about communicating the emotion of the song  

And over this August Charles weaves his voice into the track, telling a story. He comments “The guys came to me at a time when I was in a situationship with an Austrian girl who came to Leeds to study… immediately when I heard the track, I knew it had to be about how I was feeling in that moment, half of me, was fighting to maintain this lacklustre relationship and the other half was trying to shine a light on the fact that she was in the wrong and I was getting crucified for saying the obvious.”

Now do you see how the mix of feels and sounds conveys the mixed feelings of the song? 

MABGATE are making some absolutely wonderful music. ‘Tell It How I See It’ is showing us another beautiful facet of their sound. This is a must listen.

The info

A part of Leeds’ vibrant jazz scene, MABGATE were formed against the backdrop of the pandemic, coming together whilst living in a converted pub that became a hub for music creation. The trio consists of drummer Richard Moulton, organist/pianist Nico Widdowson and guitarist/producer Ed Allen.

The forthcoming EP ‘MABGATE’ is the first project written and recorded outside of the confines of lockdown, widening its scope and creative process and leading to the band shedding the confines of being an ‘organ trio’. It’s a celebration of creative freedom with a cinematic approach to songwriting, contrasting euphoric melodies against tense harmony, angular riffs and expertly crafted, crunching grooves. Across the project, the band invite contributors from the Leeds community, including saxophonist Alex Fisher and bass clarinetist Joel Stedman (Ancient Infinity Orchestra).

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.