Friday, November 17, 2017

The Witzard Presents: Ila Zair's ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 Beat Tape & Comprehensive Interview with Jaubi Guitarist, Producer & Beat-maker Ali Riaz Baqar (World-wide Web Premier)

Since conducting and publishing our 2016 Deconstructed Ego-centric interview, I've been in contact with Jaubi guitarist and producer Ali Riaz Baqar every couple weeks; he's been painstakingly writing, recording, and meticulously re-arranging his Hip-Hop-minded solo debut as Ila Zair ("Ali Riaz" backwards.) While Ali Riaz Baqar has been fine-tuning his premier release, Jaubi's The Deconstructed Ego EP has garnered wide-spread acclaim from the likes of Bandcamp Daily, Beat Tape Co-Op, Flea Market Funk, Music Is MY Sanctuary, and Stones Throw. With their Astigmatic Records-released EP, Jaubi have single-handedly introduced the Hip-Hop-loving world to a unique brand of Experimental Pakistani Instrumental Hip-Hop, largely due to their critically-acclaimed cover of J Dilla's "Time: The Donut of The Heart." I've personally heard at least three different versions of Baqar's self-produced beat tape, which through the months, has been referred to as simply "BEAT TAPE," Emancipation of a Statistic, STAEB ("BEATS" backwards,) and most recently and quite fittingly, ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1.

Although they consist of various track permutations, all three versions I've heard of Ila Zair's ZAIRISMS contain the same Middle Eastern-influenced sonic fingerprint mixed with undertones of 1990's Western Hip-Hop. BEAT TAPE/Emancipation of a Statistic/STAEB/ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 all contain similar versions of "Dedication," "Mind Surrender," "Soulvibin,'" and "Time's Up" and it's been interesting for me to hear Ila Zair's unique production style grow and progress. ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 is a collection of beats and song sketches crafted after the release of Jaubi's debut EP, The Deconstructed Ego in August 2016. Ali Riaz Baqar says his "love for Hip-Hop is deep and not only evident in the compositions with JAUBI, but also influences his approach to any type of music, in general." We're proud to be premiering Ila Zair's ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 beat tape here at The Witzard, after a year's-worth of secretive bumpin'! Along with ZAIRISMS, all of Ila Zair's assorted social media channels are live today, as well as a comprehensive interview with mastermind Ali Riaz Baqar himself, which can be found down below. ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 is now available on Ila Zair's newly-launched Bandcamp page on a Name-Your-Price basis.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
... with The Sounds of Science

I. I'm a bit curious, Ali: coming from your background, what made you initially want to record and release a proper "BEAT TAPE?"

Hip-Hop has always been my first love; I started my musical journey by making beats when I was in late high school. My best friend and I used to make beats and play them to each other, sometimes in person or sometimes over the phone. Then, if we were at a party or out with friends and we had the beats, people sometimes freestyled over them. They were the good old days. After leaving high school and then, discovering the guitar, I continued to listen to Hip-Hop, but stopped making beats completely, as I devoted my free time to the guitar, which I'm still trying to learn. There comes a point though, when you need a break and try something different, so in my case, I went back to my beat-making. I never really intended to release a "beat tape," but they just accumulated so I thought why not.

II. What were some of your greatest inspirations and influences while recording ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1?

I would say that the old school New York or East Coast Boom-Bap style of Hip-Hop production is the biggest influence on me, as it’s much more Jazz-orientated. In terms of actual producers who influence me, I would say Easy Mo Bee, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and of course, J Dilla are the main ones.

III. What was your typical recording process like? Is ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 a sample-based project? It's really hard to tell and if so, you must have really interpolated the original compositions well!

It is all sample-based. As tempting as it was to play stuff over the samples, I tried to resist the temptation. I didn’t have access to machines, like an MPC or [E-mu] SP-1200, so everything I did was on the laptop. After I found a potential sample within a song, then, I would isolate that part with Amazing Slow Downer and then, import [it] into GarageBand and then, micro-chop the sample to fit the drumbeat. Some samples, I [so] finely chopped up that the original sample may be unrecognizable. Every track has probably 3-4 samples from different songs. It was hard trying to figure out the key for all the songs, but I eventually and painstakingly, did it by ear because I didn’t use a keyboard. Once all the samples were laid out, then, I would use QuickTime Player to record the audio and make the song in real-time. It honestly, was a painful process. Some songs would take a few hours, but most of them ended up taking days or even weeks.

IV. Would you mind talking a bit about ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 cover art? Where is it from and what does it signify? It's a very striking image and I must say, I'm very intrigued by it!

The cover art is an old Sufi picture. I'm not really sure what it signifies, but I imagine it would signify the troubles of exposing yourself and dealing with temptations. However, like you said, it’s a very striking image!

V. Do you have any current plans to revisit your ZAIRISMS, Vol. 1 EP with a handful of rappers to properly lace it up with some rhymes?

There’s no plans currently, but I would love to collaborate with good emcees and give them my beats. That would be dope! If not, then, I’d still intermittently make beats.

VI. What's next for Jaubi? Are you guys currently working on a proper follow-up to The Deconstructed Ego EP?

We have a single coming out soon called "Lahore State of Mind," which is an interpretation of the Nas & DJ Premier classic "NY State of Mind." The video is done, so now, we're just waiting on the [administrative] side of things to settle. We also performed at Lahore Music Meet 2017 earlier this year and we made a few songs during the rehearsals, but I think it’ll take a good few months to come up with material that doesn’t sound like our previous EP. I’ll be playing electric guitar, instead of acoustic.

Carl Kavorkian Assembles Metal-tinged Beat-maker Bedrock #12 & Unveils Brooding MANIKINETER EP2 Missing (Cult Member Music)

"I am Carl Kavorkian: rapper/vocalist/producer and (currently, the sole) member of MANIKINETER. I'm originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania and have been involved with music since seventh grade. I started writing raps because I thought I could do it better than MC Hammer; I started producing because I needed original stuff to rap on; I started screaming because it was fun as f**k. The idea of taking a canvas of complete silence and painting it with sound into whatever you want it to be or whatever it evolves into, is a liberating feeling. Here are three albums that had an impact on my production."

- Carl Kavorkian (MANIKINETER)

I. Redman - Dare Iz a Darkside (1994)

"If you close your eyes and listen to this, it really is like a journey through a f***ed up world. Even with the humor sprinkled throughout, it's a very moody album from front to finish. The skits tying the different stops together, the brooding, Funky basslines throughout, and the gritty Funk samples all come together as one and made listening to this album, an actual "experience." This tape stayed in the tape deck and brings back a ton of smoked-out memories."

II. Techno Animal - The Brotherhood of The Bomb (2001)

"This album was... loud. Like, you couldn't listen to it at your normal Rocking out volume, LOUD. You had to turn it down at least two notches, so you could still be aware there was a world around you. It was great! Songs stacked with a barrage of sounds I had never heard before, back when it came out. When I heard the first single, "We Can Rebuild You," it was one of those "yo, WTF is this?!?!" moments. The unabashed abrasiveness of the entire album stood out to me in a time when Hip-Hop was aggressive, but was still dialed back just a bit, sonically."

III. PsyOpus - Ideas of Reference (2004)

"Plain and simple, this album permanently skewed my whole outlook on music. Especially, Metal. After hearing it, I no longer could settle for average, safe, cookie-cutter music. I remember searching out a lot of Avant Garde and Math/Technical Metal for years. If I could nod my head steadily throughout, then, I wanted to hear it. Meshuggah suddenly made sense, after dismissing it on the first listen a year or two previously. The fact numerous people could sync up and play the strangest of time signatures amazed me (and still does.) This opened the door to seeking out music that challenges the listener. It also reinforced the just-go-ahead-and-do-it attitude, when second guessing where I really wanted to go with my music. Especially, towards screaming over Hip-Hop beats, which I had been toying with around 2002-03. I felt as though I could now fly my freak flag proudly. I credit hearing "Death, I" as a pivotal changing point in my attitude toward a lot of things in life and to not be ashamed of what I create. PS: I want to do a track with [guitarist] Chris Arp one day."

Fresh off a raucous Thursday night show at Everybody Hits Philadelphia with "FREAKED OUT AMERICAN LOSER" Juiceboxxx and Snake Boy Gang, Carl Kavorkian decided to sporadically unleash his second MANIKINETER EP, Missing, just hours before its scheduled Friday, November 17th release. As you may or may not know, MANIKINETER is the latest Experimental Noise-Rap/Punk side-project for Kavorkian. MANIKINETER is one of the most genuine, enjoyable "Rap-Rock"-minded projects in years and quite honestly, what Carl's making is light-years away from your typical Limp Bizkit and Lil' Wayne Rebirth types. It's something more along the lines of Kanye's Aggro-Rap magnum opus Yeezus with an added dash of Death Grips and Ministry. For his live MANIKINETER show, Carl Kavorkian generally rocks a leather execution's mask and sweat-drenched tank top and creates the frantic musical accompaniment live on his beat machine. Missing EP quickly enters the territory you would expect MANIKINETER's Mannequin Eater follow-up to veer into: slightly more beefed up beats, clean up production work, relevant lyrical content—Missing was created during the 2016 Presidential Election—multi-layered soundscapes, and just a more crisp sound, overall. You can tell that Carl Kavorkian is really coming into his own with MANIKINETER and while I still regularly bump his Mannequin Eater EP, this just seems like a more fully-realized version of what his vision was always meant to be! MANIKINETER's Missing EP is now available to stream or download on Bandcamp with additional multi-media packages including a cassette tape pre-order and one-of-a-kind 20x10" Missing Acrylic Painting rendered by Carl Kavorkian himself.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3 Feet High & Rising: Height Keech-backing Cornish "Abstract Deconstructed Folk" Band Zapoppin' Unleash Frantic Live at THE CURSE (Last Shop Recs/Damnsonic)

Earlier this month, I got a cold-sent email from a fellow named Luke Richards entitled "Zapoppin' (UK band just been touring with Height.)" Luke was of course, referring to Height Keech's recent MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN UK TOUR with Zapoppin' AKA his own band spanning six consecutive dates from 10.18-23. Luke Richards went on to mention that Height suggested I might be interested in their new album, Live at THE CURSE, for potential review on The Witzard. Zapoppin' not only opened for Height, but backed him "with drums and organ on his sets" playing new arrangements of his MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN compositions and various tracks from throughout his storied discography. Zapoppin' is a self-described Powerskiffle/"Electrick" organ and drums duo consisting of Luke Richards & Matthew Collington hailing from Falmouth, Cornwall (England.) When asked what they might cite as their greatest sources of influence and inspiration, Richards replied: "we started out being into things like Minutemen, Daniel Johnston, those Anti-Folk bands, Primus, and Tom Waits. With [Live at THE CURSE], we've looked to Suicide, Butthole Surfers, The Make-Up... obviously, there's a lot of 60's Pop and Rock in there and New Wave. We listen to a lot of music!" It's quite hard to peg a genre-blending/creating band like Zapoppin', but if pressed, I would compare them to Gypsy Punks Gogol Bordello, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock's short-lived side-project Ugly Casanova, wailer Tom Waits, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Live at THE CURSE was recorded during Zapoppin's Spring 2016 UK tour and documents their show at "legendary Cornish venue," The Curse; consisting of 10 frantic tracks whizzing by in about 30 minutes, Live at THE CURSE features beefed-up sections from Parma Violence (2009,) The First Four Singles & Other Pearly Wotnot (2011,) Ugly Musick (2013,) and St. Kreun: Songs of Land & Waterways (2016) as well as two previously-unreleased recordings, "Look It Up In a Book" and "Theme from a Spelling Bee." Zapoppin's Live at THE CURSE is now available on Last Shop Recs & Damnsonic and was released just in time for this year's Cassette Store Day, which fell on October 14, 2017. Limited edition cassette tapes and "good ol' fashioned compact discs, like from the 90's" were pressed up to celebrate the occasion; both formats are still available on Bandcamp for a limited time. Each CD and cassette purchase will be accompanied by a complimentary digital album. A few short, cell phone-shot clips from Height Keech's MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN UK TOUR with Zapoppin'—including a spirited rendition of Height's recent "DEAD RIDER, RIDE ON"—are currently available to view on Dragonfruit's Facebook page. It appears as though organ player Luke Richards and drummer Matthew Collington are presently holed up in the studio working on Zapoppin's proper follow-up to 2016's St. Kreun: Songs of Land & Waterways.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WORDS HURT Producer Lang Vo Assembles Beat-maker Bedrock #11 & The Witzard Exclusive "OFF INTO THE DISTANCE" from SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS Sessions (FREE Download)

"My name is Lang Vo. I'm one half of WORDS HURT with Def Jux alum ALASKA and the other half of the group REINFORCED STEEL with my friend and sage, Kwamizzle. I've been producing and making beats for the last 20+ years. Back in the heyday, before I had kids, I used to work the Columbus, Ohio scene and did shows with Camu Tao and opened for his group, S.A. Smash. I've opened for Atmosphere, Mr. Lif [& Akrobatik AKA] The Perceptionists, Blueprint with Soul Position [RJD2], etc. Although, I never hit "The Big Time," I had a great time back then. My last show was a show with Killah Priest in 2009. Once I started having kids, I still made music and did a few shows here and there in Austin, Texas, but staying out late and having drunk people dump beer on my equipment didn't seem as fun anymore. I didn't pick it back up again seriously, until I started working with Alim Wade, a rapper in Atlanta. He started sending my beats out to people like Kool A.D. and Mr. Muthaf***in' eXquire; people started Following me (and Blocking me) on my Twitter and I eventually, befriended ALASKA, when he ran Ever since then, we worked on a few things here and there, until I mixed one of his mixtapes. I jacked the vocals and did my own beats on them and sent them back to him, birthing WORDS HURT and thus, bringing [me] back out of the dark."

- Lang Kim Vo (WORDS HURT)

I. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

"Every Hip-Hop head my age, who heard this album for the first time, had their world stop and change overnight. The very first [drum] kick and snare melted my [perspective] of time and space. It was 1993, I was 14, and I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had already been trying to figure out how to make little beats on my moms ASR-10 and a 4-track Tascam my stepdad had. This album, from front-to-back, made me crazy. The samples were everything I grew up with; all the Kung-Fu movies I watched with my dad, were in these songs. I had never heard them used in this way before. The basslines and drums were so dirty. They knocked in this weird mid-range CRASH-and-BAM way that made your neck snap back-and-forth, like it was going to fall off and spurt blood out of the neck hole area. 24 years later, this is still one of my go-to albums. I still listen to this album in awe of how The RZA chopped the drums in the fashion that he did. They seem so simple, but they are impossible to duplicate. The track that made my bang my head the most was "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit.'" That sample hmmm's and the finger snaps and those f**king drums were so hard. Each Clan member went all-in on that song."

II. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n Roll (1981)

"This album came out when I was three, but when I was about six, I found this album in my cousin's vinyl box. I put it on because I remember liking the girl's face on the cover. The first song was "I Love Rock 'n Roll" and when it started, I was floored. I played so much air guitar to this song, that you would have thought I actually knew how to play all the chords. The other song that caught my ear was "Crimson & Clover;" the way they sang the chorus in that Tremolo wah-wah [pedal] noise way made me sing that over and over (pun.) I used to sing it by myself, all day, by putting my hands to my mouth and trying make the wah-wah sound, while singing the words. When I got older, I found this album again. I love the way Joan Jett sings and at the end of each verse, she goes down in pitch, rather than up, like a lot of Pop singers do. What strikes me about this album is how minimal and catchy it is. You don't need a lot of bloat, if you make a good enough song. So, after ingesting "I Love Rock 'n Roll" when I was learning how to produce songs, it taught me not to go overboard on sounds, if I don't have to. Let the groove be the spirit of the music. My favorite track here is "I Love Rock 'n Roll." The stomps and claps combined with that riff, makes the most catchy song of that generation. Joan sang in the husky melodic fire that gave me my first crush."

III. Neutral Milk Hotel - In Aeroplanes Over The Sea (1998)

"I know, these last two album selections don't sound like they should be inspiration for a Hip-Hop producer, but I find more insight on how to make beats more from people who actually know how to play instruments. This particular album has become part of my soul. It's like one long, perfect song. Jeff Mangum sings like his life is being ripped apart by every angle. The production is so raw-sounding. The synth/bass is so low and the horns land perfectly in every spot. I love the way a melody will be played and then, show up again on another song, bringing the whole sound of the album together in one harmonious thought pattern. Listening to this album, taught me that everything doesn't have to be perfect. Especially, someone's voice. The music doesn't need to have science-like precision for someone to make good songs. All you need is your heart and a great melody bouncing around in your head. "Oh Comely" is probably the greatest song ever made. Period. Jeff sang like he was heading to Hell right after he left that session. The way the horns and his vocals at the end combine together, make The Earth crack open and all the lost souls that have ever died escape into the ether."


3 ½. The Fugees - The Score (1996)

"This album is one of most well-crafted Hip-Hop albums of all time. Very few Rap records back then had this much Pop sensibility and still banged on every track. Even "Killing Me Softly" had that Boom-Bap all of us old folks love from that era. Also, let's not forget, Lauryn Hill murdered everything moving. No one was (or is) as good as she was on that album!"

3 ¾. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)

"Many may disagree, but I feel like this is Tribe's strongest album. I think Q-Tip hit his 10,000 hours when he produced it. Every song has its place from beginning to end. I love the fact Phife [Dawg] has his own songs and Tip has songs and it felt like there was a perfect balance to the whole project. All the samples were so on-point and no one is as good at drum programming as The Abstract [AKA Q-Tip]. Stand-out track for me was "Sucka N***a." It was the first song in Rap, that I heard, where a verse was repeated and the song had so much meaning; yet, it never sounded repetitious. I still listen to this album, since the first day it came out, at least once a month."

"This track was originally recorded as part of the SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS sessions, but did not make the cut. Instead, we are offering it as an exclusive free download with our friends at," WORDS HURT (ALASKA & Lang Vo) wrote on their Bandcamp page, upon uploading "OFF INTO THE DISTANCE." We're proud to be premiering the second SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS-related track in just as many weeks here at The Witzard. Just last week, WORDS HURT gifted us with "WORLD'S WORST LIFE COACH" and their album pre-order and this week, we're back with a SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS B-side from those very sessions; not unlike its predecessor, "OFF INTO THE DISTANCE" has that 1990's Boom-Bap feel meets fresh 2017 edge you would expect from two aging 40-something Hip-Hop heads. "We all crave the big ending rapture or Apocalypse / nuclear Armageddon or Hale-Bopp and a rocket ship / Yo—it's a weird coping mechanism / if we're here to see the end, I guess there's nothing that we're missing" ALASKA ferociously rhymes atop Lang Vo's sparse, Def Jux-evoking beat (shout-out on the "super hot guys" Bandcamp tag!) "Old souls" at heart, WORDS HURT's SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS will become available wherever fine-cut records are sold this upcoming Tuesday, November 28th today, Friday, November 17th (SURPRISE-RELEASE!) Lang, ALASKA, and I are currently working on an all-inclusive emailed interview to accompany SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS, acting as the final piece of our three-pronged album roll-out initiative.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Maryland Rapper-producer Dot-Com Intelligence Chops It Up with The Witzard Concerning Logic Marselis-produced PROTOCULTURE, Inspirations & Influences & All Things In-Between (Interview)

Dot-Com Intelligence AKA D.O.T. AKA Divine Cipher Truth Communicates Intelligence AKA Terrence Patterson is a rapper-producer hailing from Waldorf/Prince George's County, Maryland. He's an affiliate of 4Ever Records, Client-Tel Gang (CTG,) and Constellation 52 Blocks (C52G) and whole-heartedly "reps The DMV" AKA DC/MD/VA area. I first heard Dot-Com's 1980-90's Boom-Bap-evoking rhymes on "Puma Suede" and "BBFVK" from Baltimore producer and beat-maker John "Jumbled" Bachman's 2016 EP, Action Shots. Jumbled recently urged me to re-visit Dot-Com Intelligence's latest Logic Marselis-produced MGNTK. release, PROTOCULTURE, which was unveiled almost immediately after Bachman's own MGNTK. project with emcee UllNevaNo, The Ghost of Len Bias EP. PROTOCULTURE is the proper follow-up to Dot-Com Intelligence's Balibz-produced Summer 2017 album, SWAG GODLY HARD BODY VOL. 1. After giving PROTOCULTURE a few digi-spins on MGNTK.'s Bandcamp page, I reached out to Dot-Com Intelligence (@dotintell19) on Twitter and our conversation soon transitioned over to Gmail. What you now see below is a direct, unedited transcription of a quick, yet thorough emailed interview between myself and Terrence Patterson AKA Dot-Com Intelligence himself. If you haven't already, I would strongly urge you to check out Dot-Com Intellligence & Logic Marselis' PROTOCULTURE, which I would liken to something along the lines of Random Axe—Guilty Simpson, Black Milk & Sean Price RIP—meets RZA's gritty 36 Chambers-era Wu-Tang Clan production work. PROTOCULTURE is currently available on MGNTK.'s Bandcamp, along with The Ghost of Len Bias EP and illien rosewell x Logic Marselis' recent SUPREME BEING EP.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Bringing You The Platters That Matter

I. How did you first align with MGNTK.?

It was by happenstance on Soundcloud... I was randomly checking out music, after I released my second project, SOVEREIGN (2014.) I happened to click on this project by Logic Marselis called CHEESESTEAK EGGROLLS (2014); I was completely blown away. After that, I heard UllNevaNo & Logic on THE PROTOCOL (2013) project that they did together... I made it my goal to support and get to know them. Since my crew, Client-Tel Gang (CTG) went on hiatus, the aesthetic of Logic & Neva made me rejuvenated to go hard and create the best art I can.

II. How did you and Logic Marselis decide to make this album together?

I emailed him, then we got [to talking]. I told him I had a idea for a project that would be easy and work to our strengths—me: words and concepts and Logic: beat creator and soundscapes. As a selling point, I even found and gave Logic all the samples!!! (make beats myself)

III. What's the meaning behind "PROTOCULTURE?"

"PROTO" - NEW OR ADVANCE CULTURE; THE WAY PEOPLE LIVE, ACT, AND BELIEVE. The goal is be with consciousness and God is consciousness!!!

IV. What might you likely cite as some of your greatest sources if inspiration and influence, while recording this album?

Influences & Inspirations: KRS-One, Public Enemy, Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Sean Price, Planet Asia, Mach Hommy, The 5% Nation, and Solace Solari AKA Solace The Wise 1 (writer and YouTube'r.)

V. What's the story behind the black-and-white image on the PROTOCULTURE cover art?

The story of the cover is from this photo of these kids living in the time of The Harlem Renaissance... I saw this photo on a public television documentary about Harlem. I loved the juxtaposition of those black kids, who were probably really struggling, but they presented themselves as royalty. There is struggle, anger, pride, and hope in defiance that's on their faces. It took me forever to find that picture!!! Thank God for The Internet!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New Zealanders Jellphonic & Leonard Charles Recruit Reggie Blount & DJ Kutcorners for Rick James Covers EP ALL NIGHT LONG (self-released)

"When Reggie Blount came to New Zealand last, me, him, @LeonardCMusic & @kutcorners united to do these Rick James covers. Reg on all vocals! I am so proud of these tracks and my Funky street brothers!" Kiwi multi-instrumentalist and producer @jellphonic recently wrote on Twitter. Taking inspiration from Rick James' Vanity 6-esque girl group, Mary Jane Girls' 1983 single "All Night Long," Reggie Blount & Jellphonic formed a loose collective with Charles and DJ Kutcorners. Jellphonic & Reggie had, in fact, worked together some six years prior on "Sexxy" from Jellphonic & Zackey Force Funk's Clone Crown Ltd. 12-inch, "100 Snakes" and again, on "PUMP" from HIT+RUN's 2014 777 singles series. Leonard Charles & Jellphonic, on the other hand, had previously collaborated on numerous remixes including "Can't Buy My Love LA," "Flashback '92," "SMOKE N MIRRORS," and "Disco Star" (Jellphonic Rework.) ALL NIGHT LONG EP is the proper, albeit "unofficial," follow-up to both Jellphonic's JELL-O-PHONE EP and Leonard Charles' critically-acclaimed 31-track J Dilla tribute, Basement Donuts. Reggie Blount is a slightly more mysterious Tuscon-based Funk/Soul singer who's released a few 7+12-inch records on both Clone Crown Ltd. and Hobo Camp: Hard Times, Shining Star, and Space B*tch/Stimulant with Zackey Force Funk. Last, but not least, Kutcorners is a self-proclaimed "Producer, DJ, Synth Nerd & Bass Player" hailing from Vancouver who's released a number of singles, mixes, and EP's over the last seven years and even did a remix for Jeremy Toy AKA Leonard Charles' Shoegaze band, She's So Rad. Reggie Blount / Jellphonic / Leonard Charles / Kutcorners' collaborative ALL NIGHT LONG EP is currently available for unlimited streaming and FREE download on jellphonic's Soundcloud page, along with most of the aforementioned group-affiliated songs. Leonard Charles is currently finishing up a 7-inch single with Stones Throw emcee Guilty Simpson for release on Japanese imprint WONDERFUL NOISE in 2018.

"All vocals are performed by Arizona Funkster Reggie Blount, originally from Tuscon. Reg did a brief stint living in New Zealand and captured the minds and hearts of the locals. He came back for a holiday recently, so me and Leonard Charles tied him up, chucked him in the booth, and held him hostage at Leo's Subterranean Studio in Mt. Eden to record the covers. Reg has obviously, been practicing his singing, since we saw him last because he is sounding increasingly like Michael Bublé. He is an engineer by day and excels at everything he does; he recently built a diamond-faceting machine! Coincidentally, another friend, Kutcorners, was in town and offered up some synth parts and slap bass on "Give It to Me." Nobody wanted to put it out officially, so I just chucked it [up] on Soundcloud. I wish there was more of a story, but I guess it's just four bros uniting for their love of Rick James! Leonard mixed it all and made it sound like butter, as always. He also played lots of synth and all [guitar] and slap bass. He is The Slap Bass President of New Zealand."

- Jellphonic (@jellphonic)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Adam Lempel Lets Loose "Let's Be Real" Composed from Facebook Messages, Texts & Skype Chats (Prod. Friso Hoekstra, Mixed & Mastered By Wessel Oltheten)

Adam Lempel is a song-writer, composer, and musician currently living in Queens, New York via Amsterdam and Baltimore. Lempel is one half of Baltimore Art-Rock/Noise band WEEKENDS. I can still vividly remember meeting Adam and his bandmate Brendan Sullivan at now-defunct South Philly venue First Unitarian Church sometime between the releases of WEEKENDS (2008) and Strange Cultures (2011.) WEEKENDS were then-signed to Friends Records and were opening for Surfer Blood on their Astro Coast US tour. Somehow, my buddy and I ended up missing WEEKENDS' opening set, but I still managed to sneak back into the venue's "greenroom" AKA church pews for a Monster-sized canned beer with Adam & Brendan before Surfer Blood's headlining set. Since then, Adam Lempel moved to Amsterdam for a few years to pursue a Masters in Music Design at Hogeschool voor Kunsten Utrecht. WEEKENDS have been on hiatus for a number of years now and Lempel released three solo albums and various projects including, but not limited to "STILL LIFE," Adam Lempel & The Heartbeats, Adam Lempel & The Casiobeats, and "You Belong with Me" EP. He's since completed his degree and moved back to Queens/Baltimore and is currently working on his proper follow-up to 2016's "STILL LIFE;" in fact, just this past week, Adam Lempel emailed me with his latest musical creation, "Let's Be Real." "Let's Be Real" was recently featured within IMPOSE's 10/27 edition of Week In Pop and is now available to stream and download on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and other like-minded digital retailers. Here's what Adam Lempel had to say about the creative process and slightly unorthodox construction behind "Let's Be Real." Lempel also casually mentioned within our recent email conversations that a collection of "new WEEKENDS tracks are also on the way."

"It's from an upcoming up album, that will probably come out [early] next year. It's collaboration with the producer Friso Hoekstra, who is a friend of mine from Holland. The song is constructed from text messages and Facebook Messenger chats from conversations with a romantic partner, who was back in the US, while I was living in a garage in Amsterdam-Noord and sleeping on an itchy mattress on the floor. I was having song-writer's block and couldn't come up with any lyrics and I realized I was sitting on a trove of lyrical material already written down in the form of my chats. I would then, go to the gym and sit by the pool, transcribing all of my chats to my notebook, and then, collage them together and re-arrange them into a more abstract and emotionally-resonant form. It felt like a creative breakthrough, at the time and I was also happy how it conveyed the weird and quotidian moments of day-to-day conversation. Beware and be prepared: there are other songs like this on the way!"

- Adam Lempel (& The Heartbeats/WEEKENDS)