Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Gabe 'Nandez's HYPEBEAST-premiered "Escondido" Music Video from Upcoming Debut Studio Full-length Diplomacy (POW Recordings)

"Gabe 'Nandez reminds me of a young Carnival-era Wyclef before he got weird and started collaborating with Kenny Rogers and embezzling charity money. One of the best young rappers in NYC. Diplomacy drops in July,"
Jeff Weiss (@Passionweiss) exuberantly Tweeted Tuesday afternoon. Weiss runs taste-making music site, Passion of The Weiss, as well as sub-label POW Recordings. POW's current roster includes The Outfit, TX, Chester Watson, Natia The God, Jordan Raf, T.Y.E. Ness Nite, Pioneer 11, Kent Loon, Vince Ash, Zilla Rocca, Rhys Langston, and, of course, Gabe "'Nandez" Fernandez. Upon the initial announcement of his 2017 signing with the LA-based imprint, POW Recordings released an extremely well-acclaimed 14-track compilation-style album entitled Plaques. Although, 'Nandez has been self-releasing his own music since 2014 (if not longer) with collections such as H.T. EP, No Kliché-produced Sifu EP, Disconnected EP, and 2017 "posse" mixtape, CLIQUETAPE, with Noah Chase, Ibekelia, still available on his personal Bandcamp page. Now, POW Recordings has announced Gabe 'Nadez's proper full-length Indie/major label studio album, Diplomacy to be released at a currently unspecified date in mid-July.

Just yesterday, we were unexpectedly treated to our first proper taste of Diplomacy by way of HYPEBEAST-premiered "Escondido." It was co-produced by Gabe 'Nandez & Tony Seltzer with a dimly-lit Losmose-directed music video for STEREOMA, who, has, also, recently helmed clips for "Comets," "Plaques," "Scumbag," and "Arson." We were, actually, able to attain an advanced copy of Gabe 'Nandez's Dipolmacy directly from POW Recordings; while we're still on our first couple listens through, it's a phenomenal, extremely well-produced album, which, primarily features 'Nandez's own production work, as well as his own instrumental/sampled backing music. It definitely has a very worldly sound evocative of Yasiin bey FKA Mos Def or Wyclef Jean with an Indie Rap edge sonically in line with the likes of Busdriver, Cadence Weapon, or milo and en underlying eerie feel that reminds us of Wu-Tang Clan/Gravediggaz. "Escondido" is currently available to stream on Spotify and like-minded digital streaming platforms with Gabe 'Nandez's Diplomacy dropping this July.

"Gabe ['Nandez] has a really fascinating backstory. The son of a diplomat, he's half-Malian, half-Argentine, and grew up in Haiti, Jerusalem, Tanzania, and New York. He's tri-lingual and went to college in Montreal to study Journalism. He graduated about two years ago and realized that he had a bad drug and alcohol problem. He devoted himself to recovery, got clean, and changed up his entire sound. He took up the guitar and piano and began producing himself. Most of this album is produced by him and he plays the instruments.

It's, essentially, his life story of growing up shuttled all over the world at different UN posts, his struggle for clarity, and his eventual triumph. If his early stuff was really excellent Boom-Bap, he's moved into, almost, a form of "World" Rap—reminiscent to me of early Wyclef [Jean], if he lived in Brooklyn 2019. I even hear a little Mos Def—not as much sonically, but his desire to encompass and reclaim all sorts of sounds that were originally started by Black people across the globe."

- Jeff Weiss (@powrecordings)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CURTA, 4Digit & Brotherhood of Machines Join Forces As Elyria Sequence for Limited Edition SLAB "Double-tape" (Solium Records)

Solium Records is a French DIY and non-profit tape label; most of the imprint's releases are collaborative projects complete with high-quality packaging and artwork. Solium is run by a Frenchman named Yoan and has been steadily issuing Experimental/Hip-Hop/Noise-centric limited releases on Bandcamp since August 2018. For their latest release, Yoan recruited a cast of characters whom The Witzard regulars should be very familiar: Denver Noise-makers CURTA & 4Digit. Here, collectively billed as "Elyria Sequence" (for the first time!) CURTA & 4Digit are joined by fellow Denver-based beat-maker Brotherhood of Machines. Not to be confused with similarly-named Brotherhood of THE Machine, Brotherhood of Machines seems to have some sort of affiliation with Sean "Erik Samuel" Makau at Bob Cosmo Radio/Phantom Haus, who, just so happens to be CURTA's long-time manager and promoter.

Elyria Sequence's collaborative debut, SLAB, was cut together from 20+ hours of Improvisational Noise/Experimental recordings that took place over a year-long period in a home studio North of Denver, Colorado; "using free time, samplers, a drum machine, and an FM radio, CURTA, 4Digit & Brotherhood of Machines laid the framework for a monstrous album by connecting midi cables and sharing a tempo," Solium's Bandcamp page explains. SLAB features CURTA on drum machine, pedals, synths, and FM radio, Brotherhood of Machines providing arrangements, sampler, drums, and pedals, and 4Digit taking care of guitar, mixing, and mastering. The resulting SLAB is a powerfully dense piece of Electronic music. At times, Ambient and beat-driven, but given to manic changes. This album is an overwhelming monolith of a debut. Worthy, in the way of an ancient SLAB bearing unintelligible Commandments, of your attention," Solium continues.

Last night, coinciding with the 5/20/19 Internet release of SLAB, Elyria Sequence played a Record Release Show at The Oriental Theater in support of Pitchfork/Stereogum "Indie Rock" darlings, Xiu Xiu. Elyria Sequence's SLAB is now available as a double-tape either directly from CURTA, 4Digit & Brotherhood of Machines or from Solium Records' Bandcamp page. It's currently available in both European "longbox" and US "big box" editions limited to 20/10 copies for each territory, respectively. Yoan explains, "all tapes have been real-time recorded for best quality, artwork's been hand-cut, and the visuals printed on the tapes have been stamped from the ["SLAB"] artwork visuals. Every tape is hand-stamped and labeled with Stazon white permanent ink." Pick-up a super-limited SLAB double-decker tape while you still can and make sure to Follow $olium Records on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Safari Al Readies steel tipped dove & Cold Lunch-produced "Split" Album strata: I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action (Early Bird Review)

Kenosha, Wisconsin emcee Safari Al—AKA, S. Al, Emmanuel Fade, Safari Al (Journeyman Hip-Hopper,) @s_afari_al, etc.—is a Ruby Yacht/Ruby Yacht Makers Guild (rbyt) affiliate and frequent milo/scallops hotel collaborator. The man also known as Alexander Kollman is, actually, a visual artist and carpenter by day with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Safari Al has been consistently recording and releasing Hip-Hop music since about 2014 when he temporarily moved out to Los Angeles with milo; although, has been quietly making music for at least eight years, having released music as part of or alongside Busdriver, The Dilla Gents, milo, Mugwampers, REDWALL, scallops hotel, WC Tank, and short-lived Folk/Hip-Hop group, MANTRAS, as well as Ruby Yacht and now-defunct Hellfyre Club. Since 2012, Safari AL has rapidly recorded, finessed, and self-released nine separate projects on his own personal Bandcamp page. In-between these aforementioned releases, has appeared across milo/scallops hotel's critically-acclaimed body of work including over the carnage rose a voice prophetic, things that happen at day // things that happen at night, Plain Speaking, and I wish my brother Rob was here. Now, following REDWALL's 2018 single "AGONY (for Mark) (II)" with milo, safari al has returned with his next proper solo project: strata (I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action.)

"strata..." for short, will serve as a 10-track album/"Split" tape consisting of two very distinct "Sides" - Side A: I Steel of Radiance produced by one-time Das Racist affiliate and engineer steel tipped dove (Joe Fusaro) and Side B: I Feel So Action, as produced by new-comer Cold Lunch AKA Sahan Jayasuriya. Safari Al says he likes the continuous play format, which is why he's choosing to release both Sides A-B together and adds that "it also, lends well to/is inspired by the cassette format." strata's songs were recorded over the course of the last two years with work being divided 50/50 split at dove's home-stdio in Park Slope, Brooklyn and at Safari Al's own apartment in Biddeford, Maine. A 2016 Kenosha News profile described Safari Al's talents/instruments "at a glance" as "vocals, Jazz computer, CD DJ machine, cassette decks, loop station," which still seems fairly accurate. In addition to production work throughout from steel tipped dove & Cold Lunch, strata (I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action) features "approachable" Co-produced By: scallops hotel and "small shop" Feat. milo Co-produced By: Emmanuel Fade. strata... plays out in a similar manner to a 1980's Punk/Hardcore split or even a particularly finicky hand-dubbed "old school" mixtape, which you would have to meticulously re-wind onto the cassette spools with a No.2 pencil.'s rhyming style/delivery and cadence throughout strata... falls somewhere in-between that of sharp-tongued Stones Throw emcee Homeboy Sandman and Paul's Boutique-era Beastie Boys. "Despite a transportation ticket and an early morning Earthquake, I find myself sitting behind my desk at the SoulFolks Headquarters in Biddeford ignoring the [inaudible] telephone. I let it ring at least a dozen times; you don't have my attention..." effortlessly rhymes on the opening bars to steel tipped dove/scallops hotel co-produced "approachable" in a rather stream-of-consciousness manner over a cascading organ-like sample. "small shop" serves as the closing track on steel tipped dove's I Steel of Radiance "Side" and boasts the album's lone feature by way of milo's alter-ego, scallops hotel, and was co-produced by Safari Al under his Emmanuel Fade beat-making guise. It's warm, Postal Service-evocative Electro-Hip-Hop bloops and blips squeal their way into "TEXTBOOK ROMANCE" from Cold Lunch's I Feel So Action "Side." "IIIIIII was made for music and music was made for me... from Classic-al to Rap" an extremely lo-fi recorded girl's voice belts at the start of the track, before we hear a high-pitched shriek from an out-of-tune horn and almost instantaneously retorting, "my man said Rap IS Classical. I'm offa my sabbatical!"

Milwaukee-based 91.7 WMSE's Local Lunchbox segment fittingly describes Sahan Jayasuriya as "a Wisconsin native, who has served as drummer for a variety of Milwaukee bands over the last decade. His latest venture is a foray into sample-based beat-making under the name Cold Lunch, where he pulls from a variety of formats and music styles to create new works." Cold Lunch's I Feel So Action "Side" of strata... is a bit more Blues/Jazz-oriented when compared against steel tipped dove's I Steel of Radiance "Side." Cold Lunch's production work throughout strata... honestly, reminds us a bit of's 2011 Soundcloud loosie, "Moanin'"—or "a throwback vibe to help the ladies and fellas start kickin' the jive"—which expertly samples Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers' 1959 track of the same name. I Feel So Action fittingly ends with a smile-evoking Cold Lunch-produced track, of course, entitled "HOT LUNCH." Safari Al's strata (I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action) will become available this upcoming Thursday, May 23rd on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and like-minded digital streaming services. Ahead of milo & ELUCID's European Tour together as Nostrum Grocers, Al let loose the "Split" album's lead-off steel tipped dove-produced track, "Rocco," accompanied by a simple typewriter-aided music video, as well as videos for "Occam" and "LUCKY DUCK." is, somehow, already working on his next full-length to follow strata... Blue mage, which will double as an album AND a collection of poetry.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Zilla Rocca Presents: Wu-Tang Clan & Madlib - "The Wu Digger" Playlist/Alternative to Of Mics & Men EP (Three Dollar Pistol Music)

"The new Wu-Tang EP is kind of boring. So, in response, I made my own "Wu-Tang EP" with all of their collabs/remixes with Madlib, who has surpassed RZA ten-fold: Wu-Tang Clan x Madlib - The Wu Digger... Madlib is what you get, if RZA just keep sitting in a room full of records from '95 until today. "And Madlib is who RZA would have been, if he could just learn instruments when he felt like it," Small Professor (@smallpro)... On some real sh*t, Madlib's remix of "Black Boy" by [Cappadonna] is better than almost any [Wu-Tang Clan] track this decade by any Wu member. These guys have access to any producer on the planet and act like Madlib or Alchemist don't exist."

- Zilla Rocca (@ZillaRocca)

Wu-Tang Clan & Madlib - The Wu Digger Playlist/EP (Tracklist)

01. Cappadonna - "Black Boy" (Madlib Remix) from Madlib Medicine Show #12: Raw Medicine [2011]

02. Method Man - "Uh Huh" (Madlib Remix) from MIND FUSION VOL. 1 MIXED BY MADLIB [2004]

03. Inspectah Deck's Verse from 7L & Esoteric's "Speaking Real Words" (CZARFACE) / Raekwon's Verse from Big Pun's "Fire Water" from Madlib Medicine Show #12: Raw Medicine [2011]

04. Ghostface Killah - "Save Me, Dear" (Madlib Remix) from Madlib Medicine Show #12: Raw Medicine [2011]

05. Ghostface Killah - "Block Rock" from More Fish [2006]

06. Musiq Soulchild – "Caught Up" / Ghostface Killah – "Love Session" from Madlib Medicine Show #12: Raw Medicine [2011]

07. "Track 2" AKA "Untitled" Feat. GZA from Madlib Medicine Show #12/13: Filthy A$$ Remixes (Black Tape) [2011-12]

08. Inspectah Deck - "City High" AKA "On The Ground" (Madlib Remix) from MADLIB REMIXES 2: 1980s SATURDAY MORNING EDITION (ALL SAMPLES 1977-1982) [2004]

09. Inspectah Deck - "Movement" from MADLIB REMIXES 2: 1980s SATURDAY MORNING EDITION (ALL SAMPLES 1977-1982) [2004]

Zilla Rocca's latest album, '96 MENTALITY. will become available this upcoming Tuesday, May 21st on Digital Album, CD + Exclusive Bonus Tracks, Cassette, and T-shirt/Apparel packages. Zilla's 2018 releases, Hard Boiled EP and Future Former Rapper, have also, recently been re-issued on CD with additional Bandcamp-only Bonus Tracks, as well. Zilla Rocca's 2012 project with Curly Castro, PremRock & Small Professor as Wrecking Crew, Wu-Tang Pulp, has now been re-issued on CD for the first time with previously unreleased singles "Known Pirahnas" and "Pinball Machine Gun Rap" Feat. ALASKA & CASTLE, plus, "3 original out-take Gambino Instrumentals by Zilla Rocca." CALL OUT CULTURE, a frequently updated podcast, hosted by ALASKA, Zilla Rocca & Curly Castro is currently available to stream on most digital streaming platforms. ALASKA & Zilla Rocca are, supposedly, working on a similarly-named long-rumored collaborative effort together, as well...

DEC 4 Unveils Dystopian Bob Sweeney-directed, Rolled Gold-produced "Sweet Fall" Music Video from Upcoming 4-track EP (Oxygen&Light)

"Sweet Fall" is a song I've had in my possession for, at least, six months now, as I received it literally days before my wedding. It's been a bit delayed on my end, as most coverage has been for the last few months because... well, life! Although, honestly, it might have just worked out this time because the accompanying Bob Sweeney-directed music video for "Sweet Fall" is out, now, too. DEC 4 is the newly-enacted project of Philly-based musician, vocalist, and lyricist Justin Zugerman (@zuwear_.) It appears as though Zugerman is, in fact, a childhood friend of both John Morrison & Josh "Indi" Leidy of the Serious Rap Sh*t podcast. After going on an indefinite hiatus from his long-time Psychedelic/Experimental/Hip-Hop project with Chris Grau, Oxygen&Light, Morrison & Leidy introduced DEC 4 to their friend and fellow Philly-based producer and multi-instrumentalist, Harry Metz, whom most of you may well know as Rolled Gold. Thus far, Metz has produced both as-yet-released DEC 4 tracks, "Trouble" and "Sweet Fall."

DEC 4 & Rolled Gold are, supposedly, working on a 4-track EP with Kilamanzego, as well, to tentatively be released in either June or July. So, now, we have the Bob Sweeney-directed music video for DEC 4's Rolled Gold-produced "Sweet Fall," which, for those who may not have heard it yet, sounds a bit like The Weeknd meets Nine Inch Nails. Sweeney has previously helmed extremely memorable videos for the likes of Queen of Jeans, Dewey "Dewey Decibel" Bryan Saunders, Zilla Rocca & The Shadowboxers, Nik Greeley & The Operators, Career Crooks (Zilla Rocca & Small Professor,) Moor Mother, Swift Technique, GRIFT COMPANY, and Moor Mother X Mental Jewelry. "Sweet Fall" was filmed in and around Justin Zugerman's own home in Northeast Philly, as well as a number of eerily vacant commercial buildings nearby; Sweeney & Zugerman collectively decided to shoot on digital film/cameras inside of his house and on Super 8 black-and-white film while outside, giving "Sweet Fall" an ominous, dystopian sort of feel. DEC 4 is currently finishing up his debut EP with Rolled Gold & Kilamanzego—and, potentially, maybe, even John Morrison—to be released sometime this Summer.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Chicago Duo Tensei Let Loose Bandcamp & Spotify-exclusive Single "Walk It Out" Feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow (Tokyo Dawn Records)

Tensei is a Chicago-based composer/producer/musician/beat-maker/song-writer "dream" team consisting of Chris "Kramer" Kramer and Midas Wells. "The two have a vast wealth of influences and history to inform their production including: Hip-Hop, House, Soul, Jazz, Library, and Electronic music among others; as a result, they create eclectic compositions that fuse many disparate styles," Tokyo Dawn Records' press page explains. Since about 2012, Tensei have worked alongside and remixed the likes of A. Billi Free, Anderson .Paak, Bilal, Black Thought, Denmark Vessey, Jimetta Rose, Tall Black Guy, TOKiMONSTA, and Dirty Science emcee ADaD. Interestingly enough, Midas Wells & Kramer rarely ever make use of source material/samples, both playing and composing most musical elements themselves, but, often, enlisting a talented cast of Chicago-based Jazz & Soul artists, which includes Makaya McCraven, Greg Spero, Kafele, and Junius Paul, amongst others. Earlier this year, Tokyo Dawn quietly released Tensei's latest long-form project, Constellate—soon followed up by Constellate (Instrumentals)—featuring vocal assists from frequent collaborators ADaD & Jimetta Rose, as well as new-comer A. Billi Free on stand-out "Liquid Tongues." Tensei's "Liquid Tongues" AKA "40,000 Harpedelic" Feat. A. Billi Free, Tim Seisser & Brandee Younger was even given the visual treatment from Shawn Johnson (@oldsoulbrother1) of NEKTR, who has previously created eclectic music/promo videos for everyone from CZARFACE to The Du-Rites.

Just last night, I received a mysterious cold-sent email from Kramer & Midas Wells entitled "Tensi feat. [Georgia] Anna Muldrow Single." It was soon revealed, with a bit further investigation, to be feel-good Summertime jam, "Walk It Out." In addition to Stones Throw/BRAINFEEDER affiliate Georgia Anne Muldrow, "Walk It Out," also, features Jazz stalwarts Greg Spero (Halsey,) Brandon Meeks, and Kafele, as well as mixing and mastering by Benjamin Tierney. A track originally, several years in-the-making, Kramer tells The Witzard "Walk It Out" was recently dusted off for said collaboration with Muldrow and "is really, about telling folks to think twice, before doing things they will regret." Bandcamp Daily will be hosting an exclusive feature on Tensei's "Walk It Out" from May 15-20, 2019 with an accompanying editorial highlighting Chicago-based artists. Then, starting on May 20th, "Walk It Out" will be released on all other digital streaming platforms, along with the instrumental and two exclusive remixes from Tokyo Dawn label-mate Inkswel with John Robinson and Kenny Keys. Tensei plan to release yet another new single with Jimetta Rose this Summer and are preparing to soon tour behind their upcoming full-length collaboration with A. Billi Free, I Luma, to tentatively be released on Tokyo Dawn Records in late August.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Find Mag's Bobby Obsy-designed "Chase The Grail" Limited Edition T-shirt/Sticker Pack (Remix EP Download Codes)

The Find "Mag" Magazine is an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based digital music publication founded and operated by Danny Veekens since 2007. Over the years, Danny & I have become pretty friendly, through social media, and definitely have a mutual admiration and respect for each other. In fact, our sites were amongst the first publications to cover Myrrow's Outlet (formerly TT5BR)'s Paul's Boutique-remixing BB PB EP and its recent follow-up, BB PB EP O. Following in line with our recent Punk/Hardcore merch feature, The Witzard's Best-Of Instagram: "Mommy, Can I... Buy These Punk/Hardcore Merch Oi!-tems?" we figured we do a little Hip-Hop/crate-diggin' merch feature, as well, for our good friends at The Find Mag. "The hunt for records never ends. No vinyl crate is safe. Our new T-shirt visualizes that: the art of crate-digging. Illustrated by beat-maker/designer Bobby Obsy (UK) in a 30's-style cartoon," reads The Find Mag's on-site description accompanying their Chase The Grail T-shirt. Only 35 shirts were made in a variety of sizes and colorways including, White Shirt/Black Print, White Shirt/Red Print, and Spectra Yellow Shirt/Black Print.

Danny Veekens was kind enough to send us an early test/slight "misprint" of the Black-On-White Chase The Grail colorway, along with 2 full-color die-cut stickers of the "Digger" and a complimentary Bandcamp download code for Chase The Grail Remixes. Bobby Obsy, who also, designed the shirts, is the man behind the atmospheric/entrancing Hip-Hop beats on Chase The Grail (Remixes.) It features 3 previously unreleased remixes of Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." AKA "Cash Rules," Biggie Smalls' "Everyday Struggle" AKA "How It Feel," and Nas Escobar's "The World Is Yours" AKA "It's Yours." Here are 10 FREE Bandcamp download codes for Chase The Grail (Remixes) from The Find Mag exclusively for our readership here at The Witzard, which can be redeemed at Bandcamp. So, with that said, here are the 10 FREE codes, have a-go at 'em on a first-come-first-serve basis: p34s-jrw5, rdps-ydhr, hqlb-bhst, jbs5-wjcb, 9x4f-hysw, n4pl-53xs, lpfh-usmd, c6ws-e4yc, c3hp-3a2x, and cdeb-c7sq. Editor's Note: at press time, only 6 of 35 Chase The Grail T-shirts from the first limited run are still available directly from The Find Mag/Shop.

"Rather than going for "mass production" with bad shirts, we went for Fair-trade, chemical-free [shirts] silk-screened by a local studio here in Amsterdam and quality 100% ring-spun cotton. We all want our records in the best possible quality, so, then, why go for sh*tty shirts? So, even the execution in a very limited run fits the theme of crate-digging. We could've called it "The Near Mint Shirt," for that matter!

- Danny Veekens (@TheFindMag)