Friday, October 20, 2017

"Ladies & Gentlemen, It's My Honor & My Privilege & My Great Joy to Introduce This Next Band & Please, Give It Up for The Future of Hip-Hop:" Places & Spaces' Debut ALIVE (self-released)

Places & Spaces are a self-described "Hip-Hop Rap Boom-Bap Golden Age" production duo hailing from Switzerland consisting of old friends Naturetone and Zooki. "For the past 20-some years, Naturetone & Zooki went places, different places. In the early 1990's they made beats together and pioneered Swiss Hip-Hop as part of the group Three Tree Posse [AKA 3TP]," reads Places & Spaces' Bandcamp description. Places & Spaces' first song, also titled "Alive," initially appeared on now-defunct label, World Around Records' final compilation, We Are World Around Vol. 6. I actually had the opportunity to speak with Patric (Naturetone) as part of my label-encompassing We Are World Around Vol. 6 double-header piece earlier this year. Naturetone & Zooki first worked together as 3TP between 1993-95 and met back up again in 2016 at "some beat-making sessions run by a mutual friend for another project" and they decided then, to reconvene and record music together for the first time in 20 years, as Places & Spaces— in fact, named after Donald Byrd's critically-acclaimed 1975 Blue Note album, Places and Spaces. At the time of The Witzard's We Are World Around Vol. 6-centric piece, Patric told me he and Zooki "already [had] about 30 beats ready," which they "planned to release these in the coming months."

Now, it's been nearly eight months since World Around Records folded and Places & Spaces made their soft debut with "Alive" and we have their slightly scaled-back full-length, ALIVE, self-released last Saturday, October 14th. ALIVE is a refreshing 22-track slab of Instrumental Hip-Hop, reminiscent of Jaylib's coveted 2003 album Champion Sound, Clams Casino's Instrumentals I-IV comps. The Dust Brothers' multi-layered production work on Paul's Boutique, DOOM's Madlib-produced MADVILLAINY, and College Dropout-era Kanye. Places & Spaces have effectively inter-woven a handful of recognizable vocal samples from some of music's finest including Mos Def AKA Yasiin Bey, Kanye, Beastie Boys, James Brown, Nas, Biggie, Diana Ross, Les McCann, Sun Ra, Richard Pryor, Rakim, Digable Planets, and a few others. Naturetone additionally told me, via email: "we have also used some voices from the Wattstax: [Highlights from The] Soundtrack. You know, I am a big fan of The Bomb Squad and Wattstax was used heavily on Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation [of Millions to Hold Us Back] album. Just love this one!" Naturetone & Zooki's soaring reunion/debut as Places & Spaces, ALIVE, is currently available for streaming and download on a Name-Your-Price basis from their newly-launched Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. If you dig what you hear, throw them a couple "bones" and feel free to Follow Places & Spaces on Twitter (@plcsnspcs,) Instagram (placesandspacesmusic,) and Facebook (@placesandspacesmusic.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ialive & Height Keech Join Forces for Forthcoming Rapper-producer Album TIMEWAVE ZERO & Cody Jones-directed "THE OUGHTS" Music Video (Cold Rhymes Records)

The Witzard regulars should almost instantly recognize the names "Height Keech" and "ialive," but for those who might not be familiar, here's a quick refresher: Height is a seasoned Underground Hip-Hop rapper-producer, Cold Rhymes Records founder, and 1/3 of Shark Tank, while Donovan "ialive" is a self-proclaimed "rap-singer-songwriter" who's affiliated with fellow Philadelphians Darko The Super (The Hell Hole Store) and Cody Cody Jones (Four to The Floor.) I'm sure ialive & Height's paths have previously crossed within their various East Coast-based Underground Punk-Rap circles and now, they've teamed up for a proper full-length on Height's Cold Rhymes Records; quite simply put, TIMEWAVE ZERO is ialive's rhymes over Height's beats and marks the first time the latter has produced a whole project for someone, aside from himself. Height Keech has been co-producing his own records on-and-off since 2009's Baltimore Highlands, credited to "Height with Friends," and this year's MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN was his first fully self-produced solo record. This would, then, effectively make TIMEWAVE ZERO the third Height Keech-produced record of 2017—including Shark Tank's recent fourth album, Dan's House. ialive & Height's first proper rapper-producer collaboration, TIMEWAVE ZERO, will be released Monday, October 30th on Cold Rhymes Records and it appears as though we'll be getting album teasers every Monday until its release. TIMEWAVE ZERO will feature a couple collaborations with rapping friends like Darko The Super on "Psychedelic Primates" and Yikes The Zero, Cody Cody Jones, and Height himself on "The Four-Man Correct Style."

Monday, October 2nd, Height Keech posted this very Facebook status: "This is the cover art for TIMEWAVE ZERO, the next Cold Rhymes Records release. It's a collaboration between ialive and myself. It's his rhymes over my beats. It will be my first time producing a whole project for someone else. The record comes out on Oct. 30th. Sneak peaks and pre-orders start next week," along with the Donovan ialive-designed TIMEWAVE ZERO cover art. The following Monday, October 9th, ialive & Height unleashed the album's first proper audiophonic teaser with "These Days." Dualling as TIMEWAVE ZERO's 13th and final track, "These Days" offers a unique perspective into Height & ialive's newly-minted working relationship. Height tediously places a crisp, horn-led beat beneath ialive's "These Days" rhymes, which echo Asher Roth's post-RetroHash output and ialive himself describes the album's contained content as "drawn from various points of my life and observations in others lives. I think a lot of it has to do with our relationship to one another (as people.)" It appears as though, through their first collaborative endeavor, both ialive & Height Keech have been able to express themselves unlike any of their previous projects—free of any constrains or preconceived expectations. Finally, this past Monday, October 16th, Cold Rhymes Records let loose their latest TIMEWAVE ZERO teaser by way of "THE OUGHTS" music video. Directed by ialive's Four to The Floor touring partner and fellow Philly-based emcee Cody Jones, "THE OUGHTS" is a simple, yet effective fisheye-oriented shot of ialive spittin' his laid-back rhymes; meanwhile, a scene of party-goers including The Hell Hole Store emcee Darko The Super, STATIC BROTHERS' Quinn AKA Riff Quantum, and horned rapper Torito ensues, while ialive appears largely unfazed throughout the on-screen festivities and assorted shenanigans.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Baltimore Sharp-spitter UllNevaNo Teams Up with Jumbled for Basketball-inspired The Ghost of Len Bias EP (MGNTK./Harford & Reckord Tapes)

It would be safe to say that the immense musical diversity and sheer success seen published across the pages of The Witzard within the last year or two is largely due in part to one man, John "Jumbled" Bachman; a self-proclaimed "teacher, husband, beat-maker, and dish-washer," Bachman has been a long-time champion, supporter, featured artist, talent scout, and most recently, idea man behind Beat-maker Bedrock here at The Witzard. Jumbled has either produced beats for, set up shows, introduced, or simply referred me to an ever-evolving crew of head-nodding East Coast-based emcees and beat-makers since we first met, after he sent me his 2016 album, [I wish it was longer] AKA WIWL. John Bachman and his wife recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into their family and started a new school year at a new school, all the while, simultaneously working on a number of extracurricular projects: The Ghost of Len Bias, Bully Preston with emcee Dwell, and an instrumental Bmore Club-minded solo EP. The Ghost of Len Bias EP rhymesmith, UllNevaNo was actually featured on the first Jumbled track I ever heard, WIWL intro "Hampden Session," which I had no idea, at the time, but was a solid sampling of what the two could do together.

I've been hearing about UllNevaNo & Jumbled's untitled/The Ghost of Len Bias EP for at least 6-8 months now, maybe even a year, which I would imagine, is likely as long as it's even been a formative idea. "There's been a lot of talk in the press lately of rappers returning to the one-producer album. The spirit of collaboration has been replaced with Soundcloud singles," reads The Ghost of Len Bias EP's press release. Jumbled & UllNevaNo indeed appear to be single-handedly resurrecting the lost art of the tried and true rapper-producer album, evoking sonic notes of Champion Sound, Johnson&Jonson, MADVILLAINY, Gang Starr, Erik B. & Rakim, and THE MOUSE AND THE MASK. The Ghost of Len Bias features—in addition to Logic Marsellis-assisted "BIAS VS. JORDAN" and The Witzard-premiered "86 Draft"Baltimore emcee Ashley Sierra on "Shoot Your Shot," UllNevaNo rhyming over a "Bluesy guitar riff with ease" on "How Does He Do It?" cuts from DJ Blaze Daily, and a neck-snapping Jumbled instrumental, "Magnetik," towards the end of the EP. The Ghost of Len Bias EP is currently available on MGNTK.'s Bandcamp page in partnership with John Bachman's own Harford & Reckord Tapes with super-limited red and black cassette tapes "#importedfrom[the]UK" coming fairly soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dwell & salk.'s clint. Forms Baltimore Grindcore Band Constituents with Fellow Hip-Hop Heads Zap, José & Thor (Death, Agony & Screams Cassettes and Vinyl)

"Heavy, Fast, Loud & Grinding. Powerviolence Forever. Grind or Die. Reppin' Baltimore, Maryland," reads Constituents' Facebook About description. Constituents (AKA CNSTS) is a newly-formed Baltimore Grandcore band consisting of clint. on guitar, frontman José, bassist Thor, and Zap on drums. Three of the four members being part-time rappers themselves: clint. AKA salk. of Dwell & salk. Zap/Zach moonlighting as Futurama-referencing sharp-spitter zap brannigan, and José being emcee no way jose—the latter two joining forces with DJ bobmaldad as Hip-Hop crew, Pleasant Boys. CNSTS are the latest in a recent trend... or maybe just a mere coincidence of emcees starting/reverting back to their Hardcore/Punk-minded roots, such as: Ray Strife's OVER EVERYTHING (formerly DAD D*CK,) Carl Kavorkian's minimalist side-project MANIK|NETER, and Justin Mayer's DOOM & UK Crust Punks Doom mashing Old City EP, as well as clint.'s own homage to British Grindcore pioneers Napalm Death, Napalm Def or NxDEF, with producer buddy John "Jumbled" Bachman formed around 2006. Constituents have recently been making a number of release rumblings on both their Facebook (@constituentsgrind) and Instagram (constituents_grindcore) pages and over the weekend, quietly unleashed their aptly-named 2017 DEMO EP on Bandcamp. While it consists of a total of four tracks, 2017 DEMO barely constitutes as an "EP," clocking in at a combined total runtime of 3:05 with two "micro-songs" each under 35-seconds. CNSTS will be selling an extremely limited run of Death, Agony & Screams Cassettes and Vinyl-pressed 2017 DEMO cassettes at their upcoming live debut on 10/29 at HELLZAPOPPIN' in Baltimore City. Constituents strongly suggest, those interested in attending, simply "Ask a Punk" for further details on their 10/29 gig and second show at Harm City on 11/7.

"We started nameless, obviously. We began as a hook-up between Zap (Zach) and myself (clint.) that John Bachman (Jumbled) facilitated, via an email exchange. Zap and I emailed and texted about ideas. We jammed out the initial nine [songs] I had written, in preparation. We clicked extremely well. We both loved fast, brutal stuff. Zap came from a more Hardcore and Metal background with myself, coming from a Grindcore background," clint. recounted over an email exchange sent directly to The Witzard. clint. added that both he and Zap initially bonded over a mutual love and admiration for "true Hip-Hop." clint. continues that "next, came the addition of José on vox. Again, he fit right in. His vocal style borrowed from a mixture of [Hardcore] and his listening to Brutal Truth. Again, he has a love for Hip-Hop; another puzzle piece in place. Finally, the cement was cured with the addition of Thor on bass. His mega-hammering, fuzzed-out tone and presence in the same DIY Grindcore scene as myself worked out perfectly. I have know Thor for years and Zap was contacted to try him out. Pretty dope to work with a cat whose old band (Clay Davis) was a local [favorite] of mine. And yes, another member very into Hip-Hop..."

- clint. (Constituents Guitarist)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cowboys & Frenchmen's Baritone/Alto Sax Players & Co-band Leaders Owen Broder & Ethan Helm Talk Sophomore Album Bluer Than You Think (The Witzard Interview)

Cowboys & Frenchmen (C&F) are a wonderfully named, New York-based Modern Jazz quintet that describes itself as an act who "produces music that is expressive and fiercely creative, taking co-improvisation to new heights," as their Facebook About section fitting describes. I'll be the first to readily admit, I'm not the most well-versed on Jazz's formative late greats, but I've always enjoyed a Jazz-minded Hip-Hop sample and the Neo-Jazz stylings of Flying Lotus and his BRAINFEEDER crew, BADBADNOTGOOD AKA BBNG, Wu-Tang Clan-indebted El Michels Affair, Polish Jazz septet EABS, and even "The Greatest Band In Late Night," Philly's own The Roots. I received a cold-sent email last month from Massachusetts-based PR company Braithwaite & Katz Communications high-lighting the title track from Cowboys & Frenchmen's innovative, alto sax-led sophomore album, Bluer Than You Think—to be released today, Friday, October 13th, on Outside-In-Music on Amazon, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, and like-minded digital retailers. Bluer Than You Think sounds something to the effect of Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters' 1973 Jazz-Fusion masterpiece Head Hunters, The Vincent Guaraldi Trio's cartoon-accompanying soundtracks and scores, and BBNG's unique brand of Canadian-rooted, Hip-Hop-indebted Neo-Jazz. About two weeks ago, I sent a batch of questions over to Cowboys & Frenchmen's co-band leaders, composers, and baritone/alto saxophonists Owen Broder & Ethan Helm, which can now be read in its complete, fully unedited glory down below the break, for all you Funk-tastic Jazzcats out there.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Jazzcat Cub-In-Training

I. How long have you and your Cowboys & Frenchmen (C&F) bandmates been playing together and how did you fellas initially meet?

Ethan Helm: We’ve been a band about five years now. We all met in school, either during our undergrads at Eastman School of Music in Rochester or during our graduate study at Manhattan School of Music.

II. How would you personally say C&F's overall sound and style has progressed between Rodeo (2015) and Bluer Than You Think?

EH: Between Rodeo and Bluer Than You Think, I think our sound has stayed similar, but all of our new compositions have a much stronger identity; we get to [the] point. We also have more control, both as a band and as individual improvisers, over some of the crazier musical ideas we tackle.

Owen Broder: There is a similar personality to both albums and we maintain the character we presented in our debut album. The music, though, was written with more inspiration from within the band. Ethan and I borrowed compositional ideas from each other and—after playing with these guys for five years—had a much stronger sense of how to write for their voices, which gives the album a more cohesive sound.

III. What might you cite as a few of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence during the making-of Bluer Than You Think?

EH: For this album, I was greatly influenced by my fellow band members. I really try to write for their voices and showcase their many strengths. But our influences run the gamut, musically and extra-musically, from Ellington to the band Zs or from impressionist painting to daily life in New York City.

IV. What made you guys decide to link up with GRAMMY Award-winning producer Ryan Truesdell for Bluer Than You Think and how did he ultimately, influence the album's sound?

EH: Ryan has been a huge help to us all, even before C&F. He was a guest artist at our school [Eastman School of Music] in undergrad and has remained a wonderful friend and a huge advocate of us, as players and composers. In the studio, he kept us focused and had some really great ideas to loosen up the tunes and add interesting textures and was also an invaluable resource for picking the best takes. We know he doesn’t like to talk about that GRAMMY, but it’s obvious why he won it.

V. Now, this is a question I typically ask rappers, producers, and Hip-Hop-minded acts... but what do Cowboys & Frenchmen's typical writing, recording, production, etc. processes generally entail?

EH: Owen and I write separately, bringing in ideas for compositions or sometimes, full pieces. Since the written material is always pretty ambitious, it takes us a while to feel out the tune and make it flow naturally, sometimes, months or years! We’re hyper-organized in the studio, though, just to save money. We go in well-rehearsed and have a schedule for doing takes and overdubs. For production, our focus is mainly on clarity and acoustic balance, since the compositions are meant to be heard on recording, as they’re heard live (with some exceptions.)

OB: Ethan and I separately write each of the compositions, but almost all of them involve some level of work-shopping, which brings all five of us into shaping them. We try to grow into the music in performances, rather than in rehearsals and then, bring that energy into the recording studio.

VI. It's just about that time of year for publications and websites (The Witzard included) to start assembling year-end lists; now, with that said, what might you be inclined to include on your "Best of 2017" list?

OB: From this year’s releases: I’ve particularly enjoyed Matt Wilson’s latest, Honey & Salt—a wildly creative and fun musical presentation of the poetry of Carl Sandberg—and Kneebody’s Anti-Hero. Kneebody is a favorite for Cowboys & Frenchmen—we learn a lot from them, as a band and are big fans of their music, so we follow their recording career closely. A few great CD’s have come out from our Outside-In-Music label family, too; Paul Jones’ Clean features stellar writing, borne from his residency at the Banff Creative Arts Centre and inspirational playing from several of our friends and colleagues. The label’s founder, Nick Finzer, also released his [album] Hear and Now this year, which is a fantastic album featuring his sextet.

EH: I get so far behind with new releases! I’d be better qualified to write a "Best of 1959" list. Although, I do love Andrew Schiller’s album, Tied Together, Not to The Ground; a two-tenor band, so they’re like C&F version 2.0. For non-Jazz albums, I have to throw Alarm Will Sound’s Splitting Adams. It’s half-album, half-podcast with impeccable recordings of John Adams’ Chamber Symphonies and in-depth interviews about the pieces. A new album format and so well-done.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Philly-based Producer Old City Readies Debut Mash-up EP "Black Bastards" Showcasing DOOM & UK Crust Punks Doom (The Witzard Interview)

"I think a lot about genre-blending, so the relative novelty of mixing (MF) DOOM and Doom made a lot of sense to me. I've been a fan of mash-ups like Jay-Z at Studio One, WUGAZI, Leftöver Kanye, and Yeezer, but nothing that really touched Hardcore/Punk Rock," Justin Mayer AKA Old City wrote within a series of Facebook Messages. Just a matter of days ago, I got a cold-sent email, which started off by saying, "Old City, stage name of Philly-based musician/producer Justin Mayer, announces Black Bastards, a mash-up EP between rapper MF DOOM and Birmingham Crust Punk band Doom." Old City is currently prepping the release of his villainous Black Bastards EP—presumably named after KMD's 1993 pre-MF DOOM album, Bl_ck B_st_rds—to be unleashed this Halloween and has been preceded by "the first and only" DOOM & Doom-melding single, "Air Crimes;" a frenzied mash-up consisting of DOOM's oft-remixed verse from Dabrye's 2006 Ghostly International single, "Air" and "War Crimes" from Birmingham-based Crust Punk pioneers Doom's perfectly "crusty" 1988 debut, War Crimes - Inhuman Beings.

I've always been a fan of rather off-kilter genre-blending releases that linger somewhere on the blurred line in-between Punk/Hardcore and Hip-Hop; be it Loud Records' 2000 Loud Rocks! comp. the Judgement Night Soundtrack, Lil' Wayne's Rebirth, or Travis Barker's Give The Drummer Some—some, slightly more full-formed and sincere than others. Although, with that said, I've never heard anything quite as intentional and meticulously-constructed from the dreaded "Rap-Rock" category as Old City's as-yet-unreleased Black Bastards EP. I was lucky enough to hear a pre-release copy of Black Bastards EP and send a batch of questions over to the "Hip-Hop/Punk Rock Provocateur" himself, Justin Mayer, which you'll see published below in interview Q&A format. Old City's DOOM & Doom mashing-up Black Bastards EP will become available for streaming and download on either his Old City PHL Bandcamp or MFDOOMBOT (Black Bastards) Tumblr this Halloween.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Your Ghoulish Hip-Hop Guide

I. Aside from the very obvious reason, what made you ultimately decide to start creating an EP mashing up DOOM and UK Crust Punks Doom? Where did you even begin when crafting your Black Bastards EP?

I’ve been in the middle of a larger-scale project for about two years and the DOOM mash-up was a novel idea that popped up and seemed "crazy" enough to work. I did a quick search, downloaded some DOOM acapellas off YouTube, and did a few simple beat-matching tests. The first one that clicked was “Air Crimes” and I basically, built up the track under the acapella one bar at a time. It was really fun because that’s a completely different approach than I usually take, when creating a track.

II. What might you cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while (and even prior to) recording Black Bastards?

Danger Mouse is probably the biggest source of inspiration. I’ve been into his stuff for years, from Pelican City and The Grey Album to his work with Damon Albarn [Gorillaz], James Mercer [Broken Bells], and Daniele Luppi [Rome]. I downloaded Adele’s 25 just to hear "River Lea" and then, deleted it after. Mark Ronson, as a producer, is second to Danger [Mouse]. I’ve followed his catalog since Version. There’s a group out of Sweden I’m into called Teddybears; they make Dance music and get people like Iggy Pop, Eve, and Reggae toasters to put up vocals. Funny thing is, they started off as a pretty good Grindcore band [called Skull]! They play huge shows wearing full suits and giant matching bear helmets. Girl Talk, Jay-Z at Studio One, and WUGAZI were direct inspirations for the mash-up.

III. Are there any particular DOOM acapellas, verses, etc. you attempted to use for Black Bastards, but couldn't exactly figure out that you might consider re-visiting for a potential future release? I'm just curious!

In that initial spontaneous search, I found... seven(?) acapellas, but didn’t use all of them. I figured Doom's EP's are only four or five songs, so I’d keep it consistent. About three songs in to the EP, someone on Reddit posted clean vocals from MADVILLAINY, but I chose not to dive into them, trusting myself with those early-set limits. "Meat Grinder" and "Change The Beat" were songs I worked on, but scrapped and while I would have wanted to work with the lyrics from "Accordion," the acapella wasn’t clean enough. I don’t think I’ll do another mash-up. Never say never, but I want to branch out artistically. The Grey Album inspired WUGAZI and both inspired me. My hope is this inspires someone else.

IV. Now that your Black Bastards EP's nearing a Halloween release, what else are you currently working on? Any type of full-length Old City "debut?"

I’ve got a got a couple of "dirty fingers" in a couple of "dirty pies." I’m interested in genre-blending and exploration. The main project I’m working on is a "Punk" album, for lack of a better word. If Black Bastards is my Grey Album, the debut will be my THE MOUSE AND THE MASK. It’s a much more collaborative effort—working with vocalists and musicians that I revere. I’m finishing up the arrangement on a Jazz song for it now. I described it to Steve Pavlovic as "The Avalanches meets with The Living End," a fairly Australian explanation haha. My future projects list is a little out there. After the Old City debut, I may work on a few Folk songs with Days N' Daze or produce an Oi! [Punk Rock sub-genre] record. I want to make weird sh*t that excites and even scares me a little.

V. You recently mentioned to me that you single-handedly directed and edited together your recent "MF DOOM Black Bastards" AKA "Air Crimes" video, as well. What was the process like behind creating the video and how did you get the Metal Face Villain mask on The Peanuts Gang's Franklin?

The germ for the video came from seeing an image on someone’s Facebook of Pig-Pen with a Doom logo pasted on top of him. It was funny: Pig-Pen re-contextualized as a smelly Crust Punk. Instantly I remembered that DOOM sold those shirts of Charlie Brown with the mask on and thought, "oh sh*t, thematic continuity." Peanuts memes are actually sort of a thing in some Hip-Hop circles; there are a bunch of Peanuts-characters-rapping-Wu-Tang comics online [Mark Drew's DEEZ NUTS]. There seemed to be interest and with it enough inspiration to move on it.

I knew absolutely nothing about video editing, so I approached the video like I approach just about every other project and started with research. I went to Reddit to ask Peanuts fans for specific episodes where characters played musical instruments, but scrapped the idea of it being an all-music video. There are [Wikia] pages that detail what episodes and specials each character is in, so I found all of the ones with Franklin and Pig-Pen, specifically, and made notes of which clips I liked the best. Part of the problem is that while Franklin was several episodes, he spoke in only a few of them. I only have a couple of clips of him with a Metal Face mask on because he didn’t have much of dialogue, as a supporting character.

Chopping up the clips to sync the dialogue is simple enough in a still scene, then, it’s just getting the mask to line up the right way. I designed the mask really cheaply and easily in Photoshop, took a screenshot of the video clip, and just drew on top of it in an empty layer. A simple blur filter later, it looked remarkably authentic. I thought I’d have to add a bunch of grain filters, but those old [Peanuts] episodes used pretty basic cell animation, so there wasn’t much to it. The main problem was getting the mask to look naturalistic, when the video played, since the frame itself moves around under it. That goes back to clip-selection: I chose clips where Franklin was talking, but his head was fairly still. The mask is important! I spent more time than I’d like to admit to get the mask animation right.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Walter Gross & k-the-i??? Reunite for First Youth:Kill Release Since 2012, A Hunter's Moon with 50 "Individually Hand-made" Cassettes for Harvest Moon (self-released)

Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist, producer, and Baltimore transplant Walter Gross has been steadily rolling out extremely limited edition, thought-provoking cassette releases all year; starting with Black Box Tapes-issued VESTIGE this past March, then, its SUPER BASIC companion piece two months later, and now, Youth:Kill's A Hunter's Moon EP unleashed today, on the Harvest Moon. Walter Gross also recently assembled "FBR SummerSchool GuestMix 3" for FilthyBroke Recordings' Summer School 2017 series. Youth:Kill consists of Gross along with Big Dada/Fake Four Inc-affiliated emcee Emmanuel "Kiki" Ceac AKA k-the-i??? A 2008 Dusted Magazine review once fittingly described Youth:Kill as "the Underground Hip-Hop version of Black Dice." A Hunter's Moon is their sixth overall release and first since a self-released 2012 split EP with sole, titled sole/Youth:Kill split. Not entirely unlike its 2017 predecessors, A Hunter's Moon is essentially, a frantic sound collage-style Experimental Hip-Hop mixtape, just this time, with a sharp-tongued emcee atop Walter's unique, sample-laden self-destructive-sounding beats.

"I suppose, it should be noted @OptimisGFN and @kthei split the difference on a 10-min. track. in true yk fashion... ["calm down psycho"] was recorded 2 years ago. the beats were used for the angels dust remix and then, remixed the base into the grinder and then, the files... got corrupted. and it took 2 years to figure out a solution... in short, this album is a chronicle of this immigrant personal pathway," @waltergross wrote within a series of A Hunter's Moon-minded Tweets earlier this week. It almost seems as though A Hunter's Moon is anchored by and almost built around one single track, the aforementioned 10-minute "Calm Down Psycho" with Berlin-based emcee OptimisGFN AKA Gold HolyWater; essentially, a re-work of a planned remix for Angels Dust's 2015 HIT+RUN-released album, Slow Tapes, which after two years-worth of painstaking re-assembling and "[reviving] with some ghetto magic," has morphed into an entire Youth:Kill EP of its own. There are currently 30 (give or take) "individually hand-made," cassette copies of Youth:Kill's A Hunter's Moon available on Walter Gross' Bandcamp page—with 20 additional copies available at k-the-i???'s upcoming live dates—and unlimited digital copies available online, as well. Walter Gross' next proper "solo" album, RIPPERS ONLY, is somehow, still expected before year's end.