Thursday, August 31, 2017

Peanut Butter Lovesicle Frontman & Drummer Timmy Miller Lets Loose Spiraling Psych-Rock "Wait Time" & Howlin' Wolf & John Lee Hooker-influenced "If I Woke" (self-released singles)

I honestly can't even remember how, but about 5-6 years ago now, I first discovered Pennsylvania-based by way of Ocean City, NJ—which just so happens to be my family's favorite "beach town"—awesomely-named Psych/Indie Rock trio Peanut Butter Lovesicle. PB Lovesicle consisted of blonde dread-locked drummer and frontman Timmy Miller and his two cousins (and brothers) guitarist Jake D'Arc and bassist Mike D'Arc. Between 2010-15, Timmy, Jake & Mike self-released a steady supply of Queens of The Stone Age & The Black Keys-influenced material, which included an array of Blues/Desert Rock-minded singles and EP's including, but not limited to: Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze EP, "Black Eyed Blues," Dirty Pride EP, "Complex," "Jealous Minds," and "Dragon Disease," as well as Timmy Miller & Jake D'Arc's Hip-Hop-indebted Milky 22's EP from their side-band of the same name. Lest we forget, Peanut Butter Lovesicle's "Black Eyed Blues" from their Dirty Pride EP and "State of I" from its predecessor Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze EP were featured within Gossip Girl's 2010-11 fourth season; "Black Eyed Blues" even got an Interview-premiered video directed by PB Lovesicle friends and frequent collaborators Todd DiCiurio & Taylor Steele (AKA Evil Twin) starring Gossip Girl's own Ed "Chuck Bass" Westwick and Sports Illustrated model Julie Henderson alongside the band.

Now, frontman and drummer Timmy Miller has gone temporarily solo, while Peanut Butter Lovesicle and Milky 22's are on indefinite hiatuses. Miller has moved to Colorado with his two huskies and and recently started a teaching assignment, all the while, taking classes to get his GIS (Geographic Information System) Specialist certification. Starting about 10 months ago, Timmy Miller ran a loosely-structured 2-month long initiative wherein he released 11 genre-spanning compositions that have since been collectively dubbed "The 303 Construct." It's unclear as to whether or not Miller still plans to re-visit, re-work, and property re-release his works from The 303 Construct sessions, as once planned, but he's continually rolling out new, 100% self-produced and fully orchestrated material on his Soundcloud page. I'll let Timmy Miller take it from here! It's currently unclear what SirTimmy-1 has in store for the music-loving world next, but The 303 Construct(1) and since-released material, "Wait Time" and "If I Woke," can now be streamed and thoroughly enjoyed on his ever-evolving Soundcloud.

Timmy Miller on "If I Woke:" "I wrote this song years ago back in college and I only ever had mediocre phone recordings of it and I really enjoyed the feeling behind the tune. I've been listening to some John Lee Hooker, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Howlin' Wolf recently and as per usual, when I listen to music like that, it flips a switch for Deep Blues inspiration. The lyrics are very thoughtful and come from a good place. I really enjoyed re-working some of the verse lyrics and format of the overall tune."

Timmy Miller on "Wait Time:" "Just been working on this "Wait Time" riff for a couple weeks and I've really come around on it, as a song I'm willing to put out; I just randomly decided to put it out last night, while I was working on the artwork for it. It's kind of it's own single. Not sure if I'll pair it up with others, but there's a couple other songs I may be releasing just randomly to put out [into] the musical world and community."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Aloe Blacc Drummer Te'Amir Sweeney Unleashes Sample-ready Tiger Breaks 7-inch In Support of Brother Tutu's "Continued Recovery Efforts" (Analog Burners x When Crates Create)

Los Angeles-based drummer and producer Te'Amir Sweeney has frequently toured and recorded with Stones Throw-affiliated Soul singer and Emanon emcee Aloe Blacc. Sweeney has additionally played with a wide array of musicians, mainly affiliated with LA's burgeoning Hip-Hop, beat-making, Jazz, and Neo-Soul scenes including, but not limited to Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Kamasi Washington, Kadhja Bonet, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, YG, Wondem, and Ethic-Cali. Te'Amir Sweeney has recorded extensively with "LA All Day" musician and producer Jason McGuiness (AKA Analog Burners) contributing drums to his Bandcamp-released collections: Masterpiece EP: A Whitfield​-​Strong Tribute, "We Could Be" with High Science Project/"Empyrean Tones" with Keyon Harrold, and ConSoul's 2017 "I Need You"/"Ball of Confusion" 7-inch. The Ologist (@OlogistBBB) from When Crates Creates describes a break/break record as "a collection of tracks stripped down and focused solely on the backbone of the rhythm, the drum; a centerpiece of Hip-Hop from DJ's to B-boys..." which brings us to When Crates Creates' latest 7-inch: Tiger Breaks. Birthed from a sampling of Te'Amir's recent work with Analog Burners, Tiger Breaks consists of 6 breaks (3 on Side A + 3 on Side B) and each record additionally comes with a phenakistoscope—or cellphone camera-enabled "playable artwork"—courtesy of visual artist Drew Tetz. "I'm really thankful to Analog Burners & When Crates Create for putting it together and getting it out there. It's been inspiring seeing the project ship around the world. I can't wait for Tutu's vinyl to come out; it sounds great! Stay tuned," Te'Amir Sweeney said of his Tiger Breaks 45. Prior to Tiger Breaks, Sweeney released a single titled "good vibes" featuring LA emcee Hugh Augustine and has plans to issue an "Ethiopian-inspired project" on Robert Luis & Paul Jonas' UK-based Tru Thoughts imprint, as well as a number of releases with Analog Burners.

"Tutu Sweeney is a multi-instrumentalist and singer from Los Angeles, who earns his living as a musician. On February 22nd, 2017, Tutu, brother of Aloe Blacc drummer Te'Amir, was involved in a near-fatal traffic accident, when he was struck by another vehicle, while riding his moped to an audition. He suffered arterial brain bleeding, multiple fractures (femur, fibula, clavicle, shoulder blade, etc.) a torn ACL, a punctured lung, and a damaged kidney. After a week in the ICU and nearly a month in the hospital, Tutu [Sweeney] was released in late March and faced a long road to rehab and recovery. While maintaining his optimism and hope to one day return to music, he first had to re-master the basics: walking, healing of broken bones, and the like. After months of rehab, Tutu continues to improve and is slowly getting back what he thought he may never have again, music.

Released August 8th, Tiger Breaks [7-inch EP] is a drum break record for the crate-diggers, break collectors, beat-makers, and DJ's. The 7-inch record features 6 unreleased drum tracks from Te'Amir's recording sessions with Hip-Hop and Jazz producer Jason "Analog Burners" McGuinness. Each track varies in feel and tempo, moving from low BPM 4/4 rhythms to complex break beat flavors and Hip-Hop leanings in-between. DJ's will find something to juggle and cut over, beat-makers will find countless open drums, and collectors will find the joy of extended open drum moments. Digital aficionados will appreciate the digital download, which includes full studio sessions of the 6 breaks, plus 3 additional breaks, as well as a producer drum kit of over 80 drum hits sampled through the iconic SP-1200 drum machine."

- @OlogistBBB (When Crates Create)

Monday, August 28, 2017

EABS' Pianist & Emcee Marek Pędziwiatr Speaks On Polish Jazz & J Dilla-indebted Repetitions: Letters to Krzysztof Komeda with Foreword/Intro Penned By @soilpimp (The Witzard Interview II)

"I landed in London on my way to meet up with the Madlib Medicine [Show] Tour and had one goal in mind upon de-planing: FIND IF Music! I had read about the proprietor, Jean-Claude Thompson, in a Wax Poetics article and heard from multiple sources that for my tastes, this was THE shop to hit. Upon arriving, I was surprised to find the dapper owner hanging out on the street, seemingly there to welcome me, since the shop [was] on the second floor. After watching me devour the stacks, the dapper owner said, "do you listen to new music?" "Yes, I do," [I replied]. His first recommendation was a new Jazz record from some young musicians in Poland. And that was how I discovered EABS the old-fashioned way, by a recommendation from one of the most knowledgeable selectors on the planet.

A week later I opened Repetitions [Letters to Krzysztof Komeda] a beautiful double-album package with an in-depth insert and dropped Side 1 on the turntable. What I discovered was a journey that weaved back-and-forth from historical reference points that demonstrate that these young guys can play to modern elements that keep it contemporary and continually, interesting. You will find multiple styles on this record, which is risky, as it could come off as unfocused, yet it does not. The double-album keeps you excited for each new tune to see where they go next because they are all great. I was not surprised to hear the musicians are diggers and have influences as wide-ranging as Krzysztof Komeda to J Dilla. This fits in very well with the inspiring new Jazz coming out—BADBADNOTGOOD, Kamasi Washington, Moses Boyd, I could go on and on; however, it also stands on its own, as simply, a great record. I selfishly, would love to see a collaboration with Madlib."

"Soilpimp (@soilpimp) is a mysterious fellow, who travels in multiple worlds based in NYC, who works in finance and is a record and wine collector. He mostly collects original records in the African, Brazilian, Funk, Jazz, and Soul genres with the occasional Hip-Hop, Rock, or Psych record. He travels extensively in search of inspiring food, music, and wine and is equally comfortable walking one of the great vineyards of the world, hanging with his favorite chefs or musical legends [whom] he insists we need to appreciate more! A simple soul, who just wants great wine from a proper glass with deep food and music played on a proper system."

- Soilpimp (AKA Robert Dentice)

I. Would you mind delving a bit into Krzysztof Komeda's background a bit, as you know it, as well as his relationship with Polish, European, and American (most notably, Rosemary's Baby) film scores, for those who might not exactly be too familiar with his body of work?

Krzysztof Komeda was one of the greatest Polish composers. His works embrace Jazz tunes, soundtracks, theatre music, and background poem music. His music was innovative in terms of inter-sound space and message. Simple, dark melodies spiced up with specific Komeda licks give you feelings of thrill, reverie, and hope.

II. How did you go about choosing which Komeda compositions to cover and how to go about approaching them for Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)? Also, would you more so consider EABS' renditions covers, re-interpretations, remixes, etc?

There is such a thing as Komeda's standards. We are diggers. That is why we resisted to select songs, which [were] interpreted billions of times. We had to watch dozens of films and listen to the whole musical library of the composer, before we started to arrange. What we were looking for in Komeda's music was message, simplicity, melancholy, and (last but not least) vibe. The same thing happened in our previous works; if the source music is simple and has some space, we can easily fit in-between the cracks. So then, we [were] able to create a whole new substance, naturally.

III. What was your typical beat-making, writing, recording, etc. process like for Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)? It sounds to me like there are some samples littered throughout, but the album largely sounds improvised, correct?

Initially, I've spent time on making beats sampling selected compositions. I flipped some bass parts, re-invented harmonies, and so on. Then, I introduced my sketches to the band; we worked hard together on my vision, until we played it correctly. Then, I gave my people total freedom to let them flow into this music, so the magic came in. Those beautiful film samples were selected by our manager and visionary Sebastian Jozwiak [at Astigmatic Records]. Dialogues are played live by DJ Spisek Jednego.

IV. Aside from Komeda and his original pieces of work, what else would you likely consider some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence on what ended up being the final mix of Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)?

Mostly, in the beginning of the arranging process, I am pretending that I don't know anything. It helps me to activate my true self. But at some point, I've realized that I got close to the spirit of David Axelrod or early works of Lalo Shiffrin. I love that sound. Formally, their music is simple, but it brings about lots of information—even with one note. For me, they’ve brought the essence of the 60’s soundtracks. What is more, their heritage deserves to exist and evolve in the present and future. I have a Hip-Hop background. So, it is natural that you can smell Wu-Tang, J Dilla, or Kool Keith's influence.

V. How has EABS (formerly Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions?) evolved and grown as a Hip-Hop-leaning, Jazz-minded group since your debut full-length project, PUZZLE Mixtape for Astigmatic Records?

We are constantly evolving. The material is the same, but each concert is different. This music is not only "live," it is "alive." The love is getting stronger. What I've learned after Repetitions is that we play neither Hip-Hop nor Hip-Hop/Jazz Fusion. What we play is real Jazz and thanks to our Hip-Hop background, we are able to extract true roughness of that Jazz.

VI. How did you fellas go about recruiting Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)'s lone guest musician, Michal Urbaniak (on "Free Witch & No Bra Queen/Sult")? What ultimately, made you decide to utilize his electric violin talents on this particular track?

To be honest, the decision came when the album was already finished. When I played it to Urbaniak, after the first song, he began to cry. Before his solo career, he played in Komeda's ensemble, so it brought him beautiful memories. He asked me then, [if it was still] possible for him to play on this album. I was happy and confused. Everything was ready. Everything was played... I had to figure out the special place for Michal; space which could have squeezed out freshness and roughness of Michal's sound. "Free Witch & No Bra Queen/Sult" was the place to be.

VII. I remember for our first PUZZLE Mixtape-centric interview (Dec. 2016,) we briefly spoke about Donuts & MADVILLAINY mastering engineer Dave Cooley—who, at the time, had recently mastered "Waltzing Beyond." Did Dave have any further involvement with the final mixing and mastering of Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)?

No, we ultimately decided to give it to Marcin Cichy, the member of legendary group Skalpel (Ninja Tune). We were looking for the sound, spirit, and roughness of real Polish Jazz we used to listen from our parents' and uncles' vinyls. Sounds like Laboratorium, Tomasz Stańko, Spisek Szesciu, etc. Marcin knows this literature.

VIII. Within our last interview, you mentioned how EABS' PUZZLE Mixtape and Repetitions were "completely different;" PUZZLE being released on cassette and digitally with almost no return profit and Repetitions, "a conceptual studio album" to be released on double vinyl, CD, and digitally. How does it feel to have to achieved the goals you guys set for EABS and see Repetitions pressed up on glossy 140g double-vinyl!?

It is like a new beginning. Finally, we made something we totally deserved—after five years of existence. It is also cool that each release is totally different, so the listener consequently, confronts with something new.

IX. Do you currently have an immediate plans to release any type of music videos or filmed live recording to accompany Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)'s release? I remember when Lukasz from Astigmatic Records messaged me one day last month with a link and I was able to watch a live stream of Repetitions; live debut at a recent show in Poland—truly a gripping performance, fellas!

Thanks Matt, we are trying to record every gig either on film or mere audio recording. Soon, there will be our SoFar live performance released on YouTube. You can expect more such beauties in the near future!

X. Does EABS have any immediate plans to do a US tour (particularly, on the East Coast) behind Repetitions? I know, myself, personally, as well as many of my friends, fellow writers, and readers would really love to hear your latest album in a proper live setting!

This is our dream, but we are patient taking little steps. Now, our records selling well in London. We are really glad about it. If the US appreciates our music, we are ready to share ASAP! I come from a little town in Poland—Swinoujscie. My musical father, Dariusz Ryzczak, said: "Mark, today Swinoujscie, tomorrow New York." I wish...

XI. Have you tried to reach out to Krzysztof Komeda's family and associates with a copy of EABS' Repetitions yet? If so, how did they reach after hearing your tastefully progressive re-workings of his material?

Yes! We needed their permission to make this album happens. We've sent them a few copies of Repetitions, but after all that, we [still] didn't get any feedback. Maybe we will get a chance to meet with Tomasz Lach soon.

XII. Now, please correct me, if I'm wrong... but it seems as though Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) has been completed for quite a while now. So, what are you guys currently working on for the next EABS album and when might it see a release?

Currently, we are working on our original compositions. This material will be a journey to our true selves. We are going back to the times of Slavic myths, when ordinary people were living in harmony with The Moon and The Sun. Though, there is not too much evidence left, we are ready to feel it and play it because it's us.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Behind The Beat, Vol. 2 Part 1: Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock Producer @m_slago Speaks On His "Panacea" Beat Contribution from TRIPLE FAT LICE EP (The Witzard Twitter-view)

@SharpCheddar856: Hey what's up, M Slago? How's it going? How did get involved with Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's latest TRIPLE FAT LICE EP, man? I know you produced Sandman's All That I Hold Dear a few years back (phenomenal record, might I add!)

@m_slago: Let me get to a laptop and I'll start answering questions to avoid (some) typos lol.

SC: No worries, man! I'm gonna go jump in the shower, but I'll be back momentarily... just send whatever you think may be interesting and useful. Thanks!

m_s: Much thanks on the [All That I Hold Dear] props. Homeboy Sandman and I met back in '09 and have been doing joints together, since The Good Sun. When Aesop Rock & Boy Sand were touring during the first Lice release, I met Aesop for the first time, here in Dallas, at their show. We talked lightly about future work and other things... and "Panacea" is the result.

SC: Oh OK, nice! So, you're one of Homeboy Sandman's initial pre-Stones Throw collaborators! And "Panacea" has been in-the-works since or before 2015's Lice EP 1, then?

m_s: "Panacea" itself wasn't in-the-works, but some music was always a possibility. The connection with Homeboy Sandman will always equate to fresh music lol. Add another stellar artist like Aesop as a variable and it's bound to happen. It's truly basic algebra. But in regards to the beat for "Panacea," it simply was a cut I sent to Sandman that I felt he might dig. I trust his usage of any jams he gets from me. That includes features, which album, etc.

SC: Sounds awesome, man!

m_s: To flip the script a bit, what intrigued you to reach out to producers that participated in Lice 2-3? I didn't dig too deep, but I don't recall seeing anything like this for other projects from you. Or at least, [not] prior to Lice 2: Still Buggin' (2016).

SC: I just thought it would be cool to get the stories behind the beats. That's generally one of my favorite parts of Hip-Hop and I really don't think the producer gets enough shine. I've been doing a producer-selected playlist in recent months called Beat-maker Bedrock. I just think these Lice EP's are great and it feels like there's a lot more to these releases than what's on the surface. My buddy and I saw Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman live on tour in Philly after Lice (1) and Sandman even signed my vinyl copy.

m_s: That's really cool. I think it's an unlikely, yet perfect pairing. Two extremely nice emcees that march to the beat of their own drum.

SC: Hell yeah! There isn't enough unity in Hip-Hop today and they're such a great, yet odd pairing... it works wonderfully, though. Now, are there more EP's or an album in-the-works?

m_s: Indeed. I'd imagine there's more to come, but truthfully, who knows.

SC: That's the beauty of it... who really ever knows with these two ha. It just seems like Stones Throw often does this, EP's leading up to an album... like Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's pre-Piñata EP's.

m_s: Right. It's an appetizer lol. A hearty one, but an appetizer.

SC: Exactly! Well, a three-course appetizer ha. Have anything else to add, my friend?

m_s: [No,] only to say TRIPLE FAT LICE came out extra-fresh, in my unbiased opinion. I'm familiar with all the producers involved and I've been getting hip to Cohenbeats. To see his name pop up, is a testament to his skill. And to thank you for reaching out!

You can catch M Slago & DJ EZ Eddie D every Saturday night from 8-10:00 PM Central Time as co-hosts of Knowledge Dropped Lessons Taught Vol. 2 on 89.3FM Dallas. Their KNON-broadcast radio show is currently the second longest-running Hip-Hop radio show in the world! Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's TRIPLE FAT LICE EP is now available to purchase and stream from Stones Throw and Rhymesayers' Fifth Element webstore. It features top-notch, "infectious" production work from Cohenbeats, Oh No, Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. Quelle Chris, and of course, M Slago.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jumbled & UllNevaNo "Sub In" Alternates Logic Marselis & DJ Blaze Daily for The Ghost of Len Bias EP Game 2 Single "Bias vs. Jordan" (Harford & Reckord Tapes/MGNTK.)

"There's an old saying, "iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." This can be found many times over in sports and in music. One of the legendary debates in basketball is whether Len Bias was a better basketball player than Michael Jordan; while we consider Jordan to be the greatest of all-time, we can't help but wonder what could have been," Jumbled & UllNevaNo wrote within a recent press release. UllNevaNo & Jumbled have just released the second single, "Bias vs. Jordan," from their upcoming basketball-themed The Ghost of Len Bias EP. Len Bias was of course, an extremely talented 22-year-old forward at the University of Maryland. Bias was the Boston Celtics' second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft on June 17th and sadly, passed away two days later from cardiac arrhythmia, as a result of a cocaine overdose. "Iron sharpening iron" can also be found in Hip-Hop all the time. When someone lays down an amazing verse or freestyle, the pressure is put on the next artist to step up and do better," UllNevaNo & Jumbled continued.

"Bias vs. Jordan" almost has an underlying cinematic feel due in part to Jumbled's grandiose sting samples, reminiscent of Wu-Tang Clan's formative brand of 90's Mafioso/Gangsta Rap; for this second "pick-up game" (single) from The Ghost of Len Bias EP, Jumbled & UllNevaNo have "subbed in" fellow MGNTK. emcee and self-proclaimed "dust environment explorer" Logic Marselis for an added guest verse and additional cuts from Maryland's legendary DJ Blaze Daily. "Bias vs. Jordan" loosely chronicles the period wherein, believe it or not, Len Bias and Michael Jordan actually played against each other a number of times during their college years. UllNevaNo ferociously rhymes "flows tight like a boa constrictor" and Marselis boasting "got this style from within, ain't get it off 'line." The Ghost of Len Bias EP is coming to a computer near you this September from Harford & Reckord Tapes and Magnetik Moments (MGNTK.) Just in time to quickly become the unofficial soundtrack for the 2017-18 NBA season.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

DJ Oonops Presents: Japanese Jazz Fusion Trio Nautilus & Fleur Earth's Beastie Boys "Root Down" Re-interpretation (Oonops Drops Vol. 1)

German-based DJ Oonops (AKA Patrick Decker) is a self-described "connoisseur of tight spider beats and juggler with different musical genres" who hosts a monthly Brooklyn Radio Mixcloud show and has compiled guest mixes for world-renown stations such as Laid Back Radio (LDBK) and Breakin' Bread. As DJ Oonops tells it, he first discovered Japanese Jazz Fusion/Soul-Funk trio Nautilus "a few years ago" by chance, upon diggin' up their first few 45 singles; amazed with their work, Decker soon "got in touch with [Nautilus] and dropped several tunes in [his] shows for Brooklyn Radio" including Oonops Drops - Straight from Japan II, Smoky Jazz Session 4, Black Gold of The Sun, WORLD TRIAL 2, and SMOKY JAZZ SESSIONS 5. "After that, I had the idea to bring them on German label Agogo Records for a wider audience and I compiled this compilation out of their first two albums. One day, I had the idea of the fusion of Jimmy Smith's "Root Down" combined with Beastie Boys' "Root Down," but in a different way," DJ Oonops recounted within a recent emailed exchange. I can still recall picking up a used copy of the Beastie Boys' 1995 Root Down EP CD at FYE in our local mall back in the early 2000's during my earliest discovery of Beasties' effortlessly genre-blending style. It showcased three remixes of "Root Down" by The Prunes, De La Soul DJ and producer Prince Paul, and Ill Communication producer and "third Beastie" Mario "C." Caldato Jr. alongside seven tracks were recorded "LIVE IN EUROPE, WINTER 1995."

"So, I asked Toshi [Toshiyuki Sasaki] from Nautilus because of his creative Jazz style and singer Fleur Earth, who I had in mind as the voice for this version to [fully] realize it for me. And yes, there will be another cool re-interpretation of a classic tune... I'll keep you updated," Oonopus continued. DJ Oonops-assembled "Root Down" revision reminds me of something to the effect of El Michels Affair's Wu-Tang Clan-flipping albums Enter: The 37th Chamber (2009) and Return to The 37th Chamber (2017) or even David Bowie re-envisioning The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge (2005). Nautilus & Fleur Earth's "Root Down" Funk-tastic cover is currently available for pre-order on an "exclusive and strictly limited" baby blue 7-inch single from German-based Agogo Records ahead of its upcoming November 3rd release. "Root Down" is additionally expected to re-appear within DJ Oonops' upcoming Agogo Records compilation, Oonops Drops Vol. 1, which will likely be loosely modeled after his popular Brooklyn Radio and Mixcloud series. Shout out to Jamison Harvey AKA DJ Prestige over at Flea Market Funk for peeeping me to DJ Oonops & Nautilus feat. Fleur Earth's "Root Down" 45, as well as continually introducing me to dope sh*t that's exclusively available on vinyl!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lushlife & Austin-based Producer Botany form Collaborative Duo Skull Eclipses & Unleash Mary Lattimore-assisted "Totality Piece" to Accompany Total Solar Eclipse 2017 (Western Vinyl)

It was a little strange, to say the least, driving into work this morning knowing that in a few short hours, New Jersey and nearly the whole United States would experience a period of total (albeit momentary) darkness for a few hours today, Monday, August 21st. I'm of course, talking about the Total Solar Eclipse, which will obscure roughly 76.9% of The Sun at 2:44 pm here in South Jersey and will experience various shades of darkness until about 4:00 pm. According to The Smithsonian's Solar Eclipse app, The Eclipse will make its first point of contact in Oregon in about three hours and will last for approximately 2 minutes and 43 seconds in any given area across The United States and Greater North America. If you, like my co-workers, family, and friends and myself, were unable to attain a coveted pair of Solar Eclipse viewing glasses, you can still view The Eclipse by making a a home-made Box Pinhole Projector; you'll just need a a long cardboard box or tube, scissors, duct tape, aluminum foil, a pin or a thumbtack, a sharp knife or paper cutter, a sheet of white paper, and a little elbow grease and ingenuity. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Philly rapper-producer and one-time Das Racist affiliate Lushlife (AKA Raj Haldar) has teamed up with Austin-based Instrumental Hip-Hop and Electronic music producer Botany to form an appropriately-titled collaborative project called Skull Eclipses.

Lushlife & Botany have recruited Ghostly International-signed harpist Mary Lattimore to assist on their debut release, "Totality Piece" sub-titled "a musical composition for viewing of the solar eclipse." Skull Eclipses strongly suggest you download a "Totality Piece" MP3 by entering your email address on their site, cue up the track at the exact moment the Solar Eclipse comes into view in your area, and "ascend to the Alam al-Mithal. Ascend! Human! Try! To! Ascend!" Haldar recently told Philly's non-profit radio station The Key (WXPN) "the project with Botany will bear more fruit as the coming weeks progress, but in the meantime, plan to hit play on the below Soundcloud link at 2:44 pm in Philly for a truly cosmic viewing and listening." Pitchfork further details that "radio stations across the country, including Philly's WXPN and Austin's KUTX, will be broadcasting the track live, as the eclipse reaches its maximum [coverage] in their respective cities." Lushlife recently unleashed his politically-minded MY IDOLS ARE DEAD + MY ENEMIES ARE IN POWER (Idols + Enemies) mixtape benefiting the ACLU, as well as a rather jarring cover of Grizzly Bear's "Foreground." Skull Eclipses producer Botany, on the other hand, most recently released Raw Light II on his Bandcamp page and harpist Mary Lattimore's latest release with keyboardist Elysse Thebner Miller, And The Birds Flew Overhead is currently available on Thrill Jockey/Footfalls Records, as well.

"As we prepare for a rare Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, the band Skull Eclipses are releasing their first public recording described as: a "through-composed experiential piece designed to soundtrack and seamlessly follow the 2-minute 40-second totality of the solar eclipse." Featuring harpist Mary Lattimore, the composition, entitled "Totality Piece," is available for download on their website until the 21st. Skull Eclipses is a brand new project from Spencer Stephenson (Botany) and Raj Haldar (Lushlife)."

- Skull Eclipses

Friday, August 18, 2017

Purple Dialect Entered The Woods of Bucks County, PA with a Roland SP-404, Mic & Tapedeck & Emerged with Lo-Fi Hip-Hop/"Vaporwave" Campfire EP (The Witzard Breakdown)

"The man, the myth, the Human Swiss Army Knife, @pdialect is killing it and you better be listening," self-proclaimed father, husband, emcee, producer, and "talker of Hip-Hop sh*t" at Damn That Noise DADVILLAINY (@DrBloodmoney) Tweeted this past Wednesday, August 16th. Zane Rice, better known as Purple Dialect is a Philadelphia-based artist, who very simply put, "makes beats and raps at GHOST VOLCANO" along with in-house graphic designer and partner-in-rhyme Spook Novel. Earlier this year, Rice quietly released his first 100% self-released full-length, Forest Fortress and Darko The Super-featuring EP, Ghost Beach to wide-spread fanfare and critical acclaim. Now, he's unleashed his third effort of 2017, Campfire EP, which was fully "written, produced, and recorded in a single night in a tent next to a fire." Armed with only a Roland SP-404 beat machine, rudimentary mic, and a tapedeck, Purple Dialect set out to do the unthinkable: intentionally "strand" himself overnight from June 2-3, 2017 in an unspecified remote location with minimal supplies and his music-making tools in an effort to emerge from the woods at daybreak with all of his limbs intact and a discernible collection of GHOST VOLCANO-worthy material. Not only was Purple Dialect featured within a recent Bandcamp Daily piece titled The Unlikely Intersection of Vaporwave and Hip-Hop, he recently sat down with The Witzard and supplied an hour-by-hour timeline of the fateful night back in June he hand-crafted Campfire EP in the bear-infested woods of Bucks County, PA.

"The Story: I set out to make an EP in just one night, while camping in the woods. I brought a microphone, a Roland SP-404 portable sampler, a notepad, and a tape deck. The tape deck also had various recordings and samples that I had found in previous digging sessions.

6:00 PM - I have the tent set up. Fire is going and I am sitting in a folding chair, while fending off mosquitoes. Listening to sample material.

7:00 PM - Found the sample for the first track, "Bug Spray." Just jamming and vibing out. I chop drum breaks to make a pattern and then, chop and loop melodic samples, until I get into groove that feels dope. Repeat process throughout the night with different sounds at different tempos. Playing things out by hand is the only way I can make a beat that I actually enjoy.

8:15 PM - I have had five Diet Cokes and a bunch of graham crackers.

9:00 PM - It's getting pretty dark. Fire is burning. I have knocked out three more beats.

9:30 PM - Playing the four beats I have made so far on repeat. Layering [effects] and occasionally, ripping my headphones off because I think I hear someone walking around in the woods. Fire is burned down to ash, but I pour water on it to be sure. It's really dark out.

10:00 PM - Grab my gear and move into my tent. I have a battery-powered lantern and notepad.

11:00 PM - Finish the beat that will become the song "Tent Light;" last beat completed.

11:15 PM - I have been freestyling to myself, as I made the beats, but I start writing everything out. I keep hearing branches breaking in the woods, which is freaking me out a bit.

12:30 AM - I start recording vocals for the three tracks that I want to rap to. I recorded the three beats into the tape deck, so I can monitor them in one ear, while recording vocals straight into the SP-404. This is the work-around I am using because you cannot do a live overdub with the 404.

1:30 AM - All done with writing and recording vocals. I am also 90% sure that these woods are haunted, at this point. I have made my peace with dying in some sort of Blair Witch scenario, but I have had a good run.

2:30 AM - I chilled out and spent some time listening to what I made. Feels pretty dope...

4:30 AM - Wake up to what sounds like someone throwing small rocks at my tent. Stumble out of tent to look around, but I don't see a thing. After not hearing a sound for about 10 minutes, I go back in to try to sleep. I wonder if forest creatures f**k with my beats; I hope they do.

7:30 AM - Wake up with a "dead arm" and I must have fallen asleep with my headphones on. Survived the night without incident and have some songs to show for it. Pack up camp to go search for coffee."

- Purple Dialect (Zane Rice)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pale Spring's Emily Scott Talks Pale Spring EP2, 3-D Printed "Proud of Your Poison" Action Figures & Classical Music Training (The Witzard Interview)

Baltimore-based singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and web/multi-media designer Emily Scott has recently released her second, aptly-titled Pale Spring EP2. Wenker is a classically-trained pianist and has been tickling the ivory keys since she was five. She mostly played Beethoven & Chopin for the better part of her musical upbringing and took guitar lessons in high school, but always felt like she was "bad at it." It took several years, but Emily Scott says she had to essentially un-learn everything she had amassed during her classical training in order to be able to make her own music. It wasn't until Scott met frequent collaborator and fiance Drew Scott about two and a half years ago that she learned how to use ProTools and attained a new outlook on the world of music-making and production. Since first meeting Scott, Emily Scott has recorded and released two now-removed Anna Notte albums (her rapping alter-ego) and two EP's-worth of "genre-fluid" Synth-Pop-minded material as Pale Spring, as well as a scattered back catalog of material recorded with Baltimore's finest: Jumbled, Joy Postell, Hemlock Ernst AKA Future Islands' frontman Sam Herring, JPEGMAFIA, Toyomansi, and made extensive contributions to Drew Scott's recent ILL VESSEL as both Anna Notte and Pale Spring. Wenker has now returned with her second—and might I add, rather progressive—Pale Spring effort, Pale Spring EP2 on which she handled guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming, vocals, production work, composition, lyric-writing, and recording; while Drew Scott is credited with drum programming, co-production, mixing, and mastering throughout EP2 and was admittedly "just in the room sometimes." Pale Spring EP2 is now available to stream and download on both Bandcamp & Soundcloud with proceeds benefiting Baltimore Youth Arts.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Synth-Pop/Pop Art Enthusiast

I. What was your typical writing, recording, and production process like behind your Pale Spring EP2? Soundcloud credits you (Emily) as providing vocals, guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, drum programming, lyrics, composition, co-production, and recording; Drew Scott is additionally credited with mixing, "some drum programming," and co-production throughout.

To be honest, it varies from song to song. I feel like I have a really disorganized way of making music; the only constant in my song-writing process is that I'll usually write, like, five songs that I spend tons of time on, then trash them because I think they’re bad... for whatever reason. Then, I make one song that I like that will only take me two hours start to finish. Then, I do it over again. Like "Waiting Time," for example, I was just messing around and finished that in a day. "Suffer Soft" was the same [scenario]. I was proud of a drum pattern I did and then, just thought it would be cool to use my voice, as if it were a synth and then, just made the entire song around that. I also really like finding weird ambient sounds on The Internet to put under my beats, like storms, wind, people who think they’re hearing UFO's, but it's probably just the sound of tectonic plates moving, etc. When I’m stuck and don't know what to do for the drums, I just hand it over to Drew and I'm like, "here, I'm going for weird, minimal, sexy." And then, he does exactly what I was thinking. Then, in post-production we usually sit together and keep coming up with cool ideas for the songs for a while. The other constant is that I almost never have lyrics, before I write the music. That's usually the last part.

II. What would you likely cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while recording Pale Spring EP2? It's credited on your Soundcloud as "Synth-Pop, Experimental, Electronic, Electronic Pop, Indie-Pop, and Indie."

I think I use those tags because I'm hoping that people who typically might like those genres could potentially vibe with my music. I don't like the idea of fitting into a genre. I hate answering the question, "what is your music like?" I dunno, I just call it Synth-Pop; I don't know if that's accurate or not. The musicians I look up to and respect most are Chelsea Wolfe, Patsy Cline, CocoRosie, Aaliyah, The Knife... all of those artists, in my opinion, defy/defied the bounds of their genres. Although, I'm usually most influenced by my own dreams or by books I've been reading... not so much music.

III. We previously spoke about Pale Spring EP2's "dream-like" lyrical content, which often references both Catholicism and religion. Would you care to further detail these underlying lyrical themes present throughout EP2?

I've had crazy, intense dreams, since I was a kid. I love waking up on Saturday mornings after a night of terrifying dreams and making music. I think that's when I write best... those times I was talking about, when I can make a song in two hours, are almost always under these circumstances. I reference Catholicism and religion a lot, but I was never Catholic or religious. I'm Italian, so my family definitely pretends to be Catholic, at least for funeral mass. One of my parents was an English teacher and was raised Catholic, though. I grew up in a very literature-based household. I think for this reason, I've always loved examining Biblical archetypes within texts. I think that these allusions, while perhaps, overdone within literature, are really strong and effective symbols for burden and self-sabotage. I've definitely carried that into my own writing. This album is not about faith, at all. It’s about how "blessings" can often be distractions and how the great burden of life is surely the personal battle between good and evil.

IV. How would you say your overall sound, style, approach, etc. has grown and progressed since Pale Spring EP2's 2016 predecessor, Pale Spring EP(1)?

I've definitely learned how to use the TC-Helicon to my advantage since the self-titled [EP]... I listen back to that album and I'm like, "wow, I could have toned it back a bit." I think I'm more confident about my singing, too. Maybe. I go back-and-forth on that one. My stuff is less guitar-driven on this EP. That isn't necessarily the direction I'm going in, though. I still don't want to fit into a genre. I still feel like I'm just messing around and figuring out what I'm doing. Overall, I can say that I definitely have a lot more fun with music than I used to. I used to make a song and like, sh*t on myself over it for hours. I don't do that anymore. I actually really like making music now. I think coming from a classical music background, kind of trained me to sh*t on myself. It took me almost a decade to get over that.

V. You mentioned you have a video for EP2 track "Proud of Your Poison" coming sometime in September. Now, would you mind going a bit into its overall concept and background?

I am very excited about the video. It's directed by Jeff Rettberg, who works on House of Cards; he was responsible for JPEGMAFIA’s videos "The Southern Strategy" and "I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump." I want it to be a bit of a surprise, but I can say that I gave Jeff complete artistic control to do whatever he wanted and it's going to be awesome. Jeff and Elena, who is his film partner and wife, worked with this amazing artist Jeffrey Gangwisch to make me into 3-D printed action figures, which are going to be filmed within a model of decimating landscapes... might just have to wait and see it. I know as little as you do, honestly haha.

VI. I remember a while back, @DrewciferScott mentioned something about collecting Pale Spring EP2 left-overs and re-using them as "samples" on his/your future releases; would you mind going into that potential concept a bit? Sounds like a pretty interesting and practical idea!

"Practical" is definitely the word. He has an arsenal of like, at least 20 songs that I made, while trying to finish this album, which I encourage him to just flip into a beat. I'll make a bunch of songs and be like, "I hate this. You can strip the synth pattern off, if you want." Two hours later, he's make a sick beat from it and I'm like... "sh*t!" He’s coming out with a Pop project eventually, too and has used some of the EP2 left-overs for that. Of course, he totally messes with them and makes them their own thing. Sometimes, you need a new set of eyes/ears on a song that just isn't working. He can literally make a beat from anything. Like, I took a joke video of him slapping a giant 40lb. block of cheese the other day... now, he's f**king using it as an Industrial sample. He doesn't even know how insanely creative he is.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Fail at Everything: A Practical Guide for Coasting Through Life... Author Free Tillman Unleashes Tidal-era Fiona Apple & J Dilla Mash-up Mixtape, Red Dillicious (self-released)

"This project came together organically. I had just bought some new equipment and wasn't really comfortable with my drum sounds, so I decided to loop someone else's... and who has better drums than J Dilla? I was looking for samples from my music collection and came across Fiona Apple's Tidal," beat-maker, writer, and social media personality Free (Lee) Tillman wrote within a recent email. "Throughout my life, I have been a recording engineer, a journalist, a rapper, a stand-up comedian, and a music video director. And I have had recognizable success in exactly zero of those things," Tillman writes within the Amazon description to his 2016 Kindle book, How to Fail at Everything: A Practical Guide for Coasting Through Life. On his Soundcloud page, Lee Tillman simply proclaims: "I make videos, I take pictures, I write Tweets, I write books," complete with links to his various platforms. Red Dillicious is billed as, "Dilla Drums + Fiona Apple Piano = Red Dillicious" and in addition to J Dilla and Fiona Apple samples, features intertwined vocal snippets from TV shows like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Search Party, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Documentary Now! While it's currently unspecified as to where the Dilla drums breaks were sourced, Tillman used nine tracks from Fiona Apple's critically-acclaimed 1996 debut, Tidal—with the exception of opener "Sleep to Dream" ("Sleep")—as well as Apple's Blake Mills-produced "Container" penned for Showtime's 2014 drama series, The Affair. It ends up sounding like something to the effect of an imagined Dirty Projectors album produced by ?uestlove and Soulquarians off-shoot The Ummah AKA J Dilla and A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip & Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Red Dillicious, as well as Free Tillman's 30-track follow-up PRIMO, is currently available on Soundcloud and Bandcamp on a Name-Your-Price basis.

"I've been a fan of hers since that album debuted in '96. I always loved her piano playing and how she used her voice, so I knew I could find some great sounds. First, I chopped up the piano from her solo at the end of "Sleep to Dream." It sounded pretty good, so I moved on to the next song. I looped up the next Dilla drum track and thought to myself, "I can't just keep sampling Dilla;" then, I thought again, "what if ALL I did was sample Dilla?" I though about a mixtape Black Milk put out a couple years ago called Music from The Color Purple, where he used nothing but Prince records. So, as an exercise, I tried to make a beat from every song from Tidal using nothing but J Dilla drum beats. In the end, the first song I made didn't make the cut, but I felt like everything else was worth sharing, so threw it up on Bandcamp and other people seem to like it, too. Go figure."

- Free (Lee) Tillman

Monday, August 14, 2017

Roughneck Jihad Talks New Album The Wretched of The Verse, Orchids & Corpses Re-release, The Current State of "Mumble Rap" & Top 10 Emcees (The Witzard Interview)

While he still might be a relatively unknown "underground emcee," Roughneck Jihad—formerly known as Jihad The Roughneck MC—has been spittin' fresh rhymes since high school, 1988; over the years, he's formed countless Hip-Hop crews including Un Cut Poets, Third Sight with DJ Du Funk, Smooth Tone, and D-Styles, The Incredible Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) with Trailer Trasher & Maestro Gamin, The Language Mechanics with Insomniac & Raggedy Andy, The Tarantula Brothers with DJ Du Funk, Disco Sinisto with Turin, Italy-based producer IL Torsolo, newly-formed Echoes of Oratory Music, The Darc Bros. and currently runs label imprint Disgruntled Sounds. There's also a vinyl and cassette re-release of Third Sight's 2016 Orchids & Corpses compilation album originally recorded to 4-track between 1993-96 scheduled for this upcoming September. Aside from his just-released second solo album, The Wretched of The Verse (A Microphone Murderer's Extended-play Response to Unabridged Wackness In Hip-Hop Music Today) Roughneck Jihad is currently working on anywhere from 8-10 additional projects with a wide array of beat-minded collaborators including, but not limited to those listed above.

Prior to its August 3rd release, I've heard at least two versions of Roughneck Jihad's The Wretched of The Verse through various stages of completion and I can assure you, it's one Hell of a single-emcee Hip-Hop album! Jihad collected hard-as-nails beats from the likes of Abomination, Pryvet Peep Sho, Waxsmith, Frank John James, and BOOKS1. I would say The Wretched is stylistically reminiscent of Sean Price's Mic Tyson, Madlib & DOOM's MADVILLAINY, Wu-Tang Clan, and DOOM's Danger Mouse-produced [adult swim]-themed THE MOUSE AND THE MASK. I've been speaking with Juan (Roughneck Jihad) over the course of the past few months through The Wretched of The Verse's various stages of completion and as a quasi-follow-up to our previous The Wretched Sampler breakdown, he was kind enough to sit down with The Witzard for a comprehensive 10-question interview, which you can now peruse through below, while streaming Roughneck's new album. The Wretched of The Verse is currently available to purchase in a number of limited edition formats: 300 gold vinyl LP's available on German-based EXPANDED ART RECORDS, 100 cassette tapes, and of course, unlimited $12 digital albums all available from Jihad The Roughneck MC's Bandcamp page.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Saturday Morning Cartoon Enthusiast

I. What was your intended message behind sub-titling The Wretched of The Verse: "A Microphone Murderer's Extended-play Response to Unabridged Wackness In Hip-Hop Music Today?" Who exactly, if anyone, is that particular statement aimed towards?

The sub-titling was a creation of the cover artist Raggedy Andy and he was simply riffing off of the book cover of The Wretched of The Earth by [Frantz] Fanon. He needed to change the words a bit to make it fit the mood and direction of the LP. We have been working together since before E. Pluribus and he knows I hate wack emcees, so it all worked out. He didn't have any particular emcee in mind, as far as I know. The industry is full of wackness in Mainstream Rap, but it's always been that way for generations.

II. The Wretched of The Verse has an underlying Hanna-Barbera cartoon-type feel and vaguely reminds me of Sean Price's Mic Tyson, MADVILLAIN's MADVILLAINY, DANGERDOOM's THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, etc. How intentional (or unintentional) was this running "Saturday morning cartoon"-evoking feel?

The cartoon sample has long been an element in the producer's repertoire. DOOM and Ghostface [Killah] went hard on the cartoon samples. Men of our age grew up on cartoons, so those samples bring back those days of our youth. Only real heads can pick out the source material they come from. It takes some digging. [Pryvet] Peep Sho is younger than the rest of us, but he's a true comic book cartoon nerd, which is evident on the tracks "Phantom," "Toys," and "Blowhard." He tries to keep the listener guessing what he used and how he flipped it. Nobody has figured it out yet. The other producers did not use cartoons.

III. Who exactly hand-crafted and produced the various beats showcased throughout The Wretched of The Verse and how did you initially go about contacting and attaining beats from said producers?

There are five producers on The Wretched: Pryvet Peep Sho, Waxsmith, and BOOKS1, who also did tracks on Third Sight IV. The two new-comers are Frank John James and Abom 1. I met Peep Sho years ago through The Ruckazoid and we have been recording since 2012. He gave me a beat CD back then and we just connected. We had done a few different songs along the way; he did "Jeepers" on Chillin' and "Nerd" and "Cuckold Crush" on IV. We have many unreleased songs other than the five on this LP. Waxsmith used to DJ for a good friend of mine, Nate Mezmer. He sent me some beats, which I really liked and we have been working together [ever] since. BOOKS1, I linked up with through my mix engineer, Jerry D. He is a protege of DJ Hen Boogie from The Derelicts. We have a few mutual friends. I met Frank John James through Clockwize. He's part of the Echoes of Oratory [Muzik] crew that took me in. He gave me a super-soulful beat CD at a show. He has hundreds of beats, I just picked a few and ran with it. Finally, I met Abomination through my homeboy and rhyme partner, Maestro Gamin and he was kind enough to slide me some tracks. I met them all through my network.

IV. In addition to The Wretched of The Verse, what else are you currently working on that may see an eventual release within the coming months; any projects of particular note?

The main projects arriving this year after The Wretched are Orchids & Corpses and The Tarantula Brothers. Orchids is already available for digital download on my Bandcamp, but we did a deal a couple years back with Omar at Sanctimonious Records for a physical release. So, we're dropping the songs on an EP, 7-inch, and cassette tapes pretty soon. Tarantula Brothers, my LP with DJ Du Funk is being mixed now, but might not be out until January.

V. What exactly is the tentative release schedule for The Wretched of The Verse in its various formats? I know you had previously mentioned it will be available on vinyl, cassette, and digital album formats.

The digital download is out now. The vinyl and tapes will be out at the end of August.

VI. Now, did you make an intentional decision to keep The Wretched of The Verse a one emcee and a microphone-style album with absolutely NO features? Let's just say you had and unlimited budget and unlimited means... who would you ideally, get for features, producers, etc. on The Wretched?

Sometimes, a producer just wants you on a track. Unless they tell me otherwise, I don't feel at liberty to add guests. It just kinda turned out that way with these tracks. I have a bucket list of people I'd like to work with in the future. If I could pay them, I'd do it now: DJ Premier, DOOM, Breezly Brewin, Scaramanga, Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Saafir, Gift of Gab, Myka 9, Jehst, Sylabil Spill, [André] 3000, [Pharoahe] Monch—a huge list, really.

VII. Do you have any current plans to release any additional singles, music videos, 7-inch singles, etc. during The Wretched's initial album roll-out phase?

We are definitely going to do some videos for The Wretched real soon. I'm working on that now.

VIII. What would you say were some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while writing and recording The Wretched of The Verse?

The Wretched songs were not conceived as a single project and they were recorded over a period of years. The beats are what inspires me the most. I go off of the producers' creativity and see where that takes me, for the most part.

IX. What's the current status of Third Sight, Tarantula Brothers, The Incredible Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) Foul Mouth Cringe, and any of your additional pre-existing groups? Can we expect to see releases from any of them any time relatively soon?

The only projects that are sure to drop soon are Orchids [& Corpses], Tarantula [Brothers], and Disco Sinistro [EP with IL Torsolo]. I hope all of them see the light of day, but collaborative efforts need to fire on all cylinders to get finished. Disco Sinistro and Juan Sequitur will be coming in 2018. The Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) is dead in the water and there will be no more music from that group.

X. What is your opinion on the current state of Hip-Hop and "Mumble Rap?'" Who are your Top 10 Favorite Rappers today?

I think that the term "Mumble Rap" is a little harsh. I know some of these new emcees mumble through freestyles but that's not why some of their songs seem so unintelligible. Auto-Tune is the main culprit that makes them hard to understand. They have their own jargon and they are essentially, rebelling against more complex forms of rhyming. They have taken to extreme minimalism and unlike emcees before them, they do not have any positive progressive messages or humor to their songs. Major and mid-major labels that sign these acts are not investing much money into the current acts and as a result, they cannot sample or hire bands. Their music is often badly played on keyboards to save money. Terrestrial and digital radio are not acting as gate-keepers or quality controllers. Whatever sells gets the spotlight and the underground is truly "underground" now, more than ever. They have taken party music to the extreme and they have unprecedented access to the infrastructure. Fans of real Hip-Hop have to dig, not only at stores, but online, in order to find the music they like the best.

This is the price of this new form of Rap being mainstreamed. I like to call it "Fast Food Rap" because you consume it and it passes through you faster than a Taco Bell taco and then, you wipe your a$$ and move on. It seems each generation is growing up on increasingly simplistic, destructive anti-social styles of Rap. When I started all those years ago, I had superior role models to emulate, but the youth have grown up on lesser emcees. Some of them, too young to even remember Biggie Smalls and it has been downhill since his passing. There are some stand-out younger emcees out there like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and A.F.R.O. but they are the outliers in a sea of people who shun lyricism and embrace singing Auto-Tune and über-simplicity. My Top 10 emcees right now is tough; I like a lot of emcees back in their primes, but I haven't liked their more recent releases: 1. MF DOOM, 2. Ghostface [Killah], 3. Rakim, 4. Big Daddy Kane, 5. Kool G. Rap, 6. Kool Keith, 7. KRS-One, 8. Del [The Funky Homosapien], 9. Nas, and 10. [Pharoahe] Monch.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman Return with Third Lice "Infestation" TRIPLE FAT LICE EP & Homeboy Sandman-penned Triple Fat Lice Poem (Stones Throw/Rhymesayers Ent.)

Triple Fat Lice (Poem) By: Homeboy Sandman

"Triple Fat Lice is similar to Die Hard with a Vengeance in that it is a part 3 that gets very busy. It's also like A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3 [Dream Warriors] in that regard the dream warriors kicking Freddy’s a$$ with all their special powers.

Triple Fat Lice is not at all like Halloween III [Season of The Witch] that didn't even have Michael Myers in it and was about roaches or something I don’t even really know. It might have been a great Horror movie, in it's own right, but I was so appalled Michael Myers wasn't even in it. Triple Fat Lice is also nothing at all like Beverly Hills Cop III which to me was almost like sacrilege but no disrespect that’s just my own personal opinion.

Even though Back to The Future Part III and Terminator 3 [Rise of The Machines] are not as sensational as Triple Fat Lice (something they share in common with every other movie in this poem as well as everything else that has ever existed) I feel like they get a bad rap. Seemed like people didn't give Back to The Future Part III a chance because they were put off by the old west setting just like people for whatever reason don't give Westerns in general a chance even though there are definitely some amazing Westerns (including but not limited to The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bone Tomahawk, and 3:10 to Yuma.) [Aesop Rock] actually put me on to Bone Tomahawk which we agree is fantastic even though we often disagree on films particularly on the Mad Max [Fury Road] that just came out with Tom Hardy I love Tom Hardy but that sh*t was so absurdly boring to me with the exception of that scene where he fights Charlize Theron which was early in the movie so I got hyped like the rest was going to be good but then basically the rest of the movie was a bunch of scenes that were exactly the same. To me.

In closing, my father thinks that The Godfather Part III gets a bad rap because it exposes corruption in The Vatican and that may be true but I actually authentically just don't find it as good as the first two. Andy Garcia is hard [though].

Triple Fat Lice."

Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock have returned with the third installment of their ongoing Lice series, TRIPLE FAT LICE EP on Stones Throw/Rhymesayers Ent; released just shy of a year after Lice 2: Still Buggin' TRIPLE FAT LICE features production from Israeli beat-maker Cohenbeats, Oh No (Madlib's brother,) Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. Mello Music Group rapper-producer Quelle Chris, and All That I Hold Dear producer M Slago. TRIPLE FAT LICE EP is currently available to stream and download, as usual, for FREE from Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's Lice Bandcamp page. Although, they strongly suggest, "should you feel inspired to cough up some dough after receiving the gift of digital song free of charge, here are some places we've mentioned in the past that could use your help: Maritime Youth Alliance, CITIZENS OF SKATEISTAN, City Harvest, and PREP for PREP." Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock's TRIPLE FAT LICE is additionally available for pre-order in vinyl format from Stones Throw and Rhymesayers' Fifth Element web-store; TRIPLE FAT LICE AKA Lice 3 is available in either single-LP format or 3-LP "Lice Pack" containing Lice EP, Lice 2: Still Buggin' and TRIPLE FAT LICE. Rhymesayers & Stones Throw vinyl pre-orders are expected to ship by or before October 27th and come with immediate digital download upon purchasing. Not to "too my own horn" or anything (well, maybe a little) but feel free to scroll back up to the top of this very post and ch-check out a nifty little side-by-side edit I did of TRIPLE FAT LICE's Jeremy Fish-designed EP cover and his apparent inspiration, Simon & Garfunkel's 1964 album, Sounds of Silence.

Friday, August 11, 2017

GRAMMY-nominated Wiz Khalifia, Yo Gotti & T.I. Producer & Song-writer David Versis Unleashes "Made for Me" from Forthcoming EP (self-released)

"'Made for Me" was actually one of the last tracks I added to the EP I hope to release later this year. I remember walking into the studio and hearing Mikhail (my producer) messing around with two different cuts of the same sample. One was very down-tempo and in the pocket, while the other felt lively with a real bounce to it. We went back-and-forth, debating which of the two we rocked with the most, but couldn't justify separating the sounds," Canadian rapper, producer, and song-writer David Versis wrote within a recent email. Upon first hearing his latest single, "Made for Me," I wrote a quick, semi-tongue-in-cheek "review" on Twitter which read: "'Made for Me" sounds like John Mayer meets Drake and it's actually pretty awesome!" Versis is a GRAMMY-nominated producer, who contributed to Wiz Khalifia's 2014 album, Blacc Hollywood and produced Yo Gotti & T.I.'s collaborative single, "King Sh*t." David Versis has recently been transitioning into becoming a featured, top-billing artist in his own right; quietly releasing a string of Mikhail-produced singles over the course of the past month including "Invictus," "Touch Yourself," "Totally," and now, "Made for Me." In addition to sounding like something to the effect of a stylistic mix between John Mayer and fellow Canadian Drake, I would liken David Versis' sound to recluse Jai Paul's Electro-Pop stylings, soulful crooner Frank Ocean, and sharp spitter Pusha T with a cadence and swagger reminiscent of Kung-Fu Kenny AKA Kendrick Lamar. David Versis' debut EP is expected to be released before year's end.

"We started arranging the beat and joked around about how nonsensical it would be to start with one vibe and abruptly switch to the next, but the more we played it back, the more we fell in love with it. I began writing and immediately knew I wanted the song to be as blatant as the beat was. The record felt like a love song, but I didn’t want it to be filled with all the subtle nuances and metaphors found in most loved songs. I wanted it to be stripped, direct, and to the point. It’s not hard to find songs with lyrics that shoot game to females or even love songs drenched in overly emotional tones, so I set out to make a song that feels smooth but is punctuated with a transparent proclamation, "Made for Me." Even though it was the last song added to the EP, I feel "Made for Me" really encompasses what my team [and I] set out to accomplish with this body of work, which was to take listeners on a playful ride with soundscapes constantly changing and with each track differing from the next."

- David Versis

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rocky, iLL-Omega, Alien & Adam Politis Present: Rocky's House Podcast Episodes #1-2 with Special Guests DJ Say Whaat, DJ It's Just Ahmad & Punk-Rap Emcee Ray Strife (Cap City Ent.)

Darnell "iLL-Omega" Storey (@illomega) is a friend and frequent collaborator of The Witzard; he hand-crafted the beats for Ray Strife's recent The Witzard-premiered Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, he's one half of rapper-producer duo A Mankind Complex, founder of Trenton-based label Cap City Ent. and recently assembled a producer-selected Beat-maker Bedrock playlist. iLL-Omega's latest endeavor is Rocky's House Podcast hosted by Cap City Ent. signee and collaborator Rocky (@rockythepromoter.) Alongside Rocky & iLL-Omega, Rocky's House Podcast's panel of co-hosts additionally features Hip-Hop artists and lyricist Alien (@bonafied_alien) and Princeton-bred improv actor and comedian Adam Politis (@smokinpolitis) as well as a variety of special guests on each month's episode. Rocky himself describes Rocky's House Podcast as a unique online platform wherein they're able to "shed light on local/mainstream Hip-Hop music, art, and events and also discuss the cultures that drive society then and now." Rocky's House Podcast's inaugural July episode featured guests DJ Say Whaat & DJ It's Just Ahmad discussing JAY-Z's latest culture-rattling album 4:44, the growth of Hip-Hop, and what made them initially get into DJ'ing, as well as a rundown of upcoming events.

For Rocky's House Podcast Episode 2, Rocky, iLL-Omega, Alien & Adam Politis invited fellow Trenton Punk-Rap emcee Ray Strife into "their house." Strife and the Rocky's House Gang discussed a wide array of topics including Crust Punk, Juggalos, iLL-Omega-produced Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, how Ray first got into rapping, high school teachers, and upcoming tours and events. Rocky's House Podcast's third episode is expected to be released at the beginning of September and can be streamed and thoroughly enjoyed on iLL-Omega's CapCity TV YouTube channel, as well as Rocky's House Podcast's 5-star Facebook page. Rocky's House Podcast's contributors Instagram handles, as well as a number of recent projects, are linked through this very post, in addition to CapCity TV's channel. If for whatever reasons, you're not into the video version, Rocky's House Podcast Episode 1 is also available in strictly audio format on Cap City Ent.'s Soundcloud page, where future episodes will be uploaded, as they're released.

Monday, August 7, 2017

"THE TIME OF DOOM IS AT HAND, ONCE AGAIN:" [adult swim] Announce 15-week THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES & Unleash Sean Price-helmed "Negus" (CRUMMIE BEATS Exclusive)

"Well, the track was inspired by one of the original titles to Sean's album. He was going to name the album NIGGLETUS! at first, so I was going off that vibe. When we were making the beat, I wanted to make something that could stand next to "Bar-Barian" (which is one of my favorite songs by Sean.) That track is one of, if not the first, track he recorded for the album... we had no idea that DOOM would end up on it," one half of Crumzville, VA-based production team CRUMMIE BEATS, Fonkstarr, wrote within a recent email. Fonkstarr & .45, collectively billed as CRUMMIE BEATS, produced five tracks included within Brooklyn emcee Sean Price's posthumous fourth album, Imperius Rex. The track in question, "Negus" AKA "Notebook 00 - Negus," is the first release from [adult swim]'s just-launched THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES weekly series; essentially, between now and 11.14.2017, [adult swim] & Gas Drawls will be collectively unleashing "15 STRAIGHT WEEKS OF ALL NEW DOOM JAMS." "Negus" is just the first of what [adult swim] Senior Vice President & Creative Director Jason DeMarco has dubbed the return of the Metal Faced Villain "featuring all sorts of special guests"—as well as an unspecified DOOM & Jay Electronica collaboration, as part of [adult swim]'s annual, newly-extended 52-week 2017 singles series.

"These missing notebooks were last seen at the METALFACE [Records] LA office, when DOOM was denied entry into the US seven years ago. If you have any information on the whereabouts of these notebooks, please contact," DOOM. ALL CAPS. (@gasdrawls) cryptically wrote within a recent Instagram post. THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES, which after November 14th, may or may not be re-packaged as a proper full-length "album," will be DOOM's first solo release since his 2009 Lex Records album, Born Like This, not counting Keys to The Kuffs as JJ DOOM with Jneiro Jarel (2012) and NehruvianDOOM with rapper-producer Bishop Nehru (2014.) "We met Sean P in LA few years back; gave him a beat CD at a Raekwon show. He liked what he heard and reached out to us... unfortunately, soon after, we lost contact. A friend of ours knew Illa Ghee and put us in contact... we started doing songs with Ghee, who happened to know Sean Price. He heard what we did with Illa Ghee [and] asked us to send him some beats... we emailed them at 9PM [and by] 4AM [the] next day, he sent us two songs. It was on from there," .45 AKA RASZ KING of CRUMMIE BEATS wrote within an email. "Negus" is now available to stream, via [adult swim]'s newly-launched THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES playlist site. DOOM's second release will drop next week, Wednesday, August 16th and will continue through November 14th. Sean Price's long-awaited posthumous album, Imperius Rex is now available in a number of formats from his former label home, Duck Down Music Inc. "We did five songs on Imperius Rex and still have more unreleased songs with Sean Price. All the songs were recorded from Jan. 2014-July 2015," .45 continued.