Thursday, November 30, 2017

King Tony & Happy As a Lark Present: WORD is BOND - A Musical Excursion Into Jamaica's Love Affair with Agent 007 (The Blends Vol. 33)



Anthony "Nantee" Abbinanti AKA King Tony is the CEO & Co-Founder of Chicago-based Reggae label Happy As a Lark (HAAL) and moonlights as drummer and producer for the label's flagship band, The Drastics. Abbinanti and a few like-minded friends initially formed HAAL around 2009 to quietly issue two MC Zulu-assisted Drastics 7-inches and recently re-formed early in 2017 as a more fully-formed label; Happy As a Lark has since released a brand new Drastics album, Noir—accompanied by a feverish remix album, Noir Dub—each digital album packaged with an exclusive 7-inch from the imprint's artists and affiliates. The Drastics quite fittingly describe themselves as channeling "Roots Reggae from 1982's future of 2187" and in addition to a slew of original material, have released not one, but two EP's-worth of Reggae-fied Michael Jackson covers, dubbed MJ a Rocker and MJ a Rocker No.2. Now, Anthony Abbinanti has teamed back up with The Blends to compile his first mixtape since 2009's Vol. 3 - ANTHONY, WORD is BOND The First James Bond Mixtape! Vol. 33: A Musical Excursion Into Jamaica's Love Affair with Secret Agent 007. Abbinanti has uncovered, compiled, and meticulously arranged 39 unique James Bond-themed Reggae/Ska tracks into one cohesive 48-minute Mixcloud mixtape. Although, it really isn't as strange of a concept as it initially seems... lest we forget, Sean Connery's 1962 silver screen debut as James Bond, Dr. No was of course, filmed in Kingston, Jamaica—known on-screen, as the fictional island of "Crab Key." Nearly 11 years later, Roger Moore's cinematic debut as M16 Agent 007, Live & Let Die, was also filmed in Jamaica, which doubled for the fictional Caribbean island of "San Monique." King Tony & Happy As a Lark's WORD is BOND mixtape is now available to stream and download from The Blends, along with meticulously cataloged past volumes No.1-32.


"A musical excursion into Jamaica's love affair with Secret Agent 007. Another more "high-concept" mixtape—this one came to me after filing away yet another JB-themed Jamaican 45 and asking myself, "why are there so many James Bond-themed Ska & Rocksteady tunes?" To those that watch the movies the connection makes sense—the island setting is used in Dr. No and Live & Let Die, as well as being home to Ian Fleming's Goldeneye estate; now, owned by Island Records Founder Chris Blackwell. "James Bond Fever" was certainly escalated by the coincidence that Jamaica gained her independence the same year Dr. No was released (1962.) The combination of [independence] and a major motion picture being filmed in close proximity, surely bolstered local musicians to title songs of their new and up-beat indigenous music (Ska) after the exciting franchise."

- King Tony AKA Anthony Abbinanti


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lt Headtrip Returns with Bone-chilling Gary Blake-directed "Three Dollar Watch" Video & Exclusive ialive Remix (The Witzard Premier)


Since unveiling his latest album, Comedy of The Filthbeast, right here at The Witzard earlier this year, New York rapper-producer Lt Headtrip has let loose a series of bone-chilling video accompaniment including Raisi K.-premiered "Father, Father," "Neck Right," and lest we forget, his 40-minute full-album stream. Now, Lt Headtrip has returned to The Witzard to premier Comedy of The Filthbeast's next music video treatment, "Three Dollar Watch." Headtrip and his creative cohorts fittingly describe "Three Dollar Watch" as "[within] the third video from Lt Headtrip's self-produced album, Comedy of The Filthbeast, director Gary Blake captures the tension between a caged snake and its unguarded prey, set to a song about a naive young girl's relationship with her abusive father figures." "Three Dollar Watch" consists of rather chilling footage of a snake stalking his dinner (a little white mouse) filmed by Blake a few years ago and more recently, edited down and retro-fitted to accompany Lt Headtrip's equally chilling tale; together, amassing a very unique take on one of Comedy of The Filthbeast's strongest tracks and a presentation of truly original piece of art. Also, to accompany "Three Dollar Watch," Lt Headtrip has provided The Witzard with an exclusive remix composed by The Hell Hole Store & TIMEWAVE ZERO rapper-producer Donovan ialive. As you might expect, ialive adds a whole new dimension to "Three Dollar Watch" with a skeletal, ominous take on Headtrip's emotional narrative.


"Three Dollar Watch" is the second Comedy of The Filthbeast track to be remixed in recent months, preceded by Raisi K.'s "Father, Father" flip. If you dig what you hear here, I suggest you stay tuned, as Lt Headtrip & The Karma Kids have a number of projects currently in-the-works... most of which, aren't fully ready to be announced just yet. I can, however, tell you there are more Comedy of The Filthbeast videos coming relatively soon, as well as "a cross-label collaborative album curated by Headtrip and Backwoodz Studioz engineer, Willie Green" called LNYCHPIN. LNYCHPIN's full-length will showcase 16 hand-selected emcees and seven producers affiliated with The Karma Kids, Reservoir Sound, Backwoodz Studioz, Uncommon Records, and Smoker’s Cough. Not only will LNYCHPIN be released digitally Friday, December 8th, but the whole NYC super-crew will perform the album at Bushwick Public House the following night, Saturday, December 9th from 9:00pm-1:00am; The Karma Kids, PremRock, Teddy Faley, Reservoir Sound System—consisting of A.M. Breakups, Warren S. Britt, Hype Wonder, SKECH185, and more—will perform with special guest appearances from LNYCHPIN affiliates BIG BREAKFAST, billy woods, Blastmaster Baker, DJ Zesto Q, and a few special top-secret guests. Tickets are currently available for just $8.00! I'll just let Mr. Headtrip take it from here and explain the rest...



"This song isn't about me, so I didn't find it appropriate to shoot a performance video. Gary Blake, who I've worked with in the past, has an incredible imagination and keeps a fine-focused lens on the world around him. I shared the initial mixes of this album with him and talked music videos for several songs, so we threw some ideas around for "Three Dollar Watch" and this footage arose. The parallel between the young girls' relationship with her father figures and the captive animals immediately stood out to us and the idea stuck. I reached out to Colin Williams, the artist whose hand scripted my album's lettering, for the titles to complete the project.

The subject of the song is very close to me and I wanted to paint the scenario properly. I began writing this seven years ago, after learning about Sara's grandfather and spending time with her grandmother, who raised her. A couple years later, we met her father, who she hadn't seen in person, since she was very young and the rest of the song wrote itself; I took the other verse and hook directly from dialogue during the weekend we spent together.

It took me over a dozen tries to to get the production on this track correct. I wanted to evoke an emotional response from the song's subject and every version I finished, left her underwhelmed. Eventually, I enlisted some outside help; Duncecap gave me the idea to slow the drum pattern down during the verses and Jeff Markey lent me his synth skills for the main melody, which I arranged afterward. When I showed her this version, she was taken aback and still has trouble listening to it without getting emotional. Only at this point, did I feel that I had done her story justice."

- Lt Headtrip (The Karma Kids)


Monday, November 27, 2017

3 Feet High & Rising: Baltimore Emcee EU1OGY Unleashes Heavy Monique Juliette Baron-directed "TOP DOWN" Video from DAGGERS (self-released)



"PROGRESSIVE. Post-Violent, Hardcore Electronic Experimental. Aggro-lyrical tension like metal tentacles over a visceral palette of production. Primal screams, sentient machine bleeps, and heavy guitar," is how EU1OGY fittingly describes his musical output within his Bandcamp Bio. EU1OGY is the latest project from Baltimore emcee and multi-instrumentalist ISAAC.SHANE, which he formed between 2014-15. Prior to forming EU1OGY, Shane was part of a number of genre-blending bands including DEADABOVEGROUND (2003-05,) THE DEFECT (2007-09,) Letter Racer-signed NORMALLY IMPORTANT (2009-13,) A N M L AKA ANIMALHOUSE (2012-14,) and VYPER_ (2013-15.) EU1OGY's latest project, and first proper full-length, DAGGERS was preceded by 2016 single "DOWNWARD / BACK HOME," FIGURE IT OUT EP, and FLAWLESS VICTORY EP. DAGGERS was mixed and recorded by frequent EU1OGY collaborator P.MORRIS with production work from SPRAY, M4NNY, YUNG GUTTED, RICHMAN, and FAWKES, additional guitar work from ISAAC.SHANE and Scott Bacon, and cover design by Drohan Disanto. EU1OGY tells The Witzard he drew inspiration for DAGGERS from early 2000's Emo and Breakdown bands—such as Philly's own The Starting Line—as well as just his "day-to-day life in the influence."


ISAAC.SHANE continued: "DAGGERS tells the story of my life from 2013-2017 the ups and downs the calm the storm and just what I was thinking and feeling during leaving New York and coming back home" to Baltimore. Just a couple weeks ago, EU1OGY sent me his latest Monique Juliette Baron-directed video for DAGGERS/FLAWLESS VICTORY single, "TOP DOWN;" ISAAC.SHANE told me his "HOMIE CARL" AKA MANIKINETER had suggested he send his new album and video into The Witzard for submission. DAGGERS is tagged on Bandcamp as "electronic, emo, experimental, hip-hop, metalcore, rap, undergound, and Baltimore" and I would liken it to something along the lines of MANIKINETER meets The Downward Spiral/Further Down The Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails, as well as early Death Grips and even Kanye's Aggro-Rap opus, Yeezus. Monique Juliette Baron's treatment for "TOP DOWN" flashes back and forth between shots of EU1OGY spazzing out in a sparse white room to scenes of some sort of deranged dinner party/feast with a few scantily-clad guests, while EU1OGY barks atop SPRAY's glitched out 8-bit-reminiscent beat. DAGGERS is currently available on EU1OGY's Bandcamp, along with FLAWLESS VICTORY (on which "TOP DOWN" originally appeared) and the rest of his Digital Discography for the extremely reasonable price of $22.00 total! "EU1OGY VESSELS EP // 01.01.18."

Baltimore's Drew Scott Assembles Pop-minded Beat-maker Bedrock #13 & Teases Giddeon Gallows' 2018 Full-length CRITTER with "Forbid"


"Nowadays, I'm more influence by the artists around me making making music here in Baltimore. We probably take that for granted a bit, but we're really lucky. When I [first] started making beats at 16-17, I was pretty much just biting DJ Premier and every producer on [Nas'] Illmatic, sampling the hand-me-down vinyl I was given from my friend's weird uncle. As I got older and more fascinated with Pop and Alternative music—especially, the really depressing stuff—my production was shaped by hearing this handful of albums in my early beat-making days. Honestly, it's really hard to narrow down [to] under 10 (I wish I could pick a Prince album or Madonna's first album) but I'll keep it at six."

- Drew Scott (AKA Giddeon Gallows)


I. OutKast - Aquemini (1998)

"First CD I bought with my own money; hearing the 808's and that guitar on "Rosa Parks" at 10 years old was a moment. I already had a pretty eclectic upbringing with music, but this album is the first time I heard just about everything I liked on one disc. It was cohesive, trippy, and futuristic. I immediately became obsessed with all things [Dungeon Family].

Favorite Track: "Synthesizer" ('cause, George Clinton!)"


II. TV On The Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (2003)

"The vocals and lyrics still make me want to cry, but their use of minimalism, samples, electronics, loops, and noise makes it all so murky and atmospheric—something I'm always trying to achieve with production. Dave Sitek is a big influence. I love all their records, but this one hit me at the right time in life, as I was getting into making more experimental sh*t.

Favorite Track: "Staring at The Sun"'


III. Portishead - Dummy (1994)

"On my quest to make the bleakest music possible, this is at the foundation. It's so timeless and painful.

Favorite Track: depends on the day, but I'll go with "It Could Be Sweet.'"


Honorable Mentions:

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994)
Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak (2008)
Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty (1998)
* only because Paul's Boutique (1989) was a bit ahead of my time.


Drew Scott is a Baltimore-based emcee and producer, who in addition to producing his own music, has recorded, produced, and mixed projects for fellow Baltimoreans such as Al Rogers, Jr. Pale Spring, Vans_Westly, and 83cutlass, as well as remixes for Height Keech, Wildhoney, Outcalls, and Butch Dawson. Scott's second album, ILL VESSEL was hands down, one of the strongest and strangest efforts of 2017 with appearances from Anna Notte AKA Pale Spring, Jumbled, JPEGMAFIA, Height, 83cutlass, Hemlock Ernst AKA Future Islands' Sam Herring, :3lON and plenty more. Drew Scott also functions as part of a number of genre-blending groups such as BLACKSAGE, Luvadocious with Al Rogers, Jr. and Warmest Regards with BLACKSAGE songstress Josephine Olivia & Owen Ross. However, Scott is currently working on a "Bedroom Pop/R&B-minded" side-project called Giddeon Gallows. Here's Drew Scott on his first single from Giddeon Gallows' forthcoming 2018 full-length, CRITTER: "'Forbid" is very much about self-sabotage—every time things are going well, I tend to get in my own way or just obsess about the wrong sh*t or (subconsciously) pick a fight with myself or my partner. I heard Al Rogers, Jr. in my head, when I was making the beat. He nailed it!" Scott says he's drawn influence for CRITTER from his fiancé Emily Wenker AKA Pale Spring, "German artists like wandl & Yung Hurn," Kanye's 808's & Heartbreak, Homeshake, Nick Hakim, Frank Ocean, and Portishead. Drew Scott's first full-length as Giddeon Gallows, CRITTER, is expected to be released in 2018 and will showcase appearances from Pale Spring, 83cutlass, Micah E. Wood, and Al Rogers, Jr.

Friday, November 24, 2017

DertBeats Returns As Derty Dan with Single Group-sampling "Last Album" Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills (STREET CORNER MUSIC/Fat Beats)




"Dert is back. Kind of; Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills, his second release on [STREET CORNER MUSIC], and fourth record in as many years, has arrived. As with prior self-released albums Westside of The Moon and Eclipse, Dert sticks to one group for the source material that he then [flips], chops, and obliterates over the album's 16 tracks. This won't be around long. It's also Dert's last album he will be making," reads the Bandcamp listing for Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills. "Derty Dan" is the latest alias of West Covina-based Instrumental Hip-Hop producer Dert AKA Dert Floyd AKA DertBeats AKA Derty Dert AKA Don Baker. As with The Westside of The Moon, Eclipse, and Talk Strange: A Beat Tape Inspired By Björk, Dert sticks to just one single artist for the source material (a feat unto itself!) which can't exactly be revealed, but I could imagine, the avid Hip-Hop/Classic Rock listener could quickly decode the mystery of Derty Dan's source material. DertBeats' last release on STREET CORNER MUSIC was 2014's House Shoes/Street Corner Music Presents: The Gift Vol. 2, which was soon followed by a 45 entitled Flips Vol.2 with fellow beatsmiths Chanes and Juicy The Emissary.


Let's just say this, I honestly can't believe Dert's "Doin' It Again!" However, Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills is littered with subtle—and oftentimes, not so subtle—sonic cues and allusions to Dert's source material; just give the latter half of album closer "Gold Fronts II" a listen and I think you'll be able to figure it out, if you haven't yet already! Here's a hint: Dert samples the same artist throughout Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills as Kanye did on Graduation (2007) stand-out "Champions." Now, with a little Google-aided research and sleuthing of my own, I was able to find a Fat Beats listing for a Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills (LP), which provides a bit more insight into its creation; a zoomed in look at Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills' vinyl sleeve reveals a few interesting credits, such as: "PRODUCED BY DERT BEATS, GUITAR: RYAN TEANIO, TRUMPET: KRIS JOHNSON, VOCALS: JIMETTA ROSE, MASTERED BY: TENACITY, MODEL: PULP SUICIDE, DESIGN/PHOTO: DON BAKER." Derty Dan's Cheap Thrills is currently available for a limited time on House Shoes' imprint, STREET CORNER MUSIC digitally, as well as the aforementioned vinyl LP version from Fat Beats.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Westside Gunn & DOOM's WESTSIDEDOOM Double-A-side Single Gets Beefed Up with WESTSIDEDOOM (Thanos Beats EP Remix)



"I did this project paying homage to Westside Gunn and MF DOOM for always inspiring us to create and stay creative and true to the culture we love. I stopped making hardcore beats for a while, thinking it was over," Thanos Beats wrote on Facebook this past Sunday, November 19th. The Brooklyn-based, Avengers super-villain-referencing producer has taken WESTSIDEDOOM AKA Westside Gunn & DOOM's recent 2-track EP and successfully flipped it into a sprawling 22-minute, 6-track EP fittingly dubbed WESTSIDEDOOM (Thanos Beats EP Remix.) "Then, we get hit with Griselda Records. After hearing the catalog and following their movement, I knew they were building a legacy of greatness. I thank y'all brothers, personally," Thanos graciosuly continued. According to Thanos_Beats.Beatstars.com, Thanos Beats has previously "produced for notable artists such as Domingo, Joell Ortiz, Lil' Fame, Chris Rivers, Cappadonna, Vast Aire, Sadat X, Smoothe Da Hustler, Genesis LXG, 2Mex, Karniege, Aceyalone, Alyssa Marie, and DramaX2." Just last week, London-based boutique label Daupe! completely SOLD OUT of 5 limited edition colored vinyl pressings and 2 limited edition cassette variations of WESTSIDEDOOM within a matter of mere minutes, which might actually be where Thanos Beats attained his base acappellas.


If you, much like myself, were expecting a slightly more fleshed out, full-length mixtape from Westside Gunn & DOOM's collaborative WESTSIDEDOOM EP, which ended up being just a double-single produced by Alchemist & Daringer, Thanos Beats' WESTSIDEDOOM Remix EP might be just what you've been looking for since Sept. 27, 2017; HYPEBEAST's recent all-inclusive Westside Gunn interview unfortunately, pretty much "put the kibosh" on WESTSIDEDOOM being anything more than a short, but sweet 2-track collaborative project... especially, after DOOM's mysterious fall-out with Cartoon Network's [adult swim] and their proposed 15-week THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES series. Following Westside Gunn's widely-praised and critically-acclaimed debut, FLYGOD, he and brother Conway (together, known as Hall &/N' Nash) got signed to Eminem & Paul Rosenberg's Interscope subsidiary Shady Records. 2017 also saw the surprise-release of not one, but two more volumes of Westside Gunn's popular H**ler Wears Hermes series, H**ler On Steroids and H**ler Wears Hermes V. Since releasing his WESTSIDEDOOM Remix EP, Thanos Beats has uploaded a track called "What Ya Smoking?" on which he both rhymes and produced, so it seems, a proper follow-up is already in-the-works.

TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek & Daniel Ledinsky Form The Neverly Boys & Release First Single "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" (Acid Moose)



Now, many of you may or may not recognize the name "TV On The Radio," but for me, personally, they were my first favorite Indie Rock band. Their 2004 major label debut, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes was essentially, my gateway into Indie Rock and to an effect, helped shape what I do now here at The Witzard. Since TV On The Radio's initial ascension to Indie Rock super-stardom, long-time guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Dave Sitek has produced albums for everyone from Kelis to Cerebral Ballzy, released a 2010 solo album as Maximum Balloon, and in 2012, even started his own label imprint called Federal Prism and launched a sister label, Sounds Like Fun Records, with The Cool Kids' rapper-producer Chuck Inglish. LEDINSKY AKA Daniel Ledinsky is a Swedish-based singer, producer, and song-writer, who had a massive streaming hit last year with "DonalTrumpMakesMeWannaSmokeCr**k" and has worked with Cee-Lo, Rihanna, Shakira, and Tove Lov. Prior to forming their new "Neil Young-ish" side-project, The Neverly Boys, Dave Sitek & Daniel Ledinnsky penned songs together for the likes of Blondie, P***y Riot, and TV On The Radio's latest album, Seeds (2014.) Just last week, The Neverly Boys quietly released their first single, "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" on Los Angeles/Sweden-based label, Acid Moose and are currently working on their debut EP or album. Not long after its initial release, LA-based tattoo artist, model, and singer Kat Von D (@thekatvond) uploaded a stripped-down piano cover of "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" to her Instagram page. Von D has reportedly been working on a debut album of her own with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails producer Danny Lohner, Linda Perry, ex-fiancé deadmau5, and Fake Shark - Real Zombie! since roughly 2011.


"Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to introduce you to your new favorite artist—The Neverly Boys. Comprised of Daniel Ledinsky, who released the massive streaming hit, "DonaldTrumpMakesMeWannaSmokeCr**k" last year and producer Dave Andrew Sitek of TV On The Radio, The Neverly Boys have released their first single, "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" today [on] Acid Moose, a new label based in Los Angeles and Stockholm, Sweden. Inspired by their shared home city of Los Angeles, "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" is about the broken dreams, on which Hollywood is built. It was written before the recent reports of abuse in Hollywood, though it stems from the same poisoned well. "I'm guessing most people who live here in Los Angeles can relate to that feeling of total hopelessness," says LEDINSKY. "This place sure creates some amazingly beautiful art, but it also has a tendency to use and corrupt you. Hollywood has attracted artists to come here to pursue their dreams since the 1920's, and a lot of people end up in a very dark place chasing that dream. I love this city for all its beauty, but it has always been a very hard and violent place, as well.'"

- The Neverly Boys (Dave Sitek & Daniel Ledinsky)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Height Keech Unleashes Fourth Project of 2017 POWER MISSION: SELECTED GUEST SPOTS Featuring Cuts with TOBACCO, Jumbled, Drew Scott & More (Cold Rhymes Records)



"This is POWER MISSIONS, a collection of Height guest spots from 2002-present featuring @maniacmeat, @DrewciferScott, @TheMahogany, @cexmang, @kingrhythm, @emceeineye, @NapalmDef, @mickeymistakes, + more," @HeightKeech wrote within a recent Tweet self-promoting POWER MISSIONS: SELECTED GUEST SPOTS. POWER MISSIONS marks the fourth Height release of 2017 on his Cold Rhymes Records imprint, following self-produced album MIND MOVES THE MOINTAIN, Shark Tank's Height-produced Dan's House, and ialive & Height's collaborative TIMEWAVE ZERO album, as well as Height-compiled We Can't Go Back Now: The Cold Rhymes Collection from prolific oddball rapper-producer Jack Topht. POWER MISSIONS: SELECTED GUEST SPOTS consists of hand-selected Height features recorded and (un)released from 2002-17 with the likes of Grand Buffet, TOBACCO, Drew Scott, AK Slaughter, PT Burnem, Bow n' Arrow AKA Mickey Free, Emceein' Eye of Speak N' Eye, Bow n' Height & Cex, Jumbled, and King Rhythm. In addition to the more well-known tracks from the dusty corners of Height Keech's storied discography, POWER MISSIONS also showcases a few choice cuts that have been previously unreleased up until this point, but I'll let Height get into those down below with his quick, yet thorough album breakdown. POWER MISSIONS: SELECTED GUEST SPOTS is now available to stream or download on Cold Rhymes Records' Bandcamp and will likely be the first volume in an on-going, career-spanning series.


"1. "Lord Grunge Introduction"
* from an unreleased Grand Buffet live bootleg from 2007, recorded by Josh Rogers of Illuminated Paths.

2. "Sweatmother" - La Uti EP Version (TOBACCO)
* TOBACCO - La Uti EP

3. "Spoils" (Drew Scott)
* Drew Scott - ILL VESSEL

4. "Slow Beat" Remix (AK Slaughter/Mickey Free)
* an unreleased remix of "Slow Beat," from AK Slaughter's It's Not You, It's Us.

5. "Slow Seas" (PT Burnem)
* PT Burnem - Paper Cranes

6. "Sixteen Dumptrucks" (Bow n' Arrow)
* Bow n' Arrow - I Saved My Life

7. "Bow Did" (Bow n' Arrow)
* Bow n' Arrow - I Saved My Life

8. "Ghostface & Cappadonna" [Headhat Records]
* Headhat for Cats compilation


9. "Make These Tunes" (Emceein' Eye)
* Emceein' Eye - Eye Am That I Ain't EP

10. "Dual Presidents" (Bow n' Height/Cex)
* a previously unreleased Bow n' Height tune, produced by Cex.

11. "Pinecone Hill" (PT Burnem)
* PT Burnem - Paper Cranes

12. "Lamplight" (Jumbled)
* Jumbled - [I wish it was longer] (AKA WIWL)

13. "Current Floor" Remix (King Rhythm)
* a remix of "Current Floor," off King Rhythm's Hardships & Headtrips. This remix was previously released on the Friends Records compilation called Friends & Friends of Friends."

Friday, November 17, 2017

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



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

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


Sincerely,

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



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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

- Carl Kavorkian (MANIKINETER)



I. Redman - Dare Iz a Darkside (1994)

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


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

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


III. PsyOpus - Ideas of Reference (2004)

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


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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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



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


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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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


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

- Lang Kim Vo (WORDS HURT)


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

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


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

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


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

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


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

3 ½. The Fugees - The Score (1996)

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


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

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


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


Monday, November 13, 2017

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


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


Sincerely,

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



I. How did you first align with MGNTK.?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Saturday, November 11, 2017

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



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


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

- Jellphonic (@jellphonic)


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Adam Lempel Lets Loose "Let's Be Real" Composed from Facebook Messages, Texts & Skype Chats (Produced By Friso Hoekstra)


Adam Lempel is a song-writer, composer, and musician currently living in Queens, New York via Amsterdam and Baltimore. Lempel is one half of Baltimore Art-Rock/Noise band WEEKENDS. I can still vividly remember meeting Adam and his bandmate Brendan Sullivan at now-defunct South Philly venue First Unitarian Church sometime between the releases of WEEKENDS (2008) and Strange Cultures (2011.) WEEKENDS were then-signed to Friends Records and were opening for Surfer Blood on their Astro Coast US tour. Somehow, my buddy and I ended up missing WEEKENDS' opening set, but I still managed to sneak back into the venue's "greenroom" AKA church pews for a Monster-sized canned beer with Adam & Brendan before Surfer Blood's headlining set. Since then, Adam Lempel moved to Amsterdam for a few years to pursue a Masters in Music Design at Hogeschool voor Kunsten Utrecht.


WEEKENDS have been on hiatus for a number of years now and Lempel released three solo albums and various projects including, but not limited to "STILL LIFE," Adam Lempel & The Heartbeats, Adam Lempel & The Casiobeats, and "You Belong with Me" EP. He's since completed his degree and moved back to Queens/Baltimore and is currently working on his proper follow-up to 2016's "STILL LIFE;" in fact, just this past week, Adam Lempel emailed me with his latest musical creation, "Let's Be Real." "Let's Be Real" was recently featured within IMPOSE's 10/27 edition of Week In Pop and is now available to stream and download on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and other like-minded digital retailers. Here's what Adam Lempel had to say about the creative process and slightly unorthodox construction behind "Let's Be Real." Lempel also casually mentioned within our recent email conversations that a collection of "new WEEKENDS tracks are also on the way."


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

- Adam Lempel

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Witzard Premier: Words Hurt (ALASKA & Lang Vo) Announce New Album SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS & Unleash "World's Worst Life Coach"



"The single is called "World's Worst Life Coach." It is from the album SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS, which drops on Tuesday, November 28th and is available for pre-order. It is a comical take on New Age bullsh*t, personal branding, life coaches, and modern conformity," Words Hurt said within statement accompanying "World's Worst Life Coach," premiering right here at The Witzard. Words Hurt consists of emcee ALASKA and producer Lang Vo, who first worked together on "Impulse Control" from Lang Vo... Is Just An A**hole (2005.) ALASKA has been rhyming for nearly a quarter century and as part of the late 90's New York Indie-ground scene, his group Hanger 18 was once signed to El-P's world-renown Definitive Jux AKA Def Jux imprint. He's also part of The Atoms Family collective and has released projects with Cryptic One as IT, Crack Epidemic with Kojo, ATOMS, Zilla Rocca's Wrecking Crew, and is currently prepping his long-awaited solo debut for Pig Food Records to be released March 2018. Lang Vo, on the other hand, has released a slew of solo albums/EP's, as well as various projects with Brian Cox, Jeremy Roberts, steven hand, Clint Watson, Kwamizzle as REINFORCED STEEL, and even produced "RAIDERS FREESTYLE" from multi-disciplinary artist Kool A.D.'s 2016 mixtape, PARADIZA INFINITI.


Words Hurt's Bandcamp Bio fittingly describes themselves as "the merger between rapper ALASKA and producer Lang Vo. Together, they're the embodiment of using spite and self-deprecation to block out the rest of the a**holes clamoring for your attention." After submitting a verse for "Impulse Control," alongside fellow emcee Elsphinx, Lang Vo returned the favor by mixing ALASKA's 2015 OutKast-sampling ALKAST EP. He then, took it upon himself to hi-jack and effectively remix the entire collection as ALKAST:REMIXES, which ended up being issued as the first proper Words Hurt release. It was soon followed up with two 2016 digi-singles and before too long, their full-length debut, F**k That Pretty Boy Sh*t. Today, right here at The Witzard, Words Hurt are graciously premiering "World's Worst Life Coach" from their upcoming album, SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS, which I've heard and can assure you, is without a doubt, worth your lunch money. "World's Worst Life Coach" is an interesting listen in today's cultural landscape, as it's penned and produced by two 40-something artists doing their best to rise above today's slew of "Mumble rappers" and Soulja Boy clones. ALASKA ferociously rhymes: "art is so arduous / Let's have online arguments / Twitter flame wars 'til your brain pours / out our eyes and die from incompetence" over Lang's hard-as-nails Bad Boy Records-evoking beat. SOUL MUSIC FOR THE SOULLESS is currently available for pre-order on Words Hurt's Bandcamp page and I can promise you, this is just Part 1 of a special 3-pronged The Witzard x Words Hurt collaborative initiative leading up to the album's 11/28 release.

"It's Bully Season:" Baltimore's Jumbled & Dwell Join Forces As Bully Preston for Rapper-producer Album THE INSULT (Full Album Review)



"I'm walkin' down the street mindin' my biz, just thinkin' about my wife and my kids and all the stupid sh*t I did when I was a kid. I pass this dude mean-muggin' - huh? The way he's lookin' kinda buggin' me - what? This motherf**ker tryin' to thug with me - what the f**k? Tryin' to invoke The Incredible Bully P. But I don't know, guess I'm beyond that; then again, a year ago, I was beyond Rap. But now, I'm back and it's all thanks to Jumbled Beats for makin' music for the mind. Designer. Sonic treats..." Dwell mercilessly rhymes on "Lovely Day to Bully;" the intro to THE INSULT, an album in collaboration with John Bachman as Bully Preston, quite simply billed as "Jumbled makes the beats / Dwell raps to them." Dwell & Jumbled's Bully Preston project dates back as far as 2011 with then stand-alone single, "'llatio," which has now been follow-up by their proper 12-track full-length debut entitled THE INSULT. It appears as though Jumbled & Dwell first collaborated on "Underground" from Napalm Def AKA Jumbled & salk. AKA Constituents' clint. from Our Only Escape, Vol. 1 (2009.) clint. is of course, the post-& half of Dwell & salk. I've personally, been hearing rumblings about a Bully Preston EP—now, effectively morphed into a full-length—for at least a year now, if not more. "The first "beats" Jumbled ever made, were put on a tape that was given to Dwell... Dwell has been an integral part of Jumbled's career, often recording and mixing tracks," Bully Preston's recent press release detailed. Fast-forward to 2016: Jumbled, Dwell & salk. reunite for "Train of Thought" from Jumbled's [I wish it was longer] AKA WIWL and released the first official track under the Bully Preston banner, "Bang The Bongos" from his Action Shots EP.


"An auto-corrected text message from Dwell to Jumbled, asking to secure a beat to write to was the genesis of Bully Preston. A year and a half later, the debut album, THE INSULT is released into the world," bp press release continues. THE INSULT was preceded by three pre-album singles: the aforementioned "Bang The Bongos," Family Guy-sampling "Bully Kong," and hockey-referencing "Let's Get Saucey." THE INSULT is chock-full of cleverly inter-woven samples, references, and allusions to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, Run-D.M.C. Aesop Rock, Dr. Seuss, Freddie Blassie, and even The Wedding Singer on "I Want Money." Jumbled contributes a wide array of multi-layered beats from all over the map, providing an interesting contrast to his latest release, The Ghost of Len Bias EP with partner-in-rhyme UllNevaNo. BULLY/Bully Preston seems to have provided Dwell with a MADVILLAIN or Dr. Octagon-esque alter ego, in which he could be "more braggadocious and care-free with his rhymes," after his 10-year hiatus from sharp-spittin'. THE INSULT really is a well-constructed, expertly-delivered album and you can tell Dwell & Jumbled are just a couple of old friends having the time of their lives together in the studio and the Record button "just so happened to be pushed on." THE INSULT leaves the listener on a bit of a cliff-hanger with album closer "Death of a Bully," but even if this is the first and last chapter of Bully Preston's story, it sure was an enjoyable sonic ride! Bully Preston's THE INSULT is now available for streaming an download at a Name-Your-Price basis on Jumbled & Dwell's collective Bandcamp page. Also, feel free to Follow @bullypreston on Instagram for the latest BULLY-related updates.


"This was the most fun and uninhibited I’ve ever been, creatively. The whole idea of BULLY was to not be too self-involved, let the music go wherever it wanted, and to stay out of its way. During the writing, that idea was there but, I didn’t want to think too much about it. There were zero self-imposed restrictions during the writing process. The only thing I wanted the music to be was BULLY! There are two tracks that stray from the idea a bit, but I think they also fit the extremely loose narrative of the album. From the beats to the rhymes, I just wanted it to be fun and I think we accomplished that... I guess you could say that the BULLY persona was born with the "'llatio" track, but it was more happy accident than anything else. We had a Napalm Def recording session at my house and that beat was one that John was working on. I think I helped him clean it up a bit and I liked it... a lot! I think I sent him a demo a couple of days later of two verses I had written to it. I told him I wasn't tying to jack his beat, but he said I could have it, anyway. I hate that hook, though. Just kind of laziness, on my part, but I wasn't really writing, at the time. That’s definitely a BULLY track, though. We just didn’t know it then."

- Dwell (Bully Preston)