Thursday, June 28, 2018

South Philly Producer & Emcee King Ani Mal Compiles Indie/Dance Rock-indebted Beat-maker Bedrock #18 (NewBreed Records)


"I go by the name King Ani Mal. I'm out of South Philly and originally from Gulf Port, Mississippi. SPP GSF AFFILIATE. I am currently working on a "so-far" untitled 5-track EP produced entirely by Look! It's Aidan AKA Aidan Douglas AKA A.I.D. (@look_itsaidan.) It should be out very soon! To keep up with my music and shows, Follow my Instagram, @turbocrunch. Also, check out my latest album, Skinny God out on EVERY streaming platform. Here's my Beat-maker Bedrock:"


I. TV On The Radio - Dear Science (2008)

"I think, Dear Science was one of the first albums that made me want to dip into production. I just remember thinking how good the album was and telling myself that if they could do it, so could I. Then, I downloaded LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio) and started playing around on my laptop. At the time, I was playing guitar in a Punk band and no one wanted to hear what I was making, except my homie Scress. I didn't rap or even plan on becoming a rapper, but eventually, I ended up making the beat to "IDK" off of my first mixtape, New Breed (2015) and "Purple Porsche" ft. Lil' Heart [Quaa Lovee] off my second mixtape, Stoner Kid, Vol. 1."


II. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

"I'm pretty sure Radiohead might be one of my most influential bands, when it comes to production. Much like production, I didn't take Radiohead seriously during the first encounter; to tell the truth, I broke the Radiohead CD in half and slid it out my bedroom window in disgust. It wasn't 'til I got an email saying, "Download Radiohead's New Album In Rainbows for Free" that I gave them a second chance and I was about it. You can definitely catch me coming mad close to the bassline from their track, "All I Need" on my track, "Haven't Been Home" off my newest release, Skinny God."


III. David Bowie - Let's Dance (1983)

"I stole Let's Dance from this vegan Asian with a f***ed up eye because she was a d*ck. Then, I [listened] to it non-stop for a month. I definitely owe Bowie and Iggy Pop mad props, especially, when it comes to dropping a saxophone in the middle of a track (ie: "Free Loot" & "Island.") That's gonna wrap it up for my Beat-maker Bedrock. Find me on Instagram, @turbocrunch to find out where my next show is. And go check out Skinny God. It's out everywhere: iTunes, Spotify, TIDAL, Google Play, Amazon Music, etc."


Last June, my buddy Omarey and I trekked into South Philly on a Friday night for a "Punk-Rap" show at The Pharmacy. Featured on the bill, along with The Grim Reaper, were The Sh*thawks, Felipe Pupo, MANIKINETER, Planet 88, and King Ani Mal. To be completely honest, Omarey and I had really, only gone to witness Carl Kavorkian's then newly-minted Noise-Rap project, MANIKINETER, as well as E. Grizzly's band, Felipe Pupo; although, due to a slight navigation error, we parked 10 blocks in the wrong direction and had to walk a half hour or so to the venue in the sweltering heat. Needless to say, we unfortunately missed MANIKINETER's opening set, but were still able to meet both Carl Kavorkian and E. Grizzly, as well as Quinn AKA Riff Quantum from STATIC BROTHERS. We still ended up staying for the rest of the bands on the bill and watched sets frantic sets from The Sh*thawks, Felipe Pupo, Planet 88, and lastly, King Ani Mal. A South Philly rapper-producer, also known as AnimalBeats, originally hailing from Gulf Port, Mississippi. Now, without sounding too brash, brazen, or overtly critical, King Ani Mal's music is a bit more Soundcloud/Ringtone Rap-leaning than our typical Indie/Underground Hip-Hop fare here at The Witzard.

I've since listened to more of King Ani Mal's music—namely, 2017's Skinny God and recent Singles Collection—and I would loosely compare Ani Mal's genre-eschewing output to that of Big K.R.I.T. Danny Brown, Migos, Wiz Khalifa, and Young Thug with an added Punk/Hardcore edge. I will, however, say this: that night at The Pharmacy, King Ani Mal had an entire room full of Punk-Rap kids, as well as myself, Omarey, Carl Kavorkian, and Erik "E." Grizzly completely enthralled in his late night show-closing performance. It was great to see an extremely diverse all-ages crowd from completely different backgrounds join together for a fun, lively Hip-Hop performance in a dingy, hole-in-the-wall South PHilly club. King Ani Mal's full-length debut, Skinny God is now available on "every streaming platform," along with his 7-track Singles Collection. For frequent updates and show announcements, Follow King Ani Mal on Instagram & Twitter at @turbocrunch, King Ani Mal (kinganimal-1) on audiomack, and simply, "King Ani Mal" on both Spotify & YouTube.

Tom Caruana Re-visits Wu-Tang & Jimi Hendrix Mash-up Left-overs for Black Gold - Spare Nuggets & 2LP Vinyl Re-issue (Tea Sea Records)



Not to be confused with similarly-named Davey Havok-fronted Horror Punk band, Son of Sam is a Soul/Funk-inflected Instrumental Hip-Hop band hailing from "Cinder Hill," UK. Founded by Sam Brothers John (drums) and Joe (bass & guitar) Son of Sam unleashed their 2017 debut, CINDER HILL with assistance from fellow bandmates Dutch Halligan wielding keyboard, flute & sax) and Tom Caruana helming percussion & production. Tea Sea Records-released CINDER HILL features a slew of emcees and vocalists including John Robinson, Sadat X, The Black Opera, Guilty Simpson, Organized Konfusion's Prince Po, Denmark Vessey, Quelle Chris, Masta Ace, and Large Pro. Tom Caruana, actually, runs Tea Sea Records, which boasts Son of Sam, The Menagerie, Professor Elemental, Dr. Syntax, Klondike Kids, longusto, Boiler Room Collective, and Grand Agent amongst their eclectic roster, as well as Caruana's own original works and mash-ups. Yes, while Tom Caruana has actively been creating and releasing music since 2002, he's likely, best know for his iconic genre-eschewing mash-up albums; sonic benchmarks of his mash-up cannon include Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles - Enter: The Magical Mystery Chambers, Wu-Tang & Jimi Hendrix - Black Gold, Okayplayer: The Bollywood Remake, and Dan Lish-illustrated An Adventure to Pepperland Through Rhyme & Space.


While he's working on a number of as-yet-unannounced top-secret projects, it seems as though Tom Caruana has been doing a bit of seasonal hard drive cleaning; in recent weeks, having released the latest installment of his on-going Rough Versions Remix Series: BIGGIE (Vol. 6,) Son of Sam CINDER HILL Sessions left-over "Where The Hearts At" with Stones Throw affiliate Rasco, and most recently, Black Gold - Spare Nuggets. A stylistic continuation of his 2011 masterpiece, Wu-Tang vs. Jimi Hendrix - Black Gold, Spare Nuggets consists of "a bunch of tracks that got left off the Black Gold album—mostly, beats from Black Gold with [different] acapellas." Even Tom Caruana himself (@teaseacaruana) seemed a bit surprised with some of the dusty nuggets he dug up for Black Gold - Spare Nuggets, writing on Instagram: "there's some interesting bits on there that I had completely forgotten about..." Tom Caruana Presents: Black Gold - Spare Nuggets is currently available to stream or download on Tea Sea Records' Bandcamp page, along with the rest of Caruana's expansive back catalog. Next up for Tom Caruana is a collaborative 7-inch/digital EP with Boog Brown, which should become available within just "a few weeks."


"Whilst going through files in preparation for doing Black Gold on vinyl, I found a bunch of stuff that got left off the main album; so, I threw them together... super-rough, quick mixes/master. I think, there's some vocals that are a bit out of time... the kind of stuff that I would do, if I worked on them for longer... anyway, if you like the main album, this is the better of the scraps that didn't make it onto the main album, for one reason or another... enjoy!

PS: double-vinyl coming soon!
LP1 - Wu-Tang vocal tracks
LP2 - [Hendrix] instrumentals"

- Tom Caruana (Bandcamp)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Hangar 18 Unleash 4-track Collection of Previously Unreleased & Widely Unavailable Songs from Sweep The Leg Sessions (HANGAR RARITIES)



For this article, I've decided to employ one of the oldest writing tactics from deep within my journalistic bag-of-tricks: "WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, WHY..." Hangar 18 was Hip-Hop crew consisting of emcees ALASKA & Windnbreeze and DJ paWL. Hangar 18, named after the Megadeath song of the same name, was together from 1994-2009 and released two albums—The Multi-Platinum Debut (2004) and Sweep The Leg (2007)—El-P's legendary and now-defunct Definitive Jux Records AKA Def Jux. Hangar 18 also, self-released both THE SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION CD (2003) and a 2006 compilation album entitled The Donkey Show, Volume 1 with remixes and features from Cryptic AKA Cryptic One, Blockhead, Aesop Rock, Bill G. and Blueprint. Hangar 18's members were also, part of larger New York/Tri-State Area crew Atoms Family, along with Cryptic One, DJ Cip-One, Jestoneart, Kasm, Molecule, Whichcraft, Genesis, Osirrus, Cannibal Ox's Vast Aire & Vordul Mega, and at times, up to 35 assorted members, active from about 1995-2005. Since their 2009 disbandment, ALASKA has released various projects as Crack Epidemic with Kojo Kisseih, IT with Cryptic One, WORDS HURT with Lang Vo, and most recently, He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA with PJ Katz. Director Paul Iannacchino, Jr. AKA DJ paWL filmed and released a 2015 documentary entitled ADULT RAPPERS and around the time of the film's wide release, Hangar 18/Atoms Family briefly re-formed as ATOMS to liberate Demo'd & SANDS, before disappearing back into the shadows of "Rap Dad-itude."


Just this past Friday, June 22nd, ALASKA dusted off a collection of previously unreleased/widely unavailable gems and unveiled them to the terribly unsuspecting masses; "I just put out a few old Hangar 18 rarities and unreleased songs on Bandcamp because I was bored. Enjoy," @alaska_ATOMS unsuspectingly Tweeted Friday afternoon. Here's what ALASKA told The Witzard about aptly-titled Hangar Rarities, via email: "It is a mix of things from the Sweep The Leg Sessions. Two songs ("Feet to Feet" & "Room to Breathe") are the original versions of songs that ended up on Sweep The Leg. We changed "Room to Breathe" because, if I recall correctly, we were idiots haha. And we changed "Feet to Feet" because of the sample used; Def Jux was very wary about sample clearance, after some issues with RJD2's albums. "[Tell] Me What You Got" was never released. We decided to keep it off the album for reasons I don't really remember. "Who Said It Best" was released as a digital B-side, I think, from the first single off of Sweep The Leg, if I recall correctly." Hangar 18's newly-unearthed Hangar Rarities EP is now available on Bandcamp for the extremely reasonable price of $2.00 flat. Plus, if you somehow still need convincing, Hangar Rarities' cover boasts a still image from Will Smith & Kevin James AKA ALASKA's 2005 Rom-Com, Hitch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble & Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact Drummer Jake Najor Releases D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS 7-inch (Common Good Records)



Jake Najor is a world-renown drummer and frontman of newly-formed group, Jake Najor & The Moment of Truth. The GRAMMY-nominated drummer has played breaks for and performed alongside the likes of Redman, De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane, M.O.P. Percee P, The Beatnuts, SOUP (Jurassic 5) Raphael Saadiq, Jason Mraz, TV On The Radio, Joss Stone, Eamon with Connie Price & The Keystones, Kelis, Aloe Blacc, Kurtis Blow, Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact, and Empire of The Sun. Jake Najor & The Moment of Truth was very recently established in San Diego, California and showcases the talents of Nick Costa on guitar, Tim Felton on keys, Matt Labarber on bass, and of course, frontman Jake Najor behind the drum kit. Jake Najor (@thenaj) & The Moment of Truth (@momentoftruthsd) are currently preparing their full-length debut, IN THE CUT, for a tentative release on The Redwoods Music this upcoming Fall. However, for the time being, Najor is channeling his creative energies into his first proper "solo" release; D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS (read: "DIRTY MONEY BREAKS") is now available for pre-order on Los Angeles-based Common Good Records ahead of it's July 6, 2018 wide release.


D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS is still available in a number of formats, including One x 7" Vinyl, Two x 7" Vinyl, and Digital Album all packaged with: 1.) digital, unedited streams of 8 royalty-free drum breaks, PLUS 8 additional unreleased drum breaks (16 breaks total!) and 2.) exclusive "PRODUCER DRUM KIT" with 100+ .WAV-formatted drums; "a full drum kit right out of the box!" Common Good Records simply describes D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS as being formatted "for the beat-makers, break collectors, crate diggers, and DJ's - a drum break 7" record from Sure Fire Soul Ensemble drummer Jake Najor..." D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS was recorded by Moment of Truth keyboardist Tim Felton at The Kitchen II Studio and was mastered by Markie B. for Better Beat Bureau with all drums played by Jake "The Naj" Najor. D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS is currently available for pre-order from Common Good Records in either single or "doubles" 7-inch sets with ALL pre-orders including a limited edition "money green"-tinted insert cover. There's currently a 1-minute "Dirty Money Breaks" (sampler mix) streaming on Common Good's Bandcamp page ahead of the record's Friday, July 6th digital/wide release with physical orders shipping out on or around July 5, 2018. For those interested, there's a comprehensive interview/profile fittingly titled "Jake Najor is the truth" penned by Seth Combs, which originally ran within The San Diego City Beat's March 2018 issue.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mugwampers Talk "Denial-ridden Ambition," Group Origin Story, Upcoming Releases, Scottish Hip-Hop & More (The Witzard Interview)


Mugwampers are a Scottish Hip-Hop crew consisting of beat-maker and producer Chris McCormick AKA 'i's and emcee Aaron Bonnar AKA SaIGO and collectively hailing from Livingston, Scotland. Although, they have yet to release a proper full-length collaborative project, SaIGO & 'i's been communicating through social media since 2014, working together, actively recording material, and earnestly started building their brand last Fall. 'i's has quietly released an album entitled failure.to.communicate and a 6-track compilation EP dubbed .and then there was flowers under the Mugwampers banner/Bandcamp page within just the last two months. Nestled amongst a who's-who of featured guests including billy woods, s.al AKA Ruby Yacht's Safari Al, Uncommon Nasa, and cunabear, 'i's & SaIGO slipped out their first collaborative track attributed to Mugwampers, "white liez," on .and then there was flowers. However, I can positively assure you, Mugwampers have a number of albums, collaborative efforts, and a series of 717 EP's, as well as solo albums/EP's from both SaIGO & 'i's slated to be released before the end of 2018. Last week, I sent over a batch of 12 questions for Mugwampers, as well as one each for both 'i's & SaIGO concerning their current and upcoming releases, Scottish Hip-Hop, what's to come next form Mugwampers, and much, much more. It has been lightly edited for overall clarity. SaIGO's 'i's-produced "poetry project," ANOTHER TIME MAYBE . . is now available to stream or purchase directly from Mugwampers' Bandcamp on a Name-Your-Price basis.


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Boom-Bap/Hip-Hop Historian


I. Let's start this interview off Nardwuar-style: "WHO ARE YOU!?"

Mugwampers: We are Mugwampers...

II. How did you fellas initially meet and decide to form Mugwampers?

'i's: I started talking to SaIGO back in 2014 through social media, when he reached out to me looking for instrumentals (still for sale, by the way!) when I went by a prior alias that shall remain unknown. We met in person in the Summer of 2017, when SaIGO was sleeping rough. I met him under a bridge, while he was drinking; it really just felt like I was meeting up with an old friend, as we instantly just started speaking about our favourite albums and music in general. It just felt normal and [we] started meeting up on a weekly basis, making plans to make music, but not quite managed to work out a direction, as of yet.

SaIGO: Yeah, I was in a pretty bad place, but as 'i's said, it felt natural and we ended up back at his place rockin' out to Death Grips and Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly. After I found [temporary accommodations], we had an idea for a song, lyrics, and atmospheric drones: "I AM NOT A PERSON, OF THAT TITLE I AM NOT DESERVING." As soon as I wrote lyrics to that song, we knew that this was something serious and that we should go ahead and begin our journey as Mugwampers...


III. Now, what exactly is Mugwampers, for those poor souls, who may still be unaware?

'i's: The least important people you don't know that create whatever comes to them without confining to one specific sub-genre; people that are mentally f***ed, but finding a way to cope and move forward.

SaIGO: Mugwampers, for me, is what pretty much saved me from going back to where I was in my life. I literally had nothing. Mugwampers has given me the sense of purpose that I have been needing since like f***ing ever, I know that sounds stupid, but you know... just f***ing.......... Mugwampers.

Mugwampers: It feels like a beautiful reality, when you find something that can inspire you everyday by saying just one word because you have so much belief in it and that word is "Mugwampers."

IV. Who might each of you cite as your greatest sources of personal/musical inspiration and influence?

SaIGO: My inspiration in music mainly comes from (believe it or not!) 90's West Coast Hip-Hop.... Tupac, DEFARI, Dr. Dre, and them. Also, a lot from artists like Aesop Rock, MF DOOM, and pretty much, anyone who has that "raw" feel... WU-TANG IS FOREVER!

'i's: For me, my inspiration comes from so many different genres, but to dwindle it to down to a few art stylers, I would say: El-P, Sun Ra, Lil Peep, Aesop Rock, doseone, John Cage, and Electric Wizard, to name some of the major ones.


V. Mugwampers' YouTube channel recently unleashed videos for "Another Time Maybe" (SaIGO) and "The Word of God Is Recycled" (Mugwampers) both directed by Joe Eaton AKA @joeeverse; how exactly did these videos come to fruition? When might the projects they're set to appear on be announced/released?

'i's: I met Joe at Edinburgh college. He was in the same class as me. I remember on the first day, he mentioned wanting to do music videos and that stayed in my head. I eventually approached him a few months later with the idea of doing some video work for my solo music, but that didn't pan out because I lost interest in those tracks..... and you know, Mugwampers—your favourite carpet cleaners—managed to wangle their way into some free video work by probably the best upcoming videographer in THE ENTIRE UK! (Ii Joe, send more meme mails!)

SaIGO: The EP's will be announced right now..... one of them, at least ;) 717 Volume 1 will be released 17/7/18 (yes that is 7/17) but we travel time, via calendar apps and expiring demo versions of you favourate DAW's. After release, we will drop 2 more monthly... we have more in-the-works with Joe... Go Like his page and buy stuff from him!!! The future holds more, but the present is where we are at.

VI. How do 'i's' failure.to.communicate & .and then there was flowers relate to Mugwampers' brand and upcoming releases?

'i's: 'cause I make clunk music and the first Mugwampers instrumentals I made were made up of Carpark [Records] violins and Brick [Records] drums. Also, 'cause I am part of Mugwampers, of course haha. Whatever we do solo or collabo-wise will always be part of the Mugwampers brand 'cause this [is] our life, pretty much, (MUGWAMPERS STUFF OR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS)

meds....

meds.......

meds.......

Mugwampers unstoppable.......

SaIGO: I'm on meds, but not mine..... ay!


VII. .and then there was flowers boasts collaborations with the likes of billy woods, cunabear, Emmanuel Coto, SaIGO (Mugwampers.) Safari Al, Uncommon Nasa & wc tank. How did these collaborations come about and how did you go about placing each featured artists on their corresponding track?

'i's: This project, I made over the period of a year; pretty much, just adding to it slowly, when I seen fit. It was pretty much, just done through social media, as far as reaching out to artists. I just sent them whatever instrumentals I could hear them on and it happened just like that. There is more tracks that were made for the tape, but I am holding on to them, until it makes sense to drop them. Also, got a project with a "big name" dropping this year, hopefully, that was birthed out of the floral creation.

SaIGO: I just rap... [on] one song.... that's it...... bastard! ;)

VIII. So, I'm just curious: what exactly do your names 'i's, SaIGO, and Mugwampers mean? Also, Chris: what's the reasoning behind changing your name's spelling from ('i's')/'i's' to simply 'i's with failure.to.communicate?

SaIGO: My name comes from the story of Saigo. Essentially, the last samurai. The short version is that The Shogun didn't let him return to the place he belonged and Saigo fought long and hard for his place—granted or not—he would do it with honour. So, basically, I felt that I could relate in a sense, as when I tried to return to the town I was born and had a lot going for me, I was told I had no right to live there (Livingston, West Lothian) and I had to get letters from members of Parliament to help fight my case. They said I had "no local connection"......... I won.... "Show us signs to guide us on our path, so we can find trust. It's not what we say, but our actions that define us" - MugWampers' "Prophecy."

'i's: I have a wonky left eye..... I can see the future.


IX. When creating a Mugwampers track or collaborating on each other's solo works, what do your typical writing, beat-making, recording, etc. processes generally entail?

'i's: If I am making beats, it usually, entails me hunched over crossed legged on a floor drinking coffee or cider eating a stupid amount of rice and kidney beans. Sometimes, this takes place under a dusty desk with stains on it, but it's niiiice. If I am writing, I usually do it on-the-go over a period of time. I never write anything in full in one sitting. We usually, go places during the day and wander around. Then, smash recordings out at night; beats tends to be an all-day-every-day type of thing.

SaIGO: A session at "Highfield" with MugWampers, usually, looks like a f***in' bombsite, to be honest; pages of rhyme books everywhere, beer cans, and forgotten memories. Without [sounding] too extravagant, it's "poetry-in-transit." We are always 2 projects and 2 videos ahead of what gets announced. We work hard! We are sitting on A LOT of material. I usually, write through the week and contribute basslines to beats every now and then. The way I see it, if my life is good and I have no worries.... I can't write. It sounds brutal, but I genuinely feel that I need to be this miserable; this is me everyday. Since 'i's met me and waaay before, but I feel I have to just accept how I feel. So, I guess, that's why I write the way I write.... 'coz I'm not OK haha. I don't know really, to be honest...

'i's: It is a sad reality that we feel like we need to be this messed up to make the material we make, but that is just the place we are in. Who knows what will happen down the road.

X. I know you're currently planning a genre-eschewing 3-volume 717 EP series, but what else do Mugwampers have planned for the remainder of 2018?

SaIGO: Outside of the 717 series, we have collaboration EP's with Spawn Zero (from L.I.V.) cunabear (BearTooth Collective) and Unsung—who made the masterpiece, Young Man in 2016. Plus, more that you aren't allowed to know haha...

'i's: I also, have some projects coming out; another full project with cunabear that is slated to be titled Skulptures and a full EP with myself and Spawn Zero. Remember the name Jazz Williams, as well.


XI. For those of us still new to Scottish Hip-Hop: might you have any particular friends, affiliates, favorites, or fellow Scottish Hip-Hop artists to recommend checking out?

'i's: There is only a few Scottish Hip-Hop artists I really mess with outside of our stuff like ours friends Mac-Be, Spawn Zero, the rest of L.I.V. & CRPNTR. There is other dope artists that I mess with, but I won't return to their material too much, but Physiks is also, amazing. Listen to his sh*t, too.

SaIGO: Yeah, i agree mostly. Stay up-to-date with Mac-Be, Being MC's (Loki, Gasp & Physiks) also, Respek BA and I can't forget to mention L.I.V. (Barz Fury, Spawn Zero & Jailz.) TOGO FAM! (Kid Robotik, Orry Caren & Big Shamu) also, A-Macc & SubConsious AKA DeadSoundz. There are too many to mention, but our plan is to bring more attention to Hip-Hop in Scotland and pretty much, any artist in any country, who isn't getting the exposure they deserve. Listen to the music! Really hear it....... It's all about the least important people you've never heard of... MugLife!

XII. What made you fellas decide to select "white liez" from .and then there was flowers as the first officially-released Mugwampers collaborative track? It's sounds phenomenal and I seriously, can't wait to see and hear what's coming next!

'i's: Firstly, thanks for your kind words, man. I'm glad you love what we are doing. The reason that track went out first is because it encaptured the essential Mugwampers sound and mission statement.

Mugwampers: The lyrics are "denial-ridden ambition reveals itself;" literally, until the moment we are typing this, we have just relised that "white liez" is probably the most truthful song we have written. Simply for the fact that in the beginning there was nothing, but a dream and denial and now it has revealed itself as something with huge potential.

SaIGO: Yeah, thanks to The Witzard for being interested in something as f***ed up as Mugwampers! It means a lot. "white liez" had sort of freaked us out. It's mad. Sometimes, the true meaning of what you write will reveal itself, after someone else takes notice and relates to something that you never even knew you had addressed in what you wrote.... at least, I do anyways....

717........ 717........ 717......... 717.......... 717......... 717........ 717........... 717....... 717....... 717....... 717.


XIII. SaIGO, would you mind telling us a bit more about your upcoming solo album, ANOTHER TIME MAYBE . . dropping this upcoming Monday, June 25, 2018? I've heard the 'i's-produced album described as a "poetry project."

SaIGO: Yeah, so ANOTHER TIME MAYBE . . is a culmination of my own personal experiences. The production 'i's did on this is outstanding! There's a lot of very personal material in here. I'd say, [it] was more of a spoken-word project, rather than "poetry." Just listen to it, that's all I'm gonna say haha....

XIV. Not many people may know this, Chris, but you and I first met after Hemlock Ernst AKA Future Islands frontman Sam Herring's rapping alter-ego released "In The Land of Cats" over an original ('i's') beat called "River Echo" a couple years ago. What was it like working with Hemlock Ernst and do you two have any immediate plans to release any additional collaborations to the masses?

'i's: It was dope to work with Hemlock Ernst, as I am a big fan of all his works. I pretty much, just hit him up on Soundcloud and he said to send some stuff over and he was loving all the beats, but "River Echo" is the one that spoke to him most. So, he banged the track out in a day or so after I sent the beat and that was it, to be honest. I would love to work with him again, for sure, but don't have anything, at the moment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Darko Save The Queen EP Remixes 4 Creative Casualty Tracks Using Exclusively Queen Samples (U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART)



Just since the top of 2018, Darko The Super has released a myriad of releases including Buzzy Linhart Changed My Life, Doc Heller's Or Do I Eat This Sandwich?! Bogus Poetry In The Dizzy Age, and Creative Casualty on U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART (UDDTBA) as well as Stories of a Made Up Year produced by Height Keech on Cold Rhymes Records, The Hell Hole Store's "I'll Take What I Can Get" Feat. Open Mike Eagle on Already Dead Tapes, and "Bike Spokes" as part of The Custodian of Records' Qwuickieleaks Challenge and a few more loosely released tracks. Now, a few months removed from it's initial release, Darko has decided to revisit a few tracks from Creative Casualty originally released on Pale Blue Records/UDDTBA back in April on limited edition 10-inch lathe-cut vinyl, as well as digital album; "Don't stop me now, buddy guy. The Summer of Darko continues! Darko Save The Queen 7-inch remix EP available now," @darkothesuper wrote on his Instagram Thursday afternoon.


Darko The Super's Sex Pistols-referencing flips four choice cuts from Creative Casualty cleverly sampling nothing but various Queen smash hits including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Killer Queen," "You Take My Breath Away," and "Bicycle Race." "[It was] just a fun little project to make. "The Anthem" (Stars Wars Mix) was inspired by Charles Hamilton's "I Hate Star Wars" instrumental," Darko wrote to The Witzard within an email. "'Bohemian Rhapsody" is what I consider to be the greatest song of all time and starting point for this project. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. Classic Darko," he continued. Darko Save The Queen is now available digitally on U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART, as well as 10 limited edition 7-inches lathe-cut and pressed by White Noise Lathe Cut Records. Darko The Super's aforementioned cannon of 2018 releases are still available digitally on Already Dead Tapes, Cold Rhymes Records, Pale Blue Records & UDDTBA. Next up is Darko's Thank You #BasedGod, an album dedicated to Lil B, which he plans to let loose upon the terribly unsuspecting world this upcoming Friday, June 29th.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vermont Producer, Artist & Creator Keenan Kilgore Joins Forces with karma kids for Keenan & Karma Remix Album Ahead of SEPTEMBER (we are the karma kids)



Keenan Kilgore AKA KK AKA Daniel K. Felicetti FKA Digitalfel & FEL is a Vermont-based producer, artist, and creator. For over a decade, Daniel Felicetti has been consistently recording and putting out instrumental and collaborative Hip-Hop and Electronic music under a number of aliases at quite a rapid rate; this including, but not limited to, Digitalfel, FEL, ham american, Cord5, DigitalDankin with producer/rapper Dominic Primus, Keenan Kilgore, and JWLS VRNE & Different Trucks with frequent collaborator Gruff Lion. Daniel Felicetti also, runs a few websites to host his music, production work, and visual art: first, DigitalFel - the "digital" representation of "fel" AKA his music site, next, MAN-GOES CO. - essentially, an "all-around portfolio" of various projects Felicetti and his wife have produced/curated together, and finally, TONERELATIONS - a new platform, still in development, to showcase new projects with physical copies. OR best described by Daniel Felicetti himself as: "[DigitalFel] DANIEL K. FELICETTI AKA KEENAN KILGORE IS A PRODUCER / ARTIST AND CREATOR," "MAN-GOES CO. is an inter-disciplinary design house founded in 2009," and "TONERELATIONS. Micro-productions - showcasing new music & art. { 2 0 1 8 }." I strongly recommend checking out all three of Daniel K. Felicetti's artist sites, at your earliest convenience, as there's a plethora of information and mixed media to delve into! For an even wider scope into Keenan Kilgore's musical and artistic world, feel free to Follow him on Instagram (@dk_felicetti) Twitter (|{|{ @KeenanKilgore) and YouTube (simply, Keenan Kilgore!)


Daniel K. Felicetti's latest project as Keenan Kilgore, orchestrated and released in collaboration with Lt Headtrip's New York-based we are the karma kids and aptly-titled Keenan & Karma—an obvious reference to Nickelodeon's wildly-popular late 90's sitcom Kenan & Kel—was released this past Tuesday, June 19th on karma kids' Bandcamp page. Simply put, "Keenan Kilgore delivers a fresh twist on karma kids classics, matching the group's high-energy performance with pulsing, sample-based production." Keenan & Karma features 8 tracks and 1 "hidden" BONUS TRACK from karma kids' finest emcees, including: Duncecap, Gruff Lion, Lt Headtrip, OLD SELF, GooGiE, MC Eleven, and BALD AFRO. Not entirely unlike COLORi (2016) and honestly, the majority of Keenan Kilgore's work, Keenan & Karma features a slew of multi-layered samples meticulously chopped, edited, re-used, and arranged in a way in which they're almost completely unrecognizable! Next up is Keenan Kilgore's SEPTEMBER, to be self-released next Friday, June 29th; an album "that reinforces the scope and possibilities within the construct." It's an Instrumental Hip-Hop album full of complex, head-spinning beats intertwined with bits of narrative and creative song structuring. "SEPTEMBER came about from a culmination of life's struggles, triumphs, oddities and observations. It is not your average beat tape," boasts a recent press release. "SEPTEMBER sets the soundscape for you to swim through the summer and beyond. It is a collection of global jams for your to carry with you, along your journey, as you explore and get lost, only to find your way again."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

3 Feet High & Rising: New York Indie Rock/Neo-Soul Quartet Holy Ride Share "Pictures" from Debut Party Tricks EP (The Witzard Premiere)


Holy Ride are a New York-based Indie Rock/Neo-Soul quartet, who formed while attending Columbia University in 2016. Consisting of vocalist/keyboard player Julian Ernest Wright, guitarist/bassist Caleb Oldham, second guitarist John Sudman, and drummer Mark Brathwaite, Holy Ride started playing dorm rooms, parties, and other collegiate functions, while three of it's four members were running a music blog called Rare Candy, as well as a small on-campus recording studio called CU Records. I guess, what initially drew me to Caleb Oldham's cold-sent email was this line, in particular: "We sound like D'Angelo meets Mac DeMarco," which they genuinely do! Holy Ride's aptly-titled debut EP, Party Tricks, is a self-described Soul-Pop/Pop Rock-minded affair strongly influenced by Fleetwoood Mac & Prince; although, I would also, liken their sound to something reminiscent of The Beach Boys, Chester French/D.A. Wallach, Childish Gambino's "Awaken, My Love!" similarly-minded greenhorn quartet no suits, and Stones Throw multi-instrumentalists The Stepkids. Although, Party Tricks has yet to even be released to the general public, Holy Ride are already plotting their next couple moves; "we're planning to come out with 3 more EP's in the near future," stating they presently have about "a dozen" songs completed and ready to go. '"Pictures" is a song about possessing intangible things in a physical format, like personalities, dreams, or memories," Holy Ride wrote within a recent emailed conversation.


Honestly, we're ecstatic to have partnered up with Holy Ride to premiere Track #03 from their Party Tricks EP right here at The Witzard! Vocalist Julian Ernest Wright croons, "If I'm just looking for a place to sit / Blind painter / See what's new" in a very abstract, almost stream-of-conscious way over relaxed guitar riffs and an effortlessly cool musical backing provided by Caleb Oldham, John Sudman & Mark Brathwaite. Then, we hear "Pictures"' main refrain/hook: "And we take pictures of each other..." directly followed by this poetic little nugget, "Millions and millions of tiny shards of glass / In my head / Poking through" during Verse #2. In addition to The Witzard-exclusive premiere of "Pictures," we're actually, lucky enough to be sharing a video of Party Tricks opener "Spotlight" filmed in guitarist Oldham's living room and sent in as a submission to NPR's now-closed 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. Party Tricks EP was entirely produced by talented record producer, mixer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Sahil Ansari at Degraw Sound in Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York. Holy Ride will be self-releasing their debut EP, Party Tricks, this upcoming Friday, June 22nd on digital streaming platforms. Give Holy Ride a Follow on Facebook: Holy Ride (@HolyRideNYC) Twitter: @weareholyride, Instagram: @weareholyride, and Soundcloud or simply, HolyRide.net to stay connected regarding their future releases, upcoming shows, happenings, and all things Holy Ride. 🎈

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cell:Adore Re-releases For Her Cassette Tape In Limited Edition of 40 with Vinyl-cut Stickers & Revised J-card Artwork (Behind The Veil)



Drew Carpenter is a producer and beat-maker hailing from Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK. Carpenter has been making music since about 2010; first, anonymously "just for fun," then, Deep Dubstep as Gastly around 2013, next, making more EDM-leaning music as Somber in 2015, and most recently, as Cell:Adore since October 2016. Cell:Adore now crafts his own unique brand of Instrumental Hip-Hop and Experimental Electronic music, but has previously released atmospheric EDM, Deep Dubstep, and a variety of Electronic-leaning music, as well as founding a Deep Dubstep blog called After Dark Music with his good friend Acomply, which has now grown into a fully functioning record label. Cell:Adore/Somber/Gastly has released music on a number of labels including Indonesia-based Tandem Tapes, now-obscure and mysteriously vanished Eight-Sixed Tapes, and Drew Carpenter's own imprint, Behind The Veil. Since being founded in 2017, the Guernsey-based imprint has self-released a FREE EP DOWNLOAD titled Laced Love, For Her (BTV001,) and "A Fools Wish." However, For Her alone has, thus far, been released THREE separate times in varying formats: 05.19.2017 on cassette - via Eighty-Sixed Tapes, 09.29.2017 on digital platforms - via Eighty-Sixed Tapes, and most recently, 06.15.2018 on cassette (again) - via Behind The Veil.


Although, this latest re-release of Cell:Adore's For Her has the unique distinction of revised artwork added to the cassette J-card—including back panel and alternate inner art—and a clear case to distinguish it from the initial Eighty-Sixed Tapes (86T001) version. Limited to just 40 copies, Behind The Veil's For Her re-release comes with vinyl-cut stickers featuring both "Anna" AKA Anna Karina... Cell:Adore's pseudo-mascot and "Behind The Veil Logo." For Her is a very relaxing, atmospheric listen which almost transports you to a different place. It's of a similar breed to Clams Casino's Instrumentals 1-4 mixtapes with sonic allusions to Joy Division, Swedish Dream-Poppers JJ, oOoOO & Islamiq Grrrls, SALEM, and grainy old black-and-white films, as well as "miserable ambient landscapes," as Cell:Adore fittingly puts it. Behind The Veil's For Her cassette re-issue is currently still available to purchase from Cell:Adore's Bandcamp page, although, it's limited to to a one-time pressing of 40 x tapes, so make sure to get one, while you still can. Cell:Adore is currently working on assembling Vixen (BTV002) which can presently be previewed on Soundcloud, and is set to be released later this year... hopefully!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Various Artists I: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - This Is Boston, Not L.A. Penned By: John E. Swan (Modern Method Records)


INTRODUCTION: Maybe, it's in the gray hairs that I've started finding in my thinning hair. Maybe, it's that dreaded third decade of life that seems to have been rearing it's ugly face around every corner. Maybe, it's a quarter life crisis, but something has been keeping me up at night. I sometimes, stay awake into the early hours of the morning spinning records and fumbling with CD jackets from high school, grasping hold of my youth for dear life. I search out elusive first presses of albums I'd somehow, lost to time, hoping that they'll somehow, tighten the thread leading from middle school to adulthood.

To be clear, I'm not fishing my torn band T-shirts or bondage pants from the depths of my closet, but as I make the transition into my 30's, shedding roommates and getting oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, I can't help ruminating on where these albums came from and how they've shaped me. I can't help begging the question, "How did I get here?"

How I've come to be surrounded by this specific collection of music is largely, the consequence of efforts made by larger labels and their annual sampler CD's, but even today, I search out small Indie labels that pump out quality collections of exclusivities and excellent representations of a variety of music scenes.


Typically, priced at $4-5.00 and featuring, sometimes, up to 40 songs from just as many bands, compilations have always served as convenient and affordable ways to discover new and obscure bands. This is imperative to the formative years of a generation of listeners; compilations were the compass that one used to navigate the endless sea of Punk Rock and consequently, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, Indie, Reggae, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Many of these discs were used as shovels to tunnel into cozy nests of Punk records and artistic eccentricities.

It's this ability to influence and inform listeners that I'll be here every month to discuss. I'll be stopping The Witzard by to shed light on those discount albums in the so often overlooked "Various Artists" bins of the world, along with their influences within their communities, within their genres, and within the chronology of listener interests all across the globe, here in, Various Artists: How Compilations Influenced a Generation.


VARIOUS ARTISTS I: When I was in high school, a friend of mine lent me a copy of Steven Blush's critically-acclaimed book, American Hardcore: A Tribal History, an oral history of the early 80's American Hardcore/Punk Rock movement. I was immediately drawn in by the obscurity of the genre relative to other genres of music during that decade and other carnations of that genre over time. Purists claim that original "Hardcore" only actually existed between the years of 1980 and approximately 1983 and so many of those records seemed lost to time and discount bins in the basements of re-sale shops. It seemed to me that the first wave of Hardcore had showed up, made a lot of noise, and self-destructed with virtually, no one to witness it.

The nature of Hardcore dictates that fervor precedes talent. The urgency with which songs were written and performed meant that few hardcore bands were of any technical proficiency. Album covers and flyers for shows were often crude sketches done in just black ink. Any concept of fashion statement was virtually nonexistent. It was all so approachable. It was accessible. It was the antithesis of the Rock star. It was something that I could actually do.


For the first half of my sophomore year of high school I tore through the pages of that book, downloading every song that I could find by every band that I didn't already recognize—no easy task in the unorganized days of LimeWire—and that's how I came to be familiar with a band called Jerry's Kids; a meager 1 minute and 22 second glimpse into Boston's Hardcore scene by way of a song called "Wired." With one song, Jerry's Kids seemed to exemplify the ferocity of teen angst that I'd been trying to articulate for years. Jerry's Kids and "Wired" acted as my first introduction to the 1982 Modern Method Records classic compilation album, This Is Boston, Not L.A.

30 blistering fast Hardcore songs by seven of Boston's finest at the time, This Is Boston... serves as a rabbit hole for the casual Hardcore fan to delve into. It's an exhibition of bands so obscure that, in some cases, they only exist on this particular slab of wax.


Perhaps, more accurately billed as an "EP collective," This Is Boston... opens with six songs from Jerry's Kids, before moving on to three songs by The Proletariat, one by The Groinoids, and closing the first side of the disc off with four songs by The F.U.'s. On the second side we have seven tracks from Gang Green, one from Decadence, and eight songs from The Freeze. I won't delve into any stylistic descriptions here, as this isn't exactly where my interest lies. Arguably, of more significance to the history of Hardcore and Punk Rock is that This Is Boston... acted as the recorded debut of almost every band on the record; The Freeze, whose only prior recording was the self-released "I Hate Tourists" 7-inch single, is the only exception to this.

The significance of this is not to be overlooked. Modern Method Records existed to document Boston Hardcore and Alternative music and did so to a fault. Hardcore was never meant to make money and as a consequence, the label folded in 1985, after 27 releases. But the genre would never have made much noise at all, if it weren't for small labels coming out of the woodwork and shouldering financial risks in the interest of preserving American music.


Hardcore wasn't viewed by record labels as a viable commodity. In fact, most record labels probably had no idea what these suburban teenagers were doing on the fringes of the music industry. It was necessity that bred these small labels. It was an eagerness to document marginalized sub-cultures and forms of art that blazed the trail between that tree falling in the forest and the ears of those who weren't around to hear it.

What we're seeing here is hardly new. In the early 1920's, talent scouts were known to venture into the hills with recording equipment, returning with shellac discs with grooves cut by needle, housing family heritages and traditions. Even today, archivists hunt those discs down, arduously restoring them, enhancing them in a way that brings us closer to their original sound. Closer to what those early talent scouts heard before they put that needle down.


In the case of the origins of Hardcore, bands, record labels, and promoters were forced to operate under the radar of the major label music industry. This Is Boston... is by no means, the first compilation to give a platform to bands who were assumed better off not having one, but it certainly defines a genre built on a strong DIY ethos that's been upheld for nearly 40 years.

Even now, assembly lines form in basements of suburban houses all across the country. When they can't be heard over the noise of their neighboring cities, these musicians pool their money, sharing the financial strain and producing tapes and records on their on. As these labels grow and these bands gain more momentum, they begin speaking over other musicians in other suburbs and the cycle is repeated, breeding more documentarians tasked with telling the world that even art made in haste is art worth holding on to.


John E. Swan (@midwest_stress) is a novelist and short story writer, as well as freelance editor and journalist. His first novel, Any Way to Elsewhere, takes its name from a compilation cassette that he curated during his time with Berserk Records. When he's not writing, he can be found making music under the moniker "t h e m e s" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Diesel.

Friday, June 15, 2018

alt-J Join Forces with Pusha-T & Twin Shadow for Re-worked Version of RELAXER Single "In Cold Blood" (Canvasback/Infectious Music)


Late Thursday night into early Friday morning, while everyone else was listening to the livestream of Nas' Kanye-produced NASIR EP from G.O.O.D. Music's Queens Listening Session/Party, I was listening to alt-J on Repeat, instead. Right around 12:10am, I got an email from Atlantic Records titled "New Version of "In Cold Blood" Released Today;" when I opened up said alt-J Fan Club email, I learned it was actually, a Twin Shadow re-work of RELAXER single "In Cold Blood" with a guest verse from G.O.O.D. Music Prez. Pusha-T himself. It wasn't until a little later, I realized alt-J had actually, appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night with Twin Shadow frontman George Lewis, Jr. and Pusha-T in tow to perform the world premiere of "In Cold Blood" (Twin Shadow Version.) Now, let me just say this: I'm a fan of all three artists' bodies of work, especially, alt-J's RELAXER, Pusha-T's My Name Is My Name, and Twin Shadow's Forget (2010) and string of early singles... although, I would NEVER have expected them to link up for a collaboration. However, with that said, "In Cold Blood" (Twin Shadow Version) is an original, surprisingly fluid and cohesive re-work of alt-J's stand-out Indie Pop/Prog Rock single from last year's RELAXER. Side note: if you haven't yet already, you really HAVE to check out the original video for alt-J's Casper Balslev-directed "In Cold Blood" narrated by Iggy Pop and co-starring an adorable little wood mouse.


"We are absolutely thrilled to have done this collaboration with Pusha-T and Twin Shadow," alt-J enthusiastically stated within a press release. "They are two artists who really sum up the amazing music scene that we have in 2018. What they have done with our track is inventive, playful, and very forward-thinking. We hope you love it as much as we do."

Pusha-T added: "I've been on festival bills with alt-J around the world for a few years now and was excited to get the call to collaborate with them on this record." On it, Pusha-T ferociously rhymes: "It's hot at night in the summertime (ooh!) / The Summer's mine, that's underlined / King Push, Kingpin put none over mine / Dope boys workin' overtime" and honestly, that's just the tip of the iceberg! alt-J's Pusha-T & Twin Shadow-assisted performance of "In Cold Blood" from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is now available to view online—this version with the slightly extended into prior to Pusha's version is my favorite!—along with an artsy shape-shifting YouTube visualizer, which you can watch below. alt-J's "In Cold Blood" Feat. Pusha-T (Twin Shadow Version) is now available to steam or purchase from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube Music, and like-minded digital retailers. Pusha-T's infamous beef-starting Kanye-produced DAYTONA is now available on G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam, as well as Twin Shadow's latest, Caer, out now on Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records.

ON TILT's QM, Luke Sick, VRSE Murphy & Richie Cunning Unveil "All Liquored Up" Video Just In Time for The Weekend (Megakut Records)



ON TILT is a Bay Area-based Hip-Hop crew consisting of emcees QM (@QMRecLeague) & Luke Sick (@megakutrecords) and VRSE Murphy (@vrsemurphy) on beats and production work with Richie Cunning (@RichieCunning) supplying additional production and musical arrangements. I had heard of ON TILT over the last year or so, but hadn't really delved into their music FULL-TILT, until Damien Miller from I Had An Accident Records (IHAA) suggested I check out their recently-released second album, Drink Floyd. Honestly, I'm glad he did because ON TILT's Drink Floyd is one Hell of a listen; stylistically, Drink Floyd falls somewhere in-between the Beastie Boys' raucous 1986 Frat-Rap debut Licensed to Ill and their sample-laden magnum opus/follow-up, Paul's Boutique (1989) with a dash of Mickey Avalon's sleazy 2006 self-titled debut, as well as Action Bronson's foul-mouthed grown man/child-like sense of wonder. Drink Floyd is the follow-up to ON TILT's self-titled 2016 debut and as QM perfectly put it, via email: "Drink Floyd is the album that will talk you into completely blowing it and becoming a legend simultaneously, so crack a beer and get ON TILT!"


I won't get into specifics, but VRSE Murphy, Richie Cunning & QM really flip some crazy-a$$ samples throughout Drink Floyd, including, but not limited to Madonna's "Holiday," Ol' Dirty Bastard, Eric B. & Rakim, and that "g-g-get busy, y'all" sample I know I should know, but can't place, for some reason. Not only does ON TILT's Drink Floyd feature 11 fun-loving Bay Area Hip-Hop tracks peppered with appearances from DJ RECSPIN & DJ DEFIE, it also, showcases 6 ON TILT remixes constructed by G PEK, Grip Grand, Supa Dave 405, LONE, DJ EONS ONE, and Brycon of The Watershed. Just yesterday afternoon, ON TILT let loose a music video for Drink Floyd's first proper single, "All Liquored Up" Shot/Directed & Edited By: Dannie Holzer for MYND MYLK Productions. "All Liquored Up" features Luke Sick & QM trading bars back-and-forth Beasties-style, while driving around to various dimly-lit parking garages, bar/pool halls, liquor stores, and San Francisco's finest hot spots. ON TILT's Drink Floyd is currently available to purchase on either limited edition translucent purple tape (100) + digital album or super-limited edition CD (20!) from QM/ON TILT's Bandcamp page or from MEGAKUT RECORDS' online store or Luke Sick directly, via PayPal to megakutrecords@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

All-around Breakdown: NATION Frontman Guillaume Destot Breaks Down "Something Happened" EP (Kromatik Records/Musigamy)


"One morning in October, 1999, it's very early in The Paris Metro. I'm bent double on a folding seat, unable to take back control. Suddenly, the storm that's been brewing in my head for weeks is to heavy to bear. I can't ignore it anymore, I can't pretend. It's the beginning of a long struggle against myself. It's the beginning of a quest not to founder completely, to tame the dangerous jungle that my brain has become. I have lost my moorings, those that connected me to a territory familiar to me: the I that I used to be, the world that I used to inhabit. I will never see it again, probably. But I can invent a new Nation," reads NATION's recent S o m e t h i n g H a p p e n e d promotional one-sheet.

NATION is the latest project from Paris-based musician and multi-instrumentalist Guillaume Destot AKA Vim le Commodore, formerly of Vim Cortez. Destot established NATION in 2016 and as their Facebook page reads, are "looking for somewhere to go from there." Last year, NATION quietly released a their Baltimore Rising EP featuring "Baltimore Rising" B/W Prince-indebted "Computer Purple," which was profiled right here on The Witzard. Now, Guillaume AKA Vim le Commodore and a rotating cast of "some friends, depending on their availability" has returned with his proper 6-track debut EP, Something Happened. Guillaume Destot was kind enough to provide a thorough track-by-track break down of NATION's Future Soul/Pop-leaning Something Happened EP exclusively for The Witzard. Something Happened is now available on ALL digital streaming services, as well as limited edition vinyl(e) through Kromatik Records/Musigamy.


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Walking Musical Encyclopedia


1. "Something Happened"

"The inspiration for this track comes from various places. I'm a great fan of Ulysses by Lord Tennyson and of the idea that even though Ulysses finally got home, he's changed so much that he's no longer in a place he feels fine in. I don't necessarily, project myself in this feeling, but I find it interesting: the journey has more influence on you than where you start from, and where you’re headed. There's also, the idea that along the way, you can lose sight of who you are, now and then. I'm not sure if that's a bad or a good thing! The main riff, at least, the one I like best, which is in the chorus, was actually, created spur-of-the-moment by Nicolas Gueguen, who co-produced and arranged the tracks with me. The guitar motif is inspired from African guitar styles—I'm not at all a specialist, but there's something I love about the way Congolese guitarists, for instance, use the instrument."


2. "Baltimore Rising" (EP Version)

"This track was inspired by the events in Baltimore in 2015, which I observed from a distance, but which affected me very much. The story is told alternately from the point of view of a policeman, who's not sure he's on the right side of history and from a more collective point-of-view, which emanates from the demonstrating crowds. The main synth riff is intended to give a sense of both hope and despair, of anger and sadness. It's not a happy song, in other words, I tried to have it translate my frustration and my sadness about Freddy Gray's death and the events that surrounded it."


3. "Brooding Thuggery"

"The name of this tracks is odd: I tend to give specific names to demos, when I'm working on them and for some reason, this one stuck, even though, its not thematically related to the lyrics. But to me, there's something a little "gangsta" in the groove, at least [because] it's slow and vaguely menacing. But as usual, the guitar gives it a more plaintive, melancholy twist. Some people don't get that the guitar is intentionally late rhythmically. I intended it to sound like a hesitant voice. As far as the lyrics are concerned, they are partly autobiographical, as they speak of a friendship I lost many years ago and which still hurts to this day. The chorus tries to express that songs can numb the pain, even if they sometimes tell lies. I certainly use songs to tell myself stories that are not always true, but which help keep my mind off things I don't want to think about."


4. "Computer Purple" (EP Version)

"This song opens with a sample from a NASA audio document, in which the speaker describes the last flight of the space shuttle. It's very Sci-Fi. As far as inspiration: it talks about a guy, who's in love with a woman, who might be a cyborg. Sound familiar? Of course, it was inspired [by] Blade Runner, which is my favourite film of all time. But there's also, some Joseph Conrad thrown in and some Captain Harlock... it's a window into my own epic fantasies, I guess. There's often "static" in my soul, a kind of background noise that I try to turn into meaningful music. My good friend Swanny [Elzingre], who plays drums with me on stage, sings the background vocals on this and plays the drums, which we sampled [and] chopped up like something off an old record. This, along with "Baltimore Rising," is the only track that has live drums on it."


5. "Rainstorm"

"I really meant this one to be atmospheric and say something about the ambiguous feelings that make up what we call "love." There’s sometimes guilt, secrecy in equal measure with openness and plenitude. At least, that's the way I experience it. I've never tried to play this song unplugged, but I'd like to try it; the texture of the synth is so essential that I wonder, if the song can even exist played on an acoustic guitar or piano. I like to do this sort of thing, actually, and more often than not, I find myself completely re-inventing the song or, at least, giving it a new identity. We had a lot of different tools in the studio: old analog synths, as well as state-of-the-art plug-ins, but sometimes, trying to re-produce on-stage exactly what you did in the studio is not very interesting. So, we'll see what this one becomes, once I've chosen how to play it live. Musicians sometimes, find the lead motif a little odd because it doesn't fall on an obvious division. I quite like this kind of shenanigans!"


6. "Suddenly I Feel"

"This one is about this feeling I often have that I'm not in the right place or, at least, that the place I’m in is not right for me. And this tends to happen to me in crowded places or at parties, etc. I guess, every now and then, we all feel like we're a stranger in our own lives. I certainly feel this very, very often. Which is one of the reasons why I "build myself a bubble," which I carry with me everywhere, but which is easily burst because there are so many eyes and faces to face.

I quite like the guitar sound at the beginning (take this [as] a "note-to-self:" I should use this sound more!) It's a Big Muff fuzz with some added FX's. It's very distinctive. As far as the vocal sample is concerned, it's actually, my own voice; it's from a previous version of this song and I recycled this snippet, which I find is very important to the general feel of the track now. I think, Nicolas [Gueguen] and I played quite a bit with an old Echoplex that he has; it’s a vintage echo box that makes some other-worldly sounds. The third verse, which has a different, almost Reggae-like feeling, is partly inspired [by] Major Lazer's sounds, although, it might not seem obvious. It's meant to sound a little more sardonic or, at least, a little angrier than the rest."


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Scottish Beat-maker 'i's Unleashes .and then there was flowers EP with billy woods, Safari Al, SaIGO, Uncommon Nasa & More (Mugwampers)


Chris McCormick AKA 'i's is an Ambient Hip-Hop/Electronic producer and beat-maker hailing from Livingston, Scotland. Many of you might remember him from a The Witzard post back in 2016: 'i's—then know as ('i's')—along with all these fingers (now known as Gould '72) and Butch Dawson, produced beats hand-selected and gloriously re-used by Future Islands frontman Sam Herring under his rapping alter-ego, Hemlock Ernst. 'i's is now part of Mugwampers, a rapper-producer duo/crew with emcee SaIGO, which seems to also, be functioning as a label, imprint, brand, and Odd Future-like creative collective. "Mugwampers are a Scottish Hip-Hop duo that draw ideals from the abstraction of art, meddling in Experimental Hip-Hop, Ambient, Jazz, Plunderphonics, Punk, Metal, and whatever we like; we will just see where a session takes us. Mugwampers are the least important important people you have never heard of," 'i's recently wrote to The Witzard on Facebook Messenger. Last month, 'i's quietly released failure​.​to​.​communicate, billed as ".a collection of tracks made during the process of feeling like sh*t," under the newly-launched Mugwampers Bandcamp umbrella.


failure​.​to​.​communicate features 10 'i's instrumentals, two collaborations with cunabear, and one with Jazz Williams and acts as an unofficial introduction to the Mugwampers' sound/brand. Savannah, Georgia emcee cunabear and 'i's previously worked together on a multi-media project entitled tr0glodyte​.​BurialGround, complete with hand-dubbed BearTooth Collective cassette tapes and original artwork, as well as a 34-page 'zine/artbook. Now, 'i's has returned with a new project, .and then there was flowers, released yesterday afternoon on the Mugwampers' Bandcamp page. This one's being billed as a 6-track compilation EP described by 'i's as ".a collection of tracks that i felt i had to get out there, slated to be titled "pretty" but mourned that title until the flowers had to be placed." It features an array of Electronic, Hip-Hop/Rap, Spoken Word, Abstract Hip-Hop, Ambient, and Experimental Hip-Hop tracks with guest appearances from s.al AKA Safari Al, Emmanuel Coto, wc tank, cunabear, Uncommon Nasa, and Backwoodz Studioz emcee billy woods, as well as Mugwampers' proper debut, "white liez," with fellow Scotsman, SaIGO.


Man, I can only imagine what Mugwampers' upcoming proper full-length(s) may feature, if these are merely the left-overs 'i's & SaIGO just wanted to get out into the world! Mugwampers have been teasing their mysterious 717 project, which will actually, be THREE separate EP's delivered in a variety of styles: "one, grimy Trap, one is filthy abstract sh*t, [and] the other, is more of a vibe tape to give a taster of our styles that we bring to the table," Chris McCormick further detailed. Upcoming Mugwampers releases will also, include a project called to kill an already dying space of time with cunabear & Unsung dropping later this month, as well as a SaIGO's ANOTHER TIME MAYBE . . dropping Monday, June 25th. 'i's is additionally, working on a number of projects with his Scottish Hip-Hop buddies Spawn Zero and CRPNTR. 'i's' .and then there was flowers EP is currently available to stream or download from Mugwampers' Bandcamp page. Make sure to Follow @mugwampers and @eyesluvsu (Chris McCormick) on Instagram, as well as Mugwampers' Facebook and Soundcloud pages for frequent updates!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

MADVILLAIN - "Strange Ways" - Gorilla Glock - Promo Remix & Operation: Chat Noir - Mixed By Gorilla Glock (Sergent Records/Stones Throw)


First and foremost, shout-out to John Memorex at Beat Tape Co-Op for initially (unknowingly) peeping me to this fantastic audio-visual remix. Gorilla Glock AKA Gorilla Glockenstein AKA Calhoun AKA Mac Dough is a "French DJ, beat-maker, radio host, crate digger, and Hip-Hop activist," according to Discogs. He's also, the founder of Sergent Records, as well as a self-described "distributor, vinyl broker, and artist management" agent. While the details are still a bit fuzzy and likely, intentionally mysterious, Gorilla Glock has been releasing music since about 2012; first as Calhoun AKA Mac Dough and since roughly 2014, as Gorilla Glock exclusively. Gorilla Glock is a member of Saskwatch Iron with emcees Magnetic & Tofu, as well as Chat Noir, his crew with Odweeyne & Jeremie ILL. Sergent Records' latest release, Operation: Chat Noir - Mixed By - Gorilla Glock is a 32-track remix project compiled and released by Sergent Records in "tribute to the strong Japanese Hip-Hop Movement : ども γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ† ございます."


Aside from his released body of work as Gorilla Glock/Calhoun/Mac Dough, etc. which can be purchased from both Bandcamp and Discogs, Gorilla Glock additionally, operates THREE separate YouTube channels: γ‚Έγƒ₯ニをハービー AKA "Junior Hervey," Mac Dough, and Sergent Records, as well as a Sergent Records Facebook Video channel. Across said channels, Gorilla Glock has uploaded a series of videos dubbed "Promo Remixes" including Conway Feat. Westside Gunn & Roc Marciano, Westside Gunn & Meyhem Lauren, Dusty Husky, LOUDER, BES from Swanky Swipe, a WESTSIDEDOOM medley entitled "γ‚΄γƒͺラ Suite," Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's "Thuggin'/Trilogy" (exclusive to Facebook,) and MADVILLAIN's "Strange Ways." MADVILLAIN - "Strange Ways" - Gorilla Glock - Promo Remix appears across all three channels and as well as being a phenomenal remix of Madlib & MF DOOM's MADVILLAINY (2004) stand-out, is additionally, a "Google diggin'" remix of Jean-Yves Blanc's original claymation-aided "Strange Ways" clip submitted for Stones Throw's VIDEO CONTEST #3.