Wednesday, January 23, 2019

PEOPLE Affiliates Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme Let Loose OQ's Paradice 1 EP, Prep Release Show & "Video Album" (Company Brewing)

Late last month, I received a mysterious cold-sent email from a man named Liam O'Brien simply titled "Hi From Wisconsin." I've since learned O'Brien has previously played and released music with Holy Sheboygan!, Moon Ruin, and his namesake, Liam O'Brien's Faithless Followers. For his latest endeavor, Liam has joined forces with fellow Wisconsinite and multi-instrumentalist Cole Quamme ("qua-mee") of The Fatty Acids; "OQ is Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme in collaboration with an array of Midwestern, US-based contributors," reads their "short" press release. While amidst the earliest stages of recording in 2016, Cole Quamme reached out to his fellow Milwaukee Folk/Bluegrass peers to see what they could, potentially, do with his unique style of "Bubu"-leaning beats. Quamme was, eventually, connected with Liam O'Brien, who morphed his inter-locking rhythms into full-fledged compositions based on Celtic melodies influenced by his family's native Ireland. Liam & Cole, eventually, brought their songs out of Liam's attic studio and into Silver City, and up-start Milwaukee-based studio run by The Fatty Acids' frontman, Josh Evert.

Long-time Bon Iver collaborator Mike Noyce assisted in fleshing out OQ's songs with fresh ideas, mixes, and performances from Milwaukee's finest. OQ's Paradice 1 EP was mixed at Bon Iver's oft-used April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by Mike Noyce, Liam O'Brien, and Josh Evert. OQ premiered their first collaborative single, "Lifestyle," on Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon's newly-launched digital streaming platform/collective, PEOPLE (@37d03d) with The National's Aaron & Bryce Dessner. In addition to OQ, PEOPLE's current "projects" roster features Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner's own Big Red Machine, Har Mar Superstar, Marijuana Deathsquads, Machinegum featuring The Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti, Mouse On Mars, Poliça, and Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Bryce Dessner, amongst other talented acts. OQ's Paradice 1 EP has a very unique Tribal/Bubu-leaning sound reminiscent of both Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors' early work, as well as Tinariwen, Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo's critically-acclaimed Graceland, and Mumford & Sons' Johannesburg EP recorded with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg.

Although, OQ has been officially labelled as a "duo" consisting of Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme, their Paradice 1 EP features contributions from a who's-who of talented Milwaukee-based musicians including Alex Heaton, Josh Evert, Ivan Eisenberg, Treccy Marquardt-Thomas, D'Amato Werlein, Caley Conway, Dana Elyse Smith, Mike Noyce, Derek De Vinney, Steven Strupp, Carmen Quinliven, Sarah Shay, John Larkin, Ian Olvera, Alex Scott, Ms. Lotus Fankh, and Hesper Juhnke. OQ's Paradice 1 EP is now available on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Spotify, as well as other like-minded digital streaming services. OQ will be holding an EP Release Show—dualling as their debut performance—at Company Brewing in Milwaukee this Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 10-2:00am. NO/NO & Ruth B8r Gingsburg will be on the bill, as well, along with a special presentation of Cole Quamme's Paradice 1 EP companion "video album," which you can, also, now conveniently view within this very feature, if you aren't able to make it to the EP Release Show.

":::::: hearkening a distant past
✷        ·
˚ * .
*   * ⋆   .
·    ⋆     ˚ ˚    ✦
⋆ ·   *
⋆ ✧    ·   ✧ ✵
heralding in the coming of a not-so-distant future ::::::::"

Monday, January 21, 2019

Drew Scott Returns with earlytwothousands Feat. Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Juelz Santana, Clipse, Ghostface Killah, T.I. Lil' Wayne & JAY-Z Remixes

Baltimore-based producer and beat-maker Drew Scott had quite a big year in 2018: first and foremost, he got married to his long-time partner and frequent collaborator, Pale Spring. Congrats to Drew & Emily! Musically, Drew unleashed CRITTER from his "Basement" Pop alter-ego, Giddeon Gallows, as well as remixes from Butch Dawson, HI$TO, and Infinity Knives. Now, Drew Scott has effectively returned with his first proper release of 2019—something I've been hearing about for a while now—earlytwothousands; just as it sounds, is an 8-track collection of early 2000's Hip-Hop remixes "featuring" Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Juelz Santana, Clipse & Pharrell, Ghostface Killah, T.I. Lil' Wayne, and JAY-Z. "It was just something I've been wanting to do. I was a teenager when these songs came out, which was around the same time I first started making beats," Drew Scott told The Witzard, via email.

"It was fun to come back full-circle and pay homage. Many of the beats were already made, I just had to find the right acapellas to fit the vibes. It's good practice and I always enjoy digging for new samples," Scott explained. earlytwothousands features such early 2000's chart-toppers as Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction," Clipse & Pharrell's "Mr. Me Too," Ghostface Killah's "Run," and Lil' Wayne's "Hustler Musik," as well as a few other bangers. It's an interesting glimpse back at early 2000's Hip-Hop/Rap heard through the lens of Drew Scott's unique brand of "Basement" Pop. earlytwothousands is now available to stream or download on Drew Scott's Bandcamp page, along with Giddeon Gallows' CRITTER and 2017's critically-acclaimed ILL VESSEL. Above, you'll also, find Drew Scott's 2017's installment of Baltimore FLIPS. video series featuring local artists.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Witzard Premiere: 80HRTZ's Dead Kennedys "California Über Alles" Remix Feat. Scratches from Shortrock (@80HRTZ & @Shortrock_1200s)

Dead Kennedys were a controversial San Francisco, California-based Punk/Hardcore, who were originally active from 1978-86; within said 8-year span, Dead Kennedys self-released four albums and an EP on their own independent record label, Alternative Tentacles. Dead Kennedys critically-acclaimed and widely praised releases include Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, In God We Trust, Inc. EP, Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist, and finally, 1986's Bedtime for Democracy. Dead Kennedys abruptly disbanded—arguably, at the height of their "fame"—in December of 1986, prior to their career-spanning 1987 compilation, Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death. However, following a 15-year period of inactivity, Dead Kennedys re-formed in 2001 following a number of legal disputes, royalties lawsuits, and disputes between members. Unlike the recently re-formed Original Misfits with Glenn Danzig, this is, unfortunately, not the original incarnation of Dead Kennedys. As of 2019, Dead Kennedys' current line-up includes long-time guitarist East Bay Ray, drummer D.H. Peligro, and bassist Klaus Flouride, as well as their latest frontman, Ron "Skip" Greer. It appears as though Dead Kennedys' original frontman and co-founder Jello Biafra currently has no immediate plans to reunite with his former bandmates; since DK's initial 1986 split, Biafra has either recorded music or shared the stage with everyone from Eazy-E/N.W.A. affiliate The D.O.C. to The Melvins and has self-released multiple spoken word albums.

Last year, we, here at The Witzard, proudly premiered 80HRTZ's remix of The Misfits' "ASTRO ZOMBIES" Feat. DJ Halo right before Halloween. If you ask us, it was a great success and since then, 80HRTZ and I have been toying with the idea of debuting additional Punk/Hip-Hop remixes right here on our platform. So, without further ado, the next installment in 80HRTZ's Punk/Hardcore remix series is, obviously, Dead Kennedys' 1979 Alternative Tentacles 7-inch single, "California Über Alles." I can personally remember first hearing "California Über Alles" on Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death around, maybe, 15-16 during my earliest exposure to Punk Rock through the lens of early 2000's Pop-Punk. However, I'll readily admit, Jello Biafra's frantic jittery delivery on "California Über Alles" is still deeply chilling and a bit unsettling, to this day! Oddly enough, both 80HRTZ & Shortrock grew up listening to Dead Kennedys/Jello Biafra, as well. Thematically, 80HRTZ's "California Über Alles" Remix is similar to our previously premiered "ASTRO ZOMBIES" Remix: a Hip-Hop-leaning remix of an old school Punk/Hardcore stand-out. Although, this time around, he has recruited Shortrock. A self-proclaimed "turntablist/scratch musician," Shortrock has released records with Aaron Romero & Vic Grimes, BRZOWSKI, Chino XL, Guilty Simpson, k-the-i??? Keith Murray, Pastense, Uncommon Nasa, and countless others. Shortrock currently serves as the in-house DJ for Uncommon Records, Strange Media, empty space collective, and Icy Palms Records. The Witzard proudly presents 80HRTZ's Dead Kennedys "California Über Alles" Remix Feat. Shortrock?!!!??! Below, you'll see 80HRTZ & Shortrock have both provided additional commentary on their personal relationships to Dead Kennedys.

"When I was 10, I started skateboarding. That's how I was introduced to Punk Rock. When I was in the 6th grade, my friends and I wanted to start a Punk Rock band after hearing Dead Kennedys' Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death. We were too young to truly comprehend the lyrics, but we tried to emulate Jello [Biafra] when we wrote songs. We had a toy drum set, a Casio keyboard, and a Hitachi boombox radio, which served as our PA [system], as well as had this weird feature that picked up some strange radio frequencies that sounded crazy. So, we incorporated that into our songs. I think, we had three songs. If I look hard enough, I think, I might still have a lyric sheet somewhere... but that's how far back my love for DK goes. When I decided to do The Misfits Remix, I discovered the "California Über Alles" acapella track and immediately decided I was going to take it on, as well. It was a much trickier task with the tempo change in the middle, but it was super-fun to make!"

- 80HRTZ (@80HRTZ)

"So, when I was 9-years-old, I got my first skate shop sponsor and everyone else who was sponsored by the shop was 16 to, like, 21. I was a straight-up Hip-Hop kid and would always have my boombox, if I was at a park or no pig spot. Always bumping Public Enemey, 3rd Bass, Boogie Down [Productions], etc. So, one day at one of the shops safe spots, one of the kids, who was much older, wanted to listen to "his music" and put in a tape. And even at nine, I was a pissed off "F**k The World" kid due to crazy sh*t that happened and then, I started listening. I heard a high pitch chorus ranting "KILL THE POOR!" and was instantly intrigued. So, as summer passed, these older Punk kids I skated with were partying, drinking, shooting dope, and playing Dead Kennedys... I was hooked! It was music I didn't know existed that gave me the same feel of the social awareness of the Hip-Hop I was listening to! Fast-forward to 2006: I'm 25 and already a established turntablist doing SXSW's Mush Records Showcase with k-the-i??? and Bigg Jus (Company Flow.)

So, before k-the-i??? and myself flew to Austin, we made a few demos for specific artists that we knew were gonna be there. Long story short, running from our showcase to anticon's to Def Jux's, I got to the Alternative Tentacles showcase... it was over! But I spotted Jello Biafra shaking hands and whatnot, so I went to talk to him explaining how I became a fan and why I was there and gave him our demo, where I used cuts from his spoken word records. He bugged out and said, "I haven't heard anyone use my records since Ice-T [Afrika Islam] used one!" So, we had all our info in these demos and he thanked me and went on our ways. So, like six months later, he called and left a message on answering machine, which my sister Deleted after I heard it. He said he really enjoyed it and our conversation at SXSW, but he was really busy with many projects coming out. So, I never got to call him back and pretty soon after, my solo 45 came out... sooooo, yeah, that's the most I've ever f***in' typed... and thanks to 80HRTZ, I got to pay tribute and had a dope time doing it... ENJOY, MUTHAHF***AHS!!!"

- Shortrock (@shortrock1200)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Baltimore Grindcore Behemoths Constituents Unleash "GRIND NO DIE" Feat. 10 Recordings In Just 7 Minutes & Jumbled (100% DIY GRINDCORE)

A couple years ago, we did a feature on Baltimore-based Grindcore band Constituents AKA CNSTS' 2017 DEMO cassette and digital release here at The Witzard. However, over the course of the past year and a half, CNSTS have morphed from a 4-piece to a 3-piece now consisting of vocalist josé, guitarist/bassist clint. and drummer zap. Just yesterday, Constituents "quietly" returned, which is ironic, with their second proper digital release simply entitled GRIND NO DIE. It's a blistering 7-minute mix of Grindcore, Powerviolence, and Metal, which consists of 9 "micro-songs." It also, contains an "INTRO," as well as numerous interlude "skits" created by Baltimore beat-maker and friend of The Witzard, Jumbled AKA John Bachman. East Coast Grindcore die-hards and Hip-Hop heads will well know, however, that this isn't exactly Jumbled & clint. AKA salk.'s first time appearing on record together... far from it, actually! Jumbled & salk. have been part of numerous short-lived and now-defunct Grindcore projects together including Kerum, SxOxW/Deceiver, Tarpit (md), HKMF's, Hello Kitty Mother F**kers, and Napalm Def, as well as some of salk.'s solo material and various recordings with Dwell. Napalm Def, actually, produced beats for "Heavier Bombing" from Magrudergrind's acclaimed 2009 self-titled album with additional mixing and scratches from Dwell. Now, Jumbled has done something very similar, producing the beats for the "INTRO" and interlude "skits" for Constituents' GRIND NO DIE, all of which have an underlying Hip-Hop feel, as well.

"WE PUT UP THE RECORDING WE DID BACK IN SEPTEMBER ON BANDCAMP. 9 SONGS AND AN "INTRO" IN 7 MINUTES. ONE TRACK. F**K THE WORLD. 100% DIY GRINDCORE," Constituents posted on their Facebook page yesterday afternoon. GRIND NO DIE contains 9 unmastered raw recordings from a larger recording session with John "JZA" Burton at C.H.U.D. Central in Philly, five of which will soon be mastered and re-released on cassette/digital as 100% DIY GRINDCORE. Both GRIND NO DIE & 100% DIY GRINDCORE will, also, soon be released on limited edition cassette available at local shows or directly from clint. josé & zap. GRIND NO DIE is a fast, frantic, and frenzied trip through CNSTS' Jumbled-assisted trip through their mind-melting blend of Grindcore, Powerviolence, Hip-Hop, and Metal. Honestly, I would recommend it for anyone, much like myself, who's fairly new to the Grindcore genre. It's also, RIYL: Hip-Hop, Punk/Hardcore, Napalm Death/Napalm Def, or Magrudergrind. Constituents will be playing at clint.'s Birthday Show AKA "ROTTEN TONAL ANGER 42" at Baltimore's The Sidebar on Saturday, February 2, 2019. clint.'s Birthday Show bill also, includes sets from Durian, Johnstomper AKA Ben Is The Bastard, JSAKABITB, Kept In Line (VA), Needle (DC), UllNevaNo & Jumbled, and Uncle Buck "+MORE TBA!" Additional details are available on the clint.'s Birthday Show Facebook Events page.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ialive Returns with Psych-Rap Album DON'T DO NOTHING & Pens Beat-maker Bedrock #24 for The Witzard (Cold Rhymes Records)

"It's hard to pinpoint the moment I wanted to become a producer. I do remember contemplating at a young age the elements of Hip-Hop, wondering where I fit in. My older brother wrote [graffiti]. My other brother's friends were DJ's and emcees. To 12-year-old me, it was logical to take a craft up in one of these cornerstones. I, actually, wanted to break, but having no actual training available to me, that didn't last long.

Around this time, I recognized my affinity for beats and beat-making. The part that interested me the most was seeing people come up with something from nothing. You didn't need to know how to play an instrument. The process intrigued and excited me. The rapping was cool, but what moved me the most was the music. I could get down with an average emcee, so as long as the sh*t he was rhyming on was tight; vice-versa, if a fire emcee had wack beats, it felt wasted to me."

Four Albums of Note (Honorable Mentions)

1. De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising (1989)
2. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)
3. Gang Starr - Moment of Truth (1998)
4. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)

"De La Soul dropped 3 Feet High in '89, when I was only 3-years-old, but it's timelessness carried through to 1996 when I was 10-years-old. There were records I really liked, but it wasn't until I heard this record that I could claim something as MINE. It was different from everything else I had heard in my life. It was silly, fun, the messages were great, and it knocked. I was a Native Tongues kid from that point on."

"A record I would continue to return to throughout my youth was A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. To me, it's a perfect album and it's perfect production is only matched by it's meticulous song-writing. It had thought-provoking insight matched with grooving vibes fit to hold a 9th grade party down at the crib. If I had control of the CD player, "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" was the first jam going on."

"When Moment of Truth dropped, Gang Starr was a household name in my home and to me this record was their masterpiece. Guru cemented his place as the street smart older cousin everyone needed and Preemo was in top-production form. This still is what I match beats to when I want things to knock, punch, and bang the way East Coast drums should."

"As I was forming an opinion on Rap music the way every good backpacker kid heading into high school was, at the time, Philadelphia’s heralded champs of Hip-Hop, my beloved Roots Crew would drop Things Fall Apart. This album had it all! It was sonically engaging, thoughtfully arranged, and Black Thought was doing what he does best. With assists from early Dilla, ?uestlove was taking leaps with production."

These four albums would create a backbone for my production style in the years to come and continue to inspire me today...

I. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein (2001)

"This is, actually, my favorite album of all time. I don't think it gets much better than this. El-P's bizarre, bugged out grittiness served a perfect backdrop for Vast [Aire]'s poetic take on life's struggles and Vordul [Mega]'s unique stream-of-consciousness/free-associating rhymes. The beats are a mix of thumping NY grit and beautiful synth-scapes. It's Psychedelic in it's approach by presenting familiar themes, while pushing experimentation with synths and wild samples.

The moments of beauty are much more powerful, when poking their head from dusty drums and odd musings. The production is strong enough to be able to carry a 20+ bar verse without getting stale. There is contrast in the weird and beautiful and in the light and dark. This record showed me that you could layer as much or as little as you want and by manipulating things, you could achieve something completely new. It's quest to be individual while working with sourced material is something I've adapted and never let go of."

II. Brand New - The Devil & God Are Raging Inside of Me AKA "TDAGARIOM" (2006)

"During high school, I had discoveries; musical discoveries outside of Hip-Hop. New friends shared Punk, Rock, and Metal with me. If, like me, you were in HS during the early aughts, you were exposed to "Pop-Punk." A term that's problematic, yet has stuck, and I was all the way in.

Bands like Alkaline Trio & Saves The Day were my go-to. Enter: Brand New. It took me a few years to appreciate the band and it, actually, wasn't until I was in college that my appreciation would cement. 2006's TDAGARIOM was what I imagine reading Beowulf in The Middle Ages was like. This was an epic!

For the record: f**k Jesse Lacey! I can't fully back the dude with what has surfaced in recent years. That being said, I can't take back the effect that this album has had on me, my creative process, and how I work on music.

What resonated with me with this album was it's ability to cover so much ground. It has soft subtleties and crashing, booming depths. Musically, it is an emotional roller coaster. They had pivoted from the whiny stylings of Pop-Punk into a more mature blend of heavy Art Rock. The guitar tones are ripe with fuzz, distortion, and echo. The melodies are heart-breaking and catchy. The song structure felt new to me.

I'm not well-versed in music theory or any formal education at all, but I learn by copying. Rap's stagnant 16-8-16 formula had grown stale to me extremely fast and I was feeling a new approach to writing songs. Building from quiet tones to crashing crescendos and bursting back into soft choruses had me all Jazzed up and experimenting alone in my room. This record, also, is the catalyst for me wanting to sing choruses. An ode to this record can be found on my 2015 release, Awake In The Snakehole. The song is called "VS Myself" and it’s a clear delineation of me being inspired by the track "Limousine."'

III. Morgan Delt - Psychic Death Hole AKA "PDH" (2012-14)

"I think, a common sensibility beat-makers have when digging is the search for unique and interesting sounds. You may hear some bizarre chime among a basic piano solo, a fuzzed out guitar sparkle, or a strange voice. Essentially, something out of the ordinary to spark a creative loop.

In 2012, fate brought me to Morgan Delt's Bandcamp page and his album, Psychic Death Hole, brought me to the edge. I have yet to hear something so dense and otherworldly that still retains focus and balance. It sounds like it came out of the acid-dripped San Franciscan 60's, yet it, also, sounds like it fell off of an alien spaceship.

Some things can't be re-created and the beauty of recording is capturing these moments. The moments captured on PDH are f***ing stupendous, tremendous and bugged the f**k out. Listen to "Barbarian Kings" and tell me you don't want to hijack the stupid Jeep Wrangler your rich white neighbor cleans every f***ing day and crash the sh*t for fun. It's a certified neck-snapper. These sounds were new and I wanted to be able to make things like this."

IV. Mos Def, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Beatles & The Kinks (1960-present)

"These days, the way I make beats is a reflection of what I'm writing and the process is simultaneous and intertwined. It's become less about beats with rhymes and more about crafting songs. I find inspiration in well-written songs. I think, Mos Def (AKA Yasiin Bey) was an amazing emcee and could easily pivot from rapper to song-writer. Stylistically, I find myself aligning with Mos' approach towards writing, in terms of not being pigeon-holed."

"Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson has a great ability to write catchy melodies that walk the line of familiar and fresh that I'm so fond of. I'm often checking dude's music for inspiration, especially, his older more Breakbeat-oriented stuff. I could, also, say the band Grizzly Bear serves a similar purpose for me."

"I've always been a fan of The Beatles, but the past few years, I have been really appreciating the production techniques on songs I've heard a million times. The Beatles were on the cutting edge of British Psych. The way they flipped any type of sound and/or instrument they wanted is tight. George Martin, their long-time producer and engineer, actually, used some samples in Sgt. Pepper's."

"Other than that, it's basically, The Kinks. When you got The Davies Brothers writing whatever they fancy and Mick Avory's swinging drums, you can't lose. "Skeletons" off of my new album, DON'T DO NOTHING, is definitely a dollop of Kinks oozing through."

Last Friday, January 11, 2019, Philly-based Rap singer, song-writer, and producer ialive returned with his third proper solo studio effort, DON'T DO NOTHING. It was released on Height Keech's extremely dope label, Cold Rhymes Records, produced, recorded & mixed by ialive himself at "The Green Gem" in Philly, and mastered by C$ BURNS. DON'T DO NOTHING is the quasi-follow-up to one of our personal favorite albums of 2017, Height-produced TIMEWAVE ZERO, which was also, released on Cold Rhymes. Both albums posses an interesting vaguely spaced out, Psych-Rap type of feel with influence coming from, as ialive mentioned above, everyone from Yasiin Bey FKA Mos Def to The Beatles and Unknown Mortal Orchestra to The Kinks. ialive's previous full-length releases include 2012's The Age of Reason and 2015's Awake In The Snakehole, as well as The Jelly EP... and a slew of other Bandcamp-exclusive releases worthy of your times and dimes!

In addition to TIMEWAVE ZERO with Height Keech, ialive has also, issued collaborative releases with Darko The Super as The Hell Hole Store and Cody Cody Jones FKA Stillborn Identity as Four to The Floor. The Hell Hole Store are currently gearing up to let loose their third full-length, Three The Hard Way, as well as another separate ialive solo release with Cincinnati-based Grasshopper Juice Records. Earlier this year, ialive & Darko The Super, actually, appeared together in Homeboy Sandman & Edan's "#NeverUseTheInternetAgain" music video from their collaborative EP, Humble Pi. Boot & Saddle will be hosting an Album Release Show & Birthday Party for ialive on his actual birthday, Monday, February 18, 2019 from 7-11:00pm. ialive will be performing select cuts from DON'T DO NOTHING, along with appearances throughout the evening from Cat & Kat of Amanda X, Height Keech, and Andrew Milicia with additional details listed on Boot & Saddle's Facebook Events page.

Curse ov Dialect Emcee & Producer Raceless Re-emerges with Il Beliegha E.P. As "The Maltese Well Monster" (Soundcloud self-released)

Curse ov Dialect emcee and producer Raceless FKA Raceless The Prophet AKA Il-Belligha AKA The Filfla Lizard has added yet another nom de plume to his ever-growing cast of characters: The Maltese Well Monster. Legend has it, said Maltese Well Monster/Il-Belliegha—a pivotal part of centuries-old Maltese folklore—was supposedly, "a monster that lives in well and could pull in children who looked into them." Raceless himself, however, tells the story a bit something like this: "The Maltese Well Monster was born after a trip to Malta from Curse ov Dialect member Raceless, [whose] father is from this background... the myths of Malta run very deep into a well... some instrumental tracks that conjure these images and some vocal tracks with a Gollum-like rapping voice from the monster... heavy sampology from obscure sources." Just overnight, Raceless made a couple minor edits to The Maltese Well Monster's Il Beliegha EP, swiftly removing one of its original five tracks and adding two more, making it a full-fledged 6-track EP. Still, a largely instrumental EP, Raceless AKA The Maltese Well Monster has, actually, risen from the depths of his well to deliver menacing rhymes on two choice cuts: "Gargoyle of Gold" and newly-added "Labyrinths of Limestone."

Not entirely unlike Curse ov Dialect's extremely Experimental brand of Dadaist-leaning Hip-Hop, Raceless employs a number of truly unique techniques throughout The Maltese Well Monster's Il Beleigha EP; this including thematic sampling from obscure sources, eerie backmasking, devilishly revered vocals, an appearance from "a 1960's Italian crooner/wanna-be Dean Martin," Wu-Tang Clan-like production tactics, a couple expertly rapped neck-snapping verses, and much, much more. Raceless The Prophet has been a part of Melbourne, Australia-based "Psychedelic/Dadaist Hip-Hop crew" Curse ov Dialect since their 1994 inception, as well as releasing projects with seemingly short-lived groups, DIARY DAY 1 (@DIARYDAY1) and Pompo's Paw with Ai Yamamoto. Raceless' first proper solo effort, The Internal meddler EP, was released under Curse ov Dialect's group banner in January of 2012 and features ceschi, Shunda K. (Yo! Majesty,) Kaigen, Danielsan (Koolism,) and Vile Vortices, as well as fellow members of Curse ov Dialect. Raceless' Il Beliegha EP is currently available to stream on his newly-minted Maltese Well Monster Soundcloud page... but, I think, it's fairly safe to say, this isn't the last we'll be hearing from The Maltese Well Monster!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Jumbled Returns with PADRE Beat Tape Created In Honor of His Daughter & Teases "untitled." ORSULAK Demo (Harford & Reckord Tapes)

It's been an exciting year and a half for John Bachman AKA Baltimore-based beat-maker Jumbled and his wife, Rachel. One day, The Bachmans got a call about potentially, adopting a little girl, so they immediately drove to Upstate New York and their lives, as they knew it, instantly changed forever. Upon their return back home to Baltimore with baby Lucy (LB) just a few short weeks later, Jumbled happily moved his records and equipment from Lucy's new bedroom and into the home's guestroom. Thus, entering his aptly-named "Green Room" phase, which chronologically, started with YOU BEST NOT MISS EP with DC emcee, Lace Berriez from late last year. Padre consists of a barrage of beats Jumbled has painstakingly created and fine-tuned within the last 12 months or so in The "Green Room." Its content were primarily recorded during the early morning hours before LB would wake up or on the rare occasion Mrs. Bachman would go out and Jumbled didn't have a pile of students' papers to grade for school.

Jumbled says his basic "formula" for Padre was fairly simple: "catchy samples pulled from vinyl [laid] over a Breakbeat and bassline added for depth." Padre's beats flow together effortlessly and are all connected through the stand-up Comedy routines/sound clips "discussing various challenges and triumphs that come from being a father." Rather than simply labeling Padre's two 15-minute Sides A/B, Jumbled has alternatively labelled them as the "L-side" and "B-side" in honor of his daughter, of course. Padre is currently available to stream on Jumbled's Bandcamp and it appears as though, cassette tapes will be coming soon, as well. John Bachman's Bandcamp page additionally specifies that some of the beats contained within Padre will likely be re-used on a variety of upcoming projects. Jumbled is, also, currently working on a mysterious project called ORSULAK with his Soft Peaks bandmate, Eben Dennis. As an added listening bonus, ORSULAK's "untitled." demo is now streaming below with a Joe Orsulak-indebted logo created by clint. Nichols (@rat_eyed_blues) AKA salk. of Dwell & salk.

Friday, January 11, 2019

we are the karma kids Presents: Blastmaster Baker's New Album Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower (Children's City Dump)

Nick Baker is a Bushwick-based emcee, producer, and Punk/Hardcore frontman for Children's City Dump (C.C.D.) Nick actively records and releases his own music as Blastmaster Baker FKA simply Baker. Baker has now joined forces with Lt Headtrip's crew/label, we are the karma kids (WATKK) to let loose his first proper full-length, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower. It's the proper album-length follow-up to Blastmaster Baker's self-released 2013 debut, BAKED. To be completely honest, I've heard Blastmaster Baker's name mentioned around "Rap" Twitter and Punk/Hardcore circles for quite a few years now, although, this is the first time I've actually heard his music. Oddly enough, Blastmaster Baker & Lt Headtrip are both Ohio-born NYC transplants and it appears as though Headtrip has taken Baker "under his wing," so to say. From my perspective, at least, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower seems to have been created in a manner similar to OLD SELF's 2018 WATKK-released album, Word Art Gallery.

Not entirely unlike Word Art Gallery, Headtrip produced six of Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower's 11 tracks, provided additional vocals for "Mosquitoes," did the cassette/CD packaging layout, and recorded, mixed, and executive engineered the album at Karma Kids Studios, Karmastoria. In addition to Lt Headtrip, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower also, features vocal assists from P.T. Burnem, SKECH185, and E. Grizzly, as well as scratches by DJ Samurai Banana, instrumental assists from Children's City Dump, and additional production work from P.T. Burnem. "C.C.D. kicks in the door on "Mosquitoes" with a fast-paced, gritty Punk Rock ripper, complete with buzzsaw guitar, and jackhammer drums reminiscent of old school NYHC, setting the stage for their two appearances in the album's second half," details karma kids' album press release. Overall, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower is a ridiculously awesome genre-eschewing mix of Hip-Hop, Punk, Hardcore, and even Folk that I would, personally, best describe as something to the effect of DMX meets The Process of Wedding Out/instrumental-era Black Flag.

"Lawn Jobs" is the first single pulled from Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower, as well as Blastmaster Baker's first proper music video. Said music video was directed by frequent collaborator and WATKK affiliate Mike Petrow AKA Duncecap and, actually, takes place in Baker's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, where they filmed on his grandmother's property. "She still lives the house that her husband built in the 50's before sending back to Ukraine for his family escaping a war-trodden Europe and still owns the riding lawnmower that Baker and his brothers used to cut their grass when they were younger," explains the album's press release. Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower is now available to stream or purchase from we are the karma kids' Bandcamp page. A limited run of CD's and cassette tapes, both featuring unique album artwork are also, available to purchase while supplies last. Blastmaster Baker, Children's City Dump, Van Goose, karma kids, SKECH185 & FAWWN will be appearing at Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower's Album Release Show on Saturday, January 19th at Gold Sounds in Bushwick, NY to celebrate the album's release with additional details listed below.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

45 Live Records Unveil Remaining First Edition 7-inches of Aeon Seven's "Seven Breaks" & "Soul Altitude" (Boca 45 & Pete Isaac)

Stéphane Delplanque is a French music producer, animator, and DJ, who moonlights as DJ Aeon Seven. Alongside fellow producer Kunst Throw, Aeon Seven was part of French Electronic duo Christine from 2010 'til about 2016-17. Seven has been actively recording and releasing Hip-Hop music since 2000 and often, tastefully peppers in elements of Funk, Soul, Jazz, Afro-Funk, Breakbeats, and Electronic music. Over the years, Aeon Seven has issued a number of 7-12-inch releases on a slew of labels including, but not limited to, Brunch Records, BEATSQUEEZE RECORDS/DIESS Prod, Chipped Herring Records, Funk Night Records AKA Fnr, and most recently, 45 Live Records. Bristol, UK-based 45 Live Records was founded in December 2015 by Scott Hendy & Pete Isaac and have been releasing Funky fresh 45's ever since; Hendy himself, actually, moonlights as producer/DJ Boca 45 and is widely known for his string of releases with Malachai, Purple Penguin, Dynamo Productions, The Beekeeper, Diego & The Dissent, Bocawoody, and Dolman. Isaac started as a percussionist in the mid-80's playing with Jazz-Funk, African, and Indie-Funk bands, but quickly progressed to DJ'ing, as Acid House first kicked off in The Southwest of England in 1989. Pete has single-handedly promoted over 1,000 club nights and concerts across Southwest England and dually functions as a graphic/freelance designer for clients in and out of the music biz. A number of Boca 45's various 7-inch singles, CD mixes, compilations, etc. from 2015-18 have been released on 45 Live Records.

Aeon Seven's two latest 7-inch/digital single releases—"Seven Breaks" B/W "Seven Breaks" (Inst.) & "Soul Altitude" B/W "Preliminary Battle"—have both been released on 45 Live Records. One, as recently as December 2018, but now, remaining FIRST EDITION 7-inch copies of both releases have been effectively re-upped to 45 Live's Bandcamp page. "Seven Breaks" was Aeon Seven's first official release issued on on 45 Live Records. It's "a straight up B-boy jam aimed squarely at the dance-floor," as described by the label. I would, personally, assume it consists of seven breaks or maybe, these are just Seven's breaks. "Seven Breaks" boasts a heavy bassline, organ riffs, a "bada** breakdown," and expertly executed cuts and scratches throughout. The B-side features an Instrumental version of "Seven Breaks," as well as "a little "Cuts" track, so you can add your own flourishes, if you get doubles or use for an intro cut before dropping the main track," as 45 Live fittingly describes it. "Soul Altitude" B/W "Preliminary Battle" is Aeon Seven's second proper release on 45 Live Records and the seventh overall for the label. A-side, "Soul Altitude," was fully written and produced by Stéphane Delplanque AKA Aeon Seven and features the esteemed talents of Axel Touron on both trumpet and slide trombone. It's a bit more of a Funk/Jazz-leaning affair, while B-side, "Preliminary Battle," is a bit more of your standard Hip-Hop/Boom-Bap fare. Limited quantities of both 7-inches are still currently available on 45 Live's Bandcamp page. Aeon Seven's personal Bandcamp page is also, selling a slew of 45's including Thunder Cuts I-II and his Fnr mixtape, Funk Night Cruising.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

SC to VT: Keenan Kilgore & Dom Primus Let Loose Beat Comp. DIGITALDANKIN BEATS VOLUME 1 (DigitalDankin "Winter Sessions")

We first heard about Daniel Felicetti AKA Keenan Kilgore FKA Digitalfel/Fel last year when he joined forces with Lt Headtrip's New York-based imprint, we are the karma kids for an 8-track remix compilation cleverly dubbed Keenan & Karma. Fel quietly cooked up an additional remix of "Word Art" from OLD SELF's critically-acclaimed album, Word Art Gallery. Then, just a mere week and a half later, Keenan Kilgore returned with his own self-released and fully self-produced Instrumental Hip-Hop album, SEPTEMBER. Now, at the top of 2019, Daniel Felicetti has returned with yet another brand spankin' new release and yet another AKA: DigitalDankin's DIGITALDANKIN BEATS VOLUME 1. DigitalDankin is, of course, the collaborative production alias of Daniel Felicetti FKA DigitalFel & Abraham Dankin AKA Dominic "Dom" Primus; although, Keenan & Dominic previously worked together as part of a short-lived unnamed group with emcee AG Noble Influenz. However, DigitalDankin's first unofficial release was a charismatic 2013 DatPiff mixtape entitled THE BLACK PETER PARKER... BECAUSE HE LOVES MARY JANE, which was credited to "The Dynamic Duo of Abraham Dankin & DigitalFel." Lo and behold, Track #11 from SEPTEMBER, "Eternity," was actually, co-produced by Dominic Primus, as it appears as though the original/abridged version stems from one of DigitalDankin's sessions. But, I digress... let's get back to DigitalDankin's latest long-form release!

DIGITALDANKIN BEATS VOLUME 1 stems back to Abraham Dankin & Daniel Felicetti's earliest chance meeting as valet drivers in Savannah, Georgia; over the years, Abe & Dan vowed to stay in touch, even after Daniel and his wife, Michelle, moved to Vermont or "bounced to The South," as DigitalDankin's Bandcamp page puts it. For the last three consecutive winters, Keenan Kilgore & Dom Primus have linked up for impromptu recording sessions, which have birthed several as-yet-unreleased DigitalDankin productions. Now, for whatever reasons, ahead of this year's annual winter session, Keenan & Dom have meticulously hand-selected 15 of their favorite collaborative pieces of production to form DigitalDankin's first proper release. "Both KK & Dankin relied on an organic and simple production process. These beats are dirty and musical. Thanks for listening," a brief statement posted on Keenan Kilgore's Bandcamp page details. BEATS VOLUME 1 boasts, in our "humble" opinion, at least, a spacey, Jazz-indebted almost cartoony sound reminiscent of Yasiin Bey FKA Mos Def's The Ecstatic, MADVILLAINY, DANGERDOOM's lone effort THE MOUSE & THE MASK, and even Jaylib's fabled Champion Sound. It also, channels a vaguely Electro/Hip-Hop-leaning sound reminiscent of Jamie xx's posthumous Gil Scott-Heron remix album, We're New Here. It appears as though, during one of Dom & Keenan's snow-capped beat-making sessions, some grainy footage was filmed, which has now, been turned into the first proper DigitalDankin music video for "Eastern Seaboard" from BEATS VOLUME 1.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ray Strife Unleashes Previously Shelved Doc Heller-produced 2016 Track "Think of how a Castrated Horse Feels" (2018 In Review)

Trenton, New Jersey-based emcee/frontman Raymond "Ray" Strife released so many projects last year, we couldn't even keep up—well, my wedding was this past October, as well!—but seriously, Ray put out a BUNCH of music throughout 2018. He released his Ill-Omega-produced full-length follow-up to 2017's critically-acclaimed Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, Go for The Gusto, #BFF EP with his real-life BFF's Roebus One & Ill-Omega originally recorded back in 2013, and HARD FEELINGS EP from his "Negative" Hardcore band, OVER EVERYTHING. Now, at the top of 2019, Ray Strife has already returned from a holiday vacation to France with a previously unreleased track entitled "Think of how a Castrated Horse Feels," which takes its name from a lyric within Nirvana's "I Hate Myself & Want to Die" from 1993's The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience compilation. It appears as though Doc Heller's "Think of how a Castrated Horse Feels" instrumental was originally released on a 2015 Heathers-inspired beat tape entitled ESKIMO, which was released on Darko The Super's U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART (UDDTBA) and features samples culled from Big Baby Gandhi's rather extensive catalog.

Raymond Strife adds a bit of background on the track's creation, saying: "I was probably transitioning from doing really bad with drugs, booze, and life in general to [doing] really well. I think, the song kind [of] reflects a lot of the old me transitioning to the new me." Ray Strife recorded "Think of how a Castrated Horse Feels" roughly 2-3 years ago, prior to recording and releasing his last two Ill-Omega-produced projects, Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP & Go for The Gusto. Again, it was produced by Darko The Super under his oft-used beat-making alias, Doc Heller and recorded at The Robot House in Trenton, NJ by frequent collaborator RayRayBeats with additional vocals provided by RayRayBeats himself. From what I can gather, it appears as though "Think of how a Castrated Horse Feels" is just the first in a series of as-yet-unreleased tracks Ray Strife plans to dust off and properly release in the coming weeks. Doc Heller AKA Darko The Super released a whopping 10 albums throughout 2018 and has plans to issue a best-of collection called Year of The Darko hosted by Stories Of A Made Up Year producer and Cold Rhymes Records founder, Height Keech.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

All-around Breakdown: Experimental Artist Graham Dunning On His "Mechanical Techno" Set-up & Tentation 12-inch LP (White Denim #27)

"Tweaking, improving, and modifying a machine is what I've been doing with Mechanical Techno since starting the project a few years ago. This process gives the record it's title, the mostly obsolete word, "tentation;" a more colloquial word for the same thing might be fettling. The two tracks that make up this album are each made through a process of fettling a musical machine.

I started playing more abstract, Noise-based turntable sets in 2008, usually playing with several turntables, modified hardware and vinyl, guitar effects pedals, cymbals, springs, marbles, rolls of tape, dentistry tools, and anything I could get my hands on. The focus in the early days was texture, drone, controlled feedback, and surface noise, but still with some rhythmical elements that scratched up records naturally provide. I used randomly occurring snippets of sound and samples disconnected from context quite a lot in those early recordings and live sets, too.

Sometime later, I began an aleatoric recording project using several sound sources with different loop lengths—locked-groove records, tape loops, live mics, modulating synths, and more—which I called Music By The Metre (Entr'acte, 2014.) The idea was that I'd build a kind of music-making machine from multiple components and once set up, allow the machine to run and do its own thing.

Evolving out of these projects (plus, my background in making sample-based Electronic music on a computer with a step sequencer) I started developing Mechanical Techno in early 2014. The basic idea is to use the turntable as a sequencer. On top of a normal SL-1200, several layers of vinyl are stacked on top of one another, each divided by a wooden spacer. As they're on a single axle, all the layers turn at the same time and stay approximately together; an idea I took from the abstract turntable duo Vinyl-Terror & -Horror. Each layer can make sound in a different way: some use a normal tone-arm to play a record with some parts blanked out by adhesive plastic, snippets of samples are played rhythmically, some have pegs at regular intervals which flick against electronic drum triggers to play beats, some have copper strips, which allow a synthesizer note to play with each rotation.

As a live performance, I build the tower of records on-the-fly. Each new layer adds a new sound allowing the audience to recognise how the sounds are being generated. The precariousness of the tower and the instability of the system adds some theatre to the show. In the studio, I build the tower in a different way each time: the building of the machine is the building of the track. Once I'm happy with the way it sounds as a loop, I'll move to the mixing desk and make a dub mixdown of the sounds, fettling it as it plays. I'll record a few takes this way to stereo—then, the final tune is just an edit from one of these takes."

A1 - "Another Rhythem"

"The whole track really developed out of the way the initial piano sample was looping. It's made from the first hit of an unknown white label record. A piece of thread tied to the tone arm stops it [from] progressing along the groove, pulling it back to the start. Normally with this technique, the loop loops once for each turn of the record—every four beats—but for some reason here, due to the particular set-up of the system, it clicks back to the start every three rotations, every 12 beats. The way the counterweight was set, the speed of rotation of the deck, how worn the needle was, all contribute to this—it was unplanned on my part, but the feature on which the whole tune is based.

The hand clap-type sound is made from a few scratches on an otherwise blank record (some white labels you come across are single-sided.) Several deep lines, close together, cut with a Stanley knife at 12 O'clock and roughly 6 O'clock create this rhythm. The fast series of clicks created by the scratches creates something like a synthetic hand clap sound. The waveforms of the two look very similar, too. In all the recordings I make, the records and the samples are deliberately "scratchy"—the surface noise is as important a part of the composition as the sample itself.

I only use white labels in the Mechanical Techno project and white labels that I've found second-hand in charity shops or car boot sales. A record with unprinted white labels normally signifies one of two things: (1) it could be a test pressing of a release sent out to the label and artist prior to the main run beginning for them to check for errors; or (2) it could be a short-run of an independent Dance music release, made by DJ's for DJ's. Something designed to be played for the dance floor, rather than sold en masse, so doesn't need a nice design or even any print at all. Either way, I like to think of white labels as being special in some way, more important than regular mass-produced vinyl. Finding them second-hand, discarded and unloved, has a poinginecy for me. Coming across a whole bunch of House music white labels amongst the usual Easy Listening tat [ie: "Dollar Bin" records] in a charity shop might signify a specific person's broken dreams—didn't make it as a DJ, so just send the records to the junk shop.

Dance music, itself, can be very fickle. Styles, sub-genres, and sounds can go out of fashion very quickly, but it also, has a deep history of recycling itself, re-discovering lost sounds, re-using classic sounds (try to imagine a world without an open 909 Hi-hat, or the "Amen" Break.) Crate-digging is a type of social archaeology—sampling unfashionable records for me is a way of recognising the importance of them. Dance music is constantly eating itself and sh*tting itself back out. In Mechanical Techno I'm physically recycling records, as well as sampling from them.

The live mixdown of the track is all through the mixing desk as a dub mixdown. In dub, the mixing desk becomes an instrument, but the material already exists, the dub producer normally doesn't generate sound themself. A dub mixdown is a live arrangement, a live composition, and an improvisation. My mixdowns are unrehearsed, often the first take is the best take and often, things I did by mistake are my favourite parts. In general, I can't abide slickness in music and it's something I consciously avoid. In these tracks, I use typical dub effects delay and reverb—aiming for both a claustrophobic and cosmic sound through the manipulation of spatial effects. The misspelling of "rhythm" as "rhythem" in the title came from an early recording session. I kept it in as the wrong spelling and carried it forward, in the spirit of the project."

B1 - "Ping Pong Rhythem"

"Since February 2016, I've been using Ping Pong balls on the top of the Mechanical Techno tower as part of the live performance. Rolling around on the surface, they strike some Piezo Discs, which trigger a Nord Drum synth tuned to play some FM bell tones. The ridiculousness of the set-up often gets a laugh from the audience and there's something mesmerising about the orange balls rolling around fairly randomly, whilst the rest of the beat plays on, but there's also, something musically coherent in this semi-random rolling, which I wanted to try and capture in the studio for the first time on this track. I kept one hit of the digi-bells consistent to anchor the sound into a kind of riff or melody, punting the Ping Pong balls about to let them hit with different irregularity.

The "farty" bass sound comes from a cheap little analogue synth made by a company called Gakken. It works a bit like a stylophone, playing a note when you touch the stylus pen against a resistive strip. I modified the Gakken to have these contact points on the end of a wooden tonearm, then, made some records with copper strips at intervals on their surface. When the copper passes under the contacts, the synth plays a note. It worked better on paper than in practice, so the synth quite often misfires or sounds a bit weak: this is very much something I encouraged to give it a distinct character.

The cymbal sound comes from another copper strip record, one with four evenly spaced bars on it. I made a little circuit with a battery and a solenoid—like the type that strikes the notes in a doorbell—and placed it near a broken cymbal. So, the off-beat hi-hat sounds are acoustically played, electrically triggered. Something I'd not anticipated was that this very rudimentary circuit also, caused some electromagnetic interference—a very short, but significant audible spike—in various channels of the mixing desk each time it fired. It comes very slightly before the cymbal ping each time, as the solenoid striker takes a few milliseconds to move and reach the cymbal. At first, I thought this ruined the whole recording, but I accepted it as an unusual additional percussion element and went with it.

Each time I build the machine in the studio, I also, set up the mixing desk and effects in a different way. Here the main reverb is provided by two spring reverb tanks, each out of the back of a different guitar amp, one for the left channel and one on the right. There's also, a big compressor on the reverb signal, which can take a side-chain input from various other signals—sometimes, it sounds like being plunged into water before the rhythm comes back. A couple of times in the track, I also, send the reverb signal back into the tanks, causing them to feed back. As the tanks are open, there are a couple of bits when I've muffled them from ringing out using a bit of felt. As with the machine itself, and using a turntable, in general, I like the tactility of a spring reverb, both as an effect and as a sound source. It's a physical object you can touch to directly change the sound—often, with unpredictable results."

"[Tentation] was released by White Denim in September 2018. Matt Korvette got in touch with my studio mate Natalie Sharp, whose project Lone Taxidermist had been touring with his group, Pissed Jeans. I had these tracks already recorded and ready to go, so it was great to have the opportunity to put them out on vinyl as an LP. I'm really grateful to Matt for being so supportive and enthusiastic about my work, despite us not having met in-person.

Josh Bonati mastered the record at his studio in Brooklyn and was kind enough to show me 'round, when I was on holiday there. For anyone interested in this experimental branch of turntablism, I've taken a great deal of influence from the following artists (amongst many others): Milan Knizak, Christian Marclay, Vinyl-Terror & -Horror, Thomas Brinkmann, Maria Chavez, Otomo Yoshikide, Philip Jeck, Janek Schaeffer, and Joke Lanz."

- Graham Dunning (@grahamdunning)

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Witzard Premiere: CINDY BLURAY Releases "N0153_W45H" Ahead of Daisy Mortem LP & 3 Separate CURTA Projects (WE ARE VICIOUS)

CURTA is the chosen nom de plume of Chicago-based emcee and "INDUSTRIAL-LEANING CARNIVAL BARKER" Jake Danna, who often works alongide in-house producer Brent Larsen AKA 4Digit. We, here at The Witzard, have covered CURTA's last few projects, including: 2017's FilthyBroke Recordings-released CLICK BAIT EP, last year's self-released End of Future Park EP, and an exclusive Zilla Rocca Remix of "Rap Trope Questionnaire" from 2015's Replica. Over the years, CURTA has shared concert bills across the globe with the likes of milo, Mac Lethal, JPEGMAFIA, Listener, Belly Belt, ceschi, Sewer Rats, B L U E | B I R D, sole, ELUCID, k-the-i??? Andy D. Church Fire, and naughtybabysub. This, however, brings us to CINDY BLURAY: a rather mysterious French producer and musician who says she grew up "making music and playing in caves" since she was about 12. CINDY came up within the Punk, Goth & DIY scenes in her hometown of Bordeaux in Southwestern France. Although, during her teenage years, CINDY quickly got into the local Rap/Electronic music scene. As fate may have had it, to paraphrase CINDY BLURAY herself, she first met CURTA when Sean Makau booked her for her first US show at New York venue Trans-Pecos, when she was still actively playing with naughtybabysub.

"This show had a big impact on my life. Then, he came to France and we share the stage again," BLURAY exuberantly explains. Now, for The Main Event... CINDY BLURAY & CURTA have once again joined forces for their first full-fledged collaboration, which has, coincidentally, been "cut to wax." A couple months ago, Phantom Haus Booking emailed me out of the blue with a private stream of CINDY BLURAY's then as-yet-to-be-released "N0153_W45H" (read as: "Noise Wash") featuring none other than our mutual friend/collaborator, CURTA. For "N0153_W45H," CINDY BLURAY handles both production duties and Auto-Tuned vocals, while CURTA helps beef it up with his sharp-tongued rhymes galore. CURTA ferociously rhymes, "I was dying in their quantized intervals" and then, CINDY suddenly comes in with "let the noise wash over you..." all atop a glitchy, almost Postal Service-leaning disintegrating beat. Although, I personally think Phantom Haus' press description suits "N0153_W45H" best: "You could almost play it in your car for your sister who's Spotify playlist is heartless candied R&B/Rap, but, at the same time, it's a song that Blade could behead vampires to in the long-forgotten underground sub-sectors of a post-modern wasteland city." Yes, our thoughts exactly! CINDY BLURAY & Daisy Mortem are currently working on their full-length debut, while CURTA are preparing three (THREE?!!!??!) separate projects to be trickled out throughout the course of 2019.

ARTWORK MEANING: "I worked searching for second life pictures with couples, trying to find scenes with something really human [to] it, human gestures, human feelings. To question our relation with technology and with social network, u know? That's why I wanted to let the picture in an window with a title. The titles insist on the concept of realness and fakeness of our virtual lives. I think, it works well with the feat. (they are 2: a boy, curta and a girl, cindy) they take a NOISE shower lol, they are IN LOVE or MAYBE NOT or WHAT IS REAL OR FAKE IN THIS WORLD???!! I loved this kind of Matrix/blue pill feeling, u got me? THIS ONE IS GREAT because of the cinematic gesture of the girl, like, she's asking herself, "but... AM I REALLY REAL???!!!!" and the boy doesn't look at her, so the title [says] "real feelings," but WE'LL NEVER KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS PICTURE.

because we only anonymise humans; never things, never animals, never characters because they doesn't really exist for us. we only anonymise people because we want to protect them, because they are uniques. but anonymising these 3-D virtual [characters] is a way to give them humanity and to question it!"

- CINDY BLURAY (@daisymortem)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Rolled Gold Returns with A Different Cloth (Vol. 1) EP Featuring Reef The Lost Cauze, Rapper O.H.M. Uncle Crimson, Boogieman Dela & Visto

Just last year, Philly's own beat-twisting producer and multi-instrumentalist Harry Metz AKA Rolled Gold self-released a slew of original projects including "Nite Owl's Theme" Feat. Ai​-​Que & Reef The Lost Cauze, Boogieman Dela's Broken Watch 02: Future Currents EP, Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast, a remix of Career Crooks' "Clock's Ticking" with Wino Willy, and a remix of his own production work on Boogieman's "Hustler." Now, Rolled Gold has returned with a New Year's Eve/Day release entitled A Different Cloth, Vol. 1; prior to release, @RolledGoldBeats himself described it as "100% original Soulful-a$$, Jazzy, dusty grimy-a$$ beats, [and] remix snippets from the homies..." A Different Cloth, Vol. 1 is the first installment in a planned instrumental/remix EP series, which itself, is a quasi-progression of last year's Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast. However, while Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast was one continuous 8-minute track, A Different Cloth is broken up into seven different 2-minute tracks with a total runtime of nearly 14 minutes.

Rolled Gold has recruited a crew of his rapping friends from Philly including Reef The Lost Cauze, Rapper O.H.M. Uncle Crimson & Boogieman Dela, and Visto, who appear in order across A Different Cloth. "Each beat is made by sampling his own compositions, engineered and performed by himself and a select few friends and family members. Decorated with short, Chopped & Screwed cuts from songs Rolled has produced and/or engineered with his vocalist associates, he illustrates a journey with field recordings and smooth, psychedelic transitions," Harry Metz continued. For the majority of his productions for the past two years, Rolled Gold has been earnestly producing, composing, and recording music with his friends and family to use as sample material. His full-length release will, actually, be an album created from said recording sessions, featuring singers, emcees, and uniquely-crafted musical arrangements. Rolled Gold's latest, A Different Cloth, Vol. 1, is currently available to stream or download from his Bandcamp & YouTube pages and will soon become available on like-minded digital streaming services in the coming weeks.