Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Various Artists VIII: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - Generations I: A Punk Look At Human Rights Penned By: John E. Swan (Ark 21 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 VIII: The Punk Rock community has long been a catalyst for social activism from its early years with Rock Against Racism, to the Rock Against Reagan concerts of the 1983 Hardcore movement, the militant vegan demonstrations attended by Britain's Conflict and beyond. Punk bands have been penning rallying cries as far back as The Clash's 1977 hit single, "White Riot." Protest songs have been a staple point of most every aspiring Punk bands' career and in many instances, they can be cited as being directly influential in the lives of young people educating themselves, organizing rallies, and mobilizing against injustice all across the globe. A direct by-product of this call-to-arms is Ark 21 Records' 1997 CD compilation, Generations I.

Sub-titled as "A Punk Look At Human Rights," the discs' mission is either quite vague or incredibly ambitious and it's in this ambition that we note an earnestness and charm reminiscent of a young person wanting to make a difference in the world and having just discovered that it is within their power to do so.

The release boasts an impressive array of exclusive appearances from entry-level Pop-Punk acts such as Green Day and The Mr. T Experience, while still sprinkling in performances from industry giants—such as Bad Brains, Lagwagon, and Rat Scabies' (ex-The Damned) one-off project, Electric Dog House with Joe Strummer—juxtaposing the enthusiasm of youth with the feel of a middle-aged person's more lived-in CD wallet.

While a lot of these contributions bring to mind mostly skate parks that exist only in one million-year-old memories, the disc also, runs the gamut of everything from Hardcore to Ska, to Post-Rock and even more sonically "Hippy"-leaning anthems. We're even gifted a cover of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown," as performed by California's Pennywise.

Whatever side of the spectrum a listener may come from when first hearing this album, there is a discovery to be made. In the true spirit of sampler CD's both before and since, there are whole catalogs for listeners interested in indulging in entire discographies, as well as the perfect obscure Punk single for even the most casual fan's Summer mixtape.

So often my love for compilation and sampler CD's has been retrospective, their tracklists bouncing around my skull, jumping from one-hit wonder to one-hit wonder. They affirm years-long biases and transport me to the beginning phases of my music collecting and the very embryonic stages of my self-identification. Rare, is the 20-year-old release that still connects with me on the same level that these albums once did. Rare, is the release that inspires me to take initiative; to create memories now, something to be nostalgic for in the future, as opposed to reflecting on memories that will, surely, have been beaten to death and stale with over-use by the time I've reached my geriatric stage.

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. It can be ordered here. When he's not writing, he can be found making music in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Diesel.

Label Profile: 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW [MIXTAPE], 'FEATURE LENGTH' EPISODES 1-2 & 2000's PASSAGE EP's Comp. (Illuminated Paths)

Joshua Rogers (@pathilluminated) otherwise known as Broken Machine Films Presents... has been creating and banking samples since 2002. He's created over 30 albums utilizing only vintage equipment and medium and practicing the art of cassette-to-cassette manipulation. Broken Machine Films Presents... was recently featured on Memories Overloaded: A Tribute to The Caretaker, Godless America Mixtape Vol. 4, Gorgeous Lights' Latenight, and Bedroom Cassette Masters 1980-89 Volume Nine. Rogers himself attests his "creations have been most associated with like going to a late 70's lo-fi drive-in Grindhouse B-movie double-feature with your main squeeze; putting the listening device on your [car] door and continuing on with your date. Not paying so much attention to what is transpiring on the screen anymore... you have more pressing matters to attend to." Broken Machine Films Presents... first music video creation was, actually, for Dntel AKA Jimmy Tamborello's 2002 single, "(This Is) The Dream of Evan & Chan" featuring Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, who would, later, re-emerge together as The Postal Service.

I've been corresponding and emailing back-and-forth with Josh Rogers AKA "kind mr. rogers" since about July 2017, after I randomly purchased a cassette copy of PASSAGE's ULTIMATE 'WORKED ON' BUNDLE! from Illuminated Paths (IP). Just since the original March 31, 2017 release of PASSAGE's Worked On, Illuminated Paths have, somehow, recorded and released a staggering 191 physical/digital projects. As a matter of fact, just so far in 2019, IP have already issued 10 projects! I speak with Josh Rogers just about every week and Illuminated Paths quietly issues, at least, one release per week and I'll readily admit, it's a never-ending almost humanly unmanageable body of releases; so, for the sake of sheer time and readers' attention span, we simply intended to cover a few recent IP stand-out releases within this very post: 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW [MIXTAPE], 'FEATURE LENGTH' EPISODE 1, its counterpart, 'FEATURE LENGTH' EPISODE 2, and PASSAGE's decision master, the holy phony haunt, tennis, piano and other primary sightings.

First and foremost, Illuminated Paths & Broken Machine Films Presents... 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW [MIXTAPE], their second official release of 2019 after BYSON's Failed Experiments with Mood, fittingly consists of "Not the best of IP 2018. Not the worst of IP 2018." Across four "sides" of digital "tape," Josh Rogers has painstakingly assembled a nearly 2 hour-long mix containing "an exciting sampling from the over 100 albums Illuminated Paths has bestowed upon the masses over the last year alone." It features selections from the likes of Data Slum, Kurt Rambus, Ugliest Man, The Triangle Theory, Charred Logic, nostalgic depression, BYSON, VIPER, FAKE MUSIC 4 FAKE PEOPLE, Death By Love, Will Brooks, and countless others. 'FEATURE LENGTH' EPISODE 1 boasts a similar M.O. to 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW [MIXTAPE], featuring a collection of singles, B-sides, demos, and unreleased tracks from the vaults of NOOB SAIBOT, GutterBoy+SKANK, ENVIRON 案件, and Broken Machine Films Presents... EPISODE 1 was hand-curated and mixed utilizing only cassette-to-cassette and cassette/vinyl/VHS sampling and layering/manipulation by Joshua Rogers.

'FEATURE LENGTH' EPISODE 2 is merely an extension of EPISODE 1 with a similar cast of characters and a few special add-ons this go'round. Broken Machine Films Presents... has included a couple very special remixes within this 21-track compilation: his remix of Andy Cooper's "The Perfect Definition" AKA "The Not​-​So​-​Perfect Definition" from the layered effect and a remix contest submission for Doomtree affiliates SHREDDERS' "Nia Long" AKA "Nia Looonger." "The Not​-​So​-​Perfect Definition" was, of course, featured within The Witzard's Andy Cooper "THE PERFECT DEFINITION" Remix Comp. Soundcloud Playlist from last year. It's pretty wild that something I helped foster, create, and curate has now been pressed onto a limited edition cassette?!!!??! decision master, the holy phony haunt, tennis, piano and other primary sightings is a "lost" album from anticon. alumni PASSAGE consisting of choice cuts from three EP's originally released from the mid-late 2000's: Decision Master (20??) | The Holy Phony Haunt (2005) | Tennis + Piano + Other Primary Sightings (2004) EP's. All of the aforementioned releases are currently available in a multitude of formats and packages directly from Illuminated Paths' Bandcamp page. I've recently heard rumblings about Height Keech doing new re-mixes and re-masters of both VIPER & Broken Machine Films Presents... 'BOUT THA MONEY and NOOB SAIBOT's long-rumored I-II (plus, III-IV!) coming soon to Illuminated Paths, as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

QM, Luke Sick, VRSE Murphy & Richie Cunning Return with ON TILT "Posse" Comp. THE TITALATION (I Had An Accident/Megakut Records)

"It would be sick, if all these people were on the same album: ON TILT, Monk Madino, J-Lately, Dev Rambis, Eddie K, Brandon B, Ben Buck, L*Roneous, DJ MARZ, Richie Cunning, D. Vincent, Diamond Lung, Big Shawn, Bad Larry, Kayer, Rime Force Most Illin', Pudge, Squalid, Philo, Gus Cutty, Ritchy Flo, White Mic, Sacred Hoop, Monikape, DamCold$, S.T.A.T.I.K. Too Tough, Uncle Buck, Brycon, G-Pek, DJ Eons One, Yelir, Spex, Shag Diggler, Chaz One, Just Jay, VRSE Murphy, and Z-Man... Oh yeah, it drops tomorrow... THE TILTALATION," Mega Kut cryptically posted on their Facebook page late Monday night. Megakut Records are, of course, speaking of Bay Area Hip-Hop crew ON TILT's third proper release, THE TITALATION. ON TILT consists of emcees QM & VRSE Murphy, producer/multi-instrumentalist Luke Sick, and the group's own personal "Bob Power"A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, and D'Angelo super-producer—Richie Cunning. Much like many up-and-coming Hip-Hop groups I listen to and frequently write about, I believe, I first purchased ON TILT's DRINK FLOYD cassette on a 5-star recommendation from The Witzard's #1 Supporter & Walking Hip-Hop Encyclopedia, John "Jumbled" Bachman!

THE TITALATION is ON TILT's follow-up to last year's critically-acclaimed "purple" DRINK FLOYD cassette and is a heart-felt ode to early/mid-90's Bay Area Hip-Hop compilations. For THE TITALATION, ON TILT joined forces with similarly-minded compilation-loving Underground Hip-Hop imprints I Had An Accident (IHAA) & Luke Sick's own Megakut Records to collectively press up and release 130 limited edition cassette copies of their 23-track comp. ON TILT's THE TITALATION single-handedly collects over 40 artists hailing from The Bay Area all the way to Texas across a whopping 23 tracks with production throughout from Monikape, DamCold$, Too Tough, Uncle Buck, Mic Legg, Ben Buck, Brycon, DJ MARZ, G-Pek, Maclane, DJ Eons One, Yelir, Spex, Luke Sick, Pudge, Shag Diggler, Philo, Ritchy Flo, Chaz One, and ON TILT's own VRSE Murphy. It's a sun-soaked slice of 90's-influenced Boom-Bap that, fingers crossed, should help us get through these last few frigid months of "WINTER 365" here on The East Coast! ON TILT's THE TITALATION comp. is now available to purchase on limited edition cassette from I Had An Accident, Megakut Records, and QM's own personal Bandcamp page, while supplies last.

"[There's] an eclectic multi-city, multi-country Underground Rap scene [that's] clearly forming again with all these Independent Rap group tape releases that are sprouting up everywhere. Like-minded, short-run cassette labels like: Megakut Records, I Had An Accident, Solidarity Records, Icy Palms Records, Vulgar Records (France,) Nostalgia Analog, Routine Fly, Gurp City/Gurp City South, Hiss Records (Finland,) Audio Vile Recordings, Hand Solo Records (Toronto,) 77 Rise Recordings, Grilchy Party Records, Beat Tape Co-Op, FilthyBroke Recordings, Last Stab Records, Sublevel Epidemic, Griselda Records, Loretta Records, Star Bakery Records, Abolano Records, etc. and groups like Bloody Monk Consortium, Mic Legg, ON TILT, Grand Invincible, Ralphiie Reese, Rec League, Fab Deuce, Z-Man, White Mic, Rime Force Most Illin', Yole Boys, Diamond Lung, DJ Moves, The Watershed, Ghettosocks, Bruze Bruvas, S.F.S.M. (San Francisco Street Music,) DANKSLOB, D.F.S. L-Wood & 12manrambo, The Cloaks, Mummy Club, and Exalt The Anti making comps. of rare tapes from the past, etc. etc... along with Facebook Groups like DIGGIN' IN THE TAPES [have helped] turn this like-minded Underground Rap community to the days of old. And the goal of THE TILTILATION is to continue to foster and strengthen that scene anyway we can to get people to notice what we got goin' on and how fun and raw it all is."

- Luke Sick (ME g AK u t Records)

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Witzard Premiere: Los Angeles-based Emcee & Bartender Alex Ludovico Unveils THE VIVIAN MAIER EP (#MedicineMondays2019)

Since we last spoke with Los Angeles-based bartender and A Clockwork Orange-referencing emcee Alex Ludovico, upon our premiere of "Calendar," he has released five more one-off single installments in his ever-evolving #MedicineMondays series. The, suddenly, before year's end, Alex Ludovico unleashed a brand new 10-track full-length entitled pretendtobe, which we previously teased within our "Calendar" premiere. Just this year, as part of his #MedicineMondays2019 series, Ludovico has already unleashed six one-off singles, as well as a fittingly festive 3-track EP entitled New Year's Resolutions. I've heard "through the grapevine" that Alex Ludovico is earnestly at work finishing up an EP with Brooklyn-based producer and fellow Zilla Rocca collaborator, Jason Griff (@iamJasonGriff) which should be properly released within a month or so. It appears as though, in the meantime, Ludovico has still been cranking out compositions for his ongoing #MedicineMondays2019 series; to celebrate the momentous occasion, we've linked back up to present the premiere of Alex Ludovico's #MedicineMondays2019 EP No.2, THE VIVIAN MAIER EP. "The idea behind the EP is a fear amongst some creatives that the work we create won't be remembered or appreciated while we're still here," Alex Ludovico explained to The Witzard, via email.

I'm not out for fame at all, but I would love to not be forgotten," he continued. THE VIVIAN MAIER EP's namesake, Vivian Maier, was a New York-bred American street photographer and care-giver. Throughout her lifetime, Maier lived in France, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and cities all across The US; over the course of five decades, Vivian Maier took nearly 150,000 negatives/photographs, home-made films, recordings, and collections, most of which, unfortunately, didn't see the light of day until after her untimely passing in 2009. THE VIVIAN MAIER EP is a quick 3-song lyrical assault, but Alex Ludovico definitely gets his point across and I would deem this a great place to start for first-time listeners. "It's my favorite thing I've done," Ludovico himself ecstatically boasts. I would, personally, liken Alex Ludovico's delivery and flow throughout the EP as something akin to a mix between Tha Carter II-II era Lil' Wayne, Kid Cudi, and J*Davey. Alex Ludovico's THE VIVIAN MAIER EP is currently available to stream exclusively on The Witzard, but will soon become available for streaming or purchase on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, etc.

"Dedicated to every unsung hero and every genius that died before we found out about them..." "Vivian Maier was an American street photographer. Maier worked for about 40 years as a nanny, mostly in Chicago's North Shore, pursuing photography during her spare time. She took more than 150,000 photographs during her lifetime, primarily of the people and architecture of Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles, although, she also, traveled and photographed world-wide.

During her lifetime, Maier's photographs were unknown and unpublished; many of her negatives were never printed. Maier's photographs were first published on The Internet in July 2008 by [Ron] Slattery, but the work received little response. In October 2009, [John] Maloof linked his blog to a selection of Maier's photographs on the image-sharing website, flickr and the results went viral with thousands of people expressing interest. Maier's work, subsequently, attracted critical acclaim and since then, Maier's photographs have been exhibited around the world.

- Wikipedia/Alex Ludovico (@alexludovico)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Ancona, Italy-based Garage/Blues Rock Band Gentlemens Return with Third Ferocious Full-length TRIAGE (Hound Gawd! Records)

As many of you may well remember, Gentlemens/The Gentlemens are a frantic young Garage/Blues Rock band hailing from Ancona, Italy. I believe, a number of years ago, Gentlemens' guitarist G.F. AKA Giordano Baldoni found us on Twitter and started frequently sending the band's music; at that point, they were unsigned, but we eventually, ended up publishing a comprehensive feature on The Gentlemens' sophomore full-length, HOBO-FI, released on Pisa, Italy-based Area Pirata Records back in 2016. Now, just about three years later, Gentlemens have returned once again with their third full-length entitled TRIAGE, this time, however, on German imprint, Hound Gawd! Records, as "powered by" Rough Trade Distribution. Since HOBO-FI's initial release, Gentlemens nearly trekked across the "entire Boot," as well as two European tours in just one year with stops in Switzerland, Germany, France, and Spain for a total of about 75 dates, plus, opening for The Oblivians on the Italian leg of their 2018 tour. As previously stated within our HOBO-FI feature a few years ago, Gentlemens still evoke Iggy & The Stooges, The Rolling Stones & The Black Keys on TRIAGE; although, in my "humble" opinion, there's a bit more feverish Punk/Hardcore vibe this go'round, reminiscent of The Cramps and even The Witzard favorites, Spiritual Cramp.

Hound Gawd! Records fittingly describes Gentlemens' TRIAGE as "11 prime cuts of raw Rock "N" Roll" and had this to say within their on-site album press release: "The album collects and [mixes] the experiences and troubles on the road made by the band, since the last released record in 2016. [Starting] from the roots and the diving board of Garage Blues, the trio dips into influences and contaminations that make TRIAGE more personal and surely, more characteristic published by the band. The band injects Blues, Punk, Rockabilly, and 60's Garage with their own amplified fury." G.F. Daniele Fioretti & Paolo Fioretti recorded TRIAGE at OUTSIDE INSIDE STUDIO with Matteo "Matt" Bordin (Mojomatics, Squadra Omega, The Spookies) & Gianluca Turrini (The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, One Dimensional Man) following their extensive tours across "The Boot." TRIAGE was later, mastered by Andrea de Bernardi at Eleven Mastering Studio with artwork created by Veronica Coltellacci. So far, Gentlemens have unleashed one proper single/music video from TRIAGE, "John Q. Public Blues," as directed by Michele Formica, but starring actors Riccardo Balestra & Olivia Spadolini, rather than G.F. D.F. & P.F. Gentlemens' TRIAGE is currently available to stream on their Soundcloud page with limited edition vinyl and CD packages currently available directly from Hound Gawd! Records' online store.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Uncommon Records Presents: Last Sons' "Champions" Feat. Barrie McLain & Guillotine Crowns (Short Fuze & Uncommon Nasa)

For at least a few years now, I've been speaking with UK emcee Duke01 (@DukeBinary) effectively one 1/2 of Last Sons, about their long-rumored full-length debut to be produced by Uncommon Nasa. Merely separated by an ocean, Staten Island, NY-based producer/emcee, Uncommon Nasa, has been working with Nottingham, UK-bred Duke01 and his in-house DJ/turntablist, Furious P, since about 2014. Duke01's Steroid Stereo (Orange Edition) EP was released in collaboration with Nasa's Uncommon Records and features cuts throughout from Furious P. Now, nearly five years later, Last Sons & Uncommon Nasa have reunited for their aforementioned Steroid Stereo follow-up that's now being billed as Chekhov's Gun; a couple weeks ago, I received an early press advance of Last Sons' Chekhov's Gun and trust me, it's well worth the wait! Still about a month ahead of Chekhov's Gun's March 15th world-wide "street date," Uncommon Records & Last Sons unleashed the first proper "teaser" single from the 11-track album, "Champions." Duke01 & Furious P recruited New York songstress Barrie "Lobo" McLain, as well as Guillotine Crowns for the Experimental/Prog Hip-Hop-leaning track.

Now, the greater majority of you may not be all too familiar with the latter... but that's because "Champions" is, actually, their first on-record appearance together. Guillotine Crowns (@GuillotineCrown) consists of Chicago emcee Short Fuze & Uncommon Nasa himself, who have been earnestly working together since 2010's Lobotomy Music, but have just now given their collaborative efforts a proper nom de plume. Upon it's initial release last week, "Champions" was accompanied by a unique lyric-less "lyric" video, which conveniently labels each performer during their respective contributions; on-screen throughout "Champions"' nearly 4-minute duration, you'll continually see "SHORT FUZE," "GUILLOTINE CROWNS," "BARRIE MCLAIN," "UNCOMMON NASA," "FURIOUS P," "DUKE01," and "LAST SONS" imagery plastered across your computer screen. Last Sons' Chekhov's Gun Produced By: Uncommon Nasa is currently available to pre-order in vinyl, digital, and compact disc (CD) formats directly from Uncommon Records. Stay tuned to this very space for a comprehensive interview with Last Sons & Uncommon Nasa—and maybe, even a few special guests!—corresponding with Chekhov's Gun's impending 15 March, 2019 wide release on Uncommon Records.

Stuntdouble & Tenshun Talk 3-part "Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home" EP Series & Pump The Brakes (The Witzard Interview)

Bob "Stuntdouble" Surratt AKA Bobby Stuntdooblier & Jon "Tenshun" Calzo—or sometimes, just 10shun—are an emcee/producer duo hailing from San Diego, California. Stuntdouble & Tenshun quietly unleashed 3 self-released EP, as well as an additional EP's-worth of out-takes or "party-starters" between 2011-18. Said 3-EP series was fittingly dubbed Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home and consists of, in order: The Ballad of Shawn T. Nelson, Pay Us a Visit & The Hunchback of Golden Hill, as well as 2016 out-liers EP, Pump The Brakes. Bob & Jon first met around 2003 while being employed at the same place of work, as Tenshun's boss suggested Stuntdouble check out his then-newly released Grey Death.

Prior to unveiling their Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home EP series, actually, recorded and self-released two earlier small-batch "full-lengths" on CD-R throughout 2005: Don't Have to Be Drunk to Tell The Truth & You Can't Polish a Turd through 10shun's own SKRAPEZ Label. After, somehow, just recently discovering the Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home series, I reached out to both Tenshun & Stuntdouble, who both kindly agreed to participate within a comprehensive Q&A. The text below has been lightly edited for general clarity. The Hunchback of Golden Hill, Pay Us a Visit & The Ballad of Shawn T. Nelson EP's are currently available on Stuntdouble & Tenshun's Bandcamp page in either digital or 7-inch formats.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Your Resident New Jersian

I. How are all of the releases within your "Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home" EP Series thematically connected or related?

Stuntdouble: All three records, thematically, look at San Diego, California. We're known as a "tourist destination" to most, but there is definitely an underbelly of this town. We have a long history with the military industrial complex, we have the fourth largest population of people experiencing homelessness, we have issues with gentrification, etc. We wanted the records to, eventually, stand as a "concept album," which explores life in the city from a somewhat different angle.

Tenshun: They are all based around stuff that happened or is happening around San Diego.

II. How did you fellas first meet and ultimately, decide to start actively recording and releasing music together as Stuntdouble & Tenshun?

Stuntdouble: I met Tenshun at work. His supervisor gave me a copy of his album, Grey Death. I was blown away! I hit him up for a beat and we've been making songs and doing shows [together] ever since.

Tenshun: I met Stuntdouble at my job. My friend gave him a copy of my album, Grey Death. From there, we met up and made a song called "Back Off."

III. What type of relation, if any, does Pump The Brakes have to your 3-Part EP series, "Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home?" Where exactly do these "loose" tracks initially stem from?

Stuntdouble: Pump The Brakes are songs that don't really fit the theme of the Welcome to San Diego material. At the end of the day, we're still Hip-Hop guys and we like to make sh*t that is fun to perform. Songs like "A$$hole," "Nice Hands," and "Nom de Plum" are made for performing. Heads don't want to go to a show to hear sad songs; people want upbeat stuff that's fun. Some of the "Welcome to San Diego" material just doesn't work in a live setting.

Tenshun: That was just a EP of songs that didn't fit the theme of the records. They are mostly hyped party-rocking tunes.

IV. Now that your "Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home" EP series has been effectively completed, what's next for Stuntdouble & Tenshun, either together or as separate solo entities?

Stuntdouble: Tenshun's always got other projects cooking. I've got some beats from him and other producers I'm working on. I'm in grad school right now, so music, generally, has to take a back seat. I'm hoping to put out another EP sometime (late) this year.

Tenshun: We are currently working on some new songs, at the moment, and are hoping to drop a tape on I Had An Accident (IHAA) Records.

V. What exactly are the titles The Ballad of Sean T. Nelson, Pay Us a Visit, and The Hunchback of Golden Hill intended to mean or convey?

Stuntdouble: Each EP is named after their title tracks. "The Ballad of Shawn T. Nelson" is about a guy who took a tank on a rampage through The Clairemont & Kearny Mesa areas of the city. He was, eventually, stopped and gunned down by the police. His story is pretty complex and speaks to issues and histories of San Diego. "Pay Us a Visit" is about the tourism industry here in San Diego. That song, for me, kind of encapsulates what the Welcome to San Diego project is all about. "The Hunchback of Golden Hill" is a personal joint about the neighborhood I grew up in. It's since gone through a pretty thorough gentrification. I was butt-hurt about it for years; the song kind of reconciles some of those feelings for me.

VI. Judging by "Shaving C.R.E.A.M." (great play-on-words!) you fellas are both die-hard Wu-Tang Clan fans. If so, what are some of your all-time favorite Wu-Tang/solo verses?

Stuntdouble: My all time favorite is "Cuttin' Headz" from [Old Dirty B*stard's] first solo album. Also, anything from Enter: The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers.) Sh*t, pretty much anything from the first five Clan albums.

Tenshun: I like a lot of the old school Wu-Tang albums; even the Gravediggaz stuff was ill! I liked the sound of the production RZA was doing during that time. All raw and gritty stuff.

VII. Do either of you have any particular solo or collaborative projects dropping any time relatively soon that you might like to mention or expand on within this space?

Stuntdouble: Nothing soon...

Tenshun: I have a few projects coming out soon. SKRAPEZ (Psychopop & I) are currently working on a record. I have a project with Bethaniens Dust coming out on IHAA. I also, have some solo stuff in-the-works, which is more Noise and f**ked Electronic beats.

VIII. Who designed the phenomenal artwork for your 3 "Welcome to San Diego, Now Go Home" EP's? They personally, remind me of old school American Traditional tattoo artwork!

Stuntdouble: That's def. what we were going for. My good friend, DJ Dimitri, did the art for the first two. The plan was to get him to do all three, but he just had his kid when it was time to get the art rolling for the third record. The homie, ARTOO of Hellnote Crew (who's, also, a tattoo artist) stepped in and made our third cover. Both guys are incredibly talented and in addition to being dope artists, they are great musicians.

IX. What would each of you cite as some of your greatest sources of personal inspiration and influence while recording your 3 collaborative EP's?

Stuntdouble: My family and crew, First Power. The San Diego region, 90's-era Hip-Hop, and our local underground Hip-Hop scene. Our town has been bubbling for a minute now. We got a lot of really dope, active cats out here.

Tenshun: Early Hip-Hop stuff with dope drum breaks and samples.

X. Aside from your 3 collabortaive EP's, which particular release(s) would each of you recommend fans check out from each other's catalogs? Stuntdouble for Tenshun's and Tenshun for Stuntdouble's, please?

Stuntdouble: Tenshun's got so much heat in his back catalog. However, and I'm not sure, if it's still available, [but] I would say, check out Grey Death. Also, peep the SKRAPEZ 7-inch series. All fire!

Tenshun: Stuntdouble has a project with Mr. Henshaw called Future Primitive Foot Prints. Also, peep out some old verses Stuntdouble did on the Roundtable MC's album, Table Manners [EDITOR'S NOTE: under his then-alias, "Lipher Cypher."]

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Dutch Producer Reinier Thijs Pens Beat-maker Bedrock #26 On The Heels of Thijsenterprise's DOKKUM EP (Thijsenterprise Label)

"Any question which starts with "Top 5..." is hard to answer. I used to ask all my friends and other musicians about their Top 5 albums. And since I asked them, they used to ask me the same. I have been with the same list for the last couple of years, which is, maybe, not really my Top 5 right now, but it's pretty OK for a Top 5 of all-time. Any of these albums I've played intensively, most of them for years straight on a daily [basis] and I can sing/rap them along or even play some of the solos. These are must-listen records for anyone because these records are my friends in the good and dark times. The Top 5 is in order of discovery because after all, there can't be just one winner. Let's start!"

- Reinier Thijs (@thijsenterprise)

I. Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys (1970)

"When I was around 14/15-years-old, I got really into music; not only the mainstream, which was on MTV, but, also, the older stuff. I don't really know how I stumbled on Jimi Hendrix, but my parents might have had an influence on that. This record is quite a weird one because it's basically, a compilation record of four shows Hendrix did at The Fillmore East on New Year's Eve (1969-70). It also, feels rather short, but the main thing is it's a live record without overdubs and little showing off. Jimi Hendrix also, has a different line-up than his previous records, now with Buddy Miles on drums (and vocals) and Billy Cox on bass.

I can talk hours, or days, about this record. I love this for many reasons, but the rawness of Hendrix's guitar combined with the improvisations are one-of-a-kind. This record was on my Disc-Man, then, on my green iPod Mini, and later, on vinyl and was as important to me as food and water. I have listened to it at least five years straight because in my university (2007) I wrote a paper about it called Jimi Hendrix - "Machine Gun" (The Perfect Note.) I highlight some of the essential parts: "Listen. The greatest feeling I ever had in my life—with my clothes on—was when I first heard Diz & Bird together in St. Louis, Missouri, back in 1944. I was 18 years old and had just graduated from Lincoln High School. It was just across the Mississippi River in East. St. Louis, Illinois. When I heard Diz & Bird in B's band, I said, "what? What is this!?" Man, that sh*t was so terrible, it was scary. (...) Anyway, I've come close to matching the feeling of that night in 1944 in music, when I first heard Diz & Bird, but I've never quite got there. I've gotten close, but not all the way there. I'm always looking for it, listening and feeling for it, though, trying to always feel it in and trought the music I play every day," From Miles: The Autobiography By: Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe.

The perfect note, a Holy goal for each musician and for may listeners. Sometimes, looked for conscious, sometimes, unconscious. But what is a "perfect note," anyway? The perfect note is something unreachable; nobody knows how it sounds like. You know it's a perfect note, when you hear it. How would that be? Like when entering Heaven and see God or Jesus? Is the quest the same as the quest to perfect love? Is the perfect note something personal or would any person recognize it? Jimi Hendrix plays on 3:56 minutes the most beautiful note I know. By utilizing guitar effects, timing, and the ambient, he plays the perfect note. This high note is a pure form of electricity and any time I hear it, it gives me goose bumps. The build-up is amazing, the bass and drums play so simple and Jimi plays so pure, it's hard to explain in any other words."

II. Common - Be (2006)

"When "The Corner" came on The Box (TV music channel) I was instantly hooked. I hadn't heard about Common before and thought this was his debut record. This album is a complete album for me. The beats, most of Kanye's production with two J Dilla beats, is on-point. And Common sounds refreshing, while touching different topics. The sound of this record influenced me a lot: the use of old Soul samples, mainly. A lot of times, while I make beats, I think: "this is for the Be follow-up and I'd like to hear Common rhyme over this!" Common is definitely one the Top 5 emcees. Besides this record, I also, like how he kept challenging himself after this record and his ability to connect different people. A huge inspiration in many aspects."

III. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)

"This record must be in many lists. It's a classic, but one for all kind of music lovers. First of all, I'm a huge Coltrane fan, more for his sound than for his innovations and improvisations; it just attracts me more, as a saxophone player myself. The whole spiritual side of Coltrane is a good one to dive into, but A Love Supreme is a good start. What I love most about this album is the theme: it has the same theme from beginning to end. Besides that, the opening melody is one of the simplest most intense melodies that exist. Anyone can sing or whistle it. In many ways, this album has inspired me: the melody is the most important part of a song, the sound gives your identity, using a theme for an album makes the story stronger. The record doesn't really need an explanation to be understood, which is for any person different and which makes it so cool."

IV. Benjamin Herman - Campert, De Tijd Duurt Één Mens Lang (2007)

"While this record is my favorite Dutch Jazz record of all time, it lacks International recognition. Benjamin Herman is a Dutch saxophone player. I'm a huge fan and in the last 13 years, I must have seen him play 100 concerts, at least. This record came out in 2007 and should be considered a classic, world-wide. It's funny how the record came together: Benjamin was asked to write music for a documentary about poet Remco Campert and developed the material into a full-length album. All the cool things about the record: the line-up (young musicians), the theme, the interludes next to full-length songs, the sound, the improvisation, the cover, the photos, the design... Goddamn, everything about this record is great!

This record inspired me as a saxophone player. It showed me the importance of tone, that Jazz wasn't dead, nor isn't right now. The way of improvising is different, in a good way. I play the solo of "Catnap" daily, studying the greats makes you a better player. Besides that, it inspired me, as composer, to write more abstract songs without using the traditional A-B-A form or any similar. And not to forget, it got me into poetry. Remco Campert is my hero. His work has been through my life, ever since this record came out and guided me, while I was in dark times. This poet is all featured on the record on the song "Lamento" and I can't listen to this without tearing up."

V. J Dilla - Donuts (2006)

"It's obvious I had to include Donuts on this list. Mainly, because it's the reason I started making beats. What hasn't been said or written about this album? Probably, [everyone] knows the story by know and if not, I recommend the book by Jordan Ferguson for the series, 33 1/3 about Donuts. I know a lot of musicians who list this one of their main influences, which can sometimes, be tiring, like it's converting in the Kind of Blue of Hip-Hop. To be honest, it's not the only one album that inspired me, it also, guided me to check other producers, which I equally respect as [much as] Dilla: Madlib, Knxwledge, Pete Rock, Samiyam, and Q-Tip, amongst others.

Regardless, to these comments, this work stands out for me because of the use of samples, the rawness of using the Soul 45's, chopped, looped, played faster, slower, while using little effects. The ingredients of this record are the essence I look for while making beats or more general: music. Dilla made the original songs just better or, actually, a lot better. This is a record to discover, re-discover, study, imitate or just to vibe to. The story is intense, the record is deep, but regardless of this, it's a classic, in terms of music only.

This album taught me that I, actually, like Hip-Hop because of the beats more than the raps and motivated me to do it myself: I released STEPBACKS & SETBACKS last year with the A-side mainly inspired by Donuts. This release was the start for me doing what I'm doing today: making beats, while using little effects and staying close to the melody and drums. Dilla showed me that the raw, seemingly "unfinished" songs can be more interesting to the listener than "over-produced" songs. Sometimes, it's better to leave it for what it is and drop those beats. Oh, and I started eating Donuts..."

Reinier Thijs is a Barcelona, Spain-based producer, sax player, beat-maker, and multi-instrumentalist originally hailing from The Netherlands. Since quietly bursting onto the Instrumental Hip-Hop/beat scene in September 2018, Thijs has self-released twp projects as Thijsenterprise: STEPBACKS & SETBACKS—including his homage to J Dilla's Donuts—and 14-track DOKKUM EP. The Dutch beatsmith is also, effectively one half of Amsterdam-based Instrumental Hip-Hop/Jazz duo 2-Two Legged Dogs, along with like-minded multi-instrumntalist Laurens Beijer AKA Drumma Sheen. 2-Two Legged Dogs, actually, unleashed their expansive 22-track debut, Je Hebt De Boem En De Klao AKA "a small hour of coke for the ears" prior to Thijsenterprise's STEPBACKS & SETBACKS, after nearly 10 years of hard work in the studio together. For Both STEPBACK & SETBACKS & DOKKUM EP, Thijsenterprise largely created unique Hip-Hop beats by "chopping [up] Soul & Jazz samples, using raw drums and dirty basslines, all for the love of the perfect loop." Thijsenterprise has already garnered wide-spread critical acclaim from the likes of The Find Mag, Brooklyn Radio, Beat Tape Co-Op, Sampleface, etc. and has painstakingly created a number of exclusive guest mixes. It appears as though Thijsenterprise is already earnestly at work on his proper DOKKUM EP follow-up, Smoetsie, which Brooklyn Radio says will be thematically centered around "good old love-making music" and will likely be released by Spring 2019.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Witzard Premiere: Raymond Strife & iLL-Omega's The Replacements-evoking "Shane Falco" Music Video (Invisible Library Records)

Last year, Trenton, New Jersey-based emcee/producer duo Raymond "Ray" Strife & iLL-Omega unleashed their second proper long-form collaboration, Go for The Gusto. It's the full-length follow-up to Ray Strife & iLL-Omega's 2017 Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, which was, actually, premiered right here, across the pages of The Witzard. On Super Bowl Sunday, I received an email from Ray Strife entitled "Wanna premier a new video?" It was during, as we all well know, a fairly lackluster game between The Patriots & The Rams, so I quickly watched the video and sent an exuberant "Hell yes!" Reply back to Ray. Said music video is for Go for The Gusto stand-out "Shane Falco"—an allusion to Keanu Reeves' character in 2000 Sports/Comedy film, The Replacements—is now, proudly premiering right here on The Witzard, as well, this afternoon. Throughout "Shane Falco"'s nearly 5-minute duration, we're treated to, at least 3-4 different on-screen versions/multiple personalities of our titular character, Raymond Strife. Strife himself describes "Shane Falco" as primarily being "about feeling like you've dug a whole you can't get out of. Like you're trapped in quicksand; like I'm my own worst enemy, which, I think, is kind of illustrated in the video. Eric [Backlund], actually, came up with the video's concept."

Director Eric Backlund of Sketchisms Media fondly describes his experience working on "Shane Falco" "with Raymond Strife," "and Raymond Strife," and "guest star Raymond Strife" as: "the scene driving in the car was a pain in the a$$ to shoot and edit... but the fact that Ray trusts me, makes it a lot easier and less stressful. I like shooting an entire video in one day." Ray Strife tells The Witzard he's already working on the proper follow-up to Go for The Gusto with frequent collaborator iLL-Omega, as well as new material with his "Negative" Hardcore band OVER EVERYTHING. He also, says he's actively working on an EP with another Trenton-based producer named Bockman and preparing music with a "secret" Trenton band that's playing a special gig within the city on Friday, March 29th. Ray Strife, iLL-Omega & OVER EVERYTHING are all planning to head out to Austin, Texas between March 8-17th for a number of gigs they have lined up during South By Southwest AKA SXSW 2019. Raymond Strife & iLL-Omega's Go for The Gusto is currently available on Bandcamp, as well as like-minded digital streaming services, through Invisible Library Records.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

CZARFACE Meets Ghostface's "MONGOLIAN BEEF" Music Video Directed By: Shawn "Shon J." Johnson (NEKTR/@oldsoulbrother1)

Shawn Johnson is a multi-talented artist, who makes digital art and videos, as well as Instrumental Hip-Hop. For his digital art efforts, Shawn goes by @oldsoulbrother AKA NEKTR (@SHONJART) and has released music, over the years, as Shon J. Mr.J with Mr. Backside, OLD SOUL with Optimus Prime, and as part of Hip-Hop/Rock band, NOGENRE559 with affiliation to The Natural High, Amajin Records, and Alpha Force. Shawn Johnson has worked with and created Cut-and-Paste-esque music videos for The Witzard mainstay Purple Dialect, Slum Village emcee T3, Westside Gunn & Conway affiliate Benny The Butcher, J-Zone & Pablo Martin's The Du-Rites, Ali Miller FKA Truck North (The Roots,) K.A.A.N. and Lance Skiiiwalker. I've previously spoken with Shawn Johnson concerning his work on Purple Dialect's "Cocoa" video, as well as Shon J & Mr. Backside's 32-track Mr.J beat tape; however, in recent months, Shawn has been mentioning a number of high-profile collaborations including "CZARFACE vs. Ghostface Killah" and Guilty Simpson's Reckonize Real-produced Carved from Stone. As a matter of fact, just this past Friday, CZARFACEDJ 7L, Esoteric & Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck—joined forces with Ghostface Killah for CZARFACE Meets Ghostface, remarkably, their sixth album in just as many years!

Shawn A. Johnson had the distinct honor of directing and creating a music video for CZARFACE Meets Ghostface's second single, "MONGOLIAN BEEF," which was unveiled just days before the album's wide release. It appears as though Shon J. inter-cut a wide array of zany stock footage, animations, still imagery, etc. with shots of Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric to go along with their various portions of "MONGOLIAN BEEF." It's definitely something different, zany, and uniquely out-there; Shawn Johnson's "MONGOLIAN BEEF" music video is one of those things you could watch over and over again and, easily, notice something new or different with each viewing! CZARFACE Meets Ghostface is now available on GetOnDown/Silver Age. CZARFACE die-hards can expect an interview with DJ 7L of The Czar-Keys coming soon to Overseas music publication, GrownUpRap, along with an interview with emcee and comic book nerd Esoteric coming soon to The Witzard. Although, for the time being, I strongly suggest you ch-ch-check out our comprehensive interview with CZARFACE songstress and "BOMB THROWN" Feat. DOOM video director Kendra Morris from last year's CZARFACE Meets Metal Face album cycle.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Mr. Dibbs & DJ T-Rock Present: P**NTABLISTS' "Just The Tip" from The 2nd Cumming Full-length (Parental Advisory/Not Safe for Work)

Mr. Dibbs is a producer, circuit-bending artist, and long-time touring DJ for Atmosphere, El-P, Run The Jewels, and Eyedea. DJ T-Rock is a modern-day "cowboy," aspiring actor, and experienced turntablist with recent releases on Cold Busted. Mr. Dibbs & DJ T-Rock have known each other for at least 16 years with one of their earliest appearances on-record together being "Porntablist" from Side F of Dibbs' acclaimed 2003 Rhymesayers Ent. 3xLP, The 30th Song. DJ T-Rock & Mr. Dibbs have since collaborated countless times, including: "Dibbs (Outro)" from RAP ON ME? THE ORFANZ EP, "Rock Out" from DJ T-Rock & Squashy Nice Present: OUTLOUD, A.P.S.O.'s single "The Isle" with @E_makes_music, and a mysterious project called Travel Lodge 305. Now, Mr. Dibbs & DJ T-Rock have once again reunited as Porntablists to collectively display "the art of manipulating pornographic sound bites" with their turntables. For Porntablists' "forthcumming" album, The 2nd Cumming, DJ T-Rock & Mr. Dibbs have compiled a collection of Sex Education, "stag party," and X-rated vinyl records originally released from 1950-80. Just this week, in honor of Valentine's Day, Mr. Dibbs & DJ T-Rock have unleashed the first "scene" from Porntablists' The 2nd Cumming with a raunchy nearly 6-minute single entitled "Just The Tip." It's now available on a Name-Your Price basis from DJ T-Rock's Bandcamp page, as well as FREE download directly from

"So... DJ T-Rock (@djt_rockofficial) & Myself Were Thinking About This. Do You Remember A Time When You Didn't Have Walk On F***ing Egg Shells, As To Not Offend Your Neighbors God Damn P.C. Cat Or Whatever The F**k That Thing Is? You Miss That Don't You? Well, So Do We. So, F**K 'EM, We've Returned. PORNTABLIST IS BACK! Here's The Teaser To The First "Scene." We Call It "JUST THE TIP." This Entire "Scene" Will Be Available To DOWNLOAD FOR FREE! ON VALENTINE'S DAY! With The Full-Length To Follow Shortly. So, If You Like Porn Sounds, Scratching, Glitches, Vaseline, Various Lubes & Really, Don't Give A Flying F**k Who You, Potentially, Might Offend, Then, This Sh*t's For You. If Not, Then, F**K DIRECTLY OFF... Enjoy Kids, It Only Hurts The First Couple Of Times!"

- MR. DIBBS (@mrf*ckingdibbs)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

These Bastards Rip Through Choice Cuts from Old... ...and pissed 7-inch on KZSU Stanford's Wednesday Night Live (90.1FM)

These Bastards are a phenomenally-named Punk/Hardcore & Powerviolence band hailing from San Francisco, California. It appears as though These Bastards initially formed around January 2018, prior to the release of their frantic 6-track DEMO 2018 EP. These Bastards' first proper release, Old... ...and pissed's 7-inch liner notes proclaim, "These Bastards are these bastards: T.C. Bonelocs: Drums, Stoney: Guitar, Leech: Vocals, Bruno: Bass." These Bastards' Bandcamp page boasts it, in fact, consists of members of Conquest for Death, Venkman, Slobber, Agents of Satan, and Go Like This. These Bastards' Facebook page—I know, these bastards are all over social media!—additionally lists their "Affiliations" as: Dioretix, Fassbender, Mad Cow Dizeaze 182, Translators, Feldmans, Creepy People, Shed Wellaz, Gym Class Heroes(?), Say Bok Gwai, Theeannoying, Three Wheel Motion, and Useless Youth. Lo and behold, "Stoney Maloney" is, actually, Alex Yeung, who infamously played sax throughout SPAZZ's 1997 Sound Pollution Records/625 Thrashcore album, La Revancha, which was recently re-released digitally for the first time ever by Tankcrimes. I've also, recently learned that Leech is SPAZZ founder Dan Lactose AKA DJ Eons One's brother.

Back in 1997, SPAZZ/Slobber released a mysterious unlabeled split 7-inch housed in a blank cardboard sleeve on Sacapuntas. Leech & Dan Lactose, also, spent some time together playing in a short-lived band called Three Wheel Motion, along with Jon "J-Luv" Areds & Mark "Mark Ass MC" McCoy, who released one self-titled single-sided cassette on 36crazyFists. in 1996. Last night, while scrolling through Twitter, I stumbled upon a post from Kurlee Daddee Productions (@KurleeDaddee) entitled "These Bastards on Wed. Night Live @KZSU 1/23/19 (full set)" along with links to his blog,, as well as a YouTube video from KZSU Live. Honestly, the first thing I noticed one I clicked the link and turned on the 40-minute video was These Bastards' bassist Dave "Bruno" Bruno proudly rockin' a Dr. Octagon/Dr. Octagonecologyst T-shirt. Oddly enough, guitarist "Stoney" AKA Alex Yeung contributed "Sax & Violence" throughout SPAZZ's La Revancha, which also, featured Kool Keith AKA Dr. Octagon himself on album stand-out, "Camp Chestnut." As These Bastards' Wednesday Night Live session commences, frontman Leech proclaims: "Hi, in the temporary autonomous zone, in the shadow of the empire, you were hopin' for Those Bastards... but you got These Bastards instead!"

These Bastards then, launch into a frenzied set of songs that's almost Jazz-indebted and reminiscent of Henry Rollins-era Black Flag amidst KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM's "cramped" dusty basement-esque space. Through a series of separate sets strewn across nearly 40 minutes, I believe, These Bastards play a selection of choice cuts from both Old... ...and pissed and DEMO 2018, as well as "a couple new songs during that first set," as Stoney explains, which can be heard prior to the 12/13-minute mark. Leech & Bruno add that said new songs will be recorded in April at Earhammer Studios with Greg Wilkinson of Brainoil fame, who also, mixed and mastered Old... ...and pissed. According to Dave Bruno & Stoney Maloney, These Bastards' next live shows will be Feb. 21st at The Elbow Room in Oakland, California with Empty People, That Ship Has Sailed & Invertebrate and on March 9th at Mardi Gras Lounge in Redwood City, California. Leech further explains to the KZSU DJ that These Bastards are currently "planning tours, but that's super-secret top-level stuff... so secret, we don't even know!" These Bastards' Old... ...and pissed 7-inch is currently available to purchase on Bandcamp or as Leech calls it, "TheseBastards.TheBandcamp.commie."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Moshuss & Hanses' Japanese Instrumental Hip-Hop Album Poltergeist On Limited Edition 10-inch with 5 Silk-screened LP Covers (Fennek Records)

Moshuss & Hanses are are two new-comer producers hailing from Mannheim, Germany and their 10-inch vinyl, Poltergeist, is the first release on Fennek Records. Fennek is, in fact, run by Hannes AKA Hanses, along with Heinrich AKA Shaga—yes, we're all on a first name basis around here! It appears as though Fennek Records plans to continually release a series of limited edition hand-made silk-screened projects on 10-inch vinyl; again, their inaugural project, Poltergeist from Moshuss & Hanses is currently available in 5 different "cardboard" cover designs complete with OBI strips that are limited to 50 copies each with 250 copies available all together. Poltergeist consists of 24 Instrumental Hip-Hop beats all clocking in at abut 1-2:00 minutes or less, which were jointly composed and created by Moshuss & Hanses. Hannes & Lukas (Moshuss) went diggin' through an endless trove of both digital and physical source material, strictly limiting themselves to only using Japanese records. "We think it's cool to have a clear vision and topic for every physical record we release," Fennek Records' Heinrich recently told The Find Magazine.

"Like, in the case of Poltergeist: only Japanese samples," Heinrich further explained within The Find Magazine's New Label Love interview column. The Find Magazine (@thefindmag) actually, did an Instagram post over the weekend, which read: "J Dilla, Japan, Jazz & beats: today's new record additions, via @FennekRecords, @BlackGoldAmsterdam, @VillageLiveRecords & @Postpartum.Records" that was the first place I had seen or heard about Moshuss & Hanses' Poltergeist or even Fennek Records, for that matter. It appears as though another integral part of Fennek Records' behind-the-scenes team is CZOLK x MISM (@czolk) who will be designing all of the hand silk-screened covers for Poltergeist, as well as Fennek's upcoming batch of 10-inch releases. Honestly, that's what first caught my eye: the 5 stark "cardboard," almost comic book-like CZOLK-designed sleeves for Poltergeist. Moshuss & Hanses' Poltergeist is now exclusively available digitally and on 10-inch from Fennek Records' Bandcamp page while supplies last.

"How the album was made: Lukas and I decided to do an album together. We did not have a heading [theme] at that time, so we started to look out for interesting countries because we wanted to have a topic we could work on.

First of all, we wanted to sample Chinese music, but we couldn't find too much sample-able music from China and then, we switched to Japan. Via YouTube, we found lots of promising music (just to get an idea of what was possible) and we also, found out that just some weeks ago a record store had opened in Mannheim, which was specialized on Japanese music—jackpot! We used samples we found on vinyl and samples we found on The Internet.

A very important part for this album was to search for music and build a big library; especially, for the drums, [percussion], and SFX. Using Japanese samples only meant that we had to start from scratch. So, the bigger the library got, the easier it was to make beats in a technical way. We also, used software synthesizers for some melodies and basslines; especially, sub-bass—not easy to find on records!

We did simple "Loop Hip-Hop" (ie: finding a nice piece of music and looping it over and over) and we also, did a lot of chopping and re-arranging in our project. Some beats, we built together, but most of the beats are either Hanses or Moshuss.

Besides collecting samples, which is fun, making a beat most;y starts (in our case) by finding a melody, a chord, a piece of music you really like. Simply put: the main sample. Then, you start playing with it—chopping, pitching, using FX or whatever you like. After that, you build the beat around it. BUT, sometimes, you also, start with the drums or anything else. It depends."

- Hannes & Heinrich (@fennekrecords)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Chicago Progressive Hip-Hop Crew Jyroscope Unleash Jyroscope On The House Follow-up MUTE EP (ReSERVED Records)

Jyroscope is a Chicago-based Hip-Hop crew/self-described "3-headed monster" consisting of producer I.B. Fokuz, emcee Collasoul Structure, and turntablist DJ Seanile; "Jyroscope is the epitome of Progressive Hip-Hop over ear-consuming soundscapes, upon which the strongest impressions of truth are painted. Ranging from poetic rhyme schemes to heart-felt imagery, this group symbolizes the first time you fell in love with music," explains their impassioned Facebook Biography. Jyroscope (@jyroscope) are affiliated with Chicago-based Tomorrow Kings collective, which was actually, founded by I.B. Fokuz and are loosely "signed" to close friend and emcee Gilead7's LA imprint, ReSERVED Records. Jyroscope's past releases include 2011's RAGTIME and Rock "N" Roll-flipping JYROSCOPE ON THE ROCKS... Mixtape, and 2016's House music re-working Jyroscope On The House, as well as 2018 released singles, "MUTE" Feat. Gatz N Goods & "QUASI" Feat. Jason Gatz. JYROSCOPE ON THE ROCKS... Mixtape features a phenomenal track entitled "What's Yo' Occupation" (Black Keys Remix) which flips both The Black Keys' "I Got Mine" from Attack & Release and I.B. Fokuz's "What's Yo' Occupation" from his own 2005 album, Author & His Paintbrush. Now, those two 2018 singles, along with five previously unreleased tracks, have been re-collected as Jyroscope's long-awaited third full-length release, MUTE EP.

It starts out with a 7-minute track/spoken word intro featuring Gatz N Goods AKA Jason "Gatz" Shaw & Ashley "Goods" Good, wherein Wizard Jenkins The Great proclaims "when I first heard Jyroscope... these two dudes come up and they like, "yeah, we from around the corner," so, automatically, it's 2004-2005, I'm expecting some Drill sh*t, some real Drill sh*t before that sh*t blew up and then, the beat drops and I'm just like, "oh my God!" This is some real-a$$ progressive/futuristic Chicago sh*t that, like, I've always wanted to hear, but never knew f***kin' existed." Honestly, the first time I had heard anything even remotely similar to Chicago Drill music was throughout Kanye's 2013 Aggro-Rap magnum opus, Yeezus featuring fellow Chicagoans Chief Keef, King L AKA King Louie, Lupe Fiasco, and super-producer No I.D. In addition to Yeezus-era Kanye and Chicago Drill, Collasoul Structure, I.B. Fokuz & DJ Seanile channel Run The Jewels, OutKast, and Eminem throughout their MUTE EP, in my "humble" opinion, at least. Jyroscope's MUTE EP features production throughout from I.B. Fokuz, as well as co-production from Gatz N Goods, scratches throughout from DJ Seanile, and features from Gatz N Goods, Jason Gatz, Wizard Jenkins The Great, Malakh El, and Ashley Good. Jyroscope earnestly recorded their MUTE EP at Fokul Mount Studios in East Chicago with mixing done by Clockwise at "The Mothership" in La Puenta, California, and mastering handled by Sean Owens at Lounge Fidelity Studios right in the heart of Chicago. Jyroscope's MUTE EP is now available to stream or download on their Bandcamp page, as well as like-minded digital streaming platforms.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Grand Invincible Announce First-ever Digital Re-issues of COLD HAND IN THE DICE GAME & WINTER 365 EP (Megakut Records)

Grand Invincible is a California-based 2-man Hip-Hop crew featuring emcee Luke Sick and esteemed producer/turntablist DJ Eons One. Luke Sick AKA J. Luke Oakson & Clell Miller owns and operates Punk/Hip-Hop imprint, Megakut Records. While DJ Eons One AKA Dan Lactose was once a founding member of Hip-Hop-loving Powerviolence band, SPAZZ and has his own small-batch imprint called Tinted Windows Record Co. Both DJ Eons One & Luke Sick have released countless records under an infinite amount of aliases, but together, they've released three albums and three singles/EP's as Grand Invincible between about 2008-15. Ask The Dust (2008) was self-released by Grand Invincible themselves, 2010's COLD HAND IN THE DICE GAME was released on Zero Friends, and Menace Mode was released on super-limited cassette by Luke's own Megakut Records. Amidst this aforementioned series of releases, Luke Sick & DJ Eons One unleashed WINTER 365 as both a 2-track 7-inch and expanded 9-track CD-R EP on SPAZZ drummer Max "625" Ward's 625 Thrashcore, a Megakut cassingle with "Go Fast Boats" B/W "Napalm," and "Purse Thieves" & "The Style Is Bonkers" B/W "Elephant Tranq" 12-inch on Zero Friends. Now, nearly 10 years later, Luke Sick & DJ Eons One have once again, joined forces—their self-tilted CCCRRCCSSLLRRKKRRSSS CD-R was unleashed in 2017—for proper re-issues/re-releases of both Grand Invincible's COLD HAND IN THE DICE GAME & WINTER 365 EP.

Earlier this week, Megakut Records announced plans to release Grand Invincible's beloved 2010-12 short-run releases digitally for the first time ever; "the G.I. movement [is] based on the philosophy that Hip-Hop as an artform was best served under the technological limitations of the late 80's and early 90's and the best Hip-Hop records were made made using records," boasts a newly-minted Bandcamp description. Megakut Records' WINTER 365 digital re-issue features 2 tracks from the original 2012 625 Thrashcore orange 7-inch, as well as 5 previously unreleased songs and 2 BONUS instrumentals, all from the Megakut CD EP. Grand Invincible's COLD HAND IN THE DICE GAME is currently available digitally for the first time ever on Megakut Records' Bandcamp page; G.I.'s sophomore album is, also, still available in the original 2010 Zero Friends CD version complete with a fold-out screen-printed poster of artist Eric Kneeland's "full-octopus" print. There are currently 4 (of 15) SOLD OUT Ultra-Limited Art Packages available, as well, which includes: "1 CHITDG CD, 1 "Purse Thieves" B/W "Elephant Tranq" 12-inch vinyl (sleeve "bombed" with artwork and slaps by various writers from Lords/UM all 1/1's), 2 CHITDG square pins, 1 of 60 original hand-made screen-prints of Eric Kneeland's album cover art, and 1 Lords/UM random sticker pack." According to Mega Kut's Facebook page, Luke Sick plans to release NOT ONE, BUT TWO brand spankin' new Grand Invincible projects, tentatively titled, The Results EP (All SP-404) & Demolition Strictly LP, dropping at some point throughout 2019.

"Rap Release Infinity Gauntlet Forecast for The One-Niner (2019):

Out Now!: Strike The Clutch - self-titled full-length
Out Now!: DJ Raw B & Luke Sick - Born Illness
February: ON TILT (& Various Artists) - THE TILTILATION
March: The Disturbers - Infidel Producer *
(previously unreleased from 2003)
March: DANKSLOB (G-Pek & Luke Sick) - II & III
April: S. Brothers - Back to The Scene of The Blunts (super-triple-mega-maxi-summer-slammer-single)

Other Joints On-Deck (Working Titles Only):

ON TILT - Koba Dera EP
Grand Invincible - The Result EP (All SP-404)
Grand Invincible - Demolition Strictly LP

All of Them Rippers...

Sacred Hoop? YOLE BOYS?"

- Mega Kut (Megakut Records)