Pre-order Lines here.
Julian Lynch has been releasing home-recorded music under his own name since 2008. He has developed a unique style across several releases in the last five years, most fully realized in his newest long-playing project, Lines. Lynch builds Lines upon musically complex and thoughtful compositions without abandoning the accessibility, nuanced timbres, and vivid instrumentation found on his first three LPs. In addition to recording and performing music, Lynch leads a parallel life as a PhD student in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Carios kelleyi I
Carios kelleyi II
**Download coupon available with LP – good for 2 downloads**
Cultures of Soul presents Tommy Stewart’s Disco Love Affair, a collection of rare and unreleased disco funk gems from the late 70′s that have really caught our attention. As the first disco review we have done at the site, it comes with great pleasure that we are able to present this compilation of important reissues that have been hidden from the general public for years. With a heavy dose of research around the life of Tommy Stewart (teacher, trumpet player, pianist, producer and writer), the package pulls back the curtain once again on an era that defined American dance music for many years. What makes Tommy Stewart’s Disco Love Affair so special is the soulful approach the music takes on, revealing a composer who extended his voice well beyond just the dance floor. Lush and complex arrangements are cleverly positioned around heavy ballad work and dance floor anthems. It was through Tommy Stewart’s path in the closing years of the 70′s that he was able to capture the 14 songs on this compilation. Funk, disco, soul, jazz and shades of the future can be heard all over Tommy Stewart’s Disco Love Affair.
Finding the origins of these recordings from Georgia, they are a sparkling reminder of the Atlanta sound that became a foundation for not only disco but many other forms of popular music after it. Separated into different sessions that took place between 1977 and 1978, the closing session from 1978 are my favorite pieces of the bunch and shows a band whose bottom end was just as powerful as the keyboard lines, horn arrangements and the rest. The first eight songs come from a session done in the spring of 1977 with the guest inclusion of vocalist Stevo. The story of Tony Stewart is really interesting in regards to these sessions as they were a response statement from Tony and his bands to the changing and evolving scenes around them. Soul, rock, blues and jazz music had been the bridge to funk music and funk was a bridge to disco and many other genres. You can hear this lineage in genre expansion all the way from beginning to end with Tommy Stewart’s Disco Love Affair.
It’s a compilation we highly recommend for any fan of popular dance music with that touch of soul in the 70′s and 80′s. With a cover to raise some eye brows and music to raise them even higher, it doesn’t get much better than this if you like things on the funky, sophisticated and soulful side of the disco world.
Order a copy from Cultures of Soul here http://www.culturesofsoul.com/2012/07/27/tommy-stewart-pre-order/
I started being serious about following my dream to make electronic music, and to be my own engineer, five years ago. For the 10 years prior to that, I had been playing guitar along with a wide range of different types of programmed synthesizer and sample based music, emulating as best as I could, what I heard. I found that the languages machines forced programmers to think in had caused them to discover a new musical vocabulary. – John Frusciante
It is a whirling dervish of genres and possibilities. It is an experimental, synth-pop, progressive hip-hop odyssey infused with mellow funk riffs and angelic vocals. Now if that isn’t a mouthful, I don’t know what else is. What Frusciante is doing here is very new, very refreshing, and at times hard to follow. A song can be going in the general pop driven direction and take a very sudden, erratic detour into noisy, Venetian Snares-like passages. But on “Letur Lefr”, it makes it all the more interesting.
It seems that every measure has a different drumbeat, and with every melodic, poppy synth line follows a progressive lead/break beat backflip that leaves the listener rewinding the track to understand exactly what happened. Taking into account his leave from the Chili Peppers, his newfound life style and romantic commitment with music, it is say to safe that he has definitely ventured out of himself. With every Frusciante record comes a different aspect of his music. Seeing as he is constantly bending his own limitations, he grows in this sort of unstable, unpredictable musical setting. It is the freedom to breathe inside of the million skins we live in.
He has grown tired of pop/rock song structure. He wanted to “unteach” his hand guitar techniques and learn different approaches to creating music, often citing the idea of technology and humanity clashing, mixing and reforming. This is very apparent on “Letur Lefr”. RZA comes in on some tracks sharing his abilities over synth hip-hop layered with John’s incredible guitar playing. “Glowe” reminds me of what John Frusciante’s impression of “The Books” would be.
It’s very much an exciting listen that stands out from most electronics being produced while still cultivating electronic music’s original roots as well as John’s.
Get it HERE
Message issued by Stones Throw earlier today.
“When we first started planning with Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah to release their new album Stereotype, the first thing SAS’s Krondon wanted to do was give out half of the album as a free download. We of course were all for it, and here is it …
These tracks feature David Banner, Dom Kennedy, Bad Lucc, Chace Infinite and Baby D, with production exclusively by Statik Selektah. The full-length, 14-track version of Stereotypedrops August 14 – Pre-order and advanced digital available now.
Bizzart has lived with music indestructibly for what seems like ages now and shines with a cosmic force in the underground hip hop scene that is unlike anything else before him. With his plethora of projects and solo work, he has been paving out an existence in the last 15 years or so that stretches limitations of how genres should co-exist together and the possibility of darkness and the light living together in an unassuming and humble manner. Wild style raps, side winding beats, sci-fi jazz, lush inner workings of mutated synth and an overall balance between the incendiary and mythic truths that leaves his music in a state of suspended bliss. To put it in simple terms, it’s that Gutter Trunk sound. In just minutes, Bizzart shows everything you can imagine possible and proceeds to deprogram you into a state of natural listening. There’s not many in the game with this value set in their career and Bizzart stands by his gifts tall and proud.
The yin and yang of music is something that leaves music at a very natural state. Bizzart has come full circle in this push and pull medium with one of his latest projects Gothic Cholo and the two part release Plastic Tears. Part 1 breathes with a unobtrusive flow of energy and allows for the light to pour into the speakers on contact. The clarity and openness of the production gives way to the prolific raps of Bizzart as he diagnosis society and the ills that it speaks of along with presenting inspiration to the masses that are hearing it. The raps flow with the energy of the music and are as clarity filled as the music itself. When beats are this open, you immediately realize the space not being used serves a huge purpose in the mix as well. Futuristic rap music with seeds planted some 15 years ago, Plastic Tears Part 1 travels through a big span of musical territory. There isn’t a singular style you can expect to take you from beginning to end. Production was handled by Seattle native Suttikeeree aka Dead Noise, and his style meshes so well with the vernacular of Bizzart.
Plastic Tears Part 2 was produced from San Diego’s Skrapez and Los Angeles’ Walter Gross and comes off as a completely different area of sound when compared to Part 1. Distorted vocals, beats that push sonic registers in every direction possible and an overall controlled chaos that is sublime for any fan of high quality lo-fi music. Unhinged, rapturous and psychotic, there is a supreme and heavenly aura that knocks out my senses on the second part of Plastic Tears. It’s as if the world ended and these are the manuscripts that described what happened. It’s more ferocious and beastly in nature than Part 1 and shows how far Bizzart was willing to take his Gothic Cholo project to show all of his sides and particularly his wild and divine style.
Hip hop has always been a source of communication for the youth and a testament to how this generation is living and Gothic Cholo has cut out one of the most rebellious, subversive and raw pathways to stem from the genres planted foundations. Los Angeles analog label Time Lapse is responsible for the vinyl press and Architects + Heroes also out of Los Angeles is handling the CD presses. Both parts can be streamed below.
Time Lapse Records
Sticker on Jacket
Artwork : Ayla Eichler
Limited Edition of 150
PRODUCED BY SUTTIKEEREE (A.K.A. DEADNOISE)
ALL WORDS AND LYRICS BY GOTHIC CHOLO (A.K.A. BIZZART)
PUBLISHING: NINJAPOETICS (ASCAP) PSYCHOPOPSKRAPEZ (ASCAP)
COVER ART: AYLA EICHLER
PHOTOS: ANGEL DIAZ
LOGO: MOTION MEE
TYPOGRAPHY AND IMAGE SETTING: LEFTM LEFTMGRAPHICS.COM
ARCHITECTS AND HEROES RECORDS ARCHITECTSANDHEROES.NET
Out today, June 11th is “Entropy” by Portformat. It fits like a fine, black on black space suit with gold cuffs. It is an elegant release mixing together high-end R&B with mysterious hip-hop and spacey electronics, released on Tokyo Dawn Records.
“Entropy” resonates a strong resemblance and similarity to the way Madlib does his crafting and influential work. The tracks are sweet, hit hard (in Portformat’s case, smooth) and hit home. But this release features no dust, no dirt. It is like crispy jeans.
The vocals are a very important part to the release, bringing together all of the beats and skipping glitch noises. The mixes are incredible. Portformat’s ability to mix dubstep with space hop all inside of an R&B space Opera is, to say the least, incredibly original and refreshing.
I highly recommend this release, plus the album cover and art work is gorgeous too. Highlights for me on the release are power duo Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow along with the track “Dubtimistic”. “Tokyo Dawn Records” has an onslaught of spacedelic hipped sound coming from this refreshing release. Another highlight is “Science Fiction” with DistantStarr.
Definitely worth checking out.
Allan Holdsworth is a guitar players guitarist. Born in England, Holdsworth has been on records since the late 60′s and has been putting together some of the most unique and creative configurations of sounds from the guitar and many other instruments. Holdsworth is the kind of maverick on an axe that can drop jaws instantly and inspire even the most of technical and proficient players. His resume speaks volumes, including vital work with the Tony Williams Lifetime, Soft Machine, Terry Bozio, Gordon Beck, Nucleus, Gong, Jean Luc-Ponty, Tempest and many others. Eddie Van Halen championed him and with over a dozen solo records under his belt, he has become one of the most respected guitar players of the post 60′s explosion of instrumentalist that entered the scene after Hendrix. With Holdsworth releasing his first solo LP in the early 80′s in I.O.U., he has pushed the boundaries of music with some of the best around. In an age of full of reissues ranging in the most obscure to some of the most well known artists around, the world is now catching up to some of Holdsworth’s solo LP in his discography.
The latest album to come back into the light is the 1993 release Hard Hat Area. First released through Polydor in Japan and Fred Bloggs in the UK, the 1993 release was a more natural and needed departure from the modified guitar heavy records he was getting into the years before Hard Hat Area was recorded. Holdsworths band at the time Hard Hat Area was recorded consisted of keyboardist and Berklee School of Music alumni Steve Hunt, Icelandic composer and bassist Skúli Sverrisson and British percussionist Gary Husband. Seven songs of provocative and complex guitar, synthetically complex keys, vast arrays of percussive identities into acoustics and electronics and bass work of the most technical nature, Hard Hat Area is one of the most authentic fusion records of the 90′s. It is one of the few records in his catalog that brings the culture Holdsworth became highly respected for since the 70′s under one roof. The straight ahead jazz feeling lives in this record through out and the brightly lit torch of all these musicians surfaces with every song from the sophisticated structures created in this idiom of sound.
As one of the few albums in Holdsworths catalog to be road tested before recordings were captured in the digital 32 track realm, this album has been cited by Holdsworth as one of his personal favorites from his entire discography. With a synthetic consistency in tone and wildly progressive melodic solo’ing from Holdsworth and his band at the time, Hard Hat Area pulls from the vast world of electronic characteristics the 80′s were so well known for and adds the masterful composition and instrument knowledge Holdsworth kept as a standard regardless of the tools he utilized. With a song like “Ruhkukah”, each musician shines of excellence in proficiency and creative will. Locked into a tightly placed groove, Holdsworth weaves in and out of the framework with what seems like the most ease. It’s like seeing a sports player do something incredible that you know you could never pull off but it looks so smooth and easy all at the same time.
The self titled track, “Hard Hat Area, builds on a digitized construction of percussive chaos and beauty. Keys rise up in the most lofty way, allowing the odd sounding synthetic percussion to dance in joyous procession. Over six minutes in length, there is a translucent and classical sequence that makes the song breath in the most surreal way and separates it from many fusion sounding albums of the 90′s. Holdsworth rises notes up and just lets them hang in suspense as the song gathers momentum into what is finally a heavy jazz fusion excursion. The bass is exploratory but never leaves the pocket in too much length, leaving all of the room in the world for Holdsworth to go off on the guitar and do things to his fretboard guitar players dream they wish of and dream about. In an age of evolving modes of sound, Holdsworth and company gave the 90′s something very new yet very classic in the way they all masterfully own their instruments. You can’t help but think of all the ground he had covered leading up to the 90′s when listening to this album in full.
MoonJune Records out of New York City is responsible for the reissue of the 7th solo album from one of the most prolific guitar players ever. Pressed in a digipack CD along with new liner notes, the album is capped off with the inclusion of the UK cover that was pressed on conjunction with the Japanese version that has a different cover. If you are looking for electronic jazz fusion records made after Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return to Forever and others had blasted out the scene, Hard Hat Area is the perfect record for you.
- Recorded by Biff Vincent at Front Page Recorders, Costa Mesa, California.
- Recorded and mixed by Allan Holdsworth.
- Originally mastered in 1993 by Bernie Grundman.
- Remastered in 2011 by Chris Bellman, at Bernie Grundman Mastering.
- Reissue Project Supervisor and Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic
- Repackaged and presented in digipak format, with new liner notes written by Barry Cleveland.
All of the reissue items can be viewed and purchased at Acoustic Sounds.
- Five individual titles plus exclusive bonus album of cover classics, all on 33
- 1/3 LP
- All mastered from the original sources by Kevin Gray
- LPs pressed on 200-gram vinyl at Quality Record Pressings
- The box set will be wrapped in a textured paper that feels like linen
Norah Jones is the rare artist who has combined widespread critical acclaim with immense commercial success, winning nine Grammy Awards and selling 40 million albums in just a decade, while collaborating with artists from across the spectrum from jazz to hip hop, rock to country. Her pitch perfect voice combined with her choice of the finest musicians along with top-flight producers such as Arif Mardin, Danger Mouse and Jacquire King have made her releases go-to demonstration discs for audiophile stereo systems. Now ten years into her already impressive career, she is releasing her fifth studio album Little Broken Hearts on May 1, 2012 produced by and co-written with five-time Producer of the Year Grammy nominee Danger Mouse, and to celebrate, Blue Note Records and Analogue Productions are collaborating to re-issue her entire catalog in limited edition audiophile LP and SACD editions.
The LP editions of the five albums — 2002′s Come Away With Me, 2004′s Feels Like Home, 2007′s Not Too Late, 2009′s The Fall and Norah’s new album Little Broken Hearts — have all been re-mastered from the original sources by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio. The LPs will be pressed on 200 Gram vinyl at Quality Record Pressings (fast gaining popular consensus as the best pressing plant in the world) and, keeping with Analogue Productions’ standards, they will be packaged in heavy cardboard stock, tip-on, old-school gatefold sleeves.
In addition to the individual releases, Analogue and Blue Note will produce a limited edition vinyl box set comprising all five titles plus an exclusive bonus album entitled Covers. Only available as part of these sets, Covers includes ten rare or unreleased interpretations of classics recorded throughout Norah’s career. Artists covered include Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Horace Silver, Wilco and more. The box set will be wrapped in a textured paper that feels like linen. – Acoustic Sounds
Norah Jones ‘Little Broken Hearts’ (Album Trailer)
Frank Maston, guitarist of the Los Angeles quartet So Many Wizards, has released an expanded version of his debut cassette EP Opal with Family Time Records. With an additional track included onto the original run, this limited edition CD-r serves as the 28th release in Family Time Records ongoing saga of modern sounds from the underground rock world. Opal is truly an extravagant arrangement of 20th century pop influence that crosses the board and the generations before us, hinting towards an otherworldly dreamy state that melts the music into a pool of colorful harmony. From Deerhunter to David Lynch, I can hear so many different types of music submerged into the Opal sound that it really becomes its own thing.
Opal is dreamy from front to back with tones that cascade from the highly processed sets of effects and synthesizer each song on the ep presents. The percussion is always stripped to the bone and gives a calming, nostalgia feeling of older, more simple times to the record. This isn’t a record about drum rolls and intricate and complex drum placements. It is a record that puts all its eggs into the melodic shaping, lyrical presentation and gilded voicing of these two areas conjoined. Because of these unique blends of effects and synthesizer settings inside of a framework of strong song writing, the music becomes as airy and light as it is commanding and powerful.
‘Gold Leaf, the opening song from Opal, creates a mirage induced garden from the mirrors of guitar that bounce around each from the processing of Maston’s axe. The vocal layering and specifically the backing parts, sounds like a 50′s doo wop piece, something that gives this record a very nostalgic feeling of the past on contact. The second track, ‘Meteor Shower’, sounds like a Bjork interlude that came straight from Venus. Very short in length, it’s a breathing point from the guitar and vocal heavy song writing Opal lives off of.
With the song ‘Wigwan’, I felt like I was inside of the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks after hearing it for the first time. Built on a lot of simplicity, the guitar riffs are some of the catchiest yet dark lines I have heard in some time. It’s the type of track that I can’t get enough of. Immediately after this nod to the Twin Peaks sound, the mad scientist horror scene comes out in full with the track ‘Well’. This song really reveals how mood shifting the record can become track after track. The expansion of Opal from cassette to CD-r with Family Time Records has come with the track ‘Potemkin’, a modern pop song that makes me feel like I am inside of a black and white 50′s TV show intro.
Opal from Maston is one album I am glad the good people at Family Time Records have been given access to release. A must hear album for all fans of the bridging age of experimentation and pop.
Family Time Records
- Gold Leaf
- Meteor Shower
- Over The Falls
- Pearl Driver
When it comes to innovations in modern synthesizer technology, the most common reference you will hear is Robert Moog and his famous Moog synthesizer gear. At the forefront along with Robert was Don Buchla, a modern synthesizer maverick and well respected researcher in multiple fields of study. The two created gear that would change the idea of sound and the possibilities of micro fragments under different synthetic properties. It wasn’t until I was sent one of the latest compilations from the illustrious Finders Keepers Records that I knew of Don and the influence that had made its way into the disc I was hearing. This influence is of course in the name of Suzanne Ciani and the compilation record Lixiviation. Suzanne is a world renowned 5 time Grammy nominee electronic innovator. As an Italian American composer who specializes in a vast array of synthesizers, Suzanne Ciani is emerging back into the public consciousness with this impressive set on Finders Keepers Records. Her use of the the Buchla synthesizers in the time of their creation became an extensive tool in her approach towards electronics along with a multi-array of keyboards, modules and other gear from the best companies around. This set highlights in many ways, the importance Suzanne had on modern underground and mainstream cultures with a nostalgic focus on the defining era of synth micro composition in mainstream ads and video games of the 70′s and 80′s. The longer and more drawn out pieces reign in a galactic voyage of suns warmth. Every layer becomes a subversion for long passages and sequences in color variation that cycle in spheres around the programmed sequences of sound that take her weeks to construct. Suzanne Ciani studied classical music at MA in her younger years, adapting to the electronic format after being introduced from friend and sculptor Harold Paris to the Buchla world. It was this foundation that gave her a head start in bridging the age of electronics into modern culture and her move to New York in the early 70′s moved her closer to all the new technology that was coming out. By the 80′s she had fully realized her sound and was into creating her own albums. Suzanna Cianni had completed studies at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Labs in the early 70′s as well and this was a very defining element to the format of her music. The Buchla synthesizer systems itself operated on a system where layers unfolded after preset sequences were layed out, ensuring that nothing would ever be the same and a garden of endless ideas would unfold from the intricate programming. This unfolding creates a transparency on the longer pieces in Lixiviation that retain an outer cosmic and telepathic feeling, where something has become a part of the unfolding of these layers that defies all logic towards the original design, acting in an artificial intelligent way.
Suzanna Ciani was an artist who dealt with sound in a highly complex manner but had the pleasure of conceptually dealing with other mediums of art as she commissioned to do pieces for dancers, film and many other mediums that stretched outside of the norm. The self titled song and the first number on Lixiviation shows an excerpt of a soundtrack piece Suzanna Ciani did with sculptor Ronald Mallory. Recorded using the Buchla synthesizer technology, it begins the album in a very open way, showing Suzanna in a very dynamic and colorful setting, reacting to the fluid movement of a piece of film one could only imagine of from the sounds coming out. The song builds into a very bright and glowing state, with shimmering lights of counter colors dripping outward from the rising layers. It’s so soft yet so alive.
Atari, Coca-Cola, PBS and Discover Magazine are among the company logo and ad music that was selected for Lixiviation, highlighting a very different approach towards composition and sound from Suzanna Ciani than the long form sound collage pieces. Micro filled ideas are jumbled into tiny spots, with what feels like hundreds of notes and sounds in the span of 30 seconds. ‘Princes With Orange Feet’ is yet another concept and doorway to conceptual building for Suzanna, with the participation of a dancer and the choreographing we can imagine, this beautiful piece was taped in Berkeley to 2 track. The delay and processing drifts this piece into a very hypnotic and dreamy world with the compositional basis being fairly simple. The tonal color ideas on top of this pulse are endless though, with sound drifting in and out from the amount of delay processed into the recording. This is the most abstract song on the compilation and shows her affection towards the avant-garde.
The stand out track included on Lixiviation for all of us at Sound Colour Vibration is easily the live recording extract from Paris 1971. Almost seven minutes in length and created with the Buchla synthesizer, this sound sculptor unfolds in a very surreal and cinematic way with emotional shifts that burst with energy by the time it climaxes in weight and volume. The thought that a machine is creating this landscape is something all too unreal, especially considering the fact that she has to prepare each Buchla piece for weeks in advance. As Suzanne Ciani explains in the liner notes, “This is an example of a Buchla piece where the music is generated by the machine itself, after lots of careful programming. I would spend weeks just living with the machine, always on, and tweak the parameters that were interacting to create this “automatic” composition. The idea was that you worked with the machine, setting up sequences and envelopes and filter modulations that interacted in an organic way. The composition then infolded infinitely, going for weeks.” There is really no way to explain how beautiful this organic growing sound becomes in the matter of minutes from the Paris recording in 1971. The song ‘Eight Wave’ is the only piece off Lixiviation to come from one of her solo albums, Suzanne Ciani’s second LP The Velocity of Love. There is a majestic feeling in ‘Eight Wave’, one that sounds like what a lot of Japanese composers were doing in the 90′s for many popular video games and movies. Waves crashing and symphonic keyboard runs of bliss, this is a really magical sounding song that never looses an artistic integrity. To hear the crossing of barriers of sound is almost unparalleled in her time, with no artist divulging in mainstream and the underground in states this extreme and at the same time. The worlds of music on this compilation stretch to every part of the electronic idiom, with the Atari Liberator’ TV ad song being the most 80′s and comical of the set. It is pieces that highlight how far she was willing to stretch her sound to fit into whatever was asked of her. The vocoder she uses on her voice makes it a really fun track to listen to and gives the entire experience of Lixiviation a one of a kind feel.
Lixiviation is a collection for the dedicated enthusiast of electronic music and for those who want to understand in further detail more electronic music history. Suzanne Ciani has partnered with the Finders Keepers organization to launch an extensive amount of work in her catalog. Lixiviation is the perfect start, the maiden voyage for a completely new understanding on the influence and innovation that occurred outside with Suzanne Ciani.
Finders Keepers Records
- Lixiviation mp3
- Atari Video Games Logo
- ‘Clean Room’ ITT TV Spot
- Almay ‘Eclipse’ TV Spot
- Paris 1971
- Sound Of A Dream Kissing
- Atari Corporate Tag
- Princess With Orange Feet
- ‘Pop & Pour’ Coca-Cola Log mp3
- ‘Discover Magazine’ TV Spot
- Live Buchla Concert 1975
- ‘Inside Story’ PBS TV Spot
- ‘Liberator’ Atari TV Spot mp3
- Eighth Wave
- Sound Of Wetness mp3
Suzanne Ciani on David Letterman
*All photos from Finders Keepers Records
Kayo Dot is one of the most uncompromising bands out today, releasing a python of sounds that immerses every listen in gardens of supreme madness through the sublime beauty of advanced unique composition work and sonic landscape building. There are dynamics on the half a dozen albums they have release in the last decade that never sit in one mode, arena or perception of sound. There is a constant search for the new and a very delicate, specific and intricate placement of instrumentation in the Kayo Dot idiom that is rare in today’s standards of contemporary artists. The arrival of 2012′s Gamma Knife from Kayo Dot is one of the most abstract, powerfully composed and mind altering experiences I have had with the groups music. Gamma Knife on first contact felt like a record that pushes the vision of the group to newer heightens then ever before. There is a diversion towards doom and the demanding technical excellence of the chamber world that defines their entire body of works and runs all over this new album. Melting sax lines, flourishing guitar sheets, deep moving bass work and highly complex drums that search as much as they create foundations, there is a search for something unreal. Kayo Dot pulls from the deep identity and purpose of sound they have brought to the table since day one and has given it a new spirit and a new power of light towards the future of the group. The evolution of Kayo Dot is measured from record to record, a feat many bands take decades to define. The energy and cycle of every release seems to get more potent, stronger and more heightened to the ethos of all sub underground worlds of music that branch out into rock, classical and improvisational idioms.
Gamma Knife is an album that has broken every law of understanding sound that I have ever been accustomed to, a weight that left me speechless for weeks after initially experiencing the album. There is a frightening and bewildering achievement of cinematic evocation of every emotion possible, something that pushes itself to the highest extremes when Toby Driver presents his vocals in the most raw and vicious way. This record is not all power and gusto, instead living in a state of waves that create cycles of explosive and subtle dynamic flourishes. Resolve and deep reflection are some of the last results in the Gamma Knife experience, ending the album on a euphorically subtle and beautiful note. Just as subtle, beautiful and brush stroke evoking the ending portion of the record is, the album starts off in the same enlightening way, featuring the inclusion of a glorious sounding church bell. Subtle shades of violin and the beautiful aura of Toby’s vocals bring the Gamma Knife opening to a very ancient setting. The church bell is cycled through the entire piece ‘Lethe’ and the build up creates a jaw dropping sense of sunsets that cloak the sky in florescent oranges, purples, reds and yellows. Toby Driver is a really marvelous vocalist, something he has brought to the kayo Dot sound for the last few albums and it seems like Gamma Knife is his most complex and dynamic to date.
The pieces ‘Rite of Goetic Evocation’, ‘Mirror Water, Lightning Night’ and ‘Ocellated God’ dive heavily into the doom filled chambers that Toby Driver has been extensively known for in his career. Drum work that never stays still but always remains a sense of direction and guitar, piano, mellotron, violin, saxophone and bass tonal shifts and turns that are all too unreal and engrossing to explain in full detail, these three pieces shed a lot of light into the power and strength that has run through the groups entire legacy. Angular momentum and euphoric crescendos, there is an overshadowing level of unconstrained and unrestricted madness that evolves in the time that the three songs elapse. Guitar parts shift in ways I have never experienced and vocals that come out into the mix darker than any metal album I have heard in years, this is music of a dawning age and of a tomorrow that never turned better. ‘Rite of Goetic Evocation’ feels like the anticipation leading up the awakening, the process of massive change in the darkest way possible. ‘Mirror Water, Lightning Night’ brings me to the glory of the battle field forshadowed in the previous number while ‘Ocellated God’ shaves off image after image of the aftermath and destruction left behind from this battle. A falling towards the bottomless pit of despair unravels itself from the grinding hault of the inner soul of Kayo Dot stems from, a sinking and falling that never stops from beginning to end with these three pieces. The title track, ‘Gamma Knife’, shifts in presentation and really shows the resolve, reflection and beauty of what this record ends on. Subtle runs of piano, guitar and bass and a mesmerizing display of vocals, ‘Gamma Knife’ leaves the album in a remarkable wake of light and a sense of something new that leaves the record to rest in the most peaceful manner.
Gamma Knife was recorded live in part at Littlefield, Brooklyn NY in the beginning of October of 2011by the very talented Jeremiah Cymerman, one of the newest associates to make a presence in the Kayo Dot lineage of artists and an artist we have been exposed to from the illustrious Porter Records. The rest of the album, including overdubs, was tracked in Toby’s home between October and November of 2011. Gamma Knife is one of the most ground breaking pieces of music I have ever heard, a revelation of worlds that are opening up to show the massive perspectives and ideas that are still available and uncharted in the music today. Toby Driver and Kayo Dot’s Gamma Knife: a modern masterpiece.
Toby Driver – bass guitar, guitar, vocals, keys
Terran Olson – alto sax
Daniel Means – alto sax
Keith Abrams – drumset
Mia Matsumiya – violin
Tim Byrnes – mellotron, bells and audience direction
Ron Varod – audience direction
David Bodie – additional percussion
Ras_G, one of a handful of very influential producers and a Southern California mystic enigma, has been very active in the last 6 years of his music output. Over 20 releases in a little over 10 years, he is following in the foot steps of the musical icons he has come to realize he shares a lot of ideologies with. While some mimic and copy the past innovators, Ras_G has naturally become what all those teachers once were. Sound masters such as Sun Ra, Lee “Scratch” Perry and J-Dilla are just a few who share the principles and emotional wave length that instantly grabs you that Ras_G has been tapping into for years. Ras_G has released a very special piece of art this year with a double 10″ called Spacebase is the Place. Performed under his The Alkebulan Space Program moniker, this record shines in the most experimentally exuberant ways with philosophical samples, the bottomless rhythmic pulse found in the best dub and reggae songs and bass tones to shatter the best of speaker systems. Pressed on high grade vinyl and a heavy duty gatefold, the photography of Ras_G from the very talented Theo Jemison adds the perfect touch.
Cosmic and ancient in tone with shading of modern production and dj techniques, Spacebase is the Place gives the best of both worlds. Music with a strong identity in philosophical ideologies is one that is never taken lightly by the artist making it and Spacebase is the Place proves to be no different. The Bruce Lee quote used perfectly places the modern and mystic aura the albums music evokes into this philosophical identity. Space tones, 90′s era RZA production, gritty break beats, modern dub and dungeon like melodies with the heaviest dose of exploration in 21st century cosmic tones. Ras_G is a heavy record collector and his use of samples falls in the ranks with the best producers. There is no denying his abilities when you hear some of the first stuff he was putting out around 2005 up until Spacebase is the Place. It’s all quality. Spacebase is the Place is split over 4 sides on a rare double 10″ set up wth every side providing a window into the vehicle that has become his center for creation: Spacebase. Dedicated and created in thanks to the peers and environments around him, Spacebase is the Place shows Ras_G becoming a stronger musician, producer and dj, all of which have coalesced in a way on Spacebase is the Place that is unseen on his previous releases.
His very own Poo-Bah Records had launched the first thing I had grabbed my ears onto from Ras_G, 2008′s Ghetto Sci-Fi. Steeped in a heavy array of samples and self production that slips in and out of an unknown sea of sounds, I felt saturated in a deep meditative aura that was inflicted by the overtones of dub, jazz, abstract instrumental hip-hop and bass heavy tones. Soft is something that like the Greek influence in culture, is nowhere found in the music of Ras_G. This is a celebration of something very different, the celebration of a living myth and the doors that open from this reality. Every Ras_G album feels like a time capsule of the past, present and future. His collection of thousands of records has given him an advantage that people like DJ Shadow, Madlib, DJ Premier and other heavy crate diggers have over most. There is a euphoric super natural feeling when the bass tones rumble through my speakers. When bass wobbles and pushes its way around the mix like it does in Ras_G’s songs, you know the best of systems are required to really feel where this guys music is going. “Ras, Ras, Ras, Ras…” echoes out of the mix over time lapsed futuristic and cosmic anthems for the space age with air horn blasts that are a time capsule of the present. The modification Ras_G has done on the notorious NASA symbol is one reflection of his principle ideas and aesthetics that outline his message. It’s chaos and serenity for me, all wrapped up under beats that sound like an elevator dropping 20 stories.
In 2009 his presence grew even stronger in the psyche of the world when his emergence into the Brainfeeder family brought forth the full length Brotha From Another Planet. This album pulls heavier into the origins of Ras_G and blasts further into the future than anything he has released. The ancient pulse and drum of his African roots, the philosophical principles and musical identity he shares with Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and other prominent black musicians over the last 40 years and his working relationship and connection to the best producers in the game have merged as one field of light. If you have never heard Ras_G, imagine if Madlib and Lee “Scratch” Perry were given multi-track master tapes to Sun Ra’s fusion pieces of the late 70′s and given free territory to do whatever they wanted with it. You can imagine the landscapes that would come to life. 2009 also saw Ras_G moving his connectivity power into the heart of the United Kingdom with the Destination There EP on Ramp Recordings and released as a 12″. With mixes contributed to different organizations, sets at large festivals like Coachella, and constant releases with various labels, his stature and tentacles are constantly reaching to more places in this world as each year passes.
In 2010, Ras_G combined forces with Matthewdavid’s imprint Leaving Records for an extremely limited edition cassette tape release called El-Aylien (part 1). Modeling the Discipline series that Sun Ra equated into his musical hemisphere, Ras_G shows the future disciplines of electronic devices, unique sample methods, advanced compositional techniques and analog collage work that originated from the Discipline series laid out 40+ years ago from Sun Ra. 2011 has been a year of high activity for Ras_G with the release of 2 brand new records. UK based label Ramp Recordings was first in line for these two releases with Down 2 Earth. 21 tracks and a little over 30 minutes, the cover art is easily one of my favorite of the year. ODB verbal assault samples to the wobbly beats and earthquake level bass that sucks me in every time, this album is heavy on all levels. If you ever want a study in bass tones, sample methods and melodies for miles, put a Ras_G record on.
2011 would bring Poo-Bah Records back into the fold with what is easily my favorite Ras_G album, Space is the Place. Recorded at his Spacebase 2031 and Spacebase 2912 between 2008 and 2010, the material on this record is personally some of the most original and inspiring works of his for me. Drenched in so many sounds, it’s been a record that hasn’t left the side of my record player since my copied arrived in the mail. Ras_G submitted an extremely detailed write up on each piece for the double 10″. Below is this full break down, track by track, from Ras_G himself. Sourced from his Poo-Bah Records site, this is an extremely comprehensive look into the album. Don’t miss out on owning a copy.
Ras_G & The Alkebulan Space Program
Spacebase is the Place
- REQUIEM 4 MR. YANCEY
- STICK EM UP
- HOLLYHOOD/WHERE DEM TREES
- ONE 4 STEVE EL
- ANCESTRIAL ECHOES
- ASCENSION FROM NIGGA 2 NEGUS (Interlude)
- SILLY EARTHLINGS
- IF U FEEL (NO EGO)
- STAR MESSENGERS
- Disco 4000
- Love Something……..
- Psilocybin Music
Buy the 2×10″ HERE