Archive for the 'Expanding Horizons' Category

20
Jan
10

Expanding Horizons: Emancipator – Safe in the Steep Cliffs

Emancipator

As far as I’m concerned, and I’ve said this countless times before, there are only two types of musicgood and badEmancipator falls in the former category.

I first heard of the Portland, Oregon producer/multi-instrumentalist last year when I stumbled upon his 2008 opus Soon It Will Be Cold Enough. You know that feeling when you’ve found something you know you’ll treasure for a while? Yup, that one. You could only imagine how I felt when I saw that his new album Safe in the Steep Cliffs dropped yesterday.

If freshly layered, organic soundscapes are your thing (how could they not be?), then you’ve come to the right place. Incorporating a variety of instruments including trumpets, violins, guitars, clarinets and even mandolins to develop a truly unique style, his albums possess a natural dynamic as they flow swiftly from track to track like a river snaking down a mountainside (or something like that, you get the point!).

I’ve featured some previews below, my select choices of what I believe to be his best work. I respect any producer that can flip Mobb Deep and Sigur Ros on the same jawn, and make it dope. You can purchase both albums by clicking the links or covers. The man himself describes his latest project:

Safe In The Steep Cliffs represents the tightest, most unique, most organic beats I’ve made in the last three years. This album has a new palette of sounds and samples from around the world, including more original recordings (guitar/violin/mandolin/banjo) and new guest artists including Japanese jazz musician Uyama Hiroto. It’s ominous and overgrown, dense and ethereal. And epic. Always epic.

Emancipator will be touring parts of the U.S. starting February to promote his new album. Check out the previews below and visit EmancipatorMusic.com if you like what you hear. Support the only type of music that matters – good. Vibe to this and leave feedback if you get a chance after you listen, Enjoy!

Preview Tracks:

“Shook (Sigur Deep)” – Samples Mobb Deep & Sigur Ros

Live Set at Trinumeral

“Crosses (Jose Gonzalez Remix)” – Samples Missy Elliot

Purchase:

Safe in the Steep Cliffs

Safe in the Steep Cliffs (2010)

Tracklist With Previews:

1. Greenland
2. Black Lake
3. Jet Stream
4. Kamakura
5. All Through The Night
6. Old Devil
7. Nevergreen
8. Ares
9. Rattlesnakes
10. Bury Them Bones
11. Vines
12. Hill Sighed
13. Siren
14. Safe In The Steep Cliffs

Soon It Will Be Cold Enough

Soon It Will Be Cold Enough (2008)

Tracklist With Previews:

1. Lionheart
2. Wolf Drawn
3. When I Go (feat. Thao Nguyen)
4. With Rainy Eyes
5. The Darkest Evening Of The Year
6. Eve
7. Smoke Signals
8. Periscope Up
9. First Snow
10. Good Knight
11. Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires
12. Anthem

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Feb 2 Crown Hall  – Mendocino, CA w/ Bassnectar
Feb 3 Arcata Theatre – Arcata, CA w/ Bassnectar
Feb 4 McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR w/ Bassnectar
Feb 5 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR w/ Bassnectar
Feb 6 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA w/ Bassnectar.
Feb 22   Wilma Theater – Missoula, Montana w/ STS9
Feb 25   The Depot – Salt Lake City, Utah w/ STS9
Feb 26   House of Blues – Las Vegas, Nevada w/ STS9
Feb 27   Marquee Theatre  – Tempe, Arizona w/ STS9
Feb 28   Rialto Theater – Tucson, Arizona w/ STS9
Mar 3     New Earth Music Hall – Athens, GA
Mar 4     90 Proof – Knoxville, TN
Mar 5     412 Market – Chattanooga, TN
Mar 6     12th & Porter – Nashville, TN
Mar 7     Kentucky Downs – Franklin, KY
Mar 19 Kinetic Playground – Chicago, IL
Mar 20 The Loft – Minneapolis, MN
Mar 27 – Harper’s Ferry – Boston, MA

09
Jan
10

Writers Build: The Best Non-Hip-Hop Albums of 2009

The Best Non-Hip-Hop Albums of 2009

Gramatically-incorrect, but who cares?!

We’ ain’t done just yet, Writers Build is still in full effect!

And you probably thought all I listened to was hip-hop.. Ha! Gotcha.

In between spinning Mos Def and Raekwon this year, me and my homie Jaap van der Doelen (of The Rap Up and Maasland FM fame) took some time to expand our horizons beyond the realm of rap. What we found were some extremely great projects by a gang of non-hip-hoppers.

Our lists cover many typesof music, including R&B, pop, reggae, soul, dubstep, jazz, rock and even afro-funk (yes, I may have made that genre up, but it’s true). Check these out when you’re not in the mood for neck-snapping beats or lyrical onslaughts.

Click the covers or links to support the artists, Enjoy!

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement

Dom

1. Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement [MP3 Download]

2. Michael Jackson – This Is It [MP3 Download]

3. Melanie Fiona – The Bridge [MP3 Download]

4. Matisyahu – Light [MP3 Download]

5. Alicia Keys – The Element of Freedom [MP3 Download]

6. Shafiq Husayn – Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka

7. The Kickdrums – Just A Game

8. Chrisette Michele – Epiphany [MP3 Download]

9. Ryan Leslie – Ryan Leslie [MP3 Download]

10. John Mayer – Battle Studies [MP3 Download]

11. Norah Jones – The Fall [MP3 Download]

12. J Rawls & John Robinson present Jay Are – The 1960’s Jazz Revolution Again [MP3 Download]

13. Maxwell – Blacksummers’night [MP3 Download]

14. Serani – No Games [MP3 Download]

15. Whitney Houson – I Look To You [MP3 Download]

16. Trey Songz – Ready [MP3 Download]

17. Flaming Lips – Embryonic [MP3 Download]

18. Leona Lewis – Echo [MP3 Download]

19. Keith Jarrett Trio – Yesterdays [MP3 Download]

20. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue [MP3 Download]

Honorable Mention: Zero 7 – Yeah Ghost [MP3 Download]

Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics - Inspiration Information Vol 3

Jaap

1. Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information, Vol. 3 [MP3 Download]

2. De Staat – Wait For Evolution

3. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

4. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You [MP3 Download]

5. Dub Colossus – A Town Called Addis [MP3 Download]

We’ve come a long way in the Writers Build segment, we’ve got a couple more posts left before we’re done. Stay tuned!

19
Jun
09

Expanding Horizons: DJ Shadow

 Shadow

I first heard sample-miner & eclectic producer Josh “DJ Shadow” Davis during my freshman year in college, in my early days of bootlegging sharing music. The San Jose, CA native debuted his signature sample techniques and turntablism efforts in 1996 with Entroducing. The rest is history, as they say.

Entroducing itself was the first album ever to be entirely created using samples. Seriously, it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for that honor. Go on, feel free to look it up.

What makes Shadow’s music unique is he borrows elements from across the spectrum – hip-hop, jazz, funk, rock, classical, psychadelic, electronic, vocal and hand-picked obscure sounds. He does it the old fashioned way, too – by locking himself in a basement fully stacked with vinyl. Anyone who’s seen the Scratch DVD knows what I mean.

Armed with just an MPC60 and samples, he forms free-flowing soundscapes that play more through like a film score than an average record.

The piano-driven melody of “Building Steam With A Grain of Salt” and frenzied Rhodes of “Organ Donor” mixed with the looming bass-line on “Changeling” and hypnotic drums of “Midnight In A Perfect World” revolutionized instrumental hip-hop on Entroducing.

Throughout his career, Shadow has dabbled in dark melodies (“Lonely Soul,” “Dark Days“), electro-jazz (You Can’t Go Home Again, Fixed Income“), trip-hop (“What Does Your Soul Look Like 2,” “Stem L.P.“) and even hyphy (The Outsider). For the record, I think 2006’s The Outsider is his weakest because of the blatant deviation from any of his previous material. I can appreciate progress, but the LP was everything BUT a step in the right direction.

I’ve made it a personal goal to gather his entire collection, thus far I’d say I’m on track. The aforementioned Endtroducing, Preemptive Strike, The Private Press , You Can’t Go Home Again, The Outsider, numerous singles, radio mixes, live performances – you name it, I got it. And you know how much I love to share.

In fact, the initial inspiration for this post came when I got my hands on The 4-Track Era, a collection of Shadow’s rare radio mixes and beats showcasing his early days. Even at 19 years old his skills were pinpoint, remixing rap classics by Eric B. & Rakim and the Jungle Brothers plus producing break beats.

Even though hip-hop is Shadow’s main influence, it’d be unfair to pigeonhole his artistic creativity. What I respect most that he truly can’t be classified as any specific genre. While many label heads push artists as “diverse sounding,” Shadow quietly redifined what it meant to be eclectic.

I intend this Expanding Horizons session to introduce the producer extraordinaire/ sampling wunderkind and reitirate to those are already familiar: His music speaks for itself. 

Audio:

Entroducing Deluxe Edition (2 Discs) [Buy]

The Private Press [Buy]

The Outsider [Buy

Preemptive Strike [Buy]

You Can’t Go Home Again [Buy]

The 4-Track Era [Reconstruction Productions] – 2008 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 [Buy]

Stem [Buy]

Live in Oxford, England Oct. 30, 1997 [Entroducing Deluxe Edition, Disc 2]

What Does Your Soul Look Like Pt 2 [Preemptive Strike]

Six Days (CDS) [Buy] (features a remix with Mos Def)

Fixed Income [The Private Press]

Lonely Soul [One To Grown On (Promo)]

Dark Days (CDS) [Buy]

12
Jun
09

Expanding Horizons: Five For Friday

In this Expanding Horizons series, I’ll be bringing you five pieces of musical history from five different genres spanning my collection. My goal is to expose my readers to all types of music that you might not listen to otherwise.

Also, I get to show off how deep my e-crates are. Lord knows I like to do that any chance I get, Ha! The downloads are all .RAR files, which in layman’s terms are compressed packages of multiple files. Search here if you need a program to extract after you download. Or get in touch and I’ll help you out.

I’ll try my best to do this every Friday, so if you have any requests hit me with an e-mail.. Enjoy ya-selves!

Hip-Hop

De La Soul

De La SoulArt Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000)

See Track List & Buy It Here

Lately I’ve been steadily revisiting my De La collection, going in chronological order from their 1989 masterpiece 3 Feet High & Rising all the way to this year’s collaboration with Nike “Are You In?” As Dart once told me, Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maceo comprise the most consistent hip-hop group of all time. How could I disagree? 

Their track record as far as albums is unparalleled, they drop quality material to this day AND put on an amazing live show as I learned last year at Rock The Bells NYC. As a relatively young hip-hop head, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump was the first of their catalog I was exposed to. I was more of a Wu-Tang, Biggie, DMX & Nas stan before I branched out into other realms of rap. I remember buying it at the local Coconuts (remember those? Now it’s FYE), ripping open the packaging and bumping it in my Sony Discman with them headphones that went on top of your head. You know you had them, stop frontin!

Man, those were the days. Even though the times have changed, the Soul is timeless.

Jazz

Thelonious & Coltrane

Thelonious Monk & John ColtraneComplete Riverside Recordings (1957)

See Track List & Buy It Here

Two jazz virtuosos, two discs. ‘Nuff said.

 

Reggae

Bob Marley & Stevie Wonder

Bob MarleyLive With Stevie Wonder (1975)

This is EXTREMELY rare audio of an historic performance when Marley was opening for Stevie during a tour stop in Kingston, Jamaica. The legends shared the stage briefly, for an extended version of “I Shot The Sheriff.”  What resulted was purely magical. After reading about this once-in-a-lifetime event, I hunted this down for years until somehow I finally got my hands on it. I don’t think it’s even available to buy online anywhere, so handle with care. If you’re interested, the promo poster above is available here.

 

R&B/Neo-Soul

India Arie

India ArieTestimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (2006)

See Track List & Buy Album Here

I’ve got to admit, I don’t really listen to India Arie. Not because her music is bad, that’s FAR from the case. I’ve only heard each of the talented multi-instrumentalist/ singer’s albums one time each, mainly because of a lady friend in college. I feel like I have to be in a certain mood to listen.. Let me stop.

Vol. 1 was the most memorable for me. Even though I don’t remember specific songs, it’s the laid-back soulfulness and soft instrumentation that I remember the most. Plus, I upped this because I know females love her. Do I listen to India? Nope, but bitches beautiful women do.

Rock

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi HendrixAre You Experienced?

See Track List & Buy Album Here

Jimi was a god amongst men when he picked up a guitar, elevating the instrument into realms unknown to the average musician. Did you know he was a lefty, but he played a right-handed guitar? A part of me wishes I was born 30 years before I was just so I could have seen his flashy, trip-inducing improvisations first-hand.

 

That should hold you over until next time, Enjoy!





Corleone, Hold the Throne

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