Dabrye is Tadd Mullinix's hip-hop wildstyle, a captivating collage inspired by the laid back vibes of midwestern hip-hop and east coast boom bap, the futuristic funk of Ummah-era Jay Dee, and the calculated subtlety of Detroit dance music. Re-issued on double vinyl for the first time, One/Three remains a concise and intriguing study in instrumental hip-hop that helps join the dots between Slum Village and the beats of today.
Made possible after a beat tape swap between Prefuse 73 and Dabrye after the pair shared the stage in Detroit, Instrmntl is a continuation of the beat experiments Tadd Mullinix began with One/Three and a bridge to the diverse textures that would define Two/Three four years later.Instrmntl offers a snapshot of a time when potentials seemed infinite, when lines could be drawn between jazz, ragga jungle, techno, and hip-hop and the resulting shape divined an exciting future.
On Two/Three, the second Dabrye album for Ghostly International, Tadd Mullinix brought together a formidable crew of local and national rap talent to make the statement he’d always intended.With Two/Three Dabrye placed himself at the forefront of hip-hop's mid-2000s new wave and threw a Molotov cocktail into the rap world as uncompromising as the head-twisting cover art from WK Interact.
When Ann Arbor's Tadd Mullinix began exploring hip-hop under the name Dabrye 20 years ago, he soon honed in on a startling vision of what the genre could be: ingenious, refined, daring. This vision came to life across two albums for Ghostly International - 2001's One/Three and its 2006 follow-up Two/Three - with each record further positioning the quiet Michigan producer as one of his generation's best, equally comfortable creating minimalist instrumental meditations or sharp rap salvos. In the late 2000s, following critical acclaim and accolades from both peers and inspirations (including the late Jay Dee with whom Mullinix collaborated before his untimely passing), Mullinix put the Dabrye moniker on ice and dedicated himself to other genres and ideas.
All this changes in 2017 as Dabrye makes his long-awaited return with Three/Three, a razor-sharp rap album that brings to completion a prophetic trilogy. Guests include indie rap legend DOOM, Wu Tang storyteller Ghostface Killah, L.A word fanatic Jonwayne, and Long Island's rugged surrealist Roc Marciano. Most importantly Three/Three is, much like its predecessor, an unfettered celebration of Detroit-area talent with Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Kadence, Quelle Chris, Danny Brown, Shigeto, Clear Soul Forces and more all lending their touch to Dabrye's return.
Nearly 20 years after the first Dabrye beats burst out of Mullinix's home computer, Ghostly International is compiling reissues of all three Dabrye albums - One/Three, Two/Three, and Instrmntl - with the third chapter in the Dabrye album trilogy, the long-awaited Three/Three album, in an exclusive limited edition numbered box set. Time hasn’t dulled Mullinix's sonic throw-ups, if anything the blur between digital and physical, hip-hop and electronic, subtlety and ruggedness that his music always implied is even more relevant today, especially in a world where students of his style are among the biggest names in the game. Like the city it looked to for inspiration, Dabrye's sound was built to last.
DJ Katapila's Aroo EP is the latest addition to the iconoclastic producer's catalog of fast-paced, pan-West African-influenced dance music. From a young age, Ishmael Abbey was a beloved local DJ in Accra, Ghana’s competitive and rapidly-evolving music galaxy.
DJ Katapila's debut release with Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2016's reissue of Trotro, ignited international acclaim for the Ghanaian DJ and producer: The New York Times, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor and FACT heaped praise on his work. Katapila launched a touring career beyond his grueling schedule of all-night parties around Ghana's southern coast and neighboring countries, heading to Europe and the UK, where he performed at festivals and clubs the pasty two years. Katapila brought Ghana's street party culture to audiences overseas; a wave of joy and happy dancers were left in his wake.
The EP's final cut is a track released with a an eye-catching music video this summer called "Monkey." Following radioplay in Ghana and demand from fans online, this track makes its debut on vinyl.
Awesome Tapes From Africa is proud to present new music from this unmistakably original artist with an honesty and unpretentiousness that feels good at this current point in history.
The key influences for Hanz' upcoming EPs lie outside music - "They are heavily influenced by film. Things like pacing, tension, comic relief, and climactic moments." "Plasty II," following last year's Plasty I, is the second of two recordings that form a kind of mirror shot of each other - you could say one is a frontal shot, while the other a back shot. Both EPs developed in sessions that started right before the re-issue of "Reducer" (on Tri Angle) in 2015."I was watching a lot of films and realized the ones I appreciated the most were shorter in length - films like "Tetsuo, The Iron Man". Over a year or so of working, I decided to trim compositions down and get to the point in underneath twenty minutes per EP. I named this work "Plasty" due to its constant structural changes, it’s as if the sound is being operated on surgically.”He adds - “I like tension and action. I edit my music like a movie, placing pieces of a song inside of other songs. Certain parts / melodies from part one reappear in part two and vice versa. That’s my way of making these EPs compliment each other by making them function like puzzles. The temporary moments on both EPs are for you to get better acquainted with this sonic environment. For example, the track "A Breathing House" is a short vignette on "Plasty I" that is based on the imagery of a house with breathing windows, doors, and floors." Cinematic influences are joined by inspirations from "the Surrealists" and the "cut-up" technique" (of William Burroughs & Brion Gysin). "Plasty" is the sound of an artist evolving and emerging through exploration, it's the sound of an artist breaking free.
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Music and Poetry of the Kesh is the documentation of an invented Pacific Coast peoples (the Kesh) from a far distant time, and the soundtrack of famed science fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home.
The ways of the Kesh were originally presented in 1985 as a five hundred plus page book accompanied with illustrations of instruments and tools, maps, a glossary of terms, recipes, poems, an alphabet, and with early editions, a cassette of "field recordings" and indigenous song. Le Guin wanted to hear the people she'd imagined; she embarked on an elaborate process with her friend Todd Barton to invoke their spirit and tradition. For Music and Poetry of the Kesh, the words and lyrics are attributed to Le Guin as composed by Barton, an Oregon-based musician, composer and Buchla synthesist.
The Music and Poetry of the Kesh cassette was meant to accompany and enhance the experience of reading Always Coming Home. Presented in this vinyl edition, where only traces of the book linger (the jacket offers some of Le Guin's illustration, and a letterpressed bookmark featuring the the narrative modes of western civilization and the Kesh valley is included), the music alone breaking the silence of what might be. It can transport-offering a landscape for imagining a future homecoming. One in which we are balanced, peaceful, and tend to the earth and its creatures.
The 20th volume of our flagship Eccentric Soul series has all the boxes checked: Gun-toting, skip-tracing record producers, child stars, rip-offs, the "World's Greatest Bail Bondsman," swindles, soaring falsettos, and a dwindling rust-belt cityscape offering mere glimpses of hope before the record industry escaped for the coasts. Helmed by the O'Jays Bobby Massey, Saru was a creative vortex that pulled Cuyahoga County's greatest talent in, making a strong case for Cleveland to contend with Detroit, Philly, and Memphis as America's soul music's capital. Includes obscure and unknown sides from the Out of Sights, the Elements, Pandella Kelly, David Peoples, Sir Stanley, the Ponderosa Twins + 1, Ba-Roz, Bobby Dukes, and of course, the O'Jays.
No Fool Like An Old Fool is the sophomore LP from Austin via Alabama musician, Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says. Moving beyond the surf-folk foundations of her debut, on No Fool... Sallee loosens her earthly tether, allowing her songs to float to ever higher altitudes on clouds of loops, immaculate melodies, and hypnotic harmonies, as she sings about aging, the daily grind, and hometown stymie. Moving to Austin in 2013 gave her a new perspective on her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, which informed the overall vibe of the album. "I think leaving my fairly small hometown and then going back to visit it inspired the feeling I went for on this album. I observed that so many people I knew were content doing basically nothing. Or that they were scared to try to do anything or leave town, like they felt stuck there."
In the fall of 2012, Jones left his small-town in Louisiana for the foothills of Indiana. Alto saxophone in tow he enrolled in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. "Being a singer was never part of the plan," Jones admits. But soon enough he found his way in front of a rowdy rock-n-roll band belting out a rambunctious rendition of "Dock Of The Bay," to a basement full of drunken undergrads. That rowdy band unfolded into The Indications - comprised of Aaron Frazer (drums), Blake Rhein (guitar), Kyle Houpt (bass) and Justin Hubler (organ).
Inspired by a handful of dusty and obscure 45s bearing names like The Ethics, Brothers of Soul and The Icemen, The Indications set out to make a record steeped in heavy drums, blown-out vocals, and deep grooves. Gathered around a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and a case of Miller High-Life, the group spent their Sunday evenings recording into the early hours of the morning.
With comparisons from Charles Bradley and Lee Fields to Al Green, the only thing that separates this band from those greats is their youth. Having now taken their raucous live show all across the US, the band have galvanized a following that are ready to take them to the next level.
On New Path, their second album for DFA, Montreal electronic duo Essaie pas (Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau) take inspiration from Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, a dystopian science fiction classic. The album sounds like the book reads - a voyeuristic, druggy, and paranoid narrative of existence in the surveillance state."I read the book a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago, and it had a strong impression on me," explains Pierre. "In our previous work we always looked to music as inspiration in our lives, but this time we felt the desire to try something different, that's not based on ourselves but on someone else's universe. It was going to be more conceptual, more political."New Path touches on addiction, loss, and the lingering strength of identity within late capitalism's mass media paranoia. It pins down the central character's destructive tendencies, using this as a metaphor to explore the dichotomous rupture between our inner lives and our social environment, one that is often fed and soothed by various kinds of dependences."I think it touches us on many levels," Pierre continues. "We can talk about drug addiction issues, we can talk about the mass surveillance world we live in, but there's also the experience of loss, of grief. I was surprised by how the book felt so modern and accurate to the time we live in right now. Dick's visions of surveillance are the reality of social control today." Essaie pas possess a wiry, experimental take on the more leftfield end of techno music, in the way of pioneers Chris & Cosey and Cabaret Voltaire, as well as newer acts like Fever Ray, Factory Floor, and Helena Hauff. The album trades in hypnotic pads of strings, punctuated by dramatic stabs and sensual rhythmic patterns, with Marie's tripped-out, pseudo-scientific verbiage further adding to the ambience. The world the duo have created here offers a tangled vision of tomorrow's aesthetics, a soundtrack stacked with cold music for cold times.
Positivity is a rare commodity these days.Mythless is the most aggressively major-key-laden, percussion-heavy, heartwarming experimental music you're likely to hear. The new guitarworshiping project from Fang Island cofounder Jason Bartell is at once heavy, anthemic, pensive, and triumphantly hopeful.The debut EP Patience Hell somehow exists at the intersection of trancemetal and meditativehardcore.Driven by the shredding, dronelike drums of fellow Fang Island expat Marc St. Sauveur, Mythless flirts with the techy music of their peers, but seems to share more DNA with Enya than The Dillinger Escape Plan. The band's unabashed guitar rock exists without ego and without irony. It comes from a place deep inside. Bartell's artistic candor seems to possess a brazen joy and obliviousness to judgement, like watching a stranger in the car next to you belt out a Journey song without a care in the world. It's beautiful, and infectious.
"Black boys have a whole world of complexity that society makes us stomp out of ourselves." Language, Bryndon Cook's full-length debut as Starchild & The New Romantic, communicates his refusal to do so. Describing himself early-on as a "young romantic boy from Maryland," Cook has long been a dreamer, a student of black music's rich lineage and its intersection with pop. He's drawn to landmark moments where artists have found truth in darkness; the diverse language of music living in their core. This record is his; lifting off from the monochrome world of Crucial, his 2016 EP on Ghostly International, up towards a dazzling crimson blood-rush of sky-high defiance and autonomy. On Language, Cook refines his phonics for funk, electro, and R&B, and arrives at a revelation, best summarized by a single motto: "my sensitivity is my strength."
Stuart Chatwood's eery soundtrack serves as a terrifying companion to the gothic darkness of Darkest Dungeon. Deep, droning synths mash with jarring percussion and swirling strings to create a unique soundscape ranging from epic battle anthems to quiet, cave-dwelling ambiance. Chatwood's score not only provides a chance for players to relive their favorite moments, it also stands alone as a glorious piece of cinematic music not unlike something you would hear in Game of Thrones or a period piece epic.
Upheaval are a four-man wrecking crew from Boston, Massachusetts, who specialize in dramatic, blackened sludge metal - think Eyehategod by way of Mayhem after a cold New England winter. Founded in June 2014 by veteran Boston musicians Justin Doucette (guitar/vocals), Alex Betancourt (drums) and John Belmonte (bass/backing vocals), Upheaval quickly gained notoriety in New England playing a crushing blend of sludge and doom. In February 2015 an East Coast tour expanded the reach of the first demo beyond the northeast United States. A US tour in June 2016 saw the addition of Eric Struth on lead guitar, and brought the self released cassette "Summoning a Giant" across the United States.
With the line up sorted out, the band began working tirelessly to craft a new album. Adeptly maintaining the unrelenting heaviness of Summoning a Giant while fully embracing their black metal influences, eight songs were written and Alec Rodriguez of New Alliance Studios in Cambridge, MA was enlisted to produce and engineer it. The end result, "Altar of Ash", is a half hour opus of aural savagery.
Vinyl-only instrumental and dub raw. You may need a special tool to carve a deeper groove in your turntable or jukebox in order to play this rhythm method by Dub Narcotic Sound System. Makes your nose bleed. On beyond stomp. Lopsided version galore.
The Rhythm Record Vol. One Echoes from the Scene Control Room [KLP045] album was recorded at many of the same 1994-'95 Dub Narcotic Studio sessions as the Dub Narcotic Sound System debut Boot Party [KLP049], with many of the same participants. It's an all-instrumental affair, heavily dominated by Calvin Johnson's trademark melodica (which is still being deployed throughout his contemporary Selector Dub Narcotic experiments). Featured players include members of Dub Narcotic Sound System and other K combos of the time like Wandering Lucy and Kicking Giant, augmented by Olympia residents and visitors from as far away as New York City and Tokyo, Japan.
This album was originally released in 1995; it has been unavailable since 1999. Recently remastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering it has a fresh, echoplasmic sheen of bass and drum beat rhyme. Although still vinyl-only, there will be a digital version of the album available for download or streaming through the usual suspects.
Slowly Paradise is Eric Chenaux's new solo record - a lovely collection of mostly long songs guided by soothing, buttery singing and bent, fried fretwork. It is arguably Chenaux's most assured and essential solo work, expanding upon on the critical acclaim his previous releases Guitar & Voice and Skullsplitter have rightly garnered. Chenaux makes conceptual music that's not meant to sound conceptual. He operates among various 'traditions' but perhaps most broadly, Chenaux's records grapple with the relationship between improvisation and structure in very particular, unique, idiosyncratic ways - and quite without irony or cynicism, through love. Because fundamentally, Chenaux writes love songs, which he sings in a voice honeyed and clear, while his guitar gently bends, frazzes, chortles, diverges and decomposes. He is a singer-songwriter and also a true guitar innovator and improviser. This juxtaposition of his mellow, dexterous crooning and his highly experimental (and equally dexterous) guitar explorations, explodes even unconventional notions of singing and accompaniment, of tonal and timbral interplay between guitar and voice. Even within avant-garde currents of folk and jazz balladry, Eric Chenaux feels like an outlier. Yet his music remains wonderfully warm, generous and fundamentally accessible in spite of its irrefutable iconoclasm. Thanks for listening.
Capping several successful years traveling the world performing to audiences big and small, Hailu Mergia's Lala Belu has been a long time coming. It builds on Mergia's remarkable career resurgence over the past few years. Beginning in 2013 with the reissue of his dreamy Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument followed by the enormous success of his seminal Ethio-jazz masterpiece Tche Belew and continuing with last year's widely acclaimed Wede Harer Guzo, Mergia has received considerable accolades from listeners and press globally, including The New York Times, Pitchfork and The Wire. His old recordings are cherished revelations for Ethiopian music fans; however, Mergia's return to the stage has been just as inspiring and electrifying. Mergia's vintage recordings are known for an inherently mysterious and worn-in quality, while his new recordings echo his band's 21st century live show with modern instrumental interpretations of crucial Ethiopian standards and Mergia's own original compositions. Tony Buck (drums) and Mike Majkowski (bass), who have backed Mergia on tour throughout Europe and Australia, form the bass-drums trio on the recording. Having played venues from Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center to jazz festivals, rock clubs and DIY spaces all over North America, Europe and Australia, Mergia and Awesome Tapes From Africa want to document this moment in his landmark career with a snapshot of Mergia's current sound.
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A decade ago, Zombi cofounder A.E. Paterra conceived his solo endeavor, Majeure. Released in 2009, the debut album, Timespan, took the term "full-length" quite literally - its 40-minute runtime filled by three epic, side-long journeys through time and space. It merged the sinister soundtracks of Vangelis and John Carpenter, the stately minimalism of Cluster and Ashra, and the relentless drive of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre, delivering inspired sci-fi disco-prog of the highest caliber. Originally released on 2xCD and 2xLP, Timespan quickly sold out on both formats and has been out-of-print for nearly a decade since. To celebrate its forthcoming 10th anniversary, the album is given an entirely new mix and master for this special-edition reissue, Timespan Redux. Mixed from the original master files by A.E. Paterra, and remastered by James Plotkin, Timespan Redux improves upon the original in virtually every way. The vinyl format of Timespan Redux is pressed onto 100% virgin vinyl for premium sound quality, and is available on limited-edition colored vinyl (clear w/ transparent blue streaks) while supplies last.
Nap Eyes are all Nova Scotians by raising and temperament, acclimated to life on an Atlantic peninsula linked narrowly to the rest of North America. I'm Bad Now, which follows enigmatic frontman Nigel Chapman's quest for self-understanding, is their most transparent and personal to date and constitutes the third chapter of an implicit, informal trilogy that includes Whine of the Mystic (2015) and Thought Rock Fish Scale (2016). While Nigel composes songs in their inchoate form at home in Halifax, Brad Loughead (lead guitar), Josh Salter (bass), and Seamus Dalton (drums), who live a twelve-hour drive away in Montreal, augment and arrange them, transubstantiating his skeletal, ruminative wafers into discourses that transcend. The band provides ballast and bowspirit to Nigel's cosmical mind, this album lending itself to a new sonic clarity, depth and range to match his effortless melodies and extraordinary writing.