Tag: instrumental

Born in the early 70s, the Pasadena, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer Damon Garrett Riddick, best known as JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk came of age during the heyday of acts like Uncle Jamm’s Army and Egyptian Lover, two of the area’s pioneers of electro hip-hop and what would become West Coast hip-hop — and of course, the legendary Prince.

Riddick’s parents encouraged and nurtured his interest in music: he learned drums and then drum machine. A chance encounter led to an apprenticeship under funk songwriter/producer Leon Sylvers III, and by the mid-90s, the height of West Coast, G-funk hip-hop, Riddick was a highly-sought, local session musician, playing on tracks by Mack 10 and MC Eiht. “Everybody was trying to do the live instrumentation thing, so then you got cats like me playing on records,” Dam-Funk explained on his Stones Throw Records artist bio.

Sideman status wasn’t enough for him though. While watching gold plaques be handed out to everyone but him, Riddick decided that it was time to go “full-funk” and make a do-or-die try to become an artist on his own terms. In 2006, he and a few friends launched the popular Funkmosphere party. Around then, the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer caught the attention of Stones Throw Records. Unsurprisingly, the label related to Riddick’s insistence that funk needed to be saved from cartoonish and devilish caricature — and that funk was a way of life.

Stones Throw Records released his first two full-length albums — 2009’s Toeachizown and 2015’s Invite the Light, as well as a  compilation of his early production, 2010’s Adolescent Funk. 2013 was a big year for the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay — his collaboration with Steve Arrington Higher was released that year, and he teamed up with Snoop Dogg in the funk and hip-hop act 7 Days of Funk, who also released their debut album that year.

Each of those releases helped to establish Dam-Funk’s signature sound and aesthetic — synth-based funk that draws from G-Funk era hip-hop and 80s synth funk. However, over the past couple of years, Riddick has been experimenting with the warmer sides of deep house and techno with material released through his own imprint Glydezone Recordings while spending time DJ’ing, and working on remixes and mixes.

Slated for release next week through his own label, the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming effort STFU II while being a follow-up to last year’s Architecture II is reportedly a gradual return to his old-school funk roots — and a long-awaited sequel to 2015’s free all-instrumental EP STFU. Now, as you may recall, clocking in at over 7 minutes, the EP’s first track, the strutting EP closer “On Code.” Centered by tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated bass synths, keytar and atmospheric electronics that gave the affair a subtle cosmic glow.

“Compos Mentis,” the EP’s second and latest single is centered around a lush and jazz-tinged funk arrangement featuring arpeggiated bass synths, atmospheric electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling keys — and much like its immediate predecessor, the track possesses a similar, subtle cosmic glow and an deep melodic sensibility.

 

 

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Born in the early 70s, the Pasadena, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer Damon Garrett Riddick, best known as JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk came of age during the heyday of acts like Uncle Jamm’s Army and Egyptian Lover, two of the area’s pioneers of electro hip-hop and what would become West Coast hip-hop — and of course, the legendary Prince.

Riddick’s parents encouraged and nurtured his interest in music: he learned drums and then drum machine. A chance encounter led to an apprenticeship under funk songwriter/producer Leon Sylvers III, and by the mid-90s, the height of West Coast, G-funk hip-hop, Riddick was a highly-sought, local session musician, playing on tracks by Mack 10 and MC Eiht. “Everybody was trying to do the live instrumentation thing, so then you got cats like me playing on records,” Dam explained on his Stones Throw Records artist bio.

Sideman status wasn’t enough for him though. While watching gold plaques be handed out to everyone but him, Riddick decided that it was time to go “full-funk” and make a do-or-die try to become an artist on his own terms. In 2006, he and a few friends launched the popular Funkmosphere party. Around then, the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer caught the attention of Stones Throw Records. Unsurprisingly, the label related to Riddick’s insistence that funk needed to be saved from cartoonish and devilish caricature — and that funk was a way of life.

Stones Throw Records released his two full-length albums — 2009’s Toeachizown and 2015’s Invite the Light, a compilation of his early production, 2010’s Adolescent Funk. 2013 was a big year for the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay — his collaboration with Steve Arrington Higher was released that year, and he teamed up with Snoop Dogg in the funk and hip-hop act 7 Days of Funk, who also released their debut album that year. Each of those early releases helped to establish Dam-Funk’s signature sound and aesthetic — synth-based funk that draws from G-Funk era hip-hop and 80s synth funk. However, Riddick has spent the past couple of years experimenting with the warmer sides of deep house and techno with material released through his own imprint Glydezone Recordings while spending time DJ’ing, and working on remixes and mixes.

Slated for a May 17, 2019 release through his own label, Dam-Funk’s forthcoming effort STFU II reportedly is a gradual return to his old-school funk roots while serving as a both a follow up to last year’s Architecture II EP and along-awaited sequel to 2015’s free, all-instrumental EP STFU. Continuing in the vein of its sonic predecessor, the EP’s first track, the strutting EP closer “On Code” clocks in at just under seven minutes and is centered by thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated bass synths and keytar and atmospheric electronics. And although the material is lovingly indebted to the period that influenced it, the song possesses a subtle cosmic glow — all while reminding the listener of Dam-Funk’s innate melodicism.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Video: Geneva Switzerland’s L’Eclair Releases Trippy, Lo Fi Visuals for “Castor McDavid”

Comprised of Sebastien Bui (keys), Eli Ghersinu (dino bass), Stefan Lilov (broken wah guitar), Yavor Lilov (kicker’s delight/endless kick/bronto kick), Quentin Pilet (bongos), Alain Sandri (congas) and DJ Laxxiste (440 FX), the Geneva, Switzerland-based instrumental act L’Eclair describe their sound in a number of different ways on their Facebook page, including “as if Booker T and the MGs came from Eastern Europe,” an obscure 70s movie soundtrack and as “kraut-exo-soul, brutal funk and Turkish groove.”

The Geneva, Switzerland-based instrumental act’s forthcoming sophomore album Sauropoda is slated for a May 24, 2019 release through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records — and the album, which was recorded over the course of two days last October in an undisclosed mountainous location is comprised of deep jams the band road-testing following the recording and release of last year’s breakthrough debut album Polymood. Recorded live and with few overdubs, Sauropoda‘s compositions are reportedly much more organic and capturing the band’s live sound much more accurately than its predecessor.  Interestingly, the album’s trippy and cinematic first single “Endless Dave” it’s a wild yet seamless synthesis of Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela KutiReturn to Forever-like jazz fusion, prog rock, dub and spaced out psychedelic and 70s soul that sounds both familiar and unlike anything I’ve heard this year.

The recently released video by banditbandeau features incredibly lysergic and lo-fi visuals including wild splashes of color, hypnotic moving shapes and geometric figures that look like textbook figures describing the curvature of spacetime, mixed with found footage and early computer rendered graphics undulating to the funky groove.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays The Budos Band Release a Forceful and Funky New Track

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written about and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act and JOVM mainstays The Budos Band a number of times. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music, classic soul and funk; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V is slated for release next week through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s first single “Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s fuck, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest.  V‘s second single was the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” a composition that’s centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill.Just before their two night NYC area run — April 5, 2019 at the Bowery Ballroom and April 6, 2019 at Music Hall of Williamsburg — the Staten Island-based JOVM mainstays released V’s third and latest single, the menacing “Maelstrom” brings several disparate things to mind — the Fela meets Black Sabbath power chord-based arrangements of Here Lies Man, a lysergic-tinged Morricone meets Quentin Tarantino Western.  The expansive composition features their imitable and explosive horn line, reverb-drenched guitar and a propulsive rhythm section, giving the track a forceful yet funky muscle.  

New Video: Striking and Sensual Visuals for Eve Maret’s Ambient Composition “My Own Pace”

Eve Maret is a Nashville-based electronic music composer, producer, and multidisciplinary artist, whose work generally bridges pop and experimentalism, while exploring the possibilities of personal and communal healing through creative acts — and as a result, to Maret, the act of creating is a wholehearted, life-affirming “Yes!” 

Last year was a big year for the Nashville-based electronic music composer, producer and multidisciplinary artist: she co-founded Hyasynth House, an electronic music collective and education center for female, trans, and non-binary artists, founded to help support and empower marginalized groups through workshops, performances and community-wide conversations. Also last year, she released a limited run of her full-length debut, No More Running on cassette through Nashville-based label Banana Tapes. Maret has toured across the US alongside a diverse and wildly eclectic array of artists including Guerrilla Toss, JEFF the Brotherhood, Mary Ocher, Coupler and Precious Child among others. 

Building upon a growing profile, Maret will be releasing No More Running (Deluxe Edition), an expanded edition of last year’s debut album with three new tracks, new videos and alternate artwork that’s slated for an April 26, 2019 release. The deluxe edition’s latest single is the ambient composition “My Own Pace.”  Centered by layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and a subtle motorik-like groove, the track recalls Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk.

Directed by videographer Helen Gilley, the recently released video features Eve Maret dancing in front of an angelic halo of light to the propulsive composition. It’s an interesting mix of the sensual and spiritual, the organic and the robotic. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Releases a Gorgeous and Meditative Visual for “The Mind”

Over the course of the past year, I’ve written a lot about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based singer/sgonwriter, electronic music producer, electronic music artist, indie rock musician and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin spent time as a guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as a solo artist in his own right with the release of his debut EP, 2007’s Personal Publication, a concept effort written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Personal Publication EP was also the first of an ongoing series of collaborations with charitable foundations, as he supported the EP with a cross Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. After completing his first solo tour, he went on to join his brother’s band while they were on tour; however, Aucoin suffered a debilitating iron deficiency that cut his time on  the tour short. But once he recuperated, Aucoin went on the road again, running partial marathons between tour stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early tours, the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist, electronic music producer and indie rock musician spent time writing the material that would eventually comprise his full-length debut, 2011’s We’re All Dying to Live, an effort that featured over 500 guest musicians, including  Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. Adding to a rapidly growing profile. the album was long-listed as a nominee for a Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013.

Building upon a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded sophomore effort, 2014’s Ephemeral. Several years passed before the release of last year’s Hold EP, and with singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle,” the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop  “The Fear.” and the slow-burning and wistful “The Dream,” the EP further cemented Aucoin’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, infectious and thoughtful pop.

Slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Haven Sounds, Aucoin’s third full-length album  Release was co-produced by the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer, electronic music artist and indie rock musician and drummer Joel Waddell. Inspired by the work of David Bowie, Holly Herndon, Fatboy Slim, Bjork, John Lennon, Future Islands, Caribou and Chic among others, the album finds the JOVM mainstay further cementing his growing reputation for his own unique blend of organic and electronic instrumentation — while thematically, the album finds Aucoin grappling with mortality, by using Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor for life’s journey. 

“The Mind,” Release’s first single is a pulsating instrumental track is centered around a slow build up of increasingly textured sounds including arpeggiated synths, chopped up and ethereal vocal samples and propulsive drumming that finds Aucoin drawing from drum ‘n’ bass and Kraftwerk-like minimalism before an explosive conclusion. “This track is about the mind and therefore has no lyrics,” Aucoin explains in press notes. “Musically, this song has two drum sets on it. The main kit is played by Jeremy Malvin (aka Chrome Sparks) and the second is carried over from the Release session by Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff. Ben Talmi played the very rare Therevox slide theremin on the track down at his Virtue & Vice Studio in Brooklyn. While Jenn Grant was recorded by Daniel Ledwell at his Echo Lake Studio in Nova Scotia. The vocal melody seamlessly switches from male to female vocals with Jenn and my voices being the samples.”

Directed by Meghan Tansey Whitton, the recently released video follows a mysterious and otherworldly figure covered in a metallic blanket, striding on a beach at sunset and as the video progresses, the figure is subjected to the elements, facing them with a preternaturally zen-like calm. 

New Audio: The Budos Band Return with an Ennio Morricone-like New Single

I’ve written and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act The Budos Band a number of times over the years, and the act which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music with a soul undercurrent, and some sound of the sounds of the 60s; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V is slated for an April 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s first single “Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s fuck, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest.  V’s latest single is the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” a composition that’s centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill. 

Comprised of Sebastien Bui (keys), Eli Ghersinu (dino bass), Stefan Lilov (broken wah guitar), Yavor Lilov (kicker’s delight/endless kick/bronto kick), Quentin Pilet (bongos), Alain Sandri (congas) and DJ Laxxiste (440 FX), the Geneva, Switzerland-based instrumental act L’Eclair describe their sound in a number of different ways on their Facebook page, including “as if Booker T and the MGs came from Eastern Europe,” an obscure 70s movie soundtrack and as “kraut-exo-soul, brutal funk and Turkish groove.”

The Geneva, Switzerland-based instrumental act’s forthcoming sophomore album Sauropoda is slated for a May 24, 2019 release through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records — and the album, which was recorded over the course of two days last October in an undisclosed mountainous location is comprised of deep jams the band road-testing following the recording and release of last year’s breakthrough debut album Polymood. Recorded live and with few overdubs, Sauropoda‘s compositions are reportedly much more organic and capturing the band’s live sound much more accurately than its predecessor.  Interestingly, the album’s trippy and cinematic first single “Endless Dave” it’s a wild yet seamless synthesis of Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela Kuti, Return to Forever-like jazz fusion, prog rock, dub and spaced out psychedelic and 70s soul that sounds both familiar and unlike anything I’ve heard this year.

 

New Audio: The Budos Band Release a Funky and Cinematic New Single

I’ve written and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act The Budos Band a number of times over the years, and as you may recall the which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music with a soul undercurrent, and some sound of the sounds of the 60s; however, with the band’s most recent releases, they’ve moved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.” 

The acclaimed instrumental act’s fifth album, aptly titled V is slated for an April 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s latest single, the cinematic  “Arcane Rambler” is centered around a looping and whirring guitar line, boom bap-like percussion, an enormous horn line and a propulsive and incredibly tight groove — and interestingly enough, the composition, which nods at hip-hop, 70s funk and psych rock finds the members of the collective at arguably their loosest and trippiest.