Amazing review of my new EP ... read below... huge thanks to Joe Muggs for recognizing the real.
Such an honor to remix friend and comrade Moor Mother. This mix represents Philadelphia in the highest degree! Enjoy.
So in November 2014, I took off for Berlin, to finally start on a project with Clara Hill. We have been friends for many years and I worked on the song Did I Do Wrong a few years ago. We have been wanting to do a complete album for a while now but our schedules just didn't work out. This time was perfect as I needed to work in a different environment for a bit and winter in Berlin is perfect for a dreamy darker album. Clara set up her living room to record.
We really didn't know the direction, but she really enjoyed the Fhloston Paradigm project I did for Hyperdub. With this in mind I did a bunch of sketches on my iPhone on the flight over to Germany. Using various apps and Audiobus to bring one app into the other. Its mindblowing to have this much technology in the palm of your hand.
The next day was day 1 of the sessions. I played her a bunch of the tracks from my phone and she loved them all! The interesting thing about them all, is that I was limited to how much power I could use on my (then) iPhone 4s. This limited the amount of apps I used, but in the end, it gave a sort of sonic cohesiveness to the album that may not have happened so naturally when you have too many choices.
Clara brought in an additional Moog Prodigy and Nord Lead (I don't remember if we actually used that) to add to the palette. Also the amazing MemoryMan looping pedal for vocal ideas. She is a master at this!
We then started on the first song which I think was Spheres. She loved the bassline I used for Chasing Rainbows on Fhloston Paradigm, so we added a great line with the Moog. This rough vocal is the one that actually appears on the record. The sun had just set and we recorded straight into Ableton (who's offices were 10min away funny enough). In one take we knew we were about to embark upon a very special project!
"I loved the rough and electronica sounds. The technical, sharp, crisp and sometimes hard sounds were a wonderful counterpart to the voice. I am also a big Boards of Canada and synthesizer fan. And deep melancholic basslines and darker harmonies are always catching me and I always feel very inspired." - Clara Hill
The next song was what ended up Lonely Glow. We both loved the Thom Yorke solo stuff and that was a bit of inspiration for this tune. I originally did the backbeat in NanoStudio with my own glitchy sounds, then programmed heavier drums from the Depeche Mode sounds that Daniel Miller released for Ableton users (the next year we were blessed to meet Daniel). The synths were tweeked from Nano and my personal Ableton patches. Bassline actually was Ableton as well.
Asynchronous is an interesting one. Extremely Fhloston-esque but also Beak and Anika inspired. The sci fi textures in the background were from this app called Thicket which is actually quite unique in its visuals. This one is stripped to Moog, beat and textures. Most tracks were done with the idea that Clara would have room to really layer and harmonize as she does!
Moons, Oscillate and Dron3 are all little movie scenes in a way. Interludes into the next. I used mostly Reaktor plugs for these and a bit of Thicket in the sound design.
D.E.F. is one of my favorites. The beat again done in Nano Studio (app). I love making beats with it, dunno why. Bassline and a few pads were done with AniMoog app. There is also a sort of bell loop that I made in Impaktor then recorded into Loopy HD (all tracks were recorded into this on the plane, then drag and drop into Ableton). I kept all the drums together for this album as stereo files, like the old school way back in the day.
With Mystery (Interstellar), the main beat was done with Impaktor but mangled in an app called Loop Twister, which was my favorite app ever. They stopped updating it and unfortunately it doesn't work anymore. That beat really set up the whole vibe of the track. I then used this Blade Runner sounding pad from Magellan Jr, which is really great for making pads. One more sound from Grain Science that set the grittiness.
Making Silent Roar was interesting. It was supposed to be for another project until Clara heard the track. I was like yeah? So the beat I did in Moog Filtertron. I actually had this sketch from a trip to Western Mass. I recorded at like 4am because I couldn't sleep. It was insanely quiet there (which is really wild because Clara named it Silent Roar without knowing this story) and I recorded a little vocal loop into it to that's really low in the mix. The drone pad came from Cassini app. Loved what she did to it. I'm actually going to remix it soon.
Dron3 was super fun. It was one night we had gotten back from our old friends Jazzanova's studio and just wanted to unwind on some experimental vibes. So I had set up 2 drone and noise patches in Reaktor to mix in between them live while tweeking them. Clara did the vocal looping live as well on the Memoryman into my Ableton. So, this track was all done live with no overdubs. The Moog comes in later as well feeding back on its modulation. When it was over we looked at each other like oh sh*t.
For me the technology in music plays always an important role. aesthetically, electronic elements in music are so beautiful. I always try to combine analogue sounds with electronics. But for the live set, now, i prefer not to use a computer on stage because i want to feel free - just only to work and sing with my voice. I think my Drummer will trigger all electronics sounds on stage. - Clara Hill
For the vocals, Clara used a nice process:
I recorded the vocals in my home studio. I used ProTools, recording the vocals after i did the sketches. Then i arranged some additional vocals and did some ad-libs. I cut and cleaned all vocals. Then i bounced them and sent all stems to King, for the further mixing process.
For my last album i mostly used an old AKG from the 60ties, which i really liked because of the mid frequencies. My voice sometimes is bit too airy“. And the AKG suited to my voice very well. Some Neumann's are very good too but sometimes too „high“ for my voice. I would choose the best microphone which fits perfectly to the sound and atmosphere of production. For „Pendulous Moon“ i used an Neumann and an small Sennheiser evolution for some vocal-effects. - Clara Hill
When she sent me all the vocals for the songs I was blown away. You never know what someone is going to send and its super exciting to think about all the directions it could go. Her layering and harmonies were top notch. No autotune was used (take note kids). I just added a nice EMT 250 on bgs and a bit of Ableton delay. Had those on sends for more control.
Mixing was very interesting because Clara is super detailed with every single thing, which turned out to be really satisfying in the end.
Mastering was done by none other than Martin from AtJazz ! He loved the album so much (and remixed the single) that he wanted to master it ! Thank you so much!
Anyhow, that's Pendulous Moon.
(left out 2 songs just because I did lol)
+ buy Pendulous Moon
20yrs ago, we took the world by storm with the new sound of Philadelphia. Sylk130 was a collective of the best of the best singers and musicians that frequented the Back2Basics events at Silk City.
While I was on tour with Digable Planets, I started working on the album concept and ideas. When The Funk Hits The Fan was the result, an 'audiobiography' of a life of a dj growing up in Philadelphia in the 70s. The album went on to sell 500k worldwide without crazy marketing, but from great publicity from Sony. Then word of mouth took over.
Then 3 years later, I completed Re-Member's Only which featured everyone from De La Soul and Kathy Sledge to Alison Moyet and Grover Washington Jr.. This was my ode to the 80s before the trend to do this era.
So, I am pleased to present the only live reunion show featuring all the original members September 4th at TLA.
Afterparty will be Back2Basics at Silk City.
There will also be a new release of hits and misses called "So What Happened Was..." that will be released later in September.
I just returned stateside from a life changing dream trip to Essouira, Morocco with legendary bassist, Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He asked me to join Wolfgang Puschnig, Ahmad Compaoré and him to perform at the Gnaoua Music Festival. We would also be joined by Maalem Hassan Boussou and his crew to create on onstage cultural exchanged of traditional Moroccan music with American funk & electronic.
Upon arrival in Marrakesh, I had images in my mind of this mystical and exotic place. My first steps on the North African land felt euphoric, like I had been there before in a past life. The first sounds heard were a mix of Arabic and French dialects filling the airport. We were greeted by the festival family to drive 3hrs to Essouira, which is a small town with big heart.
After the surreal drive through the semi desert and metropolis, we arrive in the town. We are greeted by our amazing host and guide, Fouad Wardi. We walk through the extremely colorful town to our Riad (traditional Moroccan house), to be warmly hugged by Fatima, the house caretaker and love giver.
We are immediately whisked away for a traditional Moroccan meal, that was the beginning of a whole new and constant eating schedule! Wow!
After a well deserved sleep in my King size bed for a King, we all had our first rehearsal. I was very nervous, since I needed to find my voice within the context of what Jamaaladeen is doing and the traditional players. What I learned is that less is more.
Forgot to say that when we arrived a very serendipidous meeting between old friends took place. Jamaaladeen had run into actor and longtime friend, Bob Wisdom (from the Wire). We went to meet the 'unofficial' mayor of the town! His spirit is magical.
The next few days would be filled with magic, from wandering around the mystical town in search of colorful fabrics and bags, to rehearsing with the top musicians from Morocco. It all was a whirlwind of cosmic dust and positive sorcery.
Now, the big day. We are on at 8pm and the butterflies had landed for sure. Rehearsals were beyond beautiful and it was time to share it with the sea of 3000+ people for our set.
The experience totally changed the way I listen to music now, and dance music in particular, since the Gnaouan tradition is very repetitive trance music essentially. I will be returning very soon.
Jamaaladeen has been a musical mentor to me since my teens. When playing his Outsiders Festival last year, he mentioned he was excited to add my electronics in another project and this is it!
These are the improvisational gigs that change Jazz music to another level and I am proud to represent the electronic community in this context
May 13 at 8pm sharp ..
I was honored last week to be a part of this amazing collaboration with choreographer, Faustin Linyekula, who flew all the way from the Congo to bring Philadelphia a new perspective on what Philly art will look like in the future tense in Philly Files.
He looks at North Philadelphia through movement, storytelling, community, and live music. The work includes a complete live improvisational score by myself, Tim Motzer, Heru Shabaka-ra, Anthony Tidd, and dancers from the University of the Arts. scenography by Jean-Christophe Lanquetin. The performance will took place in a warehouse in North Philadelphia.
The video above is by Chinese videographer, Stone Yin Shi. Music by me (from Supreme Diety)
First week of March 2016, I spent the week in my new favorite city, Rotterdam! It was an honor to be an artist in residence, at the legendary studio @ WORM. They had many ultra rare synths, that I was extremely excited to use. The Arp2500, The Putney VC3, PPG and so much more.
I was creating source material for the new Fhloston Paradigm album for next year. I was trying to learn all the machines and used all the mistakes as material. It was an extremely fun process.
I also was lucky enough to catch up with longtime friend and producer, Benny Rodridges. Was great to see him after 15yrs. We even started a song....
As a bonus, I got to meet designer, Lola Gielen, who invented the Neo at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. I got in contact after seeing the instrument online and wanted to see it in person. She drove all the way to show me. Blessed.
Lastly, the roti in Rotterdam, oh my word! Surinamese beauty.
This summer I was in Tokyo for the Do Over Anniversary, an LA party that my good friends started and I have been a resident for years now. While there, I had the urge to go to meet the creators of the new Aira synthesizer line for Roland. My friend, whom I still have yet to meet, Mr Gomi, set up the meeting.
So, as a fan and customer of Roland since 1984, I was absolutely geeked to be going. They greeted me and the main engineers came down from the factory as well to meet me and really pick my brain about the product.
I suggested doing an album exclusively using Roland Aira and older synths from the archives. They were excited!
The new gear is limitless since you can combine it with your computer and such. I however need to update my OS, so I was limited to the basics BUT that was a good thing. I focused on simple stripped down grooves and had a ball making the album!
Equipment used :
- Roland Aira MX 1 - for complete mix to Ableton
- Roland Aira TR-8 - for drums
- Roland Aira System 100-m - main drones and processing
- Roland Aira Scooper - added drone loops running into 100-m
- Roland JD 800 - lead synth in background
- Roland SH 101 - bass
- Roland JX 3P w/ PG200 - synths and textures
Produced and Mixed by King Britt at The Purple Room, Philly
Composed and Written by King Britt for Cosmic Lounge Music (ASCAP)
So a few years ago, the great husband and wife team from Philadelphia, Kindred, ask me to contribute a remix to their debut album for Hidden Beach Records (original home to Miss Jill Scott)
I instantly said yes, especially since they reminded me of Ashford and Simpson! That week they had a show at Philly club Transit and they did a live version of Rhythm of Life which blew me away. The music community at this time was super thick and connected, especially because everyone was working out of the now defunkt Larry Gold Studio.
My dream was to have a full choir on the song and Ty Tribbett happened to be working with James Poyser that week. I asked Ty to come in while we were working on the track. I used many of the musicians from the band except Chuck Treece was on bass. I then had Kindred come into the studio and re-sing the vocals to really capture the essence.
Ty brought in a small choir a week later and to watch him work was mindblowing.
The song went on to be included on the album, although edited. The full version is on blue vinyl 12" and limited edition 7" and here for you on Youtube
It went on to become a huge NYC house anthem and a big song featured at the famous Body and Soul parties.
October 2015 : I was asked by Congolese choreographer and activist, Faustin Linyekula to participate as a composer for a performance at Fondation Cartier in Paris. Joined by Pytshens Kambilo, Raphael Xavier, Jerry Valme and Dinozord for an improvisational session that mixed hip hop dance, rap, electronics and ndombolo.
We are presently working on a project together in Philadelphia called Re-Placing Philly.
Last week marked the new release from my Fhloston Paradigm project for Hyperdub. Part 1 of 2 EPs created as a bridge to the new album, that I am working on presently. The mind blowing Joshua Mays on the artwork as usual.
Revisiting an event I curated called, Bring The Noise : Afrofuturism x Russolo at the <fidget> space in Philadelphia 11.9.13. This Important event laid the foundation for what blossomed into Moondance.
<fidget> space, run and operated by Peter Price and Megan Bridge, hosts an annual experimental music festival, which was focused around the Art of Noise Manifesto in 2013. They approached me to create an evening, celebrating Russolo in an Afrofuturist context.
Revisting the groundbreaking event Moondance : A Night in the Afrofuture, that happened at MoMA PS1 in April 2014. We can't forget the narratives being built. I was honored to guest curate the whole event. So thankful to Ursula Rucker, Hank Shocklee, Hprizm, Ras G, Shabazz Palaces, Mike Todd, Pia Ercole, Ytasha Womack and Dr Alondra Nelson.
Sponsored by Red Bull Studios
Very proud grace the pages of this amazing collection of photos by Elion Paz. Some of the worlds best record collectors are featured with many from Philadelphia. Shout out to Skeme Richards, Rich Medina and Cosmo Baker. Check their amazing website below.