According to Merriam-Webster, Vignettes means, a short descriptive literary sketch/brief incident or scene (as in a play or movie). The album is aptly titled where 15 musical scenes, each with their own unique settings, are stitched harmoniously together to provide a universal message to the audience in which they use the gift of their own interpretation. At just over 2 hours long, the listener is given an unfiltered front row performance into the heart, mind and soul of the the artist. This latest effort from Damu the Fudgemunk is of typical and unorthodox proportions. Musically, it’s what you should expect from the man who brought you the How it Should Sound franchise, Supply for Demand and The Spur Momento Trailer. Intellectually, it’s his most vulnerable piece of work to date. Hoping to challenge and inspire the listener through a musical narrative, it’s content is open ended.Any resulting opinion that provokes thinking is encouraged given the message in this Vignettes album. Even the art direction is intentionally abstract and undefined to welcome the attention of all people. The album is completely instrumental except for “Openings,” the lone vocal track which features Raw Poetic. With a “Quality over Quantity” slogan, Redefinition Records adds Vignettes to it’s legacy and marks their first 3LP vinyl release which is exclusive to redefinitionrecords. com/vignettes, while double cd’s (in Mini Lp style packaging with printed inner sleeves) and double cassettes (in a unique side by side case instead of the standard double cassette box) are available everywhere. Though the word vignettes may refer to something brief, Damu the Fudgemunk’s new album “Vignettes” has a long future ahead for years to come. “Vignettes is a true example of ‘art imitating life.’ All the commentary/ music is a collection of my personal experiences and those reflections applied to music to document an honest depiction of my current perspective on life and the world we share.” - Damu The Fudgemunk
Thomas Jefferson once wrote that“a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” While one of our founding fathers was probably referring to our government and what could beAmerica in 2017, Jansport J subconsciously ended up taking the adage to heart in the studio for his new album p h a r a o h.During a visit to the RottenApple one January in 2016, one of hip hop’s founding fathers--Rakim--and an intangible magnetism in the city brought on a break from his familiar narrative-driven album structure in favor of raw, gut feelings. Taking a page out of J Dilla’s book, he shirked care for track listing order to give the listener a bumpy, immersive trip with no sense of direction like a tourist caught in the morning rush on the L train. You’re not supposed to ever get too comfortable while you listen to p h a r a o h. It reflects the unforgiving hustle and bustle of New York City as the crowd takes you one way or pushes you in another just as quickly.There are familiar roadmarks on the trip like news clips referring to the death of the gorilla Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo and familiar vocal samples. But the rest is an interpretation of classic East Coast production, namely by Eric B. and RZA, as told to you by Jansport J.And just as New York City is a colorful mixing of personalities and backgrounds, so is p h a r a o h. The California producer allowed himself to experiment with nontraditional samples and ideas like triggering different clips of ODB shouting at the same time (“The Dirty II”) or having one of the most moving melodies play over a X-rated Facetime call (“ShowMeUMissMe”). To listen to p h a r a o h straight through is to wake up in Jansport J’s body that one cold January and relive his whole visit as he trekked to shows, listened to Paid in Full, and hit the reset button on his production habits. All in about 42 minutes.As he tells that story, you’ll hear hints of Madlib’s singular rhythms, Eric B.’s knock in the percussion, and J Dilla’s attention to sound design. But the change of pace for the creation of p h a r a o h wasn’t always so comfortable to live with for Jansport. Instead of letting the anxiety get to him, he reminded himself of one particular picture of Eric B. and Rakim standing in front of a red brick wall, and the resolute, silent confidence in Rakim’s eyes.This was Jansport J’s Rakim moment. While Jansport was still in the thick of completing this album, he told himself, “This is your weird, raw gritty album. Who cares if it sounds not super mixed? This is your fuckin’ album.” He owned it and because of it he has been able to find a new passion in working off of a clean slate.But before we get ahead of ourselves, sit down, hit play, and show respect to the Pharaoh.
Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, is an influential Los Angeles producer and cornerstone of the electronic & beat music scenes both locally and internationally. Over the last 15 years, he has released a number of full-lengths, EPs and remixes on labels like Ninja Tune, Anticon, and most recently Brainfeeder, namely the collaborative Kneebody Kneedelus release last year. With this LP coming out on his own label, Daedelus now wields the power to wind through the maze on his terms, sharing music and further developing the Magical Properties platform. There will also be a very special limited edition cassette pressing of ‘Labyrinths’ in collaboration with fellow Los Angeles label Dome of Doom. The first press is limited to 300 copies. Twisting, complex, and rhizomatic - Daedelus unfurls a maze of genre on Labyrinths, juxtaposing disparate influences while maintaining an underlying love and appreciation for all styles.
Veteran underground hip-hop producer from New Jersey, P-Original, best known for his work with El Da Sensei (of The Artifacts), Beneficence, Pacewon, and Dr. Becket drops a brand new LP of blazing instrumentals. Earthy, warm beats from the MPC and classic SP1200, emblematic of the award winning cover design by illustrator Brad Yeo featured in Creative Arts CA that lean on the Jazz and Soul side. A beautiful pressing on 180 gram vinyl limited to a small run of 300 copies.
“I like to tap into people’s imaginations. When I spit, I try to make movies with my words…” Armed with his unique delivery, gruff voice, and sharp wit, U.G. is well-equipped to do just as he wishes when he hits the booth. Whether on his own or earning critical acclaim as one-half of the Cella Dwellas, the Brooklyn rapper has been a giant amongst the NYC rap underground since ’94. And on Portals, his long anticipated solo debut, he proves exactly why so many look his way for music that’s incredibly fresh, and completely his own. Portals is a 14-track journey into just what U.G. set out to accomplish—a movie-like atmosphere anchored by well complemented production (entirely from IDE) and extraordinary rapping. That much was evident on lead single, “The Mystic,” which is equally eccentric in its wordplay and technical displays as U.G. flows over the creeping instrumental. Elsewhere, the BK spitter taps into his cinematic vision with joints like the harrowing “Might & Magic,” and the super-grimy, “Ready for War.” Interestingly enough, U.G. credits his movie-like approach with what makes his music so appealing to his fans. “That inner-kid comes out of them when they hear that stuff,” he says. “We (U.G. and IDE) are both visual artists as far as our approach to sound is concerned.” Beyond the concept, the rapper and producer just love Hip-Hop culture and wanted to represent it right. They may be taking a Boom bap excursion into another dimension—and likely one in a distant galaxy—on Portals, but this is pure, raw, unadulterated Hip-Hop to the bone gristle. Portals is set to drop Oct 21st via Creative Juices Music, and will be available on Compact Disc as well all major digital retailers and streaming platforms. Its features include Mista Sinista, DJ White Shadow, Celph Titled, Life Long, and Necro.
Foxygen is the Big Bang of two combusting minds. It's the splayed Galaxy of polar geniuses Sam France and Jonathan Rado. It's a handshake with a knife behind your back. A sleepless night in a five star hotel. You listen to Hang properly. You take in each moment. Each new melody that threads forward from the fingertips of one of this generation's finest pianomen in Jonathan Rado. And you fall in line behind Sam France's sprawling and reckless lyric.Witness his mastery. Feel them struggle against the walls of their own creations. Follow them there. To the perimeter. To the exit sign. Notice that the two young guys aren't there anymore. They're outside looking for another joint to haunt. They're already out of sight.
Society would deem that a prodigious girl can't be in a progressive rock band while also being in complete control of its creative vision, business plan and social messaging. Society is wrong. Clem Creevy, a 19 year old teen Queen dreamed up Cherry Glazerr in her LA bedroom alone and is perhaps more capable of figuring a music career out than anyone who attempts this treacherous life path. Back in 2014, much-loved Cali imprint Burger Records released their intoxicating debut Haxel Princess and Suicide Squeeze released the Had Ten Dollaz 7-inch. On Apocalipstick, the band worked with “rock'n'roll wizard” Joe Chicarelli [White Stripes, The Shins, The Strokes] and Carlos de la Garza [Bleached, M83, Tegan and Sara]. With their help and the band's newfound self-discipline and motivation, Cherry Glazerr has evolved into a wildly complex, hugely guitar heavy, and unapologetically loud machine.
Vitality is defined as the power to live or grow, and perseverance pertains to the qualities of moving forward when an obstacle stands in your way. The music of soul man Sonny Knight brims with these essential life traits because he exudes them. Along with his 7-piece powerhouse band, The Lakers, the 68 year-old retired truck driver has created a sound that extends much deeper than throwback soul. After the band's 2014 debut album, I'm Still Here, came to fruition much sooner than anyone expected, Sonny Knight and The Laker's released a live double album the following year. Now, the band’s sophomore studio set, Sooner Or Later, explores themes of overcoming adversity, love found, love lost, and societal observation. Where their debut might be likened to steering a bike before turning the pedals, considering they wrote and recorded it before road testing their songs and individual strengths, their latest effort sees the wheels fully in motion. With performances across the US and Europe in theaters, performing arts centers, festivals and night clubs, Sonny and the band have tightened their unity and discovered what each member brings to the table that can further the collective’s playing. By doing so, the group was able to gain a greater understanding of what their best material was through performing it on the road night after night. What results on Sooner Or Later is a rarity by today’s recording standards. Of the 10 songs that were taken into Secret Stash’s brand new studio, all made the final cut. Rather than track a bunch of material and pick out the best parts later, Sonny and the band hit the studio knowing exactly what the record would be, perfectly encapsulating a snapshot in time for the artist. By focusing less on so-called groove makers and more on the songwriting process, Knight and company harnessed the power of the different genres that came together to shape what we have come to know as soul music over the last 50+ years. Gospel, country, and blues were all melded into a record that takes you on a journey through life’s questions and emotions via nine originals and a cover of Lonnie Mack’s “Why.” Knight’s vast array of life experiences inform a worldview that give him a unique perspective on the song writing, expressive, and storytelling process. While he was enamored with gospel music during his youth, which eventually led him to recording his first single in 1965, he soon found himself exploring other opportunities. From a deployment in Vietnam to a job as a long haul trucker, that it hasn’t been a linear path has made him a more attuned performer. Combining this hard-earned experience with a vivacious band whose members are half his age, the songs and performances are a perfect blending of observation, promise, and energy, thanks in some part to their collective globetrotting adventures playing for audiences of many different backgrounds.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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