Record Label: Plug Research
Sold Out - $18.99
Sene was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. The son of a native New Yorker and a mother from Puerto Rico, Sene’s childhood never had a dull moment growing up in Sheepshead Bay (South Brooklyn). His mother would play salsa music while cleaning their one bedroom apartment and when his father was still around, he would play his electric guitar for his son and captivate him with old tapes from Woodstock. Though exposed to it from an early age, it wasn’t until his step-brother gave him Common’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense that the hip-hopbug bit a pre-teen Sene. Eventually he jacked that CD from his brother and started writing. He started soaking up all the classic hip-hop that sprung from NY in the late 90’s, with the Rawkus Soundbombing series being particularly influential. Ironically, it did not connect with Sene until years later that the music that was so pivotal in changing his life was being made in his own borough.
Rapping quickly became more than a hobby for Sene, but between the knucklehead lifestyle and his home life, the would-be MC did not have much of an outlet for his creativity. At 18, Sene picked up his high school diploma and the very next day he was on a plane for the West Coast. Initially the plan was to get some student loans, go to school and work. Unfortunately some of that knuckle-head business kept Sene from qualifying for certain kinds of assistance, so the plan became to work and rap. He slowly but surely started developing his lyricism and identity as an MC and began meeting like-minded people and rocking live shows. Soon after his arrival to the west coast, Sene moved to Santa Barbara where he met a friend who ran a college radio show at UCSB which led the young MC freestyling on air for weeks on the show. That same friend later interned for Sound-In-Color, which is where Sene met Blu.
After moving to the Antelope Valley, Sene got a call from Blu, offering Sene production--the roots for his debut LP were planted. Later, a hectic phone conversation led to a poor young lady being coerced into driving out to Antelope Valley and back to Slauson Avenue in the middle of the night so the two MC’s could lay the foundation for their album A Day Late & A Dollar Short. Upon nearing the album’s completion, something inside Sene clicked. He felt it was only right that he be in Brooklyn when his first full length is released. So like that, Sene hopped back on a steel bird back east. After being back home a bit, on the evening of a show at Santos Party House with Homeboy Sandman and Donwill, Sene met Pace Rivers from The Clubhouse. Pace approached Sene about working together and from there Sene began frequenting The Clubhouse. It was from his work at that locale that the project Exit, Us was born. A collection of self- produced vigniettes has made for the most powerful piece Sene has made to date. The project caught the attention of LA indie-label Plug Research and soon Sene found himself as the only MC on the acclaimed label’s roster. Sene has witnessed his writing mature and develop to a point where it can now stand on it’s own. His songs and projects now have sounds of their own, an identity of their own. No longer searching for some hot bars, Sene is now aiming to paint landscapes with words, in his own unique way, and is well on his journey. His sophomore album brooklyknight is set to hit stores on April 24th, 2012 on Plug Research.
1. The Feel Reel (feat. Sly5thAve.)
2. Brooklyknight (Feat. Jay Jennings)
3. Spoiled Rotten Apples
4. Backboards (Feat. Blu)
7. Holyday (Feat. Denitia Odigie)
8. Cult Classic
9. Artificial Family (Feat. Scienze & Co$$)
10. We Are Couleurs (Feat. Soul Khan)
11. It's Been Said (Feat. Jay Jennings)
12. The Fortunate Passport
13. Music Man
Anthony Valadez grew up in the bustling cultural hub of the San Fernando Valley, right outside of Los Angeles. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the most creative space for a young Latino to come of age, but the tenacious pre-teen had an insatiable curiousity since then and took it upon himself to find his calling. By junior high, young Anthony was tuning into KCRW where he was particularly drawn to a show where Michael Mixxin Moor was combining political speeches by the like of Malcolm X with acid jazz instrumentals. Not long after this period, Anthony was able to procure some turntables and spent his spare time catching the bus from the SF Valley into the heart of Hollywood, searching for new musical worlds to get lost to in shops like Beat Nonstop and Street Sounds on Melrose. This is also when visual arts began to really pique his interest. He’d often purchase records based on their cover art alone, sometimes being disappointed when he’d put the needle to its grooves then other times being blasted into yet another musical dimension. DJing developed as a natural extension of this constant curiosity, never as a career plan. Still, through ardent dedication, by the time Anthony was still in high school he was ditching 6th period, going over to the local community college radio station to drop a set. Even though most anyone else would have dropped school as an interest and focused on music as a path given his circumstances and opportunities, Anthony still saw his future in community work. “I thought I was going to be working with the community in the arts, that was my goal,” explains an older Anthony from the porch of his breezy Santa Monica apartment, “That was what I wanted to do and now I do that to volunteer. It all fell into place without any kind of intention.” By the mid-2000’s Anthony was becoming a staple of the musical scene in Los Angeles with regular gigs at the Temple Bar and an eclectic radio show at KCSN (California State University Northridge) where his guests were up and coming stars like Sa-Ra, Blu, Exile and Aloe Blacc. That show gave way to the opportunity to host his own show on KPFK where Anthony took his ever-growing curiosity to new heights. The freedom of public radio allowed him to not stifle his diversity and range, as he puts it “public radio is the only place I could play a cumbia track next to an E-40 track if I wanted to. I genuinely believe all that is good music, whether it’s bass heavy stuff from the UK or salsa or vintage funk, I love it all.” Eventually, his passion came to the attention of his childhood idol, KCRW, and Anthony found his life coming full circle by being offered his own show on the public powerhouse. Of course, it was only a matter of time Anthony’s curiosity about music led him to creating his own. Since his days at CSUN, Anthony began toying with samplers and loops, creating sounds for his personal enjoyment. Like the rest of his endeavors that began as a hobby, slowly this music making passtime grew into something bigger. When he was living in an apartment complex with Flying Lotus as his neighbor, an organic collaborative environment led to the budding young Brainfeeder-to-be to give a bit of insight into what turned out to be Anthony Valadez’ first release, Go! a 7” released by Recordbreakin’ in 2006. Always ambitious, Anthony was not satisfied with just looping and triggering sounds. Eventually, he sought to collaborate with real musicians and produce in the fullest sense of the word. This was the genesis of Just Visiting, his debut album on Plug Research. Over the course of the past three years, Anthony has collaborated with musicians, from other continents, other cities and other area codes of Los Angeles, to create an album that is as diverse as any of his radio shows. Sometimes musicians would come over to his apartment after gigs, record and crash on his couch. Other times he’d be getting Pro Tools files sent over from Amsterdam that he would then arrange and chop-up on his MPC. “I feel like each song is different but the common denominator is that it has soul,” explains Anthony. “I feel like this is a soul record in so many different directions, from soul jazz to weirdo soul.”
Bay Area based beat maker David Reep has had a long journey to get to where he is now. Born in the U.S, raised in London, with stops in Texas and Colorado before making the Bay his home. David took an interest in music with an acoustic guitar and explored blues and soul during his seven years in London. When he later returned stateside, the Rave scene entranced and captivated his imagination, leading to his first production endevours with an SP-303. This interest in music would continue to evolve. From interest, to past time, to hobby, and ultimately career. Adopting the stage name Elephant & Castle, taken from the London area bearing the same name, David released his Analogue EP in mid 2010 which propelled him onto the scene with great reviews from Pitchfork and The San Francisco Weekly. The SF Weekly wrote about the EP “sounds like a brief version of DJ Shadow’s monumental Endtroducing..... album as visualized by Flying Lotus and his beat scene compatriots.” Now two years later E&C is set to release his debut full length project with Plug Research entitled Transitions. Transitions is an exploration into low-fi sounds, finding their limits and pushing them further in a way few artists have done before. A well put together and polished record, Reep has found a balance between electronic sounds and live instruments. With tracks like “Derni/Paralysis” creating an eery yet pop like ambience, and the single “En Memoria,” which sees E&C hooking up with the Tune-Yards, providing a head nodding, melodic, beguiling tune. The versatility David is capable of is put on display from beginning to end. He states “this album is a dynamic adventure into the realm of ambience, beat orientation, and jazz influences. Some songs are also produced with inimitable time signatures, making the listening experience a bit more intricate...” David explains his work, “with this project, I chose music that resonated with me because I’ve found that if I get a strong emotional reaction from something, chances are other people will feel it too.” Elephant & Castle transitions electronic textures into evolving hybrids of sounds. The listening experience of Transitions is a passionate and captivating adventure, sure to mesmerize the mind, body and soul.
Naytronix is an evil dance band cloned from the stem cells of Oakland, CA based multi-instrumentalist/producer Nate Brenner. Deeply rooted in the traditions of the future, Naytronix merges fashionable grooves with found sounds and homemade instruments to unsettling yet familiar effect, as humans play side-by-side with robots, intertwining in a nefarious tango until it’s unclear where veins end and circuitry begins. Though the influence of Brenner’s California home is apparent in his relaxed, sun-blasted sounds, he is also a native of the synthetic desert cities of William Onyeabor, the vanguard estates of Charles Mingus, and the family manor of Sly Stone. As the bassist for genrebending institutions tUnE-yArDs and Beep!, he is no stranger to the explosive confluence of varied musical families. He says, “I want to use the full spectrum of available sound timbres including electric, synthetic and acoustic...I like to use non-musical sounds as well.” With a horn section and other talent pulled from his Bay Area community, Brenner conducts this mash-up with the exactitude of a subtle supervillain. Nate describes the process of creating Dirty Glow: “The album took a full year to complete, but during that year I also released a beep! record, and recorded and toured the tUnE-yArDs “whokill” album. I had plenty of time to think about the concepts of what I wanted to do, but not very much time at home where I could do the actual recording... that forced me to be decisive with my choices.”The spontaneity of those choices is tangible in Dirty Glow: not over-wrought, just aiming straight for the robot pelvis. The first single, the mercilessly danceable “Robotic,” comes shortly after “Elevator to Tomorrow,” more a musique concréte-Gainsbourg collage than a Michael Jackson hit. The groovy “Hangin’ Out” dissipates into a swarm of noise; “In The Summer” recalls Snoop with his radio turned to that weird college station that plays nameless experimental jams from 2 to 6 a.m. Rumor has it Nate Brenner himself is half robot. The parties of the 23rd century never end, so may he continue on, tirelessly. In the sinister post- apocalyptic dance colonies that will soon sprout up around the world, an undeniably timeless funk is woven into the fabric of society via the Naytronix hit machine. The world is bathed in the continuous dirty glow of evil summer twilight; dark exuberance lurks somewhere in the future.
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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.
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