Record Label: Brainfeeder
The story begins with a man on high. He is an old man, a warrior, and the guardian to the gates of a city. Two miles below his mountainous perch, he observes a dojo, where a group of young men train night and day. Eventually, the old man expects a challenger to emerge. He hopes for the day of his destruction, for this is the cycle of life.
Finally the doors fly open and three young men burst forth to challenge the old master. The first man is quick, but not strong enough. The second is quick, and strong, but not wise enough. The third stands tall, and overtakes the master. The Changing of the Guard has at long last been achieved.
But then the old man wakes up. He looks down at the dojo and realizes he’s been daydreaming. The dojo below exists, but everyone in training is yet a child. By the time they grow old enough to challenge the old man, he has disappeared.
This is, in essence, both a true story and a carefully constructed musical daydream, one that will further unfold in May of 2015, in a brazen release from young Los Angeles jazz giant, composer, and bandleader Kamasi Washington. The Epic is unlike anything jazz has seen, and not just because it emanates from the boundary-defying Brainfeeder, which isn’t so much a label in the traditional sense as it is an unfurling experiment conducted by the underground producer Flying Lotus.
The Epic is a 172-minute, three-volume set that includes a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and 17 songs overlaid with a compositional score written by Washington. Pulsing underneath is an otherworldly ten-piece band, each member of which is individually regarded as among the best young musicians on the planet – including bassist Thundercat and his brother, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., bassist (yes, there are two) Miles Mosley, drummer Tony Austin (of course there are two), keyboard player Brandon Coleman, pianist Cameron Graves, and trombonist Ryan Porter. Patrice Quinn’s ethereal vocals round out the ensemble.
The band are all from Los Angeles, mostly South Central, and its members – who call themselves variously “The Next Step” and the “The West Coast Get Down” – have been congregating since they were barely teenagers in a backyard shack in Inglewood. Washington, 32, has known Bruner since he was two. The rest met, at various stages, by the time they were in high school. The hours they have put into the music, playing together and practicing alone, total cumulatively in the tens of thousands.
"Nothing compares to these guys," says Barbara Sealy, the former West Coast director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, who has championed Kamasi and his compatriots from the beginning. “I challenge any group to go out on stage with them and see if they can keep up with it... Kamasi is at the top of his game, and only getting better.” “These young guys,” the rapper Common says, “remind me of why I love music.”
And the story The Epic tells, without words but rather through some combination of magic, mastery, and sheer force of imagination, is the story of Kamasi Washington and the Next Step and their collective mission: to remove jazz from the shelf of relics and make it new, unexpected, and dangerous again. They seek to both honour and alter tradition: as The Epic’s opening track announces, they are the “Changing of the Guard”. The sound can be felt like flames, sometimes waving in the coziness of a fireplace, in other moments sweeping everything around like a backdraft. But Kamasi is always in control of the burning.
“He just plays the craziest shit, man. I mean, everything — the past, present, the future,” Flying Lotus says, whose family lineage includes one of Washington’s direct musical forebears, John Coltrane. “It's hard to find unique voices in this music. Especially in jazz, more so lately, everybody is trying to do the same shit. I don't want to hear ‘My Favorite Things’ anymore… What I am hearing is a leader among artists.”
If you have questions regarding your order please visit our Order Status page before contacting us.
If it's urgent don't hesitate to give us a ring.
Business hours are Monday - Friday 9AM-5PM PST.
Call Us Toll Free: (888) 377-3175
To reach us by email use the form below:
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.
Important information when ordering with Fatbeats.com...
• Online orders are processed within 1-2 business days.
• If you are confused or need to know about an order placed on the site you can contact us
• Order processing time is separate from shipping time requested.
• International orders and orders that require additional credit verification can take longer to process. Please be available at the provided number or email submitted to speed up verification time.
•We try and offer as many upcoming projects available for pre-order when the releases have moved into production. However, due to the nature of manufacturing and production, pre-order dates may change. If your pre-ordered items are holding your package from arriving please email us with a request to ship the in-stock items and pre-orders when they become available.
•If your order contains pre-order items we will hold the package until all titles are available to ship. Please specify in the comments section of the checkout if you would like to: a) hold your entire order until it can be entirely fulfilled or, b) have the in-stock items shipped immediately and the pre-ordered items ship when available. Please note that option B may require additional shipping charges as multiple packages will be shipped.
• Our stock rapidly changes and we try and set in place a system that avoids purchasing items that become out of stock. However, if a product ordered is out of stock, we will reach out and give you the chance to change or cancel your order. If you choose to cancel, you will be refunded in full.
• IMPORTANT: If the address or phone number supplied conflicts with other information provided, i.e. billing information versus shipping information, we may need to contact you to verify your purchase. Please be available to verify or write an explanation in the notes section during checkout explaining the conflicting information.
•Please make sure you give us your correct billing address and your correct billing phone number. Again, it is highly important that you are available at the provided number or email submitted to speed up verification time enabling us to avoid fraudulent purchases.
• All sales are final. However, if the item ordered is different from the item you receive, please contact us and we can arrange to get you the desired product.
• We are committed to protecting your privacy. There is an opt-in policy to receive marketing and other e-blasts about future products available as well as deals and coupons. If you do not wish to receive these emails you can opt out by simply removing the check from the marketing box below upon check out. We will never sell your email or personal information.
• Your payment and personal information is always safe. Our SSL (secure server software) is the industry standard and among the best software available today for secure commerce transactions. It encrypts all of your personal information, including credit card number, name, and address, so that it cannot be read over the internet.
Fat Beats offers internship opportunities. You must be enrolled in college and reside in the Los Angeles area to be eligible for our programs. If you meet these requirements, please paste your cover letter below and we will contact you if there are open positions available.
We are currently offering an internship program that offers an educational experience in all facets of our distribution operation. The intern would have the ability to assist in each of the following departments:
Online Retail / Marketing
Shipping & Receiving
- Enrollment in an accredited college/university that offers an internship program for academic credit
- Knowledge and passion in independent music and culture; with a specific interest in the artists/releases that Fat Beats supports
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications
- Positive attitude - no task should be considered too small
- Must be located in the greater Los Angeles area
Resumes/Cover Letters should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org