Artist Dan McPharlin’s tribute to early synthesizers

Art by Dan McPharlin

Australian artist Dan McPharlin has a deep interest in the sci-fi scene. He’s works in 2D and 3D design and illustration ranges from portraits of infinite, unparalleled universes’ to maquetes of technological paraphernalia of endless languages, knobs of variant electrical frequencies, buzzing sounds and unreachable-by-head numbers of binary instructions.

His latest showcase is a set of hand-made miniature sculptures homaging the early electronic recording equipment and synthesizers that paved the way to the continuous evolution of sound manipulating apparatus. Framing matt-boards, paper, plastic sheets, strings and rubber bands, are the materials featured in the 3D compositions.

Back in May, art and culture magazine Juxtapoz highlighted McPharlin’s drawings of far-flung planets and surreal landscapes, which ended up as album art in music records of Prefuse 73 and Pretty Lights. Music and the complexity of what’s beyond our planet are concatenated in the Aussie’s artist portfolio.




Source: Juxtapoz

“BKWYA” by Wati Heru x Kashaka

Video by Tanner W. Jarman

“BKWYA”‘s really sticks to the mind and ears. It is a minimalistic, buzz-dragging beat by Brooklyn’s producer Kashaka followed by a drowsy, loose flow by also Brooklyneer emcee Wati Heru. This is the first single of Heru’s upcoming LP Dystopia FM, due March, and it sounds like a darkish night, unsettling night in NY’s most populous borough.

Source: Mass Appeal



What does it mean to be fresh dressed?

The answer lays back in the 1980’s as hip-hop, connected with b-boying and breakdancing, fostered a new cultural movement that shifted from the ghettos and slums to city center’s and worldwide.

Multinational clothing brands saw the earning’s potential of such movement and came closer to the people bonded to street culture. One those companies actually started giving out free clothing to the street kids so the brand could evolve with a linkage to hip-hop culture.

The history of fashion and hip-hop and it’s social evolution is the premise of graffiti historian, journalist and hip-hop analyst Sacha Jenkins documentary Fresh Dressed: The Revolution of Fashion Born On The Streets, which debuted last January in Sundance Film Festival.

The documentary features two-cents by Kanye West, Andre Leon Tally, Riccardo Tischi, Dapper Dan, from Harlem, and one of the founders of the Lo Lifes, Thurston Howell III.

The documentary will be aired on CNN in 2015.

Source: Mass Appeal

Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD collaborative LP Sour Soul is out

Video by Rob Schroeder

There are musical collaborations that just sound perfect. From the top of my head, I point out Snoopzilla & Dãm-Funk; Mos Def & Talib Kweli (Black Star); MC Guru & DJ Premier (Gang Starr). Topping up the list is Sour Soul, the recent project that gathered in the same studio Wu-Tang Clan’s founder Ghostface Killah and Canadian futuristic-jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD.

Ghostface Killah needs no introduction. Besides being a central figure on the New York’s hip-hop collective, he also mastered a couple of timeless long-plays – Ironman (1996) and Supreme Clientele (2000) -, totalled ten solo albums and kept on flowing with hip-hop’s own evolutions and transformations while keeping it’s origins. Teaming up with the unconstrained jazzy sound of BADBADNOTGOOD is proof of that: Sour Soul sounds both classic and futuristic and positions itself as yet another remarkable hip-hop collaboration.

Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD first came to my attention actually due to another teamwork with a rapper – Tyler, the Creator. They all joined forces around 2012 and put up online the Odd Future sessions, featuring jazzy covers of Tyler’s gems from his second album, Goblin. By the time of such collaboration, the trio – Matthew A. Tavares (keys), Chester Stone Hansen (bass), and Alex Sowinski (drums) – had self-released a couple of albums online. Next up came BBNG2 (2012); the production of tracks for The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), directed by also Wu-Tang member SZA; a production in Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris (2013); and concerts with Frank Ocean. Last year, the trio released another record – III (or BBNG3) – at a point when there was not away one could ignore their creativity and loosed rhythms. Sour Soul consummated the propensity of the trio to play with rappers and produce hip-hop progressive records.

In Sour Soul, Ghostaface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD are joined by MF DOOM, Danny Brown and Slum Village’s Elzhi. The LP has been released by Lex Records and is now available to buy on every online platform.

C.D.M and Nidia Minaj debut releases on Príncipe Records

Príncipe Records, the afro-house label born out of Lisboa’s ghettos and slums, is kicking its 2015 drops by 24 February with a couple of debuts by C.D.M – DJ Lilocox and DJ Maboku’s joint project – and Nídia Minaj.

Malucos de Raíz hallmarks the first on-the-record collaborative project by the two Lisboa’s DJs that share a common place as spinners in Príncipe’s monthly residency in Lisboa’s gigs’ alley Musicbox. The record keeps up with the duo’s sounding spectrum of house bpm’s and African genres like tarraxo and batida.

On the B side, 18 year-old Nidia Minaj also embarks on a first trip at Príncipe Records: Danger is her debut with the label’s stamp. Born in Portugal and currently living in Bordeaux, France, Minaj’s latest production draws on heavy synths and kuduro and tarraxo’s baffling rhythms. The eight-track record betides her Estúdio da Mana, digitally released in August last year by Brother Sister Records.

C.D.M’s “Safadas da Noite” and Nidia Minaj’s “Puto Iuri” are the singles available online at the moment and will soon be released on digital and vinyl formats through the label’s Bandcamp page.


Meu Kamba: Africa resounding in Portugal

originally published on AZUL-Ericeira Mag | photography  Ricardo Miguel Vieira

Meu Kamba, Portuguese-Croatian Rocky Marsiano (aka D-Mars) most recent record, sounds like a tropical trip stretching throughout Lusophone Africa. Cruising Cape-Verde, Mozambique and Angola, this African heritage embraced by our Portuguese folks and grandparents in the colonial era remains gracefully alive, hidden in the corners and alleys of Portugal’s metropolitan suburbs. Rescuing the drums and warm rhythms of semba, funana, mornas and coladeras, and fusing them with hip-hop and funk’s beats, D-Mars take us through a harmonious, tap-your-feet safari recalling the past and present of the Portuguese collective memory.

However, the story on this African-roots-evocative production begins unfolding in a little studio in Ericeira, a surfing ex-libris in Portugal’s West Coast. There lives journalist, DJ and music-savant Rui Miguel Abreu, who holds a juicy and versatile vinyl collection of around twenty thousand records. A personal friend of D-Mars since the 1990s, having produced radio shows and launched a label with him, Rui Miguel Abreu had more than just a finger in the ending-result of Meu Kamba: it all actually started with D-Mars challenging the collector born in Coimbra, Northern Portugal, to choose a set of records from his personal crate and handing them to the 45 year-old DJ so he would sample and produce beats from such LPs. A year after the challenge, Meu Kamba was released in a limited-edition 33-vinyl.

I chatted with Rui Miguel Abreu about the long-distance record production of Meu Kamba (D-Mars lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands) and Africa’s influence in his musical trails.

Meu Kamba comes about from a longtime friendship with D-Mars. What’s the story behind the producer’s challenge?

My complicity with D-Mars comes from far back, around 1997 or 98. By that time I started producing Hip Hop Don’t Stop on radio Marginal and I invited him to be one of the show’s backbones. That led us to launch Loop label in 2001 and since then we’ve spent long hours together swapping ideas and diggin’ crates. D lives in Amsterdam, but our friendship never vanished. And since Loop’s era that he’s been saying “we have to collaborate on a project someday”, because many were the occasions I brought records for him and pointed out samples – “listen to this break or this bass line…”. That challenge has bolstered in the last couple of years, usually whenever he came over for a barbecue. One of those times we actually took it seriously, so I thought, ‘what records shall I give him to sample’. I thought it could be a good ideia to roam through Africa, since I’ve been doing África Eléctrica show for RDP África for quite sometime and many of those tracks are very present in me. Sounds from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and so on.

How long does it take for such project to come to life? How’s the working dynamic on a long-distance record production?

The longest period was the one dedicated by D-Mars into convincing me to choose the records. After that, it was all pretty fluid. The dynamic was very simple: I picked around fifteen LPs and singles, he took them to Amsterdam, started producing beats and would send me the work in progress. I just had to move away my furniture and shake my head to it. I’m not a musician nor a producer, but I think I have a mild set of ears.

So you are enticed for the idea and rummage for records. You look for your endless record collection and go for Africa. But not any Africa: the Lusophone Africa. With so many choices, why this Africa?

There were two to three things that led me to it: the África Eléctrica [RDP África radio show], as I already pinpointed; an invitation by Flur [a record store in Lisboa] a couple of years ago to pick some record covers for a Record Store Day mural – all those records made me realise there was a collection worth revisiting; and the work performed by Batida or Celeste Mariposa with this African memory has also inspired me.

meu_kamba_2_rmvIt must of been pretty hard to land on this idea and to find out which records to sample from such batch. After-all you have a collection of more than twenty thousand records…

My ears sort of warped because I’ve heard – and still listen to – a lot of hip-hop. I’m like the people that studied cinema and just can’t stop imagining what’s happening behind the camera as they watch a film. When I listen a record – rock, jazz, soul, funk or something else – my ear is always searching for loops, breaks and sounds to sample. And I keep a list of all the breaks I find. I’m a nerd, I know.

Can you tell the name of a few artists sampled for this record?

Uhm… I don’t know if I should… I think I heard Bonga somewhere, for example.

Do you see yourself embracing another project like this or was it a one-time only?

I’d like to repeat the experience with D-Mars someday and even with other producers. Mo Junkie has also been nagging me to throw himself to my Library’s records. So I’d say yes, this should happen again one of these days. For instance, I think it’s amazing how no one has ever really experimented the work of Zeca [Afonso]. If Danger Mouse didn’t fear Beatles’ attorneys, why wouldn’t one jump to Zeca’s collection? I’d definitely pay to listen to it.

At this very moment I’m listening to one of Meu Kamba’s tracks and all I can think about is an African city where life flows through tribal rhythms blended with modern senses. What did you want to achieve with this project?

Achieve? Absolutely nothing, except to answer the eternal question: “what will happen if I sample this sound and put some powerful drums behind?” I think D’s ideia was to make people dance to a sort of music placed in the memory of everybody that grew up in post-revolution Portugal.

The record has a Portuguese feeling that we all know so well. How was the Portuguese culture influenced along the years by the sounding migration of African culture?

History is made of dialogues and the dialogue with Africa has centuries. I spoke of Zeca because him too was influenced by Africa. So was every kid that went to school in [Lisboa’s] suburban areas in the last decades. There’s always a cassete circulating, a cachupa steaming on a friend’s table, a moment when something clicks within us and makes our foot acuse the touch of a Bonga’s classic on the stereo of a car driving past us.

Do you believe these musical and cultural spectrums are marginalised in Portugal?

I don’t see it that way. There’s a track named “Trem das Onze” that was also covered by Duo Ouro Negra that my father used to sing when I was a kid. I’ve always listened to African music since I began wandering on flee markets looking for Angolan and Cape Verdean sounds. This music has always been present. It is as marginalised and loved as anything else.

What draws you to these African rhythms and its possibilities? Is it purely based on music or also on a historical context?

When I worked in Valentim de Carvalho, between 1995 and 2001, I had the opportunity to backlog the African collection of the masters’ archive of the label. There I heard some amazing stuff, some really similar to Velvet Underground if they had been born in Luanda instead of New York. The authenticity of such music always fascinated me because it lives harboured in a specific time and reality that for that fact clanged to history. It’s not only the rhythms, but the melodies too, the fact those musicians have different approaches to instruments we know from other cultures, like the electric guitar or keyboards. There’s nothing like Angola’s music between let’s say 1966 and 1978 that I don’t want to listen. The same with Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya… Africa is such a huge place.

Why was Meu Kamba exclusively released on vinyl? So people can feel that African dusty, dragged sound?

Not exclusively: there’s also a digital version. Before anything else, me and D-Mars wanted to have a vinyl record made by ourselves on our collections.

What other projects do you have planned for now?

I seriously want to bet on a series of podcasts on my blog. I hope to debut a couple of volumes in due time, and release some of them on tape if all goes well. Then there are a few ideas with D-Mars, Mo Junkie and few other people. I feel like editing some soundtracks, I spoke with some folks about it. All-in-all not winning the lottery is a rock on my plans.

You can follow Rui Miguel Abreu’s blog on 33-45.