Monday, March 31, 2008

A Pocketful of MCs

General Elektriks (RV Salters from Quannum Projects) is releasing one free track a month in anticipation of his new album "Good City For Dreamers". I posted about it on the D.I.Y blog a few days ago, and I've listened to the three available tracks a few times since then.

Overall, the quality is pretty good. If you're into General Elektriks you will probably enjoy the beats. The raps are of a great quality on their own, but they also work very well as an accompaniment to the music.

Here's a little break down of my impressions of the first three tracks

'Requiem For A Neo-Con' (Featuring Mr Lif)

Mr. Lif kills it. What more do I need to say? He sounds great over the funky Serge Gainsbourg sample.

'Death Of An 80s Limo' (Featuring Beans)

Beans' off kilter rhythms and rhyme schemes fit perfectly with the beat on "Death of an 80s Limo". Whats more, Beans uses the title of the original track ("The Chauffer" by Duran Duran) as inspiration for the narrative of his rap. Really quality stuff. I haven't heard a lot of Beans but I'm very interested to check out more of his stuff. RV also provides some very nice moody synth work, particularly at the end of the track. This isn't necessarily a track to groove to, but it's definately an interesting listen.

"Coming Up For Air" (featuring Lateef The Truthspeaker)

It actually took me a few years to really appreciate just how good an MC Lateef is. It wasn't that he started out whack and then drastically improved, or anything like that. Rather, back when I first heard him, my understanding of the technical and musical sides of MCing just wasn't developed enough to see just how skilled he really was.

Lateef is a beast on the mic, and this track serves as a great example of the musical dexterity he has. The first section of the song features him (sort of) singing and his delivery suits the music perfectly. An excellent performance that is very appropriate to the atmosphere of the beat.

So whether or not you like the GE production, all three MCs deliver some quality material!

Check it out at the GE website. Free tracks are good tracks! (Click on the "GE tracks for free" link at the top of the news page.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Liow Collaboration

From the D.I.Y Art blog:

Today Chris hit up the (makeshift) studio with jazz pianist/producer Nathan Liow and trumpeter Oscar O'Bryan. Nathan and Oscar laid down some great jazz improv for an experimental film / music video that D.I.Y Art Films is set to release in the second half of the year.

Nathan Liow is in his final year at the VCE school of jazz and has performed in clubs around Melbourne. In addition to his work as a jazz performer, Nathan also works as an electronic producer and has gained a great deal of success and recognition over the last few years. Most recently he won the Triple J Bloc Party remix competition. (Check him out on myspace, and on the Triple J unearthed site.)

Nathan rockin out

Long-time D.I.Y Art collaborator, Oscar O'Bryan, has performed extensively around Melbourne as both a trumpeter and DJ. He has played in venues including the Hi-Fi Bar, the Corner Hotel, Manchester Ln, and the Crown Palladium. He is one sixth of the funk/fusion outfit King Armadillo and also performs in various jazz outfits. (Check out the King Armadillo website, designed by D.I.Y Art’s Chris.)

Oscar doing some pro toolin'

Today’s session took place in the music centre of Melbourne High School (Oscar & Chris’ old school). D.I.Y Art associate, and King Armadillo keyboardist, Peter Dumsday did us a big favour and hooked us up with some free space. As you can see it wasn’t quite a professional studio, but it was perfect for what we needed.

The studio setup

D.I.Y Art associate Peter Dumsday

Nathan & Oscar doing some quality sound proofing, D.I.Y style…

The finished product

At this stage the project’s official name is still undecided so for now we’re calling it “Robots” (which will definitely not be the final release name!). The score features three different parts - including jazz, hip-hop, and electronic influences. Each section of the score will be accompanied by a different style of animation. At this stage the visuals are set to include painted animation, animation based on a photomontage environment, and silhouette animation. Chris & Nathan have already been collaborating for a few months, and have made good progress with the second and third sections of the score.

Recordings from today’s session will be used for the first section of the score/film. The accompanying animation is set to look a bit like this:

More pics:

Chris trying to get pro tools working and Nathan having a rest. Yeah, we were all pretty tired.

Oscar amused himself between takes by taking photos like these.