Tag Archives: List

Willie Green, The “Unseen Hand” Behind Backwoodz Studioz

Willie Green

“We were just gonna make the record we wanted to make, because we figured that was our last shot.”

Willie Green is speaking about History Will Absolve Me, the 2012 solo album by billy woods that became a turning point not only in the history of woods’ label, Backwoodz Studioz, but for Green’s entire career. Green and woods had worked together before, notably on Cape Verde, the final album by Super Chron Flight Bros, woods’s group with the rapper Privilege. But on History, Green had woods in his apartment studio, overseeing the project as executive producer, feeding him acerbic, trouble funk production that churned beneath woods’s grim reality rap. The two defied the rose-colored “cloud rap” trends of the times, pursuing a sound that was corroded and cacophonous—a step beyond even the trademark Definitive Jux dystopia—to create what became their defining statement.

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Ten Metal Veterans Who Found New Life in Goth and Post-Punk

Glaare

Glaare

Metal and goth have always gone hand in hand. Whether it was the arena aspirations of goth titans like Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim or gothic metal acts like Danzig, Type O Negative, and The Gathering, the two genres have long found common ground on the dark side. And while there is a long history of punk and goth intermingling, the last few years have seen a rise in the number of musicians with a specifically metal background applying their heavy aesthetics to goth and industrial.

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Seven Steps to Perfection: A Guide Towards the Afrofuture in Music

Afrofuturism

Illustration by Max Löffler

In the ’90s, R&B and hip-hop music videos by groups like Blaque, OutKast, and Missy Elliott burst out of the hive with the vibrancy of ritual, referencing everything from atmospheric independent African diaspora films, like Daughters of the Dust to Star Trek. These videos were high fantasy—but with the ubiquitous ‘90s video sheen of exaggerated colorwash and fisheye-lens effects.

Also during the ’90s, the term Afrofuturism was coined to discuss the rising interest in surreal, fantastical, and futuristic Black literature (from the likes of Samuel Delany, Octavia E. Butler, and Charles Saunders), and its connection to other forms of Black art (music and visual art in particular) that married science fiction tropes and ideas with Black radical politics, spirituality, and lived experiences. The idea then was to project idealized forms of Blackness into the future without eschewing any of the aesthetic markings that made Black existence in a post-colonial world unique. Artists imagined urban habitation adorned with updated ritual practice, the ghetto as space station geared out in chrome, and general narratives about space travel to coincide with the ecstasy of the music: the layered, heavy beats and hazy, jazz-inspired productions that were the norm of the time. This gave way to the explorations of Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, and Janelle Monae.

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How Black Noi$e Put a Detroit Stamp on the Burgeoning Bicoastal Techno-Rap Scene

Black Noise

Rob Mansel, aka Black Noi$e, says he’ll never leave Detroit. It’s not for lack of opportunity—he’s about to join a crew of up-and-coming rappers and producers who span both coasts for a two-month tour with Earl Sweatshirt. But it lends an extra level of commitment that Mansel waxes poetic about the Motor City while hunkered down next to a space heater in the middle of a polar vortex, his plastic-wrapped windows barely keeping out negative 20-degree weather.

“Everyone is always like, ‘You need to come to New York.’ I’m like, ‘I’ll come visit y’all. I’m going to stay here though,’” Mansel says.  Continue reading

A Brief History of Jazz in Boston, Past and Present

Thing

Thing

The jazz scene in Boston—which includes free jazz, the avant-garde, and various hybrid styles—has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years, but its roots date back to the mid ‘50s.

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Strange Sounds from Southeast Asia: An Introduction to the Region’s Experimental Labels

khana-bierbood-1244

Khana Bierbood

For decades, the 11 countries that comprise Southeast Asia played second fiddle to their bigger neighbors when it came to underground experimental music. China, Japan, and South Korea, for example, always had better infrastructure to support alternative tastes, which led to the emergence of more organized subcultures. But that deeply ingrained dynamic has finally begun to change in recent years as Southeast Asia’s young population and expanding middle class become emboldened with rising spending power and disruptive ideas.

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The Fat Beats “Baker’s Dozen” Series Gives Producers Room to Stretch Out

Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program

Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program

The Baker’s Dozen series, launched in 2016 by iconic independent hip-hop record store and label Fat Beats, is a cut above your average beat tape series. On each installment, a notable producer from the hip-hop, ambient, or electronic scene is challenged to craft an instrumental album that showcases their personality as much as their music. Artists like Exile, Daedelus, and Marco Polo have already contributed to the franchise, establishing the Baker’s Dozen as a premier outlet for instrumental music.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Nein Records’ Dark, Diverse Electronica Universe

Nein Records

To call Nein Records prolific would be a serious understatement. In 2018, its fifth anniversary year, the U.K.-based label released 48 singles, two full-length albums, and two compilations. As for everything Nein has put into the world since its inception, label head Neil Parnell, aka Tronik Youth, says he’ll be working on a full tally of that early in the new year. That’s in addition to rolling out their 2019 releases, which began on January 4 with Stockholm Syndrome’s new single, “Lies.” Parnell estimates that he has already planned for the first six months of the year.  Continue reading