Tag Archives: Terrace Martin

Album of the Day: Terrace Martin Presents The Pollyseeds, “Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1”

Over the course of his career, multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin has crafted rap beats for West Coast stalwarts Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, while also earning respect as a leader in L.A.’s jazz scene. Martin’s craft defies simple boundaries: he looks to icons like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker with the same regard he has for hometown hero DJ Quik and new jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley. On Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1, Martin further showcases his creative growth while giving a platform to a small group of frequent collaborators he named The Pollyseeds.

Martin’s varied sonic influences play a key role in this album’s diversity. Crenshaw’s lead single, “Intentions,” stacks G-funk synths over Prince’s renowned Linndrum, leading to a suitable backdrop for Chachi’s (Compton MC Problem’s alter ego) scenic club narrative. Capping things off with a nod to Debarge’s 1982 classic “I Like It,” the end result sounds like the natural evolution for a generation raised on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Elsewhere, with the help of friend and famed pianist Robert Glasper, Martin’s vocoder rendition of Janet Jackson deep cut “Funny How Time Flies” nods to the arrangements perfected by Herbie Hancock during his late ‘70s fusion period.

“Mama D/Leimert Park” (named after a landmark for L.A.’s avant-garde jazz and hip-hop scenes) is steeped in traditionalism: a loop of the infamous “Impeach The President” drum break provides the necessary edge to keep the song’s breezy saxophone lines from tipping over into spineless cool jazz. Songs like “Feelings Of The World” tap into common daily struggles, as Chachi and vocalist Rose Gold sing the blues of coping with different crises—eviction and a relationship shattered by infidelity—while accompanied by a wailing electric guitar.

With Sounds Of Crenshaw Vol. 1, Martin executes each small step with precise vision, spreading messages of peace along the way. The album concludes with “Don’t Trip,” a riveting gospel-based composition on which singer Preston Harris plays the role of a choir soloist. In the background, Martin hums the soothing phrase “God will always love you forever” through his robotic talkbox. On an album full of sonic nuance, this is the final example of how the tools at his disposal can create uplifting moments.

Jesse Fairfax

This Week’s Essential Releases: Dark Punk, Funk, Art-Synth & More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

Continue reading

Ill Camille on Her New Album and Why the Term ‘Woman MC’ is a Diss

Ill Camille

Ill Camille comes from a long line of blue-collar workers and jazz musicians, all of whom make up her essence as an MC. A product of Los Angeles’ historic View Park/Leimert Park—black communities with varied income brackets—she spent her teenage years in the much quieter Inland Empire, where she met friends who influenced her rapping.

The lyricist has a laundry list of credits to her name already: she’s worked closely with the likes of Terrace Martin and DJ Battlecat, and contributed background vocals to Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” the cathartic centerpiece of good kid, m.A.A.d. city, his 2012 major-label debut. Yet since the release of Ill Camille’s Illustrated, also from 2012, life has thrown curveballs her way.

Now five years later, Heirloom might be her strongest work to date with its 16 songs that sum up her 33 years of wins, losses, struggle, and family experiences. We spoke with the rapper about her past work, the long road to releasing Heirloom, the turmoil that contributed to her extended hiatus, and why being called a “woman MC” isn’t a compliment.

Continue reading

Terrace Martin’s Los Angeles: Why His Versatile Jazz Sound Is Perfect for California

Terrace Martin

A hijacked white big rig filled with hazardous material slowly hulks down the 10 East with California Highway Patrol in hot pursuit. Just off Crenshaw sits Terrace Martin, his frequent collaborator Adam Turchin, and myself. We’re passing a joint inside the living room of his brother’s home studio, instinctively transfixed by that most innately Southern California spectacle: the televised car chase. Just another sunny day in L.A.

“Everybody has recorded over here. Kendrick. Wiz Khalifa. Everybody. This is our little bat cave… our honeycomb hideout and personal quarters,” Martin breaks the silence, one eye on the screen, waving his arm about the house.

The interior is filled with scattered guitar cases and trophies, plaques, bikes, and a Sherman Clay piano. A small recording nook contains keyboards and a computer. A Bernie Sanders sign remains on the front lawn.

“I’ve been doing music here since I was young,” he continues. “I stayed over here recording… I lived here.”

If Joan Didion accurately claimed that the city burning is Los Angeles’ deepest image of itself, the car chase represents its most disturbing nightmare. A lingering threat seared into the metropolitan subconscious from OJ in the White Bronco to the suicides that have happened multiple times on live television. The insurrections of 1965 and 1992 were both sparked by car chases that led to savage police brutality. In the world’s entertainment capital, the television networks have long realized this is the cheapest reality show. So when a chase breaks out, every channel instinctively locks in, and by some cultural quirk, we’re compelled to watch and silently hope that the driver somehow escapes.

Continue reading

A Painter On The Drums: Jamire Williams Details His Artful Solo Project

Jamire Williams

If you like jazz, there’s a good chance you’ve heard drummer Jamire Williams, even if you didn’t know he was there. The Houston-born percussionist—known for his controlled, yet disjointed style—has worked with vocalist Corey King, guitarist Jeff Parker, and composer Carlos Niño. He’s played with jazz luminaries Dr. Lonnie Smith and Robert Glasper, and is currently in the studio with legend Herbie Hancock.

As his session opportunities have taken off, Williams the songwriter has taken a back seat. He’s released a few records with his full band ERIMAJ—Jamire spelled backwards—yet Williams has always played a role as part of a larger group. With /////EFFECTUAL, his Leaving Records debut, the musician steps out on his own with an avant-garde set of extended drum solos. An album’s worth of such compositions could be tedious, but Williams creates a moving opus of elegant instrumentals. Nothing feels forced; Williams and executive producer Niño balance multiple drum sounds and electronic triggers. The result is an organic experience for the digital age.

Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2016: #20 – 1


Collage by Valentina Montagna.

If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. Here, at last, are our Top 20 Albums of 2016.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21

Continue reading

Album Premiere: Josef Leimberg Shares Long-Awaited Spiritual Debut

Josef Leimberg
Josef Leimberg. Photo by B+.

Over the past 20 years, trumpeter Josef Leimberg has carved out a nice career playing in the background on some of our most widely celebrated albums: Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, among many others. In a way, Leimberg has established the perfect niche for himself: He’s been able to rub elbows with music’s elite, while maintaining a relatively low-key day-to-day existence. On Astral Progressions, Leimberg’s long-awaited debut album, the composer steps to the forefront with a spiritual jazz release, featuring a who’s who of hip-hop and soul. Among other features, saxophonist Kamasi Washington appears on “Interstellar Universe,” and soul singer Bilal offers a standout performance on “Between Us 2.”

Though Astral Progressions is out this Friday, we’re premiering it here now. We spoke with Leimberg about the record, his mother’s creative influence, and why even though Progressions took a few years to finish, it’s arriving right on time.

Continue reading