Monday, August 20, 2007

Black Sand To the Beach?

Months ago I leaked a track on my my-space page called "Aswad". (means black in Arabic) It's from an up and coming release I've been working on with two close friends Nicolas Laget and Richard Patterson a.k.a Kolai and Unknown. The real title of the track is "Sand to the Beach". I changed the title because I didn't want people to google the project, I just wanted to see if listeners of my work would dig it first. (now lets go back in time a bit) Unknown and I sometimes get bored with making hip-hop and every once in a while we try something different when sampling. A few years ago he and I both took a turn in direction simultaneously. fusing chopped drums, beat breaks, looped melodies and chopped ones, we began to create an up tempo, broken beat, hip-hop sound. Not to say we invented it, sure their have been records along these lines but for us it was a new world. Are home studio away from our home studio is at our dear friend Nico's house. (a.k.a Kolai) When we started to compile material we took it down to his studio(Sweet Spot Studio's) Nico to have a listen. We wanted his help in assembling live musicians to play over our sample produced works. Nico plays sax, flute and keys himself so he's very connected to the live music scene in DC. After hearing our tracks he saw a bigger picture and became the third member in our trio. Unknown, and myself producing the majority of the tracks and Kolai mixing, engineering, and assembling the proper musicians to play on each track was a success and "" was born. We called our selves "avenue to" because the three of us all came from different avenues in music to one common road. August 25th is a big day for us, its the first time we perform as a group live. Tom Pipkin(percussion player) and Lucan Asaur (violinist) will play with us on our first gig. We simply can't afford a full band for this gig so we're making do with what we have and who's available. Unknown on effex and samples, Kolai on sax, keys, and flute, Tom on congo's, Lucan on violin and yours truly on track triggering. (yes my job is to press th button on my mac and start the songs.... its harder than it seems trust me! you have to have an index finger of fury!) The name of the group is "" the name of the album is "three way intersection" and our first performance is august 25th (at a farm) Peep the video of us practicing "sand to the beach" known on my myspace page as "aswad".

and of course here's "sand to the beach" for download, enjoy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On my Dublin & Glasgow S#!%

For the past few years I've branched out of the U.S. and gone on to collaborate with numerous artist from around the world. One of my favorite and more successful collaborations was with the "Heralds of change." The heralds of change is a production duo that consist of Mike Slott (Dublin, Ireland) & Hudson Mohawke. (Glasgow, Scotland) The two met while Mike attended university in Hudson's home town of Glasgow. Around March of 2005 they contacted me through myspace and requested a collaboration. They sent me a beat reel of really impressive material and I agreed to the collaboration(dope beats don't pay my bills, I got paid to! lol). In Jan. 2005 I became the first MC to be featured on the Heralds of change first commercial release "Show You/Part of the World." The a-side- "Show You" featured Mike and Hudson on the beats and my self on the rhymes, the b-side- featured the same. "Part of The World"All City Records ( the label that has released all of H.O.C's material) H.O.C thought it would be a good idea to throw an album release party and for me to fly out to perform the record.(this was the start of my first European tour) With the success of the first 12", H.O.C. thought it would be a good Idea to release another 12." This time they brought myself and Unknown board. I've known Un. since 1995 and since 2000 we've lived down the street from each other so the collaboration was nothing unusual. Un. also brought on Mudd (producer/MC form the group "jazz addicts") and in Jan. 2007 "Sittin on the Side" was released. ( I was featured on the a-side: "Sitting on the Side") In the tradition of the first, I started my 2007 Euro tour off in Dublin, this time Bringing L.A.'s "Trek Life" along and Unknown. while in Dublin we all recorded several songs with the H.O.C. that would later appear on their July 2007 release-"Secrets" (I was featured on a-side: "Be out there", b-sides: "Stay Cool" & "Trip Fall") Since I've known them I've witnessed their sound evolve from the soulful boom-bap sounds of Show "You/Part of the World", into the new age, ambient, synth heavy sounds of "Stay cool" and "Bop Gun". (featuring Olivier Daysoul, another Maryland home town hero) When it comes to this new age sound that so many producers have turned to in the persuit of the next fad or rendition of J-Dilla, I can honestly say Mike & Hudson are pioneers and they pave their own lanes. Their album cover art is yet another example of their ability to push the envelope with out going over board. All of the artwork is done by Dominic Flannigan a.k.a Summel. Dominic is a the MC in Surface EMP, a producer in the blessings, and also art director of Luckyme.( When Mike attended University in Glasgow he also me Dominic and many others forming "Luckyme". These tracks have never been released state side and I'm not sure they ever will so it's my pleasure to share with you all of our collaborations from their last 3 releases. enjoy and peace!

Bonus: Peep a video taken circa jan. 2007 of myself, Unknown, and Hudson Mohawke. (Fact: Later that night we made the songs that would be "Stay Cool" and Be Out There)
First day beats

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Making Of "All Beacause She's Gone"

Taking it back to October 2006 Here's the story behind one of my favorite tracks "all because she's gone". I participated in the 2006 Red Bull Music Academy which was held in Melbourne, Australia this time. While at the academy I met 30 of the most amazing people from around the world who became family and the music I produced there reflects that. Phonte Coleman of "Little Brother" was also there, when he arrived we almost went to work immediately. We did three full songs in one night, the ideas were flowing with nothing to stop them. One of the tracks we worked on was "all because she's gone". This track started off early in the morning. Participants would start arriving between 10 and 11am, I would get there allot earlier than that and sometimes sleep there to use the studios in peace and quite. So on one of those early mornings I kept humming this guitar in my head, I laid down some drums but this guitar was stuck in my head. Pretty soon Daniel Jacobson (participant for Ireland) walked in and I said "Daniel, can you play what I'm humming?" he said "sure" and the hummed guitar was born. After our first lecture Carl Mcintosh (of Loose ends) went on a walk through the studio rooms. I stopped him and said "would you mind laying bass on this?" he said, "sure" and the bass was born. So now the track is coming to life and I'm feeling good about it. Without hesitation I took the track to the main studio room and laid it down. While in studio "A"David Wright (participant from New Zealand) walks in and I say "yo, can you play Rhodes on this?" he says "sure". (you see the pattern?) At this point Little brother MC Phonte Coleman walks in and says "O, what the hell is this?" I say "just something I'm putting together," he says "lets write to it and finish it." So now we've written and recorded to it. (Phonte got his singing on and he and both MC'd) Todd Simon (trumpet player for Madlib and Macy Grey) walks in and says "this is dope!" I say, "yo, Todd.. Throw some trumpet on that bitch!" I whistled a few Horn melodies to him and the rest was history. Phonte felt something was missing and pulled Tor and Andreya Triana (participants from the U.K.) in to do some additional vocals, perfect touch. Sequencing had already began and we were still adding elements. Richard Eigner(participant from Austria) added tambourines, Mark Pritchard (Harmonic 33) added additional synth and sound effex. That my friends was the making of "all because she's gone"(fact: "Delusional" from Little Brother's last mix-tape "And Justice for All," and "The Perch" produced by Flying Lotus were all made that same evening.)

(To download this song simply click on the song title above)

Meet the band
song, rhymes, drums, instrumental melodies- Oddisee

bass- Carl Mcintosh

rhymes & Sangin- Phonte Coleman

additional chorus vocals- Tor

horns- Todd Simon

FX & chorus synth- Mark Pritchard

tamborine- Richard Eigner

guitar-Daniel Jacobson

rhodes- David Wright

back ground vocals- Andreya Triana

Last but not least here are some never before heard tracks i made in Melbourne. Some finished and some just ideas that came from being around producers of other genres, enjoy.

(To download these songs simply click on the song titles above)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I Buy Things Off the Street

I was out in the underground hip-hop Mecca known to the rest of the world as L.A. a while back doing some shows and of course I stopped by to see my girl friends parents. I was on an off day and my lady said "ok, no music today lets have lunch with my folks" I said "aight cool." While on our way to the beautiful city of Inglewood (always up to no good) I saw something.... a sign that simply said "Old Records" thing is, it was on the on Van Ness a little ways down for Manchester IN FRONT OF HER PARENTS HOUSE! Turns out their neighbor is a record collector from DC who moved to the west over 30 years ago. Long story short, the neighbors love me and I shipped a 100 records back home! God I love L.A.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Throw Some Trumpet on That B*!%!

So last tour I was on I went 6 weeks straight with out making a beat. Like a crack head without rock, I was going through it. When i got back from Europe I said never again. I copped a mac book pro, m-box mini 2, and a MPC 500. Before I headed back on the road I tested my new mobile studio out with no other than "Dre King."( Dre is one of DC's dopest musicians playing both keys and trumpet, we've also collab'd on'll learn about that later!) I showed up at his crib with A studio in my back pack and this is what happened. (fact: this track was picked by Phonte to be on little brother's "get back album" but didn't make the dead line in time)

(To download this video simply click on the video title above)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Viva Brasil!

I've always had a love for Bossa Nova and other forms of Brazilian music and every once in awhile i get the urge to make it myself. I few weeks ago I got the urge and I made "Viva Brasil". Next thing you know, I couldn't stop making this shit and I was 5 songs deep. With that being said, expect a "Viva Brasil" E.P. to appear some time in the near future. This tracks not done yet and for the most part, pretty simple. I sampled a dope guitar from Joe Pass and played the rest on my Yamaha motif es-6. Before it's done I'll prolly call "Dre King" to get some trumpet on it and my man "Zo" to lay some keys. For now enjoy.

(To download this song simply click on the song title above)


What up folks and welcome to my blog. Kev Brown said "make a blog fool" so I did. (thanks kev) Here you'll find rare, unreleased, and exclusive instrumentals, rhymes, and songs from yours truly. No need to download my material from some random dude in Bulgaria cuz he prolly titled my shit wrong any way. I want to have fun with this blog so don't be suprised if I post throw away beats, free styles, concepts and anything else i feel the world might want to hear. Lowbudget for life, peace.