Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aki "Hurt" Kharmicel Presents...

     Since he began releasing albums back in 1997, Kennuf Akbar aka Aki Kharmicel has recorded music that gives you an unfiltered glimpse into his mind. By carving out a distinctive sound, utilizing unique rhyme patterns and wordplay, and covering uncharted ground conceptually, Aki draws the listener into a world that is rich and multifaceted. Since his earliest projects, he has used storytelling - altering the pitch of his voice to represent characters and moods - to colour the proceedings and add depth to his work. Twenty years later, Aki has only broadened his array of styles and personas, and his latest project, an EP entitled TheDameRejects Part 1 (Refuge from Refuse), is a collision of many of his more recent sounds. The EP is a prelude of sorts to his upcoming full length, D.A.M.E. (Destroying All My Enemies), this EP being a collection of "rejects" from that project. But due to the high caliber of these songs, Aki has creatively spun TheDameRejects into a full blown concept.

  Not long after establishing himself as the futuristic soul man and raptivist Aki Kharmicel, Akbar quickly introduced his crooning alter ego Aki Khalaq, and his back ups, the Blak Prints. Through this outlet, Aki spun tales of doomed love, pimped up bravado and heartache, pushing the soulful vibes of Aki Kharmicel into new territory. Now, under the alias "Hurt," a reference to the bluesy song of the same name, Aki delivers this EP, which contains traces of his many alter egos. Producer The Ak, still firmly rooted in soul, also delves into funk and psychedelic sounds. Aki Khalaq grabs the mic to deliver some crooning, then falls back to let "Hurt" spit his rhymes, or talk shit, resulting in an always engaging and entertaining listen.

  While so many artists approach making music in a mechanical way, recording a product to sell, Aki is a good reminder of what a true artist is. Many of the songs and albums he records never make it to the public, but he is constantly creating, refining and exploring new styles, strictly for the love of music. While those who treat it like a job make music that is formulaic and uninspired, Aki keeps it pure and it shows. This is a high water mark for this unique artist and the balance of styles present here convinces me that Aki's best and most interesting work lies ahead of him. Check out TheDameRejects EP on Aki's Bandcamp and stay tuned for future projects.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Beetbak Compilation Tape & Magazine

    Here at Bring That Beat Back, we have been quietly working on a compilation tape and magazine that will be sold on Bandcamp in upcoming months. The tape will feature a slew of artists who have been featured on the site, including BigMass of Massdog Music, Aki Kharmic.el, Syndrome & Vyrus of ThEX2, Bullysquad, Name Science, Napom and Marc the Murderah of First Brigade, Supherb, Jahli of Darkleaf, A.K.M. of Cypha 7, Imperator, Masters of the Universe alumni Bennie "Eclipse" Herron, Zombie619er, and Bomedybeats, and more.

    The magazine will contain all the interviews Jack and I have conducted on beetbak, plus a selection of write ups. The tape and magazine will be sold together as a bundle and all proceeds will be donated to Jean in the Front Row, who has been suffering from a condition called Stevens Johnson Syndrome since 2007. For more info, you can check out Imperator's documentary on Jean and her struggles here.

    Below is a sampler containing snippets of a handful of songs that will be featured on the tape. The full version of the tape will run just under 70 minutes with around 20 songs. Slated for a May/June release, further details will be posted here. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Giggin' with Mike Swift

Da Mad Scientist

    A while back, I conducted an interview with an artist who I now consider one of the most innovative and genuine musicians I have had the pleasure of speaking to. Koobaatoo Asparagus, hailing from the Bay Vista area of San Diego, keeps his artistry pure. He has no concern for fame or accolades, instead focusing his energy entirely on his creations, which are spontaneous and outside of the box. This incredibly prolific artist began his musical journey creating experimental DJ mixes, under the alias DJ Mike Swift, back in 1990, and after hearing them, his influence on artists who came later in the San Diego rap scene is clear. 

    He went on to become a beat maker and rapper, recording the underground classic Android Masters in 1996, alongside Masters of the Universe alumni Zombie619er. After a brief stint as an in-house producer for LaFace Records, he made the decision to move away from sampling and, instead, began creating his own compositions. It was during this period, in the late 90s/early 2000s, that Bomedybeats was born. A staggering amount of material was recorded, traces of which are scattered over the internet, all of which displayed the new, unique sound he had created, firmly rooted in funk. He began crooning over his beats, and worked with a wide range of artists, such as Young Mantre, J Sharpe and Young Reef.

    Following a drug induced revelation, Koobaatoo reinvented himself yet again, deciding to focus his talents on positivity and to follow in the footsteps of the master of sound exploration himself, the mighty Sun Ra. He began experimenting with circuit bending, and eventually discovered "harsh noise wall," a genre which is reminiscent to the white noise of a fan in it's composition and therapeutic qualities. Since that shift in his approach and views on sound, Koobaatoo has recorded literally thousands of experimental noise albums, occasionally recording beats and funk tracks when the inspiration hits him.

    With this write up, I wanted to highlight a few of his more recent projects, which remain impossible to label but contain traces of funk, pop, soul, hip-hop, and a healthy dose of electronic experimentation. Due to his spontaneous approach, these recordings hold a similar tension and release structure to many free jazz recordings, and are far from easy listening. Their beauty lies in the moments when the chaos turns to order, and Koobaatoo's genius stares you in the face. As the man explained to me, "In the long run, you either got it or you don't. So just like Sun Ra, when I'm recording, if I mess up, I keep recording. I want to get it over with, put it in the archives and move to the next song. You have some cats who be like, 'Nah, put that back. Take that out. Put that snare in.' You lose creativity and it becomes homework. So I'm always spontaneous and whatever I make, I put it out." So sit back, smoke something, and listen to one of Sun Ra's disciples taking yet another journey into the land of unfound sound.

    Also, stay tuned for updates regarding the upcoming Android Masters project, Anunnaki Brothers, as well as some collaborations between Zombie619er and Tranzformer. Both Koobaatoo and Zombie will also be featured on the upcoming beetbak cassette tape compilation, which will be sold alongside a magazine containing all the interviews on beetbak plus a handful of write ups, the proceeds of which will be donated to our good friend Jean in the Front Row. Stay tuned!