Thursday, 2 July 2009

Ketchup: Part Deux

Back for another ascent of submission mountain, having already braved the vicious (pleasurably so) mauling of Ouch My Face and the intricate winding passes of Shark Speed. Firstly, though, some idle chatter as we pack up base camp........

Heavier - Than - Air has previously covered lesser known bands through a section called 'Unsigned, Uncovered'. Granted, this is a relatively accurate title, but given further thought I dislike it.....chiefly because of the unsigned part. I'm currently reading through the Indie Band Survival Guide - a gem of a starting point for anyone requiring a band perspective on a business approach to the music industry - which highlights the main issue with the unsigned tag: "Unfortunately, it seems to imply that being signed is the goal, and that musicians who haven't been signed have a lower status than those who have."

Particularly in today's world of immediate global connection to potential fans and minimal requirements for recording, this implication is, although still relatively widely held and lacking a more eloquent term, bollocks.

Although being recognised by a company willing to invest in artist talent is certainly a sign of progress and a basic level of quality - at least in song writing terms - to assign levels of musical appeal solely on the basis of business investment criteria is removing so many other key factors. Anyhow, the main point is that
H-T-A will actively attempt to move away from any traditional business prejudices and judge solely on enjoyment of the music itself. This should be a given on a music blog written purely to those ends, yet some of these perspectives are so historically ingrained in music that they're taken for granted. Well, this is the wake up call. Back to the good stuff.......

So in one submission alone we have more material than can be co
vered in one post, so the focus for this attempt is on Father Abraham's "I Am Not A Sailor, I Am The Captain" release. This moves H-T-A once again into hip-hop territory, an area of the musical map that holds much intrigue but is irregularly frequented. My aural equivalent of Scotland, perhaps. Wow, that may be the most laboured analogy to date..........score.

Abraham Kinkopf - the gent behind the pseudonym - is certainly a busy chap. This producer/rapper from Baaawwwwwston (as, I'm reliably informed by Noo Yawwkers, it is pronounced) not only has 3 albums in as many years, he's also midway through a song-a-week project named
52 Pick up. Whilst I'm still busy wrapping my ears around the aforementioned full length, such dedication and innovation is to be applauded and I'll certainly be digging deeper into the 26 songs that have been offered to date.

Back with
"I Am Not A Sailor, I Am The Captain", though, and a number of my rap/hip-hop reference points are touched upon in this varied, dynamic release. Heavy on synths and samples, we get hints of Aesop Rock (Rock and Roll), Doomisms (helpsaveme), and Beastie Boys in the various conceptual twists and turns. Away from hip-hop, even the Eastern European twangs of Gogol Bordello (Bosnian Man) appear, demonstrating how wide the net is cast on this effort. At times this does feel somewhat incongruous, with styles jumping from track to track, but it is all rooted in a sample-laden rap base that affords some continuity. Taking individual tracks, too, there's a lot to be found and enjoy. Essentially, if you're into the alternative brand of the genre - as often displayed on Def Jux - I see no reason not to add Father Abraham to your lists to check out. Start right here, in fact:

MP3: Father Abraham - Rock and Roll
MP3: Father Abraham - Bosnian Man
Taken from
"I Am Not A Sailor, I Am The Captain" - Buy

So returning to New York City, a band I managed to catch a couple of times in June - thoroughly enjoying each time - is MEM. An intriguing take on alternative/progressive forms of indie-rock, they have a strong visual projection element live but recall anyone from Muse to Animal Collective when you dig deeper.

g all manner of effects and vocal distortions, their new album 'Archaea' may not be to traditionalist tastes but I'm lured in every time I hear a few bars.....even without the ear-catching live staple This One amongst its track listing. A full review is as likely as the media spending all weekend dissecting MJ's last will and testament, so be on the look out if you dig what's up on their Myspace page.

Last but not least would have been Chicago's
Apteka but I'm feeling the burn here and will have to save that particular musical nourishment for the next meal. Do have a listen and feel free to pre-empt my findings, though. Nothing like a bit of healthy debate to kick off a holiday weekend, that celebrates the English getting a bit homesick and leaving the keys with some Yankee locals, right? What d'you mean your history books say otherwise?? That's what you get for ruining perfectly good tea.

A bientot.

Now playing: Enter Shikari - Juggernauts
via FoxyTunes

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