Of all of genres of music, reggae music commands a bold look into the future while holding on tightly to its early roots. ‘The Kalling'” is Kabaka Pyramid’s best record to date, and there’s no wonder that is in the running for Reggae album of the year along with mega stars Protege, Sean Paul and Shaggy. The Kalling contains many mega stars as guests including Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Buju Banton, Stephen Marley and fellow Grammy nominee Protege. The Kalling has a big offering to fans of dancehall style. Pyramid sings “There’s a lot to be grateful for” and one thing I’m grateful for is that he’s released this uncompromising collection of songs with an uplifting message and hits hard musically.
Cryptorastas NFT Lauched on August 29th, 2021
Among all the highlights of the record is Mr. Rastaman featuring Tifa. The song is a love song and is a new direction for Pyramid. The song was an instant hit. Pyramid and Tifa have a knack for making their audience appreciate their chemistry in the song as Pyramid exclaims, “Me feeling dem so truthfully, me feeling we could start up a community”. It’s a playful song that saunters as the beat hits and its just one of the bigger songs on the album.
Another heavy hitter is the song Fade Away, featuring legendary Dancehall MC Buju Banton, who is know for his crossover style into hip hop, something Pyramid shares in common with Banton. Banton also an NFT offering and his unique lyrics and vocal stylings add to the songs strengths and show why he’s still a Dancehall King,
The albums begins with the song Mystik Man, where Pyramid sings “Mystic Man, Mystic Man, Stock some crypto I risk it man” The song also showcases Pyramid’s hip hop vocal styles paired with a sample of Peter Tosh from his song of the same title. A song Tosh proclaims he’s “a man of the past and I’m living in the present and I’m walking in the future”, These are true statements of Pyramid and of all Cryptorastas. There are some deep parallels in the two songs as cryptocurrency is recognized by many to be the future direction global currency with the potential to solve many of the inherent problems in fiat currency that continue to repress and hold back much of the world population. This is a reason it has been used as a hedge against inflation by Venezuela who adopted Bitcoin as their national currency and has become widely adopted such as Nigeria as well.
The Cryptorastas project was first introduced to me by the late Lee “Scratch” Perry on a social media post he made on the Instagram platform. I was aware through this post that he would have a collaboration with them and their NFT was set to launch. On the drop date I bought an initial 5 NFTs (which I still own). The project has brought its followers NFT and IRL sneakers and skateboards, and next up is their own record label. The initial song by Dada Yute is set to drop very soon with 100 editions planned. Many more are in the works. There is also a gathering of all cryptorastas planned in Kingston on Febraury 23rd, just days before the Grammys are awarded. We can hope the future of the Grammys has an NFT nominated as Reggae artist of the year, and with any luck it could be from Cryptorastas. We in the community send much respect and love to Kabaka Pyramid and wish him only the most success in his nomination this year.
My most recent NFT has 50 copies minted and many of them (if not all) will be given away. This work is a warped rendition of the original photo in the work Irma the cleaning lady finds a new astral plane. I was thinking of making a short video of this piece too, which would be just one addition. A handful of these will be on the polygon chain which is a gas free network. Anyway, here’s the link to the new pieces up now.
I recently started minting some of my digital art work over at opensea. My work is loosely based on an idea I had when I started blogging in this very space several years back. I have enjoyed the opportunity to post about photographs I took at concerts I would attend.
After posting some initial photos that were more or less unfiltered I decided it was more fun to try to experiment with the content and make it psychedelic and stuff. The phones I had at the time would take really shitty pictures and I thought it was better to try to dress them up a little rather than posting them as is.
I guess the best was to describe what I’m doing in my art at open sea is trying to keep it psychedelic, but with material that is from images I’ve saved of things that were already kind of trippy. I’m listing this website as a link on open sea, so I thought it best to have my blog mention this work. I plan on doing so in the future when new works are minted.
Right now, I’m making 6 different treatments for each of the initial works. Six seems like plenty of different treatments.
In a way Goz of Kermeurare the greatest band you’ve never heard. This well deserved vinyl pressing of Swiss’ own Goz of Kermeur is a modest 3oo copy pressing for such a special band. Released on the French Jelodanti label, the recordings are from the band’s 3 studio recordings as well as the single with Ted Milton (Blurt) ‘Inflated Edge’.
I had the opportunity to see them perform in Victoriaville in support of their second recording Irondelles on Recommended records. It was one insanely fun concert I’ll never forget. The FIMAV festival would get some top notch bands and some people might come just to see one artist. Most of those I hung out with in Victoriaville would go there for the entire festival simply because it was a long way to go and there was alot to keep us entertained. You could tell alot of folks came to town just for that show. It was a midnight show and for a full house. There were a few people in the back screaming something like ‘L’Intelligencia de Montreal sommes ici!” or something to that effect over and over. They were sitting in the stands. We’d been lucky enough to be seated for this show and even though the concert remained seated the entire time the energy seemed like at any minute some people might start jumping out of their chairs and challenge the whole seated notion idea in some way. I mean these guys were punk. I was able to find the cd at the concert, so I don’t think I knew alot about their music before the seeing them, but maybe that was best, because I don’t know that the punch they gave would’ve hit as hard if I’d known what to expect.
At the time I had seen the Jesus Lizard live a few times and the Cows and it sounded like some blend of those bands with maybe Tom Waits singing baritone and tenor at times. I could also add that it made perfect sense for Recommended to be releasing Goz of Kermeur right beside bands like The Ex and the Hat Shoes. In fact The trio played some shows with the Ex, Ornette Coleman, Napalm Death, John Zorn and Legendary Pink Dots, among others. The group was led by singer and double bass player Adrien Kessler, but also the music of the late Yves Charmillot on guitar and Andrea Valvini on drums. Also worth noting the artwork on Irondeles was also done by Kessler.
Only two songs are included from the 1997 release Mythoman and perhaps that feels a bit under represented, however the 1992 S/T release and 1993 Irondeles are both powerhouses, for example the song ‘Pain’ has a great demonstration of band’s sound, singing in both French and Anglais. ‘Dibidi’ is a song also from Irondeles and the incoroporation of the bow on the double bass also builds into almost a barrelhouse approach to the song. “The night before”, proclaims Kessler as he creates an atmosphere of life in an underbelly of a city. A song like ‘Bones’ from the S/T release goes in a wailing Tom Waits direction, but is way too uptempo for any TW I’ve heard before. One of the standouts for the entire collection.
A few years after the passing of Charmillot in 2001 Kessler an Valvini worked together again in the group Darling with guitarist Vincent Haenni (Young Gods) and Anne Cardinaud on keys. Goz of Kermeur were in existence from 1991-2000 and it’s pretty amazing to get the opportunity to snag a vinyl copy of a band of their ilk who were releasing music in the height of music’s cd era. Get some Goz of Kermeur on vinyl while you can.
In a series of 34 interviews, illustrator and musician Brian Walsby gives us a glimpse into the world of being a self employed artist in modern times. Walsby, being self employed himself, makes a living, among other things, drawing images and selling them on tour with rock heavyweight band the Melvins. He has illustrated t-shirts through Bifocal Media for the Melvins, Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), and Redd Kross among others. In his spare time he has written 7 volumes of his book Manchild, a series that reads like a comic book about musicians and musical experiences.
The book is 476 pages with interviews of artists Walsby met on the road while touring with the Melvins, folks he’s met over the years attending concerts and through his own musical endeavors as a drummer for quite a few bands in Raleigh and Simi Valley. In addition to his career as a cartoonis, Brian is an excellent drummer and he performed in bands Scared Straight, Wwax, Snake Nation, Willard, the Patty Duke Syndrome, Double Negative among others.
Many of the interviews read alot like conversations with Brian providing interesting dialogue. One such exchange comes in an interview with Alice in Chains singer and guitarist William DuVall, who also played in the 80’s punk band Neon Christ.
Walsby: I wasn’t a super fan of Alice in Chains but I liked Dirt alot and to this day maintain that the band has a unique sound…that is the band’s own and they maintain it seamlessly as they did with their late lead singer Layne Staley. What was it like to slot yourself in there musically with Jerry?
William: The harmonizing was always pretty easy from the start. All you have to do is listen. I will say that on our records a lot of attention is given to phrasing and pronunciation. Whichever one of us writes the lyric usually sings it first in the studio. The the other guy has to match the phrasing EXACTLY, even down to the slightest variation of vowel sounds.
For those aspiring to be in the self employed status, Self Empunishment provides a realistic and sometimes enlightening look into what is needed to start working for yourself. With 35 different perspectives on the topic, one picture becomes clear, that of not giving up. Walsby discusses a point in his life when he wasn’t drawing as much as he was previously in an interview with fellow illustrator Chris Shary. Shary called him up and asked him what had happened to him, and according to Walsby this is a big part of what inspired him to start drawing again.
Walsby first illustrated for zines like Maximum Rock and Roll and has drawn fliers and comics of bands and music, which encouraged him to work in two careers that competed, as an illustrator and drummer. He describes that the drawing won out.
The book contains a few themes that he discusses with a few folks he interviews. One theme revolves around parenthood. With both Dale Crover (Melvins, Redd Kross) and Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr.) Brian discusses what it’s like to be an artist and a parent. He hit’s on something that I certainly relate to, waiting until your child has gone to bed and trying to pick back up the inspired for something you thought of several hours ago. Barlow claims that he started getting the hang of parenting on his 3rd child, which makes me a bit nervous as a new father of a 5 month old.
Another theme that might be obvious to those who already follow Walsby’s work is that almost everyone in this book knows Buzz Osborne and thinks very highly of him. I mean, I certainly do, and his interview is really interesting and fun as he discusses running his business of the Melvins like they’re going out of business in the next 6 months. While Dale Crover’s interview is quite funny, Buzz seems like someone who’s figured out things on a whole different level than most. The idea is discussed that being out on tour can actually allow more time at home with family than working say a 9-5 job when things are all said and done. After all, there are quite a few months out of the year where work is needed to be done on recording new material and this isn’t done on the road.
While in the interview with Crover, he and Walsby cover the point in time when Crover played in Nirvana and how he decided not to continue to work with them and instead to move to San Francisco to follow Osbourne. To touch on the topic of self-employment, Crover and Osbourne recount working briefly but then in a sense going out on a limb to work on the Melvins full time and despite the odds being stacking against them they simply worked hard and it’s lasted well over 30 years now. They probably say it way better that it would be possible to describe our write about so it’s alone a great reason to buy the book.
As amazing as all of the interviews with musicians are and I can go on naming names, Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) and Dale Flattum (Steel Pole Bathtub- note: his isn’t actually an interview but more of some words he wrote and sent to Brian in case he wanted to include it in the book). The musicians’ stories are all unique and fucking great, it’s the folks I’m less familiar with like Toshi Kasai (Sound Engineer for the Melvins among others) and Tom Hazelmeyer (U-Men, Amphetamine Reptile) that round out the book, showing many different sides of making a living from one’s own artistic endeavors. Rebecca Severin (Frightwig) tells some rad stories of what it was like to be the costume designer for Gene Simmons and Bob Hannam (The Colossus of Destiny, A Melvins Tale) recounts his time working sound for Neil Young and Crazy Horse as well as what it was like working the tour of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Another theme that seems noteworthy in this book is that drums are cool. As previously mentioned, Walsby is a drummer. He is claiming to be retired from working as a drummer, but being in a group part-time with Mike Dean means that drums aren’t something he doesn’t do anymore. Also, a chapter entitled An Essay on Drums is the illustrator’s own self history from the days he played in the band Scared Straight all the way to his most recent group Davidians.
Slated to be released on October 10th, 2020, on Pelekinesis Self Empunishment is an opportunity for music enthusiasts to delve into the world of free lance artists. Great read.