Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Zero Barriers To Entry - Featuring Brother Ali and Adam Warrock & Mikal kHill

Brother Ali - The Bite Marked Heart EP

Waveriders, can you say smooth operator?  Good, I knew you could.  If you were not aware there has been a change made to our language.  Smooth operator is now spelled Brother Ali.  Not that anyone remotely familiar with Brother Ali doubted how smooth he can be on record, but with the release of The Bite Marked EP the whole country now has to concede the point.  This free seven song EP was released the day before Valentine’s Day, and it is as smooth as the surface of an undisturbed pond.

Brother Ali is one of those artists that made an immediate impact upon me when I first heard his music.  It’s been five years since I decided to pick up a copy of his album The Undisputed Truth, and I’ve never looked back.  This man is not only a great lyricist.  He’s a storyteller of the highest order.  His always honest, sometimes scathing lyrics connect with the listener in a trustworthy manner that I find to be quite rare.  No matter whether he rhymes about personal triumphs and failings, or weaves a compelling piece of fiction highlighting a specific societal ill the listener can always tell that what they are hearing is coming straight from the heart.  Brother Ali will connect directly to your emotional core.  If you remain unaffected, you’re purposely not paying attention.

The Bite Marked Heart EP, in comparison with his other releases, is singularly focused.  You won’t find the next club anthem here.  The music varies from mid- to low-tempo and sounds very elegant thanks to the exemplary production work of Jake One and Ant.  All seven of the songs on the EP, in one way or another, address the same issue.  Thanks to a Facebook link I found a wonderful interview on www.rubyhornet.com where Brother Ali explains his concept.  He states that, “the idea of the Bite Marked Heart is that we’re dealing in the world of human interactions with imperfect human beings interacting with each other and trying to make a world that’s conducive to living in a dignified way.  The idea of the Bite Marked Heart is that when we’re in love with somebody, we’re at the most vulnerable, the most naked, and we open ourselves up to each other almost completely or as much as we do with anybody. Then we proceed to hurt each other and get hurt.”  His explanation continued on, but I think you waveriders get the gist.

Folks, do yourselves a favor and download The Bite Marked Heart EP.  It’s fantastic and it’s free!  That is one terrific combination if you ask me.  What are you waiting for?  Go now.

Get It Here- http://soundcloud.com/rhymesayers/sets/brother-ali-the-bite-marked






Adam Warrock & Mikal kHill - The Browncoats Mixtape

Thank goodness for revelations brought about from attending live concerts!  A few weeks back I witnessed a tremendous hip hop show.  That show marked the first time I had seen Adam Warrock.  Actually, that was the first time I had heard more than a guest verse from the man.  He was good waveriders.  Very good.  But that’s not what we’re talking about right now.  No, we’re talking about an important piece of information that Mr. Warrock casually dropped during his performance.  It turns out that working with another artist named Mikal kHill he released an entire mixtape dedicated to Joss Whedon’s television show Firefly and its related film Serenity.

How in the name of (insert whatever you believe in here) did I not know about this until now?  I wholeheartedly love Firefly/Serenity!  Wait, I’m not sure you read that correctly.  I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY LOVE THAT SHOW!  It easily ranks as one of my favorite shows of all time.  In fact, if you’ve ever seen the show it is incredibly likely that you feel the same way.  Firefly is a property that inspires great loyalty in its fans.  People like yours truly.  When I discovered that I was unaware of the existence of this mixtape I felt like slapping myself.  Hard.  It doesn’t matter that the mixtape only came out a few months back in September of 2011.  The fact that I didn’t know about it until after its release is galling enough.  What makes this situation worse is that The Browncoats Mixtape is superb!

Clearly I am not an impartial observer, but for arguments sake let’s assume I had never heard of Firefly.  I would still think this mixtape is pretty spectacular.  Adam Warrock is a charismatic, precise lyricist.  His words often feel like they carry great weight thanks to his sincere delivery.  Also, whether it is done on purpose or not, Mr. Warrock’s wordplay is very deliberate.  It is abundantly clear that these lyrics were contemplated over and carefully constructed to achieve maximum effect on the listener.  On the production side of things, Mikal kHill utilizes samples taken exclusively from the TV show and movie to create a unique sonic tapestry that blends contemplative folk music with modern beats.  Most songs have a laid back swagger that is downright infectious.  If I were forced to choose a favorite song it would have to be “River”.  That track is utterly captivating!

Waveriders, go download The Browncoats Mixtape immediately.  It is free, and it is marvelous!  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to it again.

--Penfold

Get Here- http://www.adamwarrock.com/browncoatsmixtape/


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