June 16 2009
... in the Western Wilderness is where I've been for the past month, living in a tent and planting trees near Merritt, BC. And "Apocalyptic Utopian Dreams in the Western Wilderness" also happens to be the title of my new hip-hop album, which is now finished, mastered, and... still some time from being released. But since I have the final master in my hands, I wanted to give you all a little preview. For a limited time, you can download the whole record in Mp3 format by clinking this link.
Why am I giving it away, you ask? Because this is the modern era of music downloads, where independent artists such as myself face a conundrum. Sell it to a few people, or give it away to a lot of people? In this case you are my front lines, my ice-breakers and taste-makers, who get the record for free, for now, in the hopes that more people will hear about it through you and give it the momentum it needs to reach the elusive masses (and in the hopes that you will like it so much you will buy a physical copy when you see me next, or buy it online when it's available). If you want to stream songs a bit quicker, I have the entire album on my Facebook page and select songs on my Myspace page.
And what's up with that title? Well, as you will find when you listen to the record it's complex, but I have found there is something about the Pacific Northwest, something about Vancouver, BC, that inspires thoughts about the end of the world, or at least the end of civilization and technology, and about how that wouldn't be such a bad thing for everyone, perhaps ridiculous thoughts. These thoughts are not exclusive to that area, but they are rife there, perhaps because one's proximity to the geographical end of civilization inspires notions of its temporal end, or maybe for other reasons (extensive colonization by hippies and draft-dodgers etc), but it's a phenomenon I wanted to explore lyrically and musically. How ludicrous are those thoughts? How parochial and selfish? How realistic? Where do they come from and how can they be turned towards constructive ends? This has been my preoccupation for the past six months, between various tours and performances.
Sonically the record was crafted by the incomparable Lin G, who co-executive produced it with me and brought her signature quality standards and production talents to every track. Musically I have collaborated with some extremely gifted artists on this record, mostly producers from London and Brighton, and mostly singers from Vancouver or based there, Tia Brazda and Chantel Upshaw and Erica Dee and Aaron Nazrul. I also recently signed a new artist to Lit Fuse Records called "Smoky Tiger" who is featured on "The Road Northwest", which captures the album's theme perfectly. Smoky Tiger's debut album will be coming out on Lit Fuse Records before long as well, but I'll preview that one to you in another email.
As for me, I'm now in England with Dizraeli rehearsing and re-writing "The Rebel Cell," and tomorrow we visit our first music festival as Mud Sun, bringing our live hip-hop sound to the English Bacchanalia. There is a lot more to tell about this summer as well, with upcoming performances at Glastonbury, Latitude, Secret Garden, Edinburgh, and the prestigious Cambridge Darwin Festival, but I'll share those as they unfold.
In the meantime, please take the time to download the album and give it a listen and provide me with feedback. It took several months to craft and several years to formulate, and I am deeply chuffed with the result.
Good things to you all from Bristol,