I love Halloween, and the season of Samhain. Ever since I was a kid, I loved peeking into the shadows, even if what I found within made me shiver and cringe. That’s one reason why I made a special little Hallowe’en EP with my hip-hop group, Nocturnal Unit. It’s called ’13’ and I really hope y’all love it like I do, or are scared of it, or both. I wrote these songs, and played all the instruments except the drums, (which were played by Nocturnal Unit member Alec Wells) and am proud to both announce and give you my first new hip-hop project in a loooooong time: ’13’
Listen to it here for free, thank all y’all so much for your support:
I just wanted to check in and give y’all a little update. I’m going to write it more straightforward this time, instead of trying to wax poetic on generally unintelligible esoteric matters hehe.
Firstly, I’ve been having a really amazing start to the season playing almost every project with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. The musicians, some of whom I feel privileged to call friends, are amazing, and their attitudes are inspiring. If you are in MN and you want to check me out and/or hear a great chamber orchestra play, come down to the new Ordway Center in downtown St. Paul on a weekend. I guarantee it will be a good time.
Also, at the beginning of next year, I’m finishing up my first professional recording. I’m playing 2 big sonatas with Pianist Miki Aoki. One is already recorded, the other we are going to lay down at MPR studios at the beginning of February. Then comes the process of finding an outlet for release. It contains some of my most favorite music ever (Brahms, Beethoven), so even though we are a long way from release, I’m still really excited.
Finally, I am pleased to announce a very special event which will take place on Feb. 12, 2016.
I will be collaborating with Miki Aoki for 2 short recitals in one night at the Amsterdam Club in St. Paul. In addition to this venue being a unique setting for classical concerts, my mom (who is an artist, and owner of the boutique Sage and Cypress in S. Minneapolis) will be designing the actual space, creating a one of a kind cool new environment for Miki and I to perform in, and making this event even more unusual.
There is of course much more I’d love to say, but in the interest of brevity It’ll have to wait until next time…..
P.M.A. is a philosophy taught to us through hardcore. Bad Brains said it best on the banger ‘Attitude’ off they first record. A positive mental attitude has helped all of us to survive in this competitive, sometimes terrifying, and savage world that we exist in: the vineyard.
This weeks sound comes from a very long and old vine that for most of it’s length, is underground.
It is also titled, ‘P.M.A.’, but in this case, the anagram stands for ‘Post Mortem Authority’.
Growing up in this ‘Vineyard’, death was a very visceral reality. In order to deal with this, the unknown that is the Post Mortem Authority, we needed to use that ‘P.M.A.’ H.R. of the Bad Brains was singing about. That is how this song was born, I did the beat by developing chords using distorted guitar feedback, and it was a fun challenge.
P.M.A. was recorded as part of the as yet unreleased N1 sessions (the very first Nocturnal Unit recording sessions ever) in the basement at 611 on N.U.’s first analog four-track tape recorder. I originally wanted all of the N.U. members to rap on it, but Erik came correct and so it stood where it stands now: a perfect fit for the third song on his ‘The Land of Both’ Solo Project.
And now……burrowing up out of the crypt, a vine that sings of ‘P.M.A’:
In the Vineyard, the world where the new Nocturnal Unit album takes place, the vines that meander through from the canopy to the forest floor eventually all lead to a little grove, a thicken of small little ‘vignettes’ that house the artifact that is our new album. These vines are what we started following alongside you last sunday with the release of a previously unreleased song starring Erik Nordstrom and Steel Harrison Spaar. Each week we will be sliding our hands along these vines, hearing the sounds that they make. Each vibrates on a completely unique frequency, and these sounds you will hear every sunday, in the form of previously unreleased songs from the Nocturnal Unit vault, located underground in an especially dangerous region of the Vineyard.
This week's sound represents the sometimes dangerous and extreme nature of the area surrounding the N.U.
vault. It’s appropriately titled ‘Cringe’, and is starring Erik Nordstrom (rhymes), and Steel Harrison Spaar (beats). It comes from the same sessions that produced ‘Plod’, last week's sound. If you look
carefully as you trace your hands along the vines, you might be able to make out some words from the creators of
the sounds you hear. This weeks translation is provided by the song’s lyrical creator and performer, Erik Nordstrom:
Cringe is a song titled by the producer, Alec Wells. I don’t want to put words in his mouth but I think he named it for the aesthetic of the beat. I appreciated that going into writing the lyrics for it because it gave me a starting out point. I didn’t have a clear idea for the song’s purpose before I started writing it, and the rough draft came out as a sort of slow-motion-freestyle, much in the same way that Immune System (a previous song I wrote) did. The song ended up being about my dog, Ginger. I call her Bavis for short. I remember being in the thick of the verse and realizing how angry all of my music was; and how much distrust and blame I lay on my fellow man. This realization was the spark that lit my current fire. Mid-song I tried to think positive, and one thing that stuck out to me as a purely benevolent force, was my dog. She is loyal, kind, and keeps a simplistic view of the world, which makes her an enlightened being in my eyes. I would not be the same without her and this song serves as a homage to her grace and beauty.
And Now I present to you, straight outta the dusty corners of the N.U. vault: Cringe (starring Erik Nordstrom and Steel
Now. Now starts the countdown.
Nocturnal Unit’s all new studio album, ‘Vignettes’ is arriving in 3 months. Before you Enter the Vineyard, we’d like
to take you on a journey with us, as we trace the vines backwards, discovering how Nocturnal Unit evolved into the monster that it is. To
do this, we will be releasing previously unreleased songs weekly all the way up until you may Enter the Vineyard in 3 months time. These records are vines winding from Nocturnal Unit’s inception all the way up through the
current ‘Vignettes’ sessions. Accompanying each new track: a few words from those of us involved in the creation. Y’all look forward to a new track every Sunday
The first track is from a hitherto unreleased project titled ‘The Land of Both’ featuring fellow Nocturnal Unit co-founders Erik Nordstrom (rhymes), and Steel Harrison Spaar (Beats).
So now, without further ado, Nocturnal Unit would like to present to you:……..the first song off 'The Land of Both'……featuring cover art by Erik