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by PC Muñoz

16 Nov 2009

“There’s the me you see, there’s the me I see, there’s the me that I really am…”
—“Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart”, Lyrics Born

Though he swaggers with the best of ‘em and has bangin’ beats to spare, indie boom-bap pioneer and Quannum Projects co-founder Lyrics Born has always been a man apart in the hip-hop world. This is both by design, and by default: as a producer and artist, Lyrics Born adamantly blazes his own trail with each new record, refusing to cynically regurgitate trends or tone down his crackling technicolor vision of what hip-hop can be.  As a lyricist, he has long been known for a stellar word-stash and multi-layered rhymes that go deeper than the first listen. As a hapa/multi-racial (self-described as Japanese-Italian/Jewish) MC, Lyrics Born has also, for the past 16 years, grappled with the pros and cons of being one of the first Asian-American rappers to make a significant impact on the hip-hop scene.

For my money, however, it is not his daredevil artistic choices, nor the particular mix in his double helix that really sets Lyrics Born apart. It’s that voice. Lyrics Born’s voice, a unique instrument that can shout, soothe, and sing with equal effectiveness, is, in my opinion, an exceptionally more versatile musical tool than what the majority of contemporary MCs are packing. He’s got a sexed-up low register, a sassy, swinging shout, a rapid-fire show-off mode, a new-wave tinged melodic mellow tone, and a bunch more vocal versions of himself tucked up his hoodie sleeves, all of which coalesce into an electrifying and distinct sound on record and on stage.

In the above-quoted song “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart”, from his upcoming album As U Were, Lyrics Born raps passionately and reflectively about being “pulled apart”, and several lines in past lyrics also acknowledge his chosen path as a road-less-travelled hip-hop maverick. Though in “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” he makes a compelling case for being a tortured artist who is painfully self-conscious about every choice he makes, the truth is, Lyrics Born has taken the multi-faceted influences of his personal and professional life and fashioned an unparalleled aesthetic which no one but he can claim. And there’s nothing more cohesive than that.

by Tyler Gould

16 Nov 2009

Pink Skull put together a groove and a half here with “Ritualistic Bug Use”. This particular jam comes from Endless Bummer, which you can buy as an LP with a digital download of the full album plus some bonus tracks.

by Allison Taich

16 Nov 2009

The Beatles on Record will premiere in the U.S. Wednesday 25 November 10PM ET/PT on the History Channel. The documentary was originally released by the BBC in September and it covers the Beatles’ musical and creative journey from Please Please Me through Abbey Road. The Beatles on Record was narrated by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Sir George Martin and directed by Bob Smeaton, director of the Beatles’ Anthology series and creator of the mini-documentaries for the Beatles’ 2009 re-mastered albums.

by Eleanore Catolico

16 Nov 2009

Listen to Solange covering the Dirty Projectors’ definitive track, “Stillness Is the Move”, from the lauded Bitte Orca. Solange’s version is more mellow than the band’s signature herky-jerky rhythm, but it’s still a respectable nod to Dirty Projectors’ awesome-beyond-awesomeness in 2009.

And the original…

by Mehan Jayasuriya

16 Nov 2009

“It’s great to play D.C.,” P.K. 14 frontman Yang Haisong said, “because growing up, we were very influenced by the D.C. hardcore scene.”  A lot of bands say this sort of thing when playing the District but few have the privilege of saying it when Ian MacKaye is within earshot.  It should come as no surprise, however, that local punk luminaries were in attendance at Govinda Gallery on Saturday night.  Word had spread about the revelatory performances delivered the previous night, when two mainstays of Beijing’s burgeoning underground rock scene played to a sold out crowd at the Velvet Lounge.  The show was part of a tour organized by American photojournalist Matthew Niederhauser, whose book Sound Kapital documents Beijing’s music scene, which looks to be one of the most vibrant and fertile in the world.  As part of the opening for an exhibition of Niederhauser’s photographs, Govinda Gallery in Georgetown hosted repeat performances from P.K. 14 and Xiao He.

//Mixed media
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Tibet House's 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert Celebrated Philip Glass' 80th

// Notes from the Road

"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.

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