Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visitations: A Musical Tribute to Doctor Who

In recent years my love for the Doctor Who franchise has grown as big as Matt Smith's head…

Wow, that was a terrible way to start this off.

At any rate, I am not alone in my love for the series, so I had little problem rounding up contributors for a Doctor Who-themed compilation project. Which I will now dispense to you. Freely.

I actually went at this compilation a little differently than my previous endeavors. First and foremost, I didn't put quite so much emphasis on exclusive material. Don't get me wrong, there's some new hotness herein, but I also relied a bit on the tracks that inspired the original concept.

My friends Videogame Orchestra let me include their stellar theme song cover that's been in circulation for a while, and Navi from Metamystiks Inc let me toss in their classic track "Superior Beings," which, while not a Doctor Who song, per se, makes fantastic use of Dalek samples.

DJ Bentelli likewise hooked me up with his amazing mc chris mash-up that samples, among other things, "Doctorin' the TARDIS," while both Antisoc and Dale Chase let me use Who-flavored tracks from their forthcoming albums.

I also mined the sub-(sub-sub?)genre of Time Lord Rock in the form of contributions from Turn Left (AKA: The Geek Chic Band, AKA: RiddleTM, AKA: Victoria and Georgia) and The Vashta Nerada (featuring my internet homegirl MaryBeth), a pair of tracks you may also have happened across in your musical journeys.

Still, I have to give fervent props to rapper MC_Loki, chiprocker Jonny Nero Action Hero, mad Canadian genius Snake Eyes and my old jangle-rockin' pal Brux for contributing brand new material.

It this blend of old, new and in-between that also inspired the flow of this album. From the get-go it felt to me like a mixtape, so I took special care to overlay the songs in a similar manner. Of course, since I can't imagine anyone but me would want a 40 minute Doctor mega-mix in his collection, I also edited the final product down into independent tracks for your listening pleasure.

Sure, I intended for it to be digested as a whole, but this is the internet and folks seldom do as you anticipate. And thusly, here is Visitations: A Musical Tribute to Doctor Who, the latest Hipster, please! compilation album with a name that is itself a tribute to the property in question, to enjoy as you see fit.

Much love to all the contributors, to the killer design team of Talkie Tim and Spiky Zebra, without which you'd still be waiting on this album's release, and to you. Because you rock. And you know this.


Download Visitations: A Musical Tribute to Doctor Who in its entirety right the hell here.

Individual downloads for those with lousy connections:

1. MC_Loki - "Who be the Man?"[Explicit]

2. Videogame Orchestra - "Doctor Who Theme"

3. Metamystiks Inc - "Superior Beings (feat. ArmageddonMan)" [Explicit]

4. Jonny Nero Action Hero - "Cyber Octicks (feat. Audio in the Pregap)"

5. DJ Bentelli - "mc chris for the TARDIS" [Explicit]

6. Dale Chase - "Who's Your Doctor?"

7. The Vashta Nerada - "Song for the Doctor"

8. Brux Callison & The Entangled Photons - "C'mon Leela (Put Your Knife Away)"

9. Antisoc - "The Doctor is In"

10. Turn Left - "There's No Such Thing as Impossible"

11. Snake Eyes - "Blink"

Life's just not worth living without a handy playlist.

And here are some liner notes. Because everyone wants to read another few hundred words of my foolishness.

Don't forget those amazing front and back cover images I was telling you about.

And for folks who just can't abide a digital release, here's a printable version of both to dress up that burned CD.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still Fronting (After All These Years)

Despite the fact that nerdcore is apparently both dead and racist (Like Strom Thurmond?), I am pleased to report that our old friend MC Frontalot is still managing to eke out a meager living. With a current tour underway, I was lucky enough to catch him at Charlotte's Milestone, and he drew a great crowd for a Thursday night show.

In addition to Front and Co., attendants were also treated to a trio of fine openers. KbaZ, a street-level cat that managed to work a dash of toasting into his set, started the night off right. He put on a hell of a show, despite the fact that he was given such an early timeslot, and warmed to joint up nicely for local seven-piece ThoughtCriminals.

Blending hip-hop and live instrumentation in the style reminiscent of Optimus Rhyme, Southside or Front's own hybrid, ThoughtCriminals really blew me away. With a trio of lively MCs, a solid rhythm section and well-placed guitars, keys and even the occasional Nintendo DS to layer melodies, the musical end of their set was as enjoyable as the on-stage antics. (Seriously, y'all, Rawzen pretty much danced for the entire show, not just his performance.)

After a freestyle finale that featured pretty much every rapper on the bill and a few that just so happened to be in the vicinity, eclectic duo Quantum Foundry took the stage. Boasting sharp rhymes, expertly-placed Troma samples and more than a little sweat, Quantum Foundry brought another level to the proceedings – including, if Agent Cataclysm is to be believed, a track in Mandarin – before turning the stage over to Frontalot.

This time around Frontalot's touring band consists of regular bassist, vocalist, and all-around fantastic gent Blak Lotus, that incomparable master of percussive arts The Sturgenius and freshly acquired keyboardist Vic-20. As this marks my fifth, if memory serves, Frontalot performance, I'll admit that, while I have long preferred the stage antics of The Sturgenius, I was initially disappointed that Gminor7 wasn't making an appearance this go-round.

After seeing the show, though, I rescind my earlier complaint. As much as I dig Gaby and the unique chemistry that exists between him and Front, Vic-20 is my new favorite tickler of the ivories in a live setting. Shit, not only is the aforementioned trio now my preferred backing lineup, I'll go so far as to say that this is the single best performance I've even witnessed by any combination of the MC Frontalot band.

Sturgis was as rock-solid as he ever was and dressed up new interpretations of old classics like "Goth Girls" aptly, Vic-20, the unknown element, was a veritable dynamo of hooks and snappy vocals and Brandon, who's always great fun on stage, was in the rarest of forms.

And lest I forget Frontalot himself, who, despite the tragic loss of his regular headlamp, whipped his way through a well-balanced set of traditional and brand new material in a manner most divine. This despite the appearance of that killer of performance inertia, drunk chick ™, who made a number of unfortunate stage-front appearances.

In summation, if you get a chance to check out Frontalot on this latest tour, you'd be wise to do so. Further, if you find yourself nearby my own rural locality, keep an eye out for the aforesaid openers ThoughtCriminals, who will, I dare say, be showing up in the playlist of forthcoming editions of Radio Free Hipster.

Yes, my friends, spring is in the air. As is hip-hop.