Friday Five: Matthew Dear, Battalion, David Song, Grayson Jarvis, Arthur Durkee

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-09-2020

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features twangy techno from Matthew Dear, thrash metal via Battalion, R&B by David Song, meditative music courtesy Grayson Jarvis, and avant-ambient flute by Arthur Durkee.

 

Friday Five: Bill Van Loo, Same Eyes, Intensity Recordings, Alissa Freeman, Blue Gene Tyranny

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-02-2021

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features dub techno from Bill Van Loo, synth-pop by Same Eyes, piano miniatures courtesy Alissa Freeman, an EDM comp from Intensity Recordings, and experimental works by Blue Gene Tyranny.

 

Designing the Future Funk: Kawsaki's music looks to the past to explore an imagined aftertime

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Kawsaki

Time is a flat circle.

Kwame Sakyi Jr. is a man out of time. 

Or rather, his musical alter ego, Kawsaki, is a composer out of time.

Or maybe Kwame Sakyi and Kawsaki are right on time.

That's the thing about modern music that draws deeply from the past: what at first sounds retro gets reclaimed as futuristic.

Or an imagined future.

Or an alternate contemporary reality.

Retrowave evaporates into vaporwave and shapeshifts into future funk.

All of this to same Kwame "Kawsaki" Sakyi Jr. makes contemporary retrowave that looks forward to future funk misted with vaporwave to create a sound that encompasses the past 45 years of synthesizer music.

And he's a master at doing it.

But for Sakyi, an Ann Arbor native in his late 30s who now calls Detroit home, a different genre of music first turned him onto retro styles.

The Triumphant Resurrection of Nickie P

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Nickie P

When Nickie P is on the mic, she commands a room.

The hip-hop artist also known as Nicole Price Smith stalks the stage with supreme confidence, projecting joy as she rips through speedy rhymes with the confidence of a Formula 1 car hugging the pavement.

But when she was younger, the 36-year-old Smith wanted to belt out tunes, not rap them.

"When I first started performing, I wanted to be a pop singer," she said in an email interview. "I took vocal lessons as a kid and studied genres like Italian opera and Broadway, which is what they had me perform at local music events. But at the time, I really wanted to be a big pop singer like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, who were very popular at the time."

It was her brother and Seven Chakraz bandmate Kevin, aka Esque, who shifted Smith's attention to hip-hop.

"He would pull me in his room and play me tracks by Wu-Tang Clan, KRS-One, Mobb Deep, early Eminem, and the like," Smith said. "From there I started listening to artists such as Bahamadia, Lil Kim, Jean Gray, and Lauren Hill ... [whose] vocal stylings paired with her colossal rhyme style is unforgettable and it has driven me for many years. More recently, I have really been influenced by artists like Atmosphere, Sa-Roc, and Brother Ali on the Rhymesayers record label."

Like Hill, Smith blends her rapping and singing talents into a compelling whole on a new EP, The Collective ThoughtThe record was a long-time coming, too: It's been five years since Smith's last single, "Soma," which was more of a soulful singer-songwriter tune, and eight years since her album, the rap-based The Triumphant Rise & Tragic Existence of Sick Nick.

The answer to why there's been big a gap between releases is layered and complicated.

Friday Five: Suburbo, Kat Steih, Virga, Carson C Lee, Dr. Pete Larson and His Cytotoxic Nyatiti Band

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the Friday Five releases on March 26, 2021

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features indie-rock by Suburbo, Kat Steih, and Virga, ambient hip-hop by Carson C Lee, and African psych-rock jams by Dr. Pete Larson and His Cytotoxic Nyatiti Band.

 

Friday Five: Akropolis Reed Quintet, Same Eyes, The Kelseys, Athletic Mic League, King Micah the Infamous & Guilty Simpson

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album and singles cover art for 03-19-21

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features contemporary classical chamber music by Akropolis Reed Quintet, synth-pop from Same Eyes, folk-pop by The Kelseys, and hip-hop by Athletic Mic League as well as King Micah the Infamous featuring Guilty Simpson.

In the Mix: Charles Manier (Tadd Mullinex), Akshay Chacko, Witcharella, Charles Trees, Shigeto

MUSIC

In the Mix, March 15, 2021

An occasional series collecting mixes and compilations featuring musicians, DJs, and labels associated with Washtenaw County.

The edition includes Charles Manier (Tadd Mullinix), Akshay Chacko, Witcharella, Charles Trees, and Shigeto.

University of Michigan's annual Prison Creative Arts Project goes online for the 25th edition

VISUAL ART

Alvin Smith's painting Pointless Acquisitions

Alvin Smith, Pointless Acquisitions, from the 25th Prison Creative Arts Project exhibition.

For more than two decades, the University of Michigan's annual Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) has showcased the creative work of incarcerated people with an annual exhibition. The 25th edition of PCAP runs March 16-31, but it will be entirely online. While the pandemic forced PCAP to the virtual space, it's been on the organization's to-do list for a while.

“I hope that our artists are gratified to know that their work will be seen far beyond the gallery in Ann Arbor this year,” said Nora Krinitsky, director of PCAP, in a story published by U-M's Michigan News. “In that way, even though this is an unusual year, we’re able to serve PCAP’s mission of connecting people impacted by the justice system with those in the free world more than ever before.” 

Gallery viewers will be able to purchase the art via phone, and the artists receive 100% of the net sales revenue. PCAP associate director Vanessa Mayesky told Michigan News:

Friday Five: Kaleigh Wilder, Ki5, Hannah Baiardi, Emily Roll, Fred Thomas/Idle Ray

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 03-12-21 album covers

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features free jazz from Kaleigh Wilder, pop by Ki5, jazz-pop courtesy Hannah Baiardi, spoken word by Emily Roll, and indie-rock from Fred Thomas/Idle Ray.

 

Friday Five: Oduor Nyagweno, Doogatron, Bubak, Tyrus Archer, con.

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 03-05-2021 album covers

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features Kenyan nyatiti music by Oduor Nyagweno from Dagoretti Records, techno from Doogatron, metal from Bubak, hip-hop from Tyrus Archer, and R&B electronica by con.