Friday Five: Donn Stroud, Same Eyes, Eli Gordon, The Kelseys, Safa Collective

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-30-2021

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

This week features an RPG soundtrack by Donn Stroud, synth-pop from Same Eyes, guitar pop from Eli Gordon and The Kelseys, and black metal from Safa Collective. 

 

Friday Five: Kawsaki Audio Space compilation, concerts from The 5 PM Series, Dre Dav, Diesel Marine, Charley Cardboard

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-23-2021

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

This week features a synthwave comp from Kawsaki Audio Space, classical and jazz concerts from The 5 PM Series, hip-hop from Dre Dav, and instrumental guitar music from Diesel Marine and Charley Cardboard.

 

Friday Five: ZZVAVA, Delphine Delight, Cellar Floor, French Ship, Abusuzit

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-16-2021

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

This week features garage rock via ZZAVA, EDM-techno from Delphine Delight, lo-fi hip-hop by Cellar Floor, electronic pop by French Ship, and Ghana jams by Abuszit courtesy Dagoretti Records.

 

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.

 

Ann Arbor's Quite Scientific label looks back at its beginnings and readies a relaunch

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Quite Scientific logo and album cover collage

The Quite Scientific record label began out of failure.

In 2005, Justin Spindler and brothers Brian and Jeremy Peters had the idea to shed more light on their local Lansing music scene. Justin and Brian gathered songs for a compilation album that they’d release under a yet-to-be-determined name, and in the process, they met members of the band Canada.

Canada had self-released the How Dare You EP and had the song "Hexenhaus" on another compilation, which is what caught the ear of Justin and Brian. They were so impressed with that tune they struck a deal with the band to release a full album.

The compilation record never came together, but Canada's debut album did.

Brian Peters recorded, engineered, and mixed what became This Cursed House in his bedroom/living room in Lansing during the fall and winter of 2005 using a soundboard used to mix portions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

“I bought it from a studio in Kentucky,” says Brian. “It was used by a studio that Industrial Light & Magic outsourced work to. It made for a good thing to catch people’s attention in the press release.”

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.