Events: Subflex (Imrov Ensemble)

Subflex‘s last installment of 2011 just may be its most eclectic, and that’s saying a lot considering the event encourages experiments in musical improvisations.  A tabla, xylophone, some MPCs and self-made instruments will be around this time and B-Side will once again play host to this melting pot of brewing music madness.  Make sure to keep December 7th (Wednesday) free if you want to be part of this event that will surely leave you mindblown.

For more info on the artists performing, you can read about them here.


Album Review: Skarm, “Odyssey to the Sun LP”

Upon first listen, Skarm sounds like he is in a recurring nightmare.  The stories are vivid, personal and keep him restless.  Staying at midtempo with a sprinkle of gloomy piano keys on the side, The Pharm‘s CEO and founder is back with his follow-up to last year’s In Troubled WatersOdyssey to the Sun, his third full-length LP, is a combination of bass-heavy, carefully crafted beats and lyrical deliveries that echo the confidence of an emcee that’s been in the business for years.

Finding highlights for balanced albums such as Odyssey … can be a little tricky since the whole album is more fulfilling than the sum of its parts.  The ones that really warrant multiple listens for its clever wordplay and storytelling are “Aviator Traits” and “The Other Side”.  It would be a mistake to sleep on the rest of the tracks, though.

Skarm may still be swimming in troubled waters, but this hasn’t stunted his growth both as a producer and emcee.  There’s a lot to like in this album, and all 12 tracks breeze by so fast it leaves us wanting to hear a bit more.  The production is layered with samples both simple and sparse, a good thing as the beats don’t overwhelm his narratives.  Odyssey to the Sun, like its predecessors, is an album to listen and nod your head to.  Pick this one up when you can.

“Subconscious Shades” (Live @ Subflex, November 2)

(Email for a copy of Odyssey to the Sun/Introubled Waters/Lazy Boy Blues.  Delivers anywhere nationwide.)

Subflex @ B-Side, November 2: Sights and Sounds

Another lethal dose of Hip-Hop music last Wednesday night at B-Side as this Subflex event showcased the some of the country’s most progressive personalities and ensembles.  The night featured performances by Miscellaneous, Skarm (with Lloyd from the Pharm), Protege, MDK, members of the Fliptop Battle League and the rest of the Ampon crew as well as sets from Caliph8 and Pasta Groove, among others.  Here are a few photos to give you an idea of how the night went:

For more photos from this wonderful night of tight beats and improvisations, you can check out our Facebook page.  As an added bonus, we’re also sharing with you audio snippets from some of the artists that performed that night.  Just click on the link at the bottom of the page.  We hope to see you at the next SubFlex event, happening next month at the same venue!


Subflex @ B-Side, October 5

Jazz and Breaks were the themes last Wednesday night at B-Side as German group The Hot Brownies stopped by the Collective and did an 8-song set that featured a selection of Jazz Standards and Hard Bop classics.  The Brownies, deriving their name as a tribute to the late trumpeter Clifford Brown, mixed in covers of standards such as “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Honeysuckle Rose” with Hard Bop gems that included Brown’s “Joy Spring.”  A great set all in all, with the crowd very much into the music.  Two-thirds of Bent Lynchpin followed with live and improvised soundscapes that will make any beat maker proud; elements of Hip-Hop, Downtempo and IDM were just some of the sounds that the Lynchpin ventured into last Wednesday.  It is unfair to box the Lynchpin into certain genres, so it’s probably better if you heard them yourselves.  You can download a sampler of what went down by clicking on the link below.  This sample features two songs from The Hot Brownies (“Fly Me to the Moon,” “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails”) and the last set of Bent Lynchpin.  Disclaimer: put your headphones on and listen with the volume way up.


(Subflex happens every first Wednesday of the month at B-Side.  The event is a melting pot for bands as as diverse as Hermetic Order and Tarsius, poetry readings from Camoi Miraflor and Ira Bernardino to MCs and beatsmiths from the Ampon crew.  Drop by next month to get your fix!)