SOME STUFFS: KatO1O raising funds for her forthcoming album

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Kat Ouano will be putting on her KatO1O costume once again with a new album that is already completed, but she is raising funds to help get it out there to the people. The new release will be called On The Cusp and part of the proceeds earned will go towards VH-1’s Save The Music Foundation. In other words, while you are helping her get the music released, you’re also helping those in need, so consider it and realize you’d be doing double duty. Head to to find out the different price options and make a donation. Ouano was a member of Mission: and Crown City Rockers, who represented hip-hop nicely in the Bay Area. Now residing on the island of Kauai in Hawai’i, she wants to let people know that her love of music has never stopped. She has raised 60% of her goal, help her get a few more steps to making this happen.

Until then, she’s also releasing a single for the title track, which also features a remix by the one and only Headnodic. Anytime these two unite, there’s always good music so check it out. Pre-order the single below via Amazon.


REVIEW: Raashan Ahmad’s “Ceremony”

Raashan Ahmad photo RaashanAhmad_cover_zps52fb57ee.jpg Ceremony (Jakarta) is the new album by MC Raashan Ahmad, and in everything he has done in the last 15 years or so, this is an album that is a demonstration of not only his worldly travels, but the internal travels he has gone through recently and perhaps throughout life. Musically, the different cultural textures of the album makes it come off like a cross between Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock and Paul Simon’s Graceland, and yet one is able to grasp the fullness of Ahmad’s stories simply by placing it on their stereos or slipping on headphones and being able to sonically travel that way. The goal for Ahmad, I’d like to think, is to let people know that the first step in those travels is making that first step forward. As I’m listening to these songs, I was reminded of the photo of Osibisa that was in the gatefold cover of their debut album. It seem to speak of brotherhood, of family, or in Ahmad’s case, different aspects of himself divided in song form, and uniting as one for the sake of showing that oneness he hopes to pass to each listener.

At least that’s what I’m getting through Ceremony, an album that seems to celebrate different aspects of what he witnesses and experiences, be it music, children, family, or simply living. It sounds like someone who has been to the places he has talked about or if he hasn’t, it’s on his bucket list. It’s a positive album, the type of hip-hop (and hip-hop album) that should be celebrate by the masses but aren’t. I want the kind of music that takes me places, especially when I’m unable to at a specific moment, I want to hear the journey from the beginning to the end. While not a concept album, it does have a running theme where the ceremony in question may be at each place he goes to or raps from, or maybe it’s the eventual ceremony he hopes to have waiting for him once he makes it back home. What I also love about the album is that at times his voice seems worn out a bit, specifically as the album moves towards the end. I’m not sure if he recorded these songs in order of appearance, but it comes off as the weary traveler, affected by the weather and his surroundings. That’s another thing too: it’s hip-hop that sounds like it has spent time outdoors, like many of us did as kids. It’s a way to let the youth know “open the door” to whatever you want to see. Read a book, walk to the park with friends, head out of town if you can. It was A Tribe Called Quest who released an album called People’s Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm and this is some of those rhythms that detail Ahmad’s path. I’ve loved what he had done during his time with Mission: and Crown City Rockers, and I’m certain that there are many more paths for Ahmad to take from here on out.

VIDEO: Headnodic’s “Zaya”

1) I didn’t know Headnodic made a new video.
2) I didn’t know Headnodic released an EP.

“Zaya” is a video made in support of his new (and free) EP called simply Zaya Remix EP, which you can download by clicking here (91.6 mb). The track features KatO1O along with vocalists Karyn Paige and Destani Wolf.

The more you know.

SOME STUFFS: Headnodic releases new video to coincide with new album

This is the day that Headnodic releases a new album called The Iguana, my review of which can be read by clicking here. My words offer praise for an incredible recording, and I say this without being related to the main. My worse are not false, it’s that good and if you’d like to get a hint of that goodness, there’s a video ready for the song “Mandelorian”, featuring Kat Ouano, Tom Ayers, and Max MacVeety in assistance. The video also has a hi-res option so check that out too.

REVIEW: Headnodic’s “The Iguana”

Photobucket As a member of Mission:, which morphed into Crown City Rockers, Ethan Parsonage has been on top of his game not only as a producer, but as their bassist. The Headnodic moniker has kept his foot placed firmly in hip-hop, as a means to let people know he can make the kind of music that will make the head nod. While that in itself describes primarily hip-hop, it covers any form of music that will make you move, but often is used to describe the emotions feel when one listens to soul, funk, jazz, or any hybrid of these. All of his previous projects have never shied away from being hip-hop, but for The Iguana (Ropeadope), Headnodic leaves his assumed comfort zone to find himself in a place where he sounds quite comfortable.

If the album title is any indication, perhaps Headnodic seems himself as an iguana shedding its skin to reveal its truer, inner self. For me: Mission: and Crown City Rockers were always a band that were not only a hip-hop band, but a band who were great in playing a wide range of music. The public perception seemed to be that they merely played to show that they were a hip-hop backing band, and maybe that comes from hip-hop’s not so much misunderstanding of real instrumentation, but almost a lack of interest in it unless you were able to prove yourself. That’s not to say that Crown City Rockers didn’t, but after awhile it seemed its members were finding more adventures outside of the group’s core. Oddly enough, the core of the group would still remain, but by twisting things in a different way, one was able to find its own skin shedding, which revealed the different interests much stronger in this context. Headnodic’s previous album had a hip-hop focus but for The Iguana, hip-hop is put on the shelf and he allows himself to play the kind of music that made him want to become a musician in the first place.

To put it simply, this is the kind of album you would expect to find in the back of your favorite uncle’s or auntie’s closet, the one marked with the date 1977, along with handwritten call letters for one of the three radio stations that dared to play this music. The music is a mixture of not only soul and funk, but there are elements of jazz, Afro-beat, some Latin and Brazilian influences, and a track with a distinct Pink Floyd flavor that shows how he can move towards a progressive rock slant. As is my ritual, I like to listen to the music before I read anyone’s press release, I want my view of the music to be my own, I don’t like to be persuaded to feel one way just because that’s what they want me to feel. The influences I hear in this are very much what Headnodic wanted to achieve, and it’s nice to hear it done in this way, as if he’s saying “this is the kind of music I have loved, and this is not just me being a sample reference. There’s great music, and I’d like for all of you to hear what I can do with it.”

He does so with fellow friends Kat Ouano and Max McVeety, who are able to bring their own influences into the fold as they have with one another for over ten years, to show why these three click so well in the first place. McVeety gets to play hard if he wants, funky when ready. Ouano can be as soothing as she’d like to be but dig deep into the grooves, but you may catch a few classical references here in there, as she has always hinted throughout her career. Add to this mix the guitar work of Persephone’s Bees’ Tom Ayers and Agua Libre percussionst Valentino Peeps, and this comes off like some incredible and trippy album released between 1972 to 1978, maybe one that was released on a major label but only through the Japanese or German counterparts, obscure as hell but still sounds very familiar. It’s that kind of album Madlib would have fun recreating under one of his countless monikers, but what makes this work is the interaction between Headnodic and other musicians in the room, jamming with one another until they get something. It doesn’t have to be right or accurate, but if it feels good, they just let it go. It sounds great at 7am as it does at 12:15am, as it would at 2 or 3am. In fact, call it that 3am album where your mind is in that zone and you want to find the meaning of life and validate your existence. Or if anything, The Iguana compliments your existence and acknowledges what you like because they like it too.

I should also explain something. Most of the time when I put albums onto my iPod, if it is not indexed or numbered, I will do that myself, as it’s something I actually enjoyed doing. Realizing that the album I received was not numbered, it indexed the album alphabetically, which means I listened to it this way:
Blue In Green
Enter The Dragon
Galactic Expansion
Golden Hour
Gorilla Punch

I am someone who holds to “the integrity of the album”, which means the way the artist presents it, I want to show respect to the sequence as the artist and producer programmed it from start to finish. Without indexed tracks, it started with “Ambus”, which came off like a bum-rush into the ears, as if Headnodic was saying “let’s do this funky like a hip-hop track, to let everyone know that I, and we, are back.” It goes through the motions and then the prog rock vibe happens with “Dissolver” before leading towards the end with “Zaya”, which has the vibe of Africa running through as if to say “this is where all music originated, we thank you for this.” The proper order of the album actually begins with “Dissolver”, so immediately it shows that Headnodic is immediately distancing this collection of music farther from what he may be known for. When I heard “Blue In Green”, its jazzy groove was the album’s second track but its proper placement is the closing track, which shifts the dynamic of the album a bit, as if to tell the listener that this how I’m musically rooted, but the tree continues to grow, see what I have become. In fact, play the album first as is, and enjoy it. Then re-sequence the tracks alphabetically by title. It’s the same set of 14 songs, but unintentionally it comes off like two completely different albums, as it provides two distinct listening experiences. I may program it alphabetically, but backwards, just to see if I have a third.

As for the album cover, while its elements started to reveal itself, it reminded me of an updated version of some of Roger Dean’s classic album covers, in fact it distinctly looks like a more futuristic version of what appeared on the back of Osibisa’s second album, W×›yaya, drawn by Dean.

Not sure if there’s a connection or it’s just an odd coincidence, but if there is a link, maybe in this case the iguana (and what it may represent) will now be the one to take flight and go in for the attack. Where is he going? Headnodic’s knows where he is going, he knows within.

(The Iguana will be released on October 23rd.)


Photobucket This week’s Bandcamp Suggestion comes from an EP put together by artists whom I’ve been fans of for awhile. I’m a Kat Ouano fan since her days with Mission: and later Crown City Rockers, and have enjoyed what she has come up with on the solo side along with the things she has shared in collaborations in the last few years. DJ Platurn is damn good, always come up with tight beats and some very clever remixes and edits. Both of them have collaborated and each mix has been very impressive, where Platurn programs the beats while Ouano, also known as KatO1O, tickles the woodsy and synthetic ivories. They not only honor the music of the past by creating these new versions, but show how much of an influence it has had, and in a subliminal way shows what’s missing in a lot of today’s music.

Nobody Walks In L.A. is a 5-song EP highlighting their remixes and it is being released under the name PlatO1O. You can take a listen to each track, download your favorite or better yet, get the entire thing. Only 5 songs, and you pay what you feel is right. Solid as a rock? You bet.

RECORD CRACK/VIDEO: Headnodic featuring KatO1O’s “The Mondays”

This one is called “an open love letter to vinyl”, and rightfully so. Headnodic has KatO1O helping him out in the very smooth and funky “The Mondays”, and while the song may signify a feeling of blue, when you see few Blue Note‘s CTI‘s, and Prestige‘s in the pile, your Mondays will go away.