12.4.11 Kneebody + Busdriver + Daedeus @ The Little Temple

The Little Temple presents
4519 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029

ADAM BENJAMIN   keyboards

General Admission: $15   |  21+

Tickets available here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/212330

“Cohesion is the truest constant in the music of Kneebody, a band that inhabits the borderland abutted by post-bop, indie-rock and hip-hop, without seeming to give much thought to the borders”  NY Times, 2010

By combining sophisticated compositions and virtuosic improvising, the Grammy nominated group Kneebody has created a diverse, loyal fan base in the United States and Europe. Founded in 2001, Kneebody has built upon an impressive array of individual resumes and conservatory training to create a truly singular voice within the instrumental world.

In 2005 Kneebody released their debut album “Kneebody” on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music Label. In 2007 they followed up with “Low Electrical Worker” on the Colortone Label.  A collection of 13 original songs, “Low Electrical Worker” was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his “favorite albums of 2007”.  In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released “12 Songs of Charles Ives” on the Winter & Winter label and received a Grammy nomination in the “classical crossover” category.  Kneebody is presently touring in support of their third studio album, “You Can Have Your Moment,” also on the Winter & Winter label.

Among the ways to pin down Kneebody, a resolutely unpin-downable band, a few come rooted in plain fact. The group uses a common jazz instrumentation — trumpet, saxophone, rhythm section — to make a somewhat less common amalgam of urban-signifying genres, from electro-pop to punk-rock to hip-hop. Four of its five members met in the late 1990s at the Eastman School of Music. Its most recent album, “Twelve Songs by Charles Ives” (Winter & Winter), featuring the vocalist Theo Bleckmann, was nominated for a Grammy this year, in the category of best classical crossover album.

The applicable word there is crossover, which Kneebody has claimed as a directive, more for aesthetic than commercial reasons. This week, during a four-night run in a black box at the Theaters at 45 Bleecker, the band is playing two shows nightly, with featured guests including Mr. Bleckmann and the indie-rapper Busdriver. (Only one of them will be singing Ives.) The run began on Wednesday with the trombonist Josh Roseman and the guitarist Ben Monder: jazz musicians both, though that was only a common dialect.

Mr. Monder fashioned a prelude to the first set: a slow cycle of arpeggios, each note rippling soft and reflective. The bassist Kaveh Rastegar, composer of the piece, eventually joined him, creating a faint pulse with the drummer Nate Wood. Then came a calmly drifting melody, played by the trumpeter Shane Endsley, and the rounded chime of Adam Benjamin’s Fender Rhodes piano. It was all dreamlike and vague, emotionally muted even during a solo by Mr. Endsley, who played in a pacifying murmur.

The set proceeded from this baseline, with an enveloping atmosphere and an arid, soft-hued tonal spectrum, like a sonic equivalent to the painterly abstractions of Georgia O’Keeffe. There was one song by Mr. Roseman, a warmly poplike ballad called “Fortunato,” and two by Mr. Endsley, including one that resembled a warm-up exercise, with his long tones soberly set against a kind of Morse-code syncopation.

A lot was happening on the level of texture, but the music felt pregnant with stasis. An exception came in the other of Mr. Endsley’s tunes, courtesy of the tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, spewing ribbons of notes, and Mr. Monder, who coarsened his output with distortion. Their heat drew out the band’s wilder side. Or maybe they had warmed up to meet some unspoken need in the music. Typically for Kneebody, it was hard to tell.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Possessing a hyper-literate, intellectual style of rapping augmented with dizzying elocution that would tongue-tie even the fiercest auctioneer, Busdriver is eclectic and eccentric enough to cite vocalese jazz singer Jon Hendricks as a primary influence. Born Regan Farquhar, the Los Angeles MC was introduced to hip-hop culture early — his father wrote the screenplay to one of the earliest films focusing on hip-hop, Krush Groove. He began rapping at age nine, releasing his first record at age 13 with his group, 4/29, named after the 1992 L.A. riots. By the mid-’90s, Busdriver was a regular at the Project Blowed open mic, where he would meet future collaborators and underground luminaries like Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Freestyle Fellowship. And shortly after, the vinyl did flow.

Busdriver guested on upward of 20 singles, and by 2001 he could no longer be contained by guest spots, releasing his first full-length, Memoirs of the Elephant Man. There were just as many detractors as supporters for his singular style, which was so densely packed it made his chosen name seem a reference for multiple-personality disorder, and the lo-fi production also left more listeners scratching heads than nodding them. His next album, This Machine Kills Fashion Tips (2002), continued in a similar manner before being trumped by better production and more focused rhymes on Temporary Forever the same year. Joined by another West Coast avant-garde MC, Radioinactive, and the breezy, fractured pop of electronic producer Daedelus, Busdriver released yet another odd puzzle piece in 2003, The Weather. Fear of a Black Tangent followed on Mush in 2005. After moving to Anti-/Epitaph, the rapper issued RoadKillOvercoat, which featured production from Nobody and Boom Bip. His second Anti- release, Jhelli Beam, appeared in 2009. In 2010 he put out a full-length mix tape of unreleased gems and illegal remixes called Computer Cooties. It was released as a free album.

2010 saw Bus toiling over a new album that will shock fans and confuse the unconverted into unwilling servitude. It is called Beaus$Eros and will be released in January 2012 on Fake Four. Download preview song “No Blacks No Jews No Asians” here.

Other upcoming projects include a full-length release from Bus’ new experimental punk band, Physical Forms and a hip hop superduo with rapper Nocando called Flash Bang Grenada.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

 Alfred Darlington is a musical magpie, hoarding the shiniest elements of his contemporaries’ output, skipping from label to label, appropriating and assimilating sounds to spin cluttered nests of agreeable electronica. Despite his most obvious attempts to build himself a persona — a faintly Steampunk dress sense and well-trimmed set of chops, prominent use of the Monome — Daedelus lacks a sonic signature. At its worst, his work feels both stultifyingly basic and overstuffed. 2008’s Love To Make Music To wears at the listener like a tenacious little sibling with its cartoonish sense of romanticism and ‘fun,’ piling on tawdry samples with an inconceivable lack of guile.

Producer/instrumentalist Daedelus wanted to be an inventor from an early age, a sentiment that led to him choosing an artistic moniker (in Greek mythology, Daedelus was known as an inventor, although Weisberg-Roberts also cites the character Stephan Dedalus in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — as well as the ship in the Japanese cartoon Robotech — as equally valid reasons for his selection) when he began releasing his own work. Despite the fact that he was formally trained on double bass and bass clarinet, had studied jazz at USC, and could play additional instruments such as the guitar and accordion, Daedelus chose to go the electronica route, often incorporating samples from the ’30s and ’40s into his IDM and left-field hip-hop.

Though Daedelus’ first single appeared 2001, it wasn’t until the following year that his debut full-length, Invention, was released by the Plug Research label. Daedelus proved to be a prolific composer, and the following four years brought four new albums (released via Plug Research and Mush): 2003’s Rethinking the Weather, 2004’s Of Snowdonia, 2005’s Exquisite Corpse, and 2006’s Denies the Day’s Demise. He also worked on countless singles and side projects, including a stint as a producer for his Mush labelmates. The musician’s engaging live set was finally made available for fans, albeit in limited numbers, with Live at Low End Theory, which was recorded during a July 2007 performance at Los Angeles’ The Airliner and released in early 2008. Love to Make Music To followed in July. Righteous Fists of Harmony, issued in 2010, was released on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label. In 2011, Ninja Tune released the ambitious Bespoke, which found Daedelus working with a long list of guest vocalists, including Will Wiesenfeld (Baths), Inara George of The Bird and the Bee, and Busdriver.

The Little Temple website


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: