Aesop Rock

Responsible for all but revolutionizing the entire face of underground hip-hop in the early portion of this decade with a slew of potent and influential releases such as 2000's Float LP and 2001's monumental Labor Days LP to his most recent EP, 2004's Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives, Aesop Rock (aka Ian Bavitz) has proven that resting on his past laurels is all but forbidden. Following his Fast Cars EP, Aesop defied convention and collaborated with visual artist Jeremy Fish on "The Next Best Thing", a short story posing as children's book documenting the cathartic process taken to overcome a creative block. He also scored original music for two short films, "Fishtales" directed by Jeremy Fish, and "Walleyball," released by McSweeneys Wholphin series. Early 2007 saw the release of Aesop's unique and invigorating "All Day", a 45-minute continuous mix commissioned by Nike+ for their Original Run series created specifically to enhance a runner's workout with varying changes in tempo and instrumentation. Constantly finding new ways of innovation goes hand in hand with the dense verbosity and ethereal stutter-funk that codifies Aesop Rock's output, and None Shall Pass is no exception.

Created over a 2 year period following his last release, None Shall Pass unravels retrospectively, documenting not only much personal change Aesop experienced over these years, but also scenes and stories indicative of all ages of life. This album touches on the experiences all humans encounter as they reach the age of adulthood: being judged independently, moving to a new place, the relationships that one builds with others no matter how big or small. Snapshots of life from all viewpoints are brought to the forefront here; "39 Thieves" tells the tale of high school mischief, "The Harbor is Yours" embodies the viewpoint of a children's story, "Fumes" examines the ever too common story of relationships gone sour due to drug abuse. Forgoing the typical stance of braggadocio everpresent in underground and mainstream hip-hop alike, Aesop Rock investigates and examines himself and others on this album, likening the title phrase to the inevitable judgment that everyone must encounter by their peers based solely on their actions.

Production on None Shall Pass also is a vital strong point, with the majority of production duties handled by Aesop's longtime partner Blockhead, labelmate and friend Rob Sonic and Aesop confidently producing a large portion of his own tracks, not including a trademark dystopian banger by Def Jux label-head El-P ("Gun For The Whole Family") and features the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle on the album closer "Coffee". DJ Big Wiz also has a large presence on the album, appearing on 13 out of 14 tracks and offering a devastating rebuttal to those that say the art of scratching is dead. The duality of Aesop's hectic stream-of-thought coupled with the complex production on this album makes no exception to Aesop Rock's consistent pedigree, blazing a trail far ahead of his peers with an album that will be followed for years to come.

Past critical acclaim on Aesop Rock:
"Aesop Rock is indie rap's surrealist, a spewer and sneerer given to oblique code and artfully jumbled syntax. His voice is a bassy, agile instrument that rhymes "evil" gracefully with "amoeba." -BLENDER

"Even among the hip-hop heavies who record for his local label, Def Jux, rapper Aesop Rock manages to stand out thanks to a vulnerable storytelling style that's all too rare among the genre's tough guys." - NEW YORK MAGAZINE

Rob Sonic

Ask ten different people in the know what they think about Rob Sonic, and you may very well get ten distinct and very interesting answers, though chances are the things they'll all agree on a few things, like "amazing production" or "unbelievable lyrics". Not a bad consensus. What we at Def Jux have known for a few years now, the rest of the music community is about to get their first real taste of, courtesy of Mr. Sonic himself and his seriously accomplished debut album, Telicatessen. We'll throw all the hackneyed cliché's at this one - 'tour de force', 'jaw-dropping', 'work of art', 'virtuoso performance', 'panoply of artistic accomplishment'- and you know what, they all kind of stick. Now that we've set unrealistic expectations for you, not to mention Rob, throw it all away and hear this album for what it really is: one man's musical journey through his mind, his experience and his reality of living in this day and age. It's a menu of musical exploration, with lyrics that will alternately tickle and confuse you ("what the fuck did he just say?") and beats that at times might just snap your neck, having gotten you so vigorously open. A masterpiece of focused abstraction, held tightly together by a commanding and confident flow, Telicatessen was completely self-produced using a variety of gear, both vintage and tech (ARP Odyssey, Little Brother, Mini Moog, Yamaha SK-20, Roland Juno 106, Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, Korg MS-2000, Akai MPC 2000 XL plus Technics 1200's courtesy of DJ's Big Wiz and Fred Ones), Rob Sonic has delivered one of the most accomplished independent hip hop albums of the year, one that deepens and stretches the tradition simultaneously.



Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Rob has been devoted to music since he was a kid, maintaining a deep connection to it in multiple forms (The Beatles, The Stones, Melle Mel, Run DMC, Kraftwerk, The Soul Sonic Force, The Talking Heads, Zeppelin, BDP, Public Enemy, Muddy Waters, UltraMangnetic MC's, The Clash, Devo, Goblin, David Bowie, EPMD). He developed his expressive abilities through grinding for 10 + years in New York City, living life in a way unique to the New York experience – hard fought, hard luck, high stress and no money tempered by huge dreams. In 2000, Rob gained critical acclaim as the front man of the group Sonic Sum, who's album The Sanity Annex won rave reviews in the U.S., Europe and Japan, with SPIN magazine voting it the "2nd Best Album of the Year that No One Heard". Kudos rolled in from publications such as The Source, The Wire, XXL, NME, Urb (Next 100), and CMJ. Word got around and soon came offers from artists like DJ Krush and Funkstorung to get down on their albums, a collaboration with Slug (Atmosphere) and Mike Ladd, plus shout outs from Radiohead, Bobbito Garcia, Autechre and others. Rob also happened to share the same management as Def Jux honcho El-P, and a friendship, as well as mutual artistic respect, formed. In 2003, Rob signed with the label, asking only for the opportunity to make a record with his heart, mind and soul, hence, Telicatessen. And it's all we could have ever asked for.

born in burnt hills new york, edison found heart, mouth, mind and fingers forever full of music. after decades of listening, capturing and growing, he finds himself daily spinning in san francisco. killing conceptions and sessions, he has vowed to never stop. the crew...papervehicle. the extended family....the cleaver leauge. stopping time, one fell swoop a day, and no remorse. engineer, sound design, composer, emcee, artist.

Dark Time Sunshine

Dark Time Sunshine is the new latest project of Cape Cowen, aka Onry Ozzborn of Greyskul and oldominion, with Chicago producer Zavala. The duo have so far released two albums, both on Fake Four, Inc., the free mp3 album BELIEVEYOUME, and this years Vessel which features appearances by Aesop Rock, P.O.S., Solillaquists of Sound, Qwel, Champagne Champagne and more.

-Vessel held the #2 position on the CMJ charts for 2 consecutive weeks.
-Played 4 showcases at this year's SXSW
-Played this years Soundset Festival, were joined on stage with P.O.S. and Awol One
-Extensive nationwide touring in support of Awol One, Sole and the Skyrider Band, Pigeon John and DJ Abilities

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