Jel

He was but a young buck, wet behind the ears and not all that wise. But if Jeffery James Logan--Catholic-born Chicago son, one-time Chuck Berry enthusiast, junior high schooler- knew one thing, he knew that he needed to play the drums. If he knew another thing, it was that he wouldn't get to, no matter how much angsty teen protest or sullen-eyed brooding he put into the cause, because, well, some jock kid was in better with the gym teacher. So Jeff-the SP-1200 beatmachine master we now know as Jel-took up the coronet. Thankfully, the SP found Jel shortly after Christmas one high school year. He'd been helping elderly women pump gas as part of a long-term scheme to turn fuel into money into circuitry into sound. He still had the tapes from the year he fell in love with music-1989 radio broadcasts from 105.9 WGCI, The Rap Down with Franky J and Disco Dave-and had been desperately searching for a way to feed his intense attraction to beat-making ever since his first urges were denied. With cash clenched tightly in young fist, he marched to the nearest music store and happily bought the cornerstone of his entire sound: the SP-1200. Revenge on a gym teacher never felt so sweet. And Jel never looked back.

The next few years were spent mostly in two places. When Jel wasn't locked away in his room with his new mechanical love, he was helping out behind the scenes at Northwestern University's radio station. At home he'd cut, chop, artist, and tap; on campus he'd pass his tapes along to local DJs and emcees that would stop by the station. Jel's friend and radio partner Kevin Beacham introduced him to the hip-hop that came before, the secrets of the drum machine (i.e. how to cheat to 10-second sample time), and -most importantly-a certain nasaltoned Cincinnati rapper who went by the name of Doseone. The rest of Jel's story is the beginning stages and steady fruition of an entire movement in sound. In 1996, he quit art school in favor of the chills. In 1998, his first collaborations with dose saw the light of day (Hemispheres). In January of 1999, the debut Themselves LP was finished (Them), and by Spring of the same year, work would begin on the seminal Deep Puddle Dynamics project. And from that artist-which included Jel and Doseone, Sole and Alias of Portland, Maine's Live Poets, and Slug from Atmosphere-the concept of anticon was somewhere born.

Today Jel lives in the Oakland Bay Area with the same SP-1200 he purchased as a teen. They left the Midwest together in a concerted effort to defy genre with a collective of like-minded individuals and instruments. His crunchy punched-out beats and swells of low-bit atmospherics have become anticon trademarks, highly sought after by artists around the globe. Jel was one of the first, if not the very first musician to use the a drum machine in live performance like a drum kit with little to no sequencing. Using the pads on the drum machine, Jel plays each snare, bass kick, cymbal and loop with his fingers. And his raps ain't half bad either. To date, Jel's list of collaborators includes Can's Malcolm Mooney, Stephanie Bohm from Ms. John Soda, Mike Patton, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers, Black Thought of the Roots, DJ Krush, Mr. Dibbs, Sage Francis, Atmosphere, and just about the entire anticon roster, naturally. Jel is currently a member of Themselves (with Doseone and Dax Pierson), Subtle (a cello-drumssamplers-guitar-keyboards-winds-and-words sextet on Lex artists), and 13 & God (Themselves and the Notwist). His second solo full-length is entitled Soft Money.

The next few years were spent mostly in two places. When Jel wasn't locked away in his room with his new mechanical love, he was helping out behind the scenes at Northwestern University's radio station. At home he'd cut, chop, artist, and tap; on campus he'd pass his tapes along to local DJs and emcees that would stop by the station. Jel's friend and radio partner Kevin Beacham introduced him to the hip-hop that came before, the secrets of the drum machine (i.e. how to cheat to 10-second sample time), and -most importantly-a certain nasaltoned Cincinnati rapper who went by the name of Doseone. The rest of Jel's story is the beginning stages and steady fruition of an entire movement in sound. In 1996, he quit art school in favor of the chills. In 1998, his first collaborations with dose saw the light of day (Hemispheres). In January of 1999, the debut Themselves LP was finished (Them), and by Spring of the same year, work would begin on the seminal Deep Puddle Dynamics project. And from that artist-which included Jel and Doseone, Sole and Alias of Portland, Maine's Live Poets, and Slug from Atmosphere-the concept of anticon was somewhere born.

Today Jel lives in the Oakland Bay Area with the same SP-1200 he purchased as a teen. They left the Midwest together in a concerted effort to defy genre with a collective of like-minded individuals and instruments. His crunchy punched-out beats and swells of low-bit atmospherics have become anticon trademarks, highly sought after by artists around the globe. Jel was one of the first, if not the very first musician to use the a drum machine in live performance like a drum kit with little to no sequencing. Using the pads on the drum machine, Jel plays each snare, bass kick, cymbal and loop with his fingers. And his raps ain't half bad either. To date, Jel's list of collaborators includes Can's Malcolm Mooney, Stephanie Bohm from Ms. John Soda, Mike Patton, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers, Black Thought of the Roots, DJ Krush, Mr. Dibbs, Sage Francis, Atmosphere, and just about the entire anticon roster, naturally. Jel is currently a member of Themselves (with Doseone and Dax Pierson), Subtle (a cello-drumssamplers-guitar-keyboards-winds-and-words sextet on Lex artists), and 13 & God (Themselves and the Notwist). His second solo full-length is entitled Soft Money.

With some fairness, Sole's musical arc to this point might be described as a series of battle raps whose range of targets has gradually widened. His early work, beginning with his demo of 1992 (which included such hits as "Cops Ain't Shit") was deeply beholden to the New York rap of that era, Lord Finesse most especially. After all, his first album, self-released in 1994 when he was but sixteen, was entitled, Mad Skillz and Unpaid Billz. Though the plural "z's" were dropped from future releases, the forceful language and aura of overconfidence vital to classic battle rap remained. His proper, post-adolescent albums, Bottle of Humans (2000), Selling Live Water (2003), and Live From Rome (2005) each mixed traditional rap aesthetics with a more original and highly poetic approach with growing sophistication.
Live From Rome, the recording of which spanned a near nervous breakdown, a providential marriage, and a move to Barcelona, was a transitional record, personally searching and politically embittered. That period was epochal for Sole, particularly his alternately disturbing and exhilarating experiences touring Eastern Europe and Israel with his wife, Yasamin. They stumbled across a cache of anticon bootlegs in a tiny outdoor market in Moscow, were caught in the middle of the 2005 church and mosque-burning riots in Belgrade (while they watched the chaos on CNN, tear gas filled their hotel room), bribed crooked Serbian police for their freedom, and hosted a radio show on the Israeli Army's Radio Station, on which Sole pumped Gregory Corso's reading of his long poem, "Bomb," and Public Enemy's "Louder than a Bomb." His return to American soil after nearly two years was occasioned by his participation in Sage Francis's Knowmore.org tour of 2006. He was surprised to find that his homeland had not yet fallen to Brownshirts, and he and Yasamin decided to stay and make a home in rocky Flagstaff, Arizona.

Though Sole had spent most of his career working with celebrated producers—primarily Alias, Odd Nosdam (of cLOUDDEAD), and JEL (of subtle)—by 2005 he had for some time been looking for a working relationship with a more exclusively focused yet also uniquely talented group of musicians. His solo instrumental work, released in 2005 on Morr Music and in 2007 on anticon as mansbestfriend, and his yearlong collaboration with half of Barcelona's Tortoise-like improvational outfit Twelve were aspects of this search. On tour with Dosh, Pedestrian, and Telephone Jim Jesus in 2005, fate landed the caravan at the tropical home of Bud Berning, an electronic musician and dub drummer then recording solo work as SkyRider. Intrigued by SkyRider's sound, Sole later returned to Orlando on a short tour of the Southeast and collaborated with Berning and two musicians who had recently joined the Skyrider fold. Not naturally attracted to music born of machines, Bud had only begun tinkering with computers while immobilized after a coma resulting from a traumatic collision in Mexico City in 2002. The two instrumentalists Berning recruited, Tennessee native John Wagner and omni-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch, not only fleshed out Berning's sample-based ideas, but also added their own distinct musical voices. As Sole and SkyRider played, sparks struck, and Sole had the quickness of mind to immediately invite SkyRider to move to Flagstaff and record an album.

Against all odds, the band accepted the offer and before long found themselves sharing a house in Flagstaff. Nearly the moment they arrived, SkyRider began playing and recording intensely at Sole's studio, set at an eight thousand foot elevation at the foot of a mountain amid a garden of collard greens, melons, and green beans. Sole promptly scrapped the ten or so songs he'd already recorded towards an album—with a formidable line-up of producers, no less—and devoted himself fully to realizing the distinct sound he'd long heard only in his own head and further sharpening his art of battle rapping the biggest of enemies: empire, ennui, the industries of distraction, and, not least of all, himself.

$12.00

Tickets

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

add to your calendar

Who’s Going

Upcoming Events
Johnny Brenda's

Ticketfly

Jel with Sole

Sunday, October 6 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:15 PM at Johnny Brenda's