815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 8:00 PM
Dame Fortune is the deliciously eclectic sixth album from veteran producer and crate digger extraordinaire RJD2, out March 25th on RJ's Electrical Connections. It's a wondrous beast, recorded over the past year while living in Philadelphia, before returning to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Streaked with Philly's rep for deeply felt soul music while maintaining a playful sense of adventurousness, Dame Fortune features guest vocalists Son Little (aka Aaron Livingston) and frequent collaborator Phonte, while also presenting the bombastic hip-hop sound that marked RJD2's breakthrough album, Deadringer, and even an orchestral composition for the societal unrest experienced in this day and age (called "PF Day One."..the PF standing for "Post Ferguson").
"Living in Philly provided a context for a lot of soul music that I had liked," RJD2 says on the city's influence on Dame Fortune's sound. "I didn't have any cultural context for this music that I liked -- it was just music that I had stumbled across as a beat making nerd. Philly was a place where there were enough people who had the same musical vocabulary that I did, which made the music more than something I had just discovered on my own."
The debut single, "Peace of What," features Jordan Brown and draws inspiration from 1990s rap legends Main Source's 1991 single "Peace Is Not the Word to Play." "When I hear people talk of peace in America, the discrepancy between our words and our actions can get fatiguing," he says on the inspiration behind the song. "I was trying to reflect the experience of people I know, which often feels like 'We're not ACTUALLY trying to do anything about this problem in our country.'"
Thought-provoking and undeniably entertaining all at once, this latest exhibition of musical virtuosity is a crystal-clear reflection of RJD2's cinematic aspirations, reminding listeners that it's always rewarding to expect the unexpected. RJD2 will tour throughout 2016 in support of Dame Fortune and his 20-year-plus-career.
Photay’s debut full-length Onism inherits the same historical tension in an age of climate change and social media addiction. It is also a reflection of personal conditions, a meditation on place, community, and its creator’s own embodied history. The word ‘onism,’ invented by John Koenig, means the frustration of being stuck in just one body that inhabits only one place at a time.
To grasp onism is to be apprised of how little of the world you have experienced, are experiencing, or will ever experience. Photay (Evan Shornstein) composed Onism in the heart of Brooklyn and shrouded by the silence of national parks or on trips home to the woodlands of the Hudson Valley in between touring the urban centers of foreign countries. Scattered but connected, Onism’s music is a constellation that rips across the night sky of time, charting an emotional reality defined by sadness and joy, dread and wonder.
Shornstein contrasts spacious near-silence with bombastic saturated peaks. Fangled robotic tones (‘Screens’) meet with forest floor ambience (’Storm’), evoking visual designs for the built and natural worlds, while the overwhelm of metropolis (‘Balsam Massacre’) and the digital age (‘The Everyday Push’) is eased by the liberatory forests of Woodstock (‘Outré Lux’ feat. Madison Mcferrin) and assumptions into imagined realities (‘Bombogenesis’). The demonic swing of ‘Balsam Massacre’ imagines the sounds of a tree’s innards as it is felled with a chainsaw, while ’Storm’ thunders distantly in triumphant reverie.
On ‘Aura,’ Shornstein sings for the second time in his career (“Take the time to hear yourself”). The message hints at a common denominator to his meditations, resonating also as a warning to the world, an everyday push to the role of electronic music in storytelling the future of the global environmentalist movement.