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Let Kilamanzego put you into a trance with her new single “laughter in the sun showers”

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

From playing bass/guitar in various hardcore punk rock bands to entering the trap world, Philly’s Kilamanzego, has gone beyond the boundaries of genre with her unprecedented skills behind the screen. Much of mainstream trap is cookie-cutter and can be created with just a simple formula. Kila takes a unique approach in order to create sounds that provoke your senses and leave you in a trance-like state. By going against the grain, Kila has established herself as one of the most creative musical minds in Philly. Continue reading →

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Strawberry Runners, Mannequin Pussy, Kilamanzego, and more will play Get Better Fest 5

Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records
Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records

On Friday, Get Better Records announced the full lineup for their annual festival, Get Better Fest, set to take place the first weekend of May this year. The full lineup features artists Strawberry Runners, Mannequin Pussy, Kilamanzego, Whelmed, Augusta Koch (of Cayetana) among many more. Continue reading →

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Navigating Sound: Kilamanzego on the journey from hardcore punk to experimental beatmaking

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

From the opening notes on “Picking My Kalimba from a Distance” with its bright, high-pitched samples and tribal stutter-step, the listener can tell that they’re not just in the presence of a beat-maker: they’re witnessing magic by Philly’s Kilamanzego.

Imagine a dusty warehouse in West Philadelphia, stocked to the brim with old, rusting pianos, pitbulls with mange and orange bandanas, and a whole lotta white people wearing black clothes and rocking dreadlocks. This was the scene when I first heard Kilamanzego cast auditory spells, lifting the crowd with euphoric organ swells only to pummel them with roaring bass drop after bass drop. That night, Kilamanzego — armed with Ableton Live triggered from a laptop and an infectious energy — wasn’t just playing a beat set; they were opening portals to realms from which I don’t think I’ve ever returned. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying: that sounds like a lot of music guy talk, and the big lofty words volleyed about to describe what’s being thrown down don’t impress you. The thing is, while that performance might have been a welcome surprise — that so much powerful, trance inducing sound could be conjured by a petit yet tough former hardcore punk, black girl in a west Philly punk rock basement — Kilamanzego’s next performance I witnessed? It was a revelation. There is no doubt that we are dealing with one of Philly’s most creative musical minds.

And for Kila, it’s a long time coming. Kilamanzego has created a tightly wound catalog of entrancing beats, mini-séances that invoke both their time spent toiling in Philly’s underground and their Ghanaian roots. At once tribal and atmospheric, Kilamanzego has etched new sounds on the beat-based landscape. With their series backyardbxss that they curate as part of the smth savant collective, they’ve helped cultivate a movement that bridges scenes and communities in the spirit of Hip Hop. For Kilamanzego though, that spirit doesn’t seem to want to be tamed. With a hypnotic new single called “Stay Floated In The Tribe” out this week and upcoming shows including Get Better Fest at the First Unitarian Church, we sat down with Kila to discuss beats, life, and sonic ritual texture. Continue reading →

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Kilamanzego just dropped a strange and magical new single

Kilamanzego | photo courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly experimental electronic artist Kilamanzego just dropped a new single “picking my kalimba from a distance.” First of all, I love this; this song is a weird, magic, dope blend of alluring synths, minimal percussion, electronic noises, and bass that you feel as much as you hear. The song takes you on a ride as it progresses, adding and subtracting layers before a graceful fadeout. Soundcloud user Love Junior encapsulated my thoughts on the song with the comment “You a weird and talented mf. Love this.” Continue reading →

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Madam Data teams up with Kilamanzego for Like Daggers

Kilamanzego | photo courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo courtesy of the artist

Electronic artist Madam Data paired up with beatmaker Kilamanzego to bring some old tracks to life in the form of the new split EP Like Daggers. The split is the debut release from smth savant, a local artist collective and DIY record label. Both artists dug through old material to put together the four track collection, writing on bandcamp that “Like Daggers is a fucked up mish mash of wonky, experimental, and ambient bleep bloops representing this mess of a world we live in and the struggles K and MD have faced in the name of creativity.” Continue reading →

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Listen to the first beat compilation by local collective smth savant

Dusty Bonez Jones at Backyard Bxss | photo by Austin Eterno | courtesy of the artist

Backyard Bxss Season 1, a 10-track compilation featuring experimental electronic artists from around the city, is the first tape to be released in a quarterly series by local collective smth savant (pro. sum’thing/ suhˈvant). The collective is most known for throwing their monthly Backyard Bxss live sessions held around the city. Founded in 2017 by Kilamanzego and Madam Data, the collective has grown to 5 members and have held monthly gatherings since May of that year to create and share beats and songs during the Backyard Bxss sessions. Continue reading →

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Control Top sees right through your power trip on “Type A”

Control Top | photo by Vince Guglielmo | courtesy of the artist

Post-punk trio Control Top creates music with the goal of resisting conformity. And it works — their songs sound totally unlike most others. Over the last few years in the Philly DIY scene, the band has evolved into its own distinct sound while going through shifts in lineup before arriving at its currently tight configuration. Currently, Control Top is led by Ali Carter on vocals and bass, along with guitarist Al Creedon and drummer Alex Licktenhour — Ali, Al, and Alex, conveniently — and the band recently has been hard at work on its first full-length album, Covert Contracts.

While details on the release are still forthcoming, Control Top has shared a new single, “Type A.” Its energy is as urgent as the band’s driven punk sound calls for, and its lyrics are scathing in the best possible way: “I see right through your power trip / One loose screw and you will slip,” Carter sings with determination, “Who gave you the right to decide what’s right / Your false authority is dreadfully boring me.”

Continue reading →

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The Skeleton Key: Moor Mother exhibition, Bowerbird series, Two Piece Fest XI, and more new music than you can shake a greased pole at.

Slutever plays Two Piece Fest in 2013 | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

While the post-Superbowl riot might be the DIY event of the season, there’s a lot more going on this month than just a bunch of greased poles on Broad Street

Hi! Welcome to the second edition of The Skeleton Key, your friendly neighborhood gossip column just fighting the good fight against mediocrity and boredom. While we might (still) be in the middle of winter, warm weather –  and with it, touring season –  is on the horizon. I promise!

There was no better reminder of that than the recent announcement by R5 that Lighting Bolt and Moor Mother would be playing the First Unitarian Church at the end of March. While Lighting Bolt could sell out the Church all on their own, the fact that the good people at R5 are having Moor Mother open makes for a truly amazing and electric night. Which is to say: I really hope you got tickets because it sold out almost immediately. Continue reading →

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Powerful, Poignant, Fun: Open City celebrates City of Ash this weekend

Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of Get Better Records
Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com | courtesy of Get Better Records

How much can you pack into just two songs? If you’re Open City, the answer is a ton. The hardcore quartet’s new 7” record City of Ash is seven minutes of incredibly powerful, poignant, and fun music. You might not consider ‘fun’ as being an important quality when it comes to purposely political art, but nobody wants to listen to something that is dull, even if it does share their ideals. Think of it as a ‘the medium is the message’ sort of thing. City of Ash is anything but dull. Continue reading →