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The High Key Portrait Series: King Britt

King Britt | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in recurring installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

A year after graduating from Central High School, King Britt was working at a new Tower Records location on South Street, having been hired for his judicious taste in music imports. At just 19 years old in 1987, having been brought up on all kinds of music and connected to the arts community in Philly, King was uniquely positioned to make moves, and to update dance music and electronica just at a time when the music industry stood ready to be transformed by the impending advent of digital technology.

At this interview at XPN studios, King reflected on his early hustle, and on those days in the late ‘80s and the first years of the ‘90s — a time of mixtapes and cassingles, hip-house and trip-hop. Few would be able to tell the story more capably or warmly than the Philly-born music producer, as he entreats us to fond memories of his days recording Sylk 130 records at Larry Gold’s studio, of the record label he co-founded with then-fellow-Temple-U student Josh Wink, of his collaborations with Bahamadia, and Ursula Rucker, and to musings about what, in his opinion, we all lost when Napster was unleashed (hint: it may not be what you think!). Continue reading →

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Heroes Matter: Remembering Stan Lee with King Britt, Camp Candle, Kindred, and more from the Philadelphia music scene

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On Monday morning in Los Angeles, Stan Lee was rushed from his home by ambulance, where he would later be pronounced dead at 95 years old.

The co-founder of Marvel Comics, Lee (along with his collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) created a number of beloved characters such as Spiderman, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men, The Avengers and more, leaving behind an indelible mark on the pop cultural landscape. These characters and the stories told through them were more than just a means of escape, they were in many ways, a moral and sociopolitical reflection of our world that challenged us to make it better.

In the wake of a worldwide outpouring of grief and gratitude expressed for Lee, we asked members of our city’s music community to share their thoughts on a man whose vision expanded the limits of our collective imagination. Continue reading →

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King Britt will relaunch collab label The Buddy System

King Britt | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com
King Britt | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Legendary Philadelphia electronic artist, DJ and producer King Britt is known for his various artistic efforts around town, but the local visionary’s latest endeavor is actually an older project. Back in 2014, Britt started a record label called The Buddy System, which released monthly collaborative EPs — the twist being that the collaborators remained anonymous. Their names were revealed with each following release, surrounding the project with an air of mystery and anticipation. Continue reading →

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Sound and Vision: King Britt and friends bring their Missed Guided Tour to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

King Britt | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | <a href="http://agellmanphotos.com/" target="_blank">agellmanphotos.com</a>
King Britt composes in front of Kelly’s Seine | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Footsteps ping from floor to ceiling in Gallery 175 of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they aren’t distracting King Britt. He is focused on the artwork in his line of sight, and the musical gear at his fingertips.

The Philadelphia electronic artist, producer and DJ is composing a new piece in the museum, stationed at a long table covered in an array of gadgetry – synthesizers, samplers, and a laptop plugged into a mixing console. Stereo speakers are set up on the floor, and a cascade of warm electronic notes and slight rhythms bubbles out of them. The texture is appropriate, given the artwork facing Britt on the other side of the table: Seine by American minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly.

At first glance, the piece is a grid of pixels: black and white squares of oil paint strewn across the wood surface, concentrating with a thick vertical line in the center. Upon further reflection, it becomes clear that the scene is not entirely abstract, but topographical – this image is Kelly’s rendering of the Seine River in Paris.

“It looks digital, right?” King asks me. “But this is from 1951, man. Pre-digital.” Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: The Posies, Strand of Oaks, King Britt, Inara George and more

XPoNential Music Festival | photo by Joe Del Tufo | deltufophotography.com

Let’s send out January in a big way, friends. The weather is unseasonably warm and we’ve got 24 concerts over the next week for you to choose between, centered in Philadelphia with a couple day trips to locales like Bethlehem and Ardmore. Dig in below, and happy concertgoing. Continue reading →

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King Britt partners with Joshua Mays and students from Mural Arts Philadelphia for Youth Monument to the Future event

King Britt | photo by Jon Kaufman | via facebook.com/KingBritt

This year, the Mural Arts Program’s Monument Lab project has pondered the question: what is an appropriate monument for the City of Philadelphia in 2017? This idea has been explored in various installations and workshops across the city, and over the summer, DJ and multimedia artist King Britt and visual artist Joshua Mays worked with students from the Mural Art Philly’s Art Education Program to create a “monumental time portal” titled Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny.

This interactive music and visual performance will piece together sound samples, student-designed banners and artwork in order to both honor the past, and look with hope upon the future. The event, Youth Monument to the Future, will be free and open to the public this Saturday the 14th at Malcolm X Park in West Philly. Continue reading →

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Moor Mother, King Britt and more to play AfroFuturist Affair Costume Ball

#blackquantumfuturism 2017 #pewfellows

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Final Fridays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art always provide a fantastically curated night of entertainment that’s hard to find elsewhere, and the upcoming AfroFuturist Costume Ball is certainly no exception. On Friday, Oct. 27, the museum’s Great Stair Hall will fill with the sights and sounds of Afrofuturism — if you’re not familiar, that’s an artistic and cultural movement centered around Black liberation through a futuristic sci-fi lens. The AfroFuturist Affair, along with Black Quantum Futurism and Philadelphia Assembled, have planned the event, their 7th annual, as a celebration of AfroFuturist and Black speculative music, art, design and creativity. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: King Britt at RiverRink, Steve Gunn at Parks on Tap, Taj Mahal at Philadelphia Folk Fest

King Britt | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Earlier this summer, DJ King Britt rocked some serious roller skate jams during his opening weekend set at Spruce Street Harbor Park — so it’s only fitting that he DJs another engagement tonight a half mile or so north, at the Blue Cross RiverRink, where people will literally be able to roller skate to jams from Michael Jackson and Soul II Soul. Details on the free event can be found here. Continue reading →

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Listen to King Britt’s Fhloston Paradigm remix singles; see them at Johnny Brenda’s

King Britt | photo via fhlostonparadigm.bandcamp.com

This summer, Philadelphia DJ / producer / multimedia artist King Britt revisited his experimental space music project Fhloston Paradigm with the new record AFTER…

King released the album last month, and appeared on WXPN to discuss the project’s creative genesis in sci-fi soundtracks and collaborations with a roster of vocalists from Kate Faust to Jacqueline Constance and Pia Ercole. Tomorrow night, he celebrates the release in true showcase fashion at Johnny Brenda’s, recreating the album with many of the featured vocalists joining him onstage.

But first — new music.
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Listen: King Britt talks new Fhloston Paradigm album, After…

King Britt | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly grown, internationally known Producer, DJ and composer King Britt has been pushing the broad and malleable boundaries of Electronic music for the better part of the past two decades. Working under a variety of genre pseudonyms, Britt’s catalog serves as an illustrative study of dance music’s hallowed past, with several experiments that point to potential futures. Firefly’s heady take on Classic House music, the pristine Future Soul remixes released under the Scuba moniker. Keeping with this practice of exploring specific sounds/genres under different names, Britt premiered his Fhloston Paradigm project in 2011. Under the Fhloston Paradigm moniker, Britt infuses experimental production techniques electronics with Afrofuturist ideals. Deviating from the soulful, dancefloor-ready of his earlier work and diving into strange, evocative soundscapes. The Fhloston… project reached a high point of detail and refinement with 2014’s The Phoenix full length, released on the Hyperdub label. For his latest FP album, After…, Britt has fused the highly abstract style of minimalist composers such as Phillip Glass and Steve Reich with his own experiments in sound design

Continue reading →