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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Starting Wednesday with the latest in a series of tributes to Philly jazz great Sun Ra and running through Monday and a Princeton performance by orchestral pop mastermind Andrew Bird, this week’s concert picks touch on rock, hiphop, funk, punk and more. Read on for 20 shows to see in Philadelphia this week Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key photographer Koof Ibi Umoren (who plays trumpet with West Philadelphia Orchestra, Little Strike and a host of others) shares Philly’s best non-traditional venues to perform at in 2017.
Traditional music venues need musicians and beer in order to successful. This year has proven that musicians need beer, but not necessarily the traditional music venues. A musician can spend a lot of time performing in Philadelphia without setting foot on a traditional stage. If you’re smart and you chose an acoustic instrument in elementary school, and didn’t give it up for a cooler electronic instrument in college, then the world is literally your stage This year I’ve had the pleasure of playing and attending shows at some very interesting Philadelphia “venues,” and here’s a recap of some of my favorites. Continue reading →
Each spring for the past four years, Get Better Recordshas thrown an event that always leaves us looking forward to the next. The local independent label just announced Getter Better Fest 5, happening over three days in May at two locations — this year it’s the First Unitarian Church and LAVA Space. Not all of the bands have been announced yet, but with initial lineup we have so far, it’s already shaping up to be a stacked weekend of tunes. And Get Better Fest is as much about the community as it is the music — the festival always seeks to promote a diverse and inclusive lineup, all while raising money for local and national organizations. Continue reading →
As improbable a feat as this may seem, the still wet from the womb music promotions collective All Mutable has burned itself into the psyche of the Philly music scene with their daring vision of community and eclecticism. Even more improbable, they’ve managed to become one of the few promoters who force me– your friendly, neighborhood musical curmudgeon– to instantly smash “going” on all of the squad’s Facebook solicits even when I’m wildly unfamiliar with the bands they’re offering. Theirs is the ability to cultivate a strange, impossible oasis of color and sound within a sometimes diversity-barren landscape of independent DIY music.
While the group were all friends and music collaborators in various bands first– Jazz Adam from New York City, Nicki Duval from Connecticut, and Robin Meeker-Cummings from West Philadelphia (born and raised, naturally)– it is together with All Mutable that their true talents have reach an apex. While their roots are in experimental and noise music (and that aesthetic still rings true even as they expand), they’ve hosted raging punk noise outfits like Pinkwash, edgy afro-accoustic post-punk like Daphne, and minimalist drum and noise outfits like NAH under their umbrella and miraculously they’ve avoided any cross-genre clashing, eschewing the 10th grade mix CD model and have taken an approach that speaks more to the deliberate nature of their intention: freeing up class modalities and pushing forward with a futurist vision that is inclusive and liberating.
We sat down with the All Mutable squad for insight into their process, the origins of their name, and the future of DIY indie music Philadelphia and beyond. Continue reading →