Producer L’Orange Discusses his and emcee Solemn Brigham’s Excellent New “Marlowe 2”

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2020 11:59pm | Post a Comment
Marlowe Marlowe 2 (Mellow Music Group)

Two years ago when producer  L’Orange and emcee Solemn Brigham collaborated on the Marlowe album released via Mello Music it was one of those projects made purely for fun and out of a shared love of hip-hop. The two old school pals from North Carolina were just happy to have reconnectedand to be working together especially since L’Orange had moved all the way across the country to resettle in Seattle. They figured it was a one-off collaboration. They never imagined that there would be a follow up Marlowe 2 that was among the new arrivals at Amoeba today. Besides the hard-working producer, when not busy making his own solo albums, has a track record of collaborating with a variety of different emcees and usually only on one project. The microphone fiends L’Orange has joined 
forces with over his prolific decade long career have included Mr Lif, Kool KeithJeremiah Jae and Stik Figga on album projects and such others as Del The Funky HomosapienBlu, Elzhi and  Chuuwee on 
song collaborations. In fact it was on the track “Plastic Fame” off L’Orange’s predominantly instrumental 2017 solo album The Ordinary Man, that featured both Sacramento rapper Chuuwee and Solemn Brigham, that inspired the two to discuss maybe making a full album together. This they did and a year later released the presumed one-off album Marlowe.

“We never expected Marlowe 1 to be successful. We just made it because we were friends and loved working together. When it came out and it resonated with people, that was a bonus,” recalled L’Orange in an interview with the Amoeblog earlier today. That first Marlowe album was so good that this Amoeblogger picked it as the #1 hip-hop album of 2018. At the time I wrote how L’Orange created an intricate and vivid, atypical found sound, cinematic soundscape with tempo shifting beats that acted as the ideal backdrop for Solemn Brigham’s unique flow. Their combined sound I wrote was simultaneously familiar sounding (in an early 90's golden era tradition) but also distinctively modern and quite unlike anything else ever heard in hip-hop. And guess what? Marlowe 2 is an even better album with the two artists outdoing themselves by crafting a flawless cohesive 18 track, 46 minute album that captures that distinctive Marlowe sound first  introduced two years ago.  

Perfectly complimenting Solemn Brigham’s distinctive flow, L’Orange lays down layers of engaging sounds that make Marlowe 2 like the aural equivalent of a book you can’t put down. Intact are the producer’strademark old timey radio detective dramas as favored found sound source plus a myriad of unique instrumental sources, including old school Bollywood sounding parts and soaring guitars and string instruments. This all acts as the perfect backdrop for Solemn Brigham to let loose on while flexing his instantly recognizable rapid fire flow that’s further accentuated with the emcee occasionally breaking into his unique sing-songey rhyme style. On paper all of these disparate sounds seem like they should not work together. But they do by effortlessly all melding together into a beautiful collage of interwoven sounds.

Today when I connected with L’Orange I asked him about the comparisons of making this album versus the first one? “Marlowe 2 was a much more refined process, knowing what we had done and where we wanted to improve. We fought like brothers and ended up collaborating in the truest sense,” he said. And what about the process of recording Marlowe 2; if they recorded their parts separately and if the L’Orange production was done first or together?  “Solemn comes to Seattle to record with myself and Sendai Mike. We usually write separately though,” replied L’Orange.

 And what about origins of all those unique old-school world music samples and other engaging musical sounds heard on the new album? “One thing that defines Marlowe production to me is the combination of psychedelic rock and international influences. There’s lots of 60’s Asian and African influences on both records.”

My top 50 alternative songs of 1990...Living In Oblivion

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 14, 2020 05:15pm | Post a Comment

Top 50 Alternative Songs of 1990...Part V #1-10

I am counting down my top 50 favorite alternative songs of 1990!.This is part five in my series. So in case you missed the last entry you can find it here. Come join me as I relive the year that started the greatest decade in music. These are my top 10 favorite alternative songs released in 1990.


#10 Swervedriver "Rave Down" (Creation Records)

This is another classic of the shoegaze genre. I really don't think I have met anyone that does not love this song. I can listen to it over and over again. This the band's second EP released in 1990. The following year we would get their debut album Raise. I first heard this song on a mix tape and it is just one of those songs I instantly fell in love with. 1990 was such a great year for the music that I love. It was really hard to rank many of these songs but I always knew this song would be in my top ten. Swervedriver was always more on the Dinosaur Jr. end of shoegaze bands. Loud and dreamy grunge-gaze.


cause and effect

#9 Cause & Effect "You Think You Know Her" (Exile Records)

Amidst Administration Attacks The U.S. Postal Service Celebrates Hip-Hop Culture

Posted by Billyjam, August 13, 2020 06:49pm | Post a Comment

    While news headlines regarding the U.S. Postal Service of late may be depressingly negative ones regarding the current administration's defunding of the service and attempted voter suppression, there’s also a positive USPS related story. That’s word of the recently published colorful hip-hop themed series of Forever postage stamps that pay tribute to hip-hop culture’s four elements; DJing, MCing, B-boying and writing (aka graf or graffiti). Priced at the current 2020 First Class Mail Letter retail rate of 55 cents per stamp they are sold in panes (sheets) of 20 stamps for $11.

Each pane includes five copies of each of the four variations included.  At first glance these stamps may look like graphically painted images but in fact they are each photographs that have been touched up and filtered to create a moving 3D type effect. Each hip-hop element image is based on the work of photographer Cade Martin with art director Antonio Alcala adding various effects utilizing a yellow, red, green and black color scheme to energize each image.

Critical hip-hop purists have already weighed in the 2020 stamps saying that, while they appreciate the new series from the USPS, they think that the name of their beloved culture should have been written on the stamps in the widely accepted spelling of “HIP-HOP” rather than “HIPHOP.” Further these purists argue that the “GRAFFITI ART” stamp should have, in place of the “G” word, used “WRITING” to denote the aerosol art element of hip-hop.

Celebrate National Vinyl Record Day By Treating Yourself To Something From Amoeba’s Top 10 LP New Arrivals

Posted by Billyjam, August 12, 2020 06:07pm | Post a Comment
August 12th: Today is National Vinyl Record Day and the perfect way to celebrate the occasion would be to add to your record collection by virtually crate digging in the new arrivals bins at Amoeba (all vinyl ships free anywhere in the US). Below is a Top Ten cross-section of some of the many recommended new vinyl arrivals at Amoeba Music this current week. [See the full list of LP new arrivals here].  These new vinyl arrival albums cover various genres with many of them being most welcome reissues.

Some are brand new releases such as latest from Los Angeles female talent Jenny O. via Mama Bird or the new electronic dance album from collaborative duo BRONSON (ODESZA and GOLDEN FEATURES) on Ninja Tune that’s been released in two different vinyl versions. The list includes such iconic artists as Charlie Parker, Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash.

My top 50 alternative songs of 1990...Dreams Burn Down

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 7, 2020 06:08pm | Post a Comment

Top 50 Alternative Songs of 1990...Part IV #11-20

I am counting down my top 50 favorite alternative songs of 1990!.This is part four in my series. So in case you missed the last entry you can find it here. Come join me as I relive the year that started the greatest decade in music.

nick cave weeping song

#20 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "The Weeping Song" (Mute)

How could I have this top 50 alternative countdown without Nick Cave! I can usually pinpoint around when I first heard some of these artists. I really don't think I had heard of Nick Cave before 1990. It really took a video on MTV or a song on the radio or a friend introducing me. Like so many other artists, this was the year for Nick Cave. I listened to this album so many times over the years. "The Weeping Song" and "The Ship Song" are both my favorites from The Good Son. Nick Cave has one of those voices and personalitles that I just sort of fell in love with. He for sure has a cult following and it is not hard to see why. He is like the goth Elvis. Heartbreaking and beautiful. A worldwide treasure.

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