The Return of Dr. Octagon with 20 Year Anniversary Box Set + CA Concert Dates feat. Kool Keith, Qbert, & Dan the Automator

Posted by Billyjam, February 9, 2017 06:53pm | Post a Comment

Since the announcement yesterday of a return of veteran NYC emcee Kool Keith's Dr. Octagon alias (the alter ego he had killed off years ago) with two surprise California concert dates next month with the former Ultramagnetic MCs emcee along with the Octagon project key collaborators, producer Dan the Automator and fellow San Francisco artist DJ Qbert, there has been quite a buzz.  Tickets for the two CA dates, scheduled for March 6th and 7th at San Francisco's The Independent and Los Angeles' The Teragram Ballroom respectively, have been selling briskly with both the SF and LA dates already sold out (although tix can be still found on StubHub). The in-demand concerts, which act as a primer for the upcoming 20th anniversary, limited edition box set release of the Dr. Octagon project Dr. Octagonecologyst by Traffic and Universal, prove just how popular the mid-nineties Kool Keith alter-ego high-concept character and accompanying project remains even two decades later. Note that the forthcoming 2017 anniversary edition release will be just the latest in a series over an extended period of reissues and variations, including the popular non vocal Instrumentalyst via Octagon Beats, of the nineties Dreamworks release of the  Dr. Octagonecologyst album that was most recently reissued in 2014 by Geffen as the 2LP pressing of Dr. Octagonecologyst.

Described as an extraterrestrial time traveling gynecologist and surgeon from the planet Jupiter, the Dr. Octagon character was concocted in the brilliant, bizarre brain of the artist born Keith Thornton. His created Dr. Octagon character came to (musical) life via an underground collaboration between the legendary Bronx emcee Kool Keith and NorCal producer Kutmasta Kurt, who recorded the tracks "Dr. Octagon" and "Technical Difficulties" together. Still in its early formative stages, the Dr. Octagon project would soonafter morph into the commercially and critically acclaimed Dan the Automator produced Dr. Octagonecologyst album that would prove to be the career comeback album for Kool Keith. In the two decades since the incredibly prolific Kool Keith has recorded and released a string of albums on an average of about one a year, many under aliases/alter egos and many under his original rap handle. Among the numerous he recorded as Kool Keith include such Kutmasta Kurt produced albums as Sex Style (1997), Matthew (2000), and Diesel Truckers (2004).  Last year under his original Kool Keith handle Thornton released two albums via Mello Music Group: the L'Orange produced collaboration Time? Astonishing! (also avail on LP/vinyl) and the self-produced various emcee collaboration project Feature Magnetic (also avail on Vinly/LP).  Keith's many creative alter egos over the years have included such colorful characters as Dr. Dooom, Black Elvis and Mr. Nogatco (Octagon spelled backwards).

However none of his other alter-egos or even his solo album projects have enjoyed quite the same success or impact as his Dr. Octagon release which was as much a Dan the Automator project as it was a Keith one: something that proved to be a contentious point. Released originally in 1996 on Bulk Recordings and MoWax (UK) and distributed by Dreamworks, San Francisco producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura billed the Dr. Octagonecologyst album release as the Dr. Octagon project featuring himself and the emcee plus Qbert and the albums other contributors. Understandably this led to confusion among new and longtime fans of Keith's: some who thought Kool Keith was Dr. Octagon (which he was) and others who thought Dr. Octagon was the combined forces of all contributors (which it also technically was and is being billed again for the concerts next month). It also led to a lawsuit filed by Kutmasta Kurt (also known as Kutmaster Kurt) who had kickstarted the project in the first place with Keith but then was picked up and taken over by The Automator as producer who ran with it and took it to great heights. Kurt, who did get billing on the album credits, felt slighted. Regardless of the Kurt and Automator relationship, Kurt and Keith would continue to make many more great recordings together. These days it appears that all parties are on good terms. If so hopefully, in addition to the album reissue and these upcoming California concert dates, that there will also be new music recorded by all of the original contributors to the landmark Dr. Octagon album Dr. Octagonecologyst and Keith will officially bring back to life Dr. Octagon who was murdered by Dr. Dooom on the 1999 album First Come, First Served and brought back to life temporarily a decade later. Below is the music video for the Dr. Octagon album track/single "Blue Flowers."

Dr. Octagon "Blue Flowers"

Relevant Tags

Dan The Automator (12), Sir Melenik (1), Qbert (22), Kutmaster Kurt (2), Kutmasta Kurt (4), Kool Keith (23), Dr. Octagon (4)