Anyone who knows our Co-Founders Alex and David know they are massive fans of the legendary DJ, label-owner, and champion aesthete Gilles Peterson. Mr. Peterson has led a movement in the UK and around the world for tasteful and eloquent disco, chill-out, afro-beat, grime and who knows what. His taste exceeds many.
Mr. Peterson, in contrast, is a huge fan of Somerville-based label Cultures of Soul. Their latest 12″ includes, in a full-circle, a red-hot remix from Boston’s own Soul Clap.
So when Cultures of Soul head honcho Deano Sounds (who also happens to be a regular at Soulelujah) needed a studio to record a special Boston installment for Worldwide FM, Peterson’s exceedingly tasteful internet radio show, we were more than happy to oblige. Here is the result: four hours of deep African rock, lost Boston jazz, Japanese disco, Gospel, you name it. For more on Deano, Uchenna, and Andre, and the labyrinthine tracklisting, visit the Worldwide website.
Support Cultures of Soul at Bandcamp:
Ready to start your journey as a DJ, selector, and crate-digger? Want to learn how to discover and mix music no one else has? (That’s the trick).
“If the Seaboard is an evolution of the piano, let Blocks be an evolution of the drum.”
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
British music-hardware startup ROLI has just launched its latest product, Seaboard Block, which the company hopes will help it attract more customers who are mainstream, amateur musicians rather than just professionals.
The new device, a £280 ‘super powered keyboard’, is effectively a hybrid of ROLI’s existing products: the Seaboard keyboard which first launched in early 2014, and the Blocks modular music-making devices that debuted in late 2016.
Interested? We sure are! Click right here and head to Music:)ally for the fascinating interview with Roli inventor Roland Lamb.
Want to know more about synthesis, Ableton, and the future of music? Sign up for next week’s FREE seminar:
Not long ago Rex Mac was an intern at Mmmmaven and was navigating his way through the basics of music production. Since he has left he has been an active member in Boston’s creative community and has put a large focus on his own musical career. He just released a 10-track project titled ABLOOM, which he self-produced using Reason. He describes the sound of the album as
Amorphous production that manages to blend hip-hop subgenres seamlessly – from 90s era West Coast G Funk, to Yeezus-esque industrial minimalism, to trap
We asked Mac a few questions about the process of making this project, his live performances, and his other current endeavors.
What was the process like for creating ABLOOM?
It was dynamic. Initially, I approached the project as an introvert – meaning I worked on it in secret, gathered little feedback from friends on its direction, and did not do enough living outside my home studio to inspire honest content.
There’s a glamorous mystique I’ve always found fascinating about artists who disappear off the face of the earth for years to re-emerge with groundbreaking, left field albums. You know, leave the country to record an album in a cave or castle far away, or something. Over time, I realized that wasn’t how I operate. I discovered how imperative it was to get outside.
But on a music tech note, I made the album’s beats in Reason 5 with an Akai MIDI keyboard, recorded its vocals through Garageband, and mixed all songs at Sanctum Sound, Cyber Sound, and Hink Creations – all located in Boston.
In addition to producing music, Mac has announced several dates of live performances around the Boston area in support of his recent release of ABLOOM.
What is performing like for you?
Generally, it’s the most cleansing, cathartic high I have ever experienced and will ever experience. I tend to suck at one on one communication.
I tongue tie my words often. And small crowds bug me out. I still cringe at the thought of classroom presentations. But in absolute contrast, bigger crowds liberate me. It’s the one situation I can jump out of shy skin and rock my superhero cape proudly. Metaphorically, of course.
Mac’s work doesn’t stop at his own musical career. He is now a writer for Boston’s Creative Arts blog Know Your Scene. He says that most of his recent pieces have been artist profiles that focus on exploring what influences an artist’s sound and attempts to learn more about their messaging behind the music.
While it may seem like his schedule is completely full, Mac has found time to give back to the hip-hop community by organizing a monthly showcase of artists in Cambridge Central Square’s Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery. Mac recruits acts from all tiers, usually six to seven per show. He has designed this event with the sole purpose of having artists gather and network.
We asked Mac if Mmmmaven had helped him in any of his current projects, and he said that it kept reminding him of music technology’s value in the current musical climate, or as he puts it
I’ve seen a 6 year old boy walk into a DJing class. I’ve seen a woman in her 50s spend hours in the production lab to perfect a song. The art is not age discriminatory.
I believe, in order for content to have value, it cannot be unidirectional. I should not always be bragging about myself, despite how ego-filled and competitive the culture of hip hop demands me to be. I told myself that my work needs to be seamless and accessible, much like how Mmmmaven has positioned itself in Boston’s educational system. It’s a beautiful, open thing – like a flower.
We wish Mac the best in all of his current and future projects and hope that you check him out!
Introducing the newest member of the Mmmmaven team: DJ and producer, Kareem Clarke!
New York native, Kareem Clarke, has been a musician for most of his life. He got started in music at age 13 by growing his music chops in church and through private lessons. Most of his musical knowledge at the time came from teaching himself by ear. Kareem always had an interest in DJing, but didn’t pursue it until college. He attended Lafayette College where he studied engineering with a concentration in construction management. During his college days, Kareem DJ’d almost every party the school had for three years. After school, he moved back to New York and got a job in real estate and continued to DJ on the side. Kareem decided he wanted to be more immersed in music so he bought Ableton, quit his job, and moved to Valencia, Spain to study music at Berklee College of Music. Kareem spent two years in Valencia and got two Master’s Degrees; one in Music Business and one in Music Production Technology and Innovation. While he was in Valencia, he made a name for himself as a DJ by holding residencies and playing many gigs.
Along with teaching at Mmmmaven, Kareem is currently a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and runs his own record label called Digital Den Records.
There are a couple of aliases that Kareem has used throughout his musical career. kTunes is his DJ name and Tony Clarke is his producer name. I asked him to tell me the story behind both of these names and here’s what he had to say:
When I started spinning, I went with the name DJ kTunes because I wanted to play all kinds of music you could find in your iTunes (or want in your iTunes after hearing me). As a producer I decided to have a different name, Tony Clarke which is my middle name and was my dads name. I really just go by Tony Clarke now.
As a DJ, Kareem plays mostly open format sets ranging from hip hop to house to edm and more. His biggest influence as a DJ is A-trak. When it comes to producing, Kareem primarily produces house and dance music, but he is venturing out into the hip hop and pop realm as of recently. His biggest producer influences are Deadmau5, Detroit Swindle, Kaytranada and Nacho Marco.
I consider Nacho a mentor, he released my first single with my trio Decatree.
Listen to some of Kareem’s music below:
Want to see Kareem play a DJ set? Catch him at the Mmmmaven House Party at Hojoko in Boston on Saturday, April 22! Come in for one of their signature dishes, a designer cocktail, and some great house music.