AYBEE go’s Against The Clock for FACT Magazine.
Deepblak’s Chief Alchemist AYBEE will release his fourth full-length studio album, The Odyssey, in November 2016. As befitting its grand title, this newest long-player finds him concerned with personal journeys: both the personal one that has brought him to this point – living in Berlin, 15 years since founding Deepblak in his native Oakland – and the one that beckons for him personally and creatively in future: AYBEE sees himself as being halfway up a mountain, looking back on where he has come from, and to where he will be headed next – both concepts play a profound role in the emotional textures of the album, which in true Deepblak fashion draws from jazz, deep house, techno, hip hop, blues, experimentation, cinema, space, time and infinity.
The Odyssey represents a change-up for AYBEE in several ways, forged from a desire to keep expectations at bay and throw something of a curveball for those who felt they had him pegged: “a good pitcher always keeps you off balance”. This newest work saw him deliberately limit his sound palette in a creative exercise that challenged him to create a full body of work from a small pre-selected library of sonic elements. While this was restricting in some aspects, the approach to – as he puts it – “throw the ingredients in a basket and cook with it later” gave him more freedom to focus on atmosphere and groove instead of putting hours into trying out different options – “otherwise I’d still be in the studio now trying to work out which hi-hat to use on the third track!”
While the resulting collection of tracks, bound together in sounds used yet disparate in their applications of them, may represent a more accessible AYBEE album than those prior, it still contains within it the DNA of his work with Deepblak Rhythm Czar, Afrikan Sciences – most notably in their improvised, one-take album length Miles Davis homage ‘Sketches of Space‘. That 2014 LP was closely followed by another collaboration, with Jerome Sydenham and Ron Trent as S.A.T., released on the former’s Ibadan Records and pursuing a more techno-driven sound to the polyrhythmic jazz experimentation of ‘Sketches’. Elements of both styles can be found in The Odyssey, as it moves through tempos and styles, yet the approach he has taken regarding the sounds used ensures it will forever be a unique work in his discography – quite literally nothing in his work before or since will sound like this record.
The Odyssey’s artwork is by the artist Grzegorz Redko (www.grzegorzredko.com), whose animations of the cover art will be released online ahead of the album release, lending another dimension to AYBEE’s latest statement of artistic intent, with many more still to come as he keeps climbing that mountain.
I did not want to have to write this… We should never want to write these type of things. Because in writing I felt that somehow i was letting go, and that is something I am not prepared to do.
A little more than 48hrs ago i was laughing at Derrick. Last week we had a conversation about the Roland TR8. He wanted one. I told him the thing was garbage, but he was not listening. He was like “man I am looking at these KINK videos and he’s killing it!” I was telling him yo man that’s KINK he can make a shoe-box sound good, but the TR8 is hot garbage don’t do it. You know he went and did it… 🙂
So the night before last he hits me up like “ yo man…you were right that thing is a toy!” I was like why you don’t listen to your boy tho?? What am i gonna lie to you for?? 🙂 He said he took it back. It was a normal, funny, and innocent as any other convo we had, and just like that he was gone.
There are too many waves of emotions that hit you when u go thru something like this, but disbelief is the one that is dominant. Many of you were just getting to know what we in the Deepblak circles have known for a while. That Derrick Curtis was special. When i met Derrick i had heard his music via short doc on a visual artist named Joshua Mays who at the time was living in my hometown of Oakland. The doc said music by Deflon. Upon searching his music up i was floored. It turned out he was also good friends with Maf Maddix (Bro. Aten) who was friends with Afrikan Sciences. When i got to know him he was a really really shy, and extremely humble guy. A stark contrast for someone whose music had an explosive nature to it. But i knew instantly he had “it”…he had that “thing”. His sonic world was beautiful. Full of color, depth, and narrative. Listening to his stuff was a cinematic experience.
At the time he was doing a lot of beat driven music in the LA Beat scene mode. I told him i would love to hear what his uptempo stuff sounded like. So he cooked somethings and sent them. I will never forget myself and Eric (Afrikan Sciences) sitting in Berlin listening to a batch of joints he sent over just shaking our heads. We knew….you could hear it. We knew he was going to have an impact. His melodies, his arrangement, his sense of rhythm, his production, his synth handle, his chops on the keys, it was evident. It was such an inspiration for us. And what made it particularly potent is that he was in North Carolina situated light years from any type of scene, or hype around the type of music he was creating. He was the new kid that we knew was gonna take this further than we ever could. It was the beginning of a new chapter. And that is what makes this so hard to bare. I feel as though i have witnessed a rocket taken from the launch pad before it ever took off.
I was pitching him on coming out to Berlin for a minute kick-it with Eric and myself as he was gearing up to start performing LIVE. He always had so many questions in particular about Ableton. Much of it way over my head. I would always be like man ”you need to hit Eric with that he’s the guru”. So i thought the best thing would be hands on. If we spent a few weeks in the lab together we could all collectively work it out right there. I was really looking forward to that…
But the Creator has a Masterplan…
I do not question that which is greater than myself…but i hurt in my selfishness of wanting him to remain here…
I will miss him. I will miss our convos/skypes… and most important i will miss his creations, and the joy they brought me…
He was such a humble un-assuming soul. He was limitless in my eyes, and maybe that’s why he has moved on…
Maybe his gifts are needed for greater works on higher planes…
I wanted to wake up this morning only to believe that this was indeed a “Dream From Last Nite” but it was not. Its hard to type this. I can only be grateful for crossing his path… i can only be grateful for the time i was granted with him. His journey continues… and so does his music. I will always look up to the star filled night sky, and hope that in the stillness of the moment i can hear you out there.
Safe Travels Brother
Love Respect and Power
AYBEE issues this single sided excursion into the depths of late night madness. Built around a monstrous bassline “The Heart OF The Sun” builds slowly into a marriage of groove and ethereal sentiment. A prized possession in AYBEE’s late night arsenal over the last months it finally makes it’s way to vinyl as a special single sided release.
The multi-talented North Carolina native Derrick Curtis known as DFLN (Dreams From Last Night) makes his debut on Deepblak. Brought to our attention a few years back DFLN has been a consistent source of inspiration with the freshness of his perspective, and sonic tapestry. Isolated from club/dance culture in N.C. lends to an authenticity of his voice. Isolation let’s DFLN’s music emanate from a truly special place. Leaning away from sampling DFLN chooses to play out his music from scratch. This coupled with an unworldly sense of rhythm has yielded some of the freshest music we have heard of late. “The Way I Feel” EP is an enchanting walk through moods, and swing. It is unchained, fluid, and free. It is what we encourage here at Deepblak. Leaps… We hope you enjoy as much as we do presenting.
Title – BOOK OF RHYTHM EP
Cat# – DBR-V024
Artist – Orion 70 (aka AYBEE)
Label – Deepblak
Format – 12”
Style – Techno
Release Date – March 2016
Distributor – Crosstalk Intl. http://www.crosstalkintl.com/
A1. BOOK 01
B1. BOOK 02
B2. BOOK 03
AYBEE reboots his Orion 70 moniker after several years dormancy following the iconic “Enki” release. This outing brings us to the “BOOK OF RHYTHM” which includes the first 3 Books of a series that will include 7. Stated by AYBEE as “beautiful chaos” BOOK OF RHYTHM is straight Techno business served in Deepblak mold.
Brooklyn based producer Octo Octa aka Maya Morrison comes to Deepblak after releasing some of most stunning House tunes of the last few years. Her “Further Trips” EP shows off her knack for lush rich grooves, and melodies that are intoxicating in nature. The drive, and atmosphere of Morrison’s productions are what led Deepblak’s AYBEE to her work. All 4 tracks put these ingredients on display as they speak to the head, and the feet. After serving as secret weapons for AYBEE over the past few months Deepblak is proud to finally share the “Further Trips” EP with the rest of the world.
Title – Further Trips EP
Cat# – DBR-V026
Artist – Octo Octa
Label – Deepblak
Format – 12”
Style – Deephouse
Release Date – Summer 2015
Distributor – Crosstalk Intl. http://www.crosstalkintl.com/
A1. Body Drift
A2. Further Out
B2. House Of Snakes
Title – THE GIFT
Cat# – DBR-FLM01
Artist – AYBEE
Label – Deepblak
Format – Film
Release Date – May 2015
“THE GIFT” is the story of a mysterious Radio, and its journey through intersecting lives. Shot in Berlin we follow the radio across the city as we learn of its power, and influence on all that cross its path. Directed by Berlin based music producer AYBEE (Armon Bazile) the film is silent, and was created to be scored LIVE in front of audiences. Done in collaboration with Berlin based photographer Marie Staggat “THE GIFT” was debuted, and scored live at the 8th annual FORWARD Fest (www.forwarddc.com) on Thursday, May 14th 2015 at the Goethe Institute in Washington DC.
Deepblak Chief Connoisseur Damon Bell following years of several outstanding EP’s offers up his debut album in “Blues For The Libyan“. Staying true to his penchant for mixing African rhythms with dance floor aesthetics the Oakland based producer weaves together a tightly knit escapade thru his world. Much like his long standing DJ residencies at S.F.’s “Make Out Room” and Oakland’s “389” Damon has built a solid reputation for his ability to traverse many sounds, and genres into one coherent groove. “Blues For The Libyan” follows suit as Damon melds experimentation, and tradition into a palatable experience for the listener. Tapping into the talents of label mate Afrikan Sciences for “Rhythm Meat” and Oakland based vocalist Khalil Anthony (Chromosome Replacement) the collaborations do well to further Damon’s vision of polyrhythmic dance. Studying percussion in his youth you can feel it’s influence throughout “BFTL” accompanied with Damon’s tinge for a little future dance floor funk. After receiving praise last year from luminaries such as the BBC’s Mary Anne Hobbs, and NYC’s Dope Jams crew Damon’s sound continues to build. BFTL represents Damon’s most outstanding statement to date of modern electronics mixed with traditional impulses. Culminating an authenticity, and honesty that is a breath of fresh air in the present space.
Title – Blues For The Libyan
Cat# – DBR-V025
Artist – Damon Bell
Label – Deepblak
Style?- Deep House/Experimental
Release Date – July 2015
Distributed by – Crosstalk
A1. Chromosome Replacement ft. Khalil Anthony (8:12)
A2. Concrete Caravan (2:50)
B1. Blood (7:40)
B2. Striving To Be Who We Are (5:46)
C1. Rhythm Meat ft Afrikan Sciences (8:31)
C2. Libyan Ether ft. Son of Ororo (6:19)
D1. Broken Feathers (5:27)
D2. Kampala (DBo Vershun) (6:40)
Here is 30 Minutes of Jonah Sharp and myself LIVE at the Forward 2015 Fest in D.C. This was beyond an honor on my part as Jonah represents a Yoda of sorts to many of us from the San Francisco Bay Area that live this music… He has been a pioneer & staple for more than 25 years, and also was the 1st person to give me the opportunity years back to perform live! So again to share the stage with him in a jam was a immense honor. Thanks David Fogel for making this happen. Here is 30mins before the recorder ran out of juice. 😉 Enjoy!