Sev Seveer – Smithereens EP (Limited 300 Vinyl w/ 3 Bonus tracks)

cover

>>>>DOWNLOAD & PRE – ORDER LIMITED VINYL HERE<<<<

Smithereens is yet another one of my journeys into bringing visual stimuli to sonic fruition. In this case, my prompt and inspiration was Neo-Impressionism, particularly Pointillism. Last year I created an instrumental that eventually went on to be the title track of this project. The song was so complex in nature; I couldn’t even tell you where my mind was when I was arranging it. It wasn’t even a recording that I was sure I liked at first, mostly because of its frantic and composited structure. In an unrelated instance (or maybe it was related, subconsciously) I was reading about Georges Seurat and his role in leading the French Neo-Impressionist movement in the late 1800s. It occurred to me that this style of visual art was the only way I could describe the song that would eventually go on to establish Smithereens as a project. Initially when I began to lay out supporting instrumentals, I made stringent attempts to abide by the complexity of the concept song. I found that it couldn’t be done, and that the beat was truly a moment in time. I then decided to continue studying Pointillism/Divisionism and some of its key characteristics— the progressive yet realistic use of primary colors, lighting, contrast and also very importantly, movement— as my guide in arranging new instrumentals in their own unique way, while still keeping with the prompt.

In music theory, the parallel/counterpart to Pointillism is known as Punctualism. Punctualism essentially gives unique individual life to each note in a piece. Arpeggiated notes of varying pitches, lengths and dynamics take the place of the ‘colored dots’ that you see in pieces such as Seurat’s most famous work, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” The techniques were independently established of course, i.e neither gave birth to the other. Their juxtaposition is largely interpreted perspective.

Aside from accomplishing the unity of visual and sonic cues, an important goal for me with Smithereens is to define new, deliberate ways to use the Roland/Boss SP machines. I used The SP-202, SP-303 and SP- 404 for the project, recorded all of the songs with a unique style that involved recording long, live layering takes of my hitting a note loaded onto a pad repeatedly while riding the pitch effect at various parameters. Sometimes I would use the first note of a longer loaded sample to “tease” the sample in and out of the beat, as you hear on “Televised Chocolate”. This was solely inspired by my research into punctualism. In addition to the pitch effect, I used the time stretch function often for its distorting effects and also the unique pitch parameter in the DJ-effect-looper, all to provide a texture that sounds like a bubbling, composited arrangement of independent tones. Some songs, such as “CSG x CSG”, take a more literal approach to individual tones. Others, such as “Seuratcha Sauce” utilize a more textural ode to punctualism/pointillism. Other pieces offer both approaches.

2T2A3144

When I realized this was a sonic-visual project, it was a no-brainer that the cover artwork had to go hard, and that it had to be representative. I was fortunate enough to work with several artists for this project. When discussing the visual possibilities, I received incredible insight from Anna Szymczak, a brilliant painter and activist here in Chicago. She suggested that I also look into the work of Russian abstract expressionist Wassily Kandinski. Kandinksi was a multifaceted artist whose works and styles span many phases, including but certainly not limited to pointillist techniques. He was a pianist and proponent of the unity of sound and color, often assigning tonal and chordal identities to colors. Kandinski’s pieces were more abstract than the Impressionist styles that had been exploring, but I found his work to be so undeniably inspiring, particularly the pieces created during his time teaching at the Bauhaus school in the mid- 1920s. These works were highly geometrical and design-oriented in style, and useful visual examples of Gestalt psychology— a theory focused on our brain’s ability to perceive things as whole as opposed to various parts. Kandinsky’s Bauhaus works were characterized by shapes, lines and strategically-placed colors, appearing initially to be chaotic, but actually quite unified. I found so much similarity to what I was doing with Smithereens in Kandinsky’s paintings, and in reviewing his work I felt a feeling of closure.

SevSeveer_SmithereensCover_Final_b_logo_front

RasOm, who created the artwork for my last project, Constant Elevation: Odessa Star, took the reins on one of the two “Smithereens” covers. His work in digital pixel sorting is very similar in nature to the lighting techniques seen in Pointillist arrangements. He was able to chop and screw a great photo of a leaf print on a random sign in Northwest Chicago, taken by Mike Bump, and transform it into a piece that fit the original concept perfectly. Our other artist, Fonte, is a longtime friend of mine, DJ, beatmaker and painter whose works often reflect the sentiments of a roof dwelling graffiti writer born and raised in Chicago. His “Smithereens” piece has a brilliant comic-scene feel, was more of a literal interpretation of the project title, and is surely more Kandinsky influenced. However, the concept of realistic movement that exists in Impressionism holds true for Fonte’s amazingly detailed “explosion portrait”, which is actually an 11 x 15 inch painting of a technicolor plume with depth and texture.

Thanks for listening, visualizing, and reading. Peace and enjoy.

-Sev Seveer

Beats of All-Nations Radio Episode 003 :: Featuring Radius and Sev Seveer

 

Beats of All-Nations Radio Episode 003 Artwork

Words By: Mike Styles

Beats of All-Nations Radio returns with a double A-Side, that’s right we have a 2-part show for you, doubling up on the producers and stepping outside the So. Cal region for some heavy beats from the Windy City.

Some background, I had the opportunity to judge Beat Cinema’s Beat Battle v. 6 last month along side Co.Fee and Repeated Measures. There were twenty or so producers, most of them killed it,  the battle was an absolute fire fight after the first eliminations. However two of the participants from Chicago blew our minds that night. Porchlite and I knew we had to get something cooking with Radius and Sev Seveer while the flame was still set on high. We all instantly got on the same page and began to draw out a blue print for Episode 003.

Radius comes from Chicago’s Southside but really a resident of the earth, a traveling beat maker. Designing sound since 2001, Radius has made quite a name for himself in today’s beat scene. He has successfully ran the LA circuit, gaining respect and head nods from the likes of Low End Theory, dublab and Beat Cinema to name a few. He’s released music in almost every format from 7″ vinyl, cassettes, cd and digital. Radius only needs the most minimal set up, a MPC 1000, a Korg Kaossilator Pro and Korg Kaoss Pad Mini to perform his improv beat sets. He packs light, travels heavy and extracts everything he needs out of the little that he carries.

Sev Seveer comes from the Northside of the Chi, with a background of journalism, in college he participated in Hip Hop Congress, hosted and DJed radio shows from “Beats n Rhymes” on WPGU 107.1  to “The Hip Hop Project” on WLUW 88.7 FM. He has managed to find time in all of that to create his own path with music. With many releases under his belt, some of his most notable works include Freddie Gibbs’ “Terrorist (Seveer Transmission Remix)” as well as featured releases with Pragmatic Theory, Push Beats Chicago and composing bed music for The Roy Ayers Project. No stranger to the live element, Sev has plugged in and played his SP and Kaoss Pad at SXSW for the last two years (2013:  DJ Set, 2014:  Beat Set), featured at Beat Swapmeet and opened for Elaquent.

What drew us to these guys was their ability to completely bend any rules of limitation on standard production, they take their own path and finish ahead of the rest. But that’s not the only reason. There’s something about these two that we can’t really put into words. Its more of the intangible nature. Maybe its their ability to be independent and on the move. Maybe its their good spirits. Maybe its their connectedness to the Earth…Its probably all of that and then some.

At the point of publishing this episode, neither producer has heard the mix of the other. So not only will it be your first time hearing this episode in full, it’ll be theirs as well. We’re sending a huge THANK YOU to the guys for all of their hard work on this episode. This ain’t the last hear gonna hear from them!

Get your mind right, enjoy the ride and be sure to check our interview with both artists below!

Continue reading