The lead single from thir forthcoming EP Lower East Suite Part Two Out this Friday on Big Dada via Inertia Music
Onyx Collective is back to announce that their new EP Lower East Suite Part Two is out tomorrow on Big Dada via Inertia Music. The group has backed up this announcement by revealing the hypnotic new single ‘Snake Charmer‘.
The first five tracks from Lower East Suite Part Two were recorded at The Good Company, a small shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side that often serves as an impromptu venue for Onyx Collective. Recorded on an iPhone, the tracks are taken from four sessions at the store and include ambient noises, such as honking horns from the street and the sound of passerby stepping in to hear the performance. Mike Swoop mixed the five tracks to render an accurate depiction of the Onyx Collective live experience.
The latter three tracks on Lower East Suite Part Two were recorded at various locations around New York. ‘Shed Meditations‘ features a composition of Jack Gulielmetti‘s guitar recorded to cassette tape at the Onyx practice space in Chinatown. ‘From Air‘ features an enthusiastic conversation from a stranger about his love for music at a bookstore opening, with Austin Williamson using droning chimes as a cymbal to provide a harmonic effect. The EP ends with ‘Eyes Closed‘, a duet from Isaiah Barr and Paul Johnson (electric bass) taken from a past session at 172 Forsyth St, the old Know-Wave space. Lower East Suite Part Two is the next entry in Onyx Collective’s archival scrapbook, a captured live moment of the band’s history.
In September of 2016, Onyx Collective, a jazz ensemble who had been performing throughout New York for years in both rugged DIY spaces and esteemed clubs, quietly released their debut album 2nd Ave Rundown on vinyl via Supreme. In the ensuing year they would continue to build an underground profile in the city, in spite of the fact that none of their recordings existed online. Now, they are prepared to make their proper debut through the release of three projects (two EPs and an LP) via Big Dada. Titled Lower East Suite, the recordings that make up the releases are taken from Onyx’s performances over the past year. Storefronts, bars, and street corners act as both venues and studios for Onyx Collective.
EP Artwork by Julian Schnabel.
Onyx Collective Lower East Suite Part Two
1. Snake Charmer 2. 97 Allen St.
3. Rush Hour
4. Steam Rooms
5. Skate Park
6. From Air
7. Shed Meditations
8. Eyes Closed
If Onyx Collective, the nebulous jazz ensemble whose name you may have overheard in downtown Manhattan at some point in the past couple years, seems elusive it is because oftentimes they are. Onyx shows are unannounced, impromptu affairs: the group will perform in a basement, at a cocktail lounge atop a hotel, and to the street from a storefront all in the course of a week. The cast of performers is interchangeable, as is the kind of music that they play. Salsa and funk are fair game, in addition to the band’s own unique style of jazz.
Onyx Collective is a steadfast part of New York, and the city is the glue that holds the group together. “New York’s role in Onyx Collective is everything,” explains Isaiah Barr, saxophonist, sometimes vocalist, and de facto leader of the band. “The names of people, the places, the street corners here are so legendary and historically prominent – it leaves a roadmap that we can walk through and a story for us to follow.”
Barr is joined by Austin Williamson on drums, Joshua Benitez on keyboard, Jack Guliemettion guitar, Felix Pastorius and Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Dean Torrey and Walter Stinson on upright bass, with Maxwell Deter providing most of Onyx Collective’s visual art. There is an additional group of artists who consistently orbit in and out of the Onyx universe. Nick Hakim, Julian Soto, Dev Hynes, Wiki, and other New York mainstays have performed with the band, and Onyx quietly features on a bevy of other artists’ records.
Onyx Collective’s enigmatic nature is undeniably a part of its allure, but the force that truly propels the group is technical musical proficiency (the band’s members attended New York’s musical conservatories as kids) coupled with a reckless abandon. Onyx runs a manic energy through their classical training to create a live show that at times feels as punk as it does jazz. Barr is known to wield two saxophones simultaneously, playing both over Williamson’s feverish drumming.
“There’s something about where we play that makes it an Onyx Collective show,” says Barr. “Not who we play to, that’s not what drives it. It’s where we play.” Onyx Collective needs the city – the group could not exist without it. And at a time when New York seems more plagued than ever, it is apparent that the city needs Onyx Collective. “Our role in New York is to tell its story,” concludes Barr. “In a way that is accrediting and paying homage to those before us, and to then add to what they’ve done.”
The newest members of the Inertia Musicfamily, MEZKO, today release their debut EP Polychronic. Polychronic is a mesh of driving synths, clanging guitars and leather-clad vocals. From the sonically thrilling track and glittery, dark video for “Steady On”, to the pulsating “Everyone”, the EP sees the duo delve head first into an exciting and unoccupied music space created by them and for them.
“MEZKO are just getting started, so if you’re not already
onboard, it’s time to jump on the back of the
motorbike – you’re in for a wild ride.” Pilerats Out now on Inertia Music
Helena Hauff Have You Been There,
Have You Seen It
Helena Hauff’s brand new EP – Have You Been There, Have You Seen It – finds her in breathtaking form, lining up four lithe, muscular and overtly shadowy analogue excursions improvised and recorded in her studio in Hamburg. Already one of the most revered DJs doing the rounds at the moemnt, this EP sees her skill and unique selection propel even further into electronic folklore
“Hauff has retained enough of her modus operandi that
long-time fans will be satiated; newcomers may
go away thirsting for more.” Exclaim!, 7/10 Out now on Ninja Tune via Inertia Music
Baxter Dury has today released his new album Prince Of Tears. Intensely personal, yet brutally open, this is Baxter’s fifth album and his most ambitious and biggest work to date. Whilst retaining the natty charm of his previous works, like his debut Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift, Baxter this time worked with a full band and orchestra to truly bring the soundscapes of his emotional netherworld to life.
“Ian Dury’s son has finally found his own key.
The result is a revelation.” The Times, ★ ★ ★ ★ Out now on Le Label via [PIAS]
John Keek‘s debut single “If + When” and accompanying three track EP of the same is out now on Big Dada. Keek, now 20, began playing the Sax at age 14, hailing from a Las Vegas family full of talented musicians, he gravitated early on toward Jazz but has since drawn on his wide-ranging inspirations, artists like Donny Hathaway, Louis Coleto, craft a sound that encompasses elements of pop, RnB and Hip Hop.
“A bright, skin-tingling swirl of sax magic.” The FADER Out now on Big Dada via Inertia Music
Lee Ann Womack The Lonely, The Lonesome
and The Gone
Lee Ann Womack, one of the most distinctive and decorated vocalists in modern music, today make her debut for ATO Records, with the release of The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone. An album that mixes the country, soul, gospel and blues of her native East Texas into an audacious, sharp-edged work of art, the album is Womack’s most personal album to date.
“Lee Ann Womack returns to her roots.” New York Times Out now on ATO Records via [PIAS]
Onyx Collective The Lower East Suite Pt. 1
The Lower East Suite Pt. 1 is the first instalment in what will be a three part release on Big Dada. Comprised of recordings from storefronts, bars, and street corners throughout New York City, The Lower East Suite will be a snapshot of the city that acted as both a venue and recording studio for the much hyped collective, with many of the tracks taking names from the addresses they were recorded.
“ONYX Collective is injecting jazz cool Into N.Y.C.’s downtown scene.” The FADER Out now on Big Dada via Inertia Music
SOJA, the internationally acclaimed GRAMMY-nominated eight-piece, today release their new album Poetry In Motion. SOJA ’s core sound – an uplifting meld of reggae,, D.C. hardcore, Latin, rock, and hip-hop – is as tight and compelling as it’s ever been in the group’s twenty-year history, but now the group delves deeper on its message of finding peace and understanding in the world caught in tribulation.
“Well-crafted songs offering profound yet poetic statements fuelled by
righteous rage and delivered with rock star bravura.” Billboard
Out now on ATO Records via [PIAS]
As they gear up to celebrate 20 years of unhinged lunacy, Dub Pistols return with their seventh studio album, entitled Crazy Diamonds. One of the hardest working bands in show business, Barry Ashworthand his motley crew have added a much-needed swagger to the UK dance scene in recent years and new album Crazy Diamonds finds the band at their uncontrollable, bass-driven best.
“A fitting tribute to the band’s career to date.” The Skinny
Out now on Sunday Best via [PIAS]