Friday, June 24, 2011

Jay Haze - "Love=Evolution" (free album download & analysis)

Red Cup  presents Jay Haze's latest album "Love=Evolution", which was released in January 2011 and you can now download for free in its entirety.  Who better to provide an analytical track-by-track description of the album than the artist himself? According to Jay Haze: 

"Love=Evolution was an album where i was dead set on exploring physical territory, social issues, human relationships, universal connection as well as pushing musical boundaries.  I'm going to attempt to give it a play by play with added details.  For you that didn't get it here is a link of the album for free download."

Track-by-track analysis by Jay Haze of his album "Love=Evolution" after the jump or watch the video for the stand out track "I wait for you" below:

The Story Behind it all:

Track 1
The first song is the title track "love=evolution" the vocals in the song spoken by the talented Laila Tov repeat the phrase "the only way to evolve is through love" i chose this phrase because its what i totally and fully believe in, kind of like my mantra.  its my healing phrase to remind me that everything this life has dished out at me, was in fact a test to my own will to love and continue to love even more, when you have love in your heart you are aiding to evolution in a positive way. by doing so the future will support new ideas and the condition of our universe will improve for all life.

Track 2
"tonight" sung by Laila Tov is a song where i go back to my fond memories of reggae, a music set on political change, consciousness and love.  the main hook repeats "I'm leaving in the morning, take advantage of this evening" and it sets a rather lovely thought to my mind. in a sense saying, its always good to explore and enjoy your mood while it lasts. you know those situations, when you wake up the next morning and the magic is lost- wishing you could relive a specific moment of the night? we cant do this unfortunately - BUT what we can do is learn how to make those moments last longer as they are happening, and we can do so by being more 'conscious' of the moment. The vocals were recorded in Oakland, the music was written in my living room here in Lima, Peru, while my partner and i danced together for 4 hours in the making :) after i had the whole track ready i thought it would be suiting to send the song over to my good friend Signor Andreoni, (who is an amazing musician in the shadows) he works on the Italian island of Sardinia. After a 3 day wait, he returned the song with  some lovely guitar licks and the song was FINISHED!

Track 3
"soul in a bottle" actually one of my favorite songs i was lucky enough to write. it all started with an Israeli fried of mine Jambi stopping by my studio in Berlin with an interview he thought i should hear. he and i shared very similar musical interests and he helped a great deal with TEXTONE (our in house internet label which is now defunct- but you can check for the whole back catalog) the interview he gave me was from Chuck D of Public Enemy. in this interview Chuck explores the thought that Soul exists naturally, its not a color issue - it cant be quantified and it is NOT exclusive. The phrase "you cant put soul in a bottle" is where this song started, before going on i would like to mention that Jambi for my 28th b-day gave me a Funkadelic box set with original artwork - best gift i ever got in my life. anyway, so i was working on a loop in my head- i just finished the "children of love" album and was feeling literally no pressure - as i was working an idea my German friend Sven Vt stopped over the studio and wanted to hang out and learn some techniques for production,  so i felt the best way was to get him involved. as he was producing a hi hat pattern i grabbed the midi keyboard and started playing some chords - after about 10 mins of recording myself jamming chords = this melody was in there. i was very lucky. Sven had to go meet his girlfriend, and as it was summertime - there was lots of guests from out of town visiting Berlin and my studio was a bit of a hangout zone were people connected. about 7pm my doorbell rings, go outside to open the door and its my Homie from California Dawson aka Big Bully he couldn't have shown up at a better time, because i just had this vocal hook going over and over in my head "your love come down on me like fire, you got my soul" I gave him the mic and in about 1 hour the song was near completion. This all happened in one day!  the next morning i had Dj T. stop by the studio to talk about about the progress of "children of love" i played him this song, and he offered to sign it instantly. it all happened so fast that indeed we proved ' you cant put soul in a bottle ' but you can press it on to wax!

Track 4
"i wait for you" is a standout song for me in many regards. for one, how i came to meet Laila Tov. Well, she and i have only ever met on skype video calls - she came into my world through `Chela Simone who i will tell you all about in a little while. Laila was asked by Chela to assist on the first single from the second Fuckpony album "fall into me" at first Laila was only to help in writing vocal structure- so she recorded herself to then have Chela follow her lead- they ended up recording all takes and sent them to me, after hearing  i decided both gotta be on that song! the song "fall into me" became a success with fans and i was addicted to her voice, as i felt it had something special to it- her personality really shines in her tones. Laila is a strong woman and is not afraid to take chances- this is to be admired, for instance = on "i wait for you" she chooses to write an impassioned song about the hardship of todays social climate -in Spanish- which is not her first language, and in fact her accent is very particular, and here in Lain America many people referred to her vocal as "sounding like it comes from the barrio (aka ghetto)"

The song i had originally sent for her to record the vocals to was nice, but after hearing what she did with the vocals i scrapped completely what i had originally sent and was inspired to write a whole new song. At the time i was living in Sao Paulo, Brazil with my partner, it was about 11pm and i retreated to her roommates bedroom plugged in my headphones and stayed up all night writing the song - come sunrise it was complete. you know its really funny how sometimes with art, you accomplish your greatest feats when you have the least supplies. just weeks before writing this song, i had left my life in Berlin behind. i gave away my record collection, speakers, furniture, paintings, equipment, and was even managed to be robbed by the movers the day before i was leaving! Yep can you imagine that? having all my boxes packed and ready to move to another continent, movers are supposed to be there at 7am, only one guy shows up- there is too much stuff, he needs help. He was a Krishna follower and seemed like a good heart. he called upon his ex wife's son who was 17 years old to help him move my stuff, in fact he was trying to help this boy get his life straight- what did the boy do? he set up a robbery so that when we moved some stuff to one house receiving my furniture -his friends went in through a back door he left open for them :( they stole my computers, over 5000 euro in cash, and my beloved i pod with a huge collection of docs and music spanning 30 years of my life. i called the police to my house (ironically it snowed the night before and the robbers left perfect shoe prints as evidence of the robbery) they took 2 hours to arrive- in the meantime my friends are having a going away dinner with me at a Brazilian rodizio restaurant which yep, i was late for - the police had such a bad attitude, even when i told them "guys, could you please hurry up i have 50 friends waiting for me right now and am flying to a new life in 15 hours" (which btw- i still hadn't fully realized how much stuff i acquired over the 8 years living in Berlin) he replied with "ya ya calm down" and then light a cigarette in my living room. Sven Vt was translating and helping to cool the situation and we got out of there with no resolve, had dinner and decided to finish moving the next morning, just hours before the flight to Brazil. The next morning arrives as does the Harre Krisnha mover, who is feeling totally horrible about the situation, Sven and Sammy ripped me out of bed to finish moving - we then moved as much stuff as we could to Sammys house only to realize i had not enough space anywhere to keep most of my stuff. In the end i made my flight to Brazil (although i will never know how) and ended up donating most of my clothes, shoes, jackets, pillows, blankets, hats and jeans to my Hare Krishna mover (i guess more than 10,000 euros worth of stuff), who by the way drove me to the airport with Sammy listening to Mantras the whole way there. Yes, yes its a long one, but the point is, this is the first song i wrote after all of this happened. Now that's what i call a bittersweet departure.

Track 5
"the darkest disco" was a song born out of a late night appearance of my long time acquintance Ricardo Villalobos, he and i now have been acquinted for 12 years, we managed to keep up on each others work and always shared a mutual respect for art.
My story with Ricardo is soo bizarre that most wouldn't believe it if i did tell them in full- so i will save you the craziness in sake of sanity. Back to the song-
it was around 10pm and i get a call from Ricardo that he is outside my studio and wants to stop in an introduce to me a friend. His friend was Chilean rock star Jorge Gonzales who i have heard about for years and years because of all the friends we share in common, so he thought 'lets write a song together.  When working with Ricy we tend to use mostly analog equipment, this is how we got this song to have such a special warm and deep sound- Ricy played the bass and i played the melody, shortly after we recorded both of these , Ricy and I then programmed each a percussion track. Jorge tried to record something over the top, but we just couldn't get it to work properly. in the end, this was an instrumental song. Aregnis Brito was present in the studio helping the vibes along by making sure the glasses were full, and we all had a great laugh at the same time as writing a song. It was one of the last songs recorded in my old studio (ULTRADOPE SYNDROME R.I.P) and it was also the last music Ricardo and i worked on together (in truth it will be a long shot if we have the chance to do more in the future). i was proud to include this on my album as it really marks a special moment for me and my life- and carries within it a sound that was truly once upon a time.

Track 6
"you drive me mad" is an interesting song indeed. i recorded this song in Sao Paulo, Brazil while i was living in Berlin. I had met a guy in Berlin who contacted me several times on email - his name is Eduardo Marote and although i didn't know it at the time he is a very successful producer of Brazilian popular music (his work had helped sell millions of records) I recently started a romance in Sao Paulo so i was visiting for different reasons. the night i arrive to visit my Brazilian lover he offered to take me out to dinner. when he arrived in a bulletproof SUV vehicle i instantly already had a different impression of him, me and my partner hopped in the back seat and continued on to his house to pick up his wife. His wife gets in the car, looks into the backseat at my partner Joice and says very LOUDLY " Joicey- Joicey- Joicey " now , here comes a strange one, turns out his wife (who was a popular model in Brazil in the 90s) was the producer of Joice's first photo shoot ever! and this was not in Sao Paulo, it was in Porte Allegre - this was 12 years ago, and neither had heard or seen of each other since. But in fact it was she who helped Joice get her career start, and knew my love when she was just 15 years old :) the universe works in strange ways no?
so anyway, we had an amazing dinner then proceeded to the studio, and what a surprise when we did arrive. the studio was beautiful, i have never seen anything like it in my life- it was huge 3 floors, AMAZING! i had found my way into a proper recording studio for the first time. Dudu looked at me and said "what do you want to do?" he told me he can make anything happen- so i said "get me a percussionist, guitarist and vocalist" he made some phone calls and !bam! it was on. the guest percussionist - James Müller arrived with 15 different perc. instruments he had made all by himself, each with slightly different sounds and rhythmic capabilities, he set up in the recording room while i prepared a beat in the control room for him to play along to. in the meantime the singer - Adriana Dre (who is a traditional Samba singer) arrived. we sent her into the vocal booth and let her try and work out some ideas. At first i thought it might be interesting for her to try something a bit in tune with samba out of pure interest, but after an hour of tries nothing she did struck me as worth keeping. So i then approached her with direction, told her i want you to sing "you make me crazy" (in Portuguese) over and over again in different tones and phrased differently each time - i remember the look on everyones face in the studio- no one liked the idea, but still did it anyway- as the beat developed with the added percussion's coming from studio 3 they started to lighten up on the idea, and i suggested a vocal harmony in the back which i sang to her and then she sang it back over the recording. at about 3am guitarist - Edgard Scandurra arrived proper rockstar style - 3 hours late and piss drunk!  (Edgard is the leader of the legendary Brazilian rock band IRA! which enjoyed massive amount of success from 1981 up to today- having played to audiences of 250,000 at once!) when he arrived and heard the song, he simply didnt know what the hell to do-- he commented on the fact, saying- "i have never really heard anything like this- what the hell do you want me to do?" so we replied- 'just make some noise' and that's what he did.
all in all this song was months in the making as it took forever to transfer all the files, mix it down do the arrangement because i simply had soo much material to work with. when it was finished i was already living in Brazil- and played it for several friends who jumped on it pretty quick- seeing the reaction- i don't think my album would be complete without this song. i am very grateful to Eduardo for his kindness and to the musicians for taking part in an intercontinental experiment of culture mash up- i don't think anyone knew what it would sound like in the end, and i think everyone is happy.

Track 7
"feel the electricity" this song was recorded with the vocal help of Rockey- an mc originally from St. Louis but living in Atlanta. I met Rockey online and decided to give his talent a shot and see if it can mix with some of my ideas- we did one track through email, and it became clear to me -we needed to be in the same room. i proceeded to talk to him over the phone and really liked the direction we talked in. i asked him if he had his passport, and he replied "no" i told him to get his passport and i will pay his trip to Berlin and he can stay in my spare room for 5 weeks. He was happy to do so- and even getting the passport made him happy- you see in America most African Americans don't realize they CAN get out. On the day he arrived i picked him up at the airport, it is kinda strange picking up someone you never met to stay at your own place- but i will never forget the first night of conversation. You see Rockey came out as Homophobic, and this was very unsettling for me, as ironically all the people working at the Tuning spork office at that time were Gay (both men and women). He made a remark that night that i found soo offensive that i told him " i want you to really think about what you said tonight, and if you really believe what you said, then i am putting you on the plane back home" the next morning when we woke up, we went for breakfast and he said to me 'i thought about what you said, and its true, i don't believe what i said' . turns out he never actually had any contact to gay people in his life- they have always been at distance from him. after working in the studio for 7 days, out of nowhere i had an asthma attack, but this time a really bad one. i had to be rushed to the hospital and because of a threat of pneumonia was admitted. Meaning Rockey was alone in Berlin with no one to take care of him, and he had no money- the only person who would be willing to watch out for him with full attention was my good friend Sammy (and label manager at the time) While i was in the hospital, Sammy (who is gay) and Rockey really connected - and even ended up making music together. At the end of the trip Rockey was super happy to have gotten over this prejudice- and he even managed to travel with me to Belgium and France performing on stage with me! Its truly magical to see what education and experience can do for the world, how it brings people together, how it forms bonds that transcend any personal prejudice you just THOUGHT was there! all of this based on our very limited experiences.
About "electricity"
electricity helped us get above some of these problems, and electricity is continuing to help us get over these problems. Nikola Tesla was an alien, and he left behind a generation of aliens chasing a dream of connecting the planet , exploring creativity and connecting consciousness.
you see in a sense this song is a tribute to electricity and how electricity created technology which is helping to connect and overcome our fears of each other.

Track 8
"i need a lover" this is where Chela Simone shines on the album! now Chela is a singer, rocker, shocker from the Bay area in California- shes a mix of races, African, native American (as is Laila Tov) and is very sexually unshy :) I met Chela by chance- she was on an all female hip-hop tour through Europe with the first lady of hip hop - turns out the whole tour was soo badly planned they got kicked out of their house and Chela along with Shania D (who is the one who tracked me down and contacted me on email) had nowhere to stay. So, i never met these girls before- but saw some artists who took a chance and needed some help, i borrowed a friends Audi car- drove to the hotel they checked into the night before, got all their stuff packed it into the back of the car and drove them to my house. gave them a key=we had dinner and headed to the studio. we had tons of fun, i don't recall how long they stayed there, 3 weeks or a month? it was in those days that i recorded the first single with Chela for the second Fuckpony album "i know it happened" 1 year later Shania D performed live on stage with me in Los Angelas for her birthday, it is soo nice to share moments with people, both Chela and Shania know my old studio, they wont forget it, they know my old flat, they enjoyed my dogs, they had a little piece of my life - and it was a good time in life. before i went to Los Angelas i visited Chela in Oakland- and was introduced to her then husband Mc Azeem, for me one of the most talented mcs/poets on the planet now. through Chela me and this dude just hit it off, not only on some political issues, im talking about stimulating thoughts amongst each other, talking about creating something different, not worrying about money, and going for the love, and helping to educate along the way.
Chela and Azeem are not together anymore - but they are in my life. so ha! you cant escape each other now :) no matter how hard you try.
AZEEM and i ended up recording an album of music entitled "No truth in today" where we tried to break down some walls with new ideas! you can download the album for free here

now back to "i need a lover"
I made this song for another singer originally, he recorded the vocals and then got strangely sick for some months in the throat so we couldn't end up finishing it... i have been trying to track Chela down for months, she can be very unpredictable- hopping coasts, starting new bands - shes always got something going on, she even appeared on  Kiki's album on Bpitch with the smash single "Good Voodoo" (you might remember Visionquest did a wicked remix of this) which was born of a recording session in the times she spent at my house, which i then teamed to some work i was doing on the KIki album, and !bam! another Chela smash! So she was appearing in music but she was not in contact :)
finally i got her on a serious tip and told her, 'gir'l get in the studio record for this song, and lets make a wonderful tune together- and she returned with a passionate song about seizing the moment, and making every good time the time of your life + dancing like your on fire! cause that's exactly what we are -FIRE- and we need to put oxygen into that fire for it to burn- so get up, wake up - its time for LOVE!

Track 9
"I'm riding high" was an anthem for me, i had images in my head the whole time i was writing this one, it was a challenge. you see i have dabbled in dub music ever since the beginning of my career, the music was always close to my heart, the lo-fi feel , the reductions instead of the additions, the attitude and the experimentalism , listening to the records from King Tubby, The Scientist (who i actually played with in LA 7 years ago), Prince Jammy, Lee scratch Perry (who i met in the airport last year- he was wearing a pyramid on his head) just blew my mind, and had me realize from the beginning- creativity is the most important thing- use what you have, and use them to the limit! don't half ass anything- and try to be original in the process. so this is where the conflict came in, because i love dub and reggae, but I'm not interested to create something already been done- i never felt like i wanted to fit in to anything, i guess i just always felt artists should create their own space- and explore that. my approach was to infuse twilight acid sound design ever moving, and strong in texture with a dub/reggae feeling to highlight the weirdness and intensity of the sounds used. the frequencies i used in this track are known to create an intense atmosphere when tapped into another state of consciousness, i know this through studies in cymatics -which i think you would find very interesting-
many people understand the healing qualities of music and the frequencies you use, and in fact ancient peoples have used these for centuries before us, i think now people are waking up to these possibilities, myself included- which is why i think i needed to include such a song on the album, in the end the inclusion of this song on the album was really for me- im not ashamed to say it , i was impressed with this song = and i don't feel like i made it- but I'm damn proud its on there!

Track 10
"the light" features one of my heroes Tikiman aka Paul St. Hilaire , he got his way to my ears through the Berlin legends Basic Channel - they basically had a whole movement happening infusing techno and dub music. Tiki and i are were friends for quite some time before we actually did any work, he and i just chilled out- he would come over and listen to music, or invite me to his house to enjoy music and talk about life. You see Tiki is from Dominica in the Caribbean and he is a Firm believer in the Rastafarian faith, his faith is not intrusive , but personally he seems really involved. When you are friends with Rastas (i have several friends of Rasta faith) you know one thing, they don't like to talk bullshit (when you can understand them! thats one thing i get a kick out of with Rastas from the islands, they can understand everything i say, but i only get about 35percent of what they say, now who's more intelligent?) - they have a different reality, they somehow learn to exist outside of this materialistic world- 'which' doesn't mean they aren't hungry for money-but lets not touch on that :) what i will say is Tiki was the first person who encouraged me to sing, and really sing. he told me, you got lots of love Jay, let them people hear that. Let them hear your intelligence- and its true=== he had an impact on me like no other artist. after meeting him i recorded 2 vocal albums :)
This specific song was originally recorded for the London based label Soul Jazz to appear on the 'box of dub' compilation series. I'm still a bit baffled when i see that comp. as it always made me wonder 'how the hell did i manage to get on there', how did my music fit in? if i remember correctly that vinyl came out, it was another version of "the light" appearing as an inside cut to the lovely artist Burial (talk about pressure :). going back and looking at the comp. i think every single artist other than me and Tiki were from London, to be more exact i even think everyone was from South London(which makes it even more strange). The compilation came out and did really really well in sales, very un-expected, but i never once got a reaction or heard a mention of the 2 songs we recorded for it as Sub Version!(not complaining as its actually kinda cool this way). when i listen to the album now, i see just how much this sound stood out! - cheers to Soul Jazz for giving us a shot-now this was the 1st song i recorded for Soul Jazz but i wanted to do a separate version to offer on this Love=Evolution album, as i feel my production dynamics grew immensely from the time we originally recorded it. Tiki was amazing, hes a great singer, knows how to work software, makes amazing harmonies, and is an all around musician, which is very rare these days- he can work many instruments and at the same time DANCE HIS ASS OFF! on stage.......Tiki is the kind of guy full of mysteries, in fact our initial connection was when in our first conversation he told me he was learning to program computers, and that he was mastering the C-language. Because C was pretty out of date i bought him a book on C+ (programming language) because i had learned programming at a really young age and saw how interested he was, like a child learning tricks in life. i mean how many men over 50 do you see with that kind of passion? He and i got deeper, and he was always open to my side of a story, especially when we talked about racial issues, and slavery. I like to think this was a lovely collob! and in the end i realized a dream- from a broke ass teenager in Philadelphia listening to him sing in the attic of a friends house on vinyl------ to a producer working on the same level!

Track 11
"time to explode" was the only way i could end this album, in a state of pulsing consciousness. basic in structure- focused on the sounds to ease the listening experience to a point of reflection, i made it so you KNOW the albums over, and so that you might take the time to reflect on how the piece made you feel, did it flow, where did you fit in properly? etc...this one was about pure feeling, and was finished in Sao Paulo, Brazil- i did it on headphones in a hot and sweaty bedroom of Giovanna the ex roomate of my partner. i was laying on the floor with sweat pouring out of my body, the fan rattling above me = seemingly just pushing more hot air down on me - when the song was finished i knew i had the closer for my last album, and i knew it was time to move on to something more pure. its time to evolve and we will do it through love and only love.  

Thanks for reading and i hope you were entertained and interested.

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