Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Album Review: Alexa Dexa's "Year Of Abandon"

Hello Friends!
I know I've been inactive on this blog, but trust me, it's the only place in my life that I've been dormant!  2015 has been super productive so far and I've been involved in a lot of projects, (excitingly my forthcoming album "Rapologues" (release date TBA) and my new book "Water Coolers and Campfires",  "The Vigilance Committee's EXIT A HERO" and I've attended and participated in several incredible concerts! One way to keep up with me daily is at my new AllOne Instagram page ( follow me @allonevoice)!!
 I will post later about all the great things that have been going on but I post today to review my once-tour-mate and always-good-friend Alexa Dexa's new album "Year Of Abandon", out May 15th! ORDER IT BY CLICKING HERE! ...and I'll be performing at her record release show may 15th as well. Here is a link for info on that show: Alexa Dexa Album release show.

When my former tour mate Alexa Dexa asked me to review her new album, I was flattered and intimidated.  This is a testament to her prowess and considerable knowledge and talent when it comes to composing and performing music.  As her tour mate, I can say that she is entirely authentic and lives and breathes her art and message.  Her music always comes from a genuine and curious place, both intellectually calculated and innocently/youthfully curious and whimsical.

"Year Of Abandon" is her first release since 2013's "A Bedtime Anthology".  Since then she's toured the country for months at a times, been to Europe and has clearly been collecting memories, muses and adding to her questionably healthy (joke) abundant collection of odd toy instruments and knick-knacks.  Year Of Abandon builds on the grand and dramatic electronic compositions featured on her 2012 release "A Symphony Of Band-Aids For The Visionary Wound" and the stripped-down mellow, pretty lullabies from "A Bedtime Anthology"  and adds sounds and visions she's learned and toys she's collected.

     Year Of Abandon is arguably her best offering to date.  Alexa has the special and unique capability to be invitingly vulnerable with her voice while simultaneously have intimating strength and command.  It is a complexity she controls deftly and appropriately, using her talent only when an idea asks it of her, never unnecessarily boastfully, yet still we are always impressed.  This is probably her most beautifully mixed/mastered album (thanks to Melanie Balderas).
 Here are some notes on the tracks.

This track invitingly opens the album up with one of the most straightforward approaches on the project.  There's an intriguing drum pattern with her trademark bells ring out and ambient sounds that feel like you're (appropriately) in an aquarium.  Over this entrancing arrangement, beautiful harmonies sing fantastic lyrics woven with nautical metaphors. "Delicate as glass, we peer through the surface to find what lies beneath"  The dynamics between the energy of the verses and the chorus are arresting.  Easily one of my favorite tracks.
Speed It Up (Now):
This song has a delicacy and intelligent vulnerability with a literal lyrical and musical invitation to move and swing along with it.  The music goes from a slow open with with panning electronic noises and desk bells into a sparse, building a sort of slow tension in the verses until finally the chorus offers a release that beckons us to move. It is emotive and effective and in one of my favorite moments when she builds and sings "I feel it in my lungs, you're taking away my breath, my heart is going thump thump in my chest" in the prechorus you really feel it through the music and the execution of the lines when the chorus comes in on the final chorus.
This one is brooding and seems intent on unsettling us.  It's a stark contrast to the prior track and it took me a minute to get accustomed to it.  Her lyrics are sophisticated and emotional poetry, in this song they are committed to avian related symbols.  This song is the album's first foray into depicting Alexa's adept portrayal of darkness, she creates an ominous sonic environment with a haunting array of toy recordings in the chorus and her utilization of field recordings of birds set a clear mood and topic.  It solidifies her ability to remain tightly focus and committed in portraying a concept/topic or mood in her songwriting, setting obvious and effective moods and tones for the listener that we are helpless (and often delighted) to be moved by.
The Only Thing Left:
This is another favorite of mine, she opens with the lyrics"It's not too long ago, I lost my bearings, the swiftest compass couldn't set me straight" Bizarre arrangements with jarring tempo changes that recall the sputtering and lagging then winding pace of music boxes. A little more than two minutes in, we hear what sounds like a faint EKG machine. Then she sings a bridge: "It' is desolate when you wake up in prison..it is desolate when you can't wake up" and leads into a sort of overwhelming dark pile of sounds dropping off into a reflective intro singing oohs and ahhs vocal runs that feel like perhaps the passing of a soul from the prior chaos.
This is a newer and fleshed out version that we heard close out "A Bedtime Anthology" (listen to that version HERE) the juxtaposition of dark and glitchy production against the almost jovial youthful warm sounds of the toy instrumentation, desk bells, toy piano and a whole little orchestra of clinking, grinding, tapping clicking toys offers her signature arrangement.  It offers one of the easiest to catch onto choruses of the album and a strong offering.
Priceless Measuring:
Priceless Measuring is an example of a song where there are so many subtle aspects and additions to the music, toys shifting and clanging and winding around the arrangements.  The intrigue of Alexa's affinity for toy instruments means that we are always hearing something new as she hoards fascinating little objects that invites them along her little parade.  She sings quietly and intensely, "hush hush baby don't cry. I'd crawl around legless before leaving you behind.  Trust, trust the truth you can't hide. Not even my arms can hold the weight of your pride". This is a song so confessional, one gets the guilty feeling they're listening in on a phone conversation or reading a diary.  This is an intimacy shared by only the purest and most admirably sincere artists. The closing lyrics are half sung and spoken like a slam poem among bells that feel like trickling raindrops.  I have a feeling if I listen to this at a particularly reflective moment I won't help but bawl my eyes out.
This is another favorite of mine ever since I heard it live.  The instrumentation and vocals are both probably the catchiest and quickest on the album.  We hear the rare   It has a sexy open confidence that isn't always immediately/plainly stated in Alexa's music and lyrics.  "Ain't nobody looking for what I got and I know I got it....."  In the chorus on the repeated line "gang" she effortlessly reaches ambitious notes that will get stuck in your head and you'll be frustrated you likely can't sing them or grasp her fluttery and ever-shifting vocal melodies.  There's a key pause in the beginning of the second verse "tell me who gives a DAMN about old war stories?! So I can enlist them to listen to mine..."  and it's in these subtle decisions we are reminded of her mastery as a clever and relentlessly effective and brave designer of songs.
Abandon Ship: 
With what sounds like cartoon western gun shots and breaking glass and shifting mechanical part sounds taking on some form of a percussive role in the foreboding and vaguely political/dystopian concepts in the song.  Alexa presents what might be the peak of her experimental  and literal approach to employing sounds to convey her purposes.  Dramatic synths play cinematically in the background with dissonant bells. "Empty and desolated vessels for the creative to fill with visions.  Or watch as cement falls into ash and earth overtakes it..." This one almost feels like a short film, there's a very visual aspect to this song and it feels like an interlude or a short vignette.  She advises us to abandon ship as we lead into the last track with a final gunshot.
Atomic Bridges (For Cellular Lovers):
A sort of sci-fi duet, romantic story.  "he asked me honey how'd we meet? and I said baby real sweet, I told him "wormholes through star-stuff brought me to you"  Nigel Newton plays the vibraphone, speaks poetic layers underneath her in the verses and joins her in beautiful harmonies and trades lines and layers.  He does a fantastic job filling the role of being the first vocal guest of her discography (When you've got a voice like Alexa's, who needs collaborators?  When someone is playing a male perspective in a cosmic themed romance of course!)  This is a strong closer, original, ambitious and memorable.

     Overall, Year Of Abandon, while at times challenging, is an undoubtedly excellent album.  I would argue is her best, as it builds upon all the strengths of her prior efforts and adds all sorts of new ideas and sounds she's come across along her daring travels.  As the title suggests and the songs ring out, it seems to be a project concerned with letting go, with healing wounds or moving on in spite of them, with focusing on the flight of the nestling, with the motion of the sea, with looking out into the expanse of space, walking away from the war, liberating ourselves from bleak pasts, knowing our worth and our ability to build new and endeavoring to do so.  It feels like a goodbye in a hopeful sense as we stubbornly intend on a brighter future because we deserve it.  Damn right.
    It's fantastically original and has great imagination that is expertly executed.  Some people may be intimidated or befuddled by her sometimes haunting moods or esoteric vocals and experimental approaches but this is the kind of dense yet bare music that you feel first, and settle into and keep discovering new things to love and learn about it and from it.  What feels depressing in one moment sometimes turns to shockingly bright and catchy vocal runs that you are forever stuck trying to sing.  If you can, catch her live somewhere around the country and definitely support Alexa Dexa because she is 100% authentic and if you give her a chance, she will never fail to give you all of her intellectual and emotional faculties in a song or album.

Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
p.s. If you enjoyed this and want me to review your album...it might be a thing I'm beginning to do.. Email me at AllOneVoice@gmail.com and we can talk about it.  Big things coming!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

'14 Reminiscence/ '15 Resolutions ... Happy New Year!


Hard to believe it's 2015 already, although it is easier for time to seem like it happened quickly AFTER it has transpired.  I hope ya'll have had a safe, memorable and happy time celebrating!! I want to thank all my family and friends new and old for contributing to a special year for me! Anything you're proud of that happened in 2014? Anything you're hoping to accomplish in 2015?
Here are some resolutions/goals for 2015:
-Finish and release both the "Rapologues" album and my first book "Water Coolers & Campfires"
-have more of my work published (poetry or prose)
-Make an official AllOne website
-Release more video content (of all sorts)
-Continue to read/Write/workout every day
-Spend more time with family 
-use my phone less and/or more like a phone
-learn from everything/everyone
-be loving, gentle and present
-be open to new experiences
-don't fear failure, only inactivity

2014 Recap:
2014 felt like a really transient and active year.  In no particular order here are some events that occurred immediately stand out to me I'm proud of:

**In the fall I moved into a new house, my first consistent/reliable residence in a while with two great friends for roommates, whom I can write and make music alongside in a comfortable and friendly environment!

**Released a new AllOne// D.o.drent// Tony Mahoney album "Creative Differences (A Split)" with Owen Dodrent Lefebvre, performed with him and got to know him a lot better.  The release show for this was absolutely phenomenal, so momentous!  By the way, the project is now available on Itunes as well for you apple owner's convenience...Creative Differences Itunes Link HERE  

**I stuck with my dedication to traveling as much as possible during long and short tours nearly every month. probably 2-3 months collectively out of state, The Onederlust tour was the biggest trip of the year (and my biggest solo venture yet!) and took me around and of the country to Canada and thanks to the generosity of so many good people, it was a beautiful experience and a huge success!

**Wrote a lot of songs/poems/prose finished writing a few albums/EP's I was working on (Including collaborating with my buddies KNife & Miggs (check out the experimental track "Least Informed" that I contributed my poem "anti-social-net-work-ethic" to from KNife's new album "ICONOCLAST" ) and also this track "The Hunger" with E.B. Phillips. 
**Made Progress on my forthcoming album "Rapologues" and my impending debut short story collection "Water Coolers and Campfires"

**Helped see Andrew Mesmer's first show "Believe Me, You Won't"  finally come to fruition, which was a hell of a journey and a brilliant and successful event! Read about that here.
**Placed top 3 in my first poetry slam at Walt Whitman Birthplace Association with my aforementioned poem "Anti-social-net-work-ethic"

**I had 2 poems published for the first time in the anthology Bards Annual 2014 ("Anti-Social Net-Work-Ethic" and "Rush Hour 98' ")

**Had my short story publishing debut with "The Painter" and read it aloud at the anthology release (both thanks to The Bards Initiative)

**Went to see Italy for a week with family for the first time.  That was an awe-inspiring event that produced a ton of emotions and writing...you may see some inspired works in "Watercoolers and Campfires"...

**Exceeded 1,400 fans on the AllOne Facebook Page (The location of the attention and the number may sound trivial, but it is a surreal representation of a beautiful net of support I never would have expected and that I'm always baffled by and grateful for!)

**Made my first radio appearances (and several thereafter on WUSB) thanks to Jim Davis and Say Whats Radio with Kaila Mullady. Listen to Kaila and I doing an adaptations of "Work In Progress" and also remixing the "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air theme".  Also, thanks to my dear new friend, Chicago's own beautiful Jenna Anast, whom I met and befriended while on the AllOnederlust tour and who showed me around and invited me on her radio show in Chicago at one of the universities!!

**Filmed and released a few more videos thanks to Sean Ageman and Washed Up Media as well as Kristine Clifford and Dan Pritchard.  "Building After Buildings" and "Termagant" are the two most notable and almost cinematic poem-videos from the bunch.

** Books I read in 2014:
White Fang by Jack London // There's No Such Thing As Far Away, BiplaneOne and Hypnotizing Maria by Richard Bach // Armaggedon in Retrospect and Welcome To The Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut // Zen In The Art Of Writing and One More For The Road by Ray Bradbury // The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell // The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck // 23 Shades Of Black by K.J.A. Wishnia // Journey To Ixtlan by Carlos Castenada // Hip Hop America by Nelson George// V for Vendetta, From Hell and The Watchmen by Alan Moore // The Complete Classic Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle // Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan// Binary by John Lange ( Michael Crichton) // Green Hills Of Africa by Ernest Hemingway // Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy // The First Men In The Moon by H.G. Wells // McSweeney's Quarterly Concern issue 13 // Doctor Sleep by Stephen King // Arabian Nights // Chicken Soup for the Soul (Inspiration For Writers) // Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson // This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald // The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold // Egghead by Bo Burnham // Witches Of Eastwick by John Updike // Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill // 5 works by John Leguizamo // Flint by Louis L'Amour // Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow // The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow 

**Most importantly I've spent a lot of time with family and old friends, exercised, adventured, read and wrote nearly everyday and I've met so many new and inspiring people that I'm happy to call my friends and been motivated by all of the new lives and stories I've encounter. **
 This has been an enriching year...Thank you all so much, let us all continue to build toward our goals and ideals, while shaping sincere relationships with one another.  There is no possible way to get anywhere enjoyable without the help and love of others (that goes both ways, you must love and help others as well!)
Always be loving, Always Love being!
Sincerely yours,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Andrew Mesmer's "Believe Me, You Won't!"

Happy Holidays my friends, I hope they've all gone well!  Welcome to 2015!
    2014 was full of enriching endeavors for me and I'm going to take a bit of time to discuss one of the most important experiences of this past year...  It has been a little over a month since my good friend, mentalist Andrew Mesmer premiered his debut full length mentalism performance titled, "Believe Me, You Won't" at the Performance Arts Studio in Port Jefferson. I wanted to introduce you to him and reflect a little on the experience, as I had a behind the scenes hand in developing the show with him and it meant very much to me!  First I invite you to check out his website at www.andrewmesmer.com and like him on HIS FACEBOOK PAGE follow him on twitter @AndrewMesmer ..go ahead! If you want something memorable for your next gathering, Andrew does private events, corporate events and can adapt his capabilities and presentation to nearly any event type with top notch professionalism for reasonable prices!   Oh you're back? Okay good, we both thank you!  Onward and forward...

Meet Andrew Mesmer
    Andrew has been a friend of mine for nearly 15 years and to be honest I have never known a more diligently motivated person.  Once he sets his mind on a goal or interest, he dives headlong into it and learns everything about it and does it well.  His discipline and dedication seems almost inhuman, and I joke to him about it often, but that just may come from the generally lazy or unambitious social climate we've grown up in and scarily grown to accept as normal.  His doggedly ambitious exception to this is inspiring, to put it mildly.
     His stage presence is amiably authoritative, comfortable and impressive.  No matter the room or space he is performing in, his confidence and skill draws you into the world of the psychological theories he is sharing and the interactive awe-inspiring examples he employs.   During Andrew's charismatic performances you will be likely taught some new fascinating thing, while simultaneously having the rug pulled out from under you while he compromises the reliably predictable world that you always grew to accept as truth.  He went to Five Towns College for acting and stage production and also hosted an incredible weekly open mic for three years at Cool Beanz Coffee House that cultivated the talents of myself and many others as well a network of many friendships among the attendees that endure still to this day.  He also performed magic there and over the years with that aforementioned dogged studiousness I've seen his interests and talents range gradually from traditional magic to more complex, sophisticated and impressive feats that fall under the umbrella of mentalism.

What is Mentalism?
   Mentalism is a form/style of performance and performer that combines a mosaic of talents/studies including illusions, psychology, theatrics and crowd interaction.  As Andrew says with efficient succinctness in his opening monologue of "Believe Me, You Won't"  "I manipulate the five senses to create the illusion of a sixth." ... when his job is done correctly (and it always is) he rides the seam between reality and illusion, and you're unable to tell which from which.  He doesn't claim to have any special powers, simply just admits that he studies interesting human phenomena and things like muscle reading, body language, lie detecting and employs these and other ideas to give a compelling show that would convince you he is actually in your head!

Believe Me, You Won't recap
A bit about the venue:
Believe Me, You Won't was a two night show on November 14th and 15th (Friday and Saturday) at the aforementioned Performing Arts Studio in Port Jefferson.  The venue was a sort of smaller black box theater that seated 70 people cozily.  It was an intimate and adequate space for the performance and the people who run it were very kind and accommodating with us.  The fees for rental are reasonable, if you're looking to attend shows or put on one, I recommend checking out their site that I linked above. NOTE: We had a bit of a hard time finding a spot for this event, so if anyone knows of any black-box theaters on Long Island or smaller theaters, please email me at AllOneVoice@gmail.com or Andrew at Andrew@andrewmesmer.com .

The show:
     After weeks of preparing and advertising and word of mouth we were nervous about the turnout, but the pre-sale online tickets helped give us a decent gauge of who would show up, and luckily the response was very good.  We got a knowledgeable friend of mine Tim Bedell to help run the sound and lights and had two days of rehearsals leading up to the show to determine the most efficient use of the space and the technology available to us to accommodate the show's needs.  For online ticket purchases we used a website service and app called www.eventbrite.com which we found worked out really well, our audience members considered it really intuitive and the majority of our attendees got their tickets beforehand.  We nearly packed the place out both nights between pre-sale tickets and walks-ins, both nights the audience was wall to wall.  The Saturday night showing was the big night and we nearly had to turn people away at the door!  
   Without giving too much away...the show ran for about an hour and a half and was comprised of non-stop crowd participation, interesting theories and routines and between the men and women, young and old, magicians and laypeople, everyone's reactions were eyes wide and jaws dropped in astonishment.  A compact audience and personable stage was a perfect combination for an effectively intimate and engaged show.  Participants were taken from around the room as their hidden ideas were uncovered, muscles/pulses/gestures/expressions were read, lies were exposed, concealed drawings were duplicated, and a slew of other seemingly impossible feats were performed that lead up to a baffling finale closed both nights that consisted of half a dozen miraculous connected circumstances that combined all of the prior routines and concepts in the show and involved a considerable group on stage.  I'd say at least half of the audience throughout the show was interacted with directly and utilized in routines, so that most people's experience was much more than a passive viewing of a live act on a stage and many people walked away with personal memories of phenomenal unexplained things that happened to them or friends in the group they came with.  I worked the door greeting and taking tickets from attendees and had a great opportunity to see the difference in people before and after the show, people left wide eyed whispering excitedly to one another entirely puzzled and entertained, immersed in the world of questions and concepts that Andrew presented to them, incredible feats of psychological trickery and manipulation that left people scratching their heads with the hands that were undoubtedly worn out by enthusiastic applauding.

   All in all, both nights went even better than we anticipated especially for the debut showing!  If you were there, please share this review with others or tell us about your perspective of the event!  If you were unable to attend the show, fear not!  Andrew was gratefully requested to return by the venue anytime and he plans on revitalizing this show there at the Performing Arts Studio as well as making it a goal to bring the show to new venues throughout the island and the city as well!  Again, if you have any ideas or connections with people or facilities where he can do so please email him at Andrew@andrewmesmer.com!!
     Because of my friendship and admiration of Andrew, as well as my genuine involvement in the project, I sincerely treated the success and integrity of "Believe Me, You Won't" as though it were a project of my own.  It brought me great joy to see it come to fruition.  This show was one of my most proud moments of 2014, to share in the success of one of my best friends from the sidelines and witness the immensity of his talent, intellect, and hard work culminate finally into such a marvelous piece of work as he dazzled and puzzled an enraptured audience.
Nothing is as it seems, except for the purest of friendships!
Reality is what you make it... happy 2015, make it yours!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Creative Differences" Release Party//Behind the Scenes and The Future

Hey AllOne Family!

     Incredibly, this week marks two months since my most recent project was released!  "Creative Differences (A Split)", an EP with my fellow friend and lyricist Owen, "D.o.drent" that was produced by talented UK producer Tony Mahoney.  The digital release was July 29th and the physical album release party was August 2nd, and I will get to the release party in a little bit. It was breathtaking!  I'm happy to report that the album has thankfully been received with warm praise and people seem to be connecting with the material and remarking on the new direction of singing and subject choice on the album in it's favor.  I intended it to be a very direct project and Owen and I worked very hard to combine our utmost emotional sincerity with our most ambitious intellectual efforts to create something wholly genuine, challenging and connective.  I feel we succeeding in blending our styles and working over Tony Mahoney's production (he has definitely become one of my favorite producers over the last few years) in mood and intent.  We pressed a small run and sold out of it, moving more albums in the first month than any previous album I've released...so thank you for that immense support!  I've talked quite a bit on the trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts to stay with Owen and write and recording this album and you can read those memoirs on the process here if you are interested: 
If you haven't yet watched the grim and dramatic poem-film for my spoken word piece "Termagant" on the second song of the album "Walking Nightmare" by my talented film making friends Kristine Clifford and Daniel Pritchard ...please do!  It is a very dark film but they came up with some great ideas alongside my visions and advising and I'm really proud with out it came out.  Eerie and effective film making..

Creative Differences Behind The Scenes video series
Though we are getting chronologically out of order, while we're on the topic of videos, I'd like to draw your attention to this series of six interview/song snippet videos that were shot and edited by Sean Ageman of Washed Up Media!  The day after the release show, before Owen left to return home, he and I met up with Sean and shot these insightful explanatory interviews of each of the songs on the split, which he then impressively edited and serial released them every Monday for six weeks following after the show.  They offer some background information into the logistic and creative process behind each of the songs.  I've compiled them into a "BEHIND THE SCENES PLAYLIST"....please enjoy them here, feel free to like, comment, share and subscribe to these videos as well as to the Washed Up Media Youtube!

Creative Differences (A Split) release show weekend
     The release show weekend was a success!  Owen came down to Long Island for his first time on August 2nd (the day of the show at Velvet Lounge in the north shore town of East Setauket after work I picked him up.  He jumped into my car with wide eyed harried tales of his dizzying experience in smokey precarious Jenga grid that is New York City.  We ate at a kosher deli, an expensive but interesting experiment, where we drew the attention of many of the staff by taking out our pile of pre-ordered CDs and signing them while we waited for food to save time.  We even ended up selling a copy just based on that!  We went to Velvet Lounge to set up and meet people.  
Flyer for the show by ArchAngelGraphicDesign

     A bit on the venue and Line-up decision:  Over the past few years I've had absolutely incredible musical, poetic, social and improvisational experiences at the open mics on Wednesdays and jams on Sundays (not to mention just attending other people's shows on Fridays and Saturdays) and I've met many treasured people through this art, music and social mecca of the north shore.  Over the course of this year I've performed several really incredible concerts that I'd put up among the best of the year, as well as the most astounding and inspiring of my career!  Something about the place...its got the social atmosphere of a bar without the negative stigma that I tend to associate with bars, it encourages and attracts a vibrant creative energy within people and around them.  Very obviously I felt this was the perfect place to draw friends to celebrate this exciting event and new project, as well as a place that I really wanted Owen to experience this environment.     I should also mention the line-up was incredible!  My friends KNife, Miggs and Freak Tha Monsta were on tour touring KNife's new project "ICONOCLAST" that I'm featured on...so check that out!  Some of you may remember them performing at Comiskey park with Last Of The Horsemen and The ContraVerse July 2013, they killed it and so when they needed a place to play, I thought it'd be a perfect way to draw a crowd and have a big celebration by making it the release show.  I needed another local group and it seemed an obvious and mutually agreeable choice to bring on my friends Mark and Ed who make up one of my favorite Long Island hip-hop groups; Kill The Inventors!

Improvisation, Crowd Interaction, High Energy Performances...
Thankfully...the release show went even better than I'd expected, in fact, the turnout was so good that it started to unfortunately work against itself where people couldn't fit inside and had to stay out in the patio area! At the beginning of the show I started up a "freestyle raffle" where attendees, for a dollar, could write down a word or topic on a piece of paper and their name on the other and put it in a jar.  Before D.o.drent and my set, the first person (who ended up being a good friend, Ariel) to have their topic called up won a copy of the split EP, and CDs from Miggs and KNife as well!  We then passed the mic around between all the emcees in the show and traded off topics out of the hat to improvise over, it was hilarious, lighthearted and impressive what everyone was able to come up with given some crazy suggestions!  Miggs, Knife and Freak Tha Monsta
     Miggs, KNife and Freak Tha Monsta put on an incredible combined set that utilized thought provoking lyricism, fun brag raps, high energy with interactive elements and just crazy writing and endurance overall.  They did a capella moments of political pieces, call and response interaction with the crowd, bounced back and forth verses and rhymes with one another on stage. One thing that really struck me about the guys was how sincere they were about connecting with the crowd.  Before they went up, KNife even asked for my advice for what kind of material I thought the audience was going to be most impacted by or interested in hearing.  It was a thoughtful and humble question, and it was clear they wanted to do more than impress people and sell merchandise, they wanted to make a genuinely successfully entertaining show for those that they were grateful were present to hear them. They won the crowd over quickly and had a great performance that a lot of people were talking about weeks after!  If these guys are coming to your town...book a show with them..you won't regret it, and if they aren't coming to your town... try to arrange for them to!  
Kill The Inventors
     Kill The Inventors went up and changed the vibe over to grooving beats with Mark Biviano's live bass and Hi-Q's samples and beat production.  Hi-Q (Eddie) has high velocity, well constructed rhymes with interesting concepts (he has one song called "Ahead Of The Curve (Joke's on you)" written from the perspective of The Joker about the symbiotic relationship he has with Batman) and he deftly and comfortably performs his densely woven rhyme patterns over the simple but effective instrumentation.  They remain one of my favorite hip-hop acts on the Island and I can't wait for them to put out a follow up album to 2013's Chernobyl EP!  This performance lead to the discussion of me possibly rapping over one of the instrumentals on their forthcoming beat-tape...so I'll keep you informed about that!  If you can catch one of their shows, I highly recommend it!

     After we opened the set with the aforementioned freestyle collective moment which I'd hoped would loosen the crowd up, warm Owen and I up and gather people around, we started performing "Creative Differences" and things got wild from there!  Our set was to be the first time that Owen performed this far outside of his home state and also the largest feature event he'd performed.  It was the first time we had performed the Split EP in it's entirety, we were debuting "Cause & Effect" that night as well, closing the night with it!  We both performed a handful of solo songs,  some of them we backed each other up and did sort of hype-man duties.  Of course, we performed all of our songs together, there was a remarkable silent moment when the entire crowd was hushed while I closed "Walking Nightmare" with the "Termagant" poem a capella.
      People participated with a lot of call and response parts of the songs, some people knew the songs from the split and many were blessedly familiar with my back-catalog and were boastfully and generously singing/rapping the lyrics along with us!  Owen brought a really strong and passionate energy, it's been remarked by many people that his tendency toward a more aggressive style (undoubtedly brought in by his hard core music influences) is a good juxtaposition to my energy, whether it be in performance or recordings.  We played off each other well, walked into the crowd, stood on stools, removed clothing, sang, rapped, recited poetry, and overall CONNECTED with people.

There were very few mishaps and very many beautiful moments had.  It was my first time performing such a large set with a fellow lyricist and it was a really cool and unique experience, Owen and I were able to feed off of one another a lot.  It was certainly a learning experience for me!  Even luckier, Washed Up Media's Sean Ageman was there taking incredible photos of the event throughout our performance with a professionalism that allowed us to be ourselves and yet got really incredible close up shots capturing this powerful night.  Before the event, in between sets and after the show we spoke with people, made new friends and caught up with old ones!  An hour and a half later our set was over, our voices were hoarse, and we were sweaty and smiling.  Many people responded really positively to the performance and we sold nearly half of the stock of the albums at the show. We ended up staying there until four in the morning hanging out, talking with people inside and outside of the venue, freestyling over some beats provided by DJ Kaution as well as  live music by the outrageously talented I Am Tim // Coalition band.  Exhausted, Owen and I having very little sleep in the past 24 hours, we eventually retired.  Sunday morning we got breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast spots called Tic Toc cafe in St. James, meeting with my friend Brittany and energizing our sleep-deprived bodies with coffee and food before we had the aforementioned meet-up with Sean to film the Creative Differences Behind The Scenes videos.
     All in all, the weekend was an incredible celebration of the new project and experience with releasing and sharing it.  The Split was a difficult project to put together logistically at times but based on people's description of their experience with it and their opinion of it, I feel really justified and rewarded in pushing through the obstacles that came along the way.  It has been another experiment in my ever-fluxing creative journey and I feel very successfully rewarded by the outcome.  I am very fortunate to have the friendships, the material, and the benefit of the lessons that were forged and presented to me during the process of this EP and releasing it as well!  Thank you to everyone who came to the show, who bought the album, who hugged us and sang and rapped with us and alongside us, asking for our signatures and our advice and for giving us your love.  We only hope to earn it and return it tenfold!

And the future brings? (A Performance Hiatus, New Album and Debut Book!)
I will take a brief moment to address that for the first time in four years I'm taking a lamentable but necessarily indefinite performance hiatus to complete the writing/rehearsing/recording and releasing of my magnum opus, an experimental narrative-based album called "Rapologues".  In conjunction with this musical, literary and illustrated release, I plan to publish and release my debut collection of short stories called "Water Coolers and Camp Fires".  I will be using this blog and my various pages to keep you audio-visually updated on my "wood shedding" process! I couldn't ask for a better performance memory or album experience than those I've reflected on here, to leave off on before I recede behind the creative curtain so thank you! 
Your support is otherworldly, and yet keeps me grounded down to earth!
With love,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

AllOnederlust tour: Friday 7/4- Monday 7/7 Last Weekend of the tour in ATL

My wonderful friends we reach the close of the magnificent journeys of the AllOnederlust tour...accompany me on one last weekend if you would...

30 hours of travel on Independence day
     July fourth wasn't necessarily celebrated as I was traveling the entire day! Around 9:30 I left my good Canadian friend Jeremy's home and I began a 30 hour journey to Atlanta that would stop in Detroit and Chicago on the way!  I started the day discovering that my friend KNife released his new album "ICONOCLAST" a politically/socially conscious rap album with some advanced and alternative musicianship involved.  For one of his songs, "Least Informed" I wrote the poem "anti-social-network-ethic"  which ended up getting published in a recent "Bards Annual 2014" Long Island anthology!  The album has a good mix of skillful brag raps and conscious material and I recommend you go to his Bandcamp page I linked earlier you can download it for free!

     On the way into Detroit, I had relatively no trouble getting over the American border, despite my worry.  I met a nice Canadian girl Joline.  She was crossing to meet a date and didn't even realize it was Independence day, which makes us even for when I had no clue about Canada day earlier in the week! I eventually got bus advice and help at the Rosa Parks center from a strange and kind woman named Theresa.  While talking to Joline and I, Theresa offered the advice "Grow where you are planted" which she took to mean act the way you are naturally and do so unabashedly! I can get behind that!  I listened to the following threea albums on the way to Chicago from Detroit, "Creative Differences (A Split)"  Sadistik's "Ultraviolet" and Sage Francis' "Copper Gone" !  I couldn't take my O'Henry book with me onto the bus since it was too big so I started reading my copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's historical fiction novel "Kidnapped" that I picked up while in Chicago two weeks prior!

Dave's peculiar tales and my  extensive travel
     When I got off the bus in Chicago I had five hours to wait for my midnight bus at to Atlanta.  I mostly read by lamplight on the sidewalk sitting in the humid night on my luggage.  I met an odd man and ragged man, Dave who sat next to me and began telling me some wild stories about his life as a "Dead head" and how he traveled and did sound work at concerts for all sorts of famous acts and if I call a certain number I could mention his name and get VIP tickets to any big concert for cheap.  We walked for a while and he shared several outlandish and dubiously true tales.  The most entertaining of these was when He was in his thirties he was working on Lousiana oil fields with his uncle.  Suddenly he looked into a hole and saw a dinosaur looking beast...turns out it was a snapping turtle that he claimed could block a whole road lane and had a head bigger than two human heads.  Dave took a fresh log and presented it to the creature and the monstrous turtle snapped it in half in his lethal jaws!  He claims to have tranquilized the creature with what he called "a shotgun with the sleeper bullets" and then called authorities, who ended up needing four trucks to transport the creature.  It allegedly it ended up at a Zoo in New Orleans and they gave him him an envelope that contained six thousand dollars as a thank you for helping the population of this majestic creature, as the beast was female.  While wandering about he started exhibiting more peculiarities, namely picking up and pocketing garbage.  Against my better judgement he ended up unfortunately being a man who just was befriending me manipulatively and ended up begging for money from me.  Disappointed and empathetic, I told him honestly I didn't have any money and he promptly moved on.  I sat and waited for my bus, which luckily came early and mounted the bus to Atlanta around midnight.  Later I spent the next several hours talking to an adorable seat neighbor named Lauren from Atlanta.  We had a lot in common and she was gregarious and we shared stories, it was nice to have someone on the bus who was actually socially engaging for once, we exchanged information and said our goodbyes.  I got off the bus in Atlanta once more, now Saturday morning, legs stiff and sore and my friends Adam pulled up promptly to the curb and picked me up.

Adam "Obeah"and friends throw a hell of a party
     Adam is a really talented guy who raps and DJs under the moniker "Obeah".  He and I met last year through my touring Nashville friends Last Of The Horsemen when they came to perform with his group The ContraVerse (whose other talented lyrical half is Kontent) AllOne & The Room, KNife and Miggs July of 2013 on their "Inoculate" tour. After that performance we were mutual fans of one another and kept in touch. Adam was nice enough to let me stay with him after he had just gotten back from a two week tour with his band "The Difference Machine" and throw a party for me to perform during!  Adam was all smiles and hugs and took me to a tasty new spot that opened by him called Delia's Chicken Sausage where I got sliders and a refreshing Arnold Palmer slushy.  I met his leopard-cat Lucius, who is beautiful and hilariously obsessed with paper bags.  We went to his girlfriend Kelley's house (who is also beautiful, though considerably less interested about paper bags) where the party would take place.
.  The property was a pretty one with lots of foliage and space, Kelley is such a relaxed and sweet person, she is immediately disarming and inviting.  When we drove up there was a giant inflatable slip and slide that Adam and his housemates rented for the weekend.  Dozens of people ended up coming out, I met so many cool people and friends, Adam DJ'ed and everyone had a blast.  So many interesting friends, the music was great and the slip n slide was fun.  I performed later in the night outside and had one of the best experiences of the tour, which was good because I felt worn out and was a little nervous to perform for such a rap educated and musically active group of people.  The response was respectful and enormous and lots of people bought albums after.  One new friend Collin gave me a book of poetry called "This Planet Is Doomed" by Sun Ra and I nearly sold out of CDs that night!  Afterward, some friends rapped in a cypher and we all had a blast improvising!  Spent, went back to Adam's place, where Brett, Leah and Nolan also live and Adam cooked up a before-bed snack!

Sunday Brunch and A Slip N Slide summery day
   We started the day late and Nolan, Leah and I met about a dozen people at a delicious brunch at a restaurant in a hotel called Local 3.  The place was pristine and classy and the food was unlike any brunch food you'd ever have!  Evidently this big group of friends have made a ritual of going every Sunday for brunch for so long that they get discounts and even sometimes eat for free!  Nolan was nice enough to foot the bill and the conversation among all of these friends was an interesting look into their social and business lives.  We spent a few hours eating and talking casually and ended up at Kelly's house again where the cast of friendly and musical characters ebbed and flowed while we listened to albums and did ridiculous tricks and goofy stunts on the giant slip and slide for hours on end under the hot Atlanta sun!  I think they definitely got their moneys worth on that rental!  Adam showed up sometime late evening.  Retired to the house, wrote for some time and read as well.  Brett came home from work and we spoke for quite some time about life and music and collaborating and such. He has a cool production based project called Deku that I suggest you listen to, as I don't doubt you will enjoy his odd, lovingly made works!  We both entered into the Red Bull Music Academy (which, spoiler alert, neither of us ended up getting into).  Adam and Kelly hung out and we shared music neither of us had heard of, listening to records and albums and such and spoke about making music together potentially.  The entire household of people and group of friends that I met through Adam were so inspiring creatively and entertaining and fun socially, and it was cool to see Atlanta through another group of friends eyes in the same month (no offense, Max and Co. !)

Coming home to NYC, The Final Day!
     We had an early morning the next day where Adam and Kelly were kind enough to drive me to Atlanta airport at 7 in the morning for my final flight home.  We said sleepy rushed goodbyes and thank yous and promised to keep in touch and they kindly wished me safe travels!  After all of my bus travel it seemed insane to me to be able to be home from Atlanta to Long Island taking any kind of trip for less than 5 hours!  Atlanta airport (Hartfield-Jackson) is the busiest airport in the world and was certainly the largest airport I'd ever been in!  Luckily, my uncle Joe, who works for Delta helped me out ahead of time and gave me some tips. I had no trouble getting on (I was on standby with a buddy pass) and was at JFK airport in a few hours, home by 11am, bewildered that my trip was over!  My grandmother picked me up and it was so nice to have a hug and be nearby again, after the past month of travel my briefcase and my suitcase needed a replacement, and she had both lying around for me, left over from my Poppy so I was honored to put them to use.  It felt so odd and yet beautiful to be home.  The Onederlust tour was one of the best experiences of my life.  The world seems so much bigger now and yet so much more attainable as well.  Gripes seemed more petty and life seemed more heavy yet my heart lighter and more open than ever.  To all of my old and new friends, my momentary homes and my infinite memories, thank you, I am infinitely grateful, this is just one of many journeys ahead of all of us.  Each of you along the way restored my faith in myself, in humanity and defied my high expectations, excelling far beyond excellence.  Planning this trip was one the most stressful things I'd ever done and it was entirely worth it.  I really can't wait to get back on the road, but first there is music to release, stories to write, and experience to relate.  I hope you all get out there and fulfill your wanderlust, or find it to begin with. I can't thank everyone enough, be it a home, a show, a conversation, a meal that you shared with me, I am a better person and I hope to repay you someday.

Its funny, the more I've moved around the more grounded I feel in who I am.
The more you explore and discover in this world, the more you explore and discover in yourself.
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo