CASSETTE TAPES AVAILABLE HERE
Based in Chicago, the young collective of artists Amalgam has distilled its productions since 2015 in an already well-supplied and multidisciplinary catalog. We got a glimpse of it with Dawá, an improvised music album which associated the French trumpeter Timothée Quost with the Americans Ishmael Ali and Bill Harris. We find these last two in this new collective production, Je’raf, a self-proclaimed septet of danceable-woke-conspiracy-theory-noise-hip-hop-metal-jazz-funk monologue-core.
This refreshing team illustrates a reality that is now attributed to Chicago. We are in fact used to saying that after Los Angeles and New York, the “mushroom city” becomes the third nursery for artists in the USA, with however a marked desire to rethink the circuits of artistic production (all disciplines combined) , that is to say without intermediary between the buyer and the artist. This is the line that Amalgam has set for itself. And it works.
If a word should link all the intentions of Throw Neck, it is the groove that runs through this disc. Je’raf is very comfortable in all registers which he explores with communicative joy. We hear free jazz, hip-hop, funk, and even pop (furtive). On this sound canvas are texts that scratch America, the police, religion and other jokes.
Je’raf also reveals to us, above all, seven talented artists, who master their work to the point of diverting it. The quality of the compositions and the performance does not erase - on the contrary - a manifest desire to play with the codes and the gimmicks that were too long awaited, so that the freshness of the music prevails. All done with the subtlety of a good mix, and Throw Neck seems like a disc that feels good. Quite simply.
Written by Raphaël Benoit for Citizen Jazz
Formed in 2017, art-rock ensemble Je'raf arrange bits of hip-hop, jazz, funk, and postpunk into whimsical, progressive jams. All seven members (they're split between New York and Chicago) play in similarly animated, eccentric bands outside of the group too--bassist and vocalist PT Bell is in art-punk unit Blacker Face, for instance, and vocalist Brianna Tong fronts jazz-fusion group Cordoba. On Saturday, February 39, local labels Amalgam and No Index release Je'raf's rambunctious and politically charged debut album, Throw Neck. That night they celebrate with a headlining set at Hungry Brain; Udababy opens.
By J.R. Nelson for the Chicago Reader
CASSETTE TAPES AVAILABLE HERE
Danceable woke conspiracy theory noise hip-hop metal jazz funk monologue-core. Je'raf is a Chicago/New York based band that formed in 2017. They combine hip hop, funk, and free jazz elements into tightly arranged songs that leave room for improvisation and looseness, while incorporating critical and satirical social commentary on police, conspiracy theories, religion, cults, and the emergence and trajectory of the American Bro.
Je'raf has held a monthly residency at Cafe Mustache in Chicago since July of 2019, playing every third Tuesday of the month. Their debut record, Throw Neck, is set to release this February 29 (LEAP YEAR!) at the Hungry Brain, with a split release on both Amalgam and No Index Records based in Chicago.
Brianna Tong - Vocals
PT Bell - Vocals, bass
Ishmael Ali - Guitar, electronics
David Fletcher - Trombone
Wills McKenna - Saxophone
Eli Namay - Bass
Bill Harris - Drums, percussion, Microkorg
Recorded at Pallet Sound by Seth Engel on February 2 and 3, 2019.
Mixed and mastered by /je'raf/
Design and layout by /je'raf/
Artwork by Jordan Martins
Photo by Rachel Winslow