Chalked up on candy crack
From Candy Land to the dark city: Deep gray smoke from Jae Synth’s orange-flavored cigarillo trickles off out the back door at Midtown’s Omina Laboratories studio. The producer and emcee just got back from Southern California the night before, where he distributed some 2,000-plus posters and fliers promoting his new album, but now is chilling on a dark green leather sofa.
“On some people’s albums, every track just slaps, is hard-hitting,” Jae explains, making a ba-whack sound. “I could have done that. But I wanted something that was for everybody.”
And in a way, there’s also a little piece of everyone on Jae’s latest release, Synth City, the longstanding producer’s first true solo effort. Just look at the liner notes: Righteous Movement, E40, Goldie Gold, San Quinn, Doonie, T Nutty, Connex, Guce, Skurge, Cali O, Neighborhood Watch, Blapstar, L Solo, J Gib, Black Zeek, Import, Capo, Glasses Malone, Mac Dre, J Diggs, Mistah FAB, the Jacka, Rydah J Klyde, Lee Majors, Celski, Mr. Skrillz, Reek Daddy, Boss Hogg, Miami the Most, Chuck T, Blee, Npire da Great, Bigg Meeze, Confadential, Tofu de la Moore, 916 Alliance.
The songs on Synth City draw from equally broad influences.
“Goo Waad,” a hip-hop track with a strong clap-cymbal backbeat and funky synth drive bumps like any radio-friendly pop track you’ll hear on The Bomb this year, rapper Shoat Stop rhyming a playful, “I like to party while shoutin’ ‘feelin’ better than good’ / got her doing all the things her man wishes she would.”
“Greedy” is a thoughtful, artfully produced R&B track that’s probably the only time I’ve heard Auto-Tune this year and thought “rad.” Verses by Bueno, Dezit Eaze and Mr. Blap are also some of the album’s strongest—and the track itself, even though it’s a song “for the ladies,” as Jae puts it, is one of Synth City’s most intriguing.
The album also goes back to Jae’s roots as a beat maker. There’s a lot of synth-based and non-rap hooks, for instance, which evolved from his interests in drum ’n’ bass and, now, dubstep. “That all came from the rave scene, bro. Damn, I miss the rave scene,” he says, sighing, lamenting the nonstop music and partying circa 1997.
“I am at the peak of my career right now, but all I can think of is that Candy Land.”
The song “Money in the Way” hearkens back to said days of Ecstasy and jungle, but also showcases Jae’s trailblazing instincts as a producer: a blast-of-blips intro gives way to waves of decayed synth, then Capo’s lyrics join in, “I ain’t trippin’ on y’all / I’m doin’ my own thing.” It sounds like IDM, it sounds like rap, but it’s also dark, brooding—especially when Glasses Malone’s deep baritone kicks in on the second verse.
Jae will hold a listening party for Synth City on Wednesday, September 16, at Capitol Garage (1500 K Street), with performances by Righteous Movement, Dezit Eaze, Neighborhood Watch and others (9 p.m.; $5, $7 for admission plus CD; www.myspace.com/jsynth). (Nick Miller)
Get preggers: Evidently at DJ Whores’ most recent Hump Wednesday night at The Press Club, Brooklyn’s Ninjasonik, and I quote the Whore himself, “went off with over a hundred people thrashin’ and dancin’ to their set.”
So it’s a good thing then that the indie dance-rap-punk trio will be back at Press for Club Pow! This Monday, September 14 (9 p.m., $4).
Ninjasonik records and releases a unique brand of party music, which is all available for free on their Web site, along with more than a half-hour of addictive videos, such as “Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant,” featuring some sweet Cincinnati Bengals leotards and fellow Brooklynites Matt and Kim. Honestly, it’s unlike anything any group in town is doing; this is why you will hit this show up after watching the Oakland Raiders get their asses handed to them on Monday Night Football. Plus, Japanther is playing, too. (N.M.)
Something to chalk about: Sacramento’s Storytellers were the final band to play this weekend’s annual Chalk It Up! event in Fremont Park, and as soon as the horns and Matt Rodriguez’s snare pop started up, a bizarre dance party, including one lady with some suspect robot moves and a farmer in a straw hat and overalls, took form in front of the stage. There was crack left and right—the sidewalk, of course, and all the artists bent over chalking it up—but there must have been something in the chalk itself that had everyone jiving? Or maybe it was just Story Tellas’ rock-steady vibe? (N.M.)