Korgy & Bass Drop Debut Singles [EP Premiere]

Vortex Music Magazine

Listen to two sides of the experimental samplers take on jazz and hip-hop in a new digital single that's due out June 24. Plus celebrate with the duo live at the Alberta Street Pub on June 22.

Korgy & Bass: Photo by Dylan JohnsonKorgy & Bass: Photo by Dylan JohnsonKorgy & Bass are drummer Barra Brown and bassist Alex Meltzer. And while Brown may have started as Korgy (providing drums alongside his microKORG synthesizer) and Meltzer as Bass, “with the recent purchase of Alex's microKORG and me playing bass lines on some tunes,” the moniker is now “a pretty fluid description of both of us,” Brown says.

Admitting “it's a cheesy play on the title of the musical (Porgy and Bess), I think it also refers a bit to our roots in jazz music,” Brown explains. Brown is known for leading a jazz quintet (he’s released two albums on PJCE Records) as well as playing with the experimental trio The Wishermen and numerous Portland pop acts (like Shook Twins, Alameda and Old Wave). Meltzer on the other hand shares the stage with the pop- and jazz-inflected singer-songwriter Coco Columbia plus the hip-hop group Two Planets.

Art by Micah Hummel and design by Avi SinkinArt by Micah Hummel and design by Avi SinkinBut together the pair form an instrumental duo that indulge their love for sample-based hip-hop music. Experimental in nature, they’ll run with any workshopped sample or rhythmic phrase that catches their ears “and see where it goes,” Brown says. As “huge fans of hip-hop music and beat makers, the art of sampling is very important to us. Also, I think that we are trying to incorporate the complexities of jazz music into the sampling process by experimenting with rhythmic structures and phrasing.” Influenced by Mark Guiliana, Squarepusher, J Dilla, Flying Lotus “and many, many others,” their first offering to the world is a two-track digital single simply titled EP Vol. I out on Cavity Search Records on June 24.

Self-recorded and -engineered, it was Brown’s “first real dive into mixing and producing—a fun and difficult process,” but the hard work means the pair “have something now that is truly our own”—with a little help from Dana White at Specialized Mastering doing the mastering.

The result is one silky-smooth cut prominently featuring guest vocals from Coco Columbia (“She has a very perceptive intuition, especially with recorded music, so her input and singing on the track fit the vibe perfectly,” Brown describes), and a purely instrumental, hip-hopped jam highlighting some satisfying twists and turns.

As for the future, “We have talked about having guest vocalists and instrumentalists on a lot of our upcoming tunes (making us more of a production team) while continuing to create and develop our own duo sound,” Brown says. In that vein, you can expect EP Vol. II to feature Two Planets emcee Dusty Fox plus “more sampled, odd time, psychedelic beat music sure to get your head and body swirling.”

Till then, don’t miss the pair’s EP release show on Wednesday, June 22 at the Alberta Street Pub with Catherine Feeny and Chris Johnedis.

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