Jaimeo Brown Transcendence
Releases Music Video for "Be So Glad" From
Critically Acclaimed Sophomore Release Work Songs
Album Available Now via Motéma Music
Watch Video Below for "Be So Glad"
"'Work Songs' is one of the most exciting, experimental,
and important albums set to drop this year." - VICE
"... compelling music that feels very of the moment yet has
potent historical roots." - Wall Street Journal
At a time where it feels like history is repeating itself and the world has lost its way, drummer, composer, educator and activist Jaimeo Brown asks, "What is important?" For Brown, the answer is to tell the unheard stories in the name of those who need them. To tell the stories of life and the human experience. To tell the stories of the forgotten: to honor the workers and the music of their lives.
On the track "Be So Glad," from Jaimeo Brown Transcendence's breakthrough sophomore album Work Songs (available now on Motéma Music), Brown and Chris Sholar (the production team that comprises Jaimeo Brown Transcendence) sample inmates from the Parchman Farm Prison in Mississippi in 1959. "Be So Glad" is a prime example of common repetition in work songs creating a type of mantra that changes the feeling of labor -- a vehicle to transport people from the high walls of despair to personal awakenings of freedom. The duo teamed up with prodigious animator and filmmaker Fons Schiedon for a truly compelling video that captures the emotion and theme of a spiritual breakthrough in the midst of struggle. See below for a full artist statement from the team:
About Collaboration and Process
It was clear that we were looking to combine and reference elements from different eras and genres. And we share a preference in working quite organically, combining high end technology with tactile, DIY methods. We wanted to make sure to not lose the humanity in production, while while also trying to maintain a sense of "imperfection" within the filmmaking. If you want to make a comparison: the crackling sound of the old chain gang sample in the music for me relates to the turbulent noise of the snow storm in the video. There's emotionality built into elements like that.
We were actually hit by a freezing snow storm while shooting. It could have been reason enough for cancelation, because it made things so much harder. But instead we feel it gave our endeavor more pertinence and provided a visual rhyme that was a real gift. You can't control circumstances like that, but there is a choice in how to act on it.
Concept for the Video
The main motif of the song has a very strong connotation of pain and suffering. But in the way the song evolves, it provides an escape from that into a state of transcendence, of new hope, to a way of coping. That's the emotional basis that we wanted to touch on. And doing that without being too literal. We felt the need to leave a certain breathing room for interpretation, because when you want to speak of hope, a certain level of distance helps to make it more universal.
Fons always looks for a narrative structure, and found that the song essentially accommodated three acts. You start with the almost hypnotizing sample of the chain gang song, that expresses a sense of being locked in a status quo. Then it gradually loosens up and builds toward this transcendental stage, which is expansive and explorative, it's an escape. The screen literally opens up and the material world is deconstructed and reformats itself in a continuous flow. At the end we come back down again to the former structure, but with a transformed, maybe more hopeful perspective. That's the journey: through the struggle in the storm, to the part where form becomes free and transformative, up to the end when it's a new dawn.
History, art, technology, the future... this video perfectly captures the themes that are at the core of Transcendence.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Meek
About Jaimeo Brown Transcendence
Jaimeo Brown Transcendence is the product of long-time collaboration between Brown and co-producer/guitarist Chris Sholar (who won a GRAMMY® Award for his work on Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne). Both emerging from a generation that appreciates the jazz in hip-hop, the artists with whom this duo has collaborated with speaks for itself. Brown, as drummer, has sat behind the skins for Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Q-Tip, Carl Craig, Kenny Garrett, Geri Allen, and Bobby Hutcherson, among others. Sholar's work as guitarist and producer has spanned the likes of Beyonce, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest, Robert Glasper, D'Angelo, Just Blaze, Common, Dr. Dre and more.
More than just music, Jaimeo Brown Transcendence is a movement, a moment, and an imperative: home to a variety of collaborators and contributors, from different eras and across the globe. Work Songs is a call to action, a call to transcend: transcend traditional limits of creativity; transcend oppression; transcend to come together through the essential humanity that unites us. Work Songs samples the unknown laborer, the jailhouse, the coal miner, gandy dancer, and stonemason. The album resonates with echoes of protest and rhythms of a call to freedom.
Borne of oppression and sung in conditions of hardship, the music is visceral but inherently uplifting. It weaves the present through the past to the future, teaching us how to transcend an immediate suffering through strength and mutual support. "The music of Transcendence, on a social scale, allows us to reach out to communities and help restore culture and identity. Work Songs tells powerful stories of perseverance and human ingenuity," explains Brown. "Tales of enduring communities through song, from African-American slaves to the stonemasons of Japan. These songs paint a picture of struggle we still feel today."
In search of new sounds, Work Songs deftly weaves together the acoustic and the digital, connecting jazz and classic blues with contemporary rock, hip-hop and electronic music. Inspired equally by the beats and samples of J Dilla, Dr. Dre, and DJ Premier, and the raw eloquence of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Art Blakey, he found shelter in creation: the epicenter of his spiritual awakening.
Jaimeo Brown Transcendence · Work Songs
Motéma Music · Release Date: February 12, 2016
For more information on Jaimeo Brown, visit: JaimeoBrown.com
For more information on Chris Sholar, visit: ChrisSholar.com
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