Akello Light
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Akello Light

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"Lavender Ticklesoft: Oracles of Dimensions"

The month's most idiosyncratic release has to be Oracles of Dimensions, a mystic “co-production” by Lavender Ticklesoft and the better-known Akello Light (Richard Leak, a North Carolina native who issued Green Tea Mint on Inner Current a while ago). Created using a digital 8-track recorder, the ethereal collection, whose concept concerns a human being accepting death and then ascending to new heights of spiritual awareness, might be summed up as left-field, space-age head-nod filled with sparkling keyboard melodies, tinged with soul and jazz flavour, and overlaid with Lavender's off-kilter rhymes.
It's a curious project in at least two regards: averaging two minutes apiece, the release's ten downtempo tracks weigh in at approximately twenty minutes; and every one of the slow-moving tracks features a laconically drawled voiceover, with the words—stream-of-consciousness musings—delivered in an uninterrupted and sometimes multi-layered form. In some cases (for example, “Nows-Later Exchanged,” where the gentle refrain “the way you touch me” contrasts sharply with the track's beat clangour) soulful vocalizing (at times in a style reminscent of Cameo's Larry Blackmon) appears but it's clearly secondary to the speechifying. Certain tracks (such as “Venus Sleepover”) get a boost from the swing and snap of hip-hop beats, while the appropriately tripped-out head-spinner “Hippie Chicks” nicely augments its vocal drawl and beat snap with drifting flute accents. Though over quickly, Oracles of Dimensions sticks in one's memory, in large part due to its oddball character. I can't recall having heard anything quite like it before - http://www.textura.org/reviews/lavenderticklesoft.htm


Since the release of the incredible Foreign Exchange debut album, Connected,
transatlantic musical collaborations are no longer unique due to the
wonders of the Internet and technology. Even less unique is the
introduction of these collaborations via music discussion message
boards where unions of this sort take root. A new entry in this form of
sonic partnership is the duo of MC/Poet 72 Soul of Belgium and
Producer/MC Akello Uchenna (based in North Carolina) to form the group
Transcending Project and the release of their solid but often rote
debut, Change. Armed with a low-end sampler, 8-track and a PC,
Uchenna provides 72 Soul (and himself on just a few tracks) with
production that would be best categorized as “downtempo” – however
there is a strong element of Hip Hop present. 72 Soul’s poetry tends to
waver between relationships, life struggles and even promiscuity. After
a brief intro, the disc leads off with “Expand Contract”, a jazzy
head-nodding platter complete with lush guitar samples and dizzying
well-placed vocals stabs which allows 72 Soul’s soft spoken poetry of
expanding and contracting to lay right into the groove of the track.
“Gigolo Soul” is more of the same, but this time piano loops provide
the foundation for the track. On both offerings, 72 Soul’s voice is
quite understated, which makes sense as none of the tracks are meant to
rock the speakers or the club. The best track on the release, “Hot Is
Cold”, is more of a straightforward rap verse from 72 Soul and Uchenna
again keeps it quite jazzy. This can be seen as both the strength and
weakness of the disc. The lack of musical variation and the obvious
fact that this was done separate of each other rears its head often on
the songs. The songs themselves seamlessly weave into one another but
they do not vary quite enough in tone thus rendering the disc into a
pattern of sameness.

tracks like “So Easy”, “What Path” and the excellent “Voices” round out
the disc and are definite standouts. There is a strong emphasis on the
vibe and vocal pairing with the music which makes this record perfect
for a lounge or coffeehouse setting. However, if this project has
releases set in its future, crafting stronger and more layered tracks
would hold the attention of the casual fan much more effectively. - http://dev.okayplayer.com/reviews/old-reviews/transcending-project/

"Akello Uchenna: Green Tea Mint"

Akello Uchenna's Green Tea Mint
severely blunted full-length features eighteen short cuts assembled
into a patchwork collage of jazz samples, spoken word segments, soul
vocalizing, phone recordings, film excerpts, MCs, and smoked hip-hop
beats. The recited passage in the “Intro” leaves little doubt about the
sensibility involved: “Ever since the first hungry caveman
unsuspectingly discovered a large patch of earthy-tasting little
mushrooms … mankind has imbibed, inhaled, ingested, injected, and
anally inserted substances known to cause seriously altered states of
consciousness…” (check out how woozily the melodies waver in the
lurching “Life Goes on Forever” while lilting voices echo through the
haze in “Are We Still Here”).

As the
title “Through My Collection” suggests, Uchenna liberally draws upon an
entire library's worth of samples (Joseph Cotton in Citizen Kane,
among countless others) but his constructions are hardly random (check
out the carefully-assembled weave of voices in “Communicate” where an
angry female profanely spits out something about anti-Christ, Lucifer,
and Lucifer's Child while a singer murmurs “Amazing Grace”). The
album's bolstered considerably by a number of hook-heavy, MC-based cuts
(“I'm a Be Me,” “Communicate,” “The Ho is Mine”) plus there's boom-bap
funk (“Dancing with the Mystery”), and soulful hip-hop (“Hugs for
Everybody”). An instrumental vignette of jazzy hip-hop (“Interluded”)
provides welcome relief from the dense swirl of voices, beats, and
samples. It's a seriously great collection but often hilarious too (one
Springer-like segment in “Through My Collection” includes this
jewel by an irate woman: “I have a recipe for you; okay, it's called
‘kiss-my-ass sandwich,' and you know what the ingredients are? It's
your crusty lips on my black ass.”) For those seeking points of
reference, Green Tea Mint perpetuates the venerable tripped-out tradition of Prefuse 73's One Word Extinguisher.

June 2007

- http://www.textura.org/reviews/uchenna.htm


Green Tea Mint LP (2007)
Oracles of Dimensions LP (2010)

Dublab has played my music



New Space-Age Hippie using cheap/lo-fi equipment to vibe with other “Beings” from other “Worlds”, sums up the music this odd-non earthly makes. Free-jazz, left-field hip-hop, porno soul, sunshine pop-folk, deep house, and just non-human beats (Beat Tapes) are sounds passed among his crew of Andy Warhol type peers to relax, chill and bug-out to. With a few LP’s under his name, Akello is finally set to release a gang of music recorded at the low-key spot “Avalon Studios” on different labels. Go to (keepdrafting.com)