Kudu
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Kudu

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


August 2001, p. 78-9. Lots of track acts have tried against all odds to pass themselves off as capable live performers, with notoriously pitiful results. The members of Kudu aren’t trying to make dance tracks—they’re writing songs, wich they fully intend to perform live. Their eponymous debut album isn’t littered with misused samples, skill-masking delays, or breakbeats just for the sake of them. At the heart of these nine jazz- and funk-inflected songs is real musicianship, resulting in an original, stand-alone album—no need for a 12-inch of remixes to substantiate its existence. Singer/basswist Sylvia Gordon has a beautifully controlled, musky voice which smacks of equal parts Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holliday, while drummer Deantoni Parks can shift between intricate jazz and drum ‘n’ bass patterns instantly, with a metronome’s accuracy and no studio help (all his parts are live). Keyboardists Nick Kasper and Peter Stoltzman round out the quartet, adding the keys and effects which give Kudu its place in the electronic landscape. From the jazz ‘n’ bass of “Temptation,” to the gently funky “Tell Me A Bedtime Story,” to the atmospheric album-closer “Force of Nature,” Kudu is unique, stylish, emboldened work. After lots of empty promises, American electronic music finally has its real band. - Kerri Mason


Discography

On label Velour Recordings (www.velourmusic.com):

Kudu - Self Titled CD (2001)
Kudu - I've Been Hit 12" (2001)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Imagine a fusion of Betty Carter, Sara Vaughn and Erykah Badu and you begin to arrive at the sultry vocals of Kudu’s singer/lyricist/bassist Sylvia Gordon. With a smoky strength that rings out all sawdust and honey, Sylvia sings the songs of empowerment, scorn and love. Her brooding lyrics, strong melodic sense and entrancing stage presence make her the perfect front woman for this original New York City group, which has been causing a sensation at live appearances all over the Northeast.

The band is anchored by the mind shattering drumming of Deantoni Parks. Imagine a human rhythm machine who plays with a jazz drummer’s touch, but also possesses the rhythm, raw speed and creativity present in the best of DJ-produced cuts. Deantoni’s drums are live. Whether he’s defying the laws of physics with a barrage of drum-n-bass style snare patterns or laying down a pocket so deep that his bass drum literally shakes the floor, Deantoni enables Kudu to weave effortlessly through various musical landscapes.

Kudu’s innovative sound is rounded out by the dual keyboard attack of Nick Kasper and Jeff Bhasker. Surrounded by a virtual fortress of keyboards, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether they are charting the ocean bed in the control room of a submarine or creating the ambient vibe that rests at the heart of Kudu. Jeff is a sonic texurist capable of stealing your breath with explosive bursts of sound, while Nick is just plain nasty. He shifts from thumping hip-hop bass to crystalline piano runs, and then adds a touch of the cosmos with some screaming sci-fi analog keys, always keeping it sparse for Sylvia to glide.