Polarity/1
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Polarity/1

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"Review of CD Speechless"

Polar Levine, a/k/a Polarity/1, has been making textural music for roughly 20 years, creating an intriguing plate of jazz slapped with interference, loops and found noise. … The splicings are far from random -- Levine knows exactly what he’s doing and why… I love the fact that Polarity/1 uses several live musicians instead of relying exclusively on samples; saxmaster Michael Blake is particularly adept at his craft. Levine succeeds in his mission of forcing you to pay attention and not lull into the sounds you “expect” to hear. However, the result is even more effective if you enjoy without reservations the sounds you hear instead. - StarPolish.com


"Album Review (staff review) of CD, Speechless"

It's all too easy to slot instrumental electronic albums into neat little subcategories. Exotic world music instruments with heavy dance beats? "Tribal techno," right over here. Jazz soloists playing over synthesizers? Go stand over there under the sign that says "acid jazz." Brazilian rhythms mixed with lazy electronic billows? Um, okay, let's call you "electro-nova." This obsession with assigning slots to everything is a huge part of what makes newcomers and non-fans dismissive of the style as a whole: clearly, the records must actually be fairly interchangeable once they're categorized. That's definitely not the case with Polarity/1's Speechless, which is a big part of what makes this such an enjoyable release. All of the above elements are to be found here, occasionally within the same song, along with the clever, rhythmic use of found-speech samples and a wider variety of arrangements than usual, ranging from '70's-style fat slap-bass ("Blues For Chucky," "The Sumo Glide") to more abstract soundscapes built of cut-up rhythms and pealing saxophone solos ("Land O' Debbies"). It may not be easy to categorize, but with its inventive rhythms and wide-ranging choices of instrumentation, Speechless is thoroughly entertaining.
- iTunes


"Review of CD Speechless"

Polarity/1 is the brainchild of NYC composer/producer/visual artist Polar Levine, who when not making music, is running his own little spin of web subversion, with PopCultMedia In it's entirety, Polarity/1's "Speechless" immediately strikes you as a lost soundtrack to some latenight & long forgotten acid trip. An electronic soup of beats, retro, tribal, and fragmented house peppered with bits of incoherent, nanosecond splices of altered speech snipits, off-time breaks, and unrecognizable audio from way back when, in pop cultures collective consciousness. As a sample in one of the tracks states, "If you don't like the music, go out and make some of your own.", but, chances our that you will dig on this funky little electro unit. Highly recommended. Download the track and buy the damn CD already.
- TheRecordIndustry.com


"Best Electronic CD Nomination"

Polarity/1's CD Speechless was was nominated Best Electronica album by Just Plain Folks, a music site that covers music from 85 countries in over 60 different genres of music. John Hollander has choreographed four tracks from Speechless for New York's Battery Dance Company's fall season opening in November 2006. The CD has been remastered and was recently re-released. - Just Plain Folks.com


"Polarity/1 All Over Broadjam's Charts"

broadjam.com has placed eight Polarity/1 songs in their Top Ten categories including Best Song All Genres, Alternative, Electronic, Experimental Electronic. Four of those have placed #1 in their respective charts. - broadjam.com


"Review of Song"

for full text: www.polarity1.com/fcwd10a.html

“Di Hard” is a medium tempo groove with rapped and sung vocals, everything done by Polar except for exquisite backing vocals by Scott Parker Allen and Sabina Sciubba. The song, taken from the Polarity/1 CD “Yankin’ The Food Chain,” is a comment on Princess Di’s demise, the role of the media, and the times we live in, serious without becoming sentimentalized or preachy.

We’d like to hold this track up as an example of several successful techniques: Vocal treatment, drum programming, track building, using eq as a dynamic tool — do we have all day?

Polar doesn’t jump from effect to effect, he knows how to “work the line like a good fisherman works the catch.”His drums are very sparse and standard at first, but he gradually adds more percussive elements, some of them defying traditional description, that build to a complex pattern, increasing the tension of the song where needed. And when he goes back to the basic kick/snare pattern, it’s no let-down because that pattern alone holds up well. Again, he doesn’t give away what he’s about to do, and when the change occurs, it feels right because the song demands it.The song has so many segments, from sparse to complex, that it reads like a book. Tension, release, suspense, it’s all there, yet none of the quieter moments feel weak, they are part of an overall plan that simply works.
- Recording Magazine


"Review of CD Yankin’ The Food Chain"

He's an artist with attitude, a musician with mishigas, and a creator with a consciousness. Polarity/1 (Polar Levine) is a musical force unleashing some of the hippest beats and timely lyric on the scene. Never heard of him? No surprise. Some of our best musicians have to struggle to be heard especially when the ideas they are struggling with matter. Who else takes on the testy relationship between blacks and jews with such honesty, affirming the common bonds that are often frayed in a song called "HOWL." In "News Goo" Polarity/1 fires off a hip hop attack on media mergers and censorship of what matters. Sample line: "So where's the news of a people left out?/ Put a camera in my face to hear me shout/But they don't want to hear what I shout about."(You can hear this one on media channel.org, the global eye on media site--in the media reader representing 480 affiliates). But Polarity/1 doesn't stop with safe subjects....His "Di Hard" looks at the Death of our late lamented Princess skewering both her media whore obsession and the disgusting attention paid to her by the paparazzi (and the men who hire them)

I lean to the more timely newsy songs but no one is left out--the music is strong and the subjects varied. He'll be yankin' your chain if you let him. And you will be better for it!
- MediaChannel.org


"Review of CD Yankin’ The Food Chain"

Chuck U. here. A friend of mine dropped by my show with a copy of the News Goo CD that he got at the Media and Democracy conference. It's way wicked cool, and I played 4 tracks of it on the air in the course of my 2 hour show. I would love to put it into heavy rotation in the course of the up-coming Friday nights. The name of my show is No Censorship Radio. — Chuck U., WMBR Boston - WMBR-FM, Boston


"Article on song "No More""

Junoon's Musical Plea: No More Terrorism by Vatsala Kaul

Amidst all the tributes to 9/11 victims, comes one from an unlikely country - Pakistan. Junoon, the Pakistani band that rocked the Indian charts inâ98 with Sayonee, have just released an empathetic 9/11 tribute, No More. Composed by lead guitarist-songwriter Salman Ahmad, the song is based on a poem by a New York musician, lyricist and journalist, Polar Levine.

As the twin towers collapsed, dust collected in Levine’s apartment 10 blocks away. Blocked off from home, he choked on the realization that along with charred plastic and crushed concrete, he was ãinhaling firefighters, police officers, cafeteria workers, secretaries and executives· Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists, heterosexuals and homosexuals.ä He wrote a poem about it.

Ahmad was personally affected by the 9/11 attacks. New York city had been his childhood playground: “...where I saw my first rock concert, first bought a guitar, joined my first garage band, first kissed a girl.ä After listening to a Junoon concert at the Tribeca College, two blocks from Ground Zero, Levine entrusted his poem to Ahmad. He admired Junoonâs seamless merging of American rock with South Asian music and their multicultural makeup (lead singer Ali Azmat is Pakistani and Brain OâConnell, bass guitarist, an American). “After the Karachi suicide bombings and the threat of a Indo-Pak nuclear war, I came up with lyrics and melody to go with Polar’s lines,” says Ahmad.
No More may be Junoonâs first English song, but its concern over terrorism, grief and hope are themes they have sung for over a decade in Urdu and Punjabi. They were the first band to perform at the UN General Assembly last year. Ahmad has also written to the Indian and Pakistani governments, requesting permission for a Peace Concert at the LoC.

Will peace remain a dream? Perhaps. But Junoon are willing to chase it with roses, not guns. 
- Hindustani Times


Discography

ELECTRONICA (instrumentals): Speechless, Heavy Meadow (as Audioplasm - a duo consisting of Polarity/1 and Rubio)

SONGS: Prettier Than You, Yankin' The Food Chain

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Photos

Bio

Polarity/1 (Polar Levine) has been hooked on music since age two when he discovered rock, swing and salsa. By age 15 he discovered Bob Dylan and, preferring the early recordings, starting playing guitar and writing political songs. The songs soon grew weird appendages as they came under the influence of Brazilian music, jazz (Coltrane, Sun Ra, Dolphy) and fusion (Mahavishnu, Weather Report), Japanese Gagaku and African drumming.

While living in Boston in the 80's he discovered Cage, George Crumb and Laurie Anderson which kicked in a period of composing purely abstract soundscapes for multimedia performances and theater. He also did music for commercials and TV show themes.

After moving to New York he got groove again. After a few years of playing percussion in samba bands at S.O.B.'s and other venues, Polar landed in hip hop which combined his interests in grooves, samples and wordplay into one form. He and rapper D.A.V. became Medicine Crew. In the aftermath of 9/11 Polar was asked to do a remix for Nile Rodgers' We Are Family Project released on a compilation by Tommy Boy Records. His experience of 9/11 which was perpetrated in his neighborhood led to a collaboration with multi-platinum Pakistan rock band Junoon resulting in their hit song 'No More'. Since 1999 he's been recording CDs and composing music for films. In 2003 he created, with drummer Curtis Watts, Battery Drumline -- an all-kids samba school. His political songs have been played regularly on Amy Goodman's sindicated Democracy Now broadcasts and other politically-oriented radio shows. Polarity/1's CD Speechless was was nominated Best Electronica album by Just Plain Folks, a music site that covers music from 85 countries in over 60 different genres of music. John Hollander has choreographed four tracks from Speechless for New York's Battery Dance Company's fall season opening in November 2006. The CD has been remastered and was recently re-released.

In 2007 New York's Battery Dance Company choreographed four of his compositions and will tour with the work later this year. His served as Music Supervisor, scored and wrote songs for the film In Debt We Trust, directed by Danny Schechter and has just completed work another film for Schechter.

Currently Polar is creating a multi-media/performance installation that he hopes will tour internationally. In the coming year he wants to get more involved with composing and licensing for film and theater is will soon put together a new band.