Q*Ball
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Q*Ball

| INDIE | AFTRA

| INDIE | AFTRA
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"CD Baby Magazine"

Electro-pop, with fantastic production and intelligent arrangements.
Q*Ball is one of those one-man bands, a guy who writes, designs and plays everything on his own CD - kind of like Prince or Moby. 'Q*Ball In Space' is a pop record, there is no doubt about that. BUT this CD ventures into all sorts of other directions - at times it is light and danceable, and at other times dark and heavy. Electronica meets groove meets rock all at a really cool party in the Hollywood Hills. Listening to the CD, I am faced with images of a melding between early White Zombie and old B-52's. That sort of strange combination is one of the many reasons that this CD is an attractive addition to any pop lover's collection.
- Mark Roemer


"Altar Native"

On the streets, New York City’s Q*Ball may be noticed for his shiny bald head. On stage however, the uni-named artist is likely be noted for the barrage of rump-shaking beats he belts out. And on his debut, Q*Ball In Space, Q brings to the table an arsenal of up-tempo electro-dance tunes laced with catchy pop hooks on tracks like the opening “Get on the Bus,” where Q’s U2-on-Ecstasy style simmers to a boil. “Bus” sits somewhere between stage and rave. “Chew” exhibits quirky synths and funky guitar riffs, while ghostly echoes linger around “Edith.” The ambient hues of “Hey DJ” simmer in slow-footed rhythms that are the dance side of rock and the rock side of dance, with Bumblefoot’s electro-rock guitar style. Q’s off-the-beaten-path lyrics come from a different universe, one that’s warped yet accessible at once. “Who stole the riff from Queen and David Bowie?” Q asks on “Get on the Bus,” an obvious knock at Icebaby man himself Robert Van Winkle. “Not me, but right now I think I’m feeling like some ice cream.” With the various flavors and textures on “In Space,” one can bet it’s Neapolitan. - Omar Perez


"Extended Playhouse"

You could be forgiven for experiencing a certain amount of incredulity when the artist is introduced as “an intergalactic space ranger who moonlights as a go-go dancer in the seedy nightclubs of Madagascar. His line of merchandising looks to someday rival Krusty the Clown’s (t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and even lollipops bearing his image are only the beginning), and the announcement of the release date for the music these items promote was made with “great pleasure, relief and elation.” After hearing Q*Ball In Space you tend to believe in all of it. The biography is no less plausible than the origin of the average American Idol contestant, and unlike them, Q*Ball isn’t kidding himself.

The 12-track self-released collection is refreshingly clear and modern sounding, reflecting elements of Zooropa-era U2, Gregg Alexander, and some vocal similarities to a post-Notorious Duran Duran. The arrangements are not oversaturated with keyboards and synths the way many off-major groups do on their first albums. This restraint is commendable and allows room for some unexpected pleasures. Dreamlike tracks like “Hey DJ” and “Beautiful” seem to be taking up where groups like The Beloved left off, and a more overtly techno-driven piece, “Chew,” pulls off the guttural with verve.

Q*Ball’s vocals are well suited to this material. He reaches the high notes in “Beautiful” and “Hey DJ” without any difficulty and does Bono’s vocal more smoothly than Bono has since the days of U2 being playful came to a close. “Get On The Bus” could be U2 in an alternate timeline where they decided not to kowtow to post-yuppie American “fans” whose tastes are frozen to the era when Reagan roamed. These are well-crafted pop songs even if the lyrics are mostly perfunctory, seldom reaching beyond what they’re required to do in order to propel the music along. There could someday be a place for Q*Ball in thinking (wo)man’s mindless pop, so it’s a good sign that slower songs like “Beautiful” are more carefully worded.

The disc’s theme, “Q*Ball In Space,” is without surprise, and an instrumental, “Edith,” is ruptured by an injudicious choice of sampling. These few flaws are easy to overlook. Q*Ball In Space is a charmer in spite of what might first seem to be merely a gimmick. He’s more Duck Dodgers than Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space. With our without the space gear, Q*Ball and his crew have delivered.

- Rodney Griffiths


"Music Morsels"

Q*Ball In Space is an apt title for this debut album by Q*Ball, that laces electronica, alt rock and retro psychedelia with vocals and lyrics whose influences range from Bono to Zappa. The frenetic "Get on the Bus" pulses with a near house music power, while "Candle Wax" has a twisted funky groove. "Chew" puts intelligent lyrics into a dance music vibe. Another innovative band trying to bring music into the future by holding onto various roots, combining them with a futuristic insanity and a healthy dose of instrumental talent. - Sandy Serge


"Aiding & Abetting"

A delightfully crunchy elektro-industrial confection. Q*Ball is lucky enough to have Ron Thal (a.k.a. "Bumblefoot") as a co-producer and guitarist, and so his songs have a decidedly rock base. Which is cool, considering that his beats are so light and fluffy. The electronic side of the sound is cute and bouncy, quite the counterpoint to Thal's thick and heavy riffage. The combination might take a moment or so to really sink in, but it works.

If you want pure Q, check out "Chew." That's the airy side of his personality. The rest of the disc trips toward the experimental and heavy, but never without losing the sense of fun that I've always liked in Q*Ball's music. Say, a song called "Edith" that samples Jean Stapleton's warbling of "Those Were the Days" from "All in the Family." That one is pure slamming dance floor heaven.
I hear a lot more different ideas here than I did on the shorter set I reviewed a while back. That's good. It means that Q*Ball is still challenging himself, finding ways to make his music even better. He's learned that the moment you stop growing, you stop living. A lesson we can all take to heart.
- Jon Worley


"Indie In-Tune"

You’ve got to hand it to NYC electro-geek Q*Ball, as not many one-guy operations have the potential of actually getting somewhere with heavy use of light-speed hardcore breakbeats; that he’s able to build undeniably catchy Duran Duran-like pop over jungle whiplashing is testament to… well, something, perhaps his guesstimated vision of the future’s music market. Label-mate Bumblefoot gets half the credit here, though, taking charge of an array of guitars and bass that add real depth to the record. Comparatively, this would be Linkin Park after a Frankie Goes to Hollywood bender, with Q*Ball’s voice taken right out of the Tears For Fears era and reeking of nasal spray.
- Eric W. Saeger


"Flagass Radio"

Q*Ball wears his shame on his sleeve. It could be easy to peg his obsession with hair loss as a compensation for years of dealing with an exceptionally shiny visage, but his new LP, Fortune Favors the Bald begs for more. The Brooklyn electronic artist seems to share the compulsion to continually point out his bald head with the equally fervent need to fill a void in music today. His records, equal parts twee-pop, new wave, industrial avante-house, and late 80s prog rock, reach for something to set a shudder in the deadening heartbeat of mainstream music. A bit of displacement & alienation, then, may characterize much of Q*Ball’s sound. Maybe that’s why his first album is called Q*Ball in Space (2002), or maybe it’s just because he looks like Frank Black wearing a NASA helmet.

With proclaimed overseas guitar impresario Bumblefoot as a co-writer & all around studio buddy, Q*Ball ruffles through three decades of electronic music & mainstream pop, translating his love for legendary acts into an accessible approach to what he sees as a waning presence of electronic music in today’s scene. Q*Ball in Space is bloated with the energy of Basement Jaxx & the dedication of Nine Inch Nails. Bono & Morrissey crawl through his anthemic vocals, & the Chemical Brothers pepper his beats. Is there even a bit of “Weird” Al in “El Disco?” Now, with Fortune Favors the Bald, Q takes a logical step, upping the ante of influences to include Moby, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Kraftwerk & the pretty pastoral noodlings of Dntel or Mum.

Q*Ball in Space’s titular track opens with a pre-paunch checkup: “Fuel? Check…Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Check.” Fortune Favors the Bald backs up that claim as Q packs more than ever—and more, gasp!, sexiness than ever—into his powerhouse of obligatory sonic history. Bumblefoot proves himself, once again, an essential piece of Q*Ball’s lofty plans; the guitars are thicker, the vitriol is more potent, & the incessant tribute to Buckethead is interesting.

If you like your U2 rattled & your Bjork secretly groped in the backseat of a Nissan, Q*Ball has a lot for you. Check him out & help him buy a hat.

- Dom Sinacola


"Connexion Bizarre"

Q*Ball's music is basically mainstream-friendly Pop. Rocking & very 90's in feel, but also markedly influenced by 80's Synthpop with some winks to Funk & Disco from the 70's. Maybe this doesn't seem like a recipe for something very innovative, but the end product sounds optimistically refreshing.

Fortune Favors the Bald, the 2nd album from this NYC-based electro-pop musician, is one of those occasional gems of good music that proves that there is good, interesting pop music being made. Pop music that isn't pretentious, shallow tripe, but that actually has some depth & feeling, as well as being uncompromising party music. Despite the music being essentially electronic-based, it is not "mechanical" at all, & Q*Ball could well pass as a "normal" pop band. Not forgetting the importance of good mixing/mastering, there is obviously real talent here as far as programming and sequencing go. The music is further enriched by Bumblefoot's guitar & bass guitar work.

From ballads to party tracks, Q*Ball's conviction & enthusiasm permeate every track on this
album. Lyrically, it is simple & direct without being simplistic, whether the songs deal with deep emotions or are "just" party tracks. An interesting feature of the lyrics is the very tongue-in-cheek "cult of the personality", as there are a few songs markedly focusing on Q*Ball himself as a character and not just his opinions. The vocals may not be exceptional, but are quite adequate to the songs, making them extremely catchy (an important point in any Pop song) and surely don't lack any feeling.

Picking individual tracks is a bit hard, but there are a few that do stand out. "El Disco" comes
to mind as the club anthem in this album, closely followed by the title track. "Brock Thurmon, P.I" comes across as a bit of an oddball track (pun intended) but is somewhat interesting & very 90's. Not immediate hits, completely Pop tracks tracks like "John Hughes" & "Showcase" are also worthy of mention.

In a way, in addition to being good music, the whole ensemble of Fortune Favors The Bald has a certain teenage high-school "coolness" naiveté (if there ever was such a thing), a feeling and attitude like that of the 90's cult TV series "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," but with a bit more kick. "Coolness!"

- Miguel de Sousa


"Smother Magazine"

More tongue-in-cheek lyrics expound themes that many wouldn't be brave enough to tackle - like in "John Hughes" or "Who Said Chivalry Is Dead? (Not Q*Ball)." The title track is a frenetic fast-paced jumper with little time left to breathe. Ever since I introduced you to his music, I've been keeping a close eye on a guy who expands the musical horizons with his songwriting skills and should be the rightful owner of the "Best New York City Musician" award, if there were such an award. Aided by producer and fellow musician god Bumblefoot, "Fortune Favors the Bald" ups the ante a thousand-fold and other like-minded techno-pop artists will be green with envy. Fantastic. Oh yeah - and he sent a nice lollipop with the CD and Mr. Owl told me it'd be three licks, but it was only two. - J-Sin Shawn


Discography

This Is Serious Business (2007 Bald Freak Music)
Fortune Favors The Bald (2005 Bald Freak Music)
Q*Ball In Space (2003 Bald Freak Music)

Photos

Bio

Q*Ball was born of one Brooklyn-based bald man's love of electronic music. As a huge fan of 80's synthpop (Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears), 90's industrial (Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie), & experimental pop/rock (U2, Faith No More, Radiohead), young Q decided to put together musical ideas in a cost-effective way, incorporating the sounds of all his favorite bands. Besides making quality music, Q has always had the business side of the industry in mind - finding new ways to market & promote, creating a new style, & following the path of the true Do It Yourself artist. Q*Ball music draws comparisons to the ethereal sounds of Moby, the vocal stylings of Bono & Mike Patton, the 80's funk of George Michael & Prince, and an eclectic array of more popular acts like Beck, the B-52's, & Duran Duran.

Q*Ball, in defiance of the corporate, pre-packaged, American Idol-era of music, started his own label in late 2005, Bald Freak Music, to release his own albums, as well as those from other artists who would otherwise be ignored because they don't fit the major label mold & preconception of what a "pop band" or a "rock act" should look & sound like.

Q*Ball's partner-in-crime is Bumblefoot, best known as Guns N Roses' new guitarist. Bumblefoot's long & heralded career as a guitar impresario, his ability to immerse himself in any project he becomes part of, and his amazing ear for music makes him the perfect foil for Q*Ball's quirky keyboard arrangements. You may find Bumblefoot on stage wielding a guitar resembling a winged foot, or a block of swiss cheese. But it's Bumblefoot's production skills & songwriting contributions that are the secret weapons on every Q*Ball album.

Q & BFoot hooked up in the late 90's & have made beautiful music since the release of the debut Q*Ball album, Q*Ball In Space in 2002. Since then, Q*Ball has licensed songs with MTV, Bunim-Murray, Red Bull, UPN, & more. Satellite & internet radio play soon followed, as well as live performances with everyone from Gavin DeGraw to Mya to Splender. Q*Ball has performed, guest DJ'ed, & organized events in which independent musicians have performed to raise money for worthy charities like Musicians on Call, the MS Research Foundation, & Children's Specialized Hospital of NJ, raising thousands of dollars for charity & giving great indie musicians the exposure they deserve.

Q*Ball's albums, This Is Serious Business, Fortune Favors The Bald & Q*Ball In Space are available online at CD Baby, Amazon.com, iTunes, Rhapsody, & Napster!