Tel Cairo
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Tel Cairo

Sacramento, California, United States

Sacramento, California, United States
Hip Hop Trip-hop

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Auto-tune. Gimmicky slang. Derivative drivel. Do you ever get that feeling sometimes like you want to take your radio by the throat and then start to strangle? Well, hold off for a second. Or at least wait until you’re done reading.

Tel Cairo’s Cameron Others (vocals, samples, keys, programming, guitars) understands your pain—that violent feeling associated with radio music, that little twitch you get in your trigger finger, which is why he aims not to duplicate the over-duplicated body of drudgery that plagues the airwaves; he simply intends to create sounds: the sound of lying next to someone in the dark, beating heart to beating heart; the rushing noise of wind and rain; skateboards scraping against concrete. So, of course, Others music is familiar, but it’s unexpected. In essence, Others emulates the sounds of a life lived, full of prolonged beauty with spots of fitful insanity.

Of course, without structure, these sounds would be unrecognizable. 7evin—a producer, remixer, DJ (a master of placing samples into soundscapes, like a hypnotist might place suggestions into the minds of fools)—harnesses sounds in a way that’s recognizable not only to the human ear, but also to the human heart, and most importantly to the human brain. He gives structure to the unstructured, the unstructurable.

Both 7evin and Others combine their talents, meaning that they switch off instruments, fill in sonic holes, breathe life into dead melodies and do whatever it takes to shape Tel Cairo into a breathing entity of its own. It’s a true collaboration, from the process of ideas to the process of completion. The result is a form of music for smart people. In other words, the duo makes beats that dullards won’t enjoy. Tel Cairo. It’s music that’s hard to pinpoint. At times there is a tinge of post-punk angst, often tempered by a soulful funk that allows the listener to take deep breaths of the atmosphere—think lo-fi mood-hop in the spirit of Gorillaz with the intensity and conviction of The Mars Volta. Take, for example, Tel Cairo’s “Illicit,” which features the dynamic talents of Mahtie Bush & Stephany Barber; it’s a DJ Shadow meets Nas masterpiece that redefines genres while showing listeners that music doesn’t have to be formulaic. On the flipside, the down-tempo ballad to love lost, “Twelve Paths Toward Movement” (featuring rapper Tais and Sister Crayon’s Terra Lopez) is a hooky, measured meditation that evokes a purity of emotion—at once melancholic, reflective, yet full of attitude and strength. Tel Cairo challenges the listener in every way imaginable, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to be challenged by a band.

So, that feeling—remember it? The one like you want to strangle your radio? Just stop. Brace yourself. Go limp. And, yes, prepare to get strangled. And here’s a hint: The strangest part about getting strangled by Tel Cairo is the subsequent feeling that you might actually enjoy it.

~Josh Fernandez / Spin.com/ Sacramento News & Review