Saturday, February 4, 2017

Giggin' with Mike Swift

Da Mad Scientist

    A while back, I conducted an interview with an artist who I now consider one of the most innovative and genuine musicians I have had the pleasure of speaking to. Koobaatoo Asparagus, hailing from the Bay Vista area of San Diego, keeps his artistry pure. He has no concern for fame or accolades, instead focusing his energy entirely on his creations, which are spontaneous and outside of the box. This incredibly prolific artist began his musical journey creating experimental DJ mixes, under the alias DJ Mike Swift, back in 1990, and after hearing them, his influence on artists who came later in the San Diego rap scene is clear. 

    He went on to become a beat maker and rapper, recording the underground classic Android Masters in 1996, alongside Masters of the Universe alumni Zombie619er. After a brief stint as an in-house producer for LaFace Records, he made the decision to move away from sampling and, instead, began creating his own compositions. It was during this period, in the late 90s/early 2000s, that Bomedybeats was born. A staggering amount of material was recorded, traces of which are scattered over the internet, all of which displayed the new, unique sound he had created, firmly rooted in funk. He began crooning over his beats, and worked with a wide range of artists, such as Young Mantre, J Sharpe and Young Reef.

    Following a drug induced revelation, Koobaatoo reinvented himself yet again, deciding to focus his talents on positivity and to follow in the footsteps of the master of sound exploration himself, the mighty Sun Ra. He began experimenting with circuit bending, and eventually discovered "harsh noise wall," a genre which is reminiscent to the white noise of a fan in it's composition and therapeutic qualities. Since that shift in his approach and views on sound, Koobaatoo has recorded literally thousands of experimental noise albums, occasionally recording beats and funk tracks when the inspiration hits him.

    With this write up, I wanted to highlight a few of his more recent projects, which remain impossible to label but contain traces of funk, pop, soul, hip-hop, and a healthy dose of electronic experimentation. Due to his spontaneous approach, these recordings hold a similar tension and release structure to many free jazz recordings, and are far from easy listening. Their beauty lies in the moments when the chaos turns to order, and Koobaatoo's genius stares you in the face. As the man explained to me, "In the long run, you either got it or you don't. So just like Sun Ra, when I'm recording, if I mess up, I keep recording. I want to get it over with, put it in the archives and move to the next song. You have some cats who be like, 'Nah, put that back. Take that out. Put that snare in.' You lose creativity and it becomes homework. So I'm always spontaneous and whatever I make, I put it out." So sit back, smoke something, and listen to one of Sun Ra's disciples taking yet another journey into the land of unfound sound.

    Also, stay tuned for updates regarding the upcoming Android Masters project, Anunnaki Brothers, as well as some collaborations between Zombie619er and Tranzformer. Both Koobaatoo and Zombie will also be featured on the upcoming beetbak cassette tape compilation, which will be sold alongside a magazine containing all the interviews on beetbak plus a handful of write ups, the proceeds of which will be donated to our good friend Jean in the Front Row. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment