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Black Market Brass- Cheat And Start A Fight

Black Market Brass- Cheat And Start A Fight

$ 15.00

Side A
Side B
Bonus Cassette (includes MP3 download card)
One of the incredible things about recorded music is its ability to travel across time, space, and cultural boundaries. The story of Black Market Brass and their debut album, Cheat And Start A Fight, is a testament to that miraculous feat. Recorded in 2015 by the 12-piece instrumental band, the album is heavily inspired by the sounds of West African popular and spiritual music from long ago.

Founded in Minneapolis in the spring of 2012, BMB came together when two guitar players discovered each other's almost identical Craigslist ads aimed at starting a funk band influenced by, among other things, the sounds of Fela Kuti, K Frimpong, and King Sunny Ade.

Over the next three years the band would relentlessly rehearse, fine tune, and develop their deeply powerful sound. What started as a funk band playing obscure covers eventually blossomed into a creative collective of musicians that writes, arranges, and performs original music that builds on the sounds of Nigerian Afrobeat by tastefully blending it with other styles. As time passed, the band cycled through players and material before arriving at what would become the permanent lineup and their signature sound.

In 2013, Secret Stash Records released BMB’s debut single to critical acclaim within the collector and DJ communities. The bible of all things funky, Wax Poetics, declared the record to be “Heavy Nigerian Madness.” Flea Market Funk raved: “This is some authentic music right here people, recorded in the United States. Inspired by the likes of The Funkees, The Black President, and Moussa Doumbia as much as James Brown and The Meters, this Twin Cities dozen (and sometimes more) is shoveling out their musical path with their unique sounds.” The entire pressing quickly sold out, as Secret Stash shipped copies around the globe while BMB sold copies from the stage after shows across the Midwest.

Two years later, after almost non-stop gigging and rehearsing, BMB finally tracked their debut album at Secret Stash’s new recording studio in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Cut live in one room over three days, the recordings jump out of the speakers with an energy reminiscent of the band’s celebrated live shows. “This music needs to be recorded live,” says BMB guitarist Hans Kruger. “Every time we play, there are little connections being made between a couple of the musicians. The bass and drums might lock into something that the horn players don’t consciously know about. But while that’s happening, the horn players might find their way to some new interpretation of their parts. You would lose some of that if you went in and tracked everything one at a time. There needs to be room for collective improvisation.”

The album’s title, "Cheat and Start a Fight”, and some of the songs on the album are heavily influenced by Yoruba bátà music, as taught to conga player David Tullis by Chief Muraina Oyelami in Iragbjiji, Nigeria during the summer of 2012.

In Yoruba culture, bátà drums are thought of as “talking drums” because they can roughly imitate the contours of their language through the use of various tones and accents. Imitating speech, extended drum lines can be thought of as sentences. Groups of sentences can be thought of as a poem. This drum language draws on a vast repertoire of ancient proverbs called oriki. "Cheat and Start a Fight" is the first line of an oriki poem titled “Yannije.” In addition to being the album’s namesake, rhythmic and melodic patterns found in specific oriki poems form the basis of two songs on this album, Moon King and Half A Cig.

From start to finish, Cheat And Start A Fight is laden with endless polyrhythms driven by intricate percussion, intertwined guitar parts, and rock-solid bass and drums. Atop that complex backdrop, the members of the 4-piece horn section, anchored by copious amounts of baritone sax, revel in their ability to effortlessly float back and forth between almost militaristic precision and ultra-loose, sometimes free-jazz inspired playing. The result is a strange sort of booty-shaking party music with a dark, heavy, almost post-apocalyptic undertone. It’s Afrobeat with heavy doses of psychedelic textures and feelings.

While BMB is undoubtedly part of today’s Afrobeat revival, make no mistake about it: Cheat and Start a Fight stands on its own as a unique work that the band hopes will help further the development of a musical genre they love, respect, and cherish.

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