The Doctor’s Orders
Blitz The Ambassador
feat Embassy Ensemble &
The Stepkids (Stones Throw)
Spin Doctor & Charlie Dark
Wednesday 3rd August 2011
@ Cargo Courtyard, 83 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3AY
(Old Street Tube)
£5 in advance (£8 on the door)
A blindingly bright clarity drives Blitz the Ambassador. With a spot-on sense of flow, he name-checks Basquiat and Lumumba, evokes lovelorn sighs on Accra buses, émigré alienation, history’s shadows. All set to swirls of brass, distorted guitars, and the crackle and pop of old amplifiers.
With a lightning-fast mind, the political boldness of Chuck D, and the sixth groove sense of Fela Kuti, Ghanaian-born, New York-based MC, composer, and producer unleashes psychedelic Afrobeat colors and triple-time rhymes with a sound clearly born in Africa but honed on New York Streets.
Blitz grew up when the fierce promise of Afrocentric, intellectually discerning rap was at its peak. In the Accra of his youth, the golden age of Hip-Hop lived on long after rap began to go (Dirty) South in the U.S. Blitz and his brothers and friends became avid fans of groups like Public Enemy, one of the few major Hip-Hop names to tour Ghana, memorizing raps verbatim to impress the cool kids at school, studying the flow of masters from Rakim to Q-Tip.
Surrounded by a profusion of other music in Accra, from the highlife swaying at a nearby soccer field to the kora and drums played for chiefs and sub-chiefs. Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, and local reactions to rock and funk all made their mark, spinning on the sometime unreliable family record player.
Stone’s Throw Records’ latest discovery The Stepkids are a psych –soul outfit that have drawn comparisons to Rotary Connection & Animal Collective fusing Soul, Funk, Punk, Jazz & African Rhythms into a psychedelic sound for the 21st Century.
All three members write, sing and engineer their sound as one with a focus on the whole. “What excites us about this band is this band itself; it’s about creating an entity where the entity itself is what’s important.”
Having all cut their teeth on the East Coast Jazz / R&B Scene they have all individually recorded solo projects, score movies, share stages with the likes of Alicia Keys, 50 cent & Lauryn Hill but is as this collective with a common purpose and unified voice that they are set to take the world by storm as The Stepkids step into the spotlight.
Tonight presents an opportunity to hear two of the most modern and fresh acts to hit London for a while. With both having such unique takes on such established sounds this is the chance to look into the future’s exciting re-interpretation of the past.
Blitz The Ambassador Press
"The snaking grooves and homesick diaspora blues on this album interweave elements of Afrobeat, Hip-Hop and jazz into an organic patchwork of slick rhymes and dub basslines, sparkling guitars and shimmering brass (....). An album whose understated charms slowly insinuate their way under your skin" - Uncut Mag UK
“Blitz - and his band, the Embassy Ensemble - pack a brilliant fusion of styles. You can hear late-80s Hip-Hop alongside contemporary African soukous and highlife, as well as echoes of Afrobeat artists such as Fela Kuti and Papa Wemba" - Guardian, UK
The Stepkids Press
“With echoes of Rotary Connection, Free Design and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band….[this is] a beautiful and timeless piece of contemporary psych-soul” - DJ
“The overall effect being rather like Animal Collective had dispensed with the earnest and started wearing denims that are wider at the bottom than they are at the top” - Drowned In Sound