Latest tracks by EarthRise SoundSystem
EarthRise SoundSystem: Remixes are Songs Too!
Three years after the release of their debut album, "The Yoga Sessions", EarthRise SoundSystem returns with a collection of remixes they have created for other artists -spanning the sounds of India, Morocco, Jamaica, Nigeria, Colombia, Egypt, Mali and Tunisia. Rolling off of the success of The Yoga Sessions—which was featured by ABC, the NY Times, Boston Globe and Yoga Journal, and reached #5 on the iTunes World charts—this Harlem and Los Angeles-based collaboration by Duke Mushroom and Derek Beres arrives in advance of their second full-length album, to be released this Summer '13.
Remixes Are Songs Too is based on the duo's philosophy that a remix should be treated as an original piece of music; each song features entirely new orchestration and musical composition, with numerous live players featured throughout. 'Remixes are often one-dimensional grooves that do not progress as songs,' says Beres. 'Ever since our first, we treat each as an original piece of music. Our goal is to make the listener feel as if we created the original song.'
'Remixes have evolved into self-sustaining works of art—re-productions, if you will,' says Mushroom. 'Behind every great production, there has to be a great song first. The fun of this process for me has been revealing the song through a different lens, be it rhythmic or sonically.'
Africa is the highlight of Remixes Are Songs Too: Nigerian legend Femi Kuti's political war cry, 'Demo Crazy,' is taken at half-speed with a live saxophone solo by Sylvain Leroux, who also adds fula flute on EarthRise's 6/8 dance track, 'Sun People,' originally recorded by New York City DJ Nickodemus. Label mate The Spy From Cairo finds his Arabic dance banger, 'Jennaty,' taken into Balkan territory with a heavy Brazilian beat. Malian guitar great Vieux Farka Toure is treated with a Nyabinghi riddim on the spacious version of 'Sarama.' The duo spends to North Africa on the blazing dance version of Novalima's 'Se Me Van,' which flips a Colombian song with Bedouin beats, and again on their percussive-fueled take on Bombay Dub Orchestra's 'Egypt By Air.'
A few originals emerge: 'Labyrinths' was featured as the theme song of the documentary film, DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The haunting track features Carol C, lead vocalist of New York City Latin electronica outfit Si*Se, as well as Yemen Blues on back-up vocals, Dave Eggar on cello and Rachel Golub on violin. Emcees Srikala and Nadhi Devi join in on 'Metaphysical Fitness,' EarthRise's new take on one of their older tracks, 'Rama.'
Sticking close to their yogic roots, MC Yogi's anthem, 'Be the Change,' is cut like a vintage '60s reggae track, with a booming bass line and seduced riddim. Yogi returns to guest emcee alongside Srikala and Devi on the hip-hop devotional track, 'Govinda Fly,' sung by Jivamukti Yoga co-founder Sharon Gannon. A remix of Canadian producer Eccodek's 'Silent Song' makes for a perfect yoga practice soundtrack, with its trip-hop, dubwise vibes.
For this duo, music is a political and social tool as much as one for dancing, and this new collection shows their wide-ranging sonic aesthetic. Beres recalls DJing an event for US soldiers and veterans at a New York City megaclub. 'In the middle of the set, I dropped a few Middle Eastern tracks; everyone was dancing, having a great time. They had just returned from a war against the land and people that produced this music, and yet it moved them on a level perhaps they didn't understand.'
'I love and live to use music in breaking down barriers,' says Mushroom on EarthRise's cultural mashing. 'Music is truly a universal language. If the urban-dwelling soldiers fighting in Iraq had been exposed to traditional Iraqi music, they would have found a common thread in the predominant and extremely funky use of the 'Dance Hall' beat. When we dance together, we stop fighting.'
When EarthRise SoundSystem's Derek Beres and David "Duke Mushroom" Schommer first joined together to remix a song by popular mantra singer Deva Premal, they set out to create a new paradigm as to what 'yoga music' meant. The result was a percussively rich, organically spacious and dubby soundscape. This approach laid the foundation for their full length album, The Yoga Sessions (Yoga Organix / White Swan Records: January 1, 2010), a collection of 21st century electronically inspired yet organically grown original music that will redefine one's notions of "yoga music."
Beres knows well from his five years of teaching yoga at Manhattan's Equinox Fitness what his students crave musically: bass. Enter Duke Mushroom, whose award-nominated album, Bole 2 Harlem, merged Ethiopian sounds with New York City rhythms. As EarthRise SoundSystem, Beres—a longtime DJ and influential music journalist—and Mushroom—a producer, writer, and performer who has played on over 50 records in the past two decades—united their experiences to create an album that moves people from the inside out, a quality apparent throughout its twelve dynamic tracks.
"Throughout the process of recording The Yoga Sessions, Derek's creative input, through his first hand knowledge of what music moves a class, as well as his skills behind turntables, were the missing links for taking my production concepts to the next level," says Mushroom. "Going into the studio was a natural progression of our club performances. That process offered us a window to the future: that we could create original music and use this basis of DJ/drumming to bring it out live. The result is a record that eclipsed both of our expectations and desires."
Community has formed the core of all facets of Derek and Duke's work, and this record is no exception. The Yoga Sessions features performances from a diverse selection of vocalists and musicians, all part of the EarthRise Network: Verve Recording artist Lucy Woodward, Pharaoh's Daughter founder Basya Schechter, Universal France artist Morley, Idan Raichel Project's Lital Gabai, Hindustani leanings from Yoga Organix label mate Go-Ray, Moroccan Gnawa offerings from Hamid Boudali, and the soulful stylings of Daniel Dworkin—as well as instrumental performances by two-time Canadian Music Award winner and Juno nominee Eccodek, tabla player Dave Sharma (Sub Swara), and guitarist Shahar Mintz (Meta and the Cornerstones).
"Yoga, in modern American culture at least, is not only about the refinement of the individual," says Beres. "It's also about the community that it has created. Ever since hearing Bole 2 Harlem, I was a huge fan of Duke's music production, his keen ear and refined taste. He pulled from many sources without appropriating any specific cultural sound, creating a completely new sound along the way. As our friendship deepened and we starting performing live together, it became apparent that this project—creating music appropriate for the yoga we practice today in our culture—would blossom."
Beres and Mushroom agree that the music that best represents American culture is global in both form and intent. During the fourteen months spent creating The Yoga Sessions, EarthRise SoundSystem was commissioned to be the architects of a number of remixes for the likes of Bombay Dub Orchestra, Watcha Clan, Nickodemus, Vieux Farka Toure, Novalima, Laya Project, and MC Yogi. They have also previewed their tracks to critical acclaim throughout the NYC club scene with their energetic performances. Their trademark songs, rooted in melodic, prominent bass, layers of percussion, and an organic, acoustic instrumental makeup, have moved dance floors outwardly and yoga studios inwardly.
One thing is for certain: this is not your guru's yoga music. This album was not only designed to work inside the yoga studio—following the arc of a class—but also in your home, at a dance club, or at a lounge after work. EarthRise SoundSystem has created an album that speaks to the 21st century world, unique and welcoming to anyone that tunes in.
"EarthRise Soundsystem is raising the vibration of the earth." MC Yogi
"A deep, moving and organic sonic adventure for the mind, body and soul." Pathaan [BBC/Worldwide]
"A beautiful piece that weaves rich percussive and harmonic elements from around the world, while maintaining a low end theory and crispness of NY boom bap." DJ Center