November 21, 2012


Max Bell is spending Thanksgiving at the Shore.

With the torrent of highly credible hip-hop that rained down last week (if you don’t have Reloaded and Rare Chandeliers, you have one more week before I put you at the top of my list for the annual “Airing of Grievances” during Festivus) and Thanksgiving one day away, there seems to be, if I can misquote a lesser known Woody Allen flick, “a paucity of veridical talent” in terms of music this week thus far. Sure, French Montana and Fashawn dropped mixtapes the other day. But I haven’t picked out every food reference Bronson makes on his tape, and I’m stil deciding if a genetically engineered spawn of Montana and Fashawn might be more entertaining than either of its parents.

So, needless to say, I did some digging. And, as with almost all digging adventures, it was well worth it. After hours of ill fated World Star wormholes (those twerk videos will get you every time), I stumbled upon DopeGems. Yes, that is the band’s name. Coincidentally and not so ironically, they’ve managed to craft two dope gems.

Their 7′ inch “Journey to the Shore,” which was released on the Finnish label Traveller Records (check out their group Combo De La Musica if you want some soul) about a month ago, is on the serious acid jazz/funk fusion tip. It’s equal parts Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd. Side A is, of course, the title cut, “Journey to the Shore.”And everything about this five minutes of brooding, yet playful, jazz/funk is working. The track starts off fairly mellow, with some deft drumming and perfectly placed vibraphone, almost cradling you in a deep groove, before launching into one of its many funk/fusion explosions, complete with some nice slappin of da bass and classic funk guitar riff. Peter Klaven would approve.

The B-side, “Quasar,” is also worth all five minutes of your time. It opens with a big Blaxploitation crescendo and then brings things down for another moody and meditative suite. For me, it’s exactly what I hear when I see Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” Well, that or Miles’s “Blue in Green.” Decisions. But after the first two minutes or so, the track breaks into a much more spaced out and funky place as Yragael Unfer lays down some ill vibraphone. Personally, it takes me outside “NightHawks” and has me looking up for the Mothership.

But enough words. Check the tracks below the jump as I wonder what a collabo between DopeGems and Roc Marci would sound like.

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