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3-Poem Collaboration with Ezra Letra—Sugar Mule Literary Magazine

One of the highlights of the spring-to-summer was my poetry collaboration with Ezra Letra. The artistic process was all about vibing in the moment: conversation, beats in the background, impromptu gestation, lyrical flow. 

Ezra Blog Post 2

We threw lines, traded stanzas, peeled layers, and passed the “Pepsi” on the left hand side.  

Ezra Blog Post 4

It was an honor working with Ezra, a brilliant MC and burgeoning poet who is claiming his mark, from Queens to AZ. 

Ezra Blog Post 3

Linda Lynch “Crevice” Pastel pigment on cotton paper 22 1/4 x 30 inches 2013

Proud to have our three poems published in Sugar Mule Literary Magazine alongside our good friend Rae Joyce

Ezra Blog Post Poems 1

Long Live Collaboration. And Long Live Ezra!

Publication Notes: “Rio Bravo,” “Breaths From the Fifth House,” and “Photobomb a Shutter” appear in Issue #47 of Sugar Mule Literary Magazine. Special thanks to Felino A. Soriano and Isaac Kirkman, the initial inspiration for “Breaths From the Fifth House.” “Photobomb a Shutter” is dedicated to the memory of Kim Pham. 

 

Daylight Savings Time (Track #7 of Lit Hop): Quartz QZ Collab

Heavy the clock hands, you just crossed over into…

YouTube Promo Image - Daylight Savings Time

Just released “Daylight Savings Time,” Track #7 of Lit Hop. This song signifies collaboration, everything that’s good about working with another artist—in this case, the multi-talented Quartz QZ. An up-and-coming rapper from Long Island, NY, Quartz breathes a fresh lyrical flow reminiscent of hip hop greats such as Nas, MC Lyte, a lil’ Missy Elliot in between. 

Quartz Blowing Heavy Lyrics

“Sicker than goo gop that got Orange is New Black tongues coming” – Jamez Chang on Verse 3 of Daylight Savings Time

With a Style All Her Own.

From her ReverbNation page: “The purpose of her lyrics are to guide you to another time and place; to share with you a piece of her story, the story of her family and friends, and the story of everyday people.”

And that’s what this song’s about: measuring the heavy clock hands of a 9-to-5 while nurturing the demands of something more precious: the artist within. 

Reverb Nation Pic

Ranking in the Top 10 for Hip Hop/Rap at REVERBNATION

Had the funnest time hanging out & vibing with my friend Quartz QZ. Much lucid conversation. Much Respect.

Publication Notes: 

Daylight Savings Time – Quartz QZ & Jamez Chang
A hip hop collaboration between 2 rappers writing the heavy clock hands.
Produced by The Cratez
Mixed by Quartz QZ

Available on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/jamez-chang/daylight-savings-time
YouTube: http://youtu.be/BKUIruJy7zc

http://www.reverbnation.com/quartz
http://www.jamezchang.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheLastAncients
https://www.facebook.com/hiphopisntdead?ref=br_tf

Release Date: 8.26.14
Track #7 of Lit Hop
© 2014 Quartz QZ & Jamez Chang

Zhi Gambo (Track #6 of Lit Hop): Sequel to Balboa?

High fructose corn syrup’s a hell of a drug! 

It was a long time coming, between tracks 5 & 6, but it was definitely worth the wait. Mainly because we didn’t rush the process. Secondly, cause I’ve been doing other things besides music, besides writing, even beyond the editing.

I’ve been doing my best impersonation of James Spader! Word is—borne on this old photo, Dameius says he used to picture me more as a Spader than a future MC. I’d like to think I fused the best of both worlds!

goldrushers

Goldrushaz: Jamez, David, Tumaini, and Mindy

Conversations, improvisations, Alexander Technique. Telling stories and living them in NYC, Summer 2014. “Zhi Gambo” tells the adolescent tale, one a player-by-design, the other a hip hop hippie. Over 25 years later, it all comes down to VIBE.

Take a listen inside.

me and coolz

Jamez Chang. Dameius Cooley. Back in 6th Grade.

Publication Notes:

Special thanks to Producer Beatsmith Medore for laying down the patience & musical artistry on this track. Much respect to The Last Ancients brother Ezra Letra for creating the amazing cover art. And a healthy shout out to Isaac Kirkman & Cliff Brooks, powerful writers in their own rites of passage. See you in Jasper, brother Cliff! Most of all, righteous renovations to the talented Dameius D. Cooley, the most charismatic cat at Boa and beyond. Peace! 

“Bottled Water” Appears in Thrush Poetry Journal—May 2014

So focused on the musical comeback and my work with The Last Ancients that I haven’t been posting as much, especially on the poetry/flash fiction fronts. But this graphic poetry collaboration with artist/writer Rae Joyce (aka, Rachel Fenton) deserves a few words.

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A panel from the graphic poem “Bottled Water,” by Rae Joyce (aka Rachel Fenton) & Jamez Chang

Bottled Water” was created through conversation. Similar to the two PANK poems (April 2014), this work explored process, ways in which a poet/artist can be honest, self-referential, even transparent without succumbing to the worst of literary sins: being boring. And it certainly helps when the dialog is fresh, when discourse does challenge.

A half dozen partnered poems. A half dozen that got picked up. But the real reward isn’t in the publication, but instead in the staying open—all hours. The Things We Carried? Moments not Bottled up: water, razor blades, swimming practice, shopping cart lives.

Publication Notes: Much respect to the Editor-in-Chief of Thrush Poetry Journal, Helen Vitoria, for taking a chance on this piece. She’s an amazing poet in her own right, so check out her latest collection!

Balboa (Track #5 of Lit Hop): 10 Days of Process/Promotion, Feb. 25—March 6, 2014

I reconnected with elementary school friends to release a song called “Balboa.” Below are the 10 Days of Process/Promotion I did on Facebook to pay tribute to the “players” on the track. 

DAY 1 (February 25, 2014):

balboa day 1

I had the best time working on a song called “Balboa.” (Day 1 of 10)

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

Had the best time attending this school. In a place called “Balboa” we elementary-school kids discovered music & literature, learned to love poetry & play. Socco plus square-dancing snuck in there too. But over the years, a lot of us simply lost touch, as life so demands. Busy making plans.

“Balboa” reunites 8 grade-school friends in a hip hop flurry of samples, singing, pizzicato, & signature phrases. We’ll be promoting the song for 10 days straight, introducing original artwork to viewers/listeners on Days 2 through 8. But don’t worry, your News Feeds will be happy. 

For Track #5 of Lit Hop, I really wanted to use an #ArtFirst, process-based approach, from the first note to the classmate communication to the last promotion. In other words, these posts will try to add value, or beauty, or at least a modicum of fun. That’s our intention.

And now to the “our”: Special thanks to the other 7 Balboaites on this track: Dameius D CooleyNicole Yaro-GoodGaleet DardashtiSandy Margulies GoldfarbJenny Chew-MitchellWendy Doling, and Jay W. Lee. A big shout out to visual artist Erie Chang and engineer/3-D animator Jeff Kyle. Much respect to The Last Ancients‘ Beatsmith Medore (co-producer) for treating me like fam. And for all the lit heads in the crowd, bound for Seattle—AWP…

…Away We Play,
Jamez

DAY 2 (February 26, 2014):

Dameius D. Cooley

“On a Ship to Balboa” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

If Biggie Smalls were alive today, he’d sound like this. Dameius D Cooley at 2:04, on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 2 of 10)

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Dameius today (still livin), who had the charisma, kindness & attitude that I’ve tried to channel through the years.

“ON A SHIP TO BALBOA” – The first of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#DameiusMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 3 (February 27, 2014):

Nicole Yaro-Good

“Painting with My Hands” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

Nicole Yaro-Good was one of the few kids who could stand in front of the classroom, grab your attention, then sustain it. The girl had presence. Still has it. So glad her voice graces the chorus-hook, on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 3 of 10)

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Nicci today, whose bold attitude and rich voice got even better over the years.

“PAINTING WITH MY HANDS” – The second of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#NicciMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 4 (February 28, 2014):

Galeet Dardashti

“Silver Buttons” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

Galeet Dardashti entered Balboa in the 4th grade, but by the time she left, it felt like she’d been with us all along. We knew she had a great voice, but who could’ve predicted Galeet would be touring the world, releasing albums, bridging cultural gaps, and teaching courses at NYU. Smart kid then. Brilliant now. Check out her singing on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 4 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Galeet today, who draws inspiration from the musical & cultural landscapes of the Middle East, highlighting unsung Biblical women who lived there.

“SILVER BUTTONS” – The third of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#GaleetMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 5 (March 1, 2014):

Sandy Margulies Goldfarb

“It Was a School of Magic” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

Sandy Margulies Goldfarb was the child actress in our school who we’d forget was the Child Actress, simply because she acted like one of us. Smart & smiling, Sandy Margulies is the name you can’t help but feel good about, saying aloud. She begins and ends the narration/spoken word on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 5 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Sandy today, who brought cheer and kindness to her peers. And maybe a dose of magic.

“IT WAS A SCHOOL OF MAGIC ” – The fourth of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#SandyMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 6 (March 2, 2014):

Jenny Chew-Mitchell

“Testing 1, 2, 3” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

The coolest voice I’d ever heard growing up came from a girl named Chew. Jenny Chew. I heard it in my very first class at Balboa, in a classroom taught by Toy. Mrs. Toy. I’d later share a 4th-grade class with Jenny, and we’d hear a Mrs. Boxer curse-out a pronoun…Part of the magical ride through elementary includes these fairy-tale names & sonic flashbacks, of which Jenny Chew-Mitchell is an important part. Jenny’s voice can be heard at 3:31 on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 6 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Jenny today, whose been great at staying in touch with some of the class over the years. Maybe her friends miss hearing that voice, which has evolved into sort of a Demi Moore/Kelly Kapur-from-“The Office”-hybrid (which is dope!).

“TESTING 1, 2, 3” – The fifth of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#JennyMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 7 (March 3, 2014):

Wendy Doling

“Wendy Mars” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

I told Wendy she needed to get into Francis Ford Coppola, “Go check out The Godfather”—our many conversations in Sixth Grade. Wendy Doling was one of the easiest people to talk to, still is, and just had a gift for sizing-up a situation. A social observer with a laid-back presence. Wendy’s music-box piano intro sets the tone on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 7 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Wendy today, who had a quirky vibe that I can now identify as CREATIVE.

“WENDY MARS” – The sixth of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#WendyMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 8 (March 4, 2014):

Jay W. Lee

“Perfect Storm” by Erie Chang & Jamez Chang © Erie Chang 2014

We called the Lees our Favorite Family. Jay W. Lee and his little brother, James, would come over the house over 200 times during my childhood. He knew all my secret crushes, knew the girls interested in me (…for some reason, I read their little love letters aloud after we played IntelliVision & Top Secret). Knew about Laura P; even heard the “song” I’d later write for a girl named Naomi, much later in 7th grade. Jay was there when I decided to dress like Don Johnson for 2 months in 5th––deck shoes, no socks, pounding pavement & moving targets on the socco court.

I guess you could call him the closest thing to a confidante an elementary-school kid could have. He and a kind kid named Scotty––my besties. Yet in the middle of 7th grade I lost touch with both of them…’til now, 25 years later. It’s an honor to re-connect with the good doctor, an old, dear friend, who in the 11th hour, completed the perfect storm: cello & sound-checks on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 8 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Jay today, a brother who I’d make watch David Letterman with me on Friday night sleep-overs in elementary. A guy who hid his sense of humor, but had an awesome one at that, now flourishing along with his family and medical practice. Much Respect to the “Perfect One.”

“PERFECT STORM” – The seventh of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers. Designed by Jamez; painted by Erie Chang.

#BalboaSong
#JayMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 9 (March 5, 2014):

"TEAM" Designed by Bennie Lussier

“TEAM” Designed by Bennie Lussier

Beatsmith Medore co-produced the “Balboa” song and is part of the collective The Last Ancients (along with me, Isaac KirkmanEzra Letra, and Clifford Brooks). Medore also represents 3rd Phloor Productions and Kwantum Mechanicz, standing out as a production force in the Underground & Arizona hip hop scenes. And he’s a dude I’ve only known for 7 months (not 25 years…). Our entire crew has gotten past some rocky times to develop a great respect for each other and each other’s art. I’m just feeling grateful that we all stayed the course through the ups-and-downs to develop true friendships, and this collaboration sort of speaks to that harmony. Check out Bennie Beatsmith Medore‘s musical artistry on a track called “Balboa.” (Day 9 of 10).

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU

* Paying my respects to Beatsmith Medore today, a brother who is passionate about music and has the talent-plus-perseverance not only to back it up, but to go pretty damn far.

#BalboaSong
#MedoreMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

DAY 10 (March 6, 2014):

Jamez Chang

“Tesseract” by Erie Chang © Erie Chang 2014

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU (Day 10 of 10)

When I was a little kid, I used to watch “The Price Is Right,” and when it came down to the final 2 contestants during Showcase Showdown, they’d have to decide on a bid for either the car-bar set-matching china-and-microwave OR the trip to Bermuda. I always thought those folks who chose the vacation packages were fools, reaching for something that’d be gone in a week; but the color TV…now there was an object that’d bring decades of comfort. And so I’d scream at the screen, “Go for the Car, you idiot! Big-screen THINGS!”

My artistic intent for the “Balboa” project was to elevate process, the EXPERIENCE over result. While there was always a deadline (Feb. 17), there was also a sense that those conversations with elementary school friends, the brainstorming dialog, the feedback, rough drafts, vibe, artistic growth, those precious memories rekindled through storied recollection, were even more important. Byproduct: The NOW got magnified. By embracing the past, we put the present in high relief, knob 11, and I, personally, began to appreciate those around me, those fleeting moments on surround sound so much more. Started talking randomly to commuters on the bus! Taking more risks…

The #BalboaSong (the commemorative artwork, the 600+ convo thread, the emails, phone calls, facebook chats, music, production, the microphones sent, the friendships delivered) was one big TRUST-fall exercise. In other words, the most important thing for me, as an artist, was to work with people I trusted. Still holds true. That way, all the petty bullsh*t miscommunication/misunderstanding so prevalent in online communication can get pre-empted in seconds. Simply by faith.

And now the “result” (a pretty awesome song and 8 art pieces) almost seems like a pleasant byproduct…because the process was so right, from beginning to end. Last takeaway? Whatever you do, remember to LOVE what you do and show off the two THINGS that never go out of style, whether in Los Angeles or Bermuda:
Much
Respect.
-Jamez

http://youtu.be/Rp2qTVbYhlU (Day 10 of 10)

#BalboaSong
#ErieMuchRespect
#ArtFirst
#BeatsmithLivin
#TheLastAncients

“TESSERACT” – Designed and painted by Erie Chang. The unexpected 8th of seven commemorative art pieces, with the theme of children’s/YA book covers.

Publication Notes: 

A song dedicated to the Balboa Class of 1985. A song in tribute to friendship, learning, and the lasting bonds forged by music.

“Balboa”
Jamez Chang
featuring
Dameius D. Cooley
Nicole Yaro-Good
Galeet Dardashti
Sandy Margulies Goldfarb
Jenny Chew-Mitchell
Wendy Doling
Jay W. Lee

Produced by Beatsmith Medore & Jamez Chang
Released by The Last Ancients
Limited Release for Balboa Friends: 2/18/14
Official Release: 2/25/14
Available on YouTube & SoundCloud

LINER NOTES/PRODUCTION NOTES IN PROGRESS

Mixed & Mastered by Jamez Chang
Vocal Tracking by Jeff Kyle at 2-Elephants Studios;

Photograph Courtesy of Cynthia Cohen

——————————————————————————————-
“Balboa”
Lyrics by Jamez Chang, Dameius D. Cooley, Galeet Dardashti, Nicole Yaro-Good, Sandy Margulies Goldfarb

Bus-stop cheer, Sandy Margulies:

It was a school of magic
It was a place where we learned magic
As we say goodbye for now
We hope to see you soon
We hope to see you soon
See you fighting
1, 2, 3!
To our school.

A-B-C-D-E-F-G
H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P
Q-R-S-T-U-V
W-X-Y-and-Z.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

It pays to find you’re doing good
like your name, last time I saw your face—
to-face, we’d already changed too much
to reminisce on older stuff like Balboa

The school I meant to magnetize
In my mind elementary Wat—son,
Now I get it, Dameius Cooley on my right
To guide me through it.

When a head tilts to the side
When Laura P’s the girl I like
Even though we met in Fraidy Katz
Demolition CRU, me in the library at recess time,
Wrinkle in Time

Reading tesseract by Madeline
Marquardt Court, I sat in
Cursed freely, kickball practice my cry on cue
In the principal’s office, damn that’s when I knew
Balboa.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

Before I was a Yankee or a Conquistador
I was an Explorer
on a ship to Balboa
Not Noah but my pond just grew too
But a brother can’t swim so
What I’m supposed to do?

Wade in the water what the old folks say
So I took a deep breath and I made my way
off the yellow limo
This is not a demo
But can it be that it was all so simple?
Then,
Benetton Friends, Socco no Gym, Mighty 69
x 10

Stood out like a penny
‘mongst the Scotts & Jennys
But my mythology is as good as any’s
So when he reminisce over gods & goddesses
of ’85, I played my part on it’s
all flowin’ back
like this track we on (Balboa)
Token to the boatman (Swim Song)
Peace, I’m gone.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

I made plans
Painting with my hands
Playin’ in the sand
Here at Balboa.

Didn’t mean to miss you like I did
It’s been a while
Never lack of living
Didn’t mean to miss you like I did
‘Course I did
It’s been a while
Seen a lot of living.

Sugar Plum Tree, Jenny Chew:

Testing 1, 2, 3
Sugar-plum tree
Testing 3
Little children (2, 2, 2)
Lollipop sea
Testing
Shore
One
Treasure that rains
Who say
Testing
Jenny’s rain
Stripings of scarlet or gold
Children

Down by the banks of the hankity-panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky

Good little children

Plans
I laid plans
Here at Balboa
I laid plans

Miss Mary Mack all dressed in black
With silver buttons going down her back

It was a school of magic
Where we learned magic

Mrs. Ogawa
Mrs. Ferris
Mrs. Boxer
Ms. Katz
Mrs. Toy
Mr. Friedman
Ms. Rankin
Mr. Dewey

Here at Balboa
Remember when…W-X-Y-and-Z.

——————————————————————————————-

© 2014 Jamez Chang, The Last Ancients

Whirling Metaphysics (Track #4 of Lit Hop): An Artistic Process in Pictures—December 2013

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I used Beatsmith Medore’s “Shawshank” beat from “Free by Choice”

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I based every word on Cliff Brooks‘ book (Kindle Ed.), reading the collection 18 times, so that I could freestyle with near photographic memory—which words I’d be permitted to use. The process was inspired by my TWISTING SIGNS method.

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Artist/Writer Rae Joyce calls it “The Constrained Writing Technique”: Using only the words in the chosen clay (whether municipal sign or poetry collection). And I could only repeat a word as many times as it appeared in the book. For example, the word “scythe” appears only once, so I had to use a word that sounded similar: “sky” (available 9 times for the rest of the chorus).

Honda Odyssey

I called Cliff Brooks inside my Honda Odyssey, put the phone on speaker, played Beatsmith Medore’s track and started rhyming, eBook on dash. When Cliff reacted positively, I highlighted those verses that were hitting.

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Once I got Ka-Son Reeves on board, I tailored the rest of the lyrics (especially the chorus) to fit his painting in progress, “Reap the Whirlwind.”

Vocal Tracking

Vocal tracking at 2-Elephants Studio with Jeff Kyle

Honda Odyssey2

Co-Production: Melody, effects, harmonics, cuts were applied to vibe with the painting. Each draft of the song was bounced back to Ka-Son for feedback. Final mixing & mastering done in…my Honda Odyssey, yo.

Promo flyer

And as a birthday present my wife, Erie, designed this flyer

Publication Notes: Whirling Metaphysics – Jamez Chang (feat. Cliff Brooks)
Available on YouTube & SoundCloud
Produced by Beatsmith Medore & Jamez Chang
Artwork by Ka-Son ReevesRap lyrics based on:
“The Draw of Broken Eyes and Whirling Metaphysics”
by Clifford Brooks
http://www.cliffbrooks.comSong inspired by:
“Reap the Whirlwind”
36″ x 24″
Acrylics on canvas
http://www.artofkason.comwww.jamezchang.com
http://www.soundcloud.com/beatsmithmedore
http://www.facebook.com/TheLastAncientsRelease Date: 12.16.13
Track #4 of Lit Hop
Vocal Tracking by Jeff Kyle, 2-Elephants Studios
Mixed & Mastered by Jamez Chang
© 2013 Jamez Chang, The Last Ancients

“Brothers Pi” Featuring John Pursch: Track #3 from “Lit Hop” Album—December 2013

I wrote “Brothers Pi” while watching my daughter stand up on the couch…

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…to tell me a story about a fox. A talking fox. Who travels, meets birds, gathers the brothers, goes to the village and gets rejected—”It’s Not For Us”—and how he “felt really weird.”  In her world, I guess I’m the fox, and it just might be that my 7-year-old picks up on more conversations than I ever imagined. Her entire story, every single word—improvised. 

The poet John Pursch provides a hypnotic chant of the number Pi, which he’s actually memorized to thousands of digits. Mental calisthenics for the poet mathematician. I discovered this talent when Isaac Kirkman and I met him at Epic Cafe in Tuscon, AZ earlier this year. Pursch told us his life story, the stuff of “experimental poetry,” and proceeded to rattle off hundreds of numbers in sequence, lulling our ice teas to a comfortable stupor. That was August 4, 2013, the day I knew I’d be revisiting this soft-spoken free-stylin’ auctioneer. Awesome feat.

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Jamez Chang, John Pursch, Issac Kirkman at Epic Cafe

John Pursch and Ezra Letra at Pursch’s home. Photo by Teri Pursch

I got Pursch’s vocals, months later, but it was Ezra Letra who would meet with the poet again, this time on his home turf.

The beauty of art is that with each different form of expression the work takes on new meaning, as it’s reinterpreted by the artist. So when Ezra agreed to direct a music video for “Brothers Pi,” I gave him full reign to interpret the song on his own terms. And he did a fantastic job, showing how patterns are intertwined in nature and the artificial world, emphasizing the meditative qualities of Pursch’s recitation. Kaleidoscopic shapes, psychedelic sounds. He saw melodies emanating from trees, and so I said, “Brother, pass it over here.” Brothers Sublime.

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Production Notes: 

Available on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/jamez-chang/brothers-pi-jamez-chang-music

Brothers Pi” featuring John Pursch
Produced by Jamez Chang
Music Video Directed by Ezra Letra
Child’s Vocals: Abbie Road
Label/Affiliation: The Southern Collective Experience
Official Release Date: 12.2.13
#ItsNotForUs

Author’s Notes: Intunesia by John Pursch
An experimental poetry collection in which mathematics and wordplay are harmoniously mixed (white sky books 2012).

Visit: http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/john-pursch/intunesia/paperback/product-20120544.html

Director’s Notes: Ezra Letra is an emcee, poet, director based near Phoenix, AZ. He is a member of The Southern Collective Experience and The Last Ancients.
Visit: http://www.ezraletra.com/

Producer’s Notes: Jamez Chang is a poet, writer, and hip-hop artist who co-edits the online journal Counterexample Poetics. He is also a member of SCE and TLA.
Visit: https://jamezchang.wordpress.com/

Special thanks to Cliff Brooks and SCE for their support. 

*Coming 12.16.13. “Whirling Metaphysics”—A hip hop collaboration based on the works of Cliff Brooks and Ka-Son Reeves.

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Hip Hop Roots/Innovation: Ezra Letra & Beatsmith Medore Release “Telethon of Regrets/ A Nobody”—November 2013

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Ezra Letra‘s debut single, “Telethon of Regrets / A Nobody” launched Thanksgiving Weekend, 2013. Watching the video, listening to Beatsmith Medore‘s production, I kept thinking of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” The recollections and linked sections, the experimental interlude—gravitas, ethereal & gritty, but with a dose of irony & optimism. It’s a sublime synthesis of film noir-style sound with Colombian music, hooking back into somber-toned raps. The voice of Ezra is reflective and alive. In fact, the emcee’s flow had me thinking a lit-hop hybrid of Big Pun & Cypress Hill. Mission next: Legalize the street scholar!

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Beatsmith Medore’s work just feels grounded, his beats built and layered with root-keeping in mind, classic Beatnuts vibe, with a DJ Shadow-type experimental touch; organic ambient/environmental samples (storms, traffic, locusts, deep breaths & door knocks) that complement mood; and yes, yes, a dash-style of The Neptunes, laced up for fun!

telethon 2 prep screenshot

Beatsmith Medore – Screenshot from “Telethon of Regrets / A Nobody

The music video, directed by Ezra himself, celebrates place and roots (Queens gets its due) but it also reveals so much about preparation and process. I like this idea of how an emcee and beatsmith both get ready: Ezra brushing his teeth, Medore brushing the vinyl; Ez fitting the cap, the DJ his monitors.

telethon prep screenshot

Ezra Letra – Screenshot from “Telethon of Regrets / A Nobody

The beatmaker is more of an “in-the-dark-behind-the-curtain musician,” whereas, the emcee is prepped for the visual bribe, making himself stand out not only through words but appearance.

A soulful homage. “Telethon/Nobody” looks and feels like a breakthrough track.

Production Notes: 

Release Date: Nov 27, 2013

First single off of “The Nobody EP” produced entirely by Beatsmith Medore
Directed by Ezra Letra

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/EzLetra
http://www.facebook.com/BeatsmithMedore

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/EzraLetra
http://www.twitter.com/BeatsmithMedore

Recorded at The Last Ancients Studio
http://www.facebook.com/TheLastAncients

Mixed and Mastered by Crosswormhttp://www.facebook.com/CrosswormMusic

More TLA: Isaac Kirkman gets epigraphed and also appears in cameo. Jamez Chang is featured in the intermission skit as record executive “Sebastian Yee.”Cliff Brooks‘ “Draw of Broken Eyes and Whirling Metaphysics” also appears in the music video.

The Last Ancients

“Circling the Flame” by Meg Tuite (Produced by Jamez Chang)—11.11.13

Ever give up on a dream? I did…with music…

Top: Promotional Flyers, 1998; Bottom: Album Kick-off in Japan, 10/14/98

Top: Promotional Flyers, 1998; Bottom: Album Kick-off in Japan, 10/14/98

It took me 15 years to learn the lesson that it’s not politics first, fame first, success or breaking stereotypes. It’s #ArtFirst.

Today, I’m happy to release the first song I composed & produced in over 15 Years (10/14/13 was the rap comeback).

It’s the second step (Track #2) on a lit hop journey that’ll take me through Oct. 14, 2014, as I release 12 songs in serial. The tracks will feature literary talent in some capacity, whether a sampled voice (Rae Joyce on “15 Years,” previously) or a full-on story (like Meg’s). I might have Neil Gaiman and Junot Diaz in my sights, to lend their voices. That may be aiming too high, but we’ll see…The point is, in addition to the prose, poetry and editing at CxP, I’m back into music. Enjoying the process at last.

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“Circling the Flame” by Jayme del Rosario © Jayme del Rosario 2013

And there’s a reason it’s Meg Tuite, second in the line up. She’s a literary artist in the First sense, combining incisive storytelling with those Derek Jeter intangibles: clutch, personable, charismatic, prolific, kind and supportive. Did I also mention she’s an amazing fiction editor at two journals? (The Santa Fe Literary Review; Connotation Press: An Online Artifact)

Cross-promo intermission: Get Meg’s newest book Bound by Blue, a collection of great short stories: http://sententiabooks.com/?p=375

NEW RELEASE: Bound by Blue – Meg Tuite (Sententia Books, 2013)

NEW RELEASE: Bound by Blue – Meg Tuite (Sententia Books, 2013)

Publication Notes:

The song interprets Meg’s flash fiction piece “Circling the Flame,” which also appears in Stripped: A Collection of Anonymous Flash, ed. by Nicole Monaghan (PS Books, 2011).

“Circling the Flame” by Meg Tuite
Produced by Jamez Chang
Artwork by Jayme del Rosario
Background Vocals: Isaac Kirkman, John Pursch
Label/Affiliation: The Last Ancients
Release Date: 11.11.13
#ItsTuite

Available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN3cDMwbEuQ
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/jamez-chang/final-circling-the-flame-by

Artist’s Notes: Jayme del Rosario is a Northern California based artist. Visit: http://www.jaymedelrosario.com

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Meg Tuite, Jayme del Rosario, Isaac Kirkman, John Pursch, Robert Vaughan, Rae Joyce, Pamela Hill, Nicolle Elizabeth, Teri Pursch, Erie Chang, Katherine Lopez, and the rest of The Last Ancients crew (Ezra Letra, Beatsmith Medore and Cliff Brooks) for your support and feedback.

“Circling the Flame”—A Music/Flash Fiction Collaboration with Meg Tuite—11.11.13

Art finds a way. On October 14, 2013 I released my first single in 15 years

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No recording studio. Did the final mix in my Honda Odyssey. Like I said, art-slash-music finds a way…

Now, after 15 years, I’m producing my first song. It’s a collaboration with writer Meg Tuite, who’s an amazing artist and editor in her own right.

Author Meg Tuite

Author Meg Tuite

I’ll be interpreting her flash fiction piece “Circling the Flame,” which was originally published in an anthology called Stripped: A Collection of Anonymous Flash, edited by Nicole Monaghan in 2012. The music fuses Meg’s majestic reading of “Circling,” along with audio samples, guitar and violin plucks, digital feedback/effects, car-engine noises configured to sound like a xylophone on acid, trip-hop/techno beats, scratches on screen porches, and John Pursch‘s voice manipulated to sound like a bass line. All recorded on my iPhone. Mixed in my minivan. ‘Cause, you see, that’s all I got.

NEW RELEASE: Bound by Blue - Meg Tuite (Sententia Books, 2013)

NEW RELEASE: Bound by Blue – Meg Tuite (Sententia Books, 2013)

As artists, we are bound by our circumstances. We use what resources are available to us, making art under every circumstance. I’m proudly bound by my constraints. And Meg Tuite? ( pronounced too it )—Bound by Blue. Late to the party, I was introduced to Meg Tuite’s work via Counterexample Poetics, back in July. After that, I was hooked; moth to a flame, I was drawn to her dysfunctional characters, her scathing third-person vignettes, the poetic storytelling. That’s why I bought Domestic ApparitionsTwice.

Author Isaac Kirkman holding Meg Tuite's Domestic Apparitions

Author Isaac Kirkman holding Meg Tuite’s Domestic Apparitions

Speaking of Isaac Kirkman, I layer his voice in the track proudly, punctuating the ethereal microtones with a certain “ghost rhythm,” “fireball verse,” “spinning.” It’s the first song I’ve composed in 15 years. No equipment. No studio headphones. Only my Honda Odyssey speakers and the will to flutter—toward #ArtFirst.

Jamez Chang, John Pursch and Isaac Kirkman at Epic Cafe (Tuscon, AZ—Aug. 2013)

Jamez Chang, John Pursch and Isaac Kirkman at Epic Cafe (Tuscon, AZ—Aug. 2013)

Production Notes: 

“Circling the Flame” by Meg Tuite

Produced by Jamez Chang

Background Vocals: Isaac Kirkman, John Pursch
Cover Art (forthcoming): Jayme del Rosario
Label/Affiliation: The Last Ancients
Release Date: 11.11.13
Available on SoundCloud and YouTube
#ArtFirst

Cross Promo: Meg Tuite’s short story collection, “Bound By Blue,” is available now through Sententia Books. The link to order: http://sententiabooks.com/?p=375

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