Hey! Check this new song off my new album (and let’s talk about all that)

So, over the last few years I’ve been working on a new solo album. About 6 months ago, I finally finished it. It is called “Bells and Whistles” and I’d like to chat with you about it (as well as leak a song off it, but that comes a little later).

So, the first question I’ve been getting about this album is “Who’s putting it out?”
Well, first off, my time with Ninja Tune is done. After 5 albums, they opted to pass on the new record. “Why?” you ask. Basically cause sampling is too much of a pain in the ass to deal with for a record label. This is something I fully understand and there is absolutely no ill will between us. The writing had been on the wall for a while and them not putting this album out was not a shock to me at all. In fact, I’d like to thank Ninja Tune for the years we had together and say they are, without question, one of the most professional and organized record labels I’ve ever seen. They’re even fair, which is an under rated quality for a record label to have.
Anyway, once it was definitive that Ninja wasn’t doing it, I set out to find a label that would. I (my manager actually) sent the album out to a bunch of labels. The response was good but the same issue kept coming up. People were scared of the samples. After all, I make sample heavy music. While I’d argue that the stuff I’m using is pretty obscure, I can’t blame labels for being hesitant. After all, the way they make money off music in 2014 is by licensing songs for tv, movies and commercials. When a song is chock full of samples (as mine tend to be) that severely limits what these labels can do with your music. At the end of the day, this is a business and someone putting out my album for me doesn’t make sense financially cause it’s not like enough people still buy records to recoup those costs. I realize all this business talk is very unsexy, especially when leading into a new release but it’s the reality of putting out music in 2014.
So, after all that, I opted to just put the album out myself. I could blow smoke up your ass right here and give a manifesto on why I’m so happy to be self releasing this album but I’ll save that bullshit for people work in the press. This is not my ideal situation (At my core, I’m lazy and would rather have someone else do all this bullshit for me) but at least I have 100% control over my work. That’s always nice. It also makes this project far more intimate for me cause it’s literally all me. My music and my money, going directly into it. No other hands in the pot, financially or creatively. It’s weird to land in this position cause, as someone who’s been putting music out since the late 90’s, it’s like I’ve come full circle. I started out selling Aesop cd’s on the internet out of my mom’s house. We pressed them up ourselves, cut the covers ourselves and I’d send them all , one by one to random strangers. 15 years , 5 solo albums, countless works with rappers, and here I am again. The hustle has got more refined but it’s still very similar.

As for the album itself, it’s 12 songs long. Clocking in over an hour. It features no guests (accept Damian paris who has played guitar,synth and bass on all my albums). It’s all beats. I’m still waiting on the artwork and getting vinyl pressed, thus the non-definitive release date. I can say it should almost certainly drop in 2014. I’m gunning for a late fall/early winter release.
My plan is to press up a limited amount of vinyl. Maybe 1000 copies. That’s it. This will be some truly collectors type stuff right here. I plan on selling them on the road, as well as online. Otherwise, I’ll sell the album online digitally. The details aren’t ironed out but I’m hoping to sell it at a slightly lower price than normal. Like $7. Still gotta see if that makes sense. Regardless, it’ll be up on all the digital music sites for your buying pleasure. One thing I’m probably not gonna do is press up cd’s. I dunno…if touring has taught me anything it’s that people don’t really buy cd’s anymore. So, I’mma just skip that altogether.

As for this song right here…
I tweeted this yesterday
Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 10.12.21 AM

The response was heavy (which was nice to see) and the final tally of votes was actually incredibly close. Turns out, people like being depressed a tiny bit more than they like feeling good. I should note though, this song isn’t exactly depressing. It’s more just emotive. So, while it may not put a smile on your face , it also won’t be the thing pushing you over to the dark side. Basically, it’s an intro to this album I’ve got dropping. The rest of the album is all over the place, mood wise. I got that sad slow shit. I got that upbeat happy shit. I got that “driving in your car at 4 am on an empty highway” shit. I got that “walking home drunk after getting that girls number” shit. I’ve got that “scared in the woods” shit. It’s all there. I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. Until that is possible, I leave you this one song. It’s called “Kaput!”. Enjoy and thanks for listening. You guys are literally what make this all possible.

67 thoughts on “Hey! Check this new song off my new album (and let’s talk about all that)

  1. Hey man, I live in Scotland and love your music. I also love vinyl. I’d imagine it may be difficult to get my hands on a copy over here…

    Any idea how I might buy myself a couple of copies?

    • Hmm…that will be tough. Hopefully you can get them at some sort of online store. i haven’t got the details of stuff like that sorted yet but I do wanna make them available to people all over.

      • Even if I can just send you some money via PayPal, for the records & postage and mail at it me; name a price and I’ll pay it!

  2. Fucking A, great work with the lead in. I’m vibin now and didn’t even realize it.

    Loving this drum pattern. And that bass line is PHAT, friend. As always, well done with the horns, I love the scaling arpeggios and horn-solos. The vocals leading into d&b drum pattern at the 4th minute flow together really well. and then like a boss bringing back in the horns.

    Masterful mastering and production.
    I’m a fan, can’t wait to see you at the Holocene in PDX and slam to this jam

    Cheers bro, you fucking rock

  3. I don’t understand why more folks don’t do this. For example, Andre or Lauryn Hill, both of whom haven’t put out music in years, seemingly because the industry is too shady. But if either one of them made a record at home and put it out on the internet, they’d sell a million copies without even trying. I think it’s a good thing that you can skip the labels if you want. Congrats on the new record.

  4. I had put a question in the comments awhile back about your thoughts on fans expecting a download with a vinyl purchase (although worded more personally pertaining to how big of a bitch i was or wasnt for expecting it), now that ur doing all this urself im even more curious ur thoughts on that from an artist perspective (but also from a fan perspective, if u can put urself there).

  5. digging the psych elements. your ability to evolve between releases (and vary your aesthetic when collaborating with rappers) is really what makes you one of the best.

  6. crap, soundcloud is blocked at my work! Any chance you can upload to youtube for those of us with censored internet access?

  7. So the vinyl probably won’t be ready by the time your tour comes around? Looking forward to the SF show. Its much closer to me than the last few times you’ve been in town.

  8. Was that a Ceschi-Half Mast sample in there or did DJ Scientist just sample the same thing? Amazing work and its cool to see you do an independent release. Psyched to get my hands on the vinyl!

  9. Looking forward to this but would have liked to be able to buy a physical copy on CD. Surely you’d sell a limited pressing run.

  10. Great stuff, as always. Certainly hope you will be shipping vinyl overseas as well, though I get the impression you weren’t planning to from one of the comments above?

    • Yeah…We’ll see about that. I feel as though the digital copies are gonna be the ones available to everyone. Perhaps i can sell a bunch of the vinyl to some distributors and see what happens.

  11. We have been witnessing the demise of the music industry for about a decade now, but this happening to you who I have always looked up to as a producer somehow hits home a little bit more, I suppose I always aspired to get to your level & be signed with a dope indie label that would allow me creative freedom. I suppose that shit is out the window, I am a part of a net label called “Dusted Wax Kingdom” that puts everything out for free so I will continue to do it that way & start making t-shirts & other shit for fans if they care to throw a dollar in my hat. I’ll be buying that album when it drops, Block. If anything this may inspire you to do shit you may have never done. All the best to you.

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  13. I like that a lot. But I also really liked how DJ Scientist used this sample in Ceschi’s “Half Mast”. Here’s his instrumental, if you haven’t heard it. Obviously things like using the same sample happen all the time, and it’s a part of hip hop, but just thought it might be interesting to you.

  14. Block, this is awesome track. I agree it’s not totally depressing, and it’s not upbeat. It rests perfectly in the middle. Can’t wait for more on the album, huge fan man. Keep doin what you do best bro.

  15. Production:7 out of 10
    Listenability:7 out of 10
    Originality:5.5 out of 10

    Man it takes forever for to get into this song…2 minutes of build up until the actual song starts. I’ve got places to be, not really but get on with it man. Other than that the beat on this song is pretty well made and gets my head bumpin. Love that vocal sample. No idea what it’s saying or talking about but it sounds cool. I could see this on my iPod in the future.

  16. Based off of this song I’m definitely buying the album if it’s at a $7 price point, I loved this! And this is coming from a guy who mostly gets music from what.cd!

  17. On point, this is why I love your music. I’m glad you’ve made the decisions you have and I hope it goes well enough for you to keep on the same path.

  18. It’d be cool if you continued the style you presented with this song when you release the digital copy. Meaning – you should have a relevant picture attached to each song title. And each of these pictures should be hilarious!

  19. Although I understand your decision to release your new album in either digital or limited edition vinyl formats, I’m a bit bummed you won’t be releasing it on CD. I’m one of the few who still buys cds because I just love having a physical copy, along with having all the artwork, not to mention I have all your other albums on cd. I will happily purchase the digital copy and try getting my hands on a copy of the vinyl to show support for one of my favorite instrumental hip-hop artists.

    • I might look into a small run of cd’s. It’s not off the table…just not very appealing cause I don’t wanna end up with 1000 cd’s in my crib for the rest of my life.

  20. While I don’t buy CDs anymore (for years now), I’m more than interested in buying the LP. You mentioned that it might be a problem for people outside the US (Europe, to be precise), perhaps something could be arranged with sites like beatdelete? I actually bought three of your albums through that site, I liked the principle of “if we have enough people interested and willing to actually pay for it, we’ll issue it” and it turned out that enough people actually were interested in your work.

    So… just sayin’… In any case, keep us updated through your blog.

    As far as the song goes, big like. I’m really looking forward to the album.

  21. fuk that! they brainwashed you with their business bs. wheres the loyalty at? their laziness just excuses it? imagine clearing samples in 91, now imagine it in 2014 with the internet. fuck ninja tune. they didnt mind when the dollars were comin in. dollars i supplied for inches of twelves. I dont know shit about the business end but it makes sense to me to clear the samples, then shop distributors. i bet they are quicker to say yes about clearing a sample to a musician they have no clue about than a company they know will make sales. unless u dont plan on pressing wax, then u have no need for anyone else, i think your name is good enough by now that any extra sales you get would be nulled by their cut. but, like i said, i dont know the business, or your sales figures. good luck either way and hurry up! peace mahn.

    • I appreciate your backing but, yeah, you don’t understand the business side at all. Trust me when I tell you it’s what makes things happen. And sample clearance is a HUGE issue that every label is scared of.

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