Galactic ft. Corey Glover (of Living Colour)



It’s incredible that GALACTIC has never made a carnival album yet, but now it’s here.

To make CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS, the members of GALACTIC (Ben Ellman, harps and horns; Robert Mercurio, bass; Stanton Moore, drums and percussion; Jeff Raines, guitar; Rich Vogel, keyboards) draw on the skills, stamina, and funk they deploy in the all-night party of their annual Lundi Gras show that goes till sunrise and leads sleeplessly into Mardi Gras day.

GALACTIC was formed eighteen years ago in New Orleans, and they cut their teeth playing the biggest party in America: Mardi Gras, when the town shuts down entirely to celebrate. CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS is beyond a party record. It’s a carnival record that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city – make that, whole cities – vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil. Armed with a slew of carnival-ready guests—including Cyril and Ivan Neville, Mystikal, Mannie Fresh, Moyseis Marques, Casa Samba, the KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band, and Al “Carnival Time” Johnson (who remakes his all-time hit)—GALACTIC whisks the listener around the neighborhoods to feel the Mardi Gras moment in all its variety of flavors.

GALACTIC is a collaborative band with a unique format. It’s a stable quintet that plays together with high musicianship. They’ve been together so long they’re telepathic. But though the band hasn’t had a lead singer for years, neither is it purely an instrumental group. GALACTIC is part of a diverse community of musicians, and in their own studio, with Mercurio and Ellman producing, they have the luxury of experimenting. So on their albums, they do something that’s unusual in rock but not so controversial an idea in, say, hiphop: they create something that’s a little like a revue, a virtual show featuring different vocalists (mostly from New Orleans) and instrumental soloists each taking their turn on stage in the GALACTIC sound universe.

Mostly the band creates new material in collaboration with its many guests, though they occasionally rework a classic. Despite the appearance of various platinum names on GALACTIC albums, they especially like to work with artists who are still underground. If you listen to CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS together with the two previous studio albums (YA-KA-MAY and FROM THE CORNER TO THE BLOCK), you’ll hear the most complete cross-section of what’s happening in contemporary New Orleans anywhere – all of it tight and radio-ready.

Despite the electronics and studio technology, GALACTIC’s albums are very much band records. Mercurio explained the GALACTIC process, which starts out with the beat: ?The way we write music,? he says, ?we come up with a demo, or a basic track, and then we collectively decide how we’re gonna finish it.? The result is a hard-grooving sequence of tight beats across a range of styles that glides from one surprise to the next.

What pulls all the diverse artists on CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS together into a coherent album is that one way or another, it’s all funk. GALACTIC is, always was, and always will be a funk band. Whatever genre of music anyone in New Orleans is doing, from Mardi Gras Indians to rock bands to hardcore rappers, it’s all funk at the bottom, because funk is the common musical language, the lingua franca of New Orleans music. Even zydeco can be funky — and if you don’t believe it, check out ?Voyage Ton Flag,? the album’s evocation of Cajun Mardi Gras, in which Mamou Playboy STEVE RILEY meets up with a sampled Clifton Chenier inside the GALACTIC funk machine

Art Official

Art Official

ArtOfficial thrives on originality. It’s the quiet thrum that runs beneath every track and performance like a current, igniting and electrifying their sound. They tread their own path, eschewing the simple magic of beat machines and samples for the irreplaceable warmth of organic instrumentation, and a meticulous care for crafting music with soul.

Formed from the remnants of two very different bands in Miami in 2007, ArtOfficial’s one-of-a-kind sound is as inherently ingrained in the group’s core as a trait buried in genetic code. Since their inception, they’ve been compared to groups like Soulive and The Roots, but theirs is a different brew–a seamless marriage of unyielding, unapologetic urban poetry with an unflinching array of jazz melodies that results in some of the most uniquely crafted and sincere hip-hop you’re likely to find–not just in Miami–anywhere.

The six-piece band dropped their indie debut, the Stranger EP, in 2007, and followed it in 2008 with a well-received sophomore effort in Fist Fights & Foot Races, which was released on Goon Trax records in Japan. They made the album available in the U.S. in December of 2010, but by then their fans had already been clamoring for more ArtOfficial. So earlier that year, AO answered the call, giving away their mixtape The Payback online. Both The Payback and Fist Fights were widely shared on the Internet.

You’d expect nothing less from a band who has shared the stage with the likes of KRS-One, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, N.E.R.D, Pharoahe Monch and many others. They won the Florida Grammy Showcase and been named Best Band by alternative weekly, and sister paper to the Village Voice, Miami New Times. And from one-offs and stops around the country, this hard-gigging group continues touring tirelessly, sharing stages and crowds with some of the biggest names in the music business.

2011 witnessed the birth of their latest musical creation, Vitamins & Minerals. And on their latest record, they continue to break the mold. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; they’re doing exactly what they’ve always done. It’s just that what they’ve always done was so unique to begin with. And they’ve only gotten better each and every step of the way. Perhaps it’s because they are a band that relies on perfect balance. Or maybe it’s their unwavering quest for perfection, so intense, it borders on OCD. Either way, the result is apparent from beginning to end.

Take the album’s lead single “Migraine”, for example. Both vintage AO, and cutting-edge, it blends vertigo-inducing lyrical mastery and a hook that rattles in your head like a loose screw, with hauntingly jazzy instrumentals. But it represents much more than just an instant classic for this unique band. In an ongoing effort to push the envelope, they sought new collaborators. So they brought them in. They wanted to record with a 15-piece string orchestra, so they organized one. They wanted to record a marching band, so they assembled it. And by virtue of that attitude, where everything is possible and limits are nonexistent, they achieved their most solid effort yet.

It’s a badge of honor for a band so road-tested, to be held in such high regard for their shows. But it is also well deserved, as anyone who’s witnessed the focused frenzy that is ArtOfficial’s live performances can attest. From flawless musicianship to remarkable pacing, to an ease dictating the ebb and flow of the crowd that’s downright uncanny, ArtOfficial has it all. And there’s no question the possibilities are limitless.

Miami-based ArtOfficial are a hip-hop ensemble with jazz and funk influences featuring vocalists Newsense and Logics, Danny Perez on keys, Ralf Valencia on bass and Keith Cooper on the saxophone.

“This rising band, with a killer horn section and two emcees, ingeniously creates a fresh and highly rare sound by mixing a wide variety of sonic ingredients…. I’ll have it on repeat all day.” – Okayplayer

“brilliant rhymes over a backing track that takes as much from the hard-bop jazz movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s as it does modern hip-hop” – Sun Sentinel

“…a technically unflappable blend of sunny, old-school… beat-music-derived production…with [an] organic live touch

…ArtOfficial [are] absolutely on top of their game. ” – New Times



funkUs is one of Orlando’s most prolific and enduring bands. Dubbed “flavor rock” and declared “a guilty pleasure” (Orlando Weekly), their “groove heavy precision” (Orlando Sentinel) and often surprising blend of musical genres have inspired audiences statewide to move, groove and gather since 1998.

With 6 CD releases including contributions by many top Orlando/Tallahassee musicians with a notable cameo by Tom Constanten (formerly a member of The Grateful Dead), they continue to perform regularly coast to coast throughout Florida at premier music venues and festivals including the Bear Creek Music Festival (2009, 2011), the Orange Blossom Jamboree (2010-2011), Jambando In The Park
(2010-2012) and many others. funkUs is also one of the founding members of Jambando in Orlando, Florida and has recently shared stages with Soulive, Victor Wooten, Jeff Coffin and the Mu’tet, Railroad Earth, The New Mastersounds, The Lee Boys, Zach Deputy and Consider the Source.

Their latest CD highlights the most musically adventurous incarnation of the band to date and marks 14 years as Florida’s commercially challenged purveyors of flavor rock.

Toni Brown, author, musician and former publisher/editor of Relix Magazine, writes: “funkUs fits neatly into the eclectic jamband musical melting pot. The band possesses powerful blues leanings and intense R&B and funk rhythms. With an emphasis on meaningful songwriting and free-form jam exploration, their songs range from quirky and catchy to emotionally moving. The combination results in highly danceable, energetic grooves that reach dizzying, intoxicating highs or soothing, spiritual lows.”