This mad Internet generation’s sonic sincerity wears thin, nothing really sounds like anything and every blogoid-computer composer shores themselves up into trend-manipulated niches. Still, there remain small pockets of truly earnest musicians dedicatedly seeking, testing, and galvanizing, like mad scientists, the explosive and illuminating potentials of a healthy blend, clash and smash of several different musical sensibilities, sewn into the strands of one song.
Of Mice and Musicians are the ideal of post-millennial music mergence – funk, pop, hip-hop, ambient trip-hop, soul, space-rock, and dashes of reggae inflected with acid-jazz—yes, all of these piquant sensibilities, often with each popping distinctively inside one 4 minute track.
Blogs are obsessed with labels – but OMAM’s could provide a much-needed kick-start this white-noise-blasted iCulture – the only regret being that it may be too cynical to believe that any band’s sound, character and performance simply cannot be nailed down to a tag.
Bottles and Bones, forged between seven minds, seven musical sensibilities, five instruments, three voices and one studio –is where amalgamation finds its perfect, realized harmony.
OMAM came to be when rapper/lyricist duo Benjamin Miles and Tony Bags (Basement Addicts) came out of Western Michigan University, breaking their way into the Detroit hip-hop scene, but winding up, instead, fatefully aligning with prog-rock trio Lay of the Cid (with drummer Nick Swanson and guitarist Mike Lomerson), as the two groups started blending their distinct styles at live shows around the scene through 2008.
The eventual hybrid, Of Mice and Musicians, got its name from a Miles’ lyric stitched into the first song they wrote together. Eric Walli joined on bass during the recording sessions inside Lay of the Cid’s home studio space (inside which, for a time, Miles, while couch surfing, dutifully crashed on an air mattress in his mic booth).
The resulting self-titled LP effectively displayed their keen sense for finding palatable balances for their dynamic recipe (forging bridges between hip-hop, poppy R&B and indie-rock with eclectic instrumentation), but the band spent 2010 honing their live set and all too eager to get themselves into a studio that wasn’t, well, …a basement, under the eyes and ears of an experienced engineer. Walli proved to be the consummate bassist, locking in with Swanson and Lomerson’s conceptual rhythm structures and mercurial melody flits, rounding out the crew was turntablist Jaheesh and the honeyed R&B-croonabilities of singer Joe Average.
Stitching together sampled loops with pianos, guitars, clarinets and bongos, having two rappers intertwine their gruff poetics with a mellifluous balladeer and bass-drum-guitar core that’s reconstructing neo-psychedelic/space-rock – and you’ve get soulful, kaleidoscopic suites – on display with Bottles and Bones…
Biography written by: Jeff Milo