t h e a r t o f p e r c u s s i o n , a v a n t - g a r d e a n d b e y o n d . . .


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Relix Magazine's Review of 'illy B Eats'

This latest of percussionist Billy Martin's (MMW) solo projects is the first in a series of breakbeat and percussion recordings intended for use by turntablists. The record itself, which borrows its name from Steve Cannon's book of the same title, is a pile of breakbeat percussion studies done solo by Martin. On it's own, the record is far more a tool for DJs to borrow from, tinker with, and build upon than something intended for individual musical consumption. The point of the record is what can be done with it. "DJ Logic asked me to do a breakbeat record back during the Combustication/MMW tour we did together," said Martin of the 1998 impetus for the record he's just produced.

Martin recently wrapped up a four-week Wednesday night series at Exit Art, which he co-curated in Manhattan, where DJs and musicians were set up to explore the possibilities of the record. Much of the sessions were done duet style (DJ and one musician at a time) with Martin jumping in with various percussion toys. The process refutes all known precedents of the contrived concept of the duet, which occasionally creeps its way into popular music. The recorded material from these sessions will be culled along with that of future studio sessions for upcoming releases.

Already involved and/or confirmed are Martin's "friends like Medeski, Scofield, DJ Logic, Scotty Hard, DJ Olive, Cyro Baptista," he said of the continuing project. "I am also thinking about calling Iggy Pop, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Beck, [John] Zorn, [Marc] Ribot and some other heavys that I've worked with in the past. The wheels are turning."

Besides harnessing talent already existing in Martin's known universe, Martin's put out the call through Amulet Records' web site for any and all submissions of recorded music that incorporates material from Illy Beats Vol. 1. "I'm really into hooking up with fresh raw garage/bedroom type talent," he explained. "The young people have some radical ideas and I want to keep it fresh and expose the underdogs. This is not really a contest, but a way to communicate and collaborate with other DJs and musicians." Although Billy admits that most of the outside submissions have been difficult to listen to, at least one stand-out track will find it's way onto the next record. "The latest one I received from a DJ RPM in Maine," he said. "He calls himself a 'Cowboy Phonographologist.' His mix is super dope."

-- Jack Chester
Relix Magazine

©2004 Amulet Records