BLOCKHEAD // YPPAH // ARMS AND SLEEPERS | Asheville Music Hall
Saturday October 27 @ 10:00 pm - 2:00 am
Genre: downtempo hip hop
Tickets: adv. $12 // dos. $15
Show: 10PM (Doors: 9PM)
Tony Simon, a/k/a Blockhead, has been making and releasing utterly distinctive, funky and emotive music for the last two decades. Blockhead grew up in downtownNew York City. As the son of an artist, surrounded by visual culture, he early on found that his passion was for music, for the sonic. A fan of a whole range of sounds, especially hip-hop, Blockhead steadily built a tremendous collection of tapes and later CDs from innumerable artists, a quiet accumulation of knowledge and know-how. After a brief stint as a rapper, he realized his calling was behind the boards and not on the mic – and from there he began to produce beats. Since making that decision, he’s kept pretty busy: carving a niche as a sought-after underground beatmaker that people call when they want something special. Blockhead produced nine tracks on Aesop Rock’s critically acclaimed album “Labor Days.” Additionally he produced half the tracks on Aesop’s follow up EP, “Daylight.” He has also worked with other indie giants Atmosphere, Murs, Mike Ladd and Illogic. In between, he found time to complete a break beat album entitled “Blockhead’s Broke Beats,” with ten hard-hitting instrumental tracks, which was released on Mush Records, the US home of cLOUDDEAD.
To understand Blockhead’s Stateside presence and gravitas – look no further than the fact that he has also contributed three tracks (including the first single) for Cage’s “Hell’s Winter” on Def Jux. The other producers on the project are DJ Shadow, El-P and RJD2. All this occurred simultaneously to his debut album on Ninja Tune, “Music By Cavelight,” described as “one of the most fantastically good albums you’re going to hear this year” (Sunday Telegraph) and “a beautiful record” (Metro), with Blockhead himself tipped as “definitely one to watch” (Touch.) Blockhead returned in 2005 with “Downtime Science,” another set of deep, emotional instrumental hip hop tracks, this time dedicated to the downtown area of Manhattan where he grew up and has lived his entire life, encompassing all the attitude, anger and edginess of the neighborhood. This expansive album also features some melancholy reflections upon failed relationships and the promise of future loves.
“The Music Scene,” was released in 2009 to both critical acclaim and commercial success – launching Blockhead on a global string of headlining dates ranging from Pittsburgh to Poland – where he participated in the world famous Zubroffka festival, providing a live score for some of Charlie Chaplin’s earliest films. Blockhead followed this album with “Interludes After Midnight,” further showcasing his development as a solo artist with a unique voice.
This brings us to 2014 and the release of “Bells and Whistles,” his last release and a bold artistic statement unlike his previous work. According to Blockhead – the naming of the album speaks to emerging trends in music he is seeking to address: “The whole idea behind the album is that music has gotten so far away from just being music. I think that whole way of thinking, relating to music and art in general, is bullshit. I don’t want to use those tactics to distract people or create a buzz that’s separate from my album. I want to be judged purely on the music itself – just well constructed songs with no frills…thus ‘Bells and Whistles.’”
2017 has been as busy as ever for Blockhead, with a trio of new projects. Behind the boards, he handled production duties on Billy Woods acclaimed new album, Known Unknowns. In addition, Simon teamed with with UK music publisher DeWolf Music to create The Art of Sampling. Capitalizing on Blockheads ability to twist unexpected material into new, modern music, DeWolf opened their vaults to Simon and let him go to town.
Finally, 2017 brought Blockhead’s latest solo album, Funeral Balloons. Filled with 12 new cuts of layered goodness, his new album brings the people what they have grown to expect from the seasoned beat maker in his prime!
Landscape and memory have always played a central part in the music of Joe Corrales Jr. aka Yppah (pronounced “yippah”). It’s what gives his tunes their sense of place, their physicality, and their ethereal – almost nostalgic – sweetness. Drawing on a cultural heritage that took in My Bloody Valentine alongside hip hop and heavily influenced by various forms of electronic music, psychedelic soul and rock, his music often mixes guitars shoved through massive reverbs/delays, keyboards/synthesizers, live drums, and other techniques. Alluring, uplifting and imbued with natural, unaffected warmth that cuts through the most biting cold, Yppah’s music gives listeners an experience that is both rooted and revitalizing.
Yppah currently has three albums available on Ninja Tune; You Are Beautiful All The Time (2006), They Know What Ghost Know (2009), and Eighty One (2012).
His third album reflects a change in the landscape around him. Midway through the process of recording the demos for what became Eighty One, Corrales started making regular trips to Galveston, on the Texas Gulf coast, to surf. So energized was he by his experiences, he left his home in Texas and moved to Long Beach, California. Unsurprisingly then, he says that the images he had in his head as he made his new music were of the sea and the beach. “I wanted a lot of the songs to feel like a warm wash,” he explains. The record takes its title from the year Corrales was born and, perhaps the very act of moving away from childhood locales stirred up “memories from random times in my life. Like I was trying to recreate certain feelings I had at different points in my life with melodies, if that makes any sense.” And he goes on to ask, “You know how when you’re a child you feel your life has a certain melodic theme that you can’t really put your finger on and you can almost hear it, but it’s not anything you’ve ever heard before?” Eighty One is his attempt to capture those melodies.
Yppah is now performing material from Eighty One with a live band with rotating members sometimes featuring singer, producer and classically trained violinist, Anomie Belle.
ARMS AND SLEEPERS is the music duo Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic. The group was formed in 2006 and has since released 26 albums and EPs, written music for film and TV, and performed live in Asia, Europe, Central America, and North America.