Menahan Street Band

The Crossing

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'The Crossing' takes you on a cinematic instrumental journey through a nocturnal landscape of moods and emotions, propelled by funky, hip-hop-influenced grooves and dream-like horn and keyboard melodies.

Despite Menahan Street Band’s deep connections to the Brooklyn soul scene, 'The Crossing' isn’t soul music per se… it’s more like “dark night of the soul” music says MSB main man Thomas Brenneck. “I recorded a lot of it from midnight until the sun came up, all the weird synthesizers and slide guitar,” Brenneck notes. “A lot of it was really moody, just me going slightly out of my head in the middle of the night. And that was the mood I wanted to evoke when people listen to it, to put them in deep thought - your mind should wander into some weird places when you’re listening to this.”

Recorded over a period of nearly two years, 'The Crossing' is an 11-track sonic testament to the fruitful creative relationship that exists between band: Brenneck, drummer and band co-founder Homer Steinweiss, bassist Nick Movshon, trumpeter Dave Guy and tenor saxophonist Leon Michels. The five members have been playing together in one project or another since the early 2000s, when they were all members of The Dap-Kings. Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod, a former Dap-King himself, played organ on two of the album’s tracks, while The Budos Band’s Mike Deller contributed piano.

“Originally MSB was just about us wanting to make some music for ourselves that was outside of the tight-knit formula of the music we were playing in the Dap-Kings and Antibalas, and wanting to embrace the fact that we grew up on hip-hop and classic rock,” adds Brenneck. “There’s a discipline that goes into playing Fela’s music, and that goes into playing James Brown music; we love that to death, and we studied it hard in order to be able to play it with any sort of authenticity. But I love Neil Young, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and we all love Wu-Tang and the early RZA productions as much as we all love Stax and Motown. With MSB, we can really let all these influences show.”

'The Crossing’'s more mature and expansive sound is also the result of the place where it was recorded. Dunham Sound Studios is the all-analogue recording studio Brenneck built four years ago in Brooklyn with Steinweiss which was funded by a royalty check they received after Jay-Z sampled the title track of Make The Road By Walking for his 2007 hit, “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is…)”.

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