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Dawn People’s ‘The Star Is Your Future’ is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte. The pair’s mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track album, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity and purpose.
Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70s jazz fusion, Krautrock and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.
Dawn People’s dense, funky and psychedelic music is the result of the wide range of musical influences of the collaborators. Nick Forte’s resume spans influential hardcore punk band Rorschach, post-punk outfit Beautiful Skin and recent underground sensation Raspberry Bulbs. With Dawn People, Forte digs deep into his own childhood nostalgia: making mixtapes from the early NYC hip hop show ‘Rap Attack’, watching Christian Marclay experiment with vinyl on the TV show ‘Night Flight’ and his first musical instrument, the Casio SK1 sampler keyboard.
Peter Negroponte is a virtuosic drummer and guitarist whose influences are rooted in rock & roll, jazz, funk, fusion and free improvisation. In reaction to his brief stint at the New England Conservatory, Negroponte sought to transcend what he felt to be an esoteric approach to making ‘experimental’ music by forming the psychedelic art-rock-noise-funk band Guerilla Toss. He has worked with an array of contemporary DIY labels such as Feeding Tube, NNA Tapes, Digitalis and John Zorn’s Tzadik.
The sound of this album harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early to mid 90s, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock and David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork’s Eric Harvey recently described as “recombinant pop,” which is applied to “adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music.”
‘The Star Is Your Future’ shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive and mesmerizing.
For fans of Cornelius, Air ‘Virgin Suicides’ OST, Beastie Boys ‘Check Your Head’, Stereolab.
Barry says: Funky breaks, jazzy woodwind, and the hazy laid-back atmosphere of early hip-hop melt together seamlessly into this brilliantly accessible formation of style and substance.
Be Cool Tonight
Never Be Afraid
Dawn People Rising
Chew On Air
The Star Is Your Future