MOKA ONLY – BRUTAL (ALBUM) – PRESS RELEASE
Brutal. Well, here it is, as promised. The first album of 12 for 2016.
I would imagine that there are many of you who are curious as to why I titled it Brutal. Simple…. or maybe not.
Ever since I was a youth, I’ve been fascinated with architecture, mid-century modern architecture to be exact. Several years ago, my homie, PSY of the Oddities, and I started working on a project called “Moderne” to be released as our group THE NOPE’s second official release. It was an album inspired by all things mid-century. We didn’t end up completing it… it’s been on ice for a minute. Anyway, last year around March, I was thinking about that album concept and decided it was time to revisit the subject. However, my personal taste in architecture has broadened since then, and I now want my emphasis to be geared toward the brutalist aesthetic which sprung out of international Modernism.
“Brutalism,” or “brutalist,” is a term developed by Swiss French architect, Le Corbusier, to describe his work. The etymology of the term is derived from the French ‘béton brut” translating to “raw concrete”. It is not, as assumed, a reference to the brutal appearance of some of the structures, although that assessment lies in the eye of the beholder.
Anyway at the risk of bungling up a crash course in the brutalist philosophy and modernist architecture, let me get back to the story. I started this project in March 2015 by naming the first track “It’s Brutal”. At that point, my objective was to create beats that encompassed a feeling similar to the structural concept of brutalism: stripped down, raw and rough drums with chunky or blocky sounding samples within minimalist tone arrangements. I carried this sentiment throughout the project as best I could, but there were definitely some tracks that deviated from that attempted formula. Even so, any tracks lacking that foundation still made reference to certain architects and painted an architectural soundscape. I saw myself as an architect of sound. Why not, right?
Essentially, that’s what we are as musicians: builders. It’s my given and chosen vocation to create sonic “buildings” in which we can dwell or escape to, as part of an even larger “universe” in which each artist is responsible for creating and maintaining.
I worked on this project on and off through to May 2015, while also finishing Magickal Weirdness and Chicken Wingz, then I took the whole summer off to tour. In short I didn’t pick this project up again until late December after completing Martian Xmas 2015. From that point on, up until the first week of January 2016, I must’ve made 20 more tracks toward Brutal. While assembling and finalizing mixes, I realized my favourite and best tunes were the ones I had created last year. Those are the ones I kept, and I scrapped most of the recent tracks with the exception of “Build and Dream”, “We Don’t Do Normal”, “Stuffalude” (you do NOT want to hear the other ridiculous interludes I created for this project, haha), “Carryin On” and “Right and Exact”.
I’m really satisfied with the final track list and order, and I think you will feel the vibes and effort that went into it. Discerning ears will pick out the fine musical details, random sounds and hidden treasures in the beats. Self-avowed “Torcharoons” will certainly pick up on the secret messages, cryptic references and conceptual continuity that has peppered my work for the last 16 years.
Thanks to my Torchlight Commission brother, Jon Rogers, for appearing on this project. Also a big up to URBNET for believing in this misfit. Thanks to Colin Kennedy for the awesome cover artwork. All tracks are produced by Moka. One more thing, I’ve included some photos of local brutalist or neo-brutalist architecture. Photos taken by Ron Contour.
– Moka Only