It’s no secret that the innovative, beatsmithing duo of drummer Barra Brown and sampler Alex Meltzer like to explore new territory with talented copilots. Vortex saw it firsthand when Korgy & Bass teamed up with the swiftly cerebral emcee Rasheed Jamal for a one-off live set—watch the results here.
Korgy & Bass’ latest album Remote, released this past June via Portland’s Cavity Search Records, was an exchange that stretched from the damp, demure Northwest to the rambunctious, fiery South as the Portland pair collaboratively wrote and pieced together the record at home with contributions coming in from New Orleans trumpeter Cyrus Nabipoor.
“Remote,” the title track, “was the first track that emerged from the first round of trumpet sounds and effects Cyrus Nabipoor emailed us,” Brown tells. “It works well as the album opener and sets the stage and foreshadows what the album explores: Remote sonically paints the borders between nature and urban decay, apathy and ingenuity, chaos and calm, all converging in the tension and release of our humanity—a sonic journey from industrialization to the modern-day tech industry.”
In early 2019, Brown actually found himself at home setting “new intentions and a commitment to not touring for a time,” he says. “It was my first time home and off the road in four years” after countless tours with Shook Twins. “One of my longest musical collaborators, Cyrus Nabipoor, hit me up and said he would be in Portland in the summer of 2019. I thought, ‘If we finish a record by April, we could book a release show in June!’ Cyrus started emailing Alex and me trumpet loops and effected sounds. We began producing them and writing tracks. We wrote, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered (with Specialized Mastering) the record in the month of April, all at our houses. We were never in the same room with Cyrus and yet, the music came together almost too easy!”
“Cyrus then flew out to PDX in June and we all learned the album we had made and recorded remotely,” Brown says, also crediting contributions from “our bass collaborator friends Milo Fultz and Sam Arnold on several tracks.”
“After releasing at Mississippi Studios [which Banana Stand Media caught on film above], we thought, ‘This can't be the only time we perform this music. That felt way too good to learn and play!’” But instead of driving across the country, “we decided to continue this PDX-NOLA collab and fly to the city where we would have a community of people. We just returned from a week in New Orleans where we performed, recorded at [audio and software manufacturer] PreSonus’ HQ, explored the incredible city, and made real connections with creators in NOLA.”
But the story doesn’t end there. In honor of rocking one more Remote show with Cyrus Nabipoor—this time at OMSI’s Kendall Planetarium on Thursday, November 21—Korgy & Bass will open their set with the premiere of the video for the album’s title track. Shot by Brown at New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch, “This is where Georgia O'Keefe came and made her Southwest works as well as eventually owned several acres in the middle of the ranch,” he says. “I walked by the cabin she first stayed in every day. Knowing that O'Keefe's works are so connected to the place, I wanted to tap into that creative energy and see what I made.”
“The landscape, grass, the walls of rock, and the open sky looked like a massive version of the album artwork that Jordan Sowers had created for us. I envisioned the three panels as video moving with detailed textures of earth and rock. After that concept, I explored Ghost Ranch for hours collecting footage with my iPhone video rig I use to make all my videos.”