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 downtown New 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 Blockhead͛s Stateside presence and gravitas – look no further than the fact that he has also contributed three tracks (including the first single) for Cage͛s ͞Hell͛s Winter͟ 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 you͛re going to hear this year͟ (Sunday Telegraph) and ͞a beautiful record͟ (Metro), with Blockhead himself tipped as ͞definitely one to watch͟ (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 Chaplin͛s 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 Blockhead͛s 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!
Shuj Roswell (Super Best Records)
Put your hands together, come on and stomp your feet. There’s a good time waiting for you, so come on and let’s get free! -Funkadelic
Shuj Roswell is the latest musical creation of Denver’s own, Mark A. Cooley. Releasing his debut album, Flying High Above The World, on Michal Menert’s (PLM) Super Best Records label in 2015, he carefully curates vinyl samples of 60’s and 70’s funk and soul, 80’s R&B, 90’s Hip-Hop, and obscure movie soundtracks to use as a foundation for his production. Fusing traditional sample based hip-hop with warm analog synthesis and hard hitting beats sets the table for a sound Mark has come to call, Funktronadelic. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, he aims to direct his work towards the “intelligent listener.” In an interview with the Untz show, The Late Lunch, Mark said, “I want the listener to take an active part in the music. I would encourage anyone to dig up the samples used to connect with the history in my music and possibly find a deeper meaning in it. Hopefully then, they hear it in a fresh new way. There’s so much old stuff out there that’s just not recognized anymore and it’s tragic. I love how sampling provides an opportunity to breathe new life into somebody else’s art that may have otherwise been forgotten.”
Mark is accompanied on stage by drummer and core member, Eric Imbrosciano. Eric comes from a hip-hop, funk, and jazz background originated from his early years gigging in the New York music scene. He injects a whole new vibe into the Shuj Roswell sound from laid back hip-hop grooves to drum & bass breaks. Eric also performs with the four-piece funk ensemble, Jaden Carlson Band and the jazz-fusion quartet, Space Orphan.
Shuj Roswell also performs as a Live Band taking advantage of the following musicianship to not replace the samples in the music, but to improvise an entirely new musical part into the track. Any or all of the live band members may sit in at a Shuj Roswell show so you’re never sure what you might get. This is preferred over labeling a show as a “live band” production. We feel it Keeps the audience on their heels, keeps the shows loose, and pays tribute to the jazz style sit in.
Mark Cooley – Guitar, Mother32, and Production (Core Member)
Eric Imbrosciano – Drums (Core Member)
Jarrett Allen (J Shook) – MC
Adam Revell – Voyager, Prophet, Virus, Juno
Mikey Thunder – Turntables
Sarah Mount – Saxophone
Matt Wilkolak – Trumpet
Mark Wilkolak – Trombone
Shuj Roswell has toured with, supported, or performed with the following artists: Michal Menert (PLM, SBR), Thriftworks, Mimosa, Mark Farina, Nosaj Thing, The Werks, Russ Liquid (All Good/1320 Records), Marvel Years, Daily Bread (Philos Records), Paul Basic (PLM), Maddy O’Neil (SBR), Mux Mool (SBR), Project Aspect (MHSM), Lucid Vision (MHSM), David Murphy (STS9), and Analog Son among others.
Back in 2001, I got bored and needed a new hobby. My good friend sold me a set of turntables and a mixer and I started practicing my ass off. Since then I have played lots of differnet genres and have had the oppurtunity to play a few shows, in a few places. But really, I am just a guy who loves music and wants to share it with anyone who will listen.