Downtempo artists Doug Appling (Empancipator) and Gabe Lehner (9 Theory) have teamed up for a rhapsodic, head-nodding new EP Cheeba Gold, out on March 22nd on Loci Records. The lead single Chameleon is a three-part journey that captures the spirit of the entire EP.
“The title might have something to do with the idea of shapeshifting surface forms as well as a nod to that magnificently mysterious old-world lizard", states Appling.
Lehner adds, “Somehow while all three sections sound nothing like each other, they all fit together as one song perfectly. This kind of became a theme of the EP, having 2-3 completely different sections with the same track.”
Cheeba Gold, which takes its name from a brand of hot sauce and came together in four days, is the first collaboration between the two artists who originally met in 2011.“Gabe and I share a lot of musical common ground in the realm of instrumental beats. We have similar influences and intuition so it was easy to develop the sound.”
Drawing inspiration from genres as diverse as hip-hop, jazz, indie-rock, electronica, and classical music as well as from global cultures, Emancipator and 9 Theory have crafted four beatific tracks that merge their individual styles into a mesmerizing hybrid that blurs sonic boundaries and cultural borders. Chameleon opens the EP with blunted rhythms and exotic vocal loops. Zula – named after a kalimba – features intricate and melodic guitars. Cuica starts out gently and builds to a lush crescendo. Emotive vocals and shuffling beats anchor the sweeping closing track, Bombilla, which takes its name from the straw used to sip yerba mate.
The EP features layers of bass, drums, acoustic and electric guitar, ukulele, piano, Rhodes, a Prophet 12, and a Septavox. “I remember making a comment at one point about how this stuff wasn’t sounding quite like 9 Theory or Emancipator music. Doug came back with the perfect quote to sum it up, saying, ‘it’s like a Venn diagram.”
Audiences will have a chance to experience Appling and Lehner’s meeting of the minds and the resulting new music live when Emancipator and 9 Theory head out on the Loci Records Showcase tour this spring with label mates Marley Carroll, Edamame, Frameworks, and Lapa.
*both Emancipator & 9 Theory will be on all of these dates
3/7 | Boston MA | Brighton Music Hall
3/9 | New York NY | Bowery Ballroom
3/28 | Atlanta GA | Terminal West
3/30 | Chicago IL | Chop Shop
4/12 | Los Angeles CA | The Roxy
4/13 | San Francisco CA | Great American Music Hall
4/26 | Portland OR | Star Theater
4/27 | Seattle WA | The Crocodile
Preorder EP vinyl here.