Back in 2008, Ishu garnered praise for the smooth, organic dub/reggae/dancehall flavours and laid-back vocals of his debut EP. Seven tracks which documented his time in Melbourne before heading abroad. Fast-forward two years later and he’s switching it up. A broadened sound palette has him charting new musical territory, using hiphop and electronic beats as his canvas. Culture-mashing boom-bap in a similar vein to local favourites Hermitude and with hints of big influences like Madlib, Hi-Tek and Bonobo, Ishu is now ready to unleash his debut album, A World In Progress.
Citing his environment as the main influence of his music, after traveling throughout Europe and Asia in 2008-09, it’s no surprise that Sydney-born hip-hop producer Ishu has returned to Australia with a bag full of fresh ideas and a new vision. Collecting samples and field recordings along the way; Ishu found inspiration in every country he visited, immersing himself in local culture and sketching beats for his forthcoming album release. Back in Melbourne, in his home studio, the finishing touches were made to bring the rough recordings to life.
This two year process produced the concept album, A World In Progress. A contemporary mix of world music soundscapes, down tempo electronic beats and heavy hip hop blends, it is an aural and sensory delight, that takes the listener on a journey. Scheduled for release in November 2010, this is an album that will appeal to hip hop and world music fans alike.
Ishu has enlisted some of Australia’s finest vocalists for the album, including Mantra, Hau, Lotek, Class-A, Elf Tranzporter, Dyl Thomas (Polo Club), Rachael Berry and Pataphysics. A World In Progress intro’s with atmospheric sounds recorded both locally in Australia and in Japan, the first and last stops on his musical journey. It’s here that Ishu sets the scene for this sonic journey; A World in Progress quoted in many languages, which are recordings of friends along the way, it is backed by a deep and heavy hip hop rhythm.
Each song on the album represents a different country visited…from the peaceful English countryside in summer contrasted with London’s coldest winter in 17 years, to India during the terrorist attacks of 2008, and the hectic city lifestyle of Hong Kong. With a portable recorder always within reach, Ishu captures the essence of places like Le Gare du Nord in Paris, the familiar Melbourne-esque trams in Basel Switzerland and the Islamic prayer calls in Istanbul Turkey.
In Prague Ishu recorded the giant metronome which stands in place of the former Soviet leader Stalin’s monument. “An interesting sight, producing an interesting sound…kind of ‘the beat of the people’, ironically very slow and mechanical”. It was this awareness of land and people that married Ishu to his tunes. Following the roots of his Lithuanian father he felt a natural connection there, meeting local MC Messiah, they together created a track with Lithuanian lyrics, that connects all races with a universal question, ‘So What Do You Really Want?’
A World in Progress, is the name, the motif, the question and the driving force behind this album. A release that can be classed as Hip-Hop, but do not be fooled in thinking this is where the musical genius stops. World music soundscapes and down tempo electronic beats make this album both fresh and original. The production is of an extremely high caliber and this only being Ishu’s second release, is proof of the talent of this young Australian producer.
Following in the footsteps of producers like Mad Professor, DJ Shadow and DJ Krush; Ishu has prepared a modern day live production of the new tunes using a computer and various other electronic contraptions. Blending each song into the next, Ishu gets hands on with the music, having full access to all elements of each song and endless effects possibilities. Always keeping things live and spontaneous, ensuring that every show is different from the last.
A World In Progress Released digitally on Nov 9 & In stores Nov 15
Available on the Foreigndub Label & Distributed through Vitamin Records
Purchase A World In Progress here:
A World In Progress Launch Dates
Dec 11th @ The Workers Club
51 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Doors open 8:30
$10 door or $10+bf pre-sales via moshtix
Joined on stage by guest vocalists including Mantra, Class A, Lotek, Elf Tranzporter, Dyl Thomas, Rachael Berry, Pataphysics, Rae Pale, Dragonfly and Rayjah45.
Pataphysics will be playing a full live set in support on the night, along with DJ sets from Elf Tranzporter and Dyl Thomas
Dec 17th @ Low Society
Shush, Newtown RSL Enmore Rd Newtown
Doors op 9pm (til 3am)
$15+bf pre-sales via moshtix
Peats Ridge Festival
Dec 29th – 31st
NYE 2010/2011 @ The Dubshack