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Gonzales



Like so many artists these days, Gonzales is all about making art that gleefully celebrates his unique cultural location. And his is pretty damn unique: we're talking about a Canadian-born Jew who now ekes out an existence as a nomadic MC playing all around Europe and calls an abandoned bombed-out TV station in East Berlin home. Chilly Gonzales (only one of his many names) also claims to have discovered music through comic books; as a small child he realized that there were many Super Heroes in music (just watch a hip hop video), but no Super Villains, so he began his quest to become the first musical Super Villain by playing his first instrument, the piano.

That quest has culminated in the comic-bookish "Jew-funk" (as it has been called) of Gonzales's first full-length album, Gonzales Uber Alles, the follow-up to his equally ironically titled debut EP O.P. Original Prankster. Gonzales's experimental hip hop style at times recalls DJ Shadow's dense and intense layering of sounds, styles, and ideas. He injects liberal doses of warm cabaret-style vocal jazz, goofy up-in-the-clouds New Age ambience, and electronic funkiness into his material, all over a steady onslaught of warm breaks and beats. This stuff is Super Villainous only in its almost criminal uniqueness. And perhaps in its nonstop humor; there seems to be a tacit assumption at the center of Gonzales's aesthetic that music should be entertaining and fun to both creator and listener. It's kind of refreshing.

"Gringo Star" comes from Gonzales Uber Alles. "Gonna Get off Right Away" is from a collection of Kitty-Yo artists entitled Freischwimmer: 5 Years of Kitty-Yo.