From Kumquat’s lush electronic beats spring the smooth vocal stylings of President Barack Obama
Teleprompting, Kumquat’s new album, samples Barack Obama’s rich, baritone voice and layers it over diverse electronic textures. Teleprompting is infectious, accessible, and, at times, humorous. Following up on the highly popular single “Red Headed Sasquatch for Jesus,” featuring voice samples of Sarah Palin, Kumquat decided to expand the idea of political audio collage into a full concept album. Using audio snippets from Barack Obama’s autobiography, Kumquat has created something original.
“The music prompts the listener to think about the person that Obama grew up being, rather than the caricature that often exists today. It is fun and provocative to put Obama’s voice in specific situations from his past: being chased by a girl on an elementary school playground, making forced small talk while eating stale cheese puffs, hiking down a mud path in rural Indonesia. Each song on Teleprompting is anchored to a specific time and place in Obama’s early life,” says Kumquat’s founder, Fred Church.
Kumquat is no stranger to political audio collage (see “Herbert Hoover” from the Similar to Sugar Pill album). With Teleprompting, Church has taken the idea to an entirely new level.
Church creates the music in the attic studio of his home in New Jersey. His diverse influences include dubstep, Radiohead, old school hip hop, and Stereolab. Kumquat’s sound, though, is resolutely his own.
Church says, “I start by listening extensively to the source material to pinpoint words or phrases that are particularly rhythmic, fun or interesting. Then, these phrases are looped and stitched together to create a song structure. The music is composed and recorded using a combination of synthesizers, live drums, drum machines, guitars, a smattering of saxophone, and other ingredients. Then it all gets sliced and diced in the computer. Obama handles all the vocal duties.”
Teleprompting offers a unique opportunity to hear the combination of Obama’s voice, commanding yet imbued with real humanity, laid over beat-thumping electronic music. Not only is the music itself enticing, but the samples of Obama’s voice, and the phrases used, cause you to rethink the man we know as Mr. President and contemplate the life he lived.
For more information, requests, or to set up an interview, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Free download at http://www.kumquatpower.com
Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kumquatpower
Reviews for Kumquat’s previous album, Similar to Sugar Pill:
Kumquat's 2007 album found Fred Church again having fun with the province of sample-based dance experimentation, sometimes in the most calm or melancholy of ways. "Herbert Hoover" features crackling samples of, presumably, the president in question, speaking of the threat of war and death while loops of acoustic guitar and beats play below. In general, Kumquat's songs do feel like just that: songs, as opposed to constructions of open-ended experiments or audio theater. The music often feels like a blend of lush Top 40 experiments from the '80s intermingled with the breakbeat obsessions familiar from the late '90s as alternative came to grips with hip-hop's dominance, yet given a further, different spin via Church's own obsessions. Thus the voice extolling various cooking ingredients on "About My Spices" is cut to the flow of the gentle beat rather than completely transmogrified, while the traded-off boy and man voices on "We Are the Aliens," along with the vocals, make for a funny rather than creepy exercise. There's also a nice bit of self-referencing with "Big Honking Radio," as a voice spells out "Big Kumquat" while the band name gets cited as an instrument.
Earpollution.com says: I’ve had this disc for a couple of months now and still haven’t gotten my head wrapped around it. I still haven’t decided, well, I haven’t decided anything about this disc really, but I do know this: Fred is out to warp my brain. He’s trying to make me a little Kumquat. One of his Kumquat soldiers. He’s trying to re-program me with his loops and endlessly repeating sound bites.