ONYX COLLECTIVE SHARE ‘SNAKE CHARMER’
The lead single from thir forthcoming EP Lower East Suite Part Two Out this Friday on Big Dada via Inertia Music
Onyx Collective is back to announce that their new EP Lower East Suite Part Two is out tomorrow on Big Dada via Inertia Music. The group has backed up this announcement by revealing the hypnotic new single ‘Snake Charmer‘.
The first five tracks from Lower East Suite Part Two were recorded at The Good Company, a small shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side that often serves as an impromptu venue for Onyx Collective. Recorded on an iPhone, the tracks are taken from four sessions at the store and include ambient noises, such as honking horns from the street and the sound of passerby stepping in to hear the performance. Mike Swoop mixed the five tracks to render an accurate depiction of the Onyx Collective live experience.
The latter three tracks on Lower East Suite Part Two were recorded at various locations around New York. ‘Shed Meditations‘ features a composition of Jack Gulielmetti‘s guitar recorded to cassette tape at the Onyx practice space in Chinatown. ‘From Air‘ features an enthusiastic conversation from a stranger about his love for music at a bookstore opening, with Austin Williamson using droning chimes as a cymbal to provide a harmonic effect. The EP ends with ‘Eyes Closed‘, a duet from Isaiah Barr and Paul Johnson (electric bass) taken from a past session at 172 Forsyth St, the old Know-Wave space. Lower East Suite Part Two is the next entry in Onyx Collective’s archival scrapbook, a captured live moment of the band’s history.
In September of 2016, Onyx Collective, a jazz ensemble who had been performing throughout New York for years in both rugged DIY spaces and esteemed clubs, quietly released their debut album 2nd Ave Rundown on vinyl via Supreme. In the ensuing year they would continue to build an underground profile in the city, in spite of the fact that none of their recordings existed online. Now, they are prepared to make their proper debut through the release of three projects (two EPs and an LP) via Big Dada. Titled Lower East Suite, the recordings that make up the releases are taken from Onyx’s performances over the past year. Storefronts, bars, and street corners act as both venues and studios for Onyx Collective.
EP Artwork by Julian Schnabel.
Lower East Suite Part Two
1. Snake Charmer
2. 97 Allen St.
3. Rush Hour
4. Steam Rooms
5. Skate Park
6. From Air
7. Shed Meditations
8. Eyes Closed
‘Snake Charmer’ by Onyx Collective is out now
on Big Dada via Inertia Music
Get it here: https://InertiaMusic.lnk
Lower East Suite Part Two by Onyx Collective is out tomorrow
on Big Dada via Inertia Music
MORE ON ONYX COLLECTIVE
If Onyx Collective, the nebulous jazz ensemble whose name you may have overheard in downtown Manhattan at some point in the past couple years, seems elusive it is because oftentimes they are. Onyx shows are unannounced, impromptu affairs: the group will perform in a basement, at a cocktail lounge atop a hotel, and to the street from a storefront all in the course of a week. The cast of performers is interchangeable, as is the kind of music that they play. Salsa and funk are fair game, in addition to the band’s own unique style of jazz.
Onyx Collective is a steadfast part of New York, and the city is the glue that holds the group together. “New York’s role in Onyx Collective is everything,” explains Isaiah Barr, saxophonist, sometimes vocalist, and de facto leader of the band. “The names of people, the places, the street corners here are so legendary and historically prominent – it leaves a roadmap that we can walk through and a story for us to follow.”
Barr is joined by Austin Williamson on drums, Joshua Benitez on keyboard, Jack Guliemettion guitar, Felix Pastorius and Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Dean Torrey and Walter Stinson on upright bass, with Maxwell Deter providing most of Onyx Collective’s visual art. There is an additional group of artists who consistently orbit in and out of the Onyx universe. Nick Hakim, Julian Soto, Dev Hynes, Wiki, and other New York mainstays have performed with the band, and Onyx quietly features on a bevy of other artists’ records.
Onyx Collective’s enigmatic nature is undeniably a part of its allure, but the force that truly propels the group is technical musical proficiency (the band’s members attended New York’s musical conservatories as kids) coupled with a reckless abandon. Onyx runs a manic energy through their classical training to create a live show that at times feels as punk as it does jazz. Barr is known to wield two saxophones simultaneously, playing both over Williamson’s feverish drumming.
“There’s something about where we play that makes it an Onyx Collective show,” says Barr. “Not who we play to, that’s not what drives it. It’s where we play.” Onyx Collective needs the city – the group could not exist without it. And at a time when New York seems more plagued than ever, it is apparent that the city needs Onyx Collective. “Our role in New York is to tell its story,” concludes Barr. “In a way that is accrediting and paying homage to those before us, and to then add to what they’ve done.”
Featured Photo Credit : Aidan Cullen