Improvisations Vol. I: Quantity Over Quality

by Art Pleasley

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about

Last year when I was traveling around America, I stayed in a super-dodgy backpackers’ in New Orleans. I was in a room with 15 other dubiously aged/scented dudes and two poor girls my age from New York University on spring break. It was there I met a dude called Melvin. He had the physicality of Snoop Dogg, the face of an emaciated Ja Rule and he spoke with the cadence of a particularly stoned Dave Chappelle.

We got to chatting about life in New Orleans post-Katrina, his tenuous connection to Mos Def (he saw him ride past the hostel on a fixie one time) and eventually production. Turns out Mel made beats as well so we went back into the slightly-better-than-a-prison hostel dorm, swapped headphones and exchanged tunes. The musical intimacy of crouching quietly on a damp floor one-on-one and letting a stranger from the other side of the world into your own was a pretty profound experience that I haven’t ever forgotten.

I think we were both a bit apprehensive about the exchange and languished a little about only having rough-mixes or demos to share, but when I asked if he had any plans to go any further with music, he just smiled wryly and said “I dunno man, I’mma just keep putting out mixtapes to keep me out of trouble and see how it goes”. This was the night before I left for Nashville and despite telling me about a hip-hop club full of “positive vibes” that he wanted to take me to the following night, it wasn’t to be and I never saw or heard from the dude again.

The two girls from New York took pictures and seemed to find the image of a pudgy Australian dude in yellow skinny jeans and a slinky ex-gangsta attentively listening to each others' music fucking adorable and I unexpectedly saw them again wandering around Nashville a week later. Small fucking world.

I guess this is my attempt at what the hip-hop cats call a “Mixed Tape”. It’s instrumental, totally improvised and pretty chaotic but much like my boy Melvin, music - particularly looping and letting my mind wander like it does here - is keeping me out of trouble at the moment so let's see how it goes.

Cheers

-Art Pleasley

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released September 7, 2014

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Art Pleasley Melbourne, Australia

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