The highly anticipated project – Bone Music – by The Last Artful, Dodgr and Eyrst’s co-founder, Neill Von Tally is here. We really don’t have much to say other than the world is about to be talking about another Portland artists.
— t i k i (@tikisaidthis) February 2, 2017
The backstory of the album is incredible. Read on..
Post-WWII U.S.S.R., 1950
The Cold War has just begun. Censorship reigns under hammer and sickle. The Soviet Union, cut off from much of the Western world, longs for the freedom of arts and culture. Outside a cold, brooding concrete structure, deprived ears exchange bottles of vodka and rubles for discarded medical x-rays. The roentgenizdat, an underground network of bootleggers, etched and pressed the grooves of popular music into these x-rays, burning a hole in the center with cigarette. These doctored x-rays, these forbidden sounds, became known simply as bone music.
For years, the only way to hear music often censored by the communist Soviet Union was through these illicit pressings. Hocked in back alleys and street corners, in backrooms, these sonic pirates supplied the black market with engraved radiographs containing the music of a people half a world away. The quality of these verboten recordings often varied, but for many it was contraband worth the risk. Sounds, notes, octaves now made forbidden, found life only in the underworld.
Portland, Oregon, 2016
Bone Music is a conceptualization from Portland producer Neill Von Tally and The Last Artful, Dodgr. After meeting and hearing The Last Artful, Dodgr, originally from Los Angeles, California, and now an Oregonian for the past three years, Von Tally knew immediately that he had found the perfect voice and artist to recreate and embody the sound of the Cold War Soviet Union he had long been striving for.
To anchor Von Tally’s vision he recorded the sound of passing traffic and the cacophony of public spaces. He collected discarded tin and aluminum cans in a plastic garbage bag, to beat it with a lead pipe. With these found sounds, coupled with a profound influence from ambient atmospheres, Von Tally’s creates the dystopian setting that is Bone Music.
With her addictive mixture of hip-hop, R&B, and soulful heart-wrenching vocals, The Last Artful, Dodgr inhabits this dreary post-industrial dystopia. A product of Bone Music’s enveloping climate, Dodgr, leads listeners through the bleakness of routine, through work, through the blue-collar struggle. This is best exemplified on the track “LLC,” where Dodgr’s mantra, “All you ought to do is work,” sets the album’s tone. On Bone Music, Dodgr embodies the duality of hope and persistence, of oppression and autocracy, which resonates in striking similarity to today’s world.
Coming off their Fractures EP, Bone Music is Neill Von Tally and The Last Artful, Dodgr’s second collaborative release through EYRST. On tracks like “Caverns,” “Good/ Gravy,” and “Oofda,” Von Tally and Dodgr gel like a team of seasoned musical veterans. With features from Natasha Kmeto, and EYRST label mate Myke Bogan, Bone Music
isn’t afraid to challenge expectations. It’s an album heavily conceptual, progressively unhindered, daring and unflinching from two of Portland’s most innovative artists.
Written by: Skyler Walrath