Kato’s Gems #2

Iomos Marad – Deep Rooted

A hidden gem of the underground rap of the early 2000s introduces the second post of this column. If you know (and love) J-Live, Lone Catalysts and All Natural this album will simply drive you crazy. The conscious trend of rap in those years expressed some excellences (and many more cliché). On the road of Common, Black Star and Roots, many artists expressed a wider musicality than was the case in the mainstream, accompanying it with messages and texts that induced listeners to reflect. Iomos Marad in 2003 made a masterpiece. Part of the production was entrusted to Dug Infinite, a name that will appear unknown to most, but which in Chicago is actually considered a master and pioneer of the beatmaking. He produced Common, Masta Ace, Baby Bam of the Jungle Brothers, co-produced many tracks for No. ID, and is the mentor of a certain Kanye West. But the undisputed protagonist is Iomos Marad, liquid flow, musicality, soul, great refrains. One of those spells that only happen once in an artist’s career.

Ami Shavit

A name that should not remain unknown to fans of electronics and experimental music is that of Ami Shavit. An established Israeli artist and professor of philosophy and art, Ami’s main focus was on technology-related art; in particular being able to insert an emotional space into something mechanical. A great collector of synthesizers, he has tried to combine his love for Tangerine Dream and Philip Glass with the interest in the biofeedback technique, a process in which technology is used to transmit information on the functions of the body to allow a change in physiological activity in order to manipulate it. Along with understanding the alpha brain wave, Ami embarked on an experiment with what he called “Alpha Mood”, a state in which the brain works in relaxation and in which it used music as a means of inducing a meditative state.

Lavern Baker

One of the singers who favored the transition from jazz to rhythm and blues was Lavern Baker, who in 1956 made a beautiful debut album. An artist with a tormented history, he had a long history of lawsuits and unpaid royalties. She lived 22 years in a naval base in the Philippines where she was treated for pneumonia after a trip to Vietnam, organizing shows and performing herself. In 1992 both legs were amputated because of diabetes, but she continued to perform until the end of her days with her powerful and nuanced voice.