Watch Mark de Clive-Lowe’s On-the-Fly Cover of Pal Joey’s ‘Hot Music’
Broken-beat staple turns to Kickstarter to fund studio sessions for his next album
Back in the heyday of the style known as broken beat, the New Zealand-born musician Mark de Clive-Lowe was one of the scene’s key players, putting out tracks like “Move On Up” under his own name and also lending his formidable keyboard talents to records from Bugz in the Attic, Recloose, DJ Spinna, Zed Bias, and even the Japanese techno producer Ken Ishii. Now based in Los Angeles, de Clive-Lowe is still out there tickling the ivories — and pounding the pavement. His style of recording requires requires living, breathing musicians with mortgages and mouths to feed, plus copious studio time — a setup that’s practically a non-starter in today’s atrophying music industry. (His last album, on Tru Thoughts, was the big-band nu-jazz opus Take the Space Trane, a collaboration with the 15-piece Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra.) And so, to fund his next album, he’s following the lead of many of his contemporaries, from Amanda Palmer to Animal Collective, and taking to Kickstarter.
As Kickstarters go, this one is more generous than most. A $5 pledge gets you a five-track digital EP of previously released tunes; a $10 pledge doubles as a pre-order for a digital download of the album. Higher pledges come with CDs, LPs, T-shirts, USB thumb drives loaded up with back catalog, and even more unusual goodies. For $350, he’ll give you a two-hour masterclass in piano, production, beatmaking, “or whatever makes sense for what you need”; for $600, you can hire him as a session player for a day.
In a sort of show of good faith — or maybe just to show off his chops — de Clive-Lowe is posting a series of “One Take” performance videos on grand piano, synthesizer, Native Instruments Maschine, and two Korg Kaoss Pads. So far he’s run through two original tracks, “Brukstep” and “La Selva,” and a tribute to Minnie Ripperton, A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, and Slum Village; for house heads, the most facinating might be his cover version of Pal Joey’s timeless “Hot Music,” in which he rebuilds the 24-year-old song from the ground up, laying down the beat on the Maschine with his left hand and tracking the chords and walking bass line with his right — one hell of a virtuoso performance. (It’s also quite timely, given that BBE’s long-awaited Pal Joey retrospective just came out.)
De Clive-Lowe’s Kickstarter campaign ends in eight days, and is currently just $5000 short of its goal; check out his introductory video below.