Make emerges from Josiah Gabriel and the release of that mix tape is eminent.
From the Editor: About two months ago, a young lady sat down at my table during the lunch rush at Whole Foods after she could not find a seat elsewhere. She politely asked if she could ‘join me for lunch’ as I stared blankly at my phone waiting for responses to what seemed to be very important emails. Her name was Alice Alsup and she incessantly rambled on about her writing, poetry, and observations about other people seated around us. So eventually I put my ever important phone down because I would not have been able to pay attention otherwise. But after she spoke for awhile I realized that a random interaction with a stranger may be one of the more meaningful discussions I have had all day. So I joined her in her literary discussion for the next 20 minutes or so while I finished my faux Indian Whole Foods lunch. After finding out I publish Free Press she asked if I was cool with publishing a piece of hers on a local band and I agreed. As always, I am late on following through on that promise. Since then our community has lost Alice. But from my brief interactions with her since and the love and kindness her friends testify about her, our community has lost one of the good guys.
By Alice Alsup
Noah Clough has been making music for a few years, and earning respect along the way. You will see him on stage at Free Press Summer Fest 2014, for instance. He has fans and credibility, and he’s making a huge point of keeping both however he can.
Clough releases tracks on Soundcloud, for a long time as Josiah Gabriel and now as Make (mkabeats.soundcloud.com). They sound like this one. But sometimes not at all like that one. What Noah tells me he enjoys is “to see a large amount of people lose themselves” to the music he makes.
That could be why he’s so focused on being a talent, rather than an all-in-one act. “It’s what he want’s to stay, an artist,” says Kelly Townsend, his new manager. Kelly is fresh to this talent management stuff, but he’s been running an audio production venture called Lynchpin for 3 years. He’s got the full faith of Noah and FLCON FCKER, his other signed act. Between these two artists and Townsend’s work in audio, they’ve put in years to creating this moment and now, Kelly assures us, “everything we’ve done will feed everything we do.”
Part of why this style of music—which is not just future bass, or even trap—because “that’s a catchall,” says Kelly—is picking up is the convergence of new technology. These guys believe that they are “challenging what it means to be an original artist: as Townsend describes their work. They have a few reasons to support that assertion.
What Clough does to make tracks and then perform them live isn’t easy to explain. But there is an MPD 18 with a 3rd party midi shift he uses to hack the controller. What he does is essentially to “hijack” equipment fully suited to one task, but weren’t designed to do “momentary effects.”
And it’s all about the momentary effects in what Noah does, as in “how do I get this shit to be expressive in general? Whereas one, zero, zero, one is unexpressive.” It’s a point in music making where new tech is converging. What Make does, say Townsend, “synthesizers do it, but digital advent is not audible, but adds to the physical sensation of being at a concert. [Noah’s] sub-base stuff is just at another level.”
That’s why, says Kelly, “this is the new frontier of what it means to be original.”
Make’s tracks use synth samples, bass patterns, all original content often from bizarre sources—kind of standard fair for modern sampling. But Clough does it well, and gets as weird as he wants to. In terms of sample types, Noah says, “what I like are more… they’re strange stuff I see on the internet. Groupings of words with energy behind them. They’re really just moments.”
He cites The Color of Pomegranates, a visual biography of Armenian poet Sayat-Nova, as a source. It is one of the strangest, most beautiful movies I’ve ever watched clips of on YouTube.
He’s got threads of Reggaeton, isolated vocals from theme songs, and what he does with them is interesting. But keep in mind that Clough isn’t ready to define his sounds. “The only narratives that you should draw from what he likes,” says Noah, “are yet to be seen.”
But “it’s OG,” says Kelly.
On the horizon for Noah Clough is the Make mix tape (out May 5th).
This release coupled with Make’s performance at FPSF will mark the official launch of the Josiah Gabriel artist’s new incarnation.