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Variable Unit

Many musicians were "thinking outside the box" long before some marketing mastermind decided to introduce this phrase, supposedly emblematic of free thought and expression, into the cultural lexicon. The Bay Area's urban fusion collective known as Variable Unit sponsored a brand of music that transcended any such two-dimensional world classification receptacle. Hip-hop, jazz (both traditional and of the acid variety), funk, ambient, worldbeat, spoken word, and gritty electronica are all woven tastefully and tactfully into VU's unique strand of music. The VU experience is truly a free-form exploration, as compositions invariably change tempo and even genre from one measure to the next. The vanguard group is composed of six distinct musical practitioners of varying degrees of tenure and world-renown. Drummer Ron E. Beck served as the group's backbone (both sonically and spiritually) and is a seasoned veteran of the music business. Early in his career, Beck was a widely sought-after first-call sessionist and jammed regularly with highly regarded musicians such as John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, and Clifford Coulter. Beck later was taken on as the drummer for the nouveau jazz/funketeering outfit, Tower of Power. Matt Montgomery provided the upright bass complement to Beck's rhythm section, steering both experimental and traditional grooves into the VU patchwork. Multi-talented Jon Birdsong is the sole provider of the horn section for the group, performing double duty on the trumpet and the tuba. Birdsong added a Fred Wesley-esque spice and some Cajun flair to VU's musical gumbo and in the past appeared regularly with artists such as Beck, Beth Orton, and Victoria Williams. Birdsong is also the founding member of the Bay Area horn ensemble known as Brass Monkey. Kat Ouano's classical- and jazz-hued keyboard work added more upper register flavor to the Variable Unit mix, and DJ Zeph and producer Gregory Howe put it all together to give the group a professional yet expansive sound. Variable Unit's debut album, Seven Grain, was set for a June 2002 release. ~ M.F. DiBella
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cold Flow

1. Floating Butterfly In The River Nile

2. Shedding Skins

3. Cold Flow

4. Royal Jack

5. Hare

6. Unity Gain

7. Jeckna

8. Durumin' Tyme

9. Mugabe's Dub Redistribution

10. Who's Going By Bomb

11. Cleuth

12. Court Of Chords

x

Track List: Handbook For The Apocalypse

1. Towers Open Fire

2. Handbook For The Apocalypse

3. War Again

4. Not One Of Us, All Of Us!

5. I Am On A Journey To My Soul, But The Police Just Pulled Me Over

6. We Are At War

7. Hologram Network

8. Shake The Cosmic Dice

9. Gas And Violence

10. Walking With My Son

11. Transcending Terror

12. Killing Time

13. Beyond Babylon

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Superb sounds.
Report as inappropriate
connieraines
Wish I had heard them 7 years ago! Sweet!
Report as inappropriate
Uh-huh,,,,,d i g it! Bay Area N. Ca, who knew? Glad it was here to discover.Coo l .
Report as inappropriate
earlwiggs10
STUMBLED ON THIS ONE!!! GREAT!!!!

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