In this day & age where a cumbersome plenitude of artists & their releases
are offered to us at a more rapid, & ultimately disposable,
rate than maybe ever before -
too often some of the more subtly stated, or time-demanding,
works can often get overlooked
or lost in the purgatory of an overcrowded iTunes folder.
GodMustBeABoogieMan – a very non-traditional free project
by St. Louis-born singer/songwriter, Coultrain,
while generally well-received & reported in its initial release,
seems to have been a bit half-digested by its recipients,
& still widely unfound by much of its potential audience.
Although originally self-released in August of 2010
(while the FRSH SLCTS site was still on its year-plus long sabbatical),
God… always painted a much more Autumn picture in my mind -
a time of change, break-ups, moves, traveling, etc.
before settling down for the oncoming winter.
But it has, at the same time,
never been more than an arms reach from my own listening rotation
at any given time since then,
& quickly cemented itself as a personal favorite.
Along w/ the more apparent base-appeal of his voice,
the key to Coultrain to me has always been his songwriting.
In a literary sense, Coultrain’s writing style is just as much
that of a novelist, as it of a poet or a traditional songwriter,
w/ his works often times being in a free verse format,
usually tailor-made to the everchanging arrangements of a jazz piece,
but rarely conforming to the standard “three verses w/ a hook in btwn” structure.
Some songs have a chorus that is never repeated, & other songs – none at all.
& as those of us who have been following his career
(outside of his full-length projects w/ Waajeed’s PPP
& alongside Black Spade as the Hawthorne Headhunters) know…
Coultrain the solo artist is, first & foremost, a storyteller.
His character of choice being one, Seymour Liberty
for a grandiose work that thus far spans the entirety of his solo catalog,
including this release in question.
Where Train’s debut solo offering, & this story’s first chapters -
simply titled The Adventures Of Seymour Liberty (self-released in Jan 2008)
introduced us to the character of a young man
looking for love, purpose, & himself
(sometimes in all the wrong places, as we often do…)
goes thru the motions of the ever-demanding city life
while in such a state,
& ends w/ him finally leaving his hometown
to set out on his own…
& his next release, the two-sided single,
“The Wanderer” b/w “Balancing Act”
(released on Record Breakin’ Music in Feb 2010)
picks the story up where it left off,
w/ our anti-hero, Seymour,
now wandering in a baron desert
yet again searching & coming up short,
until he (not so) suddenly encounters
a new mysterious love interest
who offers his some words of wisdom
& advice of balance to set his along his way to the next chapter…
GodMustBeABoogieMan actually takes a step back
from the timeline, to fill in the gaps of things left unsaid
between the wander & eventual balance.
One thats intended to be more esoteric than it is literal -
the story of Seymour Liberty, in these chapters of it especially,
can easily seem like one where not much actually happens,
as it all seems to be lived, or at least told from, completely in his own mind -
a memoir of emotions & a dialogue of internal thoughts,
quicky grazing over the details of the story as if they were already understood,
& in this endeavor – the only outside input being from the voice of “HER”
via the two letters she writes Seymour along his way.
Themes of travel, change, the value of experience vs. missteps,
love lost, searching, those who’ve been left behind,
& and ultimately – finding oneself,
swirl around Seymour’s latest tellings,
as he Departs a Prince,
but after going thru some new lows,
& even an out-of-body Xperience upon a Rooftop,
Returns as a Charlatan.
It’s these ambiguities that make BoogieMan
not only that much more relatable to ones own life,
but also infinitely more interesting
& worthy of repeat, intent listens
as you start to understand more of the character,
& thus the story, on each go-round -
Offering a much welcomed breath of fresh air (as heavy as it may be),
when considered amongst the most recent rash
of single entendres & mundanely obvious meanings
provided by the most buzzed-about “songwriters” in modern sung music.
…& that’s just the writing.
The music, at the same time, is a whole nother feat in itself.
Going the “borrowed beats” mixtape route,
but flipping the format on its head
by instead of using well-known beats of the day,
Coultrain chose to craft his parables to jazz tunes
(Patrice Rushen, Dorthy Ashby, Thelonious Monk, Madlib‘s YNQ, among others)
& a few choice psych-inspired, atmospheric works
from electronic acts like Broadcast and TOKiMONSTA,
as well as original productions from frequent collaborators
Black Spade, J1, Teeko and “thedirtylynt” –
making the record as much of a mixtape of Train’s inspirations
as it is a new soundtrack to Seymour’s journey.
All of which were then carefully melded together,
w/ new arrangements & instrumentation added to the borrowed pieces,
& interludes stringing the story together throughout,
by Coultrain & his trusted engineer/collaborator –
Billy Bones of the band Mugpush (to which Train is also a contributing member).
Juxtaposed to this era of Auto-Tuned vocals,
& paint-by-numbers stock synth patches in R&B,
BoogieMan is a welcomingly human effort…
- a warmly imperfect listen, if you will.
Laced w/ vinyl hiss & record noise pops,
the prevalent limits of a vintage microphone,
& accented by audible breaths in between lines -
you’re reminded that this is but a man you’re listening to thru out this tale,
& not merely the options of “the oversexed robot” sound or
“the failed rapper turned non-romantic ladies man/emo life of the party”
images that are so frequently offered to us by the genre today.
All of the aforementioned combine to make GodMustBeABoogieMan
one of the most uniquely interesting,
& I’d even go as far to say important,
releases of the genre in recent years.
…& thus, in my eyes,
worthy of a proper Reprise & re-release,
this time w/ full lyrics & corresponding artwork
(beautifully handled by the one & only Nate James,
using all found source materials to match the album’s concept),
as well as the separated tracks
to go along w/ the project’s original format
of just three long tracks – one for each chapter.
You can listen to the three selections from the project,
before downloading the full Reprise w/ added tracks,
& 21-page .pdf file of lyrics, artwork & more
- all below.
Also included “after the jump”
are some of Coultrain (or technically, his given name, Aaron M. Frison)’s
own writings on the Liberty story,
further hinting at the true meaning(s) behind it all
& what’s still to come.
1. 1st Steps
2. Do U Remember Me?
3. Where Is My Heaven? (feat. Jessica “I Am” Neal)
5. Morning Papers (prod. Jason “dirty lynt” Moore)
6. What x It Was (prod. Black Spade aka Stoney Rock)
7. Believe Nothing
8. Parallel Universe
9. God Speaks
10. Parable Of A Shiny Miracle (prod. J1 aka THE DEER)
11. Mutual Possession
12. Goodbye, Hello
Lived by Seymour Liberty
Written by Aaron M. Frison
All vocals by Coultrain unless noted
Recorded & Mixed by Billy Bones for Mugpush
except “Goodbye, Hello” mixed by I, CED
All music taken from found source material, except where noted
Cover Photo by Ryan Powell
Reprise Executive Produced & Art Curated by KNNY FRSH for FRSH SLCTS
ALSO SEE: Mugpush – All U.S… ALBM PRVW w/ Coultrain & more
SUPPORT: Hawthorne Headhunters – Myrid Of Now EP OUT NOW
STAY TUNED: Coultrain – JUNGLEMUBOJUMBO COMING SOON
MORE INFO: SEE BELOW
Aaron M. Frison re: “The Wanderer” b/w “Balancing Act”…
“This is the story of 1 filled with questions. these are the effects of the evil twenties & how they change a man 4ever. these are the days of 1 perplexed with the ecstasies & sadness of what life & love offers, the innocence it robs u of, & @ the same time rescues u. this is a conquest inside the many levels of humility &arrogance… many of men have faltered 4 the sake of pride & ego. this is a story of fact & fiction. this is the story of yesterday, 2day & 2morrow… Seymour Liberty is a complicated individual 2 say the least. In his never-ending search 4 the “meaning’ of things he’s found it not as easy as it seems. Falling & growing has never been so exhausting. & tho he feels himself growing, nothing seems 2 ease the sting of falling. Therefore he comes 2 the conclusion that the only way 2 find what he’s looking 4, may be 2 just disappear 4 a while from his common existence, thus becoming a “wanderer.” Hoping 2 discover a new insight on the meaning of life, & his purpose in it. What he finds in his search is that thru studying many religions & philosophies, that they only give a unique insight on their own search, leading him back 2 square 1, with a catch. He can no longer hide under an ignorant umbrella. The questions resurface, with the addition of new knowledge & experiences, & the constant reminders of what was & could’ve been. A vivid imagination he has, a gift & a curse. He’s a poet, an artist, so he records his explorations & the questions surrounding them in that form. In the midst of him walking around in the bottom of himself, he encounters a gypsy caravan. ironically enough, he’s invited in their circle, & meets a beautiful lady who’ll never reveal her name, but nonetheless laces him with some things 2 remember her by, physical & metaphysical, influencing him on how 2 walk the tight rope, that life may be, in part anyway, a “ balancing act” ….2 be continued…”
& on GodMustBeABoogieMan…
This is a story with no beginnings and it has no end… this is the continuing story of Seymour Liberty, where once again adventure seduces and reveals herself, throwing Seymour in a circus of whirlwinds… planes, trains and automobiles. Where Seymour landed and ultimately explored,.. well thats 1 part of this story that was never told – quite in usual fashion. Y, u ask? Well, Seymour always fancied exaggerating his climbs and disasters,.. nonetheless, becuz they were fact 2 him,.. word was bond. But the details of this particular ride went unspoken,.. casting a mystery. U see the world had changed & every1 in it,.. yet, “everywhere u go, there U R, peakin thru the mask.” Wandering, trying 2 balance the heart and mind. But something happened out there, perhaps this something would only be riddled with commentary. But indeed something had been altered, shattered even, but put back 2gether oh so romantically. Nevertheless, whatever this something was, it had changed the man they all once knew. And as sad as it is romantic, “SHE” never left his thoughts, like a shadow following him around, probably weighing him down a bit, But remember, “no regrets.” & as he crossed the threshhold back 2 the city, full of temporary answers and fleeting hope, the cold skyscapers bathing in a purple drizzle, an electric thrill filled the air, silent bombs bursting everywhere. And he knew fate had wheeled (willed) him back n2 a corner, maybe bliss awaits, maybe despair,… another test.
Aaron Michael Frison is the author of this story, Coultrain is the medium, or if u like – the voice, interpreting it. It all began with the “adventures of Seymour liberty” & continues with these 2 pieces and again continues with “the great escape”, intrigued?