- Aja West
Aja West first emerged onto the music scene in 1998 with his debut record White Moses. This record is quite rare and was mainly sold by Aja himself. In 1999, he impacts the progressive hip-hop scene with the release of Trauma...Life in the E.R. under his own [http://www.mackrosoft.com Mackrosoft Records] music label. The album pays homage to hip-hop greats such as
The Beastie Boysand Eminem. Aja's albums are recorded in three Mackrosoft Studios around the country: The Sauna Room in Eagle Rock, California, The Mochi Factory in Los Angeles, California, and The Trophy Room in Mercer Island, Washington. [http://www.ajawest.com/studios/studios.htm Click here] for more information on the Mackrosoft Studios.
Trauma...Life In The E.R. (1999)
1. Hit List - 1:50
2. Trauma - 3:30
3. Mackrosoft - 3:34
4. The Girls Look - 3:52
5. The Big Ol' Butt - 3:19
6. Kid Icarus II - 4:56
7. Love Me Now - 3:00
8. Bananas - 5:20
9. Not Breathing - 4:40
10. Night Falls On Hospital Walls - 4:32
11. Age Ain't Ish - 3:42
12. Mackrosoft (The Mp3 Remix) - 3:51
All songs written by Aja West.
Aja West pimps it like
Adam Yauch(pre-enlightenment) with a serious booty problem. Delivering electro love songs (Mackrosoft) and flowing over a myriad of beats seem to come naturally to our young hero. He's not afraid of guitars at all, and he's definitely getting the most out of his vocoder. Aja West macks like Princess Superstar's long lost little brother. Somewhere, Beckis shedding tears of pride and joy. - [Mixer Magazine]
It sounds like Aja West is aiming to be the
Captain Beefheartof hip-hop, rapping in falsettolike some hyper eight-year-old one moment, jumping into a gravelly roughneck pose in the next, then adopting a radical electronically processed robotic monotone. And that is all in just the first three songs of his debut album, Trauma...Life in the E.R., the first release by the web-based record label, [http://www.mackrosoft.com Mackrosoft.com] , that he helped found and launch. Each of the remaining songs on the album similarly sound like a different persona, yet each one somehow manages to recognizably sound like Aja West. In one sense, his adoption of all those different vocal mannerisms is comical, and it is meant to be so. Like early Beastie Boys, his delivery is so punctuated by exaggeration and occasionally injected with ridiculousness that even if he were to rap about a serious subject, it would probably end up sounding at least half like a joke. The bad news is that Trauma is never serious, given to caricaturing all the forms ( hip-hop, particularly) that it obviously loves, and, other than the Beastie Boys, takes its vocal cues from artists ( Kid Rock, Korn, Limp Bizkit) who are best not copied. The good news is that Aja West is far more interesting than most of his lesser inspirations, and that his take on hip-hop, no matter how goofy the lyrics, is fearless and daring, certainly a progression for the form both sonically and thematically. Whether it is an avenue worthy of further exploration is debatable, but that Aja West has broken this ground says a lot for his audacity — and a lot for the promise that Trauma displays. Songs such as "Trauma," with its prominent Leaders of the New School sample, the booty-funk of "The Girl's Look," the heavy-breathing "not breathing!," and hilariously apt "Age Ain't Ish" are endlessly intriguing listens. Each song — the unsuccessful as well as successful — is bursting at the seams with production ideas ( Dust Brothersare an obvious influence) and packed beginning to end with pop cultural references and ridiculously clever (sometimes too clever for their own good) plays on words that mark Aja West as a progressive hip-hopper to certainly keep an eye on. Trauma is supposed to be a concept album of sorts about the emergency room experience, but that never really comes to a head. It is far too spotty and attention-deficit to accomplish that ambition, and at this point, Aja West's reach still dramatically exceeds his grasp. But once he learns what to reach for, look out. With Trauma he has already crafted, at the very least, a sensational party record. - [http://www.allmusicguide.com All Music Guide]
The Mackrosoft Albums
traight Outta ROMpton (2004)
1. Straight Outta ROMpton - 6:00
2. PAN Electric - 4:07
3. The Moon Wink - 4:16
4. Lucky Charms - 4:01
5. Wei Lin Da - 3:43
6. Rompton's N The House - 4:25
7. Lord Have Mercy - 2:59
8. Mack Man - 4:10
All songs written by Aja West.
Veteran composer and producer Aja West guides super group "
The Mackrosoft" to sweet freedom as they journey Straight Outta ROMpton. With a broad spectrum of production and writing work behind him, from music for the " Fight Club" soundtrack to Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Aja West now spreads his wings in challenging and funky new directions. This debut serves as the soundtrack to the online animated series, The Mackrosoft. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft CDBaby.com]
Full of dope grooves that seem to have crept out of nowhere from the West Coast underground. 8 tracks of instrumental
hip hop, with a bit more pep than your typical hip hoprecord, and a lot more interesting twists and turns than your typical promo instrumental version of your favorite MC's album. Like your neighborhood Baskin Robbins, you get loads of different flavors, always topped off with sweet syrupy beats!" - [http://www.dustygroove.com Dusty Groove]
This is what music is supposed to be like. In today's drowning music scene, the Mackrosoft is a breath of life-saving air. It's got everything, yet somehow it all fits together perfectly. This is some of the best stuff I've heard in a long time. If you're looking for something amazing, and something different - look no further. You won't be disappointed by this. I can't wait for the next Mackrosoft album. - [http://www.djpeanuts.com/product/B00009952M DJPeanuts.com]
1st Mack to the Moon (2004)
1. 1st Mack to the Moon - 3:46
2. Funky Sea, Funky Dew - 4:43
3. 2nd Mack to the Moon - 6:20
4. Gynacamastia - 5:39
5. Trouble Woman - 6:40
6. 3rd Mack to the Moon - 2:35
All songs written by Aja West.
The Adventure Begins! Super group,
The Mackrosoft, presents "1st Mack to the Moon", installment one of the Mackrosoft Trilogy. This opus unites the originators of funk fusion with an incredible cast of players from the forefront of the genre today. The backbone is formed by Mike Clarkon drums and Paul Jacksonon bass, the acclaimed rhythm section from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. Also featured is the legendary Fred Wesleyof James Brownand George Clinton infamy, laying down some of his finest trombone solos in years. Among the featured new school players are members of the B-Side Players, Maktub, and The 88’s. Produced and recorded by Aja West in Seattle, Los Angeles, and The Netherlands. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft2 CDBaby.com]
In celebration of the thirty year anniversary of the most critically acclaimed and largest selling jazz funk album of all time,
Herbie Hancock's " Headhunters", comes "1st Mack to the Moon". Under the direction of producer and composer, Aja West, Herbie's original rhythm section of Mike Clarkon drums and Paul Jacksonon bass reunite and sound better than ever. The inclusion of long time James Brownwriter and arranger Fred Wesleyon trombone takes this over the top. It's like a funk fusion fantasy band! Every track is incredibly dope, consistently funky and well recorded. It may take another thirty years of digestion for someone to properly follow up this effort! - [http://www.djpeanuts.com/product/B0001GDE3S DJPeanuts.com]
Journey to Vaginus (2004)
1. The Cherry Blossom Children - 6:21
2. Journey to Vaginus - 5:23
3. Enclavia de Labia - 4:02
4. That Kind of Party! - 3:54
5. The March to Urenus - 3:06
6. Fugue in Money B - 3:10
7. Dying for a War - 5:23
All songs written by Aja West.
We rejoin our heroes as they continue on an instrumental journey of monumental proportions. The mythic source of love and compassion, Vaginus, serves as the crossroads for funk minded musicians young and old to meet and merge. The result is an exploration of sonic boundaries, pushing the envelope of
Funk, Hip-Hop, Fusion, Jazz, Rock, and Classical. Conductor Aja West constructed this album entirely in The Netherlandson the island of Vlieland. Three great horn players, Skerik, Steve Moore, and Craig Flory, all members of the Syncopated Taint Septetare featured. Randy Gussof Toad the Wet Sprocketlays down some riotous funk drums. Dolemitebandleader Alex Veleyplays rhodes piano like a Dolemite band leader should. Many other extraordinary players from Seattle, Los Angeles, and The Netherlandsunite to create this passion stirring music. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft3 CDBaby.com]
The Funkiest Hip-hop Fusion Music....in the World! Half the producers in America are trying to copy it. Half of Europe already knows how dope it is and
The Mackrosoftare royalty in Asia! The producer's producer, Aja West, is conducting and producing some of the illest, funkiest, and most intelligent music around. Skerikrips it up on sax, proving he's still one of the most skilled horn men alive. The drums on this record are so clean and tight... It's scary. Hip-hopheads will know the singles from radio, but it's the record as a whole that is a masterpiece. "Cherry Blossom Children" and "Dying for a War" are album highlights. Both tracks sound like very little other music ever created. A mix of Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats", Parliament's "Funkentelechy", and The Beastie Boys, "Check Your Head". A Future leaning classic. - [http://www.djpeanuts.com/product/B0001GDE42 DJPeanuts.com]
Life Imitates Clouds (2004)
1. Life Imitates Clouds - 3:38
2. Reading Rainbow - 3:15
3. Flash - 6:31
4. The Lifestyle - 4:50
5. Law and Order - 5:07
6. The Encounter - 4:44
All songs written by Aja West.
The third installment of The Mackrosoft Trilogy, "Life Imitates Clouds", continues on the path set by its predecessors.
Funklegends Mike Clarkand Paul Jacksonare back in the mix like 1976, adding their signature Headhunter’s grooves. Reggie Watts(2003 Seattle Weekly Artist of the Year) steps up to vocal duty on the opening title track. Reggie has been compared to both Marvin Gayeand Al Green, so be prepared for a forecast of funkand soulwhen he lets it rain. Sounding like vintage Average White Band, Alex Veleyjoins in on vocals for "The Lifestyle". Dynamic fender rhodes playing from Seattlearea piano men Alex Veleyand Darius Wilrichsparkle throughout the album. Sax prodigy The Gould Effect ( Daniel Gould) adds layers of Afro-Beatinspired horn lines. Toad the Wet Sprocketalum, Randy Guss, busts some sly beats while experimental trumpeter Jim Knodleblows musical butterflies into the air. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft4 CDBaby.com]
Mike Clarkand Paul Jacksonsound incredible rocking it over these " Headhunter" style grooves. The vocalists are absolutely top knotch, Reggie Wattsfrom Souliveand Alex Veleyfrom Maktub. That's like Marvin Gayesinging with Al Green, these are two modern soulgiants. I'm not familiar with all the players work, but Darius Wilrichburns on the electric piano and the trumpet player, Jim Knodle, sounds like Miles. A tight purchase for anyone interested in progressive hip-hop, soul, fusion, rock, or funk. Like going to a music school for the hip. - [http://www.djpeanuts.com/product/B0001GDE4C DJPeanuts.com]
The Dawning of the Aja Aquarius (2005)
1. Bolero - 4:56
2. Calls for Rain - 3:05
3. Pillow Fight - 3:24
4. Dirty Dirty - 4:16
5. Bury the Mammoth - 4:37
6. The Middle Passage - 4:45
7. The Reencounter - 3:02
8. Adrift in Azland's Mane - 2:20
9. Thank You All - 3:12
All songs written by Aja West.
The Mackrosoft"Trilogy of Four" ends here at the beginning, part zero: "The Dawning of the Aja Aquarius". Conductor Aja West guides a great team of musicians on a journey to the edges of funk, hip-hop, comtemporary jazz, and experimental fusion. Four master drummers hold down the groove and guarantee dope beats throughout. Randy Guss( Toad the Wet Sprocket), Rich Lambert( Linkin Park), and the incredible father/son rhythm duo, Jason and Beck Vontver. Throughout the journey Skerik( Critters Buggin, Les Claypool) wields the sax like an electric guitar shredding through the mix while keyboard prodigy Alex Veley( Maktub, Dolemite) lays down the law on electric piano. Conductor Aja West plays analog synthesizers himself on this volume, much to fans delight. Multiple excellent vocalists appear throughout the album in Sly Stone/ James Brownstyle. Seattle soulman Darius Wilrichand Los Angelessirens Heather Porcaro, Anne Montone( Elephonic), and Holland Greco( Peak Show) light up the album with their vocal flourishes. Produced and recorded by Aja West in Seattle, Los Angeles, and The Netherlandsat Mackrosoft Studios. Featured radio singles are "Bolero" and "Thank You All". - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft5 CDBaby.com]
Antonio's Giraffe (2006)
1. The Immortality Project - 6:43
2. The Mighty Luconchu - 4:31
3. Antonio's Giraffe - 5:10
4. The Art of Rollin' - 4:18
5. The Game in F# Minor - 7:07
6. Quiet Encephalitics - 4:56
7. Hold Up - 3:02
8. Cricket - 3:54
All songs written by Aja West.
The Mackrosoft’s critically acclaimed catalog continues with "Antonio’s Giraffe". Some of the best musicians in funk, soul, hip-hop, and jazzpay homage to the great Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobimwith a platter of all original material. Many of the album’s musicians are known as phenomenal producers, bandleaders, and creators in their own right. We find Money Mark( Beastie Boys), Mike Clark( Herbie Hancock, The Headhunters), Printz Board( Black Eyed Peas, Nate Dogg, Macy Gray), Skerik( Critters Buggin, Les Claypool), Alex Veley( Maktub, Dolemite), Cheeba( Dust Brothers, The Cheebacabra), and Larry Crane( Brand X) among many other luminaries combining their talent to showcase what they can do outside their traditional band settings. The players on "Antonio’s Giraffe" manifest South Americanand Africantinged performances utilizing some of Jobim’s favorite instruments: flute, trumpet, vibes, sax, and plenty of percussion. Under the direction of composer, producer, and conductor Aja West, this band traverses the groove territory pioneered by 70’s fusion bands like Steely Dan, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, and Miles Davis. The music sounds crisp and clean, played with the sensibilities of musicians that have recorded and rocked with the biggest legends in almost every genre. Mastering by the legendary "Big Bass" Brian( Outkast, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre) and original artwork by Los Angeles graffitipioneer Saggy Bottomsmake this album a true musical and cultural collectors item. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/mackrosoft6 CDBaby.com]
This is a work of epic proportion. Forget the fact that this project represents some of the most talented musicians working together or that this is one of thee jazziest productions paying homage to the great Brazilian composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim, this is one of the slickest compositions with funky 70’s guitar riffs and keyboard playing that will have any music enthusiast drooling for days. The foundation of this project, South American and African music, utilizes Jobim’s favorite instruments: flute, sax, vibes, trumpet, and percussion galore. Rarely is original material able to unite, create, and pay tribute with such equally celebrated force. Antonio’s Giraffe is the epitome of what being cool is all about. - [http://www.jivemagazine.com JIVE Magazine]
Another bold leap forward for Mackrosoft -- and a record that may well be their best to date! The vibe here is totally tight and equally funky -- a 70s electric jazz approach that's filled with great work on
Fender Rhodes, grounded with heavy drums from Headhunter Mike Clark, and which even features some nice guest work from Skerikand Money Mark! Fender Rhodesreally dominates the tunes -- setting the scene for the grooves from the get-go, then snaking through the rhythms in a slinky, soulful quality that really shows the group getting deeper into their sound with this release. - [http://www.dustygroove.com Dusty Groove]
The Olympian (2007)
Aja West and Cheeba
Flash and Snowball (2005)
1. The Arrival - 3:56
2. Alene's Farm - 3:08
3. Jaws - 4:23
4. Cindy - 4:23
5. Special Food - 2:31
6. Christmas Tinsel - 3:15
7. The Sister - 2:53
8. Me And Snow - 5:07
9. Cosmic Catnip - 4:29
10. Last Of The Mohawkins - 3:52
11. Future Felines - 3:53
12. The Beanbag Game - 3:51
13. The Departure - 2:38
14. Saturday Candy - 4:57
Songs 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11 written & produced by Aja West.
Songs 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 written & produced by
Song 6 co-written by Aja West.
Songs 4 & 10 co-written by
Song 14 co-written by
Heather Porcaro& Alex Veley.
Horn arrangements on song 1 by Gould Effect (
Daniel Gould) & Aja West.
Aja West and Cheeba, two great composers, band leaders and real life brothers, join forces in paying homage to their childhood cats, Flash and Snowball. Instrumental funk fusion in its lightest and darkest veins is the call of the hour. Sometimes raw, sometimes smooth, it is obvious the brothers' sound is influenced by such 70's fusion giants as Weather Report, Passport, and Herbie Hancock. In 2003, Cheeba, bandleader of The Cheebacabra, released his debut album of electronic funk, "Metamorphosis", to critical acclaim. Filter Magazineplaced it on their "Best Records of 2003" list and Nic Harcourtof KCRW spun it on his "Best of 2003" radio program. Aja West, leader of super group, The Mackrosoft, has been referred to as "the very bridge between the forefathers - Clinton, Stone, Hancock - and something like D'Angelo" by Straight No Chaser. Now, with their first co-production, Aja West and Cheebacombine forces to deliver fourteen tracks of feline inspired jams. There is no shortage of analog keyboards in the mix, as the brothers bring out all of their Moogs, Arps, and the fittingly-named synthesizer, The Cat. Also featured on keys are piano man Nick Allisonand electric piano guru Steve Moore( Laura Veirs, Syncopated Taint Septet). Rock solid beat keeper Rich Lambert( Hydrovibe, Ima Robot) holds down the drum kit busting breaks that are bound to be sampled by future beat miners. Also featured is the great Mike Porcarowho has been holding down the Toto bass groove for 25 years. - [http://cdbaby.com/cd/ajawestcheeba CDBaby.com]
Click here to learn more about Flash and Snowball.
The Mackrosoft - Upgrade (2006)
The Mackrosoft - Shirts & Skins (2007)
The Mackrosoft - The Roots of Underground Fusion (2007)
The Mackrosoft Aja West - Self-Evolving Mechanized Elves (2008)
The Mackrosoft The Cheebacabra Cheeba Aja West and Cheeba
* [http://www.mackrosoft.com Mackrosoft Records] - Music label for all music produced by Aja West,
The Mackrosoft, The Cheebacabra, and AJ Chavez.
* [http://www.myspace.com/mackrosoft The Mackrosoft Myspace Website]
* [http://www.ajawest.com Aja West] - Aja West's own website.
* [http://www.cheebacabra.com The Cheebacabra] - Website of
Cheeba's (Aja's brother) band.
* [http://www.myspace.com/cheebacabra The Cheebacabra Myspace Website]
* [http://smallworldpodcast.com/?p=602 Interview with Aja West] - [http://smallworldpodcast.com small WORLD Podcast] 2007
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