Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber | All You Zombies Dig the Luminosity

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All You Zombies Dig the Luminosity

by Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber

"A multi-racial jam army that freestyles with cool telekinesis between the lustrous menace of Miles Davis' On The Corner, the slash-and-om of 1970s King Crimson, and Jimi Hendrix' moonwalk across side 3 of Electric Ladyland." ~ David Fricke~Rolling Stone
Genre: Urban/R&B: Deep Funk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. That Bent Arc Do Be Slow
3:08 $0.99
2. The Charmer
2:12 $0.99
3. Stop Trippin'
4:52 $0.99
4. Ride Ride Ride (Erybody Gon Get Gentrified)
4:46 $0.99
5. Yung Blk & Vague
2:16 $0.99
6. Black Fros Black Gold
2:57 $0.99
7. Vaguely Tryique
2:16 $0.99
8. My Black Uncertainty
2:41 $0.99
9. Throw Some Light
4:41 $0.99
10. Ride Ride Ride (Slight Reprise)
0:33 $0.99
11. Ziploc Latex
3:24 $0.99
12. And Chaos Dies
2:28 $0.99
13. Quoth the Raven
2:46 $0.99
14. All You Zombies / Grizzle Damus
1:21 $0.99
15. R U Insane? (The Mo' Brutal Remix)
3:44 $0.99
16. There Is a G
3:20 $0.99
17. R U Insane?
3:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Greg Tate's permanent floating black-bohemian-nationalist big band speaks its truths to power and its beauties to the grays ("The Charmer," "Yung Black & Vague," "Black Fros Black Gold") ... " ~ Robert Christgau - Dean of American Rock Critics

"The Burnt Sugar Arkestra is made up of an eclectic lineup of musicians who have played with everyone from Parliament Funkedelic to Jeff Buckley, and from Butch Morris to The Roots. In my opinion this trumps any previous attempts to orally account for the Black bohemian lifestyle of today." -- Art Terry ~ Resonance FM ~ London UK

"Highlights "Throw Some Light" and "Ziplock Latex" attain soaring heights, and the remixed "R U Insane?" is a fully uncaged grinder." -- Martin Longley ~ DownBeat Magazine

"On “All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity”, their first new studio album in four years, the multiracial group sound like the big poppas and mommas of baby boogie Childish Gambino as they cosmic slop bop across musical highwires. Burnt Sugar are on a mission to make black noise soulful again." -- Michael A. Gonzales ~ THE WIRE

"Considering that Burnt Sugar has been around for 18 years and released more than a dozen discs, the band has continued to survive, strive and evolve with every performance and disc a different gem to behold." -- Bruce Lee Gallanter - Downtown Music Gallery - NYC NY

All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity!

AS Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber grooves into its 18th year of operation the ensemble looks forward to further upsetting conventional wisdom and even good common sense about maintaining a Conducted Improv big band. As Dayton Ohio master bassist & band administrator Jared Michael Nickerson once observed, this band of gypsies somehow manages to keep touring the the world with no set repertoire or single musical identity.

The music heard on BSA's new Avant Groidd Musica album "All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity!" fans out in diverse directions as its epic and evocatively titled predecessors have done--"Blood On The Leaf Opus No.1", That Depends On What You Know's "Fubractive Since Antiquity Suite" & "The Crepescalarium", "The Rites" and "More Than Posthuman ~ Rise of The Mojosexual Cotillion" to name but a few.

As some of our congregants already know, around 2010 the band flipped its own script-- the one that SAW US KNOWN FOR extravagant forays into non stop spontaneous creation utilizing our late mentor Lawrence Butch Morris' patented system for conjuring wily results from unsuspecting but game virtuosos--to royally wrecking and renovating the catalogues of some of our most inspirational and favored-nation ancestors-- Sun Ra, James Brown, Melvin Van Peebles, Miles Davis, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Rick James, DC Go Go Funk, Prince's entire PARADE album and in sly bit of cheek, Fleetwood Mac with our 'Fleetwood Black' show & revue.

Our focus on composing and recording original music fell by the wayside while those exhilarating exhumations were going on but band founder Greg Tate remained undaunted and dug in deep to rediscover his songwriting wellspring. Thus it has come to pass that "All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity!" has emerged from BSA's studio lair to be foisted on an aghast and agnostic populace.

The Suga's eclectic bent is readily apparent in the programs opening two cuts-- 'That Bent Arc Do Be Slow' -- which refers to Martin Luther King's famous quote about how slowly the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice --and 'The Charmer' where Tate's lead vocal debut mayhaps indicts himself as a bit of a rake.

Things fling wildly towards the band's psychedelic rapprochement on the low-rider romp 'Stop Tripping' which features founding members Justice Dilla X & Rene Akan on beguiling yet berserker falsetto vocals and fire breathing yet surgically manscaped reverse engineered guitar.

With Soul Sister Number 2001 Abby Dobson at the helm the BSA decries gentrification on the infectiously bumptious 'Ride Ride Ride' wherein six-string flamethrower Andre Lassalle gives Akan's brain-scrambling attack a run for its lysergic gonads on the song's roller coaster rave-up denouement. Dobson returns with sensuous gusto on 'Yung Blk & Vague', daring the youth of today to be darker than their personal devices can be in pursuit of the next phase in Afro-humanist morphology.

The group's unwavering assault on appropriation is given a whirl here via 'Ziploc Latex' featuring BSA's stage vocal standard bearers Mikel Banks and Shelley Nicole.

Those wondering wherefore and wheregoeth the fate of BSA's beyond prescient engagement with Afro-fututrist operatics shall wonder no more when they find themselves being melliflusouly lullabyed by new singer Julie Brown on 'Show Some Light' & 'Black Fro's Black Gold'--Burnt Sugar's space-operatic answer to SF Dean Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Word to all bass-ment lovers ... don't sleep on Jared's movin on up 'Show Some Light' baseline which, three-quarters through, goes off the rails only to soon return and promise a safe sonic roller coaster ride to all!

As was the case with the Burnt Sugar fams last all-original release , "The Darknuss" , released under the aegis of their small tight mobile guerilla unit/ self-proclaimed avant funk pop-splinter cell, Rebellum, "All You Zombies Dig The Lumnosity!" (henceforth AYZDTL however much that acronym sounds like a smart-drug for senile Mayan time-bandits) was Produced and Recorded at the Harlem bunker of our main man with a sonic plan, Luqman Brown.

Under Brown's shaping and guiding hand the band was able to increase its popular song craft exponentially, trim its cheesier excesses and sonically advance by Nietzschean leaps and bounds while continuing to filter in inclusive demands from the kitchen sink and everything else on their radar.

Hence the record concludes with not one but two versions of 'RU Insane'--veritably the question of the hour for all tyrannical potentates yet to learn its not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Enveloped by Jared's 'comin round the mountains' bass line, the banshee vocals of Christina Wheeler and the skronking saxophone fandangos of Micah Gaugh on Insane Numero Uno, yes indeed, is intended to scrape war paint off of your cranium walls.

It is surely a show of the bands' generosity of spirit and divine mercy that guest vocalist Dean Bowman and trumpeter/Sex Mob head honcho Steven Bernstein were able to join the fun on a few tracks. Bernstein and Bowman (the latter well known around these parts for his years of front manning the Screaming Headless Torsos --and his uncanny savant abilities with recounting American baseball statistics dating back to the 1920s). THEY ARE ALSO AYZDTL only guest artists.

We hope you'll agree that all the Shuga fams and special super friends acquit themselves admirably and expobidently on AYXDTL. And that, like those aforementioned Mayan time bandits, all personnel and the project in general sounds wiser, wilier and more reckless in its musical gene-mapping --going forwards ever and backwards never ever Oh Hell To The Naw.

Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber Presents
TITLE: All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity!
LABEL: Avant Groidd Musica 2017

VOICES Mikel Banks - Dean Bowman - Julie Brown - Abby Dobson - Shelley Nicole - Greg Tate - Christina Wheeler - Justice Dilla-X
BASS Jared Michael Nickerson - Greg Tate
GUITARS Rene Akan - Andre Lassalle - Jimmy Lee - Thom Loubet - Greg Tate - Ben Tyree
KEYS Leon Gruenbaum
TRUMPET J.S. Williams - Steve Bernstein
BARI SAXOPHONE/EWI ‘Moist’ Paula Henderson
VIOLIN Mazz Swift
DRUMS Meret Koehler

Produced and Engineered by Luqman Brown@Buddhabug Studios, Harlem USA, 2016-2017
Executive Producers: Greg Tate for Avant Groidd Music + Jared Michael Nickerson for Burnt Sugar Index LLC
Artwork by Krista Franklin
Design by LaRonda Davis

TRUMPETS J.S. Williams + Steven Bernstein

VOX: GT + Shelley Nicole BASS Jared Michael Nickerson TRUMPET Steven Bernstein GUITARS+LYRICS: GT

VOX Justice Dilla-X GUITARS Rene Akan Thom Loubet VIOLIN Mazz Swift DRUMS Chris Eddleton BASS+LYRICS: GT

4 RIDE RIDE RIDE (ErybodyGonGetGentrified)
VOX Abby Dobson Mikel Banks GUITARS Andre Lassalle BASS Jared Michael Nickerson ALTOSAX Avram Fefer LOOPS+LYRICS: GT

VOX Abby Dobson KEYS Leon Gruenbaum LOOPS+LYRICS: GT

VOX Julie Brown KEYS Leon Gruenbaum BASS Jared Michael Nickerson GUITAR, LOOPS+LYRICS: GT


VOX Christina Wheeler GUITARS Jimmy Lee LOOPS+LYRICS:GT

VOX Julie Brown BASS Jared Michael Nickerson ALTO SAX Micah Gaugh TRUMPET Steven Bernstein LOOPS+LYRICS: GT

10 RIDE RIDE RIDE slight reprise

VOX Mikel Banks + Shelley Nicole LOOPS+LYRICS: GT

TRUMPETS J.S. Williams + Steve Bernstein LOOPS: GT

VOX Mikel Banks GUITARS Andre Lassalle KEYS Leon Gruenbaum BASS Jared Michael Nickerson LOOPS+LYRICS: GT


VOX+ ALTO SAX Micah Gaugh BANSHEE VOX Christina Wheeler
BASS Jared Michael Nickerson LEAD GUITAR Jimmy Lee DRUMS Meret Koehler RIDDIM GUITAR+LYRICS: GT

VOX Julie Brown + Dean Bowman LOOPS+LYRICS: GT

VOX Mikel Banks BANSHEE VOX Christina Wheeler BASS Jared Michael Nickerson LEAD GUITAR Jimmy Lee DRUMS Meret Koehler RIDDIM GUITAR+LYRICS: GT

Burnt Sugar Arkestra's eighteenth release in it's eighteenth year of existence is it's Best to Date ... Ya Heard ... Burnt Sugar Baby!

"Zombie Reviews :

Posted by ljuzi in Kurrent Music on September, 2017

Greg Tate has been at his Burnt Sugar project, one of the many he has on, for more than 18 years now. While he’s not guiding this musical conglomerate, he’s writing, producing, playing… Certainly a busy man.

Although Burn Sugar or Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber seems to be intermittent, 14 of them have accumulated through the years. By listening to any batch of them you might think you have picked up all the influences they have come up and all the players that were involved.

And you would certainly be wrong. The number of players involved and the musical styles exemplified is staggering. With this year’s All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity, this time again under the Arkestra Chamber moniker, that concepts remain the same. Well, at least something is constant!

You may be able to take the count of the number of players on the album (21 in all, with Greg Tate appearing all over the place), but if you try to list the inspirations employed on the 17 tracks here, you’d probably lose the count. But we can try at least with a few.

From Sun Ra (Arkestra in the title gives a clue for those who may not be sure), Miles Davies late Sixties/Early Seventies electric phase, Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton’s in all his Parliament/Funkadelic shapes and sizes, James Brown, Archie Shepp, Bill Laswell’s Material… shall we go on?

It all could sound just like a big hodgepodge stew, not that it did not happen in the past, but on All You Zombies… producer Luqman Brown who often has the production reigns in his hands on Burnt Sugar projects has made sure it all jells.

The influences blend into each other like a perfect cocktail and come with up a very listenable album, particularly strengthened by the fact that there are eight different vocalists and six different guitar players (including Tate) that ensure the music stays both different and interesting.

There is a slight slant towards the Early Seventies soul akin to Marvin Gaye (try “Yung Black & Vague”), but that is just yet another positive twist in the mix, that has already proven it can produce some great music. A very listenable and intriguing album at the same time.


DOWNBEAT ~ December 2017 - Three Stars

"Heading for two decades of existence, New York's Burnt Sugar collective personnel are still revolving around multi-instrumentalist Greg Tate and bassist Jared Michael Nickerson, involving key players such as Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Avram Fefer (saxophone), and Mazz Swift (violin). Tate follows the path of conduction maestro Butch Morris, placing a guided improvisational template on top of the rock-funk language.

It might be a question of the ears needing time to adapt to this swirling sonic universe of funk, but as the album progresses, it seems to grow dynamism and direction, losing it's sense of muddled layering. The opening songs sound like several tracks are playing simultaneously with a chaotic piling of dislocated voices, solos and beats, but when the fourth number, "Ride Ride Ride," hits, everything coalesces into on of the best works on the disc, with a powerful vocal from Abby Dobson, topped off by an urgent Andre Lassalle guitar solo.

The production style is sometimes muddled and too crammed with action. But highlights "Throw Some Light" and "Ziplock Latex" attain soaring heights, and the remixed "R U Insane?" is a fully uncaged grinder." -- Martin Longley


Resonance FM DJ Art Terry writing for 'Is Black Music says ... "This is an alternative soul classic. There are many reasons this LP stands to push forward and through where previous albums have not gone. The creative mystically metered danceable loops underlying the dense sound waves and arrangements, the compact studio wizardry of the Buddhabug production team headed by Luqman Brown. But what really blows our minds is the emergence of Greg Tate has a lyricist!  

From the spoken word proclamations of songs like My Black Uncertainty to the psychedelic funksdelic skunk-funk of  Black Fros Black Gold, Mr Tate is doing what he does best.  Cos though he is a master musician, his work as a Black music writer distinguishes him as our greatest music critic. Connecting the wordsmith Tate to the  composer Tate is the best thing since George Clinton.

The LP begins with The Bent Arch featuring J.S. Williams. It’s a trumpet flashback track which sounds like Fred Fripp mixed it late at night after Miles left the studio to meet with Julio on the corner. 

From there we are into The Charmer. A punky funky pop gem that was left in the dirt, picked up and put in the vocal pocket of Greg Tate himself, dueting with Shelley Nicole.  This is my first known encounter with Tate as a vocalist. Fantastic!

The fourth track, Ride Ride Ride (Everybody Bout To Get Gentrfied) may be the funkiest Burnt Sugar joint yet. It might be the funkiest track yet period. It’s slamming! The lyric that delivers you is ‘Mercy ain’t what it looked like, when they rolled you down glory street.’ And what a treat to hear the legendary Mikel Banks lead in on this vocal.

The next track Young Black And Vague is led by the beautiful Abby Dobson with the chant ‘young black and vague are you gonna take the weight, young black and vague are you gonna ride the shock wave.’ It’s alarmingly good! It will skid and slid inside and into your swag. 

Leon Gruenbaum keyboard work is impeccably off the hook on this track and throughout most of the album.

Track 6 – the aforementioned Black Fros Black Gold is really beyond words. Julie Brown’s vocal performance is commanding. The entire track lands you in the middle of Atlantic Avenue on a hot late Brooklyn night trying to get a bus after a Lil Wayne concert has just let out at the Barclay Centre.

 At this point we should note Jared Michael Nickerson’s bass playing. Jared is the funkiest man on the planet. Every thing he plays on his bass sounds funky because he understands one thing – that a good bass sound is the most important thing. And his bass sound is how your mama’s behind would sound if it could talk ... Rude but necessary.

And so the LP rumbles from track to track, seventeen songs in all! And from start to finish this is a cerebral soul masterpiece.

It ends with a bang, the final track titled RU Insane being our favourite to play on the Is Black Music radio show. It’s a head-banging rocker featuring vocalist Micah Gaugh. 

As head nodding as this LP is, it still has that Burnt Toast freak-out vibe in tracks like Stop Tripping featuring the psycho-delic vocals of Justice Dilla and the great Mazz Swift on violin.

Indeed the whole LP has a free form fill that connects it to the Burnt Sugar discography.

It is quite incredible that despite the recording’s tightness the album was largely improvised! 

In an interview during the Is Black Music Luminosity special that Resonance FM broadcast, bassist Jared Michael Nickerson stated that the vast majority of the music was created ‘off the dome’, meaning that they played what came off of the top of their heads or the first things that came fresh to mind.

This works well when you have a hand-picked roster of some of the finest virtuoso and funk musicians that walk the planet today. The Burnt Sugar Arkestra is made up of a eclectic lineup of musicians who have played with everyone from Parliament Funkedelic to Jeff Buckley, and from Butch Morris to The Roots. In my opinion this trumps any previous attempts to orally account for the Black bohemian lifestyle of today."


Bruce Lee Gallanter of NYC's Downtown Music Gallery says ... "It has been a while since local sensation, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, released a studio offering of newly written material. For the past few years, Burnt Sugar has been working with and/or covering the music of Melvin Van Peebles, James Brown, Steely Dan, David Bowie and Miles Davis. Their collaborations with Mr. Van Peebles are especially well received. Considering that Burnt Sugar has been around for 18 years and released more than a dozen discs, the band has continued to survive, strive and evolve with every performance and disc a different gem to behold.

Although their founder/co-leader, Greg Tate, writes and directs most of their material, the personnel is drawn from some 20 musicians and singers. Some known, some not so well known but all well needed for the great, diverse results. The disc starts off with an infectious, dubby groove, hypnotic echoes and Steven Bernstein’s frolicking trumpet spinning in dizzying waves. “The Charmer” features a chorus of swell voices, with more echo-plexed brass sailing on top. Every song features a different killer groove at the center, slamming beats that will grab you and take you along for a great ride. Similar to Funkadelic, Mr. Tate selects and directs several singers, guitarists and horn players, all tightly swirling around one another in tight/loose connections. There too many great jewels here to mention every one but there are a few highlights worth listing. The chorus of “Ride Ride Ride” repeats, “Everybody Gonna Get Gentrified” will soon have you singing along and that Hendrix-like guitar solo from Andre Lassalle is something else entirely! There a number of great vocalists involved here but there is one who truly stands out on many of these songs: Abby Dobson, we will be hearing more from her in the near future! We are currently living in dark and disorienting times with racial divisiveness all around. Burnt Sugar are a multi-racial, multi-gender, international crew who show how well we can work together when we share our vision, our groove, our infectious spirits. Greg Tate’s lyrics combine different thoughts on the human perspective: uncertainty and joyousness of release seem to inhabit the same skin, no matter what color it is since we are all in this predicament together. Along with the recent CD from SexMob (which also features Steven Bernstein’s trumpet), Burnt Sugar remain one of Downtown’s most inspiring troops!

I’ve caught them live & helped get gigs for the BURNT SUGAR ARKESTRA many times and every gig is different and well worth checking out! I urge you to check them out if they come to your town! Here is a list of some upcoming gigs, here and around the world: July 20th - Nietzsche's - Buffalo N.Y. - July 21st - Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) - July 22nd - Art Gallery of Ontario "Conduction" Workshop - August 4th & 5th - Detroit Museum of Art (DIA) - August 10 - Central Park Summerstage - Queensboro Park w/ Stephanie Batten Bland' SSB Dance Co. - August 23rd - National Sawdust - Brooklyn N.Y. - September 8th & 9th - Sardegna e Jazz - Cagliari Sardinia ITALY - Oct. 25 - Nov. 5th - Booty Dolla Wayward West Tour - Hammer Museum & Zebulon (LA)~W.O.W. Hall (Eugene OR)~UCSD (San Diego CA)~UC Irvine (Irvine CA)~Seattle Art Museum (Seattle WA)~The Jack London (Portland OR)" - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

"Cultural critic and Wire contributor Greg Tate is a textural fusionist who can write (and riff) about everything from Afrofuturism to Frank Zappa to tales of arty folks of colour striving in the creative jungles of America. His wildstyled essays helped diversify the canon of critical pop thinkers while also inspiring a generation of scribes that includes Kodwo Eshun, Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) and Dream Hampton. Despite the fact that writing and professing is Tate’s main gig, it’s never been his only one. Like chocolate Warhol dwelling in Harlem, New York, he has published arts journals (Coon Bidness), made films, hosted various happenings and, in the early 1980s, spearheaded the Black Rock Coalition with Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid.

In 1999, Tate co-founded the freaky-deke revolving musical collective Burnt Sugar as yet another outlet for his bubbling creativity. Along with Ohio Native bassist Jared Michael Nickerson, whose former avant soulsters group JJ Jumpers was one of the shining stars in the 80s BRC era, Burnt Sugar’s later line-up includes guitarists Rene Akan and Ben Tyree, vocalists Mikel Banks and Shelley Nicole, and horn honkers Avram Fever (alto sax) and Steven Bernstein (trumpet).

On “All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity”, their first new studio album in four years, the multiracial group sound like the big poppas and mommas of baby boogie Childish Gambino as they cosmic slop bop across musical highwires.

Merging genre lines throughout, Burnt Sugar of from the Fellini circus band warm-up on the opening track straight into the develish blues of “The Charmer” that comes complete with girl group-styled vocals (“He’s a charmer”) wailing in the background.
On the urgent anti-gentrification track “Ride Ride Ride”, vocalist Abby Dobson bring the gospel as bassist Nickerson layers Midwest funk throughout the sanctuary. From the soulfulness of “Young, Black and Vague” and “Quoth The Raven” to the surreality of “RU Insane”, Tate — the main lyricist, loops guru and occasional guitarist — has a kaleidoscopic style and song craft recalling George Clinton an Gil Scott Heron.

All You Zombies is brimming with weirdness (“Ziplock Latex”) and virtuoso performances (Ben Tyree’s ambient strumming of the cinematic “Vaguely Tyrique”) but for me the standouts are the groove heavy “Throw Some Light”, a showcase for Julie Brown’s stirring vocals, and the wondrous “Stop Trippin”, a song that sways to a dub/ska riddim until electric axe slayer Rene Akan soars from the sky and crashes the party with his blaring guitar.

Burnt Sugar are on a mission to make black noise soulful again." ~ Michael A. Gonzales ~ THE WIRE



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