Politics aside, much can be said for and against purists of any kind. Tradition and roots are substantial holdings and carry the significance of the world, while progression and risk-taking are necessities of the inevitable. Either way you look at it, both perspectives have their place, Fort Waynes hip-hop constituents DJ Polaris and Brainstorm are pure, very pure. Skip directly to track three (and 16) for proof. Now a moment for some politics:
Three years ago I met DJ Polaris and Brainstorm while working at a music store. I was hungry for energy; they were thirsty for ears. Our brief meeting resulted in my purchasing their original EP and now - finally, better late than never - this review. Over time Brainstorm and I have often discussed hip-hop, rock, culture and so on. While our tastes and opinions have not typically been in sync, itd be a stretch to conclude that our principles arent. These are the roundabout politics of a review ... now, finally, Andromedas long awaited debut album, The Need.
On The Need, Andromeda sound fed up. Polaris and Brainstorm are students of hip-hop, entirely prepared to represent the culture they love with all they have; The Need is their documentation.
Hear Me Out Now sees Brainstorm berating recent style changes by successful artists Q-Tip and Andre 3000, at the same time implying that commercial artists are in the wrong for not being creative or inventive. While both Q-Tip and Andre have surely moved beyond their roots, most listeners may not agree that the two momentous artists have left their culture behind. Andromeda are so certain of its roots that they often question otherwise critically acclaimed artists throughout The Need. Its safe to say that Andromeda have no problem going against the grain to stand up for their belief in the roots of their art. Purists works as a thesis statement on the groups direction, with Brainstorm questioning any and everything, ending with the line, the intense epiphany of hip-hop purists.
Brainstorms whimsical rhymes find a needed balance in the hard edge vocals rendered by DJ Polaris. The Need is unequivocally a group effort, with both artists collaborating equally throughout the album. Where Brainstorm often seems to be helming the rhymes, Polaris seems more than at home with his clean production skills. Those who had the opportunity to hear the groups inaugural EP will quickly notice the refined sound quality and newfound mixing effectiveness.
Full of crisp drums, catchy loops and resourceful layers, The Need is a professionally produced album with very few production missteps. Where its clear through the variance of beats and thought-provoking soundbites that Andromeda worked long and hard on their songs, the abundance of vocal echoes and incessant use of (vocal) samples for hooks feel more like a crutch than part of the groups sound. Occasionally stepping outside of their cultural-critic stance, Brainstorm and Polaris focus on themes of spirituality, race, rape, artistry, politics and, oftentimes, their hometown of Fort Wayne. Musical reference points range from early 90s Native Tongues to late 80s groundwork, all the way up to the Rawkus-era underground scene.
I wont deny that reviewing an album drenched in quixotic tradition has been a challenge for me as a reviewer with disparate artistic values. And while Andromedas politics regarding music may not match up with my own, I am able to value their dedication to the mission behind their art, as well as their widespread energy to create.
The Need is a pure labor of love that will unquestionably live up to all of Andromedas fans expectations.
To hear one of Fort Waynes most renowned hip-hop albums to date, head over to Wooden Nickel, Convolution Records or Borders and pick up The Need. Check out www.fortwaynehiphop.com while youre at it.
by Greg Locke
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Marquee Gala — Embassy Theatre fundraiser featuring cocktails, four-course dinner, behind-the-scenes tours and performance by Billy Porter of Kinky Boots, 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, $250, 424-6287
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Platinum Boys w/The Meat Flowers — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., $5, 267-5303
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Chris Worth — Variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 7:30-10:30 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Fort Wayne Comedy Connection — Comedy at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at Mad Anthony Brewing Co., Fort Wayne, 6-9 p.m., no cover, (260) 426-2537
Joe Justice — Variety at Arbor Glen Retirement Village, Fort Wayne, 4-5 p.m., no cover, 492-2202
Open Mic — Hosted by Mike Mowry at Pedal City, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 415-6167
Shut Up and Sing — Karaoke at Duesy's Sports Bar, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 483-5681
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Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Variety at Pine Valley Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., no cover, 490-9464
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — at AJ's, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Karaoke at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., no cover, 422-5055
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., ,
Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Karaoke with Rooster — Variety at By: Belle Haven, South Whitley, 8 p.m., no cover, 866-716-9243
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Shut Up and Sing — Karaoke at Duesy's Sports Bar, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 483-5681
Three Rivers Karaoke — at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-1311
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James and the Giant Peach (May 11-13) — Fort Wayne Youtheatre auditions, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
An Artful Spring — Works by Gwen Gutwein, Patricia Weiss, Austin Cartwright and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru March 31, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Garden Party — Garden-themed works in a variety of mediums from over 30 local artists, Monday-Saturday thru March 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Wabash County Schools Exhibition — Works by high school art students, daily thru April 16, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102