“Gem Drops” is a rich, varied compilation covering “experimental electronic hip-hop inspired” music, with artists such as Anenon, yuk., Juj, Devonwho, Shigeto, and Sumsun. The 21 tracks were selected by curator Aaron Meola. It’s the sixth release from the collective Dropping Gems, and 100% of revenue will go to the American Cancer Society.
Pay what you want for the download; a “very limited” run of handmade CDs with artwork will go to people who donate US $15 or more.
I spoke with Kris Geffen, aka citymouth [SoundCloud page], about the release they put together to find out more.
Peter: It’s a beautiful compilation. What inspired the musical selections here? (I like the phrase “hip-hop inspired,” which is arguably true of most electronic music we make today, but what drove the selections?)
Kris: Well, to me the term “hip-hop inspired” is almost misleading in that many of the contributions on this project clearly pull inspiration from a multitude of electronic, acoustic, and hybrid idioms of music. I do think there’s an undeniable connection between the elements of hip hop music and the trends we’re hearing in low-frequency oriented electronic music but the comparison is really just an accessible way to describe some of the roots of what these creative circles are experimenting with. When Aaron originally asked contributors to submit compositions, there weren’t really any guidelines given to the artist as to the direction of the work. I think he just sought out people he felt were all dialed in to a specific culture, where ever they were from. I feel the group of artists represented here are all actively seeking new ways to expand upon past, present, and future beat traditions.
Why the American Cancer Society?
Well I guess that whole thing started due to our good friend Adam, aged 22, who actually beat testiclar cancer for the 2nd time about a year ago. Music was something that really helped him get through his ordeal, which was inspiring since it was also was what brought us all together as friends. That experience led to a couple of projects for us. The first was a show last fall with Mono/Poly, yuk. and a handful of other artists where we raised $1200 for the American Cancer Society. The artwork for Gem Drops by Rob Pellicer was painted live at that show. I think the amount of support we received from the community and artists involved was what really motivated Aaron to put in the work he did to get the compilation together.
Can you tell us a little bit about Aaron and the folks behind the compilation? How did they come together?
The name of the crew is Dropping Gems. Aaron Meola was kind of the driving force behind curating the submissions for the compilation. He’s sort of the de facto general manager for the buisness end of DG but basically we’re just a group of friends with similar interests. The creative core of the crew consists of myself (Citymouth), Bone Rock, Rap Class, DJAO, Brownbear, and Gumar and his Magical Midi Band. We all met in college in Olympia, WA and have since moved to Portland, OR with the exception of AO who’s up in Seattle (runnin’ things). We’re basically like family, we all live on the same block, have potlucks and all that. I feel really blessed, we were pretty immediately embraced by an incredible music community upon our arrival here. I don’t think there’s any one way to describe the activities of the group. We make and release music, organize shows, do all our own promotion and distribution, and pretty much do everything in our power to further DIY ethics and support the northwest music scene.
Thanks, Kris. Let us know what you think of the compilation, readers, and keep the music coming.