February 20, 2006

So What Else Is New With Alex Kemp?

Sounds like a talk show, doesn't it? Anyway, a couple months back I stumbled upon the musical whereabouts of Alex Kemp, he the former bassist and singer for Small Factory, he the former Godrays guitarist and singer. We reported here at World of Sound that Mr. Kemp is now playing bass with Chicago electropop outfit Assassins, and bemoaned the fact that the act does not display a lot of Kempage. Imagine my surprise when the man himself popped a virtual note in my electronic mailbox shortly thereafter with news of Kempage aplenty. Kemp tells us he is almost finished recording a solo record, but has made no effort to find a label as of yet. He plans to start gigging the material with drummer David Suycott, bassist Rodney Jones and Erron Williams on keys -- Mr. Williams, incidentally, happens to be the brother of Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams. In addition to that and his work with Assassins, Kemp also has a new project called Bait and Switch and a bunch of other work producing and mixing acts.

For a taste of Kemp's solo stuff, check out his MySpace outhouse and his personal web site, where you will find new music that takes the songwriting you know and love and makes it over with elements of dance and R&B music. It's a curious mix, but it works, particularly on "Northside Black." Another MySpace track, "I Thought We Hated L.A.," hews closer to Kemp's '90s material and ruminates over the wreckage of a broken relationship. There's more booty at Kemp's personal site, where you can stream "Your Understand Face," which has some cool electric piano and the great Samuel Beckett-esque line "in spite of the movement we stay still instead." "Another Jail" touts intricate, polyrhythmic drumming and a surprising smooth jazz feel. "Hang w/Clique" is the track that is the most overtly R&B influenced to us, although it hits a crescendo at the end that forces the handclaps to share room with synths and a buried but wailing guitar. Like I said: It's a curious mix, but it works.

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