Friday, January 27, 2012

Shan Emery: Firestarter

Funny how the Web works...

I had left a comment on YouTube regarding a Bill Withers video, a beautiful live version of his "Grandma's Hands". Withers' band at the time included bassist Melvin Dunlap, formerly of the legendary Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (founded by Charles Wright of much-sampled funk classic "Express Yourself" fame.) Melvin Dunlap's son Domonic Dunlap aka Anon (i.e. Anonymous) of Southern California based production duo The BeatMasons replied to my comment and I promptly checked out his YouTube profile/channel.

One of the artists produced by The BeatMasons (Anon & Odin) is Shan Emery whose tracks I went to check out on Facebook and Reverb Nation.

"Firestarter" in my opinion is a stand out, and demonstrates just how much the perfect riff, beat, or chord can add to a track. In this case, an exotic - at least to Western ears - undulating, hypnotic guitar riff lends an already very strong R&B song a subtle yet at the same time distinct Middle Eastern flavor and proves that contrast often creates more interesting soundscapes.

NOTE: My Q & A interview with Anon of The BeatMasons:

Shan Emery started writing songs and producing from an early age, and before even graduating high school in Northern California he landed an apprenticeship with Sacramento indie label VRI which allowed him to wear many hats: music production, recording engineer, recording artist, graphic artist, street team, A&R, and marketing.

In 2001 he relocated to Los Angeles to enroll in Musicians Institute's R.I.T. program and later worked as a 2nd engineer at a Hollywood recording and audio post facility. While continuing his endeavors and further developing skills in engineering, songwriting and production, he developed the concept for his family group, The Elemental Prophets Project, co-wrote and co-produced a project for Naomi (of Eye D.), pursued writing for hit-making and Grammy award winning producers, and continued to network and work with other aspiring artists.

An EP entitled "The Ride of Your Life" will drop later this year.

[bio info courtesy of Shan Emery]

Listen to "Firestarter" and additional Shan Emery tracks produced by The BeatMasons: