Micro-Chopping Damu The Fudgemunk
When legendary producer Marley Marl was asked to describe his impression of Damu The Fudgemunk’s music he said, “Very refreshing to hear a young cat with that much soul. Exactly what’s been missing from the game … soul.”
For Damu, nurturing that soulful sound has been a process well over a decade in the making. It all started in high school when he saved up for an iconic Roland SP-303 sampler not longer after it’s initial 2001 release. After many years spent honing his skills on the 303 and eventually the Akai MPC 2000, Damu started putting out official releases.
From his 2007 Travel At Your Own Pace debut with rapper Insight as the group Y Society to his most recent Ears Hear Spears (also with Insight) and Vignettes albums, Damu has immersed himself in sound and studied musicians from every genre imaginable. Through countless hours spent listening to his massive vinyl collection, he has acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of music that informs every single project.
On 2016’s Vignettes, perhaps his most ambitious project yet, Damu cited a diverse cast of influences that includes, “David Axelrod, The Beastie Boys, Stereolab, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, Peaking Lights, Chaz Bundick, Dungen, and dozens of hip hop artists.” As he navigated unprecedented personal and professional difficulty while working on the album, Damu sought to “document an honest depiction of my current perspective on life and the world we share.” Through his mastery of the drums, the MPC 2000, and the E-mu SP-1200, he was able to channel all of these influences into a creative magnum opus.
In an era where several music critics have written lengthy thought pieces on the death of the album, Vignettes is a stunning, two hour long instrumental journey into sound that rejects such claims. As impressive as the album is, it only scrapes the surface of Damu’s work. With 24 releases and counting that vary in length from EP to LP, it doesn’t seem like the producer will run out of creative fodder any time soon. In fact, Damu sometimes has difficulty keeping up with his own imagination. “I’m very guilty of either procrastinating, or having a ton of music that doesn’t come out, or starting things that go unfinished because I’m just chasing the next good idea,” he tells me.
Although seeing projects through to the end remains a challenge for Damu, it’s a challenge he’s willing to take on as he strives to achieve true musical mastery. “Being more professional about my creativity is just a responsibility that comes with the territory. But when I do that, it allows me to be in the space that I want to be,” he says. With such a prolific career already established, it’s difficult to imagine which Damu will achieve as he continues to hone his creative process.
Whether you are just joining Damu on his musical journey or you’ve been with him from the beginning, take a moment to enjoy the included playlist of selected work form his catalog.
You can buy Damu’s music in multiple formats directly form his label. Connect with Damu on Facebook or connect with Damu’s label Redfinition Records on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, their website, YouTube, and on Twitter @REDEFrecords.
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