Thursday, Sep 22 2005 | 12:05

Following up on Ubiquity’s much hyped “Music Is My Art” 12″ from late Spring 2005 is the full-length compilation of the same name and eclectic musical vibe compiled by the Montreal/Los Angeles-based HVW8 Art Installation crew. “Music Is My Art” is an album of next level electronic, soul and hip hop from around the world. Most of the tracks that appear on “Music Is My Art” were recorded exclusively for this release and capture the cross-section of worldwide talent that work closely with the collective.

HVW8 Art Installation is Gene Pendon, Tyler Gibney and Dan Buller. Born in Montreal in 1998 and operating now two cities, the HVW8 collective are best known for creating art pieces at music events, galleries and unique spaces and have been touring their ˜Political Minded’ exhibit to major cities across the US for the past year. Since their debut performances at the 1999 International Jazz Festival of Montreal, the art trio have toured and exhibited throughout Canada, the United States, England, Puerto Rico and Japan creating live art pieces along side musicians and DJs such as Jazzanova, Afrika Bambaataa, Gilles Peterson, Bugz in the Attic, The Herbaliser, Roots Manuva, Osunlade and Kid Koala.

On “Music Is My Art” full spectrum sonics from established faves like Plantlife, Seiji (Bugz in the Attic) and Osunlade sit next to up n’comers like John Arnold, DJ Language, Rich Medina, and new head-turning tracks from the likes of Black Spade, Radio City and Owusu and Hannibal. It’s raw hip hop, rough broken beat, left field soul, future funk, and house that works together and typifies the kinds of sounds you’d hear at a HVW8 curated event.

“I like the spontaneity and immediacy of painting in a club,” says Gibney. “It is part discipline and structure and part completely free flowing and improvised like a piece of jazz music,” he adds. “Live painting is a performance, I appreciate the crowd’s interest and energy,” interjects Buller. “Folks are there to have a good time, and they share that with us. It is a completely different experience painting in a studio.”

“Music Is My Art” is an extension of the work of HVW8; it’s about the recognition of talent and collaboration between artists. At many gigs the HVW8 crew has been known/hired to paint music legends like Fela Kuti or Afrika Bambaataa. This compilation is an opportunity to shine a light on new talent and future musical icons including two new Ubiquity signings, Owusu and Hannibal and the irresistibly catchy Radio City (albums due in 2006). Rich Medina and DJ Language represent the future sound of New York and there’s a heavy dose of the West Coast courtesy of super funksters Plantlife and the San Francisco Bay Area teaming up of J-Boogie and Crown City Rockers. Osunlade drops in house-style from Puerto Rico, Seiji brings digital darkness from London, and hot new rap talent Black Spade makes his debut from St. Louis.

In addition to clubs HVW8 have had exhibitions in galleries such as the Parco Gallery in Tokyo, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto, the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal, Canada and at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR.

From their inception HVW8 has drawn from the urban environment developing a mix blend of styles & skills accumulated from a free association of intuitive interests. Peripheral influences included rare groove album covers, Japanese hyper-pop styles, dub soundscapes, graffiti burns, skate graphics and turntable culture. Heavyweight tapped into a growing artistic community, extending its creative network to include producers, DJs, musicians, filmmakers, as well as other artists and designers. What surfaced was a Heavyweight version, street-wise campaign of underground parties, music & art shows, posters, flyers and stickers all housed and produced under one roof “ forming the main elements of Heavyweight’s creative foundation in art and design.

One of their most recent projects was the Political Minded tour which dropped down in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York City. The crew moves into a space for one week, paint so that the entire space is transformed and then opened to the public. Afterwards the space and artwork is destroyed. “It’s more about the process than the end product,” says Gibney. “The series featured a collection of portraits and dedications to people, activists, political figures and cultural icons whose work, lives and sometimes their deaths reveal vital details about the reality of our world and the shape of our own social political perspectives,” he adds.

The aim of Political Minded is to direct focus on the lives of people who help define the meaning of activism and/or whose work or careers reveal information about a political climate that can often be missed in corporate media. The ongoing series consists, so far, of portraits of: Cesar E. Chavez, Shirin Ebadi, Paul Krugman, Salvador Allende, General Romeo Dallaire, Noam Chomsky, Rene Levesque, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and Helen Thomas.

“HVW8 is a vehicle for our art and design projects and ideas,” says Pendon, stating the basic premise. “It was “it’s bigger than you”,” adds Gibney. “But as we get older and I think we’ll all starting to have more personal goals with the context of HVW8. HVW8 is more the framework for the individual to operate.”

While the trio can are inspired by and can appreciate a good tune they have mixed feelings about making their own music. “I still want to make music. That is why I enjoyed working with some of the artists on this album in the creative process of their music,” says Gibney. “I just made my first 2 tracks last week!” says Pendon. “It’s hard to find the time to really get into it but it’s a start.” While Buller is not quite so sure adding, “I used to play bass … my talents lie elsewhere, but I wish I could.”

The “Music Is My Art” CD and LP will feature cover art and bonus fold-out artwork from the HVW8 crew, and tour dates celebrating the album release will see HVW8 return to the club environment, therefore completing this package as a full integration of music and art. Previously HVW8 released a limited edition book accompanied by a Kid Koala 7″. In addition to their own artwork they have worked with clients like Puma, Gravis and Levis.

“HVW8 is just that, all tracks are killer killer cuts … a track for every point in the night …” Domu

“U Need This! Ubiquity prove their worth as Worldwide label of the year.” IF Music (London)

“The quality don’t let up! Utterly essential!” Straight No Chaser

“One of the best compilations this year.” Groove

“Damn, this is good! Montreal visual artists HVW8 curate a collection tighter than Jordache jeans circa ’79.” Eye Weekly

“Expect a stellar line-up'” BPM

Read more about HVW8 at www.hvw8.com.

HVW8 artwork can be bought at www.ubiquityrecords.com.

The compilation VariousHVW8 – Music Is My Art” (Ubiquity) is out now.

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