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Premiere: Al Lover’s 'Death Rattle'

The San Fransisco producer blends and loops traditional psychedelic/garage rock into epic and trancey beats.

by Tim Scott
05 March 2015, 1:30am

Featuring a sultry Goth girl lying on a grave and collecting tarot cards, Al Lover’s latest video “Death Rattle” brings with it a woozy tension.

Taken from the San Francisco producer’s latest album Cave Ritual, the instrumental is controlled by Lover’s samples and synths to create a moody 60′s garage rhythm mixed with a vintage drum machine sound.

Lover has spent the last several years evolving an approach to psychedelic reworks of rock in its various inflections. His debut solo LP Sacred Drugs drew wide praise and comparisons to Dilla, Madlib and Boston’s Edan. But in his new work there are also hints to the more experimental side of Sun Araw and darkness of Umberto.

Appearances at the London and Austin Psych Fests and collaborations with the likes of Tim Presley (White Fence) and Morgan Delt prove that Lover is more than a typical beats head and his music resonates with both the psych dudes and the backpacked hip hop set.

With the release of the video we had a chat with Al to find out more.

Noisey: There is a playful humour in tracks such as “Genesis Porridge” and “Brian Jonestown Masochist”. Sometimes this music seems taken way too seriously.
Al Lover: I'm a shit talker and if shit doesn't have a sense of humor I usually can't mess with it. I put a 20-minute horror movie synth drone on an A-side. Who takes that seriously? I like to tip the hat to folks who have influenced the way I think. There was a great interview with Lux Interior years back about how he loves putting blatant shout outs in his music, and I always thought that was a really cool thing, keep the folk tradition going and give respect where it's due.

You started off in hip hop . Do you see a similarity in the way you construct a track?
Hip hop will forever influence how I make music. The drums are always the most important part of the song, period. This project is a little different as I used mostly old rhythm box sounds for the drum tracks. I liked the idea of pairing them with samples that I would have normally mixed with heavy boom bap drum breaks. It felt like a fresh approach to me personally.

Are the comparisons with Dilla, Edan and Madlib annoying or something that you expect/accept?
It's seriously an honor to be mentioned alongside those dudes. All three seriously influenced the way I make music. Distorted Reverberations (of Reverberating Distortion): Psychedelic Reinterpretations of Contemporary Rock ‘n Roll an older project I did in 2011 where I chopped up a bunch of garage / punk / psych bands into beats that was more boom bap influenced. I think that's where those comparisons started popping up. It's cool with me, but I want to make music that will make folks take a second to find comparisons to it if they even can.

Are audiences at Austin Psych Fest or Liverpool Psych Fest much different from a regular hip hop show?
One thing about a lot of hip hop shows that I have found over the years is this machismo aspect where everyone has this crazy tough guy posturing and are so busy ice grilling each other they can't even enjoy themselves. I hate that shit. But I've been seeing that less in recent years, since these younger hip hop kids are coming up and more into having fun then being perceived as tough. Fools are moshing and stage diving at rap shows now and just having so much fun, shit is awesome! As for the psych crowds, they get buck, but not crazy wild all the time. There's moshing. In Europe I get a lot more fools dancing which is really cool. But folks that like the really heady music can enjoy it without dancing.

A collaboration between you and Melbourne band Krakatau would be amazing.
Dude, those guys are so tight! I just found out about them cause they're playing APF this year. So good. I would love to work on something with them! They got the sound down perfect!


Al Lover appears at Austin Psych Fest in May alongside the 13th Floor Elevators, Tame Impala, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized and Primal Scream.