Image from daily.bandcamp.com
As of now, Stones Throw is conducting a national tour, displaying its current label affiliates. Each city has a different set of affiliated artists to perform in their city. Luckily, Chicago seemed to have the event held in the Virgin Hotel, located just down the street from the Trump Tower. Chicago managed to hold four artists to perform at the hotel.
As each artist performed their session, the room became more compact and inconducive for wiggle room. Kiefer was the third performer up. Contrasting the fervent performances of the other three performances, his was more entrancing.
Standing in the front of the room right before the compact set up acting as the stage, the only aspect I could recall from that experience was Kiefer’s actual performance.
Image from kiefer.bandcamp.com
I was nullified by the reality of the people around me, the beer cans scattered throughout the floor and the blistering winds shot through the window panels to the left of me. His piano play managed to hypnotize the whole audience, as a magician would with his skeptic conducts on stage.
Kiefer introduced a handful of his tracks during the show. This album is the verified spectrum of his sound. Happysad was released during the Summer of this year, but I haven’t heard of it until the inimical Chicago winds presented its return for another season. I wish I would’ve caught on his musical career a couple months back.
Kiefer’s Happysad contains thirteen tracks of instrumentals mainly influenced by Alternative or Jazz-like Hip-Hop. Like many artists, the songs in this album are all varied and distinguished by peculiar sound tweaks and choices. Although, there’s always a recurring, overarching sound choice that defines the aesthetic of the album.
Image from stonesthrow.com
That is Kiefer’s piano. His ability to conduct variations of textures and feelings through the limited selection of keys is incomprehensible to a non-musically talented being. Over different beats, his piano adds so much more depth into the tracks.
My personal favorites from the album, Socially Awkward and Memories of U capture that depth perfectly. Socially Awkward’s Dilla-like beat, such as the lo-fi drums and heavy electric chords are accentuated by Kiefer’s prodigious play. Throughout the track, the beat itself pitches down in volume to make room for Kiefer’s improve.
Memories of U is one of the more gorgeous instrumental tracks I’ve heard all year. It contains the sweet and somber Hip-Hop beat enhanced by Kiefer’s soulful piano procession.
I remember him asking the audience if anyone was a fan of J Dilla before transitioning into his next song. After thoroughly listening to this album, I can see Dilla’s influence pervading throughout the project.
It seethes with soul and doesn’t hesitate to head towards vulnerability, making it for one of the most interesting concept albums of the year.
Image from factmag.com
I would assume any J Dilla fan would recognize the talent Kiefer implements on this album if words can’t even fit the feeling. Talent would have recognized talent.