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It was three or four years ago when I was working the front counter at Local Sprouts Cooperative and doing some of the booking for live entertainment, and Ahmad Hassan walked in and asked if he could play our piano. I had lobbied hard to get that piano into the cafe, and I was pleased to find a pianist of this caliber drawn to it. He laid his hands on the keys and quickly displayed a deep understanding of the instrument's history, moving seamlessly between classical, jazz, and a more modern sense of rock and hip-hop. I invited him back as often as possible.
These days Hassan is working his harmonic magic with DJ Moore, Andrew Scherzer, Tyler Quist in the band Jaw Gems. Laid atop a bed of masterfully crafted electronica beats, his melodies have never been more at home.
On Facebook, their genre is listed as "psych//soul". Their brand new album has the high class of a martini - shaken, not stirred. Blades Plural is as cutting as the title suggests. This is exactly the kind of music that I actively seek out in order to make my life better. This is the kind of music I put on to help me relax, to stretch to, to cook dinner to, to play in the background while I'm working, writing, gardening, making out on the couch, or walking around town with my headphones on. Put it on and let it take you where it may.
The release party for this album is tonight, 8pm at Bunker Brewery down on Anderson St. in Portland, ME. If you are in town, you might want to consider being there.