Album Only
LTR012 | 2019-10-10  
The brainchild of Liquid Liquid's Salvatore Principato, 178 Product was conceived in 2012 in New York City's Lower East Side. A loose, sprawling collective of 13 or so players from oft-disparate music backgrounds, the group would gather at a now-defunct rehearsal space on 178 Ludlow Street - a storied basement studio located directly below the original location of Max Fish that Principato had overseen since 1986, and no less a vestige of a more creative, albeit gritty era in downtown NYC.

The concept for 178 (pronounced One-Seven-Eight) Product was simple: improvised music culled from a well of trained and less-trained musicians, equally indebted to the unbridled spirts of free jazz and punk rock, and the meditative rhythms of Krautrock, dub, Afrobeat, house, and disco. During their monthly meet-ups, members of LCD Soundsystem, Antibalas, Konk, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Scissor Sisters, Faith, and Les Savy Fav (whose Tim Harrington described the ensemble as 'Bongo-Kraut-Disco'), and soon-to-be-formed groups like Fruit & Flowers, 79.5, Say She She, and Safer would pass through. With every song made up on the spot and never to be repeated again, 178 further honed their unprepared music at NYC venues like Union Pool, Cake Shop, Brooklyn Bowl, C'mon Everybody, and more recently Elsewhere.

Over its seven-plus years of existence, the ever-evolving lineup of this band has amassed countless hours of unreleased music from sessions at NYC's Red Bull Music Studio, Kirton Farm Studio (run by Mice Parade's Adam Pierce), and various board mixes and rehearsal recordings. Yet in preparing for their first official release for Brooklyn-based Love Tempo Records, 178 Product opted to lay down three new tracks with their most recent line-up, featuring original members Sal P (drums, vocals, percussion), guitarist Gerald Hammill (Other Music, Burnside Project, Edison Shine), keyboardist Elliot Taub (Ulysses, Neurotic Drum Band), and percussionist Leslly Almeida (Rebecca Kill, Safer), with bassist Mattie Safer (The Rapture, Poolside, Safer), and saxophonist Nikki D'Agostino (FeMaLe GEniUs, Art Gray Noizz Quintet).

Recorded last summer at Brooklyn's King Killer Studios and mixed by Sean B ('Product One') and Jonathan Kreinik ('Product Two' and 'Product Three'), the eponymously titled EP captures 178 Product at their most cinematic. The eight-and-a-half minute opening track reveals itself like a funky fever dream, with the band delivering a propulsive, bongo-driven excursion built upon start-stop rhythms and guttural vocal improvisations. With 'Product Two,' 178 filters Pop Group-esque textures through a slightly sinister, free jazz lens, as sax and guitar lines spiral atop the hypnotic percussion. A floating, kosmische synthesizer guides the final track from the session, all the while the band inhabits a dampened, tropical space, with Principato's wordless vocals and gasps slingshotting over the steadfast rhythm and the deconstructed-dub atmosphere. Bonus remixes find celebrated producers/DJs Bryan Mette and P-Sol re-working 'Product One,' each putting their signature touch on the track and aiming it straight at the dancefloor.

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