Icebird (rjd2 + Aaron Livingston)
Hot butter and popcorn. Bleu cheese and a burger. Whipped cream and pie. Certain things just manage to complement each other in a manner that results in a sum much greater than its parts. The duo of rjd2 and Aaron Livingston is precisely one such example. Bringing together the detailed, complex production stylings of the former with the raw, soulful voice of the latter has resulted in an explosive new collaborative effort: Icebird.
Hailing from the city of brotherly love and a mecca for soul and jazz music, the duo draws upon the history of psychedelic soul music that groups like Rotary Connection, Funkadelic, and TV On The Radio both pioneered, and continued. While working in a one singer-one producer format, the album covers far more ground than your average group ever could; from the cut-and-paste vibe of "Charmed Life" to the organic, natural feel of "Just Love Me", sampled drums, 80's drum machines, and real live drum kit tones abound. Angular chops of riffs in certain passages give way to flowing, ethereal synths in another. From headbangers like "Going and Going" to the ballad "In Exile", the versatility of the group shines throughout the album. So, what's the back story, you say?
Aaron Livingston has been knocking around the Philly music scene for years. Participating in the Black Lily jams that birthed such stars as Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild, He was featured on The Roots' track "Guns Are Drawn", a perennial DJ favorite off the Game Theory album. Heading up the group The Mean, Aaron continued to put his stamp on the Philly music scene. And then collaborating with RJD2 on the 2010 Colossus track "Crumbs Off The Table", things have been bubbling for him for years.
As for rjd2, a 10-year recording career, composing the Mad Men theme music, featured tunes on ads from Blackberry to Radio Shack to Wells Fargo, and tours galore have kept him quite busy. Now releasing music on his own label, RJ's Electrical Connections, he has taken a level of control and direction to his career that not many can claim. Icebird marks the newest addition to the label's roster.
In rj's own words, what makes Icebird special is that "it is truly a best-of-both-worlds collaboration. More than as a player, singer, or engineer; production is my strongest suit. And Aaron is truly one of the most unique, clever, and gifted singers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. The two elements complement each other perfectly." We're confident you'll agree once you hear the album.
Press photos and more info available here. Icebird's album, The Abandoned Lullaby, will be available on October 11, 2011.
rjd2 originally began his career in Columbus, Ohio, DJing in 1993 with a pair of turntables bought from a friend. He went to high school at Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center and graduated in 1994. He claims his name originates from another friend who referenced him as "rjd2" in his raps, and the name stuck.
Originally working the role of DJ in the Columbus rap group MHz, he later signed to Bobbito Garcia's Fondle 'Em label, releasing the self-proclaimed "mix CD" Your Face Or Your Kneecaps. A year later he signed to El-P's record label Definitive Jux and released his solo debut album Deadringer to much acclaim.
rjd2 later collaborated with Columbus rapper Blueprint under the name Soul Position, releasing Unlimited EP in 2002 and 8 Million Stories in 2003. He released his second solo album Since We Last Spoke on Definitive Jux in 2004, which blended hip-hop with elements of pop and was lauded as one of the year's Top 40 Albums by SPIN.
He later contributed a cover of "Airbag" by Radiohead for the 2006 album Exit Music - the same year that saw the release of the collaborative record, Magnificent City, with Aceyalone. Fully indulging his passion for pop, rjd2 released another solo album, The Third Hand, on XL Recordings and toured extensively through 2008.
The innovative producer’s 10-year career reached a marked turning point in 2009 after he scored “A Beautiful Mine,” the popular theme to the hit AMC television series, Mad Men. In early 2010, he dropped The Colossus - the first album to be released on his own label, RJ’s Electrical Connections. He has since reissued Your Face Or Your Knee Caps, The Horror, and Since We Last Spoke as well as a vinyl LP deluxe box set entitled 2002-2010 via his label.