Carpetface, (real name A J Russell), so named for his prodigious beard, burst onto the scene around 2002-3 with a series of live showcases to get his name out there. He is now 300+ shows down the line having performed across the world and so, on the back of three previous shorter releases the time has now come for this London native to drop his debut LP and this he does indeed do in a big way.
Totally self funded and released on New Bias records Have Mic, Will Travel is a huge offering filling two CDs and recounting a three year gestation period during which Carpetface recorded bits of the LP all over the place.
Part One (Goose Chapter)
01. Intro/ Have Mic, Will Travel
02. Giv Luv
04. Spread It Around
05. Positive Formula
06. Fool’s Disco
07. Talkin’ Bout Your Mum
08. Man, Woman & Child
09. Drumer Joke
10. Two Finger Salute
11. Going Under
12. Bug In The System
13. Lighting Up The Spoon
14. Terms And Conditions
15. Lift The Receiver
16. Let The Harvest Commence
17. Tired Of Waiting
18. Are You Bonkers?
Part Two (Neck Chapter)
Suffice to say that there are far too many tracks on here (38) to describe each one in detail, but the first CD gets going with some kids chatting an intro then straight off into a story of how Carpet has been out touring getting his name more widely known.
As the long LP progresses you can quite clearly see all the diverse elements and genres that Carpet has absorbed and regurgitated into his opus. It couldn’t remain the same across such a multitude of tracks, but the variety of sounds and vibes is astonishing and the result sways from one viewpoint to another and back again.
In the mix you have a concoction of primarily Hip Hop, but there is also a great deal of Soul, Reggae, breaks and Funk which is all compressed into a completely original and refreshing album. There is really nobody out there trying to cover as much ground as Carpetface does and so Have Mic Will Travel is totally different to any other release out there at the moment.
Other elements you are treated to include rock, electronica, and a good dollop of folk, but this seemingly weird mish mash actually works. The vibe can sometimes be a bit off key sometimes deep ind introverted, but at other times overt and brash.
Carpetface has enlisted the help of a plethora of big names as well. The collaborations include Stereo MC’s, Keith Levene, Audible Porno, as well as New York based acts Jen Dog Lone Wolf, The Grinch and Dr.Oscillator, Etcha, Freefall Collective and of course his own DJ partner DJ Samo graces the decks.
Carpetface’s skills are multi-faceted covering writing, producing, instrumentation and vocal skills including singing, MCing and beatboxing. Concurrent with this myriad of skills is an eclectic and diverse musical taste which influences his compositions. Not all of this is what you would expect, but there is something there, even with the more weirded out and left field tracks. Make sure you support and check it out…