Straight outta Portland, Lifesavas have emerged with a new album entitled Gutterfly, a kick-ass ensemble of tracks that are both densely rich in production and stylistically beautiful. Gutterfly, the follow-up to the duo’s debut release Spirit in Stone, will hit stores April 24, 2007 on Quannum. Gutterfly covers a broad gamut of styles and especially showcases Lifesavas’ lyrical integrity. Fans will immediately recognize everything that’s great about the dynamic duo (emcee / producer Jumbo the Garbageman & emcee Vursatyl) in the low-down and dirty title track “Gutterfly,” the De La-influenced “Shine Language”, and the harmoniously catchy “No Surprise”.
Then there’s the sound of limits being snapped like rubber bands in the name of forward progress and personal revelations with the raucous beats of “The Warning”, the evocative lyrics and poignant live horns in “Dead Ones”, the conviction and pulsing production of “Superburn”, and the melodious, passionate soul number “Take Me Away”, which showcases Vurs’ singing skills. Many of the tracks incorporate layers of live instrumentation, including the mournful “Serpent’s Love”, marked with a driving bass line, guitar riffs, horns and a pump organ.
Jumbo’s production is impeccable throughout Gutterfly – he’s a cutting edge visionary and an unpredictable beast on the MPC. He handled the bulk of the beats, co-produced a few tracks with Vursatyl and their partner DJ Rev Shines, and called on guest producers Jake One, Oh No and Vitamin D to round out the sonic landscape.
The album also features collaborations with a host of like-minded hip-hop risk-takers (Camp Lo, Digable Planets’ Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Smif-‘N’-Wessun, and Dead Prez) and music industry veterans (the L.A.-based punk / funk act Fishbone, ‘80s soul man Don Blackman, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, and Ike Willis of Frank Zappa).
Gutterfly was inspired by a blaxploitation film project that was conceived and only partially completed by Brooklyn native Baraka Feldman in the early 80s (who later moved to Portland and shared his ideas with the Lifesavas), in addition to blaxploitation films from the 70s, in particular “Coonskin” and the Zatoichi series of Japanese cult films.
Gutterfly is a movie concept brought to life in the way Lifesavas do art best, through poetic lyricism and powerhouse beats. Lifesavas created characters – a trio of ghetto superheroes for the 00s – Bumpy Johnson (Vursatyl), Sleepy Floyd (Jumbo) and Jimmy Slimwater (DJ Rev Shines) – through which they were able to leap into subjects they’d yet to cover in their music.
Quannum co-founder / owner Chief Xcel discovered Lifesavas while crate digging for vinyl in Portland, and soon after Lifesavas became the first contemporary signee to the artist-owned collective. Chief Xcel teamed up with the guys on executive production for Spirit in Stone and Gutterfly.
Lifesavas have built a rabid following in North America and beyond, having made their big mark on the Quannum World Tour in 2004, and touring steadily ever since. Vurs and Jumbo command the room with their explosive stage presence, while Shines holds it down on the decks. Keep your ear to the street for Lifesavas on the US circuit in Spring 2007.