MC and spoken word artist SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE is one of six 2017 Cedar Commissions artists. His project Flow and the Bow, a collaboration with cellist Eric Silva Brenneman, is debuting on February 4th (get tickets here). Experimenting around the intersection between hip-hop and classical music, Eric and SEE are exploring and testing the dynamics between “one cello and a microphone.” Listen for hip-hop’s boom bap heartbeat pulsing classical motifs through a circulatory system that moves a body through mythology, mysticism, and social justice. Read SEE MORE’s thoughts on the creation process so far below.
It’s interesting how you can draw from tradition and end up with something you’ve never experienced. How you can carefully construct a blueprint and have so many other influences fill in the framework. How you can take so many traditions that you have such reverence for and create something so…irreverent. The collaboration we came to call ‘Flow and the Bow’ started with a simple enough concept. A cello and a vocalist (specifically an MC/poet). We would draw from the traditions and sensibilities of two genres; classical and hip hop. We’d bring them together in a way that felt authentic to us both. Simple, right? Obvious, no?
Eric and I have found the product of this endeavor to be anything but simple or obvious. It is so very different than anything we’ve ever worked on. Frankly, it’s different than anything we’ve ever heard…and we aren’t two listeners who just key into one style or group of artists. We are fans of craft, spirit, and awakening through music from innumerable sources. Our combined tastes take us from heavy metal to Public Enemy, mid-nineties trip hop to Stravinsky, mariachi pasadobles to Pharoah Sanders, Cuban son to Bjork and so many more. We have such varied tastes that you can hardly trace the spaces between. Laid out over the canvas of our lives, the source material of our collage overlaps to the extent that you can’t tell which lines stem from which drawing…and that’s before we even pick up the scissors, or start mixing colors on our palettes.
The two of us are striving to create something cohesive, something honest, and something that really represents each of us as individuals, and the two of us as one source of music. We are trying to weave ourselves (these two manifestations of pluralistic inspiration) together in earnest. To bring our creative voices together in a way that honors both, avoiding tropes that would make a gimmick of either classical or hip hop to prop up the other.
You might think that bringing together so many elements would complicate things. The truth is that the product is as varied as it’s inspirations, but the process is straight forward. We think, we create, and we bring something to offer the collaborative space. We listen, try things out, and allow them to grow. We encourage each other, challenge each other, and ultimately, want what’s best for the music. We want to offer our best to the audience. We want to make something that our forebears would be proud of.
The Cedar Commissions is The Cedar’s flagship program for emerging artists made possible with a grant from the Jerome Foundation. Since its launch in 2011, The Cedar has commissioned and showcased new work by more than 30 local, emerging composers and musicians. Buy tickets for the 2017 Cedar Commissions here.