Track premiere \\ Ben Lamar Gay exclusive ahead of London documentary screening
It’s a big year for Chicago multi-instrumentalist Ben Lamar Gay. At the end of 2017, we named his project Bottle Tree as the Best Release of 2017. Just a few months later, he’s revealed his debut solo album to the world, Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun. It’s a compilation plucked from the tracks of seven unreleased albums which take you from ambience to party-mode through the kookiest and most creative of corridors, nooks and crannies.
Whilst preparing for his debut album release, Gay also worked with esteemed directors Ben Holman and Neirin Jones on This Is Bate Bola, a short film that explores the underground carnival set in the outskirts of Rio. Living between Chicago and Brazil for several years, Gay offers a unique perspective of the scene with electronics and eclectic musicality.
Ahead of the London screening of This Is Bate Bola at Total Refreshment Centre this Sunday, where Ben Lamar Gay will be performing live, we premiere a track from his upcoming album that also features on the documentary called Melhor Que Tem. A sonic treat, it’s an ambient interpretation of carnival time in Brazil as if heard from beneath water.
“Myself and one of the directors, Ben Holman, were going through a similar period in trying to achieve a similar thing—to create a love letter to Brazil”, says Gay. “We were both expats there together. So with myself back home in Chicago, I was trying to remember the wonderful things of being involved in Rio and trying to remember how it felt being a foreigner.
“Trying to remember the sound the rhythm, the colour, but also the distance because no matter what, I was still a guy from Chicago. I remember contacting Ben to see if he had any images I could play around with. Without knowing, him and Nerin was already working on Bate Bola”.
Gay performed on night one of CHICAGOxLONDON, which has since been nominated for a JazzFM Award for Live Experience of the Year. This is Bate-Bola, featuring live performances from Gay, LET DRUM BEAT and DJ sets from Tash LC and D.Vyzor, will take place on Easter Sunday at the very same venue, Total Refreshment Centre. “I remember hearing and being all the wonderful musicians and how they communicate here [at TRC]. It reminded me of being at a family reunion”.
EZH | Tina Edwards