Kon & Amir - Off Track Vol.1
Kon & Amir - Off Track Vol.1
(2xCD/3x12") Barely Breaking Even Records BBE087, 2007-09-25
Tracklisting CD1 - Mixed By Kon :
01. Homebrew - Once I had a Friend
02. Garden Of Eden - Everybody's On A Trip
03. Sundown - Spaced Outta Place Pt. 1 & 2
04. Darryl Douglas - Holding On
05. Quest - Boy Scouts
06. S.T.U.D. Band - Success
07. Masterforce - Don't Fight The Feeling
08. Imp Express - 8-1
09. Steel City Orchestra - Steel City Disco
10. Jacqueline Dee & Johnnie Walker - Farewell To Welfare
11. Larry Alltop And The Exciters Band - Dreamin A Dream
12. Le Stim - Tribute To Muhammad Ali
13. Jorge Santana - Darling I Love You
14. Round Robin And Brimstone - Plenty Good Lovin'
Tracklisting CD2 - Mixed By Amir :
01. Pat Britt - Herman's Corner
02. Horselmat - Right On
03. Vincent Geminiani - Insideieusement Les Elfes
04. The London Experimental Jazz Quartet - Destroy the Nihilist Picnic
05. Zelia Barbosa - Opiniao
06. Ex Pro Ovo - What's the Deal
07. Gerry Olds Trio - Gerry's Samba
08. Sathima Bea Benjamin - Africa
09. Marius Cultier - Nestor: Ti Patte
10. The Ed Kelly Ensemble - Samba
11. Melvyn Price - Voodoo Love Dance
12. The Lamont Johnson Sextette - Aces
13. Larry Nozero - Tune for L.N.
14. Anita Moore And The TSU Jazz Ensemble - Compared to What?
Note : this is a double mixed CD
Press Release :
Kon and Amir are two of the most extraordinary but underrated beat diggers in the game." - Lord Finesse
"Kon and Amir are legends in the beat digging game. Their compilations and mixtapes are classics and represent a style of Djing that's true to the essence of Hip-Hop." - A-Trak
Like legendary treasure-hunters, Kon and Amir have spent the past twenty-five years excavating record bins finding gems to pierce ears with. Fortunately, everyone gets to share in the riches of their labor with the release of their latest offering The Off Track Series; Long forgotten musicians are now getting their proper dues and appreciative audiences are being turned on to some amazing music.
Since first putting it down together in 1997, the duo has released a total of eight albums; six On Track installments of critical acclaim, another album called The Cleaning, and most recently, an album appropriately titled, The Kings of Diggin’ along with DJ Muro from Japan.
Most recently, Kon & Amir accepted a five record deal with BBE/Rapster to begin the Off Track series, which builds off the successes of their highly respected On Track series. Unlike the On Track series, which featured short snippets of samples and breaks, the Off Track double disc series features full versions of some the best and rarest audible gems in their entirety. On one disc, Kon serves up extraordinary dance music (modern soul, boogie and disco) while Amir rounds out the sonic odyssey with rare, private press jazz selections from the 70's on the other disc.
Some of the most prized material on the new album was acquired while headlining various DJ tours across Europe. Fans and music industry peers alike admire Kon and Amir not only for their vast collection of music but also for their party rockin' abilites. Their mastery as DJ's has earned them celebrity status across Europe. During these tours, it's not uncommon for locals to bring their rare and treasured records to shows to give to Kon and Amir as a "thank you" for bringing some of the best music they've ever heard to their attention. Other locals in the European crate diggin' scene often take Kon and Amir to some of the best record shops in their areas. To their peers, famous or unknown, Kon and Amir are looked up to as A List DJ's who keep parties poppin’ with everything from classics that people know and to joints from their special collection that people are happy to be introduced to.
Because of their status as A-List DJ's, it's hard to imagine a time when Amir lacked the authority to choose what music he wanted to listen to. As the youngest in his family, Amir didn’t get to decide on what music the family listened to on the weekends. He begrudgingly absorbed his father’s jazz collection, his mother’s gospel and his older siblings' disco. It wasn’t until he was old enough to listen to the music of his choice, hip-hop, that he fully appreciated the soundtrack of his youth. In early Run-DMC and The Treacherous Three songs he recognized many of the samples used on the beats from his family's music library. When he heard samples he couldn't identify, he would investigate until he found the original source. This came to be his passion; to map the sonic lineage of hip-hop.
Kon too, had been a fan of music since he was young but unlike Amir, precocious little Kon was into adult music from day one. One of his earliest childhood memories includes going record shopping with his mother and buying Kiss, Chic, and the Disco Superman 12". "I remember having an argument with another kid in kindergarten about the correct titles of Bee Gees songs," recalls Kon with a laugh. "Whereas other kids were into pop music, I was into Stevie Wonder, Electric Light Orchestra, and The Clash." Although Kon always loved music, it wasn't until he saw the formative movie Wildstyle with the scene of Grandmaster Flash cutting in the kitchen that Kon begged his grandmother for a mixer. Armed with a Radio Shack Realistic brand mixer, one belt-driven turntable and one vertical loading turntable, 13-year old Kon began to put his already impressive record collection to work.
Kon and Amir met at Boston’s Biscuithead Records in 1996 while shopping for breaks. Months later they recorded their first On Track mixtape on a Fisher Price tape deck. Although they received little appreciation at first, their passion was undeniable. They did everything to learn more about their obsessions - they read biographies of great artists, talked to record store owners and old musicians, and scoured over phone books all across America, looking for record stores. One particularly hairy memory of record hunting sticks out for Amir. While in Colorado one winter in the mid 90's, Amir located a promising looking record store by thumbing through the phone book. After greeting the owner, who was strangely dressed in gator boots and a fuzzy trench coat, Amir feasted his eyes on bin after bin of sealed old-school hip-hop vinyl. Slowly, Amir realized that the other "shoppers" were actually crack fiends who were coming in to get their supply. "It was wild," recalls Amir. "After buying 2 boxes of mint-condition hard-to-find records, the pimp told me to go next door to the pool hall to call a cab. There was nothing but pimps and whores in the pool hall, some of who began asking me 'Honey, you lost or something?' It was 20 degrees outside but I opted to endure the cold rather than a beat down," laughs Amir. He ended up having to wait 45 minutes in the dead of winter in Colorado with his precious boxes of vinyl. Although Kon never encountered pimps during his digging expeditions he's had his share of dramatic experiences ranging from dumpster diving to "borrowing" from college radio stations and public libraries. Such are the adventures that come with the dedication of scouting for long forgotten treasures.
Despite all the drama, Kon & Amir wouldn't have it any other way. When asked what keeps him motivated to keep digging, Amir replies, "How do you explain breathing? What started out as a hobby has become a part of my life like an extra limb." Both partners are perfectly content with enduring occasional hardship to help good music see the light of day. "Its just the nature of the beast" explains Kon. Some of the most respected names in the game, including Shady Records, Diamond D, Dr. Dre, Capitol Records, Pete Rock, and Lord Finesse have sought their record knowledge and digging services.
Thousands of hours, dollars, and record stores later, Kon & Amir are ready to bring five more expertly compiled double-albums to the forefront for us to enjoy. They have managed to salvage some of the greatest music you've never heard. Audiences who are tired of being force fed sub par music will thank them for providing an alternative. As Amir puts it, "We made this for the neglected audience, for people who are looking for mature music. Simply put, these treasures are food for the soul." Whet your appetite with the first serving of the Off Track series in September and dust off your dancing shoes for their upcoming tour.
Bio by Michelle McDevitt and Matt Bar