Warlock Asylum Part 1: Kiss of The Immortal Album Art

February 26, 2009

Origins Of Warlock Asylum

Greetings! I would like to welcome everyone to the KISS OF THE IMMORTAL PAGE. This page is dedicated to the music and art of the phenomenal group Warlock Asylum. For those of you who are unaware of the musical genius of this group, we have happily listed there bios below: Warlock Asylum, a meeting of minds from Uptown, Manhattan and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is the collaboration between poet / sound designer Messiah-el Bey and multi-instrumentalist / engineer Steve Berson. Together they have created a trip-hop soundscape over which Messiah-el drops spoken word poetry and vocalized hooks, for their first album, “Kiss of The Immortal,” to be released by Total Sonic Media in Spring 2009. More the aural equivalent of a graphic novel than a concept album, “Kiss of The Immortal” in words and music loosely tells the first part of the tale of Messiah-el and Lilith, soul mates in Eternity who are separated from each other by their birth into the mortal world. As Messiah-el searches to be reunited with his love, the album details his struggles navigating through a Gotham-esque labyrinth of trials and temptations. Warlock Asylum’s sound can be traced to numerous influences, ranging from artists as diverse as Public Enemy, RZA, Fela Kuti, Portishead, Dead Can Dance, Babatunde Olatunji, The Last Poets, Photek, Squarepusher, The Beatles, and Gil Scot Heron. Drawing from these inspirations they have created a unique hard beat based ambient vortex that draws strength from both the ancient and the future. Messiah-el Bey is a veteran poet and performer, and has made numerous appearances at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, City College, ABC NoRio and other venues, and has shared the stage with Dead Prez and Common among many others. In 2000 he produced “Ghetto Wars, part 1: The Glass Onion” a compilation of New York underground poets. In 2003 with “El Fuma,”a collaboration with poet Qiniso Mdhladha (aka “Charleston Chu”) he released “Naked Bones,” an album of political and social satire created with spoken words and twisted beats. Steven Berson is cellist with cross-genre string quartet “Invert,” He works as an audio engineer and has mastered tracks for artists such as Foo Fighters, Martha Wash, Erik Friedlander, Sharon Jones, and The Budos Band. Also appearing on the album are cameo appearances by instrumentalist Megan Leach , and vocalists JenEd, Qiniso Mdhladha, Singularity, LBV and Sara. Mesiah-el Bey met Steve Berson under the strangest of circumstances. Messiah-el was working on finishing up the El Fuma album (a work that Messiah-el was involved with prior to Warlock Asylum) and called Steve up to get a quote on the mastering costs for the album. Messiah-el got no answer, but he did leave a message. Messiah-el decided that he would continue his search for a mastering studio. Sometime during the afternoon while taking a break for lunch Messiah-el received a phone call from an engineer who began to negotiate a price for mastering the El Fuma material. The price was rather high, but Messiah-el was going to make some efforts to pay it since it seemed like his only resort. Amazingly, while he was on the phone with this engineer, and walking underneath a telephone line, the phone answered an incoming call on its own, and it happened to be Steve Berson. After listening to what Messiah-el had mentioned about the project, Steve gave Messiah-el a very reasonable price because Steve was under the assumption that it was just “Spoken Word” but later he realized that this was a more sort of beat poetry thing. Yet Steve kept his word and suggested to Messiah-el and Qiniso that they re-record some of the tracks, if they wanted to get a better sound, and they both agreed. It was during the re-recording of some of the music that was for the El Fuma album that Messiah-el, Qiniso, and Steve Berson, all got to be good friends. Steve played on a few of the tracks as well. He would often add some more instrumentation to the production that Messiah-el and Qiniso would come up with. After the release of the El Fuma album, Qiniso started working on a dance project while Messiah-el worked on different aspect of promotion. While the album was a great album, there was still a lot to deal with business wise. Messiah-el soon began recording some music that would later become the Warlock Asylum project. Messiah-el states: “I was kind of exhausted in some respects when I started this album. I wanted to do music. No sampling. I wanted to use this project to go within myself. I learned a long time ago that music is another form of shamanism. It can draw things into an artist’s life. We all strive for love. We strive to give love in all that we do and in the relationships we develop in life with family and friends. I had recently come to the realization that love is the path that the strong embrace and the ignorant consider a weakness because in some way, shape, or from, it is connected to our birth into this world. So I decided to lay down the political and social issues that I usually write about and focus on something pure and wholesome. It was kind of easier to write from this perspective because it was where I was at anyway though I was alone.” Messiah-el and Steve began working on what would be later called Mother’s Last Kiss. The track starts off with a real funky baseline and keys. It later culminates to a acoustic guitar lead played by Steve. The track initially started off with some gothic lyrics, but later Messiah-el and Steve thought that the music was complete in itself. Yet Messiah-el life was going through some changes. Mother’s Last Kiss would remain in the music files of Total Sonic Media’s storage bank for more than two years before Messiah-el and Steve would collaborate again. Simon Magus


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