Live Human

"This makes so much sense you wonder why nobodys bothered to try it before." ” Hip Hop Connection

Live Human is Carlos Aguilar (DJ Quest), Andrew Kushin and Albert Mathias. Their critically acclaimed "pocket orchestra" of turntables, double bass, trap drums and samplers was born in 1996 in San Francisco.

The music of Live Human occupies a unique niche in the genres of both free-improvised sound/music and instrumental hip-hop. All three musicians bring to the ensemble a strong sense of tradition from their own experiences playing and performing in diverse musical situations. Live shows consist not of sets of written "songs," but make use of "live sampling" in which they freely draw from original compositions to recreate and perpetually recontextualize their own music. This is spontaneous improvisation without the utilization of overt jazz idioms. Live Human, in their name, reflect the honesty of their musical intentions: to subvert the old, impersonal sample and reinstate the human element -- the voice in the machine.

In 1997, Live Human produced their debut LP, Live Human featuring DJ Quest, on Cosmic Records. The recording was compiled from a single studio session and released as a vinyl-only, limited edition of 1000 copies. Later that year, London-based Fat Cat Records licensed four of the tracks and released them in the UK and Europe as Live Human: Improvisessions. The 12" received widespread critical recognition which contributed to the realization of the trios second LP, Monostereosis: The New Victrola Method, released in Europe on Fat Cat in May 1999 and subsequently in the US on Hip Hop Slam in March 2000.

Their most recent studio recording, Elefish Jellyphant, was recorded in two weeks last winter in Oakland by Kae Gregor, and was mixed by the group and Christopher Forrest. Consistent in method with their previous recordings, the compositions on Elefish Jellyphant were drawn from live studio improvisations which were then further shaped through the processes of improvising overdubs and mixing down individual tracks.

The approach towards Elefish Jellyphant, in respect to content and arrangement, was that the whole album should play as a continuous mix, conceived as interconnected movements rather than individual songs. The emphasis was on creating tracks that were not only internally engaging, but which worked together as a whole to transport the ear of the listener. This is a living, improvised hip-hop-grown music that draws its own landscape -- a terrain from filmic to funk to fucked -- to provide contour in the flatland of breakbeat.
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