The first thing that sticks out about the sounds on the first compilation from FYLTD, a Bangor-based collective of musicians and artists, is how hip hop has seeped its way into nearly every track on the album.
It’s not surprising, considering how the friends that formed FYLTD spent most of their high school and young adult years: hanging out, making weird music and art, listening to Wu Tang Clan, Dr. Dre and other classic hip hop. Even if they took some genre detours over the years, hip hop remains the common thread.
“The subtle influence of hip hop in all of our music sort of ties the album together,” said Carl Wahlstrom, one of the founders of FYLTD. “There are other stylistic influences on lots of the tracks but the careful and deliberate use of samples is something almost everyone on the album is really skilled at.”
Members of FYLTD will perform this Tuesday, March 25, at a release party for the album, set for 7 p.m. at the Bangor Opera House. They include Portland-based psychedelic hip hop band Afraid, featuring Bangor native Jakob Battick and Jared Fairfield, Ryan Cutler and James Marcel; spaz-rockers Captain Hollow, featuring Bangor natives Ryan Higgins, Pat Cunningham and Kyle Mallory-Macdonald and Orono resident Tony Bitetti; and Swerly Bird, a.k.a. Bangor electronic musician Lanny Winchester. Wahlstrom’s sound design and Jayne Foley’s art add visual depth to the show.
People who have paid attention to the Bangor scene will remember that Higgins, Cunningham and Battick were in the crazed garage rock band 1800s Sea Monster, when all of its members were still in high school. Wahlstrom remembers being a freshman and going to their shows at now-defunct downtown art space Ofelia’s.
“I remember being really excited about the props they’d use and the overall vibe of the performances,” said Wahlstrom, now 21. “Jakob, Ryan, and Pat have been doing some really innovative stuff for a while. After high school, Pat and I got an apartment on the corner of Davis Court and First Street, where they just knocked down those buildings. Pat’s an amazing musician, so living with him and hearing him write songs all the time was inspiring.”
After graduating from Bangor High in 2007 and a few years after, people moved away, came back, got different jobs, encountered different music, formed different projects. Captain Hollow formed in 2009, after the breakup of 1800s Sea Monster; Battick played in many Portland area bands before forming Afraid in 2012; Winchester quietly kept making weird sound collage recordings; Wahlstrom himself began recording his own electronic compositions. Everyone remained friends.
Wahlstrom and Higgins decided last year to do something more concrete with the wide array of recordings and art projects their collective group had created over the years; FYLTD is the result.
The compilation features work from all those people, as well as some new projects like Life Circle, a Bangor area electronic duo comprised of Yusuf Ronco and Seth Noyes; a composition from ebbtiddee, a.k.a. Bangor musician Gerry Kimsey; one-off collaborations between collective members, and contributions from Portland-area musicians and bands like Altered Gee and Afraid member Jared Fairfield.
The overall result is a strangely cohesive soundscape, with a foundation in hip hop but fleshed out with punk rock, psychedelic music and experimental electronic music.
“We chose to do a compilation as our first move because it’s a good way to introduce ourselves. We snagged old and new music from the core people of FYLTD as well as artists from around Maine we think should get heard,” said Higgins, 22. “We want to promote rad music that we love that’s otherwise getting ignored. I can’t wait to see what other hidden gems we can dig up around here. People are doing cool things, you just gotta find ’em.”
The March 25 show at the Bangor Opera House is $5 and open to ages 18 and up.