Media Info: Natural Ingredients August 1994
“A lot of our music isn’t something you can put your finger on. It’s just an accumulation of experiences…It’s supposed to evoke a mood.” – Jill
The first time I heard LUSCIOUS JACKSON’S music, I was flooded with lost memories of my childhood. Not memories of what I did when I was young – it’s easy enough to remember playing stickball in the street and riding the trains around the city. I remembered the way I felt when I was riding those trains, the way I FELT when cars would interrupt our street games. It’s those feelings that are lost when you get older, but somehow those same elusive feelings are in Luscious Jackson’s music. Some bands may be a breath of fresh air, but Luscious Jackson are a blast of the liberating feeling of youth.
Luscious Jackson is Jill Cunniff Gabby Glaser, Kate Schellenbach, and Vivian Trimble – New York City natives whose music is a result of four women totally being themselves, spilling their life experiences out in a song. Four women that deny and defy women’s traditional role in art as objects. Luscious Jackson take the active role and make music that cannot be categorized.
“Being a woman artist, you’re breaking boundaries already.” – JIll
Luscious Jackson’s sounds flow effortlessly over the walls that usually stand between hip-hop, rock, jazz and funk. It’s not too surprising when you consider where they’re coming from. The New York scene of the early 80’s was all around them so while the other kids were playing spin the bottle the pre-LJ’s were buying Bad Brains records at Bleeckeer Bob’s and hanging out with the second wave of punks. When the machismo of the hardcore scene took over the rock clubs, hip-hop culture and its mix of rhythms filled the void and became a major musical inspiration.
Luscious Jackson are almost two different bands enjoying the features of both the studio and the stage. Jill and Gabby started Luscious Jackson in the studio, exploring the freedom that its technology offered by combining bits of poetry/lyrics with guitar, bass and an endless arsenal of samples. Their early work ended p as most of Luscious Jackson’s debut EP, IN SEARCH OF MANNY (Grand Royal Records) in 1992. With keyboardist Vivian and (original Beastie Boys drummer) Kate, Luscious Jackson have been playing live for a couple of years. Unlike a lot of bands who can get it right in the studio but are helpless in the live setting, Luscious Jackson have your absolute attention on stage. They successfully combine sampled sounds with live instrumentation to create a dynamic live show. If you imagine the line where rapping meets singing, then you can see Jill’s voice taking off from that point and flying high, while Gabby’s unique style blurs that line like nobody else I’ve heard. And ther’s no live experience like seeing them come out from behind their instruments to the front of the stage and dance to their own music.
Luscious Jackson’s new record NATURAL INGREDIENTS is produced by the Superfreaks (Jill, Gabby, and Tony Mangurian), the same crew who made MANNY. If Manny was about the search for “the spirit of a time long gone, when we knew our next door neighbors and rode bicycles with training wheels,” NATURAL INGREDIENTS is about finding that spirit after you’ve grown up.
NATURAL INGREDIENTS is a panorama of life in the city and the characters that populate it, told in a smooth blend of hip-hop, soul, funk, and jazzy beats. The whole record is reflected in “CitySong” (the first single), capturing the essence of what city life is like. Luscious Jackson’s city is stocked with liberated women and strong men, guardian angels and vinyl junkies, emotional vampires and the women who love them. These songs don’t need to preach a message, it’s right there in the story for you to find. This is mood music in the best way – it makes you feel a certain way and you can’t figure out why. It’s the music you listen to on a rainy day, and it’s the music you can dance to under a star-filled sky.
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