A few weeks ago, seven experimental trip-hoppers could be seen walking the streets of Market and 6th in San Francisco. Sage, the producer, bassist, and founder of this all-male collective of students, called Boostive, refers to that area as “the ghetto” and “the crack block.” But beneath the tough exterior is the group’s studio. For Sage, the streets provide “that vibe of being real—that whole vibe is going to be in our album just from recording there.” Their self-titled EP marks the debut of Sage’s collaboration with several friends: Dylan Webber (guitar), Nathan Kocivar (saxophone, keys), Andrew Hawes (drums), Mulligan B (engineer, guitar), Travis Gibbs (trombone), and Al Bundi (MC). “We use a lot of vinyl chops to get our sound and overdub some real instruments and drums,” says Sage. “The vinyl [is] for old school sound [such as] ’90s hip-hop. You can hear the crackle of the records in our recordings …
it gives it a nice, warm tone.” This vintage feel prevails on every track, even though their music is always in the minor key. Sage does this by design, preferring minor over major due to its grave impact. “It makes you feel good, but it’s not happy-sounding,” he explains. The must-hear track “Boostive in ‘Orphan Christmas’” is the embodiment of this dual sound. Its seven minutes of ambient, dub reggae with broody basslines, keys and melancholy sax is paired with snippets from a 1950s television program in which a housewife relates her LSD-induced epiphanies to a doctor. The clever combination of hip-hop beats with samples borrowed from films, television, and other artists is the group’s signature. And their influences—J Dilla, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Twinkle Brothers, Pink Floyd, and DJ Bonobo—shine through. “There’s not just one artist that we like to dwell on while we do our own thing,” says Sage.
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. The Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
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