Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...
New Orleans-based producer AF THE NAYSAYER (Amahl Abdul-Khaliq), known for his chill, hip-hop influenced beats and his impressive collaborations and unique remixes, returns to Asheville on Friday, November 4th for a free show at Sol Vibes. He'll play alongside Houston's TAME (The Aspiring ME), and two of Asheville's own: Dathan Brannon and Rasa. A producer on the rise, AF THE NAYSAYER is will stop in Asheville on his tour with TAME, which will take him up as far north as Toronto and south to Texas.
AF THE NAYSAYER has been on a musical journey that has aligned with his own personal journey towards optimal health and maximum creative expression. He became vegan in the last year because of health reasons, and he also put out some of his most noteworthy songs to date, including an official remix of Phony Ppl's "End of the Night" that's shimmering, pulsing, and completely addictive.
"To me, the remix for Phony Ppl is the biggest I've done," he says. "It's officially endorsed by their manager and by them, and they like it." He's also done remixes and collaborations with Taiwanese rap group Juzzy Orange, Shizuku Kawahara of TINÖRKS, and tAz Arnold of the Sa-Ra Creative Partners. In all of his remixes, AF adds an undeniably powerful and unique spin that makes the songs even more compelling than it was originally. The sounds added in are upbeat and bouncy, reimagining original tracks in ways that preserve the source material but spin it out in a new direction.
AF's production is influenced by a broad range of materials, from video game music to jazz, swing, and West Coast funk. His first album, The Autodidact Instrumentals, Vol. I, is wonderfully fun, creative, and intelligent, as effervescent and airy as it is memorable. Since releasing it, AF has moved into a period of introspection that also involved experimenting with his own sound and making new connections in the music and art worlds. His sophomore EP, Armed Wing Battle Unit, which was released on Vibe Music Collective in September, is an homage--and a soundtrack--to Japanese shmup (shoot 'em up) video games:
I wanted it to sound like a generic Japanese shmup, and I wanted a super generic translated name, and when you hear the title you're like, 'Yeah that's a video game.' Video games are a big part of my past. I used to compete in the fighter game community, so it influenced my music. A lot of video game composers were big influences. And there was a game in my head, which is where these tracks came from. I got concept artwork made for it as well as a concept design. The inspiration was hip hop, future beats and hip hop. It's anime style, shoot 'em up, bullet-hell shoot 'em up, the genre is called shmup. It's really nerdy [laughs]! I took songs that I feel like fit together and sound good for the EP. There's a video game behind it that hasn't been made. I've been holding onto the soundtrack for a long time and it took me a while to find an engineer and have it mastered, but the time is right.