A decade ago, Dante Carfagna issued a somewhat anonymous LP under the Express Rising heading. That self-titled affair went in and out of print before 2003’s summer gave way to fall, thanks in part to its release by the frustratingly obscure Memphix label, but thanks more to how it broke new ground for the instrumental rap generation’s interest in the sub-sub-basement of record mining.
The album’s blurry boreal cover captured Carfagna’s mysterious persona. Though he’s been attached to such seminal compilations as Chains and Black Exhaust, a grip of Eccentric Soul titles, and the recent electronic soul collection Personal Space—and though his signature “Records I barely like but maybe you will” approach to writing helped build the Wax Poetics brand–Dante remains a tough man to pin down. He doesn’t even have a working doorbell.
Which may be a good thing, as he recorded his second album in the middle room of his third floor walk-up in Chicago’s Dog Patch neighborhood. A notorious homebody, Carfagna cut much of this second self titled LP after a long nights of Camel filters and bottled New Glarus—while watching his neighbors departure for morning straight-world commutes. Reaching back to 2008 and an Akai four track, these 11 songs break from the foraging tradition employed by Dante’s debut, swapping out breakbeats and samples for guitar, Wurlitzer, banjo, steel guitar, synthesizer, and an arcane drum machine.
As for packaging, this second Express Rising album treads the same vague path of the first. Shade-tree urban apartment domestics adorn the cover, and ambiguity creeps into the credits list, which nods at “Motorcycle John” for technical assistance and KK Blagg for “extraordinary contributions.” Who they are, and just what the fuck they did to make mention is left up for speculation.
Reached for comment, Carfagna had this to say about himself and about Express Rising: “My last record came out ten years ago. Much has changed and much has not.”
Express Rising has no label, but it will be distributed by The Numero Group beginning July 30th.
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