“This business can be soul-destroying,” declares the Angel. Under the handle 60 Channels, she’s doing all she can to separate herself from the spiritless body that is the music industry.
“I can’t tell you,” she says, “how many times I’ll be introduced, ‘She makes records,’ to someone who I’ve never met before, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, you sing.’ Okay, I’m a woman, so of course I’ve got to be a singer, right? I couldn’t possibly have any other skills besides that.” Skills? How about producing, arranging, programming, engineering, writing, mixing, deejaying, scoring and publishing? The Missy Elliott of the evocative-electronic subculture, the Angel numbers among a new breed of artists — independent and doing it all.
“I got very frustrated with having to depend on someone else to teach me something or do something for me. I couldn’t just sit on an idea, it would drive me nuts. So every single thing I couldn’t do, I would say, ‘Fuck it,’ and I’d learn it. Doing all these different things equals freedom to me.”
60 Channels’ Covert Movements is 14 tracks of autonomy leverage, breaking molds while fusing elements of electronic, dub, drum & bass, and hip-hop rhythms; a talented cast of international vocalists throws down with live and synthetic instrumentation. The album kicks off with the killer “Riddim Supastar,” featuring the London-based Navigator of the Freestylers and local vocalist Karen Grant, who’s worked with reggae artists Junior Murvin and Andre Tosh. DJ Collage of the Bay Area’s Meat Beat Manifesto shares the microphone with Grant on the socially conscious “Counter Evolution.” Australia’s Angie Hart, of the band Frente, voices frantically on “Protect Yourself.” Rain Phoenix, lead singer of the emerging Papercranes, adds a lovely vocal on “Scorched Earth.” And from Japan, nu-jazz vocalist Monday Michiru holds it down on “Moving Shadows.”
The Angel also shows off her microphone abilities on the personal slice “Still Burnin.’” “I don’t do many vocals, and I kind of shy away from it, because it overshadows what I do. The greater part of my work and the things I do best are done alone in the studio, where no one is watching. It’s a real solitary thing.”
The Angel is also taking an organic approach to movies, contributing songs and scores. “There are a handful of female film composers whose name anybody might know — that’s it. I mean, that’s ridiculous,” she says. She was hired to work (with ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland) on the flick Gridlock’d the week co-star Tupac Shakur was killed, and her remix of Donald Byrd’s “Kofi,” featuring underground MC Mystic, was placed in a scene where Tupac is asleep and dreaming (resting in peace). She also contributed songs to the romantic comedy ’Til There Was You with Sarah Jessica Parker, Playing God with David Duchovny, and, more recently, director Carlos Avila’s excellent PBS short film Junkyard Saints. New Line Cinema was so impressed by the Angel’s first full scoring job (on Boiler Room, starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck) that the studio gave her and partner Kevin Herlihy a press-and-distribute (P&D) deal for Supa Crucial, the “mom and pop” label through which they showcase her releases and related projects. The two own and control their catalog of masters and publishing — rare in an era when mega-labels own everything.
The Angel has also mentored Mystic since 1995, helping the Bay Area artist get signed with GoodVibe Recordings and producing three tracks on her debut album, Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom.
“I try to be encouraging and nurturing with the musicians and vocalists I work with,” the Angel suggests. “A lot of producers don’t inspire, they scare the hell out of artists and demoralize them. They reduce everything down, because they don’t get the best out of people. Somebody once said to me, ‘They’re reducers, and you’re a producer.’”
The Angel performs a rare DJ set with 60 Channels, featuring vocalists Angie Hart, Karen Grant and Rain Phoenix, plus DJ Collage, at Cinespace, 6356 Hollywood Blvd., Thursday, March 25; (323) 817-3456.
60 CHANNELS | Covert Movements | (Supa Crucial)