Fekner formed his own band City Squad in 1983 which was composed of musicians and non-musicians as an extension of Queensites, a group of teenagers from Jackson Heights who assisted with the outdoor stencil work.
In September 1983, Fekner released his first rap/rock 2 4 5 7 9 11/Rock Steady 12″ EP on his own Vinyl Gridlock record label.
The 12″ EP single, “Concrete People/Concrete Concerto”, was a music collaboration with Dennis Mann (1950-2008) and Al Belfiore.
Artist:JOHN FEKNER CITY SQUAD
LPEPMP3 is a new release featuring selections from the John Fekner City Squad catalog. This is their fourth album and the first compilation of City Squad recordings. Songs are from the LP Idioblast, the Concrete People EP and other releases including Another 4 Years and When The Future Collides With History.
Listeners not familiar with John Fekner should know that his career began as a visual artist who later incorporated multimedia within his artwork. Fekner was among the first artists to create art directly on the street with stenciled messages of words, symbols, dates and icons spray-painted throughout New York City and other cities around the world.
The recordings on LPEPMP3 took place at Monkey Hill Studios in Queens where Fekner collaborated extensively with studio owner and musician Dennis Mann (1950-2008) during the Concrete People/Concrete Concerto sessions. The recordings from the CP/CC sessions were then turned into animated music videos that received numerous computer graphics awards. Al Belfiore and Sasha Sumner also co-wrote and performed on the tracks from the CP/CC sessions.
LPEPMP3 provides the listening with thirteen tracks from the Monkey Hill sessions where Fekner plays keyboards, electronic drums and contributed vocals. He wrote the music and lyrics for his songs which featured extensive sampling and tape loops of tv, radio, Native American voices, phone and airport transmissions over rock/rap/hip hop beats. Fekner was among the first to experiment with computers and music on the Apple II and speech synthesis programs Votrax and SAM-Software Automatic Mouth as part of the production on the vocal tracks. The eclectic mix of rap, rock, jazz, industrial and spoken word created a unique studio creative ambience with vital contributions from both musicians and non-musicians alike. Fekner composed, arranged and produced most of the songs which feature vocalists and musicians Bear 167, Jim Recchione, Steve Grivas, Joey Gomez, Richard Maffei, Richard Admiral, Anthony Leicht, Dennis Lattmann Jr., Julia Federico, Paul Sottnick, Sandy Mann (vocals) & Sandra Seymour (voice) and co-writer Dave Santaniello (When The Future Collides With History).
The cover art is a collaborative painting with Don Leicht from their ongoing series Your Space Has Been Invaded with the design layout by Jeewon Shin.
Artist:JOHN FEKNER CITY SQUAD
In this collaborative City Squad project, John Fekner wrote the song with musicians Dennis Lattmann (1950-2008) and Al Belfiore who programmed the Linn LM-1 drum sequence. A team of artists including Andrew Ruhren, Fred Baca, Anthony Leicht, James Recchione and additional musicians included Sasha Sumner (sax), Sandy Mann (vocals) & Sandra Seymour (voice). Concrete People, City Squad’s third release, was a 12″ EP on Vinyl Gridlock Records and a club favorite in the 80s. Thanks to Richard Maffei & Steve Remote/Aura Sonic, LTD. Dedicated to Anders Tornberg.
2 4 5 7 9 11/Rock Steady
2 4 5 7 9 11/Rock Steady was the John Fekner’s first record release featuring Kwame Monroe, aka Bear 167, a South Bronx graffiti artist who Fekner met at Fashion Moda on the A-side. The B-side, “Rock Steady” had Dave Santaniello who Fekner met on the handball courts at Gorman Park in Queens on vocals. The record was release in conjunction with When Words Become Works, an exhibition at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Diane Shamash, Director and Walker Art Center, MN in 1983.