Artwork by Kerrie Wallis Produced, recorded, and mixed by Illslur Mastered by Alter Echo
Dedicated to repping for our inner Manimal, my prolific bud who hosted a series of yard sales re-using the same whale-shaped sign and incredible pun: WHALE OF A SALE. I wanted this to feel like something you might find at a thrift, yard sale, or swap meet. Something that gives you just enough vibes to take it home, and it actually kinda bumps!
It started taking shape after Manimal left his human form. He was there reminding me to make beats. To Steal Sound. It became how I would grieve and honor him. It took me from a space in between creative waves to a spot where I could see the horizon.
It was one of the ways I got by during the height of the pandemic, feeling isolated from family and crew. I remember the day B dropped the [(((VIBRATE HIGH)))] HIT+RUN compilation. He wrote, "Hopefully you're remaining focused, courageous and optimistic, finding clarity, spending quality time with loved ones, appreciating the slowness... staying active, eating right & harmonizing with your inner being." I immediately made the beat for what would later become the first version of SKY.
This music continues to help me cope with my wife's journey beyond breast cancer. A way to help me show up every day to support my favorite person. LOVE YOU!
Working on these tracks reminded me (again and again) that this is my healing and path—one of the things I can do during this tiny bit of existence that can help spread joy. That I will legit dissolve without these efforts.
It taught me to take hold of my work. To finish and share it. To stop creating excuses. After waiting on someone else to mix the record, I took a weekend to mix it myself. Maxing out my sound nerdom to run it from computer to cassette through a series of mixers and pedals creating a live 4-track mix from digital to analog. It was so revitalizing to the project and myself. To realize I wasn't waiting for anything. That I had everything I needed to finish it right here in the shedio. It was on me the entire time.
Soon after mixdown, I had a quick chat with one of my music mentors Jon AD. I asked him for advice on mastering and he came through so hard with an intro to Alter Echo, a Pacific NW underground electronic and dub legend who's been putting out wax since the 90s. He immediately understood the sound I was looking for. So grateful to both of yall!
As the mixes were taking shape, I got a massage from my friend Kerrie. She had all of these beautiful, trippy collages in her studio, many with underwater vibes. And they were all her work!! When a friend is like, "Yeah, I mess around with that too..." So dope, so humble. A few days later I asked if she might be up for creating a whale collage for the record. So f'n happy for how it turned out and honored to rep this art!
I added a few shoutouts to the tape and inevitably forgot so many people. If you're not listed and are a part of my creative journey, THANK YOU! All my GC & W creW, THANK YOU! This amazing Tucson hip-hop community, THANK YOU! A couple of folks I wanted to name here are B & Nisey and Willie and Joe. I mean damn y'all. Thank you. CREW.
And thank YOU for hearing this art. I hope you're digging what YOU'RE up to right now. That you're doing you today and as many other days as it feels possible in these times.