Arckatron, “Power (Handz Up…)”

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An instrumental composition inspired by the legacy of Dr. King.

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Blake Gillespie | February 24, 2016

Arckatron is a formerly Philadelphia-based hip hop producer that recently relocated to Southern California. His work dating back to 2008’s The Appreciation SP. Like any wise producer, Arckatron addressed his primary influences early with the Gettin’ Dilla Out My System release in 2011 and since then has sought a style all his own. His production is not fatherless, but with the recently released Subtle Busyness, Arckatron claims no hive.

Subtle Busyness deviates from the beat tape genre, and there is no finer example of this decampment than Arckatron’s “Power (Handz Up…)”. The track is Arckatron establishing himself as an instrumentalist. “Power (Handz Up…)” was not banged out in an afternoon at the beat machine, but rather a composition that germinated in his mind; phases fed into expansion, as his track took on a skin not unlike the jazz arrangement “Martin’s Funeral”. “It started with me watching the movie Fresh from 1994,” he wrote in an email. “I was inspired by the kids stepping in the auditorium. I had a nostalgia feel because I come from that environment coming from Lakewood, New Jersey.”

The immediate inspiration wore off though and the track remained unfinished for months as just a drum loop. While in Philly, Arckatron was part of a producer and artist collective known as Plush Lords. Their sessions would take place at the home of Margel the Sophant. Arckatron says during one session with Margel, he had him freestyle on the keys while Arckatron laid the bassline. But, “Power” (Handz Up…) still remained incomplete.

Much like “Martin’s Funeral” captured the emotional weight of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Assassination in 1968, Arckatron’s “Power (Handz Up…)” was inspired by the legacy of Dr. King. “The day I started to mix I remembered that I had audio from the MLK Day march in Philadelphia that I was apart of,” he said. “There were a handful of chants but I felt the “hands up, dont shoot” would make more sense.”

“It just fit with the overall sound and message that I was trying to convey. I think it sounds like music from a Spike Lee Joint. It’s my political track. I am not for police brutality. this was my subtle way of saying it.”

Arckatron’s Subtle Busyness is out on cassette via Twin Spring Tapes.

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