Spinnin’-N-Winnin’ II: Deuce Ellis ‘An Electric Ride’ EP

cover
Album art by Jenna Clayburn & Edreys Wajed

Fellow citizens of the world, with no further adieu, my second Spinnin’-N-Winnin’ music showcase is here. This album is the first project produced and written in completion  by #TheCult leader Deuce Ellis. As a fellow lyricist, I have to tip the hat to those who can approach this kind of task and see it to fruition. Having a few friends who produce music, I’ve seen the amount of time it takes to perfect a sound and get multiple orchestrations together. When I found out he was going to be heading to California for some business, I made mention of being in the Bay Area. We ended up hanging out and discussing each other’s current standing with our creative art.

At the time we met in March, this project had not yet been finished but he made mention of having something in the works. I had to compliment him because seriously, who do you know that makes music with a traveling studio hopping city to city, state to state en route to his counterpart? Deuce made the journey part of his art form with An Electric Ride and it makes for one hell of a story if you ask me. I told Deuce that I could empathize a little with sacrificing time in order to create. I mentioned taking some time to focus on developing my own craft in screenwriting and we realized the events I had planned to go to and participated in that week were actually part of the Cinequest Film Festival that our infamous artist Deuce Ellis was attending here in the Bay Area. The portion I was a part of took place at the San Jose State University campus, where writers could learn to pitch scripts and were given advice from some of the pros in the industry. Deuce encouraged my efforts and we spoke about his excitement for the latest music project he was looking to release as well as the film he is in.

Our minds were blown to think we met randomly some 7-8 years ago on a college campus and now we were kicking back in Cali enjoying conversations about the film he was supporting called “The Dunning Man”. After showing interest in it, he introduces me to the co-producer Brent Butler (follow him) and the writer of the original novel, Kevin Fortuna. Kevin thanked me for my support and offered me a copy of the book along with a bottle of his own sparkling wine called Karma Lion. Now that’s generosity! We watched the film and got to sit through a Q&A thereafter. Great film if I should say so myself, so shout outs to the team for putting that together and to Kevin for his generosity and kindness.

Fast forward to today…

The wait for the project Deuce spoke of is ending! An Electric Ride is out for free download and if you missed the train, you can still purchase the copy.

Track One: Vibes High
This opener hopscotches from the concrete jungle and makes its way to an amazing place of creative inspiration. Deuce tinkers with melodies that set me drifting “—so high, I gave God five.” The ultrasonic baseline meets jungle fusion flow and you’re in tune with your environment as Ellis pays homage to mother Earth, stepping into psychedelic rhythm and harmonizing with her island vibes. Now that is what The Cult calls An Electric Ride. This is an introduction to the escape from all “our petty little fascinations, fetishes, and infatuations” that constantly drain our lives and can be overwhelming. Vibes High is a search for a clearer sense of self. Seeing as how he went from NY to HI just to stop and smell the flowers, I think this man is serious. Can’t lie, he took me to another dimension on this one. Just one question, did Deuce actually sample a fake or real monkey? Because I can definitely see Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong rolling through the streets on this one.

Track Two: 3 Stacks & The Gypsy (Insomnia)
In case you didn’t catch it, the title is a direct reference to living legend Andre 3000 of Outkast and the ’98 single Rosa Parks. Deuce’s 3 Stacks & The Gypsy has some hints of 3k between the metaphors and mania in this shadow chasing track. He manipulates a moment in the setting of a bus interior where he and a gypsy have a conversation on dominance. The advice is simple…handle the f*#%ing business and help out your team. I took this track to be the abstract confidence of decision making in song form. If you can catch the wordplay, this one may make you smile. Another bit of advice everyone relates to at some point in life is to “Get yourself a different crew if your crew don’t do shit for you.” Respect.

Track Three: Naked Language
With a chorus like “Lick the walls, just tease the party. Reality sucks, just leave your body. Silver bells and sunshades, takin’ selfies tryna be somebody,” how do you begin the assessment…

Okay, off the jump, I had to give this song at least 10 playthroughs the first time around— kinda like my first Bone Thugz-N-Harmony experience. But this time it wasn’t because of fast rhymes, it was due to the actual lyrical content. The bars are out there but you gotta be willing to ride a comet if you want to surf the cosmic waves. It’s psychedelic satisfaction with a hard

Artwork by Melanie Isaacson

 attraction toward instrumentation. Deuce’s inflection sways with each verse, leaving you to figure out where reality meets perception. Just a heads up, this bass line is a nice touch. By the way, for the sake of self satisfaction and boost in confidence, I am no longer considering it sweating but “dripping wit’ fluorescent confidence.”

 

Track Four: Altered Beast
This funky track is fun and sensual. Try and imagine it meanwhile, keep up with the quick spit rhyme style of Deuce as he “turns her moans into a song”. The uptempo shift makes a break for excitement, still flashing fluorescence from the last track. You’ll be feeling yourself with this one as it brings the heat in the heart of summer. Think you can leave the heat alone? Just remember Ellis warned you of what the doctor said, “You need a little funk in your system ‘fore ya start to flip out. Cuz all this time you’ve been dancing by yourself, it’s time to feel the heat from somebody else— Oooow!” Try and sit still to this one, I dare you!

Track Five: God’s Mirror ft. Justo Ontario
Even poet Dr. Antony Theodore feels we “mirror God’s light” when we live “life through a core of love,” So it’s no wonder Deuce’s Electric Ride sparks so many deep vibes on this luminescent voyage. God’s Mirror shows you love and pain while Deuce tells a story of a [she] who chases dreams of success. With those treasure filled dreams come haters and violators so you always have to be aware what road you’re on. If it’s a jealous one, you should proceed with caution. Super chill and spacey slow mood with this one. I like the melodic rap verses Deuce puts together but I wonder how it would sound if created outside of this psychedelic/synthetic skin. However, the lyrics are quite thought provoking but “Heaven only knows if [I’m] right or wrong.” Take a listen for yourself.

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Photo Courtesy of Marvin Anthony Photography

Track Six: Methods & Madness ft. San Ity
Deuce Ellis starts trippin’ on this one. Talkin’ LSD and Cocaine could be a risky way to set yourself aside from crowds too unfamiliar or scared to take it on. “But never a worry,” as Ellis sets the stage with his one liner remembrances / influences then battles ghosts and spirits through a tip of the tongue sing-a-long that will get stuck in your head if you’re not too careful (late night may not have been the best time to finish reviewing this track haha). He’s not the first artists to do it, but he is one of the ones with the most expansive mindsets. I had to let him know I was mad at him and San Ity for this chorus right here because as reckless as it is, it’s too fun not to sing.

Track Seven: No Sins
So you just took a dive into the deep end. Where there is no more floating. Succumb to the sinking as your seat on An Electric Ride hits the high road, surpassing the intergalactic heavens. I’m talking White Rabbits, Unicorns, Savages, Rock-n-Roll, Golden Chimes ringing, the Queen, and Choir plus more all in one place. No Sins “shoot[s] for a moon for a dream so spectacular” and explodes through your mind. It’s one of the funnest tracks during the electric ride. Too many good lines in here, one of my fave? #NoSinsInHeaven

Track Eight: Cosmic Rays (Deuce’s Lightpad Remix)
The stars tell the story of the night and on An Electric Ride you’ll see constellation Ellis. The beat patterns are crazy with this one, just as crazy as the bit on Cosmic Rays delivered by the leader of The Cult in the beginning of the song. Pay attention. Deuce’s analogy of self and star embody one and make you consider the existence of self and the influence of your atmosphere.

Track Nine: For Jenna (Cracking the Code)

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Jenna Clayburn and Deuce at the Screening of “The Dunning Man”. Photo Courtesy of SOHO International Film Festival.

I am appreciative to Deuce for including this instrumental production. A great shout out to who I could imagine is none other than Miss Jenna Clayburn, artist and novia to Deuce Ellis. Jenna was part of the album cover design and creates a number of art pieces among other works. I guess you can say she’s down for the ride! TeethRatedR needs no explanation, just click.

Track Ten: Magical Solutions
The bravado lays a banger on you as Deuce performs the cosmic danger side of rap music. The opening verse is met with heavy, smooth tones and a blunt creed of life. It’s a banger for the night out that gave some sick cadence changes and rhythmic bars.  Ellis is once again lighting up the night. Remember the Cult don’t sweat, we just drip fluorescence ’round here on the Electric Ride. The tone of the keys give that floating feeling a lot of the album carries with it and Deuce uses this groove to steamroll the second verse and beyond. Remember to set a reminder to detox.

Track Eleven: The Product
Opening line: “This requires no description”
19932309_503972129957993_7045291389730422784_nBut I do have a suggestion: Get the album

Track Twelve: I Am Somebody ft. Aloe Blacc
This final production is a literal soul glow. You can’t help but feel good about yourself while ending your journey on An Electric Ride. Deuce says, “You’re unstoppable if you don’t stop yourself,” and it couldn’t be any truer. With so many things going on in life, sometimes we gotta take time to remember that our efforts, actions, and existence matter. Many times we are our biggest critics so I found it fitting that at the end of An Electric Ride, Deuce mentions his infatuation is power in music. At the beginning of the album, he was heard mentioning the need to disconnect with our infatuations etc. We all need to find time to unwind and be at peace. At least with Deuce, when he does it, you get a pretty decent album out of it.

If you would like to hear the album for yourself, feel free to join the pre-order list at DeuceEllis.com. I will say it grew on me more and more as I continued to take the journey through sound and electric excitement produced by Deuce. Top tracks for me are Vibes High, Naked Language, No Sins, and Magical Solutions but check it out on your own and let me know what you think!

Til the next time, thank you for the read and remember to support local artists and venues, peace!

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