What would you do with all of the time in the world, ushered far away from modern conveniences and stripped of any outside world obligations? Maybe you would collapse inside of yourself, or outside of yourself, to a primordial time clock, where crashing waves are your sound machine, the sunset your bed lamp, and the island breeze your compass.
All of the above is true for Buffalonian and hip hop producer Deuce Ellis, who traveled to Hawaii and spent several months living on the island of Oahu, where he dedicated that time to his first self-produced album, An Electric Ride. Now a resident of Denver, which he does not call home because he roams too much, Ellis admits that "some of [that time on the island] was just spent laying around on the beach though...I [also] worked on it in New York City and California, and finished it in Denver."
Inspired by the cosmos and an interplanetary mode of living, thinking, and dreaming, Deuce constructed a 12 track project which features mentor Edreys Wajed and his high school friend TK. An Electric Ride was produced under the guidance of Grammy-nominated producer Jack Mason and recording artist Aloe Blacc.
"I opened/drove for one of Aloe's first tours when "I Need a Dollar" first broke. He's been a bit of a mentor ever since," he says. "We had been trying to figure out a way to collaborate for months, sending tracks back and forth. He challenged me to flip an unreleased record he had and passed that track along to me."
"I Am Somebody" is an understated track that presents a low-key, husky-voiced Deuce over a soundboard of striking tones. Echoing the words of famous soul singer James Brown, the artist's voice turns progressively tremulous, either out of fear, excitement, or both, leaving the listener with an open-ended fate, as is the osmosis of life, leaning on faith in process.
"Cosmic Rays" is another notable track on An Electric Ride. It is more centrifugal in force than not. It takes listeners outside of an earthly design and into a galaxy beyond, away from any comfort zone. As protons fly across the sky and collide with each other in a game of ping pong, we surf on a tuft of space or a beam of light amid chaos, anticipating a final destination, wherever that may be.
"I used my Lightpad block for that beat. I won it in a production challenge. Most of the album was already done by the time they shipped it, but I replayed almost all of the sounds using my Lightpad. It allowed for more expressiveness," Deuce said of the production of "Cosmic Rays."
An Electric Ride in totality is a spontaneous mixture of unobvious eroticism and natural wonder, as found in the track "Naked Language." At other times the album is maniacal and frenetic, as found in the percussive groove beat, "Altered Beast." What the album isn't is fragile. The project is a daring undertaking that alludes to the belief that we are not in this journey alone. An Electric Ride exemplifies who Deuce Ellis is as a person and an artist: artistically inquisitive, deeply in tune, and illustrious.
Listen to the full-length album here.