Lionmilk Quartet’s new live album O.T.S. is out August 20 and combines jazz improvisation and underground LA beats. Second single Quartet Vibration II goes deep into jazz-fusion-funk territory, with groovy shuffling drums and heads down funk riffs, providing an apt taster for the album – following on from debut single Take A Breath.
Quartet Vibration II was recorded live in June 2019 and O.T.S. is named after the monthly showcase at BackBeat LA. Lionmilk says: “This track blossomed from me playing a simple rhythm on the keyboard. what you are listening to is us working our improvisational communication; we made this on the spot!”
Moki Kawaguchi (aka Lionmilk) is a pianist, producer, composer, vocalist and fixture on the LA scene. The 27-year-old has released solo albums on Paxico & Leaving Records, collaborated with MNDSGN, as well as Georgia Anne Muldrow, Alpha Pup band, as well as The Breathing Effect – honing a sound that skips effortlessly between dreamy pop, Brazilian Bossa and modern soul influences.
Lionmilk says: “OTS, short for On The Spot, was a monthly installment at the local underground event Backbeat LA. Every first Wednesday we gathered friends in the LA community to showcase experimental improvisation. It was a place where artists were encouraged to play a set perpendicular to their usual performance material. Improvisation was the magnetic pull of the show.
“The Lionmilk house band was sometimes a trio, a duet, or a quintet. In this occasion, the Lionmilk Quartet was formed with homegrown Los Angeles musicians and dear friends Diego Gaeta, Caleb buchanan and Will Logan. True Homies are able to create without fear, trust in each other’s fonk you know? We let that trust speak for itself.
“That day, everything was “slightly” behind and late, in great LA fashion. The handful of people that showed up on time didn’t really mind either, they came and hung out with us while we were setting up. I took my time to setup the speakers, chairs, dj booth, gear…
“I even went to grab Vietnamese noodles for Caleb and Diego. When I came back with the food, Pax was starting the night, strumming his guitar and singing his song…”
Released on Preference Records, itself run by six individuals – including drummer Mekala Session (Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra), producer Jesse Justice and Stones Throw jazz prodigy Jamael Dean – with its own collective identity for championing the city’s new sounds. Lionmilk Quartet’s O.T.S. is a joyful, open-ended expression of musical unity.