The Uniphonics have created waves of excitement across the United States since forming out of the Iowa City music scene in 2007. Their jam band approach to hip hop has led them to performances at countless major festivals and venues across the country. They’ve played on bills with some of their biggest influences, including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Rusted Root, Karl Denson, The Roots, and Primus.
The band released an EP in 2009 called “Truth Be Told.” The album received positive reviews and built anticipation for “Crawl,” their full length album which was released in September 2010. “Crawl” has received raving 5 star reviews. It features several songs with Robin Eubanks, a multiple Grammy award winning artist who is widely considered to be the premier trombonist of his generation. The album also features guitarist Dennis “Daddy-O” McMurrin, who is known for his work with George Clinton, Sly and the Family Stone, and Tower of Power. A Minneapolis based vocal phenom named Heatbox also appears on the album.
The Uniphonics tour relentlessly in support of their 2 releases. They have built a large base of fans who love the positivity and musicality that they bring to every live performance.
The Uniphonics are:
Derek “MC Animosity” Thorn – Lead Vocals
Forrest Heusinkveld – Drums/Percussion/Vocals
Craig Heidgerken – Guitar
Ben Pierce – Saxophone
Ryan Casteel – Bass
Joseph McKinley – Keys
"...sounds like The Roots smoking up with Phish"
-Cincinnati City Beat
CD Review: The Uniphonics
BY JASON M. LARSON | SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 7:20 AM
(Taken from www.dailyiowan.com)
***** out of *****
After a year and a half of recording, local funk band the Uniphonics finally releases its first full-length album, Crawl. The record is so good that it's easy to see why it took so long to create.
The album is set to be released today during a show at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., with bands Heatbox and the Workshy also performing. Admission is $10 in advance; the show will begin at 9 p.m.
The group members include Joseph McKinley on keyboard, Derek "Animosity" Thorn as MC, Ryan Casteel on bass, Craig "Craigula" Heidgerken on guitar, Forrest Heusinkveld on drums, and Ben Pierce on saxophone.
Many of the songs have been waiting almost three years to make it onto the album. The band released an EP called Truth Be Told in January of last year, but all the material on Crawl is new.
The last song on the album (and definitely one of the best) is "So I Say II," a continuation of one of the songs from the band's EP, "So I Say."
It starts out with saxophonist Pierce belting out a smooth, jazzy solo with a reverb that seems to come from a large concert hall. Heusinkveld and Casteel then join in, with Heusinkveld rapping on the track. Local blues legend Dennis "Daddy-O" McMurrin, who Pierce grew up listening to, tears it up on the electric guitar with his signature blues sound.
"It was a real pleasure to have him on the album," Pierce said. "He did the 'Daddy-O' to our track."
Included in the song are shouting choruses done by each member as well as by other people the group knew. Heusinkveld said that there were so many that it was difficult to hear whose voices actually made it onto the album.
"We're not really sure at this point," he said. "When you get 20 people in there, it's like 'who is who?' "
Beatbox master Heatbox also lends his distinct talents to the track, scratching out the words "the Uniphonics" throughout the track.
Also on the album is trombonist Robin Eubanks, the former music director for Stevie Wonder.
The title track, "Crawl," displays the band's ability to play with great accuracy. It's so catchy that I've been humming the melody for days. Animosity and Heusinkveld both spit out some rhymes in the song that seem to battle each other.
Crawl is definitely one of the best albums to be produced by an Iowa City band, and it is worth listening to both in concert and on the CD. Reflecting the band's evolution musically, it promises to be a great addition to any playlist.