"Bicycle: A Transportation Communique" is a celebration of artistry, identity, and liberation over dance inducing, experimental soundscapes. Grounded in an indie hip-hop aesthetic, the jazzy poetic lyricism of Eric Wilkinson, soulful vocals of Jai Hamilton, and earthy MC deliveries of Emily Bruner conjure the gods and goddesses of hip-hop infancy while delivering liberation philosophy over captivating riffs and infectious rhythms. The quest to get free is met time and again with a resounding YES. "Bicycle: A Transportation Communique" takes the listener to new spaces and sounds, opening bike paths of perception with dirty bass lines and creamy style flows.
In keeping with social justice values of The Dialectics, half of all download sales will be donated to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), The International Bird Rescue Research Center, and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research to support their efforts in protecting and restoring the environment in the Gulf of Mexico following the disastrous British Petroleum (BP) oil spill.
"Bicycle: A Transportation Communique" derives its title from the song, "Bicycle," which promotes bicycle riding as a form of resistance to oil wars, environmental destruction, and big oil companies that threaten our national security and exacerbate divisions between the haves and have-nots of the world. The song explores the aesthetic value and sustainability benefits of riding bicycles. It draws inspiration from 'take back the street' movements occurring across the world, led by youth committed to maintaining public spaces and The Commons.
The notion of a "communique" first entered into lead songwriter Eric Wilkinson's consciousness during his graduate Sociology studies of the Zapatista movement in Mexico. The powerful communiques of Subcomandante Marcos moved Wilkinson deeply. Wilkinson later became involved in the grassroots anti-corporate globalization movement and participated in the Seattle Protests against the World Trade Organization. Wilkinson's poetry book, "Black through a Distortion Pedal" (San Francisco Bay Press, 2010), explores themes of sustainability, pop culture, and counter culture, which are prevalent throughout the "Bicycle" EP.
"Bicycle: A Transportation Communique" sees bicycle riding as not only environmentally conscious but also super sexy. Wilkinson rhymes, "Ipod full of beats/ banana bike seat/ I was starstruck by her pedicure feet/ And skirt as she traveled/ Pavement un-leveled/ Olympian feat like Misty May she medaled."
Wilkinson's artistic commitment to illuminate the sex appeal of social justice issues is also evident in the choice of album cover, which features a bikini clad model washing her bicycle. The photograph was taken by Wilkinson and reflects his ongoing project to work with popular culture and fashion, not against it, to render intellectualism and social justice sexy and hip.
"Bicycle," written in 2009, eerily anticipated the 2010 British Petroleum Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Wilkinson wrote the following lines in 2009, "Dippin' from the paper boys and their dirty papers/ Exxon Mobil BP can catch the vapors/ Foreign Operators down with the C.I.A./ Once we off that junk everything will be ok/ No more disarray blue skies and street signs/ Pimps in control of American pipelines."
The song "Bicycle" is a crowd favorite at Dialectics shows and two different versions of the song are included on the EP. The first version is produced by The Dialectics resident producer/DJ/keyboard musician J.K. 47 and the other version features the live instrumentation of Dave Cobb and Nick Coleman.
Other songs on the EP include:
"Actress": Inspired by writings of Frankfurt School cultural and literary theorist Walter Benjamin, the song explores concepts such as "phantasmagoria," "the ruins," 19th Century Paris Arcades, Baudelaire, gender identity, counterculture indulgence in San Francisco, Paris, and Rio De Janeiro, and Wilkinson's own conceptualization of the origins of hip-hop. In this song, Wilkinson calls himself an "Actress," which takes on a double meaning in that it suggests we are all performers, and increasingly so in postmodern society, while simultaneously challenging the notion that (gender) identity is fixed. The song features amazing guitar work by Lane Miller and a wicked Dave Cobb drum beat, which drew high public praise from producer Kno of Cunninlynguists.
"Le Flâneur": A song inspired by the uniquely french social type. Flâneur comes from the French masculine noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of "stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", "loafer"—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means "to stroll". Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". (Source: Wikipedia.org)
"Styles of Resistance": The back and forth rhyme delivery between Eric Wilkinson and singer Jai Hamilton represents a shout out to early hip-hop legends like Run DMC, Beastie Boys, and EPMD.
"Brecht is on the Radio": This is the first song ever written by Eric Wilkinson and The Dialectics. The song reflects on Bertolt Brecth's view of art and provides a cultural critique of corporate media. The song was featured in the online social theory journal, "Fast Capitalism." See fastcapitalism.com
"Incognito": The song advances the notion that artists are spies and must go incognito to discover their art. This theme is revisited by Wilkinson in The Dialectics song, "Spy Ops." The song was written by Wilkinson and Dave Cobb. Cobb plays guitar as well as drums on the track and he wrote the trumpet piece played by Jai Hamilton. The song was produced by Dave Cobb and featured on the University of Kentucky's WRFL "Know Your Own" album compilation.
About The Dialectics:
The Dialectics formed in late 2006 under the leadership of poet emcee Eric Thomas Wilkinson. Wilkinson started rapping at age 9. He released his first self-produced rap tape at age 12 under the stage name "Chilly E." Wilkinson recorded and performed throughout high school. In college, he shifted to writing and performing poetry. After performing poetry with a house jazz band at the University of Kentucky's Black Student Union "Mic Check" event, Wilkinson was inspired to form The Dialectics. Original members included Josh Fisherkeller on bass, Dave Cobb on drums, and Lane Miller on guitar.
The Dialectics played their first show at an infamous underground venue called The Ice House in Lexington, KY. The show featured the Rakadu Gypsy Dancers with installment video by Eli Scar. Following the initial show, Jai Hamilton joined the band as a supportive rapper/singer and her role in the band grew over the next couple years. Wilkinson was the primary songwriter and reveled in the opportunity to write lyrics for a young female vocalist. Renown DJ/producer JK-47 joined the band in 2007. Talented rapper Emily Bruner and bass player Nick Coleman played with the group in 2007-2009.
The Dialectics current roster features creator/rapper Eric Wilkinson, drummer and guitarist Dave Cobb, vocalist Julia Curiel and DJ/keyboard player J.K. 47.
Since The Dialectics conception, Wilkinson writes songs that theorize and deconstruct the world. One critic called Wilkinson "the first truly postmodern rapper." He has drawn inspiration from artists such as David Byrne, Beck, and Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets, Cherrywine). Wilkinson's vocal style has often been compared to Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest.
Wilkinson's poetry book, "Black through a Distortion Pedal," was published by San Francisco Bay Press on May 19, 2010. It is available for purchase at sanfranciscobaypress.com, amazon.com, and independent book stores across the country.
The Dialectics have three EP releases: Styles of Resistance (2007), Origins of Blast (2008), and Bicycle: A Transportation Communique (2010).
The Dialectics have shared the stage with Blackalicious, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Coup, Hotpipes, Nappy Roots, Cunninlynguists, Cee Know the Doodlebug of Digable Planets, Seven Mary Three, Mud Kids, Chico Felini, Villebillies, Mass Hysteria, The Running, John the Baptist, Pugz Atomz, The Pacifics, Midwest Hype, Devine Carama, DJ Intel, Symbiance, Nemo, Us Band, Attempt, Tryptamine Arkestra, Big Fresh, Marcus McFly, Tommy and the Try Tones, and The Sundown Service.
Early Dialectics shows were based on the jazz ethic of blending notes and rhythms on the fly. In recent years, The Dialectics have incorporated greater use of structure and minimalist pop sensibilities into their music without losing their critical edge. Audience participation is common, and encouraged. Whether building epic walls of sound or just banging out a crowd pleaser, The Dialectics bring it. Eric Wilkinson takes crowds through the highs and lows of postmodern experience, distilling the most prescient philosophical issues of the day. Dave Cobb drops double ill drum beats. JK-47 stuns and stunts with his turntabilism and keyboard skills.
The group is in the lab with their newest member, soulful vocalist Julia Curiel, crafting romantic lullabies inspired by Brazilian sunsets and underground Parisian sexual decadence. Tour dates are in the works.
Styles of Resistance (2007)
Origins of Blast (2008)
Bicycle: A Transportation Communique (2010)