REVERB AND THE VERSE'S 10th final album #BLACKWALL out NOW EVERYWHERER&TV on SpotifyR&TV on Apple MusicR&TV SoundCloudR&TV on InstagramR&TV on YouTube Music

The A and Z of Things...
We are slaves to this thing called music and yet we own our publishing, masters, and 10x back catalog

we stand by our words, our actions, our people, and our art. we have fought with our pasts and we have overcome. 

CAN YOU SAY THE SAME? 
the end is the beginning of something that will eventually 

end

     

BLACKWALL REVIEW AND FULL INTERVIEW FROM DNVR'S BEST MUSIC JOURNALIST TOM MURPHY

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING HERE'S AN (ALTERNATIVE) TRUTH REMIX

 WTF DO U THINK?

 WANT TO SUPPORT US? SHARE US OUTWORD, AND CLICK HERE>>> BLACKWALL | Reverb And The Verse (bandcamp.com)

#BLACKWALL: FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

On April 26th, we released our 10th, best, and final album #BLACKWALL. 
It is indeed our ultimate labor of love. For thousands of hours, it has been under our microscope, every beat scrutinized, every Verse analyzed, felt, and hyper-insured against flaws. We believe deeply in it and feel that it's ready for the world to hear, if it's willing. Reverb And The Verse are (and always have been) proudly Conscious punk/rebellious electronic rap, and wish to continue to push musical boundaries wherever we go. 

"...AND MAKE GOOD TROUBLE" 
BLACKWALL consists of 11 songs, including a dream collab with Denver's best verbalists Curta and the divine Michelle Rocqet from @themilkblossoms.

These songs contain equal parts joy, pain, rebellion, and truth. It has helped us survive. We sincerely hope that it makes you feel. 

WORDS TO LIVE BY /// BEATS TO DIE FOR

thank you for the blood thank you for the sweat thank you for the tears thank you for the mud thank you for the ache thank you for the pains thank you for the love thank you for the broken bones thank you for the weight thank you for the no's thank you for the fights thank you for the ghosts thank you for the scars thank you for the words that you never even said
.

#BLACKWALL

1_TRUTH: 

R&TV · TRUTH
VERSE: I had read something a few years back that mentioned satire, poetry, music, etc. From recollection - which admittedly is poor - there was a sprinkling of, "these forms can be tools against the machine," i.e tools for the counterculture. In wanting to see if I could find what I had read, I happened upon a quote that seemed to fit my mood throughout the entire Blackwall album, perhaps even my entire career within Reverb And The Verse, and definitely on 'TRUTH.'
And the quote, "Challenging authority, no matter how entertaining, is never without its peril." (https://blog.bookstellyouwhy.com/a-brief-history-of-satire) 
When did this notion of truth become such a dividing line? Probably always. And it is with that sobering theme that I dove into my challenge, through my form of entertainment: music. My lyrics began around those journalistic, 5 W's, I remembered from so long ago. I don't believe I need to magnify why journalism was a theme, right? Who, What, When, Where, Why - and How. You will see those throughout the first bars as a sort of introduction or a preamble. I ask the questions I think many of us have, from a distance, as if I'm observing but not interacting. Sometimes the swarm of madness can lead feelings of isolation. There is a sliver of hope in those opening bars, when I reference empathy. From there it is a push-pull of what could be versus what is. Leave it to us and we just might figure it out. Ignore us to our own peril.

REVERB: We get so caught up in shouting our TRUTH at each other that we forget that both sides probably cancel each other out. And it's ironic to me that the louder we scream, the less we're heard. When making this one, I stumbled onto the thought that R&TV had never made a song with a real intro and we have always just blasted off from the one. The rules have always been "...get to the chorus within 1 minute" and so we always tried to stay within those boundaries. So I was probably subconciously "seeking to destroy one's own patterns..." and the notion of having no chorus at all was interesting to me. It works great live, and I think it's a good introduction to BLACKWALL. 

GEAR: This is just 15 analog synths playing the same lines but recorded individually and panned randomly in the stereo field, washing over each other and then being distorted beyond recognition, filtered and manipulated into a giant crescendo (0.00 dB!) until the beat finally drops. Then, I let go and just do it all again. Fun stuff. 

LYRICS:
Truth can be naive
(And I) Wonder how you see?
When your head is screwed around
All your truth don't make a sound

I was standing over there
When things were happening then
Why did it get so wholly clustered
And how will it end
Who's wearing shoes that don't belong to them
Walking that path
What did they bring to get the job done
How long will it last
Where did all everything go off the tracks
We got set back
I feel like I am drifting away
But I can keep this silly act up, if you stay
And we can drag the people back up, unafraid
I wanna know if I can trust this, trust us
A lot of power wants to hush this, crush us
And I don't know if we can muster much fuss
We know it takes some time to grow this, but we rush
I'm disappointed by the dumbness, the crassness
The circus boy theatrics, the tactics, the antics
Designed to keep us all off balance
Scared
Diminish our talents
Ill-prepared
I'm gonna have to take the back routes to find truth
Cut me loose and let this do what it do

2_BURN'R:

VERSE: This feels like a 'classic' R&TV jam - whatever that means - high BPM, lots of energy, aggression, tension, a dash of menace, and an underlying theme of rebellion. That's what I felt when I heard it and endeavored to match the intensity of the track. The sing-song that opens is a take on a break-down, and if I may be bold, skillfully at that. That's a breakdown about someone breaking down - and yet, not quite. Like a familiar hero trope, there was an opening, and we took it. Journeying forward we take another hard look at what's out there, and it's not pretty. Round out verse one, a little machismo, some bravado, and a call back to the song's theme. Diving into verse two you'll find the line that is my favorite of the bars (not certain MCs should ever have a favorite line)..."you ain't living if you ain't livid." It's written almost as a repetitive phrase, but the joy I get in MC'ing is in finding major meaning in minor word changes. Take it wherever you like, and understand I meant, how can anyone not be angry, if they are paying attention? And the prior line, can you guess which finger is raised? Getting to the final verse - well that's one I'll leave encoded. It's not unbreakable, especially if you have walked, are walking, or will walk a similar path. 

REVERB: I wanted to make a song without any drums but kicks, exploding all over each other via the best drum machine ever: the Roland TR-8S. I was able to achieve this at first, but it was difficult getting the vocal timing just right with only kicks for a reference, so there were other percussion guns put into it later. I think I ended up keeping 5 different kicks by verse 2, as they began to interrupt each other. I was able to EQ them away from each other. The chorus (if it even IS one) musically is all "devil's notes" which I think is effective for the song. The "light" are all real samples I made lighting matches, lighters, and match sticks. For his vocals, I got multiple good takes-- sidenote: The_Verse is a fucking ROBOT when it comes to exacting vocal timing. I've never heard or seen anything like it. After recording, if I line up all the takes, they look like 1:1 copies of each other, and its hard to tell them apart. Anyways, I thought it might be cool to make multiple versions pan around in the stereo field like it was Quadraphonic sound from the 1970's; when one pans left, the other emerges from the right. These were recorded with a Neumann U67 into a Neve 1073lb into an LA-2A which is complete and total overkill. 

Topically, I thought I wanted to wrestle with the idea of YOU/I/THEY for the pre-Verses, said from an androids (or someone with no control) point of view. It might also be someone helplessly watching a fire burn down their lives, or expose them for who they are. In the end, I intentionally destroy the entire stereo mix by increasing the gain and distortion through the Thermionic Culture Vulture Super 15 and Overstayer Modular Channel 

Finally, I wanted to end with a shoutout to those people who take credit for our hard work, but only if it's a success. DID YOU BUILD THIS? OK, THEN LETS BURN IT DOWN AND REBUILD IT!

LYRICS:
You watched me fall apart
Right in front of your eyes
But I didn't yet die
Not now, not then
A set of locations, I've been
Ain't there no more
More disease and more war
We made enemies of the trees
I'd like to share
But I've got no following
Spare me that reach is rippling
Smoke is bellowing
Freaks are whispering
Mixed results of this brain conditioning
Limit your stride
If your toes are pointed at me
Shift
Back away from the cliff
You might just get you crossed off the list
There are no threats
There are no promises
Just what comes and the signs are ominous
Piles of fuel for the fight
All we need is a light

All your new rules
Let's light 'em up
All your old ways
Let's burn 'em down
All your new rules
Let's light 'em up
All your old ways
Let's burn 'em down

I watched you fall apart
Right in front of my eyes
I watched you fall apart
Right in front of my eyes
But I didn't yet die
It looked good for a minute
Then it didn't
How off-course will we get
It makes me unbend one of my digits
You ain't living if you ain't livid
Replace your divots
This dude's a hack
Twisted
Fuckin' up the format
Take the bridge
Operation Snatchback
Line the ditch
Dodge the flak like a Tomcat
Steady
This ain't making me lose my mind
I'm fine, I'm ready
Lines in the sand get drawn and crossed
Who's the queen, who's the pawn

All the old moves
Let's reinvent
All these new moves
Let's throw 'em out
All the old moves
Let's reinvent
All these new moves
Let's throw 'em out

They watched us fall apart
Right in front of their eyes
They watched us fall apart
Right in front of their eyes


And all you did was smile
But we're not gonna sit here
Rest awhile
Lost and depressed
Chained to a code designed to oppress
Put james in a cage
I doubt you'll hear singing
Hands keep wringing
Tongues keep slipping
And we keep swinging
And we're bound to connect
Cause damage on the set
Fire in the hole
Stick in the mud
Put a bar in the spokes
'Cause daddy's on a roll
Pour water on the hot grease
Burn marks on the sheets

All this bullshit 
You thought you built
Let's disassemble it
Let's disassemble it
Let's burn it down
All this bullshit 
You thought you built
Let's disassemble it
Let's disassemble it
Let's burn it down
All this bullshit 
You thought you built
Let's disassemble it
Let's disassemble it
Let's burn it down
All this bullshit 
You thought you built
Let's disassemble it
Let's disassemble it

3_FREE:

VERSE: Though musically FREE feels like an uplifting song, it engenders pain. What does "free" really mean? In this country that word is thrown around, a lot. Land of the free. We've been verbalizing about land of the free almost since day one of our genesis as a squad. And it ain't been rapping or singing about pride. In the first verse I throw in some MLK, thinking about inspiration, and then dashing that hope with the heavy weight of reality. We're too compromised to get up that hill. Beyond that, verse two. Do you feel the struggle? Am I calling out them, you, or me? Oh, what a question to ponder as we wander. And then the final verse, almost grasping the light, through the filth. But the fingers miss the rope...or do they?

REVERB: No one ever said the words "You've changed my mind" but rather "I've changed my mind"... I remember watching the January 6th insurrection and thinking '...obviously no People of Color there... thus no Police' and immediately I flashed back to my Christian upbringing, which taught me only bad lessons and the notion "the other side isn't just different, they are bad people, and therefore evil" but meanwhile, all the examples I could see in my immediate limited life were so-called Christians using the out of context cherry-picked Bible verses as a weapon. What if we took more time to listen instead of speak? What if we respected that in our differences, we might make something better than it was before, and more equitable, rather than hoarding our self-righteousness? What if we switched places for a day? A week? A lifetime? How FREE can we really be if we're not free to choose what, where, and have the need to invent how we get to our final selves? We are only as FREE as our masters let us be, after all.

R&TV seek to destroy that. 

STUDIO: The opening bongo/conga riff is the result of my obsessive "no samples" production mentality. Firing up the Korg Wavedrum, I spent about a week trying to play along to the song as I was adding and subtracting parts to it. Eventually, I realized that the Wavedrum was SO sensitive that it would pick out my fingers just tapping the pad. What you hear is actually 90% finger drumming and 10% hand/palm playing, and 4 or 5 good takes of that. I intentionally left some mistakes in through the song, just to prove to myself that I don't have to hyper-micro edit everything. Underneath, you can hear a soulful electric piano riff that stems from THE_VERSE playing while I was secretly recording. TAKE THAT (AND REWIND IT BACK) The underscoring Rhodes riff is an unintentional shout out to the Roni Size song "brown paper bag" a hugely impactful work on me. When the Mellotron comes in (Mellotron via E-mu Proteus 2000) I dare anyone to figure out how to play it because its pitched really weird, and I can't even do it myself. The final chorus came about backwards: originally, we were going to end it chanting together, but this over-the-top pop version came out, and it wraps it up nicely. This is easily the most accessible track on the record. 

LYRICS:

inches apart and revolutions away
time and head space
isolated
in a subservient race
with no tape to cross
a lackey and boss
a hammer and nail
spirits languish in jail
so many views from the mountaintop
and most refuse to see 'em
thought the cost of believing
was too high
and now most of them bleating sheep
good at retreating
weak
ripe for depleting
speak
after my meeting ends...
-
what are we
if we are not
free to be 
what we're not

the master of corruption is us
compunction is fatuous
sensory, memories lost
pissing me off
you stay as my mission, here
you hate my rendition, here
you hate that I'm winning, here
but I ain't the one that's playing chicken
watching your body thicken
letting records get stricken
thinking you're twisting knives
you a speckle in my design
and I ain't got time for rest
or the weakness up in your chest
you slumping, yes?
-
what are we
if we are not
free to be 
what we're not

no grip to make fists
no utterance from your lips
no steeliness in your spine
no medicine for your mind
no treacle for your treats
no equal to our beats
no bandages for your wound
no managing of this doom
that's coming
I see on the outside something stunning
but I can't see good no more
I'm not poor, but I'm sure not rich
but we still priceless, in this
I read the end
devastation
like beetles kill trees....
-
so i'll be you
and you be me
i'll free you
and you free me

4_ARCH:

VERSE: How fast can you get a point across? Barely two minutes of rapids (flow). One of the shortest jams in R&TV history and still no punches pulled. There is a story being told, through the wordplay, though you can take it any way it catches your vibration. The main question is asked - and essentially answered. How in the hell we still here? Two plus decades. That's a ton of minutes of existence. Arch is like an iceberg tip. It is bigger than it appears. Did you catch the reference to General Louverture? Sovereignty. No clean lines to it. After this long, no fairy tales.

REVERB: this is another two-part song from BLACKWALL (the first being TRUTH) but this time, I let The Verse set me up. It's a decade long callback to our song BLOOD ON DEMAND off VERSATILE. It probably started as a marching song and turned into whatever it is now. If you want to march to it, that's fine, but make sure you believe in what you march for and towards!

STUDIO: This started as a march song (noted above) that we just listened to for a while. It was even used as opening music for our set at one time or another. Seeking again to destroy my own patterns, I made this in two acts intentionally OPENER/CLOSER. It's about 4 Moog analog synths playing the same progression and then ducked to the beat. The beat is made by hand by the fabulous Norand Mono, hence its electricity feel. Every measure is different, and it was excruciating making sure it was. Yes, I fully realize that "excruciating" = fun to me!

LYRICS:

now everybody step back!
let faster tongues go on the attack
footfalls soft as our hordes come over the wall
Black fear
how in the hell we still here?
all tactics thwarted
every countdown aborted
this a downhill challenge
build up momentum
who can manage the pace?
you ain't barely in the race
classic take downs coming
drastic shake downs cutting off supply lines
drag you through some hard times
make you wish you hadn't
we're positioned to outmaneuver
consumer chewers and biters
the'y futures looking less brighter
gumming the works up
divide the spoils
round the perps up
clinging to trust funds
we miss none
Stan we got the Touissant plan
and we out again to demand
you feel it put up a hand
and stop laying low
you got energy, let it go
them suckas are getting softer
'cause cheaters never will prosper

i said you are in no place to make demands
now that you have got my blood on your hands
you are in no place to make demands
now that you have got my blood on your hands
revolution waits the greater man
who will arch against and who still stands
evolution makes the dawn of man
who will flow this blood you still demand?

5_BLEED:

VERSE: "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" a classic line in the Merchant of Venice. It has been referenced countless times and it could serve as the inspiration here, but instead of 'we bleed' the inspiration here is 'you bleed'. I'm not truly advocating taking actions that would cause someone to bleed, even if everything points to them deserving pain. That's why we do the lyrics. verbal punishment - maybe - enlightenment? did you catch, "ruddy and wet"? verbal gymnastics... as we gain position in society - rise even - actions such as punching someone in the face are seen as low class, uncivilized. So then do civilized folks, rather than throw a punch, create weapons instead? hmmm

"they got us bleedin' from our noses, ears, and eyes.... won't pay attention 'til the'y bleedin' from the'y bottom lines"
 

It's another a chain of events, these lyrics. this thought must to be tied to the next, somehow. I started with an image in my head of a prison and then let it roll from there. The whole thing isn't bluster, just most of it, with spots of 'come on, people!'
REVERB: This was the first track we recorded for RATV10 I think? Originally, it was written for someone else to sing-- most of our songs I never intended to sing and did so poorly only as a last resort. To me, it is a song of an equal part of hope and despair, victory and tragedy. 
THIS IS A REBEL SONG. 
STUDIO: Originally this had a much more hiphop beat but ended up as 4 on the floor after months of not working. This is how it goes sometimes. I prefer the slow grind of it now. This song could never quite match the intensity of us doing it LIVE, so we re-recorded it until it did. Fresh off a live set, J's vocals cut through with his typical fire. We wrestled with the vocal processing that I HOPE sounds like a bunch of synthetic soldiers provided the screw-vox to back him up-- I think the message is important enough. The bridge completely cuts away and was done months later when it finally fit. The ending seconds of this is actually where the song started for us, just throwing ideas on top until something stuck. I left it in at the very end. 

 

LYRICS:

these suckas bleeding from they noses
heavy flow
i'm on the other side of the walls that's closing 'em in
and now they gasping from the lack of 
nitrogen and oxygen
if you’re betting
take steel and concrete over humans
dazzle the mind and body with pleasure
until they ruined
past the rubicon
keeping more secrets than pentagon higher-ups
armored trucks don't even hold value like we do
our capital burns through your pockets
poppin' your eyes out from they sockets
with more propulsion than solid fuel rocket boosters from NASA
these cowards shooting first and aiming after
not ready 
and couldn't recognize the threat that's coming
until these streets are running ruddy and wet
leaving big cracks in the pavement
six feet deep
oh how convenient, all our people in bereavement
laying in yards that are unmarked
like so much refuse that's been discarded
-

"you may bleed us dry
but we will not fade
you may sum us up
but we will bleed through"

these suckas bleeding from they ears
horribly
we got em staggered and stunned
we shattered they drums
young and old ones
arrogantly flew too close the sun
standing too close to the source
the bass collapsing they lungs
unholster my bop gun
brandish it
you may want to start panicking
when i'm diggin in
peace to Parliament
with a damaging verse
I'm disadvantaging you
and your entire crew
we got you vanishing
while we keep hiding in plain sight
ignite the working class
smash knuckles against jaws
break every law that’s unjust
knocking out teeth
who can we trust?
in this flop house?
the long arm, robes, or dozen?
you better plead out
before you get weeded out
and bleed out
right there on the street
that our youth march on
make your decisions and get gone
our radicals burn through your profits
-
they got us bleeding from our noses
they got us bleeding from our ears
they got us bleeding from our eyes
won’t pay attention til the’y bleeding from the’y bottom lines

6_BOOGEYMAN:

VERSE: April 7, 1837, a short story was published... that we still haven't learned from. and oh, btw, FUCK TRUMP

REVERB: I remember thinking 'who believes this guy?' and at the same time, who DOESN'T fall for a con-man carnival barker- at least for a few seconds? Sometimes we just want to connect and we WANT to believe. We all really do, and hey, what harm can come from a single man? Well, as it turns out, a lot! Referencing the Emperors New Clothes (which we both were told as children) and how we hear these fables that sometimes come true later in life. This was an early song, and I remember trying to sing it over and over to get it sour enough to stick. It took millions of passes. I flipped the point of view to first person position for the ending, of course, as the figure becomes self-conscious. What if I'm the bad guy? 

STUDIO: This was started on the Akai MPC Live, and the basic track is 100% that. I get lots of new gear and I like to use it immediately for the new processes and workflow it may yield. It was one of the first ideas I did on an MPC and it kept begging me to make it into a song. The horn stab really makes it to me because it just jumps out of nowhere, in no key in particular (making it difficult to play live) Thats how horns should be though; raw and visceral. In the background, we added stomps and claps to bring it home a little. Something human underneath all the inhumanity. 

LYRICS:

(I'm not crazy you are)

(the emperor is naked)

i’ve seen the end
and it’s right in front of me
like the wind getting in
through gaps and cracks
touching all the exposed skin
makes it harder to relax
makes it easy to overreact
and hug your weapons
and the good book
quick look
did I see what you wanted me to see?
unmasked men
snowflaking about the loss of liberty
getting really jittery
when we crowd around
and raise the volume of our sounds
with our arms raised up
and our fingers curled up into a fist
yelling "who's world is this?"
it's mine
and it's yours
and it's about time that we settled some scores
you hear me?
i know you
but see i won’t name names
I’ll just control you
marionette
plucking them strings
while the emperor is wearing no clothes
showing that backside
face down, crying out loud
truly exposed
and all of us that’s wishing on stars
are wasting wishes
in the midst of these
well UN-regulated militias
walking while Black
usually fitting descriptions
of a CRIMINAL
without a damn thing tangible
except my skin and my height
and that I don't talk right
ain't down for barking
but I just might bite
and I got chipped teeth
pulling katanas out the sheaths
slice you up good
shredding your delicate beliefs

what harm could come from some simple math?
what harm could come from a psychopath  
you dance around in your underpants 
you cannot hide from the boogeyman

 

i’ve seen the beginning
and it’s right behind me
ever looming
consuming sound
consuming light despite it
some of us are laying down arms
right when others wanna fight
tension and apprehension
Lord, I’m weary navigating
conspiracy theories
sit back enjoy the show
of scam intelligence
threats are hollow
veiled full of bravado
chopped up for easy consumption 
but hard to swallow 
'cause the’y poisonous
times are fleeting
it’s open season 
on all our so called leaders
committing high treason
it really don't make no sense
they’d give us a reason
but there’s plenty
we’d ruffle your clothes
but you ain't wearin' any...
-
what harm could come from a simple man?
surround yourself with your sycophants
you dance around in your underpants 
you cannot run from your boogeyman
-
mirror mirror 
i pay you too well
to tell me im not
the boogeyman i fear most