On August 25th, I found myself walking up to the porch of 604 East Buffalo Street for the 2018 Electric Buffalo Records Orientation Showcase. The house was quirky, with a humble charm that invited curiosity about the sound echoing from within it. With every creaking step on the wood porch came some overwhelming instrumentation. People meandered in and out of the rooms. Some danced on porch, and others watched the musicians rehearse
“Electric Buffalo Records is ready for takeoff this year and it starts here,” declared Adam Kanwal ’21, who is a Sun staff writer, co-president of the record label regarding the event. The night was EBR’s chance to ostend the talent that has sprouted from their ambitious, student-led record label. Artists from EBR had been featured in many spots across Ithaca, including house shows and The Carriage House Cafe. Their jazz band, The Original Cornell Syncopators, performs on national tours annually, and rapper Paulitics, whose real name is Paul Russell and is a junior Sun columnist, released the commercially successful Primary Colors under the label. It is no secret that EBR is a stepping stone for new artists.
When the clock struck 7:00 pm, I made my way into what EBR has dubbed “The Vinyl Room” for the start of the showcase. The room was cozy, with walls adorned with endless stacks records from all genres. The first performance of the night came from The Original Cornell Syncopators and was entitled “South.” It was an homage to 20th century swing jazz and demonstrated an unbreakable bond between the group members through an endless cadence of rhythm. Sure, there was plenty improvisation. As the trumpeter Colin Hancock delivered a passionate trumpet solo which enlivened his bandmates as well as the audience. When delivering an older style of jazz, The Syncopators brought a breath of fresh air into the room, reminding the world that there is still passion for this genre.
Afterwards came a performance by Washington D.C. singer-songwriter Noah Thomas. His strong performance was supplemented by passionate story-telling on what he describes as “sappy love songs.” Standouts from his set include “I Will Hold You” and the mysterious song “Skeletons of the Harvest.” The music was simple and beautiful. Thomas shines during this showcase and will be sure to attract attention following his performance.
The final two acts were performed by the self-proclaimed “Master of Rhymes” Chris Paradis and the label co-president Zen. Paradis tested the full extent of his wordsmithing by freestyling over surprise beats and delivering a spectacle that was equal parts outstanding and comical. Dropping references from Odell Beckham Jr. to various spots on Cornell’s campus, it was clear that this talented artist kept everyone happily engaged. Attendee Ashley Zhao ’22 commented on the performances following the show’s conclusion: “the music is not what I listen to regularly, but I can’t help but bop my head and shake my hips.” Zen closed off the show by performing two of his songs. The Eminem-inspired artist spit lyrics at a rapid flow, which truly spoke to his diligent studying of the genres history and style. The final song, “Too Drunk for a Thursday,” was a funny allegory to one of the more irresponsible moments during the artist’s time at Cornell.
The showcase impressed and excited concert-goers for the future of Electric Buffalo Records. The students behind EBR will only continue to grow and prosper. Electric Buffalo Records are starting a movement designed to launch the careers of young artists and they encourage all who are interested to audition.
Michael Chang is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]