After 14 years of scene-building in Portland,Maine as an mc and banner-guard for Milled Pavement Records, 8 years of touring throughout 5 countries (most recently France, Germany, and Switzerland (January ’15) with Milled Pavement’s Monsieur Sai+Arth? and FakeFour Inc’s DJ Halo), over 800 performances, 2 critically acclaimed albums, 3 mixtapes, 4 EPs, 3 7″ singles, countless featured appearances, and performing live with a venerable who’s-who of independent hip-hop, BRZOWSKI is throwing down the gauntlet with all the desperation of a man on the edge.
The Portland, ME by-way-of Providence,RI emcee kicked around the Massachusetts and Rhode Island music scenes in varying projects since 1993, before taking a permanent vacation to the northeast tundra, where long winters and unsuspecting audiences could better nurture his creative spirits…and personal demons. Cutting his teeth with demo-CDRs and booking small rooms around New England all the while completing his BFA at the Maine College of Art (Painting, Art History Minor, ’03). Promptly after completing his short stint in academia, BRZOWSKI joined forces with producer/technophile-at-large AGENT8 in the capacity as producer and engineer (coupled with a revolving cast of disc-jockeys in the studio and on stage, a list which has grown to include Boston’s EMOH BETTA, Oakland’s DJ HALO, Portland/Chicago staple DJ SHADE), he has spent a decade steadily amassing a sizable groundswell of indie hip-hop true believers who clamor for something more artfully substantial than the narrow mainstream of “hip-hop” can spoon-feed them. Armed with wry wit, black humor, brutally honest autobiography, and an intense live performance that can rival the best in the business, BRZOWSKI has earned the respect of fans, artists, and critics alike spanning the last decade.
After self-releasing the efforts “New England Gothic” and “Perpetual Winter”, whose hand-to hand sales reached several thousand, the workaholic vocalist set his sight on releasing a proper full-length album on the seminal indie label Milled Pavement.
Following the dense, dark, and demanding “MaryShelleyOverdrive”, released to critical acclaim in 2006, he toured the North American continent for 3 years before dropping “Blooddrive Vol. 2”, a compilation of tracks and guest-appearances using the dark thematic elements set forth on 2002’s “New England Gothic”;(“…like Robert Frost contemplating suicide in a cabin in the woods…” The Portland Phoenix) as a launchpad. The album contains many truly atypical aspects: lengthy songs, techno/industrial influenced beats fused with traditional hip-hop, literary and visual culture references, a touch of the defiance of early 90’s punk rock, and a threatening cloud behind every silver lining.
BRZOWSKI longtime kindred-spirit MOSHE then joined forces musically in 2009, citing their similar interest in all things “Wicked Dahk” (re: Melancholic, Horror-tinged), for their first official collaborative project in their near-decade long working relationship at Portland Maine’s Milled Pavement Records. The two seized upon the opportunity to further capitalize on the forward momentum each was garnering in a solo capacity like wild beasts on a wounded gazelle. As two of the remaining flagship members of Milled Pavement Records, their limited edition ep “Like Woe”, and subsequent European tours quickly became the most well-received ventures Milled Pavement Records had ever embarked upon. Moving from the 1-2 punch traditional rapping style, lathered with images of self-destruction, in the title track “Like Woe”- to the trademark arrhythmic lyrical torrent on “The Coming Plague” BRZOWSKI laces MOSHE’s stark, plodding beats, and the duo set a new standard for what the terms “progressive” and “dark” have come to mean in independent hip hop circles. The two even take a departure from their sonic characters on the jangly “Dog Called Cirrhosis”, where BRZOWSKI weaves a catchy tribute to sloth and unemployment, while MOSHE lays jingling porch-guitar samples over a surprisingly upbeat 4/4 stomp….a serious departure from fan expectations.
BRZOWSKI’s 2011 sophomore solo album “A Fitful Sleep” finds our narrator moving away from the thick veil of funereal affectations set down his debut, and now speaks from a soapbox steeped in the culture of independent artistry, atop a widely broadened palette of production sounds. This album begins at the touchstone of hip-hop, and then musically enacts a swift departure. Doomy rock guitar/live instrumentation, Rapped/sung/screamed vocals, traditional sampling, ominous synths, and electronic drums all vie for elbow room in this carefully constructed Frankenstein of an album. Think Black Widow mugging an early 2000’s art-rap DJ outside a divebar on the edge of town. The Burlington Vermont entertainment paper Seven Days recently described his current material as “…the sound of a hip-hop Backwoods Lunatic Legend.”
2014 saw the dawn of a new collaboration between BRZOWSKI, Producer/Multi-instrumentalist C $ BURNS, and DJ MO NIKLZ. Fusing Doom, Punk, Hiphop, and shades of 1970’s Outlaw music with gothy b-movie aesthetics, the triumvirate released 2 singles (1 digital, one clear-vinyl 7” released by punk collective DIY BANDITS) to critical acclaim, and followed with a tour-stint in the northeast United States supported by Uncommon Nasa.
Winning poetry slams and MC battles, 6 European tours, appearing at SXSW, moon-lighting tour stints with Sage Francis, Ceschi, Epic, Galapagos4, Sole, as well as playing to packed clubs supporting the varied indie-hop stripes of Busy Bee, El-P, Cage, Spose, Ill Bill, Slaine, Busdriver, 2Mex, Killah Priest, Atmosphere, Murs, Dalek, Brother Ali, Doug E. Fresh, Josh Martinez, Aceyalone, DJ Vadim, Astronautalis, Rob Sonic, Sleep, K-the-I???, B. Dolan, and myriad others have cemented BRZOWSKI a reputation for quality live performance, an alignment with the best in the business, and an uncanny knack for harvesting the fans of those artists with higher profiles.
BRZOWSKI’s grueling pace of hard-work and hard-living lends credence the axiom that to achieve any modicum of notoriety, you must suffer for your art.
No Rest For the Wicked.