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Ceschi coming to Bit House Saloon / Three new albums this year / Preview

By C. FRANCIS O'LEARY // Ceschi Ramos, putting an end to his solo career with a fistful of albums. Appearing at Bit House Saloon in Portland April 22.

“Most classic songs end with a bang, end with a sharp hit. Like a crescendo,” Ceschi Ramos (pronounced: Chess-key) says of his “final trilogy” of albums. The three albums, all set to be released this year, will constitute the end of Ceschi’s solo music career. The first of the three-album wave-goodbye, Sad, Fat Luck, will be released 4/4 by Ceschi’s record label, Fake Four Inc. On April 22, fans will be able to catch Ceschi in Portland at the Bit House Saloon.

The final trilogy will put an end to a solo career stretching back to the release of Fake Flowers in 2004, though Ceschi says his obsession with music began much earlier. “I started rapping when I was 8… I was just obsessed with it, and I never stopped.” In 2008, Ceschi partnered with his brother, David Ramos, to found Fake Four Inc. Though it is ostensibly an indie rap label, Fake Four is known for artists the push the boundaries, from noise rap artists Moodie Black to Ceschi’s own blend of hip-hop, folk and indie rock. Since founding the label, Ceschi has released two more albums, including Broken Bones Ballads, which won him the Connecticut Music Award for Best Hip-Hop in 2014.

Why would a rapper with a successful label and award-winning albums announce the end of a solo music career? “I don’t want to be a ‘rap god’ who’s 50-years-old, yelling at little kids about being a better rapper than them.” Ceschi’s goals are two-fold: make an easy to consume discography and make music that speaks to people. If a musician is selling out shows but they’re making albums just to make money, the art is dead. Interestingly, that fear of making albums just to make money has led Ceschi to the decision to move to LA and start licensing music. He said of his move to California, “A big part of my goal is to take as much money from this inflated Hollywood machine as possible.” An avowed anti-capitalist, Ceschi wants to take as much money from the entertainment industry as possible and put it toward worthy causes.

Before that move takes place, there’s plenty more Ceschi has to say. The final trilogy came from a life in tumult. Ceschi began the process of creating the trilogy while a six-year romantic relationship was crumbling. That, coupled with financial hardships, had Ceschi at the end of his rope, mentally. Then, over the course of 2018 and the first months of 2019, eight close friends of Ceschi’s died. Losing so much led to grief, depression, and eventually, a type of mania. Having seen the end so many times in such quick succession, “I don’t have any reason not to risk it all,” Ceschi says. “That’s the person who wrote Sad, Fat Luck.”

The tone of Sad, Fat Luck ranges from somber to angry, a mixture anyone who pays attention to politics and pop-culture is familiar with. The album is often nostalgic and heartfelt, with a literal eulogy to his friends on “Sans Soleil”. The anger at a system that commodifies his fellow humans bubbles over in “Any War,” featuring Astronautalis. The song begins with a sample of an Angela Davis speech and continues to shout out Antifa and speak out against our “psychopath leaders.” The production, by Ceschi and Factor, is complex and dreamy. There are stripped down songs, but many sound as if they were influenced by Ceschi’s fondness for shoegaze. Fans of Dessa, Sage Francis, Sole, Eyedea or Pat the Bunny will all enjoy this album.

Later this year, Ceschi’s magnum opus will conclude with San Soleil and Bring Us the Head of Francisco False. San Soleil, set to be released July 4, is an album about depression; the title means “sunless” in French. The most lo-fi of the trilogy, it promises to be a raw examination of a loss. Like the song “Son Soleil” on Sad, Fat Luck, the album of the same name is a long form eulogy. Son Soleil will be followed by a European tour. The trilogy, and Ceschi’s solo career, will conclude with Bring Us the Head of Francisco False on November 4. The final album will explore another of the stages of grief: anger. Ceschi expects Bring Us the Head of Francisco False to be the album that most people relate to. “I think there’s a void left by bands like Rage Against the Machine. There’s a major void and people are frustrated.” After the last album is released, Ceschi will tour the US one last time.

To familiarize yourself with Ceschi’s work before he plays in Portland, check out his performance on A Fistful of Vinyl, showcasing his versatility with “Take It All Back, Pts. 1-4” or “Bite Through Stone” from Broken Bone Ballads. Keep updated on all things Ceschi by following him at @ceschi, and catch his performance along with Factor, Dark Time Sunshine and Televangel at the Bit House Saloon on April 22. Doors at 8. 21+. Tickets $10.

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Michaela Starr

Good article! Can't wait to hear the album!

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