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Jacoti Sommes

In preparation for meeting with Jacoti Sommes, I begged him to share a preview of his latest creation. A few days later my inbox was graced with Ubermensch, an indefinable mesh of otherworldly  sounds, textures, beats, and nonlinear excursions. There was also a short message explaining the album’s origins: “It’s about a time when a [...]
Kevin J. Elliott



In preparation for meeting with Jacoti Sommes, I begged him to share a preview of his latest creation. A few days later my inbox was graced with Ubermensch, an indefinable mesh of otherworldly  sounds, textures, beats, and nonlinear excursions. There was also a short message explaining the album’s origins:

“It’s about a time when a couple of universal beings came down and asked me to DJ their party on Mucoduco,” Sommes wrote.

Of course, after listening to the record on repeat for an entire weekend, when it came time to sit and talk while drinking beers on the porch of his east side home, I had to ask about those “universal beings.” If only because Ubermensch is exactly how I envision a Sommes space-trip to be sound-tracked.

“Well, space is the place,” Sommes said with the utmost sincerity. “I was coming home from work one night and turned around to see these two beings. They wanted me to help people, show people there’s another way. They said they would give me infinite knowledge with anything connected to an electromagnetic field. They beamed me up in their ship, took me to Mucoduco, we rocked it. On the way back, I convinced them to let me drive.”

“My main goal is to take everybody on a journey through sound, Anybody who hears it will never question where we are going. You’re going to feel the same thing I feel. You’re going to feel the same thing the person next to you feels.”

Anyone who is familiar with Sommes’ previous work knows that the man is a personality unto himself. Whether it’s the theatrical absurdity of former band Hugs and Kisses, producing records for hip-hop heads Envelope and Nes Wordz, or creating the score for a locally-produced “whitesploitation” musical. (Yes, for real). So hanging with aliens makes sense, and so do his theories that the pyramids were built using sound. (Or the fact that he is currently embedding his music with ancient Solfeggio tones, which are known to heal both mind and body). He’s an artist who’s impossible to compartmentalize or truly understand, yet his craft is ambitious and sonically irresistible. A renaissance man?

“My main goal is to take everybody on a journey through sound,” Sommes said. “Anybody who hears it will never question where we are going. You’re going to feel the same thing I feel. You’re going to feel the same thing the person next to you feels. I want to present my music to the world.”

Regardless if Sommes harnessed most of his power from extraterrestrial life, most of his prowess came with incessant training and a patience learned at an early age. He started his journey on an out-of-tune piano in his grandmother’s basement, eventually moving on to his father’s analog synths and drum machines, which he taught his own father to use after pouring over the manuals. Anytime Sommes happens upon a piece of equipment he feels is necessary for his arsenal, mastering that technology is a prerequisite before adding it to the mix. On the other side, he’s also prone to just letting the equipment guide his path. For the recent Murder Lover EP, Sommes bought his first guitar and based the record on his adoration of the local rock scene, mimicking without knowing how to play a single lick. Either way, the results are like nothing else you’ll hear or see on a Columbus stage.

To that end, though he refers to himself as the Han Solo of production (“always there when you need him”), there’s another creative wave emitting from Sommes as a solo artist that has taken his recordings and live shows to another level entirely. Ubermensch is perhaps the closest the world will come to hearing all the different headspaces of Sommes under one marquee. The album soars through the peaks and valleys of his many whimsies, be it the analog synth tones of Kraftwerk and Boards of Canada, electro-funk, classic R&B, the golden age of hip-hop, the warped circuitry of Aphex Twin,  jungle, doo-wop, and even bluegrass. It’s a world of sound few have yet to travel.

“We take sound for granted more than we should, because it’s important,” Sommes said. “We’d never be able to do anything without music, but no one uses music for everyday means, taking it seriously for what it really is. It’s a powerful tool if you sit around and play with it all the time.”

To hear the incredible creations of Jacoti Sommes visit

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need




Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here:

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here:

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?




A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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Arts & Culture

(614) Music Club: Sarob

Julian Foglietti



Every week (614) Music Club teams up with your favorite local artists to build a playlist of what they’re listening to, and what’s inspiring them. This week’s playlist is brought to you by the R&B artist Sarob.

Photo by: Wyze

Tell me about some of the songs you’ve selected.

"The first one is Sobeautiful by Musiq Soulchild. So every week with my vocal coach, I have to learn a song. And I've been trying to figure out how to do vocal gliding. Which is not a strong point for me, and I remember hearing that song and being like, OK, this is it. The song is just beautifully written and composed, so when you add the technique to it, it’s just great. The other song was Workin On It by Dwele, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Workin On It uses this J Dilla beat that just feels really timeless."

Have the past few months changed the direction or mood of the music you're creating. 

"So I have been making stuff here and there, and then I'll go into something creative for like two days. I'll just be making like a bunch of songs and then I'll stop for two weeks, not even want to look at a microphone or anything. I mean, it's a lot more inward, so I’m learning how to better communicate the things I'm experiencing, and set the scenes for people and talk about what is going on. Also not having my band has been a challenge. I’m more of a thinker, I play the keyboard, and I can build a song, but I’m not the most gifted musician so having to build a lot of it on my own is tricky."

Do you have any plans or releases coming up? 

"Yeah, so I had a song Pleasures U Like that was made for my last album, but it didn’t quite fit the story of the album. So I just forgot about it until recently and I finished the vocals just before the lockdown, and now I’m releasing it on Bandcamp as part of a fundraiser for The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. All of the proceeds from the song are going to go to support their Pandemic Emergency Fund, and it just felt like a good way to do something that would impact everything going on."

Sarob's Playlist

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