UPA founder Raz Mesinai (Badawi, Ghost Producer, Sub Dub, Lady Man, Psyche Co.) is a prolific producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and artist from New York City raised throughout Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Harlem during the early development of Hip Hop Culture in the ’70s and ’80s. While writing graffiti at ten years old, Raz became interested in sound and acoustics while spray painting trains in underground subways, leading him to experiment with cassettes and sampling using boomboxes, turntables, and modified tape machines. At the age of fourteen he was discovered by legendary free jazz musician Juma Sultan, a multi-instrumentalist who collaborated with Jimi Hendrix and founded the renowned artist rights organization, the “New York Musicians Organization” in the ’60s. Juma took Raz under his wing as a foster father, mentor and helped Raz’s development, giving him a Multi-Vox Tape Echo machine and a ribbon microphone, which Raz later used, along with percussion, drum machines, tape recorders, and samplers, to produce his early productions, including Badawi (ROIR Records).

 

Since 1989, Raz’s productions have continuously surprised and inspired thousands of artists from around the world of various fields and disciplines, including experimental dub, rap, and other modern incarnations of rhythm, from dubstep to juke, always unique. At the same time, Raz maintains his relevance to contemporary classical and jazz scenes, where he has been a magnetic figure since the ’90s, with close relationships to John Zorn and Maryanne Amacher. Raz’s project Badawi (1996-2011) helped define a style of music for film and media about horror and crisis in the Middle East, and his duo project with John Ward, Sub Dub, was a catalyst for the so-called “illbient scene” in the ’90s in NYC.

 

After Raz’s album from 1999, Badawi: The Heretic Of Ether (Asphodel) was used as the template for the score to the blockbuster film, Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott, Raz pioneered and coined the term “Score Design”, the act of conceptualizing and producing temp and underscore for films with particularly demanding needs, eventually leading him to work on major motion pictures, including Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain”, “Black Swan” and “The Wrestler” and more recently, Yaron Zilberman’s “A Late Quartet”, as well as a composing original scores for films such as Incitement, Sorry, Haters and others.

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1283817/

 

In 2004, Raz was awarded the prestigious Sundance Composers Lab Fellowship, where he worked on scores for Sundance Directors, with one on one guidance from composers John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Thomas Newman, Ed Shearmur, and Jeff Beal, leading him to compose original scores for several documentaries and feature films.

Raz has received commissions from The Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Kronos Quartet, Ethel, The Kitchen, and many other prestigious institutions and ensembles, and has, officially, remixed such artists as Burning Spear (Sub Dub), Shackleton (Badawi), and Arto Lindsay (Sub Dub) among others. Over the past 15 years, Raz has taught master classes in music production, sound design, and film scoring at UCSD, The New School, Dub Spot, and NYU and now works exclusively for the UPA. Raz is CEO of the sound design company Myth & Sound, Co-owner of Trans-media production company Dub Fiction and co-runs the record labels Silo Rumor w/ Jonathan Uliel Saldana and The Index w/ Dave Q.

Selected Discography – Raz Mesinai

 

Fun Facts:

1. To get the best results for each production, Raz rebuilds his entire studio from scratch, often combining his work as a visual artist to create sculpturesque environments that are also functioning recording studios. For instance, Raz re-created the environment from Kafka’s story “The Metamorphosis” for his album Before The Law (Tzadik, 2001) and produced the psycho erotic horror album, The Unspeakable (BSI, 2000) in a studio built within a baby crib surrounded by the headless bodies of mannequins that he found outside of a clothing store in Soho.

https://www.discogs.com/Raz-Mesinai-Before-The-Law/release/658679?ev=rr

Septa at the controls

2. When Mary Anne Hobbs asked Raz to do a mix for BBC Radio, he produced the Dub Opera Inanna’s Descent To The Netherworld, which disturbed the producers at the BBC so much that they demanded she state a disclaimer before playing it.

https://www.mixcloud.com/rmesinai/mary-anne-hobbs-presents-raz-mesinai-aka-badawi-on-bbc- radio1/

3. In the early 90’s at the age of sixteen Mesinai wrote an issue of Marvel Comics Presents #99, which he used as a way to explore and promote his “SoundBoy” concept and character.

http://transmediagra?ti.tumblr.com/

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Raz_Mesinai

4. Raz was commissioned to draw a graphic novel for the album Black Sun (Hyperdub), written and produced by Kode9 and The Space Ape.

http://thequietus.com/articles/05957-kode9-and-space-ape-black-sun-interview

5. Raz was in the music video for Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) by The Digable Planets, and can be spotted if you freeze frame at the line “my man with the Astroid Belt”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM4kqL13jGM

6. Raz’s score to Hellraiser 6 was thrown out for being “too scary for the film”, and later became the album The Unspeakable (BSI, The Index) 2000.

http://exclaim.ca/music/article/raz_mesinai-unspeakable

7. In 2012 Raz produced and directed the underground film, Tunnel Vision, which was released on Tzadik DVD Series, and hailed by film composer John Zorn as “A 21st century cult classic”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42Muw-xrq3g

8. Raz was one of the first Ableton Live Certified Trainers.

https://www.ableton.com/en/certified-training/raz-mesinai/

9. Raz is the grandson of abstract sculptor and decorated war artist Manuel Bromberg.

http://www.pbs.org/theydrewfire/artists/bromberg.html

10. Raz composed and produced the album Resurrections For Goatskin (Tzadik, 2003), using only skins from goats as source material.

https://www.discogs.com/Raz-Mesinai-Resurrections-For-Goatskin/release/537159