Michna (real name: Adrian Yin Michna) draws from both the urban and the tropical. After moving to Miami in the mid-90’s, he co-founded Secret Frequency Crew, who mixed instrumental hip-hop and electronica. With the brand new release of his debut album Escapes, out now via Waxploitations (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells, etc.). Today, we get to hear the new single “Beaches”, which is now available to stream on Northern Transmissions.
“Most of the songs start with bass lines and layer up from there,” Michna explains. “There were lots of live takes with analog synths, going for feel by keeping the best parts, including mistakes.” The wide-open sound of Escapes occupies a huge sonic space. Ominous, measured synthesizer tones and a mid-tempo thump pull you into “Quartz.” Long, sustained, dub altered notes alternate with gentle layers of tranquil tribal percussion. “Beaches” combines a trombone fanfare with a steady, funky beat and warm, percolating synthesizer tones, panning from speaker to speaker, to wrap you in a sunny, comforting warmth. “The horn line is the ‘Ah hah,’ moment,” Michna says. “As if you hiked to the top of a small mountain to look down on a hidden cove.” Escapes continually blends ambient sounds with dub effects and percussion breakdowns for music that’s soothing and energizing.
Michna’s trombone chops earned a scholarship to the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. “I was studying trombone, but when I started making a living as a DJ, I pursued that path.” He put together the Secret Frequency Crew to add his own compositions to the mix. “In the beginning, we were a band of skaters, painters, designers, mechanics and musicians,” Michna says. “More than 60 of us. The music was influenced by science and the sounds of nature. We treated organic/found sounds electronically. We sampled ourselves and used those sounds as a basis for the music. If you sample your voice, and process it, your chances of sounding like someone else are very small.”