VU (Variable Unit)
Handbook for the Apocalypse:
A Hitchhikers Guide Through
Handbook for the Apocalypse cover
"A voice of freedom and the most conscientious
album of the year."
-Straight No Chaser
"Handbook is a powerful throwback to an era when rap and spoken
word mattered when voices refused to be silenced or censored."
After the success of VU's debut album Seven
Grain, they return with several new recruits, new music, and
a new concept; Handbook for the Apocalypse: A Hitchhiker's
Guide Through the Conflict. The current state of the world
is unsettling, confusing, and scary. Are we on the brink
of World War III? How will we equip and handle ourselves during
a time of crisis? The answers lie within your hands. Please open
your Handbook for the Apocalypse, place it in your CD player and
listen to music that can guide you through these times.
Handbook for the Apocalypse takes you
into the trenches with thirteen diverse tracks that can only be
described as politically charged organic hip-hop. From the opening
drum march featuring wisdom by William Burroughs, "Towers Open
Fire" sets you up for the first musical battle on this album.
Following right behind is the lead single "Handbook for the Apocalypse"
that showcases Command Surgeon Azeem's lyrical artillery. Socially
conscious poetry is showcased by Youth Speaks poets Paul S. Flores
on his piece "I am on a Journey to my Soul, but the Police Just
Pulled Me Over," and on "Walking with my Son" featuring Marc Bamuthi
Joseph. From the spiritual tones of "Shake the Cosmic Dice" and
"Beyond Babylon" to the humorous skit of "Hologram Network," VU
truly taps into our emotions, artistically expressing what many
of us are afraid to say, but feel during this time of conflict.
The V.U. platoon on Handbook for the Apocalypse
consists of the following original members: Chief of Espionage
Kat Ouano (of Crown City Rockers) on Rhodes, who threads her signature
melodic tones throughout the music. Demolition Expert Matt Montgomery
delivers his versatile basslines and bowing that drive each song.
Minister of Propaganda Gregory Howe handles guitar and sonic archeology
that are expressed on standout tracks like "Transcending Terror,"
using Howard Zinn as the voice of reason. Command Surgeon Major
Azeem once again blesses the mic and delivers us powerful, thought
provoking lyrics and comic relief.
Handbook for the Apocalypse also introduces
a new draft of soldiers to the unit. Three Star General Thomas
McCrae supplies the infectious drum rhythms that lay down the
foundation and backbone to the album. Organ Lieutenant Jacob Aginsky
(of Subnautic) handles the other half of melodies on the B3 keys.
Colonel Ralph Carney, best known for his work with Tom Waits adds
his eclectic sax playing to the album. Chief Warrant Officer Kevin
Neuhoff contributes the apocalyptic chaos with his timpani and
gong performance. Corporal E4 Tim Hyland, a regular Wide Hive
contributor, adds his raspy and soulful flute touches. Samples,
cuts, and scratches were done by Sensei Quest of Live Human and
Space Travelers acclaim. Rounding off the new talent is Audio
Angel, who is well known for layering beautiful vocals over the
local DJs in the Bay Area drum and bass scene.
As recently seen in the peace marches in San
Francisco and Washington D.C, people in our country are truly
taking a stand against our government and most of all war. V.U.'s
Handbook for the Apocalypse is the perfect musical
supplement and soundtrack to support peace, compassion, and unity.
Take a listen and take a stand!