It was something that had never been attempted before, a sound wholly new and original, and to everyone’s great surprise, it worked! In winter 2011, underground hip-hop legend Mr. Lif was invited to perform at the Seattle Folk Festival. Lacking a band, the festival organizer brought up San Francisco Bay Area Balkan brass band Brass Menažeri, reasoning that the brassy backbeats and breakneck speeds of Balkan roots music would be the perfect counterpoint to Lif’s intricately rhythmic rapping. Lif and Brass Menažeri came together in rehearsal improbably in a coffin factory in Seattle and the collaboration clicked almost immediately. “We were hearing something that none of us had ever heard before,” Lif says, “and the whole session felt like an epiphany.” “We walked away from that first rehearsal with a set of music that we knew would be powerful and different,” says Briget Boyle of Brass Menažeri, “crossing boundaries that we assumed would stand in our way. But we blew those boundaries out of the water.” At the festival, they played off each other beautifully, Lif storming the stage to the clashing dissonance of Balkan brass music, the tuba pumping out something akin to old-school boom bap hip-hop if it had been built in the old Soviet bloc. Even more surprisingly, the collaboration sparked a lifelong friendship between Lif, Brass Menažeri vocalist Boyle, and arranger Peter Jaques. Lif moved in with them in the Bay Area a month later and for the next year they worked on and off on an album that would showcase this new sound they’d developed. Working with Brass Menažeri trumpet player Eric Oberthaler, who had extensive experience creating electronic music in the Bay Area under the name eO, the new album, Resilient, took final form seven years later. Finding a like-minded partner in Los Angeles record company Waxsimile Productions, a label that brings powerful musical performances together with vinyl and analog technology, Resilient was released on November 3, 2017.