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Feature: Synergy in Exile with Sphie, Diop, and Mandog
Posted November 10, 2014 by Taylor Peters
WRITTEN BY
Taylor Peters
ON
November 10, 2014

 

 

 

The hip-hop scene in Indianapolis is alive with collaboration. Every other day I'm hearing about some new project from some new combination of people doing cool stuff around town. MFT's even gotten in the game lately, as I'm sure you've heard, with our stint of Music Videos in a Day with Running Bodies Productions and emcees like Ace One and Grey Granite (and, of course, the EP Making the Bando Vol. 1). 

 

A super recent addition to the local pile of collaborative efforts is called Synergy in Exile. It features emcee Diop Adisa, singer/songwriter/yoghini Sphie, and production from Mandog (who has worked on several projects around the city recently including Diop's own Driving on Faith--which is embedded below---and Jay Brookinz's most recent #GATEWAY5 project). It's a brief three track EP, but one with a whole lot of ideas packed inside. 

 

A chilled out vibe suffuses the thing, which, based on how it came together, makes a lot of sense. Speaking over email, Sphie says, "When we decided to work on a small project together, we started each session from scratch with each session being completely organic and with three parts equally involved in the process."

 

 

Describing a scene from the process, she says, "Nick [Mandog] and I would build a skeleton for production and start tinkering withs sounds. Diop would be in the background chanting and singing and dancing...hashing out humanness…and then all of a sudden, this amazing beat would come out." It was a succession of collective "a-ha" moments, she says. Listening to closer "Higher," with the interlocking lines from Sphie and Diop underscored by Mandog's elastically busy beat, it's easy to hear this collective action in motion. 

 

The EP, three songs as it is, is set up sandwich-like. Opener "Vilify" (for which you can peep the music video here) and "Higher" are brighter than the brooding middle track "Domestic Refugees." Sphie says that was intentional, that the goal here was to "create something upbeat, but with consciousness behind it" and that "Higher" and "Vilify" are both intended to "deliver steps to living a more vibrant reality in changing patterns of the mind."

 

 

On the other hand, Sphie envisioned "Domestic Refugess" as more "raw and downbeat." Lyrically, it addresses how beleagured people can be even in the comparatively privileged United States. Sphie explains, "Despite having a plethora of resources in access, people are still either starving or malnourished in a land of abundance partially due to miseducation on how to access these resources or in the simplicity of simply trying to survive." Mandog's beat underscores this with its creepy rattle, pulsing with the wobble of bell tones. 

 

I suspect this will not be the last we hear from Synergy in Exile. There's an audible ease to the way the group works, and for her part, Sphie seems bent on creating and expressing herself by working with others as best she can. She explains, "You can sit home and make music for yourself until the sun turns black, but," she says, "when you share it with humans outside of your comfort zone, it challenges pieces of communication, artistry and humanness that can only be complemented through the cooperation of finding that equality and unique bond with people you may never interact with otherwise." 

 

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