Metabass`n`Breath – group from Sydney, formed by members; Morganics, Baba, and Elf Tranzporter. First release in 1996. Other members included DJs Neicha and Nick Toth, keyboardist/trumpeter Adam ‘Sloth’ Burrell, bassist Jay Bondy, drummer Rory ‘Brother Love’ Toomey, MC/dancer Physical Linguistics and guitarist Haydn Walker. They toured USA in 1997/1998 and was the first time Australian Hip Hop was ever mentioned in Billboard Magazine in 1999. The group is managed by Trent Roden of Slingshot Touring. https://www.discogs.com/artist/117979-Metabass-n-Breath
Members of Metabass N Breath were involved in a play called ‘The Bridge’ that celebrated Hip Hop in Australia and also a play titled Hip Hopera.
Metabss N Breath are well known for their community work.
One of the most important fulcrums of Australian hip hop was Metabass ‘n’ Breath, a Sydney crew made up of three prominent MCs and beatboxers – Morganics, Baba and Elf Transporter (the latter two are both expatriate Americans) – and Austrian-Australian DJ Nick Toth. The group’s beats incorporated traditional music from Australia, Asia and South America, and they released a notable album of globally-inflected hip hop called Seek in 1997. Their line-up also included a drummer, a keyboardist and a bass player, and the album contained two tracks in Spanish – evidence that they were looking at global influences rather than exclusively US ones. The group toured the US twice and released their album The life and times of a beatboxer on the San Francisco label Bomb Hip-Hop Records in 2000 before breaking up later that year. Metabass ‘n’ Breath have the dubious distinction of being the only Australian hip hop group to be included in the international All music guide to hip hop (Bogdanov et al. 2003) where Keith Farley, after mistakenly identifying beatboxing as “turntable sparring” rather than a vocal form of largely non-verbal sonic freestyling (or vocal percussion, hence the “Breath” in the group’s name), describes them rather homogenously as: … very similar to their comrades in the Northern hemisphere, possessing a similar style to the Roots but with more emphasis on raggae [sic] and turntablist skills. Highlighted by the single “Possession,” The Life and Times of a Beatboxer is a solid album of left-field hip hop and a positive departure for the increasingly turntablist Bomb Hip Hop label
(Bogdanov et al. 2003, p.323).
Following the breakup of Metabass ‘n’ Breath, Elf Transporter joined the Melbournebased hip hop activist collective Combat Wombat (formed by Monkey Mark and femcee Izzy), who released albums in 2003 and 2005 and who, under the name Lab Rats, tour australian hip hop’s multicultural literacies extensively through central Australia, running hip hop workshops with disadvantaged young people and espousing an ecological lifestyle (St John 2005). Meanwhile, Morganics has become one of the key figures in the formation of an Australian hip hop identity, as well as a hip hop pedagogue who has taught MCing, DJing and breakdancing skills to young people throughout Australia.
In January 2005 Metabass ‘n’ Breath took advantage of brief Sydney sojourns by Baba and Elf Transporter to stage a reunion performance at the Hopetoun Hotel, which consisted of an improvised performance of the group’s history interspersed with their most well-known tracks. They also reformed to play a number of Sydney reunion shows, including the Spirit of Soul Festival, in January 2008. – Tony Mitchell
Featured on The Formula released in 1999 on Wild Child Productions – cassette only.
Featured on Home Brewz Volume 2 released in 1997
Hip Hop Is My Passport -“Rise Up Injured Warrior!” by MetaBass’n’Breath.
Bringing it back to 1999 with my old crew MetaBass’n’Breath. We gigged all summer ‘98 and saved all the money to be able to record this EP in a house next to Centennial Park in Sydney with an amazing producer/gentleman Tom Kazas. After one of the takes, we played it back and Rory, our drummer, got so excited that he leapt into the air and wiped out the chandelier that was hanging over the mixing desk. That gave rise to the band catch phrase whenever one of us was getting a bit too excited “Chandelier!”. I knew of some people in the scene who loved Hip Hop culture and were busy doing it and promoting it and they were being bad mouthed and back stabbed by others so I wrote the chorus “Rise Up Injured Warrior!” which, to this day is sometimes heard as “Rise Up Ninja Warrior!”- but that’s actually a TV show isn’t it? Haha, I digress.
We had been in New York for eight months over ‘97 and ‘98 doing gigs like The Rock Steady Crew Anniversary and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. I remember coming back to Sydney and bumping into one of the local Hip Hop gatekeepers at a train station where he told me that we weren’t “real Hip Hop.” Being a Hip Hop band at that time in Australia was a little lonely, we took inspiration from crews like The Fuglemen (Adelaide) and Good Buddha (Sydney) whilst also being involved in community work and the contemporary performance scene in Sydney.
I guess for me Hip Hop has always been the best type of mongrel, a mixing, a fusing of cultures and we all learnt so much from each other in the band; from Rory, Sloth and Jay schooling us about jazz samples, to Elf Tranzporter playing Shahnai (Middle Eastern wind instrument), Baba bringing that New York freestyle pedigree and DJ Nick Toth connecting the dots between Hip Hop and reggae sound systems. Hearing the song back still gets me hyped and I remember crowd surfing to it at the 4ZZZ Market Day in Brisbane, it was always a staple of our live show. Today, I’d like to send it out to all those people, plants and animals who have been terrorised by these recent fires in Australia, “Rise Up Injured Warrior!” Big thanks to the amazing Eric Drooker for the artwork.Peace.