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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

“Broken Barriers Transcends the Confines of Contemporary Music”


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KLN Publishing, LLC

“Eclectic Writing it its Simplicity . . .”


By Kevin L. Nichols

“[A]t the heart of it, all music is the same, it just has a different tone depending on where you are from . . . just like people, we are all part of the human race even if you speak a different language.” – William Sapenter, President, Unity Gain Records

San Francisco, California. Unity through music. Not a revolutionary concept, but Unity Gain Records takes a revolutionary approach. The September 2006 release of its first project, “Broken Barriers – Volume 1,” is a compilation of various genres of music fused into one album. Blending unique types of music is a risky task, and because such an endeavor is usually met with failure, I had relatively low (and perhaps cynical) expectations when I was handed the album. Surprisingly, and more than a little impressively, Unity Gain successfully accomplishes this feat, which was one of the goals it generated when the fledgling label was conceived. Recognizing the dearth of diversity in the music industry, three malcontents set out to remedy the solution the best way they knew: They made music. “Broken Barriers” is the fruition of their efforts.

At the onset, the listener is immediately confronted by a motivational song by A.C.E. with a “Black power” feel, whose lyrics are inspiring and captivating, whose delivery is powerful, and whose prose is very Love Jones-esque. Nikki Allen then whisks you back with a tune reminiscent of the 80s, using the background track of Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girls” for her song, titled “Who?” Chris Marsol follows, incorporating a song called “A Dream” that has pop/rock undercurrents. My favorite track, Beloved Soul’s “So Much More,” resembles the style and flavor of Kindred the Family Soul; the piano (played by William Sapenter III is the essential but subtle element that completes the song.

Unity Gain Records is the brainchild of three local musicians/producers turned entrepreneurs: Josh B. Napier, Jasmine Charles and William Sapenter III. The company develops compilation albums, but its primary focus is to cultivate the talent of local artists. Unity Gain plans to promote its music through performances, local record stores, MySpace, and other grass roots methods.

When asked about his goals for the “Broken Barriers” release, William Sapenter said that he wants “to bring music genres [together] by tearing down barriers and at the same time, promote music that promotes a healthy image.” With the completion of the first compilation, it appears that barriers are down, and images are positive; I walked away from my first listening of the album feeling that any of my friends, regardless of their tastes in music, would be satisfied riding next to me with “Broken Barriers” blasting from my Explorer's speakers. Sapenter believes (and I’d have to agree) that, “at the heart of it, all music is the same, it just has a different tone depending on where you are from . . . just like people, we are all part of the human race even if you speak a different language.” “Broken Barriers” can be found in various music stores throughout the Bay Area. For more information, please visit www.myspace.com/unitygainrecords.

Kevin L. Nichols is the President and CEO of KLN Publishing, LLC, located in San Francisco, and the author of the upcoming book, The Unharnessed Power of Women. For more info, please visit www.klnpublishing.com.