In 1997, a dark and smoky apartment became the birth place of what would later evolve into Hidden Fortress. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, but also with a Japanese base of operations, the duo of DJ/producer UsdNeedls and rapper nofutureface bring dark electronics to a West Coast mind state. Growing up in hip-hop’s Golden Age, HF was heavily influenced by the sounds of Public Enemy, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane, as well as by the progressive indie sounds created throughout the 90s. The razor sharp cuts and cinematic productions of UsdNeedls provide a heavy foundation for the introspective and often cryptic lyrics of nofutureface. Sometimes political, always thought provoking, Hidden Fortress explore realms most do not and make the duo a throwback to an era when a DJ and a rapper once ruled the stage.
In 2009, the group’s first official release, White Violence, pushed rap into an electronic and often dark dimension, catching listeners off guard. Intense, and sometimes bleak, White Violence shone a light into the shadows in order to expose the lies and push for social change. It was an album made for Vancouver, representing the poverty, drug addiction and political corruption that scar those streets, the anger and frustration evident in the sound.
Building upon their Third Eye Cyclops EP, HF goes even deeper with second album All That Is. The themes and subjects expressed on previous releases are still evident, but this time the influences are no longer drawn from frustration but from the psychedelic realms of shamanism, buddhism and mind altering plants such as DMT. All That Is is a eulogy for this world and a celebration for the next, a transformative work lost in the language of psychedelic visionaries such as Terrence McKenna, Greg Braden, Graham Hancock and Ram Dass. Released on Hand’Solo Records, All That Is features Canadian rap heavyweights such as Modulok (who return to his Red Ants roots on first single “Apotheosis”) and Planit (aka The Dirty Sample), as well as guests Kaigen (Curse Ov Dialect) from Tokyo, Japan, and Raven Madd (Wounded Animals). Rest assured, the Fortress strives for raw originality with every release.
Hidden Fortress is a predictor that something wicked this way comes – a musical signpost warning listeners to keep their eyes sharp and a call for honest introspection in what may be the most perilous of times. Best believe, Hidden Fortress was an inside job.