Tensei (meaning “Heaven Star” in Japanese) is the composer/producer/musician/beatmaker tandem of Chris Kramer and Midas Wells. Hailing from the musical mecca of Chicago, the two have a vast wealth of influences and history to inform their production including: hip hop, house, soul, jazz, library, and electronic music among others; as a result, they create eclectic compositions that fuse many disparate styles. Although steeped in the tradition of classic hip-hop production, Tensei does not rely on records for samples. They play and compose most musical parts themselves with both real and digital instruments, periodically enlisting the talents of a Chicago-based collective of internationally respected jazz and soul artists, which include Makaya McCraven, Greg Spero, Kafele, and Junius Paul among others. These artists provide a musical soundbed which is then sampled and recontextualized on top of Tensei’s, already lush, production.
Tensei have released several instrumental projects in the past and have done remixes for artists such as Bilal, and Tokimonsta//Anderson Paak, in addition, the duo have produced a song featuring the legendary Black Thought. Currently, Tensei have shifted their focus towards creating full bodies of work with the wide variety of vocalists and artists that they have connected with throughout their musical journey. The first of these projects was the self-released Dangerus EP with fellow Chicagoan, long time collaborator, and Dirty Science crew member, ADaD. Tokyo Dawn Records will be releasing several Tensei projects in the near future!