2 Block Radius-Nicole Mason, Tee Cardaci, and Tom Cloutman (aka Schnezzy)-keep the spirit of San Francisco alive. 2 Block Radius is the sound of a waterfront party at sunset, the smell of old vinyl and warm skin, or the feel of a hoodiepulled tight against an incoming fogbank. Like the city itself, the music is an appealing mass of contradictions: laidback yet sultry, accessible yet subversive.
Nick, Tee, and Schnezzy are fixtures in the SF dance-music scene. As residents of the long-running party Low Down Grooves, they ruled the booth at legendary DJ bar The Top from 1999 through 2004. Those Wednesday nights were an intimate forum to play for true heads, close friends, and the occasional random street personalities (including one regular drifter who sometimes wandered in to accompany their DJ sets on his accordion). Drawing from those fond times, 2 Block Radius formed as a proper studio production team in 2000, when they released their first album, Crossed Wires, on their eponymous imprint, 2 Block Radius Recordings. Picking up cues from jazz, hip-hop, dub, and the street sounds that surround them, 2 Block Radius create downtempo and house that layers soulful vocal murmurs over lacquered breaks and chunky bass lines. Rhythms sway ever so slightly, from lightly energized to lackadaisical, but maintain that warm, syncopated tempo that epitomizes the classic SF sound.
In addition to releasing two more albums via their own label, 2 Block Radius have appeared on OM Records (”You Can’t Have Your Cake,” OM Lounge, Vol. 8, 2004) and Clean Recordings (”Woowah Hustle,” Clean Recordings Sampler, 2003). In 2004, 2 Block Radius produced the compilation 6 Blocks Deep, a showcase of local talent including E.T.I., Audio Angel, and PacificSound’s Galen and Omar. Nowadays, the members of 2 Block Radius are scattered across the globe-Tee resides in Brazil and Nick has returned to the UK, while Schnezzy still calls California home. Their sound, however, remains rooted in a two-block radius, somewhere, no doubt, at the corner of Haight Street and Fillmore.