Turkuaz etched what are allegedly the final chapters of its legacy on Friday with the release of Paradiso and Apollyon. The two full-length releases come after seven of nine members of the funk outfit announced their departure last November in the midst of a Remain In Light 40th-anniversary tour with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew.

The 36 tracks spread across Paradiso and Apollyon were recorded while Turkuaz was still a cohesive whole, but in the wake of guitarist/keyboardist Craig Brodhead, trumpeter/keyboardist Chris Brouwers, drummer Michaelangelo Carubba, vocalist Shira Elias, vocalist Sammi Garett, saxophonist Greg Sanderson, and saxophonist/vocalist Josh Schwartz‘s absence, remaining guitarist/vocalist Dave Brandwein and bassist Taylor Shell, along with co-producer Rob O’Block, were left to polish the recordings into finished albums.

“These two albums celebrate that nine-piece band, and give people songs that they largely haven’t heard and can’t currently see live,” Brandwein said. “We’re focusing on the legacy we created over the past 10 years, rather than lamenting the break-up.”

Perhaps fittingly, Paradiso and Apollyon represent the dualities of life. On one hand is Paradiso, a synth-driven continuation of the future-funk stylings Turkuaz pursued toward the end of its run. Many of the songs were born of beats created by Brandwein and O’Block, a collaboration that spawned their new project, New Originals.

On the other is Apollyon, which looks back to the band’s groove-centered sound that carried it up the ladder of the live music scene with engaging (and near-constant) performances. The album was even recorded live by the whole band in a single room, drawing inspiration from the band’s foundational influences like Parliament-Funkadelic and James Brown. For the songs that would become Apollyon, Turkuaz employed vintage technologies including spring reverb and tube amps in addition to guest appearances from Harrison and Belew.

Thematically, the two LPs confront our own fundamentally flawed perceptions of good and evil in an Armageddon-style self-examination amplified by the group’s dissolution.

“The very big picture concept is that Heaven and Hell are two human constructs,” Brandwein said. “The only place that they really exist is right here on Earth, and which one you inhabit depends largely on how you conduct yourself and what you choose to believe. Life isn’t as simple as black or white, this or that. It’s not binary. We’re all a little bit of both… Beautiful and tragic chaos.”

Though Turkuaz as a unit has disbanded, Brandwein hopes to stay engaged with fans in an online community. Through a partnership with YellowHeart, “the leading environmentally-friendly NFT marketplace for ticketing and music”, fans can claim a “community token” to gain access to exclusive content.

“Especially not being on the road now, we wanted a new way to continually offer things to fans—from audio rarities, live shows, re-releases, to merch, memorabilia—the possibilities are really pretty endless,” he said. “We’re aware that some people are still very confused by the idea of NFT’s/Web3—but along with YellowHeart we’ve found a way to keep it simple, environmentally friendly and affordable.”

Drummer Michelangelo Carruba prefaced the releases in a lengthy post to social media on Thursday. In short, he encouraged fans to listen to the album, deflecting any concerns about whether he will be paid for it.

“I gave everything,” Carruba said of his 11 years in Turkuaz. “I chose that band over marriage. Over everything. A dog I loved and a house I owned. I declined going to surgeons to repair torn rotator cuffs and broken feet, so that tours wouldn’t be cut short because we couldn’t afford a substitute that would have charged the actual going rate of a working drummer, versus what I was willing to accept for the love of the game, and the shared goal we all had.”

He also addressed any fans frustrated by the band members’ decision to quit mid-tour. “For those of you that are angry that at the end ‘we left people with tickets and hotel plans, rental cars and tent kits’ out in the cold when the band broke up, please understand this,” he wrote. “I left the band in October of last year with absolutely no idea what my entire future would be, where I would end up, a torn rotator cuff that has needed surgery for years and a fracture in my left foot as a result of equipment being dropped on it, so that tours wouldn’t end prematurely.” ”

“Your hotel reservations will be forgotten. I assure you. … The wear and tear on my body I willingly endured, and continue to endure, will not fade away as easily. I limp and wince every morning I get out of bed.”

In closing, he wrote, “Stop arguing about this band. It’s pointless. Don’t worry about me or us. Everyone is going to be fine.”

While fans are still left to put together the pieces from statements by various band members, the exact timeline of Turkuaz’s eventual dissolution remains hazy nearly a year later. Brandwein is the first to admit the role his substance abuse issues played in the fraying of the band’s dynamic, and has since enjoyed long-term sobriety and a change of scenery as he now lives and works in Los Angeles, pursuing New Originals and his solo work recording under the name Band For Sale.

With a lineup as extensive as Turkuaz’s, fans may likely never get one simple explanation for the breakup that is agreed upon by all parties. But what they do have is an epitaph of the band that both looks back at its long and technicolored history while also gazing off toward a future that ultimately never came. The fact that these songs were recorded well before the band’s breakup gives them an authenticity that captures the last glory days of the band, even if most of the members’ input ceased in the album’s earliest stages. The statements are heartfelt and genuine, rather than some forced last words.

“I’m so proud of these records, and am glad we get the chance to tie a bow on this 13-year body of work,” Shell said. “Turkuaz has been my life since Dave and I started the band in our little apartment oh-so-many years ago, and as hard as the disbanding has been, it really does give me so much joy to know that we are putting it down the same way we picked it up… with the creation and release of my favorite recordings I’ve ever been a part of.”

According to a press release, Brandwein and Shell “also plan to collaborate together again in the future.”

Stream the final two Turkuaz albums below or on your preferred platform [Paradiso, Apollyon]. Scroll down to read Carruba’s full statement on the albums.

Turkuaz – Paradiso

Turkuaz – Apollyon

Since it’s announcement,

I have received literally hundreds of messages from fans and friends concerning the release of the final two Turkuaz albums. So many people curious if I was involved, if I’m familiar with the situation, if I will be paid, etc. I can understand everyone’s curiosity.

I’m fully aware, and have been for years, of the significance that the band I was a part of for 11 years, played, in so many peoples lives. I have had the honor and gift of hearing testimonials from SO many of you about how we lifted you out of dark times. Or how you and your current spouse met at one of our shows. Some of you I have played your weddings. What an honor. Or how we saved your life. Or how you saw us in a small room in 2011, and you traveled to see us play for 10,000 people at Red Rocks many years later. Looking at you Patrick.

I see all of you. And I understand why so many of you are curious, and hurt, and confused about what happened since the breakup of the band.

I am here to state the following.

I encourage everyone, EVERYONE, to listen to what is about to be released. I have been skeptical of other peoples releases in the past, but it has come from a place of insecurity and childish nature. ANYONE, a band, or an individual, that has the courage and fortitude to create something they believe in, that they are willing to release to the public, especially in these days of mass media consumption, shortened attention span, keyboard tough guys and internet trolls, DESERVES AN EAR.

We, the 9 of us that you knew as Turkuaz at it’s end, and the others that were part of the process along the way, created that music with the intention of it being heard. I will NOT stand in the way of that now. I appreciate everyone’s concern about me being “paid” for it. My assertion that this is music that should be heard, should be all the receipts you need to assuage your concerns, to put on a pair of headphones, to close your eyes, to drift away, and to listen to the living soul that WAS Turkuaz.

It had a life. A life that I was very much a part of. I gave my own life to that band. Literally. I was the pulsing heart of it. I was the drummer and I know that I left my mark and found my voice in my time with the band. I gave everything. I chose that band over marriage. Over everything. A dog I loved and a house I owned. I declined going to surgeons to repair torn rotator cuffs and broken feet, so that tours wouldn’t be cut short because we couldn’t afford a substitute that would have charged the actual going rate of a working drummer, versus what I was willing to accept for the love of the game, and the shared goal we all had.

For those of you that are angry that at the end “we left people with tickets and hotel plans, rental cars and tent kits” out in the cold when the band broke up, please understand this.

I left the band in October of last year with absolutely no idea what my entire future would be, where I would end up, a torn rotator cuff that has needed surgery for years and a fracture in my left foot as a result of equipment being dropped on it, so that tours wouldn’t end prematurely.

Your hotel reservations will be forgotten. I assure you.

The wear and tear on my body I willingly endured, and continue to endure, will not fade away as easily. I limp and wince every morning I get out of bed.

Those things aside, I believe this to be the most important point of all.

We were a family.

We played music with each other because we loved each other. We played music because we could see and feel that we were making a difference in a world where it felt increasingly difficult to feel like you had an impact on peoples lives. To feel like you had any purpose at all.

It was a privilege and an honor to do everything we did. We traveled the world playing our music. And it was OUR music. It wouldn’t have been what it was without each and every one of us. No one gets all the credit. It was a family affair and it was a part of my life I will never forget, and am eternally grateful to have experienced.

So go and listen to these albums. Buy them. Turn them up loud as fuck. Those are my drums you’re hearing. All those nights where so many of you screamed “Thunderfoot” into the chaos of a sold out theatre in your town, are what fueled these records. If you support me, then you’ll support this music. End of story.

I have worked hard and smart enough in my career that I will always have a job playing my drums, and I’m enjoying that privilege right now, and have since the breakup of the band. For that I am grateful and proud. I earned that.

Stop arguing about this band. It’s pointless. Don’t worry about me or us. Everyone is going to be fine.
When I was in the studio, recording all of the drums that you’ll hear on these recordings, I was thinking about one thing.

LOVE.

Sincerely,
Michelangelo Carubba

View Statement

On September 17th, former Turkuaz members Craig Brodhead (guitar/keys), Chris Brouwers (trumpet/keys), Michelangelo Carubba (drums), Shira Elias (vocals), Sammi Garett (vocals), Greg Sanderson (tenor sax), and Josh Schwartz (baritone sax/vocals) will debut their new project Cool Cool Cool at Brooklyn Comes AliveLive For Live Music‘s long-running event will return to the Brooklyn Mirage for a daylong musical marathon with additional performances from STS9Medeski Martin & Wood, and Lettuce [get tickets].