True/False Film Fest 2024 Music Picks: Roshni Samlal, 18andCounting, Materia, Psalm One, RP Boo, Tre. Charles

The 2024 edition of True/False, the annual festival of film and music in Columbia, Missouri, features 42 musical acts who perform between February 28th and March 3rd.
According to True/False, “Music touches every part of the festival: Musicians welcome audiences into theaters before film showings, take center stage at evening showcases, DJ late-night dance parties, ignite the annual parade, and pop-up on street corners and balconies for impromptu shows. This sonically diverse cohort of musicians spans genre and medium, and boasts artists both rising and established with a decided focus on celebrating the sounds and lifecycle of the Midwest.”

18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024

Roshni Samlal

On her Bandcamp page, ​​Roshni Samlal describes herself as, “a NY-based tabla player, and a student of both Farrukhabad exponent, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee and Shri Surdarshan Singh of the UK.” Bringing “Indian classical percussion to electronic, chamber and multi-disciplinary contexts,” Samlal’s applies her talents with versatile creativity to a rich variety of performances, compositions and collaborations. In her piece, “Korybante: A Tabla Solo in 7,” she embeds West African harp, haunting drone melodies and a bed of electronic beats within a series of traditional tabla forms. The result is stimulating yet gentle, immersive and transportive.

Samlal’s vivacious curatorial prowess extends into her work as a DJ and cultural organizer. The Rāginī Festival, curated by Roshini and presented by Brooklyn Raga Massive right after True/False, “explores the prismatic multiplicity of South Asian and subsequent diasporic expressions.” If Samlal’s “End of Yaar” DJ mix is any indication of the quality of her 2023, I’d wager she had a pretty interesting year. Danceable from the get, she hopscotches joyously and perhaps even defiantly across genres, eras, and cultures throughout the fifty-minute mix. From a reggae swung cover of “My Girl” right into a calypso beat, the Trinidadian artist slides from bright and glitzy to dark and minor-key with effortless dexterity.

Roshni Samlal plays the Sanctuary Showcase on Saturday, March 2nd from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Calvary Episcopal Church.


18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024


The eyes of St. Louis rapper, visual artist and DJ 18andCounting, otherwise known as Stan Chisholm, are fully open. He doesn’t shy away from the bleaknesses of modernity, but rather, alchemizes the raw material of a challenging time into boldly experimental hip-hop.

His latest release, x – the follow-up to 2022’s Some Sort of Future, which he produced and mixed in addition to writing and performing – opens with the track “Argon 18th,” launching us on a dirge-like descent befitting the basement of a Ken Russell movie. Things don’t get any more relenting from there. “Bando Banger” could have come off the soundtrack of the 1989 Japanese science fiction horror classic Tetsuo: The Iron Man about a guy who wakes up with slices of metal erupting from his body in a stop-motion frenzy.

On “Hate Rap” from 2021’s There Are No Rules in Space, he pitch-shifts his voice to witness protection level low, rapping a list of aversions ranging from the mundane to the profound. Daring us to take his music at face value, he raps, “I hate when interviews get in my personal biz / Truth is you don’t need to know who my influences is.”

To be sure, this music has no interest in going easy on us, making it all the more apt a vessel for reflecting and rejecting the manifold maladies of our time and place.


18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024


A collective of five musicians and artists based in St. Louis, Materia‘s unconventional parties have become beloved club night staples for the local community over the past couple years. Importantly, the inclusive collective endeavors to make their events safe and inviting for everyone, leading from the experience of the collective’s trans members.

Spanning house, techno, EDM, and trance, with dalliances with breakbeat, UK garage, and East coast club music, their eclectic approach defies definition and expectation. But some of the connective commonalities across tracks include impossibly fast driving beats, dark undertones, and genre-blurring blends.

Materia plays the Blue Note Dance Party on Friday, March 1st form 10:30pm to 1:00am at the Blue Note.


18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024

RP Boo

Long lauded as an early pioneer – if not the inventor – of footwork, Chicago producer and DJ RP Boo is a living legend. Wielding his drum machine and sampling skills like a mad scientist, RP Boo creates endless canvases for dance floor creativity. From his 2018 album I’ll Tell You What! – his first to feature all new material – the track “U-Don’t No,” blends his characteristic cavalcade of speedily skittering snares with gentle piano and yearning vocals.

Pushing the boundaries of the genre he played a major role in creating, RP Boo displays an imagination hungry for innovation. That hunger continues to express itself in full force on his new album, Legacy Vol. 2–released ten years after its predecessor, Legacy. Witnessing RP Boo at work in real life is like seeing history unfold.


18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024

Psalm One

Born and raised in Chicago, Cristalle Bowen, also known as Psalm One, describes herself as, “a multi-hyphenate… former chemist, and veteran emcee by many standards.” With upwards of thirty releases showcasing a nuanced engagement with classic hip-hop, soul, and modern experimental inclinations, Bowen is also an activist, scholar, teaching artist, and now author, having just published her memoir, Her Word Is Bond: Navigating Hip Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny.

Deeply embedded in her community, Bowen has spearheaded pandemic mutual aid efforts, brought her skills to educational activism, and frequently collaborates with other Chicago artists. On her most recent releases, Big Permm (2022) and THE RETURRN OF BIG PERMM (2023), Psalm One called upon long time collaborator Custom Made to produce.

Their mission, according to the liner notes: “To deliver a razor sharp message that serves as a beacon of light to those on a mission to be the best version of themselves. Confronting themes of Black support, Black entrepreneurship, queer acceptance, good mental health and patriarchal independence, Psalm poetically deconstructs these issues while building up her ever evolving humanity. Custom Made provides a rich, thumping and finely-crafted backdrop to Psalm’s musings.”

Psalm One plays the Saturday Night Berlin Showcase on March 2nd from 8:00pm to 11:00pm at Cafe Berlin.


18 and Counting at True False Film Festival 2024


The warmest tones and most southerly clime of the artists in this preview belong to Durham-based Tre. Charles, a veritable crooner who crafts earworm-worthy melodies, swaddling the listener in a voice so soft he could sing you to sleep. But don’t be deceived by the feather lightness of his tone: this is a voice with a depth, strength and self-assurance that will not only keep you awake, but maybe even wake you up.

Indeed, his most popular track on Spotify is “Mantra,” from his 2023 EP, Currently. The lyrical hook, “It will all work out alright” is ensconced in reverb and tender guitar. One writer anointed Tre. Charles as a purveyor of “ambient soul,” an apt descriptor for the layers of inner world emotion, delicate textures and unhurried pace of the music.

Tre. Charles plays the Friday Eastside Happy Hour on March 1st from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Eastside Tavern.


Written by
Saelyx Finna

Saelyx Finna (she/they) is a filmmaker, impact producer, and dream tech researcher. They are currently developing a speculative nonfiction feature film about dream neurotechnology and the radical rest movement, supported by the Academy Award-nominated studio Sandbox Films, and Gamechanger Films.

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