Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Mix of the tunes featured:
Thursday, 26 November 2009
And it seems I'm not alone, it appears there is a robot army out there dropping covers and reinterpretations of the 'Werk at every opportunity.
Luckily for lazy buggers like me, DJ Food of Sold Steel and Coldcut fame has lovingly collated them in a mix series called, Kraftwerk Kovers. Not content with dropping robotic moves at every possible opportunity, I'm sharing the robot goodness, right here.....
Here's Senor Coconut with Home Computer in a meringue style...
Peanut Butter Wolf, master beat maker, vinyl aficionado and head man at US label funky, hip-hop, breaks label Stones Throw also has another not inconsiderable string to his bow. Not content with consistently delivering a fine menu of top-notch head nodding records in his own right, he also possesses an unnervingly fine talent spotting ability. Like a hip-hop Simon Cowell, but with taste, Peanut Butter Wolf has expanded his empire over the last year to include a string of releases from the best in leftfield underground beat music.
Latest member of the Stones Throw stable is veteran LA sophisticate and all together cool individual, Dam Funk. Responsible for the recently released concept album ‘Toeachisown’, Dam Funk is something of a California legend, having been involved in both crafting funk fuelled missiles of his own, and running legendary LA club Funkmophere for the best part of the last decade. The man himself recently touched down in the UK to brighten up the English winter with his funky flavours, and we were luckily enough to catch up to find out a little about what makes the man.
Dam Funk’s music has a smooth polished electronic edge that recalls the best of the early eighties boogie scene, tightened to perfection with a modern electronic edge. Lazily pigeonholing his style as retro however brings short shrift. “ My shit isn’t exactly what you call old fashioned you know? I like to think of my style as a continuation. Back to the times before hip-hop became what it is, where different ‘urban’ if you want to call it that, styles existed side by side. “
Pushed on the point Dam becomes animated as his smooth Californian drawl takes an almost urgent edge. “ The way I explain it is this, I want you to think about a different world, parallel universe if you like. A place where those cats that were listening to these funky joints didn’t hide those records and claim they was B Boys or something all of a sudden. Imagine if the record companies hadn’t just decided they wanted badass rappers on every record. Imagine that the funk, and I mean the REAL funk, was allowed to grow and do what it waned to do? That’s where I come in. Shit I love those old boogie joints and so forth as much as anybody, but what I’m doing is carrying on that tradition, so all those funky people don’t have to just listen to these records, in private, driving about in their cars or whatever. This is music for now and its music that means something in this day and age, you know what I mean?”
Listening to the Dam Funks productions and this idea of a parallel funkosphere starts to make sense. Tunes such as the title cut of his latest release echo the electronic funk masterpieces of Roger Troutman’s Zapp, or George Clinton’s more contemporary work, but it’s the modern sensibility of production and innovation that stop them being mere pastiche pieces.
Never shy of experimenting himself, he recently remixed art rockers, and fellow Californians Animal Collective, in a move to some that may seem outside of the realms of the typical urban music scene. “ The thing is the scene round here is so fertile at the moment. There are a lot of good people doing a lot of good things and that’s something I really dig you know? I don’t care about labels or whatever, if I like it then I want to get involved. Simple as that. “ So, are there any more collaborations in the pipeline? “ Hell yes, I want to get n the position where say, Talking Heads were in the early eighties. They used a lot of funk and disco producers on what was essentially a rock band, and if you listen to that you know that it worked. In fact my next record is going to be a cover of a Human League track, but filtered through how I see things. And I tell you what, it’s going to be the business man.”
Name checking both Talking Heads and Human League may be surprising for a man who posses a Californian drawl so horizontal there are times it barely breaks out of a whisper. So making any assumptions about his style turns out to be particularly misguided. The man reputedly throws a legendary live show, but not quite as you might expect. “ I’ve been doing this live thing for a few years now, its party time for me when I’m up there doing my thing. I got a band I’ve been on the road with for a few years, and we want to make sure that everybody is enjoying themselves as much as we are.” A bit like Parliament then, that sort of vibe? “Shit no, that style is old you can’t be saying I am getting up on the stage with a load of cartoon characters dressed up in nappies and stuff. My band aren’t a load of clowns.”
Any possible tension, is quickly relieved however by a drawn out baritone chuckle, and you have to admire the man for not getting hung up on the past, especially a past with so much influence. So what is your show like then? “We are tight man, I may have a lot of people up there but my style is more like Gary Numan you know. That kind of icey robot thing. “ Have you ever seen Kraftwerk I wonder? “ Yes, that’s the kind of shit I’m talking about, keeping it neat, no messing about, just the music.”
For an artist wit such an undeniable talent, located in the midst of a town so rich in musical heritage, Dam Funk’s attitude is not only surprising but also extremely refreshing. To have the vision to create your own version of a musical story that has been retold so many times it is ingrained in the very psyche of a generation, is brave to say the least. But it’s this vision that makes not only the man, but also his music so special.
Sit back and listen to debut long player, ‘Toeachhisown’ and the beauty is the sound of California Soul mixed with the best of European pop. Sound familiar? Well that’s because it’s the blueprint to the best popular music of the last century, a transatlantic fusion delivered by mavericks like Dam Funk who deserves the last word. “People tell me that the funk is a feeling, but its more than that. My music is a lifestyle, and if you choose to live that life then you aren’t ever going to be disappointed. Trust me, and come along for the ride.”
You know what? I think I will.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Kool and the gang – This is you, this is me (Theo Parrish re-edit)
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Just discovered in a Dusseldorf car boot sale is this rare pilot for the uncommissioned Kraftwerk sitcom, "Ralf and Florian".
Shame it never made it, as Ralf Hutter has great comic timing and could have been the next Alf Garnet.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
But its fucking great- the summers not over yet....
Saint Etienne 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' (2009 Extended Remix) �by� cmjct
With Fleetwood Mac being a standard set staple at Lowlife and bass laden Compass Point productions showing up everywhere, it’s not a new trend.
Anyway, the sound is no better personified than the fabulous AOR Disco blog, who have put a little selection of tracks together for Disco Outcast here. Well worth checking out....
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
PHIL HARTNOLL OLD SKOOL ELECTRO MIX
Shannon - Let The Music Play
Newcleus - Automan
Kid Frost - Rough Cut
Roxanne Shante - Bite This
Hashim - We're Rocking This Place
Imperial Brothers - We Come To Rock
Afrika Bambaatta - Planet Rock
RSW - The Phantom
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Riot In Lagos
Here's a robot:
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Born With Teeth
Out of Manchester on the ATIC label, Crowhead is the debut long player from the artist formerly known as DJ Woody, alumni of Grand Central Records-the discerning head nodders label of choice at the back end of the Nineties.
Having returned to his roots to work with fellow Grand City associate Aim, ‘Born with Teeth’ admirably captures the GC vibe of slick beats, liberal use of melody and guests from roaming US rapper.
Kicking off with an uplifting bass driven melodic vibe, that almost recalls the sun rising over the Hacienda at dawn, opening track‘ECM’ does a great job in harnessing the Manc roots of the team This record is far from a retro chill-out trip however as it soon heads straight into the clipped beats and expertly delivered rhymes of ‘The Bends’, boosted by Niko dropping his chromatic flow.
From there in its a real music lovers delight, with the instrumental ‘Until You’re Dead’ delivering an almost perfect blend of straight up beats, samples and horns of doom, treading the line carefully between the funkier end of breaks and indulgent beat nodding.
Referencing hip- hop so heavily in what is essentially a modern UK electronic album is a difficult juggling act in itself. However rather than deferring to the default ATCQ position of shuffling beats and jazz samples employed by those trying to distance themselves from the bling; Crowhead takes the road less travelled by throwing a hefty slice of genuine experimentation into the pot.
This cross genre approach is never better than penultimate track ‘Super 8 Bit Disco’, a fucked up Atari bleep disco joint that manages to cram a reference to everything radical about growing up in inner-city UK in to four and a half minutes..
Unless I’m proved very wrong (it happens) then Crowhead is never going to bother the charts, or scoop a MOBO, and maybe it’s all the better for it. Having the breathing space of being detached from scenes and scene-makers seems to have given Crowhead time to breathe. A solid album, from a solid team- catch the crow before it flies.
With his mixture of gruff Yorkshire burr mixed with rude boy patois, on first hearing Sheffield boy wonder Toddla T, it’s easy to dismiss him as a Northern Westwood wannabee. But this 23 year old club kid from Sheffield has enjoyed a meteoric rise from underage backroom rave gopher to toast of the scene, strictly on the back of his unique take on a contemporary British genre-hopping dance pop sound.
With Toddla about to drop the latest mix on the reliably consistent Fabric live series, home to such unshakable legends such as Grooverider, Tayo and Bukem, its seems he has finally been handed the official seal of approval.
Speaking to him down the phone from Fabrics’ London offices, where he was unashamedly “checking out the leather sofas and the inside of the fridge, “ I spoke to the boy himself about his first high profile mix CD and the background that has made him threw name to drop this summer for leftfield dancefloor aficionados.
“I’m loving where I am man, I came to playing beats through listening to a lot of US rap music and reggae as a kid. We used to go to these little parties, nothing flash just a few speakers and a shit load of bass. That where I learnt what I’m doing now. It wasn’t till later that my man hooked me up with house and techno, but to me it’s all the same, all about moving the crowd innit?”
The Fabric mix is a testament to this streetwise attitude showcasing the breadth of his own productions mixed with the cream of the underground. The 21 track mix is also scattered with a magnificent selection of collaborations, including a liberal selection with ‘red hot right now’ grime poster boy Skream. “Yeah I’ve know Skream for a few years now, his sound is killing it, I’m well glad that boys got the props he deserves and I definitely going to be doing more with him in the future.”
Toddla’s trademark sound is a bass driven mash with a bit of grime and DnB thrown in for good measure, but it’s the West Indian influence that really holds the whole thing together. From Ragga chatting to the sonic textures of his own productions, his sound puts a focus on that key ingredient, the deep dirty bassline. “Its funny really because I think reggae gets overlooked when people talk about electronic music. There are some bat cuts out there that were way ahead of their times, loads of Jamaican producers were using synths and computers way before anyone else, so it aint anything special to me. If I’m spinning and I drop a ragga tune next to a grime or techno cut, as long as it works I aint bothered where it comes from .“
It’s this attitude and passion for his roots that makes Toddla stand out from the legions of his esoteric peers. There is certainly a different texture and flow to both is DJing and productions that marks him out from those schooled in the world of straight up 4/;4 music. Listen for example to Manabadman, his debut single featuring the voice of Serocee. Whilst it packs a heavy punch for the floor, the production style is reminiscent of a cyber version of rave pioneers Shut up and Dance, another crew who came to house music from sounds systems and eschewed traditional club music to plant the seeds for what became drum and bass.
Toddla’s style is definitely something else, and refreshingly future focussed, albeit with a healthy regard for the past. So what’s next for him, planned world domination perhaps? “I dunno man I’m just out there doing what I do, I’m lucky in that I’ve got the best job in the world playing my tunes and Im happy people pick up on it. I’ve just started my Radio 1 show, and with this mix dropping I’m pretty happy about where I am at the moment to be honest. “
Speaking to Toddla T is a refreshing insight into the possibilities today’s pick and grab culture could provide. Maybe through the democratisation of music, kids like Toddla may be able to fulfil the promise that acid house and punk failed to deliver. The idea of real genre crossing, picked from all the recorded music ever made is an exciting and very real possibility. For now he’s busy just starting the party. But if they carry on dreaming, its kids like this that might hold the key to the next big thing, and that’s something certainly worth watching out for.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Saturday, 11 July 2009
This pop up pocast player looks like SHIT- but if you can get it to work, the content is phenomenal. Rare as shit recording of Larry Levan from the Garage, early 1980's. Enjoy....
Friday, 10 July 2009
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Of recent there has been a definite lack of cool places to find quality beatbased journalism, either on the web or in print. With the likes of Hip Hop Connection, Jockey Slut and even The FACE, going to the wall, all thats left are mainstream musical publications either boring themselves to death with 'Classic Rock' or revving up the trancepowered lightsticks.
Step up Bonafide, which not only hosts some of the best words around, as importantly it looks fantastic and doesnt take itself too seriously (oh yeah, and they published this)
Check out the website here, and then SPEND SOME MONEY TO BUY A COPY.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
All this sunshine puts me in a real Balearic mood, so whilst I pad off in my espadrilles for another cold San Miguel, I'll share this mix from a young DJ by the name of Phillip Harvey. Check him out ont Facebook here. Contradicting my earlier thoughts on Indie, this is a little different to my usual fodder.
The original spirit of Balearic encompased dance, pop, hip hop rock and all points in beween, so I thought this excellent mix was a fitting tribute.
Over to Philip Harvey for the intro whilst I pull up a sun lounger.....
"So here's the latest effort. It's called 'The Ind-iza Sunset Terrace Mix' and as the title suggests, was inspired by an open roofed Ibizan terrace (but using indie artists as opposed to dance).
It's been a while in the making. 73 minutes, 38 tracks and 30 years of music. There were endless hours of editing, chopping, looping and tempo-anchoring of tunes. And that's before mixing them together. Then it was quite a task seeing what worked and what didn't, taking tunes out and adding new ones until I was satisfied the remit had been answered.
It's something of a concept mix. The idea is that it's for an Ibizan terrace as the sun is going down. Except only using indie artists (with a couple of exceptions). So picking the playlist was incredibly difficult as I was trying to create a very specific atmosphere. And there isn't really indie music out there made with this kind of atmosphere in mind. It had to be stuff you could dance to but not party music, epic and optimistic but melancholy at the same time.
Download it here:
- Placebo 'Passive Agressive' (Brothers In Rhythm Remix)
- TV On the Radio 'Staring at the Sun'
- Zoot Woman 'Saturation'
• M83 'Couleurs'
- (The Killers 'When You Were Young' (Acapella))
• Animal Collective 'My Girls'
- (Animal Collective 'My Girls' (Gigamesh Proper House Remix))
• Simple Minds 'Theme for Great Cities'
- (Hard-Fi 'Hard to Beat' (Axwell Mix))
• MGMT 'Kids'
• Talking Heads 'Once In a Lifetime' (Funk Fusion Remix)
• Friendly Fires 'Skeleton Boy' (Air France Remix)
• VHS Or Beta 'Alive'
• Vampire Weekend 'The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Chromeo Remix)
- (The Holloways 'Generator')
• Planet Funk 'Chase the Sun'
• Cut Copy 'Out There On the Ice'
• The Whip 'Sister Siam'
• Roxy Music 'Angel Eyes' (Extended Mix)
• Kings of Leon 'Be Somebody'
• Mystery Jets 'Half In Love With Elizabeth' (Delorean Remix)
• Arcade Fire 'No Cars Go'
• Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman
• Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman (Cousin Cole)
• New Young Pony Club 'The Bomb (Kaos Disco Bomb Extended Dub)
- (Foals 'Like Swimming')
- (Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman (Punks Jump Up Mix
• Foals 'Olympic Airways'
• Bloc Party 'I Still Remember'
• Morrissey 'Suedehead'
• Joy Division 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'
• Joy Division 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (Arthur Baker Remix)
• M83 'We Own the Sky'
- (Man Like Me 'London Town' (Doorly's Cockney Wideboy Remix))
• Spiritualized vs the Beach Boys 'Wouldn't It Be Ecstasy'
• Jack Peñate 'Tonight's Today' (Extended Mix)
• Doves 'There Goes the Fear' (U.N.K.L.E. Remix)
• DJ Shadow 'Blood On the Motorway'
- (Snow Patrol 'Shut Your Eyes'
Friday, 26 June 2009
So Michael Jackson is gone. I’ve seen plenty of comment about this, some positive some down right stupid. However whatever you say, Jackson changed the face of popular music beyond recognition. Quite aside from practically inventing the music video genre, breaking MTV and propping up Motown, Jackson alongside Quincy Jones moved black music into the heart of pop, creating a legacy that undermines all but the blandest, whitest of today’s music. Before Thriller, there was soul, funk, and disco and then there was every other type of music, including pop. By exhibiting a healthy disregard for genre, Jackson quite literally defined his music as what was to be known as pop, a decision that resonates with almost everything of any note since.
Easily as influential as the Beatles, Velvets or any other rock ‘n roll band, Jackson the man may have been a questionable proposition, but his music lives on….
Michael Jackson Tribute Mix by DJ Premier
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
DJ Vadim first entered the consciousness through the Ninja Tunes camp and a definite association with trip hop, a genre so steeped in the nineties I last saw it down the Blue note sporting Carharrt jeans and Nike Huaraches.
Judging by the press release, time has not been kind to Vadim, encountering as he has a string of personal misadventures, including mass bereavement and ocular melanoma (eye cancer). Musically, however this purple patch seems to have invigorated the artist formerly known as Russia favourite cut n paste hero (probably)
Whilst being rather unsure of it role, this album showcases admirably Vadim exemplary production skills, and love for the bass driven end of black music in all its forms.
Schizophrenically switching styles from roots reggae to straight up breaks, via clipped hip hop and soul, the album meanders ingeniously but tastefully across a myriad of musical styles.
Opening with the laidback guitar led ‘Soldier’, lets the album down as the righteous roots vibe recalls a dozen student gaffs thick with the smell of cheap draw. The album soon moves into darker territory with the Kraftwerk meets Jammy’s uptown vibe of ‘Imaginashun’ (and yes this IS a good thing.) Digital dub as genre is about as fashionable as Piers Morgan, but Vadim carries it well, keeping tight to the groove with falling off into noodling territory.
Things get interesting again later on with the instrumental goodness of ‘Game tight’ beautifully sampling ‘Nadia’s Theme’ also used by a certain Miss J Blige, and the bouncy soulful closing jam ‘Hidden Treasure’, what’s known as a ‘banger’ and definitely the highlight of the record.
A few dodgy vocal performances aside, this is a real summer party record, Vadim has managed to throw off the clichés of his past and overcome his personal demons to create, not quite a masterpiece, but certainly a worthy record. Worth Checking.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Disco, it seems is no longer the dirty word it was. Once the nemisis of the mass of mainstream punters hardwired by the hideous rewriting of the seventies that pushed the image of tacky suburban nightclubs and cheap polyester suits, to those who had evolved a groove, disco has always been another slightly truncated form of funk and soul. Indeed to the house music generation, in a way it embodies a more authentic view of four to the floor hedonism.
To some this was always the case, and to two New York immigrants, one the son of a wealthy British retail dynasty (Mothercare no less!) the other a transient French punk rocker, Disco was just another party of a party mix, part of a collage of sounds that sounded great at two o’clock in a steamy basement club. It was these two guys, Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban who in 1977 created ZE records, a seminal New York ‘No Wave’ label that mixed the stripped down experimental bassline disco being championed by the likes of Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage, with the spiky indigenous punk being created in the wake of the Ramones and New York Dolls.
More that just a record label, ZE came to embody the spirit of the anything as long as you can dance to it, musical policy of NY clubs like The Roxy where the ice cold minimalism of Kraftwerk, could be heard next to bad ass funk from James Brown mixed in with the jerky rock n roll of Talking Heads. And it was this mix and match attitude tied together with a funky bassline, that steered ZE to become the influential downtown label of the late 70’s early 80’s.
Soon the label boasted an impressive roster of the cream of the twisted underground signing up such new talent as James White and the Blacks, Was (Not Was), Kid Creole and the Coconuts, alongside more established performers including John Cale and Suicide.
ZE 30 is a timely release from reissue label par excellence Strut that collates some of the finer, funkier and frankly weirder moments from the labels history. The 14 track selection stretches from to good times dancefloor classic ‘Tell Me That I’m Dreaming’ from Was not Was, to Avant-garde industrial experimentation from Suicide with ‘Dream Baby Dream.’
It’s easy with these label perspectives, to be willfully obscure in order to gain some uber-hip upper hand, but Strut tread a fine line here of showcasing the astonishing breadth of material on the album with some genuine floor fillers. The aforementioned Paradise garage sound is represented by Larry Levan weighing with his stripped back druggy mix of Kid Creoles demolition of Caribbean politics, characterized by a rush of syncopated handclaps, whilst the more white boy punk sound can be heard in Alan Vegas willfully obscure techno rockabilly ‘Juke Box Baby’
The slickly marketed music industry of the last two decades has been quick to compartmentalize and pigeonholes sounds and scenes to create highly lucrative ‘units’ meanwhile missing the point of the soul of pop, a soul based on crossover and masterful accidents. Its only with the democratization of content bought about by the internet that things are starting to change,, and its into this musical palette that the far out low down sounds of ZE nestle nicely.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Last night I went to the very brilliant Island 50 showcase gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Celebrating 50 years of Chris Blackwell's hugelly influentual label, the line up featured August Darnell aka Kid Creole, Sly and Robbie with The Compass Point All Stars and of course the original diva Grace Jones.
Sometimes these industry events tend to be full of back slapping smugness, but this was a real party with extra sub bass to match. Grace Jones is a faultless performer, unwilling to acknowledge the freak show nature of her image, instead relying on a truly electriying persona matched with titanic vocals.
Thanks to @allgigs for the tickets, follow them on twitter.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Reggae music is often overlooked in the official history of electronic music, but along with the not inconsiderable gifts of DJ Culture, soundsystems, dub, MC's and raves, the creation of Sleng Teng was a significant moment in the spread of electronic production techniques and values.
Created on a vintage Casio Beatbox by Wayne Smith and Tony Asher in 1985, the rhythm built around an old Eddie Cochrane riff, underpinned the first digital reggae release.
The rock 'n' roll rhythm on the Casio was slowed down and rebuilt by Asher at Jammy's St Lucia Road studio, and launched on an unsuspecting world at the historic sound clash between Jammy's and Black Scorpio at Waltham Park Road on February 23, 1985.
Many blame Sleng Teng for unleashing the cacophony of slackness and gunshot that became Ragga, but that aside its a great bassline tune, and surefire party starter.
All you ravers might reciognise Sleng Teng as it turned up later as the key sample n SL2’s rave blockbuster ‘Way in My Brain’
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Hot off the press, brand new Greg Wilson mix from Feel Up
On a slo-mo, late night tip not too dissimilar to the recent Resident Advisor mix. No track listing, but you know that quality is never an issue..
Acres been written about GW, so you not going to retread old ground here; basically if you don’t know already you could look here, or here.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
In 1978 the Rolling Stones enlisted disco producer du-jour Bob Clearmountain ( who later went on to commit the ultimate musical offence by engineering Bryan Adams Everything I Do)to remix this track from the album 'Some Girls. Giving them them their eighth number one in the US, it also facilitated the revitalisation of the band in the eyes of the rock critics and helped them regain the 'influential' status that had eluded them on their previous two albums. Mick was in the middle of a divorce from Bianca and in the midst of a blooming romance with Jerry Hall when this was song was written, which led to much media speculation about which one of the Jagger women it was penned for.
Pout your lips, spank your ass and go "oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh".
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Chances are, that if you are one of the 3567 (and rising) people who have ever logged into this page to look and wonder at the delightful prose and disorientating flashing pictures, you probably have at least some grasp of musical universe outside of local radio or The Daily Stars revered Playlist Column.
Chances are you may even be one of the enlightened few who are happy to admit you are hip to new or even experimental sounds, maybe a bit of Brazilian dubstep or African electronica and the associated sounds they may have introduced you to? I’m guessing (and ultimately hoping) however that you don’t fit into the depressingly narrow and restrictive group of people who term themselves ‘rock’ fans, looking for ‘authenticity’ and a love of ‘real people, singing real songs’
This outlook has been prevalent from the birth of pop music, essentially as a method of favouring the mediocre over the dangerous. A brilliant whitewashing of the sex, violence and fun prevalent in funk, soul and dance music in favour of its easily accessible and successfully marketable drive time hell.
And this is how we come to the impasse that fails to bring the music industry to its knees today. Forget pirate bay or YouTube, the reason the big four companies are in dire straits is they are in contempt of their target market, namely the ‘kids’. The music business as we know it was born of the back of the birth of a young subculture in the sixties, artist albums dominated, and the template was set in stone from there on. Whilst marginal labels like Motown were allowed to exist simultaneously whilst they churned out the hits, they were never considered as serious, and therefore not assimilated until the numbers proved it was embarrassing not to.
The eighties saw the rise of the dull adult rock peddled by like likes of Dire Straits and U2, and anything of a vaguely ‘coloured’ nature was only allowed if it fitted into these parameters, (see Michael Jackson etc.) Acid house may have shaken youth culture but the record companies soon and very cleverly marketed the bedroom labels with endless cash in comps or just bought them out wholesale. This is where we end up, with the cultural black hole of the kooks, Kaiser Chiefs and Shouting for Fucking Girls. A world where Duffy is embraced because “her music could have been made any time in the last twenty years”, and that is seen as a good thing….
So why care? Because rockism is pervasive and everything culturally is viewed through this monocle of mediocrity and half-cut power ballad. Rockist journalists peddle the “no personalities or opinions” of dance music or the gaudy materialism of black music or flippancy of pop as a catch all rejection,. It’s got to be U2 or Led Zep, everything else is contemptible.
This rockist attitude shows a lack of passion and no real enthusiasm for anything other than a dirge. Some lacklustre criticism from rockist journalists has landed on “landfill indie” as the cancer eating our souls, but that lets too many off the hook. We all know that every time Duffy appears on a magazine cover a small child dies.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Watch this space as I amateurly try to match the breaks with classic hip hop 'joints'.....
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Half an hour of my time I will never get back, review for 3 Bar Fire....
Rasmus Faber-Where We Belong
Somewhere in the deepest bowels of Hades lies a “nitetclub”, little known to all but the most cretinous of sinners.
In one room the entertainment is provided by the worst remains of indie trust fund rockers, pumping out insipid guitar anthems to moronic middle aged sinners; the other rooms bounces to the sound of ‘funky house’, and it is here that Rasmus Faber plays on rotation, for eternity……
A turbulent mix of ‘dance music’ and R&B, funky house manages to strip the only worthwhile elements of both genres and distil them down to a base torridness of plodding beats and detached vocal clichés.
Rasmus Faber has seeming picked up this baton, turning his attentions to creating “Where We Belong” an over polished, under nourished collection of vacuous funky dance pop.
It’s difficult to pick out highlights, as a succession of female vocalists implore you to ‘get down’, and ‘get with it’ in tones so detached they appear to be singing through from inside a locked bank vault.
Meanwhile on another continent Mr Faber pumps the identi house grooves, occasionally flecked with Latin percussion or over filtered pianos for that ‘authentic’ vibe.
These ‘tunes’ are destined to turn up on a double pack mixed CD adored with scantily clad females, or pumped through inadequate sound systems in suburban wine bars for perpetuity.
File next to the smell of burning flesh.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Reynolds is one of the only writers to discuss the idea of a UK hardcore heritage, most famously though his book Energy Flash, where he argues a case of UK rave and hardcore music as a genuine artistic subculture. In the process Reynolds intellectualises it with a critique that draws as much upon academic critical theory as rude boy ramblings.
The articles are great, and its bloody good to see a considered approach taken to music that doesn’t traditionally fit into the four white boys playing the blues school of rock journalism.
However there is a stage where it’s tempting to criticise Reynolds as slightly missing the point. Talking about The Aesthetic of Disappearance, in relation to a home grown youth culture does go someway to legitimising the backroom knob twiddling of the network of misspent youths who made it happen. However, the music has existed and evolved precisely because of its lack of media spotlight and legitimisation.
At what stage does a critic like Reynolds become the cultural big game hunter, on safari in the badlands of the jungle?
Monday, 2 February 2009
Check out the superb Woebot blog for an online exhibition of cover art from 90's hardcore/jungle pioneers Suburban Base. Apart from being visually stunning, the art captures a real moment in time, and sums up the tunes inside perfectly. Its blindingly obvious now to spot the hip hop and cartoon infulences in both Dave Nodz cover art and the rolling ragga and beats influenced scene. However at the time the whole thing was a big infulential Fuck Off to the tastemakers who ruled clubland with a Gaultier clad iron fist..
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
Always loved a bit of Mantronix and this album in terms of energy and production detail is a blinder. Innovator, legend etc. are big shouts but Kurtis Mantronix is one of the few people to genuinely alter the path of electronic music.
Schooled in old school hip hop and electro from the school of Arthur Baker and Marley Marl, Mantronix pushed it as far as they could; combining peerless studio production techniques with the traditional electronic sounds of YMO, Kraftwerk and Neu and most tellingly the sonic sculptures of dub reggae. In fact Kurtis has a Jamaican /Canadian heritage, and it’s the simplicity and space in his sound that echoes the rhythmic mastery of dub that sets his work apart.
At the back end of the eighties Mantronix dropper rapper Mc Tee and embarked on a more club friendly direction, releasing proto swingbeat classic, “Got To Have Your Love” . It appears the trail soon went dead as he hung up his slipmats and drifted into obscurity before being rediscovered by London Soul Jazz collective in the 21st Century.
Here’s one of Kurtis el Khaleel aka Kurtis Mantronix’s finest moments:
Thursday, 22 January 2009
As I havent written any reviews in ages (boooo), thought I would higlight this excellent article I came across in FACT Magazine- essential reading for disco head nodders
It comes from the fantastic German Best Before Disco fanzine. I don't neccesarily agree with the idea that acid house is 'funkier' than disco- but its bloody welll written, so worth a look.
Disco vs Acid House - Tuesday, 20 January 2009
To me, disco music becomes interesting by the late '70s when producers started to tear down disco's "wall of sound" and got rid of all those sickening orchestral sections, mostly made up of string and horn compositions. Not only the reduction to the bare musical essentials, but also the concept of automatization was necessary to help disco become fresher.
Back in 1975, during the production of Donna Summer's 'Love To Love You Baby', Giorgio Moroder advised his drummer Keith Forseth to play the drums in perfect sync with a Wurlitzer Sideman - the first commercially available electronic drum-machine, which was made in 1959. While the rather crappy Sideman sounds (created from vacuum tubes!) were not used in the song, Moroder's approach was clear: to seek for funk in a dry, steady machine-like beat. The bass drum was recorded very loud and with a distinct punch and although the track runs on only 96 bpm (a term that came up in the disco era btw.) it might mark the beginning of a new technique that soon became essential for dance music production.
While house music adopted disco's 4-to-the-floor rhythm structure and thus created an apparent connection, the sound aesthetics slowly became more abstract and futuristic. A Ron Hardy Warehouse mix from the mid-'80s is loaded with edits of cheesy, ornamental Disco tracks, suddenly cut through by minimal pumping House rhythms that sound like they slipped in from a wormhole. One wonders why wunderkind DJ Ron Hardy hadn't just dismissed Disco completely after house music was born. From the view of a DJ or dance music producer, the focus on pure rhythm rather than on opulent orchestration should be a logical consequence.
However, the advent of programmable drum machines like the gritty sample-based Linn LM-1 and the Roland TR-808 and 909, with their archetypical pounding bassdrum circuitry provided the necessary equipment to make the crowd "jack". Soon, rhythmical paradigms were broken up and snares and handclaps were put all over the place while never loosing their quantized tightness.
I feel that acid house finally liberated dance music from individual-related live music and erased the reference to disco music as far as possible. With acid, atonality found its way into house and the snatchy rhythms coupled with the staccatos and portamentos of the 303 are a perfect match. I wouldn't argue that Acid House is more intelligent than disco - it might even be more stupid - but it's surely closer to catharsis and much more funky!
Chip E. - 'Time to Jack' (Gotta Dance Records, 1985) [above]
Hercules - '7 Ways' (Dance Mania, 1986)
Mr. Lee - 'House This House' (Trax Records, 1987)
Tyree - 'Acid Crash' (Rockin House Music, 1988)
Gherkin Jerks - 'Acid Ingestion' (Gherkin Records, 1988)
Armando - '151' (Warehouse Records, 1988)
Mike Dunn - 'Magic Feet' (Westbrook Records, 1988)
Two Of A Kind - 'Acid Bitch' (West Madison Records, 1988)
Fast Eddie - 'Acid Thunder' (DJ International, 1988)
Spanky - 'Acid Bass' (Trax Records, 1989)