Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Slave to the Rhythm

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

Way in Mi Brain

Reading the Mighty FACT magazines twenty best Ragga post last week, I was interested in the omission of the classic 'Sleng Teng' rhythm.

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’