Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Rest in peace, Martin F Emond.

More here. Original Google cache story here

Update: from Illicit (thanks drift); A memorial ceremony will be held at on Sunday March 28 at 4.44PM at Alleluya Cafe, St Kevins Arcade, K Rd Auckland. All welcome.
"The Illicit Family mourns the loss of our brother/son and best friend Martin "Fuckin" Emond, AKA Mickey Martin, AKA Switch Blade. Who passed away in Los Angeles on Sunday the 14th of March 2004. An inspiration to so many, words cannot express our grief, we love you and we'll see you again on the other side."

NZ Herald obituary here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Seen the new Channel 4 promo?
Check this link....
Copped this from Dubber over at the Wireless - he says "If you scroll down on that page, you'll notice that there's a webcounter. Fairly hefty numbers too. Since Channel 4 are not actually promoting this, just storing it on an unlinked page on their website, it's actually completely viral.
In other words, you've just been part of a marketing campaign distributed at no cost to Channel 4 - and they're counting the impressions."
WARNING - promo contains excessive and unabated swearing. Don't watch it if you don't like rude words.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Gabba gabba hey
She's crossing the road; a young Asian woman, hand in hand with her boyfriend, both dressed fairly conservatively, smart casual, both mid 20s. Shes wearing a jeans, a pink jacket, and a black tshirt; written on it in red stencilled letters is the slogan


Sighted in central Auckland, 5.50pm, sunday evening. True story.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hey, stupid.
TV3 News last night had a news item from the US, with a reporter sitting down with a bedroom musician showing said dumbass reporter a mashup. The tone of the piece was 'lets make this so simple an idiot could understand it', 'cept the reporter ended up sounding like an idiot. 'This is a Mash. Up." Dumbass reporter guy noted that with the widespread availability of easily accessible computer software, anyone can do it, and shock horror, not pay any attention to copyright. What he failed to mention was that people who do mashups generally don't try and release them officially, or make money off them. Thats why they are also known as bootlegs. It aint legal, but its a hell of a lot of fun.
It also made brief mention of the Grey Album, while skipping over the copyright issues raised by the album. It was like watching a teenager trying to explain hiphop to their granddad. Painful.

Heres a profile of some of the remix albums based on the Black Album.

Silver, Brown, Gray: Jay-Z Every Which Way
By JON PARELES, New York Times (requires registration)

Jay-Z didn't just announce his retirement from hip-hop with "The Black Album." He also left a going-away present by making available the unaccompanied raps from all 14 of the album's songs. While other rappers regularly include a cappella raps on their singles, Jay-Z challenged would-be producers to remake the entire album, and they have taken him up on it. More than a dozen versions are just an Internet search away on sites like

...Danger Mouse was by no means the only one to mesh familiar licks with Jay-Z's rhymes.
Here's an assessment, roughly in descending order, of "Black Album" remixes:
DANGER MOUSE PRESENTS "The Grey Album" (file-sharing sites): Recognizable samples and clever juxtapositions start most songs: "Mother Nature's Son" behind the voice of Jay-Z's mother on "Dec. 4." But the pace accelerates through each track, slicing the Beatles ever more microscopically to envelop Jay-Z in a swirl of voices from the past (mostly Paul McCartney) and a rhythmic barrage.
BAZOOKA JOE PRESENTS "The Silver Album (Jay-Z vs. RJD2)" ( The underground hip-hop producer RJD2 didn't actually produce "The Silver Album." But he approved these remixes, which appropriate the burly tracks RJD2 originally produced for Massive Attack, Aceyalone, Cannibal Ox and El-P, built from live-band samples of 1960's soul, 1970's funk, rock and even a snippet of chamber music. Samples of samples: recycling perfected.
PAUL NICE VS. JAY-Z "The Unofficial Black Album Remix" ( Paul Nice has produced the Beastie Boys, and has also put out his own collections of sampled beats for his fellow disc jockeys to reassemble. He keeps the tracks lean and swaggering, turning vintage sounds into streamlined funk.
CHEAP COLOGNE "The Double Black Album" ( An inevitable combination: Jay-Z meets Metallica's black album, the 1991 "Metallica." Metallica's somber power chords and brooding slow arpeggios underline what Jay-Z calls "my pain and my struggle." The Metallica riffs turn Jay-Z into a rocker with a perpetual chip on his shoulder.
MC SCOTTD "The Black Album Hot Buttered Soul Remixes" (file-sharing sites): Here's a producer who doesn't take Jay-Z quite as seriously as the rapper takes himself. In "Encore," where Jay-Z demands applause, the track has Bjork going "Shhh!" MC ScottD is also fond of the wah-wah guitars of blaxploitation soundtracks and of airy Indian vocals, and he turns "Moment of Clarity," Jay-Z's reconciliation with his father, into a confessional ballad.
J-HEN "The Black Album Encore'd" (file-sharing sites): Like a lot of other hip-hop producers, J-Hen knows his 1970's soul; his take on "Encore" revives Sly Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay." But J-Hen has a way of destabilizing the old funk: placing Jay-Z's rhymes against the beat, adding a skewed drumbeat, inserting skips and hesitations, borrowing unlikely samples like a bit of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells." He raises the tension by shaking Jay-Z's foundation.
ILLMIND "The Black and Tan Album" ( Sparse is the aesthetic for ILLmind's remixes, which set out to do more with less: techno boops, ticking drums, laid-back bass lines, three or four notes from a guitar or keyboard. ILLmind's minimalism makes Jay-Z sound almost nonchalant.
J-STEW Fifteen songs ( J-Stew, a producer from Austin, Tex., aspires to the abstract funk of Timbaland crossed with the stereo ricochets of clubland. He places Jay-Z amid electronic pulses, stuttering drums and brittle dissonances that sometimes challenge Jay-Z to talk his way out of the ruckus.
KNO VS. HOV "The White Albulum" ( Kno, the producer for the CunninLynguists, searches far afield for his samples, borrowing from the Alan Parsons Project and the Brazilian group Os Mutantes. Often using samples with their pitch shifted upwards, he makes the tracks ripple around Jay-Z's voice, lighter than air and slightly vertiginous.
THE BLACK JAYS "The Black Jays Album" ( The Blackjays production team of Kardinal Offishall and Solitair links minimalism to reggae. Its electronic vamps slink along, almost conspiratorially, as if trouble lurks just beyond the clean-lined perimeter.
KEV BROWN "The Brown Album" ( Kev Brown's productions send Jay-Z to a cushy lounge, where electric pianos twinkle and tempos take their time. At times it sounds as if Jay-Z has already retired.
`THE JAY-Z CONSTRUCTION SET' ( Finally, a Jay-Z meta-mix: eight remix albums (including Kno, ILLmind, Danger Mouse, the Blackjays and Kev Brown) downloaded from the Internet, along with Jay-Z's a cappella raps, MP3 files of "The Black Album" and do-it-yourself remix software. It's the makings of countless more mutations.

And the world keeps turning...
George Michael has announced he is to quit the music business.

RIP Spalding Gray.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Banks, out.
Our local boyracer Mayor John Banks has managed to get the ratepayers of Auckland to cough up an interest-free loan of $3.5 million to fund V8 street car races around central Auckland, shutting down Hobson St, Victoria St West, Beaumont St, and Fanshawe St (including motorway on and off ramps there) for five days. Brian Rudman's excellent reporting on the latest Banks flight of fancy is here.
Rudman asks "What has Mayor John Banks got to hide over the V8 street races he wants to inflict on downtown Auckland? Not only are he and his allies refusing to share details with ratepayers, but they are intent on stifling debate among elected councilors.
At last Thursday's confidential meeting of Auckland city's recreation and events committee, attempts to quiz race promoters and council officials for further details were shut down by committee chairman Scottie Milne.
There to babysit Mr Milne was self-confessed former boy-racer Mr Banks - who rarely attends committee meetings - and Deputy Mayor David Hay.
The flavour of the meeting can be gauged by the mayor's quip when councilor Richard Northey sought elaboration about economic and social impacts - "You're never going to agree, Richard, so stop wasting our time with your question."
Questions on economic impacts and whether affected community boards had been consulted - they were not - were ruled out of order."
Rudman quotes Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett, "who said after last Tuesday's gridlock that "today's events added millions to this year's costs [for business]. It is unacceptable ... " That followed one truck breaking down. We are talking five days plus of total street closure here."
Banks seems to be suffering from that peculiar affliction that attacks Auckland Mayors; the burning need to leave a visible imprint of their brief time as head of our city - think
Mills and Britomart, Fletcher and the rejigged Britomart, Tizard and Aotea Centre...

UPDATE I wrote a letter to the Herald about this, and it got published, wonders of wonders, but they did edit out the juicier stuff, like where I talked about John Banks and his monkeyboy David Hay. The Herald doesn't use the term monkeyboy, apparently. Shame.

The NZ Herald flogged Shayne Carter's article from Mysterex magazine and published it on Saturday - its a great read, Carter writing about his high school band Bored Games....

"At the tail end of the 70s the Enemy played our school dance. Chris Knox was the evilest person I'd seen. I was dreading he might come off the stage and tap me on the shoulder. I thought I was punk but inside I was cowering. Thank God they only lasted two songs before school principal Dave Rathbone kicked them off.

This same Dave Rathbone walked out two years running on Bored Games' performances at the Kaikorai Valley High School talent quest. Something about it being too loud.

The first quest was our debut, 1979: I Wanna Be Your Dog and some originals like I. H. For Me (about mentally disabled workshops), Frustration (about frustration) and 15 cos all the punk bands had at least one song with numbers in it and that's what we were. ("I might not be a kid and I might not be a man, but I'm not the little fool that you think that I am, I'm 15 ... ")

We formed a small core at school amid a sea of Kiss-emblazoned satchels and fledgling Marley-ites. KVHS drew on the working-class suburbs of West Dunedin and I came from the worst of all, Brockville. All Mark 3 Zephyrs, solo mums and their snotty-nosed kids and the smell of stew at four o'clock wafting across the neighbourhood. A lower socio-economic area according to our form teacher..."

For the unedited version, buy Mysterex magaizne from Real Groovy (Akl) Slowboat (Wgtn) Galaxy (Chch) Records Records (Dun). Yeah, the Herald used it by permission.

Going bush
I played out at Splore at the weekend, at Waharau Regional Park. It's a stunning venue for a gig, and only an hour out of Auckland. I played early saturday afternoon, under the trees in the Oceania Grove. My hearty congratulations to the organisers on a great event. Here's a review.

Australia was founded by a bunch of criminals says rap artist....
from Rappers Necro & Khia have been banned from being purchased by anyone under the age of 18 in Australia. The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) introduced a 4 level censorship guideline 3 years ago. "There really isn't anyone as explicit as me on any level," Necro told "It's not a big deal. My records are still in all the stores. Australia was founded by a bunch of criminals, so who knows what's up with them."

And this story just to hand...
Man Arrested for Assaulting Cookie Monster

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Yeah right.
The NZ Herald reports that "McDonald's Corp, battered by criticism of its fatty foods, says it will eliminate Supersize french fries and soft drinks by the end of the year, part of a swing toward pleasing health-minded customers and simplifying its menu...
...A new documentary film, called Super Size Me illustrates the negative effects of over-consumption of McDonald's food. The film has not yet been released [It has gained a US distributor, and is currently screening at several upcoming film festivals in the US].
A McDonald's spokeswoman said that the menu changes are not related to any impact of the film on public awareness.
"They had no connection whatsoever," said the spokeswoman, Lisa Howard."

Yeah right.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Hope for a generation...
The Cuba St Carnival happened in Wellington over the weekend - I was lucky enough to be invited down to play, with Dub Asylum, and Bassteppa Sound System. Despite the constant rain all day saturday, heaps of Wellingtonians braved the weather to stroll up and down Cuba St checking out the music on the numerous stages and the stalls selling food, clothes and little coloured balls with smiley faces painted on them - only $2 a pop. I had a recurring conversation with several Auckland folk I ran into during the day, saying that if this event was in Auckland, everyone would stay home cos it was raining, whereas Wellingtonians don't care, its just a little rain. Good on em!
We did our Dub Asylum set mid afternoon on saturday, about 30 folks dancing in the rain, good on them too. Even had a few cops walk past, and my MC Word Perfect managed to get them to do a little boogie - he told the crowd "Do you know why the police can dance? Cos they're walking the beat!" Great pun.

We did a Bassteppa set at Bodega in the evening, then Fat Freddys Drop rounded out my saturday night, playing to a hometown crowd down at a jam-packed club on Courtney Place. Its been several years since I've seen them, and they have honed down their approach into something truly amazing. While they used to cruise on jamming til the cows come home, now they seem to effortlessly groove thru their tunes, thanks to some tightening up of their arrangements. Sure, they still cut loose and extend a tune as they see fit, but they are just so soulful; its unbelievably good. They are very talented cats, who understand the importance of underplaying, rather than showing off on their instruments.

While many folk trumpeted endlessly about 2003 being the best year for NZ music ever, that's really only true if you were making pop, garage rock or hiphop. If you fell outside those strict genres, forget it. Fat Freddys don't fit easily into any tidy genre description, but I hope the public appetite for local sounds will embrace them when their album drops later this year. If Fat Freddys hit the top of the local album charts, then perhaps there's some hope for this generation.

Sunday at the Carnival was fine weather, lots of good music, and a late breakfast sitting outside at Fidels watching the crowd stroll by - Fidels vegetarian feast is so good, I would consider moving to Wellington just for that. Their hash browns are the bomb.

Bob Mould is a DJ
He used to be an alt rock god, but now he's at the wheels of steel. His dj sets sound like a lot of fun - there's a playlist here. And he's got a blog. How thoroughly modern. Background article here.
djs weekly at a clubnight called Blowoff alongside Richard Morel - they met when Mould and his boyfriend moved to Washington DC a few years ago.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Flying under the radar
Some genius at the NZ Herald decided to give local comedian Radar a weekly column in that esteemed paper - Hoo - bloody - rah! His first effort involves the invasion of his lounge by the compost raiders, and is highly entertaining. I suggest you to investigate this talented chaps fine wit. He spent last Xmas in Jerusalem, looking for the Intifada (Israeli/Palestinian conflict) - he didn't find it, but he did meet Yasser Arafat. Look out for the documentary film of his travels sometime later this year.
The pic in the paper has him smiling and looking all user friendly (scrubs up well, he does), however the pic on the Heralds website is Radar's 'serious young man' face. Scary.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put up a legal analysis of the Grey Tuesday protest, which strongly supports the protesters fair use rights, noting that EMI do not have federal copyright protection as the White Album came out prior to 1972 ....

"Are the Grey Tuesday protesters protected by fair use?
... There are a number of characteristics of the Grey Tuesday protest that would likely weigh in favor of those who post the Grey Album:

1 the posting of the Grey Album is for a noncommercial purpose;
2 downloads of the Grey Album do not substitute for purchases of the White Album;
3 the Grey Album is a transformative use of the White Album, not a wholesale copy; and
4 the posting of the Grey Album is intended as part of a commentary on the use of copyright law to stymie new kinds of musical creativity."

From Creative Commons site...
"For some people, the future of copyright law is here, and it looks a lot like Gilberto Gil. The Brazilian singer-songwriter plans to release a groundbreaking CD this winter, which will include three of his biggest hits from the 1970s. It isn't the content of the disc that makes it so novel, though -- it's the copyright notice that will accompany it." Read more here.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Flattering, says Danger Mouse.
DJ Danger Mouse's official response to Grey Tuesday is here. For some background on Danger Mouse, check out this interview at He's been doing the mashup thing for a while now.. "I put out about three other 12” of things I did where I was mixing like Suzanne Vega with 50 Cent, Nas and Portishead and stuff like that...."
The New York Times reports that "By yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) some of the web masters of the protesting sites said they had served 85 to 100 copies of the album, while other reported as many as 1,000 downloads." So, its gone from 3000 cds to potentially 75,000 to 100,000 copies in circulation in one day by my estimate. Grey Tuesday say that "we are certain the Grey Album was the number one album in the country yesterday (by a huge margin). Danger Mouse moved more 'units' than Norah Jones and Kanye West, and the Grey Album easily went gold in a day, with well over 100,000 copies downloaded. That's more than 1 million digital tracks."
EMI could have licensed the record, got it in the shops and be making money off it, instead of making money for their lawyers. 'Cept the Beatles are well known for saying no to anyone wanting to sample their music.

More from the NYT... "Jonathan Zittrain, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, said the issue is indeed a gray one. "As a matter of pure legal doctrine, the Grey Tuesday protest is breaking the law, end of story," Mr. Zittrain said. "But copyright law was written with a particular form of industry in mind. The flourishing of information technology gives amateurs and home-recording artists powerful tools to build and share interesting, transformative, and socially valuable art drawn from pieces of popular culture. There's no place to plug such an important cultural sea change into the current legal regime."

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Props to Alan Oakley.
Raleigh have just announced they are bringing back the 70s classic Raleigh Chopper. Hits the streets in the UK on April, costs just under 200 pounds.
"The bike’s original design by Alan Oakley, the then Chief Designer at Raleigh , remains largely unchanged on the new version. Available only in the original Infra Red, the materials in the bike’s production are taken from the original Chopper concept, even using the original tyre mould from the 70s.... the original Chopper (or The Hot One as it is affectionately known) was launched in America in September 1968. The film ‘Easy Rider’ was released here in 1969; Raleigh saw the opportunity and released the Chopper to the discerning UK audience. The Chopper frenzy exploded taking the Hot One to cult status. " Me want.

And guess what? Just phoned a few cycle shops, and discovered that Raleigh NZ is not connected with Raleigh UK, they make a totally different range for NZ, and these new issue choppers won't be appearing here any time soon. Bummer. If you know of how I can get one, or if you have contacts in a cycle shop, please help me get my hands on one! (And yes you can get one online - BUT the UK online sellers only sell to the UK).

The latest issue of Mysterex magazine hit the stores recently - issue three contains excellent articles on 80s NZ bands such as Riot III, Danse Macabre, Wellington punk scene in late 70s, Fifty 45s Kiwi Rock Dribblers Shouldn't Be Without (very entertaining),and Shayne Carter writing about his high school band, Bored Games. Available from Real Groovy, Slowboat, Records Records, or email Essential reading for any serious Kiwi music fan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tuesday Dischord.

" can't sell music because music is free. I'm serious about that. I really believe that. Music is like air, you can't sell it. I know that people have, not to fall back to my oft-used metaphors and analogies, but this is the way I process things, but I see music as a river, and the water in a river is there for everyone and anyone that wants to have a sip can have a sip and have some water.
Now somewhere along the line someone came up with the idea of putting the river water in bottles and selling the bottles of water. That's the record industry. Music is a river, music is water, and the bottling company is the industry, and it's not inherently evil, because it's frankly, convenient to have water in a bottle, so if you're driving in your car and you're thirsty you don't have to drive to the nearest river and take a sip, you can just reach down and take a sip out of your bottle.
The same way if I'm driving in my car and I want to hear a song, I don't have to drive over to the people's house and ask them to play it for me, I can put the CD in and listen to it, or turn on the radio. Where it gets ugly is that when the bottling company, since their aim is to make money-- at some point they may have thought like, "Let's bottle this water and that way we can share the healthful qualities of water with all the people."
At some point it becomes, "This is our industry, we need to make money, and how can we increase profits?" Well, the way to increase profits is to try to discourage people from going to the river, and having to buy the bottled water. And they'll start with that but eventually what they're going to get into is they're going to start blocking the river or they're going to poison the river.
But water is always moving, and it's very difficult to poison a river, very hard indeed. And that's the good news about music, it can't be stopped, it will always happen, people will always make music, and regardless of whether or not there's money to be made form it or not, it's still going to happen, it can't be stopped. So in my mind with the sales of records, the industry has done their best to claim ownership of music but they don't-- they only own the things that they sell, so when people who are songwriters say, "That's my property and if you give it away for free then I lose my incentive," then, well, good riddance."
Ian MacKaye of Fugazi/Dischord Records, interviewed on Downhill Battles site (people behind Grey Tuesday).

Also worth reading is the interview with hiphop MC Sage Francis of crew Non Prophets - his crew are currently on a 41 city tour of the US called the Fuck Clear Channel Tour. Clear Channel Sucks backgrounds this radio giant. "...They are in 248 of the top 250 radio markets, controlling 60% of all rock programming. They outright own the tours of musicians like Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Madonna and N'Sync. They own the network which airs Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Casey Kasem, and the Fox Sports Radio Network. With 103,000,000 listeners in the U.S. and 1,000,000,000 globally (1/6 of the world population), this powerful company has grown unchecked, using their monopoly to control the entire music industry. If you find this alarming, is the place for you."

Reality tv has hit new lows..... Celebrity Detox Camp, currently on repeat in the UK. Celebrity enemas, two a day for seven days. Yuck.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Fade to Grey
What do you get if you cross Jay Z's latest CD the Black Album with the Beatles White Album? Answer: The Grey Album, a bootleg by US DJ Danger Mouse (real name Brian Burton). Highly illegal, very entertaining. Hiphop vocals from Jay Z's latest, plus beats and samples all taken from the White Album. Its intriguing, and some of it even works.
Not surpisingly, the Beatles label EMI has jumped all over this, as its been out on cd, limited to 3000 copies worldwide. "It's illegal, I know that and it may get me in trouble, but if I had thought about that I would have never made what I thought turned out to be one of the best things I ever did," Dangermouse said. Read Reuters news report on it here.

"Danger Mouse said he's complied with the order not to distribute any more copies of The Grey Album. [Ebay have pulled it from their auctions also] Because of the small number pressed, he didn't expect any further legal action to take place." But once it hits the net it will be downloaded all over the show. Grey Tuesday is about just that... "Tuesday, February 24 will be a day of coordinated civil disobedience: websites will post Danger Mouse's Grey Album on their site for 24 hours in protest of EMI's attempts to censor this work." 138 sites are currently listed as taking part.
I'm not suggesting you download it, that would be illegal. I heard some short sound samples over at Turntable Lab. Will the Grey Tuesday kids all get sued by EMI?
Andrew Baio at had the files up on his site for download briefly, but was CC'd on an email to his ISP emailed by EMI's lawyers, ordering him to stop unauthorized distribution. A copy of the email from EMI is on his site.

"I love the Beatles, but nobody knows that there's breaks in there," said Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, who produced two songs on The Black Album. After hearing The Grey Album for the first time, he nodded in approval. "This is dirty," he said.
Rolling Stone called it "the ultimate remix record" and "an ingenious hip-hop record that sounds oddly ahead of its time"
the Boston Globe called it the "most creatively captivating" album of the year.
"Appalling, simply appalling. The Beatles and Jay-Z? Disgusting. How could he do this? Danger Mouse has some serious issues. What was he smoking? Drugs, booties, and hoes over tracks like "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Piggies"????? It's just not right!!" said one disgruntled old bastard/Beatles fan.
Andrew Dubber over at the Wireless says "Legitimate art or piracy? Well, strictly speaking, it's both - but it's only piracy because both the law and EMI are wrong. Grey Tuesday is a campaign to protest narrow and self-interested interpretations of copyright law that limit and erode creativity, thereby destroying the very industry the major labels should be supporting and depend upon for their livelihood... This could, in fact, already be the most important record of the decade - and you can't buy it."

"I'm just worried ... whether Paul and Ringo will like it. If they say that they hate it, and that I messed up their music, I think I'll put my tail between my legs and go," DJ Danger Mouse recently told The New Yorker.

Hey Ya...
Outkast own their own studio in hometown Atlanta, Georgia... Heres how they got it...
"...bought at a knock-down rate in 1999, after it was seized by the IRS from its previous owner (a cash-strapped Bobby Brown), and re-christened Stankonia." Excellent interview, worth a read on the Guardians website here. Big Boi's cellphone ring is a Kate Bush song, one of his favorite artists of all time, he says. They are so way ahead of the game when it comes to hiphop.