Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Staff Benda Bilili

"Staff Benda Bilili are like nothing you have ever seen or heard before. A group of paraplegic street musicians who live in and around the grounds of the zoo in Kinshasa, Congo, they make music of astonishing power and beauty." Link.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Getting jumpy
This past weekend was big on the nostalgia tip. I was interviewed for BFMs Historical Society by Dubhead, and that aired on saturday morning ( and surprised a few folk who couldn't figure out how I was on two radio stations at once!).

"In the first of the bFM Historical Society's NZ Music Month shows, Peter McLennan of the hallelujah Picassos and Dub Asylum talks of his parallel music and broadcasting career. Pete selects tunes representative of his time as a run of station heavy-on-the-reggae DJ and as host of the Sunday arts programme, The Culture Bunker." Download it here. And check out some of the other great interview subjects while you're at it.

And then there was the saturday night knees-up in memorium of Steve Marsden, of the Androidds. I aint gonna pretend I knew him, and I was too young to see the Androidds play first time round, but I did enjoy seeing abunch of folks both very old and very young enjoy some raucous music.

I arrived a wee bit late for opener Chris Matthews and band, and was stunned to discover they'd already finished, as they started earlier than the advertised time. Never heard of such a thing. Apparently they'd come unstuck while attempting a Gordons cover which resulted in broken guitar strings.

Next up, the Newmatics. Propelled by the relentless drumming of the pint-size dynamite that is Benny Staples on the drum kit, they ripped thru Judas, Five Miseries, Riot Squad, Doobie Doo Boy and more. There was a killer version of Sam and Dave's Soul Man, muscular, funky and poundingly good. And of course Wilson Pickett's Land of a Thousand Dances, with the crowd joining in on the "Na, na na na na, na na na ..." vocal parts. I danced and danced. Such great songs.

The Spelling Mistakes thrwwq themselves into their songs with gusto, but by the end of their set, the drummer was saying "We're doing the last song at half speed, cos i'm fucked". And then they launched ijnto Sonic Reducer. And there was Feels So Good, what a glorious pop song. Rena Owen was in the rowd somewhere, so she may or may not have heard her anthem.

And then the Androidds took the stage. After some good natured audience abuse - "Kiss my shiny metal ass!" they launched into it. There was The Passenger, Search and Destroy, a ton of Iggy-related stuff rendered in blistering guitar, some Stones, it all got a bit hazy about then, and the band were getting progresivle more shambolic, but it was all in good fun. Steve's partner Andrea got up and said a few words, then there was more music and mayhem. I drifted off before they got to Auckland Tonight, but I'm sure it went off. Hats off to John Baker for pulling it together.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Brand new Dub Asylum tune for you!

I wrote this dubby, thumpy tune last month, called Jump and Twist, and here it is just for you, as a free download. Mixed, mastered, bang, done! Just in time for NZ Music Month too. Choice! Let me know what you think of it. Feedback appreciated. Cover photo by John Pain. Cheers.

Get it here - Jump And Twist by Dub Asylum, 6MB MP3 http://www.mediafire.com/?bzo4xzdynfj

You can listen to it on the audio player below, and then click 'download' to get it. Easy!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop
I've been on a bit of a Stax bender for the last few months, saw this choice news today on Crate Kings: "Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop drops Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 to commemorate the seemingly endless number of classics churned out by Isaac Hayes, Booker T & The MGs, The Emotions, William Bell, David Porter, and more.

Consisting of tracks sampled by notable hip-hop artists, the compilation seeks to honor the musical tradition and amazing roster of Stax legends."

1. 24-CARAT BLACK – “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth”
2. THE EMOTIONS – “Blind Alley”
3. BOOKER T. & THE MGs – “Melting Pot”
4. THE BAR-KAYS – “Humpin’”
5. THE DRAMATICS – “Get Up and Get Down”
6. ISAAC HAYES – “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”
7. ISAAC HAYES – “Hung Up On My Baby”
8. DAVID PORTER – “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over”
9. WENDY RENE – “After the Laughter (Comes Tears)”
10. CHARMELS – “As Long As I’ve Got You”
12. RUFUS THOMAS – “Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1)”
13. LITTLE MILTON – “Packed Up and Took My Mind”
14. WILLIAM BELL - “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The vinyl revival is here! (story #259)
From the LA Times: "In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback". The angle? Guy working for digital music distributor gets laid off, opens vinyl store.

Special bonus points -Boston.com, for this one: "Younger crowd digging vinyl's sound".

I love how this story gets written every six months, somewhere in the world. Meanwhile, you and me know vinyl never went away. We just don't say that out loud.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sharpen up!
As part of NZ Music Month, the folks over at Devonport's Creative People's Centre are running some seminars for musicians "who want to learn more about developing a sustainable career in the music industry". Should be some really useful stuff in there. So, sharpen up!

May 7 - What Every Musician Should Know

Vital issues every band and musician should make sure they are on top of.

Petrina George – APRA
Mark Roach – PPNZ, General Manager
David Ridler – NZ On Air, Assistant NZ Music Manager.

May 14 - Developing the Business of Your Music

A discussion of the kinds of issues you should start to consider when you are ready to get more organised and professional in what you do with your music and how you run your career in the music industry.

Mark Kneebone – Isaac Promotions, Tardus Music and Chairman IMNZ
Teresa Patterson – Chairperson MMF and Manager of Scribe and Elemeno P
Ashley Page – Page One Management and previously head of A&R Warner Music NZ

May 21 - Key Music Industry Contracts

An explanation of the key issues to be aware of in the most common agreements encountered in the music industry including, Recording Agreements, Publishing Agreements, Live Performance Agreements and Management Agreements.

David McLaughlin – Music Lawyer

May 28 - Licensing and Publishing Explained

A discussion of what exactly the publishing and licensing of music involves in today’s music industry as well as the benefits involved and issues to be aware of.

Savina Kim – Native Tongue Music Publishing NZ
Paul McLaney – Recording Artist and A&R Scout / Licensing Manager Mushroom Music Publishing

If you wish to attend any of the seminars please email seminar@cpc.org.nz to register.

All seminars will be held upstairs at the Masonic Tavern, 29 King Edward Parade, Devonport, from 1-4 pm and there will be a $5 cover charge payable on the day for attendance at each seminar.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soopa Soul Sundae (with a side of Stax)
Recently rediscovered I had an account with 8tracks, so heres a bunch of soulful tunes for you to enjoy. (link)

Tumblr - Dubdotdash Extended Version.
Tumblr is a great little blogging service that I've been using for a while. After hearing Tumblr's founder David Karp speak at Web09 (dude talked about how his heroes when he was growing up were Willy Wonka and Steve Jobs - and he's only 22), I've got back into spitting out a ton of music links over there.

It's incredibly easy to use - just set up a log-in, add a link to "Share on Tumblr"to your browser favourites, and when you see a site with a good item, just click and post. Check it out here... and please add to your RSS feeds, if you like it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm April 25
Johnny Clarke - Crazy baldhead
Prince douglas - Jam love dub
Dennis Brown/Big Youth - Money in my pocket/ah so we say
Derrick Morgan - Fatman
Deodato -Superstrut
Julien Dyne - Behind the forage
Marva Whitney - I am what I am
Inez Foxx - Circuit's overload
Lee Scratch Perry - Everything start from scratch
Leroy Sibbles - Express yourself
Soom T - Did you know?
Manasseh - Western world version
Raz Bin Sam - Crazy for righteousness
Lefties soul connection - Chop it!
Johnny Harris - Stepping stones
Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe so, maybe no
Scientist - Love you dub
Kode9 - Black sun
Specials - Ghost town DJ G remix
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Inspiration information
Blank zulu - Mellow magic
Mulatu and the Heliocentrics - Chik chikka
Kinny - Afro love forest
Como now/John Edwards Singers -New burying ground
Fred Wesley and the JBs - I'm paying taxes, what am I buying?
Lightning head - Area boy
Phenomenal handclap band - You'll disappear
Mophono - Edge remix
Records records records.
From Crate Kings, you mighta seen it... "Aaron Howell and Sharon Shattucks’ short documentary entitled Records covers a quick history of records, the pressing process involved in their creation, and explains the many reasons why otherwise normal people spend a greater portion of their lives chasing after vinyl.

The video includes quick snippets of interviews with DJ’s, collectors, and even the production manager of Brooklyn Phono record plant and touches on various aspects of vinyl such as DJ’ing, Sound Quality, Artwork, and Collecting."

Records (full-length)! from Sharon Shattuck on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Behind the making of De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising

Check it out here. Got your tickets for their NZ shows next month?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ze 30: Ze Records 1979 - 2009
"Strut present the story of one of the most influential and revered labels emerging from New York in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Ze Records.

After the late ‘70s punk and new wave explosion in New York, Ze became a by-word for the anything-goes culture clashes that typified the Big Apple during the early ‘80s. Formed by French art student Michel Esteban and British journalist Michael Zilkha, Ze quickly created its own unique independent universe, signing artists as varied as Alan Vega’s electronic post-punk pioneers Suicide, trash disco queen Cristina and maverick producer August Darnell a.k.a. Kid Creole.

With Esteban’s sharp graphic eye leading the label’s visual identity, Ze hit the New York zeitgeist head on and became supremely hip – in 1982, The Face magazine nominated it “the most fashionable label in the world.”

With this new compilation, Strut takes a snapshot of the many weird and wonderful fusions that surfaced on its famous NYC cab-influenced yellow and black label. Highlights include one of the earliest outings by Was (Not Was), ‘Tell Me That I’m Dreaming’, a disbelieving commentary on Reaganomics, Bob Blank’s short-lived disco supergroup Aural Exciters and a Larry Levan mix of Kid Creole’s biting parable about corruption in the Caribbean, ‘There’s Something Wrong In Paradise’.

Prepared in conjunction with Ze Records founder Michel Esteban, the CD and vinyl packages feature a full history of Ze including interviews with Esteban and a number of original Ze artists along with rare and previously unpublished photos."

Coming out soon on www.strut-records.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How I spent my weekend

DJed at Web09 conference. Lotsa fun! Met some interesting folk, heard some pretty cool ideas. Free wifi helped too.
Mulatu interviewed
From the Fader: "Legendary Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke's collaboration with the Heliocentrics hits a lot of key points we're into, blending fuzzy psych guitars with heavy drums and complex piano runs. It's an album that successfully mixes old and new without coming across as a self-conscious throwback. Instead, it works as a meeting of minds with a genuine respect for the music that makes up their backgrounds.

Check out our Q+A with Astatke, covering everything from his soundtrack work on Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers to his ongoing update of traditional Ethiopian music. [Theres a Multau and Heliocentrics tune to download over here too]

What have you been up to?
I’ve been in Lisbon, Portugal doing a lecture for the Red Bull Music Academy, it was very interesting, I stayed about four or five days. And I’m here for rehearsal for the next tour.

You lecture a lot?
Well I do both, I teach and I play.

Do you teach Ethiopian music to students?
Sometimes. I am teaching in Poland about Ethiopian modes, how to voice them, but I can also teach jazz education. I’m versatile.

Do you like to teach?
I don’t really love teaching, but I love the experience of discussing music with other musicians in the world, because music is an endless profession, you can learn something everyday.

What was the last big thing that you learned about music?
Not something particular, but while I was at Harvard University—and now I’m a fellow of Harvard—I got a fellowship, but I was at Harvard and it was so beautiful and so very inspiring. Everyday I was working on a different subject, different materials. There were three or four other music composers with me as well. And that was one of the places I enjoyed most in my life. That was really great, what an experience, great intellectuals, it was so beautiful.

Can you talk about the five tone structure of Ethio-jazz a little bit?
I had experimented a bit with music in college at Berklee, but when I went to New York I formed a group called the Ethiopian Quintet, so that’s when I blended the five tone with the twelve tone music. Especially when you try to fuse both, it sounds like two cultures going at the same time. So you really have to be careful, blend the most beautifully without losing the character. That’s how I managed.

So your serious training in music allowed you to make that blend?
Yes, training is important for everything: experience, training—so important to put things together.

Can we talk a little bit about the album you did with the Heliocentrics? They are very interesting musicians, they have their whole way of approaching music, and I have my own way. Another blend. I was here last time to lecture for Red Bull, and we did a show at the Cargo, and people seemed to really love it and enjoy. I enjoyed it myself. So we said, Why don’t we do a CD together, blending jazz and stick with what I’ve been doing 45 years ago, so I said, ok let’s try it out. So I came back, and we did the recording. Heliocentrics have their own studio, we recorded there and that was it.

How long did that take?
I think it was about ten days. Very quick, when you do things with good communication, they were great, loved the Ethio-jazz music, we all have that feeling, so we just blended and played.

I know you are also working on a modern version of a traditional instrument…
I improve musical instruments. My last target for Ethio-jazz is to upgrade all Ethiopian musical instruments to be able to play twelve-tone music. I tried on an instrument called the krarr, I managed to play “Guantanamera” and “Summertime” by putting two more strings on the instrument. So by not changing the shape, just by upgrading the strings, you are able to play those things. The whole thing is young people in Ethiopia today love to learn the guitar, so perhaps they’d forget their own instruments, so I upgraded the krarr to be as good as a guitar and maybe they will stick with it. It’s still very Ethiopian, I’m not touching the shape of the instrument. I won a grant at MIT, so we’ve been working on the krarr and how it can be developed.

Can you tell me a little about how your music came to be in Jim Jarmusch’s movie Broken Flowers?
Jim is a guy who is a very creative person and he was just looking for music in his films. I met him in New York, we had a concert at the Financial Center—Winter Garden—a beautiful jazz place. His secretary called me one afternoon in New York and said Jim wants to come to a concert this evening. So I said, you’re welcome to come, but I didn’t know who he was. So they came, saw the show, the show was great, sold out, and then after the show he came backstage and we had a chance to speak, and he said Mulatu, I love your music, I want to use some of your music in the film. So I said, please you are welcome. That’s it, I left, and in two months they contacted me and it happened. I’ve written for a lot of plays in Ethiopia, for films in Ethiopia, like documentaries…

How did it feel to see your music in the context of that film?
It was beautiful. It turned out so nicely. My fans and people who follow me, they love my music, but I was able to get a lot of fans from film people. So it’s been great, both sides, the film people and the musicians, they love it, it’s been great for Ethio-jazz. If you work hard and aren’t discouraged and keep on working, the result is what it is. It’s beautiful.

Are there younger musicians that you hear that have that mentality?
There is one guitar player called Bibesha, he plays with me sometimes when I’m home, I think he’s one of the upcoming great musicians who loves Ethio-jazz. I wish him good luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whats the haps?
International Record Store Day is this Saturday. Heres a list of some NZ stores involved.

Conch Records on Saturday 18th(115a Ponsonby Rd) are celebrating independent record store day with a special live performance by Gianmarco Liguori alongside, Kim Paterson, Murray McNabb and Miquel Fuentes (from 12.30pm).

As Simon Sweetman suggests, this isn't about saving a dying breed but "... the idea behind Record Store Day, to me, seems to be to go and enjoy music."

From International Record Store Day site: "The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived in 2007, as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

This is the one-day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances..."

* Meanwhile across town, I'll be DJing at Web09, a two-day conference for web designers and developers.

* Conch Records have also just launched their blog, check it out here.

* 'Record Dealers' A Record Store gallery... Photography by B+... link "How many of these stores are gone now. I started this series in 1996, then it seemed like a way to record all the strange and wonderful characters that I came across in the search for records. Now it seems that this a view into a world that is disappearing fast. There’s many more in this series and I will put them up soon."

* Spotted via Twitter... musician @olafurarnalds is recording and releasing one song per day. check it out here http://foundsongs.erasedtapes.com/ Cool concept!

* Phenomenal Handclap Band interviewed. Their debut release is out soon on Truth and Soul Records.

How many of you are in the band?

Sean Marquand: There’s eight of us in the band… Daniel Coll├ís, Patrick Wood (drums, vocals), Nicholas Movshon (bass), Luke O’Malley (guitar, vocals), Quinn Luke (guitar, vocals), Laura Marin (vocals, percussion), and Joan Tick (vocals)

How do you all fit into one practice space and manage to make your schedules fit together?

SM: [It's] a headache managing everyone’s schedule. We practice at our guitarist/vocalist’s studio (Quinn Luke) down the street from the Handclap studio and it does get pretty tight there. The ceilings are really low, so some of us can’t even stand up straight.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Purple sign of the times
"Insane fans of Prince can worship the musical maestro by purchasing his limited-edition iPod Touch — for the price of $2,100.

Here's the best part: You don't gain access to a full library of Prince music. Rather, the purple Prince Opus iPod comes preloaded with a 40-minute concert video and 15 songs from a live soundtrack. Only 950 Prince iPods are available.

So why the hefty price? You're also paying for a high-end book of Prince photographs that comes bundled with the iPod. Kraken Opus, a British publisher, produced the photos." Link

Reggae legend Lloyd 'Wackies' Barnes interviewed...
In the New York Times... "Mr. Barnes created the 225th Street studio by hand in the compact space, opening it in December. “I love it here,” he said, his gaze proudly moving from the checkered maroon and white ceiling to the purple and brown floral carpet on the walls to the coffee maker and microwave in the recording booth. “I even built the couch, stayed here last night, yeah mon,” he said in his soft Jamaican patois.

Its predecessor was at the northern end of the No. 2 line and included a record store. That studio, a red storefront with a yellow lion heralding Wackie’s latest releases, soon became a magnet for Jamaican musicians from all over the city after it opened in the 1970s.

“It was like the reggae Motown in the Bronx,” said Ras Menelik DaCosta, 54, a percussionist with a white dreadlocked beard who jammed at the space. “People get wives just from being there; some people became fathers. It took on a life of its own.” Link.
New music from Chali 2na (ex Jurassic 5)
"Probably best known as front man for the groups Jurassic 5 & Ozomatli, Chali 2na presents his first solo effort in a 15+ year career – Fish Outta Water." Check out a tune off it over here...
Download "Lock Sh#t Down" ft. Talib Kweli here:


Album out mid-year on Decon Records. Check Chali 2na on Myspace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics album podcast
The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. Another taster from it below...
"Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics' Inspiration Information album is already making noise. From early rumblings on the Stonesthrow site, to a sold-out show in LA w/ openers Madlib, Cut Chemist & Quantic, to an extremely successful tour of Europe getting love from Gilles Peterson & more. Gaslamp Killer even dropped a track in his set @ WMC. But it should come as no surprise.

It's safe to say the music on this record is unlike anything else you'll hear all year. Check out the podcast above for some in-studio sound, and a discussion of the making of the album. Inspiration Information comes out April 14th on Strut."

Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics- Album Podcast

...and if you missed them, grab the track "Masenqo," and check out the behind the scenes video.