Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm May 9
Tenor fly -Mind weh u seh
Beat pharmacy - Strangers
Horace Andy - Them never tell I
Lloyd Clarke -Love you the most
Overproof sound system - Kingstep (Unitone Hifi remix)
Joe Ariwa - Dub in combat
Lightning head - Bokoor sound special
Staff benda bilili - Sola mosala
Mr confuse - Feel the fire
Mulatu and the Heliocentrics - Cha cha
El hijo de la Cumbia - Cumbia regional
Soul investigators w/ Myron and E - Cold game
Bobby Byrd - Hot pants i'm copming
Barrington Levy - Reggae man dub
Ini Kamoze feat Capital D - World a reggae
Dub asylum - Jump and twist
Kormac - Kormacs house
Kraftwerk - Tour de France remix
Chancha via Curcuito - Zorzal
Albarosie - Kingston town (Bassnectar version)
Dubblestandart - Terrorists and inhalers (Keith Le Blanc remix)
Dutch rhythm combo feat joe dukie - Venom (Dr Rubberfunk remix)
Isaac Aiesili - Stranjah
Pitch black - 1000 mile drift (International observer remix)

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm May 16
Open souls - Hold you close
Brooklyn funk essentials - Creator has a masterplan (More rockers remix)
Kinny - Forgetting to remember
Manzel - Space funk (Dopebrother 7" mix)
Freddie Cruger - Something good
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Inspiration information
Orgone - Hambone
Specials - Ghost town (DJG remix)
Bobby jackie and the soul defenders - Reggae wiggle
Manasseh - Natural dub
Overproof sound system - Kingstep (Unitone Hifi remix)
Wailers - Put it on
El michels affair - Run Fay run
Joe Bataan - The bottle
De la soul - All good?
Chancha via Curcuito - Bussitpondem/Zorzal
Queen Ifrica - Lioness on the rise
Ernest Ranglin - 54-46 was my number
Kormac - Kormacs house
Nina Simone - Taking care of business (Pilooski re-edit)
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul
Staff benda bilili - J'taime
Staple singers - Everyday people
Zomby - Spliff dub (Rustie remix)
Lee Scratch Perry feat Roots Manuva - International Broadcaster (Moody boyz remix)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Samba soul time
Coming soon, download this for a taster, thanks to the nice folks at Strut. Album out June 23.

Guimaraes E O Grupo Som Sagrado- "Our Sound" [mediafire] [zshare]
From: Black Rio 2
More info at

"Here's a propulsive bit of Brazilian funk from the upcoming Black Rio 2 compilation. DJ Cliffy dug extra deep on this new volume, making sure to include some choice obscurities alongside essential classics. Guimaraes E O Grupo Som Sagrado's "Our Sound" definitely falls into the former category. It's a slice of heavy south of the equator funk that you're unlikely to hear anywhere else."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can do
Can's Holger Czukay interviewed here.

snip.... “I was teaching French in a private girl’s school. You smiled and said ‘bonjour’ and you got 17 Swiss francs for 45 minutes work: the best money you could get anywhere. But it was all a bit too strange for me. I went to the ‘sister’ school – the boy’s school, where the Mountbattens and the Prince of Prussia were pupils – and they made me teach a lesson.

The principal asked the boys, ‘What do you think about him? Should we employ him?’ and there was this one talented boy in the class - Michael Karoli – and he said [puts on a child’s voice] ‘I want to have him as my teacher!’ [laughs] And I was engaged immediately! Later - when he had left school – Michael came and lived with me and we founded Can.”
Just been following this exchange on Twitter...

Real Groove posted a link to a new demo from PMoney and Scribe, with a brief review. Scribe responds via Twitter... full story at Real Groove's blog here.
Music madness
Former Flying Nun Records boss Roger Shepherd is the guest blogger on Simon Sweetman's Blog On The Tracks, well worth a read. A look back to the musical climate when he started the label in the early 1980s. Read it here.

I think its a huge shame that almost NONE of the FNun back catalogue is available, either on CD or in digital format. Its buried in the vaults at Warners, and they simply don't have the time or the inclination to do anything with it. All that great music has simply vanished, and, while FNun are not the only NZ music story from the 80s, it is a very important one. It's NZ Music Month and we celebrate the new, but it's hard to celebrate what has come before when it's locked away. If I was a former FNun artist trying to get my old tunes back in circulation, I'd be thinking seriously about bootlegging myself. The odds of Warners being able to find the original artist's contracts is pretty slim, I'm guessing.

DOWNLOAD THIS: off the brand new album from Lee Fields and the Expressions, out June 2 on Truth and Soul, a killer new tune (via Stonesthrow) get it here.

Stonesthrow also are issuing a wicked slice of modern soul straight outta Finland from the Soul Investigators. I tracked this down on 7"a few months back, and its a fantastic tune, features two vocalists from the Bay Area, Myron and E. Listen to it here. “Cold Game / I Can't Let You Get Away” is an exercise in gritty, Impressions-influenced soul music..."

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

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, 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 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

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.