Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 13
Jingo - Thousand finger man
Soul fantastics  - Aint no sunshine
Los Superiores - Descarga superior
Prince Fari  - Mozabites
Dub Colossus - Negus dub
Noiseshaper  - Ruff like a what
Lewis McCallum - Almanac
Herbie Hancock - Bring down the birds (B-Boy edit)
Barkin soul - Baby ba ba be be
Simon sound  -Tour de Mars
Skatalites - Beardsman ska
The Wailers - Put it on
Morgan Heritage and Bounty Killer  -Guns in the ghetto
Nas and Damian Marley - As we enter
Mr Chop - Straighten it out
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings  - I learned the hard way
3 Titans - Life of a scholar
Daktaris -Its all a big hustle (Mad Professor remix)
Adrian Sherwood and Lee Scratch Perry -  Brazilian jungle
Ruts DC - Love and fire (Dreadzone remix)
RSD - Jah way
Suizen  -Cartesian space 4d mix
Sade - Keeps us from falling (Ill poetic remix)
Collen and Webb - Give me a call
Fulgeance - Sour socca
ESG - Moody (spaced out mix)
Dub asylum - krd loop unmixed
Ricketts meets Fabulous - Riki

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rhys Darby meets Dr Dre
You probably already seen it, but damn, its funny. Our boy with Dre. Nuts.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recycle: everything's gone green
This blog - neworder-recycle- is all about New Order and Joy Division. A fan has lovingly collected up rare, out of print singles and collated them. It's a magnificent effort.

"Many of the tracks have never appeared on CD. This was a labor of love from a small, devoted circle of fans... All tracks were taken from the best/earliest possible sources to avoid modern mastering techniques which crush the dynamics. Tracks sourced from vinyl have been carefully cleaned and EQ levels have been tweaked for consistency. The artwork was scanned at the highest possible resolution and the type was reset when possible using the original fonts."

Take Love Will Tear US Apart - look at the attention to detail. You get...

01 Love Will Tear Us Apart
02 These Days
03 Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine/alternate version)
04 The Sound Of Music
05 Love Will Tear Us Apart (1995 Don Gehman Radio Mix)
06 Love Will Tear Us Apart (1995 Arthur Baker Remix)

1, 2 sourced from Nippon Columbia Japan CD Substance COCY-9332
3 sourced from 1988 Factory Records CD single Atmosphere Facd213
4 sourced from Nippon Columbia Japan CD Still COCY-9331
5, 6 sourced from 1995 London/PolyGram Canada CD single Love Will Tear Us Apart 422 850 129-2.

Grab my fave New Order track, Confusion, over here. Or maybe I like Everything's gone green better? Hmmm....

Lalo Schifrin: The Cool Maestro
 Check this very cool interview from the LA Weekly with the soundtrack composer Mr Lalo Schifrin (Mission impossible, Bullitt, Enter the dragon and many more). He's still working at 77, but is a bit sceptical of how today's film directors approach film scores...

"One of his biggest worries is what he sees as a cost-cutting industry trend toward "assembled" soundtracks, like the Robbie Robertson–curated score for Scorsese's current thriller, Shutter Island, or even Tarantino's recent recycling of Schifrin's own 1970s work. "I liked Inglourious Basterds," he admits. "It was entertaining, and Tarantino used my music well. But he cannot work with a composer — at least not yet. He needs records, and from those records he extracts what he needs....

... For Schifrin, another industry practice that limits creativity is that of directors or producers handing the composer the "temp tracks" (works under copyright that are used temporarily for editing purposes) and telling him or her to imitate them. "Thus the composer is not a composer anymore — he is just a vehicle to copy the tracks with just enough variation to stay within copyright regulations. He ends up producing a kind of parody," Schifrin states with the contempt of someone for whom all music, from Beethoven and bebop to karate soundtracks, has always been a serious matter.

"I don't want to be the old guy who keeps complaining," he clarifies. "But I once had to tell a director: 'Stop going to the record store. Stop buying music. Let the composer compose.' "

Next he's off to Ireland, where he's conducting a program of suites arranged from his soundtracks, at Dublin's National Concert Hall. Check the article, he's got some great advice for anyone wanting to get into writing soundtracks.
The KPMG report on Radio NZ
Released under the OIA (Official Information Act), and kindly shared with the world by Paul Reynolds (local commentator and joint managing director of web design business McGovern Online, NOT the head of Telecom) - read it here. You can download it too (13MB).

The report clearly states that "we have concluded that RNZ is underfunded in terms of ensuring the sustainability of its current outputs".

So its current level of funding is not enough to continue its current commitments, which means, if it has to live within its existing funding as the Government is insisting, it will probably have to cut services.

As Paul says, "Seems clear as mud to me - RNZ can't do what they are tasked to do within their current budget - so the question Minister is, are you going to change "their outputs" - and make this change public - or are you going to help them achieve their existing outputs with additional resources?  And if the former - they have to do less - then can you make it real clear to them - and indeed the rest of us, just what less means."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The things you find on the side of the road...
... like a box of records, sitting outside a shop with a sign that says Free Records. Saw this on my walk home this evening, so I grabbed a few, chopped up some samples and came up with this tune in ten minutes, a mad jazzy flute loop that's wonky as hell.  Enjoy. The picture with the video is the records sitting outside the shop.

DUB45 styles
DUB45 is home to a new project from Wellington musician Tim Prebble. Check the video below, tasty electronica business. Then go check out his net label and grab a copy.

Happy 80th birthday, Ornette Coleman.
“I was born in Fort Worth in 1930, and I knew about as much then as I do now,” he said. “I don’t want to be smart and I don’t want to be dumb and I don’t want to be dead.” From NYTimes.

Funky Soweto.
Coming soon in the "Next Stop: Soweto" series is Funky Soweto, which looks killer.

"Volume 2 of the Next Stop... Soweto series shifts its focus to traditional forms meeting with funk, soul, jazz and more.  Painstakingly researched and compiled by Francis Gooding and Duncan Brooker (whose influential 2001 compilation Afro Rock was also just recently re-issued), it's essential listening for anyone interested in timeless music of any variety.  Check the awesome video from The MahotellaQueens, whose songs appear on both volumes." -

Original song with self-made video, featuring clips of the Queens back in the 1970s with their backing, Makhona Tsohle Band.

Next Stop ... Soweto: Soul, Funk & Organ Grooves from the Townships 1969-1976 (out May 11th)

Monday, March 08, 2010

New kids on the block
Life of a scholar is the funky single from 3 Titans, three young cats backed by the Menahan St Band.

"The 3 Titans, Khalil Jackson, Jorden Plaines, and Dallas Ifill, are rhythmically gifted fifth-graders with their sights set on higher education. On their debut 7” for Dunham Records, “C-O-L-L-E-G-E” b/w “Life of a Scholar”, the precocious eleven-year-olds trade rhymes about the benefits of going to college and the determination it takes to get there over two sides of old-school, hard-as-nails (and refreshingly sample-free) beats provided by the notorious Menahan Street Band."

Out Feb 16 thru Daptone/Durham Records. Watch it below.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (trailer)
Directed by Tamra Davis, the documentary features never-before seen footage of the prolific artist painting, talking about his art, and existing in the two years prior to his death in 1988. Davis shot an interview with her friend Basquiat in 1986, when he was out in Los Angeles. Two years later he died, and she took all the footage and put it away on a drawer. Now it's finally emerged.
The soundtrack features music from Mike D (Tamra Davis's husband) and Ad Rock. Watch it over here, or below. (hat tip Different Kitchen)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 6
Marlena Shaw  - California soul (Diplo remix)
Beat conductor - Carribean path
Red earth collective - Never give up (Manasseh remix)
Sugar Minott - So we love it/so we dub it
Augustus Pablo - Cassava piece
Karime Kendra - 90% of me is you
Prince Fari - African queen
Ricketts meets Fabulous - Riki
Mr Chop - Straighten it out
Grover Washington Jr  -Inner city blues
Mulatu - Ethio blues
Dub Colossus - Sima edy
Dubmatix - Peace and love (Introspective steppers remix)
Mr Vegas - Heads high
Ragga twins - 18" speaker
RSD - Firewall
Malcolm X/Keith Le Blanc - No sellout
Jingo - Fever
S Piloso and his super seven - Kuya Hanjwa
Myron and E and the soul investigators - It's a shame
Dub asylum - My sneaker collection weighs a ton
Barkin soul - Babybababebe
Black velvet - An earthquake's coming
20th century steel band - Papa was a rolling stone
Unitone hifi - Sneeze off
Lee Scratch Perry and Adrian Sherwood - Lucky Tarzan
Lewis McCallum - First date

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Shake N Bake on this Saturday and it's free!
BASE FM is once again holding its annual Shake ‘N Bake in Ponsonby at Western Park, this Saturday. Kicks off at Midday, til 6pm.

Shake N Bake is a combination of music & graffiti art in the park, which embrace the key elements of the underground hiphop culture. Don’t worry about having to fork out cash on tickets as this event is free for the whole family, and this unique line-up is the best you’ve seen yet!

On the live front, Auckland’s current leading hip-hop group Home Brew will be performing, alongside rising stars of the soulful groove Koru Licks, and the MC combo Shine Forum. Two of the nations most celebrated producers/drummers will be combining forces for this event: Wellington’s Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots and Eru Dangerspiel fame) and Julien Dyne (Opensouls) will be pushing the outer limits of rhythm. A special producer showcase will feature NZ’s best up and coming beat–makers Scratch 22 (Tourettes, Unscene), Charizma (Koru Licks) & Ben Wah (Honeyclaws). 

Support from BASE FM DJ’s Gemma and An Pham, Chef D and JC/DC all pumping out of the massive 30Hertz Sound System.

To keep not only your ears but your eyes entertained the one and only Cut Collective will be painting a trailer. Beat Markets, apparel and food stores will be running from midday to 6pm. 

The event will be broadcasting live on BASE FM 107.3FM Auckland, nationwide on TiVo TV & Freeview Channel, and streaming live across the world
Later on for the big kids we will be taking the day into the night at Auckland’s hotspot Rakinos where BASE FM’s finest DJ’s CXL, Dan Paine, Chip Matthews, Junior, Wendy Douglas, Coopa Blu and Future One will be rocking the dance floor till the early morning from 10pm.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Get a handclap?
Here's a rather tasty remix, of the Phenomenal Handclap Band's tune Baby, by Architeq. Grab it!

ADDED: a few more treats for ya... "in honour of Mayer Hawthorne reaching the 10,000 follower mark on his Twitter page, he has decided to release some goodness for all his fans to enjoy.1000 Paper Cranes” is an instrumental track he made a while back under his DJ Haircut moniker." DJ Haircut (Mayer Hawthorne) tune over here, and a tasty Jaylib vs J-Rocc mixtape. "JRocc threw together some Jaylib tracks and sources into a 30-minute mix. If you weren’t aware, J Rocc was the third member of Jaylib, as he performed on the turntables for Madlib and Dilla at live shows." Hat tip to Potholes in my blog.
Afro-rock - finding records in Africa.
Duncan Brooker compiled Afro-rock back in 2001, and its getting a reissue on Strut shortly (out March 9) - I posted a free download courtesy of Strut the other day, go grab it here.

I remembered a really good article that Brooker wrote for the Guardian back when the album first came out, and hunted it down. The Guardian, July 2001.

"...In west Africa, I found I was dealing mainly with producers - frequently the rights to a piece of music revert to the producer after a period of time. In order to trace music by the Ghanaian great K Frimpong, I needed to trace a producer called James Ofori and went to visit a man I knew, AK Brobbey, who styles himself "Africa's number one producer". Brobbey told me he knew Ofori well and that he would take me to him.

I jumped in the car with his driver, his daughter and two or three people that we were just giving a lift to. The village was a two-hour drive from Kumasi but it took us all day because the car broke down a lot and - because I was Brobbey's guest - I wasn't allowed to help push, though his daughter had to. In the end, I climbed out and pushed anyway. We got the car patched up at a garage and bumped on over the potholes to Ofori's village.

Ofori has become a poultry farmer. He lives in a two-storey house - the lower level is taken up by chickens while he and his family live upstairs. He was amazed to see me, telling me he hadn't talked about his music with anyone for seven or eight years, and started getting out all his photos of his studio and musicians in enormous flares and Afros. I told him I was looking for music by K Frimpong. "I have a copy of the cassette here somewhere," he said.

He found it and put it on, and his seven children came running in. They stared at me for a little while - I was, I suppose, the first white man they'd ever seen - then started dancing around. I told him I wanted to license the music, so that it could be heard outside Africa. "No, no. Come with me," he said, and led me downstairs into a room full of chickens. He started pulling out bags and reels of tape crusted with a thick layer of chicken shit and dust - everything in Africa gets coated with dust. "My God," he was saying, looking into cans of tape. "I don't know what's in this one. I haven't looked in here for 20 years. Which track were you after?" he asked. "Kyenken Bi Adi M'Awu," I said (which means Come Back My Love in the local language). "I can't believe you've still got it."

"It's lucky because Frimpong came here about seven years ago and took it away. But he came back. It's been in this room ever since." I told him I needed to take it away to get it recorded on to digitial audio tape. Fine, he said, bring it back when you've finished with it. I thought it would be completely shot, unusable, but in fact it was really very good, very clean stuff. I had another track...."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Long Player, Short Changed.
Hollie Smith has been doing a ton of press lately, promoting her second album, due out March 15, called Humour and the misfortune of others.
She's been talking about the ups and downs following the release her debut album, Long Player, in early 2007. Its sounds like quite a story. As Hollie has said, the whole tale will take some time to come out, but the details she's revealed so far are pretty horrifying.

Hollie attracted the interest of Bruce Lundvall, the head of Blue Note Records (read Graham Reid's 2005 interview with Lundvall here), which led to her signing an international deal with Bluenote subsidiary Manhattan Records, amid much excitement from these parts. She had great hopes for the deal, but then EMI started laying off staff after it was sold in August 2007 to Terra Firma. International priorities changed.

Hollie told the NZ Herald's Greg Dixon that "Essentially, the contract was that an advance would go to a producer to make two extra tracks that I was obligated to make to release the album internationally. Once that was done and on the signing of the contract, I would gift them my masters [original recordings]. So the masters would become theirs, which is reasonably standard. But on signing the contract they had an obligation to release the album within six months. So as much as I'd given away something, it was give and take."

"With her "reasonably minimal" advance from Blue Note, Smith flew to Philadelphia to record with Grammy award-winning R&B producer James Poyser [The Roots], who has worked with such acts as Al Green, Mariah Carey and Lauryn Hill. It was, she says, an amazing experience. She was pleased, too, with the result..."

....[Smith says] "What happened from my point of view was [EMI] started calling me probably about four months before the release internationally of Long Player. So a couple of months after signing, they came through and said 'hey we think you've got a lot of potential, we want someone to write you a radio single and start doing the whole radio-friendly single thing'.

"I said 'well, give me a month and I'll write you a couple and you can say if they're adequate or not. And if that's the case, then sweet and if not, let's talk about the idea of someone else writing my stuff because I don't want a cheesy pop song that's totally irrelevant to the rest of the album'.

They were like, 'cool, cool, cool'. I sent them over some stuff and I hadn't heard back from them and I rung them again and said 'what's happening?' And they're like 'oh we've decided not to release your album at all internationally'. I said 'okay, well that's fine, then give me back my masters'.

"It was like 'cool, let's just dissolve the contract and get my masters back and let's just leave it at that'." But Blue Note informed her they owned the masters and Smith would have to buy them back. She says they told her: "You can buy your masters for 'x' amount of dollars', which was a huge, huge amount.

"A couple of hundred thousand to buy back my life. I basically said 'I'd rather sue you for that' and they said 'okay, go ahead'... "They essentially said 'if you want to sue us, go ahead but we're a $4 billion corporation' and that was kind of where it was left. I was obviously very conflicted on whether I should fight for it. I was completely, completely f***ed. At the start, I was angry, angry, angry. But then, realising how hopeless the situation I was in was, I kind of stopped doing anything."...   Read all of Greg Dixon's excellent interview here - above quotes are from it.

Hollie had signed a two album deal with Bluenote/Manhattan, so until that deal was dead, she couldn't write or record anything new. She eventually extracted herself from the deal, at a huge personal and professional cost.  I don't know Hollie personally, but this story is just heartbreaking.

I'm thrilled to see she linked up with the very talented Riki Gooch (the man behind Eru Dangerspiel, responsible for one of the most exciting and adventurous albums to come out of NZ in a long time - buy it now) to record her new album - there's a great quote from Riki in the Real Groove interview with Hollie, where he reassures her after she gets worried that the recording sessions are going too well and something's going to go really wrong. Hollie: "Riki just turned around and goes 'Babes, I know you find this hard to believe but this is how an album is supposed to go and this is why its fun to do music and this is what its supposed to feel like".

Amazingly, after all her trials with Bluenote/EMI, she's chosen to go with EMI NZ as local distributor, which resulted in a funny exchange between NZ Musician's Karl Puschmann and EMI's publicist before his interview with Hollie - "... before talking to Smith, I had been directed by an EMI publicist not to ask about the Bluenote saga. But as he's not here, and Smith herself bought it up, I decide to ignore the request...."

Let's face it, Hollie's triumph over adversity story makes for great reading, and it gets people interested in the album. How could she NOT talk about this? It's obviously been a really big part of her life for the last 7 years and she's still dealing with it.

Looking forward to hearing what the album sounds like. Anyone heard it yet?

Score! Free bonus track - Afrorock comp reissue   
Special non-album bonus track from Afro-Rock (out March 9th, Strut) - Help yourself! 

Latapaza Band- "Odi-Yoo" [mediafire] [zshare]

"Duncan Brooker's Afro-Rock Volume 1 compilation is generally cited as one of the most influential factors in the spread of obsessive collecting and documentation of rare African nuggets. Strut is very pleased to be re-releasing the collection next week, and totally geeked to be able to offer you an exclusive track that didn't make the album! Opening with a crisp drum and conga break, "Odi-Yoo" is a wild slice of unrestrained funk, and is a great indication of the treasures on the Afro-Rock album...

... Originally surfacing on Duncan Brooker’s indie Kona label in early 2001, the album single-handedly kick-started the thirst among jazz, funk and soul fans and ‘diggers’ to rediscover lost music from Africa made during the ‘60s and ‘70s from a time when many countries were gaining independence and celebrating a Pan-African identity within their music. The album was one of the first to reach a far different audience than the traditional ‘world music’ market and spawned many further projects and labels in its wake. A year later, the Nigeria 70 compilation surfaced on Strut and labels like Soundway and Analog Africa would continue to unearth amazing lost gems from the Motherland..."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Counting the beat...
The Sunday Star Times has an interview with form Split Enz member Phil Judd, talking candidly about his recent troubles....

"I've had a year of disaster," he said during an exclusive, in-depth interview with the Star-Times, his first since news of his conviction broke last year. "You know how many famous people... come unstuck in the end. It seems it was my turn to come unstuck."He's through with Facebook, he says. "The internet has cost me a lot of money, and a lot of humiliation, and ruined my life. I'm done."

Radio jocks dined out, announcing his conviction to the strains of the Enz track "My Mistake". A sign went up in his neighbourhood: "The only record for Phil Judd in 2010 is a criminal one". Anonymous callers threatened to burn down his house, kill him in the street. "It freaked me out, and it freaked my ex-wife out even more." One night, he says, she arrived unannounced and bundled their 10-year-old son, over whom they shared custody, into her car. Her new partner, 20 years Judd's junior, wrestled to keep him at bay. "I was yelling, 'Please don't take him, please don't take him. Can we just talk about this?"' he says. "I slipped over on the driveway and just lay there."...

... Judd's chronic heart disease was discovered after a stroke in 2004 wiped out his spleen. "I lived pretty hard and I've paid the price," he says. Although he was a reluctant performer in his Split Enz days, he says he'd like to be able to take the stage again, but would be unlikely to make it through a song without collapsing. His bipolar syndrome is just as debilitating, and is only exacerbated by his drinking problem.

"Some of us have got through life self-medicating," he says. "I didn't even know I was bipolar until 18 years ago. Maybe, if I live a bit longer, I'll get more involved in support for bipolar people, because we're a very misunderstood bunch. People think you're a bit wacky, but you can't help the way you are. It's just the way the chemicals in the old noggin are working."

Read it here. It's tough going.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Webstock 2010  - Hey DJ, what's that sound?
I'm gonna write this really fast, cos I have a lot of ideas to compress into this, and it's all gonna flow into one, so hold on...

Last Wednesday I flew down to Wellington for Webstock. Surprising lack of turbulence landing too. Nice. I had scored the gig as offical Webstock DJ from Jeff and Lisa of Mukuna, who held down the job last year but have since moved away from Welli (thanks guys). So you're going what is Webstock? It's a two-day conference featuring web developers, designers, thinkers and more. 24 guest speakers, kicking off with Scott Thomas, the design director for the Obama campaign. Just got better from there. I heard some incredible speakers.

My job was to DJ during the breaks and lunch. And when everyone was arriving to register on the first day - starting from 730am, which is a hell of a time to get your head around playing records. I also DJed the cocktail party on Thursday night, and after the Onya Awards on Friday night, from the top of the stage in the Wellington Town Hall, in front of the organ pipes. I discovered that night you can play Good times by Chic (scored another copy in Slowboat) and people will always dance. Dead cert.

I also got to hang out with some of the folks attending the conference, including some cool Wellington peeps I'd met on Twitter, who took me to their fave bars. It was my first time at Webstock, and other folk that I know who'd been raved about it, and now I see why. It's really hard to put down exactly what it is that makes Webstock so special, but it's a non-stop exchange of ideas and information for 48 hours. And a whole lot of fun.

On the Saturday night (after chilling out in Titahi Bay for the day, escaping the hordes at Homegrown) I did a Dub Asylum show at Havana Bar, an absolutely gorgeous little spot, with the Sounds Almighty crew, dropping loadsa reggae niceness. All in all, a fantastic time. Catching up on sleep is taking time....

Top photo by Anthea Whittle. Slideshow below by me, shot on my phone.

Poi-e boy.
The latest film from Taika Waititi is called Boy. It's set in 1984, so they use Poi-e in the soundtrack, cos it's the right period, and, well, it's just damn cool.

Fulgeance is a French producer, and according to his Myspace page, his music "is a perfect blend of huge, synth-laced French Electro and modern Instrumental Hip Hop." It's a whole lot more than that - a delightful mish mash of squirmy, bouncy beats and squeeks that is mighty entertaining and very funky. He plays live with two MPCs, which would be a lotta fun to see. I discovered his music over the past year, especially his wonderful tune Tribute To Masekela, which is a must-have. Have a listen to his Myspace and check this interview with him (snip below). There's a free mixtape from him to download there too.

"...I think nerds are now the new rich and talented guys. Ask Bill Gates or that kind of important guy if he was famous at school. For sure he was trying to have a girl, and every jerk was laughing at him because he was workin’ on a new ‘geek’ computer project. So to be a nerd in France—because I’m not from Paris, but Caen and Normandy—is more now a fashion thing... From my side, to be nerd is to have a proper way to work in your passion or job—to not care about what’s happening outside but care more about what’s happening in what you like in music, films, games. … To be an addict, to work your own way—wakin’ up when you want, eating when you want—and to not care about what’s cool and hip....

Q: Samiyam sampled someone’s head getting crushed (from the movie Zombi) on Rap Beats Vol. 1. You have sampled your cat growling—how did you use it?
Fulgeance: "I never sampled my cat? Where did you get that? The crazy thing is I always wanted to, but my cat always stop breathing when I bring the mic to his mouth—crazy Minette! The weirdest thing I ever grabbed in a song—it never happened, and that’s cool and not cool—I sampled my girlfriend snoring, but I thought it was not cool for her if I put it in a track! Even if I really wanted to."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

84 styles.
Local graffiti artist Askew recounts his artistic journey, discovering some of our city's earliest graffiti crews and their work, here on his blog... It's a fantastic read, with some great pictures...

His family moved from Palmerston North to Auckland in 18984... "...Our street was mainly Samoan and Cook Island families, a handful of Pakeha families and one Maori family who were part of the Twelve Tribes Of Israel and threw epic parties at the bottom of our street... It’s fair to say that 1980’s Auckland city was as stark a contrast to Palmerston North as you could get and one I’m very thankful to have experienced first hand..."
Local Sony staff worry over likely Trans-Tasman merger
As reported earlier today by Newstalk ZB, "Staff at Sony New Zealand fear there may be job losses, with the company reorganising its operations. Sony spokesman Peter Buckton has confirmed the company is looking at amalgamating its Australia and New Zealand operations... However he says there is is no suggestion there will be redundancies."
Reclaiming FNun - Roger Shepherd in his own words
From the latest issue of NZ Musician magazine, worth a read. No mention by name of Ben Howe (see his involvement on the FNun deal here), although Roger alludes to "... some friendships have been put on hold, something which I do regret...."
Next Stop: Soweto
This new comp sounds like it's gonna be mean... "Strut follow their recent forays into Nigerian and Ethio grooves with"a brand new wide-ranging three-part series exploring underground South  African music during the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Next Stop Soweto Volume 1 explores the vibrant energy of the township jive sound, whilst Volumes 2 and 3, released across (the northern) Spring and Summer 2010, cover rare SA soul, funk; Hammond R and B and the country’s rich jazz scene." More at

[Free download] S. Piliso & His Super Seven- "Kuya Hanjwa" (mediafire) (zshare)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prince and the Revolution: video of rehearsals from 1984
Go watch this quick before it gets taken down. Seven videos in total. HOT DAMN!
A Walk Through Fort Greene - TRAILER

A Walk Through Fort Greene - TRAILER from Diane Paragas on Vimeo.

"A feature length documentary of the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene from the mid 1980s through the 90s as intimately told by writer, historian and director, Nelson George. The film features Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Rosie Perez, Branford Marsalis, Vernon Reid, Carl Hancock Rux, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, Alva Rogers, Kevin Powell, Toure, Bill Stephany to name a few."
Stussy - JDilla documentary, part 2
Sure, it's everywhere on the internets, but you need to watch this. (Watch part 1 here.)

Roger Shepherd in Dunedin, talking with Chills, Verlaines, Clean...
Roger Shepherd was in Dunedin late January, according to this report from Dunedin tv station Channel 9, talking with members of the Clean, Martin Phillipps of the Chills, and Graham Downes of the Verlaines about what is happening with the Flying Nun label, and his plans and how it affects their back catalogue.

He is also adamant that he will sign new bands - "No matter how good the music is, there's nothing duller than a reissue label,"says Shepherd. "New signings are essential... in many ways its easier to sign a new band than repackage old material..." That sounds like flawed logic to me. A new signed requires money for recording and promotion, while back catalogue material largely sells itslef, especially on the strength of the label's sterling reputation. Still, will be interesting to see who Shepherd signs.

He says he will also be visiting the Clean out in the Caitlins, where they are recording a new album, which may even come out thru Flying Nun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Neil Finn, Roger Shepherd and...???

I have heard that the new company formed for the recently revived Flying Nun is called FNR Limited. The Companies Office website search reveals the shareholders are...

Total Number of shares 400

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) SHEPHERD, Roger Norman

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) FINN, Neil Mullane
SMITH, Michael
FINN, Sharon Dawn

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) COCKROFT, Graham - ex Netherworld Dancing Toys, now Chief Operating Officer for Contact Energy (after a 19 year stint at British Gas)

Number of Shares 100
Shareholder(s) 1259481 - R RECORDS LIMITED (
RISHWORTH, Robert Peter)

FNR Limited was registered on Nov 25, 2009, and the shareholders other than Shepherd were added on 28 January.

UPDATED 9 Sept 2012: According to the Companies Office website, Roger Shepherd is now the sole director - Graham Cockcroft was a director from 02 Nov 2010 to 20 Apr 2012.

The share allocation has changed twice, indicating an infusion of money - while Shepherd retains 100 shares, the other three shareholding parties have had their allocation increased, first on 10 October 2011 from 100 to 178, and again recently on 19 July 2012, from 178 to 291. The shares were issued on 08 June and registered on July 19.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simon Grigg talks about OMC
Simon looks at the detail (or huge lack thereof) about the group OMC and various dates.

"Just a thought on media weirdness and the journey that erroneous data can take. In particular I’m thinking today of the reportage drivel that was the core of much of the reporting of Pauly Fuemana’s untimely death...."

More here
Flying Finn
The SST has a story on Neil Finn fronting some dosh to help Roger Shepherd buy back Flying Nun, headed "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nun cult record label." Finn is now a part owner of the label. I posted back in mid January on the behind the scene machinations of the FNun deal, after a disgruntled Ben Howe of Arch Hill Records talked about how he had been working behind the scenes with Shepherd on the deal, til it all went pearshaped (which he alludes to) and Howe got the boot. 

As the SST notes... "... [Shephard's) 11th-hour decision to cut out local record label owner Ben Howe from the deal, scuppering a two-year "gentleman's agreement" to purchase the label together, led to a rift between the men and prompted others in the industry to urge them to resolve their differences.

Howe, the founder of Auckland-based independent label Arch Hill Records, has been blogging about the failed partnership. He says he "put considerable time, expertise and cash" into the proposal since learning in 2007 that Warners was open to selling the label. The pair agreed Shepherd would front the talks with Warner, while Howe would do the budgets, fund the expenses and help reintroduce Shepherd to the industry, in which "a lot had changed in the 10 years he had been away".

Howe had been blindsided by a call from Shepherd last November, on the day he had flown him from Wellington for talks with Warner. "He said he was doing it on his own," said Howe. "It was a business decision and he wanted to look after his own interests."

Shepherd said the failed partnership was "really unfortunate" and offered to reimburse the funds Howe had invested in the partnership, which were "not substantial". "I know I managed it badly. Ben's got a right to be upset. But at the end of the day, it was a rather unfortunate, ugly commercial decision that had to be made."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hollie Smith broke

This story from yesterdays Dom Post says soul singer Hollie Smith lost $100,000 on her last album (for big jazz label Bluenote) and is broke. Then she says it lost $100,000, which is different. That means she lost that amount of money for her record label, by my thinking. Good to see she's managed to extract herself from their contract.

CORRECTED: The story says she lost hundereds of thousands, not $100,000 .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dub Asylum playing in Wellington, Sat Feb 20 at Havana
I'm off to DJ  at Webstock for the next two days. I have managed to squeeze in a Dub Asylum gig, at Havana on Saturday Feb 20, with Sounds Almighty, splendid reggae selectors from the capital. Free entry, kicks off at 10pm. Come on by and escape the hordes from Homegrown. Cool vibes in abundance.
EMI rehashes Grey Album fiasco over Wu-tang vs Beatles
Looks like the Wu-tang/Beatles mashup got a little too popular, as EMI are going after it. Read more here.

"... Its latest move is to force offline a wildly popular mashup, mixing The Beatles with The Wu Tang Clan., despite it getting rave reviews and lots of attention... and despite a history of similar actions backfiring massively for EMI.

Let's take a look back. Apparently the folks over at EMI/Capitol Records have no sense of history. Back in 2004, DJ Danger Mouse put together "The Grey Album," a fantastic mashup of The Beatles' "The White Album" with Jay-Z's "The Black Album." EMI/Capitol, who holds the copyright on much of The Beatles' catalog went nuts, and started sending cease-and-desists to pretty much everyone, leading to the infamous "Grey Tuesday" on February 24, 2004, where lots of websites posted the album in protest.

Years later, EMI admitted that the Grey Album didn't do any harm, but the company didn't care, saying "It's not a question of damage; it's a question of rights." Except, that's not true at all. If no damage is being done -- and, in fact, such a mashup is likely to attract a lot more attention to your back catalog from an audience who might not be that familiar with it, you're making a pretty huge mistake. That's just business..."

Wu-tang vs Beatles,  more on it over here
Universal Music's  new CEO thinks CDs are the future
This article is hilarious. First, there's the quote from former CEO, Doug Morris, who said, in a 2007 interview, that  "There's no one in the record company that's a technologist. That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"
"We didn't know who to hire," he says, becoming more agitated. "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person -- anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me."

The incoming CEO is Lucian Grainge, who previously headed the company's international division. So, what's Grainge's take on the future? "I believe that the CD will out-survive me as a format," Mr. Grainge said in an interview.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zodiac Records revisited
Simon Grigg has studiously complied a fascinating look at the catalogue of one of NZ's most important record labels, Eldred Stebbing's Zodiac Records. Read it here

Simon says "... I decided, a couple of years back, to put together a singles discography of what may be NZ’s most important record label, Eldred Stebbing’s legendary and groundbreaking Zodiac, and it’s associated bits and pieces.

With Eldred’s passing last year it seemed timely to finally finish this, or at least take it to a publishable standard, and post it, which I did a few days ago. This does however remain a work in progress and I’ll add more images and data as it and they become available.  The work of Chris Bourke, who’s forthcoming book on NZ music pre-rock, is one that I’m gagging to get my hands on, and Chris and historian John Baker have helped immensely...."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pauly Fuemana's family to put out his unreleased music
The Sunday News reports that "Pauly Fuemana's family may release his unrecorded music.
They are set to go through scores of unreleased tracks he recorded in the years following his worldwide hit How Bizarre... Older brother Tony Fuemana, boss of Urban Pacifika Records, said there was now a chance more music from OMC could be released posthumously.

"There are lots of songs that we have and we will have to look through them with the help of some of the labels and one of Paul's great friends, [ex-manager] Grant Thomas."

But while his family go through his unreleased back catalogue, huh! Records, confirmed it won't be doing anything with its own archived material. Simon Grigg, who owned huh! Records, said it did not "feel right" for him to release OMC material posthumously.

"Pauly put out the stuff that he wanted to put out," Grigg said. "We have got a whole lot of unreleased stuff that we will never release. Pauly didn't want it released at the time. It doesn't feel right."
Read the full story here