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.