Thursday, April 29, 2010

Record Store Day bigger than christmas in US

Hypebot reports that "It was a great day for recorded music as sales surged during America’s third annual Record Store Day on April 17th. Compared to the prior week, overall U.S. album sales in the independent sector increased 12% including a whopping 119% vinyl sales jump for the weekend and 529% growth in vinyl single sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan."

LA Times says "Eric Levin, one of Record Store Day's key architects, declared the event "more important" than Christmas or Christmas week, in terms of boosting sales at independent outlets.

Levin runs Atlanta's Criminal Records and overseas the Alliance of Independent Media Stores (AIMS), a group of 28 indie stores around the country. "Every single AIMS store has reported that this was the best day they ever had, whether they were a 5-year-old store or a 15-year-old store," Levin said.... The overall week-to-week gain in album sales could lead one to conclude that Record Store Day is fueling sales at all music retailers, even those not stocked with exclusive content."

New Basquiat doco

I posted a trailer for this doco a while back, and it had a screening recently at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Here's a clip below, trailer over here.

zSHARE video - Jean Michel

"Before Tamra Davis was directing comedy classics like CB4 and Half Baked, she was hanging around people from the storied downtown New York art scene and taking footage of her friend Jean-Michel Basquiat. After he died, she shelved the film for 20 years and never considered doing anything with it until 2006, when she developed a short for a Basquiat retrospective.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: the Radiant Child is an expanded, feature-length version of that short, combining her extensive archives with interviews with the artist and his friends, including Fab Five Freddy, Julian Schnabel and his girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk, who talks about getting into a fistfight with Madonna. Watch a brief clip above, then go watch the incredible full-length trailer over at Nowness, which presented Radiant Child at the Tribeca Film Festival last night." Via the Fader.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chief Boima -Techno Rumba promo mix

"Chief Boima is dropping his all new EP on Dutty Artz. The Techno Rumba  single is the next slamming leg in his inspired blend of rolling African riddims with electronic club sounds. Big remixes come from Dutty Artz Tropical hype miesters DJ/Rupture, Uproot Andy & Matt Shadetek.
"And to go with the single, a very special Afro-Rumba mix by Boima himself recorded live at his Little Boabab club in San Francisco.

Boima says "What's important about Boabab is that it is an African club in the heart of the city's main nightlife districts where Africans can go to a place that feels like home in America but it's not marginalized as an ethnic club on the outskirts of the city. The music reflects this.

"Drawing influences from the Mission (historically latin) neighborhood, but also from all of our upbringings as first and second generation Africans, and an identity as black people in America. It is a place where I've been able to bridge the disparate worlds' that I grew up in and create something that represents myself and my diverse experiences through music."

Grab it over at Ghettto bassquake.

Next Stop Soweto part 2

Whereas Volume 1 of Next Stop... Soweto focused on traditional South African music, the second volume treads into the fusion of these sounds with western funk, soul, psych & more.  While the results are utterly unique, not all musicians went this direction by choice.  Below, find a track from the powerhouse group Mahotella Queens (whose sublime "Zway Kumusha" is one of the highlights of Volume 1), who according to the album liner notes, were pressured into a more contemporary direction by their label.  

Not ones to bend over easily though, the track (the title of which translates to "Come On, Hippies") calls out South African youth for leaving behind the values of their parents.  Volume 2 of Next Stop... Soweto is out May 11th.
The Mahotella Queens- "Wozani Mahipi" (mediafire) (soundcloud) (zshare)
From: Next Stop ... Soweto: Soultown, R&B, Funk & Psych Sounds from the Townships. 1969-1976  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Voodoo Frank vs BBE

Voodoo Frank pops up in the Wax Poetics 'Africa' issue - he's a  mighty interesting cat. He's a serious record collector and DJ, who moved to West Africa in 2005 and lived there for 3 years. You can read about his time there on his website, here.

He recently posted up a thread of emails he had with UK label BBE (titled "Fighting British bootlegging enterprises"), over a song that he says they didn't have a proper licence to use on Off The Track Vol 3, from Kon and Amir. He also posted it on the Soul Strut forums. It's currently 18 pages long.

Frank says that he has an exclusive licence to use a track by Doris Ebong for a compilation he put together called Lagos Disco Inferno, but Amir says Frank sold him the record knowing it was for their compilation, then changed his mind when he later decided to do his own comp. I read the first 4 pages, and man, it gets heated.

Starts like this...

Frank: We have just last week released our compilation "Lagos Disco Inferno" which prominently features "boogie trip" as the first track and this song has somehow become the signature track of this release.  We do own the exclusive copyright of "boogie trip" and have signed with Rev. Tony Essien who is the producer and co-author of said track.

I would think it should be easy to understand how we can't accept the unauthorized publication of this track through a competing product. I will leave it up to the record label to serve you with a cease and desist order and to take further legal steps if needed.

BBE: "...The consultant who did the licensing for the off track 3 compilation is away on compassionate leave and as soon as i can speak to him next week i will confirm what the status is regarding the license of that particular track. We had someone in Nigeria assisting with the project. Being from Ghana myself i know these things can be not always so straightforward re ownership. Either way just bear with me for about a week and i will get back to you..."

Frank: "Since I haven't heard back from you about this matter, I'm assuming you are willing to go ahead and publish your record including Doris Ebong "boogie trip" for which we own the exclusive copyright.

You claiming "The consultant who did the licensing for the off track 3 compilation is away on compassionate leave" doesn't appear to be anything but an effort to gain time. Why would you need an consultant to tell you what you know as well as I do: You do not have any licensing for this track.

Next thing will probably be you tell us that the record's already manufactured."

BBE:"Can you send me your phone number please?"

Frank:"Let's keep this at emails, easier to document what was discussed.

-We paid the songwriter and producer for the exclusive licensing of this track.

-You don't have any license for it.

-You can't release unlicensed material, especially not after being contacted by the licensing holder and asked not to.

I think I was clear enough that I don't want you to release this track and you refused to comment on this demand.

Off Track Vol. 3 is still being advertised as soon to be released including this title.

This forces us to seek legal counsel so we can make sure our interest is being protected."

BBE:"Sure. Whatever works for you. Cd was already pressed over a month ago.
... Hope we can find a solution."

Frank:"Our record just came out and we will not accept you publishing this track be it on CD, digitally or otherwise. That's the whole point in licensing something exclusively, isn't it?

It's your own fault for manufacturing a CD that contains unlicensed material and the
distribution of a compilation that includes bootlegged material is against the law. You can't knowingly commit an illegal act and expect to "figure out compensation" later."

The next section are excerpts from several subsequent emails and everything you're about to read are complete and utter lies as will be proven later.

BBE: "Just want to inform you that Tony Essien does not have the rights to license you the Doris Ebong track as he has never been the master owner. All the recordings were a buy outs by Phonodisk.  BBE have a signed agreement for the rightful use of the track from the correct owner of the Doris Ebong master. I am passing on your email to correct owner as per his request. "

... "The track was never owned by the artist or the producer. Your license is not legitimate. "

... "The track was never owned by Tony Essien. "

Frank: "Putting the child of the label owner over the songwriter, producer and artist will not only put you in a very bad light publicity wise but will also not stand up in a court of law, be it in Europe or the US. You're more than welcome to fight over this.  There is no question that you will be left holding the short hand of the stick.

We have passed the matter onto out lawyer."

BBE: "Tony Essien is NOT the owner of the Doris Ebong masters and did not have the power to sign the track of to you. I'm afraid you have been ripped off.

BBE have the correct rights to the record.
As such you may have a cease and desist coming your way now."

In the meantime, my agent in Nigeria had done some research and this is what I wrote to BBE after I had received the results.

Frank: "I feel deeply sorry for you but I'm afraid you were ripped off.

Tony Essien's company TEDD Records licensed the Doris Ebong record to Phonodisk for 2 years after its original release. Tony Essien doesn't only still own the original contract for this but also all master tapes for his record. Still, I'll give you bonus points for the boldness of yesterdays bluff attempt."

BBE: "Just have your lawyer contact me. I am not interested in your mind games. "

Frank: "Count on it!"

Just two days ago, I have finally received scans of the contract Tony Essien had made with Phonodisk and with it final proof that nobody else but Tony Essien was the owner of the copyright of this record. Of course I couldn't resist firing off a gleeful mail to BBE before passing the matter onto our lawyers in the US and Europe.

Me: "Dear Peter,
as you have asked for, we don't play games anymore. Attached you find the proof that the copyright to the Doris Ebong LP "All I need is your love" including the track "boogie trip" was never owned by Phonodisk, Mr. Ishola or his family.

Should any copies of your CD that include this track hit the market, be prepared to be sued in a European court (where you will be stuck with all -including our -legal costs) as well as in a US court.

You can also tell the person you signed your fraudulent license with that he will hear from a Nigerian lawyer which will make for an even more unpleasant experience than what's in store for you.

Have a great weekend,
yours sincerely

See the contract documents here.

Then you get to page 4 on the Soul Strut forum and Numero group weigh in...

"Regardless if this is the right place or not, the world needs to know that BBE is kinda shady. It took nearly two years for us (Numero) to get Frank Penn and Jesse Jones paid from similar infractions. BBE's certainly not above just putting shit out when push comes to shove.

Frank, you look seriously foolish when you take it beyond the foothold of "These dudes are in the wrong." The legal threats are totally retarded, as no lawyer is going to trial over one song on a comp that will top out at 3000 copies. It's just not fucking worth it. Make your point and move on. I agree wholeheartedly that SS should know about this bullshit "reissue" label, but put it on the table and let the consumer decide.

And Kon and Amir? Defending your employer against this is just not a good look. We've discussed this before, and you know they're hardly on the level. I know you want the paycheck, but if you don't want your name covered in shit, don't swim in a septic tank...." Numero also suggest a few solutions to the issue.

Hat tip to Alan P for sending me this. Graphic from Soul strut forum thread.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tube-Tech visits Daptone's Gabe Roth

Tube-Tech's Jesper Bo and Thermal Relief's Erica Earl (Camera) visits Gabe Roth in Daptone Studio, Brooklyn NY. Gabe talks about recording with Tube-Tech and shows us the studio. It's a pretty basic video.

Think I've posted an article about this before, but the video is kinda cool. Watch out for the Daptone studio blackboard, with lotsa tracks listed - looks like they were working on the latest Sharon Jones album. Apparently they cut over 20 tracks for it.

Part2: How they get the Daptone drum sound

Share the information, spread it like butter

P-Money talks about getting ready to release his new album, the work involved being an independent, and how to deal with the pressure... this is well worth a read for any budding musician out there. Read it here, excerpt below...

"I tell ya, it sure is a great feeling to own an independent record label and be free to choose how you create, market and promote your own music. But don't ever make the mistake of thinking it's easy to do this well. You have to be sharp, attentive and dedicated. Especially when you manage yourself, as I mostly do....

"It's important not to forget that as a human you need to balance work and home life in order to be truly successful (and stay healthy… and sane!). With a schedule like mine is at present it can be difficult to find time to eat, let alone foster any kind of meaningful relationships, but I do my best on both fronts.

"It would be fair to say I'm feeling the pressure at the moment. But it's obviously something I've done before and can confidently navigate. This is technically album number 3 for me as P-Money the producer/artist and there are a number of other projects under my belt, courtesy of our other great acts at Dirty, that have contributed to my experience. So yes, I can handle it and fortunately this time I'm handling things far better than with any of my prior efforts. There have been no breakdowns yet! (believe it, they are par for the course in this game).

" With age I've learnt to not be as precious about each minor detail and instead look at the overall picture. I've also learnt to trust others with aspects of my projects a bit more, so that helps with not overworking myself. Control freaks and perfectionists (like me) are very prone to pulling all nighters and suffering severe burn-out. Im speaking from experience here. Taking care of yourself, getting rest, and not over indulging, is of utmost importance..."

Style Wars revisited

Style Wars is a crucial slice of hiphop history documented on film. "We are embarking on a project to restore STYLE WARS and bring it up to the highest technical standards available today in order to create a High Definition edition of the film. We will be transferring the original 16 mm negativeinto full HD 1080p while cleaning and restoring the film during the process."
Read more about it here.

Some of the original graffiti artists look back on that time, in the clip below...

Legendary DJ Greg Wilson: FACT Mix 141

Grab it here, only up for 3 weeks.

Wilson DJed at the Hacienda, the Wgian Pier,  and curated "compilations including the seminal Street Sounds UK Electro album (1984) and Classic Electro Mastercuts (1994). The last decade thankfully saw Greg make a welcome return to the DJing fray [after taking a break in 83], but the real renaissance began with Tirk’s brilliant Credit To The Edit 12″s and CD compilations, which celebrated the veteran’s unique and deliciously raw reel-to-reel editing technique."

1.      6th Borough Project – How can I show you (GW ‘bomb’ re-touch)
2.      Duff Disco 002 – Return of the duff
3.      6th Borough Project – Do it to the max
4.      Crazy P – Lady T (GW edit)
5.      Duff Disco 003 – Do that thang
6.      Young Dog Alien – Gotta keep workin’ it (GW mash-up)
7.      Stevie Wonder – Superstition (Todd Terje edit)
8.      The Bangles – Walk like an egyptian (Todd Terje edit)
9.      Killer Funk Disco Allstars – Things you do to me
10.    Sgt Lovebody – Skippy’s down the well
11.    Aretha Franklin – Rock steady (DK edit)
12.    Rufus Feat Chaka Khan – Ain’t nobody (Frankie Knuckles hallucinogenic mix)
13.    Blondie – Rapture (6ms edit)
14.    Linkwood – Falling
15.    Elektrons – Get up (GW special version)
16.    Fatback Band – (Are you ready) do the bus stop

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guru interview from 2003

Writer Oliver Wang wrote one of the few decent obits for Guru, for the LA Times. He talks about putting that together here, along with some of his favourite Gangstarr tunes.

Oliver has also put up some snippets from a 2003 interview he did with Guru and Premier...
"I wrote a cover story on Gang Starr for URB in 2003, in anticipation for The Ownerz, the group’s first album in five years. I flew out to NYC and interviewed the two men, separately, in Studio B of D&D Studios."

Guru talks about raising his son, staying relevant, Gangstarr thru the years, and as a bonus, top 5 beats that Premier wished he'd produced. Great reading.

BIGFM sold to Kirby bros

BIGFM launched in November 2008, and is being sold to Thane and Richard Kirby, both ex-GeorgeFM. The deal was hinted at in Friday's NZ Herald, here. with a rumoured $2m sale price. Here's the official press release...


New format BIG TIME FM goes to air 1 May

There's a new not-so-secret secret set to send shockwaves through the New Zealand radio industry! The Kirby brothers are back in business.

Broadcasting brothers Thane and Richard Kirby have purchased BIG FM 106.2FM in Auckland, as they say, for an undisclosed sum.

Tune in from next Saturday (May 1, 2010) from 7am as the two entrepreneurs of independent radio take hold of BIG and kick off a 'spoiler' format called BIG TIME. The guys are in a holding pattern until their shiny new format is revealed in June.

"The new format is under wraps at present," Thane says, "but we guarantee it's going to provide a new offering not currently catered for by any other station in New Zealand."

Thane Kirby is the founder of George FM, UpFM, Base FM and the now defunct alternative music telly channel he doesn't really like talking about, ALT TV - "Similar to the channel Mediaworks' C42 is about to launch in May," he says.

Thane is also a consultant to Radio Ponsonby 107.7FM and continues to assist with the station's phenomenal growth.

Richard Kirby is keen as mustard to get his teeth back into the Auckland radio market and win the ears of listeners region-wide.

"Ask me about our creds and I'll tell you we both have more than credible backgrounds in broadcasting and have worked for greater successes than some of the more senior members of the local radio business."

The brothers are set to become one of the biggest independent radio operators in the country. Despite the demise of BIG FM they say there is some good news for a few of the station's former staff.

"The pick of the bunch will be recruited to work on the new station," Richard says, "because the new format will adhere to and respect the 'Auckland-ness' and 'community' feel that BIG FM fostered."

Big FM Director Jeff Down is pleased the station has sold to passionate radio people. "The MED is transferring the licence and the transition from BIG FM into BIG TIME should run smoothly."

So put down this release, find a beer and toast the little guys who are about to battle through the current economic climate and the foreign-owned radio networks just to provide the public with a credible source of entertainment.

"We both love radio and enjoy a good challenge so give us a listen from May 1," says Thane.