Saturday, January 08, 2011

Neat rows of bottle caps

Great interview by Graham Reid in today's NZ Herald, with promoter Michael Chugg. He's got stories for days...

"Concert promoter Michael Chugg - the man behind forthcoming shows by Santana and the Doobie Brothers, plus the Laneway and Grassroots festivals among others - tells good stories. By the dozen.

It's the 1977 Fleetwood Mac tour and he's sitting alone at a medieval banquet table backstage, which is covered in whole cooked pigs, sides of beef, lamb, chickens and turkeys ... The band - nine months after the release of their 40 million-selling album Rumours - are on stage with cocaine in beer bottle caps laid out in neat rows on a card table.

"Yeah, the excess of the excess period," laughs the man who indulged along with everyone.
"An amazing tour. The night they played [in Auckland] we had the biggest cream pie and water fight I've ever been involved in."

Read the story in full here.
Chugg has recently published his autobiography, "Hey, you in the black t-shirt".

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Jan 8

Pepperpots - Real tru love
Cubalooba - Cubalooba
New age steppers - My love
Lee Perry and Adrian Sherwood  - Kingston tower
Barrington Levy - Fuss nor fight
Cornell Campbell and the Jays - Hell inna de yard
Top cat - Request the style
Ray Bryant - Up above the rock
Seductive souls - Dazz - Tom Moulton mix
Spyder D - Big apple rappin
Junkyard band - The word/sardines
Umod - Mash up
Cutty Ranks - The stopper - Richard Dorfmeister remix
Jefferson Belt - Skylurking
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
New Loungehead feat Sulata  - Cloth
Ariya astrobeat arkestra - African kings
The Soul Fantastics - Aint no sunshine
Mayer Hawthorne - The ills (coming to NZ for Splore, Feb 11-12, plus Welly show Feb 14)
Natural self - Laws of motion
Shriekback - All lined up - disco mix
Colman Bros - Another brother remix
Bill Withers - Green grass
Public Enemy - Can't do nuttin for ya man - full rub mix

Friday, January 07, 2011


Cosmo Baker's Top Ten Mix - January 2011. Hat tip to Jason for the link. Downloadable too.

Cosmo Baker's Top Ten Mix - January 2011 by cosmobaker

"Welcome to the Cosmo Baker Top Ten List Version 2.0! In the past I've always had a monthly list of ten records that I wanted to "chart" and share with my folks. These kind of run the line from older stuff that I've discovered to brand new stuff that I feel needs to get some shine. It's usually a mix of different sounds that encapsulate where I'm coming from as a DJ. I profile a lot of music on my site, but these ten records are the "official" joints pretty much."

1 - Teena Marie "Square Biz" (Secret Dub Mix)
2 - Ghostface Killah "Superstar" feat. Busta Rhymes
3 - Oliver "All Night"
4 - Son Of Bazerk "Turn Me Loose"
5 - Sugar Bear "Don't Scandalize Mine"
6 - Chic "I Feel Your Love Comin' On" (Dimitri From Paris Remix)
7 - Pretty Poison "Catch Me I'm Falling"
8 - Ilija Rudman "Against The Wall" (Killer Whale Remix)
9 - The Get Down Crew "Chante Vs. James Brown"
10 - Armand Van Helden & Steve Aoki "BRRRAT! (Eli Escobar Remix)
BONUS  11 - Daft Punk "Derezzed" (Cosmo Baker Dance Edit) 

Blowfly documentary

Blowfly appeared at the 2010 BDO and have heard reports from folk who saw him that he was the best thing all day. This is an interview with the film maker Johnathan Furmanski (director of Pixies doco loudQUIETloud) about his documentary on this legendary filthmonger.

"Blowfly gained a measure of underground celebrity into the early hip hop era, even charting with the 1980 album Blowfly’s Party, before fading into obscurity.

So filmmaker/photographer Jonathan Furmanski didn’t expect to find much when he aimlessly typed “Blowfly” into Google one day a few years back. That search – and the discovery that Blowfly, by then nearing 70, had never stopped recording and touring – led to The Weird World of Blowfly, which traces Reid’s career and his often fraught and frustrating attempts to keep it up.

Debuted at last year’s South by Southwest festival, it’s a suitably obscene yet intimate and surprising portrait of a singular performer, featuring testimonials from fans like Ice-T and German punk band Die Arzte and interviews with Reid’s ex-wife and semi-estranged children, who still seem somewhat befuddled as to where “Blowfly” ends and “Clarence” begins. Furmanski, who is now raising funds on Kickstarter to finance distribution (click on the widget below the article to contribute or learn more), chatted with MFW from his New York home about chronicling the original dirty rapper."

Read it here.  Trailer below (watch for his Clash cover).  Furmanski is raising funds via Kickstarter, help him out if you feel so inclined.

Blowfly Film Trailer from blowflyfilm on Vimeo.

Colourblind - The Auckland Dance Scene in 1993

Colourblind - The Auckland Dance Scene in 1993 was an article written by Andrew Schmidt for Metro magazine. He posted the full story on his excellent blog, Mysterex a few years back. At the time he wrote it, Schmidt was new to Auckland, and didn't know anything of the music scene he was tasked to write about, which, as he suggests in his intro, was probably a good thing, giving a fresh take on it. Read the full story here. [Edit - Schmidt deleted his blog in March 2011, so I have posted the full story on my blog]

"... Tapping the same market, but the musical vein, is Auckland dance music label Deepgrooves which recently set up a Sydney branch to break its roster of acts in Australia.

Label boss Kane Massey is one of a number of young Aucklanders revitalising local music by dipping into the city’s well of brown talent. He joins longtime black music fan Murray Cammick’s Southside Records, home to Maori chart act Moana And The Moahunters; newcomer Tangata Records which includes Emma Paki and Gifted And Brown among its acts; and Pagan Records which has dance mistress Merenia on board. Even Flying Nun Records, one of the last New Zealand bastions of three chord pop and white guitar noise rock, has the very danceable Headless Chickens.

Deepgrooves releases cover the whole dance music spectrum from the High Street hip hop of Urban Disturbance and old school rap of The Hard Way through the acid jazz of Cause Celebre regulars Freebass to the jaunty reggae of the Mighty Asterix and Jules Issa.

3 The Hard Way are a young street smart hip hop crew from Avondale. As their first release tells it, they’re “straight from the old school” of rap.

TTHW’s members have spent time in early Auckland rappers Total Effect, BB3 and Chaingang, but it’s 3 The Hard Way now and the sounds and name fit just so. They’re West Auckland homeboys, they grew up there, and that experience is in the music — the early chaotic days listening to older brothers’ reggae, George Clinton hard funk and early rap, cobbling together equipment from old Technics stereos, learning their sounds from DJ friends Nick Roy and John Petueli.

“The words are about what we’ve been through,” says rapper Boy C (Chris Maiai). “About how hard it was to get into the music. ‘When we first started we didn’t know anyone,” adds DJ Mike Mix (Mike Patton).

First up from 3 The Hard Way is “Hip Hop Holiday”, a song based around a sample of 1OCC’s “Dreadlock Holiday”. The sounds are hard, thanks to some assured DJing from Mike Mix and DJ Damage (Lance Manuel), but not so hard that a chart hit is out of the question. That’s fine with the band, they haven’t compromised the music they want to make, and they want as many people to hear the music as possible. Next up is a hip hop version of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross”, to be followed by a song for their kids — Boy C and DJ Damage both have young sons.

It’s taken 3 The Hard Way a while to get into the studio, so now they’re not wasting any time. New Zealand On Air has proved that its ears aren’t too far from the street and has stumped up two recording grants and a video grant. And what 3 The Hard Way learn about recording, playing live and putting out records will stay in West Auckland. Part of the plan is to record and encourage other local outfits still struggling away in garages, moulding their sounds.

Talking to these three it’s easy to know why dance music is the street buzz of the moment. Like the best new movements it’s grown out of an underground scene and is propelled by young people jacked up on the sounds, but singing and rapping about their environments to an audience that can relate directly to those concerns and experiences. To borrow a phrase from black soul label Motown, it’s the sound of young brown Auckland, and it’s a new voice that’s seldom been heard here. With the swelling young Maori and Polynesian population rising in the city, there’ll be plenty of ears keen to hear songs that reflect their worlds..."

The story goes on to look at the scene in High St at night, and talks with Simon Grigg about that scene. Fascinating read.

2R2s - Take you home dub

Another tune from 2R2S (Riot Riddim Sound System)  - Take you home dub, taken from the Deepgrooves compilation Instrumental Killers, from 1994, I believe. The CD has no date listed on it, handy that.

I  had previously thought this was a dub version of a song that was intended for inclusion on the ill-fated 2R2S EP that was in production at the time, but a recent conversation with Roland from 2R2S suggests I had it all wrong.

Roland says this song was not a dub version at all but an instrumental they'd recorded with the intention of writing lyrics for one of their crew, Paulette Edwards (ex Strawpeople), to sing over it. They had been performing a version of it live with Paulette using the lyrics and melody of a song by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, I Wonder If I Take You Home (video).

The plan was to write some original lyrics for her to sing, but Roland says they found it difficult getting studio time, as Deepgrooves engineers Mark Tierney and Chris Sinclair were basically working for free, donating their time, so they (2R2S) had to wait until the engineers had some spare time between paying gigs.

Also, Roland told me this instrumental was included on the compilation without their knowledge or permission.

Other acts on this compilation included Sound Foundation, Unitone Hifi, NDS (Nemesis Dub Systems), Nag, Urban Disturbance, Projector, and Babel (Andy "Submariner" Morton and Kieran Cooney). Babel released an EP on Deepgrooves in 1994, called A is for Atom (more info here). Most of the tunes on this compilation had been on other Deepgrooves releases.

Coming up next... the Picassos get dubbed by Mike Hodgson (pre-Pitch Black)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Riot Riddum part 2

Riot Riddum Sound System (2R2S) was my old mates Bobbylon and Roland from Hallelujah Picassos and a few assorted folk. Riot Riddum Sound System started out as a side project for them with both DJing and taking turns on the mike, Roland in his gruff style,  and Bobbylon with his melodious 'singjay' style. I posted their first release earlier.

Everybody To Deir Own is a way more aggressive tune than Home girl, switching between Bobbylon's smooth crooning and Roland's shouting. It's a great tune, and featured on the second Deepgrooves compilation in 1992, Deep in the Pacific of bass, the follow up to the earlier Deepgrooves comp from the previous year.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Riot Riddum part 1

Roland (L), Bobbylon. Photo: Sonoma Message. Published in Planet, 1991

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting material from the Deep Grooves label, a crew of like-minded Aucklanders dropping tunes in the early 1990s, many of whom  I knew back in the day. I want to share some of this great music with you - I'm not gonna try and write the definitive history, just share what I recall of that time, and rope in a few other folk too.

Riot Riddum Sound System (2R2S) was based around my old mates Bobbylon and Roland from Hallelujah Picassos, along with guests on the mic such as Termoana Rapley, Paulette Edwards (ex Strawpeople), Pip (Blue Marbles), Tosh (Semi Lemon Kola), Justin and Twitch. Riot Riddum Sound System started out as a side project for them with both DJing and taking turns on the mike, Roland in his gruff style,  and Bobbylon with his melodious 'singjay' style.

This song marks their recording debut, and was recorded and produced as part of a marathon nine days of recording sessions fronted by Mark Tierney at the desk (trivia - Halleujah Picassos recorded a version of this as a B side for a single, with actor Alan Brough taking lead vocals).

Eight songs ended up on the debut 'Deep Grooves' compilation release from the Deepgrooves label, which, when it started, was three partners - sound engineer Mark Tierney, Bill Latimer (owner of The Lab recording studio, where the sessions took place) and Kane Massey, who eventually took over the label when the other two partners left.

Other acts on the debut compilation were Sound Foundation, Straw People, Rhythm and business (Daniel Barnes and George Hubbard), Jules Issa (covering Dangerous Game, featured in a previous post), DLT meets the Projector (aka Mike Hodgson, later of Pitch Black), Nemesis Dub System, and Love and bass featuring Christine Fuemana.

The compilation is a landmark recording for capturing the incredible hiphop/reggae musical collisions going on in clubs and parties across central Auckland at the time, predating the Welly dub scene by at least a decade. It's vitally important music that for the most part hasn't dated in  the least. And it's sadly out of print.


"Aotearoa's foremost indie dance label, Deepgrooves is the musical cross pollination of cultures that comes from the world's largest Polynesian city, Auckland. Reggae, dub, ragga, club, and hard beats from the mind and soul of the fresh crew with the new view - Riot Riddum Sound System, Leaders of Style, The Sound Foundation, Jules Issa and the Mighty Asterix, The Projector."

This is how the Deepgrooves label described itself in  promotional material... (from an ad in Billboard Jan 1992, plugging various NZ labels).

It's a good insight into the minds of the folk behind the label, engineer Mark Tierney, Bill Latimer (owner of The Lab Studio) and Kane Massey, and captures something of the spirit in the music. Auckland central had a bubbling club scene that mixed and mashed styles every weekend - the hiphop and reggae heads all went to the same gigs, cos there was only about 200 people in central Auckland into those genres at that time. New Zealand hiphop was a long way from standing the eff up, it was still learning to walk.

Names like Stylee Crew, Native Bass (later Dam Native), DLT, Stinky Jim, Roger Perry, Teremoana, Slowdeck, Dubhead, Slave and Otis, Tuffy Culture and others, were all jumping on stage and having a good time at warehouse parties across the CBD, and in back yards like behind the Blue Tile Lounge on Symond St. That was the scene that gave rise to the Deepgrooves acts. It was a recorded representation of what was going on musically in the clubs in town.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be profiling a bunch of Deepgrooves artists and posting up the music so you can hear it, starting today with Riot Riddum Sound System. Enjoy.

Monday, January 03, 2011


Just came across this clip of Caribou playing live. Tasty.

More lists

More best of 2010 musical selections - this time from the folk at Conch Records. See below.

Tokimonsta - Midnight Menu (Listen Up)
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Pt. 2 (Motown)
Chico Mann - Analog Drift (Wax Poetics)
Billy Love - Melloghettomental (Sound Signature)
Gappy Ranks - Put the Stereo On (Greensleeves)
Lord Echo - Melodies (Economy)
Darkstar - North (Hyperdub)
Jose James - Blackmagic (Brownswood)
Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush)
Oriol - Night & Day (Planet Mu)
The Roots - How I Got Over (Def Jam)
Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (Warp)
Scuba - Triangulation (Hot Flush)
Gil Scott Heron - I’m New Here (XL)
Grooveman Spot - Change Situations (Planet Groove)

Also, Oliver Wang weighs in at Soulsides, with his musical faves, including mentioning Lord Echo (Mike Fabulous of Black Seeds/Fly My Pretties) in his list of favourite singles, for Thinking of you (Sister Sledge cover).

Grant Smithies in the Sunday Star Times dropped his best of list yesterday. His favourite albums from 2010 were the latest releases from Homebrew, Phoenix Foundation, Naked and Famous, Connan Mockasin, Ruby Suns, Street chant, Surf city, Grayson Gilmour, Die die die, Ali Farke Toure and Toumani Diabete, LCD soundsystem, The Fall, and Tame Impala. His local album of the year was from Robert Scott, which he called "warm, gentle and charming... and equal to anything he's done with his more celebrated bands The Bats and The Clean". Smithies named the latest from Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma - as his album of the year. It's an album that didn't grab me first time out and I need to return to it and spend more time with it.

Another album I enjoyed last year (that I forgot to add to my list - doh) was the latest from Caribou - Swim. I only discovered this outfit when I heard they were on the lineup for Splore City (happening in Aotea Square next month - Splore is back out at the beach for 2012). I asked on Twitter what Caribou songs to start with, and some very helpful folk pointed me in the right direction. It's kinda cool when you discover an act (that's new to you), and then find out they've got a bunch of back catalog to dig through.

Dub letters

I scored a copy of the Nuclear Waste 12-inch from Herbs at Real Groovy today. It's got a fantastic dub version that I've never heard of of French Letter (Letter to France), so here it is, freshly digitised for you folk. Google tells me that when French Letter came out as a single in 1982, the B side was this dub version. The radio announcer's credit is Sharon Graham.

Also got a copy of the compilation "We'll do our best", which features Herbs' labelmates Diatribe. Their tune on the compilation is Contamination Blues, listen below.

Also go have a listen to Dangerous Game by Diatribe - I posted it up here, along with the cover version from Deepgrooves artist Jules Issa. Got a ton more Deepgrooves posts coming soon, starting with Riot Riddim Sound System.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Dub Eno

On your last album, on Bowie’s last few albums, and on Kraftwerk’s last two albums, there’s danceable yet advanced music. Do you think about breaking through to the discos?

Oh yeah, I do. What I would really like to do, if I could have a sort of kingship for a short time and organize the group of my dreams - I would make one group which was a combination of, say, Parliament and Kraftwerk - put those two together and say “Make a record.” Something like that would be an extraordinary combination: the weird physical feeling of Parliament, with this strange, rigid, stiff stuff over the top of it ... What I like about the Parliament/ Funkadelic people is that they really go to extremes. There’s nothing moderate about what they do. It’s very extreme music, quite as extreme in some ways as Kraftwerk is. What I’m interested in doing is getting these two extremes and gluing them together, seeing what you have to do to make them work together.

The other thing I’m interested in doing now is robot reggae. I’d like to get together with some reggae musicians and deliberately try to subtract the feel from what they’re doing so that they play in a kind of really stiff white way.

Dub is a step in that direction. Some of it is quite abstract.

That’s right. Again there’s an incredibly extreme and interesting and sophisticated use of electronics that nobody seems to notice. They don’t notice that it’s electronic music. They always focus on people like me who use synthesizers, right, which are explicitly electronic and therefore obvious. “Ah yes, that’s electronic music.” But they don’t realize that so is this concept of actually taking a piece of extant music and literally re-collaging it, taking chunks out and changing the dynamics and creating new rhythmic structures with echo and all that. That’s real electronic music as far as I’m concerned. I’ve got plans to do a dub album actually..."

From "Eno at the edge of rock" by Glenn O'Brien, Interview magazine, June 1978. Full interview is available online here.

Al Green remixed

Gorgeous tune, spotted via Stink Inc. Go grab it.

George Lenton vs Al Green Simply beautiful by georgelenton

Nona Hendryx - Transformation live

Speaking of Nona... I know I've posted this tune before, but this is from an interview and live jam Nona Hendryx did not too many years ago - she plays Transformation on keys, with a bassist and guitarist to help her out. Still damn funky. She's 63 at the time of this clip.

Eno Eno Eno

I'm currently reading On Some Faraway Beach, a biography of Brian Eno by David Sheppard, and have been checking out various out takes from the sessions Eno did in 1980 with Talking Heads for Remain In Light. Eno had spent a lot of time in New York not long before that, getting involved with the No Wave scene and generally having a good time, which was probably pretty easy to find in late 70s NYC.

Anyways, a bunch of the out takes from Remain In Light turned up on the 2005 reissue of that album, with titles like Fela's Riff, and Double Groove, which features Eno singing with David Byrne and Nona Hendryx  - she'd been drafted in to help with vocals by Taking Heads member Jerry Harrison, who'd produced some demos for her. Harrison told Eno biographer Dave Bowman that he "heard a voice in Brian that I never heard beofre. Eno is very English on his solo records. But he was excited about African music. With Hendryx he was able to be careless - carefree, with a passion that would have been wonderful for him to explore".