Tuesday, February 22, 2011


About 1pm this afternoon, Christchurch was hit by a serious earthquake, of 6.3 (following September's quake of 7.1). There's been terrible scenes of collapsed buildings, shocked people and calamity all over the tv for hours. It's pretty horrific to watch. Sixty five people are reported dead so far, and there's still hundreds of people trapped inside collapsed buildings, as darkness falls. I hope they're going to be okay. Much love to the people of Christchurch.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Five bar loops

From a recent article in The Guardian on J-Dilla... no standard four bar loops for this cat...

"...Dilla was, perhaps, the only hip-hop producer to have studied the cello ("Not the instrument of choice in the ghetto," as his mother puts it in the sleevenotes) as a child, and his work is full of the sort of subtle but powerful differences that a composition-based education might provide, as Miguel Atwood-Ferguson noticed when he broke down the pieces ahead of arranging them for the orchestra.

"Dilla loves five-bar loops," he says. "He loves sevens and elevens as well, but within the phrases of five, he will have different parts of the beat looped in threes, fives and sevens a lot as well. Two of my other favorite musicians, Billie Holliday and Elvin Jones, very naturally phrase in three, five, and seven as well, without even seemingly being consciously of it."

Wave goodbye

I heard a whisper late last year that The Opensouls were splitting up, and this weekend just gone the band played their final show in Tauranga. Lead singer Tyra Hammond has recently had a kid, and drummer Julien Dyne has got a budding solo career cooking away, not to forget the other musical activities of other band members, so I guess it's a good time to wrap things up. The Opensouls produced some splendidly funky grooves. I'll miss em. Love this video too, you bunch of sick puppies! Laters, Opensouls....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Fishbone

Got sent these clips from the fine folk at Turnstyle News... thanks!

"Actors and musicians including Gwen Stefani, Laurence Fishburne (narrator), Flea, Damon Wayans, Ice-T and Perry Farrell appear in two exclusive clips - obtained by Turnstyle News - of EVERYDAY SUNSHINE, a documentary about unique black rock band Fishbone. It is the untold story of fiercely individual artists in their quest to reclaim their musical legacy while debunking the myths of young black men from urban America."

Official site for Everyday Sunshine.

Everyday Sunshine: Fishbone Is Punk Rock from Turnstyle Video on Vimeo.

Everyday Sunshine: Fishbone In The Hood from Turnstyle Video on Vimeo.

Read more - Fishbone in the hood at Turnstyle News

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Straight to hell

Got sent this link, which reminded me to post it, cos I saw it a while back, I think.

NY77: The coolest year in hell, a documentary made in 2007 by VH1. This clip is 1 hour 25 mins.

"A two-hour VH1 Rock Doc that documents one of the most tumultuous years in New York Citys history. The Emmy nominated documentary examines everything from the birth of hip-hop, the burgeoning disco movement, the famed New York blackout, the Son of Sam murders, the sexual revolution and the citys ongoing financial and political problems. The list of people interviewed by Corra includes Mayor Ed Koch, Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, porn actress Annie Sprinkle, hip-hop pioneers KRS One, Afrika Bambaataa and D.J. Kool Herc, punks Richard Hell, Blondies Christ Stein, Studio 54 co-owner Ian Schrager and disco diva Gloria Gaynor."

Marc Campbell over at Dangerous Minds remembers the 77 blackout...

"I was living in the decaying Hotel Earle in the West Village when NYC went black. The power failure of July 13, 1977 knocked the city to its knees. I was sitting on the window sill of my room keeping cool or as cool as one could keep during a sweltering summer night in the city. I was drinking a nice cold beer and listening to the music of the streets when at around 9:30 p.m. everything suddenly went completely dark…and I mean dark, dark as Aleister Crowley’s asshole.

"It was the strangest fucking thing you could imagine. One moment the city was there, then next it was gone. The only illumination came from automobile headlights lacerating the night like ghostly Ginsu knives. My girlfriend and I clutched hands and felt our way down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. We walked to Bleecker street in spooky darkness. We weren’t alone. The avenues were teeming with the dazed and confused. Not that unusual for the Village, but the confusion was different. Was the world coming to an end?..."

" NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell is a terrific documentary that captures a pivotal moment in the history of a city and its pop culture. Here’s the whole beautiful mess."

Net labels: Jahtari

Great profile on net labels, including reggae crew Jahtari, over at Dangerous Minds.  What is a net label? Read their handy intro here.

"It was after being shown the Jahtari.org website back in 2006 by my friends in Mungo’s Hi-Fi that the penny dropped - I really could do everything needed to get music out there without the aid of another label.  All I needed was someone who could build me a website where I could host music for people to download. The concept of net labels had been floating around before, but nobody had done it as well as Jahtari, with such a coherent outlook and music policy. They took it to another level."

"As the name would suggest, Jahtari is a combination of old school computing and dub/reggae. In particular, the classic King Jammy/Wayne Smith-style digital reggae sounds of the mid-80s (records like “Sleng Teng” and “Walk Like Granny”), largely made on Casio keyboards, but here compressed even lower into 8-bit jams .... Most importantly for me was the format - “Net 7s”, a free download which comes packaged like a physical 7 inch record, with an A side and a B side (often a dub version), and corresponding inlay sticker art."

There's a vague local connection too - one of Jahtari's artists is a young fella who goes under the name Tapes, he's the son of former Kiwi resident and dub fiend (International Observer) Tom Bailey.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free stuff

Love free stuff, especially good free stuff. Strut Records has a mean sampler going for free here. Mulatu, Fatback Band re-edited by Danny Krivit, Lloyd Miller and the Heliocentrics, all sorts a goodies. Get in there.


Jazzy Jeff explains the Transform scratch, hat tip to Crate Kings

Jazzy Jeff "The Magnificent" from The Cut on Vimeo.

More Coffey

There's a series of podcasts over at Bandcamp with Dennis Coffey talking about his musical career... first episode below

"Dennis Coffey Premium Blend Vol 1. In this episode, Dennis takes us on a musical trip through his career, starting with a track from his first solo record "Hair And Thangs" and ending with "I Bet You" off the first Funkadelic album. Along the way, we move with Dennis through the volcanic environment that was Detroit music in the 1960s and 1970s, including hot tracks from the likes of Honey Cone, The Temptations, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, and The Spinners.

"This is the first of a series of podcasts celebrating the career of Dennis Coffey, with a new funk inspired record coming from the guitar legend later this year. Future editions will include more hits from Motown, labels such as Hot Wax, Invictus and Westbound, as well as Dennis' hugely influential solo career."

RIP George Shearing

From Washington Post obit

"Mr. Shearing, who was blind from birth, forged an early career as England's leading jazz pianist before settling in the United States in 1947. Within two years, he was considered a jazz sensation for his fresh-sounding harmonies and the bold originality of his quintet.

He and his group had a huge hit with their 1949 recording of "September in the Rain," which sold almost 1 million copies. Three years later, Mr. Shearing composed the catchy tune "Lullaby of Birdland," which has been recorded by dozens of artists, including Sarah Vaughan and Tito Puente.
Mr. Shearing's career took him from sweaty jazz clubs to concert halls to Buckingham Palace, where he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2007.

He was the focus of an extended passage in Jack Kerouac's 1957 Beat-generation novel "On the Road," in which he was called "Old God Shearing."

"Shearing began to play his chords," Kerouac wrote. "They rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you'd think the man wouldn't have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea."


Out April 25, a brand new album from legendary Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey. I've heard a preview of it, wicked sounds, check the guest list...
"As a solo artist, Coffey is perhaps best known for a series of rare groove classics during the early ‘70s including the million-selling breakbeat staple ‘Scorpio’ and soundtrack to cult action flick ’Black Belt Jones.’ Alongside producer Mike Theodore, his ‘70s ‘Theo-Coff’ productions and his prolific guitar work ranged from raw funk to classic disco, including CJ & Co’s Devil’s Gun and The Sylvers’ Boogie Fever." 
Coffey and Theodore also produced the fantastic album Cold Fact by Rodriguez.
Check out Dennis Coffey's site for more info.
1. 7th Galaxy
2. Don't Knock My Love feat. Fanny Franklin

3. All Your Goodies Are Gone feat. Mayer Hawthorne

4. I Bet You feat. Mick Collins of Dirtbombs and Rachel Nagy

5. Miss Millie feat. Kings Go Forth

6. Somebody's Been Sleeping feat. Lisa Kekaula

7. Plutonius

8. Knockabout

9. Only Good For Conversation feat. Paolo Nutini

10. Space Traveller
11. Don't Knock My Love (Part 2)

Everyday Sunshine — Fishbone doco NZ screenings

I've been hanging out to see this doco of US punk/ska band Fishbone since I first heard about it. Love these guys. It's screening in Auckland and Wellington as part of the Documentary Edge Festival. Trailer below. Screens in Auckland - Feb 19, March 2 and 5. Screens in Wellington- March 12 and 23.

"Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone is about Fishbone, musical pioneers that have been rocking on the margins of pop culture for the past 25 years. From the streets of South Central-Los Angeles and the competitive Hollywood music scene of the 1980’s, the band rose to prominence only to fall apart when on the verge of "making it."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Feb 12

Ernest Ranglin - 54 46 was my number
Keith Hudson - Ire irie
Footsie - Cuss cuss dub
Kabanjak - Dub to go - Ancient astronauts remix
Manasseh feat Dark angel - People come to
Smith and Mighty - B line fi blow

Tubbs - Five day night - Fat Freddys remix
Alton Ellis - You're the one to blame
Dandy Livingston and Rico  -Rudy a message to you
Austin Faithful - I'm in a rockin mood
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls main mix
Cooking on three burners - Cars
George Clinton - Atomic dog
War - Me and baby brother

Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe so, maybe no
Four tet - Serious as your life
Belleruche - Gold rush
Caribou - Odesa

Mayer Hawthorne, Four Tet, Belleruche and Caribou all playing at Slore City, Auckland Town Hall tonight, door sales $85. It's gonna be sweet.

Colman bros - She who dares - Lounge mix
Souleance - La romance
Project tempo - Tomtom dub
Shannon - Let the music play
Thievery corporation - 38-45
Western roots - Bogus buddy
Luciano - Life - Da lata remix
Nicola Conte - Jet sounds
Dennis Coffey feat Kings go forth - Miss Millie
El Michels affair - Detroit twice
Liquid crystal project - Tribute to Dilla

Friday, February 11, 2011

We like living off the government

1978 NZ punk scene, profiled by Neil Roberts - watch out for shot of him with dodgy moustache in the Idle Idols interview. A bus full of Auckland punks heading to Wellington to play the Town Hall... first band profiled is Rooter (later the Terrorways).

Roberts -They've been playing together for a month. "How do you rate yourself - are you any good after a month's playing?" Kerry Buchanan: "We're better".

The Scavengers

The Idle Idols, interviewed in bed.

The Stimulators, who later became Sheerlux.

"we like living off the government..." The Normals, Assassins, Doomed and Suburban Reptiles

Carl Craig

From Factmag... "Carl Craig is marking the 20th anniversary of his Planet E label with a compilation album, live tour and monthly remixes of classic archive tracks throughout the year. "

I understand you’re also launching a competition around the vinyl edition of the compilation, or a kind of listener’s poll: can you explain more?

“Well, because there’s so many tracks I feel it’s better to let the fans A&R what they’d like to see on the vinyl in comparison to us just telling you what we’re going to give you on the vinyl, you can actually select. So, from the tracks that we have on digital the people can select what they feel that they are missing on vinyl, what they’ve missed or just what they’d really like to see on the compilation.”

The music industry has changed a lot in the last 20 years, especially in the last five years or so. How do you see the business side developing in the future? 
“I really hope that it can develop quite nicely, but now we are in a very tough situation. I don’t know if we’ve reached the bottom yet for the whole industry, but there’s only one future I can see that’s prosperous for the industry, for any industries, any new technologies – and that’s via the Internet...."

Read the interview here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Oddisee is a very cool US producer who has dropped some great EPs via Bandcamp based aroudn the seasons (Odd Summer, Odd Autumn etc) and he's spreading the word about another talented colleague of his... it's a free collection of short beats that are funky as...

Oddisee: "When it comes to digging for samples I must admit, I'm not the best at. When you have friends like mine you don't have to be. I'd like to introduce you all to Maverick, a producer from Washington, DC by way of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Maverick & I have been friends for some time now, His knowledge on Hip Hop and records never ceases to amaze me. 
"The last time we hooked up, he played me some new beats he was working on. He's a busy guy who has his hands in tons of things. The one thing he has yet to dabble in was a release. I convinced him to let me share his beats with you all. Consider these tracks "The First Step" in my homie making a name for himself."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


There's new documentary that has popped up online recently, celebrating the life and music of J Dilla. This month marks five years since he passed away.

"Created in 2006, this remembrance piece is created as a tribute to the memory and legacy of James "J.Dilla" Yancey. This is a piece designed for his fans and supporters who knew of his accomplishments before February 2006 and those that have grown to appreciate his genius. Here, we gain a greater insight and understanding about our musical icon."

There's a bunch of great stuf on Dilla over at Stonesthrow too...

We've joined with the J Dilla Estate to produce this poster of the 2005 photo of Dilla at work, photographed by Raph Rashid. http://sthrow.com/jdilla

A clip from the video that turned into the cover of Donuts, with a back-story from the director.

Streaming audio from the definitive J Dilla mixtape by J. Rocc  http://sthrow.com/thankyou

"J.Dilla: Still Shining" from B.Kyle on Vimeo.

Splore tickets on special

Splore City hits Auckland Town Hall on Friday and Saturday night, and they've got a mean special on tickets...

"It's a last minute 24 hour deal for $75 + BF/night special starting midday Wed 9 Feb through to midday Thurs 10 Feb especially for all our friends of Splore. Simply add the word PARTY TIME into the promo box when purchasing online or quote the word PARTY TIME if purchasing by phone from the Edge here"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Onelung (aka Kevin Tutt) is a local electronica artist who has been putting out cool, sample-based  jazzy funk/funky jazz electronica releases for a number of years. Last year, he quietly slipped out album number 6, called Dark Carousel, and it's available for free download over at his label, Punchy wah.

See Onelung full discography here. That link also includes some audio downloads for Tutts' previous musical outfits Cicada (also featuring one Andrew Spraggon, now of Sola Rosa) and Pink Frocks. To grab some of the earlier Onelung albums, scroll down here.
Punchy Wah Records site.

Earlier video from Onelung, featuring a cool puppet grooving around the place.

Monday, February 07, 2011

mahna mahna superbowl

Troy Polamalu is one of the star players for the Steelers, playing the Greenbay Packers in today's Superbowl. I first heard of him in 2007, when someone sent me an email about him, after they found my website about Piero Umiliani, an Italin film composer most famous for his song Mahna Mahna (from the mondo film "Sweden: Heaven or Hell"), later covered by Sesame St/The Muppets...

M Shirra wrote "Surely you've heard from many Pittsburgh Steeler's fans (Yeah, SuperBowl Champs!) about the parody heard in these parts regarding our probowl safety Troy Polamalu. Any chance of adding a link on your site? It's quite a tribute.Really enjoyed reading your site about a song that's been stuck in my head for weeks. It is truly amazing sometimes what you can find on the internet!" The song was reworked to help Steelers fans figure out how to pronounce Polamau's surname. He is of Samoan descent.

Oh, and his hair is insured for $1 million. Read about that here.

Piero Umiliani passed away in Feb 2001. In 2003, his daughter Elisabetta contacted me after a friend showed her my site. I was lucky enough to do an interview with her via email. She told me her father named his boat Mahna Mahna. Read the interview here.

Digi Bam Bam

Digi Bam Bam riddim, classic Bam Bam reworked by Seed Organisation, and they've got Sister Nancy on it too! WICKED! Free download too.

Digi Bam Bam Riddim by The Seed Organization

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Feb 5

Beverly Rd allstars - Murder she wrote
Dubblestandart - Trerrorists and inhalers - Keith Le Blanc remix
King Everand - Kill old pan
The Congos - Bring the mackaback
Jackie Mittoo - Darker shade of black
Jojo Bennett - Canteloupe rock
Augustus Pablo - Song of the east
Lee Scratch Perry - Used to driver a tractor in Negrille
Dub Asylum - Ba ba boom!
20th Century Steel Band - Shaft
Ariya astrobeat arkestra - African kings
Acusmatic group - The fixer - Solo moderna remix
Lee Oskar - Haunted house
45nm - Biscuits
Black uhuru - African love
Yellowman - Them a mad over me
Dokkebi Q - Hardcore cherry bonbon
Definition of sound - Wear your love like heaven
Steinksi and the mass media -We'll be right back after this word
Nu Shooz - I can't wait (vocal/long Dutch mix)
The Jets - Crush on you - Extended version
Okyerema Asante - Sabi (get down)
Candido - Soul limbo
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Moody Boyz - Destination Africa - Spirit of freedom mix
Pharaoh Sanders - Africa

Friday, February 04, 2011

Futura x 12ozProphet Trailer

Futura x 12ozProphet Trailer from ALSO KNOWN AS on Vimeo.

Futura x 12ozProphet Feature from ALSO KNOWN AS on Vimeo.

Bonus - Futura 2000 and The Clash.

RIP Ike Metekingi (Maori Hi Five)

From Amplifier.co.nz:

"Sad news today as Ike Metekingi, founder/leader of the Maori Hi Five (widely regarded as the first Maori Showband) passed away this morning at Whanganui Hospital.

As the lead guitarist in the Wellington based group - who came to prominence all the way back in 1955 - Ike helped pave the way for a generation of Maori rock'n'roll "showbands", crafting an act that incorporated comedy, country music, traditional Maori songs, and dance music of the era.

The tangi will be held at Putiki Marae, Whanganui on Friday 4th February."


Niceness from Pavlov and Mishkin, remixing reggae classic Mafia from Lloyd Parks. Free download too. Also from Soundcloud, some mean business from J Rocc and some local flavour from BaseFM's own Solly. Free DL's also. Go!

Lloyd Parks - Mafia (Palov & Mishkin remix) by Blend Mishkin

Tribute To Malcom McLaren by jrocc

Joyful Exaltation (J. Rocc Edit) Take 2 by jrocc

A Good high.(free download) by One funky soul.

Good things

"When I was a business consultant back in 2002, I attended a big quarterly meeting with the company where the new hires had to participate in talent show. I decided to sing "Mama Hold My Hand" to pay tribute to my managing executive who was absent from the event to attend his mother's funeral. The song really touched my colleagues and brought some of them to tears. A senior manager approached me and said, "Hey kid, you really should do something with that song. You might be in the wrong business." The next year, I was laid off, and I decided to try to make music my career."

Source: Aloe Blacc talks about his album Good Things track by track.

Aloe Blacc is back in NZ for some more shows following his recent sellout AKLD show which was a sensational night - Feb 16 in AKLD (note date change from earlier announcement) and Feb 17 in WGTN. Tickets available from Under The Radar. I know I've posted that clip before, but damn, it's just incredible. And who doesn't love their momma?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Dam Native video

Dam Native - Only you, video hit the Youtubes in mid December....

West coast dub

I've just finished a remix for local electronic artist NSU, who is putting together a remix collection of tunes off his Escape EP. Have a listen to a sneak preview... coming out in a few months or sooner...

West Coast Dub feat. Squeezer (Dub Asylum Remix) - snippet by nsu

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hey Bo Diddley

Awesome clip, awesome song. Legend! And check out the way his ladies move and groove.

First time I saw this clip was on a VHS release in the 90s, called the TNT/TAMI Show. Some of  that got reissued on DVD last year, sadly without this track.

Suzanne said

Spotted this over at the splendid Mysterex blog, (hat tip to Russell B for the link), Suzanne Said by The Shallows, feat Roy Montgomery, Mary Heney and M.S Agro.

From Mysterex: "A follow-up EP was mentioned in the insert (which also outlined the costs of making the single) but never appeared. Fans would have to wait until Dadamah and the solo singles of the 1990s to get their fill of Montgomery's reverbed guitar and doomy vocal. Trial By Separation, the flipside, is well worth a listen."

Also found a cool video of a tv news item labelled as"Flying Nun Records 10th Anniversary 1991" but I can't post it cos it comes with a crappy little message attached to it -"This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

Hey Warners, you don't own Flying Nun any more, remember? Please tell Youtube about that, aye? THANKS.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Jan 29

Rose Royce - Do your dance
Nile Rodgers - Land of the good groove
Yellow magic orchestra - Computer games
S Tone Ince - Arejar - Soulstance remix
Steel an skin - Afro punk reggae dub
Lightning head - Bookor sound special
Manu Dibango - Soul fiesta
Man Parrish - Hihop bebop
MIA - It takes a muscle

Ruts DC - Whatever we do - RSD remix
Deadly Hunta and Reality Chant - Give thanks
Lord Echo - Rhythm 77
Aloe Blacc - Green lights
Roy Ayers - Love will bring us together
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Nobody's baby
Hawk - Don't judge a book by its cover
Melvin Davis - I must love you
The Emotions - From toys to boys
Kings go forth - Don't take my shadow  - Tom Moulton mix
Gulls - Mean sound - Strategy dub
45nm - Rider
Peikko and Lassi feat Jimi Tenor - Pula dub - Groove mix
Pat Rhoden - Living for the city
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Sizzla - Police oppression - Billie jean riddim
Lutan Fyah - I bun police- Billie jean riddim
Konshens - She love money- Billie jean riddim
Steven Stanley - Binghi riddm dub
Don Carlos - Favourite cup - Juju and DJG remix

Friday, January 28, 2011

Scribe interview on Campbell Live

A week ago Scribe took to Twitter and broke his silence on the scandal surrounding his sales awards ending up on TradeMe. "There's way more to this story than meets the eye but i'll only talk to a journo I trust. @JohnJCampbell The truth must be told."

Earlier today he popped up on Twitter again, to say "The Press are actually harrassing my family members at work..If you want the full story watch Campbell live tonight!"

His interview with John Campbell is frank, honest and surprising. Scribe says he got about $1000 for his awards, but when he tried to buy them back, the pawnbroker asked for $8000. He said that he had pawned them as his family had cut him off from ready access to money, due to his problems at the time with gambling, drugs and alcohol. He admits he learned his lessons the hard way.

As you can see from this interview with Scribe in April 2010, he had hit rock bottom. Three family members had died in 2009, and his partner left him and she and their children moved to Australia. They've since reconciled.

Scribe's appearance on Campbell Live is over here. Respect to Scribe for his honesty. "Im a full time dad and a part time musician".

ADDED The auctions closed , earning $6829 in total. Two awards are off to Peter in Paeroa, and two to Greg in Auckland, A Christchurch strip club did not win the auctions (see earlier tacky story on Stuff.co.nz/The Press Strip club leads award bidding).

ADDED Sat 29th Jan:  Christchurch paper The Press has transcribed large parts of the Campbell Live interview for yet another story on Scribe, adding in whatever dirt they managed to dig up on him into the mix. You get the impression they are sticking it to him for refusing to speak to them. Way to treat your hometown hero....

...quote from the article -   "Music industry figures say his bid to raise money through a pawnbroker is a "very bad look" - what music industry figures? Who said this? Anyone know? Did The Press lift if off Twitter from someone?

Vinyl revival part 249

This story never gets old. Love it...

"Spain is the leading nation among the Spanish-speaking countries when it comes to the revival of the vinyl and rock music's shift towards lo-fi...."

from NPR Music - "Los Ginkas: Less Disco, More Retumbarama"

Benji B

One of the best nights out I've had in ages was Benji B's last appearance a few years back, at the monthly Turnaround shindig hosted by Cian, Submariner and Manuel Bundy. Benji B is back with the fellas this Saturday, it will be MEAN! Get your dancing shoes on and do it.

The Turnaround Presents: Benji B (BBC Radio One) Saturday 29th January 2011 The Bacco Room, 53 Nelson St, AK. Tickets from Conch Records, 115A Ponsonby Rd.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Real steel

The Esso Trinidad Steel Band play one of the greatest cover versions ever. This one.... (scuse the racy cover). This is off their third album, produced by Van Dyke Parks. Read more about that here. This album got reissued on CD a few years back with a bonus DVD of a documentary film about their 1971 US tour. Available from Amazon.

Was having a conversation about it with someone online today, as you do, and they said that they "like the positive response I get when I play I Want You Back by The Trinidad Tripoli Steelband after I get a request for Michael Jackson".

Which led me to end up watching this clip. Apparently Liberace came across them at Expo 67 and decided he had to take them on tour with them, hence this TV appearance on the David Frost Show.They recorded an album together too.

... and then there's this clip from the Mike Douglas Show with Liberace, Mike Douglas, and The Brady Bunch have a limbo contest while Tripoli Steel play behind them. Nutty.

Deepgrooves - end of part one

I've been writing about and posting audio from Deepgrooves, a record label active in Auckland in the 1990s. Their sound was the sound of Auckland - a brash, vibrant mix of reggae and hiphop. Much of the music that came out on Deepgrooves laid the foundations for the Welli dub scene, a good ten years before that scene eventually blossomed, after bubbling away for a few years.

Sadly much of the music I've profiled from Deepgrooves is no longer available. That's a shame, because, having revisited much of it in the past few weeks, I think it holds up surprisingly well and hasn't dated a bit.

I'm working on part two of this series, check back here soon. More interviews, more music. I've compiled the music audio clips I've posted into some handy playlists below. Flick thru the first two to get a taste of Deepgrooves output, and the third playlist is all the ones I've posted in the past few weeks. Enjoy. Index of posts below too.

Playlist - tunes from the first Deepgrooves compilation, from 1991.

Playlist - tunes from the second Deepgrooves compilation, Deep in the Pacific of Bass, from 1992.

Deepgrooves - Introduction
Riot Riddum Sound System Part One / Part Two  / Part Three
Projector Mix (Mike Hodgson, now of Pitch Black)
Urban Disturbance (feat Zane Lowe) plus, the lost 2nd album?
Three the hard way
Mighty Asterix
Sound Foundation (DJ Dubhead, Angus McNaughton)
Nemesis Dub Systems
Unitone Hif (Joost L, Stinky Jim, Angus McN)
New Loungehead
Anthony Ioasa /Grace
Jules Issa

Playlist - 30 audio clips from the previous posts above.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Via Mad Decent Radio, a session with the legendary reggae selector David Rodigan.

"Recently we were in London with Major Lazer, and Diplo took the opportunity to interview BBC presenter and sound system operator Sir David 'Ramjam' Rodigan. Many of you must be like 'WHO!?' but in reggae dancehall circles, this man is a living legend.

You see, the reggae dancehall arena is ruled by selectors and sound systems, and the mighty David Rodigan has been holding his own for more than thirty years. To paraphrase, back in the 60s it was about 'records, football and girls' when he first started going down to Jamaica.

With his onstage antics and captivating story telling, he is as much a staple of dancehall culture as the music he plays. And make no mistake, this isn't any bland marketing gimmick - the man full up ah CHUNE, and still can kill sound and buss dance. So widout further ado, we bring to you, from waaay out inna inglan, Daaavid Rodigaaan...."

Deepgrooves - DLT

Two tracks for you, DLT meets the Projector (aka Mike Hodgson, later of Pitch Black) from the first Deepgrooves compilation (1991), and DLT meets the Dutchman (Joost Langeveld) off the Deep in the Pacific of bass compilation (1992). Killer tunes.

DLT was closely involved with a lot of the folk on Deepgrooves and around it. He had left the Upper Hutt Posse by 1992. He was part of the Stylee Crew (Dubhead, Slowdeck, Asterix, Slave, Stinky Jim, Roger Perry etc), and worked with Mighty Asterix, Dubhead, MC OJ and Slave (DLT, Slave and OJ/Otis later combined their resources as the group Joint Force in the mid 90s), and collaborated with Danny D on the early stages of Dam Native, then known as Native Bass.

 I recently interviewed DLT about the Deepgrooves era.

DLT says he got involved at the beginning of Deepgrooves - "I think I tagged along with Bob and Roland [Riot Riddum Sound System], and I was trying to get Asterix on vinyl. I was on a bit of a crusade to get the master's voice on wax. The 12 Tribes kids weren't given the love, you know? Like Jules Issa, and Asterix.

"I remember the initial meetings we had at Deepgrooves, I was SO excited, to be in a room full of our contemporaries at that time, and the energy that's created by like-mindedness was amazing. So it was real exciting, the concept and the idea of the Deepgrooves compilations. I just wish that Kane had handled it a bit more diplomatically.

"To be quite honest, I wasn't that keen on Kane Massey and those cats, it was more about getting our Stylee Crew on vinyl. I remember the meetings we had. I remember one meeting we had a revolt, we had a mutiny, we walked out on him when he  pulled out contracts. Have you seen any money from that shit? He [Kane] wanted everything, publishing and all that. And he got it all, in the end, cos we were too rock n roll to chase our shit up.

"That's why I called one of my mixes DLT meets Kane Massey in a dark alley. That got back to him too, and I never heard from him again! [DLT laughs]

"I just think Kane, like most of us, was ten years ahead. He was an indie, back when there were seven multinationals ruling everything. [Signing acts for a single by single deal] That's a great way to do it.  He was way ahead of the game doing that.

"I see the Deepgrooves compilations as a beginning of a musical form that we were all deep in, all of us, and that was the kind of reggae/hiphop fusion stuff, and that was the exciting part of it. To me, the ultimate is reggae and hiphop blended together. That's the ultimate, always has been, always will be. The raggamuffin thing.

"Cos back then , 93, 94, we were really up against it. That was the "No rap, no crap" era, so it was going out on a limb,  so we gotta give Kane props for that. He wasn't trying to make Sulata sing R'n'B and stuff like that.

"We were kind of the kids in the transition age from analog recording to digital. We were kinda lucky. At the time I was annoyed with Kane, I thought he was just a real estate agent, but now, far out! It was actually really good fun back then."

We talked about the pitfalls of having your music pressed up by Festival Records distributor of Deepgrooves and number of other NZ indie labels at the time, like Wildside/Southside. I'd seen this with my old band The Hallelujah Picassos, when our first album came back from being manufactured by Festival over in Oz, and they'd cut down the mastered volume by 10%. Our noisy punk songs sounded limp.

"My masters went away mastered, and came back sounding like a demo. I had another go at that song I did for Kane, [later] on the Trueschool album, just to get the mix right. It's the track I did with Michael Hodgson. I used those compilations to teach myself about what I was hearing and what was being recorded. I called it bass hell.

"I believe that you have to go to bass hell before you can get bass heaven, so I was way over-recording bass, really loud, trying to reach that point between distortion and super-bass. I remember all I wanted in those days was big, booming bass, and I remember Mike Hodgson was a bit more free, he'd take the needles into the red, but Angus ([McNaughton] wouldn't! Love you Angus, love your ways!

"You can still find that Deepgrooves comp, in 2nd hand stores, like Hamilton. I've bought that a few times. That's some gold, that 10-inch stuff. Those Deepgrooves comps were the Auckland sound, we were the Auckland sound."

DLT remembers seeing Three The Hard Way doing a gig at the Siren in High st, "and the stage was right next to the bar. And I watch those kids lift trays of piss from behind the bar and stash them in their gear!"

DLT is also responsible for one of the greatest albums to ever come out of Aotearoa, The True School. It's an album that hasn't aged a bit since it first came out in 1996 and features every cool cat from Asterix to Che Fu to Billy TK Snr.

Like a lot of the Deepgrooves material I've been writing about, that classic album is out of circulation. Someone at Sony NZ needs to wake up and reissue that, pronto. It's the 15th anniversary of its release this year. HINT.

DLT tells a great story about when the single Chains went to number one in NZ and to his surprise, stayed there for six weeks. This was just two weeks after Che Fu had been forced out of Supergroove. DLT had hooked up with Che Fu while his group Joint Force (DLT, Otis, Slave) had been out on tour with Supergroove.

DLT says he wasn't seeking out the limelight, going out to clubs going "Yo, I'm here, what's up?", instead he stayed home with his family and giggled his head off. "Every morning I woke up... 'It's still number one! Hee hee hee...' And the song it knocked off the top spot was If I ruled the world by Nas and Lauryn Hill. Now that - that's the power! I knocked off two superdogs! Two local dogs took them off.. I'll never forget that... That was a huge buzz". (Quotes: Hiphop music in Aotearoa, by Gareth Shute).

The other great story about Chains is that his label A & R, Kirk Harding at BMG, kept sending DLT back into the studio until he got the version that satisfied him. Apparently he sent them back to the studio THIRTEEN times. Worked too.

I remember telling DLT a few years back how much I loved the True School album, and he told me he'd recently got some CDs with out-takes off old DAT tapes from Angus McNaughton, and would I like to borrow them? I said Yes please, and he went over to his car and pulled them out of the CD player and handed them to me, and I got to hear a few of those unreleased mixes of Chains. Absolutely killer.

ADDED: Che Fu talks about writing the chorus for Chains 5 minutes before he had to go into the vocal booth.

Cut Chemist - Disco is Dead (1973-1979)

Wicked mix from Cut Chemist over at Soundcloud, for DL too.

"Recorded July 17, 2010 for Cinespia's screening of "Saturday Night Fever" at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Cut Chemist mixes up party time classics from 1973-1979." Tracklist at Mixcloud.

Cut Chemist -Disco is Dead (1973-1979) by Cut Chemist

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stevie doco

From 1981, a BBC documentary on Stevie Wonder. 55 minutes long. Dynamite. Hat tip to Bluevibestudio for the link.

Deepgrooves - Fuemana

Fuemana were another act on Deepgrooves with strong South Auckland connections (Like Ermehn, who lived in the Fuemena's garage for a while, with Pauly). Led by the late Phillip Fuemana, and featuring his family members Christina, Pauly, and Tony, along with Matty J Rhys, and they initially released a single called Dangerous Love on Murray Cammick's Southside label under the name House Party in 1991, before shifting to Deepgrooves.

They released their album New Urban Polynesian in 1994. The song Dangerous Love turned up on that album, as did In the deep of the night, off the first Deepgrooves compilation, which was originally credited to Love and Bass.

Phil went on to work with many of the acts on the hugely important compilation Proud, (put together by Tim Mahon and Alan Jansson) including OMC, Sisters Underground, Pasifikan Descendents, Semi MCs, and Radio Backstab and DJ Payback (featuring Ermehn in their lineup). He also took these acts on tour round New Zealand to promote the comp. He followed that up by starting his own label, Urban Pasifika Records (UPR), and putting out his own compilation, Pioneers of the Pasifikan Frontier.

Phil Fuemana: "I recorded a demo of eight tracks and that had: AKA Brown, Moizna, the Lost Tribe, Dei Hamo, a guy from down the line called Bobby Owen, and that was it. There were the tracks. And I went shopping - I shopped it, because Id just done the Proud thing. It had been like a year or two. And we were feeling like 'man, we gotta get into the game at the Alan [Jannson] end. Where we're making the calls. Instead of being called on.

"So, ya know, I was taken to dinner by these record companies ... They offered twenty-grand at the table. And I was gonna take it - twenty-grand! I aint got nothing. But I thought I'd just hold out and then it was Sir-vere, well i knew him as Phil Bell back in the day... that said  'hey, I heard you're shopping some music around, how come you're not coming to us?' I said - 'you guys are so busy.' Cos they had Tangata, they had Wildside - they had all the labels up there, it was packed. DLT, Che Fu and everything.

"But I was thinking - it's unusual I haven't come, I've always wanted to ... So I actually went up and for the first time met Kirk, but what blew me away was - I went in the room there. I saw guys in my age range or headspace range. I thought - hey, now we're talking! And Kirk was pretty stand-offish, but that's him, he's too cool. He puts a CD in, he listens and says - aw yeah! He goes - 'what do you want?' I said - 'I dunno, a deal.' And he said - 'nah, what do you really want?' I thought to myself- 'I want a jeep.' That same week, I had a jeep and a record deal ... No one else had done that. We did it....i had a Pajero jeep back when they were cool.... and music paid for it."
(Source: Hiphop Music in Aotearoa, by Gareth Shute, published 2004)

Phil Fuemana passed away 0n 28 February 2005, aged 41. His brother Pauly passed away almost a year ago, on January 31, 2010, at 40. For some background on the family's early life in a condemned house in Parnell, see this page on Urbanpasifika.com.

Closer by Fuemana was included on the CD compilation Pasifika: The Collection in 2010.  Five songs off the New Urban Polynesian album are available over at Amplifier.co.nz.

Fuemana - Rocket love / Seasons music videos
Phil Fuemana interview, from Stamp mag, 1994

Monday, January 24, 2011

BDO corporation

Great sign at BDO, spotted by Jane Yee...

Alphabethead mixtape (60s and 70s Vol II)

Cool mixtape from DJ Alphabethead (spotted over at Breakinwrekwordz blog). He says...

"I’ve been gathering old vinyl since long before I became a DJ. I got my leg up in record collecting through inheriting countless LP’s from relatives and family friends. In 2000 it seemed all the Baby Boomers I knew were spring cleaning, purging records and discovering the Compact Disc.

Recording my extended family’s LP’s onto CD was a small price to pay for getting to keep them! In digitising vinyl I was exposed to bands I normally wouldn’t touch (I was a strictly Hip Hop kid). Most of these records were vibrant mono recordings by 1960’s ‘British Invasion’ bands such as The Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Animals and The Zombies. Every so often a King Crimson, Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk album would crop up and leave me forever changed. I can still remember the day Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ arrived on my turntable!

Perusing ones records can give such an insight into the psyche of a person. I was consistently surprised in seeing who listened to what. The most straight-edged investment banker could be rocking out to Captain Beefheart (true story)! An uncle of mine was a devout hunter, rugby player, gardener, and ‘good old’ kiwi bloke. When he passed on I was gifted his modest stack of 25 records, all of which were tender female folk singers; Joan Baez, Melanie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell et al. What a guy!

This is my second mix of 1960’s and 70’s music. It’s assembled from vinyl, in various conditions, all of which I inherited – the fuzz, crackle and other spurious record noise are all included! Once again it’s mostly pop and psych although this time a little more hard rocking due to the inclusion of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and May Blitz, a monstrous band on Vertigo records.

"I made sure I included some Kiwi groups from the era; The Underdog Blues Band, Human Instinct and The Fourmyula’s quintessential Sixties tune ‘Nature’ all make an appearance. Other tracks of special interest are The Beach Boys lesser known ‘Feel Flows’ which is in my opinion their most psychedelic tune and Spirit’s ‘The Other Song’ which Gonjasufi used as a rhythmic canvas last year. It’s mixed in a Hip Hop style with scratches, drum-breaks and cut-up sample segues! Please give it a spin – I hope you enjoy."

DOWNLOAD: “Music From The 1960’s & 70’s (Volume II)”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Land of the good groove

Been listening to Nile Rodgers' solo album Adventures in the land of the good groove recently. Rodgers has recently disclosed on his website that he is battling cancer. I hope he makes a full recovery.

Rodgers is currently recovering from surgery and taking daily walks around NYC - he's been posting cool photos of old personal landmarks on his Facebook page, with tales like  this one... "Early Morning Walk Today: Me and Joey Ramone were passed out in this apt bldg in '80s - I was found by Jed Lieber and went to rehab".

I looked up this album, and I came across a blog dedicated to maps called Strange Maps, written by Frank Jacobs. His bio says he "...loves maps, but finds most atlases too predictable. He collects and comments on all kinds of intriguing maps—real, fictional, and what-if ones..."

"A while back, I found a record album in a thrift store here in NYC, and I just had to buy it,” writes Adam King [a reader of Frank's blog]. As a mapophile, I understand the categoric cartographic imperative at work here. The map in question is the front cover of Nile Rodgers’ 1983 solo album ‘Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove’. The name Nile Rodgers sounded vaguely familiar, but a little research turned up that this was due to my lack of musical knowledge, not Mr Rodgers’ lack of notoriety. He is influential in his own right as well as instrumental in the careers of many other world-class artists..."

"For this Nile Rodgers solo album, the native New Yorker chose to have lower Manhattan represent the ‘Land of the Good Groove’. The map is made to look like an antique map of the 17th century or thereabouts, down to the ornamental ships and ‘monsters’ in the water. The use of (pig) Latin amplifies the old feel of the map, and is used to some humorous effect — Brooklyn is labelled Terra Incognita and New Jersey is Nova Joisea.

"Lower Manhattan’s streets and avenues also get the fake Latin treatment, and are rendered as Twenty-Thirdium, Houstanus, Canalus and Via Broadicus. Other locales include Tribeccium, Terra Financicus and Villagius Easticus. Over on the West Side is the intriguing Mysterium. Is anybody familiar enough with Mr Rodgers’ oeuvre to know why?"

One of the commenters on Frank's blog has the answer... Mysterium "...was largely derelict waterfront that served as the underbelly of the West Village. Great place to find heroin and transvestite hookers."

Of course this album will be remembered by many Auckland folk as the one that gave the name and theme tune to Murray Cammick's fantastic radio show on Radio 95BFM, Land of the good groove, on Monday nights. Murray hosted that show from 1983 to 1993. Listen to his interview with BFM reminiscing about that time, recorded for their 40th Anniversary.

Adventures in the land of the good groove was reissued on CD in 2009, with a few bonus tracks, including an extended version of the title track.

Bonus - just found this song by Carly Simon, produced by Chic. Check the great photo of Nile and Carly both looking a bit spaced. As sampled by Tribe called Quest on Bonita Applebum.

Here's some great interview clips I came across with Rodgers from 2008, talking about the early days of Chic. In the first clip, he talks about the dramas of getting Dance Dance Dance, their first record, out. The only person at their record company that believed in them was the president of the company, who heard the record and said "Oh my god, it's a smash". And then Nile says what his musical partner Bernard's reaction to that was... I aint gonna give away the punchline, just watch it, it's funny.

Next clip... "We got turned down seven times for our first record, the eighth time is when we finally got signed... that I guess, was sort of a reflection of society. Record companies were racially divided..."

Rodgers talks about his early years...

Rodgers got introduced to hiphop by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, they took him to a hiphop as they called it, in the Bronx. He also talks about a gig Chic did with Blondie and The Clash at Bonds where Fab 5 Freddy jumped up onstage and rapped with them when they played Good Times.Which of course leads to Rappers Delight...