Saturday, May 07, 2011

Listen: Charles Bradley live on KEXP

What an incredible voice. Live session from SXSW recorded by KEXP. Listen here.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, May 7

James Brown - Stone to the bone
The JBs - 40th anniversary mix
Charles Bradley - No time for dreaming
Bo Diddley - Hit or miss
Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics - Chikk chikka
Amadou and Mariam - Coulibaly
Leroy Sibbles - Express yourself
Conroy Smith - Dangerous
Reggie Stepper - Under me sin tang
Barrington Levy - Why you do it
Junior Reid - Boom shak-a-lack 12" mix
Junior Murvin - I'll follow you
Joe Ariwa - The train
African head charge - Dobbyn joins the head charge
Delroy Wilson - Can I change my mind
Skatalites - Beardsman ska
The Wailers - Put it on
James Brown - Don't tell it
Booker T and the MGs - It's your thing
Oscar Brown Jr - Who knows what goes when the doors close?
Aloe Blacc - Green lights
Bei Bei and Shawn Lee - East
Smith and Mighty -B line fi blow
Arken - Step off
Unitone hifi - Sneeze off
Overwash vs megalon - Apopo
NSU - West coast dub - Dub asylum remix
Lord Echo -Blueberry jam

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Mr Bradley and Mr Brenneck

Charles Bradley. Photo: LA Times

Tommy Brenneck is a guitarist with Sharon Jones and the Dapkings, and also runs the Dunham Records label, an offshoot of Daptone records. Their latest release is a fabulous soul album from Charles Bradley and the Menahan St band, led by Brenneck.

The LA Times had a nice piece on Brenneck and his collaboration with Bradley. Brenneck lists some of his favourite artists, and lets slip that he may be producing the third album from Rodriguez, who's first and second album were produced by Motown legend Dennis Coffey way back in the early 70s. They were reissued recently on Light In The Attic.

“You could tell he [the 63 year old Bradley] was just in this shell,” said Brenneck, who continues to work with the Dap-Kings in a studio-recording capacity. “He was a James Brown impersonator and he was dressing like him all the time, rocking a James Brown wig, full time. He had not found himself as an artist.”

About four years ago a collaboration between Brenneck’s own Menahan Street Band and Bradley started to take shape. “The music came, and then he slowly crawled out of his shell,” Brenneck said. “I think he’s finally casting off that James Brown mask. Even if he does do a James Brown spin or mannerism, he owns it now.”

Dub dub dub

I posted this last week, but just want to remind you folk to check it out. Enjoy! Thanks

This past week saw the release of Rescape, a remix collection from local producer NSU and I've got a remix on there of his tune West Coast Dub (listen here). I've pulled together a collection of some of the remixes I've done as Dub Asylum, kinda like a demo tape, and a few of them are available as free downloads, including one that is previously unreleased.

The first remixes I did were for the Midnights and Kolab - I hit them up via Myspace, how old fashioned is that? Funny thing is, I did the Kolab remix without ever talking to the guys - did it all via email and IM. Even though they live in the same city as me.

Devine No 5 -
The Onleung remix was done for a proposed remix collection of Onelung's 2006 album Binary Pop Songs, but that never happened due to record company stuff. Have a listen and download it for free. Thanks to Onelung for letting me make it available.

Sideways - I did a remix for Kolab when their debut album, What Comes Next dropped in 2008. You can download it for free too. Thanks to Kolab for letting me make it available. They are also available for download from

Outside looking in - The Midnights, a tune that appeared on their debut album, Outside (2010) This remix was done when this tune was knocking round student radio in 2007. I'm currently working on another remix for them.

Hiding - The Hollie Smith remix was for a remix competition she had in Oct 2010. Some cheesy House mix won. Sucky, that. Still like it, tho. Do more reggae, Hollie!

West coast dub - The remix of NSU is off the album Rescape, a remix collection of NSU, out April 25, 2011.  That's the cover below.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Kog turns

Seeing as it's New Zealand Music Month, I thought I'd dig out some old magazine articles on local musicians that I wrote a while back. They give you a snapshot of artists earlier in their career...

Coming up, Shayne Carter, Dawn Raid and a few others, written for Pavement, Real Groove and Lava/Selector magazines. This is the first of several posts over the next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled for em.... This article was originally written for North and South magazine in 1999, but they never published it.

Kog Transmissions is the name of a collective of enterprising young long haired musicians, who specialise in making and releasing dance music.

Within an astonishingly short space of time, they have established themselves on the local music scene, with little or no help from the music industry. They have done it all their own way, setting up their own recording studio, releasing their cds on their own label, and selling them at their own cd launch gigs; you pay $15 to get into the gig and get a cd to take home with you.

It's great value for money, and a great night out. The business equation reads like this: they manufacture 500 cd's, get 500 people along to their gig, and hey presto, their cd sells out in one night, rather than sitting in record shops for months and months.

Last year the Kog team released one cd a month, a very ambitious plan, but one that paid off handsomely, rapidly building a loyal following for their musical activities. This clever technique bought them to the attention of major record label Universal Music, who offered to step in and help with the distribution of their cd's around the country.

"We started the studio about three and a half years ago", says Chris Chetland of Kog, "when we moved into this warehouse [situated in Kingsland, Auckland]. Back when we started the studio we had a Metal band at the time [the delightfully named Raw Meat For The Balcony], and we wanted to record our own album, and were getting more into the technology side of music. All the people here knew each other for quite a few years before that, because we all went to school together, and had been in bands together."

They mostly went to Sacred Heart, aligning them with a musical legacy that includes such local music luminaries as Dave Dobbyn, Tim and Neil Finn, Rikki and Ian Morris, Peter Urlich, who also attended that school.

Fellow Kog member Andrew Manning says that "Kog is a place to pool talents; we try to enjoy what we're doing as much as we can, we don't work with anyone we don't like. It's a group of friends, basically." Chetland notes that "By the fact that you're enjoying doing something, you do far better at it." The Kog collective is comprised of six people, most of who live and work together in the Kog warehouse.

Overseas dj's who have visited Kog have been amazed to see them doing everything in-house, unlike the standard methods where the tasks of music production get farmed out; recording, mastering, cd-rom, artwork, video etc are all done on site at the Kog warehouse, hence, they have a lot of creative control over what they do.

Also, having their own studio means never having to pay for studio time, which usually costs up to $150 per hour. Chris estimates that to set up a computer based recording studio would cost $10,000 for new equipment and software, or under $3,000 second hand. This is where computers are making it much easier for musicians to have their own home studio, bypassing the traditional methods of recording in expensive studios, where your creativity is hampered by constantly watching the clock, as your money ticks away.

Musically, the Kog releases have been exploring various musical styles within the dance genre: Chris says "Every release we do is in a different style, which from our point of view is interesting, because you get to learn a different style of music each time, and you get to meet people out of that particular scene. And if someone likes say one of our releases that is in the House style, then maybe they'll trust us and try another one of our releases, like Pitch Black, so it breaks down a lot of those barriers."

That diversity runs from Mark de Clive Lowes jazzy dance to Pitch Black's reggae/techno, to Epsilon Blue's melodic trance, to Baitercells drum n bass. They have also ventured into commercials, doing music for Sky TV, Saatchis, Telecom, and tv shows like Havoc, Queer Nation, and even reworking the Holmes Show theme for their feature on dance music.

Chris has studied complex systems theory and philosophy at university, which has influenced their business approach. "It's like looking at it more from that angle, rather than the standard, strict hierarchical business structures that a lot of businesses operate on. It's like the elephant and the mouse; one is big and lumbering and can squash you, but if you can keep on moving around, you're always evolving, continuously and and quickly there is never a fixed point, you never become a dead state. being able to offer new angles means you can offer a fresh perspective.

"It's the number 8 wire approach; you might not have all the super slick gear, but you just find different ways of doing it. We're putting it (the music) out there in the first place in ways that are unconventional, but also getting really good placement in that environment.

"We could've done it the standard record company way, where you do one release a year, put huge amounts of money in, and wait for it to trickle back in over the next year, or you can pay it all off in one night. We just reconfigured the rules to suit ourselves, rather than just do it like any other record label.

"When you look at any system, you assess what anyone else has done, then you look for different pathways that you can bypass the things that don't fit what you are doing. We wanted to get lots of music out there, and there was no way we could do it using the standard mechanisms that record labels operate under, or most businesses, in fact. By treating it less mechanically and more organically, it grows itself."

Kog are currently putting together a cd for The Gathering, an annual dance party held on Takaka Hill out of Nelson. This is the second year they have compiled a cd for this event, highlighting some of the leading lights in the local electronic music scene, who have also played at The Gathering. The first cd was supported by tv advertising from Universal, and sold over 3,000 copies.

Read more: Kog Transmutations, from NZ Musician, 2003.

The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination – Ire

Free download from the new Nigeria 70 compilation, out very soon.

Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination – Ire  (soundcloud) (mediafire)
From: Nigeria 70- Sweet Times Afro-Funk Highlife & Juju From 1970s Lagos (May 10th, Strut)

Strut announce the return of their pioneering ‘Nigeria 70’ compilation series with an exclusive new third volume: ‘Sweet Times: Afro Funk, Highlife & Juju from 1970s Lagos’ compiled again by series curator Duncan Brooker. 

Excavating another choice batch of rare grooves from Nigeria’s label archives, the new edition places the spotlight on some of the deeper fusions happening across the country during the 1970s as traditional guitar highlife blended with jazz and funk, hypnotic juju grooves became more progressive and young Nigerian bands came through with their own heavy West African take on U.S. soul, funk, disco and rock.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Party at ground zero

Party at ground zero, by Fishbone, 1985.

Party at ground zero, by Americans on hearing of the death of Osama, last night. NYC.

Quick cut of footage from Ground Zero - May 2, 2011 from Dewi Cooke on Vimeo.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dennis Coffey interview

Last week, the Hit It and Quit It radio show,hosted by Recloose and Frank Booker, ran a special on Dennis Coffey, including an interview with the man. Both Recloose and Coffey are from Detroit. Check it out.

"... Before recording his solo work Dennis was a member of Motown's surest house band 'The Funk Brothers', featuring on soul classics such as the Temptations' 'Ball of Confusion' and 'Cloud 9', Edwin Starr's 'War' and Freda Payne's 'Band of Gold'.

Little did Dennis realise that as he jammed, experimented and recorded his music that he was inadvertently laying down the bedrock for dozens of hip-hop and jungle classics to ensue over the following forty years. Some of Dennis' biggest hits were heavily driven by their infectious breakdowns, quickly becoming rhythmic fodder for the earliest hip-hop DJs and later producers of the 1980s and beyond.

We checked in with Dennis in Detroit just before the release of his brand new record, self-titled 'Dennis Coffey' on the mighty Strut Records. The album hit shelves April 25 and features collaborations with Mayer Hawethorne, the Dirtbomb's Mick Collins, Fanny Franklin, Paolo Nutini and Kings Go Forth. Also be on the lookout for a Dennis Coffey remix project in the very near future featuring 14KT, Apollo Brown, Dabrye and yours truly (Recloose)."

Listen to the show here. Also features 'Constellations: The A - Z of Dennis Coffey' mix by DJ Houseshoes.

Where's Biggie and Tupac?

President Obama suggests that now that Donald Trump has solved the 'issue' of his birth certificate, he can get onto more pressing questions, like what really happened at Roswell, and where's Biggie and Tupac? The Donald got schooled.


Little Dragon have a new album on the way, called Ritual Union, out July 16. Here's a live preview of the first single, Little Man (hat tip: Potholes in my blog)

This track sounds kinda familiar, I think Little Dragon may have played it in their opening set before the Gorillaz show at Vector Arena last December. I really hope Little Dragon come back and play their own show, I'd love to see em in a club setting.

Bonus DL: Little Dragon remixed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra (ex Mint chicks) Presents: Little Dragon "Little Man" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Here's an interesting history of Christchurch record stores... written by Paul Gilbert.

"In post-earthquake #2 Christchurch (2011), the number of independent record shops sits at a precarious five with a question mark still remaining over four of these. Galaxy Records , Selwyn Street and Radar are all in premises hit badly by the quake. The week before the second quake ‘Evil Genius’ opened a shop in Lyttelton. The timing and location could not have been worse. I hope they all make a Lazarus like resurrections."

Read it in full here.

PLUS photos of Christchurch record shop ads/flyers.


US hiphop producer Oddisee is currently working on the new album from his group Diamond District, due out later this year. Their debut album dropped late 2009, and you can download the instrumentals from that album now for free. Preview them below, nice dirty hiphop drums with jazzy samples....

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwFM, Sunday May 1

Show replays on KiwiFM on Fridays 2-4pm, listen online.

Salmonella dub - Mercy - Mu's remix
Mighty Asterix - Sweetest girl - toughest dub
Katchafire - Sensi dub - Pitch black remix
Tehimana Kerr - At three
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal - Dusty remix
Riki Gooch - Bakade varor
Recloose live band - Racetrack in France
Onelung - Mr frisky
Scratch 22 - Devotion
Lewis McCallum - The almanac
Adi Dick - Jahjah is coming
Conray - Space dub jazz
Hikoikoi - Jah armour
Jahlicious - Want
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
Rub a dub brothers - Respirator
Tubbs - Five day night - Fat Freddys remake
Loudhaler - Sea monster run
Trip to the moon - Trance ebo express
Julien Dyne - Scissorhands
Karl Marx Project - Anti gravity
Mephisto Jones - Remember me
Module - Faultlines - Jet Jaguar remix
Unitone hifi - Up to eleven
Joint  force -Burntime inst