Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear John Drinnan,

When Ladyhawke gets $59,000 of taxpayer funds to tour overseas, and says she will remain based in NZ, that means shes going away and earning money and coming back and paying taxes here. In business I believe they call that EXPORTING.


See Taxpayer money promotes Ladyhawke from NZ Herald.
The front page banner of the NZ Herald reads "Taxpayers' $60,000 gift for Ladyhawke".

Background: The Music Industry Commission funded interational development grants in their latest funding round for Ladyhawke, Electric Wire Hustle, Avalanche City, Tiny Ruins, The Earlybirds, Frequency Media Group, Parachute arts trust, and  Isaac Aesili. Further info at NZmusic.org.nz.

ADDED: TV3 quoted my blog in this story. John Drinnan also popped up in the comments here, below.
Also, the full press release from Music Industry Commission on its latest funding, via Scoop.co.nz.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwiFM

Mike Fabulous and the Jamboree sound - In deep space
Ras Stone meets the Dub Terminator - Love you so much
Joe Dukie and DJ Fitchie - Seconds
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal - Dusty remix
Unitone hifi - Hang on - Kinky electric noise remix
Salmonella dub - For the love of it - Pitch Black remix
International observer - Friday afternoon dub
Jules Issa - Dangerous game
Jahlicious - Want
Trip to the moon - Svenska takter
Lewis McCallum -Way we live
Electric wire hustle - Burn
Eru Dangerspiel - The hold up
Loudhaler - Refesher
Onelung - Cinema 90
The yoots - Tutira mai
Dub connection - Dub skuffle
DJ Vee - One for the mariner
NSU - West coast dub - Dub asylum remix
Conray - Space dub jazz
Benny Tones -Odyssey- Kamandi headspin remix
Bluevibe studio - Holdin on - Magowl remix
Israel Starr -Foundation
Recloose - Mana's bounce
Confucius -Shanti riddim - Pylonz edit

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Interesting article in light of  NZs new copyright laws, which also contain a three strikes clause.

"The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is investigating the Eircom / music industry three strikes system, a report in the Sunday Times has revealed. According to the story by Mark Tighe, predictions that Eircom would end up falsely accusing innocent users have now proved correct, with over 300 users wrongfully being sent a "first strike" letter accusing them of sharing music."
Read the full story here.

Big Day Out moving?

On May 23, The Corner music blog posted a story on industry rumours that the Big Day Out was not being held at Mt Smart Stadium  in 2012. This got picked up and mentioned in the NZ Herald's Time Out section.

On Thursday, TV One News reporter Joanna Hunkin had a piece listed as an exclusive, saying "Big Day Out organisers contacted North Harbour management just over a week ago to check availability, ONE News has learned." When the  story was first posted on TVNZ's website, it also listed the story as exclusive, though that was later removed. Is it really an exclusive when it's already been reported in two other media sources that the BDO is moving?

The TVNZ story also features comment from Australian promoter Andrew McManus, who said "it is a tight schedule, even for the most experienced promoters, and it could see the BDO cancelled here. Just doing a normal concert, you'd think six months is okay, but for a festival, you'd be starting to get worried. Most definitely," McManus said.

This is the same promoter who is currently facing liquidation of his NZ operation over the Raggamuffin Festival. Hunkin says in the story "Bands come and go, but one thing has been constant; Mt Smart has been the home of the BDO since 1994". Not true - they skipped a year in 1998.

The NZ Herald also reported (May 29) that Mt Smart Stadium was in need of $2.3 million in repairs. No mention of that in TV One's item. Today's NZ Herald has a follow-up on the BDO hoopla, noting that "... It is understood Mt Smart Stadium, run by Auckland Council-owned Regional Facilities Auckland, wants more from venue hire and bar profit from the Big Day Out."

"We are in continuing discussions with venue operators to ensure the event stays there," said BDO's Auckland promoters, CRS Management. "Leaving New Zealand or Auckland is the last thing Big Day Out wants to do." Patrons could be confident the BDO would return in January.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM

Dutch rhythm, steel and showband - Down by the river
20th century steel band  - Land of a thousand dances
New mastersounds - Nervous - Kenny Dope bonus beats remix
Kashmere stage band -  Superstrut - Kenny Dope remix
Jo-jo and the fugitives - Chips chicken banana split
Tony Benson sextet - Ugali
Wganda Kenya - Pim pom
Dit - You bring out the best in me
Nona Hendryx - B-boys
Kendra Lou and the miracles - Be kind to your mind feat Red Astaire
Eli Goularte e banda do moto - Meu samba - Nicola Conte remix
Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics - Chacha
Ruts DC - Love and fire - Dreadzone remix
Steven Stanley - Binghi riddim dub version

Tribute to Big Matt mix
Brentford allstars - Racetrack
Freddie McGregor - Rastaman camp
The Revolutionaries - Skanking
Carlton Livingston - 100lbs of collieweed
Marcia Griffiths - Feel like jumping
Phillis Dillon - Rocksteady
Skatalites - Collie bud
Horace Andy - Just say who
Sandoz - King dread
Courtney Melody - Bad boy
PD Syndicate - Ruff like me  -T Power and Shy fx remix
Yush 2k - Fade away
Le peuple de le herbe - Reggaematic
Joni Rewind - Uptown top ranking
Nightmares on wax - 70s 80s - Scientist remix 1
Kelis, Beenieman, TOK - Trick me twice Punchline mix
Jackie Mittoo - Hot milk
Tommy McCook and the supersonics - Beirut

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Karl Hector Presents: Jazz Modal Du Monde

Karl Hector mixtape, DL here. Karl Hector Presents: Jazz Modal Du Monde

"...Hector drops esoteric old Folkways and Blue Note gems, Sun Ra, Lloyd Miller, Mulatu Astatke, and a litany of stuff that I won’t even pretend to have previously heard." Hat tip to passionweiss.com blog, wicked stuff.

Bonus - Karl Hector and the Malcouns live at Choicecuts in Dublin, at Steadybloggin (DL)

Cash Rules Everything Around Wu

Cash Rules Everything Around Wu is the name of a paper presented at this year’s EMP Conference by Tal Rosenberg and Jeff Weiss. Read it here. Fascinating stuff.

"... The Wu-Tang warned us that if it ain’t raw, it’s worthless. Most record executives originally disagreed—at least the ones who made power moves. They wanted suit and tie raps that were cleaner than a bar of soap. So said the Gza, and who am I to argue with a man whose own album cover claimed that he was a Genius?

Looking back 20 years later, the Clan’s rise seems pre-ordained, a divine alchemy of ability, acumen, and Ol’ Dirty Bastardry. But when they first emerged from the badlands of Brooklyn and Staten Island, they’d already suffered multiple failures. Less remembered are the RZA and GZA’s initial salvos, commercial flops that recast them as sub-Big Daddy Kane ladies men. In two years, they’d be admonishing you to protect your neck, but first they wanted you to come do them..."

Plus, from the comments in that story, which point to another article on the Wu-Tang approach to business, from the NY Times, back in 1996. 'Brash hiphop entrepreneurs.'

"... His [RZA's] introduction to business, he says, came from selling marijuana on street corners. ''You could sell weed and make a little money,'' he said, ''but most of it gets made for the guy you're selling it for. It's the same thing in the music business, except it's legal.''

That lesson was driven home after early recording contracts that he and Genius had went sour around 1990. RZA felt that he and Genius had been naive about the record industry, allowing themselves to be marketed poorly and shortchanged financially; vowing never to make that mistake again, he read up on corporations and decided to apply his street savvy to any future deals..."

Free ish!

Also over at LA Weekly, very cool free download from some of the hottest producers in Los Angeles, covering a variety of artists from Lady Gaga to Richie Valens...

LA's Coolest Producers (Daedelus, Shlohmo, etc.) Do Prince, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Soulja Boy and More (Free Download of Entire Album).

Pop Massacre:
1. Anenon - Wannabe (Spice Girls) -- Non Projects
2. Strangeloop - Wouldn't It Be Nice (Beach Boys) -- Brainfeeder
3. Shlohmo - Pretty Boy Swag (Soulja Boy) -- Friends of Friends
4. DNTEL - Paparazzi (Lady Gaga) -- Sub Pop
5. Asura - Always Be My Baby (Mariah Carey) -- Non Projects
6. Daedelus - I Would Die For You (Prince) -- Ninja Tune/Magical Properties
7. Sahy Uhns - Pieces Of Me (Briitney Spears) -- Proximal
8. Loden - Gimme Gimme (Abba) -- Mush
9. Mexicans with Guns - La Bamba (Ritchie Valens) -- Innovative Leisure/Friends of Friends
10. Groundislava - I Bet I Do (Supa Blanco) -- Friends of Friends
11. The One AM Radio - Take on Me (A-ha) -- Dangerbird
12. Big Spider's Back - Teenage Dream (Katy Perry) -- Circle Into Square
13. My Dry Wet Mess ft. Amir Yaghmai - I Want Her (Keith Sweat) -- Magical Properties

Best tracks: Two L.A. heavyweights, Daedelus and Strangeloop, are responsible for the best tracks on the comp. Check out Daedelus' twisted reworking of Prince's "I Would Die for You" and Strangeloop's remix of the Beach Boy's "Wouldn't It Be Nice." 

Little Roy sees the Rasta in Kurt Cobain

Little Roy Sees the Rasta in Kurt Cobain, from La Weekly.... "couldn’t you see this guy getting stoned before his shift at the coop? Playing a little acoustic “Redemption Song” around a fire pit in J Tree? In Little Roy vs. Nirvana the legendary reggae singer takes on both “Sliver” and “Dive” off of Nirvana’s 1990 7-inch single..." 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gil Scott Heron

Thoughtful piece of writing from Oliver Wang of Soulsides blog, at the LA Times.

A poet with soul: The ballads of Gil Scott-Heron

"The late Gil Scott-Heron was many things -- poet, activist, icon, cipher -- but it’s easy to forget: He could sing, too. Following his passing on May 27, a parade of accolades have lauded his achievements as a cultural figure, drawing attention to his powerful, incisive spoken-word pieces. No doubt, they inevitably mention “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Scott-Heron’s best-known work (and rightfully celebrated) but it was originally recorded in 1970, early in his career, when the poet only had the slap of congas to accompany him. Even though he re-recorded the song a year later, this time backed by jazz sessioners, it was still the same spoken-word piece. 

If that song is all you know of Scott-Heron’s work, you might assume he was like other radical black poets of the ‘60s and ‘70s, rapping spoken word over sparse percussion. That style typified seminal albums of the era, such as New York’s Last Poets and their self-titled debut, or "Rappin’ Black in a White World" by Los Angeles’ own Watts Prophets. Scott-Heron’s first album from 1970, "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox" (which opened with “Revolution”) was no different except for one, notable exception.

On “The Vulture,” Scott-Heron first plays a rolling piano riff and then sings -- not recites -- his lyrics. Suddenly, the audience is made aware of a mesmerizing voice with a quiet growl and knack for flipping notes off a rumbling low end. By 1971, partnered with the (inexplicably under-credited) composer Brian Jackson, Scott-Heron began putting that voice on full display, and while he never stopped being a poet, he also blossomed as a singer.

For me, Scott-Heron’s baritone falls somewhere between the soaring, polished grace of Bobby Womack and steely chill of Rakim, but there’s also something distinctively mournful to his vocals. Turn on 1974’s "Winter in America," the first (and arguably best) album credited to both Scott-Heron and Jackson, and practically every song carries a deep strain of melancholy. My favorite track on that album, “Rivers of My Fathers,” borrows subtly from Horace Silver’s standard, “Song For My Father.” However, with Jackson’s downbeat piano and Scott-Heron reaching for the lower registers of his voice, the song actually makes me think more of Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” in how both riff on the spirit of the blues (indeed, in his later years, Scott-Heron identified himself as a “bluesologist”).

On their best songs in the 1970s, Scott-Heron and Jackson brought a sonic gravitas to bear on topics that tackled everything from apartheid (“Johannesburg”) to urban neglect (“We Almost Lost Detroit”), cultural disillusionment (“Peace Go With You Brother”) to drug addiction (“Home Is Where the Hatred Is”). Intellectually, they were certainly part of black nationalist/artistic movements, raising consciousness alongside Amiri Baraka’s noisy, squealing "It’s Nation Time" and "Don’t Play Us Cheap," a jazz/blues musical written by the brilliant, eccentric Melvin Van Peebles. But musically, Scott-Heron and Jackson also stood apart from these contemporaries.

Like Baraka, Peebles or the Last Poets’ Umar Bin Hassan and Alafia Pudim, Scott-Heron could hoot, holler and screech with the best of them, and most of his albums always included at least one spoken-word piece, as if to remind the listener of his literary roots. Yet, as humorous and biting a poem such as “H20Gate Blues” was on "Winter in America," you’re more likely to remember “The Bottle,” an unlikely proto-disco hit in which Scott-Heron sings about the ravages of alcoholism over a swirling, funky groove built around Jackson’s Rhodes piano.

That booming voice is what made Scott-Heron so unique as an artist. His songwriting was undeniably trenchant, but his singing is what also made it elegant. Those inflections lent his words layers of meaning that, at times, conveyed more than any literal reading of his lyrics could yield.

It’s that baritone that inevitably haunts me in these days, especially on “Rivers of My Fathers.” When Scott-Heron hits the chorus, crooning, “rivers of my fathers/could you carry me home?” he speaks to a multitude of desires: for political liberation, cultural emancipation and personal redemption. The song aches with the yearning to be free of shackles and burdens, whether from the world or those self-imposed. Especially this past week, in reflecting on Scott-Heron’s life, its triumphs and struggles, I keep returning to that chorus. As his voice trails off on it, I imagine the poet, with his perpetual, playful smirk, surrendering himself to the water’s flow, finally at peace as he disappears downstream, floating toward a distant home."

Remembering Big Matt

Four years ago today since the big guy left us... we miss you!

Big Matt Watson,  26-09-1964 to 15-06-2007.

Make Capital

Capital Recordings was a Wellington-based label active in the early 2000s, formed by Brent Gleave and  Jason Harding (aka Clinton Smiley). They produced a ton of great music, then faded mid-decade.

Amplifier has picked up a bunch of their releases and has them at a very special price, both CDs and 12"vinyl from the likes of Dub Connection (feat members of Fat Freddys, Jet Jaguar, Black Seeds), The Moodswingers (a cool little project from Toby Laing of Fat Freddys and Mephisto Jones), Jet Jaguar, Audio Sauce (features the above tune), and also Die Die Die, Fanatics and the Illphonics (feat Hollie Smith, P-Digggs)....

Full list of goodies here. CDs $6.95, vinyl $9.95.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rock it like this?

Very interesting case around reworking another person's creative work and claiming it as an original... worth a read.

Court Rules for Photographer in Copyright Infringement Case...
"As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, a California district court has granted summary judgment to Glen E. Friedman for his copyright infringement case against Thierry Guetta for creating, reproducing, displaying, and selling products incorporating Plaintiff’s photograph of the hip hop music group Run-DMC.

... more background on the case is available on The Art Newspaper.

As the court explained in its Order, Guetta obtained a copy of the Photograph from the Internet. The photo did not have a copyright notice on or with it. Guetta claimed that his works were not not substantial similar to the photograph, that he did not copy the copyrightable elements of the photo, and that his use of the Photograph was fair use.  The court disagreed and explained its reasoning in the Order.  Summary judgment means that the court has ruled that Guetta infringed Friedman’s photograph.  The court now will move to the damages phase, determining what amount Guetta will have to pay to Friedman."

Pitch Black pon de remix

Fresh out from Pitch Black this week, (CD and digital), is Rarities and Remixes, all sorts of sonic goodies.... love that Katchafire remix!

"Included in the remixes are tracks by fellow Aotearoa/NZ dub trailblazers International Observer (‘House of the Rising Dub’) and Salmonella Dub (‘For the Love of It’), along with ‘The Opaque’ by independent music producer Tom Cosm, and ‘Sensimillia’ by reggae legends Katchafire – all fed through the PB warping machine. Representing from further a field is ‘Mirror Beach’ by Mirror System (the ambient project of Britain’s System 7), and ‘A New Day’, a remix of a Sri Lankan track that Pitch Black remixed for the Laya Project, a collaboration of regional folk musicians affected by the 2004 tsunami." Plus some rare gems in there, like their tune that ended up in Whalerider - have a listen below.

From Mint Chicks to UMO

Duncan Greive interviewed Ruban Nielson for the Sunday Star Times' Sunday magazine. Ruban talked about his new band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO). It's a very open, honest interview.

He revealed some more information in the Mint Chicks spilt - a few weeks prior to their final incendiary gig where his brother Kody smashed up much of the band's gear, he says “I’d already told Kody that I was going back to Portland, but I wasn’t going to keep doing The Mint Chicks. And that was for a lot of reasons, but probably the main one was that I wanted us to be brothers again. I didn’t want to deal with all the weirdness that was going on between us in the band.”

Ruban returned to the US and his wife and family, got his illustration portfolio together and set about getting a job. He landed work interning at a film company, and worked on some music on the side.

snip... "He’d been listening to ’60s psychedelic music for years – starting with The Zombies and Love, and working on down. He was struck by a nagging absence. “I never quite found what I was looking for,” he says. “I had this idea that if I couldn’t find this record, I could make it.”

After a month or so, he had a set of songs. But, unlike other projects, which were scrutinised and salivated over, this one was just hanging in the air. On a whim, without quite knowing why, he decided to see if his creations had legs, and might run. “I put this made-up name on it and sent out a couple of emails to some blogs I liked,” he recalls. “I went to sleep, went to work, and when I came home the next day I checked to see if people had listened to it.”

I've heard that Ruban went to work, and later in the day one of his co-workers asked him if he'd heard of this cool new band called Unknown Mortal Orchestra. That's gotta be pretty surreal.

Ruban's live band consists of bass player Jake Portrait, and drummer Julien Ehrlich; the latter caught the attention of Questlove Thompson of hiphop group The Roots when he saw the band live in NYC back in April - "Watching the Unknown Mortal Orchestra for the first time. I dig these cats. Drummer has great range. Knows his rock & breakbeat ish."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pain's People

Pain's People is the work of one John Pain, ex Black Girls Machine/Hallelujah Picassos/Nudie Suits. He's just posted this cool twisted little tune, from 2004 - previously unreleased: A companion tune to 'I got flowers', which was released on the compilation 'Froth EP Vol 1' on Forth Records [corrected]. And it's available for download. Check it out.

say after me by pains people

But wait, there's more....

so long, negative creeps by pains people

Sunday, June 12, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwiFM

 Replays on Friday, 2-4pm NZT, listen online.

Mycroft Homes - Sideshow viewing
Bongmaster - Brothers and sisters
Katchafire - Sensi dub - Pitch black remix
Bender Inc - Apocalypse airwaves
Kingites - Together we grow
OG - Bam bam
Onelung - Bumblebeez
Pacific heights - Peace
Mara TK - Run
Pains people - Predestination
Dub terminator meets Ras Stone - Love you so much
The Yoots - Me he manu rere
Adi Dick - Jah jah is coming
Olmecha supreme - FH5 inst
Benny Tones - On my way - Flako remix
Aquaboogie - Brown lawn
The Politik - Money
Solephonic - Whats your style?
Zuvuya - Electric puha
Kevvy Kev - Midnight dub
Trinity roots - Just like you - Max Maxwell and Bluey remix
Bside beats - White collar dub
Spot X - nice dub
Recloose -Maui's lament

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Numero Group 'declined' invite to iCloud

Via LA Times...

"There have been lots of figures thrown around in the stories relating to Apple's iCloud service, yet none are sitting right with Chicago's famed reissue label the Numero Group .... Label co-founder Rob Sevier said Tuesday that as of now the company was not going to make its catalog available for iCloud's scan-and-match service, a concept the label cautioned as a "great risk" in a post on its site.

"What they are offering to do is analogous to the replacement of a counterfeit painting with an original painting," Sevier said in a follow-up email.

At issue is Apple's intention to this fall launch an online storage service dubbed iCloud. A free version will give a user 5 gigabytes of storage, and also house any songs or albums purchased via the iTunes store. Yet for an annual fee of $24.99, which Apple will split with record labels and publishers, Apple will host high-quality audio files of songs on its servers, saving customers the task of uploading each song individually.

The iCloud will not differentiate between purchased songs and those acquired via peer-to-peer networks, and Sevier said Numero is concerned about the long-term effects of such a service for the industry. For instance, one apprehension was that if the company made its catalog available to iCloud, then those who obtained the label's releases via file-sharing networks could upload them and potentially see them replaced with higher-quality versions..."


DJ Sirvere is one of the most respected DJs in the country. He's been in the music industry for years, working in record stores, record companies, radio, print, all over. Music is his passion, but sneakers are another. Specifically Jordans. About 5 years ago he got the idea to do a show exhibiting his collection, and that idea has finally come to fruition.

His show, A Jordan Journey with DJ Sirvere, is on this weekend in Auckland at 57 Tyler st, Britomart, finishing 5pm Sunday.  There's about 260 sneakers on display, including some rarities. It's an amazing show. These sneakers tell a story about Sirvere's life.

photo: Frank Liew/Hypebeast

There's a pair from 1992 (above), when Sirvere was working in a record store on Queen St (HMV - I remember seeing the Headless Chickens play in there once). One of his co-workers, Mikey Havoc, came to work one day and called Sirvere over to show off his new sneakers, that he'd got sent from the US. They were a pair of Jordans that Sirvere had been after for a while, and he was a little bit gutted (to put it mildly) that someone he knew had them before he did. Havoc wore them to work every day.

click on photo to enlarge and read the tale of Sirvere's sneaker battle with Mikey Havoc

photo: Frank Liew/Hypebeast

Then there's the Jordan golf shoes (above). Sirvere told me that he copped these when Gentry Humphrey, International Jordan Brand Director, was in Australia. Sirvere was over there working on a Nike event and had met Humphrey, who had these Jordan golf shoes with him. He'd played a round of golf while in Australia, and didn't want the hassle of having to clean the mud off them to take them thru Customs, so he left them behind and Sirvere got them. He told me there are only 5 pairs in existence.

Sirvere has got videos of Jordan's games playing down there too, going right back to his college days. It's mighty impressive.  He's even got a pair that have green stains on the sole, from when he used to wear them to mow the lawns, at his family home in Papakura.

Read Frank Liew (from sneaker store Qubic) writing in more detail on the exhibition here.


This mixtape jumps from Fela Kuti to Serge Gainsbourg. Wow. "Captain Planet & Murphy’s Law are back with another collection of raw, funky, pshychedelic, mind-melting tracks from around the world... from Brazil to Turkey to India to Nigeria..." Listen here (incl download link), or below...

International Thief Thief by Mixtape Riot

1. Sola – Tabu-Tabu
2. Ray Rivera – Sumptin’ Like Dat
3. Tim Maia – E Necessario
4. Baris Manco – Cit Cit Cedene
5. Fela Kuti – Colonial Mentality
6. Marcos Valle – Mentira
7. Mary McCreary – Singing The Blues
8. Los Mirlos – La Danza de los Mirlos
9. Catalino y su Combo – Tan Bella Y Presumida
10. Orquesta Riverside – En Casa Del Trompo No Bailes
11. Los Amaya – Caramelos
12. Mad Man Jaga – Hankuri
13. Las 4 Monedas Y Gregory – Trauma
14. Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Darkest Light
15. Yamasuki - Yama Yama
16. Serge Gainsbourg – Requiem Pour Un Con
17. Cortijo Y Su Bonche – Sorongo
18. Kamal Ahmed ft. Noor Jehan – I Am Very Sorry
19. Sapan Jagmohan – Meri Aakhon Mein (edit)
20. Sonny Okosuns – Dance Of The Elephants
21. Wganda Kenya – El Evangelio
22. Tortilla Factory – Cookin’
23. The Celebrant – Off Beats
24. Makonde – Manzara
25. Phirpo y sus Caribes – Y Esa Pava Que
26. Outro

Havana cultura

Gilles Peterson dropped the Havana Cultura comp a while back, he's been running a remix competition, here's some of the top entries... Read more about the winners here...

La Revolucion Del Cuerpo (Captain Planet Remix) by ChuckWild

Cultura Havana Giles Peterson - La Revolucion del Cuerpo (Pushin Wood reGroove) by Pushin Wood Soundsystem

Heres a couple of mashups from the overall winners Pushin Wood Soundsystem....

Afro Tip by Pushin Wood Soundsystem

If Fela Was Dangerous ft. Busta Rhymes by Pushin Wood Soundsystem

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM

Wajeed - Jeedo suave
Katalyst - Day into night
Clive Smith - Stepping forward
Pavlov and Mishkin - Mafia
Jackie Mittoo - Groovy spirit
Johnny Osbourne - Dance with you
Candy Mckenzie and the upsetters - Long enough
The Jamaicans - Baba boom time
Al Brown - Love and happiness
Big Youth - Jim screechy - Smith and Mighty remix
Conroy Smith - Dangerous
Cocoa T - Pirates anthem
Mr Vegas - Jack it up
Tiger - Ram dancehall
Foxy Brown - Baby can I hold you tonight
Ticklah - Si hecho palante
Mos dub - History town
Romanowski - Strudel strut
Chico Mann - Harmonia
Chancha via curcuito - Bussitpondem
Charles Bradley - Heart of gold
Colman bros - She who dares - lounge mix
Bonobo - Eyes down
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal
Scratch 22 - Shivani strut
Quantic - T.R.O.Y.
Kenny Dope - Get on down
The Koliphones - Jungle concerto (moog)
Stinky Jim - Triple agent

Friday, June 10, 2011

Broke-ass musos need help too

NZ Herald's media columnist John Drinnan has had another bash at arts funding. Unlike his previous efforts in his weekly Media column, this is written as a proper news story, so isn't riddled with delightful opinions such as means testing for the arts, an idea he picked up from Fran O'Sullivan.

In the article he picks apart the Creative NZ funding helping several NZ acts get to the Glastonbury music festival, such as King Kapisi, Bella Kololo, and Ladi6. He doesn't mention that several of the artists he refers to are currently based in Europe, trying to make a living from their art.

He also fails to mention that NZ bands attending Glastonbury under their own steam, like Phoenix Foundation and Electric Wire Hustle, are able to do so as they have record deals in the UK/Europe. God forbid we should export some interesting music.

"... Creative NZ spokeswoman Cath Cardiff said the return from its travel grants was enabling Kiwi acts to gain exposure. There might not be an immediate benefit but it enabled groups "to be more sustainable in the long term" ... But that was inevitable, given New Zealand's size, she said. There was no option but to export - and the pay-off was that it put NZ on a world stage. "

Drinnan: "The grants illustrate the array of taxpayer handouts for pop music from state agencies, even in tough times. "

We NEED music in tough times.

NZ Herald: "Taxpayers to help Kiwi stars shine at UK festival"

On U Sound rebounds

" Every Mistake Imaginable, that’s EMI. " Adrian Sherwood on his label's former distributor.

Spied this cool interview with legendary reggae producer and label boss Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound label, producer of Dub Syndicate, Tackhead, African Head Charge, even Dave Dobbyn!).

The interview is over on djhistory.com,  and I found it via a blog worth checking called Skank Blog Bologna, which covers "a decade’s worth of reggae and dub tracks made by a bunch of punks (and post-punks if we’re gonna quibble over genres)." From Bad Brains to the Ruts to Jah Wobble.

The folk behind the blog are also working on releasing a compilation based round this theme, which should be a whole lotta fun. Hat tip to Craig M for the link.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Photo: Sonic Scoop/Jacob Blickenstaff

Found a couple of fascinating interviews with Gabe Roth of the Dapkings/Daptone Records. Well worth a read.

From Feb 2011, via The Afrobeat Blog. Roth talks about a lost project he started with Amayo from Antibalas ten years ago, which is finally seeing the light of day...

"When I had a studio in his basement at the Afro-Spot in Brooklyn where we recorded Dap-Dippin and Pure Cane Sugar and Talkatif and a lot of stuff I started recording with him the Fu Arkist-Ra record. We got through the rhythm section stuff, and we never really finished it and he got evicted and I got evicted and things went sour, not between us, but with the landlords.

"We always talked about getting back into it and re-recording, but I was always so busy with touring and he was trying to keep bands together ... he came to me and he wanted to record again, and I was out of town I didn't really have time, so I recommended him to Tommy Breneck to Dunham Studios to see if he was into it ... So Tommy said do you have some tape we can record on, so he said oh yea, we can record on this old blank tape, so the tape he brought on was the rhythm section tape we recorded ten years before. So Tommy put it on and was like wow, this shit is bangin, it's weird but it's been so long its been 10 years, but we forgot about that sound from that time. So Tommy brought in all the original guys, Stuart Bogie and Martin Perna, to do some overdubs, and I went in and mastered it the last time I was in New York ... Hopefully we'll put that out sometime soon."

The official Fu-Arkist-Ra site details upcoming live shows and info on classes for Amayo's own blend of Kung Fu, called Fu Rhythtm Fitness.
Fu-Arkist-Ra Myspace.

Other Gabe Roth IV, from November last year...
Daptone, Home grown: Gabe Roth’s cottage industry of soul, via Sonic Scoop

"... There’s a lot of hype about tube gear and tape machines and stuff, and even analog recording. As much as I tend to get lumped into that school I’m really not that dogmatic about it. If something sounds better or feels better on a computer, go ahead and use a computer!

We do a lot of blind A/B-ing in the studio. You need to do it blind in order to overcome so many biases that you have. If you spent $4,000 on some old microphone, then you really want it to sound good. But if you put it blind, up against an SM57, sometimes the SM57’s gonna win, but you’re never gonna know unless you do it blind. So, we do a lot of that, and we do end up using a lot of Radio Shack mics and common mics too.

It’s definitely interesting when you see a nerdy internet column about what kind of mics they were using on sessions for the Beatles or at Motown or something, because I think it’s really not all that useful. At the end of the day, if you wanna know how they made a John Lennon vocal sound amazing, the answer is that John Lennon was singing!"

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

One hundred days of inaction

Poynton Terrace wall, Tuesday June 6, 105 days after being painted out by Auckland Council

When Mayor Len Brown took office on November 1st last year, he decided to talk big. He came up with 100 projects in 100 days, aiming to show how he planned to get stuck in to Auckland's issues. It was a bold plan, and it worked, by and large. One of those items was to launch an anti-tagging initiative.

On Thursday February 24, Len Brown and the Auckland Council painted over an art mural in Poynton Terrace in the CBD without permission. This wall had been a regular painting spot for artist Elliot O'Donnell aka Askew, for ten years. He'd worked hard to develop a good relationship with the building owners, tenants and neighbours. Len Brown and his Council destroyed a successful community artwork in an afternoon. Read more about what happened here.

Brown fronted up and admitted that it had been a mistake, but never explained why a Council anti-graffiti volunteer had managed to get this wall painted out.

Brown appeared on TVNZ7's Media 7 on 17 March (watch it here) and was asked three times to explain why Council's graffiti prevention officer Rob Sheilds had approached the building owner to offer creative advice and a list of artists for the replacement mural (well outside his job description) - Brown dodged the question, instead talking about wanting to make sure Council followed due process, and that ultimately it was the owners decision about what goes on their wall.

Brown said he would sort this out and make it right, but 100 days later, this wall is still grey.

I have been told that Council is consulting with interested parties, which could take months, or years. Meanwhile, Askew has offered to repaint the wall for FREE. What's the hold up, Mr Mayor?

ADDED June 29: The Auckland Council has put out a call for expressions of interest from artists to replace the mural. See The Big Idea. The Council's Public Art Team say on their Facebook page that "we'd welcome an EOI from Askew. The bonus is that whomever is awarded the contract will get an artists fee, and materials paid, so won't have to fund it out of their own pocket."

That's not a bonus - that's what Len Brown undertook to do after admitting the Council made a mistake painting out the mural. Askew and friends paid for that mural out of his own pocket for ten years.

ADDED The EOI document says "...the building owner may give preference to a design with a historical theme... The design should not incorporate elements that could be mistaken for vandalism... The building owner asks that the mural is not signed..."

Dr Who?

Great ska/dub take on the Dr Who theme from this 8 piece band from Bristol. Also came out as an exclusive release for Record Store Day this year on 7", via Tru Thoughts. Two versions, one with wicked UK MC Tenor Fly on the mic. Buy it from Juno Download

Doctor Who (feat Tenor Fly) by Smerins Anti-Social Club

Doctor Who (Instrumental) by Smerins Anti-Social Club

Monday, June 06, 2011

Kaiser thief

UK band the Kaiser Chiefs quietly released a new album this week. They claimed they'd slipped it out to avoid leaks. It's also been reported the band  "...have come up with a brilliant new concept to release their latest album, which allows users to upload their own cover and even make money for themselves by becoming sales people for the band and earning £1 per album they sell via social media channels." (Source: TNW)

The only catch is that someone else had the idea before them. 

"According to the The Wall Street Journal story, Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs “hatched the scheme ‘over a drunken night in a fish and chips shop’ with a friend, Oli Beale, who works in the London office of Portland-based ad agency Wieden & Kennedy.”

As many people have pointed out in the last 24 hours, there’s more than a passing similarity between the supposed product of Wilson and Beale’s drunken chip-shop brainstorm and Chris Holmes’ The Privateer Manifesto, which was first published by The Daily Swarm earlier this year..."

And here's the kicker - the band admit that fans selling the album will make more money of it than they will.  Who knows, this idea may be something that both Holmes and the band arrived at independent of each other.

Radio Gaga

Couple of takes on the future of the album...

Gaga numbers indicate that albums are now secondary
Analysis from NY Times.

"A paradox of the new music industry: Albums sell less and less well every year, but as a marketing tool they are now more important than ever.

Gaga numbers prove the vitality of albums
Analysis from Billboard.biz.

"Maybe the album format isn't ready to die just yet. Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" sold 1.11 million units in its first week of release and has moved another 4.28 million digital tracks. It's the first album in 18 months to sell over one million units in a single week. These numbers suggest the old way of selling music-and perhaps not the album format itself - is what's dying in the record industry.

The pirates are coming

Rhys Darby as a pirate radio DJ in the movie The boat that rocked (aka Pirate radio)

Local comedian and Flight of the Conchords star Rhys Darby will front a new anti-piracy campaign, distributed online and via DVD to schools... see "Top comic joins piracy fracas", Dominion Post.

This promo video comes before the new copyright law comes into effect in September, which will allow rights holders "to force internet providers to pass on infringement notices to customers who they believe they have caught accessing pirated material."

"On the third warning, rights holders will be able to make internet providers pass the customer's details to the Copyright Tribunal, which will be able to impose fines."

Chief executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFact) Tony Eaton said NZFact had been keen for Mr Darby to front its anti-piracy campaign to promote a "softer more relevant image" and because of his personality. "He says a few quirky jokes."

"InternetNZ said in its submission that it struggled to see why rights holders should be allowed to profit in cases where people pirated works that they had chosen not to sell in New Zealand but that they did sell overseas."

This is one of the key problems with rights holders choosing to prosecute their audience, instead of giving them access to what they want, when they want. Controlling your content by territory simply makes it impossible for people to access it.

For more on this, read Paul Brislens piece "How about giving people what they want?"

Let's hope the video doesn't end up looking like this...

Lykke Li vs the Shirelles

Gorgeous version. Spotted on Flavourpill's story 10 Crazy-Good Covers You’ve Probably Never Heard

RIP Martin Rushent

Via BBC: Music producer Martin Rushent, who worked with bands including the Human League and the Stranglers has died, aged 63. Rushent started as an engineer in the 1970s, working on records by T-Rex and Fleetwood Mac among others. He produced the Human League's hit album Dare, which contained the classic "Don't You Want Me?".

From a 1982 interview with Rushent... Hat tip to Nabeel for this...

"On a recent trip to New York City, I had an opportunity to interview the infamous Martin Rushent. Martin has produced countless bands (Human League, Altered Images, Yachts…) over the years, as well as being the Buzzcock’s primary producer. At present, he is working incredibly hard with launching Pete Shelley’s solo career, as well as his newly formed Genetic Records label. I found him to be honest, genuinely nice, and most of all, enthusiastic. I have no doubts that he’ll achieve all he sets out to do. Having long been my “idol,” I felt it time to get some personal remarks from him.

FFanzeen: How did you get into the field of producing?
Martin Rushent: Around 10 or 11 years old, I got my first record player. I used to listen to a lot of records; Buddy Holly – and I noticed that some records had an exciting edge to them, some sounded better than others. I think after that I began to pick up on names; Spector and the like. By 12 or so, I was in a school band and learning to work equipment… and I started to find it more interesting than actually performing. The result was my working toward becoming a producer in the end. Now, after all this time, I find myself drifting into a more artistic vein.

Read it in full here.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwiFM

Replays on Friday, 2-4pm NZT, listen online.

Illphonics - One of those days
International observer - Cellphone dub
50Hz - Skiddy dub
Jefferson Belt - Skylurking
The Yoots - E papa waiari
Projector - Principle dub
Sola rosa - Turn around - DJ Vadim
Dam native - Behold my kool style
Recloose - Why I otta
Tubbs - T's groove
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Open souls - Sweet love - Mabanua remix
Tehimana Kerr - Xit
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
Dub terminator meets Ras Stone - Bad mind
Black seeds - Slingshot - Truth remix
Salmonella dub - Problems - Sonsine remix
Lewis McCallum - The almanac
Jet jaguar - Octo test
Phase 5 - Mothman skank - Wasabi wakeup mix
Alphabethead - The crawling thing
Conray - 7th folding space
Eru Dangerspiel - Chilli moules
Julien Dyne - Steel legs 11

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, June 4

Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren band - Savannah
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Victorious dub
Johnny Osbourne - Budy bye
Black brothers - Give me loving
Candy Mckenzie and the upsetters -Long enough
Junior Murvin and the upsetters - Get ready
Manasseh - Zion city
Richie Phoe - Eyes on the dub
Woima collective - Woima
Charles Bradley  -Why is it so hard?
Chaka Khan  -Life is a dance'
Black blood - Chicano
Gay flamingoes steel band - Catapilla (This song got an interesting response, via text - "What IS this?! just turned the radio on and this is the first thing I hear. I WANT MORE.")
Tom tom club  -Genius of love
Louis Jordan - Aint nobody here but us chickens - DJ Premier remix
Hawk - Dont judge a book by tis cover
Myron and E and the Soul investigators - Cold game
Oddisee - That day feat Muhsinah
Nicolette - Single minded vocal
Barrington Levy - Looking for love
Turntable dubbers - Get lively now - Dreadsquad remix
45nm - Biscuits
Architeq - Birds of dub
Rhythm and sound w Sugar Minott - Let Jah love come
Roots Radics - Babylon wrong
Collen and Webb - Golden
Gil Scott Heron - Lady Day and John Coltrane
Esther Phillips - Home is where the hatred is
Spanky Wilson - Sunshine of your love
The Horne singers - Flat foot

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Riot Riddum live!

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

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. They recorded on the Deepgrooves label.

They have been approached to spin some tunes in a DJ/MC style this weekend, at the Punky Reggae Party, on Sunday at The Kings Arms. It's been a while since 2R2S stood behind the decks so this should be a lot of fun.

Punky Reggae Party 2011 
FEATURING: The Iron Hammers feat Silva Emcee, The Solomonix + Jah Red Lion, The Lager Louts, The Last Rockers, Atsushi and The Mini Moisties, Riot Riddum Sound System, Earthtone Hi Fi feat Selecto, Printor and El Folio, Obelix, Artofficial, Peter Mac, Dubhead and Iron Will + drink specials and hot food.  
From 3pm $10 /$20 after 6pm


This song below 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.

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.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Pitch Black rarities and goodies

Out June 13, a swag of remixes and rarities from Pitch Black. Preview below. You get Pitch Black remixing Salmonella Dub, Katchafire, Tiki and others, plus the very first track Mike and Paddy ever worked on together, The Wanderer, from 96.

There's also a free live album from Pitch Black on Bandcamp too. Grab it here.

Mo Oddisee

Oddisee dropped his Odd Seasons album recently. To celebrate, he's offering a few bonus instrumentals for free download.
Support the new Oddisee album at itunes and ughh and Fat Beats and emusic. Vinyl coming soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SJD - City of lost souls

(originally published in Pavement magazine, 2001)

SJD is the musical alias of one Sean J Donnelly. His second album Lost Soul Music, is one of the most entrancing records you will hear this year. It's a deliciously melodic blend of electronica, funk, soul, lounge, and odd dash of folk loopiness. It's incredibly hard to pin down just what it's appeal is, but it's totally irresistible.

Donnelly released his debut album 3 under his own steam back in 1999, and his follow-up Lost Soul Music has been picked up by Round Trip Mars Records, responsible for albums by Phase 5 and the Sideways compilation, which featured SJD. Label maestro Stinky Jim was positively frothing at the mouth when he told me about Lost Soul Music. I recall his words were something like "It's the ships biscuits, it's just brilliant".

Clearly his label has the faith, so how does Donnelly view the finished product? "I'm happy with it, in a confused sort of way. I'm not entirely used to it yet." It's only two days since the album was finished when I talk with Donnelly. "I've only heard it through a couple of times. I think it's probably quite good, but I'm still getting used to it", he says, humbly.

Lost Soul Music is the product of eighteen months solid work for Donnelly. "At the beginning of that year and a half, I had a lot of things I wanted to do, and to turn those ideas into coherent pieces of music tends to take quite a while. I can create music quite quickly. Sometimes when you've just got ideas, when you set out and actually do them, it can sound quite contrived. So, it took that long to be able to create organic sounding pieces of music out of them."

Even though his music uses electronica as a starting point, he doesn't see himself as working in the dance genre; "For me it's much more about writing songs, really, using the idioms of dance music and electronica as part of that process." With the title, Lost Soul Music, Donnelly says he was trying to describe the kind of music that he wanted to hear. "It's very ambiguous, and I guess for me, a lot of the music that influenced me on this was gospel music. I wanted to make a kind of gospel music, that someone who's an agnostic might make, maybe trying to find something spiritual in everyday life. And it's the lost soul thing: I'm a lost soul, like everybody else, I guess.

" There's the kind of music I'm making. It's a quality in music that I really really admire, but it's very difficult to describe, it's the quality of lostness. It's something that sounds really familiar, but somehow you missed it, or you've just found it., some weird unpolished gem. I love discovering those things, like some weird old Kraftwerk track, or some strange Syd Barrett song. And as difficult as it is to aim to make that kind of music, I hoped that some of my music would have that quality. In one sense they're songs, in another sense they're movies for the ears. I'd like the album to be like something that people could sit down and listen to like they might watch a movie". Cinematic Soul Music, anyone?

Tone tone tone

Benny Tones (Electric Wire Hustle's studio producer) has some fine remixes off his debut album going for free download over at Soundcloud, or listen below. Warning - they're huge wav files. Off the forthcoming album Chrysalis Remixes, from Benny Tones, out August 24.

Benny Tones - Fire Fly feat. Mara TK (Opiuo's So Strong In 2008 Remix) by Benny Tones

Benny Tones - On My Way feat. MaraTK (fLako Remix) by Benny Tones

Benny Tones - Odyssey feat. LP (Kamandi Headspin Remix) by Benny Tones

Phase five....

Stinky Jim and Angus McNaughton are PHASE 5....
the artists formerly known as Soundproof)

Originally published in Lava Magazine, October 1998

Soundproof, the dynamic duo of DJ Stinky Jim and studio boffin Angus 'Mo Delay' McNaughton join HDU for their tour this month (Oct 98). Soundproof are the dub demons responsible for one of the remixes on HDUs latest Flying Nun release Higher++. Angus and Jim have worked together previously in Unitone Hifi. Peter McLennan dropped around to the Basque Liberation Front HQ for the lowdown ...

Go Angus, says Jim. You better say something in this interview. Angus agrees. Yeah, okay. What was the question?

How did Soundproof come about....

it came out of some of the songs that Jim and myself were writing together, and out of the demise of Unitone Hifi. We still wanted to work together. Im sitting with Soundproof, faced with the not inconsiderable task of discovering whats going on in the lives of two our our most illustrious beat merchants.
Okay boys, lets hear it. Whats the difference between Unitone Hifi and Soundproof?

Oh, about an orchard worth of fruit, Id say, laughs Jim. Well, weve moved on in the last year or two says Angus. Weve certainly dropped the emphasis on dub music Jim concurs. With Soundproof, theres still a huge reggae element, thats always going to be there in our music, and a dub element, in as much as the mixing desk is an instrument and is a part of the whole creation process, but with Soundproof I think were able to stretch it further, all over the place. Judging by the reaction weve had from Europe, the one thing people cant deal with is that the variety of what were playing is so wide. Were talking about people at labels who release music that I find unclassifiable, and they cant classify what were doing. Theres a lot more interesting tempo elements, and time signatures. Were not beholden to a four, four mentality.

Okay, so, what is the rhythm style?

Jim: Theres a lot of Bossa Nova in there.

Angus: It emerged on Box Juice, (which features Daddy Dom from The Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist getting saucy on the Hammond organ). That was developed from a breakbeat we were chopping up, recycling (ah, so theyre greenies!), and it worked so well we tried it on a couple of other tunes.

Jim: And people love it. Its an instant head nod.

Ahhh, its becoming clearer. After the no-boundaries approach of Unitone, Soundproof have developed a fresh approach to writing, one thats less lateral, more focused.

Jim: In the time that weve been going, we could have probably released an album if we were working in the mindset we had with Unitone, which was get enough stuff together and chuck out an album. With Soundproof, were amassing the material, then well decide how well deal to it. Were putting down a track, then doing a rough mix of it, living with that a bit, then mixing it. Its a bit more of a considered approach. At the same time, were trying to avoid overworking a track.

So thats how they do it... when can we expect a Soundproof release?

Were going to put an ep out ourselves on 12 inch vinyl says Jim. Weve got a track on a compilation called Son Of Bastard Tracks, on Rockers Hifis label Different Drummer.
Theres a Digidub remix coming out, and theres another track on a French compilation called Wreck This Mess. Thats been the plan, to put out things on complations or remixes, that allows other people to go out and promote us without us having to do that hard work ourselves, and that is the hardest part, getting out there in Europe.
If we'd tried to just put out an ep out straight away, it wouldnt have stood a chance. Its the value of association, people pick it up and see Moody Boyz, Rootsman, and maybe read the small print and go, oh, a track from New Zealand, whats this? Getting your work alongside all these other people who we know of and respect, it gives you a level playing field to have a look at what you do.

Any response from the major record companies?

Yeah, which is odd, cos it never happened with Unitone, but were telling them to wait until were ready. Its really interesting, that when people cant have something they suddenly really want it. But, its not like were ever going to do a cd single and try to hawk it round the country, and do gigs in towns we don't even particularly want to visit, like Christchurch.

Oi! exclaims Mainlander Angus, rising from his chair, and for a moment it appears Soundproof are about to become a solo act.

Okay, enough tomfoolery, Ive got one more question. Whats Soundproof live all about?

Well, the plan is to emulate the studio setup... Its important or us that there are things we can manipulate live says Jim, that its not just a press play, sit back and skin up scenario, much as that would be quite nice, and if anyone wants to pay us to do that were more than happy! But there has to be some element of live music in there. Playing with HDU, that hybrid, cross pollination concept, will be great. We really enjoyed remixing their track Lull. We love that track. Im amazed that more people havent done it, you know, this sort of gig. People arent pushing it at all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Nomad... spelled backwards is Damon

Originally printed in Lava Magazine, November 1999

"I spent about a year writing the tracks, without any set idea in mind of how I wanted it to come out" says Daimon Schwalger, aka The Nomad, phoning from his new base in Wellington.

When I make a track, I get the beats down, a few atmospherics, then I lay down the bass, a vocal, then I sit down for a week and do the arrangements. There's lots of jams, and taking it somewhere that you don't really know it's gonna go, experimenting. He's talking about his new album, Second Selection, which he put together over the course of a year in hometown Christchurch.

"It's all gelled pretty well. The album's quite diverse, but it has a similarity of sound. Does that make sense?"

It makes perfect sense. Second Selection is an album full of dubwise downtempo delights, with beats guaranteed to tickle the eardrums of the nation right through the coming summer and beyond. It features contributions from Pearl Runga, MC Antsman from Beats N Pieces, and Tiki Taane, he who makes Salmonella Dub sound so phat, assists with the mix, and Farda P from recent tourists Rockers Hifi also pops in.

The result is a much different sound from the first Nomad effort, Movement,, which delved deep into the realm of dark drum n bass. Why the shift ?

"Well, people change. As much as I love drum n bass, I love trip hop and dub more. That's the style of music I'm into right now. Drum n bass is very influenced by dub anyway. I've been into down groove stuff for about ten years now. When I make a track, I get the beats down, a few atmospherics, then I lay down the bass, a vocal, then I sit down for a week and do the arrangements. There's lots of jams, and taking it somewhere that you don't really know it's gonna go, experimenting. Then editing it all down."

Daimon recorded the album in his home studio. He is also responsible for the album's artwork posters, and very cool stickers. He's very much a one man band. I ask him why he likes working this way. "Well, I'm a control freak!" he says, laughing. "Basically I recorded and produced the record, did the artwork, organised the album tour, because ultimately, I'm in it for the music and I've been doing it for ten years, and it's really important to me. I've got to hold onto that creative control, I've got to make sure its being represented in the way I want."

Must be a lot of work. Why do you do it? "I guess it's like eating; it's just what I do, y'know? I've been doing it for about 11 years now. I'm not doing it to become famous or make lots of money, it's more of a lifestyle. Getting into the studio with friends and busting out a track, I just love it. It's a huge passion of mine. I don't watch TV, I don't go to a lot of films, I just spend a lot of my time at the computer, inventing and creating music, trying to make something that's more of a deeper thing, rather than just cheesy lyrics and dodginess..."

Black Seeds : V2.0

Originally published in NZ Musician magazine, 2001.

Wellington band The Black Seeds launched themselves onto the unsuspecting public last year with the release of their acclaimed debut album 'Keep On Pushing'.

Mixing up reggae and ska, these skanking folk set off round the country to play live, cashing in on their reputation as Wellington's ultimate good time party band. Having spent most of this summer playing at festivals around NZ, including The Gathering and the Raglan Reggae Sunsplash, the Seeds are now resting up.

Their latest release due out February (as yet untitled "but we'll decide on the name soon" say the band) is a remix collection of tracks from their debut album, sliced and diced by the likes of 50Hz, Jet Jaguar, Son Sine, DJ Mu, Ebb, House of Shem and more. I meet up with Barnaby Weir (guitar, vocals) and Shannon Williams (bass) from the band for a chat.

The Black Seeds' line-up usually runs to seven members with Bret McKenzie on keys, Daniel Weetman on percussion, Rich Christie on drums, Toby Laing on trumpet and Mike Fabulous on guitar and percussion. Soundman Lee Prebble is counted as their eighth member. The Black Seeds started out in 1998, growing from a three piece, to a four piece, then a five piece "... and now we're a family pack!" exclaims Barnaby.

The lads see the remix album as a logical extension of Keep On Pushing, which was released in June last year by Loop Recordings Aotearoa, with distribution through Border Music.

"Our biggest success came with a remix," observes Shannon. "We weren't that happy with the original version of Keep on Pushing, and our soundman Lee remixed it, and it sounded so much better. The remixes for the new album we've heard so far have been awesome."

"The thing is people that aren't into the rawness of our live show or the sound of the CD, might be into a 50Hz or a Jet Jaguar take on it, you know? There's plenty of people round Wellington who are keen (to remix a track), so its like, sweet, let's put them out as a remix album," says Barnaby.

Both Shannon and Barnaby work at Radio Active, where a lot of local musicians pass through, making it easy to hunt out potential remixers. "It was mainly either friends or contacts through people we know," says Barnaby.

Remix participants got to choose their own songs from the album. Barnaby says they were quite lucky, as nobody chose the same song. "We didn't have any double ups." The remixers were given the music in the format of their choice, mostly as an unmixed Pro Tools session with all the music, or a few bars of various instruments on DAT tape. Most of the remixers used Pro Tools or some form of PC-based software for the remix.

Shannon sees the aim of the remixes is "... about getting different people into it, like some people who might be put off by the reggae thing. Cafes like this one (gesturing to our surroundings) have greatly helped that sort of music. As much as I like Kruder and Dorfmeister, that stuff is all nicely played and produced, but it gets a bit like musical wallpaper after a while. Hopefully our remixes aren't going to be like that!"

"I don't think they will," reassures Barnaby. "It's also good for radio play as well. Programme directors that might not be into the sound on our first release might be much more into that other electronic sound. Remixing is an art form in itself, its about taking things one step further, like with dub music or versions, keep taking it as far as you can."

"Plus, from a really basic point of view, it's great to hear what other people can do with the songs," adds Shannon.
They hint that their next album, which they will begin recording later this year, will showcase more diverse styles from the first, adding in some funk and latino influences into their reggae-fied mashup. They also intend to work in some more raw, live moments into the recording. "Lately we've been having a fair few of those 'magic moments' while playing live, rather than in the rehearsal room," says Barnaby. "It'd be great to bring in some of that on the next record."

What's in a remix then?

The art of the remix originated in Jamaica, when reggae producers such as King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry started reworking their recordings for the B side of a single (known as a Version). Reworking the A side in strange and new ways, dropping out the vocal and adding effects and dubbing them out, hence the label 'dub'. Remixes developed further in the disco scene in New York in the '70s, and led on to some lame 'dub' remixes in the '80s from the likes of Human League and Flock of Seagulls.

Remixes have developed into a major marketing tool for the music industry, lending songs a previously unheard-of credibility from the purchase price of a big-name remixer and their 'sound'. Take the example of U2 and their oh-so-ironic 'Zooropa' phase, with their achingly hip remixes from the likes of Paul Oakenfold and David Morales, giving the band nightclub cred where previously the only time you heard U2 in a club was on Retro night.

But beyond the dollar signs are the creative possibilities offered by a remix. Opening up your song to reinterpretation by another musician can push your own music in new and unusual directions. It requires a fair degree of trust that your music will be treated sympathetically. Wanna get remixing?

Paddy Free
plays keyboards in renowned electronica dub-freak duo Pitch Black. He is also a dab hand in the studio, having produced numerous remixes for a variety of local acts including Stellar*, Supergroove and Salmonella Dub. He also held down the producer's seat on the latter outfit's highly acclaimed album 'Inside the Dub Plates'. He has done three or four remixes with Pitch Black musical partner Mike Hodgson. Paddy says how he starts work on a remix depends on a few key elements.

"Sometimes it's a remix with a target like radio play, and sometimes I'm given free rein, or it's simply for a different mix on a B side. If they're after radio play, I like to think of myself as like a tour guide, going along highlighting the main features. It's short attention span theatre, you just keep putting new things in front of the listener to hold their attention. But if it's an open brief, I'll approach it more from a sonic point of view."

The gear needed to do a remix is much easier to work with these days than when Paddy started out down the studio path. He recalls one of the first remixes he ever did, for Supergroove. "I had a sampler that only had eight meg of memory, and the vocals took up 30 meg, so I had to keep loading them up, then dumping them to tape, so I didn't hear the remix til I'd finished it!"

"Nowadays that's all much easier. As far as gear to do a remix, you can do it all inside a reasonably well set up audio computer with Pro Tools, Logic Audio or Cubase. Remixes are really suited to that desktop audio production setup." He notes that there's often a different head space when doing a remix for friends as opposed to a straight out commissioned work. "With your mates, you've seen them live, and so on. With Salmonella Dub, I've done about half a dozen radio edits and remixes for them, which is because I've got that poppy mindset that they need for that."1

Sunday, May 29, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, May 29

Replays on Friday 2-4pm NZT. Stream it here online

Electric wire hustle - Gimme that kinda
Unitone Hifi - Hang on - Kinky electric noise remix
Ras Stone meets the Dub Terminator - Love you so much
Salmonella dub - Platetechtonics
The Yoots - Tutira mai
Stinky Jim - Triple agent
Myele Manzanza - Me I know him
Lewis McCallum - New someone
Lord Jackson - Chillem inst
Christoph El Truento - Talons
Kora - Politician
Kevvy Kev - Tribute
Dub connection - Mike quality
Pitch black - Flex
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Mkl vs Soy Sos remix
Nuvonesia - Mr Mumra
Bic Runga - Something good - Submariner remix feat the Feelstyle
Riki Gooch - Bakade varor
Mighty Asterix -Sweetest girl
Jefferson Belt - Skylurking
Loudhaler - Nylon
Dr Tree - Eugino D