Monday, October 24, 2011

Homebrew defend NZ

Homebrew Crew - God Defend NZ remix from Augusto on Vimeo.

Homebrew take on our National Song for David Farrier's journey into the history of New Zealands National Anthem, God Defend NZ. Screened on TV3 Saturday 22nd Oct at the matinee time of 2.30pm.

and Streetchant...

Street Chant - God Defend NZ Cover from Augusto on Vimeo.

RIP Edmundo Ros

"The seductively orchestrated Latin-pop songs that set British feet tapping in the 1940s and 50s made the Trinidad-born bandleader Edmundo Ros a household name. But beside such musical success, Ros, who has died aged 100, made a remarkable reinvention of his life: the mixed-race "outsider" successfully challenged the British class system, to become, as he put it, "a respected gentleman".

When he went to London in June 1937 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, he felt racially categorised by being sent to lodgings for colonial students. A tall, strikingly handsome man, he was determined to crash through such restrictions. Within five years, he had deployed his talents, charisma and charm to good enough effect to find himself performing for the future Queen of England – and was himself developing a cut-glass accent." 
Read in full: Edmundo Ros obituary, The Guardian

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Che Fu and Tigi Ness on TV

Che Fu and his father Tigi Ness feature on Maori TV tonight, at 830pm. It's a documentary called Sons Afar, about Che and Tigi travelling to Tigi's homeland, Niue. While they're there, they put on a performance for the locals at the Niue Arts and Cultural Festival.

Che and Tigi have rarely played together  -their most recent joint outing was at the Christchurch Arts Festival. Nick Bollinger wrote about that in The Listener back in September, read it here.

Excerpt... "father and son have also teamed up for occasional family events and festivals, including this week at the Christchurch Arts Festival.

The most significant of their collaborations was in April when they headlined at the second Niue Arts and Cultural Festival. It was the first time either had been to the island. “I’d been talking for years about taking my son to Niue,” says Tigi. “And then he goes, ‘Dad, I’ll take you to Niue!’”

With a sound and lighting rig shipped from New Zealand, Che’s crew provided the technical support for the week-long event, which included films, exhibitions, dance and workshops as well as music.

For Che, seeing his grandparents’ village helped him appreciate their courage. “There’s less than a hundred people. Coming from there, Auckland must have been like an alien world.”

For Tigi, returning to the home he had never seen made him think about today’s immigrants. “Look at people coming to New Zealand from the Middle East, or wherever. You don’t know what the law of the land is. It’s so far away. You’re going to the bottom of the world.”

The music Che and Tigi performed there mixed the influences they have picked up on their respective journeys, from rock to reggae to rap. Che says: “To me, music is a language, a way to communicate stuff, but the stuff is me. I use all these different mixes, but the stories are mine.”

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 22

Noel Pointer - Living for the city
Candi Staton - When you wake up tomorrow
House party - Dangerous love
Mr Chop - Giving up food for funk
Cochema Gastelum - Dark city
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix
King Tubby - Bag a wire -Avatars of dub remix
Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind
Lester Sterling - Afrikaan beat
Nardo Ranks - Burrup
Lightning head - Bokoor sound special
Joe Cuba sextet - Sock it to me
Mo kolours - Biddies
Mr Chop - Greedy G
Mophono's halftone society - Sinicism - Natural self remix
David and Reuben - I love her so much it hurts me
Esther Phillips - Catch me I'm falling
Ella Fitzgerald - Get ready
Fitz and the tantrums - Money grabber
Soul providers feat Sharon Jones - Switchblade
Dusty - An exotic breed  - Umberto Echo's dub
Jackie Mittoo and Brentford rockers - Sidewalk doctor
Karl Bryan and the afrokats - Money generator
Clarence Thompson and the organisation - Express yourself
Wilson Pickett - Get me back on time - Danny Massure edit
King Errison - The magic man
Lord Echo - Long time no see
Gwen Guthrie - Aint nothin' goin' on but the rent  -club mix
Mayer Hawthorne - Dreaming

Friday, October 21, 2011

Akld Record Fair tomorrow

Auckland Record Fair at Freeman's Bay Community Hall, 10am - 3pm
General admission: $4.00

"We had a fantastic turnout at our last Record Fair in March and we hope you enjoyed it as much as Klaus, Jonathan and Peter enjoyed putting it on! The next Record Fair will be held in the Freemans Bay Community Hall on the 22nd October 2011 and we look forward to seeing you and your friends there.

As always there will be a full vintage system playing vinyl, plenty of stalls and an exhibition tables dedicated to helping you clean and care for your vinyl collection using the fantastic Knosti disco-antistat record cleaning kit.

The fair will be open to the public from 10am to 3pm. Please remember entry is payable by cash only.

In terms of keeping you informed we are making some exciting changes! The Record Fair Newsletter will now be sent from our new platform at We will also start posting updates regarding the Record Fair on Facebook."

Neil Young goes to Soulsville

Was listening to Charles Bradley and the Menahan St Band on repeat yesterday (love their album), and came across this track...

The Budos Band, live from earlier this year, joined onstage by Mr Bradley, who proceeds to dance up a storm, then brings the band to a dead stop and takes off for Soulsville with Mr Neil Young's song Heart of gold.

There's also a recorded version of this available too, on vinyl/digital.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beats in our backyard - Ghana

New project from Nick D (Making Tracks)... check it out.

from beats in our backyard ghana

"Yaw Boetang is from Accra - the capital city of Ghana. I visited Ghana last year and met with Yaw over there and i've got to say it's one of the craziest places I've ever been.

Ghana is a former British colony in West Africa and it has a reputation for some of the greatest music in all of the continent. Yaw, who was a teacher back in Ghana came out to New Zealand to further his studies and once he arrived he noticed a lack in the music of his homeland, so almost immediately made it his mission to take the sounds of Afro-beat to New Zealand with his band Zoh-Zoh. 

Yaw is one of the most unique people i've ever met, he's got a charm and a warmth like no other and seeing him perform onstage is like nothing else. He's a true showman

About Beats In Our Backyard with Nick Dwyer

Beats In Our Backyard is an exploration of New Zealand's multi-culture through music. All my life I've been all consumed with the discovery of new music and over the last ten years I've been traveling the world in search of new and exotic sounds from all around the globe - especially in the last 4 years with a TV series I present and direct called 'Making Tracks'. 

Last year I was given the opportunity to host at the Auckland Cultural Festival and it was really then that I realised the extent of our ethnic diversity. From Burundi and Somalia in Africa to Mongolia and Nepal in Asia to nearly every Caribbean island nation - New Zealand is home to over 150 different nations - each of these people has an extraordinary story to tell, and for alot of them the best way to do that is through their music, which they are all incredibly proud of. 

The idea behind Beats In Our Backyard is to shine the spotlight on these communities and their music, and hopefully as a by-product you'll learn a little bit more about your relatively new neighbours along the way."

Watch the bonus features in this series: Yaws Human Percussion, Yaws Balls and Singing, Pidgin Lesson (below)

Smart Network has a range of contributors, 14 in all - only two women tho. Project is from Telecom NZ.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Picassos video!

About a year ago, I was digging round in my archives/boxes of random stuff looking for some old Picassos press clippings, when I discovered a box of super 8 film labelled "Picassos - Powerstation". Thought to myself, "Cool, some footage I can use to make a new video for the reissue." I filed the film away carefully..  fast forward to August 2011.

I decide to dig out the roll of super 8 film and digitise it, ready for editing. Can I find it? No. Searched all my boxes, twice. Still couldn't find it. Searched them a third time. Found it. I remembered only one roll of film tho  - when I eventually relocated where I'd carefully stashed it, there was three rolls. Score. Two colour, one black and white roll. Some of the footage originally appeared in the video for Rewind, back in 94, so I'm guessing it was shot by Clinton Phillips.

So, with the generous assistance of video editor Justin Redding (thank you!), here's a suitably grimy clip for the noisy punk blast of God gave us Boom Boom Washington. Enjoy, and please share it round.

Oh, and the tracklisting for the reissue is up over at Picassocore. Go have a look.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mr Chop

Mr Chop dropped a very tasty album a while back of instrumental covers based on the production work of hiphop producer Pete Rock -  called For Pete's Sake. Free download of his version of TROY here.

His latest effort came out recently, and is called Switched On. It's inspired by famous Moog albums by the likes of Dick Hyman. There's a killer version of Studio One reggae jam Greedy G in there too [listen below], amongst the funky JBs/Can covers. This is a delightfully twisted album full of dirty drums and squelchy synths.

From Now Again Records site: "We’re pleased to present – in association with Five Day Weekend – Mr. Chops’s Switched On over the course of a 9” single and a 2×10” LP. By now you know all about the man – but, in case you need a primer: Chop is a producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist and the proprietor of Cheshire, UK based Ape Recording Studios, one of the finest analog studios in the world…. and a repository for vintage synthesisers, guitars, drums and gear sourced from the world over.

Thus, Switched On is a natural album: Chop’s homage to the great Moog-lead albums that proliferated in the wake of the synthesizer’s invention in the late 60s and early 70s. Unlike those records – like Dick Hyman’s Age of Electronicus, which contained one great synth-funk track [listen] amidst a series of soft pop hits – this album is all killer, and no filler. Mr. Chop tackles songs by the likes of Can, the JBs, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Smith via a still-futuristic blend of heavy drums by The Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto and his own fuzzy guitars and cosmic keys."

LP and CD presented in a thick cardboard “tip-on” sleeve. Colored-vinyl 9” presented in a clear, heavy vinyl jacket." Listen/buy it here.

Free download of Mr Chop - Happy Birthday here.

01. Hung-Up
02. Root Down (& Get It)
03. Breakthrough
04. Givin’ Up Food For Funk
05. Blow Your Head
06. Deep Gully
07. Greedy G
08. Happy Birthday
09. Vitamin C
10. Cortex

UB40 declared bankrupt

Via Prefix mag: A British judge has declared reggae outfit UB40 bankrupt in a Birmingham County Court, according to reports fromNME. The court order apparently lasts for 12 months and means that officials could potentially seize property to make up for the band's debts. This news comes after the group already saw their record label and management company fail in the past few years.

As UB40 fans likely know, the order only applies to four of the group's members as former frontman Ali Campbell quit the band in 2008 over a financial dispute. Looks like he made the right move. He said the following in a statement regarding his former band's woes: "This is the very reason why I left the band. This was my biggest fear when I was with them, that bankruptcy was going to happen and no one can say I didn't warn them."

In 2008 Ali told NME that “References to Ali Campbell leaving UB40 to pursue a solo career are erroneous and misleading,” [he] said in a statement. “Ali Campbell has been requesting financial and other information from the business managers of UB40 for a number of years through appointed representatives and now through Hextalls.

"There has been a complete failure to supply any adequate financial information, causingAli Campbell to question why it is being withheld particularly when so much time has passed. It is this failure that has led to the breakdown between Ali Campbell and the business managers of UB40 and ultimately to Ali Campbell’s departure.”

Ali Campbell is headlining next year's Raggamuffin Festival, which has cancelled its Australian leg, but will go ahead in NZ.

Previous posts: Raggamuffin cancels Aust shows, Raggamuffin rumblings, Herbs vs Raggamuffin

Monday, October 17, 2011

pon da re-edit

Found this chap via Morgan, cheers fella. Ladies and gents, Danny Massure of Los Angeles, and his many fine re-edits.

Booker T. & The MG's - Hip Hug-Her (Danny Massure Edit) new DL link by Danny Massure

 The Budos Band - Aynotchesh Yererfu (Danny Massure edit) by Danny Massure

Billy Preston - Outta-Space (Danny Massure Edit) by Danny Massure

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (Danny Massure edit) by Danny Massure

Joe Bataan- Chick-a-Boom (Danny Massure edit) by Danny Massure

okay just one more.. hiphop vocals from Naughty By Nature over a reggae beat from Tommy McCook...

Heatwave Jamboree (Naughty by Nature & Tommy McCook) new DL link by Danny Massure

Born scrappy

Labour announced their ICT policy today (it leaked yesterday, via Whaleoil). Some of its ideas include expanding the role of NZ On Screen, and reviewing the Copyright Act and scrappng the provision that allows the introduction of internet account suspension as a penalty. More here.

"Labour would investigate making New Zealand music, TV shows and music available on an online platform funded through a small copyright levy on internet access, if it forms the next government ... The party has released its information and communications technology policy ahead of the election next month.

Key points include combining the regulation of telecommunications and broadcasting – with potential ramifications for SkyTV – a greater emphasis on open source software in government and more resources for developing IT skills and for schemes to take technology to lower socio-economic areas.

Technology and communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said it would consider expanding the online film and TV archive NZ On Screen to become a platform for accessing New Zealand-made content such as movies, TV shows and music. Consumers could pay a small copyright levy on internet access, which would provide funds for the digital platform and for content creators.

"The idea needs more work, but in the absence of a mechanism to aggregate New Zealand content that seems like a good place to start," she said.

Most of the commenters on that story seem resistant to the idea of an internet tax, funnily enough.

Noel Pointer, Livin for the city

Back in the 70s there was several fruity cats in the jazz flute world who liked taking their shirts off on their album covers, see Grover Washington Jr or Herbie Mann. Today I discovered a new variation on that, while digging in Real Groovy - jazz violinists who also follow suit. See above cover.

This fellow is Noel Pointer, from his debut album, Phantazia, released on Blue Note in 1977. According to the liner notes, Pointer was born and raised in Brooklyn NY, and started playing violin in the fourth grade. He made his solo debut performing Vivaldi with the Symphony of the New World Orchestra at 13 years old (source), followed by guest solo appearances with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Killer jam is Pointer's version of Livin for the city. Listen below.

Dusty Grooves describe the album as "Sweet electric fusion from violinist Noel Pointer – a player so great, you'll forget that he's using an instrument you normally associate with sleepier music! Like others of the 70s generation, Pointer plays the violin in a way that's clearly heavily influenced by keyboards of the time – electric in amplification, and worked in a mode that uses the instrument to create waves of sound that flow out amongst the tighter fusion rhythms of the set. Dave Grusin arranged and produced the set – in his best lean soulful mode of the time – and other players include Earl Klugh, Ralph MacDonald, Steve Gadd, and Grusin himself. Titles include "Mirabella", "Night Song", "Living For The City", "Phantazia", and "Wafaring Stranger".

Pointer played in concert with everyone from the Jacksons, Barry White, to Sammy Davis Jr and  Thelonius Monk. He recorded on sessions for the likes of the Jones Girls, Patrice Rushen, Norman Connors and many more.

He died of a stroke in 1994, a few days short of his 40th birthday. The Noel Pointer Foundation was established in 1995 in his memory, providing scholarships for aspiring violinists.

From the album Direct Hit, from 1981... cool disco funk jam...

Youtube playlist for Noel Pointer (28 tunes)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 15

Sunlightsquare combo - I believe in miracles
Myron and E with the Soul Investigators - Cold game
Colman bros - She who dares - lounge mix
Bacao rhythm and steel band - Ease back
SOS band - Take your time (Do it right)
Dr rubberfunk's fantasy band - Rubberfunk
Isley Bros - That lady pt 2
Will Tang - Your love bites - Andy Votel remix
The Clash - Rockers galore... UK tour
Turbulence - Notorious
Stephen Marley - Traffic jam
Tanya Stephens -It's a pity
Superbeagle  -Dust a soundboy
Yami Bolo - When a man's in love
Perfect - Handcart boy
Tenor fly - Mind weh yu seh
Anna mystic vs Mishkin - 
Jurassic 5 - Unified rebelution - Soul food remix by Upstate
Beverly rd allstars - Murder she wrote
Scrappy - Off the lead
African head charge - Release the doctor
Mungo's hifi feat Kenny Knots - Rock inna dancehall
Jah Wobble - Get Carter
Belleruche - Drum at dusk
ESG - Dance
Frente cumbiero - Pitchito
Guy Pederson - Indian pop bass
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - What if we all stopped paying taxes?
Billy TK - Move on up pt 1
Pete Rodriguez - Pete's boogaloo

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh boy!

Just got a copy of the Picassos reissue, damn it looks good! Check out the cover, below. Out October 31, more info at Picassocore.

Everything fades

[I wrote this a few months back, just dug it out...] Over at Deleting Music, Andrew Dubber has posted about a piece from The Vine on an Australian record label that has been operating sicnce 2005, painstakingly restoring and reissuing out-of-print albums...

"... Gil Matthews is probably best known as the drummer for Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, but he has also built a solid business giving many classic Australian albums new life on CD. Since 2005 the label Aztec Music has released about 60 titles, each with high-quality packaging and a 28-page booklet, creating a business with a yearly turnover of about $250,000. ”There are an incredible number of titles we could release if we had the time,” says Matthews. ”If we had a catalogue of 300 titles, this would be close to a million-dollar business.”

Each release is a painstaking process, requiring Matthews to go back to the ageing master tapes — or even vinyl if tapes are unavailable — and restore them for the digital format. ”Sometimes it can take 40 hours alone to remove all the clicks and pops from the original source — it’s almost a labour of love,” says Matthews.

There's a huge amount of music that is out of circulation and will never, ever get reissued. That's why I still go digging for records, because there is always good music to be found on vinyl that will never turn up on iTunes in a million years.

Supersoulsisters is a blog started by Nosi, a music fan to share some singers he loves. He's digitising his vinyl, photographing the covers and researching the history behind these singers to share. He ran this blog from Feb to Dec 2009 before shuttering it.

Take this post on Della Reese and her album Black Is Beautiful from 1969. He gives some background, talks about the album, and who should pop up in the comments but Della Reese! Is she mad that he's giving away her music for free? No, she's glad someone remembers her and cares enough to write about her music.

There are a wealth of music fans who are digitising their old vinyl, photographing the covers (front and back, plus inner sleeves and labels) and uploading them to the internet via blogs. Clearly, they don't have the legal rights to do this, obviously. But the labels that do own the rights, if they still exist, mostly have no interest in reissuing them. There's no financial reason for them to do so. They do of course still own the rights to that recording.

An exception would be say Warners, who have done some good work with their extensive archive (or at least allowed some clever folk at Rhino access to their vaults), like the Rhino 5 CD boxsets (got the Charles Wright boxset? It's awesome, only $20) or the exquisitely packaged What It Is box set. But it's really only scratching the surface.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Onra - Chinoiseries Pt.2

Onra returns with Chinoiseries Part Two (pout Nov 15). I'm guessing you're familiar with the first installment of this incredibly funky trawl thru Asia. If not, I urge you to check it out (sample below).

ADDED: Just saw via Conch that Onra is playing live in Auckland at Khuja Lounge, 11 November, with locals Julien Dyne, and Funkommunity in support.

From Stink Inc: "The Vietnamese-French producer and DJ caught my eye with his 'Chinoiseries' album, earlier this year [2008]. For starters it looked the part, and the briefest of spins on the decks confirmed it was something a little special. Comprised of 32 beat vignettes, most barely troubling the two minute mark, it's a response to a visit back to the land of his grandparents where he picked up a bundle of comfortingly scratchy Vietnamese/Oriental vinyl... There's a whole other fandangle with Coke and the Olympics to do with [The Anthem], which you can read about at the excellent Pinglewood blog..."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gil Scott Heron + Wu-Tang = The Gil Scott Heron [EP]

Via Potholes in my blog, cool three-song EP. Wu Tang acapellas over Gil's music. Sweet as, bro.

Gil's Pinky Ring (pt.1) by DJ 2-Tone Jones

Download: DJ 2-Tone Jones – The Gil Scott Suite [Mediafire]

Black Joe Lewis, live in AK

These cats look kinda fun, give em a listen...

"Black Joe Lewis was the Friday highlight. They were probably booked off their live rep, and the astonishing spectacle of the slight Joe screaming curse words like a modern day Howlin’ Wolf was a sight to behold. With a swaying Honey Bears horn section (swaying!) and a tinny, but still brutal, double-guitar attack, any "modern-day pastiche" fears were put to rest with the call-and-response on ‘It’s Alright’ getting louder as it went on. A raucous ‘Booty City’ (see above) followed, featuring the band screaming together into the one mic as Black Joe stretched his wail to breaking point — they were that good." The Vine

"Hard hitting, funking, raw soul with swagger that will leave you sticky and dirty ....
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears bring their sonic soul review to the Powerstation on Wednesday 7th December.

With two rock-solid albums – Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is and Scandalous under their belts , Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears are set to get you rocking!

Having toured with the likes of the New York Dolls, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm and drawing influence from Elmore James, Howling Wolf and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Black Joe Lewis delivers a sonic assault of dirty blues, rock and soul delivered with his inimitable bite, backed the grit and raunch of the Honeybears - it’s a trip baby and not for the faint hearted!"

With Tyra Hammond & The Bluebirds - Powerstation , Wednesday 7th December 2011
Tickets available 11th October from Ticketmaster, more information –

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry

The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry, doco released in theatres March this year. Wonder when it will get there?

Watch: Deleted scene: "Lee Scratch Perry teaches children how to sing "Walking in the Jungle" in the burned out remnants of his Black Ark Studio, circa 1980. Deleted scene from The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry." The song also contains extensive swearing. Funny old Lee Perry.

Also on the way, On U Sound release Lee 'Scratch' Perry's Nu Sound & Version, a set of remixed and reinterpreted classic tracks from Perry. It features versions by Kode9, Digital Mystikz, Bullion, Congo Natty and more - out Nov 7.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

MdCL live jam

Mark de Clive Lowe and Sy Smith playing live at The Shrine in Chicago - on the fly live production and performance of their collaboration 'TRUTH'.

Alos, check out MdCL's Church Vol 3 Mixtape. Nearly an hour’s worth of tracks from cats like Sonny Rollins, Ahmad Jamal, and Sun Ra...

MdCL presents Church vol.3 mixtape by mashibeats

Quantic vs J-Rocc mix

Best Of Quantic Mix by J.Rocc by Tru Thoughts

This mix by J.Rocc is a taster for The Best Of Quantic album (collected from twelve albums over ten years). It is out now on double CD/vinyl/digital thru TruThoughts. Hat tip to Voices of East Anglia blog, track listing over there too.

BONUS: interview with Will 'Quantic'Holland over at Revivalist.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tourettes: vandalism 101, an educational video

Way back in May 2010, Real Groove wrote a major piece on the state on NZ On Air music funding. One of the artists who was very vocal in their criticism of NZ On Air was Tourettes (see this transcript). He had dealt with numerous funding rejections (going back to 2001), and was so fed up, he had decided to up sticks and move to Oz to further his career.

Fast forward to 2011, and Tourettes has got a record deal - with a NZ label, and has moved back here. And wonders of wonders, the revamped NZOA funding scheme now has room to accommodate his talents. Its a topsy turvy world.

So what does Tourettes do with our tax dollars? Makes a video where he give a bunch of kids hammers and baseball bats, dresses them up as thugs, and teaches them how to trash a car. Genius. Give this man more money right now, NZOA.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 8 this tune!

Mr Vegas - Lean wid it, Heads high
Resonators - Gold dub
Barrington Levy - It's not easy
In crowd - Mango walk
Jay boys - I can't get next to you
Betty Harris - Mean man
Wendy Rene - BBQ
Dixie cups - Iko iko
Mary Wells - Keep me in suspense
Sisters love - Now is the time
Ann Peebles - If this is heaven
Dennis Edwards - Dont look any further
 Bronx river parkway - Nora se va
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Liquid liquid - Optimo
Ikebe shakedown - Tujunga
Candi Staton - When you wake up tomorrow
Steel image - Shango
Tokyo ska paradise orchestra - The 'Big Man' still standing - Winston Hazel and Marc Woolford remix
Dub asylum - What the funk feat Sandy Mill - dirty mix
Grace Jones - Love you to life dub
45nm - Biscuits
Dubblestandart - Terrarists and inhalers - Keith le Blanc remix
Improvisators dub meets iration steppas - Youth man
Cochemea Gastelum - Carlito
King Errisson - Back from the dead
Scratch 22 - Nothing to lose
Mr Scruff - Champion nibble

Friday, October 07, 2011

R.I.P Charles Napier

Charles Napier appeared in numerous films and tv shows, from his favourite role as a judge in Philadelphia (Tom Hanks), to frontman for the country band the Good Ole Boys in The Blues Brothers, Rambo, Silence of the Lambs, Rockford Files, Star Trek, Curb Your Enthusiasm and others (see the clip below). Napier was 75.

NPR noted that "He also made several films for schlock director Russ Meyer, including "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," "Supervixens" and "Cherry, Harry and Raquel." He said the latter provided him his most embarrassing Hollywood moment, when Meyer had him run toward the cameras wearing nothing but a hat and boots." If you've ever seen any of Meyer's films, they are downright hilarous sex romps. Napier's character generally are tough, mean bastards, who get plenty of sex. See the trailer for Russ Meyer's Cherry, Harry and Raquel (NSFW, contains nudity). Napier plays a cop fighting marijuana drug runners across the Mexican border. Nuts.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Waititi meets Wu-tang

Taika Waititi directs promo for new Method Man song. Wow. More info here.

King Errisson

Legendary Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey is featured in a recent issue of Wax Poetics magazine,(#47, EWF) talking about some of the recordings he worked on over the years, including releases for Rare Earth, Edwin Starr, Wilson Pickett, The Parliaments, and Rodriguez (the fantastic Cold Fact album, reissued by Light In The Attic).

One record Coffey talks about caught my eye. The Magic Man by King Errisson came out on Westbound in 1976. Coffey says that Errisson "got discovered because he was in one of those James Bond movies [Thunderball]... playing the congas, and that is what led to his eventually getting a deal with  Westbound."

Coffey recorded the album with Errisson in Detroit and LA; his approach to the record was "we built it around King Errisson, so we put the conga at the centre of it. However, what I think really took it up a level was that we had Robert Greenidge on the steel drum. We also had a lot of weird percussion instruments from Asia that we used on that record, so that helped give it a unique feel."

Coffey says that since that record, Errisson went on to be Neil Diamond's percussionist for many years. I managed to track down a copy of the record, it's a marvellously funky collection, with the added bonus of steel drum. Imagine one of Dennis Coffey's groove-ridden jams with steel drums and you're on the way.  Digging it a lot.

2006 interview with King Errisson: He stands behind the star and is proud of it (USA Today)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


So, turns out The Black Seeds were actually a band of US soldiers stationed in bases across Western Germany, who eventually found Jah and moved to Wellington and played reggae (kidding)...

"Now-Again Records is proud to present Hell Below: faithful reissues of the three albums released by the winners of the US Army’s First and Second Annual Original Magnificent Special Services Entertainment Showband Contests. Packaged as LP and CD box sets, Hell Below presents nearly two hours of heavy funk and soul music played by United States Army soldiers enlisted during the politically turbulent early 1970s.

East of Underground, SOAP The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek were bands comprised of soldiers stationed in bases across Western Germany during the height of the Vietnam War. While little is known about the bands, the players, and the milieu they came from - other than what can be pieced together from a handful of photos and documents found in a box in the New York Public Library, and the vague recollections of some of those involved – we at Now-Again Records have worked diligently with the United States Army and researchers the country over to present this important document, and some damn good music to boot.

Each of the two double-billed albums contained in this box set is presented as an exact reproduction of the original United States Army issue. The extensive, full-color booklet features essays, annotation and a collection of Army ephemera from the creation of these albums. Also included is a full-color, exact reproduction of East Of Underground’s 1971 tour poster."


Aloe's green light

Aloe Blacc | Green Lights | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

In which Mister Aloe Blacc croons his way thru his song Green Lights for La Blogotheque's Take Away Show. Shot at MichelBerger Hotel in Berlin, during MMM Festival, August 2011

Aloe Blacc returns to New Zealand for a series of shows alongside John Butler Trio next February. Local support is Annabel Fay.

Picasso core

The remastering for the Hallelujah Picassos retrospective is finished, cover art done, it's all go!

We've set up a website for the release, with a bunch of old photos, a discography, and so on. Go have a look.

I posted up some old tunes today, our cover of Head Like  A Hole's song Air, and their Picassos covers. The idea to cover each other's songs came about as we did some live shows together in 1994. Read more over at Picassocore.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Boogie woogie bugle boy part two

Dalvanius Prime, The boogie woogie bugle boy of Patea
By Murray Cammick, Real Groove magazine, December 2001... continued. (part one here)

"Back in New Zealand, Dalvanius started to have an impact as a record producer. In 1982, 'E Ipo' by Prince Tui Teka reached No.1 on the sales charts and another 1982 Dalvanius production, 'Maoris On 45', by the Consorts, made it to No.3 on the single chart. Dalvanius put 'Maoris On 45' together for a fee.

''When our parents had parties at home we would bring out the ukulele and sing our Maori medley. We put together our medley of songs we did as kids. I was asked whether I was going to put my name on it and I said 'fuck off'. When it got to No.3 I nearly dropped dead.”

To release his next project, Dalvanius started his own label, Maui. To Rip It Up he spoke of his envisaging a ''Maori Motown''. A collaboration with Ngoi Pewhairangi, started in 1982. Ben Pewhairangi recalls: ''In 1982, Maui Dalvanius Prime walked into my home in Tokomaru Bay. On that day l knew our lives would never be the same. I watched my late wife Ngoi; once again she was the tutor, her student wide-eyed and eager to learn about Maoritanga. I recall their days and nights together, Kaiako [teacherl and Tauira [student] immersed in their work, oblivious to the existence of anyone.”

Their collaboration lead to the No 1 song 'Poi E' In 1984, by the Patea Maori Club.

“I have worked with people who had a command of the old language that was dying. Working with Ngoi Pewhairangi was such a blessing. She'd write words as I sang her the melody lanes. With 'Poi E' I wasn't going to compromise with an English version. If the beat doesn't sell it, nothing will.”

Poi E went on to gain praise as Single of the Week in UK music magazine NME, and the touring - Patea Maori Club played New York's Irving Plaza with the Violent Femmes.

Ngoi and Dalvanius

With your embracing of Maori language did people see you as a Johnny-come-lately? “Of course. Better to come late than not at all. Particularly from my own brothers as they were deeply immersed in the Maori culture. They were singing at the National Maori Culture Competitions but my audience is bigger.''

Did your upbringing as a child educate you about Maori culture? ''Every weekend we went to the Pa. I wasn't interested. I didn't want to be in the haka. I was into doo-wop groups and Phil Spector. At school we weren't allowed to speak the Maori language. 'We won't have that language here, thank you very much.' In the 50s Patea was such a redneck town.''

Dalvanius gained some allies in the music industry for his Maui label. “Hugh Lynn gave us his Mascot Studio for below mate's rates. Something like $15 an hour. I still made sure Patea Maori Club were totally rehearsed. Hugh was great. Maui would not have got off the ground without him. Tim Murdoch at Warner Music was great. What I loved about Warners was Patea Maori Club always got their royalties on time and to this day they always do. Their promotion team was always behind us.''

Why is there no Maori Motown? "What's the use of having a Maori Motown when you haven't got the vehicle by which it's going to be played, which is Iwi radio.”

Dalvanius claims Iwi radio is not making the contribution it should to Maori music. "Maoridom lives in this incredible luxury of having Maori radio funded by a state agency, yet they don't bloody play our shit. It's not happening because too many of these Maori programmers are all little cloney black Americans.

“A perfect example was when I went to the APRA Silver Scroll Awards. I was really pissed off when I drove through New Plymouth and I had the radio on and our local Iwi station, in one hour, played one Maori language record and two Kiwi artists. The function of Iwi radio was, one, to promote Maori artists and two, was to promote the Maori language. For me, Iwi radio stations are dysfunctional.

"I did these radical recommendations for the Arts Council and for NZ On Air. If you play 20 percent Maori content or Maori artists you get 20 percent funded. If you play 80 percent then you should be 80 percent funded, right? The biggest problem that Maori artists face is that they have to sing in the Maori language to get funded by Te Mangai Paho, and few Maori artists get funded by NZ On Air. 

"I think that the New Zealand Music Commission should have funding for music productions. The Government should allocate funds to the commission, as you only get funding from both NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho if you have a broadcaster. I think that is unfair.”

To support that idea, Dalvanius names artists who you don't hear on the radio, such as Mahinarangi Tocker or the Topp Twins, ''whose records sell''. Dalvanius regrets that high profile Maori artists miss out on funding.

'Te Mangai Paho, which is the funding agency, it's the Maori version of the tall poppy syndrome. You have Te Mangai Paho giving out grants of $30,000 to do an album. The acts do great, incredible albums in regards to Maori language, yet Iwi stations won't necessarily program them.''

Why did you start up the Maori & Pacific Island Recording Industry Association of New Zealand? "We formed the Association so that Maori cottage industry could have a voice. We've been doing huis for the last two years. The Maori music industry is hard to coordinate, we're all fighting for the same dollar.''

Dalvanius is keen to see further collaborations between Maori and Pacific island musicians, and is a big fan of Urban Pasifika Records boss Phil Fuemana.

"Phil's stuff is brilliant. Fuemana is the greatest indigenous record producer this country has. Herbs have only scraped the surface of the fusion of Pacific Island and Maori music."

Referring to Hawaiiki, from where his Maori ancestors migrated, Dalvanius quips, ''Last time I looked it was in the middle of a bunch of coconut trees''.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Zoo Music canned

Last Friday I heard via promoter acquaintance that Auckland Zoo's annual Zoo Music concerts had been canned. I asked Auckland Council via Twitter, who referred me to Auckland Zoo to see if this was true and why. They replied this afternoon, telling me it was true, but failed to say why.

The folks at Amplifier jumped in (on Friday), telling me via Twitter "Just spoke to the Marketing and Comms Manager for Akl Zoo and yes, Zoo Music won't be happening this year.... that it was a saturated market and that they'd left it too late to do anything to revamp it this year. Hence a next year return."

The other report I heard on why Zoo Music was canned for 2012 was that it had proved unpopular with respondents in a recent Council survey on events. Never mind that this event had attracted big crowds for the last eight years. I also heard that they had changed event management for the event, and the new company in charge had managed to run the event at a huge loss this year.

Still waiting for official comment from Auckland Zoo.

ADDED 458pm Monday 3 Oct: Auckland Zoo responds "After review, Zoo Music in its current form doesn't stack up in this financial environment, so we are investigating what else we can offer to our visitors over summer."

Further response from Auckland Zoo, via Twitter: "On the whole it's been successful, and we have been really proud of what we've achieved over the past 8 years with our supporting partners and artists. Now we are looking for new ways to provide innovative zoo experiences."

ADDED Tuesday 1.15pm 4 Oct: Here's 5 pages of feedback on the Ticketmaster site from ZooMusic concert goers, all raving about what a great event it is/was. If you want the event to be revived, let the Mayor know. His contact/email details are here.

ADDED Friday, 7 Oct: Auckland Now's Bridget Jones wrote a story on the cancellation of ZooMusic for 2012. She got a statement from the Zoo about it...

"For 2012 we have made the decision to focus our energy and resources on delivering other innovative Zoo events. However, we have not ruled out having Zoo Music as part of our events calendar in future years," a statement from the zoo said.

"While Zoo Music was initially part of the new-look events calendar, a number of factors have led to the decision not to hold a Zoo Music series in 2012."

The zoo cites a number of similar events in the Auckland events market, the availability of suitable artists and "the challenge in finding a mutually beneficial ticket price point for the Zoo and its visitors" as contributing to the decision.

The revolution will not be televised

A lot of folk have been going on about how the media are failing to give any serious coverage of the Occupy Wall St protests. Why? Dangerous Minds blog nailed it in one - go listen to Gil Scott Heron, cos he knew what was going on. As the late poet said, the revolution will not be televised - the revolution will be live. 

"So I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel about Occupy Wall Street and the media coverage (or non-coverage) of the demonstrations the last few days, when I found this clip and realised that one of the most brilliant poets of the last hundred years had already summed it up perfectly. Of course.

"I was gonna say that the oldstream media has been over for me since 2000, when I saw some peaceful protests badly misreported on TV and in the papers. I wanted to mention how my obsession with this summer’s “Murdochgate” sprang from a desire to see the established news channels I detest so much crumble, to lose all respect with their audience through their refusal to cover a story with such huge significance. I’ve been struggling to express how we don’t need validation through a mainstream that has always ignored us or deliberately misrepresented us, that people shouldn’t worry too much, the message is getting out there loud and clear.

But fuck it. Gil Scott Heron beat me to the punch (hard) thirty years ago.

This incredible recording of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (as a spoken monologue with no music and some ad libs) is from 1982. It was performed at the Black Wax Club in Washington DC, as part of a documentary film on Scott Heron called Black Wax. His voice is a thing of rich, easy-going beauty but his words are like dynamite. Yeah, the times and technology may have changed, but this is still so prescient and just so damn relevant it’s amazing..."


Boogie woogie bugle boy part one

Love train, from the compilation Waiata: Maori showbands, balladeers and pop stars, recently released by EMI NZ. Well tasty comp it is too. I recently came across this 2001 article from Murray Cammick, on the late Dalvanius Prime. Have scanned it and converted the text. It's a great read. Republished with author's permission.

Dalvanius Prime, The boogie woogie bugle boy of Patea
By Murray Cammick, Real Groove magazine, December 2001

Early 1976, at the seedy Great Northern Hotel, corner of Queen and Customs Streets, downtown Auckland, Dalvanius and the Fascinations were strutting their stuff disco style, like a downunder Labelle, playing an earthy mix of soul and dance hits like 'Respect yourself', 'Love Train', 'Lady Marmalade' and 'Shame Shame Shame'. Although they had singles released across the Tasman and won countless awards from the Australian Soul Appreciation Society, Dalvanius could not get his recordings released in his home country. At the time he was blunt when speaking to student magazine, Craccum.

“We're with a record company but their New Zealand branch is just a bunch of idiots. They've got a selection committee and they won't release our new single here and they've told us it's shit-house. They're literally sitting on it.”

Dalvanius grew up loving music and grows older loving music in Patea, In the 50s and 60s, he loved doo-wop, the Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Motown, Stax soul and country music. In the Craccum interview it was clear Dalvanius was enjoying recording soul music, but he showed some awareness of the cultural alternative. ''People say ‘you're just a rip-off of a Negro group', but to us that's like telling the Average White Band to pick up the bagpipes or having the audacity to tell Charlie Pride to sing 'Funky Chicken'.''

Always part prophet and part profit, Dalvanius was blunt about the bucks too. “I've been in this business about four and a half years, about four years of that making money ''.

And how did Dalvanius get that Dr John voodoo meets glam look back In 1976? Was it the feathers?

“I found a dead hawk on the road. I cut its wings off, dried them, but it still stunk to high heavens. On tour I used a whole bottle of Old Spice aftershave!''

Dalvanius Prime first got started in music arranging the 60s hit, 'Beat the Clock', for the Shevelles. After two years in Wellington as the Fascinations with his brother and sister, Dalvanius moved to Sydney, in 1970. When his 15 year old sister, Barletta, got an offer to join the Maori HiMarkeys show-band on a two year tour of bars in Vietnam, Dalvanius made Sydney's Kings Cross his home.

When Barletta returned, the first of many line-ups of Dalvanius with two female singers, often his sisters, took to the stage in 1973. Manager John Lamb soon had his R&B act working the clubs, doing recording session work (including Renee Geyer's first album), touring as backing singers and releasing two singles, 'Love Train' and 'Respect Yourself', on the Reprise label. The biggest break for Dalvanius and the Fascinations was working with Sherbet, the Australian pop group

''Sherbet manager Roger Davies saw us up the Cross and he went, '0h wow, way out. I've heard some of the bv's you do, do you want to do a Coke ad'?' And I say, 'anything for money!'. We did it and then he says, 'We've got this tour coming up.' We ended up becoming Sherbet's doo-wop group, their backing group for three years.”

Roger Davies, who went on to mastermind Tina Turner's solo career, scored Sherbet a No 4 UK hit with 'Howzat' and pioneered the arduous national rock tour with Dalvanius and the Fascinations in tow, opening the show and joining the headliners for a few songs.

''Sherbet's Clive Shakespeare and Kiwi keyboard player Garth Porter said, 'We want to record you guys doing your own single'. They listened to 'Voodoo Lady', they loved it and so we put it down with producer Richard Batchens. Then they said 'Listen, we've got this song that we want you to have a Listen to'. It was 'Washington We're Watching You' by the Staple Singers. Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam had just got sacked by the Governor General and then Garth said, 'Right, we're changing the song.' They called It 'Canberra We're Watching You'. They rewrote the lyrics, they localised it.”

''We did the 1975 Sherbet Life as For Living tour and [a] Countdown TV special. We'd go on stage and Sherbet would play 'Canberra We're Watching You', backing us. Then we did all the bv's for their entire set and then when it came to the Christmas show, we joined them for rocked-up versions of 'Santa Claus ls Coming to Town' and 'White Christmas'. Sherbet were doing the Sydney and Perth Entertainment centres and 50,000 at the Myer Music Bowl In Melbourne.”

On tour with Sherbet, Dalvanius got invited to the right parties. ''We'd meet people like Billy Thorpe, all the idols that I used to listen to down in Patea on the radio, when you'd listen to 2SM Sydney on the shortwave radio. I learnt all about APRA through Sherbet. I knew how much money you could make from recycling your songs. I have Roger Davies to thank for learning about the music industry.''

By the end of 1977, Dalvanius and the Fascinations were family, with younger sister Cissy joining her older siblings, and new manager Ian Riddington, making sure his local soul act were kept busy opening for the many USA artists he toured in concert or in cabaret, including the Pointer Sisters, Tina Turner and the Spinners.

While on tour in New Zealand in 1976, Dalvanius discovered Maori funk band, Collision, and took them on a nationwide tour, before getting them to move to Sydney where they worked live with Dalvanius and the Fascinations, and recorded one album for Festival Records, acclaimed as a rare funk classic on the bFM's last NZ Music Week. In 1977, the group released the 12,' single, 'Voodoo lady', and 'Checkmate on Love', both songs written by Dalvanius.

“When we brought 'Voodoo lady' out, Molly Meldrum [Countdown TV show] rung me up and he said, 'Dalvanius, what's this shit record you've got? How come it's the a-side? I think it's the worst record I've ever heard you do and you've had some bad ones'. I just went, 'Oh, thanks Molly'. And then he said, 'The other side's better than that, how come Festival haven't pushed that?' I thought I'd try it out on the Isaac Hayes and Dionne Warwick tour and it just killed them, so we threw 'Voodoo Lady' on the back burner and started featuring [re-titled live] 'Chessboard of love'."

The 1978 record company biography for the single, 'Ecstasy', describes Dalvanius as 'a culinary expert of some repute who once wanted to be a lion tamer, but now his ambition is to be a record producer'. By late 1979, the group had left Festival and Cissy Prime had departed due to illness.

PART TWO tomorrow... Dalvanius talks about Poi-e, Iwi radio, and Phil Fuemana. Read it here

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 1

Guts - And the living is easy
Black samuarai - Information critic
Sola rosa - Turn around - Suff daddy remix
Cochemea Gastelum - Dark city
Brass roots - Good life
Screaming meemees - Stars in my eyes
Snap - Sidewalk city
Little dragon - Ritual union
Vibes alive - Mantra
Conory Smith - Dangerous
Desmond Dekker - Israelites
Bush chemists - Realise dub
Roots radics - Babylon wrong
Macro dub - Who shot the sheriff?
Sweetie irie - Slim body girl
Garnett Silk - Tell me why
Lennie Hibbert - Real hot
King Errison - Conga man
Cochemea Gastelum - Arrow's theme
West st mob - break dance electric boogie
Grandmaster Flash and the furious five - The message
Sylvia - Pussycat
Krafty kuts - Come alive
Whitefield bros - Safari strut
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
Beat pharmacy - Drifter - dub mix

Friday, September 30, 2011


Orchestra of Spheres are: Baba Rossa - biscuit tin guitar, sexomouse marimba / E=M303 - electric carillon / Jemi Hemi Mandala - drumkit / Mos Iocos - keyboard, gamelan.

"Born out of Wellington’s Frederick Street Sound and Light Exploration Society in 2009, the Spheres have developed a cult-like following in New Zealand. Playing house parties, dance parties, DIY shows and opera houses, the Spheres have built a reputation for musically and visually ecstatic live shows..." 

They are off to play at All Tomorrows Parties at the end of the year, after Caribou saw them play at Campus A Low Hum and invited them along (Caribou are co-curating ATP). They're also playing a handful of European shows while they're up over. Exciting stuff!

"As well as ATP, we're playing at Les Transmusicales festival in France, a festival in Utrecht, and other gigs in England, Germany, Czech Republic and elsewhere. European dreams: Hoping to check out lots of cool music. E=MC303 will be eating lots of cheese. Jemi Hemi wants to party and try heaps of new European fizzy drinks. Mos Iocos aims to twiddle the moustaches of 100 frenchmen. Baba Rossa would like to drive really fast on the Autobahn."

The Corner says " Orchestra of Spheres’ setup boasts a roots’n'phuture amalgam akin to Konono N°1 , a D.I.Y. mix of neo-traditional instruments jury-rigged from household objects (biscuit tins, mousepads, barbecue tongs, a futon slat) as well as the likes of the gamelan and theremin – it’s a heady brew..."

There's a tasty re-edit of one of their tunes coming out on vinyl (listen to an excerpt below), and their album is being released by Fire Records in early November, on CD/digital/vinyl....

WATCH: Orchestra of Spheres cover Bachelorette at the recent APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
READ: Q&A with the band over at Under The Radar.

Orchestra Of Spheres - Hypersphere.mp3 by AwesomeFeelingFive

Orchestra Of Spheres - Hyperspheres (Daphni Edit) by resista

Orchestra of Spheres on Bandcamp.

R.I.P. Sylvia Robinson

Via Dangerous Minds blog... "Sylvia Robinson, 75, the founder and CEO of the Sugarhill Records label in the 1970s, died died this morning from congestive heart failure at Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey, Sister to Sister reports.

It was Robinson’s idea to “sample” the sinewy bass-line of Chic’s “Good Times” and turn it into “Rapper’s Delight,” the first mainstream hip-hop hit. Robinson also produced “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and was part of soul duo Mickey & Sylvia.

Hip-Hop Happens (a 2005 profile of Robinson from Vanity Fair magazine by DM pal Steven Daly)."

That story mentions that Rapper's Delight was selling 50,000 copies a day at its peak.

via Prefix Mag... "Robinson had a music career of her own as Sylvia. Her biggest solo hits include "Love is Strange" and "Pillow Talk," the latter of which topped the R&B Billboard chart for two weeks in 1973. It also received a mini-boost in recent times when it appeared on the soundtrack to 1998's 54. Hip-hop heads will recognize another of her songs, "Sweet Stuff," for its use in J Dilla's "Crushin'."

ADDED New York Times obit for Sylvia Robinson.

You can watch Robinson perform "Pillow Talk" on Soul Train below.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

R.I.P. Dan Birch, Beat Rhythm Fashion

Just saw this via Failsafe Records on FB... "Some sad news today. Dan Birch, bassist and co-vocalist/songwriter for Beat Rhythm Fashion passed away today. Here's Dan taking lead vocal duties for their fantastic single Turn of the Century. Dan's brother said he was found asleep on his couch with a smile on his face and that's how we'll remember him, always with a wiry grin. Thanks for the great music Dan."

This is easily one of my favourite NZ songs of all time. 

Holy moley

Holy Shit - DJ Format & Mr Thing... "Holy Shit' is a mix of religious breaks,beats & music discovered mostly in charity shops and bargain bins of record shops over a number of years. I had been planning to do a mix of some of my weird & wonderful religious records for years and when i got chatting with Mr Thing about a new exciting discovery i had just made in a Leeds charity shop,it turned out he too had recently discovered the same religious LP!

"We decided to team up and do a mix together and Holy Shit was the result. Although some of the music is top quality and was cut up in a B-boy style,the mix was definitely supposed to be fun..hence the Monty Python bits! It was released as a CD in 2009(?) and is now available for free download for the first time...."  Hat tip to Groovement

Holy Shit - DJ Format & Mr Thing by dj format

Mr Fuemana, Mr Phil Fuemana

From 5000ways.... video shot at Cause Celebre from the look of it...

"The Fuemana family and Matty J are back with more of their smooth grooves, with influences galore, including a Monkees/Del Tha Funkee Homosapien reference with “Mr Fuemana, Mr Phil Fuemana”.

The video takes place in a day-lit club (or perhaps a cafe, which seems an Auckland ’90s thing). The group perform their song, with the Fuemanas being cool and Matty J trying to be cool.

When Phil does his keyboard solo, a very Catholic looking crucifix can be seen on the piano keys, implying that perhaps this song is about getting closer to God.

It’s funny to look at this video and think that within three years, one of the guys in this video was going to have a bonafide international mega hit single."


Over at Stonesthrow.

James Pants says "I bring forth the first installment of the Beat Archive; a 51-piece vast collection of oddities, soddities, and heresies from back in the days when I thought I could be a rap producer. Never worked out so well. But regardless, I hope you enjoy. Feel free to use for your own purposes, and spread around."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sly Stone is homeless

photos: NY Post/ John Chapple
Sly Stone is currently living in a campervan, according to the New York Post.

"He lays his head inside a white campervan ironically stamped with the words “Pleasure Way” on the side. The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where “Boyz n the Hood” was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house. The couple’s son serves as his assistant and driver...

"... The singer claims his money troubles escalated in 2009, when his royalty payments stopped flowing after Stone accused his manager, Jerry Goldstein, of fraud. Stone says he was tricked into signing a rotten contract with Goldstein in 1989, giving the manager control of his finances in exchange for a weekly paycheck.

Last year, Stone sued Goldstein for $50 million, alleging fraud and 20 years of stolen royalty payments. (Contributing to the singer’s dire financial situation, he foolishly sold his valuable music-publishing rights to Michael Jackson for a reported $1 million in 1984.) Goldstein did not return calls seeking comment.

The performer’s cash-flow problems forced him out of his Napa Valley house that he rented with money from a 2007 European tour and into cheap hotels and the van in 2009. Stone hopes to soon put the lawsuit and his other woes behind him..."

UPDATE: Bootsy Collins posted this on his Facebook page yesterday (Wednesday 27th)... "Here is the latest I've heard about our pioneer Sly Stone! 'hey bootsy: just to let you know about sly he is ok. he stays at my mom and dads because he feels safe there. he has a house that he is renting but he likes being around my brother who cares for him and watches over him. oh yea my mom cooks for him whenever he is hungry. as for the boys in the hood thing; my hood is very loving of sly and watches over him. thank you for caring. ps. he would love to here from you. keep the funk alive and god bless you. yours truly randy austin'." 

60s crate diggers

From What Record Stores Looked Like in the 1960s. More pics, follow the link.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Free download. This is off the rather splendid collaboration between Lawrence Arabia and Mike Fabulous (Lord Echo/Black Seeds). Out October 3.

The whole album is streaming over at NZ Herald. Live shows - Oct 7, at Mighty Mighty Wgtn, Oct 9 at Kings Arms Akld, Oct 13 Nelson Arts Festival.

Why Len Lye didn't need to get high

ah, Vice Magazine, you have the best headlines.

"Len Lye was born at the turn of the last century on New Zealand’s then-mind-numbingly isolated South Island. Consequently, the likelihood that Len would eventually have a creative impact on the world was about as slim as him winning the lottery without a ticket.

Luckily, thanks to a crafty combination of talent, vision and relocation to London, Len’s work was able to divide audiences on a global scale. Len Lye’s fascination with movement and his experiments with film and celluloid were like nothing that had ever been seen before in the early 1900s and it’s a little known fact that he produced the very first ever music video.

Len Lye died an old man in 1980 but his long-time collaborator, Roger Horrocks, was obliging enough to speak to us on his behalf.

Vice: What was New Zealand like in the 20s when Len Lye started experimenting with film and art?

Roger: New Zealand was a small colony at the end of the world, dominated by the practical concerns of farmers and land speculators. There was some art, but it was mostly derivative, hand-me-down stuff, imitating the London art of earlier years. When Len started experimenting, he seemed to be the only artist in New Zealand with a knowledge of Cubism, Futurism, and any of the other modern ‘isms’. He tried to talk about his work and his ideas but people thought he was “potty” (his word), so he mostly kept things to himself.

So he was a bit of a creative anomaly?

He was a one-man modern art movement. Luckily, he was also incredibly self-motivated, which seems to have been a legacy of the fact that his father had died when he was three, at which point he was shunted off to a series of foster homes. So he learned to look after himself, and grew up like a tough little street kid. As a young man he was contemptuous of the establishment, including the art scene, and he developed fiercely independent ideas about everything. Len’s philosophy centred on the idea of individuality, and his slogan was “Individual Happiness Now.”

A still from Rainbow Dance (1936)

That sounds like a great, hedonistic mantra. Did he go to art school?

Len had to leave school at the age of 13 and he couldn’t afford to go to high school. He made extraordinary use of free public libraries and knew how crucial it was for kids who grew up poor to have access to them. Len used them so well that by the time he was in his early 20s, he knew more about new trends in art than any artist or art teacher in New Zealand.

You recently made a film about a “breakthrough” moment that Len had. Can you tell us about that?

When he was a teenager, Len was out delivering papers on a very windy day in Wellington (which is famous for its wind). Watching the clouds blowing around, he suddenly had two ideas—first, that movement could be the basis for a completely new approach to art, and second, that the way to think about movement was in terms of music. He called this “a figure of motion”. This was a big discovery for Len, and he spent the rest of his life as an artist developing it, both in film and in kinetic sculpture.

What were some of the techniques he pioneered?

In the 1930s he had invented a new way of making films—doing so without a camera by painting and scratching images directly onto the celluloid. The results were brilliantly coloured and had a funky look, with lines and blobs bouncing around with lots of physical energy.

Oh yeah, those films look amazing—like they’re alive almost.

Yeah, but he needed a way to fund his films so he could get them screened in cinemas. So he came up with the idea of combining them with popular dance music. He loved Cuban music, which had recently become trendy in Paris, and was just starting to be heard in London. He described his images as his “vicarious form of dance to the music”. These four-minute films had a huge impact all over England. It also helped him to find sponsors. I guess they were definitely some of, if not the first music videos.

Six frames from Tusalava (1929)

That’s a pretty big claim to fame for a guy from Christchurch.

Some European experimental film-makers such as Oskar Fischinger had already been making little music films for cinemas, but they had mostly used classical music, whereas Len preferred popular music. He valued it for being more rhythmic and sexy. Len’s films have influenced many music videos since then. They are still screened today on MTV in Europe.

What were some of the other films that Len made?

He tried to do something new with each film he made in terms of imagery or editing. His music films included A Colour Box, Kaleidoscope and Colour Flight. In Rainbow Dance and Trade Tattoo he came up with highly original ways of using colour film, transforming black and white camera footage into amazing, re-coloured, Cubist-like images. He made Free Radicals and Particles in Space by scratching black film. His scratches are incredibly alive, like flashes of lighting, or high-speed graffiti.

A still from Birth of the Robot (1935).All photos courtesy of the Len Lye Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive.

I’ve read something about Len taking mescalin with his wife and friend and while they were tripping balls, Len was just fine. Was this a regular thing?

Len’s friends felt that he was one person who truly had a natural high. He almost never took drugs, but when he did, his friends could not see any difference in him. He was wild enough without chemical assistance. Even when Len was in his 60s he was celebrated by papers, such as the East Village Other, for being a great counter-culture role model. He had an extraordinary visual imagination and was totally independent and rebellious, and he and his wife Ann had for years practised a happy open marriage. Who needs drugs when you have all that?

What were some of the negative reactions to Len’s work?

One of his films was Swinging the Lambeth Walk, which he based on a popular new dance of the period. It was sponsored by the government’s fund to promote tourism and although today it would be perfectly normal to promote ‘swinging London’, in 1939 it was a really controversial idea. Some politicians were appalled.

That’s hard to imagine now.

In the cinemas, Len’s films also polarised the audience. Half the audience was horrified and booed and stamped their feet. Modern art with pop music was too much for them. But the other half of the audience would cheer and clap in delight. The films created so much controversy that every film reviewer was expected to offer an opinion, and Len gained both fame and notoriety. Most people shy away from controversy but Len embraced it and that’s what really made him such a special artist.