Saturday, November 05, 2011

Winston Riley shot

From the Gleaner: Techniques boss shot?

"According to, Techniques songwriter and record producer Winston Riley, 65, was shot in the head and arm on Tuesday at his home in Kingston, Jamaica.

The website also claims the status of the hitmaker is unknown, as the hospital where he is being treated is a secret.

A consistent hitmaker since the late 1960s, Riley has been the victim of a series of unexplained violent attacks, says the website. According to it, Riley was shot in August and stabbed in September. The police are investigating the relationship between the incidents."

Louder than a bomb

Public Enemy's Chuck D is suing Universal Music. Rolling Stone reports  that Chuck is "claiming that the company has underpaid his royalties on digital downloads. The suit alleges that UMG routinely misrelates royalties owed to artists on MP3s and ringtones by treating them as sales of physical record as opposed to licensed works...

"Chuck D's complaint follows a federal judge's decision on Tuesday to move forward on a similar class action pursued by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James [more here]."

Digital Music News has published documents that back up Chuck D's claims. "According to federal court documents filed Wednesday by attorneys for Chuck D. The detailed breakdown shows that for every 1,000 iTunes downloads sold, a UMG-signed artist gets paid $80.33. And that's after the label collects on a 25% 'Container Charge for Audiophile Records,' as well as a 15% 'Net Sales Deduction'. Which means that for every one download, the payout is roughly 8.033 cents."

" the ringtone payout is loaded with even more artificial ingredients, including the same 'Audiophile Packaging Deduction'. In fact, despite a much higher price tag on ringtones (ie, $3 listed here), the major label artist gets a paltry per-ringtone payout of 5 cents."

ADDED: And Now, Chuck D Is 'Complicating' the Sale of EMI...

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 5

Visioneers - Runnin
Outlines - Waiting in line
Bob James - Angela (Theme from Taxi)
Mulatu Astatke - Yegelle tezeta
Charles Bradley - The world is going up in flames
Bits and pieces - Don't stop the music
The pepperpots  -Real tru love
Lil Buck and the top cats - Monkey in a sack
Soul brother six - You gotta come a little closer
Brenda and the tabulations - California soul
Dynamo productions - Stepping it up
Doug Carn - Surital iklhas - Fulgeance remix
Little dragon - Ritual union
Lee Scratch Perry vs Kode9 - Yellow tongue
Michael Prophet - Been talking
Gussie P allstars - Jah blessing dub version
Slim Smith - My conversation
Ranking Joe - Dont follow Babylon
Jahlicious - Something - Beatlicks remix
African head charge - Heading to glory
Bob Marley - Soul shakedwn party - Afrodisiac sound remix
Elizabeth Archer - Feel like making love
Jackie Mittoo - Wall st
Manu Dibango - Afrosoul - Rob Mello no ears mix
Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind - Roger Perry re-edit
Mos dub - History town
Joint force - Burntime inst

Friday, November 04, 2011

Tiki: fake the police

I watched some of the NZ Music Awards last night. There was some great live performances, though unfortunately the live sound didn't seem to translate well to tv. I saw a number of folk on Twitter complaining about the poor live sound.

The songs from those acts that have toured extensively overseas for the past year stood out for me - the performances of Naked and Famous, and Ladi6 in particular were head and shoulders above the other acts. Clearly, playing live a lot makes for some well-honed performers. And go Ladi6 for winning two awards!

Tiki Taane was joined by a handful of fellow musos, like Julia Deans and Hollie Smith, for his song Freedom To Sing, aimed at his run-in with the police earlier this year. Half way thru the song, the tv cameras showed about half a dozen police walking thru the crowd, towards the stage. They joined Tiki on stage, then started dancing and leaping round while Tiki played.

A lot of people thought they were real police. Russell Brown of Media 7/Public Address tweeted "Apparently real cops DANCING ON STAGE with Tiki. Genius."  Marcus Lush tweeted "Real cops on the stage with tiki taane . . Best thing i have seen at a music award ever !"

I replied to Russell, saying the NZ Herald reported earlier in the week that Tauranga police had politely refused Tiki's invitation to join him onstage. The police onstage with Tiki had very authentic looking costumes on. Russell Brown noted that he "Saw them up close before the performance. Really thought they were real cops." 

PeadPR, who handle publicity for the music awards said via Twitter "They're legit". But Wammo from KiwiFm said "My interview with him [Tiki] yesterday [wed] was inconclusive on the matter." 

So, were they real cops? Brown later posted this: "Update: NOT real cops on stage with Tiki, but nightclub bouncers."  NZ Herald reports that the men were wearing real police uniforms. reported that " ... Along with the awards, Auckland's Vector Arena came to life with performances from [Brooke] Fraser and The Naked and Famous, as well as Ladi6, Six60, Avalanche City and [Tiki] Taane, who performed alongside the "love police" in a nod to his brush with the law earlier this year."  Is using fake cops likely to improve Tiki's relationship with the Police or not? Made for a good spectacle tho.

ADDED Dave Roper (promoter and former owner of Zen/Fu Bar) posted this to Twitter "Cracking up at pictures of our old bar manager Rueben Brooker dancing on stage at the NZ Music Awards in a NZ Police uniform."

My fave moment in Tiki's performance was when one of the faux cops put his cap on the head of Tiki's guitarist for the night Aaron Tokona (Cairo Knife Fight), and he was transformed into Zac Wallace in classic NZ film Utu. Choice.

UPDATED Official Police statement on Tiki and the polcie uniforms... source

November 4, 2011, 2:24 pm
"Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard confirmed today that the ‘officers’ on stage with singer Tiki Taane last night at the New Zealand Music Awards were in fact dancers and not Police.

“Mr Taane approached us a while ago and asked if some of our officers could appear on stage with him during his performance of ‘Freedom to sing’. While we were pleased to be asked, we are not able to facilitate those kinds of requests. However, we did approve the use of four uniforms for Mr Taane’s dancers to wear during the performance last night.

“Congratulations to him for his awards, it is good to see him doing well.”

Mr Rickard said Police and Mr Taane had come to an agreement a month ago after a performance by Mr Taane resulted in him being arrested for disorderly behaviour.

“We worked through the matter and Mr Taane has now volunteered to be a family violence spokesperson in one of our districts and it is fantastic to have someone of his profile and youth to be able to connect to our communities about such a serious and important issue.”


NB : It is an offence to personate a police officer. However, Police do need to be able to provide uniforms at times for filming or theatrical purposes. These requests are carefully considered on a case by case basis." 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Erykah Badu at Splore!

"Erykah Badu, will play her first ever New Zealand show at next February’s Splore Festival.

The multi Grammy Award winning artist will be backed by a full band and backing singers. She is known for her compelling stage presence and attention to choreographic detail.

Badu’s groundbreaking debut album, 1997’s Baduizm, went multi-platinum and won her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album.
Her most recent albums, New Amerykah Part I and Part II debuted at Number 2 and 5 respectively on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.

Festival music director, John Minty, says Badu will perform at Splore on her way through to Sydney where she is playing Sydney’s Opera House. “It’s the first time she has been to New Zealand - what better place to get a taste of New Zealand but at a Splore festival."

More info at

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Adrian Sherwood live

Legendary British reggae producer Adrian Sherwood (On-U-Sound) is coming to NZ for a show at the Powerstation, December 16. Support from Stinky Jim and MC Slave's Logg Cabin. Tickets here.

He's also playing Wellington on Dec 15 at Bodega, support from Vital Sounds.

Reposted from The Quietus, Adrian Sherwood's On-U-Sound radio mix...

Mulatu speaks

Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke is playing his first-ever NZ show, Friday Novermber 25 at The Powerstation.

"For this one-off New Zealand show, Mulatu Astatke is joined by The Black Jesus Experience, an Australian/Ethiopian ensemble who fuse traditional Ethiopian song with jazz, funk and hip hop. The nine-piece group supported Astatke for his recent sell-out Australian shows, having just returned from their own highly successful tour of Europe and Ethiopia.

Mulatu was interviewed recently by Volume magazine, here's  a few excerpts.. very interesting cat...

"... don't expect a taste of typical Ethiopian music when Mulatu Astatke's grinning face appears on stage at The Powerstation next month; there isn't any. What Astatke's Ethio-jazz stands for is a blend of Latin jazz and Deep South swamp funk decorated with delightful, mysterious vibraphone melodies similar to those you used to hear whenever things got really scary during an episode of Twin Peaks.

"The vibraphone is an extension of the balaphone, an African instrument that's also played with two stakes," Astatke says. "As an African I like to stay close to my roots, which is part of the reason why I chose to play the vibraphone."

While Astatke has reached a legendary status in recent years, recognition hasn't always come naturally for him: "I really struggled to get people to understand my music when I started more than 40 years ago. It's probably because of these difficult times early on in my career that I really appreciate to see my music flourish now."

After having spent decades in relative anonymity, around 2008 Astatke began to record again. As part of the Inspiration Information series, named after the seminal Shuggie Otis album, Mulatu released an album with British band The Heliocentrics, an eclectic group that treads in the footsteps of jazz and funk visionaries like Sun Ra, David Axelrod and Funkadelic. Recording Inspiration Information Vol. 3 got Mulatu started again: "The joint repetition started even before I had seen these guys play solo, but the period of recording and touring turned out to be dynamic and fun."

His newly recognised Godfather status led Astatke to head to Harvard University on a Radcliffe Institute fellowship. Back in the States, he worked on the modernisation of the krar, a traditional Ethiopian string instrument.

"It hurt to see how much the krar became oblivious among young musicians from my country. More and more people decided to play guitar rather than krar because of its greater range. With a group of people at MIT we succeeded in extending the range of the instrument, and you can now actually play modern music with it. To demonstrate the results of my work, I got a student to play a number of jazz standards on the krar as part of my final presentation at MIT."

Of course, Astatke's second Golden Age didn't start at an academic level. Jim Jarmusch's 2005 movie Broken Flowers featured seven of his songs and Mulatu-samples can now be heard in songs by the likes of Damian Marley, Kanye West, Quantic and Madlib. And on the evening of Friday 25 November, the pioneer of these sounds will ask the audience if you've seen a certain movie, raise his drumsticks, and kick start a night of intoxicating Ethio-jazz."

Mulatu Astatke and The Black Jesus Experience perform at Auckland’s Powerstation on Friday 25th November, 2011. Tickets: go to for all ticket and show information. Tickets from Ticketmaster and Real Groovy Auckland.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

You are all digital vampires

Townshend: Something about iTunes reeks

According to rock veteran Pete Townshend (yes, he's still alive), music lovers who steal music are evil, and iTunes is a "digital vampire" that profits from music without supporting the artists who create it. He made his comments while delivering the first John Peel Lecture. Read more here.

Townshend says that "iTunes should offer some of the services to artists that record labels and music publishers used to provide." It seems odd that he expects a music retailer to act like a record company. You wouldn't expect brick and mortar music stores to do that.

"Why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?" he said.

The Guardian has further coverage of Townshend's comments, including this gem... "Townshend said his "inner artist" thought [Steve] Jobs was "one of the coolest guys on the planet" but admitted he had once said in an interview that he "wanted to cut Job's balls off".

Full text of Townshend's lecture on the Guardian.

Here in New Zealand, the first infringement notices under the new Copyright Act were sent out overnight, by RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of NZ). Forty of the 50 notices were for songs by Rihanna, with the others being songs by Lady Gaga. Orcon has received 8 notices, TelstraClear has got about a dozen, and Telecom has got 40 to date. Vodafone says it has also got a few notices. 

Lord Echo - brand new!

"Bastard Jazz is proud to present a brand new 7” from talented New Zealand producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Fabulous aka Lord Echo. Known previously for his role as a founding member of New Zealand reggae band The Black Seeds, Lord Echo stepped into his own with his release of his 2010 debut album Melodies. With it’s effortless mixture of funk, dub, latin, and disco sounds, (including a dynamite cover of Sister Sledge’s “Thinking Of You” - listen below), the album slowburned its way to worldwide acclaim, quickly finding itself garnering big buzz on hundreds of music blogs worldwide.

This new 7” on Brooklyn’s Bastard Jazz Recordings is Fabulous’ first new material since "Melodies", and picks right up where the album left off. On the A-Side, “Things I Like To Do” is a feel-good stomper with fuzzed out organ stabs, a bubbling bass, a stuttering stripped down live break and a soaring horn section. On the flip, “Long Time No See” brings in more sunshine with it’s big Boogaloo vibes – heavy on the handclaps, Latin percussion, voical chants and blurts, and horns and flutes galore…. with just a hint of 70s Blaxploitation lurking in the background." Release date: November 7. Preview below...

A refresher for you... Lord Echo covers Sister Sledge. Coming out on 12"vinyl thru Japanese label Wonderful Noise soon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New record store in AK

A mate sent me this pic (thanks, Walter), from 69 Mt Eden Rd, where it looks like a new record store is opening. It's run by Southbound Distribution, who handle some great labels. Apparently it's opening soon.

UPDATED, Nov 14, 2011: Store is open now, tues to sat 10-530, more details here.

Picassos retrospective out now!

It's finally here! Very exciting.

You can buy the digital downloads from Amplifier (320k MP3), iTunes, and other digital stores. Amplifier has a special bonus tune - Marshall Law Dub [listen], which we recorded with Mike Hodgson (now of Pitch Black).

ITunes has a bonus track too  - our cover version of Head Like A Hole's song Air [listen].

You can also grab the digital versions in any format you want from our Bandcamp page.
Also available at  Marbecks DigitalDigirama.

If you want the CD, Amplifier ship it across NZ and worldwide too. And the CD is in all good CD stores.

Cheers! Hope you like it.

Raggamuffin adds new acts

Raggamuffin Festival has added some acts to the lineup for next year - Arrested Development, Sly n Robbie, J-Boog, and Katchafire.

"Organisers have also announced Chad Chambers, winner of Maori Television's singing competition Homai Te Pakipaki will join other New Zealand performers Kora and Three Houses Down on the main Saturday stage. Chambers' inclusion in the world-class line-up came after thousands of fans petitioned Raggamuffin organisers via Facebook."

From Rotorua Daily Post: Raggamuffin 2012: More big names added to line-up