Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lucky Paul

Photo: NZ Musician

Lucky Paul is an expat Kiwi drummer, who has been based in Berlin for several years. He breezed thru Auckland recently, holding down the drumseat for Feist in her band when they played at Laneway. When Feist introduced him, the crowd cheered like crazy. He must've loved that!

There's a great interview with him in the latest issue of NZ Musician magazine. Ep out now, thru Somethinksounds. Features Mara TK (Electric wire hustle) on vocals. Listen below.

BONUS: Lucky Paul rework of Etta James - I'd rather go blind (free download)

R.I.P. Jimmy Ellis (Trammps)

Via NYTimes: "Jimmy Ellis, the soulful lead singer of the Trammps, whose 1970s hit “Disco Inferno” was immortalized in the film “Saturday Night Fever,” died on Thursday in Rock Hill, S.C. He was 74.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, Erika Stinson, his daughter, said.

Mr. Ellis’s melodious voice overlaid the funky guitar riffs and driving bass and drums of the Trammps’s dance music. He sang lead on most of the group’s songs, backed by the bass singer Earl Young, and later harmonized with Robert Upchurch, who joined the band in the mid-1970s.

The Trammps were formed in the early ’70s, according to their keyboard player and manager, Edward Cermanski. Mr. Cermanski said the second “m” in the group’s name came from the days when Mr. Ellis and his friends sang on street corners.

“The police called them tramps,” he said. “So they said they wanted to be high-class tramps, with two ‘m’s in the name.”

Their first recording was a remake of one of Judy Garland’s signature songs, “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” which reached No. 17 on the R&B charts. They went on to have hits like “Hold Back the Night,” and in 1975 were signed by Atlantic Records, which released seminal disco records by the group like “Where the Happy People Go.”

The Trammps peaked with the album “Disco Inferno,” whose title track climbed to No. 11 on the Billboard pop chart in 1977. It became emblematic of the disco era when it was used as background music in an extended John Travolta dance sequence in the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever.”


From The Guardian... "The Trammps' chart career was short-lived. A year after the soundtrack spent 24 weeks at the top of the US charts, their album The Whole World's Dancing struggled to No 184, despite a guest performance from Stevie Wonder. It was their last chart appearance.

"If their entanglement with disco curtailed the Trammps' lifespan on the charts, it undoubtedly prolonged their live career. Ellis would tour with a version of the band for the next 30 years, until his diagnosis with Alzheimer's in 2008. Two years later, he made a final appearance with the band in Atlantic City, where he had performed in talent contests five decades previously...."


Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 10

Patrice Rushen - Music of the earth - Danny Krivit edit
Sergio Mendes - Mozambique
Black blood - Chicano
Pleasure - Reality
Risco connection - Aint no stopping us now
King Tubby - King Tubbys dub
Black seeds - Pippy pip
Prince Buster - Girl why don't you answer
Winston Francis - Don't change
Barrington Levy - Under me sensi
Honey boy Martin - Dreader than dread
Cimmarons - We are not the same
General Degree - Pot cover
Erykah Badu - On and on - Adi Dick remix
Sulata - Never
Manzel - Space funk
Bobby Womack - Please forgive my heart
Mandrill - Ali bombaye pt 1
Connie Price and the keystones - Sucker punch
Rose royce - Bad mutherfunker
Manu Dibango - Soul makossa
Ikebe shakedown - Don't contradict
Scrimshire - Everything you say - LV remix
Mo kolours - Banana wine
Gil Scott Heron - New York is killing me

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday soul



Hat tip to Russell Brown for this. Electric Guest drop their album Mondo, on April 24. Produced by Dangermouse.

Record Shop Dude #05



Sean's Guide To Why Punk Sucks - Record Shop Dude #05. Hilarious.

And from across the Atlantic, this dude...

New Bobby Womack!



Like the folk at The  Fader say, I was not expecting anything new from Mr Womack, but here it is and holy heck, it's gorgeous. Produced by Damon Albarn (who took Mr Womack on tour with him as The Gorillaz) and Richard Russell (producer of the final Gil Scott Heron album). Free download too. From the album The Bravest Man in the Universe is out June 12th on XL.

Record retails woes?

Marbecks on Lambton Quay is closing after 17 years, reports Wellington's Dominion Post. Lots of doom and gloom in the story, but no mention of the new record stores opened recently in the capital, like RPM Music or Evil Genius.

"... The closure is the latest in a slew of specialist record shops closing in Wellington including Cuba St's Real Groovy last year as well as franchises like Sounds and Tower Records and Marbecks outlets at Cuba Mall, Courtenay Place and Wellington Airport... two [Marbecks] stores in the North Island and one in the South would likely shut this year."

Marbecks are "looking at moving into second hand vinyl sales and high-end portable audio.... one of Marbecks' key growth area was in vinyl. "

Captain Planet

New out on Bastard Jazz - who recently dropped a new single from NZ's own Lord Echo - his album is out on vinyl now too - here's some cool remixes from Captain Planet, including a free download of the tune below. Nice slice of boogie funk. Taken from the upcoming Captain Planet "Remixes / Remixed" 12" + Digi Rls - out on Bastard Jazz.




"Captain Planet returns to Bastard Jazz after last fall’s debut album Cookin Gumbo with a treasure trove of remixes both by and for the slicing + dicing chef of global dancefloor delights! This brand new 12" and digi-EP features scorching remixes of Los Chicharrons (Tummy Touch) and Chip Wickham (Lovemonk) by the Captain himself, as well as the Captain's own electro-boogie take on "Get You Some", a remix of "Samba Radiante" by BBE / Music of Substance artist Chris Read, and another remix of "Get You Some" by our contest winner Aphrololo.

"Digital bonus cuts include our two contest runners up, Lil' Dave and PDF, as well as a burning dancehall remix from Bastard Jazz's own Erik The Red.


Captain Planet guestmix on Bastard Jazz Radio!

"To celebrate the release of the new 12", the Captain has returned to his radio roots and put together a special episode of Bastard Jazz Radio on Brooklynradio.net for us -- lots of current favorites, some tracks off the EP plus a few new exclusive and unreleased remixes from C.P. Listen on Mixcloud or download the mix HERE. And don't forget to check out some older episodes of Bastard Jazz radio in the archive."

RELATED : Free download - Bastard Jazz meets Tummy Touch album. Well worth checking out.

Hiphop don't stop

photo: Flea market funk

Over at Flea Market Funk, one of their regular features is Ten Questions with various DJs. Its a great read. The latest one is with Noah Uman, a DJ who hosted a hiphop radio show on WFMU called Coffee Break for Heroes and Villains for seven years (and now presents the show via the net). In 2004 he started working on reissues. He produced the first four Run DMC reissues for Sony.

He says "Talking to everyone involved, going through photo and audio archives was all amazing, but the two highlights were spending the afternoon with [their] producer Larry Smith, and going to the listening party for Rev Run's solo album... Run got out of his car, looked at me and said "Noah's in the house!" That was it, I was done.

"Sadly, hiphop reissues still have a long way to go until they join the ranks of materiel that labels like Norton, Numero Group, or Sundazed release...

"...if someone is going to put something out again, do it so people will WANT it. Liner notes, tell the story of the group, get quotes from other people, dig up old, flyers and photographs, track down those radio freestyles or demos. Just make a real effort to go the extra mile."


That sums up what we've been trying to do with the Hallelujah Picassos reissues so far. Tell some stories, share some photos. Make it worth your while.

Read the rest of the Q&A here. His Best Digging Story is freaking nuts.

My fave comment from Noah - "No sense in keeping a record that does not get turntable love."

Check out Coffee Break Radio’s home online. Get all the new shows on SoundCloud.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

P-core with Wammo



KiwiFM interview with Wammo, from monday. Cheers, fella!

Tune in to Radio BFM this afternoon at 315pm, I'm chatting with Cameron about the new reissue, Picasso Core Jukebox

Taite Prize finalists

Here's the finalists for the 2012 Taite Prize... winner announced April 20th.

Andrew Keoghan - Arctic Tales Divide (Brave Beluga Records)
Beastwars – Beastwars (Destroy Records)
David Dallas – The Rose Tint (Dirty Records)
She’s So Rad – In Circles (Round Trip Mars)
The Bats – Free All Monsters (Flying Nun Records)
Tiny Ruins - Some Were Meant For The Sea (Spunk Records)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Seeing Records)

The voting panel to determine the finalists was made up of a broad section of music media/industry specialists plus all current members of Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ). There will be a second round of judging by a selected music panel to decide the eventual winner. The judges will make their decision based entirely on the artistic merit on the album(s). Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity are not contributing factors in their decision- making process. The selected music panel for 2012 is made up of the following persons:

FINALIST JUDGING PANEL FOR THE TAITE MUSIC PRIZE 2012
- Jon Bywater (Programme Leader, Critical Studies @ Elam School Of Fine Arts)
- Hugh Sundae (Entertainment Editor, NZ Herald Online)
- Stephen O’Hoy (IMNZ / Amplifier / DRM)
- Jeremy Morrow (Warner Music)
- Leonie Hayden (Editor, RipItUp)
- Richard Thorne (Editor, NZ Musician)
- Andrew Tidball (Editor, Cheese On Toast)
- Russell Brown (Public Address)
- Charlotte Ryan (95bFM)
- Glenn Williams (Wammo) (KiwiFM)
- 11th Man – John Taite (BBC America)
- The Judge Wrangler – Damian Vaughan (APRA)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Cookies!

I love music. I love cookies almost as much as I love music. And today is the 100th birthday of Oreo cookies. I think I first heard about Oreos when LL Cool J rapped about them in his song "I'm Bad" (watch), back in 1987 - "...forget Oreos, eat Cool J cookies, I'm BAAADDD!". Took them a long time to turn up in New Zealand though. Now they're in almost every Asian supermarket.

A flashmob in Los Angeles.  Picture: Frazer Harrison / Getty
from News.com.au "... Flash mobs celebrated the centenary in seven US cities including Los Angeles, where country rock trio Lady Antebellum led a shopping-mall crowd of several hundred in singing "Happy Birthday" to the venerable comfort food.... there were fireworks in Shanghai, birthday fetes in Saudi Arabia, special playgrounds in Indonesia and pinata-breaking in Venezuela....

...They first popped out of the oven at the Nabisco factory in New York's Chelsea district ... and sold by a grocer on the other side of the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey....

Among African Americans, in the Black Power era, calling someone an Oreo - black on the outside, white on the inside - was a painful put-down, as Gerald Thompson recalled in Reflections of an Oreo Cookie, a 1991 memoir.

"This was 1970, a year of no middle ground," he wrote, remembering the day he was slapped in the face and likened to a mere cookie. "You allied yourself black or white, but I was not aware of any of this."

P-core Jukebox review

Johnnie and Roland, photo from the ebooklet that comes with the album. 

Review: Hallelujah Picassos 'Picasso Core Jukebox'
By David Carroll (aka Bro90)

"I want to educate people to the fact there are always more possibilities than the situations you have encountered. Naivety is still so strong among people. The Picassos are about social and cultural observation." - Harold 'Roland' Rorschach, Hallelujah Picassos (1992)


I remember coming to Auckland from a rather rural upbringing in Waihi Beach, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and first encountering the Hallelujah Picassos. I was gobsmacked. As a young man wanting to get my teeth into playing in a proper band, these guys blew my mind. They played reggae. They played rock. They played most everything - hard, and loud. I was sold.

What's more, they hung out at what became my local: DKD Cafe. What was curious to me was they never really received their dues. Shit, there are kids worldwide right now trying to piece together what these guys did years ago! Perhaps Picasso Core Jukebox (alongside last years' originals collection, Rewind The Hateman) might address that? Probably not. 

That's a shame, as these guys were the real deal and even now, well over a decade later, the excitement, the genine intent, the sheer passion seeps through these incredibly diverse grooves. Imagine what this sounded like to a fifteen year old kid from the country!? It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. Scratch that. It was like everything I'd ever heard before, thrown together in an aggressive, vibrant, liberating whole. 

Put aside the decidedly average recording quality on some of these tracks and put yourself into the shoes of early 1990s New Zealanders as the Hallelujah Picassos tore through a set littered with these (severely) re-imagined covers alongside their own material. 

One of the criticisms these guys have always copped is that their records sounded like compilations. Fuck that. And fuck the Great New Zealand Songbook, while we're at it. If you want some proper NZ music history, and you want to pay respect to some of the actual originators in our scene, buy Rewind The Hateman, and then buy this. Makes me proud to be a Kiwi again.

4 out of 5 stars.

Available from AmplifieriTunesDigiramaMarbecks Digital, and on Bandcamp (MP3, FLAC, etc).

Safari time



Modern Sound Corporation 'Safari' (greg wilson edit), love this. Cos it's got steel drums, and is funky as hell. Free DL for you too. Thanks, Mr Wilson. Check out the story behind this, Greg explains..

"The original, ‘Safari’ by Modern Sound Corporation, [is] a track I used to play at my hometown club, New Brighton’s Golden Guinea, back in 1979. For my edit, I placed the emphasis on the superior instrumental ‘Pt 2′ version, which found favour in UK Jazz-Funk circles at the time, its unique combination of African and Caribbean flavours setting it apart as a dubbed-up percussion driven Disco hybrid.

"Arriving on import via TK’s Sunshine Sound label, prior to its UK release on Epic, it was assumed that this was hot out of Miami – but there was a strange but true twist to the tale, as it turned out to be of Swedish origin, having first surfaced in this unlikely location the previous year. It was, however, remixed by Florida’s finest, Harry Wayne Casey & Richard Finch, from KC & The Sunshine Band."

Just figured out that the steel drums on this tune were played by Rudy Smith, who recorded a very wicked album in Sweden in 1971 with the Modern Sound Quintet, called Otinku. Modern Sound Quintet later changed their name to Modern Sound Corporation.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

KRS One dates and venues announced


Wellington: Friday 20th April @ The Town Hall. Tickets- www.ticketek.co.nz
Auckland: Saturday 21st April @ The Cloud on Auckland’s Waterfront. Tickets- www.1-night.co.nz
Ltd $69 + BF early bird tickets on sale Tuesday 13th March at 9am

Myele Manzanza, behind the scenes



Electric Wire Hustle's drummer talks about his debut album, One. Hat tip to Martyn P.

RELATED: RBMA introducing Myele Manzanza (March 2010 q&a)
LISTEN: Myele Manzanza on Soundcloud

Off to Mars


Le Peuple de l'Herbe - Mars - Official Video by phofficial

Last time I heard from these cats, they were dropping some skanking reggae styles - that was a while back. This is on a totally different tangent, but what a great video.

Off the new album A Matter Of Time, from Le Peuple de l'Herbe. Download a track off the album free, here.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Erykah on and on



More quality tuneage from Adi Dick... "Erykah Badu has just been to New Zealand to play at Splore festival which everyone said was amazing... I couldn't go so I was inspired to create this. Respect goes out to Badu for her constant inspiration and consistent quality music!"

Ghost town soon come



BBC Inside Out tv programme celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Specials song Ghost Town. Hat tip to Murray Cammick for the link. The Specials (minus Jerry Dammers) return here to play Tuesday 10 April at Shed 10, Queens Wharf in Auckland.

Picasso core jukebox out now!


The brand new Hallelujah Picassos reissue Picasso Core Jukebox hits digital stores (try Amplifier, iTunes, Digirama, Marbecks Digital, etc) today! Very exciting. It's a collection of our cover versions, newly remastered and sounding rather splendid. Listen to it below.

You can catch Peter talking about the new reissue on the radio today (Monday) on KiwiFM at 835am, and on Radio Ponsonby at 1130am, and also on Tuesday morning, Peter will be on GeorgeFM at 7.20am, and  BaseFM Breakfast around 8am.

We've also had coverage online from NZ Musician, Cheese On Toast, and Conch Records.  Cheers! More coming. And big thanks to BFM's Stinky Jim and Andrew Tidball for giving us a spin last week.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Vinyl is making a comeback #261

And here's the three latest installments in this long-running saga... love it...

Vinyl records make a comeback, from The Herald, "informing Arkansas University since 1921."

snip..."My biggest turn on with vinyl records, versus a digital format, is I feel that I can appreciate the artwork and overall product better than that of digital formats," Kyle Cherry, a senior CIT major and record collector, said. Cherry has been collecting since 2006 and currently owns 817 records. Broken down into categories, 603 of his records are 7-inches, one 9-inch, three 10-inches, and 210 are 12-inches ...."


Analogue obsessives: Low-tech movement's proponents find satisfaction doing things the old-fashioned way, from Winnipeg Free Press.

snip...  "... rather than download and share MP3 files by the thousands, they flip through bins of vinyl LPs at neighbourhood record stores and make mix tapes. Instead of camera phones and Photoshop, they're [shooting] film and making prints in "wet darkrooms." Instead of e-books and Tumblr, they're keeping the printed page alive through bookbinding, 'zine publishing and letter pressing.

A recent New York Magazine article referred to "a neo-Luddite counterculture" populated by artists, tinkerers, DIY enthusiasts, hipsters, and "the merely tech-weary."

Nostalgia for yesterday's technology, From NewsTimes.com, - from pay phones to pagers, record players to VCRs.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Israel Starr - new bizznizz



From Desta Israel Buchanan (son of Mighty Asterix) and co. Fun tune, give it a spin. Free DL too.

Riddim produced by FIZZLE @ SOUL-FORCE, Germany, recorded and mixed HEART OFFISHAL @ NEWTOWN SOUND, Aotearoa.

RELATED POST: Israel Starr, Foundation

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 3

Masters at work - Nautilus (MAWtilus)
Johnny Hammond - Higher ground
Candido - Candid's funk
Chaka Khan  - I feel for you
Q-Tip - Breathe and stop - Adi Dick remix
Superspirit - We belong to the cosmos - Jugoe remix
Hortense Ellis - Woman of the ghetto
Lee Scratch Perry - Like the way you should - Mala Digital Mystikz remix
Horace Andy - Aint no sunshine
Tommy McCook - KT88
Hallelujah Picassos - Peanut butter
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Modern sound corporation - Safari - Greg Wilson edit
Harlem river drive - Idle hands
Mo kolours - Banana wine
Graham central station - It's alright
Chakachas - Jungle fever - Greg Wilson edit
Jose Feliciano - She's a woman
Donald Fagen - Green flower street
Blackbyrds - The runaway
Rose Royce - Sunrise/Richard Pryor - monologue
Freez - IOU

Friday, March 02, 2012

Kim Dotcom speaks

TV3's Campbell Live played a half hour interview with Kim Dotcom last night, following an earlier interview published yesterday in the NZ Herald.  Read the full transcript of the TV3 interview here. It makes for fascinating reading.

JC [John Campbell]: the FBI indictment against you alleges, and I quote, “Copyright infringement on a massive scale with estimated harm to copyright holders well in excess of 500 million US dollars”.

KD: Well that’s complete nonsense. If you read the indictment and if you hear what the Prosecution has said in court, it’s at least $500 million of damage were just music files ... just within a two-week time period. So they are actually talking about $13 billion US damage within a year just for music downloads. The entire US music industry is less than $20 billion. So how can one website be, you know, responsible for this amount of damage, it’s completely mind-boggling and unrealistic...."

Kim Dotcom says that "there are a hundred other companies out there that offer the same service like us. Why has not something happened to them?"

He then names some: "Mediafire, Rapidshare, Fileserve, Filesonic. Microsoft has their own service called Skydrive. Google is launching a new service called Drive. Everyone is in this cloud arena, in the same business, has the same problems that we had battling piracy. But we are not responsible for the problem and this is, I think, what everyone needs to understand."

NBR reports that Mr Dotcom's defence revolves around claiming "his company, Megaupload, had too great a volume of traffic to police. It made a best-effort to monitor content, and was not liable for allegedly pirated content....

"Dotcom said last night that 800 files a second were transferred via Megaupload.com... Users were asked to check a box agreeing to terms of service prohibiting copyright infringement. No music or movie company ever attempted to sue Megaupload, Dotcom said."

The wider implications for cloud storage that Dotcom talks about above could affect music services like Apple's iCloud. Or any service you use to store data. It's a fascinating case.

And then there's the aspect of watching the NZ Government bending over backwards to accommodate the US.

NZ is currently involved in secret negotiations around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which, from the leaked documents that have emerged, could result in NZ being forced to adopt US intellectual property law amongst others.

"InternetNZ said a proposed chapter in the [TPP] agreement drafted by the US risked "crippling the internet" by preventing internet providers from caching copyright material on their servers without the agreement of copyright owners and would ban the parallel importing of copyright works [ie DVDs], extend the length of copyright and force internet providers to terminate the accounts of customers who repeatedly infringed copyright."  Source.

How TPP affects NZ artists and what the US wants our police to do next

RELATED: Prosecutors refuse to release Megaupload data, Crown claims that cloning seized hard drives would cost $200,000.
From SocialMediaNZ: Kim Dotcom’s master class in public relations "Whether Kim Dotcom is guilty or innocent remains to be seen but his performance was a masterful exercise in public relations".

PREVIOUS POSTS: Mega what? Interview with Kim Dotcom, Youtube takedown of Megaupload song.
Dotcom dotgone? Kim Dotcom arrested.

Witness the phatness


I got the opportunity to check out Roots Manuva playing live at the Powerstation last night (thanks, Gavin!). He bought a 4 piece band with him, along with fellow MC Ricky Ranking. There was enough bass coming off the stage to rearrange your organs, it was phat. He played for an hour and a half and left the crowd well satisfied.

Roots Manuva kept his interaction with the crowd to a bare minimum, saying "Auckland city!" for the most part, but he did talk to the crowd at length at least once. After dropping a monstrous version of Witness (1 hope), he told the crowd "I've been coming here for ten years now, and you've shown me nothing but love. But Auckland, I have to have a moan. Cos I hear you had an election recently, and some of you didn't vote! Now, how can you sing One hope one quest when you didnt even vote? Sort that out. That's my moan for the night..."

His band consisted of a DJ, female keyboard player also on BVs, a rock solid drummer, and a guitarist who looked like he used to play in a White Zombie/Korn covers band - that dude was hugely entertaining. He thrashed and posed and riffed like his life depended on it. And the funny part was he was so low in the sound mix that you couldn't hear a damn thing he was playing. Which was no great loss. I heard his effects units included a Metalzone pedal. Guitarists in the house say UGH.

David Carroll from Volume Magazine interviewed Roots Manuva recently, read it here. Excerpt... "When asked if his approach to making music has changed since he first began, his answer is typically disarmingly honest - and tongue-in-cheek: "Oh yeah, I think it's just growing up as a professional, tax-paying musician, I kind of learned how to condense and compartmentalise the kind of emotional tantrums into the context of song."  He's a funny guy.

Adi Dick

When I was down in Wellington recently DJing at a very cool conference called Webstock, I met a talented musician by the name of Adi Dick. He sent me thru one of his latest tunes, a tasty rework of a Q-Tip jam. Check it, and his Electric Wire Hustle dub... both up for download too...




Keith Moon Introducing Stevie Wonder....

Hat tip to Voices of East Anglia... rare concert footage of Stevie Wonder, introduced by Keiht Moon in a ringmaster's hat...

"The 1972 Coliseum concert took place in California. And along with Stevie and Keith, other artists who performed included The Four Seasons, The Bee Gees and Sha-na-na. His set clocks in at just over twenty minutes, so take a seat and enjoy an interview, a Temptations cover, Some classic Stevie tunes, the underrated "Love having you around" and some mean harmonica and vocoder action from the genius that is Stevie Wonder..."





Thursday, March 01, 2012

Askew One - Smoke Signals art show



Smoke Signals - 16-22 March, The Australis Room, Australis House, 36-38 Customs St
Weekdays 10-6, weekends 10-4.

Slice of the pie

Not actual pie shop. Just a cool pie shop. Hmm, pie....

"In March, the UK’s first pie-selling record shop – imaginatively titled ‘Pie And Vinyl’ – will open for business [via Stool Pigeon]. You can stay up to date on all things Pie And Vinyl via their Twitter feed, or alternatively watch the store being constructed on their Facebook page. " Hat tip to Alan P, via Fact Mag.

Payola killing Jamaican music

Spotted via Dave Rodigan on Twitter... "The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) says the practice of payola in the electronic and print media is effectively crippling the entertainment industry and stifling the creativity of the country's talented artistes.

Speaking at the Observer's weekly Monday Exchange yesterday, members of JaRIA complained that the practice has become so rampant in the indigenous music industry that some artistes actually include payola in their promotional budgets.

JaRIA Vice Chairman Charles Campbell said he is aware that a popular dancehall entertainer has budgeted wads of cash to be doled out to disc jockeys who are in his pocket.

"A popular deejay budgets $100,000 every month to pay out to disc jockeys. When he voices a song, he e-mails the song to his people and it is played on radio. It does not go through the system," he said....

Read the full story at The Jamiaca Observer.

Rammellzee uncovered

Photo: NYTimes

Via Grandgood/NYT....  "Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks the building on Laight Street that housed the Battle Station was sold to make way for luxury apartments, and Rammellzee and his wife, Carmela Zagari, were pushed out, relocated to a conventional, smaller place in Battery Park City. Almost 20 years’ worth of his obsessive artwork, enough to fill a large truck, went into a storage locker, where it remained unseen for years, in danger of being forgotten for good.

But pieces of it are now starting to re-emerge, in a way that Rammellzee most likely would have approved of: in fighter formation. A bunkerlike, black-lighted re-creation of the Battle Station was one of the most talked-about pieces in “Art in the Streets,” a sprawling graffiti survey last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, organized by the museum’s director, Jeffrey Deitch, who as a New York dealer had courted Rammellzee for years."

Read the full story at New York Times. Rammellzee  died aged 49, two years ago.

Do you love peanut butter?



Off the newly remastered collection of covers from Hallelujah Picassos, out on Monday. More audio previews on Bandcamp.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taxi Fare

Mr Vegas ft Lexxus - Taxi Fare (Dub Boy's digital refix) - free download. Hat tip to Stinky Jim for the linkage.

RBMA drops 'Various Assets' comp

Red Bull Music Academy releases 'Various Assets' compilation, tunes recorded at the most recent session in Madrid. "... features collaborations and contributions from an array of up-and-coming producers like Ghosts on Tape, Brenmar, xxxy, and many others, not to mention appearances from more veteran acts like Addison Groove and Mark Pritchard. Stream or download the 35-song compilation below."  Free download.

Greg Wilson talks


Last night Conch Records hosted a session with legendary UK DJ Greg Wilson, talking about his DJ career, his approach to edits, and showing us how he worked a Revox B77 reel to reel. It was a fascinating talk, and he has some amazing stories.

Like how he taught Fatboy Slim to scratch. That story was funny as hell. Dated back to 1983, when Greg was doing a tour round the UK called the Hacienda revue, and it stopped off in Brighton. There was this enthusiastic kid called Quentin (aka Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook) who was hanging round the DJ decks asking questions, so Greg showed him the basics of scratching.

Fast forward a few years to Beats International hitting big with Dub be good to me, and Greg is reading an interview with Norman Cook of Beats  International, and he cites his influences as Grandmaster Flash and Greg Wilson. Greg goes, what the heck's that about? He asks an old mate of his (Kermit from Black Grape/Ruthless Rap Assassins), and they remind him of that moment back in 83. Greg tells it way better than I do.




When  Greg got onto the internet, about 15 years ago, he noticed all the various dance scenes being documented, but black culture wasn't being included. He talked about that black culture in the UK going back to the 50s and 60s, even earlier with US GIs coming over to England, bringing jukeboxes with them. The dance scene there didn't start with a bunch of DJs coming back from Ibiza and suddenly inventing dance culture.

He mentioned that some folk say the northern soul scene led into rave, but he noted that there was a 7 year gap between the Wigan Casino closing and rave hitting in 88.

Discussing his edits, he said he's rubbish, technically, but he's got a mate who is really good at all that technical stuff. He put Greg onto a program that he said was prefect for Greg, called Acid, which was ideal for making loops, the basis of a good edit.

He talked about black music from the UK not being taken seriously in its country of origin, as it wasn't American. He namechecked a handful of UK acts, like Cymande and Freez.


He talked about the New York hiphop scene. I asked him about Afrika Bambaata, who used to go downtown to the record pools to get records that no one else in the Bronx had, and wanted to know how Greg went about getting records that were exclusive.

He answered by going into a story about the northern soul scene, which thrived on DJs scoring exclusives that no one else had, using an example of a record DJ Ian Levine found. The rumour went round that he had discovered this amazing, rare record called Theres a ghost in my house and was going to play it that weekend. And he was right, says Greg, it was an amazing record, and later went on to be a chart hit in the UK.

But on the way home from the casino at the end of the night, some folk had stopped off at a service station (gas station) to get a feed, and they were flicking thru the record stand in there. EMI put out these cheap compilations for a pound (records were 3  pounds then) called Music for pleasure, and on the track listing was Theres a ghost in my house.

He wanted to highlight that kind of exclusivity that riddled the northern soul scene, as he said he was not interested in it at all. He wanted to popularise the tunes he found, share his discoveries with everyone.

Don't quite know why this guy on the left was more interested in texting than paying attention to the legendary UK DJ right in front of him, but I do know that 15 minutes after I took this photo, he dropped his cellphone on Conch's wooden floor, and it landed with a resounding thud. Hilarious.


Greg talked about when he got into DJing at 16, he bought a book by a famous UK radio DJ named Emperor Rosco, called Emperor Rosco's DJ Book, and in the back were the addresses of the record companies. Greg wrote to them all and started developing contacts to send him the latest records and US imports, getting on their promo lists.

Greg pointed out that these record promo lists started in 1971, predating the arrival of the much-trumpeted record pools started by David Mancuso and co in NYC by 4 years.

He talked about with his current approach to DJing, he is always "looking for the balance between the past and the present." He mentioned DJing off laptop, but had reintroduced the Revox reel to reel in his DJ setup.

One way he uses it is to drop sound effects and samples into his mixing. He also uses it in the Jamaican dub style, dropping the reel to reel into record, then feeding it back into the mix, creating a live tape delay effect.

So, does he still make edits on tape? For the romance of it (as he put it)? "Madness! No!" He uses a computer, much easier say to make a 16 bar loop - he only has to edit it once, then enter repeat 15 times and it's done.

He talked about when he got back into DJing, after a 20 year break, which was on the back of an old mate of his, Kermit, playing him the first Black Grape album, and asking what he thought of it. Greg could hear where the edits needed to be, so he learnt digital editing using a system popular in radio, called Sadie.

He finished with a quick demo of the Revox, how to chop up tape and find the edit points. It was a very entertaining few hours. Big thanks to Conch Records, Murry Sweetpants, the British Council, and everyone involved in making it happen.

Go see Greg Wilson 1st March at Debajo, Queenstown, and this Friday night at the Nathan Club, Britomart, Auckland. 

RELATED: Greg Wilson in NZ! (Listen to his mixes)
Gregwilson.co.uk // electrofunkroots.co.uk
WATCH: Greg and his flash perm on The Tube, 1983, showing Jools Holland how a DJ mixes records, the first DJ ever to do this on UK TV. Greg talked about this event last night. The song was from David Joseph... Have added Greg's edit below, its's a free download...

"With the new Electrofunkroots site just launched a week ago [late Jan 2012], I thought this would be a good time to share this edit of David Joseph’s ‘You Can’t Hide (Your Love From Me)’, a track I’ll forever have a strong personal association with, given that it was with 2 copies of this 12" that I made my claim to fame as the 1st UK DJ to mix live on TV – on February 25th 1983 at Newcastle’s Tyne Tees TV studio, on the classic British music show, ‘The Tube’."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wax on film contest!


DJ Prestige over at Flea Market Funk has hooked up with Eilon Paz from Dust and Grooves for a very cool contest... open worldwide....

"If you have a record collection, we want to see it. We want you to get creative and show us your collection in the most creative way. It’s a photo contest. It could be a straight on shot, a collage, a digital manipulation or any other image in the medium of photography. Judges are Eilon Paz, DJ Prestige, Rich Medina, B+, Dreams in Audio.

The chosen winners will receive Wax On Film gift packages from Nixon, Tucker & Bloom, Rare Byrds, Listen Clothing, 101 Apparel, Tropicalia In Furs, Cultures of Soul, Hot Peas & Butta, and more! Go here for more details."

If you need some inspiration on ways to photograph your record collection, go and check out Dust and Grooves, where Eilon Paz shoots folk and their collections with incredible style. Get in there!

Picasso core jukebox

Newly remastered swag of Picassos covering everyone from James Brown to Greg Johnson.  Out next monday. Have a listen!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Muppets and McKenzie make award-winning music together

Bret on the red carpet. Hat tip to Gareth A for the pic via Twitter

Wellington's Bret Mckenzie has won an Oscar for his song for the Muppets movie. From The Black Seeds to Flight of the Conchords to Hollywood. Congratulations!

Just checked Bret's EGOT status - he has won a Grammy and an Oscar, but missed out on an Emmy even though he has been nominated 5 times. Still, plenty of time.

ADDED: At Bret;'s post-Oscars interview, he said "I'm looking forward to writing with Jemaine in the future again. Because I'll be able to pull out the Oscar card and say "Mmm, I think we should use this chord . . ." and "I won an Oscar!" See NME.com.

Here's a song from Bret's solo record under the alias The Video Kid. Watch out for the skate cameo from Toby Laing of Fat Freddys rocking the cool headband styles.

Tere and King Kaps



Cool interview with Tere and Kaps, talking about how they do their music independently, working 23 jobs between the two of them.

Mo Kolours

Banana wine... "a free download of the lead track from Mauritian marauder Mo Kolours' forthcoming release, EP2: Banana Wine. It's his best yet, sounding something like a dubstep record as imagined on an island in the Indian ocean some 30 years ago."



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vinyl is making a comeback #260

McKay used bookstore moving to bigger location (The Tennessean, Nashville).
“Vinyl is making a comeback,” Hart said. “We have gotten a good collection of vintage, religious and classical. And we are trying to get as much vinyl as possible..."

With vinyl’s resurgence, what goes around comes around (BYU, Provo, Utah, US)
"No, those aren’t giant black CDs. They’re called vinyl records. As digital music has become more prevalent, a counter-movement has taken place. Vinyl records, having long been confined to thrift stores and the houses of grandparents, are being embraced by listeners and musicians. While this latest trend might feel fresh to some youngsters, it’s really just a new spin on an old favorite..."

Leader: Vinyl flourishes as store opens in Huddersfield (UK)

"Is vinyl making a comeback? The reality perhaps is that for many, it never went away....

...Look no further for proof of the enduring appeal of old style records than a Huddersfield business which is arguably the country’s biggest vinyl dealer.

Vinyl Tap was founded 26 years ago by record collector Tony Boothroyd who buys and sells around the world.

The business is a haunt for music collectors worldwide and trades through 20 websites worldwide. It has existed solely online for 12 years but now Tony has reopened a walk-in shop in the heart of the town.

It seems that there is room for old and new technology to exist alongside each other and that for some, vinyl will never go out of style."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM Feb25

Meshell Ndegeocello - Who is he and what is he to you
Johnny Hammond - Fantasy
Charles Mingus - BS II - RZA remix
Fat Freddys Drop - Bohannon dub
Art of noise - Beatbox
Hank Marvin - Sunday for seven days
Eddie Bo - Hook n sling
Nina Simone - Funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
Jackson 5 - Hum along and dance
James Brown - The bose - Geisha boys remix
African head charge - Dobbyn joins the head charge
Harry Beckett - Fantastic things
Konshens - She love money
Sizzla - Police oppression
Jackie Mittoo - Totally together
Richie Phoe - Sesame street dub
Dawn Penn - No no no
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Victorious dub
Manu Chao - A cosa - Prince fatty edit
Bonobo - Eyes down
Yellow magic orchestra - Computer games
Nona Hendryx - Transformation
DJ Day - Close your eyes
Clarence Thompson and the organisation - Express yourself
Dennis Coffey - Plutonius - Recloose re-dub
Wajeed - Funkin for Jamaica
Geiorge Clinton - Hey good lookin - mirror mix
Dub traffik control - Searghing for stalag

Yellow Magic Orchestra play live on Soul Train, followed by an interview with the late Don Cornelius (first clip)... he starts off with "In case you folks out there in television land were wondering what's going on, I haven't the slightest idea..."




Friday, February 24, 2012

Doug Jerebine live


Doug Jerebine pops up at the Silo Park this Saturday, along with The Cosbys and DJ's Johnny Baker and Matt Crawley, down at Wynyard Quarter, Auckland waterfront. DJs from midday, Doug Jerebine at 2pm, Cosbys at 4pm.

Oddisee live in En Zee


US producer and beatmaker extraordinaire, Live in NZ, March 10. At the Hard Luck Cafe, below Ironbank, K Rd, Auckland. Tickets from 1Night.co.nz. 

I want my MP3...

Trying to produce or reduce your music so it sounds good on weedy iPod headphones is a challenge every musician faces these days. You see kids walking round blasting music from their cellphone's crappy speaker and think "man, my music will end up sounding like that?" It's kinda grim, especially if you love bass... I love reggae and dub, but MP3s do nothing  for those styles - the format displays a distinct lack of bass. And everyone loves a big bottom end, right?

Here's a look at what's involved mastering for iTunes... hat tip to Flying Nun via Twitter.

Ars Technica: "Mastered for iTunes: how audio engineers tweak music for the iPod age".

excerpt... "ITunes Plus tracks available from the iTunes Store use the same 16-bit 44.1kHz quality as CDs, so the same master files created for CD production are typically used to generate the compressed files uploaded to iTunes. However, the compression process can eliminate or distort certain sounds that, while most listeners may not notice consciously, can degrade the listening experience.

"Mastering for iTunes was a different challenge," VanDette told Ars. "You can't get around it—when you throw away 80 percent of the data, the sound changes. It was my quest to make the AAC files sound as close to the CD as possible; I did not want them to be any more loud, hyped, or boomy sounding than the CD."

...Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service agreed it's a bad idea to try and create masters for specific listening environments. "Most modern hits these days are sounding pretty fatiguing and less than ideal on any system to my ears," Ward told Ars. "Though that probably says much more about what is considered to sound good than the skills of the relevant engineers."

"I just try to make things sound as good as feasible for as wide a range of possible playback environments as possible," Ward said. "The only real tragedy would be to make decisions which would penalize listeners with good playback systems by making decisions to allegedly enhance enjoyment on inferior playback systems."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Mayer Hawthorne Relationship Compatibility Scale

Mayer Hawthorne and his band The County return to Auckland to play their own show for the first time  tonight (at the Powerstation), after their debut at Splore City at the start of last year.

In honour of this exciting occasion, Josie Campbell and Paula Moody self-described "Lovers of eating and amusing infrographics", have created the following useful chart...

Four women



From 5000 Ways.... "Teremoana covers Nina Simone’s “Four Women”. Unlike the original, Teremoana omits the final lines of each verse which would name the woman being sung about. Instead of the song closing with the killer line “My name is Peaches!”, it meanders off with Teremoana murmuring “What do they call me?”

Teremoana’s vocals are laiden with trilling, which has the strange effect of making the lyrics hard to understand in places, as if she’s trying to disguise the fact that it’s actually quite an angry, political song.

The video sees Teremoana dressing as the four women. There’s Aunt Sarah with big hair and a floral dress, Saffronia with smooth hair and a stylish waistcoat, Sweet Thing with a 1960s updo, and tomboy Peaches with her hair in Bjork-style mini buns. All four women have long, talonous fingernails.

It’s filmed in black and white in a stylish cabaret setting with dramatic lighting. Teremoana performs with four quite distinct characters – Aunt Sarah is stressed and shy, Saffronia is confident, Sweet Thing is seductive, and Peaches is bold and twitchy.

The YouTube uploader [Teremoana] notes that the song suffered from lack of radio airplay due to its lyrical themes, but says, “Thank goodness a dope ass music video was created which gave it longer television air play.” And indeed the dope assness continues online. Best bit: Teremoana’s loooong fingernails."

Directed by Ross Cunningham. Players: Steve Harrop (upright bass), Steve (Grand Piano and Strings) and Miguel Fuentes (percussion). Recorded at York Street Studios, Auckland.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Christchurch

"A year on, beneath the superficial layer of well-meaning but ultimately empty nods towards a rebuild, this city is dying."

Today marks the first anniversary of the Feb 22 earthquake in Christchurch, where 183 people died, and the inner city was decimated. Ed Muzik (govt name James Dann) is a Christchurch musician, who has survived the many earthquakes in his city. He wrote an opinion piece for the NZ Herald, talking about how his city is now.


"Quake - a year on: Key's NZ is failing the test".


Some excerpts...

"With an event as destructive, as complex, as difficult to describe as the series of quakes that my city has suffered, it is inevitable that the message becomes one communicated through symbols....

... One of the most notable symbols of the rebuild is the renovation of Rugby League Park in Addington, to become the new home for the Crusaders rugby team, Christchurch Stadium. The government has put up some of the money for the stadium, and despite the budget blowing out by $5 million dollars, they are doing all they can to have the park open for Todd Blackadder and his boys.

As with the Rugby World Cup, this government seems to believe that the economic benefits of the sport are both indisputable and so powerful that they they don't need to talk about it; that sport is inherently a "good thing" that will lift the spirits of all in the city....

...Whether he likes it or not, his [John Key's] response to this disaster will end up defining his Prime Ministership in years to come.... For some people, contented with rugby and retail, the government will get a pass mark. But as long as we have people struggling with insurance and EQC, trying to get their heads around the rainbow of colour zones, coming to terms with the loss of jobs, or equity, or both, then Key's New Zealand is failing that test."

Ed Muzik's website, and find him on Twitter: @edmuzik.
NZH: "He's reworked a hit by The Strokes, 12:51, to capture the spirit of his damaged city."





If you're from outside New Zealand and are wondering what Christchurch looks like after the earthquakes, watch this video. One of NZ's most popular hiphop MCs (and Christchurch resident) Scribe, remade a song of his for his hometown, to raise funds for charity. He lost a relative in the quake. Take a look.

Format



DJ Format - Statement Of Intent album sampler. New album features songs with Edan, Mr Lif, Phill Most Chill, Sureshot La Rock, The Nostalgia 77 Quintet and The Simonsound. Out February 27 on Project Blue Book.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Boogie down

KRS One sailed into Auckland on a cruise boat yesterday and stopped for a few hours - on his way to Australia for some shows. Don't worry, he's announced he is coming back to NZ to play live in April.

He met a few locals while he was here yesterday, went up to Orakei Marae too... this is the coolest photo ever.

KRS One also did an interview with TV3 while here, watch the full interview, part one, part two.

ADDED Playing Wellington Town Hall April 20, Auckland (venue tbc) Apirl 21. Woop woop!

Photo credit: DLT

Get up, stand up




Marley is a new documentary on the life and music of reggae's first superstar Bob Marley, made with the blessing of his family. In cinemas April 20. Report from recent Berlin screening.

First shot of Bob speaking is from his interview with the late Dylan Taite, widely regarded as one of the most indepth interviews he ever gave, which may have been cos Taite played soccer with  Marley and his crew beforehand. Also spot the shot of Marley entering the stage at Western Springs.

Synopsis...

"Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive."

ADDED Here's ten minutes of Dylan Taite's interview, from Youtube...

Dance, dance, dance

Fascinating infographic, hat tip to Mark Cubey for this. The suggestion that Facebook might get into audio streaming/sharing is interesting  - or the idea that you could watch movies with your friends via FB. Original here. Or full size version

INFOGRAPHIC: Dance on Demand: A Look at the Modern Social Music Revolution

Yellow snot funk



New video from Homebrew, called Yellow snot funk. Charming, fellas. Homebrew said on Twitter "Thanks NZOnAir. Please don't sue us."

Directed by Askew One, music by Dandruff Dicky. Brandon Haru. Isaac Aeisili. Fave shot - the synchronised dancing in the middle of the K Rd/Pitt St intersection. More a that.

Kickin back



I was reading this great post on record digging on the cheap from  DJ Prestige, and he mentions a cool sounding record...  from Patrice Rushen, called Kickin back. He found a copy on 12-inch while digging for bargains.

"... Out of all the records I got that day, this is my fave. I’ve never seen it on the field before, so for me it’s a good pull. A promo, and from what I have gathered, one of the first in a group of 12″ records put out (besides being a promo), this side has pulled high $200+ prices in the past. Not that that really matters to me, I just want to play the thing. A solid 7 minutes plus of Disco Funk from Patrice on Prestige." There's an MP3 DL of it here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kiwifm 60% local

Press release on Kiwifm rejigging it's 100% kiwi music format.... will it affect their NZOA funding? [answer: no]

"Kiwi FM has announced that as of Monday 20 February it will diversify its music format to include 40% international music.

Andrew Szusterman, Group Programme Director – Music Brands for MediaWorks Radio, says the move is designed to secure a wider audience for the New Zealand music that the station champions.

“We know that audiences enjoy hearing their favourite New Zealand artists mixed in with international artists, so from now on Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Naked And Famous and Kimbra, will play alongside international artists such as Radiohead, Lana Del Rey and Phoenix.

“By adding the best alternative music from around the world, we believe we’ll bring a wider audience to the station and so provide a better platform for the New Zealand music Kiwi FM plays.”

In accordance with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage licence for Kiwi FM [amended by KiwiFM and the Ministry in March 2011 from 100% to 60%], the station will play a minimum of 60% New Zealand music and will still deliver up to three times more New Zealand music than is currently heard on any other commercial radio station. The specialist music shows and announcer line-up of Kiwi music advocates remain unchanged."

ADDED: From Radio NZ: "The programme director for Mediaworks' music brands, Andrew Szusterman, says Kiwi FM has been losing money for years. He says it attracts about 21,000 listeners a week, while the music station with the most listeners has more than 400,000.

Kiwi FM gets $300,000 a year from NZ on Air to produce several New Zealand only music shows and Mr Szusterman says that funding will not be affected by the change."

[NOTE: regarding comparing KiwiFM's 20,000 listeners a week with the station with the most listeners - a better comparison would be BFM or GeorgeFM, which pull around 35-45,0000 a week. ]

ADDED:  Range of responses to the changes at KiwiFM on their Facebook page some supportive, some negative - KiwiFM has replied to several folk critical of the change, saying "We are definitely not a commercial radio station, we are non profit and will stay that way."

[ Karyn Hay, then-GM of KiwiFM wrote an open letter in 2006  where she said the aim was for KiwiFM to work towards becoming a non profit organisation. Was that ever achieved?]

Scott Muir from Dunedinmusic.com (and deputy chair of IMNZ) quoted the then minster Steve  Maharey's press release on the initial arrangement for KiwiFM's frequencies...

"From Steve Maharey's press release: "The government is committed to working with radio broadcasters to grow music," Steve Maharey said. "We support the concept of a station that plays 100 percent Kiwi music, and we're keen that it has the opportunity to develop and expand the range of Kiwi music it plays....

...As part of the agreement to use the frequencies, the station's brief will be to significantly expand its content to include a greater range of New Zealand Music....

...Steve Maharey said airplay of music had doubled since March 2002 when the government and the Radio Broadcasters Association launched a Code of Practice for music content. Kiwi FM was one of the ways the industry could build on that success.

CanWest CEO Brent Impey welcomed the announcement: "CanWest has long been a strong supporter of Kiwi Music. Kiwi FM was launched a year ago to enhance this support. This agreement puts Kiwi in a positive position for the future."

Scott then asked "So exactly HOW does this change square with the above please KIWIFM ?

KiwiFM replied"The Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the Ministry responsible for the administration of the frequencies we use, is fully behind the change. That of course was their decision, not ours."

Martyn Bomber Bradbury (ex Channel Z, the station that KiwiFM replaced) weighed in on the KiwiFM FB page, noting that he has a column about the future of KiwiFM in the new issue of Metro, out next week.

From Martyn's blog: "Why Labour handed over $6million worth of radio frequency ($2million a frequency) to a foreign owned media company without so much as a plan has NEVER been explained to me by members of the Labour Party. When I bring it up with them now they cringe and get flustered.

Now it's not even 100% NZ music, why this scam continues is beyond me. As someone at Channel Z, I told the managers it wouldn't work, 6 years on, surprise, surprise it didn't work."


ADDED Mon Feb 20: NZ Herald has reported on the changes at KiwiFM, using a photo of Debbie Chote of Kiwi FM - unfortunately, it's the wrong station. Chote worked at Te Puke's now defunct KiwiFM community radio station, not Mediaworks' KiwiFM.

The story also states that Kiwi FM grew out of Channel Z - that's untrue. Channel Z was scrapped and replaced by KiwiFM.

The headline for the story says KiwiFM 40% less Kiwi from tomorrow. That's also incorrect. The changes come into effect today - the press release sent out for the changes came out yesterday, saying the changes take effect 'tomorrow'. [headline now reads 'Kiwi FM not so kiwi anymore']

The story closes by saying "Fully commercial radio stations are required to play no less than 20 per cent New Zealand music."  That's incorrect. The quota of NZ music is voluntary.


ADDED Feb 20: Dom Post reports that "Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, who found out about the change from The Dominion Post yesterday (Sun), said he would be in Wellington today and look at the situation.

"I will be asking of my officials that all existing agreements with them are being adhered to and, if not, further discussions need to be had."

Since the New Zealand music quota was removed last year, commercial radio stations continued to play a lot of New Zealand music, he said."

If this last quote is accurate, the Minister is misinformed. The quote was/is voluntary (so can't have been removed as such), and I don't recall hearing anything about it being removed.

One commenter on that story asked "how is Kiwi supposed to achieve anything when it's essentially unmarketed?" That's a good question. KiwiFM has suffered because Mediaworks has spent barely a cent marketing KiwiFM, so they get tiny ratings. No marketing = no audience.

NBR reports that "Kiwi FM's frequency deal with the government expires in June."


ADDED Feb 20, 2.20pm: Radio NZ reports that "Mr Foss says the station was required to play entirely New Zealand music under its intial deal, but KiwiFM changed that provision to 60% when it re-signed its licence with the Government in March 2011."

ADDED Feb 20 730pm: From Radio NZ:  "Opposition parties say the Government has taken the Kiwi out of Kiwi FM by allowing it to reduce its New Zealand music quota." Listen.

Broadcasting Minster Craig Foss says that ICT Minister Amy Adams is now working out what will happen to the three frequencies. "It's part of the greater discussion about this block of spectrum in particular, so no, I am not part of that discussion at the moment," Foss told RNZ.

TV3: Kiwi music industry no longer props up Kiwi FM.


ADDED Feb 21 8.00am: From NZ Herald's media John Drinnan - Concerns over secret deal to cut NZ content. He reports that Steven Joyce was involved in the deal to reduce KiwiFM's local content from 100%  to 60%. "That agreement will be renewed in July, said a spokesman for Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss."

[AMENDED - the NZ Herald story had this note added to it - "This story has been changed from an earlier version that referred to a spokesman for Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss saying the agreement over local content would be renewed in July. An agreement over content will instead be considered in July."]

The story also observes that "deals involving public assets and tradeoffs in regulatory oversight have become commonplace under this Government", highlighting the Hobbit law changes, the SkyCity casino deal Steven Joyce is working on, allowing more pokie machines in the casino in return for them building a major convention centre, and the 2009 deferment of Mediaworks fees for its radio frequencies, effectively a $43 million loan from the Government. Steven Joyce is the former owner of Mediaworks.

A number of commentators, like AUT Radio Lecturer Matt Molllgard (a highly vocal critic of KiwiFM, who is doing his PHD on the station) have suggested the three frequencies, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with their commercial value would be far better left to tender but instead the current arrangement is “just sitting on them”. See also NBR - "There is a suggestion that National should now be putting Mediaworks’ three Kiwi FM frequencies up for tender."

It is my understanding that the frequencies KiwiFM currently uses are a block reserved by govt for community, non profit use exclusively, and cannot be put out to tender to the highest bidder, like standard commercial frequencies.

Of course the Government could regulate to change this, and, as Craig Foss noted on RNZ, these frequencies are currently under discussion by the ICT Minster Amy Adams.

[See Karyn Hay, then-GM of KiwiFM open letter from 2006  she refers to this]

ADDED 23 Feb Indie Music NZ respond to KiwiFM format change... IMNZ hopes that "...in doing so Kiwi FM's handlers will continue to programme "a diverse and interesting range of NZ songs, not just limiting itself to a formulaic 'Nature's Best' style playlist" said IMNZ's chairman Ben Howe.

Howe says "we would wish to remind everyone that Kiwi FM's frequencies were put aside for public access radio of some sort and we advocate a radio entity that has the ability to grow a decent audience, support local music and break new artists - as has been successfully done in Australia with Triple JJJ."

Declaration of interest: I DJed on KiwiFM for three and a half years til June 2011, hosting their High Noon Tea nz reggae and downtempo show.