Saturday, April 28, 2012

Roadrunner caught out

US label Roadrunner has been hit by major staff cuts, including shutting down offices in a number of countries. NZ band Avalanche City signed to Roadrunner in March this year, no word yet what the cuts mean for the band, who have a US tour scheduled for June according to Roadrunner's website. Roadrunner is a sub label of Warners, their NZ label.

Via Digital Music News... "Thursday was an extremely crappy day for the crew at Roadrunner Records. That's because parent Warner Music Group chose Thursday to slash substantial parts of the sub-label, with complete shutdowns happening in several offices outside of the US.

According to executives at the label, offices in the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands are closing, with substantial chops also happening in the US. "Everyone's getting let go, including me," one source flatly told Digital Music News.

... Roadrunner is clearly a venerable brand that stretches beyond metal, and the brand itself definitely isn't getting laid off. Most roles and backend functions are getting rolled into Warner Music Group, though there is talk of skeleton offices or some superficial presence in the various countries.

That said, this looks like a serious gutting. Sources also noted that CEO Cees Wessels is also packing his things, and in terms of a layoff count, Billboard estimates that 36 are being let go - with 16 in the US.

Warner Music Group has been a majority owner for many years, but became the sole owner late last year. Warner has not issued a release on the matter."

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 28

James Brown - Blind man can see it
Foster Sylvers - Misdemeanour
Sly and the Family Stone - Thankful n thoughtful
Wild magnolias - (Somebody  got) Soul soul soul
 Nona Hendryx - Transformation
The Lions - This generation (dub)
Professor Oz - Waves and skank - Grant Phabao remix
Oneself - Paranoid - J-Star remix
Damian Marley - Move
Romanowski - Romjack steady
Akie - Call me Rambo
Rob Symeonn - Message in the music -Shanti Roots dubhouse mix
Zap Mama - Bandy bandy - Carl Craig remix
LCD Soundsystem - 45:33 - Padded cell remix
Sly n Mo - Sensisisms
Black samurai - Information critic
Black grass - Oh Jah
Manzel - Midnight theme - Dopebrother 7" remix
Roy Ayers - Brother green
Patea Maori Club - Poi E
Kas Futialo (aka Tha Feelstyle) - Kaufeai le nu'u
Modern sound corporation - Safari - Greg Wilson edit (free download)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dilla's record collection for sale

Via Pitchfork: "If you want to own a record that once belonged to J Dilla and you live near Detroit, here's your chance. The Detroit News reports (via the Daily Swarm) that Royal Oak record storeUHF has between 7,000-8,000 records that they believe belonged to Dilla. The collection is on sale at the store now.

According to the Detroit News, UHF's Jeff Bubeck got the collection from an abandoned storage unit in Clinton Township. Included in the collection were "mountains of 94-cent Earth, Wind & Fire LPs," but also lyric booklets, junk mail addressed to James Yancey, and cassette tapes labeled "Jaydee Beats." The store released the first batch of the collection on Record Store Day.

Bubeck intends to share some of the proceeds with the J Dilla Foundation, but his attempts to contact the foundation and Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, have been unsuccessful so far. Dilla was a notorious record collector, as illustrated by ?uestlove's heartbreaking "5-10-15-20" story about his prized Brazilian Stevie Wonder EP."

UPDATED Rolling Stone: Michigan Record Store Puts Sale of J Dilla Vinyl Collection on Hold
Detriot News: J Dilla's mother to help authenticate late hip-hop producer's record collection...

Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, the mother of late Detroit hip-hop producer James "J Dilla" Yancey, is meeting today [April 26] with the owner of a Royal Oak record store who says he acquired a stash of Dilla's personal record collection last month from an abandoned Clinton Township storage unit.

Yancey said Dilla indeed kept a large number of his records in a Clinton Township storage facility. When Dilla was notified in 2004 the unit would be closed due to unpaid bills, Yancey says she shipped the records he wanted from the collection to him in Los Angeles, where he was living at the time.

"He knew every record, where it was at, what record it was next to, what record was two records from it, which hand, right hand or left hand of each shelf," Yancey said Thursday. "He knew it like he knew his hand.

"We shipped out everything he had asked for," she says, adding bills ran up to the thousands of dollars. "But we did what we were told."

Jeff Bubeck, co-owner of Royal Oak record store UHF, came across the contents of the locker last month. At first, he wasn't sure what he had; but after digging through the records and finding personal items addressed to James Yancey, he determined it was the personal record collection of J Dilla...."

UPDATED Jan 24, 2013: NME reports that "After his Detroit studio flooded, Dilla put his massive collection of "records, personal test presses and audio master tapes" into storage before moving to Los Angeles in 2004. He passed away in 2006. After his death, the storage unit was lost, but last spring was recovered by Dilla's mother, Maureen 'Ma Dukes' Yancey, reports

Maureen Yancey is now selling off a portion of the collection on eBay, Every purchase comes with a signed and numbered certificate from Maureen Yancey. An online registry of the J Dilla LPs is planned.

The eBay listing reads: "All the J Dilla (Slum Village...etc.) test pressings, personal recordings, personal items, tapes, along with a large portion of the record collection are being held by Ma Dukes for inclusion in a possible future Hip Hop museum and upcoming record release projects."

R.I.P. 'Nanny' Hui Kahu

The vocalist and poi soloist of Patea Maori Club's hit 'Poi-E', 'Nanny' Hui Kahu, has died aged 73. News via NZonScreen on Twitter.

Via "The most memorable voice of New Zealand hit song Poi-E has lost her battle with cancer. "Nanny" Hui Kahu, 73, died this morning at her home in Hawera.

Known best for her work as the vocalist and poi soloist for the Patea Maori Club, those close to her say her death has left a cloud over Taranaki.

Family friend Steve Rangihuna told 3 News she was humble person "who put everyone else first - she was generous and giving".

She was a respected elder who was a great role model to all Maori and her death is a great loss to the country, he said. "She was a great performer and my kids really moulded themselves off her and not only how to perform onstage but off the stage too."

Kahu was a teacher at Hawera's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Ruanui, and was married to Syd Kahu.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Music man Murray

Another music doco... very cool too.

"It’s about an 88-year-old guy and his record collection. That describes Music Man Murray in its most basic form. But there’s a lot more to this music documentary... calling it a “collection” scarcely does it justice. Gershenz has hundreds of thousands of records and tapes – supposedly the world’s largest private trove of music . And he wants to sell it off for $1 million-plus. Or does he?

Following the music film’s broadcast Record Store Day airing on the Documentary Channel, Parks is making it available for free online viewing for a limited time. You can watch it below. Set aside a half hour and discover a real gem with Music Man Murray." Source.

Read more about Murray Gershenz on La Times: Murray Gershenz’s 300,000-plus record collection is no bestseller. "Director Richard Parks decided in 2010 to make his first documentary about the elder Gershenz after he read about his plight in The Times. "When I first got into records, my dad [composer-lyricist Van Dyke Parks, who scored the film] would tell me you have to go to Murray’s,” Parks said. “It was like the temple so he brought me here all the time.”

ADDED August 31 2013: Remembering 'Music Man Murray': Murray Gershenz dies at 91(LA Times)
Murray Gershenz, the record collector turned character actor, has died. The 91-year-old died of a heart attack Wednesday, a source close to Gershenz confirmed.

Better known as “Music Man Murray,” Gershenz spent nearly three-quarters of a century collecting the more than 300,000 records that filled the dusty wooden shelves of his two-story West Adams record shop....

Gershenz sold the collection earlier this year [2013] to a buyer from New York. It took a fleet of 52-foot-long trucks to load up the collection, which was housed in the store and three adjacent warehouses and contained enough records to refill the shop a few times over...."

Curtis #2

Here's the second installment from Pragmatic Theory: Curtis The Album, a tribute to Curtis Mayfield. Check also... Curtis The Beat Tape

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don Cherry mixtape

Beautiful Swimmers from Washington D.C. present a brilliant tribute mix to Don Cherry, the multi-instrumentalist best known for playing the cornet & pocket trumpet with the likes of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Whether this is an introduction to his vast catalogue of world jazz recordings or just a new way of hearing some of it, we hope you enjoy it.

Music by Don Cherry and friends. Mix by Beautiful Swimmers

1. Don Cherry - Brown Rice
2. Old & New Dreams - Song For The Whales
3. Trilok Gurtu - Shangri La/Usfret
4. Don Cherry - Moving Pictures For The Ear
5. Don Cherry & Latif Khan - Air Mail
6. Don Cherry - Journey of Malarepa
7. Don Cherry - Brilliant Action/Amejelo (drum solo Ed Blackwell)
8. Sonny Murray - Black Art (poem Amiri Baraka)
9. Terry Riley, Don Cherry, Karl Berger - Piece 1, Koln Concert 1975
10. Don Cherry - Kamapa Chenno
11. Don Cherry - Love Train
12. Tullio Di Piscopo - Stop Bajon
13. Bengt Berger - Tongsi
14. Old & New Dreams - Guinea

If you want to find out more about Cherry, this feature from The Wire magazine is a good place to start:

Wax docos

Hat tip to Jay for this, its from Musicfilmweb... plus one extra clip, thanks to The Joint.

"... check out these films devoted to the wheels of steel and the stacks of wax, and the places where they still reign supreme.

1. Record Store Day: The Documentary (2012, dir. Jason Wilder Evans)

Evans describes his Record Store Day experience as “a multicultural music lovers’ festival” and that’s the vibe of his short doc, built around testimonials and/or tunes from Buck, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Telekinesis, and others. Along with a side trip to the famed Grimey’s New & Preloved Music in Nashville and the tale of a vintage Big Star white label, the film cuts in scenes from ’50s instructional films on record pressing that remind you just what a miracle it is turning blobs of wax into grooves of joy. The film is slated to be available on demand from SnagFilmson Record Store Day or shortly thereafter. [Update: it’s available now, right here.]

Vinylmania (2012, dir. Paolo Campana)

The official film of Record Store Day 2012 takes Italian filmmaker/DJ Campana around the world to explore his and others’ lifelong romance with records. In conjunction with RDS Vinylmania has been screening on college campuses and in record shops all month (including today in London and New York and on April 20 in Paris – check the film site for details), and it will be out shortly in a special edition double DVD in several European countries. (Learn more about the movie in our interview with Campana.)
3. Red Beans and Rice Vol. 2: Audio Vibes (2012, no director credited)

Following up on 2010 digging doc Red Beans & Rice, Milwaukee indie hip hop label Jamille Records offers up another heaping helping of tales from the stacks, with vinyl junkies ranging from a young punkette to a wizened British reggae hound recalling their first and best scores. Refreshing for its preponderance of women, considering how widely record collecting is viewed as a Y-chromosome thing. You can watch it in entirely below.

4. Last Shop Standing (2012, Pip Piper and Rob Taylor)

Based on the book by Graham Jones, Last Shop explores the “rise, fall, and rebirth” of British indie record stores, whose numbers have begun ticking up in recent years despite iTunes and the recession. Johnny Marr, Fatboy Slim, and Billy Bragg are among those offering dusty-groove memories. The filmmakers are in the final weeks of an IndieGoGo campaign to cover post-production costs in preparation for a festival run and autumn DVD release – have a look here to help out.

5. Brick and Mortar and Love (2012, dir. C. Scott Shuffitt)

With iconic Louisville shop ear X-tacy and its struggle to survive as his focus, filmmaker (andLebowski Fest co-founder) Shuffitt looks at the cultural and community role played by brick and mortar indies and what’s at stake if they disappear. After a Louisville premiere last week the movie makes its festival bow at the Nashville Film Festival, including an April 21 screening at the aforementioned Grimey’s.

and … Record Paradise: The Musical Life of Joe Lee (2012, dir. Michael Streissguth)

Less a traditional record store doc than a profile of a quirky keeper of the flame, particularly resonant for me in that my own audio education got a major boost at one of Joe Lee’s suburban DC shops. Johnny Cash biographer Streissguth tells the story of this black sheep of a blue blood Maryland family (son of a governor, great-grandson of a senator) whose music jones led him to open a series of locally beloved stores, all called Joe’s Record Paradise, and become a keystone in the Baltimore/Washington sonic scene.

SOUND IT OUT is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England.

TRAILER: SOUND IT OUT - A documentary by Jeanie Finlay from Jeanie Finlay on Vimeo.

KRS One photos

Danny D of Dam Native, doing The Horified One. Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

KRS One  Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Che Fu exits Sony

Che Fu announced on his Facebook page today that he's looking for a new record label to release his new music. Che says: "I've been shopping around for record deal with all the other major players this year as I've left SONY NZ.

"It has been great working with them over the 8 plus years, but their reluctance to put my music out and constant analysing of my single choices has led me to leave. Today was a good day. Im evaluating my options now as you read this..."

Review: KRS One at The Studio, Auckland

When New Zealand hiphop fans heard news reports that legendary New York hiphop MC KRS One was stopping off here on the way to Australia back in December, a lot of folk, myself included, started pleading on social media for some promoter to land a show here with him. He chooses to travel by cruise ship, so was due back here at some point. There were various whispers and then we got the good news - his NZ shows were announced in February after promoter Ginnen Group signed him up.

Opening acts for this hiphop pioneer included some of Aotearoa's hiphop pioneers - DJ Sirvere, MC Slave, and Hedlock, a group comprised of King Kapisi, Che Fu, and Teremoana Rapley.

Heldock also pulled in a few very special guests - like Manuel Bundy, Slave, and Danny D from Dam Native, who came out to deliver The Horifed One with Teremoana, and then the killer hit - Che Fu introducing DLT onto the stage, and DLT drops Chains, with Che upfront singing it (watch it above).

The whole place cheered and hollered, it was very special to see DLT acknowledged by the crowd for one of the songs that is a defining moment in our musical history. Chains was number one for six weeks, back in 1996, when NZ hiphop was all but invisible in the mainstream.

Che Fu. Photo: Mr Rimoni
DJ Sirvere returned to the stage, keeping the crowd energised, and then KRS One's DJ took over, dropping about half a dozen hiphop classics. KRS One's voice then boomed out from the PA, from backstage, calling on his DJ to play one more song, then he said "We're gonna get this started right." So KRS One was welcomed onto the stage by a powhiri. Damn!

A man with a conch shell walked out onstage and blew it into the mic. Two women joined him, singing a traditional welcome calling KRS One to the stage (they were from Ngati Whatua, I heard). He came running out and hugged each of the welcoming party, and then it was on.

KRS One spent the next hour and a half rapping up a storm, throwing down lyrics effortlessly. I won't attempt to name all the songs he dropped, but my favourite was hearing Jack of Spades (with a super cool reggae sample looped up), which he reminded us was from a movie by Keenan Ivory Wayans, called I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

KRS One paused a few times, got his DJ to turn the music down so we could hear him. He dropped an acapella piece half way thru the show that was KRS One rapping lines from a ton of classic hiphop tunes, all jammed into one mega-verse. It was incredible. His energy level the whole night was just was insane. He even rapped over a piece of classical music at one point.

He told the soundman what to do, turn it up! was an oft-repeated phrase of the night. He also wasnt happy with the venue security people standing front of the stage, and told them to move away to the side, cos they were blocking the view of the people down front. They didn't budge.

So KRS One turned round and called to the back of the stage "Where's my security?"and out came two tall men in black suits, who waved the venue security to the sides, which they did. KRS One was in control of this show, and he wanted us to know it.

At one point the told the crowd "I'm gonna come down there and you can get some photos with me..." pointing to the side of stage. Next thing, he's plowing thru the crowd, still rapping, posing for photos, and then makes his way back to the stage, and says "I'm gonna go back down there in a minute." Dude was fully interacting with the crowd.

Finally he wrapped up the show, telling the crowd he will be giving a lecture on the foundation of hiphop at the museum tomorrow (Sunday), continuing the conversation of the show, but he stopped to check with the folk backstage - "they all know which museum, right? Cos there's more than one museum here... oh, they got it. Good!"

His last words were addressed to the police, who didnt want hiphop down at The Cloud because of fears of violence (see below for the official quote). He used that distinctive line from an NWA song on the cops (as also used by Tiki Taane), and he told us to tell the Police that hiphop isnt about violence, it's about peace, love, unity and having fun. And he was out.

It was a great night. You don't see hiphop shows like that here every day. When KRS One said that what we were seeing was a historic moment, he was dead right. It may have sounded like a grand claim, but he delivered on it. In spades.

KRS One. Photo: Mr Rimoni
The venue choice for the Wellington show was the beautiful Wellington Town Hall, but Auckland got The Cloud, a flash tent on the waterfront originally built for the Rugby World Cup. The promoter said they went with that venue as it was all they could secure at short notice.

Having attended The Specials concert in the space next to The Cloud, Shed 10, it was pretty obvious that you would have major noise issues at The Cloud. It has no sound insulation, no solid walls, and faces The Hilton and apartments opposite, and apartments on Quay St.

On the Friday before the show, the promoters announced they were moving it to The Studio, on K Rd, citing "strict sound restrictions and licensing issues which have recently come to our attention that does not help us to proceed with this event at the Cloud due to the Police not approving our license because of their negative view on “RAP MUSIC” being at the Cloud."

The statement from the Police that was doing the rounds on social media on Friday quoted Inspector Derek Davison, saying "Rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole". The Police felt this was the case in Auckland with a Council-owned venue, but as far as I know wasn't an issue for Wellington Police with the venue down there, also Council-owned.

While seeing KRS One on K Rd made a lot more sense than on the waterfront, cos let's face it, K Rd is way more hiphop than the waterfront, it still sounds odd. That quote is from an email from Police to the original venue and the promoters, and it would be interesting to see what context that statement was made in.

You have to wonder why we paid almost $10 million for a venue that we were promised would be of use to Aucklanders beyond the RWC, but now sits largely empty on the waterfront like a white elephant. In August last year, Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett said The Cloud will be on Queens Wharf for at least a decade. That's a very long time for a venue that was only actively used for six weeks, during the RWC.

The only public event I can find that has happened at The Cloud since the end of the RWC was the NZ Beer Festival. An event celebrating alcohol is okay but not one celebrating hiphop?

And hang on, Che Fu performed down on the waterfront at a recent event featuring a number of hiphop acts, BaseFM's Shake And Bake gig, at the Silo Park over in the Wynard Quarter. There were people sitting round drinking alcohol outdoors, and listening to rap music. No violence, no arrests, no trouble. Just people having fun.

Slave. Photo: Mr Rimoni

WOOP WOOP! Added: Russell Brown posted the full Police email on Public Address, Plus some more correspondence around the event...

Hi Connie and Cathy – to advise that NO SPECIAL LICENCE will be issued for this event.

There are a whole range of factors behind such a decision;

lateness of the application (although that has been disputed)
because of the lateness Police have not had adequate time to report on the Matter (and statutorily are not required to do so because of said lateness)
type of event – rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole
probability of abuse of alcohol causing disorder within and outside the event – alcohol is a crime driver there are many licensed outlets in the CBD to which patrons could avail themselves before and after this event

Otherwise, this event will be visited and monitored by Police on the night.

I will advise the Shift Commanders, Downtown staff and Northern Communications Centre accordingly.

Inspector| Special Operations Planning Group (SOG)

An email in which the promoter addresses the lateness question:

Now when he said the lateness of application…I was shocked as we submitted a while ago, then sat with council saying yes approved at compliance meeting with the Venue staff, my Security team, my bar manager and my business partners. The council apparently said it got lost for a week….

And a response from Davison to Greer Flynn, who was involved with the show:

Good morning Greer.

As I indicated in my telephone conversation with you this morning.

Police will not alter their stance in regards to your liquor licence application.

Had the Police been involved with your event from the outset, then this matter would have been better addressed.

I can say here and now, it would still be most unlikely that Police would have agreed to the granting of a special licence even had we been at that meeting given the nature/location of the event.

RELATED: Ingrid Grenar reviews KRS One's gig and lecture
KRS-One lectures Auckland in hip hop:  KRS One's talk at Auckland Museum...
Volume Mag's Danielle Street reviews KRS One

ADDED Sunday April 29 from today's Sunday Star Times: No home for rap at Queens Wharf. Unfortunately only half of the article is online, the other half, with comment from Waterfront Auckland's Bob Harvey saying that The Cloud was desperate for bookings - it only has 6 upcoming events booked for the main space - plus a list of events happening at the Cloud since Dec 2011 when Waterfront Auckland took over, doesn't appear online - print only.

It notes a list of 11 events that have been held in The Cloud and are reported to have attracted a total of 16,000 people. I looked up attendance on the NZ Beer Festival, and that accounted for a crowd of 10,000.

No requests

This photo is doing the rounds on Facebook and other social media, have heard that it's a Bacardi ad. DJ DRM from Bastard Jazz said on Twitter that "this DJ facepalming pic that's going around is a f'ing bacardi ad and suggests that hitting a woman is funny and/or deserved. #notcool". What do you think?

Bobby Womack, new album mini-doco

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rackets vs C Knox, RSD

 Hat tip to Alan H for sharing this via Twitter. Plus, below, an interview with Knox from SBS Australia, done in 1990. He also does two live songs, finishing the latter, Song for 1990, with the statement "We're getting a National government in New Zealand, and all will be lost..."

ADDED There's someone with a very flash looking video camera in shot, and Cheese On Taost report that "...a multi-angle, high definition clip shot by the wonderful Georgia Schofield is also in the works – she’s working on the edit right now." Cheese On Toast also have a video clip via Simon Kay of the whole song, go watch it here.


Benny Tones remixes Scratch 22