Saturday, June 02, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, June 2

Criminal element orchestra - put the needle to the record
Johnny Hammond - Higher ground
Deodato - Superstrut
Solephonic aka Manuel Bundy - Jazzy bizz
Manu Dibango  -Soul makossa
Bill Cosby - Here comes the dope pusher
George Duke - Percussion interlude - Jeremy Sole edit
Gonzalez - Just let it lay
Chaka Khan - Fate - Todd Terje edit
Beastie Boys - Gratitude
Salt n Pepa - Shake your thang
Joint force - Burntime instrumental
Lee Scratch Perry - Like the way you should - Digitial Mystikz remix
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Victorious dub
Jojo Bennett - Canteloupe rock
Jahguidi - Samurai
Justin Hinds - Higher the monkey climbs
The Lions - This generation dub
Dub terminator and Clinton Sky - Going global
Arthur Baker vs DJ Face w Top Cat - Jamaica
Unknown - Last night a DJ saved Billie Jean
Billy Preston - John the Baptist
Melvin Jackson - Funky skull

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pacific Music Award winners

Kas Futialo. Photo: John Selkirk/Fairfax NZ 
The Pacific Music Awards were announced this evening. Congrats to David Dallas, Adeaze, Bella Kalolo and especially Kas Futialo, aka Tha Feelstyle, for winning two awards, including Best Pacific Language Album, for Good Morning Samoa.

Of course it's Samoan Language Week, AND Samoa's 50th anniversary celebrations of its independence right about now... Someone should shout Kas a plane ticket to Samoa, he'd smash it after this...

Best Pacific Female Artist - Bella Kalolo
Best Pacific Male Artist - David Dallas
Best Pacific Urban Artist - Adeaze
Best Pacific Group - Adeaze
Best Pacific Music Album - Kas Futialo, Good Morning Samoa
Best Pacific Song - Adeaze, Paradise
Best Pacific Language Album - Kas Futialo, Good Morning Samoa
Best Pacific Gospel Album - Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust Choir, Lologo Tapu Tokiofa Mutalau Niue - Taofi Lologo 5
Radio Airplay Award - Brooke Fraser, Betty
Lifetime Achievement Award - The Keil Isles
Most Promising Artist - Giant Killa
People's Choice Award - Ria

Water, water, everywhere

New tune from Christoph El Truento, for free DL. "Field Recording, water noises put to bells and chimes."

Hypnotic Brass are coming!

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble return to NZ in July, this time to play their own shows. They were last out here as part of the live line-up of Damon Albarn's crew The Gorillaz, back in late 2010, after playing at Womad in New Plymouth in March that year. They've also played as part of the band backing Mos Def. See them at Auckland's Powerstation July 20, Wellington's Bar Bodega July 21.

The band are brothers, their father Phil Cohran played with Sun Ra, and made all his offspring learn an instrument. They rebelled in their teens and formed a hiphop crew, but eventually returned to brass, moving from Chicago to New York to take up busking on the streets. There are a ton of videos of them busking on Youtube, go have a look.

Preseale tickets from 5th June, via General tickets on sale June 7 from Ticketmaster, Real Groovy, Rough Peel Music.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Remix the Orchestra tomorrow night

Here's a sneak preview, a bit of rehearsal footage for this very cool show... The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with hiphop MCs and DJs (Ermehn, DJ CXL, Frisko etc). 8pm at the Auckland Town Hall, May 31, tickets start at $20. More info here.

Bizarre country/country bizarre

Kiwi singer Aly Cook alerted Simon Grigg via Twitter to this song, which has a guitar lead break that bears a strong similarity to the one in How Bizarre. Aly has played it to Alan Jansson over the phone .. and says her understanding is that Alan feels it's a ripoff. Grigg is looking into it, telling Aly " it's a pretty obvious lift ... Almost a sample (but replayed)."

It's by Kristen Kelly, and is called Ex Old Man, released by Sony. Aly says she's been told  it has just been released as a single in Australia. Listen - live version here at Grand Ol Opry, guitar break at 2.59.

Or watch below, and fast forward to 1.58 to catch the guitar break.

Aly Cook's song Midnight sun is number 14 now on the Top 30 Aussie country tracks chart right now. Nice one. The song is co-written and produced  by Alan Jansson.

UPDATED The NZ Herald Online has picked up my story (thanks for the link), it's on the front page of their site, between a story on the Doha mall fire and a fastfood chain launching a new slice of greasiness. See How bizarre - is that OMC's guitar riff?

ADDED Saturday June 2, 2012 - Aly Cook posted a link in the comments below, from, which includes a statement from her on the issue.
See "New Zealand Singer/Songwriter Aly Cook Finds Herself In A Bizarre' Situation".

ADDED Sept 17, 2013: Audi have created an ad called 'Land Of Plenty' that has marked stylistic similarities to OMC's 'Land Of Plenty', read more on that here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shihad: Beautiful machine

I've been waiting to see some film reviewers tackle the new Shihad doco, as the only reviews I've read to date have been by avowed Shihad fanboys who lack a certain objectivity, shall we say. Here's a couple... if you're thinking of going to see it, go this week, it probably won't last another week, given Ant Timpson was reporting it was averaging 5 people per screen (over 50 screens nationwide)... gotta go check it...

  Helene Wong, NZ Listener, May 17: Shihad: Beautiful Machine " Fans will enjoy this inside look and its generous use of archive footage of both the onstage and offstage life of the band. If you’re not a fan, you’ll still appreciate the choice to focus on the personal stories, even though they track the familiar rise-and-fall arc of most band documentaries.

They’re frank about the personal highs and lows, and there’s a decent section on THAT decision to change their name when they went to conquer America. Although it would have been good to have explained why they chose as its replacement a word that Americans use for a baby’s dummy. I mean, what were they on? Oh, right. 

Overall, as competently made as it is, it never rises above mere document … except for the moment when we first clap eyes on Jon Toogood’s Mum’s splendid tat. Now there’s a story. 2.5/5 

Dominic Corry, " An impressively thorough and entertaining examination of the life (thus far) of one of New Zealand’s most popular bands, Shihad: Beautiful Machine may nevertheless have limited appeal for anyone not interested in Shihad to begin with.

The film takes a clear-eyed view of all aspects of the band’s history, most fascinatingly with regards to their ill-fated attempts to break America. The band members are all admirably frank about this and other topics, and the film brings to light certain conflicts that haven’t been discussed at length before – like guitarist Phil Knight’s drinking problem and the band’s increasing sense of isolation from lead singer Jon Toogood while in America.

The dysfunction makes for a great drama, even if it never quite elevates Beautiful Machine to the level of such iconic band docos as Some Kind of Monster or Anvil! The Story of Anvil. As a celebration of a band and their music, however, it cannot be faulted. It also does a good job of acknowledging the central role the band members’ significant others played in the life of the band.

Assessing whether or not this will play well to non-fans is difficult – I was caught up in every moment, but I love Shihad and I love documentaries about New Zealand subjects. If you have even the slightest interest in either of these topics, be sure to see this movie." 

Bill Brewster in conversation

Last Friday night, Red Bull Studio hosted Bill Brewster in conversation. He was interviewed by Nick D, who got him talking about growing up in Grimsby, discovering clubs, and ending up in New York in the early 90s. It was a fascinating evening.

Nick started by asking Bill, what took you so long to get here? Bill said he never got enough gigs down this way to make it worthwhile, only individual offers for one offs in Japan, Australia. "I was very keen to come here, I knew lots of Kiwis when I lived in New York". He just needed to line up enough gigs.

Nick "Bill  you were born in a sleepy town called Grimsby, can we call it that?"
Bill: "It's a shithole. The name gives it didn't have any record shops, which confirmed its shitness." 

Bill says there were a few electrical shops that had a box of records for sale. They also got some bands through Grimsby, he mentioned seeing Queen early in their career, and the first gig he went to was Leo Sayer.

He had a few friends, who turned out to be gay, and they were into Northern Soul, and they got him into that, which was his first taste of the club scene, in 1976. He saw the Sex Pistols in 1976 on their tour following their legendary foul-mouthed TV appearance with Bill Grundy. A lot of their shows on that tour got cancelled, and they had been scheduled to play in Leeds. That show got canned, and was shifted to the Cleethorpes Winter Gardens at the last minute, where Bill saw them. He was hooked by punk.

Bill moved to London the following year, and got a job as a chef. He had trained in Grimsby, and thought he would have to spend ten years working his way up to get a decent gig, but his tutor told him to write to the top 5 hotels in the UK, and sure enough, one of them hired him. 

In 1980 he relocated to Switzerland for work, and stayed there for two years. He moved back and started a band. They did a demo at Cargo Studio, because Gang of Four and Joy Division had recorded there. Then they sent it off to the top 5 record labels, and got signed, to Kamera (The Fall, Marc Almond, Allez Allez, Palais Schaumburg).

Bill plays a tune - Shack up by A Certain Ratio, and talks about how this tune led him to discover the original by Banbarra [listen], which led him to other music.

He started hitchhiking to Nottingham to go to clubs like Garage, with Graham Park DJing, in 1981. He used to got to Manchester for the weekend, it was a few hours drive from Grimsby. He went to the Hacienda for the first time in 1983 - it had really bad sound. Bill says the mythology of the Hacienda really started with the arrival of ecstasy.

He rattled of a string of artists he heard played at that time, like Grandmaster Flash, Schoolly D, D Train, Gil Scott Heron, The Clash, Soft Cell, early Thompson Twins, Dr John, a bunch more. 

Bill started DJing in 1986. He moved back to London at the end of 86, squatting in Hackney, signing on the dole, and writing for a football mag called When Saturday Comes. 

Bill talked about the time he heard DJ Marc Moore play nothing but house - "It felt like an assault." It was not what he was used to hearing from a DJ. He hated it. He avoided House for the next year - "It was a right old racket." He stuck with rare groove instead.

He had ecstasy at a gay club called Troll, and an hour later he was like "F*cking hell, this is the best thing ever!" He says that he didn't go to any straight clubs for two or three years - "I was a fag hag." The London gay scene is quite closed, he says - not many DJs break out of that scene. 

Bill plays another tune, a House number called  No Smoke by Koro Koro, and while it's playing he throws his hands up and says "I'm f*ckin on one, matey!"

Nick asks if he went to any of those famous nights you hear about, like Danny Rampling?
Bill: "No, I was hanging out with a bunch of fags."

Bill says the first DJ who showed him that DJing was an art was seeing Danny Tenaglia, at Ministry of Sound. He saw how DJs could come on at 230am and play til 9 or 10, and they took you on a journey, thru disco, the classics, and so on. "I was like  'wow, that's what you can do...'. Watching how they mixed and used filters and eqs was a real eye opener."

He started writing for Mixmag, doing some football stuff for them and mentioned he was into music. He freelanced for them, and when he left When Saturday Comes in 93, Mixmag offered him a job. He moved to New York to run their office there a year later - he also ran the DMC competitions in the US for them - he traveled with Roc Raida to the 95 final in the UK, which Roc Raida won.

He discovered New York House music was different to what he'd heard in the UK - they used filters and effects more. Some "couldn't keep their hands off it, like Joe Claussell, working the crossovers constantly. Y'know get ya hands off it mate!"

And then Bill plays a Joe Claussell track. Naturally.

Bill went to the Sound Factory every week, to hear Junior Vasquez play. Vasquez was the resident DJ, and he would play from 2am til 1 - most clubs there had residents, unlike the UK where you had guest DJs playing a two hour set.

Watch: Junior Vasquez at the Sound Factory in 93, interview with him at 6.28

Bill moved back to the UK two and a half years later, with three and a half thousand records. When he arrived in NYC, he had 55 records.

Bill plays a record that was big in NYC, by a British new romantic band that no one in Britain had heard of. He says "I loved that people in New York had really eclectic tastes."

Bill met Frank Broughton a week after he moved to New York. Frank was working as a stringer, writing for various UK mags.

They found there were a lot of people in NYC who knew the history of records in clubs, like you'd talk about a record, and they'd go 'oh that was big in such and such a club, so and so broke it'. They originally wanted to write about New York, as all this knowledge had never been documented, so that was the genesis for the book Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.

They did a lot of research before they started interviewing for the book. Bill later mentions he has 25 years of the NME in his loft, and all of the issues of The Face.

They found they'd interview someone, and that person would say 'you know there was this person before me...' and they'd go off and interview that person. Which eventually led them to Francis Grasso.

Grasso was working in construction, and he'd had a hard life - his face had been rearranged by the Mafia at one point. Grasso didn't show up for interviews, so Frank doorstopped (showed up unannounced at his doorstep) him and they went to a bar down the road at 10am. Eighteen months later Grasso committed suicide.

Bill says that all too often, the people that make history don't make any money. That's what it's like for DJ, guys like Kool Herc. "The role of our book was to shine a light on them. So it was tinged with sadness."

Nick throws it over to the audience for questions. I ask Bill how they decided what stories to put in or leave out of their book. He says they chose to focus on the DJs who came first, not the most famous.

Someone asks him who his favourite interview subjects were for the book. He says Fabio, who is a great raconteur and storyteller, and David Mancuso - "he was completely incoherent, damaged by drugs, and half way through the interview, the waitress dropped a plate of spaghetti in his lap." Which Bill clarifies was an accident  -she didn't throw it at him.

Bill talked about how a kid from Grimsby, or Dunedin, can get online and listen to almost every record ever made now. When Bill was 16, he says it was much harder to find music. It made you value it much more - paying money for an import vinyl rather than a download on Beatport.

Someone asked for his current musical likes. He mentioned Toro Y Moi, and a few others, what he calls bedroom bands. "The thirst for technology in dance music makes it stand head and shoulders above indie music for me."

And how many records does he have? About 12,000, but he moved house a few years back, and his record room only holds 9,500 - the rest are out in storage in his garage. He asked us if we knew of the crazy cat lady? Apparently that was Bill, before he met his wife - living with stuff piled up everywhere. But now his wife has shown him there is a another way to live, as he put it. Hence his record room. His records are sorted by genre, and alphabetical.

Someone asked why he plays off CD? He said that a few years back, airlines in Europe and the UK started clamping down on baggage allowances, and he was getting stung with big fines, so switched to CD.

He rips to vinyl on his laptop.  He described his setup for this as pretty basic, a very good needle on a Technics 1200, thru a mixer, which he said is apparently a no-no. While it's not the flashest setup, he says it still sounds good.

There was a ton of other topics Bill covered, like who he missed out on interviewing for the book  - Shep Pettibone proved elusive, apparently he'd been burnt by his experiences with Madonna and the business. But Bill pointed out they did get some of the originals before they passed away, which he was glad, that they got their stories before it was too late.

The evening came to an end - Thank to Bill, and everyone involved in bringing him out here and putting on the talk. Cheers!

If you feel like you missed out (you totally did), here's Bill being interviewed by expat Kiwi Chris Tubbs. Three parts...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Horified one

From Dam Native, 1996. Watch out for a quick shot of Tha Feelstyle in the middle of this, at 1.50, with Dei Hamo beside him. Looks like a shot from the video for Walls of Steel by Ermehn, with the Feelstyle guesting, from memory. And the closing sample is BDP.

More on the story of why Tha Feelstyle appears on 5000ways. A commenter says "If you look closely, you can see us shooting the Ermhen video in the background and if you look closely in Ermhen’s Walls Of Steel video, you can see Rongotai [Lomas] shooting this video for DN. Rongotai had taken a space in the Lister Building near Kaiun and we co-ordinated to shoot both videos on the same day. This kind of thing also occurs in some other videos as well re: Phil Fuemana and Herman."

BONUS: also reviewed on 5000ways - Behold my kool style, and The Son.