Thursday, March 29, 2007

Free music
Now that I have your attention - I recently did a remix for local reggae band The Midnights - its starting to get a bit of radio play around the place, and is now available thru, and if you're quick, you can download it for FREE.

Go grab a copy and let me know what you think. It's the first official remix I've done. Tune is called Outside Looking In, and features on the latest Conscious Roots Vol 3 compilation of local reggae/downbeat.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

William H Macy disses co-stars of Wild Hogs using only a ukulele and his razor-sharp wit.

Funny- and very true. Tim Allen is a tool.

Clip is here. Well worth watching.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 24
Joe Dukie and Fitchie – Midnight marauders (Mu’s triple 5 steppa dub)
Beat conductor - Hottest dub
Sly and family stone – You caught me smilin'
Roy Ayers – Funk in the hole (Platinum pied pipers remix)
Michael Olatunji – Soul makossa
BT Express - Peace pipe
Nina Simone – Seeline woman
Revolutionaries – Skanking
Tony Allen - Ole (Moritz von Oswald remix)
J-live – Satisfied
Cool Calm Pete – Wind sprints inst
Wreck allstars – Hit em like this
Al Green – Love and happiness (Shoes edit)
Massive attack vs Mad Professor -Bumper ball dub
Dead beats – I can break it down
Romanowski – Romjack steady
Asterix - Sweetest girl
Phillis Dillion – Rocksteady
Ozomatli – Superbowl sundae (Peanutbutter wolf remix)
Sergio Mendes - Mozambique
War – Cisco kid
Rodney Hunter feat Paul St Hilaire – Vampire
Roots radics meets King Tubby – Love and understanding
Oneself -Temptation
Joni Rewind – Uptown ranking
Tenor saw - Pumpkin belly
Jimmy London – I’m your puppet
Blondie – Denis

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sufferah's Choice
Some of New Zealand's best-loved DJs are joining forces to raise funds for DJ Big Matt: all proceeds from the event will go to 'Big Matt' Watson and his family as he undergoes treatment for gastric cancer.

Sufferah's Choice will feature DJs Stinky Jim, Maiden Hong Kong, Selecto, Peter Mac (Dub Asylum), Dubhead, Slave, Manuel Bundy, Submariner, Cian, Junior, Bobby Brazuka, Slowdeck, The Chaplin, Ruffian & Mikey Sampson plus reggae soundsystems Jugglin Crew and Jafa Mafia.

Sufferah's Choice will be held at Auckland's Galatos, Friday 23rd March from 9pm. Presale tickets are $10 from Real Groovy, Conch and Beat Merchants or $15 on the door. Before midnight, door tickets are $10.

The Auckland Vinyl Record Collector's Fair will take place at Polish House, Morningside this Saturday March 24.

Stalls include New Zealand vinyl and music posters and plenty of vinyl including import, 60s, rare, dance, reggae and many other styles. The event also has stalls selling turntables & accessories.

The venue is the Polish House Hall, 1 McDonald St, on the corner of Ethel Road, off Sandringham Road, opposite Eden Park. The fair runs from 10am to 3pm. There is a $2 entry fee.

One of the stallholders is legendary soul and funk specialist Murray Cammick. You can also catch him DJing at C.A.C. on Wednesday March 28 from 7pm to 10pm. C-A-C Bar & Eatery is located at 26 Normanby Rd (off Boston Rd), Mt Eden.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Go the Naki.

So, I spent the weekend in New Plymouth, and so did me old mate Trevor Reekie. He went to Womad, I went to my Mum's birthday party. I had a good time, sounds like Trevor did too. Here's his report. (Yasmin Levy photos above and below taken at interview by Michael Flynn)

Friday 16th March 07 :
Caught the shuttle and flew to New Plymouth for WOMAD - missed the New Plymouth shuttle, hopped into a ($35) cab to the orange Apartments in Bell St . Unpacked, looked at my notes and had a wee lie down before making my way on foot to the site.

Walking thru the bush of Brooklands Park listening to tuis and wood pigeons .. for someone who gets nervous away from the sight of concrete it's quite wierd... went to the meet and greet for the media in the drizzling rain. Met Sally who does the PR for Womad and she was incredibly forthcoming and helpful... thats a bonus in this gig.

Yasmin Levy did a quick number along with Mahotella Queens - who were three 65 year old South African aunties who could give Mick Jagger a run for all his money. So much energy and hilariously funny too boot! Went up and hung out for a while in the food arena before doing my first interview with Gotan Project, who can't tango but if u sell as much product as they do, who fucking cares. Their first single they released themselves (cos no-one else would) and at the time they couldn't decide whether to press 500 or a thousand .... the first album then went on to sell over 3 million units world wide .. They were nice guys and gave me a bunch of CDs. These guys are as business savvy as they are at spotting holes in the market. Tango has been very good
to them!

Had some dinner and the weekend started . Huun Huur Tu are 3 Tuvian (a small Siberian country of 150,000) throat singers harmonizing together .. Its like a herd of whales ... A totally out of it noise like you've never heard before . Saw a lot of people, old friends and people who's names I'd forgotten .. in fact Womad is a bit like a party where every room you walk into is playing different music and u meet different people in all of them ... the atmosphere is eclectic and electric .

The weather held and the park was pulling 35,000 over the 3 days . It's not that big a park - loads of stalls , food , 5-6 performance stages, and all sensibly programmed - crowds from all walks of life who even bring their own deck chairs with wine holders. I didn't know you could buy deck chairs with built-in wine holders but hey I'm inner city and don't have a deck so how would I ?

Gotan Project was the big one on Friday night . It's a big slick show with loads of technology (they have 2 major mixing desks just for side of stage and a shit load of their set is coming off computers, not to mention lights and video screens).... and a big band.

Ten people floating on and off stage thru the nite including a gorgeous female string quartet, a piano player, a bandonian (an accordian /concertina sounding type instrument that originated in the churches of Germany and made its way to the whore houses of Buenos Aires) .. Gotans acknowleged that Brooklands Park is one of the most beautiful places they have ever played ... huuuuge crowd response!!!

Sneaked off after their set and went back to my room to write up my notes and rest up for tomorrow .. .. very hungry, thirsty and tired . And the electric jug in my room doesn't work. . .

Sat 17th March 07 ;
Woke up at 8 am after a good sleep. Certainly better than the AK CBD on a Friday nite. Had to go look for a shop to buy supplies. B/fast at McDonalds. Starting to rain. Man, I walk a lot. big BIG day today.

Made my way to the festival site, grabbed a coffee and set up to interview Etran Finatawa (Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads) and what people they were - they are remarkable and special... Like from another planet. they have had lives that we could not possibly comprehend and yet they are blessed despite generations of political misrepresentation. They have humility and at the same time are fiercely proud. Beautiful people. I gave them a Nigel Gavin CD and they gave me a silver wrist bracelet . It was a special moment...

Saw Holly Smiths set which was a great performance and an important gig for her .. did an interview with Mr Scruff. Nice guy. Bright. Another English DJ who knows his shit, said some good things like "I like being out of my musical comfort zone". Then at 3pm did the live phoner for the 101 show - after finding a land line that worked (thanx Sally) . It took a while to
sort out that the toll-block on the phone was ass-about-face, ie I could ring RNZ but they couldn't ring me... Bizarre!

Straight after did the interview with Lila Downs. She remembered our previous phone I/v last year when she was cooking dinner at her Mum's house in Mexico. She was something else. Stunning attire. Pleasant. Easy to be with. There aren't many interviews with a female artist that include a discussion about table dancers and hookers.

Following that did an interview with Samba Sunda from Java but it didn't go that well. I just didn't know their stuff . And he wasn't easy to be with (probably cos he knew that I just didn't know their stuff. These guys have released something like 14 albums in Java but they aren't available here). Plus their NY manager sitting in with us made for an unwelcome dynamic.

Last interview was with Billy Cobham. He was ok and lightened up for a couple of questions - but having a 3rd person in the room changed the dynamic again - especially when it was his wife who he's obviously scared of.

When she left he told me a story about how in the mid 60's the 'unofficial' employment exchange for musicians was a bar in 57th street... Its where Mingus or Miles rang to get musos for a gig that night, or women looking for their partners and husbands, or drug deals going down. One wall is lined with pay phones that only accepted incoming calls. I suspect Billy is a hard man coz when I suggested that George Benson was a person who gave him one of his early breaks he came back pretty quickly with a rebuttal.

The rain finally came and I blame Don McGlashan - it started after his set which the crowd loved. I hung in there sheltering under a tree. Stayed for Lila Downs which didn't seem to connect to me . Maybe it was the weather . Maybe I was too far away . Maybe I was expecting too much! Yet straight after her set, Yasmin Levy's gig (also in the rain) was non-negotiable. It was both brilliant and inspiring . She is the real deal. Possibly one of the greats! You can hear generations in her voice. She really emotes and her voice can fill your entire universe... I saw a woman break into tears ...

I stuck around for a bit of Salif Keita - he is a World superstar and the ability of his Malian band reflected that. He will be paying them top wages but so so worth it . virtuoso musicians. The bass solo I heard this guy do was insane - and I hate bass solos - everyone was moving . Yambo Yambo is a killer song. Infectious. They must put something in the water in Mali cos so much of their music is engaging .

I've learned something from this weekend, and that is the power of music. Yasmin had it. Etran Finatawa have it. What I mean by that is (personally) over the years I got so sucked into the major label advances and making records I never wanted to hear again that I forgot about integrity.

Making Nigel Gavin's album was a step in the right direction but of course outside of his tours and Marbecks etc it wont sell ... I needed to break that cycle of believing that a things worth is determined by what it sells. I needed to feel and believe that it aint necessarily what you get for it, its what you become as a result of it.

What Etran Finatawa reminded me is that we have the luxury of worrying about things like how we are perceived, promotion, marketing, money and how that equates to success. Etran Finatawa is more worried about lack of fucking water, being politically denied and where his grandparents are going to die and be buried. He knows he has been chosen to play music to give a voice to other Wodabe and Toureg peoples...

I'd forgotten that music is a voice, not a fucking mp3 with a video that has conned some young woman into flashing her cleavage so she can be on tv, and that some fucking idiot can feel good about him/herself because he/she is desperately grabbing at their chance of 15 minutes of fame by stringing a few cheap and puerile rhyming couplets together...and I appreciated the
reminder because, like a near death experience, it helps re-establish some truth and confirm the beauty of what we (sometimes) have ... it's grounding. Humbling even.

Music is their medium. They tell stories and correspond and communicate with music. The problem with Western music is we turned it into a vulgar, commercialised fashion industry that only a few can survive in . Now it has got to a point where it says bugger all. Its been over-marketed. These Womad people make music that emotes. They are driven by story-telling, communication, tradition and respect. It breeds integrity. There seems
to be so little integrity in western music right now !

Biggest difference between a Big Day Out and a Womad = singers!

As I was walking home in the drizzling rain a hoon leaned out his car window and yelled at me. Remember when people did that! [In New Plymouth, they still do]

Sunday 18 March 07 :
Oh dear oh dear oh dear , its pissing down and has done all nite. Its wet wet wet wet! I don't think it could really get any wetter. The maori guy who runs the Orange apartments gave me a lift to the local Eftpos and then up to the gates of Brooklands park . So hospitable. He's from Porirua and theres many hearts of gold from that neck of the woods...

First assignment of the day was an interview with the remarkably beautiful Yasmin Levy - she was great and I think it was a good interview . She gave me this kind of 'what have we got here' look . When I told her that I'd interviewed her before on the phone she said she remembered - as did Lila Downs yesterday .. so that puts me in the unique position of being remembered by two of the most charasmatic women in world music today!

I gave her a copy of Nigel Gavin's album (Nigel will approve of that one). She told me that her guitar/oud player (cos I'd complimented him) has only been with her for 3 gigs. They honestly play like they grew up together. next task was to do a live phoner to Lynn Freeman for her Arts programme . I gushed a bit, but that (hopefully) gave it an authentic ring, then met up with Maaka and Mina from Wai . Two of my favorite people who I knew from Southside of Bombay. Mina wrote Kia mau. Im so glad I did that coz I had to blow it out yesterday, so to go back and pick it up (when I so could have just forgotten it) showed some commitment and respect to them...

Then did a one on one interview with Mariza. She is not what I thought she would be. This woman is young, feline and very Very ambitious. She has come up thru the ranks very seamlessly and successfully. She tolerates the interviews because it will get her where she wants to go. She is not interested in connecting except en masse - she is an artist machine who has total animal magnetism. Although that's not what comes out of her image on her product. A very difficult interview cos I knew she was on auto-pilot despite throwing in a couple of curveball questions. But any man can forgive anyone who looks as exotic, beautiful and wild as she does.

I saw Etran Finatawa perform (they're very raw but people loved them). I loved the way they don¹t use a tuner. The main guy (who gave me the bracelet) sort of just tunes to the bass player in a 'that's close enuff for nomadic desert blues' type fashion. Like we used to in the 70's before
electronic tuners were available.

My last interview, so, returned back to the motel, dumped my gear (that bleeding DAT player as left me permanently leaning slightly to the left) , got changed into dry clothes and returned in time for Marizas performance on the main stage, with the ducks and moonlight reflecting on the water of the main stage ... It was cold and starrily lit... and packed... perfect really. The deck chair with wine holder brigade were out en masse.

Mariza enters and she is so dressed to kill. She could close airports. Her band concisting of acoustic guitar, string bass, violin and viola and Portuguese guitar are all exceptional virtuosos - she is like a panther in slow motion , a class act in every respect! She has a soaring and exceptional voice and her vocal dynamics are similar to how Buddy Guy uses his guitar - brings it right down to pin drop material.

This woman is so astute that she orchestrates her photographer to come out on stage mid set and photograph the crowd cheering behind her (4 photos) and then she tells the audience that they will soon be posted up on her web site Is that savvy or what!?! ... she has all the moves .. she slinks out her vocal with total command - Mariza is a young Portuguse/African Eartha Kitt - whereas Yasmin Levy is a Ladino Lady Day - she's Billie Holliday ... an artist who tells stories and who relies on nothing but her voice. Yasmin is truly destined to be one of the greats. While Mariza will pack out Carnegie Hall weeks on end !

The final performance was (for me) Lila Downs. I really wanted to see her play well on a smaller stage . I had the feeling they were struggling with the sound a bit but when they hit it, they really nailed it! . She is extremely good - her harp player probably delivered the solo of the entire weekend . He performed this virtuosic two-hand solo on a full size harp that was kind of like a Jerry Lee Lewis piano solo. It was totally on the note and he did every thing except flip it over and jump on it.

Note : despite it being cold, crowded and very late ,all 3 artists (Yasmin, Mariza and Lila) did autograph signings straight after their shows for at least 45 - 60 mins.

Monday 19th March 07 :
I feel like Ive been away on an expedition like Colonel Fawcett. I'm stuck in New Plymouth til 3-35pm which is a waste of a day - on the plus side it is a drop dead beautiful day... Had a cup of tea with Johnny (I gave up on my electric jug) and went and had breakfast with Daniel Keighley. Good to see him. - met Johnny and Cressida from Womad. It can only be considered a
wildly successful gig. Caught a cab to the airport and hung out. Lila Downs was there as well, in fact I sat behind her on the flight back to Auckland. We talked at baggage claim. She told me her new kiwi tattoo is stinging. I wished her Bon Voyage ....and caught a shuttle home in Auckland rush hour.

"This next song is from an EP that we made. It came out on our computer."

from Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim deRogatis...

Overheard at SXSW:

• "Within five years, no CDs will be sold anymore. Or maybe CDs will be sold, but only the way vinyl is sold now." -- David Byrne during a talk entitled "Record Companies: Who Needs Them?"

• "This next song is from an EP that we made. It came out on our computer." -- A member of Tulsa onstage

• "There will always be a music business. Music is something a lot of people in the world just can't live without. What we just have to do is figure out how to survive." -- Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records

• "What passes for intelligent generally isn't." -- Iggy Pop

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM March 10
Sister Nancy - Big Bam remix
Mad lion - Girlzz
Chosen few - Tears of a clown
Tubbs feat Dallas - Five day night (Fat Freddys Drop remix)
Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren band - Savannah
Skeewiff - Three piece suite
Scientist - Love you dub
Butch Cassidy sound system - Burning sun
Ohio Players - Mister Mean (from the movie of the same name)
Thelonius Monk - Monk's dream
African head charge vs Prof Stretch - Brother of reality
The monks - Rock me
Groove armada - Tuning in dub playing Ak March 27)
Black Grass - Oh jah (playing Ak March 16)
Tony Allen - Isle Nla - Wareika hill sound rework
Roots combination - Spoony bill
Herbie Hancock - Wiggle waggle (playing Ak May 6)
Aaron Neville - Hercules
Kathleen Emery - Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Ray Barretto - Acid
Zed bias -Jigga up
DJ Farrapo and Yenez - Biano vem
John Gibbs and US steel orchestra - Steel funk
Barrington Levy -Collie weed

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM March 3
Trinidad steel band - I want you back
James Brown - Funky drummer (DJ Muro remix)
Jimmy Bo Horne - Let me be your lover
Jackie Mittoo - The sniper
Reggie Stepper - Drum pan sound (Shoes re-edit)
Stephen Marley - Traffic jam
Barrington Levy - Many changes in life
Joe Gibbs - Love the one you're with dub
Cornell campbell - Boxing
Quantic soul orchestra - Feeling good
Bobby Hughes Experience - Ore twenty fore
Main ingredient - Don't you worry bout a thing
Al Green -Love and happiness Shoes re-edit
Rae and Christian feat Pharcyde - It aint nothing like
Bo Diddley - Shut up woman
DLT - Without your MC
Cornell Campbell - My conversation
Midnights - Outside looking in (Dub Asylum remix)
Breakestra - Keep on playing
Antibalas - Ice
Yabby you - Heads a roll dub
Plastic junk - Man from atlantis
Young disciples - All I have in me
Ranking Joe meets Wai Wan - Dubwise
The monks - Rock me
Senor coconut - We are the robots

BASE FM are starting a regular night down at Suite Bar (near the bottom of Hobson St) this thursday, and I'll be DJing down there, starts 9pm. Chur.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Best closing quote of any interview ever

"I think there's some things you did when you're a certain age that are a fair cop to do again when you're older, and get away with it. And others you shouldn't even try, and nobody wants to see you try. I think people in general in the modern age are totally flummoxed by the idea of being over 40. Terrified, shittified. What I get is the message that people are just happy to see somebody over 40 doing anything that isn't too embarrassing."
And its from Iggy Pop. No surprise there. Read the full interview at The Guardian. That's a pic of a 72 Oldsmobile, like the one mentioned in the article. Sweet ride.

LCD Soundsytem's new album is out this week, they've got a cunning plan...

"what's this thermometer thing about anyway?

ok. very simple. i would like to be a top 40 artist. then i could say "i am a top 40 artist" or things like that. my ingenious idea for achieving said goal is called the i'm-going-to-ask-people-who-were-going-to- buy-the-record-anyway-to-just-buy- it-all-at-the-same-time technique. it goes like this: if you aren't going to buy the record for whatever reason, fair enough. but if you are going to, it would be interesting to do it the week it comes out, because i'm curious, given the "lowered bar" of top 40-ness, if we could get there. then i could call top 40 radio stations and ask them to play my record, which they won't do anyway, but then i can say "but i thought this was a top 40 station?"

it's a lot of work for what basically results in a one-liner, but i'm thinking if i supply super-easy online pre-ordering options, then it's not anyone else's work, really. if you were going to get it anyway, then help me out.

maybe that's my slogan: "if you were going to buy it anyway, why not by it this week."

pretty compelling stuff, no?"

Their album is out thru EMI NZ, who have dropped another staffer... spotted at NZ Musician... "EMI NZ has this week made their unusually efficient Capitol Music Label Manager Lauren Clough redundant while the position Virgin Label Manager hasn't been filled since the departure of Anna Gibson."

Hiphop MC Nas proclaimed on his latest album that "Hiphop Is Dead", and here's a reason why...

"... Some of the ring tones Urban World Wireless sells have nothing to do with music and aren't bought only by hip-hop fans. A popular Three 6 Mafia tone, for instance, says, "Bubba, is that you calling?" Another says there's a "hoe" on the line.

Mike Johns, chief executive of Urban World Wireless, said that anything related to pimping is a "cash cow," and artists can spend an hour in the studio recording voice tones and make as much as in a year of performing. Hip-hop dominates the $5-billion ring tone market..."

Snip from LA Times article, more here (requires registration)

and on another note, please come on down to this gig if you're in the neighbourhood, on next Friday...

Sufferah's Choice
Some of New Zealand's best-loved DJs are joining forces to raise funds for DJ Big Matt: all proceeds from the event will go to 'Big Matt' Watson and his family as he undergoes treatment for gastric cancer.

Sufferah's Choice will feature DJs Stinky Jim, Maiden Hong Kong, Selecto, Peter Mac (Dub Asylum), Dubhead, Slave, Manuel Bundy, Submariner, Cian, Junior, Bobby Brazuka, Slowdeck, The Chaplin, Ruffian & Mikey Sampson plus reggae soundsystems Jugglin Crew and Jafa Mafia.

Sufferah's Choice will be held at Auckland's Galatos, Friday 23rd March from 9pm. Presale tickets are $10 from Real Groovy, Conch and Beat Merchants or $15 on the door. Before midnight, door tickets are $10.

I'll remind ya next week too.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shake N Bake - on this Saturday!

"For the 3rd successive year BaseFM bring you a day out in the lovely surroundings of Western Park. Expect a full spectrum of sound, we got you sorted with Base DJs providing the good vibes, plus live performances from Anbaric and The Unseen.

Witness live graffiti art in progress with a collaborative mural painted by Cut Collective (Trust Me, Flox and SP23) plus special guests on the day. Drinks will flow, the ol barbie will be rockin', plus the prestigious egg and spoon race for those with a competitive streak (ooooh!) We’ll even try our hand at a bit of petanque, bonus points for those who can curse in French. Don’t worry, we don’t do mornings either. Bass drops 12pm…

Saturday 10th March, Western Park, off Ponsonby Rd, down by the kids playground. Sweet.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

North American scum
That's the genius title of the catchy-as-hell single of the new album from LCD Soundsystem, and you can see them playing it live for the first time in the UK here. Shot three nights ago at Cargo in London, it's a bit rough. Hat tip to Fact mag.
I've only just got round to buying their first album (yeah, slow-ass loser) from (on special for $14.95, with bonus disc too), but I can't wait to hear their new one.