Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Jan 29

Rose Royce - Do your dance
Nile Rodgers - Land of the good groove
Yellow magic orchestra - Computer games
S Tone Ince - Arejar - Soulstance remix
Steel an skin - Afro punk reggae dub
Lightning head - Bookor sound special
Manu Dibango - Soul fiesta
Man Parrish - Hihop bebop
MIA - It takes a muscle

Ruts DC - Whatever we do - RSD remix
Deadly Hunta and Reality Chant - Give thanks
Lord Echo - Rhythm 77
Aloe Blacc - Green lights
Roy Ayers - Love will bring us together
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Nobody's baby
Hawk - Don't judge a book by its cover
Melvin Davis - I must love you
The Emotions - From toys to boys
Kings go forth - Don't take my shadow  - Tom Moulton mix
Gulls - Mean sound - Strategy dub
45nm - Rider
Peikko and Lassi feat Jimi Tenor - Pula dub - Groove mix
Pat Rhoden - Living for the city
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Sizzla - Police oppression - Billie jean riddim
Lutan Fyah - I bun police- Billie jean riddim
Konshens - She love money- Billie jean riddim
Steven Stanley - Binghi riddm dub
Don Carlos - Favourite cup - Juju and DJG remix

Friday, January 28, 2011

Scribe interview on Campbell Live

A week ago Scribe took to Twitter and broke his silence on the scandal surrounding his sales awards ending up on TradeMe. "There's way more to this story than meets the eye but i'll only talk to a journo I trust. @JohnJCampbell The truth must be told."

Earlier today he popped up on Twitter again, to say "The Press are actually harrassing my family members at work..If you want the full story watch Campbell live tonight!"

His interview with John Campbell is frank, honest and surprising. Scribe says he got about $1000 for his awards, but when he tried to buy them back, the pawnbroker asked for $8000. He said that he had pawned them as his family had cut him off from ready access to money, due to his problems at the time with gambling, drugs and alcohol. He admits he learned his lessons the hard way.

As you can see from this interview with Scribe in April 2010, he had hit rock bottom. Three family members had died in 2009, and his partner left him and she and their children moved to Australia. They've since reconciled.

Scribe's appearance on Campbell Live is over here. Respect to Scribe for his honesty. "Im a full time dad and a part time musician".

ADDED The auctions closed , earning $6829 in total. Two awards are off to Peter in Paeroa, and two to Greg in Auckland, A Christchurch strip club did not win the auctions (see earlier tacky story on Press Strip club leads award bidding).

ADDED Sat 29th Jan:  Christchurch paper The Press has transcribed large parts of the Campbell Live interview for yet another story on Scribe, adding in whatever dirt they managed to dig up on him into the mix. You get the impression they are sticking it to him for refusing to speak to them. Way to treat your hometown hero....

...quote from the article -   "Music industry figures say his bid to raise money through a pawnbroker is a "very bad look" - what music industry figures? Who said this? Anyone know? Did The Press lift if off Twitter from someone?

Vinyl revival part 249

This story never gets old. Love it...

"Spain is the leading nation among the Spanish-speaking countries when it comes to the revival of the vinyl and rock music's shift towards lo-fi...."

from NPR Music - "Los Ginkas: Less Disco, More Retumbarama"

Benji B

One of the best nights out I've had in ages was Benji B's last appearance a few years back, at the monthly Turnaround shindig hosted by Cian, Submariner and Manuel Bundy. Benji B is back with the fellas this Saturday, it will be MEAN! Get your dancing shoes on and do it.

The Turnaround Presents: Benji B (BBC Radio One) Saturday 29th January 2011 The Bacco Room, 53 Nelson St, AK. Tickets from Conch Records, 115A Ponsonby Rd.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Real steel

The Esso Trinidad Steel Band play one of the greatest cover versions ever. This one.... (scuse the racy cover). This is off their third album, produced by Van Dyke Parks. Read more about that here. This album got reissued on CD a few years back with a bonus DVD of a documentary film about their 1971 US tour. Available from Amazon.

Was having a conversation about it with someone online today, as you do, and they said that they "like the positive response I get when I play I Want You Back by The Trinidad Tripoli Steelband after I get a request for Michael Jackson".

Which led me to end up watching this clip. Apparently Liberace came across them at Expo 67 and decided he had to take them on tour with them, hence this TV appearance on the David Frost Show.They recorded an album together too.

... and then there's this clip from the Mike Douglas Show with Liberace, Mike Douglas, and The Brady Bunch have a limbo contest while Tripoli Steel play behind them. Nutty.

Deepgrooves - end of part one

I've been writing about and posting audio from Deepgrooves, a record label active in Auckland in the 1990s. Their sound was the sound of Auckland - a brash, vibrant mix of reggae and hiphop. Much of the music that came out on Deepgrooves laid the foundations for the Welli dub scene, a good ten years before that scene eventually blossomed, after bubbling away for a few years.

Sadly much of the music I've profiled from Deepgrooves is no longer available. That's a shame, because, having revisited much of it in the past few weeks, I think it holds up surprisingly well and hasn't dated a bit.

I'm working on part two of this series, check back here soon. More interviews, more music. I've compiled the music audio clips I've posted into some handy playlists below. Flick thru the first two to get a taste of Deepgrooves output, and the third playlist is all the ones I've posted in the past few weeks. Enjoy. Index of posts below too.

Playlist - tunes from the first Deepgrooves compilation, from 1991.

Playlist - tunes from the second Deepgrooves compilation, Deep in the Pacific of Bass, from 1992.

Deepgrooves - Introduction
Riot Riddum Sound System Part One / Part Two  / Part Three
Projector Mix (Mike Hodgson, now of Pitch Black)
Urban Disturbance (feat Zane Lowe) plus, the lost 2nd album?
Three the hard way
Mighty Asterix
Sound Foundation (DJ Dubhead, Angus McNaughton)
Nemesis Dub Systems
Unitone Hif (Joost L, Stinky Jim, Angus McN)
New Loungehead
Anthony Ioasa /Grace
Jules Issa

Playlist - 30 audio clips from the previous posts above.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Via Mad Decent Radio, a session with the legendary reggae selector David Rodigan.

"Recently we were in London with Major Lazer, and Diplo took the opportunity to interview BBC presenter and sound system operator Sir David 'Ramjam' Rodigan. Many of you must be like 'WHO!?' but in reggae dancehall circles, this man is a living legend.

You see, the reggae dancehall arena is ruled by selectors and sound systems, and the mighty David Rodigan has been holding his own for more than thirty years. To paraphrase, back in the 60s it was about 'records, football and girls' when he first started going down to Jamaica.

With his onstage antics and captivating story telling, he is as much a staple of dancehall culture as the music he plays. And make no mistake, this isn't any bland marketing gimmick - the man full up ah CHUNE, and still can kill sound and buss dance. So widout further ado, we bring to you, from waaay out inna inglan, Daaavid Rodigaaan...."

Deepgrooves - DLT

Two tracks for you, DLT meets the Projector (aka Mike Hodgson, later of Pitch Black) from the first Deepgrooves compilation (1991), and DLT meets the Dutchman (Joost Langeveld) off the Deep in the Pacific of bass compilation (1992). Killer tunes.

DLT was closely involved with a lot of the folk on Deepgrooves and around it. He had left the Upper Hutt Posse by 1992. He was part of the Stylee Crew (Dubhead, Slowdeck, Asterix, Slave, Stinky Jim, Roger Perry etc), and worked with Mighty Asterix, Dubhead, MC OJ and Slave (DLT, Slave and OJ/Otis later combined their resources as the group Joint Force in the mid 90s), and collaborated with Danny D on the early stages of Dam Native, then known as Native Bass.

 I recently interviewed DLT about the Deepgrooves era.

DLT says he got involved at the beginning of Deepgrooves - "I think I tagged along with Bob and Roland [Riot Riddum Sound System], and I was trying to get Asterix on vinyl. I was on a bit of a crusade to get the master's voice on wax. The 12 Tribes kids weren't given the love, you know? Like Jules Issa, and Asterix.

"I remember the initial meetings we had at Deepgrooves, I was SO excited, to be in a room full of our contemporaries at that time, and the energy that's created by like-mindedness was amazing. So it was real exciting, the concept and the idea of the Deepgrooves compilations. I just wish that Kane had handled it a bit more diplomatically.

"To be quite honest, I wasn't that keen on Kane Massey and those cats, it was more about getting our Stylee Crew on vinyl. I remember the meetings we had. I remember one meeting we had a revolt, we had a mutiny, we walked out on him when he  pulled out contracts. Have you seen any money from that shit? He [Kane] wanted everything, publishing and all that. And he got it all, in the end, cos we were too rock n roll to chase our shit up.

"That's why I called one of my mixes DLT meets Kane Massey in a dark alley. That got back to him too, and I never heard from him again! [DLT laughs]

"I just think Kane, like most of us, was ten years ahead. He was an indie, back when there were seven multinationals ruling everything. [Signing acts for a single by single deal] That's a great way to do it.  He was way ahead of the game doing that.

"I see the Deepgrooves compilations as a beginning of a musical form that we were all deep in, all of us, and that was the kind of reggae/hiphop fusion stuff, and that was the exciting part of it. To me, the ultimate is reggae and hiphop blended together. That's the ultimate, always has been, always will be. The raggamuffin thing.

"Cos back then , 93, 94, we were really up against it. That was the "No rap, no crap" era, so it was going out on a limb,  so we gotta give Kane props for that. He wasn't trying to make Sulata sing R'n'B and stuff like that.

"We were kind of the kids in the transition age from analog recording to digital. We were kinda lucky. At the time I was annoyed with Kane, I thought he was just a real estate agent, but now, far out! It was actually really good fun back then."

We talked about the pitfalls of having your music pressed up by Festival Records distributor of Deepgrooves and number of other NZ indie labels at the time, like Wildside/Southside. I'd seen this with my old band The Hallelujah Picassos, when our first album came back from being manufactured by Festival over in Oz, and they'd cut down the mastered volume by 10%. Our noisy punk songs sounded limp.

"My masters went away mastered, and came back sounding like a demo. I had another go at that song I did for Kane, [later] on the Trueschool album, just to get the mix right. It's the track I did with Michael Hodgson. I used those compilations to teach myself about what I was hearing and what was being recorded. I called it bass hell.

"I believe that you have to go to bass hell before you can get bass heaven, so I was way over-recording bass, really loud, trying to reach that point between distortion and super-bass. I remember all I wanted in those days was big, booming bass, and I remember Mike Hodgson was a bit more free, he'd take the needles into the red, but Angus ([McNaughton] wouldn't! Love you Angus, love your ways!

"You can still find that Deepgrooves comp, in 2nd hand stores, like Hamilton. I've bought that a few times. That's some gold, that 10-inch stuff. Those Deepgrooves comps were the Auckland sound, we were the Auckland sound."

DLT remembers seeing Three The Hard Way doing a gig at the Siren in High st, "and the stage was right next to the bar. And I watch those kids lift trays of piss from behind the bar and stash them in their gear!"

DLT is also responsible for one of the greatest albums to ever come out of Aotearoa, The True School. It's an album that hasn't aged a bit since it first came out in 1996 and features every cool cat from Asterix to Che Fu to Billy TK Snr.

Like a lot of the Deepgrooves material I've been writing about, that classic album is out of circulation. Someone at Sony NZ needs to wake up and reissue that, pronto. It's the 15th anniversary of its release this year. HINT.

DLT tells a great story about when the single Chains went to number one in NZ and to his surprise, stayed there for six weeks. This was just two weeks after Che Fu had been forced out of Supergroove. DLT had hooked up with Che Fu while his group Joint Force (DLT, Otis, Slave) had been out on tour with Supergroove.

DLT says he wasn't seeking out the limelight, going out to clubs going "Yo, I'm here, what's up?", instead he stayed home with his family and giggled his head off. "Every morning I woke up... 'It's still number one! Hee hee hee...' And the song it knocked off the top spot was If I ruled the world by Nas and Lauryn Hill. Now that - that's the power! I knocked off two superdogs! Two local dogs took them off.. I'll never forget that... That was a huge buzz". (Quotes: Hiphop music in Aotearoa, by Gareth Shute).

The other great story about Chains is that his label A & R, Kirk Harding at BMG, kept sending DLT back into the studio until he got the version that satisfied him. Apparently he sent them back to the studio THIRTEEN times. Worked too.

I remember telling DLT a few years back how much I loved the True School album, and he told me he'd recently got some CDs with out-takes off old DAT tapes from Angus McNaughton, and would I like to borrow them? I said Yes please, and he went over to his car and pulled them out of the CD player and handed them to me, and I got to hear a few of those unreleased mixes of Chains. Absolutely killer.

ADDED: Che Fu talks about writing the chorus for Chains 5 minutes before he had to go into the vocal booth.

Cut Chemist - Disco is Dead (1973-1979)

Wicked mix from Cut Chemist over at Soundcloud, for DL too.

"Recorded July 17, 2010 for Cinespia's screening of "Saturday Night Fever" at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Cut Chemist mixes up party time classics from 1973-1979." Tracklist at Mixcloud.

Cut Chemist -Disco is Dead (1973-1979) by Cut Chemist

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stevie doco

From 1981, a BBC documentary on Stevie Wonder. 55 minutes long. Dynamite. Hat tip to Bluevibestudio for the link.

Deepgrooves - Fuemana

Fuemana were another act on Deepgrooves with strong South Auckland connections (Like Ermehn, who lived in the Fuemena's garage for a while, with Pauly). Led by the late Phillip Fuemana, and featuring his family members Christina, Pauly, and Tony, along with Matty J Rhys, and they initially released a single called Dangerous Love on Murray Cammick's Southside label under the name House Party in 1991, before shifting to Deepgrooves.

They released their album New Urban Polynesian in 1994. The song Dangerous Love turned up on that album, as did In the deep of the night, off the first Deepgrooves compilation, which was originally credited to Love and Bass.

Phil went on to work with many of the acts on the hugely important compilation Proud, (put together by Tim Mahon and Alan Jansson) including OMC, Sisters Underground, Pasifikan Descendents, Semi MCs, and Radio Backstab and DJ Payback (featuring Ermehn in their lineup). He also took these acts on tour round New Zealand to promote the comp. He followed that up by starting his own label, Urban Pasifika Records (UPR), and putting out his own compilation, Pioneers of the Pasifikan Frontier.

Phil Fuemana: "I recorded a demo of eight tracks and that had: AKA Brown, Moizna, the Lost Tribe, Dei Hamo, a guy from down the line called Bobby Owen, and that was it. There were the tracks. And I went shopping - I shopped it, because Id just done the Proud thing. It had been like a year or two. And we were feeling like 'man, we gotta get into the game at the Alan [Jannson] end. Where we're making the calls. Instead of being called on.

"So, ya know, I was taken to dinner by these record companies ... They offered twenty-grand at the table. And I was gonna take it - twenty-grand! I aint got nothing. But I thought I'd just hold out and then it was Sir-vere, well i knew him as Phil Bell back in the day... that said  'hey, I heard you're shopping some music around, how come you're not coming to us?' I said - 'you guys are so busy.' Cos they had Tangata, they had Wildside - they had all the labels up there, it was packed. DLT, Che Fu and everything.

"But I was thinking - it's unusual I haven't come, I've always wanted to ... So I actually went up and for the first time met Kirk, but what blew me away was - I went in the room there. I saw guys in my age range or headspace range. I thought - hey, now we're talking! And Kirk was pretty stand-offish, but that's him, he's too cool. He puts a CD in, he listens and says - aw yeah! He goes - 'what do you want?' I said - 'I dunno, a deal.' And he said - 'nah, what do you really want?' I thought to myself- 'I want a jeep.' That same week, I had a jeep and a record deal ... No one else had done that. We did it....i had a Pajero jeep back when they were cool.... and music paid for it."
(Source: Hiphop Music in Aotearoa, by Gareth Shute, published 2004)

Phil Fuemana passed away 0n 28 February 2005, aged 41. His brother Pauly passed away almost a year ago, on January 31, 2010, at 40. For some background on the family's early life in a condemned house in Parnell, see this page on

Closer by Fuemana was included on the CD compilation Pasifika: The Collection in 2010.  Five songs off the New Urban Polynesian album are available over at

Fuemana - Rocket love / Seasons music videos
Phil Fuemana interview, from Stamp mag, 1994

Monday, January 24, 2011

BDO corporation

Great sign at BDO, spotted by Jane Yee...

Alphabethead mixtape (60s and 70s Vol II)

Cool mixtape from DJ Alphabethead (spotted over at Breakinwrekwordz blog). He says...

"I’ve been gathering old vinyl since long before I became a DJ. I got my leg up in record collecting through inheriting countless LP’s from relatives and family friends. In 2000 it seemed all the Baby Boomers I knew were spring cleaning, purging records and discovering the Compact Disc.

Recording my extended family’s LP’s onto CD was a small price to pay for getting to keep them! In digitising vinyl I was exposed to bands I normally wouldn’t touch (I was a strictly Hip Hop kid). Most of these records were vibrant mono recordings by 1960’s ‘British Invasion’ bands such as The Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Animals and The Zombies. Every so often a King Crimson, Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk album would crop up and leave me forever changed. I can still remember the day Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ arrived on my turntable!

Perusing ones records can give such an insight into the psyche of a person. I was consistently surprised in seeing who listened to what. The most straight-edged investment banker could be rocking out to Captain Beefheart (true story)! An uncle of mine was a devout hunter, rugby player, gardener, and ‘good old’ kiwi bloke. When he passed on I was gifted his modest stack of 25 records, all of which were tender female folk singers; Joan Baez, Melanie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell et al. What a guy!

This is my second mix of 1960’s and 70’s music. It’s assembled from vinyl, in various conditions, all of which I inherited – the fuzz, crackle and other spurious record noise are all included! Once again it’s mostly pop and psych although this time a little more hard rocking due to the inclusion of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and May Blitz, a monstrous band on Vertigo records.

"I made sure I included some Kiwi groups from the era; The Underdog Blues Band, Human Instinct and The Fourmyula’s quintessential Sixties tune ‘Nature’ all make an appearance. Other tracks of special interest are The Beach Boys lesser known ‘Feel Flows’ which is in my opinion their most psychedelic tune and Spirit’s ‘The Other Song’ which Gonjasufi used as a rhythmic canvas last year. It’s mixed in a Hip Hop style with scratches, drum-breaks and cut-up sample segues! Please give it a spin – I hope you enjoy."

DOWNLOAD: “Music From The 1960’s & 70’s (Volume II)”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Land of the good groove

Been listening to Nile Rodgers' solo album Adventures in the land of the good groove recently. Rodgers has recently disclosed on his website that he is battling cancer. I hope he makes a full recovery.

Rodgers is currently recovering from surgery and taking daily walks around NYC - he's been posting cool photos of old personal landmarks on his Facebook page, with tales like  this one... "Early Morning Walk Today: Me and Joey Ramone were passed out in this apt bldg in '80s - I was found by Jed Lieber and went to rehab".

I looked up this album, and I came across a blog dedicated to maps called Strange Maps, written by Frank Jacobs. His bio says he "...loves maps, but finds most atlases too predictable. He collects and comments on all kinds of intriguing maps—real, fictional, and what-if ones..."

"A while back, I found a record album in a thrift store here in NYC, and I just had to buy it,” writes Adam King [a reader of Frank's blog]. As a mapophile, I understand the categoric cartographic imperative at work here. The map in question is the front cover of Nile Rodgers’ 1983 solo album ‘Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove’. The name Nile Rodgers sounded vaguely familiar, but a little research turned up that this was due to my lack of musical knowledge, not Mr Rodgers’ lack of notoriety. He is influential in his own right as well as instrumental in the careers of many other world-class artists..."

"For this Nile Rodgers solo album, the native New Yorker chose to have lower Manhattan represent the ‘Land of the Good Groove’. The map is made to look like an antique map of the 17th century or thereabouts, down to the ornamental ships and ‘monsters’ in the water. The use of (pig) Latin amplifies the old feel of the map, and is used to some humorous effect — Brooklyn is labelled Terra Incognita and New Jersey is Nova Joisea.

"Lower Manhattan’s streets and avenues also get the fake Latin treatment, and are rendered as Twenty-Thirdium, Houstanus, Canalus and Via Broadicus. Other locales include Tribeccium, Terra Financicus and Villagius Easticus. Over on the West Side is the intriguing Mysterium. Is anybody familiar enough with Mr Rodgers’ oeuvre to know why?"

One of the commenters on Frank's blog has the answer... Mysterium "...was largely derelict waterfront that served as the underbelly of the West Village. Great place to find heroin and transvestite hookers."

Of course this album will be remembered by many Auckland folk as the one that gave the name and theme tune to Murray Cammick's fantastic radio show on Radio 95BFM, Land of the good groove, on Monday nights. Murray hosted that show from 1983 to 1993. Listen to his interview with BFM reminiscing about that time, recorded for their 40th Anniversary.

Adventures in the land of the good groove was reissued on CD in 2009, with a few bonus tracks, including an extended version of the title track.

Bonus - just found this song by Carly Simon, produced by Chic. Check the great photo of Nile and Carly both looking a bit spaced. As sampled by Tribe called Quest on Bonita Applebum.

Here's some great interview clips I came across with Rodgers from 2008, talking about the early days of Chic. In the first clip, he talks about the dramas of getting Dance Dance Dance, their first record, out. The only person at their record company that believed in them was the president of the company, who heard the record and said "Oh my god, it's a smash". And then Nile says what his musical partner Bernard's reaction to that was... I aint gonna give away the punchline, just watch it, it's funny.

Next clip... "We got turned down seven times for our first record, the eighth time is when we finally got signed... that I guess, was sort of a reflection of society. Record companies were racially divided..."

Rodgers talks about his early years...

Rodgers got introduced to hiphop by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, they took him to a hiphop as they called it, in the Bronx. He also talks about a gig Chic did with Blondie and The Clash at Bonds where Fab 5 Freddy jumped up onstage and rapped with them when they played Good Times.Which of course leads to Rappers Delight...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Music publisher sues Beck, Busta Rhymes, King Tee, The Heavy

Music publisher Drive-in Music Co is sueing Beck, Busta Rhymes, King Tee, Ninja Tunes and The Heavy to name but a few, over their use of a song by Dyke and the Blazers.From the Hollywood Reporter...

"In 1969, the funk band, Dyke & the Blazers, had its biggest hit, "Let a Woman Be a Woman And A Man Be A Man." The song was written by the band's front-man Arlester Christian. He assigned rights to the song to Drive-in Music Company. Two years later, Christian passed away.

"For forty years, Drive-in Music has enjoyed copyright title to the song, but hasn't taken much action. Until very recently. Soon after the commercial ran, Drive-in Music sued Kia, CBS, the NFL, ad agency David & Goliath, Ninja Tune Records and various other parties for copyright theft." Read more here.

The parties settled 3 months after the lawsuit was filed. The song by The Heavy has recently turned up in the movie soundtrack for The Fighter. Audio below of The Heavy and the original from Dyke and the Blazers.

Clearly this success gave Drive-In Music the idea to go after anyone who has ever lifted this tune, so some of the lawsuits they've filed relate to songs going back to 1990. Simple lesson - if you're going to sample something, get it cleared. Or it might come back to haunt you 20 years later. lists a bunch of hiphop artists who it says have sampled this tune, from Tupac to Stetsasonic to Public Enemy to DJ Shadow.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Jan 22

Esther Phillips - Use me
Johnny Hammond - Higher ground
Lalo Schifrin - Macumba
Wood brass and steel  -Always there
Willie Bobo - LA descarga del Bobo
Camille Yarbrough  -Take yo praise
Mulatu Astatke - Yegelle Tezeta
Nas and Damian Marley - As we enter
Aim - Birchwood
Belleruche - Shudder and cry (playing at Splore City, on Feb 11-12 in Aotea Square)
Chico Mann - Harmonia
Project tempo - Tom tom dub
Dinosaur L - Go bang - Walter Gibbons mix
Adele - Rolling in the deep - Jamie XX remix
Resonators  -Sweet love affair - Cyentific remix
Roots manuva vs Wrongtom - Worl' a mine
Augustus Pablo - Cassava piece
Jah Batta - Informa (watch it)
Improvisators dub meets Iration steppas - Cornal dub
Funkmaster Flex and Ghetto celebs - Safe sex no freaks - Deep in Brooklyn mix
Supreme team - See Suite 
Treacherous Three - Heartbeat (have fun)
Diana Ross - upside down
Jean Jacques Perry - EVA
Nicola Conte and Gianluca Petrella - Tema per hifi
Lalo Schifrin - Black widow

Friday, January 21, 2011

R.I.P. Bobby Robinson

Robinson passed away late last week, aged 93. Oliver Wang at Soulsides remembers Robinson and his hiphop label Enjoy...

"I came to his hip-hop imprint, Enjoy, late in the game; in my “younger” days, I just assumed that anything released pre-Run DMC was old school schlock and then someone played me “Spoonin Rap” and my mind was blown.

Sugarhill, obviously, had the bigger rep and sales but while the Sugarhill sound in hip-hop’s formative years was loud, brash and fonky, the best singles I heard from Enjoy were the opposite: lean, sparse and funky. The secret was that Bobby had drummer Errol “Pumpkin” Bedward as his in-house producer, then still in this teens(!!!). Bedward and his band, Pumpkin and His Friends, produced the best of the early Enjoy singles including “Love Rap” b/w “New Rap Language,” one of the most potent A/B-sides I know from that era..."

Author Dan Charnas (The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop) remembers Bobby Robinson.

New York Times obituary here. Robinson was one of the first blacks to own a store on 125th Street in Harlem, a record store called Bobby's Happy House.

And here's Ego Trip's top ten Enjoy recordings, via Soulsides.

BigFM hit by big payout

Thane and Richard Kirby (Thane was involved launching GeorgeFM and ALT TV) announced plans last year to buy BigFM and were intending on launching BigtimeFM on May 1 2010. Never happened. Now a former employee has won $75,000 from them, after he worked for them as a radio manager for 5 months and never got paid.

Unpaid radio manager awarded $75,000 compensation

"A former radio manager fobbed off with false promises of pay has been awarded nearly $75,000 in compensation by the Employment Relations Authority.

David Gray was employed by Charity Works Trust in April last year and quit in August after not being paid at all during his employment.

Mr Gray was hired to manage the day-to-day business operations, and was preparing for the establishment of a new radio station, known as Big FM, his employer Richard Kirby was planning to buy through his company Winstone Investment Ltd (WIL).

Mr Gray approached Mr Kirby four times within a two month period requesting pay, and was turned back with a promise every single time.

Mr Kirby kept putting it off and requested Mr Gray's bank account information three times. In July, Mr Gray asked for payment for a fifth time and received no reply. Weeks later, Mr Kirby said he would pay Mr Gray the next day, but the money was never transferred.

During Mr Gray's employment, the purchase of the radio station was still pending. Mr Kirby told him the Trust and WIL was discussing funding possibilities with the Ministry of Social Development. In August, Mr Gray believed the purchase of the radio was unlikely, and with no payments made, he resigned."

Caddick report comment

There's been a sparsity of comment/reaction on the Caddick Report, an indepenedent look at the music operations of NZ On Air that was released just before Xmas. Timing of the release may have something to do with that, and it's also a lot to digest, at 158 pages. The NZ Herald's John Drinnan had a passing look at it, choosing to focus on the negative aspects, mostly.

NZ Musician's esteemed editor Richard Thorne weighs in with some thoughtful comments and analysis on the Caddick Report here. It's worth a read. A few excerpts below...

"... Most substantial among the first wave of changes will be the complete removal of album funding, the funding instead shifting to single tracks – in tandem with an allocation for music video making. Laxness of controls which favoured those already ‘in the system’ emerged as one of the greatest criticisms and eligibility criteria will be tightened across the board. Future funding will be weighted more towards emerging artists rather than established ones, and contractual aspects made more business-like.

"... A general dissatisfaction with the closed door approach of commercial radio to NZ music and the unbalanced influence of commercial radio PDs in deciding on what songs get funding is a recurring theme. Reallocated funding is sure to give greater consideration to a wider range of creative music which will inevitably benefit the bNet radio network.

"As Caddick observes, the slide of old media as a source of new music education is overstated by many, but irrespective a new and specific focus on gaining ‘broadcast’ results for Kiwi music online will need to be a future mandate for NZ On Air.

"This is a considerably better report than Caddick’s Phase Five review, with detailed backgrounding that includes the Broadcasting Act itself, explanation of intervention methods and costs, useful analysis of the music sector plus the author’s own observations. He includes direct quotes from each side of the spectrum, while frequently pointing out that large chunks of those interviewed didn’t know enough to comment. A glaring shortage of meaningful NZ industry-wide statistics is highlighted, while some of the statistical analysis of ‘Public Responses’ presented within the body of the report adds worthwhile insights to the abbreviated conclusions."

Deepgrooves - Sulata

Sulata had previously been in another outfit on Deepgrooves, called Colony. When that group imploded, she got picked up by Deepgrooves for a solo career. She appeared on several other Deepgrooves recordings for New Loungehead and Three the Hard Way (see earlier post).

Her debut album, Kia Koe, came out in 1996, and was produced by Simon Holloway, who also collaborated as songwriter with Sulata on most of the tracks. It's a laidback affair, not a million miles away from similar downtempo/acid jazz acts of the era, like Massive Attack or Incognito. It's also an album that didn't rely on samples, like most other Deepgrooves acts.

Musicians who played on the sessions include Nathan Haines, Dan Sperber (New Loungehead), Wayne Bell, Luke Casey, Rob Salmon (Urban Disturbance), Levani Vesasi, Gareth Price (Semi Lemon Kola, Slacker). It was recorded inhouse at Kaiun Digital by Chris Sinclair.

As I mentioned in the profile on Colony, following her solo work she was singing and performing  in Te Vaka led by her cousin Opetaia Foa'i. She's still involved in various musical activities, according to her bio on her employer's site.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toy Love live

Simon Grigg has uncovered a 1980 live concert video of Toy Love and it's a wee beaut. Go see it on his blog here.

"Going through a bunch of old CD-Rs a couple of days back I discovered this 6 song live Toy Love set, which I worked out with the band was filmed at The Rock Theatre in Wellington in Feb, 1980. It’s a recording that was assumed lost but happily I seem to have had from some past trawl through TVNZ’s archives.

The recording was on an old UMatic I somehow had in a box and had dubbed onto disc a few years back. The sound and video may not be all that good but it’s still an amazing few minutes of live footage which leaves every other bit of footage I’ve seen to date in the dust."

Not many (facts), if any

There's a dubious piece of reporting on from Kirsty Johnston, with the headline "Scribe's music awards for sale". It's a woeful piece of reporting that basically says "Look, this famous Kiwi rapper is now on hard times! Lets poke fun at his fall from grace!" What a bunch of tall poppy CRAP.

So, are Scribe's music awards for sale? No. The story says a Christchurch pawnbroker, who refuses to use his full name (odd), is selling off five of Scribe's sales plaques, presented in recognition of sales of The Crusader album from 2003. Music awards get handed out at the NZ Music Awards, and sales plaques get handed out by record companies for sales. But hang on, he's only got four NOT FIVE plaques listed on Trade Me.

Johnston says she was unable to contact Scribe's management. How exactly she failed to reach any offical contact for one of the biggest selling NZ artists of the last ten years is beyond me. Last I heard, Scribe was managed by CRS Management, (headed by RIANZ boss Campbell Smith), the company responsible for the Big Day Out here. Not hard to find.

Johnston also appears to quote Scribe's Wikipedia entry, saying "Scribe, also known as Charles Gruar and Malo Luafutu..." That second name is correct, but quoting Wikipedia entries is never going to work out so good. He is NOT known as Charles Gruar. How many journos roll like this? Kirsty Johnston.

ADDED if you Google for Charles Gruar, you end up looking at this guy's Facebook page.

ADDED The wikipedia page for Scribe has been fixed (Charles Gruar ref is gone), but check this... "With the initial focus on the song "Stand Up", director Matua Murupaenga gave the video..." that should read director Chris Graham, not some kid from Gizzy.

UPDATED, Friday 20th - The Press has done a follow up story, interviewing the pawnbroker, who reveals his name as Shane Lilley. There's also a bit more detail there too behind the sale. Still no comment from Scribe or his management.

Here's TV3's news item on Scribe from last night's news.

Kirsty Johnston has posted a new story on this today - Strip club leads award bidding.
Also posted as Scribe's awards rocket up Trademe. Both repeat the error on Scribe's name, sourced from Wikipedia. This has been fixed.

EDIT - the headline on the first story has been changed from Strip club leads award bidding to match the 2nd story.


Wellington music site Musichype have just landed a $600,000 investment. They plan to use the money to open an office in Los Angeles, hoping to make inroads in North America. Musichype released the most recent recording from the Mint Chicks as a USB. From the Dominion Post...
"A Wellington-based website that connects bands with their fans is looking to take Kiwi music to North America after winning $600,000 in venture capital from the Rutherford Innovation Fund.

MusicHype is an internet platform that rewards music-lovers for promoting, talking about and spending money on their favourite bands and artists. The website has been operating for a year, and uses technology known as the 'Appreciation Engine' to track fans activity across social media and rewards them with merchandise, concert tickets and downloads.

"We can tell if a fan is tweeting about a band, becoming their friend on Facebook or watching them on YouTube and we can reward them for that," says MusicHype's Annabel Youens....

... Rutherford, a fund linked to Christchurch-based NZ Capital Strategies, says MusicHype's technology has the potential to be used in a wider sense. "We invested in MusicHype because the music industry has been disrupted by the internet and digital technologies," said NZ Capital Strategies director, and Rutherford Innovation Partner, Kenji Steven.

"Established business models are not providing adequate returns for record labels and artists, or satisfying experiences for fans," he said.

Full story here, from the Dominion Post

Deepgrooves - Jules Issa

Jules Issa. Photo: Sonoma Message. Published in Planet, 1991
Jules Issa's Diatribe cover was released on the Deepgrooves label in 1991 and featured Joost Langeveld (Unitone Hifi, Subware) on bass. It also came out as a single (that's where the image with the video is from). There's images I found for two other singles from her around the same time, and a listing which mentions her album on Deepgrooves, though I have no memory of these releases actually coming out. Anyone else know? There were quite a few Deepgrooves album/EP releases that got finished but went unreleased, like the 2R2S (Riot Riddum Sound System) EP.

UPDATED August 2012 - I've now got a copy of this release, it came out as a mini album in 1995, seven songs and three dubs under the title Found In You. See full listing at Discogs.

I posted some of this info late last year, including the Diatribe original, hear it over here. Diatribe were contemporaries of Herbs, and recorded on the same label as them.

ADDED November 2012: the video of Dangerous Game, shot in 1992, director William Roberts.... I digitised this from the TV3 show Frenzy, voiceover by Kate Stalker, animation by John Pain, screened May 94...

ADDED August 2012: the Single Remix version of Dangerous Game, released in 1992....

Jules Issa biography (source: Multilingual archive, based on Wikipedia entry)

Jules Issa is an album recorded by Julie Ann Huhana Ryland. This album was released by Deep Grooves Entertainment when Jules was 25 years old.

Recording History

Her career started back with the band from Porirua called 'Styx and Shanty' and was co-writer for their album "Honey" She left before she could record anything with them, however her sister Barbara Ryland recorded and remained with the band until this album was completed.
Deepgrooves Entertainment saw the potential of this singer-songwriter and through 1993 to 1995 Jules and Deepgrooves made the album Found In You [track listing below].

She was nominated 'Most Promising Female Artist' and was granted 3 videos. She toured many countries performing songs from this album.

Today, Sony Entertainment has Found In You and one can often hear it playing on the New Zealand television programme 'Shortland Street'.

1 Prologue
2 Discomfort in their eyes
3 Found In You
4 Sweet Child
5 Growing Pains
6 No Rain No Shine
7 Don't B 2 shy 2 Love
8 Dangerous Dub
9 Tuffys Dub
10 Don't B 2 Shy 2 Love Dub

Jules' family information

Jules is a Māori descendant of Josef' Manuel and Charlie Ryland, who married Māori wahine (women). She comes from the Maori tribes Ngati Porou and Kai Tahu. Her father is Daniel Kopua Ryland and her mother is Hine Rungarunga Ryland. She is the 4th youngest of 14 siblings. She now resides in Auckland and has two children, Joshua Key and Whenua Key. She is an active member of The Twelve Tribes of Israel NZ and works in the New Zealand music industry to this day.

RELATED: Audio - Jules Issa - Found in you
Audio: Discomfort in their eyes and Tuffy Culture dub
Audio: Sweet child

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Prince and Sharon get down

Prince is doing s series of shows at Madison Square Gardens. Opening act for tonight's show was Sharon Jones and the Dapkings. They joined Prince for the encore - then Maceo Parker drops a sax solo. Jawdroppingly good. Thank you, magical internets.

And Mos Def was there in the crowd too, rather than in Auckland where he was due to perform this evening, before his shows were postponed due to illness of a key band member. Well, wouldn't you?

Deepgrooves - Anthony Ioasa/Grace

Baby You Know (Pacific Round House remix) is off the Deepgrooves compilation Deep in the Pacific of bass. Anthony Ioasa sings and plays keys and it's produced by Joost Langeveld at The Lab.

Anthony Ioasa was also part of the band Grace (also on Deepgrooves), along with his brothers Jason and the late Paul. They released an album (below) on Deepgrooves in 1995.

Jason says in the Youtube comments for this video below... "Firstly on behalf of myself, my late brother Paul and eldest brother Anthony- thanks for putting this video up. Really appreciate it. Yeah - back in those days no-one had ever shot in the museum before and it took a lot of harassing the managers to let us do it. We had to pay for a special overnight security guard."

ADDED: Hat tip to Simon Grigg for pointing me to this video from Desert Moon, from 1995, looks like it was shot at the venue on Queen St now known as The White House. What was it called back then? Spot the cameo from Bic Runga on BVs. She joined the live band Grace put together, along with Earl Robinson (The Chills, Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist). BVs on the album were sung by Caitlin Smith.

Also, Simon mentions on his blog that "there was a second album partially recorded for PolyGram, under the wing of Mark Tierney, which was equally glorious but suffered from the management mess that was Universal takeover of that company in 1998 and remains unheard." 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deepgrooves - Ermehn

South Aucklander Ermehn arrived at the Deepgrooves stable with some serious credentials in hiphop - he'd been in Radio Backstab and DJ Payback (who featured on the landmark "Proud" compilation)  and was also part of the early lineup of the Otara Millionaires Club. His debut solo album dropped in 1998, and included some great tunes and killer singles, like Walls of Steel, featuring the Khaz the Field Style Operator (now known as The Feelstyle).

He recorded the album with Andy 'Submariner' Morton on mixing and production at Andy's studio, the Hut. Guests on the album included DJ Manuel Bundy, DJ Subzero, Francis Harawira, and Ermehn's cousin Marie Va'a.

Grant Smithies says in his book Soundtrack: 1118 Great NZ albums that Ermehn "...sees South Auckland primarily as a place of poverty, violence and crime, so that's what he raps about. His street soldier stories are bleak but skilfully told, and give insight into the hard life many rappers invent for themselves but this man seems to have actually lived. Contains the strong singles Walls of Steel, Don't be late, and Stranded in the city".

"Herman 'Ermehn' Loto was notorious for playing live dressed in a lava lava and waving a machete over his head ... Ermehn's Samoan heritage was represented not only by the track content but also by the cover which showed Mau leader Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III. The tracks also focused on South Auckland and 'Who holds the knife' talked about the devastating effect of the notorious South Auckland rapist who was operating at the time." (Source, originally published in the book Hiphop Music in Aotearoa by Gareth Shute).

Ermehn also had a fierce reputation, built on his gang affiliations with the King Cobras.  "I'm an ex King Cobra patch member. I've had the Chinese TRIADS put a hit out [on] me! I've had the Head-Hunters hunting me down. F#ck, I've even had my own King Cobras put a lifetime hit out on me and I still roll hard. I've made more money than any muthaf#cker I know! More money more dramas!" (Source)

"As Herman Loto in the mid '90s he was part of the Otara Millionaires Club, sharing writing credits for We r the O.M.C along with the Fuemana brothers, also involved in the 'Proud' album and touring party with Radio Back Stab. His own debut album 'Samoans Part II' was released during this time (1998) on Deepgrooves, and distributed by Festival. But not long after Ermehn's gangsta life took over.

"In Otara basically when you've got nothing, the only thing on the table at the time is either going out and hustling, selling drugs and joining a gang - or joining a rugby club and becoming a great rugby league star. I fell into the pitfalls of the hood and ended up hustling and put my music aside and just embraced the darkness.

"I came out of it a few years later and I thought I'd do an album. I had the money at the time and I thought, well NZ On Air aren't going to give me the money, so I funded the album on gangsta money - so it is a pure gangsta album.... With this album, if I was to perform it, it would probably be at a nice dodgy club - I don't think I'll be getting asked to perform at Pasifika any time soon." From NZ Musician interview, 2005.

In that interview Ermehn is talking about his second album Path Of Blood (Sony BMG, 2005) which featured the singles Bankjob and Silver and gold (videos for both songs were made by Oscar Kightly). Currently he runs a security company based on the Hibiscus Coast called Pride Security, and is involved in martial arts.

His most recent recording is a single with Chong Nee, called I Love The Way (from 2008). Watch the video here, shot at the Pasifika Festival in 2008, and watch out for Ermehn onstage performing. Looks like he DID get asked to perform at Pasifika.

ADDED (19/1/2011) Sean popped up in the comments to mention that Ermehn had released an album in 2006, called Drug House Raps, via itunes. Ermehn also got a video grant from NZ On Air for a song with PNC in late 2009, called Stare and Whisper. Thanks for the info.

CORRECTED: Ermehn joined in the comments below, saying "DRUG house raps' was just me guesting on tracks or ruff demos that got out - not really my album. i haven't even heard the trks. I guest on a lot of MR SICCS album trks, cos he from otara. mr sicc is pretty much the new and Better Me! he my favit rapper! and has my full respect!"

ADDED Ermehn's third album Trained To Kill is due for release October 4 2012. More info here.

Above images from the CD for Samoans Pt II

Monday, January 17, 2011

Deepgrooves - New Loungehead

New Loungehead were a splendidly jazzy combo, who dropped their debut album, Came A Weird Way, in 1997. It featured guest vocals from Sulata, and Mark James (Slave) on a song a piece, and won Best Jazz Album at the NZ Music Awards the following year.

The group's lineup at the time of recording was Dan Sperber (guitar), Isaac Tucker (drums), Godfrey De Grut (sax, keys), Chip Matthews (bass), and Matthias Sudholter (percussion).  The album was recorded at Okura, with Kaiun Digital Mobile in December 1996 by Chris Sinclair, and overdubs done at Kaiun Digital (Deepgrooves inhouse studio) in Central Auckland with Dave Rhodes in Jan - March of 97. Vocal overdubs were recorded by Simon Holloway. The band were managed by Frances Chan.

New Loungehead, from Rip It Up, August 1998

I got to know Chip Matthews several years back, when he and Buttafingers (Harlan) started doing the radio show after me on BaseFM on Saturdays - they both play in the Opensouls. I've got a lot of time for Chip, he's a very talented musician and knowledgable DJ. I asked him what he remembers of that time working with Deepgrooves. Here is his response. Thanks, Chip!

Chip Matthews: "Deepgrooves was quite a special time for me personally cause it was by and large my first consistent dealings with a label, recording on a label and being around a bunch of musicians who were all trying to do their projects. Around the time I was there, as well as being part of the New Loungehead's album, there were albums being completed by Breaks Co-op and shortly after, Sulata's album, an album I still say is one of the most under-rated NZ albums of the 90's.

"The studio then was on Victoria St. We were recording to ADAT (oh the days prior Pro Tools et al!) and would be crammed in the studio listening to take after take being done, the whirling of the ADAT machine as it cued up again, overseen by the big tapa cloth on the wall. For a freshy, it really was like being shown an exciting new musicial world.

Chip describes Ermehn's album Samoans Pt II as "an album still under-rated. I remember in about 97 or 98, Kane took a few of us to Australia to do a bit of a showcase. There was us [New Loungehead] and Erhmen with the mighty Submariner.

"That was a first for me in seeing people desperate about not missing out on some record digging (Submariner), [and] visiting some of the more salubrious bars up Oxford St whilst tripping out courtesy of some of the local whanau wanting to pull a fasty on us. And the trip for me and perhaps as a metaphor for Deepgrooves around that time, we had to share one room at a hotel down by Hyde Park. One room for about 8 or so of us! Luckily I spent a couple of the nights there hanging out until sunrise, so the need for me wasn't so pressing, but trying to find room for all those people to sleep was pretty funny.

In terms of the day to day running of the label, Chip says "I was largely unaware of any problems with the Deepgrooves label and Kane's running of the thing as I was so new to the townie side of being a muso. But I do remember that when it came to the more financial side of things, Kane was a little less forthcoming than the moments where money wasn't an issue. Again, with me being not so clued up, I was largely meh about it all. But I do know that we made some money off our album which we are still awaiting!!

For Chip, "the legacy of Deepgrooves is the main thing though. To me it was a label of opportunity when opportunities seemed harder to come by. This was before the halcyon days of the early 2000's where Che's Navigator album [which Chip played bass on] and King Kapisi's Savage Thoughts really changed the game in regards to "urban" music and how it was viewed as a local product in a market-driven almost exclusively from overseas.

"The albums that came through from my time there were just some of the best that have been created for mine, and in that regards, Kane invested so much into our community. It was still very much a no 8 wire mentality and in that regards, for me, he did a great job.

He says overall it was "a positive experience. Sure there were some downers, but it was a great learning experience for me personally. Being around watching Zane Lowe freeing up the studio for The New Loungehead by taking his keyboard into the kitchen area - I was a big fan since they were pre-Urban Disturbance, Leaders of Style - for me it was the very encapsulation of how I imagined a studio to be. It was a fun time cause there seemed to be less riding on it in terms of material - the thought of making a job out of music was just way too far fetched -  but [it] was so meaningful when you actually produced an album. Amazing times for me."

Dan went on to play in Slacker, the Relaxomatic Project, and currently plays as the Dan Sperber Complex. Chip and Godfrey ended up playing in Che Fu's band The Crates, and Chip currently plays in the Opensouls, and with Anika Moa. He's also the delightful breakfast radio host on BaseFM. Isaac went on to play with UK dance act Spektrum. Godfrey has done various session work, from Brooke Fraser to Nesian Mystik to Kanye West (read about that last one here, it's pretty funny).

Deepgrooves - Free Bass live

Deepgrooves was also home to a few jazzy acts, like The New Loungehead (featuring Dan Sperber, Godfrey de Grut, Chip Matthews, Isaac Tucker and Mathias Sudholter), and Free Bass.

This is from Simon Grigg's blog. He posted this with a track for download back in May 2009 (still there too), to coincide with the Box/Celebre reunion night, Take Me Back.

Cause Celebre, 1994. Photo: Simon Grigg

"Freebass were important for a number of reasons, but not least because it was one of the early vehicles for the Haines brothers, Joel and Nathan. Nathan’s next band was The Enforcers, who went on to record the globally released Shift Left ..the only NZ recorded album ever to appear on Verve.

I remember the night fairly well. Chris Sinclair had miked up the room and he and Mark Tierney taped it struggling against all sorts of adversity. They had to battle with odd acoustics, inebriated folks repeatedly tripping over cables and staff who really didn’t care who or what they were, they had to get that case of Mac’s Gold to the back bar without delay.

But it worked out pretty well, it was a landmark album at the time and, as I recall, sold pretty well. Released on Mark Tierney and Kane Massey’s quite crucial Deepgrooves label, it’s long been unavailable and quite sought after. My (signed) copy had walked somewhere in the past 19 years so I was forced to buy a new copy this week. I sourced it on EBay, from Sydney."

Deepgrooves, 1993

The reason this Deepgrooves release stands out from nearly all the others I've profiled, is it's back in circulation (since Simon wrote that post, I assume). You can buy the MP3s here from

Coming next - more jazzy bizznizz

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Just discovered there's a music video for this great soul scorcher from the Flirtations. Ace. Got reissued on one of Norman Jay's Good Times compilations a while back - you need this tune. "Filmed in colour at Tintern Abbey at Monmouthshire, south Wales."

But wait, there's more!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Internet is way more punk than punk rock

Dave Allen (ex Gang of four, Shriekback, also eMusic and Intel) interviewed by Rick Moody. Excerpt...

"I cre­ated a stir with this essay last year, The End of the Record­ing Album as the Orga­niz­ing Prin­ci­ple, a stir that was fueled by the teeth gnash­ing and howl­ing of musi­cians, pro­duc­ers and stu­dio engi­neers. So I fol­lowed it up with this—Dear Musi­cians, Please Be Bril­liant or Get Out of The Way, and the musi­cians’ response was even angrier. As I said: my job is not work, it’s fun.

In those two essays I was basi­cally attempt­ing to get musi­cians to under­stand that tech­nol­o­gists cre­ated the “con­tain­ers.” One exam­ple was that those tech­no­log­i­cal “con­tain­ers” were man­i­fested as vinyl albums, orig­i­nally spin­ning at 78rpm and then 33rpm. They were fol­lowed by the com­pact disc, which iron­i­cally is the tech­no­log­i­cal “con­tainer” of all those ones and zeroes, thebête noire of the record­ing indus­try.

My point was, the tech­nol­o­gists never con­sulted with us cre­atives, we musi­cians, they just foisted it upon us. The Inter­net today is an amaz­ing tech­no­log­i­cal mar­vel that unshack­les the cre­ative musi­cian from those tech­no­log­i­cal “con­tain­ers” of the past, yet most musi­cians really can’t get their heads around that sim­ple fact. It’s the first time in his­tory that record­ing musi­cians can release their music with­out it being “contained.”

To wrap this one up I would say that the Inter­net is way more punk than punk rock."

Full interview here. Well worth a read. His concept about containers is spot on.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Jan 15

Beverly Rd allstars - Murder she wrote
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix
Jahdan Blakkamore - General - Ticklah remix
Noiseshaper - Only redeemer
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
Kalbata and mixmonster feat Little John - Sugar plum plum
Footise - High grade no bush dub
Primal scream - Higher than the sun
Caribou - Odessa
Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe so, maybe no (Caribou and Mayer H both here next month for Splore City, Feb 11 and 12)
Pepperpots - Real tru love
Emotions - Blind alley
Black Moon - The way Inst
Ultramagnetic MC - Poppa large - West coast mix
The creators  -Make in impact Inst
Guilty Simpson - Man's world
Mountain - Long red
El da Sensei - Summertime bluez
Mad lion - Girlzzz
Herbs - French letter dub
Don Carlos - Favorite cup
Stephen and Damian Marley - Jah army
Resonators - Sweet love affair - Cyentific remix
RSD - Forward youth
Darryl Jennifer - Black Judas
Jackie Mittoo - Darker shade of black
Gregory Isaacs - Mr know it all
Revolutionaries - Kunta Kinte dub
Frankie Paul - Pass the tu sheng peng

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dead stock

Andrew Dubber (on Twitter) posted this question: "Ever owned a now-defunct record label? What did you do with the old, unsold & unwanted stock? I have hundreds of discs to dispose of..."

Andrew is back in town briefly (the former Aucklander is a radio lecturer at a UK university these days), and has uncovered hundreds of CDs from a jazz label he ran here in the late 90s.

Callum August at Dirty Records responded to Andrew: "label still going but some times you need to cut your losses." And Callum posted the grim picture above of dumping Dirty Records vinyl at the tip. That photo makes me sad.

Deepgrooves - Unitone Hifi

Unitone Hifi was/is Joost Langeveld, Stinky Jim and Angus McNaughton. Sitting by the phone came out as a single in 1992 and also featured on the compilation Deep in the Pacific of Bass. The song was also called Sitting by the telephone on the CD itself. It featured Teremoana Rapley, Bobbylon (Hallelujah Picassos, Riot Riddum), and Just One (Sole). From memory, it was aimed at getting commercial radio airplay, and is probably the one time Unitone Hifi ever even attempted to get themselves on that particular format with a poppy offering.

I asked Stinky Jim recently about the history behind this tune. He says his memory of this is a bit hazy and it was a long time ago, but he kindly attempted to fill in a few gaps.

Jim remembers that "Tere had submitted a single for Deepgrooves that was adjudged too political or such like. I can't remember quite how we [Unitone Hifi] got involved, but I do remember there being an attitude of going to the other extreme of excessive popiness in response.

"The beat/song was knocked off in an afternoon, and was an homage to the minimal swingy rhythms of the day that were being ridden by Chaka Demus and Pliers etc, it was hammered on Iwi Radio, bless 'em.  It's unlikely to feature in any of our most cherished musical moments but it was a bit of humour, and to this day I get miniscule APRA payments for 'Shining By The Telephone' (sic) which somehow sounds like a more interesting song!"

It was recorded at The Lab by Mark Tierney and produced by Unitone Hifi, with keyboards from Kev Rangihuna (who later worked with DLT on the Trueschool album). There was a video made for the song as well.

Posted are the Ansaphone mix, plus Bobbylon's version, Turn yourself around. The tune sounds to me like it is loosely based on My Love by UK reggae act New Age Steppers from Adrian Sherwood's On-U-Sound label, which was a hugely influential label on many of the Deepgrooves acts.

Unitone Hifi's later work (including their two albums) came out on European label Incoming!, like the track below. They took a 12 year tea break in 1996 (as you do), returning in 2008 with the excellent vinyl single Up To Eleven, followed up by Sneeze Off. Their remix of Overproof Sound System is also worth a listen.

You can listen and buy Unitone Hifi's extensive back-catalogue from Bandcamp.Go have a listen, there's some great tunes over there. Unitone Hifi discography

Up next... things get jazzy with young Nathan H.

ADDED Nov 2012:  Sitting by the phone video....