Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SJD - City of lost souls

(originally published in Pavement magazine, 2001)

SJD is the musical alias of one Sean J Donnelly. His second album Lost Soul Music, is one of the most entrancing records you will hear this year. It's a deliciously melodic blend of electronica, funk, soul, lounge, and odd dash of folk loopiness. It's incredibly hard to pin down just what it's appeal is, but it's totally irresistible.

Donnelly released his debut album 3 under his own steam back in 1999, and his follow-up Lost Soul Music has been picked up by Round Trip Mars Records, responsible for albums by Phase 5 and the Sideways compilation, which featured SJD. Label maestro Stinky Jim was positively frothing at the mouth when he told me about Lost Soul Music. I recall his words were something like "It's the ships biscuits, it's just brilliant".

Clearly his label has the faith, so how does Donnelly view the finished product? "I'm happy with it, in a confused sort of way. I'm not entirely used to it yet." It's only two days since the album was finished when I talk with Donnelly. "I've only heard it through a couple of times. I think it's probably quite good, but I'm still getting used to it", he says, humbly.

Lost Soul Music is the product of eighteen months solid work for Donnelly. "At the beginning of that year and a half, I had a lot of things I wanted to do, and to turn those ideas into coherent pieces of music tends to take quite a while. I can create music quite quickly. Sometimes when you've just got ideas, when you set out and actually do them, it can sound quite contrived. So, it took that long to be able to create organic sounding pieces of music out of them."

Even though his music uses electronica as a starting point, he doesn't see himself as working in the dance genre; "For me it's much more about writing songs, really, using the idioms of dance music and electronica as part of that process." With the title, Lost Soul Music, Donnelly says he was trying to describe the kind of music that he wanted to hear. "It's very ambiguous, and I guess for me, a lot of the music that influenced me on this was gospel music. I wanted to make a kind of gospel music, that someone who's an agnostic might make, maybe trying to find something spiritual in everyday life. And it's the lost soul thing: I'm a lost soul, like everybody else, I guess.

" There's the kind of music I'm making. It's a quality in music that I really really admire, but it's very difficult to describe, it's the quality of lostness. It's something that sounds really familiar, but somehow you missed it, or you've just found it., some weird unpolished gem. I love discovering those things, like some weird old Kraftwerk track, or some strange Syd Barrett song. And as difficult as it is to aim to make that kind of music, I hoped that some of my music would have that quality. In one sense they're songs, in another sense they're movies for the ears. I'd like the album to be like something that people could sit down and listen to like they might watch a movie". Cinematic Soul Music, anyone?

Tone tone tone

Benny Tones (Electric Wire Hustle's studio producer) has some fine remixes off his debut album going for free download over at Soundcloud, or listen below. Warning - they're huge wav files. Off the forthcoming album Chrysalis Remixes, from Benny Tones, out August 24.

Benny Tones - Fire Fly feat. Mara TK (Opiuo's So Strong In 2008 Remix) by Benny Tones

Benny Tones - On My Way feat. MaraTK (fLako Remix) by Benny Tones

Benny Tones - Odyssey feat. LP (Kamandi Headspin Remix) by Benny Tones

Phase five....

Stinky Jim and Angus McNaughton are PHASE 5....
the artists formerly known as Soundproof)

Originally published in Lava Magazine, October 1998

Soundproof, the dynamic duo of DJ Stinky Jim and studio boffin Angus 'Mo Delay' McNaughton join HDU for their tour this month (Oct 98). Soundproof are the dub demons responsible for one of the remixes on HDUs latest Flying Nun release Higher++. Angus and Jim have worked together previously in Unitone Hifi. Peter McLennan dropped around to the Basque Liberation Front HQ for the lowdown ...

Go Angus, says Jim. You better say something in this interview. Angus agrees. Yeah, okay. What was the question?

How did Soundproof come about....

it came out of some of the songs that Jim and myself were writing together, and out of the demise of Unitone Hifi. We still wanted to work together. Im sitting with Soundproof, faced with the not inconsiderable task of discovering whats going on in the lives of two our our most illustrious beat merchants.
Okay boys, lets hear it. Whats the difference between Unitone Hifi and Soundproof?

Oh, about an orchard worth of fruit, Id say, laughs Jim. Well, weve moved on in the last year or two says Angus. Weve certainly dropped the emphasis on dub music Jim concurs. With Soundproof, theres still a huge reggae element, thats always going to be there in our music, and a dub element, in as much as the mixing desk is an instrument and is a part of the whole creation process, but with Soundproof I think were able to stretch it further, all over the place. Judging by the reaction weve had from Europe, the one thing people cant deal with is that the variety of what were playing is so wide. Were talking about people at labels who release music that I find unclassifiable, and they cant classify what were doing. Theres a lot more interesting tempo elements, and time signatures. Were not beholden to a four, four mentality.

Okay, so, what is the rhythm style?

Jim: Theres a lot of Bossa Nova in there.

Angus: It emerged on Box Juice, (which features Daddy Dom from The Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist getting saucy on the Hammond organ). That was developed from a breakbeat we were chopping up, recycling (ah, so theyre greenies!), and it worked so well we tried it on a couple of other tunes.

Jim: And people love it. Its an instant head nod.

Ahhh, its becoming clearer. After the no-boundaries approach of Unitone, Soundproof have developed a fresh approach to writing, one thats less lateral, more focused.

Jim: In the time that weve been going, we could have probably released an album if we were working in the mindset we had with Unitone, which was get enough stuff together and chuck out an album. With Soundproof, were amassing the material, then well decide how well deal to it. Were putting down a track, then doing a rough mix of it, living with that a bit, then mixing it. Its a bit more of a considered approach. At the same time, were trying to avoid overworking a track.

So thats how they do it... when can we expect a Soundproof release?

Were going to put an ep out ourselves on 12 inch vinyl says Jim. Weve got a track on a compilation called Son Of Bastard Tracks, on Rockers Hifis label Different Drummer.
Theres a Digidub remix coming out, and theres another track on a French compilation called Wreck This Mess. Thats been the plan, to put out things on complations or remixes, that allows other people to go out and promote us without us having to do that hard work ourselves, and that is the hardest part, getting out there in Europe.
If we'd tried to just put out an ep out straight away, it wouldnt have stood a chance. Its the value of association, people pick it up and see Moody Boyz, Rootsman, and maybe read the small print and go, oh, a track from New Zealand, whats this? Getting your work alongside all these other people who we know of and respect, it gives you a level playing field to have a look at what you do.

Any response from the major record companies?

Yeah, which is odd, cos it never happened with Unitone, but were telling them to wait until were ready. Its really interesting, that when people cant have something they suddenly really want it. But, its not like were ever going to do a cd single and try to hawk it round the country, and do gigs in towns we don't even particularly want to visit, like Christchurch.

Oi! exclaims Mainlander Angus, rising from his chair, and for a moment it appears Soundproof are about to become a solo act.

Okay, enough tomfoolery, Ive got one more question. Whats Soundproof live all about?

Well, the plan is to emulate the studio setup... Its important or us that there are things we can manipulate live says Jim, that its not just a press play, sit back and skin up scenario, much as that would be quite nice, and if anyone wants to pay us to do that were more than happy! But there has to be some element of live music in there. Playing with HDU, that hybrid, cross pollination concept, will be great. We really enjoyed remixing their track Lull. We love that track. Im amazed that more people havent done it, you know, this sort of gig. People arent pushing it at all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Nomad... spelled backwards is Damon

Originally printed in Lava Magazine, November 1999

"I spent about a year writing the tracks, without any set idea in mind of how I wanted it to come out" says Daimon Schwalger, aka The Nomad, phoning from his new base in Wellington.

When I make a track, I get the beats down, a few atmospherics, then I lay down the bass, a vocal, then I sit down for a week and do the arrangements. There's lots of jams, and taking it somewhere that you don't really know it's gonna go, experimenting. He's talking about his new album, Second Selection, which he put together over the course of a year in hometown Christchurch.

"It's all gelled pretty well. The album's quite diverse, but it has a similarity of sound. Does that make sense?"

It makes perfect sense. Second Selection is an album full of dubwise downtempo delights, with beats guaranteed to tickle the eardrums of the nation right through the coming summer and beyond. It features contributions from Pearl Runga, MC Antsman from Beats N Pieces, and Tiki Taane, he who makes Salmonella Dub sound so phat, assists with the mix, and Farda P from recent tourists Rockers Hifi also pops in.

The result is a much different sound from the first Nomad effort, Movement,, which delved deep into the realm of dark drum n bass. Why the shift ?

"Well, people change. As much as I love drum n bass, I love trip hop and dub more. That's the style of music I'm into right now. Drum n bass is very influenced by dub anyway. I've been into down groove stuff for about ten years now. When I make a track, I get the beats down, a few atmospherics, then I lay down the bass, a vocal, then I sit down for a week and do the arrangements. There's lots of jams, and taking it somewhere that you don't really know it's gonna go, experimenting. Then editing it all down."

Daimon recorded the album in his home studio. He is also responsible for the album's artwork posters, and very cool stickers. He's very much a one man band. I ask him why he likes working this way. "Well, I'm a control freak!" he says, laughing. "Basically I recorded and produced the record, did the artwork, organised the album tour, because ultimately, I'm in it for the music and I've been doing it for ten years, and it's really important to me. I've got to hold onto that creative control, I've got to make sure its being represented in the way I want."

Must be a lot of work. Why do you do it? "I guess it's like eating; it's just what I do, y'know? I've been doing it for about 11 years now. I'm not doing it to become famous or make lots of money, it's more of a lifestyle. Getting into the studio with friends and busting out a track, I just love it. It's a huge passion of mine. I don't watch TV, I don't go to a lot of films, I just spend a lot of my time at the computer, inventing and creating music, trying to make something that's more of a deeper thing, rather than just cheesy lyrics and dodginess..."

Black Seeds : V2.0

Originally published in NZ Musician magazine, 2001.

Wellington band The Black Seeds launched themselves onto the unsuspecting public last year with the release of their acclaimed debut album 'Keep On Pushing'.

Mixing up reggae and ska, these skanking folk set off round the country to play live, cashing in on their reputation as Wellington's ultimate good time party band. Having spent most of this summer playing at festivals around NZ, including The Gathering and the Raglan Reggae Sunsplash, the Seeds are now resting up.

Their latest release due out February (as yet untitled "but we'll decide on the name soon" say the band) is a remix collection of tracks from their debut album, sliced and diced by the likes of 50Hz, Jet Jaguar, Son Sine, DJ Mu, Ebb, House of Shem and more. I meet up with Barnaby Weir (guitar, vocals) and Shannon Williams (bass) from the band for a chat.

The Black Seeds' line-up usually runs to seven members with Bret McKenzie on keys, Daniel Weetman on percussion, Rich Christie on drums, Toby Laing on trumpet and Mike Fabulous on guitar and percussion. Soundman Lee Prebble is counted as their eighth member. The Black Seeds started out in 1998, growing from a three piece, to a four piece, then a five piece "... and now we're a family pack!" exclaims Barnaby.

The lads see the remix album as a logical extension of Keep On Pushing, which was released in June last year by Loop Recordings Aotearoa, with distribution through Border Music.

"Our biggest success came with a remix," observes Shannon. "We weren't that happy with the original version of Keep on Pushing, and our soundman Lee remixed it, and it sounded so much better. The remixes for the new album we've heard so far have been awesome."

"The thing is people that aren't into the rawness of our live show or the sound of the CD, might be into a 50Hz or a Jet Jaguar take on it, you know? There's plenty of people round Wellington who are keen (to remix a track), so its like, sweet, let's put them out as a remix album," says Barnaby.

Both Shannon and Barnaby work at Radio Active, where a lot of local musicians pass through, making it easy to hunt out potential remixers. "It was mainly either friends or contacts through people we know," says Barnaby.

Remix participants got to choose their own songs from the album. Barnaby says they were quite lucky, as nobody chose the same song. "We didn't have any double ups." The remixers were given the music in the format of their choice, mostly as an unmixed Pro Tools session with all the music, or a few bars of various instruments on DAT tape. Most of the remixers used Pro Tools or some form of PC-based software for the remix.

Shannon sees the aim of the remixes is "... about getting different people into it, like some people who might be put off by the reggae thing. Cafes like this one (gesturing to our surroundings) have greatly helped that sort of music. As much as I like Kruder and Dorfmeister, that stuff is all nicely played and produced, but it gets a bit like musical wallpaper after a while. Hopefully our remixes aren't going to be like that!"

"I don't think they will," reassures Barnaby. "It's also good for radio play as well. Programme directors that might not be into the sound on our first release might be much more into that other electronic sound. Remixing is an art form in itself, its about taking things one step further, like with dub music or versions, keep taking it as far as you can."

"Plus, from a really basic point of view, it's great to hear what other people can do with the songs," adds Shannon.
They hint that their next album, which they will begin recording later this year, will showcase more diverse styles from the first, adding in some funk and latino influences into their reggae-fied mashup. They also intend to work in some more raw, live moments into the recording. "Lately we've been having a fair few of those 'magic moments' while playing live, rather than in the rehearsal room," says Barnaby. "It'd be great to bring in some of that on the next record."

What's in a remix then?

The art of the remix originated in Jamaica, when reggae producers such as King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry started reworking their recordings for the B side of a single (known as a Version). Reworking the A side in strange and new ways, dropping out the vocal and adding effects and dubbing them out, hence the label 'dub'. Remixes developed further in the disco scene in New York in the '70s, and led on to some lame 'dub' remixes in the '80s from the likes of Human League and Flock of Seagulls.

Remixes have developed into a major marketing tool for the music industry, lending songs a previously unheard-of credibility from the purchase price of a big-name remixer and their 'sound'. Take the example of U2 and their oh-so-ironic 'Zooropa' phase, with their achingly hip remixes from the likes of Paul Oakenfold and David Morales, giving the band nightclub cred where previously the only time you heard U2 in a club was on Retro night.

But beyond the dollar signs are the creative possibilities offered by a remix. Opening up your song to reinterpretation by another musician can push your own music in new and unusual directions. It requires a fair degree of trust that your music will be treated sympathetically. Wanna get remixing?

Paddy Free
plays keyboards in renowned electronica dub-freak duo Pitch Black. He is also a dab hand in the studio, having produced numerous remixes for a variety of local acts including Stellar*, Supergroove and Salmonella Dub. He also held down the producer's seat on the latter outfit's highly acclaimed album 'Inside the Dub Plates'. He has done three or four remixes with Pitch Black musical partner Mike Hodgson. Paddy says how he starts work on a remix depends on a few key elements.

"Sometimes it's a remix with a target like radio play, and sometimes I'm given free rein, or it's simply for a different mix on a B side. If they're after radio play, I like to think of myself as like a tour guide, going along highlighting the main features. It's short attention span theatre, you just keep putting new things in front of the listener to hold their attention. But if it's an open brief, I'll approach it more from a sonic point of view."

The gear needed to do a remix is much easier to work with these days than when Paddy started out down the studio path. He recalls one of the first remixes he ever did, for Supergroove. "I had a sampler that only had eight meg of memory, and the vocals took up 30 meg, so I had to keep loading them up, then dumping them to tape, so I didn't hear the remix til I'd finished it!"

"Nowadays that's all much easier. As far as gear to do a remix, you can do it all inside a reasonably well set up audio computer with Pro Tools, Logic Audio or Cubase. Remixes are really suited to that desktop audio production setup." He notes that there's often a different head space when doing a remix for friends as opposed to a straight out commissioned work. "With your mates, you've seen them live, and so on. With Salmonella Dub, I've done about half a dozen radio edits and remixes for them, which is because I've got that poppy mindset that they need for that."1

Sunday, May 29, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, May 29

Replays on Friday 2-4pm NZT. Stream it here online

Electric wire hustle - Gimme that kinda
Unitone Hifi - Hang on - Kinky electric noise remix
Ras Stone meets the Dub Terminator - Love you so much
Salmonella dub - Platetechtonics
The Yoots - Tutira mai
Stinky Jim - Triple agent
Myele Manzanza - Me I know him
Lewis McCallum - New someone
Lord Jackson - Chillem inst
Christoph El Truento - Talons
Kora - Politician
Kevvy Kev - Tribute
Dub connection - Mike quality
Pitch black - Flex
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Mkl vs Soy Sos remix
Nuvonesia - Mr Mumra
Bic Runga - Something good - Submariner remix feat the Feelstyle
Riki Gooch - Bakade varor
Mighty Asterix -Sweetest girl
Jefferson Belt - Skylurking
Loudhaler - Nylon
Dr Tree - Eugino D

Weary blues

I ain’t saying I didn’t invent rapping,” says Gil Scott-Heron. “I just cannot recall the circumstances.” 

From Weary Blues, an interview with him from New York magazine, 2008.

In 2008, Heron was playing a show with rapper Mos Def and his band, and was out on parole, trying to make a comeback... his output from 1970 to 1982 - 13 albums. At the time of the interview, he'd managed one album since 82.

"... He was paroled early in May 2007 after serving ten months for violating a plea bargain at the upstate Collins Correctional Facility, but he was picked up for a parole violation last October.

Now out on parole again, he says he’s trying to stay clean (“I’m doing my best”), but he remains unrepentant. “I had some cocaine in my pocket. They should have left me alone,” he says. “In England, they would have took it and gone on home.”

He’s been HIV-positive for several years and says his health has improved, but he recently was hospitalized (he jokes, “the old one was all used up, so they gave me pneumonia”). He’s lost weight recently; his black jeans barely hang on to his hips. He still smokes, Marlboro Reds.

Nonetheless, he’s trying to make a comeback, though he knows it’s a long shot (“It’s like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. He may get in a shot or two, but … ”). He’s assembled some of his old bandmates to record a new album, he’s playing some shows this summer, and he’s finishing his long-stalled book project, The Last Holiday, which chronicles how he and Stevie Wonder hit the road together in the eighties on a mission to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday..."

The New Yorker also has an indepth interview with Heron from August last year, which is free today only, temporarily non-paywalled. Heron smokes crack openly in front of the interviewer...

excerpt ...
“I’m trying to stay out of traction,” he said. “I feel like I got a piece of gravel up at the top of my spine.” He lit the propane torch and touched the glass tube to his lips. “Ten to fifteen minutes of this, I don’t have pain,” he said. “I could have had an operation a few years ago, but there was an eight-per-cent chance of paralysis. I tried the painkillers, but after a couple of weeks I felt like a piece of furniture. It makes you feel like you don’t want to do anything. This I can quit anytime I’m ready.”

He touched the flame to the tube. “I have a novel that I can write,” he said next. “It’s about three soldiers from Somalia. Some babies have been disappearing up on 144th Street, and I speculate later on what happened to them and how they might have been got back. These guys are dead, all three, and they have a chance in the afterlife to do something they should have done when they were alive.” He raised the torch, then paused and said, “I have everything except a suitable conclusion.”

ADDED Just found these live recordings of Gil Scott Heron via Musical Meanders blog, hat tip to Simon Grigg...

Gil Scott-Heron - Live at the Village Gate (1976)
Gil Scott-Heron - Live at the Bottom Line (1977)
Gil Scott-Heron - Live at Berkeley (1978)
Gil Scott-Heron - Live at Glastonbury (1986)

Calfornia Jamming

Spotted at From Fela to the Funk... "At the old Ontario Motor Speedway, April 1974 - 300,000 fans attended this huge rock festival, produced by ABC". Four vids, here's two of em...

From the same concert, Rare Earth

And some interviews with the fans...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mute unmute

Mute Records boss Daniel Miller interviewed, includes a DJ mix from Miller. Via The Quietus.

"When we last spoke with Miller around the time of the BBC Synth Britannia programme, he was in the middle of negotiating the departure of Mute from EMI. Now, 18 months later, Mute once again functions as an independent label, operating from offices down in Hammersmith. Incidentally, when I first visited the new HQ, the staff were complaining about all the drilling which, from a label who pioneered industrial music, seemed a bit rich...."

Plus "Electricity is love: Mute & Raster-Noton's Short Circuit triumph" live review of Mute showcase, pretty eclectic lineup from the Residents to Erasure....

"... it's nigh-on impossible to get back into the small room for NON, Pole and Richard H. Kirk, a shame but Ritchie Hawtin plays a fine techno set upstairs in the main room. Down in the bar after that, there's the strange sight of Daniel Miller DJing as people crowd round, not dancing but intent on what he's doing. I hope that, as on his mix for the Quietus, he might have played Twinkle....."

Black wax

There's a fantastic film featuring Gil Scott Heron that I've got on DVD, called Gil Scott Heron: Black Wax. It was directed by Robert Mugge, who has made a number of docos on music and musicians, and was reissued on DVD in 2003.

Shot in Washington DC in 1982, it mixes up concert footage with Heron walking around DC talking about the city and its people. He goes past the White House, thru the ghetto, and a rather funky history museum with mannequins of famous US figures. Here's few clips from it.

It's amazing to think that Heron was still putting out relevant, exciting new music as recently as last year. A full life....

Hopepa on The Yoots

Hopepa (Joe Lindsay) of Fat Freddys talks about his side project the Yoots and their new album, while hanging outside Conch Records. Then he ventures inside and digs thru the bins, spending up large on a stack of wax. "This place is worse than the casino, man!" - Hopepa.

RIP Gil Scott Heron

Posted to Twitter an hour ago by Jamie Byng, Publisher at Canongate Book:
: "Just heard the very sad news that my dear friend and one of the most inspiring people I've ever met, the great Gil Scott-Heron, died today.
He died around 4pm NY time at St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. just had a teary chat with Aunt Mimi. so sad.
I wrote this piece last year for the guardian and it captures my love and respect for soul brother No.1"

ADDED Confirmed by New York Times: Gil Scott-Heron, Spoken-Word Musician, Dies at 62

ADDED Richard Russell of XL Recordings remembers his last phone conversation with Gil Scott Heron... "...He rang me on a Saturday, the day after my birthday, I answered his call whilst browsing in Foyles bookshop in London. We spoke for an hour. Conversation like this with Gil were a gift...."

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, May 28

Al Green - Love and happiness - Shoes edit
Charles Bradley - Heart of gold
Louis Jordan - Aint nobody here but us chickens - DJ Premier remix
Pepperpots - Real tru love
Emotions - Blind alley
Jean Knight - Carry on
Oddisee - Chocolate city dreaming
Eric B and Rakim - I know you got soul
Daddy Freddy - Haul and pull - Bobby Konders remix
Yellowman - Nobody move nobody get hurt
Junior Murvin - I'll follow you
Ras Stone meets the Dub Terminator - Love you so much
The Yoots - Me he manu rere
Pan dulce steel orchestra - Zig zag
Staff benda billili - Sala mosala
War - The world is a ghetto
The dynamites - It's a sunny day
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Better things
Skatalites - Fugitive dub
Patato and Totico - Dilo como yo - Antibalas remix
Fink - Sort of revolution - Sideshow dub
Beat pharmacy - Assassination of the mind - Teddy G remix
MAW - Zoe; tribute to Fela
Woima collective - Marz
Azymuth - Melo dos dois bicudos - Harmonic313 remix
Myele Manzanza - Me I know him

Friday, May 27, 2011

Groove Guide rises

This afternoon the news broke that Groove Guide had been sold, and would be relaunched on June 8. The story first appeared on stoppress.co.nz (also owned by Tangible Media, who were shuttering Groove Guide).

The Groove Guide's new owner is Grant 'Grunter' Hislop who has spent many years in the music biz, most recently as Programme Director of Juice TV and former director of Channel Z and The Rock as well as A&R head of Warner Music. See The Corner , Under the radar.

Tangible Media publisher Vincent Heeringa has alternately blamed the demise of Groove Guide on shrinking ad revenue and no support from major corporates, social media and blogs, lack of support from the music industry, due that industry's declining  fortunes. He said "It's a sad day for the music industry and we tried very hard to make it work ... it's a reflection more of the nature of the industry than of publishing in general."

Pointing out the dilemma of another industry could be seen to be conveniently glossing over the failings of the publishing industry. If street media can survive in other major metropolitan cities around the globe (as Tangible Media highlighted when they relaunched Groove Guide), then what was Tangible Media doing wrong?

The possibility of a new owner emerged on Tuesday, with Heeringa saying "We are a reasonably large company now and that comes with expectations of return on investment. Overheads are reasonably high.

"We've got a set of publishers here like me who we've got to keep smoking cigars and driving fancy cars. There are costs to be saved by the owner being the guy who runs the business."

I have heard reports that Heeringa was seen to have his tongue firmly planted in cheek while delivering the above blather.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sing along

The Yoots have posted up their album to listen to on Bandcamp (strangely not for purchase tho - sort it out!). You can buy it from Amplifier.co.nz

Macro dubplates preview

Volume three of Macro Dubplates is set to drop soon - Brooklyn vs Kingston. Due out Northern mid-summer. The first two were killer blends of hiphop vocals over classic reggae jams - grab em from Macrodubplates

Vol 1and 2  also got bootlegged on vinyl too, some copies making their way back to the man behind them, Chris Macro. Vol 1 is Wu Tang vs King Tubby, vol 2 is Jay-Z vs the Wailers. Both wicked blends. ODB's Shimmy Shimmy Ya over a reggae beat is just incredibly cool.

You'll also find an EP there for download, that Chris did with Tom Scott from Homebrew, called Max Marx & Friedrich Calloway at Carnegie Hall.


These are the good times

Norman Jay is a legendary British DJ, and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his Good Times sound system he's dropping a new collection in his series of Good Times compilations. The track listing looks dynamite.
"Norman Jay presents Good Times 30 is released on CD, LP and download. For the CD and LP formats, leading journalist and author Lloyd Bradley interviews Norman Jay for an extensive career-spanning sleeve note. The package also features rare and unseen photos from across Norman Jay’s career as a DJ." Out July 19 on Strut
10. J BOOGIE’S DUBTRONIC SCIENCE feat. GOAPELE and CAPITOL A – TRY ME (People Under The Stairs Remix)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twitter is a buzzkill

A New Zealander I follow on Twitter posted this earlier:

@francescadejong: "I may delete my twitter account -just got a email from twitter saying they've received a DMCA notice re a post i made.

"I posted a blog with music on it, apparently that's partaking in infringing activity. It was a well known music blog too, the music ninja." The link was to this music blog post by Bon Iver.

If this is true, the idea that Twitter would send out warnings to its users for sharing links, which is one of the fundamental uses of Twitter, is just insanely stupid. Especially as I think US copyright law doesn't apply to NZ citizens. That wouldn't stop Twitter deleting your account though.

ADDED - two articles: The Twitter DMCA Debacle.
How Much Copyright Infringement Can You Cram Into a Single Tweet?

ADDED: iTunes accidentally leaked Bon Iver's new album. As Amplifier.co.nz noted via Twitter, "Stores don't accidentally leak albums. Labels upload albums with the wrong release date."

ADDED I contacted the Music Ninja blog via Twitter and let them know about Francesca's issue. I asked if they had had any DCMA infringement notices from Twitter or elsewhere,and they replied no.

ADDED Here is the full DCMA notice sent to Francesca from Twitter (thanks to Francesca for letting me publish this)....

francescadejong, May-24 04:18 am (PDT):


The following material has been removed from your account in response to a DMCA take-down notice:

Tweet: http://twitter.com/francescadejong/status/72216458863718400 - Listen to Holocene by Bon Iver at the bottom of this post. Beautiful. http://t.co/XLMG9kc via @themusicninja

If you believe the material to not be infringing, you may send us a counter-notification of your objection pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(g)(3).

Please include the following in your counter-notification:
1. Your full name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and Twitter user name.
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ADDED I've just found that Bon Iver's label JagJaguwar have a free MP3 download of Calgary, the same MP 3 that is on the Music Ninja blog for download. 

Myele Manzanza

Me I Know Him ft. Sam Manzanza and Amenta by Myele Manzanza

Myele Manzanza holds down the drumseat for Electric Wire Hustle. Last year he was selected to attend the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in London, and then spent several months in New York and Berlin. The outcome of his travels is his debut album, One.

"The first single 'Me I Know Him' featuring [Myele's father] Sam Manzanza and fellow Red Bull Music Academy participant Amenta started life with recording Sam's vocals in Myele's kitchen in Wellington on his inboard laptop microphone, while Amenta's vocals were tracked at the high end recording facility of London's Red Bull Studios.

“This rhythmical track touches on where I have come from, my African heritage, my history as a drummer and my love for jazz and dance music. Plus it's dope to be able to finally put my dad on something too!” says Myele.

'Me I Know Him' is the first single to be released from Myele Manzanza's full length album 'One'. The album will also feature guest artists Ladi6, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Charlie K, Bella Kalolo, Rachel Fraser, Mara TK and TaayNinh of Electric Wire Hustle and many other incredibly talented musicians."

Hello Eric

Eric Lau's new album Quadrivium dropped recently, this is a free tune off it. Tasty, beaty, groovy.

Another tune from Eric Lau, off his instrumental album from Sept 2010, Makin Sound.

Oddisee - Odd Seasons album

Washington DC producer Oddisee dropped a series of fantastic instrumental EPs last year around the seasons. My favourite was Odd Summer, cos the tunes were mellow, and I love summer.

This is a free download off the 31-track album Odd Seasons, out this week. It's available as digital download or CD, with vinyl coming soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mayer Major

Mayer Hawthorne did an awesome live show earlier this year in Auckland, with his band The County. He was suave as, and a lot of fun. He's just announced he's leaving Stonesthrow and signing to Universal Republic for his second album How Do You Do, which is in the can. He has been recording it back in his hometown Detroit.

First single off the album is rumoured to be called “A Long Time”. Sounds like this, and I think he played it in Auckland too, I remember him teaching the crowd the Errol Flynn.... (via Potholes in my blog)

Happy birthday, Robert Zimmerman

From the inimitable Hugh Laurie, in the style of Bob Dylan

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dr Tree

Eugino D by Dr Tree (featuring the late Martin Winch), gloriously funky jazz tune.... originally released on LP in 1976, reissued on CD in 2007, easy to track down.And it's got steel drums in it.

RIP Martin Winch

From Amplifier: "Martin Winch, creator of the acclaimed Espresso Guitar albums and former member of The 1860 Band, The Mermaids and various other acts has passed away.

Martin was an esteemed guitar player, adept at sight reading and skilled in rock and jazz. As well as having a great on-stage presence, his work has been audible in many TV and radio commercials over the years - Toyota's Welcome To My World TV campaign being but one of them.

He also toured with various musicals during his career, tutored in jazz guitar at the University of Auckland School of Music and played a part in helping artists create their albums.

Winch was 62."

Added; Interview with Martin Winch from NZ Musician, 2005. He was also part of legendary jazz funk outfit Dr Tree, who released one album, in 1976, which got reissued in November 2007. Graham Reid wrote the reissue liner notes, read them here. "... although they seem to be written out of the texts on Kiwi rock history, it is worth being reminded that Dr Tree won two major music industry awards on the release of this album: most promising group and top group performance. And they were both in the “rock” category..."

The band did a one-off gig at the Kings Arms to celebrate the reissue, it was a very groovy night (the date on the youtube video below is incorrect, I think). Dr Tree's lineup was Frank Gibson Jr, Kim Paterson, Martin Winch, John Banks, Bob Jackson and Murray McNabb.

ADDED June 30 - NZ Musician has an obit to Winch in their latest edition written by Neil Hannan, also online here, and below.

"Our dear friend, gentleman and gentle man, Martin Winch, began his musical journey comparatively late; it has now ended, at 62 years young, tragically early.

From Nottingham, England, Martin’s family immigrated to New Zealand when he was a young teenager. The Northcote College boy used to ‘borrow’ younger brother Rob’s guitar, usually forgetting to return it as he became obsessed with an instrument he couldn’t put down.

Largely self taught, Martin immersed himself in the study of the British blues guitarists – Clapton, Gallagher and Green and their mentors Freddie and Albert King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James et al.

Descending from a long line of British Bobbies, this was somewhat an anathema to his elders. “That’s not going to be a real job is it?” Despite this he became very competent, very quickly and his early years in rock groups included extended stays in Australia and Japan. By the mid 1970s, he was a member of the great Auckland band Salty Dogg, and the zenith of inspiration at the time, jazz/rock outfit Dr Tree.

Martin realised early on that to have a career as a professional guitarist, learning to be a better reader of music was essential, telling various members of the popular music community at the time they were ‘mugs’ if they didn’t become so.

During the late ’70s, his time with the 1860 Band and The Rodger Fox Big Band certainly helped achieve this and set Martin on course to become the brilliant jazz stylist that he was. In a buoyant NZ music scene of the ’70’s, ’80s (and much of the ’90s), Martin did it all; club bands, backing international acts, (Randy Crawford, Shirley Bassey, Elaine Page to name a few), orchestral calls, many, many jazz gigs, soundtracks and commercial recording and teaching – all the while writing and recording his own material.

His work on Jacqui FitzGerald’s ‘The Masquerade is Over’ the 1985 Jazz Record of the year, shows Martin and a stellar band at the peak of their powers. All his skills came together in his 2002 album ‘Espresso Guitar’ and the follow up ‘Guitar Song’ (2004). I know Martin was extremely proud of these records and the well-deserved commercial success gave him a bit of breathing space.

More recently, Martin’s version of Freddy King’s Hideaway (and other tracks) were released on prestigious New York-based label Bohemian Productions – a company specialising in instrumental guitar music, whose stable includes Joe Satriani, Stanley Clarke and John Scofield.

It’s no mean feat to have lived the life of a professional musician in NZ, but a better all round musician you will not find; sensitive accompanist, great ensemble player and rip roaring soloist.

On a personal note, with all the trials and tribulations of family life, of which Martin had many, I only ever knew a compassionate and kind man. His was a passionate life, well lived, and he will be sorely missed by many.

Groove Guide gone

Just announced via Twitter, "It's all over now, baby blue – issue 171 [next issue] of Groove Guide will be our last."

Publisher Tangible Media closed down Real Groove in October last year and kept Groove Guide, now shuttering that title too. Sad loss for the music scene here.

ADDED NZ Herald covers the closure, noting that Editor Sam Wicks and brand manager Emily Govorko would lose their jobs. The publisher, Vincent Heeringa, points the finger at the rise of social media and amateur blogs as part of the reason for the closure. Heeringa: "We're heading into the age of the amateur. We're actually already in it, which is good and bad. It's hard for people to make a career out of it now."

RIP Dave Beniston

From NZ Herald, May 21 : "BENISTON, David. Founding bassist with the Able Tasmans died suddenly 7 May 2011 in Melbourne. We remaining Able Tasmans; Craig Baxter, Graeme Humphreys, Leslie Jonkers, Peter Keen, Stuart Greenway, Craig Mason, Ron Young and Jane Dodd salute his memory and offer our sincere sympathies to his family. His name was always on the door-list no matter where we played."

Listen to Graham's tribute on RadioLive to Dave Beniston here. He leaves behind a partner and daughter.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwiFM, Sunday May 22

Show replays on Fridays, 2-4pm on Kiwi FM. Stream it online

Isaac Aesili - Stranjah
Nomad - Check the pitch
Katchafire - I&I - Mad professor remix
Snypa Levi - Inna the dance
Dub terminator - Let it blaze
Conray - Flower fair
Benny Tones - Firefly
Julien Dyne - Behind the forage
Fat Freddys Drop  - Midnight marauders - Mu's triple 5 steppas dub
Unitone Hifi - Sneeze off
NSU - West coast dub - Dub Asylum remix
Sola rosa - Lady love - Richie Phoe remix
The Yoots - E papa waiari
Patio - Syrup
Knights of the dub table - Sing it to me - Tiki remix
Mycroft Holmes - Sideshow viewing
Snake Salvador - Delta
Scratch 22 - For walking faces
Eru Dangerspiel -Sun again
Shogoun orchestra - Falko
Kingites - Polynesian panthers
Jahlicious - Panicked
Karl Marx Project - OSC
Recloose - Robop
Tubbs - The storm

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Peanutbutter Wolf of Stonesthrow Records dropped an all-45s set in San Francsico on Friday, alongside Mayer Hawthorne, J-Rocc and Baron Zen. Here's an interview he did with the SF Weekly.

Peanut Butter Wolf on His History with 45s and Why the Vinyl Comeback Is Overhyped.

[excerpt...] Do you think vinyl is making a comeback these days?
No. Overhyped in the media in my opinion.

How extensive is your personal record collection?
Lost track years ago. All I know is I started buying vinyl on a weekly basis in 1979 and still buy it regularly. I just went record shopping yesterday actually. Main difference is from 1979-1986, I only bought "new" records. From 1986-1996, I bought a combination of new and old. From 1996 until now, I mainly buy older records. I buy new music through iTunes, but not new vinyl so much.

Lastly, you don't live in the Bay any more, but what are some things you miss from here?
Of course my family is number one. They all still live in San Jose and I visit them when I can. As for S.F., it would be nice to be able to go to Groove Merchant weekly like I used to, and the restaurants out there can't be beat.

Ticklah vs MIA

Was searching for other remixes by Ticklah after copping his remix from the LA Noire EP, and found this, from a while back.... M.I.A "Steppin Up" (CHLLNGR meets Ticklah DUB). Free download too.

M.I.A "Steppin Up" (CHLLNGR meets Ticklah DUB) by CHLLNGR

Bonus: here's CHLLNGR (from Denmark) reimagining classic reggae tune Truth and Rights as a dubbed out accordion number, remixed by Dr Echo.

CHLLNGR "Truths and Rights" (DR ECHO remix) by CHLLNGR

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, May 21

Dub traffik control - Bantu
Louis Jordan - Aint nobody here but us chickens - DJ Premier remix
Gay Flamingoes steel band - Caterpilla
Jackie Mittoo - Grand funk
Viceroys - Give it to him
Al Brown - Aint no love in the heart of the city
Blend Mishkin feat BNC - Disco vampire - Turntable dubbers remix
Love Unlimited orchestra - Theme from King Kong - Danny Krivit edit
Dennis Coffey - Ubiquitous - Steinski mix
Charles Bradley - Heart of gold
Chico Mann - Harmonia
Nina Simone - Seeline woman - MAW remix
Sun islanders steel orchestra - Perhaps
Paul Murphy - Soul call
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Sonsine remix
The Yoots - Me he manu rere
The Congos - Congoman - Carl Craig edit
Zap Mama -Bandy bandy - Carl Craig remix
Hugh Masekela - Languta
Mayer Hawthorne - Work to do
Hawk - Dont judge a book by its cover
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan - Stone cold dead in the market - Ticklah remix
Junior Murvin - Jack Slick
Konshens - She loves money
Barrington Levy - Fuss nor fight
Brentford allstars - Greedy G
Nile Rogers - Land of the good groove
Third world orchestra  -Cumbia de Gary
Little dragon - Constant surprises

Friday, May 20, 2011

La cumbia de Gary

From Argentinians Third World Orchestra, some cumbia vibes on Gary Numan to get you warmed up for his AK show tomorrow night.

Third World Orchestra - La Cumbia de Gary by Third World Orchestra

Epsilon-Blue ... get down to business.

(originally published in NZ Musician magazine, 2002)

'We have a responsibility to our shareholders' is the delightfully obtuse title for the latest album from Epsilon-Blue, one of the aliases used by a talented young chap called Leyton, who also records under the names Son Sine, and Rotor+. The different monikers indicate differing styles of electronica, from house to techno to more ambient experimental material.

Epsilon-Blue is best known for the beautiful song One in a Million (from his debut album Waterland'), which has been hugely popular with student radio across the country. That album, released in 1998 on Kog Transmissions, has sold 1500 copies here. The Epsilon-Blue sound is an enticing blend of techno, deep house, and dub, dishing up sexy melodies and funky rhythms.

Leyton started working on his new album about a year ago. "I'd been heavily involved with the Rotor+ album (Aileron), and when that was all done with, I started thinking about, what is the next thing? Is 'it Epsilon-Blue? I didnt know, so I just started writing, and as it went along, it became an Epsilon-Blue album. I wanted to write things that worked sequentially - I'd write a track and then go 'okay, what happens after this track?' It's definitely a journey, with a start, a middle and an end.

"This time I wanted it to be more about the body. The first one was quite mind-orientated. That's how I saw it, anyway. Five of the tracks on the new album are oonsty, they've got a really good pace to them. That sense of movement brings it back to a dance angle. It's about moving."

The recording has been done in The Library (Leyton's studio], surrounded by books, with mix down and mastering completed in Kog Transmissions studio room. The Epsilon-Blue sound is generated with a Mac B3 500 laptop running Logic and Digi 001. Leyton also used an Emu 6400 sampler, Yamaha C52X and 0X100 keyboards, Korg EX8000 and Emu Virtuoso sound modules, and a Yamaha 01V mixing desk.

Vocal contributions on the new album include Bamaby Weir from the Black Seeds on the track We B Moving, Tama Waipara, a New York-based classical oboeist and jazz singer on May U B Free, and Josephine, an Auckland singer/songwriter on U R a Star. The simple, repetitive vocal lines add character to Leyton's highly melodic take on house styles, giving the album a real warmth.

Leyton explains that the delightful album title evolved from thinking about the body. "I was thinking of the earth as a body, this big chunk of rock hurtling through space, an organism complete of itself. Then one morning on the radio, I heard this interview with a CEO talking about restructuring their company, making people redundant. Then he said 'We have a responsibility to our share-holders', and I just laughed out loud. "That's the be all and end all these days, and it just sucks. I thought of the birds, the animals; we're all here, we're all shareholders, we're all sharing this body of the earth."

LA Noire

Rockstar Games and Verve Records have teamed up to drop a very cool comp to celebrate the new game LA Noire. Moodyman remixing Billie Holiday, DJ Premier remixing Louis Jordan. Truth and Soul remixing Gene Krupa, Ticklah remixing a Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald tune and more....

If you're a Wax Poetics US subscriber, you even get two tracks off it on 7"single with your next copy of the mag (#47). It's available now, via iTunes NZ etc. Listen below

L.A. Noire: Remixed by RockstarGames

1. Stone Cold Dead In The Market (Ticklah remix) – Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald
2. Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Midnight Sun remix) – Lionel Hampton
3. Slick Chick (David Andrew Sitek remix) – Dinah Washington
4. Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens (DJ Premier remix) – Louis Jordan
5. Sing Sing Sing (Truth & Soul remix) – Gene Krupa
6. That Ol’ Devil Called Love (Moodymann remix) – Billie Holiday

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jazz herd

Kinda random... was searching Bandcamp for steeldrums and stumbled upon this - beat producer by the name of Chief from Switzerland drops a tribute to Chick Corea. Free download too. Preview below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roger Perry: mixing it up

For New Zealand Music Month, I've hauled out some old magazine articles on local musicians and DJs that I wrote a while back. They give you a snapshot of artists earlier in their career...  originally published in NZ Musician magazine June 2001.

Roger Perry has been at the forefront of dance culture here since back in the day when he started DJing at a club run by Russ Le Roq (now known as Russell Crowe).

Roger's name became connected with all the best clubs throughout the '80s, Club Mirage, The Asylum, The Playground and The Siren to name but a few. He spent some time in the UK in the early '90s, returning here in '93, hooking up with the Stylee Crew, a DJ posse comprising DLT, Stinky Jim, Dubhead and Slowdeck.

Roger then drifted away from house - a style of music that he was particularly fond of - but was drawn back to it when promoter Chris O'Donogue from Lightspeed asked him to mix a tape with some of Chris' records, which were fuelled by funk. He started DJing at Calibre nightclub, building its enviable reputation as the happening place for house sounds in the City of Sails.

Late last year saw the release of 'BPM Mix 02', a collection of Roger's favourite DJ tunes covering a bunch of funky dance gems, mixing foreign and local sounds seamlessly. Included are some of Roger's own compositions, put together with Joost Langveld (Unitone Hifi, Subware) as Reactor Music.

Former Box resident DJ Rob Salmon pops up from his New York base with a tune, and Soane's collaboration with UK DJs Dick Johnson and Ben Davis as Troughman gets remixed by Greg Churchill (responsible for 'BPM Mix 01') and Peter Van der Fluit (ex Screaming Meemees). Roger is keen to jump further into production and is now the proud owner of an Akai MPC 2000 sampler. Some of his productions have already been released overseas on vinyl and have also featured on the 'Algoryhthm' compilations from Kog Transmissions, whom he has also worked with, under the Toolbox and Kingsland Housing Project monikers.

"Since I got back into DJing at Calibre and getting into house again, I really like taking two records and messing with the beats, mixing them up. A natural extension of that is getting in the studio and making original music. I'd like to get to the stage where I'm producing music, and DJing a lot less. I'm not so into just being a gun for hire. It's too easy to play yourself out.

"The local tracks (on 'BPM Mix 02') are showing that we're doing it here, and they're all very different too. We've got to push our own thing. I've been in and out of this business for almost half my life now, and I've watched so many people try and emulate the overseas thing. You're never going to see a local identity coming through if you do that. We should be proud of where our music is going."

Given Roger's long involvement in DJing, what does he make of the local dance scene at present?

"From where I'm standing, like, with Gatecrasher, where they get 4,000 people along, that hard house scene, it's like the new rock music. It's a mainstream thing and man, it's getting big. The dance scene here is really good. I travel the country a lot now, and to go to somewhere like Whakatane and get 500 people, by the end of the night all going like this (hands in the air) and loving it, that's crossed over, ay. And it's not radio support for it. I think there's a lot of youth coming through who think differently and like different things."

Top Five tunes? Roger ponders for a minute: "That's a hard one, ay. The Clean - 'Boodle Boodle Boodle'. Anything by The Clash - the way that they took reggae, disco, and punk and mashed it and made something out of it. New Order - 'Everything's Gone Green', or any of their early EPs. And Joy Division - These Days, from the B side of Love Will Tear Us Apart. Definitely anything by Roy Ayers. Masters At Work - Just A Little Dope. Anything by The Fatback Band, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

"Grandmaster Flash on The Wheels of Steel. That's the record that made me go 'Fuck, I want to teach myself how to mix!'. A Certain Ratio - Shack Up. I gave that record to my sister when she moved to Wellington, and I've been looking for that record for 15 years, mate. I picked it up in Dunedin, at Roi Colbert's shop last year. Shack Up was this weird ass funk. Killing Joke - 'Requiem', The Sound - 'In Jeopardy'. With Reactor Music, with Joost, we draw a lot on that period of early '80s music, especially the British stuff, like The Associates, Orange Juice. I couldn't give you just five, but there's a few!"

Vinyl comeback #253, with video

From Al Jazeera English: "A small but devoted following of music lovers is trying to save one curio for the analog dustbin..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blue sky

Mayer Hawthorne dropped a new EP last week, here's a video of one of the songs as it was recorded. ELO's Mr Blue Sky. According to Mayer's liner notes, it was recorded live, in one take, in a tiny makeshift tent, at a festival in Dour, Belgium. Read an interview with Mayer about the EP on the LA Times.

X Marx the spot

The Karl Marx Project is the work of Isaac Aesili (Opensouls, Solaa) and Mark McNeil. Their debut release is out now thru European label Melting Pot Music. There's an audio preview of their album up on Soundcloud, with a few free downloads going too. Nice, beaty, bleepy disco electronica.

Karlmarx - The Karlmarx Project (album sampler) by Loopcrew

The album drops June 3 on MPM. There was a limited edition album sampler that dropped on Loop for Record Store  Day in April.

Tu meke!

The Yoots are led by the exuberant Mister Joe Lindsay, aka Ho-Pepa, the man who holds down the trombone for Fat Freddys Drop. He formed the group with his brother Sam in 2006.

They've played at festivals such as the Cuba St Carnival, bringing the warm sound of calypso and ska to the Capital. With this album Sing Along With The Yoots, they've taken the sounds of the Carribean and melded them with Maori songs such as Tutira Mai, and E Papa Waiari, to great effect. It's a glorious collection of tunes that make you want to sing along (as the title would suggest), and The Yoots have thoughtfully provided all the lyrics in the CD booklet. How helpful.

Out now on Economy Records, the folks who bought you the magnificent debut from Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous).

The Yoots - Sing along with the Yoots MP3s at Amplifier (incl audio previews), CD at Conch or Mighty Ape

Track listing
1. Nga Iwi E
2. E Papa Waiari
3. Pupu Ake Mai
4. E Te Ariki
5. Me He Manu Rere
6. Huai Huai
7. A, E, I, O, U
8. Ka Ru Ka Ru
9. Hoki Mai
10. Tutira Mai
11. Toia Mai
12. Po Atarau

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Karl Hector and the Malcouns are about to drop a brand new vinyl EP, you can download a track off it for free over at Stonesthrow.

"For all intents and purposes, Karl Hector might as well be another nom-de-plume of Jay Whitefield (producer and guitarist for the Poets of Rhythm and the Whitefield Brothers) who, along with Thomas Myland and Zdenko Curlija, founded Karl Hector and The Malcouns in the early 2000s. Alongside Bo Baral, other members of the Poets of Rhythm and crack Munich-based session musicians, Whitefield, Myland and Curlija crafted nearly twenty tracks for their debut, Sahara Swing, an album that swung with influences from across the African diaspora.

The trio will now release a series of vinyl-only EPs – of which Tamanrasset is the first – that will culminate in their second album. Tamanrasset‘s five songs demonstrate The Malcouns’ deft handling of musics from Eastern and Northern Africa alongside Western psychedelia, jazz and funk; the song “Girma’s Lament” -  its title an homage to the great Ethiopian pianist, arranger and vocalist Girma Beyene -  is a great representation.

High Noon Tea playlist, KiwiFM, May 15

Replays on KiwiFM, Friday 2-4pm NZT. Listen online

International observer - Minicell
Zuvuya - Black sheep
The Yoots - Me he manu rere
Moodswingers - Recede to flourish
Mood unit - Hat trap
Jellphonic and LP - Beatsreal flip
Solaa - Pharoah
Opensouls - Falling in
Scratch 22 - Communication
Electric wire hustle - They don't want
Onelung - Not over
A hori buzz -Turnaround
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal - Dusty remix
Mike Fabulous - There's something about Africa
The Yoots - Tutira mai
Otautahi allstars - Mosquito
Jefferson Belt - Creeping tings of the earth
Hollie Smith - Hiding  - Dub Asylum remix
Jet Jaguar - Gomennasai
Natan - Circus girls go wild
Riki Gooch - Ode to the vegetable
Recloose - Landed
Lewis McCallum - Fly or die
Unification - Guru

Library of Congress' Jukebox hits

I featured a story on the US Library Of Congress and their 100 miles of shelves last week. Now the Library and Sony have set up a National Jukebox, with 10,000 recordings for streaming. It  had one million pages views in its first 48 hours since launch.

National Jukebox website logs 1 million page views, 250,000 streams in under 48 hours (LA Times)

"The project has opened up the library’s archive with an initial posting of more than 10,000 pre-1925 recordings from the Victor record label, now under the Sony Music umbrella. The recordings span jazz, blues, ethnic folk, gospel, pop, spoken word, comedy and other genres dating to the early 20th century.

Sony has given the Library of Congress blanket permission to make the recordings accessible to the public, retaining the rights to issue any of them in the future for commercial release.

The National Jukebox site also has been a hot topic on Twitter, which shows numerous tweets about the site, including specific recordings users are flagging to their followers."

One reaction on Twitter: "I am so enamored with the National Jukebox. Where else could I listen to prohibition-era popular music online?"

Some background on the digitising process behind this digital jukebox.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, May 14

The Yoots  - Me he manu rere
Syd Jones and the Troubadours - Cordova
Dutch rhythm steel and show band - Down by the river
Guinness cassanovas - Stormy
Charles Bradley  -Why is it so hard
El Michels affair - Detriot twice
Joy Denalane - Change inst
Hugh Masekela - Dont go lose it baby
Fishbone - Everyday sunshine
Beat pharmacy - Assassination of the mind - Teddy G dub
Seed - Sound a goody goody
Turntable dubbers feat Brother Culture - Get lively now - Blend Mishkin mix
Ruts DC  - Whatever we do - RSD remix
Gulls - Mean sound - strategy dub
Delroy Wilson - Can I change my mind
Roots radics - Babylon dont touch my sensi
Barrington Levy - Why you do it
Pavlov and mishkin  - Mafia
Centry - Melody of life
The Yoots  - Tutira mai
Futura 2000 and The Clash - Escapades dub
The normal - Warm leatherette
Material w Nona Hendryx - Busting out
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal
Esther Phillips - Home is where the hatred is
George Benson - Theme from Good King Bad

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stay at home

Simon Grigg popped up on Twitter earlier today with some very exciting news... He announced that "as of today, I now have 9 previously unreleased Suburban Reptiles tracks, thought lost for 30 yrs. Quite excited." He found them in a cupboard belonging to a guy who now lives in Bangkok and who used to hang with the band. He also found some unreleased Swingers songs. He posted a pic of one of the tapes, see above. Simon says that Hospital is a Jonathan Richman song. So Fucked Up is 1969 - Stooges.

3 Sided Dream

The latest issue of Wax Poetics magazine returns to the theme of jazz, with Jazz's Mad Men. One of the albums profiled in the mag is The case of the 3 sided dream in audio colour, by Rashaan Roland Kirk. The tale behind it is pretty crazy.

Kirk cut this album while his producer at Atlantic Records, Joel Dorn, was leaving the label, as it had morphed from jazz and soul into a rock monster, with Led Zep, Cream and CSN&Y. Unfortunately for Kirk, he wanted to depart too but still had two albums to go to fulfil his contract. So, he cut two albums simultaneously. As you do.

Only hitch - the budget was a mere $21,000, and they ran out of money after only recording three sides. Solution? He handed in a double LP with music on three of the four sides of vinyl.

This blog on the album describes it a concept record and fills in the story... " the fourth [side of the record] is a blank 12-minute track with 30 seconds of conversation at the very end." Nutty.

These impressions...

Some fresh goodness from Mr Mayer Hawthorne. No covers of The Impressions tho.

Free download, 6 song EP of covers. http://sthrow.com/mayer

Jakob: nice day for an earthquake!

For New Zealand Music Month, I've hauled out some old magazine articles on local musicians that I wrote a while back. They give you a snapshot of artists earlier in their career... This interview with Jakob was originally published in Pavement magazine, 2001. Jakob are playing two shows soon; Auckland - Kings Arms on June 4  and Wellington - San Francisco Bathhouse on June 11. Jakob member Jeff Boyle is also playing as part of the lineup for Rhian Sheehan's live show Standing  in Silence at the Mercury Theatre in Auckland, May 23.

Set of Subsets is the moody debut album for Napier band Jakob. Its a heady concoction of minimalist guitar, offset with bursts of distortion and melodic delights. Following on from their entrancing EP, the album finds them still inhabiting a world of swirling guitars and thunderous dynamics. The band started out in the middle of 1998.

"Maurice (Beckett) our bass player had just come back from Sweden and Germany, and was ultra-keen on getting things happening," says guitarist Jeff Boyle, who, along with drummer Jason Johnston, makes up the Jakob lineup. "We'd been jamming together before he left, at the start of the year, and we just pushed things along a bit, and the ep songs just came out of nowhere, and we recorded it, and its just been snowballing from there ever since, really.

"The first recordings we did, for the ep, was just a fleeting idea. We had a friend with a bit of studio gear, and he said 'flick us $300 to do a little experiment with you', and so we did it over a weekend, and it was basically one-take stuff, and it ended up being sweet as. With the album we tried the same thing, and it didn't really work too well. So we re-did everything with a lot of overdubs and samples. We started recording the album in late November last year, and finished in May this year."

Playing live in the studio is crucial to the band. "That's how we write, that's how we play, so that's how we record. That's the whole basis of our approach. There's no actual physical song writing ever involved in our musical creation.

"It comes down to us getting into a room and just taking whatever comes our way basically. We try and keep all preconceptions of music out, and just let something come to us, or just fiddle around til something happens naturally between the three of us, and then once something does, then we work on it. That's just one way of trying to keep our music completely original and completely ourselves. We've got a standard-o-meter, you know what I mean? It basically comes down to if we enjoy it enough, if we all end up with nice big smiles on our faces then that becomes a Jakob song."

Once the album was nearing completion, their thoughts turned to the next step; getting the music out there. "We didn't have any plan, release-wise; all we wanted to do was record the songs we had, cos we were sick of them! We'd been playing these songs for about a year, and everyone liked them, and we just wanted to get them out, and move on to the next step. We know Paul Maclaney, who released his album Permanence through Kog, and he's been a friend and a fan of ours for the last few years. He told Kog 'check these guys out', and they gave the album a listen and they loved it. So they said 'do you want to go with Midium?' (Kog's guitar label) and we said 'yeah'. They treat us like brothers; whenever we go up to Auckland, we stay at the Kog studios. They treat us real good, we're absolutely over the moon to be on that label."

The band are quite content to continue to call Napier home, and have no burning ambition to move to the Big Smoke. "I'd much rather be in a band here, than in Auckland. There's a lot of crap you have to deal with in Auckland. I was living up there in 96, 97, and I tried to get a few things together with a couple of people, and that went nowhere, basically. It's just really hard to focus when you're in Auckland, for me it is.

"Everything is much more relaxed here, there's no media bullshit you have to deal with. There's no 'hip' scene down here in Napier, there's just a bunch of musos hanging out, jamming with each other and coming up with cool music. No one's like, keeping up appearances, trying to be real cool. Its makes it easier to just sit back and create music."

There's plans afoot for a few music videos, some travel around our fair shores and also further afield.

"Our main goal is to get overseas and play, mainly in Europe, because that's where a lot of the bands we're influenced by come from. Bands like Godflesh, Slint, Bardo Pond, Mogwai, etc etc. We just want to keep going and keep progressing, and never do the same thing twice. We think there's a whole huge space in music that hasn't been filled yet, and we want to fill it up." ok?