Archive

Archive for the ‘video’ Category

Picks 5/12/2013

May 12, 2013 Leave a comment

My old receiver was literally the bane of my existence and so I upgraded to a little $25 amp from China. Best move. Can’t wait to give the old one the Office Space treatment. I’ve been having really good record luck recently. I don’t know what it is, but I love it. TIME2MOVE on Friday was great. Despite some heavy competition (stacked house show down the street / stacked lineup at Rhonda) a lot of people showed up and we had a good ass time. Stay up, its just about summer.

Pulled from the wellsprings that are: Amoeba, Chemical-Records and Discogs.

Brandy – Brandy (Atlantic, 1994)

As I’ve said before, I’m deep in an R&B state of mind. The R&B 12″s section of the record store has been a consistent first stop for me in the last few months. This record came with a particularly amazing comeuppance of modern R&B LPs, Beyonce and Brandy, Jessie Ware and Cassie still sealed in the shrink. Still working through the stack, but this has been the instant winner right here.

Largely produced by Keith Crouch, Brandy’s first album serves as a precursor to the burgeoning neo-soul movement. More soulful than new jack swing, harder than a Babyface production, the record shares that sense of warmness that comes from real instruments and analog production. Listen to the unbelievable “I Wanna Be Down” and tell me that D’Angelo and Erykah Badu weren’t vibin. The warmth and emotion, the vocal delivery, the lyrics are all perfect. She’s able to convey so much emotion, so much conviction in a way that seems effortless. That beat just shuffling along, holding down the groove but giving plenty of space to the star. It’s a timeless track that sounds good almost twenty years later and will still sound good in another twenty.

Brandy is just unstoppable throughout the record as her vocal style is unique, passionate and so pleasant to the ear. Moving between ballads, party starters, diva jams and weirdo 90s r&b, the record is cohesive, although a little long. Of course I have a preference to the funky tracks, the groovers with that 90s swing. “Baby” (above) appears early on in the tracklist and its appeal is immediately felt. The beat is breezy and funky with Brandy absolutely killing it on the mic, sounding vibrant and powerful like a seasoned veteran delivering a hook that just wont quit. The track also serves as an excellent example of her use of overdubbed vocals. Layered vocals was a formula that Brandy used frequently and gives her vocal delivery an dynamic nature that is unparalleled, and really, can you have too much of a good thing?

The low slung “Best Friend” is another Keith Crouch win. Effortlessly sounding like two or three singers within the frame of one song, Brandy has the ability to make every simple phrase brim with melody, overflow with that golden tone of her voice. The other production team on deck is Somethin’ For the People and their blend of hip hop and soul sensibilities works almost as well as Crouch’s work. On “Sunny Day,” the vibe shines bright as a rhodes drenched shuffling instrumental makes enough noise to easily pass for a missing Q-Tip beat. The harder boombap of Somethin’s productions foreshadows the direction she would ultimately spend her career chasing.

Absolutely excellent record, I know this is going to get a lot of play this summer. “Baby” has already done an excellent job rocking a few parties. My only complaint is that like a lot of records from this time when CDs were the greater focus, it was pressed as a single LP and at 28 minutes of music on each side the record kinda sounds like shit. Oh well, that’s why they make mp3s, right?

++

+++

Girl Unit / Morri$ – Night Slugs Allstars Vol. 2 Sampler (Night Slugs, 2013)

This is something else I’ve been trying to pick up for a while. Nobody has had it for a price I like so I bit the bullet yesterday and picked it up Amoeba for $15. I’m a big fan of the Night Slugs label, those cats are really pushing forward a different style of music, borrowing from all over the place to piece together a grime/ghettohouse/trap/ballroom/whatever concoction. Their shit knocks, and although I don’t buy every release, I will gladly admit that each 12″ or LP is never anything but forward looking music. Combined with their sister Fade to Mind crew, we have the future of club music right here.

It was initially Girl Unit’s “Double Take (Part 2)”  that instilled the lust in me. “Double Take” initially appeared on his Club Rez EP from last year and it always bummed me out that the euphoric mellow part didn’t stick around long enough. I was even considering trying to piece together an edit just when I heard a long version of the track on Kingdom’s 1xtra mix. It’s a really wonderful track, but I’ve gotta say Morri$’ “White Hood” (above) takes the cake on this one. It’s like a hood symphony up in here. The accordion sample is absolutely killer, slightly menacing, but overwhelmingly catchy. The atmosphere is thick with sound, fat 808s rock against samples of marbles in a wooden box, with chimes and hazy synth tones all up in the mix. Bok Bok’s dub mix takes away the clutter and leaves for a functional rhythm track, but the winner is definitely the original.

Morri$ is in town Thursday, playing the opening party for the homies Low Limit and Sodapop’s new venture Household.

++

+++

Zomby – Dedication (4AD, 2011)

Not sure why it took me so long to pick this up, I’ve got a lot of his early stuff and I really love Where Were U in ’92. For the last few months I have literally been craving the sound of Zomby; his grimey, neon tones coupled with deep rhythmic palettes ranging from grime to funky, house to juke. After a few trips to record stores and not being able to find this record I took to the trusty fallback, Discogs.

As much as people talk about Zomby’s music, they talk about his persona more. He’s notorious for being outlandish, a shit talker and pretty self-involved. His twitter feed is absolutely hilarious. Perhaps his biggest his, “Natalia’s Song” (above) came out in controversy last year, revealing that the producer took a sample or segment of a track from another artist and didn’t credit him. Regardless, the song is beautiful, a perfectly hazy, melancholy garage track with bits of glimmering melody at every step of the way. It’s obviously an ode to the work of Burial, and although not executed with the same expertise, it still conjures the same emotional depth.

Much of the record is characterized by bright ravey synth tones, echoing both jungle and grime, but implemented in a way that manages to sound fresh. “Riding With Death” enters with some old school dubbed out subbass, then carried along by a shuffling beat and a rolling muted organ. The atmosphere is thick and the groove is insatiable. When the first tracks from this album began to leak it took everyone by surprise that most of the songs just seemed to end without any logical conclusion. But in typical Zomby fashion, he seems to have had the grander vision of a cohesive album journey in mind. Often when one track ends it’ll dive straight into another, like a raucous mix in the club or a party mix on the radio – all accentuated with gunshot samples and airhorns. It works to great effect when the rolling rave rhythm of “Lucifer” morphs into the thumping “Digital Rain“.

This album works well, it balances brooding dark atmosphere and percussion with those bright synths that creep in like lasers through the haze. My favorite track on the record, “A Devil Lay Here” moves along patiently, heavily focused on that groovey bassline and some heavily romanticized Ruff Sqwad worship. All in all a great buy. I’m amped for his new album next month.

++

+++

Kenny Dope Presents The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (Henry Street/Decks Classix, 1994)

As I had no prior knowledge of this song, maybe I internalized it when hearing it on the radio or seeing it on MTV as a kid (I honestly have no memory of either), but when I heard a 45 second clip of this on the Chemical-Records new arrivals section I did a backflip. Something about the track instilled a sense of longing and nostalgia aka I had to buy it immediately. Funny enough, that same week I found two copies of it in the Amoeba used bin for $2-4 and then I read an interview with the Black Madonna who gave it a shout out.

The Bomb” (full version) has been in my possession for over a month now and I can’t help but give the full 14+ minutes of it a listen pretty much everyday. I love how the rolling tribal rhythm peppered with raucous organ stabs sheds its tough exterior to reveal a beautifully soulful disco-house track. The horns are the definition of alluring, the chopped vocals catchy and nonsensical in the way that only Dope can do it. I really love every moment of this track. Everytime I start to mix records at home it inevitably ends up getting played. I think the Black Madonna sums up my feelings for this record pretty well: “It’s one of those records that ate the world because it was just so good.”

++

+++

Categories: 1994, 2011, 2013, diva, House, LDN, NY, video Tags: ,

Picks 11/25/2012

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Music, man. It’s been a good week for records. Next week is looking to be even better.

Pulled from an order from Chemical Records.

Andy Stott – Luxury Problems (Modern Love, 2012)

Things are really picking up for Andy Stott. His incredible Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs regularly work themselves onto my turntables and itunes a year after their release, while his new album has captivated everyone from Pitchfork to Spin, Resident Advisor to Vogue (above). On last year’s EPs, his syrupy dub-techno/house productions were intriguing and different, but not miles away from the electronic dust of Basic Channel or Actress. What really separated the work was how the dense soundworlds conveyed a visceral impact while retaining a deep sense of groove beneath all the layers of fuzz and bass. To say that Stott’s full length was highly anticipated would be insufficient in describing my budding relationship with the album. If I have yet to make it clear across these pages, I’m pretty opposed to vocals in the music I listen to. I’m not one for melody, and I’m not one for bad lyrics. Thus, I felt a pang in my musical heart when I heard Luxury Problems would prominently feature a vocalist.

Numb” was the first single, and is the first track on the album. Frankly, the track is a fitting introduction to the album; it begins softly, with whispering vocals and dark ambient tones carrying it along. A hihat is introduced and the tension begins to build as the vocals sway and overlap, the tones begin to meld, and then it all clears away for a moment. Stott has a nice way of building tension, but an even stronger talent of releasing that tension through industrial jacking rhythms, through all-encompassing bass, through sunken soundscapes. The track is immediately accessible; it’s grimy, heavy, yet curiously beautiful. It reminds me of hearing Burial’s “Archangel” for the first time – a mesmerizing mash of romance and darkness. Stott cites early 4AD records, especially Cocteau Twins as a major influence over this album and it’s steadily apparent. In the same way Cocteau Twins fused dark, groovy sensibility with forlornly precious vocals, Andy Stott is taking this sound out for a deep warehouse vibe, crafting music that is innately accessible, but yet still dark enough to keep casual listeners away.

Stott explores more explicit pop tendencies on “Hatch the Plan,” capturing a lilting, beautiful melody that seems more fitting for a “chillwave” song, and through the first few enrapturing minutes I wouldn’t blame anyone for confusing this for something from the TriAngle label. The track is buoyant – a restrained, slow, jacking rhythm keeps the listener in forward momentum while Stott manipulates the samples to angelic proportions. This is an easy recommendation for those who normally aren’t invested in this style of music. The marriage of pop, dance and darkness is best heard on “Luxury Problems,” where the seductive rhythm and cooing vocals whisk you away, but short blocks of strange color seem to disrupt everything, yet hold it all together, offering a perspective outside of Stott’s traditionally colorless world.

With last years EPs, if any of the tracks were played at 45rpm, the sludgy too-slow-to-dance track would transform into a prickly, aggressive, eyes-down techno bomb. Due to the vocals and already mid-paced tracks, this simply isn’t possible with Luxury Problems – but a problem it isn’t. These songs groove and jack in their own way, riding along at a comfortable speed, and frankly resemble hip hop tempos. Tracks like “Lost and Found” suggest dancing, but I’m not sure if it would work anywhere else other than a candle-lit late night party where the last blunt is being smoked and the last drop of wine being drunk. The suggestion continues, as on “Up the Box,” where Stott resuscitates the Amen Break, leaving us with a sluggish, pitched-down jungle track that is gone before you can even find the groove.

I’ve had this record since Tuesday, I’ve listened to it over and over, yet I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress. While not as complex and inaccessible as last year’s EPs, Luxury Problems is a lot like peering into a dark room and trying to make sense of it. I’m sure this record will be hanging out near my turntables for the next few months. And again, this is one for quality headphones/speakers. For more Andy Stott, check out his amazing live set on Boiler Room.

++

+++

 

Mickey Pearce – Numb Nut/Socks Off (Swamp81, 2012)

Swamp81 is truly on top of their game, achieving a status that maintains quality over hype – although the label is no stranger to hype. Rising above their peers in regards to curation (Joy Orbison, Falty DL, Addison Groove), design (Ashes57), quality mastering and a devotion to vinyl, its easy to see how I love this label. Mickey Pearce is apparently being pushed forward as the new posterboy for the label, with an album in the works for early next year. His prior singles for Swamp81, Ramp and Ten Thousand Yen have been good, but not entirely there. This latest single really changed my mind about him as it provides two fun, functional, and distinct tracks that are among the best work for both the artist and label. Exploring influences from UK funky to footwork to industrial techno, this 12″ is a bit unique in its sound despite the hyped genre tags.

“Socks Off” (above) is the track that sold me. When I first heard the track I feel in love immediately – the detuned tom melody, the deep bass hits, the endless tense organic percussion, the cheesy samples – it’s all absolutely perfect. The vibe on this track is strong and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. It has a very functional and accessible bounce to it, with a tongue-in-cheek darkness that propels the intensity. Focusing on primarily fantastic sounding percussion (rubbery toms, bright blocks, inverted claps) the track excels in being funky without being overtly “tribal.” That being said, it does land in an area where UK Funky is seen through the eyes of Night Slugs or Fade to Mind, which makes it dark and tense, but in a way that has a brilliant larger-than-life quality to it. It’s this relationship of anxiety, playfulness and excitement that have me playing this track over and over. It is going to work great mixed with more raucous house cuts (here), or slipped into an En La Noche set @ MOLAA. Huge thumbs up on this one.

The flip “Numb Nut (Soft Brain)” also strikes the funky influence with lots of bright percussion and jeering vocal samples. Deep bass rubs ground the track and really add a tough intensity that would be unbelievably satisfying if heard out on a good system. The rhythm is a half-time juke banger with both rhythms being very easy to follow, adding to the linear carnival tradition of the funky style. With each listen I become more attracted to the song as it is, again, a fairly linear percussive track that plays little attention to much else other than functionality. But that’s not to say it is simple, as it is plain to see that Mickey put a lot of focus on his tones and timbres, crafting a thick dark sound palette that is mindful of the current attention towards Berghain techno or the work of Joy Orbison/Boddika, yet remains unique in implementation. The vocal samples are really tools that add a sense of melody and excitement to the track while remaining vague and unintelligible, as if cut in from old tape or worn vinyl – perhaps a nod to soundsystem culture from the days of street dub. This tune has only one aim, and that’s to make people dance.

++

+++

Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui – Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui (Creme, 2012)

This is the first 12″ of surfer house by the dastardly duo of Legowelt and Xosar. These two really crack me up in their whole persona/relationship/whatever, but their collaborative musical output has been really strong. I find Legowelt to be fairly cheesy at times, while Xosar isn’t always as propulsive as she could be, but their surfer house exploits have been great. This is tongue-in cheek music made on cheap, outdated synths, probably recorded to tape and mixed to sound flat and hazy. It’s functional in some contexts, but I rather enjoy it as a nice listen, as it has lots of cheery tones with a slick groove underneath.

The Feeling, The Force” is featured on my latest mix, and if I had to pick a favorite track from all the records I picked up this last week – this would be it. The groove is very tight, jacking, yet with a bouncy swing, madd hi-hats and deep MK-style raise-your-hands chords. I love how vibrant and colorful the track is, I want to be playing on the beach or skating or at a party getting wild. On this track or on “Fortunes of the Lord” (above) it becomes obvious that this is real deal, fun, party music. No bullshit, just jams. These tracks are engineered to get you grooving, get you out and help you get down.

The pair get a little deeper on “Fascinating Facts,” reaching for a space where mythical forest dreams and techno correlate – the mood is a bit more serious, the vibe is eyes-down, but the execution is no less formidable. Overall, we have four essential tracks from one of 2012’s most interesting and consistent partnerships.

++

+++

V/A – Autonomous Africa (Autonomous Africa, 2012)

This is a REALLY great compilation record curated by the esteemed JD Twitch of the Glasgow based, Optimo parties. All proceeds are being donated to charity, and thus the music is difficult to find streaming online. No matter, I will do my best to convince you to buy the damn thing regardless.

Of the four tracks, only one is available for full stream and that’s Auntie Flo’s edit of Atakoru Manu’s “Bebo Ne Komo” (above). The track begins with some bubbling bass, and the dread begins to swell as the percussion fills the air, keeping the rhythm fully focused and in front. A twinkling synth tone sneaks in, like the sun rising over a mountain, the rhythm takes a breath and all at once the mood has changed. Once the vocals come in there is no looking back, the simple sing-chant is captivating, while the synths continue to bubble and float, letting the rhythm now feel weightless – all leaving the dancer caught up in a trance. Unlike a lot of other edits out there, this one is extremely cohesive and it’s difficult to tell exactly where the Auntie Flo/Atakoru Manu divide is. Not exactly a banger, but without a doubt this track will find itself in my sets.

The high point of this compilation is the opening track, JD Twitch’s edit of Sofrito’s edit of “Tabou for the People” (it’s the last track on my newest mix). The vibe is a rough African-Disco with beautifully dusty hi hats and very deep lowend. Wah guitar quickly opens up the hatch, ushering in a definite sense of party. Boasting vocal samples persuade: “I know you like Tabou No. 2, man” while the precise woodblock ensures a frenzy. From start to finish, this is a wonderfully executed edit that should be able to make anyone dance anywhere anytime. It’s one of those tracks that’s too good for words, and just may be the best edit I’ve heard yet. I mean, listen to the timbales/trumpet  solo and tell me that this isn’t your groove. Tabou for the people, man.

Categories: 2012, africa, House, video

Tumbao

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Whiskey Barons are back and I couldn’t be happier. Winter is pretty much over here and I want some funky horns, and some badass congas on the latin tip! Fortunately the great New York label, Bastard Jazz have brought us the new Tumbao EP, the second 12″ of original music from the funky afro-latin DJ duo. The record is on the BSTRD Boots imprint and they have made a very rad video promo mix from the 12″.

Can’t wait to play this at MOLAA!

Categories: video

Mosaico de Gaitas

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Just a quick little public service announcement here. The wonderful Soundway Records is releasing a few limited box-set singles at the end of the month and I couldn’t be more excited. Whether it’s Thailand, Nigeria, Panama or Colombia, Soundway is there digging up the best music and history they can find. Everything this label has done has been beautifully restored and packaged in fantastic packinging. Not just a reissue label, but an archival, documentarian label.

This particular video is from the 3×7″  boxset of Lucho Bermúdez y Su Orchestra, the Colombian musical mastermind. This guy was the Colombian Stan Kenton, just playing heavy, beautiful arrangements. The sound quality for the video is a bit off, but it’s the quality of the music performance is worth putting up with a little sound issues. The third and fourth songs are absolutely heavy, but unfortunately I don’t think they’re on the 7″ series.

If you enjoy this, check out one of my favorite blogs on the internet, Global Groove for a download of one of Lucho’s great albums from the late 50s/early 60s.

Categories: colombia, cumbia, video

At Night at the Museum of Latin American Art

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I was recently interviewed by the Creativity Network for a short bit at the monthly En La Noche event at the Museum of Latin American Art. I ramble on about some music, but check out the  Tony Allen and Jackson Conti that they used in the video.

Categories: video

The Nature of Sound

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

You can’t even begin to think of yourself as a record collector unless you’ve been asked by some bewildered person why you would want to buy big old-fashioned LPs. The same records they threw out and thought were junk, you or one of your digger brethren later hit the jackpot with copies of Rubber Soul, Gratitude, and Time Out at the Salvation Army. There are a group of people out there that have not, or maybe can not, hear the warmth of vinyl – the subtle thickness of sound that is simply not there on CD or MP3.

Black Dynamite soundtrack composer Adrian Younge produced this little video as a quick promo/infomercial about the Universal Audio company. UA was – and still is – key in developing equipment that created that unique and timeless warmth and light analog fuzz of all the best music from the 60s and 70s.

You do not have to be a gear-head in order to dig this video; of course the song Younge wrote for the video is great, but this short video also offers a quick insight into how recording equipment helps add another layer to how we come to love how music sounds.

Categories: 2011, video

Bombay

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, I haven’t updated the blog in way too long. However, I plan on changing my infrequent posting habits in order to promote well-being for you us all by sharing the most universal thing of all – music. What else causes our souls to quiver unceasingly?

Anyway, this may be one of the coolest music videos I’ve seen in a long time. A lot of these shots are genius, and the ones that aren’t at least look cool. The song is “Bombay” by El Guincho from his new record Pop Negro on Young Turks/XL. The single is firey, and the album pulsates with this crisp and dense production that work very well with El Guincho’s dark pop sound. He cites Luther Vandross and Babyface as influences on the album, and I can definitely hear the subtle, sexy throbbing of R&B undertones giving his cheery pop vocals a fantastic edge. Love love love this video as well as tons of love for his new album. It came out last week, be sure to check it out.

For more info on Pop Negro, check out this feature on XLR8R.com and to stream a copy of the album, again check out XLR8R.com

Categories: video