Jesse Walker over at Reason has a post about Radley Balko’s paper about heavy-handed policing, particularly as part of the disastrous “war on drugs”. The topic itself is certainly of interest, but what caught my eye was the title - a quote - Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition - from the above titled reggae classic by Junior Murvin (although it’s probably the Clash version most people are familiar with). Just reading the words summoned that great tune into my head (It’s like I have an iPod in my mind, man!) and for that I’m grateful.
Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
Came across (over at the Bodytonic Music forum) this rather interesting site: Pandora. Type in an artist or song and it will generate a personal radio broadcast of similar tunes. This is based on the Musical Genome Project - which seeks to classify and catalogue various musical attributes. On a quick scan it seems to work reasonably well. It hasn’t heard of Franck Roger (one of the artists I’m really into at the moment), but it has heard of contemporary Australian funk outfit, The Bamboos. Typing in “Bugz in the Attic” yielded Alice Russell (both of which are in my sidebar links). “4hero” unearthed the string-laden Over & Over by Moloko.
Another plus point is that tracks are considered individually on their own merits so there’s a good chance of unearthing a track you’ll like by an artist you wouldn’t have considered. With a total of 20,000 artists and 400,000 songs, it probably has limited applicability for the trainspotter type or those looking for the very latest (pre-)releases (i.e. yours truly on both accounts). But for someone who isn’t as obsessive and nerdish or who doesn’t know an awful lot about the music that’s out there except for a few tunes they know and like, it could be a godsend in discovering new music.
Not only am I joining Gerry and Hugh with a pointless music-related quiz, but my own “useless enquiry” cannibalises an old post of mine from August 03. But here it goes: 1970s Funk/Soul/Disco artist or 1970s member of a provincial Irish Chamber of Commerce?
(Wil)liam “Bootsy” Collins.
Nile Rodgers, (probably spelt Niall Rogers)
Teddy Pendergrass, (probably spelt Ted Prendergast)
Donald Byrd, probably shortened to Don Bird
Quite a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire: Maurice White, Phil Bailey, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Fred White
McFadden & Whitehead
I’m not going to reveal my score on the Empathy Quotient test but you might get a sense from my answer (slightly disagree) to the question - “it upsets me to see an animal in pain” - that I lean a little to the heartless misanthrope (although “borderline sociopath” as recently suggested by my co-blogger is unduly harsh and “slightly disagrees” with the actual score).
And yet, I find it almost unbearably poignant to learn of the death from lupus of genius Hip-Hop producer J Dilla (aka Jay Dee) in his mother’s arms on February 10, just three days after his 32nd birthday. I didn’t even know he was ill. He apparently toured Europe in a wheelchair last year. He was a true innovator, creator of many timeless classics - for the likes of Tribe called Quest, Pharcyde, Slum Village, Q-Tip and Janet Jackson (he was widely considered to be the “real” producer for the Jonie-Mitchell-sampling Got ’til it’s gone) along with his own solo work (official and unofficial) - and will be sadly missed.
For more on the man and his music, the J Dilla tribute show by Benji B is available to listen to on demand until next Thursday night with Gilles Peterson’s tribute show available until next Sunday night.
Just to let everyone know, my music blog: Frank’s mixes is up and running properly. I have 8 mixes uploaded so far. The focus is more on the mixes than commentary but I have any music related musings I will post them there. The plan/hope is to upload at least one mix per week so it’s not really intended as a daily read but I will reply to any comments left (and such comments are eagerly sought!) as they arrive. So far it’s mostly broken-beat and house music, but I have some jazz-funk, disco, drum n bass, afro-beat, latin and jazz-dance mixes in the pipeline.
I meant to comment on this back in May when I realised that Stevie Wonder was 55. Just 55. Now, I’m a huge fan of Stevie’s but, and I’d say most fans would probably agree with me, his best albums were recorded in the early/mid 1970s and he hasn’t made a decent record for about 25 years. For me, Hotter Than July, was that record. I never really thought too much about his age. I always just assumed that at some stage he got old, rich, complacent and couldn’t be bothered. Perhaps subconsciously thinking of Ebony & Ivory, I placed him as a contemporary of Paul McCartney’s, now 63, another who got fed up of making good music. In fact he’s just as close in age to the other Soul artist McCartney duetted with in the early 1980s, the 47 year old Michael Jackson. What this means, of course, is that Stevie became an old fart as a mere 30 year old and was only 29 when he made that last “proper” Stevie Wonder record.
Seeing as we’re slagging off groups and the manfaced one, I thought it might be worthwhile to point out that this particular derivative rap-pop band are in the curious position of employing their betters as session musicians: The Rebirth are a jazz-funk band from LA, a number of whom have played on the Black Eyed Peas’ album, whose own album This Journey In leaves Monkey Business in the shade. Also check out their excellent version of the Mighty Riders’ classic, and DeLaSoul-sampled “Evil Vibrations” for Ubiquity’s Rewind 4.
The Mercury Music Prize continues to be the punchline to a joke that I scarcely pretend to share. This year’s entry in the poptastic Where Are They Now? Stakes by Antony and The Johnsons may push all the right critical buttons for the judging panel (not by a million-selling EMI band and, er, that’s it) but it sounds remarkably like Mrs. Miller, a palate-cleansing gag artist that Mike Murphy used to play on his early morning show back in the 1970s before he slung on some George Benson. Plus, the album’s cover art features a vampiric George Dawes:
Not a good look and the sound is no great shakes, either.
Continuing the music quiz yesterday Here’s the first “album” that means a lot to me: Tony Humphries, live at Ministry of Sound London sometime between December 1991 and February 1992.
I got a loan of a copy of this tape around April/May 1992 from Dj Billy Scurry, it wasn’t exactly a first generation copy and the quality wasn’t great but I still made my own copy of it. I’m quite the mix cd afficionado, these days they get done in the studio, but this one, recorded live, is probably the best mixtape I’ve ever heard.
Humphries’ signature style was not just to beat mix to segue from one record to the other but, “dialled” in the mix ever so gradually on the classic Urei 1620 mixer, to play two records simultaneously for extended periods, for most of the length of the track. You used to find djs mixing the accapella of one track over the instrumental of another - the most famous example of which is “You’ve got the Love” by Source featuring Candi Staton, the entire musical arrangement for which is a track called “your Love” by Frankie Knuckles featuring (discarded vocalist) Jamie Principal - or beefing up one track by playing over the drum track of another. Humphries’ knack was to find and play together different but, often surprisingly, complimentary tracks together to create a new sound, while simultaneously unearthing new interesting music and encouraging people to listen again to tracks they may have overlooked because they were by uncool artists.
I managed to collect most of the tracks used in this mix but I’m still missing a few (in parentheses):
Sound of Redness - Sample Minded
Another Place, Another Time - Juliet Roberts
Is This Love Really Real? - Sure is Pure
Friendship - Sabrina Johnson
Now Here This - Da Rebels
When Love Calls - Shay Jones
This Mute Horn - Masters at Work
Coming on Strong - Desiya
[Body - ?]
What U Want - Chocolate Fudge
[Got To Get You into my Life - ?]
Chic Mystique - Chic
She’s Crazy - Grampa
Flutes - Jovonn
Hold Your Head up High - 4 Love
Love is Taking me Over - I Love NY
[Nasty Bass - 3sb]
[Pride, a Deeper Love - Clivilles & Cole]
[Tribal Life - Drums of Life]
Let it Reign - Inner City
Stations of the Groove - Reese Project
Across 110th Street - El Barrio
Real Love - Helen Bruner
Ran Kan Kan (MAW dub) - Tito Puente
Update: This post has prompted me to finally get round to doing something I’d been planning to do for ages, convert this battered old tape to mp3. If anyone’s interested in a copy, email me.