“Listen To This” is a simple concept. One music obsessed blogger recommends a couple of tracks to another audio junkie, and they do the same. My first ever pick was Scroobius Pip’s “First Time I Met Musik” which guest reviewer “Stop Me” called “relentlessly inventive… like Eddie Argos turning his hand to rap… packed with so many incredible lines that it’s difficult to get your head round“… in short I think he liked it!
Well this time around I’m pleased to welcome the man with the beard himself Scroobius Pip to “Listen To This” and offer him the chance to hopefully be equally effusive about my choices! Also joining Scroobius for this special two parter is Dan Le Sac, who’s remix of Scroobius’s “Angles” has been heavily plugged on this site before, and is a total cert for the music like dirt top 100 of 2006.
Scroobius’s debut album “No Commercial Breaks” is out NOW. You can buy it for just £7 english pounds with free p&p! Visit Scroobiuspip.co.uk… 10 tracks..1 video ..bargain.
Look out for Part two coming soon, but first up to the virtual turntable, its Mr. Pip:
SCROOBIUS PICKS 1:
Visit: Adele on Myspace for more downloads… her blog is a great read too.
Video: Lo-fi youtube of Adle singing “Daydreamer” to Lydonblue
Scroobius: I fall in love with this track each time i hear it. A beautifully unique voice that sounds like someone has got a map and folded it so that, for just a brief moment, South London and the Mississippi Delta have touched to create this sound. The lyrics are both witty and moving. Using modern turns of phrases and delivering them with effortless elegance. Anything more than a simple guitar accompaniment could of risked detracting from the vocal so the simplicity of the track as a whole is just perfect.
MLD: Another singer songwriter you say…and oh whats that she got her deal through Myspace… but hold on… wait a second… stiffle that yawn, Sit down and listen! Adele has no desire to be a punk rocker, and Daydreamer will quite simply steal your heart.
Apart from it being a damn good tune, the really beguiling thing about “Daydreamer” is that you can hear 18 year old Adele’s influences in her every syllable and phrasing. Theres folk obviously, but also a countryish twang, and best of all a large dash of Erykah Badu & Jill Scott. It could so easily sound awkward but for me at least its what makes her stand out from the acoustic pack. XL should consider themselves very lucky to have added her to their roster.
If picking tunes were a boxing match, Scroobius Pip would have landed a first round knockout with this one… I’ve listened to this a dozen times so far and it gets better every single time.
She claims that like every girl her age (and some boys) she was inspired by The Spice Girls so please feel free to insert some hackneyed word play about girl power, or getting what she really really wants right here, then stop reading this nonsense and go listen to someone with real talent.
Incidentally is the vinyl crackle on this deliberate? Its a nice touch if it is?
Dan Le Sac: I click on Adele’s page and said “nu-jazz, what the fuck?!” with reference to her choice of genre’s. But thank the creator this aint nu-jazz. This is soul, and i mean soul, her soul, right there coming out of the speakers. I hate female singer songwriters with a passion, all of them trying to find a catchy hook that’ll get them onto radio 1 and maybe a deal with EMI, this is truly first album material, those really good songs that people write when there not concerned with singles sales.
The minimal production is perfectly measured between subtlety and interest, she drops these harmonies in the second half that lift the track from great to awesome. I love the way she doesn’t finish her words, leaving them hanging for the listener to finish, it took me a couple of listens to assimilate her random accents but she is a child of her influences, her inflection takes from Arie to Badu to Spektor to Allen, which just serves to make Daydreamer more addictive.
DAN LE SAC CHOICE 1:
Video: “Black Stacey” (YouTube)
Dan Le Sac: Got to admit to a conflict of interest here, essentially Saul Williams and Mike Ladd gave Hip Hop to me, the gave me Lex, Def Jux, Big Dada, Strange Famous and all the Hip Hoppers that go with them. Saul Williams fuses life experience with fictious story telling and surrealism, but somehow he stays as honest as any man can be.
Black Stacey covers some emotions you dont hear often in hip hop, it bold, he talks about a black kid dreaming about being white, wanting what being white allows you to get, this isn’t an acceptable thing to say whatever race you are, but when faced with inequality you are always gonna see that green grass and want to call it home. But this track is by no means anti-black or a gripe about racism, its simply a train of thought about youth, emotions in the context of his life. Its about being proud and honest, that kind of pure honesty that you just dont get in your average hip hop track.
The beats, builds, string and piano just add layers to his voice, his combination of spoken word, rap and soul sang vocals take the track further through his influences. This track is a call to all, a message to say, be proud of what you are, but most of all just be what you are.
MLD: While there’s no doubting that Saul Williams is a lyrical genius, his music is sometimes let down by… well, his music. The man puts more ideas, talent, and skill into each individual lyric than some manage in an entire career, but musically he can struggle to match those high standards.
Coldcut had the right idea on their magnificent Saul collaboration “Mr.Nichols”. They kept the music subtle and let the lyrics take centre stage. It has to be said that “Black Stacey” is one track where the music matches the inventiveness of the lyrics, again possibly because its kept relatively simple. The beats work, and the flute loop at the end is a delight. Hip Hop that is both intelligent, and funky, in other words exactly how it should be.
Scroobius: Im kind of bias on this one as Saul is something of a hero of mine. This track is a really great example of an amazing writer choosing to ignore the opportunity for a self gratifying flexing of the intellectual muscle in favour of getting a story and message across via an accessible beat and piano piece. Still amazingly written. A beautiful combination of expressing a distaste for the both small minded racistist idiots and the faux black power “Ive watch Malcolm X five times but haven’t even heard of Farrakhan” types. He also attacks the current mainstream hiphop scene with great eloquence. A very powerful track from one of the great poets of recent years.
MUSIC LIKE DIRT CHOICE 1:
MP3: “Lets Make Love & Listen To Death From Above” (Myspace click dont double click)
Video: “Lets Make Love & Listen To Death From Above” (Youtube)
MLD: “Music is my boyfriend, music is my girlfriend
Music is my beach house, music is my home town,
Music is my hot hot bed, music is my hot hot sex”
As someone who’s spent the last 20 years and more money than I care to imagine filling every inch of my flat with vinyl, and now every byte of my hard disk with MP3’s I do like a good music obsession/music solves everything track. From the stone cold classic of Sterling Voids “It’s Alright“, to the slightly less serious “Music is my hot hot sex” I seem to fall for them all.
And how can anyone not warm to a group with such batty song titles as “Lets Make Love & Listen to Death From Above“, as well as injecting everything they do with an infectious sense of creativity and fun. Originally formed in Sao Paulo as a joke by a group of fashion students, film makers and illustrators, “Music is my hot hot sex” is a good example of the CSS sound, electro but firmly pop – all delivered with a wink and a grin.
For some reason this tune reminds me of the Russian faux lesbians tAtU, which as far as I’m concerned is no bad thing (the thought of the gasps of horror and indignation from po-faced Smiths fans when Tatu covered the Smiths “How Soon Is Now” brings a smile to my face even now). Hopefully CSS will go on to take the pop chart by storm, and prove once more that “creativity” is not just the preserve of indulgent electronic acts or angst ridden singer songwriters, but can often be found most in glorious technicolour pop. I’m off to see them next week so with luck they’ll deliver live too
Dan Le Sac:
When I saw Cansei de ser sexy where up for my listening pleasure I was quite chuffed. This kind of female vocal electro is definitely my cup of tea, people like Crossover, Miss Kitten, Soffy-O (tok tok) and Peaches regularly grace my stereo, and CSS tracks like Meeting Paris Hilton and Art Bitch have very much caught my attention of late, but this is were it all goes wrong, theres something about the track as a whole that irritates me, her voice seems to lose its edge on this track, becoming a sub-standard Americanised female vocal with far to much autotune and not enough passion.
Musically its interesting but doesn’t go far enough in any direction to pull me in. All that said, the track does have some redeeming qualities, the sentiment is perfect, i like that kind of blind devotion to music, and when the track builds a little and she drops her Brazilian Rap the track nearly ticks all the boxes, it shows what CSS can do, but this is not Cansei de ser Sexy’s finest moment.
Scroobius Pip: I was quite surprised to be enjoying this track. At first i felt it would be just another of the recent wave of electro based music that has quirky vocal but with little meaning. Now i do not mean that in a derogatory way. I simply mean that it has been done so well by the likes of Le Tigre, Datarock and even LCD Soundsystem that its now becoming a very tough genre to stand out in with any real longevity. Personally i dont know if this track does that. Again though, that isn’t meant as a bad thing. Although it didn’t instantly jump out at me, on repeated listens i have very much warmed to it. The switching of language helped me to focus more on the over all sound as opposed to the quality of lyric or meaning (which i must admit i have a terrible habit of doing) and, in-turn, made it grow on me more and more.