Over the last month the new music well ran dry, or more accurately I forgot to drink from it. Going internet cold turkey in Cuba for two weeks along with generally taking a break means this batch of favourite things are more old gold than new music discoveries.
There was a time when mashups were ubiquitous and generally considered some kind of statement of post modern pop will eat itself daring but oh those days seem so long ago.
Bastard pop dated quicker than day-glo shoelaces but fine things still grow in those corners no longer illuminated by the spotlight of the currently hip.
Starslinger turns out cracking tunes while others…well probably sleep or something and now his fans are getting in on the act. Moranismusic takes the queen of the mashup Whitney Housten, pitches her voice up to a squeak and melds it with Starslingers “Copulate”. Not the most radical or appealing idea on paper, but countless terrible bootlegs are testament to the fact that creating a mix that works as brilliantly as this isnt as easy as it seems.
Also check out the quirkily comic video for the“Close To Me” single. Samples the all time classic Curtis Mayfield produced “Lets Do It Again” by The Staple Singers.
For the moment London has entered rolling down the car window and blasting out tunes type weather. If you fancy pi£$ing off other people with such behaviour then can I suggest these two summer gems.
First up “Close Your Eyes” by The Bullitts a track from last year featuring the unlikely pairing of Lucy Lui and the ever excellent Jay Electronica. It reminds me of Malcolm McClaren’s 1989 Waltz Darling album with its mixture of artsy mix of street styles and pure pop sensibility. I’d forgotten how much I loved the single “Somethings Jumpin’ In My Shirt” although that may have had something to do with its guest vocalist Lisa Marie.
Returning to the Bullitts, Jay Electronica reconfirms his status as an MC at the top of his game by coming in towards the end and stealing the show with his rhymes.
“I was on the verge of dying like E.T. in the bald spot in the forest, right next to the speak and spell…
Tryna phone home but the signal wouldn’t reach the cell…”
Can’t wait for Jay’s LP!
Roots Manuva protege Jimmy Screech will be releasing the single “Divine” in May, and fellow Manuva collaborator WrongTom has smattered “clattering pots & pans” onto his “Divine Intervention” remix. Jimmy’s “Remedy” album is due next month and a solo Wrongtom album is also in the works.
MICHAEL FRANTI LIVE @ ROUGH TRADE
Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, the album Rono Tse and Michael Franti made together back in 1992 as the Disposable Heroes Of HipHopcrisy is one of those records that mark out your life. Seeing them live with a slightly shellshocked Belinda Carlisle fan back then remains one of my favourite gigs of all time, with Rono showering the stage in sparks from an angle grinder while Franti poured out polemic in his honeyed tones.
Almost 20 years later it was joy to see Franti, 6ft 6″ tall with bare feet stride into the minuscule Rough Trade West clamber onto the counter and hold the crowd rapt for a good half an hour. I’m not entirely sure how well the classic “Television The Drug Of The Nation” works when the samples or on The Beatnigs original crashing guitars are replaced with a backing of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” acoustic style. Franti told us he hadnt performed it live since the Disposables split and he claimed he’d had to google the lyrics in order to play the song that was particularly well loved in the UK.
If you notice Rough Trade has a shiny new counter its because the original gave way towards the end of the show as Franti’s co-guitarist tried to jump down onto the floor of the shop.
Birdfeeder says he makes music using a laptop/sampler, “a homemade Commodore 64 synth, a circuit bent keyboard, and a bunch of other knick-knacks and whatchamacallits“.
Using one of those whatamacallits he slowed down the theme music to Jurassic Park by 1000% and now has an remarkable viral hit on his hands. Who’d have thought just slowing it down would transform Jurassic Park into such an epic and achingly beautiful piece of music. 750,000 plays and growing.
Birdfeeder also has an original composition on the “Total Bummer” free compilation out last month.
Free download of “Jurassic Park 1000% slower”
2010’s “La Reproduction” album totally passed me by but thankfully a friends Facebook feed (cheers Phil) educated me to the genius of Arnaud Fleurent-Didier.
Theres more than a hint of Jarvis Cocker about Arnaud, but with much more cool and obviously a large slice of Gainsbourg. His music is indebted to classic songwriters like Bacharach but like Air – who he’s worked with – he updates that classic sound too.
Its hard to pick a standout track from Arnaud, “Reproductions” (below) is wonderful, while “Je Vais Au Cinema” finds him serenading a girl from the platform of the United Nations and this live version of “My Space Oddity” is pretty damn fine too.
The three members of the band do cool in a way only the French can in this video introducing an album which by rights should have crossed over in a way not seen since Air’s “Moon Safari”.
NEW OWEN PALLETT VIDEO
Another album from 2010 that I’m still clinging onto is “Heartland” buy the artist formerly known as Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett. There’s no sign of a follow up just yet so we’ll have to survive on a typically oddball new video for “The Great Elsewhere”.
FREE WAH-WAH JAZZ
Theres nothing like a bit of latin-jazz in the sun so why not grab the original 2006 single from dancefloor stormers the Colman Brothers, Its available to download for free for a strictly limited period.
Also out on the WahWah45 label are the Stac remixes, the one below by Hint being especially good or as Hint himself puts it “Back in the early 90s, I used to do the running man in my bedroom to cassette compilations filled with beats like this.”
ALEXIS TAYLOR’s VOICE = WIN WIN
WIN WIN’s are producer Alex “XXXchange” Epton, DJ Chris Devlin, and video artist/producer Ghostdad. In February they released “Interleave,” featuring Hot Chip’s Alex Taylor on vocals and now Kingdom have provided a bunker busting remix. It turns the original on its head with Taylors sweet vocals twisted into a high pitched chipmunk squeak and absolutely massive beats.
Also nab Ghostdads amusingly titled “AcidYazz” mixtape featuring everyone from Lil Louis & Bronski Beat to Charlotte Gainsbourg.
DUMBO GETS MAD
Despite the fact that this Psych rock influenced gem has been doing the rounds of the blogs for months now Ive totally failed to mention it. Needless to say if you love Captain Beefheart or the Super Furry Animals this will rock your world, and whats more the whole LP is available to download for nothing more than a tweeted message.
RAKIM & DENNIS COFFEY
Finally in the next couple of months two living legends are heading to London.
The all-time, number one emcee – the mighty Rakim Allah plays the Jazz Cafe, so I thought Id post the mixChoicecuts commissioned from DJ Mek featuring a solid hour of Rakim’s finest output. (Download here)
Detroit guitar legend Dennis Coffey is best known as a member of the Funk Brothers – the backing band who played on a truckload of hits for the Motown label.
His solo instrumental hit ‘Scorpio’ (1971) sold a million copies and became a seminal breakbeat, sampled by hip hop producers worldwide. To mark his new album, Dennis will be playing the Barbican with a hand-picked array of special guests (inc Mayor Hawthorne) for a one-off night of R&B, funk and Northern soul anthems, old and new.
Strut put together this journey through Coffey’s history of funk, including the psychedelic b-boy soul of Coffey’s 70’s solo material, classic recordings on which he recorded as a sessions musician, hip-hop cuts which have sampled his material, and a couple of sneak peaks at the new album.