Thursday, 30 July 2009

Shake and Pop

I swear I'm never happier than when listening to R&B and watching sharply dressed good looking men with nice trainers on bounce to the beat effortlessly. I play hard to get with a soul obsession and a low maintenance appearance but there's still a part of me that's only satisfied by cleverly produced beats, a good sample and a bit of autotuning. One day I will dress like a girl in one of those videos, all shiny hair, lip gloss and acrylic nails.

I've had a lot of time for these numbers recently:

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Heaven and Earth.

On sunday I went to see the Richard Long exhibiton at the Tate Britain. Despite the exhibiton being slightly disappointing his photos were utterly beautiful. His work is based around nature and he walks a lot creating sculptures outdoors and then photographing the finished product. The result is often breath-taking.


Bus Beauty.

Coming home on the bus the other day this song came on my headphones on a long forgotten mix. In the dark, driving over waterloo bridge with a true london drizzle it couldn't have sounded better. It made me want to create the perfect travel mix cd which I am now in the process of doing, I will let you know the fruits of labour but for know listen to this and imagine you are on a 168 or perhaps for old times sake the good old 59.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Miss Simone, 1969.

As Woodstock nears it's 40th anniversary, footage has surfaced of Harlem Festival from the very same summer of 1969. Artists performing in this free, six day concert included Stevie Wonder, Sly & The Family Stone, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and, shown below, Nina Simone, who was at the peak of her civil rights activism. The organisers could not sell footage of the festival for almost 40 years, though it's now being edited into a documentary by the film-makers Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. Watch Simone's performance and you'll wonder why it's taken so long to become commercially available...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Sublime Frequencies

The Sublime Frequencies project was founded by a collective of explorers in 2003 as a bid to sidestep the 'controlled' presentation of foreign culture, traditions, and spiritualism in today's West, providing alternative perceptions of the great traditions and their hybrids that still remotely exist across the globe.
The label is dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia (modern and traditional, urban and rural) via film and video, field recordings, radio and short wave transmissions, international folk and pop music and 'other forms of human and natural expression'. From the 'forbidden gang funk' of Rio de Janero to the 'insect electronica' of South-east Thailand the releases, like scrapbookish travelogues, could be bought for their kitschy artwork alone. However, they are produced in such limited quantities (usually just 1,000 copies) that it's incredibly fortunate they have now been made available for download.
SF claim 'the world is changing so quickly that cultures and ideas from less-developed countries will soon be buried and replaced entirely by the export of western-styled culture' and as such they are presenting some of the greatest, expressive music in the world with only one agenda in mind: that it needs to be heard or seen, respected and recognized.

Crazy In The Coconut

The Avalanches released their debut album 'Since I Left You', a seamless mosaic of over 3 500 samples, almost ten years ago. The only creditable CD bought in my early teens (some of my 'musical memories' have been firmly suppressed...), it is decidedly one of my favourites. There have since been countless times when I have laid back in the sun/on a bus/all over the world, closed my eyes and with the opening "Welcome to paradise" sample, been launched into a blithe, daydreaming kaleidoscope of horses, flutes, discos, fairgrounds, seagulls and static electricity.

Details of a second album have been sparse and shrouded in speculation for years, so you can imagine my anticipation after reading in a recent press release that production is now finished, the samples are being cleared of copyright and that...

"It's so fuckin' party you will die, much more hip-hop than you might expect, and while there is still no accurate estimated time of arrival, we're sure you're gonna love it when it arrives ... It's ended up sounding like the next logical step to "Since I Left You", we just had to go around in a big circle to get back to where we belong. And one day when you least expect it you'll wake up and the sample fairy will have left it under your pillow."

Monday, 6 July 2009

On Repeat...

Etta James - "All I Could Do Was Cry"

Boy Best Know I'm Excited.

I cannot wait for these two gems to hit a cinema screen. After the disappointment of 'Cadillac Records' earlier this year, it's worth watching for Mos Def as Chuck Berry alone but it didn't even touch on the power and the depth of the music or how ground-breaking it actually was as a label, I am hoping that these are better.

'Am I Black Enough For You' - A documentary on soul legend Billy Paul, it touches on his massive musical influence, the sound of Philly Soul and his relationship with his wife Blanche. 

'Soul Power' - Covering the 1974 "african woodstock", a 3 night long concert on at the same time with Muhammed Ali's famous fight with George Foreman. It features performances and music from James Brown, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, BB King, Celia Cruz and many more.

Here's hoping...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Happy Independence Day... the U S of A. Love to John our inside man who is hopefully as I type enjoying some mass celebrations.

Cr-asia-ly Good.

Meet Onra, a parisian producer with a penchant for hip-hop and Vietnamese heritage. The combination of the two has led to his under-acclaimed album, "Chinoiseries", released in 2007 amidst a furor of praise from music bloggers.

Marrying the sounds of vintage chinese pop and traditional vietnamese melodies with Dilla beats may sound like an odd combination but Arnaud "Onra" Bernard has managed to combine the two into a sound that combines the wistfulness and whimsy of delicate flutes with rackety hip hop beats and a splash of soul. By paying homage to his past and heritage Bernard has managed to create the sound of his future. Long may it continue.

Check his myspace but I can't recommend the album highly enough mainly for the second to last track "Hope" which is an epic 2 minute flurry of violins with a killa dilla beat.

ps. apologies for the awful pun in the title.