Tuesday, September 29, 2009

it's time you made amends, look in the mirror my friend.

since i gave a little auto-biographical detail for the first cd i thought i should add a bit for the digital underground post. i bought this album at this amazing little record shop in toronto in the beach (or beaches depending on what side of the fence you sit with this asinine debate). the had more tapes than i had ever seen at the ripe old age of eleven(maybe twelve?) and were one of the first places i had seen that had a rap section. i was in heaven.

whilst in heaven, i took a heavy verbal shit kicking from my father for listening to "noise". he would say things like, "they can't even sing and it's just loud and angry." i'm sure my grandfather said similar things about his crazy long haired hippy music. needless to say digital underground and the second tape i bought, public enemy's: fear of a black planet were not music in his eyes and i was more than happy about it.

hip hop cemented itself as my favourite genre of music from the ages eleven to seventeen. at some point i started listening to house and techno because my friend sean got big into clubbing. he was the reason i started listening to electronic music of all kinds. if it wasn't for him i would have missed out on clubs, raves and some of the most interesting music to grace my ears till the age of eighteen.
i know some of you are probably of the opinion that clubs and raves were worth missing out on and i feel sorry for you if that is the case. you might not like dancing or the music that is generally associated with clubs or the people that are usually found at clubs but these broad generalizations might just have kept you from having some of the most fun nights of your life. more on that at a later date.

my love affair with hip hop has come and gone over the years for various reasons but i'm glad it was where i started. i still remember sitting in my room with my brother singing along to simon and garfunkle's sound of silence. while it may seem like an odd jump in tastes, hip hop opened the doors to funk, ska, reggae, soul and eventually an appreciation for classic rock.

so if you hadn't guessed at this point, i'm going to start doing things in an auto-biographical nature. yes this idea was indirectly jacked from a scene in high fidelity but it's a damn good idea as it helps me take a look at where i came from and where i'm going both in listening to and writing music.

more stories to come. i hope you enjoy the trip.

Friday, September 25, 2009

love in an elevator, livin it up when i'm goin down.

not long ago my friend ethan rilly played host for a fantastic night of food, booze music and most importantly his beautiful illustrations at the freedom clothing collective. if you get a chance check out his book pope hats, it's fantastic.

the night went well. people chatted, bought art, chatted more, bought more art and just generally cavorted and capered. i think it went off without a hitch and the lovely and talented ladies of the fcc were so nice and accommodating that i feel like i didn't say thank you enough. it was a pleasure to meet (alphabetically seems the fairest way to do this) amanda, amy, ewa and karen and it was great talking to them through out the night.

on to the music though, ethan asked me to help dj the evening which did not go according to plan sadly. the gear i brought decided that it didn't like to output sound (that's what i get for going laptop and crappy torq controller) so in true "the show must go on" fashion my work around meant having to bump everything out to a playlist and fire it out in itunes. i was not impressed. the program (torq) is actually pretty amazing but the entry level sound interface is a piece of shit. whilst trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it and helping whistlestop, (who may or may not have changed their name to/from bear layer but i'm kind of out of the loop on that business) a sweet little folky three piece featuring instrumental goodies such as banjo and ACCORDION (if you know me you probably have heard me express my undying love for this instrument)set up, i had a chance to chat with vangel.

vangel is the kind of person that i just don't meet often enough. he's good at what he does, knows the technical aspects of how he does what he does, knows and knows about the other people that are doing similar things and is just a super nice guy. he was good enough to let me hitch a ride on his mixer in between sets and the rest of the time we talked shop.
i like his approach because he sounds like he has a lot more fun making music than most musicians i've known over the years. vangel's e.p. biblio is available on itunes, emusic, finetunes.net and as a limited edition 5&1/4 inch floppy from 5&1/4 records. the album was pieced together from private and public library collections and recorded with top session musicians. it's a jazz record which you probably wouldn't guess at first if you've heard some of vangel's other work. his live set for ethan's show was more of an improvised breaks and glitch performance.
my favourite tag line for the biblio ep is "cheesy yet serious, like hipster scarves". i'd contest this because i don't think the album is cheesy at all. there might be a hint of st. germaine (and let's be honest, st. germaine gets pretty cheesy at times) here and there but this album has it's own voice. there are samples but i'm happy to say that i dont recognize any of them or they've been replayed to fit the composition. i'm not the foremost authority on jazz but i've listened to too many sample heavy records, sample libraries and everything else to not hear familiar loops on a regular basis. this leads me to a second regular occurrence and that's telegraphing.
have you ever listened to a song and knew what was coming next? i'm sure it's happened at least once and probably more often for some of you but it's kind of disappointing when you can do it at all. some musicians write their songs specifically so the listener can sing a long and has all of their expectations met neatly with no surprises. i can't say i enjoy that often. i like hearing things that don't make sense. i want to know how someone made that noise or what they used to sequence everything. i want them to drop the beat out from under us or change the tempo or blast us with noise or something and biblio did that. it was a fun ride that i just didn't see coming for the majority of the album.
survey says: go buy this thing now! ok preview it first if you don't trust my word, which you should, then go buy this now.
(also, i don't know why blogspot does this all the time but it has decided to ignore paragraph spacing for the last half of this post. if you know how to fix this i would love to hear from you.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

one for all, and all for one!

so here's the first cd i ever bought.

i used to live in a neighbourhood that was literally a stones throw away from a street populated by almost every kid that ever broke into a house, stole a car, a bike or mugged someone. funnily enough, i went to school with almost all of them and was friends with a good number of them. the down side was three of those little shits broke into my house and stole what kids normally steal, tvs, cash and other easily pocketd/carried crap. my father's cd player was one of these things. after a quick inventory of what was missing and an insurance cheque my father decided it was time to go out and replace some stuff. i went with him to buy back some of the albums they took and while we were out he said, "go pick something." i didn't have anything to play cds on and knew the only time i'd get to listen to one would be sneaking into his room when he wasn't home and playing it on his stereo. i got one anyway.

y'all so stupid: van full of pakistans was the only rap cd in the store and believe me, i searched hard. how this obscure group of lads from atlanta managed to end up in this weird ass bulk music store is beyond me because it was the only copy they had. they had one video that was played on rap city a handful of times and then they vanished. none of my friends knew who they were or could find the album but they all taped it or borrowed it and i of course got mad props for being the kid with the best music. those were good times.

while i don't particularly enjoy albums that are mostly about getting high, something about y'all so stupid really struck a chord with me. maybe it was because it was only the second group from the south that i'd heard. the first was the ghetto boys and for those of you that aren't familiar with either group it's kind of like comparing the darkness to metallica. they made similar kinds of music but one group is just having a laugh while the other is singing about killing you. y'all so stupid were just plain fun and silly and every few songs there was a message hidden in there.

i realized not so long ago just how many people loved this album but either lost their copy or couldn't find it in the first place. it's the kind of thing that i would like to see get a re-press but that's unlikely as the fans probably don't number high enough to off-set the cost.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

it's the end of the world as we know it and i feel fine

after a handful of conversations with a handful of people i have decided that i'm going to start linking music.

what's been stopping me up to this point is my overwhelming dislike for downloading music without any intent on buying the album. i don't see any problem with downloading an album to preview it though. if it's no good, it's trashed. if it's worth keeping, it's worth paying for because i obviously enjoyed it.

having said that, i'd like to try and link things that are either hard to find or are out of print entirely. you don't need me to help you find the newest godspeed you black emperor. you should already know about them and if you don't you should now go listen to them and then buy their stuff.

so here's me first link. the password is that book

i thought it would be appropriate to up one of the first albums i ever bought. digital underground have been around for a looooooooooooooong time now. they were a pretty standard west coast rap group when they appeared in the late 80s. one of the little known (unless you were a fan of course) facts was that this is the group that gave a young dancin fool by the name of tupac amaru shakur his first real shot on the mic.

this is an e.p. release was the second offering from d.u. but in my humble opinion was a much better album than sex packets. while sex packets had the break out single humpty dance, e.p. release was featured on the sound track of the dan akroyd, chevy chase, john candy and demi moore (wtf?) film, nothing but trouble. the full d.u. band find themselves in akroyd's court on a traffic offence and end up playing a few songs. comic gold...ok the film was shit but this was an interesting thing to see for a group with no real pull in hollywood showing up in an incredibly obscure (read: awful) film starring some of the whitest white people on the planet. the mind boggles at who put that all together but it makes for some fun youtube watching.

e.p. release and the follow up album son's of the p are far and away two of my favourtie hip hop albums of all. let me know what you think.

for my next offering i'll be keeping with the "firsts" theme and share the first cd i ever bought.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

i just don't feel fine unless i have my wine

kettel, not to be confused with ketel one (although both are lovely), recently released his tenth album myam james 2. born in the netherlands and raised on a diet of camping, music and magic, he's been steadily releasing albums since 2001, touring and playing festivals. to have ten albums and ten e.p.s at this stage in the game is pretty awe inspiring since it takes most groups their entire career to release four or five, if they can stay together long enough that is.

from what little of his work i've heard so far he has a certain etheral quality to his music. i've heard some people describe his music as "folky" or "organic" and i wouldn't quite go that far on either lable but he does have an odd ebb and flow to his work that lends nicely to sitting back and relaxing while you just take it in.
the cover art is beautiful but i haven't had the chance to track down the artist yet. the inside of the album is even prettier than the outside. love it.
well that's all i gots for this one really. i've only had a chance to listen to it once so far and it's hooked me already. i'm sure i'd have a much more indepth analysis if it had been on repeat for a week but i'm not getting paid to write about music these days so expect some of the write ups to be short and sweet. it's nice when you can make your own deadlines and article lengths.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

you load sixteen gigs and what do you get...

the answer of course is about four days or so of continuous music.

if you know me or have read my posts regarding downloading music then you know i'm again'it and t'ain't fer'it dad gummit. the problem with that stance is how hard it's become to a: find new music and b: audition it for more than a pathetic thirty second clip. you may be like me and enjoy songs that are anywhere between four to fifteen minutes if not longer. thirty seconds is just about enough for most of those songs to fade in but no where near enough time to actually get an idea of what the song is about. so (and here's my moment of hypocrisy) i think that downloading music is a viable option if you're doing it to preview an album. i have no problems with listening to an album and if i don't like it, tossing it away. if i plan on keeping it then i hunt it down and buy a physical copy whenever possible.

with that explained let me now regale you with the vast amount of music i've managed to find in the last few days. i have spent easily three or four days digging. this is a pass time that has all but died out save for some djs and audiophiles. it's a shame because i spent a good portion of my late teens and early twenties digging and now it looks like everyone just opens a new google page and voila; new music. there's something about dusty old record shops and yard sales that just screams "GOLD!!!" to me. if you're one of those people that has let that excitement creep out of your listening experiences and you find that you only listen to mp3s on an ipod then you have my deepest sympathies.

seriously though, last night i was giggling and dancing like a child when i finally got a chance to start listening to some of my latest finds. i damn near wet myself when i started listening to
alarm will sound and their acoustica album. they've taken a smattering of aphex twin's more popular songs and transcribed them for a twenty piece orchestra. cock/ver 10 is the kind of piece that human drummers shouldn't be able to play and they've managed it. insane.

another spectacular find was actually handed to me by my friend ben, known in some circles as gentle ben, i have long since admired his musical leanings. i love sitting with him and talking about music because he has such a wide range of musical tastes and in depth knowledge of those styles and musicians. we will easily from our love for reggae and our different opinions of the misogynistic and homophobic lyrical content of dance hall, to how mastodon's crack the skye might easily be their softest album yet. we'll probably talk shit about hip hop and pop punk in there somewhere as well. whatever the conversation holds i'm never surprised when we introduce each other to a new band. this time it was shuggie otis.

there's just no other way to say it but shuggie brings the funk like twelve week old socks. i've heard people talk about shuggie in that, "he could have been the next hendrix" way that people do. he turned down the rolling stones because he had "his own sound" that he was working on. turned down the stones! that's brassy. not that i like the stones but if they were looking to replace charlie and said, "hey you want to be our new drummer?" i'm sure i could suck it up for a tour or three and rest my head on the piles of money that came with changing keith's diapers.

that's literally the tip of the ice burg. i mean don't even get me started on glen porter. sigh...i'll post some pictures and links and such and if it looks like people are actually reading this i might just have to start linking albums. we'll see. it only seems fair given my earlier mention of hard to come by preview material. what i'd really like to do is give unknown musicians looking for exposure a little help. so if you're a musician and you're looking for more avenues to get your music out there we should talk.

on that note, a bientot.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

lick wood means rewhine, a gunshot means fahwad, you requested it so we rewhine

http://maddecent.com/blog/ and if you haven't checked it out yet you need to.

this is the blog page of diplo's mad decent label and has crazy amounts of free downloads for the open minded music fan. the acts on mad decent jump all over the genre map as well as geographically. there are acts from france, north africa, brazil, u.s. and they play everything from house to electro to reggae and all manner of things in between. check out riva starr's "i was drunk ft. Noze" video and you'll get an idea of what's going on. is the world ready for balkan folk mixed with four on the floor? i don't care i'm just happy it's out there.

enjoy it or hate it, gimme a shout and let me know what you think.