Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I know all the bitches and all the remixes...


...is officially one of the biggest tunes of the summer. Mr Beatnick and Ahu created a real stunner which got every other producer on the remix. I've put up a minute of each for you to pick your favourite. Bullion is edging out ahead for me at the moment but I'm loving the soul clap vibes on Paul White's...


MusicPlaylistRingtones



I wish I knew how to stop these playing automatically, apologies...

Monkey: Journey to...somewhere dark...

It's rubbish being skint. I wanted to see this so much but it just didn't happen...Monkey: Journey to the West is the 400 year old Chinese tale (and 70s TV show) of the Monkey King adapted by Shi-zheng, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett in to a circus opera, here's a very brief synopsis:

Monkey hatches from a stone egg and becomes obsessed with immortality, so he travels the world to find a teacher. He finds Subodhi in the Mountain of Heart and Mind, who gives him the name Sun Wu Kong - the Monkey with the Realisation of Emptiness. He then dives into the Eastern Sea and finds the Crystal Palace of the Old Dragon King, where he is given a magical iron rod, and for some reason the Old Dragon King gives him his helmet, armour and shoes. Monkey then decides to go to heaven to demand recognition of his new power. There he finds seven fairies preparing a banquet for the birthday of the Queen Mother of Heaven. Upset he's not on the glist, he eats Queen Mother's magical heavenly peaches, and fights off everyone who tries to stop him. The Queen Mother then calls Buddha up to deal with Monkey, and Buddha challenges Monkey with escaping his palm - Monkey can't and gets imprisoned for 500 years until a young monk called Tripitaka is sent to bring back the Holy Scriptures from India. Monkey is sent to go with him (and Pigsy, Sandy and the crew from the 70s TV show) and the adventures begin...

It was on at the Royal Opera House this week and looks amazing...I was completely enamoured with it until I saw this?!!!


I don't get too in to politics on this blog, but Damon Albarn was the last person I ever thought I would see making a trailer for the Beijing Olympics, especially not using a story that is a 'quest for enlightenment'! If you're still not quite sure what the big fuss is about please check out what Human Right's Watch have to say about it - all I'm saying is Darfur, Tibet, closing down factories to combat smog in largely industrial areas, and the lack of open media access - it starts in 9 days and I will not be watching much as I love atheltics...and I really don't know what to think about Mr Africa, anti-war, anti- Live 8 Albarn right now.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Currently Listening to....

I recently went back to listening to Groove Armada recently...i think the heat sorta made me delve out some feel-good albums....was blasting out...



Groove Armada- Superstylin'

and more recent.....



Groove Armada ft. Stush- 'Get Down'

apart from the awful lyrics...i know i'll be chillin in the sun with this tune in the background.....The video finally came out on this track...


Monday, 28 July 2008

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at the ICA.

Apologies for going awol...sometimes you have to do things so you have something to blog about.

Tuesday was the moment I've been waiting for on many levels for a long time and I wasn't disappointed. I've never been to a gig at the ICA before, only screenings, so I wasn't quite prepared...it's basically a black box slightly below ground level with no air con or ventilation, sold out way past capacity and the first really hot day of summer outside. We made our way to the front and I decided the only thing to do was submerge myself in the heat, own my sweat and get high on the lack of oxygen...I feel sorry for anyone in the relatively polite crowd around me. Normally when you see a show there's an element of build up. Not so with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. I don't know if it was the anticipation, the heat, or the band but from the get go I was enraptured. I didn't have to wait long for the song that feels like it's a really important part of me, Sankofa...the drums that open it feel at once as though they are calling an army, awakening the ancestors and pounding on your soul; within seconds we new it was coming and we clutched arms and shoulders and shot demonic grins at each other. I lost it. I find myself connecting with their music not so much on aural but soulful and spiritual planes, and I listen to them almost every day. I realise they're American but they really bring out the African in me, and as I listen I'm Fela, Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela's daughter.

Hypnotic really know how to put on a show - if you see them on the street you just don't imagine that they are spectacularly tight jazz musicians, sons of the Arkestra's Phil Cohran. I just read a slightly snotty review of the gig in the Guardian which gave the show 3 stars (did they watch it on Youtube instead of going?) and seemed disappointed about the lack of free jazzing. I don't believe they chose their name by accident - the repetitive nature of much black dance music does have an entrancing effect, and those boys were there to party, not stroke their beards. We were at the ICA so the crowd was very different to when I saw them open for Mos Def (so funny when one yelled "it's sold out like a motherfuuugh [tails off mid curse as he notices what the crowd looks like]...in here!") but they still had us all go down to the floor with them, they called and we responded (apart from when they asked the single ladies to scream and there were about 4 squeaks - all of the other women had been brought by their music nerd boyfriends).

My personal highlights were when they covered The Big Payback, (badman faces all round), their songs Sankofa and Balicky Bon, and when they asked for the house lights to be turned off and we danced in the light from mobile phones. If you've ever been to Plastic People and danced to that sound system you get a small sense of what happened. Multiply it by 8 brass instruments & a drummer all playing something intense and mesmerising, hundreds of sweaty bodies and no oxygen. You get more of a sense of what happened if you've had an orgasm in the dark. Sorry to take it there but I'm trying to take you there.

The show closed on War. I found myself pumping my fist in the air and marching, sending the reverberations through the floor to my sister in South America and my father in the ether, hoping they could share and march with me.

Here's Mushallah, from their New York City Live Album (yes, I bought it) just for you.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sesame Street Gangstas...

The funniest video I've seen all year, whoever had this much time on their hands is a genius.



Runners up for funniest videos this year include...

Cupcakin'


...and Chocolate Rain



These videos were brought to you by the letters Y and T.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Method Man's never coming back to Shepherd's Bush...

OK, don't laugh it's not funny. He could have been seriously hurt.

Day two of the 8 Diagrams tour and you lot just let the man fall.

*NB, had I gone I would have tried to get out the way too...but I blatantly would have been the one person crushed underneath him, which is why I don't go to hip hop sausage fests like this - especially after the MOP experience where I lost my hat and crawled out on my hands and knees & Katy lost her jeans being dragged out of the crowd by a bouncer. Allow that.

Jill Scott Live

OK so tonight Miss Chocolate Bear went to see the lady that is Jill Scott, and as always she made the night an amazing one. She started off with I Just Let It Go to get the crowd started. 

She covered most songs off of her third album but the delivery of them was very different as they had rock elements to it which was all good as it showed us that there are no limits to what this woman can do.  She even did her classic Give Me, which she has never done until this day (going on the basis that I have been to three of her shows over the years) where she made the crowed and the seating area get up on a good foot and boogie down.  

In true Jill Scott style she made the crowed interact by singing the sections which most people know and by doing so gave the whole show a different element altogether.

In the show Jill mentioned that the USA regard "Old School" from 1998 to 2002 and that anything before that doesn't exist, now we all know that for a fact that isn't true and the USA need to sort themselves out you hear me!

As the night progressed she did in true Jill style she would give her advise about life and how you should take on each event that happens as it comes and remember "there is light at the end of the tunnel". 

I must say Jill Scott is an amazing performer who doesn't forget her band and always gets them involved with the show and not just making it about her.

The only problem I had was the 'FAKERS' who have heard the one or two tracks that she has put out trying be true fans, which was mentioned by my friend Jackie on how in a particular section which we will call the blue corner you have the true fans then you the red corner so to speak you have the wanna be fans.

On A whole the night was amazing and the night time she's in town you should go and see her as it is a show that you will not forget.

Enjoy the footage.....(there was meant to be another one but there was a slight problem Oops) 

Until next time people......

Miss Chocolate Bear x   



Friday, 18 July 2008

Travel Soundtrack

nextmen, j-rocc and neil armstrong are pretty much my favourite mixtape dj's right now and for a while...




NOTES FROM THE ROAD :: This is DJ Neil Armstrong, almighty 5th Platoon. I’m actually at where the Chicago Bulls play and I am onstage. We just finished soundcheck and I’m working on this mixtape for Theme magazine. In the midst of working on it, I got called away to be Jay-Z’s tour DJ. It was supposed to be a full mixtape and it’s all about traveling and it’s funny because I ended up putting it together in hotels, onstage, while soundcheck was going on, and all over the United States. Some of the songs in the magazine got omitted just because it didn’t make sense because some of the fodder I need to put together a proper mixtape just wasn’t available to me. But regardless, it is supposed to capture that essence of why we travel—half the time it’s to get out there and see something new, and another part of the time is spent just trying to get home—the idea that home is where the heart is. When you listen to this when you travel, remember there’s always someone else out there just like you doin’ their thing. Be safe! Peace

Travel Soundtrack - Mixed by DJ Neil Armstrong (download)
(Songs don't necessarily appear in the order presented below)
Al Green/Cecil Holmes, “Call Me, Come Back Home”
Aretha Franklin, “Call Me”
The Church, “Under the Milky Way”
Daft Punk, “Around the World”
Depeche Mode, “Route 66”
Electric Light Orchestra, “Mr. Blue Sky”
Eliott Smith, “Let’s Get Lost”
Estelle, “American Boy”
Gary Jules/Tears for Fears, “Mad World”
The Guess Who, “American Woman”
Journey, “Lights”
Kansas, “Carry on Wayward Son”
Lenny Kravitz, “Fly Away”
Lisa Stansfield, “All Around the World”
Lost Boyz, “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz and Benz”
Mos Def, “Travelin’ Man”
Pete Rock and CL Smooth, “Carmel City”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Californication”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Road Trippin’”
Royksopp, “Remind Me”
Slum Village, “Selfish”
Soul II Soul, “Keep on Movin”
Styx, “Come Sail Away”
Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
Weezer, “Island in the Sun”

NOLA DARLING. YES PLEASE.

Have you copped Nola Darling's (free) Pretty Gritty mini mix tape yet? No? Why not?! Please do! I'm getting such a wicked 90s vibe off it - TLC, Diana Washington, Adina Howard and all that good stuff...it's also the perfect length & is a nice range of styles for those of us who listen to their playlists not whole albums...get it right hurrrr


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

When music goes metro

During my daily bossip read over lunch, I came across this rather spectacular video and had to share. The sound doesn't play on my pc at work so I had the pleasure of watching Kanye, Fonsworth (Puffy's ex-butler), Andre 3000, and two members from Sa-Ra prance around....WOW.

Is it me or are the others just so metro that it makes Kanye's dancing seem quote hood.

enjoy x

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

DEATH JAZZ - TOTALLY PIMPED OUT...


I went to see Soil and Pimp Sessions at the Roundhouse as part of Death Jazz, an evening curated by Brownswood Records. I don't have space or time to discuss the first part of the evening during this post - but the second part was apocalyptic.

The show began with the stage going dark and quiet...the soundtrack, as Shernay rightly put it, had the Kill Bill Element to it - right before the insane action scenes go down...and my god did they go down. The band arrived on stage in robes which seem to have been made by a Japanese master tailor who love dem hoes, walk with a cane and keeps his sewing hand strong. It's a 6 piece - Tabu Zombie (trumpet), Motoharu (sax), Josei (keyboards), Akita Goldman (double bass), Midorin (drums), and Shacho ("agitator") - who shall henceforth be known as the Korg Demon Konduktah (KDK), but more on that later. Tabu and Motoharu began to flirt coquettishly with fans for the crowd but it was somehow still very manly and 'jazz' - then they opened up at about 1000 bpms after KDK yelled something through his loudspeaker about shouting, fun and death jazz - personally I think he was invoking the spirit of Sun Ra.

I've wanted to see Soil & Pimp for a really long time but was worried it would all seem very learned, or 'art', or somehow pretentious - maybe because I'm not overly in to jazz. Instead what I got was an elemental war between virtuosity and passion in a venue shaped like a rocket. KDK appeared to be using it as a vessel to draw in energy streams from the universe, transmit them through the insane sounds he made with his Korg and loudspeaker to the rest of the band, who - predominantly through brass instruments - converted these energies in to jazz and radiated them out in to the audience. Now that is a KONDUKTAH. Somebody tell Sir Simon Rattle. After a couple of tracks the brass retired so the audience wouldn't spontaneously combust and Midorin, Josei and Akita took over with a slightly smoother sound - I haven't heard keys so beautiful & soulful since I saw Robert Glasper and, don't tell anyone, but Josei is serious competition.

It wasn't long before KDK & the brass came back out, Motoharu had shed his robe for a t-shirt which read "LOVE SONG FOR YOU" - and perhaps to give him freedom to do his dancing which was somewhere between butoh, an acid house clubber and an African woman. The sounds that followed left myself, Shernay & Dave (happy birthday Dave) shocking out a la salsa, James Brown crazy legs and the willie bounce (click here if you need a demo by Elephant Man). I spent most of the time holding my brain in - literally. The precision and passion they played with led to some of the most incredible sounds I've ever heard - Tabu and Motoharu hadn't been playing for close to 2 minutes then suddenly came in perfectly in this incredible moment and I found water flying out of my eyes I was so ecstatic. They were all on at least 11 (I pray you've all seen Spinal Tap) all night and as Tabu & Motoharu turned to face each other the insane lighting scheme at the Roundhouse made it seem we were all lost in an electric lightning storm being generated by brass instruments - I started to really worry the thing could take off - apparently the storm also fried my brain. For an incredible closer KDK had us all yell "Soil!" and pump our fists - and at that point if anyone had asked us to go to war in the name of jazz we would have been the most terrifying army since that one that fought in the shade, and in their pants.

I thought it was over but they came back after Gilles Peterson rightly compared the gig to the legendary nights at the Roundhouse in the 70s - Hendrix, The Doors etc. The lighting switched to gay police helicopter mode as they blinded us all with pink strobes and we sang a song for the encore which goes - "la la la, la la la la (complicated I know), la la la, la la la la, la la la, la la la la, lah, lahhhhhhh". KDK thanked us for our smiles, our shouting, and our something else I couldn't understand through the loud speaker (sacrificing our souls to the God of Jazz for an hour?), and we tried to remember our normal human functions. Then for some reason Peterson thought it would be a good idea to play some waste house version of Everyone Nose - at which point I could not bear his sacrelidge and bounced.

NNEKA


a little lady with a BIG voice she was playing lasy night at cargo and really is something else
if u dont know her yet check it out www.myspace.com/nnekaworld







Monday, 14 July 2008

the wackness



"Its the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip hop and wafting with the sweet aroma of marijuana. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, is only beginning to implement his anti-fun initiatives against crimes like noisy portable radio, graffiti and public drunkenness.

Propelled by an exuberant hip hop score, The Wackness captures the spell of 1994--a time of pagers, not cell phones; a time when Tupac and Biggie were alive but Kurt Cobain had just died."

from reading reviews online and checking the trailers and from the cast, this looks set to be a good film, especially for heads of my vintage...

speaking of films i watched this on saturday night



Tom Ludlow: Konnichiwa. Konnichiwa. It means what's up. So what the fuck's up?

street kings - as an action flick head and a hip hop head i thought this was a pretty cool, gritty, cops gone bad film. keanu not as the typical hero for once, and a nice cameo from common and the game with some well samplable dialogue... forrest whitakker is pretty bad ass too and even hugh laurie comes off as kinda tough, and how can i forget the beautiful naomi harris playing terry crews wife.


some stuff i came across from the good people at the fader...

pitbulls free agent mixtape

check american war, gonna drop this at the next lookout! for sure...




"Nas, "Queens Get The Money"




i know you're gonna dig this...

Busta Rhymes, "I Got Bass" (Prod. By Bangladesh)




ok big shouts and thanks to all who made it down to LOOKOUT!'s anniversary party on thursday, one of our biggest nights ever and was great to see so many smiling faces having it on the floor who have been with us for the past year. the photo exhibit came out well and you can check and d/l the pics here - LOOKOUT! anniversary photo exhibit



new mixes i'm listening to today...


The DJ Shadow Breaks Set - Mixed by Fraykerbreaks



James Pants vs. Gorilla Mix - Mixed by James Pants



NYC Reality Check 101 - Mixed by DJ Premier


not only do us ozzies steal your jobs, women and tell you poms how to get down with kicks a la sneaker freaker, now we telling you what's up with tees as well, those that know me know i have waaaay too many t-shirts, now there a magazine i have to try not to buy as well!



buy T-WORLD: THE JOURNAL OF T-SHIRT CULTURE here


came across this clip from Kon which includes footage from the BBE anniversary party that i hit up and i know some of you was at too...




been hearing more noise bout this chick Stephanie McKay, maybe someone on here posted about her too? check these tracks beautiful new soul, you will not be disappointed



Jackson Avenue & Oh Yeah


ok that is probably more than enough if not too much...

"I call you sun, cos you shine like one..."

peace

Currently Watching...

I'm a little late on this but I had to post it cos I LOVE the video...Maybe not as much of the song...but definitely more of the video.....advertising the anniversary of Converse, the shoe company...



N.E.R.D- My Drive Thru ft. Santogold and Julian Casablancas (lead from the band The Strokes)

I think i'm the only one who likes it...but i'm feeling it!

Friday, 11 July 2008

In case you're going out tonight...

Here's a couple of remix type tracks I'll be dancing round my room & getting my self ready to. I still want to go even though I'm a bit mash up after Lookout last night - hold tight the whole crew.

Kidz In The Hall ft Pacific Division, Tyga, Glasses Malone and Mistah F.A.B. - Drivin Down the Block West Coast rmx

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Brass in Africa (Bulljun rmx)

Sa-Ra Creative Partners ft The Sa-Ra Allstars - In Limbo (from Exit Music – Songs for Radio Heads)

Nothing groundbreaking but just in case you don't have them. See you at Barrio North in Angel for Alexander Nut & Ahu's set...partayyy innit.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Gilles Peterson...I like his thinking.

Gilles Peterson has a new service/ gadgety/ thing...he's running a monthly album club where he picks his top 4 albums of the month and once you've subscribed you get a channel list and can listen to the albums in their entirety. Click HERE to subscribe. It's not ground breaking or world changing, BUT I was pretty chuffed to be listening to the new Jamie Lidell album this morning on his recommendation without the dirty download feeling...There are loads of services online for listening to stuff which I'm sure we all use but I particularly like things like recommendations and playlists otherwise it can be a bit of an ocean - where to start if you don't have all the time in the world? I was a big fan of Pandora until it closed down for UK users (it was an internet radio service where you could create your own playlist with a huge range to choose from).



Here's the thing. So many of my friends are artists - 5 years ago music was a tangible career choice. Even if you didn't make it huge but did ok you could survive as an artist. What we have now is - make it big or do it as a hobby (apart from the very business savvy). I download - but I don't download the little independent artists who're trying to make it, I buy their music and support and I encourage others to do the same. Most of these artists aren't in a position to book themselves on the never ending tours it would take for them to survive just through music and we all try and get guestlist for shows so at what point do we pay for the pleasure these artists provide? Do we never stop to consider that even if we don't have the money to buy all the music we would like to we can still just listen to it for free - and maybe buy it when we do have the cash? Just because something is easy to steal and everyone's doing it doesn't mean it's ok. For every action there is a reaction and people will not continue to put all their time heart and soul in to something with such little incentive forever.

Some people would argue that by putting up albums for download they are promoting people's music...is that really necessary? Put up the whole album to listen to - put up your favourite track for download, but don't make it as easy as blinking to download an entire album or you take away the vague possibility someone might just buy it. The fact that everyone else is doing it or you can get it from Solar Seek etc doesn't make it ok, particularly if you specialize in the music you love. If you're a really talented promoter or taste-maker like Gilles Peterson people will pay attention regardless - his new service is adding value by singling out albums above others and promoting them, making people more likely to buy them just to have in their collections. Last year Radiohead and Saul Williams banked on their fans' integrity - they let people pay what they felt the album was worth, and people paid. If you put up someone's album for free you are essentially saying that either you don't care about that artist and their hard work, (and)/ or that you don't believe that anyone would pay anything for it anyway - and that it is essentially worthless in monetary terms. If you're a fan, really think about it before just hitting download, adding 2 songs to a playlist and forgetting about it.

If you really love music then you'll be happy to pay for it.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A CHANGE GON' COME... (an epic post)

I've been a little underground the last couple of days (who knew you can't learn Photoshop and Dreamweaver in 10 minutes?!)...I've got an event coming up. No, it's not a club night so you can all carry on pestering me daily about that (soon come but when I'm ready).

For some reason I get a lot of requests from emerging artists to manage them...I always think it's a bit odd if you don't have a deal yet, surely what you want is a publicist? Anyway, I think it's a product of the fact there are loads of really talented people at the mercy of an industry that - to put it bluntly - is pretty monotone. For some reason people want Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy singing soul and blues - personally I don't think even if you add them up & multiply them exponentially you'd get even half an Eska. Oh, and if you're a bloke you'd best do indy unless you like poverty. This is not news - we've all been grumbling about it for ages.

A couple of years back I had a massive argument on the train with my partner at the time about an article Hannah Pool wrote in the Guardian called Whiteout. I wouldn't say it was particularly well written but my other half took umbrage to it because he felt the argument that British pop wasn't multicultural enough was invalid because who gives a toss, why would anyone want to make mainstream music? I was enraged on behalf of my future children - I felt (and still do) they should grow up feeling confident they can do anything they want, regardless of their background. The UK music industry is one of the most visible, and it has a very low glass ceiling at the moment...I'm mainly talking about black people here because we're so rubbish on music of other origins it doesn't even get a look in.

Thing is Hannah wrote the article 2.5 years ago and the argument was old then. It's not even the case that we haven't had successful AND credible artists. What concerns me is the current UK chart...here's the top 10:

1. Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris - Dance Wiv Me

2. Ne-Yo - Closer

3. Basshunter - All I Ever Wanted

4. Jordin Sparks Ft Chris Brown- No Air

5. Chris Brown - Forever

6. Ironik - Stay With Me

7. Coldplay - Viva La Vida

8. Rihanna - Take A Bow

9. Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me

10. Busta Rhymes Ft Linkin Park - We Made It

We have the answer! All you have to do is go to America. The closest Dizzee got to the top 10 was number 10 with Stand Up Tall 4 years ago - despite a Mercury Music Prize under his belt for his debut album. Same thing with Estelle...to be honest I don't think she's a great example of the most talented artists we have but at least she said what everyone else was thinking and did something about it for herself. 1980 got to number 40. Leona had the right idea and bounced, and Omar is HUGE over there...most people here can just about hum There' Nothing Like This.

What I don't understand is this. That chart is pretty black. At number one is a black UK artist. Obviously people want to buy black music. But apparently the UK industry would rather US companies take the little remaining money that is left from whoever it is that's buying music. That seems completely insane to me. Glastonbury is a prime example. As I've mentioned before - The Beastie Boys played there years ago and it has always been pretty diverse, but you put Jay Z up as the headliner and it's a problem. No matter that all the other really big acts are pretty homogeneous indy acts. It still sold out, most people love Jay Z now and quite frankly it was all a bit of a farcical storm in a teacup. From what I can see it just looks like any other industry that hasn't yet grasped the business case for cultural diversity. Put simply - reflect the cultural background of your customers, it makes sense.

I don't like to chat about an issue and then sit there doing nothing so...myself and a few others (who shall remain nameless for now) have started Transatlantic Sound. It's an artist development agency and we're hoping to provide artists with the support that the industry isn't, whilst bashing the industry over the head with the fact that black and culturally diverse music is actually a good investment (personally I'm really not about supporting just black people, but all talented culturally diverse artists otherwise you're just swapping one thing for the other). Why are we doing it? Well, the other day I was talking to an incredibly talented producer who told me he was thinking of giving up because he can't afford to do music for a living. I don't want to hear that from him or any of the other incredibly talented artists I know - what will I listen to?!
If you're a talented singer, MC, songwriter, musician, DJ or producer really committed to your art you are invited to this event:
Photobucket

I don't want my kids growing up looking at a low glass ceiling, so I'm going to smash it up before they get here. Email me your RSVP amelia@transatlanticsound.org

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Ty, Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley... all on the same stage.... do I need to go on...?

Well I gotta say my apologies first... I know I'm kinda late with this... but had a bit too much going on recently. Still... all good things come to those who wait.. and all that guinesspeak... lol

So... a few weeks back I was lucky enough to go the the 'Stay Black, Stay Proud' gig at the Barbican - it was a James Brown tribute with some of th e original members of JBs, plus TY, Tony Allen, Chikke Lo, Wunmi, Simphiwe Dana, James Morton......

Obviously it was amazing. Obviously you should have been there and obviously you should have heard it for yourself. Sadly I don't have even a bootleg mp3 to play you.... but hopefully you'll get a lil su mthin of the vibes from the pics :)

TY









Fred Wesley








Pee Wee Ellis








Simphiwe Dana








TY with Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis & James Morton








Wunmi





My sunday sounds like...

Any other day to be honest with you... I have no set routine as to what to listen to according to what day of the week it is. I find it funny when people take out one specific day to listen to a certain type of music eg. "i think im gonna listen to some reggae or rare groove because it's sunday"... *rolls eyes* Music is music and should be appreciated any day of the week regardless of what genre it belongs to. Yeah I understand sunday is the day of rest and all that malarky but I don't care!! Anyone who knows me can verify my characteristics are of an extremely(worryingly) mellow nature but still that doesn't affect what or how I listen to music... Track for track I can go from the hardest Hip-Hop beat to the most psychedelic Funk tune to the harmonic sounds of a classically influenced orchestra etc, etc, etc... point is, the more selective we are with music the more prone we are to have an selective outlook on life. Don't under estimate the power of music. It's more influential than you can imagine or probably understand. Im not saying you should do what I do or listen to the music I do(although you should), all Im saying is there is a world full of music other than what is force fed to us day by day... Open your mind and your ears and the rest will make sense of itself... 

But as I was saying, my sunday sounds like... 














All amazing songs(some more than others) at random courtesy of iTunes shuffle...  Of course, there's more to come but we'll save that for another day... Enjoy :)

Toumani tears, Hypnotic sweats and Tony's bedrock beats - a review of Honest Jon's Cut Up

Apologies in advance most gracious Miss Run Tings, i'll try my best to keep this one brief, cos you were supposed to be there last night...so I'll stick to the highlights of the highlights...or avert your eyes now

Hats off to Damon Albarn and co for getting Honest Jon's off the ground and bringing incredible artists together (check their website for veritably fabulous sounds, everything from Trinidadian calypso to southern soul, Saba disco to Chicago House..). Knowing the Barbican would be a sit-down affair I wondered how they'd stage a sizzla of a one-night only mash-up between the cream of African and renegade Western artists from the Honest Jon's stable. The whole sit-down things well frustrating, but I guess you could argue that it makes you listen in a different way..? err, whatever! The creative encounter made up for it...anyhoo...



...it started as a staid affair until Kipsi Bocoum (above right) leapt up from his seat with a beatific smile and monochord violin in hand and got his groove on to Afel Bocoum's trance-inducing soaring Malian blues. Followed swiftly by the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble chopping and swaying to Tony Allen's pulsating funky-as-f**kness. He ain't even breaking a sweat see!




Toumani Diabate unleashed a celestial waterfall from his kora and I'm not ashamed to admit I cried, no use holding back. For a hearty dose of soul-food go seek The Mandé Variations and be sure to keep your eyes closed, you don't want any other senses in the way.



Candi Staton took the mic like the legend she is and got us all Uhm!!-ing sassily with a searingly gorgeous version of
I'm Just a Prisoner



Mali responded on the soulful diva front with renegade Kokanko Sata Doumbia - armed with a hunters harp (usually reserved for men - respect!). Voice like terracotta earth and an ululation that raised the roof, got bums off seats and the whole house jumping.

It was the after party where things got really sweaty betty...a relentless and electrifying set from Lobi Traore kicked off in the foyer, my limbs were bewitched and couldn't stop moving to his distinctive funky-afrobluesy dare i say house(?!). No time to get a breather before Hypnotic Brass Ensemble hit the stage blazing - I can't hype these guys enough, they don't f**k around, just get your tix for the ICA - you'll thank me.



"
In Lagos, a chop up is a lavish feast; in dance music culture at large, it means juxtaposition and re-constitution." I'm going back for seconds...thirds...fourths...

Friday, 4 July 2008

Connection is everything

I just saw a trailer for a film called The Visitor. No idea how it totally slipped under the radar, it actually came out in April. I am prone to eye-water issues and I must admit I was a bit saline by the end if this.

You can watch a better quality version on the site.

I can't play any instruments (unless you count recorder) but I had a wonderful experience at the lovely Tanya from Elova's party...I walked in to a room full of amazing musicians largely from Onetaste, was handed a little wooden thing I don't know the name of, and Katy and I proceeded to make our contributions to Black Gold of the Sun and Hit The Road Jack! I then made my way through a cowbell, tambourine, and several bongo drum things. One of the most magical nights of my life. The last party I went to at hers I showed up with J Live, he walked in, grabbed a cowbell and we made our way through the house making loads of noise. I left him there playing bongos at 7am after dancing to loads of swing, jazz, electro pop and Outkast - the system packed up when Carina started playing an amazing hip hop set. The Massage Situation by Flying Lotus killed it - literally! Apparently J now owes me 5 amazing nights out in New York that one was so good.
I wish we all had more access to musical instruments - at New Year my friend Oscar arrived at the Special Needs party at Lockside Lounge with a bag full of 'shik shaks' which all the crazy off their face people loved and, erm, stole. Just down the road, opposite the Roundhouse my friend Sun runs Ray Mans - one of the most exotic instrument shops in London. I love going in there, Sun can play almost everything there and when he takes you on a tour of the place you never feel like leaving, it's magical. I hope you all go and get him to show you around - there are loads of amazing things you'll have never seen before and lots of them are quite affordable...I'm quite up for taking up the tabla...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bad Brass...

If you know me I have told you about the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and my intense love for them.
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Well, they're touring the UK this month - Honest Johns Chop up at the Barbican Saturday with Tony Allen, Cheik Lo & more...(there are still tickets left people?!), and here's the rest:

Wednesday 16th July - Durham - Gala Theatre
Thursday 17th July - Leeds - The Wardrobe
Friday 18th July - London - The Albany
Saturday 19th July - Bristol - Fiddlers
Sunday 20th July - Birmingham - Rainbow Pub
Tuesday 22nd July - London - ICA

I've bought my tickets for the ICA, get yours here £10 and cheap at the price.

Thing is...not only are Hypnotic Brass Ensemble playing London - The Hot 8 Brass Band are too!
hot 8
If you don't know about them, well, neither did I until Rich Medina played their awesome version of Sexual Healing at Deviation last night (get it here). I thought it was HBE - and I think I could be forgiven - of course HBE have one more member but similar feel, HBE are from Chicago & Hot 8 from New Orleans. (Nerd alert!) Now, the idea there are two big hip hop brass bands out there to me is only a good thing - I don't want to listen to music without horns if I can help it so this is great news! Hot 8 are playing Cargo on Thursday 31st July - get your tickets here
Come dance and get that face on. That face you only get when you're dancing to something with bad ass horns on it, the darkdeepdancelikeyourAfricandadwhenhelistensto FelaorLucianoandhethinkshe'sabadman face. Yeah you know the one, even if you don't have an African dad.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Badu in Brixton 2008

Whats good people, this is my first post on here and what better way to report on who I feel is one of the most important artists in music right now. To me it was one her most meaningful performances as she touched on a lot of current affairs which mirrors the mood for album(New Amerykah-4th World War) Highlights include 'The Healer', a great rendition of a traditional Ethiopian song, a cover of the classic RAMP song 'Daylight' and my personal high of the night, 'Otherside of the Game' especially the break down!!!!!!!!!! Check it out here 5.38 in (Footage is not from Brixton but I just wanted to show how sick the switch was!big up Ahu for link).



One thing before i finish this post. I paid nearly 50 british pounds to see Badu last night which is all good coz im willing to pay that however, there was this lady who we happened to be caught next to who talked throughout 90% of the show!!!! I really dont get it. I mean she wasnt even looking at the stage! 'Did you see my friend on Facebook!' RA RA RA RA RAHHH!!!!!! WOMEN! ERYKAH IS SINGING HER HEART OUT FOR YOU AND YOU PAID 50 QUID!!!!!! MAKE THE MOST OF IT! GOTDAMNIT!

Thank you Erykah for being responsible with your music. Feeling inspired indeed,

PEACE OUT

LAU

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

99 problems but a whining little Manc b*$@h ain't one.

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I'm pretty bored with the whole Glastonbury thing even though I didn't go and haven't watched a single clip on TV or Youtube. I reckon to make things a little more interesting people should try festival & gig swapping a little more often. Perhaps Jay Z & Mary J Blige could swap Jigga one night on their 'Heart of the City' tour with Noel Gallagher and they can do an acoustic version of Can't Knock the Hustle. I've met Noel many a time (ardent trainer shopper) and he's always been lovely to me so I was surprised he allegedly said this:

"If it ain't broke don't fix it," he said. "If you start to break it then people aren't going to go. I'm sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance...Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go 'Kylie Minogue?' I don't know about it. But I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong."

Considering the Beastie Boys played Glasto two years before Oasis he's got quite a cheek - "I'm not having it, it's wrong" indeed. Thing is, most festivals have become pretty homogenized - they all have a different 'vibe' but line ups do seem to be getting more similar. If you download the full Glastonbury line up and put your hand over to cover the headliners it's actually really diverse and always has been. This year included; Ethiopiques, Solomon Burke, Estelle, Lupe Fiasco, Massive Attack, Tawiah, Portico Quartet, Roisin Murphy, Ozomatli, Natty, N Dubz, Dizzee Rascal, and Santogold to name but a few. If you wanted to you could pretty much avoid guitars the whole weekend. Jay Z really copped the flack - had there been a bit more diversity amongst the 'headliners' would anyone have been able to say anything?

As a little experiment let's re-imagine the headliners. Just for a second let's add a couple more names to the tops spots such as Kanye West, maybe even Stevie Wonder, and Shirley Bassey (a Glastonbury favourite). Would there have been such a huge focus on Jigga or hip hop? Would people have said Glastonbury is changing too much? Would Stevie have failed to attract a crowd? Would people say that it's being "taken over", and by whom? Jay Z was just a lone and easy target. Every industry or business has to evolve to reflect the diversity of the population and if you have 100,000 tickets to sell it's a smart move to cater to as wide a range of people as possible. I can't help but feel really uncomfortable when hearing such resistance to change - and I'm so glad in this case progress won.

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