Friday, 31 October 2008

Calling all video directors!

Do you have artistic vision, creativity & access to stylists?
Then Black Milk needs YOU!

Sorry, no reflection on Black Milk - he's amazing, but after Kanye's incredible Love Lockdown video the artistic bar has been raised, and for a song like this the video should have blown our minds. It clearly had a budget so what happened? Maybe I'm being too harsh but this isn't pushing any envelopes in my world. Argggh, the sunglasses, the camera discomfort, rapping along to the Quasimoto sounding chorus, the average girls who came straight from work and didn't change or feel like dancing much, the hilarious bassist who gets all over-excited near the end, the unnecessary graphics that 'don't make no sense', but mainly THE DRUMMERS - what you thought no one would see you lot wearing jeans behind the drum kits and who let the white bow tie one wear Kanye from two years ago shades?! Give the drummer some what? Style? Vegetables? Hugs? Oh I'm going to get cussed but come on.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

They come with their beautiful words...

I saw this incredible video for Us Two Little Gods by Dido today.



Made by Sony BMG and film maker/ photographer Marcos Prado it is an extremely poignant portrayal of the life of an elderly Brazilian woman who lives on a waste site sorting rubbish. Prado has stated previously that,
I have no artistic goal with my work. My main goal is to make people aware about some issues that remain far from our daily lives, and to bring consciousness and information so that people can fight for what it is important in life.

Despite this I think this video is beautiful, and although the subject matter is heart-wrenching the combination of his sensitive editing and the warmth of the song never allows the subjects to be reduced solely to objects of our pity. I felt a sense of admiration for people who are able to carry on in such circumstances with such strength and dignity. He has also done much work highlighting the plight of Brazilians working as modern slaves in charcoal camps. To summarize - Brazil is still an industrial country with steel as one of it's key resources. In order to make steel you need charcoal, so the poorest and most vulnerable are offered work in charcoal camps in the forest, where their labour cards are taken away and they are effectively unable to leave, working in terrible conditions decimating huge areas of forest. I read part of a fascinating book online called Disposable People by Kevin Bales, it's about modern day slavery all over the world and covers the charcoal camps, from which the title of this post is taken. To check it out click here (I'm feeling Google book previews)...

The largest dump in Africa, Olusosun, just outside Lagos, Nigeria.

The story of the lady living in Brazil is sadly not that strange to me. The years ('92-'95) I spent living in Warri (in the south of Nigeria and often described as a shanty town), on a daily basis would include holding your breath trying to walk quickly along an entire road (burning sand or semi-open sewer covers for pavement) lined with smouldering rubbish piled as high as a house, trying not to stare at the adults and children living and working on them. Often they were stick thin shouting mad men, naked with matted dread locks, red eyes, sores and distended genitals.

The dangers of these dumps were highlighted again to me in an email the other day about a charity music event for the Guajero children of Guatemala...gases that develop in the heat create vacuums people are sucked in to and buried alive, children living in unimaginable conditions, with little hope for the future. (At Olusosun for example it is an ambition to be a sorter instead of a scavenger, and this goal can take years to reach). If you would like to help check out organisations like Libre Infancia...but really I think it's going to take a hell of a lot more than that.

*Sorry to go off on a sad little tangent but this song and video moved me and I just thought I'd share it with you.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Who's ready for Nikki Jean?!

Check out Nikki Jean - we know you'll be fiending after downloading from the post below...

*Oh and gents, please hold it down, we know.

A Rosenberg Oddisee

Hello to all my PUTMEONIT folks! I got something I want you all to check out. This is an EP I put together with the help of my friend Peter Rosenberg of hot97 NYC. Everything you're about to hear was entirely produced and recorded in one day. Rosenberg made the calls and got the artist in and I supplied the beats. Check it out and let me know your thoughts, peace.

Peter Rosenberg Presents…

Download: A Rosenberg Oddisee
Produced by Oddisee

Monday, 27 October 2008

VV Brown - yes or no?

I'm completely undecided on this one, you tell me. Signed to Island Universal, she's undeniably hot with great marketing (nice website!) & styling - refreshing to see a girl who looks like that not singing inspid fogettable RnB that's for sure. Plus that's a very cute puppy in the video and she's playing loads of instruments. This single comes out 3rd November...

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Declaime ft Georgia Ann Muldrow - WAX

Don't ask me to explain - I can't. I love everything Dudley Perkins does (goes without saying of course for Georgia). I am so desperate for the new Declaime LP A Storm's A Coming but I went on Ramp Recordings' website and their 'Buy' link is broken. It's not on itunes either so if anyone knows where I can cop it let me know. Whilst flailing about trying to find it I hijacked a couple of minutes of Wax from Indiefeed (click the link to download), I just want you to hear it.

Just in case you haven't seen the Beautiful Mind (check out DJ 2Tall!) video - stunning...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Amel Larrieux

Beyond beautiful, inside and out, always. I couldn't narrow it down, and there were more I left out...check her blogs on myspace.

Got this stuck in my head today & haven't been able to stop 'singing' it since.


Amel Larrieux - Weary
My favourite of the lot - I've watched it 10 times. Incredible.

The one I'm guessing you all know. Rocking the Alice Temperley look, but probably unwittingly.


Amel Larrieux - Get Up
Had to choose between this and Sweet Misery...turns out I couldn't...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

woon

a few months ago at the revue bar.... so talented !!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Oddisee & Saigon's new track care of Pete Rosenberg...

You know I hate to post what every other blog is chatting about but Oddisee is PMOI fam. The first track from A Rosenberg Oddisee (mmm, cheese - see below) went up on Peters' blog today & although I was hoping O would come post the link himself he's stuck in the lab so I'll help out. To download it click here - yeah it's crazy but wait till you hear the Nikki Jean tune - I can't take it off repeat, the drums are totally insane. I'll play it to you down the phone if you ask me nicely but it'll just make you sad you don't have it yet so I wouldn't bother if I were you, the EP's coming out in a week. Huge shout outs to Peter for putting this together but more importantly, for not making it big in NY & forgetting the talent back home in DC.
Here's an example of Pete keeping it real - and it's also something I haven't seen on every other blog today...

Prize for the first person to name the DC artist cameos in this video. I'll buy you some lovely Manchego or Comté...

Sunday, 19 October 2008

McNasty Filth

I'm still a little buzzy from Friday night, Frank n Dank performed live at Plastic People and me and the crew were at the front nice and early, ready to go. The crowd was...interesting (I'll leave it at that)...but it wasn't long before we all got to neck grasping, screw faced and sweaty to the sounds of What Up, McNasty Filth (pure madness), Eve, Clap Hands and Puff Puff Pass. It was Take Dem Clothes Off which brought out the raw angry man in all of us - including the ladies. I have no idea what Frank n Danks' female fans are like around the rest of the world but in London we don't exactly get it all out and start wiggling, which may be disappointing for some. Friday was pure sausage. I'm sure *I shouldn't but I love the video for McNasty Filth - here's a l'il link to the making of clip but I'm posting the video...don't watch it if you're easily offended by er, anything.

Last time I saw F&D was November 2005 at Dilla's legendary last gig at the Jazz Cafe. We were all pretty distressed that night since most of us had no idea how ill the man was, and when he was carried down those stairs in a wheelchair, and was clearly working hard just to hold the mic for a few songs it all got very real. I can't imagine how tough that tour was for everyone around him, and I don't know if I could watch the Eurpoean Vacation dvd, despite my curiosty. Share with me if you were there - or if you weren't!

I can't find any footage from the night I went (pre-camera phone videos) and to be honest I don't know if I'd want to post it anyway. Here's a night I wish I'd been at instead. Dilla & Madlib at the Jazz Cafe in May 2004.

Big shout outs to Dank for rocking with food poisoning, Tony & Gavin (and Sue!) from Burnt Progress, Dopeness Galore, Alexander Nut for his magnificent birthday set (and for not hurting the random guy who thought the decks were a toy), but most of all my partners in crime...


*Note: I know I've been pretty anti-booty videos at times but for some reason this is all so extra, funny and 'diverse' it actually strikes me as a bit of a pastiche.

Friday, 17 October 2008

We lost another soldier

A fellow producer and comrade of mine just blogged his resignation from hip-hop. Here's what he wrote to explain why. This is a subject I have strong feelings on so I also attached my response.

I say "Peace" (I quit)

I say « Peace »


Yeah folks…. Time for me to say "Peace".

After 12-13 years of beats making, I've recently decided to quit.


I will probably keep making beats here in front of my pair of Mackie HR-824 speakers for a couple of months/year(s) but I wont submit my beats to emcees anymore and wont collab with emcees anymore.


I've seen a lotta things in 12 years…. Dudes claiming to be ready to bang and running away when we was close to put something out…. Dudes being really ready but being scared of putting something out….. dudes stealing my beats and trying to sell them behind my back…. Dudes that need a year to record a joint and send it back to me…. Dudes threating me when I told them what they aint used to hear…. Dudes being fucking paranoiac whatever you tell them…Dudes on some "fuck you pay me" attitude …..


Actually those ones are the ones that got on my nerves (and still get on my nerves) the most (along with the ones that doesn't keep you posted about what they doing with your beats).

Don't get me wrong tho, I understand that some guys wanna get paid, but come on …. Do you REALLY deserve it ? Does someone with a very average flow deserve to get paid $1000 for a 16 bars freestyle ? Can a cat accept to collab with you and after 8 months ask you for money even tho he hasn't talked about it in the first place ?


The thing is, am European … am not american… Am not addicted to the money like most of those American guys I been in contact with. If you are not European and are reading this blog, you probably gonna think that am a fucking hater …. I cant blame you for that but soon enuff you'll find out that I was right. Music is a passion first …. Not a job here….

I see a lotta dudes leaving their everyday life behind in order to focus only on their music… the fact is they just lose their mind in this game … cause it's not safe….

We don't do that here…We have a job, or study and we make music when we get home from work … or on the week end.

I've been asked " dude, why don't u try to make… ? " … am like " hell NO!!!" … I have a job to pay my bills … music is a passion …. That's just something I wanna share with other passionate people…. I really don't care about the money …. Some folks have eyeballed when I told them that I never tried to sell a beat in my whole life.


That's why am standing back from this hip hop game now … Hip Hop is dead because of you …. That's no joke… There's no more love, no more passion, no more peace, no more unity in this game nowaday …. Everybody wanna rap… everybody wanna be the next Lil Wayne, the next 50 Cent or whatever …Kids are too lazy to go to school, get a decent level of education and get a nice 9-5 …. They rather sell shit in order to be able to have something to relate to when they turn in to "emcees" ….. so called emcees actually.


There's a lot more reasons that lead me to that decision… but I aint gonna let my fingers bleed typing this shit …. I would like to thanks all the good people I met in this Hip Hop Road tho.


Aiiight …. Time for me to say ……


Peace.


my response


I'm sorry to hear that your time in the music industry left a bitter taste in your mouth. I can understand why you would feel the way you do looking at it in your shoes. however, I think you misunderstand American Hustle for a greedy addiction. you wrote and I quote...

"The thing is, am European … am not american… Am not addicted to the money like most of those American guys I been in contact with."

You are right, there are some people who are addicted to money, I'm one of them so believe me when I tell you, you misunderstand us.
Most Americans hate their 9 to 5's and regret their lives eventually.(in fact I think most people in the world do) We Americans live in a vicious system that for most people turns us into workers who kill them selves to make a living. It's fear that keeps a dreamer from manifesting his/her dreams. For those brave few who say NO! I'm going to make my passion my life, they also live in fear, Fear that they will have to go back to that rat race and treat their passion as a side hobby. My friend, for me that is true pain and regret. I'm so passionate about music that I must be able to create it when I feel the urge to. For that freedom to be taken away and told to spend 8 hours of my day, plus the commute to work, plus the time it takes to get ready, then go home and force my self to create in the late hours of the night like it's some dark addiction I must tend to when know one is around is pure anguish. I can't speak for others but when I say "Fuck You Pay me" it's because I never want to go back to "Wear a suit and sit in this cubical" state penitentiary. I'm not buying rims with your euro's I'm paying rent, feeding my self and sending money back to Sudan for my family. I say it all the time. "I make music for a living so I can live to make music" I can't have it any other way. If it's truly your passion you'll trade that fear of instability for a healthy fear that motivates you. (add talent to really make this receipt pop)
There's nothing wrong with making music your career. We should encourage all humanity to at least try to make their passions their career. As with most careers/jobs, (big difference between the two) there's to many people applying and not enough available positions. To many people who went to school for the wrong thing, to many people stopped their education to soon only to realize that you wont get that real money until you get a masters degree...... You Wont Get Paid Until You Master Your Craft. That sounds pretty hip-hop to me and that's how it should be.
As I said before I'm an American addicted to money. I'm addicted to what money allows me to do not the idea of never having enough of it. living in a capitalist country with poor health care, a decaying social security system and stress will do one of two things to you, make you stop at nothing to make it work for you or stop all it is that you are for you to work for it. I see my addiction as a good vice if there is such a thing.
I'm only writing this because I see you as a peer and comrade. It's good to know you'll still make music, just because it's not for MC's makes it no less passionate. For your self and for hip-hop keep doing your thing, peace.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

BABYLON

Sounds of The Universe have just got them back in stock.
If you dont buy ish online.
Go and get a copy. Essentail DVD



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Original review by Ian Penman, NME November 8th 1980
Rhythms swarm and pound through Babylon: the warrior charge sound of Aswad, the voltage punch of sound systems, the collision and crash of different cultures, the inhibited body blows of prejudice, the beat of fleeing. fighting and freedom. Superficially, Babylon is the story of a South London reggae sound system and its battle for survival and success. But its themes extend and embrace wider and deeper – as might be expected of Franco Rosso, a director renowned for an unflinching attitude toward questions of racial culture and racial ignorance; recall the BBC ban slapped on his Linton Kwesi Johnson Dread, Beat And Blood documentary before the last election. Rosso is an Italian who grew up in London – an upbringing that probably accounts for his acute empathy with (displaced) black culture, and his ability to prise open British politics at their bloodiest and most personal base without any hint of hack dialectic. Babylon succeeds on three distinct but, crucially, always interlocking levels: as a movie, as movie about a specific subject, and as a movie about being young and British in 1980. it succeeds where other recent attempts failed miserably (Jubilee, the execrable Rude Boy, Breaking Glass). The word ‘babylon’ is a mnemonic for oppression, in all its manifestations, spiralling down from a monetarist, middleclass government, through suspicious police patrol cars, intolerant and unduly violent members of the community to something as glum as a docked wage packet. Babylon isn’t undergoing (the) recession – it’s enjoying enforcing it. Babylon gets that atmosphere. Ital Lion is the film’s ‘fictional’ sound system, run by a group of friends in South London. The speakers are saved for, stolen, home made – records bartered for. Dreadhead (Archie Pool) is the father figure who directs – well dressed and cool. Blue (Brinsley Forde of Aswad) and his white mate Ronnie (Karl Howman) work in a garage (whose owner is played by Mel Smith of Not The Nine O’Clock News) by day, and put everything into Ital Lion by night. As they progress toward a battle with Jah Shaka (real life Number One sound in London) trouble and strife with employment, sex, money, family and community have to be faced. After a night during which he is picked up on SUS, his girlfriend leaves him and he is an unwilling party to a brutal mugging, Blue returns to the garage where Ital Lions store their gear only to find the lock forced, the system trashed and the interior smirched with racist graffiti. When the others arrive and the discovery sinks in, the anger so far contained finds its irrational locus in Ronnie – the most emotionally charged, jarring, honest and perhaps even pessimistic scene in the film. All the gut contradictions and problems of racial fear and racial sympathy gell and splinter: just how do we go on from here? Rosso, however, misses being overtly moralistic by miles. Prejudice, helplessness and hopeless ire are all put firmly in contextually determined places. No one is guilty perse – everyone is a product of a variety of influences, of subtle propaganda. The film’s conclusions are yours to see and feel – its penultimate progress is urgently moving and that movement of meanings cannot be ignored. Babylon must be seen.


THIS SATURDAY

If you were at the last NONSENSE session, you know what we are about. If you know don't know Dobie, you need to. Apart from his music, the man practically set up R.A.D magazine back in the....Anyway, Its time to get schooled, myself included. Morgan brings his goodness to the set too. I read a post on this blog about a conversation someone was having re beats, producers, Dilla blah blah blah. I believe Morgans name came up into coversation.Spacek, to me are a London sound. I got the same feelings about my city listening to Curvatia as I did Peshay- The Piano Tune.... Not that we will be playing Jungle on Saturday.



Tranquill is on the mic with renesoul.

www.myspace.com/tranqill
www.myspace.com/renaesoulmusic

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London stand up

Red Bull Music Academy 08 - Barca!

I've just been on the Red Bull Music Academy site for over an hour, wondering how the lovely Fatima is getting on, but there was so much to see I had to stay. As most I'm sure you all know RBMA is a yearly collection of (generally) some of the most obscenely talented up and coming artists from around the world and this year Fatima (if you don't know about her I really don't know how you've managed that one - if not check this wicked interview with the gyal on Black N Bling) is in Barcelona with the crew.

Also in attendance this year repping UK is Jamie Woon. I think one of my first posts on here was about how much I love Jamie - I still do, maybe even more. Here's why:

This year as ever they have some crazy guests and lecturers - the Barca crew got CHUCK D!!! I'm really annoyed I can't embed the video but you should definitely watch his lecture - and check out Fatima's face - pure rapture! One thing I did find was Exile on his MPC live - and I thought I'd seen some sh*t.

I'll try and get some more info from Barca for you, I find the RBMA fascinating and so exciting - the collaborations that have come out of it from so many of the artists (even contributors!) we talk about on this blog are just crazy.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Wee - You can fly on my aeroplane


Just bought this album and its the best 10 quid i have spent in a long long time!!! Please do yourselves a favour and check it out!!!!!! Beautiful sounds and great songs. Probably going down as one of my favs ever!!!!!!!!!! Big up to Budgie and Honest Jons for schooling me on this.

Check it out and buy here:

http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=132736


http://www.juno.co.uk/products/326008-01.htm

http://www.honestjons.com/shop.php?pid=33462&CatID=124

http://www.junodownload.com/products/1347890-02.htm


http://www.roughtrade.com/site/shop_detail.lasso?search_type=sku&sku=306942

and many other stores!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Black Milk and Matthew Herbert...

Everyone and their gran has the new Black Milk mixtape and Give The Drummer Some has made him man of the moment.

*Eagerly awaiting the video...

I haven't had a chance to really listen to the mixtape until today and to my delight I noticed that on What Is This with Slum Village - whoever produced it, probably Black (info please people?!) has sampled one of my favourite producers Matthew Herbert. Here's the sampled track Foreign Bodies from 2001's Bodily Functions - a classic album. Whilst we're on the subject of Herbert, check this out in relation to recent discussion - he's just a bit extra...

www.matthewherbert.com

P.C.C.O.M.
PERSONAL CONTRACT FOR THE COMPOSITION OF MUSIC [INCORPORATING THE MANIFESTO OF MISTAKES]
THIS IS A GUIDE FOR MY OWN WORK AND NOT INTENDED AS THE CORRECT OR ONLY WAY TO WRITE MUSIC EITHER FOR MYSELF OR OTHERS.

1. The use of sounds that exist already is not allowed. Subject to article 2. In particular:
* No drum machines.
* All keyboard sounds must be edited in some way: no factory presets or pre-programmed patches are allowed.
2. Only sounds that are generated at the start of the compositional process or taken from the artist's own previously unused archive are available for sampling.
3. The sampling of other people's music is strictly forbidden.
4. No replication of traditional acoustic instruments is allowed where the financial and physical possibility of using the real ones exists.
5. The inclusion, development, propagation, existence, replication, acknowledgement, rights, patterns and beauty of what are commonly known as accidents, is encouraged. Furthermore, they have equal rights within the composition as deliberate, conscious, or premeditated compositional actions or decisions.
6. The mixing desk is not to be reset before the start of a new track in order to apply a random eq and fx setting across the new sounds. Once the ordering and recording of the music has begun, the desk may be used as normal.
7. All fx settings must be edited: no factory preset or pre-programmed patches are allowed.
8. Samples themselves are not to be truncated from the rear. Revealing parts of the recording are invariably stored there.
9. A notation of sounds used to be taken and made public.
10. A list of technical equipment used to be made public.
11. optional: Remixes should be completed using only the sounds provided by the original artist including any packaging the media was provided in.

Matthew Herbert (2005)

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Dancer in the Dark and some glitch business...

I didn't have a blog in 2000 when this film came out so I'm posting retrospectively. I'm not very good with films involving dancers and sadness (I was sooo embarrassing, sobbing my heart out in the cinema at the end of House of Flying Daggers), so I actually have never seen Dancer in the Dark. I love Bjork too much, it would kill me.

The first film to have an overture since 1979 (Star Wars), shot entirely on a hand held camera, this musical stars Bjork as a Czech immigrant worker in the Washington State of 1964. She is working in a factory saving up every penny because she has a hereditary disease that's sending her blind and she wants to stop her son from going through the same. Her only escape from reality is watching musicals and daydreaming...


Björk ft. Thom Yorke - I've Seen It All from Selmasongs the soundtrack to the film (click the link to download a lot of it, Bjork always creates these amazing microsites for her work - check it).

I won't tell you what happens in case you haven't seen it yet but put it this way - I cried when I was told the story. There's a rumor going around that Bjork and Thom Yorke are about to team up again on a new single entitled "Nattura", which is the name of an Icelandic environmental organisation Bjork supports. I cannot wait.

This summer Nattura held a concert that sounds pretty amazing - Bjork, Sigur Ross and Múm. Múm for all you glitch heads out there, are an Icelandic group who've been making delicious electronic tings for 11 years. I heard about them through Arovane who's also been around for a long time, I think I was listening to their stuff about 6 years ago (not off my own back, through far more knowledgeable sources of course). Here's Please Sing My Spring, made back in 2001.

Sorry to be such a nerd but I just can't post about Beyonce's new video.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Rules of Production Post Part 2 (My Worthless Opinion)

Damn..... Where to start on this subject? I guess I can only speak from my own point of view and experience. When I started making beats I took everyone's drums, why do you ask? The answer is simple....They banged!! In my novice attempt to find open drums and breaks as I was instructed to by my peers who were a bit further along. I became frustrated, Feeling as if no drum from a 60's or 70's soul, funk or R&B record would ever hit hard enough to give me that "Boom Bap" feeling I got from Premo, Dilla, Pete Rock, Dre and many others. Clearly they aren't getting these amazing kicks and snares from Sly and the Family stone breaks?! So I thought.... Once a certain "Friend" of mine was caught by his favorite producer and that favorite producer said... "I see you took my drums man!" we in Low budget vowed to respect the unwritten rule that states "DON'T BITE OTHER PRODUCERS DRUMS". Now we all know that hip-hop pushes boundaries on a song to song basis so are there rules in a genre that thrives off of going against the grain? The answer in my opinion is yes. There are guide lines and techniques in just about all forms of organized anything. It's once you learn those techniques and use them in new ways that true genius arises.
Back to my early producing days...so yeah... I stopped taking other producers drums but I still wanted my drums to hit the same way. This is where the beauty of the human mind comes in to play. From that point on my time was spent trying to find ways to make the drums I acquired from records hit as hard as the records I had loved. I layered drums like Pete Rock, Off set them like Dilla, experimented with new patterns like Timbaland, spent hours EQ'ing like Dre and what was the result? something that sounded like none of the above. Finally after years of attempting to recreate the sound I loved with what I had, I created something new, something that was mine. My attempt to imitate resulted in deviation. The more I deviated the further I moved away from my desired origin and the closer I came to my own sound. Then that magical day came about...a fan at a show said "I Love your drums man, how do you get them to knock like that?" "Wow...did, did...did he just say MY drums?" It was then that I realized that a producers drums are like his finger print.
What DJ would be ok with another DJ playing practically the same set as them, or using the same transitions? What dancer would be ok with watching coreography taken from other performances passed off as an original? What graffiti writer would be ok with another writer biting their whole letter style and color schemes? they'd all be pissed because they all have the unwritten rule of NO BITING. In that constant pursuit of originality comes our greatest work. Simply taking the blue prints of pre-existing work without adding new marks in my opinion is what keeps us stagnant.
When you think about it, what's the biggest part of a hip-hop track that makes it a hip-hop track? before you put the drums on Helen Reddy, Issac hayes, Nina Simone and any one else it's still a track from another genre. It's when you add that Kick and snare in a structured loop, that makes it hip-hop. So the process of sampling, mixing, arranging and eq'ing becomes very personal. If I would have had drum kits available and software that did everything for me at what point would my brain push it's self to the limit to create and find away to translate that into sound? Damn I sound old lets put that in modern context... Don't start in a million dollar pro-tools HD studio, down load that new version of Fruity Loops first and make it work for you! (Shout out to Hudson Mohawke & Mike Slott).
Like most things in life, you appreciate them more when you earn it and less when it's given to you. Allot of what's available on the net is creating a very large double edge sword. On one side you've got everyday people who discover that they have a musical talent and on the other well.....you know what's on the other end. For all of those everyday nerds who discover that they might have what it takes to be a dope producer.... Learn your craft from the inside out and from the bottom up, THEN use the calculator to solve problems you know how to do in your head. Starting off on that calculator makes you lazy and strips away the opportunity to exercise your brain and imagination. (I've just ushered in a shit storm of haters with this one huh?)

TRY TELLING ME THIS ISN'T THE SICKEST VIDEO YOU'VE EVER SEEN!!

I'll merk you in your dreams with a toothpick and a sock if you don't agree with me!!!



Thursday, 9 October 2008

DOIN IT

I have no problem folding up my dignity and setting it aside for this post. I've admitted many many times that 10 years ago I was a 15 year old R&B chick. That means I loved LL Cool J - it wasn't my fault, I personally think it was unavoidable and an unfortunate biological certainty. If you never experienced the DJ dropping Doin It in an R&B club in the late 90s I have to say - you missed out. The things we got up to just make me cringe and blush (I realise I sound 85 years old but I do recall a mate staring so hard he fell down the stairs of the Escape in Brighton - though it was waaay more innocent than current dancefloor etiquette I understand).
I won't say where I was to protect others reputations but I heard this remix of Doin it (Eric Sermon I believe?) on someones itunes this week and *anonymous* was telling me about the 1996 VMA awards where LL & LeShaun were on stage on a motorbike performing erm, it, and I just had to post. I've searched high and low but can't find the footage (just the audio which is amazing) and I'm so gutted - if anyone can help I'll love you forever! I did on my search find LOADS of hilarious footage though.
This is too much - if LL's scared you know she's a hoe!


I also found this. I suggest you watch it with the sound off because it's terrible quality but that's not really the point...gents you might not want to watch this.


I still get goosebumps when I hear it - I feel 15 and erm, some other things I won't talk about (not because of LL anymore, but the music). I actually don't feel that bad about loving it because it comes from the extremely dope My Jamaican Guy by Grace Jones. Enjoy - I might just have to upload a 90s baby making music mix for you to pretend not to like.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The rules of production...

I know bugger all about producing music, but I do know quite a few producers. Due to that fact I'm going to be very careful what I say in case I wake up smothered.
The other day I noticed on Hip Hop Is Read numerous Sample CDs and 'Production Kits' popping up - everyone's tools are on there from Dilla to Swizz Beats to Kanye to Timbaland to the Neptunes to Dre. Kicks, snares, synths, horns, piano sounds - you name it. "Amazing, I'm there!" I hear you cry. You've probably even stopped reading what I'm writing and are busy downloading it all now. If you're still here but planning on copping all that stuff, budding producer types, what exactly are you going to do with it? (*Don't get me wrong by the way, it's a dope blog)
Here's what I'm trying to say. I played Sticks and Stones by Morgan Zarate ft Eska to a friend (because I LOVE that tune), and he instantly stuck his nose up at it and asked me to turn it off, claiming the drums were Dilla's and that's breaking the golden producers rule. He played me the two clips together and to be honest I still don't hear it - must be a producer thing. I still think Zarate is a huge name to watch out for in future (with a serious arsenal already). It would be so easy though - just to cherry pick from all of your favourite producers - surely you couldn't fail to come up with something amazing? Thing is, no one really wants to hear a raft of music that 'sounds a bit like'. Everyone and their cat has been hailed as the 'new Dilla' lately - because we're desperately hoping and searching for someone who will have the kind of talent and originality to create amazing music for every occasion we're almost guaranteed to like for years and years. I'm not expecting there to be a new Dilla - and I can't imagine anyone would want to be described as that (poor Samon Kawamura - no pressure love). Surely the goal is to be the first "you"? That's why I don't understand what the production kits are for.

*What would have happened if...?
On the flip side of that however - I come from a dance background and fully understood that learning techniques (ballet, Graham, Humphrey, Cunningham etc) set you free to develop your own highly informed movement language. I imagine studying some of the masters of hip hop production is important to upcoming producers too - maybe having the sounds broken down will help with that? But then, who did the 'masters' study? Hip Hop has only been around 30 odd years and is based on samples so surely it's about finding great samples, studying a wide range of music, and learning to work with live instrumentation to add that original element to your work?
I don't know, there are a million arguments in there, but all I have to say is cue FLOATING POINTS. Whilst everyone else is on video game samples, re-mixing Dilla and trying to be the most glitched out mofo on the block this man is on Bartok & Stravinsky whilst doing a PHd in Neuro Science. 10 points for originality, and 11 out of 10 for quality. Trust me I'll be seeing what treats I can garner for you asap from this gargantuan in the making...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Eid Mubarak= Family Time

Since Eid dropped and passed, my family bring out the old Bollywood tapes and we all have a sing along, laugh at the state of some dancing the new Bollywood actresses, attempt a few moves ourselves, food was on rotation throughout the evening and the dancing didn't fizzle out until the early morning- excusing my man flu which resulted in me being flat out in bed for most of the evening- Eid has now finished, bring on the next one in 2 months! Woohoo!

I thought i'd share a few classic videos of some tracks my family tend to drop on a regs on these family affairs,

First off is the classic song my dad loves to sing along to for my mother who hides in the kitchen whenever it drops and me and my sister cringe behind the sofa...



-The first few lines translates as something like, 'You are my holy temple, You are my act of worship, You are God, itself for me.' (Please correct me if i'm wrong as i only understand Hindi to certain extent!) The singer is Lata Mangeshkar, Google her for samples, since I was a baby, her voice is forever played in my household, she has the most amazing voice and has been the main singer for so many hit Bollywood films.

Ok next song is just a classic, one of my favourite dances, my mum starts hitting them high notes when it gets dropped, my cousins start dancing the hips away...



'Nimbooda' means something like lemon/lime, In the song the person is asking for it as its sourness will help to protect against evil and envious eyes of people. From the really famous film, Hum dil de chuke sanam, one of my faves actually!


The next song is from a film that was a remake of a very old folk tale that has been passed on from generations, my grandmother used to tell me this story when i was little, a tragedy, a classic and was then remade with famous Bollywood stars and a big budget, 'Devdas', I've chosen my outfit for my future wedding from this song, my cousins getting her dance moves ready...a modern day classic...



Last but not least, A R Rahman, world famous Indian music producer, absolutely blows my mind away in his skills with the music for this film, here is one of the most famous songs from this film, 'Dil Se'...



If you need names, info on any of the songs mentioned, just contact me, I'd love to help! If I got anything wrong translation wise, please let me know! Hindi really isn't my first language!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Busta Rhymes - Arab Money. Cringe.

I wouldn't normally post anything that'll be on every other blog but - embarrassing Dads at a wedding anyone?! Westwood does it again.

Here's the link to Arab Money, produced by Bangladesh, just in case you want to practice at home with the whole family. If you do please film it and put it on Youtube for my amusement.
Kev Brown should be relieved his recent AMAZING Busta track Packin' Them Thangs didn't make Busta's album or he'd probably have to do some ridiculous dance miming packing heat - and somehow I don't think Kev'll be able to get Ludacris to come bail him out if he has trouble at the airport on his upcoming European tour...

*NB I'm not leaving the Kev Brown track up long, I'm looking for an imeem link or something. He knows where I live.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Kweku Ananse & the State of Ghanaian Music

People always ask me about the music scene in Ghana. Some have old Osibisa albums or the fantastic Ghana Soundz compilations and wonder why they only ever hear about musicians from upper West Africa. Three things killed Ghanaian music:

1. Piracy: distribution of local music is limited and the internationals could care less about some Africans.
2. 'Payola': DJs taking bribes, putting unpaid-for good music aside for paid-for wackness.
3. Computers: killed a rich band culture, sending it to Church, where secular music is stifled.

Besides the staples (R&B, crunk, dancehall, Naija pop and Westlife...) the youth listen to something called hiplife (hip-hop + highlife). It's barely highlife (which was musically rich enough to give birth to afrobeat) and it isn't really hip-hop, unless you think that rapping over a beat makes something hip-hop. There is hope though:

Enter Kweku Ananse. 'Access Zinabu' is a video he put together for the first single from his debut EP, 'the Amazing Kweku Ananse - A 10E12 Stories':



Ananse is a Fela obsessive, a hardcore cratedigger and he blends more obscure breaks from all over the continent with beats from classic funk, hip-hop and drum & bass, remixing anything from Ennio Morricone to Asa. His work features heavily on Wanlov the Kubolor's album, Green Card (also well worth a check).

On the other hand, if you want something that your little sister can shake her arse to, here's something more 'conventional' from Asem. His producer - a young guy called Richie - is kind of interesting:



I have a problem or two with the song/video (women... *sigh*) but I actually like Asem. He doesn't take himself too seriously and he has higher production values than most, making 'Pigaro' a superior example of the norm here.

The Return of Tip

 
I've tried to be unexcited about it because it's been a long time coming and could be a collosal... bah, forget it. This is Q-Tip: the one-man timeline between the Native Tongues and the Soulquarians. At this point, everyone (right?) has one leaked album version/single or another, but looking at the tracklisting on the new cover above (smart move, Tip) there is still plenty of new music to savour. The man just threw a Listening Party, premiering new tracks like 'Dance on Glass' and 'Shaka', and the good people at Soulbounce were smart enough to film a couple of clips. He also talks about Lynwood Rose - his collaboration with D'Angelo and Raphael Saadiq; about The Standard - his collab with Common; about Phife's kidney operation, and about getting Obama on the album.

Don't know about you, but I'm sufficiently geeked.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

um...repping the south?


It hurts to travel east for good music. i was relieved to find the southbank FIIIIINALLY waking up. Not only because they'll be hosting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra adn the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra but because the Hayward Gallery is holding a serious of fun club nights for freeeee, throughout august. check it out my loverlies.
The Hayward Concrete
Wah Wah 45s presents Concrete Funk

Dom Servini runs the Wah Wah 45s record label and related club nights at Cargo, The Jazz Cafe and more, as well as specialist jazz nights Favourite Things and Jazzin', and DJing across the globe from Tallinn to Tokyo. He's largely responsible for a new generation of bands on the Wah Wah 45s imprint, including Middlewood Sessions, Hardkandy, Talc, Ashley Thomas, Part-Time Heroes, Jamie Finlay and Stac.
FREE Thursday 2 October 2008 , 7pm
FREE Thursday 6 November 2008 , 7pm

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