Showing posts with label RJ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RJ. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 July 2015

DJ Mustard - The Mixtape Volume 1 (10 Summers)

After the disappointing 10 Summers album of last year I didn't think I'd be going back to DJ Mustard at all. I thought his time was up and it was time to move on but after listening to RJ & Choice's Rich Off Mackin my mind was swayed to believe he still had something to give. You would have thought he'd have distanced himself from the 10 Summers title though, so it's a little odd that he recycles it for this much improved release. I assume Choice who turns up here is the same man as Royce The Choice of the great Midnight Run which was my favourite tune from DJ Mustard's brilliant Ketchup mixtape from 2013. Anyway Choice along with RJ dominate this mixtape appearing on a third of the tunes. Mustard's old mates Teeflii, Ty Dolla $ign and TC4800 pop up on a tune or two each. YG is is conspicuous by his absence. Iamsu! from the HBK Gang is a fabulous new Mustard trump card. Iamsu! should be as big as Kanye and perhaps he will be. He's got the pop smarts with a delivery that's 2010s rap perfection. Broke Boy is soo good, surely it would be a no 1 smash if released as a single. Mustard is upping the R&B dosage and cutting back the banger intake but that's not a bad thing at all. There's nothing worse than a tune wanting to be a banger but not working. RJ & Choice are pretty much killing everything they do in 2015 and somehow Mustard leaves room to let their idiosyncrasies ferment even further. Dijon (Mustard geddit?) surely realises he's struck gold with these two artists and compliments RJ & Choice with his beats rather than upstaging them. Previously it sometimes sounded like Mustard's rappers had been given a completed beat where they had to try to fit their raps to it, no matter how unaccommodating it may have been. Now it feels like Mustard is more flexible, organic and collaborative. I don't know if he's changed his working methods but it sure sounds like it. Last year I thought DJ Mustard had reached some kind of sonic arrested development but here he proves, with a little perseverance, that he is still mutating. Regression is part of this move ie. several tunes go further back than his past retro-activities ie. some songs reference stuff earlier than Dre circa 92/93 or mid 90s Three Six Mafia. Some of this stuff has got 80s R&B, funk and slow jam vibes. I guess he was always tipping his hat to these zones but perhaps not as deliberately or explicitly as he does here. Then you would swear Shooters was an instrumental outtake from Tricky's Maxinquaye. Actually come to think of it a few tracks have a Massive Attack/Trip-Hop feel. I haven't counted but there seems to be less military chanting on Vol. 1. which is probably a good thing as that started to seem a little formulaic and stale. I don't know who Justine Sky is but fuck she gives Cassie and Tinashe a run for their money on Love. This mixtape ain't no Ketchup but it also ain't no bloody 10 Summers either ie. I'm not deleting this off my computer, I'm about to give it another spin. Dj Mustard is transitioning. Let's hope he continues to in a good direction.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Fridge Trax Plus - General Magic & Pita

What's On The Hi-Fi Part 41

Never had this one back in the day. I saw Pita live once that was odd and I had that General Magic album Frantz. So this 2015 reissue features both the original Fridge Trax (95) EP plus the Live & Final Fridge (96) cd. These sounds originate from microphones in fridges. It really compliments my recent Conrad Schnitzler and Ekoplekz listening. My own fridge sometimes sounds like it has got a groaning man inside and on other occasions it sounds like there's a party going on in there. Maybe I should record it as a tribute to these Mego guys. Anyway they fucked with the fridge source recordings and made two classics of 90s electronica (for want of a better term). 90s electronic abstract goodness. Delve deep into the ambient, rhythmic, almost funky and strange droning netherworld of fridges. This is pretty awesome stuff.

All this of course has led me back the aforementioned debut cd from General Magic, Frantz. I even found an old Farmers Manual cd I'd pretty much forgotten about, FSCK. On this mission I also came across more old cds made by Germans in the 90s like Oval, Lithops, Pluramon. Wabi Sabi, Hecker, Microstoria and Mouse On Mars, but i haven't listened to those yet except one. Anyway Frantz is surprisingly a great listen today. I can't stand the use of the word abstract in music writing. Sometime in the 90s its usage became overused and lost its meaning in the process. In the 90s Frantz and Fridge Trax would both have had this term applied to them ad nauseum by the critics of the day. Anyway General Magic are coming from abstract 70s Schnitzler zones whether they were aware of him or not. This is low key electronic ambient soft noise with added randomness. 90s technoid vibes mix with historical electronic music flavas here. General Magic play with these soundz to a microscopic degree giving it a peculiar scientific almost muzak vibe 90s stylee. This cd is hard not to like, in fact I think it has risen in my estimation since 1997. Frantz has gone from forgotten little gem to a classic of 90s electronic zones.

IT ISO 16191975 - HECKER
This is the other 90s German thing I did give a little listen to. Florian Hecker, who I also saw live once and I vaguely recall it being a pretty good show with lots of visual glitchy super 8 film sort of stuff. The visual element really added to the soundz. Listening to IT ISO 16191975 today without any visual accompaniment is a strange experience. I can't really recall what I made of this cd at the time but I guess that glitch aesthetic was all the rage back then before it got totally overdone a couple of years later. I was left a little flummoxed by it all yesterday, I must say. Hey that's probably a compliment if art is still doing that 17 or so years after its creation. It starts out with +1 which is 7 minutes of barely audible hums and drones. +2 is slightly louder with its minute drones, miniature oscillator feedback and subtle short wave sounds that are manipulated glitch stylee. +4 could be rain or static for the first two minutes then a dub glitch vibe ensues with sound sources untraceable. Maybe there's a note from a keyboard in amongst the rumbling silence. Pop music this sure ain't. This is difficult listening that could also be ignored unless you really pump up the volume high on your sound system. Get flummox reward points here.

Jonny over at Die Or DIY? (see right hand side Other Stuff) alerted me to this classic tape from 1981 by Ian Boddy. Boddy was a UK analogue synth chap doing Kosmische electronics past their use by date, some classic early drum machine action plus a bit of minimalism too. Elements Of chance takes in new age type vibes and dark ambient noises as well. You could slap a Panabrite label on here and I would be none the wiser. I mean that in the best possible sense for everyone mentioned! This is very good stuff. There is another Boddy tape posted over there as well, looking forward to listening to that.

O.M.M.I.O.2 - RJ
I don't know what has happened to my appetite for rap? I thought this one might get me back into the swing of things from the mean streets of the USA but I'm not fully diggin II but it certainly has many a fine moment. It opens on a particularly high note with Blue Face Hinnids where the sounds of Mustard, HBK Gang & Larry Jay are becoming so intertwined I don't even know who's on the beat here, it could be someone else entirely? It's probably not RJ's fault that my vibe has migrated away from these zones. II sounded like a fuckin masterpiece (well it's kinda 3/4 of one really anyway) next to King Louie's new one Drilluminati 3 and he's been one of my favourite rappers of the last few years. I was a fan of Drilluminati (1) so it's hard to believe I immediately deleted this but that's what happened. Free stuff eh? See maybe if Drilluminati 3 wasn't free I'd probably have bought it and then spent more time with it due to the financial investment. This may not have improved the actual contents but it may have given it time to grow on me. Having said that I've just had one quick listen to Starlito's new Introversion and it sounds alright. Two out of Three ain't bad so maybe I'm not done just yet with the rap game.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ratchet & Trap Explained Part 2

"That description of ratchet doesn't really capture the stylistic essence of things like "Rack City" and all that followed it, though does it - "simple rhythms, kicks and claps, squelchy synth bass" - i'm not sure i can do any better, though! Deceptively simple, i think would be the first nuance i'd add. Mustard's tracks are like Dre's classic beats, in way -- not doing anything very flashy or obviously avant, but real groovy. harder than it looks, i'll bet. With Mustard, the signature features are the snare rolls with the paradiddle-like military feel, the HEY!HEY!HEY!HEY! Marine-regiment doing-drill chants, and, more recently, those re purposed and slowed-down 90s house licks and vamps."

This was left on the comments page of Ratchet & Trap Explained by the one and only Simon Reynolds. Now that's an explanation of Mustard & his ratchet. Onya Simon! To tell you the truth I thought Anonymous may have been him or some other such luminary.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

DJ Mustard - 10 Summers

How Is He Going To Top This?

With this?

I don't know if he can top 2013's number 1 sonic document, his Ketchup mixtape, with his follow up 10 Summers. Judging by the little radio skits that contain nothing but past Mustard hits toward the end of this album. Where someone keeeps flicking the dial on the radio only to find old Mustard hits, I think he's already feeling his past as a bit of an albotross. Perhaps he's looking for a way forward or just something as classic as My Nigga, Rack City, I'm Different, Show Me, Paranoid, 2 On, Lady Killa, Midnight Run et al.

Part 2 coming up of my appraisal of 10 Summers. Once I've had more than a few listens. Stay tuned for the next episode of DJ Mustard's 10 Summers.