Saturday 28 February 2015

The Blueprint - Jay Z


I don't really know when I became aware of Jay Z. I have a vague recollection around the late 90s early 00s of a dude who I thought was a dull, shite, clueless and overtly commercial rapper helping to hammer the nails into the coffin of hip hop. I thought he was partaking in a moribund culture. My thinking at the time was that hip hop had run it's course. It had gone fully commercial, ruled the charts and even had its own crap underground like rock 20 or more years earlier. I didn't realise I knew some of his tunes before I became fully aware of him when I saw the video to 99 Problems in 2004. This is when I thought shit maybe I'm wrong about this guy because this song is fucking great. I still didn't pursue his musical output though. I liked hearing him on the radio and seeing him on Video Hits and consider 2009's Empire State Of Mind, the tune he did with Alicia Keyes, as pop perfection. It gets me pumped every time! I only ended up listening to The Blueprint like 2 years ago when I'd realised rap was going through a little golden era. So, as with the previous post on Lil Wayne, I backtracked to see what I'd missed. Funnily enough I can't have thought the culture was fully dead as I have NERD's In Search Of and Missy Elliot's So Addictive that were released in 2001 as well. I still don't know if Z's previous 5 LPs are as soul based as The Blueprint. I guess I saw Z's style as a bit of a throwback after Timbaland and The Neptunes had taken rap and R&B interstellar. Having said that though he wasn't just doing a second or two of sampling then looping it like the old school. Many of the tunes here are wholesale appropriations of sweet soul tunes from the 70s. Kanye West uses some kind of studio trickery that really makes these tracks go pop and by that I mean Boom!. West produces 4 tracks here but this was before we knew his style. His debut album was still 3 years away. 

The Blueprint starts out with The Ruler's Back which was the title of an 80s Slick Rick tune which Bink samples here but the main sample is Jackie Moore's beautiful post-Shaft tune if. This is infectiously triumphant and it's a hell of a way to start to an album. Z knew this was his time and he was taking it to the hilt, making the most of it. Holding up the trophy. This guy's so charismatic he makes saying 'uh uh uh' sound awesome. He raps 'I'm too sexy for jail like I'm Right Said Fred.' He's representing the hustlers like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King did before him. He's now on the throne. Then there's his pipes, he just has a great sounding voice and the flow of a champion. Takeover is a statement of intent. This is where Z takes over the rap game. His crew are 'runnin this rap shit!' He's the king, some kind of 'God MC, J Hova.....He'll 'kidnap your babies/spit at your lady/We kill you motherfucking ants with a sledgehammer!' He sledges Mobb Deep and calls Nas's career lame to David Bowie's Fame. Kanye samples The Doors Five To One that instantly makes you draw parallels between Z and Jim Morrision. Particularly how they both had/have penchants for narcissism and megalomania. Kanye isn't stupid he would have been well aware of what he was doing here. Morrison was regal too. He was The Lizard KingIzzo (H.O.V.A.) is another West production. This time it's The Jackson 5's turn to get sampled. It's hard not to like the pop smarts on show here. This is one I had heard in, like, the supermarket back in my Richmond days. Classic rap tropes here ie. Jay Z is claiming to be God. It's some kind of code referring to Z as Jehovah. Girls Girls Girls starts out with the words 'Put your number on this paper coz I would love to date ya.' which dates this tune because now it would all be all about putting your number in my phone Ariel Pink stylee. This tune's basically a California Girls for the post-millennium. Z's bragging about all the chicks he's got. They're from France, Peru, The Projects, Africa, Spain and China. He's got a model, a feral, an immature chick, a paranoid chick and a stewardess. They're all cooking for him, Bootlegging him, making sure he's got extra pillows on his first class seat and OMG one even asks for respect! He loves to holler at them when he comes on top. There you go he loves girls like it's the 1950s. Jigga That Nigga is a funky jam with a sitar sample. This tune's more of its time with its clipped beats and it wouldn't have been out of place on an LP by his future Mrs group Destiny's Child. Z's so old school he says 'with his yellow wrist watch and Gucci flip flops/Six Top Models who is this hot?' We all know the answer to that one. Z's got a fast car with 20 inch rims so 'ride with me/get high with me.' U Don't Know starts with a chipmunk vocal sample that continues throughout. The theme on this one is money and how much he's got. Jay Z is 'one black smart boy.' His entrepreneurial skills are so good he states 'I sell ice in the winter/Fire in hell/I sell water to a well.' His over confidence is insane here where he claims 'I...will...not...lose....Ever!' Hey I'm fully convinced. Gee coke's good (for the 10 seconds it lasts) for this kinda shit and he must have been getting some high grade gear.

Hola Hovita features an ultra funky beat. Timbaland's on this one and he kills it. 70s funk sample, an Afrobeat vibe and even a Reggae skank. I do recall Timbaland saying once he copped all his moves from Dancehall and Jamaica. I reckon this is the only track I've heard of his where that's blatantly obvious. Hola Hovita contains some of Jay's most incredible rapping. I could quote the whole fucking song its that good. The rhymes are so wicked. At one point he's rapping 'My dick game is vicious/Insane at bitches!' Then he's comparing himself to old blue eyes 'I'm The compadre/The Sinatra of my day.' I could go on but just one more 'I rhyme sicker than every rhyme spitter!' He's playing his A game here folks. Heart Of The City is an unmistakable (now...little did we know) K West production . Tremendous funky soul shit. This is another wholesale appropriation, this time it's Bobby Bland's Heart Of The City. That's a killer tune in it's own right. Haters get their comeuppance on this one. They're hatin The Hov he says 'Coz I got a little cheddar.' Z's asking "Where's the Love?' because he's just tryin to 'Get a couple of chicks/Get em to do an E/Hopefully they'll menage before I reach my garage.' Old habits die hard in the rap game ie. homophobia and sexism rear their heads in this song but it's so fucking good you just have to let it slide. The bit where it gets down to the break and Bland's acapella where Jay Z says 'Take em to Church.' is fucking so damn funky it's an inspirational highlight of the album. Never Change is more Kanye production and he even features on the chorus. This time Kanye uses Common Man by David Ruffin to excellent affect. The 'never change' sample fits perfectly as Jay is rappin about how he's still a criminal and he'll never change because crime pays. He's never gonna change 'From the womb to the tomb/From now until my doom.' I wonder if his Mrs is as accepting as Ruffin's was? Well she seems to have got past the fact that he's a knife wielding thug pretty easily. Song Cry is maybe a lament to his former lady because he'd been a bad boy but he can't cry, hey that would be unmanly, so he tries to make the song cry. He mentions divorce in the song but I don't think he was married previous to tying the knot with B Knowles so this tune could be from someone else's perspective or some kind of analogy. Another 70s soul tune is plundered here Sounds Like a love Song originally recorded by Bobby Glenn. All I Need features a Natalie Cole snippet sample and an incredible beat and that bassline is so fine...mmm. I find one of the things Z needs in the song really funny 'A Doo-Rag and a pocket full of loot/Got those.' he raps. A Doo-Rag was actually originally a gay prison thing in the 70s. The lady men inmates would wear this silky head wear simulating long hair to indicate their femininity. So one wonders whether Jay Z is aware of it's origins or if this irony is lost on him.

Renegade features Eminem on verses and production. It's a hell of a beat. This Eminem fella's pretty good isn't he? The beat is incredibly subtle with an amazing deep bassline. It's got a soundtracky vibe particularly that spooky theremin like sound and the rest is a bit like a miniature minimal symphony. At one point Eminem raps 'Maybe it's beautiful music I made for you to cherish.' He's on the money right there. Renegade starts out with Z dissin haters who say he's become too bling for the hood. He just retorts like the true capitalist believer that he is, that he's the way and the light and he's just showing the hood how to do things right. Then he's dissin journalists as bullshit who couldn't possibly understand his hood upbringing circumstances. Then, well, you forget about Jay Z as soon as Mr Mathers opens his pie hole. It's now his song. 'I'm debated, disputed, hated and viewed in America as a motherfucking addict/Like you didn't experiment?/That's when you start to stare at who's in the mirror.' What do they say "Don't work with Animals and Children?" Well my advice would be not to work with someone more notorious and hated than you in the rap game ie. Eminem is killing this. After another verse from Jay Z Eminem is playing Z at his own game. He's come from the gutter to become 'A modern day Shakespeare/Jesus Christ/The king of the Latter Day Saints.' Wow I bet that didn't get any eyebrow action. Then he says this great line 'Motherfuckers hate to like you!' That sums up incredibly well the conflicted feelings a lot of people would have about a character like Eminem.*

Bink is back on the beat for the final track Blueprint (Momma Loves Me). Al Green's 1973 Free At Last is the sample source here but it may have come via Mary J Blige's tune No One Else anyway it's one of the more modern beats on this record. It does have this great old school organ though. Anyway this is a really low key way to bring proceedings to a close. This is a melancholy tune where Z tells us the story of his upbringing with no dad in The Projects. I always have a chuckle, though, at the line 'Hootie babysitted/Changed my diapers.' I always think of Hootie and the Blowfish. Was it that dude changing your nappy Jay? I mean there can't be too many Hootie's around, can there? Bonus tracks who need em? Not me. I would never have have dreamt I could write something positive about this guy 17 years ago let alone give one of his albums near classic status.

Thanks, but near classic, you must be fucking joking. It's like
one of the best records ever made Tim, period!

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Lil Wayne - Dedication 2


I know fuck all about Lil Wayne and have never heard a proper album from him. After that Gangsta Grillz produced mixtape/album Luca Brasi 2 by Kevin Gates I thought it would be good to go down past paths with both Wayne and DJ Drama and his Affiliates. What I did know about Lil Wayne was that he was a really popular and critically acclaimed rap artist in my rap black spot era. I know he had a series of LPs called Carter Volumes I - IV I think, V on its way? Since returning to the rap tabernacle, I've downloaded a few of his tapes to see what all the fuss is/was about. I have since found out he along with 50 Cent (don't know him either) were instrumental in the post-millennial era in making the whole free mixtape/mp3 thing such quality. At the time of his proper album releases Lil Wayne used to say forget about the album, the good stuff is on the mixtapes. That makes him a bit like the rap Martin Scorsese, you know, do a commercial film to finance your next uncompromising film. I just learnt that Lil Wayne has surpassed Elvis in the US charts with the most entries at 109. That's quite remarkable on his part and even more remarkable on my part for probably first hearing him on about his 106th entry YG's My Nigga. He was on that wasn't he? Wayne is one of the most lovable critters in the rap game. Hearing that he's semi- retired because he wants to spend more time on his skateboard only endears him to me even more.

So this is the first in my series of Hip Hop I Ignored to feature a semi-legit recording but the mixtape scene is such an important part of the rap world (ever since the beginning hip hop street parties). Perhaps even more so these days, as a way to break artists before you can get the public to pay for their music. This year one of my favorite rappers Houston's Beatking released his first non free recording. I've probably got like 9 or 10 free downloaded mixtapes of his but now is the only time I've had to fork out the cash for one. If it weren't for those tapes I might not have even been aware of him or checked him out, anyway I'm off track because Weezy (a Lil Wayne alias) was always a star and began doing the tapes after fame.

So here we have Dedication 2 from 2006 that many say is his best mixtape. A handful of others were in contention like No Ceilings, Da Drought 3 and The Suffix. He was only 23 at the time of this tape but was already a hip-hop veteran as he was signed to Cash Money Records at age 9. He makes many a reference to being Cash Money's bread and butter. Funnily enough he's now suing Birdman (Cash Money head honcho) for 8 million dollars. Why do I always choose the long ones? I mean this is way too long, 78 minutes motherfucker. I maintain 40 minutes is the perfect amount of minutes for an album and these long ones are usually bursting with filler. Just give us your gold because time is precious and what your dog engineered at 4 am on Tuesday doesn't need to be heard. Not having ever heard anything by Lil Wayne previously makes this a strange proposition to review. His style here is very casual. Is that his normal style or is he more relaxed on these mixtapes? Quite often in the mixtape game the DJs are lame and repetitive and don't really add much to proceedings, I mean apart from the beats. Actually they usually detract from said proceedings (see my Rich Gang review) and they do a little of that on this tape. Sometimes you just want them to shut the fuck up but hey I guess they're the ones financing these tapes. Are they? I don't know how it all works.

It all starts with a DJ scratch and Weezy saying he's doing it for the love not the money. He's just being Lil Weezy. Get Em's next and his flow is just the coolest thing you ever heard since, I dunno, Q-Tip. This one's all about puttin out cockroaches in ashtrays, guns, clips, Ferraris and being a god. He says he's on fire give him something else on They Still like Me. 'The niggas tryin hate me/bitches tryin to have me.' Best rapper alive is just that Weezy realising he's the best rapper alive but he doesn't think he's better than anyone personally or better than anybody 'in any way or form or fashion' As far as this rap thing goes though he is better than everybody. Maybe he was back in 2006. It's refreshing to hear someone really funny. Cannon's all guns and money. Choice lyric "I'll Helen Keller you niggers". Then of course he's bragging about his big dick comparing it to, well, a cannon. Workin Em's about being superfly, pimpin them hoes and gettin from A to B in comfort and style. Sportscenter has like a tennis ball and a groaning tennis player as a beat. He's servin trap like Stephie Graf, havin a Benjamin bath, he's from New Orleans and he's got some guns. Welcome To The Concrete Jungle has a killer beat. Spitter's got blood everywhere, bling, money, more bling and "this is New Orleans bitch murder dope fiend shit!" South Muzik is dedicated to all those who died in Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. "After the after party is the basket party" one can only imagine what that's like. At one stage he raps "My interior tie dye" like that's a good thing. This What I Call Her is one of those rap tunes where they pretty much rip off an entire old soul tune wholesale. Here it works great. The tune's 1979's One Night Affair by The Stylistics via Lovin It by Little brother. This is a sex jam with talk of sex in stairwells, sex revolutions, he goes down like the stock exchange and drinks it up, slips in her inkwell and leaves her soaking wet from the ankles up. Dedication 2's title track has a sample of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang. They're "Ridin The Streets his pop died in" (whether or not he died in Katrina is unclear) with an AK in the backseat. At one stage he says 'God damn the hurricane!' Then there's kind of a halfway interlude where Weezy talks about retiring and wanting to be known for something else apart from being a rapper when he dies. Well he's pretty well known as a wasted skateboarder who doesn't give a fuck about anything. I don't think that's what he means though. Perhaps he would like to be known for something more noble than that, I dunno, a millionaire wasted skateboarder sounds pretty cool to me.

Poppin Them Bottles has Weezy on perfect flow again. He mentions purp but that can either mean lean or a high grade pot. Whichever way you look at it it's a tune dedicated to getting wasted with pistols. Then he comes out with a classic lyric "If it's that time of the month baby, girl, I need some skull." Wow. The backing track's got a sweet Blaxploiatation sample from Willie Hutch via Triple Six Mafia's Poppin My Collar. What U Kno's sees Lil Wayne back being a New Orleans gangsta after the storm and it cost him about 3 million to rebuild his home. He's back in his defence, back in his zone. Then he pays tribute to 90s Memphis devil shyt in his rap "I eat rappers and go in my yard and bury their bones!" Where Da Cash At is all about paper and pussy. Little Wayne's rapping is so cool on this one. Weezy's got a bitch in the back, a hoe in the front. He got 'purp in the dutch and purp in the cup.' Ridin With The AK features Curren$y and Mack Maine. They're ridin through The Crescent City with a gun in the trunk with 'a barrel big enough to spend a hundred midgets.' Followed by references to being the chosen one, murdering for fun and being Birdman's son. Then Wayne in a short interlude laments the dead of the New Orleans flood again. Walk It Off has Weezy claiming he's a good looking rapper and he 'ain't lying'. Then he states that he's 'tougher than leather, smoother than suede, always never broke because he always get paid.' He progresses to getting his dick sucked, ridden and bounced on. Apparently his dick is so big that his bitch can wrap it around her waist like a belt. Gee these rappers have got big dicks haven't they? Hustlin's got a great rhyme 'How about that exhaust and my Funky Cold Medina, I make that hoe tiptoe like a ballerina' I can't work out if he's singing about his Maserati or a woman. Then he does a funny clunky line referring to his lady as 'Miss without Drawers' and then refers to himself at the bank as 'Mr Withdraws'. Gettin Some Head is pretty self explanatory with a feature from Pharrell that really doesn't cut it. Some of Lil Wayne's best lyrics are here though. 'I'm a fly ass nigga take a look at me bitch!' Then he recycles Three Six Mafia once again 'So she slobbed on my knob like a corn on the cob.' No Other is Wayne's most aggressive rap on the tape. It's all done over Jay Z's Intro from The Dynasty. I have a vague recollection of a bit of a feud between the two or at least a healthy rivalry. It's now 2015 and The South is on top in the rap world, followed by California and Chicago with barely a peep out of New York these days. Strange really because hip hop culture emanated from the mean streets of NY back in the day.

Georgia... Bush & Weezy's Ambitionz is seen by many as the centrepiece of this tape. It's a big fuck you to George Bush and his administration and they're handling of Hurricane Katrina ('shoulda called it Bush') before during and after. Lil Wayne's friends died in the flood. The survivors didn't know what to do they were just trying to eat. Cops shot people in the street. I mean we all know what happened and the systematic racism involved. It's all set to Field Mob's beat which contains a sample of Ray Charles Georgia. Then the second part is Weezy masterfully flowing freestylee ('and with no pen I'm sorta like a bomb. Boom!') over a totally different beat. He's back to bragging about money, diamonds, purple weed, purple drink and how he's the best rapper in the game.

Yeah he is a fuckin cool rapper and this is good shit but the beats aren't always that great. Hey this is an off the cuff thing though, it's meant to be rough and not all commercial dance floor hits. I suppose that leaves you with more time to concentrate on the lyrics. I guess I'm used to rap's current great mixtapes which are more like albums, many not featuring screaming DJs at all. Hey I might check out Lil Wayne's legitimate records now. Some of those Carter ones I think.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

UK Garridge 101 - Part 3

Here it is then one of the two Steve Gurley remixes of Lenny Fontana's Spirit Of The Sun previously mentioned in the post UK Garridge 101 Part 2 in a discussion with Simon Reynolds. We believe this to be the Full Vocal Mix by Gurley. Feel free to correct me if Simon is wrong. The Ballistic Beatz Dub version remains unfound and unheard by me. It's a mystery. Where is it?

I've found The Ballistic Beatz Dub in a mix from DJ Cemtex called rather creatively Past Garage Vol. 1. 

It's A London Thing from Scott Garcia & MC Styles, another 97 speed garage classic! I only discovered this last year too. At some stage last year I had an epiphany about Speed Garage which I just didn't dig at the time after being a jungle fiend. I thought it was backwards disco pop shite. I didn't pick up on 'the encoded traces of hardcore and rave'* ie. the way jungle skills were transposed onto vocals and other bits of 2-Step. The rhythms weren't as fucked up but traces of the deranged remained intact in more subtle ways and in other areas of the tunes. It was those recent Deep-Tech trax that made me reassess the garridge genre. Now I can't believe how many great tunes there are which is exciting as I'm discovering good stuff all the time. Sadly I don't see this happening with Grime. Hey I quite liked Boy In Da Corner though and I have been known to change my mind. I had this great homemade speed garage mix I made but my computer died (think I lost all files). Trying to piece it back together. Don't trust zipcloud, bunch of arseholes!

Richie Boy & DJ Klasse - Madness On The Street
Uh huh! This is the version I know. Fabulous. It's even got guitar samples in it! Are they the same people as the Stamp Crew who also have a version on youtube? Maybe they just changed their name. Who knows? This garridge/2-Step thing is confusing at times. So many versions of one track, different names, white labels etc. This one is true gold though.

Back to hardcore now. Speaking of unfound tunes I cannot find the version of D'Cruz's Bass Go Boom remixed by DJ SS & E.Q. on youtube. Several uploads of the remix seem to have been taken down. The Bass Go Boom remix was on last year's Suburban Base compilation and it's an absolute killer, one of the best jungle tunes ever made according to these ears. It was another tune I had not consciously heard before, previous to buying that compilation but I believe I would have remembered it as the time-stretched out of control drums and distorted bass are unfuckingbelievable. Anyway we're stuck with the original here which is good but not a patch on the DJ SS & E.Q. remix. Hey do yourself a favour it'll be the best $1.69 you ever spent on i-tunes. I think I'm gonna spend a dollar sixty nine on the other remix. Imagine if it's better than the DJ SS & E.Q. one?!

*Almost forgot this footnote. A quote from Simon Reynolds in a piece on his Energy Flash blog.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Drop That Kitty - TY$ Feat. Charli XCX & Tinashe

Here we go 2015 has begun this sounds pretty good. Via Juicy J on twitter, He approves. They go low.

Mustard on the beat here. Dunno about this one yet. I really like those keyboards toward the end though

Luca Brasi 2 - Kevin Gates

If Kevin Gates's Luca Brasi 2 had been released before the 15th of December last year it would most definitely have been in my best of 2014 list. On first listen I thought this was nowhere near as good as his other 2014 release, the excellent, By Any Means. Now I'm pretty sure it's even better and possibly his best recording to date. I also thought there was nothing as bangingly hit worthy as Don't Know What To Call It from 2013's Stranger Than Fiction which should have been a number 1 smash.  I Don't Get Tired featuring August Alsina is almost as awesome but only reached 107 on the US chart and only 33 on the US R&B chart. Then again how many songs about working hard are hits? It's all about the partying in the charts innit?. Kevin Gates has had a hell of a winning streak though with his previous 7 or 8 mixtapes/albums (My files have disappeared so???). Luca Brasi 2 sees him team up with DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz mixtape team for the first time. Gangsta Grillz have been behind such classics as Young Jeezy's Trap Or Die, Lil Wayne's Dedication 2 and Lil Boosie's Streetz Is Mine among many other groundbreaking semi-legit mixtapes.

It starts off with an Intro that gets straight to the heavy issues Gates is now known for depression and aggression. He mentions being like God, cocaine, cars (big theme with Kev) and something about a Barber Shop. Next is I Don't Get Tired, which was the first and only single so far from the LP, that irritated the hell out me when I first heard it but now I see this is an incredible tune. This features some of his most incredible rapping. Kevin's flow is so idiosyncratic that nobody sounds like this guy. The timbre of his voice is so exquisite. It has quite an affect on the ladies (I've seen women leave their phone numbers on the interweb for Gates) and the men as well. I mean I wish I had a voice that great. I Don't Get Tired features mental fast rapping followed by smooth melodic choruses featuring divine backing vocals and August Alsina's luxurious feature. The tune's about getting dead presidents (that's $$$ folks). He goes from living on an airbed and eating stale Rice Crispies to owning a farm? I hope that's what he says. I can see him and Lil Boosie sippin' lean on the front veranda discussing their prison days with a host of ladies in bikinis. In one section it sounds like he's melodiously singing "I was just tying to get an eye lift." I mean this guy first entered the penal system at age 13 and is currently on parole, he's so hood there's no way he's saying that but I want to believe it because that would be so funny. Anyway this track is some kind of strange salute to the American dream. John Gotti fits with the mafia theme of Luca Brasi who was a character in The Godfather who was Don Corleone's enforcer but I guess he's most famous for being included in the quote "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes." John Gotti is a catchy highlight of the album. This could be Kev's most megalomaniac song ever. He compares himself to John Gotti, God, he is Luca Brasi, his mother fucked an angel and he's immortal. Audis, Porsches and Maseratis all get mentioned. Its such a cool pop song you don't even notice at one point he sings he's so depressed he wishes someone would kill him.

The megalomania continues on Perfect Imperfection. It all begins with an incredibly infectious disco violin (synth violin?) sample that is soo good. Then Kev's off comparing himself to Forrest Gump, then says he's Michael Jackson reincarnate and channelling the spirit of Ali The Greatest. He still needs affection though and asks if it's 'ok to cry if you're dying inside?' But he has his craft perfected, he's never wrong, Drake says Gates don't bullshit and all other rappers are fake because they ain't from the ghetto in Louisiana who just take loads of drugs. Having said that Kev admits codeine helps him get by. But those other rappers never had to grind so hard to pay their lawyers yet still go to prison and have your bitch not pick up the phone whilst incarcerated.

Plug Daughter is one of the most sonically cool tracks here with it's classic minimal horror motifs. This is another mafia tale. What the fuck is a Plug daughter? Out The Mud has a backing track reminiscent of a really gentle 90s IDM track with fucking great poetic Speedy Gonzales rapping. Sometimes I think how the hell does he do that? Then he just slips back into melodic hooks like it's nothing. Sit Down has the best bass pressure this side of a No U Turn track along with really subtle haunting piano and synth stabs. Sometimes he fits more words into a tune than early Bob Dylan. The mafia theme continues. Fact and fiction collide. His Breadwinners Association Company is a bona-fide organisation but he places it in a mafia context. I'm astounded again by his rapping on this tune. He has the the best delivery in the game and has had for some time. Complaining's all mad bitches, sex, foreign cars and spending paper. It sounds like he's singing at one point 'them bitches bad but Paco ain't complaining.' I really hope Paco is another Gates alias but I think its just me mishearing again. This is why I don't read lyric sheets it takes away the mystique. Talk On Phones is a classic Wire situation. He rhymes open cases with poker faces you gotta love that. There's like a brilliant one note horror synth stab throughout as well as gloomy swirling synths that are awesome too.

Wassup With It & In My Feelings are as close as Kev gets to a slow jam. Wassup With It could be a smash hit. It's got the melodic pop goods, the only thing holding it back would be all the profanity like 2013's Midnight Run from Dj Mustard featuring Royce The Choice, Skeam & Casey Veggies ie. these two tunes are pop perfection but could never be commercial hits which is such a shame. Gates just wants a fuck with no strings. He's been tainted by past relationships he's just 'tryin to hit that pussy one time, that'd be cool' right? In My Feelings starts out like it could be a slow jam with it's 2014 version of a silky 70s vibe but it's sugar & poison. He's having a massive crack at Southern Christianity in the verse then in the chorus it's all like romantic and soft but then he's into another angry verse then back to the sugar to finish. You don't really have to guess what Pourin The Syrup's about. He's drinking the lean because he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders. Kudos to Kev again this time for rhyming famous with anus. Top that motherfuckers. Wild Ride is a plea for a threesome. Clits, eatin dick, fondling balls, pussy drippin, ass up and face down all sung with a heavenly backing track. Confusing lyric: 'Bonnie & Clyde her', what the fuck does that mean? Must look up the Urban Dictionary on that one. Makin Love is about loving the hustle not some tune about a sex romp. The narcissism continues with lyrics like 'They don't even call me Kevin no more, they call me awesome.' 'I am the way the truth and the light' and 'I am Flawless'. A final shout out to his Maserati engine and guess what he don't get tired. He must be mixing his lean with something of the amphetamine variety though because codeine makes you v tired. I should know I just took some.

Kev. He don't get tired.

Friday 13 February 2015

Friday The 13th

Any excuse to play another tune off John Carpenter's brilliant Lost Themes album. This is so epic. Carpenter out Goblins Goblin on this one. I think Carpenter admits to the massive influence that Suspiria, the film and the OST, has had on his own film making, scoring and career. I have a very authoritative book on American Film in the 70s worth like $200 called Lost Illusions: American Cinema In The Shadow Of Watergate & Vietnam 1970-1979 published by Charles Scribner's Sons (Macmillan Library Reference USA) but it always makes me chuckle because they call Goblin 'a Japanese keyboard group.' So they weren't too authoritative on Italian synth prog Horror bands. Somewhere else in the book Goblin are referred to as The Goblins. Sounds like a great 60's garage rock band though doesn't it - The Goblins! There probably was a band called that from the mid-west of America who released one 7" of teen angst in 1965.

Speaking of The Goblins here's one of the best bits of the soundtrack to the 1977 Italian cult movie Suspiria. Now those are some of the greatest soundz ever to come out of a synth ever aren't they? It doesn't get any better than this for soundtrack gold. That percussion too...mmm...almost a gamelan vibe albeit a tres creepy and demented one. Debt is owed by everyone on this post to the nightmarish vision of the great Goblin. Great Japanese keyboard band that they are.

From the first movie? Named differently on some releases I think? I can't find the track Mrs Voorhees which has the subliminal kill kill kill thing in it. Maybe it's called something else as well on other releases. Who Knows?

This is from the original 1982 pressing of the Friday The 13th LP on Gramavision which contained 4 tracks. So I think this is like a megamix of Friday The 13th parts 1, 2 & 3 or as the composer's like to say 'a suite'. Penderecki and Herrmann loom large here don't they? The full version of the first Friday The 13th's OST didn't see light of day until 2012 as far as I can gather. Then last year Waxwork Records re-issued it. Correct me if I'm wrong though. Maybe there was a 1980 pressing of the full version but it's not listed on discogs. Anyway I'm confused but happy Friday The 13th everybody!

I know it's a snippet but it's very cool because it's like a classic movie trailer not an annoying soundcloud thing. Actually why the hell not post the full 27 minutes of much awesomeness? Go ahead press play it'll be the best 27 minutes of your week I guarantee it or your money back.

More 80s horror for your Friday The 13th. Chuck is one of my favorite film composers What about those drum soundz and that quintessential 80s guitar lick. I could listen to this shit all day....oh...that's what I've been doing.

Alright this is the last one and it's pure horror gold. Recently re-issued on Terror Records Co. for the first time since 1980, only took 35 years for that to happen. In the interim the OST gained much notoriety and a massive cult audience who had to put up with dodgy mp3s for many years or fork out the big bucks for this rare and much coveted item. More synth horror awesomenessss. Never seen The Boogey Man. Maybe I'll try and watch it somehow. I suspect it won't be on my T-box. Then again Philip Brophy's Body Melt was on there as was Sorority House Massacre 2 (with a terrific score from good ole Chuck Cirino). So who knows?

Thursday 12 February 2015

Deep-Tech & John Carpenter

This remix is the goods, better than the original methinks and speaking of John Carpenter recently, you can hear his influence once again on this tune. The Deep-Tech producers understand his minimalism and it meshes well with their own. The vibe too.....

Loving this one off John Carpenter's 2015 Lost Themes on the Sacred Bones label. I was thinking Sacred Bones is not really my scene, you know, retro rock and all that but hey they re-released the Eraserhead soundtrack, Gary War's 2009 classic Horribles Parade and I do really enjoy hearing Moon Duo on the radio. It's funny I went a bit off Carpenter's soundtracks when he started using more guitars but the thing is all the other stuff is still in there, it just has guitars as well. I may have to reassess his later work. It's not like I hate guitars or anything anyway. Most of my favorite LPs have guitars on them!

A little bit of old School Carpenter. Soo spooky....

Monday 9 February 2015

UK Garridge 101 - Part 2

This one is from 94 and is a gem. My files have disappeared and my computer is dead till I get someone to look at. I'm not hopeful though. I'm using the Mrs computer. I don't think I had this as an mp3 track, it was definitely on a mix though. So this is a Ray Keith alias and there is some Foul Play connection as well. I think they did something on the flipside. I don't know if Ray went onto garage or continued on with drum'n'bass.

Now this is Wookie from 99 and it's garridge gold. I don't think I knew this one at all. That organ sound plus the drums and bass seem so simple and that's what makes this so great. Then there's that cool serene outro, nice.... I guess it reminds me a little of some of those early hardcore trax that were really minimal like 2 Bad Mice but Wookie does it in garridge form.

Ha, now we're back to Steve Gurley who may or may not have had anything to do with that Renegade B-side at the top. I think I'm lovin the dub (below) even more than the vocal mix. Gurley did both of these versions. Gee he had a knack for this shit. The way he seamlessly went from hardcore to jungle to garridge is something to behold. Nobody probably did it better as far as I know (future topic perhaps?) He was born to do wonder what the original is like?


Part of a discussion with Simon Reynolds, author of Energy Flash & Retromania, and me lifted from the comments box.

heard lenny fontana 'spirit of the sun (steve gurley remix)"? also tuuuuuuuuuuuuuune.

I found the 'Full Vocal Mix' on this mix at Soundcloud

This is a pretty cool mix from Revealomaniac, no relation.

The 'Full Vocal Mix' & 'Ballistic Beatz Dub' are not on i-tunes or Beatport. I don't get these guys and the way they treat their own archives?

yes the mix in that Soundcloud thing (which i downloaded last year now i recall) that is the same as the one described as 'Renegade Business Mix' - so i wasn't wrong all along after all. phew!

i suppose it's not an archival culture really, as much as there are fanboys clustered around all different stages of the hardcore continuum who track stuff like who engineered which jungle or hardcore tune and auteur trajectories of producers etc - the actual core of the culture is not archivally conscious. all these great tunes we fetishise were done as fast-money music, it was about getting the track out for the weeks or few months it was blazing on the pirates and making quite a lot of quick money for the label and the producer. they weren't thinking that far ahead and many would have gone out of business. i mean is the label that put out the gurley rmx even in existence any more? is there anyone with an active financial interest maintaining the archive? probably not. but you would think that the artist would want to keep their work out there in some form. however i got the sense that Gurley was burned in his business dealings, that's the story i heard from somewhere, that he was locked into something iniquitous. so perhaps the whole period something he wants to put behind him, or even doesn't own that music. i mean a remix is usually a flat fee payment for a service, the remix is owned by the original artist / label no matter how different the track is at the end of the process.

Lenny Fontana has Hundreds of trax on Beatport and Gurley even has a few. They're just not the one's I want. Maybe there are some issues like you say with certain tunes. Steve Gurley did acknowledge and recommend that Soundcloud mix though. It's a funny old world innit?

***Both Victor Romeo's Inside You and Lenny Fontana's Spirit Of The Sun were issued on Public Demand Records which I don't think has a current release schedule. Probably shutting up shop in the mid 00s by the looks after 2-Step and UKG were superseded by Grime and Dubstep. In 2013 there was some archival (I think?) audio file release activity from the label. They do have a twitter account.

Saturday 7 February 2015

Twisted Mentasms

Keep It Coming (Dem 2 Twist Up Dub) - De Souza feat Marcell Duprey.
Holy Fuck this is a tuuuuune!!!!!!! This has to be one of the best records ever. I don't think I even knew these 2 tunes until the other day so they're new to me and they're fantastic. This one from 98's got subtle and slinky Mentasms. I can't believe how much I like garage now. I was certainly one of those guys who didn't get the paradigm shift. It didn't really matter because there was still loads of other types of music happening but then by the early 2000s even that had dwindled to a trickle. Never even heard of De Souza and according to discogs this was the only thing he did. Don't ya love that? Make an all time classic then skedaddle. Of course Dem 2 are always good. Did they do anything shite?

The Twisted Mentasm - Bizzy B.
Bizzy B man of many top tunes but this one totally passed me by. I'm wondering if there was a different version of this though but I can't seem to find it. Like Second Phase's Mentasm wasn't fucked up enough Bizzy B had to fuck with it some more in 1993. This is pure hardcore gold.

Mentasm - Second Phase.
Why the fuck not? Hey while I'm in the mood we might as well hear the most seminal rave track ever. What more can I say that hasn't already been said. Mentastic!!!


*Some people say my blog goes over their head a little. I guess I take for granted my knowledge & do expect a certain amount of pre-knowledge from my readers on the subjects discussed. Or I think 'hey they're on the interweb if they don't know what I mean, finding out is just a click away.' But people are lazy and will quickly lose interest. Anyway this is something I endeavour to correct. There's not much point preaching to the converted, or is there? There must be something in it as the same people go to mass each week. This would be a good essay topic. Anyway what I'm getting at here is that mental noise on Mentasm. When I say things like Mentasm Stab, Mentastic or Mentasms this right here is what I'm referring to-The tune Mentasm by Second Phase which was Joey Beltram & some other guy. It was released in 1991 on the legendary techno label R&S Records from Belgium in 1991. This sound became treasured and had to be had by every hardcore artist for the next few years in the 90s. It kinda actually was the sound of the 90s wasn't it? Hey it's even been back recently on some top 40 hits from the likes of Rihanna. I'm boring myself. Being a teacher must suck. Next week's class: The Hoover Sound.

Friday 6 February 2015

On The Hi-Fi Part 39

An Ambient EP of loveliness from Loscil. Reminding me of the great Spectral Cassettes series that Pontone posted a few years ago. Those Pontone tapes were my gateway back into electronic music and current music in general. They can probably still be found at his ghost blog. Anyway For Greta is just what I need at the moment. Splendid aural serenity. This is soo good. Hey FACT is this 'power ambient' or just plain old ambient?

Never gone beyond the 70s with Baris Manco before but my GP who's from Turkey played me a track off this because I told him I loved 60s and 70 Turkish music. He asked me what my favorite Manco LP was and I said 2023 which he agreed is very good. He doesn't think the scene has been as good since the 80s and he's not an old guy maybe 40-45. So 'Retromania' goes on in Turkey too. He was also into Mogollar but not familiar with Bunalim, I guess they're obscure, whereas Manco was a big star. Sozum Meclisten Disari is an LP from 1981 and maybe his 6th album. I'm getting music recommendations from doctors now? Strange world indeed. Some good stuff on here. The title track includes lighting cigarettes, talking, pouring drinks, smoking, and what I assume is some sort of whispered words of seduction, a bit like a Turkish Serge Gainsbourg. Of course Baris Manco is a legend and musical innovator in his own right and needs no comparisons. I'd really like to know what the fuck he's saying in that tune. Gulpembe is irresistible Turkish prog synth gold with a hard riff and dark heavy bass. Funky 80s sounds with great keyboards and even a chipmunk choir are all put to good use on this recording. At certain stages during the album it's like Compass Point has been resituauted in Turkey and I mean that in a very good way. This LP contains a classic tune 2025 which is a top shelf cosmic Turkish prog funk jam. Donence the final track is an epic too, great space age synth and over the top guitars but with that unmistakable Anadolu vibe. Still getting deep with this one, however I reckon it's going to be another Manco classic to go along with his other three that I know and love. Thanks Doc, now about fixing these headaches...............actually I wonder if he has any other LPs he can recommend.

Came across this the other day. It's a 70s (1971?) library record on the Italian Leo label from Giuliano Sorgini. He recently came to people's attention due to the reissue of his soundtrack to The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue on Death Waltz in 2012. Previous to that he was a renowned cult figure in the Library music scene. The one record I had back then was Under Pompelmo, from 1973, which actually got the reissue treatment this year on Italian label Cinedelic Records apparently. Percussioni In Crescendo is a drum heavy, dark, funky and an occasionally bombastic record. This LP can be Incredibly atmospheric and minimal at times. Percussioni In Crescendo's incorporates some good twanging guitars, quirky electronic tones and big big symphonic drums. A little library gem right here folks.

Digging this. Club Godzilla is back with Club God 4. You know what you're getting here songs about gettin booty and songs about getting booty, oh and songs about strippers and headjobs. The instant highlights are the Gangsta Boo contributions which are incredible. I can't help thinking there's too many features though and not enough of just Beatking on his own. Not sure what to make of Chedda Da Connect yet. Is he Houston's answer to Young Thug? Or is his flow way to close to that of Thugga's? He's only on one track so who cares? The rest is sounding v good. How To Make Love To A Woman is skit gold that had me laughing out loud as well as quite astonished at Beatking's audacity. Chamillionaire makes an appearance. I'm not really sure who he is is. He was someone in my hip-hop black spot area (98 to 2011*). Like was he good, cool or innovative? Beatking is really pushing taste boundaries on this release, which I guess is nothing new for him. Like he could give a fuck anyway! Particularly What Dat Mouth Do which is creepy but mainly really funny and probably the most pop tune on the album. Only got it on i-tunes yesterday so I'm still processing it all. I'll do a full review down the track.  It's getting a thrashing though. That's a pretty bloody good sign in this day and age, innit though?


Or the extended version of John Cage's 4.33. More like 4 hours & 33 minutes. Due to debilitating migraines I have to go into a dark room at the first sign of head pain and do nothing. No devices, people or books allowed. Just darkness, the sound of the house and its surrounds. Not as boring as one might think and kind of refreshing and definitely relaxing except for the headache part. Try it without a headache. Humanoid unplugged.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Dolphin Post-Rock

Totally loved this track by Bark Psychosis back in 92, still got the cd single. The Manman EP is a classic. Anyway there's a dolphin-esque sound in amongst the rest of their sumptuous sounds on this tune. Actually I remember this being way more dolphiny than it is. God I haven't listened to this in 20 years I reckon. You think Godspeed You Black Emperor had a few Bark psychosis records along with their Swans ones? I have a feeling that Bark Psychosis had another track that was a bit dolphiny but that would involve me having to go find the other cds, finding this one was hard enough. I know youtube! but hey that's lazy and I don't mind a bit of a rummage.  

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Dolphin Jungle Part 2

Didn't know this Nebula II track from 93 at all till Simon pointed it out to me. Those first 2 records from Nebula II were so good I don't know why I didn't follow them beyond that point. There was so much happening in the 90s music-wise you didn't know where to look or what was coming next. There's another version I see there on the label which doesn't seem to be on youtube though.

The classic Bukem track Atlantis from 93 that needs no introduction. Been listening to so much obscure drum'n'bass that you tend to forget how good the main players were, early on anyway.

This Nebula II tune from 92 Flatliners isn't too dolphin e is it? Bit of Tone-Loc in there and a whole bunch of other stuff. Not heard this like. 'ardcore!

Then there was this one too from Bukem, maybe it was on the other side of Atlantis no it was the follow up single. It's from 93 anyway. I recall enjoying this one. It must have been on a tape. God, maybe I'll get out some post-Rufige Kru Goldie.

Now this one is a crackin tune. I love that swallow/marine life (whatever the fuck it is) sample that I guess we all first heard on 808 State's Pacific State. I think I read somewhere that was just a standard sound setting that came with the ??? instrument. No one had to go searching for this sample on an obscure wildlife documentary. The beats on this are frenetic. A true fucking classic of Dolphin Jungle even if it's perhaps not as calm as some of the other tunes. I think this was Bukem's first 12". What a way to start huh?

Dolphin Tune - Aquarius

I'd heard this back in the day but didn't realise it was called Dolphin Tune. Is it really? Is this where the term Dolphin Jungle comes from? Is that even a term or do I just think it is? Or did it already exist so he was just taking the piss out of himself. I was a sucker for this stuff back then, the good tunes anyway, still am i suppose. This is a bewdy, I reckon. Perfect for my current headspace. It just seemed an unlikely hybrid that juxtaposition of ambient/new age and jungle beatz/choppage. Did someone say ambient jungle? The flip is fucking wicked too probably even better, especially if you get a couple of versions going at once like 40 seconds apart. When I first heard jungle I guess some time in 92 on RRR or PBS in Melbourne on a show called Roots, Ragga & Dub where they started having like monthly jungle specials, which I used to tape but those tapes are long gone, dammit! Anyway that's what I reckon they were doing playing the same track out of sync with at least two records possibly even more or other tunes entirely. It was like music being beamed into my crappy East Brunswick bedroom from a planet inhabited some super hyper spazzoid aliens. Don't let the fact that this is a Photek alias put you off. This isn't as methodical or detached as some his other material.

Forever grateful to the Professor of 'The Hardcore Continuum' Simon Reynolds who adds another contribution to my blog in the comments box:

"probably does come from that tune, but also Bukem was doing things like "Atlantis" and the whole sound of Good Looking / Looking Good is just aqueous isn't it?

there was 93 track by Nebula II on Reinforced called "Eye Memory' that actually has dolphin noises on it! The title is based on that idea that if a dolphin looks you in the eye, it'll never forget you."

I remember Atlantis but not sure I'm familiar with Eye Memory. Funds back in the day went mainly on gettin wasted so it was radio, tapes or clubs where you heard the music. Import 12"s were bloody expensive as were styluses. Loved those Nebula II trax on those Reinforced comps though.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Carnao Beats - Chords Of Life

This is an epic tune (maybe I already posted this whatever) that kind goes to all sorts of funny and unpredictable destinations. We're in the future now. That 80s synth drum sound which a lot of these Deep-Tech guys are so fond of reminds me of those groups from a few years back who had a micro-genre Outrun centred around the Rosso Corsa Records label. Some of the better groups from this milieu included ActRazer, Miami Nights 84 and Lazerhawk. Lazerhawk are probably the most ambitious of that crew and possibly the only ones still in existence if indeed they still are?. Their last album Skull & Shark went off into epic horror disco soundtrack territory and was damn fine. So I guess there's another connection to John Carpenter and Deep-Tech and music in general of the 21st century. Migraine kicking in and I'm on a tangent without a destination I think. I best be off to a dark room with no devices or soundz, doctors orders.

Monday 2 February 2015

Come Easy - Run Tings & Liftin' Spirits

Didn't Know this track until I bought that excellent Suburban Base Compilation last year. It just came up whilst I was on me pushy today. Gee there's some great choppage happening in there. Then you've got those strings which are just lovely and that quintessential female voice. like a lot. Don't know anything about them except they, Run Tings, had a run of 5 or 6 records on Suburban Base. This did lift my spirits today. I don't know if it's like a split single deal or a collaboration. So I checked out the flipside (below) Invincible which is more your pure dolphin jungle but that's not a bad thing with me. I quite like it. There's a nice dark bit in the middle. It's hard not to resist that drummage, no matter how absurd and fusion e it is.

Computer On The Blink

There may not be any posts for a while. My computer is dying. Here a a great pic to tide you over.

..........or maybe not.....not allowing pictures from files which actually may have disappeared. Fuck! What's going on? Hang on it's letting me have a tune. Unfairly maligned in their time 1985/86 by like serious rock people man, you know the type, Bob fans coz he's so authentic man. Like he wasn't contrived or anything man. This is great pop. This is what my computer needs ie. Stimulation. Is it even Stimulation by Wa Wa Nee? My computer won't tell me. A late Australia day entry for all you punk rockers.