Classic Melting Pot

Dude this is sooo killer...

Dude this is sooo killer...

Gaslamp Killer mixing up Vampires of Dartmoore!

Just in time for Halloween, thought I’d post a little something on this truly exceptional mix put together by LA’s Gaslamp Killer of the first 20 records put out by B-Music and Finders Keepers. This track isn’t really that scary, these “Vampires” are actually a little silly, but it sure is darn funky. The whole mix is highly recommended, kept at a slow burn throughout by the steady hands of one of the most talented DJs in Los Angeles.

Breakdown: October 21st on KCRW

October 26th, 2009

Just realized I never posted this…it’s been a busy week on the home front, still got a mountain of papers to grade…but enjoy the music from this show while you can…next one will be here before you know it.

Cha Cha Cha Ka Cha!

Cha Cha Cha Ka Cha!

Chakachas – Stories
Chakachas – Soledad
Chakachas – Push Together

To the best of my knowledge this is the second record from this European based latin group featuring Nico Gomez. If it’s not actually their second record, at least it’s the second record they put out in 1972. The other record from that year, Jungle Fever, is significantly more well known, because of the massively funky and oh so very salacious title cut as well as a couple of other choice latin soul tracks on that record.

When I first picked this one up, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it. Maybe it’s because this record’s such a mixed bag, not nearly as consistent as Jungle Fever, with a couple of nice funky songs and a couple of cool latin numbers, but then maybe 5 or 6 other songs that barely even feel like the same group. Since that initial disappointment, this record’s grown on me, (which come to think of it, was the same case with Jungle Fever when I first picked that one up…) with it’s saving grace almost exclusively being the sound of the drums on this record.

Ever time I think about getting rid of this record, as soon as I listen to the drums at the beginning of “Stories,” which I think can rightly be seen as a thematic follow-up to their big hit “Jungle Fever,” my inner B-boy just melts. The drums are also a major part of my satisfaction with the other two tracks I’ve provided here “Soledad” and “Push Together.” “Soledad” is a really solid, mellow groover, with just the name (or is supposed to be the sentiment, i.e. soledad = solitude or lonliness?) as the only lyric, sung slightly sultry throughout by a chorus of female voices. “Push Together” is pretty silly, I’ll admit it, but it does have a pretty tasty little break and I’ll tolerate a silly song if it’s got some nice drums and a decent break.

Cheers,

Michael

Breakdown: October 14th on KCRW

October 17th, 2009

Started things off with a little tribute to Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer, who recently passed away. I don’t think his bass comes out as strong on this track, “Peace of Mind,” as I might have liked, but the sentiment seemed to fit best. Lots of new music throughout the rest of the show, including Imaad Wasif, Massive Attack, People Under the Stairs, The Clientele, recently unearthed Betty Davis and the latest collections of music from Panama (vol. 3, just highlighted below), Orchestre Poly-Ryhtmo de Cotonou and Gaslamp Killer mixing the first 20 releases from Finders Keepers. Classic tracks from the Contortions, Can and remixed Portishead. On Demand for a week, until the next one comes around…

Blue Cheer – Peace of Mind – New! Improved! Blue Cheer
The Clientele – Harvest Time – Bonfires on the Heath
Black Heart Procession – When You Finish Me – Six
Air – You Can Tell It To Everybody – Love 2
Los Silvertones – Carmen – Panama! 3

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Orquesta Los Embajadores Con Camilo Azuquita – Shingalin En Panama – Panama! 3
Latin Bitman – Help Me – Colour
The Aggrolites – By Her Side – IV
Stranger Cole & Gladstone Anderson – Love Me Today – Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae
Peven Everett – Gabriel – Clubbed Out: Vol. 2

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom – Splitting the Atom EP
Horace Andy & Alpha – Storm – Two Phazed People
Portishead – Glory Box (Mudflap Mix) – Glory Times

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Imaad Wasif – Another – The Voidist
The Duchess & the Duke – Hands – Sunset / Sunrise
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Fall Aside – Through the Devil Softly

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Karen O & the Kids – Hideaway – Where The Wild Things Are: Original Soundtrack
DJ Shadow – Giving Up The Ghost – The Private Press
24 Carat Black – The Best of Good Love Gone – Gone: The Promises of Yesterday

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Betty Davis – When Romance Says Goodbye – Is It Love or Desire
Orchestre De Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou – Azoo De Ma Gnin Kpevi – Vol. 2: Echos Hypnotiques
The Contortions – Design To Kill – Buy The Contortions
Heavy Trash – Good Man – Midnight Soul Serenade

~~~~ Break ~~~~

People Under the Stairs – Trippin’ At the Disco – Carried Away
Bob Crewe Generation – The Black Queen’s Beads – Barbarella: Original Soundtrack
Breakestra – No Matter Where You Go – Dusk Till Dawn
Shawn Lee & Clutchy Hopkins – Bootie Beat – Fascinating Fingers

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – The Beach – White Lunar
Depedro – Miguelito – Depedro
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – But What of the Strangers – Know Better Learn Faster
The Pogues – Tombstone – Peace & Love

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Spectre, etc. – Arkham – All Killer: Mixed by the Gaslamp Killer
Can – Soul Desert – Soundtracks
Heliocentrics – Sirius A – Out There
David Axelrod & the Electric Prunes – Agnus Dei – The Warner/Reprise Sessions
Dungen – En Gang I Ar Kom Det En Tar – Tio Bitar

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Latest in this Series from Soundway

Latest in this Series from Soundway

Los Silvertones – Carmen

I know what you’re saying, I said it too…Didn’t they JUST put out Vol. 2??? Yes indeed, but already Vol. 3 is getting ready to shock and amaze you with the diverse and wonderfully deep sounds of Panama.

While there are some really choice Calypso and Boogaloo tracks on this particular comp., far and away the best track is this slow burner from Los Silvertones, sounding like a Panamanian version of Cymande. Somewhere there must be a part 2 where the rest of the song continues, but this instrumental (at least instrumental til the end) is a monster all on it’s own.

The Black Nationalist Sound of the Mtume Umoja Ensemble

The Black Nationalist Sound of the Mtume Umoja Ensemble

Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Invocation / Baba Hengates
Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Utama
Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Sifa (The Prayer) / Circe of Creation (Introduction of Musicians)

“The truth is that which needs to be told…” – Mtume – “Invocation”

I first encountered this record while hosting a jazz show, “Stompin’ Grounds” on WORT in Madison, WI. That station had one of the best jazz collections I’ve ever seen, included 3/4’s of the entire Strata East catalog. This record is probably the most sought after one from that label and for good reason. It’s a wild, intense, maddening avant-garde freakout made all the cooler because of the overt black nationalist revolutionary rhetoric that courses throughout the entire record.

I found my copy, which as you can see from the picture above has quite a bit of character, at Oakland’s House of Soul books and records. Back when I got this record, maybe 7 or 8 years ago, it was trapped underneath extra dusty stacks of albums and 45s. The dude who worked there didn’t even know if he could sell it to me and had to actually call the owner twice to make sure it was okay to give up. Even in it’s rather ragged condition, you can understand why the owner wasn’t completely willing to part with it. I’ve listened to some wild avant-garde records and I’ve heard quite a few products of black liberation ideology from the 1960s/70s, but rarely does it come together with quite the punch of this ensemble.

The album begins with a 4 minute spoken “invocation” by Mtume where he lays out his, and the group’s, philosophy for creating music that is artistically meaningful and expressly designed for the revolutionary purpose of consciousness raising, some of those ideals are represented inside the record in the form of these “Seven Principles”

The Seven Principles

The Seven Principles

Immediately after Mtume breaks it all down, things get started off with “Baba Hengates,” quite possibly the single craziest (and in all seriousness I mean that in the best possible way) 18 minutes of music I’ve ever heard. The sounds from the band, which features Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, Stanley Cowell, Billy Hart and Leroy Jenkins, would be one thing…the voices, led by Andy Bey and Joe Lee Wilson would be another, but then there are these kids, kids I say, spouting black nationalist “truths” that just blow you right out of your seat.

I often wonder what happened to these kids, if the experience of growing up within this “circle of creation,” as the musicians are called on this record, made an indeliable mark on their lives or if as the 70s progressed into the 80s they moved away from these revolutionary ideals to supposedly more “pragmatic” and “realistic” lives. They aren’t listed on the liner notes, so a more careful archeology will have to dig up who they were and the lives they ultimately led. I’m hopeful that will one day happen, because this record could use a deluxe reissue and proper resequencing of the live material. In addition to “Baba Hengates” I’ve also included my favorite other tracks, the truly sublime “Utama” and the wild and deep “Sifa (The Prayer)” which shares quite a bit, thematically at least, with the Gary Bartz NTU Troop tune “Sifa Zote.”

This record don’t come cheap on the open market, but it’s a monster and something that all fans of this time period should own. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I hope you enjoy this capsule of might seem more like a movie to those who feel they live “post-racial” lives, instead of it being a moment in the not so distant past when it seemed the “revolution” was only a day away.

Cheers,

Michael

p.s. Here’s an additional post on this record that you should also check out.

5_things1

{Here’s the unedited version of my post that was recently included in the new online feature from KCRW…5 Things. I’ve also included a mix I put together for my show featuring each of the artists plus an extra song from The Dirty Three that I used as an closing instrumental. Maybe YOU will let me know what artists are in the soundtrack to your dreams…}

Top 5+1 Dreamy Mix

Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – There’s A Willow – Through the Devil Softly
The Dirty Three – Hope – Horse Stories
Alpha – Silver Light – Stargazing
Nick Drake – Way To Blue – Five Leaves Left
Talk Talk – Inheritance – Spirit of Eden
(Bonus) Dirty Three – Ever Since – Cinder

The artists in this list are not just pleasant to sleep to, they’re more specifically recommended to act as dreamscapes, to remain with you as you dream and work as a soundtrack to your dreaming life away from this waking life. If you’re having trouble sleeping, best to find the sound of flowing water, rainforests or Enya, but if you want music that is equally beautiful, gorgeous, intense and a bit challenging, so that when you put it on all your waning attention is drawn to the music to the point where you carry it with you into your dreams, this is your list. (more…)

Breakdown: October 7th on KCRW

October 11th, 2009

A mellow first hour begins with an exceptional piece of spiritual jazz from the Mtume Umoja Ensemble (look for a Dig Deep post on this record shortly). Things change moods throughout the rest of the show, which includes new tracks from Air, Heavy Trash (latest project from Jon Spencer), Karen O & the Kids, Massive Attack, Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s new sideproject and some classic tunes from The Corporation, Big Star and maybe my favorite song from Blonde Redhead.

Yes, Vol. 2 is for you and it's just as good as vol. 1

Yes, Vol. 2 is for you and it's just as good as Vol. 1

Mirtha y Raul – El Sueño De Andría
Grupo Monumental – Tremendo Tremendo

Back in 2007, out of seemingly nowhere, Canadian record label Waxing Deep released the first volume of Si Para Usted, featuring some extraordinarily rare (especially for us here in the States, what with the embargo and all) Cuban music from the 1960s and 1970s. That release was nothing short of a revelation, since these hybrid forms just really hadn’t been heard widely and were almost non-existent in our collective funky conscience. This second volume, in what is thankfully now a series, had some very big shoes to fill, and I’m happy to say it’s largely on par with the original. (more…)

New Album from Breakestra!

New Album from Breakestra!

Breakestra – No Matter Where You Go

No longer content mixing together breaks from classic records, Los Angeles’ very own Breakestra are placing themselves at the forefront of the soul revival with their first record in quite sometime, Dusk Till Dawn (dedicated to DJ Dusk), on Strut records. This track takes you on a world tour of Funky, where the band name checks all the places they’ve played and many of the funky bands you’ll find there. (more…)

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