Friday, February 8, 2008

Bits 'n Pieces part 1

My record collection is quite varied but I like to think that there is a common ground amongst all the madness, see if you can spot it. I don't really intend to make these posts full of hidden gems or hot off the presses releases but rather as a way of kind of letting you know where I am coming from musically. I'll be doing these sorts of posts sporadically in the weeks and months to come.

Daniele Baldelli is an Italian DJ who was resident at the legendary Cosmic Club in Lazise near Verona in the late 70s and early 80s. He is a purveyor of slo-mo psychedelic hypnotic disco with a huge dollop of afro thrown in for good measure, now this may sound like journo speak and, to be frank, it would be a lot easier to just call his sound Cosmic but that that word has been abused so much in recent years with everything from pitched down deep house to disco being lumped into it that I don't really feel that calling it Cosmic does it any justice. He was heavily influenced, as were many Italian DJs at the time, by two American DJs, Bob Day and Tom Sison who came to Italy in the time pre-imports and introduced the DJs to records that were probably only going to come their way in 6 months to a year, which is similar to how we felt in South Africa in the early 90s when the British DJs came down and by and large introduced us to house music.

Baldelli took this influence and ran with it and during his time at Cosmic Club he would traverse styles and bring an innovation to DJing that was lacking prior to his pioneering years behind the decks. As he so humbly puts it, 'I used to play Bolero by Ravel, and on top of this I would play an African song by Africa Djola, or maybe an electronic tune by Steve Reich, with which I would mix a Malinke chant from New Guinea. Or, I would mix T-Connection with a song by Moebius and Rodelius, adding the hypnotic-tribal "Izitso" album of Cat Stevens, and then Lee Ritenour, but also Depeche Mode at 33 instead of 45, or a reggae voice by Yellowman at 45 instead of 33. I might mix 20 African songs on top of a Korg Electronic Drums (machine) rhythm pattern . I would play a Brazilian battucada and mix it with a song by Kraftwerk. I would also use synthesizer effects on the voices of Miriam Makeba, Jorge Ben, or Fela Kuti, or I would play the Oriental melodies of Ofra Haza or Sheila Chandra with the electronic sounds of the German label SKY.' How amazing does that sound? If only I had a Delorean...

Here is a great interview that Daniel Wang did with Daniele a few years back and from where I extracted the quote above. Read it in full here.

This record that I have chosen from his back catalogue has been hugely influential on my record buying habits, mostly because I'm trying to find records to play around it, since I got it on CD a year of so back. it's all about the groove on this one and it is one of those records that stands out and inevitably gets someone asking what it is, which is always the sign of a great tune. I don't have it on vinyl and have been looking for it for a while now, so if any of you could point me in the right direction I would be truly grateful.

Daniele Baldelli - Safari Vibes

Holy Fuck is a Canadian group who infuse lo-fi electronics with solid melodies and some of the most biting drum work I've heard since Damo Suzuki knocked seven shades of shit out of his kit for Can. They've supported the immensely forward thinking rapper Beans on tours and have really come to prominence since their album 'LP' was released last year. It made the end of the year charts for everyone from NME to Piccadilly Records and it's no nonsense brand of experimentation and free-form fusion really caught my ears one rainy Saturday in the store. Lovely Allen is the stand-out track on an album of stand-outs and is generally my choice for the end of the night anthem when all you want to do is jump around in a drunken mess and hug your mates.

Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen

Most people will think of the Richie Havens version but to my ears as good as Richie's version is the Lamont Dozier original blows it out of the water. Lamont was one third of the legendary Motown production hit-machine Holland-Dozier-Holland who had hits with just about anyone that you'd care to mention from that era and was previously a member of The Romeos in the 50s before being signed to Motown in the 60s as a songwriter, producer and artist from where he wrote his name into the annals of music in big bold letters. This is one of those feel good records that gets everyone going enthusiastically overexcited at the more discerning discos with all and sundry usually singing along at the top of their voices with smiles aplenty. An incredibly good record and if I was forced to take 5 records to a desert island (how improbable is that scenario...but anyway) this would be one of them.

Lamont Dozier - Going Back To My Roots

I was first introduced to this record by the boys over at Best Foot Forward and had absolutely no luck whatsoever finding it in the UK but just after I moved here and made a trip to Amoeba on Sunset it was staring at me in the dollar bin...result! How often does that happen? Absolutely never. This is one of those records that I could see someone like Kelvin Brown playing and taking the roof off and its percussive rhythm intertwined with some great vocal hooks and melodies makes this an absolute winner in my book.

Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes - The Block Party

M.I.A. is a British artist of Sri Lankan descent who comes with an incredibly colorful back story involving the Tamil Tigers, which may or may not be a load of bullshit depending on who you believe. What I do know is that she has taken the brave step of integrating world music, dancehall, electro and grime to come up with a sound that is uniquely hers. Originally a street artist who designed covers for the likes of Elastica and a host of others she has taken to music with aplomb and has even managed to bring a bit of leftfield to the oversaturated middle of the road pop charts, which is a major plus in my book.

Her music isn't particularly inclusive with some of the students at the school where I work declaring that she is the worst thing that they have ever heard (fairly harsh) but the records that she does get right such as the impeccable stomp-a-thong Gallang do keep her work on the radar over my way. Paper Planes is from her latest album Kala produced alongside the likes of Switch, Diplo, Timbaland, Blaqstarr and a host of others and is a raw call to arms that resonates as much with the rock kids as it does with dance snobs, which can only be a good thing. As good as the original is, the DFA remix is off the charts and is as close as punk rock gets to merge with a fuck you attitude in this day and age. Proper party rocking tune that would be great in dub form as well...hint, hint.

M.I.A - Paper Planes - DFA remix

I'm going to be putting up part 2 to this over the weekend including records from the likes of Masha Qrella, NOMO, Sly Mongoose, Aphrodelics and Coldcut.

No comments: