Friday, March 7, 2008

15 Tracks From The Rave Closet

I was having a dig through my collection last night trying to find LTJ Bukem Sunrain and nearly every record took me on a trip down nostalgia lane. All of these records were anthems for me at some point or another and all of these hold a very special place in my heart because of the people I was hanging out with and the places that we were going at the time and all of these records are as important to me as my Fela Kuti, Gil Scott-heron, John Coltrane and Pepe Bradock records because they shaped my initial journey into dance music, the culture and getting down on dancefloors at silly o'clock in the morning. This post is dedicated to all the people that helped make 1994 - 1999 so special for me and although some of these records came out before then but when the summer of love hit Cape Town a lot of the DJs were from the United Kingdom and unbeknownst to me they weren't exactly on the cutting edge of the time and were still playing records like Feel It, Tears and the like and I'm truly grateful that I got to hear them down the front on a loud soundsystem surrounded by a bunch of nutters, and I have to admit that I do get a bit misty-eyed when I hear them...I know, I know, big girl's blouse.

Nightmares on Wax - Les Nuits

Bocca Juniors - Raise

Lemon Interupt - Dirty

Leftfield - Afro-left

Attaboy - New World

Goldie - Inner City Life - 4Hero remix

Jonny L - This Time - Carl Craig remix

Presence - Future Love - Love From San Francisco mix

LTJ Bukem - Sunrain

Danny Tenaglia - Elements

Coco Steel & Lovebomb - Feel It

Omni Trio - Redshift

Junior Vasquez - If Madonna Calls

Frankie Knuckles presents Satoshi Tomiie and Robert Owens - Tears

Marshall Jefferson - Mushrooms - Salt City Orchestra remix

Thursday, March 6, 2008

One Hundred Project : Ashley Kanter

What is on your stereo at the moment?

Physically, there's a Dennis Coffey record on one side, and Sweat X on the other, but otherwise I've been bending my ear to The Heavy, Holy Fuck, whatever snippets are sneaking out of the new Jamie Lidell album, and giving the whole Cinematic Orchestra back catalogue a bit of a once over (again).

3 records that changed your life. Why?

Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation
Dirtchamber Sessions is the album I'd tell the haters to go have a listen to, but this was the really notable album for me. Firstly because it was the first "electronic" album I got into, and secondly, because it was the first record I'd heard that, while maybe not all that clever, was eclectic in a non-superficial sense. 3 Kilos appears in the mix as a nod to that and a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.

RjD2 - Deadringer
I was slowly getting into funk/jazz records when this came out, but this really pushed me full on back into organic music. Even though it was loop based a lot of the samples highlighted what was missing in the music I was listening to, and convinced me finally that I'd only play records I really loved.

DJ Food & DK - Now, Listen Again!
Apart from just thinking this is a really great mix I was listening to this at a time when I just felt lucky to be alive and it was one of those moments when everything just clicked.

What are you looking forward to?

Finally feeling satisfied with my own output, whatever that turns out to be.

What couldn’t you live without? Why?

The same things as everyone else, I guess.

Most memorable gig?

Beirut. The sort of sound experience it's impossible to record onto anything. Generally I'm a fan of imperfections and a bit of low slung grittiness, but this was a pretty good ad for craft and perfection. I can't say much more about why they're great except that you should go and see them for yourselves.

What is the best and worst thing about the city that you live in?

The best is definitely the people. There's a particular side of Jo'burg that's really special, that you'd be lucky to know without living here.

The worst is the economic disparity. The majority really grow up with so few opportunities in life that the excesses of others seem almost disgusting in contrast.Add to this, the fact that the failure to address this has led to a situation that is (understandably) threatening to tear this country apart.

Given the accelerated pace of modern culture, what are we due a revival in?

I could go in for what I'm often told is the mad ecclecticism of the 80s block party hip-hop originators. That would be nice.

Who do you admire? Why?

People like Strictly Kev, DJ Krush, Dave Eggers and Swoon. Apart from all being painfully good at what they do, there's also a sense that they're really trying to push their respective fields and trying to give other talented people opportunities to benefit from their success.

Is there anything else that you feel that we should know?

If there is, I'm probably not the right person to ask.

Ashley is a Johannesburg-based toy/art/record collector, DJ, financial whiz and the voice of reason on E-vent when he can be arsed to log on. We have uncanny similar tastes in most things.

Ashley Is A Serial Dabbler


Funkadelic - You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks
David Holmes & The Free Association - Wish I Had A Wooden Heart
Fat Freddy's Drop - Ernie
Jah Division - Heart + Soul Dub
The Prodigy - 3 Kilos
Boxcutter - Bloscid
Sweat X - Interstella
Newcleus - Jam On It
Burial - Near Dark

Download the mix here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Simpsons in Afrikaans

You have to speak the language to find this funny but I was in tears. This is probably just for Chris Keyz in all truth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

From The Back of The Box part 3

This beauty samples Janis Ian's Fly Too High which was produced by disco demi-God, Giorgio Moroder in the late 70s. With the imminent release of Quiet Village's debut album Silent Movie on !K7 in April it is quite timely that I share this one with you. It has been a stable of many a DJs sets since it emerged on a criminally limited pressing on New York's Whatever We Want Records back in 2005 and it is valued at $100+ at the moment on Discogs, so it is a good thing that I own two copies of it and no I'm not willing to part with either. I love this record and it was featured on Paul and my Press Play mix on Another Night On Earth which you can download here. This record never leaves my box.

Quiet Village - Too High To Move

Lead by Miles Tackett this Los Angeles based band expertly fuses funk, soul and hip hop and this track came out originally on a Stones Throw sampler in 2001 or 2002 and this is one of my warm-up tunes as it gets people smiling. It's probably best played in a bar but it'll undeniably get people raising a glass with a smile on their face. It is most definitely worth hunting down and buying their other albums and releases as they're not just a cheap pastiche of funk music but the next step in the tradition.

Breakestra - Remember Who You Are

This is my favourite record by Sufjan Stevens and it is all about the change about halfway through when the tempo changes and the horns come triumphantly to the front of the arrangement. I've only had the balls to play this out a few times and every time at least one person has come up to me to ask me what it is but be warned it is hard to program into a set of music but when you do it can be a real highlight.

Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Feel The Illinoise!

I don't know much about Motorpsycho beyond that they are a Norwegian rock band who may or may not be the best kept secret in the world of rock 'n roll depending on who you believe. This edit was expertly played towards the end of an epic night down at Aficionado by the bearded balearic god that is Moonboots. It was particularly poignant as my wife was leaving Manchester for Long Beach and it was her last night in the city (I joined her a few months later after seeing out my contract with my employers in the UK) and it made it that much more special. That night was ended off with The The This Is The Day which unfortunately has been abused in an M&M commercial that seems to be on television every time I turn it on. I really miss Sundays at Odder entrapped in the magic that is Aficionado.

Motorpsycho - Go To California - High Feelings edit

This track samples Risco Connection's Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now and as much as I like the former this is a great update and I'm not sure who is behind it as it is dubious at best but it definitely does hit the spot musically. It was featured on the second installment of the Balearica series which was released on Balearica Records in 2006 and the series is a great way of getting some rare records for less than fifteen notes but if you played at 'Nado you'd have to wear the sleeve on your head, which is a small price to pay in all truth.

Prism - The White Shadow

Adidas x Diesel

Check this cool little video from the launch of the Adidas x Diesel jeans from the store on Melrose, and for the record the jeans are awesome if a little over-priced.

adidas Originals LA and HVW8 Presents: 83 ORIGINAL WAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY WASTE YOUR TIME from Jaime MacĂ­as on Vimeo

From The Back of The Box part 2

Hailing from Stockholm and generally found on Raw Fusion, Up Hygh have slowly been making waves amongst taste-makers for a few years now without ever truly getting their big breakthrough. This remix is done by Philip Owusu who is one-half of Owusu & Green as well as Owusu & Hannibal who delivered the incredible Delerium on Ubiquity a few years back. I don't think this ever came out from what I can gather but it was meant to come out on Jugglin' but either way what you have is a deep modern take on soul music that has been a secret weapon of mine over the past 20 months or so. One of those records that sneaks up on you and hits you where it counts.

Up Hygh feat. Eska - Be Known - Owusu remix

This Jaco Pastorius-penned monster from the Mr. Gone album is a superb future jazz number that works as well in disco sets as it does in jazz sets, I like records that are versatile and this definitely fits the bill. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this when Downbeat magazine gave it a one-star rating and all hell broke loose with the band members arranging a rebuttal interview that was a bit tense to say the least. I'm not sure how you could give this track or the album for that matter one-star and whoever did so must be cloth-eared. This is one of those records that you never get tired of.

Weather Report - River People

The king of shoegaze electronica dropped this little beauty on his first opus Far Away Trains Passing By which has as much to do with My Bloody Valentine as it does with Electribe 101 and he may have gone a bit off the boil in recent years but during this particular purple patch he produced the follow-up A Strangely Isolated Place as well as the immaculate reworking of Justin Robertson's Love Movement that had everyone frothing at the mouth when it came out. Passing By is as perfect a sunrise record as you'll ever have the pleasure of hearing, use it wisely young Skywalkers.

Ulrich Schnauss - Passing By

This track, which was a staple of mine on my radio show for a couple of months, was produced by Nigel Godrich and the lyrics were penned by Jarvis Cocker and as far as I am concerned this is the epitome of modern balearica (although that may be a bit of an oxymoron) with its lush piano line and Charlotte's almost melancholic delivery. This is a superlative record on an album of superlative tracks, hunt it down immediately if you don't already own it.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Operation

This bonafide Aficionado anthem was given to me by my good friend Jeffo from Hot Chip (he's not really a member of Hot Chip but he's the splitting image of the bear-like one from the band) and I play it at least every other day. It's hip hop. It's indie. It's fucking brilliant.

King Biscuit Time - I Walk The Earth

Upper Space

Sketch City launched their gallery Upper Space last week and these images have emerged from the camp. If you're in Manchester then pay them a visit at Marlsboro House, 52 Newton Street M1 1ED.

Best of luck with this Jonny.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

From The Back of The Box part 1

Again, these records aren't exactly diggers gems but I do pull them out from time to time when I need a little surge of upliftment, which usually comes after I've spent an hour or two going through the latest minimal releases in the hope of finding that one record that is worth dropping a few notes on. Minimal is the new progressive house? A lot more truth in that than some people would ever care to admit.

The first track I've chosen is by the Four Tops and it's the brilliant Reach Out (I'll Be There) which is one of those feelgood records that you can play just about anywhere. A few years ago Justin (Unabombers/Electrons/Only Child) played it at the Electric Chair after Kelvin Andrews had taken the roof off and being on the dancefloor surrounded by a couple of hundred Mancs singing their hearts out is an experience that I'll never forget.

The Four Tops - Reach Out (I'll Be There)

The Polyphonic Spree are an interesting bunch. A few years ago they were rocking the robe look, which was giving off a bit of a cultish vibe and now they're sporting an all-black slightly militaristic look but whatever garb they choose to wear they do deliver a symphonic take on rock music that is incredibly uplifting and just the ticket for those sunrise moments that we know and love so much. Lead by the enigmatic Tim DeLaughter they number 23 members in total but have been known to have as many as 27 amongst their ranks and for my money the world of music would be a lot duller if the Spree didn't exist. Play this when you're in a bad mood or just play it at any point of the day, it's magic.

The Polyphonic Spree - Light & Day/Reach For The Sun

English hair rock from the 70s never sounded as good as when Mott The Hoople were strutting their stuff. They count David Bowie amongst their fans and it was the thin white duke who wrote their best known hit All The Young Dudes. Dragging the glam rockers kicking and screaming into the 21st Century are balearock's finest A Mountain of One who don't do many remixes/edits but when they do they invariably end up being nothing short of sublime. It would probably take a lot of balls to play this at peak-time but if anyone has then they have my unerring respect on so many levels. This track is almost worth buying a sequined jumper for. Almost.

Mott The Hoople - Bastard - A Mountain of One edit

Seu Jorge is probably best known to those outside of Brazil for playing Knockout Ned in the superb City of God back in 2002 but unbeknownst to many of us he's already a fully-fledged star in his native land for his poignant and incredibly catchy songs that traverse a number of themes and experiences with an undeniable amount of cool. This song is a cover of a Bowie's Life On Mars (another great segue, I'm on fire this week) and as much as I love the original this version is easily my favourite by a long way. I don't know what it is about it, possibly Seu's dulcet tones but it definitely strikes a chord with me whenever I play it and that is admittedly quite a lot.

Seu Jorge - Life On Mars

This is produced by one sixth of Jazzanova, Roskow Kretschmann who quite blatantly has an outstanding Afrobeat collection if this record is anything to go by. It comes on a double A-side EP with the equally good Deux Mille Deux on the flip. It's all about this percussion on this one and it's driven through the vocal snippets with nothing short of dancefloor dy-no-mite. Heavy record that when played at the right time will get the dancers throwing shapes like never before.

Sygaire - Oh Ba Ju Li

Sunday Shoutin'

I've been a bit slack on posting the past few days mainly due to a lack of inspiration in all on a hill in Southern California miles away from anything will do that to you from time to time not that I have much to complain about as it is beautiful up here. Below is what it looks like.

To give you an idea where it is here is a massively helpful map. I'm about three hours south-east of Los Angeles and two hours and change north of San Diego and Tijuana.

Idyllwild has a population of 5000 tops and if you live here long enough the chances of meeting them all is quite high. It was the original summer home for the Cahuilla Indians who sought refuge from the stifling heat down the desert and it seems like every rock, crevice and valley has a legend associated with them in some way. In the 60s and 70s it was a haven for hippies such as Timothy Leary who lived near to here in Garner Valley and Idyllwild itself was the home of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love who may or may not have been the 'hippie mafia' depending on who you believe and for those of you old enough to remember it served as a shooting location for Air Wolf. My wife is teaching English as a Second Language up here at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and as I am still in process to get my green card I do a few things here and there voluntarily like tomorrow when I managed to persuade Egon from Stones Throw Records to come up and talk to the students about jazz, funk, soul and hip hop and the lineage of the particular music genres. I will report back on all this on Tuesday.

Anyway, I thought that I'd let you all in on what has been catching my eye in recent weeks.

First up, this t-shirt by Mike Giant of REBEL8. Founded in 2003, REBEL8 is a lifestyle brand focused on the creation of high-integrity lowbrow art products with mass-appeal. Products include clothing and limited edition artist prints, in addition to a newly launched publishing arm. REBEL8 manifests a lifestyle built on community, artistic integrity, and respect.

Every REBEL8 graphic is hand-illustrated by Mike Giant. Unlike most clothing graphics, which are created by digitizing the original artwork into vector format, REBEL8 graphics are exact reproductions of the original piece. No part of the original inked line is compromised in this process, lending an edge of authenticity seldom seen in today’s mass-produced market.

Partners Joshy D. and Mike Giant met in the late 1990’s in San Francisco’s then bustling graffiti scene. Josh ran the popular graffiti website, HiFiArt, and Mike was one of the city’s most notorious writers. Years later, and having had some experience with a previous clothing venture, Josh approached Mike about creating a handful of t-shirt graphics. Mike agreed, and a small batch of shirts was made. Josh sold those shirts out of a messenger bag around the city, and REBEL8 was born.

This t-shirt called Big In Japan has really caught my eye. I have a bit of thing for Japanese inspired graphics and with this design they have really hit the nail on the head. I really like the energy of the image, top work.

You can buy this from REBEL8.

Next up, I have two designs from the always excellent Graniph company based in Japan. (How is that for a perfect segue?) I first came across them when I went to Tokyo a few years ago and as far as printing techniques and quality of products are concerned they are unrivaled as far as I am concerned. They don't stoop to immature rip offs of brands and products in order to drive their product home and that is why I like them. They have locations all over Japan and in Sydney and Taipei, so if you're in the area then why not pick up a few?

These are two of my favourites from their newish range that is available to purchase online.

You can buy this from Graniph.

You can buy this from Graniph.

This t-shirt is by Imaginary Foundation. Their designs are beautiful if a little overworked at times and most of them work as prints better than t-shirts but they are definitely a brand that I will be supporting when I open my store in a few months as they are aesthetically incredible and they have a great symbiosis between idea, craft and end product.

This is from their website, "The Imaginary Foundation is a think tank from Switzerland that does experimental research on new ways of thinking and the power of the imagination. They hold dear a belief in human potential and seek progress in all directions. The small clandestine team is headed up by the mysterious "Director" a 70 something uber intellectual who's father founded the Dadaist movement. Avoiding direct publicity the team has sought streetwear as an unlikely vehicle for bringing their ideas beyond the academic realm and into popular culture.

In his vision for the Imaginary Foundation, the Director knew that the human mind has more than one mode, that indeed it has an "ecology" of being. He knew that imagination, intuition, inspiration are basic to psyche. . . . A philosophy of research began to form: imagination as fundamental to all learning; artistic making as a model of integrating vision, materials, structure, and imagery.

What makes true vision is the poetry of life and the richness of nature.

The Foundation's basis has been a strong sense of community, free inquiry, creativity, and the experimental spirit. Over the years the Foundation has generated a critical mass of creative people in many different fields, for whom it's been a catalyst for experimentation and innovation.

The Imaginary Foundation is a crazy and magical place, and the electricity of it's members seems to make for a wonderfully charged atmosphere, so that sometimes before sessions one becomes excited and a little anxious, as though a thunderstorm were sweeping in."

So as you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it, a bit too much for a t-shirt brand? Quite possibly but then again you do need mavericks to drive any scene.

This t-shirt is probably my favourite piece from any range in recent months.

You can buy this from Karmaloop.

So now that you've fought your way through all that I'll give you a bit of a heads up for the week ahead. Hopefully there will be a couple of new installments from the One Hundred Project and I'm going to be putting up a a few tracks for you to download as well as a look at a few more of my favourite artists, so business as usual then. Have a great week.