Friday, May 16, 2008

William DeVaughn - Be Thankful For What You've Got - DJ Day re-edit

William DeVaughn is an R&B and soul singer from the 70s and 80s probably best known for this track, Be Thankful For What You've Got, which he initially released in 1974 or thereabouts and ended up selling well in excess of two million copies, which is understandable when you consider that members of legendary disco band MFSB played on it. The copy of the album of the same name sells for $50/$60 a copy now and there is one at Dusty Groove should the urge take you.

Apparently William, who is a Jehovah's Witness, got a bit preachy towards the mid-to-late 70s and spent a large deal of his shows admonishing his audience, which is sure-fire career suicide and started releasing albums that were fervently religious and his fan base dwindled as a result. The version of Be Thankful For What You've Got that fellow Inland Empire resident, DJ Day, has decided to re-edit is the 1980 version that William DeVaughn did on his comeback album and it is a record dripping with soul on a bed of boogie (pretty shit analogy, granted) and is a record that I can see being played on terraces in the sunshine over the summer. File this one next to your Latimore records and check out DJ Day's remix of Erykah Badu Honey, which you can download over at Northern Comfort - the instrumental is particularly good.

William DeVaughn - Be Thankful For What You've Got - DJ Day re-edit

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fanga feat. Tony Allen - Crache La Douleur

Afrobeat band, Fanga, are from Montpellier in France and they've released a couple of albums in recent years on which Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen lends his funky touch to a couple of cuts, most impressively on Crache La Douleur which is pretty much the best dance record out there at the moment. In the Afrobeat cannon it stands shoulder to shoulder with Fela's Everything Scatter as a record that can really ignite a dancefloor with its incredible horns that Tunde Williams would be proud of and its Yoruba call and response lyrics. Fanga apparently means 'Force' in West African dialect Dioula and as a band they 'denounce the inequality created by the quest for profit and embraces the re-integration of humanity and earth'. They're a band that I would love to see and a group that all of you should get into immediately. Feel the horns.

Fanga feat. Tony Allen - Crache La Douleur

Here they are performing live on French television, which is ace.

The Rosebuds - Get Up Get Out - Justin Vernon of Bon Iver remix

First off, I know that I am posting like a bit of a demon of late but allergies, stress and boredom have all played a role in me having trouble sleeping, ain't insomnia a bitch? Anyway, this is a record for those of you who enjoy a bit of Studio, Coyote or Tiedye, the superb Justin Vernon of Bon Iver remix of The Rosebuds Get Up Get Out. I have never heard of The Rosebuds before and the original version of this is extremely uplifting and I can see it doing well but the remix is absolutely superb stuff, just the sort of record that you want to listen to again and again.

The record has that end of the night anthem vibe about it, especially if you've played a set of smack 'em over the head house or cosmic records and you want something that makes it feel like you've got the sun on your back and sand between your toes. Justin Vernon is of course known for his other nome de plume, Bon Iver, under which he released the superb For Emma, Forever Ago, which is truly an album that you can play from start to finish and there aren't many of those around anymore in our singles/iTunes-driven music consumption culture, and if this is the sort of remix work that he can do then hopefully some A&R bod out there will give him a shot at brightening up the likes of Lindstrom and Aeroplane who are all going a bit too prog plod for me at the moment.

I went through progressive house once in the 1990s and it was enough for me, and when I listen to some records coming out on the cosmic/re-edit scene they aren't exactly sounding a million miles away and it's kind of off-putting in all truth, the same can be said for some of the minimal records out at the moment that sound like the even more boring cousin of some of the darker prog records that came out at the beginning of the century before thankfully DJs got bored and started playing songs again and weren't afraid of a bit of melody instead of some ket-driven mind-numbing loop.

Anyway I'm digressing a bit here, seek out this record and play it on a Sunday morning when the sun is shining, I'm sure it'll make a fine addition to your eggs 'n papers routine.

The Rosebuds - Get Up Get Out - Justin Vernon of Bon Iver remix

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Johnny Cupcakes LA Shoppe

While not being particularly fond of the clothing itself, I do respect Johnny Cupcakes for the visual language that he uses on both his apparel and in his store designs. I don't think I'd ever wear any of the clothing myself as I'm probably a bit too old for it but I can see queues around the block when his shoppe opens on Melrose Ave. over the summer. Besides being assured of him doing something with the Dodgers or Lakers logos, which seems to be a rule in streetwear something that I wish would end, we can also be certain that his store will be out of this world. He has a great feel for conceptual ideas and this video is further proof of this. One thing that I do respect about the man is that he takes absolutely no short cuts when pleasing the customer, and a look at his blog and how he packages his items is testimony to this.

Here is the letter/message/transmission/whatever that he posted on his blog to accompany his video. I like this guy.

The first sneak peek of the Johnny Cupcakes LA shoppe. Working closely with a company that builds, fabricates and engineers various things for Disney Land/World, Universal Studios as well as other international artists + architects. They're helping me bring all my crazy ideas to life. This new LA Johnny Cupcakes shoppe will be quite the memorable experience.

My parents and select friends think I'm insane for putting so much time, energy and money into my LA shoppe. I really just want it to be a fun, different, memorable experience. Whether people are or are not into my brand, every time they see a bakery or a cupcake they talk about Johnny Cupcakes. "Oh my - there's this kid who's been opening up bakeries on expensive streets, and he doesn't even sell real food!" - Instantly friends of the upset hungry people, become very curious & have to check out this Johnny Cupcakes thing.

Now how about this; After going into my new LA shoppe and seeing 36 vintage oven doors that move & steam - as well as witnessing a giant 10' foot tall oven that employees walk in and out of... EVERY time those happy and/or unhappy people see an oven in their lifetime, my name/brand will probably come up in conversation. Every human looks at an oven at least two times a day, every day. "Oh my - there's this kid who opens up bakeries on expensive streets & doesn't even sell real food! On top of that, he has a poo poo load of moving/steaming vintage ovens in his store. This kid even has a 10' foot tall oven that employees walk in and out of! I don't get it?!"

Yadda yadda yadda... anyways - I just still have that prankster inside of me. I almost feel like the Willy Wonka of t-shirts. I enjoy making people feel like kids again. And I want everyone to remember me when I pass away. I don't plan on passing away anytime soon, but it would be nice to be some sort of historic wise tale that gets passed down. And if/when I do pass away, it would be nice to go down in an adventurous way - via a great white shark eating me whole.

Most companies try to cut corners to turn a huge profit, and don't think twice about making the customers happy via spending extra time, energy & money on attention to details & experiences. Well I'm ALL for the little (and BIG) details. It is all about the experience, because at the end of the day we're all just humans hustling a product to consumers. Why not make it an unforgettable adventure for both parties?

Anyways, that's my two cents.

Bon Appetit!

It's not great secret that I'll be opening my own shop fairly soon, still waiting for USCIS to play the game though, and I'm hoping that on my meagre budget that I'll be able to do something half as striking as what Johnny is coming up with, ok maybe a quarter.

Steel an' Skin - Afro Punk Reggae (dub)

Steel an' Skin are a group of musicians born in disparate nations such as Ghana, Nigeria, St. Kitts, Trinidad and the U.K., who once performed with Ginger Johnson's Afrikan Drummers, who some of you may remember from the London Is The Place For Me compilations, Steel an' Skin who came together in the 1970s and who began giving concerts and workshops in London schools before expanding nationwide to schools, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and summer festivals including amongst others the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival. Carrying on from Robert Rauschenberg in a sense, Steel 'an Skin combined an admirably brave and open mix of musical forms with an emphasis on community outreach wherever they played.

Afro Punk Reggae (dub) is the standout track for me on the recently re-issued Honest Jon's 12" because of its incredible groove, one that is as disco as anything played at the Loft or the Gallery, and this is a record that stands out above most at the moment. Great record.

Steel an' Skin - Afro Punk Reggae (dub)

Geoff B's Rare Groove Pressure

Geoff Bowling who runs Pass The Feeling On has just dropped a highly enjoyable rare groove mix on his blog that I am sure that some of you may enjoy. The absolute highlight for me is Wanted Dead or Alive by Voices of East Harlem, which is an amazing record and one that has been getting plenty of plays around the house in recent weeks. Some superb selections.


Creative Source – Funky Luvah
Rawsoul Express – The way we live
Sisters Love- Give me your love
Voices of East Harlem – Wanted Dead or Alive
Lee Dorsey – Night People
Brother to Brother – Chance with you
Tommy Stewart – Bump and hustle music
Linda Lewis – Elevate our minds
Benny Golson – I’m always dancing to the music
TS Monk – Can’t keep my hands to myself
Creative Source – Give you my love
Erasmus Hall – Just me ‘n’ you
Leroy Hutson – Love the way you make me feel
Jay Dee – Strange games and funky things
Milton Wright – Keep it up
Willie Hutch – Sho give you love

Download the mix and read Geoff's write-up here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

RIP Robert Rauschenberg

We lost a good one yesterday. Robert Rauschenberg died at the age of 82. One of my lecturers at university dismissed him as nothing more than a Dada Clown, which is a bit harsh. I used to spend a lot of time at Michaelis going through the heaps of books that they had in the library when I was trying to come up with ideas to use in the various projects that I was set during my time there and there was one particular book on Rauschenberg that I would come back to time and time again for a healthy helping of inspiration.

I always liked his work because it had a narrative that would jump out at you before you've had the chance to read about the hows and whys. I am very into work that lets you come up your own viewer agenda rather than reading some twat pontificate on about how his or her works correlates with Foucault (and his fucking pendulum) or Sontag. To me, Rauschenberg's use of found imagery and materials is the very essence of street art, and he was definitely someone who inadvertently had as much of an influence on the work we see in the Lowbrow/Juxtapoz scene today as Jackson Pollock or Andy Warhol. Rauschenberg lived, breathed, ate and shit art - even when paralyzed by a stroke he continued to create and mentor young artists and communities through the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange, which he saw as a way of bringing cultures together.

Rauschenberg was never afraid of innovation and when he started adding sound to his Combines - which is what he called his reliefs and sculptures - he worked closely with Billy Kulver to form E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) he revolutionized the way artists hung and showed their work and for that alone he should be applauded. He was also the first American artist to exhibit in China but his most significant contribution to the world of art was his belief that art could chance society and mend its ills. He travelled the world interacting with disparate people and leaving his undeniable mark at every place that his feet touched the ground and for that alone he is one of my heroes.

Godspeed Robert and rest in peace, you'll be sorely missed.


Ayatollah is back with a new album that is set to drop soon. I first came across him when he released Listen back in 2005 or 2006 and his impeccable Now Playing that came out just before that. My favourite Ayatollah track by a mile is the intro to Now Playing, NAG Champa, which to me is the bedrock on which my hip hop collection is built, even though a lot of the hip hop records that I have came out before then. Pretty much every time I think of doing a mix, play on a radio show or play the first record at a night my mind is never very far away from NAG Champa, which isn't the worst thing in the world in all truth.

Anyway, Lamont Dorrell, for that is Ayatollah, is back with a new album entitled Louder and this cut Circulate showcases the man's soulful take on hip hop and beat-making that I love and respect so much, and judging by the musical luminaries that he has leant his touch to over the years I am clearly not alone. The record has a great groove to it, and if the rest of the album is as good as this we're in for a treat. I'm not sure if starting with the Bill Paul line, "Let The Dollar Circulate' is a homage to Dilla, who produced Spacek's version, or not but if it is then full respect to the man for referencing the greatest beat-maker of our time. You can play this as a loop as well and never get tired of it.

Ayatollah - Circulate

Wandering Feet

Karen P Productions have just produced a trio of podcasts called Wandering Feet for the Redbull Music Academy and it is described as forth.

Music journalist, and Red Bull Music Academy team member, Emma Warren, gives us the indispensable insiders' guide to all things RBMA related in the Wandering Feet podcast. Getting deep inside the London Workshop Session, she speaks to past participants Hudson Mohawke and Flying Lotus, hears from Academy Lecturers –DMZ’s Mala and Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet - and pokes her nose into some heavy live Master Classes. Witness Danny Breaks teaching MPC skills, Beni G smashing Serrato and Wookie perfecting the art of the remix. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also hear Ethio-Jazz legend Mulatu Astatke in conversation with Gilles Peterson and hear all about his groundbreaking collaboration with Now Again’s Heliocentrics.

You can download and subscribe to the podcasts here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

HVW8 + Tony Allen - Love Is A Natural Thing

This past Sunday we were privileged to have Tyler Gibney, one third of HVW8, come up to Idyllwild Arts to do a live painting and speak about the work that he and his collective have done over the course of the past ten years. Tyler had just finished installing and opening the Kevin Lyons exhibition at his gallery just off Melrose in Hollywood, which if you're in the area you should really go and see. Massive thanks to Tyler and his missus, Kim, for making the long trek south to come and give out a healthy dose of education and influence.

Tyler telling the students about his work.

Tyler painting.

About an hour in.

About 2 and a half hours in, Leonard Cohen on the left and Donny Hathaway on the right.

Some more work by HVW8.

James Brown painting by DSTRBO at the HVW8 event in Atlanta.

Our kings of merch Axel and Joey sold just about everything on the table.

I haven't had a DJ gig since I moved to the States, mostly due to a lack of contacts and living 3 hours from anything resembling a nightlife in addition to government restrictions as I'm waiting for my green card, so yesterday when I got to play a couple I got that undeniable buzz that you get when you play a few, which was a bit sad in truth as I wasn't really playing to a dancefloor but the standout track for me out of the four or five that I played was Tony Allen's amazing Love Is A Natural Thing. The track was on the fairly recently compilation album, Afro Disco Beat, which featured cuts from Tony's first four albums - Jealousy, Progress, No Accomodation for Lagos and No Discrimination - of which the first three were produced by my hero, Fela Kuti and the latter featured Tony's band, The Messengers. Tony of course was Fela's drummer throughout the 70s and those trademark horns and grooves are present here but with Tony being given center stage the drums are that much more pronounced and, dare I say it, a bit funkier. This one of those records that you play from start to finish and the only thing going through your head is, "Should I play it again?" It is a great contribution to the Afrobeat cannon and one that is best played as loud as humanly possible.

Tony Allen - Love Is A Natural Thing

One Hundred Project : Tyler Askew

What is on your stereo at the moment?

Portishead "third"
Leon King "various cuts"
Reel people "upside" (karizma mix)

3 records that changed your life. Why?

Public Enemy "it takes a nation of millions"
...solidified my love for hiphop

Guru's Jazzmatazz 1
...opened me up to jazz

MoWax Royalties Overdue
...Exposed me to the international krush, rpm, le funk mob and who can forget dj shadow's "in/flux"? Monumental!

What are you looking forward to?

The next "thing" musically. Returning to Tokyo

What couldn’t you live without? Why?

Pasta / my friends / NYC

Most memorable gig?

The very first Rude Movemets at apt. Magical. / karizma and Taylor Mcferrin at My Favorite Things.

Who/what are your influences?

Too broad and everchanging. Check out my blog here.

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

There's so much going on at every moment (best and worst).

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

Acid jazz? :)

Hero? Why?

My dad. He's dedicated his life to public service.

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

I'm glad there's a Chick-fil-a in Philly airport.

Tyler Askew is a graphic designer & art director living and working in NYC. Increasingly hard to pigeonhole, his work includes identity design, packaging, editorial, typography, and creative direction for the music, fashion, advertising, and non-profit worlds.

Tyler has also been involved with the sadly defunct London music magazine Straight No Chaser, as a writer, designer, and creative consultant since 1999. His involvement in the music world has paralleled his design career, DJing internationally for over 9 years, and working along side independent artists and labels. In 2003, he began the club night Rude Movements, which has developed into a long-standing relationship with lifestyle brand PUMA. He has since gone on to start a new night aptly titled My Favorite Things and for more info on MFT events you can check here.

You can read a more indepth interview that I did with Tyler many moons ago on Basic Soul here.

My Favorite Things 2


Recloose / Can It Be / CDR
Simbad / After the Dance (Bugz mix) / Raw Fusion
Soil & Pimp / AIE (Cobblestone Jazz mix) / Brownswood
Lady Alma / Pressure / Especial
Roland Appel / Changes / Sonar Kollektiv
KemeticJust / In The Morning (Volcov mix) / Xenithsound
Reel People feat Darien / Alibi / Papa
Shape of Broad Minds / Jazz / Lex
Pete Rock feat Jim Jones / We Roll / BBE
Large Professor / Slick Money / Paul Sea
Leon King / You Will Never Know / CDR
Cinematic Orchestra / Child Song (Taylor McFerrin mix) / Ninja Tune

Download the mix here.

My Favorite Things 3


Leon King - Digital Church (Venomz EQ - CDR
Unkown - Unknown - CDR
RH Factor - On The One (SA-RA remix) - Verve
Harmonic 313 - Word Games - Warp
Ta'raach - Untitled - Lovelution
Snowman - I Need U - CDR
Omar feat Stevie Wonder - Feeling Me, Feeling You (Henrik Schwartz remix) - CDR
Wahoo - Don't Take It Personal (Dixon edit) - Fine
Rednose Distrikt feat U-Gene - Not Today - Kindred Spirits
Phlash - Revolution Solution - Archive
Karizma - A Drumz Nightmare - CDR
Hudson People - Trip To Your Mind - Arision

Download the mix here.

My Favorite Things 6


01/ Electric Conversation / Melodie (Futuristica)
02/ Stacey Epps / Floatin' (CDR)
03/ Leon King + Illa J / Realness (CDR)
04/ Eric Lau feat. Rahel / Confession Lounge (Ubiquity)
05/ Opolopo feat Amelia / Get it Together (CDR)
06/ Sunburst Band / Turn It Out (Z)
07/ 2BoF / Shadowlands (Season + Sygaire remix) (Sonar Kollektiv)
08/ Roland Appel / Inner Soul (Sonar Kollektiv)
09/ Chris Barker / Breakin' Bread (Trebleo)
10/ Reel People / Alibi (Dennis F remix) (Papa)
11/ Mike Dunn / God Made Me Funky (Izmabad remix) (CDR)
12/ 4 Hero / Look Inside (Daz I Kue remix) (CDR) *bonus
13/ J.Bless feat Seasunz / Not The Same (CDR)

Download the mix here.

My Favorite Things 7


01/ Radiohead / Nude (Venom's Big Eyed Deerz mix) (CDR)
02/ Flying Lotus / Breathe (Warp)
03/ Mickey Factz feat N.E.R.D. / Don't Be Light (CDR)
04/ OC feat AG / 2 For The Money (CDR) *
05/ Daru Beats / Turn It On (Marc Mac's 4 Hero mix) (CDR)
06/ Erykah Badu / Honey (Seiji mix) (CDR)
07/ Portishead / Nylon Smile (Mercury)
08/ Tone Control / Illusions (Tone Control)
09/ Phlash & Friends / Look At What We've Done (Archive)
10/ Osborne / Ruling (Ghostly)
11/ Alex Finkin & Reverend P / Fight For Love (DJ Fudge mix) (Tejal)
12/ Leroy Burgess / Don't Spoil It (CDR)
13/ Pete Simpson / Coming Back Around (Atjazz Floor Dub) / Papa *

*exclusive to web download

Download the mix here.