Friday, June 29, 2007

Canadian Reggae Summit

Tomorrow marks the 5th Canadian Reggae Summit. JuLion of Canadian Reggae World stopped by this past Wednesday and promised "the greatest night in Canadian Reggae history". What a salesman...

It will be a very worthwhile event, though. Farley Flex will be the keynote speaker, although he is not generally associated with reggae, it will be interesting to hear his take on the challenges that face "Urban" artists in Canada. DB Hawkes will be receiving a lifetime achievement award for his countless hours of recording and promoting reggae artists. I will, alongside Patrick Roots, DJ Chocolate of CKLN and Natty B of CHRY, be participating in a demo derby - I've never even seen one of those, so I'm keen.

Also this weekend, if you're out in the northwest part of Toronto, be sure to check out urbanNOISE festival. It's at the North Kipling Community Centre.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

At The Controls with Jammys

Be sure to tune in to the AI radio show on Wednesday at 7PM for an interview with the one and only King Jammy - or "Jammys" if you prefer.

For those who don't know, Jammy is possibly the most important figure in reggae since Bob Marley died. He was the apprentice of King Tubby, revolutionized reggae with computer-generated riddims and his sound was a major influence on jungle/drum and bass. He remains an active hitmaker today.

He was in Toronto for a few days - he lived here for a few years in the 70s - to catch up with family and friends. The main order of business was a dance way out in Woodbridge last night which had been rescheduled from a Father's Day event due to visa problems.

I was very fortunate to talk to him on Friday afternoon about his work and perspective on the dub side of his oeuvre. His answers were insightful and mildly surprising - any medium-to-heavy reggae fan will find much to enjoy in this conversation.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - June 20/07

So I just bought some more discs. Under the spell of the summer solstice, my free spending mojo and strong Canadian dollar has convinced me to loosen the purse strings. So off to Dusty Groove I went, and was pleased to see Jorge Ben's difficult-to- find "Forca Bruta" on sale for a very reasonable price. A few clicks and a few days later it was mine, and upon closer inspection, Dusty Groove was the label as well as the retailer.
Having interviewed their head buyer Rick Wojcik last year, I was very familiar with their mutually beneficial, collaborative relationship with their customers, and a private label seems like the ideal way to please both parties. Each of the six entries in the series is expensive in LP form and it's likely that customer feedback had an impact on these particular reissue choices (including Dorothy Ashby and the Chakachas). Dusty Groove can in turn aggregate the most attractive audience that the rights-holder of these discs might ever reach. It's the kind of eBusiness relationship that benefits everyone. Occurences like this make me think that perhaps it is indeed possible for the internet to enable a music seller to find the right buyer and transact at a rate that's fair to everyone.
I'm not a Dusty Groove employee, just a very devoted customer tripping out on Jorge Ben's first album with Trio Mocoto during these longest days of the year.
scorpio-libra - eddie henderson (bbe/rapster)
nothing but a casablanca slideshow dinner - jef neve trio (universal)
sneaky red - mice parade (fat cat)
o telefone tocou novamente - jorge ben (phillips)
mr. right now - apollo nove (crammed)
se liga nelas - digitaldubs (verge)
estoy contigo - plan c (issi)
junio '73 - willie colon (fania)
dubbaq - legion of green men (post contemporary)
melbourne round midnight - deadbeat (scape)
jumping master - mikey dread (heartbeat)
the slightest shift - kris davis (new sound fresh talent)
suspended head - nels cline singers (cryptogramophone)
hamdouchi - joachim kuhn/majid bekkas/ramon lopez (ACT)
it ain't easy - syl johnson (hi)
let's try (extended mix) - the heptones (heartbeat)
natty never get weary - culture (virgin)
herb man skank - gg allstars (heartbeat)
come around - collie buddz (columbia)
done suh - version xcursion meets ammoye (vx)
don't know who to trust - aggrovators (moll-selekta)

Labels: , , ,

Abstract Index Playlist - June 13/07

Under See Records is a newish label out of Toronto. Their "influences" tab on their Myspace page pretty much covers the constituent parts of the sound, name checking "Discreet Music, Morr, Bliss-Out, Mutek, Warp, Noise Factory, Constellation, Kranky, Kompakt, Sound & Silence".
Minesh Mandoda of No Beat Radio on CIUT and also a prime mover of Ghostlight turned me on to the label's compilation "Cities Beneath The See". It's a good bet to join all the T.O.tronica from the Noise Factory label that gets so much play on my show.
What I like most about this collection of bedroom artists - of the music making variety - is the diversity in both sonic approach and generationally. The old school is represented by Legion of Green Men's alias Empirical Sleeping Consort (heard this week to great acclaim by one listener), Kevin Lynn of King Cobb Steelie, and Aidan Baker. The new schoool, well, for all I know, some of these artists have been at it for more than a decade or perhaps only for the last few minutes...
The mood is both dark and light with many hues of colour in between. It's a wonderful addition to the recorded legacy of the Torontopia period (which started around 2001 and continues), partly because these artists don't play many gigs. It remains unfortunate that most local electronic musicians and DJ oriented artists must look globally for any serious attention. A compilation is always a good way to progress beyond the singluar existence of a Myspace page to throw in one's lot with like minded musicians. Hopefully this comp will get its due at home and abroad.

dungeoneering - tim hecker (barge)
reluctance - empirical sleeping consort (under see)
eating disorders in action - justin haynes/nick fraser (indie)
je suis seule - les amis au pakistan (tir)
feira moderna - som imaginario (rev-ola)
sahib - quarteto em cy (emi/odeon)
xybaba - marius popp (sonar kollektiv)
la murga - willie colon (fania)
maltrata - fruko y sus afro latinos (soundway)
mother's son - curtis mayfield (curtom)
100 drums - eccodek (indie)
let jah love come - rhythm & sound rmx by sweet substance (burial mix)
changes - digital mysticks (soul jazz)
nyabinghis - jeff sharel (statra)
super sharp shooter - dj zinc (soul jazz)
take it easy - meditations (wackies)
the love illusion - ljx (indie)
memoirs of the neighbourhood sniper - ljx (indie)
road of life - heptones (island)
brother and sisters - butch cassidy sound system (guidance)
rub a dub style - love trio feat. u roy

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - June 6/07

Back in '93, my ex-roommate Dania visited from London and was telling me about a new music that I would love that had "double speed James Brown breaks and reggae basslines".

A few years previous, when we were roommates, a big album around the house was The Ragga Twins "Reggae Owes Me Money" on the enigmatic Shut Up And Dance label. Both creative entities are central to this collection which captures some of the most incredible moments of a revolutionary movement.

I don't use the term revolutionary lightly. This was a multiracial music which was born from technology (sampled loops began in earnest by the mid 80s), not a live band interaction. It originated in England, not the Americas like most popular dance rhythms of the 20th century. Jungle was, in its ragga form, a logical offshoot of both dancehall and rave culture as the excellent liner notes detail. There are dark elements to this music, but nothing as comically bleak as would develop later in the decade. Most of all, there is an unstoppable energy and emphasis on polyrhythm which was utterly unlike most dance music since the 70s. This music remains exciting, each track more anthemic than the last. The mastering sounds better than it was back in the day - the Ragga Twins tracks sure sound better than my LP.

The notes also comment on the "rebranding" of jungle as drum and bass around '95, where the Ragga ends, only to slowly mutate into UK Garage and its successors. This would be an eye-opening and butt-shaking listen for anyone who dismisses the rave era as lightweight or is coming into it from a nu-rave perspective.

diabolyn - satanique samba trio (amplitude)
keys - yesterday's new quintet (stones throw)
barrio nuevo - louie ramirez (vampisoul)
descarga del bobo - willie bobo rmx by masters at work (verve)
oya - lekan babalola rmx by le pico (mr. bongo)
baila julia loiza - los pleneros de los 21 (smithsonian)
nakelavishe - fanfare ciocarlia (asphalt tango)
ya rayam - boban markovic orkestar rmx by shantel (essay)
sling shot pt. 2 - lefties soul connection (visions from the roof)
you got me - eddie ray (numero)
mi libertad - toni tornado (emi)
manu - mighty popo (tamba)
ilando gima onge - extra golden (thrill jockey)
turbulence - deadbeat (scape)
under mi sensi - barrington levy & beenie man (soul jazz)
kingdom rise & kingdom fall - wailing souls (greensleeves)
space age - wackies allstars (wackies)
scorpio - prince fatty (mr. bongo)
mad dub - gg allstars (heartbeat)
stop that train - clint eastwood & general saint (greensleeves)
equal rights - the heptones (heartbeat)

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Up From The Roots

The first in a series of CIUT related 20th anniversary shindigs takes place in a week and a half. I'll be spinning between sets alongside Medicineman.

As you can see, the cover price is very affordable.

Hope to see you there.

Labels: , , , ,

Abstract Index Playlist - May 30/07

image courtesy of Do Right Music

There are several great pleasures in my life: music, food, family and tooling around on my bike. Abdominal is a kindred spirit on that last score, virtually defining his Torontonian existence on two wheels. On this most TDot-centric of discs, the standout tracks in terms of imagery are the one and two of "T-Ode" and "Pedal Pusher". This album's only a month old - like the LJX disc posted a few weeks ago, this is made for summer. Toronto tourists, you can put together a couple of entertaining days based entirely on all the geographic shout-outs on this disc.

I ride (mostly) year round, and Abdominal truly captures the experience of bombing down Toronto's streets. I can almost feel the sweat under my helmet as I listen to "Pedal Pusher". I know Abs can't: he states right up fron that he rides bare-headed and might "end up in a casket". Tsk. Then again he probably wipes his bike frame down a lot more often than I do.

One lyric sums up the parallel between MCing and cycling - when you've warmed up enough that energy simply flows "when I hit that zone there's no need to contemplate". I feel the same way about DJing.

5 am westbound (as west as it gets) - naw rmx. by tomas jirku (noise factory)
track 8 - glitch (
mystery of monkeys - les amis au pakistan (tir)
pedal pushers - abdominal (do right)
danse au bonheur - turtle island quartet (telarc)
la boda de belen - manolito simonet (egrem)
potpourri III - willie colon (fania)
uwa idem mi - etubom rex williams (honest jon's)
cigil - nuru kane (riverboat)
legs - darondo (luv n haight)
conquistador - cecil taylor (blue note)
east wind - nostalgia 77 (ubiquity)
miri magni - filifin (frikyiwa)
rwa gasabo/baraka - mighty popo (tamba)
sun will shine - jezzreel (wackies)
weak heart drop - ja-man allstars (blood and fire)
way of life dub - heptones (lagoon) right road to dubland - jahlights (trojan)

Labels: , ,