Saturday, June 28, 2008

Abstract Index Playlist - June 25/08

Don't feel much like blogging, I'll just tell you how great Feuermusik's No Contest is (if you haven't heard it for yourself several times over on this show). For those in Toronto, their official CD release is tonight (Saturday June 28) at the Music Gallery.

Here's something I wrote about them last month. And more reading from Helen Spitzer and Michael Barclay.

Hope you liked the dubness of this show...

manu's ideal - david s ware (thirsty ear)
lightning field/illumination - tim brady/topology (ambiances magnetiques)
the limiter - paul carlon octet (deep time)
descondido - grupo fantasma (highwire)
bertina - huard coppet & orchestra (rounder)
n'oubliez pas la reunion - bob brozman (riverboat)
hum zaidi zaida - ima ensemble (no label)
baly mash ghoul - hossam ramzy (arc)
stampede - badawi (ROIR)
kameleon - 2562 (tectonic)
tired fi lick weed inna bush - jacob miller (greensleeves)
full of grace - feuermusik (standard form)
why the road - ryan driver (rat drifting)
keliwali - ustad mohammed omar & zakir hussain (smithsonian folkways)
war dance - lee scratch perry (narnack)
steppa shock dub - dubmatix (7 arts)
travellin - twilight circus (m records)
feeling like a million - merva grier (hawkeye)
too deep dub - roots radics/king tubby (greensleeves)
truth will reveal - souljah fyah (no label)
disco dub - dub unlimited (senrab)

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Eye Is The Upsetter

Lee Scratch Perry is playing Harbourfront in a free show on Monday evening. Should be a great time. Even when I saw him last, some 10 years ago, he wasn't at the peak of his powers, but he's one of those rare individuals who captivates an audience with his presence alone.

In the cover story I wrote for this week's Eye Magazine, I could have gone any number of different places, but my instructions were to focus on his forthcoming album. This was actually a relief, since most of the angles on the Scratch story - the eccentricity, his Afro-Futurism, his chronology - have been done before in much greater detail. On that score, talking with Andrew WK was an unexpected pleasure. I don't know much of his work - which is somewhat different than what he's doing with Perry - but he was polite and enthusiastic in conversation.

Mr. Perry was also a better interview than I expected. I was actually dreading the interview (not the good kind of dread), fearing I'd get some entertaining quotes but little of substance. Though I didn't end up using much of it in the article, Perry had very interesting things to say about his own work, his relationship to dub and, surprisingly, his currently charitable feelings about the old "vampire" himself, former Island Records boss Chris Blackwell. Dig this quote; you veteran Perry fans won't believe it:

"Well he had the best of my material (up to that point in my career). He had the best set of things of what I was doing at that time, and he was a very good friend. But after we had the album Roast Fish Collie Weed And Corn Bread he did not like it too much. But I still have respect for him as a good person, but I was a little bit mad that he didn’t like that album too much. (I was mad at him for a while) but I got over it, don’t forget that. I said bad things about him “Chris Blackwell is a vampire, he killed bob Marley and used the Wailers”, (laughing) did you ever hear that? But I forgive him for now because he did not understand the album, it was too early. Some of the beats were completely different, it wasn’t exactly reggae, it was experimental. It was too early for his tastes. But I think he’s a great man."

Don't miss the H-Front show, it'll be a highlight of the summer.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Jamaican Echoes - The Documentary - June 29/08

Twilight Circus' studio.

It's finally done and ready to air.

With great pleasure, DJ Chocolate and I direct your attention to Patti Schmidt's new show, Inside The Music, this Sunday June 29th. It's on CBC Radio 2 at noon, and on Radio 1 at 8PM. This time slots are consistent across the country, so there's none of that "8PM Eastern, 9PM Central" stuff.

To recap - Jamaican Echoes has been my biggest project of the last 9 months. It's a documentary which traces the spread of dub from a studio accident in Jamaica to a worldwide musical sensibility.

Interviews will include:

Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound - Depeche Mode, Primal Scream)
Bill Laswell (Global dub innovator - Fela Kuti, Motorhead, Herbie Hancock)
Twilight Circus (M Records - Michael Rose, Big Youth, Queen Ifrica)
Clifton Joseph (Dubzzz poet at large - CBC, Dub Poets Collective)
Dubmatix (Nu dub from Toronto – new disc features Alton Ellis, Sugar Minott)
Leroy Sibbles (All-time reggae legend! Heptones, Studio One bassist)
Michael Veal (Author; Dub: Soundscapes And Shattered Songs In Jamaican Reggae)

This documentary is produced, written and edited by yours truly and hosted and co-produced by Lauren "DJ Chocolate" Speers.

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Abstract Index Playlist - June 18/08

This is one of the few "drum machine" sounds that I've encountered that sets everyone to dancing straight away. Although 2562 contains subtle and sophisticated sound design, it's all in the beats. They're everything that's been great about London dance music for the last decade (even though Dave Huismans is Dutch), but they also seem to reference almost every African-derived polyrhythm of the last 50 years. This week's track, "Tekno Dread", has a soukous feel not far beneath the surface dread. These beats are light years away from the slow-motion dubstep of a few years ago.

Unlike so many micro-genre dance musics which position themselves against slightly more popular genres like so many "you can't possibly understand my music" rock and rollers, 2562's sound is refreshingly inclusive. I dropped another track from this album at the last Funkabelly dance, and the 90% female bellydancing crowd was quite receptive to these synthetic yet persuasive rhythms.


As of this week, my podcasting is going to be located at CIUT's website. It won't be downloadable, but the stream is higher quality audio and very easy to navigate. You can find it here.

tekno dread - 2562 (tectonic)
skeng - the bug feat. flowdan & killa p (ninja tune)
bohemian mud strut - munk (compost)
delivery - kanada 70 (inyrdisk)
ghost rock - nomo (ubiquity)
mukuba - kasai allstars (crammed)
i let my mind wander - the reveries (rat drifting)
somebody come and play - jacob sacks/yoon sun choi (yeah yeah)
yorubonics - paul carlon octet (deep tone)
marioneta - la cumbiambe eneye (chonta)
salsa na ma - fruko y sus tesos (soundway)
all i need - al green (emi)
echo vamp 1976 - billy bang/don cherry (ptr)
fonding ke - seckou keita quartet (world adventures)
one spliff a day - billy boyo (greensleeves)
sensi dub - roots radics/king tubby (greensleeves)
give thanks and praises - dubmatix/ranking joe (7 arts)
works of h.i.m. - mossman vs. vander (dispensation)
praises to the most high - king ujah (king ujah)
the plane land - richie spice (vp)
nothing to smile about - morgan heritage (vp)
i've got to make it - larry marshall (soul jazz)
hunting - keith hudson (basic replay)

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abstract Index Playlist - June 11/08

Way late with this playlist, sorry. I'll keep it brief.
As a dedication to my daughter, I played the sugar sweet Carroll Thompson this week (misidentified on air, oh well). It's amazing to me that in the space of ten years or so, British lovers rock produced seemingly as many distinctive female vocalists as in the entire reggae era in Jamaica. Sure I like the I-Threes - though they're not exactly the Sweet Inspirations in overall talent - but I'm always mystified why there are so few world-class female singers from JA. An incredibly sexist music industry can't be the only reason... Perhaps fortunately, current day faves Etana and Queen Ifrica are as strong as any vocalists I've heard from the land of wood and water.
Here's a review of this compilation I did for Exclaim magazine.
Hour 2 podcast

allah mazane - niyaz (six degrees)
circle saw - szilard mezei ensemble (red toucan)
tiny pyramids - ratchet orchestra (no label)
have I lost my eyes - eric chenaux (constellation)
ajde, ajde fato - boban markovic orkestar (pirahna)
a casa de pedra - cassiano (emi)
while my guitar gently weeps - moody (sunbeam)
monk swing - karma and lotus (ptr)
african problems - seun kuti & egypt 80 (disorient)
milk - the mothers rmx. by nitin sawhney & peter raeburn (mr. bongo)
the alchemist manifesto - ocote soul sounds (esl)
you choose - zaki ibrahim (sony)
never in my life - love affair (ubiquity)
trust your child - patrizia & jimmy (numero)
it's so sorry - carroll thompson (greensleeves)
my mission is impossible - viceroys (trojan)
trickster - junior delgado (sound boy)
zentown - zentone (jarring effects)
spirits in the material world - dubxanne feat. benjamin zephaniah
a day will come - wailing souls (greensleeves)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Abstract Index Playlist - June 4/08

Damn, I played a ton of jazz this week. There was more than an hour of jazz and free-improvised music contained in the grooves.

Myk Freedman (and a mostly silent Kai Koschmider)of "junkyard jazz band" St. Dirt Elementary School stopped by for a very interesting conversation about a range of issues that affect jazz musicians. We talked about the Tranzac's shift from a Australian-New Zealand folk n' dixieland club to its current status as a haven for experimental music. We also talked about his experiences in New York, which sounded like freelancing heaven/nightmares with players contributing to as many as 20 projects at once, leading to a certain lack of cohesion within individual working units. St. Dirt retains the same lineup as always and they've got a drunken, soulful, abstract spirit all their own. Go see the at the Tranzac through June - they'll be working up material for a new album.

Cohesion is definitely a word that comes to mind when describing Shot X Shot. Let Nature Square shows incredible teamwork in a quartet setting of two saxes, acoustic bass and drums. Naturally, I'm immediately drawn to the groovier bits, like "Triple Double", which I played a few weeks ago. More developed pieces like "Overlay" show the band is unafraid to abandon all expectations of lead and rhythm instruments. The saxes play in unison or in counterpoint, sometimes as the center of attention, elsewhere creating hypnotic rhythm information. The coda of the song is my favourite part, featuring both saxophones blended with a bowed bass while the drums take the lead melodic role.

They're coming to Montreal this summer but no word on Toronto yet.

Hour 1 Podcast
Hour 2 Podcast

na oil - seun kuti and egypt 80 (disorient)
the bride - brotherhood of breath (cuneiform)
skoiaan - cold storage band (swp)
frenetic warrior - wilson/lee/bentley (drip audio)
fulcrum - brian groder (latham)
viagem - hermeto pascoal e grupo (som da gente)
placebo or panacea - capillary action (pangaea)
overlay - shot x shot (high two)
remembering the neighbourhood michael jackson - st. dirt elementary school (no label)
circus of horror - quiet village (k7)
freak freak - the bug (ninja tune)
soul dread dub - dubmatix (7 arts)
dub 51 - dubblestandart (echo beach)
sky cup - phase selector (ROIR)
big two hundred - uk decay (select cuts)
can't stand losing you - dubxanne (echo beach)
on dub street - dub guerilla (enja)

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