Okay, I am a loyal customer of Apple, but I have been having endless problems with my laptop as of recent-- at this point, I can't even turn on my MacBook Pro because of battery/connectivity issues. The problem should be solved by sometime later this week, but until then, sit tight. Good tunes coming soon!
For today's post, we return to the analog techno mastery of Jamal Moss (aka Insane Black Man, aka Hieroglyphic Being, aka The Sun God, not to mention a member of Africans with Mainframes). I was inspired to go through my Hieroglyphic Being collection again after listening to an excellent black techno mix done by his partner in crime from Africans With Mainframe, Noleian Reusse (which you can find over at Infinite State Machine). Per usual, I was floored by Moss' uncanny ability to make a most organic, pounding form of techno. "The Strenuous Life" begins with various piano loops intersecting each other in sublime syncopation, and then erupts more than two minutes in with a heavy kick, hissing cymbals, and backing synths that harmonize perfectly with the more soulful piano. Moss' talent is truly on display here-- he makes what obviously took days seem absolutely effortless and natural. Highly recommended.
Hieroglyphic Being- The Strenuous Life
Next up, something a bit out of the ordinary.
Labels: Hieroglyphic Being
Today, a bit of an interesting take on Kraftwerk. My friend and compatriot in techno, Leo, ran a video bit from the Kraftwerk site at the same time as the timeless bit of early techno, "Musique Non Stop," and found that the result was quite something. The audio from the video rendered the original track more lush and ethereal, and some would say more ear-pleasing. In my opinion, the result is more akin to Carl Craig's Detroit sound than the original, and that is most certainly a good thing. So, without further ado, here's this new take on the classic track. Hope you enjoy!
Kraftwerk- Musique Non Stop (Leo's Video Crash Mix)
Tomorrow, surprises abound.
First off, the new schedule at WOBC has been announced, and you can listen to my show, which expands upon what I usually post here, from 7-9 PM EST on Tuesdays. Planning a show with lots of surprises, including much more hip-hop and ghettotech than is found here. So unless you're in Oberlin, OH, stream the show every Tuesday! Guaranteed goodness.
Secondly, but more importantly, today I'm giving you a track by my friends, the boys from Teengirl Fantasy, a group I mentioned a while back. Logan and Nick have quickly ascended to insane heights, not just at Oberlin-- where their group is pretty much considered the best on campus-- but in the broader music world. Not only were they featured on 20 Jazz Funk Greats about a week ago, but the NME have contacted them about being included in an upcoming issue. There's a reason why hype is building around them: they're fucking good. Really good. (And I dare say, they're both handsome devils and wonderful people).
"GasMaskk" is a fast-paced number with excellent synths, perfectly farty little bass notes, soft processed vocals, different samples taken from the Sparks-produced Lio track, "Marie Antoinette," and an uncanny ability to worm itself into the ear and stay there for days. Any specific genre is difficult to pin on them, but it is most certainly fantastic party music, and there are definitely moments that remind me of the more esoteric, good italo-style disco. Well worth seeing live, it's also worth a trip to their Angelfire page, which Harry over at eeshirtay has called the most amazing throwback to late 90s personal webpage design he's ever seen. Quite something!
Thanks to Nick and Logan for allowing me to post this. Check it!
Teengirl Fantasy- GasMaskk
Next up, a surprisingly gorgeous little experiment that my friend did using the Kraftwerk website, a mix, and some more good stuff for your ears.
Because it's been delayed so long, I'm just going to forget that I ever wrote that I'd post that mix a while back. Instead, I'll post a newer mix I've been working on sometime later this week.
For now, though, a 1999 track from one of the kings of weird Detroit, Kenny Dixon Jr., aka Moodymann. Always bringing the out the roots of house in his sounds, one of the best examples is found in the track below, "The Thief That Stole My Sad Days." Based around various loops of preachers, church organ, piano, and a gorgeously earnest lead female vocal, the track has a power that can only be called holy. His own synth work and drum patterns are unobtrusive-- the kicks are well-padded but mixed somewhat low, for example-- but add a definite kick to the track. It is difficult to describe any further-- just know that Dixon knows what he is doing, and can teach anyone a thing or two about music history, black history AND how to jam out. Highly recommended, because even if you don't ever play it at a party, it is a great song to start the day.
Moodymann- The Thief That Stole My Sad Days
Tomorrow, a track by Teengirl Fantasy. After that? A Kraftwerk mash-up, a mix, and some other goodies. Sorry again for my sporadic posting this past week.
Sorry I skipped two days, but that's been my longest break from the blog in over a month! That mix should be up later tonight or early tomorrow, most likely.
For now, though, a classic from Jeff Mills, whose supremely dry early squelch has been pleasing my ears a lot recently. "Changes of Life" is a classic from his first full album on the infamous Tresor label out of Berlin, and is based on pounding kicks, endlessly looped piano chords, and hi-hats so crisp that they ring in the ears long after the track is over. The hand-claps prove a great juxtaposition to the other elements of the track in that they may very well be the most stretched, wet claps I've ever heard.
Jeff Mills- Changes of Life
Tomorrow, that mix and a Moodymann track that has been weaving through my brain consistently. And later in the week, a treat.
Okay, so I told a little fib-- the mix isn't coming today. Probably tomorrow or Monday, at the latest. Sorry for the delay, but I just don't have the time to do it this weekend, as many old friends have come to visit for a bit and the schedule is packed.
But I do have a special treat for you: an old school, totally destroying remix from Carl Craig. Much has been made of the man's 2007 remix work for Junior Boys and Faze Action, but he was still working it back in 1994, as can be heard on his astounding take on System 7's "Sirenes." The single version of the track also features remixes from Laurent Garnier and Marshall Jefferson, but Craig puts them both to shame with some breaks-oriented techno that might very well be among my favorite works of the moment. The kicks are heavy, the hi-hats and snares are crisply pervasive, and the synths are luscious and wailing throughout. The well-defined bass-line also brings a great deepness to the track. Perhaps what is most interesting about the remix, though, is that it is very much in line with what Craig has been doing recently-- melodic lines and secondary synth bits are looped and come in at specific moments to build maximum drama, so that at times the track is truly sparse, while at others it is very wet and very full.
System 7- Sirenes (System 7.1)(Carl Craig Remix)
Tomorrow, a classic from Jeff Mills, and maybe that mix!
Two good friends of mine have just been featured on the venerable UK blog, 20 Jazz Funk Greats. They're called Teengirl Fantasy, and are the best band to come out of Oberlin, OH, since Matt Mehlan and the Skeletons crew left our little town in 2004. Raymond Scott samples, spacey disco beats, hip-hop vocal tracks, bits from Lio's Suite Sixtine album-- these are only a few of the tools these boys are using. And they're both under twenty! So head on over to 20JFG and download their excellent track, "Portofino." Perhaps I'll feature something of theirs on this blog soon.
The mix is coming tomorrow! Look forward to a party.
Since I skipped yesterday, today I offer you two great house tracks!
The first is a record I bought simply because it was on the venerable Eightball Records label, now defunct, that released much house and techno by Japanese producers. This production, though, features producer Al Mack, who has more recently been doing a load of television and film work. The track, "Sky's the Limit," features a diva named Jacqueline and excellent backing vocal tracks, pianos with pluck and flourish enough, and an excellently high bpm for what essentially amounts to a fantastic riff on classic vocal house. Though every version on the EP of the same name is quite something, the best take on "Sky's the Limit" is the Toney D. Classic Vocal Mix-- there are literally moments where, if the sounds were a bit less compressed, you could be listening to Marshall Jefferson. Fantastic!
Mack Vibe featuring Jacqueline- Sky's the Limit (Toney D.'s Classic Vocal Mix
Next up is an old-school track from Satoshi Tomiie, featuring one of my favorite house and contemporary soul singers, Arnold Jarvis. Immediately following the release of the classic "Tears," Tomiie worked with Frankie Knuckles again, producing yet another perfect, luscious house track. At 119-bpm, the slowly changing piano chords, the soft backing synths, and the reverby horn samples make for something that is truly special. The congas and secondary percussive bits are also excellent, and only praise can be lavished on the strummed guitar chords and Jarvis' vocal work. The fact that the mix I am giving you today comes from the insanely prolific and fantastic David Morales only makes "And I Loved You" that much better. A real gem of early 90s house. Highly recommended!
Satoshi Tomiie featuring Arnold Jarvis (12" Red Zone Vocal Mix)
Tomorrow, a mix!
Today, we have a wonderfully soulful track from Lidell Townsell, originally released in 91-92. "Nu Nu" is a 121-bpm house number that begins with gorgeous, all-male vocal harmonies akin to street-corner styles of yesteryear. The bass-line is as sinplistically funky as one can get, and the kicks are heavy as get-out-- compared to Townsell's later, more acidy works, the percussive bits on "Nu Nu" are positively overwhelming in their wetness. Of course, the lyrics in the track are typically sexual, but in a sweet and sentimental way, not a gross and slightly offputting way. Definitely recommended, as it is one of Townsell's first tracks that is less jackin' and more soulful. Not to disparage jackin'!
Lidell Townsell- Nu Nu (Original Club Mix)
Sorry about a little skip a few minutes in-- it's an old and worn copy, so I couldn't get rid of the kinks! Still a great download.
Next up, a mix and a bit of Mack Vibe!
Today is the final post concerned with this record, a gem of early 90s Chicago house. Derrick Carter comes at us as himself (along with his alter-ego, The Unknown) on a track that pretty much epitomizes the Chicago sound-- "Dancin Music" has chunky kicks, handclaps, congas, bright hi-hats, vocals sampled from old soul records, and a funky-ass bass-line that just propels the whole thing forward. Electric organ stabs and bits of squelch make for a track that is pretty much perfect in every way.
The Unknown- Dancin Music
Hope you enjoyed that little mini-series! Next up, a 1992 track from Lidell Townsell that will surely have you snappin.
Today, we continue on to the second side of this record, to a track produced by Ron Trent under his Nagual moniker. Unlike yesterday's track by Chuggles, aka Chez Damier, "Feel the Rhythm" not only mixes well with other tracks, but stands alone as what might be one of the best bits Mr. Trent has ever produced. The hi-hats are crisp, the kicks are heavy as hell, and the other drum loops are equally groovy and palatable. A blissfully lush four-note synth loop goes throughout, and along with the soul-based vocal samples and hi-frequency strings, the track is astoundingly dense with different material. And that's before mentioning the mid-frequency synth-line that comes in when you least expect, drowning the ears in an inimitable echoey squelch. Really quite a track!
Nagual- Feel the Rhythm
Tomorrow, the last installment of the exploration with an ace track by Derrick Carter and The Unknown. And coming soon: Lidell Townsell, Mack Vibe featuring Jacqueline, and a nice surprise.
Today starts a three-post series dealing with this record, which is apparently quite rare AND expensive at this point. I got my paws on a copy, so I thought I might as well treat all of you to some great tracks that might otherwise be lost to record-collecting nerds (like myself, I know).
The first track is a remix of a co-production between Chez Damier, J. William and the ubiquitous Ralph Lawson. The Hector Lopez rework of "Thank You" differs from the other two tracks on the 12" because it doesn't necessarily work that well as a stand-alone track; rather, it is an excellent DJ tool for mixing, whether on the decks or the computer. The 124-bpm track contains well-padded kicks, crisp clean hi-hats, a sample of a record being spun backwards and forwards, and reverby, often-crowded vocal samples that lend the track a hallucinatory air at moments. While I like the track as it stands, I can't get enough of mixing with it-- the sounds are simply great for mixing into vocal house tracks, and its celebratory soul vibe is fantastic for dancing. Originally on venerable Prescription Records out of Chicago.
Chuggles- Thank You (The Hector Lopez Remix)
Tomorrow, look forward to Ron Trent's sublime "Feel the Rhythm"!