Last week, I had the privilege of meeting a pioneer of experimental electronic music whose work is receiving much belated recogniton. His name is Warner Jepson, and this partial chronology of works ought to be enough to convince anyone of the man's largesse.
His latest exhibition is "Metamorfaces," a collection of portrait images discovered at the National Center for Experiments in Telelvision, on display until August 16, 2009, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Blending buchla synthesizer audio signals with those of one of the earliest video synthesizers, Jepson creates a series of self-portraits that mesmerize and terrorize the viewer, sometimes becoming so fractured as to evoke evisceration of the self, and often brightening to heights of synesthetic beauty. Humor is thrown into the mix, too, as can be seen below in his work, "Hot Pink Guys."
With more exhibitions and a Shinkoyo DVD release planned for the future, Jepson's work is being discovered, rediscovered and uncovered by a younger generation of electronic composers and video artists. Over at the Mutant Sounds blog, they're hosting Totentanz, a recording from a score to a ballet first performed in 1967 here in San Francisco. A real gem, well worth the time of anyone interested in what Kyle Gann has called 'American Music,' especially those interested in the unheralded composers of the new music and electronic era.
Later today, a little check-up on Monika Kruse...
Though some have argued that MJ died long ago, his output has always been ripe for remixes. Today, some of my favorites...
First up, Minilogue's remix of "Billie Jean," which I posted here way back in June 2007. Then, I called the remix "a crowd-pleasing, banging, unreleased remix of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." The boys of Minilogue take the original and kick it up about a zillion notches-- the kicks and bass are loud as hell, the verses are cut completely, and all that's left is the classic three-note synth line and cut-up samples of Jacko singing, "Billie Jean is not my lover, she's just a girl who thinks that I am the one." Along with some spacey lazer stabs and echoey washes, what was a great song to dance to becomes a great song to lose yourself in. Another plus is that the beginning seconds of the track fool people into thinking it's the original, but when it really starts pumping, they're almost happier that it isn't something they've heard before."
So without further ado, here goes.
Michael Jackson- Billie Jean (Minilogue Remix)
Next up is the white label edit of the Jackson Five's "Walk Right Now," nicely done by Whiplash & Turner. Last August, I wrote: "The club mix of "Whatcha Doing to Me" is one of the most slamming house tracks I've heard in recent memory, and though it has a bit of a progressive vibe, it is a truly awesome party anthem-- when I spin this, people completely lose their shit. With great loops and samples of Michael Jackson, ferocious kicks, terrific melodic sampling, and two elegantly unsubtle peak moments, "Whatcha Doing to Me" is one of those tracks that worms its way into your bones."
Here is the original from YouTube, followed by the remix.
Whiplash & Turner- Whatcha Doing to Me
In March of 2008, my friend MDH gave me a great edit from the Hollertronix series, and I wrote: "How can one not love a remix of "Smooth Criminal" that is so elegant, so banging, so infectious? On the seventh installment of the series, "Okay Annie" by the Boogie Down Bottlenose Dolphins (a name that I find charming despite its try-hard nature) is the track to cut out to-- it demands action on the dance-floor, as its choices and arrangments of samples can almost be said to rival Jacko's original. High-octane stuff, and at 136-bpm, it can fit easily into a banging techno set."
Boogie Down Bottlenose Dolphins- Okay Annie
Finally, today my friend Logan from Teengirl Fantasy posted this pretty awesome Doo Dew Rock take, Baltimore-style, on "Rock With You." It begins with a loop of what is possibly my favorite MJ moments ever recorded to tape, and just goes from there. Excellent.
Doo Dew Rock- Rock With Me (B'More Club Mix)
RIP, Michael. Please, though, apologize to James Brown for stealing his Camel Walk.
Sometimes you have a bad day and you need something to batter you on the dancefloor until you are physically exhausted and emotionally renewed. Here's one of my favorite salves: Dionne - Feel Da Rain (D'Pac Dub). It's repetitive, spacey, hard and funky. Thankfully, it's short; this dub has only one idea. It's a really good idea, though, and it outshines the other mixes.
Check it out for a piece of the classic 1990s Chicago / Detroit mix-up style perfected at KMS records under Chez Damier's management.
Today, a Nu Groove track from 1990. Lenny Dee and Ralphie Dee recorded The Effects Can Last Forever way back when, and though it is definitely an influential and generally awesome record, its most famous track-- "Overdose (The Final Trip)"-- sounds like the soundtrack to a bad vodka commercial. Still great though! Here it is for your listening and drinking pleasure.
Major Problems- Overdose (The Final Trip)"
I know, three Marc Kinchen related posts in just as many weeks is a bit much, but this guy has been getting a lot of love from all over once again. Maybe he'll ditch what he's been doing recently and come back to the house side of the game because of this renaissance? Hopefully.
Anyway, probably my favorite of his remixes is the one he did for the B-52's "Tell it Like it TI Is." The palette to work with here is abundant, full of great vocal samples, excellent synths and a feeling that is unintentionally deep, which Kinchen just pushes to the fore with some nice lush Chicago synths and crisp percussion. Probably one of my favorite tracks at the moment, this is the real business.
The B-52's- Tell it Like it T I Is (Mk Mix)
Tomorrow, doing something digital....
Trying to make my way to see Kerri Chandler this evening at Mighty, and as a result, have been revisiting some of my favorite KC and KC-related tracks from his recent output. So, without further ado, here's a little run-down with some tracks for your listening pleasure.
First up is his 2006 soulful collaboration with Monique Bingham, "In the Morning." With his trademark lush synths and crisp hi-hats, Chandler sexes it up in a dialogue with his lover. Bingham provides the female voice in the track, with some nice disembodied sustains. Best part of the track is definitely when KC intones, "I'm so...fucking...into you." Damn, what a sexy piece of house this is!
Kerri Chandler and Monique Bingham- In the Morning (Final Raw Mix)
Next is among his more well-known recent joints, "I Think of You," with its excellent early Nu Groove-influenced bassline, nice organic synths, and some true lovesick vocals. It's really this latter element that makes the track, allowing for a smoothness that recalls Arnold Jarvis, among others. A great track that everyone should be rocking.
Kerri Chandler- I Think of You (I Love More Bass Mix)
Finally, a Tiger Stripes track featuring Chandler on some seriously soulful vocals, backing up a track with an unavoidably awesome Afrobeat influence that falls somewhere between the two famous members of the Kuti clan. Great organs, some disgustingly tight brass, and polyrhythms abound in "Rain Song." Along with a clear, jazz fusion guitar line, this is one of those tracks that people may hate on, but mostly because they're jealous that they didn't write it. TIP!
Tiger Stripes featuring Kerri Chandler- Rain Song (Main Mix)
Tomorrow, think I'm going to do a quick return to a Marc Kinchen remix, because it is just too sick to not write about.
Unless you've been sleeping on the house and techno scene in recent years, you know that some of the most exciting music being made right now is being produced by younger artists, some of them under the legal drinking age in the US. Today, a round-up of three sets of young producers who've been lauded for good reason.
First up, a group that hardly needs an introduction: The Martinez Brothers. With their 2007 club anthem "My Rendition" and recent work with DJ Robert and Argy, TMB are certainly going towards the top of the big-room techno world quite quickly, thanks to their astounding DJ skills and mentors like Dennis Ferrer. In case you didn't hear it then, here's "My Rendition" for your ears-- nice Ibadan-style house with serious momentum and great syncopations. Originally on Objektivity.
The Martinez Bros.- My Rendition (TMB Main Mix)
A hop across the Atlantic brings us the sounds of South Africa's Culoe De Song, a young prodigy whose EP on Innervisions, The Bright Forest, has been hailed as a return to deep, tribal house that the staid European minimal-drenched scene needs. Though the EP's title track has been getting a great deal of love, the best track according to many is De Song's "African Subway," a polyrhythmic deep blast that utilizes traditional African percussive bits, an incredibly powerful and echoing two-note piano stab, and some heavy, near-Africans with Mainframes style percussive flourishes along with squiggles and reversed-cymbal washes. One hell of a track, this one is best listened to at a loud volume in a club or a car, as its graceful subtleties don't come out as much otherwise.
Culoe De Song- African Subway
Finally, we come back to a native son: Detroit's Kyle Hall, an 18-year-old from Detroit who has been repped quite a bit recently by Reggie Dokes, Mike Huckaby, Omar-S and plenty of others. His 2008 The Water is Fine EP on Moods & Grooves is a three-track showcase of seriously groovy, percussion-heavy deep house, with lush summery synths, hi-frequency flourishes, and even a hint of acid. Hall is seriously the producer that I think should be watched most closely in the coming years, as his production and DJ skills are already in fantastic form, and can only get better, especially with such a great scene backing him up. Well worth watching his YouTube videos, checking out his Wild Oats label, and downloading his amazing recent mix for FACT magazine.
One of the best reissues to come out of 2008 was the (assumingly bootlegged) re-arrival of Rheji Burrell's Files record under his Utopia Project alias. Originally released in 1990, the record reeks of proto-deep house and is certainly a harbinger of what later became a New York deep house sound. With thick kicks, crisp handclaps, lovely lush synth stabs, and a very nicely synched bass-line, "File #1" is a real treasure and pleasure for the years almost twenty years later. Definitely blasting this late-night in the car!
The Utopia Project- File #1
Tomorrow, thinking of doing a piece on the young producers making waves right now.
At first, I didn't like the track below at all. A few weeks later, it has become my favorite guilty pleasure-- Janet's silky voice, Q-Tip's silliness, and a strangely bewitching use of a Joni Mitchell sample make for some nice listening. David Morales and Frankie Knuckles remixing these elements? B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
A bit more of a 'serious' post tomorrow with some tehcno tracks.
Also, I encourage everyone to listen to Aaron-Carl's newest production work for vocalist Erica LaFay. You can hear it here.
Janet featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell- Got 'Til It's Gone (Def Club Mix)
The Aquanauts are among the more mysterious members of the Underground Resistance family, and though the 'nauts members are known (Milton Baldwin, Lamont Norwood) and work under more well-known names (Baldwin is DJ Skurge, for example), their tracks don't get half as much love as they really should.
"Cruiseship Killa," originally released on 7" and later expanded and re-released on The Titanic EP, is a sick piece of electro-funk, with crisp percussion, a disgustingly catchy bass hook, bright synths, and acidy bits coming in and out like worms through a corpse. High intrigue, this track, and definitely an attention-grabber. Version below is the 7" version-- sorry, it's the one I've got on hand!
The Aquanauts- Cruiseship Killa
Tomorrow, a report on the Wighnomy set, and maybe some new shit from the Safari label.
On the I Love Music forum, someone has posted this track that the Wighnomy Brothers spun recently, in hopes of identifying it. So far, no one has figured it out...can you?
I'm quite excited about the set tonight at the End-Up here in San Francisco-- four hours of vinyl and vodka, I'm certain! Also excited about the prospect of the duo spinning the above track, with its perfect mix of more minimal and more deep house sonics.
Later today, a piece from the Aquanauts crew of the Underground Resistance family.
As promised, here is a track from Hieroglyphic Being's newest record, So Much Noise 2 Be Heard, on Mathematics out of Chicago. "Behind the Green Door" recalls some of the less acid moments in Jamal Moss' oeuvre, such as the Conversations in an Analog Dialect EP, with hi-frequency progressions providing a base for the extremely dry percussive elements, rumbling bass, and mid-frequency melodic element. Of course, Moss continues to really work the insane syncopations of his past work, allowing for a rhythmically complex track that also manages to be both dreamy and banging. Truly one of the most unheralded artists of our times, Moss deserves your love. Tip!
Hieroglyphic Being- Behind the Green Door
Tomorrow, thinking something from UR!!
I'm sure older readers can remember my abiding obsession with Hieroglyphic Being's work, and really all of Jamal Moss' output. Well, I picked up his newest slices when I was in New York a few weeks back, and am in the midst of digitizing some tracks for you. So, until tomorrow, I give you a piece that Moss recorded under his Sun God alias.
Tomorrow, some Hieroglyphic Being, and maybe some other good techno.
Back in the summer of 2006, someone on the I Love Music board repped for the first record by A Made Up Sound (aka 2562, aka David Huismans), calling it a truly jazzy piece of deep house. I was still a bit green at this point, and the description fit what I was looking for at the time, so the next time I travelled to Cleveland's Bent Crayon shop, I picked it up, and I'm still glad that I did. The record is versatile and deeply groovy while simultaneously effusing an effortlessness that makes it perfect for a lazy weekend rollabout, either in bed or on the open road.
While "Late Drive" is a bit more subtle in its effect, "Sunday" is the true winner on this slice of vinyl. With reverberating, live-sounding kicks, wet handclaps, and a lovely little jacking ping, the rhythmic template of the track is set out early. Then, a near-subsonic bass-line begins riding, along with a truly lovely, dusty organ melodic line. Backing vocal samples, bits of glitchy wash and percussive flourishes round out this powerfully deep house track. Could see anyone from Moodymann to Theo Parrish to Dixon utilizing this slice in a set-- a real endorsement! On the always-excellent Philpot label.
A Made Up Sound- Sunday
Tomorrow, thinking a Jazzanova piece featuring one of my favorite artists at the moment, Paul Randolph.