Sunday, 31 October 2010

Mellodrama aka 'Mellotron: The Movie'

Oh look someone's made a documentary about the amazing Mellotron. If you don't know what one is, then watch THIS and all will be explained (The two guys in that video are the best. True British gents).

I'm sure I speak for us all when I say that playing with the 'Cha Cha Cha Flute' loops on the mellotron is pretty much the most fun you can have in life with your clothes on. In fact just play with the loops naked and it will be the most fun you can have in life full-stop.

So i'll await the documentary's release at my local Odeon/Multiplex, it's obviously the kind of mass-appeal tale they'd go for. The official website for the film is here, and this trailer looks pretty tasty:

Bass Harmonicas ROCK

An often overlooked instrument it is, the bass harmonica. I guess the best known examples of it's usage are on Pet Sounds (by The Beach Boys, in case you are musically-challenged), particularly on songs like ''I Know There's An Answer' (Spotify link HERE). They're a strange beast, a kind-of double harmonica which needs to be held with both hands. Sound-wise, it's a mixture of an accordion, jews-harp and MASSIVE FART

I am reminded of the bass harmonica's virtues by a visit to the Squeezytunes blog, a celebration of all instruments electro-mechanical, which I used to visit ALL the time... it's seldom updated now. Hint hint to Squeezyboy (the blog's author). Here is a video posted there showing the FULL POWER of the harmonica:

Why isn't entertainment like this anymore? Instead we get X Factor...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

I Love Dave Lambert

With the latest episode of Mad Men fresh in my mind (Season 4 is still ongoing in the UK), I felt it pertinent to wax lyrical about Dave Lambert. WHAT A GUY. An incredibly talented jazz vocalist and arranger, he pioneered the vocal-harmony-heavy brand of jazz ('Vocalese') which you'd associate with TV advert jingles like this.

Lambert had a trio (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross) that recorded three classic albums on Capitol in the early 60s (For those with Spotify I have compiled them):

The following video, found thanks to the guys over at the Soul Strut forum, is properly good like pet. It's a behind-the-scenes look at Dave Lambert auditioning for a new band at RCA studios, after the demise of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. It is such a pleasure to be able to see footage from the legendary studio in use, and to see the genius that is Dave Lambert at work. If you're not interested in vintage recording studios, as you may well not be, then just skip to 2:50 for some gorgeous 5-part-harmony:


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pinduca- Larí Larí Ê (DOWNLOAD)

In the north-east of Brazil (particularly the north), Pinduca is a legend. He specialised in a traditional rhythm from Pará state called 'Carimbó', and incorporated scratchy electric guitars and brass into the otherwise rootsy mix, which makes it extra fonky. He later mutated the rhythm into the dreaded Lambada. We all know how that turned out (yuck). Although he's basically been making the same song for 40 years, it's a GREAT SONG so I love him unconditionally. 

'Larí Larí Ê' will make you smile and shake your hips, especially when that tasty saxophone solo comes in. I suggest you click (on the downward arrow on the right-hand-side of the soundcloud player) below and put my theory to the test:


My New Guitar Heroes- Avi Buffalo & Connan Mockasin

I miss guitar solos. Luckily, bands like Avi Buffalo and artists like Connan Mockasin are bringing guitar artistry BACK. Not necessarily in the form of epic twin-guitar solos and the like, more in the prominent placing of melodic guitar parts in their arrangements.

Here is a video of Connan Mockasin playing 'Choade My Dear', from his debut album released earlier this year.

He used to front the band Connan & The Mockasins, who were brilliant. Like Hendrix appearing on Sesame Street. Watch the video here for 'Sneaky Sneaky Dogfriend'. How this didn't get to number one I will never know.

Here is another Connan 'joint' from said debut album (Please Turn Me Into The Snat). It's called 'Faking Jazz Together':

I saw Avi Buffalo at The Green Man Festival in August and I knew I had witnessed a guitar HERO in the making. Their debut album is a thing of wonder. Here is the song 'Five Little Sluts'. Oo Err:

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Jorge Lopez Ruíz- J.M "Pepe"- El Condor

I went to Buenos Aires back in 2004. It were proper good like. Was only there for a few days but manages to have plenty of spare time digging for records. In one particularly sordid encounter a record-dealer actually came round to my hotel room with a few rare platters. One of them was an LP from a stalwart of the 70s Argentinian jazz scene, bassist Jorge Lopez Ruíz. I bought it on the strength of the cover alone (muy bueno).

I was happy that the music lived up to the cover. Think double-bass, fender rhodes, CLEAN electric guitar and muted drum-kit played with mallets. Mellow! I pretty much haven't stopped listening to this album since. It's basically fantastic electric-jazz with folkloric flourishes. Oo-err try saying that after a few pints.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Rockfeedback Flyers are Cute (Click thumbnails to enlarge)

Went to see Maps & Atlases yesterday, they were excellent, but the sound was frustrating. We couldn't hear their quiet, intricate fret-tapping over the ginormous-sounding metal drummer they have. Quite frankly Maps & Atlases are all about the fret-tapping. Going back to Cargo next week for Toro Y Moi, which i'm very much looking forward to


Funkadelic- I Can Get To That, Yes Sir

I have recently discovered early Funkadelic through the joy that is Spotify. I have a couple of their later poppy disco LPs, and was never that fussed, but their early recordings truly are something special, a fusion of deep funk, hendrix-style wigouts, cosmic psycho-babble and white country-stylings. Check out Can You Get To That from the album Maggot Brain (1971):

Sounds like something from 'Exile On Main Street'... gorgeous countrified soul music. Who can resist those female backing vocals. The band Sleigh Bells must also love it, as they pinched the intro for this song, a real highlight from their excellent debut album Treats

Zapp & Roger: The Early Years

This is astonishing, impossible to not just put on repeat FOREVER

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

What Is 12-Bit Crunch?

It's the cereal that DJ Premier has for breakfast HA

OK not really. "12-Bit Crunch" is a term, used by hip-hop production enthusiasts, to describe the artifacts bestowed on a sound recording when it goes through a 12-bit digital sampler, i.e the famous EMU SP-1200:

or the AKAI MPC-60:

To modern ears, a 12-bit recording would sound grainy and/or crunchy, i.e a bit like a bad mp3

CD's of course have a 16-bit resolution, which despite only being '4 better', equates to being approximately 'a shitload better' (I will spare you the science of bit-resolution, it's totally boring).

So there you have it... 12-bit crunch seemed like a good name for a blog which will focus on music, musicians and instruments that are 'beautiful despite their imperfections'. Awwww

Welcome To 12-Bit Crunch

Hello, and welcome to my blog. 

I am Dan, a fan of recorded music in all it's guises, and enthusiast of weird and wonderful musical instruments and ways of making sound. even farting. I hoard LPs which contain passages of solo drum playing, commonly known in hip-hop-speak as "drum breaks"

Over the coming months and, ooh, maybe even years , i'll be: 

-posting up links to music-related things I like on the internet
-posting the odd mp3 of a song that I like (to download if it's not commercially available, and to stream if it is)
-talking about weird instruments like THIS
-promoting/reviewing music/gigs that I have enjoyed or hated
-talking about my job: being a music producer & brazilian music dj
-and last but not least: definitely banging on about said "drum breaks" that I have recently acquired