Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

Moraes Moreira- S/T (1975)

Went down to Berwick St recently with a few of my favourite LPs to have them cleaned on a professional vinyl cleaner (Cautious/Reckless/Whatever it's called used to offer this service, now Sister Ray do it)... one of them was Moraes Moreira's 1st solo LP from 1975.



This album has kind of been overlooked, and it's a great shame. Marisa Monte did make one of the songs famous (Chuva No Brejo) by covering it in the 90s though. Listening to it makes you realise just how important Moreira was to Novos Baianos, and it stands up against any of their albums, obviously because of the exemplary songwriting from Moreira and Galvão. It doesn't hurt that the backing band is A Cor Do Som (minus Pepeu Gomes, adding Armandinho), who are a huge part of the unique, proggy Novos Baianos sound).

Some of Moreira's finest songs are one this album, floating all over the place stylistically. There's very traditional carnival music (Guitarra Baiana), Samba (Do Som), Bossa (Violão Vaganbundo), North-Eastern Styles (PS, co-written with Luiz Gonzaga), and of course a healthy dose of tropical rock. Chuva No Brejo is an obvious highlight, a beautiful sung hook with Moraes singing in close harmony with himself, escalating into a Yes-worthy wigout at the end.

Alas, a CD reissue of this has never materialised, apart from some limited edition Japanese obscurity. So here it is, ripped from my vinyl, which isn't in the best shape but sounds a lot better after the clean and i've done a slight mastering job on it so it shouldn't sound too shabby in your iTunes:

01 Desabafo e Desafio
02 Guitarra Baiana
03 Sempre Cantando
04 Chinelo Do Meu Avo
05 Chuva No Brejo
06 Nesse Mar Nessa Ilha
07 Do Som
08 PS
09 Loucura Pouca é Bobagem
10 Anda Nêga
11 Se Você Pensa
12 Violão Vagabundo

Personnel:

Moraes Moreira- Vocal/Guitar/Pandeiro
Armandinho- Bandolim/Guitars
Dadi- Bass
Gustavo- Drums
Arnaldo- Bass on 'Chinelo Do Meu Avo'
Mu- Piano

Arrangements- Moraes Moreira/Armandinho

Download it HERE (127MB, AAC 320kbps)


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tom Zé Speaks For Two Hours

AMAZING... quite possibly my favourite human being ever (btw he's mental)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Optigan Surgery (WARNING: Nerds Only)

OK. If you don't have an Optigan, best look away now, 'cause this shit's about to get REAL. Thought i'd document what I went through this week in-case there are any Optigan owners looking for guidance in taking theirs apart (they will have to do frequently... they're built like toys). Before I begin, I would like to state that all photos and video in this post were taken with phone camera, hence they are shit.

First things first, I had to remove all other stuff from around the Optigan so that I could attack it with my screwdriver. Bye bye Solina/CS15/Records/Guitars etc:

Then, I had to unscrew every single screw I could see... to get underneath the first layer of the optigan, where you can access the chord-button contacts etc, you have to take the sides off, or at least prize them apart (the turntable/drive mechanism is on the next level of unscrewingeverything-ness, and i'd try and tackle that later). 


So, taking the back off I saw this:



Dusty much? After hoovering the hell out of everything I could reach, I turned to face the business end (Btw I love the longness of the keys when you remove the plastic top. I can imagine someone with massive long spindly fingers playing it, or at least someone with long nails. Maybe Nosferatu):


So that area in the bottom left of the photo is usually where the first phase of Optigan maintenance goes down. This is where the chord button contacts are:


Again, dusty as fuck. Hoovered up the debris and removed this stupid black plumbers tape that was an aborted mod I started once... can't be bothered to explain it, was trying to improve the contacts and it didn't work. 

Anyway, it was at this point that the turntable on the Optigan started to creak back into life, which is what I had been fearing had died. At first, the pitch was all over the place, some discs played back sounding like Lil Wayne 'A Milli' and some more like Kanye West 'Through The Wire', but it gradually seemed to even itself out *sigh of relief* 

Seeing as i'd opened it up, I thought I might as well try and make the chord buttons work a bit better if possible. The keyboard has always been absolutely fine, so no cause for concern there. But the chord buttons usually hardly ever work, especially the major key buttons (usually the most caned ones). Also, the 5 loop buttons above the chord keys are even worse. 

So I set to work on improving the contacts, firstly with a pencil eraser to clean them up:


As stated previously, these contacts correspond to the chord buttons. The thin wire strips get pushed down onto the cells below making an electrical connection which plays the corresponding loop. Even when the cells are pristine, the contact area is quite small because of the thinness of the strips, so I had a plan to improve it. 

I'd make little metal squares that sat above each cell, increasing the conduction area, which would improve the chances of the sound playing back upon button-pressing. So, down I went to the kitchen to grab some tin-foil:


As they were, folded strips of tin foil, they were too floppy. I wanted to guarantee that pushing down a chord button would get all that square area of foil pressing hard against the cell below. So these strips of foil needed a solid backing. I went down to my local art shop to look for bits of stiff card, but stumbled upon something better- thin perspex, which when cut down into tiny squares was rock solid:


So the perspex-reinforced tinfoil went onto the 5 loop buttons, with a spot of tape for each one so they didn't move about:


I made a little video of me prodding them to check whether it improved the contact. It did by about a gazillion percent:




When I put the plastic lid back on, it was perfect. I was living the dream with a FULLY WORKING OPTIGAN (this video is of note as I showcase the loops included on the Polynesian Village disc, which contains the greatest Optigan loop of them all- THE MONKEY LOOP. You'll know it when you hear it):






So then I knew I had cracked it. Perspex-reinforced tinfoil! Genius. I had never had much issue the minor/diminished chord buttons so I only really had to repeat the process for the 7 major chord buttons... So there you have it... If you have an Optigan but the chord buttons are flakey, try this method, it will work provided your contact cells/wire aren't totally kaput. In most cases they'll just be covered in dust and gunk. Clean them up, and then maximise the contact with the perspex squares. Then you'll be able to do shit like this (if you have the Dixieland Strut disc):

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Beginning Of The End?!

Had a two-day session in the diary for today/tomorrow with a singer who has had great success with a cute/twee/folky take on pop.

Naturally I thought i'd do something with my prized possession, the Optigan. Not the loops so much, which have been used by many- including on this singer's first album, but the keyboard scales, which always sound delightfully wonky. The Big Top Marching Band Disc is always the one as it has a wicked calliope sound (sounds more like a single-reed harmonium though).

With the singer not present*, I went to town, setting up multiple mics, somehow getting the optigan D.I to work which I thought had long been broken, and practicing the part, writing the different sections of the song.

Getting the optigan to be in tune can prove to be difficult... cue multiple turning it off-and-on, messing with the tempo wheel. But I had forgotten how delicate these things are... they're not really made to withstand such abuse- At about 5pm, the optigan gave up the ghost. It would power up, but upon awkward inspection inside I could see that the motor was no longer turning the discs.

I'm terrified. It's my absolute favourite musical instrument of all-time, a kind of fusion of keyboard instrument and vinyl crackle. I've invested hundreds of pounds in discs. The one instrument (apart from my Walnut Rhodes Piano) that I would never, ever part with. It can't break. It just can't.

Internet research on the optigan will not instill a potential buyer with confidence. None of them work anymore. Having a working optigan is like the holy grail. Plastic parts, terrible build quality, ageing components... they weren't built to last. Unfortunately for me, being in the UK, there's nobody here who can service them.

Tomorrow then, I embark on my own attempt at fixing it. Hopefully I can do that, and then as a bonus i'll try and fix all the buttons that don't work. I reckon I can do it, but one things for sure, this baby won't withstand another studio move. Each time you move it around, a little piece of it dies...

*Unfortunately she had to cancel due to illness, hence we were trying to work remotely

Monday, 7 November 2011

David Shire Appreciation Post

I re-watched Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation this weekend... it's a great film about a complicated surveillance expert (played by Gene Hackman). One thing I had forgotten is how absolutely awesome the music is.

Composed (and I assume played?) by David Shire, the soundtrack consists almost exclusively of solo piano. It's hard to describe. The playing is steeped in traditional jazz techniques, the main theme even has a ragtime feel to it, rhythmically, but it's obviously more dissonant



If you liked that then you'll be pleased to find that the entire soundtrack is available on Spotify; David Shire – The Conversation

I used to have Shire's soundtrack to 'The Taking of Pelham 123', which is funky as hell



Other than that he composed the track 'Salsation' for the film Saturday Night Fever, which is kind of memorable in the film, in the scene where Travolta gets the DJ to play it and everyone goes "what the fuck is this shit" and leaves etc. They just couldn't handle those latin polyrhythms

Tony Touch sampled it on this absolute CLASSIC BANGER too:



Anyway... I digress. the point of this post is to cop that The Conversation soundtrack now, it's a beaut. Thank me later.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

G.A.S and it's origins


G.A.S = Gear Acquisition Syndrome

As the (few) readers of my blog may have gathered, I am partial to spending the vast majority, nay, entirety of my earnings on musical equipment. I do it almost without thinking, an involuntary action almost. I've gotten to thinking recently, why do I do it?


After all, I don't run a commercial studio. I don't need the latest plug-ins or high-end gear to attract clients. What I do need, being in the fortunate (or is it unfortunate?) position of having to make music every day, is inspiration. Which can be in short supply.

I remember chatting to a producer-friend once, just after i'd started producing music full-time. He, like many musicians, has a day-job, and I had asked him whether he was looking towards doing music full-time also. He said 'no, it would be a bit like squeezing one out'. As in, it would be like forcibly having to do a poo even though you don't need one.

Within this fecal anecdote lies the issue that concerns the life of the working musician the most. Desire and obligation. The balance between art and commerce. And nowhere is this dichotomy more apparent than in the life of the professional songwriter. That debate however, is for another time.

My concern is, and always has been, inspiration. What happens (read- it frequently happens) when someone turns up at my studio to make music with me, and I have absolutely NO desire to make music that day? Or even listen to it? No matter how lovely they may be? Stopping short of saying "you know what? I can't be arsed today, sorry" you have to get on with it.

So, you have to constantly find ways of making music interesting to you. In the same way that when I had an office job, I mainly watched cat videos on youtube. You have to find something to engage with otherwise you feel like you're wasting your life.

So that's the challenge. Be inspired to make music every day. There's an interview with the music producer Matthew Herbert in this month's Sound On Sound (cough *nerd* cough) which is so awesome. He's absolutely a massive pretentious arse but fuck it, what a legend. He goes to extreme lengths to always "engage with the process" of composition. He talks about changing his studio every three years. Location, equipment, everything. That is an extreme example of what i'm talking about. You have to find ways to keep things fresh.

So when you're sitting in the studio with someone, and the inspiration isn't there, what do you do? You go into auto-pilot. "I'll just pull up that plug-in", "i'll just call up that Massive Bass Preset that I always use", "I'll just play that chord progression that I always do". The aim of any self-respecting artist is to not repeat yourself, and in pop music that is damned hard.

So I buy stupid instruments. Optigans, dulcitones, kalimbas, flexatones. Things that force me to get out of my comfort zone. I spend hundreds of pounds on vinyl every month, looking for new sounds and samples.

One dangerous thing I am tentatively dabbling with is a change of workflow. When you make music on a computer, it's so easy to be lazy. So I bought Native Instruments Maschine in an attempt to try and get away from the monitor screen. It's a bitch to learn, but it's fun as hell. I mean, I spent an hour the other day making a beat that I could have made in five minutes in Logic. But then, I wouldn't even have thought of making that beat in Logic. Playing an MPC/SP1200 is like playing an instrument. It's a different experience. And that's always what we should be looking for.

P.S Am very much enjoying the ASAP Rocky mixtape. Download that shit bitches

Friday, 30 September 2011

Grizzly Bear GO TO CHURCH (via @aschernathan)



Not really much more to say... Veckatimist for me is one of the greatest albums in the last few years. A complete masterpiece by an insanely talented band. Great to see a glimpse of how it was put together... Thanks to my pal Ascher for finding it

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Drive (Cliff Martinez Appreciation Post)

Went to see 'Drive' last night. Had never seen any of Nicholas Winding Refn films before but had heard great things about the Pusher Trilogy and Bronson, and obviously this had Christina Kendricks in it so needed to be watched. She's actually in it for about 5 minutes but anyway.


As the credits started rolling I saw that the score for the film was done by Cliff Martinez, and I just rolled back in my seat... got comfortable. I knew I was in good hands musically. Martinez is responsible for some of my favourite modern-day film scores, namely Traffic and Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris. Fantastic suites of music. The Traffic OST was quickly deleted, but fortunately for you music-fans Martinez has made all of his deleted soundtracks available for FREE DOWNLOAD. Awesome-o.

Anyway, I digress. Needless to say, the sounds in 'Drive' are on point. Musically (and visually) it feels very much like an homage to the 80s work of Michael Mann. Mann's films were largely scored by the kosmische band Tangerine Dream and their various members, so it's no surprise that Martinez's roots are in rock music; he played drums for Captain Beefheart, in his final incarnation of the Magic Band, and then for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the early albums where they worked with George Clinton as producer.

Despite all this love for Martinez, what really steals the show in Drive is the song 'A Real Hero' performed by College (featuring Electric Youth). Don't know much about the band, a quick googling shows that they are a belgian electro-pop band doing the whole 80s revival thing. The song just fits so perfectly. it crops up at various points in the film, but when it plays over the end credits, it's heartbreaking. WHAT A SONG. I can't remember the last film I saw where the music was this impressive. It's highly recommended.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Digitech XP Series and the mysterious Jetpack

In other Digitech news, I have recently acquired a jetpack-modded Digitech XP-1000... it's amazing and definitely the most mental effects pedal I own (although the Shin Ei Companion Fuzz I got recently is a bit freakay)

Digitech, for the uninitiated, make pretty much universally-undesirable shite digital effects for guitar. There are a few anomalies though. The talker, their attempt at a vocoder, is awesome though and rightly scoured for on eBay by me and others. Also, they released a range of expression pedals prefixed by XP of which a couple are awesome. They failed commercially and they are now discontinued.


Firstly, the XP-100, also called the Whammy Wah, which is a slightly shitter version of their classic WH-1 Whammy pedal as used by Jack White, Tom Morello etc for those crazy dive bomb effects. This gives you the ability to pitch your signal up and down via an expression pedal, up to a range of two octaves. kewl.


Then, the best one, the XP-300, also know as the Space Station. This has crazy presets adding synth swells to your signal, the time warp delay presets (which can only be described as like someone doing drunken scratching of a record of your guitar playing), and other weird stuffs like bitcrushing, ring modulation, eerie resonant reverbs, sample and hold... Here's a demo of some guy who sounds like he's in a toilet doing a demo of all 40 presets. His trainers are well ugly:



There are also the Modulator and Reverberator pedals in the series, which are crap apart from the reverse reverb presets which are cooliamundo...

Anyway, the point of all this, is that there existed a legend in guitar nerd world, of a man, known only as jetpack, who could modify any XP series pedal so that it had ALL FOUR MODELS IN ONE, interchangable with a chicken-head knob that could be turned when the unit is powered down.

I had to have this pedal... and I managed to track jetpack down from a completed eBay auction. He actually no longer sells them on eBay and does them in incredibly limited quantities. Took a few months of negotiation, skip to the end, yesterday it finally arrived. I absolutely can't wait to reamp vocals, drums, synths through this thing... it's so so so so cool. Thanks jetpack!

Vocodings

I've been lusting after a digitech talker recently (as used by Daft Punk for all their vocoded classics) and was reminded to check a rather cool link that my friend Nicolas, a talented french house producer himself, sent me on the history of the vocoder. It's all in french and that studying I did for my GCSE has long since disappeared from my brain, but the video on the page is supercool

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Why I Love Digging for Records

Found this short documentary (via Zooden on the-breaks.com) about a group of friends in Swindon who obsessively dig for vinyl.

If you're into waking up at 7am on a Saturday to hit up the local carboot then you'll relate. Collecting records is basically, an illness. An affliction, a mental defect. These guys all realise that. So do I, but that doesn't stop me doing it.

There are some really funny moments on here. All of the interviewees are pretty funny. 'DJ Baila' is the most affable, but 'That Guy From Swindon' comes up with some killer lines:

 "If it came down to it... I would sell crack to your kids, to buy... (points to his vinyl collection)

(on the joys of eDigging) "you've got to embrace every fucking thing you can to fucking LOOT vinyl. Completely"

Despite all the goofing around it's all held together by a genuine love for the kind of random weird/wonderful bits of music you'll find when you root though the crates. Plus, you will learn that the sleeve for John Schroeder's 'Working In A Soul Mine' makes for an excellent hat.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

João Donato 'Quem é Quem' IS MINE

Oh. My. God. I'm holding it in my hands. 'Quem é Quem' by João Donato. Undisputed masterpiece of MPB (Brazilian Popular Music). I've never even seen an original copy until now. I've been hoping for ten years that i'd one day find it*

João Donato is a Pianist from Acre state in deepest mainland Brazil. He came to prominence as an instrumental bossa nova performer, as early as the late '50s I think. 'Quem é Quem' was his first solo album as a singer, released in 1973. He released only one more of note, 1975's 'Lugar Comum' (written and produced in close collaboration with Gilberto Gil).

QEQ is simply one of the finest Brazilian albums ever. By some distance the greatest Bossa Nova/Brazilian Jazz album. Also, trumping even 'Feel' by George Duke, it's the ULTIMATE Fender Rhodes Album. The electric piano features heavily on many of the tracks, and Donato is a maestro. Elegance, good taste and funky feel personnified.

I've long wondered who the personnel on the album was, and thanks to a recent eBay listing for a copy with the original insert mine doesn't have, I now know... Helio Delmiro (Guitar), Lula Nascimento (Drums) and possibly Marcos Valle (who loosely produced the album) helping out on other stuff.

Donato had, quite frankly, a terrible voice. But his singing is so honest... listening to this album you feel like you're in the studio with him. It's the definition of good vibes. On 'Ahiê', Donato ends the song by just talking over the groove, telling a story about a beautiful place that he used to go on holiday. It's quite possibly the most relaxing piece of music i've ever heard. I can only dream of capturing such a perfect moment. Donato, I love you man.


*HUGE thanks to Brazilian DJ and collector D Vyzor for helping me track this down from a dealer in São Paulo

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Jenco Celestette

OH WHEN WILL YOU BE MINE?

This one below's on eBay currently. Never seen one in a natural finish either... *licks lips*

If you're unfamiliar with this beautiful instrument, check out this delightful rendition of 'Sunday Morning' by The Velvet Underground on one HERE


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Palm Sunday

I'm DJing (again, woah what's happening) this Sunday 24th July at The Drop in Stoke Newington (on Church St under The Three Crowns)... music will be STRICTLY Brazilian; Psych, Samba and Exotica/Lounge type stuff. Will be on first at about 7pm so pop down for a nice early-evening Sunday beverage...


The facebook event is HERE


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Oto Machines Biscuit

This thing is so badass, i've finally bitten the bullet and laid down some hard earned DINERO for one, can't wait til it arrives!!!!

Monday, 4 July 2011

You've Seen The Video... Now get the T-SHIRT

 

(Just in case you haven't seen it yet): 



If you genuinely want to get the shirt it can be bought here, but that would make you some sort of novelty t-shirt wearer, and that's not good

Thursday, 30 June 2011

I heart Maestro Effects Pedals

Here's a little dropbox gallery (hopefully it will load) of Maestro Effects Pedals from the 1970s... they were a subdivision of the Gibson Guitar Company used to distribute their wacky effects ideas. I've only got one of these, but I want all of them. So hard to find though :(

Monday, 27 June 2011

A Tale Of Two Music Documentaries

I had a bona fide day off on saturday which was extremely exciting... I ended up watching two music docs that i've been looking forward to for a long time. One was a 'cheeky' download of the A Tribe Called Quest documentary (release date TBC), and the other was the Chet Baker documentary 'Let's Get Lost' which I genuinely paid for (£5. Fopp. Smashed it).

Firstly, the Tribe doc. The full title is, I believe 'Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest'. Bizarrely, it's direct by Michael Rapaport, who you may recognise as the Police Officer that Phoebe goes out with in Friends?!


Anyway, it tells the tale of the revered hip-hop group, but unfortunately with a strong focus on the relationship breakdown between the two principal MCs in the group, Malik (aka Phife Dawg) and Kamal (Q-Tip). I can see what Rapaport is trying to do here. He's trying to get the film onto the festival/awards circuit, by trying to spin the narrative into a more general story about friends falling-out, that should theoretically have a more universal appeal, and open up the size of the film's potential audience.

Obviously, Kamal and Malik have fallen out badly, and it can't be ignored in the story of the group, but the film languishes in this middle ground, trying to be a musical biography but also fashion a hollywood storyline which isn't really there. It falls way short in musical analyis/content, and neither Kamal or Malik are articulate enough to really get the bottom of why they don't get on anymore. Which makes for pretty boring viewing. Obviously the music is AMAZING, which makes the film watchable to the end.

I should add that ATCQ are pretty-much my favourite hip-hop group of all-time, which is why I was so disappointed that this didn't deliver. I know Q-Tip was opposed to the release of this film, haven't investigated why yet...

Markedly better, was Bruce Weber's documentary 'Let's Get Lost', following Chet Baker on what would turn out to be his last tour of the USA, in 1987. Originally released in 1988, it languished in obscurity until it was released on DVD and in cinemas in 2008.



If you're a fan of early Jim Jarmusch, Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita' and The Maysles' 'Grey Gardens', you need to watch this film asap. There's downbeat coolness in spades, and it's full of eccentric characters that you can't help but admire. The kind of old-school hipsters that can't even afford to exist anymore.

It works on pretty much every level... It's the most beautiful looking documentary i've pretty much ever seen, with the best music, and again, full of the most interesting, bizarre, hilarious characters. 

Chet wanders around surrounded by an ever-rotating cast of hangers-on, hipsters, beautiful women, and we're treated to sublime flashbacks of Chet in his glory days. It doesn't really get any better.

And, after watching this film, you WILL want to be a jazz musician.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I Dream Of Electric Sheep...

Thanks to these classic analogue synth Pillows! ACE, but kind of shit at the same time (via etsy)




Sunday, 29 May 2011

I'm DJing YAY

I will be DJing on Saturday 11th June, in a club at the Shoreditch-end of Bethnal Green Road called Scream

Fuck, haven't 'played out' for ages... Late last year I stopped my regular gig of 5 years (playing Brazilian music to inebriated west-end schlaaags), so am a bit rusty on the old ones and twos. Come to think of it i'll probably be DJing off my laptop so that needn't be a problem.

The night is called Style and Fashion and is run by a top guy called Dom. Music policy (as you see below) is 80s and 90s party music.


In terms of my set, i'll be playing mostly 80s funk, think classic joints produced by Kashif, Jam & Lewis, Keni Burke, Roger Troutman, Hubert Eaves III... artists will probably include DeBarge, Prince, Mary Jane Girls, Evelyn King, Fatback Band, Zapp... definitely a bit of Alexander O'Neal and Luther Vandross (THE TITANS). Of course I can't forget the blue-eyed exponents of dat 80s fonk, so there may be a bit of Scritti Politti thrown-in for good measure. Or if I get really really drunk then Paul Abdul 'Opposites Attract'

I'm not on facebook, but if you do that sort of thing then the following LINK will be of use:

Friday, 27 May 2011

Cool Studio Video (Ed Banger Related)

Para One and Tacteel in the studio (no, me neither). I think they put stuff out on Ed Banger Records, can't be bothered to google them. They are funky bastards though and their studio is SLAMMIN. I'd never want to leave. Mmmm Neve Melbourne yes please...


Apparently one of them is french royalty or something... that explains the hundred-thousand-pound studio then...


Thursday, 26 May 2011

8 LONG YEARS

If you own an Optigan Optical Organ (Crap keyboard made by mattel in the 70s that plays back scratchy sound off acetate discs), then the discs themseves are essential. Without them the keyboard can make no sound. 

I've collected many discs over the years (25 or so)... they are rare, but do turn up from time to time. All the discs were made by optigan/mattel, apart from a couple of notable exceptions. One of them, the Songs Of Praise pak, continues to elude me, and pretty much every Optigan owner in the world:


They basically don't exist. I've had it as a 'saved search' on eBay for going on 8 years. Nothing. Nada. 

Until last week. The only one i've ever seen turned up on the bay. AND NOW IT'S MINE. I had to pay a ridiculous amount. Far more than i've ever paid for an LP. But it's worth it.

If you want to hear the 'ill' sounds that come on this disc, then visit THIS link

As an aside, I don't know of any owners of a WORKING Optigan in the UK, other than the musicians Damon Albarn, Ed Harcourt and Michael Wookey. They were never produced in the UK, so any that exist over here were imported. They were made out of such flimsy material also that the vast majority of surviving Optigans are broken, and impossible to repair 'cause of obsolete parts. If anyone out there knows of any others... holler

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Remember Keyboard Cat?

A classic meme, of that we are all sure. But I never caught THIS one... it's the greatest Keyboard Cat video ever made!?

First, keyboard cat warns of the dangers of cocaine, with the help of what appears to be a young-looking Helen Hunt, and then to finish it off he jams with Daryl Hall & John Oates, aka the greatest musical act of all time:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

YAY It's the new Battles Song/Video

... and it's hipster-friendly mental ironic imagery o'clock. Jodorowsky-esque. Good tune though. Battles have gone all chipper. It's directed by the same people who did the video for 'Bombay' by El Guincho. You can tell, as it's pretty much identical...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Hyldon- Deus, A Natureza e a Música

I'm on a Brazilian soul binge at the moment... It all started when I copped a Cassiano LP recently (Imagem e Som), and remembered how much I loved the Hyldon LP I have from years back; 'Deus, A Natureza e a Música' 



It was Hyldon's 2nd album, completed to his record label's total indifference, and distributed in small numbers. It's a gorgeous piece of folk-soul, terrycallier-esque if you will, and incredibly ambitious in it's scope. There's the tenderest of ballads and upbeat proto-disco numbers on here, with Hyldon crooning like Caetano and yelping like Gilberto Gil in equal measure. 

Like his first album, the LP features the talents of the band Azimuth (Zé Roberto Bertrami, Alexandre Malheiros & Mamão), as well as the session musicians that would later become form the Black Rio scene (Oberdan Magalhães, Jamil Joanes, Carlos Dafé etc)

Turns out that you can't get that album on CD in it's original state (there's a Hyldon authorised remixed version which sounds awful apprently, he even replayed drum parts and all sorts)... so I ripped it from my vinyl. My copy isn't in the best state, but yeah, it's only really noticeable on the track 'Adoração' which is a quiet one

01 Deus, A Natureza e a Música
02 Estrada Errada
03 Primeira Pessoa Do Singular
04 Homem Pássaro
05 Morte Doce
06 Pra Todo Mundo Ficar Sabendo
07 Adoração
08 Cor De Maçã
09 Búzios
10 Sheila Guarany
11 O Boiadeiro
12 Pra Dizer Adeus

Selected Personnel:

Arrangements (Band): Hyldon, Alexandre
Arrangements (Orchestra): Cristovão (conducted by Waltel Branco)
Vocals, Guitar: Hyldon
Vocals on 'Adoração': Solange
Keyboards: Jorginho, Zé Roberto, Cristovão
Bass: Alexandre, Rubão
Drums: Mamão, Luis Carlos
Tenor Saxophone: Oberdan
Trumpet: Marcio
Trombone: Maciel
Backing Vocals: Dafé, Jamil

DOWNLOAD HERE (320kbps mp3)

Friday, 8 April 2011

There are a LOT of famous actors in the new Beastie Boys promo



I can spot the following: Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, John C Reilly, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Rainn Wilson, Jason Schwartzmann, Ted Danson, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and... Will Arnett

Ahh I watch a lot of American comedy what can I say

EDIT: + Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi

Monday, 28 March 2011

Great Tutorial for making Hip-Hop HITZ

I don't know who the hell this guy is, but he's funny, and obviously has his production skills DOWN. Note to all those purveyors of terrible toy-ass sounding wack hip-hop beats; the secret's out!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Zoiks there's a Linn LM-1 on eBay

Oh my gawd yes as the title of the post may suggest, a Linn LM-1 is on eBay UK:

















The Linn LM-1 is one of the rarest drum machines everrrr. It was produced in incredibly small quantities, and initially only sold to a handful of superstar musicians (they were ludicrously expensive).

It was the first (I think?) drum machine to use real drum samples as the building-blocks of its soundbank (other drum machines such as the Roland TR-808 used analogue synthesis).  Drummers rumoured to have been 'sampled' for the LM-1's sounds included Jeff Porcaro and James Gadson (from the LM-1 wiki)

It's all over albums like 'Dare' by The Human League and 'I, Assassin' by Gary Numan, but of course, there's one artist who has the LM-1 featuring on pretty-much his entire discography... Prince

A huge part of what made (early 80s) Prince so awesome were his otherworldly drum sounds. Prince used the LM-1 exclusively, using extreme manipulation of the LM-1's onboard sound-shaping capabilites (pitch-shifting, envelope-shaping etc) to create sounds and grooves that were literally out of this world. The sounds are tricky to recreate, believe me i've tried and I own a bunch of LM-1 sample libraries. 

Goes to show, some machines have truly got soul...

Here's a list of classic Linn bangers. Some of them can even be sampled (shhh)

1. Prince- 'D.M.S.R'
2. League Unlimited Orchestra- 'Things That Dreams Are Made Of'
3. Gary Numan- 'Night Talk'
4. Prince- 'Raspberry Beret' (or Kiss, When Doves Cry etc etc)
5. Vanity 6- 'Nasty Girl'
6. Devo- 'Going Under'
7. Ultravox- 'We Came To Dance'
8. Alexander O'Neal- 'What's Missing' (Linn 9000 probably)
9. Daryl Hall & John Oates- 'Maneater'
10. Michael Jackson- 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

ANYWAY... I digress. Wonder how much this thing is going to go for... already at £1600 with tiiimmme to go blud...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

In the studio with... Chromeo

My sister had a go at me recently, saying that my blog only featured music of African-American and Hispanic musicians.

Not that that's a bad thing, but for the sake of racial equality, here are some white boys, Canada's finest (fuck an arcade fire);

CHROMEO. Rocking some old-school MIDI vibes in the studio on a Pentium 3 and an insane arsenal of 1980's funk synthesizers and drum machines. Head to the 2-minute-mark for some of that original oberheim flavaaa.

Nice studio lads. As Liz Lemon likes to say in 30 Rock, 'I... want... to... go... to... there'



With thanks to Neil for the tip-off, and through gritted-teeth I must thank v-v-v-vice for the content

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Still Bill

Just finished watching 'Still Bill' (2009), which is a documentary about the singer and songwriter Bill Withers. Here's a wiki link, as if you need to know (HE'S A LEGEND). Refreshingly for a music doc, it shuns a typical trajectory-of-career approach and focuses very much on Bill in his everyday surroundings in the 2000s, following him as he goes about his day-to-day with his family and friends (Withers quit the music industry in 1985 or so).

For someone who was once such a global superstar, Withers is down-to-earth to the point of almost being under the ground. This is so so so so nice to see. The film is littered with his own ponderings and philosophies on life, including (of special interest to me) what it means to be an musician and artist. Most of them are incredibly concise and beautiful, and you'll just want to be giving him a big hug by the end of film. The word heartwarming doesn't do it justice.

There are too many quotes to mention here, but in general it's great how Withers just didn't give a shit about the fame machine. He had great success. The music industry wanted him to replicate that success ad-infinitum (standard practice). He would only do things on his own terms, and when the industry didn't see it that way, he turned his back on it. The way he saw it, he was perfectly happy making airline toilets up until the age of 31 (his pre-fame day job), and he could just as easily go back to that life in West Virginia and do it all over again. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is someone who has their life philosophy DOWN. Mr Withers, I salute you sir.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Slappa-De-Bass... SLAPPA-DE-BASS-MON

Everything about this video is perfection. The beautiful Fender Jazz Bass, the funk, the feel... and best of all, the shorts and knee-high adidas socks. Classic.

Slapping 'De Bass Mon' (OK that's stolen from 'I Love You Man'. Paul Rudd. Genius) is Buddy Hankerson, bassist from Slave and other Late 70s/Early 80s funk outfits



with thanks to Jamie Delaney for the tip-off

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Choral Jazz

Wow, busy times with work (I almost just wrote 'busty times', that would be even better), so I haven't posted anything for a good while. Let me try and make up for it with a few choral-tinged jazz recommendations.

I have LONG been a fan of Max Roach's 'Members Don't Git Weary' album from 1968 (Atlantic Records), bought it on a whim when I was a teenager and have listened to it regularly ever since (SPOTIFY link). It's a a Modal Jazz classic (i.e jazz based around scale modes and not chord progressions).

I always found the title track interesting, with it's soaring lead vocal by Andy Bey (they got quite into singing on jazz tracks in the 60s/70s) and one day after hearing it for the gazillionth time, I decided I needed more of this crazy vocal jazz.

I can't say i've come up with an exhaustive list, but two albums you have to get your hands on (if vocal-jazz sounds like or is your bag) are:

Andrew Hill- Lift Every Voice (Blue Note 1969)

Bobby Hutcherson- Now! (Blue Note 1969)

They're kind of hard to describe, but i'll do my best. In each case the usual small jazz ensembles are augmented by choirs. The voices float in and out, singing motifs and vocal pads in unison or in thick harmony, and will then disappear leaving space for the players to take their solos as usual. Both albums feature an all-star cast of musicians, and by the sounds of it were both produced and engineered by Rudy Van Gelder (GENIUS). Like I say, the music is hard to describe, so get onto spotify and have a listen yourself. It's challenging music but worth it.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Kevin Hart is... CHOCOLATE DROP

Was recently watching The 40 Year Old Virgin for, oh, the 50th time and had forgotten how funny the exchange is between the 'gangsta' character and the guy from 'Weeds' (i've really done my research right?)... 

Turns out the gangsta is a comedian/film-star in his own right called Kevin Hart, and he is AMAZING. Here's his spin on the Fear Of A Black Hat/CB4 formula. VERY funny he does some truly hilarious flows... worth watching a few times

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Jayne Cortez- Ogun's Friend (Download)

I was in my favourite record shop Flashback the other day, and this came on the sound system:

Jayne Cortez- Ogun's Friend (1980):



When I turned to see who had put it on, he was standing in a high-fidelity-esque pose, arms crossed, as in 'let's see how many copies of the 3 EP's by The Beta Band we'll sell now'. I bit the bullet and asked what it was, how much, I want it now etc. IT WASN'T EVEN FOR SALE. Man that's cruel...

But when I visited the shop next, turns out they had a copy for sale, a duplicate bought in by the same guy who sold the old one to them. Hurrah! So here is that crazy tune for your downloading pleasure. It reminded me of these guys in a way:

Pulsallama were a crazy-ass all female no-wave band from NYC. They couldn't really sing or play at all, and their only hit (if you could call it that) was a song about someone who's husband has tourette's syndrome.

Anyway, the song above is called 'Ogun's Friend' by Jayne Cortez who was a poet seemingly working in the jazz scene. I just love the fact it's her talking and a really ropey drummer. The beginning is almost a bit like 'Funky Town' by Lipps Inc... Guess you could file it next to The Lounge Lizards, Kip Hanrahan or some of dat shit. Man I would loved to have lived in NY in the late 70s, music was popping off in a big way (I have no idea if Jayne Cortez was from NY but hey)...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Late Pass: Reggie Watts

So I keep seeing these links on twitter about Reggie Watts videos and I kept thinking it's Radio 1 DJ chump and Fearne Cotton (aka Satan) sidekick Reggie YATES, so I keep ignoring them. But my friend has just sent me a text imploring me to watch Reggie Watts on youtube AND THE PENNY DROPPED. It's not him at all YAY so now I know it's all good:

A Cool Photo of François De Roubaix

















WHAT A LEGEND

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Ultimate Hipster Kitty Collection (Music-Themed)

Here are my cherry-picked, music-related highlights from the many variations on the hipster kitty meme. The last one is my all-time favourite...