Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mystro F.D.T.





Mystro has been dope since fucking forever.

Seriously.  You cant question this brers emcee credentials.  Even a little.

I can remember when UK Hip Hop had that brief boom in the late 90's and early 00's, where all of the Old Guard came through. Y'know, your Rodney's, your Mud Fam, etc and you'd always see Mys doing the rounds, causing a buzz, generally just being Mystro...

In fact do you remember Kung Fu? Yeah, before it was at the Underworld, when it was in WKD or whatever that place is called now (I swear that place cant stay under the same ownership for more than 25-30 minutes).

Remember?

No? ...

You were 10 at the time?!

F*ck.

Bah. I'm really not feeling all these yout-dem, runnin' round, being young.
Its disrespectful that's what it is..

But I digress.
Those were the days and times when "UK Hip Hop" weren't dirty words  and we first crossed paths. He was hosting the now legendary (and defunct) Kung Fu nights, holding down the stage and generally keeping the likes of Yungun, Jehst, Verb T, Universal Soldiers and the other up-and-comers in line.

I can remember thinking that he was really pushing the envelope.  In fact, I cant really think of anyone else (bar maybe Chester P) from that era who had so effortlessly mastered the art of the punchline, as well as having the stage presence and charisma to really captivate the audience.

For anyone not familiar with what Mystro can do, watch now:
Tellin' you


Heavy. Whoever said this "wasn't good enough for TV" is probably retarded (non clinically). Its better than Surgical Gloves. Jesus.


Anyway.

That was then.  This is now...

December the 14th sees the release of Mystro's latest Project - F.D.T. (F*ck Da Tax-man), which believe it or not, this is actually a review for, despite the fact I haven't mentioned it till now.  I've been slowly digesting it over the last couple of days, trying to listen to it in and out of context to try and get some fresh ears on an artist I've been following for the last 10 years, which has been pretty difficult.

Mys' flow is, and always has been, very tightly controlled, the syncopation always on point and you never get those moments where you're like "I wouldn't have rhymed that with that".  Because of this, and the ease that his personality comes across, he's very easy to listen to, which is no bad thing, unless your trying to do a review and you cant analyse his shit because you get caught in the flow or distracted by humour. Like a fool.

Glad to say I did manage it, because there's a lot to get out of this EP.  Mys always comes off affable, but its refreshing to here him air the, if not moodier, then more sombre side of his persona.  No filler, or conceptually light weight excursions, there are 3 well placed skits out a total of 10 tracks, no guests (none needed) and production duties shared by Super-T, DJ Thor and Earth Hip Hop. Solid.

Despite the fact that he's been a staple part of the UK scene since before there was a UK scene, F.D.T. sounds as current as anything else that's around these days, but with the added bonus of Mystro himself, who manages to come off as an experienced and as capable as ever, without sounding dated.  Hey, it would have been easy to do, and it stands testament to his talent that he can keep it contemporary without falling off or losing his way.

What else can I say?

All in all, I'm in it. Cant say that every second of every track is my favourite thing ever, but then when can you say that? What I will go on record saying is that, Mystro was there from back then, helped elevate scene, has kept working and developing while a lot of other heads were lost in nostalgia, and that all of this is evident from his music.


Before I go, I'll leave you with some sneak peaks.
This is the F.D.T. promo vid on youtube, which ends with a snippet from one of my favourite tracks on the album: Banishment.



I also found this: Thorish, which is another cut from the EP and Gunz4Hire, which is just plain murderous (in a good way). Being live footage, you dont get so much of the instros, but damn, Mys is relentless.


So..
EP is out on DON’T BIZZNIZZ on the 14th.  Go get it.



L8r

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We (Le) Cool


Hey Stalkers.
I've been very busy, and then predictably, very lazy, which is why I've been gone from the blogosphere for the whole of November.  I know you don't understand, or care, but hey, whatever, a little context never hurt right?

Currently it seems that my hands and brain seem to want to work together, so, while this brief window of uncharacteristic motivation stays open, and I dont seem to have anything better to do, i figure, I'd better keep it moving with an update on whats been gwarning behind The Door.

First off I've started writing for Le Cool.  If you dont know it, you're obviously either an uncultured heathen, or spend your free time partaking in wilful idiocy (sweeping generalisations are awesome aren't they?).

For those who somehow don't fit into the above, Le Cool is a weekly city guide packed full of good shit that you would be interested in. Honestly. Not being sarcastic at all (or am I?*).

There are, apparently, various Le Cools catering for the knowledgeable in the various cities where they're based.  There's the London one (which I'm writing for), one in Barca, Madrid, Lisbon, Istanbul, Dublin, Moscow and Budapest.  Or, at least that's what the Le Cool site says.  For some reason, I've got it into my head that it started in Spain somewhere, and instead of researching, or asking someone who might know, I'm just going to assume that I'm right and go with that.  If I'm wrong, feel free to keep it to yourself.

Anyway, they've got me doing food review-y kinda stuff under the amazingly cunning pseudonym Foo D, which suits me fine, but now it looks like other more musical work might be coming my way.  Hooray for me, I know.

I'm pretty sure my boy Max(l) is responsible for getting me in on this, seeing as he's the only other person I really know from the Le Cooligans, but I think a shared evening involving several other staff members, and 8 hours of barely remembered hard-core liver damage, may have had something to do with it too. Possibly.

If you like Bikes at all check Fixed: Global Fixed Gear Bike Culture . Its a book by Max about fixed gear bikes, or something equally as energetic.  I couldn't tell the difference between an tricycle and a an icicle, but even I found it interesting and I have the attention span of a rohypnol victim.  Buy it or face the wrath of the brightly coloured cycle minions of East London.

Er, what else...

My, uh, boss I guess, at Le Cool has her own blog, which she seems to be neglecting these days, but is still worth checking out here.

Uh, there's a poetry related thing, which I'm not gonna get into now, but rest assured, you will be hearing about it shortly and in detail...

Oh Yeah.

I'm now one of the tweeting masses.  Thats right motherfuckers I caved and I'm not sorry.

http://twitter.com/unmrkddr


Latr

(*no I'm not)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Snapped in the lock


Got good and fucked up at Sofrtito's Tropical Halloween Sound-clash last Saturday.  I hadn't been out to one of their parties for a while, and it turned out to be another reminder of why their nights getting that cult-ish legendary status.  You just cant argue with a shit hot party.





Adding to my overall enjoyment of the night, was a whole bottle of Patron (its like tequila, but nice), NY Diesel, free spiced rum, enough Efes to submerge a medium sized child in, and the company of some people I haven't seen in a while.  One of them being Ben (Nostalgia77) Lamdin.   Ben keeps busy, so we bump into each-other a couple of times a year, usually in East London, and usually in the company of Nat(ural Self), who still lives in Brighton. For the moment...

Nat's actually coming to the end of a tour of the U.S. (well, more a tour of the coasts), and is hitting San Francisco right about now.  I'm looking forward to hearing how he finds it, as SF is one of my favourite spots out there, and he's linking with some local heads I know.  He's been blogging his way through it, so if you want to know what he's been doing, go here.

Anyway, whilst trawling through my bookmarks of stuff to look at I came across a Wax Poetics post for the Broken Keys project, which for those that don't know - is Nat and Ben, and a link to a mix they did.  Its been about since earlier this year, but I must have missed it. Its called The Elbow Grease and Engine Oil mix, and its essentially a playlist of some stuff that inspired the Broken Keys sound, sort of souly/bluesy -psychadelic-funkrock.

Here it is.

Its just what I needed today

L8r

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joint Venture



Two of my boys, who I've been trying to get to link up forever, have finally got it together.  Though I'm assured its purely platonic, Natural Self and DJ Centipede will be DJing at the Make out Room in SF (honestly, they're just gonna be spinning wax) for the Loose Joints night on the 6th of November.  I would be going down myself, but I'm 3000 miles away.

If however, you are in the Bay a week on Friday, you should seriously go check it.  It's right on 22nd in between Mission and Valencia.

If you're hungry I remember a place a bit further up on 24th that has crazy tasty Burritos (go for the black beans rather than the refried).  Its called Papalote, though I guess if you're in that area you'll be kinda spoiled for Mexican food.




Monday, October 26, 2009

Broken Bread?





Potentially disastrous news for the BBoys....

There are to be no more Breakin Bread nights for the rest of this year, and maybe even ever again at the Jazz Cafe, thanks to a new, wack, policy instituted by the venues higher ups.

Despite being one of the more popular and well respected nights, the Jazz Cafe has decided that, the'yve had enough of being a real music venue and that the future lies in cheezy shit.

No lie. The management have started booking slots to cater for the musically retarded.

Check it.

Are you a talent vacuum?
Do you wish to inflict your horrible taste on the unsuspecting?
Yes?

Well then, try the brand new monthly night Hairbrush Heroes.  You douche.

I would like to say I have nothing against Karaoke, but that would be a lie.  I can just about tolerate it when it happens to other people, in private, or possibly if it involves Big L, but otherwise, I wish death upon them.  Painful humiliating death. A death that might involved forced exposure to red hot metal and, if I feel really sadistic, over 30 continuous seconds of Hollyoaks. Including the theme.

Alternately, for the shame impaired, there's the new weekly I Love the 80s.

To be fair, I  do like a lot of terrible shit from that particular decade, but I wouldnt openly admit it, and I feel that actively encouraging people to go out and appreciate the music that made people think Stevie Wonder was "Not Good" or that Haircut 100 (see below) are any way acceptable, could contribute to the corruption of our youth and the downfall of mankind.


Seriously. Haircut 100. The motherfucking HORROR.

I guess this is just the way things go, but god dammit, I don't have to like it.


Now if only there was some way I could vent my anger through some kind of  free electronic medium....

Halloween in the Tropics









I am so going to this.


Its taking place at a new venue-  The NEW Empowering Church, Hackney E8

OoooOOooo..

Halloween. Spooky.

The Next Round


Dom (from the Nextmen) Posted the video for the newest single off the Join The Dots album on his facebook a while ago, and it reminded me about a couple of other videos of theirs that have been kicking around.


The track Dom posted is called Round of Applause, and the vid is a slickly edited montage of clips from every-fucking-where.
Notable examples include:
The Blues Brothers, Mystical -Shake yo ass, Superbad, Ferris Beullers Day off, Airplane 2, Batman, Napoleon Dynamite, Some Elvis movie, Footloose, La Haine, Shaun of the Dead, Toy Story, Some Like it Hot, One of the Muppet movies, Zoolander, Spinal Tap, Britney's Toxic, Flight of the Concords, How High, The Bourne Supremacy, Boogie nights, Sin City, the Big Lebowski, Anchor Man, Pirates of the Carribean, Ali G, The Next Episode, Hot Fuzz, Superman, Lapdance, Dusk Till Dawn, The Chronic Tour, Fear and Loathing, George Bush flipping the bird, Bad Boys, Hurricane, Mulan Rouge, Classic England Footage, some other things I coundn't place (possibly Juice) and Bob Dylan.


Oh yeah, and the tracks not bad either and features every-bodies favorite Bristolian D&B/Hip Hop crossover emcee Dynamite.


See for yourself


Round of Applause


Feel free to let me know what I missed out.

The other video that's doing the rounds, also from the new album , is for Lions Den, featuring Ms Dynamite and Andy Cato.  Have to say - I wasn't feeling this track or the video, which was released a little after the album launch, but then, I heard it loud and it all kinda came together.  The vid is pretty well done, but there's that whole Uncanny Valley thing going on, which gets to me.

Anyway, here it is. Make up your own mind.


Lions Den




The next two videos are from This Was Supposed to be the Future (2007).  It's called Something Got You featuring Zarif, and I think its my favourite track on that album, but I'm torn between the official version, and the acoustic.  I think I'm going to side with the acoustic, but the official video is dopeness. I submit both for your perusal...

Something got you (official vid)





Something got you (Nextmen Unplugged)



C'est Dope, no?


The last vid, is for a track that never came out, which you should all feel gutted about.

Its another in the Nextmen unplugged series, this time featuring Bridgette Amofah, who I've only had the pleasure of meeting once, a couple of years ago, near the inception of Heads High, back when they were still doing the Soho sessions.  Girl has got some pipes.


Out of Your Hands (Nextmen Unplugged)



That's it for now.

I know I've been slacking, but my life's kinds clusterfucked at present, but I promise, I'll be back on it.


Later

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dukes Up


My day job is severely cutting into my blogging time of late, so I'm just gonna pass on the stuff that comes my way..

..For example, here's the latest podcast installment from Duke Etienne (Head High). 

Duke Etienne Podcast #14


Dark Knight  // Mutant Funk
Bookworms // African Rhythms
Zomby // One Foot Ahead Of The Other
Silkie // Spark
Red // I Should Tell Your Mama On Ya
Baatin // Marvelous
Jimmy Castor Bunch // It’s Just Begun (Larry Levan Mix)
Holzer & Kamura // Pure Love
Players Association // Let Your Body Go
Don Armandos Second Avenue Rhumba Band // Deputy Of Love
Fallout // The Morning After
Martyn // For Lost Relatives
F // Epilogue (Ramadanman Mix)
Kode 9 & The Space Ape // Do You See What I See
Elemental // Talk

Point of interest - Track 5 in the mix is "Ishould tell your mama on ya" by Red (some guy out of LA, who seems to be riding out a wave of interest right now), I fucking love.  Strange looking cat, but definately onto something.  Here's the Youtube vid, with some extra remixed bits:



PEACE

Old Money



Just a sneaky repost of a mix from Akuma on Cash Rules celebrating his acceptance into the ranks of the elderly (Happy 30th Adam).

 Akuma - Old Man Mix


01. Jane Birkin And Serge Gainsbourg - Jane B
02. Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon - Shakey Dog Part II
03. The Delfonics - Trying To Make A Fool Of Me
04. The Isley Brothers - Footsteps In The Dark
05. Althea And Donna - Uptown Top Ranking
06. Betty Wright - Girls Can't Do What The Guys Do
07. New Birth - Blind Man
08. Busta Rhymes Ft. Uncle Murda - Director's Cut
09. Zapp - Computer Love
10. Tenor Saw - Ring The Alarm
11. Alton Ellis - I'm Still In Love
12. Amy Winehouse - Cupid
13. Fabolous ft. Ne-Yo And Raekwon - Make Me Better (Remix)
14. Billy Paul - Let The Dollar Circulate
15. Crooklyn Clan - Let's Get Ill
16. Mary Jane Girls - All Night Long
17. Jimi Hendrix - Foxy Lady (Rob Tex Remix)
18. Big Daddy Kane - Ain't No Half Steppin'
19. Kellee Patterson - I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More
20. A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario
21. Diamond D - Sally's Got A One Track Mind
22. Matumbi - Brother Louie
23. Blu And Mainframe Are Johnson And Johnson - Why
24. Chicago Gangsters - Gangsta Boogie
25. Cam'Ron - Silky
26. Swizz Beatz ft. Lil Wayne - Up In The Club

Friday, September 18, 2009

12 Tone

Now I know I Said MTLM are my favourite band this decade, and they are, but I'm allowed more than one right? Wait, I don't need your  approval.  My Blog, my rules. Losers.

But, I digress...
A few months/years/unspecified time ago i saw a band called The Speakers Corner Quartet (SCQ) at the Jazz Cafe. And they were fucking dope.  Then more recently I saw United Vibrations perform in the Vibe Bar for Heads High.  They were fucking dope too.  As it turns out, both groups are part of a musical extended family called 12Tone, which incorporates them both and contains more stuff I haven't had a chance to look into yet.

I've been doing a little internet research, and pooled some of their best videos on-line for my blog. 

Speakers Corner Quartet @ jazz re:freshed 26.02.09



Speakers Corner Quartet - OneTaste's Festival Video Collection



United Vibrations - Maya




If you've been paying attention, you'll notice the bassist from UV (Kareem) is the Cellist from SCQ.

UNITED VIBRATIONS (SUN) RA!




United Vibrations play sunrise set at Festa Junina '09





 Its fucking typical, that the night they're both playing (tonight)  I have to be somewhere else (Jazz Cafe with the Furious 5), but for those of you not going to Camden ...





Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Furious Bread


This Friday at the Jazz Cafe my Breakin Bread peoples are celebrating their 11th Birthday.  Doesn't that just make you feel fucking ancient? Anyway, its looking to be a pretty special night all in all.  Taking the headline spot are one of the flagship old skool hip hop groups, none other than the motherfucking FURIOUS 5.  That's right Dynamite, Grand Master Melle Mel, Kid Creole, Scorpio & Rahiem are all billed... Plus the one like Kurtis Blow will also be taking the stage to delight and entertain the Camden punters.

Breakin Bread have got the obligatory B-Boy contingent covered in the form of UK champions THE SOUL MAVERICKS facing off against RETURN 2 BURN from Germany. DJing duties are being covered by long-standing Bread mogul Skeg, and its all hosted by none other than perennial underachiever Dylan Sage.





Furious facts:
1st rap artists to win Grammy awards, 
1st to inject social commentary into rap, with the genre changing “The Message” in 1982, 
1st to endorse a political candidate with the song “Jesse” in 1984, 
1st to be inducted into the rock & roll hall of fame in 2007


Also:

Dj Grandmaster Flash is credited as being the 1st to scratch vinyl
Kurtis Blow was 1st Rapper to be signed by a major label

Full details are below.  If you're desperate, I should be able to get concessions for the main event, so if you know me - holla atcha boy. I'm not making any promises though -Jazz Cafe's notoriously tight with that kinda thing, but I'll do what I can.

Friday 18th September
Live Hip Hop Show: The Furious 5 & Kurtis Blow
Resident DJ: SKEG
B Boy Battle w. Return 2 Burn (Munich, Germany) vs Soul Mavericks (London, UK)
Host: Dylan Sage

Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden NW1
All night: (7pm - 2.30am) with Furious Five, Kurtis Blow & Breakin Bread.
£16.50 advance, more on the door
Late Session: (10.30pm - 2.30am),
£5 concession by emailing your names to assistant@breakinbread.org before Friday 18th 4pm!
Or £10 on the door

Peace

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Etienne Update


Yes Yes. I lost track of what Etienne was doing for a couple weeks, but I've caught the thread again, and now, I've got some more of that good shit to pass on.

Just in case the fuchsia flyer somehow didn't burn itself into you collective retinas, there's a HH night going on at the MarketPlace next Friday, featuring some of the usual faces (The Duke, Cal Jader, Judge, my boy Lonerider on a rare vynil excursion) and also "Afropean sultry songstress Amacka".

I know Marketplace is one of those random-as-hell venues, but the Heads High collective nights down there have had a nice vibe, plus, its free, so no excuses.

Turns out, during my concentration lapse, Etienne has put up two more podcasts, so I'm reposting them both here.


Audio: Duke Etienne podcasts 16.07.09 & 20.08.09

Heads-High-Radio-16.07.09-Duke-Etienne


Tracklisting

Poem – Bobby Konders ft. Mutabaruka

Arigato – Bodycode

Fall – Blue Daisy

J&W Beat – Floating Points

Dancing On Holiday – Souled

Galaxy – Visions of Tomorrow

Adventures In Success (Dub Copy) – Will Powers

Revelations – Mos Def

Get Dollars – The Beat Konducta

Nirvana – Shafiq Husayn

The Underground Reprise – Amede the Soundsmith

Sole Sweat (Reso Remix) – Debruit

551 Blues – ????????

Sweat – Untold

Emora – The Clonious

Sagittarius Black – Timothy McNealty

Musical Revolution – Carlton Coffie & the Natural Elements

I’m a Levi – Ijahman Levi

Fort Augustus – Junior Delgado

Roots Upon Yuh Corner – Yami Bolo

Oil Ting (Version) – Coco T

Ride Pon De Riddim – Mikey Murka

You Too Good – General Trees

Jah Station – Johnny Lover

Private Life – Grace Jones

Queen Dub – Ticklah ft Rob Simeon

Marcus Garvey – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

When The Sun Breaks Through – Karl Hector & The Malcouns

Addis Black Widow – Mulatu & The Heliocentrics

Jazz Note – Dj Krust

I Wanna Be There (Waxdoctor Remix) – Model 500

Solar Feelings (J Majik Remix) – Jacobs Optical Stairway

Consciosness – Photek


DOWNLOAD DUKE ETIENNE 20/08/09 PODCAST




Tracklisting

1. Lizzy Mercier Decloux – Hard Boiled

2. Pearson Sounds – WAD

3. Sole Fusion – Bass Tone

4. John Robertson – Blame

5. Reggie Dokes – Walk In Deepness

6. New World Aquarium – Tresspassers

7. Block 16 – Morning Sun (Pepe Bradock Refix)

8. Lightening Heads – Message Beats

9. Nanyo Addo – Wo ba wo ba shue

10. Jimi Tenor & the Kabu Kabu – Fast Legs

11. Silkie – Purple Love

12. Elemental – Braindrops

13.James Blake – Air and Lack Thereof’

14. Build an Ark Remix (Unknown – Help us out!)

15. Amede & The Soundsmith 16. Sa Ra Creative Partners


Once again, its well worth checking out the Heads High website, although don't enjoy it too much, with all the dope shit they're posting up, I'm starting to feel inadequate.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Natural Self – Midnight Sun ft Elodie Rama



Here's a sneaky preview of things to come from Natural Self's imminently released Album- My Heart Beats Like A Drum (Tru thoughts).

This ones called Midnight Sun and features the talented and very sweet Elodie Rama




Natural Self – Midnight Sun ft Elodie Rama

Sunday, August 16, 2009

DJ ZedVantz – Records I Stole From Rhythm Incursions


I don't know this DJ ZedVantz cat at all, but after this dope mix (brought to my attention by my man Mophono on the CB records Blog and originally posted on Rhythm Incursions), I'll be keeping an eye out.

Its like the perfect mix for getting your head straight on a Sunday morning/afternoon.

1. Marlena Shaw – California Sou (Diplo Rmx)
2. A-ko – Untitled
3. Joey Beats – Truth Be Told
4. Metaform – Urban Velvet
5. Cut Chemist – The Garden
6. Blend Crafters – Bad Luck Blues
7. Shoes – Afta Lafta
8. Mophono – Groovin Skip On Beat
9. Ghostface Killah – Daytona 500 (PZ Iron Lung Rmx)
10. Bob James – Nautilus (Shoes Rmx)
11. Palov & Mishkin – Oscar Boot Jr
12. Pablo – Record Shop (INTERLUDE)
13. Edan – Sing It Shitface
14. Prince Paul – You Made Me
15. Dudley Perkins – Flowers
16. Daedelus – Aplomb
17. Buck 65 – You Know The Science

38 min



Click here to download the mix! (92Mb)






Had to put up the Harvey Pekar comic strip it was posted with, as it spoke to me of all of my hopelessly addicted vynil junkie friends.

You know who you are


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nextmen - Join the Dots


Word on the street (and Facebook) is my boys Brad and Dom, aka the Nextemen, have a new album out entitled Join the Dots which you can buy here.

If you're going through withdrawal from their semi-regular legendary mixtape releases, they've snuck out a new one as part of the promotion for the new LP, which is available to download for a limited time right here.

Your welcome.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Harry Love - Fun House


I used to bump into Harry Love all over the place, but as I don't get out that much these days, I think the last time I saw him, he was DJing at the Primo show at Matter in the O2. Got into a conversation about day jobs and cutting hair, but got interrupted by Biggest Gord.

I dont know exactly how I came across it, but if your craving good, honest hip-hop like mom used to make, you can catch him and MK spinning at the Fun House Monday through Thursday nights 10-1.

Can't say I catch it every night, but its always worth checking what been going on. Some recent visitors to the kitchen include Klashnekoff, who no-one's seen in ages, and Raekwon the Mother fuckin Chef.

Here's to everyone holding out hope that Cuban Linx II is the shit.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

LB JC


I've been motivated by hearing how shit the hip hop at the wireless festival was, and thought I would regale you with a recent tale of Hip Hop done right. To cheer you up.

The Jazz Cafe has really delivered some good hip hop this year. A couple of months back Pharoahe Monch smashed it (again), and then this time last week Little Brother passed though and tore the roof off it. This was the follow up show to the one that got cancelled (just like KRS and Kane etc.) last year, for whatever reason, but LB being the consummate performers they are, more than made up for it.

Little Brother are, basically, the shit. If I had one tiny issue with any of it, apart from the ongoing absence of 9th Wonder, its that Phonte might actually be too good.

I don't have to justify that. Its my Blog. Fuck you.

Got there pretty early, which is always a mistake in the Jazz Cafe, unless you have silly money to spend, and I don't. You also never know when shits going to kick off there - will there be a warm up? Is it going to be an early finish? Usually nobody knows, and if someone does, they're not telling.


In this case the opening act was veteran hip hop producer Richy Pitch and Ghanaian emcees Wanlov the Kubolor and Mensa. Richy's got a new LP out on BBE in October called 'Ye Fre Mi Richy Pitch'. I kind of lost track of Richy Pitch for a while, but it turns out that's cause he's been hiding in Ghana, where he's been putting together this album. If you want to find out more about him/it, the best place is probably his blog, which you can find here.

Found this clip on Youtube which is Wanlov and Mensa earlier in the day, on their way to see Richy for their last rehearsal before heading down to Camden.



Both emcees have skills, though it was tough to get all of what they were saying, partly due to the accents, and partly because they speak fast. The bits that did come across worked well, they can rhyme, they're saying something and they're pretty funny. The beats were heavily infused with that Ghanaian sound and tight as ever. It was pretty refreshing to hear hip-hop that's not recycled from the same old tired samples. Props to Richy, I don't think there's enough sampling outside-the-box done well, and he's representing right now. Here's an interview with him about it.

By the time the opening act was done the Jazz Cafe was rammed. There was no upstairs dining, but the mezzanine was open to all, and was, by this time, as packed as the ground floor.

I'm well used to feeling old, whenever I leave the house this days, but the heads that were there were pretty mixed age-wise, which i guess isn't that surprising, seeing as only old people like good hip-hop. Having said that, it wasn't devoid of anyone under 25, and everyone, and i mean everyone knew all the words to everything.

Very few times have i been to a hip hop show in the UK, where the crowd goes crazy for any other reason than the act their watching is the next big thing, and Little Brother, who are far from brand new, dont really fall into that category. Though thats what it felt like. It was that kind of energy that the audience was putting out in abundance.

Like all the best performers LB take all that ambient energy, and throw it right back into the crowd. Not bad for two fat dudes.

I dont think an after the fact, retelling of the set is going to do the live show justice, so here are all the watchable videos people have put up so far...

Some of these are out of sequence, but in think this one needs to come first. It starts right at the end of Big Poohs single of his solo joint - North American Pie, and then goes into Phonte doing his Preacher/Comdedian shtick, spawning the phrase "Ass On The Cover"(see pic), which kept re-appearing throughout the night.





The vid ends as they go into "Step My Game Up", which all the ladies were feeling. Fellas were loving it too, but you know the rules - keep ladies happy and the guys dont give a fuck.


I dont think the crowd would have shut up if they were facing fire-arms.


Seriously, LB hardly even need to rhyme here, the crowd are so in it (also watch for the Oddisee cameo at the end) .

And I'll leave you with "Say It Again"



Brrrap.

Later

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heads High 03/07/09


Nuff Said, but if you want more - go here.

Tropical Funk Experience


More for from my boy Hugo Mendez.

Not heard it yet, but I don't need to. Know its the shit anyway.

If you're in Stuttgart, lucky you, you get to see Sofrito face off against Cubanisimo at Bix on the 18th of July.

For those stuck in (the rapidly melting) London your gonna have to wait until the 27th for Sofrito Con Salsa @ Caminos in Kings Cross.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mophono (DJ Centipede)

Apart from being one of the top5 nicest people ever, Mophono aka DJ Centipede aka Benji is they guy you need to look up if your in the Bay Area and you need music.

Seriously, the man knows everybody in that part of the world and has a deep, deep well of musical knowledge at his disposal.

He's also got talent and good taste, but you know, "whatever".

I lived in SF for a while a couple of years back, and met him through a friend of a friend. Since then I've made it a point to harass the guy whenever I'm the city.

In fact, I was just out there a couple weeks ago, and though we didn't really have time to kick it, when I did track him down, he introduced me to Mr Scruff (who he was doing a show with that Friday), and sent me to the Mission, where some friends of his were DJing.

The place he sent us to was called Skylark, I think.

I got kinda wasted that night. Corona with Jameson chasers and hitting that good Cali green will do that to you. Or me.

But, despite this (or maybe because of this), me and the friend I was with had a good time talking to the DJs: Makossa, Turu and E da Boss (Slepton records/Om), who it turns out has just finished a project with another friend of mine, Natural Self, who I'll be blogging about shortly. It's a small world, but I really shouldn't be surprised by that any more, especially since the first time me and Benji hung out we bumped into Will Quantic.


Anyway, Benji is a busy guy. Apart from doing however-many shows a week, he runs CB Records which plays host to the likes of The Gaslamp Killer and Citizen Ten as well as himself, and has been putting out releases, the most recent of which is The Edge.

He's really on some new shit with this one, you should recognise the samples, but the concept behind the vinyl releases is something no-one else has done yet. I almost don't want to spoil this for you, but its basically an unskippable record, or, more accurately a record that skips on beat.

Watch



Sick, No?

Well here's some more live shit offa youtube, this time featuring Aspect McCarthy on the cuts...


So, if you're in or around San Francisco at any point (don't worry he never leaves - I think he thinks SF is the holodeck from Star Trek, like if he leaves, he'll just cease to exist or something) you can catch him at Change the Beat every Tuesday at the Madrone.

Alternatively if you stand outside of Ameoba Records for long enough you'll see him.

Later People.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Natural Self

All of my memories of people and Brighton have merged into one blurry half recollection of the past 11 years. I'm not sure whether its something to do with the people I know there, or just Brighton itself.

Probably both.

Among the the things I can vaguely recall, is meeting Nat(ural Self). Who introduced us is also falls in the fuzzy category, but I do remember being at his house and meeting Ben (Nostalgia77 and some of the boys from Museum. Possibly one of them was called Stu.

Anyway that way ages ago, and lot has happened since then... 2 solo lps, one collab lp with Nostalgia 77, a slew of singles and remixes and a new album out in October on Tru Thoughts called My Heart Beats Like a Drum.

Here's some other bits and pieces I've gathered together.



Keno1 (Aka Natural Self)- I Manifest.



The Rising feat Andreya Triana, Live somewhere in Brighton. Nice Tambourine work Nat.


And here's a mix by him to download off the Tru Thoughts site.

If you cant hold out till October, you can get a fix of Mr Self in Brighton at the Loop Festival on the afternoon of the 11th of July, where he'll be doing a full live show on the open air Victoria Gardens stage. It'll be a full live set up featuring Percussion by Will Fry, Trumpet by Scotty Baylis, Sax & Flute by Ben Hadwen, emcee support from Dylan Sage and possibly a special guest...



Not on the south coast? He'll be in London on the same night for Belleruche's Turntable Soul Party at the Vibe Bar. Think only Dylan Sage and Will Fry will be making the trip up with him due to limited space, funds, time -etc, but with all the other shit going on, I think you'll be okay.
























In other news, his website has been up since June, which you can check out here.


He's featured as a vocalist on the new DJ Food track, Illectrik Hoax
(You can also hear his vocal prowess on the Broken Keys album)

Word is he's somewhere in the process of doing a third remix for Sofrito due out on an EP later this year. I'm sure they'll let me know when.

Later

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sofrito







All I know is, the Sofrito warehouse events made me want to to leave the protective womb-like sanctuary of my residence to go out to and listen to loud music, surrounded by people I didn't know for the first time in about 5 years.

It sounds dramatic, but it is true.
More or less.

I should however point out that, I haven't spent 5 years barricaded in my house peering suspiciously through Venetian blinds, lamenting the death of the old Blue Note 10 years on.
What I meant was, there have been no nights on in London, that got me motivated enough to want to mission to where-ever they were.

That was until Hugo Mendez and a mutual friend convinced me (probably using blackmail or weed) to come to the night that was going on at a place off Kingsland Road called Passing Clouds.

I had a really good night and managed to convince a few of my peoples to come down to the next one, which I think, was at the Old Boys Hall in Stoke Newington (a strange venue that actually worked - for a while).
What stood out for me was, not just the crowd, which has been consistently unassuming and very eclectic, and not just the music which I had never heard before, but that the crowd was very up for hearing the unfamiliar, which is pretty much unheard of in London (the original play-something-my-girlfriend-already-knows city).



Hugo and Frank (Frankie Francis- the other half of Sofrito machine, who also runs vinyl dubplate cutting enterprise The Carvery) call it Tropical Dance music, which I think is a pretty fair description. It touches on a lot of different stuff from all over, but as far as I can tell the ethos behind it seems to be Dance Music From Hot Countries.

Now before you start thinking Reggaeton or Soca, or Balearic Euro house, let me stop you right there to say that apart from some re-edits and a few other exceptions, most of they play is on vinyl and older than 25 years old. A large proportion of its rare as hell and, for me at least, nearly unpronounceable. It is also, as previously hinted at, nearly all for the dance floor.

They have also played host to a shit load of live acts and Special Guests such as Manu Dibango, the Poets of Rhythm, the Souljazz Orchestra, Quantic, Nickodemus and Nappy G (Turntables on the Hudson), Natural Self, Combinacion Atlantica, Nick the Record, and...





The Sofrito site has a very generous selection of mixes for streaming and download, which I suggest you check out. If your feeling lazy, however, I've posted the download links of some of my favourites below.

Hugo Mendez - Africa Dei Cuba…

Frankie Francis - East African 45's Frenzy…

Luis Soulful - Sabrosura for Sofrito…


You should have a better idea of the kind of thing were talking about now, so I will accept no excuses and will personally come round to your yard and slap you in your goddamn mouth for ever calling it "World Music". Consider this your only warning.

Anyway.

Last November, I tagged along to a Crate-Digging excursion in Dominica that Hugo had been on for 3 months. I wasn't there to do anything useful, but i can tell you now, any excuse is valid for a trip to Dominica. In fact you need very special excuse not to go. I could start a whole other blog dedicated to the island (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, which I did till I got there), but I'm not going to. Cause you'd hate me.

What I do have for you, is a mix cherry picking Hugo's best finds while he was out there

Diggin in Dominica…

Before I go, I'll leave you with the details of their next night which is happening on the 23rd of May. Guests include The Skeletons (brought to you by Nostalgia 77) and Karl Hector and the Malcouns (Stones Throw). See the flyer below and the Sofrito website for more details.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heads High

Etienne is one of those people.

He's that guy that knows everybody you know, except you.

Or, at least, he was that guy, until somebody introduced me to him at a night he was running, with another friend of mine, Cal Jader, in a tiny but perfectly formed bar in Soho called Jrink way back in 2007.

The format has changed a little since then, as has the location (the live events are now upstairs at the Vibe Bar and there are DJ sets all over including the Marketplace and Three Blind Mice), but the musical vision is the same. With fellow DJs Cal Jader and Judge, of Movimeintos and Itch/Sensei.fm fame respectively, and long list of live acts and musicians, Heads High has consistently spotlighted music with soul and substance.

The music you are likely to hear at any of their nights varies from live afrobeat and jazz to digtal soul and dubstep and pretty much everything in-between, making it kind of hard to categorise, but in general its pretty much like my parents soft drink policy when I was growing up:

"No Pop, it's bad for you."

Since the beginning of the year, a few of the HH instigators have been putting up pod casts for streaming and download on Space Invader Radio. I've nicked the player from the site and got the track listings for the two latest from Duke Etienne and Lonerider. Enjoy.





14/05/09 - Duke Etienne

Part One
Flyamsam - The Offbeat
TAKE - Bouncing Cherries
Dam-Funk - Sidewayz
J Dilla - B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)
Newcleus - Teknology
Modeselektor - Hello Mom! (Dabrye Remix)
Untold - Sweat
Martyn - Little Things
Marcus Bernardi - Mystery of Nazureus (2562 Remix)
Jamie Vex'd - In System Travel
Onra - Broken Language
Gary Davies - Super Jake
Guy Cuevas - Obsession
Dinosaur L - Go Bang
Prince & The Revolution - Erotic City
Motor City Drum Ensemble - Raw Cuts 03

Part Two (The Deeper Elements Mix)
Manmadescience - Get Your Head Up (Soulphiction Dub)
Rotating Assembly - Them Drums
Basic Soul Unit - ?????????
Tom Trago - Voyage Direct
Ken Worthy - Moon Dance
Tim Toh - Four
Kenny Larkin - Cirque De Soul
I.G. Culture - Adjusted Perspectives
???????????
Move D - Jus House
Styrax Leaves ??????
Pattie Blingh & The Alkebulan Five - Brother (2562 Remix)
Andy Stott - Drippin
LD - Woodblock
Elemental - Talk

21/05/09 - Lonerider.

Taylor mcferrin - Broken vibes

Pepe Bradock - Deep Burnt.

motor city drum ensemble - raw cuts

Onra - Broken Language.

Dorian - seek when is her

James pants - I choose you

New look - Function of your love

Dam Funk - burgundy city

Pharcyde - Be like that.

Black milk - dreams..

El Michaels Affair - Duel of the Iron mics

Ge-ology - Diurnal Insomnia

Nicolay - Nautilus

Kode 9 - Magnetic City

Yellowtail - Moa

Martyn - Hear me

Martyn - Far away

Nostalgia 77 - Film Blues

Herbie Hancock - on green dolphin street

DJ HEll - the angst & the angst part 2

Plash & friends - Do it up.



There's plenty more stuff out there if you feel like looking. The Heads High web page is now pretty much up and running and has all kinds of good stuff on there - mixes, event details etc.

I also found Duke Etiennes Soundcloud Dropbox, where you can send him tracks of yours, or stuff he might be interested in, but dont send him any wack shit, or you'll get me in trouble.

Anyway here are the next couple of nights
12 Jun 2009 20:00
MarketPlace ft. AARON JEROME London
3 Jul 2009 20:00
Vibe LIVE ft. TAKE & ARCHITEQ London
8 Jul 2009 20:00
Dingwalls w/DUB COLOSSUS London
10 Jul 2009 20:00
MarketPlace LIVE SESSION London
7 Aug 2009 20:00
Vibe Live ft. AARON JEROME LIVE London


Later