2.23.2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - So Good At Being In Trouble

Unknown Mortal Orchestra are songwriter Ruban Neilsen (guitar, vocals), Riley Geare (drums) and Jake Portrait (bass).  They came to initial attention by releasing the song Ffunny Friends to their bandcamp page without revealing the artist.  The crossposting and attention that the single gained led to the revelation that the work should be attributed to Unknown Mortal Orchestra.


Regrettably Pitchfork has a strong read on how this song operates today in relation to let's say the history of R&B:

"So Good At Being In Trouble" doesn't catch the shit it might have in the past. This is what "indie R&B" used to mean-- old-fashioned white boy Muscle Shoals homage, the kind that would have raised a few eyebrows in a less fractious time.
 
Indeed this song really does sound like what might come out of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio today if it weren't so danged lo-fi and if you could scrape the impression that they made it in an egg carton stapled closet out of your mind.


 

2.22.2013

Shlohmo & How To Dress Well - Don't Say No

Perhaps even instrumental music is better described in French than in English.  Shlohmo (Henry Laufeur) is deeply influenced by DJ Shadow as well as Amon Tobin and M83.  Another key influence is the Low End Theory parties and sound associated with Flying Lotus (and his labelmates and collaborators Gaslamp Killer, Daedalus etc.).   He's been making beats since 14 but only with precision since he was 18.  He's established a fairly substantial and consistent collection of EP's and LP's in that time (SHLO-Fi EP, Fine, Thanks, Bad Vibes (2011) and recently the Vacation EP (2012) .  It makes sense that he'd be big in France for they're the only country that's bothered to write a wiki on him- and an artful one at that:


"The tracks are linked with consistency and fluidity disconcerting, each adding a delicate stone building. 
<< L'oreille, jamais agressée, se laisse envahir par les nappes voilées et se pelotonne au creux des basses moelleuses>>.  
The ear, never abused, is invaded by groundwater veiled and curls in soft hollow bass."
 
There are no better words in English to describe the pensive sound of Shlohmo.  While his material rarely by it's nature reaches for the piste or heights of sound his most recent collaboration with How To Dress Well (Tom Krell) on Don't Say No adds vocal peaks and rivulets of sound that shake Shlohmo a bit out of his sedimentary drift.


2.21.2013

Rocketnumbernine biography (Ben and Tom Page)

Rocketnumbernine caught a windward tack and have been riding it leaving precipitous acclaim in their faint wake.  Brothers Ben (keyboards) and Tom Page (drums) drew prominent electronic musicians in with their 'live aesthetic' (also called playing their instruments deftly).  Having hacked it out as a live duo for six years they initially caught the attention of auspicious benefactors like Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) who released their first single Matthew and Toby (straight live cut, one run through, no overdubs) on his Text imprint.

Throughout 2010 they toured with Hebden gaining a much broader platform through a live session for Gilles Peterson's as well as a performance at Gilles Worldwide Awards (TM).  It was their followup EP however the fittingly titled Lone Raver that cemented their concrete appeal.  The fraternal bond in music, when it plays to the strengths of the individual players and the time, can often become something that exceeds the sum of its parts as in the live clip below.

 
Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that Four Tet is sounding his most re-invigorated, in anticipation of the decade anniversary of Rounds (with a deluxe edition forthcoming), in this collaborative cut simply titled: Roseland
 
 

Church Remix - Slum Village, Skyzoo, Focus prod Young RJ


With two of three founding members of Slum Village passed (Baatin and Dilla) and Elzhi no longer fleshing out the new lineup these days Slum Village= T3.  And frankly T3 is a goof.  This is not simply a personal opinion, beyond his vaguely passable flow there is a sense in various interviews that T3's lazy style was a source of frustration to the more serious members of the group particularly Dilla. 

Here the highlight is the production of the consistently deft and melodic producer Young RJ (at one time half of BR Gunna with Black Milk) and Focus' verse deserves a nod too.

2.20.2013

Rick Danko and Rolling Thunder Revue - What A Town/ It Makes No Difference (Hartford, CT, November 24, 1975)

The Rolling Thunder Revue tours took place in late 1975 and early 1976 with the release of Dylan's Desire album (1976) falling between the two legs.
Among those featured in the Revue were Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Kinky Friedman and Bob Neuwirth. Neuwirth assembled the backing musicians, including T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, David Mansfield, and Steven Soles, and, from the Desire sessions, the violinist Scarlet Rivera, the bassist Rob Stoner, and the drummer Howie Wyeth
On this date from Hartford, CT The Band's Rick Danko joined his former compatriot for a rendition of his own song What A Town and his definitive rendition of It Makes No Difference.



Jerry Garcia Band - Sugaree (Capitol Theatre, 03.01.80)


Sugaree was the first song out of the gates at the early show of the Jerry Garcia Band in Passaic, NJ, March 1, 1980.  The show broadcast for radio featured JGB staple John Kahn on bass and rotating members Johnny de Fonseca on drums and Ozzie Ahlers on keys.


2.18.2013

Waajeed (DJ Jeedo Dilla Tribute) Live From Dallas 02.8.13


 
Waajeed (arabic for 'finder' or 'seeker') born Robert O'Bryant is strongly connected to J Dilla and the career of Slum Village. An art student prior to becoming a DJ and producer (which he came to relatively late in life) - it was Waajeed who designed the cover of Slum Village's Fantastic Vol. 2.  He also introduced the group to their fourth member Elzhi and produced a handful of cuts for their third album Trinity (Past, Present, Future).  Waajeed is best known as one half of Platinum Pied Pipers.
 





2.10.2013

The Perro Sessions (Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra)


The confusion surrounding 'the Perro sessions' is understandable.   Perro, or PER&RO (Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra), refers to a loose agglomeration of players in the San Fransisco Bay area who gathered around Wally Heider's studio during a time of great flux in their respective bands including: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.  Deadheads in particular enjoy the material due to the lack of live recordings documenting the musical relationship between Garcia and Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson/ Hot Tuna). 

A definite high point on this portion of the tape is at 30:24 as Mountains v. 4 reaches its apex (a phenomenal passage in it's own right), when the band led by Jerry starts coaxing out a proto version of  Loser and a brief reprise of Deal including a pause to recapitulate the chords.  Then there is a cold cut in the tape and Jerry plainly recounts the chord progression: C-Em-Am-G-Am.  At which point they go into Deal proper.

The Perro Sessions tapes give us a glimpse into these and other sessions that were never mixed or saved for posterity, the recordings engineer Stephen Barncard is central to the conservation of this material- though perhaps he did not pack the actual pipe of marijuana that was discovered along with the sessions when unearthed.


Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra collaborations have resulted in many songs and formally in two releases; the first credited to Jefferson Starship was the album Blows Against The Empire; the second was David Crosby's solo debut If Only I Could Remember My Name.

Personnel

David Crosby – guitar, vocals

Graham Nash – guitar, vocals
Paul Kantner – guitar, banjo, vocals
Grace Slick – piano, vocals
Jorma Kaukonen – lead guitar
Jack Casady – bass
Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh – bass
Bill Kreutzmann – drums
Mickey Hart – percussion
David Freiberg – viola, vocals


PERRO Discography
1970 Blows Against the Empire by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship
1971 If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby
Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash
Sunfighter by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick
1972 Graham Nash David Crosby by Graham Nash and David Crosby
Rolling Thunder by Mickey Hart 
1973 Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun by Kantner, Slick, and Freiberg
1983 Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra by Paul Kantner

An excellent narrative on the discovery of the 4 reels of 2 track mixes made in 1971 and the genesis of the sessions (along with the original tape box notations) can be found here.

The roots of PER&RO go back a lot further than 1971. 1 guess it had its inception in the early years of the '60s (prior to the Airplane, the Byrds et al) when Kantner, Crosby and Freiberg used to hang out, play music, get high and rap together around Venice Beach. That was the initial bond, the start of it all...
Later, when they were in bands of their own, there were occasional points of interaction - like Garcia sitting in on the 'Surrealistic Pillow' sessions, like Crosby giving "Triad" to the Airplane when he couldn't get the Byrds to record it, like Kantner, Crosby and Stills writing "Wooden Ships"....  
As Grace recalls, "These sessions were like 'Uh, do you wanna play guitar on this one?' 'No, man, I have to go to the bathroom.' 'Okay, David, you wanna play?' 'Sure'. Whoever felt like doing something did it. Parts interchanged, people interchanged."
 
 

2.09.2013

Thank You Jay Dee Act 3 tracklist (mixed by J. Rocc)


In appreciation of the birth of James Yancey, celebrated this 7th of February now and forever after, there have been many world celebrations on what would have been his 39th birthday.  A handful of interesting new developments have taken place with regards to the Dilla estate, Ma Dukes attempts to conserve that estate (including Yancey' record collection and rare test pressings finally retrieved from a storage locker) through selling individual records from the collection (lacking historical  value) on Ebay with a certificate of authenticity from Maureen Yancey herself.

Likewise label Stones Throw has released a 4 track EP Lost Scrolls Vol. 1 which contains Dilla rapping on Dewitt To It.  While Donuts represents the heights of Dilla's instrumental efforts since his passing the most thoughtful representation of his ouevre has been from long-time collaborator J. Rocc and his Thank You Jay Dee Act 1-4 mixes released as Stones Throw podcasts.  J. Rocc is well known for his established place in turntablism (Beat Junkies), for being the third live touring member of JayLib (Jay Dee and Madlib's collaboration Champion of Sound) and a spirited contemporary in the world of abstract contemporary hip hop.  Originally conceived as a three act suite Rocc ultimately produced a 4th which serves as a denouement for the late career of the icon.

There seems to be some international confusion about the actual tracklist for Act 3 at the moment.  It is as follows:

Thank You Jay Dee Act 3 tracklist

"Les Mogol - Sunset In Golden Horn" (original sample for Welcome 2 Detroit Intro (0:00)
"Welcome 2 Detroit Intro" (0:48)
"The Other Side (Instrumental)" (0:51)
Beat (2:35)
Beat (3:48)
Beat (?) (5:19)
"Gobstopper" (3:20)
"No $ No Toke" Original/No EFX mix. (6:06)
"The Oxtopuss" (7:23)
Beat (8:58)
"The Message (10:30)
"Show Me What You Got" (12:06)
"The Rhyme (Slum Village Remix) (13:50)
"Thought U Wuz Nice (Instrumental)" (15:30)
"Stakes Is High" (18:04)
"Stakes Is High (Remix f/Mos Def & Truth Enola) (18:22)
"His Name Is Mutty Ranks (Instrumental)" (19:10)
"Payback Is A Grandmother (Instrumental)" (19:45)
"It's Goin' Down" (20:14)
"Somethin' That Means Somethin'" (20:40)
"Start It Up (Instrumental)" (21:00)
"Word Play (Instrumental)" (21:12)
"Find a Way (Instrumental)" (21:20)
"1nce Again (Instrumental)" (21:24)
"Keeping It Moving" (21:30)
"That Shit" (21:49)
"Conant Gardens" (22:18)
"I Don't Know" (23:03)
"Beej N Dem" (23:39)
"2U4U" (Original Version) (24:22)
BLEND "2U4U" Instrumental w/ "Climax" (25:22)
Fantastic Mix (All four "Fantastic" interludes from Slum Village's "Fantastic Vol. 1" plus the intro from FV2) (26:14)
"Hold Tight" (OG & RMX) (28:13)
"Orignal beat tape version of Jaylib's "D 2 LA" (29:33)
"Pillz" (30:11)
"Reckless Driving" (30:30)
Beat (31:12)
Jaylib Interlude (31:22)
"Make Em NV" (32:08)
"Let's Grow (Instrumental)" (34:19)
Beat (35:50)
"Signs" (Full Version) (36:44)

        
Thank You Jay Dee Act 2 tracklist

Thank You Jay Dee Act 1 tracklist
 

2.02.2013

Four Tet - The Track I've Been Playing That People Keep Asking About And That Joy Used In His RA Mix And Daphni Played On Boiler Room


The Track I’ve Been Playing That People Keep Asking About And That Joy Used In His  RA Mix And Daphni Played On Boiler Room - KH

It seems the only thing particularly interesting about Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet's recent dancefloor cut (credited simply to KH) is the title and the story behind it.   Essentially the sparse track is composed of kick drum, high hat, cowbell with no melody barring the African tribesman vocal sample.  The interest around the track stems from Daphni (a new perhaps organic moniker for electronic artist Caribou) playing it noticeably in his Boiler Room internet DJ set.  And for Joy Orbison incorporating the song into his popular Resident Advisor mix (October 1, 2012).  The fascination with the track began with Caribou's own excitement and how he was able to use it (along with countless other tracks) into his new Daphni mixes reflecting his having "fallen back in love with moments in small, dark clubs when a DJ puts on a piece of music that not only can you not identify, but that until you heard it you could not have conceived of existing".

Some such as Stereogum suggest that the significance of the track/title is the inference to how people are consuming electronic music i.e. in their homes rather than clubs.

There’s a lot of buzz going around the Internet about how referencing Resident Advisor mixes and Boiler Room sets means people are consuming dance music via the Internet instead of in clubs.
Don't get us wrong it's a pretty shite track all on it's own- which is more to the point.  Many electronic tracks- perhaps not those of the oftentimes supremely melodic Four Tet- do not function well as standalones.  But KH's use of the present perfect tense (the track I have been playing) suggests exactly that 'playing' it live in a club to an engaged audience generated all the interest in the first place.  Perhaps there is still hope for "live" "electronic" "music".


 

Page McConnell explains his rig




After Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon gave comprehensive tours of their own rigs, pedal arrays, racks and amps (originally aired during the setbreaks of the webcast from their 12/28 and 12/29/12 Madison Square Garden Holiday Run, pianist/organist and chief groupie taster Page McConnell takes us through his own keyboard rig.

 

 
On tour, McConnell plays a Yamaha C7 piano outfitted with hammers from a German Steinway. A Helpinstill pickup run through an Avalon U5 direct box, plus an Earthworks Piano Mic system, feed the P.A. Then there’s the Hammond B-3, Hohner Clavinet, Rhodes, Moog Little Phatty, and Yamaha CS-60. “Since I did my solo record, I’ve been out with the Little Phatty and I really like it,” says McConnell. “Before the Phatty, I used a Moog Source. I’ve had a few different keyboards occupy that particular spot.” His Clavinet got quite a workout at Festival 8 on songs like “Down With Disease” and “Ghost.” “People like the Clav,” he says. “It’s funky and it makes them dance.” The CS-60’s flavor comes in handy for certain moods. “I use it more for the spacious stuff and the ambient or spacey sounds. Pads and textures — I really like the texture of Yamaha’s analog synths. I’ll start with one of the presets, like the flute or brass sound, and mess with it.” However many vintage keyboards he owns, McConnell keeps his live rig tight: “I try not to have more than six keyboards with me.” - KeyboardMag