Escola Do Brasil

•06/12/2016 • 2 Comments

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I don’t know when I first came across Brazilian music (probably Astrud Gilberto on the radio or a samba school accompanying Socrates and Zico on TV), but the first time I heard it on a dance floor would have been around 1990 at Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge’s legendary Dingwalls Sunday afternoon sessions in Camden – amid the jazz, soul, and hip hop. Meanwhile, the odd batucada or bossa track piqued my interest on compilations like the Jazz Juice and Totally Wired series, and I soon realized that the older jazz-funk scene had a long history of playing sambas. As the decade went on, Brazilian music became more mainstream, as a Brazilian love affair with Ronaldo, Denilson and Roberto meant Tamba Trio’s version of the Sergio Mendes classic showed up in a Nike advert, bossa rhythms increasingly showed up in nu jazz and house records, and popular artists like Basement Jaxx sampled tracks such as Samba De Flora (soon to appear in another mix).

Most of the Brazilian records I heard early on were courtesy of El Grito, Rob and Neil at the Tun-izzia sessions at the Devonshire Arms and the Cambridge incarnation of World Peace Soul Jazz, two nights whose defining feature was typically the presence of more DJs than punters. Cambridge’s number one latin combo, Boca Loca (El Grito on Wurlitzer and vocals, the Turk on drums, and Mr George on cuica), drew bigger crowds and covered some of these tracks, as well as playing self-penned gems like Bossa For Now. Cambridge School of Samba (bandleader El Grito) proved less popular despite a strong supporting performance at the latin-flavored Summer Madness night at The Junction (this led Chris to conclude the word “latin” was a kiss of death for any DJ night).

122027-aMy earlier Jazz Rooms mixes have often featured Brazilian tunes, but I wanted to do a Brazil-only one to remind me of the Cambridge nights. The mix below starts with a prequel to Encontros by the sadly departed Gato Barbieri. It wouldn’t be a Brazilian mix without a batucada, so a tempo-changing Bob Azzam provides one (a big Russ Dewbury favorite). After a cover of Joao Bosco’s O Ronco Da Cuica and an inevitable Sergio Mendes track, Bosco himself makes an appearance. Sivuca contributes a great version of the Bill Withers classic from his Live at the Village Gate LP. The studio version, which appeared on a different LP and also got a 12″ re-release, was a big hit on Granchester Meadow at an earlier Summer Madness party we held in ’93. The London crew travelled up for the fiesta and, if I remember rightly, an out-of-it Tony appeared sporting giant mirror sunglasses to show his ex-girlfriend exactly what she was missing, before stumbling off to the river to be sick (my own shades apparently led TK Pussy to conclude she’d be sharing a house with a narcissist..)

The holiday atmosphere continues with a track from Astrud Gilberto’s Holiday ’69 LP (first heard when Ethan came up from Soul Jazz and played at King’s). After Musica Popular Brasileira, there are a back-to-back versions of Edu Lobo’s Upa Neghuino – a nod to GP, who would often play Luis Arruda Paez’s orchestral version after Lobo’s. Then a couple of tunes showcase how Brazilian music was adopted to the north and over in Europe: James Brown’s favorite lounge trio cover Marcos Valle’s Os Grilos and Roy Budd of Get Carter fame reminds Sean he needn’t go all the way to Ipanema Beach. A few more follow, including Marcos himself, and the mix ends with Os Devaneios, which Jankster and I first heard in Bolivia not Brazil, courtesy of Avolta! radio.

  1. To Be Continued – Gato Barbieri
  2. Batucada Por Favor – Bob Azzam
  3. Ronco Da Cuica – Viva Brasil
  4. Casa Forte – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
  5. Escadas Da Penha – Joao Bosco
  6. Fio Maravilha – Tania Maria
  7. Ain’t No Sunshine (Live) – Sivuca
  8. Beginnings – Astrud Gilberto
  9. Vera Cruz – MPB4
  10. Upa Neguinho – Elis Regina
  11. Upa Neguinho – Doc Severinson & Strings
  12. Crickets Sing For Anamaria – The Dee Felice Trio
  13. The Girl From Southend On Sea – Roy Budd
  14. Misturada – Quarteto Novo
  15. Proton, Electron, Neutron – Marcos Valle
  16. Ossain – Antonio Carlos & Jocafi
  17. Embalo Differente – Os Devaneios

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Block Party Jams

•03/01/2016 • Leave a Comment

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I’ve just finished re-reading Ed Piskor’s graphic history of hip hop, which paints a brilliant picture of the DJs, rappers, and other characters who gave birth to hip hop in the early 70’s. It’s a nice reminder that, as I’ve said before, it was all about the DJ before it was all about the rappers, and there are some great stories in the book about the block party DJs from The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens who started the whole thing. Reading it again inspired me to throw together a couple of party jams using a bunch of records I’d always wanted to put into a mix.

The first is mainly stuff from the 70’s and early 80’s. It kicks off with a couple of classics that’ll sound familiar: Space Age was sampled in a house record that was the soundtrack to every imagined TV ‘club scene’ for a time, while in Dancing Machine of course, Michael Jackson showed everyone the robot. Next is some great early rap from the days before sampling; then EU use Go-Go to fire up Sugar Ray Leonard. After that it’s back home with Brooklyn Trucking, a couple of great disco/boogie tracks, and Funky 4+1’s first outing before That’s The Joint (heard here). Kurtis Blow’s yuletide rap was the first many people heard, selling half a million copies. But rewinding a few years, The Last Poets, backed by Kool & The Gang, contribute Sport, a cautionary tale from 1973 of a misspent youth in 1959 that might be the first real rap record. The tale was reprised by Melle Mel ten years later, who substituted ’79 for ’59. The mix ends with some lesser known Go-Go specially for Jon-boy. Just before that is a brilliant live Prince track from his peach’n’black period that we played over and over in that house in Westbourne Park while downing ‘lizard drink’. Come to think of it, the Shock sound system on Westbourne Park Road during carnival was probably pretty similar to those Bronx jams.

  1. Space Age – The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  2. Dancing Machine – The Jackson 5
  3. Willie Rap – Willie Wood and Willie Wood Crew
  4. Knock Him Out Sugar Ray – Experience Unlimited
  5. Do It (Till You’re Satisfied) – B. T. Express
  6. Get On Up (Get On Down) – Roundtree
  7. Give It To Me (If You Don’t Mind) – Conquest
  8. Rappin’ and Rockin’ The House – Funky Four Plus One More
  9. Christmas Rap – Kurtis Blow
  10. Hustler’s Convention – Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five
  11. Sport – Lightning Rod
  12. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night – Prince
  13. Bop Gun – Redds and The Boys

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Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.48.33 AMThe next mix focuses more on the 80’s and 90’s and moves further afield. It starts with a rare Cut Killer jam echoing NWA that you might have seen in the French movie La Haine. After a 45 King loop (another one Crawford hipped me to), we get some Japanese rapping you might recognize from the instrumental version that Mo’ Wax later re-released (heard in this mix). Then there’s a Lower Eastside-inspired jam from Ashley Beedle et al. that reminds me of a crazy summer Sean and I spent sleeping on the floor with about five others in Rivington St. Next MAW sample Gwen McCrae’s Funky Sensation (first heard while crashed at another home for waifs and strays a few years later: Mr Lee‘s place in Hoxton). Some later 80s/early 90s hip hop follows, and finally it’s back to the old school with a Jimmy Spicer track that was the basis for Bomb The Bass’s Megablast, classic Sugar Hill and Enjoy tracks, and a Grace Jones dub thrown in for good measure.

  1. Instrumental (La Haine) – Cut Killer
  2. Funk Box – The 45 King
  3. Koi No Formula – Takagi Kan
  4. Next Stop Delancey Street – The Ballistic Brothers
  5. Get Up – Masters At Work
  6. Fakin’ The Funk – Main Source
  7. Check The Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
  8. Streets Of New York (instrumental) – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
  9. Let Me Ride (Extended version) – Dr Dre
  10. Money (instrumental) – Jimmy Spicer
  11. Feel The Heartbeat – The Treacherous Three
  12. Pull Up To The Bumper (remix) – Grace Jones
  13. Monster Jam – Spoonie Gee meets The Sequence
  14. At The Party – The Treacherous Three

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Nu Wave

•01/12/2016 • 2 Comments

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The early 90s saw the kinds of sampling and sequencing techniques used to assemble soul, funk and disco breaks in hip hop and house music begin to be applied to jazz and Brazilian samples. The result – sometimes called ‘nu jazz’ – emerged from the acid jazz scene but arguably stood the test of time  better and also outlived the jazzy hip hop Gangstarr predicted would dominate the decade. The pioneers of the sound were United Future Organization (UFO) and a variety of Japanese artists whose records appeared on labels like Brownswood in Japan, Talkin’ Loud in the UK, and Compost in Germany. In the US, the Thievery Corporation took a similar though more down-tempo approach. Sadly Cambridge’s contribution to the genre was lost forever as the master tapes to the mythical ‘Itch-ka-too’ vanished in a haze of booze and narcotics.

Sampling a mixture of jazz, funky soundtracks and Brazilian music, nu jazz’s distinctive feature was typically an underlying samba/bossa rhythm – as opposed to classic breakbeats or 4-to-the-floor – which made it fit in well with the jazz, funk and latin music played at clubs like Dingwalls, the Mo’ Wax sessions, That’s How It Is and the Jazz Rooms. The mixes below remind me of that time – a time when the only beards in evidence were goatees, NHS specs worn by people with perfect eyesight were not uncommon, dressing like a trainspotter was briefly hip, and girls chose to wear dresses and jeans at the same time.

united_the_planFirst up is a new mix. It starts with a remix of UFO’s Planet Plan, basically a rework of Michel Magne’s Grand Theme Malko. Then a Joyce bassline is looped by the Jazz Brothers, manga masterthief Lupin III is given the vibes treatment on the ****** label, and Frank Foster and Michel Legrand provide samples for perhaps the definitive nu jazz track, Loud Minority. Next there’s a white label of Mission Impossible. This was originally intended for the Tom Cruise remake but never featured. Perhaps it was too faithful to the original, keeping Lalo Schifrin’s 5/4 time, which the tired, made-for-blockbuster version by U2’s rhythm section ditched for a predictable 4/4 (more likely, U2 just trumped UFO). After more from Japan, there’s a track from the first Earth box set put out by LTJ Bukem, which samples the great Buddy Rich track Group Shot, and UFO’s Harold McNair-derived waltz.

  1. The Planet Plan (Yellow remix) – United Future Organization
  2. Beatitude – Jazz Brothers
  3. Theme From Lupin The Third ’78 – Toshio Matsuura
  4. Loud Minority – United Future Organization
  5. Mission Impossible – United Future Organization
  6. Off Road – United Future Organization
  7. Theme From Lupin The Third ’80 – Masanori Ikeda
  8. Samba Nexusia – DJ Matsuoka
  9. Samba with J.C. – Poets of Thought
  10. My Foolish Dream – United Future Organization

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R-83164-1122074672Next are two I’ve posted before. The first starts with a UFO track that samples the Niteliters floor filler K-Jee (later covered by MFSB for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack) and Gato Barbieri. Then there’s a 10″ using Dennis Coffey’s classic Scorpio (though in this case not the break), a reinterpretation of Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments, some Jazzanova (see below), a beautiful deep house B-side from Guidance, Russ Dewbury’s pianomeister discovery on Disorient, a white label that came out on Kevin Beadle’s label, and a Nuphonic track that samples Kenny Clark’s fabulous Big Bang (heard here).

  1. United Future Airlines – UFO
  2. Cosmic Gypsy – UFO
  3. Stolen Moments – UFO
  4. Friends We’ll be (Jazzanova remix) – UFO
  5. Berimbau De Osaha – Easydelics
  6. Fedimes Flight – Jazzanova
  7. Ife Bobowa – Brotherhood of Soul
  8. Corcovado – Mr Hermano
  9. Playing With Fire – Extravaganza
  10. Nexus – Blofeld

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jazzanovaFinally, there’s a Jazzanova tribute. The German collective Jazzanova (a name cribbed from an obscure Paulo Alencar record) developed nu jazz a stage further, using characteristic drum programming to add an electro tweak – so successfully that for a while it seemed everyone from the HARYOU Percussion Group to Ian Pooley got a Jazzanova remix. This mix features a bunch of their remixes and a few originals. There’s nu dub from the Thievery Corporation. London’s finest nu disco outfit, Faze Action, contribute a samba and the mix ends with the insanity of Caravelle, a track so crazy that I remember several people initially couldn’t work out what speed to play it on.

  1. Adore – I:Cube
  2. Focus On Sight – Thievery Corporation
  3. Friends We’ll Be (Jazzanova Remix) – UFO
  4. Complete Life (Jazzanova Remix) – Liquid Lounge
  5. Carajillo (Jazzanova Remix) – Truby Trio
  6. Words Of Love (Jazzanova Remix)- Soul Bossa Trio
  7. Metti Una Sera A Cena (Jazzanova Remix) – Balanco
  8. Samba – Faze Action
  9. Watch Them Come (Jazzanova Remix) – Men From The Nile
  10. Atabaque – Jazzanova
  11. Caravelle – Jazzanova

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George of the Jungle

•06/20/2015 • 2 Comments

hqdefaultJungle emerged out of hardcore in the early ’90s, pioneered by London DJs like Fabio and Grooverider and labels like Reinforced, Metalheadz and Moving Shadow. With a much higher tempo (typically around 160 bpm) than house, it’s based around complex drum patterns that are essentially chopped up and reassembled 33 rpm hip hop breakbeats played at 45 rpm. The most common of these are the classic break from Amen Brother, which of course previously appeared slowed down in hip hop tracks like King of the Beats and Straight Outta Compton (heard here), and The Incredible Bongo Band’s Apache (heard here).

I first heard jungle courtesy of our friend Ram. Sole exponent of the ‘broken robot’ form of body popping, Ram played tapes of early Reinforced records down in our basement, winding us up by joking that it was the ‘new jazz’. Ironically as jungle later evolved to become drum’n’bass, losing the screeches, sirens and ragga MCs, it indeed became jazzier and began to appear on the playlists of DJs like Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay not just Goldie, Peshay and 4hero. Meanwhile, the incorporation of samples of artists from Bob James to A Man Called Adam began to make the music appeal to me too. By the late ’90s, drum’n’bass had become ubiquitous: all records had a drum’n’base remix and it was the soundtrack for everything from car to shampoo commercials. Sadly for Saulo, the more erotic bum’n’bass never made the same impact.

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The only time I really played any drum’n’bass out was at Flava 2 Sava. A regular at Back On The Streets, Jankster had created the night with a similar recipe, drafting me in as replacement for Mukatsuku Nick, but he needed someone who really knew jungle. Enter Cretan radio’s most famous DJ, Mr George. George played a few funk records too but really he was there to provide the drum’n’bass, which he did in dark style. The first time he went on (after me), he killed all the lights on the dance floor and began to play a long Pink Floyd intro. Unnerved by the dark and irritated that the bump’n’hustle of the earlier records had gone, the crowd below turned and began booing. This prompted the Turk to drop his dungarees and flash the crowd, and I vaguely recall someone spitting and Neil giving them the finger. Jankster begin to look worried. Then it dawned on him what George was doing. A few seconds later a massive jungle drum break kicked in, George upped the lights, and the crowd went wild. Funk first, jungle later became the formula for the night.

The mixes below capture the sound of that era to me. First is a brand new mix. Darker than the others, it starts with a sound from the Asian underground, an off-shoot of drum’n’bass pioneered by Talvin Singh. Next is a Metalheadz classic from Alex Reece, and then one from an old friend from Glasgow who I used to swap mix tapes with, who contributes an appropriate We Live In Brooklyn sample, reminding me of fun times in Byres Road (What up, Crawford – I’m still looking for that Silhouettes LP!). Crawford’s Memento Mori is followed by a bunch of Metalheadz tracks interspersed with an unusual track from Wall of Sound’s Dirty Beatnick’s, broken beats from old-school junglist Omni Trio and broken beat from Waiwan.

  1. Flight IC408 – State of Bengal
  2. Pulp Fiction – Alex Reece
  3. Memento Mori – Cinema
  4. Freefall – J. Malik
  5. Unknown W/L – Dirty Beatnicks
  6. Down Under – Digital
  7. Made Up Sound – Source Direct
  8. Swing Time – Hidden Agenda
  9. Trippin’ on Broken Beats – Omni Trio
  10. Goddess – Waiwan
  11. One And Only – Pfm

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images 2Next is one I’ve posted before. It starts with Alex Reece remixing UFO, amusingly once referred to by King Rob’s nemesis Anil as “an obscure little Japanese outfit” (not obscure in the slightest to anyone who’d been following the scene for the previous five years). Then there’s more Alex Reece, funky d’n’b from the Bel Air project, a few things on Metalheadz and Moving Shadow, and some tracks from the Bukem stable. Revival is from Bukem’s first Earth box set, which combined material from the Good Looking, Looking Good and Cookin’ labels, while Music is a classic that marked the turning point in Holding On, a BBC TV mini-series featuring Phil Daniels and David Morrisey that’s a great portrait of London in the ’90s.

  1. Loud Minority (Alex Reece remix) – United Future Organization
  2. Jazz Master – Alex Reece
  3. Bongo Club – Bel Air Project
  4. 19.5 – Bukem & The Peshay
  5. Subtropic – E-Z Rollers
  6. Music – L.T.J. Bukem
  7. Feverish – Tony Justice
  8. Destiny (DJ Pulse) – DJ Pulse
  9. Revival – Blame
  10. Trippin’ On Broken Beats – Omni Trio

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MOVING+SHADOWThe last mix is another old one, featuring some brilliant records. It starts with my favorite drum’n’bass track, Blackberry Jam, which sounds like it samples a soundtrack and unlike most manages to sound funky even at 160 bpm. Next on my list would probably be the EZ Rollers track, which has an amazing vocal sample and a sax that reminds me of Eddie Harris (the even better Guardians of Dalliance remix is featured in this mix). Adam F, son of Gary Numan, adds the intro from the Bob James classic Westchester Lady, Wax Doctor chops up A Man Called Adam’s Earthly Powers, and the mix ends with Subject 13 playing like an electronic version of Tom Scott’s Sneakin’ In The Back.

  1. Blackberry Jam- Makato
  2. Magik – Bel Air Project
  3. Chill Pill – Alex Reece
  4. Retro – EZ Rollers
  5. Glide – Free Hand
  6. 5 Miles High – TMF
  7. Rare Tear Part 1 – Flytronix
  8. Circles – Adam F
  9. Kid Caprice (Funk Mix) – Wax Doctor
  10. Faith – Subject 13

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Disco Express

•05/09/2015 • Leave a Comment

ORS-Moon-BootsDisco gets a bad rap, partly because the genre was hijacked by the major labels and partly because white rockers, threatened by a movement associated with black/gay people, not to mention women, launched the ‘disco sucks’ campaign that climaxed with a ritual burning of disco records in Chicago (ironically the place where house music, disco’s revenge, would be born soon after). Disco’s only real crime was that many previously great funk/jazz artists chased the trend with dire results (The Original Disco Man, for example).

Tim Lawrence has written a good account of the birth of disco in New York in Love Saves The Day, and there’s a great compilation from the time that showcases the extended Tom Moulton mixes that characterized it early on. If disco’s defining social feature was its inclusiveness, its defining musical feature became the 4-to-the-floor kick drum, which contrasted with the banging snare of up-tempo soul and funk’s emphasis on the first beat – ‘the one’. The labels Scepter/Wand and Philadelphia International are perhaps most closely associated with the early disco sound. Salsoul, Prelude, T.K., West End, and a host of smaller labels followed, and of course there was plenty on the majors.

I don’t remember the first disco record I heard (it was probably Love To Love You Baby on 8-track in my Dad’s car). The first I remember taping off the radio was Can You Feel The Force, which a decade later’d be the soundtrack to booty calls down the A4 with Kliger. I only really started buying disco a few years later though, when I met Paul. While my ‘old records’ were all ’69-’73, his were mainly ’76-’81, in other words disco. Disco got a lot of love in Pantonville, and we’d occasionally trek down to Bristol to see Paul DJ at a night called Erotic City. Most memorable was the Sex Odyssey party conceived by TK Pussy though. With floor-to-ceiling tin foil in one room and black bin liners covering the walls of the other, the grand floor of our house was re-imagined as a dancefloor, and transvestite Coco ruled that dance floor (at least until Bennett spanked her). Meanwhile, sporting space suit, jetpack and silver face paint, I was the one who had to talk to the cops when they showed up to close us down – they’d been earlier apparently, and Max, masquerading as me, had sent them packing with the words “see you in court!”.

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The mixes below capture the sound of those times for me: mainly disco, some boogie (just more expensive disco?), a bit of jazz-funk (disco with more horns and less strings?) and hi-energy (just more electronic disco?) thrown in. The first one begins with a birthday gift from local boy Love Lee. Next the Rhythm Makers reinvent themselves as a disco band and revamp Soul On Your Side for the disco era. A few Players Association 12″s follow, interspersed with proto-house and some Patrick Adams productions. Fans of S-Express will recognize the Rose Royce track, and after the French craziness of Voyage, the late funk/jazz drummer Idris Muhammad does disco. The mix ends with the B-side to Harry Thumann’s monstrous Underwater.

  1. Are You Ready (Instrumental) – Brooklyn Express
  2. Disco Nights – G.Q.
  3. Ride The Groove – Players Association
  4. You Should Have Known Better (Instrumental) – Skratch
  5. Body Shake – T. C. Curtis
  6. Keep In Touch (Body To Body) – The Shades Of Love
  7. Turn The Music Up – Players Association
  8. Is It Love You’re After – Rose Royce
  9. Kechak Fantasy – Voyage
  10. Could Heaven Ever Be Like This – Idris Muhammad
  11. We Got The Groove – Players Association
  12. Weekend – Phreek
  13. American Express – Harry Thumann

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IMG_1051Next is one I’ve posted before. It starts with funky disco reminiscent of Tubular Bells. Then there’s the Alan Hawkshaw favorite that East London’s first real DJ, Froggy, used as his theme, and an Oliver Cheatham track sadly most know only from a Lynx advert. High on Your Love I first heard on tape in a car outside Max Rees’s Hot Numbers (we played it to him so he could tell us what it was) while Jingo got play everywhere, including the Jazz Rooms. Hamilton Bohannon, who hip hop heads mainly know for Save Their Souls, contributes the first of his three versions of Let’s Start The Dance, and the mix ends with Idjut Boys favorite Suzy Q and the B-side to Rock The Casbah.

  1. Foxy – Crown Heights Affair
  2. Here Comes That Sound – Love-Deluxe
  3. Get Down Saturday Night – Oliver Cheatham
  4. Livin’ It Up, Friday Night – Bell and James
  5. High On Your Love – Debbie Jacobs
  6. Beat the Street – Sharon Redd
  7. Jingo – Candido
  8. Moonboots – ORS
  9. Let’s Start The Dance – Hamilton Bohannon
  10. Body Music – The Strikers
  11. Ooh I Love It (Love Break) – Salsoul Orchestra
  12. Get On Up (remix) – Suzy Q
  13. Mustapha Dance – The Clash

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tumblr_ljcp1nfF2c1qgak4lThe last mix is the oldest. It starts with the 12″ extended version of Kool & The Gang’s last great record, which has a great percussion loop that mixes well with Francine McGee’s classic rare groove. Neither of course compare to the fabulous percussion of Do What You Wanna do, which likewise blends into Do You Wanna Funk, a hi-energy record that made everyone want to party like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places and was one we played over and over on Kamalcolm’s beat box, summer of ’87. Gotta Find A Disco is one McDisco turned me onto, harder stuff that sounds like Gary Bartz on speed at times. Carrie Lucas and Six Million Steps were other Pantonville favorites, the latter commemorating a charity run in 1978 along the length of the east coast. Later there’s Too Hot For Love, which comes in at a whopping 15 mins with separate phases of ‘foreplay’, ‘excitement’, ‘climax’, and ‘resolution’… The mix ends with an earlier version of the Suzi Q track and a different (better) take on Weekend.

  1. Open Sesame (Extended Version) – Kool & The Gang
  2. Delirium – Francine McGee
  3. Six Million Steps – Rahni Harris
  4. Smile – Skylite
  5. Do You Wanna Funk – Sylvester with Patrick Cowley
  6. Do What You Wanna Do – T-Connection
  7. Dance With You – Carrie Lucas
  8. Gotta Find A Disco – Love Exchange
  9. Hold Your Horses – First Choice
  10. Too Hot For Love – THP Orchestra
  11. At Midnight – T-Connection
  12. Get On Up – Suzi Q
  13. Try It Out – Gino Soccio
  14. Weekend (M&M Mix) – Class Action

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The most popular game was house

•02/11/2015 • 2 Comments

506794House music – what Frankie Knuckles called ‘disco’s revenge’ – first began to appear in clubs like the Mud around 1986. Initially resisted by an underground scene accustomed to rare groove, go go and hip hop, it failed to gain a foothold in London at first and made more of an impact up north. But by 1988 and the arrival of acid house, house (together with the accompanying horrendous fashion choices and dance moves) was everywhere, and it was terrifying the tabloids. Those of us still after rare groove turned to the emerging acid jazz scene at places like Dingwalls and Jazzadelic, but most clubs were playing 4-to-the-floor. More significantly, house also supplanted the trashy pop that had previously dominated the playlists of resident DJs at every cheesy local disco from Staines to San Antonio.

House originated in Chicago as a term for music Frankie Knuckles was playing at The Warehouse in the early 80’s. Closely linked with the early techno coming out of Detroit, it soon spread east and splintered into myriad different sub-genres. In the UK, small record shops with dedicated racks of white label 12″s for each sprung up in backstreets and basements everywhere, and by the 90’s we had hard house, progressive house, garage house, disco house, deep house, funky house, tech house, ambient house, jazzy house, hip house, Italo house, latin house, soulful house, New York house, tribal house, handbag house, and even some imagined types – ‘euphoric’ house (Sean), ‘wafting’ house (Jankster), and ‘hardcore ecstasy’ (Harry). Meanwhile, the drum tracks on pop records began to sound more and more like house music, and of course every club track got at least one ‘house mix’.

imagesI always had most time for deep house (which I’ve written about before), but living with an insomniac DJ (Paul) who mixed disco and funky house all night, I couldn’t help but get into a few tracks (and by the ’90s the attire seemed to have gotten better too, skinny rib tees and vinyl jeans being a marginal improvement on day-glo and wallabees). The first mix below is an old one and is mainly this sort of funky house. Black Magic was a Strictly Rhythm record we all seemed to like (thanks to Dr Wilson for that one), and Brighter Days was the sound of the Notting Hill Carnival in 1993. The U.N.I. track is probably my favorite house track (traded with Neil for a very expensive afro single in the days before discogs…), the Greg Fenton track was one of Paul’s favorites, and a funky house mix wouldn’t be complete without something from Kenny Dope and Little Louis Vega (aka Masters At Work). Funky Guitar was one I got asked for constantly (whatever happened to scouser Giles?), while Tony Petchell’s Funk On Up came out of Cambridge and samples Earth, Wind and Fire’s Africano (heard here) and Get On Up by Jazzy Dee. For some reason, it always reminds me of a wild-eyed El Grito rapidly shifting mindset from dancer to vigilante in an illegal party at The Oak. The mix ends with Francisco Zappala, a track that got a lot of play with Gabs and Katie above that Mexican place on Castle Hill.

  1. Freedom (Make it Funky) – Black Magic
  2. Don’t Hold Back The Feeling – U-N-I
  3. Brighter Days – Cajmere
  4. Love Infinity – Greg Fenton
  5. Funk’n Space – Alex Neri
  6. I Can’t Stop the Rhythm – Masters At Work
  7. No Props 2 – Mateo and Matos
  8. Funky Guitar – TC92
  9. Funk On Up – The Undergraduates
  10. We Got To Do It – F. Zappala and DJ Professor

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maxresdefaultNext is a new mix that reflects how ubiquitous house became in the ’90s: it’s a bunch of club classics that were played everywhere, with a couple of less well known tunes thrown in. I don’t remember when I first heard Gypsy Woman or Finally, but they were played constantly around 1991, and I do remember hearing Finally at a New Year’s Eve bash in Covent Garden when Tone and Ald stepped in to save me (after an uncharacteristic moment of chivalry) with a well-timed stranglehold on an aggressor who’d looked much smaller when he was further away. After that we get techno founder Kevin Saunderson’s Good Life – techno, I suppose, rather than house, but it reflects how close the two often were then. Then there’s two of the most overplayed records of all time from a few years later (I’ve just about become desensitized to Sophie Ellis Bextor but if I never heard Daft Punk’s Music Sounds Better again I wouldn’t miss it). A post in part inspired by Paul wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include some Joey Negro tracks (he could do an entire night of Joey Negro productions/remixes); so we get a couple of those, including a nostalgia-inducing Devotion remix that thankfully lacks the rap (1991 again and the ‘entertainer’ wasn’t Bruce Forsythe but Mikee Dee Freedom). Basement Jaxx inevitably make an appearance, with the big Samba De Flora sample. The mix winds up with Music Is The Key from 1985, which some have called the first ever house record, and Urban Soul, a tune that felt like it was on permanent rotation in that house I shared with H, Jane, Sarah, and Nicky in ’91.

  1. Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee) – Crystal Waters
  2. Good Life – Inner City
  3. Finally – CeCe Peniston
  4. Groove Jet (If This Ain’t Love) – Spiller
  5. Music Sounds Better With You – Stardust
  6. The Ghetto – Bob Sinclair
  7. Body To Body – The Men From Mars
  8. Samba Magic – Summer Daze
  9. (I Wanna Give You) Devotion (Joey Negro remix) – Nomad
  10. Music Is The Key – J. M. Silk
  11. Alright – Urban Soul

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Beat Instrumental

•10/06/2014 • 4 Comments

1200mk

 

When hip hop started at Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx in 1973, Kool Herc’s ‘merry go round’ was all about extending breaks – the parts of the records Grandmaster Flash called unreasonably short. It was instrumental to begin with, and the rapping came later. The tradition continued with B-side dubs, which like many disco and garage dubs were often better than the vocal versions. Plus of course there are all those cut-ups and instrumental hip hop records that never had a rap in the first place.

Public Enemy probably win the prize for the most creatively named dub mixes, and the three mixes here all feature at least one of these, along with some seminal instrumental hip hop tracks and a few rap classics. First up is a brand new mix. The PE dub here is the super heavy Prophets Of Rage dub. Then Ken and Lou take a break from house music to rework the monster drums from Schooly D’s PSK What Does It Mean (heard here) and the eerie funk of The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band’s Darkest Light. Jazzy Jeff cuts up Donald Byrd, and Original Concept weigh in with a track from a Def Jam sampler that first introduced the new label (that was a long time ago…). Next we get the dub Wyn and Jiva always demanded, the flip side to Spoonie G’s Godfather (the original is in the third mix). After another PE instrumental, it’s back to rap, with a bunch of old school tracks, including a nice use of Brunswick’s Light My Fire backing track by Dr-Dre-produced Above The Law and the UK’s Overlord X (first heard round Ol’s in the days long before Delicious Digital), as well as some bedroom sampling from a pre-trip-hop Automator.

  1. Prophets Of Rage (Power Version) – Public Enemy
  2. Just A Lil’ Dope (remix) – Masters At Work
  3. Brand New Funk (Instrumental) – DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
  4. Pump That Bass – Original Concept
  5. The Godfather (dub) – Spoonie G
  6. Can Truss It (Instrumental) – Public Enemy
  7. All For One – Brand Nubian
  8. Untouchable – Above The Law
  9. Nonviolent – Automator
  10. Bad – Overlord X
  11. Raw (remix) – Big Daddy Kane
  12. We Got The Funk – Automator
  13. It Takes Two – Rob Base and EZ Rock

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ubbNext is a mix I posted before. In this case, the PE dub is Caught, Can We Get A Witness, which like Bomb The Bass’s Beat Dis is constructed around the wah wah intro from Son of Shaft (heard in my Back On The Streets mix). The much better B side of Chad Jackson’s dreadful Hear The Drummer Get Wicked A side uses a nice sample of EW&F’s Moment of Truth (heard in this mix – thanks to Dr Monk for turning me on to that one). Coldcut’s brilliant Beats & Pieces follows (possibly the first cut-up I heard), which is based around Led Zeppelin’s classic When The Levee Breaks beat and memorably combines The Chubukos/Afrique’s House of Rising Funk and Vivaldi scratches. Pleasure’s Joyous break is the basis for the next track (the original is in this rare groove mix), there’s a nod to the Financial Times from DJ D*zire, and Grandmixer D St cuts up Herbie Hancock. Then I play Rakim over the top of De La Soul sampling Hall & Oates (the original is slipped in there too), some more classics from the Native Tongues, and something from High Wycombe’s finest hip hop outfit, Caveman. The mix ends with some familiar Jackson Sisters and Badder Than Evil samples.

  1. 716 Lesson – Scott Down and DJ Cutler
  2. Caught Can We Get A Witness (Pre Black Steel Ballistic Felony Dub) – Public Enemy
  3. Pump Up the Volume – MARRS
  4. The Boca Breakdown – Boca 45
  5. High On Life – Chuck Jackson
  6. Beats and Pieces – Coldcut
  7. Flex With The Posse – Rythm Mode D
  8. No MC No Comment – DJ D-Zire
  9. Leave Home – Chemical Brothers
  10. American Mega-Mix – Herbie Hancock
  11. I Can’t Go For That – Hall and Oates
  12. Say No Go (Bonus Beats) – De La Soul
  13. Follow the Leader (Acapella) – Eric B and Rakim
  14. Doin’ Our Own Dang (Do It To The JB’s) – Jungle Brothers
  15. Watch Me Now – Ultramagnetic MCs
  16. On The Run – Jungle Brothers
  17. One To Grow On (Growin Like Weeds) – UMCs
  18. Pages And Pages – Caveman
  19. Warrior – MC Wildski
  20. The Chase – DJ Food

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radio-raheemLast up is a mix from the vaults, some classic hardcore hip hop. It starts with an NWA comment on South Central policing. Then there’s Kurtis Mantronik’s incredible King of the Beats, arguably the best and hardest hip hop instrumental. He also produced T La Rock and the Joyce Sims track, which was on permanent rotation summer of ’87. After some milder stuff from the UMCs, it’s back to The Godfather and Caveman. The PE dub here is You’re Gonna Get Yours, which combines Dennis Coffey’s Gettin’ It On and Captain Sporm’s Super Sporm (this is my second copy – DJ Bennett destroyed the first ‘scratching’ when ‘looking after’ my records when I was travelling years ago). There’s more from NWA, and two tracks from Lady Love. EPMD sample Eric Clapton’s I Shot The Sherriff, and a pre-De La Soul Prince Paul appears with Stetsasonic, commenting on anti-sampling by sampling Lonnie Liston Smith’s Expansions. The mix ends with the classic PE track always on Radio Raheem’s stereo in the movie Do The Right Thing – Fight The Power – which samples the J.B.’s Hot Pants Road.

  1. Sa Prize – NWA
  2. King of The Beats – Mantronix
  3. Breaking Bells – T La Rock
  4. Lifetime Love – Joyce Sims
  5. Never Never Land – UMCs
  6. See More – Kool Rock Brothers
  7. The Godfather – Spoonie G
  8. Brother In Action- Caveman
  9. You’re Gonna Get Yours (Dub/Terminator X Getaway version) – Public Enemy
  10. Straight Outa Compton – NWA
  11. I’m Bad – LL Cool J
  12. Strictly Business – EPMD
  13. Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
  14. Talking All That Jazz – Stetsasonic
  15. Give The Drummer Some – Ultramagnetic MCs
  16. Fight The Power – Public Enemy

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