Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two New Mix CDs

Again: busy. I've been planning these mixes for ages but I haven't had time to actually
get them together. Until now. You can listen to the mixes via embedded players in this post or - if you want a hard copy - simply email me and I'll decide whether or not you're worthy.

Busy: time constraints mean that I haven't had time to write any programme notes for the mixes, so I've had to outsource the task. The first mix is a general compilation of tracks I've been feeling recently. The programme notes come courtesy of Krissie. The second mix is yet another compilation of 90s rap. The programme notes come courtesy of Numark E. Rich, who has recently started writing this blog.

Take it away, guys...

Sam's Mix CD for Spring 2008
1. Can Can Summer – The Fall.
2. Serious Brainskin – Von Sudenfed
"Seriously? The Fall? Again? I think this mix cd would have been better started with the fantastic Von Sudenfed song which is just like a better version of The Fall anyway."

3. Don't Give a Fuck – Lykez.

"Grime? Another genre Sammy only picked up on because Simon Reynolds told him it was cool. Now this is a cool song. There used to be some smooth grime after this on the mix but thankfully it has been removed.

4. Etched Headplate – Burial.

"You haven't heard of Burial? With a name like that it isn't surprising that this song creeps me out. It kind of reminds me of Bongwater and I figure these must be people who like Coil like Sam does because he thinks he's better than everyone else.

5. If the Kids are United – Pluramon.

"Totally awesome. There used to be another totally awesome Pluramon song on this mix so that must be a good album.

6. Town with No Cheer – Scarlett Johansson.

"Hmm, it sounds like a dude and frankly the whole SJ obsession is a little laboured.

7. The Honeythief – Beequeen.

"No memory of this song.

8. Magic Doors – Portishead.

"Obviously this album is cool but Sam is not cool enough to have seen Portishead play and they were awesome.

9. Interdependance Dance – Adrian Orange and Her Band.

"A suggestion from moi. I am fairly obsessed with Adrian Orange/Thanksgiving and am totally into this world music sort of direction which apparently all the wannabes are ripping off now. This is a great song.

10. Dinosaur Egg – Scout Niblett.

"Another suggestion from me, after the really cool Scout show we saw. I prefer the other recent album though and thought a song from that would be good. People don't seem to know how cool she is.

11. Low Bay of Sky – Richard Youngs.

"Yeah that Richard Youngs guy or Arthur Russell? Aren't they the same guy, maybe Tim Buckley? I don't know. Actually this is a good song.

12. Allure – Fovea Hex.

"Yeah, who IS this? This one is totally amazing although sometimes a little fey and ethereal like Clannad and if I was listening to it Sam would probably make fun of me except someone told him this was cool enough to like. Not like Clannad.

13. On a Desolate Shore a Shadow Passes By – Fennesz.
14. Trailing Moss in Mystic Glow – Oren Ambarchi .
"These last two more ambient tracks are both good and I was so into them that I accidentally drove over a bridge I didn't mean to."

15. Hip-hopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous – Flight of the Conchords.
"I don't count this one.

Bad Words, Pronouns and Adverbs: Rap in the 90s Volume 3
1.Mahogany – Eric B and Rakim
"Only Rakim could drop a sex rhyme in the middle of an intense record (Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em) and not make you want to skip the track."

2. Funky Technician – Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth

Pretty much the defining track on one of the most underrated/overlooked hip-hop records of the 1990s. The first known use of this instantly recognizable James Brown break taken from his Black Ceasar album."

3. Vamos a Rapiar – Main Source

Large Professor, who mans the production and the mic in Main Source, paves the way for hip hop production by combining jazz, latin, soul and funk - and that's just this one track!"

4. They Reminisce Over You (TROY) – Pete Rock and CL Smooth

One of the most recognizable tracks from the second golden age of hip-hop, Pete Rock mined the saxophone sample that would cause immense jealousy of rival producers for years to come. Meanwhile, CL Smooth gives the track emotional weight by writing a tribute to Trouble T. Roy, a dancer for Heavy D who was accidentally killed."

5. Blow Your Mind – Redman

Who else, without turning the track into muddy funk, could pack in samples from Sly, Parliament and James Brown but Erick Sermon of EPMD? Of course, the real star of the show, long before becoming a parody of himself (see: all the episodes of the Method and Red show), is Redman, who, still to this day, has one of the most recognizable styles on the mic."

6. "*!*!" What U Heard – Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics

Another one-man-does-it-all track, Diamond D weaves myriad soul and jazz samples (James Brown, Donny Hathaway, Grover Washington Jr. among others) topped off by a Brand Nubian sample that sent the heads bobbing back in 1992, and still does!"

7. Represent – Showbiz and AG

A defining track from the Runaway Slave album that launched Showbiz and AG to the top of their game. Represent is a DitC posse cut that features the best of the crew (Big L, Lord Finesse, DeShawn and Showbiz & AG, natch) boasting at their finest. The opening line by Big L cemented his status as the nastiest and most clever of the entire crew. Essential!"

8. Krazy wit da Books – Das EFX

After their debut record, Das EFX were tagged as one-trick ponies for their hyper-tongue twisting flow. They came back with a much darker sound and more venom on the mic. Didn't really matter though - within weeks, another darker clan from their hometown of Staten Island overshadowed their triumphant return."

9. Here Comes the Lords – Lords of the Underground

One of the last great tracks produced by Marley Marl, The Lords announced their arrival in the game with this defining track. Rough and tumble flows over breezy jazz samples were the order of the day for these young guns."

10. Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down – Brand Nubian

The inimitable Sadat X leads this edgier, more violent version of Brand Nubian (Grand Puba left the group to go solo) that was a far cry from their former Five Percent/Nation of Islam affiliated group."

11. C'Mon wit da Git Down – Artifacts

Artifacts snuck in one last great record for the Golden Age of hip-hop before the whole scene ran out of steam. 'C'Mon wit da Git Down' is an underground classic that still stands tall in an era of countless underground classics."

12. Breakdown – Fu-Schnickens

A trifecta of funk samples: James Brown, Zapp and Parliament are all fronted by their incredibly odd and cartoon-like flow that found them treading the same one-trick-pony water as Das EFX. Still one of their best tracks from another underrated group from the second golden age of hip-hop."

13. Back in the Day – Ahmad

A minor hit of sunlit G-Funk (minus the G) that has slipped into obscurity, overshadowed by the behemoth of G-Funk that was The Chronic."

14. Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous – Big L

One of the grittier tracks from an already gritty record, 'Lifestylez...' is a perfect example of the late, great Big L's ruthless, yet witty lyrical flow that has never been matched. A leering and ominous bass line backs Big L's ultra-violent tales of New York street life."

15. Ice Water – Raekwon

Short tales of inter-continental drug trading, chronicling the highs and lows of such risky business permeate the track and - well - the entirety of Cuban Linx. The RZA production is a bit more subtle and stripped down than the rest of the record, making this a stand out track on a near perfect record."

16. Nuttin’ but Flavor (Vocal) – Funkmaster Flex

ODB is truly the star of this oddball track from a Funkmaster Flex 12" released in 1995. Ol' Dirty's drunken, breathless flow is truly strange next to Biz Markie's warbled sing-song vocal delivery. One of the best collaborations during this transitional era of rap."

17. Puerto Rico/Black People – Frankie Cutlass

Not at all familiar with Cutlass or this track."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

That New Max Patch in Full
You'll have to wait a bit to find out what it sounds like but here's what it looks like...

...and here's what is really looks like!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Out of the Loop/Into the groove~
Still out of the loop. The long-awaited release of Max/MSP 5 totally passed me by. When did that happen?

Anyway, I've finally caught on, downloaded the demo and made some time in my schedule to try it out (by staying up 'til 2AM every night). My first impressions suggest that it's going to be well worth the $200 upgrade fee.

Max 5 has a completely overhauled programming interface, making it waaay simpler to use (and nicer looking) than any previous version. There are also a number of key improvements to how Max handles musical time - making it much easier to build beat-centric patches.

I can't tell you the hell I went through with Max 4, just to build the chintzy step sequencer I use when making Not Me tracks. But after two nights trying out Max 5, I'd already built a completely new, far better sequencer.

The only downside is Max 5 seems to be bit more processor hungry than Max 4, making it hard for me to run my old connect_icut patches in the new version. Luckily the two versions are totally separate applications, so installing one doesn't mean wiping the other. Particularly good news because I want to keep using my old Max 4 patches and I can't afford a new goddamn Mac.

Anyway, y'all know how I love Max/MSP. It seems to me that the new improvements (nicer interface, increased ability to work with rhythm) could make Max accessible to a much wider user base. It could even create a minor revolution in contemporary electronica. Here's hoping.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

By Royal Appointment
And if you could also avoid saying "meme", that would be super too.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I Has a Happy
Awesome new albums by The Fall and Portishead? On vinyl?? Looks like the year in music has finally begun!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Not Me Virtual Remix 12" Number Three
I've been sitting on this one for a while because I literally haven't had time to label the MP3s and upload them to DivShare. Here, finally, is the third Not Me virtual remix 12", with input from Esperik Glare, Lim and - of course - yours truly. The track-listing is:

Side A: Heidi (Ho Neighbor Remix by Esperik Glare)
Side B: Another Scanner Darkly Remix (by connect_icut, based on a loop by Lim)

Sadly, these are not the crossover club bangers that we've all been hoping for but they are rather spiffy, if I do say so myself. You can listen to the mixes in the player below or download them from here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tonight? Alright!

Sorry about relying on embedded multimedia content, in lieu of any actual posts. This is honestly one of the busiest and most stressful periods of my entire life. Please bear with me. Normal service will be resumed.

Just to show how out of the loop I am right now, I must confess to having only just noticed that the mighty Antipop Consortium have reformed! How did this pass me by? Antipop are one of my absolute favorite musical acts of all time!

I have a lot on my plate right now, Kenneth.