Monday, 23 April 2007

You said it wasn't art, so now we're gonna rip you apart

Click on the links for the mp3's.

The thing, I realised recently, about Hip Hop, unlike many other genres, is that it’s never really been hackneyed into lots of different sub-genres. Admittedly there are genres within Hip Hop or Rap but these labels never ever define the source of musical inspiration. Hip Hop samples or takes concepts from Jazz, Blues, Rock, Soul, Funk, Ska, Classical, Electro, Reggae and all other native musical styles. Any instrument can provide a sound suitable for use in hip hop. The diversity is immense, dive in and get immersed. It’s also an amazing springboard for listening to other genre’s of music; hear a sample, listen to the original. I have grown to love many old tracks by this method. The CD comes in roughly hewn blocks today and takes you through a few differently influenced areas of hip hop with a predominantly summery vibe.

We start with 4 dramatically orchestral tracks. Carl Orff (and presumably his orchestra) kick off the proceedings in fine style and gets me well up for hip hop type firey heaters. Jedi Mind tricks come unrelenting and urgently over this beat that would provide a perfect backdrop to a medieval battle, get your shiny armour on now. Australians have made an extraordinarily nice life for themselves considering they are descendents of criminals and they also have a very healthy hip hop scene down under. If you didn’t know Clandestien were Australian you would wonder what the chaff their accent was about, it’s like a Swedish person trying to rap in American via Birmingham. Weird. Weird but good. Check out that third guy; vicious. (Amazing Lyric: ‘Buck Buck Teeth, you rappers sound like you got…’). In an attempt to cut the tension of the CD the last of the first four is 4th Avenue Jones with ‘Why do we?’. A nice radio friendly classical sample here (can’t remember what the original is, my Grandad would know), the only annoying bit is that bird off ‘The Sound of Music’ warbling over the tune. Check out more from the Sphere of Hip Hop collective here.

The next two tracks are just some nice hip hop tracks that don’t rely on snares and kicks. Joell Ortiz, Dre’s latest signing, brings us a piano and string driven reminiscent sounding tune simply entitled Hip Hop, I’m definitely feeling this and I want to hear more. The second is a total headnod piece from Organized Konfusion (Pharaoh Monch and Prince Po back in the day). Large Professor brings the funk on this summery tune, really one for the BBQ here.

Brighton’s own eccentric mentalists Monkey Sons continue the summery theme in a triptych of tracks that are built around horns. This uptempo track cannot be hated on, it’s just so fun and honest. The filling in the sandwich is ‘Pablito’s way’ by Motion Man and Kutmasta Kurt. If you had or heard the Linkin Park Remix album these two hombres did the excellent cut up rework of ‘In the end’. This has a spanish/mexican vibe will have you throwing on your sombrero and sipping on a Corona or a Sol. Mavrik rides in on a similar heatwave with ‘Walk around it’. The highlight of this funky slice of the sun is the big fat horn stab on the 8th beat of each set of 16 beats, it’s almost comical.

Here’s a twosome that will yet again get your head nodding along in a syncopated manner. Motion Man and Kutmasta Kurt provide ‘Confidence’ for your delectation, they should make some waves in the hip hop ocean, so long as they don’t get written off as dross just cos they don’t appeal to those odious chavs.( Plus sampling Chali 2na on the chorus gives them marks in my book). Brainpower, if I remember rightly IS Swedish but thankfully the verse he’s cheekily slipped into this European sounding remix of 'triple trouble' by the Beastie Boys is in his native tongue.

Pigeon holed (on his own?) in the ‘concious rap’ genre is Common (although check HHC this month for the story of his radical makeover). Here he comes as conscious as any man could be by sampling the good Reverend Martin Luther King on, you guessed it 'A Dream'. The track is well produced and is nice for humming along to. On the theme of sampling vocals and in the vein of Baby J and Kanye West, Pigeon John samples some 80’s pop/rock jollity on ‘Weight of the world’. PJ takes on the character of one who tries to conform to the American Dream by ignoring reality and putting on a brave face. This is an interesting little bit of social commentary rapped up (sorry…Bec, you got nothing!) in this fun little track. I can’t tell you how much I want to get my hands on ‘The Weatherman’, the new LP from Evidence (of Dilated Peoples fame). This track, 'All said and done' is what you would expect from someone who had a hand in bringing such classic albums as ‘The Platform’, ‘Expansion Team’ and ’50:50’ to the worlds attention. I’m thinking this is an Alchemist production who is a wiz at building a sample into a hot track and he doesn’t fail Ev here.

Nas - Where are they now? (Westcoast remix)

Hip Hop is dead. Is it? I don’t think so. There seem to be a lot of MC’s on Nas’s remixes of ‘Where are they now?’ who disagree and are about to prove him wrong. I cannot get enough of these two tracks. Put all the big rappers of today (by big I mean the ones who sell the most and are more widely recognised) on a big posse cut like this and you would get bored so soon. Put all the big MC’s from the west’s past on a track and I can’t get enough of it. Put all the big MC’s from the 80’s on a track and I can’t get enough of that either. The 80’s MC’s really know how to ride this break, putting Nas to shame – I didn’t like the original on the basis that his flow sounded awkward over the JB sample. These tracks induce a huge grin and make me hope some of these MC’s will give hip hop another chance, highlights are too many, the best thing to do is to listen to it all – over and over.

Cool down time again and keeping it old school. Like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest? Get some Digable Planets in your life, put it on your £4.97 mp3 player from Tesco and go skate and reminisce about the old skool days. Kool Keith provides the finale; ‘Voicemail, pagers; these are the things that robots carry’ – ‘I’m seein’ Robots’. A diss track to everyone who follows trends is always relevant as the cool kids are always jumping on something, tackling it, flooring it and rubbing it’s once cool face in the dirt. Take note kids, being different en mass makes you the same as the rest; Robots.

Bone shakers...

Pic: The original bone shaker

The title of todays first track could prove to be extremely apt. I start a new job on Wednesday and although i'm looking forward to getting some dough, the possibility of going postal is never far away in part-time employment. It could be the mindless tedium, sucking away at your soul while forever burning the synapses of creativity so that the next time you come to write something all you can muster is 'Uhhhhhh, stuff n that?'. It could be the endless parade of customers who seem to ask you questions that although you know the answer to, you find it more amusing to feign ignorance. Either way, at least I have music to keep me sane. Which brings me to:

MP3: Busdriver - Kill Your Employer

No don't. Well, only if they really deserve it. Seriously though, don't. This track provides the bedrock of the post from which the other two songs cling to in the hope that they can live out their bassy dreams vicariously and hope to not get lost in the wash. Well that wouldn't happen because all songs posted on this site are pure quality. Busdriver has a good name and if this track is anything to go buy he will have a very bright future. More or less defines the Bone Shaker genre (which i just created).

MP3: R.A. The Rugged Man - Lessons

Self-professed legendary Rugged Man proves that not only can white men jump, they can spit a verse or two too. Having worked with a smorgasbord of Hiphop's leaders for years he released Die, Rugged Man, Die in 2004 and this is one of the singles taken from it. Whip smart lyrics combine with a slick beat and a delivery that bristles with talent. 'People wonderin where the fuck i been - at the VIP section they aint lettin me in'.

MP3: The Knife - Got 2 Let U (Paul Kallman Remix)

I'll leave the description of this track up to the boys of 20 Jazz Funk Greats, who descibe it far more eloquently (and vividly) than I ever could.

"Paul Kallman takes the bouncy elastic fun from the original and replaces it with speaker throbs in dark alleyways outside German techno-sex clubs. The beats sound like samples from bones snapping and it has this zombiefied Grandmaster Flash eating Crockett and Tubbs effect throughout. Pastel skies with arcs of blood spurting across in slow motion. Favouring the "male" vocals of the original gives it more sex-perv chic too. In short, its amazing."

Spill your brains then.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Cash in hand

Apparently Aidan is 'addicted' to posting stuff on this blog... or maybe just addicted to pigeons. Either way, here's something else. (By the way thanks for posting the Joni Mitchell MP3 and artwork - all you readers out there can now find out what all the fuss was about - woopee!)

(Also, don't ask what the title means - it was just the least bad pun I thought of.)

Musical biopics seem to be all the rage these days, what with Jamie Foxx injecting some extra life into Ray Charles' legacy (not to mention Kanye West's bank account). But any director will find it hard to top James Mangold's superb effort, 'Walk the Line', starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

I liked Ray, but it's kind of like the Orlando Bloom to Walk the Line's Johnny Depp in PotC. (Except I don't like Orlando Bloom at all. But never mind.) I wasn't the biggest Johnny Cash fan before watching it, probably because my dad really liked his stuff so I was bound by the laws of adolescence not to - but that all changed upon viewing.

Yes, the script and screenplay are great, the cinematography leaves nothing to be desired and all that. But really you walk away from this film bowled over by the performances of the main characters, with Phoenix and Witherspoon topping the credit list.

First, they both sing everything, which is pretty darn impressive in itself. Second, they're both utterly convincing, with Phoenix depicting Cash's rise, fall and recovery with excruciatingly tragic transparency. Witherspoon defies anyone who would pin her down to saccharine chick flicks by putting in one of the most rounded performances I've ever seen, portraying June Carter's simultaneous fragility and resolve, combined with an extravagantly gracious character.

The story is sad but has a happy ending, which doesn't feel like a cop-out because it's actually true. And the music is great, involving a lot of shootings, prisons, women and of course the blues. You'll get shivers down your spine when you see him picking out the nascent chords of 'Folsom Prison Blues' (those three words basically sum up the lyrics content of everything he's ever done) and hear those words 'I hear the train a-comin'...'

In a word: Fancashtic.


Pigeon perfect

I’ve started getting jealous of my pal over at Eclectic Hermit, what with his wonderfully themed posts. My first themed post totally kills all of his though. Check this out readers: Pigeon related music! Ahhh man, I can’t tell you how proud of myself I am, I’ve totally excelled myself here. Never could so many genres come together and unite over what is basically a be-winged rat. This is a feast for any pigeon fancier, read and listen as I lay a tasty spread before you.

Goh Nakamura – Pigeon Toes

We’ll start off with the sensible, advice giving pigeon tune. Don’t go out wearing those shoes just cos they match your eyes girl. Wear the comfy ones and you’ll be happier later on, and so will everyone else.

Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Stool Pigeon

Funkeee! This tune is all about walking around just like our feathery fiends, you stick it on before you go out and get on down, but only for a hot minute mind.

Widespread Panic - Pigeons

This is the pigeon tune perfect for a summers evening (on your way into town for a pint) in your car with those windows rolled right down. A great funky rock tune complete with jammin’ organs, screaming guitars and superstition-esque grooves. You just hope there are no pigeons on your roof.

Colin MacIntyre – Pigeon fancier

You arrive at chosen pub and get comfortable in the beer garden, perfect. And then this tune comes on, so summery, so upbeat and so pigeony.

The Tradgically Hip – Pigeon Camera

That other pub starts blaring out songs about other sorts of birds so you decide it’s time to leave. Wise move because the pub three doors down has a live act playing beautifully melodic, bluesy tunes with dire straits lead guitar about something boring, but it’s OK as you and your mates spend your time wondering what in the world a pigeon camera is. If you know, please tell me.

Kent Newsome & Ronnie Jeffrey – I’m not your pigeon

The difference between a pigeon and a turtle dove is a fine one. Comparisons can obviously be drawn by country singers as a means of explaining how relationships break up when one of the couple make the mistake of misidentification. I’ve seen this happen on a night out, a pre-warning, don’t get drunk, you’ll end up with a pigeon who ‘craps all over you’ and not a beautifully cooing turtle dove. And that would be sad.

Cannibal Ox - Pigeon

Hip Hop night time, after all, that’s what we’re all here for isn’t it? The rap tunes.
You arrive early though, things haven’t heated up, some rookie DJ (probably me) is spinning some of the more alternative sounds from the world of beats and rhymes. You chill out and sip on a pint of Guinness (you figure you might as well complement the track with something equally as heavy and hard to stomach).

Pigeon John – Do the pigeon

Sure fire party starter. You’re now doing that dance, nodding head as practiced at home with Kid Creole. Your practice paid off, the floor is yours, of course, along with members of the opposite sex loving your moves. Clubs jumping now, but crikey, that bar is busy…you check out the other room to get a quick pint of water and maybe some Alize. (And yes, the DJ does play the obvious pigeon related Hip Hop track, and yes I do own it but no; it's not on here - you know that one already)

Venetian Snares – Masodik Galamb

Say what? Breakcore? Mentality in audio form! ‘Pigeon, why do you frighten me?’ You stay, some sort of eclectic mix going on here, ‘what’s next?’ you wonder whilst secretly hoping it’s another pigeon related track. You are initially disappointed until you discover the ridiculously stripped down but compelling electroness that has come on is actually…

Leopold Gregori – Pigeon dance

You know the score by now. Pigeons are everywhere in the music world, you wonder if they will appear at the festival you are attending tomorrow. (If you haven’t got it by now, they WILL appear at the festival tomorrow, the suspense is for effect only and you shouldn’t let it get to you)

Coach said not to – Be my pigeon

‘You are everywhere, everywhere’, funny we were just saying that last night, pigeons are certainly everywhere.

Urban Barnyard – Pigeon

Ok, this festival is called pigeonfest, who am I trying to kid? This not very up and coming garage band (in the sense that they practice in a garage) sing a lovely ode to our favourite bird.

Big Black – Pigeon kill

Amidst much cheering this electro-metal band grind out a song about…why am I bothering?

The Pigeon Detectives – I found out

Headliners and the next big thing are only there because of their name, great name though. Maybe pigeon detectives use pigeon cameras for taking pictures of evidence or specimens or something. Lovely slice of indie pop with oasis kind of guitar solos and a riff that sounds suspiciously like ‘Stand by me’, not the Oasis one though, the other one; you’ll see what I mean.

Alela Diane – Pigeon Song
Pigeon Hole – Cross-Eyed Leslie

Your on your way back from a tiring day listening to amazing pigeon associated music but you just need a couple more to chill out to and these two more than suffice.

If you’ve read all this, then you must be so bored. That or in love with our filthy flying friends. If you skipped to this last paragraph all I have to say is download this, and burn this CD in the same order as I have instructed. Let it fly you away.

P.S. – watch out for my next concept post based on raps obsession with a certain small furry creature.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Give and thou shalt receive

“I love charity shops. You can give money but get something for yourself too.”

I found myself uttering these words, without thinking, on a recent visit to an Oxfam in Woodseats near Sheffield. It really is true, and I don’t mean to sound selfish. One mans rubbish truly is another mans treasure and pleasure. I take any opportunity to browse through smelly old boxes of vinyl usually comprising of Val Doonican, Cliff Richard best ofs, Simon and Garfunkels Greatest hits, Singles by Erasure and the Eurythmics and flippin’ Frankie goes to Hollywood. The amount of times I’ve flipped through almost generically sleeved compilation LP’s of James Last could only be rivalled by the amount of said records available in any one town. Over the last two weeks I have had a minature spree and have harvested the following slices of vinyl delight from the fields of unwanted 12’s and 7 inches.

In no particular order other than the one in which they are piled on my desk next to me:

The Pink Panther Theme (and Baby Elephant walk) (7”)

There comes a time in the life of every man when he desires to hear that tune off the hilariously calamitous film about a pseudo French spy (although rare, this condition also occurs in some females). There are many times, often in one day, when aforementioned man has the urge to whistle that tune. I am now privileged enough, courtesy of the ‘Strings for pleasure’ and EMI, to own on 45 a copy of this beautiful recording complete with a drawing on the back to colour with ‘crayons or paints!’.

The Jam – David Watts b/w “A” bomb in Wardour Street (7”)

Basically, any teeny bopper who claims to love ‘punk (pop)’ music, should listen to songs such as these. Back in the day they knew how to do it, before music became too confined by a label, too defined by a genre and too refined for today’s sickly sweet pop charts, music made with guitars was enjoyable to listen too. All those fall out boys and girls, get a The Jam best of, it’ll be about a fiver, listen and actually enjoy music. And as a previous owner has penned on the sleeve, ‘Long live rock ‘n’ roll’.

Marvin Gaye – I heard it through the grapevine b/w Can I get a Witness? (7”)

What is there to be said? The best male solo artist Motown gave the world? One of the most well known songs from the label/genre? Yes, probably would suffice as an answer to those two questions. The first question was rhetorical and even if it wasn’t, it was answered by the ensuing queries.

Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself (7”)
I want to quote some lyrics here just to give you some idea of the gold that is contained within that beautiful sleeve… I’m finding it hard to decide…with gems of advice such as these it’s a tough choice:

“You keep talking about the president wont stop air pollution//Put your hand over your mouth when you cough that’ll help the solution”

Nice one Brucey, but how?! Maybe he’s implying that the talk of the “gentleman” he’s crooning about is contaminated or toxic. Really you need to get your hands on this, grab something hard to drink, put the needle in the groove and then sit back and listen whilst reading the lyrics on the back of the sleeve, seriously this will improve your life.
P.S. How did he get a deal with Motown? - Check out the lyrics in full here!

The Clash – Should I stay or I go (7”)

Any respectable, and indeed any disrespectable, rock/alternative/indie (or whatever they call it now) night will play this tune, and it sounds good at home too. Let’s put on our classics and ‘ave a little dance shall we?

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (7”)

Not a fan in general, but I couldn’t not have this. I’ll probably never sit down and listen to it as I could probably sing the whole damn thing to myself, but it may come in useful when I’m playing around mixing tunes together.

Vanilla Ice – Play that funky music (7”)

Imagine my delight at finding this jewel. Imagine my dismay when I got it home, fitted the 45 RPM adaptor, threw it on the platter and discovered that it was actually ‘The morning after (song from The Poseidon Adventure)’. Imagine my relief when I realised perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all. It’s nice to have that beautiful cover artwork though.

Fat Boys – Wipeout! Feat. The Beach Boys (7”)

The Fat Boys had a gimmick, they were boys who were fat. Along with this their collaborations on gimmicky tracks such as ‘Do the twist’ feat. Chubby Checker (see what they did there?) they did alright for themselves. Combining the Beach Boys summery harmonies with Rick Rubin’s drum kit and that surfing guitar tone they created a timeless masterpiece, although this listener is finding it a little hard to imagine their portly figures carving up the waves and wooing all the girlies. Flip this beauty over and you will find ‘Crush’n’; this time Dracula plays his organ over Rick Rubin’s drum kit AND crunchy guitar. Sounding like a sinister LL in his early days the boys come correct and display their tag team tactic rhymes, you gotta love them.

De La Soul – Say no go (7”)

Ahhhhhhhhh – that’s my sigh of relief just knowing that such a nice piece of hip hop exists. Amongst all the trash released under the guise of hip hop nowadays we can all be safe in the knowledge that De La Soul created such fun, unoffensive (although trend bucking) rap tunes. Go buy the best of if not the separate albums.

Run DMC – Raising Hell (12” LP)

If you’re like me, you may inwardly, secretly groan at the thought of listening to a whole album of Run DMC tracks. Now before you click on outlook express and let your fingers send a malicious masterpiece my way, listen to what I have to say. I recognise the importance of acts such as Run DMC and producers like Rick Rubin in the creation of this thing we call rap but it’s kinda unmusical and samey. Hmm, that didn’t help did it? Well, I honestly love this album and would hate for this album to not exist. The playlist goes ‘Peter Piper’, ‘It’s Tricky’, ‘My Adidas’, ‘Walk this way’…and well if you love it you’ll know it. Anyway, this has changed my opinion and I apologise for the heinous comments.

Afrika Bambaataa – Feeling Irie (12”)

'Oooh', I thought, 'founder of Zulu nation, there at the birth of hip hop in NYC, gotta be good'. No, it’s not. It’s utter crap. Boring 90’s dance remixes. Don’t ever buy or listen.

So having spent the princely sum of eight pounds and fifty pence (that’s £8.50 for those who can’t read words) I have procured a nice selection of music to enhance my life. I pray I will have played my part in enhancing the life of somebody less fortunate than myself too.

As an afterthought, a word of warning to the wise; Oxfam are overpriced.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Blue - Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell - A case of you

I know this isn’t the kind of thing that normally gets posted on here, and I wouldn’t exactly say this album was awash with certified bangers but then again, we wrote about Scott Matthews.

Most people’s impression of Joni Mitchell is just a hazy image of Emma Thompson crying in Love Actually to the sound of a woman warbling about clouds. In short, the person you know who’s most likely to like Joni Mitchell is your mum. Don’t let this put you off though, it just means your mum has good taste.

Mitchell is like a female Bob Dylan, except she can actually sing. ‘Blue’ is the album you’re most likely to encounter first, and like most albums from classic artists it looks like a Best Of, with gems like ‘Carey’, ‘River’ and ‘California’ gracing the track listing.

Mitchell is an extremely talented musician (if you don’t believe me cos she’s a girl, good luck playing ‘This Flight Tonight’ on the guitar) and has superb control of one of the purest voices ever to glide over the airwaves, but the success of this album lies in her ability to wed this musicianship to beautiful lyrics. Some of these look stupid on paper – ‘I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you’ being one example – but don’t be fooled. Yeah, she talks about love, but with the human every-day touch that The Kinks brought to the 60s with tracks like ‘Dead End Street’ and ‘Come Dancing’ and that Pulp brought to Britpop – woodchip on the wall, anyone? When he’s gone, sings Joni, ‘The bed’s too big, the frying pan’s too wide’. This observational spin also finds itself into lines you would never think could scan and just sounds like prose, but somehow Mitchell crafts it into something that sounds way more natural than anything the Artic sodding Monkeys could come up with – ‘The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in ’68, and he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafĂ©….’

But anyway, on to the best track of the album, which is undoubtedly the painfully gorgeous ‘A Case of You’. I didn’t have to listen to this song more than once to fall in love with it. The first line has Mitchell aching ‘Just before our love got lost…’, a phrase which in itself sends shivers down my spine – not many artists can capture a process so complex and agonising in one simple clause. A slow, syncopated guitar strum blended with a melody that is the perfect vehicle for haunting lyrics makes this track pure gold on a stick.

Okay so who am I kidding - you probably won’t like this if you’re not into slow, melodious tunes sung by a woman, and ‘Blue’ (the song) annoys even me as Mitchell reaches notes only dogs can hear, but not enough people recognise her for how great she is. If you see her ‘Hits’ album going cheap anywhere, get it. It’s got some corkers on it, as you’d expect from the title: ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, ‘Come in from the Cold’, etc. Not to mention ‘Help Me, I think I’m Falling in Love Again’, which just might save this post from getting deleted by someone…

Saturday, 7 April 2007


Klashnekoff – Ocean Rooms, Brighton – Good Friday 2007

Should any one occurrence, object, person, or anything for that matter, be judged individually or in comparison to other similar occurrences, objects etc? There is no simple answer, in an ideal world I’m sure everything would be judged on its own merits and downfalls. In this world, however, we human beings tend to compare two or more occasions in order to rank our experiences. This is the only way I can approach reflection on the Klashnekoff gig.

I cannot divorce memories of other hip hop shows from recollections of last night. Saian Supa Crew were amazing, displaying tight knit cooperation combined with some superb visually and sonically stimulating beat boxing. 50 Cent brought everyone on G-unit, seeing Mobb Deep do Quiet Storm and Shook Ones pt. 2, M.O.P. do Ante Up and Cold as Ice and Ma$e do Mo Money, Mo problems were moments in my life that I never expected to happen (all on a free ticket too) and Jurassic 5’s show was just perfect in every single way (see my review here.) So how did K-lash measure up?

I would put Ricochet Klashnekoff on a par with aforementioned rappers and groups in that he has done as much for UK Hip Hop as SSC have for French Hip Hop, as 50 has done for commercialised, viable gangsta rap and as J5 have for bringing the golden era to the nineties and noughties. By no means has Klash been on the scene for the entire rise of UK Hip Hop but he has succeeded in becoming respected and recognisable and I’m sure has put in much hard work.

Klash took to the stage in some sort of drug induced trance. I say took to the stage, he was already on it really as the Ocean Rooms provides space only for the most intimate gigs, (no dressing rooms here) and almost immediately began to apologise for the absence of Kyza Smirnoff. Kyza seems to have really annoyed the remaining members of Terra Firma by notifying them via email of his departure, ouch, maybe he dumps girls by text too? Klashnekoff proceeded to dig himself into a hole about the whole saga and was met by comments like “Shut the F**k up and rap will you?”, so he did.

He rapped, he did a variety of tracks from ‘The Foundation’, ‘Focus Mode’ and ‘Lionheart: Tussle with the beast’. To be honest I don’t own The Foundation, a collective effort by Terra Firma and didn’t know those tracks but, I might buy it, I might not. I was surprised at the way some of the tracks from L:TWTB (Sounds like some sort of a gay organisation) went down, have people actually bought that CD yet? I am glad I went, it was worth it but I wasn’t impressed by his attitude (again, drug induced?) I felt sorry for ‘Bumberclart’ Skully and silently patient Skriblah for putting up with him, I’m not surprised Kyza left by email. Klash has a big ego manifested in his arrogance. He will remain a favourite MC but I wont be rushing out to witness him bumbling through what could loosely be called a set. Unless, that is, he takes a leaf out of a more mature artists book and finds out why people actually pay good money to see him.

I’ve been pretty harsh so far, and I’m sure he would hate me for pretty much everything I have to say. It seems he is not really friends with the internet community as too many people call him on there without actually ‘tess’ing’ him. I don’t want to test him, I love his recorded music, I continually to return to his tracks and enjoy them and I know that somewhere inside him there is more than just his knobbish front. Heartfelt songs such as My life, Son of Nia and Black rose show us that he is not all macho bravado-ness and this should come across more on stage. He should go see a Sway gig and see how he involves the crowd, how it’s possible to be friendly and successful as a rapper and how some things, especially things that are made for enjoyment (hip hop) should be light hearted and, well, just more happy.

All in all a good night out, if you like his tunes, go. Hearing them live is great, he has bangers mate, bare bangers, hearing Murda was brilliant, as was Sayonara (personal fave) and the Jamrock remix. Brap.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Mass Hysteria

Z trip - Mass Hysteria

OK Tom, here's the track.
Chali 2na on Lateef the truth speaker and Z trips 'Mass Hysteria'. A dark dark beat, ominous in fact; with the most unfitting but haunting female vocal on the chorus. How do these MC's ride this beat so cooly? Wow!

TTC - Dans le club

Have this too whilst I'm at it. French electro mentalists TTC are in the club and it's big and dirty and quite french.

Macromantics - Madlymantics

Macromantics brings it heavy with this stuttered string sample, plein de scratching and a female rapper (I think from Oz), listen to that bass drop, lovely for your sub woofer. Check her out on

Booka Shade - In white rooms (neo mix)

And finally something more along the lines of Eclectic Hermit is this lovely slice of constantly building electro music. That vocal threatens throughout and never blossoms but the bleepy harmonies suffice and you might find yourself doing a little dance with your hands.
Thanks to Bec for the photo of the John Peel 'memurial' in Brighton.

Not so Great Scott

Welcome to Brighton: Britain’s best effort at a city that never sleeps, a colourful metropolis where style and surrealism exist in glorious abundance. A place that boasts the Laines, the Lanes, an incongruous Indian building and a beach. Not to mention having possibly the most weird and wonderful population of any city in the country. When you’re in Brighton, you just know you’re going to have fun: if this city were a drink, I’m pretty sure it would be Lambrini.
It was at the Corn Exchange next to the Pavilion in the heart of Brighton that we found ourselves, our eager little faces full of excitement and anticipation at the musical experience that awaited us. The support was on when we got there, a band called Alberta, but don’t get your hopes up: there was no Eric Clapton tribute happening here. In fact, it was more like a tribute to anyone who’s ever committed suicide, which went some way to explaining why most of the ‘crowd’ were sitting on the floor.

Yes, sitting on the floor. No, really. It was a gig, and people were sitting. On the floor. Never before has a standing ticket been such a misnomer. Having never listened to Matthews’ music before, this didn’t bode well. Nevertheless I’ve heard some pretty crap support at great gigs before (The Pipettes must have woken up having sweaty nightmares about the feather-clad ensemble they chose to precede them for months after their performance last year) so I gave him the benefit of the doubt… more fool me.

Having purchased drinks at a price that gave us some clue as to why Alberta may have been suicidal and why the audience might have needed a sit-down for a while, we shuffled our way through the inert mass by our feet and awaited the great Scott. Eventually he took to the stage amidst subdued, yet reverent, applause. I say took to the stage – it was more like he morphed out of the smoke.

And so began one of the strangest gigs I have ever been to. Standing (yes, eventually) motionless and completely silent, the audience gazed upon Scott Matthews as if he were an angel from heaven, not just a scruffy bloke with a guitar. Crooning into the microphone about something that apparently didn’t warrant pronounceable words, members of the audience actually SHUSHED people around them when they dared to interrupt the heavenly music with so much as a word. Half-way through we attempted to open and eat a packet of crisps… big mistake. These people needed a serious dose of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – this guy was just a singer, not the Messiah of modern-day music. Were they from Brighton but part of a sect, or had they been shipped in from Eastbourne? Who knows. Either way, the music went at the pace of a small hippo drenched in honey attempting to crawl up the Gladiators travelator. On the tracks where drums made a brave appearance and I remembered that you could actually dance to some music, the audience responded by bobbing up and down slightly and in some cases bending a knee or two (I’m surprised they didn’t crack).

By the end of the gig we had given up and were sitting down at the back of the hall, chatting away to the distant sound of the music. And this is what I recommend you do with Scott Matthews. Put him on in the background, but don’t ever give him centre-stage.

The gospel according to Matthews

Scott Matthews Gig – Brighton Corn Exchange – April 4th 2007

(A picture of the ticket, and more excitingly, the empty water bottle I bought at M&S in Brighton Station afterwards)
I just went on a search to find a quote about Scott Matthews, and in particular one of his gigs, to pour scorn upon. I didn’t find one because I got bored of reading about him quite quickly. I am actually now listening to the songs on his MySpace space and it sounds so much better than last night. Maybe my expectations of live music are too high or maybe I didn’t take the obligatory sedative on my way in.

If you are reading this then chances are that you will have read my previous (hip hop orientated) posts. You will probably be thinking ‘what right does this cracker have reviewing music in which he has no interest’. I know you will be because I would be too; I hate it when poncey fascists review good hip hop and write it off from the get go by saying that it is all about with guns, hoes, drugs and (their favourite word) bling.

Anyone of those ‘4 elements of hip hop’ would have livened up the sorry affair that was Scott Matthews gig in Brighton last night. Matthews was heralded in by ‘Alberta’; a threesome who sang a medley of songs consisting mainly of an unintelligible moan (‘Baweyee I uuuuuhhhhh oooooo’) and also by some good tunes off a CD ( Ian Dury and Meredith Brooks to name but two). I have been to a varied variety of gigs in my time however I’ve never been to one where the artist is regarded with reverent silence for the best part of an hour and a half. We stood, we stared, we listened in awe, we spoke and we got shushed by the worshippers. Honestly, I’ve seen more cheer in a monastery of mourning monks and I’ve never felt so disrespectful of a deity. The news of a Scott Matthews gig must have weaned out the most boring people in Brighton and brought them all together for one night. The closest we got to dancing was sitting down.

The main reason why this gig was so bad was the gig-goers. Matthews can sing and play well and all that but I do think he was revelling in the adoration a little too much. At one point he rebuked the crowd somewhat harshly, accusing us of being on ecstasy. In his defence I think I did hear someone go ‘Whoop’. His music is good for background music - I like it. I liked the Cello and the Viola; the musicians were excellent. I just think his gig was rubbish and most of his fans are worse.

I look forward to visiting what is regarded by many as the most vibrant town in Britain again on Friday for the Klashnekoff/Skitz/Zero Db gig. I am going to be on the look out for people who are alive/awake, people for whom dancing consists of more than a toe tap or a knee bend, and an atmosphere that can’t be likened to a wake. Oh…and drinks that aren’t £3.20 for a bottle of Carlsberg Export. I will report back on how many of those boxes I tick - all of them I expect.