10/03/17 Mixtape

Diamond D Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop 25th Anniversary Mixtape

Mixed by Chris Read for Wax Poetics & WhoSampled

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Diamond D’s debut LP Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, originally released September 22, 1992, our buddy Chris Read has crafted one of his signature mixtapes: expertly blending album tracks including “Sally Got a One-Track Mind,” “Best-Kept Secret,” and “What U Heard” with alternative versions, remixes, interview snippets, and original sample material.

Enjoy!

Artwork : Leon Nockolds

Track list:

1. Diamond D – ‘Intro‘ (Instrumental)
2. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
3. Diamond D – ‘A Day In The Life‘ (Instrumental)
4. Diamond D Interview 22nd September 1992
5. Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper & Stephen Stills – ‘Stop’ (sampled in ‘Check, One, Two’)
6. Stezo – ‘Gets Into His Move’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Check, One, Two’)
7. Diamond D – ‘Check, One, Two’
8. Jack Bruce – ‘Sam Enchanted Dick’ (sampled in ‘Step to Me’)
9. Big Daddy Kane – ‘Ain’t No Half Steppin’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Step to Me’)
10. Diamond D – ‘Step To Me’
11. Solomon Burke – ‘Fight Back’ (sampled in ‘Step to Me’)
12. Three Dog Night – ‘I Can Hear You Calling’ (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret’)
13. Kool & The Gang – ‘N.T’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret’)
14. James Brown – ‘Make It Funky’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret’)
15. Diamond D – ‘Best Kept Secret’
16. Big Daddy Kane – ‘Mortal Combat [Extract] (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret’)
17. Ultimate Force – ‘I’m Not Playing’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret’)
18. Diamond D – ‘Best Kept Secret’ (45 King Remix)
19. James Brown – ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine)’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Best Kept Secret (45 King Remix)’
20. Diamond D – ‘Pass Dat Shit’ (Instrumental)
21. Diamond D feat Fat Joe, Maestro Fresh Wes * Mike GQ – ‘Pass Dat Shit’
22. Magic Disco Machine – ‘Scratchin’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Pass Dat Shit’)
23. Black Sabbath – ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Red Light, Green Light’)
24. Diamond D – ‘Red Light, Green Light’
25. Run-DMC – ‘Here We Go (Live at The Funhouse’) [Extract] (sampled in Red Light, Green Light’)
26. Leader of the New School – ‘Sobb Story’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Red Light, Green Light’)
27. Baby Huey – ‘Hard Times’ (sampled in ‘Red Light, Green Light’)
28. Earth Wind & Fire – ‘Bad Tune’ (sampled in ‘Feel The Vibe’)
29. The Shades of Brown – ‘The Soil I Tilled For You’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Feel The Vibe’)
30. Diamond D – ‘Feel The Vibe’
31. Brother Jack McDuff – ‘Hold It For A Minute’ (sampled in ‘Feel The Vibe’)
32. Detroit Emeralds – ‘You’re Getting A Little Too Smart’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘I Went For Mine’)
33. SSO – ‘Faded Lady’ (sampled in ‘I Went For Mine’)
34. Diamond D – ‘I Went For Mine’
35. A Tribe Called Quest feat Sadat X, Lord Jamar & Diamond D – ‘Show Business’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Fuck What U Heard’)
36. John Handy – ‘Alvina’ (sampled in ‘Fuck What U Heard’)
37. Donny Hathaway – ‘Magnificent Sanctuary Band’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Fuck What U Heard’)
38. Diamond D – ‘Funk What U Heard’
39. Kleeer – ‘Intimate Connection’ (sampled in ‘Confused’)
40. Diamond D feat Jasmine & Michelle Sweeting- ‘Confused’
41. Tower of Power – ‘Sparkling in the Sand’ (sampled in ‘Sally Got A One Track Mind’)
42. Skull Snaps – ‘It’s A New Day’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Sally Got A One Track Mind’)
43. Diamond D – ‘Sally Got A One Track Mind’
44. Diamond D – ‘Sally Got A One Track Mind’ (Showbiz Remix)
45. Diamond D – ‘Sally Got A One Track Mind’ (Two Track Beatdown)
46. Flaming Ember – ‘Gotta Get Away’ (sampled in ‘I’m Outta Here’)
47. Diamond D – ‘I’m Outta Here’
48. George Benson – ‘Footin’ It’ (sampled in ‘Freestyle (Yo That’s That Shit)’)
49. Diamond D – ‘Freestyle (Yo That’s That Shit)’
50. Sly & The Family Stone – ‘You Can Make It If You Try’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘What You Seek’)
51. Diamond D – ‘What You Seek’
52. Kool & The Gang – ‘Who’s Gonna Take The Weight’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘What You Seek’)
53. Black Sheep – ‘To Whom It May Concern’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘What You Seek’)
54. The J.Bs – ‘Gimme Some More’ (sampled in ‘What You Seek’)
55. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Good Life’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘What You Seek’)
56. Herbie Hancock – ‘Do A Thing’ (sampled in ‘You Can’t Front (Shit Is Real)’)
57. Brethren – ‘Outside Love’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘You Can’t Front (Shit Is Real)’)
58. Diamond D feat Lord Finesse & Sadat X – ‘You Can’t Front (Shit Is Real)’

Formative Euro electronica compiled

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Njurmannen_behind_plastic_II - Courtesy of Lasse Hejdenberg

Njurmannen behind plastic. Photo courtesy of Lasse Hejdenberg.

 

Following up last year’s epic Close to the Noise Floor compilation of early British electronica, Noise Reduction System crosses the channel to delve into the primal European electronica cassette-only label underground, alongside early vinyl releases by slightly more established yet equally ground-breaking innovators.

The inexpensive synthesizer was supplanting the guitar as the angst-y bedroom musician’s weapon of choice, but the DIY ethos of punk was still in full effect across Europe in the late 1970s and early 1980s. From Norway to Greece, in home studios and art spaces across the continent, electronic musicians began to stretch the boundaries of sonic experimentation. Some wanted to dance, others to confuse and confront, some attempted to channel all of these impulses in one track. Over the course of 62 magnificently bizarre and unreasonably catchy tunes spread over four discs, compiler Dave Henderson has provided a weighty testament to these pioneers that is not inaccurately described by label Cherry Red as “part primitive rave, part synthesizer porn, part history lesson.”

“Mainland Europe had always been a hotbed of experimentation,” Henderson notes in his extensive and witty essay that accompanies the set. As a columnist for Sounds magazine in the early ’80s, he was, with some trepidation, given leeway to explore the new electronic sounds of such far-flung locales as Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia and the closer underbellies of Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany and the Netherlands. “These people were indeed embracing new technology,” he recalls, “but they also had time for toy instruments, prehistoric voice computers and Casio’s tinniest keyboard. There were rudimentary drum machines and notes that confessed, ‘that’s my voice through a Korg.'” Despite the widely disparate places of origin, there is, as he notes, a “unifying leftfield wonkiness” to the music. Listening back in 2017, these creations are no less bizarre, no less captivating and perhaps even more charming in their faith in the just-born technology that would ultimately swamp the planet as the millennium progressed.

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Below are five favorites from the set, an absolutely essential addition to the library of the electronic music historian and simply tremendous fun for anyone with an open ear and a taste for the unusual. Accompanying each are notes from the artists themselves, another noteworthy example of the extreme care and love that has gone into this box set, surely a contender for any best-of-the-year list.

Noise Reduction System is available at all fine music retailers and directly from Cherry Red themselves.

 

Andre DeKonig – Party Talk

“Recorded fall/winter 1982 using a Roland Drumatix, a Korg MS-20 and a Casio VL-1, and using ping-pong recording between a reel to reel tape machine and cassette deck. The unintelligible noise you hear is my voice processed through the Korg.”

Daniele Ciullini – Marbles in the Garden

“Daniele is an Italian musician active from 1980 to 1986 in the area of independent self-productions with concrete music works and minimal electronica. After a long pause, I resumed my activity in 2011 with multiple electronic works in the dark ambient and industrial fields.”

 

Christina Kubisch – Speak & Spell

“The main instrument in Speak & Spell was a small ‘voice computer’ for children made by Texas Instruments and named the ‘Speak & Spell.’ It was very colorful and nice to look at. As far as I remember it was made for children to learn English. It was difficult to ‘loop’ sounds (seems so easy today) so I recorded sounds on a tape deck, playing them back and repeating the same thing for as long as I could. I also used an early Casio synthesiser borrowed from a friend, even though I did not own one myself.”

 

Saal 2 – Die Internationale

Saal 2 (“Hall 2”) was formed in Hamburg in 1980. Original member Jens Kraft recalls a conversation with his bandmate Godke Ilse: “Originally we were called The Seahorses. But when [a magazine] wanted to publish something about our recordings, that name was not good enough. I called Godeke, we were brainstorming, and he said ‘Saal 2.’ I asked him how he had come to this stupid name and he said, ‘I’m sitting at my father’s desk and there are two Dave Brubeck tickets in front of me, Dave Brubeck in Saal 2!’ I called [the magazine] and gave them our new name.”

 

Malaria! – Geld

Gudrun Gut of Malaria! recalls: “We had the most intense time with Malaria! We were constantly touring. We performed in New York with Nina Hagen at Studio 54 and with John Cale at the Mudd Club, and we played with New Order and The Birthday Party. We shared the Malaria! rehearsal room in Berlin with Die Haut, who lived in an apartment in Dresdner Straße together with Birthday Party. Everything was wildly mixed up there as well. We were forever swapping musicians among each other. We were strong women, not delicate fairies, not flute players. We wanted to make a point of that.”

09/14/17 New Releases/Tracks

Lee “Scratch” Perry remakes his classic dub album Super Ape

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Lee "Scratch" Perry by Volker Schaner

Lee “Scratch” Perry by Volker Schaner

 

So, apparently, Lee “Scratch” Perry has remade his 1976 classic dub album Super Ape. And as our friend says, it might be Scratch’s best work since he burned down the Black Ark nearly forty years ago. At eighty-one years old, Perry and original percussionist Larry McDonald—along with NYC dancehall legend Screechy Dan—have revisited the album’s timeless tracks and reimagined them for “the bass obsessed, sound system generation.”

The album, Super Ape Returns to Conquer, drops on September 22 on Subatomic Sound. Label guru, Subatomic band leader, and album coproducer Emch explains the concept behind completely remaking Super Ape: “It is a crazy thing to do to completely remake a classic. No one has ever dared to do something like that. It prompts the question: What is the motivation if it was already classic? Really, it was to adapt a slow, hypnotic album to a hype live show while still maintaining the vibes that make the music special. Like an alternate version.”

 We’re premiering the track “Curly Dub,” below. 

“Curly Dub” features a bold steppers beat and unlikely swaggering jazz bass line that get turnt up and taken on a psychedelic trip back to Africa. Though reggae is often identified by its signature bass lines, Scratch upends convention on this composition with a massive walking jazz bass line originally over a four on the floor steppers beat (somewhat groundbreaking in the 1970s) that is redone by Subatomic Sound in heavyweight fashion with tight 808 house kicks, big belly sine wave bass, and an added energy boost from improvised Ethiopian sax solos – extending the original American jazz influence all the way back to Africa. Screechy Dan reincarnates Scratch’s original vocals that harken back very clearly to the vocal phrasing style that Scratch famously nurtured in Bob Marley. Scratch blends his spirituality with signature humor, proclaiming “I am free” and that he is black Moses, here to free the people, imploring the to feel it, smell it, and taste it. Scratch was a huge influence on the Beastie Boys, one of the few respected artists also known for their humor, who featured Scratch on their track Dr. Lee Phd.

 

The official tour starts October 24—with a can’t-miss NYC show at Output on the 25th with Francois K/Deep Space! 

lee-scratch-perry-super-ape-returns-conquer-cover

 

 

Lee Scratch Perry

Photo by Emch

 

 

 

08/29/17 Videos

Sugaray Rayford “The World That We Live In”

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There was a time when a Texan soul singer need only jump on a Greyhound to find a producer and killer house band qualified to cut some authentic, new-aged soul. Sugaray Rayford, a singer by the power of Bobby Blue Bland and Solomon Burke, has found his graceland in another continent, across the pond and over the valley, in the European city of Rome. Blind Faith Records, headed by Italian celebrità band leader/producer Luca Sapio and his crack session unit (which includes a three-piece horn section) entitled the Italian Royal Family, recorded, with vintage analog gear, the entire project, The World That We Live In, via a studio located in the Pigneto district of the Italian capital.

Check out Sugaray Rayford’s new video below—a Wax Poetics world exclusive. Filmed in an abandoned sulfur quarry just outside of Rome, Sugaray laments the state of the world on the album’s title cut, in relative solitude, surrounded only by a stray dog, a lounge of lizards, and his Stetson hat. Dig it.

08/20/17 Mixtape

The After Dark Mixtape

..Cuz a W.P. Party Don't Stop!

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We originally intended to drop this one in the run up to the Wax Poetics After Dark party at Le Pigalle in Paris, but, sometimes shit happens and sometimes flower pots fall on laptops and mixtapes get lost.

In our opinion it’s never too late for good music to circulate though, so, are excited to now present to you the After Dark mixtape : a taster of what you can expect to boogie to at a Wax Poetics party.

Enjoy!

Mixed by Alice Price-Styles

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Tracklist:

Blue Magic “See Through”

Andre Forget Me Not “After Midnight (B-Side Version)”

Brass Construction “Physical Attraction”

Lillo Thomas “Sexy Girl”

Stetsasonic “Speaking Of A Girl Named Suzy”

Bobby Nunn “She’s Just A Groupie”

Jimmy Spicer “The Bubble Bunch”

Busta Rhymes “Do the Bus a Bus”

Ultramagnetic MC’s “Give The Drummer Some”

Del The Funky Homosapien “Dr. Bombay”

George Clinton “Do Fries Go With That Shake”

08/11/17 Articles

Prince Paul speaks about Kool Herc, the birth of hip-hop, and Google’s celebration

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HIPHOP_HighRes (1)

While some old school hip-hop fans never tire of arguing over who “created” hip-hop, there is no denying that it was Kool Herc’s jam thrown on August 11, 1973, was a pivotal party that helped get the aural revolution started. To celebrate the forty-fourth anniversary of that boogie-down night, Google celebrates with hip-hop-inspired Doodle (designed by Def Jam icon Cey Adams) that clicks through to feature an interactive turntable, iconic breakbeats, and hip-hop history content. Partnering with Mass Appeal, producer Prince Paul was commissioned to supply the project with three different beats constructed from records featured in the Doodle.

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“The challenge was that all the beats had to be 110 bpm, which is a disco tempo, but I figured out how to make it funky,” Prince Paul says. “I tried to find a bridge between the original school and what I do. The end result, I think, came out pretty cool.” The respected producer began his career as DJ for Stetsasonic and later gained fame as the producer for De La Soul, 3rd Bass, Gravediggaz. and Vernon Reid; his solo albums include Psychoanalysis: What is It? and A Prince Among Thieves. “There are a lot of young rap fans who think the music started with G-Unit, so hopefully this project will give them a chance to learn a bit of history.”

Although Paul was only six years old when Herc stepped behind the turntables in August 1973, he has since become close to the pioneering turntablist. “The first time I met Herc, it was like shaking hands with Jesus,” Paul says. “One time, he took me to his family’s house in Long Island. He said, ‘Man, I got a bunch of 45s nobody has ever heard.’ I was amazed that Herc was even talking to me, and then we’re at his mom’s house looking through a chest of records. It was unreal. If it wasn’t for Herc, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have a job as Prince Paul. Every time I see him, I tell him thank you. Herc is the greatest dude ever.”

Still, having developed a love for the music, once the Long Island native got old enough to catch the train with his crew, he’d ride Bronx park jams to see Afrika Bambaataa and Jazzy Jay, and go to Brooklyn (where his grandma lived) to check out Grandmaster Flowers and Pete DJ Jones.

Prince Paul and Red Alert at Latin Quarter

Prince Paul (in back with mic) and Red Alert at the Latin Quarter in 1987. From the book No Half Steppin’ (Wax Poetics Books), courtesy of Paradise Gray.

 

“I also spent a lot of time at Latin Quarter just watching the DJ spin and listening to the music,” Paul says. “When we went to the parties in the Bronx, a lot of time we just went to certain neighborhoods and listened for the bass and follow that sound down the block and hope nobody beat us up. It wasn’t as easy as pressing a button on the computer. We had to look for the music; there was journey to find the music.” Besides the talent behind the wheels of steel what made an old school jam special?

“It was all about power in them days. Who had the most speakers stacked, who could blow away everybody else.” Currently, Prince Paul is working on various projects while also planning an upcoming tour of Brazil with his group Brookzill!; their album Throwback to the Future was released last year. “To me, guys like Herc, Grandmaster Caz, and DJ Flowers were superheroes. Those were the guys that inspired me, and it’s time for them to get their accolades. Hopefully, this project will encourage young hip-hop fans to dig deeper.”