Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Lesson(s)

Steinski - What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective
(Illegal Art)

How a nice Jewish boy from the suburbs became one of the most influential producers in hiphop, sampling, and cut & paste.

Worked as an advertising copywriter for 6 years - Polaroid, Volkswagen, Atari, etc. Taught copywriting at The School Of Visual Arts. Spent all disposable income on records. Promoted and DJ'ed dances in Brooklyn, hung out at early downtown Manhattan hiphop clubs; Negril, the Roxy. Quit advertising.

With partner Double Dee (Douglas DiFranco; a prince), co-produced the series of records known as The Lessons: The Lesson (The Payoff Mix), Lesson 2 (The James Brown Mix), Lesson 3 (The History Of Hiphop) for the Tommy Boy label. The first lesson won a nationwide remix contest by Tommy Boy Records that was judged by Afrika Bambaataa, Shep Pettibone, Jellybean Benitez and Arthur Baker, and subsequently became a Top 10 request on urban radio nationwide. These analog tape cut-and-paste collages, still widely bootlegged (and wildly illegal), are generally acknowledged as three of the most influential works in the world of hiphop and dance music production. Cited as definitive influences by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, who recorded their own series of Lessons.

As a solo producer, crafted “The Motorcade Sped On” turning historic broadcasts of the Kennedy assasination into a hiphop record. The NME gave away a quarter-million copies of the song as a Flexidisc stapled to the cover of the magazine.

Solo productions for Ninjatune include “It's Up To You” and “I'm Wild About That Thing” a satire on sex licensed to Pretty Polly Bras (UK) for TV advertising campaign. Go figure.

Reunited with Double Dee (a prince) after 10 years to produce “Jazz” for Tommy Boy's 10th Anniversary. Also illegal, also bootlegged.

Other recordings include:

Numerous 12" remixes and collages,

Remix of “Relax” (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) for the film Zoolander,

Burning Out Of Control, an album length mix of the Sugarhill Records catalogue for the Antidote label (UK)

12" collage “Ain't No Thing” for the Stone's Throw release of The Third Unheard (Connecticut Rap) compilation.

Nothing To Fear, a mix CD reviewed extensively and favorably by Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, URB,, Metro, The Wire and Hiphop Connection.

Featured in the documentary film Scratch.

This is a two CD set, with 14 retrospective tracks on disc 1, and the 28-track Nothing To Fear on disc 2. The second disc (along with The Lessons) is perhaps the most obvious precursor to Girl Talk's Night Ripper and was described by Salon as “The closest thing to a [mashup] masterpiece the genre has yet produced.” Packaging includes a 20-page booklet featuring liner notes by Hua Hsu (The Wire, New York Times, Village Voice, Slate, etc.) and Steinski himself.

Lesson 1 (The Payoff Mix)
Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix)
Lesson 3 (History of Hip Hop)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Original Simple Minds Lineup Hitting The Studio

This item comes from ...

The original members of Simple Minds are due to work together for the first time in 27 years when they enter a recording studio in the middle of June '08. In an event that many never thought would happen again, Brian McGee, Derek Forbes, Mick McNeil, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, have set their aim on producing at least two new tracks that could be released later this year. Regarded by both Jim and Charlie as a 'nice experiment', particularly as it falls within their 30 year anniversary, the week-long reformation is being viewed as one of many 'let's see what happens' ideas that they look forward to working on over the course of the next year.

Jim Kerr said 'Of course I am excited with the prospect of working with the original line - up once more. I had always believed that the day would come when we would get the opportunity to do so. The last time we worked together was on our "Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call" album, featuring songs like "The American", "Themes for Great Cities", "Love Song" etc, and it is still considered by many as among our best ever work. We have a lot to live up to, but we intend to have some fun attempting to do just that.'

Woo-hoo! That last part about Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call certainly pertains to me. It remains my favorite record(s) of theirs today, and still gets played a fair amount (in it's nifty remastered reissue form). I gave up on the Minds in the late '80s - '89's Street Fighting Years was the last record of theirs I bought, and haven't really paid them much mind since. They got a bit too bloated for my liking. This news is pretty exciting, and I look forward to hearing what they come up with. Here are some prime examples of this classic lineup's post-punk-slash-prog abilities...

I Travel
This Fear Of Gods
Empires And Dance
Love Song
Theme For Great Cities
Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I got an e-mail this morning from Kel McKeown, AKA Kelpe. His latest album Ex-Aquarium (listen here) has been in heavy rotation around here this spring. He creates instrumental music that embraces electronics as well as organic intrumentation. Stylistically he fits in somewhere between the ambience of Boards of Canada, the abstractions of Four Tet and some of the leftfield hip hop of DJ's like Shadow and Cam. It is a fine record. Anyway, he sent me a nice mix he made. It is 32 minutes of mellow vibes and beats, and includes his own Whirlwound, with it's shuffling beats and moody synths. Should be very enjoyable with your Sunday morning paper and coffee...

Kelpe's Soulsearching Mix
Squarepusher - My Sound (Warp)
Tape - Beams (Hapna)
Dimlite - Oh Star (Sonar Kollektiv)
Kelpe - Whirlwound (DC Recordings)
Bumps - Bin Johnston (Stones Throw)
Pedro - Hope Is A Happiness (Mush)
Rustie - Cafe De Phresh (Instrumental) (Stuffrecords)
Dr Who Dat? - Ageless Daisy (Lex)
Soft Machine - Drop (CBS)
Samoyed - Making Snow (Flask)
Fennesz - Happy Audio (Mego)
Gonzalez - Gentle Threat (No Format)

SIART's new muxtape is on a totally '70s kick...

The Pointer Sisters - How Long (Waxy edit)
Ultravox - Dangerous Rhythm
Herbie Hancock - Watermelon Man
Gary Numan - Airlane
David Bowie - John, I'm Only Dancing Again (Single A-Side '74)
Bill Withers - Use Me
Brian Eno - Sky Saw
Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero
Robert Palmer & Lee Perry - River Stone
Boz Scaggs - Lowdown
Sergio Mendes - After Sunrise
B.T. Express - Give It What You Got

The last 6 posts to my tumblr...

1. Ghostly Swim - a free compilation of leftfield goodness.
2. McCain for Viagra?
3. Weezer's Pork & Beans = youtube inspired lunacy!
4. Cut Copy's Hearts On Fire - great concept.
5. Annie's I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me - she's back and as poptastic as ever.
6. The Specials Eyeing Fall Reunion Shows!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Back in the mid '90s when trip hop was the bee's knees the Austrian duo of Peter Kruder & Richard Dorfmeister were top of the class. They were remixers to virtually everyone in their musical realm, and then some. I dug their laid back vibe, the whiff of spliff, the hints of jazz and dub. They recorded an EP of original music, G-Stoned, whose cover is a great tribute to the classic Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel.
They have never released a follow up. Seems amazing, but its true. They did loads of remixes, and there are a few tracks on compilations that aren't on this EP, but there was never an album. Or another EP. I have always marveled at that. They have released a fair amount of music as Peace Orchestra (Kruder) and Tosca (Dorfmeister), but very little under the K&D brand. Both are still active - Tosca and Kruder's Voom:Voom put out music last year. Anyway, I love this EP, and side B is K&D at their best...
High Noon
Original Bedroom Rockers

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My '80s Remastered - Night Time

Love Like Blood
Eighties (Kid Jensen Session)

The second wave of Killing Joke remasters hit stores back in February. Their 1985 breakthrough album Night Time has always been one of my favorites. This record saw them embracing slicker production values and a lot more keyboards, and saw them have a sizable hit with Eighties. It also displayed a new side to lead singer Jaz Coleman, one that had him actually singing instead of his gruff screaming. Turns out he has a lovely voice. Don't get me wrong here - there are still plenty of the hardcore riffs, tribal beats and chunky bass that KJ fans love, it is just presented a bit more subtly. I love it's mix of moody atmospherics, punk riffs and a dash of art rock. The remaster more than doubles the original's length with an extra nine songs; 4 Kid Jensen session tracks, non-album single New Day and it's b-side, and 3 remixes. A fine album on it's own, and even better remastered!

This item from will also be of interest to fans...


Finally, after numerous line-up changes through the years, all original Killing Joke members reunite for new album and world tour.

Drummer, Paul Ferguson, rejoins the line up for the first time since 1987 enabling a whole new generation of fans to see Killing Joke’s legendary original formation. Diehard fans have been waiting for this moment for two decades!

Bassist, Martin ‘Youth’ Glover also steps back into the live arena after a near 15 hiatus, having not played live with Killing Joke since 1994’s Pandemonium tour.

The tour will see Killing Joke take up a two night residency in most venues offering a different set on each evening. On the first night, they will play their first two albums in their entirety, 1980’s self-titled album followed by the album ‘What’s This…For!’. Their
second performance in each city will treat fans to 1994’s Pandemonium and the Island Records singles of’79 to ’80.

Godfathers of post-punk, Killing Joke return with their eagerly anticipated new album to coincide with their world tour. Album release date TBC.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Random Saturday

Rene & Angela - I'll Be Good


The last 5 posts to my tumblr...

1. Air Hostesses of Yesteryear
2. Neon Neon’s DeLorean
3. Good times, people, good times….
4. Sam Sparro does Estelle’s American Boy
5. Moby's vegetarian revenge fantasy

Listen to a new muxtape, now with linkage to Hypem and Elbows...

The Polyphonic Spree - Love My Way
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Maladie D'Amour
Boards Of Canada - Korona
Chaka Kahn - Love Of A Lifetime
The Ting Tings - Great DJ (Calvin Harris Remix)
Fleetwood Mac - Never Forget (Cut Copy Lifelike Remix)
Cansei De Ser Sexy - Pretend We're Dead
Roxy Music - The Main Thing (Rub-N-Tug's Proton Saga)
Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good
5th Dimension - Stone Soul Picnic
My Bloody Valentine - Soon (The Andy Weatherall Mix)
Blancmange - Living on The Ceiling (12" Extended)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Funky Friday

The breakdown... MGMT give us an early version of Kids in synth-tastic style (from the re-released Time To Pretend EP), Crystal Castles promise a good time and deliver (their album is easily one of my faves this year), Quiet Village kill you with dreamy strings and a mellow groove, The Herbaliser are back with some big band funk featuring lovely vocals from Jessica Darling, The Ting Tings are everyone's fave new iPod commercial soundtrack, Martina Topley-Bird gets Aussied up by Van She, Go Home Productions slays with two mash ups - Rolling Stones vs.Carly Simon and Nirvana vs. Alan Parker, and Donna Summer releases her first new album in 17 years next week. Called Crayons, here are a couple of little tasters...

MGMT - Kids
Crystal Castles - Good Time
Quiet Village - Pacific Rhythm
The Herbaliser - You're Not All That
The Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let Me Go
Martina Topley-Bird - Poison (Van She Remix)
Go Home Productions - Mick n' Carly
Go Home Productions - Main Bloom
Donna Summer - Science Of Love
Donna Summer - I'm A Fire

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Music Tuesday

A few new records of note are out today, including We Are Scientists' Brain Thrust Mastery, Death Cab For Cutie's Narrow Stairs, The Submarines' Honeysuckle Weeks and these two...

Duffy - Mercy

The Presets - Yippiyo Ay

Friday, May 09, 2008

Funky Friday Old School Edition

Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of $) (Original 12")
Recloose - Four Ways Of Saying Goodbye
Rockers Revenge - Walking On Sunshine
Les Rythmes Digitales - Oberonne
David Holmes - Slash the Seats
Andrea Parker - In Two Minds
Chaka Khan - My Love Is Alive
Heaven 17 - Soul Warfare
Musique - in The Bush
Level 42 - Starchild

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Goldfrapp - Clowns
Only clowns would play with those balloons
What'd ya wanna look like Barbie for?
Dear oh lord it's easy
Roasting, roasting, roast indeed, mahogany
Titties that live on on and on on and on

Only clowns would play with those balloons
What'd ya wanna look like Barbie for?
Passive when I'm in record day & night
I'm watching you


Dreamiest fake breast put down ever...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Beat Goes On

Madonna released her 11th studio album Hard Candy this week. I am a fan of Madge. Always have been, still am. I have always admired how she has handled her music career, always in complete control of everything. She has maintained a pretty remarkable hold on the charts for 25 years. Her impact and influence has been huge from the get-go. Beyond all of that though is this - she has made some killer dance records, and that is why I love her. The ballads are always just OK for me (I'm not a big fan of the genre), the pop songs are generally pretty good, but the club tracks have always been top of the line. From the sound of it this record doesn't look to change that.

I will admit this; first glance of the cover I thought to myself "blecchh, enough of the unitard thing." I was sick of it after 5 seconds three years ago. Now don't get me wrong, Madge is still pretty damn hot for a soon-to-be 50 year old, but please girl, put some clothes on that ass. My 8 year old daughter is also a big fan, and she heartily concurs about the outfits - "I don't like how she looks in those". So a big thumbs down on the whole cover concept from the whole family!

The music also kind of took me by surprise at first. I was not very impressed. But it's Madonna, so I gave it some leeway and stuck with it. Production duties are handled by the current kings of US r'n'b-hop - Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes, Timbaland and his studio partner Nate "Danja" Hills and their cohort Justin Timberlake. If you think you know what this is going to sound like you're probably right. It's Madonna doing urban 2008 (much like 1994's Bedtime Stories). Candy Shop is a big groover with more than a hint of Kraftwerk, although lyrically the candy metaphor is a bit played out. I do love the music tho'. Current single 4 Minutes is standard issue Timba/JT, and at first I did not like it at all. I have since come around, and my kids really like the Death Star marching band-ness of it all. Justin sings on several tracks, as does Pharrell. Wendy Melvoin plays some gorgeously funky guitar on She's Not Me, one of the better tunes. Kanye West delivers a rap on Beat Goes On, but the tune could do just as well without. I love the groove, and the little Pharrell chant in the chorus is ace. My daughters love to sing along "get down-beep beep-gotta get up out of your seat". It is interesting to hear the collaborations, but they aren't really anything new. A bunch of pop icons on cruise control? At times. But there are flashes of greatness. I give Pharrell the edge over Timbaland in the songs/production department. Is it classic Madonna? Probably not. There are some boring moments but then something happens to perk things up. And it might just kick start your dance party.

Madonna - Beat Goes On