Saturday, 21 March 2015

La Corta Notte Delle Bambole Di Vetro & Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura - Ennio Morricone

I can't believe I haven't been alerted to or discovered this soundtrack until now. I somehow missed this when it first got released in 1998, only 27 years after it was recorded. I mean I know Morricone is a man of many soundtracks but why is this one remaining in obscurity. La Corta Notte Delle Bambole Di Vetro is outstanding. Its in that zone where his Argento soundtracks were. That's a great zone, one of my favorite sonic places to visit. La Corta Notte... is a giallo film that was the directorial debut for Aldo Lado. The La Corta Notte... soundtrack was recorded in 1971, around the same time Ennio recorded the OSTs for Argento's The Cat O Nine Tales, Four Flies On Grey Velvet and The Bird With Crystal Plummage, Fulci's A Lizard In A Woman's Skin, Rubartelli's Veruschka and Castellari's Gli Occhi Freddi Del Paura. He was certainly having a purple patch in 1971.

The music Ennio Morricone arranged for La Cotra Notte... is tense, intensely creepy, very minimal and unmistakeably Morricone does giallo. This music has more in common with Morricone's experimental improv side project Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza than his famous Spaghetti Western scores. Here he doesn't use funky psych guitars at all though (Like he does with the Gruppo or on A Lizard In A Woman's Skin etc.) leaving the score peculiarly sparse. Some tracks are dementedly atonal. There are horror motifs throughout so its not as audacious as the unpredictable score for Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura (which was recorded with Gruppo) but this is still brilliantly eerie, dark and experimental. Sometimes its like you can hear and feel the air on this recording. On several tunes a woman (Edda Dell'orso) who sounds like she's been tortured and then forced to sing appears with crippled fearful tones for your disturbing delight. It's apparently a film about a hostage situation so this makes sense. Sospiri Di Morte features a lady's deep breaths (Dell'orso again) over really baleful, minimal and muffled percussion, which is one of the most extraordinary soundtrack moments I've ever heard. Like the previously mentioned soundtracks, this score works perfectly as an album all by its nightmarish self. I've just noticed that Morricone scored Lado's next handful of films which include another giallo film, a science fiction flick and a video nasty. Still more to discover.....

1971: A hell of a year for Morricone.
While we're on the subject I might as well say a thing or two about the (pictured just above) aforementioned soundtrack Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura. Now this was another 1971 soundtrack but it didn't get a release until 2000. I didn't miss this one. I think it has been reissued again in the last year or two. So Morricone recorded this with his improv band Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza. This score is not only one of the best soundtracks ever, its also one of the best albums ever. I guess people into AMM, Nihilist Spasm Band, Spontaneous Music Ensemble or Miles Davis in the 70s should take a special interest here. This is some top notch improv jams under the direction of the one and only Bruno Nicolai. Produced by none other than Gianni Dell'orso. We've got fuzz guitar duelling with jazz bass and electronics. That's just for starters. This LP is so unpredictable you never know where it's heading next. There's many a clank and a scrape to be heard amongst other haunting sounds. The group had been going since 1964 and are considered one of the pioneering collectives of experimental composers. It was by no means Morricone's band. Other members included Egisto Macchi (library music legend), Walter Branchi and Franco Evangelisti. I think it was Evangelisti who got the whole thing together. They were aspiring to a new form of composition through improvisation and other methods such as (like John Cage) chance. Apparently they sometimes used the game of chess as an inspiration. Anyway the credits on this one go to Morricone but that seems arbitrary as surely everyone contributed to each tune. Fabulously free percussion mixed with of sour sax/trumpet(?) and textural keyboards play their part on this recording. More than anything though its not the separate sounds that make up the music its the sound of the unit itself. This is an incredibly switched on unit comparable to Can and the ensembles Miles Davis put together in the 70s. Half the time I don't know what's making the sounds anyway. This doesn't sound like any other soundtrack I've ever heard. Most of the time you forget this incredibly fluid music even went with images as the tangent of where the hell they'll go next has you so engaged. You start to feel that your own ear is also an integral part of the unit as well...sort of becoming one with the music. This is a hell of a strange trip that never gets old. They have other albums as well, maybe I'll discuss them another time. Its quite hard to believe a film director just saying 'yeah sure' to this mental project. This is a unique record that could have a special place in your heart if you give it a listen. Like Harmonia's Deluxe this is an unheralded classic of 20th century music that deserves a better status.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Jungle Gold

This is a bunch of jungle tunes I've only come across this year or at least ID'ed anyway. The jungle music jungle is vast indeed. I had a severe migraine earlier today so I was drugged to the eyeballs. After many hours the pain abated. I was still in a drug haze when I decided to listen to a mix I'd made earlier this year, before my computer crashed. I had found a stash of choice jungle tunes on the interweb I hadn't come across before but now I can't recall how or where I found them. Anyway it was a great decision to listen to this mix while I sunk into the bed finally feeling better and able to enjoy a snippet of life. The quality goes deep on these tunes. One thing I loved about hardcore and jungle was the amount of different sections to a song there were. If one bit wasn't doing it for ya it didn't matter because a new section would have probably arrived before you even realised. Tear Down is a bewdy. Total drum and bass science. These artists were so damn crafty, you have to admire their commitment and dedication. 

This is great mental jungle. Fucking crazy bass, kung fu samples, beats to die for, killer synth stabs and a lovely reggae vocal loop. What more do you need? You Must Think First is relentless.

This really sounds like music from a Jungle at the start. Then the beats roll in, followed by a diva, then killer bass and breaks. The drums on this are incredible. This was a culture on a high and Dubb Hustlers were bringing their A game because you had to otherwise you'd be fucked as everyone else was raising the bar as well. Shit two sport analogies in the same sentence, I think I need to have another lie down.

There's something comforting about the sirens in this tune. Junglist Soldier has passed both tests ie. the bike one and the bed one. The beatz are amazing on this and that 80s Prince-esque synth is fabulous and unusual. Perhaps amongst the choppage here is a Prince drum sample. I think I'm hearing Devo drums as well. Maybe they're just the same drum machines. I don't know. When you think all is said and done an unexpected mental bassline kicks in at the 4 and a half minute mark which is pure gold. You could say that bass was proto-dubstep but that would kind of cheapen it I reckon. This is prime jungle, dubstep doesn't come anywhere near this shit man. 

Lets face it music sounds better on drugs. Lets face it everything's better with drugs. Why do you think its such a massive worldwide industry. This sounds good when you're straight too. Its just that the last time I heard it (an hour and a half ago) I was off me head. Hoover soundz along with sweet soul vocals is a great combo as is bit of a chipmunk vocal, great keyboards, synth strings and a reggae sample. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Rufige Kru - Dark Metal

Just saw this got the reissue treatment this year. I'm not sure I even know it. It wasn't on that Goldie comp from a couple of years ago and it was originally released after I stopped listening to jungle which had then become drum'n'bass and tech-step. This is pretty tech-steppy and I like a very lot. The dub space opens at one point and becomes extremely cavernous. I thought Goldie had stopped using the Rufige Cru/Kru name way earlier than this (97).

Who could have imagined this music (even a year or two earlier) it was upside-down-sideways and around the other way reversed but still had a bit of sweetness to it. This still sounds amazing today. We're still waiting for this future to arrive or are we? Have we given up on it to listen to the Take Me To Church guy?

This is really fucked up. They were really pushing the boundaries of what was a song weren't they? This is a lofty peak in mental darkside hardcore. The future's not half as delirious as the old imagined future. In fact the future turned out to kinda be the opposite to this didn't it?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friday The 13th Again

How often do you get two fFriday The 13ths in a row? Here's some tunes to soundtrack your day, hope you make it out alive. Creepy that little f above what's it doing there? The jauntiness of the opening credits to Tourist Trap really adds to the ominous vibe here.

Here's another tune from the Tourist Trap by Pino Donaggio. Never seen the film but it's a hell of a soundtrack which I think is being reissued soon or today or something.

Now this is Libra who had like 3 Goblin people (ex or otherwise) in the band and they made like the 3rd best Goblin soundtrack really, just behind Suspiria and Profondo Rosso. If you love your Italian horror soundtracks then this is for you. Here's 10 minutes of Italian horror prog rock soundtrack gold.

This one just popped up as I was typing so how could I resist? That synth sound is fantastic and the whole Euro cinematic vibe is so cool. Tres creepy. Pino also did the soundtrack to Don't Look Now which is fabulously uncanny. He was also a pop star in Italy throughout the 60s. Here's a bizarre fact he wrote You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, yes the one of Dusty Springfield and Elvis fame. His own version was a number 1 smash in Italy in 1965.

Stelvio Cipriani: man of hundreds of soundtracks has done a few Giallo/Horror/Thriller scores. Why is Italy so disturbing? Something about cheesy 70s music really adds an extra sinister vibe here. More Goblin connections here as Cipriani did the Solamente Nero with them as well as recording another OST with Goblin's Claudio Simonetti Un' Ombra Nell' Ombra. Both of those records are well worth tracking down as they are excellent.

Everyone seems to be hip to Fabio Frizzi these days but here he collaborates with Franco Bixio and Vincenzo Tempera which he did on a handful of occasions. Great scary stuff.

I could go on and on and on some more but this is my final entry for today. What no John Carpenter? It's an outrage! This time its Frizzi on his own for another Fulci movie. This is kind of funny and kind of spooky. It's most definitely strange. The drumming in particular here is very peculiar.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

On The Hi-Fi Part 40

When I can get Luca Brasi 2 by Kevin Gates off the stereo I listen to some other stuff. This one is a snappy little 37 minute mix from Pearsall over at Sonicrampage. These are drum'n'bass tunes from 95 & 96. There's even one from 99 which is way past my usual cut off point of rarely venturing into or past 96/97. Anyway this is a little rollin' bewdy featuring just 4 different artists - Roni Size, DJ Krust, Bill Riley & DJ Die. The later 2 I'm not particularly sure I'm aware of. Most of these tunes are new to me. I love the little covers Pearsall makes and this one's no exception. Get 90s man.

Geez Mr Nick Edwards is one prolific musician. I think I may have missed a couple of Ekoplekz releases since Influkz. Entropic is just two long trax. Entropy Flash (neat title huh?) which runs at 13 minutes and Entropy Symphony that's around 16 minutes. This EP is more along the lines of his last mini album Influkz ie. it's a more subdued and subtle affair compared to his last two LPs. Then again that's a little deceptive because if you have it at low volume it seems quite nice but with the volume cranked it becomes quite intense and a little sinister. This is music from post-apocalyptic zones or is it outer space? Or perhaps its the landscape/headspace of Ekoplekz right now? Entropy Flash is repetitive almost funky technoid gear that occasionally has flourishes of melody amongst the darker drones and its damn fine as usual. How does he keep up the quality with so much quantity? Entropy Symphony is the swirliest swirly tune ever. It swirls and swirls until it swirls off into a vortex of epic oblivion. This has got to be one of the best Ekoplekz tracks ever. Me like a very lot.

I cannot recall how I came across this mix by Slimzee at Soundcloud All it says in my i-tunes is Truancy Vol. 111: Slimezee. Anyway its more jungle, this time more your 94/95 variety before it became drum'n'bass. Many a classic on here such as Hitman, Babylon and a very well worn copy of The Dark Stranger, why wouldn't it be? It's such a gem. An hour of jungle gold. This is some awesome DJing right here. Not loving that faux faded bollocks look of the virtual cover though. This guy was in Pay As You Go Cartel and pretty much invented Grime, I think. There you go, you learn something every day.

More good stuff from Pearsall. Not The Future We Were Promised... is more of your prime 94/95 jungle. He crams them in here. Thirty Five tunes in just over an hour and a half. It's one hell of a ride. Some classics and some lesser known classics whizz by so hold onto your hats. I guess at this stage you're either into it or you're not. This wouldn't be a bad introduction to jungle though. It would be hard not to be seduced by the 'rhythmic psychedelia' on display here as its soo darn great. This is when it was pretty much just jungle like the above Slimzee mix, post hardcore/darkside and pre drum'n'bass/tech-step/garridge. Huh, the future, it kinda went sideways then nowhere.

Last but not least is 10 Wanted Men's Wanted: Dead Or Alive which is Memphis Rap 1995 stylee. This features Memphis legends Tommy Wright III, Womack Da Omen and Princess Loco. Women in 90s Memphis rap are so fucking cool. They just really suit the vibe of this creepin shyt. Still getting my head around this one but fuck it sounds good so far. This is the real rap underground on absurdly lo-fi tapes. This ain't no backpacker shit! (RE: This article at FACT) Whatever the fuck that is? I have a feeling it means shite rap ie. rap that couldn't make the charts because it was shite so they tried to then pretend they were like indie or something, but in reality they were just a laughing stock. Obviously some people got sucked into their shtick though.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Beast Mode - Future

Future reasserts himself on this mixtape as one of the kingpins in weird Atlanta rap. Like Rome Fortune's Beautiful Pimp 2 last year, Future uses just the one producer here and keeps it short at 28 minutes. It all adds up to a wining combination. Perhaps other rappers need to take note of this. Everything's just way more cohesive and it's probably the best thing Future has done since his Pluto LP. The producer Zaytoven (great name huh?) is keen on jazzy piano and mournful strings sprinkled amongst the trap beats. It never comes across as backwards though, sideways maybe? The keyboards are sometimes minimal and sometimes they reach Aladdin Sane levels of absurdity. Lay Up's production is fine like a mini minimal symphony with a violin loop and a spooky piano. Future's trademark vocal slur, original flow and vocal effects are all present and accounted for. Some of this is experimental in a way that certain things have not been juxtaposed like this before. Hood raps over really baroque type of pop piano with brittle drum machines on Just Like Bruddas. That's really fucking strange. Real Sisters has really mental old school synthesisers played like I've never really heard before. They kind of swarm and swirl eerily. The centrepiece of the mixtape is the final track Forever Eva. Future's vocal is so slurred and a fucked with he's often incomprehensible. This is fine trap with great synth, abstract samples, choice beats and melancholy strings. I think this is about him being an ATL hood forever no matter what. He's a true bother forever. Well he's definitely keeping it strange for now and that's a good thing.

Tinashe & Iggy Azalea - All Hands On Deck

Dunno if this is an improvement on the original which along with 2 On were the 2 highlights of Tinashe's LP from last year. Funnily enough Iggy Azalea's rap here really reminds me of Lil Wayne. Iggy has in turn been often compared to Nicki Minaj who used to call herself the female Weezy.

Tryin to work out the fuss about this one. I like the ragga/dancehall bits on here. Is Lamar overrated? Anger can be a bit funny sometimes well most of the time can't it?

I'm also tryin to work out which is better Peanut Butter Tim Tams or Zumbo's Salted Caramel Tim Tams? It's a tough call, they're neck and neck. I'll have to get back to you with the results on that. Arnott's are not paying me by the way. I just need Tim Tams for the serotonin because where else am I gonna get that from? Maybe Peanut Butter in a photo finish.

Charlie has a bite of a Tim Tam, probably original, I'd say

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Blueprint - Jay Z


I don't really know when I became aware of Jay Z. I have a vague recollection around the late 90s early 00s of a dude who I thought was a dull, shite, clueless and overtly commercial rapper helping to hammer the nails into the coffin of hip hop. I thought he was partaking in a moribund culture. My thinking at the time was that hip hop had run it's course. It had gone fully commercial, ruled the charts and even had its own crap underground like rock 20 or more years earlier. I didn't realise I knew some of his tunes before I became fully aware of him when I saw the video to 99 Problems in 2004. This is when I thought shit maybe I'm wrong about this guy because this song is fucking great. I still didn't pursue his musical output though. I liked hearing him on the radio and seeing him on Video Hits and consider 2009's Empire State Of Mind, the tune he did with Alicia Keyes, as pop perfection. It gets me pumped every time! I only ended up listening to The Blueprint like 2 years ago when I'd realised rap was going through a little golden era. So, as with the previous post on Lil Wayne, I backtracked to see what I'd missed. Funnily enough I can't have thought the culture was fully dead as I have NERD's In Search Of and Missy Elliot's So Addictive that were released in 2001 as well. I still don't know if Z's previous 5 LPs are as soul based as The Blueprint. I guess I saw Z's style as a bit of a throwback after Timbaland and The Neptunes had taken rap and R&B interstellar. Having said that though he wasn't just doing a second or two of sampling then looping it like the old school. Many of the tunes here are wholesale appropriations of sweet soul tunes from the 70s. Kanye West uses some kind of studio trickery that really makes these tracks go pop and by that I mean Boom!. West produces 4 tracks here but this was before we knew his style. His debut album was still 3 years away. 

The Blueprint starts out with The Ruler's Back which was the title of an 80s Slick Rick tune which Bink samples here but the main sample is Jackie Moore's beautiful post-Shaft tune if. This is infectiously triumphant and it's a hell of a way to start to an album. Z knew this was his time and he was taking it to the hilt, making the most of it. Holding up the trophy. This guy's so charismatic he makes saying 'uh uh uh' sound awesome. He raps 'I'm too sexy for jail like I'm Right Said Fred.' He's representing the hustlers like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King did before him. He's now on the throne. Then there's his pipes, he just has a great sounding voice and the flow of a champion. Takeover is a statement of intent. This is where Z takes over the rap game. His crew are 'runnin this rap shit!' He's the king, some kind of 'God MC, J Hova.....He'll 'kidnap your babies/spit at your lady/We kill you motherfucking ants with a sledgehammer!' He sledges Mobb Deep and calls Nas's career lame to David Bowie's Fame. Kanye samples The Doors Five To One that instantly makes you draw parallels between Z and Jim Morrision. Particularly how they both had/have penchants for narcissism and megalomania. Kanye isn't stupid he would have been well aware of what he was doing here. Morrison was regal too. He was The Lizard KingIzzo (H.O.V.A.) is another West production. This time it's The Jackson 5's turn to get sampled. It's hard not to like the pop smarts on show here. This is one I had heard in, like, the supermarket back in my Richmond days. Classic rap tropes here ie. Jay Z is claiming to be God. It's some kind of code referring to Z as Jehovah. Girls Girls Girls starts out with the words 'Put your number on this paper coz I would love to date ya.' which dates this tune because now it would all be all about putting your number in my phone Ariel Pink stylee. We've got another couple of soul/disco samples here. This tune's basically a California Girls for the post-millennium. Z's bragging about all the chicks he's got. They're from France, Peru, The Projects, Africa, Spain and China. He's got a model, a feral, an immature chick, a paranoid chick and a stewardess. They're all cooking for him, Bootlegging him, making sure he's got extra pillows on his first class seat and OMG one even asks for respect! He loves to holler at them when he comes on top. There you go he loves girls like it's the 1950s. Jigga That Nigga is a funky jam with a sitar sample. This tune's more of its time with its clipped beats and it wouldn't have been out of place on an LP by his future Mrs group Destiny's Child. Z's so old school he says 'with his yellow wrist watch and Gucci flip flops/Six Top Models who is this hot?' We all know the answer to that one. Z's got a fast car with 20 inch rims so 'ride with me/get high with me.' U Don't Know starts with a chipmunk vocal sample that continues throughout. The theme on this one is money and how much he's got. Jay Z is 'one black smart boy.' His entrepreneurial skills are so good he states 'I sell ice in the winter/Fire in hell/I sell water to a well.' His over confidence is insane here where he claims 'I...will...not...lose....Ever!' Hey I'm fully convinced. Gee coke's good (for the 10 seconds it lasts) for this kinda shit and he must have been getting some high grade shit.

Hola Hovita features an ultra funky beat. Timbaland's on this one and he kills it. 70s funk sample, an Afrobeat vibe and even a Reggae skank. I do recall Timbaland saying once he copped all his moves from Dancehall and Jamaica. I reckon this is the only track I've heard of his where that's blatantly obvious. Hola Hovita contains some of Jay's most incredible rapping. I could quote the whole fucking song its that good. The rhymes are so wicked. At one point he's rapping 'My dick game is vicious/Insane at bitches!' Then he's comparing himself to old blue eyes 'I'm The compadre/The Sinatra of my day.' I could go on but just one more 'I rhyme sicker than every rhyme spitter!' He's playing his A game here folks. Heart Of The City is an unmistakable (now...little did we know) K West production . Tremendous funky soul shit. This is another wholesale appropriation, this time it's Bobby Bland's Heart Of The City. That's a killer tune in it's own right. Haters get their comeuppance on this one. They're hatin The Hov he says 'Coz I got a little cheddar.' Z's asking "Where's the Love?' because he's just tryin to 'Get a couple of chicks/Get em to do an E/Hopefully they'll menage before I reach my garage.' Old habits die hard in the rap game ie. homophobia and sexism rear their heads in this song but it's so fucking good you just have to let it slide. The bit where it gets down to the break and Bland's acapella where Jay Z says 'Take em to Church.' is fucking so damn funky its inspirational and a highlight of the album. Never Change is more Kanye production and he even features on the chorus. This time Kanye uses Common Man by David Ruffin to excellent affect. The 'never change' sample fits perfectly as Jay is rappin about how he's still a criminal and he'll never change because crime pays. He's never gonna change 'From the womb to the tomb/From now until my doom.' I wonder if his Mrs is as accepting as Ruffin's was? Well she seems to have got past the fact that he's a criminal knife wielding thug pretty easily. Song Cry is maybe a lament to his former lady because he'd been a bad boy but he can't cry, hey that would be unmanly, so he tries to make the song cry. He mentions divorce in the song but I don't think he was married previous to tying the knot with B Knowles so this tune could be from someone else's perspective or some kind of analogy. Another 70s soul tune is plundered here Sounds Like a love Song originally recorded by Bobby Glenn. All I Need features a Natalie Cole snippet sample and an incredible beat and that bassline is so fine...mmm. I find one of the things Z needs in the song really funny 'A Doo-Rag and a pocket full of loot/Got those.' he raps. A Doo-Rag was actually originally a gay prison thing in the 70s. The lady men inmates would wear this silky head wear simulating long hair to indicate their femininity. So one wonders whether Jay Z is aware of it's origins or if this irony is lost on him.

Renegade features Eminem on verses and production. It's a hell of a beat. This Eminem fella's pretty good isn't he? The beat is incredibly subtle with an amazing deep bassline. It's got a soundtracky vibe particularly that spooky theremin like sound and the rest is a bit like a miniature minimal symphony. At one point Eminem raps 'Maybe it's beautiful music I made for you to cherish.' He's on the money right there. Renegade starts out with Z dissin haters who say he's become too bling for the hood. He just retorts like the true capitalist believer that he is, that he's the way and the light and he's just showing the hood how to do things right. Then he's dissin journalists as bullshit who couldn't possibly understand his hood upbringing circumstances. Then, well, you forget about Jay Z as soon as Mr Mathers opens his pie hole. It's now his song. 'I'm debated, disputed, hated and viewed in America as a motherfucking addict/Like you didn't experiment?/That's when you start to stare at who's in the mirror.' What do they say "Don't work with Animals and Children?" Well my advice would be not to work with someone more notorious and hated than you in the rap game ie. Eminem is killing this. After another verse from Jay Z Eminem is playing Z at his own game. He's come from the gutter to become 'A modern day Shakespeare/Jesus Christ/The king of the Latter Day Saints.' Wow I bet that didn't get any eyebrow action. Then he says this great line 'Motherfuckers hate to like you!' That sums up incredibly well the conflicted feelings a lot of people would have about a character like Eminem.*

Bink is back on the beat for the final track Blueprint (Momma Loves Me). Al Green's 1973 Free At Last is the sample source here but it may have come via Mary J Blige's tune No One Else anyway it's one of the more modern beats on this record. It does have this great old school organ though. Anyway this is a really low key way to bring proceedings to a close. This is a melancholy tune where Z tells us the story of his upbringing with no dad in The Projects. I always have a chuckle, though, at the line 'Hootie babysitted/Changed my diapers.' I always think of Hootie and the Blowfish. Was it that dude changing your nappy Jay? I mean there can't be too many Hootie's around, can there? Bonus tracks who need em? Not me. I would never have have dreamt I could write something positive about this guy 17 years ago let alone give one of his albums near classic status.

Thanks, but near classic, you must be fucking joking. It's like
one of the best records ever made Tim, period!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lil Wayne - Dedication 2


I know fuck all about Lil Wayne and have never heard a proper album from him. After that Gangsta Grillz produced mixtape/album Luca Brasi 2 by Kevin Gates I thought it would be good to go down past paths with both Wayne and DJ Drama and his Affiliates. What I did know about Lil Wayne was that he was a really popular and critically acclaimed rap artist in my rap black spot era. I know he had a series of LPs called Carter Volumes I - IV I think, V on its way? Since returning to the rap tabernacle, I've downloaded a few of his tapes to see what all the fuss is/was about. I have since found out he along with 50 Cent (don't know him either) were instrumental in the post-millennial era in making the whole free mixtape/mp3 thing such quality. At the time of his proper album releases Lil Wayne used to say forget about the album, the good stuff is on the mixtapes. That makes him a bit like the rap Martin Scorsese, you know, do a commercial film to finance your next uncompromising film. I just learnt that Lil Wayne has surpassed Elvis in the US charts with the most entries at 109. That's quite remarkable on his part and even more remarkable on my part for probably first hearing him on about his 106th entry YG's My Nigga. He was on that wasn't he? Wayne is one of the most lovable critters in the rap game. Hearing that he's semi- retired because he wants to spend more time on his skateboard only endears him to me even more.

So this is the first in my series of Hip Hop I Ignored to feature a semi-legit recording but the mixtape scene is such an important part of the rap world (ever since the beginning hip hop street parties). Perhaps even more so these days, as a way to break artists before you can get the public to pay for their music. This year one of my favorite rappers Houston's Beatking released his first non free recording. I've probably got like 9 or 10 free downloaded mixtapes of his but now is the only time I've had to fork out the cash for one. If it weren't for those tapes I might not have even been aware of him or checked him out, anyway I'm off track because Weezy (a Lil Wayne alias) was always a star and began doing the tapes after fame.

So here we have Dedication 2 from 2006 that many say is his best mixtape. A handful of others were in contention like No Ceilings, Da Drought 3 and The Suffix. He was only 23 at the time of this tape but was already a hip-hop veteran as he was signed to Cash Money Records at age 9. He makes many a reference to being Cash Money's bread and butter. Funnily enough he's now suing Birdman (Cash Money head honcho) for 8 million dollars. Why do I always choose the long ones? I mean this is way too long, 78 minutes motherfucker. I maintain 40 minutes is the perfect amount of minutes for an album and these long ones are usually bursting with filler. Just give us your gold because time is precious and what your dog engineered at 4 am on Tuesday doesn't need to be heard. Not having ever heard anything by Lil Wayne previously makes this a strange proposition to review. His style here is very casual. Is that his normal style or is he more relaxed on these mixtapes? Quite often in the mixtape game the DJs are lame and repetitive and don't really add much to proceedings, I mean apart from the beats. Actually they usually detract from said proceedings (see my Rich Gang review) and they do a little of that on this tape. Sometimes you just want them to shut the fuck up but hey I guess they're the ones financing these tapes. Are they? I don't know how it all works.

It all starts with a DJ scratch and Weezy saying he's doing it for the love not the money. He's just being Lil Weezy. Get Em's next and his flow is just the coolest thing you ever heard since, I dunno, Q-Tip. This one's all about puttin out cockroaches in ashtrays, guns, clips, Ferraris and being a god. He says he's on fire give him something else on They Still like Me. 'The niggas tryin hate me/bitches tryin to have me.' Best rapper alive is just that Weezy realising he's the best rapper alive but he doesn't think he's better than anyone personally or better than anybody 'in any way or form or fashion' As far as this rap thing goes though he is better than everybody. Maybe he was back in 2006. It's refreshing to hear someone really funny. Cannon's all guns and money. Choice lyric "I'll Helen Keller you niggers". Then of course he's bragging about his big dick comparing it to, well, a cannon. Workin Em's about being superfly, pimpin them hoes and gettin from A to B in comfort and style. Sportscenter has like a tennis ball and a groaning tennis player as a beat. He's servin trap like Stephie Graf, havin a Benjamin bath, he's from New Orleans and he's got some guns. Welcome To The Concrete Jungle has a killer beat. Spitter's got blood everywhere, bling, money, more bling and "this is New Orleans bitch murder dope fiend shit!" South Muzik is dedicated to all those who died in Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. "After the after party is the basket party" one can only imagine what that's like. At one stage he raps "My interior tie dye" like that's a good thing. This What I Call Her is one of those rap tunes where they pretty much rip off an entire old soul tune wholesale. Here it works great. The tune's 1979's One Night Affair by The Stylistics via Lovin It by Little brother. This is a sex jam with talk of sex in stairwells, sex revolutions, he goes down like the stock exchange and drinks it up, slips in her inkwell and leaves her soaking wet from the ankles up. Dedication 2's title track has a sample of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang. They're "Ridin The Streets his pop died in" (whether or not he died in Katrina is unclear) with an AK in the backseat. At one stage he says 'God damn the hurricane!' Then there's kind of a halfway interlude where Weezy talks about retiring and wanting to be known for something else apart from being a rapper when he dies. Well he's pretty well known as a wasted skateboarder who doesn't give a fuck about anything. I don't think that's what he means though. Perhaps he would like to be known for something more noble than that, I dunno, a millionaire wasted skateboarder sounds pretty cool to me.

Poppin Them Bottles has Weezy on perfect flow again. He mentions purp but that can either mean lean or a high grade pot. Whichever way you look at it it's a tune dedicated to getting wasted with pistols. Then he comes out with a classic lyric "If it's that time of the month baby, girl, I need some skull." Wow. The backing track's got a sweet Blaxploiatation sample from Willie Hutch via Triple Six Mafia's Poppin My Collar. What U Kno's sees Lil Wayne back being a New Orleans gangsta after the storm and it cost him about 3 million to rebuild his home. He's back in his defence, back in his zone. Then he pays tribute to 90s Memphis devil shyt in his rap "I eat rappers and go in my yard and bury their bones!" Where Da Cash At is all about paper and pussy. Little Wayne's rapping is so cool on this one. Weezy's got a bitch in the back, a hoe in the front. He got 'purp in the dutch and purp in the cup.' Ridin With The AK features Curren$y and Mack Maine. They're ridin through The Crescent City with a gun in the trunk with 'a barrel big enough to spend a hundred midgets.' Followed by references to being the chosen one, murdering for fun and being Birdman's son. Then Wayne in a short interlude laments the dead of the New Orleans flood. Walk It Off has Weezy claiming he's a good looking rapper and he 'ain't lying'. Then he states that he's 'tougher than leather, smoother than suede, always never broke because he always get paid.' He progresses to getting his dick sucked, ridden and bounced on. Apparently his dick is so big that his bitch can wrap it around her waist like a belt. Gee these rappers have got big dicks haven't they? Hustlin's got a great rhyme 'How about that exhaust and my Funky Cold Medina, I make that hoe tiptoe like a ballerina' I can't work out if he's singing about his Maserati or a woman. Then he does a funny clunky line referring to his lady as 'Miss without Drawers' and then refers to himself at the bank as 'Mr Withdraws'. Gettin Some Head is pretty self explanatory with a feature from Pharrell that really doesn't cut it. Some of Lil Wayne's best lyrics are here though. 'I'm a fly ass nigga take a look at me bitch!' Then possibly the best line on the tape 'So she slobbed on my knob like a corn on the cob.' No Other is Wayne's most aggressive rap on the tape. It's all done over Jay Z's Intro from The Dynasty. I have a vague recollection of a bit of a feud between the two or at least a healthy rivalry. It's now 2015 and The South is on top in the rap world, followed by California and Chicago with barely a peep out of New York these days. Strange really because hip hop culture emanated from the mean streets of NY back in the day.

Georgia... Bush & Weezy's Ambitionz is seen by many as the centrepiece of this tape. It's a big fuck you to George Bush and his administration and they're handling of Hurricane Katrina ('shoulda called it Bush') before during and after. Lil Wayne's friends died in the flood. The survivors didn't know what to do they were just trying to eat. Cops shot people in the street. I mean we all know what happened and the systematic racism involved. It's all set to Field Mob's beat which contains a sample of Ray Charles Georgia. Then the second part is Weezy masterfully flowing freestylee ('and with no pen I'm sorta like a bomb. Boom!') over a totally different beat. He's back to bragging about money, diamonds, purple weed, purple drink and how he's the best rapper in the game.

Yeah he is a fuckin cool rapper and this is good shit but the beats aren't always that great. Hey this is an off the cuff thing though, it's meant to be rough and not all commercial dance floor hits. I suppose that leaves you with more time to concentrate on the lyrics. It's not like now where all the beats are usually incredible on the current great rappers mixtapes that are more like albums, with many not featuring screaming DJs at all. Hey I might check out Lil Wayne's legitimate records now. Some of those Carter ones I think.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

UK Garridge 101 - Part 3

Here it is then one of the two Steve Gurley remixes of Lenny Fontana's Spirit Of The Sun previously mentioned in the post UK Garridge 101 Part 2 in a discussion with Simon Reynolds. We believe this to be the Full Vocal Mix by Gurley. Feel free to correct me if Simon is wrong. The Ballistic Beatz Dub version remains unfound and unheard by me. It's a mystery. Where is it?

I've found The Ballistic Beatz Dub in a mix from DJ Cemtex called rather creatively Past Garage Vol. 1. 

It's A London Thing from Scott Garcia & MC Styles, another 97 speed garage classic! I only discovered this last year too. At some stage last year I had an epiphany about Speed Garage which I just didn't dig at the time after being a jungle fiend. I thought it was backwards disco pop shite. I didn't pick up on *"the encoded traces of hardcore and rave" ie. the way jungle skills were transposed onto vocals and other bits of 2-Step. The rhythms weren't as fucked up but traces of the deranged remained intact in more subtle ways and in other areas of the tunes. It was those recent Deep-Tech trax that made me reassess the garridge genre. Now I can't believe how many great tunes there are which is exciting as I'm discovering good stuff all the time. Sadly I don't see this happening with Grime. Hey I quite liked Boy In Da Corner though and I have been known to change my mind. I had this great homemade speed garage mix I made but my computer died (think I lost all files). Trying to piece it back together. Don't trust zipcloud, bunch of arseholes!

Uh huh! This is the version I know. Fabulous. It's even got guitar samples in it! Are they the same people as the Stamp Crew who also have a version on youtube? Maybe they just changed their name. Who knows? This garridge/2-Step thing is confusing at times. So many versions of one track, different names, white labels etc. This one is true gold though.

Back to hardcore now. Speaking of unfound tunes I cannot find the version of D'Cruz's Bass Go Boom remixed by DJ SS & E.Q. on youtube. Several uploads of the remix seem to have been taken down. The Bass Go Boom remix was on last year's Suburban Base compilation and it's an absolute killer, one of the best jungle tunes ever made according to these ears. It was another tune I had not consciously heard before, previous to buying that compilation but I believe I would have remembered it as the time-stretched out of control drums and distorted bass are unfuckingbelievable. Anyway we're stuck with the original here which is good but not a patch on the DJ SS & E.Q. remix. Hey do yourself a favour it'll be the best $1.69 you ever spent on i-tunes. I think I'm gonna spend a dollar sixty nine on the other remix. Imagine if it's better than the DJ SS & E.Q. one?!

*Almost forgot this footnote. A quote from Simon Reynolds in a piece on his Energy Flash blog.