quinta-feira, dezembro 27, 2007

The return of Italo disco

Somebody had a complaint about the bitrates and right they were. Here are a couple of the tracks in a better version or a different version altogether. For instance this version of Leon Haywood’s Something Freaky is a shorter vocal version from a CD. The Cerrone remix is the clubmix from a CD instead of the radio edit. I've also added a couple of new tracks. Enjoy!

Cerrone – Je Suis Music (Armand Van Helden clubmix 2005) *
Cerrone feat. Jocelyn Brown + Toto - You Are The One *
Kebekelektrik – War Dance *
Brainstorm – Loving Is Really My Game (1977) *
Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It *
Space – Magic Fly 1977 *
Kat Mandu – The Break (1979) *
Gino Soccio – Remember *
Gino Soccio – Try It Out (extended horn solo) *
Leon Haywood – I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You *

Leon Haywood – Strokin’ Parts 1 & 2
Kano – Holly Dolly
Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
Italo Space disco 2

I have to get this out of my system so here's some more rare italo disco stuff. they're still at a low bitrate because I can't find the right knobs yet.

Talking ‘bout Gino Soccio. Here are two of my favourite Soccio tracks. I already posted another one here. Even though I have quite some Soccio productions, I must admit that I don’t know much about the guy. Except that he’s from Canada. Just like the Erotic Drum Band and Kebekelektrik. You might have guessed it. I bought me a disco sampler from Canada.

Gino Soccio – Remember
Gino Soccio – Try It Out (12 inch)
Erotic Drum Band – Pop Pop Shoo Wah (long version 1979)

Next Costandinos. He’s a French producer who worked with on Cerrone's first album and wrote songs for him. Later on he produced Claude François and Dalida but he also made records under his own name like The Synchophonic Orchestra Featuring Alirol and Jacquet. It’s not as good as I thought it would be but Synergy is still a great track.

Alec R Costandinos – Synergy (1979)

This one reminds me of the main theme from The love Boat. Paul Cacia is a trumpet player and bandleader who played in the band of Stan Kenton for while, hence the symphonic allures of this track.

Paul Cacia Band – Saved By Your Love (1978)

The break is a total disco classic! This one fits right in, in any DJ set. The rhythm makes is highly mixable. More disco with Brainstorm’s luvgame. A favourite of mine. The others were totally unknown to me but they’re pretty ok.

Kat Mandu – The Break (1979)
Brainstorm – Loving Is Really My Game (1977)
Extensions from Area Code (212) – Manhattan Shuffle (1979)
Firefly – Love Is Gonna Be On Your Side (1980)
Koffie – And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going (Long Version 1983)
Jo Boyer – Isabelle And The Rain (1978)

And to finish, again more rare italo disco. No comment needed.

Amnésie – Turas (1983)
The Immortals – Warlord (Part II – B side) (1979)
Sissy – Queen Of Discoteque (1984)
Talko – Psyko Flash (1983)
Trilogy – Not Love

quarta-feira, dezembro 26, 2007

Italo Space disco

I can’t help myself. I like Space and Italo Disco. I recently bought me some vinyl with rare club classics as a kind of late X-mas gift. These club tracks are really awesome and so rare. I found a cheap way to rip vinyl but it's still at a low bitrate. I simply have to share them. Nevertheless it still sounds great.

To begin with, for starters a couple of tracks by Cerrone. These aren’t that rare but Je Suis Music and You Are The One are among my most favourite dance tracks. I just found out that Armand Van Helden made a remix of it a couple of years ago and it's simply brilliant.

You Are the One is a great disco song, featuring as ever a fantastic Jocelyn Brown on vocals. What is special about this song is the fact that the band Toto performes on it. Love In C Minor is his 1977 debut.

Cerrone – Love In C Minor
Cerrone – Take Me
Cerrone feat. Jocelyn Brown + Toto - You Are The One
Cerrone – Je Suis Music (Armand Van Helden remix 2005)

Next we’re off to outer space with a band which is simply called… Space. Magic Fly by the French band Space is one of those few early synthpop songs that turned into a true icon of electronic dance music. Others are Popcorn, Autobahn, Moskow Disko,…
Space were fronted by Didier Marouani who penned Magic Fly way back in 1977, just one year after the huge success of Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene.
Together with Ze Germans, the French were at the forefront of electronic dance music.

The strong cultural relations between all the countries with native French speakers resulted in a wave of electro bands in places like Belgium and Quebec. That’s how a year later, the band Kebekelektrik came up with a cover of Magic Fly. Tom Moulton made a mix of it, Pat Deserio produced it and the man behind all of this was nobody less than Gino Soccio, the great, late disco producer.

I don't know which one of the two is the best version. I like them both.

Space – Magic Fly 1977
Space – Tango In Space
Kebekelektrik – Magic Fly (Tom Moulton mix) (12 inch 1978)
Kebekelektrik – War Dance

More favourites and pleasant discoveries. I found another lost track. Nights Of Arabia was on my list of records that I simply had to have before I die or got to old to step onto a dancefloor. Task accomplished.

Miro Miroe’s Night Of Arabia is true classic but o so rare. I found a copy but it's not an original one. Doesn’t matter, as long as I can listen to the music, I’m happy! And it wasn’t that expensive either.
ET is the other one I was looking for. I didn’t like the movie as a kid but there was a song back then that was catchy as hell. This is the one. The others are classics as well, apparently, but I didn’t know them yet.

Miro Miroe – Nights Of Arabia (12 inch 1982)
Donna Rhodes - Extra Terrestrial (ET) (1982)

Cat Gang – Locomotive Breath
Check Up Twins – Sexy Teacher (1985)
Digital Mind – Countdown (1985)

Next something from Giorgio Moroder and music that is Moroder related but with less electronics. Trax were Pete Bellotte (who worked with Giorgio Moroder) and Keith Forsey. This track is from the 1978 album Dancing In The Street. Not all the tracks are great, a bit of a bummer this one.

Munich Machine – In Love With Love (1978 Giorgio Moroder)
Trax – Crusader (1978)

The next ones should be filed as rare grooves but they’re also funky disco. Except Something Freaky which is one of the best all time favourite slow jams. Together with King Heroine by the JB’s. It’s a funny notion that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg got filthy rich by sampling this gay disco.

Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It
Leon Haywood – I Wanna Do Something Freaky Tonight (instr.)
T-Connection – Let Yourself Go (1977)

And more rare 80's Italo disco.

Stopp – I’m Hungry
Sun La Shan – Catch
The Hills Of Kat Mandu – Tantra
Night Moves - Transdance
Sheila B Devotion – Love me baby (1977)

I like too end this post with some rare live footage of a Belgian new wave band. One of the best in those days. Lavvi Ebbel. A pity that they only lasted very shortly. An ill that many early Belgian bands suffered from, because of acute lack of success.

Lavvi Ebbel – Telepatia (live)

domingo, dezembro 23, 2007

Happy New Ears

Helaba, I’m back! I known, it’s been a while, shame on me. The last time I was hanging around here was 2 weeks ago and before that, things were already going slow but I’ve been really absorbed by all things spelling W.O.R.K.
Time for a change now, the holidays are here so I will probably have some time to spend in lalaland.

I’m not that fond of Christmas spirits, paraphernalia and all but Christmas will be a traditional family matter this time. New year’s eve on the other hand will be among friends abroad. I’m heading off to Dublin for… what? Yes for what, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. A friend invited me to join her while she’s there. None of us knows what’s going on in Dublin around this time of year. We will see but based on the fact that all hotels and B&B’s are fully booked on the 31st of December, we will probably not be the only ones. If any one has some bright ideas, they’re welcome to share them. Now scream ;-)

Sparks - Thank God It’s Not Christmas, yet

Around this time of year all sorts of lists are popping up with people’s favourites of the year. I’m not preparing my own special little top-10 or top whatever but it’s always a good moment to reflect what kind of music has gotten under my skin and more important to check if I haven’t missed out on any really smashing releases this year.
My first finding while going through other people’s lists on the net is how homogeneous or similar they all are. There’s a lot of consensus this year, it seams, on what the best records in terms of popular music should be. I must say, that many of them would also appear in my imaginative list. It’s pretty obvious that Mirrored from Battles is going around town.
There are some differences off course. Some names are totally unfamiliar to me, so they make me hungry to find out what’s it all about, some names are apparently only familiar to your's truly. There are some recent discoveries that I made – working my rocks off doesn’t mean I don’t keep my ears open – which are still fresh in my mind.

One of them is Midori. Midori is a Japanese band with first only a cassette, than a full CD in april and now a new EP with some pretty fancy noise in the best Japanese tradition. It’s jazz with a punkrock attitude or as they call it themselves a 'romantic erotic chaotic sentimental death'. It’s high energy piano, bass and drum playing jazz in combination with a young girl playing guitar while screaming on the top of her lungs.
Midori is definitely a case of love or hate. Some people will hate the way she sings and the constantly shifting rhythms and electric eruptions, others will see the fun of it and like the weird combination and how it all works together apparently.

Midori – First (2005)

Midori – Second (2007)
ドーピング☆ノイズノイズキッス (Doping Noise Noise Kiss)
声を聞きたいのですが、聞こえないのです (Koe o Kikitai no desu ga, Kikoenai desu)
あんたは誰や (Anta wa Dare ya)
都会のにおい。(Tokai no Nioi)

Midori – Shimizu (2007)
愛って悲しいね (ai tte kanashii ne)
エゾジカ・ダンス!(ezo shika dance!!)

Another recent revelation is a bit more popular. The band Yeasayer released a first album, All Hour Cymbals, just a month ago, if I’m not mistaken, and I really like it. Again, it sounds like a weird combination, but it grows on ya. Forgiveness for instance sounds like an electronic remix of The Byrds playing some Afrobeat or highlife. On paper is looks like a no go area but it sounds pretty ok.
At times the hybrid of folkiness and the dynamics of rock reminds me of another band from a while ago called Macha. They made two really great albums in the late nineties with a combination of modern indie rock and Javanese gamelan music and other indigenous sounds.

Yeasayer – Forgiveness
Yeasayer – Sunrise

One artist that came to my attention this year and which has a fine future ahead of her is Janelle Monáe. She’s currently working on a concept album of some sort about Metropolis with a story and a look similar to the famous Fritz Lang movie. She will be releasing EP's in series which is a bit similar to the way Roisin Murphy released her solo debut Ruby Blue.
I first heard her voice on a Outkast track from their last album. She’s no backing vocal material but really somethin’ in her own right. There are some live clips on youtube as proof that she’s ready for more and far better stuff. Definitely a name to remember. I know I will.

Janelle Monáe – Sincerely Jane

Other names are Studio, Planningtorock, Octopus Project, Damian Marley, Centenaire, Clark, Miracle Fortress, Phosphorescent, Anekdoten, Pimps of Joytime, Chico Mann and all the other great offspring from Antibalas, Wombats, many wonderful compilations with new, less new and old stuff … and all the other usual suspects on other lists that made me dance, laugh or cry this year.
I will post more of it later on.

Also coming up is some Raï and music from Khaled who delivered a fantastic concert a week ago, even though he had a bit of a cold. I have to keep my promises, so Pinback is also on it’s way. It seems like work isn’t over yet :)

domingo, dezembro 09, 2007

Falling leafs…

Recently two of my most favourite musicians have past away. Fred Chichin of Les Rita Mitsouko died on the 28th of November from cancer and Karlheinz Stockhausen died on the 5th of December. It’s a strange coincidence that also my all time favourite artist, Frank Zappa,also died around the same period (on the 4th of December in 1993). Maybe it’s the time of the year.

I think some form of tribute would be appropriate. I already posted music from Les Rita Mitsouko so I won’t be doing that right now. Just nice pictures.

Gee, I’m really glad that I had the chance to see them play live again this year, twice even, and in fine shape. Looking back, it now makes sense why Fred Chinchin was rather silent and staying in the back, out of the spotlight, where as I remember him from older days as amore active sidekick for Catherine Ringer.

What Stockhausen is concerned. I’ve noticed that there are quite some blogs paying respect to the old master of electro acoustics but hardly any of them ads music to it.

I always had this notion that people own one or more of his records but that they hardly listen to them. It’s something you had in your collection to be hip and fashionable, like in the sixties when his face was on the famous Sergeant Pepper’s album cover, or because of some sort of historical awareness. He’s a seminal figure in 20th century music and his name is often mentioned, usually in the context of electronic music, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people listen to your music. Today off course his music, or the results of his aesthetics, are everywhere, so why go back to one of the main sources?

For me he’s a true original. I remember a story of a famous Belgian Rock musician who loved Tom Waits. He was mad at Waits when he learned about Captain Beefheart and found out that Waits stole his style from the Captain. Lather on he was mad again but this time at Beefheart when he learned about Howlin’ Wolf and that The Captain stole his style of singing from the Wolf, and so on and on…
I learned about Stockhausen because Frank Zappa talked about him in interviews and his books. Hearing Gesang Der Jünglinge for the first time stuff Like Help I’m a Rock and Son of Monster Magnet, his early experiments with electronics and edits and all those funny voices he uses all the time, started to make sense. I liked all of it instinctively but from that moment on a kind of reference frame was starting to form which is still shaping itself, even today.
One of the sources of Zappa’s music is Stockhausen but when you start looking further back in search of origins you realise that in terms of electro acoustics Stockhausen is the origin. His works with Klank Gruppen (groups or formations of sounds, colors or atmosheres, aural spaces, whatever) wasn't new, Varése did it in the twenties, but he applies his own sounds and ideas of space to it. One of the results is sampling, for instance.
This is what make him influential and important and hey, it still sounds great ;-) some of it is off course pretty challenging stuff. The basics of his musical universe have become widely available and acceptable though o
ver the last decades his music has become more and more metaphysical and fuzzy, applying his own cosmology to it, so I lost some of my initial interest. I’m not really into 29 hours of Licht. I can hardly stand the Ring. The Ring has a story to it and is pretty visual but Licht is rather… light-headed.
Nevertheless, his early compositions stand out as key works of 20th century music. I have some funny comments of Holger Czukay of the famous Krautrock band Can on two of Stockhausen’s well known works.

Gesang der Jünglinge

This piece is one of the most exciting and also astonishing experiences a music eater can have. Stockhausen in his composition course 1963: “if I could explain everything I knew something would be wrong and that’s why I have a deep religious feeling.”
It must have been in the year 1958 when Stockhausen appeared live with his percussionist Christoph Caskel in the heavy metal production city Duisburg. I had heard him several times in the radio and among other “weird sounding composers” (forgive me I was young!) he was somehow sticking out of them all. Now I was sitting in the audience and listened to his fascinating way of telling people what was moving him to become a creative man as he is. Then we heard Gesang der Jünglinge. Some people were laughing. Stockhausen: "I’ve seen people laughing on traffic accidents”. Hmm, silence. A man sitting beside me rose up his hand and said: "Mr. Stockhausen, you are doing this all to shock people and then make out a lot of money with it." That was a typical music teachers' ammunition. But not Karlheinz though: "I can assure you that I have done this all out of musical reasons. Where money is concerned I have married a rich wife, so I don’t need it."
And what remains to be said? More than forty years later this music remains being an outstanding musical jewel though the technical development makes one think this being an old hat. Wrong dear, listening to Gesang der Jünglinge makes modern technique sometimes look old.

Kontakte 1959/1960 (edit)

Kontakte is probably the first 4 channel music production ever. Stockhausen invented a special rotating loudspeaker with a horn, which got picked up with four microphones standing in a circle. Thus the four channels got organically connected and the Dolby Surround System is a logical continuation of this idea.
But how did Stockhausen invent this never heard and imagined rhythm’n’ sound universe? Being students of his, he told us that he first created special rhythm profiles unlike the profiles of a car tire. Speeding them up, these rhythm patterns got converted into sounds (remember the Hammond organ principle or test stripe profiles on the motor way?) and the overtones of those creations “were going out the chimney” as he said. It seems that he was going to redifine what a tone is from its very beginning embedded in floods of emptiness. That might sound a bit far out for you but don’t forget he really created what he called flood sounds. And Stockhausen wouldn’t be Stockhausen if his mighty soul wouldn’t have taken care of it all like a mother of the universe. Forget about all these pattern-level-rhythm-tone-floods or whatever emptinesses and let it leave your chimney. Be surprised how new this music still sounds as if it never grows old.

domingo, dezembro 02, 2007

Devendra Barnhart – Shabop Shalom
Welcome, Hi. Some random picks, just to let you know that a long dispute usually means that both parties are wrong, that in order to catch a mouse you have to make a noise like a cheese and the best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either.’

The Fiery Furnaces – Ex Guru
The Fiery Furnaces – Quay Cur
I saw them for the first time live this Friday, together with Enon. Apparently they’re neighbours who live across the street of each other, somewhere in America.
Great song from the new album and a mini-opera from Blueberry Boat.

Fridge – Clocks
Don Caballero – Peter Crisis Jazz
An old Fridge song + this is where Battles got some of its mustard, mainly because Ian Williams is a member of both. It sounds as if Battles is a more focused version of Don + crazy vocals and an ace tight drummer. It’s Math Rock Jim, but not as we know it.

Lindstrøm – Breakfast In Heaven (diskjokke remix)
Metro Area – Ready My Mind RMM Special Dub - original mix
Thank god, they’re still willing and able! New material from Metro Area and it’s splendid stuff. A novelty this time are the vocals (in the original track not the dub version) but anyone who has heard some of their solo work has heard this kind of vocals before.

Rubies – The Keys (Studio remix)
One of my favourite laidback chillout songs this year and on top of that a remix of it by Studio my favourite band from Sweden.

The Neon Judgement – Tv Treated (Tiga Vox)
LCD Soundsystem – 45:33 Part 1. Shame on You
LCD Soundsystem – 45:33 (Nike promo)
I’ve been listening for weeks now, over and over again, to this promo mix that LCD Soundsystem made for Nike. It’s simply brilliant. I’ve tried it while running and it works ;-) I’m gonna try it back when the weather gets better, in Spring.

The Wombats – Moving To New York
Stephen Malkmus – No More Shoes
Shearwater – A Hush

Burial – Archangel
A new song from that difficult second album, as they say, but I’ve listened to it twice and it’s already one of my favourites this year.

Jerboa – What If
Just Jack – No Time
Just Jack – Writer’s Block
I’ve got that debut album from Just Jack a couple of months now, but I only started to listen to it recently. Some of the songs are nice but when he starts to rap it always sounds a bit like Robin Williams, which is not exactly the world’s greatest rapper. You know, it’s an art form, Rap, but when he sings is all ok, it’s simply great.

Asa – Fire On The Mountain
A young girl from Nigeria with a songtitle that sounds like a C&W traditional but I haven’t checked the lyrics yet to see whether it’s a free adaptation of that traditional or an original song.

Blue feat Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered
George Mcrae – I Get Lifted (Todd Terje edit)
Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons – Beggin’ (Pilooski edit)

Les Parisiennes – Je Te Deteste
Vraiment, je m’excuse, mais tu m’a compris.

Pauline Croze – Jeunesse Affamée - Les Ptites Qui Piaffent
Tait toi et soi Bel…

We still don’t have a government after more than 5 months but life goes on. I have some old and some new Bel classics for ya. The first one is an old disco track from the one-hit-wonders of Two Man Sound. I just recently came across it again and it definitely should be part of the list on my bongo page. It’s still great after al those years.

Two Man Sound – Que Tal America 1978

Some other oldies are Telex related. Dan Lacksman had a project in the seventies called Transvoltamaybe a reference to the young Travolta, who knows – and released under that name the rare but classic Disco Computer and its b-side You Are Disco. I recently bought some other Telex related stuff, Z-Moor-Z’s Héros Dynamique but it’s on vinyl so I still have to transform it into digital content.

Transvolta – Disco Computer 1978
Transvolta – You are Disco 1978

Telex’ Marc Moulin and Dan Lacksman did not only make records of their own but also produced other artists. They worked on the first hit albums of Lio but in 1982 she worked together with Sparks for her album Suite Sixtine. This album features the wonderful Sage Comme Une Image. I read on Asrestlessasweare that the long version of the song was produced by Telex though, instead of Sparks, but I can’t verify that.

Lio – Sage Comme Une Image 1982
Lio – Sage Comme Une Image (version longue) 1982

Next some Electric Body Music from Front 242 and The Neon Judgement. There’s also something more obscure. A track from Parade Ground which is a band from Brussels and strongly related to Front 242.

The Neon Judgement – The Fashion Party 1981/1984
The Neon Judgement – Tomorrow In The Papers 1985
Front 242 – Body To Body (1988 mix)
Parade Ground – Strange World 1987

To finish some very recent tracks that have become classics already. Two tracks from the debut album of Goose.

Goose – British Mode 2006
Goose – Bring It On 2006

The other one is the title track from Jerboa’s debut album. The single Number One can be filed as an instant classic but I don’t know if this one will go the same way. It’s definitely worth listening. It’s a long piece of music that sounds like a multistage rocket. There are soft parts and some hard rocking parts which sound like the phase where the rocket separates from a stage and relaunches into orbit. Something like that.

Jerboa – Rockit Fuel 2007