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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LP: Edamame / Anywhere People

Chicago's Ed Harris draws inspiration from the earth and good hip-hop. As Edamame he makes the chillest of beats, and has released a series of excellent EPs culminating with last year's excellent full length Coalesce Colors. Anywhere People does not disappoint. Songs like "Filling A Bird Feeder" sound exactly like the title, and the good vibrations of mother earth dominate throughout. The music  is visual and evocative; the title and sound of "Little Cities" evokes urban islands surrounded by jungle, "Forbidden Fruit", a misty Balinese brothel. The menacing dub of "Gold" and "Sightseer" darken the atmosphere slightly and the title track ends the set on a blissful note, making listening to the set  as a whole rewarding.

It's free. The zip contains some cool bonus tracks with Big Jackson too. 

Check out the older stuff too on his Bandcamp. Show some love on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


MADDEN's  BLOODLETTER is a set  post-witch house darkwave trap music that has grown on  me since it was released in December. The four well differentiated tracks are wicked and witchy without being ugly.  The inventive beats and entrancing rhythms and textures demonstrate the overlap of dreamwave and witch house and will please fans of both genres.  Three excellent remixes by Party Trash, Burial Hex and M¥rrĦ Ka Ba round out the set, which is a free download from the ever-interesting and vital AURAL SECTS. Jump to their Bandcamp to download.
The beautiful cover art is by Vo5uru.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Artist: 3 Chill-As-Fuk Tracks by EPICURE

I love finding gems in my inbox.  Epicure is eighteen year old producer Samuel Peters of Kalamazoo Michigan. He sent three tracks and to my delight, they are all pretty wonderful. "Astrogation"  is a collaboration with  Cosmonostro  label-mates PhoenixandtheFlowerGirl. The impressive neo-R&B-styled vocals are original to the track, a silky smooth post-dubstep with an interesting coda.  "Queen Bee", also a Cosmonostro release,  combines a dreamy hip-hop track with jazzy saxophone driven fills and some chopped-in  Biggie vocals to blissful effect. "Forgotten Image" is another R&B-flavored junt, featuring the washed-in-echo (love that) vocals of  UK singer  Sanna Hartfield, via  Brickwood Records.

Jump the tracks' Soundcloud link for download info.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Album: 회사AUTO The Lovers Pure

회사AUTO  The Lovers Pure 


Nirosta Steel "Foxy Pup": Produced and Mixed by Arthur Russell (1985-2013)

The following was copied from the Hollie Records Website.

Produced & mixed by Arthur Russell (he also plays on them) and engineered by Bob Blank in 1985, these three songs were found in Arthur’s archive, and digitally transferred by Audika Records. They were made for Steven Hall solo project for Rough Trade but never released.

Here is the story of these lost tracks by Bob Blank

“After I moved my production and engineering work from my recently sold Blank Tapes to my old farmhouse in Stamford, Connecticut, some of my first guests were Arthur Russell and Steven Hall, who continued their musical journey by bringing their music to my converted home.

"It was strange to see these denizens of the city in my bucolic setting – the music always had a folkie, country feel to it, but was always edged with the city feelings. I picked them up and dropped them off at the small train station about a mile from the house, and recorded onto either my old Studer A80 24 track analog machine or later into the then state of the art Alesis digital machines. The studios all had windows in them, overlooking the nearby woods and wetlands.

"Arthur was, as usual, the ringleader who set the mood, always either encouraging or playing. Steven got into ‘the zone’ with sometimes closed eyes and a gentle way with the music; Arthur was the collector of takes and many times after the sessions with Steven I would hear the music go through many permutations as Arthur added ideas and what are now called ‘beats’ to the song fragments and parts laid down. Never satisfied, Arthur would continually run a DAT tape as he worked, capturing hours of attempts to mold the music. Steven was a muse sometimes for Arthur as well, as Steven gave substance to the energy that Arthur put into the music.

"Steven came with fully formed musical ideas and songs, and easily performed them in the glassed in booth. Mellow but focused, the music came out in whole pieces.

"My role was always to make the flow happen, with the technology, and the place was dominated by the custom built console I had built from Yamaha digital mixers and monitoring from UREI 813 speakers I had sitting on stands in the attic of my old home. As an engineer, you try to fade into the background and let the musical events take the forefront, but I was always able to add my ideas and feelings to the day, as my sounds, mixes, and comments shaped how everyone heard what they were creating. Arthur and Steven always welcomed my input, even tho from time to time it was tinged with attitude, and I would be satisfied with the result while Arthur would push past that and ask for more. Ultimately Steven and Arthur’s vision would prevail of course and there were many magic moments.”

The 12" pressing was limited to 300 copies and they are long gone.

Album: GHASTLY Group Hugs

Ghastly  Group Hugs is an excellent but imperfect album. The first and third track are totally blown-out, which I assume to be experimentation, but still contain interesting passages and textures. But  on its' best cuts like "My Myspace Status",  "Luvvoc" and "Drowning" the blown-out noise combines with strong  melodies and inventive post-dubstep rhythms to create something like what might happen if Fennesz collaborated with  Burial; absolutely vital and beautiful.

Tracks: Nirosta Steel "Love Is Back" and "HOUND DOG"

My obsession with Arthur Russell led me to Arthur's Landing and guitarist Steven Hall's solo project Nirosta Steel. Some of Arthur's magic seems to have rubbed off on Steven and his unclassifiable and non-conformist recordings. This material doesn't sit comfortably in any genre, or more accurately it spans many genres, as did Arthur Russell's. Here are two tracks that delight me; the shoe-gazey Echo Island remix of "Love Is Back" and the dubbed-out, totally trippy "HOUND DOG - C+W Mix". Both of these are slow-burners that evolve as the tracks develop, and you are not going to 'get it' from hearing the first minute---LET IT PLAY THROUGH.

I highly recommend following both Nirosta Steel and Arthur's Landing on Soundcloud; Hall is a prolific artist who is posting a lot of interesting tracks and remixes.

Nirosta Steel - HOUND DOG - C+W Mix

Nirosta Steel - Love Is Back (Arthur Russell) Steve Legget Echo Island Mix

Sunday, February 2, 2014

From Philly Soul To SalSoul: The Heart of Disco (Part 2)

It's interesting that the proto-disco was not the product of some artsy avant-garde, but rather of a craftsman-like approach to commercial music. These were not only composers, songwriters and musicians, they were very shrewd businessmen.   The production mill approach to pop music had fallen out of favor in the rock world, but basically, Gamble and Huff can also be seen as carrying on the ambitious orchestral pop approach of Pet Sounds/SMiLE era  Brian Wilson, or Phil Spector.

MFSB, the band,  and the Philly sound nexus or producers and recording professionals, constitute the artistic community that created the original disco. Seen in this light, MFSB is one of the most important groups in the history of American pop music. Largely unheralded outside the dance music community, MFSB deserves a place on Mt Olympus or wherever the gods of music abide.
                                                                   Gamble and Huff
Philly soul is cooler and smoother than disco.  Little more than a faster tempo and a change of venue was needed to tweak cool Philly soul  into hot New York disco. Due to arguments about money, the core of MFSB including bassist Ronnie Baker, guitarist Norman Harris and drummer Earl Young left Gamble and Huff. They were recruited by New York-based  SalSoul Records where they formed the core of what would become the SalSoul Orchestra --- the successors of the MFSB magic and the house band for the label.  The transition from Philadelphia to New York marks the true beginning of disco, and the separation of Philly Soul and disco into distinct but overlapping genres.

This 1973 song written and produced by Gamble and Huff couples the disco sound with a really great song.

1975, by McFadden and Whitehead, produced by Gamble and Huff. 

Also  from 1975, and not really disco but pure soul, this McFadden and Whitehead song hit the emotional keynote of  the later garage/house music.  

This 1975 track written and produced by Gamble and Huff was a kind of peak for the Philly sound.

Another Gamble and Huff 1975 classic.

(to be the full-on SalSoul disco sound)

In Search of The Heart of Disco: Philadelphia Soul

The Soul of Disco

I have been on a  quest  to find the elusive inner heart of disco. The disco we've all heard on the radio, made by the big names---Abba and Bee Gees and The Village People, was only the outer shell, mimicking the creative source. What I sought was the main nerve--the tap root, of disco, the purest, most original source-disco; the 5% that inspired the other 95%.

The roots of disco were not hard to find. Although there were contemporaneous developments toward disco in Los Angeles and Miami, the unmistakable pure disco sound originated, appropriately enough,  in Philadelphia.

Disco was a  refinement of Philly Soul, or the 'Philly Sound', referring to a style of soul music developed by a loose aggregation of performers, songwriters, producers, arrangers and conductors. Yes, arrangers and conductors, for this music was performed by a group of musicians that were nothing less than an orchestra.  This mini-orchestra, known as MFSB, for Mother Father Sister Brother, or internally as Mother Fucking Sons of Bitches, referring to their musical prowess,  became the house band for  the Philly sound.

Artists such as The O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes and MFSB, producers such as Thom Bell, Kenneth Gamble and Leon A. Huff (Gamble and Huff), and Gene McFadden and John Whitehead (McFadden and Whitehead) were the leading exponents of the style.

Good representative examples of the pre-disco Philly sound are this 1972 song by The Spinners, written and produced Thom Bell, played by MFSB, ...

and this, another Spinners Thom Bell production, again with MFSB.

From 1972, The O'Jays "Love Train" is sometimes cited as the first disco record. Written and produced by Gamble and Huff, played by MFSB, the song contains some of the hippie-dippie positivity that was in the air in the early 70s.

More 1972 O'Jays, this time a McFadden and Whitehead penned song produced by Gamble and Huff, played by MFSB.

The first recording to fully define the disco sound was the 1973 recording by MFSB "Love Is The Message", a Gamble and Huff song and production. The "steady , uniformly accented beat in 4/4 time in which the bass drum is hit on every beat (1, 2, 3, 4) in common time (four-on-the-floor), an eighth note (quaver) or 16th note (semi-quaver) hi-hat pattern with an open hi-hat on the off-beat, and a prominent, syncopated electric bass line sometimes consisting of octaves," --- this simple beat is the signature disco sound. You can hear it at 1:45 in "Love Is The Message" and in all succeeding true-disco. 

The follow-up to "Love Is The Message" was a number one hit. Many remember this as the theme to Soul Train. 

(to be continued... the HTML gets really unstable with more than 2 or 3 embedded videos for some fucking reason.)