Monday, June 21, 2010

Playlist Abstract Index June 17/10

Looking through my Facebook group page, I noticed that my last several weeks' worth of blog post images have been black and white. Some have a hint of colour, but dammit it's summertime and it's time for the red gold and green.

Nick Manasseh has been one of my favourite UK producers for many years, but I didn't realize just how far back his career stretched until I heard this album.

Setting up a sound system in the mid 80s, by decade's end he'd started producing custom dubplates, and also music for a commercial audience. Teaming up with Scruff (not Mr. Scruff) they called themselves Sound Iration In Dub.

The irating sound in question takes off from where Augustus Pablo left us with his digital-era Rockers Come East album from 1987. Manasseh's melodica soars over rhythms which strike a perfect balance between urgent and relaxed. Many point to this album as the first example of UK Steppers, characterized by the DIY, drum machine driven sonic choices. One can see where this sound in the early 90s would get both harder, especially when married to breakbeats, which led to jungle, and weirder, as their label mates The Orb would pick up on the trancier elements of this kind of dub. However, this sound has never really gone out of style: being home studio dub, it's basically the prototype for the laptop aesthetics of dub, that is, something that doesn't need a live room bigger than a closet. It's timeless in its own way, playing well with reggae from all eras; you can spin Sound Iration In Dub in a nostalgic 70s and 80s set, or in a contemporary mix.

Rejoice in this encore edition of a classic slice of UK sound system history!


noche de estrellas - dj dus (no label)
gruppenweise - root 70/rashad becker (nonplace)
new style (scruff dub) - sound iration (year zero)
rebel dub - citizen dub feat prince blanco & ammoye (vx)
errare humanem est - seu jorge (now again)
turtle eyes and fierce rabbit - torngat (alien 8)
thrills - matana roberts (central control)
jazz is the teacher funk is the preacher - james blood ulmer (strut)
undressing - ronald shannon jackson & the decoding society (antilles)
la botellita - grupo palma africana (soundway)
beteando - los beta 5 (vampisoul)
mambo no. 8 - los socios del ritmo (emi)

DJ Marcus Boon

Un Niño Que Llora en los Montes de María - Petrona Martinez (ZZK)
Do_the_Astral_Plane - Flying Lotus (Warp)
Yes [Bongo Disco Mix] - Mgo (remix) (Outhere)
Show Dem (feat. HHP) – JR (Electromode)
Hungry For The Power - Azari & III (I’m a Cliché)
Footcrab (James Braun Edit) - Addison Groove (Swamp81)
Zuata Zuata – Puto Prata (Akwaaba)
En La Nalga (On The Ass) feat. Jordy - Ronny Santana (DL)
Duro Duro - María y José (Cocobass)
Maldito Fiesbu (Dj Fantasy Original Mix) – Rita Indiana y Los Misterios (DL)
You Don't Wash (Dub)- Kode9 (DJ Kicks)
Webaba (Black Coffee & Culoe De Song Remix) - Culoe De Song feat. Busi Mhlongo (Electric Melt)
Distant Planet – Mr. Fingers (Blackmarket)

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playlist Abstract Index June 10/10

I don't know if it was good or bad timing that I played this last week - RIP Mr. Dixon.

I want to say that I loved his work unconditionally, but that just isn't true. His tone, phrasing and way around long-form ideas were all his own, a combination of the most delicate breathiness and sudden squalls of discomfort. However, his approach to digital delay - which he used constantly in the two instances in which I saw him - was maddeningly static. He had a tendency to crank up the echo to about a half to 3/4 second delay and stay locked in that setting, regardless of tempo or feeling generated by his fellow musicians. This was effective enough with the barest sounds from his trumpet, but not so much at louder volumes where his inflexible approach quickly became boring.

That's not an issue on this record. Dixon had recorded very infrequently until the last decade, and the two Vade Mecum sets were his only recordings of the 90s. His improvising is tremendous throughout, both lyrical and percussive, with a smoky, atmospheric tone that was all his own. Aided by the titanic double double bass of Barry Guy and William Parker and Tony Oxley, who in many ways is his equivalent as a drummer, this album has a gravity and sense of occasion that tears down musical prejudices. Dixon dances over and comments on the bottom end heft with much grace. I've played this disc for many people, who invariably get sucked in by the intimate, universally understood communication between the players.

Thanks to Aum Fidelity and Thrill Jockey, Dixon was better represented on record in the past few years than ever before, and he was a beloved teacher of his craft. Like his trumpet playing, warm tributes to the man are sure to unfold slowly but steadily over a long period of time.


tornados vs. dynamos 3-3 - real sounds (rough guide)
fly me home - the hockers (unknown)
tetero - grupo palma africanan (soundway)
lamento de un galax - do re mi 245 (vampisoul)
amy - bassekou kouyate (sub pop)
for toumani - roswell rudd malicool (no label)
everybody loves the sunshine - seu jorge (now again)
ganja smuggling - eek a mouse (greensleeves)
fever - junior byles (trojan)
time stiff - junior murvin (17 north parade)
men mwen - mr. ok (masalacism)
quivering with speed - matthew shipp (thirsty ear)
zig zag - colin fisher (ncra)
octette #1 - bill dixon (soul note)
warm - echospace (modern love)
regressor - demdike stare (modern love)
nobrow - bjorn svin (rump)
uncomfortable combination - professor fingers (otnorot)
cherry moon - lorn (alpha pup)
cmyk - james blake (r & s)
take your fingers - michael fakesch (k7)
isolex - loom (mille plateaux)
special baby - lack of afro (freestyle)
stmlignemauve - kenlo craqunuques (no label)

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Huelepega Comes To MAMA

This Saturday night, Huelepega Sound System is the featured guest of the monthly MAMA party at Teranga.

This MAMA likes to shake it to "Kuduro! Naija! Doooombia! Ghettotech! Dancehall! Ethiofunk! Reggaeton! Folkstep! Soca! Kwaito and SA House! Raptor House!" (love the last one; let's root for the home team)

But you can get a sneak peek by listening to the Abstract Index tomorrow night at 11. DJ Marcus Boon will be stopping by to talk about the night, and his musical interests. He'll also play an extended set. Tune in and turn on!

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Abstract Index Playlist - June 3/10

As the days get nicer, thoughts most definitely do not turn to blogging for this average Canadian... This compilation's a couple of months old, but when you're talking about tracks that have been gathering dust for thirty-odd years, a couple of months is no big deal.

This is another entry in British label Jazzman's Sufjan Stevans-ish Funk series: Texas Funk, Florida Funk, etc. Apparently it's been in the works for several years; it certainly sounds as though a great deal of attention was paid to sequencing, mastering, and ultimately, selection. Unlike the midwestern funk comps that Jazzman has put out, this one sounds smoother to me. One would have to figure that these West Coast musicians were in a better situation.

Based on population alone in L.A. and San Francisco, there would be more opportunities for musicians to work and better their craft/chops - add to that all the film and TV work in L.A., and being a musician was a decent profession. There was more of everything else, too: studios, entrepreneurial labels/hustlers and radio stations to play the finished product. Of course, more competition guaranteed that some music would get left behind, but certainly this music sounds like even the most obscure acts had talent.

Stylistically, this comp is fairly diverse, from Chicano funk to jazzy one-offs to spacy studio confections. All of it hits hard.


BTW, tomorrow is my final edition of Funky Fridays - I just can't hack the turnaround from a Thursday night time slot.

sweet jamaica - anthony b (no label)
king's highway - jah marnyah & vibronics (scoops)
the door - prof (otnorot)
dust on a white shirt - william parker violin trio (thirsty ear)
what if - nicole mitchell black earth strings (delmark)
the falling leaves - ramachandra borcar (semprini)
onda - cassiano (polydor)
revolucao organico - marcos valle (qdk/normal)
funky fire - billy larkin (jazzman/now again)
limits - freddie joachim (mellow orange/organology)
cirandar - seu jorge & almaz (now again)
espuma negra - helado negro (asthmatic kitty)
aroro - petrona martinez rmx by nate mars (no label)
angel echoes - four tet rmx by caribou (domino)
little miss echo - raymond scott (basta)
timely buck/anon - john oswald (fony)
space elements 5 - rafael toral (staubgold)
bang - elektrik toboggan (victo)
wellen und felder 1 - atom tm (rune gramofon)
4:04 AM - brent larner/joelle leandre/kazunori uchihashi (spool)
thread's first stitches - jyoti (someothahship)
altered states - high tone (jarring effects)
illuminations - hungry ghost rmx by marcellus pittman (international feel)
u.p.c. - franck biyong & massak (colored inc)
eliza we - yinguica (arc music)
two steps to latin - los charlys orchestra (imagenes)
yes - mgo (bongo disco mix) (out here)
stepping in hq - morwells/king tubby (blood and fire)

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