AUDIO: Diwon’s “Diwon’s Chanukah EP”

In the last week I’ve posted what I feel was a good share of Christmas related songs, but now I want to turn your scope towards Hanukkah. This is an EP by Diwon aptly titled Diwon’s Chanukah EP and it’s safe to say Hanukkah has never sounded as funky as this. Also helping out in these songs are Y-Love, Sarah Aroeste, Kosha Dillz, Cobe Jones, Yehuda Solomon, and Cobe. Listen, enjoy, and have a festive time.

VIDEO: Dillon Francis’ “Masta Blasta (The Rebirth)”

This has to be said: the part of this video where they’re showing urination from a human: they spent way too much time on it. Three seconds, that’s enough, not a full fricken passage of the song. I don’t need to see that, as it makes me think “that wall si going to stink up the place”.

Otherwise, great new track by Dillon Francis has him heading to the club, waiting to rub nubs. Also, there’s footage of a woman copping an attitude, and for what? Oh I see, the bacon wrapped hot dogs at the end. Got it.

DUST IT OFF: Kraftwerk’s “Electric Café”… 25 years later


Different generations come to the music of Kraftwerk for different reasons. I became aware of Kraftwerk in 1981 with the release of their album Computer World/Computerwelt. The music was electric, it could make you dance, especially the robot. When Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 danced like robots as part of their routine in “Dancing Machine”, they were looking towards the future. It looked incredible, and it sounded funky. Then you had Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back at theaters, Battlestar Galactica and Space: 1999 were on TV. Kraftwerk, however, sounded like the future. It was not of 1981 even though it very much was. A lot of people at my school heard “Numbers” and that was the song we all wanted to dance, pop, and break to. I loved the song because it consisted of nothing but numbers said in different languages. Then MTV played the video for “Pocket Calculator”. “Whoa, these guys ARE German.” “Whoa, look at that person in the crowd pressing the key to play a little melody!” MTV had also put “The Model” in rotation, so their music was very much a part of my upbringing as I explored the double digits. Little did I know how much of an influence Kraftwerk was making in New York City, where MTV made its start. That same year (1982), Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force came out with “Planet Rock” and that felt like an anthem. All of my friends were singing it, and it was our 6th grade year, our last year in elementary school. The rockin’ wasn’t going to stop, and you know why? Because the rockin’ don’t stop. Then a song that changed my world for good: Malcolm McLaren & The World Famous Supreme Team‘s “Buffalo Gals”. It was all on the same level, the same wavelength, and these were sounds that were our “coming of age” soundtrack. Throw in Yellow Magic Orchestra‘s “Computer Games/Firecracker”, then we could head to a video game room and waste our quarters on candy, ice cream, coda, cracked seed, and video games. We were now of the future, this felt like “our toys”, not board games we played during Christmas and ignored. This rap music felt like “our music”, not what our parents gave us. Nothing wrong with that, but all of these new, electric and electronic sounds felt like we were ready to fly. Maybe in space, maybe to the park, maybe to the shopping center, but we loved it.

In 1983, I remember going to the GEM department store in Honolulu and seeing a new Kraftwerk record, a 12″ single of “Tour De France”. I had to have it, begged my mom that I needed it. This was a year that would also give us Yes90125, The Police‘s Synchronity (my favorite album of 1983, BTW), and the mandatory Into Battle EP by Art Of Noise. I needed Kraftwerk in my life, and I would get the record. Brought it home, and all of a sudden I’m hearing these German guys breathe hard. I hear them riding a bicycle. I hear them singing in German. It was incredibly funky, and it made by body move. Less than a year later, Breakin’ was released and as Turbo was told by Ozone to sweep outside, he had his boom box ready to go. The cassette inside? “Tour De France”. I remember that moment in the movie theater all too well: we all knew that song, we all cheered him on, and then he made that damn broom float. When we got home, we all looked for brooms to do the exact same thing. It was not only a Breakin’ moment, but our Kraftwerk moment.

It would be five years before Kraftwerk released a follow-up to Computer World/Computerwelt, and three years before fans heard new music from the group. By then, I had moved from Honolulu to the Pacific Northwest, and the culture shock of my new surroundings were bad. On the positive side, I had more access to music than ever, although that probably had to do with me being older and more aware of what other music was out there. Kraftwerk remained a personal favorite, I played their albums continuousy. I then saw a magazine ad for their new album, and now it seemed like the future was here. The computer love talked about on Computer World/Computerwelt made the group into genuine digital architectures, they were now showing us the future: today. I believe I saw the video for “Musique Non Stop” before I bought the new album, but for days I would find myself saying BOING! BOOM TSCHAK! over and over. Kraftwerk were speaking, and this was nothing new, there were always voices (their own and computerized) on their albums, but these were “new” voices. Their music had a way of hypnotizing you. Well okay, me, but it was really just hearing these sounds and wanting to dance, or simply create something as powerful.

Electric Café was the album, and while it didn’t floor me as much as Computer World/Computerwelt did, I liked most of it. Side 1 was basically variations of the same song, with the lyrics serving as the song titles: “Boing Boom Tschak”, “Techno Pop”, “Musique Non-Stop”. Up until that point, synth pop and techno pop were terms one would read in magazine articles, but for Kraftwerk to call what they did “techno pop” was bold. This was their music, and Side 1 just felt like “the next shit”. I played Side 1 of my tape over and over, I’m surprised it didn’t snap.

Like Side 1, Side 2 also had three songs but they were three distinct songs. “The Telephone Call” reminded me a lot of “Computer World”, but it almost felt like the group were willing to look back at history and go back to the old ways of the telephone. “Sex Object” was a cross between the past and the future, while “Electric Café” established what the album was about. We were now in their café, and we were free to roam and explore. It sounded fun, and it didn’t matter what it was. For me, it was new Kraftwerk, and I just hoped it wouldn’t take another five years for the group to come up with new music.

Why the wait between albums? It seems the group did have plans to release an album in 1982, called Techno Pop, with the title track being a 16 minute suite of the three songs that would end up on Side 1 of Electric Café. “The Telephone Call” and “Sex Object” would pad the album, along with “Tour de France”. When the album didn’t make it out in time, they chose to release “Tour de France” as a single. 1983 would have been the perfect time for the group to release an album, but it would be another three years until Techno Pop would be released, removing “Tour de France” and replacing it with “Electric Café”, which would become the album’s title track. What is amazing is, while we know the album as being that from 1986, most of the songs originated in 1982. Elements would carry over with new versions and revisions, so while we know and maybe hear of it as being a mid-80’s album, it isn’t too distant from the music on Computer World/Computerwelt.

It would be another five years before the group released a new album, and that was a recreation of some of their hits and key album tracks in the form of The Mix. At that point, the group were truly of the digital and computer age, albeit a bit primitive compared to what it would become a few years later, but their integrity and influence would remain solid. Electric Café became the last sound of Kraftwerk from the distant old world of the 1980’s, and yet it still sounds as pure and shiny as it did 25 years.


PODCAST OF INTEREST: Dub-Stracter’s “Yukutoshi kurutoshi ((((( welcome to 2011 )))))”

Dub-Stracter‘s mixes have been moving people for awhile, and now he presents a new mix for the new year. Take a listen to this and if you want to hear more, check his page.

RECORD CRACK: New 12 inch EP from Relatives Records

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There’s a really good 12″ EP coming out from the Dutch label Relatives that is worth checking out. Four artists, four songs. The record features great electronica/dance music from Axel Karakasis, Zule, Wyrus & Matija Marinic, and Boriqua Tribez, so if you’re a fan of techno that pushes the limits, get this. You can order your copy from Juno UK. To hear excerpts from each of the songs, clicking this will open up WinAmp to listen to an audio stream from Juno.

The record was released today.

RECORD CRACK: Ellie Goulding’s “Starry Eyed” single to be released as star-shaped record

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Leave it to England to always take things one step higher. Ellie Goulding is a new singer/songwriter who who is about to release her debut album called Lights (Universal). She has gained attention for winning the Critics Choice Award at this year’s BRIT Awards, and was on top of the BBC Sound of 2010 when her self-released EP gained a bit of airplay and critical reception.

The first single from the album is called “Starry Eyed”, which is on the dance side of things so she is sure to get a lot of club airplay with it. The song is being released as a star-shaped record, but will also come out as a CD5 and be made available for download via iTunes.

It seems her love of vinyl is genuine, for she was recently in the studio to record live versions of four songs (“Starry Eyed”, “Under The Sheets”, “Guns And Horses”, and “The Writer”) that will be released as limited edition dub plates, as you can see in the video below:

The star-shaped 12″ single can be ordered from Banquet Records. The limited edition live dub plates will be sold exclusively through her online store.

Longtime record collectors are probably saying “star shaped? Been there, blah blah” and you are right, Goulding isn’t the first artist to do this but for a younger generation of fans, this will be an oddity. In the past, there have been similar records by The Police
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Wayne Newton
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and the infamous Gefilte Joe & The Fish Star Of David-shaped disc on Rhino from 1978:
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VIDEO: Dmitry Fyodorov’s “Simcoe”

There’s a term used amongst foodies called “food porn”, and it’s the delight of seeing various foods arranged in a manner that makes it look delicious and tempting. Just as a photo of a nude man or woman may make you excited beyond belief, food porn is meant to do the same but in a culinary fashion.

“Simcoe” is a music video by Dmitry Fyodorov from their album Shapeless, and this takes food porn to a much more ridiculous level, with a background of electronic dance beats. The video was created by Sektor Film and has some really cool cinematography, so check it out.

Shapeless, released by Adrian Recordings can be ordered in MP3 form from Klicktrack or iTunes. You can also download “Simcoe” for free by clicking here.

You can find some of their other tracks to download from