What this is is a music video but not just any music video. It’s the new one by The Avalanches to promote their brand new album called Wildflower and if you loved the sample-based collage that was their debut album Since I Left You, imagine them doing the same in a visual manner. No need to imagine, you can see what they did here pulling from different films of the last 50 or so years. This is easily the best music video of the year. The album will be released this Friday and you can pre-order it below via Amazon.com
If you are to read the album credits on the back, all you would see is Silent People consisting of two people: Gianpaolo Camplese on drums and Stefano Meucci on electronics but with that said, what exactly would that entail? By saying this is on Aut Record,s you would know this is anything but tame or calm. It’s true, this music here is anything but calm but adventurous? Very much.
Silent People’s self-titled album goes in a number of places, beginning their album with a song (“Hydraulic Fracturing”) that sounds very close to Medeski, Martin & Wood’s “We Are Rolling” from their album The Dropper. Then as the album goes, I wasn’t sure if it was free jazz, basement trip hop in the vein of Antipop Consortium or some kind of Madlib side project but it’s a nice blend of the mellow to the insecure, with the listener being insecure as to where the music is going but harmonious at the most unpredictable moments. The label calls what they do electro-acoustic but even if you know what is behind that definition, it still doesn’t sound what you assume it could be and for me, that’s what makes it work. It’s a drummer just jamming on the one at times while he may get into some kind of far off playing as an electronics wizard scatters his creativity everywhere. Or it’s the other way around. It’s a nice place to find yourself to be in, if not an audacious place. I would very much like to stay in this neighborhood for awhile.
When I visited New York City in 1990, I went to a record store in Times Square and bought a literal heap of records, including a few Ultimate Breaks & Beats comps and a few albums made by DJ Mark The 45 King, whom I had liked for his work with Queeen Latifah, Lakim Shabazz, and Chill Rob G. 25 years later, 45 King is still doing his thing and this time he worked with K-Def to put together a fine album of breakbeats galore called Back To The Beat Vol. 2. For a listen, check out a track called “Zulu Strings”. Back To The Beat Vol. 2 will be out on November 13th via Redefinition Records.
Last year was the last time I featured Nick Andrew on my site with his EP called Catch & Release EP (my review of which can be read by clicking here but he has recorded a new song and I’d like to present it to you. It’s called “Good Cat Bad Cat” and while he is continuing his folktronic ways, this is eaisly classifiable as electronic pop with some nice chopping within the production, I am someone who loves it when a producer uses the human voice and all you hear are extreme excerpts of what they’re trying to say, or you only hear trail beginnings and/or endings of a word, or a distant inhale. It’s all here, and this is a hint of what he has planned to release for his next project.
There goes Captain Supernova, but is he a pushover? No, but he has a nw song to share with you, his theme song if you will, and it’s appropriately called “Captain’s Theme”. The song will find its way on his forthcoming EP coming out in December called Visions Of The Unknown, and now it’s your time to see, hear, and know what is not known.
(First off, apologies for not having an installment of Book’s Jook last week. Sometimes I’m doing a lot of writing for the site that at times I will space off, but that’s rare. Last week, I was doing a website transfer and that was a hassle I had to deal with, so I can at least use that as an excuse. Nonetheless, the column returns.)
Technically, this is a record that isn’t necessary to place in my dream jukebox, which may lead some to ask “so why are you putting it in there?” I guess for me, “Beat Box” is such an essential part of my life that it really isn’t a must, but then again, it is that essential to me. A perfect (im)balance) for a perfect song? In fact, the song was originally co-published by Perfect Songs Ltd., so I know what I’m talking about, right? Anyway…
I had already been a fan of “Beat Box” for almost a year before I got this 45. I had the Into Battle cassette in Honolulu, which I had to have after hearing the song for the video on MTV. I watched and was mesmerized. No, I was pretty much numb in “uh bubba duh?” mode, not sure what I was listening to but knowing this was a revolution that was to come. In my mind, this was a sound (or a type of sound) I wanted to hear in music, and a good amount of pop and synth pop were close to what I heard in “Beat Box”. I had been a huge fan of Kraftwerk’s Computer World album but this seemed higher than that. It went beyond the groove of what those Germans were doing, and yet I could not understand what I was really listening to. The music of Jonathan Jeczalik, Anne Dudley, and Gary Langan, the production of Trevor Horn, and the verbal texts of Paul Morley would soon become an important part of not only my musical listening, but an influence to the music I wanted to produce, even though in 1983-1984 I didn’t have the means to get into a recording studio nor have the tools to make anything similar. Importantly, it was Morley’s liner notes on Art Of Noise’s and other Zang Tuum Tumb (ZTT) records that made a huge impression on me towards what to write and the rules that were meant to be broken.
Nonetheless, the “Beat Box” 45. I had received this from a neighborhood kid, in the neighborhood I had just moved in after my family and I departed from Honolulu. He was the kid who loved rap music and was a breakdancer and popper. Back then, it was a chance to know what music we listened to, and I had found out from another neighbor that the breakdancing kid had “Beat Box”. Even as a new resident of the neighborhood, my new friends had known I was a fan of Art Of Noise, so I wanted to see this record. White label with a partial black circle on the left side, fair and simple. The 45 had an edit that was used in the video, so you don’t hear the car ignition in the second half of the song, but what is heard is still awesome genius.
What was a trip for me was flipping the record over and hearing “Moment In Love”, where Horn simply went to the multi-track, created an all new mix of the song, made adjustments to the arrangement and it allowed fans to hear the sampled strings and vocals in an all new way. The drums were slightly different too. I hadn’t heard “Moment In Love” on my cassette as Island Records removed it from the tape pressings, but existed on the record. It was on both the vinyl and cassette pressings in UK, so that was a nice joy.
Having “Beat Box” on a 45 where the song quality is slightly grittier is nice, for having it played out of a booming jukebox would be quite cool. I would end up playing the 45 until the record turned to dust.
As someone who was finding an interest in the use of the taking of other songs and placing them in another to create a new song, “Pump Up The Volume” was revolutionary in my mind. I had already been a fan of hip-hop for eight years when this was released, and I was fascinated with “The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel”, Double Dee & Steinski’s three-part Lessons, and of course the Art Of Noise. The word “sampling” wasn’t even in big use in 1987, so to hear songs that sounded like other songs were just a part of the normal mix. “Pump Up The Volume” just seemed bizarre and yet it made perfect sense to me, as a chaotic audio collage and a funky piece of brilliance.
While the song was released one way in the UK, by the time 4th & Broadway released it in the U.S., there were slight variations in the song due to a small handful of samples. Keep in mind that sample clearances were a non-issue in 1987 but for whatever reason, some sounds were either not used or could not be used. It’s hard to say what sounds I found identifiable first, Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul” or Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna Get Yours”, but it came out during a time when James Brown’s samples were the core of much of what was being released in hip-hop, so there was some type of commonality, or at least one could feel that this song was based on sounds from other records. It would be awhile before I knew Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Jazz” was used, which became the core of Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away”, and that one of the best parts of the song used “It’s Just Begun” by the Jimmy Castor Bunch. There were songs I had heard before that were a bit similar, nothing more than a megamix of sorts but this sounded different, partly because some of the sounds were scratched. The use of Graham Central Station’s “The Jam” was awesome too, and I know that I used to think one of the samples was by Ofra Haza, but it ended up being “Abu Zeluf” by Dunya Yunis. No matter how many times I heard the song, I wanted to hear and know more, and getting into the 12″ mix was like opening up the song wider.
The song was funky and it could be danced to, but each time I heard it on the radio (fortunately there was a local radio station back then that placed it in decent rotation), and eventually buying the 45 to play it repeatedly, it demanded to be listened to, and seriously. The entire world didn’t matter, all I want to do was sing the lyrics “brothers and sisters, pump up the volume, you’re go og go og er’uoy, YOU’RE GONNA GET YOURS/brothers and sisters, pump up the volume/pump that bass”. I wanted to know who M|A|R|R|S were, wanted to know if it was a group, a duo, or one person and even when names were revealed, it didn’t matter. Even when there was an article talking about some of the musicians behind the song, it seemed pointless. It got to a point where the song, its samples, and its construction were bigger than they ever were, and it ended up being true. M|A|R|R|S as we knew it could never repeat the formula and maybe they didn’t want to, or couldn’t. At a time when there was a different amount of genres evolving on both sides of the pond, this just seemed futuristic, a bit like the archived films of space travel in the music video. We didn’t know where we were going, but we were going, to paraphrase a song from the film Caravan. Forget the fact that its B-side, “Anitina”, was a throwaway, but I’m sure there’s a small handful of people somewhere who are into it. Without “Pump Up The Volume”, there wouldn’t be Bomb The Bass’ “Beat Dis” or Simon Harris’ “Bass! (How Low Can You Go)” and so many others, and it’s also safe to say that without the technology, knowledge, and awareness of sound decoupage, there wouldn’t be a “Pump Up The Volume”.
If you’re familiar with the works of Wes Pendleton, you may already be familiar with Phiadelphia rapper Ant Coughlin. Coughlin is now branching out on his own with Pendleton handling the production of “Thru The Floor”, featuring Tragic Hero. The song will be on Coughlin’s forthcoming EP, Light Rooms, Dark Halls.
A wide assortment of soundtrack albums make up the fabric on a new album by Black-Tokyo Musik and Po’ Safe Beats, who call themselves The Beat Hoarders. With the content in mind, they calle this one Night At The Movies, and helping out within the audio theater is What? Spead Up! and DJ AI in twelve songs that will make you move and keep your head nodding throughout.
The return of Ini-Herit Skill has been a welcome one, and within the package of his new materials is a title to promote it: Beats For Lunch. There are many producers who know how to make music, some fairly decent hip-hop, but I like what he does because he does it well with ease and without shape, showing off is talent and expertise. The album begins with a slight classical touch, “Sorry For The Wait”, and then it gets formally funny with the soothing “Hamburger & Fries”. Each of the titles are the menu he places for everyone to taste and sample, from “Pork Fried Rice” to “Chicken & Rib Sandwich”, “Cheesecake” to “Five Pound Steak” so whether you want a light “meal” or a superfat dish, Ini-Herit Skill serves one up nicely and makes it go down easy and soothing, making the listener want to go for seconds and perhaps thirds. Technically, the productions are very good and could easily be adapted for anyone rapping or singing over it, and I hope people will listen to this in the hopes of working with him in the near future.