Don’t worry, none of the ones here are included at FACT (although artists and directors are, creativity in the realms doesn’t appear to be that spread out) and I’ve also thrown some love to one or two that aren’t particularly arty. And one that is just awful. Enjoy!
Whilst director Michel Gondry is rightly lauded for his masterpiece effort on Daft Punk’s ‘Around the World’ (featured at FACT), he took the same principle of focusing on the components of a dance music record to create this lush video for Star Guitar. The terrain and passing vehicles are among the visual juxtapositions that reference each introduction of sound the record weaves in.
It’s a delightfully subtle counterpart to the Chem’s stage shows of blistering audio-visual bombast as well, reflective of the fact the track itself was much more languid than their previous offerings. A thoroughly hypnotizing opus that flips the challenge possessed in visualising instrumental music.
Taken from round about the same time as Star Guitar, this riotous slab of loon-house simply wouldn’t have worked with a subtle and deft video. So they go for an absolutely nuts one, involving the fusion of pop stars with monkeys to create a musician/hominoid abomination. You could argue there is a meaning to all this as some critique of the music industry, but the best thing to do is just watch it and embrace the madness.
This is never going to win any awards, either as a record or as a video, but this sums up the mainstream Ibiza experience of the 90s in a nutshell. A scantily clad Morales boards a train on which he sees Sonique and Judge Jules, and then proceeds around the island via villas, couples kissing on the beach and, of course, DJing at Pacha. The track is just incessant sunshine as well, not as raw as ‘The Bomb‘ but an undeniable summertime anthem. But he’s running a lot? What is it about dance music videos and running?
From the sublime to the insane and the feel-good, to the just downright horrendous. I’ll admit it, as an eighteen year old slowly putting puberty behind me I loved this record, but even then I was pretty baffled by the video. We see a DJ with terrible hair and even worse headphones sitting off by a public landmark, one can only assume this is pop-trance maestro Darude. Then a girl runs out with a silver briefcase clasped in her hand, only to be chased by a bald man and another woman. They all look like they’re dressed like lifeguards.
The chase goes on, occasionally interspersing the shots with barking dogs, Darude looking cool inside a car with some lime green wraparound shades and a series of brilliant slow motion snippets of them jumping. None of it ever relates to any rhythmic structure of the music, they do slow down slightly in the breakdown only to start running again before the beat kicks in again, and finally the bald man catches up his prey only to be double crossed by his partner who leaves him for dead on a train track. There’s always people running as well; why?
The two women skip off, yes skip, together hand in hand to be met by Darude at a private yacht, where they are seen lounging back with him in a brief pimp like clinch. Is the briefcase Darude’s record collection? The cure for cancer? Marsellus Wallace’s soul? Nope, it’s just evidence of electronic music’s capability to occasionally avoid creativity.
When this was originally released on Soma records in 1995 few would of predicted the position we would be in now, where a 13 second loop and a photo of two helmets can send the internet into raptures. However Daft Punk and of course Virgin behind them clearly recognised the bigger picture when installing Spike Jonze to direct this video accompaniment to the tough as you like house hip-hop hybrid. In the process, they’ve created arguably the greatest video accompaniment the most visually entrancing electronic music act ever made.
What makes it so enduring is the almost complete irrelevance the music plays to the track. The only link is the fact it’s playing from the boom-box of the protagonist, a human with a dog’s head called Charles. Said radio prevents Charles from following a potentially romantic get-up with an old friend he meets in a shop, but the total ambiguity about what it represent symbolises that even at an early stage, Daft Punk understood that restraint was the best way to create mystique – leaving a sea of questions rather than shaping the answers. Take note Darude.
Dave Seaman and Steve Parry are launching a brand new record label entitled Selador, with music forthcoming from Samu.l, Shall Ocin and Bushwacka!’s new alias Just Be, among others. Promising upfront house and techno across the spectrum, the debut release from Samu.l is a dreamy slice of deep house goodness complete with recognisable sample, which shows a very modern and dynamic twist for the music you might usually expect from Parry and Seaman.
What’s really exciting though is the way they are funding the first compilation release; via Kickstarter. The above video explains how to get involved, but essentially you put in for a project with differing levels of involvement. The more you pledge, the more you get out, but if they don;t secure the moolah needed the project never gets off the ground, so you only get charged if it goes ahead. Although this has been pursed in other angles of the music business, this is the first time it’s been put to the test in dance music.
With mix compilations not only under threat from piracy but the abyss of internet available DJ mixes clouding the market, it’s a measure which could change the make-up of the way this concept develops, or even add longevity to a market that is no doubt struggling in recent years. Head here for details on how to pledge.
Can Kendrick get any better? Yes, yes he can. This remix delivers the storyline of rap’s new king coming up in four minutes and three verse, all set to the backdrop of the most palpable beat on ‘Good Kid Maad City‘. First up Kendrick delivers a verse about the ease at which he’s entered hip-hop’s high end stratosphere, notably the ‘upper echelons’ as he calls it. Then Jay-Z turns up, delivers a brilliant verse for this remix (even if he is following certain Kanye delivery techniques now) before Kendirck gets back on the mic and absolutely lets rip.
They keep lashing the hype on this young boy and he keeps rising to it at every juncture. The way he pays his dues as well, hooking in Mc Eiht, Dre’s ministerial overlording and now Jigga, it’s similar to the way Em did the rounds during the Slim Shady era on Rawkus and the mixtapes (back when they were really underground). Yet he knows it’s his time to go against them competitively, getting in the booth and cutting their head off, as he puts it in Acclaim Magazine. God knows how good his next album is going to be…
Cazrface, the partnering up of Inspektah Deck from Wu and 7L & Esoteric, is a fictitious comic book character returning to the golden era of hip-hop. Those last four words are probably the most mooted in hip-hop circles, and it’s even more surprinsing that the year in question isn’t before 1993… instead it’s 1999.
It would seem odd that a member of Wu would be behind that assertion, even with his best album appearing that year (as well as the only real post wu tang forever masterpiece, Ghostface’s ‘Supreme Clientele’), but nevertheless there is a grain of truth in 1999 being the don year wise… and one I’ll visit with a stronger analysis in the future.
Anyway the album is a beast, not exactly the greatest lyrics ever but still tight with some fantastic beats, and some decent guest appearances as well. In the 1999 vein Ghostface turns up and mumbles like only he can, and Preemo delivers a textbook production, but it’s not all 20th century doyens. Action Bronson and Roc Marciano bring some heat too. Check it on Spotify below
Excellent article form j-live which analyses the way hip-hop means different things to different people of ages. I’ve never really got the likes of Trouble Funk, Treacherous Three and Kurtis Blow even though I love disco, and whilst getting my face melted by PE, gawping at Rakim or Kane’s lyrics or just basking in the eternal glory that is everything about Slick Rick, De la’s ‘3 Feet High’, NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and nigh on everything done by Run DMC doesn’t go above very good in my eyes.
My generation of hip-hop is very much 1992+, and as well versed as I am in the music before then less and less of it hits me the way that the music form that period does. Likewise with everything after about 2002… you’d be completely right if you said the aforementioned Three Foot High or even Kanye’s ‘my dark twisted fantasy’ was more of an influential and worthier piece of art than say Black Moon’s ‘Enta Da Stage’, but I know which one I’d rather lash on.
Anyway; read what J-Live has to say. Essential reading for anyone digging hip-hop at any point.
Darren’s latest… warning; there’s one or two minor spoilers in here.
Photo: Three Lead Actors of the final & most political season of ‘Being Human’ [BBC, UK].
Left to right – Kate Bracken (‘Alex Millar‘), Michael Socha (‘Tom McNair‘) & Damien Molony (‘Hal Yorke‘).
The thing with living in this current era is that social networking has created Zombizoid behaviour, where culture has adopted the same worth as fashion – constantly changing & disposable.
This is seen in the most extreme instances with anything Simon Cowell happens to be involved with… do you remember this bloke, perhaps?
That’s the winner of The X-Factor in 2005, Shayne Ward if any of you from the UK had forgotten? But that’s not to say being a Zombizoid is exclusively the property of those whom find ITV enjoyable… this infection now has mutated to those who should have been immune to it – educated individuals*.
How many people do we know who will smugly boast of downloading the latest episode of…
‘Breaking Bad’ [AMC] has yet to be broadcast on one of the five major UK Television Channels, so a significant amount of people believe that by watching it they are being hip and ‘in on the secret’.
This attitude occurs in the numerous lodges of The Freemasoinc Brotherhood, yet at least you can understand whilst never agreeing why they wink at each other smoking their Cigars and sitting in those Chesterfield Chairs with a smirk… as they are actually doing things instead of illegally downloading the latest episode of an American Television series.
Now, ‘Breaking Bad’ might be that rare classification of a Television Series that has the sensibility of a Motion Picture, yet I am fed-up of hearing pompous idiots in the Kitchen area of House Parties talking in-detail about it, knowing that the majority of those within hearing distance haven’t got a clue.
So, I’ll never watch ‘Breaking Bad’ as I don’t want to be part of any elite let alone one that thinks just because they read The Guardian Newspaper[UK], following that publications mantra, they are some sort of Higher Homosapien. Some people I know hold The Guardian in such high esteem they could rival this individual in the utter devotion stakes of literature…
Yet, I found something a couple of years ago that I was convinced was going to be taken over by those fu%#ing Zombizoids, as it had good looking young actors in a contemporary non-London setting, and was based on the Supernatural.
This amazing Series in your humble writers opinion is the best drama the BBC have commissioned in 16 years since the still fresh ‘This Life’. Check the dialogue on the scene below, particularly how the writers are able to make a clever change around sensitivity, feeling & empathy from the first scene to the second, as normally it would be the Male who would be portrayed as the insensitive or emotionally ignorant one in a relationship:
‘Being Human’ is partly classic British Sitcom, about friends with individual behavioural quirks that need one another. Yet during times of stress these differences in personality can create conflict, taking that very friendship to the edge.
It was refreshing as it sums up a current generation or two (I am in my mid 30’s) that are in a way lost as everything is transient, from the time of going to University in another city/town, gaining employment in another location or meeting a person on-line then deciding to leave home to establish that romantic connection.
Don’t get me wrong, not being trapped into the community an individual is born into does have it’s advantages unlike a century ago, but noting is ever perfect apart from a certain Title Winning Team of the 1987/1988 Season.
Yet, the friendship between a Ghost, Werewolf & Vampire should be more for teenagers instead of adults but its genius is how it always nailed humanity. We’ve all been to this place both crying in bed for a lost love or trying to lift the mood of a depressed friend:
Things started to get Political at the latter stages of Season 2 when a character depicted as the Head Honcho of Avon and Somerset Constabulary – ‘Chief Constable Wilson‘ was shown collecting protection money from the Vampire Community of Bristol.
Things really got my attention when ‘Chief Constable Wilson‘ gave a proposition to his Vampire counterpart ‘Mitchell‘ that the Vampire Community of Bristol could feed their hunger but only on selected targets – these being repeat offenders. This would therefore lowering the Crime Statistics thus making the Chief Constable look good to the unaware Human population.
Normally, the BBC is very conservative when dealing with the issue of corruption in the UK, especially within the Public Sector, as that organization receives vast amounts of money from the British Population. Yet here it was dealing with it in a Comedy-Horror Series created for viewers in their late teens – early twenties.
As mentioned extensively here at GeneralJimmy.com , the British Broadcasting Corporation are guilty at best of a worrying lack of awareness around one of it’s stars: Sir Jimmy Savile.
Yet, unlike that mentioned lack of awareness at senior levels at the BBC; Seasons 3 to 5 of ‘Being Human’ gave even more varyingly stronger hints linking the untold nature of the work in South America, a place where very dodgy groups find shelter, to the Police being infiltrated by groups with sinister intentions, and then onto strange clues on unsolved cases in Britain over the past 20 years e.g:
The character reading the newspaper just happens to be ‘The Devil’ (Phil Davis) from Season 5, the final season of ‘Being Human’.
You couldn’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’ [HBO] for three Seasons only for the main characters to be killed-off & replaced as this would upset the rhythm. Yet somehow the writers of ‘Being Human’ [BBC] managed to pull off the impossible by achieving this task.
Season 5 was very direct on the detrimental impact that the current Economic Recovery Plan of the UK Government is actually having on services designed to protect the population. I was surprised that such strong & obvious criticism was allowed, yet that might be possible due to those mentioned Zombizoids not devouring ‘Being Human’.
This is my favourite scene in the entire 5 Seasons of ‘Being Human’, due to it’s exquisite pacing enabling more to be done in less than 2 minutes than some Films that an hour and a half…
‘Being Human’ proves the point that something can be made on a small budget and retain a high production value, simply because in the end it’s all about dialogue & good casting. If you haven’t see it then get the complete ‘Being Human’BBC Box-Set that hopefully should be out in November 2013.
Note*: Obtaining a University Degree is to be respected but all it shows is the individual is skilled at simply applying what they have been taught over a 3 year period – this is knowledge. Now Intelligence is taking education taught & creating NEW ideas even at times questioning that very education. So Zombizoids exist that also happen to have Phd’s.
Last week was the first time in a LONG time I went a calender week without DJing. Tonight it’ll be thirteen days since I last played records for other people, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t happened since June 2011. I’ve got a double header at my Saturday residency at Bar 81 above Salt Dog Slims starting tonight, and so rather than going on down the hip-hop tip like I’ve recently done with the Five for the Funk series, I felt it was a good point to showcase some of artists that I play here, specifically showing some love to the ones that crop up in my set at 81.
Considering the relatively small percentage of the population they made up for, Italian-American singers have certainly had a hefty grip on the pop charts from before the second world war. Much can be made of the fact the mob ran the jukebox syndicates which would account for their early exposure, but equally two of the biggest female mega stars of the past thirty years have Italian roots. There must be something in the pasta. Here’s a quick glance into the annals of Italian-american songwriters that do the do for me.
Before four uppity scousers and a shedload of other brits ‘ruined everything’, the early 60s pop landscape was all about clean cut crooners like Dion. The type of singer that the stand up guys that dominate the mob focused films would of loved, the ones that were true to them. The music was a whitened version of black music from the 50s but that didn’t matter, this was something white America could relate to, and a precursor of the likes of the Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones making an even bigger advancement on blues. Better yet it still stands up as a classic, a wedding tune that will make everyone dance.
Frankie Valli ‘The Night’
If Dion was creating an Italian focused rip off of blues, this was the motown soul counterpart. Frankie Valli and the Four seasons famously signed for the label and bombed catastrophically, but amidst the wreckage was this gem that never even got released in the states. It did see the light of day over here however, becoming a Northern Soul favourite and eventually making No 7 in the charts. Joining blues in the 50s and decades later house and techno, this is one of the records Americans undervalued that we loved. Their equivalent is Bush. Ouch.
Classic slab of bluesy folk that’s great early doors, this is much more in the vein of 70s americana and the kind of track that no doubt sounds great coming on a jukebox in a bar in Nebraska where everyone wears plaid shirts. And what’s not to love about someone so mean finally getting their comeuppance?
At the apex of her career Madonna was the dancefloor queen. Produced by Jellybean Benitez and, in the case of this song, Mtume producer Reggie Lucas, she had that post disco groove going on for sure. This 12″ edit of it is just accessible dancefloor dynamite.
So opines Ray Liotta at the start of Scorcese’s classic Goodfellas. Much is made of Tarrantino’s glorious grip of soundtracking his films, but this is easily one of the finest juxtapositions of celluloid and music ever. Much is to do with the sheer class of Tony and the song, delivering the quintessential crooner performance, the thinly veiled metaphor of love and power shuffling by one another and a great backing band. An end of night anthem if ever there was one.
I’ll be in Bar 81 from 10pm-3am both tonight and tomorrow evening (15th & 16th March)