drwex: (VNV)
Cancelled meetings today means let's put some effort into a music post. I've been listening to more "chill" music than I usually do. Often after reading some rage-inducing what-the-actual-fuck thing from my news feed. I also have a lot of long sets to post but I'll split those off into their own thing (or two).

The first of these is a Markus Schultz "chill mix," though its somewhat more intense than a typical chill track. Fronted by Victoria Horn (as Lady V), it has many of the same tonal qualities as the remixes below, but is more complex and intricate. I like both the vocal presence and the complexity of the mix - it's interesting without getting frenetic.

The second is an unusual track in that you don't find a lot of Kate Bush remixes around. "Running Up That Hill" is one of her most popular and accessible songs so if was going to remix any of her tunes this one would make sense. As remixes go it's not bad. Bush's tunes rise (or fall) on her vocal performance and here you get a lot of that. The backgrounds are almost minimalist in places - a single piano note.

If you're interested in the non-chill version, you can also listen to an extended mix at the third link. I've noted before that I tend to like extended mixes and this one carries its extra weight pretty well, even if it does rely on a bog-standard club-dance build halfway through. Where the first version was spare, this one has a lot of extra layers thrown in. The mix keeps them under the vocals for the most part so that's good, but I'm not convinced they add all that much.

Chill electronica often blends into some of the dark film-track pieces I like and this is a great example of that. Mandelbug (https://fanlink.to/mandelbug) puts together a mash here that wouldn't be out of place in many movie soundtracks. It's the sort of thing you hear as the camera follows the protagonist through a dark and crowded scene in some location Americans would consider 'exotic'.

If you start playing this and think... wait, that sounds a bit like Beats Antique, you're right. This is Dirtwire (https://www.dirtwire.net) the side project of David Satori of Beats Antique. It's got that amazing fiddle sound and interesting rhythms galore. The track notes credit Ethiopian electro, a thing I didn't even know exist and now must find more of. Of all the Beats' side projects I like this one best so far and I'm sad they didn't get to this side of the country on their 2017 tour. Maybe next year.
drwex: (VNV)
Once upon a long ago I used to merrily blog music. Yay, it was fun. Sometimes people would leave comments telling me they liked this or that or otherwise indicating that I wasn't just blogging into the void. That's always nice.

Then [personal profile] mizarchivist pointed out that LJ has these things called "tags" and I could tag my music entries. This is helpful to know what's going on, and particularly helpful for back-reference and finding things that are particularly notable. Eventually I got enthusiastic enough to go back and tag my existing couple years' worth of music entries... at which point I promptly ran out of tags. This more than anything else prompted me to move to a paid LiveJournal account because I needed more tags. All is fine until the company owning LJ decides to move the servers into Russian airspace and I decide it's time to move over here to DreamWidth. Which, I shall not bore you with details, will not allow me to have unlimited tags, even if I do pay them.

For a while this has stymied me. I really like the convenience of being able to go back and revisit things I've blogged in the past, and I blog a lot of new artist/DJs in a given month so the list of tags grows with no obvious way to condense them. I'm tired of being stymied though and it finally penetrated my thick skull that this convenience I've grown used to is just that, a convenience. I don't actually have to tag music entries in order to write them. So I'm going to start blogging music again, only with erratic-to-nonexistent tagging. You've been warned.

I realized this because I have re-remembered (I keep forgetting, somehow) that music is important in my relationships. Intimate, certainly, and otherwise. If you and I don't share some musical taste or other, it's likely we're less close of friends than we would be if we did share. For example...

This morning Pygment and I responded to a wedding invitation that included a request to list something that would cause us to get up and dance. At first I snarked that my music tastes would appall most people and DJs wouldn't play it at weddings anyway. Pygment agreed and said something like, "Yeah but imagine if they would, we could get them to play..." and in two clicks I had the track linked below, which we put on the RSVP card. I'll let you know if it plays at the wedding because I will sure as shit be dancing if it does.

We Can Make the World Stop
drwex: (Default)
Another snippet of what I'm listening to. Shockingly, more London Grammar.


Here they are covering Fleetwod Mac's "Dreams", which is one of my favorite F.M. songs. I'm not enamored of the keyboard arrangement on this one but Hannah Reid's voice continues to drench me in joy.


Bonus! Here's a vid from last year of them covering Beyonce's "All Night". I'm less fond of the base song but more fond of this arrangement. Go figure.
drwex: (VNV)
I have to keep doing music as part of my long-term self-care and I would love to share more of it with you. I still don't have a good solution for dealing with the tags/searchability problem, though, so I'm still very limited. Today I've got two long-form sets that ought to keep your ears happy and your butts chair-dancing for a while. (Also you're gonna need it for the political spam that comes next.)

It's been a long time since DJ Steveboy put out a straight-up funk mix. The idea of "new old funk" was what started me listening to Groovelectric years ago and though I enjoy a variety of his sets nothing is as consistently satisfying as the funk. Here we get nearly a full hour of lush horns, rhythms and vocals, plus a cover/remix or two that got my attention (and I promise not to spoil).

I have not been happy with most of the last few weeks in Innerstate Radio-land. Frankly too much glitch and wub, I find myself turning it off halfway through. This episode avoids that for the most part. There are also a couple of really nice summery tracks such as Ozcan's own take on "Everything Changes" with Chris Crone. I can't recall any other time I've heard an Ozcan track with simple naked guitar chords. Others, such as "Lady" are more dance-y but still leaning toward the full house sound rather than the edge-y glitch pop.
drwex: (VNV)
Not posting music doesn't mean I'm not listening to it. But I'm not as deeply engaged with it as I usually am. I think that's probably not good for my mental health. Music has such power for me. I'll just give you this one, which nearly brought me to tears just for its sheer beauty.


P.S. I'm still enough of a lighting tech geek to want to slap the designer & board op for this show.
drwex: (VNV)

So, this showed up on Twitter recently. It's a snippet of the ongoing development of Blade 2.0, the Glitch Mob's custom performing instrument. They couldn't find anything off-the-shelf that let them play their music the way they wanted to play it, so they created a thing. It's awesome.

In case you're wondering what it's like live, here's a pretty reasonable facsimile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7SoQWTFJ_k

I have no idea if/when they'll make it back to Boston but if they do you can bet I'll be there.
drwex: (VNV)


It is omfg amazing. Just listen, I'll wait.

I am not normally a fan of full or nearly full orchestration on most things. Her voice works so well with this I didn't even realize how much backing she had until the camera panned over them.

Also, I'm getting the sense that London Grammar are no longer a hidden secret thing. This video went up on Dec 31sh and is well over half a million views already. That doesn't stop me wanting to tell everyone about it because wow.

We now return you to your regular updates. I'll do a regular music post at some point I promise.
drwex: (Troll)
(for some reason I'm having trouble changing my profile icon choice in the LJ UI today. Some other things like embed are also not working. Not sure whether that's new OS, new work firewall, or new LJ issue)

I don't have a lot to say about George Michael's death. I was not a big Wham! fan nor of his solo music afterward. I think I liked the man better than I liked his music. He was always kind and forthright about his sexuality, which I appreciated and admired.

Searching through various things I came across this:

I like the song and the vocal range it demonstrates, and he sure did know how to play a crowd.
drwex: (VNV)
I've been holding onto this post for a while, due mostly to the first track. Everything else should be considered "bonus material."

Halsey (http://iamhalsey.com/) has apparently gotten quite popular in the last couple years, which tells me that I'm even further out of touch with current pop music than I thought. Anyway, this song is particularly appropriate for this day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and I've been holding onto it since it appeared on our work #listening Slack. This one is for you, [livejournal.com profile] mizarchivist; I hope you don't get as earwormed by it as I did, or at least you don't mind.

While I'm noting things off our #listening I should blog this one, which I very much like. It came up in response to a discussion of "the" birthday dirge - turns out there are many such things, which surprised me. But I digress. The Birthday Massacre (http://thebirthdaymassacre.com/) is a Canadian goth-rock band with a small but dedicated following. New Favorite Cow orker found them at Dragoncon and I need to hear more from them.

I'm normally not a huge Morgan Page fan - I find his stuff to be not very deep and a little too smooth pop. This track definitely falls into the "pop confection" category, but I find Lissie's (https://soundcloud.com/lissiemusic) vocals interesting and endearing at the same time, which makes this worth a listen.

Things you never expect, Part N+1. Back in June, I noticed a mashup done by someone posting as The Mashup Wyvern. Interesting A|B composition with good source material. I find a lot of those and don't post most of them. Anyway, back at the beginning of November someone commented on that entry, identifying themselves as the Mashup Wyvern. I guess my entries show up in Google searches, which is cool. Anyway, they suggested a couple of other things they'd done for review and I've picked this one as another fun entry in the A|B style. It's bouncy and light and the mash works well.

Some of you know that I moonlight as an amateur intellectual property geek. I spent a bunch of years blogging on the topic and let me tell you that St-eN Extra is completely mistaken about what Fair Use allows. That said, this is another fun and danceable mash-up using some fun originals. I particularly recommend Fly Project's "Toca Toca" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5GwTfI_PD8) which is a modern Latin electro-dance track and of course the Sak Noel's "Loca People", often known as the "What the Fuck" song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4dMon78h5A)
drwex: (VNV)

"Get Involved", which I mentioned a couple weeks back, but I really like the video too (don't miss the prominent middle finger to Trump) and I'm thinking "you gotta get involved" may just need to be my new mantra. "And you are not alone."
drwex: (VNV)
Help me dear listeners. I am certain I've heard the vocals/song/voice before but it's eluding me entirely. I can't even be certain what the native language is, beyond feeling like it's one of the Norse family (or maybe Celtic, but I think not).

Anyway, here's the track (Timmy Trumpet - Oracle)

I got it out of another of the Ummet Ozcan Innerstate mixes (https://soundcloud.com/innerstateradio/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-113) which is OK overall but this track is so different it grabbed my attention.

I have lots more music to post but this mystery has been bugging me enough that I wanted to pull it out.

ETA: Solved! [livejournal.com profile] sovay identifies and links - see comments.
drwex: (VNV)
I look at OMG music tabs and then realize it's been 10 days since my last post. We'll start with three long-form pieces that I can write up pretty quickly to get things rolling then put more stuff into a separate post.

I've seen this posted a couple places but maybe you haven't. This guy did an entire album (8 tracks) of Beastie Boys remixes built out of the original vocals and a bajillion samples from Daft Punk. This is not an entirely whacky notion, but it does lead to a lot of what I think of as train-wreck mixes. It's not a style of mash-up I particularly prefer; I like it when the mixer finds clever ways to meld the source tracks. But other people might like this style better so here you go.

For some reason a whole stack of Innerstate episodes appeared on Soundcloud more or less at the same time. Normally they release a week or so apart. I'm blogging this one because it largely had a different feel than the typical sets and because of several things in it that caught my ear. The set has an overall more pop, upbeat, and feel-good tone than I'd expected, which makes for a nice change.

The first is Jay Hardway's remix of "Runaways". The original (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDyuZ0_mWPI) is an undeniably summer-pop confection with a cute teen-love video. The remix is less saccharine and sped up a little more for dance club feel but very true to the original.

The second is a nice dance banger by Ozcan himself, "This Girl". It features a fast build and a lot of electro-horns. The released version is very short and feels like the intro for a bigger piece I haven't had time to track down.

And finally we have "Magic", an instrumental upbeat house banger from Mr. Black. I picked this one out on my second listen-through and I'm still not entirely sure what it is that grabs me about this. It's got some interesting rhythm changes, a little more electronic woop than I like, and yet I think the whole hangs together very nicely for a few minutes of chair-dancing.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had marked more Funk Hunters to share and here's some of it. A six-track EP from Funk Hunters and Chali 2na. This is their first studio release after a lot of touring and playing together and it's all original tracks. Right now my favorite is the second "Get Involved" because it has Defunk and it's got some smooth political lyrics along with soulful brass and backing vocals.
drwex: (VNV)
I think I may switch to having the VNV icon as my default. In case you've forgotten or not known, VNV stands for "Victory, Not Vengeance" and the group's motto is "One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret." It seems wholly appropriate for this moment.

Also appropriate for my mood right now is some of the most amazing flow I've heard in a long time. Ghettofunk Allstars is a group I've not blogged before, apparently, which is really a shame. They're amazingly good at combining some of the great tracks of hiphop and its roots with modern sensibilities. This set, apparently recorded live, also includes rappers in the style I like. Hours of fast words and sharp lyrics and nary a b* or n* uttered.

If I haven't abused your patience with one long set let me share with you another great hour and 45 of Fort Knox Five. I originally found these guys through DJ Steveboy and I'm glad I did. This is another live set - this time from Shambhala - and the range is amazing. You've got old-style funky disco tracks, spontaneous acapella bits, and sounds from classics like Jimi Hendrix and Earth, Wind, and Fire, not to mention Steely Dan, Talking Heads, and the Eagles.

Rudeejay is a DJ from Italy who I bumped into early this year. Many of his tracks use songs in Italian, so most of them aren't familiar to me. But you can't miss "Blue" no matter what language it's done in. This is a fun dance banger.

I've been actively avoiding "angry" music for a while now because FUCK YOU TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN. This is about as close as I'm willing to get, a heavy bass-centric dark track from I am Sid that reverberates with the kind of energy one might march to. If one was still very very angry.

Just in case you wanted to skip that last one or need an antidote let me give you as close as I am likely to get to a silly electro-pop track. SoundCloud frequently puts up "promo" tracks that it thinks will appeal to me and this one has appeared a couple times. Eventually it grew on me - yes, it's cheesy pop, but I like the faux steel drums and the the male vocals that come in about halfway through. It's catchy and a bit infectious. Come what may, I'll be singing.
drwex: (Troll)

New York Times initial report that Leonard Cohen has died, age 82. I am struggling to find words - this week has taken a lot of my words. Often copied, never equaled.
drwex: (Troll)
People who would rather not have their ears filled with politics, gather 'round. DrWex has some other options for you. Herewith long sets you can play when you want the good stuff.

A number of Burning Man performers have been posting their sets; I'll likely blog more. Right now, though I want to call attention to this one, which is The Funk Hunters "doing" Daft Punk. By "doing" I mean apparently they appeared on stage as Daft Punk, with the costuming and lights and all. Then they proceeded to do 45 minutes of funky interpretations of Daft Punk and Punk-style music. Worth noting is that despite having the heavy electro/synth of Daft Punk to work with they still brought a live saxophone player (GRiZ) on stage with them. As you'd expect, liking this set is going to depend on whether you like Daft Punk's music to begin with. I found the set extremely fun, danceable, and a great interpretation of the original.

Next up in the Burning Man set review is this DJ Mix from Dirtwire. I thought I'd blogged them before but apparently not; they're a CA-based trio of remix/original artists who I found because David Satori is 1/3 of them and also 1/3 of Beats Antique. This set has a mellow and almost country-style twang sound combined with some of the complex rhythm patterns that you hear in some of B. A.'s better tracks.

Returning to GRiZ, here he is hosting "All Good Radio", an hour mostly consisting of soulful, funky, danceable sounds from The Geek x Vrv. It really feels like this music should be coming out the open door of a smoky red-lit basement club somewhere very cool. Two sounds you'll hear in this set that I wanted to call out: first, GRiZ's own "Smash the Funk" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsSzq5h2-tc). I've heard this sampled approximately everywhere and it's worth pointing back to this version. Then there's Jenaux's remix of "I'll Take You" (https://soundcloud.com/jenaux/sets/mstr-rogers-ill-take-you). The original (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duTPsznmSlU) is not bad, but I don't like the way the high vocals are mixed in. In the remix you get the vocals moved to the background and made less aggressive and the front has a strong beat. IMO a really good example of how a remixer can take a track to the next level.

I have more Funk Hunters marked to share but I think I'll close out this post with a pair of remakes of old favorites instead:

Who doesn't love a "We Will Rock You" mash? Here someone calling themselves Jairb has mashed it with a WWE wrestling theme (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj9ala8nZ7U) - who knew wrestlers had theme music?

And for those old enough to remember and have some nostalgia for Tone Loc here I give you Dorade & Wonkers' take on "Funky Cold Medina". It's a little bit more disco than I'd like but the original was also a bit silly in its day so that's just in keeping with the theme.
drwex: (VNV)
A bit of preamble first... I've only seen Tricky one other time, with Massive Attack at the Orpheum way the hell long ago (I want to say 1994). Haven't seen him since he went solo. I liked his first couple solo albums, was meh on the rest but this one (with Skilled Mechanics) sounded good and he finally got his visa issues sorted out so there was a US tour and sure, let's go.

The opening act was an entirely too-loud lesbian punk-thrash trio. Yay earplugs. We hung out at the bar in the back and drank a very nice cider. Conversation was impossible - we "talked" by typing on our phones and showing each other what we'd written. Kind of surreal but OK. As far as I can tell the last good opening act I've seen was Nephrok before George Clinton and the first new-to-me really good opening act was And One before a VNV show some years ago. I keep hoping.

Then there was Tricky. I've struggled to characterize what exactly was wrong, so let me give you a few details: he moved in a jerky, knees-locked fashion; he stared at the ceiling most of the time; he grabbed at two mics on stands and tried using both as (variously) microphones to sing into, batons to wave, and percussion instruments to bang against his chest. He flailed about in a way that gave the impression of someone strung out badly on something. He constantly grabbed and pulled at his clothing with one hand as though he was going to rip off his shirt or just hold it bunched in his fist (with the mic) as if he didn't want it touching his skin.

If you closed your eyes and just listened it wasn't all that bad. The guitarist for Skilled Mechanics is pretty good and despite Tricky's physical antics he had the lyrics and timing of a lucid and not-strung-out performer. But watching him method-act a heroin withdrawal on stage was intensely awkward. The complete lack of interaction with the audience, including not looking at the people, just made it weirder.

The act consisted of Tricky, the guitarist, and one drummer. All the electronics and the extra vocal tracks were played from somewhere off-stage. Tricky's songs are usually complex and multi-layered. I expected at least a synth player and a couple back-up singers. Maybe they weren't in the budget this time? However it came to pass, having some of the most interesting parts of the music appearing out of nowhere just added to the surreal.

After 45 mostly painful minutes of this, Tricky announced "Good night" and the band left the stage. We were all checking our watches... yes, it really was only 45 minutes since they'd come on. After a short break they reappeared and the bizarre just continued as if they hadn't said good night a few minutes ago. We decided that we could still get ice cream and salvage some of the evening before catching the shuttle bus back to Alewife and getting our car.

JP Licks is open until late and their ice cream is tasty.
drwex: (Troll)
All my meetings today got cancelled (madness!) so let's see if I can turn out a music entry or two. I'm still hurrying so apologies if the research isn't as deep as at other times. I have both massive amounts of excellent funk and some long sets marked but I think I'll put the other things in here and save that for another entry.

Grooevelectric's "Resplendent" is a lovely prog-house hour-plus with a strong electronica influence. I ended up playing this first time through one one of my late-night work sessions and I think it's perfect for that kind of thing. It's generally faster-paced than most prog-house stuff and the lack of vocals through most of it makes it good working background for me. Of the selections here I think I like Exoplanet's "Crystal Garden" best (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqQwt8SMtI8) - here in its Mindaugas Jax remix form. I still think of this kind of music as the spiritual children of Jan Hammer, which is OK with me.

ANILAH gives us an extended interpretation of a medicine chant. In several Buddhist and Native American traditions a musical chant can be used for medicinal purposes. Some of them are mental - healing the minds of the chanters - while others are more literal prayers for healing of the bodies of people over whom the chant is performed. This particular rendition is more highly produced and has additional layered voices compared to chants I've heard before. Still a very deep and rich set of sounds.

Bridging back toward my more traditional sound selections, here's Steve Aoki's bouncy and energetic remis of AWOLNATION's "I Am" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLZkf6HvO2Q). The original is a low-key, vocal/piano-centric piece from which only the key vocal chorus survives in this remix.

I'm continuing to follow Angelika Vee in hopes she'll break out with something massive. In the meantime she continues to do reliably excellent work like this one. Here she's fronting for Sons of Maria on their "Sweet Madness" track. The Sons are a pretty traditional deep-house/prog-house act and as a result the track has a heavy production hand on it. Vee's vocals still shine through, but it doesn't have the raw quality of her live-with-piano tracks. Still waiting.

I knew I'd blogged about the Maitre Gims "Est-ce que tu m'aimes" a while ago, but hadn't properly tagged it. That entry has DJ Stokholma's electro-house version of the original. This time we have DJ Dark and DJ George A going at it with a cover that has a female vocalist and is much more of a techno-dance-style mix. VERY different feel from the original, which is almost a lover's lament. To make matters even more confusing, they've retitled their version "Je t'aime" which got me confused with the (in)famous Serge Gainsbourg track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp7mamCpdcc). That one I remembered from back in the 1970s when I listened to a bit of psychedelic pop, and then ended up reading its interesting history. It's interesting diversions like these that make these music entries take a while to write.
drwex: (VNV)
I'm staying late at work again, partly because work is super-busy and partly because I need to head to MIT in a bit to get some food and go to an Arisia concom meeting. The set of tabs I have open is laughable and I have minimal time to do my research and cross-checking that I usually do for these posts. So excuse me if I just dive right in; for the first batch I think I'll give you a couple of the not-the-usual...

Jax Jones's "House Work" is a tight, slightly fuzzy electro-house tune - that's the first link. The track came out this summer and has guest appearances from MNEK, who has gotten Grammy nominations for work fronted by people like Beyonce and Madonna, and Mike Dunn, a longtime Chicago house DJ/producer.

Turn that over to SNBRN who comes out with a deep house remix that removes a lot of the fuzz and downplays the electro in favor of a stronger bass line and thrum. I think the remix is better than the original, but I can see the appeal in each.

I'm linking this one as much for the novelty as anything else. I can't recall ever hearing a KT Tunstall remix before. I'm not actually a Tunstall fan to begin with so I can't give this the same ear as a real fan could, but I still think it sounds good. You've got about a minute of intro and then the track kicks into higher gear with something that isn't the traditional EDM 'drop' but serves the same purpose. The original (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLTi_Eu5mtM) has Tunstall's vocals wrapped in some pretty obvious heavy autotuning and overproduction. The remix strips a lot of that away, which is a nice change.

I thought I had blogged this a while ago and I'm pleased to see it's well over 15 million views now. Swing either never went entirely out of style or has been back in style for as long as I've been paying attention. Along with that style has come something called electro-swing that combines swing traditions (rhythm, energy, acrobatic dancing, instrument selection) with EDM sensibilities. Here AronChupa puts electronic and acoustic instruments together with Little Sis Nora's torch-hot vocals to create a fun electro-swing number with some really nice dancing in the vid.

I'm pretty sure that Hungry Lucy came to me off my work music Slack and it's definitely not my usual fare. It's got some electronica but what makes the track good is the haunting front vocals. I'm generally a fan of trip-hop but it's not often this dark.

iMAD takes a 1960's classic "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and gives it a distinctly modern groove-house feel. Not my usual but like the Tunstall I can't recall ever hearing this one get a remix before so I thought I'd link it and see what you all think.
drwex: (VNV)
Going to try to launch this one between the lines today, otherwise it's Monday and you want these sets to improve your weekend.

Before I start the longer-form things, I wanted to share this "future funk" track from Griz called "Before I go". It features singer/songwriter Leo Napier (http://www.leonapier.com/) who looks NOTHING like he sounds, sorry. And who has a terrible Web site, but who cares when he can sing like that? Griz does a great job with the first half of the track then decides for some reason he need fuzz electronica to go along with the vocals and horns because Reasons. I don't think they add anything and fortunately they don't overdominate the soulful and, yes, somewhat funky riffs.

First of the long-form listens is Freemixed Nuts' EP compilation of funk and soul from eight new-to-me artists. Vocals that come straight out of motown, and liberal lifting of jazz riffs complement the underlying funk beats. As with the Griz tracks there's also fuzz electronica mixed in here and there so maybe it's a thing and I should get used to it. The EP is available for free download and there are links to each of the performers' sites and feeds in the More Info. Check 'em out.

Another good Innerstate collection from Ummet Ozcan. As befits the season it has more summer festival dance banger entries than other mixes. Of those, I think I like "Let's Go" from Rick Mitchells best for its unpretentious/unashamed let's bounce up and down fun aesthetic.

OK, back to the funk. I could say just play this because it's an excellent 85 minutes of funky goodness but let me tell you about some of my favorites from this set. CAZZETTE's "She Wants Me Dead" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHccClTAdzc) which I love for its horns and fast vocals. Or maybe you'd rather enjoy the vocals of Angela McCluskey as she does "The Little Things" with Big Gigantic, who actually have a couple entries in this set. But this lady has pipes and the music backs them well - it's a little torch singa, a little modern, a little funk, and a lotta phat horns. DeFunk has a lot of their own work in this set, like their remix of K Theory's "Things I Like To Do" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL071ZgoM50) which comes off as hip-hoppy, jazzy, fast-breakin' funk. I wish it was longer, but I say that about a lot of things. Or if you're more in a ghetto funk mood you might go for Stickbuds' remix of "Bust a Move" from Young MC (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtR_2zIfP44), which revives an old-school hip-hop favorite and updates it to very modern sensibilities.
drwex: (VNV)
I've searched my LJ and cannot find any review of the first time we saw Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at House of Blues. I remember it well because it was an excellent show and it cemented HoB as my favorite place to see music. The sound at HoB is usually quite good, always better than the abominable Paradise, I can get seats with a good view (unlike the Paradise) and it's clean and spacious, unlike... well, you get the idea.

Clinton and P-Funk returned last night for another edition of their show. It's definitely a performance, and it's definitely musical, but it's unlike most other shows you're likely ever to have seen. It's as much cabaret as it is rock show, with 14+ people on stage at any given moment. There's a solid backing trio of keyboards, drums, and bass and then there's... well, everything else.

And by "everything else" I mean rappers and singers and "back-up" singers about whom more in a moment, and Clinton himself and horn players and other vocalists and percussionists and one gentleman who has, let me tell you, not one ounce of fat ANYWHERE on his lithe and very gymnastic body. With that many people on stage it sometimes leads to amusing miscues but the group have toured and practiced together so much that they manage the transitions and hand-offs with aplomb. The only major stumble I saw was due to the sound system not working properly.

Clinton leads the ensemble, doing a bit of singing, some dancing and jumping around (pretty spry for a big man of 75 years) but mostly he's the impresario: bringing people on, encouraging attention to one place or another, getting the audience riled up. He's like the best combination of a rock star, cheerleader, and grandfather who never lost the love of what he's doing.

The performance went for an hour non-stop before the first break and then another hour+ of almost continuous play after that with shifting performers and styles. Around midnight-fifteen the venue shut off the sound system and turned on the house lights and we finally went home.

Notable highlights in this show:

  • the aforementioned back-up singers, two of whom did a really nice soul-infused duet. Lovely voices, but the sound mix wasn't helping them a lot.
  • the OTHER back-up singer, a skinny woman who spent the entire 2.5+ hours in some very high platform boots and whose solo performance would not have been out of place in a strip club (just sayin') except for the part where she was singing while gyrating. Balance, grace, and a sweet vocal range - also really nice.
  • a saxophone player whose name I sadly did not catch because dude was AMAZING. His range, speed, precision, and sustains were all out of this world. And then he put down the sax and sang lead, quite ably. There was also a trumpet player who on another stage would have been good but placed next to this sax genius, well, I'm not sure anyone could have measured up.
  • TWO extended solos from Blackbyrd McKnight. He's one of the few remaining traces of the old Parliament Funkadelic and he's just insanely good at what he does. His solos were incendiary, a throwback to old-school Clapton and Hendrix and Page. And yes, he did actually play the guitar with his teeth at one point, as if to prove he could do that, too. Last show I remember him kind of sitting out much of the first part while he fussed with his guitar only to blow away the stage and audience once he got rolling. Seeing him hit that mile-high groove again was awesome.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the opener: The Nephrok Allstars, whom I'd heard of before through [livejournal.com profile] kit_holliday and had watched videos but never seen live. Like most funk acts, Nephrok is much better live than recorded. They did a strong set with Nephrok himself giving some of the verbal vibe that I remember from the earliest P-Funk days.

---------- Music history aside ----------
Back in the dark ages, funk music and particularly P-Funk with its weird sci-fi-esque mothership and space alien vibe (see also Sun Ra) positioned itself as a force for intergalactic harmony and peace. At a moment in time when many Black voices were speaking anger (Nation of Islam, Black Panthers) funk artists stood up to deliver a "we are all one" message. It's something that has always stuck with me.

So last night Nephrok talked to the audience about being "love soldiers" - active, not passive - and paying attention to what was going on in the world. He did a song for Syria and pointed out that even though he doesn't personally know many Syrians it's still something that should touch us all deeply. He reminded people that we are all children of Abraham. Funk music and (Black) politics have always been entwined in my brain and I'm glad to see modern funk artists carrying on that tradition too.


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