Archive for the 'lounge' Category

05
Dec
11

artists everyone should follow: psychemagik

It is no easy task to DJ for other people.  Imagine going to work at your job and every five minutes some complete stranger walks up to you to tell you how they think you should do your job.  Because, at their core, most DJ’s aren’t interested in being your personal jukebox.  They don’t want to play the new Britney Spears for you, they want to play things you’ve never heard before and make you freak out on them.

This is not an easy task because most people don’t want to hear music they don’t already recognize, let alone try and dance to it. They want to hear the same top 40 crap the radio shits out every day. I don’t think I’ll ever understand this, but thats just me.

But one group that manages to play a lot of obscure old tracks and actually make them feel accessible is Psychmagik.  I worship at the alter of these guys and every remix, re-edit or mix they put out is pure gold…as the remix they did of Fleetwood Mac above can testify to.  Also check out their “Blackout ’77 Mix” below.  This is some top notch ear food here.

There is also this little gem of a two hour mix called “Sunrise” that they dropped the other week.  Pure magic!  Download it over at Test Pressing HERE.  Below you’ll also find their amazing remix of Tony Joe White, who you may recall also rocks.

Or this little psychedelic beat heavy number:

If these tracks don’t hook you then I can’t be of any more assistance today.  Good day.

Follow them on SOUNDCLOUD HERE.

Or FACEBOOOK HERE.

29
Oct
11

artists everyone should follow: mr scruff

There are a lot of great DJs slash producers out there, but none of them get my vote like Mr Scruff does.  Aside from putting out some amazing albums of electronic music, he is also a great illustrator, marathon DJ and tea enthusiast.

Born Andrew Carthy, Scruff started DJing in 1994 at the age of 22 around Manchester, England. His name came from his scruffy facial hair and odd cartooning style.  He released his first single, “Hocus Pocus” on the small Rob’s records label. He dropped his first album “Mr Scruff” soon after, but due to some odd choices of lay out, it is often referred to as “Mrs Cruff.” Eventually he would transition over the the trip hop centric Ninja Tune label.

To be honest, you’ve probably heard of Mr Scruff even if you weren’t aware of it thanks to his big hit “Get a Move On” which was used in multiple commercials.

He is kind of considered a national treasure in England and amongst fans world-wide for his six hour or longer sets, where most DJs would only play for two or three.  And his taste…where to begin? It’s hard to pin down, but I’d venture to say he likes any kind of music that’s good, which covers a lot.  So a set could begin with some Orchestra Baobab and end up six hours later with some Macka B.  But the musical journey in between is wonderful to say the least.

He has an avid fan club on his website too HERE, as well as a popular line of teas (yes…teas!)

But better yet, Scruff has an active Soundcloud page that you should book mark HERE, where he regularly posts new work and giant DJ sets like the ones I’ve posted below.   That’s eighteen hours of music right there.

If you are savvy enough to join his fan club, you’ll receive updates, announcements and even download codes for some of said 6 hour sets…which make for excellent iPod stuffing.

02
Aug
11

cal tjader – soul sauce

I can’t believe it’s August already…mostly because I haven’t had enough beach bon-fires and cocktail beach bicycle rides.

Living in So Cal tends to spoil you for stuff like this…and it also introduces you to albums like this at smallparties with lots of cocktails.  I’m talking about Cal Tjader’s 1964 album Soul Sauce here!  You got Cal rocking the vibes, the fantastic Willie Bobo on percussion and George Shearing on piano.  What more could you ask for?

Cal was born in St Louis in 1925 and started out his career as a tap dancer, moving on to drums later.  After the start of World War II, Cal enlisted as a medic in 1943 and served out his time until the end of the war when he moved to San Francisco.  It was there that two things happened.  One, he taught him self to play the vibes, and two he met Dave Brubeck.  The two formed a jazz group along with Paul Desmond (who I have written about before) and were a hit on the San Francisco jazz scene.  For most of the fifties, Cal hones his skills as a side man for many jazz greats while making friends with guys like Shearing and Bobo along the way.  Soul Sauce came from the period when Cal finally came into his own as band leader.

Soul sauce was an excellent snapshot of Cal a good way into his career…like 41 albums in. The playing is strong, confident and upbeat. Lots of latin flavor that works just as good on the dance floor as it does in the cocktail lounge.  This is a greta track for a pool party BTW.  This album always sounds cool, no matter how hot the weather.

This was released on the always awesome Verve label, that seemed to be the mark of excellence back in the day.  So if you see a jazz album at a garage sale with the Verve label, you should probably grab it because chances are it’s great.

Less then $10 on amazon!

30
Jan
09

Donald Byrd – Kofi

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When you assume you make an ass out of you…but mostly me.

Months ago, I drew up plans to complete the renovations on my condo with the goal of moving my girlfriend in.  It was a simple plan that involved expanding my closet to a walk in closet, remodeling my bathroom and updating the fixtures, and finally opening up storage space in my attic.  See, certain units in my building have a roof area over part of them that isn’t used.  I made the assumption that mine was one of those units.

I was wrong.

My friend Brian and I carved a hole in my wall in an attempt to see how much space was back there…but we hit a wall.  Literally, a plaster wall.  It was then that Brian suggested we venture onto the roof to see for ourselves what was on the other side of the wall.

The answer?  Open sky and my AC unit.  No attic.

I guess a hole in my wall is a small price to pay, but I guess next time I should investigate more before cutting into the wall.  Shit, you could even see the roof space on Google maps.

Another assumption you should never make is that all the best music from old artists has already been released, as is the case with this week’s pick – trumpeter Donald Byrd’s “Kofi.” 

Back in the 90’s Blue Note Records and EMI collaborated on a reissue series called Blue Note Rare Groove.  I had picked up a couple of these recordings, many unreleased, and was really impressed with the quality of both the recordings and the material.  This was some prime shit right here!  Unfortunately, most of those CDs are now out of print…although a patient selecta can still grab a copy if you look around.

Byrd was born in Detroit and attended The Cass Technical High School where he soon found himself jamming with Lionel Hampton.  After a stint in the Air Force, he got his bachelors (at Wayne State) and then masters degree in music from The Manhattan School of Music.  While getting his masters, he joined a little group called The Jazz Messengers, led by Art Blakely. Word.

In 1956 though, he left the Messengers and started jamming with all the heavy hitters in the jazz world.  Cats like Coltrane, Monk, and Herbie Hancock. It was during this period that he began to excel at a new brand of jazz called hard-bop, an extension of the Be-Bop style. This sound propelled Byrd all through the sixties until he reached the seventies and began to drift towards a new collaboration of jazz-fusion.  “Kofi” uniquely captures this moment in his career perfectly.

Culled from two separate recording sessions, one in 1969 and the other in 1970, “Kofi” finds Byrd straddling two worlds.  The first two tracks ‘Kofi’ and ‘Fufu’ are pure sixties hard bop, modal jazz and with help from his backing musicians Byrd creates pure magic with the best tracks on the album.  Notably different are the last three songs recorded in 1970.  ‘Perpetual Love,’ “Elmina’ and ‘The Loud Minority’ are proto acid jazz.  Moody and full of funky flavor.

If you’ve never heard of Byrd, or just heard of him in passing and aren’t familiar with his solo work, this is a great piece to own.

Just don’t assume you already know.

EXTRA CREDIT:  DONALD BYRD  “A NEW PERSPECTIVE”

19
Dec
08

Kruder and Dorfmeister – The G-Stoned EP

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I’d like to take some time today to bring to your attention an issue of great importance. I’m speaking, of course, about men’s locker room etiquette.

Since joining the gym four years ago, the locker room has been my least favorite place to visit for one simple reason…male nudity.  Now, I know that in a locker room where people are dressing, undressing and showering that nudity is pretty much a given…but the population at my gym seems to be split in to two sides: those who do their business and get out, and those who feel the need to parade around the room buck naked for as long as possible.

I’m speaking of the guy in his fifties who was sitting on a bench, both legs pulled up and spread as he talked on the cell phone. (I had to douse my eyes in boiling water after that one)  The guy talking to his friend while violently scratching his balls.  The dude who felt the need to take care of all his toiletry needs without any clothes on.  I ask you why?

I can only assume some kind of sado-exhibitionism.

“Ha Ha world!  Here’s my hairy balls!  Take that!”

At least wrap a towel around yourselves.  The rest of us aren’t that interested in scoping out your junk.

But now we move on to two men who won’t walk around naked for no reason, Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister and their classic 1993 EP “G-Stoned.”

It was the Austrian duo’s first offering to the music world, and they did come out with guns blazing…albeit a downtempo loungy blaze.  Their album cover can be lauded for both it’s nod to the classic Simon and Garfunkle “Bookends” album as well as their own cheeky belief that they were destined to become classics in their own right.

But K&D weren’t kidding, and they have become classics. The thing that bothers me the most though is that they are better known for their remixes and DJ sets than they are for their skills at production.  With “G-Stoned” they pretty much just threw those skills down on the table, much like the hairy old men at my gym, and said “Take that!”

It isn’t every day that someone makes an album that people refer to as genre defining,(God knows I wish it would happen more often) but K&D did it here with a collection of songs that are simple and timeless.  This is an album for a rainy day, a quiet afternoon, or a good evening of getting busy.

Since the release of the EP, the duo have gone on to make some awesome albums including their installment of the DJ Kicks series as well as their anthology of remixes, “The K&D Sessions.”  Also worth checking out are Dorfmeister’s incredible series of albums under the name Tosca, and Peter Kruders work as Peace Orchestra.

03
Apr
08

Soul Coughing – Ruby Vroom

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I wish I could remember who in the hell turned me on to Soul Coughing.  I can’t even remember when I discovered them (Damn you, college!), although it had to be sometime after 1994 when they dropped their seminal first album “Ruby Vroom.”

Soul Coughing would make three albums before credit disputes and band infighting broke them up in 2000, including “Irresistible Bliss” and “El Oso.”  But neither of the last two matched the energy or unique qualities of “Ruby Vroom.”  Oft considered one of the more original cult bands of the 90’s, Soul Coughing’s sound can best be described as hip hop, electronic, spoken word jazz.  Lead singer M Doughty called it “Deep slacker jazz,” which I guess is as good a description as any.

Formed in 1992 when Doughty met sampler player Mark Di Gli Antoni, the duo sampled a lot of works by artist’s like Carl Stalling (his music backed most of the classic Looney Toons for Warner Brothers), Raymond Scott and an eclectic mix of artist to create what would become the basis for Soul Coughing’s sound.  Soon they added bass player Sebastian Steinberg, and drummer Yuval Gabay and started playing gigs at the Knitting Factory.  Shortly after, they were signed by Slash Records.

I think the only Single “Ruby” spawned was ‘Screenwriters Blues,’ also known as my sound track to driving home from Hollywood at 3 in the morning(see video below!).  You may also recognize it from a recent KCRW ad campaign in LA (or whatever passes for KCRW in your city).

I also love ‘Sugar Free Jazz,’ ‘True Dreams of Wichitah’ and ‘Blue-eyed Devil.’

While I was disappointed that the band broke up, I have to say I was even more disappointed that Doughty signed on with Dave Matthews label and is making really sappy Dave Matthews type music now.  It’s like he said “Gosh, I’m tired of making songs that rule, what I’ve really wanted to do all my life is make songs that suck,  It’s time to follow my dreams!!!”

Yeah, I think the internal conversation went something like that.

(Side note to Dave Matthews fans:  I like Dave Matthews…I really do.  It’s just that after ‘Crash’  he seems hell bent on boring me.  I got dragged to one his shows in San Diego once and I fell asleep.  I wasn’t even tired!!! It wasn’t until they did an encore with “All Along the Watchtower’ that I woke up and became vaguely aware that something was rocking.)

Amazon!




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