Tagged: samples

Tune Of The Day: Marc Mac Presents The Visioneers – Paul’s Guitar Story

Marc Mac has been close to the beating heart of contemporary British for over two decades now. He was genre defining in the early 90s dance/hardcore movement, as part of A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd and redefined drum & bass as half of 4hero, where he was responsible for my favourite ever remix. And more recently he has been cataloguing his love of soul music, in all its forms, through his Visioneers project.

Their album Dirty Old Hip Hop, which consisted of instrumental covers of many of the most sampled tracks in rap, was and is one of my favourites of the last few years, and the follow-up, Hipology* (and the associated free mix-tape), which I only just discovered, is even more of a love-letter to the last great art-form of the 20th century. Kind of like an album length version of The Roots’ Act Too.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to his Visioneers stuff again quite a lot recently, and this has to be the stand-out track; it really is just beaitiful. The guitar line is wistful, funny & sad, the beat is, of course, absolutely spot on, and the whole is simply wonderful. Seriously, it has to be one of my favourite pieces of music of the last few years.

It’s like he bottled nostalgia, wrapped a beat around it and then pressed it on vinyl. Just listen to it, you’ll get the idea.

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/2088259" params="" width=" 100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

*He’s also created a wonderful scrap-book site cataloguing the things that have influenced his work.

Wallflower photo by yours truly


Pogo – Boo Bass (Monsters Inc. Drum & Bass Remix)

This is wonderful.

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It’s a lovely, lilting drum & bass track. No great surprises there, lots of drum & bass is lovely & lilting.

But it’s made up, in large part, from little snippets of sound effects and speech from the Pixar film Monsters Inc. It’s by a guy known as Pogo and reminds me slightly of the classic drum & bass track Links by Chameleon (off of the era-defining LTJ Bukem compilation Logical Progression) which made excellent use of a sample from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

According to Pogo’s  bio, he’s from Perth in Australia and apparently this is what he does. By this, I mean:

record sounds from my favourite games and movies, and piece them together like a jigsaw puzzle to create completely new music

I actually remember seeing his remix of Up, which is equally wonderful, but hadn’t realised that it was part of an opus of sorts. I’m glad that it is.

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Hat tip to Kevin May.

Image courtesy of Pixar.


Beastie Boys – Sure Shot (Samples Jeremy Steig)

As I’ve said before, I’ve never been a huge Beastie Boys fan, in terms of buying their albums and listening to them all the way through, repeatedly. But a huge number of their songs have a large hold on my heart, and I’m guessing that there are plenty of people like me who will have been very sad to hear of the death of Adam Yauch, AKA MCA, at the painfully young age of 47.

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For us Gen Yers, who grew up with the MTV astronaut burned into our minds, The Beastie Boys were basically the first hip hop rock stars. Parents hated them, kids loved them, and they got both young and old very worked up for very different reasons. Listening to (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) as I write this I realise that it’s essentially an updated version of Summertime Blues.

But more than that, it’s their later work, and their other achievements that are the reason they have a special place in my heart. Their 2nd album, the cult classic Paul’s Boutique was amost willfully left of centre considering the fact that their debut, Licensed To Ill, was a global smash. They ditched New York for California and created an alternative business empire, including a record label, clothes label and even a magazine. They campaigned for Tibetan freedom, their organ player released some pretty class music himself, and a Fatboy Slim remix of  their track Body Movin’ became a staple of the big beat movement.

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Oh,  and apparently they invented the term mullet.

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Sure Shot is a track from their 4th album, Ill Communication, which catapulted them back to the forefront of popular culture. The video for the track Sabotage was directed by Spike Jonze, highlighting their links with the skateboarding world, and is now a cultural reference in its own right. But Sureshot was always my favourite track off of the album: powered by the mighty flute loop sample from Jeremy Steig’s Howlin’ for Judy, it’s the Beasties at their best. – raw, funky, with surreal lyrics that never fall into rap cliches.

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I’ll be playing a lot more Beastie Boys tracks this weekend, but this one is as good as any to get started with.

MCA by Fabio Venni on flickr


DJ DSK & Mystro – I Know You Got Sole (Heaven) [Eric B & Rakim Cover)

I’ve written before about DJ DSK (AKA my old flatmate from Sydney, Nick). And I’ve written about Eric B. & Rakim before.

Well, now my Nick/DJ DSK has got together with a rapper called Mystro to do an homage to the Eric B. & Rakim classic I Know You Got Soul.

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It’s excellent in many ways, but particularly because it ticks so many of my own personal loves/obsessions.

  1. It’s a cover version
  2. It’s a cover version of a track that is, itself, famous for an amazing use of a sample (of Bobby Byrd’s epic track, which is also called I Know You Got Soul)
  3. I used to play the Bobby Byrd track back in the days when I used to DJ (if you can call playing good music badly DJing)
  4. It appears that the song is actually an ad, (in the style of the Nike track Classic by Kanye, KRS-One and a host of rap luminaries), for the sneaker-pimp heaven that is the trainer shop Sole Heaven

So, I Know You Got Sole (Heaven) ticks any number of my meme tickboxes.

And, on top of that, DJ DSK’s beats and scratching are great, Mystro’s lyrics are pretty amusing, referencing any number of classic trainers, and the video reminds me of a slightly strange version of the cult British movie Human Traffic.

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That ought to be enough reasons for anyone to like it, so why not download it now.

Air Jordan by Jon Rawlinson on flickr


The Best New* Albums Of 2011

Well, that’s 2011 more or less wrapped up.

Where the bloody hell it went, I have no idea, but, as I do most years, I thought I’d finish it by wrapping up my favourite albums of the year. Now, I should probably add at this point that, because I’m no longer a teenager who buys NME every week, or even a 20-something buying a monthly music magazine, I don’t hear as much new music as I’d like. So, whilst many of these albums were released in 2011, some are actually older but were new to me in 2011.

Anyway, here we go, in no particular order:

  • Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two: I’ve never actually been a massive Beastie Boys fan, and have always liked the idea of them, more than the reality. But Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was an absolute belter from first to last, was utterly life affirming, probably because one of the Beasties was recovering from cancer during its recording, highlighted how small-minded the OFWGKTA clique are, and it’s promo film was ****ing genius.
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  • The Streets – Computers And Blues: The Streets, or Mike Skinner as he’s known to his friends, is, I think, a perfectly English genius. This was his last album under The Streets moniker, and is, I think, a very fitting obituary. It mixes his trademark engagingly everyman raps with some lovely beats, and includes much of the (slightly cod) philosophy from his (amazingly under-rated) last album. I’ll be sorry to see The Streets go, but his new outfit The D.O.T. sound like they might be quite good, if their first track is anything to go by. It’s called Trouble and features a young man called Ghostpoet.
    [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/28768927"]
  • Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam: His taste for bad puns reminds me slightly of Carter USM, but don’t let that put you off. He’s signed to Gilles Peterson’s excellent Brownswood label, his album is a brilliantly captured time-capsule of Britain in 2011 and it’s a crime that he didn’t win the Mercury.
  • Lee Fields & The Expressions – My World: Released in 2009, but to be honest it doesn’t matter as it sounds like it was released in 1969, this is an amazing piece of pure R&B soul delivered by a true soul survivor, and one that I discovered through the marvelous Hunch FM. Honeydove is possibly my favourite track of the year.
  • DJ 2 Tone Jones – Shaolin Jazz: This is brilliant – a bunch of tracks by the Wu-Tang Clan, and is constituent members, with the backing tracks replaced with samples from classic jazz. Seriously. It’s what the wannabe hipsters would call amaze-balls. And his similar re-imagining of classic Gil Scott-Heron tracks is not to be missed either.
    [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/25203610"]
  • Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: Nothing particularly different from their first album, but when you have a début as beautiful as the Fleet Foxes did, why would you want to change that? Music to get lost in.
  • The National – High Violet: I know, this was released in 2010. But I’m getting old, I’m not as up to date as I was, and this is simply too amazing not to put in a Best of list. Also, there might be people who are like I was – ignorant of the splendour of The National: possibly better than Arcade Fire.
  • Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys: A couple of the tracks sounded like attempts to replicate One Day Like This, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a truly beautiful record. Build a rocket boys indeed.
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  • SBTRKT – SBTRKT: Soulful house music made by a man wearing a massive African tribal mask – what’s not to love? Listening to this today it occurred to me that it bears a lot of similarities to the all-time classic All Systems Gone by Presence which, if you don’t own, you really should.
  •  Gilles Peterson – Masterpiece: Part of  a series of mix albums released by Ministry of Sound, this 3 part epic shows why Radio 1 are fools to have let him go: like a 20th Century John Peel, he touches everything from techno to jazz and just about everything in between. Worth the price for just one of the three free extra mixes alone.
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So, there you go. Hopefully something for everyone and some things that will be new to you and should get you through the festive season and into 2012.
*New to me.
Photo of Ghostpoet performing at Whelan’s in Dublin in September 2011 by yours truly, with a little help from Instagram.

Eric B. & Rakim – Juice (Know The Ledge)

Right, I’ll be brief, so listen closely.

This is amazing.

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The film it’s from is one of the best thing Tupac ever did (overrated doesn’t even begin to describe hip hop’s Kurt Cobain).

The mix I first heard this on, Live At The Social by The Chemical Brothers is a perfect snap-shot of the mid-90s scene, and should be reissued immediately.

The incredible bass-line is a sample from Rise, Sally Rise by Nat Adderly.

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Juice by Erik Forsberg on flickr


#shfl11: Brass Construction – Happy People

Well, #shfl11 finally seems to be doing what I’d hoped it would: introducing me to music I have never encountered before, despite it being on my iPod. Today, Happy People by Brass Construction, which is certainly the worst band name we’ve had so far, and possibly one of the worst names ever. According to Wikipedia they were originally called Dynamite Soul, and I can’t help thinking that they probably spent quite a lot of time wishing they’d never changed it.

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Or then again, maybe not, because Happy People is taken from Brass Construction III, which was, unsurprisingly, their third album, which was released before they went on to release Brass Construction IV, V & VI. They really weren’t great at the whole naming lark, were they? Even their Best Of is more imaginatively named. Still, at least their music is better than their way with words. Happy People is a meaty, if hardly revolutionary slice of 70s disco-funk, bringing to mind Earth, Wind & Fire, The Gap Band and Kool & The Gang, amongst others.

Brass Construction, however, never quite reached the heights that these other bands did (maybe something to do with the name?), only broaching the main US Top 100 on 3 occasions, and the UK Top 30 twice. In both instances their highest position was reached with their first single, the dance-floor classsic Movin’: you may not have heard of Brass Construction (I hadn’t), but you’ll almost have certainly have heard the track (I had).

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Considering that Movin’ was their first single, that Happy People, off of their 3rd album, is a clone of it, and that their last UK chart entry, in 1988, was with a remix of Movin’, it’s hard not to think that they never reached the heights because they didn’t have the same quantity of quality. That said, considering who’s sampled them, and how good Movin’ is (and Happy People ain’t bad either), you’d have to say that they’re still responsible for a lot more good music than many other, more famous acts, and I’m just glad that #shfl11 brought them into my life.

#shfl11 is a self-set challenge to write a post every day in 2011 about whatever song pops up 1st on shuffle on my iPod

Construction site by Jakob Montrasio on flickr


Kid Cudi, Kanye West & Common – I Poke Her Face (Lady Gaga Mash-Up)

I have a friend. He shall remain nameless, though I can share his nom de plume with you: Dr Kenneth T. Noisewater. And every so often the good Dr. shares with me the latest mix to emerge from what he calls the Phat Cave.

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The most recent one of these, which you can enjoy here, included something that at first sounded like Lady Gaga: “surely not,” I thought, “even Dr Noisewater would never dream of using such overrated art-pop shite”. He had, but before you join me in shunning the man, please check out the video above.

You see he hadn’t actually used one of GaGa’s sub-Madonna rip-offs; no, he’d used a remix/cover of Poker Face starring hip-hop heroes Kanye West, Common & Kid Cudi. And it’s really rather splendid, if not a little naughty.

I probably shouldn’t say anymore, as the Dr. is a shy man, but I’ll leave you to enjoy the best (only decent?) thing to come out with Gaga’s name attached to it.

Poker by Oliver Duperray on flickr


M.O.P. & Busta Rhymes – Ante Up

I’ve just been flicking through the crap that makes up Saturday TV when I came across one of these interminable ’50 Best (insert genre here)’ shows on 4music. Except that this particular show was being presented by our next Prime minister, Dizzee Rascal, and was made up of the best team-ups. Being Dizzee, it has a hip-hop bent, and when he played the remix of M.O.P.’s Ante Up which features Busta Rhymes, it  almost had me jumping up & down on the sofa.

Yeah, yeah, yeah (or something)!

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And if, like me, you couldn’t stop wondering what the horn sample in Ante Up is taken from, it turns out that it’s from the Sam & Dave track Soul Sister, Brown Sugar. So now you know!

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UPDATE: I’ve just been sent this rather wonderful mash-up of old footage of Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street and Ante Up. Puppets in da hizzouse!

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Brown sugar image by aaron13251 on flickr