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CONTENTS 20. BEAT FREAQ BADU Building New Amerykah. 28. THE BEAT GENERATION Beats international .
CONTENTS 20. BEAT FREAQ BADU Building New Amerykah. 28. THE BEAT GENERATION Beats international .



Building New Amerykah.


Beats international.


Fast-chat inna dancehall. 38.ELITE SQUAD Law & order in the favelas.

Law & order in the favelas. N O 2 VOL ONE SPRING 40. IN THE LIGHT


Go Bang with Arthur Russell.


David Lynch’s secret weapon.


Never done cosmic.


A joyful noise unto the creator.


sey Asplund, PAPER CUTS: Things Fall Apart, SPOTLIGHT: TrebleO DREAM TEAM: Tawiah, Eric, Jodi & friends; HOT STEPPAZ: head, heart &

soul. Tata Guines, MIXTAPE: N’dambi, Apples & Snakes, Arthur Lipsett,

Welcome to

Stokes Croft



May ‘68 Posters, Joe Gibbs RIP, Vocodertron, Very Be Careful, Kis-

, SHOOK TEK: boutique






NOW THEN (with Welson Creep), REVIEWS

56-59 , 60-61 , NOW THEN (with Welson Creep), REVIEWS EDITOR : Jez Smadja ART DIRECTOR

EDITOR: Jez Smadja


Matt MonkeyBoxer


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Sarah Marshall, Al Burton, Andy Thomas


MIchael Krasser, Helene Dancer, Andres Reyes

Cal Jader, Mr. Beatnick, Alex Stevenson, Sanjiv Ahulwalia,

CONTRIBUTORS: Vince Vella, Simon Creasey,

Helene Dancer, Chris Robinson, Sarah Bentley, Gabriel Middleton, Gervase de Wilde, Benji B, Snoopy, Hugo

Mendez, J’M Irie, Welson Creep, Gwen Webber, Dee Science, Adeola Johnson, Phiona Okumu, Lady B, Orin

Walters, Paul Camo, Alasdair Purves, Samera Owusu Tutu, Roger Robinson, Kyoko Ishima, Nicky Dracoulis,

Tamar Nussbacher, Matt Crossick, Benji Lehmann, Maga Bo, Mitchy Bwoy, Lewis Robinson, Johnny Pitts,

Keith Baker, Charles Waring, Will Page, Dan Susman, Adam Green, Richard ‘The Hobbit’ Bamford, Ryan

Proctor, Raggy, Garth Cartwright, Amar Patel, Max Cole, Kay Suzuki and Sunil Chauhan.

SPECIAL THANKS TO Da Boss Paul Bradshaw, Mr BI & to everyone for supporting we thus far


130 Trent Gardens, London N14 4QG, UK

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4 May 68: Street Post
May 68: Street Post
JOE GIBBS R.I.P. words: SNOOPY 1 9 6 9 : Saturday afternoon. The market stall
words: SNOOPY
Saturday afternoon.
The market stall in Basildon
(Essex) is called The Pop Inn. It
mostly sells ex-jukebox records. I usually
have a flick through the boxes just before I
head for the local Mecca Locarno. Myself and my
junior-school friends regularly attend the afternoon
disco there. You can buy bottles of fizzy and a sixpenny-
bit mix-up. We love the 45s and dance to them all – current
‘Top Of The Pops’ favourites, Tamla treats, ‘bubblegum’ and
soul music. Lately there have been teenage skinheads attending
– who can be a bit ‘bovversome’ if you don’t steer clear – so the DJ
has been dropping in some reggae records to keep them sweet. We
love dancing to reggae – and even have a dance routine for ‘Return Of
Django’ by The Upsetters. But my favourite song is ‘Long Shot Kick The
Bucket’ by The Pioneers. A Joe Gibbs production. I am thrilled I picked it
up earlier at the Pop Inn. A bargain at a couple of bob.
1975: Sunday morning. The Chapel Market stall at the Angel, Islington
has all of its records laid out in piles on tables. There are US
imports. And Jamaican pre-releases. I desperately need to
buy a record I heard Tommy Vance play on his Saturday
night Capital Radio show ‘TV On Reggae’. It’s called ‘Burn
Babylon’ by Silford Walker. A Joe Gibbs production. I am
overjoyed to get it for 60p on a UK release. I celebrate
with the pre-requisite bag of apple fritters.
1979: Thursday morning. April 5 th . I am flying to Jamaica
at the invitation of reggae producer Joe Gibbs – with a
view to spending two weeks at his Beverley Hills home,
ostensibly to write about Dennis Brown who is soon
UK-bound for some concerts which will capitalize on the
pop-chart success of ‘Money In My Pocket – a Joe Gibbs
During 1978 I’d worked for Dennis Brown’s record company
DEB Music based in Battersea, and had known Dennis since I was
18 – so writing about him would be great as we were already good friends.
Joe Gibbs met me at the airport in Jamaica
eventually. This was my first
taste of the Jamaican lick of ‘soon come’ timing. I’d been apprehensive
about meeting Joe as he was such a big shot on the reggae scene
– but he made me feel completely welcome. The ride to his home
in Beverley Hills in the dark is something I’ll never forget. All the
twinkling lights of Jamaica! And the heat. Dogs barking. Distant
The next day was my 20th birthday. It was a real thrill to
wake up in a foreign land, having never set foot outside the
UK before. They’d let me sleep in – and it was my guy
Dennis Brown who woke me up and took me out for
a drive. The following weeks were a succession
of visits to record shops, recording studios
and places of interest that were
specifically relevant to the man
we called D. Brown.
Surprisingly, I
wasn’t able to spend
much time with Joe Gibbs
himself as he was busy going about
his business and whizzing off to Miami
– but I was well looked after by everybody. I
made good friends with the legendary Errol T.
(with whom Joe produced tunes as ‘The Mighty Two’),
Ruddy Thomas, my hero Junior Delgado, – and Gregory
Isaacs I already knew from the UK, as I’d promoted his first
British tour for DEB Music the previous year.
I hung about a lot at Joe Gibbs’ recording studio at
Retirement Crescent where Errol T. asked me to do some voice-
overs and sound-effects. I also liked to go to Joe Gibbs’ record shop
on North Parade – which was near a hang-out called Idlers Rest.
Joe would drive us there after breakfast. He said I could help myself to
whatever I wanted. He had a HUGE stash of old 45s out the back. I had to
get Dennis to take me to buy some bags to carry my stash of 45s and LPs
and 12”s back to the UK. I had tons of them. Never look a gift horse in
the mouth? You’re damn right!
There was a memorable trip with ‘Gado and Dennis to
the Red Hills to buy weed. It was just a wooden hut hidden in
the trees but it was chock-a-block with puff – like a Tesco’s
for ganja. That trip particularly sticks in my memory as
when it got dark out came these fireflies - in Jamaica
they call them peenywallys. I was terrified. It was so
disconcerting to have these flying insects that lit up all
about you. Jux thought it was hilarious.
I also recall going to the court in Kingston with Joe Gibbs’
wife and son (Rocky). There had been an inquest over the
death of Joe’s young daughter, who had accidentally fallen
in the swimming pool at their home and drowned. There
was some paperwork to be signed or something. That was
quite a sad day.
When I eventually came back from Jamaica and resumed my writing,
I did a short serial on the life and times of Dennis Brown, so hopefully Joe
Gibbs’ hospitality was well spent. Joe Gibbs himself was a generous, kind-
hearted guy but one who didn’t suffer fools and was obviously a clued-up
businessman. He was more of an ‘executive’ producer on many of his
tracks but he certainly had a good commercial ear. He was always
astute enough to have the best people work with him – in Errol T.,
he certainly found a reggae genius, someone who during my stay
taught me a lot about sounds and feeling and ridims and dub.
Sadly, Errol passed away just four years ago from a
stroke. He was one of the finest people I’ve ever met.
So, with Joe Gibbs now gone from us, the Mighty
Two are no more - I am sure they will be making
some heavyweight dubwise bizznizz in Paradise
in any case. R.I.P. Joe Gibbs – a man who
one way and another has made
such a difference to my life.
Your music will live on.


JUNIOR MURVIN – Cool Out Son - (cool is definitely the word) BOBBY MELODY – Jah Bring I Joy – (a UK No.1 reggae smash) JACOB MILLER – Keep On Knockin’ (12” of BLISS) SNUFFY & WALLY – Dreader Mafia (BIG version) PRINCE FAR I – Under Heavy Manners (still sounds incredible)

CULTURE – This Time (a RAVERS delite)

DENNIS BROWN – How Can I Leave (my favourite of all)

MARCIA AITKEN – I’m Still In Love With You

TRINITY – John Saw Them Coming (what a tune) DENNIS BROWN – Love Will Find Its Way (PURE class) RUDDY THOMAS & TRINITY – Every Day Is Just A Holiday (a 100 Club classic)

(TOTAL ravers party classic)

words: MICHAEL KRASSER Brother Stevie and Herbie were at it. Kraftwerk spoke of a technocratic
words: MICHAEL KRASSER Brother Stevie and Herbie were at it. Kraftwerk spoke of a technocratic


words: MICHAEL KRASSER Brother Stevie and Herbie were at it. Kraftwerk spoke of a technocratic utopia

Brother Stevie and Herbie were at it. Kraftwerk spoke of a technocratic utopia with it. Egyptian Lover would have sworn it was handed down by some “freaky” Pharaohs, and rappas-ternt-sangas T-Pain and Akon couldn’t live without it. The magnificent Vocoder and its lo-fi brethren, the Talkbox, have been responsible for a range of robotic vocal effects from sci-fi tv series to ‘80s synth funk and sleazy R&B slow jamz and still refuses to die.

The Vocoder, the undisputed ‘Mr Roboto’ of vocal processing, started life as a speech coder in the ‘30s and was used during WWII for encrypting secret communications. However it wasn’t until savvy synth nerds Wendy Carlos and Bob Moog tweaked the primitive vocoder that its musical application became apparent. From there it was featured on a number of heavyweight recordings, including the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Vocoders saw a lot of work in the sound effects labs of kitsch sci-fi TV programs. The tin- foil robots of Battlestar Gallactica famously had their vocals processed through a ring modulator and an EMS Vocoder 5000. Elsewhere, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop transformed metal dustbins into terrifying Daleks in Doctor Who. But German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk were the first to pick up the vocoder baton in pop music and run with it, utilizing it to great effect on their techo-utopian: ‘The Robots’, ‘The Numbers’ and ‘Trans Europe Express’. These Teutonic futurists would in turn cause

a riot in underground black music, inspiring

Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker to create ‘Planet Rock’. With its vocoderised chorus:

“Rock, Rock, Planet Rock”, it was a defining moment in hip hop. This was the ‘80s, the era of

all things high-tech and futuristic: NASA launched the Challenger missions, youths bashed away at Pac-Man, dodging ghosties and gobbling up pills to repetitive electronic music, dancers flexed like C-3PO and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’ sounded anything but from this planet. Staples

of the electro scene Cybotron, Mantronix and

Man Parrish would also dabble with the world

of vocoder processing, until another toy would

come along and steal its crown, the Vocoder’s slightly rougher, ghettoer cousin – the Talkbox. The Talkbox could manipulate an instrument,

like a guitar or keyboard, with the artist singing directly into a plastic tube to produce vocoder- like effects. If Moog realised the vocoder’s musical application, then it was Roger Troutman

of Zapp, inspired by Stevie, who realised the

Talkbox’s potential for pleasuring ladies and pocket calculators alike. ‘Computer Love’ would pack enough Talkbox sleaze to make a TOMY omnibot cum in its bakelite panties. Outfits like Egyptian Lover also have to be credited for taking the asexual vocoders of Kraftwerk to the seedy realm of synthetic porno-land on top a bed of pounding 808’s. The added processed heavy panting and xxx-rated antics only made it the more obvious: “Egyptian lover baabaayy.” These slick ’80s synth funk productions would influence the development of West Coast

hip-hop and G-funk. In fact, try to think of an act

in the ’90s that didn’t use one: Ginuwine on ‘My

Pony’ (with Timbaland at the controls), Dr Dre,

2pac, Blackstreet and Teddy Riley, DJ Quik

list goes on. Since then, the humble Talkbox has become a staple of R&B production, spawning

a countless drove of robotic porno smash hit

singles. Snoop Dogg’s recent foray into the land of digi-funk with ‘Sensual Seduction’ brilliantly satirizes the glitz and glamour of the ’80s, with Snoop brandishing a keytar, Talkbox and ridiculous Soul Glo perm that would have had Rick James saying “Cocaine is one helluva drug.” In the ’00s pitch-correcting software like Antares Auto-Tune can now be pushed to produce vocoder-like effects. Take a listen to any Akon and T-Pain release and you’ll hear more then a liberal dash of it. Tone deaf pop stars can also depend on these nifty little plugins to do the actual work for them, elevating the worst of piss poor vocal tracks to the heights of pitch perfect perfection. Kraftwerk too have ditched the vocoders in favour of speech synthesis like Stephen Hawkings. ‘Numbers’ doesn’t sound nearly as kool these days, but at least they can tour the former USSR without setting off tactical nukes and power plants. So does the future of the ‘robot voice’ look bleak like the opening scene of a Terminator film? Hardly. Whether artists use the OG analog gear of the past or updated digital formats , the legacy of robotic vocal processing can still deliver shocks to the core of Planet Rock. Rock, rock on.



Public Enemy performs It Takes A Nation of Millions Brixton (May 23), Manchester (May 26), Glasgow (May 27) Movement : Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, 24-26 May, Newcleus, Egyptian Lover, Carl Craig, PBW, The Cool Kids, Pete Rock Venn Festival, Bristol, 5 – 8 June, Matmos, Afrikan Boy, Fly Lo, Heliocentrics, Murcof, JVC Jazz Festival, New York, 15 – 28 June, A Tribute to Alice Coltrane, Jill Scott, Cecil Taylor, Sergio Mendes, the Mos Def Big Band (with Gil Scott-Heron) MCs for Life Conference, Birmingham, UK, 28-29 June, with Black Thought, Lord Finesse, Ursula Rucker, Tumi, Rototom Sunsplash, Udine, Italy, 3-12 July, Ken Boothe, Queen Ifrica, Cocoa T, Jah Cure, Collie Buddz and Beres Hammond; Worldwide Festival, Sète, France, 3-5 July, Cinematic Orchestra, Henrik Schwarz, Pilooski, Benga, Little Dragon, Simbad & Gillesy P. Lollapalooza, Chicago, US, 1-3 August, Radiohead, Battles, Sharon Jones, Kid Sister, Cat Power Flow Festival, Helsinki, 5- 17 August, Martha Reeves, MGMT, Five Corners 5tet, Ame, CSS Kemp Festival, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic 22-24 August, The Roots, Pharoahe Monch, eMC, Mr. Lif & Akrobatik Electric Elephant, Croatia, 22-24 August, Radioslave, Zed Bias, Adem, Quiet Village Tokyo Crossover Festival 22 September, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Jazzy Sport & surprises.

Kyoto Jazz Massive, Jazzy Sport & surprises. 6 Words: CAL JADER Pic: Dante Ruiz Sweeping back


Pic: Dante Ruiz
Pic: Dante Ruiz

Sweeping back onto Latin dancefloors, the folkloric music from the northern coast of Colombia has made something of a resurgence of late. Whether it’s the scratchy original records getting plays at underground tropical parties, or new Latin producers mashing up Cumbia and Vallenato with Reggaeton and electronic beats, the rhythms of Colombia are irresistible. But from downtown L.A., Very Be Careful offer a very different proposition. Instead of trying to update the songbook, they’ve gone back to the roots, playing Colombian Vallenato in its original and purest form, but somehow managing to make it instantly accessible with their visceral live performances. “We don’t fit into the L.A. music scene really”, explains Arturo Guzman, bass player in the band who, along with his accordion-playing brother Ricardo, grew up listening to his parent’s collection of Vallenato records. “Because we play this classic form of music, we probably wouldn’t even fit into the Miami Florida scene. There you’ll find other Vallenato bands, but most of them play a post-’70s style. And while there are no Vallenato bands in L.A., with the amount of

Spanish-speaking people and the strong Latino scene there, anyone playing danceable Latin music stands a chance of developing a following.” The birth of Vallenato as a musical form came about roughly during 1950s. Its instrumentation tells you all about the history of the music, with the rhythm section consisting of the Caja drums that originated with the slaves arriving from Africa, and the Guacharaca, an indigenous instrument that makes a scraping noise. As a way of leading the melodies the European Accordion has replaced the Colombian Flute, while the vocal melodies are specifically Colombian with the troubadour, the lead singer, adding a storytelling element to the songs. During the 1960s in Valledupare, the city where Vallenato originated, they began a festival that knighted the “accordion king of the year”. It’s a tradition that still lives on to this day with the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez as one of the festival’s judges. Initally seen as working class music, Vallenato was later embraced by the middle class and in the 1970s became the soundtrack to the daily life of Colombia’s population. Cumbia has always been Colombia’s main

musical export, but Vallenato was a music of the people. As Guzman explains, “Cumbia was bigger internationally and became the tropical music that other countries adopted, but Vallenato was always very locally specific and the music does not necessarily translate to an international audience. With Vallenato the lyrics are simple, similar to the blues and with folky themes.” Like the Pogues before them, the band have refreshed a very traditional form of music with their raucous style and energy. After last year’s successful tour it’s clear that the European audiences warm to the music quickly, despite the potential language barrier. “In the U.S. we’d only play in major cities with Latino populations. But perhaps part of our universal appeal is that we have an amazing Caja player (Rich) who gives us a great booty shaking groove”. It’s a deeply addictive groove, so be careful. Very Be Careful.

VBCS top 5 Vallenato tunes

1 PEDAZO DE ACORDEON - Alejandro Durán

2 LA CAJA NEGRA - Rafael Ralencia


4 LA MISERIA HUMANA - Lisandro Meza

5 EL PLEITO - Abel Antonio

MISERIA HUMANA - Lisandro Meza 5 EL PLEITO - Abel Antonio In the little town of

In the little town of Funkadelicville, just a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle, Kissey Asplund packed just her pink bird earring and her Kissey- coloured pumps and set off on her SomeWhatStrange adventures. Riding in her funk-buggy, the first port of call was Amsterdam where she connected with soundscientists O Boogie, Sotu and Nalden. Like a 21 st century Jason and his Argonauts, Kissey was collecting the most swarthy and hench beatmakers for her funky space mission – to slay Lord Darkness and repopulate the galaxy with soul flowers. In France she stayed with the Papa Jazz swordsmen and slung down ‘I Would Do’ and ‘Entrapped’ onto tape; in the UK it was the turn of the Kid Kanevil and Andreya Triana who taught Kissey a lesson in time manipulation; in California she chilled with the hooded Blackmonk in Pasadena, and impressed people like Take and Ras G when she grabbed the mic and started casting powerful spells over a SIDplayer beat. “It’s addictive to sing on a beat and feel that you nail it. It makes your chest all warm and your body

vibrate as if your body’s extended and melting into floors and oxygen. It’s sick I tell you… it’s like standing

on a hill and screaming

none of the exhaustion,” says Kissey. Having completed her intensive training,

imagine all the energy but

Kissey was now prepared for battle. So when she encountered the Lord Darkness, the destroyer of worlds, in the dusty Texas desert, all Kissey had to do was use her new powers. Wearing silver-metallic leggings, silver-metallic jacket and a motorcycle helmet on her head, when Kissey opened her mouth and began to sing, the music was too sweet for the ears

of Lord Darkness who transubstantiated into a beetle

and scuttled away.

Some of Kissey’s sonic experiments have already landed their way onto vinyl, and now with the arrival

of her Plethora long-player, like a meeting between Sy

Smith’s Syberspace Social and the lost beat tapes of

A Touch of Jazz, the first chapter in the Kissey saga is

drawing to a close. The battle may be won for now, but

the road ahead is long and peppered with obstacles. Where will she be called next? Will Lord Darkness be so easily defeated next time around? And will she be able to harness the powers of the pink bird earring? Find out in the next episode of the Somewhat Strange Life of Kissey Asplund.

PLETHORA LP (R2 Records) MOVE ME/99Bottles 7” (Recordbreakin’) BLACKMONK 7” (Poo-Bah records)

WORD POWER D OM S ERVINI heads to Bedfordshire, once the home of underground jazz


WORD POWER D OM S ERVINI heads to Bedfordshire, once the home of underground jazz band
WORD POWER D OM S ERVINI heads to Bedfordshire, once the home of underground jazz band

DOM SERVINI heads to Bedfordshire, once the home of underground jazz band leader Glen Miller and anti-establishment Christian author John Bunyan, to catch up with two of its less racy celebrity residents – record label bosses Dave ‘Shifty’ Farlam and Dom ‘Domu’ Stanton.

SHK: Bedfordshire. Reasons to visit? Shift: Speaking for Leighton Buzzard, we have some great charity shops, the countryside is pretty impressive, and we probably have the tastiest kebab in the country. Dom: It’s cheaper than London! We also recently acquired a Primark so I can buy all the same cheap designer jumpers as anyone in a big city – although I have to go to Milton Keynes to shop at H&M.

SHK: Where did the TrebleO name come from? Shift: The idea came whilst waiting for a bag of chips from my local takeaway. SHK: I’m starting to worry about your diet Dave! Shift: Like when Prince changed his name to that symbol. It was as much to do with the three circles as it was to do with the name.

SHK: The Ben Mi Duck single seemed to come out of nowhere? From which musical pond did you fish out this talent? Shift: I read about it on the 4hero message board and found Ben swimming about on MySpace. I sent him a message about the song and he told me that he was blown away by our support as no one had approached him about it. There are all these people out there making amazing music but there’s a real apathy to putting anything out from unestablished artists.

SHK: What’s coming up for TrebleO this year? Shift: We have releases from The Sub Ensemble and Halflife who are two wicked live jazz bands from Birmingham, hip hop beat-tapes from JJ Suave, AD Bourke and Varan, plus a straight up mad take on hip hop from Domu and myself under the name Spartial Jefferson. Then there’s our compilation of new bits called Here Comes Treble.

SHK: As an independent label in a rapidly changing market place, how do you feel the technological revolution has affected your imprint? Dom: There’s the speed and ease and relative

cost free element to a digital release, using message boards to hype up a release, and the digital and internet radio stations. It has made us think twice this year about physical output. Shift:

Another big change now is that kids don’t have to save for months or years to get themselves

a little studio together as they can get hold of music software and do it all on their computer in their bedroom. Quite often it’s these people, making the music at home without any plans to get

it released, who are making the most exciting stuff. The accessibility that people have now to new and old music is incredible.

SHK: Give us your top musical and comedic influences. Shift: Comedy-wise, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and The Mighty Boosh – anyone who can make a joke out of a reference to an obscure jazz- fusion record is worthy of respect. And musically, I’m gonna say DJ’s such as LTJ Bukem, James Lavelle and Coldcut for creating their own movement. Dom: I’m slightly obsessed with all surreal or satirical comedy from the ‘50s onwards – The Goons, Monty Python, Beyond The Fringe, The Goodies, The Young Ones, The Fast Show, Spaced or The Day Today. To me the people behind these shows are genuine geniuses. Music – 4hero, massively. Portishead, because I spent the whole of 1994 listening to Dummy. Lastly, but rather obviously, Stevie Wonder.

but rather obviously, Stevie Wonder. SHORTLIST ALEX WHEATLE – Dirty South (Serpent’s Tail)


ALEX WHEATLE – Dirty South (Serpent’s Tail) Similar to Menelik Shabazz’s film ‘Burning An Illusion’, this story of innocence lost follows weed-shot- ta Dennis Huggins as he puts everything on the line for the memory of his best friend. Wheatle’s prose is sometimes messy, but the tempo stays high till the very last.

ARNALDO CRUZ MALAVE - Gay Latin Testimonio (newdirections) The story of Keith Haring’s lover, Juanito Xtravaganza, the handsome street kid who enters a life of first-class flights to Japan and nights at the Mondrian with Grace Jones and Princess Caroline. But his world dissolves when Haring contracts HIV and he’s forced to contend with his own illness.

ED PAVLIC – Winners Have Yet To Be Announced (Georgia University Press) Subtitled ‘A Song For Donny Hathaway’, this collection of prose poems charts the dissolution of Mr Hathaway, plagued by mental illness and committing suicide aged 33. A profound meditation on the fate of the artist, misunderstood by the public, the media and the industry, like D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill and many more besides.



D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill and many more besides. TREBLE MAKERS “I feel that I did not so

“I feel that I did not so much write this book as that this book wrote me.” (Chinua Achebe)

It’s unusual for a book to be honoured with a tribute 50 years after its publication, but Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe’s first novel, is no ordinary novel. Retelling the colonial experience through Ibo eyes, the parable of Okonkwo broke new ground in African literature and continues to inspire; if you don’t like someone’s story, why not tell your own? Achebe was in his late twenties when he wrote Things Fall Apart, taking its title from a Yeats poem, ‘The Second Coming’ (“Turning and turning in the widening gyre, The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”). Now approaching 80, humbled by the outpouring of admiration, Achebe spoke this February to a packed auditorium at Town Hall in midtown Manhattan of his gratitude at the book’s impact, and reminisced how close he came to losing the manuscript after sending the only handwritten copy to a typist in the UK. Acknowledging its timelessness, Colum McCann explained its endurance, “The best books are the ones which speak with voices which we’ve been hearing our whole lives.” (Chris Robinson)

we’ve been hearing our whole lives.” (Chris Robinson) 8 Shift is BEN MI DUCK Most legendary
we’ve been hearing our whole lives.” (Chris Robinson) 8 Shift is BEN MI DUCK Most legendary
we’ve been hearing our whole lives.” (Chris Robinson) 8 Shift is BEN MI DUCK Most legendary

Shift is


Most legendary club night i’ve attended was Union 1 on a Friday in Derby – 1998. Booze, girls and a few hundred fake IDs all under one roof! Working with Dom and

a genuine pleasure. Top blokes

If I wasn’t making music, I’d be

rich. I’d go

straight back in the Forces I reckon. The money’s pretty good n you get to ‘go on tour’ loads

Favourite ever t-shirt

I used to live in a

Jamiroquai one (when they were good). It was dark

blue with light blue writing on. Nigella Lawson wears

a nice one too on her cookery programmes.

One thing that astounds me

is how people can

even listen to chart stuff, when there’s so much quality jazz about.

to chart stuff, when there’s so much quality jazz about. AD BOURKE Most legendary club nite


Most legendary club nite I’ve attended was… 24carat where I played with Daniele Baldelli Working with Dom & Shift is… fast, simple. Make a track, send it over and see if they like

it that’s

good guys. If I wasn’t making music I’d be… a real parrot recreating all the possible sounds from Louis and Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Planet film score. Favourite ever t-shirt… Totti’s AS Roma shirt One thing that astounds me… Parrots and MPCs can do crazy things together.

it. I haven’t met them yet but they seem

things together. it. I haven’t met them yet but they seem JJ SUAVE Most legendary club


Most legendary club nite I’ve attended was… I’ve

only been 18 for a matter

of months. I’m aware that

Electric Chair (RIP) was

a bit of a local legend but

I’m not really qualified to get carried away about it. Working with Dom & Shift is… A pretty bad career move. If I wasn’t making music, I’d be… Addicted to something equally draining on my finances. like Shift and his ciggies. Favourite ever t-shirt… 2003/2004 Deportivo Wanka (Peru) away shirt. It says “WANKA” across the middle in huge lettering. One thing that astounds me… Blimps.


big thanks to Acyde at Nike and Lisa at Puma for the kits.

big thanks to Acyde at Nike and Lisa at Puma for the kits. SOUL ATHLETIC Photography



10Puma for the kits. SOUL ATHLETIC Photography MATT CROSSICK Super striker Bev Tawiah (main) and the

for the kits. SOUL ATHLETIC Photography MATT CROSSICK 10 Super striker Bev Tawiah (main) and the
for the kits. SOUL ATHLETIC Photography MATT CROSSICK 10 Super striker Bev Tawiah (main) and the
for the kits. SOUL ATHLETIC Photography MATT CROSSICK 10 Super striker Bev Tawiah (main) and the

Super striker Bev Tawiah (main) and the tactical mastermind Eric Lau (bottom row) have been getting props from all corners, but in the shadows lies Jodi Milliner (middle row, right) who produced Tawiah’s EP In Jodi’s Bedroom and supplied guitar licks for Eric Lau’s classy debut album, New Territories. Then there’s Rahel (top right), who just the previous evening performed an unplugged set of new material. Also coming through the ranks is Tawiah’s lil sis, Annabel (centre), and partner in crime, Meshach Brown (top left), who sounds like a cockney Eric Roberson. And let’s not forget Toisin who’s penned ‘Don’t Let Them’ (it’s a classic); Sarina Leah (middle left) who steps out with ‘Time Will Tell’; and the magnificent Layla Rutherford (top row, middle] bringing all the pieces together. On their current form, the team are looking unbeatable. Are there any challengers to the title? Eric Lau’s New Territories (Ubiquity) and Tawiah’s In Jodi’s Bedroom (Bush Girl) out now.

to the title? Eric Lau’s New Territories (Ubiquity) and Tawiah’s In Jodi’s Bedroom (Bush Girl) out


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TATA GUINES , ORIGINAL RUMBERO Over the past three years, V INCE V ELLA paid
TATA GUINES , ORIGINAL RUMBERO Over the past three years, V INCE V ELLA paid
TATA GUINES , ORIGINAL RUMBERO Over the past three years, V INCE V ELLA paid
TATA GUINES , ORIGINAL RUMBERO Over the past three years, V INCE V ELLA paid
TATA GUINES , ORIGINAL RUMBERO Over the past three years, V INCE V ELLA paid


Over the past three years, VINCE VELLA paid regular visits to Tata in his house in the quiet area of Vedado, Havana. “We always used to have

a bit of rum and a long chat before my lessons. Tata was such a sharp

thinker, an incredible teacher, and we always had a good laugh. He was always so passionate in showing his technique and percussion tricks to his students. ‘Respect the tradition first, la marcha!’ he always used to say. It’s something most percussionists seem to overlook these days. It was very

sad to hear news of his passing earlier this year.” Before the days of Cuban music, congas and bata drums were only used for religious ceremonies. Tata was a santero, whose saint was Chango and whose name in his religion was Calunga Site Rayo. He says that the street was his first teacher. He’d listen to stuff on the radio and try to emulate it. No wonder he had such a unique style. After Chano Pozo, Tata was one of the first congueros to really understand the concept of fusion. According to Anga Diaz, “Tata Guines invented a brilliantly orthodox style – one of the pioneers of tumbadora (conga) and percussions in general.”

VV: Let’s talk about your roots.

Tata: Mine was a really traditional Barrio where people always had an excuse to have a party – fiesta, rumba… We always had so much fun. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, dancers really knew how to follow the rhythms of the quinto. At the time, I remember there was this dancer called Champa. He was the best rumba dancer I ever saw. He’d do these really dangerous moves with a knife between his teeth. He was a real dangerous dude. At that time there was so much poverty, musicians used to make music with anything

in the streets…pots, wooden spoons. I used to make my own instruments

– a bongo drum out of a milk carton and a salami tin. The first commercial congas produced by LP (Latin Percussion) were actually copies of the drums that I originally designed.

actually copies of the drums that I originally designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU



designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in
designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in
designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in
designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in
designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in
designed. TWENTY FIFTH BIRTHDAY words: SAMERA OWUSU TUTU a lot with Cachao and his band in

a lot with Cachao and his band in 1957 when you recorded the first Descarga ever in Cuba – Cachao y su ritmo caliente. Tata: That album was a real musical statement. I believe you always have to give a message through your music, otherwise there’s no point. Me, Cachao, N. Rivera , Rolito met up one day and in five hours from 4am until 9am recorded the whole thing without writing a single music note on paper. We were all virtuosos and it happened so naturally. Descarga for me is pure improvisation, thoughts evolve in your mind, it’s a musical journey where every musician in order to be on board must be able to express all he knows at the right time. It’s a musical competition where all your weakness and strengths show up.

VV: After your move to NYC, you played in venues like the Metropolitan, Palladium, Birdland with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra… What impact did your new conga techniques have on the American jazz world. Tata: People used to call me El Fifty. I started to modernize the way of playing drums, people were pretty amazed by how I was playing and everyone started copying my style, the range of sounds, the way I used my fingernails as well as my hands. America was musically a great experience but at that time racism was still a big problem and in many ways I felt uncomfortable about it all, so in 1959 after the Cuban revolution I came back home. Things were relatively quiet for a few years, I was teaching a lot at that time and among my students were Anga Diaz, Nino Alfonso, Giovanni Hidalgo, Changuito. Then I got involved in the recordings of the Latin masterpiece Estrellas de Areito which was the Cuban answer to the Fania All Stars in the USA. After that I recorded stuff with other musicians including Anga Diaz, Orlando Valle and Maracas, pianist Hernan Lopez Nussa of Habana Report and my last adventure was Lagrimas Negra (with flamenco star Diego Cigala, piano legend Bebo Valdes and Changuito on timbales).

Against the backdrop of the Falklands War and unemployment levels reaching their highest point since the 1930s, 1982 managed to be an important year for art in Britain. We’re not just talking about Ben Kingsley winning an Oscar for his great turn at Gandhi, nor are we raising glass to the opening of the Barbican Centre. On the tide of London’s ever undulating undercurrent, this was the year that a movement was founded, giving a voice to the disenfranchised and promoting the urban avant-garde. This was the year that Apples & Snakes was born. Apples & Snakes is Britain’s premiere performance poetry organisation. Through its events and workshops, the organisation has provided a platform for emerging artists, whether it be the girl next door with a story to tell and looking for an outlet, or a group of more established performers looking for a forum to test out new work. In fact, it’s the contributions from the most unlikely candidates that have been the earmark of Apples & Snakes’ success and the key to London’s poetry renaissance. Over the past 25 years, Apples & Snakes has seen collaborations with some serious literary heavyweights. At the Adam’s Arms, where the organisation held residency for 10 years from ‘82, it showcased the likes of Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Moving to the Battersea Arts Centre in 1994, A&S gave the stage a new generation of London talents, like the prolific author Courttia Newland, actress Meera Syal and the ever talented Lemn Sissay. Even internationals wanted a piece, and the likes of Saul Williams have enjoyed airtime on the A&S stage. Poetry was recognised in all forms, and hip hop artists like Ty

and Jonzi D also became an integral part of the organization. With the help of the creatives they champion, the Apples & Snakes collective have been a part of pioneering directions in performance poetry. Take Roger Robinson’s Shadow Boxer for example. Until this project in 2000, the one-man show was a pretty much unheard of. The bottom line

is A&S has proved a true ambassador for London’s poetry scene, always

open to new ideas, forever pushing boundaries. But A&S is more than just about the nights. The collective have given

various groups in different communities a voice through poetry and hence

a presence where there was traditionally none. They’ve spearheaded social

initiatives, including their youth offenders scheme, Respect, and they host workshops to help newcomers develop their own voices. Apples & Snakes continues to make moves at its new home of the Albany, where it has a full calendar of events lined up for the summer. To celebrate their 25 th birthday, the collective have made moves yet again by producing their first CD. This almanac of poetry features legends

like Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, modern griot Malika Booker and spiritual verbalist

El Crisis, alongside the freshest talent London has to offer – Inua Ellams

and Yemisi Blake. For that touch of edge, Roger Robinson and Charlie Dark also hit us with a collabo. In their 25 th year, it’s time to pay attention to Apples and Snakes and the creatives they represent. If you can’t catch a show, make sure cop the CD.

VV: There were lots of nightclubs in Havana in the 1950s. Cuban and American jazz musicians used to play together and you were jamming

Tata died at the age of 77 from a kidney infection. Rest in peace.

at the age of 77 from a kidney infection. Rest in peace. N ’ DAMBI 1


1 4 14

My favorite moments that I committed to tape were shaped around a local Dallas DJ by the name of Ushy (R.I.P). Ushy hosted a radio show on the weekends and he’d play countless hours of funk-driven tunes with the day’s hip-hop thrown in. I’d wait for what seemed like hours for him to play two songs in particular. My tape deck would be ready and set to record. The second I felt the songs creep into his masterful funk mix, my hands couldn’t push the buttons down fast enough. The songs were LTD’s Cuttin’ It Up and Stick It In by Junie Morrison (formerly of the Ohio Players). After I made my cassette, mind you with all the pops in between (with chopped endings because it was a mixed music show and none of the songs played all the way through), I spent countless hours popping, flailing, and jumping around until my neck was sore and I was ringing with sweat! Oh how good music can be ecstasy in its purest form.

See N’dambi live this summer & watch out for a forthcoming album on Stax.

this summer & watch out for a forthcoming album on Stax. Arthur Lipsett was an enigma
this summer & watch out for a forthcoming album on Stax. Arthur Lipsett was an enigma
this summer & watch out for a forthcoming album on Stax. Arthur Lipsett was an enigma
this summer & watch out for a forthcoming album on Stax. Arthur Lipsett was an enigma

Arthur Lipsett was an enigma in 1961 when his first film was released and remains so today. While employed at the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian filmmaker produced experimental short films, directing both the cinematography and the sound. His films provided a social commentary through an unsettling editing technique of splicing discarded sequences and soundbites with his own footage. Influencing the likes of Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas, his legendary montage style also has echoes in latter day socio-political documentary- maker, Adam Curtis and cut-and-paste musician, Cassetteboy. Remastered and released on vinyl by Global A Records, Soundtracks is a reproduction of the full audio recordings of some of his key films. In his seminal work 21-87, for example, found sounds, music excerpts, live recordings and news stories are inter-cut with imagery of contradictory scenes. More than a retrospective, however, the album retains the energy and shifting narratives that weave through Lipsett‘s work. (Gwen Webber)

retains the energy and shifting narratives that weave through Lipsett‘s work. ( Gwen Webber) 15


IG CULTURE傑作!グレイトブラックミュージックアルバム!

IG CULTURE傑作!グレイトブラックミュージックアルバム!








が参加,DOUG CARN「Revelation」のカヴァー、第三幕では,Bilal

Salaamが驚きのファルセットで歌い上げたEDDIE KENDRICKS「

Girl You Need A Change Of Mind」など,彼の音楽愛を感じさせ





グのリリースは少し先の予定です。)(中村) SY SMITH ‘s new album’s called Conflict ( P SYKO ).

SY SMITH‘s new album’s called Conflict (PSYKO). SAMIYAM’s the Rap Beats Vol. 1 is half-man half-amazing. Detroit’s INVINCIBLE hits us with Sledge Hammer (BIG.). HOUSE SHOES comes with Lounging 2:

The King James Version. THE HERBALISER move from NINJA to !K7, while Ninja hit us with a Daedalus album (soon come), 2562 is on some Dutch heavy bass artcore. GASLAMP KILLER’s EP on Shepard Fairey’s label: sitar skankin. Replife sounding good. On the Japanese electronic tip, check AOKI TAKAMASA. Dusty Groove reissue some classic material including DAVID AXELROD and JORGE BEN. Heavy rotation: the AFEFE IKU album on Yoruba. Can’t wait for albums from LALAH HATHAWAY and AL GREEN. On Far Out THE IPANEMAS drop a heavy set from Wilson and da Boyz. THE INVISIBLE brings together Dave Okumu, Leo Taylor & Tom Herbert ( visiblethree). Cop the DARU mixtapes (big respek 2 Marc Mac), David Rodigan celebrates 30 years of radio with Real Authentic Reggae for BBE & ESKA’s LP is on its way via Matthew Herbert’s ACCIDENTAL.

’s LP is on its way via Matthew Herbert’s A CCIDENTAL . 16 SPECIAL DELIVERY FROM


LP is on its way via Matthew Herbert’s A CCIDENTAL . 16 SPECIAL DELIVERY FROM THE


The JAY-Z remix of MAVADO’s massive ‘On The Rock’ on the MISSION RIDDIM looks set to be this year’s big dancehall crossover tune. Since being premiered on New York’s Hot 97 radio station in March it’s been getting rinsed everywhere and ROC-A-FELLA is apparently planning to license it and shoot a video.

The controversial website AUDIOMAXXX, which sold dancehall and reggae CDs and DVDs, was raided and closed down recently by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Many people in the reggae industry seem to be happy about this development, given Audiomaxxx’s reputation for not always being entirely open and honest in their dealings. However, in the absence of a comprehensive, legal download service for new dancehall music and the fact that many new riddims never see a vinyl or official CD release, Audiomaxxx was for many fans often the only way to buy latest the tunes.

Somewhat bizarrely, dancehall star MACKA DIAMOND recently took to the pulpit at a Christian conference called Angel by Day, Monster by Night, to give a talk on bedroom behaviour. The event, at Jamaica’s City of Praise church, was organised by the pastor at the request of his congregation, who according to Macka Diamond’s publicist, “are losing their husbands because they are too timid in the bedroom”! Macka Diamond has also just recorded a track with STEPHEN MARLEY, which is bound to be big.

In other Marley family news, recent reports indicate that LAURYN HILL, mother to several Marley grandchildren through her marriage to Rohan, will play RITA MARLEY in a forthcoming film based on Rita’s 2004 autobiography No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley.

Look out for the first release on DJ /RUPTURE and MATT SHADETEK’s new DUTTY ARTZ label coming soon on 12” vinyl. It features the dubstep influenced work of CAUTO from Barcelona, whose half-stepping Original Nuttah remix is certain to shake numerous speaker boxes in the next few months, and NYC’s Matt Shadetek, who drops a couple of grimey dancehall numbers. One is a remix with vox from Heatwave favourite TANYA STEPHENS, a track guaranteed to do heavy damage on the dancefloor

ESTELLE has conquered the pop charts with American Boy’s disco flavour, but there are some dancehall gems buried on her long player ‘Shine’. The MARK RONSON produced ‘Magnificent’ bumps nicely and features a killer verse from Canadian KARDINAL OFFISHALL. But the real reggae vibes on the album come from the one drop number ‘Come Over’, voiced in Miami with SUPER DUPS of Black Chiney, who have also put it out on 7” on their own label. It’s got a similar feel to their recent ‘Doctor Bird’ riddim and seems sure to be a dancehall hit.


RIKO DAN Mind How You A Talk (The Heatwave 7”) BLAK TWANG & BLACKOUT JA Long Time (Mr Benn 12”) MAVADO & JAY-Z On The Rock (VP Records) ASSASSIN Pum Pum Surveillance (Daseca) ZOMBY Spliff Dub [Rustie Remix] (Hyperdub) STEPHEN AND DAMIAN MARLEY The Mission (Baby G)

For more good vibes from The Heatwave log on to

photo: M. Freeling
photo: M. Freeling
log on to photo: M. Freeling MARTYN ’ S INSPIRATIONS WORDS : Alex Stevenson “Martyn
log on to photo: M. Freeling MARTYN ’ S INSPIRATIONS WORDS : Alex Stevenson “Martyn
log on to photo: M. Freeling MARTYN ’ S INSPIRATIONS WORDS : Alex Stevenson “Martyn


WORDS: Alex Stevenson

Freeling MARTYN ’ S INSPIRATIONS WORDS : Alex Stevenson “Martyn is dealing with dubstep’s groove deficiency

“Martyn is dealing with dubstep’s groove deficiency by making some of the slinkiest, lushest productions around.” So says Kode9, Hyperdub overseer and dubstep visionary who has championed this Dutch producer’s recent “downtempo” output on Marcus Intalex’s Revolve:r label and his own 3024 imprint. Initially garnering props in the DnB scene, Martyn Deykers seems keen to demonstrate both his versatility and indeed his ample production steez, inadvertently giving the dubstep fraternity a well- aimed boot up the arse with a series of immaculately crafted, widescreen, cyclical grooves all of which bump, thump and snap in all the right places, but also glow with a warmth reminiscent of vintage Carl Craig jams. Content to hover on the fringes of the burgeoning dubstep movement, Martyn’s adventures in bruk science continue with much anticipated remixes for Black Pocket, TRG, Ican (of Los Hermanos/ UR fame) and Shut Up & Dance. By way of introduction, here’s a little mixtape compiled by Martyn, highlighting the roots of his inspirations and influences.




4 1 2 3 4 1. Carl Craig: ‘At Les’ [Planet E] I could’ve named 1 2 3 4 5 1. Carl Craig: ‘At Les’ [Planet E] I could’ve named

1. Carl Craig: ‘At Les’ [Planet E]

I could’ve named many C2 tracks but this one

is just a classic in all respects: great melodies,

great beats, wonderful developing arrangement.

A perfect track for any environment, be it a small

intimate club or a huge arena. A key tune from my early clubbing days in small, dark clubs in Eindhoven, Holland.

6clubbing days in small, dark clubs in Eindhoven, Holland. 7 2. Ricardo Villalobos: ‘Que Belle Epoque

7clubbing days in small, dark clubs in Eindhoven, Holland. 6 2. Ricardo Villalobos: ‘Que Belle Epoque

days in small, dark clubs in Eindhoven, Holland. 6 7 2. Ricardo Villalobos: ‘Que Belle Epoque
days in small, dark clubs in Eindhoven, Holland. 6 7 2. Ricardo Villalobos: ‘Que Belle Epoque

2. Ricardo Villalobos: ‘Que Belle Epoque 2006’

[Frisbee Tracks]

I discovered the German techno/minimal

movement quite late, but when I did I was blown

away by some of the Villalobos tracks. I love his very intuitive arrangements and when I heard

him play I completely understood. In ‘Que Belle Epoque’ he brings this kinda French chanson theme to the table which feels a bit out of place

at first, but it proves that you can make any

type of sound work on a 4x4 beat if you’re good enough! Very inspiring music.

3. Burial: ‘Archangel’ [Hyperdub]

My favourite Burial track. I loved his first album but the second one topped it for me. Much has been said about Burial but this is a track that

became a song rising far above the genre it spawned from.

8became a song rising far above the genre it spawned from. 4. Roy Davis Jr.: ‘Gabrielle’

4. Roy Davis Jr.: ‘Gabrielle’ [Large]

Bit of an odd one out in this list, but being a DJ this really influenced me as it’s such a soulful tune yet with a huge bassline and proper beats. One of the instrumental tunes for the 2-step movement back in the day. Always a special moment when I’m able to slip this into a DJ spawned from. 8 4. Roy Davis Jr.: ‘Gabrielle’ [Large] 5. Cesaria Evora: ‘Angola’ (Get Down

5. Cesaria Evora: ‘Angola’ (Get Down Dub by

Pepe Bradock) [Lusafrica] Pepe Bradock is another one of those producers moving on the outskirts of different genres, doing what he does best: making great Pepe music! Beautiful remix for continuous repeat playing on Sunday afternoons. Always a bit quirky, very soulful and rugged and noisy too – just the way I like it.

6. The Other People Place: ‘Eye Contact’

[Warp] Another one for the continuous repeat days, produced by one half of Drexciya. This track has such an uneasy vibe, yet I can’t stop listening to it. Very easy to lose yourself in it and completely forget in what century you are. I discovered this only recently but it deserves its spot in this mix.

7. Model 500: ‘Starlight’ [Metroplex]

Classic track by (for me) Detroit’s most forward- thinking producer – Juan Atkins. Brilliant tracks have very few elements but are executed perfectly and this one is a great example. It still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. I do want to mention ‘Wanna Be There’ by Model 500 as my all-time favourite highway track though!

8. Kenny Larkin: ‘Catatonic’ (Stacey Pullen Mix)

[R&S] A great piece of futuristic Detroit funk, 14 years old (yep, 14). If it came out next month I’d still be all over it. For me this really captures the essence of Detroit techno, that soundtrack to driving on the highway when you see the first big skyscrapers and bright lights of a metropolis in the distance slowly emerging from the darkness.

you see the first big skyscrapers and bright lights of a metropolis in the distance slowly


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words: AL BURTON Illustrations EMEK




Her 1997 debut Baduizm, not only breathed new life into a stale and fading genre, but it marked the arrival of a musical maverick, holstering poetic tales of reality and romance in one chamber and the mystical imagery of metaphysics in the other. She frowned on the industry-imposed standards of beauty, choosing dreadlocked extensions and colorful head wraps over a more popular weave. She spoke of chakras and divinity and she rarely made an appearance without first baptizing the venue with candles and incense. Erykah Badu was not to be overlooked, and more importantly she was not to be forgotten. With the release of New Amerykah Part I (4 th World War), her fourth studio album, Badu does what she does best—she goes against the grain. Rather than re-hashing a timeless and already proven formula, she enlisted the services of an elite group of underground producers and set her sights on new and uncharted territory. The result is a collection of urban classics that blurs musical boundaries. By choosing to highlight the producer rather than herself, Badu demonstrates complexity by subtraction. And keeping with the spirit of the album, we chose to do the same.

Badu demonstrates complexity by subtraction. And keeping with the spirit of the album, we chose to


Badu demonstrates complexity by subtraction. And keeping with the spirit of the album, we chose to


James Poyser


James Poyser Telephone 22 When browsing the list of credited producers on New Amerykah, James Poyser’s
James Poyser Telephone 22 When browsing the list of credited producers on New Amerykah, James Poyser’s


When browsing the list of credited producers on New Amerykah, James Poyser’s name appears only once—alongside co-producer, and fellow Soulquarian, Amir ‘?Luv’ Thompson. As a musician, he also appears on ‘Me’, ‘That Hump’, and ‘Master Teacher’—taking the helm midway through the track,

giving the song a vintage Badu spin. Still, on the surface, his contribution seems minimal. But if you’re even the slightest bit familiar with the celebrated career

of Erykah Badu, then you will also know that perhaps no single producer is more

responsible for her success than James Poyser. Prior to New Amerykah, James Poyser has been heavily involved, both as

a producer and a musician, in every Badu release dating back to her 1997

debut Baduizm. Not only did he help shape the sound so commonly associated with Badu, but he produced the album’s lead single ‘On & On’, which practically catapulted Badu to stardom. He also picked up a Grammy in 2003 for co-writing the Erykah and Common duet ‘Love Of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)’, Yet, in the midst of a beat-driven, minimalist New Amerykah, Poyser’s reduced role is,

at least, understandable. “On this album she wanted a dirtier, more organic underground hip hop sound,” he explains. “So she dealt with cats that brought that sound to the table.” His lone contribution, ‘Telephone’, an important one at that, adds

a certain calmness to an otherwise aggressive album. In conversation,

Poyser’s demeanour seems slightly at odds with that of the other producers on New Amerykah. Where others share, or in some cases admire, Badu’s unique recording process, Poyser’s disposition resembles a sort of earned appreciation. “Working with Erykah is a process,” laughs Poyser. “Erykah’s always going to be an individual and she’s going to work the way she’s going to work. There’s a certain type of artists that gets really, really bad demo-itus. Meaning that whatever it is that they hear, they’re stuck on it. Erykah is that type of artist. She knows what she wants to hear. She wears the producer hat along with the producer. I personally prefer it that way because I like to work with the artist to develop their sound, but a lot of producers like to develop their own sound. If you’re not used to working like that it can definitely jar you.” One change that Poyser did notice in her process was how Badu had become more self-reliant in the studio “She used a laptop and she did a lot of the demos for the vocals right into Garage Band which wasn’t done before.” Appearing just before ‘Honey’, ‘Telephone’ is in many ways a perfect ending to the album. For the waning fan who may have been caught off guard (assuming that such a thing is even possible for a Badu fan) by the edgier musical direction taken on most of the album, ‘Telephone’ delivers the soft melodies and acoustic feel synonymous with her distinctive live sound. But the most compelling argument for choosing this track to close the album can be found in the song itself. “We were in the studio right after Dilla’s funeral and we were working on stuff for the Edith Funker album,” he recalls. “The focus there was more emotional than sonic. It was just feeling Dilla. It was something that wasn’t thought out, it just naturally took place. We were sitting there and we just started jamming and the song just happened instantly.” Just as Dilla’s passing inspired the music for ‘Telephone’, his words served as the inspiration for the song’s lyrics as well. The song was based on a story told to Erykah on the day of Dilla’s passing. “Dilla’s mom told Erykah about one day when he was telling her about this dream he had where Ol’Dirty was telling him to get on a different color bus and giving him directions home,” explains Poyser to the best of his recollection. Though his participation was minimal on this first edition, Poyser anticipates

that things will be different on Part 2. Though unable to confirm his exact contributions for New Amerykah Part 2, he admits that he was heavily involved. “Over the years we cut a lot of other songs that weren’t on this album but will

likely appear on the Part 2.” Besides, there’s also the Edith Funker side-project which unites him with ?uestlove, Erykah, Nikka Costa, Mike Elizondo and Wendy

Melvoin for the greatest funk band you’ve never heard

producing with ?uesto on the forthcoming Al Green album so you’ll be hearing a lot more from this man in the forthcoming months, trust us.

And Poyser is also co-


Master Teacher

trust us. And Poyser is also co- Sa-Ra Master Teacher Their sound could best be described

Their sound could best be described as mysterious, sonically pairing elements more likely to create dissonance than music, with peculiarly placed chords and off-time beats all key components of their sound. And if you found their music challenging, chances are you wouldn’t fare much better with their conversation. Even their name, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, required further explanation. Four years after they burst onto the scene, with a major label deal and a full-length behind them, though Sa-Ra’s visibility has increased significantly, their music remains a mystery to many. But with the release of Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah Pt.1, they fully expect that to change. Of the album’s 10 tracks, half were produced by Sa-Ra, and they are listed as writers on at least one other. Further qualifying their role on the project, Shafiq Husayn, one third of the group, is credited as one of the albums Associate Producers. It’s fair to say that New Amerykah is as much an inauguration for Sa- Ra as it is a re-emergence for Erykah Badu. To some it may seem odd that a recording artist of Badu’s stature would bank so much on a group of producers who, until now, are most known for their work on the underground. To those more familiar with the group, however, the collaboration is long overdue. Beyond the music, both share an apparent affinity for kemetic principles and alternative lifestyles. “We really all like each other,” explains Om’mas Keith, before elaborating in the usual Sa-Ra manner, “the metaphysics and the energies that are surrounding the earth right now—what we’re creating right now and what she’s creating right now—that’s the reason we work so well together. It’s so rare in the industry for you to work with people you really like. She even sleeps in the same bedroom with our kids when she comes to our house.” Although rumored to have been recorded largely on just two tracks, a fair amount of the initial recording for New Amerykah took place at Sa-Ra’s Cosmic Dust Studio. As the name might suggest, they employ a similarly esoteric approach to recording to that of Badu, working with few restrictions and adhering to no specific schedule. “It’s like opening gifts on Christmas morning,” describes Shafiq Husayn. “Your cousins are there because they spent the night and they brought their gifts over too. Everybody opens up their presents only in this case everybody got musical instruments. After you eat

and talk for 12 hours about theories, holistic health, bitches and hoes, then you get in the lab with this understanding and universal agreement amongst everybody that we’re all on the same page. Then we can get to some music. It’s those initial stages that lead up to the great music.”

A self-professed control freak, Badu prefers to be involved in all aspects of her music. Though

she wasn’t always involved in the initial programming, her presence was felt throughout the entire

process. “Sometimes she’d come through and pick a skeletal and other times the beats would get

made right then and there,” recalls Keith.

of paper that doesn’t have any intrinsic value until people collectively participate in using it. That’s why they call it currency, because they put the energy behind it. Badu is the vehicle that produces the energy so she’s always in the fabric or inner workings when we’re getting stuff done.” While most of the Sa-Ra produced tracks on New Amerykah were created through a more “organic” approach, others were the result of an unofficial coalition of artists affiliated with the group. “Sa- Ra has always been a harbor of creativity so to speak,” explains Keith. “A lot of the talent in LA has flowed through us. We had Georgia at the house one day and it just so happened that Badu came through. Georgia was sitting at the Rhodes and it was one of those crazy Sa-Ra nights where everyone was just enjoying the universe and the instruments and Erykah heard Georgia’s song and was loving it. Eventually Badu left town and we kept building on the song with Georgia. It was originally supposed to be on our upcoming Black Fuzz album. Badu kept asking about Georgia and then we were like we got this song ‘Master Teacher’. There are joints that Badu hears and she’s

like ‘I like that song’ and there are joints that she hears and she’s like ‘I love this song.’ She loved that song then she was like ‘I want that song.’” Perhaps the strongest indicator of Badu’s confidence in Sa-Ra is her willingness even to share songwriting responsibilities with them. A prolific songwriter in her own right, Badu isn’t known for using others to express her thoughts. “She’s never written with anyone on any of her previous releases,” states Husayn. “She had to go through some personal things to come to the point where she’d let somebody write for her in the manner that we did. It was spontaneous but at the same time there was structure to it. It might not have the right expression, or the right enunciation. Writing is so personal. That was a big thing.”

“It’s like money,” adds Husayn. “It’s just a physical piece

In addition to ‘Master Teacher’, Sa-Ra made lyrical contributions on ‘Me’, ‘The Cell’, ‘Twinkle’ and

‘That Hump’. Husayn also wrote additional lyrics on the Karriem Riggins produced ‘Soldier’. Though they can’t say for sure what songs will appear on the album’s sequel, they are confident they will have at least one contribution—‘Corners’—a song that was previously recorded by the group minus Badu. What they seem absolutely certain of is the quality of Part 2. Part 2 is the one,” they insist. “It’s like Mama’s Gun on steroids.”

of is the quality of Part 2. “ Part 2 is the one,” they insist. “It’s


Karriem Riggins


Karriem Riggins Soldier 24 “She wrote that song fast,” recalls Karriem Riggins, the Detroit-born producer/musician
Karriem Riggins Soldier 24 “She wrote that song fast,” recalls Karriem Riggins, the Detroit-born producer/musician


“She wrote that song fast,” recalls Karriem Riggins, the Detroit-born producer/musician referring to ‘Soldier’, his

lone contribution (as a producer) to the first installment of New Amerykah. “She was really in a zone. She went in the

studio, wrote it, then I just went in and did some ad-libs

thought it was a rough,” he adds laughing. “But that’s the way it is. I can understand that though. Sometimes you go

in the studio and you do one thing and you feel like you’re

married to it. Sometimes less is more. What you do right there, what happens in the moment, that’s what comes off

best. That’s the type of artist she is. If it ain’t broke…” Riggins describes their in studio vibe as “peaceful,” pointing to Badu’s use of candles and incense to induce

a creative vibe during her recording sessions. For this

collaboration, however, much of the process took place outside of the studio. “I would see her on iChat a couple of times a day and I may send her something. “[On ‘Soldier’] I sent her a one-off beat and she came back with the joint for it.”

On an album where much of the production highlights Badu’s recent foray into a more beat-oriented production,

‘Soldier’ manages to deliver without sacrificing her poignant lyrical musings. Strangely, ‘Soldier’ is the first complete collaboration between the two. “I met Erykah in 1996,” Riggins explains. “I met her through Roy Hargove. I was in his quintet at the time. She didn’t know I produced until I met her again in 1998, through Common. He told her I made beats and so she came to my crib and listened to a lot of my stuff. Since then we’ve been working periodically off and on, going back and forth. She’d send me dope melodies and we finally just started coming together and finishing songs in the past couple of years.” The track’s familiarity goes beyond any references to previous Badu classics. The workman-like drums, the cleverly chopped sample—both conjure memories of the late

J Dilla. Where Dilla’s collaborations with the songstress

on Mama’s Gun were distinctly Badu, ‘Soldier’ is distinctly Detroit. “I learned a lot from Dilla,” Riggins admits. “We shared a lot of the same ideas and I was really inspired by his sound. A lot of producers from Detroit have a certain sound, and I think it just comes from being in the city. Erykah definitely connects to that and she wanted that sound.” Though he’s unaware of the final tracklisting for New Amerykah Part 2, Riggins expects to appear on at least one track. “I did a song called ‘Your Place or Mine,’” he reveals. Without making comparisons he considers the track a return to the Mama’s Gun sound. “It’s really soulful. It puts you in the mindset of that classic Badu.” In addition to New Amerykah Part 2, Riggins also hopes to wrestle an appearance from Badu for the upcoming Supreme Team album which pairs himself with fellow New Amerykah producer Madlib. They’ve certainly gotten off to an excellent start.



American Promise

Sometime during 1976, the year of America’s Bicentennial, Edwin Birdsong and Roy Ayers penned a song called ‘The American Promise’ for RAMP’s 1977 album, Come into Knowledge. It was a finger-popping firecracker, a pick-up line

and a pledge. A coy lyric, “You give it to me, I’ll give it to you” was a suggestion of synergy between the sheets, but there was

a deeper meaning to the track, inspired by Lyndon Johnson’s

1965 speech of the same name that called for equal rights and justice in America. To this day, ‘Daylight’ ‘Come Into Knowledge’ and their remake of Ayers’ ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ have become

definitive classics for a generation of Soul babies, with Erykah becoming the latest in a long line of artists to champion their sound. “Erykah told Roy Ayers that we were her favorite group,” says RAMP’s drummer and bandleader, John Manuel. “He called to say that she was interested in ‘The American Promise’ and I was just on standby to hear the next steps in the process. It was conceivable at the time that we may be doing something with her on that, but he did indicate clearly that she was interested in using the song.” Although RAMP doesn’t collaborate literally, their music

is definitely part of Badu’s backdrop. Having sampled them

before, Badu amps her boombox up several notches not by sampling, but bumping ‘American Promise’ in its entirety as the intro and reprise on New Amerykah Part One. On the track, she’s like Radio Raheem incarnate, saying nothing, but allowing RAMP’s snappy, upbeat track do most of the talking. Snippets of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential speech, the voice of a robot that says, “We love to suck you dry,” and the sound of RAMP vocalists Sibel Thrasher and Sharon Matthews bellowing, “I promise to you, baby, to love you tooth for tooth and eye for eye,” provide the opening for Badu’s passages that rail against the deferral of the American dream. Interestingly, Manuel remembers thinking in 1977 that their song would make a good theme for Promise Margarine. But after hearing Badu’s CD, he is impressed with how she made their song an anthem in its own right. “With the very last song, song number 11, you hear ‘American Promise’ again, playing a little more softly,” Manuel says. “The announcer is saying, ‘We hope you enjoyed your journey and now we’re putting control of you back to you,’ and there’s a countdown and then ‘Honey’ kicks in. It’s interesting the way she did that.” “I’m interested to talk more with her about her concept,” Manuel says, referring to New Amerykah’s next three installments on which, from his point of view, a new RAMP/ Badu collaboration is a distinct possibility. (Mildred Fallen)

Badu collaboration is a distinct possibility. (Mildred Fallen) respek 2 EMEK for the grafix. 1love.

respek 2 EMEK for the grafix. 1love.

Badu collaboration is a distinct possibility. (Mildred Fallen) respek 2 EMEK for the grafix. 1love.






The beat don’t stop. From the marching drums that pounded out a rhythmic backdrop to the American Civil War, to the call-and-response of the African griots, trading life stories over the beat, to the drum battles of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, the sizzling triplet hi-hats of Elvin Jones, the intricate ghost notes of Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Starks underlying James Brown’s messages of black consciousness and radical super heavy funk, as looped and juggled by Kool Herc, then sliced and diced on an SP1200 by Marley Marl Onwards and upwards, the big beat pounds through the pioneering works of visionaries such as the Bomb Squad, Jam Master Jay, DJ Premier, the RZA, Prince Paul, Pete Rock, Diamond D, Madlib, Jay Dilla… The beat is lost and reclaimed from one generation to the next, passed down from the forefathers to the grandchildren, disappearing from living consciousness and then reclaimed, revived, dug from the crate and spun out to a fresh audience… The beat is as old as time itself, and still as fresh as the birth of a new day.

time itself, and still as fresh as the birth of a new day. 2 6 To


To belong to the beat is to take the beat and make it your own, twisting the kicks, snares and

hi-hats, the life blood of the groove, into your own patterns, your own feeling. From skin-stretched toms to rubber MPC pads, the tools of the beat have evolved, but the contact between body, soul and the beat, remains the same.

A new beat generation finds new tools to

communicate across borders, in defiance of traditional physical and linguistic barriers. Close your eyes and imagine Jack Kerouac texting Allen Ginsberg a haiku. Tony Allen sending

Clyde Stubblefield an MP3 of his latest afro- beat creation over AIM. And then consider

the possibilities that our era of lightning-speed electronic advancement has brought to the beat and its many disciples.

In a world where peer-to-peer

communication over vast distances is something we take for granted, where interaction and creative exchange with other artists is only a few clicks of the mouse away, a beat-driven revolution has been fomenting over the last few years, a revolution now in the hands of

dynamic rhythm-mad youngsters the world over, trading bars over Skype and rhythms over iChat. A global, polycultural movement that confirms Rakim’s assertion that “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at”. From Tokyo to Glasgow, from Amsterdam to San Fran, beatmakers who can barely say “hello” in

the language of their peers, tap out a universal rhythm on their beat boxes, the Morse code of the computer generation, logging in to their myspace page seconds later to be greeted with mesage from a distant friend – “feeling your beats.” But the beat itself says more than words ever could. Lost in a loop, snare cracking over- head, deep sub bass emphasising the weight of the floor beneath the feet, off-beat hi-hats

confusing the ear, shrugging the shoulders, whilst the head nods on in silent appreciation… The beat is nothing but a sacrament of the living moment, a moment suspended in time, a personal meditation. The beat is eternal.

“It’s the beat generation. It’s be-at. It’s music with a beat.” Jack Kerouac, “The Beat
“It’s the beat generation. It’s be-at.
It’s music with a beat.”
Jack Kerouac, “The Beat Generation”, 1948.

Reset EP,

mo’ Poo Bah vinyl, FlyAmSam at Dublab, SoulExploration flyers

Kutmah & Frosty, Stop the War, From LA With Love, Brasilintime

unidentified wax, Nobody & Hoseh



Los Angeles is one of the newest world cities – it’s the home of Hollywood’s bubble-gum movies, the genetically-enhanced actresses and the unlikely politicial figures. Yet across the downtown skyline, the million-dollar beaches and the run-down neighborhoods there runs a streak of brilliance that probably misses most natives. I’m talking about the dope shit.

Andrew Lojero (ArtDontSleep): There’s such

a heavy, heavy movement of beautiful art of all

fashions taking place. It’s like…I don’t even have

apartment building, some of the most hard- hitting beats and sounds are being engineered. The outside façade of the building is pretty plain, but once you go inside , you’re greeted by a sizeable courtyard with a built-in stage, a glass cage that houses a 12-foot snake, and eclectic, out-there artwork that adorns the

walls, ceilings and other fixtures. Still, nothing

is as bugged out as what’s coming out of a

barely furnished apartment on the second floor. Samiyam is there, in his room, drinking green tea and playing me beats off his Macbook and

the community that have been keeping the creative cogs moving. Mochilla was behind the Brasilintime and Keepintime experiences that brought together Brasillian and American drumming legends to collaborate with the likes of Madlib, J. Rocc and Cut Chemist. Dublab, a radio collective that dates back to the birth of internet radio, is keeping the concept of the DJ as a selector of sounds alive through their online radio broadcasts and weekly DJ sets all around the city. ArtDontSleep, meanwhile, plays the curious role of being somewhat of a free

word, it’s not even in its prime yet because it’s still young out here. There are so many people, it’s so spread out, so many different folks and


he’s cracking my fucking head. Sam nonchalantly accepts my compliments and tells me a little bit more about the community around him: “It’s

entity in that is not bound to any single medium. The collective headed by Andrew Lojero has hosted parties, organized concerts and released

it’s hard to really know about all of them unless

a lot of people out here all out at the shows.


superb compilation created entirely by L.A.

you can really, really travel around this town. It’s

It’s dope, everybody’s kind of on the same side,

artists entitled From L.A. With Love featuring


beautiful thing out here.

there might be a little competition but people are supportive of someone like me who doesn’t

contributions from Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus,

On any given day you can walk into Poo Bah Records in Pasadena and find Ras G nestled behind the counter, going through records that came in that day, playing his Beat Soup mixes over the shop’s soundsystem. The Rastafarian DJ and producer always keeps an up-to-date mix of beats and compositions by finest beatsmiths on deck (as well as a blunt) and it’s not rare to find those same cats he’s playing digging through the bins at Poo Bah. Cats like Samiyam, Flying Lotus, Take, Ta’Raach and Ras himself

have shit out.” Considering he still hasn’t released his material, Sam is one extremely talented guy. You can just ask one of his neighbors, Flying Lotus, another key player in the Los Angeles beat scene. But Sam and Lotus are just two out of so many. Naming names doesn’t do justice to the

array of artists around the city, but cats like The Gaslamp Killer, Oh No, Blu, Ta’raach, Dibiase, Exile, Nobody, Cashusking, Daedelus and Georgia Anne Muldrow are a taste of what’s making L.A.

Yesterday’s New Quintet, Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Georgia Anne Muldrow.

Andrew Lojero (ArtDontSleep): When we first started it was just, illegal art shows and when I say illegal that’s because we were running them like they were parties. From there I kind of went on my own and started doing parties all around town, warehouses, rooftops, under bridge passes and under mansions. Then last year, it took a brand new route. doing nothing

are just a few of the many creative heads that


music haven at the moment.

but institutional functions. I partnered with

are running around the city creating wonderfully banging records and places like Poo Bah are at the forefront of this movement, pushing beats out to the masses. This quaint shop in Pasadena

There are many influences in the music coming out of the city, but one theory is that part of what is making L.A. thrive is that it’s greatly influenced by Dilla and Detroit. James

Mochilla and Dublab, and we wanted to make ArtDontSleep something legal and tangible for folks. It’s just trying to really make an explosion, or an implosion, happen in Los Angeles in the


the only store in the States that stocks stuff

Yancey spent the last years of his life in Los

music community.

from Japanese powerhouse Jazzy Sport, Beat Dimensions, All City and other progressive and

Angeles and associated and worked with many cats in the L.A. community. The presence

For every individual mentioned here there are

innovative record labels. Poo Bah, besides being

of Detroit transplants like DJ House Shoes,


dozen more that are putting in work trying to

record shop, is actually a label too, and it has a series of 12”, 10” and 7” vinyl releases with the likes of Ta’Raach, Ras G, DJ Sacred, Black Monk, Kutmah, Samiyam and more.


Ta’Raach, Illa Jay, Samiyam (from Ann Arbor), Snowman and DJ Haircut are only helping to solidify that L.A. to the D connection.

create that next sound rather than regurgitating the moment. “The music has been brewing for some time now,” explains Mike the PoeT in his liner notes to From L.A. With Love. “The 21 st

Ras G: I push this beat music to the world. I’ve sold stuff to all kinds of people. Dr. Who Dat? aka Jneiro Jarel’s The Beat Journey, I done sold that to old-ass white ladies. Flying Lotus, I’m selling his shit to old-ass truck driver dudes, Ge-

Flying Lotus : There’s not any kind of party I go to where you can’t hear one Dilla track. Stones Throw is also situated here, so that also has something to do with it, but the way Dilla sounds goes with L.A.; real diverse, but still kind of funky and laid-back. That is the kind of music we like.

century movement in L.A. is a culmination of mojo dating back to the 50’s on Central Avenue and avant garde artists like Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy & Horace Tapscott’s Pan African People’s Arkestra. Central Avenue was once the archipelago of after-hours jazz jam sessions

ology to teachers, just spreading the music. They don’t usually get to hear it, so when do hear

Though Detroit has had its influence, L.A. is

from Pico to Slauson. Now after-hours rooftop parties go off below skyscrapers. In these days


it really fucks they head up. That’s the duty

still unmistakably L.A

The city is bubbling.

of war, rising gas prices, inflation and gridlock,


record stores are closed. You gotta be breakin

the record store, which is kinda why a lot of

The creative output as a collective is pushing envelopes and shattering standards. There

nothing is more healing than good music. The search for something more is driving L.A.

new music to people to have them coming back.


a world of DJ’s, producers, MC’s, artists

musicians and artists.

Every time they get that fresh feeling, like ‘I ain’t ever heard that. Who is that?’ That’s what the

and other creative individuals that seem to be meshing and colliding with each other, creating

record store is about.

fantastic results. Collectives like Mochilla,

Elsewhere, in the Valley of Los Angeles, in a little

Dublab and ArtDontSleep are key figures in

2 8


and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo
(from top left) : Ras G, Poo Bah 12”, Carlos Nino
(from top left) : Ras G, Poo Bah 12”, Carlos Nino
and ArtDontSleep are key figures in 2 8 (from top left) : Ras G, Poo


BD flyer, Lucky Strikes endorsement, 08Bar 12”s.

(from top left and moving on): Beat Dimensions vinyl, what does this button do?, Beat Dimensions flyer,

08Bar flyer, FlyLo at 08Bar, Nod Navigators

at 08Bar & xxxx



Just five stops on the Metro from Centraal Station and you get to Wibautstraat, which is where the new studios of some of the key Dutch beatmakers are currently under construction. When we arrive there late on a cold Monday night, we see Steven de Peven, one half of

store and distribution network. From Wouda’s Dopeness Galore label responsible for the Frank N’ Dank EP, to Faces Records which is about to release their Metro Sampler compliation, to Appletree records with SOTU the Traveller and Louis Bordeaux LPs, to the KS offshoot Nod

explains Yuri, sitting in a cosy café along the

where Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott flew out for one event, while Flying Lotus and Samiyam represented at another. “The first time Lotus and Samiyam made beats together was in my studio when we invited them to play at the Beat Dimensions party,” Yuri adds. “They’d met two

days earlier in L.A. but to see them in my studio

working together for the first time

such a chemistry. They’d been smoking blunts all

there was

grafix and fly-posters, and up the goods-lift where

Rednose Distrikt, in the lobby, loaded with planks

Navigators, a series that’s featured INT, Tom


wood on his shoulders. We lend him a hand,

Trago, Mweslee and has just dropped the hotly

up six long flights of stairs, to the new studio space where the planks will be laid out to make

-awaited Javanse Jongens… the list goes on. While in the Dutch pop charts, hip hop

day, and I was there, passed out in the corner!”


second-floor which should, in theory, keep the

outfits such as Pete Philly & Perquisite and

Just the previous Friday, Tom Trago and

noise out. In Abbey Road studios, it’s said that the Beatles put seaweed between the separating walls as sound insulation, but the Rednose crew are determined not to be outdone. “Seaweed? Doesn’t that smell after a while? Maybe we’d be better off using muffins? Or pancakes? Or how about Stroopwafflen (Dutch caramel waffles)?” wonders Steven. “At least they’ll be more tasty than foam.” Located in the former headquarters of the

Opgezwolle have found national acclaim, on the instrumental tip there’s been a groundswell of popularity, prompted by releases like the Nod Navigators series, the 08Bar 12”s from Tom Trago and the heavy Beat Dimensions compilation, put together by Jay Scarlett and Yuri aka Cinnaman. “I met up with Jay three or four years ago,”

Singel canal. “He came out to Amsterdam for

Yuri had their first live show up at Club 11. Located on the 11 th floor of this high-rise former post office building, to access the club have to pass through a long corridor blasted in spray

sweaty ravers continually stream in and out from. With massive projections hanging down from the high ceilings, and breath-taking views over the glimmering city, the place was tight with anticipation as Yuro & Trago took the stage with

daily newspaper De Volkskrant, the Wibautstraat


couple of days along with Morgan Spacek.


set that was an interstellar nightflight into the

studio space has quickly filled up, and has a


was then that we came up with the idea of

current waiting list of 3000 hopefuls. You might peep designers painting cartoons in one office, architects behind their drafting tables in another, or dance-troupes practicing in the studios on the ground floor; but on the 5 th and 6 th floors, the

doing something with this stuff we were playing, because not a lot of the music was coming out. There was the Raw Fusion compilation, The Sound of LA had just come out… and obviously now we’re getting more releases and the sound

Detroit sound. Suffice to say, the spot was extra hot.

But it’s not just in Amsterdam where you’ll find any number of parties to check out on a weekly basis or freestyle jams such as 08Bar at

space has been taken over by red hot & Dutch


growing. This music that was mostly on

the Duivel, or deHop, a night where an emcee, a vocalist and a grafik artist get together to create

musical talent. Directly below Rednose’s studio is


finished 12” over the course of the evening.

Tom Trago (“the Dutch answer to Flying Lotus,” we’re told), a beatmaker whose 08Bar nights have brought a fresh crop of artists together, making live beats on the MPC, or bringing their CD-Rs directly from the studio to play out on the night. Then at the end of the corridor, where smell of the sweet herb wafts, is Dutch hip hop veteran INT rehearsing in the studio with emcee Melodee; while in the basement there’s Kid Sublime burning the candle all day and night. The Dutch love of beats can be traced back to the seminal Fat Beats store, which closed in 2006 but was where many of the key players used to work. Melodee used to work there, as did Steven from Rednose, and Gee who has now

myspace, the idea was to bring it out to people who are not on myspace. That’s how Beat Dimensions was born.” Featuring contributions from across the world – Super Smoky Soul from Japan, Up Hygh from Sweden, Hudson Mohawke from Glasgow, Mweslee from Spain, Black Pocket aka Steve Spacek – the compilation confirmed that this music had brought together people with the same interests and the same vision across the planet. “That’s what I really liked about Beat Dimensions. Whereas The Sound of LA had just focussed on Los Angeles, we wanted to show

that it was an international hook up. There’s so many people born in ‘82 or ‘83, born around the

From the town of Deventer hail Javaanse Jongens, a group of producers featuring Louis Bordeaux, and lest we forget Nicolay who comes from the south of the Netherlands and has created hands-down some of the finest hip hop instrumentals in recent years. See, the Netherlands is a country where Madlib is just as popular as Lil’ Wayne, and it’s reflected in the music that comes out of the country, whether in the popular Dutch hip hop groups or the more underground beatmakers we’ll be hearing more about in months to come. Keep your ears to the ground.

set up Patta, a store selling high-end sneakers.

time that hip hop started, doing almost the same thing in 2008. All from the same generation, into

But these days, a whole new generation of

the same things, but from all around the world.”

artists and labels have emerged, in tandem with the Kindred Spirits label and the Rush Hour

Besides the compilation, Yuri has been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night,

been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour


been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour peeps
08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour peeps
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour
been promoting a regular Beat Dimensions night, 30 08Bar’s O Boogie, BD 12”, Rush Hour


Lucky Me billboard, Heralds of Change 12”, Summel

Puzzles sleeve, LuckyMe red-I, Joe from Ballers.

(left and right and up and down): Hudsom, Lucky middle, All City 7x7

Mike Slott, Secrets 12”. Medusa



Rolling into Glasgow for the first time, I wondered how I’d recognise the man from online record store Nuff Stylee who I’d arranged to meet at the station. A quick text message resolved the matter: “I’m holding a box of records with your name on it”. A warm embrace and swift tour of the city followed, but no time to go rummaging in Glasgow’s record shops… we had to get ourselves over to Glasgow School of Art for the Baller’s Social Club. Besides, I was already armed with the box of vinyl delights Frank Dubya had handed over – a selection of the cream of the current beats scene, including releases from the Musique Large label in France and Circulations

live show, pummelling pads and tweaking Ableton and Serato. Just a week earlier, he was part of the Beat Dimensions family at the Big Chill Bar alongside fellow Heralds of Change member Mike Slott. Contact over the inter-waves with Cinnaman and Jay Scarlett had seen Hudson Mo’s ‘Trace’ included on Beat Dimensions Vol.1, whilst across the Atlantic further connections with Andrew Meza and his BTS radio show meant Heralds of Change records were getting broadcast to beatheads across the globe. In person, despite his imposing frame, Hudson Mo shows none of the boisterousness his beats contain, and he’s a reluctant star, shunning the limelight as much as possible.

out of the Arts School, it’s the LuckyMe inner- circle left standing on the pavement under the glow of the streetlights – Hudson, Summel, Rusty, FineArt and the Ballers promoter Joe Coghill. As we pile into Summel’s car, overloaded with DJs, girlfriends and record boxes, we chat about forthcoming projects from the crew. Like the Heralds of Change album, due later in the year on Dublin label, All City. And the 7x7” Beatstrumentals series also to be released on All City, a project where seven beatmakers across the globe have each been commissioned to release a 7”, with the whole series designed by Summel. “For my own 7” I’m placing two tracks which are essentially like some deep

in Japan. Frank’s taste for beats makes him

Standing outside the Ballers Social Club after

a sterling supporter of a crop of artists, DJs

and producers local to him, moving under the umbrella of LuckyMe, a crew based in Scotland but with international appeal.

his set, he’s in a playful mood, joking about the “dubstep” crowd (i.e. the low male-to-female ratio), and winding up Summel by trying to borrow money. The Ballers nights have provided

techno/acidy stuff but on 33. The whole project is shaping up to be a nice little collectable package,” says Hudson as we make our way through the silent streets of Glasgow. So 2008 looks bright, with numerous live

disdain for following trends, these mostly twenty-

The LuckyMe story began when Edinburgh


base for this extended family to flex their skills

shows, a monthly Samurai FM show, Hudson’s

residents, Martyn Flyn (aka FineArt) and Dominic


front of a local crowd. Past guests include

debut album due to be released by Warp, and

Flanigan (known as Summel) studied together at Glasgow School of Art. Sharing a desire to get more from the music scene, they started an open-mic night at Stereo. Here they met with Ross Birchard (aka Hudson Mohawke) who began DJing there for free, despite having been

Musique Large’s Fulgeance and BTS Radio

host Andrew Meza on his flyby visit to Scotland. Tonight, though, it’s Warp’s Vex’d and Clark headlining. The Ballers seems much like any other student night, until you hear the sound that

LuckyMe’s first vinyl release, Oops, heralding the collective’s transition to a label. With a

somethings have maximised their resources rather than relying on expensive software, plug- ins or interfaces. Summel sums it up: “Purist

DMC finalist at the tender age of 15. Together, Summel and Hudson Mo started Surface Empire, one of the many LuckyMe collabs, releasing an EP back in 2005 and since gaining


rumbles out of a monstrous rig, a tower of homemade speakers reaching up to the ceiling. “It belongs to one of the local reggae soundsystems,” Summel tells us. Alongside

about anti-purist equipment – that’s our attitude. Our music is underpinned more by a style or idea than real trickery of equipment”. Gazing out on the train back to London, past

rep as the “go-to” guys on the Scottish hip-hop circuit, getting the crowds hyped for everyone


Hudson Mohawke on the bill tonight is another LuckyMe member, Rustie, whose askew blend

the stark Scottish coastline, I started planning my next trip north of the border for LuckyMe

from Roots Manuva to Methodman.


electronics and dubstep has caused a stir


maybe the next Ballers Social Club with

The first time my path crossed with Hudson and Summel was at the immense Black Pocket album launch party at London’s Plastic People

following his Jagz the Smack EP. Clad in camo- patterned neon, Rustie has the crowed super- charged, dropping his latest gem, a rework of

Milanese v. Landstrumm or Mweslee at the Triptych festival?


June ‘07. On that occasion Hudson Mohawke

Zomby’s ‘Spliff Dub’, out on Kode9’s Hyperdub:

left Steve Spacek and peers clamouring for reloads, as he worked his way through a firing

for reloads, as he worked his way through a firing 32 “P-p-put da evil away!” By


“P-p-put da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters

da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3
da evil away!” By the end of the night, as the crowd filters 3



The vogue for beatstrumentalism has a long history in UK club

culture. In the late 80s, Soul II Soul delivered a thumping bass to

a smiling race. Then came the hydro skank of Massive Attack and

Tricky, the rare groove of Young Disciples, the hip hop of Pogo and


Mell’o, the sample-heavy records of Reinforced, then labels


Mo’ Wax and Ninja Tune.

In the ‘08, these artists have become mentors. Tricky set up his Brown Punk label in Bristol, and over in London Attica Blues frontmen Tony Nwachukwu and Charlie Dark have schooled a new generation in the art of the MPC. In East London, catch nights like CD-R, House Party, Shhhhh and Deviation where you can this next generation live n direct.

Hot on the heels of PAUL WHITE’s 7”, the next material Alex

Chase’s label ONE HANDED MUSIC comes from BULLION whose Pet Sounds: In the Key of Dee mixtape was one of the unreleased finds of 2007, getting repped by DJs across the globe. Out of Acton, Bullion featured for a beats-focused night at Cafe 1001 off Brick Lane run by ARCHITEQ (aka Sam Annand), Architeq moved down from Dundee to London and now has his first EP available from TIRK RECORDS. Tom Giles aka CLAUSE FOUR was spinning records on the same bill and his Blue on Blue EP is out on DC RECORDINGS. Reflecting on the London scene Clause Four adds “there are quite a few of us ploughing the same furrow - some people have called the music post-Dilla, but though we

all like his music, it’s not the driving force, just a shining example of how good instrumental hip-hop can sound”. DC RECORDINGS on Portobello Road also house KELPE, whose second album Ex- Aquarium includes ‘Shipwreck Glue’ flirting with a sound similar to Architeq. For the most part, though, Kelpe leans toward

the ambient works of Fourtet, Brian Eno or Boards of Canada,

influences that have also shaped LUKID’s music. A Londoner from Archway, Lukid’s debut album and EPs (all on WERK RECORDS) have received much deserved praise and are filled with frequencies flickering in and out at a leisurely pace. One of the capital’s most colourful nights Lookout! hosted

the UK visit of Maryland ‘Low Budget’ cats --Kev Brown, Oddisee

& OlivierDaySoul -- alongside London beatmaker & MC, TRANQILL.

Lookout! features the DJ skills of ALEXANDER NUT, who moved down from Wolverhampton six years ago and has established

a key show on Saturday afternoons on Rinse FM. Dabbling in

production as well as holding down the Mixed Nutz show and residencies around town, Alex Nut was the first to give UK airplay to FLOATINGPOINTS, a man with a classical background and involvement in “non-beats” projects which adds to the breadth of his sound. Look out for his Little Dragon remix. Nut’s flatmate FATIMA has also been making waves. Originally from Stockholm, Fatima stepped up to the mic on the same night where Hudson Mohawke wowed the crowd at the Black Pocket party. Vocally equipped to flip her skills in whatever style she pleases, Fatima recently went to Cameroon for the British Council’s Bring The Noise concert, invited by IG Culture, a man who has always delivered sumptuous sounds at what ever style or tempo he messes with. As is the way internationally, all these artists support each other, sharing tracks and swapping remix and voicing duties to further spread their sounds. (Ben Verghese) 34 READ THE LABEL FRANK DUBYA (NUFF STYLEE) RUNS DOWN HIS





Bordello-digi-funk from Paris featuring the ghetto slap of Ghislain Poirier (‘La Ronde EP’), Fulgeance’s electro-funk-makossa (‘Chico EP’) and Debruit‘s genre booby-trap/minefield (‘Coupe Decale’)…One size fits all!


Tokyo ‘onjin’ Dai San spreads love by CIRCULATIONS. Interstellar p-funk fractures (Reggie B - Go), afro cosmic sonnets (Muhsinah – Pre.lude), broke soul excursions for organ & mpc (Onra & Byron - The Big Payback) and post ‘Golden Era’ atmospherics for widescreen (Super Smoky Soul - Cycling)… Breathe in & let it Circulate.



Dorset doesn’t have a reputation for being on the pulse of 21st Century sounds however JACKHIGH is doing his darnedest to amend that, making melodies twirl amongst crunching beats. From a Bournemouth base he has scattered his sounds across the Net, notably 14 tracks of mixed-BPM unreleased pleasure, for those quick enough to bag it, in his Interplanetary Thoughts offering. Jackhigh was pressed onto vinyl last year, featuring on both volumes of German label UP MY ALLEY’s Beatnicks EPs, along with Deutschmen HUBERT DAVIZ and fLako. Vol.1 of the said series also contained ‘Melonball bounce’ a playful tune packed with dopeness by Sofian starlets 1000names. These Bulgarian beatmakers take things further dropping their own heat with six tracks on Worth Making A Noise About (EKLEKTIK RECORDS) including ‘Ice is the Silent Language’ co-produced with Jackhigh. Comprised of a two-man team--drum maestro Casio Blaster & 99 Mistakes--1000names’ DJ sets and mixes are another source of musical delight, tRUEradio have been beneficiaries and their Phono Doowop mixtape can be found on Monotape, the web space of Istanbul’s champion of the beats, ONUR ENGIN. (Ben Verghese) BTS & PIECES Andrew Meza’s BTS Radio has set the


Andrew Meza’s BTS Radio has set the international standard, always showcasing the hot talent long before others start jumping on the bandwagon. With the radio show a focal point for listeners from Tokyo to Tashkent, Mez has become the undisputed champion of the beats.

Who’s your musical family? Who do you move with? Ques aka The Illlord of LCP United. That’s my partner in crime and the other half of BTS. As far as musical family – man, it’s worldwide!

so much music in my week, I wanted my show to

be a representation of that. I’m not sure when

I started to notice this new generation. Had to

have been early 2005 when I was introduced to Lotus and Samiyam. After that, everyone seemed to come out of the fog. I feel like there was a point where my show was the home for this particular sound. No one had been talking

about it yet. No compilations, no deals, no media.

I think people were anticipating something new

and kept tuning in to hear this out-there kind of shit. The show really took off around then.

A few songs that mean a lot to me are…

Anything by The Beatles. Lennon/McCartney are the greatest song writing duo ever. Dilla’s work has always been a huge inspiration for me. And those East LA jams – growing up and listening to my dad play stuff like Santana, Azteca, William Devaughn, Al Green, James & Bobby Purify

A few films that mean a lot to me are… Star

Wars for shaping my childhood. The films of Alfred Hitchcock. Tarkovsky’s Solaris. De Sica’s Umberto D. Alien. Scorsese, Kubrick, Wilder, Spielberg, Burton. Anything with Barbara Stanwyck. Film inspires nearly as much as music does. I find a strong connection between what’s going on in music now and the movements that happened in France during the New Wave and in America with New Hollywood. It was a separation from the standard and an embrace for the experimental and independent. I see people like Flying Lotus, Samiyam, Mike Slott, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Ras G and Jneiro Jarel as the Kubrick, Scorsese, Coppola, Truffaut, Goddard of our time – creating that signature unique to the things that surround us and define who we are.

Is there such thing as a new beat generation?

There’s definitely a new generation of music makers. But it has surpassed anything that can be described as just a ‘beat’. It’s more than that. Nothing that I can describe just yet.

Did you have any moment of revelation at any time, a feeling of “Wow – it all connects”? Perhaps the clearest revelation was when Samiyam and Lotus were on BTS. Towards the end of the interview Lotus told me the show was really important to “what was going on” and that he was “glad to be apart of this”. I thought about what he meant, and it just all seemed to gel.

What role did your radio show play & how did the idea come around? The show started in my freshman year in college. As a DJ, I just wanted to test the waters in radio. Because I listen to

What’s interesting is the international angle of all these beat heads, hooked up via the internet… Same people, different places. Yea, exactly – MySpace. We owe it all to Tom. He’s the head of it all.

People seem to be talking a lot about a mid- ’80s mentailty. Do you ascribe to that? It just seems to be that a lot of the people that are the major contributors or designers to this new sound happen to all be around the same

age. Children of the ‘80s. I think our generation more than any other is the most familiar with technology and the effect it has on our lives. Many of us were already in front of a computer screen in elementary school. Technology is just our nature now. It really separates us from the

previous folks

those ‘90s and ‘00s kids. Those are the ones that are going to be making music with their minds, or something.

and to think of the next group

The role of the DJ is… To play whatever they want. But please, get the ladies on the floor.

One thing people think about Meza, but is untrue, is… That I got time to listen to bullshit.

One thing nobody knows about Meza is… I’m a bit OCD– but my place is a mess right now, so I don’t know what that means.

What’s the vibe in L.A.? I wouldn’t know. I’m always stuck in traffic trying to get there.

L.A.? I wouldn’t know. I’m always stuck in traffic trying to get there. 35
L.A.? I wouldn’t know. I’m always stuck in traffic trying to get there. 35


WORDS: GERVASE DE WILDE Tippa Irie MIC CHECK 36 Papa Levy London Posse T e


Tippa Irie



WORDS: GERVASE DE WILDE Tippa Irie MIC CHECK 36 Papa Levy London Posse T e n


WORDS: GERVASE DE WILDE Tippa Irie MIC CHECK 36 Papa Levy London Posse T e n

Papa Levy

London Posse
London Posse

Tenor Fly

MIC CHECK 36 Papa Levy London Posse T e n o r F l y G

General Levy

T e n o r F l y G e n e r a l L

Gervase de Wilde and Gabriel Myddelton of The Heatwave chat with Tippa Irie about his role in the development of dancehall in the UK.

Black music in Britain has always struggled to carve out a niche away from the sounds of the USA and Jamaica. Where soul and reggae were once influential on these shores, their modern equivalents hip hop and dancehall dominate in the 21st century. When we compiled An England Story , we hoped to follow the development of a unique MC culture in this country with a Jamai- can heritage, showing how contemporary styles like jungle, grime and UK hip hop can be traced

back to the evolution of a distinctive British brand

of dancehall music and culture in the 1980s. During our research, it emerged that there

was a specific moment during the 1980s when

a black British, as opposed to Caribbean or

Jamaican, approach to MCing came to the fore. Artists from that era like Tippa Irie and Smiley Culture had an enormous impact on the UK reggae scene and even went on to appear in the pop charts with hits like ‘Hello Darling’ and ‘Po- lice Officer’ respectively. They did so with a new ‘fast style’ of MCing which bubbled at double-time over the slow and skanking dancehall music of the time. There had been a well developed Caribbean

music scene in Britain from the late 1950s on- wards, with djs playing the latest island hits. As deejay culture developed in Jamaica in the ‘70s and ‘80s through the work of people like U Roy, and then stars like Brigadier Gerry or General Echo, so entertainers in Britain would seize the mic at dances to chat over popular rhythms. When they did so they generally imitated their Jamaican counterparts, appropriating or ‘pirat- ing’ the most popular artists’ styles. In his landmark chronicle of dancehall culture in the UK ‘What the Deejay Said’, William ‘Lez’ Henry (himself a renowned dancehall deejay at the time under the name ‘Lezlee Lyrics’) suggests that the dancehall audience in Britain expected to hear deejays who sounded like their favourite Jamaican artists. He even recalls how he was criticised in clashes for sounding too English. But the tide turned in 1983, when a British deejay called Peterkin (or Peter King) came up with a revolutionary new style which was to have

an impact throughout the reggae world. Tippa Irie, whose ‘Complain Neighbour’ is featured on An England Story, recalls its far-reaching reper- cussions. “There was this guy called Peter King – most of the [MCing] styles at the time were kind of laid back, and he created a fast style,” he explains. “Anybody that created something, whether it be me, or Levi, or Peter King, or whoever it may be – we’d all nick it and make our own style off that. So when he came up with this fast style, he chatted it, and everybody there was like, ‘Yeah that’s it!’, and so we all just pinched it. There was me, Papa Levi, Daddy Colonel, Smiley Culture. Everybody wrote their thing – from that time we kind of changed the face of reggae music in England.” Where British deejays had once taken all their inspiration from Jamaica, the tide of influ- ence had turned and artists back on the island were looking to crews like the notorious Saxon Posse from South London, of which Tippa Irie and those he mentions were members. “That was definitely the first recognisable UK dancehall style,” he says. “You had Yellowman, Peter Metro and all these people hearing our sound tapes [recordings of clashes and dances] and chatting our lyrics back in Jamaica. So we changed it around and they were influenced by us for a change.” This influence even extended to Papa Levi having a number one hit both in the UK and Ja- maica with his ‘My God My King’ (also featured), where he engages in some dizzying fast chat, referencing reggae singer Sugar Minott and Brit- ish comedian Kenny Everett in the same breath. With the increasing celebrity of UK artists back on the island, the impact of what was happening in London on developments in Jamaica grew even further. “You’d hear Johnny Osbourne and Junior Reid and people like that singing our styles and using our terminology,” Tippa Irie recalls. “So that was unique because everybody was focused on Jamaica at the time. We came and changed it and sped it up a little and then we kind of inspired people like Papa San, Lieutenant Stitchie

and Professor Nuts and all these people. Then when we went to Jamaica, them guys would come and be like yeah man, it’s you guys that made us write these long lyrics.” The fast chat MCs in Britain changed the flow of ideas and influences from ‘Yard’ to ‘For- eign’. The sound tapes which circulated amongst reggae fans at home and abroad had tradition- ally come from the top Jamaican outfits but now recordings of the likes of the Saxon Posse were in demand. “We created our style and our own identity and people from the Caribbean couldn’t believe that we were from England,” Tippa Irie remem- bers. “They couldn’t believe that this was hap- pening or that these guys come from England, because some people that live in the back of beyond in Jamaica, to them there ain’t people like us in England!” The influence of fast chat is audible in UK music today. It is there in the hyperactive styles of jungle MCs like Skibadee hyping raves over 180 bpm beats or the distinctive double-time flow of UK garage and grime MCs, often tinged with Jamaican patois and references that would be as familiar in Kingston as they are in Bow. But the legacy of the ‘80s pioneers, as Tippa Irie points out, has gone far beyond this country’s borders, or even the Caribbean:

“People like Twista and Bone-Thugs-N-Har- mony have had big hits influenced by the fast chat style. If you think about it, when we were about, who else was really doing it? Who was chatting fast at that time? A lot of these guys now look up to us for what we’ve done to the music. When I meet people like Busta Rhymes and KRS One, who are big artists, they shake my hand, and they shake my hand for a long time. They know. So, I know what we’ve achieved.”

a long time. They know. So, I know what we’ve achieved.” An England Story is out

An England Story is out now on CD and quadruple vinyl on Soul Jazz Records.

know. So, I know what we’ve achieved.” An England Story is out now on CD and





In Rio, the violence of drug gangs is matched only by the antics of a gung ho special police unit, BOPE, who are the subject of The Elite Squad, a film that’s been courting controversy in Brazil and beyond.

Brazil is a nation of contrasts. While the filthy rich get filthy richer and top up their tans on the country’s famous sun-kissed beaches, the poor are left to rot in squalid conditions in the millions of makeshift homes that make up Brazil’s rapidly expanding favelas. These contrasts are no more apparent than in Rio where the glamour of Copacabana beach is overshadowed by the favelas that pockmark the nearby hillside. In these shanty towns rival gangs control the streets and there are constant disputes

over turf, which usually leads to violent confrontations and inevitably bloodshed. The plight

of the favelas’ residents was brought to the attention of a global audience thanks to the

2002 film City of God. However, its success looks set to be usurped by a new film called Tropa de Elite - or The Elite Squad - which Screen magazine recently described as “so hard-boiled it’s practically cast in iron”. It’s the first feature film by José Padilha, who previously directed the acclaimed documentary Bus 174. Padilha’s gritty new crime drama, which recently landed the Golden Bear at the annual Berlin Film Festival, depicts the antics of the elite Brazilian police unit BOPE, who shoot first and ask questions later (if there’s anyone left alive to torture). On its release the film sparked widespread controversy in Brazil due to its portrayal of

a brutal, corrupt police force - it also managed to grab the headlines prior to its release

after bootleg copies of the film began circulating, resulting in millions of people seeing it before its official theatrical release. This bumpy introduction didn’t stop it from breaking all box office records and causing a national debate about corruption that continues to rage. Elite Squad director José Padilha spoke to SHOOK about the film’s origins and its impact on his country.

Where did you first come across the story?

I came across the Elite Squad story - or should

I say subject matter - as I was shooting my

previous film, Bus 174. Bus 174 led me to realise that the police are a big part of the violence problems we have in Brazil, and that for some reason it had been utterly ignored by Brazilian filmmakers. Luiz Eduardo Soares’ book Elite da Tropa [from which the film takes its title] came to being much latter. In fact, it was inspired by an earlier treatment of our screenplay, which I read for Luiz.

What compelled you to make a film about this story? Was there something in it that you could relate to, something that resonated with you? In Brazil, people generally equate the high level of urban violence with misery. There is a lot of misery, so there is a lot of violence. But this is not accurate if you read the statistics of other countries. Indeed, there are many cities that have more misery than Rio or São Paulo, but lower levels of violence. So there is something peculiar to Brazilian cities that turn misery into

something peculiar to Brazilian cities that turn misery into 38 violence. Elite Squad aims to explain


violence. Elite Squad aims to explain why so many Brazilian policemen become corrupted and violent, and the answer is centred in the behaviour of the state. By paying very low wages to cops, by giving them very little training, by forcing them to do very risky jobs, the state creates an environment that generates corrupted and violent cops. And the police force, by being what it is, turns misery into violence very “efficiently”. Making this point is what compelled me to do the film.

It’s been described as the most talked about in Brazil’s history and given the coverage that it has attracted in Brazilian tabloid newspapers, that’s probably not an exaggeration. Have you felt comfortable with the attention that the film has attracted? I have read many fantastic things in the press, and some of them were not very accurate. For instance, not so long ago a famous newspaper called me stating that a cop was arrested torturing a criminal, and that he had a video of the film in his mobile phone. I was asked if I cared to comment on how my film was breeding

violence, but it turned out that the cop’s mobile phone provider was paid by the film’s distributor to send a low definition copy of the movie’s trailer to all its clients. So the guy had the trailer but didn’t even know he had it. So you see, it is very easy to point fingers and make claims like this. The same thing happened with City of God, which was accused of causing kids to become drug dealers due to the popularity of the Zé Pequeno character [Li’l Ze]. Most of the time, those charges are simply ridiculous. It’s true that we have a big violence problem in Rio and São Paulo, and I guess it’s pretty clear to everyone that this violence problem is not being caused by filmmakers!

Did the police cooperate with you during the making of the film? Some helped us as they thought the film was important, but not the police as an organisation. The police opposed our film from the beginning and then later tried to prevent us from releasing the movie. When the film came out, the policemen who helped us with the research and training of actors were persecuted by the police.

How tricky was it to film in the favelas? I guess there are certain times of the day and certain parts of the favelas that it is advisable not to visit? It’s very complicated to film in a favela, especially those controlled by drug dealers. One simply cannot go there without the drug dealers’ approval. Also, one must make sure that the police will not raid the favela on a shooting date. So one must deal with both sides: the drug dealers and the cops, in order to have some safety.

What will you be working on next? Is there another feature film in the pipeline or do you think that you will make another documentary? We are in negotiations about making a TV series based on the film but the details have not been finalised yet. I also have two documentaries in the editing room, and I am working on a new script about Brazilian politics and why it is so corrupt

The Elite Squad will be on general release this summer.

politics and why it is so corrupt The Elite Squad will be on general release this




A disco visionary and experimental composer who passed away in 1992, Arthur Russell is now the subject of a new documentary ‘Wild Combination’ and a forthcoming book by TIm Lawrence. Andy Thomas spoke to his longtime friend and associate, Steve D’Acquisto, shortly before his death in 2000, and uncovers the lesserknown Arthur, this enigmatic journeyman in the light of the miracle.

As the end of the ‘70s approached, the whole disco scene had reached an important junction. Music that had previously spoken for the marginalized in society - whether you were black, Hispanic or gay - was rapidly being sanitised and sanctioned for a mainstream audience. In order to reclaim what was essentially the soundtrack to their lives, the original disco fraternity started to experiment with new musical forms. As well as being an entertainer, the Paradise Garage’s eulogised DJ Larry Levan was also an educator who revelled in this new experimentation; where influences from jazz to dub reggae, and punk to electro, took disco music to a new level. When the West End label owner, Mel Cheren, handed him a uniquely chaotic record to remix, with a weird off key vocal, Larry’s eyes must have lit up. The record proved to be ‘Is It All Over My Face?’ by Loose Joints, a tune that epitomised the chemical fuelled New York dancefloors of the late seventies and early eighties, and the man behind the madness was one Arthur Russell. Along with other pioneers like Levan, Walter Gibbons, and Francois Kevorkian, this unique and eccentric musician helped redefine dance music; influencing and inspiring everyone from Talking Heads to Roger Sanchez. Arthur Russell was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1951. In the early seventies he moved to California and studied the cello at the renowned Ali Akbar Khan Indian music school in San Francisco, before moving to New York where he joined The Flying Hearts avant garde ensemble. However, Arthur soon became interested in disco music following a visit to Nicky Siano’s club, the Gallery. Here he met other like-minded visionaries such as Walter Gibbons, and long- time friend and associate Steve D’Acquisto. “When I first met Arthur at the Gallery, he was this crazy beautiful guy with long hair, who smoked a lot of pot,” recalls D’Acquisto fondly. “He was also, very very gay,” he laughs.

fondly. “He was also, very very gay,” he laughs. 4 0 Arthur’s first 12” was a


Arthur’s first 12” was a collaboration with Nicky Siano entitled ‘Kiss Me Again’, released in 1979 on the Sire label, under the name Dinosaur. “I played the extended 12 minute version at Studio 54,” remembers D’Acquisto, who also used to spin at The Loft. “It was early on in the evening, but it was such a different tune, the whole crowd just went crazy.” The track featured a young David Byrne on guitar and around this time Russell was actually invited to join label mates Talking Heads. However, he had his own ideas of where he wanted to take dance music. “Arthur wanted to produce a Beethoven symphony for the dancefloor,” D’Acquisto enthuses. With a vision of making “the White Album of disco”, Arthur Russell and Steve D’Acquisto formed the Loose Joints in 1978, and began work on their strangely twisted dance music. “Working with Arthur was a real freeing experience,” his musical partner explains. “He was just very open minded. If you went to him with a crazy idea, he would never say you were mad. To him everything was just ,’Wow!’” West End’s Mel Cheren, who sadly passed in December 2007, recalled the moment he first heard Steve and Arthur’s demo of ‘Is It All Over My Face?’. “With that vocal, I thought to myself, ‘Are they kidding?’” However, in the hands of remixer Larry Levan, the tripped out vocal hook of “you got me love dancin” would be turned into a huge sample from the disco period, being used to great effect by Roger Sanchez on Underground Solution’s ‘Luv Dancin’ (Strictly Rhythm, 1990). “The Loose Joints record was always one of my favourite tunes,” Sanchez explains. “I used play it out all the time, and when it got to the chorus, all the dancers would sing that line. That was an incredible feeling and it gave me the inspiration to sample it for my own Strictly Rhythm release.” While Larry was mixing this classic West End 12”, Arthur Russell was busy taking his

voyage into sound to the next stage, with his newly formed band Dinosaur L. “Arthur had this great desire to create big disco jazz epics,” D’Acquisto explains. This hunger led to the groundbreaking 1981 LP 24-24 Music on the Sleeping Bag label, which Arthur had co-founded. The album blended disco and funky Hammond rock, with freeform jazz, Latin and dub reggae. Their raw hybrid sound placed them alongside other ‘no wave’ groups from the New York underground, such as ESG and Liquid Liquid. When ‘Go Bang!’ off the album was given to remixer Francois Kevorkian it would be turned into a massive dub disco classic, and another influential record amongst house producers. “That record definitely moved things along,” Roger Sanchez says. “Not only was it very very funky, it also had this incredible dark energy.” Meanwhile, Arthur continued working with Steve D’Acquisto and Loose Joints, releasing the classic ‘Tell You Today’ in 1983 on 4th & Broadway, as well as producing Lola’s ‘Wax The Van’ in 1985. In the mid eighties, he began recording some of his most bizarre yet funky music of all with the 12” singles ‘Let’s Go Swimming’, released on Logarhythm, and ‘Treehouse/School Bell’, released on Sleeping Bag and under the name Indian Ocean. These were futuristic records that mirrored the sounds of early house music, with hypnotic rhythms, sparse percussive beats, and distorted melodies. “Those records were so progressive,” D’Acquisto proclaims. “Although they were stark and offkey, they were also incredibly beautiful - like Yin and Yang.” To add to this ‘uneasy listening’ came Arthur’s strange warped vocals that perfectly complemented the spacey dub techniques used by producer Walter Gibbons. The spacial distortion provided by Walter’s mix made the whole sound reverberate into what Russell called, on his 1986 solo LP, A World of Echo. Arthur’s long standing interest in dub, reached



on his 1986 solo LP, A World of Echo. Arthur’s long standing interest in dub, reached


its zenith with this incredible album. It also saw the composer at his most experimental; with haunting melodies and a discordant cello swirling around in a great sea of reverb. For Arthur Russell, recording had become a spiritual experience, as Steve D’Acquisto recalls:

“With Arthur everything revolved around Zen.

It was just a matter of going with the moment

and letting people create. He only recorded at certain moon times. All the mixing was done on a full moon, overdubs were done on a new moon.” His spaced out sounds also had another source. “Not only was Arthur a total clubber, he was

also a total pot head,” D’Acquisto laughs. “I loved Arthur and he was great fun, but he was also

a paranoid crazy man,” his friend continues. In

the rare interviews he did, Arthur was becoming more and more obscure with statements such as this one with writer David Toop in 1986: “In outer space, you can’t take your drums - you take your mind.”

Always the innovator, Arthur often confused and upset people, including an audience at a live performance at The Kitchen in Manhattan. He explained to David Toop how his use of a drum kit was met with some derision: “A lot of

people turned off. They thought that was a sign

of some new unsophistication

commercialisation,” he began. “Then, if you try to do something different in dance music you just get branded an eccentric.” This resistance to innovation also came from DJ’s, with many of them telling him that no one would ever play ‘Let’s Go Swimming’. Arthur replied by simply saying: “I think eventually that kind of thing will be commonplace.” How right he was. But he would not see the true extent of his prophecies, as like many of his friends from the New York underground, including Larry Levan and Walter Gibbons, Arthur Russell died far too young, aged 40, in 1992 of an AIDS related illness. He leaves

of increasing

behind a legacy of musical experimentation and innovation that cannot be overstated. “The beats and arrangements of Arthur Russell led the way for a lot of dance productions that followed, especially the darker ones,” Roger Sanchez summarises. “He definitely had a big influence on the sounds of today.” “People just didn’t appreciate the creativity at the time. Like with Van Gogh, perhaps great artists are only fully appreciated after their lifetime,” his friend Steve D’Acquisto concludes emotionally. “Arthur was the seminal, most influential and far reaching person in dance music. It wasn’t just disco it was way beyond that, something much deeper. It was jazz, it was classical, it was house, and it was Cole Porter. Arthur Russell was one of the great song writers of the 20th Century.”

was one of the great song writers of the 20th Century.” WILD COMBINATION On our return


On our return from the premiere of Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Rusell at the Berlin Film Festival, we talked to director Matt Wolf about this moving tribute, featuring interviews with critic David Toop, studio engineer Bob Blank and beat poet Allan Ginsburg, tracing Arthur’s journey from the cornbelt to NY, in the swirl of the disco explosion and the ensuing AIDS epidemic.

swirl of the disco explosion and the ensuing AIDS epidemic. SHK: What did you think when
swirl of the disco explosion and the ensuing AIDS epidemic. SHK: What did you think when

SHK: What did you think when you first heard Arthur’s music? Matt Wolf (MW): I got obsessed pretty immediately. But I was planning on

getting obsessed, you could say. I was so compelled by an initial description

of Arthur—gay Buddhist-cellist from Oskaloosa runs away to New York to

become disco auteur. The music fulfilled those wild expectations.

SHK: Who were the documentary makers who inspired you MW: This kind of stylized, reconstructive documentary filmmaking is most

clearly related to Errol Morris. I’m also inspired by the filmmaker Issac Julien, who was showing a film about a filmmaker named Derek Jarman

at the Berlinale, but became known for an experimental portrait of the

poet Langston Hughes. I’m also enormously inspired by experimental and narrative filmmakers like Todd Haynes, Charlie Atlas, the list is endless!

SHK: We loved footage of The Gallery. Where did this come from? MW: The footage is really precious and was shot by a film student at the Gallery in the 1970s. Now the disco pioneer and founder of The Gallery, DJ Nicky Siano, has it.

SHK: What do you think Arthur found in clubs like the Gallery and the Loft. How did they inspire him? MW: I think it was the social experience of people coming together and dancing that intrigued Arthur. The way people responded to music and what made them dance preoccupied Arthur. At these early clubs, the quality of sound was also extremely refined. I think Arthur saw clubs as incredible listening environments and social laboratories.

SHK: We really enjoyed the section with Bob Blank and Lola reminiscing about the recording of ‘Go Bang’. What do you think made Arthur want to record music like that? MW: There’s an incredible playfulness to Arthur. In the film, I tried to overtly bring out this childlike quality to Arthur and his music. He’d sing songs like

“Calling all kids, calling all kids

has a similar message, “I want to see all my friends at once, I want to GO BANG!” It’s like a little kid’s birthday party when they’re spinning on a sugar

Grownups are crazy!” A song like ‘Go Bang’

on a sugar Grownups are crazy!” A song like ‘Go Bang’ 42 high. I think Arthur


high. I think Arthur wanted to access the kind of joy of childhood.

SHK: One of those interviewed seemed to be making the point that his avant garde productions (those recordings reissued on Audika) were of a higher art than his dance music. Do you agree or would you say his dance music was equally as experimental? MW: Quite the contrary, I think Peter Zummo speaks about Arthur’s insistence on blurring the distinctions between “serious art” and “pop”. I think anybody who collaborated with Arthur or knew his work intimately would agree that there’s a similar intensity, accomplishment, and sophistication to his pop or dance work and his most esoteric compositions. Personally, I don’t see a distinction between the two-- I think there were common concerns and preoccupations in both the dance and avant-garde music that Arthur was making.

SHK: The footage of Iowa and the cornfields was beautiful. You believe those wide open spaces influenced his music? MW: I got the sense that he was captivated by that landscape. He asked his father to drive him around, photographing him in front of tractors. There were numerous songs called ‘Corn.’ There was some sort of significant connection Arthur felt to Iowa.

SHK: The film includes some very personal interviews with his family and his lover. Were they hard to film and why do you think they were needed? MW: Yes, I think those interviews were really necessary to help a viewer find an emotional connection to Arthur and his music. Because Arthur isn’t around to speak for himself and isn’t recorded speaking extensively, we rely upon the people who knew him or loved him most to bring him to life and to tell his story. The interviews were emotional, but I think also cathartic for his lover Tom, and his parents Chuck, and Emily.

SHK: At the end of the day what do you want the film to achieve? MW: I’d like for people to go to the film and to have unexpected responses to Arthur’s music. I hope viewers have an emotional experience that deepens their experience of Arthur’s music.

to Arthur’s music. I hope viewers have an emotional experience that deepens their experience of Arthur’s
to Arthur’s music. I hope viewers have an emotional experience that deepens their experience of Arthur’s




Skream may have sampled John WIlliams’ theme to ‘Catch Me If You Can’ for ‘Request Line’, but it was Angelo Badalamenti’s scores for David Lynch that first captivated electronic musicians.

A century ago, the first

performance of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite

of Spring’ famously provoked a riot

amongst the audience who objected to its new interpretation of the rules governing composition. Today, far from being avant-garde, orchestral music has become the mainstay of ageing concert- goers, associated more with displays of pomp and circumstance. In the meantime, traditional arrangement and composition has found another habitat, subsisting in the background of films and television shows, in the theatres or as a part of progressive visual art installations. Composers such as Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, who might have found themselves composing religious music in previous lives, have made hugely successful careers writing music to accompany Hollywood films. The music of other soundtrack composers, such as Vangelis and Ennio Morricone, has achieved cult status. Few, though, have matched the impact on popular culture of Angelo Badalamenti. Badalamenti, who’s celebrating his 70 th birthday this year, is a classically trained musician who studied at the Manhattan School of Music, just across the Hudson from his native Brooklyn. After graduating, he worked as a music teacher while arranging and writing songs for a number of popular performers. He worked with Roberta Flack, Melba Moore and Shirley Bassey in this capacity and wrote three songs for Nina

Bassey in this capacity and wrote three songs for Nina 44 Simone, ‘He Ain’t Coming Home



‘He Ain’t Coming Home No More’ and ‘Another Spring’, a song which showed early signs of his unique understanding of jazz. Badalamenti reportedly turned up at Nina Simone’s offices unannounced one day, and asked her if she would record his songs by singing them for her acapella. When finally Ms. Simone acquiesced and listened to him sing, she agreed to use the songs on the spot.

In time, though, it wouldn’t be R&B singers but Hollywood director David Lynch would best employ Badalamenti’s ability to assimilate his unique voice into a variety of musical styles. Badalamenti began working on films in 1973, scoring the raw and funky blaxploitation soundtrack Gordon’s War under the name Andy Badale, a record that featured Barbara Mason on vocals.


Badalamenti scored the raw and funky blaxploitation soundtrack Gordon’s War and one day turned up at Nina Simone’s unannounced

In 1986, Badalamenti was hired as Isabella Rosselini’s vocal coach for Lynch’s psycho-

sexual thriller Blue Velvet. Rossellini was having trouble nailing the title track, and Badalamenti was called in to help out. Within an hour and a half, Rossellini and Badalamenti returned with

a cassette of the finished result. Even though

he was impressed, Lynch was nevertheless reluctant when his friend suggested that they offer Badalamenti the ‘Mysteries of Love’ commission – a song which which was intended

as a placeholder while they tried to license This Mortal Coil’s ‘Song to the Siren’. Speaking to the Gavin Report, David Lynch remembers, “We wanted to get this certain song that was real hard to get. It was tied up

in litigation. Our producer Fred Caruso had

anticipated trouble and suggested we write something with Angelo. He suggested we tell him what we wanted in terms of feel. I said, ‘Fred,

you’ve got to be kidding me! We lucked out with him and Isabella. This is

different. This is a one song out of ten million and I’m supposed to hand something over to this guy Angelo and (snapping his fingers) like that, I’m gonna get what I want? You’re nuts!” Angelo’s rose to the challenge and his version of ‘Mysteries of Love’, enlisting the vocals

of Julee Cruise, would end up part of a key scene

of Blue Velvet. Lynch was so impressed that he made Badalamenti score the rest of the film, and even gave him a cameo appearance as the piano player under his nom de plume, Andy Badale. It would launch a partnership between Badalamenti and Lynch which would remain a integral part of all Lynch’s future work.

“It all happened kinda conventionally,” explains

a genial Badalamenti over the phone from his

New Jersey home. “As happens with 95% of filmmakers, he gave me very precise directions for how he wanted my music sound, and he told me that it had to stick to the images that he’d already created. But we got on so well that we started to spend more and more time together. I started to compose scenes simply by his descriptions of the scenes, and the atmosphere he was trying to create.” “For instance, when we were coming up

with the music for Twin Peaks, I was sat at my synthesizer and David was telling me stuff like:

‘Imagine a beautiful young girl in the distance, who comes out of the forest and seems to be very distressed. Try to find a melody to illustrate how she comes across, and how she feels.’ A quarter of an hour later, David was close to tears with the result,” explains Angelo. It was with this soundtrack to the TV series Twin Peaks that Badalamenti achieved mainstream recognition in 1992, winning him

a Grammy Award and going on to become the

best selling soundtrack of all time. “Nothing in

Twin Peaks is really straight on, and that includes the music,” adds Angelo. “Even the love scenes start off with a dark, moody melody. David told me he need five parts. A dark mysterious thing with an anticipatory line that builds very slowly into a climax that should tear people’s hearts out. But in a minimal way. After the climax, the music needed to fall very slowly, going back to that somber, serious melody line. Then the love theme climbs again with off-setting notes.” Although it was the soundtrack to Twin Peaks that shifted the most units, the creative partnership between Lynch and Badalamenti really peaked on the soundtrack to Mulholland Drive. The theme is reminiscent of the work of Bernard Hermann on Taxi Driver, a brooding orchestral swell which is emblematic in its simplicity of basic human functions:

breathing, walking, trembling. But in my mind

it is Badalamenti’s ‘Jitter Bug’, that appears in

the opening sequence of the film, which really describes the evanescent world that we enter. Like in his earlier composition ‘Another Spring’, Badalamenti’s tense and disturbing voice speaks through the traditionally upbeat be-bop form.

“David Lynch took these layers of sound, would slow them down to maybe half their speed, even a quarter of their speed, or would play them backwards.”

“Mulholland Drive was a film in which music

is omnipresent, and works in tandem with a

great deal of sound design, and both work autonomously and together. There’s lots of muffled tonalities , dissonance – the opposite of

a traditional melodic line. I used a a lot of strings, cellos and violas and I made them play very slow, dissonant pieces. Our approach was really very experimental: David took these layers of sound, would slow them down to maybe half their speed,

even a quarter of their speed, or would play them backwards. Then he would take one track with one mix and another with one another mix and superimpose these things. All of a sudden, you’ve got some very unusual sound design going right from there.” It is undoubtedly the same tension for which he has a unique talent that has seen him work more recently on films such as

Steven Shainberg’s Secretary or Dark Water, from the creators of Japanese horror flick The Ring. There are a number of soundtrack composers whose work has found its way into popular culture. The most obvious, perhaps is Vangelis. The soundtrack to Blade Runner has been sampled in a host of seminal drum n’ bass tracks. Dillinja’s ‘The Angels Fell’ is the most obvious, but also Ed Rush and Trace’s ‘Technology’. Crucially it is both the subject matter of the film and the soundtrack to it which are cited by producers like Doc Scott as formative influences. Likewise, Trent Reznor’s soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream, much of which might be described also as sound design, was as much influence for as it was influenced by the experminental Clicks and Cuts album on German label Mille Plateaux, which featured Alva Noto amongst others. Both appeared in 2000. It is the music of Badalamenti, though which has subtly and most completely penetrated popular culture. Most famous is the sample from ‘Falling’ which is effectively the total substance of Moby’s acid house classic ‘Go’. But more significant is the number of DJs who have featured Badalamenti’s tracks in their original form on their mixes. Optimo featured ‘Mulholland Drive Theme’ on their Kill the DJ mix, and Alex Patterson of The Orb has featured ‘Falling’ on his Late Night Tales mix. ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ appeared in the same year in which ‘Twin Peaks’ first aired, and it is tempting to suggest that one was inspired by the other. However it is more significant that the single only entered the top ten in 1993 on its re-release. After the 1992 success of the Twin Peaks soundtrack, is it possible that the public was now ready for the ethereal, enigmatic sound of American Blues singer Rickie Lee Jones on the Orb’s ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’?

Since 1990 the musical landscape has changed. Composers like Alva Noto, Tim Hecker and Stars of the Lid are putting out music without regular rhythm or tempo, music which has no obvious role – it is not there to dance to, to sing along to. In the ‘80s their work would have been the sole preserve of academia. Now it occupies a new and more accessible niche which was largely established by Badalamenti - music that suggests drama, narrative, time and place, which can exist in the foreground as well as the background of creativity. Badalamenti emphasizes that music is as much an impetus to the stories of Lynch’s films as it is an accompaniment. The music describes the set, the costume and the story of a film even before it has been written. It is in this way that Badalamenti has changed the role of the soundtrack, and moreover, our appreciation of music in general.

this way that Badalamenti has changed the role of the soundtrack, and moreover, our appreciation of



& D I R T Y SO







Pilooski is a guy who keeps it mellow, living and working at home, somewhere near the gothic cemetary of Pere Lachaise in the north of Paris. Very few DJs and artists in Paris are making it big in 2008 without compromising their souls but Pilooski, alongside his DIRTY SOUND SYSTEM crew of Clovis, Guillaume and Benjamin, somehow manage the impossible: rock headz as well as soul connoisseurs, they’re comfortable playing out at the champagne- sipping, Versace- wearing nights like Paris Paris, or catering to the sophisticated tastes of the cognoscenti with their limited-editon, vinyl-only ‘Dirty Edits’ series and their most-rated Dirty Space Disco compilation for Tigersushi. With a wide and discerning taste in music and more besides, Pilooski and his DIRTY acolytes are not just the critically acclaimed “kings of edits” but here to bring back quality control to the dancefloor.

but here to bring back quality control to the dancefloor. 48 “Outside France we find much


“Outside France we find much more enthusiasm: people less snobby, less worried about how they look and whether they’re gonna get into the club. When we travel and play abroad, first and foremost we look to enjoy ourselves, so everything aspect of the rider is negociable,” Pilooski tell us over an aperitif in Belleville in the north of Paris. “Good food and good wine can make the difference between accepting a booking or not. And if we feel good with the promoter, we might spend three days on their couch eating magret de canard like we do whenever we go to Porto, Istambul or Athens.”

So how did music come in your life? From a very tender age, as young as eight years old, I was a very curious and diverse record collector of many genres of sounds and especially pop and OST (original soundtracks).

You declared that “God works for Ennio Morricone.” Right! I’m fascinated by the talent of artists such as Ennio Morricone who can appeal to everyone:

from your average 18 year old kids to 60-year- old Ircam scientists!

And which other main artists made a mark on you?

I love Mr Oizo’s sound because it can be dark

and ludic at the same time, also I appreciate the talented works of Smith n Hack…

OK but who else? I mean who else from the past? So many. For disco I love Patrick Adams. And people like Quincy Jones who are polymaths, who can achieve just about anything from jazz to pop to electronic to funk to rock etc. Also I enjoy the way the Mizzell Brothers can create jazz with a very pop appeal. Or The Sylvers… their producer was very much into sound research while making soul music. But I don’t want to mention just jazz and soul cats here. I’m influenced equally by rock too, if you look at my edits. For example Krautrockers Can …

So your aim is to spread love, to share “music made by nerds for non nerds” as you described it once summing up D I R T Y sound-system ethos … Exactly.

Cinema plays a big part in your life too…

I love it. It’s a matter of moods… Every night

I watch at least two movies. And I’ve always

been heavily into sampling dialogues in DJ sets to create a certain atmosphere. My favorite filmmaker must be William Friedkin, the man who did The French Connection. I love the

intensity that reigns in his movies. Also Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorsese (in particular the violence, the realness you can find in his ‘70s movies), Terence Malick for his poetic vision and even some of Dario Argento’s stuff. Also I’ve started doing short movies with friends of mine I met in England who work in advertising. But even though I’m passionnate about films,

I won’t go to study it at school. I’d rather try

to rely on new ideas… experiment with cheap equipement. I guess that what I like the most in art, be it movies or music, is the DIY ethic :

those who dare to be original. Those who keep it ruff but fresh at the same time, who can be spontaneous… iconoclasts like Lee Perry or Mr Oizo. Musicians and generally individuals with ideas, like Michel Gondry in cinema too.

You made your first moves in the studio producing hip hop. In fact, your name first emerged in most connoisseurs discussions about five years ago with the elusive ‘Beatshopper’ 12”, in praise of the joy of diggin’ dusty records… an activity you’ve become well known and respected for.

I was living in Toulouse in the south of France

and I made my first records with a friend for Quantic and also Tongue & Groove around 1994 (before they changed their name to Hospital records). I was very much into jazz and soul – from De La Soul to Pharoah Sanders – and also noisy pop stuff which got me more and more into sound textures. And then of course there was Detroit and Chicago, original minds like Anthony Shakir. Again I’ve always been stimulated by “bricolage”: being able to create something emotive by just using a drum machine with feeling. So at one point I stopped making hip hop because copying DJ Premier didn’t interest me anymore.

It must have been about the same time you hooked up with the D I R T Y crew… We were working on the same label, Diamondtraxx. They released their first compilation Dirty Diamonds and I invited them to play in Toulouse a few times. We got along and went on from there.

You’ve since gained a great reputation for pulling out an amazingly vast selection of sounds… What I like with them, what we all share in common, is that we might talk about obscure stuff for hours but we’re also very much into obvious productions of here and now, from the likes of Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson or Snoop. What I hate are stereotypes, people whose musical abilities are pigeon-holed. For example I started listening again to some hip-hop recently, a lot of Madlib stuff, and I realized that the dude is a victim of this digger reputation. The fact is that he’s much more than that. We’ve actually had dinner with Madlib and

his Stones Throw team the other night and when you talk with him you see that he’s really a great musician. They’ve asked me to do a few edits and maybe some remixes. They’ve given me some modern soul tracks to work on. My aim is to try to make techno from the originals – not just do some cut & paste edit, but to attempt to to go somewhere else with it.

Tell me about your next project Discodeine… With my pal Benjamin Morando we’re doing an album with a lot of vocal harmonies layered in a Beach Boys vein, with a techno feel underneath and a dark Morricone edge. I want to make pop music, not some unknown stuff just for ten DJ’s to wank over. I want make pop with an experimental approach.

And to follow up on the glowing success of your Dirty Space Disco compilation, you plan to release a second selection on Tigersushi records, this time focusing on French pop… I’m very fond of the works of past artists – famous or not – in the same vein as Serge Gainsbourg, particulary in a psychedelic context. Sadly the majority of the chanson française scene today is horrible, with the exception of rare individuals like Sebastien Tellier who is doing a fantastic job. As Discodeine, we want to express something personal, and we’re looking to use people we feel close to – Jamie Liddell, Herman Düne’s singer or even Midnight Mike.

What’s this fascination for Turkish baths you seem to cultivate in the artwork for Discodeine? At first we wanted to entitled the album Sauna ‘cause one day we were asking ourselves: “Who buys records these days? Who knows their music? It’s only gays!” (laughs). They have the cultural curiosity, the hedonistic vibe and the purchasing power. We’re not gay but many of our friends are, so as a joke we’ve been playing around with the idea of big moustaches and Turkish baths.

Codeine is a drug that slows down the tempo… Is the project a nod to the slow-motion comic disco craze? We did think about it at first but we’ve tried to dissociate ourselves from that limiting connotation because let’s face it, Nu Disco is wack (with the exception of a few tracks here and there by Todd Terge and Prins Thomas or Cosmo Vitelli with a freaky twist). If I want to play slow grooves, I’d rather hear soul, real stuff, rather than what they do. Nu Disco shows no intensity, no ideas. They stick too much to the same old rules and they look too much for rarity rather than quality! That’s also why I stopped diggin’ a bit. I got fed up.

With your edits and remixes you like to explore many genres. Who is king of the edits in your opinion? In my humble opinion there are too many cheap edits out there these days. I like the Moxie edits. Also Todd Terje… although I got sent a cd of his with about 60 edits and I only really liked three out of the whole lot.

I meant from the past? Like Tom Moulton or Larry Levan or even Lee Perry ? Yes, Lee Perry and all those who dare to push the envellope. Someone like Ron Hardy whose work seems oddly off, with long hypnotic sequences – Ron Hardy did what every artist does today, he did it twenty years before everyone else! Again, talking about disco edits I seem to go more for experimentation. I love Arthur Russell’s audacious work, with very little means but a lot of inventivity – more than just big string arrangements like Larry Levan (even though he’s great too.) Yeah, I like it ruff… Harvey fits in the same category.

How do you approach an edit? First off I look for a mood that moves me. I usually like psychedelic stuff with a melodic and melancholic feel. Then I don’t just want to cut and paste. I look for intensity and I want to add even more deepness to the original track by insisting on certain parts. For instance, right now I’m working on a Kid Creole edit. The original is quite pouet pouet (dull) so I kept very few original elements and I’ve tried to take it somewhere else. Same thing when I spin with DIRTY: I’ll mix obscure and mainstream stuff too. I don’t care for reference contests. I leave that to record conventions goers! I play classics because I’ve got nothing to prove, or I can select very well- known artists but rare tracks (like ‘Beggin’ by Frankie Valli…the guy who was responsible for ‘Grease’). I don’t feel the need to have everything in my collection, even though I’ll listen to anything. Oizo for example is a total genius in my opinion, the best french producer now without a doubt! Also Jackson is great. I’m not a passéist, I’m not stuck in the past . I don’t stop after 82 ! That’s just plain ridiculous.

You are very buzy in your studio right now… Oh yes. I’ve done remixes for Chromatix, Cosmo Vitelli, Photons (a new Portuguese band we’ve just signed to DIRTY). Also some very interesting edits like the Kid Creole for Strut… and some not so artistically motivating edits in order to buy equipment and feed my son (for disposable pop groups and Amy Winehouse-wannabes on Rough Trade and Warner etc.). And even some productions for a Texas singer too

and Warner etc.). And even some productions for a Texas singer too 49





Spiritual jazz. It can be applied to Albert Ayler, Don Cherry and the ‘New Thing’, to the religious works of Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Canonball Adderley and Mary Lou Williams, as well as the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra and the politicized work of Phil Ranelin and Wendell Harrison. Stylistically disparate, does it begin and end with ‘A Love Supreme’, or can it mean more than Coltrane? Hugo Mendez asks the questions.

It’s a fact that ’Trane’s spiritual conversion was inspired by Sun Ra and, more importantly, the saxophonist Jon Gilmore. Gilmore came close to leaving Ra’s Arkestra, and even recorded an album for Blue Note on Coltrane’s recommendation. But the higher purpose of the Arkestra, coupled with a stern warning from Ra himself, persuaded Gilmore to stay. The work ethic of Ra’s ‘prison’ (otherwise known as his rehearsal schedule) appealed to Coltrane’s obsessive, almost monastical approach to practice - and while we think of spirituality being the message in the music, it was also a guide and a way of life, leading band leaders and their players through the wilderness and temptations of life on the road. We also know that some of Ra’s pamphlets on numbers and cosmic theory found its way to Trane, and he almost certainly translated these into his changes and harmonic approaches. In an infinite universe, he understood that juggling numbers around is all we got. So you have to understand that spiritual jazz, more than anything else, is a state of consciousness. The idea of spiritual music is not restricted to a particular style – it is a natural by-product of free expression. It can be vocal, instrumental, fast, slow, religious, secular, conceived as nothing more than a simple melody for musicians to improvise and re-interpret or can be as rigorously scored as a classical composition. The one important thing that makes something spiritual is the way in which it was created – and of course how it is received. In the wake of Trane’s music, it was a time when musicians and artists were consciously trying to break down the barriers between music, poetry, art and dance – a time of renewed interest in African heritage, the study of Eastern religion and mysticism in the immediate aftermath of de-segregation and in the midst of the Vietnam War. The urban centres of Chicago and Detroit,

the Vietnam War. The urban centres of Chicago and Detroit, 50 of New York and Philadelphia


of New York and Philadelphia were buzzing with the alternative world views and revisionist ideas flying around Black Arts centres and musical collectives. Many musicians were engaged in overtly political causes (Philip Cohran’s tribute to Malcolm X, the legendary Black Mass from Amiri Baraka and Sun Ra’s Myth Science Orchestra) that give urgency and drive to their work beyond the basic creative impulse. The flipside to the political and critical stance taken by many musicians was a desire to escape – escape into religion, or a re-claimed past, or exotic and imagined cultures, or just escape into the emotional power of music.

James Tatum

James Tatum is a pianist and composer, originally from Texas but based in Detroit. His 1973 Contemporary Jazz Mass album has become a cult record amongst Jazz lovers and diggers – a legendarily tough record to find that was only ever sold at churches where the piece was being performed. The LP is one of the pinnacles of religious jazz. James still lives and works in the Detroit area.

What was the inspiration for your Jazz Mass? At the time, in 1973, there had been a revolution in church music and all sorts of masses being composed – folk masses, rock masses and stuff like that. Father Raymond Ellis suggested that I come up with a Jazz Mass for the St. Cecilia Church, which was my parish. I was deeply influenced by the great Duke Ellington, who had premiered his own religious suite in New York a few years earlier.

Apart from Ellington, what else was influencing you at the time? Well, my main influences apart from Duke Ellington were Art Tatum – the greatest, fastest jazz pianist in this universe – Billy Taylor and

John Lewis, the pianist from the Modern Jazz Quartet. I learnt a lot about jazz and composition through the work of John Lewis. Aside from that of course, and in the Jazz Mass specifically, the Gospel tradition informed a lot of the piece. I tried to score the voices of the choir as music, using the tone and colour of the instruments to evoke the gospel choir.

What was your intention with the piece?

I wanted to use jazz expression to acknowledge

the Supreme Being as the Foundation of the Foundation – in a simple way that the average joe could understand and relate to.

How was the Mass received? The premiere of the mass was a special moment – more than 500 people were in the church to hear it! We recorded it at the church and sold the LP at different concerts and church appearances. The Mass has been performed at

churches of all denominations, not just Catholic.

I still perform the mass to this day – most

recently three years ago, when I performed a revised version as a tribute to Rosa Parks.

Ed Nelson The Hastings Street Jazz Experience

Detroit’s Hastings Street Jazz Experience encapsulates the communal nature of many underground jazz collectives of the ‘70s – a fiercely independent endeavor that sought to enrich the community as well as bringing the music to a wider audience. Alongside the work of better known Detroit figures such as Wendell Harrison and Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and spiritual jazz.

Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and
Tribe Records, the Hastings Street Jazz Experience deserves its place in the history of underground and


James Tatum / Mor Thiam / Ronnie Boykins What was the impetus for forming the
James Tatum / Mor Thiam / Ronnie Boykins What was the impetus for forming the

James Tatum / Mor Thiam / Ronnie Boykins

James Tatum / Mor Thiam / Ronnie Boykins What was the impetus for forming the Hastings

What was the impetus for forming the Hastings Street Jazz Experience?

The Group grew out of The Other Katz quartet,

a group I was involved with in the early ’70s.

Through my teaching work I saw a lot of talent

in the young pupils but realized that there was

no outlet for them to play live. The idea behind the Hastings Street Experience was to put young players alongside seasoned veterans, to teach them about playing in a big band – a kind of community training that also included dance, poetry and performance.

for demolition and Detroit would have lost another important part of its musical heritage, but after our gig and the actions of some others it was saved and is still the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra today.

Jazzman Gerald

Jazzman Records’ Spritual Jazz compilation is out in April, covering lost, forgotten and rare tracks from the’60s and ’70s. Many of the records were unearthed from Gerald’s hallowed vaults.

Why did you call the group the Hastings Street Jazz Experience? Hastings Street was the most famous Afro- American area in Detroit prior to the ’60s – the end point for any Southern migrants ending up in Detroit. It was where all the jazz and blues clubs were– there were many black-owned businesses and a very strong community. The City of Detroit moved the inhabitants out in the early ’60s to make way for the interstate, destroying the community and relocating them to housing projects on the outskirts of town. I wanted to commemorate the area and to maintain the history of Afro-American Detroit.

What does the term spiritual jazz mean to you? Obviously there are many, many forms of jazz, and spiritual jazz is a form that’s only really become exposed and given a name in recent years. Primarily it’s the music made by jazz musicians in the ‘60s and ‘70s, recorded on small independent labels and is of a style that’s progressive yet still has a earthy sound that the casual listener can latch on to. I say ‘progressive’ in that unusual time signatures, ethnic rhythms or modal scales are often used, and I say the casual listener can enjoy it as there

Are there any particular famous artists that

What kind of support for the project did you get – did any municipal bodies get involved to help? The entire project was completely self-funded– we used fees from gigs and appearances to finance the album. It was a collective effort– we pressed the record ourselves, a kid I taught designed the cover, and none of the musicians were allowed more than one composition on the LP to make sure everyone got a fair go.

Do you remember any special concerts at the time?

isn’t much of a free or avante-garde element to the music. In other words, it’s jazz music that’s more interesting than the usual dum-dum-dum- dum walking bass 4/4 beat, yet not a step so far that the listener is challenged too hard.

sparked your interest in the music? There are many, but John Coltrane has to be the father of the music, he was way ahead of everyone else, mainly from his Atlantic albums of the early ‘60s though he came into his element with Impulse! a few years later. If I can mention just a few I should point out the under-rated


was difficult to get gigs of any scale in Detroit

genius that is Sahib Shihab, also Sun Ra, Jef


the’70s, after the riots and with the wind-

down from the industrial closures. Our most memorable gig was probably at the Detroit Symphony Hall in 1978. We put two shows on with Donald Byrd, both sold out, and even the Mayor came. The building had been scheduled

Gilson, Nathan Davis and not forgetting Don Rendell and Ian Carr from the UK.

Why did you decide to release a compilation of this music, and why now? I love the music and I think that if I love it so

why now? I love the music and I think that if I love it so 52


much then other people will too. I have the records, why not share them? The musicians who originally made the music wanted as many people to enjoy it as possible, and because much of it was recorded so long ago it’s been forgotten. Many of the independently pressed records never even made their way out of the town they were recorded in, such were the difficulties and expenses involved in distribution. So this is my way of getting what I see is important and overlooked music out there so it can be properly appreciated.

Ben Lamdin Nostalgia 77

The Nostalgia 77 Octet have been producing forward-thinking jazz music for several years. Head-honcho Ben Lamdin runs down his interest in spiritual jazz.

Who would you say are your main influences, and what is it about them that has inspired you?

I really love the music of the Coltranes and a

lot of the Impulse! artists of that time as well as Mingus, Ayler etc. I also have an interest in artists or groups who where perhaps less exceptional and who worked more locally than nationally, but whose music was rooted in their community which was made regardless of profit motive. Music made out of the necessity to say something. In England composers like Michael Garrick and Neil Ardley both wrote music which drew inspiration from religious traditions.

Are there any other artists working today that you feel a musical connection with?

I think for this kind of music the New York

groups affiliated with William Parker are making outstanding music. I’d also give special mention to a group called the Twelves Trio run by Riaan Vosloo and fronted by the British sax player, Mark Hanslip.

mention to a group called the Twelves Trio run by Riaan Vosloo and fronted by the
mention to a group called the Twelves Trio run by Riaan Vosloo and fronted by the




From 3D to Banksy,Bristol has a strong history of graf writers. But now a new breed of artists is helping to regeneratate the city’s no-go zone. Welcome to Stokes Croft.


Take a stroll up Cheltenham Road, peopled by the the dispossessed, the down-on-their-luck and the downright desperate, where amidst the derelict buildings and the blank-looking ghosts of the city, a new chapter in Bristol’s story is being written. A profoundly neglected quarter of Bristol,

a place where all the scum of the city has been washed-up, where the shady bordellos, drugs projects and homeless shelters have

accumulated, it’s an unofficial ‘red-light’ zone

of tolerance towards drugs. But over the past

few months, it’s also a place where a certain rebel faction of artists has declared a state of aesthetic anarchy. Wresting it from the grip of Bristol City Council, the zone has now been declared The People’s Republic Of Stokes Croft. The brain-child of local artist-turned-activist Chris Chalkley, the PRSC is an initiative that has been pioneered by the people, for the people, to redecorate the streets and bring about some much needed civic beautification. In the autumn of 2007 the PRSC project really began to gather momentum and Stokes Croft, it became the urban backdrop to the scene of a quiet war fought with silent weapons, as much an art renaissance as a political revolution. Designating Stokes Croft as Bristol’s “Cultural Quarter”, Chalkley has roused a collective of discontented street artists and writers and after carefully mapping out every available section of wall space in the vicinity, has set about revamping it into an urban art gallery that is steady proliferating across every vacant vertical surface. With his no-nonsense approach,

vacant vertical surface. With his no-nonsense approach, 54 Chalkley has bypassed any potential delays, sticking two


Chalkley has bypassed any potential delays, sticking two fingers up at uncomprehending arts bodies and local development funds, and steamed ahead with his project. So in spite of the apathy and indifference of the council and local government, who have done virtually nothing to renew the environs between St. Pauls, Montpelier and Cotham, the PRSC have taken it upon themselves to give the area a facelift with their own special brand of urban planning. Take a tour around these streets and you will see a mind-boggling array of graffiti pieces, loud socio-political stencils, and cunning trompe l’oeils, chalkboards scrawled with the antiestablishment ravings, as well as quaint and beautiful murals from a list of artist that includes SickBoy, True, Haka, Syan, TCF Crew, PM Crew, AcerOne and BTM Crew. The area also boasts ‘The Mild, Mild West’ by Banksy, Bristol’s most notorious exi-stencilist, although legend has it that the landlord nearly painted over the mural before he discovered how much it was worth. Just a stone’s throw away from Stokes Croft, the Broadmead shopping precinct is broadening out – a multimillion pound development that is extending the existing shopping area even further out from the city centre towards St.Pauls and St. Judes. The more it encroaches on the surrounding communities, the more its effects can be felt reverberating throughout the vicinity. In St. Pauls, police activity has reached oppressive levels and several local pubs have been shut down in this long-suffering, ethnically diverse community. All the time, available housing in the community is

being snapped up by outside investors, raising the cost of rent and increasing the pressure on younger and less privileged families. By contrast, the edification of Stokes Croft is bringing about a community spirit and self- esteem that was previously non-existent – there are vintage shops and record stores, cafes, art galleries, an independent cinema, and numerous pubs and clubs all flourishing like never before. Where not so long ago there were only vagrants and crack addicts, now you can find people from a kaleidoscope of ethnic backgrounds and social standings, all freely intermingling in these bustling and visually upbeat surroundings. Through careful lobbying and petitioning of the council and the submission of a well thought out action plan it seems the PRSC are here to stay and are at liberty to proceed with their creative deeds without prosecution. All of the PRSC activities are entirely self-funded, with audacity, determination and willpower proving to be more essential resources than money. Whilst undergoing what seems to be a very radical overhaul, the new Stokes Croft is also in keeping with how it has been historically, with busy shops, painted facades and a real sense of community. So if you find yourself in Bristol, I encourage you to explore Stokes Croft and admire the metamorphosis of these once grungy and decrepit walls. Perhaps it will restore your faith in humanity. For now at least nothing seems to be standing in the way of the PRSC from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.

from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.
from achieving their goal of turning Stokes Croft into The World’s Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery.





Buenos Aires is a city which resonates to a 24 hour culture yet still offers laidback charm and impossible beauty. Surely here, in the home of tango, it

cant be this difficult to find records?


Sat on a local bus as it weaves an out-of- control mission through Chacubuco to San Telmo, my face pressed up against the inside of the window, I’m trying to assess the outside scene for clues, while suppressing the groans coming from my stomach. My Time Out travel guide helpfully says of Buenos Aires’ buses, “hold on tight”. It should read, “hold on for dear life “. As we tear through the streets, a crest of local bars and restaurants have begun to ply the early evening aperitif crowd. But I have other concerns on my mind – namely that my record mission in BA, a city which brings a cocktail of late-night hedonism and fiery football, has so far yielded no finds. I’ve drawn a big Zero. Nothing. Nada. In the streets, the residents of the villas miseria rifle through rubbish bags and recycle anything they can find - clothes, cardboard, cans. And in my mind, their sullen faces begin to resemble mine. A crate-digger never truly rests in his search for the perfect beat (a journey inspired by hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaata’s 1983 classic of the same name). A crate-digger is like the bodhissatva, as described in Buddhist teachings – he’s on a personal mission, a quest for perfection. In his never-ending search for the perfect beat, the perpetually elusive mother lode of all breaks (even if Bobby Hutcherson’s Waiting does come close) he will be a richer record collector (richer in terms of his collection, if not in terms of his bank balance). Within hours of arriving in a city, the vinyl addict will already be on the trail – like a true junky – following the smell of records to the most unlikely of places. But in Buenos Aires the trail had definitely gone cold. I’d boarded the bus at the main train station Retiro which like most principal city stations has

station Retiro which like most principal city stations has 5 6 an air of excitement –


an air of excitement – food kiosks, alluring foreign newspapers and magazines, train departures to mystical destinations and seediness. But does it boast, like Grand Central Station in New York, a small but busy booth for commuters to purchase the latest salsa sounds? No it doesn’t. Getting off the bus at the Chacubuco district, it’s a slightly rougher mix of characters and what seems like endless streets of working men cafes, petrol stations and patisseries. Surely here, if anywhere, will be home to a little-known gem of a record store? Sadly, the only thing I find here is more disappointment. What about San Telmo, home of the much-famed market, where there are apparently endless rows of record stalls? When I eventually make it there, besides the overpriced crafts and jewellery, all I can find is MOR rock records. So much for my dream of discovering some rare, never officially released Astor Piazzolla and Miles Davis album! Still refusing to give up, I battle with commuters and tourists on endless subtes (underground trains), hitting up various destinations on the map. The oldest line dates back to 1912 and has wooden carriages which groan when they rattle on the lines. But like the song, I am on a road to nowhere. Then, just when things couldn’t get any worse, there’s a glimmer of hope. Across from the stately Hotel Castelar (see details) is a little tiny CD shop. In the window, posters of Alberto Castillo, Carlos Garcia and other popular tango artists cover the glass frontage. Inside is a treasure trove of music new and old. A great place to browse, the owners are extremely helpful, pointing out some unknown classics and politely dismissing the

Gotan Project as “not proper tango.” But though the shop is a great discovery, there’s something missing… vinyl. A friend suggests that if I like tango, proper tango, we meet at the Homero Manzi cafe (see details). We innocently walk into an early- evening wedding rehearsal, two tango dancers nod a welcome and the waiter brings, without asking, strong mate tea. My eyes gorge on the improvised dancing feast. Afterwards, our spirits lifted by the music, we take a little walk around the area and stray into a musty local indoor market in San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, where the fresh fruit, veg and fish sit next to interesting bric-a-brac and homewares gathering dust.

It was Rakim who said that to really appreciate hip-hop you have to listen to it in a totally different environment from where it was made. So Mos Def, Rza and Guilty Simpson sound just as good in Fort Greene, Brooklyn as

they do in Jaipur, India. And similarly when I finally spot the record oasis of Elena de San Telmo,

I hear not the sweet refrain of Astor Piazzolla,

or some modal/tango moments from Nestor Marconi but the happy, skippy trance-like music of ‘Fuselage Part II’ by Monk Montgomery. The psychedelic jazz refrain soundtracks my approach to the small stall where boxes of dusty records huddle next to a small portable record player propped up on a box. The shop’s small

interior is brightened with bold paintings of old Argentine tango. Armed with some broken Spanish, a phrase book and a bag full of charm,

I finger through hundreds of records with the

helpful advice and guidance of the owner. How do you say in Spanish, “I’ve found heaven”?

of records with the helpful advice and guidance of the owner. How do you say in
of records with the helpful advice and guidance of the owner. How do you say in




If tango is the soul of Buenos Aires, then football is its heartbeart.

The residents of Buenos Aires, the Porteños live, breathe and die (sometimes literally) for the beautiful game. The city has over thirty

clubs, six in the top flight, and each has their own stadium, with blanket coverage on television (live games are televised five or six times a week). Every taxi driver’s radio is locked onto the football commentary, football posters are draped across every newsagent’s stands, while

in most cafes and bars, with football often the

centre of attraction, there’s no escaping the beautiful game. My second visit to a football game in BA was something else. Even getting a ticket had been an adventure. Of course, if you wanted, you could get your reserved seat, with a coach ticket and a tour of the stadium thrown in. But that would have been no more exciting than watching Chelsea play. My friends, their families, their extended families and even their neighbours had tried all week to dissuade me from going to the Bombenero. The taxi driver insisted on waiting outside of the stadium (his meter was off, he was worried about my safety) and acted as a look-out as I thrust a couple of pesos in a hole in the wall and procured my golden ticket . The game came during a wave of social unrest. With mass strikes and hooligan incidents the previous week resulting in the death of some supporters, tension was high. We had walked through airport-style ticket barriers and were told to take off belts and shoelaces. Against the opposite wall there was a parade of burly youths being frisked by officers – not quite what I had expected. A plain clothes police officer armed with that thug stare so beloved of certain persons in uniform, was standing by a stationary, unmarked,


Buenos Aires is the centre of a burgeoning visual art scene, making it a worthwhile destination for anyone who has wandering eyes

as well as ears. For an introduction, first visit the Costantini Collection at MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires, Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415), which gives the brief background on developments during the last century. The city’s many cultural centres are also well worth

a look, including Centro Cultural Recoleta (Junín

1930) which shows interesting new work by Argentinian artists. But the best way to take the pulse of the local scene is to visit the commercial galleries.

of the local scene is to visit the commercial galleries. 58 police van. As we advanced


police van. As we advanced with the crowd, the officer came towards us and, touching his holster, began pushing my friend into the van as his girlfriend pleaded and I looked on in horror. And then, with the best operatic turn, the three of us were suddenly let off. Before we knew it we were fifty feet up in the Gods at the famous Bombenero stadium for the derby to end all derbies, the superclassico between Boca Jnrs and River Plate. We all linked arms, the three of us and the strangers on either side, and literally thousands of people jumped in unison. Up and down to an almighty roar, so hard that I felt a rush coming on, such was the excitement, anticipation and overwhelming joy, mixed with more than a

little fear. And the whole floor rocked, literally moving underneath our feet. The safety rails were few and far between and it was a sheer drop down. But the volume of crowd noise, the singing and chanting and the firecrackers almost overrode all doubts and fear – and yes there were cascades of ticker tape streaming from the terraces. Such a picture of a carnival

of colour, noise and emotional exuberance, and

all the while a subtext of fear and violence that threatened to mar the proceedings. The game was quite good, River easily beat

a poor Boca team 3-0. And the rain bucketed

down as the Gods of La Boca mourned their defeat. My friends and I joined in with the tens of thousands through the streets of BA, caring little for the score and singing merrily abusive songs about the River Plate supporters’ mothers. [Sanjiv Ahluwalia)

Established spaces include Ruth Benzacar (Florida 1000) and Braga Menéndez (Humboldt 1574), where the quality of the work tends to be assured. Other spots include Daniel Abate (Pasaje Bollini 2170) and, for a pop-punk edge, Appetite (Chacabuco 551). If you’re touching down in BA at the end of May, no need to pace around town: just visit ArteBA, the city’s annual contemporary art fair (May 29 to June 2, La Rural, Sarmiento 2704), a one-stop shop with the continent’s key galleries on show in a space twice the size of Wembley football pitch. Sam Phillips

twice the size of Wembley football pitch. Sam Phillips B EATS Sanjiv’s picks some of his
twice the size of Wembley football pitch. Sam Phillips B EATS Sanjiv’s picks some of his
twice the size of Wembley football pitch. Sam Phillips B EATS Sanjiv’s picks some of his
twice the size of Wembley football pitch. Sam Phillips B EATS Sanjiv’s picks some of his


Sanjiv’s picks some of his essential tango licks so you don’t have to.

Astor Piazzolla – Libertango From the most famous and celebrated tango

musician of all time, Libertango is a work

of genius. Piazzolla rides the Miles Davis

comparisons with some stunning playing and a beautiful orchestra.

with some stunning playing and a beautiful orchestra. 7 Tangos de Ayer y 7 Tangos de

7 Tangos de Ayer y 7 Tangos de Hoy / Los 14 de Julio de Caro

Not quite sure who this is by, it is conducted by Luis Stazo on Fermata records. Enchanting


but worth the effort. Excellent.

over engaging bandoneon . Hard to find

Orquestra del Tango de Buenos Aires

– Libertango Supreme album of orchestrated

- one of my

tango works with a superb title track favourite ‘battle weapons’.

Nestor Marconi Bien de Arriba

If Piazzolla was the Miles Davis of tango then

Marconi is the Herbie (Hancock). I have many

of his albums and this is the best. The closest