Sometimes the underground is a surreal place to be.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Myriam Makeba - Comme Une Symphone D'Amour

Myriam Makeba - Comme Une Symphone D'Amour (1979/89)

Here's a change of pace from the recent spate of synth music. Myriam Makeba was, as it happens, married to the great Hugh Maskela, a few of whose albums I posted over the summer. If you liked those, you'll find this just as agreeable. Otherwise, I doubt anyone can help themselves from falling for the woman known as Mama Afrika. For some background I'll just toss out some Wikipedia.

Makeba then travelled to London where she met Harry Belafonte, who assisted her in gaining entry to and fame in the United States. She released many of her most famous hits there including "Pata Pata", "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Malaika". In 1966, Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording together with Harry Belafonte for An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba. The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid.

She discovered that her South African passport was revoked when she tried to return there in 1960 for her mother's funeral. In 1963, after testifying against apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked. She has had nine passports, [3] and was granted honorary citizenship of ten countries.[4]

Her marriage to Trinidadian civil rights activist and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled. As a result of this, the couple moved to Guinea, where they became close with President Ahmed Sékou Touré and his wife.[5] Makeba separated from Carmichael in 1973, and continued to perform primarily in Africa, South America and Europe. She was one of the African and Afro-American entertainers at the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaïre. Makeba also served as a Guinean delegate to the United Nations, for which she won the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986.

This is the 1989 CD re-release of this album (best of?) featuring 5 bonus tracks including "The Click Song" as mentioned above. It dips between pop, jazz, and traditional numbers in french, english, and xhosa. Wonderful album, here's some youtube vids as a preview for those unacquainted with the 'Mistress of African Song'.

African Convention (on this record)

(Fun tidbit: The Lion Cries seems to have been 'covered'/ripped-off by Paul Simon on Graceland. Guess it wasn't just Ladysmith Black Mambazo then.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ruth - Polaroïd/Roman/Photo

Ruth - Polaroïd/Roman/Photo (1985)

Another classic minimal synth rip, delved from a long-lost backup dvd. This is the CD rerelease of Ruth - Polaroïd/Roman/Photo with all the bonus tracks. Got some terrific cuts on this one, even beyond the classic proper Roman Photo single found on my last post. Mabelle, Mots (and the 2001 remix), and the 14 minute original instrumental Roman Photo mix. This numbers among the greatest minimal synth albums ever produced, perhaps even surpassing those of Ensemble Pittoresque.

VA - So Young But So Cold

Various Artists - So Young But So Cold

Well, guess who just discovered a dvd backup of mp3 rips from 3 years back? This is a (now complete) repost of the terrifically hard-to-find french minimal synth/coldwave comp put out by tigersushi back in '04 featuring some of the best tracks of the era. Don't forget to hit up Artefact's site if you like the M.A.E. track on this comp, you can download the full album from there. (recommended above all for their version of the internationale!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

CBS Top 100

Nothing new from me tonight, but I wanted to point this out to anyone who follows SRO (especially anyone interested enough to be reading me now after that months-long break). The CBS Top 100 is pretty much the definitive italo/electro/house/etc recc list. If you've noticed the new IFM widget on the side, IFM is what CBS evolved into last year. Four channels of amazing music and shows from some of the best talents in the West Coast of Holland scene (perhaps the best thing going at the moment), 24 hours a day 365 days a year. They didn't do the Top 100 show the last two years due to the switchover to IFM, which is kind of a shame, but there's still three years out there to download. Obviously these aren't my original posts, just strong endorsements.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

VA - Street Buzz

VA - Street Buzz (1990)

Last one for tonight. Here's the '90 acid/piano/bleep house comp mentioned previously. First half is chock full of cheese house, I'd swear I remember half of them from the yearly dance at my elementary school. Picks up quite well in the second half. I should mention that this comp is actually structured and mixed rather than just being a collection of singles, so it works pretty well all around even if the track selection isn't perfect. That Jet Lag track is killer though (still a sucker for 303), and the pianos on Mary had a little Boy are straight off of "Going Back to my Roots."

1. Love's Calling - Sybil (remix)
2. Independant - Salt 'N Pepa (Brixton remix)
3. Nothing Compares 2 U - MXM (remix)
4. Simba Groove - Hi Power
5. Give In To The Fight - Ready For Reality (remix)
6. Take Back The Love - Samaria
7. Nitro - Ambassadors of Funk (London Symph Bleep House mix)
8. Falling In Love - Sybil (dub) <- picks up here
9. Kick Your Legs In The Air - Adam Ice/Poor Pocket Productions
10. You're No Good For Me - Kelly Charles (previously unreleased)
11. Get Your Thing Together - Urban Rhythm
12. Do You Want Me Baby (Dirty Love) - Lipstick/Lee Marrow
13. Mary Had A Little Boy - Stax (remix)
14. Jet Lag - Northern Lights

Can't find any album art online, but the disc can be had at amazon for about $4. ASIN B000008L7T

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Willesden Dodgers - Jive Rhythm Trax Vol. 1

The Willesden Dodgers - Jive Rhythm Trax Vol. 1 (1982 - '89 CD)

This is a CD rip of this absolute classic of electro & hip-hop. The DJ lp that has at least one song that everyone recognizes, either because it's based on some older track or because it was later sampled off this. You won't get this in better quality anywhere else. Perfect for the laptop DJ or the producer looking for some new samples too.

VA - Technorave 2: Trance Atlantic

VA - Technorave 2: Trance Atlantic (1992)

Found a nice stack of CDs today, 2 '92 Hardcore comps, a '90 bleep comp and an absolutely classic electro library record I'll be posting later tonight. First, though, is this Network/Next Plateau comp from '92 featuring Altern-8, Forgemasters, and 10 of the best cuts of stripped down bleep-style Hardcore from the year it peaked (and it can be had for pennies over at amazon. Chock full of Mentasm too, have you no doubt. I'll let this bit from the inside cover say the rest:

They call it rave. They call it techno. The fast forward electronic dance music that has dominated UK club culture for the past two years has been named, named and named again. What does it really matter? When the tones begin and the bass kicks, instinct tackes over and the limbs move involuntarily. This aural avalanche is the wave of the future. This post-Dusseldorf hyperactivity starts a new chapter in club culture on both sides of the Atlantic. "trance atlantic" is your passport to the future. Within the space of forty minutes your understanding of this underground phenomenon will be complete. You will then laugh as inferior bleep parodies are presented to you dressed as the real thing. All the artists featured here record for Network Records, based in Birmingham, England. Since the mid-eighties, label owners Dave Barker and Neil Rushton have encouraged the music, releasing classic early techno from Detroit and the then-fledgling English scene. Neil and Dave encouraged Detroit innovators Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson without whom this music would be very different. They set up Network in 1990 - a label with a crystal clear identity, sharp from the grooves to the sleevs - to cope with the increasing number of bedroom techno creators whose tapes often found their way to Birmingham before the London majors. Such was the reputation Network was developing, the UK's leading independent. altern 8's "frequency" available previously only as a limited edition white label pressing wastes no time in applying the pressure. You are the brick and this is the mineshaft. Altern 8's "Activ 8" was a Number Three pop hit in the UK which shows just how far things have gone. Altern 8 dresses in nuclear fallout suits and wear bright yellow dust masks. They hail from the UK's own Techno City, Stafford. They like to travel from rave to rave by hot air balloon. Sometimes the underground is a surreal place to be. nexus 21's "sychologic p.s.p." shows a more reflective side of the sound. "rhythmatix" is mathematic in its digital precision. The ghost of Kraftwerk somewhere in the new machine. The forgemasters' "stress" is the sound of Sheffield. Sheffield was once a major industrial centre. Sheffield made metal. Nobody wants metal anymore. Plastic will do. The Forgemasters make music like metal. There's respect to the past with an eye on the future. "stream" is a moment of relaxation. Can't dance forever. xon's "dissonance" fascinates with its twists and turns. In its complexity it reminds of the work of Derrick May who is in there somewhere. "turbo" and "heavyweight apply the pressure, both brutally futuristic electronic dance anthems, both hard, loud, insistent. This music isn't going away. This music is the wave of the future.

- John McCready, London, 1992

There's some seriously hard cuts on this comp, miles better than most of the hardcore I've posted in the past.

Keep an ear out for the samples and post all the lifted bits you recognize in the comments!