You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

santoIt’s a song that brings on an instant sense of romantic nostalgia. Dueling guitars played by brothers Santo & Johnny Farina who grew up in Brooklyn around the time of the second World War. Their father, after hearing Hawaiian steel guitar on the radio, wanted his sons to learn it and so arranged for them to have music lessons. Sleep Walk, their first release, came out in 1959 and became a number 1 hit in America earning them a gold record. This recording comes straight off an old dukebox 45. I can’t help but imagine hearing it being played somewhere on a stereo on a hot summer night in 1959 New York, drifting out into the night from some high up apartment window down to the streets below. Enjoy!

Santo & Johnny – Sleep Walk

delasoulFor this Christmas themed post I have chosen a dark tale from De La Soul, taken from their second album released in 1991. This album again utilised great production skills by Price Paul and also features the hits Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) and A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays”. As is evident from the chosen song their second album was darker in content than their first as they tried to shrug off being branded “Hip Hop Hippies”. This is also seen in the album cover which shows a broken pot of daisies.

De La Soul – Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa

krushThis 12″ by DJ Krush was released in 1995 when the UK Mo Wax label run by James lavelle was in full swing. A time when the UK electronic scene was at its peak, vinyl sales soared and genres like Jungle and Trip Hop were a household name. This single came after Krush’s first album for Mo Wax Strictly Turntablised and before his follow-up Meiso on which he worked with MC’s for the first time with great effect such as the stand out track Only The Strong Survive. The B-side features a devastating megamix of Krush’s songs by DJ Shadow. Krush and Shadow had previously shared a 12″ on Mo Wax with the brilliant Kemuri / Lost & Found release. The cover artwork is by the NY graffiti artist Futura 2000 who pioneered an abstract style of street art. During this period he designed many of the covers for the Mo Wax label.

DJ Krush – A Whim

DJ Shadow – 89.9 Megamix + Bonus Beats

bladerunnerI have recently been digging in my record crates and found some vinyl gems which I have recorded into my computer. Over the coming weeks I will be streaming some of these lost classics. 

First up is a one sided white label 12″ which only bears the title of the song Replicant and the label name: Idiosyncratic. This was the only release on this label and was done to protect the identity of the artists Trace & Nico from potential law suits as they blatantly used a sample from the film Blade Runner for this dark Tech-step monster. Originally released in 1999. 

Turn up your speakers and feel the darkness!

Trace & Nico – Replicant

hedgehogHedgehog In The Fog is a beautiful short film by the Russian animator Yuriy Norshteyn. The film, made in 1975, tells the story of a hedgehog as he travels to visit his friend Bear Cub to watch the stars. On the way he gets lost in the fog and has a rather amazing little journey. Norstein is famous for his special technique of using mutliple panes of glass at different depths from the camera on which he would place his drawings for the particular scene. The glass can be moved both horiziontally and towards/away from the camera to get a three dimensional effect. Even now in the age of computers and advanced digital animation techniques Norstein continues to use this mechanical technique with hand drawn figures and scenes. His dedication is shown by the fact that he has been working on his latest film The Overcoat since 1981! It is still unfinished today…

Watch the film here

Music For ChameleonsSay Eighties Music and people will immediately think of large synths, drum machines, big reverb and even bigger hair. Something that should be added to this list is fretless bass. As the name suggests fretless basses are made without frets, the raised metal bars on the guitar neck which divide the notes. Fretless guitars are without these so like violins and double basses the player must be very accurate when playing notes to not be out of tune as the finger placing on the guitar neck must be exact. Because the finger tip which acts as the end point of the string instead of the metal fret is soft the sound is dampened, reducing the attack of the note giving a characteristic sound which can be heard in the accompanying song. One such champion of the fretless bass was Gary Numan who used Pino Palladino’s virtuoso skills on the instrument to great effect on his 1982 album I, Asassin.
Numan says of woking with Palladino “He was brilliant. I had never heard playing like it…He came up with stunning bass lines, song after song. I leaned on him heavily during the making of the album. I pushed his playing to the forefront of the tracks and, inadvertently, created a new style. It was one of the first times that the fretless bass had been used as the lead melody instrument, allowing the album to be atmospheric, dreamy and funky.”

Gary Numan – Music For Chameleons