Sunday, 28 June 2009
For a while now I've been bedridden and dying of disease. Henceforth I've crawled into a very comforting cocoon of vintage Timbaland productions, and while I've always loved the man's work over the last few days I feel like my heads been cracked open for the second time. I let things like the abominable Chris Cornell album blind me and I feel quite bad about it. I'm going to write something about the man's work very soon, but for now watch this and weep. Transcendental beauty is defined around about the 3.08 mark.
Missy Elliott feat. Timbaland - Hit'em Wit Da Hee VIDEO
Friday, 26 June 2009
This is kind of a hopeful, nostalgia post for a strain of crunkmuzik I loved and had high hopes for, but that wilted and died before the sun even had a chance to shine on it. Crunk&b, bubblecrunk or we could be really subversive and just call it CRUNK! Whatever. I'm not talking about crunk accompanied by something like Lil' Jon's primeval lion roars, or The Ying Yang Twins sexy-like-a-spider-crawling-up-your-leg whispers, but the stuff that applied the bonehead synth and toxic fizz of crunk to butterfly soft R&B stylings; the roughhousing of sensuality.
Of course there was the sound's pioneer, Ciara, whose debut album was littered with strange, minimal techno tracks like "Goodies" and "Hotline" that were built purely on the sounds of electronic whistles, minimal drumpads, laser stabs, and an army of buzzing robotic bees. Then there was Usher yelping between the silences in the sound and contending with a four alarm, rave siren burn-up that took the burgeoning sound to the masses and bestowed upon Usher the prize of one of the weirdest, most avant garde number ones ever in "Yeah!".
And then nothing. Well not entirely, but basically the mutant sound that seemed so promising and exciting failed to maintain people's interest and subsequently songs were cranked out with ever diminishing returns. I want to celebrate some of those songs that in my mind signaled something great, but that now seem to represent something sadly lost in the fire.
Perhaps lost is the wrong word to use considering the reason why I've been triggered into pining so much for the sound of late has been because of some recent redux moments that have come in the form of Ciara's operatic tech-crunk mindblower "High Price", Electrik Red's Vanity 6 on a poison drip anthem "Drank In My Cup", and Sophia Fresh's Hooker-Assault on Precinct 13 novelty tune "Superbad." Therefore I'm going to opt to use the word "unfulfilled" and leave it at that. Sigh, etc.
"Girlfight" by Brooke Valentine was obviously Lil' Jon's attempt to blur the confrontational, aggression of straight crunk, the kind that makes you feel like some behemoth madman is repeatedly spitting in your face, with the slinky, melodic sass of female R&B, and it worked perfectly. So perfectly no one ever tried to make another song like it. Basically Brooke hollers and twists her neck over tense, horror crunk synths and metallic Streets of Rage guitar lines about how she wants to knock the gold teeth out of another girls head. Simple as that. Add Lil' Jon's trademark drunkpunk outbursts and a silly, seedy verse from Big Boi and "Girlfight" is as intense and in your face as mainstream R&B gets.
To my knowledge "OopDeeWopDee" was the only song girl group NSS16 ever released and you only need to watch the video to realise this was a real backwaters effort which probably adds to it's strange charms, the kind of thing that was always destined to disappear into the ether and leave a small handful of people obsessed with it for years to come. "OopDeeWopDee" featured none other than down south ambassador David Banner, which means if it weren't for the beat this would probably have been labeled crunk by association, but there's no need for that as the song's sinuous middle eastern rhythm that's been seemingly processed through a fax machine over and over until it sounds barely existent goes to show. What I adore most about the song is in fact the brittle, almost non existence of it all; the asthmatic, weakling beat, the vocals that sound like they're being heard from the other side of the wall. Listening to it makes me feel like I'm plucking at a frozen cobweb. The remix which incorporated the diwali riddim (that MASSIVE Lumidee song to most) only makes this lost gem sparkle just a little more intensely.
Bella make me want to well up. They were simply put, brilliant, but they never got so far as to release their debut album, so I have to make do with a mixtape of their songs that Dan Cannon put out a few years ago. "Never Be Me" preempted the crushing, monolithic crunk crush of Ciara's "High Price", except it was slower, ALOT slower, like swimming though molasses, and possessed a sound I can only say was slightly oppressive. Whenever I play it I'm still initially always struck by how ugly and off-putting it is, in the same way I'm still surprised by parts of Britney's Blackout album, but without fail before long I'm inevitably seduced and dragged into it's sonic tar pool. It's another fine example as to how different and out there this meshing of sounds has been and could still be. Bella Forever.
Check out Bella's Myspace for a stream of the song.
F.Y.I There's more of this stuff to ramble about. I might make a mix soon.
It might be because I've been ill and delrious of late or it might have been because my XXJFG bruthas surprised me by admitting they're fans (and I'm easily led), but SO BONES is now on twitter. You know the drill. Add me and I'll bore the shit out of you by telling you what I just ate and what Christina Milian song I listened too whilst eating.
Tuna salad. "So Amazing."
We also now have a 20 Jazz Funk Great twitter too! HERE!
Monday, 22 June 2009
Lloyd, the boy who should be Prince (perhaps next in line after The Dream) can always be relied upon for delivering near perfect space-station serenades filled with pixeldust atmospherics and sleazy teen-cream come ons. This new Jim Jones produced cut has Lloyd roll into the room on the same diamond encrusted panther he's always been riding, but this time around with a distinctly darker glint in it's eyes, adopting a sinister, minimalist John Carpenter prowl, while Mr Polite falls into tried and trusted creep mode and half sings over gooey, doomy, undulating synthlines. If MTV commissioned a Carmen Hip Hopera style remake of Yuzna classic Society, this could very well be the perfect soundtrack to all that sexy shunting.
Clipse have a new album coming out this year and I don't think things are looking good. None of the leaks have convinced me that anything on the record is going to come close to touching the super-blunt, alien boom bap beats that rang through the vast hallways of the giant ice strip-palaces they erected with The Neptunes somewhere hidden away in the Tundra a few years ago. "Eyez On Me" with Keri Hilson, who seems to grate on me more and more with every passing week, is probably the best of the new bunch and is pretty decent, equipped with an addictive cokeclub claptrack and and an arsenal of ravey Baltimore flavored synth stabs that should sound immense echoing around cavernous dancehall somewhere.
Everyone and the Sun and Moon now knows about the death of Michael Jackson. While I can't say I was a committed fan, at least not once I'd turned 13 and put down my double cassette HIS-tory album, I have to acknowledge the man was a legend and the reason why so many of the artists I love do what they do. I offer to you all a fittingly sombre, screwed version of "Billie Jean", which as is the way with the purple Houston sound, manages to bring the true, depressing darkness of the track to the forefront. R.I.P you fabulous lunatic.
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (Screwed)
Saturday July 4th I shall be playing an array of metal machine jams, autotune fantasias and ENCOM valley robo-pop bangers for the 17th International Amalgamation of Champions, which as ever is being hosted by the Real Gold guys at Corsica in Elephant & Castle. No doubt headliners Zomby and MJ Cole(!!!) will have dancers breaking limbs with ecstatic, sweaty enthusiasm. You can buy tickets in advance here. This one is going to be RAMMMMED(stein.)
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
After everything that has happened if anyone out there still thought Mariah Carey might have been in possession of some slight shred of sanity...
"You a mom & pop, I'm a corporation / I'm the press conference, you a conversation."
"He's all up in my George Foreman."
"Got you all fired up with your Napoleon complex / See right thru you like you're bathin' in windex."
Yes, she sings these lines in her new hook up with The Dream and Tricky Stewart, which comes on like a more playful, carnivalesque version of "Side Effects", less horrorshow g-funk synth melodrama, more animatronic drag queen, bitchfest. Oh...and to the disgust of some, Mariah has embraced the autotune and added a surprisingly nice digitised feel to her astral siren calls. Bonus points for Gucci.
obsessed - mariah carey
I rediscovered my Shawty Redd playlist today and it got me wondering where in the world his much delayed solo album "Jekyll/Hyde", had gotten too. Shawty is one of the most insanely inventive, underrated producers out there, the man responsible for taking Snoop for a sail down pastel coloured, Florida cream rivers on a gold plated mega-yacht populated with assorted Armani swimsuit attired fem-bots in Sexual Eruption, and who has consistently provided Jeezy with his spookiest, creep house psychedelics created by an orchestra of wheezing, deathly machines. For his debut solo outing from what I can gather Shawty seems to be on a mission to make the ultimate cyber-lullaby sleaze fest, immersing himself in autotune fantasias built from pillowy, weeping Prince synthlines and melancholy stargazer atmospherics.
SO BONES III is taking place tomorrow night, upstairs at Catch. It's free entry too! Electrik Red will be flowing, as will the usual space-jams. COME!
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Cassie and Ciara. The eternally still ice princess and the amazonian robo-diva. Two of So Bones most beloved spirits.
"Must Be Love" and "Go Girl." Two of their worst ever singles. Well that's what I'd thought anyway until only just last week when for unknown wonderful reasons everything clicked and I've since come to the conclusion that they're both fine specimens of flawed brilliance.
The T-Pain produced Go Girl has been all but written out of Fantasy Ride's difficult history since it failed to do much of anything, but the topsy turvy electronics, plastic fanfare and insanely catchy chorus have well and truly won me over and I'm firmly obsessed, ESPECIALLY with the video mix which includes a histrionic exploding motorcycle breakdown and lots of stuuter effects elevating the neck-snap track rhythms into the epic.
Diddy's inane stale champagne babblings are never necessary, in fact they should be outlawed for destroying so many good songs in the past. "Must Be Love" is no exception and the central reason why it came as such a crushing blow when I learned "Must Be Love" was to be Cassie's "comeback" single was primarily because it had been announced that the dreaded one was going to be all over it. Never has a song needed a rap free version more.
Until that MC ridden moment arrives I close my eyes and plug my ears up, let the moment pass and proceed with listening to Cassie, the queen of r&b minimalism coo and sigh in that unnervingly serene way of hers over a deceptively simplistic, crackling latino loop infused with more than a hint of gritty summer sweat and a ghost tropic kind of vibe, the kind of thing Rza might have thought was pretty damn romantic in the 90s.
Electro Love really couldn't come sooner. Really.
Check out Cassie's myspace for a stream of the song.
I recently asked fellow lost souls Salem if they would make XXJFG a mix and with some light in the cave, they did so. What with the inclusion of some brain breaking tech-gabba and a disorientating fragment of a psychotic's dream lullaby, while the mix isn't entirely So Bones, there's still a good deal of creepy, sparse ghost juke to prick up ears and make spines rattle.
Whitney Houston has never sounded so drugged. Even when she's been drugged.
1-PEARL - Pearl's Dream
2-NEOPHYTE - I will have that power
3-DJ NATE - I'm a Burn
4-DJ NATE - Ghostmix
5-YOUNG CREAM - Angie Juke
6-AiDS 3D - Back Once Again (Forever)
7-THA POPE - Track 41
8-UNKNOWN - Track 20 Chicago Juke
9-NEOPHYTE - Catastrophe
10-THREAT MISSES - Juke that Girl
Salem XXJFG Mix
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
The end is nigh for the robot voiced ones, at least according to Jay-Z if we're to believe he's being totally serious with his new single "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune), which considering Kanye West co-produced it and the vocoder king T-Pain has seemingly given his blessing, is probably far more about grabbing some attention than it is about actually leading a charge against what has, in my mind, been one of the more interesting hip hop trends to emerge over the last few years.
Shit eating grins aside, "D.O.A." is proof if anything that Jay really has transformed into the Eric Clapton of hip hop. If killing off the Hawkings effect means being subjected to this anodyne, real muso crap than I'll take a futuristic fantasia like "Blame It" any day and pray Cherzilla takes her vengeance soon. F.Y.I. Jamie Foxx never had more heart til someone wrapped it up in wires.
Off with his head.
Since it crawled in under just about everybodies skin last summer, A Milli is still the tune to emulate, the gremlin to pour water on after midnight in the hopes something as equally twisted might spring forth. Beyonce, Rich Boy, and Mario have all made their tries with varying degrees of success, and now, like a blast from the past, Mike Jones has got one on his new album. Fittingly for a Swishahouse associate, the talking in tongues is slowed down to a swampy crawl and the blunt drums pound with a more doom laden impact creating a potently claustrophobic banger perfect for having fun with while slowly drowning in a tar pool. It's no Drop, but it's good enough.
Dummy Magazine recently asked me to make a So Bones mix, bruises and all, so with the help and patience of a beloved Dreamburger I spent the weekend listening to Britney vomit over a forest floor of twitching stripper limbs. It also comes with the first non-drunk interview I've given in a good while. Check it out.
Friday, 5 June 2009
Electrik Red flopped. Ciara kinda flopped. Flo-Rida is still clogging up the airwaves and dragging Wynter Gordon down with him. Eminem is continuing to prove people are generally really dumb. And it looks like for the second year in a row there wont be a big "Uh Oh/Umbrella/Goodies" type Summer jam unless people pounce on Chelley quick! Good skullcrushing times indeed. Thankfully like a sunbeam through thick waves of smog, there's been quite a bit of Danja activity recently, so I'm not ready to jump into the fire just yet.
Laying all cards on the table right from the outset, Nic Rage is a relatively dreadful no-mark rapper, but "The Life I Lead" is testament to how good Danja can be because it's probably one of my most played songs in recent months mostly down to the fact it's a perfect example of the man's hypnotic downer inclinations which are responsible for contributing that very distinct melancholy malaise that tends to form a soft blue fuzz around his synthetic orchestrations often making them sound like crushed metal laments for all the broken cyborgs prematurely thrown on the funeral pyre. There's been the wonky haunted stripclub atmospherics of Danity Kane's "Striptease" (which I've found to be an interesting accompaniment to this classic clip), the coral coloured, tear drop etherealness of Cassie's "Official Girl" and the weeping computer trance wash of B5's "Teardrops." "The Life I Lead" inhabits a hopeless Terminator style apocalyptic wasteland of broken circuit boards and broken bones, gliding along on a ringtone Vangelis vibe, a tinny epic of wavering semi-operatic wailing and elongated waves of chrome coloured synth-work.
A trademark wheezing sine wave kicks off Esmee Denter's "Casanova" before giving way to some weird, distant downbeat bird calls in the chorus, in a new song which is of significance for actually being one of Danja's very few pure pop efforts of late. Despite not reaching the ludacrous, lunatic highs his previous forays into robo-pop have created "Casanova" is still quite a nice sad-eyed-girl-trapped-in-her-pink-palace/prison piece of fluff that also happens to feature Justin Timberlake in the slightly creepy, unconvincing role of "big brother."