Monday, December 14, 2009


I'm a fairly big Warp Records fan but, for whatever reason, I've never really listened to Autechre that much. Maybe it's because I couldn't figure out how to pronounce their odd name. Anyways, I was listening to their first album over the weekend and guess what? I like it. "Lowride" is a standout with its 808 sounding drums and cold synth melody.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


In 1984 Roy Ayers released a largely unheralded album called, "In The Dark". This album definitely veers into questionable territory. Check out, for instance, the hilariously titled "Poo Poo La La". Or Roy getting his swagger on in "Sexy, Sexy, Sexy". He's caught up in a quiet storm crooner persona at times and it doesn't work. What is great about this album, however, is the heavy use of the Linn Drum Machine.

Here's album closer "Love Is In The Feel". Check out Stanley Clarke and Roy himself killing it on the drum programming.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Werner Herzog is easily one of my favorite directors. Many of his films have the tendency to unfold in dream like patterns which in turn mesmerize the viewer. This process is amplified by the hypnotic music which typically accompanies his films.

Popol Vuh were an experimental German group who were closely associated with the films of Werner Herzog. They provided the perfect aural counterpart to Herzog's visual aesthetic. The group was founded by the reclusive multi-instrumentalist Florian Fricke in the early 70's. While a lot of their early work relied heavily on electronic experimentation (Fricke owned one of the first Moog synthesizers), Fricke later renounced electronic instruments and turned to a more acoustically oriented sound. In any case, their early work can be seen as an important antecedent to later developments in ambient music.

Here is the title track off of Herzog's stunning "Aguirre: The Wrath of God", which features prominently in the film and should conjure up images of the majestic Urubamba Valley.

Aguirre I

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


B.V.S.M.P. blew up in 1988 on the strength of their hit single "I Need You". It's a great song. So is "Be Gentle". Both tracks make me think of a hypothetical scenario whereby New Edition move to Fort Lauderdale, start wearing fly track suits and oversized jewelry, get into the emerging Miami Bass sound and start working on their rap skills. I suppose the members that formed Bel Biv Devoe did turn into a rap group of sorts. And Bobby Brown must have rapped a bit. But I digress. . .

In the same New Edition meets Miami rap culture circa 88 scenario, then, here is "Can We Go On". Know what I'm saying? Word.

Can We Go On

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Right around the mid-80's Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were heating up as a production team. Their agent put them in touch with Janet Jackson and they ended up producing a few albums for her in the middle of the decade. No big deal. Their productions from this era popularized the sounds of the Roland 808 drum machine. Here is a lesser known song from The S.O.S. Band's must have 1986 album Sands of Time. This is synth stab funk aka Nothing But The Best.

Nothing But The Best

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Musique was the brainchild of disco producer Patrick Adams. It was a studio only project and there were two incarnations of the group. This is the first one. The four lead vocalists were Jocelyn Brown, Angela Howell, Gina Tharps and Christine Wiltshire. Not sure why there are only three women on the cover...

Keep On Jumpin' was a number one hit on Billboards Dance Club Charts back in the day. It's not hard to see why. With its propulsive bass line, killer string arrangements and punchy horn playing this song is a dancefloor gem. Apparently, Adams wrote these parts on the spot as the various musicians waited to record their parts. Crazy.

Keep On Jumpin'

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This hook has been making me feel good all weekend. Can't Keep Running Away sees Melle Mel and company trying on a boogie guise which I quite like. I don't think their arrangement quite works. So I did a quick edit of it today.

Can't Keep Running Away

Can't Keep Running Away (Sloppy Edit)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Carl Craig is one of my favorite techno producers. He impressed Derrick May enough that he was able to work with him in different studio and live settings in order to hone his craft in the late 80's and early 90's. By the mid 90's he was putting out very interesting music under a variety of different aliases. More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art came out in 1997. The album is noteworthy in terms of the musical landscape it covers from song to song as well as the haunting melodies which underpin them. This song is a standout with its inventive drum programming, warm synth chords, and that killer bass line which creeps in and out of the tune.

Televised Green Smoke

Monday, November 2, 2009


Whodini formed in the early 80's and made some banging rap tracks before sampling really took hold of the music. They were touring with the likes of The Fat Boys and Run DMC back in the day; yet they never seemed to reach their contemporaries level of success. In hindsight, their synth driven production gives their music a rather distinctive character. I absolutely love the synth arpeggio and drum production on this track courtesy of producer de jour Mr. Larry Smith. Truly an innovator.

One Love

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Surface started out on the Cayre brothers sometimes excellent Salsoul Records label. The group consisted of Bernard Jackson, David Conley and David Townsend. This is a burner from a 12" they released in the early 80's that's been killing me for the last little while. Towards the end of the decade they veered into a smoother / R & B style in an effort to gain a mainstream audience. However, it is their "post-disco" era tracks which really floor me.

Stop Holding Back