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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Notting Hill minus Hugh Grant... (Something Else! on 7/23/09)

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I went to London last weekend. I had a gig, hung out with friends old and new and... ...went shopping! No double-decker/Big Ben/Buckingham Palace trinkets for me, I went straight for the tunes... I'd heard about Music & Goods Exchange and shopped at the one in Camden before. This time however I also made it down to the one in Notting Hill (near the Notting Hill Gate tube station)--SCORE!!! Although it's not any bigger than the Camden branch (possibly even smaller, actually) I did a lot better in the "Electronic/Dance" section. This week's show is chock full of gems uncovered from this excursion.

We start out with something by a group who doesn't get many spins from me, U2. I like a lot of their music, but it often doesn't fit into what I do musically. They seem like they have been very open to people remixing their music since the early 90s, which is rare among stadium rock bands. I still remember being excited about getting the Paul Oakenfold remix of "Even Better Than the Real Thing" back in the day. "I'll Go Crazy (Redanka Sparks Of Light Dub)" doesn't give me the same rush, but I think it is a lovely piece of music. Most people who know Joe Claussell's work might think of him as mystical (or at least mysterious) but his treatment of Omar Faruk Tekbilek's "Sufi (Joe Claussell's Mystical Version)" might make you see God/Allah/Spiritual-Being-of-your-choice. This is from a collection of Omar's music put out this year as a 2nd volume to Five Points' remix compilation from a few years ago called Rare Elements that featured works by Ustad Sultan Khan. DJ Shadow's classic "What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 1 - Blue Sky Revisit)" from Entroducing gently brings us back to Earth. "The Spectacle (Mr Scruff Remix)" by Yam Yam is from Fat City's fourth issue of the wonderful series Mystic Brew - Four Play. Normally one might not expect to hear a track by Pharrell Williams if I'm in control of the music, but one has to let the music speak louder than the names and "Frontin' (Yam Who Remix)" makes that easy to do. Truth be told, "Frontin'" was probably Pharrell's best song for himself and I always dug it. He and Chad Hugo as The Neptunes/N.E.R.D. have penned/produced a list of hits & classics as long as my arm going back to 1992's "Rump Shaker" featuring a verse written for their then-boss, Teddy Riley. Usually when people talk about the Manchester music scene the references are to Factory Records, The Hacienda and such. While I like "Fool's Gold" by the Stone Roses as much as the next guy, I much prefer what was coming out of Madchester in the 90s and after--Grand Central, Mr. Scruff, etc. The head of Grand Central Records was DJ Mark Rae and his group Rae + Christian spent a lot of time in my record box. The second album for the group, Sleepwalking, had a companion remix album called Nocturnal Activity that brings us the track "Vai Viver A Vida (Tom And Joyce 80's Funk Remix)" which takes the energy up another notch and sets us up for Kyoto Jazz Massive's Remix of "Kudu" by Eddie Henderson for Blue Note Revisited. Wrapping up the set are another 90s classic "Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Halves)" Masters at Work's dubby retouch of Saint Etienne's electronic Neil Young cover (yes, the song was written by Mr. Rust-Never-Sleeps) and another Jamaican influenced track "Peckings" by The Ballistic Brothers on a ska/rocksteady tip...
With the exception of the U2 at the top, all of this music was purchased on the London trip. Don't you love it when I travel?

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