Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Mtume

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

James Mtume passed away. He was a musician’s musician, without the stigma attached to it.

James was free. James, due to the times he was born in, was always at the intersection of fascinating things like free jazz and black liberation in the 60s. Or the intersection of funk and the emergence of the home studio and drum machines in the 80s.

Always extending.

He hooked up Herbie Hancock with eastern philosophies and programmed one of the best beat ever made, propelling 90s and 00s major hip-hop songs on dance floors, making millions of people sweat and smile.

That is such a beautiful achievement. Love you, James Mtume.

Energy

Saturday, January 1st, 2022

It seems like it’s not trending at all on y’all’s streaming services, but I heard it once this week in the car and thought it sounded like an instant classic.

Nervous, dirty-sounding hip hop beat with ethereal, slightly whining voices floating over in lush reverb? Say less. Big 90s UK trip-hop vibe here. Sade comes to mind.

Slow dancing to it all day long, to 2022.

We gonna rock forever (not you ‘vid-19, be gone)

Pearl Ten

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Pearl Jam’s album Ten —their first is one of those albums where the music just flows from track one to track eleven. 53 minutes of impeccable 90s rock with a bit of a thin sound, but great, memorable songs. Nothing to throw away.

This adds to my belief that the perfect album length is around 10 songs and under a hour long.

Mother Earth The People Tree

Friday, November 12th, 2021

Just coming up on my sound system (I use a giant playlist on shuffle).

A great album. A great song and memories.

Drum solo

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Finally found it back. Akira Jimbo, Casiopea’s drummer having a blast.

He triggers electronic sounds on the black pads that you see on his drum set.

Yes, he keeps that cowbell groove with his left foot while making coffee and stuff. Yes at the end he quadruple kicks nonchalantly. His dexterity, precision and independence with his four limbs are pretty unbelievable.

George Clinton

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

Like Herbie Hancock and Emmett Till, George Clinton turned 80 this year.

It’s extremely difficult to assess how special this man is to black men, would they know it or not.

It’s hard to think about a freer brother than George. From cutting hair in New Jersey, to  driving back and forth to Detroit to record little things at Motown, to filling stadiums bigger than anyone on this planet at the time, to re-inventing himself in the 80s in a way that is still mind-blowing, to all the deals and backstabbing in show business that he had to deal with, it’s a miracle that he’s still here. Also of course, drugs.

It’s always jumping in my head that Prince and Maurice White were vegan and ultra clean in terms of lifestyle, and that it didn’t stop them from dying early. George has barely retired from touring (!!!), was still on stage before the pandemic, after all the crack he smoked for 30 years.

We will need to study his body thoroughly, we might find the key to limitless energy or some shit.

But obviously it’s on the music level that I kind of can’t with George and the dozens of musicians who were on the ship with him. Parliament Funkadelic albums are so insane, so good, so different, to this day. The mix of influences is still unmatched. P-Funk is where most western music since the 70s took its influence from. Definitely one of the fountain of inspiration.

Take claps for instance. P-Funk had the biggest claps on record. A young Roger Troutman, leader of a new band called Zapp, was extremely impressed by those thunderous claps. He practically vowed to himself to create even bigger ones.

Zapp claps are the biggest in music history. So big, that every single hip hop producer who needed some claps would automatically use a version of those, sampling them.

George managed a bunch of black hippies to record claps in the early 70s, and then for almost 5 decades the entire world bounced and nodded on his legacy. It’s amazing.

I’m still pretty bad at listening to lyrics but George is a beast at those too. I’m starting to get the references and play on words more and more, and it’s hilarious and often clever. Bow wow wow. Automatically iconic.

Speaking of iconic, the clothes! From Kiss to Lil Nas X, George and his friends influenced everyone and tore it UP:

This man, while lucky, could have given up a million times. He never did, just doing his thang until the end of whatever.

George Clinton, y’all.

June Gloom

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

An ode to June gloom and LA. Every year in the morning at the end of spring and start of summer, the sky is grey and moody. It usually clears out after 11am to give up to the immense Californian blue sky.

There’s an early in the day longing for the eternal sun to come back. Anyway, it made me want to be vulnerable and to compose a short electronic poem to this city, my neighborhood. I might add the instrumental.

Stay safe, there’s a Delta going on.

Pissed at H.E.R. (I’m not)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

I really like this woman. Her voice, production choices, her writing skills, her musicianship, dope.

I love her Slide song, listening to it since last fall. She’s all  bluesy, poetic and stuff:

We should take a trip up to the moon
Get a room

Then YG comes up with:

I need a baecation
I need my bitch in an apron
Booty all out cookin’ bacon

This shit is infuriating to me. The lack of effort! The “crashing the dreamy vibe”. I hate it. Like, go for the sexual connotation but sprinkle some subtlety, goddamn. Let me try:

I need a baecation
You & I in da space station
We sure ain’t watching no Knicks
I’m eatin’ you bitin’ yo lip

I don’t know, something different that fits H.E.R. I’m available to ghostwrite if you need help y’all.

Sure, R&B is associated with Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop is dudes’ market and dudes’ market means Sexism Starter Kit (for fun!). It is the music industry. This is also why Chris Brown is on her album. Sigh.

Reflections

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Just a lil contemplative piano for you.

Sign O’

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

I don’t remember when the album came out. But I remember listening to the eponymous track.

It sounded so different. It sounded calm.

Every time I would wake up, 6:25am to catch the bus on time at 7:15am, the song was on the radio. Almost at the exact same time, right when I was opening my eyes, for a while.

Winter in Paris. Prince mutters things I don’t understand. And then the Stratocaster just slices through. Pure. Clean, like the cold and humid air outside. I’m still under the comforter and not ready to go brush my teeth. I enjoy his plaintive voice. I feel the spleen. I dig the funk. I’m excited by the production.

Incredibly timeless. It felt like it right then.

Sign o’ the times, mess with your mind.