Sunday, June 22, 2008

You Don't Know: Ninja Cuts (2008)

Three discs of songs by various Ninja Tune artists.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (2005)

Rapping with cartoon characters was artistic suicide until Gorillaz dropped a bomb in 2001 with a platinum album and what turned out to be a surprisingly long shelf life. Next out of the box is Danger Doom, the stunning and welcome collaboration of two of hip-hop's most innovative artists, both of whom already have close ties to the world of animation -- Danger Mouse not only named himself after a cartoon but is also a part-time Gorillaz beatmaker, and the rapper MF Doom has imagined himself variously as a comic-book character and fire-breathing monster-movie hero (not to mention, he's rarely photographed without wearing an iron mask that makes him look like an early version of the Marvel supervillain Doctor Doom). Their partners for The Mouse and the Mask are the characters of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block, a cast whose creators share with Danger Mouse and MF Doom the same influences (obscure '70s superheroes, some making a resurgence on Adult Swim) and motivations (a parade of surrealist fantasies intersecting with real life, like the crusading happy meal that airs on Cartoon Network as Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Granted, none of these cartoon characters are rappers, and they're wisely given only backgrounds, transitions, or samples (all of them hilarious). No, it's the experts who handle nearly all of this record, and they're at the top of their game. Doom's dense flow and ciphered allusions have much in common with Adult Swim; both presuppose a large body of cultural knowledge to appreciate what's going on and both rely on a series of bankable eccentricities presented at light speed with high artistry and innumerable subtleties for later parsing by fans. Danger Mouse's productions have the same punch and catchy flair as on Gorillaz's Demon Days, but they're even more impressive here with the absence of Damon Albarn's interference and need to court a pop audience. He calls on the same type of rollerskating pianos, brassy fanfares, flutes, vibraphones, and cavernous drum loops that anyone of a certain age will recall from Fat Albert or Electric Company. It all adds up to the best album of the year in the hip-hop underground, and perhaps the best with any degree of popularity. (allmusic)

Hilarious video of the movie "The Mask" with the track "The Mask' featuring Ghostface Killah dubbed over it.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Amon Tobin - Supermodified (2000)

Supermodified is still rife with sophisticated Brazilian lounge-jazz samples and unpredictable drum'n'bass skitterings, this time augmented with more overt nods to hip-hop and Aphex Twin-style sympho-electronica. Feeding off Latin rhythms, downtempo beats, and wildly adventurous musical jumbles, Tobin's manic bliss never allows the songs to wander, working a sense of method into a sea of crazy atmospheres. The result is focused, enticing, and fascinating. (Matthew Cook)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mouse on Mars - Iaora Tahiti (1995)

Mouse On Mars, the Duesseldorf-based duo of Andi Toma and Jan Werner, applied the post-rock aesthetics to post-techno music. The pseudo-psychedelic trance of Vulvaland (1994) was unusual mainly because of its tragic, gloomy mood, but Iaora Tahiti (1995) layered elements of dub, jungle, hip-hop inside a shell of warped ambient/cosmic cliches, thus creating a new kind of futurism, one that was not Kraftwerk's paranoia of machines but a very bodily (and current) neurosis. (


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

Here we find a little of everything -- a turntable adding scratches to the conventional rock sound of "Heart Cooks Brain", a down-by-the-river fiddle on "Jesus Christ was an Only Child", a few pop nuggets and several longer pieces with a half-dozen tempo changes.

Thematic glue binds the musical sprawl, with stream- of- conciousness lyrics touching on the familiar Mouse topics of suburban decay, the lonely road, confusion and dislocation. Frontman Isaac Brock's lyrics are like a glass table at an SNL cast party, with finely-chopped lines pointing in all directions: "My brain's a cliff/ and my heart's the bitter buffalo" ("Heart Cooks Brain"); "I'm drowning upside down/ my feet afloat like Christ's" ("Styrofoam Boots"). When a band's oldest member is twenty-three, the active word is usually "potential." Modest Mouse, however, have arrived. (Pitchfork ca. 1997)


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein (2002)

The Cold Vein was the first full-length album to be released on former Company Flow member El-P's newly founded Definitive Jux record label, and its release was preceded by a significant amount of hype, particularly within the hip hop community. In late 2000, a split double vinyl single appeared on Def Jux, containing three new songs by Company Flow and two tracks taken from The Cold Vein: "Iron Galaxy" and "Straight Off The D.I.C." (see 2000 in music). These songs also appeared on the label compilation album Def Jux Presents, released on March 20, 2001. The first single, "Vein", was released in April 2001 with "A B-Boy's Alpha" serving as its b-side. The album was eventually released on May 15, 2001.

The album is also noted for its profound lyrical content; many critics and fans felt Vast Aire's and Vordul Mega's lyrics painted a vivid picture of a poverty-stricken New York.[1] Gavin Mueller of Stylus Magazine wrote about "The F-Word", a song addressing unrequited love: "Moments like these show not only the skill of Can Ox’s MCs, but the potential for hip hop lyrics to work on as many levels as the finest English poetry." (Wikipedia)


Friday, June 13, 2008

Radiohead - Com Lag 2plus2is5 (2004)

An EP by English rock band, Radiohead, first released in Japan and Australia in March 2004, followed with an April 2004 release in Canada and finally a UK release in May 2007. It is a compilation which collects many of the B-sides from the singles released in support of 2003's Hail to the Thief, plus remixes by Cristian Vogel and Four Tet and . The speech bubble on the cover says "はい、チーズ。" ("Hai, chiizu."), akin to the English phrase "say cheese". The quote on the back cover of the album "I travelled all over the world. I stayed in the best hotels, visited the best beaches and I had access to beautiful women, champagne and caviar. No, I don't regret a minute of it." is from the spy John Symonds. (Wikipedia)


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Alatt Született (2005)

Rossz Csillag Alatt Születettoften, often referred to as The Hungarian Album, is a 2005 album by artist Venetian Snares, released on the Planet Mu label. Inspired by an earlier journey of Aaron Funk's to Hungary, the album title and all of the track names are in Hungarian; Rossz Csillag Alatt Született translates to "Born Under a Bad Star". Stylistically, the album consists of traditional strings and trumpets mixed with chaotic breakbeats in a brooding ambiance. According to Tiny Mix Tapes, it ranked at #25 on the Top 25 Albums of 2005.

The concept of the album came when Aaron Funk imagined himself as a pigeon on Budapest's Királyi Palota (Royal Palace). (Wikipedia)


MF DOOM and Clutchy Hopkins - MF DOOM Meets Clutchy Hopkins (2006)

The man with the mask, metal-face MF DOOM and mysterious Clutchy Hopkins. Is Hopkins really this bearded old man? To give you the short version: after travelling around the world, today Clutchy Hopkins is living in a cave. Or you just don´t care about it and enjoy this jazzy, funky Hip Hop songs from two fantastic musicians. (

Released as individually painted CDRs packaged in black and white paper sleeve, often given away with The Life of Clutchy Hopkins (CD/LP).


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (2005)

Campfires have strange powers. And so, under the heading of The Campfire Headphase, Marcus Eoin and Mike Sandison have unleashed their smoothest and most organic release yet. The usual frosty, almost creepy tone and man-machine beats have been usurped by a focus on electric/acoustic guitars and warmer basslines, but their sound still hits the mind like a high spirited, fuzzy memory so no one should feel alienated by this that’s not supposed to. Seriously, man, those woodland fires have got some serious juju goin’ down. (Pop Matters)


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children (1998)

Sometimes an album is so good and makes its case so flawlessly that it spawns a mini-genre of its own and becomes shorthand for a prescribed set of values. The Velvet Underground's third and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew are two older records that spring to mind, and I'd toss in Spiderland as well. It's not a long list, but somewhere on it belongs Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children. (Pitchfork)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Books - The Lemon of Pink (2003)

The Books are a band founded by and consisting of American Nick Zammutoand Dutchman Paul de Jong in New York City in 2000. Their music is a mix of aleatoric, electronica, folk, and acoustic music (de Jong is a cellist and Zammuto plays acoustic guitar and electric bass), incorporating samples of sounds, speech and music. They have released three albums, all on the German label Tomlab. (Wikipedia)


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Squarepusher - Ultravisitor (2004)

Ultravisitor is an album by jazz musician and drums and bass artist Tom Jenkinson, known by his recording alias Squarepusher. It was released March 8, 2004 on Warp Records.

Ultravisitor incorporates many of the various musical styles exhibited by Jenkinson on his previous albums, including drums and bass, acid techno, jazz fusion, and electronic noise. A few of the tracks feature layered Spanish guitar, or filtered bass guitar. Many of the tracks have samples of an audience, blurring the lines between live performance and studio performance.

Tom Jenkinson has stated that "Ultravisitor is my spectacle of beauty and of terror. It is unknowable, and will never be understood by anybody, least of all its creator." (Wikipedia)

^I love that quote. Listen to the album to understand.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist - Brainfreeze (1999)

Brainfreeze was recorded by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist as a practice session for a show in February 1999 at the Future Primitive Soundsession (San Francisco) mixing funk and soul 45's. Initially 1000 copies were made and sold at the shows, and a further 1000 copies were made and distributed to local records stores in California and sold out very quickly. A cease-and-desist letter from 7-11 Convenience stores—the whole artwork and styling was based on their logos and uniforms—meant that they stopped and moved on. The album was then bootlegged and it can now be found in popular record shops. (Wikipedia)

Interesting fact about this record: The 45's that Shadow and Chemist used to record this are extremely rare and every time they were scratched the vinyl would get damaged and deteriorate. Shadow and Chemist did the whole record in one take because they couldn't risk damaging the out-of-print vinyl anymore.


Monday, June 2, 2008

El Stew - No Hesitations (1999)

El Stew are a motley assortment: there’s Brain, the drummer from Primus; DJ Disk, a.k.a. the Shigger Fragger, the godfather of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz; twisted guitarist Buckethead; Eddie Def of the Space Travelers (formerly the Scratch Hamsters); and producer Extrakd. It’s an assemblage you might not expect to work, and their music is almost unclassifiable–except to say that it makes for a hell of an interesting listen. The album isn’t a seamless mix of the quintet’s talents, but it comes close: all five meet on a trippy, abstract plane and share the same twisted sense of humor. (If you recognize the two films they lift the phrase “klaatu barada nikto” from, this is the album for you.) Somehow, El Stew manage to fit funky dance tracks (”Reign of Terror”), bizarre dance tracks (”Surf Mission [Invasion of the Duck Punk],” with its chorus of quacks), and some very experimental, weird music side by side. That it never once feels out of place is an incredible accomplishment. (Randy Silver)

Buckethead dong some sick dance moves during one of their shows:


Carlos Santana and Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender (1973)

Love Devotion Surrender is an album, released in 1973, by guitarists Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, with the backing of their respective bands (at that time Santana and The Mahavishnu Orchestra). Both men were disciples of the guru Sri Chinmoy. The album was created as a tribute to free jazz pioneer john Coltrane. In addition, it contains two McLaughlin songs, but none by Santana. (Wikipedia)


1. A Love Supreme
2. Naima
3. The Life Divine
4. Let Us Go Unto the House of the Lord