follow us in feedly
The Catherine Wheel: David Byrne’s criminally underrated funk opera masterpiece
04.01.2013
01:46 pm

Topics:
Dance
Music

Tags:


 
Hidden in plain sight in the midst of his prodigious creative output, there is an unfairly overlooked gem in David Byrne’s discography that I feel is an absolutely monumental masterpiece of late 20th century music, one right up there with Talking Heads’ Remain in Light and his seminal collaboration with Brian Eno, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I refer to the seamless funk opera score Byrne created for choreographer, Twyla Tharp in 1981, The Catherine Wheel. Unless you were a big Talking Heads or are David Byrne completest, chances are this one might have passed you by.

The Catherine Wheel is, to my mind, the third spoke (see what I did there) of a deeply psychedelic African-influenced polyrhythmic trilogy along with the above-mentioned Remain in Light and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts—all three were easily in my top ten “tripping soundtracks” as an acid-gobbling teenager and all three would still be on my Desert Island Discs list as a middle-aged rock snob. If you’re a fan of the two better-known albums, but have not heard The Catherine Wheel, well, you’ll be in for a profound treat, but especially if you drop some acid beforehand (I’d encourage it, no really!).

Musicians heard on the album include Jerry Harrison, the powerful drummer Yogi Horton, percussionist John Chernoff, Adrian Belew, P-Funk’s resident Minimoog genius Bernie Worrell and Brian Eno. It’s mind-blowing to me that there’s not a deluxe 2-CD set of the album that would include the 12” mixes and live Talking Heads performances of songs from the score, but I feel like this incredible piece of music has always gotten short shrift from whatever major label currently owns it. (The Catherine Wheel is one of the greatest “fuck albums” of all time, too. That’s how they should market it, if you ask me. I toyed with the obnoxious linkbait title of “David Byrne, of all people, recorded the ultimate fuck album” but thought better of it).
 

 
Above, Talking Heads performing “Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open)” at Wembley Arena in 1982.
 
After the jump, much more including the full Twyla Tharp ballet as it aired on BBC and PBS in 1983…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Octavia St Laurent and the legends of voguing want you to ‘Be Somebody’
03.21.2013
11:49 am

Topics:
Dance
Music
Queer

Tags:


 
Here’s a wicked video from Sweden’s House Of Wallenberg for the track ‘Be Somebody” which features lead vocals from the late Octavia St Laurent (ballroom legend and star of both How Do I Look and Paris Is Burning, referenced in the song’s title) and voguing from legendary members of the Houses of Ninja, Milan and Evisu.

House Of Wallenberg writes:

Sadly, Octavia St Laurent passed away before the release of this single. To celebrate her memory, the famous vogue houses of New York, spearheaded by House of Ninja, House of Milan and House of Evisu [including Benny and Javier Ninja, Aviance Milan and Dashaun Wesley of Vogue Evolution], came together and gave an epic performance in the accompanying video directed by Petter Wallenberg himself.

During filming, a homeless man came up and held an improvised speech about the meaning of being somebody, which is featured in it’s entirity in the breakdown of the video.

Very nice indeed…

House Of Wallenberg “Be Somebody” ft Octavia St Laurent
 

 
“Be Somebody” is available to buy on iTunes. For more info visit the House of Wallenberg website.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Deep In Vogue: an introduction to ballroom culture and modern voguing
03.08.2013
08:42 am

Topics:
Dance
Music
Queer
Race

Tags:


Throwing down at Vogue Knights, NYC
 
I have been a bit slack with my Notes column of late, and here’s the reason why.

I love voguing (and you should know this by now.) I love the music, the dancing, the style, the language, the queens (both butch and femme), the battling, the videos, the full length films, the drama, the energy, the past, the present and the future. Voguing and Ballroom culture a very significant and valuable part of the LGBT landscape, the serves to teach children self-respect and personal growth, and gives them a space to be accepted, and to thrive, in.

I love voguing so much that I have written a in-depth introduction to the culture for Boing Boing. Funny as it may seem, this wasn’t an easy piece for me to write—I started and scrapped 3 drafts, which just kept getting longer and longer—but I am happy with this one. There’s quite a lot of material that I just didn’t have the space to include in this piece, and my thoughts are now quite seriously turning towards a book documenting the culture. It really is that rich.

Like hip hop, ballroom encompasses many different elements of artistic expression, from music and language to clothes and design, and, of course, dance. It deals directly with some of society’s most controversial issues, namely sexuality, race, class, gender roles and expression, beauty modes, self-definition and competition. It doesn’t do this in the polemical style we may be used to from punk and political hip-hop, however, where topics are theorised and discussed. In ballroom these issues are lived and experienced, as a vast number of those taking part in this underground scene are transgender, working class, people of colour.

Ballroom includes society’s most marginalised: minorities within minorities within minorities, for whom voguing and ballroom culture is an important resource. In a world where they have been rejected, ballroom not only accepts these people for who they are, it celebrates them, in a variety of unique and different categories. The competitive, prize-winning aspect of ballroom gives some participants a sense of worth lacking in the “real” world (not to mention money), and the familial structure of the “houses”—mother, father, sister, brother—often acts as a real surrogate, as many in this world have been disowned by their biological families.

Here, voguing is not just a dance, and ballroom is not just a genre. It’s a way of life that brings pride, peer recognition and self-respect. The genre of music is one thing, but the culture which surrounds it is another; and both are intricately tied into one another.

...

To quote the late, great Willi Ninja, who is perhaps the greatest voguer the world has yet seen, voguing is like a challenge dance: instead of fighting you take it out on the dancefloor. Depending on who you ask, this uniquely stylised dance form arose either amongst the inmates of Ryker’s Island, or at gay Harlem dance parties in the sixties (it’s most probably a mixture of both). Voguing got its name from Vogue magazine, as the competing dancers would flip to pictures of models posing, and imitate them, trying to outdo each other in the process. As it developed the dancers became quicker and more agile, and incorporated other forms of dance such as waacking (high speed arm movements and hand gestures) and body popping (though some say that voguing actually pre-dates popping, and was itself an influence on the original b-boys). Fast forward to 2013 and voguing has come a long way, progressing through the styles of old way, new way, femme and dramatics, to today’s almost hyperactive, turbocharged version of the dance. Although key elements of old way voguing remain (posing, “face”), a much more frantic and stylised choreography takes precedence, with signature moves such as the dip (when a dancer falls flat on their back), the duck walk and hair control (using long hair as stylistic element of the dance, in essence whipping it back and forth).

There’s more to vogue culture than just the dancing and the dressing up, and if you have seen Paris Is Burning you only know the very tip of this glittering iceberg. If you want to know more, read the rest of Welcome to the Ballroom, where Voguing is always in style here.

To accompany the piece, here is a 13 minute dj mix I put together of “cunt” tracks, “cunt” meaning “fabulous” in the world of Ballroom. Yes, the c-bomb gets dropped quite a lot in this mix, so you’re getting a warning: it’s NSFW!

CVNT TR4XXX 13min Cunty Minimix for #FEELINGS
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
THIS is how you dance to Detroit techno, 1989
03.06.2013
01:17 pm

Topics:
Dance

Tags:


 
Three blissful minutes of folks dancing their butts off to Channel One’s “Technicolor” at the Brotherhood Club in Detroit, Michigan, 1989.

This is how you do it.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
How to dance to Kraftwerk: All you need to know
 

 
Via WOW Report

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
WTF: The simply inexplicable art form of Jim The Dancer
03.01.2013
07:00 pm

Topics:
Dance
Unorthodox

Tags:


 
The enigmatic fellow who goes only by the moniker “Jim The Dancer” has been making YouTube videos for a few years now of his totally off the wall freaky dancing. Some of them have been viewed 5 times, while others have been seen a few thousand times. He doesn’t seem to care. He just keeps making them. There are well over 400 by now.

Jim’s motto is “We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” I can’t argue with that, but lest you think I’m mocking his, er, singular art form, I’m really not. I’m laughing with Jim, not at him. It takes guts to act this fucking idiotic and not care. He’s clearly having a good time with it.

Hey, people thought Jack Smith was nuts fifty years ago. Today his work is celebrated in museums.

Jim’s musical selections are pretty off-kilter, too.

First up, Jim The Dancer interprets Lalo Schiffren’s opening theme for Enter the Dragon. This one was put up just a few hours ago and has only had one view.
 

 
I LOL’d when I saw that he had done one to Mud’s “Tiger Feet”:
 

 
Perhaps TOO much more Jim The Dancer after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Stop that shit’: the people of Harlem weigh in on the so-called ‘Harlem Shake’ craze
02.19.2013
11:53 pm

Topics:
Dance
Hip-hop
Pop Culture
Race

Tags:

The Real Harlem Shake
The actual Shake in action in the Bronx…
 
First, the good news: The “Harlem Shake” viral video meme is likely winding down pretty soon—at least we hope.

And as the excellent video below shows, lots of Harlem residents emphatically disapprove of the way that thousands have mindlessly helped appropriate the name of a community dance into some dopey shit.

If you’re not familiar with the meme, here’s the rundown. Last spring, Brooklyn producer Harry Rodrigues a.k.a. Baauer released “Harlem Shake,” a hugely catchy downtempo party track that very clearly samples a rapper saying that he does said dance. YouTube comedian Filthy Frank used the tune in a very silly costumed dance video that launched literally thousands of similarly silly copycats, full of mostly costumed people (many, notably, in white-collar office settings) flailing their limbs and humping the air.

Cue the analysis. The Fader contextualizes the details of the phenomenon, and The Gadfly has even framed its sociological potential as communal silly fun.

But of course it goes deeper. As writer Tamara Palmer eloquently put it in her article on the dance in The Root:

Popular culture is infamous for borrowing—and sometimes outright stealing—elements from a subculture and transforming them into something completely stripped of its origins. But it is still surprising to see how the current viral video craze called the Harlem Shake has managed to almost completely supplant a vibrant form of African-American dance that was born and bloomed in Harlem.

On the face of it, there’s absolutely zero wrong with limb-flailing and air-humping. But that’s not what the 30-year-old dance known as the Harlem Shake is about. Like most dance crazes cultivated by (and appropriated from) African-American communities, it requires a modicum of skill and, dare we say, pride.

Harlem itself is pretty unequivocal.

After the jump: want to know what the real Harlem Shake looks like? Check out this “shake cypher” video for some real context…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Hot jams video/music mix: Celebrating the magical skills of Mark Kamins
02.17.2013
02:32 pm

Topics:
Dance
Music

Tags:


 
Four dynamite mixes/remixes by Mark Kamins. I chose these to illustrate the range of Mark’s work. I only scratched the surface (pun intended).

Mark, you are missed by many.

“Everybody” (12” dub mix) - Madonna
“Make Believe Mambo (Acid Mambo)” - David Byrne. Re-mix by Kamins and Tom Vercillo.
“Jam Hot” - Johnny Dynell
“Tales Of Taboo” - Karen Finley

NSFW on this planet.

Crank it up!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
I Am The Cosmos: Listen to the whole of their superb debut album ‘Monochrome’
02.02.2013
07:36 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Dance
Music

Tags:

iatcmiatcmrtcmrtcmiatcm
 
I Am The Cosmos was the title of a beautiful and groundbreaking album by Chris Bell, originally recorded in the mid-1970s, but not released until 1992 - fourteen years after Bell’s death in a freak automobile accident. While I Am The Cosmos is now recognized as a cult classic - the name I Am The Cosmos is now fast becoming more associated with a brilliantly talented duo from Dublin, Ross Turner and Cian Murphy.

Since their formation in 2010, I Am The Cosmos have been making considerable impression with their music. From their first release “Dislocate”, they have been cautiously producing material of such quality and originality that it promised I Am The Cosmos would one day release a masterwork. And now it would appear this day has come early, with the release of their sublime debut album Monochrome. I contacted I Am The Cosmos to find out more about Ross and Cian, theri backgrounds, what brought them together, and how they wrote and recorded their brilliant debut Monochrome.

Paul Gallagher:  How did you first meet and what drew you together as musicians?

Cian Murphy: ‘Ross [Turner] is a drummer by trade and was involved in the Dublin music scene from quite an early age, so I was a fan of bands he played with long before we started making music together. We would meet at gigs, or he would come into where I worked and buy records and we would talk about music. There was always a mutual interest in what the other was up to musically.

‘When it comes to making music, I think even though the desired outcome is the same, we do have different approaches. I would tend to be a little more gung-ho with my ideas while Ross is more restrained. There are times when Ross will tell me to keep it simple and not throw so much at a song, and he’s always right! Wherever that balance is struck - that’s usually where the good ideas are. There are similarities too though - we both love a good melody and wanted to explore the notion of songs being quite melodic while still being something people can dance to.’

Ross Turner: ‘Cian [Murphy] and I had mutual friends growing up when we were teenagers - we lived pretty close to each other on the outskirts of Dublin. Usually bumping into each other at parties or in “discos”, spending most of our time talking about very similar tastes in music.  Time passed along and some growing up took place before we actually did anything together, although I think we had always wanted to do something together musically. I was gifted the amazing opportunity to work out of and run a great studio space in Dublin, the owners had moved away for a short spell. When this came up I got in touch with Cian straight away to see if he wanted to come along and mess around with some music I was working on. Just previous to this Cian had done a remix of a very early version of “Look Me In The Eye” under the name Leisure Wear. I really liked what he did with the song, so I was eager to develop something after that.

‘The fact that our tastes are so similar we moved quite quickly into a process of putting tracks together.’
 

 
Previously on Dangerous MInds

I Am The Cosmos: EXCLUSIVE premiere of their album track ‘Lost Rhythm’


 
With thanks to I Am The Cosmos and John Kowalski
 
More from I Am The Cosmos and ‘Monochrome’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
David Bowie: Extracts from his first TV drama ‘The Looking Glass Murders’
01.30.2013
03:11 pm

Topics:
Dance
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:

pitotlgmdblk.jpg
 
When his debut album flopped in 1967, David Bowie thought his pop career was over. The years of practice and ambition had sadly delivered nothing but the indifference of the public (who preferred The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s) and the bewilderment of critics, who could not quite understand this young singer (who sounded like Anthony Newley) and delivered such diverse and original songs. Bowie had discovered the width of his talent, but not its depth. Understandably, disheartened, Bowie considered packing it all in and becoming a Buddhist monk at the Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, but fate played a hand and he soon found himself under the influence of a charismatic fan - the brilliant dancer, performer and choreographer Lindsay Kemp.

Kemp loved Bowie’s first album, and used one its tracks “When I Live My Dream” for one of his shows. Kemp offered Bowie a new career - as dancer, actor and member of Kemp’s dance troupe

On 28 December 1967, David Bowie made his theatrical debut in Kemp’s mime Pierrot in Turquoise or, The Looking Glass Murders at the New Theater in Oxford. Bowie wrote and performed the music, and co-starred as Cloud, alongside Kemp’s Pierrot, Jack Birkett’s Harlequin, and Annie Stainer’s Columbine.

The production was still in rehearsal when it played for its one night at the New Theater, which perhaps explains why the Oxford Mail described the show as “something of a pot-pourri,” though it highlighted Bowie’s contribution for praise:

David Bowie has composed some haunting songs, which he sings in a superb, dreamlike voice. But beguilingly as he plays Cloud, and vigorously as Jack Birkett mimes Harlequin, the pantomime isn’t a completely satisfactory framework for some of the items from his repertoire that Mr Kemp, who plays Pierrot, chooses to present….

...No doubt these are shortcomings Mr. Kemp will attend to before he presents Pierrot in Turquoise at the Prague Festival at the invitation of Marceau and Fialka next summer. No mean honour for an English mime troupe.

The mime told the story of Pierrot and his attempts to win the love of his life, Columbine. Of course things are never simple, and Columbine falls for Harlequin, and is then killed by Pierrot.

After a few tweaks, Pierrot in Turquoise or The Looking Glass Murders opened at the Rosehill Theater, Whitehaven, before its proper run at the Mercury Theater, and Intimate Theater, both London, in March 1968….
 

 
More on Bowie & Kemp in ‘The Looking Glass Murders’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Notes From The Niallist: That’s so CVNT, a ‘Future-House’ voguing mix
01.25.2013
03:30 pm

Topics:
Dance
Music

Tags:


 
I have a new house music project, and it’s renewing my faith in this whole “making music” malarkey.

It’s called CVNT TR4XXX, or if you don’t mind bad language, CUNT TRAXXX. If you;re wondering why I chose that name, the c-word has been used in drag and gay circles for quite a while as a compliment, and CVNT (for short) is dedicated to VOGUING and the culture that surrounds it, which is heavily gay, trans and femme. 

As the picture I use as a logo states:

CUNT: (adj) a term used in gay slang to describe someone who is impressive, original or fantastic in regards to style or demeanour.
 

 
This week the London-based fashion label Long Clothing have uploaded a CVNT mix I put together showcasing some of my sounds, and a lot of others who operate in roughly the same ballpark.

For too long, house music has been perceived as a European-dominated scene (which it is to an extent) but it’s important to remember the roots of this music, and that it was born in the ghettos of Chicago, produced mostly by black and queer kids messing around with drum machines and boxed-up synth modules.

Not to mention house music’s spiritual home of New York City, the town that gave birth to voguing, and that, in the early 90s at least, spearheaded an assault of queer/black/latino/drag culture on the popular consciousness. Madonna didn’t start that shit, you know.

For those of you who don;t know, voguing was not just a fad, it was and still is a unique and complex culture in its own right, and it lives on, stronger than ever. That’s the real inspiration for starting CVNT, watching clips of various new way vogue dancers competing on YouTube and dreaming up a soundtrack to make them go wild to.

There’s some other kinds of house on this mix too, most notably “Jersey Club”, which features a distinctive 5-kicks-to-the-bar rhythm, a little bit of a “B-More”/Baltimore influence (similar to Jersey Club but with breakbeats) and “ballroom”, which is essentially house music for new way voguers and combines elements of B-More and Jersey Club with a heavy dose of 90s diva realness.

I call all this stuff “future house” because these genres are taking house music in a different direction, but one that is still very much connected to the black/gay undergrounds where they started. This music has got very little to do with dub, or spending hours tweaking a synth patch to sound good in a k-hole. This is defiantly DANCE music, designed to make you MOVE. Most of it is based around the rhythm, cutting up tiny samples of speech and music and arranging it around quick-fire patterns. This is music from the MPC generation, where you don’t get money for anything, but the synths are free.

Besides, I’m SICK of boring bloody minimal, ploddy bro-step and electro-house! As “EDM” takes more and more of a foothold in the American consciousness it’s worth reminding people that YOU GUYS INVENTED IT. You still have PLENTY of homegrown talent pushing these genres forward right on your own doorstep, but possibly not in the places you’d expect to find them. 

If I can point anyone in that direction, then it’s a start.

Here’s the mix for Long Clothing, which you can download from their website. The tracklist is here.
 

 
BONUS!

Here’s a couple more tracks for good measure, from the Death Drops EP:
 

 

 
You can hear more productions on the CVNT TR4XXX SoundCloud page.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Page 9 of 19 ‹ First  < 7 8 9 10 11 >  Last ›