Black Sabbath is directly responsible for some of the hardest and heaviest sounds ever created by man or beast. One fateful day in Birmingham, seventeen-year-old sheet metal worker Tony Iommi lost a couple fingertips in a bloody industrial accident, and the world gained heavy metal as a result. Well, Iommi claims it was an accident, anyway. Seems more like a deal with the devil, if you ask me.
Anyway, despite their well-earned reputation as the grandfathers of everything hard, heavy, and unholy in general and the architects of blood-freezing doom metal in particular, early Sabbath wasn’t always heavy, all the time. They mellowed the fuck out on occasion. Brit DJ Robert E. Lee proves the case with the incredible Balearic Sabbath, a 35-minute excursion into Black Sabbath’s most placid moments, a slow n’ easy Sunday morning remix full of free-flowing flutes, jazzy coffeehouse guitar noodles and softly banged bongos. From “Planet Caravan” to “Laguna Sunrise” to “Solitude” and back, this droopy-eyed foray into Sabbath’s gentler side is the perfect soundtrack to your next lost weekend.
It’s Pride season, so what better way to celebrate all things gay than with this cross-generational meeting of two queer icons?
If you don’t know who Alison Moyet is already, well, there’s not much I can do to help you (except to point you at this video, which may refresh your memory, and to assure you that this incredible vocalist has been a gay hero for 30 years now.) If you were paying attention to my Nu-Disco primer a few weeks back, you’ll be aware of Horse Meat Disco, the London-based club that has been instrumental in making disco music, and gay clubbing in general, cool again.
Severino Panzetta, aka DJ Seve, is one of the integral members of this four-man dj/production unit, and with his remix of Moyet’s new track Changeling, brings together two different generations of queer heroes to deliver a slick, bouncing club mix that you don’t have to be a homo to enjoy.
This being a DM exclusive, I sent Seve some brief questions to fill our readers in on how this meeting of minds happened:
DM: How did this remix come about?
Seve: It was through her PR agency and the very talented DJ Andy Blake. I was thrilled to be asked! Alison has a super-legendary voice. Of course, I was already a fan of her music, particularly Yaz/Yazoo, but also her work as a solo singer. I still remember when I was living in Italy and I discovered her cover of “That Old Devil Called Love” for the first time. I love the fact that she can do jazz standards too. This remix was definitely a great experience, and she seems to like it…
DM:What’s coming up for Seve and/or Horse Meat Disco?
Seve: Well, there is definitely another HMD compilation in the pipeline. We’re really excited about that because the club is still doing so good, and we’re still having so much fun playing at The Eagle and all over the world. My solo remixes and projects are doing well too, with a track from me on Classic Recording coming up soon, and more remixes, including another legendary voice, Claudia Brucken (Propaganda.) Travelling is great, and I am so lucky to have so many friends all over the world. I have no real bad experiences on my travels, as far as I can remember anyway.
Like I mentioned in the article, Egyptian Lover is a bona fide legend, a pioneer of both Hip-hop culture on America’s West Coast, and the TR-808 drum machine (the foundation stone of rap, electro and house music - in fact, it’s an integral part of all electronic music.) If you are in anyway interested in dance music culture and it’s history, then Egyptian Lover, or Greg Broussard to his friends, should loom very large on your radar.
Which is why I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY to announce that Egyptian Lover has produced a remix for my next single. That release is an acid-vogue version of Missy Elliot’s “Work It” that I have performed in my live sets for a long time, and included on my AKA album earlier this year (available to hear and as a free download here).
I still need to pinch myself form time to time to prove that no, I am not dreaming, I really do have a remix from Egyptian Lover. This guy has been a huge influence on my own music and djing, so to actually have him creating a beat and rapping on my track is… hard to describe.
As we say over here, I’m chuffed.
I sent Greg a few quick questions to answer, via email:
Do you still have the first 808 you bought? If so, does it still work?
Yes I still have the first one I ever bought and 5 more. I absolutely love the sound of it. I even bring one on the road with me to play at all my shows.
Are there any good 808 substitutes (for people who can’t afford the real thing)?
What are your top 3 808-based tracks of all time?
The 808 is still going strong to this very day. Who are your favorite modern producers, or djs?
Not too many, I’m old school 100% but I like AUX88, Jimmy Edgar, Jamie Jones, Dam Funk, just to name a few.
You seem to be touring non-stop. How is that going?
It’s a great life when you can see the world, DJ, and get paid for it!!!
What are your favorite places to play?
Paris, London, all of Germany and Barcelona are my favorites
What’s coming up in the near future for the Egyyptian Lover?
A new album 1984 and a big surprise with Stones Throw Records.
Have you ever been to Egypt?
Never been to Egypt but I plan on it very very soon!!!
Now THAT would be a gig to see - Egyptian Lover rocking the pyramids of Giza with his trusty 808. Or maybe on a boat down the Nile on the way to his house. I’ll do a fuller interview with Greg when 1984 is ready to drop, but in the meantime, here is the Egyptian Lover’s remix of “Work It”:
The full download release of Work It is coming on the 17th of September through Juno, and I will be uploading more of the remixes (from Hard Ton, Electrosexual, Ynfynyt Scroll and Cunt Traxxx) to my Soundcloud page over the coming weeks.
There’s always music and news updates available at www.niallism.com, and if you’re on Facebook, you can find me here.
As he mentioned, Egyptian Lover’s album 1984 will be coming out later this year on Stones Throw Records. You can keep up to date with Egyptian Lover, and his tour schedule, via Twitter and MySpace.
More synthesizer-based disco lushness, this time with a punk/new-wave twist.
The Units were one of the first synth-punk bands to appear out of San Francisco in the late 70s and “High Pressure Days” is one of their best-known tracks. It’s a slice of neurotic punk-synth-funk that’s brimming with pent-up energy.
Todd Terje hails from Oslo in Norway, and is one of the most respected re-editters/remixers in nu-disco and house. His recent EP release It’s The Arps is definitely worth checking out.
When these two got together it was moidah. This remix of “High Pressure Days” has just been released on 12” by Opilec Music (with more remixes on the flip by I-Robot), and can also be found on the exhaustive Units’ remix album Connections:
When the promo for the new single by Norwegian nu-disco maestro Lindstrom dropped into my inbox recently, I was unusually excited. Not just because it was some new sounds from one of the undisputed masters of the genre, but because of these three magic words: “Todd Rundgren Remix.”
At first I thought it was a typo, or a mislabeling - surely they meant it’s a Lindstrom remix of Todd Rundgren? I mean, you can tell Lindstrom is a fan just from listening to his music (it’s all about those stacked synth chords) and besides, Todd doesn’t do remixes… does he?
A little bit more digging around proved that this was no typing error. One of my all-time favorite artists had indeed remixed a song for the first time, and with his usual immaculate taste, Todd had decided to remix a song by one of my favorite dance music producers. Through connections in the extended Rundgren fan network (which is itself an amazing thing, more like a family than mere rock fans) I was able to get some questions to Todd himself.
Dangerous Minds really needs more Todd Rundgren on our pages, so I am glad to share his answers:
You’ve been making music for a long time, but this is your first ever commercially released remix - how did it come about?
I was contacted by Lindstrom’s label. I’ve been making contributions to other artists’ recording projects over the years so it didn’t seem like that unusual a request. I don’t often get asked to be involved in ‘trans-generational’ collaborations, so that was different.
Your music has been a big influence on modern dance producers, but in particular the whole nu-disco/cosmic-disco genre - were you aware of any of those particular artists? And did you hear a musical connection when you listened to Lindstrom’s track?
Since I don’t usually focus on a single genre I don’t think of myself as having a ‘style’. It’s a little odd because in the 70s we thought of ourselves as prog-rock players and that disco was something of a sell-out for artists like Rod Stewart and Blondie. This ‘nu disco’ is a more organic movement, especially the emphasis on the instrumental aspect and lack of lyrics. That does remind me of some of the experimental excursions I’ve taken in the past.
I love how you embrace new music technology (and the new music it can help create). I’m curious to know what sequencing/recording program you’re using, and if you have any recent-ish programs or bits of kit you’re enthusiastic about? For instance, have you used Ableton Live?
I stuck with analog until the mid-Nineties, mostly because I was trying to be thrifty. I used Pro-Tools for about 12 years but finally got fed up with the tempermental and expensive technology and poor support. Recently, I have been an exclusive user of Propellerheads Reason. Since they added recording capabilities I’ve been able to record and mix with my laptop and without any environmental restrictions. I haven’t tried Ableton, mostly because I have yet to do any live mixing.
What are you listening to at the moment? Any music of the last 5 years that floats your boat and you’d recommend for Dangerous Minds’ readers?
I’m a big fan of ‘outsider’ music. It’s not very useful as an influence (at least not right now) but it’s a lot of fun to listen to and takes your mind off the ‘serious’ stuff. I recently downloaded Lorne Greene’s “The Man” and was so amused I decided to work some of it into my solo shows. Now the fans want a whole night of Lorne Greene. The problem with outsider music is that it’s often only one great song in an obscure career of mediocrity.
What’s in the immediate future for Todd Rundgren?* And is there anything more dance music-based, like more remixes or perhaps even dj sets?
It’s been suggested that I take a crack at DJing, and it’s not such a far-fetched idea. In 1993 I toured a record called No World Order and built a system that allowed me to improvise the set each night using a midi controller and a program I devised that would recombine samples on the fly. I had to build that program from scratch using MAX. Now software like Ableton is the prefered way to go, although I have some ideas about how it could be done with Reason.
With the east coast of America still recovering from the effects of Irene, it seems like today’s American release of Grace Jones’ album Hurricane could not have come at a more inopportune moment. But as the album was originally released in Europe in 2008 the question remains - why did it take three years for Hurricane to get an American release in the first place? Was it label hassles? Jones hassles? Or a renewed interest in the lady’s work post-Gaga?
Either way it’s still a good day for Jones fans, even the ones who already own Hurricane. The American release comes with a dub-remix album imaginatively titled Hurricane Dub, which is also being released in its own right in other territories. Hurricane Dub is highly recommended, not just for the Jones-heads out there, but for connoisseurs of dub in general. It’s excellent. In fact it’s maybe even better than the original album, and yes I know saying that is kind of sacrilegious.
It’s a dub remix album in the true sense of the term, using just the original tracks and a shit ton of spaced out fx, mixed and processed by producer Ivor Guest (is that his real name?!). Like the dub mixes of her work from the 80s, Hurricane Dub brings the classic rimshot-heavy sound of the Compass Point All Stars to the fore, and positively drips authentic stoner atmosphere. I was actually surprised at how good this album is, and I do count myself among the hardcore Grace Jones faithful. Strangely enough though, there’s very little of this album appearing online. I hope her label are ensuring this reaches as many ears as possible! So, while you will have already seen the fantastic and terrifying video for “Corporate Cannibal”, here’s the only readily available video clip from Hurricane Dub available online:
Grace Jones - “Well Well Well Dub”
Hurricane and Hurricane Dub are available to buy here.
First up, Dam Funk has done a remix of the Haunted Graffiti track “Fright Night”, one of the stand outs on last year’s excellent Before Today album on 4AD Records. He adds even more lush synths and drum machine action that fits like a velvet glove. You can download the track here, via Pitchfork.
Secondly, about 18 months ago Dam Funk was brought together with Nite Jewel to co-produce an exclusive track for XLR8R magazine’s “Tune in an Afternoon” feature, another meeting of soulful synth acts very much on the same page. I only discovered the track, called “Am I Gonna Make It?” about 6 months ago, but it has been on heavy rotation on my MP3 player ever since, it’s that good. You can download it here, via XLR8R.
I was surprised at the negative reaction to Nite Jewel when I posted about them on DM before. What gives guys? Are they getting excessively pushed by the American press? Because they’re profile is pretty small in the UK. Or are they too hipster-seeming? I was surprised at the reaction, which seemed to go beyond mere dislike and into something darker. Either way, I genuinely like Nite Jewel and their spooked-out, lo-fi take on MOR soul-pop. Here is the short film made by XLR8R for the “Tune in an Afternoon” feature, which gives an insight into both artists’ production styles, plus a look around Jack Waterson’s Future Music store in LA - haters should watch this as it might just change your mind:
If you are STILL stuck for things to do before Rapturization, why not try your hand at remixing the band Zombi? It seems rather apt, doesn’t it? Remix Zombi now, and get to meet a real live zombie later on today. If you are one of those people unfortunate enough to get left behind that is. Unlike me - it may have passed the 6pm deadline over here but I am hedging my bets on an EST ascension now.
Ok, enough of the rapture jokes.
Zombi are a most excellent doomy synth act from Pennsylvania comprised of the members Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra. I posted on Steve Moore a few weeks ago, as one of his numerous spin off projects is the equally excellent synth-pop act Miracle. Zombi take things in a much more John Carpenter direction, with arpeggios full of authentic late 70s B-Movie atmosphere and a vibe that brings to mind the work of Fabio Frizzi for Lucio Fulci, and some of Mororder’s earliest scoring forays. This kind of retro-soundtrack/space-rock thing seems quite voguish now (not that I’m complaining) but Zombi are one of the pioneers having been on this tip for almost a decade now.
The band have just released their new album Escape Velocity on the respected metal label Relapse, and in conjunction with Self-Titled magazine and Soundcloud are giving folks a chance to remix “Slow Oscillations”. The prize is a Soundcloud pro-account for a year, your very own Steve Moore remix (boom!!) and a whole heap of Zombi-related goodies. And at the very least it’s a chance to hear all those gorgeous classic synths separated. To download the song, and the individual tracks, go here. To buy Escape Velocity and other Zombi releases go here.
The London-based events company Back To The Phuture have a competition open until the end of the month to remix living synth legends Gary Numan and John Foxx. While the prizes for this competition are only really relevant to people living in the UK (free tickets to the Back To The Phuture concerts on April 1st and 2nd in Manchester and London, playback of the winning remixes at the concerts) I thought this would be worth sharing here for all the Foxx and Numan fans who might want to have a crack of the whip. From the press release:
This is the first time in their prolific careers that Gary Numan and John Foxx have decided to share the creative side of making music with fans. The competition involves entrants making the best remix of either ‘Scanner’ by Gary Numan or ‘Shatterproof’ by John Foxx & The Maths. The winner will get a pair of VIP passes to Back To The Phuture, plus signed copies of the latest Gary Numan album ‘Jagged Edge’ and John Foxx album ‘Interplay’. The winning remixes will be played at Back To The Phuture (at the massive Troxy in London and Manchester Academy). Entries will be judged personally by Gary Numan and John Foxx and an endorsement from each will be given – not a bad boost to any up-and-coming producer’s career!
If you are a UK resident, and want to know more about the Back To The Phuture gigs (featuring Numan and Foxx Live, support from Recoil, Motor and Mirrors, and DJ sets from Mute’s Daniel Miller and Wall Of Sound’s Mark Jones) then go here: www.crowdsurge.com/backtothephuture. More info on Back To The Phuture at: http://www.backtothephuture.net.
Three silent cheers for Dave and Julie Hilliard! They’re the couple behind Cage Against the Machine, the grassroots Facebook effort to bring a new recording of composer John Cage’s famous “silent” piece 4’33” to #1 in the UK charts this Christmas over whichever bullshit song wins the UK TV pop contest X Factor this year.
The Hilliards named CATM in hat-tip to last year’s successful Facebook campaign to boost Rage Against the Machine’s raw 1992 tune “Killing in the Name” into the Christmas #1 over whatever crappy tune won the ’09 X Factor. This year, indie-ish artists like Imogen Heap, Fyfe Dangerfield, Scroobius Pip, The Kooks and Heaven 17 popped into the studio to not play their instruments, and the single will be released by the Wall of Sound label. And instead of one single charity, the proceeds from sales of the new 4’33” benefits FOUR. Factor that in, Simon Cowell, you tit-head.
The race to #1 starts December 13. Here’s where you can sign up for a reminder and chart-eligible link to download the single.
Here’s an added plus: the wonderful conceptual flexibility behind 4’33” has allowed CATM to solicit remixes from both some innovative producers and you:
So go to it, give us a four minute thirty three second audio snapshot of your life. Record it on your phone, your Mac, PC, recorder, dictaphone, walkperson, whatever and share it here.
The wonderful Tracii Macgregor at Gargamel Music hepped me to this latest project put together by New York hip-hop DJ/producer/scene-vet Rich Medina. Like any device, the mash-up/remix can yield a good amount of garbage (Gaga vs. Bieber, etc.), unless the sources are well-chosen and assembled.
It hardly gets better than pop king Michael vs. Nigeria’s Afrofunk prez Fela Kuti—much has been made of how Fela and James Brown mutually influenced each other, so the R&B/Afrofunk connection is hardly a surprise. Medina’s put together 10 rounds of it for The King Meets the President in Africa, which is downloadable for free. Unfortunately, the videos below are uncredited—if Rich did these as well, I’d consider him even more of a badman talent than I already do.