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July 30, 2009

DJ Bone on Detroit

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DJ Bone speaks out about Detroit techno's legacy in a lengthy interview with SmartShanghai.com. A lot of this is nothing new, but it's worthwhile reading. You get Bone confronting Terry Lee Brown, Jr., but you also get Bone taking Detroit "legends" to task for sitting on their laurels. I particularly liked his recollection of the Electrifying Mojo, especially given that Around the World in a Day has been one of my favorite albums on the world for almost a quarter century now:

DJ Bone: He just played whatever he thought was good and what we needed to hear. He would talk all the time. Talk, and talk, and talk. But he was so deep that Prince would send him every single extended version, every single album like two weeks before it would come out in the store. And he would tell him, “play this on the radio and get everyone to record it.” And Mojo would say, “Get your cassette recorders ready, I got the new Prince coming up.”

I remember he played Around the World in a Day in its entirety. He didn’t say a word, he just played it. He said, “Get your cassette players ready.” He was doing a show, and out of the blue he had a call -- he never takes calls -- and he goes, “Uh I just uh wanna uh say that we have a special guest.”

He was really flustered, which he never was, because he was always really smooth. He’s like, “we got Prince on the line”. Prince called after his concert in Detroit -- called Mojo from his dressing room to talk and he was like, “Yeah, Detroit is like my second home, I get so much love here. From now on every concert tour that I kick off will be in Detroit.”

And sure as shit, every time he’s started in Detroit. He would send Mojo everything. I have extended versions of everything that only Mojo had access too... it was ridiculous. So that was Mojo -- he has a free format and could play whatever he wanted -- Cameo, ABC, whatever.

It was so dope to be in the ghetto and hear “Rock Lobster”. You know in the middle of all this black music you hear and all these black people are like “Oh, Rock Lobster!” Everybody’s down on the ground and shit and then it would kick back up and everybody’s up. In the ‘hood! [Laughs.]

July 29, 2009

A mid-year evaluation

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Bleep.com was kind enough to ask me to weigh in on any one album for their mid-year 2009 roundup. (July is the new December.) I chose Wildbirds & Peacedrums' The Snake, a record I haven't been able to stop talking about this year. (I'm pleased to note that I've actually converted a few new fans -- this is tastemaking at work, people!)

All kidding aside, The Snake is a fantastic album by a fantastic group; you can read my slightly purplish letter of recommendation here. Other entries in the feature include Kiran Sande on Rick Wade's Harmonie Park, Bill Brewster on Henrik Schwartz, Ame & Dixon's Grandfather Paradox, Lisa Blanning on SND's Atavism, Robin Rimbaud on Maurizio's 12" re-issues, Dan Hancox on Omar S's Fabric 45, K-Punk on Sa-Ra's Nuclear Evolution, and more.

A few other longplayers that have made me stop and listen this year, in no particular order:

Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue (Warp)
Jon Hassell, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (ECM)
Pepe Bradock, Confiote de Bits (BBE)
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp)
Lokai, Transition (Thrill Jockey)
Mocky, Saskamodie (Crammed)
Nikakoi, Selected (Laboratory Instinct)
Black Meteoric Star, Black Meteoric Star (DFA)
Moritz von Oswald Trio, Vertical Ascent (Honest Jons)
Mungolian Jetset, We Gave It Away... (Smalltown Supersound)
Helado Negro, Awe Owe (Asthmatic Kitty)
Black Jazz Consortium, Structure (Soul People Music)
Vladislav Delay, Tuuma (Leaf)
David Daniel and Douglas McCombs, Sycamore (Thrill Jockey)
Krikor & the Dead Hillbillies, Land of the Truth (Tigersushi)
Planetary Assault Systems, Temporary Suspension (O-Ton)
FaltyDL, Love Is A Liability (Planet Mu)

Mocky, Saskamodie

I reviewed Mocky's Saskamodie for Pitchfork -- read it here, and whatever you do, don't miss the Zelig-like "Mockumentary" that Crammed put together for the album.

July 24, 2009

Pepe Bradock

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Radio silence continues, for the usual reasons -- work, parental visits, German lessons, the attempt to squeeze a little recreation into a rainy Berlin summer. But here's a Pitchfork review of Pepe Bradock's excellent Confiote de Bits: A Remix Collection, easily one of my favorite albums of the year, even if it is a collection of the French producer's remixes that stretches back a dozen years. (Best New Music, hell yes.) Not mentioned in the review is something Bradock told me by email after I'd filed -- that he's planning both a collection of his Atavisme singles and also an artist album of new material, hopefully by year's end. Color my breath bated.

Stay tuned for a mid-year roundup of sorts, some new mixes and the usual incidental views of Neukölln.

July 01, 2009


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Found this today in a stack of records that propped up against a pay phone in a parking lot in Neukölln. Produced by Frank Farian (of Boney M/Milli Vanilli fame, also Tobias Freund's former employer), it's a medley of pop hits 'circa '83. "Down Under," "Let's Dance," "Eye of the Tiger," "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," "Electric Avenue," "Too Shy," even -- eerily or appropriately, given Michael Jackson's sudden inescapability -- "Billie Jean," sung by a woman who sounds a little like a cross between Tina Turner and Grace Jones. According to Wikipedia, the album was originally recorded for a Sydne Rome aerobics video. The whole package is pretty sweet: recorded in Hamburg, pressed in Bulgaria (for Hansa International), with a center sticker in Russian. Did the Soviets pay Farian royalties? For that matter, did Farian? It's like Girl Talk, 25 years early.

Plus, that Mummenschanz-looking dude on the cover is pretty sweet, as is the dude that looks like a cross between a bellhop and Tron (in red cowboy boots, no less)...