Urban Nomads – We Make Music

Folks, its not hidden a secret that I am a part time Urban Nomad by profession.

Islington

Urban Nomadic Sessions 001

What do us Urban Nomads do I hear ya ask?

Simple, we traverse urban settings, admiring cities, architecture, noise, markets, music, people, shops and most importantly, our built environment.

Our activities include but not limited to:

  • Finding cool hidden gems, in my case the focus is on architecture and food.
  • Chilling in coffee shops and coffee related establishments. We can spend tons of hours in these places.
  • Walking in unknown parts of whatever city we happen to be in. We do that to discover new things, but also because it expands our understanding of our environment. It sometimes puts me in trouble. Worth it.
  • Our nomadic nature means we cannot get too attached to one city, place or setting. But we often do.
  • Running new routes around the city and seeing things at 20 km/hr while your heartbeat is at 100 bpm.
  • Attending gigs, going to museums, enriching ourselves culturally.
  • Airports
  • Metro/Subway/Tube inspiration
  • Finding cool hidden gems when we run of things to do
  • Make/be music as you listen to music.

And this brings us nicely to my latest project.

You might have been with me long enough to know about Kay-Ville, District Funk and then Disco Blasphemy. These were awesome shows which were broadcast and had their fun in their sun. Time for something new.

My latest is a no brainer. One of the main accessories of the discerning Urban Nomad is his headphones and music selection. It is highly unusual to find me walking random parts of Paris’s Courbevoie or New York’s Lower East Side without my headphones on, banging tunes, taking it all on.

When I often playback some tunes, it elicits such a strong feeling of a particular setting that I often can no longer but associate that track with that place. And hence my idea – put together tracks I play while hopping about places in one mix and see what that sounds like. And thus ‘The Urban Nomadic Sessions’ is born.

The first session takes us to one my favorite parts of London and where I have so many fond memories, Islington, up Naaarrffff.

Representing N1, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N16 and N19, with a silent ode to the gunners! Here we go!

Tracklist:

  1. Grüün – GrüünGrüünGrüüün
  2. Deetron Feat. Ovasoul7 – Out Of My Head (Dub)
  3. Roman Flügel – More & More
  4. Aaron FIT Siegel – Tonite (DD Mix)
  5. Rachel Row – Follow The Step (KiNK Mix)
  6. Doc Daneeka – Everyday
  7. B.G. Baarregaard – Tocame
  8. Olivier Giacomotto – Together
  9. Martijn – Strada 23
  10. Flori – SU-3150
  11. Moodymanc – Joy (Ralph Lawson Dub)
  12. Dave Seaman – Private Education
  13. JC Williams – Need No More (NY Stomp Remix)
  14. Koelle, Elli – All You Got (Richard Seaborne Dub)
  15. Prok & Fitch – One Of These Days
  16. P A U L I E – Spread Love (Holmes Price Remix)
  17. Climbers Feat. Yasmine Azaiez – Left Your Love (Director’s Cut Signature Mix)
  18. Jacob Bech – The Kibosh
  19. Pablo Bolivar – Destination Novgorod
  20. Softwar – Believe
  21. NY’s Finest – I Can’t Wait Till Tonight
  22. James Welsh – Horse Fight
  23. JimmyTheTwin – Party Down
  24. Surrealism – So Much
  25. Matthew Collins – Nobody’s Fool (Young Hand Remix)
  26. System Of Survial – Iper Island
  27. Jesse Rose – Alone
  28. Benoit & Sergio – House With 500 Rooms (Dub)
  29. Sasse – Flushing Meadows (Mark E Remix)
  30. Jens Bond – Two Seconds Of Silence
  31. Chamboche – Into The Murk
  32. Phil Weeks – Stay Stayin
  33. Daniel Steinberg – 1981
  34. Dalson – Back Home
  35. Joe Morris – Elysium
  36. P. Laoss – Play My Music
  37. White Wolf Worx – MFED
  38. System Of Survial – Shaking Slow
  39. B.G. Baarregaard – C.R.A.Z.Y
  40. Alkalino – Have A Ball
  41. Crazy P – Cruel Mistress (Ron Basejam Remix)
  42. The Groovers – Make Me Feel
  43. 78 Edits – Don’t You Know
  44. Mario Basanov – More For The Less (Pablo Bolivar & Maurice Aymard Remix)
  45. Closed Paradise, Tesla Boy, Sasha Anastasov – The Daulphin
  46. Martijn – Sestriere
  47. The Groovers – Where You BelongB
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Blasphemy On the Disco (Bunnies call to action)

Hola fellow horsemen, mermaids and mermasters (cause maids are so 20th century),

DB2012For those of you who have the dis-pleasure of knowing me in some form or another know quite well that I do dedicate quite a big chunk of my menial majestic existence to music. I always feel the urge to share all the good vibes I come across (legally ofcourse, FBI I am serious, never ever gave anything for free – virginity included). So culminating this incredible year was Disco Blasphemy 2012, a nice cap on one hell of a blasphemous podcast series that I launched back in July of last year. That followed District Funk which if you’ve been reading this esteemed rantatious blog for a while would know all about.

So without further ado, here comes the best tunes in my sleeves this year. Get your freak on, grab a disco bunny and do blasphemous stuff. Just do it (be safe though).

Tracklist

01- Dexter Wansel – Time Is The Teacher
02- Billy Paul – Let’s Make A Baby
03- Jazzanova – Rendezvous
04- Patrice Rushen – Where There Is Love
05- DJ Jazzy Jeff – The Definition (ft. Kel Spencer)
06- Ryo Murakami – Just for This
07- Skudge – Ontic (Rolando Understands Remix)
08- Moomin – Raw Like 97
09- James Mason – Nightgruv
10- Tiger & Woods – Gin Nation
11- Dusky – Henry 85 (Fcl Weemix)
12- Blawan – Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage
13- youANDme – Mouche (Luke Hess Electric Dub)
14- Mic Newman – Knickerbocker
15- Smallpeople – Move With Your Vision
16- Detroit Swindle – Guess What (Leftside Wobble Remix)
17- Homework – Cmon Start Moving
18- Drew Sky – Razzmatazz
19- Hodges, James & Smith – What Have You Done For Love
20- First Choice – Let No Man Put Asunder (12″ Remix)
21- Leron Carson – Dedicated
22- Rene Bandaly Family – Tanki Tanki
23- Objekt – Porcupine
24- Wil Maddams – My Turn
25- Phors – Fading Away
26- Phors – Shining Star
27- Everything But The Girl – Compression
28- Detroit Swindle – Jick Rames
29- Chasing Kurt – Galaxy Hero (Deep Space Orchestra Remix)
30- Pan/Tone – Stay (Nikki Gibler Remix)
31- Andrés – New For U
32- Joy Orbison – Ellipsis
33- WK7 – Do It Yourself
34- Tony Lionni – Afterhours
35- Green Velvet – Never Satisfied (Studio 54 Re-Re Mix)
36- Bicep, Ejeca – You (Steffi Remix)
37- Azuni – Raw Chord
38- Midland – What We Know (Motor City Drum Ensemble Remix)
39- Groove Armada – Don’t Take Your Love Away
40- Lee Jones – Moment (George Fitzgerald Remix)
41- Deep Future – You Need It (Detroit Swindle’s ‘Never Enough’ Interpretation)
42- Chris James – Kind of Heavy (Andre Crom Remix)
43- Jask – Life
44- Rahbani Brothers – La Tehtab Alayeh
45- Ziad Rahbani – Abu Ali
46- Erol Evgin – Sevdan Olmazsa

And finally, here is a cool widget with all the Disco Blasphemy sets so far:

Album in History: Shakatak – Night Birds

'Night Birds' - Sounds ahead of their time (from space?)

In the long, diverse and sometimes even seemingly pedantic world of Jazz history there have been certain artists that have gone on to be so instrumental in expanding and diversifying the genre that they have created sub-genres solely revolving around their sounds. And while obvious names like Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Frank Zappa and Bob James immediately spring to mind, other relatively low-key performers like Shakatak have been just as influential. It is that very notion which makes defining Shakatak’s sound such a difficult task, not that I believe in “defining” and “labelling” sounds anyways!

After the racially fuelled disco-demotion nights, which exposed deep social problems that characterized much of the late 70s / early 80s period in mainstream America, a sound which fused the four on the floor electronic time signatures with elements of jazz, funk and disco was born, we now refer to it as post-Disco! At the time it was just a natural reaction to a movement characterized by its rejection to the notion that cultural America was changing, and that racism and homophobia were on the decline! Counterculture was taking over the American youth, culminating in anti-globalization collectives which had already established itself in the 60s largely as a youth movement sprawling from the disenfranchised social fabric destroyed initially by Nixon and later the Raegen years, or as brother Gil Scott-Heron called him, Rae-gun!

Musically, this was perfect fertile grounds to develop Disco, which hate-riddled demolition nights aside, wasn’t really developing all that much as it was. That’s not to say that several offshoot genres hadn’t already taken a life of their own by then. Giorgio Moroder had already developed his own brand of Hi-NRG Disco (exemplified in his collaborations with Donna Summers), and kids in Detroit and Chicago were listening to Kraftwerk and already discovered that 808s and 303s are more than just pretty Japanese machines that make robot sounds. What the disco demolition nights did however, was exponentially speed up that process, and in a matter of years dance music witnessed arguably its greatest evolution to date.

In England, that change was profoundly felt, and while in the later years of the 80s it was manifested in the meteoric rise of Synthpop, especially in northern parts, Jazz-Funk was the genre of the moment in the early to mid-years of the decade. ‘Night Birds’ in many ways exemplified that era, yet somehow came at a time when Jazz-Funk was both quite unknown to the wider public and largely rejected from Jazz’s inner-circle. Smooth Jazz pioneer Bob James faced similar objections from the Jazz community when One, Two, Three and BJ4 were released, even though he never claimed them to be Jazz in the first place!

‘Night Birds’ as an album achieved limited commercial success initially despite it’s quite obvious pop connection (and one hell of an awesome cover art work!). But this was never about sales, what makes this album so special is the ineffably rich compositions and instrumental innovativeness spearheaded by the band’s pianist Bill Sharpe. George Anderson on the other hand provided that killer brass so evident in Streetwalkin’. A spectacularly well harmonized eclectic album with just the right amount vocal hooks covers everything from early day Bossa jazz to swanky jazz-funk, which it largely put on the map!


Shakatak – Streetwalkin’ – Kay’s ‘One Very Cold Yet Funky Morning’ Edit

Track of the Month: Portico Quartet – City of Glass

Portico Quartet's third self-titled album

Let’s face it, it hasn’t been Jazz’s finest hour for quite a while. Apart from a few legends still doing their thing, the scene in the past couple of decades has been quite devoid from fresh talent and more so from fresh ideas. But that all changed in recent times when the likes of Jaga Jazzist, Floating Points, Flying Lotus and Henrik Schwarz found a spark that has long been missing from the versatile genre, electronic fusion.

Back in the 70s, the likes of George Duke and Frank Zappa were experimenting with Jazz like there was no tomorrow. And the once fundamentally stringent multi-faceted idiomatic genre, became a playground for all kinds of imports from across the globe. All of a sudden, Jazz became a melting pot of everything from African tabla solos to ostinato time signatures (exemplified in Herbie Hancock‘s Mwandishi).The period saw one of Jazz’s biggest evolution to date, the abandoning of the swing beat in favor of the backbeat.

Live at Rough Trade East (31st Jan 2012)

Flash forward to 2012, and it seems like jazz is everywhere again. Youngsters are going to record stores and browsing hundreds of fusion movement vinyls, previously a rarity, now a common sight. And in that vein, it wasn’t surprising that a day after Portico Quartet released their third album, a 45 minute appearance at Rough Trade East on Brick Lane was a full house affair.

But to label any track on that album as jazz or jazz fusion would be nothing short of misleading. It is much more than that, but somehow simplified to sound much less. A quirky dubstep bassline meets an ineffably well structured 2 step beat, suddenly morphing into an ambient reverb-atious landscape with a cello propagating you through it all like a ripple that never fades.

Album in History: Sven Van Hees – Gemini

Sven Van Hees - Gemini - 12" (All images are copyrighted by their respective copyright owners)

White Martians, Missile Men not from Earth-Three, Humans and Musical Nomadic tribes, I bring forth to you the very first ‘Album in History’ listing. Each solar month I will go over an album that has influenced my musical tastes from a particular era in history.

This month’s deserved selection goes to an album I discovered back in 2001, but was actually released in 1999. ‘Gemini’ was Belgian producer Sven Van Hees’s second album, a follow-up to his highly acclaimed 1996 conveniently titled album, ‘Svengali’. And while ‘Svengali’ captured the metoeric rise and decline of tribal leftfield ambient sounds that shaped much of the mid 90s after hours experience, ‘Gemini’ was in many ways a musical homage to a sound yet to be discovered and largely ignored by clubland, especially in Europe.

In the late 90s chillout music meant either ambient or niche triphop heard in small club rooms in places like Bristol where it would often really boil down to Aphex Twin classics or sounds people listened to when smoking the good reefer but knew nothing about. In any case, it certainly wasn’t a stylish fresh mix between jazz, bossa, house, electronica, drum and bass with a delightful dash of oriental drums! And this is precisely why this album was so instrumental to it’s time yet largely went unheard off, it created a sound ahead of it’s time that was only later in the early 2000s perfected by the likes of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Mo’Chilla and Thievery Corporation, yet was not released at a time when these sounds had much audience!

Gemini remains one of the albums that defined the modern lounge jazz sound and allowed chillout to move out of it’s safety net and fuse various sounds. The album isn’t without it’s downfalls though, ‘Serrano Anthem’ is one to be easily forgotten, but that is the only exception to an otherwise almost perfect fusion. The track of the album however has to be ‘Matras Mambo’ followed very closely by ‘Ocean Jive‘.