Drum and Bass from the heart of Salem, Oregon

May 12th, 2015

My pan-American trip continues. Since my last post I have left Portland, traveled south to see my brother in Florida, and am now in my lovely hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where it is dark, dreary and raining.

It’s good to be home.

Coming back to America after living abroad for over a year has kind of been a mindfuck in a lot of ways. I’m not used to driving, and everything is so fucking far away! In Tokyo if I want to get a drink or a quick bite to eat, I’m no more than a 10 minute walk to a convenience store or rice bowl place. But now that I’m out in the boonies of Northwest Ohio, it takes me a good 20 minutes to drive to the nearest decent grocery store, and all my friends are, at minimum, a good 30+ minutes away. As someone who never had patience to begin with, it’s quite the challenge.

I also didn’t miss driving, and the gigantic sprawl of construction barrels that is the Ohio interstate sure is a blast.

Oh, and this is the first time I’ve been around friends and family since the whole coming out thing. And that’s been a series of awkward ordeals that I don’t want to even get into.

But at least I can get a decent bloody mary mix here, so that should solve at least some of the problems I have at the moment.

Now drum and bass!

The Legendary Dreamscape Presents the Millennium Collection – Disc 1
In SalemI stopped into a little record store called Harvest Records. It’s not the biggest or best store I’ve been to, but it is a charming little place, and it features a wonderfully diverse selection of music, from hip-hop to classic rock. I picked up the new Modest Mouse there, as well a crazy nine CD electronic box set entitled The Legendary Dreamscape Presents The Millennium Collection. From what I can gather from its Discogs page, it’s actually a compilation of compilations, collecting three separate three-disc box sets – each of which dedicate one CD to happy hardcore, one to “old skool” and one to drum and bass.

Tonight I’ll post the first CD, which is a radical mix of classic drum and bass that goes from techstep to more fast-paced “classic” dnb before sliding back into the sci-fi tinged techstep for the finale. It features a good array of DJs, including my favorite dnb producers of all-time, including Ed Rush and Optical, who together are responsible for Wormhole, which is easily in my top five electronic albums of all-time. That shit is legendary and if you consider yourself an electronic music fan and you don’t own that, then you are fucking it all up and should be ashamed of your punk ass.

Enjoy the hardcore electronic music. Next post will be all Madonna.

James Brown and Robot Funk

May 3rd, 2015

Oh god I’m in American again how the hell did this happen?

It took nearly a year and a half, but my family finally convinced me to go back home for a visit. I blame the nieces and nephews. Damn cute kids blackmailing me with their cuteness.

My trip is transcontinental, with stops in Oregon, Florida, Ohio and finally Pittsburgh before heading back to the land of the rising son and my lovely adorable boyfriend whom I’ve only been apart from for only 48 hours and already miss dearly.

Sadface.

Anyway, I’m going to make the most of this trip, enjoy the time with my family and hopefully buy some stupid and weird music that I can share here. I also plan on eating all the cheese an drinking all the root beer. So you best not stand downwind from me.

That’s right, I’m bringing out the class. Fart jokes.

Honestly, I’m hella jet lagged right now so don’t expect much insight into tonight’s selections. But it had been a while since my last post and wanted to put something up before even more of you forgot about me.

Friends of Earth
Sex Machine
Sex Machine (Instrumental)
One thing the Japanese are not known for is funk, so I was surprised to find that YMO’s Haruomi Hosono tackled James Brown’s classic “Sex Machine” on the sophomore album of his side project F.O.E. (Friends Of Earth). I was even more surprised to find that this version features new vocals by Brown himself, as well as sax work by his longtime collaborator Ray Maceo Jr.

As much as I love James Brown and Haruomi Hosono, I’m going to have to say that this is not an example of two great tastes that go great together. The raw, funky power of Brown’s original tune really doesn’t translate well into the cold, emotionless robotic sound of Hosono. Still, I’d be lying if hearing the two combined didn’t at least sound interesting.

But yeah, there’s a reason why you don’t hear much about Japanese funk.

The Waitresses
Slide
Another lost gem from Stiff Records’ Akron compilation, and from a band that some people probably have actually heard of!

The Waitresses were a one-hit wonder of the early-MTV era, scoring a minor hit single with “I Know What Boys Like” in 1982. That song is probably most notable for the Patty Donahue’s amazing dry vocals, but she’s nowhere to be found on this track. While the vocalist isn’t credited in the album’s liner notes, I assume the singer is Chris Butler, the guitarist/songwriter of the group. This track is a little more bluesy than other songs by The Waitresses that I’ve heard, but it’s just as strange and vaguely offputting while simultaneously being oddly charming and catchy.

The Waitresses were a really weird band. I recommend everything by them, especially their under-rated second album.

Madonna
4 Minutes (Tracy Young Mixshow)
4 Minutes (Peter Saves New York)
I plan on posting quite a bit while I’m here in the states, but most of the music I have set aside is by Madonna, so I’m going to have to try and space them out a bit. These extended dance mixes were taken from a bonus 12″ that came with the Hard Candy vinyl release. To my knowledge they’ve never been released digitally.

 

 

 

Hardcore for Homos

April 17th, 2015

Tonight I am going to a New Japan Pro Wrestling event. Should be an education.

Modern Rocketry
Homosexuality (Instrumental Remix)
I guess now that everyone finally knows that I’m gay I can post this track without arousing (hehe I said arousing) suspicion. Although I suppose that the countless Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Patrick Cowley, Erasure, Dead Or Alive and Donna Summer remixes might have blown my cover.

Sadly, this remix isn’t as wonderfully fabulous as the original version or the 12″ remix (both of which are in print and I suggest you buy), but it’s still a classic.

Saint Etienne
Join Our Club (Chemically Friendly Zoom Mix)
How the fuck do you say “Eitenne?”

Sorry, I got nothing on these guys. Nice track though.

Techno Animal vs. Dalek
Megaton
Megaton (Remix)
Classical Homicide
Classical Homicide (Remix)
These are taken from a 12″ single that actually bills two tracks as “Techno Animal vs. Dalek” and two others as “Dalek vs. Techno Animal.”

I don’t know much about either act. A quick glance at Discogs tells me that Dalek was an alt hip-hop pair who operated in the late 90s to 2011, primarily on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings label. I checked out some of their stuff on YouTube and it is hella aggro and dark and I’m loving it. I wish there was more industrial hip-hop.

Techno Animal are also industrial (not techno) and featured Justin Broadrick of the metal group Godflesh. If these mixes are any indication, they sounded like the kind of electronic act that would feature a dude from a heavy metal group. I like it.

This was released on the indie label Matador by the way, which blows my fucking mind.

Akron Punks and Euro House

April 7th, 2015

Don’t get strep throat while moving to a new apartment. I really don’t recommend it.

Jane Aire & The Belvederes
When I Was Young
I’m An Actress
Jane Aire & The Belvederes are a transcontinental act. Jane hailed from Akron, Ohio while the rest of the group came from the UK. They released one album in 1979. It was produced by fellow Akronite Liam Sternberg, whose probably best known for writing “Walk Like An Egyptian.” He also did work with Kristy MacColl, who apparently performs backing vocals on the Jane Aire LP.

These tracks, however, were not taken from that LP and were instead ripped from The Akron Compilation – a 1978 Stiff Records album that highlighted the eclectic and insane early-punk scene. I’ll probably feature more tracks from that one later on.

Jane Aire & The Belvederes only released the one album, but most of the backing group went on to do other things. Guitarist Lu Edmonds has worked with everyone from Public Image Ltd., Shriekback and Billy Bragg, while the group’s drummer Jon Moss went onto join Culture Club.

Jane’s whereabouts sadly remain a mystery to me, however. So if you’re out there Jane shoot me a line! You’re a great singer.

Jarvic 7
The Firebrigade
The Brainpen
Acid Opera
I have no idea when or why I bought this. I suspect it was a couple years back, when I was pretty much buying anything that I thought might be acid house. This is certainly that, with the first two tracks being typical (yet good) samples of the genre. The last track is exactly what it says it is, an acid house track with some operatic vocals thrown in for good measure.

It’s stupid.

One half of Jarvic 7 (which I assume is named after the Jarvik 7 artificial heart) is Patrick De Meyer, who apparently helped to create Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam,” so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Remixes From The Far Side (also, Pharcyde)

March 23rd, 2015

So a lot of people seemed to be interested in what it’s like to be gay in Tokyo, so I wrote about it. Read that if you’re interested.

And I got music here for you! Sorry for the lack of updates this month. Moving into a new apartment this month and things have been crazy busy.

The Pharcyde
Drop (Beatminerz Remix Instrumental)
Runnin’ (Jay Dee Remix)
Passin Me By (Video Instrumental)
Passin’ Me By (Acapella)
Pork (Instrumental)
I have a lot of Pharcyde remixes but it turns out that almost all of them are on their remix and rarities collection that you can buy on Amazon, so I’m not sharing them. Too bad, they’re really good! You should buy that remix collection. In fact, you should buy most Pharcyde albums – The Pharcyde is dope.

Sebadoh
Slinstrumental
A lovely quiet instrumental from a 10″ single I bought a few weeks back.

Big Audio Dynamite II
C’mon Every Beatbox (Extended Vocal Version)
So my boyfriend had never heard reggae before so I played some of the soundtrack to The Harder They Come From and then I remembered that this song sampled that movie and it got stuck in my head even while I was listening to “Many Rivers To Cross” because that’s how my brain works.

I am absolutely positive that I’ve posted this track many times before. But it’s one of my top ten favorite songs of all time so that’s going to happen.

I’m Gay. Here’s Madonna.

March 8th, 2015

Do you follow me on Twitter? You should follow me on Twitter. If you did, you’d be alerted to hot scoops like walls of Slime in Shinjuku Station and random rants against sexist pigs.

Oh, and you’d also know I’m gay.

Yes, the man who has spent the better part of nine years sharing club remixes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Madonna tunes is gay. I know. It’s a real shocker.

Hey, speaking of Madonna and New Order, how about some more Madonna and New Order?

Madonna
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 vocal club mix)
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Future mix) 
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Speed mix) 
Nothing Really Matters (Kruder & Dorfmeister remix)
Nothing Really Matters (Vikram remix)
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Future dub)
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 radio mix)
What It Feels Like For A Girl (Calderone & Quayle Dark Side Mix)
What It Feels Like For A Girl (Tracy Young Cool Out Radio Mix)
What It Feels Like For A Girl (Richard Vission Velvet Masta Mix)
Expect a shit ton of more Madonna in the coming weeks. I feel like I always say that, but it’s doubly true now. I recently bought about 20 more Madonna singles. Add that to the 10 I bought that I still haven’t shared and that’s a lot of Madge.

I now own over 80 Madonna LPs, most of which are singles. I can’t wait until I can go back to the states and mail the ones I have here to Japan. Having my Madonna records spread out across two continents just feels wrong.

“Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Speed Mix)” is new, while the other remixes of that track are reposts. However, my original post was sourced from a hella scratchy vinyl while these come straight from the CD single, so even if you did download them before I’d download them again.

I might have more remixes of “What It Feels Like For A Girl” in the coming weeks. I think I bought another 12″ of it. Maybe.

Look, I bought 20 Madonna singles, did my Japanese taxes and came out to my family last week. Sorry if I can’t remember everything perfectly.

New Order
Waiting For A Sirens’ Call (Filterheadz Remix)
Jetstream (Jacques Lu Cont Dub)
As New Order get its heads out of its ass and release more of their remixes digitally, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find legitimately obscure tracks by the group. Thankfully I go crate digging for records in tiny record shops in out-of-the-way areas in Tokyo.

Both of these remixes were taken from different 12″ singles that the band put out in 2006. To my knowledge none of them have ever been made available digitally or on CD in a commercial form. They’re very good club tracks, some of the better dance-focused New Order remixes from that decade I think.

This remix series also had a third 12″ featuring “I Told You So (Stuart Price’s Remix)” but that was later put on the Lost Sirens album so I’m not including it here.

Beck Sucks I Love Beck

February 24th, 2015

Sorry for totally breaking my one post a week rule. Life has gotten very interesting as of late.

Interesting in a good way! But interesting in a way that has made it difficult to dedicate time to writing. Still and yet, I did manage to get one more installment of my Scrunged series up, this time looking at Bush. Take a look if you’d like to read my thoughts on one of the most forgettable multi-platinum rock bands of all-time.

Beck
Jack-Ass (Butch Vig Mix)
Devil’s Haircut (Remix By Mickey P.)
Okay, I need to rant about Beck winning album of the year at the Grammys. I know I’m late but I need to Kanye this shit.

That Beck album is garbage. Hot garbage. It’s sad bastard bullshit music for sad bastards. I’m sorry. I tried to listen to the entire thing but I just couldn’t. It’s boring, musically, lyrically, thematically, just about in every damn way imaginable. It has to be Beck’s worst album since Sea Change, another overrated piece of trash that critics have needlessly gone gaga over ever since its first release.

Beck’s best album is Midnite Vultures. I mean it.

What the hell is so special about Sea Change and Morning Phase? Both records could just be renamed Sad Man Sits In Front Of A Microphone And Whines.

Whoop.

De.

Shit.

Midnite Vultures, on the other hand, is a work of a wondrous genius. It’s Beck taking Prince and doing Prince better than 90% of Prince’s output for the past 20+ years. Taking funk and injecting it with an utterly leftfield production style and some of the strangest lyrics ever committed to tape. “Sexx Laws,” amazing. “Nicotine & Gravy,” funkified masterwork.” “Peaches & Cream,” down and dirty funk of the funkiest funkitude. And don’t even get me started on “Debra,” easily one of the greatest slow jams in history.

Midnite Vultures remains an entirely unique record not only in Beck’s discography, but in popular music. It’s a damn tragedy that it’s fallen to the wayside. First to Sea Change and now to Morning Phase.

Fuck sad beck. Funky beck for life.

Nirvana
Smells Like Teen Spirit (AV8 Remix 1)
Smells Like Teen Spirit (AV8 Remix 2)
Bootleg hip-house mixes from 2009. The first is rather standard, and just injects some added beats and an inane MC. The second is far more…well, I was going to say “interesting,” but maybe I should just be honest and go with “stupid.” It’s not even a remix as it is an entirely original rap track with the backing track of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” haphazardly plastered over it.

I mean, I love it, but I think Morning Phase is bullshit and Midnite Vultures is one of the best albums of the 20th century, so I’m obviously not one who should be trusted in the slightest.

Obscure Remixes By Oscar Winners

February 13th, 2015

High-caliber talent tonight.

12 Rounds
Pleasant Smell (Rethought By Trent Reznor, Keith Hillebrandt and Clint Mansell)
Pleasant Smell (Rethought By Charlie Clouser)
Pleasant Smell (Sniper’s Rit n Run Vocal Mix)
Pleasant Smell (Rethought By Clint Mansell And Keith Hillebrandt)
Pleasant Smell (Sniper’s Regular Specials Dub)
12 Rounds is a lesser-known industrial rock act from the mid-90s. They released two albums, Jitter Juice in 1996, and My Big Hero in 1998. That second album was on Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records and in fact the group went into the studio to record a third album, which was to be produced by Reznor, but it was never released.

I should probably point out at this time that 12 Rounds is singer Claudia Sarne and Atticus Ross, the latter of whom you may recognize as a frequent Trent Reznor collaborator. He produced/programmed every Nine Inch Nails album since With Teeth; was a member of Reznor’s side-project How To Destroy Angels; and served as co-composer with Reznor for the Academy Award winning score to The Social Network, as well as the scores to Gone Girl and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Pretty big step up from “dude in a band that opened for Sneaker Pimps.”

It’s funny that two of these remixes feature Clint Mansell, who also was a member of a lesser-known rock/industrial act (Pop Will Eat Itself) before abandoning the pop world and becoming an incredibly successful composer who has worked on films such as Requiem For A Dream, Black Swan, Moon and, um Doom. I sincerely believe it’s just a matter of time before he wins an Oscar as well, which will definitely make that remix the only alt-rock/industrial track featuring the work of three Academy Award winners.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Heartbeat (Dance Mix)
Heartbeat (Tainai Kaiki II) – Returning To The Womb
Heartbeat (Ambiant Mix)
I’ll be honest, I’m just including these remixes tonight so I can say that this post has not one, not two, but three Academy Award winning composers (Sakamoto won for The Last Emperor). Also, that last track name isn’t a typo, it’s “ambiant.” I don’t know why.

 

Remixes I Forgot I Bought

February 9th, 2015

Time to clean house with shit I’ve had in my backlog for over a year.

DJ Rap
Good To Be Alive (Johnny Vicious Short Epic Mix)
Good To Be Alive (Johnny Vicious Dub)
Good To Be Alive (Dronez Vocal Mix)
Good To Be Alive (Dronez Dub)
I will be entirely honest and say that I know very little about DJ Rap. I know she’s immensely talented, and that most of her popular work (house/dance music) has little in common with most of her actual work (drum and bass/jungle). I also know that this song was in the film Go, a movie that I have to re-watch someday to see if it has become a wonderful time capsule of the late-90s or a horribly dated Pulp Fiction rip-off. I suspect it is some combination.

Anyway. Yeah, even at the time that I bought this I neither knew much nor cared about DJ Rap. In fact, I don’t even know when I bought this record. I know I recorded it to my computer near the tail-end of 2013, but that just means I recorded it during my marathon recording session in which I digitized every single record in my collection that I hadn’t yet. As the clock was ticking before I packed them all up in storage before my big move to Japan. I suspect I probably had this record in my “to record” pile for over year before I actually recorded it.

Thinking about it now, this record very much serves as an example as how I used to buy records, and serves as a contrast to how I buy music now.

When I was living in Pittsburgh, in a rather large house, I was buying records like no tomorrow. I lived right by Jerry’s Records, the largest vinyl-only record shop in the world, and had vast amounts of disposable income and time (for reasons that I am not getting into).

Turns out that time + money + space = far too many needless purchases. Some of this worked out for the best. I would have never discovered Slow Bongo Floyd, Fay Ray, The Hitmen or countless other forgotten acts if it wasn’t for my nearly indiscriminate record buying habits.

But at the same time, it kind of turned listening to music into a chore. When you buy anywhere between 10 and 30 12″ singles and LPs a week, it doesn’t allow for much time to really absorb music. My turntable became a revolving door, and making the time to actually set aside music to review became increasingly difficult.

Now, with limited space and time, my record buying habits have drastically changed. With rare exception, I find myself buying no more than three or so LPs a day, and they’re usually albums. And my reasons for buying music has changed as well. Before I was often grabbing music solely because I thought it was out-of-print or hard-to-find, making it prime fodder for this blog. That was regardless of whether I thought I would like it or not (this explains why I at one point owned 12 Leather Nun records). Now I actually buy music because I think I’ll like it. I know, a crazy concept. Although I still do buy a hefty amount of records and CDs simply because I think they’re stupid, weird or idiotic, how else would I have bought that Hulk Hogan LP?

But yeah, I did buy this single, and I recorded it. So I guess I should finally share it. So to the one person out there who wants it, enjoy!

The Shamen
Make It Mine (Hilltop Mix)
Move Any Mountain (Progen 91) (Land Of Oz)
Move Any Mountain (Progen 91) (Rude)
Move Any Mountain (Progen 91) (Bang To The Beat)
Move Any Mountain (Progen 91) (Beltram Dub)
Move Any Mountain (Progen 91) (The Bones Break Mastermix)
The Sound Of Pro-Gen (Horns, Guitars, Keyboards, Chorus, Bang, No. 1)
Everything I just said about the DJ Rap single does double here.

 

Game Music Disco

January 30th, 2015

I think my new thing will be to post tracks from artists who have as little in common as possible from now on. So tonight, here’s some 80s disco by a soul diva and a remix to a video game theme song.

Sara Dash
Low Down Dirty Rhythm
Low Down Dirty Rhythm (Radio Version)
Low Down Dirty Rhythm (Instrumental Version)
Been a while since I posted some Patrick Cowley produced disco, so I thought I’d dig this one up out of the vaults. And by “the vaults” I mean my massive iTunes playlist of songs I’ve been meaning to share here for the past few years. I really have to work on thinning that thing out. I’ve had some Shamen and DJ Rap remixes in there for over two years. Does anyone want Shamen and DJ Rap remixes?

Anyways, Sara Dash. She was in LaBelle, although her solo stuff never reached the heights of “Lady Marmalade.” She has a hell of a voice, and this is a damn great dance tune.

Konami
Contra (魂斗羅) Super Sweep Remix
I’ve been buying a lot of game music in Japan. Too damn much to be exact. So in an effort to justify my insane habit I’ve started reviewing old game soundtracks over at my other blog Mostly-Retro. So far I’ve put up two; one on the very first game music release Video Game Music, and another on an obscure Konami Compilation. I like writing them and I plan to keep at it for some time. So if that’s something that interests you be sure to check them out.

This bizarre remix of the music from Contra isn’t really from a game music release proper. I found it on a mini-CD that came with a PS2 repackaged version of Contra, which also came with a DVD that I have yet to play. I guess the package, which is titled Oretachi Game Center Zoku: Contra, is pretty damn rare, so I’m pretty stoked about finding it for 10 bucks.