Archive for the ‘soundtrack’ Category

Breakathaon

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

As I’ve mentioned numerous times over, before I packed up my shit and headed for Japan, I made sure that I had high-quality recordings of as many vinyl-only releases as possible. Because I needed to be ready to listen to an obscure Depeche Mode remix at a moment’s notice no matter what continent I happened to be on! To me this was as high a priority task as “selling my house” and “getting my work visa in order.”

The first step of this process was to manually go through all of my records and make two piles. One was “I hope I can record this again if I have time” pile, while the other was the “I NEED HIGH QUALITY VERSIONS OF THESE SONGS NOW” pile.

On top of that pile where the soundracks to both Breakin‘ films. Because…look, if I need to explain to you WHY I need high-quality vinyl rips of the soundtracks to both Breakin‘ films then I don’t know why the fuck you’re reading my blog.

The following tracks are all the tracks from both Breakin‘ films that AREN’T available on CD or digitally. So sorry, no “Ain’t Nobody.” Plenty of choice cuts though!

Ollie & Jerry
Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us
Showdown
Electric Boogaloo
When I.C.U
Ollie & Jerry are Ollie E. Brown and Jerry Knight. In addition to performing several tracks on the soundtracks to each Breakin‘ film (including the title tracks), they also produced and wrote many of the other songs on both albums. Jerry released a few solo albums in the 80s, and was also in Raydio with Ray Parker Jr., but both he and Ollie found much of their success as producers and songwriters, working with artists such as The Jets, Gloria Gaynor and Howard Johnson. These tracks are all pretty fantastic, but my fav of the bunch has to be “Showdown,” which is pure old-school electro at its finest.

Hot Streak
Body Work
I can’t find much on Hot Streak. From what I can tell, the group never released a proper album. In fact, I’m fairly certain that this was the only song they ever released. It’s a fun tune, but  forgettable, and I’m sure no one in the group ever did anything of note, but let me check to be sure…

Holy shit. Hot Streak wrote “Holiday.”

Yeah, “Holiday.” As in Madonna’s first hit single “Holiday.”

Okay, that was random.

Carol Lynn Thomas
99 1/2
Believe In The Beat
Carol Lynn Thomas found her first success thanks to the Breakin‘ soundtrack with “99 1/2,” which was a hit dance and R&B single when it came out. Makes sense too – because the song is fucking DOPE. It’s a great combination of pop and electro , complete with a Stacy Q “Two Of Hearts” vocals-turning-into-synth-track bit that’s totally rad. And if that wasn’t enough, it features a completely metal Van Halenesque guitar solo that’s seemingly thrown in for no reason other than that “Beat It” did it first.

DOPE.

“Believe In The Beat” is good too, although it kind of sounds like something the Pointer Sisters would have rejected.

3-V
Heart Of The Beat
The second mind-blowing revelation of the Breakin’ soundtracks – 3-V is Charlie Midnight and Dan Hartman – two people whose names you may not recognize but music you surely do. Charlie Midnight is a songwriter and producer who worked with acts like Joe Cocker and James Brown. His biggest hit is probably Brown’s tune from Rocky IV, “Living In America.” He also worked on the one song that you probably know Dan Hartman for,  “I Can Dream About You”  from the Streets Of Fire soundtrack.

Relevant side-note: Streets Of Fire is the third-greatest movie about music ever made.

Firefox
Street People
Radiotron
Stylin’ Profilin’
Okay, I take back what I said about “Believe In The Beat”- these tracks sound like Pointer Sisters rejects. Firefox was a soul/pop duo who only released one album – which was produced by Ollie of Ollie & Jerry. They really didn’t take off and it’s pretty obvious why. The songs are catchy enough and fun, but their forgettable nature really isn’t helped by the completely flat vocals by the two lead singers, neither of which did much after the group called it quits.

Re-Flex
Cut It
Synth-pop also-ran whose one hit, “The Politics Of Dancing” has sadly fallen through the cracks of time. I thought they were a one-and-done group but apparently there is a six CD Re-Flex box set out there. Pretty impressive for a band that only released one album.

“Cut It” is no “The Politics Of Dancing” but it’s okay.

Chris “The Glove” Taylor and David Storrs (Featuring Ice-T)
Reckless
Wikipedia calls Chris “The Glove” Taylor a “West Coast DJ pioneer” and I don’t see a reason to argue with that. David Storrs was apparently a semi-prolific name in the early rap/electro scene, and contributed to a few albums and singles under the alias The Alien Wizard, which is a totally awesome stage name.

And, oh yeah, Ice-T, you probably heard of him. He’s on Law & Order. He apparently loves cops.

Steve Donn
Gotta Have The Money
This is a bad song. Very bad. Not good. Steve Donn can’t sing. Sorry Steve.

Midway
Set It Out
Above-average electro by session guitarist Bruce Nazarian and DJ Duane Bradley. Nazarian played guitar on Was (Not Was)’s debut LP, so he’s all right with me.

Mark Scott
I Don’t Wanna Come Down
This is the best not Michael Jackson song of 1984! Seriously, I don’t know who Mark Scott is, but he really wants to be MJ with this track, complete with a pseudo MJ falsetto and faux MJ ‘oohs!’ It’s a blatant rip-off.

And I totally love it! This song is great! If they would have actually gotten Michael Jackson to record this it would have been a hit single, no question. Great track.

Rags & Riches
Oye Mamacita
Spanish-flavored electro? Sure, why not. I have no idea who Rags & Riches are though. According to Discogs they only released a handful of singles, one of which was a 22-minute medley based on “Land Of 1,000 Dances.”

I can’t decide if I never ever want to hear that or if I want to hear that right now.

Hot Rap Tracks from Movies that even Steve Guttenberg Turned Down

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Tonight’s post is going to be rather brief, but I think the quality will make up for the lack of quantity.

Oh, did I say quality? I meant, “complete and utter fucking stupidity.”

But if I don’t post the 12″ remix to the theme song to Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, then who will?

Probably some asshole. Fuck that.

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Grandmaster Melle Mel & Van Silk
What’s The Matter With Your World (Club Mix)
What’s The Matter With Your World (Radio Mix)
What’s The Matter With Your World (Instrumental Mix)
Grandmaster Melle Mel was an original member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He was the primary songwriter and performer behind the hits “The Message” and “White Lines (Don’t Do It).” He was one of rap’s first true stars, and one of the first to take rap and help to inch it towards the mainstream.

Nine years later, he was rapping the theme song to Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, and they couldn’t even bother to spell his name right on the cover to the 12″ single.

Life can be really harsh sometimes.

And by the way, I found this while scouring a bargain bin soundtrack section looking for the soundtrack the Village People movie, Can’t Stop The Music.

I am history’s greatest monster.

The D.C. Cab Soundtrack. I don’t know why.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Giorgio Moroder produced three soundtracks in 1983.

The first was for Flashdance, it went on to sell millions of copies, win an Oscar for best original song, and helped influence the very sound of the 1980s.

The second was for Scarface. While not as influential, it certainly served as a memorable score for the film, and featured great songs by the legendary Debbie Harry.

The third was for D.C. Cab. And hey, two out of three ain’t bad.

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Shalamar
Deadline USA
Shalamar is how the world was introduced to Jody Whatley, an 80s pop also-ran who scored a few hits with tracks like “Looking For A New Love” and “Real Love.” She was rad. Shalamar was…less rad. But they weren’t bad, and were probably one of the only disco acts to successfully make the transition to 80s pop and score a few MTV hits. This song is certainly catchy as hell, and reeks of Morder’s production, even if it was actually produced by Pete Bellote, a frequent Morroder collaborator. Synthesized funk gold. Seriously, the more I listen to this song the more I love it. I want to set my own real-life 80s training montage to it.

Peabo Bryson
D.C. Cab
This is the hardest I’ve ever heard Peabo rock, which is saying absolutely nothing considering he’s best known for songs like “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” and his “Beauty and the Beast” duet with Celine Dion. If you hear this song and think “wow, I need more Peabo in my live!” trust me, you don’t. You really don’t.

Champaign
Knock Me On My Feet
I only barely know one other Champaign song, the minor 1981 hit “How ‘Bout Us,” which I forgot completely until I looked it up on YouTube, and then promptly forgot about again. That song is horrendous. This song is amazing, probably the most Moroder of the songs from the soundtrack that I’m featuring here. The guitar solo is dope!

Karen Kamon
Squeeze Play
Karen Kamon is a singer who is probably best known for her work on the Flashdance soundtrack. No, she didn’t sing “Flashdance,” that was Irene Cara. And no, that wasn’t her on “He’s a Dream,” that was Shandi. She sang “Manhunt,” the soundtrack for the other, other dance scene in the film. She released two albums in the early 80s as well, but I’ve never heard them and they’ve never even been re-issued on CD, so I can’t speak to them. This song is pretty great though. It’s no “Manhunt,” but it’s a nice dance tune. Unfortunately, the LP suffered from some drastic inner-groove distortion here, so it’s a little distorted.

Leon Sylvers
World Champion
Don’t know much about this guy either, apparently he was a big producer for a bit, but he hasn’t done much in a while. Not a bad song, but forgettable.

Stephanie Mills
Party Me Tonight
Stephanie Mills was the original Dorothy int the first Broadway production of The Wiz, and that’s fucking awesome. I don’t think her pop career was ever as big as her stage one though. This is a synthtastic example of Mordoder production, and would fit in perfectly on the soundtrack to Flashdance.

Gary U.S. Bonds
One More Time Around The Block Othelia
Gary U.S. Bonds sung “Quarter To Three,” one of the best soul songs of the early 60s. Twenty-one years later he was on the D.C. Cab soundtrack. Man, life can be rough. At least he got the theme song to the baddest motherfucker in the movie, Othelia, played by the ultimate bad-ass Marsha Warfield. But I’ll talk more about her when I review the movie on my other site.

Giorgio Moroder
Knock Me On My Feet (Instrumental)
I guess Giorgio had high hopes for this one if he felt he should close the soundtrack with this instrumental version. Like I said before, it is definitely very Moroder, but when you hear the other stuff he was putting out around that time, this just doesn’t compare at all. Eh, at least it’s not “Danger Zone.”

The D.C. Cab soundtrack also featured “The Dream” by Irene Cara (wow!) and DeBarge’s “Single Heart.” However, those are both available on CD and digitally, so I’m not including them here. Sorry!

Hope you enjoy these tunes, and after you grab them, head over to my other site for reviews of the Beggars 5CD box sets, Joyful Noise’s Cause & Effect Vol. 1, and the really bad vinyl version of the really good new Alice In Chains album. And if you’re feeling like hating humanity, check out this post too.

Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd Remixes, Part 2!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

More Lupin remixes! I hope someone likes these. I feel like I’m going super specific here.

These are all taken from Punch That Monkey 2! The second of a three-part series that came out in 1999 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Lupin The 3rd, the popular anime/manga series. I wrote about the series already, so I’m just going to cut to the chase this time.

And in case anyone was wondering, the albums are called Punch The Monkey because the creator of Lupin goes by the pen name of Monkey Punch.

I have no idea why.

Yuji Ohno
Lupin The 3rd ’78 (Afro Rock Theme~Douchatta No Lupin Mix)
Yuji Ohno was the composer for the second Lupin series, which first aired on Japanese television in 1977. He also did the music for the Miyazaki-directed Lupin film The Castle of Cagliostro, an excellent animated flick if there ever was one. This remix is by Yoshihiro Sawasaki, who has been releasing music in Japan since 1994, either under his own name or under various others, my favorite being Doctor YS & The Cosmic Drunkards. His music seems to run the gamut from acid breaks to minimal to straight-up dance, and everything I’ve heard I’ve dug. I really have to start getting into more Japanese electronic music…

Kazuya Senka/Yuji Ohno
Theme From Lupin The 3rd~Theme From Lupin “E” (Vocal Version)
A full vocal mix of the original theme music, with some light jazzy instrumental instrumentation thrown in for good measure. Nearly all the guitars are removed, and replaced with some incredibly laid-back keyboard work. I have no idea who Kazuya Senka is, so if anyone wants to fill me in, please do.

This remix is by ECD, a hip-hop act who I believe is Yoshinori Ishida, or Ishida with another person. Judging from the quantity of stuff he has on YouTube, it would appear he’s still going strong, and has quite the following. also Japanese hip-hop is crazy.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Lupin The 3rd ’78
Great name for a band, and very accurate, as they are massive ska group with over 10 members. These guys have been around for over 20 years now, and continue to release new music. If their Wikipedia is any indication, they also tend to go through members like Def Leppard and Lynyrd skynyrd combined, unfortunately.

Takeo Yamashita
Theme From Lupin The 3rd II (Readymade All That Jazz Mix)
Theme From Lupin The 3rd 3
Theme From Lupin The 3rd (Akakage’s Happy Set)
Takeo Yamashita was a composer of various live-action and anime shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He composed the original Lupin The 3rd theme song for the original series, and he also wrote the music for Giant Robo, the live-action version of the series that Americans know as Gigangtor. (He didn’t, however, write the awesome Gigantor song.)

All three of these remixes are by different people. The first is by Yasuharu Konishi of Pizzacato Five fame (he contributed a mix to the other Lupin compilation I put up). It’s crazy, and I love every minute of it, even if it barely resembles the original song.

The second track has no remix name, but it is indeed a remix, and was done by someone from the Japanese group Polysics. They’ve been described by others a Japanese Devo, and that’s pretty accurate. So, imagine the Lupin theme remixed by Devo, that’s what this sounds like. In other words, it sounds pretty rad. It actually sounds strikingly similar to Devo’s cover of “Working In A Coal Mine” in some parts, I don’t know if that was intentional or not. I hope it was.

The last mix is by an act called Akakage. According to Discogs, it used to be a duo, but most of their later stuff was credited only to a single person; Yoichiro Ito. From what I’ve heard of him, he really really likes Fatboy Slim. But hey, I really really like Fatboy Slim, so I’m not going to knock him for it.

Yoshihiko Katori Jazz Orchestra
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme (Melting Version)
I have no idea who these people are. Sorry.

Kanaho Maki/Yuji Ohno
Love Squall (Pansasa Love Anthem Mix)
Love Squall -M&M Bossa Bass Space
I know nothing about Kanaho Maki, tried my best, couldn’t find anything. Ditto for Pandart Sasanooha,  who is credited  for the “Pansasa Love Anthem Mix.”

The second mix is by Monday Michiru, an artist I had actually heard of before buying this compilation. Her music goes all over the place, from jazz and electronic to R&B and pop. Apparently she’s a big deal in Japan. As you might have been able to guess from the remix title, this mix has a strong bassa nova vibe to it.

The Ventures
Lupin The 3rd ’78
Yes, The Ventures. Yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, best-selling instrumental rock group of all time Ventures. How did this happen?

Well, apparently The Ventures are HUGE in Japan. Seriously, at their peak popularity in Japan they allegedly outsold The Beatles. I honestly think the phrase “big in Japan” was created in part because of their massive success there. Shit, they should totally cover that Alphaville song. This is a straight-up cover of the original theme, no remixing, no electronic add-ons, and no vocals (it is The Ventures after all). It’s really, really good. They should have totally rocked this at the Rock And Roll Hallf Of Fame induction concert and blown everyone’s mind.

 

Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd Remixes, Part 1

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Now for some real Japanese stuff.

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It seems to me that most anime/manga is fleeting. Many shows and books have intentionally short runs and are more like mini-series than full-fledged shows. But when a show or book takes off in Japan, it really takes off. Titles like Gundam, Macross, Dragonball, those aren’t just TV shows or comic books in Japan, they’re freaking institutions, multi-generational cultural milestones that seem to go on forever and ever.

While I find the enduring popularity of those series to be utterly fascinating, I can never seem to get into them myself.  Gundam and Macross are too complicated and self-serious for me to enjoy, while series like Naruto, Dragonball and One-Piece are about as aesthetically and thematically pleasing to me as an 18th century Russian novel or an British soap opera. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just not my thing.

The only long-running Japanese series that I have ever been able to get into at all is Lupin The 3rd, which started as a comic in 1967 before branching out into a TV series in 1971 and even a film series starting in 1978. That’s a lot of Lupin, and while my overall exposure to the the various forms of Lupin-related media have been relatively slim in comparison, I’ve loved just about everything I’ve been able to get my hands on.

I think the main reason that I like Lupin more than those other series is that it’s relatively self-contained. You can pop in any Lupin movie or TV series and figure out the basic gist within minutes, and as a whole it’s pretty light entertainment. While I’m sure Lupin has had his serious moments of the years, most of what I’ve seen has been incredibly easy-going and wacky, just the kind of thing I want to watch when I feel the need to escape for a bit. I also love the style of the series, and how its managed to maintain its 1960s aesthetic in one way or another to this day. (Of course, given my limited exposure to Lupin as a whole, I could just be talking out of my ass, but this is what I’ve noticed from the stuff I’ve seen.)

And it’s music is really dope. In the pantheon of anime soundtracks, the Lupin The 3rd main theme takes my second place spot as greatest of all time, right behind the jazzy perfection of Cowboy Bebop. Just like the series itself, I love its retro style, and how it’s managed to evolve over time to incorporate more modern musical movements. It’s a blast to listen to, and apparently I’m not the only person who thinks so, because holy shit there are a ton of remix compilations of the Lupin The 3rd theme music in Japan. I bought a couple of them (as well as some other Lupin-related vinyl) and I’ll be sharing them over the course of the next few days.

Up tonight are the tracks from the 1998 2LP set Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd; The 30th Anniversary Remixes. I was going to do an artist by artist breakdown of the compilation, but I can hardly find anything about any of the people who worked on this record. When I do, it’s typically in Japanese, so that’s not much of a help. The record does have one name I recognize though, and that’s Yasuharu Konishi; the founder of Readymade Records and original member of Pizzicato Five, one of the only Japanese acts ever to make any kind of headway in the American music scene. His remix is pretty great, but then again, nearly all of these remixes are great. But if I had to pick a favorite, I would probably choose Escalator Team’s “Club Escape Mix” of the ’78 Theme, if for only its completely random sample from Mortal Kombat. How the hell did that happen?

Toshio Matsuura
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme From Lupin III (Walther P99 Mix)

Masanori Ikeda
Lupin The 3rd ’80 Theme From Lupin III (Latin Calcutta Mix)

Comoesta Yaegashi
Afro Rock Theme (Afro Rock Mix)

Escalator Team
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme From Lupin III (Club Escape Mix)

Fuzita Blender
Funny Walk In Old Fashion (Mori No Blend Mix)

Fantastic Plastic Machine
Theme From Lupin The 3rd (F.P.M.’s Reconstruction Mix)

Yasuharu Konishi
Theme From Lupin The 3rd 3 (The Readymade Yangu Oh! Oh! Mix)

Fantastic Explosion
Toward The Patrol Line (You & Fantastic Explosion Mix)

Sunaga T Experience
Lupin The 3rd ’80 (Sunaga T Experience 9849 Mix)

Jun Sasaki
Love Squall (Fujiko’s Love Mix)

Izuru Utsumi
Theme From Lupin The 3rd II (Bossa ’98 Mix)

 

Vib-Ribbon! Make me happy and tendentious!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Scan

I wanted to stock up on game music when I went to Japan, but little did I know that the greatest game music I would find while there wouldn’t be on a soundtrack, but on the actual game itself. Thank you PS1 games with Redbook audio!

Laugh And Peace - Music From Vib Ribbon
Polaroid
Sunny Day
Laugh And Beats
Universal Dance
Overflowing Emotions
Roll Along
Vib Ribbon Blues
When it came to shopping in Japan, I was definitely focused on music more than anything else. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend at least a little bit of time in Tokyo going after some vintage Japanese games and systems. The classic games that I was after ended up costing way more than the albums I wanted though, so my gaming purchases were rather limited. I did, however, pick up a few nice items, among them being an original Famicon Twin system, the Japanese version of Contra, and a game for the PS1 by the name of Vib Ribbon.

Vib Ribbon is an early rhythm game that was originally released in Japan in 1999. It was released in PAL territories the following year, but it never made its way to the states for some reason. I have no idea why, because it’s the dopest shit ever.

In Vib Ribbon you’re tasked with guiding a rabbit by the name of Vibri across a simple one-dimensional plane (or ribbon) that is filled with obstacles that are roughly based on the rhythm of the game’s music. Each obstacle can only be cleared by pressing the correct button (or button combination) at the exact right time. It starts out easy, but it gets crazy hard as you progress.

One of the most noteworthy things about the game is that you can remove the game disc and put any audio CD in the Playstation and play each song on the CD as its own “stage,” basically giving you as many stages as you have CDs. It’s a cute idea, and while I’ve done plenty of that in my time with the game, I’ve actually spent more time sticking to the game’s built-in soundtrack, because it’s incredible.

I had decided about twenty seconds into the first time I heard the adorable “Polaroid” that it was my new favorite song of all time of the month, only to have it immediately usurped by the even more adorable, beautiful and lovely “Sunny Day,” a song as bright and uplifting as its title. It’s so good. So good! I had to walk away from my computer before writing this post. It’s so good, I had to calm down, or tonight’s post would have been just something like “OMG YOU GUYS! THIS MUSIC! IT’S SO….AAAAAAAGRHGHRRDHRATERHEHEHGERHAE THERE’S NO TIME HURRY UP EVERYTHING’S SO FANTASTIC!”

And that’s just unprofessional.

But yes, you need to listen to this music especially the first three tracks, they are perfection, so happy it hurts.

As far as I know, all of these songs are by a Japanese group called Laugh And Peace. They are best known for…this. They released one album in 2006, but it was never released in the states (of course). You can stream it on their MySpace page though. I have no idea what the members are up to now, so if anyone does please let me know!

Listen. Be happy. (That’s an important part). And I’ll see you all later in the week with more awesome music, although to be honest I doubt it will be as awesome as this. It’s awesome.

Awesome.

Beep! Magazine video-game flexi-discs!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

In recent years I have developed quite a fascination with video game soundtracks that have been released on vinyl. Unfortunately, these are pretty rare in the states, with only a few marquee titles like Halo and some cult hits like Sword & Sworcery getting the vinyl treatment.

However, in Japan things are different. There, video game music gets the respect it deserves. Back in the 80s, nearly every game that was worth a damn had a soundtrack release, either in its original form or as an arranged (remixed/reproduced) version. Either they were given an album of their own, or highlights were included on compilation LPs that featured a selection of video game music from a particular game company such as Namco or Sega.

Some were even given away for free in flexi-disc form as bonuses to readers of Japanese video game magazines like Beep!, a popular magazine from the 80s that stuck around in some form or another until this year.

I know this because I have a very awesome friend named Anna Hegedus. And she got me two of these amazing discs for my birthday! So let’s take a look at them, shall we?

 

Wai Wai GAME MUSIC (March 1988)
Music From Ninja Warriors
Che!
Are you Lady? (Kunoichi’s Theme)
Name Entry

Namco x-Mas Charity Concert Live
Berabo-man
Toy Pop
Member Introduction 

According to VGMdb, this flexi was a supplement for the March, 1988 issue of the magazine. Side A is a collection of original music from the Taito arcade game Ninja Warriors, a uniqe beat-em-up that used three monitors to create a widescreen-style experience. (You can find out more about the game at this site). I never played any incarnation of this game from what I can remember, but this music is great, an excellent example of the kind of diverse and shockingly complex tunes that games of the time were able to produce.

On side B we find three more tracks, but instead of music taken directly from a game, they are live reproductions that were performed at a special Namco charity Christmas concert! I don’t know anything about this concert, or what charity it was supporting, so if anyone out there who does know anything about it is reading this, please let me know!

As far as the songs themselves go, the first is the theme music to Berabo-man, an arcade shooter that never made its way out to the states. Judging from the sound of this recording, it sounds like the live version still used a fair bit of synthesizers and drum machines, but I think I hear some live strings and other instruments in there as well. The second track is for another Japanese exclusive title, Toy Pop, and it’s a purely piano arrangement of that game’s theme music. It’s cute. The final track features the MC announcing the concert’s performers (each of whom perform their own quick little solos).  All very interesting stuff and something I bet most gaming fans have never heard before!

SUPER ARRANGE GAME MUSIC (November 1988)
Chase H.Q. – Stand By (Arrange)/Los Angeles (Arrange)
Syvalion – Round Start Arrange)/Main Theme (Arrange)
Assault – BGM 1 (Arrange)
Marchen Maze – Round 1 (Arrange) 
Next up we have this flexi disc, which was originally included with the November 1988 issue. Unlike the Ninja Warrior tunes from the previous disc, these songs are arranged (remixed/re-recorded) versions that sound substantially more complex and intricate than the original game versions.

The disc really starts things off with a showstopper, both in terms of music quality and in game reputation, with an amazing arrangement of music from the car pursuit classic Chase HQ. I don’t know if the bassline in this version is real or the work of a synthesizer, but if it is legit, then Squarepusher and Les Claypool could learn something from whomever is responsible for it, as it’s freaking unbelievable.

Paling in comparison but still worthwhile is the theme to the Japanese-only Syvalion, which has a great sci-fi feel that fits its space shooter genre very well. After that there’s an arranged version of the background music (BGM) for the generically titled Namco game Assault, another title that never saw a US release from what I can gather. It’s probably the second-best track on the disc, thanks in large part to its awesome synth guitar solo. MIDI shredding is the best shredding.

Finally there’s the stage one music for Marchen Maze, an isometric platformer based on Alice In Wonderland. As you may have guessed considering its source material, the music is rather jaunty.

All in all this is excellent stuff, and a peek into the era. If you like it, remember you have Anna to thank for it, and if you want to make her happy, follow her on Twitter and visit her website, where she often posts crazy technical videos that are so awesome they make my brain hurt.

And I’ll be back later this week with another Japanese-themed post! Until then, enjoy this 8/16-bit goodness!

Crazy for Dance Craze

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Dance Craze (Complete Album Download)

I love ska!

Okay, that was a lie. I just lied to you, and I apologize.

The truth is, I’ve never loved ska, no matter how much I try. I blame The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Seriously, it’s all their fault.

Like most stupid Americans, I never heard of ska until the mid-90s, when barely-ska acts like the Bosstones, Reel Big Fish and No Doubt broke the sound through to the mainstream. And, let’s be honest, those bands and others like them were at their best slightly better than horrible. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones remain one of my most-hated bands of all time, right next to Creed and The Nixons (I have my reasons, okay?). I’ve done my best to forget about Reel Big Fish completely, and I only grew to tolerate No Doubt when the abandoned their ska roots for a more electronic sound.

So it’s all their fault, they’re why I hate ska. But I’ve been trying my best to educate myself, broaden my horizons. In doing so I’ve discovered that I actually like early ska! I know, I was shocked too, but the  2 tone (second wave ska) stuff out of England, I’m really beginning to dig that stuff. And this album is a big reason for that.

Dance Craze is like a Ska Urgh, a great compilation of early 80s tracks by artists both big (Bad Manners, The Beat, Madness) and small (The Bodysnatchers, The Selecter). It’s actually the soundtrack to a movie that came out in 1981, although it’s never been released on any format since, aside from VHS and that was only in England. (Although you can watch it on YouTube). The movie has 27 great performances, but the LP soundtrack cut that down to a slim 16 songs, which is a drag, especially considering amazing tracks like Madness’ “The Prince” and “Too Much Too Young” by The Specials were among those cut.

But that doesn’t mean the album was left with nothing but the dregs. The radical “Three Minute Hero” by The Selector is here, as well as an excellent version of The (English) Beat’s “Mirror In The Bathroom.” Thankfully we’re also gifted with a rocking jam of “One Step Beyond” by Madness AKA the greatest ska song of all time ever in the history of anything ever (don’t you dare try to correct me.)

Download and enjoy, and tell me about other 2-tone artists that you think I might dig.

Just don’t try to sell me on the Bosstones okay? Many have tried, and I have destroyed all of them.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s the complete tracklisting:

Side One

  1. “Concrete Jungle” – The Specials
  2. “Mirror In The Bathroom” – The Beat
  3. “Lip Up Fatty” – Bad Manners
  4. “Razor Blade Alley” – Madness
  5. “Three Minute Hero” – The Selecter
  6. “Easy Life” – The Bodysnatchers
  7. “Big Shot” – The Beat
  8. “One Step Beyond” – Madness

Side Two

  1. “Ranking Full Stop” – The Beat
  2. “Man At C&A” – The Specials
  3. “Missing Words” – The Selecter
  4. “Inner London Violence” – Bad Manners
  5. “Night Boat To Cairo” – Madness
  6. “Too Much Pressure” – The Selecter
  7. “Nite Klub” – The Specials

Also, a note to longtime readers of The Lost Turntable. I posted this soundtrack eons ago, but you should still download it again (if you like it). This rip is much better.

And one more thing. I was serious when I said I don’t care if you like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish or any other of those shit bands. If you leave me a comment about how my taste sucks I’ll just delete it, so don’t bother.

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka – Original Soundtrack Album (Yes, This Blog Is That Awesome)

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

 

When I was a little kid, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka was one of my favorite movies of all-time.

That’s right, the R-rated spoof of blaxploitation films was the favorite movie of nine-year-old me.

Allow me to explain how something like this happens.

My father opened a video store in 1983, when I was just four years old. For much of the 80s my parents were divorced, and it came time for me to visit my dad I would spend much of the dayin the store watching movies, from when I got there until when I left. Then I would go home with my dad and watch movies in his apartment with him until I fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning, I would watch more movies before we went back to the video store where I would watch even more movies. And if we weren’t doing that we were probably going to the the movie theater.

So yeah, lots of movies.

And it’s worth noting that my dad was a terrible censor when it came to choosing appropriate films for a small child to watch. Sometimes this was a bad thing. I saw the The Terminator when I was six and it gave nightmares about killer robots for a week, and after seeing the opening of The Thing  when I was still in kindergarten I was scared of my neighbor’s dog for I don’t know how long.

But other times it was a good thing (at least in my opinion). I saw Beverly Hills Cop when I was six years old, so when I started first grade not only did I know almost all the swear words, but I knew how to use them too. So when some asshole called me a “poopbreath” during recess, I was able to counter with “you stupid fucking cocksucker.”

That’s the kind of stuff that gets you some serious cred on the playground.

At the same time, however, I was still just a kid. As much as I loved violent action movies, vulgar comedies and the occasional  horror film, I still found equal enjoyment watching cartoons and goofy family-friendly comedies.

And when you keep all that in mind, then it totally makes sense that for a short time in the late 80s, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka was my favorite movie of all-time. It’s the ideal movie for someone with the comedic sensibilities of a pre-teen, and the foul-mouthed vocabulary of a hardened inmate. I mean, who the hell else would love a movie that had both incredibly vulgar sex jokes as well as a scene where an armed midget hides out in a pimp’s over-sized hat?

For those of you who have not seen I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, it’s a spoof of classic 70s  Blaxploitations flicks written and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans (the talented Wayans), who also stars in the picture as Jack Spade, an army boy who returns home to get revenge for his brother’s death, who died from an overdose of…gold (he O.G’d). Unable to take down the gold-dealing gangsters on his own, he recruits the help of some local heroes, who happen to be blaxploitation legends Jim Brown, Bernie Casey and Isaac Hayes.

In case you couldn’t tell, it’s goofy as shit, very much in the vein of Naked Gun and Airplane, just not nearly as funny.  I was sad to discover with a recent viewing that the film just doesn’t hold up that well, and as an adult, much of the vulgar humor I loved as a  kid was just stupid.  There was still parts of the movie I loved, and I could appreciate it for what it was trying to do, there were weren’t enough films that spoofed blaxploitation, but at the end of the day, it’s just not a very good movie.

I still loved the soundtrack though! So I was stoked to find a perfect, sealed vinyl copy on Amazon last week. I planned on sharing the whole thing here, but the Four Tops’ ballad “If Ever A Love There Was,” “KRS-One’s amazing “Jack Of Spades,” and the classic funk track “Grazing In The Grass” by The Friends of Distinction are all available legally, so I can’t post them here I can’t even share the album version of the title track by The Gap Band! What a bummer.

However, I found a way around that problem that I believe is more than satisfactory…but first, the rest of the soundtrack to I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!

Jermaine Jackson
Clean Up Your Act
Is Jermaine the second most successful Jackson sibling? He did actually kind of have a semi-successful solo career for a bit in the 80s didn’t he? I know that he has a kid that he named Jermajesty, and if that’s not a measure of extreme success then I don’t know what the hell is. This song is some cute, “Just Say No” 80s fun.

Jennifer Holliday
Magic Man
My knowledge of Jennifer Holliday begins and ends with “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” so I got nothing to say here.

Curtis Mayfield With Fishbone
He’s a Flyguy
I think this track proves that Mayfield had an amazing sense of humor, since it’s basically just a spoof of Mayfield’s own track “Superfly.” The song itself is in praise of Flyguy, but if you’ve seen the film then you know that the movie itself didn’t hold nearly as much esteem for the character. I don’t know what Fishbone does in this track, since the instrumentation is rather sparse aside from the guitar, which I know Mayfield could play. Whoever does play the guitar on this song totally shreds it. Great tune.

K-9 Posse
This Beat Is Military
This song starts with a sample of the A-Team opening. Therefore, it is one of the greatest rap songs of all time. Actually, it’s kind of stupid, but I love the idea of a rapper boasting by comparing himself to a military outfit as opposed to a gangster or drug dealer, even if he does kind of strain the metaphor at times, I think the lines about nuclear determent take the bit a little too far.

Too Nice
Two Can Play The Game
The basic theme of “Two Can Play The Game” is “hey dudes, don’t cheat on your girlfriend because if you do then they’ll probably cheat on you too.” Kind of an odd way to preach against infidelity, but whatever. The best thing about the track is that it samples the chorus to Johnie Taylor’s excellent “Who’s Making Love,” a song that featured Isaac Hayes’ on keyboards! Since the sample isn’t credited in the linear notes, that means that the producers of I’m Gonna Git You Sucka managed to illegally sample Isaac Hayes for a movie that Isaac Hayes was in. That’s pretty impressive.

The Gap Band
You’re So Cute
Yeah, this song is great, but it’s not the song by The Gap Band that you want to hear, is it? No, you want “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.” Like I said before, that song is available on MP3 and CD all over the world, so I can’t share it here. Sorry.

But I can totally share the remixes! Boom!

The Gap Band
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Extended Edit)
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Extended Version)
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Sugar Shack Version)
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Tripped Out Dub Version)
Here at The Lost Turntable, I totally believe in being thorough, so when I found out that there was a 12″ single to the theme song from “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” I had to have that too. I actually had a copy of this ages ago, but that version was scratched all to hell and would only play the extended cut and nothing else. Thankfully, I found this near-flawless copy at Jerry’s Records, and I can share it all with you now.

If you’re wondering how all the versions are different, the “Extended Version” just stretches out every instrumental part of the song out a bit, while the “Extended Edit” is a variation of the original version that eliminates the slow intro and adds some more instrumental stuff throughout. The “Sugar Shack Version” is a version that’s chock-full of bonus bass, while the “Tripped Out Dub Version” is totally a…trippy dub version. I always appreciate truth in remix titles.

One thing that all versions have in common though? They’re all fucking awesome.

 

Tony Banks’ Soundtracks – Featuring Toyah Wilcox and that dude from Marillion

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Tony Banks is the keyboardist for Genesis, and being a keyboardist in a rock band is usually a pretty thankless job. No matter how good their licks may be, most fans, members of the media, and groupies are more interested in the singer, guitarist, drummer and even the bass player than the keyboardist. That’s because, quite frankly, there’s no way anyone can make playing the keyboards look cool.

But back in the 70s and 80s Banks probably had it even rougher than most keyboardists when  it came to making a name for himself. First Peter Gabriel leaves the group to embark on a wildly successful solo career, and then Phil Collins starts his own solo career and proceeds to release some of biggest albums of the 80s. Even Mike Rutherford was able to get in on the action, finding inexplicable sucess with his side-project Mike + The Mechanics.

Tony Banks’ bids as a popular solo artists were less successful than his bandmates’. He released the concept album A Curious Feeling in 1979, and it quickly vanished from the charts without a trace. In 1983 he released two albums. One was The Fugitive, which he sang on. It didn’t sell. That same year he contributed to half of the soundtrack to The Wicked Lady, a swashbuckling adventure flick. Its never been released on CD, so I’m going to guess it didn’t set the world ablaze either.

But that wasn’t the last soundtrack that Banks’ would contribute to. In 1984 he composed the score for a low-budget sci-fi flick called Lorca And The Outlaws (it was released as Starship on VHS). In addition to the score, he also composed the original songs, “You Call This Victory” featuring vocalist Jim Diamond and “Lion of Symmetry” featuring vocals by the amazing Toyah Wilcox. Lorca And The Outlaws was not well-received commercially (it’s on a a few ‘worst movies of the 80s’ lists) and it never got an official soundtrack release.

In 1986 Banks would contribute the score to Quicksilver, a Kevin Bacon picture about a stock broker who is forced to leave the trading floor and become a bike messenger (sounds…exciting). But he wasn’t the sole contributor to that soundtrack. In addition to Banks’ work, the film also featured new songs by Giorgio Moroder (with Roger Daltrey), Peter Frampton and Ray Parker, Jr., to name a few. That soundtrack got a commercial release, but because of all the pop songs on it, Banks’ score was only included in a truncated form.

Well, it would appear that Banks found a way to solve both that problem and the lack of a release for his work on the Lorca And The Outlaws score with the release of Soundtracks, a single LP that features his music from Quicksilver on the first side, and his work from Lorca And The Outlaws on the second side.

How’s the music? Let’s start with the first side, the Quicksilver stuff.

Quicksilver
Shortcut To Somewhere (featuring Fish of Marillion)
Smilin’ Jack Casey
Quicksilver Suite: Rebirth
Quicksilver Suite: Gypsy
Quicksilver Suite: Final Charge
I’ve never seen Quicksilver (being neither a fan of Kevin Bacon nor bicycle messengers), so I can’t say how well this music fits into the film. I can image that that the fast-paced instrumental pieces probably worked well with montages of Kevin Bacon decked out in spandex, plowing through the streets of San Francisco like an asshole on a mission. And if you’re looking for a mix to fit your own cycling workout, they might be good for that as well. The slower instrumental pieces are little more uneven, and are certainly dated, but they have their own charm as well.

What does not have charm, however, is “Shorcut To Somewhere” the sole pop song that Banks’ contributed to the soundtrack. The vocals are by Marillion singer Fish, and while he does have one hell of a set of pipes, no singer, no matter how talented, could make the drivel he’s belting out sound interesting or catchy. The upbeat synths of the song really go for a “you can do it” feeling ala your favorite training montage from an 80s film, but they’re so oppressively upbeat that they’re just annoying. I imagine that this song may have been catchy and fun in 1986, but now it just sounds dated and boring. But like I said, the rest of the stuff is worth a listen if you enjoy instrumental synthesizer stuff.

Lorca and the Outlaws (also known as Starship)
You Call This Victory (featuring Jim Diamond)
Lion of Symmetry (featuring Toyah Wilcox)
Redwing Suite: Redwing
Redwing Suite: Lorca
Redwing Suite: Kid and Detective Droid
Redwing Suite: Lift Off
Redwing Suite: Death of Abby
As bad as “Shortcut To Somewhere” is, it’s actually not the worst track on Soundtracks. No, that dubious honor goes to “You Call This Victory,” an absolutely wretched number featuring the over-emotional whiny vocals of Jim Diamond. Musically, the song isn’t that bad, but Diamond’s vocals are just so god awful that they kill any charm or positive aspects the song may have had.

Thankfully, the rest of the Lorca and the Outlaws soundtrack fairs a bit better. The instrumental “Redwing Suite” actually holds up pretty well as a score, and is very reminiscent of the stuff that Tangerine Dream was doing at the time. It’s nothing great, but it’s certainly not bad. But what is great is the song “Lion of Symmetry,” which features this incomparable Toyah Wilcox. Toyah (who was featured in Urgh!) is one of my favorite signers of the new wave era, so to discover this track was a real treat. It’s seven minutes of pure Toyah weirdness, and is a must hear.