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Charanjit Singh- 10 Ragas to a Disco Beat Reviewed by Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 14, 2010 12:55am | Post a Comment
Charanjit Singh
There has been much talk about 10 Ragas to a Disco Beat! People have been debating whether Charanjit Singh’s 1982 release predated Acid House or was influenced by it. There was also talk that perhaps it was a modern group posing as “obscure” Indian artist. (Aphex Twin was rumored to be behind this.) The worst thing I read was from a guy who couldn’t possibly understand how someone from India could possibly could get all those synthesizers and drum machines that he used to create this album. I can answer that: It was simple, he was a successful musician and he bought them…and yes, India has electricity, too!

These are the same arguments the imperialist mindset tends to have about indigenous people -- for instance, the argument that intelligent beings from another planet must have created the pyramids because indigenous people couldn’t possibly done it on their own. The truth is that Indian musicians have always been some of the best musicians and most complex composers. They deal with time signatures, scales and overall talent that the Western world cannot comprehend, so the fact that 10 Ragas To A Disco Beat predates some important firsts in the electronic music world does not surprise me one bit.
Charanjit Singh
Much of what appears on this album are Indian Ragas set to Giorgio Moroder inspired arpeggiated synth lines with the same primitive drum programming that was the norm at the time. Again, one can argue that India’s pop world was behind the West, but perhaps because the Western world is so quick to abandon any musical movement for the next big thing. The disco sounds of Moroder might have exploded on a baseball field in Detroit back in 1979, but to the rest of the world his importance was still being felt. Even Brits such as Duran Duran and The Human League, who in 1981 were considered cutting edge, were still worshiping at the altar of Moroder.

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Anda! 2nd Anniversary with Very Be Careful

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 3, 2010 01:43am | Post a Comment
Anda Cumbia Salsa Very Be Careful
When Juan Lennon and I started Anda two years ago, it was all about fun. We were two guys with an ever-growing vintage Salsa & Cumbia LP collection but with nowhere to play the records! Juan knew a spot called Mal’s Bar. I thought it was in downtown, but it turned out to be in the industrial part of town closer to the campus of USC. I admit, I had reservations about the location, but soon I came around. Mal’s is the last of the true neighborhood spots in Los Angeles. It is a throwback to bars that existed in L.A’s past, full of locals and native Angelinos. It doesn’t have valet parking or V.I.P. lounges. It lacks hipster credibility and it’s not the place to be if you want to be “seen.” It’s a neighborhood bar without pretensions. You drink, you dance, you meet people, you hook up (or don’t) and at Anda you get to hear dope Latin music from our residents DJ’s (Gazoooo, Mando Fever, Juan Lennon and myself) and either a band or guest DJ. It’s that simple. We have been blessed to present some of the best talent L.A. has to offer: La Santa Cecilia, Cava, Quinto Sol, DJ 8bits, Buyepongo, Wil-Dog Y Su Banda Juvenil, Rani D (Soul In The Park), Chico Sonido, Ganas (Mas Exitos), La Santa Maria, Reyes (Eclectica), Agua Dulce (actually from San Diego), Sloe Poke (Sonido/Descarga), Ervin Arana (Root Down), Concepto Tambor and, of course, Very Be Careful, who will be performing at our 2nd Anniversary show on Saturday, June 5th.
Very Be Careful Escape Room anda
Until recently, Very Be Careful was the only Vallenato/Cumbia game in town. Now you have the young upstarts Buyepongo (who played our first Anda ever!), Mr.Vallenato (re-located from Texas) and new up and comers La Chamba, who play Peruvian Chicha music via East Los Angeles. VBC continues to the beat of their own drum. They have half a dozen albums out; they have played to audiences in Japan, Europe and South America and their audience stretches from immigrants to punkers, bike-riding hipsters, tias y moms, Ethnomusicologists, dancers and Soul & Hip-Hop heads. If you have lived in Los Angeles over the last dozen years or so, chances are you have seen these hooligans perform. Sometimes they play drunk or just plain wasted on god knows what, but they are always a good time. Most accordion based Cumbia groups seem to worship at the house of Andres Landero (which is cool, I can’t knock that), but VBC’s love for Alejo Duran shows in their songs, full of romanticism and wit, especially on their most recent release, Escape Room, out on Barbes Records. Tales of regret and heartache are mixed with some real Vallenato burners, as if Nick Cave and Lisandro Meza made a record together. But it’s their live show you have to experience. The sweaty dance floor, the drunkenness and the rawness that is Mal’s, Anda and Very Be Careful…a match made some where between heaven and hell, South and East Los Angeles.

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Mas Exitos On The Move!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 19, 2010 11:33pm | Post a Comment
Mas Exitos Footsie's
One of my favorite nights in Los Angeles for the last few years has been Mas Exitos. Every visit ensures that I will hear a gem that only a devoted digger would find or a lost classic that most wouldn’t think to drop. I dare you to find another pachanga that marries dirty Cumbias with East Los backyard freestyle jams, 60’s Mexican Beat, lost Chicano rockers and driving Boogaloos. My personal favorites jams are what the Mas Exitos crew, DJ Lengua, Ganas and Enorbito, call “paisadelic-psychedelic freak outs,” usually a single cut from a Regional Mexican LP that dipped into the psychedelic sounds of the time. You would never guess these nuggets would have come from guys that look like a wedding band from the 70’s, but it just goes to show you how important it is to dig!

Thursday, Mas Exitos will have their first night at a new location. Mas Exitos will now be a monthly at Footsie’s Bar in Highland Park. They have also moved from their Tuesday slot to a Thursday. Footsie’s also houses another great night in Rani D’s excellent Soul In The Park, which happens every other Wednesday. Between those two nights, you might as well camp out in the HP! They also get a pretty good selection of guest deejays that come through to drop some deep cuts. Guests in the past have included Cut Chemist, Quantic, Roger Mas, Tropicaza and countless others. If you haven't been in a while, come on down and dig the new scene. If you have never been, you are in for a treat.

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Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For April 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 17, 2010 09:39pm | Post a Comment
ozomatli fire away
I thought I posted this up a week ago..oops..sorry it is so late!

I did something different this month. Since we sold a grip of LP's during Record Store Day, I made a separate chart for vinyl releases. I also expanded the chart from a top ten to a top twenty and added the section the releases are filed in.


CD Top 20

1. Ozomatli-Fire Away (Latin Rock & Pop)
2. V/A-Pomegranates (Middle East/Iran)
3. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (France)
4. Julieta Venegas-Otra Cosa (Latin Rock & Pop)
5. Mulatu Astatke-Steps Ahead (Africa)
6. Enrique Bunbury-Las Consecuencias (Latin Rock & Pop)
mulatu astatke steps ahead 7. Aventura-Last (Bachata)
8. Tinariwen-Imidiwan: Companions (Africa)
9. El Gran Combo-Sin Salsa No Hay Paraiso (Salsa)
10. V/A-Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia (Asia/Cambodia)
11. V/A-Absolute Belter (Spain)
12. Maldita Vecindad-Circular Colectivo (Latin Rock & Pop)
13. Ali Farka Toure& Toumani Diabate-Ali & Toumani (Africa)
14. Angelique Kidjo-Oyo (Africa)
15. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-11:11 (Latin Rock & Pop)
16. Sandro-30 Aniversario (Latin Rock & Pop)
17. Manu Chao-Clandestino (Latin Rock & Pop)
18. Clorofila-Corrido Urbanos (Latin Rock & Pop)
19. V/A-Nigerian Afrobeat Special (Africa)
20. Caetano Veloso-Zii E Zie (Brazil)

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Reasons I Dig Ronnie James Dio...

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 16, 2010 07:10pm | Post a Comment
Ronnie James Dio Death

The fact that a singer could get someone like me, who hates the whole Dungeons & Dragons/Lord Of The Rings culture, so pumped up with lyrics like “Circles and rings, Dragons and kings, Weaving a shock and a spell...”

Sure, there were other Metal vocalists who had powerful voices, but they were either too shrill (Bruce Dickinson) or way too operatic (Rob Halford) for my taste. Dio’s voice had the power of an opera singer but with a style that you would find in soul & rockabilly singers. It’s no surprise to me that his first releases were soul singles as Ronnie Dio & The Prophets back in the early sixties.

Ronnie Dio & The Prophets- "Everybody's Got A Dance"


Dio’s music got me through some very long drives across the U.S. and Mexico. I played his solo albums and his albums with Black Sabbath (Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules) and Rainbow (Rising and Long Live Rock & Roll). Dio turned out to be the ultimate co-pilot; he never fell asleep, never let me down and occasionally yelled, "Look out!"

Dio was always the source of late night drunken arguments with my friends about who was better: Ozzy-Era Sabbath or Dio-Era Sabbath? Yes, Dio was a better singer. The band played better with him and Dio wrote his own lyrics (Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler wrote most the lyrics of the songs from the classic Ozzy-Era). Yet, it was always a losing battle for anyone on Dio's side. Why? Because HE'S freakin' Ozzy Osbourne! Everyone loves him, faults and all. That's why there was a television show called The Osbournes and not "The Dios!" Sorry, Ronnie.

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