Amoeblog

Noblesse Oblige: 'Offensive Nonsense' Gets Reissue

Posted by Aaron Detroit, September 30, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment
Thank the fates for the explosion of deluxe edition reissues! While some serve as mere cash cows for record labels with unnecessary previously-unreleased-for-a-reason vault-raping bonus tracks for nerds, many give previously overlooked gems and obscure nuggets a proper introduction to music fans. Such is the case for the limited edition deluxe reissue of the Berlin-based Noblesse Oblige’s mischievous debut album. In 2006, the then London-based duo of German singer/songwriter/producer Sebastian Lee Philipp and French singer/songwriter Valerie Renay released a small-run of their debut LP entitled Privilege Entails Responsibility, via the obscure and now-defunct UK imprint Horseglue Records. The album of nighttime grooves and tri-lingual self-proclaimed ‘Offensive Nonsense’ slowly gained a cult following via hundreds of increasingly packed European live shows and steady word-of-mouth. The band eventually moved to Berlin and began work on what would become their well received, more accessible and quite excellent sophomore LP, 2008’s In Exile via Germany’s RepoRecords. On the heels of Exile’s success, Repo is reissuing Privilege this week with ten(!) bonus tracks including two brand new forward-moving tracks and padded out with eight additional remixes.

While In Exile explores the band’s love of dreamier and filmic music (which no doubt rubbed-off on queer indie-rockers The Hidden Cameras, whom Philipp worked with on tracks for their recent lush offering, Origin: Orphan), Privilege is an inviting and darkly comic (sometimes even knowingly ridiculous) yet misanthropic and intense ride via the Goth and Waver club dance floors of yester-year. Philipp pays homage to his fellow countrymen KMFDM on “Bite Back“ and “Bitch” with big cheese-rock riffs and tongue firmly planted in cheek while somehow remaining quite serious and sincere. “Fashion Fascism” sounds like it could be a cover of Madonna’s “Burning Up” on some obscure late-80’s Wax Trax 12 inch while Philipp invokes the spirit of Leigh Bowery on “Daddy (Don’t Touch Me There).” Sadly, the Minty-commissioned Noblesse Oblige cover/remix of Bowery’s “Useless Man,” which appeared as the b-side of N.O.’s single for the bouncy “Quel Genre de Garcon,” does not appear among the bonus tracks here.

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Negatives

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 30, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment
don and handbone agathocles pressurehari georgeson george harrison
casualties stay out of orderpaul clements magic night
martyn bates return of the quietdark fantasticdebris
easy tempo vol. 4the crazy beat of gene vincentalan vega saturn strip
monochrome set lost weekend
fuses eastern citiesvenom possessedmiles david blue moods

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AMOEBA SF HIP-HOP & SOUL SECTIONS WITH LUIS & DR. GOLDSTEIN

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment

Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless Amoeba Music San Franciscoselection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.

One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.

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INTERVIEW WITH KAREN DERE OF THE GIANT PEACH

Posted by Billyjam, September 29, 2009 08:03am | Post a Comment
In 1999 the independent East Bay hip-hop-themed online company The Giant Peach was formed by Karen Dere with planning help from Stinke, whom she had worked closely with at the Hierogyphics' company (the pioneering Oakalnd hip-hop entity that was one of the very first to embrace the Internet in the mid 1990's -- years before most people even had an email address, nevermind a fully functional online Kid Robotdistribution outlet for indie hip-hop). Working at the Hieros' company for several years coupled with the previous years' experience and expertise she culled from her time as a DJ, etc. at KALX radio, Karen had gained enough insight and knowledge to launch The Giant Peach.

Initially created as "a means for independent labels (with an emphasis on hip hop) and artists to produce their own line of garments and distribute their products to the masses" -- as its mission statement lays out -- the Giant Peach (GP) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade but has still pretty much stuck to its initial plan of creating a bridge between artists/labels and fans and of exhaustively carrying the clothing lines of popular design artists and collectives, and always with an emphasis on those from the Bay Area.

Currently celebrating its ten year anniversary, the GP has a store within a store this month at TRUE in the Haight (near Amoeba SF), and, I am told, this will expand into October. Last week I stopped by the GP's product-packed East Bay warehouse/offices to talk to Karen about her company and capture on video (above) some of the cool items for sale on its website. I also followed up with a text interview (below) to cover some things we didn't get to in the video version.

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Get Your Medieval Rocks Off with Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh's Overloaded Ark

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 29, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment
 Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh second album overloaded ark on drag city
The last time Helena Espvall (of Espers) and Masaki Batoh (of Ghost) got together to create an album the end result resembled the kind of sound-tapestry two people of like-minded musical musings might weave over an ocean of space and time. Their first record (self-titled on Drag City) generated a quiet excitement from those of us at Amoeba familiar with the "new folk" weirdness of Espers and the psych-rock wyrdness of Ghost and seemed a sound-marriage of sorts where faded-about-the-edges Scandinavian tunes and other haunting works, both borrowed and original, mingled freely on relic-esque instruments. Nothing there suggests the kind of epic, blast-from-the-distant-past sonic onslaught of Overloaded Ark, Espvall and Batoh's second release on Drag City and the latest source of a new take on a very, very old favorite song. 
overloaded ark helena epsvall masaki batoh second album drag city
Overloaded Ark's opening track, titled "Little Blue Dragon," is a better known by the name of the merry dance it was originally composed for way back in 14th century Naples: the saltarello. It is played in a very fast triple-meter and named after its leading leap-step, in Italian, saltare. Of course, the composer credit for this song goes to the ubiquitous Anoymous who rules the bulk of any Early Music bin selections, but a version of the song, aptly titled "Saltarello," was made famous by that eclectic, neoclassical Australian band better known as Dead Can Dance (and if you've ever been to a Renaissance Faire or a Goth gathering where "dark" world music fits the rotation then I'll bet you a flagon of mead you've heard it before). Another version of the song, performed by Corvus Corax --- an outrageously outfitted German band who champion medieval music and authentic instruments, seems to share the same vein Espvall and Batoh tapped to give their "Little Blue Dragon" life. Espvall and Batoh's take on the Black Death era romp pounds out a feverish pace with traditional instrumentation at the forefront and electrified psychedelic meanderings fleshing out the background. It's really the perfect sort of aural "pants-ing" I felt I needed as a listener expecting to hear an extension of Espvall and Batoh's past works, only to be blown away with their new attitude. 

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