Amoeblog

The Revolution is Being Televised...

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 8, 2007 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Our favorite electronic/dance music magazine, XLR8R, has just launched XLR8R TV, a weekly (yes, weekly, despite what the image to the left says) video show featuring pieces on music and culture of the type the magazine is famous for keeping up with. In the first two issues, Zion I is intereviewed while we get to check out live footage from DAT Politics in Oakland, CA. Episode 2 sees a camera crew following Carl Craig as he trawls through the bins at San Francisco's esteemed  Aquarius Records, showing us some of his favorite albums and critiquing some new stuff too! Future episodes will feature Lindstrøm, Busdriver and more. New shows pop up every Tuesday! The best part: each video is available in four different formats, with streaming as well as downloading options, plus RSS links to add the feeds to your favorite torrent or vidcasting aggregator. We like!

World Wide!

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 7, 2007 07:45pm | Post a Comment
I co-produce a radio show on local community station KUSF called the Friday Night Session. Along with my fellow producers Andrew Jervis and Tomas Palermo, we visit brand new music for two hours every Friday night from 10pm to Midnight. While there's no set music policy, we tend to play jazz, soul, funk, latin, reggae and electronic dance music that is influenced by all those things, including Broken Beat, so-called "Nu-Soul" and Disco.

Last week we were lucky to have Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio One DJ and selector extraordinaire as our special guest. Gilles was in town working on the second volume of his Gilles Peterson Digs America compilation series for Ubiquity Records, as well as to DJ at local superclub Ruby Skye, but still found the time to kick it with us at the KUSF studio in SF's Western Addition.





Over a killer falafel plate from Haight Street's Blue Front Cafe and a wonderful bottle of wine, Gilles took us on a tour of his record box for two hours, while regaling us with tales of being a globetrotting DJ. Inbetween sips of cabernet, Gilles managed to play us a diverse selection of tunes ranging from latin jazz from artists like Tito Puente and Ray Camacho to more contemporary jams from Louie Vega and Simbad.

The show is available to be streamed online at the FNS website, as is a full tracklist  (plus three years' worth of archived shows to keep you busy). Enjoy.

GILLES PETERSON LIVE ON THE FRIDAY NIGHT SESSION 03/30/07
(streaming MP3)

The Scene

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 7, 2007 05:43pm | Post a Comment
A direct descendent of American Bandstand, and the older, cooler cousin of Dance Party USA, Detroit's own televised dance show The Scene ran from the mid-70's until the late 80's, giving local urban teens a place to strut their stuff and be seen by nearly everyone in the metro area - literally. The show's popularity was so high at its peak that its ratings outshined all competitors, including the six o'clock news. The Scene was the focal point for local kids, as is evident by the enthusiasm of these young dudes:



More pertinent to this blog (and interesting to me) is that The Scene was popular during the birth and growth of Detroit's last enduring gift to the world: Techno.

The show aired on Detroit's only black-owned TV station, WGPR, and had its roots in the swinging disco Seventies, as you can see in this short piece from Detroit local news:


As disco "died", it was replaced by electro, boogie, and the eurodisco now commonly referred to as Italo-disco in the early Eighties. Its use of synthesizers would directly influence Detroit's black youth, not to mention the Belleville Techno triumvirate of Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Case in point: Scene-sters dancing suavely to Kano's "I'm Ready".



Even more exciting, though, is this spectacular 1982 clip featuring a guys-only dance to "Sharevari" by A Number of Names, believed to be the first Detroit Techno record and coincidentally reissued this past week on vinyl. Peep the dude with the prop guitar!



With all the frenzied screaming, yelping and hollering, the atmosphere in the studio sounds electrified! Silly dance moves and outdated fashions aside, what you have here is a mostly black (but quite multicultural) audience getting seriously down to the sort of thing that was widely (and erroneously) considered "white" music - synthesizers, drum machines, minor keys. Not only did Detroit's musical climate at the time open the doors for this music to be appreciated, it legitimized it in the eyes and ears of a young, urban, black audience, which embraced it and made it their own. Today, it makes Detroit completely unique in the US - there is no other (S/s)cene quite like it, enough so that the Detroit Historical Society now has a permanent exhibit about Techno.

Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 5, 2007 01:25pm | Post a Comment

Andrew Meecham is The Emperor Machine, one of the best producers working in electronic music at the moment. A soundclash between influences as diverse as Can, early Human League, Hawkwind, George Clinton and Kraftwerk, Meecham's Krautrock-Disco bubbles and squeaks with analogue rock intensity while remaning funky enough to get your groove on.

Meecham started out in seminal 90's house/rave group Bizarre Inc. alongside Carl Tuner and Dean Meredith. They had a string of hits including "Playing With Knives" and "I'm Gonna Get You", both of which charted in the UK (the former hit #3, the latter #4) as well as the US (#47), and both are considered "club classics".

"Playing With Knives":


"I'm Gonna Get You" (one of my personal favorites):



After their second album, 1996's Surprise, was commercially disappointing, Bizarre Inc. disappeared until 1999, when Meredith and Meecham resurfaced with Steve "Fella" Kotey as Chicken Lips. Since then, it's been full steam ahead, with the boys finding a home at DC Recordings (scheduled to have its own Technophilia post anytime soon) as Big Two Hundred, aka "the dark side of Chicken Lips", and two side projects: Meredith as White Light Circus and Meecham as TEM.

New Music Tech:

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 5, 2007 01:39am | Post a Comment
Perfect for a Boards of Canada video, I've imagined the children who are at the Oracle's house in The Matrix playing with the Tangible Sequencer in these youtube videos:



The combination of the primary colors, the slow, steady pulse and music box sounds distinctly remind me of childhood. Jeffrey Traer Bernstein of the Sound Lab at Princeton's Computer Science Department created this interesting technology that I can see being applied to plenty of different new music interfaces.





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