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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 03:06:09

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 03:06:09

1) K'NAAN Troubadour (A&M/Octone Records)

2) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media)

3) Madlib Beat Konducta 5 & 6 (Stones Throw)

4) RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection (TVT)

5) Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique (reissue) (Capitol)

Thanks to Inti at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart which finds reigning Somalia hip-hop music star K'NAAN in the top slot with his new album Troubadour. He was also number one at the Hollywood Amoeba last week. Meanwhile, Oakland duo ZIon I, who were number one at Amoeba SF two weeks ago, are in the number two slot with their highly recommended new album The TakeOver, which is full of potential hit singles. Currently Zion I, made up of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbia, are on a West Coast tour. For details click here.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Beastie Boys' second album, 1989's Paul's Boutique, was recently reissued and has been selling well at all Amoeba stores since its late January reissue date. At the Berkeley store it is this week's number five top seller.

A lot has changed in the 20 years since the album's initial release from the New York group. Initially considered a paul's boutiquecommercial failure by their record label, who expected Licensed To Ill-scale sales and pop radio acceptance, the album catapulted the Beasties from being remembered as mere novelty rap act to serious hip-hoppers in the music history books. Included in countless magazines and critics' "Best Of" album lists, the 20th anniversary reissue of Paul's Boutique package features 24-bit remaster audio and a commentary track. If you don't already own this album, get it.

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MISSION DISTRICT CELEBRATED IN BEN STOKES' ANIMATED AZEEM VID

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

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MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO'S JACK DANGERS LOOKS BACK AT 20+ YEARS

Posted by Billyjam, May 7, 2008 10:06am | Post a Comment

Twenty-two years later Jack Dangers, the UK born/ Bay Area based musician best known as front person for the group Meat Beat Manifesto, is still recording and releasing relevant music.  In addition to the recently released tenth studio Meat Beat Manifesto (MBM) album Autoimmune on Metropolis, Dangers has also just released a new solo project titled Music For Planetarium -- a limited edition release on Brainwashed. To help spread the word on both releases, Dangers and MBM (including Ben Stokes with whom he also collaborates under the name Tino Corp) just wrapped up their current US tour in the past couple of days. I caught up with them when they played the Highline Ballroom in New York about a week ago. The current MBM lineup includes Dangers, Ben Stokes, Mark Pistel and Lynn Farmer (on live drum kit set up).

Considering it is now 21 years since MBM's debut and 22 years since his original band, Perennial Divide, released their debut, and also considering that most other industrial or techno or ambient acts (all genres that Dangers' music has been labeled over the years) are no longer still making music, I asked Dangers what was the secret to MBM's and his longevity as an artist?  "The main thing is not to conform, not to follow what looks like the thing to do," he said. "It is important not to follow trends but just to be yourself. That is the main ingredient."

I asked Dangers about early in his career and his relationship to Andy Partridge and how it was exactly that the XTC member had helped him get started in his music career. Dangers replied that he first met Partridge back in 1981 in the small South Western English town of Swindon they both hail from. "I got an intern job at the Uni recording studio (in Swindon) and got to see XTC rehearse for their English Settlement tour," he recalled, adding that the XTC tour got cut short after just nine dates. "Andy pretty much knocked it on the head and didn't want to do any live performances after that." But several years later, in 1986, Andy Partridge would work with Dangers and his first band Perennial Divide when he produced their Beehead EP -- released in 1987 on Sweat Box.

Dangers first visited the US in 1989 and ended up moving Stateside, settling in the Bay Area's Mill Valley in 1994. I asked him how relocating from Swindon to Marin County came about. "I was doing a lot of work with (Bay Area groups) Consolidated and Disposable Heroes of Hipocrisy in the early nineties," he recalled, adding that during that time period he, "Later met my future wife at SF Civic Center at a benefit for In Defense of Animals. And that was the main reason I moved over." He had also crossed paths with Ben Stokes, with whom he would forge a long-standing creative relationship. In concert, Stokes works his magic on the video sampling technology and when he is not on tour with Dangers, he is doing video production for DJ Shadow's tours (solo and with Cut Chemist).

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