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Dance Music All Night Long

Posted by Smiles Davis, July 8, 2009 03:43pm | Post a Comment
Music, good music, is popping up everywhere and I’m loving every minute of it. Dance music in particular is really having the best year ever. I’m not just talking about house and techno, I’m talking about music that makes you wanna boogie, music that really makes you wanna get down with the get down and forget all your worries. I don't exactly know who to give credit to for putting the fun back in music but one thing is absolute: everything eventually comes full circle.

Back in the day—we’re talking the 70’s—there was disco, a little bit of hip-hop, some more disco, what was left of modern jazz, rock-n-roll, and a little more disco. The best thing about urban nightlife at that time was disco. And you didn’t hear none of that A.D.D. DJ we hear so frequently today, where the music selector changes songs every thirty seconds (thanks a lot DJ AM). No, none of that. The DJ’s at the discotheques usually played the long versions of songs, nearly in their entirety, to keep the feet on the dance floor all night long. Oh, how things have changed.

At that time, people weren’t up on hip-hop like that quite yet; it was still pretty underground. You had to know where to go to find a DJ spinning hip-hop. And chances are, if you knew about it, you knew it was the only spot in town where you could go to hear that type of music. Not to mention the fact that that one and only spot was probably members only. You had to be affiliated with a crew to gain access. If you weren’t a part of a tagging crew, a breaking crew, or one of the emcees or DJs, chances were you didn’t even know about it. But, back to disco. It started mainly on the east coast in the late 60’s. By the early 70’s disco had cross-pollinated and spread like wild fire all over the globe. Most popular soul and funk acts like Earth, Wind & Fire and The Bar-kays soon jumped ship and found themselves chin deep in the disco trend. Unfortunately, like most fads, disco was finished quicker than morning coffee and soon disappeared from the radar. For the most part, I think the public wanted it that way. Disco Demolition Night, a promotional event that took place on Thursday, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, was in part to blame for the end of an era. However, industry folk and even many consumers talked about the decline of the genre long before this event took place.  

Disco, although short lived, was to music, in part, what the sex, drugs and rock n roll generation, better known as New Hollywood was to post- classical Hollywood in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80's. Well, sort of, not really, but they had many similarities: together they completely altered the conventional format of entertainment, they were relentlessly rebellious, adored by tweens, and utterly despised by conservatives. Also, the misfits of Hollywood during that time were the first to recognize film as an art form, while the DJs of the disco era catapulted advancements in turntablism and too recognized it as an art form. Disco faded to black shortly before the “movie brats” did.  

Still, disco influenced many styles of music, including hip-hop and electronica. Donna Summer, one of the more notable disco singers, was the first to really incorporate electronica into the popular dance style. Today, a number of acts are bringing it back like an 8-track. Holy Ghost, Men, Hercules and Love Affair and compilations like Italo Disco are all making strides to breathe some life back into the genre. Hi-5 disco! The good times are well overdue.

Also influenced by disco, or dance music in general, was Baltimore Club music, better know as Bmore. Bmore is so hot right now. Let me tell you from a DJ’s perspective: All the kiddies love it! Nothing packs the dance floor quicker than a Bmore remix. The “Remix” evolved out of disco, by the way, thanks to Tom Moulton, and later spread into hip-hop, pop and other styles of dance music like techno.

The front-runners of the current Bmore movement are the best things since sliced bread. The key players include DJ Class, Aaron Lacrate, Diplo, Switch, and DJ Blaqstarr, just to name a few. And it just so happens they’re all DJ’s. Major Lazer, the brainchild of Diplo & Switch, and the new kids on the block, is making noise all over the Internet. The single “Hold The Line” packs the dance floor any time and anywhere I play it. Same thing with DJ Class’ “I’m the Ish.” Works like a charm every time. Even mainstream acts like the Black Eyed Peas have hopped aboard the bandwagon with their single “Boom Pow.” Something tells me Baltimore Club will be around for a while. Go on back that thang up, get your Bmore on! Let's dance, not fight.

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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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At Last: Antony and the Johnsons

Posted by Miss Ess, September 30, 2008 01:54pm | Post a Comment
I love the simplicity of this:


Finally, finally, after about 3 years of waiting, Antony and the Johnsons will be releasing an EP on Oct 7 entitled Another World. To celebrate the release, Antony is playing two US concerts, one in LA and one in Harlem, with full orchestration co-arranged by the brilliant Nico Muhly. Those dates are here. There will also be two dates in the UK. Antony's next full length, The Crying Light, will apparently be released on January 21, 2009.

If you somehow missed I Am A Bird Now, which won the Mercury Prize for Best Album of 2005, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Or if you aren't in the mournful mood, you can check out Antony's flawless vocal contributions to Hercules and Love Affair's self titled album. This should get you up and dancing:


And if you wanna hear Antony singing "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," click here.