Dam Funk–BBC Mix & Stussy Mix

dam funk bbc

I love Dam Funk! The stuff he plays sounds like the 70s/80s funk influenced by the 70s space disco/italo/analog synth stuff Lindstrom and Prins Thomas spin in their DJ mixes, the 70s/80s funk that inspired Daft Punk’s Discovery (especially the 80s synth funk of songs like Short Circuit and Something About us)–some of it sounds like the Metro Area album and some stuff on Micheal Jackson’s Thriller album–it’s that late 70s early 80s funk, the kind made by Prince, Slave, the Gap Band, the Dazz Band, etc. Stuff that has fallen through the cracks pretty much and you wouldn’t hear on the radio for the most part, I guess it’s referred to by some people as “boogie music.” If you like any of this, you will likely love the music and mixes of Dam-Funk.

From a LA Times interview:

There’s been a revival of the boogie, post-disco and early electro sound in recent years. What do you think it is about the music that’s allowed it to sustain such longevity?

People just want funky bass lines and synthesizers in their listening experience, with really melodic chords. Over the years, dance-related urban culture got harder, with hip-hop’s influence being predominant, but as time goes around people want to hear interesting chords with the beats.

I was influenced a lot by Slave, Aurra, early Prince, anything on Prelude Records, the stuff that tended to get ignored once hip-hop came in, and crate-diggers started to look for harder, James Brown-type funk breaks. For a long time, the ’80s sound was considered cheesy, and it’s nice to see it regaining credibility. At one time, it was deemed unlistenable. Now with the rise of Daft Punk and Kanye, everyone wants to do it.

Here’s one of his mixes on BBC via Stones Throw and another from Stussy:


J Dilla–Dillanthology Vol. 1 and J Dilla–Jay Stay Paid–New Favorite Music

I had always wondered what the big fuss was about J Dilla. I checked out Donuts at one point, and thought that while some of it was good (songs like Workinonit and Airworks), quite a lot of it was sketchy and uneven, including the handfuls of songs that basically just play some old soul tracks all the way through, not even really chopping them up or anything. However…

However, lucky for me, the powers that be just released two amazing J Dilla compilations, Dillanthology Vol 1 and Jay Stay Paid. Basically, the songs on these albums are like 1000 times better than on Donuts, and I can now see why people list J Dilla as like a top three producer. I think so too, he is now one of my favorite musicians ever.

The songs on Dillanthology Vol 1 and Jay Stay Paid will appeal to fans not just of hip hop but indie rock, electronic music, prog rock, psychadelic rock, etc (he loved the prog rock, psych rock, and moogy analog synth samples). The way he arranges his drums, samples, bass parts, synths, etc is totally creative and musically awesome–you can see what a far-reaching musician J Dilla really is/was, how many great ideas he had, his wide array of influences, how much he cared/how much work he put into his music. Really good stuff.

So, thanks record labels for giving J Dilla these great posthumous releases that give us a wide overview of the best of J Dilla’s vast creative output. They should put a footnote on albums like Donuts saying that they are just leftovers/filler/sketches (should have named it Ruff Draft 2?), and to look first to the real meat of his work on compilations like Dillanthology Vol 1
and Jay Stay Paid. Highly recommended.

J Dilla–Nothing Like This (off of the Ruff Draft album)

Cymbals Eat Guitars–Thank Robert Fripp For the Band Name?


Cymbals Eat Guitars, a new postpunk band of blog note…I wonder if they got their name from watching the video “Bruford and the Beat” where Robert Fripp explains why he made Bill Bruford stop playing cymbals in 80’s era King Crimson…he says something ridiculous like “Those loud symbols keep taking away the accents from my guitar playing!” Oh here it is: “It’s so limiting for me to play with cymbals playing 16s…they’re taking all my accents!”

Which is a load of crock because Bruford’s playing with Yes and earlier King Crimson like the album Red was so much better with cymbals! See his statement here in this video at the 6:07 mark:

Photo credits

Voivod–Infini–New Record Review


Voivod–Infiini, released June 23 in the US (earlier through mail order and in Europe). Basically, here’s what you need to know:

  • Voivod is one of the most divisive bands ever. People tend to either love them, or hate them. A wide range of bands have liked them, including Sonic Youth which professed to liking Dimension Hatross, Dave Pajo of Slint, the guys in Neurosis, Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters, and Jason Newsted of Metallica who joined Voivod after quitting Metallica. Considered by many to be way ahead of their time, and many hail them as fantastic and inventive experimental musicians, fusing things like metal, progressive rock, jazz, and modern classical (like Stravinsky and Bartok) way back in the 1980s before any of the current round of math rock, math metal, indie rock/postpunk, indie prog, prog metal bands, etc.
  • One reviewer of Dimension Hatross wrote “Think Sonic Youth, King Crimson and Slayer, and you’re sort of in the ballpark.” I’d add stuff like Don Caballero and Drive Like Jehu to that description, and of course technical metal such as Necrophagist and Martyr.
  • Their best albums are Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, and Nothingface (these are their most consistent, inventive, and coherent albums). They have other good albums, with great songs, but the ones to start with are definitely Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, and Nothingface.
  • Infini is better than their last two albums, Katorz and their self-titled “Voivod” album. I quite like it and think it is a great return to form. Some non-previous Voivod fans might not like Snake’s vocals, at least at first listen (they’re not quite as metal as on their older stuff), some of the riffs begin a little less metal than on their older stuff (but are more experimental and metal than on their last two albums), and overall there are enough great parts to make this a very solid and welcome album and a great return to form.
  • Jason Newsted plays awesome bass on Infini, moreso than on the other Voivod albums on which he has played bass. On some songs it sounds like Blacky circa Nothingface, that crazy prog bass sound like on King Crimson’s Red, Gentle Giant, the Stranglers, the Jesus Lizard, etc. Awesome!
  • Piggy’s solos circa Dimension Hatross are back! I wonder how he gets that tinny, 80’s thrash metal solo sound? Is it a certain kind of pedal?
  • Away’s drums are more awesome that anything since Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, and Nothingface!
  • Snake’s vocals are still not back to the metal snarling of Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, and Nothingface, but are much better than on the last two albums.

So all in all, there’s great stuff on Infini–such as this crazy solo breakdown on “Destroy after Reading,” etc. If you ever liked Voivod, you may quite appreciate this. If you never liked Voivod, who knows. You may like it, you may hate it.

This is sadly the last Voivod album with all Piggy guitars. I hope Voivod makes new albums with Dan Mongrain Dan Mongrain from Martyr, who plays with them live. BTW, both Voivod and Martyr are from Quebec, Canada! Martyr is awesome by the way (see their album Warp Zone), I’m glad that he plays with Voivod…I would totally look forward to Voivod continuing to make albums with Dan on guitar!!!

BTW I think someone should make a jazz/lounge cover album of Voivod songs with jazz/lounge singing (can you imagine a jazz/lounge singer singing Voivod lyrics like “Use the killing technology, how can I destroy the enemy”?)!

Voivod–Tribal Convictions

Voivod–The Unknown Knows

Martyr–Carpe Diem

Martyr–The Fortune Teller

Dave Pajo of Slint wearing a Voivod shirt at All Tomorrow’s Parties

New Metro Area Album in 2009/2010?

Metro Area–touches of classic disco and italo/prog-disco, classic 808 State (Utd State 90 era), some of the backing music from Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Mr. Fingers, and Daft Punk (without vocals mostly)–they’re great, but the problem is, they had like one album in the 90s and that’s pretty much it. From their Twitter account (Environ Records): “metro area back in the lab, breaking for the weekend. 6:33 PM Apr 17th from web ” Now, I can only hope that means a new album in 2009/2010!

Metro Area–Soft Hoop

Metro Area–Strut

Metro Area–Miura

Photo credits