Friday, January 27, 2012

Datura - Devotion

Datura is a plant, used by the more spiritual cultures as a mind opener for ages before our time. If eaten by today's recreational drug adventurers the toxicity of the plant could kill, but if it doesn't, will almost definitely provide a very heavy, unpleasant and even rather rough trip. A couple of friends of mine ate some datura flowers years ago and then went clubbing. One of them became dead certain that he was back home in his mum's house and spent a vast amount of energy trying to get a whole night club to shut up so they would not wake her. Funny for those there - except him. Moral to the story: don't try it.

Datura are also a pop trance outfit hailing from Italy. They put a lot of effort into some kind of pseudo-Hindu shamenistic identity, trying to be identified as coming from a place closer to Goa than Bologna. But no amount of trippy label artwork, or alignment with a record label called Trance Records, could disguise that these guys were anything except underground trance.
They were hugely successful, though I would consider 95% of their output as rubbish.
Including most of 1993's "Devotion". It came in 6 mixes, most with Billy Ray Martin wailing across them - what mixes you got depended on which imprint you bought.
If you got the 12" LSD014 (trippeeee) from Trance Records, you were in luck and got an instrumental, which is actually quite a good piece of pumping trance. Maybe a bit digital sounding (as compared to organic), but I don't mind. Just as Ramirez only produced one good track (the DJ Ricci mix of "La Musica Tremenda"), the good is almost enough to counter the bad.

If you want to check out the rest of Datura's discography, go to their site here. But the moral to this story is probably not to bother.


B1   Devotion (Jivan Mukta)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mixcloud, Filesonic & Mediafire update

All the mixtapes, live sets, and similar long mixes are available for streaming on my page at Mixcloud here. There is a good chance that there will be stuff there not yet on this blog, so it's worth taking a look if you haven't already. If you 'follow me', you'll also be notified of new posts without having to do anything more.
There is quite a lot of good stuff on Mixcloud, and it's easier to find than on Soundcloud. Strictly speaking, you can't download from Mixcloud, only stream - but if you paste the file link into JDownloader (or other download managers I suppose) it'll grab it for you. Be aware that it will grab all the links (good and bad) and unless you want 6 copies of a file, I'd only selectively download file links. You need to have Java installed on your machine and keep it updated to be able to successfully download from Mixcloud. There are also other download methods, but they involve a bit of work and rely on Google Chrome - see here.

Also, Filesonic seem to have buckled under pressure from the DMCA (or shit themselves after the shut down of Megaupload by the Feds); currently you cannot download others' files from filesonic... nothing I can do about that except re-host on that trusty old faithful, Mediafire. Links will be updated as I can.

Sorry for any inconvenience folks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hey, fool: we're renegades of funk

I've been wanting to post this for a while, but there were delays in translating the rap.

For me and many of my ilk, this is a highlight of our clubbing and raving life - I remember first hearing it fully loaded on a nice fresh red dragon at Kemistri, in early November of 1990. Here I was, quite happily tripping away when suddenly the music stops, some cunt screams "Total Confusion" and the whole room erupts in a blur of electrified stabs and Red Indian whoop-whoops. Not only that but then the rest of the party people started whoop-whooping all around me - I was quite possibly under attack. Total and complete madness ensued. My head was fried. It was good. My head was fried good.

At this point of my raving life I still had not fully committed to techno, lots of my friends were still into the indie bands scene so I wasn't getting along to weekly club nights too often - my only exposure to new tracks was through the occasional mixtape, the radio or a monthly rave. I'm not sure how long the track had been out for, but that night obviously a lot more peeps were familiar with it than me. Anyway, a week or so later someone brought a new mixtape to a little Friday night trip party I was at and this track was on it. We played it all night long. It fried my head again and again, but eventually I learnt some of the rap and was even able to recognise that there was a Public Enemy sample buried inside it too. I got a hold of that record asap. Still have it, but it's a little worse for wear these days.

It is of course an early project of Caspar Pound (still a teenager), Marc Williams & Tony Winter - the hippy, homeboy and funky dredd respectively (I think). I remember reading in NME that they spent most of a day in the studio just perfecting the noisy stabs - heavily effected guitar riffs - but they also created one of the finest breakbeats ever put on wax, started a whooping phenomenon, and found a way to include a classic sample from a classic movie: "What are you, people? On dope? " (the elderly teacher, Mr. Hand, in Fast Times At Ridgemont High). Not to mention sampling Public Enemy's "Radio stations I question their blackness; they call themselves black, but we'll see if they'll play this." from 1987's Bring The Noise. Or "Total Confusion" off of short-lived East Coast hip hoppers Original Concept's only album, 1988's Straight From The Basement Of Kooley High!

"Total Confusion" may be one of Melbourne's first real cross over hits from the underground to the club scene. It was a massive tune; maybe equalled by "Vernon's Wonderland", Marmion's "Schöneberg" or "The Age Of Love" - but I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it was still on weekly rotation in house clubs up to a year later but by then the only people still whoop-whooping along to it were drunk nongs, or people making fun of drunk nongs. Despite all this, it is still regarded as a classic, and will always get a good response at an old skool night (and even still fry an unwary head or two). "Vernon's Wonderland" just doesn't compare.

The boys knew they had made something good before it's release, but it wasn't until they took it down to a local club and watched the room go mental that they realised just how good the tune was. Or how big it would be. Caspar Pound made enough money out of it to start Rising High Records.
Yet for all of this, what makes "Total Confusion" truly great is that it was able to pull off the near impossible - putting a rap into techno. This was real hardcore hip-house, not simple or upbeat, but full-on. Marc Williams' relentless rap is surely one of the best recorded - E V E R - maybe only equalled by some of LL Cool J's early work ("Jack The Ripper" comes to mind), yet it is also an enigma because it was never allowed to dominate the mix. Just another component of the proto-hardcore onslaught, the vocals are often clouded by everything else going on around it; true total confusion.

I always thought I had an ok understanding of the rap, but then I went to write it down for this post last week. There was a lot I couldn't decipher so I looked around on the web and everyone seemed as stuck as me in the same places. Yet I persisted and by a day or so ago, I was pretty certain I had it nailed. Except for a line or two. So I found a thread on, posted what I had there, and straight away a fine chap named 'spaceface' filled in the last bit... but only Marc Williams knows for sure...
I see you on the streets in yer dashing threads
you're taking in the lyrics like you're smoking incense
you're getting high, wondering why you can't fly
ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies
because the days craze and amaze
so I'll rephrase
I can keep on going for days, days, days, days will turn to years
you'll still be here
and if I get half a chance I'll chop off your ear
because I can taste the music
you come over here, you're going to get your arse kicked
into a hearse and put under a stone cold surface
and when I'm finished that I'm going to jam at you suckers
you're astounded
and you're walking around in circles
and it's a big miracle how you're still going
you're slowing
your battery's running low
you try to pull me back but of course I keep towing you
on and on and on that that's wrong
you should be concentrating on rapping your own song
'cause rapping is an art
but there are many rappers
it takes talent
I got plenty of that
plus the fact that I ain't wack jack
you come over here
you know that you're going to get slapped
back to where you come from
it'll be the front door London
I'll take you all on
Because you choose to mess and jest with the roughness,
Manchester in the house said something,
to blow your mind into the atmosphere
c'mon feel the bass 'cause London's here!

Let the music music move straight through your blood stream
and when you feel the vibe you'll know what I mean
by a place that's taken from the heart
and it's prime time to get started
on the beats that really matter
this is not your average chit-chatter
on the microphone
you're all alone
talking away like it's the Twilight Zone, boy
you wanna change that
rearrange that
find a sucker on the streets and play that
because that's played out
and I'm paid in full
so don't talk that bull
Because you choose to mess and jest with the roughness
Manchester in the house said something,
to blow your mind into the atmosphere
c'mon feel the rhythm 'cause London's here!
While Marc Williams did more raps for the HHFD project, none matched the intensity of the first round - maybe he used up all his good lines for Total Confusion? As far as I can tell, it's a bit of a dis rap between Manchester and London, with London being seen as all shiny and shallow, too willing to follow the latest trends. Manchester is the pacesetter. I suppose it did have the Hacienda so there was some truth to the claim, others may disagree.

Apparently the b-side is all the work of Caspar Pound. There's a reverb heavy "Reprise", which is really just 2 minutes of the breakbeat with some effected vox over the top; I think this is where Cosmic Baby and Kid Paul found the break for Energy 52's "State Of Mind". And there's the "Heavenly Mix", an instrumental, less intense but way trancier (that's trance as in good music to fuck you up on acid, not trance as in stupid arpeggiated chords with some slag wailing on about lost love over the top) - it took a while for us to turn the record over to find this mix, but once we did it got as much play in the underground as the vocal mix. Super. The "Heavenly Mix" has a little phrase repeated through it that is a cut up of the first part of the sample "Hey fool, whatcha say - c'mon" that's been used in just about every funky house track ever made and the spoken outro of Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force's "Renegades Of Funk"...

A1   Total Confusion (Confusion Mix)
B1   Total Confusion (Heavenly Mix)
B2   Total Confusion (Reprise)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Note: there are lots of rips of this around, but all that I've found are terrible quality. Here, the b-side is taken from my own 12", but I took the a-side off of a CD compilation. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

dmca are on to me

2 deletions in a week. But the resourceful won't be denied.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jess & Crabbe - Tribute Series Vol.1 (2001)

Kinda mashup in style, but a bit more effort has gone into these than lots of other re-edits of classics. Even so, I'm no fan of the b-sides, which are tributes to The Prodigy and 70s reggae act Aswad.

A-side is great though, solid peak time party stuff. It fuses Kevin Saunderson's acid house remix of "Heat It Up", and Marc Kinchen's "1st Bass" (which also sampled Heat It Up's 'It's like that' chant). For those of you who don't already know, the main melody for "1st Bass" is taken from the 1987 Konami computer game, Metal Gear. Kinchen took just one little sound as a sample, and replayed it as a tune. You can hear the original here, at 26 seconds in or so. Goes to show what a little bit of inspiration can do.
Jess & Crabbe either got hold of an acapella or made their own - I've searched the net and only come up with a little grab of the girls rapping - if anyone knows of the full deal I'd love a copy.

A1   First Bass [tribute to WPGR feat. Kevin Saunderson & Separate Minds]
B1   Can't Tekkit [tribute to Aswad]
B2   Ruff Inna Jungle [tribute to The Prodigy]

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...dmca deleted.

Funny, my first dmca-notice is for a release that is essentially 3 mashups and so a compilation of other people's efforts, not their own. Not only that, but as far as I can tell from Beatport & Juno, this release is no longer available.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A little bit of deep acidic headphuck

From the mind of one of my Chicago house heroes, Keith Shelby, who has numerous pseudonyms but is probably most known as K. Alexi Shelby. Other projects include Club MCM, Risque III, or K. A. Posse (this release). Shelby is a cool cat, he was hanging out with the likes of Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy as a teenager, has been producing quality music since the mid 80s and is still in the biz. And unlike a lot of his contemporaries who claim to be pure as the driven snow, this photo shows he knows why his music works. I'm going to feature Club MCM's "Mind Contol" later, it's another fine example of mind control music.

Ahh, but back to the K.A. Posse and "Stick Music"; 2 mixes of deep driving acidity with some deep driving rhymes laid over top - I assume by K. Alexi himself. Finished with some hauntingly strong strings to make it one of the most essential pieces of acid house to have in your collection.

To understand means a way of life...

"Shake" on the B-side comes in an upbeat piano driven instrumental by Craig Loftis, and a moodier hip-house mix by Joe Smooth. This one features a strong female rap by MCD Tay, but the track itself isn't that much fun, and fun was really all hip-house was about. The A side is definitely the one to check here.

A1   Stick Music (Vol. 1, Part 1) (Mix #1)
A2   Stick Music (Vol. 1, Part 1) (Mix #2)
B1   Shake (Joe Smooth Mix)
B2   Shake (C.S.L. Mix)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Mixtape: Jason DaGroove Live On Air on 3RRR's Rhythmatic, 1990.

An old tape of Davide Carbone's Rhythmatic show on Melbourne's independent radio station 3RRR, sometime in mid 1990 - I think about September, but who knows.

Davide was an early convert to acid house, in the late 80s he and his good mate Steve Robbins were DJing this new sound on Thursday nights at ZuZu's (in Exhibition Street where Bobby McGees now as - along with Prahran's Checkpoint Charlie's it was the best designed club space in the city - both are sadly long gone now). Apart from DJing, Davide was also one of Melbourne's first techno entrepreneurs - he ran a record shop (Rhythm Records) out of the front room of his house, and put on some of the earliest raves - Lunatik Fringe. Later still he formed Future Sound Of Melbourne with Steve and Josh Abrahams, then moved to the UK to become a jungle don. Now he's back in town, running a recording studio and working with the likes of Carl Cox.

If I remember correctly, Davide's Rhythmatic show was on every Wednesday from 10pm-midnight, and it was just about your only chance to hear underground dance music on the radio (no not the station, I mean the whole of the FM dial) for the whole week. We'd look forward to the shows each week, record them and share tapes with our friends - it was pretty much the only way you could hear fresh music without going to a club. Kids these days will never understand how hard it was to hear underground dance music in Melbourne when it first arrived...

This tape is a bit of a choice one, because the whole show features a guest mix by Jason DaGroove (Jason Rudeboy) who at that time was one of the organisers and DJs at Melbourne's greatest underground club night, Maze (Commerce). He'd later go on to start a record shop, Octave Records, with Terry (H2O) Ho and ran Melbourne's longest and most adventurous techno club night, Filter, from 1992 to 2003. Jason was a UK import, and was about to head back home the next day - he would of course be back.

There's a bit of talking and shoutouts - 'got any disco biscuits?' - which will bring it all back for some. Jason also announces a new DJ at Commerce that week, Brother Willy (none other than Will-E-Tell, later Melbourne's first DJ superstar). It's also the first time I heard Mr. Monday's "Future" and there are heaps of other class tunes in the mix too.  The tape quality is okay - back then I never had money for rent, but somehow managed to get good quality blank tapes. Please excuse bad spelling on cover - don't know what I was doing there.

75 minute cassette recording _192kbs MP3 ...mediafire

mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes, mixtapes...

I got a little USB cassette player last year - nothing special, only cost $20 or so - but for some reason couldn't get it to work on my laptop. Well, adjusted some settings over Christmas and it's working. But got quite a few tapes to go through... if only to find the ones worth posting.

So far I've recorded about 10 or so, some by me, some by mates, and the odd DJ superstar too. I've been able to clean the audio up too, but remember some of these tapes have been lying around for nearly two decades so the quality is never going to be excellent. Should at least be hiss free though.

Also have a mighty collection of radio show recordings which will probably only appeal to Melbourne locals from back in the day. Going to post these too, and I won't edit them much. That means you'll be hearing promos for old rave events, interviews and music. Sound quality is likely not to be a highlight.