Friday, October 27, 2006

The Bridge is over

Now that Mobb Deep, Queensbridge’s second most famous rap sons (well, apparently the new Nas record is on form, apologies to MC Shan) are past the point of no return for those of us underwhelmed by their new sponsors G-Unit, it’s perfect timing for a retrospective. Hence, November sees the release of “Life Of The Infamous: The Best Of Mobb Deep”, which gets by surprisingly well despite only drawing three tracks from their classic ’95 LP, “The Infamous”.

Selected by Prodigy and Havoc themselves, the remainder of the tracklist peaks with Prodigy’s solo release “Keep It Thoro” and Mobb singles like “The Learning”, “Hell On Earth” and “Get It Twisted”. Bad luck, then, that commercial offerings like the Lil’ Kim hook-up, ”Quiet Storm”, and Lil’ Jon featuring “Real Gangstarz” are the tracks on which they’ve been judged by most. Its Havoc’s own brand of gothic, stripped-back, skeletal hip hop that best suits Prodigy’s frequently inspired verses and when they’re in that zone it’s a murky but exhilarating place.

If “The Infamous” proves too dense and dark, this could be your chance to figure out an act who, at their best, match the heights graced by the Wu-Tang and Nas during New York’s golden age. Otherwise, sit tight for the long-delayed return of Virginia’s Clipse – probably as close as you're going to get to Mobb Deep in their prime these days.

“Life Of The Infamous: The Best Of Mobb Deep” is released on November 20th.

Monday, October 23, 2006

TUNETOURIST podcast 08

Existing solely on a diet of remixes this week, Tunetourist takes to the cyberwaves armed with bangers from Trentemoller, Four Tet, Simian Mobile Disco, Justice and our other favourite knob-tweakers of 2006.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

TUNETOURIST podcast 07

This week, your intrepid music explorers take a bite out of the big red shiny sonic apple that is New York City. The Walkmen, Yo La Tengo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and TV On The Radio come armed with guitars, whilst Tanya Morgan and Eric B and Rakim bring the beats and attitude.

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See, this is a blog of its word... (excepting that Gamelan post).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back from the Dead

The return of A Guy Called Gerald on form that he’s not seen since his pioneering drum’n’bass excursions on “Black Secret Technology” says a lot about the current health of electronic music. Since writing off dance music became a tiresome journalistic cliché, the evidence to the contrary has been getting stronger and stronger. It peaked with the emergence of a European dance scene which the rearguard of UK clubbing - the ones whose lazy hedonism prompted rumours of dance’s bloated corpse in the first place – have this year felt compelled to dismiss as a flash in the pan.

Looking back, it’s been a tough landscape for the innovators over the years, especially those like Gerald Simpson, who were there at the outset of Acid House. Since that creative flash point in British youth culture, the ever-increasing demand for 24-7 party soundtracks and burgeoning cult of DJ celebrity have dictated that they either disappear underground or adapt. A tough call for an artist who’s known the heady thrill of underground music rudely gate crashing the TOTP party (albeit without actually having the dubious pleasure of making that appearance himself when 808 State mimed their way through the Gerald-penned classic, "Pacific State"). Check the clip - the instrument being played by Graham Massey appears to be the exhaust off an old Mini Metro:

Now that the lines have finally been drawn more clearly between the dance factions, the likes of Gerald can re-emerge with a bag full of new ideas. Its almost as if a certain strain of the music has picked up where it left off, as if time stood still from the early 90s for these people until now.

Gerald is resident in Berlin now, of course, where some of those basslines and stripped down dancefloor dynamics hark right back to Detroit and Sheffield. A time before Friday night went wrong on Radio One.

A Guy Called Gerald's "Proto Acid: Berlin Sessions" is out now on Baked Goods

Beck to the Future

Just when we suspected that the old master of reinvention and cultural cut n' paste Beck had finally slipped onto autopilot, he comes out with "The Information". This is an album that's divided opinion right down the middle: muted and over-mature complain the nay-sayers; an endlessly engaging bricolage of pop music history condensed into a concept album on the theme of information overload, argues the defence.

You imagine Beck's quite happy to have polarised opinion so neatly. It's certainly a demanding record to get into, lacking the immediacy of "Odelay" and "Midnite Vultures" and yet, despite being produced by Nigel Godrich, it doesn't stick within the downbeat psych-folk territory of his previous Beck productions, "Mutations" and "Sea Change". Instead, it cleverly pulls together the two disparate threads that seem to have been running through this most idiosyncratic career - those big budget album conceits and the low budget folk that has plugged the gaps between them.

Whilst the record excels when both producer and artist are in territory that they’ve mined brilliantly in the past, even the Beck-by-numbers tracks like “Think I’m In Love” reward repeated listens. On “1000 BPM” and “Motorcade” Godrich turns digital tricks worthy of Berlin’s electronic vanguard, sounds that wouldn’t crop up on a record produced by "Odelay" mainbrains, the Dust Brothers. And the Eno-esque “Movie Theme” only reinforces the suspicion that this pairing is as close to the Bowie-Eno axis as we’re likely to hear this year.

The usual magpie references to the pop canon – the Stones, Herbie Hancock, even the LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” suggested on “Inside Out” - are lovingly applied. But this time Beck’s painting on a grander scale; conceptualizing the record around the information overload that’s robbed his past achievements of the context in which they once seemed so radical. When every kid’s computer is a sampler and every broadband connection a pop cultural library of possibility, the old tricks aren’t enough. So, he’s turned his gaze back on himself and created a record that brilliantly summarises and even critiques his own achievements.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Podcast Playlists

Apologies for the delay in posting the lastest installement of the Tunetourist podcast - we'll hit you with it towards the end of next week, promise. Meantimes, here are the tracklistings for all the shows to date in order:


William - Five Minute Wonder
Eleventh Dream Day - Dissolution
Luke Toms - Fools With Money
His Name Is Alive - I Thought I Saw
Shy Child - Technicrats
Midlake - Young Bride


New Young Pony Club - Get Lucky
Minimum Chips - Know You Too Well
Early Man - Four Walls
Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan - Tennesse Bird Walk
Zombi - Digitalis
Gorilla Angreb - Bedre Tider
The Sleepy Jackson - God Lead Your Soul


Copy - Plagiarhythm
AZ - The Come Up
Bitty McLean - Baby Tonight
Sunny Day Sets Fire - Brainless
Vetiver - I Know No Pardon
J Dilla - Time: The Donut Of The Heart
Edan - Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme


Brad Meldau - Knives Out
Ammoncontact - Elevation
Aceyalone - Disconnected
Sa-Ra - Timeless Continuum
D5 - Sides Of Space
Trilok Gurtu & The Frikyiwa Family - Mil-Jul
Thom Yorke - The Eraser


Villalobos - What You Say... (Isolee Remix)
The Little Ones - Cha Cha Cha
Masta Killa - It Is What It Is
Jeremy Warmsley - I Promise
Triosk - Visions IV
Devendrita Y Las Cachapas Peludas - Nina De Pelo Largo Nadando
DJ Khaled - Holla At Me
Sufjan Stevens - Adlai Stevenson
Jetone - Sufraise ii (Restructured by Alex Under)

Spank Rock - Rick Rubin
Os Brazoes - Carolina, Carol Bela
Dudley Perkins - That's The Way Its Gonna Be
Richie Spice - Dem Leaders
We Start Fires - Hot Metal
Klaxons - Atlantis To Interzone
Nathan Fake - Charlie's House