Filed under: Breaks
Sly & The Family Stone – ‘Sing A Simple Song’
taken from Stand! (Epic, 1969)
OK, you’re gonna have to bear with me a little here party people because getting back into this blogging game after three weeks or so off ain’t easy. What always strikes me during my holiday periods away from screaming children and mounds of paperwork is that despite having all the opportunity in the world to do all the things I want to do, the vast time I have in which to do them often means that they don’t get done very swiftly, if at all. Ultimately, I need to be squeezing things into my daily routine to actually get anywhere with them, otherwise the potential to simply loaf about and do nothing often takes a hold. Anyways, I’m back to work next week so there’s no doubt that my game will be back on big style, as avoiding the work that I’m actually meant to be doing is one of my most finely-honed personality traits. Just don’t tell my boss. She’s a little bit scary.
I’ve been toying with the idea of another series of posts for a while now, and the light bulb above my head beamed brightly when I stumbled across Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand! whilst doing the digital rounds in France. For the readers amongst you who have even a passing familiarity with prominent drum breaks then the discovery of ‘Sing A Simple Song’ will seem like a complete no-brainer, but it’s new to me (as is the vast majority of material that features in beat deconstructions and the like around these parts) so I felt it was worth sharing. It also seems like a decent jumping-off point into other drum breaks that although widely-used, don’t seem to have quite the same legendary status as ‘Blind Alley’, ‘Impeach The President’ and the like. Hence, a series of posts is born: sometimes this game comes easy.
Check in at the 2.11 mark for the point at which the break begins and you’ll be on instantly familiar ground. What I really like about the way that these drums get flipped is that they often include remnants of some of the horn stabs which provides a layer of intricacy to the beat in which they have been employed. For proof of the importance of this particular combination of snares, kicks and hi-hats then check everybody’s favourite resourcefor a generous overview of its usage, although I have little doubt that this probably covers less than half of the instances in which they can actually be found. Keep your ears to the ground speakers people…
Filed under: Miscellaneous
So in internet terms this tribute to the musical genius that was Isaac Hayes comes late, but I can’t let this very sad event pass without mentioning it in some way here at FDB. I’m a relative latecomer to Hayes’ work, having only really delved into his back catalogue within the last year or so, but during this period I have fallen in love with his sumptuous arrangements and am pleased that I still have treats to uncover in the future.
I doubt it’s possible that you could have avoided the various tributes that almost immediately surfaced on the net, but just in case you missed O-Dub’s, Flood’s or Sach’s, go check them out now. I’m in the south of France at the moment so don’t have full access to all of my Hayes’ material, but given that the utterly fantastic ‘The Feeling Keeps On Coming’ is sitting on my hard drive I’m throwing it up as a tribute to one of the most iconic figures in Black popular culture that this world is ever likely to see. Rest in peace big man: you’ll be sorely missed.
Filed under: Producers
K-Def – ‘The Program’ ft. Dacapo
taken from Willie Boo Boo: The Fool (Ghetto Man Beats, 2008)
I was lucky enough to cop K-Def’s fantastic beat tape Willie Boo Boo: The Fool upon its initial release before it got pulled from the shelves (real and virtual of course). Thankfully, the album is now available again as a digital download, so if you missed it first time around make sure you don’t miss out this time as it’s now available via iTunes. Just to whet your appetite, check out the above track which has been added to the album featuring Dacapo entitled ‘The Program’. Good stuff.
For those hungry for more K-Def action, you can check him out tonight on the WYNU Radio Show with DJ Eclipse at 11pm Eastern Time. Tune into 89.1 FM, or if you’re not fortunate enough to live in the greatest city in the world (like me), then you can hear the show streamed live here.
It seems hard for me to believe that Damu’s last free EP dropped all the way back in January (the magnificentSpare Time), largely because it’s pretty much stayed in constant rotation ever since and endures as one of my most played releases of the year so far. It’s with excitement then that I present the second installment for the year from someone who I deem to be one of the dopest producers doing it in the contemporary game.
People familiar with Spare Time will recognise some of the material here as it features a number of alternate takes of tracks that appeared on the first free EP, but there’s new material to digest here as well as a couple of videos to check out. I’ve thrown a separate link up for ‘Now Generation’ to give you a taste of what’s on offer, a sharply executed number that features the piano twinkles from Young-Holt Unlimited’s ‘Red Sail’s In The Sunset’ and energetic, rolling percussion. I’m also particularly pleased to see a full length instrumental version of ‘Colorful Storms’ included in the EP as opposed to the shorter edit previously available on Spare Time, as it is a truly beautiful composition that deserves its shine without lyrics as it easily stands on its own two feet for the full duration of the cut.
The words free and bangin’ are rarely bedfellows, but what Damu and Redefinition Records are proving here is that getting on your internet grind needn’t mean that quality suffers. Download, enjoy and be sure to join the mailing list to receive some more goodies later in the month.
Filed under: Miscellaneous
World Renown – ‘How Nice I Am (SID Remix)’ (Instrumental)
taken from How Nice I Am VLS (Warner, 1995)
I guess the whole point of this blog ish in the first place was for me to just share the music that I’m feeling at any particular point in time, so that’s exactly what this post is. I’ve been rocking the instrumental to the S.I.D. remix of World Renown’s ‘How Nice I Am’ hard all weekend, and given that I love the K-Def original so much, this is no small feat. Beautifully crispy drums, upbeat vibe and marvelous use of filters: that ol’ boom bap doesn’t come much purer. My favourite moment is at the 0.36 mark with the change up in the filtered bass, but this really is one of those beats that just carries you along until it ends leaving you wondering where the last four minutes went.
As a brief supplementary observation it also sounds ludicrously similar to something that Dilla and Q-Tip would have produced circa ‘96. The model for The Ummah aesthetic? Perhaps not, but the similarity is quite striking: see what you think.
Filed under: Slice Of Soul
Idris Muhammad – ‘Piece Of Mind’
taken from Power Of Soul (CTI, 1974)
So once again the parameters of genre are subtly bent for this installment of Slice Of Soul, but ‘Piece Of Mind’ is such a great track that quite frankly, I don’t care. The discovery of the wonderful Power Of Soul LP is down to my workmate Greg who is making his way through the CTI back catalogue at the same time as I am, and although I’ve been happy with my pick-ups from Hubert Laws, Deodato and the legendary Bob James, this for me has been one of the most complete and consistently enjoyable releases that I’m yet to hear from the label’s formidable body of work.
What I love, apart from the music of course, about the CTI material is the way in which you can completely geek out on the trivia, given that pretty much all of the musicians played on each others records at one time or another. The chance to explore all of the different connections between artists is fascinating and I find myself quietly smiling to myself as another section of the web is woven as I make my way through the liner notes and notice that so-and-so played this-or-that on whoever else’s record. Unfortunately for me, this isn’t the sort of information that grabs most people, particularly when rammed down their throats by an overly enthusiastic ephemeral psychotic. Ah, my friends love it.
Back to the music. ‘Piece Of Mind’ is a beautiful ten minute composition that features both Grover Washington Jr. and Bob James himself, propelled forward by Muhammad’s wonderfully crisp work on the drums. It’s a brilliant representation of how the musicians working with Creed Taylor during the ’70s managed to dissolve some of the boundaries between jazz and soul, and although the formula falters at stages, this particular track is deftly executed and a joy from start to finish. My favourite moment is at the 0.26 mark when the horns initially drop, but there’s so many layers and moments to unravel here that it’s impossible to isolate individual parts of the groove. Ultimately, this is one of those songs that demands you stop what you’re doing and listen: trust me, the rewards are plentiful.