Ever since I heard Debruit’s ‘Nigeria What?’ (Civil Music, 2010) on the Chorizo show, SubFM, I knew the track had to be used, somehow. So here we go, mixed with another African-related piece (although more subdued in comparison) by Madlib, combined with some slightly chopped up prized samples, et voila:
I’ve included an extract from a recording I made during an interview with Lukes Morgan of the Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage. Oh, and I couldn’t resist an old favourite:
So, I’m starting to get used to the humidity of Taipei. Local badboi DJs Shorty and Allen Blow of Useless Brotherhood have been showing me all the music spots in preparation for my time here.
The other night, I went to Shorty’s ‘Play Party Music’ gig at Village Café. The idea of PPM is to get kids into DJ’ing and production. It seems here in Taiwan, the best way to attract people to the more underground sounds is to bill it as ‘Party music’, then hit them with the good stuff once they’re through the door.
Above: Play Party Music poster
The event had to finish early because the majority of the punters were prospective/current students from the local university (in addition to the fact that the club was set within an artist’s village, painters and the like living in flats above the hall, so most adult-orientated events must finish before 1 or 2am).
Teacher Shorty played at 9:30pm, following the handing out of raffle prizes (this included VIP passes to the ever-popular shit music venue ‘Roxy’* and even worse, ‘Wax’ where they play 90s RnB / hip hop one hit wonders I thought had been long forgotten, a Roots Manuva “Awfully Deep” CD and a pair of Tank headphones). I don’t think I’ve experienced such explicit and beautiful use of mixing between styles, a real eye-opener. I’m not a huge fan of scratching/turntablism, but this was something different - it was for subtle, well balanced tonal effect and transition from one genre to another, not just exhibitionism and blatant technical prowess. Pure vinyl for an hour. Really very inspirational.
Above: DJ Shorty shows them how it’s done.
Today, Shorty and Allen took me to a record shop in the heart of Shida Night Market. We were going to go to a Techno store a couple of stops away on the MRT Metro in the trendy shopping district Ximending, but since there was a typhoon recently, rain dampened the mood and the visit was postponed to a later date.
Above: The bustling Shida Night Market
‘Waiting Room’ is located in a mid-rise flat in the quieter of the Shida market lanes, basically in someone’s lounge. I really didn’t really know what to expect, since the DJs here have told me on a number of occasions that there is a distinct lack of places to purchase decent music (if you’re looking for 7” records, forget it - the look of amazement on their eyes when I visited in May with my 7” boxes says it all).
So I stepped in, and the first thing I saw across the room was an LP of Madvillainy (Shorty bought two copies just so he could beat juggle - now that’s dedication!!), then the limited silkscreen 3LP pressing of Madlib’s Medicine Show #9 (Nittyville), followed by the Stones Throw ‘Smoked Out’ tshirts. The list of quality stuff goes on. The guys in charge apparently import a lot of their goods from Chemical Records and sell it on. Very cool.
Above: DJ Allen Blow (left) and roadie Very Boring (centre) perusing ‘Waiting Room’
Mayer Hawthorne seemed to be a popular subject of discussion amongst the guys. Personally, the only tune I dig of his is ‘I Need You’, but that’s the instrumental, which doesn’t say much for his vocals. But that’s just me, never was a huge soul/funk fan.
We also chatted about: whether I liked Little Britain / our love of George A. Romero / how they’d had the Operation Doomsday tin but sold out (no surprises there!) / Refused and related hardcore (their CD section is an A-Z specialising in Punk, both Taiwanese and Western groups such as International Noise Conspiracy; just down the road is Underworld;
“A tiny haven for indie/alt music since 1996. Weekly live shows. Outrageous parties. Eclectic resident djs. True spirit of rock & youth culture.”)
Refused - New Noise
Taiwanese folk are really welcoming, friendly people. A far cry from the coldness (literal and metaphorical) of London.
Above: Shorty, transfixed by the ‘Stones Throw direct to Disc #1’ Limited Edition release.
I thought the DVD of the 1936 American propaganda exploitation movie Reefer Madness (below) was a bizarre but intriguing item:
More to follow on my adventures… Next stop, the superclubs/exclusive joints.
*Roxy Rocker, however, is really good - it’s a club based around rock music (but with a selection of many other styles) contains two rooms each with a DJ, one with shelf upon shelf of CD’s in alphabetical order, the other with literally 1000s of vinyls of many decades passed, not ordered. Although you are politely reminded that the selector is “not a jukebox” they are more than happy for you to hand them tunes you find. I was a little bit scared by a drunk Canadian jumping around the room to Led Zeppelin trying to chat shit to my friends, but that’s the expat community in a nutshell (certainly the one’s who’ve been here for a while anyway). For me, it’s really good to rediscover all that rock music I was very much into as a teenager, before I got into reggae and urban dance music. Moshing, red dax and Deftones grlz. U dun kno, Ornine! Oh, and Tom Green.
This post, believe it or not, doesn’t stem from any bitterness or anger (although possibly on a subconscious level), neither is it because I have just been cheated on. It just so happens that I’ve been listening to a series of banging tunes that all give reference to infidelity. Don’t worry – this is not in any way a self-righteous, self-pitying rant!
In case you were wondering what had happened to all the roots reggae material, I offer you this. ‘Cheating’ by Earl 16 has some of the most beautiful, soothing and frank vocals I think I’ve ever heard. Combined with the intense percussive crashing and banging of the Upsetters (Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s house band), this track is one of those tunes that seem to work perfectly late at night when you’re in a reflective mood; meditation music..
(I got it on 7” recently, hence the pops n cracks!)
The version is a component piece, stripped bare, screws and all exposed. Starting with everything cutting out except for the vocals and Wurlitzer/Hammond Organ, the percussion creeps in part by part, the piano also stepping in with additional guitar chords. With this method, you can really get a sense of the tune’s structure, especially when big drum rolls are wacked in with prominence (01:25 being one).
Putting in Sami Jo (a 70’s American country singer) is a bit bizarre I agree, and I have to admit, this recording is not the exact same one sampled in Madlib’s production on MED’s ‘Cheaters’. BUT, the melodic shapes Sami creates especially towards the end of phrases such as ‘..wants another man’s woman’ and ever so slightly delaying select words are perfect. For once, I’m really glad I got the wrong record!
If anyone, however, does know who Madlib samples (it’s not the Dee Dee Bridgewater, that’s too jazzy) hit me up!
‘Cheaters’ by MED (short for Medaphor, he’s Madlib’s homeboy) has gota be one of the finest examples of soulful mixed with raw no bullshit hip hop. I could honestly listen to this on repeat for hours.
The first word ‘Eh!’ grabs your attention, his spitting sits nicely above the synths and sampling. Granted, the lyrics are crude: ‘She loves my swagger, love[s] the way I throw the dick at her’ (out to Flobare for decoding this, I’m lyrically retarded) but man, come on, this is hip hop not Puccini!!
Taken from ‘Low Budget Hi-Fi’ (2011)
Buy it, it’s such a strong release, as with the whole Medicine Show collection in fact. You may be too late (unless of course you fancy forking out an extra 40-odd quid) for the limited edition vinylwhich comes complete with Hennessy-infused paintfor the silk screen print on the front cover (I personally couldn’t smell it), but you just have to cop it - standard CD or LP or whatever you can get your hands on, cos there is some simply magical stuff hidden in this album. Golden nuggets.
That said, it’s a little bit frustrating sometimes because he’ll be on an absolute roll with a blinding beat and then it fades out or suddenly cuts to a totally new, unrelated tempo - you just wish he’d keep it going for a decent amount of time, like at least 2 or 3 mins. I’m greedy.
This is Madlib, you gota be grateful for what you receive.
The format is very similar to all the other odd numbered collections in the series (even numbers are mixes, the rest such as this are DJ-friendly, whole tracks unmixed and mostly instrumentals), crossing so many genres and styles with such ease.
You have plenty of soulful infused beats, groovy and funky (which I generally avoid), straight unadulterated raw hip hop, trippy moments with sharp cuts of comical Blaxploitationsamples and jazz deviations (if you’re into that kind of thing, check out Medicine Show #7 ‘High Jazz’).
This short article gives an amazing insight into Madlib’s creative process. It’s not just about jackin’ beats..