Big Apple Rappin

What’s in the music playing devices more often than not this week:

Parliament: Rhenium – This is the UK reissue of the first record called “Osmium.” George Clinton independently christened DC “Chocolate City” for an obvious reason. And every time I hear a George production think of that and feel warm and fuzzy inside. Anyways. Typically I am more a Funkadelic fan. There are some Parliament records that shake me, but typically it’s the dirty layered funk that keeps my ass shaking. But this record is RAW RAW RAW. Gritty and dirty. Eddie Hazel is at his best. You can’t beat this time in recorded music. Even just for the production. Nothing really stands out, but as a whole this record is really nicely put together. The slightly distorted organ is a nice touch. I wish more bands would do that now. God forbid an engineer pushes it to the red. Oh shit, I guess you can’t really do that now with everyone and their mother’s Pro-tools setup. Bummer. Ok, I lied, Funky Woman (5.1MB AAC 160kbps 2′ 52) is totally the stand out track for my ears.

Big Apple Rappin: the Early Days of Hip-Hop Culture in New York City 1979-82 – There is some rap and hip-hop that speaks to me, but it’s primarily the early to mid era of it. I think it’s a given, if there is a unsampled trap kit in the song, I’ll like it. There’s something about organic hip-hop that does it for me. Once the 909 enters the picture, it starts loosing it for me. Not all the time, but it actually has more of the potential to loose it. Regardless, this is an awesome comp that should be coming out sometimes in March. I recommend it highly. JT Swann, PeeWee Mel and Barry B’s Are You Read – Sounds a lot like early DC go-go. Mr Q’s DJ Style – great Mike Jackson sample from Off The Wall. The Fly Guys’ Fly Guys Rap – Sounds like the drums I recorded in high school. It’s like 4 track hip-hop. Xanadu’s Sure Shot – Smooth hip-hop. Very 70s sounding. Perhaps Blondie sounding.

Juan Garcia Esquivel: 1968 – Why this record has not been reissued is beyond me. The quintessential Space Age Pop sans Bachelor Pad. I have yet to hear an Esquivel record I don’t like. The arrangements are so weird and kitchy and spaced out. Like the title, it was released in 1968. And did I mention the dynamics of these records? Find me one song on the radio today that has a song that shoots below 80db. And it can’t be turning a fade at the end of the song. It simple doesn’t happen now. Another notable aspect is the subtle use of guitar. I believe it’s a hollow body, but it’s so warm and tonal and panned heavily and feels like it’s right next to my ear. Something perhaps only felt while from a vinyl experience. I rarely notice guitars as being exceptional sounding as there are few players out there that I feel have a distinct tone and style (similar to my views on sax players,) but whoever Esquivel hired for this record was brilliant. Also notable from this time period is “Other Worlds Other Sounds.” – A must have.

William Shatner: The Transformed Man – Recently William put out a record a few years ago that re-reminded people that he made records. This is one of my favorites from before this time. It’s from the 70s. And his cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is absolutely trippy. More trippy than Lennon’s. It’s true. Mr. Tambourine Man and How Insensitive (Insensatez) are absolutely hilarious. The rest is typical Shatner. But a great representation of his best early work. Also to be noted was that Spock or rather Leonard Nimoy also made similar records with a similar vibe. Also to be sought out. Not sure if they have been reissued on CD.

Los Admiradores: Bongos Flutes Guitars – The arrangements are not as typical as most Command Records are. This gem stands out in that the focus is three instruments with minimal accompaniment a la trap kit and double bass and some minimal horns. Like the album title infers this record is mainly focusing on the bongos, the flutes and the guitar. If one could imagine a Command Record done minimal style, this would be it. It’s not even close to what you would call ‘minimal music’ as a genre, but for Command Records it sure is and is becoming one of my favorite from the Command collection. Also to be noted is the record cover artwork. Someday all these records will be rereleased on 180 gram vinyl.

Astrud Gilberto: A Bossa-Nova Collection – The Queen of the Bossa Nova. Rightfully so. She’s pretty well known for the Vinícius de Moraes song she sang called “Girl From Ipanema.” Aside from her sensual and silly smooth voice, the musicians she played with or hired were sickly strong. The Bossa isn’t easy music to play and her bands played it effortlessly. Standout cuts: So Tinha de Ser (strangely the sax is it), Fly Me To The Moon (her slightly-behind-the-beat feel is stellar), Bossa na Praia and Tu Mi Delirio.

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