Brainfeeder at the Bowl: A roundtable discussion with George Clinton, Flying Lotus and Thundercat – LA Times

Mikael Wood talks with George Clinton, Flying Lotus and Thundercat — funk visionaries from different generations — ahead of their joint Sept. 17 concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Source: Brainfeeder at the Bowl: A roundtable discussion with George Clinton, Flying Lotus and Thundercat – LA Times

Perhaps telling of my taste or opinion of the contemporary music landscape, but this meeting of minds is the thing I’m genuinely most excited about in 2017. Not only are FlyLo and Thundercat relative vanguards of trans-genre impressionistic creative output, but they are carrying on the legacy under the guidance of one of the people who laid the gauntlet down in the first place – which once again singles out GC as a visionary.

Props where props are due! Keeping it locked for the new album.

RIP Prince, 1958 – 2016 *UPDATED LINK*

I really can’t believe it. I think I’m still fully in denial. It hasn’t registered.

I’m not gonna say much, as I haven’t had time to process this info yet, but as you probably know, Prince is probably my biggest influence and musical hero.

The only thing I thought I could do at the moment was share my favourite bootleg, as a testament to the man’s greatness – “Livesexy ’88 Uncut”, taken from the Japanese TV broadcast streamed live at the Westfallenhallen in Dortmund, West Germany 09/09/88.

I uploaded it in 5 parts off the DVD – these things are out there if you really want to look for them, no clues! – and it was watched thoudsands times over 8 months by many people (some heartbroken fam, some of the unconverted or the curious), until I got a takedown notice from NPG Music Publishing at the start of December. Now, normally if the artist in question is no longer with us, I don’t feel as much guilt about acquiring their music without compensating them for it. However, in Prince’s case I think he was so protective over how his music was received by the public, and against the distribution of unreleased material (it was unreleased for a reason I guess!) so I don’t feel so bad, and I took the vids off YouTube.

On deeper reflection on this issue, I’m actually kinda irritated by the NPG takedown notice. NPG Music Publishing was P’s own publishing company, and now he’s gone the trust in charge of his estate is cracking down on the explosion of bootlegged content that surfaced online after His Royal Badness’ untimely demise. Now, I know that one of the main bugbears P had about boots was that someone was cashing in on his unreleased work, but he was quoted as saying that if they don’t make any money and are sharing out of love, then it’s cool. So now the estate are trying to squeeze his ‘assets’ for every penny they can get out of it, I have mixed feelings about it. Unless they release the boots officially (or it’s to generate capital so they can better preserve the man’s legacy) then they should just let the stuff go I reckon.

Anyway, instead, here’s a link to a fantastic little profile made around the same time, directed by Albert Magnoli (Purple Rain). It features a whole heap of admiring luminaries (Miles, George Clinton, Clapton, Little Richard, Q… even Randy Newman!) giving their impression of why Prince is so awesome. Dig it.

Saw him 3 times, the best gigs I’ve ever seen. Never got to meet him, so maybe that’s best – he’ll be remembered the was he always intended, through his work.

My friend Kirk messaged me and reminded me of something. He said “HEY REMEMBER, the time you lost your (Prince symbol) necklace (that I got at the O2 gig in 2007, my first), and it really bugged you?

“we all lost today.”

RIP Prince.



Six Neglected Drummers Who Deserve Recognition | BBC Culture Online

Though singers and lead guitarists are celebrated by the hundreds in rock annals, drummers are often turned into punch lines

– read the full article @ bbc.com/culture

Stumbled across this piece by Auntie Beeb (or more accurately, BBC journo Greg Knot) celebrating the much maligned backline-beats laid out by drummers. And rightly so!

Despite the fact that this article fails to even mention the pure slice of uncut Funk that is session legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (the ‘Hitmaker’, or ‘The World’s Most Recorded Drummer’ – his groove is impeccable, as demonstrated in one of my favourite videos of all time), this article does go some way in helping the reader think with their feet and give the drummer some well-deserved props – as well as demonstrate some nice little rhythmic chops for your listening pleasure.

Do It All Night – The Story of Prince’s Dirty Mind | Pitchfork

“When I brought it to the record company, it shocked a lot of people,” Prince told Rolling Stone of Dirty Mind. “But they didn’t ask me to go back and change anything, and I’m real grateful. Anyway, I wasn’t being deliberately provocative. I was being deliberately me.” 

via Pitchfork – click here for the full article

Even if you know the stories, have heard the album, know about His Royal Badness’ bitter history with the “King of Punk Funk” Rick James (bitch) and dig the context, this great Pitchfork article from their next ‘review’ issue is still a great and insightful read. A lot of people who don’t know much about Prince always peg him as a power-balladeering short guy – who might be gay. Which is hugely selling short the notion of a black artist coming out of (traditionally in the mainstream) white Minneapolis, blending R&B, Rock n’ Roll, New Wave and (Post?) Punk into a truly crossover music, with a mixed-race, mixed-gender band and a deliberately ambiguous omni-sexual image with religious overtones in the lyrics? In the early ’80s?!

Read the article. 😀

Gilles Peterson: Roy Ayers 75th Birthday Mix | Gilles Peterson Worldwide


Roy Ayers! What a legend. One of my biggest musical influences, widely known as “The Godfather of Neo-Soul” and purveyor of the Jazz-Funk – the man has many a mighty fine groove in his array.

Still going and with a sharp sense of humour at the grand old age of 75, the encyclopaedicly-minded crate-digger king that is Gilles Peterson has honoured this milestone with a mix of the lesser-known numbers from Roy’s back-catalogue (the banger that is Chigago isn’t in there, but Gilles knows his onions so I ain’t complaining 😀 ). Get yourself acquainted. You’ll find the full tracklist on Gilles’ page by clicking here.

If you’re digging on this, I did my own minimix for the Allstar Sonics Soundslikehoney music blog the last time Roy was in London. You can find the mix if you click here.

 

 

Prince – Joshua Welton interview | Cuepoint | Medium.com

Could it be that the master notorious for controlling every part of the mix and playing every instrument, the genius musician who, in a 30+ year career, has only been heard on a song he didn’t produce completely himself three, maybe four times now has a creative partner?

via Cuepoint | Medium – click here for the full article.

It’s a really interesting article – an anything that gives some insight into the method behind the man is relative gold-dust. However…

One of the things I love about Prince is his auteur approach – despite being criticised by Quincy Jones for it – the fact that he writes the lyrics, conceives all the parts, plays everything, and produces the record (short of engineering the mix) is mind-blowingly impressive, especially considering his output, and a big influence on me as a veritable one-man-band. Even when being influenced by Wendy & Lisa during the Revolution years, farming out orchestral arrangements to Clare Fischer and crediting Alan Leeds, Atlanta Bliss and Michael B Nelson for additional horns (apparently he’d usually pitch them parts on keyboards), all the extra musicians acted as a conduit for Prince’s pre-existing creative ideas.

But now, after a few years of records with tracks that seem a bit like ‘writing on auto-pilot’, it seems like he’s either taking a break from 38 years of artistic outpouring and jumping on ideas laid out for him in a production-line fashion (this has been the other way round in the past, most notably with songs like Strange Relationship and infamously with Kiss), or he’s run out of ideas – which would be a tragedy, but perhaps for most other people not unreasonable. It’s been mentioned in the past as saying the contents of ‘The Vault’ are for him to retire on.

Prince has a history of ‘mentoring’ various artists from Vanity 6 to Sheila E to Sheena Easton to Carmen Electra to Lianne La Havas (for better or worse) and perhaps taking young Joshua under his wing is another example of this. There’s also another possibility that taking on a new creative partner who’s more in touch with contemporary trends in music is an attempt to reach a new audience, as seemed to be prevalent with absorbing Doug E. Fresh and Tony M. into the NPG to give the sound a Hip-Hop flavour in the ’90s.

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to grab my own copy of HITNRUN: PHASE ONE yet, but from what I’ve heard of it, and the Art Official Age record from last year, whilst some of the tracks do have some stank on them they don’t really sound as vibrant and (pretention alert!) expansive as some of His Royal Badness’ previous output even in the last 10 years – though they do seems to have a new energy to them, which could be attributed to Welton. From reading the nature of the collaorative approach in the article, this seems to make sense.

The Jury’s out – I’ll have to listen to more work from the duo to make my mind up.

*UPDATED* Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

Political activist, rap pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron shaped the sound of today. His friends and famous fans on why he still matters

Source: Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

*UPDATE* – My anecdote about the time I saw Gil at the Royal Festival Hall (and the Tel Aviv situation) has been clarified by performance-poet and musician Abdul Malik Al-Nasir, who had a close relationship with Gil and toured with him. See the comment below.

Thanks Malik!

This article is off the back of a tribute concert that’s happening in Liverpool tonight. I wish I could go, the line-up looks great.

Gil is probably one of my biggest influences. I was lucky enough to see him at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank when he was touring for the I’m New Here record. I remember there were some pro-Palestine people protesting outside, as he was billed as playing a gig in Israel later on in the tour and this was seen as a hypocrisy off the back of Gil campaigning against apartheid South Africa. One of the protesters came into the gig halfway through and started shouting at him. Gil didn’t break a sweat. “How would you like it if I came up to you and started shouting at you when you were doing your job?!” he quipped. At the end of the concert, he said that they would cancel the Tel Aviv gig.

A man of principles, a musical legend. Funny, too.

Here’s one of my picks. When I found out he died, I went and got a copy of this record.