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.



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. 😀

Prince drops new single “FREE URSELF” exclusively on Tidal | OkayPlayer

…perhaps this is Prince telling me and the world to, in fact, free ourselves from the streaming bubbles we’ve been confined to.

via OkayPlayer: www.okayplayer.com/news/prince-free-urself-mp3.html

tidal.com/track/51844380 – 30 sec clip for non-subscribers


It increasingly seems that His Royal Badness has staked his claim to the next generation of online music distribution, releasing this new track exclusively on Tidal after limiting his past Warners catalogue and some relatively rare NPGMusicClub releases to Jay-Z’s service. Whether this is a shrewd move – from the man who helped pioneer online music during it’s relative infancy – is moot. Personally, for someone who previously declared the internet “over” it seems to sit somewhere between putting all is eggs in one basket and a transparent attempt to keep up with the latest trend in an attempt to reach a wider audience – but then Prince is the kind of person with the longevity and the kudos to pretty much get away with anything, even in a musical sense.

As for the track? I managed to find my own copy outside of Tidal (shh!) and it stands up pretty well – more old-skool Prince in pop mode with a real Funky tag, less by-numbers than a lot of his recent stuff, including what I’ve heard from HITNRUN PHASE ONE that I’ve managed to hear without subscribing to the service (I’ll surely buy a physical copy when I have enough pocket-money 😀 ). I actually really like it!

Just as a side note, you can find my own stuff on Tidal here, soon including the Strange People EP. Dig if you will, and if you want to support direct, grab a copy on Bandcamp.

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.

Prince – Stare | New Song on Spofity?


I thought Prince took all his music off Spotify recently? He said something about labels…

pay[ing] themselves twice while reducing what is owed to artists from pennies on the dollar to fractions of pennies on the dollar.

Seems like another double-bluff from the Prince Promo Playbook. I’m a little disappointed about this, as I feel that streaming services majorly  undervalue music (as I touched on in this post), and the CEOs and shareholders are profiting on content they don’t own through advertising.

Regardless of this, the track in question is ‘sho nuff Funky! Horns and eva’thang – not to mention a cheeky self-reference that made me laugh out loud! If this is the only way to listen to the song atm then it’s pretty smart marketing, as Prince is known for. I’m atcually looking forward to the new record – this is shaping up to be one of his best in recent years.

Whilst you’re there you could always check out my music – but I’d much rather you bought a copy from Bandcamp! I’d very much appreciate it. 😀

The Money Song – Stand Up & Be Recognised! (Pt. 2) – Out NOW! – FREE DOWNLOAD!

Today is apparently the last day that music in the UK will be released on a Monday. Additionally, the people of Greece voted yesterday against further IMF imposed austerity by a margin of 61% against.

To mark both these occasions – though obviously Greece is a much more pertinent event – I’m announcing the release of a fresh jam – part 2 of the Stand Up & Be Recognised! EP, here’s “The Money Song”!


 

Written after the banks broke in 2008, it’s an issue I feel strongly about and an attitude that angers me even more in today’s political climate.

You can grab a FREE COPY from Bandcamp – either as Pt. 2 on its own, or as a bonus track if you buy Pts. 1 & 2.

Share if you dig it! It’s a #SocialistParty, y’all!

Prince – Baltimore (feat. Eryn Allen Kane) | New song for the Riots Benefit


Yesterday, I posted about the benefit His Royal Badness was hosting in Baltimore in tribute of the injustice suffered by the community over there, an mentioned the impending release of a new tune to mark the occasion. Here’s the song.

I have to say, even this is Prince on auto-pilot as he does these days (apparently, the track was written, performed and recorded in a burst of inspiration when he was alone in Paisley Park’s Studio A, and everything was transferred to Studio B the next day and mixed down), this track is pretty special. He manages to capture the weight of the situation whilst still keeping it nice and breezy. Really nice, uplifting track.

Of course, my heart goes out to the losses people have suffered. The Struggle Continues.