Posts tagged music

Choose another tag?

 A friend introduced me to this the other day and I haven’t stopped listening to it. You may have heard of The Weeknd but if you haven’t you probably would have sooner or later.

It was late at night, and we may or may not have had a dirty ciggie but we had most definitely knocked back a few glasses of “dirty” Pimms. Ah, the rites of spring. Anyway this friend of mine fancies himself as a bit of a master of the decks and was teaching me the basics of deejaying when he put this on.

The House of Balloons album has been causing quite a stir on the internet. For starters you can download the entire mixtape for free from The Weeknd’s website. Secondly, it seems to be breathing life into the jaded, tired world of r’n’b. Having said that, r’n’b seems too narrow a categorisation although Rhianna would give her right arm for opening track, “High for This”.

Fronted by vocalist Abel Testfaye, The Weeknd pour everything from fellow Canadian, Drake, to Massive Attack, Burial and R kelly into some sort of twisted sonic food processor to come up with a dark, seductive blend of of slow jams and electro. What really marks them out  are their disturbing, drug-infused lyrics. For instance, “High for This” has Testfaye cooing: Hold tight, for this ride/ we don’t need no protection…. open your hand, take a glass, don’t be scared, i’m right here/ even though, you don’t want, trust me girl, you wanna be high for this.

Like I said, dark stuff.

They offer a peek into a nightmarish world of kinky sex, perversion and self-loathing. Not immediately sexy and definitely not one for the kids but Testfaye’s almost angelic lilt is a Trojan horse that you kind of want to let in_

download here>>

http://the-weeknd.com/

 


Circa 1993 there was one album that no fashion show, elegant soirée, discerning music head, chill out lounge from Brighton to Ibiza wouldn’t beg, borrow or steal from — the legendary K&D Sessions by Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister. This double disc “tome” of an album contained remixes of songs by Bone Thugs ‘n” Harmony through to Lamb and it achieved that Holy Grail of music by producing versions that were arguably equal to and that sometimes surpassed the originals. I own two copies, having worn the first one out . They sit next to other 90s gems such as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing and Aim’s Cold Water Music. The K&D Sessions put paid to the idea that trip-hop/ lounge music/ chill out was nothing but muzak for the chi-chi dinner parties of the middle-aged middle class. This was as refined and absolute as music got. Nearly 20 years on and it still sounds as fresh as it did back then.

 

Don’t you just love record shops? Disque Records on Chapel Market in Islington, London (sadly closed down like a hundred other indies.) Browsing the racks and coming across something you’ve always wanted but never got round to buying. Or that rare/ out of circulation album you’d been trying to get your stinky paws on. Or just something unexpected that takes your fancy… Last year I was in a similar store in Italy, similarly now closed, browsing the racks, making a selection as was my tradition whenever I was in that neck of the woods. It was then that I came across this_

 

WHOA!!! If I’d been sitting down I would have fallen off my chair! Knees turned to jelly, mouth dried out, eyelashes flicked overdrive. G-Stone MASTER SERIES No 1: Peter Kruder Private Collection. I’d already mentally reached for my credit card, rushed back to my hotel room and popped this bad boy into my MacBook before even picking up said disc. That unwavering is my trust for the Kruder /Dorfmeister/ Huber ability to deliver first class every time. [Together Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber form TOSCA,  another genius sonic partnership.]

The disc promised to be a selection of tracks that Peter Kruder would play you if you were a guest in his home. I mean, how sexy does that sound? This was going to be an esoteric, eccentric melange of sounds. A treat! And indeed it was. From the opening track, Talk Talk’s The Rainbow, to the vocal masterpiece by Rokia Traore that closes the compilation it was a slightly strange but nevertheless engaging experience. There’s that phrase when a designer shows a collection so directional that it “changes your eye”, as The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn is so fond of saying. Well this album “changes your ear”.

Other than being a wonderful collection of songs that defy easy categorisation, it comes beautifully presented in a box. Each track has its accompanying square postcard with a note about why it was chosen and an image shot by Peter Kruder himself. Jammy bastard, he’s also a great photographer as well_


images by Peter Kruder.

 

 

NEXT UP_

Kruder’s other half, Richard Dorfmeister, fights back with his own selection of music for the second in the G-Stone Master Series. I’ve already seen the playlist on their website. This is GONNA BE GOOD. Opening track, Vladimir Cosma’s Promenade Sentimentale from  the soundtrack to Jean-Jaques Beineix’s 1981 film, Diva, is a Satie-esque riff of dreamy, loopy piano notes. You can read my piece on the film by clicking >> HERE.

The album’s out on the 31st of March and you can download it then on SOUL SEDUCTION or hunt down the disc version. Or both, like I’ll be doing. Absolutely worth every centime, nickel or dime.

 

www.g-stoned.com

 

 



 

There’s that scruffy art school vibe about him. Well, he did study at Goldsmiths in London. He kind of makes that pudding bowl-y haircut work. Not too much hair gel, a little unkempt, a bit overgrown. The crumpled shirts. Nothing particularly unique in the style stakes but its more often than not about attitude rather than just the clothes.

And then  there’s that voice. Soulful, growly and so expressive yet balanced with a delicateness that makes you hang on to every word. His self-titled debut album is one of those rare albums that come along once in a while that don’t leave you feeling short-changed at the end of it. James somehow makes high concept and mainstream work so effortlessly. If you haven’t bought or downloaded the album then you should. You wont regret it. It’s a beautiful listen_

 

 

 

I haven’t done a post on music in ages so I thought I’d share some of the albums that are currently working my B&W P5s overtime!

PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake — The new Kate Bush?

Radiohead’s The King of Limbs — Another great moodpiece.

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s In Dub With Luv — His albums are so bloody rare so I pounced on this when I saw it in Colette.

James Blake — Perfect dreamy electro. Bet this makes it to most of those “Album of the Year” lists.

Dave Aju’ s Open Wide — I just can’t stop listening to First Love. Sexy, deep electro house.

Sandra Bernhard’s Excuses for Bad Behavior, Part 1

— Hard to believe but she’s got quite some pipes on her! Her rendition of You Make Me Feel ( Mighty Real) featured in Isaac Mizrahi’s Unzipped. Amazing cover. Guilty Pleasure? ABSOLUTELY.

 

The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman by SPARKS. (2009)

Prada used “Garbo Sings” as the soundtrack to their Winter womenswear show. Its weird, dramatic and haunting. Bit of a challenging album to listen to so it suits the Prada aesthetic to a T.

 

 

Not that this matters but I might as well finish off the saga_

Vanity 6 was a short-lived affair. Sordid tales of sex and egos resulted in lead singer, Vanity [real name Denise Matthews] leaving the group to pursue a — you guessed it — short-lived solo career. The hits failed to materialise and poor Denise became a born again Christian — I’m not making this up. Fair Denise was replaced by Patricia Kotero – her evil nemesis who went by the stage name Apollonia.

Thus,

Apollonia 6 was born with the subtly titled debut album, Sex Shooter. Once again success eluded the girl group and they disbanded in the mid 80s. You can’t flog a dead horse or,

to paraphrase ” D”‘s, my Parisian girlfriend’s malapropism:

“You can’t F*ck

a dead horse.”

I like her version much better. I guess you could but I’m sure that its an illegal act and, at the very least, not very pleasant. Apollonia was last seen in 1984, scouring the streets of Brooklyn for her skirt…

Actually, I lie. She did a 10 week stint on Falcon Crest, that other 80s gem, appearing as her fully-clothed self.


You better work!


I love it. Just when you thought that there could be no more 80s bands left to discover Sister Fate throws one your way.

I won’t go into details as to how I came across this little gem.

All I’ll say is that The Almighty Prince discovered them.

They only had one album. Bless ’em.

The eponymous Vanity 6.

Love, love, love!

Love the Logo.

These girls were on it. They OWNED it before Tyra Banksese was invented. They could have actually given birth to Lady T.

These girls were doing the Pussy Cat dolls when the dolls were still in diapers or not even born yet.

Well maybe not in the case of

Nicole Scherzinger.

Lord only knows how old that pussy is…

Anyway my top tracks must be Make Up, Nasty Girl and Wet Dream.

Go get it. Its so bad its goooood…

See also The Slits, Marine Girls [You can hear Tracey Thorne before she became part of Everything But The Girl]

the MAN_

Jay-Jay Johanson is one of the most stylish men on the planet. Period. Ever since his debut album, Whiskey (1996) he has sported a perfectly dishevelled shirt on his album covers. Nobody wears a shirt better. I especially like the Grandad shirt he chose for the cover of his new album, Self-Portrait. More on that later. For now, let’s focus on the man himself.

How do you define sex appeal? Is it possible? Some might prefer an immaculately groomed type, not a hair out of place. Personally, I feel that a man is most sexy when he doesn’t really care too much about his looks. A fine line to tread, mind you. The beardy, way-farer urban poet look is quite common these days but it looks so try hard on some. With Mr. Johanson this is a completely natural way of being. Effortless, easy, a little bit crumpled, a little bit unkempt [I love this word] and quite a bit sexy. I wonder if that shirt’s from Cos? The stitching and proportions seem very familiar. Cos do very nice summer shirts by the way. Go with the collarless versions. Or even better, hack off collars that don’t sit right. Just cut along the stand and, VOILA!, a lovely collar-less shirt with edges that fray nicely after a few washes. You can’t skimp on price if you want a well-cut collared shirt. I reccomend Prada, Lanvin or Margiela for one of the those.


the MUSiC_

You know how it is these days; you hear a great track and check out the album. You’re not convinced and so you pick out the OK ones and download them on iTunes or add the album to your Spotify playlist instead – at least you don’t have to pay for it. It’s rare that you find an album where every song is a vital piece to the puzzle, even the weaker tracks. Somehow even those tracks lend a balance to the album. Without them the narrative is incomplete. Perfection can after all be found in the flawless or the imperfect. The type of albums I mean are for instance: Miles Davis Some Kind of Blue, The Blue Nile‘s eponymous debut, Talk Talk‘s Spirit of Eden, Nina Simone At Town Hall... I could go on forever.

Jay-Jay Johanson’s Self-Portrait is one of those beautifully balanced, sensitively composed records. It focusses on MELODY, something that seems to be increasingly absent in music. Each song is delicately crafted and Johanson’s deeply moving, melancholic timbre is cushioned by lonesome piano riffs, haunting drums and elegant strings. It’s at times optimistic, contemplative and heart-wrenching. This is as personal as music gets. Mr. Johanson literally wears his bleeding heart on his perfectly imperfect sleeve. Go listen_

www.jay-jayjohanson.com

Thanks, ‘sis, for alerting me_

Acapella [2010]

OMG! I HEART Kelis. Was kind of thinking where the hell she was, the other day. Well, prayers answered, box ticked. Her new video is out on YouTube. After Beyonce and Lady Sodding Gaga’s load of codswallop its great that La Kelis has returned to stake her hold on that much fought after crown. The song’s a grower. A leftfield, trancy uptempo/ slow tempo track produced by the proverbial Will.i.am. Clever. Hints of Donna Summer and Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free.” Catchy. Soundtrack to the summer? We’ll see. The video’s chock full of arresting imagery. Sort of digital age tribal queen. The Masai-inspired outfits brought to mind John Galliano’s first haute couture show for Christian Dior. You’re doing Debra Shaw [90’s über couture clotheshorse] proud. Some sequences are a bit hammy but she is KELIS. And there’s no need for any silly lesbian gimmicks here, naming no names… You’re ga-ga-going to burn out, luv, if you’re not careful. One word. Britney…

A bit raw, a bit unpredictable and very, very Kelis. You go, girl! Blow’em outta the water.

Kelis: Acapella [YouTube link here]


A fashion show is a delicate balance of many parts that come together for one fleeting moment. A memorable show is about the clothes, of course, and much more: the casting, the venue, lighting, production and, perhaps most importantly, The Music. Poor music selection can throw everything off balance. It can be distracting, jar the designer’s message and make the models walk funny. Not a good look.

This is where Bespoke Sounds come in. Show music production has been monopolised as of late by Michel Gaubert [Collette CD fame] and Frédéric Sanchez. Name a show in any of the four capitals and you’ll no doubt find one of their names in the credits. They’re great at what they do but things can turn formulaic, no? Thierry Depuis Grizard, one half of Bespoke Sounds Paris, spent 3 years honing his craft at Chez Gaubert. This baby’s now  flown the nest, grown his water legs and decided to head out into the big wide open world of sound. About bloody time too as Mr Grizard’s music taste is second to none. His obssession reaches anorakish, train-spotter standards. He and partner in crime, Pierre Mazerolles, have already produced music for a host of shows and soundtracks for Ralph Lauren and Gaultier. I can see big things happening for these two talented, charming fellows. Ever heard of the one about David and Goliath?

visit:www.bespokesounds.com

The man himself, Carsten Nicolai_

This is quite possibly the most beautifully designed record ever.

As well as his music, Carsten Nicolai/ Noto/ Alva Noto also works as an artist. The two disciplines are two sides of the same coin – one aurally captures the diagramatic nature of sound whilst the other translates sound in the tactile and visual mediums of installation art and sculpture.

See also Mikkel Metal, Raadiq, Matthew Herbert_

———

www.carstennicolai.de

A friend played me a piece from Alva Noto and Riyuichi Sakamoto’s joint album, Insen, the other night. It’s an incredible piece of music that requires a proper sound system to do it justice. The subtle glitches, the forlorn piano loops, the intense bass that’s quiet and menacing at the same time. Its the sort of contemplative piece that was recorded to be heard in the darkest recesses of the night or on one of those grey, rainy days when you’re feeling melancholic.

Alva Noto’s music is classed as “electronica” but it defies easy genre definitions. Insen is one of his more accessible works but other recordings are more uncompromising mathematical experiments in sound and texture. “Difficult” music – like an algebraic equation you’ve struggled to solve. His music requires patience and concentration to reveal its beauty. Pop music it isn’t. Abstraction would be an incorrect adgective to describe Noto’s work as there is method in the madness of the glitches and clicks that form these soundscapes. There’s also something quite primeval about his work despite its scientific, electrical nature. Tribal, almost.

Alva Noto is a pseudonym of Carsten Nicolai, a sound artist that uses sound as his canvas. Discarded noises from the studio form his paint and brush as he attempts to illustrate sound and electricity. He uses the principles of Cymatics or Model Phenomena – the study of visible sound and vibration. What I find intriguing are his music videos that implement abstract visuals, sequencers and desolate, nocturnal landscapes to convey a sparse mood. The images you see here are screen captures of some of his videos – beautiful, ambiguous and atmospheric. A lot like his music.

visit www.alvanoto.com

Would you like me to seduce you?

Miss Faithfull came on my iPod this morning – it was on shuffle – and I thought to myself, Oooh, hello! If I was a lady of a certain age I would like to be a little bit like Marrianne Faithfull. That husky voice is so damn sexy. All she needs to do is talk, let alone sing. And “Broken English”. Bloody great record. She’s up there with La Rampling as one of my muses. Without coming over all gerontophile [?], like a reverse Anna Nicole Smith, there’s something to be said about the smouldering, knowing sexiness of the more mature lady. I guess if you make it that far you’ve seen and done it all. You know yourself and know exactly what you want and how to get it. Confidence. I’m in love_

Jack Barnett –
George Barnett
– Thomas Hein
– Sophie Sleigh-Johnson

Fundamental to a good collection is inspiration – pulling together seemingly abstract concepts and images into a coherent process of thought. Recording a great album is no different. On listening to These New Puritans’ new album, entitled “Hidden”, on the 277 bus to meet a friend for dinner last night I found myself smiling. Smiling because I recognised a familiar piece of classical music on one of their tracks – Drum Courts/ Where Corals Lie. Clever.

Said piece of classical music happens to be a favourite of mine – the Dame Janet Baker, Sir John Barbirolli and the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto: Sea Pictures – “Where Corals Lie”. Emily Mackay’s review of the album  in NME cites “hints of Massive Attack’s ‘Mezzanine’ in the whispered menace and unflinching rhythms.” Nah, Emily, go wash your ears, love! I also get touches of Bjork’s Vespertine, the tribal beats of The Creatures, semi-gothic Drum and Bass, Pink Floyd and Marilyn Manson. It’s like winetasting; stripping back all the layers. I’m coming over all Oz Clark! Inspiration_

Its a really brilliant album. 2010 is shaping up to be another great year for music. See also, Vampire Weekend’s Contra.

www.thesenewpuritans.com

Oh, Charlotte, Je t’aime beaucoup…You’re so cool…

Got a thing for French girls. My muse, if I were to describe her, would read like this: 5′ 9″ , size 10, dark hair [the hair has to be dark], pretty but with a strong nose that throws things off a bit,  strong, weathered hands that she moisturises constantly to no avail, really good posture, leggy, quite shapely calves, smokes quite a bit, only wears scarlet lippy when wanting to make an effort, loves a stiletto pump or 87.5 [she mysteriously lost one shoe during a boozy night in Le Baron], can sometimes be a bit slack with “trimming the foliage” down below, wears L’eau de l’eau by Dyptique  but isn’t too keen on bras or knickers, for that matter… Kind of a Charlotte Gainsbourg kind of girl, really. Oh, and she detests French manicures [how bourgeois!] and diamonds. Give her a hunk of silver any day…


La Gainsbourg is back with a new album! How long I’ve waited for this. I loved 5:55 [probably the exact time she lost that pesky pump] and now this: IRM. Opening single, Heaven can Wait, threw me a bit at first. It’s a change in direction, more acoustic sounding. A bit like Feist’s turnaround between Let It Die and The Reminder – Leslie Feist is another one of my muses. Similar sort of girls really. Well, looking forward to purchasing the new album – just downloaded the single off iTunes. Have a listen to IRM at www.charlottegaisnbourg.com. Its a grower. Definitely gets the thumbs up from me. Sound of spring?

Will dig out photo credits later and update post. messed around with a few of the images anyway.

About bloody time, that’s what I say! Just downloaded Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In the Name without even listening to it first. Might be jumping on the sonic bandwagon but me does not care, sweets. The Chronicles of the Desperate Climb of a Tweeny Twerp called Joe Mcelderry. Blaaahhhh.

Enough of this senseless aural torture, of having to listen to glorified departure lounge music Every. Bloody. Crimbo. As some whiney, desperate newly crowned “Star” gives their bloody tonsils a workout in criminal bid to get to number one. Go on RATM, I’m right behind you. At least you’re a real band and not some obnoxious creation from the bowels of Simon “Lucifer” Cowell & Co. Jeeez, its enough reason to bring back public execution at the Tower of London. Off with his HEAD!!! Now that would make my Christmas No.1.

Don’t even get me started on the human mop that goes by the name of Cheryl…

I am something Livid!

[Actually, more to come on Crispy Cole and her Dubious Wardrobe Decisions]

Boy Wonders

The 80’s is an endless wellspring of forgotten hits, long lost gems and faded genius. This really takes me Back To The Future quicker than Michael J. Fox. My older brother loved Imagination and played their records, vinyl I might add, endlessly. I found myself humming Body Talk the other day and before I knew what was happening I was downloading their back catalogue on iTunes… More to colour code I guess…

Working on a gorgeous playlist featuring Imagination, Sade and The S.O.S. Band amongst others. It’s the 80’s all over again but not in an electro-trashy sort of way. This is the real deal, what the 80’s were truly about. Freedom of expression in every sense, relentless experimentation, new technology – the birth of the Compact Disc especially, pushing boundaries, honing a craft to perfection, fantasy and, well, Imagination. These guys put the fierce in Fierceness. Watch and learn.

Body Talk

Very Best of

See also: Body Talk, Changes


This is not for the faint of heart i must warn you…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.25.45

mid grey //02b- GRY

You see, colour coding’s my thing. This obsession started quite early with my grouping of my Lego© bricks by colour as a child. I’m not joking. There was no turning back from colour coding. Once you start… I am helpless in its grip, powerless…

After organizing my sizeable CD collection by colour  (to beautiful effect, I might add), my wardrobe, the crockery, my books and the spice cupboard I was running out of new victims for this Serial Organizer in me… And then one day I had an idea… I wonder if there is a way I could colour code my iTunes music library? The rewards would be unimaginable! This would be my greatest feat so far. Over 10,000 songs, thousands of album artwork covers to grade and organise by colour… I set to work. It took me about 2 months but I did it.

Instructions [Maybe pop the kettle on and have a cuppa before proceeding and think things through carefully]

1. Scroll down the “View” menu and click on the “grouping” box.

2. Grab a pen and piece of paper. Design and code your colour chart. This bit’s entirely up to you. Mine goes like this: 01-Wht, 02a-Gry (pale grey), 02b-Gry (mid grey), 02c-Gry (dark grey), 03-Blk… and then colours. I told you this was a labour of love… Beiges, taupes and browns are a nightmare!

3. Trawl through library selecting albums that fit a certain colour code whilst holding down the command key (speeds up the process – think of it as bulk buying) Then press the command and i keys for the information panel to come up. Type in the relevant code in the grouping section. The computer will learn that code so you don’t have to type the whole code every time. Things will begin to take shape depending on the size of your library. Never said this would be easy.

P.S. Don’t forget to update new purchases etc. And for those pesky album covers that defy categorization I created a “multi” code. It actually works quite well. All that chaotic colour confined to one place. Very nice.

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.26.39Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.26.19Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.25.12Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.27.38Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.31.49Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 20.24.04

Let me get this straight. I AM DIVA!

DIVA

Deee-Vahh! You go look in the dik-sho-narree  – das how you spell it right? – and you gonna see ma face and name next to it. Bebouncey Knows. You get that, Rhhiblana? Yo, you listening girl? Tryn’a steal ma groove and copy ma stylz. Eh-eh? Whadda? You know how hard I worked to get this far? You know The Physical Determination and Undeniable Self-belief it takes for a gurl to walk out da door looking lak she just jumped inta a pool full o’ glue and rolled around in taffetta? Yeah, TAH-FETT-TAH, cupcakes. Nice an’ crispy,  like a Chrismaz Craeckr.

You jus’ turn up and try an bust ma grooves, steal ma moves. So ya think ya can dance? Whaddeva! Ah seen you move, sweet pea. Lak an old broom stuck in mud. I gots news for ya. This is a BULLET-IN. You can’t dance!!! You can’t touch ma fiercness, OK? And back off em’ tights while yo at it. UNDAH-STOOD? The Tights are Mine. All mine. Go look in da deeek-sho-nearie and you gonna see mah face and name next to the word “tights” – Bebouncey Knows. I have exclusive Rights to Tights, OK? Don’ make me kiss ma teeth. You gonna make me whip off ma weave in a minute and get nastee witch ya. And girlfriend you don’t want dat to happen. Trus’ me. I am 10 Denier’s Child. This is ma birth right yo messin’ wit.

The tights are mine, all mine!! Mine, mine, minnnnnnnnnnnnnne!!!!!

All Dat Jazz

Rhhibanala: “Yeah, whatever, chill-ax, Bee. You so extra…”

Celine Resort 2010

Celine, Resort Collection 2010 (Photograph: style.com courtesy of Celine)


Gawd, I love this bag. The simple clean lines. The subtle top stitching. That very lovely deep tan colour. So inviting. And what looks like silver and gold on the buckle. So sophisticated. So expensive… Its the new oxygen…

It would look especially good on the two reigning queens of The Solid Purse: our Liz, Queen Elizabeth II and, posthumously, Joan Hickson’s Miss marple (R.I.P.) Yes, that would be the best branding excersise ever. H.R.H. Liz sporting this tempting piece of wrist candy. Wrap one up, press office and send it tout de suite to Buckingham Palace. Yes I’m aware that Celine is a French design house but think what it would do for franco-anglo public relations! I’m willing to wager that peace treaties could be signed if a good hand bag or two were involved in the process. Also, veritable Brit, Phoebe Philo, is at the helm as it were.

They wear it well, or would have…


Screen shot 2009-11-07 at 18.42.23

H.R.H. Liz

Screen shot 2009-11-07 at 18.47.06

La Marpella (R.I.P)