Back with a big fat plate of savory sweet musical nourishment to satiate your inspiration starvation. I’ve got some familiar faces in the line-up, but also some new names and a couple unexpected twists (Barry Manilow??? JUST LISTEN). Why do I do it? Because I think I have to. I was asked this question recently and I really think that there’s some small part of that kid who loved recording songs to cassette tapes that still gets pleasure out of putting together this highly digitized, much less time-intensive, version of a mixtape. But I do miss making the cover artwork haha. I don’t have the time to even try to bring that back though, sorry. We start off with some daydreaming-of-summer type vibes from Yuno, Diplo (with Santigold & Yachty!?!?), and Kali Uchis (with Tyler the Creator & Bootsy Collins!!!). Then there’s a sweet new cut from Phonte which sounds like it came right from 2005 (back when I featured Little Brother on my “Captain’s Crate” blog– can you believe how long I’ve been doing this???). Next we take it to Brazil with a bouncy edit from my man NewLife, before turning to Nigeria for the buttery sounds of Maleek Berry (perhaps my most listened to artist in the past 3 months). Then I pick up the pace just slightly for some disco vibes old and new, courtesy of The Reflex, Discodeine, SG Lewis, Lord Echo, Kraak & Smaak and more. Then the playlist drops all the way down into some new-ish soul sounds from the likes of Durand Jones, Joey Dosik, & Bahamas before the final touch which is a gorgeous rework of Solange by the maestro iZem. Press play and enjoy the ride!
I was lucky enough to catch Tune-Yards & Sudan Archives live last week and I’m still fully inspired and in awe. I’m also trying to figure out how Merrill manages to start many of her songs by stacking her own vocals to create chords, which she then samples & loops throughout the song… but without hearing or playing a note to tune to first! Perfect pitch perhaps? Or maybe someone is sending a note to her in-ear headphone for her to tune with? Either way, I was fully impressed. If this combo is swinging by a theater near you, I highly recommend you go. Got some other great sounds for you this week, from the psych-rock-soul of Nick Hakim to some Talking Heads-ish revivalism by LCD, and a bit of electronic future funk from Royce Wood Junior. Also some uptempo low-fi funkiness from Washed Out and a Bobby McFerrin-esque bouncy house experiment from Wajatta (Reggie Watts & John Tejada). Then I dive into a touch of classic disco funk from Bohannon, Stevie, and Patrice Rushen, because it sounds good now and always. Finishing things off, I take the tempo & vibe down for the latest from Rhye (honest opinion is that the new album suffers a bit without Robin Hannibal on board), Emmit Fenn, & the downtempo don Galimatias. Visual inspiration today comes courtesy of Danny Fox, who I randomly discovered this weekend after I bought his lawn furniture which was for sale on Craigslist.
My fellow funkateers, from where I stand (in the DJ booth) there are more than a few things to be optimistic about this year, but they are all musically related. So while politricks, disasters and the forces of evil tend to take center stage in the outside world, here on the dancefloor we have a bounty of vibration makers who continue to push the boundaries of hip shaking and bass quaking. Take for example, Jubilee’s marimba-laden floor breaker ‘Wine Up’, a masterful coming together of hip hop subwoofer workout, patois lryicism and electronically expressed creativity. I’m also super stoked to share songs from homies of mine this week- starting with a new tune from the incomparable Dominican bombshell Jenn Morel. Then we have the new project Reyna Tropical produced by my dude Sumohair which hits the sweet spot by combining lilting beachy guitar licks, soft Spanish crooning, dembow drums, and a healthy sprinkle of seemingly unrelated samples from hip hop vocals, tropical birds, and the pleasant sound of coffee pouring into your mug (or is it cold coca-cola on a hot day?). We have some new dancehall vibes with classic inspiration, and then some new wave Baile Funk joints with tasteful minimal production that leave me always waiting for the drop. Then we’ve got a taste of the new remix album by my boy in NYC- Uproot Andy. With his ‘Bumper To Bumper’ mixtape (& remix album) the legendary global bass maestro has succeeded once again in connecting the dots between recent music movements in Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean and American hip hop, which all seem to blend so seamlessly when their shared DNA is brought to the forefront. I conclude in my positive assessment of worldwide bass music with songs from France, Colombia, and a touch of tribal trap heaviness from Chicago. For your eyes, I’m sharing a taste of the recent Parker Day ‘ICONS’ portrait collection. Hope you dig!
Damn, I had finally put together a whole different bunch of songs to share here, when I heard the sad news that we lost this legend today. I immediately had to switch gears and pay tribute. This man has soooo many good albums (spanning decades) and aside from the groundbreaking music, he was a powerful political activist as well. He was a big inspiration for me over the years- several of his LP’s lived in my crate long-term when I first started DJ-ing (back when I was actually lugging vinyl to all my gigs). I feel I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Masekela and I hope in putting together this playlist of just a few favorites from his gigantic catalogue, the music will speak to some new listeners out there and keep on spreading. Also, you can snag a nice re-work of ‘Night In Tunisia’ from our homies Sol Power DC. BIG UP & THANKS Hugh!
Don’t let the armageddon get you down! 2017 was one helluva mind bender- between the unbelievable non-stop shenanigans coming from the Trump white house, the re-emboldening of white supremacist nationalists, a slew of natural disasters, and the slightly unsettling development of North Korean intercontinental nuclear warheads, there were plenty of reasons to want to run for the hills. Thankfully, the greatest blessing of my life came in the form of a healthy, happy and ridiculously cute daughter, and then I got to witness the tipping point of the #MeToo movement swell into a tsunami of cultural resistance, which seems to be shaping our future into a place much more respectful and safe for women & girls. My time for digging up new music (& for doing just about every other extra-curricular activity) was drastically shortened, but that’s just part of being grown and I will get a handle on it eventually. Even still, I managed to glean enough to keep this place alive (limping along, but still moving!), and this new mix I put together for BrooklynRadio.com highlights some of my absolute favorite finds of the year. Artists you may recognize include: Nadastrom, Jubilee, Populous, LCD Soundsystem, Todd Terje and of course a couple Capt. Planet joints as well. So press play and let’s all set some positive intentions to manifest in 2018, cause this world needs all the help it can get right now. Photo above was taken in Ojai, California by Robin Catherine Lawson after the recent Thomas Fire which devastated almost 450 square miles (biggest in CA history). Full tracklist and download available on the Brooklyn Radio page.
Happy holidays everyone. It’s been pretty quiet over here since I have been in the middle of a move (woohoo!) and am building my new studio (triple woohoo!!!). I’ve got a new mix coming shortly, and tons of good tracks to share, but for now, I’m happy to announce the release of Night Visions Remixed on Bastard Jazz Records. It was a long while in the works, but I managed to wrangle a talented cadre of producer homies into remixing songs from my last album with Chico Mann. A nice variety of styles and sounds in the set, but this rootsy Colombian flavored joint from my boy Yukicito is just gorgeous. We also included one new original song “Ariwoko” as a bonus track, available as a FREE DOWNLOAD. Grab it while it’s hot or press play at your next ugly sweater party and pour another cup of egg nog for me!