BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’

I love the cover artwork on this reissued 1980 Japanese cosmic dub from producer and percussionist Pecker (aka Masahito Hashida) titled ‘Pecker Power’. The album features dub heavyweights Sly & Robbie and Augustus Pablo along with members of The Wailers and vocalist Minako Yoshida. Given the players, it’s a curious take on classic dub from the era, with two Japanese Bob Marley covers thrown into the mix. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’”

NEW MUSIC. Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, it’s time we took notice

Earlier this month, it was reported that there were no Australian artists in the local top 20 singles chart.  In the same week, 70 percent of the US Billboard Chart was populated by American artists.

Now, compare that to Japan, the second biggest music market in the world, where 98 percent of all singles, and 76 percent of all albums, are sold are by Japanese artists. In an environment where physical sales are dwindling, Japan still has more record stores than any other country in the world, three times as many as the US.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about J-Pop, you only need to look listen to those in easy reach to understand there’s something special going on. We’re lucky that CorneliusShonen Knife and DJ Krush all managed to extend their reach across the waters, along with their predecessors like Acid Mothers TempleBoredoms and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, it’s time we took notice”

Boys From Brazil, FRX & Ove Naxx, Nettle, White Hole

BOYS FROM BRAZIL [GERMANY]
collision mp3
dark electro pop from germany with a devilish guitar hook and a tasty little break thrown in for good measure. we’ve moved through the post punk rebirth now (surely?) and i’ve started to hear more and more music that borrows from a much later 80s period. somewhere between jesus and mary chain (see dead combo) and the electro end of the sisters of mercy. i wouldn’t go so far as to say that boys from brazil have delivered us a goth tune as such, but the vocal certainly hints that way. i always thought the next revival was going to be acid house, maybe we’ve got to get goth out the way first? all of this goth chat is doing boys from brazil something of a disservice – play it loud in a dark room and i’m sure you’ll get a buzz from it.

FRX & OVE NAXX [JAPAN]
breakin noise (extract) mp3
not for the faint hearted – ove naxx is regarded as a rising star in japan’s breakcore / noise scene as this extract from his forthcoming release on accelmuzhik proves. naxx released an e.p. last year on dj rupture‘s tigerbeat6 offshoot, soot, so coming out of the kid606 stable, you’ll hopefully have some idea of what to expect. good to know that insanity in japanese music is alive and kicking.

NETTLE [SPAIN]
gutted (mehmet irdel remix) mp3
and more with a dj rupture link – well, truth be told nettle IS dj rupture to all intents and purposes (also part of the project is graphic artist DD). whilst rupture’s releases usually stride top quality breakcore, nettle sees him on a different trip, taking in north african / middle eastern influences, beautifully exemplified by this mp3 remixed by mehmet irdel. it’s broken and disjointed, starting with a couple of minutes of hand claps and percussion, bringing a downbeat halfway through, before drifting off into some beautiful glitch at the end. much like mutamassik, if anyone degrades ‘world music’, play them this and watch their reaction.

WHITE HOLE [GERMANY]
peter built mp3
first came across this pair on the recent kitty-yo compilation ‘ futurism ain’t shit to me’ with a track from their e.p. ‘chaterflug’. the above mp3 is taken from the same release – on the surface it’s mixing hard downtempo beats with some wavering analogue synths pads, although nothing is really as it seems. it could pass you by if you don’t listen closely, but there’s something in there to make me suspect that white hole are worth further investigation – i’m just not sure what it is. answers on the a starship to the usual address.

Mutamassik, Transjoik, Miho Hatori

MUTAMASSIK [EGYPT] / TRANSJOIK [NORWAY]
mawlid el nur / anna f (mutamassik mix) site
coming late to the table is always disappointing, especially with an artist of such a high calibre as mutamassik. i found a split cd at the weekend – two dj sets, one by dj rupture (from spain) and the other from mutamassik. both are of exceptional high quality and were created to celebrate each artists’ individual performances with the bidouin crew in dubai (more information on this release here). mutamassik is of egyptian descent and lives in brooklyn – from that description, and the fact that the split cd is released through kid 606‘s tigerbeat6 offshoot, violent turd, you can get a fair idea of what to expect from her work: mixing rai and other middle eastern sounds with gloriously fucked-up beats and hard glitches. if the traditionalism of world music leaves you cold, then this will reinvigorate your belief in sounds from outside of your back yard. the above mp3 is one of the few mutamassik projects i can find to freely download – you’ll need to subscribe to this norwegian band’s mailing list to get i though, but i think it’s worth the effort.

THE BALDWIN BROTHERS feat MIHO HATORI [US: CHICAGO / JAPAN]
dream girl mp3
yeah, so the blog subtitle is NEW international music, but you’ve got give yourself a break now and again… especially when the talent is as good a calibre as former cibo matto member, miho hatori. it’s insanely difficult to get any back catalogue cibo releases in australia, and even miho’s last album ‘smokey and miho’ is proving impossible to track down. time to bite the bullet and order from overseas methinks… personal issues aside, this is a great jazz-breaks track from the chicago duo jason hinkle and tj widner taken from the 2002 album ‘cooking with lasers’. i’ll confess right up front to have heard nothing else from the band, but there’s plenty of downloads and sound clips on the site for further investigation – including the tight sounds of ‘that’s right’ [mp3] from the ‘funk shui’ e.p.

hi to more new blogs on the block – if you like the sounds on fat planet, then pay a visit to the witness exchange – we’re certainly in the same ballpark, possibly even the same dugout. recent posts include cexsafety scissorsthemselvesfridge and more. also aloha to heraclitus sayz (the return of the lo-fi), dedicated to lo-fi music and “analog, 4-track, DIY-type music that never sees the light of day”.

Dokaka, Bebel Gilberto, Dishtone, Ghetto Booties, No Name No Fame, Lady Sovereign, Wayne & Wax, Dntel

some tunes from today’s fat planet. next week’s show celebrates ONE YEAR ON AIR [!], in tandem with FBi 94.5FM’s FIRST BIRTHDAY BASH.

DOKAKA [JAPAN]
rolling head three mp3
right now i’m listening to the new bjork album and it’s confounded my expectations. i’ll come clean right away and tell you i’m a huge admirer of her work (arguably to the point of obsession). ‘vespertine’ is undoubtedly a beautiful album, her most cohesive to date, although in that cohesion i felt it lost some of the excitement of her previous albums which veered radically in style from track to track – you were never quite sure where you would be taken next. when i heard that the new album would be mainly vocal with few – if any – instruments being used, i thought we’d be in the same waters, with a single tone or style dragged across the whole set. thankfully it’s not the case – ‘medulla’ puts us back in the territory where we’re bewildered and amazed at every turn. yes, the soaring tracks of the previous set are here (‘oceania’ being a great case in point), and while ‘who is it’ references much earlier beat-driven work, it’s the closing track ‘triumph of a heart’ that throws the challenge to any pretenders. with it’s insane beatbox stylings, i guarantee you’ll hear nothing like this all year. and the man behind some of those freestyle mouthcapades is japanese beatbox artist dokaka. his download page features a huge range of tracks – some fascinating, others just downright annoying. the above mp3 is one of the more listenable tracks, but his cover of ‘smells like teen spirit’ may well test your patience to the limit!

BEBEL GILBERTO [BRAZIL]
simplesmente mp3
[re-post] today i played back an interview i did with bebel recently – it was a bad phone connection which didn’t do us any favours in terms of the flow of the conversation. still, we muddled through, although you can’t really get a great deal of depth in a ten-minute interview interview. the above track is taken from bebel’s new self-titled second album which eschews electronica in favour of a more acoustic sound.

DISHTONE [CROATIA]
grand piano mp3
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GHETTO BOOTIES [CROATIA]
tominockers mp3
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NO NAME NO FAME [CROATIA]
winter poem for lost souls mp3
every week i play a ‘stopover’ section where i grab three songs from one country and play them back-to-back. the threesome this week all came from the same source – the egoboobits label, first drawn to my attention by no name no fame‘s mladen djikic. dishtone is a repost from last week, however the two other tracks are new to the blog. ghetto booties(above) are a female duo from zagreb who mix hard electro pop with gender politics, coming out in a zone not dissimilar to chicks on speed, although posessing a harder kick. they generally perform with laptops and are part of the gnu girl power lounge collective whose manifesto is based on the ‘equal sharing of work, clothes, cables, perfumes, lipstick, and open-source politics’ [site]. the no name no fame track is more downtempo than the previously posted ‘beuna vista fight club’ and is, once more, a stunning piece of work.

LADY SOVEREIGN [ENGLAND]
chi-ching (cheque 1,2) register for download
nme.com is giving you the chance to download this little beauty – you just need to register to grab it, but this will grant you access to more free mp3s from the site too. this is a great slice of uk garage, rammed full of disses, from an mc who clocks in at the ripe old age of 18. mike skinner (aka the streets) has apparently ‘made some beats’ for her.

WAYNE & WAX [US: MASSACHUSETS]
a it dat (dj c it dat) mp3
there plenty of information and free music to download on wayneandwax’s site. this track is taken from the album ‘boston jerk’ – music he wrote, apparently, to accompany a dissertation entitled ‘routes, rap, reggae: hearing the histories of reggae and hip-hop together’. don’t be fooled by the academic reference – ‘boston jerk’ is full of humour and is a smart north american take on the contemporary jamaican sound. this is being released through mashit – a label i only recently discovered and i felt very sorry that i hadn’t got there sooner! a mainstay of the label is boston’s dj c, purveryor of some damn fine breakcore. on his own site there is a huge collection of mp3s to download – i’ll be posting some of my favourites from this catalogue in the next week or so.

DNTEL [US: CALIFORNIA]
(this is) the dream of evan and chan (safety scissors spilled my drink mix) mp3
played a new track from dntel today – ‘don’t get your hopes up’ – which samples an old depeche mode song. i think the song is ‘but not tonight’ – the b-side to ‘stripped’. let’s hope that comes up on ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ for you very soon. the above track is a remix from 2001 and complements a previous post where i linked to a lali puna mix of the same track. life goes on in cycles…

Buffalo Daughter, Asian Dub Foundation, Mosquitos, Jimi Tenor, Dead Combo, Zap Mama, The Mae Shi

BUFFALO DAUGHTER [JAPAN]
five minutes mp3
a great joy today to be able to playback an interview i did last week with sugar yoshinaga from japanese trio, buffalo daughter. the band have just released a fine new album entitled ‘psychic’ – disposing of the 3-minute excursions of the 2001 release ‘i’ in favour of what sugar calls ‘a jam session album [five tracks over fifty minutes]. the above track from ‘i’ is the only legal mp3 that i can find (from their epitonic page) – if you come across, let me know. buffalo daughterplay candy’s apartment in sydney on 25th august and fbi 94.5fm will be recording the show for later broadcast. i’m planning to transcribe today’s interveiw and post it here soon (provided my life doesn’t get in the way…). [site]

ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION [ENGLAND]
1000 mirrors (feat. sonia metha) mp3
played a great remix of the ‘1000 mirrors’ track featuring sinead o’connor today, the visionary underground mix which you can find on the single, lifted from last year’s album ‘enemy of the enemy’. the above mp3 is a different version (i’m presuming an earlier mix) with sonia metha on vocals. sonia actually features as backing on the sinead version, so it’s great to hear her up front in this take. and by a weird co-incidence, i also have an ADF interview that i’ve promising to transcribe too … i must get busy… [site]

MOSQUITOS [BRAZIL / US: NEW YORK]
boombox direct download
according to their PR company, this track from the new york based trio (with brazilian vocalist) has been an ‘ad agency favourite’. is that the kind of thing you want to promote, not sure 🙂 cynicism aside, this is a short sharp burst of portugese flavour from the album ‘sunshine barato’. and [li’l triv fact] to give the band an air of brazilian authenticity, their debut was recorded on a shack on ipenema beach! [site]

JIMI TENOR [FINLAND]
beyond the stars mp3
ah… jimi tenor, the godlike genius of finnish lounge is back with a new album ‘beyond the stars’. jimi’s been making a fine selection of tunes over the last ten years, from his debut on the finnish label ‘sahko’, to a couple of releases on ‘warp records’ in the mid/late 90s. now on germany’s kitty-yo. the new material is up to his usual high standards, although he’s probably delving deeper into his own idiosyncratic lounge style (witness the track i played today ‘tsunami’ which defies categorisation). there’s a glut of live downloads available on his official site and you can also experience jimi’s sideline clothing label, tenorwear. god bless ‘im…

DEAD COMBO [FINLAND]
you don’t look so good mp3
played the 2nd track from the single, dead combo‘s cover of bowie‘s ‘let’s dance’. above mp3 is a re-post of the lead track, available now on ouput.

ZAP MAMA [ZAIRE]
nostalgie amoureuse (push it to the max boot mix) mp3
born in zaire, marie daulne is the leader of (what was originally) an accapella group known as zap mama. she’s taken the group in a radically new direction for their latest release ‘ancestry in progress’ – immersing themselves in downtown philly and teaming up with the rootserykah baducommon and ?uestlove. the results are inevitably a curious african-american mix of r’n’b and more tradition influences, and – if east has to meet west to make it more palatable to western audiences – then better to come out with something of this calibre, rather than the watered-down afro-house that seems to be in high circulation these days (honestly, i’m not usually this cynical… must be ’cause i watched ‘girl interrupted’ last night …). and in saying all that, the above track (not from the album) is a four-to-the-floor mix taken from the luka bop site (i’m such a hypocrite!) – i experienced some loooong download times with this one, but hopefully any hosting snags will be resolved by the time you read this…

THE MAE SHI [US: CALIFORNIA]
vampire beats mp3
and to close, one of the artists that sits on the borderline between genius / charlatan – the mae shi‘s new album ‘terrorbird’ comes with a whopping 30 tracks, most of which are under 2 minutes long, the question being, can they actually write longer songs or does that not even matter? is this a collection of hastily thrown-together ‘bit parts’ or something more revealing / interesting? you decide and you let me know… [site]

Bi(f)tek, Bjork, Cornershop, Bebel Gilberto, The Go! Team, Polysics

BI(F)TEK [AUSTRALIA]
unisex mp3
played a track today from the experts, a collaboration between australian artists byron scullin and nicole skeltys from female duo bi(f)tek. the album ‘electro city breaks’ seems to be a tie-in with the ‘lonely planet’ tv series, but there’s very little info online about the album (with the exception of this page). you can get an idea of what to expect by downloading this track from bi(f)tek‘s 2003 album ‘frequencies will move together’ – australian electro pop at its finest. [site]

BJORK [ICELAND]
verandi mp3
get on google and try and find the track i played today – a preview remix (premix?) of ‘triumph of a heart’ from bjork‘s new album ‘medulla’. to whet your appetite, this mp3 is an out-take from the ‘vespertine’ recording sessions, written with with the help of bollywood composer jolly mukherjee.

CORNERSHOP [ENGLAND]
lessons learned from rocky I to rocky III mp3
so maybe cornershop are back, maybe they’re not. the new single (from which i played both tracks today) is titled as ‘cornershop presents bubbley kaur’ and is two slices of wonderfully lo-fi pop layered with a gorgeous hindi vocal. track it down if you can. the above track is completely different in flavour, pop rock from their 2002 album ‘handcream for a generation’.

BEBEL GILBERTO [BRAZIL]
simplesmente mp3
as the daughter of ‘the man who invented bossa’, the weight of expectation lay heavy on bebel gilberto‘s shoulder for many years. her album ‘tanto tempo’ surpassed most of those expectation, fusing traditional bossa groove with contemporary electronic production. a remix collection featuring the likes of king britt and rae and christian didn’t do any harm to her reputation either. her new self-titled album strips away most of the electronica in favour of more acoustic sound, and whilst that might disappoint some die-hards, it allows her voice to come shining through in a collection that’ll no doubt have wide appeal. tune into FAT PLANET on FBi on sunday 15th august for my interview with bebel (and hopefully if i find the time, i’ll post a transcript too). [site]

THE GO! TEAM [ENGLAND]
junior kickstart mp3
played the track ‘the power is on’ from this uk group, released through memphis industries. there’s a quote on the label site which says the go! team sound like “the yeah yeah yeahs doing double dutch”. there’s a lot of seemingly contradictary info about the band online, but as far as i can see it’s centered around the brighton musician ian parton, who – in a scandanavian interview – namechecks mantronix and le tigre as influences, so now you get the gist, right?

POLYSICS [JAPAN]
married to a frenchman mp3
i first came across polysics on the sony compilation ‘japan for sale volume one’ a couple of years ago (the same album that introduced me to the glorious puffy amiyumi). polysics are that wonderful blend of psych-out rock with sharp pop sensibilities, something japan does very well and very often. asianmanrecords.com describes polysics as “a less poppy devo, mixed in with the aggressive sounds of the bordeoms, trickle in the energy of the dead kennedys, and topped off with the moods of man or astroman“. which is quite something to live up to, but i think they’ve nailed it.