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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Global Sound System: A DJ Mix Roundup

I've taken a week to absorb a fine set of DJ mixes. Normally, I spend most of my free time seeking out and collecting new music, but sometimes it gets to be too much. What with the holidays and a nagging flu, I've been in the mood to just listen. Why take the trouble to put on your own records when a skilled selector has already planned out your listening for you? Here are some brief reviews of the blocks of tunes that have kept my ears happy over the last week:

Heatwave Mix 2005

This one has been a revelation for me. I'd been looking for a way into the world of reggaeton for a while now (for a better definition than I could manage, see Wayne&Wax's nuanced piece on the subject), and this set provides just that, mixing hot reggaeton tracks in with some of the biggest dancehall and hip-hop tracks of the last year. The result is an international dancefloor killer, hands down. I swear that I will not miss the Heatwave crew when (hopefully) they come to San Francisco. From their site: "Heatwave's sets take in a wide range of Jamaican-oriented sounds, all of which are featured on this mix: dancehall/bashment, reggaeton, R'n'B/hip hop/crunk, soca, reggae and ragga jungle from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Senegal, France, USA, UK, South Asia and St Vincent." Apparently they are great producers as well, as evidenced by the huge, striding, swung groove that kicks off the mix, their Kelis/Beenie Man/TOK remix on Punchline Records (anyone know how much of this is original Heatwave material?). This track joins several others from the Heatwave mix on my new must-have list. The whole thing may be a little too jiggy for some of our readers, but I'd recommend it all the same, for educational purposes -- just skip over the Snoop and Ying Yang Twins tracks. More information, tracklist, and artwork available here.

Big Bamboo, Calypso 'Picong' Classics (1914-2002)
Bam Bam (Jamaican Mento Mixxx), A Collection of Mento Classics

These two mixes by the fabulous Dr. Auratheft are pretty unusual. I recognize a few songs from the Trojan Calypso Box Set and other compilations, but in general this music is pretty hard to find if you don't know what you're looking for. The lyrical content of these calypso and mento songs is bawdy and hilarious, the melodies are joyous and almost maddeningly catchy, the rhythms are the very definition of toe-tapping, and some of the musicianship on display (especially among the vocalists) is breathtaking. I recommend the Big Bamboo mix to start with, if you dig that one go back and grab Bam Bam. For extra credit, listen for the obscured but undeniably present elements of ska and reggae that bubble out of this older Carribean music.

King Tubby's Home Town HiFi Sound System
King Tubby's Home Town HiFi Sound System (Part 2)

Another couple of Dr. Auratheft mixes (he's got a bunch more that are in my queue for listening this week). These sets cover King Tubby's classic, pre-digital period -- the best of the best of the best of dub, in my humble opinion. The mixing is straightforward and unobtrusive, the tunes are top shelf. If you don't know King Tubby or dub music, these would make a great introduction. If you do, then you'll be happy to have them.


Blogger Vitriolix said...

nice, thanks for this. heatwave is indeed "the hottness", looking forward to those others.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words. Here are the tracklists.

Siebe (Dr. Auratheft)

– Calypso Picong Classics, selected by Dr. Auratheft

1 Mighty Terror: Intro (2004)
2 Mighty Panther: Big Bamboo (1950’s)
3 Lord Melody: Boo Boo Man (1956)
4 Julian Whiterose: Iron Duke In The land (1914)
5 Sam Manning: Lieutenant Julian (1929)
6 Lord Invader vs. Mighty Dictator: My Intention Is War (1958)
7 Mighty Sparrow vs. Lord Melody: Picong Duel (1957)
8 Calypso Mama: Court House Scandal (1950’s)
9 Bomber: Bam Bam (2004)
10 Colin Kelly: Snorkel Song (1950’s)
11 Lord Invader: Happy Land Of Canaan (1946)
12 Lord Invader: Me One Alone (1946, New York version)
13 Lord Invader & His Calypso Rhythm Boys: Me One Alone (1958, London version)
14 Wrangler: Bongo Man (1962)
15 The Percentie Brothers: Goombay Drums (1960’s)
16 Lord Kitchener: Jungle Man or Kitch In The Kitchen (1950’s)
17 Lord Beginner: Fed-A-Ray (1953)
18 Small Island Pride: Carnival Celebration (1956)
19 Small Island Pride: Taxi Driver (1956)
20 Lord Invader: Going Back To Africa (1961)
21 Calypso Mama: De Peas ‘n De Rice (1950’s)
22 Sam Manning: Sly Mongoose (1925)
23 Lord Creator: Big Bamboo (1962)
24 Lord Superior: Outro (2004)

Mixed by Dr. Auratheft

1 The Jolly Boys: Mother & Wife (2003)
2 Lord Power & his Calypsonians: Special Amber (ca. 1954)
3 Lord Spoon & David: Woman A Love In The Night Time (1968)
4 Lord Messam & his Calypsonians: Linstead Market (ca. 1958)
5 Lititz Mento Band: Tennessee Waltz (1993)
6 Charlie Binger’s Six ft. Count Lasher: Calabash (ca. 1954)
7 Lord Composer & the Silver Seas Hotel Orchestra: Hill & Gully/Mandeville Road (ca. 1954)
8 Lord Lebby & the Jamaican Calypsonians: Etheopia (ca. 1957)
9 The Jolly Boys: Nightfall (2003)
10 The Maytals: Bam Bam (1966)
11 Count Lasher & Williams with Lynn Taitt & the Baba Brooks Band: Bam Bam (1966)
12 Harold Richardson & the Ticklers: Glamour Gal (ca. 1951)
13 Lord Power & his Calypsonians: Mambo La-La (ca. 1954)
14 Monty Reynolds & the Shaw Park Calypso Band: Me Dog Can’t Bark (ca. 1957)
15 Charlie Binger & his Quartet: Jamaica Is The Place To Go (1960)
16 Robert Mitchum: Mama Looka Boo Boo (1957)
17 Count Lasher’s Calypso Quintet: Slide Mongoose (ca. 1957)
18 Count Lasher with Lynn Taitt & the Baba Brooks Band: The Weed a.k.a. Man Pyabba (1966)
19 Baba Motta & His Jamaicans: She Pon Top (ca. 1958)
20 Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet: Boogu Yagga Gal (ca. 1959)
21 Count Lasher & Williams with Lyn Taitt & the Baba Brooks Band: Mufridite (1966)

4:46 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

re: that first track on the heatwave mix--i think they're responsible for laying the beenie and TOK acapellas over that ridiculously swinging, ska-ish kelis beat. the beat itself was produced by none other than r&b vet, dallas austin, the producer of, among other hits, another bad creation's "iesha." oh yeah.

love those auratheft mixes, too. i might argue, though, that rather than (anachronistically) hearing elements of ska and reggae bubble out of mento/calypso, we should hear it the other way around. of course, it makes total sense that, given a prior familiarity with ska/reggae, one could hear this sort of thing retroactively. at any rate, perceiving that there are connections is the important thing.

7:19 AM  
Blogger jacob z. said...

Siebe: Thanks very much for the tracklists!

Wayne: Thanks for the info on the Kelis/Beenie/TOK track, all of my questions are now answered. Excellent point about the precession of mento and calypso... I guess I just enjoy drawings lines the other way, looking for things that in hindsight appear to be seeds of things yet to come. The story works out the same in the end (ignoring the fanciful elements of artistic predestination in my approach), but I'll admit your way of describing things is more correct. :)

11:45 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

ha! i'm only just seeing your response now. (sorry bout that.)

i gotta say that i definitely agree with you. i was only trying to keep the historical record straight, but the way we hear these things is largely up to us. i like the idea of reading works of the past in light of works of the present. i mean, what else can you do? unread or unhear the more recent when returning to (or pondering) the older? nope. that's the way it goes.

which is one of t.s. eliot's more radical points in his ol' essay "tradition and the individual talent."

11:09 AM  
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