Tuesday, January 26, 2010


M.A.N.D.Y. were dj'ing at the Muse last week, a fairly new DC lounge/club, and were joined by the UK's Matt Tolfrey (actually it was only half of M.A.N.D.Y., the half known as Phillip Jung). They were there to help celebrate the one year anniversary of the Clinic night, one of the few parties in DC that attracts world-class DJ's that I know of. This night was nicely packed and everyone seemed to have a great time. I went over there right after checking out the film 'Berlin Calling' that was playing as part of a German film festival here. That was a nice way to prep for the night as it's about a German techno DJ who starts losing his mind cos of drugs. The film stars real-life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, who also did the brilliant soundtrack. Walking down the street to see M.A.N.D.Y. (from Berlin) was a nice way to follow-up from the film (although no drugs or losing of the mind were involved for me, don't worry). I had a hands-in-the-air moment when 'Township Funk' came on towards the end of the night. I first heard it a couple of years back when it was getting a lot of buzz and was apparently big in people's setlists. Since then DJ Mujava doesn't seem to have been up to much at all, which is a shame, but this track still kills! Check out some vids below.

The interesting vid for Township Funk:

A great M.A.N.D.Y. remix, has me itching to scour the web for mp3s:

And a scene from Berlin Calling -- check out the dance move! Here, DJ Ickarus runs away from the mental hospital:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IMAN at the Apollo

Last night IMAN at the Apollo took place. This event had about a dozen performers, and sold out days in advance.

IMAN is Inner City Muslim Action Network and they're based out of Chicago. I first heard of IMAN when I went to their summer festival, "Takin' It to the Streets" in 2003. I was 16. Since then, IMAN has grown and evolved, and well, I'm not 16 anymore.

I have the feeling that last night is going to be seen as a landmark event for Muslims in America - IMAN sold out the Apollo, which seats 1,500, and it was Muslims putting Muslim artists on stage. The place was full of positive and invigorating energy.

Early on, like the dork I am, I watched the DJs Kid Dragon and Raichous prepare for their DJ set, and wished I could do what they can. Then I realized I should probably do what I was supposed to.

As a backstage volunteer I didn't really get to see the show except from the sidelines from time to time, but at the end I went into the audience area to watch Mos Def perform. I definitely didn't mind though as it was such an interesting experience to be a volunteer for such a huge event, especially to be a stage runner, as my role was to basically stand backstage, fetch artists or make sure they were on call for their turn, and also act as security.

The hugeness of the event isn't just that it was at the Apollo and that it sold out, but the many number of acts in the show. The stakes were definitely high backstage as all the acts had to be assembled, prepped, ready to go, and on time. Its a miracle really that all the IMAN staff, volunteers, and Apollo staff were able to pull it all off - because there were so many performers! I definitely think there were too many, but it worked out in the end.

So my experience of last night was from backstage, and I got to see first-hand what it takes to put such chaos into an orderly event. Artists would be eating, praying, or listening to their headphones minutes or seconds before they went on stage and started belting out their songs. It takes time, stamina, and talent to do that. There were so many people behind the curtain, so much activity going on, and each artist had to manage their way across and then told to walk into the limelight.

There were babies crying, artists eating sandwiches, hosts dancing, groupies, security men whistling...I definitely took it all in and am grateful I got to see the other side of the show.

Now, finally, here are some songs from a few of the artists who performed last night. Enjoy!

This is "Rise Up" by Alex Schein

The Reminders are a husband-wife duo and are tons of fun to watch live.

Outlandish were also present and performed three tunes, including this one "Kom Igen." There was no dupatta present. I was hoping they'd do "Guantanamo", but they didn't.

And of course Mos Def was the last act. He wore jeans and a jean jacket and tried to shuffle like James Brown. It was a lovable performance, and he performed this classic of his:

PS this is a pretty good review of the event.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ame - Excelsior

Hey guys and gals,
sorry for the long hiatus. Its been a pretty crazy month over here in NYC.

But this song is very soothing and I listen to it when I get home and all I want to do is sit or fall asleep. I discovered this tune via Gilles Peterson back in 2006 or so. Gilles is playing in Brooklyn on the 29th by the way!!! Which I'm very excited about.

Anyway, this song isn't really on the radar but its such a good tune, so I'm giving it some exposure here. This is "Excelsior" by the duo Ame.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron

I was listening to Radio 6 the other day when Gil Scott-Heron's new single came on, "Me and the Devil." The impact was immediate: it caught me, put its hands around my neck, and then tried to throttle the living crap out of me. This isn't some song which sounds okay on a first listen and then may gradually grow on you over time. This song grabs you by the balls. Now I had no idea who the composer was, just that he was supposedly the "Godfather of Rap." So I did a little research. "Me and the Devil" is from Scott-Heron's first album in over fifteen years. He's been in and out of prison since 2001 for various drug-related charges, most of them for possession of cocaine. He's been making music since 1969, his biggest hit to date being "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" from 1971. He's now 60 years old. Well if this new single is a good representation of the album that's to come, the game most certainly isn't up yet for Mr. Scott-Heron. Phenomenal.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"I'm pretty bad"

Couldn't find a direct streaming link unfortunately but check out this tune right here. It's "Bad" by Kode9, one of the foremost dubstep producers and label owner of Hyperdub, a dubstep label. This tune just really does my head in - I think its great how he fused dubstep and house together and came up with this.

This is a set by Kode9 from a few years ago - its one of my favourite dubstep mixes. I had this on repeat while in college and would unknowingly try to imitate the beats via beatboxing - I'd only realize what I was doing when I noticed my friend laughing at me.

For those confused on what dubstep is, its a new musical movement of the last decade. I disagree with Fahad on the notion that no new musical movements or genres emerged in the 2000s' - there was, and is dubstep. This is a good briefer on dubstep and features some great dubstep tracks (listen to the Burial and Benga links.) I consider myself lucky to have been in London in 06/07 just when dubstep was beginning to get more notice.

Yeah! Thoughts?