29 March 2011

Review: Tiki 'In The World Of Light' + Shapeshifter 'System Remix'

In The World Of Light

System Remix

"There ain't no party / Like a NZ party / In the summer time" sings Tiki Taane over Summer Time, opening track of his #1 debut, second solo album, In The World Of Light. I reckon Tiki's one of the cleverest people in the NZ music business. He's fully aware of how marketable he is to, on the face of it, two hugely differing camps: those who lap up the pop-reggae of Always On My Mind and those who prefer the bass-heavy swagger of Soundtrack To Forever. Thing is, (aside from the astoundingly monstrous Tangaroa, easily the highlight of his solo debut Past, Present, Future) whichever way you want to slice it, Tiki's music is designed to please as many people as possible as often as possible - often all in one place at once. It's a pursuit he seems to take very seriously indeed. Having said that, this is a very big, very likeable album, with notable guest spots from Moana and The Tribe, Crushington and Hollie Smith retracing her Celtic roots atop heavy metal guitar courtesy Tiki's Dad, Uekaha Taane.

System Remix follows Shapeshifter's massive fifth studio album System Is A Vampire and is another example of crowd-pleasing bass-focussed music, but unfortunately the bulk of these remixes seem to be working to a thoroughly predictable and ultimately kinda dull template. There are undoubtedly highlights: Pacific Heights' gorgeous rework of The Touch; a reverent re-rub of Twin Galaxies by The Upbeats; and two stonkers from State Of Mind, with their reworks of Dutchies, and Electric Dream - easily the highlight of this collection, despite the original being taken from the Soulstice album. This collection is clearly intended for fanatical fans of Shapeshifter, but for me is a bit of a let down and really only serves to illustrate how much better the group's original versions are.

TIKI 3/5

Check out the review of State Of Mind's album Nil By Ear here...

28 March 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 27th March "In The Pocket with 90"

Recloose | Get There Tonight
Grooveman Spot | Looking Up To You
Roy Ayers | Running Away (Noodleman rework)
Michael Wycoff | Looking Up To You (The Revenge rework)
7 Samurai | The Moment (reggae version)
V.I.P. Connection | West Coast Drive
Gladys Knight | Who Is She (And What Is She To You)? (D-Classics rework)
Wildcookie | Jackson Miles
Gazeebo | School Boy Chubby
Furlan Williams | When Autumn Leaves Fall
Blundetto | Nautilus
Electric Empire | Baby Your Lovin'
Daft Punk | Something About Us
Eddie C | Migration
Quincy Jones | The Dude
Al Green | Love Ritual
George Benson | Turn Your Love Around (Onur Engin edit)
Sinclair | Ain't No Casanova (US Encore remix)
Imagination | Streetmix (Disconet edits)
Killer Funk Disco Allstars | Supermodels & Sponge (Cake Mosh edit)
IG Culture Presents Zen Badizm | Girl You Need A Change Of Mind

23 March 2011

WOMAD 2011 Festival, New Plymouth

WOMAD 2011 NZ Festival
New Plymouth, 18-20 March 2011

A first time vist to WOMAD is kind of like seeing the Pyramids of Giza or Michelangelo's statue of David for the first time: while you know exactly what to expect, it still has the capacity to surprise and amaze. Yes, I admit this was the very first WOMAD I'd attended - and I'd go again in a heartbeat. I absolutely, thoroughly loved it. The music, the people, the weather, the vibe, the food, the arts, the flags, the attitudes, the ease with which we moved about - it all added up to a wonderful experience. Musical highlights included Sudanese group Rango; Chinese-Mongolians Hanggai; the raw, ribald Calypso Rose; the high-energy Colombians Sidestepper; British DJ legend Don Letts; the incredible Horace Andy... well, I could go on for quite some time, to be honest. In a nutshell, this would have to be the best music festival I've ever attended, hands down. Go.

This is Calypso Rose. Do yourself a favour and find a live performance of hers on the interwebs. She's brilliant. And rude as hell!

15 March 2011

Review: WOMAD 2011 CD Sampler

Various Artists
[Cartell Music]

Famed world music festival WOMAD was first held in the UK in 1982 with audiences entertained by co-founder Peter Gabriel, Don Cherry, Drummers Of Burundi and others. There have been over 160 events in 21 countries since, with New Plymouth hosting the event annually since 2005. The first NZ WOMAD was in Auckland in 1997, and featured Afro Celt Sound System - who, having disbanded and re-united since, perform again in 2011. They are one of many highlights from this excellent sampler, alongside legendary Jamaican singer Horace Andy's wavering yet silky, sensuous voice; the passionate, engaging Creole Choir Of Cuba, sounding like Graceland on steroids; American Bob Brozman's delicious guitar wizardry; Chinese group Hanggai, who blend Beirut and The Pogues; the lilting ska of Trinidad and Tobago's Calypso Rose; and a lip-smackingly good version of The Dream by Trinity Roots. I couldn't recommend this music more. Buy any/all of the above.

5 stars from 5

14 March 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 13th March "In The Pocket with 90"

Ben Westbeech | So Good Today (Yoruba Soul remix)
Aaron Jerome | Jelabi
Zumen | New Sound
Gecko Turner | Afrobeatnik? (Seiji remix V.2)
Barakas | Stabilo Bossa
Quantic | Tell It Like You Mean It
Joe Mensah | Africa Is Home (Natural Self remix)
Kokolo | Mama Don't Want No Gun (Beatconductor remix)
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra with Mayra Vega | Che Che Cole Makossa
Guido de Palma & Jazzinho | Humano, Desumano
Speechless with Diane Charlemagne | The Beat
Macadamia Cuts | Little Space Odyssey
Madvillain | America's Most Blunted
Rufus with Chaka Khan | Circle
L.A. Carnival | Pose A Question
Breakout | Planet Rock (Pts. 1 & 2)
Coke Escovedo | I Wouldn't Change A Thing
The Tornadoes | Huihui
MPHO Skeef | I Don't Like You

09 March 2011

REVIEW: Chico Mann 'Analog Drift'

'Analog Drift'
[Wax Poetics]

Once in a while an album drops which surprises you, takes you to unexpected places. Analog Drift, the second solo release from jersey City-based Chico Mann, is one of those rare gems. The multi-instrumentalist, born Marcos Garcia, melds 1970s Afrobeat, soul and funk with 1980s breakbeat and electro to create a hybrid he describes as "Afro-Freestyle and Electro-Afrobeat". Stuttering handclaps, plucked guitars and vintage synths up the charm factor, but not nearly as much as Mann's simple call-and-response vocals: half choruses are effortlessly offered up in both English and Spanish, seemingly unpolished, yet entirely memorable. Mann's "dayjob" is playing guitar in New York allstar Afro outfit Antibalas and his musical family included a Father who owned a Latin record label, so it's not surprise those elements have informed the music. Throw in a little Herbie Hancock, Egyptian Lover and Quantic, and this compelling melting pot of sound takes hugely enjoyable shape.

Four and a half stars from five

06 March 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 6th March "In The Pocket with 90"

James Blake | Unluck
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX | Ur Soul And Mine
Taylor McFerrin | Awake To You
Platinum Pied Pipers with Spacek | No Worries
4 Hero | Take My Time
Nuyorican Soul with Jocelyn Brown | I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun
Nuyorican Soul with Jocelyn Brown | It's Alright! I Feel It!
Jazzanova | Let Your Heart Be Free
Underworld | Cups
Roy Davis Jr with Peven Everett | Gabriel
Phoenix | If I Ever Feel Better
Blue Boy | Remember Me
Randy Crawford | Cajun Moon (extended)
The Nomad with Farda P | 141
Chico Mann | Sound Is Everything (Rich Medina remix)
Masters At Work | Nautilus (MAWtilus)

01 March 2011

Review: Gilles Peterson Presents Worldwide

Various Artists
"A Celebration Of His Syndicated Radio Show"

Remember the old days of making mix-tapes for your friends? Painstakingly selecting songs around a theme, which meant something to you and/or the recipient of the tape, or were simply plain awesome? Consider the new Worldwide compilation selected by DJ, label owner, renowned record collector and globally famous taste-maker Gilles Peterson as one of those treasured mix-tapes. Assembled from tracks Gilles has championed through his famed BBC Radio One show and his annual Worldwide Awards, this two disc set hits all the marks, with tracks from a roll call of famous names: Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Jill Scott, Dwele, Little Dragon, Sa-Ra, Outlines, Theo Parrish, Benga and Spacek nestle up against epic songs from the past few years, like RSL's Wesley Music, M.I.A.'s Galang, Cinematic Orchestra's All Things To All Men, Gotan Project's Triptico and Recloose's absolutely massive Dust. As Gilles himself may've intoned as a young lad: "Ooh la la!"

4/5 stars

George FM Playlist Tues. 1st March "Free Range with 90"

So I woke up this morning, gaping & stretching, to a text message from Tom at George FM: "Are you able to cover Soane's show this morning please? The coffee is on me...".

Sure, I said, why not?

Daft Punk | Something About Us
Kanye West | Diamonds (J-Todd's "Gimme The Ice" remix)
Syrup | Connection
Grand Pianoramax with Spleen & Celena Glenn | The Hook (DJ Spinna Vocal mix)
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX | Ur Soul & Mine
Chico Mann | Anima
Icasoul with Capitol A | Givin' It Up
Rasmus Faber with Melo | Get Over Here
Outlines | Just A Lil' Lovin'
Orgone | It's Time Tonight
Don Freeman | Fracture In My Soul (Las Gammas mix)
Sam Irl with Anya | African Dance
Krystal Klear | Tried For Your Love (Hudson Mohawke remix)
Quantic | Mishaps Happening (Flux Pavilion remix)
Crazy P | Love On The Line
Los Charly's Orchestra | Dana's Dream
Afrodisiac Sound System | Italo Nitro