Lifelong Asita friend, Neila, drops two new unmixed songs during a peak period of creativity. Finnish based producer Ameba supplies the beat for "Not Okay." Look out for him on the upcoming Painkillers album. It's coming..
i got a whole set up...made a mix tape off vinyl...to cassette...recorded a song, made two youtube videos, and drew this...and went, to costco...as you can see, i took out the vacuum but never used it:/..also drove too some tuesday mash up that was not mashing up... the song I recorded today...rough...unmixed....
Elion Paz who runs Dust and Grooves, my favorite blog dedicated to records, is back at it again. This time he interviews "Bongo Head" a Latin music collector from North Hampton, MA.
In this electronic world, I get this question a lot - Why vinyl? Especially in light of our Cali Classics project, what motivates us to continue releasing on this "dead" format? For those who live on the periphery of our secret club of dusty grooves, it's sometimes difficult to explain, but I think Bongo Head eloquently pins down much of the reasoning in his interview. You have to care.
Q: Why vinyl?
A: It’s what I grew up with. It’s the ritual of playing records, collecting records, discovering treasure hidden in the grooves. Dealing with vinyl records is so labor intensive, it’s not for just anyone; playing, caring for, and collecting vinyl is a holistic pursuit because you are a very active part of the process, you have to interact with the medium, you have to care. I dig the participation in vinyl, you know? As for the record as an “object” as opposed to downloading and storing a digital file, vinyl is attractive to me because of the size of it, the object-ness, its many parts. Also, I am a graphic designer so of course the cover art makes me high. Yes it’s great that CDs have shrunk down how much space music storage takes up, and double yes it’s great that the digital revolution had made it even smaller and taken the emphasis off our obsession with rarity, collecting, and objects in general, but Hell, call me old fashioned; I love vinyl all the same, and the evils of capitalistic materialism be damned!
Q: Any words from deep within?
A: share the wealth – pass along the good word, that music is the healer and vinyl is the medium. Support current artists that still have the cojones to put out 7”, 10” and 12” plastic! Having records around is like possessing an art collection – enjoy it on your own level, but don’t forget to share it, don’t be greedy like a banker, just let the public enjoy it the way you do – so go out and play it at gigs, or do podcasts, trade and lend, pass around CD-R burns of the best stuff to the young.
I meant to post this one a long time ago but life caught up. Better late than never!
Check out our good friend Travis Jensen (a.k.a. the SF Masher) being interviewed in Juxtapoz Magazine. The opening photograph with Travis standing in front of a giant wall of cassette tapes, provides a fitting introduction to how our lives originally intersected.
I've told this story many times, our paths collided through a mutual love of west coast underground rap, trading tapes and stories, and generally geeking out on music. He was the first person to ever play me Joe's music, excitedly I might add, on a short train ride to Shane Nesbitt's Below the Surface store in Burlingame. Travis went on to write a book of short stories, brave the bright lights of the big city, and as Issac mentioned "make it" where others before him have failed. Travis' story is familiar but inspiring.
He also wrote the liner notes for the back cover of The Walk which has always been a favorite of mine. Stories like those have always meant more to us than selling cd's. He also hosted the Walk release party in San Francisco.
Travis Jensen is currently writing a novel, raising his newborn son Stan, hanging with his beautiful wife Eva, curating art shows, and engaging in a newly found obsession with photography. We are proud to count him as a friend.
In a semi related observation, is it just me or do writers gravitate to photography because it is the antithesis to the structured discipline of writing? All of my big-brained friends have caught the shutter bug, some hobbyists and some doing it professionally, but all seem to comment on being drawn to the rush of pulling the trigger and it's now or never finality.
The Beatroot Bodega was a complete success! Thanks to Kavet/Lightsleepers crew for hosting the event. While the turn out could have been better, I think this first run was a good gauge for future possibilities. The Fresh Cafe venue was really great, spacious, and not too hot after they turned up the fans. I might be getting old (or deaf) but I would have turned down the music from the dj booth just a hair. Otherwise the dj sets themselves were sick. I really loved the Controller 7 - Egg blend thing Observ did.
In total there were seven vendors selling everything from jazz, to Hawaiian, to rock, to reggae, to hip-hop. The father/son vendor team with the psych rock had some amazing pieces at good prices. That genre is basically completely missing from local record stores so it was a treat to see those titles in the "flesh," and not just online.
Hungry Ear was killing it as usual with some impossibly rare Hawaiian LP's (I've never seen that Tony Tam Sing in person and they had 2!) and the jazz guys at the first booth, had a lot of great stuff as well. Everything was reasonable.
We sold a bunch of drum breaks, punk, jazz, and funk. I think we'll do a dollar bin next time and also bring some heavier pieces too. Here's some of the stuff we sold:
Hopefully by the time Beatroot Bodega 2 rolls around the next Cali Classics release will be out by then. Thanks to all who purchased records and who love music as much as we do!
Bay Area to Hawaii - Matt Gamin / Abomination Oner - Savages EP
The strange connection between the Bay Area and Hawaii is undeniable. If I told you any number of the stories I've collected, of friends crossing paths in either city, you wouldn't believe me.
And no matter how many times these coincidences continue to reassert themselves I'm still amazed. Maybe it's that the world isn't as big as we think, or perhaps that like minds end up finding each other, no matter what.
Whatever the reason here is yet another Bay/Hawaii connection for you. San Jose rapper Matt Gamin of Lurk Music, has joined forced with Abomination Oner (of Kaneohe), to create Lurk's second release, the Savages EP.
Ironically Abomination Oner, though from Hawaii, creates a decidedly apocalyptic "San Jose sound" which works perfectly with Matt Gamin's gritty delivery. The Savages EP provides a breath of fresh air during a time fraught with throw backs, imitators, and in betweeners.
Thankfully it looks like this geographic sound clash will only continue to get stronger. I overheard a rumor that Computer Chip/Megabusive and Omega Six will be joining Matt Gamin and Abomination Oner on a future track.
After much hard work, trial and tribulation, my best friend Leila (a.k.a Topic,) has finally posted her wedding photography site, for all the world to see! Adjectives like effortless, clean, and timeless come to mind when browsing through the gallery.
Now based in Los Angeles, Leila has been quietly building an amazing portfolio of her latest work. What I love most about these images, beyond the technical skill, is her innate sense of the perfect moment. True passion is contagious...I love my friends!
I am beyond excited for the new documentary, To Have and To Hold, which chronicles the sickness we call vinyl collecting. Unlike a lot of movies about digging, which I find can be a bit boring (I can only watch someone digging through a crate for so long..), it seems like To Have And To Hold explores some of the deeper reasons of why we are all so eternally addicted.
I was just having a conversation about this with a good friend. ... Albums are like time machines. Records transport us to different times in our lives. They remind us of where we were when we first heard a song, where we were when we found that particular record, who we were with, what we were doing. Files will never be able to replicate this experience.
Each mythical disc is encoded with the dna of some moment that has passed. Records are vessels for conveying ideas, thoughts, emotions, time and place. They go far beyond mere sentimentality, but they are that too.
The ritual of listening to a record is transformative. A heady alchemy is evoked from the very first rotation. A completely unscientific mixture builds. Cover art and liner notes draw us in, enhancing the mood. Then the music takes over, the sonic warmth floating effortlessly off the grooves.
Throw on a Public Enemy record and you can almost imagine what it's like to be 12 again. This is the power of listening to a record, and the reason why it remains important to us, to release vinyl every chance we get.
There is also the thrill of the hunt, but I'll save that for a future entry.
Join us at Hawaii's version of Los Angeles' Beat Swapmeet. The Beatroot Bodega, organized by Kavet the Catalyst, is this Saturday, March, 25, at Fresh Cafe.
Even before I realized we had a large circle of mutual friends I was bumpin' the hell out of this new mix "Eighties Ladies" by DJ Shred One from San Francisco's Sweaterfunk Crew. Her blog confirms that we both share a big love of modern soul, eighties funk , San Francisco, and Little Dragon. Not to be missed!
By the way, she has another mix called Love Space that you should also check out if you get a chance. I wish people played this kind of stuff in Hawaii : /
Many thanks to @emynd for helping me with the video and to all our homies who have been supporting. It's truly humbling. Just wait for what we have in store for Asita Recordings and Cali Classics this year. More follow-through in 2010!
Ah, the GI posts keep on comin'! Here's the video flyer for the Cold Hand In The Dice Game release party that will be going down this weekend. Video courtesy of Thuggy Fresh.
Grand Invincible cd release party for their new album "Cold Hand in the Dice Game" Featuring live performances by Grand Invincible Sequenced Mindset & Fist Fam and as always COMPLETELY FREE! Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 10:00pm Tee Off Bar & Grill 3128 Clement st San Francisco, CA
You gotta love P-minus dropping knowledge. Apparently this has been reissued on cd-r (a lot of people have asked us about SFSM stuff in the past) via P's Dusty Tapes series. What you know about Knot Tight??
If you love underground hip hop, then you surely keep SFSM high upon the rap altar as one of the most respected crews ever, though during their heyday they rarely got the props they deserved. This release cements them as major players in the game.
It was originally released on a 90-minute tape in 1996 as “The Defiant Ones” and then later shortened and edited in the “Still Defiant” tape. In 2002 the bonus tracks were restored and this came out briefly on cd for the first time. Now it’s back on CD-R in ATAK's “Dusty Tapes” series so it can teach hip hop history 101 to a whole new generation of fans. The disc has 28 tracks, lasts almost 71 minutes and features Chaz, Ko-1, Jess, Joe Dub, PK, AC75, Big Shawn, Shon Rich, Degree and Po’eM (Knot Tight).
Subtitle - Leggings are the style of the day [video]
Peep out Gino's new video produced by Robby Massey. Also make sure to check out his giovannimarks.net blog. He has a lot of interesting things to say and a mind worth getting to know. With any luck we'll figure out this digital conversion thing and be able to post some old school Westcoast Workforce videos for you soon.......la2thebay rolling out to shows in 99, gino and joe on the cal train, p-minus slanging tapes at shows..
this record took me 4 years to prepare to record. I have lots more songs done but I figured why wait? If you like it, your money goes to what you will read about ad nauseum below.... I would have liked to mix and master the record, but to do it right costs money and I'm not Ras Kass, so Kickstart wasn't a successful option for me to explore. originally the plan was to raise money to make this record the right way, but now I'm about to sell my computer to pay back rent and I need to find a solution to a future of couch surfing. the moral of the story is that anything of assigned value costs to make and refine to the point where it reaches it's ideal form. just because you got it for free doesn't mean that I made it for free, or that I would be able to KEEP making it for free. art kills, but it also costs. (oh yeah, I always give away goodies because sharing is caring and I'm out to share information.)
Everyone in the music industry, both in the underground and mainstream is losing their shit trying to find the next IT thing. Whether that be in the way they market acts, the whole free mp3 thing, band camp, twitter, or the limited edition idea, which becomes meaningless at a certain point, it all seems to be pointing to the same conclusion. The music "industry" of old is dead. People are bombarded and don't buy CD's anymore. El-P, Sole, and Subtitle among others in different ways, have hinted at the necessity to break the chains of convention and look for fresh ideas and new models for gaining fans and prosperity.
As I've stated in the past, I think that one of these new methods is next level packaging. The idea is create a tangible object worth having and the consumers will follow. We've already seen it with Stones Throw and Rhymesayers. I predict this will definitely be emulated in the future and will set those who can afford such luxurious packages apart from the rest.
But I digress! This post is really about the great Ego Trip/Quannum/etc. cover design artist Brent Rollins. He's most recently responsible for the Jake One/Freeway cover and seems like a very down to earth artist. He has some interesting thoughts related to my little diatribe above. Can anyone confirm or deny whether or not "Understanding Mass Media" by Jeff Schrank was an influence on the design of the Ego Trip books?
When I work with large labels it’s like pulling teeth just getting them to use something like a metallic ink on an album cover. Sometimes they talk about something like 5 cents out of a dollar extra to do something. I know that adds up when you’re printing a lot of them, but we’re talking about giving something back to people. You know, before, back in the day in the 70s, early 80s, there were no music videos. Music videos took away the money that was allocated towards record packaging, they became the primary way of letting people now about an artist. Now at a certain point, they started spending all this money on music videos and not every music video could be seen. No one was really thinking, they got into this robot, auto-pilot mode, where it’s like, now we’re doing music videos and that’s where all te money goes. No one was really thinking about how we get people’s attention when people don’t even watch music videos anymore. Record labels, any kind of big company, they get slow and they get out of touch with people. That’s what happens.
TRU: Do you have any advice for people trying break into design, or just something you want to get off your chest? Nah, man, just don’t bite. Study your lessons, study the masters and work on bringing your own personality into it. Create concepts and ideas, not just eye candy.
Luke Sick and Grand Invincible - Ultra Limited Collector Pack
Always raising the bar Grand Invincible (Luke Sick's new group) is back with a beautiful deluxe package for their second record Cold Hand In The Dice Game. You've got to give it up for folks that still care enough to put out both quality music and packaging for their fans. If people only knew how much time, effort, nagging, blood, sweat, and tears went in to project like these!
As I always say.. you can't download passion...
Time to geek out!
Grand Invincible “Cold Hand In The Dice Game” LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE Extremely limited version of GI’s brand new 2nd album. Includes CHITDG CD, signed & numbered 11” x 11” print of the cover by Eric Kneeland, promo version of the “Purse Thieves” 12” with a handmade cover, 2 buttons, a zine, stickers, etc. Limited to 61 copies!
13 tracks to furthering the GI movement, based on the philosophy that hip-hop as an art form was best served under the technological limitations of the late-80s and early-90s and that the best hip hop records were made using records. Featuring all original artwork by Eric Kneeland inspired by 60’s horror comic books.
Trailer for upcoming documentary film Hypnotic which chronicles the band The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
New York-based jazz group featuring 8 sons of Phil Cohran on horns. Originally from Chicago, the brothers started as a street ensemble before recording in 2004.
I heard about the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble a few years ago when videos of their amazing sidewalk performances began cropping up on the internet. The sound was so beautiful, soaring, expansive, and harmonious, it was hard not to instantly fall in love. Since then they've gone from street performers to coveted guests on albums by Mos Def, Erykah Badu, and most recently on the Gorillaz record. They also released a couple of solo albums on Honest Johns.
Hypnotic Brass playing Art of Noise' - Moments in Love.
He's a living cartoon! Z-Man took a break from working on his album 6 Pack Of Dynamite to meet up with Em Dub for a quick interview at BOAC's studio off Divisadero. They talk about his new EP, Show Up Shut Up And Rap, dropping March 2nd, how long he's been rapping, when 6 Pack Of Dynamite is coming out, One Block Radius, and so much more.
Z-man - Show Up Shut Up and Rap EP [free download]
Z-man is a one of a kind. Been looking forward to some new Z shit for a long time. This free EP does not disappoint, featuring: Bored Stiff, Eddie Def, Eddie K., and more. Check it out!
Z-Man is back with his first solo effort since 2005's 'Don't Forget To Brag' with 'Show Up, Shut Up and Rap' off SF indie label Machete Vox. The 8 song, free-downloadable EP is much like a painters pallete, covering a wide spectrum of styles from cold lyricism on "Go Hard," to tales of bittersweet love on "Cupcakin" and party rockin on "Gurp Logo." With production from fellow San Francisco natives Boac and DNAEBEATS (producer and fulltime DJ for Gift Of Gab – Blackalicious), 'Show Up, Shut Up and Rap' finds Z in a new place sonically, but as with each preceding album it's the world he builds around the beats that make his work so unique. As he put it, "We have a gang of rappers, but there are only a few who stick out. Do you want to be another face in the crowd, or do you wanna be noticed?" With 'Show Up, Shut Up and Rap' there is no question Z-Man will stand out, and set the precedent for 'Six Pack Of Dynamite' which is to follow later this year.
The homie Jusoneo and his wife Celskiii a.k.a Mama Funk (along with many other talented dj's...Im a big fan of the modern soul stuff Chungtech plays) will be hosting a new radio show called Accepted Eclectic on Wednesdays. Check it out!
Another one via HW&W. Anyone have this? I wouldn't mind a copy. Didn't know Leila was on it. Jus?
Jundax a.k.a. Kea a.k.a. Kaos was a member of the formative Hawaii crew Hidden Habitats and later branched out to do a lot of solo stuff, including some guest spots with Ceschi and La2thebay (see Raj's - Conscious Contemplation CD), as well as collaborations with the group INK and Private School. Consistently it was her clever use of double entendre, and her flowing stream of consciousness style, which demanded repeat listens and which set her music apart and made it fresh.
INK consisted of Da Golden Ray and Ian Johnson an amazing painter who specializes in jazz portraits. Ian's done stellar work in the past for Wax Poetics and WESC among others and was responsible for the cover art for Joe Dub's Pooretry.
We've also redone the front of the site to include some of the newest items to hit the store. This includes the Ghesol - Chin Music CD (a must have album from Hawaii), Deeskee's picture disc (ltd to 300 copies) with Ikey of Mars Volta, and Factor's newest compilation 13 Stories. Full overhaul coming soon.
Also stay tuned for Cali Classics Vol. 1 - Ellay Khule - Rifleman b/w Knuckle Sandwich 45. It's coming next week!
This film project has been a long time coming and to be honest I didn't know if it was still happening. But thanks to a helpful daedelus_music tweet I was not only informed that it was out, but that you could view a mini version for free for a week via Pitchfork TV. I haven't had a chance to watch yet, but based on the trailers this is a must watch for all record lovers and beat makers. Secondhand Sureshots is a filmed experiment in creative sound recycling. Dublab Dublab directors Bryan “Morpho” Younce & Mark "frosty" McNeill sent beatmakers Daedelus, Nobody, J.Rocc and Ras G on safari into L.A. thrift stores with orders to make new music out of five finds while the cameras filmed the whole process. The result is a mini-documentary about putting new life into old vinyl. Over 2 hours of footage, music & bonus material.
Here's another rare tape that was never officially released. Features the genius of one Dave Dub along with Peanut Butter Wolf, Fanatic, and D.J. Stephan. If you guys have an rare tape scans you want to submit, hit me up at email@example.com. There are big things coming to Asita soon!
Here's proof positive that an actual copy of this tape exists. Not that we have it. We lent it out and only have the cover. Check out the Goodlife DVD for the full story on Jean in the front row, a die hard patron of the Goodlife. This tape contains some of Tray Loc's hardest raps and some of my favorite CV beats as well. Will try to dig up a fifth gen dub of the song "Loco Motive" (imperator put it on his radio show I believe). Loco Motive was the song featuring Jyant of Figures of Speech and NGAFish!
Be sure to check out Eddie K's new album Future Spit out on I-tunes. He is one of the most underrated rappers from the Bay. Also trip off the song he guests on for Joe's new album Praise Dirt. It features some of the Bay's best including Ad Kapone of Totally Insane and Chunk!
After dropping his group album with Brandon B, TRUNK DRANK - We Got Trunk Drank, last year S.F. vet Eddie K is back with his new solo Future Spit on Gurp City
1. Bananas 3:29 2. Grindish (feat. Philo) 4:27 3. Gurp City USA 3:21 4. She Wanna Ride (feat. Mike Marshall & Bo Rat) 4:31 5.Hustleman 4:34 6. Gurpfam (feat. Philo, Frost & John Boy) 5:58 7. Gurp All Night (feat. Lush One) 3:42 8. Ball 2 This (feat. Brandon B & Equipto) 3:35 9. Future Spit [Explicit] 4:40 10. Ready To Go (feat. CJ Story) 3:09 11. Hustleman (Remix) 4:37 12. The Game's So Easy (feat. Mac Dre & Spank Pops) 4:02 13. Last Song (Feat. Bruno, Sick Yg, Akil, A-Jax, Word Smith, Kristo & Fdog) out 2/16
This post (originally discovered via the Cocaine Blunts tumblr) brought a smile to my face. It's hard to believe that it's been sixteen years since Word of Mouth dropped. From what I've heard less than 300 of these tapes were made. They were then mostly sold hand to hand, or via P-minus' mail order distro ATAK. WOM was recorded in the early days of SFSM when it was just the founding members of the group, Charlie and Corey.
For those who don't know San Francisco Street Music was a tight knit group of friends/musicians that came up in the city in the early to mid 90's. What was dope about street music was the level of honesty and passion that dripped from every song. They often stated that their goal was to make enduring music for the every man. I think they've succeeded.
This rediscovery comes at the perfect time as we've just cracked open a number of boxes from our storage in San Francisco. Among the hundreds of cassettes and video tapes in those boxes, we found a one of a kind WOM "outtakes" cassette that we'll be scanning in soon. It's also the perfect segue to our tape trading post which will include a lot of crazy finds. Stay tuned for that.
Luke Sick is one of my favorite writers because he gets the context of the music he reviews, champions, or talks shit about. As a fellow music nerd he knows his stuff. Oh yeah and on top of writing reviews and archiving he's an even better rapper.