Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 9: Ambient Jungle

Imagine yourself in 1994. The whole jungle thing is kicking off big time, and you love it, but you happen to have this other side—maybe it's an artsy-fartsy ambient "let's smoke a bowl and talk about the universe" side, or perhaps it's a wannabe-jazz-musician "one of these days I'm gonna learn to play vibes just like Roy Ayers" side, or maybe you're just one of those pretentious types who thinks this whole jungle thing would be a delight if only there were some intellectuals like you to make it inscrutable to the unwashed masses.
Back in the day all three of those somewhat unseemly forces united and churned out a sound referred to as "ambient jungle", "atmospheric jungle", "jazz jungle", "intelligent drum & bass", "artcore", and a few dozen other names that the press tried to push out there but that never really stuck.
This stuff was adored by the critics back in the day (I remember reviews from the jungle section in Urb saying "thank goodness this new Reinforced comp doesn't have any stinking AMENS in it"), but it's been pretty much forgotten today. On the rare occasions when people do bring up this genre, it's usually to malign it (my pal and sometimes collaborator DJ C hates the stuff, for instance).
Make no mistake, a bunch of ambient jungle was awful. It sounds like an advertisement for body lotion that you might see on Lifetime, or like the music they play in Pottery Barn. But then again, a lot of it was really good, and due to prevailing tastes in jungle at large, I never ever get a chance to play this stuff. So here goes.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 9: Ambient Jungle

  1. Blame; Groove Research (Movin' Shadow)
  2. Cloud Nine; Blissful Ignorance (Tango Remix) (Movin' Shadow)
  3. D'Cruze; Heaven (Suburban Base)
  4. Eddie; Intelligent Drummer (One Touch Recordings)
  5. DJ Food; Fungle Junk (Ninja Tune)
  6. Essence of Aura; Let Love Shine Through (Movin' Shadow)
  7. Tek 9; Slow Down (Nookie Remix) (Reinforced)
  8. Jazz Juice; Jazz Juice (Precious Materials)
  9. DJ Krush feat. Black Thought & Malik B; Meiso (4Hero Remix) (Mo'Wax)
  10. Run Tings & Liftin' Spirits; Invincible (Suburban Base)
  11. The Noise of Art; Rollin' Deep (Smokey Joe Remix—Chrissy Re-Edit) (Suburban Base)
  12. Omni Trio; Renegade Snares (Foul Play Remix) (Movin' Shadow)
  13. Red One; Alive & Kicking (Remix) (Liftin' Spirits)
  14. Flynn & Flora; Dream Of You (Independent Dealers)
  15. Boogie Times Tribe; My Soul (Roni Size & Krust Remix) (Suburban Base)
  16. SDS; Future Feelings (Echo Drop)
  17. The Art of Noise; Island (Seiji Remix) (China)
  18. Jason Mouse; Better World (Sm:)e)
  19. DJ Phantasy; Atmosphere (Alex Reece Remix) (Rogue Trooper)
  20. Tek 9; 74 Inches Above Sea Level (SSR)
  21. ILS & G-Force; Nocturnal (Echo Drop)
  22. Rogue Unit; Dance of the Sarooes (Labello Blanco)
  23. Tight Control; Sax Lick 1 (Chrissy Edit) (Bear Necessities)
  24. Mikey James; The Rhys Project (Suburban Base)
  25. A Guy Called Gerald; Life Unfolds His Mystery (Juice Box)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Week 8: Bobby Orlando

This week I've got a two-parter dealing with one guy: the enigmatic and super-influential disco producer Bobby Orlando (aka Bobby'O). Whether you've heard of him or not, you've definitely heard his influence—he basically invented a lot of the dance music clichés of the 1980s and '90s, and while you may not be as fond of said clichés as I am, you still gotta give dude credit for being so dang influential.

That having been said, Bobby'O is an incredibly strange dude—a complete contradiction on a lot of levels. He's a hyper-macho, incredibly cocky, rampantly homophobic ex-boxer who made gay disco. He once backed out of a lease because he found out the previous tenant was gay, yet he produced legendary drag queen Divine, and discovered the Pet Shop Boys. Most of his songs are brazen odes to sex and partying, and yet he's a fundamentalist Christian who penned a (still unpublished) book on creationism called Darwin Destroyed. He created some of the most original dance music of the 1980s, but he seemingly was just as happy to shamelessly plagiarize current dance hits, releasing a slew of blatant soundalikes and proudly referring to himself as "the McDonald's of the dance record industry". He was incredibly prolific, releasing dozens of records each month on the numerous labels he ran, and citing the Bible as his reason: "I'm being fruitful, I'm multiplying," he told The Face in 1987. "I put out more records than anybody in the world; there's nobody that puts out more records than me. If a producer has the ability to put out that many records and he doesn't then he is disobeying God's command." DUDE WAS WEIRD.

So yeah, I felt like to really get a feel for this guy required two mixes. Part 1 is the case for Bobby'O as musical genius: 23 of my fave Bobby Orlando tunes. They may not be lyrical masterpieces, but they are all intensely catchy dance tunes couched in some groundbreaking production techniques, and I fucking adore them.

Part 2 showcases the embarrassing shameless hack side of Bobby'O. It comprises 7 pairs of songs: one big club hit of the 1980s followed by Orlando's transparent theft of said song. This one isn't beatmixed so much as just placed side by side, to keep clear the distinction between the original song and Bobby's rip-off. A few of his ripoffs are great, but most aren't, and even the good ones are still pretty damning from a copyright perspective.

Oh, and one last thing. Check out Bobby's Friendster profile (the real deal). Hilarity.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 8, Part 1: Bobby Orlando, Musical Genius
  1. The Flirts; Calling All Boys (Unidisc)
  2. The Flirts; Helpless (Telefon)
  3. Girly; Trouble (Riovista)
  4. Roni Griffith; Spies (Vanguard)
  5. Pet Shop Boys; One More Chance (Remix) (Bobcat)
  6. Bobby'O; Still Hott 4 U ("O" Records)
  7. Roni Griffith; (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up (Vanguard)
  8. Oh Romeo; One More Shot (Memo)
  9. Girly; Working Girl (One Way Love Affair) ("O" Records)
  10. Malibu; Lust Or Love (Eurobeat)
  11. Boyd Brothers; Keep It Coming (Bobcat)
  12. Charlene Davis; Aggression (Memo)
  13. Lilly & The Pink; Frustration (Memo)
  14. The Flirts; Boy Crazy ("O" Records)
  15. WOW; Magic Man (Young Man Young Man) (Memo)
  16. Oh Romeo; Try It (I'm In Love With A Married Man) (Bobcat)
  17. Malibu; Look At That Boy (Bobcat)
  18. Oh Romeo; Once Is Not Enough (Oh My! Records)
  19. WOW; Bring On The Men (Memo)
  20. Claudja Barry; Born To Love (Personal)
  21. The Flirts; Dancing Madly Backwards (Remix) (Telefon)
  22. Oh Romeo; These Memories (Bobcat)
  23. Malibu; Goin' Cruisin' (Bobcat)
Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 8, Part 2: Bobby Orlando, Rip-Off Artist
  1. The B-52s; Rock Lobster (Sire)
  2. Barbie & The Kens; Just A Gigolo (Vanguard)
  3. Lime; Unexpected Lovers (Matra)
  4. Bobby 'O' & Claudja Barry; Whisper To A Scream (Meno Vision)
  5. New Order; Blue Monday (Factory)
  6. Divine; Love Reaction (Bobcat)
  7. Dead Or Alive; You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Epic)
  8. Girly; Saving Myself ("O" Records)
  9. Stacey Q; 2 Of Hearts (Atlantic)
  10. Hotline; Ready Or Not ("O" Records)
  11. Blondie; Call Me (Chrysalis)
  12. Roni Griffith; Hot Lover (Vanguard)
  13. Patrick Cowley; Menergy (Megatone)
  14. Divine; Shoot Your Shot ("O" Records)

NEXT WEEK: Ambient Jungle.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Week 7: Sleaze Tape

This week I've got a tape of a sub-sub-sub-genre of disco—Sleaze. Back in the day you had these humongous gay clubs (like Trocadero Transfer in San Francisco, or The Saint in New York), and on the weekends they generally chugged along until 10am (or later) in a big drug-fueled dance orgy. "Sleaze" (or "Morning Music", as it was sometimes called) was the term for the slow disco stompers that got played in the wee hours, after 6am or so, when only the hardcore dancers were left. To some DJs this meant happy and melodramatic, to others it meant slow and raunchy...the impression I've always gotten is that if you really wanna split hairs, 'morning music' describes the former and 'sleaze' describes the latter. Anyway, here is a mix of stripped-down slimey sunrise disco to serve as the soundtrack for you and your pals' drug-fueled all-nighters.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 7: Sleaze
  1. Claudja Barry; Love For The Sake Of Love (Casablanca)
  2. Love International; Dance On The Groove & Do The Funk (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Moby Dick)
  3. Donna Summer; Love To Love You Baby (Casablanca)
  4. Peter Brown; Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me (T.K. Disco)
  5. Tamiko Jones; Let It Flow (Tom Moulton Mix) (T.K. Disco)
  6. Jones Girls; You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else (Philadelphia International)
  7. Evelyn Thomas; Heartless (M&M Mix) (Vanguard)
  8. Giorgio Moroder; Too Hot To Touch (Instrumental) (Teldec)
  9. Robey; Bored & Beautiful (Shep Pettibone Mix) (Silver Blue)
  10. Misty Lane; Contrôle (Celsius)
  11. Kid Creole & The Coconuts; I'm A Wonderful Thing, Baby (ZE Records)
  12. Dusty Springfield; Baby Blue (Horse Meat Disco Re-Edit) (Horse Meat Disco)
  13. Sarah Dash; Low Down Dirty Rhythm (Megatone)
  14. Fern Kinney; Groove Me (T.K. Disco)
  15. Boney M; Dancing In The Streets (Sire)
  16. Chris Rainbow; Body Music (Disconet)
  17. Sylvester; I Need Somebody To Love Tonight (Fantasy)
  18. Vera; Don't You Want My Love (Matra)
  19. Sylvester; Give It Up (Don't Make Me Wait) (Fantasy)
  20. Claudja Barry; If I Do It To You (Ensign)
  21. Sinnamon; I Need You Now (Jive)
NEXT WEEK: Bobby Orlando.