Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 22: The Year In Happy Hardcore—1994

This week we're tackling a touchy subject: Happy Hardcore. This genre, defined by its fast tempo, stompy drums, and aggressively optimistic piano rave melodies, is perhaps one of the most maligned genres ever. Much like disco, it's trashed mostly out of ignorance.
Happy hardcore grew out of UK rave at the same time as jungle, and was really delightful for the first few years of its existence. It then went on a pretty fast downward slide, losing a lot of the original rave/jungle elements that made it so great—this later-era cheeseball stuff is a big part of the reason for happy hardcore's bad rap. I still stand by the tunes that came out in 1993-1997, and I plan on featuring them in a few mixes over the course of the year. The first is a bunch of tunes from '94.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 22: The Year in Happy Hardcore—1994.
  1. Sy Project; Emotions (Quosh Records)
  2. Vibes & Wishdokta; Feel Good (Asylum Music )
  3. Higher Level; Visions of Light (Zodiac Records)
  4. Naughty Naughty vol. 9; Pride (white)
  5. Ravers Choice vol. 1; Feel Real Good (white)
  6. The Beatmen; Seventh Way (4 The Floor Recordings)
  7. Naughty Naughty vol. 10; Voodoo Ray (white)
  8. Spicelab; The Spirit of Fear (Harthouse)
  9. Higher Level; Feel The Sky (Zodiac Records)
  10. Slipmatt; Hear Me (Awesome Records)
  11. Naughty Naughty vol. 5; Stay Here (white)
  12. SMD Vol. 2; Side B (white)
  13. Higher Level; I Need You Now (Zodiac Records)
  14. 4 The Floor vol. 5; Side A (4 The Floor Recordings)
  15. DJ Seduction; My Own (Slipmatt Remix) (Impact Records)
  16. Naughty Naughty vol. 7; Where Love Lives (white)
  17. Bass Selective; Blow Out Jungle VIP (S.O.U.R.)
  18. VW001; Sweet Love (white)
  19. SMD vol. 3; Vol. 1 Remix (white)
  20. S&A; Peaked Up (4 The Floor Recordings)
  21. Force & Evoluion; Perfect Dreams (Vibes & Wishdokta Remix) (Knite Force)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 21: '90s Dance Pop

Ten weeks ago, I made a mixtape of classic 1990s vocal house tunes. In my little introductory blurb, I wrote the following:
"Oh, and before you mention it, here's what I have NOT included: What is Love, Rhythm is a Dancer, Another Night, For What You Dream Of, Mr. Vain, Strike It Up, Be My Lover, The Vengabus, or Barbie Girl. That is not house music. I love it, but it is not house music. Another day, another tape."
Ladies and gentlemen, here is that tape.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 21: '90s Dance Pop.
  1. Snap!; The Power
  2. C+C Music Factory feat. Freedom Williams; Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)
  3. Black Box; Strike It Up
  4. Madonna; Vogue
  5. Crystal Waters; 100% Pure Love
  6. Black Box; Everybody Everybody (Le Freak Mix)
  7. Technotronic; Move This
  8. Deee-Lite; Groove Is In The Heart (Chrissy Re-Edit)
  9. Robin S; Show Me Love (12" Mix)
  10. Army Of Lovers; Crucified (Chrissy Re-Edit)
  11. The KLF; 3AM Eternal (Live At The SSL)
  12. Technotronic; Pump Up The Jam
  13. Snap!; Rhythm Is A Dancer
  14. Haddaway; What Is Love?
  15. Bloodhound Gang; The Bad Touch
  16. Everything But The Girl; Missing (Todd Terry Remix)
  17. Bizarre Inc. feat. Angie Brown; I'm Gonna Get You
  18. Technotronic; Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)
  19. 2 Unlimited; Twilight Zone
  20. Rozalla; Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)
  21. Jimmy Somerville; Heartbeat
  22. Bedrock feat. KYO; For What You Dream Of
  23. Gigi D'Agostino; The Riddle
  24. Culture Beat; Mr. Vain
  25. The Real McCoy; Another Night
  26. Corona; The Rhythm of the Night
  27. Aqua; Barbie Girl
  28. La Bouche; Be My Lover
  29. Alice Deejay; Better Off Alone
  30. ATC; Around The World
  31. Sonique; It Feels So Good
  32. The Real McCoy; Run Away
  33. Ace of Base; Beautiful Life
  34. The Vengaboys; Boom Boom Boom Boom
  35. The Vengaboys; We Like To Party (The Vengabus)
  36. Pharao; I Show You Secrets
  37. Aqua; Lollipop
NEXT WEEK: The Year in Happy Hardcore—1994.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week 19: Kraftwerk

These famous steely Germans are the most important and influential European music act of the 20th century, period. (I am prepared to go to the mat over this statement.) Without them, there would be no techno, no synth pop, no new wave, and no hip-hop as we know them (which isn't to say that they invented any of those; they didn't. They just ended up having a big influence on the people who did go on to invent them). Basically, they started out as proggy art-rock band, got into electronics, started making their own instruments and by 1974 were making super-rigid 100% electronic pop tunes. By 1977, said pop tunes got picked up by New York disco DJs, who were always hunting for something new and different and odd and pulsating and yadda yadda yadda. Among these were the first wave of hip hop DJs (Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, etc.), who absolutely ate the stuff up. As Detroit techno legend Carl Craig said, "Kraftwerk were so stiff, they were funky."

So Kraftwerk became part of a sea-change in the then-fledgling hip hop scene: things moved away from party raps over disco records, and toward sparse futuristic compositions made from scratch with drum machines, synths, and samplers. 30 years later, mainstream hip hop still has as much in common with Kraftwerk as it does with, say, Motown.

It's a similar story with techno, in fact—as well as with synth pop, new wave, and a long list of other genres: disco + Kraftwerk = bizarre new hybrid genre with lots of crazy electronic gadgets and a bunch of futuristic posturing. Like many artists lucky enough to have a nearly 40-year career, Kraftwerk have had an interesting career arc: they've gone from being groundbreaking visionaries who changed modern music to largely mimicking the new styles they helped inspire. While their new records can't be called innovative, they're often still quite good.

Anyway, I've whipped up a mix which I hope will appeal to both hardcore Kraftwerk fans, people who hate Kraftwerk, and people who know nothing about Kraftwerk. Part one contains most of the really essential Kraftwerk tunes: the stuff you NEED to be familiar with to be considered culturally literate tbh. The second part is all the stuff that has borrowed from Kraftwerk. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, all of it is beyond what these four Germans could've imagined in 1977.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 19, Part 1: What you absolutely must know of Kraftwerk.

  1. Kraftwerk; Trans-Europe Express (1977)
  2. Kraftwerk; The Model (1978)
  3. Kraftwerk; The Robots (1978)
  4. Kraftwerk; The Man Machine (1978)
  5. Kraftwerk; It's More Fun To Compute / Home Computer (1981)
  6. Kraftwerk; Numbers / Computer World 2 (1981)
  7. Kraftwerk; Tour De France (François K. Remix) (1983)
  8. Kraftwerk; Computer Love (Remix) (1991)
Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 19, Part 2: Kraftwerk's influence on the rest of us.
  1. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force; Planet Rock (Tommy Boy, 1982)
  2. The Egyptian Lover; Egypt Egypt (Freak Beat Records, 1984)
  3. B.O.S.E.; Rock The World (Rock Well, 1987)
  4. Techmaster P.E.B.; Bass Computer (Newtown Music, 1991)
  5. Fergie; Fergalicious (A&M, 2006)
  6. 2 Live Crew; D.K. Almighty (Luke Skyywalker, 1989)
  7. The Fearless Four; Rockin' It (Enjoy Records, 1982)
  8. MC A.D.E.; Bass Rock Express (4 Sight Records, 1985)
  9. Coldplay; Talk (EMI, 2005)
  10. Big Black; The Model (Touch & Go, 1987)
  11. Miss Kittin & The Hacker; Uno (International Deejay Gigolo Records, 1999)
  12. Frank De Wulf presents B-Sides Vol. 1; Reforced (Music Man, 1990)
  13. Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto; Home Computer (Emperor Norton; 1999)
  14. 6Blocc; Digits (LoDubs, 2007)
  15. Turf Talk f. Kaveo & Young Mugzi; Do The Robot (Sick Wid'It Records, 2004)
  16. DJ Rashad; Compute (Juke Trax, 2007)
  17. Godz of the Quad; We Comin' (Cut It Up Def, 1998)