Despite most of the electronic music industry decamping to Amsterdam for the week, there have still been plenty of gems floating around out there. This Friday our favourites from the past week include a couple of poorly filmed bits of video gold, a nice surprise of a tribute record, a chopped and screwed mixtape and a look at some surprisingly under appreciated icons.
Legowelt and Willie Burn explore ‘Relics of the Past’
It may look like it hails from the lowest budget outreaches of 90’s television obscurity, but this 11 minute video is in fact the first of a new ‘series’ starring Legowelt and Willie Burns. ‘Playing’ perma-stoned goofballs the pair are first seen skating around a seaside town (possibly The Hague?), before they mess around on some modular synth gear. Things then take a freaky detour with the introduction of ‘The Professor’ – played by Dutch producer Jeroen Warmenhoven (aka. Dream Disco), who enters the fray sporting a wide brimmed hat that would make Pharrell jealous. Badly acted lo-fi silliness involving an ancient tribal ritual and some ridiculous special effects ensues to round off the opener of what promises to be a thoroughly weird endeavour. Those prone to motion sickness may wish to steer clear of this shaky camera filled series – although with an aesthetic that blurs ‘You’ve Been Framed’ with ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ and a very Legowelt sounding synth soundtrack, we can’t help but look forward to more ‘Relics of the Past’.
A classically tragic case of an artist unappreciated in their own liftime, Arthur Russell’s death from AIDS in 1992 robbed music of one of its most unique talents. Posthumously his influence has been vast, with one of the most recent example’s of his legacy in effect coming in the form of James Blake and Airhead naming their label 1-800-DINOSAUR after an unfinished album of Russell’s. As Andy Battaglia explains writing for NPR, despite his obvious impact on so many artists, tribute albums for Russell are generally problematic affairs due to his “truly inimitable character”. Nonetheless, ‘Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell’, which has been put together for AIDS charity Red Hot Organization – makes a pretty good stab at paying homage.
Capturing variously the danceable and vulnerable sides to Russell’s oeuvre these covers from the likes of José Gonzalés, Robyn and Blood Orange are varied interpretations that manage to nicely capture the artist’s essence. The whole thing is available to stream here, although if you only listen to one, we would heartily recommend Hot Chip’s rangy rework of ‘Go Bang’.
Erykah Badu goes busking
Equally low production values and high entertainment on this next one, starring none other than Neo-Soul legend Erykah Badu. Here Erykah tries her hand at busking in Times Square – making little effort to disguise herself before. Deciding against drawing from her illustrious back catalog, she instead harangue strangers with a rendition “Please, please give me your money, I don’t want to get no job”. Still, its surprising to see that at the end of all this she comes away with a paltry $3.60 (£2.24) – proving once again that the general public’s taste is questionable at best.
An interesting article here from Brent DiCrescenzo writing for Time Out Chicago. He highlights the disparity in perception of Chicago House Music, painting a picture of reverence over in Europe and indifference back in its birthplace. Starting by visiting the old site of the late Frankie Knuckles seminal Warehouse club – now a “law office specializing in defending the police”. DiCrescenzo contrasts this depressing image by paying a visit to see Chi-Town legend Lil Louis playing to thousands at last month’s Ceremony Festival in North London. Lil Louis he says, has only played his hometown twice in two years – and both times in decidedly obscure venues, with bigger clubs generally filled with the jump up stylings of EDM and Dubstep. Perhaps consulting Duke Dumont about Britain’s infatuation with Chicago House is misguided, although in general the article does well in drawing attention to a what is a puzzling phenomenon.
More free chopped and screwed mix stylings from Edwards with the third edition of the ‘Slowed Down Funk’ series so far this year. The Los-Angeles based son of Hellboy (sorry we can’t get over it!) takes you through sonic quicksand into a gloopy mire of pitched down RnB vox, sluggish rapping and plenty of tape hiss with this mish mash of original material and edits.