Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not Bad For A Magazine Guy

Berlin's DJ T (Thomas Koch)

So now you know. Yours truly is not the only brilliant (please read that with its implied irony) DJ with the first initial "T" who also happens to be a magazine employee. DJ T (above) is the founder (in 1989) of German dance rag Groove, and more recently started the dominent electrohouse label, Get Physical, also known as Physical-Music. (Speaking of "T"'s, there's also Thomas Venker of Köln's Intro Magazine, also a DJ, and noted owner of Onitor Recordings--quite an interesting label indeed.) How dominent is Get Physical? Let's just say that Sasha and his ilk have been ditching trance faster than the EU Constitution for T's brand o' Italo/acid/electro-inspired digital funk.

As for the DJ T(o-m-a-s) who's typing this post, you'll have your chance to throw tomatoes in my direction at the following: Friday June 3 at Bottom of the Hill in SF, with local band Tussle and NYC/Sacto's Out Hud. Expect me to try and connect the dots between these band's diverse influences (On-U Sounds, Can, A Certain Ratio, dub, Kraftwerk, Trax Records etc.) Not that I have any tunes by the aforementioned (scroll down). You can also shout obscenities at me on Sunday June 19 at SF's intimate Madrone Lounge on Divisadero at Fell with DJs Ruben, Ras Cue and more (early sets: 8PM-12AM). This neighborhood (the Divisadero/lower Haight corridor) now has so many cannabis dispensaries that I refer to the area as Little Amsterdam. Grab that nickname and run with it.

(Louie Culture)

So what to play? If its reggae then I'll probably run the following riddims that have been holding their corner in my dubbox: Truth & Rights (both versions), Clockwise, Blaze, Lava Ground, Great Train Robbery among others.

Some new selections just in: Louie Culture's fine "Safe & Secure" on Digital B's lick of "Hold On" (same riddim as Sizzla's "Words of Devine"), Digital B also has a nice new version of Studio One classic Vanity/I'm Just A Guy with Shabba Ranks's "When You're Up." Also revived is Gregory Isaac's Hard Drugs riddim, on which artist of the moment Fantan Mojah's "Authentic Love" is the choice track (you'll also find Sizzla, Perfect, Lukie D and Buju on same).

Not sure how I slept on Yellow Moon label's Real Life riddim, but this beautiful one-drop lick has fantastic sides from Sugar Roy & Conrad Crystal, Richie Spice and my key track of the moment, lyrically and otherwise: Hero's "Down in The Ghetto". Also known as Little Hero, this singjay's track is featured on Jet Star's standout collection "Reggae Hits 34"--a double CD, worth every shilling. Its one of the only places you'll track down the BBC 1Xtra chart-topping track by Beenie Man & Devonte "Imagination," plus hits like Perfect's "Handcart Boy," and Singing Melody covering R&B crooner Mario's "Let Me Love You" (and bettering it!).

(The Emperor Machine)

But I can't survive a gig on a dub box alone, so enter a smattering of disco wax and some bleery, 1AM posting commentary:

Barfly "This Ain't The Place" (Coco Machete) is SF's Ben Cook (a.k.a. Stranger) who cranks out another black & white discohouse number that recalls the era when every dance record had a live bass line, preferably from Larry Graham.

Ken (From East Coast Boogiemen) "Tales From The Junkyard" (Deepfunk) is house that'll shatter some glasses with its compressed bassline wallops. "Dance Samba" on the B-side is exactly as advertised: one for Da Lata fans.

Hiroshi Watanabe "Point of Life" (Klik) The Germans who sent me this label it deep house/tribal, which I only agree with because I was in LA when DJs like Doc Martin were small-time, and playing ambient house tracks like this to crowds of less than 200. If you're nostalgic for Jam & Spoon or know the work of the Italian producer Don Carlos, you'll like this.

Talked about DJ T above. Needless to say his "Boogie Playground" (Get Physical) album soars, especially as it was co-produced by those cool hand luke's themselves--Booka Shade. Pretty much pick up anything by DJ T, M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade and your sunglasses will work at night.

Gui Boratto "Sunrise" (Plastic City) Obviously no one told this guy that tech-house is dead. Which is why his 128BPM jazz gem just skips along to its own hop-scotch groove. With flute solos that would make Bobbi Humphrey smi,le Boratto blends tight tech sounds with loose broken grooves.

Chicken Lips's Andew Meecham's The Emperor Machine project will surely be in the spotlight of my Bottom of the Hill DJ set--and both 12" singles in the "Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise" series (on DC Recordings) are thick with analog bass stabs and the percussive tilt of Can. Also on DC--White Light Circus (aka Dean "Bizarre Inc" Meredith) also flirts with prehistoric drum machines, weird C3PO noises and tunk-a-lunk Fender riffage.

Now, lets see if I can make a pillow outta this stack of records...