the ghost robot -

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Firefox crashed, which means i lost my French crunk post, so here goes version deux. Recappadonna: Justice and sebastiAn are on Ed Bangers, and they do dark electro. Apparently a synthesizer crazed zombie, Kavinsky is another french dude working in the same territory. 20 Jazz Funk Greats has a good name, and just posted a Kavinsky track.

With today's artist, we leave Dr. Dre in 1988 and jump to Lil' Jon in 2004. TTC is three french MCs and DJ Orgasmic. Ceci N'Est Pas un Disque, the title of their 2002 album gives a good idea of their whole artistic program: this isn't the cultural history and context of hip-hop, but the style and representation of rap. TTC don't present themselves as street poets, hustlers or thugs. Instead, they're perfectly comfortable being some smoove guys that like girls, love clubs, and enjoy fitted hats. They just happen to rhyme well (insert forced simile about words flowing like champagne). While you might not understand the words, you'll still feel the beats. While French crunk is a great name for a genre, TTC's beats are much more in tune with contemporary European club hits, and DJ Orgasmic's production adds the digital snaps, crackles and pops in all the right places. This track will be old news for most bloggers, but take a listen if you missed it.

TTC-Dans Le Club

Cuiziner, who's name is an obscene pun on the French verb for cook, is the most charismatic member of the group. He released a "street tape" to the internet last year, which can be seen at left (Or, at up, depending on your browser). The Fader did a piece on TTC a while back, and ended their story with Cuizi-Cuiz speculating that the future of rap music isn't even beats or rhymes, but how Juelz Santana wears his bandana (double-wide, in case you were wondering). Leaving the prognosticating to the glossy magazines, listen how Orgasmic chops the sample up and adds Baltimore Club drums around the 40 second mark.

Cuizinier-Trés Chic (Ft. Teki)

TTC and Cuizi's emphasis on style over substance fits with what I said earlier about Justice and Uffie's focus on attitude and mood over narrative or message. Maybe that's why it's a theme week. Maybe it's something about Paris. For more less musing and more inside jokes, go to myspace. All of the artists I've talked about are on there, and they really want to be your internet friend.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
  we are your friends
French week continues (with continental vengenge), and today we're looking at Justice, Parisian DJs turned remixers, turned band, turned hype. Their rep started with this track, which finally fufills De Gaulle's fifties dream: a devastating weapon of mass destruction that ensures French power in international relations. That's a convoluted description, but it's better than "Dude, this song is good, dude!"

Justice Vs. Simian- Never Be Alone

After this they did remixes for Soulwax, Fatboy Slim, Death From Above 1979, N.E.R.D., Britney Spears and Daft Punk (which, give DP's influence on Justice, must have been like that scene in Back to the Future where Marty McFly's mom unknowingly hits on her own son). Their latest is a remix of Franz Ferdinand's "The Fallen," which takes clips from Alex Kapranos's vocals and scrambles them into flirtatious nonsense. Just as Uffie's raps aren't particularly about old school lyrical skill, Justice doesn't ponder the meaning of Franz's dance-ode to rebellion. Instead, the remix concentrates on wordlessly evoking the tone, style and attitude of the original, which is probably what the club kids were interested in anyway.

Here's another song that's sorta in the same vein as "Never Be Alone" (Justice beats with rock dude screams), but that's just the formula that works for me.

Scenario Rock- Skitzo Dancer (Justice Mix)

Justice just signed a US Distribution deal with Vice Records, the record label with a 51% controlling share of the word "hipster." Vice will be releasing the three-track instrumental "Waters of Nazereth" EP. The tracks hit pretty hard, but without the vocals, they sorta feels like a pre-mash-ups .

Like Uffie, Justice are signed domestically to Ed Banger Records. The label seems to be an outgrowth of Headbangers Entertainment, which represents scene godfathers Daft Punk and Cassius, as well as hot merde DJ Cosmo Vitelli. A artist named So_Me does all of the Ed Bangers artwork, which is cool, but has an underscore in his name, which isn't really cool. If you want more info, learn the language of love and go to Arcade Mode.
  viddy this
YousendIt offered quick easy file transfers with third party hosting, which meant that bloggers didn't have to pay for webspace to link to files (like mp3s, forinstance). Now comes Youtube, which offers quick, easy and serachable video hosting. Hopefully this means better web content, not just videos of people hurting themselves or saying dirty things to entertain college humorists.

Iggy Pop- The Passenger (Live 1977)
So necessary.

Joy Division- Shadowplay
Peep the 70s visuals.

Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart

A potential religous experience.

Wu-Tang Clan On Yo! MTV Raps

Aww look. They're all so young and that haven't changed hip-hop yet.

Tell Me When To Go- E40 and Keak the Sneak
Will Bay Area rap finally blow up?

M.I.A.- Bucky Done Gun

Beastie Boys on American Bandstand
Percorded music really frees up a white rap trio, yknow?

Biz Markie- Just a Friend
I'm a music blogger. I take time out of my day to write words about things I care about to no one in particular. What would you say that says about my emotional character? What do you think this song might say about me?
Friday, January 20, 2006
  when he walks through the door your knees drop to the floor
Welcome to French week here at the ghost robot. Probably not a whole week. Half a week at best. Anyway, Paris has an incredibly good underground creative community/ dj party scene right now and I want to share some of the best the city of lights has to offer.

Uffie's debut single comes out on Valentine's day on Ed Banger Records (git it?), but she's already got the internet going nutz. More specifically, she's the latest example in an ongoing debate about the globalization and loss of context in hip-hop musics. Some dudes are salty cause Ms. Uff isn't making clever rhymes or spitting ill science rhymes about the five elements of hip-hop or some other traditionist bullshit. They say she doesn't know how to "really rap," but that's kinda besides the whole point. Instead of trying to be the new Rah Digga or someting, Uffie is dropping stylish sex party raps over glitched up french eclectro-house. Wait, what's the problem here?

I watched Style Wars last night, a 1983 documentary about NYC subway graffiti writers. It's probably as close to "pure" hip-hop culture as you can get. In a particularly memorable scene, the camera pans over to the side of a train where a bomber has writen "Just A Kid Growing Up." That seems to say it all: Graffiti was a revolutionary new type of populist art with political implications, but it was also kids having fun, crafting an identity, and trying to find a little place for themselves in the world. Uffie's doing the same thing, and doing it big. Holy shit is this fun- it's like Peaches without the STDs or Le Tigre without the feminist ethics or "Toxic" era Britney, before K-Fed and kids.

Uffie featuring Mr. Oizo- Ready To Uff

Disclosure: She's also hot.

PS-Bonus Music Video: Ghostface- Daytona 500 (Wu-Tang vs. Speedracer)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
  get on my level
The Second in An Occansional Series On the Edges of OutKast (Alternatively titled Swampside Redemption 2, Dirty South Boogaloo), In Which The Rappers Struggle With Their Own Brushes With Fame and The Shadow of the ATL's Finest Duo While Plotting Comebacks of Modest Proportions: Post Graduate Rap Studies Always Come Through With A Colon Subtitle (Act Like You Know).

Killer Mike- Dungeon Family Dedication

Bubba Sparxx, Killer Mike, Cool Breeze- Claremont Lounge
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
  which doctor?
Links in lieu of content:
Best in Music Writing

Complaining about music writing

So MTV made a big deal about getting all the rappers together for a picture for a modern Great Day In Harlem. Both Big Boi and Andre 3000 are conspicuously absent, as are many members of the Dungeon Family, the hip-hop collective put Atlanta on the map and made all those weird funk raps that white people liked so much. MTV's oversight and Big Boi's new record label project (Purple Ribbon Entertainment) got me working throught the Dungeon Family back catalogue.

Cool Breeze Feat. Dungeon Family- Watch for the Hook

Sunday, January 08, 2006
  the little black books
Franz Ferdinand started out a dirty little secret. Four Scottish boys wanted to get the pretty girls to dance, and they decided that purchasing guitars was the quickest means to that end. Then everyone in North America heard "Take Me Out," and now "Do You Want To?" plays on television commercials for "Fun with Dick and Jane." At some point sex in public just becomes gross PDA, and the same is true for sexy music. This b-side is here to remind you that despite his newfound, stable relationship with the critics, the Archduke has a few dirty secrets left lying around. Specifically, they are in his closet, somewhere behind the leather bound chest, the skinny tie and the bass drum.

Franz Ferdinand- Your Diary
Saturday, January 07, 2006
  twins of belleville
Continuing in an occassional series of gentle mixtape killerz:

I've been unsuccessfully trying to stay away from this band for more than a year. I have refused to buy the album in used cd stores on three seperate occasions. I told myself that I didn't need to listen to flapper folk, retirement home swing, or grandmaphone ballands. I inisted that I didn't need to listen two girls who probably had imaginary friends until middle school. The oldest living Confederate widow could form a group with the last Irish lass to see a fairy: whatever dude.

Try as I might, the Ditty Bops just refused to put up with my shit, and just drilled themselves into my head anyway. "Ooh La La" was an early favorite, but right now I'm really enjoying this one right here. I'm warning you, it sounds like innocuous featherweight fairy pop, but these poet chicks do not fuck around.

The Ditty Bops- Gentle Sheep

ps- A., the girl who is cooler than me and went to Joanna Newsom High School, was into them waaaay before me.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
  drive a g.t.o

If I ever quit this blog and start another one, I would name it "Of Course, I've Had It In The Ear Before." Maybe I'd give it an exclamation point, just to drive it home.

Downtempo baile funk? Say what? I don't know man, I'm not sure that doesn't sound like dance music to me/ isn't this supposed to be Brazillain booty bass or something?

MC Tati Quebra Barraco- Boladona

Oh. Oh that's good. That's like end of year singles list. Sorry 2005 (cue Rueben).
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
  gotta get yrself connected
Pharell's Grill Says:

We need more of this (From So Much Silence).
Monday, January 02, 2006
  the ambulance is your ride home
Post quickness- I wanted to get this out earlier, but I ran out of time and ideas. Here we go: I saw A History of Violence, and decided to post a song about fighting. The movie reminded me of a Hitchcock or maybe an Edward Hopper painting- the way that violence and weird creepy stuff is always lurking in the shadows of everyday American life. Okay, inspiration for post -- check.

The promotional still at the left depicts a scene that isn't in the film, which may explain the odd view through the glass door, the bizarre yellow light from the left, and Ed Harris' out-of-character grin. That takes care of the picture. Almost done.

I wish I remember how I heard about this band/ got this song, but I don't. Blame the internet for our fading memories and shrinking attentions spans, but thank it for new music from tiny bands. Ninja High School's awesome to the extreme website describes one of their albums as "more yelling about semiotics." That is a very good description of this song, and also a fair description of our college careers. Oh-kay that does it for the song description, fair but not great, just get to the link at the end. Shit- why did I use the second person back there? Who the hell is we, and why did we go to college? What if "we" majored in chemistry, huh?

Ninja High School- It's Alright To Fight
Sunday, January 01, 2006
  malibu's most wanted

This is kinda embarassing, and I didn't really want to post about it. However, I don't think anybody should be ashamed of pop-music, so I'm going out on a limb here.

Kevin Federline, the father of Britney Spears' firstborn, has released a single today. It's not great, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. It's also a bizarre example of a highly visible pop artist embrassing a hip musical subgenre.

K-Fed's debut uses both the sound and the slang of baile funk, a form of Brazillian booty music native to the hillside slums around Rio called favelas. Filled with tons of illegal samples and kids screaming raunchy lyrics, tied to both a bacchanalian party scene and the local drug trade, baile funk is one of the most exuberant and exciting sub-genres to emerge in the last couple of years. Diplo and M.I.A. did the most to bring it it to the public eye, showcasing the genre on mixtapes and motivating magazine writers to spill some ink (and motivating bloggers to gush bites). Disco D, a 24-year-old native of Chicago and part time Rio resident, produced the track for K-Fed.

K-Fed - Popozo
pen to paper, fingers to keys, mind at work, never at ease.

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