Thursday, December 30, 2004

You Don't Have To But...

Under normal circumstances MP3 blogging is all about us giving stuff to you, for free, because we want to. Now, I know I've not even been around a month yet, but current events have made me think that, just this once, maybe it's not such a bad idea to ask readers/listeners to bust out a few notes. So, if you've enjoyed Breaking Ranks so far, it would be really nice if you visited here, or, for non-Brits, a similar organisation in your own country, and gave them something. By my reckoning, if only half the people who have downloaded the first dancehall mix on this site gave £5, that would add up to almost £3,000 - obviously no one needs telling that a total like that could be put to way better use right now than the couple of pints or three-quarters of a 12-inch single it works out as if you keep it in your own pocket. There'll be plenty more mixes and things up next year, once I'm back from New York, so you could even treat it as a sort of vaguely karmic subscription, if you like. Either way, a happy, safe 2005 to all of you.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Kind Hearts & Minarets

It's that time of year when thoughts turn to Bethlehem, mangers, babies, three kings and goodwill to all men, so it seems fitting to wind up with a few sides on Black House's Middle East rhythm. I'm signing off for a few days of family business, so happy holidays and see you real soon.

Worth It - Sean Paul

Don't You Worry - Mr Vegas

Head A Fly - Predator

Breaking Ranks will be back for a little while between Christmas and New Year's Eve, but if any of you happen to be in New York on the evening of the 31st, you could always drop in to the location listed below. I'm reliably informed that Paul Sci-Fi Soul mashes it up proper style and, as you can see, he'll be joined by some other chancer.

Sci-Fi Soul & Brooklyn Garage present:
..... WILD FLEX .....

SATURDAYS 10pm - 3:30am / FREE admission

200 Orchard St (betw Houston and Stanton), NEW YORK CITY
(F Train to 2nd Ave or Delancey St)

DJs: Paul Kennedy & guests


upcoming events:

> FRIDAY < Dec 31st:
NEW YEAR'S EVE with Wild FleX @ Orchard Bar,
featuring ragga/dancehall guest spot from London's own DAVE STELFOX!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Dancing Banned In Seaview Gardens

But Elephant Man brings the fire, proving that you can shake that ass and praise the Lord at the same time. Supporting cast: Daville, TOK, Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer.

Yuh Nuh Bad Mind - Elephant Man

Wine It Up - Daville

Round Here - TOK

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bumper To Bumper

Cracking soca number from Candice on the Mix Up rhythm. Shows MarkOne, Plasticman and co a thing or two about snare-snaps and basslines, but it's flash as a turbocharged lowrider—just like you'd hope.

Move Up To My Bumper - Candice

Sometimes Sasha makes me spit coffee.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Killer Tune

What can you say... Bounty Killer herbalising over the instrumental of Terror Squad's fearsome "Lean Back". Gotta love those Massive B cats.

Highest - Bounty Killer/Terror Squad

Monday, December 20, 2004

Chitty Chitty...

Come on, forgive the picture, it's nearly Christmas. And, regardless of your feelings on Dick Van Dyke, the new Bang Bang rhythm by the In The Streetz crew is a winner, full of clanging trashcan lids and a bassline that melts spines. Check Half Pint refusing to settle for a part-time lover and Vybz Kartel indulging other, more aromatic, passions.

All Night Long - Half Pint

Eye Deh Ah Mi Knee - Vybz Kartel

(BTW, comments boxes need love, too.)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Mafia Hit

From the mighty Joe Gibbs stable, this track by Wally & Snuffy has been a favourite for ages, but especially during 2004, when I began to dig a little deeper in to the work of this cracking producer and his seminal label. Great stuff.

Dreader Mafia - Wally & Snuffy

In other news, correspondent Jace Clayton, aka DJ/rupture, now has a blog, too.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Normal Service Resumed

Blame it on a pint or two of Guinness over the recommended limit, but I hit the wrong button last night and didn't publish the post I had lined up for you. To make up for it, today's a double-whammy...

Real Rock

One of the most crowd-pleasing rhythms of the year, King Of Kings' Dancehall Rock is also one of the most innovative and playful. Backed by Fisher-Price "My First Pantera Record"-style, plasticky guitar riffs and crunchy, driving percussion Ce'Cile and Beenie Man seek and find pop perfection, Elephant Man goes crazy-hype, and Spragga Benz offers a version you may recognise as the original source of the vocals for his cut of grime's FWD riddim. Check 'em out...

The Thing - Beenie Man & Ce'Cile

Ova Di Wall - Elephant Man

We Ready - Spragga Benz

Gangster Ride

Distilling all the manic joy of soca into one record is a tough brief to fill, but Destra Garcia manages it with the thrilling "Bonnie & Clyde". Dedicated to Simon Silverdollar and the rest of the crew who turned out for August's absolutely berserk 70 Degrees party in Kentish town—best night out I've had all year.

Bonnie & Clyde - Destra Garcia

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Egyptian Loving

Having listened to heaps of bhangra and desi over the past couple of years, it wasn't such a stretch to fall in love with shaabi while on a recent diving holiday in Egypt.
Literally meaning "of the people", shaabi is real, genuine Arabic street music—the sort of stuff people dance and let off a little steam to.
From what little I know about it, it's hugely underrated, too.
The guy in the CD shop we went to didn't even want us to buy any of it, steering us in the direction of the classical section and saying it was: "music for cab drivers, waiters and disreputable people."
Of course, as with any other genre, plenty of it is pretty bad, with the same cloying cabaret tendency found in the bulk of Algerian rai. But an equal amount is spectacular, pitching soca's good-time bounce against the most pristeen Middle Eastern instrumentation and packed with hooks any bubblegum pop songwriter would be proud of.
Take this track by Hesham Abbas for instance—you plain won't get to hear anything more exhuberant and infectious. Best heard extremely loud in speeding death-trap taxis.

Habib'k Ana - Hesham

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Who Let The Dhols Out?

Now it's time for some real, proper bhangra with "Boliyaan", a seven-minute-long monster taken from Satwinder Bitti's fabulous Pardesi Dhola album (pictured above). Readers living anywhere with a half-decent-sized South Asian community should be able to walk into any hole-in-the-wall music shop and pick this whole CD up for about £5—and that's a damned good deal for eight tracks by one of the most mesmerizing vocalists around.

Boliyaan - Satwinder Bitti

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Soca Season

Like a belated advent calendar, there's going to be a something new here every day up until Christmas (then I'll be aiming for two or three updates a week). As 2005 approaches, it seems about the right time to run down a few of my favourite tunes of the year—and this one's right near the top. Just to confuse the issue, despite being a soca tune, it's called "Bhangra", is voiced on a rhythm called the Dhol and has a feel not a million miles away from all those great New York diva-house cuts from the late 80s. Have good (if slightly fuzzy), memories of it going down a storm at Carnival this year, so go on, get to it...

Bhangra - Sharon Darlington

Monday, December 13, 2004

New Leaves

Included toward the end of the big ol' mix posted below, man of the moment Donovan Bennett's Drop Leaf is a late-running contender for the top spot in my end-of-year rhythm chart.
Lacing a loose skank with Don Corleon's now-trademark flamenco guitars, it's perfect for calmer, more contemplative voicings (give or take Tanya Stephens' killer lines about running off with her no-good dawg of an ex's screwdrivers and powerdrills)—so much so that even Bounty Killer drops the Warlord schtick and turns all Mr Loverman.
With precious few people having had anything good to say about Jamaican music over the past few months, it seems like the ideal way to end a turbulent 2004. So here's the version and two more cuts from Maxi Priest and TOK.

Drop Leaf Version - Donovan "Vendetta" Bennett

I Believe - Maxi Priest

When U Cry - TOK

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Off With A Boomshot

Just so as you can't say I never give you anything—especially during the festive season— here's a brand new 52-minute mix compiled yesterday by yours truly. Tracks are listed below and to download, head for the title...

December 2004 Soundclash !!!DELETED!!!

1. Lose My Breath (Acapella) – Destiny’s Child/Tunda Klap Riddim – Renaissance

Katana riddim

2. Female Pimping – Tanya Stephens
3. Di Agony – Wayne Wonder
4. It’s Crazy – Mr Easy
5. Top Billing – Bounty Killer

Indian Summer riddim

6. Gangster Ride – Tanya Stephens
7. Cash – Macka Diamond
8. Till A Morning – Daville

Simm Card riddim

9. If You Want War – Tanto Metro & Devonte
10. Version – Johnson/Bennett
11. Those Sexy Girls – Danny English
12. Phone Light – Kiprich

Kopa riddim

13. Turnin Me On – Nina Sky
14. Who You Calling Nigga – Capleton
15. Four Seasons – Vybz Kartel

Middle East riddim

16. Worth It – Sean Paul
17. Real Man – Vybz Kartel
18. Dandy Shandy – Vybz Kartel
19. Head A Fly – Predator
20. Long Donkey Cod – Sizzla

Phantom riddim

21. Bad Mind – Tanto Metro & Devonte
22. Moneymaker – TOK
23. Neva Even Pet It – Ce’Cile
24. Version – Fire Links

Military riddim

25. Mr Tecki Back – Macka Diamond
26. Let It Go – Tanto Metro & Devonte
27. Inna Bed – TOK
28. When We Are Seen – Ce’Cile
29. Warlord Walk – Bounty Killer

Bubble Up riddim

30. Change Your Ways – Chico
31. We Be Burning – Sean Paul
32. Version – Lenky
33. We Aint Scared – Bling Dawg

Voom Voom riddim

34. Version – Cribe & Rigo
35. Want Dat Body Deh – Ce’Cile
36. Soft Inside – Tanya Stephens

Drop Leaf riddim

37. After You – Tanya Stephens
38. Be Strong – Sizzla
39. It’s OK – Bounty Killer

40. Doors Of Your Heart – The Beat
The Rhythms, The Bloggage

After a brief foray into the blogosphere circa late 2003/early 2004 and repeated requests from a few people to make a comeback, here's my new corner of the interweb. It'll be a bit different from last time, inasmuchas it will host MP3s and mixes and perhaps be a little less verbose (hey, I'm pretty busy at the moment and I did only say perhaps). It will also hopefully coexist with an upcoming dancehall-based magazine column that I'm due to start writing early next year. Don't let the name fool you, it won't be wall-to-wall raggamuffin business. In the next few weeks brace yourselves for some rare Brazilian samba and batucada, a few bits of Egyptian shaabi, a smattering of bhangra and soca, not to mention good old regular dance and pop music I happen to be feeling. There's even scope for guest contributors, so if you're interested let me know. Anyway, all that's left to say is that I hope you enjoy it.