Ear Con62 – Viña Rock Fest’ Warm Up

This weekend I’ll be doing a set at the Viña Rock Festival in Villarrobledo, Spain. Adding some percussion concussions will be Ventor de la Guardia. His band, Line and I have been spending a lot of time in the same studio over the last couple months, recording our respective projects.  As for the festival, I’m looking forward to seeing Kid Koala, who’ll be playing the night before us. Ghostface Killah was supposed to be down, but in typical Wu-Tang fashion he ain’t making it. Okay, that dig was unfair, reason for the no-show is something to do with passport stroke visa issues, has meant he’s canceled his whole Euro-tour.

This weeks radio set has the usual mixture of old and new, fast and slow.  The new is represented by Kode9 & The Spaceape, The Dirtbombs, Young Montana? and Jon Phonics.  Mr. Phonics has connections with Chakra Sounds, who came to my attention through the album by Obba Supa, which was off the hook fresh.  So for that alone, if Chakra’s name is on it, I’ll check.  Mr. Phonics does not disappoint.  Young Montana? was given the Mary Anne Hobbs seal of approval as best unsigned act/producer, and the California label AlphaPup are on the case.  AlphaPup is run by Daddy Kev, he the mastering engineer for Flying Lotus, and head honcho at  beat head heaven, the Low End Theory club in L.A.

Have to throw in some more Mutamassik and Morgan Craft, really into their respective albums which came out within the last twelve months, oh we are so lucky.  Get them, they are even free dammit.

From this region where I reside we have some freshness from Postman aka Abstract Grooves, the appropriately named ‘Perfect Beat is Killing You’.

I’m on a mission to spread the gospel according to On-U Sound, as a friend recently said, “People have to know”.  Hence I close with two classic dub cuts from Dub Syndicate.

Tune in if your ranking, tonight at Sunhole at 22h00 GMT+1 and Saturday via eFM / Radio Sarajevo, 18h00 CET.

Download option

Ear Conditioning 62
Morgan Craft / Absence of Day and Night 1 (Rough Americana)
Jimi Hendrix / Am The Gods Made Love (Polydor)
Cooly G / Love Dub [Refix] (Hyperdub)
Kode9 & The Spaceape feat. Cha Cha / Black Sun (Hyperdub)
Soil & “Pimp” Sessions / Pop Korn – WAFA Remix (Brownswood)
Gerardo Frisina / Latin Seeds
Tino / Intro Latin Beat (Tino Corp.)
Tino / H-Bomb (Tino Corp.)
Young Montana? / Repetition (AlphaPup)
Mr. Oizo / The End (Brainfeeder)
Salem / Asia – oOoOO Remix (Merock)
The Dirtbombs / Bug in the Bassbin – Kyle Hall Remix
Mutamassik / DounDoun/TheCrux (Rough Americana)
Fun-Da-Mental / Pollution (Nation)
Postman / Perfect Beat is Killing You
Jon Phonics / Bruk Out (Chakra Sounds)
Ricky Ranking / Can’t Kill I – Flootsramental (Banana Klan)
Dub Syndicate / Hi Fi Gets A Pounding (On-U Sounds)
Dub Syndicate / Reggae Raga (On-U Sounds)

On-U Sound / Adrian Sherwood – 30 Years at The Controls

“Rock and roll, what an empty generation.”

One of the initial notices of existence regarding the On-U Sound crew was the Major Malfunction album credited to drummer Keith LeBlanc, with Doug Wimbish on bass, Skip McDonald, keys and guitar and Adrian Sherwood mixing.  The cut up samples, robotic yet human nature of this work, it’s subtle and direct political nature, crossing racial lines, embracing the good, the bad and the damn ugly, percussion concussions, grabbed me by both ears and slammed me headfirst into many a speaker stack.

“Technology works, technology delivers.”

The search began, reading album sleeves, seeing the same names pop up, remixes by Adrian Sherwood here and there, Tackhead, Sugarhill musical crew of Wimbish, LeBlanc and McDonald. Listening to African Head Charge on my Walkman, sounds panning from the left side of my head to the right and seemingly moving to the front lobe then back, pausing midway to drop some rootical knowledge and dub science.  A psychedelic Africa indeed, never heard anything like that before.

“Adjust the treble and bass.”

So enamored with this sound when in London, I knocked on the door of the address that was  on the sleeves of these’On-U Sound’ productions.  A Japanese woman opened the door of the house, “Uh, is this On U Sound, I’m looking for Adrian Sherwood?”  The woman who introduced herself as Kishi invited me in.  In my head, juvenile enthusiasm was on, I was saying “Damn, that’s Kishi, Kishi!” Kishi Yamamoto was Adrian’s wife back then and she was responsible for the majority of the label artwork and also played keyboards. They didn’t know me from Jack, I arrived unannounced but yet here a fresh pimply yout’ living in Toronto who had a program on CKLN Radio was now standing in the living room / mixing studio of musical royalty, being offered tea, and more records to fuel my program and passion.  A massive mixing desk was on the wall, yes, on the wall, not on a table as normal,  it took up less space this way.

Pay It All Back

I used to have a cassette that had the first Public Enemy album on one side and on the other was “As The Veneer of Democracy Starts To Fade”, by Mark Stewart and The Maffia.  That shit was coarse, nothing like it existed before, apart from Public Enemy in a way, that’s why that cassette was so important to me.  Those two albums showed the possibilities that existed and they still do to this day.  When revolution has become a marketing tool and rebellion stale, put on those albums now, as the charge is still there, ready to inspire and set fire.  The world of control domination politics, statistics that blow minds, sounds that carry the hurt and aspirations. Reflect the time of the past, then and now. Techniques are being constantly refined to maintain the status quo that has been in place for hundreads of years  – yes that’s how I spell hundred.

You gotta check The Quietus interview with Adrian, it delves deep, really sets the record straight as to the conditions of the time that went into creating such an influential sounds.  Adrian and crew have touched thousands, from Massive Attack – vocalist Shara Nelson worked with Adrian that’s how come they knew her, Depeche Mode, Adrian did several remixes for them, Peter Gabriel,  Living Colour, Primal Scream – Echo Dek, what a great piece of work.

Me and my man Angus and a quite a few others would travel across London or up and down the country to catch On U Sound nights, legendary, two queues, one to get in, one to get out, ha!

You get the drift, enough blabbing from me, check that article and seek should you feel what’s been written.