Thursday, July 28, 2011

Original Guvna: Wheel & Deal Dubstep Vol. 1

Things are heating up for bass music releases in the last leg of this summer. The largest and perhaps most well executed of these is Wheel & Deal Dubstep Vol. 1, offering 25 "dubplates" from a selection of well-known producers as well as some more recent additions to N-Type's stable of bass peddlers. The tracks that really stand out here are those that appear to advance the language and form of the genre at hand without losing it's original emphasis on sparsely populated, bass-filled and reverberant mindscapes. With its skanking chords, dark samples and grimey, wavering bass, Coki's "Madman" is a hands down favorite - though it will no doubt annoy the tits off of many a fan of dubstep's more melodic treatments. Up and coming producer Benton delivers a supremely enjoyable gangster wobble on "Videodrome" and N-Type and the Others combine cinematic samples and evolving bass mutations on a break-filled "Shadow". Kutz's collab with DJG on "Hella Tight" makes for a compelling match to the Coki track and should not be passed up by anyone looking to pick and choose from the digital release. Also worthy of mention, are some very lush, deep numbers woven together by Lemon D and Seven.

While there are a couple of misfires here and there - in my opinion it could have shed a good five tracks - this compilation is well worth a long listen simply for it's unequivocal representation of Dubstep's energy and complexity. Apart from the digital download, it's been packaged into two 12" releases and double CD (shipping today you lucky dogs!). Both the CD and digital album purchase offer a seamless mix done by the head butcher himself. Here's to another year of wheeling and dealing!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


And here i was the other day thinking; what happened to Wiley?!??!?!? So, like Skepta he got a mixtape out over here! Sum massive tunes on there, but one the sticks out among all others..... and for obvious reasons....its all in the hook...nuff talkin....would luv to see a video for this one...anyways...if like me your proud of your birthplace.... PLAY THIS TUNE...AND PLAY IT LOUD!!!

Cant forget about wiley, damn, was it really nearly 10 years ago since the Eskimo days?!?!?!?!? MADDDDNESSSESSSSS!!!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

From Naples with Love - Music of the Murder Capital

A few of you might remember a blog post I wrote a while back about Barcelona. In a kind of sequel to that, I want to talk about another great Mediterranean cultural center that you should definitely not sleep on!!! Napoli is a city close to my heart, as I have visited many times, as well as summers in the region as a kid, just like my father did when he was young and his father before that.

Like many great southern Italian cities it's a mix of beauty, rich history, culture, and almost year round sunshine but with its equal share of problems too. For those who have never been, here is a brief history. It's an ancient coastal city, even older then Rome. It sits underneath the famous active volcano "Mount Vesuvius" and it's been a melting pot of cultures, race, and religions for thousands of years. It's also the birthplace of Pizza, and once you've had the real thing there, everything else, even the Yank's beloved slice seems like a cheap imitation.

The city itself is full of medieval small streets and even older tenements crammed together, and exploring them can be hectic but equally rewarding. You may stumble across a church full to the brim of original and priceless Caravaggio paintings, or turn another corner and suddenly you are in the middle of a gangland war zone. It's a city of extremes, in one area, precious historic ruins or artifacts and in the next some of the grimmest projects I have ever seen. In fact, to give you a better idea of how bad it can really get, it makes HBO's "The Wire" seem like Disneyland. This brings me obviously to the "negative" side. Naples, despite its rich cultural inheritance, has been plagued by one of the longest running conflicts between hundreds of rival organized crime families or "clans", as they are called in Naples. It's made the city one of the murder capitals of the world and with shocking statistics, overtaking the number of victims well beyond even the Northern Ireland conflict.

Unfortunately, one can not talk about Naples without talking about the "Camorra", and vice versa. Its influence and power is international, including allegations of dirty money being invested in NYC's new Freedom Tower. In 2008, Roberto Saviano's amazing book "Gomorrah" (which I totally recommend, as it's a masterpiece of modern journalism) exposed the dark underbelly of the city and was later adapted into to the Oscar winning film. He has been living under police protection ever since.

Over the years, my obsession with Neapolitan music has intensified and my understanding of it has also become clearer since coming to terms with its violent and colorful history and how it has influenced the music directly. The music of this great city is split into basically three types. The first, and oldest of course is Neapolitan folk and classical music. It's unique to the rest of the world and completely represents the evolution of the city itself. Much of it has ancient roots, even pre-Roman, but has evolved to include the influences of the city's many conquerors over the centuries, including the Moors, the Normans and the Spanish among many others. The best example of this is the group Spaccanapoli, named after the main avenue that divides the city. Their mix of historic sounds from the ages and contemporary recording techniques brings to life a music that pre-dates even the colonization of the Americas, making it infact, the original "Latin" music.

The second major movement in Neopolitan music is a sound thats called Neomelodici. Its a sound that still to this day is almost unheard of in the rest of the world, due mainly to its origin and the type of people that typically listen to it. It is very popular with Neoplitan wise guys, or "Camorristi" to be correct. Its themes are often love songs, but almost always are more about the outlaw lifestyle, telling stories about clan life, jail, robbing, hustling and what's called "malavita" (the hard life translated). Its roots, again, come from the complex hybrid that is Neopolitan folk but has been greatly influenced by 80s/90s synth pop music, most notably the soundtrack to "Scarface". One of the best and personal favourite example of this music is the artist and convicted Camorrista Tommy Riccio. Tommy is unique in the way that his music charms you - it's often sad, such as "Stanza 39" or "Cell 39" (in English) a song about his time in prison and being away from his family. It can also be uplifting and inspirational, while glamourizing the gangster lifestlye like in "si chill te vo bene".

The last and final style of I want to talk about is Neapolitan contemporary music. Apart from the world famous Reggae sound systems, the most notable form of music to gain popularity and for obvious reasons is hip-hop and rap music. Just like the gritty and tough days that Hip-hop was born into in NYC, the music has found a strong following in the poverty stricken and gangland frontlines of Naples' many ghetto areas. Realistically, Naples has more in common with America's gang capital LA, with both cities having their youth recruited extremely young (from 12 upwards) into the Camorra, making the mortality rate for kids/teens very high. The music reflects this, and has become an outlet for this new generation dealing with the pain and anguish of their situation. At the top of the rap game in Naples, but still relatively unknown worldwide is a group called "CoSang" and also is one of my personal favourites. The crew come from a hood called "Scampia". It's a place famous for being the largest open air drug market in the world, and a part of the city that is at the center of the violence, as well as one of the most terrifying looking places on earth. The crew consists of two MCs and in this video below, a single from last year, they feature Italian rap superstar Marracash (from Milan) and El Koyote (from the Neapolitan Dominican community).

Anyways, thats my little report on Naples! Hope this has opened your ears and mind to sum great new music, Enjoy!
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Teddy Music on SB.TV

yo whats goin on everybody... jus a quick one from me today....
I drop a lotta names of producers while doing podcast mixes and on the blog etc.. and you might be like.... "I don know who this is?" or you may know the name but wouldn't know what they looked like or what they sound like... so I thought I'd repost this producer segment about "Teddyyyyy!!!!!" aka Silencer.. -although I don't think he's going by "Silencer" anymore....

along with Rude Kid he's def one of my top fav producers in the Grime scene... and he repps it hard. if you've downloaded any of our First City Mob podcasts you've definitely heard me drop quite a few of his tracks... - cause they're just... haaard !!!

in this producer vid "Courtesy of SBTV"... he goes into how he approaches a track and the production work behind it.... as well as his feelings on the future of the Grime scene and so on... def worth watching.. its nice to watch producers and see the quality and care they put into their work... till next time....

much respect to SBTV
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coney Island Reggae Beach Party

WKCR’s Eastern Standard Time and the Sound Liberation Front have joined forces again to present the 2011 season of the Coney Island Reggae Beach Party series, bringing the enormously influential culture of Jamaican sound systems back to the Coney Island Boardwalk on Sunday, July 17, and Sunday, August 14.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural season, the free events will begin at 2 p.m. and last until sunset, and will feature live DJs, special guest artists, and fun activities for the whole family. This year the parties will take place at a new location directly on the beach at W. 19th Street (near the iconic red tower).

Each event will feature an all-star lineup of music selectors and guest vocalists curated by WKCR host Carter Van Pelt. Some notable talents who performed at last year’s events include dancehall legends Johnny Osbourne, Carlton Livingston, and Mikey Jarrett; seminal NYC sound system Sir Tommy's; and, legendary record producer Clive Chin.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

CTF 114 - Foamo - Vibrations

Things are heating up in NY and seemingly in concert with the sweltering degrees is Foamo's most recent single out on South-London's Fat! label. A follow up to his earlier "Celestial" release, this track adds some serious firepower to Foamo's Space Summer Series. Nothing we've heard from this talented producer has fit easily into one genre or another so it seems appropriate to say that his style is leading the way amongst the tricky overlap of Grime, House and so-called Tropical sounds. What stands out, apart from the delightful house chords, the chopped R&B vocal and well-balanced transitional FX, are the B-more drum samples which lend a distinctly American flavor to overall composition. However, this re-quoting of a time-honored house sound seems to be almost a lark given the grimey bass line and throttling mid-range synth. This attribute alone should be enough to destroy any dancefloor while simultaneously pleasing fans of dark House, DnB and their twisted offspring. It's great to see Foamo is upping the ante this sticky summer and showing the true breadth of his musical strengths. We can't wait to hear more!

Grab yourself a copy here.

Foamo - Vibrations [clip] by Foamo
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

da Vinci's discovery of Things and Time Riddim

My all time favorite sweet it is

I came across this beaut a couple years ago at the West Indi Day Parade on the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. I heard this riddim off of a 80's Dancehall mixtape I purchased there. Instantly, I fell in love with 80's dancehall after listening over and over and over AND OVER again. Pulling up tunes left and right, like Super Cat's "Cry Fi De Youths" makes driving in traffic close to ENJOYABLE as you can get.

Anyway enjoy this riddim in its entirety because all of the versions are great...especially Yami Bolo singing "Jah Made Them All" when he was a little youth.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rude Kid - Always Ready EP


Rude Kid - a producer whose name has been brought up here on DontSleep many times, has dropped his latest ep entitled Always Ready.. Widely known and highly respected, I'd rate him as being one of the top Grime producers in the scene... and this EP doesn't disappoint.."Cotton Buds" starts things off with a heavy bouncing break and rolling synth line, and a vocal stab which reminds me of a certain rnb song ?? hm... a couple come to mind actually..."Spring" which might easily be my fav track, drops in with an almost b-more styled break, before switching into a halftime dancefloor smash up... love the vibes on this one - heavy. "Sleeping Pills" is as close to Dubstep as I've seen him go to date.. and this one is a tie or close second for me... the synthline on this beat is wicked, its one of those tracks that make you pause and wanna ask who it is lol.. "Jack Daniels & Coke" (my fav drink) is a nice hype uptempo number... the vocal stabs are the icing on the cake for me.. "Trick or Treat and "Old Skool Vibes" close things out, with the latter bringing things on a house flavour...nice one..
Yes this EP is a definite grab for ur dj box, ipad,ipod, phone etc.. u get the picture im sure... Available on Itunes & Amazon!! im co-signin

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