Wednesday, April 30, 2008

huff gas

Picked up this 45 around 95 when Gas Huffer played in San Jose at one of the last nights of the Red Light District, a live music night which inhabited the hideous-but-fun mauve-colored-but-fun cockroach-infested-but-fun Dimensions building on First Street for about a year (yes it was eventually demolished). Opening for them was San Jose's own Odd Numbers and Clay Wheels, and the Garlic Boys from Osaka, Japan. For some reason I always liked the b-side track Boot Check from this 1994 EP more than any other. Not sure why.

Download Boot Check

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sharon & Musarrat

This album is from 1981 and somehow involves famous Hindi music director Bappi Lahiri, who is said to have introduced disco to the Bollywood film industry. I think one of the vocalists is Sharon Prabhakar, who got her start in the industry with Lahiri. I read that Diwana Hai Ye Dil is a cover song, but don't know any details. The title track Chal Disco Chal is floating around, but I was drawn more to these two tracks. Recorded from the LP a while ago and I can't seem to find the album right now to get more info. It will turn up someday.

Download Diwana Hai Ye Dil
Download Maf Karo

Very Related: As I was flipping thru the bin I found Chal Disco Chal and Runa Laila's SuperRuna next to each other, obviously sold to the record store by the same person. SuperRuna also involved Bappi Lahiri.

Download Romance

Friday, April 25, 2008

San Jose, where the seasons do not interfere

Sometime in the mid 1980s a local contractor restoring the Germania Hall on North Second Street discovered a large framed photograph of the 27-member San Jose Orchestral Society in the corner of the basement. It was taken by Milton and Archie Loryea in 1892, or rather, it was assembled in 1892. According to the late Clyde Arbuckle, San Jose's great historian, when the time came to take the picture, the only tuxedo available was owned by Leopold Hart (of Hart Department Store fame, whose grandson Brooke's murderers would be hung in Saint James park in 1933, the last public lynching in California, which was promoted on radio four days prior to the event). The Loryea brothers had each orchestra member put on the tux and have their photo taken. Allegedly one member (in the front row) was sick at home and the picture was taken as he was sitting on the edge of his bed. The brothers then clipped out the portraits and assembled the image. The image was restored in 1998 and is now owned by the San Jose Museum.

When I discovered this story I felt some connection to what these guys were doing over a hundred years ago. I've spent about 17 years or so working with Photoshop, manipulating images to either sweeten or trick our perceptions of realities. People are becoming more aware of the role Photoshop plays in their everyday lives. And hopefully that awareness makes us think twice. The more we learn to not believe what we see, or hear, or even think, the more optimistic I feel towards the success of life on the planet (yes that includes the success of those pesky critters that walk upright). From my window I can see the spot where the Loryea Brother's photography studio once stood and where they composited this image. One day I'd like to see it in person.

Related: I have about 15 versions of Do You Know the Way to San Jose. Besides the original Dionne Warwick version, these are two of my favorites. One by the heavyweight champion of the organ, Richard "Groove" Holmes. The other by Avalanches, which I like because it almost destroys the composition with a wonderful use of samples. What's the worst version I have? The Neil Diamond version, for sure.

Semi-related: "Follow Me To San Jose" by Erik Satin (from Atom™'s album Light Music, a tribute to Erik Satie's furniture music philosophy). I know he's probably referring to San Jose, Costa Rica, but I don't care. They're our sister city and I've sometimes found the melody and words repeating in my head... for hours.

Download Richard "Groove" Holmes
Download Avalanches
Download Erik Satin

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Breakwater. Breakwater?

The first thing to catch my eye was the really odd name for a band. It seems to have something to do with either giving birth or flatuence, both of which are funky, but I don't think I'd name my band after it. The second thing to catch my eye about this album was their yellow moon boots and silver suits. And the fact that they hang out in the largest bathroom I've ever seen. So I bought it. Turns out these guys are legitimate funk. A few dogging slow jams, but also a few gems. The obvious "hit" track "Release the Beast" was sampled by Murs and Daft Punk, probably because of the wicked synth sounds. The track posted here is less obvious but probably the best track. And I've partied to it. It works.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Billie Jean

Another great MJ dub. This instrumental take on Shinehead's version is from 1984, produced by Sly & Robbie for Island Records. Ripped in from the original 12".