Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Bonita. Bonita. Bonita.

Chairman of the board/ the Chief of affections
You got mines/ to sway in your direction...

My friend DanDan let me raid his hard drive last weekend. He's pretty awesome, DanDan is. He makes bad beats and bakes bad cakes. He really does. His banana bread is straight fire. DanDan is taste maker literally and figuratively :)

Ok, enough of that.

DanDan has incredible music and I stole some. Among my booty was A tribe Called Quest's debut album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990).

Love long album names.

Now, confession time: I had never really listened to ATCQ before last weekend.
Don't eat me.

I don't know why. I mean, I had listened to few singles, "Can I kick it?", "Stressed Out", "Against the world" etcetera, but no albums.
I know. Sacrilege. I have no defense.

I have already taken steps to remedy my wrongdoing and let me tell ya, I am remorse personified. If for nothing else, for only now discovering the gem that is "Bonita Applebum".

I had heard the reference several times. Everybody from Jay Z ("Bonita Applebum, I gotta put you on. If I didn't when we cuttin' the feeling would be too strong") to PM dawn (Christina Applegate/ you gotta put me on) have used it. So naturally, it was among  the first songs I gravitated to when I played the album.

Being that I just might be the last person to discover ATCQ, I am still quite jazzed by how simple and melodic their flow is. It's like nursery rhymes. Very simple flow. But what makes it really sublime is that these brothers' content is intelligent. That juxtaposition is most enjoyable to listen to man.

The content of the song itself is basically the slickest, most ninja macking I have ever heard. Q tip is charming as hell here and I doubt there's a lot of girls who wouldn't respond to respectfully being described as "extremely desirable". Mind you he does looks a bit lecherous in the video :) Regardless, the song is charming and if I wasn't a toddler in 1990 and Q tip told me to put him on, I probably would.

With much aplomb.

The lines flows nice yo, what can i say?

The little magical touch in this track though was the vocal chatter that was in the background as Tip rapped. Tiny element that would have made all the difference if it wasn't there. Reminded me of the vocal chatter in Marvin Gaye's "What's going on?" which also happened to give that song the uniqueness it has, in my opinion. (Anybody have that album by the way? soundscribe.email@gmail.com)

The production was spot on. Simple boom-bap and some killer samples,my favourite being Mathar by the Dave Pike Set. Same sample was used in The Fugees' "Killing me softly" as most of you will realize.

Basically, the song is perfect. It's my song of the week. That's a thing now. I just decided that. What's your song of the week? Hit me up on the comment section or on email or on twitter, @Karingaringa_

Quite psyched to listen to low end theory which i hear was their baddest album. Will let you know how that goes.


Friday, 2 August 2013

A music blog in 2013...how original.

I am not the best writer. I'm not being self-deprecating so as to manage your expectations. It's just the simple truth (Not terrible either, so you won't find this hard to read, worry not).
I am also not a musical expert. Didn't study musical theory, can't tell the difference between C major and Sergeant Major and I still don't fully get James Blake's sound, embarrassed as I am to admit it. Basically, I do not qualify as a conventional music blogger.

So why am I doing this? And in friggin 2013? 
Honestly? I just love music. I know everyone does, but I'm among those people who love music more than anything else in their lives. The only thing I love as much as listening to music is hearing and reading and talking about it. I love hearing why songs make people feel the way they do when they hear them. And I love sharing how music makes me feel.

I have wanted to write about music since I was around 16. I watched this reality show on MTV where a bunch of young music journalists were competing for a job at Rolling Stone. The stuff just resonated with me. I was so envious of all of them. There was this bad ass Asian chic who was a big hip hop head. That was her niche. She lived, breathed and wrote only about hip hop. I don’t even know if she won but she was bad. And I wanted to be bad-ass-asian-hiphop-writer-chic when I was 16. I don’t anymore because honestly, I don’t remember much about her or that show. But the need to share thoughts on music, and especially music I love, has stayed with me till now.

Why this year? Again, honestly?  I was too lazy or preoccupied to do it any other year. I am aware that this might be read by exactly three people since there are about a gazillion music blogs out there, 99% of which are better written than this one, but none of that matters now. This isn't about being something. It’s about getting all these thoughts out. It’s about doing it because I really wanted to at some point, and I clearly still do. It’s about possibly hearing from people who love music as much as I do, and having those conversations.

So, yeah, that's what I'm doing here.

*                       *                      *                    *                 *                     *                   *

I'll start by sharing a song I believe could possibly be the best song in the world, ever.

You will find, if you continue reading this blog, that I don't do superlatives. I feel that they are traps that limit our experiences, and therefore, our lives. But I would have to say “Where would you be?” by Yaw is an exception.

I first heard it in mid 2010 on a podcast  called “The Space”. It’s hosted by this guy called Dijon who is one of the biggest influences on my musical tastes. He’s amazing. Super-eclectic but still very clear about what he digs. You can find him here. So, when I first heard it, I dismissed it. Yeah, I dismissed the best song in the world. Let me explain.
You see, Yaw is a powerful, male soul vocalist, and he sings in the tradition of Soul masters like Al Green and Otis Redding. A very full, rich, glorious sound. But then,  I just couldn’t hear it.

Let me explain further.

I had just discovered Dubstep thanks to some new friends I’d made, and I was eating it up. Consequently my ears were kind of rejecting anything that had words. All I recognized were wobbling bass lines. So when  I first heard those beautiful brass notes, I was like, “NEXT!” and swiftly moved to a thumping  DJ Ale Fillman mix (Who also happens to be bad-ass, hear his sounds on his website.)

Luckily, I worked at a bank at the time, and the only thing that stopped me from jumping from my 3rd floor office window everyday(which would have been be a very painful and ineffective suicide attempt) was “The Space”. One particularly soul sucking afternoon, I decided to stop working on whatever it is I used to do there (honestly don’t remember) and really listen to the music I was playing on the company computer. That’s when I was hit by the force that is “Where would you be”.
I am not gonna attempt to describe what I think to be the most beautiful piece of music ever created.  I can’t do it. Not adequately. The best I could do is describe the sensation that washed over me. Strange metaphors ahead.

When the first  notes hit my ears,  It was like I was suddenly and  slowly being enveloped by a warm, gentle being. By the time Yaw had started to sing in that gorgeous falsetto of his, I was completely overwhelmed. From there the embrace of this being became so exquisite, I was quite sure I was going to die. I was going to be strangled to death by the organic emotion one cannot escape when they hear Yaw’s voice.

It was devastating.

When it ended, I was practically catatonic for the rest of the day. Couldn’t. Do. a. thing. Completely and utterly stunned.

Needless to say, I listened to it a few million times after that and shared it with everyone I met. Not all were as enthusiastic about it, but isn't that the beauty of Music? It's brand new for every ear.

Surprisingly, the Ghanian-born singer is still pretty underground. I have no idea why.  But you can check out his myspace to hear more of his stuff. And if you live in Chicago, you could probably see him live…You lucky bastards.
And if someone could get me the limited edition vinyl release that features this track, I will give you my first child.

Or at least name it after you.