1. Dub Narcotic Sound System - “Rhythm Record Volume One - Echo‘s From The Scene Control Room” LP (K records)
This lp was released on K records in 1995. Dub Narcotic was the project of Calvin Johnson, owner of K records. K released a lot of seminal US indie records. 7”s, cassettes, fanzines - the whole lot.
The K motto is "exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre since 1982”. Lo-fi, punk influenced, DIY, fiercely anti corporate record company that’s the kind of thing you get. Or rather that’s the kind of thing you usually get, Dub Narcotic Sound System was/is different.
Again it’s lo-fi and has a very DIY feel, but the music played on this lp owes more to funk grooves and dub aesthetics (the melodica features heavily in the DNSS sound) than it does punk's visceral thrills. Although as I type this I realize that punk, dub and funk where often recorded on the cheap and sound all the better for it in many cases. So to summarize this is a lp of lo-fi indie funk jams with space echo and melodica. Here is a track from the lp called “Echo Control”
If that has tickled your fancy I can recommend the series of 7” singles the band released known as the Dub Narcotic Disco Plates. In the reggae tradition these have vocals on one side then the dubbed out version of the flip.
2. 3 Generations Walking - Midnight Bustling (Francois Kervorkian Dubs)
10” Spiritual Life Music/EFA 2003
I first heard “Midnight Bustling” played by Kelvin Brown in the hot and sweaty back room of the Electric Chair in Manchester, and I loved it. Trouble is I couldn’t remember what it was. Fast forward a decade and a bit and Matt (of this here blog) pulled out his copy and just as I fast I ordered one. A week later I ordered the FK mixes. I very nearly listed the 12”, but after a few listens this morning the 10” wins.
I can’t find a you tube clip, so I shall do my best to describe it. It’s dub house of the highest order, and then dubbed out some more by FK. I love the echoing trumpets, and as luck would have it the b-side is the four minute “Trumpet Fanfare”. Besides the trumpets there a snatches of vocal, reverb soaked percussion and all manner of beautiful little subtleties floating over a digital steppers rhythm fused with house‘s mighty kick drum. As you would expect from Mr Kervorkian this is a record to loose yourself in.
3. Rita Lee - “And I Love Him”
Taken from the lp “Build Up” (Polydor Records 1970)
Y’all know Rita was a founding member of Os Mutantes, so that saves me a bit of typing. This comes from her first solo lp released whilst still recording with Os Mutantes.
The whole lp is great from start to end, but for me the stand out is the Beatles cover “And I Love Him”. I can't put my finger on what it is I like so much but the piano/organ combination kills me, and the little drop in the middle followed by wah-wah'ed guitar strokes is almost too much. Here is a you tube link for your listening pleasure:
4. Brian Eno - “By This River”
Taken from the “Before and After Science” lp Island Records 1977
I love Brian Eno, generally I favour his full-on ambient pieces such as Music for Airports, Apollo, Music for Films etc.. However there is something so beautiful and yet so sad about “By This River” that it had to be the one I chose. It’s the lilting piano and the fragile nature of his voice that does it for me:
5. Cheri - “Give It To Me”
12” Single Venture records 1982
I’m shocked at myself it’s taken to number 5 to get to the disco, but this is worth the wait. I have to thank Nick the record for introducing me to this in Mr Scruffs Tea tent at the Latitude festival this summer. Simple, infectious disco with a killer chorus here it is for your pleasure
I got lucky and found Ken Colliers copy on Ebay with his writing on it, which leads me to believe it may have been a hit in the clubs of Detroit back in the day. Cheri’s mum was Geraldine Hunt and her brother is Freddie James, quite the disco family.