Monthly Archives: August 2008

Hey girl, didn’t I meet you somewhere cool before?

Having lived in a big, commerce driven megalopolis before (Tokyo), I am well aware that living in NYC would be all about the hustle. Or as our friend Henri Brisard put it, a “New York State of Grind”. And after two weeks I wouldn’t go to the laundromat without blow-drying my hair first. I would probably end up with high heels surgically glued to my feet, running a black market trade in stolen IV twins.

However, I was just reading about the first edition of this year’s parties at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island. The gallery itself has been around since ’71, which means it’s almost 30 years older than the Sony gaming console. The name is still kind of confusing.

As evidenced by announcements on message boards (like the now-defunct CBS.nu) this gallery has been hosting its weekly summer dance-party series, Warm Up Saturdays, for 10 years. They do it in collaboration with MoMa’s Young Architects program. And I don’t know who’s been doing the music programming in recent years but it has been consistently dope: ranging all the way from the charming off-key singer and virtuoso violinist Kelley Polar Quartet, to deep disco and yacht-rock affiliates like DJ Harvey, Lovefingers, Rub-n-Tug and Danny Wang, to glittery dusty techno from people like Juan Atkins, the Juan McLean, and others not called Juan.

This year’s architects were Amale Andraos, 35, and Dan Wood, 40, from Work Architecture Company, and apparently it was something to do with a farm (there were plants in the wooden tubs and a chicken pen).

All of that eco-friendly urban oasis stuff seems behind the point: the genius here is the combo of cardboard-roofed caves where you can crouch seductively on gravel and make a new friend, futuristic blue lily pads with only room for two, a paddling pool and nice music. Could there be a better conceived space for picking up chicks?

Bonus: Download disco mixes at Cool in the Pool radio.

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the beach is where you go when you want to be free

beach horse

Arabian, born K.R. Nazel on June 17, 1965 and raised in the Southern Los Angeles suburb of Compton. A kid whose dad ghost-wrote for Iceberg Slim as well as penning “Black Gestapo”.

“The first club we had, it was called The Cave, in the back of an old pet store, and it was like a pet feed store and I was 16 and I had to go get a job. So I had to go to the pet store, but this was no ordinary pet store. This guy sold like 100lb bags of pigeon feed and chicken feed and stuff.”

And so began the Uncle Jamm’s Army sound system, from which Arabian sprang to the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, redefining the course of West Coast hip hop as we know it.

Arabian Prince’s new anthology was released today on Stones Throw Records. The NWA and electro pioneer, also behind classic electro records as Professor X, Arabian is pretty rad in real life. When we met him at the Academy in Seattle, the thing I remember most is this headset he would wear all the time. It was like he was in constant communication with a girl he met last week, his manager, Area 51, the CIA, or all at once.

Therefore, I think they could’ve put a picture of present-day Arabian on the cover.

Still, there are some good photos in the CD-insert like the one where he’s wearing leather cuffs.

This comp has some great moments: you’ll find there are certain tracks that you will want to play more than others but it grows on you. The track below, available for download on the Academy site right now, is one of them: all seagulls and synthesisers.

Looks like they’re still low-ridin’ on the West.

Arabian Prince and the Sheiks – Let’s Hit the Beach

Playground Love @ c/o Pop

playgroundmap

For anyone in the area who’s not going motorcycle-riding on Saturday, I’m playing at John Harten & Ansorge’s Playground Love marathon. There are monkey bars that spout water and a safe tarmac surface. It’ll be a blast: from today thru Sunday.

As you can see from the schedule below, John and Ansorge are playing at a quarter past infinity, or maybe 100 x 1,000,000 (I’m not so good at Roman numerals).

Picture 1

c/O Pop ist Los!

ice

Today is the first day of the c/o Pop festival here in Cologne.

As I was walking through the Brüsselerplatz I came across the organic ice cream van, which today served me a one-euro cone of mango mint flavour with complimentary c/o Pop wafer!

I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten an advertisement before.

I asked the guy, whose ice cream van I have only spotted there on one other occasion, if he was always there. I guess that’s what you call a leading question. “Every afternoon,” he replied, “When the weather’s good” And he leaned out of his window to peer up at the grey and overcast sky as a few spikes of rain fell on our heads.

Despite, or perhaps because of the gusts of wind and intermittent patches of blue sky, there was a feeling of excitement in the air all day.

I didn’t ask the ice cream man if he was going to see Gravenhurst or D.A.F. play tonight. I didn’t call him a liar, either.

Out with the new, in with the old: Discos Capablanca and Kreidler

small air guitar

Last Saturday we dropped by the Salon des Amateurs in Düsseldorf (above) where we heard some of a set by Discos Capablanca. T.Keeler and Hugo Capablanca were looking trés Berlinesque, one in a wife-beater, the other in a suit and straw hat. These are attire choices as a DJ that make a strong statement about your proclivity to sweat.

Despite the smell of hype, or the lack of smell, depending which one you are talking to, the Discos Capablanca label’s first offering is not a waste of hand silk-screening. It helps that they enlisted Grackle and Unit 4. Their own remix is not bad either.

The DJ set was predictable if fun to sing along: from Tulip dePiscopo to Chaz Jankel. And I am not one to shy away from singing out loud, as tired karaoke machines will testify.

We bumped into fellow Chris Marker fan Detlef, who runs the Salon (far left, below). I asked him about the upcoming live show by his reformed project Kreidler at Open Source Festival. He said “We’re going to play tracks from the new album.” Wow, a new album, when did you start work on that? “Two weeks ago” came the tired reply. He says they are going for an ‘afro’ type sound, which hopefully means it will have a whiff of Detlef’s Toulouse Lowtrax project.

Detlef., Ben, Waterwolf

Last time we went to Open Source, we got a bit lost. It’s quite an otherworldly location, by the river and some swimming pools: all flat green and blue segments. Detlef says he’s never been there.

Maybe the reason it was so hard to find, is that it doesn’t really exist.

KANARIEFUGLEN ER DØD

robin
Is it the Brewery Studios, or is it a sauna? Or both?

“Some people say you can’t hear a difference of one dB. But I’d like to believe that you can.”

Not a statement worth arguing, especially coming from Robin Braun, one half of the Copenhagen duo Owusu and Hannibal, who released that infectious sing-along album on Ubiquity in 2006. That 6th dB-sense allows him to change the tone of his voice within seconds from an MJ-worthy falsetto, to a Shaun Escoffery-esque croon, to (in his words) “a choir of Brazilian orphans.”

Lately this self-taught Danish multi-instrumentalist has been “going through a girl phase.” Not that type of girl phase, dummy. He’s been working on tracks with a number of different female vocalists. No telling yet, if it’ll be made-up Portuguese or Hans Cristian Andersen-inspired lyrics, or something like the intro to their album on Ubiquity, which was about a budgie who went missing and left a suicide note.

One of Robin’s new projects, which he headed back to Copenhagen by train yesterday to start work on, is a soundtrack for a new dogma-style gritty film about teenagers. The Owusu and Hannibal project isn’t on ice though: they’re just branching out, and tying up some loose ends. There’s an older, still unreleased album that will drop soon on a Japanese label as well as a major in Denmark; while Phil ‘Owusu’ is also finishing up some of his own back catalogue.

Lyrics to ‘Monster’ by Owusu and Hannibal:

THE DEVIL’S HERE
I SWEAR HE’S AROUND
HE COCKED THE GUN AND LEFT IT ON THE GROUND
TIED AND GAGGED US ON HIS HIGH IDEALS
YOU BEND YOUR KNEES
I’LL HAVE TO BEND MINE
AND WE’LL WALK TOGETHER TO OUR GRAVES
THAT RACIST HUNG US FROM THE SAME LINE

http://www.myspace.com/owusuhannibal

robin2