Archive for July, 2007

Albums that are going to come out on a Tuesday…

July 31, 2007

Today is Tuesday. Albums come out on Tuesdays; and rather than discussing albums that drop today (like Common’s Finding Forever), I’m going to look toward future Tuesdays. And in the future, albums from Madlib, Oh No, & M.I.A. can be expected. Now, a brief review of those three artists may make it clear why two are in the same posts – you may think it would make sense to include brothers Madlib & Oh No in the same post. Same mother. Same record label. Both releasing albums in August. Both albums are instrumental. Both albums draw heavily on exotic samples. In the case of Madlib’s, well, he raids cast off Bollywood soundtracks. Younger brother’s Dr. No’s Oxperiment broadens his digging and includes the chopped sounds of Lebanon, Turkey, & Greece. You sense a theme here?

This is where M.I.A. comes in. She too has an album dropping in August. And if you’re familiar with her Arular, you may have guessed the link between her and the Jackson brother releases. M.I.A.’s KALA, much like its predecessor, incorporates sounds that span the globe: Sri Lankan, African, Indian, and Turkish, (I think I hear bag pipes in there too). Looking at the tracklisting, it appears the only Timbaland contribution is “Come Around,” the bonus track that closed out his Timbaland Presents Shock Value. At any rate, this appears to be a truly global endeavor. In addition to the great sounds, M.I.A. also offers thoughts on her world. For example, the lead single seeks to find out “how many boyz are raw/how many no money boyz are rowdy/how many boyz start a war?” Similiar to Arular, it appears KALA is draped in class and ideology clashes, which is given substance when paralleled with the fact that she spent a portion of her childhood in Sri Lanka during civil war. (According to an interview with Rolling Stone, her father was a revolutionary figher in Sri Lanka nicknamed, Arular). Admittedly, I’m not an expert in M.I.A. or her music, but I thought highly of Arular, and am looking forward to her newest offering. Needless to say, I love the amalgamation of seeming discordant sounds.

My realization is there is a seemingly unlimited source of sounds out there [points out the window] and it’s great to see hip hop artists tap into it. Sure, neither Madlib nor Oh No are the first to do so. But they manage to find some exotic $h!t and chop, flip, and arrange it into hip hop. If nothing else, their projects may make other “wordly” sounds more palatable to hip hop ears. Once again, Stonesthrow has reminded me that they’re not afraid of much. In relation to M.I.A., it may be that American hip hop and the international scene are coming full circle. The way I see, the more sounds available, the more potential to make some hot $h!t.

With that, I say bring on the August releases. This has been a pretty fruitful music year and I am looking forward to finishing it out. Hey, don’t forget to get your Finding Forever, need to support the less cacophonous too.

UPDATE: “Come Around” was one of my favorite tracks on Timbaland’s Shock Value, but it comes off as boring along side some of the other tracks on KALA.

Nina Simone, the truth!

July 30, 2007

I have been thinking about getting back to TT for a minute now…and what a way to return! I swear man, Nina is the rare singer that can send chills up my spine. One thing that particularly interests me about Nina (and several of her contemporaries, particularly within jazz) was her intimiate relationship with the civil rights movement. Her cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” “Backlash Blues,” one of my favorites, and her tribute to MLK Jr., “Why (The King of Love is Dead” are but a few examples, but it seems for her, music certainly was a weapon of the people. This 1965 performance of “Four Women” is ridiculous!