Filed under: Tunes
This is the best mixtape I’ve heard in a long time. So This is De La Heaven 2 is the long-awaited sequel to DJ Platurn’s excellent De La tribute mix from 2003. The long gestation process has been fruitful, as the accumulated effort is apparent in the impeccable song selection, blending, pacing, and tasteful yet apparent ‘dj hand’ audible throughout. Though this is not just a straightforward exercise in playing originals into the tack that sampled them, some of the strongest segments consist of the unique ways that he re-contextualizes each track by comparing them with their source. The ‘Hey Love’ segment is a master class in utilizing turntable techniques to bring new context to beloved and intensely familiar tracks.
De La played a major role in expanding the sonic palette of sample-able material throughout their career, and Platurn is unafraid to get a little weird here, as you will notice when you get caught at a red light really enjoying bumping a Walter Wanderly instrumental. Props are due to Platurn for focusing on semi-deep catalog material like ‘The Patti Dooke.’ It’s a treat for the De La obsessives among us. Also incredible is the long section dissecting and interacting with the ‘Buddy Native Tongues Remix’. There are so many references both musical and verbal in that song that there may have been an entire mixtapes’ worth of material just in that song. How many dudes that you know could get an actual member of De La to drop an intro to their tribute mix? Platurn is that dude, and this mix is absolutely top-notch. Get it. – Nate LeBlanc
* To read more on the mix and order, please go HERE.
One of the year’s most formidable mixes came in March and I’ve lagged on coverage, partially due to a frenzied dayjob and partially due to the denseness of the mix itself– it’s a lot to take in. A home brewed project spearheaded by Nerdtorious regular Allen ‘Overflo’ Johnson and Taran Escobar-Ausman of Fatheadphones.com, We Got Sound features rare African songs outside of the typical ‘High Life’ fare or ubiquitous Fela nods.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Listen to WE GOT SOUND in its entirety :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
These are some serious records you can’t hear anywhere else compiled, dusted-off, and blended together in seamless fashion in all its crackly glory. In short: essential listening. I shoulder-tapped Taran to expound a bit on the mix and some of the artists that went into it. Here’s what he came up with. – DM
Effi Duke & The Love Family “Time Has Come”
Album: Mr. Love 
This hypnotic, jazz influenced head-nodder is definitely one of the centerpieces of the mix, and it guided the feeling, theme, and tempo of the whole project. It immediately grabs your attention with Effi’s octave guitar workout over the echoed clap (which actually sounds like the scraping of guitar strings with wah-wah and echo) on the backbeat. Once the funky turn-around riff plays, there’s no turning back.
Charles Effiom Duke was a man on the scene, being a hired hand and contributor to a slew of bands, including the Funkees, Wings, Original Wings, Dan Ian, Kingsley Burstic Bassey, and Etubom Rex Williams, to name a few. At the same time, he was a founding member of the Ceejebs, an afro-rock band from Calabar. Eventually, the Ceejebs disbanded in the mid-70s, after which Duke formed his own band, Love Band/Love Family, which recorded two albums, including Mr. Love. Duke gets credits for guitar, bass, vocals, composer, engineer, and producer. In other words, he has the skills to pay the bills!
The Elcados “Funky Music”
Album: Whatever You Need 
The Elcados started out as the Moonrakers, the resident band at the Moulin Rouge Club in the Nigerian city of Kano, in 1966. After a management change, the Moonrakers left the club and changed their name to the Elcados, recording two LPs for EMI in the mid 70s. The song Funky Music, however, comes from their third album, Whatever You Need, which was more of a reunion album, with one member not returning.
This song gave the mix its name with its refrain, “We got rhythm, we got sound. You’re going to dig it, we got sound.” Sound they have indeed, as they lock into a funk/disco groove that doesn’t let up, declaring their sound credentials to everyone on the dance floor. The Elcados’ previous records were more rock oriented, but with this late 70s ‘reunion’ release the beats get tighter and mixed with Disco/Reggae influences, which was becoming popular in the region. My 3-year old asks for this one on repeat. (Props to ‘oreje’ scholar, Uchenna!) -Taran Escobar-Ausman, Fatheadphones.com
I recently had the honor of speaking with the great Ron Isley. Very meaningful, especially since we pretty much grew up hearing the Isley Bros. in an endless parade of great rap on the radio. Take a look at some of Ron’s favorite sample flips of his own over at Ego Trip.
Man, it’s been way too long since we’ve heard from one of our favorites, Edan. Last time we spoke was following the release of his wildly entertaining Echo Party. What followed were singles, guest spots, and these equally thorough, offbeat, off-the-cuff home mixes dubbed “Radio Shows”. Here’s the latest one, a live mix of records, washes of echo, and on the spot cuts. We’re stoked on the announcement of a new Rap EP due out in 2014, as is a Rock EP. Looking forward!
There’s a certain espirit de corps in the following posts, all of which stem from our basic love for Darondo and his music. He was also from the Bay and just sharing the same turf makes his eccentricities and songs personally more touching. The majestic “Didn’t I” struck a chord with all those who heard it– and all who did, all wanted more. That’s how a chance discovery of said single led to wonderful meetings with Darondo, culminating in songs resurfacing and him doing the splits onstage again at age 60. With Darondo, the more layers that peeled away, the more endearing he became.
Spry with a pompadour and belt buckle bearing his name, he was an actual former pimp who drove around Oakland with a mini-bar in his car. He sometimes wore a cape and sported huge, almost novelty jewelry. He had local cable access shows, one was called Darondo’s Penthouse After Dark. There are more lovable asterisks to his story but ultimately, what we adore is his music– the only thing tantamount would be his personality. After recording a few more in the ’60s, he did odd jobs and left the US during the ’80s before settling into the real estate business where he floated until the market slowed in the early 2000s.
Here’s where we pick up the story; Darondo’s songs are rediscovered by clued-in cats who were awestruck and moved, compelling them to share and officially release what was doable. All the funny, interesting lore aside, anyone who saw Darondo live was struck by his natural stage acumen and dirty humor. He radiated during those performances, energized though at times visibly old and shaky.
When word got out of Darondo’s passing, we tapped our Nerdtorious braintrust to cover a bit of the history behind his late but more than worthwhile ascent, including those who aided his career in its later stages. The stories here highlight Darondo’s pronounced persona. If only there were a time machine to relive the magic of hearing “Didn’t I” again for the first time. Rest in peace soul-master D. Thank god cats like you existed. – DM
“Forget It” by Blood Orange aka Devonte Hynes WATCH HERE
My article on Devonte Hynes is now up Wax Poetics’ site, lifted originally from their epic 50th anniversary issue. It’s a piece that was super fun to write and finally available for the first time online HERE for non-subscribers.
An absurdly talented songwriter, Dev has penned songs for Florence and the Machine, Sky Ferreira, Theophilus London, Solange, and many more in addition to his killer debut, last year’s Coastal Grooves.
“Forget It” is a striking cut off the album and is one of my favorite songs in recent memory. The whole project was made on his Macbook with a keyboard, mic, and guitar. Dev announced this week that his second Blood Orange album is near completion.
Antwon has been a local standout for a minute now, amassing great press through fun videos and kiler mixtapes. His latest, In Dark Denim, was released a few months back and here he shares some choice cuts by way of words and youtube. Word Antwon!-DM
Spank Rock – “Chilly Will”
The perfect example of “club rap”. At one time it was the standard I guess. I saw so many copy cats between 2006-2009 but Spank Rock was my favorite. The focus was on being very cool and technicolor. Spank Rock releases spoke to me the most because I felt the roots; I could tell the influences that were being payed homage ’cause I very much did the same thing but defintely not at that caliber. Pay this nigga.
You only really grew up in the ’90s if you subconsiously were into house music. MTV’s The Grind had all the jams back then. If you thought Yo MTV Jams was where it was at you were sadly mistaken. I care what no says, if this doesn’t make you throw your hands up and say “ohhhh shiiit” we are not friends.
I love the formula of Goldie songs. They’re what I basically look for in most music; to be emotionally attached to it and for it to take me to another place. I know Goldie is still around and it would be a dream to work with him. – Antwon