This effusive mix by the cantankerous one, DJ PLATURN, was floating around the internet a month or so back. It’s a live set of obscure Asian 45s, melodic, colorful, and in-the-pocket grooves galore. Cover is by yours truly (I just used a phone app) and the mix is still available for download. Peep it HERE. It should also be noted that “45” in this case = not only the format, but also Trump, who has “infected countless lives,” says Platurn.
David Bowie once recalled in an interview about his time with Brian Eno while the two were famously making the Berlin Trilogy: “Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’… he puts on “I Feel Love,” by Donna Summer. ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right,” said Bowie.
“I Feel Love,” produced by the great Giorgio Moroder swept Europe, eventually hitting the US and charted on the Billboard Hot 100 that summer. The throbbing disco smash was an enormous breakthrough for its arranger, a little known songwriter out of Iceland named Þórir Baldursson.
Born in 1944, Þórir (known also as Thor) grew up playing keys before notching some huge songwriting, arranging, and production credits later in life. He transitioned gradually from jazz to disco, with studio work that included ABBA, Elton John, and Grace Jones. “I Feel Love” is now a signature song in Donna Summer’s oeuvre and became commonplace sample fodder for ‘90s dance cuts, even Blondie and Madonna tapped its monster break for late-in-the-game dance-pop revivalism.
Þórir was also apart of another leading-edge arrangement, the oft-sampled “Sing Sing” by Gaz, which of course contained the foundational skeletal shakers that later became Baltimore club music’s backbone. Along with “Amen Brother” and “Apache,” “Sing Sing’s” break was a staple in early Grandmaster Flash routines and subsequently lifted by everybody from RZA to Kylie Minogue.
Through the years Þórir’s name has been so butchered, so miswritten that there are at least twenty different spellings to his credit. Some of them muddied through translation, others perhaps out of sheer laziness (“S.P. Bala” for one– not even close). Strange for a musician whose output spans back to the ‘60s and who’s still very much conscious of the fact. Says Þórir: “Music has been my sole source of income since the 1950s so this is my 61st year in this profession.”
Some of Þórir’s work was used on DJ Platurn’s Breaking The Ice, an esteemed mix of rare Icelandic grooves from his and his father’s collection. Through ties with his motherland, Platurn connected us with Þórir himself, who at a cantankerous 75 years of age, took time to humor us– if only briefly. It’s always incredibly satisfying and gives you hope to see artists succeed solely on the merit of their art for so long. Hats off.Read more
This project with DJ Platurn has literally been 10 years in the making (more if you count his lifetime’s worth of sourcing these records). The project is out at the end of the month on San Jose’s Needle To The Groove Records.
The mix is an astounding collection of obscure Icelandic funk, proto-rap, rock, soul, and disco, all expertly put-in-place by Platurn. The release comes with liner notes (by yours truly) and is limited to 1000 CDs with a booklet of awesome ephemera. To gain a bit more perspective on the BTI, here are some past blog posts which aided in the realization of the project. Peep the nice mini-doc (by Kicker Dixon) above and kindly purchase HERE).
While parties brand themselves in order to branch-out to other cities, Platurn’s 45 Sessions was able to do the opposite– make OTHERS come to YOUR party. The roster has been thick through the years, Just Blaze, Nu-mark, J-Zone, Maseo (De La Soul), and Diamond D to name a few. As a past participant, I’m nothing short of honored to be a part of something that’s so intrinsically positive; good people, good 45s– what else could you ask for? Hats off to the 45 Sessions for turning the party out for 4 years. Dare I say, here’s to another 41 years?!?!
(One of our favorite dudes DJ O-Dub will be dropping by tomorrow at one of our favorite parties, The 45 Sessions— founded by non other than the homie, DJ Platurn. It was an honor to be a past participant in an event where partygoers care about the music as much as the DJs– plus, 45s just sound so damn good and loud! We asked O-Dub to give us a peek into his crates for tomorrow’s not-to-be-missed affair and here’s what he came up with (hit it!). – DM)
It’s been ages since I’ve spun a “vinyl only” party, let alone “45s only” and truth be told…as great and convenient as the infinite digital crate is, I find far more creative pleasure in working within limits. Sometimes having access to everything makes a challenge banal; it’s like playing a video game in “god” mode. That said, I knew, going into this 45 Sessions set, I was certainly going to bring along a few go-to favorites on one hand as well as some “yeah, I got this” flossalistic singles. But I also want to use this as an opportunity to play out a few 7″s that have always almost made it to the turntables yet, for whatever reason, never quite made my party playlists. To start:
The Springers – (I Want You) Every Night and Day
My friend Hua Hsu put me up on this many years ago and I immediately fell in love with those hard, hammering piano strokes at the beginning. Great vocal touches and harmonies too. It’s not quite as slick – dancing-wise – as other Northern tracks but it has such a distinctive feel and punch to it. Maybe I’ll finally give this one a spin.
Los Amaya – Que Mala Suerte la Mia
I do love me some rumba catalan and Los Amaya’s “Caramelos” has usually been the track I most frequently play out. But this time, I’m planning to play the flip side – “Que Mala Suerte la Mia” – instead. It’s not as obviously “funky” as “Caramelos” but listening to it, I appreciate the slinky soulfulness that infuses the energy of the singing and guitar. I hope the dance floor can get with it too!
Samson and Delilah – Will You Be Ready
Never played this out before but that’s mostly because I only picked it up last fall and haven’t had a gig where it would have made sense to drop it. If ever there was a rhythm that could be described as “irresistible,” this is it. It’s no great songwriting accomplishment, lyrically, but as a groover, I don’t know if I’ve heard anything quite as propulsive in a while.
DJ O-Dub will be spinning at 45 Sessions in Oakland on Friday, January 18.
[Our homie and frequent contributor DJ Platurn hit us with this, the 3rd and final installment of Breaking The Ice, a three-part series highlighting these immensely ill, not to mention very rare, Icelandic records Platurn grabbed when in the motherland. His brainchild The 45 Sessions (which I’ve been honored to be a part of) reaches its boiling point next month when famed producer Just Blaze headlines. Don’t miss it or Platurn’s ongoing works, including an official full-length release of Breaking The Ice with liner notes by yours truly. But for now, peep this terrific bookend to the series.– DM]
Trubrot: “Hr Hvit Skyrta Og Bindi b/w A Little Song of Love”
Although only one LP, an EP, and couple of 45s to their credit, I think it’s safe to say that Óðmenn (translated literally as ‘mad men’ or ‘crazy men’) is my favorite all time Icelandic band–with Trúbrot coming in a close second. Their sounds were similar and I believe they shared some sessions players — easily the finest groove based prog rock out of Iceland in the ’70s came from these two outfits.
This particular 7″ is especially interesting — as far as I know none of these songs appeared on any of their albums. On the b-side, ‘Hr. hvít skyrta of bindi´ (Mr. White Shirt & Tie) segue ways into ‘A Little Song of Love’, not something you commonly hear on a 45. When it’s two songs to a side then the tracks are usually seperate and it’s considered an EP. This particular record has a track entitled ‘Starlight’ on the back — not a bad song in itself but much more folky in comparison to the more, almost b-boy-esque feel of Mr. White Shirt.
The lyrics are also poignant, touching on subdued hints of being a mindless drone who doesn’t know who he/she is while trudging through life with little meaning, other than wearing a suit and tie and pleasing Mr. Boss Man. The lyrics of ‘Little Song’ are a simple ode to the joys of innocent love, with a fresh flute intro that could have easily been flipped by one of DITC’s finest in the mid ’90s.
This single is a true gem, a rare piece of bad ass music from one of Iceland’s finest and is incredibly hard to find.I first heard this 45 from my cousin Sveimhugi, the other half of my excavating journey through Iceland’s lesser known wax history. Still trying to find my own, but in the meantime the motherland based half of the duo currently claims the only copy I have access too (him and I are the ones who initially began the ‘Breaking The Ice’ journey). This will be the last post until the whole compilation actually drops, brought to you in part by Nerdtorious dot com and with even more extensive insight, liner notes, and stories of diggin’ thru Middle Earth. Enjoy! – DJ Platurn
We tend to keep localized posts to a minimum but this is worth sharing, especially since it’s our first sponsored event! Return of The Boom Zap and 45 Sessions (both hugely successful Bay Area parties) are combining efforts for a killer night this coming Sunday. I’ll be playing records with some very esteemed gentlemen in the Bay Area, most of whom are past and current Nerdtorious contributors as well as some of the best DJs and notable collectors around. Peep more about the party (and come out!) if you’re in the area. We’re playing all 45s, all night– or as Cutso put it: “Small records, Big sound!”
(Here’s another great find by one of the hardest working dudes I know, DJ Platurn . Check some newer work of his available at Turntable Lab. And if you’re in the Austin area, peep his outrageous schedule at this year’s SXSW. Stay tuned for future installments of our ‘Breaking The Ice’ series which, as far as I know, is the only venue for Icelandic gems such as this.– DM)
Wuddup beat nerds, back once again with another from the cold Icelandic crates of Sveimhugi and DJ Platurn. If you read the last installment then you’re somewhat familiar with this series– basically these tracks were songs myself and my cousin unearthed in the motherland years ago; joints off Icelandic LPs and 45s that lie on the groovy side of things. We put them all on an unreleased comp called ‘Breaking The Ice V.1’ that never saw the light of day, until now.
‘Syrpa II’ Leikur Vinsæl Islensk Lög [SG Hljómplötur, 1970]
So ‘Syrpa II’ translates to ‘Medley Two’, a track off of an LP that literally means ‘Plays Popular Icelandic Songs’ by recording artist, producer, arranger and groovy Hammond player Þórir Baldursson. This LP is composed entirely of medleys of relatively well known Icelandic songs, none that would sound familiar to anyone outside of the indigenous population and primarily the generations before the last two or so. Continue reading “Breaking The Ice”
This new 45 on BSTRD Boots takes Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Peggy’, blending it with ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ by Janet Jackson. It’s the latest release by our bud and Nerdtorious contributor, DJ Platurn. The flip is a pretty nice take on Prince Buster’s ‘Al Capone’ too.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Platurn’s Breaking The Ice series for some more rare Icelandic goodies.
*This is the first of our “Breaking The Ice” series featuring friend and fellow music nerd, DJ Platurn. In addition to his mixtapes and ongoing DJ work, dude’s a collector who has made efforts to gather and document (funky) records from his country of Iceland. “Breaking The Ice” will feature the music and stories from these experiences. All vinyl rips from ultra-rare, Icelandic funk and boogie records from the ’70s. Peep the post (and others to come!) courtesy of Platurn.
By DJ Platurn
Way back in the year 2006 in my motherland, Iceland, my cousin Sveimhugi and I began compiling what we considered some of the best groove-based music from the annals of our little island’s rich musical history. We had no idea what we would come across. The following is a breakdown of one of the bands and one of their songs (note: all vinyl rips).
I am making a fairly safe assumption that this will be the first that time that all you digger nerds will hear some Icelandic funk. So for now, enjoy! Continue reading “Breaking The Ice”
DJ Platurn took Nu-Mark’s version of “Imagine” and blended it with Dennis Edwards’ “Don’t Look Any Further”. He spliced together their videos too. The Dennis Edwards footage alone is awesome! Good work homie! Follow Platurn’s whereabouts and musings over at Rings of Platurn.