TIMMY THOMAS: RHYTHM KING

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Timmy Thomas: In the Beginning (Glades, 1972, Why Can’t We Live Together?

The infectious success of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” (memes and all) is one of those semi-annual reminders that Timmy Thomas’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” exists.1 You can’t call Thomas’s 1972 single “obscure” by any means; it was a huge hit for him at the time and it’s been liberally sampled and covered over those years but still, we haven’t seen Thomas’s work get this kind of shine in years.

The Glades issue of “Why Can’t […]

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THE INVITATIONS: IF I’M THE RIGHT ONE AFTER ALL

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The Invitations: Written On The Wall (DynoVoice, 1965, 7″)

Even after all this time, I never ceased to be impressed by the scope of De La Soul/Prince Paul’s crates circa 1988. I love how they slowed this down and flipped it.

365 Days of Soul, #146

SSO: GETTING FADED

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SSO: Faded Lady (RKM, 197?, Disco Soul Roots)

I never want to reduce a song to just its sample use but “Faded Lady” is put to such major effect on Diamond’s “I Went For Mine,” that it’s hard not to always think of the latter when you pump the former.

I’ve heard the players with SSO were also behind Nico Gomez, the Chakachas and a slew of other Dutch groups of the ’70s. Don’t know if that’s true but it does make sense given how damn […]

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CHOPPING UP (ON) SAMPLES

The other week, Thes One and I teamed up to talk about the ethos of sampling at USC as part of a lecture series they had this past year on sampling.

I though it was a great, wide-ranging conversation with at least two highlights:

1) Thes using an ancient Gemini mixer with built-in sampler to recreate the “Funky Lemonade (Remix)” loop.

2) Thes showing that you can pretty much chop up anything into a decent beat by using how he Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

The whole convo is worth listening to if you’re like […]

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BLIND ALLEY – ALTERED TAPES REMIX

Folks know that “Blind Alley” is one of my all-time favorite breaks.1 Just wanted to say that Altered Tapes does a killer little edit, apparently by remixing the original multi-track stems with a little BDK thrown in for good measure.

In fact, it might be the very first example of how I learned what a “break” (as in sample) was. ↩

YESTERDAY IS NOW

Brass Construction: Now Is Tomorrow (Anticipation) + The Message (Inspiration)
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So I was up at the Groove Merchant over Thanksgiving and Cool Chris was playing a record over the house system and I thought,”wow, that sounds really good.” I went over to look at what it was and it was the Brass Construction album and I had one of those mixed moments of…

“Man, I forgot how good this was.”
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“Maybe that’s because I probably haven’t listened to this album in 12-15 years.”

It’s a sobering realization.

[…]

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OOPS UPSIDE MY HEAD

Here’s the deal: this song changed my life. It wasn’t the first hip-hop song I ever heard but it was the first one that really made me want to find everything I could that sounded like. It was my gateway drug into hip-hop which would irrevocably change everything else I’d come to pursue later on, whether journalism, scholarship, DJing and of course, records.

But see…for the longest time, I credited the magic of this song (besides to De La Soul and Prince Paul of course) to the Steely Dan “Peg” sample. And look – it’s […]

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SHADES OF SOUL, EP 1.3: THE SOUL JAZZ EPISODE

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Our latest episode of our Radio Sombra show, Shades of Soul, is dedicated the soul-jazz sound of the late ’60s (and its rediscovery and celebration in the 1990s). We end with a monster set of all five parts of the greater “Smilin’ Billy Suite”.

Shades of Soul 1.3: The Soul-Jazz Episode by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

Visit the Radio Sombra page for the […]

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SUMMER SONGS 2013: CHOIMATIC

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(Editor’s note: It’s time to bring back the Summer Songs after two seasons off. Our first guest is Moe Choi aka DJ Choimatic. I’ve known Moe for years, back when he was a big presence in the NY hip-hop club scene but in more recent years, Moe has branched out into everything from swanked-out weddings to Fashion Week runway shows to, you know, DJing parities on the roof of The Met. He’s got Billy Danze’s number on speed dial and the inside lane on YSL couture; […]

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L-O-V-E’S INSPIRATION

I totally forgot to share this anecdote from the other month. I got an email from DJ Day – if you haven’t copped Land of 1000 Chances yet…what you waiting for? – and he wanted to share this:

I don’t think I ever told you, but the last song on the album (“W-E-L-O-V-E“) is directly related to you. The basis of the song was all from one you played at the Ace that Sunday by the pool many, many moons ago. I ended up tracking the record down because of it and here we are. […]

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