Creature Dubble Feature / Haunted Castle EP

Happy Halloween Y’all! I love this holiday because its the time when everyone gets to dress up and act like a kid again. I also like creepy, crawly, dark and dusty places…’cause there are sometimes records down there. So, to celebrate, here are a few tracks with a horror theme for your enjoyment. I’ll break ’em down below.

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The first one, Count Dubula, is all Darren really. We were hanging out at my old apartment in Cambridge making beats and watching horror flicks.  We had the audio of the DVD running through the mixer so we could mix it in live with whatever else we were doing. Classic. Finally, we had two lexicon JamMans locked to each other and some midi gear. The live sampling and midi/tempo locked delays on these make them great units for doing live dubs with samples. That’s just what Daren does here.

First, he grabbed a loop of the death scene in one JamMan. Then, he used the other JamMan to create dub effects and additional loops while the dialog of the death scene whispered and gasped and screamed along in the background. The whole mix was live, though the original was somewhat longer. No changing the timeline/looping/rearrainging though. Just condensation of the ideas that emerged and removal of the real clunkers.

Next, is Creature Double Feature. This is also a live mix, but with me on the decks playing a classic breaks record that ends with Godzilla screetches and then a big bass tone. I am doing a simple little improved doubles thing to which Darren was adding the bass drops (this might have happened after, I dunno). But its also basically a live jam. We got a kick out of the insanity of the dueling godzillas at the end and you can hear us laughing like jackals at the end (though some live mic apparently).

Finally, Haunted Castle also started at my pad, but this time used Def Rock’s MPC3000 and some freestyle from the wizard himself. Darren did some heavy clean up and post production on the original jam and then I added the scratch track live using Tino’s Halloween record today. I include this to give respect to a friend who has been a 4 elements b-boy since the early 1980s. He was taught by Dr. Freshh, was behind the legendary Monstamind/Megabug madness, is sick on the decks, is a true sensei and was featured in the important early graf book Freight Train Graffiti — all before most of you were even out of diapers. Like I said. Respect due.

He is also releasing a new record tonight Progress/Regress at Bullmoose Music up in Portsmouth NH. Get down there at 8pm to see a modern day horror author and b-boy original in action. Stick around for some other limited release Def Rock in the weeks to come.

Lexington 78 Haul

Last Saturday morning, a friend texted me to tell me that a relative in Lexington was getting rid of her parents’ old record collection. Apparently, the collector had been an accountant and at minimum, his organizational scheme might be of interest. I was led to believe it was a few hundred records and possibly some 78s and didn’t expect much given the description. He told her that I was among the few people in town who would probably be willing to come haul it off on short notice. Apparently, he was right. I agreed to be there later that day.

What I discovered was a big collection of 78s (about 40 books in all!) that included some cool jump blues, jazz and hot 20s dance sides along with the predictable preponderance of schmaltz, 40s swing, vocal jazz and other goofball stuff. Luckily, I know one of the only people in town who has the skill to sift through the collection for any instances of blues, jazz or other proto-funk content. Watch and learn as the master works.

My best record find ever

Those are big words for sure. But in this case, it has to be true. Last summer, while sorting incoming records at the old lab, I flipped past  this copy of Ofra Haza’s Galbi 12″. As it was heading for the “sell/trade” pile (I already have a few), something caught my attention. The record sleeve seemed a little thick. There was clearly something else in there. “Hunh, might be worth keeping her promo shot/press kit, plus, it has an old WERS stamp on it…,” I was thinking as I removed the printed material inside. Then I fell over.

After a year digging into the basement of Boston hip hop looking for its origin stories, my personal grail had escaped me.  I knew that The Source magazine started in Boston (in the Cambridge dorms at Harvard to be precise) and I really expected to run across an old copy. Indeed, lots of folks reported having copies way back when (before the move, fire, robbery…) but I never was able to track one down. Until now. In the most random way imaginable.

Here, in a record I was about to throw away was a copy of The Source, Vol 1, No. 2, November 1988! Not only was it  still stapled shut but it started right out with a list of “hot picks from streetbeat” (presumably a reference to the weekly rap radio show run by David Mays Jon Shecter on Harvard’s student radio station WHRB). Also, nore the appearance of the local classic TDS Mob track Dope For the Folks along with a pile of golden age gems from national acts.  This amazing bit of Beantown hip-hop history was delivered in a way that only the vinyl gods could have organized. It also put a beautiful bookmark on the end of my year-long quest for the foundations of Boston hip-hop. Grail. Check.

Lecco’s Loco on WZBC

I’ve been digging through the tapes and found a good one. This is some audio of Magnus on a later incarnation of Lecco’s Lemma on WZBC in Newton. Not sure of the date, but it was post 1988 (it starts with Cold Lampin’ With Flavor). I also love that it was sponsored in PART by a grant from Mattapan Music…right there in Mattapan Square!

I’ve edited it a bit to focus on the talking (sorry Magnus) and one track from the mix that is not available elsewhere. Can you get to this? The Willie…Alexander…Rap. Yup. Once and former member of the later Velvets and Boom Boom Band leader, Gloucester’s own post punk magnate did a rap tune that was hyped by Magnus on ZBC way back when. Not only that, he just released a new/old record.

Here’s the review from the recent Noise.

Captain Trip Records
Loco Live 1976
16-song CD
Those unfamiliar with Willie should know he graced Boston stages playing Boston rock ’n’ roll when even dinosaurs like myself were playing Little League. I mean, this dude was in one of the last lineups for the Velvet Underground! It’s an honor to review a still-playing legend and I’m very glad this didn’t fall into the hands of some fool like Zortar’s hands. This CD was recorded at two Boston clubs—the Rat (there’s even a song called “At the Rat”) and the Club. The sound is great and the selection of songs is pretty representative. Younger folks expecting an early punk sound might be put off by Willie’s sometime falsetto and keyboards, but like most early Boston rock, his style is more garage than punk and he was one of the earliest and best of the time.

Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band play sloppy, eccentric, creative, rockin’ Boston music and you can’t go wrong with the lyrics from my favorite “Pup Tune”—“Your dog swallowed another pair of panties, she puked them up in the hall, they’re in a ball now.” (Slimedog) [snip]

Locos Lemma Lives!