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My Funky (In)Disposition´╗┐

The LF soul music blog run by music-mad Imran Mirza, in conjunction
with his Starpoint Radio show, 'The Blue-in-Green Sessions'.


Saturday
Jan082011

MF(I)D meets... Tristan Hanks

There was no way we were going to complete our 'meet the team' series without formally introducing you to one of our faves... Tristan Hanks.  Tristan's done so much for LF by channeling his vibrant and eclectic music taste into some quality material for the site that we're always appreciative for (and I imagine you guys are too) so we're particularly excited for the below, if only just for reading about by far the BEST musical moment of the year!!

Ladies and gentlemen, casting his mind back over the 365 days that were 2010, may I present to you - Tristan Hanks!

Which artist slipped under the mainstream radar with an impeccable album?
Probably Mux Mool and his album ‘Skulltaste’ which I reviewed on this very site! Never knew anything about him before it came out and he still remains a bit of a mystery but his beat based music is very interesting and difficult to place within any genre. He probably wouldn’t want to become mainstream anyway so he has at least achieved that!

What was your favourite single of the year?
This is a bit of a cheat because it is only being released as a single now but ‘Undertow’ by Warpaint is just brilliant. Their album is good too but this is the absolute highlight. I also loved all of James Blake’s EPs and the Flying Lotus EP too.

Which artist had you not heard of at the beginning of the year that you now consider yourself a fan of?
Luke Abbott. He is a DJ and producer on James Holden’s label and his album ‘Holkham Drones’ is excellent. I heard a few of his older singles earlier in the year and he then preceded the album with ‘Whitebox Stereo’ which blew me and almost my crappy computer speakers away!

Which band released an album you wish they hadn't?
None really spring to mind except maybe the Brian Eno release on Warp. I thought it would be this amazing slab of genius and it was just alright. Listening to ‘Small Craft on a Milk Sea’ again there is much to admire and it is very good in places, just not what I assumed a collaboration between two legendary institutions would sound like.

Was there a project you were anticipating that didn't get released?
I was looking forward to the new Syd Barrett compilation but when it was actually released it just contained stuff I already had. I thought they might slip a few Pink Floyd rarities on it like ‘Vegetable Man’ or ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ but it was called ‘An Introduction to..’ so I suppose that’s fair enough really and I think all of his solo out-takes have been plundered enough. There was also a false rumour about new Boards of Canada material which got me excited but came to nothing in the end.

What was your favourite concert experience of the year?
Stevie Wonder at Glasto was obviously great with everyone singing his classics together and Field Day was pretty fun with Chilly Gonzales and some great DJ’s like Fake Blood. My favourite live act wasn’t musical though, it was the comic poetry of Tim Key at the Soho theatre which was as original as it was funny. He somehow managed to crowd surf even though the venue is seated which has to be admired.

What would you confess to as your guilty pleasure from last year's releases?

I quite liked ‘Pass Out’ by Tinie Tempah, especially the bit where it goes all drum ‘n’ bass!

Any releases you're excited about for 2011?
Jamie Smith from The XX has remixed the whole of Gil Scott-Herons recent album ‘I’m New Here’ which will be called ‘We’re New Here’. From the sound of the first taster ‘NY is Killing Me’ it should be an absolute belter. Also looking forward to hearing PJ Harvey's new one and keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll hear something new from Aphex Twin or one of his many aliases sometime soon.

What was hands-down the best album of 2010?
Can’t say just one I’m afraid so I will go for ‘Before Today’ by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, ‘Flaws’ by Bombay Bicycle Club and ‘Lucky Shiner’ by Gold Panda.

What was your favourite musical moment of 2010?
Seeing Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood play a not so secret set at Glastonbury. They played weird electronic versions of Yorke’s solo stuff and a few Radiohead tunes for good measure. The sun was setting, a crow flew past and my eyes glistened. I read a review of it in The Guardian actually and the reviewer said he was stood next to a rather intoxicated man lightly weeping who kept repeating ‘Amazing’ over and over. I am worried that man was me.

 

Monday
Jan032011

MF(I)D meets LF's Kristyne Weiss

In our continued onslaught of the highs and lows of 2010, it's our great pleasure to meet one of our very early highlights for the new year - our brand new music writer from Australia, Kristyne Weiss!  I'm still getting to know Kristyne but we all think she's pretty awesome already and hopefully the below Q&A will be a great way for you guys to get to know her and bask in her like-minded enthusiasm for great music.  [If you haven't already, check out her first of hopefully many pieces with us, the feature on Carmen Townsend.]

Which artist slipped under the mainstream radar whilst simultaneously delivering an impeccable album?
Sia from Australia delivered 'We Are Born' which is pure pop genius and I recommend anyone who doesn't know this lovely lady, to get onto that pronto.

What is your favourite single of the year?
Bring Night from Sia's 'We Are Born' album. The mumbled lyrics, the schoolyard sing-a-long and that driving rhythm makes for an awesome song. Check it out... seriously.

Which artist had you not heard of at the beginning of the year that you now consider yourself a fan of?
Hands down Chiddy Bang - awesome.

Which band released an album you wish they hadn't?
Honestly, Kanye West. The over-hyped prep for 'My Beautiful Dark...' was over the top and frankly I think artists like Chiddy Bang, K-Os and some Aussie names like Bliss N Eso produced far stronger hip-hop releases. You are not the King, Kanye.

Was there a project you were anticipating that didn't get released?
Honestly, no. Due to incapacitation, thanks to an injury, I floated through this year with very few expectations.

Any releases you're excited about for 2011?
Yes, Cold War Kids and PJ Harvey are out early and I can't wait.

Is the art of the album being lost to single song downloads?
At a purely mainstream level I belive it is, to a degree. But indie artists of all genres are keeping the album alive and well. You only need to look at Foals, Arcade Fire and a few artists I've already mentioned to see that.

What was hands-down the best album of 2010?
Back to my Aussie roots and I need to give it to Sia's 'We Are Born' with too many honourable mentions to list. Well - Foals, Arcade Fire, The National, Mark Ronson & The Business International to name a few.

What was your favourite musical moment of 2010?
Australia's Powderfinger have been producing pop-fuelled rock for 21 years and have now decided to call it a day. They finshed a mammoth tour of Australia with a final concert in their hometown of Brisbane. I wasn't the only one with misty eyes that night.

Monday
Jan032011

2010 playlist

After agonising over the year's releases, our official best-of-2010 playlist that aired on Starpoint Radio, 2nd January 2011 constituted of the below:

'Let Somebody Love Me' - Solomon Burke [Tribute to Solomon Burke who passed away in October 2010]
'I'll Kill Her' - Cee Lo
'Fight With Love' - Kings Go Forth
'You Make Me Smile' - Aloe Blacc
'I Want You' - Cee Lo
'Disko Labyrinth' - Jack Splash
'Future Soul Song' - Prince
'Tightrope' - Janelle Monae f/t Big Boi
'Hopeless Romantic' - Raheem DeVaughn
'Don't Take My Shadow' - Kings Go Forth
'Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You' - Jose James & Jef Neve
'Still In Love' - Shuya Okino f/t Navasha Daya
'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' - Soulive
'Unthinkable' - Alicia Keys f/t Drake
'Blackmagic' - Jose James
'Without A Heart' - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
'My Life' - Eric Roberson
'Hang On In There' - John Legend & The Roots
'Mama Hold My Hand' - Aloe Blacc
'Rite Of The Ancients' - Budos Band
'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' - Soulive

Feel free to let me know if there's anything I should've played and I'll be happy to get it on next time.  Huge thank yous to Liza, Curly CJ, Carl, Matt and Phil!

Til next time friends!

Friday
Dec242010

2010 [Albums]

As another year comes to an end, Liberation Frequency, MF(I)D and The Blue-in-Green Sessions tips its hat to the album releases that kept us singing, dancing, swaying and nodding for the past 365 days.

 

Conversely to Dan’s perspective, I thought it was an incredible year for music releases, many of which we’ve documented throughout the year through reviews and blogs, etc.  In many ways, Lou Bond’s self-titled re-release is one the first albums that comes to mind and it’s the album I would emplore not just soul music fans, but music fans, to purchase.  Re-released from the original release date whereby the album slipped under any and all radars, what was 1974's loss went on to be 2010’s gain as it’s about as essential a listen as there was this year.

 If I’m honest, the album I thought would slip under the radar was Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid.  Definitely an artist I’ve discussed on the blog before, the success she went on to achieve this year surpassed all expectations thus confirming her as my breakthrough artist of the year - you know you’ve made it when MTV, Q and The Metro all list your album as being amongst the year’s best… oh, and LF too! 

I feel increasingly less qualified to discuss this genre as the years go by, but turning our attention to hip-hop, two soul-infused releases instantly stand out as the year’s best - you either love him or you hate him but you cannot deny the talent, the mastery of his craft and the sheer commitment he puts into crafting a complete album every time:  Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is everything it’s been said to be and must surely serve as the benchmark for further hip-hop releases.  Also, if you hadn’t heard of G.O.O.D. Fridays, visit kanyewest.com and relish in the free songs (featuring artists including Jay-Z, Mos Def, Raekwon, Pharrell Williams, among others) that were distributed every Friday in the run up to Christmas - incredible.  Yeezy taught me, indeed.  Fandom aside, MBDTF isn’t even my pick for hip-hop album of the year - can you believe that?!  That honour unreservedly goes to Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot ... The Sun of Chico Dusty.  Anticipated for two years, how awesome is it when an album comes out and is exactly what you wanted it to be!  An incredible release, Big Boi, to me, has long embodied everything a hip-hop artist should be and it’s the album that hopefully will lead to many more solos even if the long-delayed OutKast reunion never actually happens.

   

While we waited for Big Boi’s left foot to walk through the door, music we did receive in abundance this year was courtesy of arguably my favourite artist of the last two years, Jose James, who delivered two cracking albums, Blackmagic and For All We Know (the latter, a collaborative effort with pianist Jef Neve).  'Blackmagic' demonstrated James’ versatility by incorporating more soulful and rnb stylings into his music, but if you did long for the days of debut effort, 'The Dreamer', then 'For All We Know' surely would have set you back at ease as a number of classic jazz recordings were revisited including Vernon Duke's 'Autumn in New York' and Razaf and Redman's 'Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You'.  It was a great year for Jose James in 2010 so here’s hoping 2011 brings him even more fortune, and us more music!

Following on from 2009’s 'Up Here', jazz trio Soulive return with a further release on their newly established independent label, Royal Family, with their tribute to The Beatles, Rubber Soulive.  I acknowledge I place myself in the line of fire with this comment but, not being a Beatles fan, this isn’t actually a project I was hotly anticipating - before you click off though dear friend and reader, please note that my comment isn’t born of the arrogance of disliking their music, but simply the ignorance of never really having been exposed to it.  Obviously the ones everyone knows like 'Help' and 'Drive My Car', etc but beyond that, I’m a complete novice so maybe one day it’ll be a catalogue I’m able to delve into.  So, with that in mind, plus the fact that these guys couldn’t make a bad album if they tried - this album was actually a very, very pleasant surprise.  The songs are tackled with Soulive’s usual uptempo and soulful jazz-funk with Alan Evans' drumming really stealing the show!

Finally, the album of the year.  This is the album that I not only tip my hat to, but damn near throw it to the floor and dance all over it as well.  I’d even invite you all to dance all over my hat with me.  I’m actually starting to bore myself with the praise I hurl towards this album, so I’ll keep this one brief.  It should come as no surprise that I’m talking about Kings Go Forth and their debut release on Luaka Bop Records, The Outsiders Are Back.  It’s brilliant, it’s awesome, it’s fantastic and soars as my ‘Thank-God-I-Found-You-Album-of-The-Year’.  Buy it.  But it now.

Should any of the above peek your interest, The Blue-in-Green Sessions is running its Best of 2010 show Sunday 2nd January 2011 (8-10am GMT on Starpoint Radio), whereby you’re bound to hear songs from the above along with many more soulful gems from the year gone by.

Saturday
Dec182010

26th December / 2nd January [Live!]

While we’re discussing end of year matters, I had initially planned on Sunday’s 26th December show being the official ‘Blue-in-Green Sessions best of 2010’ playlist, but perhaps something much better is scheduled for that day now…  Our hero, Curly CJ, who presents the show following mine on Sunday - ‘The Sunday Soul Affair’ (10am-12pm) - and I have been talking about doing a double-header show for months and it seems like we’ve finally settled on a date. 

It’s quite exciting as I haven’t done a 4 hour stint on radio since 2007, and have never really presented a show with anyone before.  Actually, there was that one show I presented with my wife, which was hilarious - she announced Prince’s ‘Kiss’ on air as “Track 13”.  (Sorry, I laughed my a$$ off when it happened but I guess you had to be there!) 

If I haven’t already talked about him before, CJ’s a legend!  Top dude, awesome taste in music, YEARS of experience and a guy who’s obsessed with music as much as I feel I am.  I’m really keen to put the shows together for the day because, as many artists and songs as we have in common (I imagine it’ll be a race to play Raphael Saadiq’s ‘Skyy, Can You Feel Me’ first), I do think that we’re both on very different ends of the spectrum.  Even the way we put our shows together - me, I scrutinize and develop the playlist for a week before the show, scribbling songs on bits of paper then arranging everything in order, etc, whereas Ceej grabs the records he wants to play on the day and plays them depending how he feels, which is a process that scares the bejeezus out of me.  Ceej is the man so I really hope it’ll be a good listen for everyone.   

This does mean though that our end of the year show will go out on the 2nd January 2011 so try and keep that date for your diaries too!