New Reunited Remix…

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by erickleptone

Well, the sun came out here today in London for an hour, so to celebrate this momentous occasion, I felt inspired to do another “Reunited” remix, this time sending young Michael off to the Caribbean…

Hectic City 15 – Paths To Graceland

Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2012 by erickleptone

The Graceland Tape
Image borrowed from Paul Simon’s Twitter feed.

WARNING: Long read ahead. I’d be delighted and honoured if you didn’t TL;DR me, simply hit play above and read on down the page – pretend it’s a Sunday paper or something… As always there’s an interesting story behind the mix.

The temptation to call this mix “Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume 2” was huge, but it would be misleading.

By way of explanation, if you google “Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume 2”, you may well be surprised at the number of results. A popular record, you might think; well known and discussed. But try to find a copy, and you’ll while away a day or more clicking from site to site around the world, maybe chancing upon “Greatest Accordian Jive Hits, Volume 3” or even “Sax & Accordion Jive Hits, Volume 1“. But Volume 2? Not a sniff.

The “Gumboots” album, should you be unaware, has been awarded it’s place in history due to a cassette copy which found its way into Paul Simon’s car stereo sometime in 1984-85 and providing him with the initial inspiration to seek out (and eventually travel to South Africa to record with) the musicians playing on the album. An occurence that has been documented virtually every time the story of “Graceland”s creation has been told, over the course of thousands of interviews, several documentaries, and now again with the release of a 25th anniversary edition and an accompanying tour with Simon reuniting on stage with many of the original album’s participants.

Jive Hits 1So, considering the legacy of “Gumboots”, one would imagine any music-minded enterpreneurial soul, or even Gallo, the label that allegedly released the original album, would jump at the chance to re-issue such inspirational recordings and make a few bucks off the back of the multi-million selling “Graceland”. Standard form for the music industry, indeed, but in this case, nothing.

(I say Gallo allegedly released it, but as no-one I’m aware of has actually seen a copy of the album, and as repeated enquiries to the label from a multitude of Paul Simon fans have gone unanswered, no-one’s entirely sure.)

To further confound the investigation, from information given in interviews by Simon and other musicians, only one track on the original tape is actually identifiable. The “title” track, “Gumboots”, lent it’s music lock stock and barrel to become the backing track of Paul Simon’s song, also titled “Gumboots” on the finished album. Indeed it’s not difficult to imagine Simon driving around singing his prototype vocal melodies and lyrics over the bouncing mbaqanga groove.

But was the original tune actually called “Gumboots”? or did Simon just use the title scratched on the cassette as an identifier? You can see one side of the actual tape above – does it have “Gumboots” written on the other side? (It’s rather doubtful the tape came with a tracklist, as any car-driving cassette fan would understand.) There’s certainly no mention of Gumboots in the lyrics. Further Simon interview comments reveal the track originally involved The Boyoyo Boys, yet any online search for “Gumboots” by The Boyoyo Boys brings back, yup, you guessed it, thousands of results for the phantom “Gumboots Accordion Jive Hits Volume Two” album. Another dead end.

Furthermore, one would imagine somewhere along the assembly of the two very large scale re-issues of the album, someone involved might think to seek out at least this individual recording and add it to the album as a bonus track. But no, nothing.

Indeed, very little previously unheard music has been added to the original album by way of bonus material on these re-issues, despite co-producer Roy Halee’s assertion that there was more than enough material generated during the initial sessions at Ovation studios in Johannesburg: “You should hear some of the out-takes. Even today, there could be two instrumental albums consisting of those fabulous grooves.”

It’s also known, through “Graceland”s writing credits and investigation of the wealth of documentary evidence, that at least two more of the albums tracks are based on pre-existing music – On “I Know What I Know” Simon shares the writing credit with M.D. Shrinda, and on “The Boy In The Bubble”, he shares it with accordion player Forere Motloheloa (part of Tau ea Matsekha, the Lesotho group responsible for the “Bubble” backing track). Although no original titles have surfaced for the music that formed part of these songs, I’ve located what I consider to be reasonably close matches, and included them on this mix.

Jive Hits 1I’ve also included at least a handful of tracks that have surprisingly close links with riffs and melodies used on Graceland, and many, many other excellent tracks that could (and should) be considered forebears of “The Big G”. Note that I’m not making any claims of plagiarism (like I would dare!), simply demonstrating the common trading and development of grooves, basslines, horn, guitar, accordion and vocal riffs that took place between musicians at the time in both South Africa and Lesotho, and still takes place today, I hope.

As for the mysterious “Gumboots” instrumental? With no confirmation of the orginal title, and very patchy availability of The Boyoyo Boys back catalogue, it’s proved impossible to locate. I’ve included a track on the mix that The Boys recorded with Lulu Masilela (co-writer of “Gumboots” as it appears on “Gracelands”) which I consider to be it’s closest locatable relative.

I refuse to delve deeper into the discussion about whether the writing credits on “Graceland” are fair – Indeed amongst Simon’s catalogue “Graceland” is rare in the number of songwriting credits shared – proof that he was certainly not shy of demonstrating, and remunerating, the collaborative effort involved in producing the finished work.

More importantly, I must thank Paul, who, alongside sterling work by broadcasters John Peel and Andy Kershaw, both promoting similar music at the same time, opened up a new musical world to the young me, giving South African music far more of a UK (and worldwide) audience than it had previously enjoyed, and paving the way for many artists to bring that music out into the world. Also, in my opinion, he made a truly great album that, by blending his New York lyricism with another continent’s grooves, gave my young ears a taste of what marvels can be accomplished when different styles of music collide.

Ethiopian art

01a Tau Ea Lesotho – Nyatsi Tloha Pela’ka
01b Tau Ea Lesotho – Puleng
01c Puseletso Seema & Tau Ea Linare – He O Oe Oe!
02 Mahotella Queens – Umculo Kawupheli
03 The Rainbows – Mashonisa
04 Soul Brothers – Bayeza
05 Dark City Sisters – Ezomculo
06 M.D. Shirinda & The Gaza Sisters – Pfuka N’wavolo
07 Abafana Baseqhudeni – Mubi Umakhelwane
08 Mgababa Queens – Maphuthi
09 Zorro Five – Barcarolle
10 Amazulu Queens – Sankatana
11 Marks Mankwane – Khupa Marama No. 2
12 Naledi Boys – Bump Again
13 Ebrahim Isaacs – Meadowlands
14 John Amutabi Nzenze – Angelike Twist
15 Queue Sisters – Ethembeni
16 Spokes Mashiyane – Kalla’s Special
17 Soul Of The City – Hustle Bump!
18 J.K. Mayengani & The ShingWedzi Sisters – Khubani
19 Mahlathini & Izintombi Zomgqashiyo – Okwamadoda Kuya Bhikwa
20 Izintombi Zodumo – Mississippi River
21 Sannah Mnguni Nesimanjemanje – Ukhulupheka
22 Lulu Masilela & The Boyoyo Boys – Small Time No.4
23 Tempo All Stars – Take Off
24 Paulus Masina – Umalusi
25 Intombi Zephepha – Ingoina Le Nyathi
26 Mgababa Queens – Akulaiwa Esoweto
27 Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens – Bophumthwalo
28 Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje – Awufuni Ukulandela Na
29 African Symphonics – Zulu Roll
30 Kings Messengers Quartet – My Lord

Ethiopian art detail
Images of Ethiopian art, as used on Graceland, borrowed from The Peabody Essex Museum.

Compiler’s note: One of the most appealing yet frustrating characteristics of this music is it’s timelessness, both in arrangement and recording quality. I say frustrating, as it’s tough to tell the difference between an archive 1950s recording, a rather expensive studio recording from 1968 and a lo-fi shed studio recording from 1980, especially considering sound quality alterations due to poor quality vinyl, cassette-to-cassette dubbing and yes, a modern layer of MP3 encoding.

Post-1980 the differences are easier to note, as the introduction of electronic drums and early FM synthesizers give the game away somewhat, but even then dating things is not that easy. According to Global Groove’s blog, the track “He O Oe Oe!” is from a 1985 UK album, but the blog claims the original recording dates from 1981. Also the Tao Ea Lesotho tracks date from an album released in the UK by Sterns in 1988, but “Puleng” was apparently a South African hit a few years before that. The truth is very, very difficult to find, so even if a couple of these actual recordings actually don’t pre-date “Graceland”, the songs and grooves most definitely do!

Apologies also for any spelling errors in the tracklisting, and the largest of thanks to all re-issuers of this music, particularly the “Indestructable Beat Of Soweto” and “Next Stop Soweto” series of albums, and the blogs Afro Slabs, Matsuli, Electric Jive, Global Groove and Soul Safari, who do an amazing job unearthing and digitizing tons of outstanding African music.

There’s plenty more I could add about the above artists, but I’ll save that for another time – Thanks for reading and listening – hope you enjoy the mix!

(Previous Hectic City mixes can be found by clicking here!)

Listen up!

Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 by erickleptone

listening club
(Image of “Paper Record Player” by Simon Elvins – details here)

A couple of months ago I spontaneously decided to set up an album listening club on Twitter, borne out of that good ol’ simple desire to spread and share interesting music. Admittedly, there have been a spate of similar things appearing in the last year, mainly either “listening together in a room”, or “listening online at an allotted time”, but they all either decided on their music by a vote, or stuck to pretty straightforward (although classic) choices.

That’s all very well and good luck to ’em, but what interests me more is that “personal choice” – those albums you discover that fit your needs of the time so perfectly you’re left wondering about the powers of synchronicity as your heart fills to the brim with joy, and those albums that boggle your mind so much that you dive online immediately to find out more about the people behind them, and what drove them to create such a thing and unleash it on the public.

Also it should come as no great shock to you that we here at Kleptones Inc. are very much big fans of the “long-play”. Albums, mixes, whatever… the ability to take a listener off on a satisfying journey is rarely something that can be accomplished in three or four minutes, as has been proven time and time again over, ohh, the last few hundred years or so.

So to empower the participants, and to increase that random “personal choice” factor, the only rule established has been that whoever selected an album for listening would pick their favourite tweeter from the playback, and the baton would then be passed to that tweeter to make the next selection. Simple as.

And it’s worked rather well – a fine troop of listeners has emerged, and the selections so far have ranged from lesser known albums by established bands, a raft of new (or “new to us”) artists from far and wide, and obscurities from the flip-side of previous decades. Not everything has been to everyone’s taste obviously, and there have already been several WTF moments, but that’s that way it should be, really. However, it’s only just getting started we think, and the boundaries are only just beginning to be pushed, which is why the time has come to let you all know about it, and invite you to come join in the fun. We need your input!

Timezone corroboration obviously is a bit tricky, but the agreed time of 8pm BST (GMT+1) each Sunday is working well (although apologies to the Aussies, can’t stretch that far sadly), however the albums generally stay up for a little while after, and there always seems to be a few folks tweeting their catch-up listen in the following days. We realise there’s no way that everyone is going to be around every week, but, like your favourite radio show, Listening Club will be there, should you be in the mood.

So yea verily, get your tweet on and come join us by following @listeningclub on twitter, where all the info is passed out and questions answered (album info gets posted on a separate blog here). It’ll be great to have you along, and find out what album you’re going to pick…

Hectic City 14 – M3B: Mega three-hour mix

Posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 by erickleptone

Yowsah! Been wanting to do this for a while, and it seemed like it would be a daunting undertaking, but seeing as Ableton & Soundcloud have donated some extra free storage space for a few months, I thought I’d better use it, and it all seems to have turned out rather splendid indeed. Three one-hour-or-so mixes and a compendium of some of my favourite mashups, remixes, edits and general insanity, or at least the ones that I could string together in some sort of coherant order. If you’ve heard me DJ at any point over the Kleptones lifetime, there will be more than a few familiar things here, for sure…

So here you go, nearly three and a half hours – 72 “tracks” and a few uncredited inserts and nibbles. And there still wasn’t room for any drum’n’bass, or any mellow stuff… and I tried to limit each producer and artist to one appearance only (Tried and failed as a couple are in there twice…) – guess I’ll have to pick all that slack up in future mixes, won’t I?

Hope you enjoy – I certainly had a ball mixing it!

If you’re in a hurry, download all three mixes and a tracklist in one zip file here (450MB)!

Part One: “A Massage From The Swedish Prime Minister”

01 Grant Green – Let The Music Take Your Mind (Muro Mix)
02 Muddy Waters – Mannish Boy (Baxter Park Sunbather’s Korova Edit)
03 Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (Sure Is Pure Mix – Danny Krivet Edit)
04 Hot Chocolate – Cadillac (The Revenge Rework)
05 Beat Conductor – Only A Thrill
06 DJ Melo – Grown Man Shit pt.2
07 Aaron Neville – Hercules (Groovement Inc Remix)
08 Sect – Man Of Wisdom
09 Claptone – Good To You
10 Chic – I Want Your Love (Todd Terje Edit)
11 Bottin – Eagle
12 Barry De Vorzon – Warriors (Cristoff Remix)
13 Frank Sinatra – This Town (Morgan Page Unreleased Remix)
14 Animal Collective – My Girls (El Remolon Cumbia Mix)
15 Andy Ash – Timmy
16 Kraftwerk – It’s More Fun To Compute (Busy P Edit)
17 Tanita Tikeram – Twist In My Sobriety (Alf Tumble Re-Dress)
18 Claptone – Cream
19 Dimitri From Stoke-On-Trent – I Wanna Be Your Lobster
20 Nina Simone – Ain’t Got No, I Got Life (Groovefinder Remix)
21 Radiohead – Nude (Jarrad K Remix)

Part Two: “Stop That, It’s Silly…”

01 Kool & The Gang – Jungle Boogie (Kovary Nu Jump Up Booty)
02 Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness (DJ Apt One Remix)
03 Sabo – Patchy Moombahton
04 Trick Turner – Sirens Comin’
05 2pac vs Feed Me – Hell To The Stars (Funkanomics Blend)
06 Featurecast – Rock Ya Body
07 Legion Of Doom – Crazy As She Goes
08 The Beatles – The Word (The Captain Remix)
09 Moondog – Lament I (“Bird’s Lament”)
10 Obvious Productions – Standing In The Way Of Your Friends
11 DJ Faroff – Ray No Speak Americano
12 G3rst – We No Speak Cantina
13 Mashup-Germany – Everybody No Speak Americano (Chaos Club Edit)
14 Mad Mix Mustang – Let’s Dance ‘n Stuff
15 Duck Sauce vs Fatboy Slim – The Barbra Skank (DJ Myagi Awesomesauce Mashup)
16 DJ Schmolli – Barbra & Gerry
17 Basement Jaxx – Red Alert (HeavyFeet vs Nick Thayer Bootleg)
18 Rye Rye ft. M.I.A – Sunshine (Smalltown DJs Remix)
19 DJ Topcat – Bust A Flawless Move
20 Big Boi – Shutterbug (Jack Beats Remix – Krafty Kuts Re-Rub)
21 Adele vs Robin S – Show Me In The Deep (DJs From Mars Mashup)
22 Tom Jones vs Lipps Inc – Funkytown Kiss (DMC Mashup – Kleptones Remake)
23 Nate Dogg – All The Girls Get Up (Mr Andersonic Remix)
24 Nero – Crush On You (Sound Remedy Remix)
25 Bell Biv Devoe – Poison (Risk One Bigger Room Bootleg)
26 Rick James vs Salt’n’Pepa – Superfreak Push (Gary G Mashup)
27 DJ Zebra – Happy Friends

Part Three: “I’m Sorry, I’m Going To Have To Shoot You”

01 Ramones – Blitzkreig Bop (Tea Time Remix Ft. GSUS)
02 Dem Slackers – Swagger (Evil Nine Remix)
03 Nicky Romero – Generation 303
04 Bingo Players – L’Amour
05 Megadeth – Sleepwalker (Kaze V Croma Remix)
06 Fatboy Slim – Ya Mama (Moguai Remix)
07 Faith No More – Epic (Utah Saints Bootleg Mix)
08 Poet – Disco Statuz (JD Live Edit)
09 Daft Punk – Around The World (Kid Dub Remix)
10 Hedflux & Neurodriver – Energy Vibration (Kill Dyl Bootleg Remix)
11 Breach – Fatherless (Doc Daneeka’s MRR remix)
12 Queens Of The Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry (Streetlife DJs Remix)
13 Plump DJs – The Volcano Coalition
14 Human Resource – Dominator (DJ Hell Remix)
15 Wolfgang Gartner – Funk Nasty V3 (Krafty Kuts Re-Rub)
16 Exactshit – Crazy Humanoids
17 KRS-One – Sound Of Da Police (heapy’s Brooklyn Fire Bootleg)
18 Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Mr Peaches Remix)
19 AC/DC – Thunderstruck (Tittsworth Remix)
20 The Rolling Stones – Satisfaction (Discotech Remix)
21 Benni Benassi – Satisfaction (J. Rabbit Remix)
22 Metallica – Seek And Destroy (Bassnectar Remix)
23 DJ Parker – Iron Mandem
24 The Kinks – You Really Got Me (Diffusion Remix)

(Oh and the “M3B” title? It’s another Monty Python reference which fitted the concept, but proved a bit too long for the titles, so got abbreviated – sure you can figure it out if you’re a fan… ;)

Kleptones Alive!

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 by erickleptone

New trailer for our live show from the chaps at Butch Auntie, and a tribute to the ace crowds we get to play with!

First fest of the year!

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 by erickleptone

paaspop logo Festival season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, and this year is no exception, so we’re proud to announce that Eric will be kicking off the season with a DJ set at Paaspop near Schijndel in the Netherlands on Saturday 7th April.

Eric’s playing as part of the “Mashup Bastards” team on Saturday night, just past Midnight at the Thunderbolt stage, with DJ Morgoth, DJ Schmolli and our host MadMixMustang also doing sets over the weekend.

Can’t think of a better start to the (extended) summer, really!

Reunited, and it feels so good…

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by erickleptone

Not sure this is what Peaches & Herb had in mind – A couple of quick musical amusements for you that I just couldn’t resist, reuniting cover versions with their original vocals. Possibly the start of an off-and-on series, if I can find any more that sound good…

First up, a bunch of 80s new wavers get pulled into the Afrobeat revival:

And secondly, imagining how a certain soul legend might have sounded if he’d decamped to Jamaica instead of Belgium:

Hope you enjoy! – If you know of any other covers you think may be worthy of the treatment, feel free to let me know…

Kleptonite returns…

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 by erickleptone

Well, maybe! I’m going to be DJing here and there in London over the next while, questing for a good place to establish a London residency (or two). The plan being, once a good place and crowd is found, to start inviting a few friends and inspirations down to do guest spots. Should be fun, no?

the luxe logo

First place for a hat drop will be The Luxe in Spitalfields THIS FRIDAY (9th March). (You may know The Luxe better by it’s previous name, Spitz, I do, having played there a couple of times in the past). Can’t really want for a better location, being right in the thick of the Spitalfields / Shoreditch / Brick Lane axis.

It’s FREE and runs 7pm-1am ish, so you can come early and rinse out the grind of the working week, or come late and use it as a launchpad for further adventures. Looking forward to having the space to stretch out musically and try out a variety of new and old things, so there’s also an opportunity for you to come down and represent your preference, and help shape the direction I take…

Be great to see you! :)

Are you in there?

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 by erickleptone

Haven’t had a Videotone for a while, and here’s a new doozy! Marcus Round sends “Black Medicine” spiraling out into the stratosphere! Full screen a must with this one… it’s lovely.

Hectic City 13 – Walking Under Ladders

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 by erickleptone

Back with HC13! The unlucky one? Well, I hope not. Just as well I’m not superstitious, isn’t it?

That said, there’s definitely a thread here that I can’t explain in a sentence or two. Which is why it’s a mix, and not an essay. Feel free to try and explain it, it would help me out…!

Everything’s had a bit of a snip, naturally, however the ones titled as edits differ more significantly from the originals in terms of arrangement… I may make them available individually for your own mixing usage – if you want any one in particular let me know :)

01 Flux – The Value Of Nothing (Kleptones ‘I See What You Did There’ Edit)
02 African Head Charge – Unplanned
03 Wally Badarou – Mambo
04 Brian Eno – Ali Click (Rural ‘Doo Gap’ Mix – Kleptones ‘Brianless’ Edit)
05 Thompson Twins – Nurse Shark
06 The The – Soul Mining (Kleptones ‘Lost Johnson’ Edit)
07 Blancmange – Feel Me (Kleptones ‘Feel The Count’ Edit)
08 XTC – It’s Nearly Africa (Kleptones remake/remodel of Apiento Edit)
09 Mental Remedy – Heartbeat Inside Of The African Womb (Outro Rhythm)
10 Keith LeBlanc / Tackhead – Mechanical Movements Dub
11 Daniele Baldelli – Cosmic Parsley
12 Thomas Leer – Saving Grace
13 The Three Johns – Downhearted Blues (Kleptones ‘The Fourth John’ Edit)
14 Fad Gadget – State Of The Nation
15 Pink Skull – u.g.uo.aaaahhhh
16 Bohannon – Summertime Groove (Kleptones ‘Nearly No-Bo’ Edit)
17 Shriekback – My Spine (Is The Bassline)
18 Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria (Kleptones ‘No Plink Plonk’ Edit)
19 New Fast Automatic Daffodils – Big
20 Buzzcocks – Money

Additional riffs and beats from Nitzer Ebb, John Martyn, Grace Jones, Queen, Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, Vera, Said Mrad and Throbbing Gristle.

Thanks to Grant Martin for the CD source of “Soul Mining” (My vinyl’s past it sadly…) and Apiento for the idea on “Nearly Africa”. Coincidentally, his version has just been reposted here.

Hope the listening is as much fun as the making was.