Jason Brancazio (
22 Mar 1996 00:43:43 -0900

Well here goes another set of reviews....but before I get into it I want to ask a question and state a quick thought:

Somebody mentioned recently (not in the ROOT DOWN post though) something about a limited edition Beasties instrumental EP. I really NEED this info, "Ricky's Theme" is one of my all-time favorite smooth tracks. Such a shame Money Mark is not nearly as the way, is this the same thing that was rumored to come out as a collaboration with Mo' Wax a year ago?

The recent 'content-of-the-list' discussion....I just wanted to note that for every 'acid jazz' release in 1995 my guess would be that 10 electronic hip hop / sample&synth&studio based releases came out. Either that, or there's a super-underground movement of people with saxophones and funky releases that I have no clue about.

I have many thoughts as to why this might be the case, the most prominent being the individual-oriented and self-empowering nature of electronic music technology. All you have to have to create electronic music, besides creative talent and basic computer literacy, is a little bit of cash. To create a successful band, you have to first get enough interested, committed people; you then need a large practice space; you need to be able to compose songs collectively or else have your members able to learn and ENJOY someone else's songs; you need to eventually get gigs; you need to have a group that displays and conveys enough energy at the gigs; and then you can worry about distribution/getting signed etc. In addition, one of the reasons I believe musical innovation is taking place in technology and not live music is because for the most part all the digestable, repetitive motifs and ideas creatable with traditional instruments have been done already. To succeed as a band, the!
n, means to be able to first and foremost consistently get people to enjoy your show and your music on an emotional and not necessarily aesthetic basis, and furthermore, since you are people making music, you have an image to portray, which means making yourself, dare I say...marketable. In short, this daunting task, compared with the task of sitting at home like a hermit with your machines and creating music alone, requires much more commitment from more people and as a result the time to fruition of a release of live music, as well as the overall number of people attempting to create live music, is necessarily going to be lower.

This post has obviously gone on longer than expected (can afford to do that late at night) but I think it's very clear that were the cousins of acid jazz not discussed on this list, there would be a) little volume b) extremely little volume on new releases. I would sincerely like to know what real 'acid jazz' (what I mean by that is live sounding stuff with horns and vocals even) releases anybody is looking forward to hearing besides the new Groove Collective disc.

Furthermore, and most importantly, I'm wondering if the little introductory mail that goes to each new person entering the list still goes out, and if so, if it has been updated in quite a while. I would like to volunteer my services for the updating of that precious intro, in order to give the new subscriber a better idea of what is exactly going on and being discussed on this list so we can possibly avoid the 'what is acid jazz' 'why is trip hop discussed here' discussions. I find that they only make the overall content and flow of this list a bit....unfocused.

Allright, enough of my little rant. On to the reviews (most have been mentioned already, some are not so new either)

CD releases:

Hustletron: Stereo Viewer. Not much has been mentioned about this New Breed release, and it's the first one I really like! This record, unlike the Fat Jazzy Grooves series, is much more the listener's CD than the DJ's playground. A tremendously pleasing mix of acoustic elements and Moog mastery. Check "Psychomatic" in particular. Fucking brilliant.

Greyboy: Land of the Lost. Well this has been covered loads, but I just had to add to the kudos. Much more laid back than Freestylin'. Sometimes I think the beat work is a little more lazy than the first one, there are less timely removals of the beats (a technique I love when done appropriately), he just uses one loop per track it seemed. Maybe it's just more subtle. Doesn't matter though, because this is one of the only real 'acid jazz' releases I was looking for and it did not disappoint me in the least.

Skylab #1: Been sleeping on this a LONG time, since it was released in 1994. One of the more interesting and experimental electronic albums I own. Not really for the beathead. Not acid jazz. But a product of some of the discussed artists on this list, and that's why I reviewed it.

12" releases (my info will be shorter, don't have my records at work):

Little Aida - don't know the title (DNT) - Jazz Fudge
Great for people like myself who can't get enough of female singers over good beats. Great production from DJ Vadim, I believe. Nice mellow stuff.

Control Freaks - DNT - Clean Up
Part of my quest to get everything on Clean Up I can find, I finally found this one. I don't know how long this has been out, but it's incredibly dope. Great tracks with energy that I am waiting for a DJ to spin so I can go berserk somewhere. "Really serious smokin'" is a monster with a pumping, low bass line and a oh-so-true sample.

Hunch (remix album) - Clean Up
I love Hunch. Period. The A-side remix was a bit disappointing, I wasn't expecting jungle, but the B-side aquasky (I think I got that right) remix of "visible from space" departs quite far from the original (a fave) but still retains the thematic material, albeit on a warm synth pad. If you don't own any Hunch, go get the 'goodtimer' release first, it's fantastic.

Lamb - Cotton Wool - DNLabel
Been mentioned before, female vocals over jungle beats. Intriguing and hypnotic.

Rajo Records Promo - I bought this simply because there was a Q-Burn's abstract message remix on it. Michael, your song is the only one up my alley on this record, though I really like the dragons etc. on the label. Fairly thematic techno with a little bit missing, a bit too loud without the depth.

Monk & Canatella - Fly Fishing - Cup of Tea
Some of the best production I've ever heard. These guys are unbelievable. No wonder Portishead made a tribute song to them. Energy, energy, energy! Soundtracky stuff with great samples.

Depth Charge - Sex, Sluts & Heaven - R&S Records?
I'm glad the store I buy my records in has turntables because after "Nine Deadly Venoms" I would never have bought another Depth Charge release. His production skills are solid, but I just couldn't handle all the ninja samples. Too much on the kitschy factor. Sex, Sluts, & Heaven is a different story: His skills are even better, the basslines are deeper and move more, and the beats are as solid as ever. A must hear, if not a must buy.

DJ Food - Refried Food pts. 1&2. Gotta get it simply for that Fila Brazilia mix of "Consciousness". Varied record, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I also re-joined Columbia House and got 10 CDs delivered to my workplace. I'm finally a proud owner of the first two ATCQ albums, as well as Bjork's "Post", which barely misses being lumped in with all the music discussed here, what with Tricky & Howie B doing some of the work. Bjork is by and large one of the best artists out there in major-label land, I wish I had access to string orchestras. Also got four Miles Davis Albums, including the incredible "In a Silent Way".

In addition, I picked up, on recommendation from this list, Donald Byrd's "Electric Byrd" and Weather Report - "Weather Report". For some reason, everything seems to have hit a peak around 1970...why can't it happen again??????????

Also have to give public props to ck for the Church of John Coltrane article and to Tyler for his excellent mix tape.

Keep groovin

Jay B