GET IT CRACKIN

gil scott heron – bicentennial blues
lenny kravitz – what goes around comes around
marvin gaye – what’s going on (reflex edit)
david bowie – golden years (jeremy sole remix)
sade – turn my back on you (138 remix)
visioneers – rocket man
anderson paak – left to right
koffee – toast
wiley, stefflon don, sean paul & idris-elba – boasty
chaka khan – like sugar
prince – the ballad of dorothy parker
george benson – just give me the night (kon remix)
discognosis – step by step
change – love 4 love (joey negro remix)
lizzo – juice
shit robot – simple things (terje edit)
the soup dragons – i’m free (yam who & alan dixon remix)
the fatback band – going’ to see my baby
anderson paak – jet black
latasha – glo up (remix)
the nitelighters – k-jee
nautilus vs de la soul – a roller skating jam named saturdays
rdnt & kleophazz – check one two
juan atkins & moritz von oswald – concave 1
the whispers – the planets of life (6th borough project remix)
pinnawela – you can dance (envee ensemble version)

 


MIX NOTES

Bicentennial Blues – I began this mix with just a small slice of Gil Scott Heron’s epic tear down of blind patriotism, from his 1976 “It’s Your World” live album with Brian Jackson. I discovered this record at the age of 19, on the dusty shelves of my college radio station. I had never heard The Blues so blisteringly contextualized within the horrors of American history, and quite frankly it blew me away. I even used it in a live DJ performance piece for my Black Literature class at the time. I made this mix for the 4th of July weekend, in the hopes that listeners could groove to it while considering the bigger picture of our past and our legacy.

What Goes Around Comes Around – Though he now seems to write music exclusively for car commercials, there was a time when Lenny Kravitz was brand new and working hard on becoming his own version of Prince meets Paul McCartney. And he seemed to have a ton of genuine promise in that department. I’m not sure where it all went wrong tbh, but this is among a handful of his songs that I still really love. Sonically, it’s a real throwback to early Al Green recordings in Muscle Shoals, with some New York Latin Jazz from Gil Scott Heron’s era in the mix as well. Now, when Lenny plays live, the entire show is pre-recorded. smdh.

What’s Going On – I always dig up this wonderful, drum-free Reflex edit of Marvin Gaye for outdoor summertime parties. It’s a song everybody loves to sing along to, and it’s a message we need now more than ever, wouldn’t you agree?

Golden Years (Jeremy Sole remix) – I needed a track with some clean drums to lay over the previous song. This excellent Jeremy Sole remix of David Bowie has a nice clean stretch towards the end with some dope Afrobeat drum patterns that seemed to match the vibe Marvin was a laying down. I put this on a mix about 4 years ago. It was recorded in Brooklyn with analog equipment and members of Antibalas, Budos Band, The Dap-Kings, and The Menahan Street Band. David Bowie reportedly loved it and gave a green light for an official limited release, coinciding with the remastering of Station To Station.

Rocket Man – Though they kinda flew under the radar, the records that 4Hero’s Marc Mac aka Mark Anthony Clair put out with his studio band The Visioneers are still incredibly solid pieces of throwback dancefloor wizardry. Between 2006 and 2012, he only put out two LPs and some remixes, but every time I go back to them, I find more songs that I overlooked the first time.

Turn My Back On You (138 remix) – Still love this song. One of the funkier, less smooth-jazz songs from Sade’s third LP. Long time listeners of my mixes know that my go-to Hip Hop beat for R&B blends is the instrumental to Biz Markie’s “Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz”, produced by Marley Marl. Works under just about anything, this included.

Left To Right – This has pretty much been a real Anderson .Paak summer for me. His latest album, Ventura, is really fucking solid - and this track from last year’s Oxnard LP is equally dope. Not everybody gets away with fronting a West Indian accent, but he pulls it off with ease here, and it made for a good transition into some dancehall to follow.

Toast – 19 yr old Jamaican prodigy Mikayla Simpson aka Koffee has made a huge splash in the Dancehall world since releasing a video tribute to Usain Bolt on her Instagram in 2017. My man Max Glazer from Federation Sound did a nice interview with her this past year that made me like her even more than I already did. This track, produced by Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire, came out in the Fall of 2018 but took a few months to really lock in.

Boasty – Another 2018 tune that has proved to have some serious staying power, once it got remixed. UK Grime Godfather Wiley tweaks his sound ever so slightly and creates an international tropical hit. Putting Sean Paul on any track never hurts, as he always delivers, and Stefflon Don and Stringer Bell do their thing as well. The track was produced by Toddla T and another Grime veteran from Wiley’s early days, Mucky.

Sugar – I put this on another mix, Headphone Odyssey Xi, last summer, but I guess I just needed to hear it again. Chaka Khan still rules, and you know this, man.

The Ballad of Dorothy Parker – Speaking of songs I still need to hear every now and then, everything from Prince’s Sign of the Times makes that list. I buried a Todd Terje beat under this, without stepping on the original feel too much. Mr Nelson made good use of the Linn LM-1 drum machine on this record, but it always lacked a little thump IMO. Prince was one of the early adaptors of the LM-1, along with fellow visionaries like Herbie Hancock, Gary Numan, Stevie Wonder and Peter Gabriel. Roger Linn also designed the MPC60, which played an essential role in the golden era of Hip Hop after its release in 1988.

Just Give Me The Night (Kon remix) – I stopped playing this song years ago, simply due to my own over-saturation with it, but I really can’t deny its greatness. Kon got access to the George Benson master tapes and made it even more DJ-friendly, with some nice breakdowns that work like a charm. This was written by Heatwave’s keyboardist Rod Temperton, also responsible for “Thriller” “Off The Wall”, and James Ingram’s “Come To Me”, to name a few. Quincy Jones produced it and Patti Austin sings the backup vocals. If that’s not a recipe for an 80s R&B hit, I don’t know what is.

Step By Step – This is a Todd Terje edit of a somewhat under-the-radar track by a group called Discognosis, a synonym for Rinder & Lewis, the LA production duo of Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis that helped define the West Coast disco sound of the late 70s – with similar groups like Le Pamplemousse, El Coco, and Saint Tropez. Their stuff definitely lacked some a bit of honest to goodness funk and grit IMO, but their production was super clean, and still sounds great on a dancefloor.

Love 4 Love – Much too my surprise, Change, the Italian/American disco studio group responsible for classics like “Glow of Love”, reformed in 2018 to record new music with Canadian vocalist Tanya Michelle Smith. They started in 1979 and kept making hits well into the 80s, transitioning seamlessly into the mid-tempo beats that dominated black R&B radio in my early teens. Joey Negro did a stellar job on this remix, with Italian producer Stefano Colombo putting in some work on keyboards.

Juice – What’s not to love about Lizzo? She’s the antidote to pop radio mediocrity we’ve been waiting for. She’s the best parts of Missy Elliot and Beyonce and Rhianna wrapped up into one body-positive, sex-positive, ball of feminist creativity. This is the lead single on her major label debut “Cuz I Love You” (technically her 3rd LP). This chick is easing into her fame in stride and killing it at every performance I’ve seen. Buy her music.

Work It Out (Todd Terje Re-rub) – This Shit Robot remix came out back in 2009 and I still play it at parties from time to time. Simple, repetitive, and most definitely groovy. Do the kids still say that?

I’m Free (Yam Who & Alan Dixon remix) – I never much cared for the Soup Dragons original that was played at WAY too many college dorm parties in 1989, but this gospel re-work by Yam Who & Alan Dixon does the trick, and preserves the best parts of the hook.

Going’ To See My Baby – Like the JB’s, The Fatback Band understood the power of a simple hook. This probably has something to do with them releasing what is considered the first commercial Hip Hop record, King Tim III (Personality Jock) in 1979. This track was the B-side to the first single from their 1973 debut album oddly titled “Let’s Do It Again”. There’s a helluva lot of filler on their 25+ albums, but when they did hit it, they really hit it.

Jet Black – One more Anderson .Paak tune for this mix. As I say often in these liner notes, full albums worth your money are a rare sight in 2019, so grab ‘em while you can.

Glo Up (remix) – Flatbush native Latasha Alcindor first released this in 2018, but this Spacepeople remix came out just this last May. Any song that mentions Crown Height’s famous Empire Skating Rink (RIP) is cool with me.

K-Jee – This now-classic riff is from the Louisville funk outfit The Nite-Liters, who first formed in 1963. This band went on to evolve into The New Birth, and both names were used up until 1973, when the “Nite-Liters” name was retired. This was a hit when it came out in 1972, and a hit again when MFSB covered it for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays – Japanese Jazz/Funk band Nautilus teamed up with Hannover, Germany DJ Oonops earlier this summer for an uptempo cover of De La’s classic jam. I pitched up some pieces of the original, and did a bit of back and forth, to keep things moving. These live drums sound kinda tight!

Check One Two – I have no idea who RDNT & Kleophazz are, but this track came out in May, and it has really grown on me ever since. Not everyone understands house music…

Concave 1 – Some borderline minimal techno from Detroit godfather Juan Atkins & Hamburg Dub Techno pioneer Moritz Von Oswald. Cuts with odd time signatures like this can challenge a dancefloor, but if you peep the circle when they drop, the real dancers tend to show out of real.

The Planets of Life (6th Borough Project remix) – Francois K brought this incredible Whispers remix to my attention via a FB group where I mostly sit quiet and take notes from DJs with 15 or 20 years on me. It originally appeared on their 1978 Headlights LP. I’ve long been in awe of Scottish production duo Craig Smith & Graeme Clark, and they really took their time with this remix, clocking in at over 11 minutes. I only wish I had a stadium gig coming up to really make it sing.

You Can Dance (Envee Ensemble version) – Finishing off this mix with a funky Jazz remix from Polish producer Maciej “Envee” Goliński. This came out in 2008 and was a considerable improvement over the original version, which was very Euro Pop-ish in all the wrong ways. Paulina Przybysz aka Pinnawela is well-known Polish singer who’s been recording in groups and as a solo artist since the early 2000s.

Hopefully one or two songs on this mix made one or two moments of your summer just a bit cooler or hotter, depending on the desired effect at the time. Thanks for listening.


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