Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tonite - ABU July Podcast

Tonight's end-of-month show on Disco Scratch Radio is going to be a 'boombap' special.
Don't know what 'boombap' is? See this link for enlightenment.

Listen in tonight on Disco Scratch Radio.

Join the chatroom.

All from 9pm (I will be playing a mix or similar before this time, probably from 8pm onwards for levels).

Mister Reepz.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Record Review #1: MC Alikazam - You Bite, You Never Write

This is a rather special moment for me.
I have been following the UK's Style Warrior for a number of years now through his (LG's) perfect design ideology be it on paper (posters), material (t-shirts) or even audio (the occasional Takeover Shows on Disco Scratch Radio).
But now, Mr Lovegrove has begun his foray into the world of vinyl and astonishingly has announced the sale of a fully-packaged, ready-to-go 45rpm 7" single. I say "astonishingly" as this whole operation was pretty hush-hush save for a cryptic photo or two on the Style Warrior Facebook page. So when the whole package was announced recently it caused a bit of a stir as there was no mass social networking site spamming beforehand which does seem to be the done thing with some record labels. The element of surprise unsurprisingly has proved to be a canny move.

The story of how this 7" came about is slightly different to most others. Back in 2012 just before Christmas LG was given a cd from Chris aka MC Alikazam (The Dookie Squad) at one of the 4 Pillar events in London which when received was promptly stashed safely away in his bag and after a tipple or two subsequently forgotten about.
When LG listened back to the cd he was impressed, especially with Chris' own solo cuts and included some of them on one of his upcoming Style Warrior Takeover shows on Disco Scratch Radio. These went down well to the audience and it was at this point that the cogs began spinning in his head.

Alikazam did a fresh recording of the same lyrics for these two songs on the 7" as the original tracks on LG's cd had been knocking around since 2006. With some scratching and beefy beats cooked up by Beany (Thieving Beatmonkeys) it was inevitable that these songs would be released from the shiny, circular, plastic prison out into a waiting world.

Let's not sugarcoat this. These are not epically-long songs as this is of course only a 45 rpm 7" single. That means no instrumental versions, dubs or acapellas.
That said, the fact that the longest song is three and a half minutes long left me wanting more. It also helped that I enjoyed the tracks with their great cinematic, orchestral sound snatches which made them feel bigger than what they are - there is even the 20th Century Fox intro on the b-side track, Calmer Side Of Psycho.
The title cut, You Bite, You Never Write is the more uptempo of the two although by no means is this what you might consider a typical 'Britcore' track. Snappy drums, menacing brass and 100-mph lyrics accompany the Doug & Rick chorus.
I wonder if longer versions do exist? The instrumentals alone would be worth putting out on some Special Edtion steez!

The aforementioned b-side, '...Psycho' has a great buildup intro with the stretched Fox logo ident and goes into a superb break from Les Baxter's Hell's Belles soundtrack before Alikazam goes nuts.

Aside from the content of the inside of the record sleeve what hits you first is the design on the
outside. Anyone familiar with LG's work may recognise his signature artwork on the record sleeve. As always, never obvious, always subtle. Some of hip hop's greatest MCs adorn the picture in name-form - although there are two which are obscured by the border that are not clear but I'm guessing 'Bandog' and 'Mercury'.
Also included which I thought was a great touch is the inclusion of a separate sheet with original conceptual art on one side and the story of the 7" on the other. Brilliant. It reminded me of those sheets that you used to get with the early Def Jam albums in the late 80's.

Sadly there are only 250 copies and at the time of writing a great chunk have already gone. This really is a great release and as it is the first one from Style Warrior a lot of thought has really been put into it.
The price is applaudable, too. There's no pretensions, just a simple £6 plus two-fiddy for postage.

In conclusion, a really solid effort which leaves the listener in no doubt as to what Style Warrior is capable of.
Carlsberg don't make hip hop, but if they did.....

Go here to purchase your copy.

Listen below for a sample of both tracks.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Style Warrior - Roxy Tees Still Left

There are about 10 x "I Battled At The Roxy" t-shirts left over at Style Warrior available to purchase if you haven't already. As always, top-quality product and unique design are at the forefront with this no-quibble UK design house.

Talking of SW, they are on the very cusp of releasing some new UK hip hop product on vinyl. You can hear a brief sample of the tunes (two songs on one 45 rpm single) by clicking here as well as order a copy.
Even by the smallest snatch of audio available I have got a squeaky bum after hearing them. Solid beats and great MC flow from Alikazam of the Dookie Squad.

A full review coming right here on the ABU blog very soon.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Rik Mayall RIP

Yes, I know that this is a little different from what I usually post but I felt that I had to mention this.

After the sad death of my comedy hero, Rik Mayall on 9th June I have been re-watching a lot of his tv work. After all these years I still find his output amongst some of the best comedy I will ever see.

I grew up with Rik's antics all the way from 1983 when my Dad let me stay up to watch my first episode of The Young Ones. My Dad had watched the first series already and thought I'd enjoy it when they were repeated. He wasn't wrong. Little did he realise what groundbreaking act he was committing when he sat me down in front of the tv that evening with my sponge-like brain soaking up all these strange but ultimately funny lines that I would recount in the school playground the very next morning.
Luckily for me I had started The Young Ones bang on the very first episode, Series 1, Episode 1 'Demolition'. For some reason I always remember a very poor joke which was spoken by two puppet rats:

Rat #1: Knock, knock.
Rat #2: Who's there?
Rat #1: Euripides.
Rat #2: Euripides, who?
Rat #1: Euripides the trousers, you mend-a these trousers.
Yes, I know. Not one of Ben Elton's best but to an 11-year old boy this was comedy genius.

Now these were the days before we possessed a video recorder so everything was watched and remembered keenly. In fact it was probably due to these financial circumstances at the time that made myself and my younger brother try to memorise every line from the shows and still do to some extent all these years later.
I can recall once placing my cassette recorder next to the telly and (audio) recording the very last episode ('Summer Holiday' in 1984). This was the next greatest thing to having it on video and my God, this was listened to over and over and over! I can still remember all the ambient noise throughout the recording as well being that it captured not only the soundtrack of the show but the laughing by us watching it.
Such an effect this programme had on the both of us that on any given day I might have a quote sent to me by text by my bro' and before you know it we are in a 'Rik-off' to see who can find the funniest line, back and forth.
Neil: It was horrible. I sat in the big hall and put my pocket of Polos on the desk. And my spare pencil and my support gonk. And my chewing gum and my extra pen. And my extra Polos and my lucky gonk. And my pencil sharpener shaped like a cream cracker. And more gonks with a packet of Polos in each. And lead for my retractable pencil. And my retractable pencil. And spare lead for my retractable pencil. And chewing gum and pencils and pens and more gonks, and the guy says "Stop writing, please".
After The Young Ones there was a bit of a wilderness in my life but then came the underrated and seldom-repeated Filthy, Rich & Catflap (1987) which was basically the same TYO cast minus 'Mike' (who I always thought was the least funny character anyway).
Rik played the character 'Richard 'Richie' Rich' who was a showbiz 'luvvie' always boasting of his lifestyle in bumping into his celebrity mates Brucie, Tarby, "Des O'Connerie"...etc.
The show's title came from the characters' names; Ralph Filthy, Richard Rich and Eddie Catflap.

The star of the show was once again Rik with his superbly rubber-faced gurning which made me soil myself approximately every 10 seconds. There were hints of what would soon become the basis of he and long-term comedy partner, Ade Edmonson's classic 'Bottom'(1991) (and notwithstanding large elements of The Dangerous Bothers).

Any fan of the 'alternative comedy' scene of the early 1980's will undoubtedly remember Peter Richardson's wonderful Comic Strip Presents... from Channel 4. There was one episode in particular which I remember with great fondness and as such is one of my favourite pieces of televisual comedy bar none.
This is Mr Jolly Lives Next Door (1987). Rik and Ade play the proprietors of an escort agency, Dreamytime Escorts ("Escorts, Bestcorts.... come in if you're saucy!") which has a very silly plot of being them being mistaken for their slightly murderous neighbour, Mr Jolly (played by the late Peter Cook) who are then given the task of "taking out" ("what....Dorking?") the tv presenter Nicolas Parsons.
So many brillant scenes and endless silly quotes have entertained me for years in this one episode alone.

Rik Mayall, what can I has been a pleasure to have known your comedy genius from such a young age which moulded me into the adult I eventually became.

I leave you with a link to the complete Blackadder (1983 - 1989) audiobooks which apart from having yet more classic comedy also feature Rik as Lord Flashheart in one of his brief but career-defining moments.

Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall
 7 March 1958 – 9 June 2014

Repo's Ebay Corner

Sorry if the above post title led you to believe that I'm selling my own stuff but I'm not. Been there, done that, sold the t-shirt, wished I hadn't and regretted it ever since.

Y'know, eBay can sometimes turn up some really rare treasures or forgotten gems every once in a while. Of course, the flip to this is that you have to really dig as there is a load of old tat in there, too.

Item 1- Adidas Run DMC T-Shirt

This Run DMC t-shirt was brought to my attention by Dayle 'Boogie Down Under' Dickson which as you can see is hardly box fresh however the Seller states is a "Collectors edition" with "no stains". So that's alright then.
A hefty Buy It Now awaits your Paypal account to the tune of $750 (£437 approx).

eBay Link

Item 2 - Doug E Fresh Interview/Concert 1985 Capital Radio

Mike Allen fans take note.
This is a tape of a Mike Allen show - well, I'm assuming so as the description states "1985 CAPITAL RADIO" and I don't think anyone else except Mike would've broadcast this on Capital at that time.
The headline of "OFF AIR TAPE" makes me wonder if it is a special not-for-broadcast recording but then the Seller's admission of "I RECORDED THIS AROUND 30 YEARS AGO" (he does sound a bit angry what with the Caps Lock and all) suggests not.
Worth a punt?
Yours for the princely sum of just £4.00 + £1.24 P&P.

eBay Link

More soon.....

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hip Hop Family Tree...again

My bookshelf with some of my favourites
You may remember I wrote a post recently (April 2014) about the great Hip Hop Family Tree comic book/strip by artist Ed Piskor. Well I finally bought a copy of Volume 1 ("1970's - 1981") and was mightily impressed. Not least of all by the girth.
 I mentioned it on Twitter as you can see above and had a chinwag with Ed, who mentioned - when seeing my copy of The Wild Style Sampler book in the photo - that had he owned a copy himself at the time then Volume 2 may have been devoted solely to the movie. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing...!
It goes nicely with my treasured Ed-inked Wild Style mini-comic that Patti 'A' sent to me at Christmas, too.
Trumpet-blowing from Reeps? Damn straight. I don't get a lot of opportunity these days so I'm taking full advantage!

This is a fully-endorsed ABU recommendation. Get your copy when you can.

Hip Hop Family Tree Book 1: 1970s-1981 (Paperback)
Amazon UK - Out of stock at present
Amazon US - I gots mine from here

Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2: 1981-1983 (Vol. 2) (Paperback) - COMING SOON -  released 21st August 2014 - 14.37
Amazon UK - released Sept 7th 2014 - £17.52
Amazon US - released Sept 7th 2014 - $20.51

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