Thursday, 25 August 2016

ABU Podcast August 2016 Show #62 80s Grooves Special

Tonight's ABU Podcast is a two-hour trip down Memory Lane.

We're going back to the early 1980s and revisiting a time of unforgettable soul and funk classics in an uncertain era from a British point of view.
Expect some classic tunes from the likes of Gwen Mccrae, Maze, Freeez as well as other sounds of the 80s to remind you of the period. Think Soul Weekender or Notting Hill Carnival (when it was good!) and all the grooves that were exploding on the scene until the middle of the decade.

Make sure you drop in from 9pm tonight (25th) to hear the show at

Friday, 19 August 2016

Slammin' Rap

This is a blast from the past. Before Youtube us Brit kids had to rely on cable or satellite tv to see the latest hip hop videos from the US. Failing that there was a great but rather short-lived series of video cassettes that were released at the beginning of the 90-decker. I remember buying my first one from Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. Luckily my local HMV began stocking them soon.
Slammin' Rap was a godsend to a lot of us and gave a great insight into a lot of what was going on - even though the freshness of this video series was long gone as they came out a lot later than the singles themselves.
A truly odd choice though to have Bill & Ted star, Alex Winter host the first one.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 1 (1990)
Hosted by Alex Winter
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists: Big Daddy Kane / Ice-T & The Rhyme Syndicate / MC Hammer / Tone Loc / 3rd Bass / Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock / Special Ed & DJ Action / Queen Latifah /Chuck D / KRS-One / Lakim Shabazz / Salt 'N' Pepa / Kid 'N' Play / Roxanne Shanté / Chuck Chillout & Kool Chip / Chris Rock / L'Trimm / Harry Allen.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 2 (1991)
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists:
George Clinton / Def Jef / Tony! Toni! Toné! / Ice Cube / C.P.O. / Monie Love / Eazy-E / Father MC / Tairrie B. / Skatemaster Tate / Smooth Ice / '06 Style, The / A Tribe Called Quest / Daddy Freddy / Hi-Five / Three Times Dope / Laquan / Boogie Down Productions.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 3 (1991)
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists:
L.L. Cool J/ Big Daddy Kane/ D-Nice/ Too Short/DJ Quick/Stereo MC's /Eric B & Rakim/Urban Dance Squad/Schoolly D.

Record Reviews: Dr Dre & Public Enemy

Before you start scratching your heads, I found this unfinished post in my Blog Drafts list today. I started to write it a year ago before I went away on holiday then promptly forgot all about it. I think that says more about the records than I ever could.

It's 2015 and there is new product from two of the heaviest hitters in the hip hop industry.
These long-awaited long-players each from the East and West coasts of the US made me feel unusually excitable and just like the reason for why I have an abnormal fondness for electric fences, I really cannot put my finger on it.

I gave both Compton (A Soundtrack) and Man Plans God Laughs a listen today in full.
Dre's Compton especially has had more than it's fair share of critical attacks and that was before the album had even been released.
It is important to know that this album is definitely not in the vein of his 1992 debut The Chronic. It is not on the same scale either lyrically nor musically.
Although The Chronic was not exactly Shakespeare there were still great hooks and memorable verses throughout. Compton relies heavily on sung verses. Whilst this is not shocking as this particular trope has become more favourable within rap of late - perhaps a way of getting more radio airplay with a nod to RnB?

And that is as far as I got. PE's album was marginally better from what I can remember but not much. Compton was horrendously bad with some truly awful songs in there.
A shame really but what can you do? Keep creating the same sort of music from 20 years ago or push forward and go with the trends?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Record Review - Paradox - Wax Breaks

I was recently contacted by a musician called Paradox who predominantly makes drum 'n' bass with a heavy propensity for raw funk breaks. He's been flying low under the ABU radar and upon hearing his stuff immediately put a big smile on my face. I think you will all like this.
He has a new album available designed primarily for producers called Wax Breaks - it is pressed on vinyl and contains 16 looped, redesigned beats - which instantly made me recall Simon Harris' legendary Beats, Breaks & Scratches series.
The emphasis here is on funk with the majority of the breaks being mid-tempo instrumentals rather than just fast, ear-bleeding DnB beats (as my blurb above may have led you to believe). The few that are more uptempo just show you how funky drum 'n' bass can be when left in the hands of the right producer.
When listening you can really hear how crisp each snare hit sounds or just how well put-together each loop is. One in particular I liken to an early 45 King production which could easily have Lakim Shabazz rhyming - although it really isn't hard to imagine an MC riding over the top of any one of these.
These would sound great as beds for radio producers as there is no instrument clash - just straight beats.

Available on fat, 180-gram, heavyweight vinyl this is surely a welcome addition to record-collectors with a tendency to produce beats as well as those who just like proper hardcore instrumentals.

Have a listen below to the brief samplers of the tracks so can hear for yourself.
Real hip hop exists out there. You've just got to search a little harder through the dirt to get to the diamonds.

Side X:

Side Y:


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