[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 16

Here’s my newest episode of Getting Warmer for NTS Radio. This is effectively about me wishing I had a car to drive around in all summer. If you like it, you can download an mp3 version here. Enjoy!

Tracklist:
1. John Martyn – Hole In The Rain
2. Afro-Cuban Band – Something’s Gotta Give (Todd Terje Re-Kutt)
3. Mave & Dave – You Are Delicious
4. High Resolution & Paolo Del Prete – Sweepin’ Off
5. Gaznevada – I.C. Love Affair
6. Taro Tokugawa – Here My Dear
7. Felix – Tiger Stripes
8. Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy
9. Salif Keita – Koukou (Hober Mallow Remix)
10. Miki Matsubara – 真夜中のドア/Stay With Me
11. Key Tronics Ensemble – Calypso Of House (Paradise Version)
12. Roxy Music – India
13. Commodores – Nightshift

Cristina – Cristina, 1980

So good. Cristina was a Harvard drop-out who was working as a writer for The Village Voice when she met (and eventually married) Michael Zilkha, who was in the process of getting the now-legendary ZE Records off the ground. He encouraged her to record a song called “Disco Clone,” written by a former Harvard classmate of hers, which became ZE’s first release in 1978 and featured John Cale production (and, moreover, is really good).

Cristina (later reissued as Doll in the Box) was the first of her two full-lengths. Short and sweet, it was produced by August Darnell of Kid Creole & The Coconuts, and you can hear his signature brassy tropical camp all over it. The heavily textured Latin-jazz percussion brings to mind some of New York no wave’s more polished, dancefloor-ready groups, except it’s fronted by a snarky, jaded Betty Boop. Cristina’s vocals are simultaneously flippant and flirty, often splintering off into multiple personas in dialogue with each other. She leans into that heavy-handed sardonicism even more on her follow-up, Sleep It Off, a grittier piece of electro boasting a proto-Slave to the Rhythm Jean-Paul Goude cover. While Cristina was met with moderate acclaim, Sleep It Off was a commercial flop (so dumb! it’s really good!), leading to Cristina’s musical retirement (though she’s still a writer). Thank you Caroline for putting me onto this!

[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 9

I spent the weekend after the inauguration at the New York Women’s March and finishing this mix. I wanted to use all American dance music as a way of recognizing the enormous creative debt we owe to people of color and the LGBTQ community. Since I’m not great at cross-genre mixing (yet!), this veers mostly towards disco. As such, I was also thinking a lot about the recently departed David Mancuso as I worked on it. I recorded this live, so I hope you’ll excuse some imperfect mixing and enjoy some very perfect songs. If you like it, you can download an mp3 version of it here. Thanks for listening!

Tracklisting:
1. GQ – Lies
2. Finis Henderson – Skip To My Lou
3. Scherrie Payne – I’m Not in Love / Girl, You’re In Love
4. Vincent Montana Jr. & The Philly Sound Orchestra – That’s What Love Does
5. Kenix ft. Bobby Youngblood – There’s Never Been (No One Like You)
6. Karen Carpenter – My Body Keeps Changing My Mind
7. The Pointer Sisters – Telegraph Your Love
8. Mariah Carey – Make It Happen
9. Curtis Hairston – I Want You All Tonight
10. George Benson – Give Me The Night
11. Krystal Davis – So Smooth
12. Sharon Redd – Never Give You Up
13. Lace – Can’t Play Around
14. George McCrae – Rock Your Baby

Gino Soccio – Face To Face, 1982

Feeling heartbroken for peers, friends, musicians, and artists who have been affected by the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Like so many others, I’m unable to imagine what my life would be like without DIY, and often illegal, spaces for art, music, and living. These spaces are increasingly vital as cities become prohibitively expensive, and the news coverage that blames the victims of such a terrible loss is deeply upsetting. To echo others: this could have been any of us.

In the spirit of cultures that will, by necessity, continue to build beautiful things in marginal places, I wanted to share a favorite disco record (though to be fair, this record was a heavily produced chart-topper, not a homegrown experiment). This is one of my favorite records to dance to, and is also a rare instance of a disco LP that’s solid all the way through. Impeccably tasty production–hard to say no to this one. Please keep dancing!

Kiki Gyan – 24 Hours In A Disco 1978-82

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of David Mancuso, founder of the Loft party, disco enthusiast, instigator of the record pool system, DJ, audiophile, activist, and New York legend. Mancuso devoted his life and resources to creating safe spaces for many, but especially for the gay community, to dance to the best music in the best possible environment. He rejected beatmatching and mixing in favor of respect for sound quality and unaltered recordings played in their entirety, he prioritized dancing by refusing to overcrowd his parties, he avoided slavishness to genre, and he pushed back against inflated alcohol prices and club profiteering by instituting a BYO policy. He also fought in the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ longest administrative trial to date against their insistence that he get a cabaret license (which he ultimately avoided by not selling food or beverages). He believed a DJ should have good taste, push the envelope, and use songs to spin narrative arcs, but not show off or get in the way of the music. He drew inspiration from time spent outside as a child, having grown up in an orphanage in rural upstate New York: 

“I spent a lot of time in the country, listening to birds, lying next to a spring and listening to water go across the rocks. And suddenly one day I realized, what perfect music. Like with sunrise and sunset, how things would build up into midday. There were times when it would be intense and times when it would be very soft, and at sunset it would get quiet and then the crickets would come in. I took this sense of rhythm…”

In the spirit of David’s work, I wanted to share a record that, though not a canonical Loft favorite, embodies the ecstatic, high energy disco for which the Loft is known. I wish very much that I could share Feeling So Good, the original LP that produced one of Gyan’s more famous singles, “Disco Dancer,” but it’s all but nonexistent (jen@listentothis.info if you have a decent rip you’d like to trade!). Several tracks from Feeling So Good appear on this compilation, though everything I’ve heard from the record is excellent. I’m realizing as I write this that it’s a bit odd to make two very remarkable, very different people share one post, so I hope this comes off alright.
Kiki Gyan was a Ghanaian musician and child keyboard prodigy who went professional at the age of 12, dropped out of school (“There was too much music in me, I couldn’t stay in school”) and was recruited to the British Afro-pop band Osibisa when he was 15. He toured internationally with the band until beginning his tenure as a very in-demand and expensive session musician in the best London recording studios before he was 21. His musical skill earned him a reputation as Ghana’s answer to Stevie Wonder, and he went on to make a series of very ambitious disco records, aiming at international stardom. Drug abuse interfered, and despite numerous attempts at intervention and rehabilitation, Gyan quickly declined, became unable to make music, and died at 47 from AIDS and drug-related complications. It was a terrible loss in many ways.
24 Hours In A Disco is entirely long tracks, befitting Gyan’s style—his wicked musicianship and joy predisposed him to long-form relentless disco funk jams that were tailor-made for the dance floor. These are songs that impossible to sit still through.
Thank you Kiki, thank you David—here’s to hoping that love saves the day.

[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 4

Listen to my fourth episode of Getting Warmer for NTS Radio below. I tried to make a make out mix, but I think it got too heavy-handed to be actually sexy and might be better suited for roller skating or something. Slo-mo disco, sleepy funk, breathy vocals. Lmk if anyone successfully soundtracks a make-out session with this. You can download an mp3 version here. Enjoy!

Tracklisting:
1. Vera — Come With Me
2. Karen Carpenter — Midnight
3. Andrea Lyn — Hold On To Your Heart
4. Virna Lindt — Underwater Boy
5. Zenit — Waitin’
6. Marti Caine — Love The Way You Love Me
7. Lustt — Pillow Talk
8. Linda Di Franco — The Look Of Love
9. Susan Cadogan — Feeling Is Right
10. The Makers — Don’t Challenge Me
11. Hector Zazou & Barbara Gogan — Dangerous
12. Rare Silk — Storm
13. Craig T. Cooper — Sweet Water

David Astri – Do It Right, 1983

Very mysterious record! The only release from Baltimore artist David Astri, and also the only release (I think) from PCM Records. Rereleased (I think) in 2014 on now-defunct Award Records, and not much information available about any of it.
This is essentially a boogie funk record, and for fans of the genre, it doesn’t get much better than “Get Down To It” and “Do It Right” (RIYL George Benson, RAH Band, etc.). The song that I immediately fell in love with, and has since wound up on an embarrassing number of mixes that I’ve made, is “Safe and Sound,” which sort of reads like a slow funk ballad, but between the inadvertently creepy lyrics delivered with saccharine little girl breathiness, the unexpected moments of warped dissonance, the impeccable percussion details, and the oddly muffled production, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The seven minute closer, “Dancing Digits,” is an ecstatic instrumental disco stomper, but with what sounds an awful lot like an acid house synth line riding on top. Oh, there’s also a five minute tropical steel drum interlude that sounds like it could score a ride at Disneyland. In a good way, sort of.

I really, really wish this record were 15 minutes longer. And speaking of, apparently there are four unreleased tracks floating around from these sessions–if anyone has them, I’d really love to hear, will bake you cookies, etc.

Mix for NTS Radio

We made a two hour mix for NTS Radio. Tracklisting below. If you like it, download it here. Enjoy!
Tracklisting:
0:00 Richard Burmer – Physics
3:31 Masami Tsuchiya – Nevermind (Excerpt)
6:28 Carlos Maria Trindade – The Truth
9:09 Joe Hisaishi – The Winter Requiem
13:49 Bill Nelson – Pansophia
14:41 Anna Homler & Steve Moshier – Celestial Ash (Excerpt)
20:09 Toshifumi Hinata – Chaconne
24:45 George Wallace – Electric Night
31:23 Danyel Gérard – La Vieux de la Montagne
35:41 Steve Tibbetts – 100 Moons
40:50 Hector Zazou & Dead Can Dance – Youth (Excerpt)
42:26 Codek – Tim Toum
46:22 Şenay – Doy-Doy-Doymadım
51:57 Joan Bibiloni – Sa Fosca
58:45 Jaco Pastorius – Okonkole Y Trompa
1:03:00 Blue Gas – Shadows From Nowhere
1:06:58 Rasta Instantané – Kylyn
1:11:56 Boban Petrović – Zajedno Srećni
1:16:52 Saâda Bonaire – More Women
1:21:51 Christy Essien Igbokwe – You Can’t Change A Man
1:25:34 Hiroshi Sato – Awakening
1:29:06 Love, Peace & Trance – Hush – A Mandala Ni Pali
1:33:15 Asha Bhosle & Ghulam Ali – Roodad-E-Mohabbat Kya Kahiye Kuchh Yaad Rahi Kuchh Bhool Gaye
1:38:52 New Musik – Areas
1:43:00 CFCF – Vermont
1:47:45 Hiroshi Yoshimura – Time After Time
1:56:27 Gervay Briot – Science

Alexander Robotnick – Ce N’est Q’un Début, 1984

Classic. Maurizio Dami (aka Alexander Robotnick) went on to collaborate with traditional musicians from India, Algeria, and Kurdistan; release music for transcendental meditation; give Florence its first ambient music festival; and start a label, as well as release a slew of electro and disco records, though it’s his first release that most people remember for its unabashed, almost grotesque dance floor classics. Relentless and completely disinterested in taking itself seriously. Enjoy!

Bagarre – Circus, 1982

The only full-length release from italian label Sauvage Musique, an imprint of Milan-based Panarecord. It begins with the single “Lemonsweet” (below), a psychedelic club-ready anthem which seems to tell the first-hand story of a LSD-fueled night out in New York that might or might not end in a collapse at Studio 54. The song takes us through the stages of the trip, coming up on a groove, feeling invincible and going from club to club. It’s not always easy to understand Ann O. Rack’s sprechgesang, but the climax seems to come during an intense encounter with a lemon. It ends in confusion, with a repeated “I shouldn’t be here tonight” and “54, 54, 54” as she and the music fade away. At any rate, it’s a perfect song.
The album continues with highlights throughout, moving between italo and new wave. I love “Circus Is Gone,” a bass-heavy, moody ballad with some really nice layered vocals. After that, all of the songs are perfectly appropriate for the club with superb musicianship and production, wild synth work, and heavy bass lines. Enjoy!