I’ve been collecting records for almost 15 years. Like most diggers when they first start, I wanted all my shit to be super dope original pressings. Reissues?!?! No way son. I like my records like I like my kush: OG. I avoided comps too for the longest time. Then Serato came out and ruined everything. Oh you have that super rare blah blah original pressing on wax?! Yeah I have that on my laptop and can now rock it in public too. And guess what?: I have instant doubles and don’t have to worry about wearing out the vinyl. Cool beans right? Like most diggers when they first start, I wasn’t really sure how to tell if something was original or a reissue. There are some obvious clues like super old records with an internet address on the back, some will say reissue, it’s not the original label, etc. Well now there’s a super easy way to find out whether or not your precious vinyl is an original pressing or reissue courtesy of our good friends and sponsor Discogs. Check out www.originalpressing.com
Above is a screen shot of the website, which is still in beta version. It’s pretty cool and really simple. Just type the reference number on the back of your vinyl and they’ll ask discogs about it. So there you have it kids, now you can find out if your super cool vinyl record is an original or an reissue. These days I still prefer to find original pressings, but will definitely buy a reissue if it’s something super rare or that I really want to play at a gig. Oh you have that on your laptop? Is that an original mp3?…
Benjamin Franklin once said there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. Death is obviously inevitable. As far as taxes….not so much. Especially if you are a huge international multi-conglomerate corporation. General Electric, Verizon, News Corp, etc literally paid no taxes while taking in billions. It’s the American way. Not even Franklin could have imagined that. He also would have never imagined a black president. Okay now I’m off topic but yeah you get the point. We all are going to die one day. How do you want to be remembered when you pass? Are you going to be buried in the earth, are you going to be cremated? Well I read this article a while back and now there is another way for you to stay with your loved ones after you die: vinyl.
Yeah you read that right. Vinyl. Starting at £3000 ($4,970.10) you can have your ashes pressed into vinyl – 30 copies to be exact – for your friends and family to remember you with for eternity. Take that Serato! According to this article I read on pulseradio.net, “The folks over at London based www.andvinyly.com are offering their services to have you, a loved one or a pet transformed into a piece of music history. For an extra £500 ($828.35), you can have a custom artist design the record sleeve, and aside from choosing your favourite song to help loved ones remember you forever by, you can have custom made soundscapes and tracks created by bands and artists from The House of Fix. You can also use a track you created, record your own voice or lyrics (to be placed solo on the record or accompanied by eerie ambient noises), or for the minimalists out there, simply leave the record blank so only the pops and cracks play through. If you’re worried your loved ones might not be quite as keen on your idea as you are, they also offer body part services, so the majority of your remains can have a standard funeral, while an arm, leg or anywhere else can still be preserved in vinyl form, though prices aren’t any cheaper for that alternative. And, for an extra £10,000 ($16,567.00), you can have a FUNeral, where their crack team of experienced event organizers can toss you a full-fledged rave where (presumably) your freshly pressed wax will get rinsed in proper sendoff fashion.”
So there you have it folks. You love vinyl so much you can now have your ashes or certain body parts pressed on wax. Not creepy at all. Who wouldn’t want to play a record made up of your dead family member, homie, or pet. If your past loved one was a huge dubstep or trap fan now they can remind you of that even after they die. I would rather be haunted by a good old fashioned ghost instead of hearing that shit. I don’t know how they came up with this. It’s definitely unique, and super morbid. Maybe Goths will dig it. So what song would you want your ashes pressed on after you die?…
Professor Brian Oblivion’s bio states that he is, “A producer and DJ whose sample based, boom bap style is rooted in Golden Era hip hop while constantly exploring new treatments. Utilizing turntables, an MPC, and a diverse sound library ranging from soundtracks, funk, soul, jazz, psych rock, world music, and everything in between, he creates a rubric unparalleled.” That’s right: rubric.
I actually met Brian back in Sept. of 2012. I drove up to Oakland for the Beat Swap Meet and was literally in town for 5 minutes when my friend DJ Dirty Soap and I hit up a thrift store hoping to score some records. I actually found some okay stuff. I remember I found the single “Roses” by Haywoode there. So my friend and I take our records to the counter and strike up a conversation with the guy behind the counter. We mention we’re throwing the Beat Swap Meet since the guy was into records. That guy was Brian Oblivion. He actually went to the event. He gave me a copy of his album “The Dark Realities Of The Moment.” I listened to it and it was pretty good. Actually it was really good. Nice beats, production, samples, etc. and it was pretty socially and politically conscious, which I am all about. Good old fashioned hippity hop. Fast forward one year later and there he was again at the Beat Swap Meet in Berkeley this past Sept. Real cool dude.
He put out this single on Clock Wise records called “Hopscotch.” There is a bonus break on the A side as well. I highly recommend picking it up. Hopscotch is very dope hip hop instrumental with a heavy funk vibe and influence. It’s all about the drums. It reminds me of old school DJ Shadow and his fondness for the drums. Entropy, Holy Calamity, etc. It hits hard at 106 bpms. The drums are fierce, the horns are blaring, the organ is nice, etc. It’s a solid instrumental track. The bonus break is a stripped down version of “Hopscotch” with just the drums. If you rock doubles make sure to pick up 2 copies because you can get mad creative with it. The b-side is this slow jam called “Soul Drift.” It’s a hip hop slow song with a very nice 70′s sweet soul vibe. Baby making hip hop music. It reminds me of something that would be in a Prince Paul skit on Lovage. Chest Rockwell would love this shit. It’s got nice keys and trumpet samples. It’s dope.
Remember the name Professor Brian Oblivion because he is mad talented and will definitely be making waves in the future. His song “Feel the Funk” has been featured by the legendary Kenny Dope on his mixtape, “45 Friday Mix.” Yeah, Kenny Dope played his shit. If you are in the San Francisco area he has a monthly jazz happy hour at the Elbow Room, as well as multiple soul and funk nights at the Southside Spirit House.
by Jonathan Chan
You would think it was just another Sunday in LA, however at 943 N. Broadway the beats were blasting as much as they were bumping. That California sun was in Chinatown and the b-boys and b-girls were getting down. This was Beat Swap Meet LA’s 22nd edition, which had all the makings of a great day for the hip hop community. And yet, it’s not a Beat Swap Meet without some b-boys/girls. An integral part to the event, they bring to life the sounds and lyrics of the very songs they dance to. They are the embodiment of the music itself.
That being said, Fresh Air (the 2 vs. 2 and 7 to smoke break dance competition) was hype as usual. Starting around noon, b-boys/girls were warming-up in the cyphers. The circles were alive with locals representing LA and others coming from the IE, OC, and SD regions of California. DJ’s Abel, Dwenz, Lu-Man, Millhouse, Smoke1, and Tasko were responsible for playing some classic breaks, as well as some new beats that had the crowd moving.
The 2 vs. 2 competition showcased some incredible battles. The most exciting battle of the day had to be the Del Fuego crew taking on Concrete Jedis in the semifinals. B-boy Bebo from Del Fuego displayed his strength through controlled power moves and freeze combinations, while JayD of Concrete Jedis responded to Bebo’s rounds by executing with quick explosive moves. B-boys Jet Liem and Gilyon were not to be ignored either, exchanging a flow of movement masterfully accentuated by the music. Overall it was a battle to be remembered with Concrete Jedis moving onto the finals against Soul2Soul.
The 7 to smoke competition, for those that don’t know, operates within the same concept of King of the Hill. The first Bboy to reach 7 points wins. With some of the best talent invited for the 7 to smoke, it was sure to be nothing less than an all-out war. As the competition progressed, 3 Bboys tied for the most points after 10 minutes, and would battle each other in a 2nd round: Cre8 of Suicide Kings, Steez of Soul2Soul, and Nick Abat of Artistic Tribe. Cre8 moves with smooth transitions that are effortlessly in-sync with the rhythm. Steez freestyles with soul and a character unique unto himself. Nick Abat’s style brings attention to the smallest details and ends with a dynamic maneuver. In the end, Nick Abat would come to win out over all the invites.
As the jam came to a close, cyphers didn’t stop and the energy was as high as ever. Even with Open House starting their segment in the Beat Swap Meet schedule, b-boys/girls stuck around to vibe-out with house and other freestyle dancers. All in all it was a very successful event. Big shout-outs to Ace (Master Movements), Asia One (Mighty Zulu Queenz/B-boy Summit) Lil Rock (Killafornia) for judging both competitions, Artson (Style Elements) for emceeing, all the DJs for spinning, and the staff of Beat Swap Meet for organizing the event. It’s all about the people
Boogaloo. What does it mean? What comes to mind when you hear this word? The first thing I think of is Turbo aka Boogaloo Shrimp from the movies Breakin. The movie was god awful corny, but that broom dance was pretty tight. The ceiling dance not so much. I was 5 when I first saw it so the bar wasn’t set too high back then for me. According to the almighty Google boogaloo is “A modern dance to rock-and-roll music performed with swiveling and shuffling movements of the body, originally popular in the 1960s.” The definition according to the hip Urban Dictionary is, “Boogaloo is a certain dance when u swing ur shoulders up and down real quick!” Real quick y’all!!! Well Google had it more correct. And the Boogaloo Assassins are doing boogaloo proper.
I saw them a few years ago at the Continental Room. To be frank they were cool, but nothing to write home about. They kept doing shows. They were getting a good following. Fast forward to a few weeks ago at Funkmosphere and the homie and all around good guy Billy Goods was kind enough to give me a copy of their 45 of “No No No” and “Evil Ways”, as well as their debut EP “Old Love Dies Hard.” I went home, rolled a spliff, and gave it a listen. The first track I heard was the 45 version of the cover of the reggae classic ”No No No” by Dawn Penn. Holy shit. It was tight. I listened to it 3 times in a row. Covers can be tricky, especially covers of other genre of music. They can’t all be awesome as Alien Ant Farm’s “Smooth Criminal.” Duh. I gave the EP a listen and was very impressed. It’s pretty solid boogaloo. As Larry David would say, “Pretty, Pretty, Pretty good!” No No No is my favorite song, and “Para Mi” is my second favorite. It’s got this classic latin rhythm and tempo. It’s nolstagic yet still current and fresh. They also do a great cover of Joe Bataan’ classic “Magic Rose” Its spot on. The amazing thing is this song was record live on KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles.
On the EP in the back there is a review by Oliver Wang that says, “I was floored that a Los Angeles group hadn’t just nailed the sound of boogaloo but also embodied its mixed heritages. The Assassins span not only the diversity of multiracial LA, but music traditions too be it cumbia, ska, jazz, and of course, soul.” If you don’t know who Oliver Wang is you need to do your homework. This not only is amazing compliment, but absolutely spot on. I was going to write the exact same thing, but Oliver Wang beat me to it. Damn. This debut EP is a great throwback to that classic sound. I can’t wait for an entire album. 2013 has been an incredible year for new music, which I am never big on. New? It must suck right. Nope. There are some good bands and songs out there doing the music justice, and the Boogaloo Assassins are definitely one of them. Solid debut, and you should check it out. To find out more about the Boogaloo Assassins tour dates, and to purchase their music check out their website. If you going to be in the Los Angeles area on Dec 15th they are performing live at the Beat Swap Meet.
Tea Party favorite and all around insane in the membrane Michelle Bachman recently said we are living in the end times. After seeing a video of this new product called EZ Pro DJ I pretty much have to agree with her. I’ve bitched time and time again how everybody now thinks being a DJ is super cool and easy. Anybody can do it right? What’s the big deal? You’re just playing other peoples songs right?! The true heads know what I’m talking about. I’ve bitched about Serato, digitial djing, etc. At least Serato has fake vinyl aka control records. I hate going into a place where there is a DJ playing music, and THERE ARE NO TURNTABLES. It drives me crazy. So recently I saw this clip on this page on Facebook called DJ Fails. If you are not familiar with this page and are a true DJ I highly suggest you check it out. I don’t know where they find some of these clips but some are so unbelievably wack they are almost brilliant. You can’t make this stuff up. There are some wack ass delusional fools out there. Straight up. So what is the EZ Pro DJ?
It’s pretty much a kids toy. You know what I had when I was a kid? A portable record player. Not this crap. According to a write up in the NY Times, “For anyone who has dreamed of being a D.J., Jakks Pacific makes it easy, even if you don’t have a turntable or records. The EZ Pro DJ mixer from Jakks Pacific combines two turntables and a sound board in one gadget that connects to an iOS or Android device. Through a free mobile app, the mixer syncs with the music stored on the device. You can assign a song to each turntable and then use the crossfader to blend them together. Once you get a feel for matching beats (the app can find the beats per minute for each song), you can add studio effects like echo. You can also create loops, add samples and even scratch. The mixer has an input for headphones, allowing you to cue up one song while another one plays. When you’re satisfied with your new sound, you can play it live or record it and save it to a playlist. For all its features, the mixer is remarkably easy to use. After playing around for about 30 minutes, I was able to create a decent mash-up of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Sam Taylor-Wood’s cover of “I’m in Love With a German Film Star.” I got a real kick out of blending seemingly disparate songs.”
The name of the article was “Mix Music Like a Master.” Great job NY Times! Who wrote this article Judith Miller?!?! That joke is hilarious if you’re into politics. So there you have it kids! You can be a DJ master in a few minutes. You don’t need rhythm, passion for music, practice, or a good ear. Just plug in start rocking the shit out of crowds!! You have to see the YouTube clip which I’ll include below. If it was satirical it would be brilliant. It’s not though. It’s serious. I’m not even going to describe it so you can see for yourself. Be warned: You CANNOT unsee it though. Some people will say, “Calm down son, it’s just a freakin toy.” True, but that’s not the point. It’s another attempt to bastardize the craft of Djing and is making the kids dumber and less appreciative of real beats and music. I’m going to get off my soapbox now and play a record. A vinyl record.
Have you heard the news? Vinyl is back son. BIG TIME. As a record nerd and vinyl purist this is great news to me. I was born in 1979. Before the cd, mp3, internet, iphone, ipad, and whole i-pocalypse. My parents collected records. Vinyl was always being played in the house. I remember my dad always bumping artists like Kool and the Gang, Midnight Star, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Gap Band, Rick James, etc. He was into funk, boogie, and disco. A lot of shitty disco. My mom was more into soul and was always bumping oldies. After years of begging she recently finally gave me her 45 collection. It’s ridiculous. When I moved out I pretty much took their record collection. The best record in the collection was the blaxploitation soundtrack “Savage” by Don Julian. It’s one of the hardest funk albums ever. It’s so hard the legendary DJ Muro from Japan named his record store after it.
I remember the day my dad brought home a cd player. I had no idea what it was. He said it played music. I asked if it played records or cassettes and he said it played cds. ”What the heck is a CD?” I asked. He said it’s like a smaller version of records. The year was 1991. He then realized we did not own any cds so we went to the Wherehouse to get some. He said my brother and I could pick out ANY CD we wanted. I bought Digital Undergrounds “This is an EP Release”. My brother brought Vanilla Ice. Even back then I was a hip hop snob and clowned him for buying that corny shit. I never really got into CDs though and kept collecting cassettes. The first record I ever bought with my own money was Freestyle Fellowship’s Innercity Griots. Since then I never looked back. I’m a digger. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. It’s addicting. I have to dig. If I pass by a yard sale, garage sale, thrift store, antique store, etc. I have to check if they have records. I don’t have serato. I’m a vinyl junkie. I remember when Serato was really blowing up records stores were closing down left and right. It really sucked when Aron’s closed. They say everything old is new again and here we are in 2013 where you can now buy vinyl at Whole Foods and record players at Nordstrom.
According to an article I read in the NY Times, “About a dozen pressing plants have sprouted up in the United States, along with the few that survived from the first vinyl era, and they say business is so brisk that they are working to capacity. These days, every major label and many smaller ones are releasing vinyl, and most major new releases have a vinyl version, leading to a spate of new pressing plants. When the French electronica duo Daft Punk released “Random Access Memories” in mid-May, 6 percent of its first-week sales — 19,000 out of 339,000 — were on vinyl, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which measures music sales.”
According to another article I read on thinklikealabel.com, “In case there was any doubt in your mind, vinyl is officially back. The week of April 21, 244,000 LPs were sold. Not downloads, not streams, not even CDs. Good ol’ fashioned records, artwork, and all. Vinyl album sales in 2012 were at their highest since 1997, having closed the year at $177 million (approx. ￡115 million) according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI. As for the United States; according the Nielsen Soundscan, 4.6 million LPs were sold in the States last year.”
So there you have it. Vinyl is back, although to some people it never left. There are record shows everywhere popping up in Los Angeles and Orange County at some bar or other location. Cassettes are also back big time, but that’s a whole different article. The true diggers will always keep digging. True b-boys/girls will always be breaking. True graff artists will always be bombing. True mcs will always keep rhyming. There is a whole new generation of kids now being introduced to vinyl, and I love that. It’s tangible. You can hold it in your hands, feel the grooves, appreciate the art work, etc. You can’t do that with an mp3. There are always bubbles and this vinyl renaissance may burst in the future again, but once a vinyl junkie always a junkie.
What’s your first record, favorite record store past or present, or memorable digging experience? Let us know below in the comments!
I read this article a few weeks ago that my man Frank Foreal posted on Facebook. It was entitled, “The Future of DJing Outsourced to Robotic Intelligence?” Yeah, you read that right. Robot DJs. I don’t even think Isaac Asimov himself could have come up with an idea like that. Yeah, I’m a nerd. So the article starts as follows:
“Imagine this scenario: You walk into a club, swiping your phone at the door to check-in and update the promoters on your listening tastes. After a few drinks – an amazing new song comes on and the crowd rushes to the floor – sensors pick up the shift in energy and a similar track is seamlessly mixed in. Somehow, seemingly improbably – many of your favorite tracks keep dropping, each one better than the last – blended together perfectly in time with the lighting and visuals. The amazing part? There was not a DJ in sight.
Everything that happened on my future dance floor was thanks to highly intelligent sensors, automated mixing technology, and smart social integration. None of this is terribly far-fetched, and many of the requirements are already in the market. The only thing holding us back from Mix Master Cloud is a company that brings them together in a cohesive way. My prediction? If this happens successfully, your average local club may never hire a regular DJ again.”
It then goes into detail about exactly what would be needed, pros and cons, etc. It actually sounds very feasible in the near future. You can read the whole thing for yourself here. As a DJ and vinyl purist I am not down with this at all. First there were CDjs, then Serato, then Torque, then Traktor, then smart phones, then ipads, then blah blah blah. Everybody thinks they’re a DJ now, and now even the pseudo, digital wack ones will be an endangered species. What will the future of nightlife look like? Are there going to secret underground music fans who illegally throw parties where vinyl is spun by humans? Okay now I’m getting ridiculous but you see where I’m going. I was just coping with the fact that I have to start competing with babies for gigs! Yes you read that correct: babies. The article was speculation, but again it’s very feasible. Soon Skynet will be online..( I said I was a nerd)
Some parents want the best for their kids. Some parents want to live vicariously through their kids. Some parents are still kids. For the record I do not have any children, but if I did I would definitely hope they grow up to be good people who give a shit about the world and are hopefully trying to improve it. I also would hope they would not listen to shitty music. That last line was a joke but not really. Since I am a DJ and music snob I would hope my offspring would inherit my passion for records, funk, good hip hop, boogie, spinning, and just overall good music. I can’t even imagine how the next Dubstep, Trap, or music fad will sound in 15 years. I would envision my kid at the talent show rocking the good old fashioned 1200′s with records and KILLING it. That being said I ran across this article this morning on Vice called, “Your Baby is Worthless If It Isn’t a DJ.” I thought it was some kind of joke, or something that belonged on the Onion but it wasn’t. While obviously Vice was clowning there really is a baby DJ school that opened in September. According to the article, “The school was started up in September by Natalie Elizabeth Weiss, a composer and DJ from Brooklyn who has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem and the Dirty Projectors and was recently a fellow with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She’s willing to teach tykes as young as three months old about “the wonderful worlds of electro, hip-hop, and house,” according to her press release, which also promises that “little ones will be introduced to playing and handling records, mixing and matching beats, and creating fun and funky samples using modern DJ equipment.” You can’t make this stuff up. Now I gotta worry about fighting babies for my gigs. I am all about teaching kids music and stuff and child proteges can be amazing, but teaching them that young is ridiculous. I would love to see what kind of parent signs their kid up. Probably some wanna be DJ with a laptop and delusions of grandeur.
Good new music is hard to find. Really hard. You have to dig for it like digging for records. The radio is garbage. Long gone are the days when you could simply turn on the radio and consistently hear good music. There a a few exceptions like KCRW or KPFK, but in general music coming out today is just plain wack. Our friends at Ubiquity Records released an album last month from Bosq of the group the Whiskey Barons. The name of the album is Bosq y Orquesta de Madera. The Whiskey Barons are a dj and production duo based in Boston. According to their website they “Work to tastefully update classic funky music from around the world to work with modern dance floors. This has resulted in a wide variety of well received originals, reworks, and edits that span the styles of latin, african, funk, soul, disco, house, reggae, and rock.” While this album is a solo release from Bosq and not a Whiskey Baron’s production, this description of their style is absolutely right on the money. This is one of the best albums I have heard. Straight HEAT. All killer no filler. Every song is good, and I do not say this lightly. EVERY ONE. There is something for everybody. It’s a beautiful mixture of afro beats, latin rhythms, soulful house, disco, with subtle dancehall and hip hop influences. Most of them are aimed to get your ass on the dance floor. The track “Get Involved” can seriously be played at any b-boy/girl jam. There are guests artists like Tita Lima (amazing singer from Brazil), Mendee Ichikawa (from Free Moral Agents), Jesus Pagan, and more. The track “Paciencia De Jo” featuring Tita Lima captures that Bossa Nova sound perfectly and makes me wish I was on a beach drinking a nice cold beer. The track “Movin’ On” is a nice soulful house beat with a touch of afro influences. The most amazing thing about this record is that it is completely sample free. There are obvious influences like Fela Kuti, etc but it is completely original. I cannot recommend this album enough. Great release from Ubiquity. I just hope Bosq makes his way to Los Angeles soon. I am definitely a fan. Get your copy at the Ubiquity website NOW!
TRIVIA: What Los Angeles club did Bosq recently spin at on October 24th 2013? The first person to answer correctly in the comments section will receive a copy of the album..
Greetings and One Love,
It has been quite some time since I have dropped a gem on my Blog. And I aim to make my additions more regular for the Beatswapmeet readers out there.
Recorded in 1961 on Leslie Kong’s Beverly’s label JUDGE NOT is the world’s absolute first ever released single by Bob Marley. It was released in 1962 initially only in Jamaica. And later released on the budding Island Records in the U.K.
The song is a youthful voiced Bob Marley’s plea to those who Judge the youth by their outward appearance rather than by their intent or actions. And is a early recording of the more Rastafarian Biblical based material that would follow in Marley’s career. A rare example of plea for morality in Jamaica’s budding SKA music style. The song historically did not achieve very much success initially. It has been released on several compiliation LPs over the years.
Certain early pressings of this song list Bob Marley’s name as Bobby Martell. So buyer beware in your searches you may have to use alternate search terms or words to locate this on 7″
I first heard this song when I was a teen. It was a revelation to me at the time that Bob Marley had recorded songs that even predated the iconic songs and style that the world would come to know him by. Recorded almost an entire decade before songs like “Buffalo Soldier” “Redemption Song” and others recorded at the height of his international fame.
I hunted high and low for this song on a first pressing 7″ for at least a year. And thanks to the internet I was finally able to track a copy down in of all places Italy. It has now become a treasured part of my 45 arsenal. And I like to use it as a way to teach listeners musically about the origins of Reggae Music and its artists.
So after 5 years of putting in work from multiple apartments around the south land, we now have a home to rest our minds. If you’ve been to our LA Beat Swap Meet then you might know where this is – Chinatown will always be home to us. We’ve got a good team, great focus, and a lot of future plans & goals.
We’re not open to the public so please don’t come knocking, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to meet you. Send us an email ahead of time, Info@beatswapmeet.com, if you ever wanna pop by and say hello. Especially if you want to drop off food or records, or receive updates on the pop up record shops we’ll be having here monthly.
The Chinese characters on our sign read “Record Store”. The sign was painted by Darel Carey, the artist behind LiHaiArt.com.Close