Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Black Sky Black Death and Elephant Sixer John Fernandes.
Listed: Black Sky Black Death + John Fernandes
Black Sky Black Death
Blue Sky Black Death is the production team of Kingston and Young God. Sharing a penchant for tasteful instrumental hip-hop and traditional underground emcees, the two work as complimentary halves the same mind. Since 2004, Kingston has built a solid reputation with his work on albums by Boston legend Virtuoso, Babygrande's flamethrower Jus Allah, and Philadelphia truth-teller Chief Kamachi. He has found an ideal partner in Young God. The Bay Area studio maverick's attention to detail, vast beat library, and audiofile ear have helped Kingston step his productions to the next level. Their combined productions stay true to classic hip-hop foundations while incorporating left-field elements that are all their own. Their new record, A Heap of Broken Images, is out now on Mush Records.
10 Records I Wish I Produced:
1. Cinematic Orchestra – "Everyday"
The former is the name of the album but it's also the title track, it's kind of an after party album, which sounds lame but it's got that emotive jazz sound which is good to wind down to after listening to M.O.P. The song everyday has a sample which sounds like an African children's choir, which I really wish I had gotten to before those bastards.
2. Outkast – Aquemini
Aquemini is one of my favorite hip-hop albums, and I couldn't choose just one song. I've played this out so much, but I'm still impressed at how good the production is. Crisp drums, hypnotic guitars, crazy horn melodies, spacy synth. Organized Noise are criminally underrated.
3. Stoupe (Jedi Mind Tricks) – "The Deer Hunter"
Even though this beat is way less complex then his current work, it's still my favorite the female vocal sample makes it a million times doper.
4. Goodie Mob - "Sky High"
Organized Noize the unsung heroes of countless classics. This album sounds like November in Atlanta. Soul and Black & Mild smoke just seeps out of the speakers ...
5. DJ Shadow – "Stem/Long Stem"
This is one of the most epic instrumental "hip hop" tracks you'll ever hear though we're going to bring epic to gladiator proportions on our next album, but this songs ahead of its time, that's for sure.
6. Nas - "It Aint Hard To Tell" (Dj Premier)
I love this beat. Although I can't help but just zone out to the MJ samples on this.
7. Mobb Deep - "Hell On Earth"
That QB signature grime. Infectious sound on this track...I bought this album when it came out, and its still in constant rotation.
8. Raekwon w/Nas & Ghostface - "Verbal Intercourse"
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is one jewel after next, but this is my joint.
9. CNN - "T.O.N.Y"
This track is a prefect example of that mid-90's formula, when those strings drop.....thats the stuff, not to mention Tragedy's immaculate verse.
10. Newcleus – "Jam On It"
Seriously, I'd be so proud if I made this jam the most genius bassline of all time. I made a replica of this a long time ago in fruity loops but it didn't have the same swagger.
John Fernandes is a member of Circulatory System, The Olivia Tremor Control, The New Sound of Numbers, Elf Power, The Instruments, and sometimes Dark Meat, Mouser, and Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't. He runs the record label Cloud Recordings, and has worked as a manager at Wuxtry records for seven years. His years of participation in every facet of music are finally put to their most effective use, by way of one of the more revelatory lists we've seen in awhile.
1. The Incredible String Band - the song "This Moment" off the 1969 album I Looked Up
Mike Heron really works himself into some wonderfully ecstatic improvisational vocalizations towards the end..."Oh my gosh and golly no..."
2. C.O.B. - Spirit of Love & Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart
Clive Palmer was a member of The Incredible String Band for their first album, then he split for India and Afghanistan, picking up many instruments and musical influences in his travels. He eventually settled back in the U.K., living in a community of artists and musicians in Cornwall. He formed the mighty C.O.B. with Mick Bennett and John Bidwell, and they recorded the beautiful Spirit of Love in the summer of 1971, also finding influence in traditional American banjo music. I love their second album even more; Moyshe McStiff... a semi-rediculous and lengthy title referring to one of the member's Scottish ancestry. It gets into some seriously mystical and heavy stuff, drawing inspiration from Halie Selassie and the Old Testament, as well as Middle Eastern and English folk traditions. Mick has a very powerful voice, and I love Clive's clarinet and violin parts on songs like "Sheba's Return", "Solomon's Song", and "Heart Dancer". Danny Thompson (Pentangle, Nick Drake) adds some great upright bass to the first track and "Chain of Love". Clive's voice is more fragile and he sounds like a wise prophet on "Let It Be You" and "Oh Bright Eyed One". My favorite song on the album is John Bidwell's hauntingly beautiful "Eleven Willows", with it's unique spiraling melody. My children LOVE singing along with this one. I also really dig the two songs on the single that was released after this, "Blue Morning" / "Bones". They get into some weird medieval reggae kind of stuff.
3. Parliament - the song "I Just Got Back from the Fantasy, Ahead of our Time in the Four Lands of Ellet" off the 1974 album Up for the Down Stroke
This features one of the best whistling solos on a rock/funk ballad. I really dig that track as well as their first album, Osmium from 1967 - with it's bizarre mix of country, funk, and psychedelic music - layering sitars, jaw-harps, and pedal-steel, with full gospel harmonies. Plus their hilarious Mother's of Invention-style sense of humor. I also like the laid back groove on the track "I Misjudged You" off Chocolate City.
4. Erkin Koray - Elektronik Turkuler
From 1974, kind of like a Turkish Led Zeppelin. The song “Hele Yar” is soo catchy! He rocks on lots of traditional instruments and the bass sound is really excellent.
5. Roy Harper - Stormcock
He is an English folk singer whose albums were originally on Harvest (Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd, the Edgar Broughton Band), but now he has released them on CD on his own label. This one from 1972 is a perfect late night album - devistatingly beautiful acoustic songs with occational strings and brass. His voice will melt you, especially when he subtly doubles the main vocal or adds harmonies. Led Zeppelin dedicated the song “Hats Off to Roy Harper” to him on III, and you can tell that he was a big influence to Jimmy Page.
6. Sisa - Orgia / Pep Laguarda & Tapineria - Brossa D'Ahir
Two albums recorded in the fertile Spanish scene. Orgia, recorded in Barcelona, Spain in 1970 by Musica Dispersa member Jaume Sisa is more song-oriented than the improvised sounding Musica Dispersa album from that same year, it ends up sounding like a strange mixture between Bob Dylan and Os Mutantes. An absolutely brilliant record from start to finish! The first song "Carrer" starts with stoned laughter and kicks in with thick super-compressed bass, layered percussion, harmonica, Jaume's totally original vocals, and swirling wild backing vocals. On the next song, "Joc De Boles (Simfonia Atomica)", Jaume really starts to do crazy things with his voice in a sort of Robert Wyatt-style manner, winding in and out of a slippery acid bent guitar line. The track ends with a great layered kazoo section with lots of little percussions. The third track "Comiendo Pollo" is a great short track with floating organ and clicking typewriters providing the rhythmic accompaniment. "En El Castell" is a very Spanish acoustic folkish tune with more harmonica, reverbed out whip-crack percussion, and cameos from a lovely female vocalist. "Relliscant" is a thirty second dada snippet, followed by "Paisatge", a Beatle-esq piano-based song with a beautiful string and horn arrangement. "Cap a la Roda" is one of the strangest of the lot, an acoustic song with stereo hand drums, a dimension-opening break with crowd noise, and wierd spoken bits popping out on top of the mix. "Els Reis Del Pais Deshabitat" is a haunting number with ghostly female backing vocals. So moving. The song builds gradually - an accordion/piano section, and eventually chord organs and group vocals. "El Casament" is another Spanish psychedelic masterpiece, the Morricone-esq slide guitar! The cover art is surreal and the reissue comes in a nice digipak. The lyrics are in the Catalan language, which was at one time banned in Spain as an effort to suppress the identity of their population whose roots stretch back to the Middle Ages. There are unfortunately no translations provided, but this is still one of my favorite reissues. The Pep Laguarda is a super mellow record from 1976 and is produced by David Allen of Gong. This is very trippy in headphones.
7. Ithaca - A Game For Those Who Know
This was recorded as the soundtrack to a play on a reel-to-reel 4 track and pressed onto vinyl to sell to the theater patrons. The trio was lead by John Ferdinando who later ended up doing sound effects for Doctor Who as a member of the BBC Radiophonic workshop. This has a psychedelic early-Pink Floyd feel.
8. Agitation Free - Malesch & Dom - The Edge of Time
Some great krautrock records that I was turned on to by Jon Abbey of Erstwhile Records. Agitation Free has some great jams with weird interludes of middle-eastern sounding accordion and drums, and Stockhausen-ish ‘flight noise’. It gets into some rocking Terry Riley or Steve Reich stuff with repeating patterns on organ and wooden marimba, and then starts building with a killer bass line and drumming. Dom is super-spacey and has great tape speed changes and layers of acoustic and electric guitars.
9. The Grodeck Whipperjenny - The Grodeck Whipperjenny
A smokin’ record originally released on James Brown's record label, People Records. They were a band led by a guy that did arrangements for some of James' albums. The album opens with the classic "Sitting Here on A Tongue" with blazing lead guitar, and then goes into the pretty acoustic song "Wonder If". Every track is solid.
10. The later disco-ish Can albums (Flow Motion and Saw Delight) that they just reissued are underrated. I love putting one of those on shuffle at work with a good reggae compilation, the Undisputed Truth, an afro-beat comp., and maybe some early Funkadelic. It keeps me moving all day.
(also: This Heat, Charlie Feathers, Relatively Clean Rivers, Sibylle Baier, Mighty Baby, Tall Dwarfs, Linda Perhacs, The Upsetters - Super Ape & Return of the Super Ape, Caetano Veloso, The Raincoats, Alceu Valença & Geraldo Azevedo, Faust, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Henry Flynt, the Small Faces)
By Dusted Magazine