Minnesotan Paul Metzger cut his teeth in the trio TVBC but its his solo efforts of recent years that have garnered the banjo player and guitarist more widespread acclaim. Playing instruments of his own modification, Metzger’s wide-ranging improvisations owe equal debt to American folk music and Indian ragas, though the end product is a sound distinctively his own. In 2007, Locust issued Metzger’s excellent Deliverance, more recently Gedanken Splitter and Canticle of Ignat / All Glass have continued Metzger’s streak of outstanding releases. Metzger is currently on the road with Tim Kaiser, playing Midwestern cities on the way to an East coast tour.
1. Duck Baker - There’s Something For Everyone In America This is the first record I ever bought... it inspired me to play guitar. I played this record so many times that I had to buy another copy.
2. Nikhil Banerjee - Rag Hemant I dig this cat’s playing like mad. He can play a single note... let it shift to a higher harmonic... then bend that harmonic as it dissipates to the finest thread of sound. A very deep player that I am better for having heard.
3. Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch An instantly convincing album.
4. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - "Noor Aqli Chamkia" (from Rhythm and Music ) This womad compilation contains a short excerpt of Nusrat that was my introduction to this master. I played this one track hundreds of times.
5. Hank Williams From my dad’s 78 collection. I am happy to have and play these old records. Could there be a better inheritance? Not for me.
6. Django Reinhardt - The Legendary Django Reinhardt Django’s maniacal verve melded with the natural distortion of his pick-up and amp on this record is compelling to me.
7. The Replacements - "Take Me to the Hospital” (Live Video) I saw this on television in 1981 and discovered that rock music didn’t have to suck.
8. Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin A perfect example of psychic pain producing a deeper art. The lush and generic arrangements are a perfect counterpoint to her raw and intimate voice. Truly moving.
9. Christopher Parkening - Christopher Parkening plays Bach I think that this record is a fine example of someone rendering someone else’s music with care and finesse. I listened to this record a lot when I was learning to play.
10. Imrat Khan - Rag Shree The surbahar has a sound that plugs into a notch in my soul that was empty before I heard this instrument.
Mock & Toof
Mock & Toof were discovered by DFA Records years ago via a single mp3 demo emailed to the ghetto website address (a song that later became their debut Death From Abroad single "Brownbred"). Since then, this English duo started their own label, Tiny Sticks, and were immediately commissioned for remixes for the Juan Maclean and Hot Chip. They became underground sensations on the disco edit scene with their mix of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” (retitled "Lycra Virgin"). Last week, Mock & Toof made their official DFA debut with the single “Underwater,” which you can check out below. Forthcoming remixes include "Hold On" by Holy Ghost! and "Hold On" by Hot Chip.
Mock’s Hip Hop journey
1. V/A - Breakdance Soundtrack (Polydor 1984) Other than “The Message” & then “White Lines,” which, incidentally, I thought was about advocating drugs (dumb-ass), this was the first time I was exposed to hip-hop. I must have been around ten years old and I got this before I saw the movie. It wasn’t one of those pivotal moments or anything and I continued to tape the Top 40 every Sunday but I have vivid memories of listening to that album while playing with stickle-bricks or something far too childish for a ten year old. Something had stirred.
2. Various Artists - Hip Hop Electro vol. 13 (Streetsounds 1986) ‘86 was when hip hop had officially arrived in the UK and this compilation was centred on the UK Fresh live event at Wembley. I had this on tape before a friend bought a vinyl copy for me from a Makro cash-n-carry. This had a couple of home grown acts and US stars like Sir Mix-A-Lot, Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde, Bambaata, Captain Rock etc but it was all about Aleem & Leroy Burgess for me…”Get Loose” – what a track!
3. Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush The Show (Def Jam 1987) At school at this time you were either into the Smiths (and you got a kickin’ for it), Guns-N-Roses, or hip-hop. This album was all about attitude; from the posse thing (menacingly depicted on the sleeve) which I thought was the coolest thing, and of course the music which was hard. There was LL & the Beasties at the time but the production on this was far sicker and the stuff they were sampling got me into the whole rare groove/funk thing.
4. Easy E - Easy Duz It (Ruthless 1988) When NWA came along part of me felt sorry for Public Enemy because some of my mates thought they were pussies compared to these new West Coast (pseudo) gang bangers. It was a seriously good debut album though but these days when I go back I check out “Easy Duz It” more often…just for the laughs.
5. Gang Starr - No More Mr Nice Guy (Wild Pitch 1989) Another thing around that time was that people would be making tapes up and we’d be swapping & copying them on our tape to tape recorders. I loved that whole thing, it was a creative process, not just putting a compilation together but doing some fancy artwork with your biros on the inlay cards to go with it. One track that jumped out on some tape I was given was “Manifest” by Gang Starr. Took me a long while to track that one down but when I did, my life at that time was complete.
6. Boogie Down Productions - Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip Hop (Zomba 1989) I first heard about BDP on Dance Energy I think (BBC 2 youth programme) and ran out and got a cassette of Man & His Music which was a compilation based on Criminal Minded just after Scott La Rock got popped. Once you get into BDP you kind of end up being pretty loyal to them despite the hypocrisy that comes out of KRS One’s mouth. By All Means Necessary is probably a favorite with most but Ghetto Music… was his most rounded and well produced. It was like he was really trying to sell some units without selling out of course.
7. De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising (Tommy Boy 1989) This is another obvious choice but it made such an impact that when I listen to it now it takes me straight back to being 15 years old again and the spring/summer of ‘89. All good music should be able to take you back to a certain point in time & conjure up smells, feeling & memories. The first thing I heard was “De la Orgee.” Some guy in the Scouts thought it was hilarious and played it to me on his walkman while on a hike (don’t tell anyone – boy scouts at 15, not very cool). Anyway this guy known as Flaps had bought the album on import before De La blew up, so we felt we were cool because we were into them well before the masses. Actually thinking about it one of the older guys in the Scouts used to tape Westwood on Capital and bring it in & circulate it every week. Was he grooming us? Where’s my woggle?
8. Digital Underground - Sex Packets (Tommy Boy 1990) Actually putting this list together has made me realise how childish & gullible I was. Kids these days seem to grow up quicker, be so much more together & mature than I ever was. This album illustrates my point to a tee. There was a period of time when I thought those Sex Packets were real; that you could actually buy them! A drug where you can choose a specific type of girl and get it on with her via a drug induced dream. “You actually get to choose the type of girl you like! Take two packets and you get two girls! I was 16 years old!” God I want to kill myself right now.
9. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (Jive 1993) I know a lot of people go on about Low End Theory but this album sounded more pure hip hop to me. Immaculate production and even Phife kills it on the amazing 8 Million Stories. I had just started to DJ at University at the time dropping stuff like this, some rare groove but mostly acid jazz – how embarrassing!
10. Nas - Illmatic (Columbia 1994) Obvious choice but just check the producers: Large Professor, Premier, Pete Rock and Q-Tip – that’s all you need to know. Features one of my all time favorite hip hops tracks: “N.Y. State of Mind’. I kind of went off hip hop after this, nothing really came close. Plus I think I actually grew up.
Since we don’t generally run mp3s with 12” reviews, we thought we’d include Mock & Toof’s latest jam with their Listed feature. Much thanks to the fine folks at DFA. Enjoy!