Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: San Francisco producer Claude VonStroke and Portland dreamer White Rainbow.
Listed: Claude VonStroke + White Rainbow
Barclay Crenshaw, a.k.a. Claude VonStroke, grew up in Detroit, the crucible of American techno, performing early on at that city’s Poor Boy warehouse parties with a home-made rig of synthesizers and samplers. After a stint in the film business, he moved to San Francisco and made a six-DVD documentary on electronic music called Intellect. Inspired by the people he interviewed, he started the Motherbird label and, under the name Claude VonStroke, began releasing his own music. His first album, Beware of the Bird, came out in 2006. Earlier in 2009, he mixed Fabric 46, and his very own Bird Brain hit stores on Tuesday.
1. Aphex Twin - “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball”
Probably the most intimidating moment of my music “career” was when I was at a barbecue across the river in Windsor, Ontario and my friend put on this track. It was the first time I heard something I knew I could never reproduce and never even think of in the first place. All the modern music I had heard up until then was somehow a re-hashing of another style in some new way or a re-combination of other sounds…but this was radically new and explosive. The perception of hearing a bouncing ball hitting the ground and then flipping, twisting, rotating… A truly mind-melting production.
2. A Tribe Called Quest - “Buggin’ Out”
It’s a shame everyone knows uber-jazz bassist Ron Carter’s name from a hip-hop track, but if I never heard this I would have never gone exploring jazz. Proof that simple is better almost every time. This is Tribe at their absolute prime. The beat is hot, the bass even better, the rhymes are heavy in the pocket. It doesn’t hurt that you can turn this on at any occasion and everyone will start dancing. An all-time classic for me.
3. Ed Rush and Optical - “Alien Girl”
If I hadn’t heard this track I swear I wouldn’t be making dance music. This is the sickest bass drop ever made. Maybe now with all the advances in software it may seem similar to watching the original Star Wars and saying the effects are cheesy… but the bass in this track is just like the original Star Wars. It is the starting-off point for all the nastiest bass drops in the history of the drum and bass genre. All bass drops previous to this were like Roger Corman’s Sci-Fi, just B-grade stuff at best. My head exploded when I heard it the first, second, third and 50th time.
4. Rage Against the Machine - “Freedom”
Rage on a dance music producer’s chart? Yes, I used to be so into this group it was obscene. I once paid like $300 to go to one of their shows in L.A. (and this is when I was broke). Way back when I was working on some big budget Hollywood films as a production assistant, I had to do a lot of driving and take a lot of bullshit. I listened to this album on constant rotation in my car. There is a good reason Rage is huge in L.A. where everyone is pissed off or unsatisfied with their position on the food chain. It is some of the best “I hate my life” music ever made.
5. John Coltrane - “Africa”
Maybe there was this time when I first tried to smoke something that wasn’t a cigarette and maybe the people I was hanging with put on this 16-minute track full volume and turned out all the lights. Then maybe I went out and bought it. And maybe I’ve played it 1,000 times and had sex to it, jogged to it, cleaned my house to it, and played it at my wedding reception. Maybe.
6. Cajmere - “The Percolator”
I’ve gone on record many times saying this is the track that inspired my sound. It is so funny and creative. Think about this – Cajmere recorded an automatic coffee pot finishing its brew cycle, then made a lyric to go with it. Then he added a Detroit-style booty-bass drum loop and some of the craziest (yet simple) synth programming ever. It’s so fresh and funny it makes other techno tracks look plain and stupid in comparison.
7. The Fat Boys - “In Jail”
Fuck you, Fat Boys! I can’t believe these guys went and did Beach Boys cover tunes. I swear on my life before they sold their souls, they were amazing. This is the lead single on their very first album, like 1983 we’re talking. When I was a kid I wanted to be the Human Beat Box. I spent a year learning how to do it because of this album. I got pretty good at it and performed at my high school and such. These guys were signed at the same time as the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Run DMC, and truthfully, they are the only casualties due to stupid sell-out career choices. There’s no coming back from certain decisions, but I promise they were amazing.
8. Camille Saint Saens - “Allegro Appasionato in B Minor”
I played the cello for 14 years before I got into samplers and sequencers. Yeah, I hated most of it, but this particular piece I played a lot. I must have practiced it for two years and I even played it in some state competitions. It’s got a real soul to it. There are parts of it where you can really grind down on the strings to make these big, dramatic chords and then they are juxtaposed with super-fast single notes flying up and down the neck of the instrument. I haven’t played cello in so long, I cant even remember what the neck is called!!!
9. Midnight Star - “Freak-A-Zoid”
I can still picture my little brother in his parachute pants practicing windmills in his bedroom to this track. It’s one of my favorite memories. We had a 12-minute extended DJ remix of the original on a breakdancing cassette tape. The best part, of course, is the vocoder robot voice. That is a dime a dozen these days, but this is a real party starter. If I heard it today, I might even get down and do the Worm.
10. Iz & Diz - “Magnificent” (Justin Martin No Heart & Soul Mix)
I just started playing this again and realized it is hands down my favorite Justin Martin track. The story behind the name of the remix is that Justin was playing it just after he finished making it and the owner of the club came up to him and told him his music had to have “heart and soul!” It’s just the opposite – the beats are ruff and rugged and the arrangement and choices made are genius. It’s nothing like the original, but it couldn’t exist without Diz’s great vocal. It’s the best Dirtybird track to not be on Dirtybird.
Adam Forkner has played with any number of stellar experimental outfits, including Yume Bitsu, Surface of Eceon and, with Valet’s Honey Owens. His White Rainbow is a solo endeavor plumbing the endless electronic vistas of Tangerine Dream, the slow-moving epiphanies of La Monte Young. His third and latest under the multi-colored moniker, New Clouds, builds expansive, long-form atmospheres out of improvised guitars, effects, synths and voice. It’s out on Kranky this month.
1. Lil B (of The Pack) (a.k.a. The Based God)
125 MySpace music pages with songs each and more tracks all over the internet. Crazy lo-fi "freestyles" that go out into the cosmos and back. Hip hop’s outsider lo-fi genius? In between the faded ramblings he has some good rhymes, too.
18-year-old hip hop producer of "LA jerkin’" traxs. Simply hot. Really simple bass heavy snap beats and reverb. What I like about the jerk stuff I’ve heard is that the girls rap better than the boys and they all seem to be obsessed with cunnilingus. Pink dollaz! Those ladies are a great crew.
I know I caught onto this wave a bit late, but I can’t get enough of his hand claps and synth bass lines. The world is better for his tracks. Very funky.
4. Bobby Birdman - New Moods
Birdman is back! I love this new album, which drops in November on Fryk Beat Records. A perfect beach-y electronic record by a perfect gentleman.
5. AO (a.k.a. Adrian Orange)
Also not out yet, and I helped produce it and sang hooks on it. To me, it deconstructs electronic music and hip hop maybe in a similar way as the Royal Trux deconstructed rock and roll on their early records. Anyway, it’s a beautiful, damaged, weird and perfect record by one of my best friends. People are gonna freak out.
6. The Miracles Club
My good friends Honey Owens and Rafael Fauria have a new band making traditional house music with weird stuffs on top. Perfect.
Another hot new Portland band. Scott Goodwin (of Root Strata affiliated drone group Bonus) making rising tone drones with Spencer Doran (Cloaks, RV Paintings, Starving Weirdos) and Jed Bindeman on electronic and acoustic drums, respectively. Also on a deep minimal dubby house kick, like if Faust and Tony Conrad’s record was remixed into an hour-long, strictly-disciplined house track. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.
8. Slap Bass
The world is ready for its return.
9. Fakebook poker
10. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II
I just bought this. Pretty solid. Better than the new Jay-Z, by far.
By Dusted Magazine