Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Canadian techno stars Cobblestone Jazz and Deadbeat.
Listed: Cobblestone Jazz + Deadbeat
Since 2002, Vancouver’s Cobblestone Jazz has been using early computers and analog instruments in improvisatory explorations of the interstices between jazz, techno and electronic music. Tyger Dhula brings a background in DJing and electronic music production, while Daniel Tate is grounded in jazz and Mathew Johnson in the rhythms of bass and beats. Writing about the trio’s 2007 triple album, Bernardo Rondeau said, “Snaking over permafrost, Cobblestone Jazz sets radio dials squealing, synths dripping from cold water washes and bass throbbing in mineralized fog. It may be hydra-headed, but Cobblestone Jazz soberly navigates crooked pathways.” For the group’s upcoming LP, The Modern Deep Left Quartet (out March 29 on Wagon Repair), it added Colin de la Plante (a.k.a. the Mole). Dhula ran through some of his favorite jazz records for this week’s Listed.
1. Les McCann - Invitation to Openness (Atlantic, 1972)
OK. As if having Les McCann having his way with a Rhodes and a moog wasn’t enough to make me salivate, let’s take an excerpt from the liner notes written by the man himself (and check the track title):
Side Two 1. Beaux J. Poo Boo - This is a montage of all of those pieces of my life which have made me what I am.
Errr. I’ll take two please...
2. Lonny Smith - Mama Wailer (Kudu, 1971)
After playing with George Benson and Lou Donaldson over the previous six years, he hits the mark big time with Mama Wailer, his first and only solo effort on Kudu as far as I know. The laid back Latin groove is just too good, and the clave solo gives it just the right amount of grit.
3. Eddie Harris - Is It In (Atlantic, 1974)
If I had my way, this would be my 10 favorite Eddie Harris tracks, but then again, that might get a bit repetitive. His partnerships with Les McCann are some of my favorite recordings, and on this solo effort his wonderfully distinctive and lyrical flow is evident throughout. While his openness to experimenting with technology alienated him from his more traditional jazz peers, they certainly endeared him to yours truly. Pitch tracking effects used by Harris on this record were designed by R. Moog, and you can always be sure to find electric percussion on his mid-’70s releases. I love this guy....
4. Eddie Harris - The Reason Why I’m Talkin’ Shit (1975)
Many considered this to be the beginning of the end of Harris’ success. I’m no Eddie Harris historian, but looking at the cover, this record leads me to believe his saxophone got run over on the way to a gig, and he chose to perform X-rated stand up comedy instead. The show must go on! Good or bad, happy or sad, an insightful landmark nonetheless in Eddie Harris’ unique interpretation of jazz, funk and R&B.
5. Blue Mitchell - "AM-FM Blues" (RCA, 1976)
On the Funktion Junction LP, this track is a party in a box. While Mitchell’s trumpet and fluglehorn burst with energy, it is Clarence McDonalds’ Rhodes solo that takes the cake on this cut. It always goes down as a treat at any party, and is sure to get the most conservative chin-scratcher off of his rump and into the action. BooYa.
6. Carmen McRae - “Music” (from Blue Note Live at the Roxy June 28, 1976)
This version of "Music" has to be one of my favorite jazz vocals of all time. Miss McRae’s husky yet elegant voice runs the gamut in this one, from determined funk to sublime sweetness in a heartbeat. The intimacy captured with the crowd coaxing her on contributes to the magic of this version... She was one of the true heroes of jazz in my eyes.
7. Stereolab - Dots and Loops (Duophonic, 1997)
Which one of these is not like the other? While its about 20 years newer than anything else on this list, I can’t leave it off. It is, after all, my ’desert island’ album. Listening to this reminds me of being on my back in a grassy meadow with puffy clouds rolling by on a lazy summer day. Just what the doctor ordered if I actually was to be stranded on a hot desert island....along with a truck full of Gatorade...oh, and a record player, so I could actually listen to it...
8. Ramsey Lewis - “Funky Serenity”/“Upendo Ni Pamoja” (Capitol, 1973)
A bit of everything from one of the funkiest piano players of the ’70s. Killer backbeats accompany Lewis on a fair number of these tunes, and the jam-outs that ensue are really top notch. Definitely some of the best dance music of the early ’70s, these cuts go down well anytime, anywhere.
9. Stanley Turrentine w/Milt Jackson - Cherry (CTI, 1972)
What a tone. From playing with Jimmy Smith (how the hell did Jimmy Smith not make this list? As my Grampa would say, "this needs a saliva test!"...) in the early ’60s through to his CTI recordings in the early ’70s, Turrentine’s tenor was one of the sweetest horn sounds around. Add in Milt Jackson and this one swings, this one soars and this one wins. Yum.
10. Tommy Flanigan - Something Borrowed Something Blue (Galaxy, 1978)
To be honest, I have only heard this album once. That, however, was enough. I was actually in the car with Danuel (keyboard player in Cobblestone Jazz) in the early ’90s and he popped this into the tape deck of his mom’s car. While I can’t recall the music vividly, I do recall the excitement it generated at the time. It was definitely one of the big turning points in my passion for jazz.
Deadbeat, a.k.a. Scott Monteith, has been at the leading edge of dub techno since the dawn of the ’00s. Dusted wrote of his Mutek 2003 performance, “Deadbeat’s production, timing, breakdowns, and patterns were among the best I’ve ever heard in the dub genres; he is approaching a post-Basic Channel-meets-early-Pole mix.” A year later, Dusted’s David Day called Something Borrowed, Something Blue 2004’s “sexiest release.” Deadbeat’s latest, Radio Rothko, mixes Basic Channel cuts and artists like DeepChord, Monolake, Quantec and Pendle Coven. It’s out now on The Agriculture label. His mention of Cobblestone Jazz’s Mathew Jonson is completely coincidental.
1. Mark Pritchard - “Heavy as Stone” / “Elephant Dub” (Depp Medi Musik)
Possibly my favorite record of 2010 so far, Mark comes correct with an smashing house/step/funky anthem on the A side and an absolutely twisted slab of bone rattling dub pressure with bass heavy enough to make the rest of us hang our heads in shame on the flip. Lord save us!
2. Mike Shannon - “Under the Radar” (Cynosure Recordings)
Having had the sincere pleasure of remixing this, I’ve had plenty of time to go over this tune with a fine tooth comb and both Fadila’s vocals and Mike’s production get better and better with every listen. Truly a timeless piece of house music and an all to appropriate anthem for the label’s 10-year anniversary.
3. Kenny Knots - “Watch How The People Dancing” (Honest Jons)
Reissued again and not a second too soon. The absolute king of UK digital dancehall tunes, guaranteed to put a smile of the face of everyone in the place no matter what the city or venue. Essential.
4. Mathew Jonson - “When Love Feels like Crying” (Wagon Repiar)
When someone has had as many certifiable hit records as Mat, it seems almost ridiculous to pick a favorite. This is most definitely mine, though, and proof once again that he is truly the world’s preeminent virtuoso of the Roland SH-101. Crying, indeed.
5. Untold - “Gonna Work Out Fine” (Hemlock)
Add equal parts jack house, dub step, and bleep techno, sprinkle with Jamaican five spice and slow roast over a Calypsonian fire. Apply to turn table, gently place needle on the outside groove, don flame retardant suit, and back the fuck up!!!! A next level weapon if ever there was one....
6. Plastikman - “Mind in Rewind” (Ryan Crosson remix) (Minus)
Remixing a stone cold classic is a daunting task not for the faint of heart, but anyone who knows him will attest that Ryan’s heart is larger than most. A beautiful reinterpretation made with a perfect balance of reverence and innovation. Utterly gorgeous.
7. Al Moodie - “Bull Bay Jumping” (Wackies)
The flip side to Horace Andy’s all-time classic "Money" from the Dancehall Style album on Wackies, Moodie’s vocals come dangerously close to showing up the original, if that is even humanly possible. Never leaves my bag.
8. Carl Bradney - “Slipping into Darkness” (PK / Honest Jons)
Another owner of permanent real estate in my crate, I heard this amazing cover tune on the Darker than Blue comp for the first time and snapped it up immediately when the 10" arrived on PK. Massive Scratch production from the golden age and perhaps my all-time favorite set starter.
9. Dre Skull - “I Want You’ (Bok Bok remix) (White Label)
Smashing Soca-inflected UK funky tune that I was surprised more people in the techno/house scene didn’t jump on, as it has been working like gang busters every time I play it. Crossover crossover, as the man called Juniour Murvin say!
10. Matias Aguayo - “Ay Shit - The Master” (Kompakt)
My favorite track from this impeccable album, Matias is one of the most forward thinking artists out there these days as far as I’m concerned. This tune is a pure grinding sweaty basement party jam and the fact that this and most of the rest of the album was recorded with little more than the sound of his voice makes it all the more astounding.
By Dusted Magazine