RJD2 - Since ‘76
I might just be speculating here - but I’m a little bit confident that RJD2 has taken samba and South American music on this track and chopped them up to make Since ‘76.
The track was a single on RJD2’s second album Since We Last Spoke and it has definitely retained playback value for me after all these years. Hopefully it will do the same for you. Enjoy.
You Can't Go Home Again
DJ Shadow - You Can’t Go Home Again
The king of sampling DJ Shadow is often known for his standout debut album Endtroducing which obliterated the arguments of anyone still seriously contesting the legitimacy of sampling as an art form. But his second full length studio effort The Private Press tends to be brushed aside from public consciousness despite it being equally as strong as Endtroducing.
What The Private Press lacks in breaking new ground it makes up for in innovation and further experimentation. It is hard to pinpoint what it is that makes the album so incredible; perhaps it is the experience of being transformed to an unpredictable and exciting new soundscape with each track. This is definitely not 3 minute pop song territory, and DJ Shadow challenges the listener’s expectations by shifting focus and pushing boundaries with every new sample he uses.
Photo of DJ Shadow and fellow Quannum artist Chief Xcel in 1995.
Download - You Can’t Go Home Again (control-click, save as)
Pogo - The Planet
It has been a while since I heard from Perth producer Pogo, but I’m always interested in finding out more about his music since there is no DJ who samples quite like him. On his Disney remix series, he would often chop up dialogue into such tiny samples that the vocals were indistinguishable.
He has since gone on to sample everyday life and make music from cities around the world and even from his mother’s gardening (on the track ‘Gardyn’).
This brand new song The Planet sees Pogo continue his offbeat approach to music in using a largely acapella basis with beatboxing and whistling. The track further proves Pogo to be an unconventional artist of many talents who isn’t afraid to go against the grain and create a completely unique sound from the familiar and obscure.
Aceyalone - Grand Imperial
Freestyle Fellowship broke new ground in 90s west coast hip hop and since then, I truly can’t name another group that have blended the fludity of scat jazz in hip hop as successfully as them. Perhaps one of the more famous rappers in the crew would be Aceyalone.
He is not your average lyricist and listening to a few verses from Aceyalone will allow you to catch a glimpse of his unconventional style.
But style and wordplay aside, the beat on the title track of Aceyalone’s eighth solo album Grand Imperial is the true standout in this instance. I could easily listen to the laid back sample on repeat for hours.
Download - Grand Imperial
K’naan, J. Period & Bob Dylan - Don’t Think Twice (Messengers Remix)
Not often does heartfelt folk and hip hop cross paths like this, which is why this version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice is so special. When Somali/Canadian artist K’naan teamed up with mixtape extraordinaire J. Period in 2009 to create a mixtape, it soon became evident that the emcee/singer would draw on influences ranging generations, genres and continents to promote his message of peace.
Bob Marley and Fela Kuti join Bob Dylan as artists that have influenced K’naan’s musical pursuits. In turn, he pays homage to all three musicians on The Messengers mixtape project, where this song appears.
The Messengers version of Don’t Think Twice transcends age groups and musical preferences to appeal to people from all walks of life, and in doing so, enables the timeless music of Bob Dylan to be rediscovered by a new group of fans, while giving K’naan some well-deserved recognition.
Cutup Piano And Xylophone
Fridge - Cutup Piano And Xylophone
Four Tet has a pretty large fanbase nowadays, but not many fans of his music would know that before building his reputation as the godfather of folktronica, he made music in a trio called Fridge.
The group was pretty prolific in the late 90s, early 00s, producing four albums in five years. The very descriptively titled Cutup Piano and Xylophone is taken from their third full-length effort Happiness. It blurs the line between sampling and live instrumentation in a fresh, unconventional way.
Download - Cutup Piano and Xylophone (control-click & save)
A Beautiful Mine (With RJD2)
Aceyalone with RJD2 - A Beautiful Mine
Picture this - the crisp silhouette of a gentleman in his 30’s, dressed in a sharp business suit, falling gracefully into oblivion between the towering high-rises of Madison Avenue.
Fans of AMC’s Mad Men should have little trouble conjuring up such imagery, which goes hand-in-hand with this string-sampling composition by Eddie Hayes and Ramble John Krohn (Aceyalone and RJD2 to you and I).
Hailing from opposite sides of the States (California and Ohio, respectively), the artists collaborated and released Magnificent City in 2006, of which this is the closing track.
The piece is built on a bed of drums and crashing cymbals, but who can forget that hook? For those of you who enjoy following a tune down the rabbit-hole, Enoch Light’s rendition of Autumn Leaves is responsible for those delightful strings. Light himself was also born in Ohio, which nicely brings A Beautiful Mine’s tale full-circle.
This is a wonderful track to wrap yourself in. Do as Don Draper would, and fix yourself a Manhattan while you’re at it.
Stormy Weather (LarryOh Remix)
Little Dragon - Stormy Weather (LarryOh Remix)
For those of you who don’t know, Little Dragon are a quartet out of Sweden who specialise in innovative electronica. Aside from having the amazing Yukimi Nagano as the lead singer, they also experiment with soudscapes to great effect. My two favourite songs from the group, Twice and Ritual Union are good places to get acquainted with the band.
The Stormy Weather (LarryOh Remix) certainly acknowledges their relaxing sound and draws on samples to reconstruct a dreamwave tune certain to soothe you after a hard day at work or on a night time drive.
According to Pigeons and Planes, this track was available for free download, but I can’t find any link to suggest that is the case. I suppose you’ll have to get creative in working out another way to secure a copy.