Starscape Festival 2008 was definitely a dream realized. I did a couple more records in that style, that party-breakbeat kind of thing. In the career of Zany, progress and innovation are two key words.
The night was abuzz with speculation. What kind of song will this release be. Amanda Davids has a reputation for fusing funk, soul, hip-hop and RnB with classical music, latin jazz and hints of bebop. Will it be soulful? Will it be funky? Will it have the prodigious grand piano we typically hear from her, or will it have hints of the Hammond B-3 she has absorbed from her teacher, jazz great, Tony Monaco.
Its video was directed by Spike Lee and featured other hip-hop artists popular in the early 1990s, including Queen Latifah, Eazy-E, Run-D.M.C., and Da Youngstas. Poverty’s Paradise won the Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Album, becoming the first album to win this award. It also spawned a hit song in “Feel Me Flow” which peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
I guess at the forefront of the underground “religious” movement, was the band “Rabbit in The Moon.” Even in the two, very short conversations I had with Monk in the 90s, it was obvious that they knew they were doing something completely different. Somehow, Rabbit were able to meld the chainsaws and death/destruction of the previous Goth scene with the late-night Rave scene. Their dark/ethereal show, combined with dark/trancy breaks-seemed to tell a story- and in that story- seemed to be hidden references to this “Raver religion.” Once, at a 4AM outdoor show, during a 3 day festival in Gainesville- Confucius even spoke of a hidden religion of some sort.
The decor at Dazzling on King street was abuzz just the same with it’s pastel cream friezes alight with ethereal but ebulliant colours emanating from stealthily stowed colourful LED lights. I spoke to the promoter of the night, entitled “Sake and Soul”, an energetic guy named “Ace” who exclaimed “this will be good, every single table has been booked.” The house band played on. “Sake and Soul”, a reference to the 70’s soul covers typically twisted by the house band into a modern pallette of mash-ups while patrons dine from a menu of pan-asian fusion dishes has been an ongoing fixture of Toronto’s King street scene for over a year now.
What really set things off on the underground was my group Jigmastas and Beyond Real, the single that we had out, starting the label, and working with people like J-Live, Mr. Complex, etc. etc. So I would say ’95 was the year that really started things off. I also had–my first remix was “Microphone Master” by Das EFX and “Stakes Is High” by De La Soul. I did two MC Eiht remixes. And that was it. That was the starting point.
So let me talk a little bit about the Hardware side. By Hardware I mean physical Drum Machines, Samplers and Keyboards/Workstations that you touch and play with your hands. I first started out with a DR-660 drum machine about 18 years ago. This was my first piece of “real” studio equipment. Before then I was just using breakbeat records on turntables and recording over a home stereo. This drum machine had stocks sounds that could be manipulated with effects like reverb and flange but you could not add sounds. You could however record patterns and then arrange those patterns into songs. I was able to learn a lot by using that drum machine and it was good to be able to play the pads to hear and record the sounds.
NT (Kool & The Gang) – This features one of the ever-present drum breaks that you could hear in almost every hip hop song. Its first main hip hop appearance was heard as a sample on NWA’s “Gangsta Gangsta”.
If hard and punk rock isn’t the right tune for Sunday evening, then head down the street to The Five Spot to hear some New Orleans-bred funk! Water Seed is putting together an awesome show to highlight their soulful and funky ways at the best spot for funk concerts. Opening up for this band will be Kev Choice, emcee and pianist with a jazz and soul influence, and another New Orleans native Casme’ providing some fun and soulful tunes.