A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Monday, 29 April 2013

J Dilla - Donuts

It's been a long while since I bought anything from Norman Records, so of course I had to break that dry spell with a rather large order. This record was actually the reason why I'd gone onto the site in the first place, looking for a copy of this very album. Having found a few other things to get, I delayed placing the order for a while and in the meantime they decided it was time for a sale. Success!

Yep. Donuts. And that's a big donut. There are two different covers to this album, the more common one is of J Dilla's face (aka this) and although that cover is lovely, I think I prefer this one. It's probably worth mentioning that the idea of a 24 hour donut shop has me salivating, too.

Double-LP, oh yes. I really like the miniature version of the other cover, although the picture on the bottom is a bit dull. Not much more to comment on here, really.

There is a lot to say about the album though, but it's difficult for me to put it into context. This is an instrumental hip-hop album which obviously means it's way out of my usual field of expertise (and I apologise for this in advance). Dilla made a few albums himself and also was a rather prolific producer, but this was the last album he made before his death at the tragically young age of 32 from lupus. It was released a mere 3 days before his death, created while his body was slowly shutting down and he was confined to a wheelchair. Regardless of your thoughts on the music, that's a pretty incredible set of circumstances for an album to be made in. As for my thoughts on the music, they need no context - it's amazing. It's soulful, it's joyous, it's introspective, it's beautiful. No song on the album lasts longer than 3 minutes, each one a densely packed chunk of layered samples. It's tough to have a favourite track because individual tracks merge into eachother and before you know it about 4 have passed and it's still tremendously enjoyable. My favourite run of tracks, then, is from Time: The Donut Of The Heart to Lightworks but asking someone else could result in a completely different set of tracks. Listen to this album, please. It takes under 45 minutes and there's a good chance you'll find at least something you enjoy.

The name of the game is lightworks.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Million Dead - I Am The Party

Oh wow. When I started this blog way back in December 2010 (it's been a little while, hasn't it?) I decided to name it using a mangled version of the first Million Dead album's title, largely because I thought it sounded good (I still think it does) and it's one of two brilliant albums the band made in their too-short existence. You may have noticed, however, that I've never posted about them before. That's because I never owned any Million Dead vinyl until now. My good friend, tall man and general hardcore enthusiast Gibson decided to get me one of their singles as a belated housewarming gift/premature birthday present/general nice gesture. What a guy. Maybe one day he'll finally do the guest post for this blog he's been promising for about 2 years now. Maybe. (just to note, I should probably point out that Million Dead was the band Frank Turner was in before he went acoustic. You should already know this)

So, as we can see, he chose I Am The Party. Pretty sure this man on the cover is drinking some kind of can, and there appears to be someone taking a photo of him with a camera complete with massive lens. He is the party, indeed. Also, I love the Million Dead font. It's really distinctive and pleases me.

That back cover looks so brilliantly "hardcore vinyl release" that I can't quite get over it. So very plain-looking. It's got all the lyrics to I Am The Party on it, which I think stand as a fairly strong argument against the whole "we aren't a political band" line Frank was peddling at the time. You also (especially if you click through to the larger version of the image) may spot that the label says "LIMITED WRONG FUCKING BSIDE EDITION", and will probably then also realise that the record doesn't have a session version of It's A Shit Business on it (and also that I have number 35 of 750). A quick browse of the excellent milliondead.org revealed to me that there was a mistake at the pressing plant, and as such every copy actually has the CD B-side Mute Group on it. Good to see they had at least a bit of a sense of humour about the error.

Look right, Million Dead were great. Frank's solo stuff is good and all but Million Dead were special. I Am The Party is the epitome of that, and we'll overlook Mute Group being a bit weird for that reason. I Am The Party is loud and insistent and furious, and I love it. The opening riff alone makes me want to flail wildly, so consider that a warning if you're ever in my presence when it's on. Unfortunately, MD are unlikely to ever get back together. Boo-urns. Someone form a cover band with me, it'd be dreadful and magnificent.

So, to conclude: thanks Gibson, miss you Million Dead.