DJ Rahaan (Chicago) & El Chino mix live on ‘Departure Lounge’ Radio (2ser) Sydney Australia.


Rahaan

Image by JACK_NL via Flickr

Elchinos’ special international co-pilot direct from Chicago, USA, the big man Rahaan returns to Sydney to bring the heat back into the cockpit..

Rahaan has been laying down sets spanning everything from jacking house, deep disco, boogie and funk since the 80`s…also drops from Kissey Asplund,Radiohead, Submotion Orchestra, Digital Mystik,james Pants,Mark dClive Lowe….

Departure Lounge
Flight 2603
Saturday 26 March2011
w. DJ Rahaan (Detroit)

Get Downloaded

Elchino’s Just Friends Selection

Hush/Nostalgia 77/Future Thoughts
Creep/Kissey Aspund/cd-r
Bloom/Radiohead/Ficker Tape
All Yours/Submotion Ochestra
Love You to Life/Grace Jones(Digital Mystikz mx)
Pressure/Quadron/cd-r
Glory/Stac(Ashley Beedle rmx/Wah Wah 45
I Choose You/James Pants/Stones Throw

Rahaan Jet Lagged Mix

Danger/Rahaan Re-edit
Disco Crazy/Al Kent edit
Last Lover/Rahaan
In My Fantasy/Tortured Soul
Beautiful/Peven Everett
Light Aery/Ogris Debris
Ley’s Ingroove/Turbulent Time
Music/Peven Everett
Cosmic Lust/Rahaan Edit
The Blessing Song/Shirley Eubanks
Crazy/Black Coffee

Church Forward..McDL Selects

El Toro/Chico Hamilton
Rainha/Ceu
Reprogram/McDL w. Bembe Segue

 

More departure lounge Podcasts & Links

DJ Rahaan (Chicago): Australian Tour Disco Mix + People Must Jam Warehouse Party Info + Rahaan Interview


Direct from Chicago, USA, the big man Rahaan returns to Sydney to bring the heat!

Channelling the spirit of Chicago DJ pioneers like Ron Hardy, Farley Jackmaster Funk and the Hot Mix 5, Rahaan has been laying down sets spanning everything from jacking house, deep disco, boogie and funk since the 80`s. From underground basement parties on the southside of Chicago, to playing at big nights in the UK, Europe and Japan, his skill and… energy behind the decks has brought him out from the Chicago underground and onto the world stage, gaining him a cult following.

In addition to his own productions, Rahaan has been knocking up his own edits which have been released on labels including StillLove4Music, KAT and Jisco. A compilation of his best edits to date is due out soon on Spacemachine records.

Do not miss this chance to see the windy city’s finest spin an extended 4 hour set in an intimate inner city warehouse location.

Supported by the People Must Jam residents – Pete Dot, Matt Trousdale and JMS

Tickets: Strictly limited to 150! – $25 (+BF) from residentadvisor.net or from our friends over at Spank Records from 7th Feb.

Links

Rahaan Australian Tour Mix

DJ Rahaan Interview (Spank Records)

Artist Interviews: People Must Jam ‘Loft’ Classics For DJ Rahaan Warehouse Jam

Rahaancolourfulcropped

Ahead of their upcoming party with Dj Rahaan (Chicago) on the 26th March, we asked the PMJ residents Pete Dot, Matt Trousdale and JMS and to give us their top ten.

In the spirit of democracy and to keep things even, they came back with their top 12 tracks that you may well hear down at the all new Inner West loft space that they have secured for the party. Tickets are available from Spank, are $25 (+BF), strictly limited to 150 and it will be a BYO event. More details re: the venue location etc will be sent to those invited to the Facebook event or members of the People Must Jam Facebook group a day or two before the party or you can check the PMJ blog the day before.

In the meantime, check out the exclusive mix Rahaan has put together for the tour.

Rahaan – People Must Jam – Shake You by PeopleMustJam

People Must Jam Top Ten Loft Classics:

Nu Yorican Soul ‘The Nervous Track’

Well if were partying in a loft, we have to include one of Mancusos favourites! All time classic, I can imagine this sounding sweet as the sun starts to stream in through the windows in the morning , a bit of MAW magic for the soul trippers.

Mr Scruff ‘Chicken in A Box’

First heard this in a sweaty basement in Manchester, sounds well weird to start, but then when it breaks and then the heavy bass kicks in it all makes perfect sense. Scruff at his finest!

Equals ‘Nobodys Got Time’

A recent find, super funky, the keyboard riffs over the top are sublime – sounds like Bernie Worrel jamming along! Apparently this was Eddie Grants last ever band outing.

Jayeche ‘Jayeche’

Proggy, trippy space funk out of Venezuela of all places! – moonboots are essential for proper listening, the whole album is stunning!

Isolee ‘Beau Mot Plage’

A true house music classic, perfect for a loft style party.  Trippy gorgeous house music that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was written in 2000.

Tone Theory ‘Limbo of Vanished Possibilities’

This takes be back to early Basics days in Leeds.  One of my all time favourite tracks and one of Derrick Carter’s finest moments.  Such a great record.

Paperclip People ‘Throw’

Who doesn’t love this record?!!  It doesn’t matter how many times you hear it, the dance floor always loves it.  Again an all time favourite.

Space Dimension Controller ‘Love Quadrant’

A defining record for the young Irish producer.  This record is two years old already but will definitely go down as a modern day classic.  Absolutely inspiring stuff…

The Knight Writers ‘Let The Music Use You’ (Total Spectrum Records)

Little-known alternative version of this classic early Chicago deep house track – has an amazing spanish-style guitar line over the top. Excellent!

Lanier ’25 Hours’ (Clarence)

Incredible soulful disco track off one of Peter Brown and Patrick Adams‘ many side labels. From around 4min onwards this track takes off into the stratosphere and doesn’t stop until it literally crashes back down to earth at the end. The keys on the piano must have melted off after they finished up on this – the track is that hot!

Mutiny ‘The Ballad of Cap’t Hymbad’ (Columbia)

Deep spiritual disco.

Midair ‘Ease Out’ (Full Scope)

Killer Chicago boogie track from 1983. Both sides of this record are amazing! The B-side is an amazing instrumental dub, but the A-side is something to behold – the guy on vocals hits this one out of the park, especially the last minute! Incredible!

HAHA Presents: Juan Atkins Live in Sydney (Sat Nov 27)


http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/hs1319.snc4/161900_118245171568847_1039717_n.jpgIs in town for one night only.

A legend who is widely credited with inventing Techno Music as we know it today is playing an upcoming show in Sydney.

In anticipation for this upcoming event, We leave you with one of many Juan Atkins classics.

Catch Magic Juan play

in this Sat 24 @ Marricville Bowling club,

With Vince Watson + Dean Dixon & Dave Fernandes (HAHA Industries)

Click for More Gig Info

Peace

Wassim G

 

Good Vibrations 2011 Line up: Erykah Badu,Cee Lo Green, Kelis, Ludacris,Nas & Damian Marley, Janelle Monáe, Faithless + More..


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The Good Vibrations 2011 line up for 2011 has officially been released and it includes some pretty dope acts (nice work JAM MUSIC!), here are some of the Neo- Soul,Hip Hop, Funk acts confirmed so far;

Photo of Erykah Badu at JazzReggae Festival in...

Image via Wikipedia

Erykah Badu

Nas & Damian Marley

Cee Lo Green

Kelis

Ludacris

Janelle Monae

Koolism

Centennial Park, Sat 12 February Full line up + info + ticket deatils here.

Also support the local fan based movement who played a big part in bringing Erykah Badu to Sydney. It looks like they are now working on getting us a side show for Neo-soul fans in town.

Click HERE to show you support for the Erykah Badu Australian Tour Petition.

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Soul of Sydney Presents 2011 ‘Good Vibrations’ Festival Mixtape: Feat. Nas, Damien Marley, Erylah Badu, Faithless, Kelis, Ludacris, Aloe Blacc,The Roots, Fat Freddys Drop,Koolism,Ol’ Dirty Bastard,Jazzanova

Just a festival warm up/warm down mixtape featuring some of our favorite artists performing @ Good Vibrations 2011.

Style: dub, roots, reggae,funk, Soul, hip hop & Beats

Run Time: 80mins

Download

Tracklist:

  1. ERYKAH BADU & STEPHEN MARLEY – IM IN LOVE WITH  YOU
  2. DAMIEN MARLEY – WELCOME TO JAM ROCK
  3. ALOE BLOCC – MISFORTUNE
  4. ERYKAH BADU – HONEY (DUB REMIX)
  5. NAS – THUGS MANSION
  6. ERYKAH BADU – APPLE TREE
  7. NAS – IF I RULE THE WORLD
  8. DAMIEN MARLEY & BLACK THOUGHT (THE ROOTS) – PARADISE
  9. ALOE BLACC – I NEED A DOLLAR
  10. NAS – SURVIVING THE TIMES
  11. NAS – GET DOWN
  12. ALOE BLACK – HEY THERE BROTHER
  13. FAITHLESS – SOUND CHECK JAM
  14. NAS – MADE YOU LOOK
  15. FAITHLESS – ALI
  16. NAS AND KELIS – HEY NAS
  17. FAT FREDDYS DROP – ROADY (NEXTMEN REMIX)
  18. FAITHLESS – BASEBALL CAP
  19. OLD DIRTY BASTARD + KELIS – I GOT YOUR MONEY
  20. LUDACRIS – AREA CODE
  21. KELIS – TRICK ME
  22. KELIS – 80’S JOINT
  23. FAT FREDDYS DROP – FLASH BACK (JAZZANOVA MIX)
  24. FAT FREDDYS DROP – WANDERING EYE
Style: dub, roots, reggae,funk, Soul, hip hop & Beats

Run Time: 80mins

Download

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Good Vibrations 2011, Sydney
Review by Ray Mann.


Is it possible for an artist to convey their art in a festival setting, or do munters just wanna have fun?

I was asked by Soul of Sydney to review Good Vibrations 2011 “as an artist”. I took that to mean: “Don’t pretend to be a music journalist, just write as someone who makes music.” I know, for myself at least, that festival gigs are very different to pub or club gigs, in many ways. Subtlety can go right out the window, messages tend to be dumbed-down, and holding the crowd can be like riding the tide. For me, Good Vibrations 2011 was a mixed bag of wave-riders and wave-makers – and a non-stop rainy day that turned my fingers to prunes…

I arrived just in time to catch Aloe Blaac, who has honey for a voice, a dress sense I approve of, and a slinky backing band. Every second song was a soul classic, given the lite-and-easy treatment, including ‘Love And Happiness’ (minus the swagger) and a slow-jam version of ‘Billie Jean‘. I’m not sure what Aloe Blaac’s ‘Soul 101’ show does with or for the genre, and it didn’t engage me here any more than it did at Sydney Festival a few weeks earlier, but it seemed to go down a treat with this festival crowd.

At the other end of the spectrum was the one and only Erykah Badu, the single reason I (and, apparently, a lot of other people) was even at the festival. From the moment she stepped onto the stage (after 15 years and 20 minutes), everyone single excited one of us in the audience knew we were in the presence of not merely a singer, but an artist. Even with her own extensive catalogue, Ms Badu delves into her musical influences like veering off on tangents in a conversation. Ms Badu, who was an MC long before she came to prominence as a neo-soul singer, references old-school hip-hop in the middle of edgy renditions of her own tracks, both older (‘On & On’, ‘Danger’) and newer (‘Window Seat’). What’s most fascinating about Erykah Badu’s performance is the organic way she pulls those hip hop samples into the mix of her own output, driving the show less like a singer and more like a DJ. If you can’t see Erykah’s hands, you’re missing the show: remixing her own songs on the fly, directing her tight-as band to stop on a dime, jumping back and forth between different sections of different songs seemingly on a whim, even playing drums on her MPC – everything on that stage, from her amazing voice to her storytelling to her body, is a tool she picks up and uses sparingly, as the moment dictates. The effect of all of this is that you cannot take your eyes off her: this is a true artist, a woman celebrating her femaledom as much as her love of hip hop (and what a sight it was, watching her drop the entire Ice Cube verse from NWA’s ‘Gangsta Gangsta’, repeating the line “life ain’t nuthin’ but bitches and money” with who-knows-how-much irony, if any). It’s that same spontaneity that saw her suddenly launch into a diatribe about ‘Occupation’ toward the end of an already-running-late set – but dammit, folks been waiting a long time for her to come out here only to play the one show, and she was clearly making the most of it.

I’m no stranger to the jam-heavy live show (to say the least), but Fat Freddy’s Drop took a while to get warmed up, even for me. There were some overly long stretches of little more than a sequenced beat and that tasty horn section just kinda hanging out, but with little real movement. Singer Joe Dukie’s sublime voice graced the set right off the bat with ‘Flashback’, but his butter was spread too thinly across that raggamuffin (see what I did there? Yeow – that’s why I’m no music writer…!).

By contrast, musically an ocean apart while physically only a stage apart, the segues in the Bag Raiders set reached their destination almost before they’d begun. These are a couple of music geeks who can really play and can’t really sing, and are having fun with both of those attributes – and without a laptop in sight. In between singles ‘Shooting Stars’ and ‘Sunlight’ were some moments that were downright ultra-lounge-karaoke. Their live set felt like a peek into their bedroom jam session: two mates who could be making any type of music they chose, they just happened to choose sweet dance pop.

Nas and Damian Marley made being epic look effortless. Backed by a full band, including a guy whose only job was to wave a giant Lion Of Judah flag throughout the set, Nas and Damian Marley put on a powerful show with a message that permeated every song without ever becoming preachy. Apart from some “When I say ‘Hip’, you say…” action from Nas early in the set, there were no cliches here, everything familiar but nothing obvious, and they owned the crowd from the (late) start to the (even later) finish. Tracks from their ‘Distant Relatives’ collaboration were interspersed with each of the artists dropping hits from his individual catalogue. The crowd blew up when hit with modern classics ‘Hip Hop is Dead‘ and ‘Welcome To Jamrock’; and there was no less fervour for newer tracks like ‘As We Enter’, one of the many examples of the fresh reggae/hip hop crossover these guys have been lauded for creating. If I weren’t an Erykah fan, I’d say Nas and Damian Marley’s set was the best thing that happened on this day – I was so moved, inside and out, that I completely forgot to check out Kelis. And as if they hadn’t rocked my world enough, they closed their set with Damien Senior’s “Could You Be Loved”, only one of the most glorious songs of all time.

Oh that Ludacris, such a character… I was curious to see how his larger-than-life persona would translate to his stage show. His set was an abridged Ludacristory, comprising a verse and a chorus of every single song he ever released. Good for fans and short attention spans – which, by this late stage of the day, was probably as much as many folks could handle.

Phoenix, that charming Frenchy fivesome (I’d thought there were only four?), offered up a yum-cha selection of tracks from across all their albums, against a dynamic black-and-white backlit setpiece that showed off just how much of an animal their drummer is. You may be wondering, “Why is this guy reviewing a synth-rock band in a soul/hip hop blog?” The two brothers from Phoenix are actually soul music connoisseurs; you can hear it across their albums. Ironically, I missed ‘Too Young’ coz I’m too old, and therefore too tired to stay at Good Vibes any longer, and not long after ‘It’s Never Been Like That’ I finally called it a day.

Many thanks to  Soul of Sydney for this opportunity – and for my first-ever Good Vibes experience.

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Ray Mann bids a fond “Farewell Australia” with one huge night, featuring The Ray Mann Three performing live, with some very special guests, followed by an all-night party – all under the one roof: Melt Bar, in Sydney’s Kings Cross. After national tours with Al Green, Tori Amos, and a successful debut tour of Japan, Ray Mann is taking the plunge and to pursue his musical career in other parts of the world. Come celebrate Ray Mann’s big move with a night not to be missed!

Ray Mann is set to relocate to Berlin ~ catch his final show before he leaves…
What: The Ray Mann Three: Farewell Australia Show
When: Friday 11 March, 2011, 9pm-5am
Where: Melt, 12 Kellet St Kings Cross, Sydney
Tickets: http://www.moshtix.com.au/event.aspx?id=44915
Not in Sydney? Watch the show streaming live on ray-mann.com (via Neonhearts.com.au)
Full details: http://ray-mann.com/?p=1762

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Soul Of Sydney Podcast #9 – Journey through Cosmic Disco, Boogie & Chicago House Vibes, Mixed By Sloppy Seconds


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Soul Of Sydney Podcast #9

A 75min trip through Cosmic Disco, Boogie and even some classic Chicago House vibes. Presented with luv by Sydney based Re-mixer, DJ, Label Owner and Blogger, Sloppy Seconds.

Download: Here

Time: 75 Mins

Size:110MB

Tracks

01. Bumblebee Unlimited “I Got a Big Bee”
02. Loleatta Holloway “Hit & Run”
03. Skyy “First Time Around” Kenny Dope Main Mix
04. Skyy “First Time Around” Kenny Dope Drums
05. Marlena Shaw “Woman of the Ghetto” 4AM Rework
06. Koto “Chinese Wargames”
07. Toby Tobias “Crocodile Tears”
08. We’re Lofty Volt “Alter Flaw”
09. The Orb “Perpetual Dawn” (Pal Joey Cumulo Nimbus Mix)
10. Kraftwerk “Musique Non Stop”
11. NYC Peech Boys “On A Journey” 12″ Vocal Mix
12. Mantronix “Listen to the Bass”
13. Edwin Birdsong “Son of a Rapper Dapper Snapper”
14. Julia & Company “Breakin’ Down”
15. Whodini “Escape” Instrumental
16. Stevie Nicks “Stand Back”
17. Space Ranger “Phase Fever”
18. Dolle Jolle “Balearic Incarnation” (Todd Terje’s Extra Mix)
19. Larry Heard “Dance of Planet X”

Download: Download: Here

About Sloppy Seconds

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Sloppy Seconds is;

A re-edit label (Sloppy Seconds – get it?).  You can find me digitally on Juno for now.  I do have plans to press up vinyl sometime in the near future.  The material that I plan on using for the vinyl releases will be titles exclusive to the wax catalogue (I have a secret stash saved specifically for this purpose).  I’ll let you all know when that happens.

A music resource website. I’ve been collecting vinyl since the early/mid 80’s and have amassed quite an amount of relatively obscure stuff and started the blog as a way to promote lesser known artists and their releases.  Because of the controversy surrounding mp3s I had originally intended to only post titles that are out of print, but I also realized that there are tons of new releases that are equally as amazing that weren’t being promoted very well.  The music selection there varies greatly and includes just about anything that moves me and/or  makes me laugh.  Here’s the addy.  Make yourselves at home.  Beer is in the fridge.

http://kennyconga.blogspot.com/

(For the record, I have received numerous emails stating that purchases of posted material were made due to promotion of said titles from the blog.)

And a DJ.  I’ve been DJing for quite some time now.  Most of you have never heard of me, which might have something to do with the severe lack of self promotion over the years – I never liked that part of the job, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the self promotion game needed to be stepped up if I wanted to continue to do this.

More from Sloppy Seconds

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Sloppy Seconds comes to Sydney!


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Greetings!  We come in peace!

I’m a recent Sydney transplant.  Born and raised in Hawaii I have spent most of my adult life in San Francisco (I’ve also lived in San Diego and Chicago).  I can be a bit reserved at first, so I thought no better way to introduce myself and tell you about my background than through my record collection.  I have been religiously collecting those round discs of plastic since the early/mid 80’s, so we have a lot to cover.

If Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel was what opened my eyes to the world of DJing, then Grandmixer D.ST.‘s “Megamix II:  So Why Is It Fresh?” is what caused me to purchase my first pair of turntables.  “Megamix II” was a collage of snippets and excerpts of records taken predominately from the genre shattering Celluloid label with some brief flashes of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” thrown in (D.ST.’s first megamix was a similar working of songs mostly taken from Herbie Hancock’s “Future Shock” album as a promotional tool by Columbia to promote Herbie’s album.  Here’s another tidbit of useless information – “Rockit” was the first fusion of hip hop and jazz on wax.).

The liner notes on the back of the record listed the equipment used for “Megamix II”, and I remember it being not much more than two turntables, a mixer, some sort of recording device, a couple of keyboards and a drum machine – a perfect example of it’s not what you have, but it’s what you do with what you have.


Grandmixer D.ST. “Megamix II:  Why Is It Fresh?” @ 320

Here are some of the records used in “Megamix II” in its original form.

Coming up next  – how I discovered something called house music.

(I heart Paddy’s!)

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Chicago-Street Player (1979) Vs The Bucketheads-The Bomb!(1995)


Sampled Tracks of the day By GK @local house Sydney based real HOUSE  crew HYS

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Here is another rare 12″ promo of the Street Player by Chicago released in 1979, this was sampled in 1995 by ‘Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez‘ (of Masters at Work) under the alias ‘The Bucketheadsin his house classic;  ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)‘.

 

The Original: Chicago – Street Player

download the super rare Paul Raymond Re-Edit

The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)

download the Youth’s Disco Bootleg Version

Also for anyone into classic Chicago House & Disco stuff like this come check out the RESPECT warehouse party this Sat 20th March

clickfor more info

Venue Details:

Loft/Warehouse Space in Sydney CBD, 5 mins from central station, Check here on the week for venue details

Mar 20th 2009

Music: Soul, Disco, Classic Chicago House & Detroit Techno

DJ’s: GK/ Mr X / Phil Toke / MieKon

Tickets: $10 Here or or email us here for more info : soulofsydney@gmail.com

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Sydney Festival: AMANDA BLANK + DEVLIN & DARKO (Mon 11 Jan) Hyde Park Barracks + Giveaways


AMANDA BLANK + DEVLIN & DARKO


Monday 11 January 8pm
Hyde Park Barracks (Becks Festival Bar)
$38 presale


Tickets: Here @ Sydney Festival or call (Festival Bookings on 1300 668 812 or Ticketmaster 1300 723 038

Give away: Email soulofsydney@gmail.com or check onthefly.com.au Continue reading

NY Times: ‘The Heritage of Kraftwerk on Funk & Techno, Dec 4 09


By MIKE RUBIN
Published: December 4, 2009

IT was at a party in 1970 that Ralf Hütter first glimpsed the potential power of the Man Machine. Kraftwerk, the avant-garde musical group he had founded that year with Florian Schneider in Düsseldorf, Germany, was playing a concert at the opening of an art gallery, a typical gig at the time. Trying to channel the energy of the Detroit bands it admired, like the Stooges and MC5, the duo had augmented its usual arsenal of Mr. Schneider’s flute and Mr. Hütter’s electric organ with a tape recorder and a little drum machine, and they were whipping the crowd into a frenzy with loops of feedback and a flurry of synthetic beats.

As the show climaxed, Mr. Hütter recalled: “I pressed some keys down on my keyboard, putting some weight down on the keys, and we left the stage. The audience at the party was so wild, they kept dancing to the machine.”

Thus began a careerlong obsession with the fusion of man and technology. It would take four more years (and three largely instrumental records of electro-acoustic improvisation) before Kraftwerk heralded the coming of electronic pop on its landmark 1974 album “Autobahn,” and another four years before the members proclaimed themselves automatons on “The Robots,” the band’s de facto theme song from 1978’s “The Man-Machine” album. But even in 1970 the hum of what Mr. Hütter calls electrodynamics was buzzing in his veins.

“This rhythm, industrial rhythm, that’s what inspires me,” Mr. Hütter, 63, said. “It’s in the nature of the machines. Machines are funky.”

Few bands have done more to promote that once incongruous concept than Kraftwerk. Though its image shifted over the years from conservatory longhairs to Weimar-era dandies to stylized mannequin machines, it consistently provided a blueprint for the circuitry of modern pop music. David Bowie, an early adapter, channeled the band’s chilly vibes for his late ’70s “Berlin Trilogy,” and in the early 1980s synth pop groups like Human League and Depeche Mode followed suit.

Kraftwerk also became the unlikely godfather of American hip-hop and black electronic dance music, inspiring pioneers in the South Bronx and Detroit. Today Kraftwerk’s resonance can be heard in works as varied as Radiohead and the Auto-Tuned hip-hop of Kanye West and T-Pain.

“Kraftwerk were a huge influence on the early hip-hop scene, and they basically invented electro, which has had a huge influence on contemporary R&B and pop,” the techno artist Moby said. “Kraftwerk are to contemporary electronic music what the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are to contemporary rock music.”

Yet 35 years after “Autobahn” Kraftwerk remains relatively anonymous, thanks largely to a carefully crafted cloak of secrecy, one that an hourlong phone conversation last month with Mr. Hütter from Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang Studio outside Düsseldorf failed to penetrate significantly. On topics ranging from the band’s creative hibernation of the last quarter-century (only two albums of new material since 1981’s “Computer World”) to Mr. Schneider’s departure from the group late last year, Mr. Hütter was pleasant but revealed little. “It’s important for me that the music speak for itself,” he said.

This month the music should do just that with the release of “The Catalogue” (Astralwerks/EMI), a boxed set of newly remastered versions of the band’s last eight albums, beginning with “Autobahn” and including all of the records with the so-called classic Kraftwerk lineup: Mr. Hütter, Mr. Schneider and the electronic percussionists Wolfgang Flur and Karl Bartos. (Five of the remastered albums are also available individually.) Like Mr. Hütter’s infrequent interviews, “The Catalogue” doesn’t divulge much that fans don’t already know. There are no liner notes, no unreleased tracks, no digital mini-documentaries, just some additional photos and revised album graphics.

The music, however, is much more generous. The remasters render Kraftwerk’s glistening, icy textures even more shimmering and crystalline, the repetition more entrancing. “Autobahn,” for example, welds a bouncy Beach Boys harmony to the hypnotic 4/4 motorik beat pioneered by the German band Neu! (whose Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother were part of an early Kraftwerk lineup) to create a 22-minute synthesizer symphony evoking a pleasant highway drive. (A three-minute edit of the song reached No. 25 on Billboard’s singles chart in 1975, the group’s only hit in the United States.)

“For the first time, I think the music sounds the way we always heard it and produced it in our Kling Klang Studio,” Mr. Hütter said.

After “Autobahn,” albums like “Radio-Activity” (1976) and “Trans-Europe Express” (1977) further refined the group’s experimental pop sensibility. Borrowing from the German tradition of sprechgesang, or spoken singing, Mr. Hütter’s flat, affectless voice — sometimes treated with a vocoder to further dehumanize it — is an odd match for the band’s lilting music-box melodies. “What I try to do on the synthesizers,” Mr. Hütter said, “is sing with my fingers.”

But for some critics the group’s synthetic songs just didn’t compute. “Fun plus dinky doesn’t make funky no matter who’s dancing to what program,” Robert Christgau wrote of “Computer World” in The Village Voice. “Funk has blood in it.”

Such distinctions didn’t seem to matter to club crowds: New York’s downtown scene embraced the group. François Kevorkian, a D.J. at underground clubs in the late ’70s and early ’80s, would use Kraftwerk to blend tracks by Fela Kuti and Babatunde Olatunji into his sets. “What was really remarkable was that their music was getting played just as much at Paradise Garage as it was getting played at the Mudd Club, and there were very, very few records that had that ability to cross over between all the different scenes,” said Mr. Kevorkian, who would later work with the band on its “Electric Cafe” album. “Kraftwerk was, like, universal.”

Kraftwerk had long been a staple of the D.J. sets of Afrika Bambaataa in the South Bronx, and in 1982 he and the producer Arthur Baker decided to combine the melody from “Trans-Europe Express” (which Mr. Baker had noticed kids playing on boom boxes in a Long Island City, Queens, park) and the rhythm pattern of “Numbers” (which Mr. Baker had seen wow customers at a Brooklyn record store). The result was the pioneering 12-inch single “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force.

“I’m trying to remember a record that created that much mayhem on the dance floor when it first came out, and I can’t,” Mr. Kevorkian said of the reaction to “Planet Rock.” Most early hip-hop songs were slow, “from 90 beats per minute to 110,” Mr. Bambaataa said. “We went to 130 beats per minute, and from that came Latin freestyle, Miami bass and all that.”

“All that” encompassed an entirely new genre, electro, which paved an alternate route for hip-hop. It’s hard to imagine the productions of Timbaland or the Neptunes without the innovations of “Planet Rock,” and its repercussions can still be heard the world over, from Bay Area hyphy to Brazilian baile funk.

The roots of techno wind their way back to Düsseldorf too. In Detroit the radio D.J. Charles Johnson — better known as the Electrifying Mojo — built a fervent following on the urban contemporary station WGPR-FM in the late ’70s and early ’80s by ignoring the rigid formatting of other local stations. He had fished a copy of “Autobahn” out of the discard bin at a previous station and soon acquired a copy of “Trans-Europe Express.” “It was the most hypnotic, funkiest, electronic fusion energy I’d ever heard,” Mr. Johnson said. Kraftwerk became a staple of Mojo’s show “The Midnight Funk Association.” When “Computer World” came out, Mr. Johnson played almost every song on the album each night, making a lasting impression on a generation of musicians.

“Before I heard ‘The Robots’ I wasn’t really using sequencers and I was playing everything by hand, so it sounded really organic, really flowing, really loose,” the Detroit D.J. and producer Juan Atkins said. “That really made me research getting into sequencing, to give everything that real tight robotic feel.”

Over the next several years Mr. Atkins, along with his high school friends Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, would become the pioneers of techno, which Mr. May once famously described as being “like George Clinton and Kraftwerk caught in an elevator with only a sequencer to keep them company.”

Techno would eventually explode internationally in 1988, with raves in London and trance in Goa, India. Back in Detroit, “Computer World” would assume the status of a sacred text. Kraftwerk was “considered like gods,” said Carl Craig, a Detroit techno producer. “Black people could relate to it because it was like James Brown. It was just this kind of relentless groove.” Mad Mike Banks, founder of the Detroit techno collective Underground Resistance, said he considered the song “Numbers,” from “Computer World,” the “secret code of electronic funk.”

“That track hit home in Detroit so hard,” Mr. Banks said. “They had just created the perfect urban music because it was controlled chaos, and that’s exactly what we live in.”

For Kraftwerk it’s a civic connection that has come full circle. In the last decade Mr. Hütter has developed relationships with some Detroit artists he inspired, including Mr. Banks. It seems to be a kind of “brotherhood, like Düsseldorf and Detroit,” Mr. Hütter said, saying he’s fascinated “that this music from two industrial centers of the world, with different cultures and different history, suddenly there’s an inspiration and a flow going back and forth. It’s fantastic.

“All this positive energy, this feedback coming back to me, is charging our battery, and now we’re full of energy. It keeps my Ralf robot going.”

Indeed, compared with Kraftwerk’s near invisibility throughout most of the ’80s and ’90s, the last few years have seen a relative flurry of Kraftwerk activity. Laptops have allowed the group to take its Kling Klang Studio on the road, so it has been touring regularly, adding 3-D graphics to the live show this year. Now that “The Catalogue” is completed, Mr. Hütter has promised a new Kraftwerk album soon, which would mark the band’s first recording without Mr. Schneider. If Mr. Hütter has any reservations about working without his musical partner of four decades, he kept them to himself; perhaps robots are incapable of showing emotion?

“There’s so much to do,” Mr. Hütter said. “I feel like we are just starting.”

NY Times: 'The Heritage of Kraftwerk on Funk & Techno, Dec 4 09


By MIKE RUBIN
Published: December 4, 2009

IT was at a party in 1970 that Ralf Hütter first glimpsed the potential power of the Man Machine. Kraftwerk, the avant-garde musical group he had founded that year with Florian Schneider in Düsseldorf, Germany, was playing a concert at the opening of an art gallery, a typical gig at the time. Trying to channel the energy of the Detroit bands it admired, like the Stooges and MC5, the duo had augmented its usual arsenal of Mr. Schneider’s flute and Mr. Hütter’s electric organ with a tape recorder and a little drum machine, and they were whipping the crowd into a frenzy with loops of feedback and a flurry of synthetic beats.

As the show climaxed, Mr. Hütter recalled: “I pressed some keys down on my keyboard, putting some weight down on the keys, and we left the stage. The audience at the party was so wild, they kept dancing to the machine.”

Thus began a careerlong obsession with the fusion of man and technology. It would take four more years (and three largely instrumental records of electro-acoustic improvisation) before Kraftwerk heralded the coming of electronic pop on its landmark 1974 album “Autobahn,” and another four years before the members proclaimed themselves automatons on “The Robots,” the band’s de facto theme song from 1978’s “The Man-Machine” album. But even in 1970 the hum of what Mr. Hütter calls electrodynamics was buzzing in his veins.

“This rhythm, industrial rhythm, that’s what inspires me,” Mr. Hütter, 63, said. “It’s in the nature of the machines. Machines are funky.”

Few bands have done more to promote that once incongruous concept than Kraftwerk. Though its image shifted over the years from conservatory longhairs to Weimar-era dandies to stylized mannequin machines, it consistently provided a blueprint for the circuitry of modern pop music. David Bowie, an early adapter, channeled the band’s chilly vibes for his late ’70s “Berlin Trilogy,” and in the early 1980s synth pop groups like Human League and Depeche Mode followed suit.

Kraftwerk also became the unlikely godfather of American hip-hop and black electronic dance music, inspiring pioneers in the South Bronx and Detroit. Today Kraftwerk’s resonance can be heard in works as varied as Radiohead and the Auto-Tuned hip-hop of Kanye West and T-Pain.

“Kraftwerk were a huge influence on the early hip-hop scene, and they basically invented electro, which has had a huge influence on contemporary R&B and pop,” the techno artist Moby said. “Kraftwerk are to contemporary electronic music what the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are to contemporary rock music.”

Yet 35 years after “Autobahn” Kraftwerk remains relatively anonymous, thanks largely to a carefully crafted cloak of secrecy, one that an hourlong phone conversation last month with Mr. Hütter from Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang Studio outside Düsseldorf failed to penetrate significantly. On topics ranging from the band’s creative hibernation of the last quarter-century (only two albums of new material since 1981’s “Computer World”) to Mr. Schneider’s departure from the group late last year, Mr. Hütter was pleasant but revealed little. “It’s important for me that the music speak for itself,” he said.

This month the music should do just that with the release of “The Catalogue” (Astralwerks/EMI), a boxed set of newly remastered versions of the band’s last eight albums, beginning with “Autobahn” and including all of the records with the so-called classic Kraftwerk lineup: Mr. Hütter, Mr. Schneider and the electronic percussionists Wolfgang Flur and Karl Bartos. (Five of the remastered albums are also available individually.) Like Mr. Hütter’s infrequent interviews, “The Catalogue” doesn’t divulge much that fans don’t already know. There are no liner notes, no unreleased tracks, no digital mini-documentaries, just some additional photos and revised album graphics.

The music, however, is much more generous. The remasters render Kraftwerk’s glistening, icy textures even more shimmering and crystalline, the repetition more entrancing. “Autobahn,” for example, welds a bouncy Beach Boys harmony to the hypnotic 4/4 motorik beat pioneered by the German band Neu! (whose Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother were part of an early Kraftwerk lineup) to create a 22-minute synthesizer symphony evoking a pleasant highway drive. (A three-minute edit of the song reached No. 25 on Billboard’s singles chart in 1975, the group’s only hit in the United States.)

“For the first time, I think the music sounds the way we always heard it and produced it in our Kling Klang Studio,” Mr. Hütter said.

After “Autobahn,” albums like “Radio-Activity” (1976) and “Trans-Europe Express” (1977) further refined the group’s experimental pop sensibility. Borrowing from the German tradition of sprechgesang, or spoken singing, Mr. Hütter’s flat, affectless voice — sometimes treated with a vocoder to further dehumanize it — is an odd match for the band’s lilting music-box melodies. “What I try to do on the synthesizers,” Mr. Hütter said, “is sing with my fingers.”

But for some critics the group’s synthetic songs just didn’t compute. “Fun plus dinky doesn’t make funky no matter who’s dancing to what program,” Robert Christgau wrote of “Computer World” in The Village Voice. “Funk has blood in it.”

Such distinctions didn’t seem to matter to club crowds: New York’s downtown scene embraced the group. François Kevorkian, a D.J. at underground clubs in the late ’70s and early ’80s, would use Kraftwerk to blend tracks by Fela Kuti and Babatunde Olatunji into his sets. “What was really remarkable was that their music was getting played just as much at Paradise Garage as it was getting played at the Mudd Club, and there were very, very few records that had that ability to cross over between all the different scenes,” said Mr. Kevorkian, who would later work with the band on its “Electric Cafe” album. “Kraftwerk was, like, universal.”

Kraftwerk had long been a staple of the D.J. sets of Afrika Bambaataa in the South Bronx, and in 1982 he and the producer Arthur Baker decided to combine the melody from “Trans-Europe Express” (which Mr. Baker had noticed kids playing on boom boxes in a Long Island City, Queens, park) and the rhythm pattern of “Numbers” (which Mr. Baker had seen wow customers at a Brooklyn record store). The result was the pioneering 12-inch single “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force.

“I’m trying to remember a record that created that much mayhem on the dance floor when it first came out, and I can’t,” Mr. Kevorkian said of the reaction to “Planet Rock.” Most early hip-hop songs were slow, “from 90 beats per minute to 110,” Mr. Bambaataa said. “We went to 130 beats per minute, and from that came Latin freestyle, Miami bass and all that.”

“All that” encompassed an entirely new genre, electro, which paved an alternate route for hip-hop. It’s hard to imagine the productions of Timbaland or the Neptunes without the innovations of “Planet Rock,” and its repercussions can still be heard the world over, from Bay Area hyphy to Brazilian baile funk.

The roots of techno wind their way back to Düsseldorf too. In Detroit the radio D.J. Charles Johnson — better known as the Electrifying Mojo — built a fervent following on the urban contemporary station WGPR-FM in the late ’70s and early ’80s by ignoring the rigid formatting of other local stations. He had fished a copy of “Autobahn” out of the discard bin at a previous station and soon acquired a copy of “Trans-Europe Express.” “It was the most hypnotic, funkiest, electronic fusion energy I’d ever heard,” Mr. Johnson said. Kraftwerk became a staple of Mojo’s show “The Midnight Funk Association.” When “Computer World” came out, Mr. Johnson played almost every song on the album each night, making a lasting impression on a generation of musicians.

“Before I heard ‘The Robots’ I wasn’t really using sequencers and I was playing everything by hand, so it sounded really organic, really flowing, really loose,” the Detroit D.J. and producer Juan Atkins said. “That really made me research getting into sequencing, to give everything that real tight robotic feel.”

Over the next several years Mr. Atkins, along with his high school friends Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, would become the pioneers of techno, which Mr. May once famously described as being “like George Clinton and Kraftwerk caught in an elevator with only a sequencer to keep them company.”

Techno would eventually explode internationally in 1988, with raves in London and trance in Goa, India. Back in Detroit, “Computer World” would assume the status of a sacred text. Kraftwerk was “considered like gods,” said Carl Craig, a Detroit techno producer. “Black people could relate to it because it was like James Brown. It was just this kind of relentless groove.” Mad Mike Banks, founder of the Detroit techno collective Underground Resistance, said he considered the song “Numbers,” from “Computer World,” the “secret code of electronic funk.”

“That track hit home in Detroit so hard,” Mr. Banks said. “They had just created the perfect urban music because it was controlled chaos, and that’s exactly what we live in.”

For Kraftwerk it’s a civic connection that has come full circle. In the last decade Mr. Hütter has developed relationships with some Detroit artists he inspired, including Mr. Banks. It seems to be a kind of “brotherhood, like Düsseldorf and Detroit,” Mr. Hütter said, saying he’s fascinated “that this music from two industrial centers of the world, with different cultures and different history, suddenly there’s an inspiration and a flow going back and forth. It’s fantastic.

“All this positive energy, this feedback coming back to me, is charging our battery, and now we’re full of energy. It keeps my Ralf robot going.”

Indeed, compared with Kraftwerk’s near invisibility throughout most of the ’80s and ’90s, the last few years have seen a relative flurry of Kraftwerk activity. Laptops have allowed the group to take its Kling Klang Studio on the road, so it has been touring regularly, adding 3-D graphics to the live show this year. Now that “The Catalogue” is completed, Mr. Hütter has promised a new Kraftwerk album soon, which would mark the band’s first recording without Mr. Schneider. If Mr. Hütter has any reservations about working without his musical partner of four decades, he kept them to himself; perhaps robots are incapable of showing emotion?

“There’s so much to do,” Mr. Hütter said. “I feel like we are just starting.”