Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Free Noize: Delhi 2 Dublin

Vancouver is one of my favorite cities. When I lived in Seattle, I would often make the drive over there in order to partake of the beautiful, natural landscapes, the great food and most of all, the super nice people. Vancouver is also a real music city with some fantastic local bands, DJs and clubs. When it comes to their "Global Grooves" scene, the Beats Without Borders parties are THE place to be. For many years this crew hosted our regular "Six Degrees Nights" in their fair city and they continue to feature artists like Jef Stott, Gaudi and Cheb i Sabbah.

One of the Beats Without Borders crew Tarun, dropped off his Delhi 2 Dublin musical project on a trip to San Francisco a while ago. While the idea of fusing South Asian Bhangra styles with Celtic music may initially raise an eyebrow or two, in reality the mash up results in a deliriously fun, cross cultural party that is fresh, unique and very dance-able.

I'm very excited to hear their forthcoming remix project but in the meantime, the group has slipped us a free track from the original CD to whet your appetite and rock your world.


Delhi 2 Dublin is a 5-piece mashup of electronica and global music styles. Fusing tabla, fiddle, dhol, punjabi vocals, electric sitar, and electronic beats ranging from reggae to drum and bass, the crew takes listeners on a wild ride through global sounds and synchronicities. They've played some of the biggest festivals in Canada, including opening Canada Day on Parliament Hill for 40,000 people in 2007. Recently, they've toured California twice, and will soon be taking their sound to Eastern Canada, the UK and India. Their debut album reached #3 on the Canadian world music charts and has received airplay all over the world. International, dem say we international...
Delhi 2 Dublin will be releasing a full-length remix album on November 1st, 2008, with tracks by David Starfire, Adham Shaikh, Swami, Eccodek, and many more.

"Delhi 2 Dublin is the perfect mix of bhangra(ic)-celtic synchronicity, it only happens once and you are hearing it" - Cheb i Sabbah

For the FREE download of "Apples" click here

promo vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN-7dpAzNPg
website: http://www.delhi2dublin.com
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Delhi-2-Dublin/9711795199 -Read the full Post-

Monday, September 29, 2008

Musical Notes by Bob Duskis: The Oldest Guy in the Club

A few months ago I was in line to get into one of San Francisco's hottest new clubs, Temple. Seeing that the group in front of me was being asked to show their IDs, I started fumbling in my pocket to get my own driver's license.
When the bouncer who was carding people saw me, he quickly waved me in saying in an amused tone

"Don't worry about it, you're good."

The implication was clearly- "you're so old, there's absolutely no reason you need to show me YOUR ID"

I tried my best to shrug off the indignity and proceeded into the crowded club, nursing my slightly injured pride. After about an hour of being jostled by throngs of 20 something dancers and being enveloped by incredibly loud, bass heavy music, my buddy Frank (one of a very few "Dad" friends that are close to my age who will brave the SF nightlife with me) turned to me and said

"How much longer do you think you'll be able to do this?"

It was then that I surveyed the room and came to the stomach dropping yet inescapable conclusion that I was without a doubt... the oldest guy in the club.

After that night, at other clubs or concerts, I started to consistently check out the crowd, hoping beyond hope to find a few other geriatric revelers like myself. With the exception of Six Degrees related events attended by my business partner Pat Berry (who, THANK GOD is older than me!), it was the same story. Nine times out of ten- I'm...the oldest guy in the club.

Last week I celebrated my 49th birthday (feel free to send lavish gifts). As I stand poised at the threshold of the gaping maw that is my 50's, I have to adjust to the fact that I am a relatively old person in what is traditionally a young person's game. Being older in the music business is a slightly surreal experience. I clearly remember the president of a major record company once telling me that he doesn't trust any A&R person over 25. This executive (who by the way was way into his 60's) felt strongly that only young people had the ability to have their fingers on the pulse of popular culture. Obviously this is much more pronounced in the youth obsessed world's of pop and hip-hop music but the stigma of age follows all of us who are in any facet of the music biz.

Some of this simply boils down to a question of stamina. I know of very few people in my age bracket who still go to live concerts on a regular basis, let alone dance clubs where the main act frequently doesn't even come on before 1am -and when they do the music is served up at pummeling volumes. When I try to rope my friends into going out with me the excuses are predictable. It's too late, it's too crowded, it's too loud, it's too smokey, blah, blah, blah... All of these are of course true but if you like to see DJs in clubs, they simply come with the turf. I can't say the smoke, the crowds and the late hours don't drive me nuts, I'm just willing to put up with them to get to the music. As far as the loud volumes go, one of my favorite things about going to a club is hearing great, well produced music being played REALLY loudly through a good sound system. There's simply no substitute for the way electronic music sounds in a club. It is true that I can no longer stand up for hours at a time the way I used to (damned sciatica!) but if I can find a spot to sit my old bones in every once in a while, I'm still good to go.

The more pointed issue surrounding growing old in the music business is the assumption that age translates to "out of touch". That record exec that I mentioned earlier felt strongly that once you had kissed your twenties goodbye the likelihood of you finding "the next big thing" was zilch. There is no doubt that the older we get, the more entrenched we get in our tastes and the less we feel comfortable in pushing boundaries but this is not something that is incurable. Experience and perspective come with age and short selling those two virtues has resulted in record companies sinking huge amounts of money into a lot of music that is vacuous, disposable and sometimes downright offensive.

Going back to my friend Frank's question of "how long can I keep doing this" I have to give a definitive answer of "I have no friggin' idea". I do know however that as long as I'm still having fun and I'm excited by the new music that keeps popping up (and as long as I can occasionally find a chair to sit down in), I'll be out there rocking with the young folks.

Maybe some of you older music fans want to consider joining me more often. That way when I check the crowds at night, I'm not always...the oldest guy in the club -Read the full Post-

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Zuco 103 - After the Carnaval

It's hard for me to believe, but we have been working with Zuco 103 since the year 2000. This amazing Amsterdam based trio are one of the pioneers of a sound that has been dubbed "Brazil-electro", mixing up everything that is good and fun about Brazilian music with dance, electronic and even rock influences. All of their releases are great and well worth you checking out- but their latest, After the Carnaval finds them in particularly fine, spontaneous and relaxed form, moving a bit away from the "sample" based sounds of prior records and into more of a warm and organic vibe. It's the kind of record that can only be made by a group that has reached a point in their career where they are confident in that elusive, effortless chemistry that only the best bands possess.

It is a beautiful thing to work with a group long enough to see them come to this point in the creative life cycle of their work. Enjoy-

album out October 7th, 2008
For FREE download of "Nunca Mais" click here

Zuco 103 video: Nunca Mais

-Read the full Post-

Monday, September 22, 2008

Free Noize: Dub Gabriel- Anarchy & Alchemy

Dub Gabriel is one of the unsung pioneers of global fusion. He has been mixing up sounds from the middle east and Jamaica with dub and hip hop since the mid 90's on his many releases on the Wordsound and Baraka Foundation labels and through his legendary Brooklyn Massive club nights. For many years he was one of the nexus points for a thriving underground Brooklyn scene that produced a lot of very influential, genre defying music. I have long admired and enjoyed his work and was excited when he moved over here to the Bay Area. Gabe has just released a new album called Anarchy & Alchemy on his own "Destroy All Concepts" label and I think it is one of the strongest things he has ever done. Effortlessly covering a wide range of styles, from pounding dance-hall dub to Michael Stipe singing a cover of a classic tune from the band Suicide, Anarchy & Alchemy is the work of an artist that has always stayed on the cutting edge of the music scene. Check out the free track that Gabe has been gracious enough to let us share and dig deeper into the full release to experience its full scope and power.









For the FREE download of "The Paper (feat Jah Dan)" click here

Available at I-Tunes, Emusic, and your local record shop

http://www.myspace.com/dubgabriel -Read the full Post-

Thursday, September 18, 2008

David Starfire listening suggestions

David Starfire had a busy summer- touring both clubs and on the festival circuit. He was kind enough to take some time out to pass along some suggestions of artists that have been exciting him of late. Look for David's massive remix of Jef Stott's track "Faqir" coming out as a "Digital 12" on 10/7

David Starfire Listening Recommendations:

"I’ve been listening to some really cool music these days that I'd love you to check out as well! I’m really getting into the Vibesquad “Bass Love”. It's filled with tons of cool tracks with heavy bass and unique sounds to keep you interested throughout the whole CD. Vibesquad is this guy Aaron from Colorado who happens to be a friend of mine. We have played a few times at the same festivals and I've always really liked his music- I'm glad that he put out a full CD recently. Some of my favorite tracks are “Human Doings” and “Cloddhopper”…

I’m also listening to Tipper’s new CD called “Wobble Factor”. His production is amazing and his sounds are otherworldly. He has a certain over all vibe on the CD but he uses a variety of tempos and some live sounds to keep it interesting. If you have a chance to catch him live you will be immersed in a sonic wash of bliss! My favorite song on the CD is “Snot Rocket” (I swear that is the name of the song!) - it's a heavy bass rocker.

I’m a long time fan of Cheb I Sabbah. In fact, he is one of the reasons of why I produce South Asian influenced music. I am really digging his new CD “Devotion” and I think it’s brilliant. The songs are beautiful South Asian devotional songs augmented with his flair for modern production mixed with traditional instrumentation. The CD flows well and is great for road trips and dinner parties. I really respect him for what he has created. The song “Kinna Sohna” is one of my favorites. We performed together at the Beloved Festival along with Gaudi and Jef Stott.

Speaking of Jef Stott, his new CD “Saracen” is wonderful. I love the tracks “Faqir” (which I remixed!) and “Medina Stepper”. Jef's great live and is a fun guy to hang with.

I was blown away at the Beloved festival by all of the amazing artists including a band that Jef is producing called Eliyahu & The Qadim Ensemble. Their sound was absolutely incredible, focusing on male/female harmonies that were so beautiful as they sang songs in Arabic, Jewish-Yemenite, Indian, Iranian, Moroccan and Turkish.

Other artists at the festival that I enjoyed included Jaya Lakshmi (Kirtan music), Fanna fi Allah (traditional Sufi music) and Isis Moon (whose lead singer was absolutely awesome and asked if she could sing a few songs during my set causing everyone’s jaw to drop when she got on the mic.) She sings Santo Daime spiritual songs in Portuguese and her presence really took my set to another level. I also had Lynx on the mic, Jamie Janover, Sasha Butterfly Rose and Anahata guesting during my set- for a full live ensemble experience. It was so much fun! They are all wonderful artists in their own right and worth checking out.

Happy listening- "

For FREE download of "Indian Fever" from David Starfire click here -Read the full Post-

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brazil's hottest new producer: Beto Villares

As you probably know, we here at Six Degrees have a long history with being associated with great Brazilian music. From Bebel Gilberto to CeU to Sonantes to Zuco 103 to Bossacucanova -we have worked with some of the finest in the genre. Because of this, I have to be honest and say that it's easy to sometimes get jaded and feel like "we've heard it all" when it comes to music from that part of the world. It was a wonderful surprise then to discover the talents of Beto Villares.

We first became aware of Beto through his impeccable production work on CeU's to self titled debut. One listen to that album lets you know that the guy has a fresh sonic approach as well as a wonderfully unique sense of arranging. It is Beto's eponymous first solo release that is the real revelation however. It is on this album that his skills as a producer/artist and soundtrack composer all "gel" into one singularly unique musical voice. Like many of his contemporaries, Beto is fascinated by melding together the rich regional sounds of his native Brazil with electronica and hip hop. However, his ear for quirky sonic details and unusual instrumentation coupled with his song craft and his aforementioned arranging smarts, really set his music apart from the glut of "Braziltronica" that has flooded the market in the wake of the success of Bebel Gilberto's Tanto Tempo.

Check out the free download we are offering here but be aware that this barely scratches the surface of the many musical delights contained in his fascinating solo debut. Between his busy production schedule, his burgeoning career as a film composer and his work as a solo artist, Beto Villares is definitely a major talent to watch on the global music scene.

For FREE download of "Rio Da Bossa Nova" click here

-Read the full Post-

Friday, September 12, 2008

Free Noize: Radiohiro

I first became aware of Matt aka Radiohiro when he and DJ Warp were helping to put on our original Six Degrees sponsored nights in Chicago. I then began to hear artists like Karsh Kale slipping some of his "slamming" tracks into their DJ sets. When Matt finally visited San Francisco and dropped off a few CDs worth of his original compositions and his incredible "white label" bhangra remixes, I knew this guy was someone to watch and promptly commissioned him to do a remix of Karsh Kale's track "Manifest". As you can see from his bio- the guy has quite an interesting background as well. (I had no idea he was the drummer with one of my favorite groups, Mike Kandel's Tranqulity Bass .

A Radiohiro track NEVER fails to send a dance-floor into an ecstatic frenzy and we're happy to offer one of his latest tunes for your listening and moshing pleasure.

Radiohiro has been bringing the sounds of the subcontinent straight to you via deep bass and tabla induced breakbeats for years. A lifelong music producer and DJ, Radiohiro is rewriting the sounds of London's "Asian Underground" movement. His sound can be best described as bass induced breakbeats/electronica with lush Hindustani, Punjabi and East Indian bollywood mixtures seamlessly worked in .

A trained drummer since the age of 4, Radiohiro was exposed to East Indian music thru his Jazz training, while listening to John McLaughlin's 'Shakti' records which featured Master Violinist, L. Shankar and the masters of Indian percussion, including Zakir Hussain. After that he was sold on the deep integrity and rhythmic complexities of East Indian Hindustani music forms and looked for ways to expose this style to a Western audience. One way was to build a pirate FM radio station and produce a show featuring Asian Underground, Bhangra, Bollywood and Drum 'n' Bass, which he did for 6 years. Using voice samples of his hypercool friend from Tokyo, Hiro, as the radio announcer between songs, he titled his show, Radiohiro. As the show gained notoriety from 1996 until it's demise in 2002, he decided to take on the name Radiohiro, for public appearances as well.

Performing, DJing, remixing, and promoting global music has landed Radiohiro, and his co-conspirator DJ Warp, rave reviews in media portals such as Time Magazine, XLR8R, Time Out, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, Rhapsody Music, NPR, CLTV, Flavorpill, Bhopadum, and New City. As club promoters, Radiohiro and DJ Warp, aka BOMBAY BEATBOX have hosted and debuted like-minded artists such as Bill Laswell's Tabla Beat Science, Talvin Singh, Karsh Kale, DJ Rehka, MIDIval Punditz, Cheb I Sabbah, Janaka Selekta, State of Bengal, Bassnectar, Luke Vibert, Born Into Brothels Ensemble, Mercene Dede, Atari Teenage Riot, David Starfire, Dzihan & Kamien, as well as many others.

As a 'world music' events promoter and producer, he has worked and/or recorded several major Indian Hindustani Classical guru out there today, including masters Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jasraj, Sultan Khan, Masters Of Percussion, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ajoy Chakrabarthy, Shayid Parvez, Kushal Das, Kaushiki Desikan, Vishwan Mohan Bhott, Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Ulhas Kashalkar and many others .

Radiohiro has performed at just about every music venue in Chicago and was recently asked to be the very first DJ, along with DJ Warp, to perform at one of Chicago's most prestigious venues, the Chicago Symphony Center, where they converted a packed house to the future sounds of the international dance music. Radiohiro was also the drummer for the founder of Trip Hop Music, Tranquility Bass (Astralwerks/EMI/MoWax/MTVamp), and has been performing his own music at the Burningman festival for the past 11 years.

Radiohiro, as a concept, is also a conglomerate of musicians that work together. As a person, one cannot take credit for everything that is heard, therefore Radiohiro is also seen as a umbrella for a host of artists that contribute.

As an emerging artist, Radiohiro, as a producer, has recently created music with Karsh Kale for the highly respected world music label, Six Degrees Records. Radiohiro has also worked with great music masters including Quincy Jones, written music for corporates such as Microsoft, and is currently doing sound design for A&E Cable Networks and PBS. Radiohiro has also finished his first film score collaboration for the independent film, Leg Before Wicket, a true story about India and Pakistan's partition/conflict.

His latest music is getting rotation on several FM radio stations in America, Germany, South Asia, Manchester - UK, BBC's Radio ONE (Friction and Nihal) and BBC's Asian Music Network (Friction, Pathaan's Musical Rickshaw, and Nerm's Electro East, DJ Kayper). Radiohiro's track, Diabollycal was selected as the number one pick for three weeks in a row in March '08, on BBC's Asian Network.

Along with DJ Warp, they are key players in Karsh Kale's Kollektiv, an international consortium of Asian music producers and collaborators. Radiohiro tracks can be downloaded for free at www.radiohiro.com, and his work with Karsh Kale is available at www.sixdegreesrecords.com and www.itunes.com and most other digital outlets.

(Karsh Kale's - Newborn Star from the LP, Broken English. And the Karsh Kale "Manifest" remixes - Radiohiro remix). Look for a complete new set of Asian Massive tracks from Radiohiro in Spring 2008, including remixes from Bassnectar and Karsh Kale, among others.

Over the years prior to this incarnation, Radiohiro has either worked with or shared the stage with this vast array of artists and record companies including: Matmos, Atari Teenage Riot, Rage Aginst The Machine, George Brooks, Larry Coryell, Bill Laswell, Steve Gorn, Hal Russell and the NRG Ensemble, Blue Note Records, Verve Records, Astralwerks records, Stereolab, Sony Records, MCA Records, Ozzfest Radio, ArtistDirect.com, Alligator Records, Garbage, Fiona Apple, Primus, Barenaked Ladies, Jamiroquai, Sean Lennon, Alice In Chains, Incubus, Train, Ben Folds Five, Underworld, Cibo Matto, Len, Jeff Buckley, The Fugees, System Of A Down, Lollapalooza, White Zombie, L7, Tupac Shakur, 24-7 Spies, New Line Cinema, Rolling Stone.com, Babes In Toyland, GBH, Discharge, Killing Joke, Toxic Reasons, and Public Image Ltd

Get the FREE download here

(Download Instructions
On a PC: right click, select "Save This Link As..." and choose the destination for the file on your computer.
On a Mac: option-click on the link. File will download to your desktop.)

Radiohiro thinks Burningman rocks (still) http://www.burningmanchicago.org

e-mail Radiohiro or Join Mailing List: radiohiroarmy@radiohiro.com

Get more free music downloads at www.radiohiro.com -Read the full Post-

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Musical Notes By Bob Duskis: Radio Radio Part 5

(In case you're coming into this tale in the middle- over the course of a few columns I've been outlining my experiences in FM radio during the last days of format free, free-form broadcasting. It all makes maximum sense if you start at the beginning with Radio Radio Part 1.)

While it has been entertaining reminiscing about my days working in commercial radio and the gentle glow of nostalgia has taken the sting out of many of these events, it was painful, confusing and frustrating living through the end days of free-form radio. It is easy to demonize Lee Abrams and the other corporate powers that be that helped usher in these changes but in hindsight it seems they were inevitable. I'll freely admit that in my most angry moments I have imagined a toasty spot in one of the lower levels of hell that is reserved for Abrams and his ilk- but history has proved him right (or at least successful) and besides he has redeemed himself somewhat in more recent times as one of the leading architects of satellite radio.

The relevant question remains, is there a place in today's world for a format-less radio station that does not cater to a lowest common denominator by shoving familiar hits and classic tracks consistently down listeners throats? A glance at today's radio landscape offers a divided answer. On the one hand, commercial radio has never been dumber or more predictable- yet on the other side of the equation we now have more alternatives at our disposal than ever before. It is hard to deny that "the masses" generally only want to hear "hits" and songs they know. Whether this is simple, basic human nature- or because that is what they have always been spoon fed, is for someone wiser than me to figure out. Interestingly though, things have never been more diverse in the fringes of the medium (college radio, internet radio, public radio and the relatively new world of satellite radio.) Bob Dylan's "Theme Time Radio Hour" is the epitome of free-form spirit at its most creative and there are literally hundreds of stations that categorize themselves as "free form" at Live 365.com, LA's KCRW not only survives but seems to flourish with a format- less approach that covers a wide range of non hit driven musical content and even many major market commercial stations are offering weekend and late night "specialty shows" where they can get more adventurous with what they play.

It seems that when a radio outlet is freed from the shackles of having to cater to the all mighty advertising dollar, they can usually generate enough of a niche audience to survive. I know from looking at the listener stats and reading the E Mails that we get from around the world that we have attracted a loyal audience for our internet radio broadcast, Six Degrees Traveler but I have no illusions that the program could survive on a commercial station- and maybe that's the way it should be. In a world where big businesses have been allowed to buy up the commercial airwaves, maybe those of us looking for the "freakier" side of the musical spectrum should just be content that we now have so many alternatives to fill our needs. Perhaps this is the ultimate victory for the concept of "free-form" broadcasting- the fact that it's spirit survives so strongly in the nooks and crannies of the airwaves is a testament to the viability of its original premise.

To celebrate the spirit of creative radio here some links to stations and programs that very much keep the "free-form" spirit alive. May they ever keep their "freak flag" flying







http://www.live365.com/stations/sixdegrees -Read the full Post-

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Secret Life of a Six Degrees employee : Michael K. (The Worker)

In our ongoing mission to introduce you to the many talented folks that work here and who help make Six Degrees the label it is, we present to you our second installment in our "Secret Life of a Six Degrees Employee" series. If you are new to the blog, you should backtrack and catch up with our bass loving "head of publicity" Ryan Romana who recommends some vital trax in the dubstep genre.

Michael Kelly started working here as an intern in 2004. He stands as living proof that hard working, good people CAN rise up through the ranks of a business and turn an internship into an actual paid position. He is now our "head of marketing" which essentially means he spends his time trying to figure out innovative ways to make YOU aware of our artists and our releases. (no easy task in today's crazy market). When he's not racking his brains coming up with marketing strategies, he's spinning the best in minimal techno and other forms of electronic music as "The Worker". Here is his story:

During the day I'm the head of marketing at Six Degrees but in my secret life as a Six Degrees employee I promote and DJ techno parties in San Francisco with a group called FICTION under the name The Worker. We do a monthly residency at Vertigo and occasional one-off parties at various SF venues.

more info:

this too is world music

Here is another look at what world music can be - a "soundtrack of the world" from a significantly different direction. Instead of "world music" as a collection of vastly different and uniquely regional music collected under a conceptual banner of "world music" it is instead is a movement - albeit very loosely coordinated- of producers, performers and DJs participating in one focused, interlocking "art piece" - named techno. While other music, such as jazz, has been shared across the world, the development of techno takes musical collaboration to a whole new - global - level. Owing much of its conceptual roots to the minimalist art movement, the strictness of form in this music allows for vast yet cohesive collaboration. Developments with technology in musical production and the constant inclusion or referencing of each other's music by performing DJs (many who are also producers) add to this "collaborative culture." It's like one big musical session from all corners of the world where producers and DJs are constantly adding, subtracting, remixing and recontextualizing each other's music.

I have put together a wide sampling of producers that showcase these sounds - videos on YouTube showing either a live performance or music video. Some of the YouTube videos are rougher cuts taken on people's handheld cameras - certainly not professional. Sorry about the choppy nature of some of them - but I wanted to give a good sense of the vibe when these performers are playing out.

Hiroshi Watanabe (aka KaitO)
deeper more ambient oriented techno from a producer based in Tokyo who releases music with Kompakt from Cologne, Germany.

nice video piece of him and his music - YouTube - click here

minimal techno producer from Denmark who includes crisp textural components and pop influenced vocal hooks

great video for his song "Moan" - YouTube - click here

Onur Özer
minimal techno producer from Turkey that focuses on tweakier tension building productions

performing at Love Parade in Berlin 2006 - YouTube - click here
performing with Mathias Kaden @ The Melt! festival in Germany - YouTube (warning: a bit choppy) - click here

deep, deep minimal techno producer from Argentina who often includes percussive bursts over rolling basslines.

live footage of his performance at Hafenstrand - YouTube - click here

Swiss-Iranian producer who relocated from Zurich to Berlin and produced one of the bigger hits in techno - "Heater" - in 2007. A very distinctive track it showcases an accordion often used in cumbia from Colombia. Not the typical approach in techno but a fun song (though it was overplayed and now problematic to include in many DJ sets) and the video captures the global feel of this musical culture.

the video for "Heater" - YouTube - click here -Read the full Post-

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hector Zazou RIP

We were terribly saddened to learn today of the passing of one of the music world's most fascinating architects, Hector Zazou. Zazou was one of my all time favorite producers who has left behind a unique and diverse body of work that transcends genres and boundaries.

I first became aware of his music through his contributions to the wonderful Made to Measure series from our friends at Crammed Disc. I then had the tremendous good fortune to see his seminal Afro/Electro fusion group Zazou/ Bikaye play live at the Kitchen performance space in New York some time in the 80's.

There is no doubt in my mind that Zazou's early fusions of far flung sounds from Africa, Scandinavia and the Middle East with atmospheric electronics imprinted themselves indelibly on my musical consciousness and were partially responsible for putting me on a path which eventually led to the musical direction of Six Degrees Records. I would rank him up in the pantheon of important musical instigators that includes Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Holger Czukay and a very tiny handful of others who have stretched the parameters of the way we think of "world music" and music in general.

The music world will never see his like and is a much more boring place without his presence.

If you are not familiar with his work do yourself a favor and catch up with any of these fabulous releases:

To purchase Glyph ( also featuring Harold Budd) on Amazon.com click here

To purchase Saraha Blue on Amazon.com click here

To purchase Songs from the Cold Seas on Amazon.com click here

To purchase Noir Et Blanc on Amazon.com click here

If you already own some of his music- put it on and allow yourself to be taken up by his special genius and spare a moment to salute this quiet maverick who we will all miss terribly.

For more on Hector Zazou go to:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Zazou -Read the full Post-

Friday, September 5, 2008

Free Noize: Goonda

Last year I was doing a DJ gig at New York's Kush Lounge when graphic designer and champion of the global groove scene, Sank aka DimmSummer of Ethnotechno introduced me to DK. I was familiar with DK's work through her remix of Karsh Kale's "Empty Hands" on Karsh's Redesign record. I had always liked that unique and quirky mix but for some reason I had no idea that DK was in fact a woman, causing a moment of slight disorientation upon first meeting her.

Since that night, DK (also known as Bollygirl) has teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Cenzo to unleash their Goonda project on an unsuspecting world. I love the duo's fresh, bass driven, soundclash approach and am thrilled to be able to share a track with you all.

GOONDA is a NYC-based production / remixer duo who have forged a partnership based on a mutual love for music, mash-ups, mirugai and muroka. Tune up your your mahruti… coz this crew rolls deep and heavy in their Amby Classic ret to blaze your inner ear pure GOONDA-ishtylz…HORN OK Please!

Having been hatched four years ago in some of New York City’s most progressive and innovative clubs, AVZ—fueled by 2 of the 3 co-founders (DK aka) Bollygirl and Cenzo, the duo that is GOONDA—was created with one goal in mind: good music… no borders… no boundaries. During their four-year tenure, the residents curated events that people look forward to, exploring electronic and live music with guest emcees, visual art, live paintings and a gathering of some of the finest musicians around. AVZ which comes from the Sanskrit word for sound, noise or vibration, facilitated a cocoon for creators of any medium…from this pure vision emerged the definitive GOONDA sound. DimmSummer of Ethnotechno, resident-in-charge of branding and aesthetics represents-at-large on the graphic side for this one!

And yet, within the “borderless” tagline, there is consistency. That common thread is well represented on the GOONDA debut two-disc compilation, Third World Radio. The underlying sonic foundation laid by DK and Cenzo, who weave and craftily manipulate a host of indigenous sounds , on disc two, open their compositions up to remixing friends. The bazaar is an exchange post, where deals are haggled, refined and finally made. This is the Avaaz/GOONDA credo—things may take a little finessing and fine-tuning, but it’s always a group effort, and all voices are represented equally.

Listening to this album, you have the feeling that a new language is being created in the global city of New York. In fact, the co-producers have coined the term—Goondaism: redefining the cultural landscape by any means necessary. They have taken the “GOONDA” term which usually denotes thugness or gangster qualities into the studio and transcended it into their sound. And while they cite it as a “genre-defying blend of indo-indie beats,” there are so many more vistas that are opened before you, sonic landscapes and worlds unfolding, that simply going along for the ride makes you feel like you’ve been involved since the very beginning.

Her story: DK aka BOLLYGIRL. Mumbai-born, raised in Queens, New York, a classical hindi film fanatic- think Hunterwalli to Sholay, this Bollygirl grew up loving Asha Bhosle, Public Enemy, R.D. Burman, Queen and Led Zeppelin. Making her own beats and tracks on anything she could get her hands on in the early days – Tascam Portastudio, Juno60, SP-1200 or her MPC3000, she is known to deftly rock a MIC as with OmZone and on tracks for her producer-heroes Ming+FS. AVZ resident dj/producer who has often traveled through India with an activist’s heart, omgirl optimism and a mini-DV cam, now resonates those stored emotive motherland memories through decibels of her compositions @ High Chai Lab, alongside her musical cohort, Cenzo. (On the horizon: PROPAGANDHA featuring IKON? – DK collaborates with Patriarch Recording’s FS aka the arch cupcake)

His story: Cenzo aka RUBBER GOODS. This resident New Yorker and multi-instrumentalist, mistakenly dubbed Rubber Goods by none other than Frank Zappa has composed music since his piano recital at Carnegie Hall at the tender age of 6. Weaned on everything from classical music to dub to punk to rock, Cenzo holds down fiercely be it at his Pro Tools console, on his minimoog, or virtual reality of Reason plug-ins, mashing-it-up at High Chai Lab where the GOONDA magic is created.

Get the FREE download here

DK Bollygirl





http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001BVWG2W/ethnotechno-20 -Read the full Post-

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Musical Notes by Bob Duskis: Radio, Radio Part 4

(In case you're coming into this tale in the middle- over the course of a few columns I've been outlining my experiences in FM radio during the last days of format free, free-form broadcasting. It all makes maximum sense if you start at the beginning with Radio Radio Part 1

I'll never forget it- the day- the moment are forever burned into my memory. When I went to work on that fateful day, I thought it would be a radio shift like all my others but I knew something was up when I arrived at the station and my boss was waiting for me. Program directors just don't usually "hang out" at the station at 11pm at night, My first thought was that I was getting fired but something about the way my boss was acting didn't seem like that was what was going down. Then I saw the printed out list of songs that was waiting for me by the control board. In calm, patient tones, my boss proceeded to explain to me that things were changing at the station. We were no longer going to be a "free-form" station and were moving to a new "format". The company that owned the station had hired a "consultant" to advise us on what to play, what to say and how to market ourselves.

It was a very simple concept: spaces on the radio dial had become way too valuable to squander on "progressive" concepts like the "Quiet Hour" and programming that was locally dictated by the DJs themselves. Some guy out of Chicago named Lee Abrams decided that through extensive market research he knew what listeners wanted to hear and he charged handsomely to share that knowledge with program directors around the country. The AOR (Album Oriented Rock) format was born and WIBA FM was one of many rock stations that jumped on its band wagon.

And just what were the magic ingredients in this new format? You know it well becuase it is still very much the dominant sound of commercial rock radio to this day. Familiar classics from groups like Led Zeppelin, the Who and the Beatles were put into heavy rotation so that you could hear "Stairway to Heaven", "Freebird"and "Won't Get Fooled Again" a few times a day. (in other words, songs that you loved at one time became hideous cliches that made you scream every time they came on). These rock classics were mixed in with new tracks from the artists of the moment like Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Bob Seger and Van Halen. The music by no means catered to my particular tastes but the truly horrific thing about the format was how often the songs were played. Imagine playing "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger TWICE in a 5 hour shift EVERY DAY! I knew that I had been pushed across the line into gibbering insanity when my girlfriend pointed out to me that I was singing "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner in the shower. Whether I liked the songs or not, they were catchy as hell (that's why they were hits after all) and they were all taking up permanent residence in the jukebox in my head.

The music change was bad enough but even more humiliating were the phrases that we were required to say at regular intervals. The station's new catch phrase became: "More rockin'- less talkin'" further cementing the concept of the DJ/ announcer as an expendable and superfluous commodity. We had no say in what we played and we were proudly announcing the fact that we weren't going to mess up your listening experience with our useless prattle.

As part of the format change, the first part of my shift was now allocated to a "featured album" which I would play in its entirety starting at 11pm. The beginning of my end came one night when I had to feature Styx's new release at the time, the staggering classic Mr. Roboto. In my intro to the record I stated that this new release was supposed to be a concept album and that, although I had listened to the music and read the linear notes I still could not quite figure out what the concept was supposed to be but "suffice is to say Tommy it aint".

The next day the station received dozens of complaints from listeners who did not like my attitude and who were offended by my "dissing" Styx. To fully understand the depth of my crimes, you have to know that Styx were a Chicago band and on their way up the music business food chain, they played lots of high school proms throughout the Midwest. This had built them a rabid fan base among Midwestern listeners and these folks did not appreciate their heroes being insulted by some snide radio announcer (besides wasn't I supposed to be doing "more rockin' and less talkin'" anyway?) I had to apologize on the air the next night and was given a "warning" by my boss. No more editorializing. No more exhibiting the slightest shred of a personality.

I soon learned to treat my radio career as a "job". The joy had been sucked out of it but it still beat any number of other horrible ways I could make a living. The saddest thing of all is the fact that the "dumbing down" of the station worked spectacularly. I was "let go" of my slot after almost two years on the air but ratings shot up, advertising increased and the corporate powers that be were thrilled. Lee Abrams was hailed as a visionary and his format spread throughout the land like a nasty rash. As revenues increased, more corporations bought chains of stations and the idea of the airwaves being set aside for the "public trust" became a quaint concept of the past. Things hit a new low when a company called Clear Channel came along and basically "bought up" the entire medium along with concert halls, ticket agencies and anything else they thought could generate a "red cent".

And that's what takes us to where we are today. But wait...for every action there is a reaction...isn't there?

To be continued...

Lee Abrams -Read the full Post-

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Carmen Rizzo

We've known the talented Carmen Rizzo for so long, I'm not even sure how we first met. I believe it was when he produced Ekova's album Space Lullabies & Other Fantasmagore

Carmen's credits as a producer, programmer and musician include working with Seal, Coldplay, Paul Oakenfold, Alanis Morissette and of course Niyaz on our label. Carmen is currently working on a new project called Lal Meri to be unveiled in 2009 - in the meantime he gave us this update on his many summer activities:

"The summer has been very busy for me. Besides being a father of 3, a baseball player on the weekends, the passion for gardening and having a studio in Hollywood, I have the luxury of making music for a living. Even though it is not easy, I know how lucky I am . I am in the band Niyaz which I am a co founder of which we have a new album out called Nine Heavens (debuting #1 on itunes World chart as well as #1 Radio Europe), and as well have another side project called Lal Meri which we just signed with Six Degrees. The album is almost done, it’s slated for a 2009 release. We had the honor of opening up for fellow label mates The Real Tuesday Weld downtown Los Angeles at Grand Performances. The summer has also been filled with me releasing my second solo album “Ornament of an imposter” on my own label Electrofone which was a challenge to put it out myself, but has proved to be hard work but very rewarding, (debuted # 13 on the KCRW album chart, # 37 Itunes Electronic chart and currently #19 on the CMJ RPM chart.) It has some guest vocalist by Jem & Kate Havnevik. Besides making music as an artist I produce and remix music for other people. In the bizarre climate the music business is going through I am forced to plant seeds all over the forest and hope something will harvest to continue to make a living. I scored my first film last year for Michael Apted “The power of the game” and just finished scoring my first video game The Agency for Sony (2009) with Gerard Marino (we partnered) as well as staring in a HBO music show called The Song Story, which takes the journey of a record producer (me) discovering un signed tiled through the web and exploring the process of making a record etc. It’s not a reality show, more a story telling documentary style show. Still waiting to see where it ends up, HBO, Showtime etc. I was told there trying for network TV. Fingers crossed. The summer has been exciting and I have a lot to be thankful for...now time to prepare for some solo shows coming up... -Read the full Post-