Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lal Meri- Dreams of 18

Free Download - Lal Meri - Dreams of 18

Producer/musician and all around renaissance guy Carmen Rizzo has been involved in many impressive musical projects over the years- so when he excitedly calls me up and says "I've got something new that you NEED to hear" I know that it's going to be something special. Rizzo's latest band project Lal Meri is one of those rare beasts that totally convincingly straddles the line between pop and electronic music. Anchored by the exquisitely sexy, jazz tinged vocals of Nancy Kaye (sometimes better known as Rosey) and augmented by the inventive instrumentation and production flourishes of Rizzo and Ireesh Lal,Lal Meri's music is both atmospheric and incredibly hook filled. Honestly, I can't remember the last time so many songs on one album lodged themselves so firmly in my brain's jukebox and just refused to let go.

Lal Meri's self titled debut will be unleashed on the world on 2/17. Here's a sneak taste of your next favorite intelligent pop band.

Lal Meri - Give Your Light

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Post Rock Ambient Traveler.

On this week's edition of our weekly internet radio program, Six Degrees Traveler, we spin two hours of lovely tracks that all loosely fit into a "post rock", ambient mode. In case you're wondering, Wikipedia defines the term "post rock" as "a genre of alternative rock characterized by the use of musical instruments commonly associated with rock music, but using rhythms, harmonies, melodies, timbre, and chord progressions that are not found in rock tradition. It is the use of 'rock instrumentation' for non-rock purposes. Practitioners of the genre's style typically produce instrumental music."

The show was inspired by a recent trip to a coffee shop located by my wife's work place, which always plays wonderful, eclectic music. A few weeks ago they were spinning a gorgeous piece that sounded like a cross between Popol Vuh and one of my all time faves, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. I love being blind sided by hearing great new music that I'm not familiar with- It's a phenomenon that I wish happened more often. The guy working the espresso machine was happy to clue me in and tell me that we were listening to K.C. Accidental, a mostly instrumental band that was a precursor to the more rock oriented, Broken Social Scene. I quickly gobbled up the duo's two great EPs and their haunting, elegiac music inspired me to piece together two hours of like minded sounds. I find that this is music that is unabashedly "pretty" without ever succumbing to the easy pitfalls of saccharine cheesiness. Hopefully you'll agree.

Check out the full playlist at http://sixdegreesrecords.com/radio/playlist.php?week=01_21_09

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free Download - Janaka Selectha - Chandraya featuring Sukhawat Ali Khan

Here at Six Degrees we've known Janaka Selekta aka Janaka Atugoda since his early days as co-founder of the groundbreaking Dhamaal collective. While I knew him as a DJ and promoter and occasional producer of his own music and remixes, I was totally taken aback by the maturity and depth of his forthcoming debut artist album, Pushing Air. Somewhere along the line, Janaka has developed into a world class producer who has seemingly effortlessly brought together South Asian sounds with the rhythms and textures of dub and dubstep. Sure it's a territory that is well trod by now but it still sounds fantastic when it is done right and this is music that hits the elusive "bulls eye" of global fusion.

The full length release of Pushing Air will be available on March 10th and Janaka has granted us a "sneak preview" track to whet your appetites. In the meantime, go get "The Awake Remixes" which features excellent mixes from Karsh Kale and Radiohiro over at www.janakaselekta.net

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

James Whetzel - "I Have a Dream Remake"

Free Download - James Whetzel - "I Have a Dream Remake"/Buy Album

First thing I did this morning after rolling out of bed was to flip on the TV to check in on the inaugural excitement. Suddenly, there was a visibly "emotional" Spike Lee talking about how this nation has never seen anything like the "one, two punch" of Martin Luther King's birthday followed immediately by Barack Obama being sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States. There does seem to be a sense of a legacy fulfilled in the air today and it made me think of this great musical update of MLK's most famous speech, as recorded by Seattle based musician James Whetzel. James was nice enough to give us permission to share his track with you as our small part in commemorating this amazing day. Dare to dream!
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

310 - Sixes and Sevens

Free Download!
310 - Freedom Connection - from the album Sixes and Sevens on Conduit Records
Buy Album

Karsh Kale - Beautiful (310 Remix) - (Stream Only)
Buy Album

I met the members of the duo, 310 through our weekly internet radio show. Seattle based Joseph Dierker was a fan of the program and began corresponding with me about some of the tracks I was playing. (I later met the NY based other half of the duo, Tim Donovan when he showed up at a DJ gig I was doing in NY). Somewhere along the line Dierker mentioned that he was part of a band and asked if it was all right to send me some music. I'm always afraid in those circumstances that what is going to come in the mail will either be horribly inappropriate for Six Degrees or just plain horrible- but the fact that Dierker's group 310 had recorded on the usually excellent Leaf label was encouraging. Turns out I need not have worried. 310's music is a beautifully textured combo of influences that include (but are not limited to) electronica, jazz, hip hop, post rock, world and experimental music. It seems to me that this is a group that should appeal to fans of everything from Boards of Canada to DJ Shadow. I was so taken with the duo's production style that I commissioned them to do remixes for both Karsh Kale's track "Beautiful" and Azam Ali's "Abode" - both of which they turned in with uniquely beautiful results.

I think these guys are criminally under appreciated and hope that this taster of their work will encourage those of you with open ears to explore further.


310 (Seattle's Joseph Dierker and New York's Tim Donovan) have been developing their unique blend of hip-hop, art-rock, ethnic percussion, ambient drones, vocal samples, and live instrumentation since 1997. With four albums released on the UK's prestigious Leaf Label, their signature sound has developed beyond it's humble beginnings as tapes sent back and forth across the country as each member layered upon and reworked his partner's music.

310's seventh and latest album, Sixes and Sevens, pushes their vision to sharper and funkier extremes. Combining guitar, violin, keys, and found sound, blended with their hallmark blitz of beats, 310 have orchestrated one of their strongest and deepest albums to date. Highlights include a guest spot by A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and tons of funky drumming from notorious session wizard Ralph Rolle.

310 pack so much in their records that each listen invariably reveals new elements. Sixes And Sevens is no different. Brimming with sumptuous textures, gorgeous melodies and haunting atmospherics, this album is once again an impressive effort. In the ten years since they first appeared, 310 have forged a truly unique sound, with each new record adding to the band’s sonic riches. Impeccably deployed across Sixes And Sevens, these appear as bright and appealing as ever.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Solar Fields- Movements

Free Download - Solar Fields - Discovering

I have always been a sucker for big, lush, synth sounds that build and build until they explode into bone shaking beats. (I mean, what could be bad right?) Not many groups scratch my itch for electronic sounds both beautiful and dance-floor friendly like Sweden's Magnus Birgersson aka Solar Fields. The good folks at Ultimae Records have been kind enough to let us share this teaser track from Movements, the upcoming new release from Solar Fields, giving you a taste of the sonic goodness which will be coming at the end of January. Just about everything that Ultimae releases is well worth checking out for fans of intelligent electronica that often dips it's toes into global waters- so feel free to browse their site for further discoveries.


Solar Fields drifts back to down-tempo with [ Movements ], a pure electronica ambient in and ex-cursion in the global
sound spectrum built upon a crossing of genres, where atmospheric whispers lead to deep rumbling waves,
intricate impulsions jump through cleverly crafted beats and layers of organic instrumentations. Vibrant and deeply
emotional music flirting with sheer melancholy and hope.

[ Movements ] is composed of 11 tracks
floating into each other to create a sense of shift in realities. As always when discovering any album from Solar Fields,
one mustn’t look back but rather open this chapter prepared to be moved to new directions.
Solar Fields will be playing a series of live dates and festivals throughout the winter and spring of 2009,
details of the [ Movements ] tour will be announced in due course.

Ultimae records - www.ultimae.com
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Traveler

The first new Six Degrees Traveler radio broadcast of '09 is now up on Apple i-tunes (Under the "Eclectic" or the "Electronica" sections of their "Radio" page)
Or at www.live365.com/sixdegrees

This week we focus mostly on a set of global grooves that includes many new and upcoming projects, including first listens to brand spanking new remixes of Pacifika (by Quiet Village!) and Bombay Dub Orchestra (by Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins fame- under his International Observer moniker). I am a big fan of Quiet Village's strangely compelling ambient lounge approach, so hearing them wrap their textures around the lovely voice of Pacifika's Silvana Kane is a particular thrill. The International Observer mix of Bombay Dub Orchestra is also wonderful in an old school, Indo-Dub kind of way. You really never know what you're going to get when you solicit remixes, so it is very exciting when a couple of really creative "winners" come in the door. This week we also spin Peter Gabriel & Hot Chip's great new cover version of Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa". I think it's a hoot that Gabriel has sung on a version of this track since the chorus features the refrain "It feels so natural, Peter Gabriel too". In a particularly cheeky touch Peter adds the line "And it feels so un-natural, to sing your own name"- classic!

Check out the full playlist here

And here is the rest of it. -Read the full Post-

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Very Best

Free Mixtape Download - Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best

The Very Best is a new group consisting of African vocalist Esau Mwamwaya collaborating with red hot electronic duo, Radioclit. Esau was born in Mzuzu in Malawi, East Africa. In 1999 he moved to London, where he has until recently run a second-hand furniture store. His shop was on the same street as Radioclit's old studio, and after the Radioclit boy's bought a bike from Esau, they made friends and started working on music together. Two years later and the project has gotten it's name The Very Best. In order to create an organic buzz for their forthcoming new album, The Very Best have leaked a "Free Mixtape" over the blogosphere. This free download has created a mini net frenzy and generated universal rave reviews from Pitchfork and others. Look for The Very Best's official studio release to drop soon in '09.

The Very Best also just finished a great video of their track "Kamphopo"

Johan from Radioclit describes the making of the clip like this:

"Esau Mwamwaya went back to Lelongwe, Malawi in October 2008 for the first time in 9 years. I came with him to play at the Lake Of Stars festival and to shoot this video and film his homecoming in general. We had a crazy respons from local press, radio and tv. we rehearsed at Lucius Banda's famous 'Summit' venue for 3 days with local dancers. We went to see the live venue where Esau's music career started 'Village Lodge', and we hung out with Esau's family and their neighbours outside of Lelongwe. Most of the kids dancing in the video is Esau's brothers and all their neighbours kids. They all new all the words by the time we got there, very cute! We played Lake Of Stars festival, which argubly might be the best festival in the world. Ive been meaning to edit all the material since then but havn't had time. Now I've finally manged to sit down and do it and hopefully you'll like it and get a little bit of insight into what Esau Mwamwaya is up to in Malawi at the moment."

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Monday, January 5, 2009

The Warheads: Nihon/Noir

Free Download - The Warheads - Scene One (Nipon/Noir)

Hey, it's '09 and we're back in the office and back in the blog game. I hope everyone had a great and restful holiday and that getting back to work or school or whatever your regular routine is hasn't been too painful. My break was filled with family, family, family. The highlight of the holidays consisted of my daughter and her gaggle of cousins wreaking sweet and noisy chaos wherever they went. It was a healthy re-charge to get out of work head space mode and into a world filled with beautiful kids. Perspective can be a wonderful thing. I also closed the week with a great set at Marin's monthly dance event, The Groove Garden which takes place in a church in Fairfax and has the most open-minded crowd of dancers I have ever had the occasion to spin for. I have been DJing the first Groove Garden of the year for many years now and the folks that attend this event never fail to give me back some wonderful energy that has me buzzing for days after the gig. Big thanks to founder and resident music master, DJ Dragonfly for having me back.

Today on the music front, we've got a great track from the San Francisco based production team who call themselves The Warheads. These guys are musicians who say they specialize in "the manipulation, re-arranging and remixing of original compositions, unique sounds and high quality audio". The track they have let us share with you is taken from Nihon/Noir, the soundtrack to a fictitious Japanese movie. Enjoy.

More info and more free tracks at: www.thewarheads.com -Read the full Post-