Archive for November, 2009

Onra – Chinoiseries (Favorite Recordings)

November 26, 2009

Arnaud Bernard aka Onra is a French-Vietnamese beatmaker living in Paris, who’s amazing debut “Chinoiseries” somehow remained unknown to me until very recently. The album was released in 2007 and is a slick and unusual collection of instrumental hip hop reminiscent of everyone from Dilla, Madlib, Doom, and Flying Lotus, yet with a twist. “Chinoiseries” was created after Arnaud went on a trip to Vietnam and picked up a dusty stack of old Chinese and Vietnamese vinyl to use as his source material. The result is a brilliant foray in avant-garde beat making, which never once sounds clich├ęd or cheesy. The hiss and crackle of the warped vinyls add to the album’s charm, as you wonder what musty basement the records had been hiding in for the past 20 years.

“Chinoiseries” is made of 32 snippets, none longer than two and a half minutes, similar in fashion to Dilla’s “Donuts”, and each track is like a brief vignette into the far east of the past spliced with dope beats for the future. I am totally digging it and highly recommend for all fans of hip hop. Onra has also released his second album “1.0.8” this year, which features the same style of sampled Asian beats.

Check it and mafuckin’ wreck it! Won’t dissapoint! Here is a delicious sample of the good stuff…

Monster Mash

November 24, 2009

Southwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne, Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is home to an amazing abundance of street art and graffiti artists. I’ve spotted this particular piece in two different spots along Queen Street, and I’m sure there’s more around the city. They appeared about a month or so before Halloween, and I kept noticing them out of the corner of my eye as I zipped by on my bike en route to work. There’s something about the childlike simplicity that I find appealing. I really dig the use of an already existing “framed canvas”, with the basic squares of complimentary colours, coupled with the pre-designed decal monsters, which the artist lovingly arranged to create what I have dubbed ‘The Monster Mash’. It’s simple, catches the eye, and for some reason makes me happy when I see it.

That’s all. Peace.

Northwest corner of Queen and Vanauley, Toronto

Dog Day at The Horseshoe Tavern

November 8, 2009

5 November 2009

dog day

Halifax quartet Dog Day played The Horseshoe in Toronto on Thursday as part of their extended Pop Explosion tour. The group played a tight and energetic set, clearly in the groove from playing shows every night for the last two weeks. Their new drummer Rob Shedden was a welcome addition, giving hell to his kit in perfect time. The band played their set unabashedly, without a hint of rock star—just good old DIY indie rock. As if we’d been invited to their jam space for a party where they just happened to blast out a set of tunes before they joined us for a beer and a joint. I was impressed and had a really fun night.

Yes, they do sound like Eric’s Trip, but it’s all part and parcel of the Halifax music scene. The Maritime provinces have been producing lo-fi and moody power pop for decades now, and Dog Day fit right in. It’s a sound I yearn for in a sea of ‘dance-rock’ bands, it brings me back to my high-school days, and churns up some heavy nostalgia. Dog Day are one of my favourite ‘newly discovered’ bands of the year, and I expect only more great things from them. Check out their recently released “Concentration” on Outside Music, you will dig.

I didn’t see openers The Balconies or Immaculate Machine because we drank a few pops at home first due to a shortage of beer funds, but the buzz from the crowd seemed very positive. All in all a great night of Canadian indie rock. Peace.

dog day

Waxing Electric with Wax Stag

November 5, 2009

wax stag

Wax Stag – Wax Stag (People in the Sky Records)

The multi-talented Rob Lee has recently dropped his first album as Wax Stag. It is an impressive debut of rich analog synths and old-skoool IDM beats reminiscent of Warp releases from the late 90’s. Lee also moonlight’s as Clark’s drummer for his live shows, and plays bass for the hip and much-hyped Friendly Fires.

But Wax Stag is all Lee’s—his sonic and bleepy love child, and it’s infectious as hell.

Part of the album’s charm is how it makes me think of Plaid and CiM and Solvent and early Autechre and Aphex as Polygon Window. It even reminds me of Metro Area at times . . . there’s a warmth in his heavily-layered synth lines that you just don’t hear any more unless you go back and rediscover the early Warp, Rephlex, and Skam releases that made you love electronic music in the first place. Plus, his music is a lot of fun. I hate being one of those head-bobbers on the streetcar in the mornings, but it’s hard to keep your head still when blasting this one in your Grado’s. A definite must-hear before the year is out.

Also, his remix of Bibio’s track “Sugarette” is a brilliant re-interpretation and a highlight on Bibio’s just released “The Apple and the Tooth”.

Listen, enjoy, repeat.