Posts from 2006

Madeleine Peyroux

Sunday, August 20th, 2006 by Anne Cloudman

vocal jazz // standards

Romance ain’t my thing, but even I’m susceptible to the charms of a romantic comedy. Hard to say if its the beautiful people, happy endings, extravagant lifestyles or playful dialogue that pique my interest, but for sure, the well-crafted soundtracks that accompany these movies make them easier to love. I discovered Madeleine Peyroux in the credits of 2005’s Monster-in-Law, but her warm, Billie Holiday vocal style makes her a soundtrack favorite. The two songs below from her LP Careless Love glisten with All-American nostalgia and romance.

Perfect with dim lighting and drink in hand.
Madeleine Peyroux – Don’t Wait Too Long (track 7 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
Madeleine Peyroux – Don’t Cry Baby
buy this cd


Saturday, August 19th, 2006 by Paul Irish

acoustic soul // downtempo blues

Just like you wouldn’t expect soul crooner Jamie Lidell on the Warp label, Fink is a peculiar addition to the Ninja Tune family. While the label is known for their dynamic electronica with hip hop and funk infused, Fink embodies the simplicity of a man sitting on a milkcrate strumming his guitar. “All Cried Out” trots at a medium pace, a steady guitar strum underneath Fink’s addictive melodies. Influenced by the harmonies of D’angelo and India Arie, he crafts vocal lines that snare you and basslines that seduce you. “Biscuits”, a proper song for an Englishman, has a bit more atmospheric accoutrements, but accomplishes just the same.

Combine: John Martyn + Jehro + D’Angelo + Jack Johnson + Zero 7. Blend and chill.
Fink – All Cried Out
Fink – Biscuits (track 10 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
buy this cd


Thursday, August 17th, 2006 by Julija

french pop // chanson

Helena Noguerra is a Belgian born successful model, acctress, singer-songwriter, singing and writing her own lyrics in French, Portuguese and English. She has worked as a radio DJ, published two novels, covered Kylie’s “I just can’t get you out of my head” in a very sensual version. While still modelling, she was meeting up with musicians, doing collaborations and also met Philippe Katerine who did most of the composing and producing of their two rather different projects. Azul (2003) is mostly bossa nova influenced with subtle electronic touches while Née dans la nature (2004) follows French chanteuse tradition.

Gentle as spring rain and as intimate as a careful whisper.
Helena – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (track 11 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
Helena – Je Nageais Nue
buy this cd

Hanne Hukkelberg

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006 by Paul Irish

norwegian eclectic // vocal

This post will be the first time I’ve featured an artist twice on Aurgasm, but I do it without shame. I introduced Hanne last October, along with her beautiful track Ease. This time, Hanne covers the Pixies track ‘Break My Body‘, trading stage-shaking instrumentation for bedroom intimacy, brash demands for a somber plea. Leading with a tender bassline, a flute peeks around the corner, drawing your attention to the concrete steps where Hanne delivers her words. Brushed percussion and a squeezebox provide a warm coat for Hanne’s cold delivery.

“Turning a screed into a seethe and teasing out the drama. Powerful song.
Hanne Hukkelberg – Break My Body (live) (track 12 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
buy this cd

Dennis Rollins

Saturday, August 12th, 2006 by Andrew Ladd

jazz // funk // fusion

I met Dennis Rollins last summer at the Edinburgh Fringe, after catching his phenomenal live show at the Baby Belly, deep in the South Bridge vaults. He has a beautiful enthusiasm about him, a real exuberance that gives away his love for what he does– and it comes out in his music, too, which is all smiles and energetic riffs. But he does soft and tender, too, and his cover of ‘Fast Car’ is as calm and thoughtful as you might expect.

A trombone virtuoso with a real flair.
Dennis Rollins’ Badbone & Co – Shake It Down (track 3 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
Dennis Rollins – Fast Car
buy this cd


Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Paul Irish

caribbean soul // folk // reggae

Nuzzle these together for me: the songwriting flavor of Jack Johnson, the character of Amadou & Miriam, and the sound of the islands with the roll of an ocean wave. The Frenchman Jehro (pronounced ZHE-ro) moved to London at 20 and was absorbed by the Jamaican and Spanish influences around his Hammersmith flat. You can expect light and acoustic arrangments alongside Jehro’s chansonnier voice delivering lyrical sensuality. As for me, I expect to see a lot more of this cat.

Island love played cool.
Jehro – Everything (track 9 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
Jehro – Long Is The Way
buy this cd

Aurgasmic Adventures: My DJ Debut

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Paul Irish

Last Tuesday, I received an email from dj, academician and ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall. Also known by wayneandwax, he holds down a weekly at River Gods in Cambridge, nearly a mile from me. In the email, Wayne invited me to join him to guest DJ at his last night before he heads off to for post-doctorate studies in Chicago.
I accepted but admitted never DJing publicly before and not knowing much about DJ technique–luckily, Wayne assured me this would be fine. Putting together my first DJ mix was much tougher than throwing together party playlists. But for you, I wrote up my process, in case you’d like to do the same!

How to DJ your first set without knowing how

I finished putting together my set with just enough time to drive to the bar. Wayne was a cordial host and the audience was receptive. Playing for a crowd and tweaking dials from a balcony perch was quite a thrill. The free beer didn’t hurt either. :) After my set we had some experimental vocal indie and then some hip hop/rock accordion courtesy of Julz A. Great overall vibe in that place. Chi-town residents, seek out wayne’s future music engagements–he crafts a good time.

In case you stuck with me this long, I’ll reward you with my amateur dj mix. Some transitions are really rough, but I’m pleased with it. Enjoy.

Aurgasm – Breeze and Sweat (55min, 80MB)

Tracklist (cue file)
1. Nuff Wish – Healing In Vain
2. Kinny & Horne – Why Me
3. Dancing Djedi – Body Surfin’
4. Nomo – Hand & Mouth
5. Balkan Beat Box – Sunday Arak
6. Senor Coconut – Mambo Numerique (Featuring Marina And Towa Tei)
7. Quantic & Nickodemus – Mi Swing Es Tropical
8. Amadou & Mariam – M’ Bifé Balafon
9. Quantic Soul Orchestra – Walking Through Tomorrow (Super 8 Part 3)
10. The Bamboos – Step It Up Featuring Alice Russell
11. Mr Scruff & Quantic – It’s Dancing Time
12. Boozoo Bajou – Killer
13. Zuco 103 – Peregrino
14. Captain Planet – The Don
15. Romanowski – Strudel Strut
16. Quantic – Off The Beaten Track (Carmel Remix)
17. Peter, Bjorn And John – Young Folks (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Remix)

How to DJ your first set without knowing how

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Paul Irish

I was asked to DJ a one-hour set, though I had no previous DJ experience. I didn’t know how to beatmatch, transition smoothly, use Ableton or Traktor, and neither do you. You just have to be comfortable with being a laptop DJ.

Know your audience
I had never been to the venue and from what the outside looked like, I figured inside was a bunch of dusty overweight 30-year-olds with massive facial hair. I took a weekday evening trip over and had a beer inside, scoping out the clientele. I learned that from the balcony dj booth (!), I’d be playing for an affluent, educated set of 20- and 30-somethings that weren’t necessarily music nerds, but seemed receptive to different sounds.

Determine the theme
I thought about what music has moving me lately. While I wanted to do an all out electro-rock-dance-indie set with jams like Wolfmother’s “Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)” and Madonna’s “Hung Up (Diplo Remix)”, I instead took influence from the very summery flavors of Nickodemus and Captain Planet.

Select your songs
I went through my entire music collection picking out the best tunes that fit the afrobeat/tropicalia/soul/funk vibe. If your audience won’t be earnestly dancing, don’t pick vocal-heavy tunes. Keep a mental picture of the venue inside your head as you listen to your potentials.

Narrow down your picks
After my first sweep, I ended up with 60 tracks, clocking in at 3.75 hours–far more than the one hour I was given. Toss anything that will garner significantly more or less attention than the rest of your set. I had to let go of some classics like Barrett Strong’s 1962 hit “Money”.

Cut it down to size
After tossing half my selections, I still had nearly an extra hour of music. Time for the surgery. I went in using audio editing software (CoolEdit and Audacity work) and cut out extra pieces: extra repetitive choruses, needless verses, instrumental solos. I wanted to keep the song lengths between 2 and 4.5 minutes to keep the energy level moving. [As this takes a bit of know-how and technique, this step is completely optional.]

Put them in order
I used Traktor to help identify the BPM of all the tracks. If you don’t have any audio software, just manually gauge the energy level on a scale of 50-150 for an approximation. My set started with my lowest BPM (79) and gradually worked its way up (with a few tweaks) to finish with my quickest song (126bpm).

Configure your crossfade
Using winamp? I suggest the SqrSoft crossfade plugin. Using iTunes? Even easier; if you left the default settings, your crossfade is already working, though you may want to tweak it in Preferences.

Play it!
Run through it at least once, in its entirety. Watch your levels, some songs are louder than others. iTunes has a fix for this called ‘Sound Check’; try it. Write on a notecard which songs have levels that stick out so you can tweak ’em with your mixer. Otherwise, you’re ready to go!

Well it’s about time for a finished product!

Grab my ‘Breeze and Sweat’ mix.

Like my How To? Be a cool kid and Digg This.

Summer Americana

Monday, July 24th, 2006 by Andrew Ladd

bluegrass // folk

I’ve never seen Cletus and the Burners live, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how it would go down. They’re from Ithaca, so the crowd would be equal parts aging hippies and youthful hipsters; the light in the room would be a dusty, dark brown; and the air would be lazily floating around, disturbed by a couple of asthmatic ceiling fans. Oh, and the music would be really good. (I’ve never seen Jill Sobule live, either, though I was once on the other side of a stone cellar wall from one of her shows. Her tiny voice didn’t carry, but the cheers from the audience did.)

Good ol’ fashioned music.
Cletus & The Burners – Five Dollar Rag
Jill Sobule – Lucky In Love (track 8 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
buy cletus buy jill

Captain Planet

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006 by Paul Irish

dance funk // world breakbeat

Hopefully by now you’ve dropped by Captain’s Crate, the blog of Charlie Bethel, aka NYC’s Captain Planet. The Cap’n has been pushing his eclectic and diverse soundset at parties across The Big Apple for years. His sound is similar to the upbeat jams from Nickodemus, The Theivery Corporation, and Quantic, taking in the best of afrobeat, samba, dancehall, hip hop and house. ‘The Don’ is off his recently released Gumbo Funk EP and features a tight amalgamation of world dance music with serious ass-shaking bounce to it.

They say, “a cross-cultural cornucopia of sound.” I say, straight fire.
Captain Planet – The Don (track 2 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
buy this cd