Archive for December, 2007


December 24, 2007

allright, i am somewhat behind schedule, i.e. i wanted to post quite a lot more (and quite a bit of text to balance all that music). but then life does not always go the way i want it to. actually it never does – right? and right now i am already hiding somewhere in the snow for the next couple of days – so you just get this little post to keep you entertained for the coming days.


so it’s already this time of the year of presents and all that again – so you, dear reader, will get a present, too. a very nice one, i might add. i thought – regardless of what you do or do not celebrate at this time of the year you could use some beauty, some deepness, something that combines flavours from all over the world, some breathtaking voices: some dead can dance!

and not just some recording, but a fantastic live-recording that has been published as a limited edition cd (and which is sold out, of course). so the quality is excellent, the music and the playing and singing is of course too – but well, you are missing the beautiful packaging…

so here you get part one of dead can dance live in lille, france, 2005. and here you get part two.

and if you would like more information on the artists, see what other limited edition recordings you can still buy from them (and they are worth every penny) and which ones you missed, please visit their website.

so something to listen to for later, when the overexcited kids are finally in bed and you made yourself another mug of whatever hot stuff you like and you sit in the living room with the candles slowly burning down and the fulll moon is shining outside and you start reminiscing tenderly…



December 19, 2007





hall, douglas kent: prison tattoos, st. martin’s press, n.y., 1997

request – talk talk, live

December 17, 2007

not much i can say about talk talk that has not been said (written, repectively) already. a great band already in their “pop period” – and even more interesting when they committed commercial suicide and made extremly unique and beautiful music. if you are not familiar with their body of work, and you should be!, then i recommend you head over to stefan of paris for a full overview. as a bonus you get mark hollis‘ solo record. absolutely fantastic stuff.

UPDATE: for more “music after talk talk” i recommend you visit un avis en passant. you have the chance again to download mark hollis and both records by o’rang (talk talk without mark hollis). definitly recommended!

but let’s get back to the request: i heard that there are talk talk bootlegs (i.e. unauthorized live recordings) around but i never came across one. but lately the in the vaults-blog posted a live recording of talk talk at the hammersmith odeon, london, from 08-05-1986.


interested? get it here. or get it here.

i offered over at the vaults to put up the only official talk talk live recording: talk talk – london 1986.



the offer has been taken up – so get it here. and enjoy! and since i have it from somewhere off the net: thank’s to the original uploader.

and while we’re at it: i think the next ones comes from the nice people over at sfrp – it is a
talk talk live
recording from 1984 in holland. also a great quality bootleg – the tracklist reads as follows:

01. Such A Shame
02. My Foolish Friend
03. Have You Heard The News
04. The Party’s Over
05. Dum Dum Girl
06. Tomorrow Started
07. It’s My Life
08. Talk Talk
09. Call In The Night Boy
10. Hate
11. Mirror Man
12. Does Caroline Know
13. Renee

get it here.

so – that should be enough talk talk live for the moment (well, more i do not have, anyway…).

et hop! impending doom is no reason not to have relaxed beats

December 16, 2007

obviously the impending apocalypse is no reason to get all excited – it seems that there is enough time to do at least another blunt…

the obsession with doom and the apocalypse does usually not make for good books, and rarely for good movies – but it does seem it is a sure sign for interesting music. my personal theory concerning this has to do with the blunt: if we believe the old & wise rastas, weed makes you very receptive for these kind of ideas – and weed seems to help make good music, too. hm, i will have to think about this theory a little bit more and get the opinions of some experts, too…

so i do not know if mood are into weed or not – but they sure made a stunning album, doom.


an album that has been played by me over and over again – an album i rarely tire of – and which still sounds fresh and relevant – and still is, i think. relaxed, smooth – but also eery. the apocalypse rarely sounded that friendly… but be not fooled: the apocalypse is pending, nevertheless.

so if you dare, here the album doom by mood. ripped from vinyl@224. and now relax and accept the inevitable…

et hop! everyone has a secret…

December 15, 2007

…mine is the fire when the city sleeps.


slowly we move into somewhat darker territory – but i wanted to start completly different:

yeah, there is jazzy hip hop. usually that means a lot of jazz samples and a kind of earthy and/or nostalgic feel. oh, and miles davis made a hip hop record (although it has been finished after he passed away).

and then there is mc 900 ft jesus. i always thought he must have an education as jazz musician – although i can not really pinpoint down why – something to do with his, eerr, music sensibility, i guess (and with the music, of course). all while inventing somehow his own world – a strange world, sure. especially in hip hop i am attracted to these artists which create through their music and/or lyrics their own unique world – and mc 900 ft jesus certainly does this. he made three records which are all somewhat different – but all three of them are strange in a fascinating way (well, the first one is somewhat less interesting). music with a slightly eery feel and rather mad lyrics – yes, exactly my cup of tea. so as an introduction to his world here the cd-single to his great song the city sleeps. you get the radio edit, the vocal remix, the clarinet remix, and an instrumental version. ripped as mp3’s @224. get it here.

what he does now i do not know – there have been rumours on the net that he might become activ as mc 900 ft jesus again – but proof is still outstanding. if anybody knows more – drop me a line.

and now: welcome to his dream!

BONUS: yes, welcome. welcome to my dream that album is actually called. get it here. enjoy!

UPDATE: just goes to show that i should do better research… sigh. for everybody too lazy looking at the comments: krab klaw kock (aaahhh, that alias is really making me think in interesting directions) informs us that all his albums are up on

thank you! and i very much recommend one step ahead of the spider – i do find that album somewhat more psychedelic and trippy – and yes, one of the most, hm, remarkable? daring? cool? opener for a record…

transition: heroïne

December 13, 2007

gorgeous nico. sad nico. nico the topmodel (although the term did not exist at that time). nico the singer with the deep voice. nico the singer with that german accent. nico the junkie. nico the real chelsea girl.

aaahhh – nico is definitly one of the great (underground) icons – she made rather dark, sometimes nearly scary music, appealing through time to people from andy warhol (who brought her into velvet underground) to john cale (who worked with her on numerous occassions) to joy division (she covered some of their sings and worked with their producer) to alain delon (with whom she had a child who is rumoured to be the father of her child – too funny that this illegimite son looks exactly like alain delon) to marc almond (with whom she recorded her last song – a duet on his record the stars we are – the inner sleeve shows some nices shots of them together shooting some pool).

somehow i feel that she fits right here quite nicely in this row of interesting artists with unique voices, living (part) of their lives on the fast lane – being no strangers to the darker sides of live. and she makes for a nice transition into the darker tinged sides of a certain musical style that will come up next… and i wanted to post it since quite a while, anyway.

next to her official releases there are many many many bootlegs of nico around – always have been – i guess she always has been a favourite of the crowd also interested in bootlegs. and hearing her sing and wail and declame on live recordings has a special kind of chilling effect…

so this time you get one of the lesser known bootlegs (at least i haven’t seen it around on the www)- it is actually a collection of different recordings from different times called death & the maiden, it’s a vinyl bootleg, issued by the nico appreciation society in holland, limited to 500 copies on coloured vinyl (yep, it’s numbered by hand) and is already remarkable for its cover, showing nico as a very young woman with still blond (and short) hair, taken by jeanloup sieff. later she let her hair grow and tinted it jet-black…fitting the dark style of her music.


the tracklist reads as follows:

Side 1
1. Improvisation (cale/morrison/nico/reed/tucker), with the velvet undergound at e.p.i. show, columbus, ohio, november 1966
2. Vuelo Quimico (michel huygen) with neuronium, 1978
3. Secret Side / The Extension Of The Eye (nico), cbgb’s, new york, 19/2/1979
4. No One Is There (nico), live 1970 with john cale
Side 2
1. Saeta (nico/quilichini), john peel 9/1981
2. Purple Lips (+interview) (nico), french tv, 26/4/1975
3. Child’s Christmas In Wales (cale), live with john cale in new york, 16/6/1979
4. New York, New York (f. ebb/j. kander), live in new york, 12/8/1981
5. Chelsea Girls (+interview) (morrison/reed), hotel room demo
6. I’m Not Sayin’ (lightfoot), immediate single, 1965
7. The Last Mile (oldham/page), immediate single, 1965
8. Purple Lips (nico), live bremen, 5/11/1987

yes, it is a varied collection: from the rather noisy first rack with velvet underground we go to the faszinating second track which is a synthsoundscape (think tangerine dream) with just some words spoken to rather odd live recordings (new york, new york) to her folksy early singles to the last track, a beautiful version of purple lips, which strange enough reminds me somehow of dead can dance. and then there are also some little snippets of her talking thrown in… this might all sound rather wild – but it is actually nice, because it does not insist (like many nico bootlegs) on a dark & doom atmopshere. somehow it is like listening to “nico radio”. the quality ranges from o.k. to pretty a degree amazingly so, since 1. there are so many really grotty nico bootlegs around, 2. it is pressed on coloured vinyl, which usually isn’t such good quality as the black one, and 3. they filled both sides to the brim with music, which also does not enhance the qualitiy of the pressing. but regardless of all that, it is a very nice record, and i think a very interesting one, too.

but listen for yourself! you can get Nico – Death & the Maiden, ripped from vinyl@224, here.

for more nico you can of course search the net (there is a lot of stuff around), or you can obtain the very interesting and very good movie by susan ofteringer nico icon, which is available on dvd. here the link to the production firm, and here a link to see some excerpts of the movie.

UPDATE: more nico in the comments!

request: gianna, aller guten dinge sind drei

December 13, 2007

allright – it’s a somewhat cheesy title. but then i just listened to some bobby o – and after that nothing seems to be that cheesy anymore.


so – the gianna nannini request has expanded to a trilogy – with a rather spectacular finishing post: a live bootleg! i have been searching for live recordings of la gianna – but never ever came across one (not even in italy). well, there is a good official live record out by her (tutto live) – but it’s already something like 20 years old. so i was unable to obtain a live recording from her aria tour (yes, i insist that this might be the best record she made so far, although by doing some research on her i found out that everybody seems to dislike it), i’ve seen her perform live on that tour, too, and was very much impressed. well, a bootleg of one of her acoustic concerts would certainly be very nice, too. including a pic of the little hot violin player, please. and while we’re at it: his phonenumber, as well.

but for the time being i have been digging in my crates with tapes and came up with a recording capturing her performance on july 13th, 1991 at the jazzfestival montreux. a very tight performance, very rock (yeah, sometimes i am not sure about these guitars – but it was definitly the sound back then) – and the crowd is definitly going for it. but then gianna nannini has a stunning stage personality. and the jazzfestival montreux is very often able to give the concerts a very celebratory note. as a little extra there is a short guest appearance by les frères coulibaly who played after her on that evening – yes, the programming in montreux is sometimes rather, hm, interesting.

the recording (obviously a recording of a radio broadcast, so the quality is pretty good) is ripped from tape as two mp3 files @224. and no, i made no tracklisting – but be not afraid, the essential hits are on it (as long as it has ragazzo del europa on it, which it does, i’m fine). so get that rarity, gianna nannini live at the jazzfestival montreux in 1991 here.

and remember: if you come across another live recording of one of her performances, or his phonenumber, let me know!

and now enjoy gianna’s live-energy!

UPDATE: one just has to wish for it… the ultimate bootleg experience just posted another gianna nannini bootleg. a more recent one from her grazie tour, recorded this summer in lugano, switzerland. get it here!


request: gianna, the second

December 13, 2007

ha – you already thought that this is all by gianna for now? wrong. also rather unknown and published before her breakthrough is her second record, una radura…


although it has been re-editioned once as cd, some time ago her website listed this record as out of print, too (and her record puzzle, which i find somewhat, well, puzzling since it has been one of her very successfull ones). although she could have re-issued it this year as “special 30 year edition” or so – since that seems to be really fashionable these days… but then she publishes a best of record these days – although i doubt that anything from the first two records will be on that best of.

una radura… is already more, hm, animated then her first record. fuller instrumentation, more dynamic, also in her use of the voice. and yes, it has some very good songs on it. and i would be very curious to find out what someone that has no or little knowledge of italian pop / rock music thinks about this record. this because i was musing the other day that the internet is far from being able to lift all the borders – the moment there is a language border, distribtuion of music sometimes seems to become difficult? so, if you are curious enough to dowload it, although you have absolutely no connection to “the italian” – let me know what you think…

so here you get gianna nannini, una radura…

ripped track by track as mp3’s from vinyl@224. enjoy!


bessie von brühl – the comtess sings the blues

December 12, 2007



bessie von brühl – a comtess, indeed. originally from the south of germany, she lived in quite some places, most important in munich, in vienna, and now (i think) in the emmental in switzerland. i met her through my then lover, a good friend of hers. yes, she talks a lot, she used to drink a lot (alcohol seemed to evaporate around her), and laugh a lot. and yes, she’s quite the drama queen. i guess she rather comes from the breed of artists that want to experience something themselves for their art – to a degree one could draw comparisons to the wild time of gianna nannini – or many an artist, for that matter. and did she experience things – she could keep you up all night with her stories. some funny, some sad, some hilarious and some rather lewd ones. yes, she was the one introducing me to francois villon.

the lady not only sings and plays the piano, she also writes prosa, and cookbooks, seemingly, paints and draws and organized at the time the erotic weeks in vienna. i did go out with her and her then husband (whom she despises these days – i found him then in an interesting way quite seducing. and to my amusement i found out that he still wears his trademark glasses. interesting to note also that he was the first artist i bought a work of art from – just why did he not become famous yet?) when i was in vienna at the time – pfuuh… quite an experience. but hey, it was fun. sometimes in a twisted way… i witnessed at that stay also a concert of hers in front of a rather disinterested yuppie-crowd – and bessie got pissed on red wine mixed with cola (they do that there, yes) and started insulting the public in between the songs. quite funny – and quite scary. i’ve seen her live a couple of times – usually, with amiable public, her concerts were a lot of fun – bessie singing her songs and telling 1001 story – well, she definitly lived the blues. stories of her grandmother being surprised that black americans do not have violet sperm (i kid you not), stories of her working in a brothel as a lesbian prostitute (hm, the lesbian part was not always included in the story, though), stories of her mean ex-husband cheating on pimps (i heard some other side to that story, but then i guess that’s a touchy subject) and in general having quite some more tales of the lowlife. most charming.

so you see – she does stand somehow in the tradition of francois villon – and also composed a song with one of his ballads for lyrics.

i totally lost contact with her – well, i lost contact with my former lover, to be more precise. but i heard that she moved to the peace of switzerland (escaping that mean husband – but then U told me another story – not less scary) and seems to still live there.

at the moment there seems to be no recording of hers available – but i do have a real schmankerl for you. a couple of songs recorded live circa 1989 in switzerland (lucerne?) for a promotional cd, if i remember correctly. i taped this at the time – and digitised the tape now for your pleasure.

so here you get bessie von brühl – live, just her with a piano. six songs in german and english. the tracklist is as follows – be aware that the song titles have been partly invented by me:

1. mona lisa
2. the party is over now
3. prinzessin auf dem mond
4. verehrt und angespien
5. i tried to write a love song
6. good night jesus

unfortunately these are just a handful of songs, not a concert in its integrity. so the usual chatting and storytelling is missing. but you can hear her chat on this rather recent podcast from summer 2006 – in german. this might give you an idea of her persona…

and here the link to the very nice website of the photographer hans peter muff who took the picture of her i put at the beginning of this post.



digging deep i came up with the original tape, the official release (well, i somewhat seem to remember that it was for promotional purposes only) of gräfin bessie von brühl – live. and this time you get even 4 songs more. recorded at the boa-halle, lucerne, on 27.12.1990. ripped from tape@224, the coverscans are included. and the (this time correct) tracklisting is as follows:

1. die ballade von den vogelfreien
2. no comtesse
3. dying swans
4. subways
5. good nite jesus
6. ich bin mona lisa
7. black widow
8. party is over now
9. susan
10. prinzessin auf dem mond


and yeah, digging deep sometimes brings up even more, even older things: i also found a tape with 7 songs that must have been recorded some time in the 1980s: beside her voice and the piano we also hear a really cheap drum machine and YEAH! these now again super-cool (and badly emulated) cheap 80’s synth sounds on some songs. very charming and suddenly terribly hip again, i think. and so authentic.

also ripped from tape – but neither cover nor tracklist (the title is NOT naturakt – that’s another band and another story alltogether) i nevertheless am very proud to be able to make this available to you, dear reader! get it here.


BONUS: back in the days, bessie brühl actually toured and recorded some songs with austrian, hm, fictious / real artist ostbahn kurti (it’s kind of complicated – i might make a post about him some time – or some reader could inform us accordingly). one of these songs was rendevouz. here the live version, featuring bessie brühl. and yes, it is a springsteen cover…

now i only hope that her music has a renaissance…

Update II: as i have been asked various times: i do not know how to contact her. she used to write articles for a free newspaper in lucerne, switzerland a while ago and i once heard that she lives somewhere on the countryside between lucerne and berne… but then that is also quite a while ago…

real gangsta: francois villon

December 11, 2007

hm, maybe not a gangster, but a thief, a thug, a vagabond… and a poet.

it was clear that after hadcore hip hop i had to post something, well, strong. so i thought it might would be interesting to go back in time a little bit and introduce you to someone who lived his live in disrespect of authority and the law. and made ballads, telling about it.

curtain up for: francois villon. “a little bit back” means actually 15th century. yep, and already then poets sung of the life in prisons, of way too much wine, of the pleasures to be found through fornication, of whores (and pimping them), and – translated into today’s language – of “fuck the police”. of death (through hanging), of the sorrow of the easy ladies that age and lose their beauty and drie up and of the corrupted powerful. in short about the lowlife.

Ballade de Bonne Doctrine (1461)
“Tout aux tavernes et aux filles…”

See Notes below for translation of the translation!


Suppose you screeve, or go cheap-jack ?
Or fake the broads ? or fig a nag ?
Or thimble-rig ? or knap a yack ?
Or pitch a snide ? or smash a rag ?
Suppose you duff ? or nose and lag ?
Or get the straight, and land your pot ?
How do you melt the multy swag ?
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.


Fiddle, or fence, or mace, or mack;
Or moskeneer, or flash the drag;
Dead-lurk a crib, or do a crack;
Pad with a slang, or chuck a fag;
Bonnet, or tout, or mump and gag;
Rattle the tats, or mark the spot
You cannot bank a single stag:
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.


Suppose you try a different tack,
And on the square you flash your flag ?
At penny-a-lining make your whack,
Or with the mummers mug and gag ?
For nix, for nix the dibbs you bag
At any graft, no matter what!
Your merry goblins soon stravag:
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.

The Moral

It’s up-the-spout and Charley-Wag
With wipes and tickers and what not!
Until the squeezer nips your scrag,
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.


Stanza I, line I. Screeve = provide (or work with) begging-letters.
Line 2. Fake the broads = pack the cards.
Fig a nag
= make an old horse seem lively with a fig stuffed with ginger stuck up its arse.

Line 3. Knap a yack = steal a watch.
Line 4. Pitch a snide = pass a false coin. Smash a rag = change a false note.
Line 5. Duff = sell sham smugglings. Nose and lag = collect evidence for the police.
Line 6. Get the straight = get the office, and back a winner.
Line 7. Multy (expletive) = bloody.
Line 8. Booze and the blowens cop the lot = drink and debauchery (i.e. syphilis) will kill you off.

Stanza II, line 1. Fiddle = swindle. Fence = deal in stolen goods. Mace = welsh. Mack = pimp.
Line 2. Moskeneer = to pawn for more than the pledge is worth.
Flash the drag
= wear women’s clothes for an improper purpose.
Line 3. Dead-lurk a crib = house-break in church time. Do a crack -burgle with violence.
Line 4. Pad with a slang = tramp with a show.
Line 5. Mump and gag = beg and talk.
Line 6. Tats = dice. Spot, (at billiards).
Line 7. Stag = shilling.

Stanza III, line 2. Flash your flag = sport your apron.
Line 4. Mug = make faces.
Line 5. Nix = nothing.
Line 6. Graft = trade.
Line 7. Goblins = sovereigns. Stravag = go astray.

The Moral: Up the spout and Charley Wag = expressions of dispersal.
Line 2. Wipes = handkerchiefs. Tickers = watches.
Line 3. Squeezer = halter or hangman’s noose. Scrag = neck.

SOURCE – link

i definitly love his poetry – very strong – sometimes very dark, sometimes very ironic it is amazing that it still survives to this day – and seems to keep its strength. as with many artists, his popularity actually rised after his death – never forgotten, he was seemingly rather popular in the 16th century and then again in the 19th century with poets like verlain, rimbaud and baudelaire seeing themselves in this tradition of the poète maudit.

and up to this day for me his poems echo in many works – relating to works presented on this blog i would like to mention jean genet and marc almond. and although linking it to gangsta hip hop might be a little bit far fetched, it does remind me of the more interesting hard hip hop, the one that is not primarily interested in asserting some enormously blown up ego and blagging about how bling bling one’s life is, but describing this gangster life, maybe even glorifying it – but with the right dose of humour and awarness that there is a gritty side to it, too (i am thinking for example of hell hath no fury by clipse – definitly gritty. and an excellent production by mister pharell. if you want a listen, here a link. thanks to the original uploader!)

so if you want to get started with francois villon – there are a couple of english translations around – yep, time to visit your bookstore. for an introduction to his life, wikipedia is a good starting point – there you’ll also find some interesting links.

another good starting point is la société villon – a collection of links to his work in french, translations in other languages, and more.

if you would like his complete poems in french, you can visit the project gutenberg.

and now we come to villon in german – after all that was how i first read his poems. but in germany the poetry of francois villon has a somewhat different story and their popularity is closely linked to two names: klaus kinski and paul zech. yeah, klaus kinski, the mad one of the great german actors. a great actor and – truly mad. he actually recorded some poems by francois villon (in their german translation) and made them hugely popular – the most famous might be “dein roter erdbeermund”. and here we come to the special twist in the german reception of francois villon. the most popular translation is by the german author paul zech. he lived in the first half of the 20th century and is basically known for his translation of francois villon. the twist in the story is: he less translated then re-created francois villon’s poems – and some, that in this form have not been written by monsieur villon – ironically enough dein roter erbeermund seems to be pure paul zech… of course this has been critisized many times – another critisism has been that his translations have taken out some of the lewdness of the original poems. on the other hand paul zech’s poems have a beautiful strong language to it. a language that made them certainly (also for me) very accessible and powerfull. and there remains the question how poems can be translated at all? so francois villon is in the german speaking countries filtered through paul zech. if you would like to read his nachdichtungen nach francois villon you can either get the paperback or do so online – here. one of these i am especially fond of – it has been the ballad of villon that i’ve read first, my introduction to his work – is die ballade von den vogelfreien – kinski recorded it under the title of verehrt und angespien:

Die Ballade von den Vogelfreien
Autor: François Villon

Vor vollen Schüsseln muss ich Hungers sterben,
am heissen Ofen frier ich mich zu Tod,
wohin ich greife fallen nichts als Scherben,
bis zu den Zähnen geht mir schon der Kot.
Und wenn ich lache, habe ich geweint,
und wenn ich weine, bin ich froh,
dass mir zuweilen auch die Sonne scheint,
als könnte ich im Leben ebenso
zerknirscht wie in der Kirche niederknien…
ich, überall verehrt und angespien.

Nichts scheint mir sichrer als das nie Gewisse,
nichts sonnenklarer als die schwarze Nacht.
Nur das ist mein, was ich betrübt vermisse,
und was ich liebte, hab ich umgebracht.
Selbst wenn ich denk, dass ich schon gestern war,
bin ich erst heute abend zugereist.
Von meinem Schädel ist das letzte Haar
zu einem blanken Mond vereist.
Ich habe kaum ein Feigenblatt, es anzuziehn…
ich, überall verehrt und angespien.

Ich habe dennoch soviel Mut zu hoffen,
dass mir sehr bald die ganze Welt gehört,
und stehn mir wirklich alle Türen offen,
schlag ich sie wieder zu, weil es mich stört,
dass ich aus goldnen Schüsseln fressen soll.
Die Würmer sind schon toll nach meinem Bauch,
ich bin mit Unglück bis zum Halse voll
und bleibe unter dem Holunderstrauch,
auf den noch nie ein Stern herunterschien,
François Villon, verehrt und angespien.

and if you would like to listen to a collection of francois villon’s / paul zech’s poems, i ripped you lasterhafte lieder / jazz und francois villon spoken by the german actor richard lauffen over jazz fragments (by charlie parker, george gershwin, django reinhardt, sergio mihanovich, benny goodman, john lewis, dizzy gillespie and milt jackson).


ripped from vinyl@224 as two mp3-tracks (side a / side b) you can get it here. enjoy!

according to the liner notes, the underlying of these ballads and poems with jazz was to demonstrate the still contemporary character of villon’s texts – rightly so, i think. and here we can close the circle again – to my knowledge a couple of other musicians have taken to the task to combine villon’s words with music – but wouldn’ it be time for hip hop to acknowledge one of its less obvious sources?


You bible-sharps that thump on tubs, false clerics
You lurkers on the Abram-sham, beggar feigning sickness
You sponges miking round the pubs, cadgers loafing
You flymy titters fond of flam, saucy girls; trivial things
You judes that clobber for the stramm, women dress; game
You ponces good at talking tall,
With fawneys on your dexter famm – rings; right hand
A mot’s good-night to one and all! whore’s


Likewise you molls that flash your bubs whores
For swells to spot and stand you sam, pay for
You bleeding bonnets, pugs, and subs, gamblers’ decoys; boxers
You swatchel-coves that pitch and slam. Punch-and-Judy-men
You magsmen bold that work the cram, pattering tradesman; crowd
You flats and joskins great and small, marsh-dwellers & country bumpkins
Gay grass-widows and lawful-jam – wife
A mot’s good-night to one and all!


For you, you coppers, narks, and dubs, police-informers; warders
Who pinched me when upon the snam, when I was thieving
And gave me mumps and mulligrubs “the blues”
With skilly and swill that made me clam, refuse food
At you I merely lift my gam – leg
I drink your health against the wall! piss
That is the sort of man I am,
A mot’s good-night to one and all!

The Farewell

Paste ’em, and larrup ’em, and lamm!
Give Kennedy, and make ’em crawl! thrash them and make them stir
I do not care one bleeding damn,
A mot’s good-night to one and all!

SOURCE – link

et hop! some pointers

December 10, 2007

time to point you in the direction of some music – since i haven’t posted that much hip hop to listen to (yet).

if you want some more oldschool hip hop:

rho-xs is posting quite some gems – as an introduction you might go here.

then music-hole, a, hm, eclectic music blog, posted not too long ago some grandmaster flash, public enemy (at the mazzo, amsterdam!) and the last show of a tribe called quest. get it here.

and now let’s go to the blogs that focus on hip hop. of course there must be zillions of hip hop sites on the net – i picked out the two i read regularly – these are the two music blogs i would like to recommend:

leave your nine at home: blog of a very knowledgeable hip hop-lover. all kinds of hip hop in many languages – american, english, french, spanish, swiss, and beyond. yeah, a lot to listen to and a lot to learn… very nice!

urbanbology: finally i can give you a pointer to this excellent blog (although it’s on my blogroll for quite a while). not a “pure” hip hop blog – as it states. open minded. this is also shown in the awareness that music does have social and political aspects. you guessed it right: it is this kind of mixture that attracts me very much. yeah, it’s a bit annoying because it is another one of these blogs where i have the feeling i have to listen to more or less everything that gets posted. well, i have to admit that i love it. yep, one of my favourites. much respect! and should you still not get it: highly recommended!

et hop! the gangsta as the real whore

December 10, 2007

i mentioned in the “et hop! fight the power” post that one of the first two hip hop-records i bought was public enemy’s yo! bum rush the show. the other one was n.w.a.‘s 100 miles and running. yeah, another record with a lot of wumms. musically less screeching and more forward then public enemy, i was intrigued how hard and at the same time funky these beats were. and to a degree the whole vulgarity was quite , hmmm, exciting (there is a track teaching how to suck)? to give you an idea how that sounded at the time, here nwa‘s track 100 miles and running (and there is, odd enough, some trash-drag in it):

i never liked fuck tha police, though, that “hymn” n.w.a. is most known for. i actually hated it – less because of the song, but of the effects. suddenly you had in europe all these little kids moaning about “police brutality” and how unfairly society treated them – this all between having the mos luxurious brackets for their teeth, spenfing a vulgar amount of money on video games, getting higher education and spending their winter holidays skiing in switzerland. silly – and annoying. little did i know that they were somehow right – just read by what the song fuck that police was inspired by – here. so that was how gangsta hip hop for me was starting…

to mention, while we are writing about n.w.a., is that one member, dr. dre, became one of the most influental hip hop producers. all the other members made also successfull records as solo artists – and ice cube even made the transition to actor and played successfully in quite a number of movies. on a sadder note there is also a link to the post “aids and music”. eazy-e was the first (and to my knowledge the last – at least officially) hip hop musician that died of the consequences of aids.

so slowly hip hop not only was party and social commentary, but produced a subgenre which got extremly sucessfull – gangsta hip hop. the celebration of gangster life, of drugs, whores, and guns. luxury and living on the fast lane. while the early stuff like n.w.a. was somewhat juvenile, this style got more and more refined – and i got really into the so-called west coast sound. large music, very fat produced, ideal for the car. i did like ice cube (and saw a really good show of his), and was of course really impressed by the notorious big – hey, this was really over the top with a big budget – the video to his song hypnotize was really introducing a new level of slickness into music-videos.

and then there was, and very much still is, my favourite gangsta, snoop doggy dog. you have to adore him only for his hair. yes, i do have a very soft spot for men with plaits. and his song juice ‘n’ gin was a big favourite of mine at the time.

and well, snoop doggy dog has humour. something i started to miss more and more in the harder hip hop productions. i still believe that most gangsta hip hop is less inspired by what happens on the streets, but rather by all the mafia movies of the seventies and eighties – catholic glitz and that rather tribal understanding of your “family”, or gang, respectively. well, snoop doggy dog seemed to be rather inspired by blaxploitation – but not taking it too seriously. others took it very seriously – to the point where “eastcoast” and “westcoast” actually started to kill each other. somehow fantasy became brutal reality. for all you intellectuals: the symbolic had to appear in the real. the attempts to be “authentic” became deadly. yep, that became in my eyes one of the major problems of the gangsta’s: authenticity. and authenticity took on the function, “normal” is used in wider society (see the “virtually normal” post). gangsta hiphop suddenly became this extremly controlled space, where what was accepted and what not got rigorously controlled. all that made it less…fun.

it took all the humour, every ambiguity out of it and made innovation a rather difficult task. innovation on the lyrical level, that is. and well, bragging is fun – but also quickly tiring…

musically, it is interesting to observe that hip hop actually went the way of many mainstream genres: innovation is produced by a handfull of big name producers – the most important ones i guess are dr. dre, timbaland and the neptunes, i.e. chad hugo and pharrell williams. so we can get back to snoop dog – here together with pharell. i still find it a really great track. this radically stripped down aesthetic – musically as well as visually – love it. so here their hit drop it like its hot:

so for me one problem of gangsta hip hop is this fixation on authenticity. but then this is for me not only a problem in hip hop – folk for example constructs its authenticity also very often rather rigid – and it is sometimes driving me mad. if i hear another girl / boy with an acoustic guitar singing with “real honesty” totally silly, “personal” lines, i’m gonna, to cite björk “tickle them to death” or so… (n, you know what i’m talking about: if you were a sailboat!). the same is true for indie rock, heavy metal etc. etc.. i’m aware that authenticity always gets constructed according to certain rules – and sometimes i disagree with these rules, sometimes i do not understand them and sometimes i even suffer directly under them.

and here we are on the touchy subject of hip hop’s mysoginy, anitsemitism and homophobia. allright, it is a crass generalisation to say that this holds true for all hip hop – and as most gemeralisations also very untrue (which we already saw and will see in the coming posts). and hip hop is not the only musical genre where this occurs – but then i am not too much into heavy metal, redneck country or dancehall – so there it disturbs me less…by not listening to it i am not confronted with it. by listening to hip hop i am confronted with it, sometimes. and the other problem of insisting on authenticity is that criticism is not possible – if these lyrics are about ones “real self”, how can i criticize them? there are no grounds for it – except by attacking that person personally. so discussion about lyrics is suddenly not possible. yep, authenticity as a defence mechanism.

so i do not want to judge prematurely and also not judge a whole musical genre. but a lot what now seems to be taken today as “hip hop culture” seems to foster growth of this aggressivity towards certain social groups – it seems even to need it. music very often takes also the function to generate social groups. giving a sense of community. the problem comes when this construction of a community is based on excluding. yeah, we’ve come a long way since the zulu-nation.

and this is for me a rather important point. compared to the early techno-scene in europe, which (at least in theory) welcomed anyone that liked the music, gangsta hip hop is quick to exclude you if you don’t seem to fit as a person – by the looks, by your background, age, gender, sexual orientation. yeah, music can not only cross borders, it can also create borders…

well, gangsta hip hop had a certain downfall sometime in the mid, late nineties – but it came back with a vengeance and established itself as one of the bestselling genres in hip hop. that has certainly a lot to do with eminem (produced by dr. dre). and with the commercial rise of the gangsta, its cricism also became stronger. interesting with eminem i find that his line of defence against criticism accusing him of mysoginy and homophobia was that not he was saying this, but his evil alter ego slim shady. what i find funny is that by doing that, he should actually have stated (and somehwo did) that he is doing art – but i think that the demands for authenticity, for keeping it real, do not allow him to talk of his lyrics as art. as art it would loose its specific, individual authenticity.

the other most mentioned point in a critique of gangsta hip hop is its glorification of violence and its vulgarity. to a degree i find this somewhat naïve – sex and violence have always been topics in (popular) music culture. from francois villon to opera to johnny cash. the whole talk about the bad influence of this music on the youth of today seems somehow a little bit moldy. this kind of criticism has benn uttered so often in the course of history, it seems to me a little bit worn.

so i think most critique of gangsta hip hop falls short – be it by not fully analyzing it, be it because it is rather easy to scapegoat a musical genre for whatever malaise in society there is.don’t get me wrong – i do share the disgust of the rather stupid identity construction of many a hip hopper via a rather ridiculous masculinity. and i agree that it should not be accepted. but another point disturbs me at least as much. ft summed it up rather nicely: “although they talk all the time about their ho’s and whores and talk about / show females generally in degrading ways, for me the gangstas are the real whores.” so while there is this image of “public enemy number one” and the real thug, pretending to be anti-society, all these attitudes seem to be very well compatible with society. and these musicians drive also a development to see music purely as product. marketed to a target group. so i only have a tired smile left for anybody pretending that mainstream hip hop is “youth culture”. all it is is having youth as target audience. and as a rather telling symptom for me there were this year the mtv video awards: both (the american, as well as the european) looked not like an award show, but like the meeting of successful entrepreneurs in slick suits (what it actually is). so i guess the un-easyness of a lot of people with gangsta hip hop is its radical commercialisation – and not even (like other forms of popular (popular in the sense of mass-marketed) music) trying to mask it, but actually insisting on it. all while cynically making the product more appealling through violence and sex. nothing really new (we are back at the mafia and blaxploitation movies – or at tarantino, if you want) – but new in its forcefulness.

so for me hip hop is just the most obvious genre glorifiing a ruthless, competitive capitalism where everything and everybody is product, all the while exploiting the possibility of music to produce emotion and identification to make more bucks. and only that. well, i guess i am really a moralist. but then isn’t everybody who is a lover, be it only a music lover?

and then there is one point we might better think about: do we not get the music we deserve?

and this is the moment to send you over to the inspiring and excellent article in praise of assholes by greg tate, analysing the success of the two mega-selling artist 50 cent and kanye west.

to finish that post on a lighter note – all while showing how clear-sighted sometimes even a product can be one song by one of the few tough ladies, lil’ kim’s how many licks. you have to love it for this very postmodern idea of presenting herself as a kind of barbie doll (for adults, of course) in different editions, and having at the same time this extremly confident lyrics, well they just seem to be so…gay (and i know a really likes that one, too):

“How Many Licks”

Hold up
So what you’re saying is, oh
(Niggaz got me pissed like Lil’ Kim)
You want to get freaky again, aight
Oh, oh, oh, oh

[Lil’ Kim]
I’ve been a lot of places, seen a lot of faces
Ah hell I even fuck with different races
A white dude – his name was John
He had a Queen Bee Rules tattoo on his arm, uh
He asked me if I’d be his date for the prom
and he’d buy me a horse, a Porsche and a farm
Dan my nigga from Down South
Used to like me to spank him and cum in his mouth
And Tony he was Italian (Uh-huh)
And he didn’t give a fuck (Uh-huh)
That’s what I liked about him
He ate my pussy from dark till the mornin
Called his girl up and told her we was bonin
Puerto Rican papi, used to be a Deacon
But now he be sucking me off on the weekend
And this black dude I called King Kong
He had a big ass dick and a hurricane tongue

So, how many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Cause I’ve got to know)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

[Lil’ Kim]
This verse goes out to my niggaz in jail
Beatin they dicks to the double-X-L; Magazine (uhh)
You like how I look in the aqua green? Get your Vaseline
Roll some weed with some tissue and close your eyes
Then imagine your tongue in between my thighs
[*Moans*] Baby.. ohh.. yes ohh!
Jailer.. open up.. cell, block, eight
[*sexual sounds*]
Alright nigga, that’s enough
Stop, look and listen; get back to your position
Kim got your dick hard, startin fights in the yard
Hotter than a Pop Tart fresh out of the toaster
Niggaz do anything for a Lil’ Kim poster
Eses, Bloods, Crips, all the thugs
Up North in the hole, they all wanna know

How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me, ha)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me, oh yeah)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh, oh, oh)

[Lil’ Kim]
If you drivin in the street, hold on to your seat
Niggaz, grab your meat while I ride the beat
And if you see a shiny black Lamborghini fly by ya
(Shoom!) That’s me the Knight Rider
Dressed in all black with the gat in the lap
Lunatics in the street – gotta keep the heat
Sixty on the bezel, a hundred on the rings
Sittin pretty baby with a Cash Money bling
12 A.M. I’m on the way to club
After three bottles I’ll be ready to fuck
Some niggaz even put me on their grocery lists
Right next to the whip cream and box of chocolates
Designer pussy, my shit come in flavors
High-class taste niggaz got to spend paper
Lick it right the first time or you gotta do it over
Like it’s rehearsal for a Tootsie commercial

How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me, ha)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me, oh yeah)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh, oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Tell me)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Let me know, let me know)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh yeah)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Baby tell me)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?
(Oh, oh, oh)
How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?

request: gianna, the first

December 10, 2007

aaah, la gianna…

gianna nannini. one of the great italian singers. great and unique voice. great songs with great lyrics. powerful live persona. i kind of lost a little bit touch with her work in the nineties – to my ears it just sounded too overproduced. but then she came “back” with the stunning album aria.

but only lately i found out that she already made records before her breakthrough record california. her first record is from 1976 and simply titled gianna nannini. less rock, more singer / songwriter in a pop-way then her later work, it is actually a very nice record. so i do not understand why it has never been re-issued. requested by my favourite lesbian couple (gianna nannini has a devoted lesbian following, although she was (still is?) somewhat reluctant to to be a full-out lesbian…), i of course have to oblige (they might be petite and cute, but..).


i ripped it from vinyl@224 as mp3’s track by track. so get gianna nannini’s first record here. enjoy!

you’ll find her official website here.

and if you can catch her live: do it!

transparent sex

December 2, 2007