Monday, January 28, 2008

Tinariwen: Aman Iman

I first learned of Tinariwen back in 2001 at Hear Music in the Stanford Shopping Center. It was a tiny, unassuming CD boutique where you could listen to all the titles they carried before purchasing. The atmosphere was mellow, and although space was a commodity there, the selection never suffered. I mainly went there to browse their extensive International catalogue, which ran deep with African and Middle Eastern artists. If I couldn't make it out to Amoeba, this was a nice alternative.

Tinariwen's first CD had just been released, and it was a collection of sessions recorded at Radio Tisdas Studios in Kidal, Mali. I was immediately transfixed by the CD's striking cover photo of the sahra (or, sahara in English) - guess it's just the Arab in me. Regardless of the connection though, I knew I had to investigate further. What I uncovered was beyond expectation and triggered instant face-melting. This is Touareg rebel music. A swirling wind of melodies from warmly-amplified electric guitars, snaking their way from sand to speaker atop an organic bed of percussion and handclaps. The vibe was familiar and inviting, with uncompromising emotion. Track after track continued to invoke something in me - unique from songs passed. And after just a few, I had been swept away to this place without even looking back.

Now, seven years later, and with two more milestones under their belt, Tinariwen has been receiving a healthy spoonful of much deserved praise. And even under the weight of fame which they've amounted thus far, Tinariwen's music refuses to faulter. Their latest release, Aman Iman, shows the group reaching a new pinnacle of refinement and mobility within their craft. The album opens up with the infectious Cler Achel, its rolling bassline, funky guitar, handclaps, and call and response-styled vocals coaxing movement out of the stiffest of bodies. All the while, frontman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib's effortless voice always seems to hit just the right notes, transcending the Tamashek language which he uses to deliver them in.

Thereafter, the album progresses seamlessly and naturally. From the introspective re-recording of Matadjem Yinmixan to the push-pull rhythm of the sparse and entrancing Soixante Trois.

The playlist moves along speedily but not hurried, and before you know it, the closing track of Izarharh Tenere is easing its way out of the stereo with its soothing vocal-acoustic guitar interplay. Throughout the entire duration of Aman Iman, Tinariwen shines not only as a group of brilliant musicians, but as artisans of the highest calibre. When I listen to their music, I envision a simpler life where business is done with a handshake, and friendship is
solidified with a glass of mint tea.

I like mine sweet, so keep the sugar coming, fellas. Until next time...

"Sahtayn!" (Enjoy!)

Cler Achel
Mano Dayak
Matadjem Yinmixan
Soixante Trois
Imidiwan Winakalin
Awa Didjen
Ikyadarh Dim
Tamatant Tilay
Izarharh Tenere

Matadjem Yinmixan (2001 Radio Tisdas Sessions version)

Visit the official site:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm just about to Introduce myself, My name is...

Guess an introduction would be appropriate.My name is Adrian. I go by "age".A name that has been stuck with me since I was a kid. I've been collecting records for too long and honestly, I get sick at looking at them.Still, I go out and buy them (no matter how much I complain).

Anyways, I put a mix out about 2 years ago and It was simply titled "audio". I did not intend it to be a mix, Just worked that way. Fast forward a year and some convincing from Nate Nothing and a couple of other folks, I ran a small number of them. About 75 to 100 copies(all hand made covers on nice paper and 10 copies with a hand made cardboard mailer canvas (all different).I only distributed 2 or 3 of them.The rest I held on to.

It's just 49 and 41 minutes worth of good music. This is a follow up to "audio". Also, for those who never got to listen to "audio", it's also included in this segment. Thanks again folks and Happy New Year.

Much peace and respect,

Age-Audio Mix

1) Silhouettes : Fonky First
2) Quinn Harris and The Masterminds : All In The Soul
3) Los Barbarians : Es Muy Facil
4) Arp Life : Bu-Bu
5) Andy Loore : Enfre Et Marijuana
6) Orquesta Hnos Flores : Estoy En Onda
7) Keith Roberts With Barbara Moore : Sort of Soul
8) Interlude : Are You Being Programmed?
9) John Cameron : Swamp Fever
10) Leon's Creation : Sightless
11) Larry Norman : Sigrid Jane
12) Interlude 2 : Double the Fun with Wade
13) Ulysses Crockett Magic : Resurgence
14) Dudley Moore : Bedazzled
15) La Crema : Cisco Kid
16) Geino Yamashirogumi : Ososrezan
17) Aposento Alto : Goodbye Old Friends

Age-Fragments Mix

1)An Intro that is 2 Minutes and 39 seconds long
2)Night Dreams Jam : Sigmund Snopek
3)Tower of Baradur : Puddleduck
4)Sweet Things Of Life : Project Soul
5)Bongo Lumbo : Thesda
6)Abaracadabara : Jorge De La Vega
7)Out In Space : Lady Margaret & Perry Smith
8)We Are Made As One Pt.1 : The Epics
9)Chitlin' Moe : Leroy Vinnegar
10)Du Soleil Camarade : Janko Nilovic
11)An Outro that is so many seconds long

Monday, January 21, 2008

Isaac Hayes Makes Love to Outkast

That's right, and it was sensual, too.

This Beat Suites proved to be a bit tougher than you might think. Even after having most of Isaac Hayes' records in my crates for years, I was surprised at how little selection there was when it came to finding loops and open elements.

Once I found the main piece for my contribution though, shit started to get a little easier, and I actually really enjoyed working on it from there on. If I remember correctly, everything except for the handclaps is from Isaac Hayes' discography. Hope you enjoy it.

Lynn Ness - Isaac Hayes Makes Love to Outkast


Friday, January 18, 2008

"Get with the program!"

That's what my cousin said to me after I told him this. Hopefully you'll see the logic in my frustration, however.

Let me give you a little back story. So usually for lunch (when at work), I go down to the local Cosentino's Market to grab a little hot food from the deli, some fruit, and a handful of chocolate covered English toffee caramels - which are my favorite, by the way. I try not to exceed $5.oo or so, and 99% of the time, I manage not to, while still getting a healthy, enjoyable lunch.

Well, not on this day... I get there and waste no time in navigating through the produce. I throw a couple tangerines in a bag, break off a ripe banana, toss some chocolates in another bag, and hit the deli with visions of a glass-shielded-culinary-wonderland. Would it be the orange chicken? Raviolis? Sauteed vegetables? Ricotta stuffed chicken breasts, perhaps? I don't know! So I fight my way through the crowd of mid-day, Bebe sweatsuit-clad Los Gatos housewives and right away, I can tell that the deli looks like it's a friggin' wasteland, without a soul in sight. This was not a good sign. I approach the glass only to confirm my grimmest of suspicions. The selection looks like a who's who of dishes you wouldn't even eat with your worst enemy's stomach. Burnt, crusty-ass fish I thought I smelled all the way in the produce department, some sorry-ass excuse for lamb stew, tougher-than-leather egg rolls, dried up, soggy, brown asparagus - I mean, it was baaaaaad. I knew I had to think of something fast. So I ditch the deli and make a run for the check stand with the fruit and chocolate I already have. Guess I'll walk over to Wendy's for a chicken sandwich of some sort. Just to get my protein, you know.

Upon arriving at the fast food chain, my initial thought is that if Cosentino's hadn't let me down, I would've been the only sucker in town not eating lunch at Wendy's, because the line spilled all the way out the door and into the god damn parking lot. It was absurd. But I made my bed, so I'll lay in it. At least I have plenty of time to get better acquainted with the menu. By the time I get to the girl behind the counter (Wendy, I presume?), I've made up my mind. I'll have the Chicken Club Sandwich, not to be confused with the Chicken Club Sandwich Combo. I place my order, and with a straight face, the girl looks at me and says my total is $4.88. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little out-of-the-loop when it comes to fast food prices. How could this be possible, I thought. That very same sandwich with fries and a drink is only $5.99. Yet the sandwich alone was $4.88? Surely, Wendy had hit the wrong button on her cash register. So I inquire about the price - much to the dismay of the shithead behind me, who apparently can't wait an extra five seconds to stuff his face - and she assures me that it was indeed the correct price; four dollars and eighty-eight cents. What could I do? I had to pay her! I mean, I could not pay her and look like a douche bag, which probably isn't such a new concept to me. But more importantly, I'd be leaving empty-handed after wasting all that time in line! Either way, it's a lose/lose situation for me at this point. So I decide to pay the woman and get on with my day.

Needless to say, the sandwich was less than mediocre, and to make it taste even shittier, I had well exceeded my $5.00 mark for the day.

Friggin' dooped again... Until next time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Mange (Beat Suites related)

I don't know if my Mangione can hold a match to this artwork, but I definitely had fun making it (the song, that is).

I'll admit, I had my doubts, but ultimately ended up finding a couple gems worthy of flipping in this Chuck Mangione double-vinyl banger and gave it my all for about a week.

Keep your expectations low and hopefully you can muster up some enjoyment out of this. It's some lo-fi, dirty bedroom ish, nothing more, nothing less. Just beats and rhymes, rhymes and beats. But then again, that's the foundation, so I suppose there's something to be said for that.

Lynn Ness - Chuck Mangione Beat Suite


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Medina Beat Suites

Here's a rundown on the history of a friendly little creativity game. It all started on a trip to Berkeley and S.F. in Oct. 2005. There's a long running joke amongst us Medinians about how many copies of Chuck Mangione's "Feels So Good" we could spot and in fact how many copies are required to be in the used bins before a record store can actually open.

As we drove, an idea came up that one of us should buy a dollar-bin Mangione record and try to make something out of it. By the time we reached Berkeley, the idea had went through several phases and came to rest that each of us bought a different Mangione record which we exchanged at the end of the day. From that record you would then have to come up with some (hopefully dope) musical concoction within two weeks. The only rules being that most of the main body of the track would utilize the Mangione record in some way (drums and accents could come from anywhere) and that you couldn't play the track for anyone before the meeting date. At this point, we all considered this a one-off, just something funny to take the Mangione joke to the next level. When we finally converged two-weeks later to listen to each others compositions, we realized not only had it been fun, but the tracks turned out dope (esp. Edeeq and Kiko's) As it went, we started a monthly session which went on to include several other friends and range in artist selections from Sade to The Specials.

So, at the Beat Suites one year anniversary, the rules were relaxed so that each suite could use any combination of artists we had used throughout the year. The catch was you had to remix or use portions of the vocals from Nas "It Ain't Hard To Tell" or Wu-Tang Clan "Cream" in the track. This was my contribution, an unfinished remix of "It Ain't Hard To Tell."