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REVIEW: Dynamics Plus’ Chaos Legion I & II

I really wanted to give this project a shot, and for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it the way the artist intended. Dynamics Plus is decent, and the concept of the two volume Chaos Legion (Dynamica Music) is that it’s meant to be a story of warriors told in comic book form, or fairy tale form, or something. I love the music and overall production, but I found some of the stories to be a bit too much. Maybe it caught me on a bad day, I don’t know, and it’s funny because I do enjoy albums by artists who go out of their way to create storylines that are definitely not of this planet.

Chaos Legion is an inspiring project and I wish I could explain exactly why it doesn’t work for me. Sometimes a lot of rappers do take on the personas of comic book heroes, and we all know that the Wu-Tang Clan were something out of the Marvel or DC Universe, complete with aliases and special techniques. Yet I found myself wanting to hear Quasimoto more.

The Run-Off Groove comes to an end… but the reviews *will* continue

After over five years of writing a column that had its start at Music For America, I am going to put The Run-Off Groove to rest. However, music reviews will continue on this site and will be done on an individual basis.

I want to thank everyone who has supported my column over the years, from everyone at MFA to people at Okayplayer and Soul Strut. I want to try things differently, preferably something that will be a bit easier in format, at least in theory.

OBITUARY: Ali Akbar Khan

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Ali Akbar Khan was one of the best sarod players of the 20th century, taking on the lineage of his father, Allaudin Khan, and embracing the friendship with one of his father’s students, Ravi Shankar. Khan would record many albums and performed countless times throughout the years, but it was his time with Shankar that helped push not only Indian music into something more global, but also Indian culture and spirituality.

Khan died on Friday due to a kidney ailment. He was 87 years old.

SOME STUFFS: “It Might Get Loud” honors the power and volume of the guitar

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This movie is being described this way:

Rarely can a film penetrate the glamorous surface of rock legends. It Might Get Loud tells the personal stories, in their own words, of three generations of electric guitar virtuosos – The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (The White Stripes). It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style of playing favorite instruments, guitars both found and invented. Concentrating on the artist’s musical rebellion, traveling with him to influential locations, provoking rare discussion as to how and why he writes and plays, this film lets you witness intimate moments and hear new music from each artist. The movie revolves around a day when Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge first met and sat down together to share their stories, teach and play.”

Directed by Davis Guggenheim,, It Might Be Loud will open in NY and LA on August 14th, and in other cities soonafter.

SOME STUFFS: KTUH 40th Anniversary documentary in the works

When I was a kid, my ambition was to be a radio DJ. People like Wiki Moku, Krash Kealoha, Honolulu Skylark and Kamasami Kong were the people looked forward to listening to. I was a child who loved music and loved to play records, and to be able to share that love of music and records to an island-wide audience? That’s all I ever wanted.
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I was in an enrichment class called E’onipa’a (loosely translates as “one step forward”) and my teacher, Ms. Marilyn Kobata, actually brought me and a classmate to a radio instruction class around where Bob’s Big Boy was, near Moanalua Gardens. It seemed like a huge room with turntables, cassette decks, and a reel-to-reel music. I knew then that that is how I wanted to serve the community.

When I lived in Hawai’i, I wanted to be a DJ on KKUA and KIKI, and maybe even KCCN. When I discovered the greatness of FM radio, then I had to be on 93FMQ or the almighty 98Rock. Then I found KTUH. At the time they were the only station that played music I had never heard of, including loads of new wave that MTV were playing but the mainstream stations weren’t. It was “college rock”, and why play Siouxsie & The Banshees when you can have it big with “99 Luftballoons”? KTUH’s transmission could not be heard everywhere, so when my parents drove to Manoa (where the University of Hawai’i is located) or in parts of Kaimuki, if it wasn’t too windy, I could catch glimpses of this station.

Unfortunately I moved from Honolulu in 1984 after my dad passed away, but I was able to fulfill my radio dreams when I became a DJ, and later music director of KTCV 88.1 FM in the Tri-Cities in Washington State. This was part of the Radio/Television Production class in Kennewick, Washington, and I became a DJ for a station that only played hard rock and heavy metal. However, I was one of the few to have a specialty show called The Classic Cafe, where I played classic and trippy rock from the late 60′s and early 70′s. I also hosted a show called Digital Destruction, where I played full CD’s uninterrupted.

But when I came back to Hawai’i to fill up on the reserves (a/k/a vacation), I would always go to my favorite stations and eventually turn on KTUH. Sometimes it would be some cool world music, other times it might have been a gay pride megamix or a few Hawaiian obscurities but you could guarantee on not hearing “the same old”. Over the years the station would become “Hawai’i’s only alternative”, especially as radio stations became increasingly generic. For a brief moment in the 1990′s, there was an incredible station called Radio Free Hawai’i, and it played anything and everything, at any time. No need for a specialty show, if you wanted to hear Metallica right next to Jay Larrin mixed with Grateful Dead followed by Charles Mingus, it was there. For me, this is what I always wanted to bring to the radio, a “chop suey” blend of anything and everything. If it sounded good, put it in the mix. It was very much in the spirit of KTUH, but you could hear it outside of Manoa and Kaimuki, so that station was on all the time. The station would go under by the end of the 1990′s, but it was an incredible experience to hear. My own Book’s Music podcast is very much in honor of the “anything goes” concept that Radio Free Hawai’i had.

A former friend of mine was able to make a dream come true for me in October of 2000, when she brought me on as a special guest on her radio show on KTUH. I normally am not nervous when I do radio shows, but this was a “home show”. Even though most (if not all) of the people listening that night had no idea who I was, it was still me saying “I’m home, now I can play some music for you”, and for almost three hours (I had a hard time finding the station), I did. I entered a room that was a part of Hawaiian radio history, and it was an incredible honor to do that, since it was a childhood dream fulfilled. Had I gone to the University of Hawai’i, I would have become a part of the KTUH ohana.

Now, everyone in Hawai’i and around the world will be able to see a documentary that highlights the lows but many high’s in KTUH’s 40 year history with a documentary being put together by Trav15, host of the KTUH show Re-Percussions and the station’s gurrent general manager. No word on when it will be complete or if it will be released in some form, but as soon as I know, I’ll let you know.

Mahalo nui to Lauren @ Asita Recordings for the tip.

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SOME STUFFS: Living Colour has new album ready for release in September

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September 15, 2009.

Megaforce Records.

Living Colour.

For a moment forget the Beatles attack of 9/9/09, and mark the 15th on the calendar for Living Colour hits the marketplace once again with a brand new album called The Chair In The Doorway. The band in 2009 is the lineup it has been since 1993, which is Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun, and Doug Wimbish, and the new album is their first in five years. They are going to work it by heading out on a world tour, so if they play near you, show support.

Until then, here’s a look at the track listing for The Chair In The Doorway:

1. Burned Bridges
2. The Chair
3. DecaDance
4. Young Man
5. Method
6. Behind The Sun
7. Bless Those
8. Hard Times
9. Taught Me
10. Out Of Mind
11. Not Tomorrow

I know it’s not audio or video, but it’s a mere taste of a band that I’ve been a fan of for 20 years (and whom I had the pleasure of seeing 20 years ago when they opened up for The Rolling Stones on their Steel Wheels tour), and perhaps will move people of all ages to rock once again.

SEPARATED @ BIRTH: Living Colour’s Corey Glover & Al Roker

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SOME STUFFS: Dust-To-Digital releases book/CD collection

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Dust To Digital are back with a brand new book called Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950, and as the title indicates, it’s a look at the importance of gospel music, documented through photographs in the 96 page book and an accompanying 25 song compact disc. For audio samples of the CD, click here. You can order it directly from Dust To Digital.

Take Me to the Water from Dust-to-Digital on Vimeo.

SOME STUFFS: Quantic & Mochilla team up for forthcoming DVD project

This is a look at a forthcoming DVD project involving Quantic and the creation of a collaboration he did with Combo Barbaro called Tradition in Transition, to be released later this year on Tru-Thoughts.

VIDEO: Want a homemade analog drum machine? Introduce yourself to Rhythm 1001

People talk a lot about the best drum machines, whether it’s the primitive rhythm boxes of the 60′s and early 70′s, or the hi-pro beat machines that you can hear everyday on TV, movies, and radio. But sometimes you need to go back to the basics, or at least build it from scratch.

That’s what Invisible did when they put together the Rhythm 1001. It is a “homemade analog drum machine” that had taken them about a month to put together. It looks and sounds really cool, and with more people going out to support live music, you may be able to hear and see these experimentalists at work. Perhaps it will move you to build one and become a part of fun. Until then, check the video.