Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Trippy Shit

One of the dumbest things I heard all last year was a certain right-on American commentator's declaration that anyone making hip hop without being a black American was an "appropriator".

God, I loathe that "appropriation" thing. It embodies an ignorance of how popular music -- and hip hop more so --  actually works and evolves. And in the hip hop context it's an insult to kids of any shade who've shaped the form in their own image in places like ... well, New Zealand.

Okay, the commentator was Veronica Bayetti Flores, the feminist who declared that 'Royals' was racist, desperately defending herself and her perspective on Twitter. (I seemed to have failed at not referring to Lorde again.)

Funny thing is, at just the time of that faux controversy, a New Zealand hip hop video came out that said it all. There are no Maybachs in Team Dynamite's world: like the rest of us, they drive shitty Jap imports, have to buy pet food and like to go to the markets. The bros also use basil. And, er, other herbs.

Team Dynamite are associated with Young, Gifted & Broke, the artist collective founded by Tom Scott. Tom hasn't cused out the prime Mnister on television lately and you may have formed the impression that he hasn't been up to much. Au contraire, as my rap friends say: he and his buddies have been busy.

Last month, Tom led off a Red Bull Sound Select show on the collective's behalf, and this month there's a debut album from Third3ye. I first encountered these kooky hippy hoppers via this cuddly little track on TheAudience and I've enjoyed seening them play a couple of times since. They're kind of hippy, trippy hip hop mystics with the flavour of West Auckland. See the interview with Martyn Pepperell here. The album, On3ness, can be previewed and purchased at a price of your choosing from their Bandcamp:

But the big YGB event is just brewing. There's a new @Peace album dropping soon. I loved the @Peace debut album  — a deep, timely, earnest, disco rap about place and memory -- but, apart from 'Cake', didn't really get into the follow-up Girl Songs EP, which was rooted in R&B music I don't have reference points for, and a relationship breakup I wasn't having.

But having been granted a a preview of the coming album this week (on the condition I "get high and live-tweet it"), all I can say is, it's worth waiting for. The respective styles of Tom and his partner Lui Tuiasau come through here, but but the first impression is that this record goes much deeper into the world of Christoph El Truento, @Peace's fascinating, prolific producer-DJ.

The intro track, 'Weightless', has something of Truento's dissonant, adventurous Some Other Planets project, and by track six, 'Made' (which is about artificial intelligence) a Sun Ra vibe dives into what must surely be described as dubstep. The tracks all run together in a way that invites the listener to perceive it as a single piece: a stoned future funk song cycle about space, time and existence. Surprising things happen throughout.


On another tip musically, but still steeped in determinedly independent creativity, Blair Parkes has reconvened with his bandmates in Range to record a new album, Henry Rivers. Blair explains the background here (there's vinyl pressed up and all) on his blog and he's put the truly lovely 'Fall into to My Arms' up on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download:


Folks of a certain age in Auckland will have fond memories of dance parties on boats in the harbour, where stuff truly went on. Well, it's still a thing. The people at Base FM are putting on two summer boat parties with with pretty amazing music lineups, and the first is on saturday evening. Details and ticket sales here.

Also tomorrow: Music at Matua, featuring yer actual Trinity Roots, SJD (with full band) and more.


Righto. I have stuff to do today. But you really want to hear Tama Waipara's splendid version of SJD's 'Beautiful Haze', found somewhere and uploaded by Otis Frizzell:

Like most of the Soundcloud embeds I post, that's a downloable file, but Soundcloud still haven't got round to incorporating a download symbol on their new player. Just click through and it's there.

Yet more brilliant mix goodness  from Leftside Wobble (click through for a track listing and link to a timecoded version on Mixcloud):

And Joey Negro takes on George Benson (and Chaka Khan!). Totally smoove ...


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