Beniamino Gigli – Torna a Surriento

Beniamino Gigli

To mark today’s start of the Giro d’Italia here’s something that I always imagine being played on a wind-up gramophone in a crumbling Venetian palazzo, perhaps while an ageing Conte lies dying in his bed…

Download: Beniamino Gigli – Torna a Surriento (right click)


Hiroshima – Lion Dance (@ 33)

Hiroshima Lion Dance

Our recent Sun Ra post referenced the long and (mostly) honourable tradition of DJ’s playing records at the wrong speed…intentionally, that is.

The most committed of wrong-speed merchants must surely be Danielle Baldelli who, in his pomp at the Cosmic Club, seldom played a record at the correct speed. Or so people say.

Actually, the truth of this statement can easily be verified by checking out this huge archive of Cosmic Club mixes. Listening to these tapes, and to other artefacts of the Afro-Cosmic scene, one can appreciate that use of such extreme measures was but one ingredient in the creation of a unique sonic backdrop.

Uptempo pop songs were *cough* re-contextualised by a switch from 45 to 33, whilst slower numbers (such as Yellowman’s left-field reggae classic, Zungguzungguguzungguzeng) could be wrong-speeded in the opposite direction.

All of which leads to this 1979 recording by US-via-Japan jazzfunkers, Hiroshima. A 50p charity shop buy last year, I hadn’t got it home before – via the power of the Internet – I’d been informed that it was a known wrong-speeder.

Lack of a functioning turntable meant that it was a while before I could  put this to the test. But I did and here it is…

Download: Hiroshima – Lion Dance (@ 33)  (right-click)

The Cannibals – She Knows

The Cannibals Put Your Dancing Shoes On

A quiet weekend at 500MH Towers after Friday night…but we can’t leave you without your fill of early-80’s South African synth-driven contemplative disco-boogie.

From the 1981 LP, Put Your Dancing Shoes On, this is a tasty down-tempo groover that echoes the production sensibilities of New York, but with a distinctively SA twist.

Or something…

Download: The Cannibals – She Knows (right-click)


John Olive

Yesterday I played a few tunes at an Unplanned Afternoons special to mark the passing of UP regular, John Olive, who sadly and unexpectedly died earlier this month.

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Too Much Attention was one of John’s signature tunes, which he memorably deployed at one of our early meetings last summer. I was just finishing my set with a Gilbert tune (a re-edit, typically) when John breezed into the pub, took over on the decks and segued seamlessly into Too Much Attention. He then proceeded to play a blinding set, as always…

Download: Gilbert O’Sullivan – Too Much Attention (right click)

Wholly unconnected to the above, this will be the last 500MH post, for a while at least. Doing the blog for the last two years has been great fun and brought me into contact with some splendid people, not only online but also spilling over into the hurly-burly of the real world.

But…as can be seen from the recent infrequency of the posts, 500MH has possibly gone as far as it can in its present form. So, the sabbatical officially starts here – stay subscribed for future developments.

Belchior – Paraíso

Belchior Paraiso

One working definition of Balearic might be those songs where you are never quite sure whether they’re works of genius or complete tat. This track certainly falls somewhere on that spectrum…it’s exact location being largely dependent on the weather.

So…given the recent Tropical heatwave we’ve been enjoying, this piece of 1980’s Brazilian cod-reggae currently scores quite high on the old Balear-o-meter (patent pending).

Enjoy while weather lasts…

Download Belchior – Paraíso (right click)

Vintage Rockers – Rockers Vol. 1

Vintage Rockers

Just been tipped-off to this little gem of an EP, which came as something of a breath of fresh air after all the disco-housey-balearicy vibes I’ve been immersed in of late.

As suggested by the the band name, the EP title and the artwork, this release takes us firmly into rocking territory…of a vintage nature, but without any self-conscious retro-fetishism.This is perhaps what Bill Justis might sound like in a modern studio after a couple of Mai Tai’s with Todd Terje.

Oh, and the recording quality is amazing (if you’re buying this – which you should – get one of the uncompressed/lossless formats that Bandcamp do for the same price as an MP3)…

Trouble Funk Live at Town & Country Club 1986

Washington DC

Apologies for the lack of regularity in recent postings…the good news is that ongoing refurbishments at 500MH Towers will soon create a studio/den that will make ripping and blogging activities a pure delight. In the meantime, here’s a hasty post featuring a documentary I haven’t seen yet, a book I haven’t read yet and a track I absolutely love (but don’t have time to tell you why).

Oh, it’s all about Washington Go Go:

Download Trouble Funk – Live at Town & Country Club, 1986 (right click)

St John Coltrane African Orthodox Church

John Coltrane 500 Miles High

The undoubted musical highlight of our recent trip to California was an invitation to join the weekly service of the Church of St John Coltrane  in San Francisco. As a former jazz-head, I’d long been aware of this unusual offshoot of the African Orthodox Church, but nothing prepared me for the sheer intensity of the proceedings there.

Our family group was walking through the Fillmore district as part of a Sunday lunchtime sight-seeing stroll and my only expectation was to have a quick look at where the Church is based – turns out it’s in a bland, modern community centre – not the battered Victorian storefront I was hoping for. Having got over this mild disappointment we briefly paused outside when the pastor enthusiastically beckoned us in.

Thinking we might just stand as the back of what was a pretty small room, we were surprised (and my daughter a little alarmed) to be ushered in to the middle of things. “Things” being part jazz concert, part religious service and part 1960’s-style freak out. Though I personally found it an amazing musical – and perhaps at some imponderable level, spiritual – experience, not all members of our party were comfortable with staying for the duration and we made our apologies just as they were warming up for A Love Supreme, presumably the service’s climax.

Now it’s fair to say that organised religion plays little part in my day-to-day life, so who am I to analyse this curious musico-religious hybrid, but I can safely say the participants over there are tapping into something deep. If nothing else this experience has sent me back to my mid-60’s jazz albums with a renewed vigour.

At this point it perhaps seems inappropriate to “share” a John Coltrane track, but here’s a slice of late-period JC to kick-start your own Sunday service…

Download: John Coltrane – Stellar Regions (Alt. Take) (right click)

Idi, Igraj! Vol 2

Idi Igraj Vol 2

When we found out a few days ago that DJ Funky Junkie has issued a second volume of his incredible Idi Igraj! project, an e-mail was immediately despatched to Belgrade asking if 500MH could host it. He said yes and here it is, another tasty selection of soul, funk, disco and left-field gems from the former Yugoslavia.

The whole thing (18 tracks) can be downloaded as a rar file, but to whet your appetite, we’ve also pulled out a couple of individual tunes to showcase. But first FJ’s own introduction to the proceedings:

“Encouraged by the way the first instalment of “Idi, igraj!” compilation was praised and acclaimed all over the world, one year later I decided to make another one. The previous volume was a huge success, I’ve received many e-mails, from Japan and Australia to Canada, Usa and Brasil, and many people told me that they’d never knew such a great music existed in former Yugoslavia. So, I took some records from my vaults again, ripped them from vinyl and finally, I present you – the second volume.

Of course, it’s bootleg again, I do not have the funds to pay royalties, and I do not get any financial benefit of it. But my goal is to bring some treasured gems back to the light again and to teach people, both here, in ex-Yu countries, and all over the world that we had, and we still have, a respectable music scene.

The majority of the songs on this compilation are ripped from the vinyls, as you can hear. I tried to preserve the original sound as much as possible. And most of the songs have different dynamics and sound quality. The reason for this is that I want you to hear the original sound of the record from the time it was released. Not a single song was neither remastered, nor processed with a noise reductor, exactly the same I did with the “Idi, igraj! vol.1”. It’s funny how some of the records from this compilation are so rare, obscure and elusive that there is no info available on the web neither on the artist nor on the record. Not to mention that some of them are very expensive these days. You will also have an opportunity to hear some unreleased and exclusive tracks.

So, without any further delay, I wish you a nice 80 minute journey through the vibes and soundscapes from ex Yugoslavia.”

Download: Predmestje – Kamasutura (right click)

Download: Nada Pavlovic – Brodvej (right click)

Download the lot as .rar file: Idi, Igraj! Vol 2 (right click)