Trouser Press Tuesday: AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE JAZZY 5

September 8, 2009

“Jazzy Sensation” (Tommy Boy) 1981
“Looking for the Perfect Beat” (Tommy Boy) 1982
“Planet Rock” (Tommy Boy) 1982
“Renegades of Funk” (Tommy Boy) 1983
Planet Rock — The Album (Tommy Boy) 1986
“Return to Planet Rock” (York’s) 1990
“The Wildstyle” (Celluloid) 1983
“World Destruction” (Celluloid) 1984
Bronx DJ-turned-hip-hop-godfather Bambaataa not only created the record that thrust beatbox electro-funk into the ’80s and brought Kraftwerk onto the dancefloor, he has made pioneering sides with numerous performers and established himself as a major figure in contemporary music. Working mainly in the 12-inch format, Bam’s ascent began with a routine boast rap, “Jazzy Sensation,” but got into gear with “Planet Rock,” the Arthur Baker-produced (and co-written, with the band and John Robie) explosion of scratch cuts, electronic gimmickry, processed vocals and solid-state rhythms. (Both tracks were later compiled on the Tommy Boy label retrospective, Greatest Beats.) “Looking for the Perfect Beat” is even better, with Baker mostly soft-pedaling the monolithic pounding in favor of a skittish electronic metronome and tacking on fancier effects, vocals and mix tricks to create an ultra-busy urban symphony. The mega-rhythmic “Renegades of Funk” adds social/historical/political lyrics to the dance-floor dynamism and delivers a really bizarre blend of rap, synthesizers and oppressive electronic percussion(…)

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Since 1974, Trouser Press has been covering the Other Music beat and currently resides on the web at www.trouserpress.com

I will be posting a random link from Trouser Press on every Tuesday until I just flat out forget.


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