Monthly Archives: July 2009

Ornette Coleman: Reflections of the Shape of Jazz to Come

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Flea and Patti Smith get their shuffle on while Bachir Attar’s Master Musicians of Jajouka perform in the front room of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. They were performing as part of Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown festival.

My friend Charlie described the Master Musician’s strange percussive Moroccan ditties as the soundtrack to dying of malaria in the desert. He isn’t far off. When they joined Ornette Coleman on stage at the end of his ‘Reflections of the Shape of Jazz to Come’ performance we were witness to an auditory assault of stunning proportions.

Coleman’s musical genius is not in any doubt but it sure as shit wasn’t an easy listen. If it was an album you’d have to spin it front to back several times before it began to sink its teeth into you, but once it chomped down it wouldn’t let go until it was sure you’d paid your pound of brain-flesh.Patti Smith herself joined Coleman’s band on the night for an improvised drunken romp which, while not as spectacular as his later collaboration with the Master Musicians of Jajouka still had us nodding our heads in quiet approval.

Ultimately, Ornette Coleman’s ‘Reflections of the Shape of Jazz to Come’ was an excellent but difficult performance by an incredibly important player. Those of us lucky to have seen it were left with more questions than answers, but I get the feeling that’s just the way Ornette Coleman wanted it.

List: Top 10 Nerdcore Rap Tracks

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nerdcore

Nerdcore Rap s a fairly new and unexplored genre. For those unaware of its charms, I shall help you out with a handy metaphor. It’s NWA, if they didn’t rap about shooting people and instead rapped about Dungeons & Dragons, computer programming and science.

Simple.

But quite strange.

But we at Downtuned think Nerdcore deserves a wider audience. Because, at least this reviewer’s mind, it’s quite good. So – for your enjoyment – the top 10 Nerdcore rap tracks EVER. (With embedded videos). In no order.

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Throbbing Gristle – Live at Heaven, London

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Genesis P'Orridge, Throbbing Gristle, Music, Industrial

Throbbing Gristle were formed by Genesis P’Orridge and Cosey Fan Tutti in 1975 amid the soon-to-be disbanded art performance movement COUM Transmission which P’Orridge founded in 1969. Having opened for Hawkwind and after impressing John Peel, they recorded their first album in 1977 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well not really.

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That rumbling you can hear in the distance is the sound of the Iranian regime being shaken to its very foundations. Student protests? International condemnation? Student demonstrations? Nah! What’s really keeping the mullahs awake at night is the news that Jon Bon Jovi has recorded a cover of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’ to show solidarity with the Iranian people.

Warp20 – A Retrospective Chosen by the Fans

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Over the 20 years of its existence, you could accuse Warp Records of being many things – singular, bloody-minded, wilful, arrogant even – but populist is definitely not something that you could have leveled at the influential indie.

As a label, Warp has always ploughed its own furrow, danced to the beat of its own 808 etc… Which is why the label founder (I presume it was he) Steve Beckett’s decision to open up the choice of the tracklisting for the label’s 20th anniversary retrospective album to something as mundane and populist as a public vote was so baffling – I wouldn’t even trust the general public to decide what trousers I was going to wear on a night out. The Warp of old would have just chosen 20 tracks, slapped them on a CD (exquisitely-packaged, naturally), lovingly flicked its fans the V-sign and been done with it.

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