Joe Fish On The Podium & Wonderfulness From Parallel Dance Ensemble

And in news not just in. Well, just in to me anyway, as I’ve only just found out but our man Joe Fish, a director so elongated I’m surprised that they don’t require him to wear a flashing light hat to avoid aviation imperilment, WON the Best Editing category in this year’s Handle The Jandal Awards down in Wellytown. The video in question is of course the stunning ‘A Obvious’ from James Duncan’s impossibly wonderful ‘Hello-Fi‘ album. If you haven’t already, you can check it here without even having to put your internet coat on, and leave the StinkInc web premises. Suitably mentally unhinged props to Joe and of course Mr Duncan, without whom etc.
Almost as monstrously massive news, and a very deserved winner of the goldenest and grandest of all Jandals is our mucker Coco Solid (look for her guesting on an RTM release next year) who took out the top a top spot with her Parallel Dance Ensemble scorcher Weight Watchers. Parallel Dance Ensemble is her collabo with Robin Hannibal of Owusu & Hannibal fame, their first release ‘Turtle Pizza Cadillac’ was good but now I’m just fiending for more.
This song has been on serious rotate round our gaff (and I will be playing it tomorrow night fer sure) but the video is just brilliant too, Lisa Dunn has done an amazing job and it’s great to see it getting justifiably recognised.
You can buy the 12″ from Juno, and actually I must. Whole 5 track EP downloadable too from them too here. Don’t really feel the Yam Who remixes add much though.


90-80 finally…

90. Special Request – Chronic Sonata (Tip Of The Iceberg)
See this post, go on have a gander.

89. Rockers Delight – O.S.C. (Steps In Time)

Babylon System’s Roommate and Antiserum from San Francisco make up O.S.C. and this simple but scorching 12″ lit me decks up something chronic this year. With the likes of Rusko eschewing his reggae roots for some kind of bassline arms race with Casper, and technoid noodling taking centre stage elsewhere, it has surprisingly mainly been left up to the yanks to keep the fire burning on reggae soaked dubstep biz. Sure this pushes the obvious buttons, with Scratch samples and whatnot, but them buttons do need some activation from time to time, so respect to the septics. 


88. Hustle – Collie Buddz (Columbia)/Que Lloren – Calle 13 (Sony BMG)
Exposing just how foolish the idea of a list of loved tracks like this being in any way robust, here’s a meaningless tie. Truth be told the 100+ tracks were divided into three rough chunks, and the ranking from then was arbitary at best. So honkamuffin Collie Buddz’ easy singjay style works a treat on Barrington/Junjo’s ‘Prison Oval Rock’, while Puerto Rican brothers Residente and Visitante take a pop at reggaeton royalty Queen Ivy (and others) on ‘Que Lloren’, swimming against the regressive tide in that particualr style of music over the past 12 months. Reggaeton’s year can best be summed up by Daddy Yankee’s lame endorsement of John McCain, not the sort of thing you’d expect from the likes of these politically switched on geezers (who actually had Reuben Blades guesting on their latest) or their compardres Voltio and Tego Calderon.
(buy) Calle 13’s 2008 album ‘Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo’


87. Luddite Dub – South3rn (Clandestine Cultivations)
See this post…

86. Timekeeper – Clouds (Ramp)

A scorching 12″ with a remix from Ras G that is so genuinely unhinged, it took a few plays just to get my head around the beat. Well miffed that I cannot find an mp3 to this anywhere though I know had it at some point, if I start getting into even partially digitizing stuff for this list I’m going to be in big trouble. 

85. In Your Eyes – Sanchez (John John)
A classic rhythm (Love I Can Feel/ Tempted To Touch), from one of the great studios and lineages (right royal Jammy’s & Sons Esq) with one of the most distinctive voices of modern reggae, it’s a slam dunk. Sanchez undoubtedly can cheese the fuck out, but get him on the right track and he’s unstoppable, and as for what he does to the ladies when he appears on stage in JA, well that is an experience in itself. As a bonus you’re getting the full Sanchez version and then a quick disc flip, before the Mighty Asterix takes over and lets off the Dionne Warwick. This was taped (thanks Anand and Vanita) at the tail end of a cracking session with the Newtown Sound/Nice Up kids down in Welli in ’07. Levels are a bit straight off the desk, Asterix is sans FX and like I said this is late into the session…. so it’s rough and ready. As I have commented before, Asterix is the only MC who has ever fully harnessed the pungent power and that’s how it’s been since we first linked the best part of 20 years ago. I’m really looking forward to our next assignment supporting the Bug in 3 weeks, and then getting a run on Vital Soundsystems’ scoops at the Cuba Street Carnival in February.
Sanchez in red.
His Mightyness in green.

84. Heaven At Night – Kid Cudi (10 Deep)
The hip-hop credits this year were shared by newcomers The Knux and Cleveland’s Kid Cudi. We’ll be hearing more about both of them further down the list, so I’l leave the talking to Cudi and this Andy Kaufman inspired stroke of genius on top of an irresistable beat from Nosaj Thing.
(Download) the whole mixtape from here for nix..

83. Buff Nuff – Roots Manuva (Big Dada)
My God this sounds good on a large system, Toddla T outdid himself with this one. More to come from the District of Rodney down the list.

82. Electric Love – Coco Solid (Coco Solid)
I have already rahed and rae rae’d about the wonderfulness that is Coco Solid here

81. Rude Effort – Bullion (One-Handed Music)
There was a whole heaping helping of wonky hip-hop beaty biz this year and this feller from Acton, who previously stuck his head above the parapet with a Beach Boys/J Dilla mixtape, nailed it with both sides of a vital (and now sold out) 7″. Tis Bionicaly Bullionic.
(buy) think the 7″s are done but this is the stinklink to digital relief.

80. Trading Places – Busy Signal (Jukeboxx)/ Drop Bombs (Loudmouth Rmx) – Mz Brat ft Griminal
See this post for ‘Trading Places’ and this’un for some chat and links about Loudmouth’s superb remix of Mz Brat & Griminal.

Stakes Is High – Check the mixtape link


Going for a bit of  full package here, with a link to the High Stakes mixtape that is well worthy of your attention and bandwidth, a full transcript of an interview with architects of said mixtape, and  a little bit of history and Youtubery amongst the inevitable whaffulating on.

Amidst the posturing, politricks and hilarious patois of the …ahem ‘NZ dancehall scene’ the High Stakes crew have been simply getting on with it, in an industrious and humble style and fashion. They’ve made smart and steady moves like linking themselves with up and coming artists, (from NZ, Jamaica and all over) and coming up with a raft of export quality rhythms, there’s more on that in the interview at the end of this veritable epistle. Originally it was Mi$o’s superb beat work on Coco Solid’s ‘Denim And Leisure’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Bombz’ that originally blew me away, and those tracks got some particularly serious shine on Stinky Grooves for many weeks, months even… deservedly so. I was going to post one of those tunes, but it’s a bit like splitting twins, so they’re both below for a limited time, basically just buy the CDs right?! 
Incidentally after a quick ketchup with Jess at the heavily-initialised (MIC/IMNZ/MMF….OK!) music industry Xmas fandangle last night, it appears there’s lots going on, and coming up, in the Coco Solid-o-sphere. Fer starters Princess Superstar is covering ‘Denim And Leather’, she’s not really my cup of tea, but it would be rather fine if it did well and the CS kids were able to gratuitously light Cubans with Ed Hilary’s and larger denominations, on the publishing proceeds. There’s also plenty of other imminent international hoo-ha, that I’m not sure is ready to be written about.. yet, but you know long overdue ‘big things’, ‘just deserts for independent  endeavour’ and any other cliches you can fling about.
(Buy) Denim And Leisure, is cheap here too, and they have the super limited 12″ in stock too, sleep and weep on that one popkids!


(Buy) Gentlemen Prefer Bombz here for a piffling 23 Pacific pesos.


Back to the matter at hand, ‘Raising The Stakes’ sensibly doesn’t go for the insane amount of tracks so many current mixtapes do, keeping things moving at a brisk pace through 8 rhythms, over  27 tracks. Locals Yung Shottaz and Racine sit reasonably comfortably amongst the international company, however I’d have loved to have heard Flowsion’s topical killer on the ‘Drums of War’ rhythm amongst all of this malarkey. It might have sounded out of place, but I think maybe thats the point. The rhythms are tough, and unapologetically current, with ‘Drums Of War’ being the obvious standout (there is no local cultural cringe on that, it’s one of my favourite rhythms of 2008 period) and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing some more vocals on ‘Ghetto Celebrity’. Unruly Approach’s ‘Weed’ cracks me up, and like Wayne Marshall’s ‘Made For Smoking’ it gets bonus points for bigging up ‘the stinky’, an olfactory reference goes a long way round these parts!
Outside of  the fruity ladies set ‘Federation Presents TNT – 3 The Hard Way’, I’ve had a real difficulty enjoying dancehall mixtapes in recent times. There’s an awful lot of shite out there that sounds like Britney Spears b-sides with bashment beats and unseemly trancey breakdowns or Dr Dre in Mo Bay, the gap between the fistful of class mic operators and the hectoring rabble is wider than ever, and please lets not even start on autotune atrocities. 
So ‘Raising The Stakes’ is a relief, I still hanker for the slightly more bent beats Mi$o kicked off with, but High Stakes are playing smart and I reckon it wont be too long till serious vocalists are banging on their door, rather than the other way round. It’s also worth remembering that while many were keen to take shots at Dawn Raid for sounding ‘too American’, the million plus sales of Savage’s ‘Swing’ this year (however they came about), prove that it was actually ‘American enough’. I don’t feel dancehall is in a particularly great place right now, but  by the time this cycle is over the High Stakes geezers have the potential to be in the drivers seat, the airplay and response they have already had internationally, especially in JA,  shows they are on the ‘enough’ side of the fence.
Download the mixtape, legal and above board like.
From the Making Tracks series on C4, Kari Jess doing ‘Colder Than Cold’, his flow is phenomenal, if only the lyrics did it justice.

Full transcript of the High Stakes email interview for Real Groove from February 2008.
A bit of background about you and Simon?
Simon has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Auckland University; he got into using the studio at the Intermedia department at Elam where he discovered his interest in recording and production. He’s worked on music since.
Tiopira has an MA in history and has been researching and teaching Maori history at Auckland University for the last 5 years. He’s been DJing, promoting and writing music under various monikers around Auckland for about a decade.

How did you link up?
We flatted together about 7 years, and have worked together on everything from radio ads to stoner-rock bands, to Booty Bass parties, to 2 step remixes. Weirdly it’s taken us this long to come up with a joint project we’re both interested in. High Stakes is the first time we’ve been able to combine all our influences and ambitions into one coherent project.

Your previous productions?
All sorts of shit, too much to mention, everything from Electro-Clash-ment tunes with Coco Solid, to commercial RnB hits with Maia Rata, to Tech Step DnB with Kog Transmissions, to 2 Step remixes for Mai FM, to bhangra-crunk with local desi MCs, and heaps of underground hip hop and rock stuff. And lots of failed art-rock and roots reggae bands.

What’s your main means of production/gear?
We write on a Korg Triton and Reason, and record and mix in Logic. We’ve got a couple orchestras’ worth of instruments between us but all you need for dancehall is a Triton and Autotune.

Who are your influences producer wise?
We’re most directly influenced by the new crop of emerging producers from Jamaica: Stephen McGregor, Daseca, Don Corleon, Jam2, Birch, Delly Ranks, Black Chiney, too many to mention. Outside Jamaica, Timbaland and the Neptunes from the US, RDB and Tigerstyle from UK. We’re influenced by everyone we’ve ever listened to.

How did you go about linking with all the MCs internationally?
Simon had a lot of links through making dancehall mixtapes, which lead to artists linking him to promote their stuff. We’ve built on that via the internet. Having a hot riddim goes a long way to help link with artists. With Drums of War we didn’t have to search out a lot of the artists: something like 40 artists recorded versions independently cause they liked the riddim, and we followed up the ones with the most potential.

Give us a rundown on what’s happened with ‘Drumz Of War’ riddim.
We released the first three versions on line in August last year to get some hype going: we got a big response, particularly to Kari Jess’ version. We got played on the biggest stations in Kingston: Zip 103, Hot 102 and Irie FM, and probably the smallest stations in Auckland haha. And a lot of places in between: all the islands of the Caribbean, the US, the UK, all over Europe, NY, everywhere except Wellington. Pussyclot! On the back of that we voiced another 10 versions with Jamaican artists plus 3 with locals. We’ve had dubs cut from JA to NY, some of them even ended up becoming official versions. We’ve got a video in the works for Kari Jess’ tune, which Nick D and crew shot over in the shopping malls, back yards and streets of Kingston for us a couple weeks back, shot boys!

What’s the intention release wise and what’s next for High Stakes?
We’re looking to release the top tunes on the riddim internationally on 7” vinyl, and will probably organise a release party for that here in Auckland. We’re voicing on another 4 riddims which are already doing the rounds in JA. We want to keep moving up, establish ourselves internationally, and work with the big dogs in the industry. At the same time we want to consolidate our foundations with up and coming artists and labels. One cool thing JA producers do is they ‘give away’ riddims for others to voice. We’ve got a couple riddims out there now which we produced and a long line of labels who want riddims. We want to build things to the stage where we have as many as 10 to 20 riddims going at any one time, under our name and credited to others, to totally dominate the underground.

What’s you thoughts on the current state of dancehall?
The state of dancehall is ever changing: there’s always new artists or producers coming through, and dancehall is always incorporating new influences. Change is the only constant so if anything we want to stay up with the play while having our own influence on what’s going down. Hip hop and techno are both having big influences on the sound of current riddims: who can say what’s next? If we have our say it’ll be kapa haka…

Could you ping us a little bit about at least the geography of each mc and anything about them, or them doing the rhythm that’s remarkable
Sometimes the choice of who you get is outside your control thanks to the crazy situation in JA. We lined up Craig Dennis for a version, and he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. We wanted Aidonia but he was locked up for gun offences. Deva Bratt was lined up for ‘Ghetto Celebrity Riddim’ till he made a ghetto celeb of himself for allegedly being involved in a ‘carnal offence’. On our latest riddim an artist voiced a tune about committing suicide, then when we asked for the files he said he was having real troubles and didn’t want to do music anymore. Then there was the young member of Sizzla’s crew who called begging for petrol money, or the producer who wanted to swap versions for Honda car parts which are common in NZ. The horror story of a certain female artist who voiced with Don Corleon half way through voicing her version with us and decided she was a star and deserved big dollars. And the less said about the Movado ‘spliced’ dub the better.
There were positive things too: voicing locals has helped develop artists from recording dubs to writing proper versions, and really pushed the scene forward in terms of output and ambition. Having said that the local dancehall reggae scene is nothing on what was going down here a decade ago with the likes of Mighty Asterix, DLT, Joint Force, Bureau De Bashment, Jules Isa, UHP, D Faction, Unitone HiFi, Dam Native, 12 Tribes and the likes: in a way we’re still trying to catch up with that locally.
Flowsions’ version was written about the recent Police ‘terror’ raids, and copies were sold to raise funds for the individuals and families affected. One local DJ wasn’t too impressed though when we sent copies of the CD to her workplace at the Department of (in)Justice.

Tigered In Translation

There’s nae point in rambling on about every gig that comes up, however the Tiger Translate party which is happening on Friday, 21st of Nov, taking over the Fu & Zen, is a right scorcher. The live line up includes Onra, summoned from his Parisian lair, as well as the (also well traveled) locals The Naked And Famous and Coco Solid. DJ action will be provided by the incomparably gorgeous Maiden Hong Kong and incomprably less-so yours truly, with Cian and Nick D bringing up the rear, ooh err. Peep on for details, tunes, set times and of course ting.



The Vietnamese-French producer and DJ caught my eye with his ‘Chinoiseries’ album, earlier this year. For starters it looked the part, and the briefest of spins on the decks confirmed it was something a little special. Comprised of 32 beat vignettes, most barely troubling the two minute mark, it’s a response to a visit back to the land of his grandparents where he picked up a bundle of comfortingly scratchy Vietnamese/Oriental vinyl. Ideal for short attention span listening, I got hooked on the whole double-vinyl deliciousness, raved about it in Real Groove and offered up the blinding standout ‘The Anthem’ to the 95bFM programming panel for consideration. It met with universal appreciation, playlist approval, and I believe may have wormed its way into more than a few listeners affections, its certainly got Troy good and proper. There’s a whole other fandangle with Coke and the Olympics to do with that song, which you can read about at the excellent Pinglewood blog.
So basically I’m as keen a pot of Dijon to check feller out, and he’s going to be doing separate live and dj sets, here’s a couple of cuts to get masticating on. Impossible to go past ‘The Anthem’, and ‘I Wanna Go Back’ would pass muster on the fact that it samples one of my favourite and frankly over-collected melodies ‘Love Is Blue’…. aaaah.





Having shown and proved (and improved) on their recent trip to NYC for CMJ, under the steely supervisory gaze of… err me, The Naked And Famous are robustly rockulating right now. This would be the place to put some informal or incriminating (not so much really) shots from the trip, if only I hadn’t given up on the camera at their first show. After five or six years away I felt like enough of a tourist in New York, and you can’t get near the stage at CMJ shows because the front 3 rows are rammed with bloggers and their telephotos anyway, it’s a plague. Instead let’s have the deadly videos for ‘Serenade’ and ‘Birds’ (clink of the glass to Special Problems) and what remains my favouritest song (probably, possibly, well for right now) from the ‘No Light’ EP ‘Bells’.




Coco Solid rule. That’s not an opinion, just fact. I wont wank on about the Coco greatness, Ive already done that with the new album here and 2007’s ‘Gentlemen Prefer Bombz’ in my Top 1o of tha year, here, both for The Listener. Due to synchronisational overcommitment and cruel luck I’ve missed the last two Auckland shows, however with Mz Solida back from Red Bull Academising in Barcelona this one’s sure to go off like a particularly ripe Stilton…with wheels.
There’s an exceptionally limited and eminently desirable Coco Solid 12″ which may still be available aqui

(BUY) you know it makes sense.
(Offishall Website)

Their clips are quite the choicest.


And foinally because we’re nice like that here’s a couple of bonuses from MHK and me, SJ, below, plus the full running order. In fact if you’re sharp you can still register for a couple of free tickets AND free beers, at the Tiger Translate site, that aint going to last, or you can win em on 95bFM if your blagger swagger is a little diminished.


Way too many words already so briefly Maiden Hong Kong has selected Romain Bno’s ‘Dont Unless’ edit from the Edits Du Golem series as one she’ll be playing. This whole EP’s off the bleeding kajizzle and quite tricky to trackdown now, what is it with the French and edits?? This lot say they still have it, (BUY)



I’m plumping for this brilliant mix of 24 year old Brit, VV Brown, getting a defiantly unclassifiable Andrew Weatherall remix. I actually bought this for the dub, little did I know the vocal is well tight in a kinda loose ‘Monster Mash’ way. When I ran this cut out at DJ Baku it was like I’d given everyone in the room a tenner, dancefloor ram!



It goes a little something like this….


Maiden Hong Kong: 8:00 – 10:00PM
Nick D: 10:00 – 11:45PM
ONRA (DJ Set): 11:45 – 12:45AM
Cian: 1:00 – 4:00

Stinky Jim: 9:00 – 10:00PM
The Naked & Famous (live): 10:00 – 11:00PM
Stinky Jim: 11:00 – 11:45PM
Coco Solid DJ: 11:45 – 12:00AM
Coco Solid: 12:00 – 12:45AM
Coco Solid DJ: 12:45 – 1:00AM
ONRA (live): 1:00 – 2:00AM
Nick D: 2:00 – 4:00AM

Next, after this tsunami of bloggeration, we will have the new SJD video for ‘No Telling Where’ up here in the next 24/48 hours….wooopee.