Saturday, January 17, 2009

Boogie Down Productions - 1987 - Criminal Minded - 1988 - By All Means Necessary - 1989 - Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop



Criminal Minded


Tracklisting:

01 Poetry 5:03
02 South Bronx 5:11
03 9mm Goes Bang 4:19
04 Word from Our Sponsor 3:55
05 Elementary 4:06
06 Dope Beat 5:16
07 Remix for P Is Free 4:20
08 The Bridge Is Over 3:26
09 Super-Hoe 5:31
10 Criminal Minded 5:19

All Music Guide Review By Steve Huey:

"Criminal Minded is widely considered the foundation of hardcore rap, announcing its intentions with a cover photo of KRS-One and Scott La Rock (on his only album with Boogie Down Productions) posing with weapons — an unheard-of gesture in 1987. BDP weren't the first to rap about inner-city violence and drugs, and there's no explicit mention of gangs on Criminal Minded, but it greatly expanded the range of subject matter that could be put on a rap record, and its grittiest moments are still unsettling today. Actually, that part of its reputation rests on just a handful of songs. Overall, the record made its impact through sheer force — not only KRS-One's unvarnished depictions of his harsh urban environment, but also his booming delivery and La Rock's lean, hard backing tracks (which sound a little skeletal today, but were excellent for the time). It's important to note that KRS-One hadn't yet adopted his role as the Teacher, and while there are a few hints of an emerging social consciousness, Criminal Minded doesn't try to deliver messages, make judgments, or offer solutions. That's clear on "South Bronx" and "The Bridge Is Over," two of the most cutting — even threatening — dis records of the '80s, which were products of a beef with Queens-based MC Shan. They set the tone for the album, which reaches its apex on the influential, oft-sampled "9mm Goes Bang." It's startlingly violent, even if KRS-One's gunplay is all in self-defense, and it's made all the more unsettling by his singsong ragga delivery. Another seminal hardcore moment is "Remix for P Is Free," which details an encounter with a crack whore for perhaps the first time on record. Elsewhere, there are a few showcases for KRS-One's pure rhyming skill, most notably "Poetry" and the title track. Overall it's very consistent, so even if the meat of Criminal Minded is the material that lives up to the title, the raw talent on display is what cements the album's status as an all-time classic."

<<<<<============>>>>>



By All Means Necessary


Tracklisting:

01 My Philosophy 5:40
02 Ya Slippin' 4:56
03 Stop the Violence 4:42
04 Illegal Business 5:21
05 Nervous 4:12
06 I'm Still No. 1 5:13
07 Part Time Suckers 5:32
08 Jimmy 4:15
09 T'Cha-T'Cha 4:34
10 Necessary 2:59

All Music Guide Review By Steve Huey

"The murder of DJ Scott La Rock had a profound effect on KRS-One, resulting in a drastic rethinking of his on-record persona. He re-emerged the following year with By All Means Necessary, calling himself the Teacher and rapping mostly about issues facing the black community. His reality rhymes were no longer morally ambiguous, and this time when he posed on the cover with a gun, he was mimicking a photo of Malcolm X. As a social commentator, this is arguably KRS-One's finest moment. His observations are sharp, lucid, and confident, yet he doesn't fall prey to the preachiness that would mar some of his later work, and he isn't afraid to be playful or personal. The latter is especially true on the subject of La Rock, whose memory hangs over By All Means Necessary — not just in the frequent name-checks, but in the minimalist production and hard-hitting 808 drum beats that were his stock-in-trade on Criminal Minded. La Rock figures heavily in the album opener, "My Philosophy," which explains BDP's transition and serves as a manifesto for socially conscious hip-hop. The high point is the impassioned "Stop the Violence," a plea for peace on the hip-hop scene that still hasn't been heeded. Even as KRS-One denounces black-on-black crime, he refuses to allow the community to be stereotyped, criticizing the system that scoffs at that violence on the spoken recitation "Necessary." "Illegal Business" is a startlingly perceptive look at how the drug trade corrupts the police and government, appearing not long before the CIA's drug-running activities in the Iran-Contra Affair came to light. There are also some lighter moments in the battle-rhyme tracks, and a witty safe-sex rap in "Jimmy," a close cousin to the Jungle Brothers' "Jimbrowski." Lyrics from this album have been sampled by everyone from Prince Paul to N.W.A, and it ranks not only as KRS-One's most cohesive, fully realized statement, but a landmark of political rap that's unfairly lost in the shadow of Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions."

<<<<<============>>>>>



Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop


Tracklisting:

01 The Style You Haven't Done Yet 3:01
02 Why Is That? 3:57
03 The Blueprint 2:54
04 Jack of Spades 4:49
05 Jah Rulez 4:25
06 Breath Control 3:38
07 Who Protects Us from You? 2:25
08 You Must Learn 3:51
09 Hip Hop Rules 4:08
10 Bo! Bo! Bo! 5:21
11 Gimme, Dat, (Woy) 3:04
12 Ghetto Music 3:15
13 World Peace 4:45

All Music Guide Review By Steve Huey

"The second Boogie Down Productions album devoted mostly to consciousness raising, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop finds KRS-One evolving into a fierce advocate for both his community and his chosen art form. He's particularly concerned about the direction of the latter: he's wary of hip-hop being co-opted by the pop mainstream, and the album's title comes from his conviction that real hip-hop is built on the vitality and rebelliousness of the streets. Accordingly, Ghetto Music contains a few more battle rhymes than usual, plus some showcases for pure MC technique, in keeping with the most basic elements of the music. The production, too, is still resolutely minimalist, and even if it's a little more fleshed-out than in the past, it consciously makes no concessions to pop or R&B accessibility. There are more reggae inflections in KRS-One's delivery than ever before, audible in about half the tracks here, and the production starts to echo dancehall more explicitly on a few. Meanwhile, as the Teacher, he's actually put together lesson plans for a couple tracks: "Why Is That?" and "You Must Learn" are basically lectures about biblical and African-American history, respectively. This is where KRS-One starts to fall prey to didacticism, but he has relevant points to make, and the rapping is surprisingly nimble given all the information he's trying to pack in. Elsewhere, "Who Protects Us from You?" is a bouncy anti-police-brutality rap, and KRS closes the album with the point that "World Peace" can only be achieved through a pragmatic, aggressive struggle for equality. Although Ghetto Music has a few signs that KRS is starting to take himself a little too seriously (he dubs himself a metaphysician in the liner notes), overall it's another excellent effort and the last truly great BDP album."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Martian Methane Reveals the Red Planet is not a Dead Planet

From NASA:



This image shows concentrations of Methane discovered on Mars. Credit: NASA

View Streaming Video
View Larger Image With Details

Mars today is a world of cold and lonely deserts, apparently without life of any kind, at least on the surface. Worse still, it looks like Mars has been cold and dry for billions of years, with an atmosphere so thin, any liquid water on the surface quickly boils away while the sun's ultraviolet radiation scorches the ground.

But there is evidence of a warmer and wetter past -- features resembling dry riverbeds and minerals that form in the presence of water indicate water once flowed through Martian sands. Since liquid water is required for all known forms of life, scientists wonder if life could have risen on Mars, and if it did, what became of it as the Martian climate changed.

New research reveals there is hope for Mars yet. The first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars indicates the planet is still alive, in either a biologic or geologic sense, according to a team of NASA and university scientists.

"Methane is quickly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere in a variety of ways, so our discovery of substantial plumes of methane in the northern hemisphere of Mars in 2003 indicates some ongoing process is releasing the gas," said Dr. Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "At northern mid-summer, methane is released at a rate comparable to that of the massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara, Calif."

Scientists don't yet know enough to say with certainty what the source of the Martian methane is, but this artist's concept depicts a possibility. In this illustration, subsurface water, carbon dioxide and the planet's internal heat combine to release methane. Although we don’t have evidence on Mars of active volcanoes today, ancient methane trapped in ice "cages" might now be released. Credit: NASA/Susan Twardy
> Larger image Methane -- four atoms of hydrogen bound to a carbon atom -- is the main component of natural gas on Earth. It's of interest to astrobiologists because organisms release much of Earth's methane as they digest nutrients. However, other purely geological processes, like oxidation of iron, also release methane. "Right now, we don’t have enough information to tell if biology or geology -- or both -- is producing the methane on Mars," said Mumma. "But it does tell us that the planet is still alive, at least in a geologic sense. It's as if Mars is challenging us, saying, hey, find out what this means." Mumma is lead author of a paper on this research appearing in Science Express Jan. 15.

If microscopic Martian life is producing the methane, it likely resides far below the surface, where it's still warm enough for liquid water to exist. Liquid water, as well as energy sources and a supply of carbon, are necessary for all known forms of life.

"On Earth, microorganisms thrive 2 to 3 kilometers (about 1.2 to 1.9 miles) beneath the Witwatersrand basin of South Africa, where natural radioactivity splits water molecules into molecular hydrogen (H2) and oxygen. The organisms use the hydrogen for energy. It might be possible for similar organisms to survive for billions of years below the permafrost layer on Mars, where water is liquid, radiation supplies energy, and carbon dioxide provides carbon," said Mumma.

"Gases, like methane, accumulated in such underground zones might be released into the atmosphere if pores or fissures open during the warm seasons, connecting the deep zones to the atmosphere at crater walls or canyons," said Mumma.

"Microbes that produced methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide were one of the earliest forms of life on Earth," noted Dr. Carl Pilcher, Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute which partially supported the research. "If life ever existed on Mars, it's reasonable to think that its metabolism might have involved making methane from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide."

However, it is possible a geologic process produced the Martian methane, either now or eons ago. On Earth, the conversion of iron oxide (rust) into the serpentine group of minerals creates methane, and on Mars this process could proceed using water, carbon dioxide, and the planet's internal heat. Although we don’t have evidence on Mars of active volcanoes today, ancient methane trapped in ice "cages" called clathrates might now be released.

The team found methane in the atmosphere of Mars by carefully observing the planet over several Mars years (and all Martian seasons) with NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, run by the University of Hawaii, and the W. M. Keck telescope, both at Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

The team used spectrometer instruments attached to the telescopes to make the detection. Spectrometers spread light into its component colors, like a prism separates white light into a rainbow. The team looked for dark areas in specific places along the rainbow (light spectrum) where methane was absorbing sunlight reflected from the Martian surface. They found three such areas, called absorption lines, which together are a definitive signature of methane, according to the team. They were able to distinguish lines from Martian methane from the methane in Earth's atmosphere because the motion of the Red Planet shifted the position of the Martian lines, much as a speeding ambulance causes its siren to change pitch as it passes by.

"We observed and mapped multiple plumes of methane on Mars, one of which released about 19,000 metric tons of methane," said Dr. Geronimo Villanueva of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. Villanueva is stationed at NASA Goddard and is co-author of the paper. "The plumes were emitted during the warmer seasons -- spring and summer -- perhaps because the permafrost blocking cracks and fissures vaporized, allowing methane to seep into the Martian air. Curiously, some plumes had water vapor while others did not," said Villanueva.

According to the team, the plumes were seen over areas that show evidence of ancient ground ice or flowing water. For example, plumes appeared over northern hemisphere regions such as east of Arabia Terra, the Nili Fossae region, and the south-east quadrant of Syrtis Major, an ancient volcano 1,200 kilometers (about 745 miles) across.

It will take future missions, like NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, to discover the origin of the Martian methane. One way to tell if life is the source of the gas is by measuring isotope ratios. Isotopes are heavier versions of an element; for example, deuterium is a heavier version of hydrogen. In molecules that contain hydrogen, like water and methane, the rare deuterium occasionally replaces a hydrogen atom. Since life prefers to use the lighter isotopes, if the methane has less deuterium than the water released with it on Mars, it's a sign that life is producing the methane. The research was funded by NASA's Planetary Astronomy Program and the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Fania All-Stars Live

Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 1



Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 2



Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 1



Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 2



Latin-Soul-Rock



Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 1



Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 2



Live



Habana Jam



Fania All-Stars in Japan



Live in Africa



Live: June 11-1994, Puerto Rico

Tower of Power - 1975 - Urban Renewal



All Music Guide Review By Alex Henderson

"Tower of Power was very much in its prime in 1974, when the Bay Area outfit tore up the soul charts with the outstanding Urban Renewal. Lenny Williams, a passionate, wailing, gospel-influenced dynamo of a singer, had joined Tower the previous year, and he worked out remarkably well; whether digging into tough funk or romantic ballads, Williams is in top form. Funk doesn't get much more invigorating than horn-driven gems like "Maybe It'll Rub Off," "Give Me the Proof" and "Only So Much Oil in the Ground" (a commentary on the mid-'70s energy crisis), and soul ballads don't get much richer than "Willing to Learn" and "I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To." Tower (an influence on everyone from L.T.D. to the Average White Band) recorded a number of essential albums in the '70s, and Urban Renewal is at the top of the list."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fela Kuti - 1973 - Gentlemen



All Music Guide Review By Jack LV Isles

"Gentleman is both an Africa 70 and Afro-beat masterpiece. High marks go to the scathing commentary that Fela Anikulapo Kuti lets loose but also to the instrumentation and the overall arrangements, as they prove to be some of the most interesting and innovative of Fela's '70s material. When the great tenor saxophone player Igo Chico left the Africa 70 organization in 1973, Fela Kuti declared he would be the replacement. So in addition to bandleader, soothsayer, and organ player, Fela picked up the horn and learned to play it quite quickly — even developing a certain personal voice with it. To show off that fact, "Gentleman" gets rolling with a loose improvisatory solo saxophone performance that Tony Allen eventually pats along with before the entire band drops in with classic Afro-beat magnificence. "Gentleman" is also a great example of Fela's directed wit at the post-colonial West African sociopolitical state of affairs. His focus is on the Africans that still had a colonial mentality after the Brits were gone and then parallels that life with his own. He wonders why his fellow Africans would wear so much clothing in the African heat: "I know what to wear but my friend don't know" and also points out that "I am not a gentleman like that!/I be Africa man original." To support "Gentleman," the B-side features equally hot jazzy numbers, "Fefe Naa Efe" and "Igbe," making this an absolute must-have release."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

John Fahey



Biography from Rolling Stone:

John Fahey preferred album titles like Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes, and Blind Joe Death, suggesting either a dark private humor or plain morbid fixation, but this Maryland guitarist's forte is music of an exhilarating, almost rapturous beauty. Uplifting or soothing, tinged with melancholy, his sets of country blues, Scotch-Irish folk, or classically derived melodies showcase often dazzling acoustic-guitar work. Generally unaccompanied and without overdubs, he crafts complex tapestries of sound; his virtuosity is less a matter of speed or jazzy convolution than tone, and Fahey's guitar resounds like no other. Big, bell-like, immediate, helped out by very clear production, his tone comes through like a signature. Confusingly, he rerecorded a number of LPs because he thought his technique had improved, and one of his finest releases, Of Rivers and Religion, features a whole band with horn charts. A very consistent artist -- the assured delivery of "Old Southern Medley" off The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death, from 1973, isn't dissimilar to his rousing take on Eric Clapton's "Layla" (from Let Go) -- Fahey kept to a very high standard through much of his 40-year career. Gorgeous mood music that can provoke trance and reverie, his albums might appeal to New Age listeners -- but his music is denser and smarter than that genre. He survived for years as a perennial Christmas-music favorite.



Fahey's stubborn, outsider nature and his '60s experimental works led to his rediscovery as an indie hero; his final albums, however, are feeble echoes of the more clever curios on Voice of the Turtle and The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party. Newcomers will do well with Return of the Repressed or the best-of anthologies; Vol. 2, selected by guitarist Henry Kaiser, is particularly well programmed. Fahey's stoic combination of deep sadness and unshakeable resolve to transcend will keep his work forever in fashion. (MILO MILES)

This Biography Came From 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide

<<<======>>>

"Red Pony" 1969



"Wine and Roses" 1978