A Guy Called Gerald on new technology in electronic music
Dance music pioneer A Guy Called Gerald talks about the culture of technology in electronic music and how new tools like TRAKTOR DJ for iPad changed how he performs and creates.
On this day in music history: September 16, 1983 - “Let The Music Play” by Shannon is released. Written by Chris Barbosa and Ed Chisolm, is it the debut single and biggest for the R&B vocalist from Washington DC. Raised in Brooklyn, NY since childhood, by early 1983, twenty five year old Brenda Shannon Greene is a recent graduate of the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and is doing post graduate studies at York University. While still in college, Greene will sing with the New York Jazz Ensemble. It is while she is with the group that Shannon will meet producer Quentin Hicks. Impressed with her voice, Hicks will set up an audition for Shannon with Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa, staff songwriters and producers at independent dance label Emergency Records. Liking what they hear, the producers will play her a demo of a song written by Barbosa and Ed Chisolm originally called “Fire And Ice”, which she will agree to record. Liggett and Barbosa will take her into the studio the same to day to record her vocals on the track. The lyrics are re-written and the song is re-titled “Let The Music Play”. Recorded at Greene Street Studios in New York City in July of 1983, musician Rob Kilgore (Man Parrish, Xēna (aka Lisa Fischer)) will play all of the instruments on the track including synthesizers and programming the Roland TR-808 drum machine. The 808 will be MIDI’ed(Musical Instrument Digital Interface) with a Roland TB-303, a rudimentary thirteen key bass synthesizer that will give the song its distinctive and immediately identifiable sound. Emergency will release “Let The Music Play” as a 12” single in mid-September of 1983. The record will create an immediate sensation on the street and on dance floors in New York, and in other major cities around the world. “Let The Music Play” will be picked up for wider distribution by Atlantic and re-released on their Mirage Records imprint. That same Fall, Shannon will go back in the studio with Liggett and Barbosa to record a full length album to capitalize on the success of the single. “Let The Music Play” will mark a major sea change in the evolution of dance and club oriented music. The record’s acceptance by US Top 40 pop radio, will be the first time that dance music receives widespread exposure, since being virtually blackballed from mainstream radio after the end of the Disco Era. “Music” will go on to sell more than eight million copies worldwide, also introducing the genre of “Freestyle” into the vernacular of club culture, with its distinctive syncopated Latin and Hip Hop influenced rhythm dominating dance music for the rest of the 1980’s. “Let The Music Play” will spend six weeks at number one on the Billboard Club Play chart on October 29, 1983, peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart, #8 on the Hot 100 in February of 1984, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Never Say Never
415-Columbia Records/USA (1982)
12” Available now: http://bit.ly/1q8Bwha
Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity tha¬t has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan’s electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus’ guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis’ bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility, bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Source: SoundCloud / Wolf + Lamb Records
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