16 December 2012

When the Bomb Drops

In response to Simon's drummage thing, something about a favorite thing from and a least-favorite decade -- a bit about D.C. go-go music for '80s blog.

Also appropriate I suppose, seeing how the passing of Chuck Brown was among this past year's more notable musical RIPs.

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A couple of related items I came across while writing...

1)  A 1985 article from The Face on the go-go scene, written by David Toop relayed here. A couple of interesting quote from the thing that align with my own points...

"Surely, this is just hard funk? Well, yes and no. It's those bass drum body shots, booming over 40, 60, or 90 minutes without a break, that make for the subtle difference.

"Though Go-Go, like New York's Hip-Hop, is the grandchild of The Meters' second-line rhythms,...it has produced its own distinctive relationship between the kick drum and the snare, overlaying it with a unique blend of elements...

"The commitment to live performance is total. ...The members of E.U. raise their voices in derision against drum machines and sequencers, mocking the idea of pressing a button and then hearing the machine play on as you walk away from it. ...Players like E.U.'s Shorty Tim, Trouble Funk's T-Bone and Chick Brown's Mack Cery seem to possess endless reserves of stamina. It was the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, who started the idea of keeping the beat going through the whole set."

And later, quoting Maxx Kidd, chief of D.C. go-go label T.T.E.D. Records:

"...'They started creating it from the playgrounds, from the rec centers, from the garages, from alleys. The kids would get anything from trash can to a hand-me-down conga. ...It was almost like they said, "Fuck society and fuck that Top 40 radio. They're not doing anything for us but look what we're doing for ourselves." They took a lot of pride in that. The next thing you know they couldn't afford to go to the big concerts. They couldn't afford to go to the clubs that were bringing the national acts or the so-called classy local acts.'"

Which in its own parallels what some have said about the origins of hip-hop in the late '70s and early '80 -- about how, as far as making music went, a DJ sound system and a microphone were default street-level alternatives to funding cuts to music programs in public schools.

2)  Also, a documentary about the music circa 1990 that I found on Youtube. It looks like someone at Dangerous Minds was kind enough to corral the links for all six part of the film.

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