Sep 30, 2014

RhoDeo 1439 Roots


Calling himself an African Rasta, today's artist creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of his music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society's fringe. He is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiencess in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. ... N'joy

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Hailing from the Cote d'Ivoire, Alpha Blondy is among the world's most popular reggae artists. With his 12-piece band Solar System, Blondy offers a reggae beat with a distinctive African cast. Calling himself an African Rasta, Blondy creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of Blondy's music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society's fringe. Blondy is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiencess in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. Some of his best-known songs include "Cocody Rock," "Jerusalem," and "Apartheid Is Nazism."

He was born a member of the Jula tribe in Dimbokoro and named Seydou Kone, after his grandfather. His grandmother, Cherie Coco, raised him. He was always a rebellious child and for this, Coco named him "Blondy," her unique pronunciation of the word "bandit." When he started performing professionally, he took on the name Alpha (the first letter in the Greek alphabet) so his name literally translates to "first bandit." Though he grew up listenting to African folkloric music such as yagba and gumbe, his primary musical influences were such Western bands as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and soul artists like Otis Redding. Later Bob Marley's music tremendously affected Blondy. Though he wanted to become a musician, his family expected him to become a respectable English teacher. He studied English at Hunter College in New York, and later in the Columbia University American Language Program. Outside of class, he would play music in Central Park and in Harlem clubs where occasionally house bands would let him sing his Bob Marley covers in French, English, and various West African languages. One night, record producer Clive Hunt heard Blondy sing and invited him to record six songs. Unfortunately, Hunt absconded with the tape. Shortly afterward, he returned to the Ivory Coast, where he was arrested for threatening the ambassador at the New York Ivorian embassy because the diplomat felt that Blondy's English was too good for him to be an Ivorian native. While at the police station, Blondy's temper again flared and he slapped a policeman (after the cop slapped him first). He spent a week in jail and then stayed briefly at th Bingerville Asylum in Abidjan, where he was declared reasonably sane and released. Soon afterward, he began honing his songwriting and performing skills. Later, he dedicated an album to the patients of Bingerville.

Blondy got his big break from friend Fulgence Kass, an employee of Ivory Coast Television who helped him land a spot on the Premiere Chance talent show. Singing three of his own tunes plus Burning Spear's "Christopher Columbus," the young artist was a hit with the audience. Blondy then hooked up with producer G. Benson who recorded his eight-song debut album Jah Love in a single day. The most popular song, "Brigadier Sabari," was an account of Blondy's run-in with an Abidjan police street raid in which he was nearly beaten to death. It was the first time a West African artist had dared to mention random police brutality in public. After releasing the album, he and the newly formed Solar System band signed to EMI. They recorded his second album, Cocody Rock, in Paris in 1984. Later he returned to Tuff Gong to record his third album, Jerusalem (1986). By the release of his 1987 album Revolution, Blondy had established himself as an international artist. Three years before he had been voted the number one artist by a Radio France international poll. His popularity continues to grow, and he continues steadily releasing albums. His 1992 album, Masada, was released in over 50 countries around the world and went double gold in France. Yitzhak Rabin followed in 1998; Paris Percy appeared in spring 2001. Although it was recorded in 1999, the album Elohim appeared in 2002 in Europe and three years later in America. The career-spanning Akwaba: The Very Best of Alpha Blondy was also released in 2005.

Blondy was named as United Nations Ambassador of Peace for Cote D’Ivoire in 2005 and continuously remains dedicated to his humanitarian efforts through his charitable foundation Alpha Blondy Jah Glory. His mission is to eradicate generational poverty by providing grass roots social programs that are beneficial to the lives of underprivileged children and women from villages within Africa and Haiti.

 The foundation’s remarkable programs are Tafari Genesis Retreat Camp and the Micro Loan Program.It provides training and financing as little as $50.00 U.S. dollars to assist women who have become head of households to manage, operate, and start their own businesses. Overall, Alpha Blondy empowers communities to become self sufficient by learning and utilizing basic skills. This concept generates opportunities for many women to maintain their integrity, rebuild confidence as well as provide for their families.

"Jah Victory" and was released July 2007. It features Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare as well as Tyrone Downie formerly of Bob Marley and the Wailers. "Victory" is in honor of the peace agreement that was reached and implemented in his country in March 2007. Then in 2011 Vision was released it got great reviews whiich must have invigorated him because 2 years later to celebrate his sixtieth year on this globe "Mystic Power" saw the light. It should not be passed over by fans of rootsy rocking reggae, his wonderful voice still complements his thought-provoking lyrics.

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Despite heated protests from his parents, Alpha Blondy abandoned his studies in education to establish himself as a singer, a move influenced by his discovery of the Rastafarian faith and the music of international reggae star Bob Marley. A longtime dream was fulfilled in 1986 when, five years after Marley's death, the singer's backing band, the Wailers, supplied the rhythms for Blondy's fourth album. Recorded in Jamaica, Jerusalem remains one of Blondy's most satisfying song collections. Lyrics alternate among English, French, and Blondy's own Dioula, a mix the singer attempts to unite through the rhythms of reggae music. Aiding him in his pursuits are some of the island's finest. Under Bob Marley, the seasoned rhythm team of brothers Aston and Carlton Barrett (bass and drums), Junior Murvin (guitar), and Earl Lindo (keyboards) refined reggae music to the slick, near-universal pulse Blondy was seeking. Though their former mentor's success distanced the Wailers somewhat from Jamaica's hard roots audience, they lost none of their exceptional musicianship in the process. The sound of Carlton Barrett's slick snare beats and Earl "Chinna" Smith's supple bluesy lines may have lacked the rough hues of the 1970s, but they did provide many music fans with a palatable introduction to reggae. Behind Blondy, they helped propel the singer to his own level of crossover success. Though the mix by engineers Anthony Kelly, Gary Sutherland, and Solgie Hamilton applies a certain amount of gloss to the music, sparse, competent rhythms ride below Blondy on tracks like "Boulevard de la Mort," "Travailler C'Est Trop Dur," and "Bloodshed in Africa."

Alpha Blondy & The Wailers - Jérusalem  (flac  253mb)

01 Jérusalem 7:48
02 Politiqui 6:35
03 Bloodshed In Africa 4:19
04 I Love Paris 5:15
05 Kalachnikov Love 5:20
06 Travailler, C'est Trop Dur 3:17
07 Miwa 5:04
08 Boulevard De La Mort 5:26
09 Dji 2:45

Alpha Blondy & The Wailers - Jérusalem  (ogg 102mb)

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Finally the great weird one he had in him. Its seven cuts include a chanson in Dioula, a crude, endearingly right-on crossover bid called "Rock and Roll Remedy," and the Solar System vamping for 10 minutes behind a speech by Côte d'Ivoire's 84-year-old president Félix Houphouêt-Boigny, a Francophile bourgeois as unrevolutionary as any head of state in Africa. Wish my French was up to what the Old Man is saying; wish my Dioula was up to what the songs about bleeding and elections are saying. I do know that the lead love song ends up in a mental hospital, because it's in English. While Revolution has some great tracks like "Sweet Fanta Diallo," "Blesser" and "Jah Houphouet Nous Parle," the first three tracks. The most interesting and experimental track is the ten-minute "Jah Houphouet Nous Parle," in which Blondy takes a tape of a speech given by the former president of the Ivory Coast, M. Felix Houphouet Boigny, and puts it to some sleak, pulsating music. Unfortunately, if you don't speak French, you won't be able to understand the speech, which Blondy calls a "masterpiece."

Alpha Blondy - Revolution  (flac  261mb)

01 Sweet Fanta Diallo 5:18
02 Blesser 5:30
03 Jah Houphouet Nous Parle (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain) 10:37
04 Rock And Roll Remedy 4:07
05 Time 4:06
06 Election Koutcha 5:36
07 Miri 5:44

Alpha Blondy - Revolution   (ogg 98mb)

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Blondy's first international release under a new worldwide contract with EMI is as soulful and militant as past efforts, with an added gloss to the production that may win new listeners. you might have probably already guessed from the title, this album is based on religion. He goes on to talk about the role the prophets and the troubles they went through in spreading God's word in "Allah Leka Netchi". Then makes a parallel with us, later generations, in "Corinthiens", referring to a section of the bible, as to how important it is for every human being to stay in the straight path and hold on to the truth in our every day life. In closing with the religion theme, he again sings about hypocrisy, namely in "Kolombaria", where he warns human beings about thinking they are cheating Godwhen they are only furthering themselves into doing bad deeds.
Then he touchily browses the troubles and tribulation people go through or have gone through in their life. Firsts in line are "Black men tears" and "Jah Music", where he portrays some the troubles black people have been through during slavery time and the discrimination and vicious cycle black people are caught into nowadays. Secondly, he goes to an even more general subject, which is the struggle every body goes against in trying to lead a good and exemplary life in today's society in "Face To Face".
Finally, he returns to topics typical of the motherland, Africa. In "Coup D'Etat", Alpha denounces the wrong doing of some African leaders who thirsty of power try to get it by any means necessary. And many times they do so by using military force. "Banana" is specific to the Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire) in that he tells the problems the Ivorian dairy farmer faces in trying to make a living from his work. Not only does he have to overcome the uncertainties of the weather but also producing quality food in convenient quantities in order to be able to sell it at a good price and make profit out of it.

I recognize that often times Alpha using French, Dioula (an African language from the Ivory Coast), or English in trying to convey his message, makes it difficult for other who don't understand to grasp the concepts behind the melody. But again, it is only natural for him to do so and that is the reason why I tried to give as much details as I could fit in this slot. I would fiercely recommend this album to anybody found of reggae, good music or good singers able to bring attention to meaningful subjects.

Alpha Blondy - The Prophets  (flac  226mb)

01 The Prophet (Allah Léka Netchi) 3:02
02 Banana 3:44
03 Coup D'Etat 2:56
04 Kolombaria 4:13
05 Face To Face 4:19
06 Black Men Tears 5:15
07 Corinthiens 3:15
08 Jah Music 6:25

Alpha Blondy - The Prophets  (ogg 78mb)

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Sep 29, 2014

RhoDeo 1439 Blake Seven fold

Hello, well the US failed to win the Rider cup back, Europe has clearly proved their players may not win that much money but they are the better golf players... Meanwhile Polish cyclist Michal Kwiatkowski  won the world road race championship, he'll be easy identifiable the coming year in every cycling race he partakes in, as he'll race in a rainbow shirt. Though this title comes with plenty prestige it rarely brings much glory in the following season. Ah those assertive Poles lets hope they don't declare war on Russia..

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Ok so the coming weeks we'll have some Blake's 7 audio drama's

Don’t let the opening put you off. The Sevenfold Crown begins with a dream so hammy you’ll be inclined to dismiss the whole production as a terrible nightmare long before a stonking continuity error tips you off that it’s a dream. Thankfully, things pick up after that.

Back in the days when Blake’s 7 was still on TV, it could be a little uneven. There were a handful of writers, including Chris Boucher and Tery Nation, who truly understood it, but the rest were a pack of hacks who treated it as a standard-issue space opera, leading to a glut of embarrassing robots and unconvincing monsters.

In that sense, The Sevenfold Crown isn’t proper Blake’s 7, as it doesn’t capture any of the political complexity which helped inspire JM Straczynski to create Babylon 5, but it’s considerably better than most of the series’ filler episodes. The plot is closer to Doctor Who than Blake’s 7, with Avon and Servalan battling for control of a psionic device created by an ancient civilisation in a manner worthy of the Doctor and the Master, but works well, though the Seven’s new-found tendency to help the poor and oppressed is rather out of character.

If the script is slightly off-target in recapturing the feel of the show, the cast slip right into their parts as if they’d never been away. The opening sequence aside, Paul Darrow and Jacqueline Pearce have scaled back some of the OTT campness which crept into their performances during the final season, and Michael Keating’s Vila remains the core of the show - cowardly, pathetic and commanding by turn. The revelation, however, is Steven Pacey, who’s matured hugely as an actor over the last 15 years. While Tarrant is recognisably the same character seen in the series, he’s gained a presence which makes him a genuine equal to Avon. Only Angela Bruce and Paula Wilcox prove disappointing as the new versions of Dayna and Soolin, and that’s more the fault of the script than anything. Though there’s a few references which establish them as hardened killers, they spend most of the time starting at frights like useless girlies.

The Sevenfold Crown isn’t Blake’s 7 at its best, but as star- spanning space opera it’s more than satisfying... And, best of all, it reunites the Seven ready for further adventures. More!

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Blake's 7 - The SevenFold Crown (ogg 83mb)

The SevenFold Crown 90:00

Paul Darrow as Avon, Michael Keating as Vila, Steven Pacey as Tarrant, Peter Tuddenham as Orac/Slave, Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan, Angela Bruce as Dayna and Paula Wilcox as Soolin Barry Letts 17 January 1998

Raiding Servalan's HQ, the crew discover that she possesses a jewel that belongs to an ancient, long-lost crown a mystical artefact of indescribable power. Suddenly the Scorpio crew are as determined as Servalan to acquire the circlet; but if they do, will absolute power corrupt Avon absolutely?

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Sep 28, 2014

Sundaze 1439

Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name ?

Many an artist do their own thing these days, not just music wise but start their own label too and run it's sales and marketing that's a lot on one man's plate. And as the music should take center stage and sales largely on line automated these days marketing provided by sites like, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, all connection places that do need regular updating and as todays artist is supposedly somewhat shy not much is shared about the person behind the music, luckily the odd interview offers up some clues as to what drives the artist    ..N'Joy

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36 (pronounced three-six) is the ambient/experimental project of Dennis Huddleston from the United Kingdom. Since 2008, the focus for the project has been to develop warm, hugely emotive loop-based compositions, with particular emphasis on melody and atmosphere. He also runs the label 3six Recordings, which is used to publish his self-released works.

'Dream Tempest' is the most recent release by 36. In your own opinion, what makes it different from your previous works?

I'm pretty rubbish at describing my own music really, as it's just not something I ever consciously think about when making it. I've used the words "more optimistic" in the press-release, but it's still a very melancholic album. I don't know really, my intentions and the end-results are often two very different things! Hopefully the album still sounds fresh, without alienating what attracted people to my music in the first place. It's a 36 album!

Ambient music, is it about saying much with less?

I guess so. Even though people describe my music as ambient, it's not really a term I personally use much, at least for my own stuff. I mean tunes like 'Sun Riders' would definitely fit that "less is more" description, whereas something like 'Hyperbox' is quite the opposite. The thing I do like about ambient is that it can encompass so many things, especially these days. I mean, would you classify Tim Hecker's recent albums as Ambient, compared to say... Steve Roach? They both share a genre, but couldn't sound more different to each other. It's an interesting collective of music, if nothing else.

Even the brighter 'Dream Tempest' still has 36's distinctive sound. In a time when nearly everyone can release their music online, is style the only way to stand out?

I think that as an artist, the only thing you should concentrate on is making honest music. Don't follow trends or try to imitate your favourite artist; instead, just make music from the heart and try to make it as close a reflection of yourself as possible. I think you can easily spot the pretenders from the people who genuinely put everything into their music. In 2014, where the sheer amount of tools available to artists is so abundant, there is no excuse for any 2 artists to sound completely alike. What is the point in that anyway?

You made a name for yourself out of the "traditional" music industry. Is it hard to work on your own?

Not really. It's just more natural for me to make music and release it myself, as I don't have to worry about other egos or expectations. I'm not trying to be this maverick, loner-type who refuses to work with other artists/labels etc... I just get on with it, doing my own thing, not really worrying too much about the industry side of things. I just like making music. The rest is just noise, some of which can't be ignored, sadly.

Have you ever been approached by record labels to sign with them? Would you do it, or do you prefer freedom over mass-promotion?

Yes, quite a few times. "Signing" is a pretty redundant term now, as being under a fixed, exclusive contract with a label is an archaic practice that rarely happens now, unless it's a huge label. I like the freedom of releasing my music whenever and wherever I like, under no fixed schedule, which is why running my own label is perfect for me. I've got no expectations, other than to release the kind of music I enjoy. I don't even need to do that. If I wasn't 100% confident with the music, then I can just scrap it and move onto something else. If you've got deadlines and contractual obligations with other people, then this simply isn't possible. It's a stress I can do without.

In this sense, would you give any advice to new musicians trying to find their way on the digital media?

Labels still have their place in the world and can be particularly beneficial to people when they're starting out. They often have an existing fan base and all the promotional/distributional channels are usually already in place. If you're new to releasing music, then it can be quite daunting and many artists have zero interest in the business side of things, other than just making music. If this describes you, then finding a label to release your stuff is still probably the best option. If however you like the challenge of making something from nothing, as well as wanting complete control over who and where your music is heard, then by all means, look into the self-releasing/make your own label route. Just don't do any half-measures; It's a huge undertaking and isn't something you should do on a whim.

Which are 36 musical influences, if any? What artists do you listen to?

I always have trouble answering this question, because essentially, you're asking me to compress 30 years of music I've listened to, into just a few names, which is like reading a book, but skipping to the last page. It's a basic, shallow way of looking at things. Artists, much like anyone else, evolve their craft over the years and even though I don't necessarily listen to the same music now as I did when I was 15, it all had an impact on me, if only on a sub-conscious level. In this respect, every single piece of music I've heard is important, even the rubbish, forgettable stuff. It just meant I could avoid it in the future and concentrate more on the music I did like.

I would say that 36's albums belong more to a scandinavian sound (I am thinking about Biosphere, for instance) than a British one. Do you agree? Is there an ambient music scene in the UK? If so, what do you think about it?

I'm not sure if there is a particular "British" sound, at least in this genre. All I see are a bunch of different people, making music under an umbrella tag, that encompasses loads of different things. As I say, I try not to worry too much about other artists or my place in any scene etc.. It doesn't really mean anything to me as an artist, as all I can do is concentrate on my own stuff and let the listeners pick it apart/discuss it's relevance etc. I will say that I personally think the ambient genre as a whole is in a very healthy state in 2014. I hear great new music all the time. Bandcamp in particular has been amazing for finding new artists.

You didn't put your name in the beautiful cover of 'Dream Tempest'. Is it to say that music itself is more important than the person behind it?

Well, I mostly sell my music direct and enough people know me now that I don't need to plaster my name/face over everything, just so they can recognise it was me who made it. A simple "36" on the spine/back is more than enough for me. I'd rather separate the ego and just let the imagery and the sound do the talking.

You release your music digitally, on Cd and also on vinyl. Do you have a favourite media to listen to music? Do you believe the Cd format is on its last days?

Vinyl is my favourite, but every format has its own quirks and charms. I still enjoy tape for example, because I love how it compresses/saturates the sound, and it was the format I grew up listening to the most. CDs are important because they defined the modern album-length/duration and they're a convenient way to listen to music on a physical format. I think that the CD will be around for quite a while yet. As for digital, well I like it simply for the ease of use and convenience, but I hate heavily compressed MP3s. Nothing is more annoying than listening to your music being butchered by a crappy 96/128kbps stream. Just listen to "Hyperbox" on the 3six Bandcamp preview stream and compare it to the CD master for example. The high-end is ruined. It just sounds nasty!

Have you ever played your music in a live concert? How would be the perfect 36 concert?

No, I've been asked to do loads of live shows around the world, but always politely decline. I'm just not ready to present my music in a live environment yet. I think it would definitely have potential, but I'm not massively into the live performance thing, at least for this kind of music. It doesn't help that I still get pretty significant motion sickness when travelling, which just makes me feel really crappy for a few days afterwards. After an 8 hour flight, the absolute last thing I would want to do is stand in front of a crowd, playing music! It'd have to be a pitch-black room, because I'd look like a complete mess haha.

What are your plans for the future? Are you already working on new music?

I have learned over the last 5 years not to make any definitive plans, as I always end up breaking them and doing something completely different! For now, I'm still in down-time mode after finishing the new album and not really making much new music. The breaks always do me good and make me more inspired when I eventually get the urge to make music again. Anyway, I have a few tracks that will appear on various labels and compilations over the coming months, that are quite different to anything I've done in the past. Keep an eye out for them!

© 2014 The rest is noise

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Digital version of the strictly limited edition cassette release, available as a "name your price" download from the artist's Bandcamp site. First release "Blue" due late July/early August and features ultra-emotive "reinterpretations" of Hypersona/Hollow tracks, alongside new and unheard tracks from each era. No hype, no PR bullshit, no external distribution, just the music.

36 - Tape Series: Blue  (flac 279mb)

01 Inside (2:56AM Mix) 5:39
02 The Box (Closed Mix) 4:36
03 Forever (Universe Mix) 6:33
04 After Time 8:58
05 Glint 4:12
06 Ghostfields (Midnight Mix) 5:04
07 Far From Home 5:23
08 Darkroom Distortion (Distant Mix) 6:44
09 Siren (Seduced Mix) 6:36
10 Somewhere 5:33

36 - Tape Series: Blue  (ogg 88mb)

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"Red" is the 2nd part in the Tape Series. Arpeggiated melodies clash with theramins, vintage synths, guitar distortion and intense basslines to provide a paranoid, unnerving soundtrack to a future that never happened.

36 - Tape Series: Red (flac  255mb)
01 Transmission 1:46
02 Theme For Red 3:38
03 Decode 3:28
04 Lights Over Wibsey 6:09
05 Peripheral Shadow 2:43
06 Null 6:39
07 Tongue Depressor 1:34
08 Lost 6:01
09 False 1:07
10 Consumed 6:46
11 End Credits 10:33

36 - Tape Series: Red  (ogg 105mb)

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Digital version of the limited edition cassette release, available as a "name your price" download from the artist's Bandcamp site.
"Green" is the 3rd and final part in the 36 Tape Series.

36 - Tape Series: Green  (flac 310mb)

01 Nistarim 29:57
02 Bergensbanen (Part 1) 9:38
03 Bergensbanen (Part 2) 8:07
04 Neon 8:15

36 - Tape Series: Green   (ogg 117mb)

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