Dec 9, 2011

RhoDeo 1149 Grooves

Hello, today's artists (brothers) have had their hurdles in life yet they released wonderful positive music, initially this didn't make them very popular in the hip hop scene, luckily in the UK their music was appreciated, thus they were enabled to reach out to the world and bless us with their grooves. P.M. Dawn straddled the gap between hip-hop and smooth '70s-style soul, creating an innovative urban R&B that owed as much to pop as it did to rhythm and blues.

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P.M. Dawn formed in 1988 by brothers Attrell Cordes (a.k.a. Prince Be, sometimes credited as Prince Be the Nocturnal) and Jarrett Cordes (a.k.a DJ Minutemix or J.C. the Eternal) in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Cordes brothers' father died of pneumonia when they were children. Further family tragedy saw their baby brother Duncan drown at the age of two. The two elder brothers were raised by their mother and their stepfather George Brown, a founding member of Kool & the Gang.

Prince Be began DJing parties and composing songs in ninth grade. Within a few years, he had determined to make a demo tape of some of those pieces with the $600 he had set aside from his after school job as a security guard at a homeless shelter. By then, he and his brother were putting in studio time as P.M. Dawn. They first approached Tommy Boy Records with their demo, but they were told that they were too much like alternative hip-hoppers De La Soul, and not hardcore enough. Eventually, Warlock, an independent record label, issued a debut single, "Ode to a Forgetful Mind", in 1989, but it went unnoticed.

The record label that released the single in the United Kingdom, Gee Street Records, found greater success. Gee Street mixed and marketed the song so that it earned considerable attention from music reviewers, and P.M. Dawn found themselves courted not just by Gee Street, but also by most of the major UK record labels. Gee Street brought the brothers to London in 1990 to record tracks for an album, however, the label found itself facing bankruptcy during the recording. The entire Gee Street operation, along with P.M. Dawn's recording contract, was sold to the highest bidder, Island Records. Island issued a few more singles in the United Kingdom before releasing their debut album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience.

The album featured the hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", which sampled the Spandau Ballet song "True", it hit #1 the week of November 30, 1991, and holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart following the introduction of Nielsen SoundScan to the chart. The song also reached #3 in the United Kingdom. With the success of their debut album, the band embarked on a world tour.

Before releasing their follow-up album, The Bliss Album… (Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence), P.M. Dawn contributed the single "I'd Die Without You" to the 1992 Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang and its soundtrack. The number one hit was also included on The Bliss Album. It features the Boy George duet "More Than Likely" and a cover of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". On a less positive note, the album also included "So On and So On," which led to a 1999 sampling lawsuit.

Their 1995 album Jesus Wept was unable to attain the success of their first two albums. The album's highest charting single was "Downtown Venus", which contained a sample of Deep Purple's "Hush", and reached #48 on the Billboard chart. Also, in 1995, P.M. Dawn was credited with the remix of White Zombie's "Blood, Milk and Sky" (Miss September Mix) on the Supersexy Swingin' Sounds compilation album. In 1996, P.M. Dawn contributed "Non-Fiction Burning" to the AIDS-Benefit Album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization. 1998 saw the release of P.M. Dawn's fourth album, Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad. It was less successful again, with the album's single, "Being So Not For You (I Had No Right)" being only a minor chart hit. In 2000, they released the compilation, The Best of P.M. Dawn.

Prince Be suffered a massive stroke in early 2005 that left him paralyzed on the left side of his body. Undeterred, P.M. Dawn appeared on NBC's Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, performing "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", and covered Puddle of Mudd's "Blurry". Following their appearance, Minutemix decided to leave P.M. Dawn to pursue an interest in a solo career. This led to the introduction of The Doc Of The Dawn-Doc.G, also known as 'Dr.Giggles' or 'Blissboy #2', who is the Cordes brothers' paternal first cousin. On May 24, 2011 The Doc Of The Dawn-Doc.G released his first solo album titled The Purr-Script-Shun.

On February 12, 2009, Prince Be had a second stroke and suffered a gangrenous infection in his right leg. As a result of this infection, his leg had to be amputated below the kneecap in December 2009. With Prince Be's blessing, Doc.G continues to tour and perform P.M. Dawn classics and his new material.

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P.M. Dawn's ponderously titled debut Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience was a startling reimagination of the Hip Hop music's possibilities. P.M. Dawn were unabashed hippies whose sound and sensibility held very little street appeal, if any. Of the Heart... is soaked in new age spirituality and philosophical introspection, and a song title like "To Serenade a Rainbow" is likely to raise eyebrows among more than just skeptical b-boys. It's true that there's some occasional sappiness and navel-gazing, but it's also true that the group's outlook is an indispensable part of its musical aesthetic, and that's where Of the Heart... pushes into the realm of transcendence. It still sounds revolutionary today, although you'd have to call it a Velvet Revolution: It's soft and airy, with ethereal vocal harmonies layered over lush backing tracks and danceable beats. The shimmering ballads "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" (built on an unlikely sample of Spandau Ballet's "True") and "Paper Doll" were the hits, but they aren't quite representative of the album as a whole. Some tracks, like "Comatose" and "A Watcher's Point of View (Don't 'Cha Think)," are surprisingly funky and driving, and there's also an even more explicit nod to the dancefloor in the Todd Terry hip-house collaboration "Shake." The more reflective raps ("Reality Used to Be a Friend of Mine," "Even After I Die," "In the Presence of Mirrors") strike a fascinating balance between those sensibilities, and there's still little else like them. In the end, Of the Heart... is enormously daring in its own way, proving that pop, R&B, and hip-hop could come together for creative, not necessarily commercial, reasons.


P.M. Dawn – Of The Heart, Of The Soul And Of The Cross ( 314mb)

01 Intro 0:58
02 Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine 4:44
03 Paper Doll 4:54
04 To Serenade A Rainbow 3:50
05 Comatose 4:56
06 A Watcher's Point Of View (Don't 'Cha Think) 4:17
07 Even After I Die 4:00
08 In The Presence Of Mirrors 4:05
09 Set Adrift On Memory Bliss 4:15
10 Shake 3:20
11 If I Wuz U 4:47
12 On A Clear Day 5:25
13 The Beautiful 5:20

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The Bliss Album...? (Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence) was P.M. Dawn's definitive work. A post-daisy-age album, the psychedelic sound that graced their previous work was to be felt and fused with early 90s hip hop samples. This set them apart from their peers and the album appealed to pop, alternative and hip hop fans. For all of hardcore rap's hysteria over the duo's gentle demeanor and pop influences, Of the Heart, of the Soul, and of the Cross had been a predominantly rap-oriented album. That changes on The Bliss Album...?, which downplays Prince Be's rapping (only on about a third of the tracks) in favor of dreamy melodies throughout the songs, not just on the choruses. It's a logical move, since P.M. Dawn's most unique moments were often also their most reflective, and they had an obvious knack for crafting original hooks. The Bliss Album...?'s approach also provides more opportunities for the ethereal, layered vocal overdubs that had become one of the duo's signatures. The musical landscapes are even more lushly arranged, and the pop numbers positively shimmer thanks to the duo's increasing sense of craft. A couple of the more aggressive rap tracks break up the mood a little, as with "Plastic," a sly rebuttal of the charges leveled by the group's macho detractors. It seems unnecessary, though, since P.M. Dawn's cosmic mysticism and vastly different influences clearly aren't competing on the same turf. Luckily, The Bliss Album...? refuses to acknowledge any artificially imposed purist boundaries, continuing to chart new sonic territory.


P.M.Dawn – The Bliss Album...? (367mb)

01 Intro 0:49
02 When Midnight Sighs 3:55
03 So On And So On 4:04
04 Plastic 3:44
05 The Ways Of The Wind 4:32
06 To Love Me More 4:44
07 About Nothing (For The Love Of Destiny) 4:15
08 Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 3:13
09 Beyond Infinite Affections 4:11
10 Looking Through Patient Eyes 4:09
11 Filthy Rich (I Don't Wanna Be) 4:07
12 More Than Likely 4:18
13 The Nocturnal Is In The House 4:20
14 When It's Raining Cats And Dogs 5:36
15 I'd Die Without You 4:11

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With their third album, Jesus Wept, P.M. Dawn doesn't necessarily make a great leap forward. Instead, they make some great refinements. Prince Be's lyrics are just as trippy and cryptic as ever, but they appear more focused, offering a poetic, spiritual worldview that is supported by the lovely, layered music. Prince Be creates a unique world assembled equally from soul, pop, hip-hop, and psychedelia. Noteworthy samples from this album include: "4 O'Clock in the Morning" by the Hassles in "My Own Personal Gavity", "Pacific" by 808 State in "I'll be Waiting for You", "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" by Joni Mitchell in "Forever Damaged (The 96th)", "Nite and Day" by Al B. Sure! in "Sometimes I Miss You So Much" and "Mama Told Me Not to Come" by Eric Burdon & The Animals in "Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto. As individual pieces, the songs might not always make much sense, but taken as a whole, they create a singular world that is rich in lush melodies and sumptuous arrangements.


P.M.Dawn – Jesus Wept (379mb)

01 Intro 1:39
02 Downtown Venus 3:32
03 My Own Personal Gravity 5:26
04 I'll Be Waiting For You 4:26
05 Forever Damaged (The 96th) 3:09
06 Apathy...Superstar!? 4:28
07 The Puppet Show 4:04
08 Silence... 0:21
09 Why God Loves You 4:09
10 Miles From Anything 5:08
11 The 9:45 Wake-Up Dream 4:50
12 Sonchyenne 3:38
13 A Lifetime 3:34
14 Sometimes I Miss You So Much (Dedicated To The Christ Consciousness) 4:42
15 Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto: 1999 / Once In A Lifetime / Coconut 8:15

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3 comments:

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Arizona Phossils said...

A re-post on this would be greatly loved!

aurora said...

Nice ask, Arizona!

Thanks, Rho :)