Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
The early days of hip hop collided with the early days of electronic music and no other artists encapsulated the era like Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force. Bambaataa embraced the groundbreaking eerie synths used by Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra and married the sounds to rhymes that were positive in nature. Produced by Arthur Baker, Planet Rock stands as the pinnacle of the sound & vision Afrika Bambaataa brought to music. Kraftwerk are a huge influence on this particular song – the TR-808 (and heartbreak) beat is based on the song Computer World while the melody is the synth line from Trans-Europe Express. The only other song I can think of that uses a sample to such stunning effect is the remix of Busta Rhymes Fire it Up that incorporates the Knight Rider theme. Planet Rock peaked at #4 on the soul charts and #48 on the Hot 100 – but has proven to be influential far beyond its modest chart positions. Hip-hop, dance, electronic, and trance all owe a huge debt to Afrika Bambaataa. The founders of Kraftwerk – Ralf Hütter & Florian Schneider – were later added as principal songwriters after reaching a settlement with Tommy Boy Records. Lyrically, this is a far cry from the later days of misogyny and violence in hip hop – in fact, the song is positively inspiring in places. With the perfect beat and infectious melody married to the perfect words, how can you go wrong? “You gotta rock it, pop it, ’cause it’s the century / There is such a place that creates such a melody / Our world is but a land of a master jam, get up and dance / It’s time to chase your dreams”
In the late 70’s / early 80’s the German electronic godfathers of electronic music – Kraftwerk – explored the joys of technology in a series of masterful records. Each blip and beep was celebrated – the sounds of a calculator became a a joyful ode in its own right. Seemingly in a world of their own, it seemed as far away from the social protest music of The Clash as you could get. The mid 90’s brought us Radiohead and their fears of the darker side of technology. #1 records and a fan base that considered (considers) themselves underground, at 10 million strong or so. These are all seemingly disparate elements – bands from a different time & place approaching different topical concerns. Fortunately Rotherham, England’s Curry Quiche have thought to take these elements and concoct them into a musical offering that is wholly original – and entrancing. Continue reading
Part 11 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays
Automation. At some point in your life you have probably heard this word. The latest, greatest way to maximize your efficiency. As a professional office worker, there are dozens and dozens of ways to automate your day. Get your email via Microsoft Outlook? You probably have it set to automatically come over via your company’s server – automation (though I always change it so I can Send / Receive at certain times of day). Going on vacation? Of course you set up your automated “Out of Office Assistant”. An official definition of automation can be read as:
“Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialisation, automation is a step beyond mechanisation. Whereas mechanisation provides human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy and in daily experience.”