4 Great Gangstarr Tracks

Dropped as a single in 1994, ‘DWYK’ featuring Nice, Smooth and Kid Capri was a non-single/single from their fourth album ‘Hard To Earn’. I say non-single/single as outside of Japan this cut didn’t make the album as apparently Premier himself didn’t think this tune would be as popular as it was and they released it as almost a throw away track.

Whilst they’ve made better tunes, this is still supremely catchy and has a great laid back vibe which is only enhanced by the video which predominantly features chicks in G-bangers running up and down the beach near Coney Island as Guru, Greg Nice and Smooth B throw down a verse a piece and Premier transformer scratches horns over the top .

With a forceful beat based around the ‘Synthetic Substitution’ break and a good filtered pass of the bass line from Clarence Wheeler and The Enforcers instrumental cover of ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, the track is a driving force to be reckoned with and features scratched in snippets of another Nice & Smooth tune ‘Funky For You’ which is good in its own right.

<Check Red Alert in the background and the significant repping of Cross Colours >

Actually on a few of these old Gangstarr tunes, Premier loved cutting in samples of artists he either produced for or worked with, so tunes like ‘Just to Get A Rep’ which was on 1991’s ‘Step Into The Arena’ album, also feature a snippet of ‘Funky For You’, notably in the “Stick up kid is out to tax” line which is used prominently in the chorus (such as at the 25 second mark on the clip below).

‘Hard To Earn’ also featured ‘Now You’re Mine’, which stands as one of the best tunes Gangstarr made IMO.

Despite this album having some great cuts and being a little more hard ass than its predecessors (perhaps in response to the gangster rap onslaught of the previous two years), Guru and Premier took a break from recording after this and didn’t release another album for about 4 years. Whilst that is a shame, it allowed Guru the latitude to do his second Jazzamataz album and Premier to cut some great tracks for Group Home and Jeru (amongst others).

Although they wouldn’t hit the heights of this album again, Gangstarr certainly left a legacy of great material and ‘Check The Technique’ with its massive Marlena Shaw sample isn’t merely bragging or just trying to rip of Eric B and Rakim when it states:

” Your raps crazy wack, so don’t try to pull that
You’re lackin’ the vernacular, I’m slappin’ ya and cappin’ ya
And closin’ your jaw, cause you can’t mess with Gangstarr
The Guru and Premier always dope with the blessed beats
Dance your ass off hobbes, check the technique”.

Check it.

Written and Posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Umbrella magazine

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Since the weekend I’ve been delving into the eight issues of Umbrella magazine that have been published to date.

This was purely a chance discovery, due to a passing reference in the new edition of the Phil Thornton “Casuals” book (a review of that is coming post haste).

This is a sort of leftfield men’s mag, with articles on design, dressing, food, travel, music and socio-political issues. It exists mainly online, where all issues can be read or downloaded to iphone/ipad for free. Or, in an unabashed appeal to commodity fetishism, if any particular issue takes your fancy you can order a hard copy for your collection for about US$20 a pop.

As you would expect from a publication referenced in Phil Thonton’s book, at least some of the publishers seem to have a strong association with the terraces, so there’s plenty of football articles, the menswear section often focuses on Stone Island and CP Company and much love is shown to Boys’ Own fanzine. The first issue features a frothing-at-the-mouth appreciation of “Selected Ambient Works” by Aphex Twin and a reminisence by “Away Days” author Kevin Sampson on how he made the “Short Film about Chilling” documentary with The Farm. So this nails the “Eastern Terraces” demographic dead-on.

A kind of Wallpaper magazine by and for post-casuals, presented in nice, intellectually-undemanding (I mean that in the best possible way), bite-size, easily digestible chunks.

Highly recommended!

http://www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk/

Posted by Gunter Sacks

A fantastic comeback by L-Vis 1990

l-vis-1990-ballads

Finally caught up with the new L-Vis 1990 EP on Night Slugs.

A couple of years ago I was quite into his “Forever You” EP.  I’m always going to be a sucker for 80s Chi-town style house tracks, so I lapped up cuts like “Do You Remember?”.

After that L-Vis 1990 released his hotly anticipated debut album on a major label. But it was a case of going too pop, too fast. From what I understand the album didn’t get the mainstream success he was expecting either.  Frankly, I can’t be assed to even post any tracks off that album.

After that I pretty much gave up on him, and went on my way thinking that Jam City was by far the most talented of the Night Slugs crew and that maybe the only other one who could hold a candle to him was Bok Bok (I really must do a long post about the greatness of Jam City soon). So even when people started saying some good things about L-Vis 1990’s more recent releases like his entry into the “Club Constructions” series, I couldn’t get motivated  to pay attention.

But finally the amount of praise being heaped on his new “Ballads” EP made me believe that rehabilitation might be at hand. The clincher was when critic after critic asserted that L-Vis 1990 was operating in a Jam City mode now.  I still consider “Classical Curves” to be maybe THE best album of 2012, and was surprised that almost no other producer had been able to pick up that baton and run with it.

And indeed, Ballads has the stamp of Classical Curves-era Jam City all over it. The cover artwork is like a sister piece to the Classical Curves cover. And if you heard this without knowing who the producer was, you would guess Jam City immediately.  But that’s not a bad thing when Classical Curves was so amazing and so few producers have been able to ape it thus far.

Of the three tracks on here, my two favorites are “Ballad 4D” and “Signal”. “Not Mad” is also good, but not quite as engaging and perhaps tainted by having been previously released next to so much mediocre material on the “Night Slugs Allstars Vol. 2” compilation.

To complete the whole conceptual feel of it, Night Slugs made this lovely short promotional video for the EP. I can’t believe that as of writing it only has 887 view on You Tube while some absolute tripe by Skrillex probably has a 1,000,000 views…so check it out.  Some true futurist bizness innit…..

Posted by Gunter Sacks

Cracked Actor (1975 Bowie Doco)

So I recently tracked down a good quality copy of the 1975 documentary ‘Cracked Actor’. Filmed during David Bowie’s 1974 Diamond Dogs tour of the United States, it features him during his thin white duke stage when he was living up to the character’s name in a blizzard of powder and paranoia.

Originally made by the BBC for their Omnibus series, the film follows Bowie from stage to stage and from hotel room to hotel room, as he meanders his way round the western states in the back of a limo and prepares for his gigs.

Bowie is an evasive interviewee and like Mick Jagger is well aware of public personas and myth making. You rarely get the feeling he’s being entirely honest with the documentarians, but merely playing a character, despite this tour being about him supposedly ridding himself of his most famous one (Ziggy Stardust).

There are some good performances in here though and the viewer is made aware of just how extravagant a 1970s stage show could be – with Bowie riding cherry pickers and emerging out of huge jewelled gloves whilst singing songs like Rebel Rebel and Moonage Daydream.

The film (though interesting in parts) is far from superlative, so for the casual Bowie fan like myself this film is mainly a curio piece. As with the Rolling Stones ‘Cocksucker Blues’ (1972), I was principally watching to catch glimpses of insanity and rampant chemical abuse such as the following example at the 5:40 mark on the clip below…

Or 22 seconds into this one…

The director seems a bit confused sometimes at what direction he’s taking, but at only 54 minutes it nonetheless manages to document one of the more special periods of Bowie’s career, if not one of the most famous.

Written and Posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Sergio Tacchini Colorado Windrunner

I like me some Tacchini.

Nice materials and generally tasteful styles which along with Fila epitomise a certain era of the 1980s. Created by Italian tennis player Sergio Tacchini in the mid 1960s in order to add a splash of colour to an otherwise staid looking game, the brand later expanded to various types of casual wear over the next few decades.

Notable wearees include John McEnroe at the height of his career as well as Aryton Senna and a variety of casuals who discovered them whilst abroad on away games.

The Colorado Windrunner Hooded Jacket is a classic looking match day top. Not dissimilar to the Sergio Tacchini – Masters McEnroe Tracksuit Top, it is a simple two colour piece made from light material with a zip right down the middle. It is a considerably less well known (or obvious) design than the Dallas (which featured so prominently in Nick Love’s film ‘The Business’), but more contemporary and stylish in my opinion.

There is a logo stamped on the zipper as well as one on the chest and an inner piece features on the inside of the collar to keep the wearer warm. The top itself is very light and comfortable with good sized pockets on the sides.

I got mine in navy blue…

But they are of course available in a variety of colours…

Not too pricey and worth checking out.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Embrace Vice

It’s no secret that I think the last few years has been a golden age for TV, completely surpassing and supplanting the movies.  It still continues with shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones (the successor to The Sopranos), Dexter, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Archer, Justified, Louie, Mad Men, Spartacus, Walking Dead, and True Blood.

Therefore, as a major fan of HBO (Sopranos, Oz, Deadwood, The Wire) and an occasional reader of Vice magazine, I was truly excited to hear that HBO has started a Vice reality news show – a mix of gonzo journalism and danger tourism.  For those of you who don’t know – Vice is a mag that revels in articles and guides such as Stalking for Beginners, Pickpocket Pointers, My Babysitter Was a Gay Porn Star, Fuck The Police (No I Mean I really Fuck Them), Sammy Devil Jr. The Candy Man Was a Satanist, Stompers Reunion: Look Back in Anger – A Guide to Hooliganism, The Vice Guide to Shagging Muslims and Bukkake On My Face: Welcome to the Ancient Tradition of the Japanese Facial.

Over the last few years, the Vice company has expanded into a kind of international journalism-meets-adventure tourism that was first laid out in a web series called “Vice Guide to Travel” and now, in a new HBO show in half-hour news form, will bring together two stories exploring, as host and Vice co-founded Shane Smith puts it, the “absurdities of the human condition.” The first episode travels to Maguindanao in the Philippines to look at election violence, then to Kabul to examine an epidemic of child suicide bombers. The second follows North Korean defectors as they’re smuggled to Thailand where they’ll be able to apply for refugee status, then journeys to the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.  The third episode screened last night in the states.

The season is now going to run to ten episodes and is apparently devoting its entire June 14 season finale to the show’s recent week-long trip to North Korea. VICE founder and series host Shane Smith had previously reported from within North Korea (see Vice Guide to Travel – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL10943F1A08C72A17), but was barred from returning to the country because of his critical documentaries on the regime. Determined to return and chronicle the reclusive country under its new leader, Kim Jong-un, Smith sent a team of correspondents and a production crew, including VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, and three players from the Harlem Globetrotters on a cultural exchange in late February. Dennis Rodman in North Korea !  The potential for cultural exchange is enormous, particularly if he’s dressed up as a ladyboy.

Worth checking out.

Posted by: Porfirio Crane

Kinski Uncut

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Kinski Uncut

Just finishing this book. It’s quite the read. Not too many people (aside from Mr Sacks) can claim to relations with an Afghan giantess, a Pakistani stewardess and an Indian Hooker within the space of a couple of days. Let alone the other 500 or so victims that are mentioned in the space of a couple of hundred pages. There is no doubt in my mind that he was one of the most honest and dedicated perverts who ever lived. A more expansive review is plagiarised below. It compares this book with the first edition of Kinski’s autobiography – the subject of litigation (including from his daughter Nastassja) and withdrawn from print.

I’m in a celebrity porn literature rut at the moment, so got ‘The Dirt’ and ‘Raw Talent: The Adult Film Industry As Seen By Its Most Popular Star – Jerry Butler’ lined up to read next, expect reviews.

Anyway, back to the words of Kinski – “ass fucking! always the ass fucking!”
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In the annals of filmdom there exist few performers more unfettered than the late Klaus Kinski (1926-1991), who appeared in over 250 films during his lifetime, some of them classics though most decidedly not. As an actor Kinski demonstrated a boldness and ferocity that remain unrivalled, even if the films he appeared in didn’t always match his brilliance.

In my view, however, Kinski’s most memorable accomplishment was his autobiography, an astounding cavalcade of madness and perversion. Told in blistering present tense prose, it’s very likely the most outrageous celebrity memoir of all time, having inspired two high profile lawsuits and a documentary rebuttal by the German filmmaker Werner Herzog.

Herzog’s film is called MY BEST FIEND (MEIN LIEBSTER FEIND; 2000). In it the flamboyant Herzog, once an enfant terrible and now a thoughtful middle-aged man, details his volatile relationship with Kinski over the course of the five films they made together (AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD, NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, WOYZECK, FITZCARRALDO and COBRA VERDE). Herzog is vocal about Kinski’s talent (“People like Brando are just kindergarten compared to Kinski”), and reveals that despite the fact that the two were often at odds–both allegedly planned to have the other killed at some point–they shared a bond of sorts (in a 1985 PLAYBOY profile Kinski admitted Herzog was “a less big asshole than the others”). The latter was nonetheless always frank about Kinksi’s lunacy, and in MY BEST FIEND includes footage of the man spouting off during the filming of FITZCARRALDO (1982).

This was by no means the only such outrage perpetrated by Kinski, whose on-set demeanor remains the stuff of legend–schlock filmmaker David Schmoeller, who directed Kinski in 1986’s CRAWLSPACE, made a short documentary entitled “Please Kill Mr. Kinski.” In MY BEST FIEND Herzog reveals that Kinski’s behavior on their final collaboration COBRA VERDE (1987) grew so unbearable he vowed never to work with him again. Herzog also takes time to respond directly to Kinski’s memoir, apparently a “work of fiction.”

But here’s the thing: the book, initially titled I NEED LOVE, first appeared in Germany and France in the mid eighties. Since then two widely differing English versions have appeared: ALL I NEED IS LOVE, published by Random House in 1988, and KINSKI UNCUT, put out by Viking in 1996. Of the two the obvious pick would seem to be the latter, as it runs approximately fifty pages longer that the other and has the word Uncut in the title (which allegedly refers to Kinski’s penis), but the case isn’t as cut-and-dried as it might seem. More on that in a bit.

First let’s take a look at the scabrous content of these books. They posit that Kinski grew up in a dirt-poor family who were homeless for long periods, having to sleep on subway grates to keep warm (never mind that Herzog claims Kinski was actually the son of a wealthy pharmacist). The young Kinski apparently lost his virginity to his older sister, and ended up shtupping his mother as well (as you might guess, Kinski’s surviving relatives were none too happy with his book).

As a grown-up Kinski claims to have spent time in jail, in a mental institution and the German military–and nearly executed for desertion. Then there are the accounts of Kinski’s experiences as an actor, an occupation he detested but which he was extremely good at. “I am like a wild animal born in a zoo” he writes, “but where a beast would have claws, I was born with talent.” That talent, according to Herzog, was vetted by countless hours of disciplined training, though Kinski portrays it as something God-given over which he had no control, “something you have to try and live with–until you learn how to free yourself.”

On the plus side Kinski’s talents provided him with the means to afford a fleet of fancy cars, opulent homes and a never-ending succession of willing sexual partners. The sexual content of ALL I NEED IS LOVE and KINSKI UNCUT is positively mind-numbing, recounted at a rate of (at least) 3 or 4 escapades per page (Herzog again: the sexual content was “grossly exaggerated”).

On those rare occasions when he’s not fucking, Kinski rages against damn near everybody he’s ever met and/or worked with, most notably Mr. Herzog, a “humorless, mendacious, stubborn, narrow-minded, pretentious, unscrupulous, bumptious, spiritless, depressing, boring, and sickening” individual (Herzog says he helped Kinski come up with adjectives). Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski is chided for his “intellectual jerking off.” Federico Fellini and Claude Lelouch are remembered as tightwads with whom Kinski refused to work, and LAST TANGO IN PARIS’ Maria Schneider as a pathetic junky.

Kinski also brags of turning down an offer to play the villain in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK because the script was “the same tired old shit” (he instead appeared in the British sleazer VENOM, not exactly a model of originality). Nor are his admirers cut any slack–of his fan mail Kinski has this to say: “I throw the stuff in the garbage.”

Kinski’s existence, in short, was a tortured one, and resulted in strained relationships with his three children (all from different mothers) Pola, Nastassja and Nanhoi. I’d say Nanhoi, born in 1976, had it the roughest, as he was the focus of his father’s wildly obsessive, all-consuming love. It seemed that as he got older Kinski’s inner torment deepened to the point that his sexcapades no longer sufficed to keep it at bay, so he made Nanhoi the center of his existence, positing that “I live solely for my son, whom I love beyond all earthly and heavenly things,” and, even more tellingly, “Nanhoi’s love will redeem me from my Hell on Earth.”

Kinski’s intense focus on Nanhoi was not lost on Nastassja, who as a child reportedly had to stop her mom from committing suicide due to her father’s compulsive womanizing, and who was abandoned by him at age seven. She gives vent to her feelings of abandonment late in the text, in a poignant exchange with her father–who admits that “I wasn’t by her side when she needed me.”

Upon Kinski’s 1991 death Nanhoi was reportedly the only person who attended his funeral. Nastassja for her part offered the following tribute: “When he died I had a moment of grief that lasted about five minutes. It was very intense, then never again…I think it was because he caused us too much pain.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nastassja has led a personal and professional life nearly as fraught as that recounted in her father’s text.

At times that text descends to tabloid gossip level, as when Kinski recalls a woman telling him she was eaten out by Marlene Dietrich (who sued), and meets Roman Polanski trolling for young girls. At others it feels like a morbid horror fantasy, with Kinski claiming to have encountered an actress wearing a coat made from aborted human fetuses. But the tone throughout is strong and unwavering, a propulsive evocation of ecstasy and disgust, bravado and self-loathing, genius and madness.

The factuality of Kinski’s memoir may be questionable, but one area where I believe he was entirely truthful was in his unblinking self portrait, which is as ruthlessly delineated as anything else he describes. Kinski reveals himself as an impossibly cranky, needy, misanthropic and very likely psychotic individual–which according to nearly everyone who knew him was how he actually was.

After reading ALL I NEED IS LOVE back in 1988 I eagerly searched out memoirs by two other debauched European celebrities, Roger Vadim (MEMOIRS OF THE DEVIL) and Roman Polanski (ROMAN), hoping for a similar level of candor. Needless to say I was disappointed, and made forcibly aware of just how unique Kinski’s autobiography truly is. His book is free of boastful self-aggrandization (unlike Vadim’s) and nor is it a desperate attempt at clearing his name (unlike Polanski’s). Rather, with his memoir Kinski sees to be saying, in essence, “This is who I am–take it or leave it!”

_____________ _____________

In discussing either of the English language versions of Klaus Kinski’s memoirs it’s imperative to specify which, as both are quite distinct. I’ll take this opportunity to point out many of the differences between the two books, but will first attempt to unravel the knot of hearsay and misinformation surrounding the respective publications of ALL I NEED IS LOVE and KINSKI UNCUT.

The misinformation begins with the books themselves. The copyright page of ALL I NEED IS LOVE claims the text was taken from an “unpublished manuscript,” even though that manuscript had already been published in Europe. The jacket info on the hardcover edition of KINSKI UNCUT is even more misleading, claiming the European edition appeared “25 years” earlier (that would make its publication date 1971, which, given the fact that the book goes up to the eighties chronologically, simply isn’t possible) and that the original American edition was “withdrawn prior to publication.”

That last point is total nonsense, yet many continue to believe it. It’s the reason, I’m sure, that online booksellers are currently offering secondhand copies of ALL I NEED IS LOVE at outrageous prices.

In actuality the book isn’t nearly as scarce as it might seem. Back in 1988 it was easy to find, and over the years I’ve come across quite a few copies at libraries and used book stores (Ethan Hawk is even seen reading it at the beginning of Richard Linklatter’s BEFORE SUNRISE).

What seems to have happened is this: Nastassja Kinski threatened Random House with legal action because in ALL I NEED IS LOVE her father hints at an incestuous coupling on the set of TESS, and in response Random House canceled the remainder of the book’s print run. That seems to be the long and the short of it.

In KINSKI UNCUT the offending passage was toned down…which would seem to make the former publication the true uncut account. Not quite.

KINSKI UNCUT is in fact the more complete of the two books, and contains several passages that don’t appear in ALL I NEED IS LOVE. These include a whore’s lengthy mid-book oration, in which she admits that “sometimes I lay awake at night and couldn’t sleep because I was thinking that somewhere out there some horny, raging hard-on is hunting a pussy like mine,” and the concluding passages, which take the narrative several years beyond where the previous book ends. But is it really “Uncut?” Once again the answer is, Not quite.

ALL I NEED IS LOVE may be shorter than KINSKI UNCUT, but it too contains much that’s absent from the latter book, including a reminiscence of Kinski getting pissed on as a child and another of playing tennis on the set of Jess Franco’s JACK THE RIPPER until he can “neither walk nor stand.” ALL I NEED IS LOVE is further distinguished by the astonishing bluntness of Kinski’s profanity-laden prose.

KINSKI UNCUT is plenty blunt in its own right, but as translated by Joachim Neugroschel it’s also quite wordy and even somewhat chaste, at least in comparison with the earlier volume, which was translated by Kinski himself. The differences between the two books are striking.

Neugroschel renders a sentence as “some cattle driver in the crew” that Kinski translates as “some sadistic shit of a director.” In Neugroschel’s translation Werner Herzog is called a “very slow blab machine,” and in Kinki’s a “bullshit machine.” In the Neugroschel version Kinski grows tired of a fuckmate’s babbling and so “I kick her out,” while Kinski’s rendering of the same sentence is decidedly more visceral: “I can’t get a hard-on anymore.”

Such differences may seem inconsequential, but they add up. So too the paragraph structure. The whole thing is related entirely without chapter breaks, in sharp blocks of more-or-less self-contained text. In ALL I NEED IS LOVE said text blocks are shorter than those of the succeeding book, and the whole thing moves much faster. The effect is harshly poetic, and often downright hallucinatory.

One passage of ALL I NEED IS LOVE puzzled me for some time: on page 217 there’s an unmotivated parenthetical aside that reads “(I don’t want to talk about GOLDEN NIGHT).” It only came clear upon reading the corresponding section of KINSKI UNCUT, in which Kinski bemoans the ordeal of working on a French thriller called NUIT D’OR, or GOLDEN NIGHT. It seems that with ALL I NEED IS LOVE Kinski wasn’t merely translating his original manuscript, but subtly responding to and obliquely rewriting it.

Obviously you’ll need to read both books in order to fully grasp this and other pertinent facts. I’m pleased I’ve had the chance to read and compare ALL I NEED IS LOVE and KINSKI UNCUT, as both are classics. As to which I prefer, well, I think that should be obvious, and not just because one has been with me far longer than the other.

Consider: reading KINSKI UNCUT is akin to being led by the hand through a vortex and rage and excess, whereas in ALL I NEED IS LOVE the reader is thrust kicking and screaming into the very heart of the maelstrom. KINSKI UNCUT is a bruising experience, certainly, but ALL I NEED IS LOVE is positively lacerating. It’s also among the greatest sensory assaults in all literature, outdoing the likes of Artaud, Celine and Sartre in nastiness and nausea. To this day I’ve never read anything else like it.

Of course the sad reality is that you’re unlikely to find a copy of ALL I NEED IS LOVE at a reasonable price. For that matter, KINSKI UNCUT has also become a pricey collector’s item. Truthfully, there’s little chance of either book coming back into print anytime soon…but we can always hope!
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Posted by: Porfirio Crane

Football’s Fight Club (UK Documentary)

Originally shown as a two part series on Channel Four in 2002, Football’s Fight Club shows some of the history on the terraces from the late 70s onwards and is set to a pretty decent soundtrack with several of the original heads providing commentary.

As a self righteous twat commented in his Guardian review, “…making it all so guiltily enjoyable.”

This one’s for you Gunter.

Posted by Horatio Cornblower