Outboxx

Outboxx

Here’s a bit of a dark horse album that I’ve given more than a few spins lately.

By now it probably sounds trite to say that one of the most interesting musical trends of the last few years has been a large part of the Bristol scene moving away from the rude, Jamaican inflected, bass-heavy sounds that have traditionally marked the city’s music to explore the 4/4 landscapes of classic house and techno.

The first (and so far only) print edition of Tape Echo magazine was a kind of milestone in this trend, and the Idle Hands label one of the key imprints in documenting it.  Meanwhile it was a session by Bristol DJ and producer Hodge on Tape Echo radio at the start of 2012 which alerted me that interesting things were afoot.

So one year on, here we are with the first album proper on Idle Hands, the debut by Outboxx – a deep house duo one-half of which is the aforementioned Hodge. Unlike some of Hodge’s more abstract excursions, this is mostly a straightforward deep house album – but a masterfully executed one. You could easily believe that most of the tracks on here were produced by 40-something guys in New Jersey or Chicago, not early 20s guys from Bristol.

There’s been a lot of talk about how young bass producers are somehow brining the tools or methodology of bass music/dubstep into House, but sometimes I feel that’s a bit of hype. It’s only the last two tracks on here which approach the kind of abstraction of Hodge’s solo excursions. But the whole thing is a damn good house album, which will be getting a lot more plays on my iphone this coming summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-S4Aadb64o

 

Posted by Gunter Sacks

 

 

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New Album From Boards of Canada

So after eight years, Boards of Canada are finally going to release a new album on 10th June entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ following an easter egg hunt marketing campaign in the record bins of the world.

After trying a slightly different direction on ‘Campfire Headphase’ utilising real instruments and such, they reatreated back to the distorted electronic comforts of ‘Trans Canada Highway’. Hard to say which way this new one is going to go. If the video is anything to go by…evil sounding hard wound 80s analogue synths…which I am very much in favour of.

They have apparently just tweeted “May 22nd 24:00 @ 1-23-10 Jinnan Shibuya-ku Tokyo”, which may signpost a video to be played at the Shibuya crossing video screen that exists just above Tatsuya in Shibuya. If so, it would be the second time they’ve disappointed me by appearing in Tokyo when I wasn’t present. The first and most painful being when they played there about two weeks after I moved…having lived there for several years and soundtracking most my time there with their albums.

This release better be as good or better than the following tunes…

^^^^^^
Still got my hardcover picture book CD of this. Was kindly given the above tune on an mix tape style MD by a friend and listened to it repeatedly on a train journey. When I reached my destination, the first thing I did was immediately go to a record store and buy this (then) new album. Then I copped a new skateboard and stumbled into a free rave in Yoyogi Park. Good times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQEmaj9C6ko

^^^^^^

FYI, skip into 1:42 for the tune proper. <If this clip doesn’t show up, please click on the link. I’ve tried about ten times to post this motherfucker. The link sucks, but it’s really great music>.


^^^^^^

Soaring majestically from the beginning of ‘Music Has The Right To Childen’

^^^^^^

Pretty much my favourite tune from ‘Twoism’.  Listen to this in the dark with headphones on. It’s the sound of driving through a deserted city.

^^^^^^

Such powerful kicks…

^^^^^^

For those with patience issues, skip to 5:07 for sublime sounds that considerably more sublime after listening to the previous 5:06.

^^^^^^

Great opener from the ‘In a Beautiful Place Out In The Country’ EP.

^^^^^^

From Hi Scores

Every one of these holds memories for me and I hope that this next album can add further to the pile. Please don’t let me down Mike and Marcus.

Posted by Horatio Cornblower

Clark – Suns of Temper

In order to floss the faeces out of my teeth from that last James Blake tune, I tuned my attention back several years to a seminal (in my mind) Chris Clark joint. Taken from 2009’s Warp Records released Totem’s Flare album, ‘Suns of Temper’ shows – as with all Clark tracks – that too much compression can never be enough and that surprise drops should never go out of style.

Emotive, atmospheric and well produced, I highly recommend this tune, the album that spawned it and the two that preceded it.

Proper, late night headphone music.

Posted by Horatio Cornblower

James Blake – you must be fucking joking

James-Blake-Overgrown

I’ve put off writing this review for a long time, because I really, really, wanted to like this album. So I listened to this over and over again, trying to convince myself that there must be some worth in it. But you know what? It’s still a huge yawn.

I hardly need to recap James Blake’s career for anybody reading this. The teenage dubstep producer and Mount Kimbie collaborator who came out of nowhere with his “Air and the Lack Thereof” track, and then reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter for his debut album and moved even further into traditional instrumentation with his “Enough Thunder” EP and its Joni Mitchell cover. I loved all of it, and thought he was one of the biggest talents of the whole post-dubstep diaspora. Eager to see how he had developed further, I snapped up this cd when I happened to be in London the day it was released. Excited reviews and collaborations with Brian Eno and the RZA only whetted my appetite further.

What a goddamn disappointment.

This record basically marks James Blake’s transition into bland, middle-of-the-road pap.  There’s almost no harsh edge to anything here, just boring as hell drum machine beats that sound like they’re lifted from some 80s crooner like Black. Speaking of crooning, Blake’s voice really suited the jagged electronics of the debut album, but he is nowhere near his purported idol Stevie Wonder and shouldn’t even try.

As for the collaborations, the track with Brian Eno is one of the better things on here but would be completely forgettable in any other context. The track with the RZA sounds like some juvenile indie/hip-hop crossover from a decade ago that we’re all trying to forget.

I’m so disgusted with this record I’m not even going to post a track from it. If you want to know what it sounds like, you might as well listen to this instead:

Instead, I highly recommend you remember James Blake as he used to be:

There’s a new Mount Kimbie album coming out in a week or two. I really hope it doesn’t fucking suck like this.

 

 

 

Great Criminals You’ve Rarely Heard Of Part Two: Bernard Charles Welch, Jr

“He really was the coolest. He just had street smarts. Had he had the opportunities… he would have been a top corporate executive.”

–          Sol Z. Rosen (Welch’s criminal attorney)

Known as the Standard Time Burglar as he generally stole between 6pm and 10pm, Bernard Welch Jr was one of – if not THE – premier professional thieves of the twentieth century. A true professional, he stole tens of millions of dollars worth of antiques, collectibles, fine art, furs, coins and jewellery all by himself, while maintaining a respectable civil façade and living the finest part of town in a luxury home with a wife and 2 kids.

Growing up is austere circumstances, Welch left school at the age of 16 and became a plumber. By the time he married his first wife, he had already started thieving as a side job, targeting high society homes in and around Spencerport, New York where he lived. His wife then joined the ‘family’ business and acted as wheel woman for him as they went out on jobs, driving him to and from burglaries whilst their oldest child slept in the car.

Questioned by the police after one job too many, Welch and his family loaded a trailer full of stolen booty and drove to another town, where he had the chutzpah to open an antique shop selling the stuff he had stolen. Having been repeatedly noticed unloading his truck at the less than business like hour of 3am, local cops became curious and he was finally arrested and sent to jail.

Whilst in prison, Welch studied antiques, got his high school diploma and learnt some fundamental criminal rules. Work alone, don’t tell anybody what you’re doing and don’t shit in your own nest. Paroled from prison in the late 1960s, Welch went back to robbing houses whilst holding down a day job as a pipe fitter for Kodak in upstate New York. Following the rules he picked up in the joint, he fenced goods in Florida and sold precious metals to dealers in Delaware. Nonetheless, he was picked up again after a dealer he sold to became suspicious.

In 1974, a few months short of being paroled, Welch escaped from the Clinton Correctional facility in upstate Dannemora, New York with another inmate, smashed through a police road block in a stolen car and went on a burglary rampage. His new partner however bailed on him after awhile as, “Welch was burglarizing everything in sight. Then we met broads, and he liked to slap them around. I didn’t like that.”

Whilst on the run, he met Linda Susan Hamilton. Convincing her to let him use her last name to avoid paying alimony payments to his now estranged wife, Welch settled down to a life of lavish domesticity, overpaying for menial chores and going on overseas vacations. One neighbour’s husband who was a DEA official, even had Mr Hamilton checked out as he thought he may be a drug dealer due to the way they splashed cash about.

The cash was being generated by non-stop burglaries. Brandishing a handgun, threatening residents, even raping three women didn’t slow down Charles Welch Jr and accordingly to Maryland Detective Sergeant James King, “This guy was better than any fictional character. He was hitting three or four houses every night. But his claim to fame was not how much stuff he stole, it was how he lived after stealing. He wasn’t your typical junkie. He took his money and invested it. The guy had imagination.”

Stealing all manner of precious metals, Welch spent Sunday afternoons in his garage melting them down to gold and silver bars in small smelters he had installed himself. He then sold the bars to dealers all over the world, while filing tax returns with the IRS and claiming a business income of $1,000,000 a year as an investor and antique dealer. He invested the money in shares and bought property. First, a modern home in his defacto wife’s hometown and then a palatial mansion in the wealthy suburb of Great Falls, Virginia. Paranoid of burglars himself, Welch installed a state of the art security system in his home including cameras and flood lights hidden in trees and pressure sensors in the lawn. Just in case the power went, he had a generator installed too to back up the system.

The indoor pool in Welch’s house

Ironically for a self educated antique expert, Welch’s home contained little furniture, and according to a neighbour who received a tour, what he had “…was in poor taste. There were no antiques”. He did however have a huge indoor swimming pool, fine art on the walls and a basement filled with about $4 million dollars worth of jewellery, antiques, rings, necklaces, watches, ivory, porcelain, fur coats, jade and rare coins. He also had a large collection of guns, including a revolver he had stolen from an FBI agent’s apartment and would later use to kill somebody.

Welch continued to remember not to shit in his own nest too. He stole primarily from expensive suburbs of Washington D.C., fenced the goods in Minnesota whilst on family holidays and lived in his luxury home in Great Falls, Virginia. He avoided other criminals (fearing they would eventually drop a dime on him) and instead sold his items through legitimate dealers using false names and IDs. As one merchant with whom he had business remembers, “Once I asked him where he got the stuff—coins, rings, cuff links. When he told me that he bought estates, I said, ‘I wish I could get estates like that.’ He said, ‘You have to know the right people.’ ”

A small portion of the booty found in Welch’s basement

Casing and committing his crimes in a current model Mercedes Benz 450 SEL, realising that an expensive car would blend in to wealthy neighbourhoods and arouse less suspicion, Welch committed four or five burglaries a night, whilst raising two kids with Linda, mowing his lawn and sharing stock tips with his neighbours.

A 450 SEL similar to the one used by Welsh

His criminal idyll was shattered in 1980 when he was confronted on the job by a returning resident who tussled and fought with him. Producing the FBI agent’s stolen gun, Welch fired several shots, two of them hitting homeowner Dr. Michael Halberstam in the chest. Running away from the scene of the crime, he was run down by the irate and dying Halberstam who was driving himself to the hospital and was found by police not far from where he was hit. Halberstam himself slammed into a tree after running him down and died not long afterwards making Welch a murderer.

Dr. Michael Halberstam in photo obviously stolen from the web

Dressed head to toe in black and carrying no ID, Welch gave up nothing. Even after his arrest he refused to give any information about his burglaries and following his sentence of 143 years in jail in 1981, he had no comments for reporters. He did however, inform on the Aryan Brotherhood whilst in jail which got him moved to a less secure prison in Chicago from which he then broke out of in 1985. On the run again for three months, he resumed committing burglaries and was finally caught again after falling asleep in a stolen BMW 630 CSi in another man’s parking spot. This man pissed that someone had parked in his space, complained to cops and he was arrested for the third and final time.

In 1981, Welch was paid $9,000 to appear in a story in LIFE magazine entitled, “The Ghost Burglar and the Good Doctor.” In the article, Welch stated that:

“They say I destroyed [Halberstam’s] life, but he destroyed mine.”

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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.

Great Criminals You’ve Rarely Heard Of Part One: Bernie Cornfeld

“Do You Sincerely Want To Be Rich”

With these seven words Bernard Cornfeld lured many an investor to the insurance and investment fund he launched in Paris, registered in Panama and ran from Geneva, ultimately scamming hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

His fund Investors Overseas Services (IOS) originally pitched itself at European based American GIs before going wide and employing thousands of door to door sales men who competed with one another to earn overseas trips, bonuses and if really good, visits to their bosses homes in the French Riviera and Beverley Hills. Essentially an elaborate pyramid scheme, the people on the top were paid by those lower down who had to work doubly hard to find new clients. An epochal story cites one of his salesmen caught in the Belgian Congo during a coup. Cornfeld receiving the hapless salesman’s telegraph and reading, “Insurrection, sadism, rape”, simply replied, “OK, OK, but is he doing any business?”

It’s my safari suit… and I’ll wear it if I want to.

Thanks to such sheer mindedness, Cornfeld was flying high by the mid 1960s. Splitting his time between a 12th Century French mansion, Douglas Fairbanks former home in L.A and a suite permanently reserved in New York, he rolled with up to 20 women at a time and broadened his business interests to things like financing the construction of the Playboy mansion. He threw lavish parties attended by celebrities such as Laurence Harvey, Tony Curtis, and Richard Harris and counted Hugh Hefner and fellow financier Victor Lownes amongst his friends. Lownes, in addition to starting the London Playboy Club, is also quite well known for having helped introduce acid to the London scene during the 1960s and for being a close friend of Roman Polanski. Cornfelds access to characters such as Hefner, Curtis and Polanski also undoubtedly helped him to lay Victoria Principal, Alana Hamilton and a teenage Heidi Fleiss [Yes. Seriously].

Cornfelds 1967 Stretch Lincoln Continental (NB: Please note that Photobucket stole the original photo and this is only a stock picture of a similar 1967 Continential)

Alana Hamilton and George Hamilton

Victoria Principal

Cornfeld and Tony Curtis

As the funds IOS governed got larger – and perhaps more crucially – invested in other funds owned by themselves, Cornfeld came under pressure by American regulators not to sell to Americans either at home or abroad and when the market turned and the share  value declined, their ‘guaranteed returns’ had to be paid out of operating funds. Consequently short of cash by 1969, the company shifted to Canada, went public to raise money and ultimately removed Cornfeld from his position as head the board, replacing him with a new chairman, Robert L. Vesco.

Vesco took control of IOS, its funds, real estate holdings and other assets and using his position of power stripped over $200 million from the company, sprinkling it all over the world in off shore holdings known only to himself. Wanted for this brazen theft and for also having made an illegal $200,000 contribution to President Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign, Vesco fled to the Bahamas before ultimately settling in Cuba, where he lived until his death from lung cancer in 2007.

Cornfeld despite knowing the company was on the verge of collapse, meanwhile persuaded IOS staff to buy shares in the fund to help prop up its price, before being arrested in Geneva and spending almost a year in Swiss prison for doing so. Upon his release, he was again arrested, this time for the more prosaic offence of using a device to avoid paying for long distance telephone calls.

Following his release from American prison for scamming the phone companies, Cornfeld played the media circuit giving interviews with magazines such as People who reported in a June 1974 issue:

“In spite of all his legal hassles, Cornfeld is remarkably serene. When he takes calls on a telephone that never seems to stop ringing, he finds time to run his finger up and down the back of one of the stunning, bikini-clad women who inhabit his home. “I didn’t miss sex at all in prison,” he says, almost surprised. “But unlike some of the other prisoners, I never really doubted that my interest would return once I was out.” His kosher leprechaun appearance notwithstanding, Cornfeld has never had trouble attracting lovely women in astonishing numbers. The money helps.”

A fitting epitaph. He died in 1995.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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.