Author Archives: CKUT Music Coordinator

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TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: June 13, 2017

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Hi folks,

Keeping this short as it’s a really busy week here at the station – we are still eyeballs-deep in Suoni goodness, and there’s a ton going on in terms of our coverage, special programming, and remote broadcasts. Over the past week I got to check out local free-jazz-gone-noise upstarts Nyon (above) open for Peter Brotzmann & Heather Leigh, Montreal/Berlin duo Pelada, improv heavyweights Nace/Flaherty/Meginsky, and so much more… Gimme a shout during tracking hours on Thursday if you wanna hear about my personal faves thus far.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Tune into Jazz Euphorium tomorrow night from 8-10pm EST and hear us broadcast live from Casa del Popolo as jazz trio Icepick (Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten/Chris Corsano/Nate Wooley) take over the airwaves. We’re lucky to broadcast this special performance to the masses, and if you can’t be there for the show then tune in and catch our feed straight from the soundboard. Essential listening! Stream it all viackut.ca.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – june 13, 2017

1. do make say think – stubborn persistent illusions – constellation CC *
2. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
3. jessica moss – pools of light – constellation CC *
4. dixie’s death pool – twilight, sound mountain – leisure thief CC
5. katie moore & andrew horton – six more miles – self-released CC * Continue reading

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Free Samples: Drake’s Late Night Grooves

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It’s not every day that a record set by Michael Jackson is broken by a fellow Canadian — or by anyone, for that matter. But that’s exactly what Drake did at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. Drizzy took home 13 trophies, beating the previous record of 11 nominations in a single year held by the King of Pop. Not a bad night.

Drake’s signature fusion of hip-hop and R&B, along with unique dancehall influences, skyrocketed the rapper to the top of the charts. Frequently looking to other musicians for inspiration, Drake’s samples range from vintage slow jams to more modern artists, combined with memorable lyrics and catchy hooks to create the 6 god’s unmistakable sound.

 

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“Best I Ever Had” (2009)
Song Sampled: “Fallin’ in Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds (1975)

Drake’s break-out single off his So Far Gone EP was riddled with controversy. Producer Kia Shine claimed that he co-wrote the smash hit for Drake, making him entitled to part ownership of the song. Shine had produced a track for Lil Wayne titled “Do It for the Boy,” which “Best I Ever Had” uses a small portion of. Drake claimed that he had never worked Shine with, let alone met him. “I wrote the entire composition in Toronto and I borrowed one line from a Lil Wayne song that he produced the BEAT for. The claims of 25% ownership are false and for an artist to brag about splits on a song is distasteful to begin with,” Drake wrote on his website. If that wasn’t enough, the rapper then got sued by Playboy. On June 24, 2010 Playboy Enterprises filed a lawsuit against Drake, Cash Money Records and Universal Music Group, claiming that “Best I Ever Had” samples American rock group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds’ 1975 hit “Fallin’ in Love”, a song to which Playboy owns the copyright. Listen to 10 seconds of the ’70s disco track and you’ll be waiting for Drake to come in and start his verse.

 

jamie xx gil scott heron“Take Care” feat. Rihanna (2011)
Song Sampled: “I’ll Take Care of U” by Jamie xx and Gil-Scott Heron (2011)

The second collaboration between Drake and Rihanna after 2010’s “What’s My Name?”, this track samples the beat and the hook from Jamie xx’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s version of “I’ll Take Care of U,” which was originally recorded as a blues song by Bobby Bland in 1959. In addition, the rapper also references Lesley Gore’s 1963 number one single “It’s My Party” where she sings, “it’s my party, I’ll cry if I want to.” Drake reworks the lyrics to “It’s my birthday, I’ll get high if I want to/Can’t deny that I want you, but I’ll lie if I have to.” If you listen to the chorus of “It’s My Party,” you’ll see that Drake even mimics its tone in this part of his song. These lines are fitting, as Take Care (the album) was originally set to be released on Drake’s birthday (October 24th).

 

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“Hotline Bling” (2015)
Song Sampled: “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas (1972), among others

Getting sued by Playboy wasn’t the only questionable thing that happened to Drake throughout his career. His smash hit was originally titled “Hotline Bling (Cha Cha Remix)” after singer-rapper D.R.A.M’s “Cha Cha” when it premiered on Beats 1 OVO Sound Radio in July 2015. The two tracks sound eerily similar and Drake has even called it a “quasi cover.” However, although Timmy Thomas is listed as a co-writer on “Hotline Bling” due to the sampling of his 1972 soul hit “Why Can’t We Live Together,” D.R.A.M.’s song has since been removed from the title and is nowhere to be found on the credits. “I feel like my record got jacked,” D.R.A.M. says, “and it’s not just me. People been comparing ‘Cha Cha’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ since it came out.”

 

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“One Dance” feat. Wizkid and Kyla (2016)
Song Sampled: “Do You Mind” (Crazy Cousinz Remix) by Kyla (2009)

It’s hard to believe that “One Dance” was Drake’s first number one single on the Billboard charts. He had been featured on two number one singles prior to the dancehall-infused smash hit, but they were both under Rihanna’s name: “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” “One Dance” features a slowed down sample of the vocals and chord stabs from a 2008 UK funky house anthem, Kyla’s “Do You Mind,” along with a verse from Nigerian singer, Wizkid. He and Drake had teamed up in 2015 to remix his song “Ojuelegba.” Drake had reportedly been a fan of Kyla’s song for several years and after convincing his producer to use “Do You Mind” as a bridge, production of “One Dance” took only about a week to complete. Kyla said of the experience:

“I thought it was going to be a good few weeks before it dropped, but I saw it in the paper on Monday, and Tuesday it was out. It was really crazy, really quick […] They got my track, cut the bits out that they wanted, and just made a song out of it. They explained to me that two tunes [from Views] had been leaked, so they weren’t going to send the song over to me. They played a little snippet of it over the phone. They were very much like, ‘Let’s run with this version, there’s no time for recording it or anything like that. We’re getting hacked left, right, and centre.’”

In fact, Drake and his team were unsure how “One Dance” would be received since they thought it was a significant shift from his previous work. Therefore, they decided to release “Pop Style” along with it, since they felt it was more aligned with conventional rap. After claiming the top spot in the US and global charts, as well as becoming the number one streamed song in Spotify’s history, it’s safe to say Drake and his team underestimated the broad appeal of “One Dance.”

 

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“Glow” feat. Kanye West (2017)
Song Sampled: “Devotion” (Live) by Earth, Wind & Fire (1975)

Despite having joined forces with Drake numerous times in the past, that didn’t stop Kanye West from dissing the hitmaker in a lengthy concert rant late last year. At a  Sacramento gig, Kanye called out Drake, DJ Khaled, Jay Z, Beyoncé and others after stopping his show three songs in. Kanye dissed radio stations for not playing his music, implying that Drake and Khaled had boosted their track’s performance on the radio. “We can love each other, but the rules gotta be fair,” he said, “Khaled, and Drake, and radio, and Doc, and 92.3 and everybody, is it just me or did you hear that song so many times? You say you wanna play it ‘For Free?’ Ayy, ayy, you know what it is, though.” He also claimed that MTV executives told him Beyoncé would be winning the Video of the Year VMA for “Formation.” “Beyoncé, I was hurt cause I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me, and over ‘Hotline Bling,'” he said. “We are all great people, we are all equal, but sometimes we be playing the politics too much and forgetting who we are just to win. Fuck winning!” Kanye said. Finally, the rapper called out long-time collaborator Jay Z: “Call me bra. You still ain’t call me. Jay Z, call me. Ayy brah, Jay Z I know you got killas, please don’t send ‘em at my head, just call me. Talk to me like a man,” he said. Kanye seemed angry that Bey and Jay hadn’t reciprocated the love after the infamous Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 VMA awards. “I went down 7 years of my life of motherfuckas hating me cause I said Beyoncé had the best video,” Yeezy concluded. “Glow” does not necessarily mean that the two have made amends, however, as the track was most likely recorded around August 2016 — well before Kanye’s November rant.

– Matthew Martino

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: June 6, 2017

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Hi folks,

We’re in the midst of Suoni Per Il Popolo right now and there’s soooo much live music to take in — over the past few days I’ve managed to catch Nailbiter, Group A, Un Blonde, Dorothea Paas, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Steve Hauschildt, and more that I am currently forgetting. Tonight I’m gearing up for the sonic onslaught of Peter Brotzmann & Heather Leigh; check in with me tomorrow and see if my eardrums are still intact.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Tune into the Montreal Sessions today from 3-5pm EST for a recap of Suoni highlights thus far and a look ahead at what’s in store for the coming week. Special guest hosts Tristan & Alex Giardini give the inside scoop, tipping you lucky listeners off to the true gems of this excellent festival. Our Suoni extravaganza continuestomorrow as stunning local duo Sound Of The Mountain host our residency program If You Got Ears, honing in on the free jazz and experimental highlights of Suoni’s programming. Stream that one live from 12-2pm on Wednesday, or download the full archives of both shows via ckut.ca.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – june 6, 2017

1. fiver – audible songs from rockwood – idée fixe CC
2. couleur dessin – s/t – fixture records CC *
3. katie moore & andrew horton – six more miles – self
released CC *
4. arto lindsay – cuidado madame – northern spy
5. hooded fang – dynasty house – daps records CC Continue reading

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Album Review: Slowdive – S/T

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Slowdive opens with a demand: “Give me your love.” This forcefulness at the beginning of the album seems fitting for the group’s self-titled release, considering it’s their first one in 22 years. Such an extended absence from the music scene warrants a strong plea for admiration and attention – and a listen to the record shows it is well-deserved. It successfully brings Slowdive back to the forefront of the shoegaze scene with instrumentality and craftsmanship that is aesthetically muddied, yet sleek and spacious.

Throughout the record, soft synths dominate the background stereo image. The drums remain at a low volume in the mix, emphasizing the album’s focus on utilizing ambient elements to compose a huge-sounding background rather than playing up any rhythmic structures. Distorted leads pierce through this foundation of sound to complete the instrumental arrangement. This method of arrangement is present throughout the album, but is best exemplified in the album’s second single, “Sugar for the Pill.” A lone delayed electric guitar establishes a slick chord progression in the beginning of the song before a silky, mid-heavy distorted lead guitar appears and plays in sync with the progression. These elements combine with a bass riff that is so, so groovy to set the pulse of the track and make it the most dynamic and fun on the record.

The opener, “Slomo,” sets a space-y vibe along with a casual, upbeat rhythm. The dreamy synths, paired with the looping and distorted guitar riff, could be the soundtrack for a flight through dark space. Goth-rock elements are apparent in “Star Roving,” where the vocals almost resemble Peter Murphy’s from Bauhaus, and the guitar riffs with reverb-heavy distortion and rhythmic strums sound akin to the guitars of Christian Death.

The album’s only weakness lies in the lyrics, which are neither particularly distinct or profound. As the vocals are usually lower in volume than the instruments and drenched in a heavy hall reverb, the words are muddled together and often indiscernible. However, of the actually audible lyrics, there are gems of honest simplicity. In “No Longer Making Time,” Neil Halstead croons: “Oh Lord I remember those days / And all those nights / When you wanted so much more.” This track directs the album toward a more reminiscent feel, that culminates in the album’s closing song, “Falling Ashes.” With a piano riff that repeats for the entirety of the track’s eight minutes and very minimal involvement from other instruments, it is a soft and circular ending to the record. Halstead incessantly repeats the phrase, “Thinking about love,” which characterizes the circular nature of both the track and mindset of the album: beginning and ending with the notion of love.

– Review by Francesca Pastore

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Free Samples: Kanye West and the Art of Sampling

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Hip-hop and sampling go together like peanut butter and jelly, like apple pie and ice cream, like police brutality and unarmed African Americans (case in point: remember the Dallas police officer who recently shot and killed unarmed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, the passenger of a car that was too far away for the officer to tell if there was any imminent threat?).

According to Amir Said, musician and author of The Art of Sampling, sampling is “one of the most innovative music processes to emerge in the late-twentieth century.” The technique consists of taking a portion (or sample) of a song and inserting it into a new production, creating an entirely different concept and sound. This is has been the foundation of the rap genre since its humble beginnings, allowing beat-makers to express themselves and expose the harsh realities that far too many young black Americans like Jordan Edwards experience everyday.

While some may discredit the practice as simply stealing, there is no doubt that sampling has left a profound impact on hip-hop and popular music as a whole. Perhaps Mark Ronson said it best in his TED Talk: “Sampling isn’t about hijacking nostalgia wholesale. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward.”

In keeping with this spirit, CKUT’s latest project, Free Samples, will highlight a rap artist each week, dissecting a handful of their songs and what they sampled along with the history behind each track.  Continue reading

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: May 30, 2017

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Hello friends,

The annual Suoni Per Il Popolo festival is right around the corner and we’re all pretty psyched for the insane lineup of artists who are rolling through Montreal this June. Personally, I’m really looking forward to Pharmakon, Peter Brotzmann & Heather Leigh, Princess Nokia, Pelada, Moor Mother, and Les Filles de Illighadad — but there’s so much more, it’s honestly a bit hard to keep track of. Stay tuned for plenty of CKUT coverage as the festival progresses!

Last week’s garbage-feasting raccoon was a big hit, so as a followup here’s a squirrel I spotted in my front yard last week with an entire St. Viateur bagel in its mouth. I wasn’t kidding about our wildlife being gluttonous.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Suoni, that’s what’s up! We’re dedicating a lot of our programming, including both ourMontreal Sessions and If You Got Ears residency programs, to the famously ear-bending festival for the month of June. Keep an eye on the blog for artist interviews, concert reviews, and other special features over the next three weeks — we’re going all out on this one and you’re invited along for the ride.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – may 30, 2017

1. jessica moss – pools of light – constellation CC *
2. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
3. saltland – a common truth – constellation CC *
4. omar souleyman – to syria, with love – mad decent
5. aim low – scratched out – amplitude ambitions CC * Continue reading

school's out

School’s Out for GOOD

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Venus – Girl Divided
City Taster – Un Peu de Wat?
Simeon Wiley – Bright Lights
Adrian Hu – Switchblade
Fleece – On My Mind
Glenny – [Bracket]
Jaymes – Good Morning
Brother Joe – Le Sony’r Ra
Alexia Avina – Plans Fall Through
Carla Sagan – Make Believer

Thanks to everyone who has been following this project throughout the spring, and a special thank you to CKUT, Joni, and all the musicians who helped make this such a fun and fulfilling experience.

– Nora Duffy

chance the rapper

Concert Review: Chance the Rapper Takes the Bell Centre to Church

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“I talk to God in public,” Chance the Rapper proudly proclaims in “Blessings,” the radiant closer of his brilliant mixtape, Coloring Book. After Thursday night’s concert, it’s no wonder the man upstairs has his ear on the 24-year-old Chicago beat-maker.

After opening act DJ Oreo warmed up the crowd with throwback hits, Chance came out guns blazing, tearing through “Mixtape,” “Blessings,” and the infectious “Angels.” After spending ample time interacting with the audience, he then transitioned into a mashup of Kanye West numbers that he cowrote off The Life of Pablo including “Waves,” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” concluding with his triumphant verse in “Ultralight Beam.” The crowd was hooked.

Backed by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, Chance then performed the jubilant “Sunday Candy” before giving his backing vocalists the spotlight as they serenaded the crowd with their rendition of “D.R.A.M. Sings Special.” It came with no surprise that DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” was part of the night’s setlist, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and just recently went platinum. That night, the Justin-Bieber-sung track sounded less like mindless pop-radio fluff and more like the undisputed song of the summer.

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Chance also didn’t shy away from his older hits, performing “Chainsmoker,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Favorite Song” off his 2013 critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, which helped place the Grammy-winner on the map. While performing the latter, the rapper looked just as ecstatic as we all were to hear it.

Then came one of the many highlights of the night: the defiant “No Problem”, which he prefaced by urging the crowd to be fearless. Behind him, the massive screen displayed distorted logos of prominent record labels: most notably, the Warner Music Group emblem, which was fashioned to look like a flaccid penis. Followed by the equally high-energy “All Night,” Chance then transitioned into a number of slow jams, including “Summer Friends” and “Same Drugs” yet he did not lose the audience for a second.

Before concluding the night with “Blessings (Reprise),” Chance told the crowd, “make some noise if you want to go to heaven.” For those two hours, it was as close as many of us were ever going to get.

– Review by Matthew Martino

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Concert Review: Perfume Genius + serpentwithteeth @ Theatre Fairmount

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The room was already nearly full when I arrived 15 minutes early, wandering over to the merch booth to look at the t-shirts and gold ‘No Shape’ necklaces. The stage was dimly lit and bristling with palm fronds which looked fake, but must have been real because the tips were starting to brown. I managed to get up close just in time.

serpentwithteeth took the stage and it all began, Josiah Wise’s flawless voice winding and fluttering as string and horn samples unfolded over watery kick drums. The combination was effective and arresting: minimal looped gospel-tinged meditations centered around desire, attraction, and queer intimacy. He seemed to glower, basking in the ominous energy of the music and then slipping easily into quick-witted banter between songs, trading barbs with some rowdy audience members and working his lyrical content into an ongoing conversation. While the slippery sounds and his sometimes menacing presentation seemed at first designed to be off-putting, his gorgeous vocal delivery and fearless vulnerability soon won the room over, and he was gone from the stage much too soon.

After a short wait, a bass-boosted-beyond-all-recognition version of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” gave way to an instrumental rendition of “Choir” from this year’s thrilling No Shape LP, and then Perfume Genius strode into view. About a minute in, set and album opener “Otherside” proved itself to be the ideal kickoff track as the delicate piano arpeggios and Mike Hadreas’s cracked falsetto dropped suddenly into a sparkling chorus of soaring pads and tooth-rattling bass. This dynamic played out easily into the rest of the set as the band pivoted smoothly between hushed, beautiful moments and ponderous, locked grooves. The whole vibe of the performance was cohesive, right down to the sartorial choices: Mike wore a scandalous bare-shouldered classy outfit, and it only served to emphasize the way he slunk across the stage mid-song.

Highlight tracks included the stuttering “Go Ahead,” the trip-hop-drenched “Die 4 You” and the absolutely ecstatic yodel of “Wreath.” While at times the mood reflected all sorts of melancholic and introspective shades, the overarching thread was one of triumph, of security, of winking self-awareness. Mike’s strange and authentic sense of humor was on display throughout, along with the obvious affection between all sharing the stage. Quieting down for the encore, we were treated to a couple solo piano numbers, culminating in the rest of the band returning for a dazzling rendition of “Hood” off his 2012 LP Put Your Back N 2 It. The show closed perfectly with the towering snarl of queer anthem “Queen” and then it was over, and I followed the flushed audience out onto Parc, surrounded by straight dudes proclaiming loudly to all within earshot that “that was actually really sick.”

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: May 23, 2017

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Hi folks,

It was a great long weekend here – I had a friend visiting Montreal for the first time, so we spent most of Saturday and Sunday walking around and chilling in different parks. It was a nice opportunity to show off our city’s fine array of wildlife, including our brave and gluttonous population of raccoons. We also caught terrific local band Blue Odeur on Friday night – they’re soooo good. Definitely a highlight of the weekend!

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
We’re shaking up our regular programming this weekend in honour of the annualMontreal Anarchist Book Fair. On Sunday May 28thtune into CKUT from 11am till 1pm and catch us broadcasting live and chatting with a variety of presenters and participants. If you’re gonna be there hanging out, be sure to stop by the CKUT table and give us a high-five – we’d love to see you!

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – may 23, 2017

1. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
2. jessica moss – pools of light – constellation CC *
3. saltland – a common truth – constellation CC *
4. arto lindsay – cuidado madame – northern spy
5. do make say think – stubborn persistent illusions – constellation CC * Continue reading