Earlier in the week, we highlighted a host of Out Of The Box charts on Beatportal, wherein some of our favorite artists supplied us with playlists of tunes they wouldn’t normally spin out—and in those batches we found a clutch of obscure, confounding gems. (Sander Van Doorn’s top Radiohead track, anyone?) Fiji-born, New Zealand-reared, and London/LA-based FreQ Nasty also gave us an Out Of Genre chart, which he’s subtitled “Maxin’ and Relaxin’,” along with a rundown of the tunes he selected—a Power Of Ten for str8-chillin’, if you will. So have a read through his choices below, download the whole chart here, and check out FreQ’s new “Bon Merde” remixes single that just came out on High Chai.
A beautiful vocal in the classic Horace Andy style. It was reworked for Massive Attack’s album as ”Spying Glass,” and it further cemented Horace’s reputation as a go-to reggae singer to enhance any genre of music.
One of the most beautiful electronic tracks ever, and a great example of what we are hearing very little of right now in the ADD world of two-thousand-and-teens dance music. A sweet and subtle dynamic that evolves over the course of minutes instead of eight bars.
T Power created some of the first (thee first, according to Goldie) templates for what we now know as drum & bass, and anything he made around this time had this “other world” quality to it. Not sure if it was his fascination with avant classical electronic music or the fact that it was so ahead of the game.
Some good-ol’ classic Kiwi reggae. This track sums up the New Zealand lifestyle and attitude beautifully in a single laidback, understated, and earthy-rich slice of Pacific reggae. The album is a bona fide classic too.
One of the first US tracks that started coming out in response to the wave of UK synth-pop bands like Depeche Mode and New Order who were making music using cheap synths and drum machines in the early ‘80s. It has the feeling of Kraftwerk—who had influenced the UK bands—but brings into the mix the seeds of the Detroit sound that we know today. A ground-breaking record that borrowed heavily from its influences as they did from theirs.
This track made ambient make sense to me for the first time while not on some kind of substance. The original has this beautiful and musical vocal, and Mixmaster Morris takes it into the twilight zone and makes a Pleiadian bedtime lullaby out of it. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful and uplifting.
It was a pleasure to hear Detroit pioneer Juan Atkins, under his Model 500 tag, being remixed by drum & bass pioneer Alex Reece, who seemed (to my ears, at least) to be so influenced by Detroit minimalism. Using the same beat and bass noise he used for his classic ”Pulp Fiction,” Reece spat out another instant classic in the same mold. Electronic soul music.
Tina Turner could sing anything and sound amazing, but for a brief period in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, she and husband Ike made some devastating funk records. They always had a hint of their formative ‘60s in them (unlike, say, Funkadelic, who just sounded like they had dropped in from another solar system), but that just added to the mix.
More Kiwi action from NZ dub pioneers Pitch Black. They managed to bring together the various strands of dance music into a coherent stream of dub lucidity by draping great swathes of luscious feedback over everything and leaving it hanging for what seemed like minutes at a time.
In the same way that James Brown was influencing the local music culture in Africa to add steaming breakbeats and funky horns to their sounds, in Kingston, Jamaica, the local reggae bands were bringing the funk to the usually chill mix of bass and drums. Bob Marley toured with Stevie Wonder and started adding clavinets and three-part soul harmonies to The Wailers’ records, and on “Funky Kingston,” Toots brings it in a way only he can, at a time that will never be repeated. “Feggae”?… or is that “regunk”? Whatever… funk and dub sound great together.