Wednesday, November 30, 2005

[Music] My Desert Island Records (2) – Fabric 01: Craig Richards

Fabric 01: Craig Richards (Fabric, 2001)

What defines an excellent mix album? And what is the most important factor in assembling an excellent mix album?

Is an excellent mix album necessary to contain all the “can’t miss” latest smash hits? Or does it have to build toward specified climax moments for listeners to fall in ecstatic state at last?

I began listening to electronic music long time ago because it has the vibes, emotions and impulsions I couldn’t receive and release through any other methods. The initial motivation still remains true for me as of today despite the drastic changes of my tastes during years, as the search continues for a precise display for my inner voice and rhythm.

In this album, I found my perfect harmony in a small universe.

It has a somewhat intriguing but maybe not seducing enough (to some) opening in Gemini’s “At that Cafe”, the tempo moves along to the 1st turning point in Antonelli Electr.’s “Dubby Disco”; it keep going to 2 brilliant tracks from Russia underground house group SCSI-9’s “Cozmoport” & “Cologne”, then another turning point came in Bushwacka!’s ”Bluntski”. From this point on, the tone gets lower and darker and more underground all the way to the mysterious finish in Schatrax’s “Mispent Years”, this outstanding tune also has made its appearance in other different mix albums, including Tiga’s “DJ Kicks”.

The most amazing fact after the journey is that you probably won’t sense all the changes of tracks during playing, as they just organized into a huge crystallization and cruising through like a fine-tuned sports car running soundly and smoothly in a warm night. This is a very un-danceable dance mix album actually, as you won’t hear any deafening drum beats or shrill sound effects, there also lacks the apparent climax point during the whole run, however every single clip just clicks itself and moving toward exactly the same direction.

Craig Richards has been a barber, designer, visual artist and DJ, and he probably is best known for his “Tyrant” DJ show in nightclubs including Fabric, one of the most progressive clubs in London; however, in my humble opinion, this album is not only is his best work so far – even his later mix productions couldn’t reach its excellent inner-perfection status – but also one of the greatest mix album ever to date, even if it might only for some introvert or sensitive ears like me.

A truly masterpiece.

Related Links:

Craig Richards Biography
Resident Advisor Review
Discogs Review

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

[Music] My Desert Island Records (1) – Cassetteboy: The Parker Tapes

Cassetteboy: The Parker Tapes (Barry's Bootlegs, 2002)

The world is too boring, so I started writing.

Guess the world is not only too boring for me. There are 2 guys with the names of Mike Cassette and Simon Boy proclaimed themselves as Cassetteboy and spend 7 years from 1995 to 2002 in cutting, slashing, twisting, stirring, mixing and reassembling samples from pop songs, broadcasts, political speeches, background music in musicals, dramas or cartoons and any other familiar sounds you can ever remembered of to record in a cassette-format imitation album: you can even hear the sound effect of scrolling forward or backward, ejecting and changing sides of cassette on it.

This is a 98-tracks, 70+ minutes extravaganza of continuous mix, and boy, was that fun. Numerous sound clips connect themselves fluidly, cleverly and nastily - from David Bowie, Tony Blair, Bill Gates to (last but definitely NOT the least) Frank Sinatra - there is hardly a dull moment during the journey. There had many similar sampling experiments in the plunderphonics (John Oswald), experimental hip-hop (DJ Shadow) and microhouse (Akufen) field, but none can achieve the goal of brutal and unscrupulous joy like this. Simply outrageous.

I bought this album 3 years ago while exercising the duty of national service after reading its 5-star review from the long-gone “Muzik” magazine, and I soon found out that I was repeating sections in this album all the time in my daily life – until today. This album keep forcing to me to play it cause everytime there are something new and whacky pop out. It is utility enough that I can play it on almost any kind of occasion – reading, writing, working, happy, anger, sad – it always responds. Definitely one of the rarest and best buy in my music collection career.

If there is only one album allowed for the rest of my life – you can bet on it.

By the way, one of the funniest things for me is that what this “Cassetteboy” is keep doing is a lot like what I am doing in my writing.

Related Links:

Discogs Review
Pitchfork Review
BBC Review

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

[Kings] Doug Christie is the superhero.

Doug Christie is the superhero.

Despite how queer, absurd and laughable he might be.

This is a guy that devoted every bit of himself to the things he loved - wife, family, basketball.

He has a controversial and demanding wife and his basketball career was full of critics. However, all the adversities never really be able to stop his way to keep on fighting - no matter it's Kobe Bryant, fear, injuries, sour journalists or Rick Fox.

Sacramento is the place that turned his career around, and he gave Sacramento and its fans more than they can ever imagined. Once a headcase in Toronto, he set up the highest standard of professionalism from the first day he stepped into the Kings locker room, and he does it 24/7/365. His love to Sacramento was so deep, that he was never the same positive high-energy guy again after he was traded last year.

When you met Doug in purple and white, it's all about good virtues: loyal, energetic, competitive, versatile, cooperative, sacraficing. He is never a talker, yet he spoke as loud as anybody on the court with his doing. He is a guy that wear emotions on his sleeve, and his emotions not only drive him to be a fierce competitor, it also drive this team to move forward in those most crucial stretches.

Off the court, Doug is the dream to every woman - even to the extent one will feel a little bit unbearable. He committed himself to his wife, obey her rules, follow her lead, and give her a dream place. This is a couple that will re-married every year and send signals to each other more than 100 times per day. It's such kind of special relationship that only for few, yet everyone who understand the true meanings of love should cherish it.

The biggest reason Doug is so admirable and respectful is not because he is a saint - probably far from that - but because he is a guy that is always willing to stand up and face his failures honestly. He even admitted that "he scared to death" when he shot that 3 air-ball pointer in game 7 of the 2001 West Finals, yet he was also one of few players that were willing to stay in the locker room and answered questions from the reporters with calm manner - like he always did - after the heartbreaking loss.

In the words of Josh Howard, among many people who have encountered him, "That's the kind of players we need in this league." Not only for his defense prowess, but more for his true character and dedications to the game of basketball.

After Game 3 of 2001 Western Conference Semifinals:

Christie took a bad fall in the the third period, coming down hard on his back and wrists. He still logged a total of 51 minutes and had six steals.

What ailments does Christie have now?

"Ankle, foot, wrist, back, eye," he said. "Nothing is wrong with the heart, though."

Added Webber, "Doug is our superhero."


Below is the article written by Mark Kreidler after game 4 of the 2004 Western Playoffs 1st round against the Mavericks. One of his best works for one of the most gutsy and brilliant display ever by any Kings players.

Mark Kreidler: What a scream - an emotional Christie shines
By Mark Kreidler
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, April 27, 2004

DALLAS - When you saw Doug Christie out there just going nuts, scrapping with the Dallas players and drawing the technical foul and acting like he was ready to throw down and bellowing at his teammates during timeouts - when you saw this one-man primal-scream therapy session in action, you realized what it was that the Kings had been missing all these weeks.

It was the nasty.

They needed to get edgy again. They needed to play right at the verge of out of control again.

It was time to get angry, start punching at the air. It was time to grow a grudge.

Or, as Chris Webber said of the resident madman-for-a-day, Christie, "Everybody can't be a good guy every minute."

So bring on the screaming uglies. And then we'll see what this team has left in the tank.

The Kings took a 3-1 lead in their first-round series against Dallas on Monday night in part because the Mavericks didn't want it. Let's acknowledge that up front. Dallas shot 35 percent on its home floor and allowed 68 Sacramento rebounds, and the best free-throw shooting team in the NBA clanked 13 of its 33 attempts.

Even slightly improve any one of those areas, any one of them, and this series would be coming back to Arco Arena tied 2-2 and up for grabs.

But Sacramento has this thing by the throat now, and you had to see Doug Christie in action to understand exactly how that happened.

Did you get a load of this piece of work? Christie's effort is a given every night of the week, but Monday his emotion spilled all over the place.

He looked like he was ready for a fight from the opening tip forward.

He scrapped with Dallas guard Michael Finley at the Mavericks' end of the floor. He got into it with Dirk Nowitzki at midcourt, finally flipping a ball in Nowitzki's face and earning himself a technical foul.

He hit 5 of his 11 shots and scored 13 points, and he ripped 15 rebounds in every available manner, elbows flying, legs akimbo, karate-chop action - you name it. His drives generally involved ramming a defender, preferably to the floor.

Christie wasn't the player of record when the Kings finally turned the corner on this thing - that was Peja Stojakovic, awakening from his three-game slumber long enough to convert a crucial series of third-quarter shots that gave Sacramento a 70-65 lead headed into the final 12 minutes.

But in image, this game was all about Christie. He was right there, slam-dancing along the line that separates hard-nosed basketball from, basically, hard-nosed football.

He was the right man for the right moment. He'll either give coach Rick Adelman a coronary or save the man's team a game it would otherwise lose. And he will never, ever be dull doing it.

"Doug has been playing his tail off," Adelman said. "I thought that one stretch there (around the time of Christie's technical midway through the fourth quarter), we lost our poise. ... But overall, Doug uses such emotion when he plays. He is the most emotional player we have, and our guys feed off him."

As if they had a choice. That was Christie in the huddle during a timeout in the second quarter, screaming at his teammates at volume 11 after a lazy inbounds pass by Brad Miller was stolen for an easy layup. The image of the apoplectic guard was almost shocking, assuming you weren't Christie's teammate.

"Y'all see that now, but we see it from him all the time in practice," Webber said. "But I'd rather have somebody give too much and sort it out later than see him not give enough."

This ugly, ugly series is playing itself right into Christie's hands. In Game 4, the Kings and Mavericks finally decided they were sick of watching each other lay bricks around the rims and decided to mix it up all over the court. There was a physical tangle everywhere you looked.

And that's Doug Christie's game, of course. The man can fly into a full-blown rage and then get himself completely under control in a span of seconds. He channels his basketball anger like few players left in the NBA. He's a warrior in the best sense of the cliché.

He scrapped with Nowitzki because both players wanted the ball after the whistle had blown, and neither wanted to give it up, a playground argument, and dismissed it afterward by saying, "That's just basketball. ... At some point, you've got to say, 'Back off.' "

Christie said it Monday night, and eventually the Kings agreed with the sentiment. A road team finally broke through in this series. It was the one with the guy who developed a grudge just in time.

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