I spent most of Sunday morning and afternoon listening to records and doing chores (Can you still call them chores when you’re an adult? Because they still feel like chores…) and there was this moment during the first track from Pharoah Sanders’ Thembi album — “Astral Traveling” — when the bottle of green dish soap I was using to refill the in-sink soap pump thing started making the exact same chirping noise that the record was making. The world can be a pretty miraculous place if you’re willing to set the miracle bar super low.
A quick epilogue to last week’s J. Clyde post:
I got to see his beat-making operation up close just before Christmas, including his killer record collection. Dude has a lot of records. Thousands. I was especially jealous of his soul collection, despite the fact that I hadn’t heard of half the groups represented. The more obscure something was, the more fun it was to see him walk over, put it on the turntable and drop the needle on the tiny snippet that was sampled in a rap song I’ve heard dozens of times.
He has these relationships tucked away in his brain, but while we listened he told me about an iPhone app that helps neophytes like me make those types of connections. It’s called WhoSampled, and it’s about as much fun as you can have for $2.99 (you can access the same database from your browser for free, FYI). I’ve been using the app more and more lately, and I thought I’d share a quick (unsolicited and unpaid) illustration.
When I say “Vacation in Duck, North Carolina,” you say “RAP MUSIC!!” Wait… what? Normally the soundtrack for my family’s annual trip to the Outer Banks consists of classic rock, a little metal (thanks to bro-in-law Brian) and Roy Orbison, who made waves a few years back when my mom demanded he be silenced because he was making her “tense.” It was a priceless moment. She’s had a whole new reason to be tense this year, because some great hip-hop was been filling the beach week air. I wrote about Drake’s new tunes on Monday, and yesterday I finally dipped into something my friend Travis told me about via email a few days ago — Wugazi. This amazingly fun mashup album, entitled 13 Chambers, features very tightly clipped samples from Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi, and it kept me alive during an unreasonably hot and humid run along NC Highway 12. Though I’ve never listened to Fugazi at length, and am only a novice Wu-Tang fan, craftsmanship is what shines through most clearly on 13 Chambers, which makes sense, given that the project’s website describes the album as a year-long “labor of love.” I’m very glad Travis sent me the link, because even more than good running music, or a way to make my mom tense during the traditional 5-7pm cocktail hour, Wugazi has given me 13 excellent reasons to revisit and learn more about these two legendary groups. Check out/download the whole thing below.