It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. And now I understand what they meant. Here are the things that brought a smile to my face in an often tumultuous 2016.
Earth Disciples “Peace, Love and Harmony” In February, I went to Jamaica. Most of the trip was spent in Port Antonio (Piggy’s forever), but one day, my friend Corey and I did a trip to Kingston to dig for records and check out the Trenchtown Culture Yard. As we walked through the yard, we saw a group of guys sitting in a window across the way. When we got close, our guide walked us into the room behind them, where there was a little studio, with a man named Ziggy at the controls. He played us a couple solo pieces from an album he’d done recently, and then he called in the guys from the window. Turns out that the three of them were Earth Disciples, the first band Marley recorded in Tuff Gong other than his own. (I did a little internet sleuthing and found this article about them pasted into a message board.) Over thirty years later, they’ve still got it. (If you wanna hear the original tune, this is it.)
Episode Three of our collaboration with Boiler Room is here. We filmed this one at Silent Barn back on a rainy night in February. The intimate crew of dancers were in top form, and the tunes were better than any episode before.
The dancers were Kevin Jones, Eriko Tsubosaka, Karen Ng, Mayu Shirai, Leanne Michelle Watson, Tommy Zapatista, Seiji Carpenter, Bret Mantyk, Chris Reid, Bunji Fromartz, Qiu Yi Wu, Yoko Sakao Ohama, Kazushi Matsugaya, Li Jia Gong, LeeSah Pitts, Akojaiye Ausar, David Vybe Le Liberateur, Kenzie J Illnest, Brian Bucket Kim and Julissa Sarabia.
And the DJs were, obviously, Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter.
Tracklisting is below. Enjoy!
01. Mystery Man – Bourbon and Maxx
02. Policy #2 – Devin Dare
03. 909s and Herb feat. Sammy Bananas – Michael the Lion
04. Love Commandments – Gisele Jackson
05. Done My Best – Nebraska
06. The Eye Tattoo – Dick Dickler
07. Sermons – Matrixxman
08. Jump Over Barrels – Crash Course in Science
09. ??? – ??? (can’t remember the name of this one)
10. The Dream (Sharam’s Deep Dish Dreamscape) – Deep Dish presents Prana
11. All We Need – Alden Tyrell feat. Jack Marks
12. Physical Graffiti – Jun Kamoda
In between all the things Justin mentioned, I managed to read a lot of books (and, of course, buy a lot of records) in 2015. It was the year that the realities of racial injustice in America and the threat to our species from climate change became all the more stark. My list starts with those two topics and takes a less serious turn towards the work of some of the greatest artists of our times, a recent vacation and then and onto some of the best dancefloor jams of the year, the latter of which I’ve compiled into a playlist here. I hope you enjoy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates This man is a national treasure. No one else seems to articulate so succintly, accurately and honestly the truth about race relations in the USA today. His book, Between the World and Me, and his essays on mass incarceration and the case for reparations are essential reading. Nicholas Kristof wrote early in the year in the New York Times that White People just don’t get it, and he’s right. We don’t. We owe it to ourselves and our communities to make an effort to ‘get it’. Ta-Nehisi Coates can help us better than anyone else. Plus he loves the GZA. . . . Read on
Harvey Sutherland “Bermuda” I think I have played this at every party since it came out. Musical, dynamic, groovy, unpredictable. An instant classic of the Mister and I’m sure of many, many other parties. Don’t stop, Harvey! . . . Read on