This fascinating 18-minute documentary covers the history of the “Amen Break” – used even more than the “Funky Drummer” and “When the Levy Breaks” as ubiquitous samples in hip-hop, dance and rock for the past 30 years. I had no idea that sample dates back to 1969, nor that the performers never saw a penny despite its use on sample CDs such as Jungle Warfare. Before it goes all preachy trying to argue against what he views as excessive copyright protection (personally, I think it should depend on length and context, but I feel the author goes a little overboard trying to convert us to his views), it is a really interesting and informative listen.
New York avant noise/rock group Zs haven’t really struck me yet on their own terms, but they’ve put together a mighty impressive remix collection. Indie culture blog BrooklynVegan have helpfully added some free-download tracks as well as some more info about the release, though if you want the remixes by heavy hitters like JG Thirlwell and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, you’ll have to grab it from somewhere like Amazon. My immediate favourite is the Acres remix by Gabe Andruzzi.
The overall impression is of hypnotic minimalist noise – whether it’s the Zs’ own rhythmic cacophony, or of the aforementioned Rapture-man’s zoned-out traditional-style 4am nightclub piece. Zs generally sound like Battles without the pop or if Buke and Gass fired the one that sounds like Tanya Donnelly and just banged about on empty milk bottles foregoing any sense of tunes, songs or sanity. I promise it’s not actually as bad as it sounds. It’s more like a piece of traditional Brazilian drum music I have lying around somewhere, as covered by a stoned New York busker.