Damon Dashing

He’s a renaissance man, and, really it seemed like just a question of time before Damon Dash diversified again, following Jay’s lead and getting involved in professional sports. Over a year ago, Damon partnered with promoter Lou DiBella, branching out yet again in one of Dash’s more understated ventures. Frankly I’d love it if more rap cats got involved in athletics, and Lil Flip and Hump followed through and bought the Houston Rockets (or the Comets). But until then keep an eye on Dame’s efforts in boxing. DiBella Entertainment’s latest heavyweight, Fres Oquendo, is looking for a second chance in the sport after being rooked by a number of sources. He told me he came to DiBella because of their reputation for honesty, which, in boxing, is a rare commodity.

DD: Boxing is a work in progress, just like all business. A couple years ago the music business wasn’t fair, and just based on the people that are involved, and how they shed the light on the artists, people know how to get a fair deal and certain things don’t happen any more, and I think in this age of boxing, we’re going to smarten up the boxers, where they’re going to be able to benefit more than anyone else, they’re going to be able to reap the benefits of their efforts. So I like the fact that people recognize that we’re fair guys, and I like the fact that I know that in my heart I’m going to try to do best by the fighters, and if they’re surrounded by nothing but love it’s going to be a good experience for that boxer. So no boxer’s ever going to walk away from us saying that they were treated unfairly. I’m not going to say no boxer’s never going to walk away from us, but I bet when they do they’ll say they we should have stayed with those guys, because we have their best interests at heart.

What have you noticed so far? What has made your business Spidey sense perk up?

DD:
It’s a very patient business. There’s a lot of politics involved. But the bottom line is that when you’re winning, and you have a lot of people knowing that you’re winning, there’s not too much you can do to stop certain things. But it’s patient. A lot of boxers want to fight fight fight, they’re young and they want to get in there and test themselves, but you’ve got to pace them, you’ve got to let them learn, you’ve got to let them grow, and in the meanwhile you’ve got to make sure they have a future in boxing, so you look at that. So most of the seeds that we plant now will be in effect in five years, so it’s a patient thing, and that’s cool for me, because I enjoy the sport of boxing and I’m doing it for the love.

But I think it’s very interesting to see how we’re going to change things, and, you know, not to be cocky about it, but you know how we changed things in the business world of music, the music world, and how we changed things in fashion; we’re going to change things here as well, and it’s going to be positive for the sport. We’ve got to think of innovative ways, and creative ways to keep people interested, and having a vested interest in the boxers, especially within the African American community, get some support there, but honestly, with Curtis [Stevens], Showtime, Jaidon [Cordrington], Andre Berto and Gary Starks, what they’ve done in the last year, I don’t think any fighter has done in the world of boxing, as far as people having a vested interest in them. They’re in magazines, and they’re on the cusp of pop culture, meaning what’s going on in this current generation. Look at Curtis, you know, he’s a regular guy, he’s a cool dude. But he’s also a very disciplined individual. So it’s kind of showing, just like me, I’m a businessman, but I look at myself like a cool dude. It shows you can look like a regular guy, act regular, but have the discipline of a professional. It doesn’t make you a nerd or a square. I think there’s a lot of good, especially within him and Berto, there’s a lot of good energy, personality, as long as they keep knocking people out they’re going to reap all the benefits of that.

On yet another front, last year Dash made time in his busy schedule for BET’s Ultimate Hustler. Part Apprentice, part Making the Band, Dash auditioned a protege from a group of live-in, aspiring entrepreneurs, with — well, let’s be honest here — tepid results. There were moments, though. So is Damon going to re-up for a sequel?

DD: We’ll see. I’ve got a day job, I’ve got a couple of them, so if I have the time, I’ll do it. You know, I initially did it to teach the community how to get money and have fun while they do it, and be fair, and things like that. Let’s see. If BET acts straight, maybe I’ll be back.

Was that more of a trying thing than you thought it would be?

DD: Only because of the post of it, like the editing, I had to edit it a lot. I’m a perfectionist, on a lot of levels, and it was my likeness and my brand, so I had to sit in the editing room and make sure everything was there. Because I was there, and a lot gets lost in the editing room, and I wanted certain things to remain there, and also, the production value meant a lot to me, so if you noticed, that’s why it was very stylized. I wanted to keep people’s brains working, and also entertain them, keep them laughing, keep some suspense, and at the same time teach them.


Tennage

I don’t like making lists, mostly because I’m lazy. But I’m also accustomed to finding new artists and digging around in a way that doesn’t call it quits on a year and close the book once December rolls around. And I disagree with the peer review qualities that making year-end rankings puts on people’s opinions.

But I’ll always give in with a little arm twisting, so here are some of the things from 2005 I liked, in no particular order. Let me know what I missed out on and check out some of these if you can.

Albums

Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel The Illinoise!
Recloose – Hiatus On The Horizon
Matias Aguayo – Are You Really Lost?
Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum
Fantomas – Suspended Animation
Ellen Allien – Thrills
Bun B – Trill
The Black Dog – Silenced
Kelley Polar – Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens
Isolee – We Are Monster

Compilations

Clipse – We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 1
VA – Minimize To Maximize
Oxford American Music Issue CD
UR Presents Galaxy 2 Galaxy A Hi-Tech Jazz Compilation
Can You Jack? Chicago Acid And Experimental House 1985-95
VA – Kompakt Total 6
VA – Spectral Sound Vol. 1
VA – Tsunami Relief
Big Boi Presents…Got That Purp Vol.1
VA – Choubi Coubi (Folk And Pop Songs From Iraq)

Singles

Ying Yang Twins – Wait (The Whisper Song)
Various Production – Foller / Home 7″
Pan Pot – Popy & Caste
Exercise One – Easy Things
Dandy Jack aka The Latin Elvis – Refried EP
Alex Smoke – Ok Remixed
Vivianne Projects – Strangers
Salif Keita – Yamore (Luciano Remix)
Repeat Repeat – Blippy
Nathan Fake – Dinamo / Coheed (Remixes)

Mixes / Live Sets

Richie Hawtin – DE9 Transitions
Ewan Pearson – Sci.fi.Hi.fi. _

Lexicon Devil: Swearengen

swearengen: v, tr.

1. To declare or affirm solemnly by invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing.
2. To utter or bind oneself to (an oath).
3. To say or affirm earnestly and with great conviction.

A friend left me with a heavy secret the other day and sealed the deal by looking me in the eye and saying “swearengen.”

In HBO’s Deadwood, The Old West pinkie swear is a spit shake. Mr. Wu and Dan, Al’s flunkie, seal deals with Swearengen slick-palmed, so we did too, with an oath of “swearengen” in Wu’s Chinese accent.

Well Well Wellington…

Cruising through James Agee’s greatest hits, I found an essay he wrote for Fortune‘s August 1935 issue, titled “Saratoga.”

Surprisingly, it concerns Wellington Mara’s father, who was then one of the major bookmakers, as well as the an owner of the New York Giants. This was before all betting was parimutuel and you could shop your horse picks to different bookies while at the Spa. Here’s what Agee has to say:

Tim Mara is a large, curly-headed, thick-fleshed Irishman with the wide, relaxed, dimpled, big-mouthed, and keen type of Irish face. Timothy James Mara’s life is too colorfully involved to bear writing on a thumbnail. He was born forty-eight years ago in Greenwich Village; sold papers, Madison Square programs, candy in a Third Avenue Theatre; was a Ziegfeld usher; sold lawbooks. Became a bookie in 1910. Of late years has been in and out of bookmaking. Some of his avocations: customers’ man in Wall Street for Al Smith’s pal Mike Meehan (1927-30); coal business (Mara Fuel Co., still listed); liquor business (Kenny-Mara Importers Co., 1933, still listed; a Scotch labeled Timara); owner of New York Giants (football, he has never played the game). He has been often in court, most spectacularly in a row over what Gene Tunney owned him for Build-ups, political lubrication. Has two sons: John, president of the Giants, and Wellington Timothy, who is at Fordham. He is a fight promoter (Schmeling-Baer, the second Ross-Canzoneri); plays golf; has never driven a car since, twenty years ago, he was in a bad accident; has a place at Lake Luzerne, near Saratoga. He is variously known about the tracks as (a) just a big good-natured guy and (b) the ultimate truculent mug. But everyone agrees that as a mental mathematician he’s second only to [Long Tom] Shaw and, as a bookie, among the most imminently successful.”

pp 103-104, James Agee: Selected Journalism

Selected Journalism and Agee on Film have been collected into a handsome Library of America edition, which will no doubt torpedo any remaining sales of the University of Tennessee edition. But shelling out thirty bucks isn’t such a bad idea, so long as some of the standout essays from Journalism, “Cockfighting,” “Roman Society,” “The American Roadside,” “The U.S. Commercial Orchid” and “Saratoga” remain.

From the Archives: Listener Defined Noise

Wighnomy Brothers
“3 Fashmich” (FAT 019)
Freude Am Tanzen (Germany)
March 2005

Someone’s had a baby! I’m not sure which Brother’s spawn is staring out from Fat 19, but he says hello on the first bit of the A side, and is the namesake of the main track, “pele bloss” (“pele only”?). It’s a fairly straightforward number with an acid thwomp in the mids and a nice flutter. I haven’t been playing that track as much, instead the B1, “freiekksemplar,” a bare chug-a-lug wrapped around the smiley critter above. The breakdown near the end, one of several, has a disembodied, random piece of sampling, “Alfred Lord Tennyson reads from his own poems, first the ‘Charge of the Light,'” just after which the spare beat comes back briefly. The B2, “caput 1” is described as “omar sharifs winterm‰rchengewand,” which Babel Fish calls “winter fairy tale garb,” and is a short vocal sample where someone, presumably Omar Sharif, talks about dancing. That’s about all I can get without much German.

Tomas Andersson
“Washing Up” (BPC 108)
BPitch Control (Germany)
May 2005

By some cosmic hilarity, both this record and the Saddam Hussein in his underpants on the front page of America’s favorite despot showed up on Friday morning. The record went on first, then my coffee nearly came out my nose when I saw the paper. Like the Hasselhoffian Recursion, I was shocked and hypnotized, paralyzed for a good six minutes while the two scoured my soul. I snapped back into consciousness when the needle hit the label, averted my eyes, and tried to get on with my life.

The Tiga remix, on the side pictured, strikes me as do papers who won’t print the actual pictures, rather pictures of citizens reading papers who do. The original is still visible, yet your criticisms or analyses over the legitimacy of the act of printing are thrown out because you printed it anyhow. Now the photo has no mystique, and is not suitable for home display. A shoddy effort, adding some congas, a vocal sample and calling it a day.

Thee Wilde Billy Childish Interview

This interview took place last year a few days before Billy Childish and the Buff Medways came to America to play two dates, one in Long Beach, California for the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, another opening for Modest Mouse at Radio City Music Hall.

Believe that at the height of Modest Mouse’s recent popularity, at a concert heavily promoted by K-Rock, the Medways put the zap on a lot of young minds.

NP: This is the Buffs’ second or third time here, right?

BC: I think it’s only the second, I’m not quite sure. We used to come quite often but then our bass player couldn’t do much, and we’ve got a new bass player who is a fireman who can’t do too much. You know, because we’re not a professional group, which is sort of like our saving grace but also causes a few problems, because we don’t do touring really, even in the Headcoats we didn’t used to really do touring, I don’t really sort of like see much sense in it. Its usually to make agents a load of money and sort of like promote yourself and seeing as we’ve never ever promoted ourselves, you know, we actually play to earn some money, and to enjoy it, but most groups just do things to become, to promote themselves, and we’ve never done that.

NP: It seems like these one offs that you do, to come over and do a couple of shows in a couple of weeks or a week are a lot more healthy than a regular touring schedule.

BC: Well yeah, really, for those reasons, people do it because they’re promoting themselves; we don’t do promotions because it’s boring. We’re not in music as a career. It’s something we do because we enjoy it. And when we don’t enjoy it we don’t do it.

Continue reading “Thee Wilde Billy Childish Interview”

Most Recently Added

Matias Aguayo: Are You Really Lost?

Aguayo is one half of Closer Musik, whose “One Two Three-No Gravity” has endured as a pivotal track played at moments at the club when you reenter reality and look around at what you left. Dan Bell put it on his 2003 The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! album, but I remember it best from Michael Mayer’s Volume gig, where he and Superpitcher introduced the Kompakt sound to New York.

While “The Green & The Red” remind me more of something Perlon would release, Aguayo’s solo production brings to mind Kevin Saunderson in the Reese & Santonio period, organic, bodied basslines, full production, especially on the breath-boxed “Drums & Feathers” and “So In Love.” Other standouts on this record are “Radiotaxi” and “New Life,” which keeps reminding me of a “Kiko and the Lavendar Moon” sounding song I just can’t place.

Get It


Digable Planets: Beyond The Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles 2005

Reissuing your 12″s as an album is a good way to remind people how you tweaked them a dozen years ago. Indeed, if you missed these guys the first time around, or never looked before Blowout Comb, this is an essential record. It’s hard to imagine they’ll reinvent themselves or even continue in such a strong fashion after a decade-long layoff (I saw them live in a “teaser set” this spring and it stunk) so maybe it’s better to live in the past.

Get It

Various Artists: Famous When Dead IV

I can’t think of a label more consistently on top of dancefloor tastes than Playhouse. If we’re just talking albums, in the recent past they’ve put out Isolee’s We Are Monster, Captain Comatose’s Up In Flames and Melchoir Productions’ The Meaning — two and a half blockbusters (sorry Cap’n). “Scrapnell,” Isolee’s wet-with-reverb surf-techno joint makes it on here, as well as his mix of Recloose’s “Cardiology,” both examples of how dance music succeeds when it works outside of structural constraints. Tiefschwarz’s remix of Spektrum’s “Kinda New,” Fabrice Lig’s “Meet U in Brooklyn” and Max Mohr’s “Old Song” work in a traditional manner. This is essential listening if you don’t have it separately on vinyl. Plus a great nod to Jim Phillips’ Santa Cruz Speed Wheels hand.

Get It

Supergrass: Road To Rouen

This band had me when they were In It For the Money, and there are a few songs on this record worth listening to for that sort of aggressive Britrock harmonizing (“Tales Of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6),” “Roxy”). They’ve diverged into two nasty camps, it sounds like, an Elliot Smithy bareness (“St. Petersburg,” “Sad Girl” and “Low C”) or a Led Zep-lite (“Road To Rouen,” “Coffee In The Pot” and “Fin”).

Nice work, but not as cohesive or engaging as previous projects. Great Kraftwerkian cover art, though.

Get It

Dungen: Stadsvandringar

I was disappointed by this, because I expected a reissue from a younger band to be more aggressive than Ta Det Lungt, Dungen’s first record to gain appeal here in the US, which bored a hole in my head when I first heard it. I find myself loving the 30-second vocal jam “Stadsvandring Del 2” and bassline driven “Vem Vaktar lejonen” but skipping the Jethro Tullish flute numbers.

Get It

James Zabiela: FOUR.2 mixes

So everything is topsy-turvy again. Minimal is maximal. Sasha’s acolyte plays the Wighnomys, Vector Lovers, Luciano, John Tejada, Ken Ishii, Egoexpress and more. At some point you just stop labeling and enjoy things as they come your way, and here they are, in five quality mixes.

Why We Do

There’s no need to over-analyze why people love sports, or what sports bring to their lives. Here’s what I hope will be a long series of everyday incidents; good, human examples.

It was early evening on Seventh Avenue, older man wearing a Chad Pennington jersey overtaking a mother and boy on the sidewalk. The boy is wearing a Ty Law jersey.

“Ty Law, good game today,” the dude said, addressing the kid the way a teammate would address another.

It’s tough to describe the look on the kid’s face. It was a mix of pride and surprise. He was just beaming. His mother leaned down and asked what the man had said, and as he explained in a small voice his smile passed to her and they walked on.