Archive for the 'Music Review' Category

28
May
08

Super Disco Friends – Dimitri from Paris and DJ Muro

Super Disco Friends – Dimitri from Paris and DJ Muro [2005]

Yes, everyones favorite DJ is back. Although born in Turkey, and of Greek decent, most people simply know him as Dimitri from Paris. Or ‘Dim’ for short.

This time he has brought with him another huge underground DJ. DJ Muro from Japan. Dim’s favorite past time is record digging, and while on hunt for rare gems, he met DJ Muro. While Dim was into soul and disco, Muro was into hip-hop. But they very similar taste, because hip-hops origins and roots come from soul and disco.

DJ Muro took him to a club in Japan where he began spinning tracks. Dimitri was blown away by his skill, and also the fact that he was playing sweet jams even Dimitri could not name. Although there was a language barrier, they got along great and decided to bring their collections together to make compilation album.

DJ Muro is big into early hip-hop. A/B rhyme scheme and old school breaks. Dimitri on the other hand loves late 70’s disco and rare dance beats. The two decided to make their album a tribute to the emerging block party scene in late 70’s and early 80’s.

This album is definitely another side of Dimitri most may have not seen. Gone are his white tuxedo and 60’s MOD hair styles. Instead, as shown above, he goes for the RUN DMC leather fedora and Adidas sweats. And I gotta say its a transition that is easy for him to pull off.

I am a HUGE fan of pretty much any black inspired music of the decades all the way up to the 90’s. Soul, R&B, Funk, Disco, and Rap are all expert areas for me. While this may seem out of character to some, to me it is not at all. Rap began as a way to get the crowd going at parties. Little short rhymes here or there done over breaks in the disco songs. Its a simple and easy marriage.

The album consists of 2 CD’s. Both CD’s feature old school rap and breaks. The first one is Dimitri’s go at it called “The Underdogs”. Almost every track is pure art. My favorites right now include:

Get Fly – TJ Swan

Boggie to the Bop – Mantus and Omega 88

Family Affiar (Instrumental) – Family

Very funky. Family Affair is a AWESOME break that makes me want to work on more break-dancing moves right away. And could someone tell me who the hell TJ Swan is?!?! Man that track is hot, but I cant shake that it sounds like a rap from a dancing video game.

The second CD is DJ Muro’s turn to show his stuff. Its no wonder Dim chose him to work with. He really is one of the best hip-hop DJ’s in Japan. And he knows his stuff too! His disc is called “The Foundation”. Current favorites include:

Positive Life – Harlem World, Lovebug Starski

Nobody Can Be You – Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame

I Just Wanna Do My Thing – Edwin Starr

Ultimate Rap (Holiday Rec) – Nice & Nasty

Ultimate Rap and Positive Life are great A/B rhyme scheme party raps. Great beats and great lyrics. I Just Wanna Do My Thing sounds like a 70s barbecue sauce commercial. In a good way. But my only criticism of Muro is not that bad at all. Its only that his tracks are all cut short. Like one of my favorites, Nobody Can Be You, is barley over a minute. I’m hungry and I want my prime cuts in large slabs.

Dimitri’s average song is 5-7 minutes long, where as Muro’s are 2-3. This may not be such a bad thing as it depends on where your coming from. Old soul and disco are known for 12″ LP’s that last forever with large instrument solos. Where as hip-hop is all about the break beat, or the small part of the song that is your favorite. So, I think this is merely a matter of taste.

I’m gonna go with 4 stars for now. Its not the best Dimitri from Paris I have heard, but it sure gives the best a run for its money. If you are looking for this kind of music, or this era, I dont think you could ever find anything more up your alley.

 

03
May
08

The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon [1985]

The Last Dragon stars Taimak as ‘Leroy Green’ AKA ‘Bruce Leroy’. Leroy is a devout kung fu practitioner that idolizes Bruce Lee. He is so in touch with eastern philosophy and arts, he is often uncomfortable in his Harlem setting.

He continues to follow his own path, no matter who makes fun of him or teases him. Soon, by chance, he falls in love with a Video DJ ‘Laura Charles’ played by Vanity. Laura has a popular TV show showcasing video talent for the masses. An evil and corrupt talent agent tries to kidnap Laura to force her to play his lousy acts. Leroy must come to the rescue and all the while battle thugs and other martial artists including ‘Sho Nuff‘ the shogun of Harlem played by Julius Carry. Leroy is also guided by a quest for personal enlightenment… a quest to attain ‘The Glow’.

Berry Gordy produced this little golden gem. As a matter of fact, the technical name is ‘Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon’. It was also used as a vehicle to boost carriers of several Motown artists. Motown was virtually on the brink of extinction in the mid 80s, and a movie would be a great way to make some sweet profits. Did I mention Berry Gordy produced this?!?! There are many shameless Motown plugs. Full songs are displayed with no apology, and even music videos have their own awkward sections that seem to force their way into this movie. Oh yeah! BERRY GORDY produced this!

Taimak is a fighter first, and he had to learn acting on the set while in between scenes. He doesn’t do a bad job, but it helps that the person he is playing is choppy, robotic, and out of touch. Vanity has a little song and dance number. Although I’m sure she is very attractive by 80s standards, her singing made me want to pull a cleaning string in one ear and out the other. And her tacky dancing made me want to turn off the movie.

Another thing that really got me worked up is the generalizing of Asian culture. Is it Japanese? Is it Chinese? NO! Its oriental dummy! He learns kung fu, a Chinese art, from a clearly Japanese teacher. Sho Nuff, a Chinese kung fu master is the Shogun of Harlem. A Shogun is Japanese. Leroy often dresses as a ninja, a Japanese style stealth fighter. Then he dresses like a Chinese rice farmer, but calls his parents mama-san and papa-san. San being the equivalent of Mr. or Mrs. in Japanese. Had they done just a slight bit of research, they could have avoided offending many cultures.

But wait… isn’t that kinda what the great US of A is all about? I mean, we are such a melting pot, its our job to generalize to a degree. Many out there agree that they would rather have Pizza Hut or Domino’s twice a week than Italian style pizza. Lots of Americans prefer teriyaki chicken to some of the other off the wall Japanese dishes. Just like Buddhism, we love to take what we feel are the best of each culture and assimilate it into our own.

Despite all the little nasty things I have to say about this movie. Its still has an undeniable charm. The comedy is over the top on purpose, the action is actually pretty dang good. Its filled with 80s cliches, and the style is awesome. Like a super cute kid that broke your expensive flashlight on accident, you cant stay mad at it. This movie had a lot of heart, a overall good message, and it was thoroughly entertaining.

So, even though we can be overly critical at times, the big question is, did I have fun? Yes, yes I did. And most all will too. 3 stars.




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