Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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4Play: Amon Tobin, Del and the Funky Homosapien, DJ Quik, Whodini

Kristi Kates - May 16th, 2011
Amon Tobin - Isam - Ninja Tune
IDM, or “Intelligent Dance Music,” is what producer/DJ Tobin calls the musical arm of his craft, in which he blends South American rhythms with hip-hop, breakbeat, and a dense layer of samples and cuts. More experimental than previous works, these tracks take some listening before the appeal becomes evident, as they’re crafted with a more haphazard overall feel yet with more attention to each element’s detail and placement. The melodic “Lost and Found” and the intriguing “Journeyman” are two of the standouts on this particular set, both rumbled through with heavy bass and Tobin’s distinctive mixes.
 


Del the Funky Homosapien - Golden Era - The Council
Thank goodness Del moved on from writing tracks with Ice Cube to his own scene, and that of his collaborative and side projects Gorillaz and Deltron 3030. His own album relates more to the latter projects than the earlier, which is a good thing. He reportedly utilized the past couple of years to put this set together, and the effort shows; it somehow manages to both embody classic, old-school hip-hop, and a futuristic musical mindset that makes the tracks fresh, especially on tracks like “Calculate” and “Makes No Sense,” while the wordplay, with a few exceptions, rhymes with more technical proficiency than most in this genre.
 


DJ Quik - Book of David - MS Records
Speaking of old school, Quik is back with his West Coast flair, although with a few roadbumps in tow; the beats here lope along as expected for the most part, but when he tries to throw a few breaks in, they don’t always work as smoothly as they should. That said, West Coast rap fans will find a lot to spin on this album, from opener “Fire and Brimstone” with its unique counterpoint to his later collaboration with the abovementioned Ice Cube himself (“Boogie Till You Conk Out.”) Elsewhere, “Babylon” is a polite (as if) insult-fest, and “Hydromatic” drops in sample work and horns to make for an unexpected arrangement.
 


Whodini - Escape - Traffic
New York trio Whodini hit their rap stride in the mid-’80s, with this album often cited as being one of the early rap classics. Remastered from the original analog tapes, this set, which has long been out of print, includes the original album in its entirety, and captures an era in which rappers had yet to put their focus on sex, drugs, and rap n’ roll - these funky tracks are more upbeat and accessible than one might expect, as evidenced by one of the biggest tunes on the tracklisting (recently sampled by Nas), “If I Ruled the World.” “Five Minutes of Funk” and “Featuring Grandmaster Gee” are other highlights of this retro must-have fave.
 
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