10 year anniversary

Hey, what’s up fam? In December we’ll be celebrating the past 10 years of blogging, I don’t write much,,, I know so maybe its an afterthought or a celebration of a loose connection with the contents at strangeblood central station, but we try to never miss an opportunity to celebrate, so in my mind I want to acknowledge all of you dedicated readers out there with some bonus material. 

I usually try to do a bit of a slow roll out on my top records list, so that isn’t changing and you can expect a few more to be added. In addition, I want to go through my favorite reissues of the year. I think reissues are great. There continue to be quality reissues with more interest around vinyl. Some reissues are pretty debatable as to whether or not they really need to come out, but others are extremely necessary, even when the original manufacturer decides to remaster or just make more copies, because the original pressing didn’t account for current demands or whatnot. I’m grateful that I still feel like bangin’ on the keyboard for 10 years. 

My favorite records 2023 edition

  1. Blonde Redhead-Sit down for dinner 
  2. Aksak Maboul-Une aventure de VV
  3. African Head Charge-A trip to Bolgatanga
  4. Queen Omega-Freedom Legacy
  5. Lee Scratch Perry Bob Riddim-Destiny
  6. Andre 3000-New Blue Sun
  7. Nissi Ogulu-Unboxed
  8. Assiko Golden Band-de Grand Yoff
  9. Witch-Zango
  10. Brotzmann Bekkas Drake-Catching Ghosts
  11. Weltaal-Watoo
  12. Yussef Dayes-Black Classical Music
  13. Kassa Overall-Animals
  14. Talib Kweli Madlib-Liberation 2
  15. Don Kaput-I love tempo
  16. Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids-Afro Futuristic Dreams
  17. Victoria Monét-Jaguar 2
  18. The Bridge-Beyond the margins
  19. Akira Sakata, Entasis-Live in Europe 2022
  20. Janelle Monae-The age of pleasure

A reunion after 30 years

The year was 1992, or perhaps it was late winter of 1991. The date is of little consequence anymore. I had just gone to see Elvin Jones and his Jazz Machine perform at NCSU’s center stage. The band included Sonny Fortune and Ravi Coltrane. I went to the Reader’s Corner on Hillsborough St. and scored a copy of his record Poly Currents on vinyl. I remember taking it home and listening to it and thinking what a great record it was. I was probably hyping the concert to my room mates. I did that, I still do that. My room mate, the late Chris Whitson asked to borrow the record. I had only played it once, but I knew he loaned me records all the time too and so I said, “Sure” and handed the record to him. Months passed by and I didn’t think to ask him back for the record as maybe I had something on loan from him as well.

Then, the unthinkable happened. My friend didn’t come home one night. The next morning we heard our phone ringing. It was the police calling to say he had died that night from an overdose. That time haunted me for years. I tried to be somewhat the same, somewhat more mature, but I never could be the same again without my best friend. In a few weeks his brothers came and collected most of his belongings including his massive record collection. Those of us who were friends and room mates could’ve easily gone in and taken records from his collection, things he’d borrowed. I wanna say he also had my copy of Taj Mahal’s Giant Steps/Old Folks and Richard Hell’s blank generation, but those are just lost forever now. At the time, I was pretty shocked that I’d lost my friend and he actually wasn’t ever coming back. 

Flash forward 30 years. I still think about my lost friend and sometimes when I was thinking about him I wondered what ever became of his collection. Then I learned a record store had bought the collection. I followed them on social media and mentioned that a few of the records in the collection had belonged to me and some other friends (the drummer from our band noticed his copy of Nirvana’s Bleach in the collection). To be honest, some of what I was reading and learning was really weird. The record store kind of used his name to sell the records, and they really didn’t seem to sell them for the going rate you might buy them on discogs for either. The auction I saw had the records going for anywhere from double to triple the prices you could buy the same copies for on discogs, It all seemed a bit smarmy for them to lay on the admiration about him so they could make a buck, but I suppose capitalism allows people to market things however they want to. But one really cool thing happened besides the fact that after 30 years those records got to be in people’s hands again and listened to. That was, I got reunited with my copy of Elvin Jones’ Poly Currents. The cool thing is that they didn’t charge me a dime for it.

Love and cherish your friends and family. Hold them dearly. Memories live on, but they can’t substitute for the new ones you can create.

Official Collab for Cryptorastas nominated for Grammy

Of all of genres of music, reggae music commands a bold look into the future while holding on tightly to its early roots. ‘The Kalling'” is Kabaka Pyramid’s best record to date, and there’s no wonder that is in the running for Reggae album of the year along with mega stars Protege, Sean Paul and Shaggy. The Kalling contains many mega stars as guests including Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Buju Banton, Stephen Marley and fellow Grammy nominee Protege. The Kalling has a big offering to fans of dancehall style. Pyramid sings “There’s a lot to be grateful for” and one thing I’m grateful for is that he’s released this uncompromising collection of songs with an uplifting message and hits hard musically.

Cryptorastas NFT Lauched on August 29th, 2021

Among all the highlights of the record is Mr. Rastaman featuring Tifa. The song is a love song and is a new direction for Pyramid. The song was an instant hit. Pyramid and Tifa have a knack for making their audience appreciate their chemistry in the song as Pyramid exclaims, “Me feeling dem so truthfully, me feeling we could start up a community”.  It’s a playful song that saunters as the beat hits and its just one of the bigger songs on the album.

Kabaka Pyramid Pixel Video by Cryptorastas

Another heavy hitter is the song Fade Away, featuring legendary Dancehall MC Buju Banton, who is know for his crossover style into hip hop, something Pyramid shares in common with Banton. Banton also an NFT offering and his unique lyrics and vocal stylings add to the songs strengths and show why he’s still a Dancehall King,

The albums begins with the song Mystik Man, where Pyramid sings “Mystic Man, Mystic Man, Stock some crypto I risk it man” The song also showcases Pyramid’s hip hop vocal styles paired with a sample of Peter Tosh from his song of the same title.  A song Tosh proclaims he’s “a man of the past and I’m living in the present and I’m walking in the future”, These are true statements of Pyramid and of all Cryptorastas. There are some deep parallels in the two songs as cryptocurrency is recognized by many to be the future direction global currency with the potential to solve many of the inherent problems in fiat currency that continue to repress and hold back much of the world population. This is a reason it has been used as a hedge against inflation by Venezuela who adopted Bitcoin as their national currency and has become widely adopted such as Nigeria as well. 

The Cryptorastas project was first introduced to me by the late Lee “Scratch” Perry on a social media post he made on the Instagram platform. I was aware through this post that he would have a collaboration with them and their NFT was set to launch. On the drop date I bought an initial 5 NFTs (which I still own). The project has brought its followers NFT and IRL sneakers and skateboards, and next up is their own record label. The initial song by Dada Yute is set to drop very soon with 100 editions planned. Many more are in the works. There is also a gathering of all cryptorastas planned in Kingston on Febraury 23rd, just days before the Grammys are awarded. We can hope the future of the Grammys has an NFT nominated as Reggae artist of the year, and with any luck it could be from Cryptorastas. We in the community send much respect and love to Kabaka Pyramid and wish him only the most success in his nomination this year.

Top records from 2022 (in no particular order)

1 Robert Glasper -Black Radio 3

2. Rose Mercie ¿Kieres agua?

3 Kham Meslien – Fantômes…Futurs

4Kokoroko– Could we be more?

5 Magma Kãrtëhl

6 K.O.G. – zone 6 agege

7 Black Midi – Hellfire

8 Adekunle Gold-Catch me if you can

9.Cartwright, Fowler, Hirsh, Parker and Hurt – Notice that there

10-Bonnet Malaby Darrifourcq, Sclavis- S/t

11. Kabaka Pyramid – The Kalling

12 Government Mule * Heavy Loaded Blues

13. Horrace Andy – Midnight Rocker

14. Stro Elliot – Black and Loud

15. Chelsea Carmichael – The river doesn’t like strangers

Top records of 2021

Lekan Babalola – Mr Lakaaye 

Bitchin Bajas – Switched on Ra

Cleo Sol – Mother

Ryley Walker & Kikagaku Moyo – Deep Fried Grandeur

Sons of Kemet – Black to the future

Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime

JD Pinkus  – Fungus Shui

Micah Shemaiah – Still

Arooj Aftab – Vulture Prince

New Age Doom & Lee Scratch Perry – Lee Scratch Perry’s Guide to the Universe

Ben Lamar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us

Free Radio – EARthworms

Theo Croker – Blk2life || A future past

Nala Sinephro – Space 1.8

Joy Oladokun – In defense of my own happiness

Heartless Bastards – A Beautiful life

Nell Smith and the Flaming Lips – Where the viaduct looms

Maassai – With the shifts

Tyler, the Creator – Call me if you get lost

Ckay – Boyfriend 

Ideefix #3 up at Open Sea

Ideefix #3 limited to 50 copies at open sea

My most recent NFT has 50 copies minted and many of them (if not all) will be given away. This work is a warped rendition of the original photo in the work Irma the cleaning lady finds a new astral plane. I was thinking of making a short video of this piece too, which would be just one addition. A handful of these will be on the polygon chain which is a gas free network.  Anyway, here’s the link to the new pieces up now.

Second version of Have a Nice Day added

I added a second version of the song by Venus Flytrap, called ‘Have a Nice Day’ over at open sea

Venus Flytrap was a band from the early 90’s from Raleigh, NC. The band included Bobby Abernathy (voc), Chris Whitson (gtr), Julia Vaughan (keys), Tom White (drums) and Curtis Elledge (bass). The song and art are both original works by the band. © 1991

My NFT collections at Opensea.io

Swagger Lee #2 at open sea

I recently started minting some of my digital art work over at opensea. My work is loosely based on an idea I had when I started blogging in this very space several years back. I have enjoyed the opportunity to post about photographs I took at concerts I would attend.

After posting some initial photos that were more or less unfiltered I decided it was more fun to try to experiment with the content and make it psychedelic and stuff. The phones I had at the time would take really shitty pictures and I thought it was better to try to dress them up a little rather than posting them as is. 

I guess the best was to describe what I’m doing in my art at open sea is trying to keep it psychedelic, but with material that is from images I’ve saved of things that were already kind of trippy. I’m listing this website as a link on open sea, so I thought it best to have my blog mention this work. I plan on doing so in the future when new works are minted.

Idee #5

Right now, I’m making 6 different treatments for each of the initial works. Six seems like plenty of different treatments.

Peace ☮︎