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Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Arts + CultureMusicOut of the Crate: Aaliyah series hits a sweet...

Out of the Crate: Aaliyah series hits a sweet peak, more new releases

Celebrating a decade of local label DOMEOFDOOM's cassette tapes, a groovy Parliament-Funkadelic offshoot...

Out of the Crate is our monthly column—which seems to have taken a couple of months off, once again (dammit)—that highlights the physical media world of new vinyl releases, sexy cassettes, reissues, compilations, and whatever else is alluring to the contemporary audiophile. (Sometimes we get digital too!)

VARIOUS ARTISTS — DECADE OF DOOM (DOMEOFDOOM)

It would be unfair to wax poetic about being down with Cali’s DOMEOFDOOM label from day one, cause that’s just not my case. Fact is, the wide swath of emotional ideas and energy it has churned out in 10 years makes folks feel like they go back with the imprint all the way to the days of five-dollar burritos in the Mission District, even if they’re actually late comers.

Label founder Wylie Cable collected 30 of the imprint’s tracks spanning 2011-2021 for Decade of Doom. He calls the two-LP vinyl compilation a reflection of the first chapter in DOMEOFDOOM’s long and continuing story—one that has already run through several phases. From the salad days out on Dublin Street in the Excelsior (hey, I know that hood) to the Low End Theory LA phase, to now. The compilation features Myka 9, Daedelus, Shrimpnose, DJ Nobody, Huxley Anne, Kenny Segal, and many more creatives that have steamed through over the years. This is an important sum-up, given that the imprint has sold over 20,000 cassette tapes and its music has garnered over 30,000,000 streams. Not too bad for a multi-genre, cassette-focused operation, my dude. 

Listen. I’m not in the business of pinching tushies, but that Daedelus (a professor these days) with his featured track “Special Re Quest” sums up the playful funkiness and breakbeat melange that has made ole DOD a label to check for in the beat-tape bidness. Decade of Dome is a luscious wet kiss on the smacker that celebrates the label’s psychotic and blissful marriage of hip-hop, EDM, and beat scene concoctions. This is rad culture, forever amplified through an inclusive prism of twisted shit. Thanks, Wylie!

Preorder the vinyl and buy the digital release here.

AALIYAH — AALIYAH (BlackGround Records)

Aaliyah’s catalog is being slowly released in physical formats and on streaming services by Blackground Records, and the latest drop is the centerpiece of her discography. Aaliyah is her perpetually futuristic-sounding third and final album, and it is now available on vinyl. The 2001 record, produced by Timbaland, Bud’da, J. Dub, Rapture, and Eric Seats, borrows elements of various genres, and centers itself in Aaliyah’s compact, velvet-like utterances.

One early 2000s Saturday night, as drum and bass was starting to take over SF, I was listening to a DJ set at The Top by none other than Mike Bee, who is now the owner of Vinyl Dreams record shop. Somehow, he mixed Baby Girl’s “Try Again” into some funky herky-jerky drum and bass track, fluid and seamless. That moment, which in real-time was probably 30 seconds, felt like a chapter. He explained drum and bass to a dance floor in terms that required no words. 

The following week I quit all my hip-hop gigs. Look, I was getting tired of ducking Heineken bottles at The Cellar on Sutter. (Yes. Re-read that statement if you didn’t believe it the first time.) This was the shiny shirt hip-hop era that Puffy created, and I no longer had time for it. Drum and bass smelled like fresh-cut grass and I rolled around in it, unshackled. Feeling free.

Thanks, Aaliyah!

Buy the digital album and get details on cassette and vinyl releases here.

BODYSYNC FEAT. NITE JEWEL — “FOREVER”

Ryan Hemsworth and Giraffage reveal their collaborative project Bodysync to be bright, carefree dance music in all styles, versed in referential nods to the classics but firmly concetrated on pushing forward contemporary sounds. By adding Nite Jewel to vocals on “Forever,” they present classic house diva vocals over colorful rave essence, with a nod to the early ’90s sans camp.

Buy the stream here.

FUZZY HASKINS — A WHOLE NOTHER THANG (Tidal Waves)

I don’t know about you, but I am forever committed to finding out more about Parliament Funkadelic. There are the nuggets that George Clinton agrees to share, and then there are the other artifacts from those in the band who don’t necessarily have Clinton’s name cache but were nonetheless integral parts of the ship.

Into the latter category falls co-founder of the P-Funk movement Fuzzy Haskins, who made a solo record in 1976 after feeling a bit frustrated that his songs were no longer being featured on albums by Funkadelic and Parliament. Bootsy Collins, a relative newcomer to the family, embarked upon a successful solo career, and Haskins was determined to do the same.

2021 sees a fresh reissue of A Whole Nother Thang, stocked to the tip with P-Funk players you recognize upon first listen. And maaan … Bernie Worrell, Donald Austin, Bootsy Collins, and members of spin-off group Parlet are in a zone. Prince loved the half-time funk vamp “Cookie Jar” so much that he covered covered it. But despite the attention to detail, the album commercially flopped. That’s a damn shame because A Whole Nother Thang is a true gem, on par with solo projects from Eddie Hazel and Bernie Worrel. 

Preorder the December 3 reissue here.

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.
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