Friday Music

It’s getting difficult to do these — with as much time as I’ve been spending on the novel recently, I’ve been listening to a TON of music. Trying to keep these Friday Music posts down to a reasonable size, rather than just hitting you with everything that’s floating my boat right now….

Here’s a rarity for you Queen fans out there. In 1983, Brian May had a jam session with Eddie Van Halen and a few studio musicians. They recorded it, and the result was a hard-to-find EP called “The Starfleet Project.” The main track on the EP, which I give you here, is a re-working of the theme song of an early-80s UK kid’s show, Star Fleet, which May watched with his kids. So you have two of the best guitarists in the world, jamming along to a sci-fi TV series theme, with wonderfully over-the-top lyrics like: “Send a message across the sky – Alien raiders just passed Gemini.” Love it. Here you go: Brian May + Friends – “Star Fleet.”

I haven’t heard the original version of this song, but I love the remix, so here it is: Test Icicles – “What’s Your Damage (Alan Braxe and Fred Falke Remix)” That synth hook is just too good.

This is some nifty stuff. It’s part of the soundtrack to the recent Takeshi Kitano remake of Zatoichi. The composer mixes modern electronica with Japanese folk and, in this case, taiko drumming. Suzuki Keiichi – “Festivo.”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any mash-ups, and I’ve recently found this one, which I like quite a bit. It’s a mash of the Beatle’s “For No One”, Scissor Sisters’ “Take Your Mama”, George Michael’s “Freedom” and Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” DJ Earworm – “No One Takes Your Freedom.”

Grime is a musical genre out of the UK, which is similar in many respects to hip-hop, but has its roots in the UK Garage electronica scene. Garage MCs mostly just engaged in crowd-pumping chatter during sets, but some started laying hip-hop-style full-length rhymes over the fairly dark electronica, usually with ragga-influenced vocabulary, and often at what would be considered breakneck speeds for US MCs. One of the tops in the genre right now is Lady Sovereign, a short 19-year-old white girl from northwest London, whose flow, as the hip kids say, is SICK. She has an EP out called “Vertically Challenged”, and her debut album, “Straight Up Cheeky” is on the way. Lady Sovereign – “Ch Ching”

When I first heard this song, the piano hook completely….well, er….hooked me. This is a track from the album “Rocinante” by Ester Drang…and any group that is willing to name their album after Don Quixote’s horse is cool with me. Ester Drang – “Valencia’s Dying Dream.”

This is some really good electronic pop out of Venezuela, which I’ve been playing over and over again: Todosantos – “A Veces.” Spanish speakers — help me out here: I know the group name translates as “All Saints”, but what about the lyrics?

More international hip-hop for . This is Alliance Ethnik, a group of French MCs, who have recorded this track with Cheb Mami (the Rai singer who most Americans know for his backing vocals on Sting’s “Desert Rose”). Alliance Ethnik feat. Cheb Mami – “Parisien Du Nord (Remix)”

I picked up the new album, “Pictures” by genius electronica DJ Timo Maas, his first artist album since 2000’s “Loud”. Excellent stuff, as expected. He’s got another collaboration with Kelis on it, and others, including Neneh Cherry. My favorite track on the album, though, is this one: Timo Maas – “Big Chevy.”

So there you go. Enjoy!