Tag Archives: 1996

Dr. Octagon – Blue Flowers (1996)

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It’s Friday and Kool Keith is on the mic. Released by Bulk Recordings in the US and by Mo Wax in the UK, Dr. Octagon’s debut solo album, Dr. Octagonecologyst, is an extraordinary piece of work. Kool Keith’s alter-ego Doctor is an extraterrestrial time traveling gynecologist and surgeon from the planet Jupiter. George Clinton – eat your heart out. Have a great weekend.

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Jay-Z feat. The Notorious B.I.G – Brooklyn’s Finest (1996)

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Again, a quick post before I return to blogging in earnest next week. I cannot believe I have not featured this number before. The friendly ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ battle between Biggie and Jay-Z must be one of the great hip hop collaborations. There were rumours the two were set to record an album before Biggie was murdered. The song and Al Pacino-inspired intro featured on Jay Z’s 1996 album Reasonable Doubt.

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Chicane – Offshore (1996)

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Good morning folks. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that my usual daily rigour has taken a tumble this week. It’s clear that I’m having trouble in the heat. And so, I will set aside the blog posts this weekend for a summer hiatus.

I have been featuring the sounds and sounds of 1996 in the last few posts and today is no different. Chicane is/was an alias for British producer Nick Bracegirdle. In 1996, he struck ambient gold with ‘Offshore’. It was the sound of Ibiza in 1996. The signature piano reminded of Chris Rea. Have a great summer all… I’ll be back in September.

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Fugees – Ready Or Not (1996)

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Lauryn Hill exclaiming ‘Ready Or Not’ was one of the defining sounds of 1996. The track featured on The Score, the second and final album by the hip hop trio Fugees.

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The Prodigy – Breathe (1996)

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‘Breathe’ was the advance single from The Fat Of The Land, the album that would change everything for The Prodigy and the way a certain type of dance music was regarded by the mainstream. Pre-EDM, EDM.

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Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand (1996)

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‘Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand’ is Chris O’Connor’s take on Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On Yhe Wild Side’. Recorded from his bedroom, the hip-hop drum track, piano solo and the B.B. King sample served as a forerunner to Moby’s downtempo breakthrough album Play. Have a great week.

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Beck – Where It’s At (1996)

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It was 1996 and Beck released ‘Where It’s At’ as the lead single off his recently pressed album, Odelay. The song had all the hallmarks of its producers, the Dust Brothers. The sample of Mantronix’s ‘Needle to the Groove’ (“we’ve got two turntables and a microphone”) had echoes of their previous work with the Beastie Boys. I liked it a lot. The album would quickly become a classic. Have a great week.

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Super Furry Animals – If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You (1996)

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I give you Super Furry Animals’ ‘If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You’ off their seminal debut album Fuzzy Logic. Happy Birthday Pete!

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Fiona Apple – Criminal (1996)

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Needless to say, there’s something alluring about Fiona Apple. In the year before the world discovered Monica Lewinsky, the 19-year-old said that this song is about “feeling bad for getting something so easily by using your sexuality”; and then featured a voyeuristic video to boot. Scandalous. ‘Criminal’ featured on her 1996 debut album Tidal.

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Weezer – Waiting On You (1996)

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Weezer’s Pinkerton was a slow burner. Much grittier than the polished power pop that Ric Ocasek had helped the band realise on their successful debut, their sophomore pressing was produced by Weezer themselves. The result was a more Pixies/Flaming Lips-like sound that would give the album longevity. Listen to ‘Waiting On You’ and enjoy. Have a great week.

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Eels – Novocaine For The Soul (1996)

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The Eels’ standout song ‘Novocaine For The Soul’ will always remind me of TV show Trigger Happy TV It was released as the lead single from their 1996 debut album, Beautiful Freak. Have a great weekend.

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Mazzy Star – Look On Down From The Bridge (1996)

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Making up for the lost morning this week, we have a double-header. It’s always a good time for Mazzy Star. The band formed in Santa Monica in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration between guitarist David Roback and his then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Relationships being what they are, Smith left early in the band’s life and Hope Sandoval swiftly became the lead vocalist. In 1996 the band released its third album Among My Swan, for which David Roback wrote all the music apart from the mysterious ‘Look on Down from the Bridge’. That sound was pure Sandoval; it is the closing track on the album.

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Roy Davis Jr. feat. Peven Everett ‎- Gabrielle (1996)

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Despite the 2-Step influences on this track, Roy Davis Jr. shows his class with the soulful downtempo vibe that he wraps around Peven Everett’s vocals. And don’t get me started on that horn. Not sure which mix this YouTube version is, but it’s the one I like. He pressed ‘Gabrielle’ on Chicago’s Large Records while still part of house-music innovators Phuture.

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DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World (1996)

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Good morning folks. ‘Midnight in a Perfect World’ is at the heart of DJ Shadow’s genre-defining album Endtroducing…… Trip hop, hip hop, electronica, the work is based around a piano sample from David Axelrod’s 1969 song ‘The Human Abstract’. Mr. Axelrod had become a rich vein for exponents of sampledelia. Have a great week.

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