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Played This Week

June 12, 2009

Big Youth – Screaming Target: A total classic. Released in 1972, it was Big Youth’s debut LP and an early, influential DJ record, elevating the style to new levels. A few of the cuts on this had already been big singles before the LP was put out, as Big Youth was a soundsystem sensation in 1972-73 and had a number of hit singles making the rounds. This LP set him up in the superstar position he would maintain throughout the seventies and early eighties, until the DJ scene shifted away from the old style to the newer dancehall styles. By that time Youth himself had sort of moved away from his early style and had become more of a vocalist, anyway.

This record was also important in Britain, as it was released there in 1973 and was not only huge within the Jamaican population, but helped define a generation of English taste for reggae as well. Thus its status with the London punk set in the late seventies. It was re-issued in 2006 with a bunch of extra tracks, and the great thing about this re-issue release is that many of the original tunes used for the rhythms (which the record has always been praised for) are included. It’s required listening.

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Tim HeckerHarmony in Ultraviolet: Going back to this record after listening to his latest for a couple of months is interesting. One can see how An Imaginary Country grew out of this record, as some of the sounds are very similar, but Harmony in Ultraviolet is a bit more defined, fragmented and active. It works well as an entirety with movements (as opposed to the more sustained nature of his latest), with the tracks fitting together into particular sections of the record. And, as usual, Hecker’s ear for textures reveals some really evocative sounds here. These latest two releases of his work well together, sort of shading one another, and they represent some of the best work done in the drone/ambient field in recent years.

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