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Played This Week

November 20, 2009

Fever Ray – S/T: The solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson, undertaken after The Knife went on hiatus a couple of years ago, isn’t too far removed from what The Knife did, but it has a noticeably different character. Still trying to figure out what that is, exactly. It’s a weird, sort of sleepy record, full of Andersson’s spooky pitch-shifted, intoned vocals and minimal electronic rhythms, but it’s quite welcoming. Cool stuff. Musically compelling and lyrically bizarre, it’s interesting to think that her work (both solo and group) is mainstream popular in Sweden but considered to be arty weirdness in most other places.

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A bunch of old Zapp singles. Super classic stuff from a group that was around a long time and informed whole genres, but who have always remained largely unrecognised outside of the R&B/hip-hop worlds. The group consisted of the Troutman brothers (five in total), but the focal point was frontman Roger Troutman (the group was often billed as Zapp and Roger) and his trademark talkbox keyboard sound. Known for some singles that remain staples to this day, the group popularised an electro/R&B sound that’s never gotten old. Between Zapp and his solo records, Roger became an R&B chart favourite and a collaborator in-demand throughout the eighties, and in the nineties he enjoyed legendary status among hip-hop producers and DJs. The Zapp sound is often credited as a siginifcant inspiration for the California hip-hop sound of the early nineties, and Roger’s appearance on 2 Pac’s “California Love” presented him to a new generation in that very context. In 1999, after a twenty-year career, the original Zapp lineup was brought to a shocking end when Roger was shot and killed by his brother Larry, who, in turn, then killed himself.

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