Sample size

November 4, 2011

True procastrination is easy to discern: it’s when you suddenly decide that your freezer needs to be defrosted this minute, right now. But what does procastrination sound like? Ahem, like that.
All of a sudden at some point today, for no other reason than realizing I needed to jeopardize that sorta-blossoming career of mine, it became crucial for me to search for the samples tunes used on some of the most notorious hip hop tunes from skate flicks.
Now, that was some time cleverly spent!
The only consolation being, now I have something to share. Oh well…
Feel free to guess all the video parts in question in the comments, and win nothing but a little procastrinative relief on your own. Ah, the guilt. Delicious.


Teach Me Culture : the John Cardiel (strictly reggae) interview

October 23, 2011

You know what’s really time consuming? Making a documentary for TV. I’d suggest you don’t get into it if you have more important things to do in life, such as updating a blog. Anyhoo, four months later, I’m back. I think. To get back into the groove, here’s this interview I did with John Cardiel regarding our mutual, often frown upon in skateboard circles, love for reggae music.  It came out in TSM a few issues ago, but I figured I’d archive it here. So… enjoy! Or not. Photos are mainly from a little stroll in Paris we went onto with John when he was invited to that Public Domaine art show last summer. 

The road to Patate Records. © Seb Carayol

Life and its tribulations did it: they just turned John Cardiel into Juan Love, a reknown reggae riddim sommelier. Having fed each other with rare Jamaican music over the last few years, it felt just natural that some day, we’d have to sit down and talk strictly about a music that, you might be surprised to find out, doesn’t have anything to do with hippie-ness. Or maybe it does: just dare and call Sizzla, Barrington Levy or Scientist “tree-huggers” next time you bump into them. Results may vary.


When did you start collecting reggae?
I really started playing music probably when I got hurt. Before that, I used to collect reggae CDs and make mixtapes before trips. At the time, it was more ska music just cause it was such an upbeat tempo, Prince Buster type of stuff. Then somebody told me about Sizzla when he just started to come out with his Praise Ye Jah and Black Woman and Child albums, in maybe 1996. It was more of a conscious sound, conscious lyrics.

Who got you into Sizzla?
We were in Boston skating the Cambridge Pool, and we ended up skating the vert ramp at ZT Maximus’, accross the street, cause it started raining. It was me, Julien and Joey Tershay, and this guy from the park, I really wish I remembered his name, just blasted Praise Ye Jah. It blew my mind. I wrote down the name, did some research and from then on, I started following the new roots music, Xterminator label, Luciano and that whole scene.

A few personal favorites, en passant. -Seb

Did Julien and Joey feel this music the same way?
No, they weren’t even tripping. It was a connection between me and this guy from ZT and we’re just vibing. He was a DJ at the time. It just seemed like he told me about it at the perfect time. To me, reggae had hit a weird stage through the early 90s, it was poppy, so I kinda lost touch with it, it wasn’t holding me. I was listening to harder music until then.

When did you discover the importance of the 7-inch?
After I got hurt in Australia, I was sitting down and healing and I had a couple 7-inches, so I bought turntables on Ebay for cheap, and I got a mixer, and I thought that if I had to sit down, cause I was in a wheelchair for about three to four months, I needed something to do. So I started to buy the big tunes that I liked in 45s.

Did this music help you heal a little?
Yeah, just the vibes, the energy, that music is coming from a real place of real desperation, so it seems when you listen to it and you’re hurt, it almost gives you strength to push on, with a strong respect to more powerful beings than you.

What was the first 7-inch you bought?
Oh, man. It makes me happy to just think about it. The first record I must have bought was Fade Away. By… what’s his name again?

Junior Byles?
Yes! Yes. And then I got the Glen Washington vocal on the same riddim [instrumental -Seb’s note], Jah Glory. It built up from there. I got really excited about the records. Actually touching the music, it was wonderful, man. It came to life. Reading the labels, Joe Frasier, whatever, I’m starting to understand the music more and soak it up. It gave me a broader understanding of what the people were doing and why their heart is in it so much, cause there’s so much more to it than just the words and the beat. It’s just the real way to listen to reggae music.

Junior Byles. © Small Axe magazine, 1986

Did your taste in reggae evolve?
Yeah, definitely. At some point a few years ago, the latest artists that were coming out were starting to ride a little bit more digital bass lines and it was getting very out there, more hip hop. So I started going backwards in a sense, to the earlier music, to Barrington Levy and the 1983-85 era of reggae music.
Maybe even earlier, Scientist dubs, all the Greensleeves records, that opened up a new chapter for me. And doing that, finding the original tunes and matching them to their Scientist instrumental dub counterpart, that began to be a whole new adventure.

You’ve been mentioning Scientist quite a bit, lately.
When the box of reggae music opens up for you, it seems like the most powerful figures keep popping up. [Sound ingeneer/dub master ] Scientist is one of them. You start to see his name on the back cover of the big tunes he mixed. You start to think he had something to do with the energy that’s coming through it. He’s almost as a conductor, he orchestrates the vibes.

Non-photoshopped background! The actual, elusive Scientist under that weird bridge in Echo Park. Los Angeles, 2011 © Seb Carayol

Do you still buy a lot of records today?
My record buying is very scarce nowadays. I’ll probably buy maybe 10 to 15 records a month now. Just whatever I’m really wanting to keep for a long time. I’m getting more mature in my selection.

How did DJing come into the picture?
Once my collection became substantial, I looked at all these boxes of 45s and I felt like I was caging them up. I needed  to let this music out. That was my direction to DJ music. Nowadays I’m part of a crew called Capital City Rockers, with my friends DJ SF, DJ KDK and Ras Matthew, Matt Pailes.

What are some recent finds you got?
Juts found Too Poor by Barrington Levy on Greensleeves for fairly cheap. You turned me on to these Greensleeves 12-inches. Oh, I’m looking for that album, Purpleman Saves Papa Tullo In the Dancehall. The big tune on it is called King On The Way… And on and on. Reggae is crazy, man. You’re finding new gems constantly.

The tenth life of Paco

September 11, 2011

Did you choose the music in your video parts?
“Not in the Powell videos, but in the 101 videos I did. The Powell video was Chuck Treece. For the 101 videos, I used Black Sabbath and the Beetles. I’ve always loved Sabbath. And then your musical tastes start expanding. From hanging out with Paulo, we listened to a lot of soul, a lot of funk, a lot of old-school stuff. If you notice the Chocolate videos, it’s got this old soul. My song in La Nueve Vidas de Paco is called
Cramp Your Style by All The People. It’s pretty rare. One of Paulo’s friends had this amazing record collection and he’d make us mixtapes. His name is Justin Palomini. I’d drive around, and we’d listen to them all the time”.


Just a little exerpt from the interview I did a few months ago with Gabriel Rodriguez in his Mid-City LA house for Skateboarder, which was put online last week.
Gabriel was amazing and opened up on a lot of funny, and a few touchy, subjects pertaining to, you know, the rocky path the afterlife of a pro skater career can sometimes become.
Other thant that… six months? Damn time flies.  After preparing, getting insomnia, and going through that skate art show thing in Paris, I needed a little break from the whole skateboard thing, ha ! I should be back soon. Maybe.

Interlude ⎢ Loose trucks and bastard grooves

March 8, 2011

Tommy Guerrero © former “la Lettre” mastermind Benjamin Deberdt

Every now and then I get hit by a question from a reader, and alas more often than not I totally forget to do my research and reply to it. Which is a shame as most of the time, it’s a question I’ve wondered about for a minute too…

So, yes dudes and dudettes, and once for all, one of the few tunes from Stereo’s A Visual Sound (1994) that didn’t come out of the Ululation album –reissue coming out in 2011, Wax Poetics records promised !– was that hard-hitting “Hey, ha hey” tune on Matt Rodriguez’ part  and was indeed Tommy Guerrero‘s. Unless you collect all the 10″ records coming out of Galaxia records, its title remained mysterious to most.

It’s actually called Slow Ride Soul, and came out in again 2002 along three other great tracks on the Backintheday (one word) slab of vinyl  -it originally was out a first time in 1995 on the New Breed label. Now go buy it, loosen your trucks and go wear some baggy baggies !

If you ever need to get in the mood first, check this nice piece of Tommy playing at the Arkitip gallery in LA

Re: Music ⎥ Another brick in the musical wall with Brian Anderson

January 14, 2011

(Photo courtesy of 6×7 photography master, Sam Smyth)

What were you doing three months ago? It’s so far back that memories are a bit hazy for me but now, wait, I remember: I was busy writing the last post before this one on the blog! I’m really running out of semi-funny intros to apologize about not having time to “generate content” (it’s the XXIst century way to say “write for free”) so I think I won’t bother anymore.
Anyhoo, some kind of spasmodic action is back on A Visual Sound with one of my all-time fave skaters, the Street Pirate sometimes referred to as Brian Anderson. Having always marvelled  at the impeccable musical selection on his video parts that priviledged good music and sometimes just friendship (very noble, the Muska thing), it was just natural to ask BA his own audio perspective.

Pink Floyd: Brick in the Wall Part II
As used in: Welcome to Hell (Toy Machine, 1996)
“It was my first video part. All new to me, and J. Thomas was editing and said he thought that Pink Floyd song was perfect. I was never a huge Floyd fan, but that song worked great.

I was totally OK with Pink Floyd though, but I was suprised cause I feel songs like that are so valuable. I guess I was sort of flattered that Jamie would think I was worthy of such a “classic.” What a great video. Except I never ever watch slam section anymore. In any video. I really can’t remember if I had any other songs I really wanted myself.

I watched my part with Floyd with Elissa and Maldonado. We slept at Tum Yeto for a while with Jamie. Playing pool editing, eating vegan sandwiches. Jamie worked so hard!”

Gabor Szabo : Bacchanal
As used in: Life of Leisure (Sheep shoes, 1997)
“Mike Manzoori and I sat in a small garage in Santa Rosa smoking a lot of weed. It was a rainy groovy time period in life. The Gabor Szabo track was so fitting. That was a great time in my life. Broke, stoked, and just about to go pro.”

DJ Chad Muska: Master B
As used in: Modus Operandi (Transworld, 2000)
“Now Transworld, I think it was too expensive to get this Young Bloodz tune, with a “Z”, it’s an artist that Mike Carroll turned me on to. The song was called 85 (Billie Dee interlude) and it’s funny, cause Young Bloods with an “S” at the end is some dumb college white boy bullshit.
Anyway, couldn’t get  it and Chad had been making a lot of beats and songs. I just kinda let him do his thing, I’m sure it was fun for Ty Evans to edit to Chad’s wild song. Once again, good memories, touring with Carroll, M.J. For first time.”

Interpol: Obstacle 1
As used in : Yeah, Right! (Girl, 2003)
“Interpol was just growing in the music world and I found out about them juuuust before they go too big. Ty liked the song and I think it worked really well. That whole album is excellent. And I was honored to be in the Girl video.”

Capitol Years: Train Race
As used in : Thrasher SOTY video (2003)
“OK, so the Thrasher video I haven’t seen in a while but I knew The Capitol Years ’cause they were friends of ours from back East and they would crash at our house in S.F. when on tour.
So they were stoked to have their music in a skate video. There was another tune on the part [Paik: Low Batter Transmission] but I’m terribly sorry I don’t remember it at all -Thrasher has a music sheet to pick from off a label they are “allowed” to use.”

Totally gratuitous Andrew Allen top 10 tunes

October 27, 2010

‘ see, I told you it wasn’t dead yet. I really need to find a book about the greatest excuses for not updating a blog. How about: “I was really tired to see the Oompah-Loompahs below every day?” Thats would work.
Anyway, out of the blue, here are ten tunes that Andrew Allen is listening to at the moment. I’m not gonna lie and say I’d like to turn this into a regular feature, because if I definitely would love to, I’m pretty sure I won’t and A Visual Sound is gonna slide again into a semi-coma. So, please, enjoy this post for what it is and while it lasts. And see you in … six months?

1. Fear : Living In the City
2. The Velvet Underground : Pale Blue Eyes
3. Roxy Music : If There Is Something
4. Lil Wayne and Birdman : Leather So Soft
5. T.I. : What You Know
6. Elvis Presley : Burning Love
7. The Replacements : Androgynous
8. Lil Wayne : I’m Me
9. Merle Haggard : Okie From Muskogee
10. Devo : Gates of Steel

[On a side note, my maison-garçon Valery posted the same list on their mag’s website, but in a manner that you can actually listen to the tunes. That’s some 22nd Century process that I, unfortunately, don’t think I have the necessary tech level to reproduce. Check it here. ]

Thursday song ⎜We are the music makers, and also happen to be the dreamers of the dreams

July 1, 2010

It was gonna be some kind of “top 5 411 commercials tunes”, something of that magnitude, but then I realized I only own 411#3, 4, 5 and 6 so the compilation would have been very biased. Plus, well, laziness. Anyway, these volumes still bare what I think is still the best tune ever used in any skate commercial, and you have to remember what it looked like with Paulo Diaz’ arms all over the place. The Oompah-Loompah song, as used in that Chocolate ad sometime in 1995 I’d guess? Su-perb !

Re: Music ⎜The Gino Iannucci showdown

June 8, 2010

Gino polaroidly shot by Tura in London a few years back. This being once again a pretext to link Mr Turakiewicz’ and Fred D’s ever-excellent Soma mag’s site

Gino Iannucci’s elusiveness, I figured out, was the perfect pretext for this blog to play a Houdini on everybody for a minute but, yes: A Visual Sound is back. With actually one of the posts I had wanted to make happen since day one, Gino being one of the very few skaters whose video parts had absolute flawless soundtracks tunes-wise –an obvious other one being Mike Carroll.
So after a little game of (not that bad at all) cat-and-mouse, the Poets‘ co-owner got to comment on five of his most illustrous tunes in skate flicks. As expected, the dude has always been hands-on in the process, and would have some more to spare, if ever…  If ever what?
“There’s that one track I’ve wanted to use for a long time,” Gino sates, “and I figured out if I come up with a part long enough to use it it’d be cool. It’s the first song on the American Cream Team’s soundtrack for the movie Black And White, a lot of the Wu Tang guys were in it. I think that song comes at the end of the movie, in the credits. But I haven’t been filming at all, to be honest with you. Sometimes I think I’m done, it’s just everything, it’s the motivation, it’s having the shop… But mainly it’s the motivation to be on your skateboard every day and film. I’ve battled myself so many times for a couple weeks and call a filmer to go skate that spot and once I get there, I don’t feel like getting that clip.”
“I’m getting to the point where I’m like, ‘Allright Gino, do you really want to do this? If that’s the case stop fooling yourself.’ Video parts and skating for yourself is a whole different mindstate. I don’t know. I’d love to come up with another part and pick a song, that’s fun. But getting older is tough.”
Semi-retirement plans announcements aside, here’s a mini-retrospective of the (heavily Wu Tang influenced, as boroached in that Dirk Vogel article) musical choices that contributed to lead Gino Iannucci’s career into legend material.


Wu Tang Clan : Method Man
Used in Snuff (101 , 1993)

“I definitely picked that one. What happened was that one of my good friends was going to university in St John’s in NY, and U God from the Wu Tang was at St John’s school at the same time, he was passing around the Protect Ya Neck single, the first single that Wu Tang ever came up with.

So my friend got a copy, he brought it back to Long Island that night and he showed it to me and I was like, ‘Wow that’s crazy, I never heard that shit before.’ Sort of like millions of other people were like the first time they heard that. And ‘Method Man’ was on the B-Side of it, it became instantly my favorite track and there was no question that I wanted to use it on the video.

I don’t really remember how long it took from me choosing the song to the video coming out, and then the whole Wu Tang album coming out, but I wanna believe it was around the same time. After that I tried to use Wu Tang every video part, that was my favorite band.”

Ghostface Killah: Motherless Child, DJ Punish remix
Used in Trilogy (World Industries, 1996)

“You know what? I don’t even know the beginning part, I don’t even know who did that beat, but I know that the second part was Motherless Child. Another good friend of mine that I went to school with, Denis Iderman, he’s the co-owner of Mighty Healthy now, but he has been a DJ all his life. I went to his apartment for that video and I said, ‘Look, if you put something together for this video I’m doing, I wanna use the Motherless Child instrumental but if you wanna use something to it, go ahead.’ 

In a matter of half an hour he had put together that beat that starts off the part, like that high-pitched sound, and then I told him I wanted to put some kind of message before the song starts, the way Wu Tang does, from a karate flick. So the one I found was more saying how everybody’s unique, and got their own style.”

Royal Flush : Worlwide instrumental
Used in Mouse (Girl, shared part with Keenan Milton, 1996)

“I don’t know why I would always pick the instrumental of a tune and when I think about it now, sometimes I think I should have used the lyrics side as well. I mean, the GZA beat (Publicity, in The Chocolate Tour), it just sounded ridiculous by itself, but in retrospect I should maybe have used the vocal.

But the Royal Flush instrumental was Keenan’s choice, he picked that. I remember when when that song came out, Keenan was listening to that all day, every day. And then when the video came out… Thanks God, it had an amazing instrumental as well.

I wasn’t that involved in that video that much so I don’t remeber if the part was already edited or not. It’s kinda foggy, I think that was during my transition from 101 to Chocolate. But I’m sure Keenan mentioned using that song and I agreed, something like that.”

Guns ‘n’ Roses: It’s So Easy
Used in Yeah, Right ! (Girl, 2003)

“Actually Mike Carroll picked that tune. I remember being at Ty’s apartment when he was editing the video and I had a lot of songs that I was thinking of using, rap songs or whatever. But Mike was like, ‘Yo, check this song out’, and Ty had put it to my part. I looked at it and I was like, ‘You know what? I like it.’

At the time, even to this day, I’m a big Guns’N’Roses fan. I was never a big Guns ‘n’ Roses fan like back in the day cause I was strictly hip hop, you know. I started getting into rock a bit later in life, I had a girlfriend who got me into a lot of the classic rock. Like, maybe late ’90s. I wasn’t so narrow-minded, hip hop only, that’s how I was when I was younger. My taste started spreading to a lot of music.

But yeah, it was Mike Carroll’s idea. The other tunes I had thought about were stuff like one Prodigy from  Mobb Deep’s song, can’t remember the name, I had also thought of using a Pantera song.

The only song, ever, I was never asked about, was the one they used in my part in the alternate Yeah Right video, that David Bowie Son. I had no say in that and I was kinda bummed about that cause the song is lame. That’s what the ony one I can say that I had no part of.”

The Streets: Turn The Page instrumental
Used in Hot Chocolate (Chocolate, 2004)

“This one came about cause we were on a tour on a film trip and I was running that Streets album all the time. Ty recognized that I liked it so then when he had the finished video, he had edited my part to The Streets’ instrumental and I was like, ‘Wow’. It was cool.

I think I might have have heard one of his songs on the radio over here, and maybe I saw his new album at the record store. I don’t know how good he did in the US, and you don’ hear about The Streets anymore out here, but this album was his banger.”


Extra ball : due to popular demand and the possibilty for me to get lynched if I was not to do anything about it, I had Gino send a little comment about his Chocolate Tour track (GZA : Publicity) as well. You’ll find it in this post’s comments. You’re welcome.

(On a non-Gino related tip whatsoever, let me also redirect a portion of the giant waves of clicks this post has generated to my other blog, where you’ll find out what Brian Lotti’s been cooking lately).

Interlude⎜Morsay would have done it at the Clignancourt flea market *

June 4, 2010

I thought A Visual Sound lost some of its popularity among the world’s top graphic designers circles, and then I read this post on You Will Soon about when they tried to do that readers’ contest.

So mine (designing a Lucas-themed French hip hop album cover) wasn’t nearly more succesful, but we still have a winner: François Grand out of Switzerland, who chose to go the heavy social comment way by giving Lucas’ imaginary album a title that says : “Fuck your mom at the Cap d’Agde.” And that’s, hmm, where? Well, Cap d’Agde is France’s # 1 destination for swingers, nudists and for aspiring teenagers living nearby who are eager to learn more about how “it” works –such as yours truly in his time.

For reminding me of that slice of scandalous, yes totally informative, teen memories, François, congrats. Your package should have reached by now.

Other people, fret not : a new, actual post is on its way for Monday.

* You gotta be knee-deep into the worst of modern-day French hip hop to get this one. I advise you stay on the strand.

Brotha on the slide

May 11, 2010

So sorry to disturb the emptiness over here, but… a month without a post? Damn time flies. One more week of real-life runnings and this blog should be flying high and clear in the cyberspace again, like in the good old days of circa early April 2010.
For this special occasion, the winner of the Lucas Puig French hip hop cover contest will be announced and in the meantime, you are left with the sweet sounds of Cymande’s Brothers On The Slide, with a crowd pretty much singing along the way I probably did when I first heard the tune on Shamil’s, Daniel’s and gabriels’ shared part in Mouse.