WARMER MIXTAPES #183 | by [Ruckus Roboticus]

Photo by Luke Potter

I am kind of embarrassed to reveal so many personal details about my musical up-bringing...But here goes...
10 Musical Memories That Changed My Life:

1. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince | Parents Just Don't Understand
This is the first rap song I ever liked. It was 1988 and I was 7 years old. At the time, I really wasn't that into music. The only artists I knew were Michael Jackson and Van Halen. Whenever my parents weren't around, my sister would make us watch MTV, which I HATED. But when this video came on, that all changed. I loved this song! And the video proved to me that there was a point to MTV. My sister and I would later see the picture-sleeve 12" for this song at our local music store, and even though we mostly bought Maxi-Single Cassettes, we had to have the 12" right then and there! We loved the song so much, we ended up writing our own version of it, altering the lyrics with details of our own parents! To this day, I still have the record, and the B-Side (DJ Jazzy Jeff Live At Union Square 1986), was the first scratching I ever heard.

2. Dr. Dre | The Chronic (Intro)
It was the summer before I would enter the fifth grade - 1992. My musical taste was still in its infancy, especially when it came to hip-hop. I think the only rap I was aware of was DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Kris Kross, and Sir-Mix-A-Lot. I heard Dr. Dre while riding in the car with my baby-sitter, and he later let me copy The Chronic CD onto a cassette. For the entire school year, I would listen to the cassette over & over during the bus ride to and from school. The rawness, the attitude, the profanity...Was electric & blew my mind! I could not get enough! Little did I know that I would never be the same, and neither would rap music.

3. Brainiac | I Am A Cracked Machine
It as 1993, and I was now in Junior High. I was going through a heavy classic-rock phase, as was most of my peers. Thankfully, my older brother was also exposing me to modern and - what I considered - experimental rock. Bands like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Ween, Nine Inch Nails, and one of my all-time favorites, Brainiac. Brainiac's music was so appealing to me! It was weird, and incorporated all kinds of fucked-up & interesting sounds. The lyrics really spoke to me, and appealed to my teenage angst. On top of all that, the band was from Dayton, Ohio (my hometown). Sadly, their career was abruptly cut short when their lead-singer was killed in a car crash. To this day, I think Brainiac was vastly overlooked and under-rated.

4. Dan The Automator & Kool Keith | A Better Tomorrow
A few years later, still in Junior High, my craving for more experimental and electronic sounds took me to my local record store, where, after flipping through the one row of CDs they called the Electronic / Dance section, I purchased a compilation called Increase The Beats, Vol. 2. The comp. included this particular Dan The Automator & Kool Keith track, as well as tracks by DJ Spooky, Jungle Brothers, X-Ecutioners, Jurassic 5, and others. My life would never be the same: I had discovered underground hip-hop, and the beauty of beats. By the end of that summer, I was experimenting with looping music on my parents computer, and was dreaming of buying turntables and learning how to scratch.

5. Cut Chemist | Lesson 6: The Lecture
For the next few years I read URB Magazine regularly, and was consumed by hip-hop and DJ music. It was my Junior Year of High-School (1998), and I eventually was able to save up some money and buy my first set of turntables & DJ mixer. By sheer luck, I was introduced to an amazing local DJ / record-collector / music-fiend, who goes by the name of No Nek Ned. He turned me on to so much amazing music, both past & present. He took me to my first hip-hop show - DJ Spooky and Kool Keith - and during the car ride we listened to the Jurassic 5 EP, which includes this incredible track by Cut Chemist. This song is a perfect cut and paste track...Great beats, great scratching, great sense-of-humor, and it tells a story. About 10 years later, I would record my own, Lesson 7: What's Funk?.

6. The Beta Band | Dry The Rain
It was my senior year of high school (1999), and I DJ'd the morning show on our high school radio station. I was also the music director of the station, and on a whim, I purchased The Beta Band's - The Three E.P.'s. for our collection, and it turned out to be such an incredible album! This song in particular, is incredibly uplifting, and often I would play it on my show. One time, a girl called in to request The Beta Band, and my co-host and I secretly nick-named her The Beta Band girl. Whenever she called in, I would flirt with her, and eventually we discovered we had a lot in common, but alas, I didn't have the courage to ask her out. Meanwhile, I was also working at my local record store (the same one that played a pivotal role in me discovering underground hip-hop). There was this cute chick who regularly came in, and I would do my best to flirt with her as well. Eventually I started to notice that she was buying the same CDs that I was playing on my radio show. Finally, I discovered, she was the Beta Band Girl!...9 years later, I married her! We invited the Beta Band to the wedding, and while they could not attend, they did politely RSVP with many autographed LPs.

7. James Brown | Payback
It was June, 2000, and I had just finished DJ'ing a friend's high school graduation party. As I drove away, I popped in James Brown's 70's Funk Classics compilation, and I've never been the same since. Up until that point, I had never really heard the real James Brown, or real authentic FUNK, and this CD moved me like no other music up until that moment. Not to mention, it became clear how he influenced entire genres besides funk (jazz, disco, hip-hop, electronic dance music, and beyond). Later that year, I would arrive at college, and using AudioGalaxy and my high-speed internet connection, I downloaded every James Brown, The J.B.'s, and all of Brown's disciples' songs I could get my hands on. The songs were in heavy rotation in my life, and I was in heaven. Two years later, I would be blessed by actually getting to see James Brown perform live! (The Beta Band Girl bought me the tickets for my birthday)...Today, James is still one of my all-time favorite artists.

8. Grandaddy | He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot
It was summer break, 2003. I was one of 50 who had won the Mastercard Priceless Edge Internship Contest, and was spending 6 weeks in Nashville, learning about the music industry. Most of the students were stuck on campus, but I was able to connect with a local DJ, and he took me and a few of classmates out for a real good time. I came back to the dorms, very under-the-influence, with nothing to do. I put on my headphones and put on Grandaddy's Sophtware Slump album, and up until that point, I had never been so moved by an album. It was incredible, moving, and gripping...Like watching a really good movie. I listened to the album every night, for the rest of my internship (3 weeks or so), and many more times since. It is pure perfection, like a modern day Dark Side Of The Moon. I still get goosebumps when I hear the opening notes of the album's first song - He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot. And thus began my love affair with neo-psychedelic bands (The Olivia Tremor Control, Animal Collective, MGMT...).

9. The Rapture | House Of Jealous Lovers
It was my senior year of college, Fall of 2003, and I started a new dance night called Dance Or Die. My fellow DJs and I would play whatever we wanted, as long as it was the best damn dance music we've ever heard. And we would do all kinds of crazy blends / mash-ups live. The nights were totally insane...The club was at maximum capacity, full of sweaty drunken dancers. The opening night was so hot & sweaty, I literally almost passed out from dehydration & exhaustion. My favorite song to play at those nights was House Of Jealous Lovers by The Rapture. That song is so fucking good, and at the time, it was incredibly fresh. It signaled the arrival / revival of dance rock; and the arrival of DFA Records, who I absolutely ADORE! Dance Or Die parties continue to this day, and it's the name of the record label I started.

10. Bob Marley | Mr. Brown
Fast forward many years later. I got married in 2008 (to the Beta Band Girl!), and my wife and I went to Jamaica for our honeymoon. Our love for each other was not the only love that was flourishing during our vacation...So was our love of Jamaican music. In fact, I probably spend a little too much time digging for music! One particular song that moved me like none before was Mr. Brown by Bob Marley. Have you heard this song before? Have you heard it while you're in Jamaica, after enjoying some Jamaican-grown herbal medicine? I did, and I swear part of Lee Scratch Perry's soul emanated from the speakers, and still possesses me to this day. I can't wrap my head around how he achieved these sounds...But I now know why everyone calls him a genius!...Such an amazing track!

+11. Elis Regina | Águas De Março
If I had to name my favorite song of all time, and could only name one, it would be this song. I find it difficult to explain why. Just listen to it, and if you're like me, the song will just melt everything away, and all that will remain is this beautiful, enchanting music. I adore the vocals, and the fact that I can't understand the words she is singing, is a testament to how beautiful the actual sounds of the words are, and to how beautiful her voice is. Because I'm obsessed with this song, I had to research every detail about it. To my surprise, the English translation of the lyrics are equally as moving! Ultimately, I think the song is about how, all is one. Everything is connected, and dependent upon everything. It's very Zen-like / being in the moment...Which I find very profound and moving...

...It's stick, it's stone
It's the end of the road
It's a rest of stump
It's a little alone

It's a footstep, it's a bridge
It's a toad, it's a frog
It's a rest of brush
In the morning’s light

They are the waters of March
Closing the summer
It's the promise of life
In your heart...