Saeed Younan


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A juicy tidbit for electronic music fans: Danny Tenaglia, the best in the business, whose sets rarely become available for download, spun a 38 minute set in November which is available for download, recorded live at Pacha (and also called “Live at Pacha”) at the Hurricane Sandy charity benefit.  The set was also broadcast live on Sirius XM’s Area.  That the set was both broadcasted and is available make it a double treasure for Danny fans, as DT is notorious for safeguarding his sound and is extremely difficult to pirate when live.  Prior to the November Pacha set, it seems the last time a Tenaglia set was available was back at Electric Zoo in 2011, the common thread being perhaps that both sets were heard live on Sirius.  Maybe Danny has had a long overdue change of heart when it comes to being broadcast, at least, over satellite radio.  It wasn’t too long past when Danny refused to be broadcast from Ultra Festival at the WMC, causing Sirius to black out the entire hour long set.  Tenaglia is usually the only artist to withhold consent, but that instance, that he abstained was announced on the air, which let listeners know that the reason they couldn’t hear Danny…was Danny.  Though any real DT fan expected nothing different.  Danny’s rare accessible set from Pacha featured strong edits of “Walking on Fire” (though our favorite version is in Saeed Younan’s catalog from a Global DJ Mix back in 2005), giving us a window into classic Danny.  He also dropped “Be Yourself” and, in case you’re interested, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut — also classic Danny.

While Danny still manages to dominate the tribal genre’s landscape, to the point where he does not need to court the promotional benefits of podcasting, thankfully there are quality artists in the genre who do.  We’ve sung to you before the praises of Saeed Younan’s Spotlight Series, which we feel is the best monthly series available.  Younan, who spun after hours in NYC for Static Bookings on Sunday, has gone almost 2 months without a new episode.  We’re hoping that means that Saeed will soon upload the peak time of that set as his Christmas present to us.  Anyway, our fingers are crossed.  By the way, congrats to Saeed, who now has his own Youtube Channel.  Well done.  If you like the tribal sound, or what Saeed has rebranded as “Afro-tech House”, then you probably already know about those Iberican beats.  In which case you are missing out if you haven’t subscribed to the InStereo! Radio Show podcast by Chus Esteban (DJ CHUS).  In our view, Chus has been extremely magnanimous in bringing us this series, which stands alone as the best weekly podcast in dance music.  With most series, the constant is infrequency, and we’re lucky to get 4-5 new editions per year.  That CHUS updates weekly not only demonstrates his connection to the fans, but also the depth of his library and connections in the industry (we particularly liked the 11/9/12 episode, spun by DJ Sabb).  When CHUS addresses the listeners to introduce the show, he says “Hello buddies!”   As are most things with CHUS, it comes off as sincere.  CHUS has also podcasted several live shows on his podcast series or at http://www.clubspace.com or on the Pacha podcast series, usually with partner Pablo Ceballos.  Since the elite duo recently played Cielo on Thanksgiving night, we are hoping that Cielo makes it available through their podcast series, also found on iTunes.

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The CHUS series contains no commercials, a notable feature, and though CHUS does speak, the talk is minimal, an appreciable selling point.  To DJ CHUS and to Chus & Ceballos we say thank you.  The Scumfrog’s Glam Scum International podcast has both commercial interruptions and frequent voice overs.  We like it nonetheless.  We go way back with the Scumfrog, who we found to be a shy person, but who is extremely loquacious in his weekly spot.  The talkative deejay does not usually go over so well in Electronica.  Danny can get away with it because the tracks are that good.   That doesn’t work for most, like for example, Mark Knight, whose voice and accent are repugnant.  Knight is also very campy with the old school radio deejay shtick.  It’s completely grating.  The Scumfrog seems to have a perfect persona for radio.  He’s funny and honest.  On a recent podcast, when doing an announce for a track by a former member of the Hoxton Whores, when he referred to said British act, he said “his words, not mine.”  It gave us a chuckle.  What is even funnier is how The Scumfrog disdains mashups, as well he should.  In announcing why he killed the mashup segment of the program despite it’s popularity, he essentially explained that mashups are horrible, that he’s sick of them, that he won’t waste anyone’s precious time with them any longer, and that if you like them so much you can download an app for your phone for free and make your own shitty  mashups.  Oh yeah, and that, in theory, if a good mashup were to come into his hands, which is unlikely, don’t worry because he’d play it.  Theoretically.

The Scumfrog’s podcast is the cream when it comes to radio style podcasts, which, in case you are confused, is not really the style of DJ CHUS’s podcast, despite the name, The InStereo! Radio ShowGlam Scum is probably one of the very few radio style podcasts worth listening to at all, which is a credit to The Scumfrog’s ear and other sensibilities.  We’ve always regarded him as an immense talent, as one would easily find by listening to his DJ sets.  While the podcasts feature short, clipped tracks with tight ins and outs, which may not be suited to your style if you have grown accustomed to completely continuous flow, you pretty much have to listen, if just for what you might miss if you don’t.  If Scumfrog’s playing it, it’s hot, and if you don’t like it at first, you should probably reserve judgment until the 3rd or 4th time you hear something.  But Scumfrog has an appreciation for what the fans want, and so his website offers his podcasts, commercial and voice over free, because as he himself says, the last thing you’d want to hear, say, if you played the cast at a party, are breaks or his voice.  Talk about magnanimous.  Perhaps he can have a word with Danny.

Many Scumfrog sets have been made available through the years at no charge.  When live, there is no pressure on him to get in and out, and you can really get a feel for his music, which is diverse, unique, eclectic, and hard, and for his style, which is a very smooth and bold brand of Prog House/Tech House/Deep House, as far as we can tell.  We remember a set made public probably 8 or 9 years back, at the height of the Limewire/WinMX piracy frenzy, in which Scumfrog comes in with a quick voice over to say that you should enjoy the music, that he wants us to have it.  That’s class.  In that set, Scumfrog drops a most classic bomb, probably the biggest bomb of all time at that — “Trippin” by Goldtrix featuring Andrea Brown.  Now we’ve heard almost all of the versions of ‘Trippin” that there are, and whatever version this was, was the best that we’ve heard, to this day.  Unfortunately for us, we are talking about the pre-Shazam era, and the rip was on our computer 2 hard drives ago, and since lost.  But that “Trippin”, probably circa ’03 or ’04, is no doubt in The Scumfrog’s library.  We’ve also admired Scumfrog sets on Global DJ Broadcast, and are particularly fond of two of his more recent sets, the “No Sleep til Brooklyn” party from last February, and the Robot Heart set from Burning Man, which we’ve tweeted about, and from which we have tweeted a good deal of tags.  It’s rare that a producer hits on so many big tracks.  While we see very hot acts getting a lot of the spotlight, who are admittedly good, like Miss Jennifer and Nicole Moudaber, in overlapping genres, we don’t see them hitting home run after home run like Scumfrog, with tracks like “Pavement Cracks”, “Music Revolution”, and most recently, “If I Ever Lose My Faith.”  These are giant tracks and the sets are monstrous, so by our standards, this man does not receive the credit he is due.

Scumfrog has made his sets widely available through Soundcloud, Mixcloud, and iTunes, and they are among the best sets available anywhere.  Multiple Burning Man sets of his are available on iTunes at the Distrikt podcast series, and frankly, they are the only sets there that aren’t hideously trancey.  Just when we were especially lamenting Scumfrog’s relocation to New Mexico, thinking back on numerous Sullivan Room and Pacha dominant sets, our email pings, and lo and behold, Scumfrog is spinning this Saturday, back where he belongs, at the famed Sullivan Room in NYC.  Talk about luck.  We’ve got our tickets already.

Maybe Scumfrog will even be more personable than the last time we ran into him, which was at the old Limelight, or by then Avalon temporarily, for Steve Lawler’s Lights Out tour, which had to be about 9 years ago, if our math is decent.  There was a buzz that night at one point because Scumfrog was there, and a lot of people recognized him and were hassling him.  Including us.  We hate to be a hassle, really, and only wanted to pass on our respect, but we understand what it’s like to be surrounded by crackheads, and we also usually live by the credo that the best interactions are the ones that do not take place.  So we thought it was funny when Scumfrog denied being Scumfrog despite the fact that we all knew he was who he was.  Maybe that shit plays out west, we don’t know.  But this is NYC, and if you are out at Steve Lawler in a snow storm, chances are you can recognize Scumfrog, a blonde headed, skinny giant.  LOL.

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We are all about the music, and would tolerate being snubbed a thousand times over if it meant that Scumfrog was going to keep putting out so much accessible music.  So if he would rather stay tight up in the booth, but could find his way to dropping a bomb like “Trippin”, we’d be happy to consider ourselves ahead in the bargain, as we already are indeed.  And to him also, a hearty thank you.  Subscribe to the podcasts mentioned here in this space and support these artists whenever possible.  They are truly deserving and you will be happy that you did.

Season’s Greetings.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones/but whips and chains excite me” — excerpted, Miss Jennifer

“Are you the man who comes to sweep my yard?  I like that broomstick that you’re carryin.” ––  excerpted, Saeed Younan

While we barely maintain a presence on the periphery of the club scene, our love and appreciation for the music, if anything, has grown deeper.  This could not be possible, or as easily possible, without iTunes podcasts, where you can find live sets and regular programs by the top performers in all genres of House.  Now advanced podcast navigators might counter that some giants like our beloved Danny Tenaglia, Steve Lawler, and John Creamer do not podcast.  True enough.  But there is little if anything that those guys spin aside from completely original cuts that you could not find elsewhere.  In fact, we’d dare say that at this point, the genre’s truest and most cutting edge performer is Saeed Younan, formerly of the Tribal/Progressive duo Saeed and Palash.

We thought for a bit, after the duo split back in 2003-4, that Saeed had become a little too industrial, mechanical.  But having the benefit of hearing more than 50 podcasts that include both live and pre-recorded sessions over the past 4 years, we’d say that Saeed is a true innovator, a megaforce in the genre, and that his catalog would rival anyone’s.  And, he so kindly and wisely makes his music available to the public, and offers the track listings to his sets.  Not exactly the done thing by all, considering some performers only make themselves available for a price.  Saeed, in his programmed sets, often goes so far as to describe track origins, providing technical details when it comes to his own edits, discussing his lyrics, loops, and drops in great detail.

In that sense, Saeed may be the most fan friendly performer in the genre as well, going so far as to guest list fans at his gigs and at his monthly residence at Lima Lounge in Washington, D.C., who email him or message him on Facebook.  Saeed, who does many gigs in South America, often plays heavily to latin influenced drum beats, and with his Middle Eastern background, even goes sort of Arabesque.  And native.  He produces and reproduces lyrics that often embody classic tribal elements (“I’ve seen you do it/I know you can”) while also mixing in the completely avant garde.  You should especially check out his ‘Secret Weapons’ podcast, and would be wise to subscribe to his “Spotlight” series.  Spotlight was just updated this month, and the latest addition starts with an interesting rendition of Goldtrix’s classic, “Trippin.”

We’ve noticed a trend in the genre away from tracks like “Trippin”, Diva driven tracks, and in fact, away from female vocals on the whole.  So it’s great hearing one get dropped like that, especially that one–the proud anthem of true heads.  Of course, if you’ve been listening to the lovely Miss Jennifer, if anything, you are hearing more female vocals.  The lady has a classic house style, prefers the tribal rhythms, and like Saeed, is refreshing for her eclectic depth.  We are ready to crown her the Queen of the Tribal/House/Progressive genres, and frankly, she leaves us wanting.  Shame on you, Miss Jennifer, for not updating the Miss Jennifer podcast series since April.  We’re sure she’s a very busy girl though.  We also obviously love her association with the WTA, spinning this past summer in Toronto at a well publicized house party for tennis.  Right on, Miss J.

Miss Jennifer has made it in an almost exclusively male dominated field because the beats are hard, and the vocals are classic, unexpected, and diverse.  She’s as likely to spin a fresh mix of Sound Garden as she is big band vocals, tailored to a custom beat.  Dropping “Hey Big Spender” over layers of bass–more than just a change of pace.  The Miss Jennifer podcast series is also a must subscription.  Saeed and Ms. Jennifer are so hot that Shazam only accurately tags one out of every 20 or so of their plays.  While we’re at it, we’d like to make mention of another female deejay, Lauren Lane, a local product and Danny Tenaglia disciple, who, while not in the class of Miss Jennifer, can still get you on your feet.  Hopefully she can arrange an iTunes podcast series soon.

Cedric Gervais’ Miamification podcast series is also a necessary download.  The Frenchman by way of Miami’s Club Space has quite a catalog in his own right, and though he doesn’t match the consistent excellence or dominance of Saeed or the classic and diverse standard of Miss Jennifer, but every cast has a track or two that calls you forward to dance.  If you’ve only got time for one of his sets, check out podcast # 48.  You can’t go wrong.

And if you’re up late tonight and feeling festive, and in the boroughs, you might want to check out Danny at Club Glo in Long Island City.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)