Music Labyrinth Episode 041
The Message / Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 41 of The Music Labyrinth. I should point out that #41 is the name of a track from an early Dave Matthews Band album, and we are big fans of DMB here on The Music Labyrinth. Who knows? Perhaps we may hear from that group a little later - or perhaps not. All will be revealed in the next hour. Stay with us. We commenced this episode with the grandfather of hip hop tracks, the classic The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. That single was released in 1982 and is credited with bringing rap and hip hop music out of the relatively closed circle of house parties where it was performed, and into the social consciousness. I think its fair to say that the song set a benchmark for all the hip hop artists that followed. Even thirty three years after its release the song was being recognised for its impact. In the groundbreaking and phenomenally successful 2015 musical Hamilton, there is an unmistakeable reference to The Message, including the laugh which we spoke about in the last episode, which you will pick up in the last minute or so of this song, Cabinet Battle #1.
Cabinet Battle #1 / Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
From the soundtrack to Hamilton: An American Musical, that was the original Broadway cast of the show with Cabinet Battle #1. Now, I’m about to go part way down a path that regular listeners to The Music Labyrinth may find familiar, but I suppose that is the nature of labyrinths, isn’t it? Hamilton The Musical is of course a worldwide smash hit and has spawned all sorts of spin-offs, including The Hamilton Mixtape; on which the songs of the musical are reinterpreted by other recording artists. Of the many contributors to that project, one was Ben Folds. Here he is, as part of the Ben Folds Five, with One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces / Ben Folds Five
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth were we last listened to One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces by the Ben Folds Five. That song came from the 1997 album Whatever And Ever Amen. There were three members of the Ben Folds Five. Go figure. Now, speaking of three members, in 2003 Ben Folds teamed up with Ben Lee and Ben Kweller to record an EP and perform a series of shows around Australia. From that EP, here are The Bens, with Just Pretend.
Just Pretend / The Bens
From their 2003 self-titled EP, that was The Bens with Just Pretend. One of those Bens was Ben Lee who, in 2009, released an album entitled The Rebirth of Venus. From it, this is the quirky, slightly industry-deprecating, I Love Pop Music.
I Love Pop Music / Ben Lee
From 2009, that was Ben Lee with I Love Pop Music. You may have noticed the voice singing backing vocals on that track and wondered to yourself if it was Missy Higgins. Well, it was. And, even though that opens up all sorts of avenues for our onward progress, we’re actually going via another route. The song we just heard comes from the album The Rebirth of Venus, and the cover art of the album features Ben Lee with his guitar standing in a giant clam shell in an arrangement which is pretty obviously a parody of the great 15th Century work of art The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. This, of course, brings us to a pet theme here on The Music Labyrinth: album covers based on famous artworks. And, in a continuation of that theme, lets turn to Piet Mondrian, who’s compositions in red, blue and yellow were clearly referenced on the cover of silverchair’s 2007 album Young Modern. From that album, this is If You Keep Losing Sleep.
If You Keep Losing Sleep / silverchair
In The Music Labyrinth we most recently heard silverchair, from their 2007 album Young Modern with If You Keep Losing Sleep. In addition to the usual three members of silverchair, contributions to that album came from a number of other musicians, including Luke Steele. Luke Steele, in addition to being one half of the successful electronic music duo Empire Of The Sun, is also a founding member of The Sleepy Jackson. From The Sleepy Jackson’s debut album Lovers, this is Good Dancers.
Good Dancers / The Sleepy Jackson
That was The Sleepy Jackson from 2003 with Good Dancers. As mentioned earlier, The Sleepy Jackson included Luke Steele and his brother Jake. A third brother, Jesse Steele, was also an early member of the band. Luke, Jake and Jesse’s sister, Katy, also has Australian rock music cred. Here she is, with her band Little Birdy with Relapse.
Relapse / Little Birdy
From their 2003 debut EP, that was Little Birdy with Relapse. Little Birdy was named after a song from the 1992 album Pure Guava by Ween. However, the song we all remember from that Ween album is this one.
Push Th’ Little Daisies / Ween
You are back in The Music Labyrinth where we recently listened to Ween from 1992 with Push Th’ Little Daisies. That song became a commercial success for the band and a film clip was subsequently created to promote it. Because the song contained a couple of words deemed not suitable for broadcast in all time slots, in the music video those words were overdubbed with a sample of a short scream by the recording artist Prince, which was lifted from this 1988 track.
Alphabet St. / Prince
From 1988, that was Prince with Alphabet St. That song has been covered by several artists in the years since its release, including the versatile Sufjan Stevens. In an example of that versatility, here is Sufjan Stevens with the gentle acoustic ballad, Should Have Known Better.
Should Have Known Better / Sufjan Stevens
From his 2015 album Carrie & Lowell, that was Sufjan Stevens with Should Have Known Better. A key contributor to that track, providing piano, vocals and mixing, is the American producer and pianist Thomas Bartlett, also known by the professional name Doveman. Our arrival at Bartlett’s part of The Music Labyrinth sets us up for the perfect ending to this show. As always, thanks for stepping along with us on this part of our meandering. I invite you to return again next week when we will step out again into The Music Labyrinth. To end this episode, lets turn to another band of which Thomas Bartlett is a key member. Although not previously playing their music, we have spoken about them on this show, and I’ve very pleased to have this opportunity to queue them up. So, sit back, rest you eyes and enjoy this. From their second eponymous album, and featuring the piano of Thomas Bartlett, this is The Gloaming with The Booley House.
The Booley House / The Gloaming