Music

Julius Papp: Montreal Departure

A good introduction to the organic, laidback sounds of San Francisco house music.


Julius Papp

Montreal Departure

Label: Transport
US Release Date: 2006-03-07
UK Release Date: 2006-03-27
Amazon
iTunes

Every weekend, dancefloors in San Francisco come alive with the city's distinctive brand of house music. Some have dubbed the sound "San Frandisco", which is a little inaccurate; San Francisco house embraces not only disco, but also jazz, dub, R&B, tribal rhythms, and basically anything organic and laidback. The influences are diverse, but the sound is singular and instantly identifiable: thick basslines, percussive drums, live instrumentation, and vocals, not by screaming divas but by smooth crooners. Labels like Naked and Om and producers like Miguel Migs, Jay-J, Chris Lum, and Julius Papp have pushed this sound on countless 12"s and DJ mixes. Papp's new double CD compilation is called Montreal Departure, but it's a good introduction to San Francisco house.

Julius Papp was born and raised in Montreal (hence the album's title), but has become a pillar of San Francisco house. In addition to releases on labels like Loveslap and Om, he holds DJ residencies at two weeklies and set up his own label, Neodisco, in 2003. Papp's sound is hard to pin down. His discography includes classic vocal-driven San Francisco house, percussive DJ tools, tweaky electronic disco, and jazzy downtempo. What unite his diverse output are impeccably chunky production and that unmistakably soulful San Francisco flavor. Montreal Departure consists of two discs, one mixed and one unmixed, which showcase Papp's DJ and producer sides.

Disc one is a DJ mix by Papp, and it surprisingly (and generously) includes no tracks by the man himself. But the varied, musical flavor of the mix is much like his productions. Papp's mixing is clean and flawless, but the mix doesn't follow any discernible peak-valley contour. Rather, it's simply a presentation of tunes. The few clunkers here go overboard on vocals; Phil Asher's remix of Bah Samba's "Let the Drums Speak" ironically buries the percussion with syrupy singing. But the hits outweigh the misses. Chuck Love's mix of Colette's "Didn't Mean to Turn You On" perfectly highlights her lovely vocals. The Birdland mix of Dazzle Drums' "Out of the Cage" mixes '70s jazz fusion with slinky tribal grooves. The highlight is Doctor M's "Park Jam", which sounds like if Kool & The Gang's "Summer Madness" were a house tune. It's a celebratory slice of funk that one wishes would go on forever.

Disc two is an unmixed compilation of Papp's productions and remixes over the years. Unmixed dance music compilations are usually unlistenable, but Papp's tunes are so musical that one doesn't mind these intros and outros composed of mainly percussion. The tunes are even more diverse than on the unmixed disc. There are the requisite vocal house numbers, but the highlights deviate from the blueprint. Downtempo cuts "Echoes of My Mind" and "I Travel" bookend the disc; the latter is absolutely sublime, with languid Rhodes keys and gently pulsing synths. "Feel the Rhythm" starts with house, but unexpectedly segues into breakbeats. "A Flower Blossoms" layers Spanish nylon-string guitar over shuffling beats and deep bass; if ever there were house music for candlelit dinners, this would be it. The biggest surprise is "Chicago Tribute", a rubbery, bleepy synth monster that should destroy dancefloors everywhere. On a compilation packed with over 140 minutes of music, this tune alone is worth the price of admission.

7

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image