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Giving you the tightest hold: Gyptian

Gyptian‘s “Hold You (Remix)”, now playing on 22tracks’ dancehall playlist, is the type of song you feel you need to sing along with after just a few seconds. Which can be tricky, as it’s in patois. Don’t worry, though, me fi dun a Google for yuh.

Sorry about that. Anyway, here’s the first few lines of the chorus: Gyal me wann fi hold yah / Put mi arms right around yah / Gyal you give me the tightest hold me eva git inna my life. Take it from there and don’t forget to hold up a lighter. If you’re fast, you can catch the original version of “Hold You” too, as it’s currently the last song on Waxfiend‘s playlist. Don’t worry though, the only thing different about the remix – “bad gal edition” – is a verse by New York rapper Nicki Minaj. Her appearance is another sign that Gyptian’s got a hit on his hands.

Gyptian AKA Windel Edwards from Saint Andrew parish in Jamaica, has released three albums in since 2006 and is due an international crossover smash. Let’s hope “Hold You” is it. The song, taken from his forthcoming fourth album of the same name, has already topped the Billboard reggae charts. It was produced by New Yorker (of Jamaican descent) Ricky Blaze and you can also find it on the new Ragga Ragga Ragga! 2010 compilation.

But what about the island itself? “My song dem always a tek off outside of Jamaica before getting any attention in Jamaica,” explained the singer to the Jamaica Observer. Here’s the video – hot gyal edition:


New developments announced at The Next Web

22tracks: The website for new Music
22tracks presents new developments during The Next Web

Amsterdam, 28th of April 2010 – Online jukebox announced several new developments during The Next Web – a conference about the future of the internet – today. 22tracks is an online jukebox whereupon 22 specialized DJs from Amsterdam share their 22 favorite tracks with the audience by means of a playlist. Thus the website is a platform highlighting new artists, genres and tracks. A successful half year after the launch, 22tracks is ready for a big expansion. A collaboration with Buma/Stemra, a fully working 22tracks iPhone App and a visual extension, 22videos, are in sight.

As a kick-off 22tracks announced to be in active conversation with Buma/Stemra about a collaboration during her pitch at The Next Web. 22tracks does not support illegal downloads and all tracks are directly linked to the iTunes store, where it optionally can be purchased. “Buma/Stemra is enthusiastic about 22tracks and sees added value for both music lover and music creator. In collaboration with 22tracks we are reviewing the best method to facilitate and license 22tracks” says Cees Vervoord, chairman at Buma/Stemra.

iPhone application
On the 22nd of May 22tracks will launch the 22tracks iPhone App, which will be available for free download in the Apple Appstore. The iPhone App contains the same 22 genres as on its website and based on photos of the associated DJs one can navigate through them. The tracks are downloadable via the iTunes Store by one touch of a button. With the inbuilt Twitter client you can let your friends know which track they should definitely listen to, via your iPhone and at the same time you help promote the tracks.

In collaboration with on demand music television channel Xite, 22tracks will introduce the new format ‘22videos’ in June. In this weekly TV-program the 22 newest videos will be showed, which subsequently will be updated with five new videos every week. This conform the concept of the 22tracks website. With the red button on the remote control one can scroll through the playlist and watch the selected video on demand. Xite reaches circa 1.5 million households in the Netherlands via digital television.

22tracks is a jukebox consisting of 22 playlists of 22 different genres. Every playlist is filled with 22 tracks, selected by specialized DJs from Amsterdam. Besides the possibility to listen to the tracks freely, the tracks can be purchased directly by clicking on the associated shoppingcart. Social promotion by the ‘Share on Twitter’ function delivers a substantial extra contribution to the announcement of these new tracks and/or artists. With the My22 option it is possible to create a personalized playlist of your favorite 22 tracks. The 22 playlists are updated during the week with new tracks which are added on top, and old tracks which disappear on the bottom. Herewith 22tracks offers a fast and accurate display of the newest music and stands out in the huge supply of music online. Experts select the tracks that go online, so the quality is guaranteed and you are fully up to date with the latest releases. 22tracks promotes new tracks and artists this way and boosts the legal online sales of music. Simplicity and availability are keywords here, there is no registration.

Please contact Tinc PR (info[at] / +31-(0)20-7772120) for all press & interview inquiries.

In a beautiful place on the Dom tower

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the DJ op de Dom playlist I concocted with legendary Utrecht DJ DNA. It was quite an eclectic selection, moving between Surinamese seventies funk and 21st century dubstep. That playlist is now gone, and replaced by another, equally adventurous compilation of tracks. DJ op de Dom is a party and a DJ and VJ contest, and part of an ongoing campaign to elect the city of Utrecht as European cultural capitol of 2018.

To promote DJ op de Dom, three of the finest Utrecht DJs working today have come up with twenty-two tracks ranging from gently flowing electronica to a solo piano work and some quirky electro-pop, slowly but surely building up to body-moving house and disco beats, before winding down to an acoustic lullaby. Using Boards Of Canada’s year 2000 classic “In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country” as their jump-off point, Pitto, Nuno dos Santos and the 030303 team set the bar pretty high from the start. The way everything flows from one song to the next like it was meant to be sounds so effortless that you can be sure that quite a bit of thought and effort must have gone into putting this together.

The winners of the DJ and VJ contest will perform on 628-year-old Dom, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, with an expected 7,000 revellers joining in the fun down on the ground.

Pushing her luck: M.I.A.

The bassline in M.I.A‘s new single “Born Free”, #nowplaying in 22tracks’ rock playlist, is sampled from pre/post-punk synth-pop visionaries Suicide. “Ghost rider, motorcycle hero,” sings Alan Vega in the original song, nervously. “Babybabybabybaby, he’s a-screaming the truth / America, America is killin’ its youth.” That should give you a clue as to where Maya Arulpragasam is coming from, that is, if the tightly wound propulsion coming out of Martin Rev‘s machinery isn’t telling you already.


“Ghost Rider” is the opening track from Suicide’s 1977 debut album. It was more punk than most punks could stomach. The group was bottled off the stage by the dumber end of The Clash’s fanbase when they opened for the band in the UK. Suicide was re-released on CD in 1998 and I can distinctly remember being totally blown away by it. Really, it’s great. The bonus disk contains the track “23 Minutes Over Brussels” which is a live recording of Suicide playing the Ancienne Belgique in 1978 with the audience (very) audibly turning against Rev and Vega. Antagonistic stuff, you don’t get that anymore.

Fantastic sampling material in other words for a song about recklessly claiming your freedom, struggling to get your message out and fighting the power in general. Potent stuff, always has been, from the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll onwards. “I don’t want to live for tomorrow, I push my luck today,” sings M.I.A and if you’ve got any doubts that that’s going to be enough (I don’t blame you), video director Romain Gavras isn’t pulling any punches in his video for the song. NSFW, redheads are doubly cautioned.

“Born Free” is taken from M.I.A’s as-yet untitled third album, scheduled for late June.

Calibre: a personal drum ’n bass exorcism

I’ll come right out of the gate and admit that I have a troubled relationship with the musical genre known as drum ‘n bass. You see, I used to be a hardcore junglist back in the mid-to-late 1990s. After hip-hop in the ’80s this was the second time I could fully throw my weight behind a musical movement and feel part of what felt like a great leap forward. Even when the first generation of jungle/drum ‘n bass supporters lost interest (around 1998), I remained faithful. I loved 2-step garage when it replaced drum ‘n bass as the sound of the London underground dance music scene, but I was still hearing terrific new d&b records by the likes of Dillinja, Bad Company, Roni Size and Digital.

Even so, at some point, around 2002 or 2003, enough was enough, even for me. The music had just become too predictable, rhythmically unadventurous and one-dimensionally loud. Almost from one week to the next, I stopped buying and even listening to drum ‘n bass. It may well sound pathetic, but I felt personally betrayed by a style that had previously flung itself head-first into the future and had now made itself utterly redundant. The simple fact that drum ‘n bass is still around in 2010 baffles me, frankly.

But it is, and I’m not above admitting that every once in a while a record pops up in Mindmapper’s 22tracks drum ‘n bass playlist that gets me going. “Devil Inside” by Calibre (pictured) & ST Files, which is #nowplaying, is such a record. Both producers have been around for quite a while, in fact, ST Files’ first release came out back in 1992. “Devil Inside” is what we used to call a roller, with the rhythm track rolled out in a smooth groove. It features a beautiful, minimal minor chord piano melody that I like a lot, and what sounds like mobile phone interference.

For contrast, here’s a Calibre remix I used to love back in the dark ages AKA 2002. To be honest, I think I like “Devil Inside” better.


6 months… all good!

Tomorrow: April 22nd, 22tracks, we celebrate our first six months since the official launch! And we’re still doing good. Real good actually. Things are happening, on a bigger scale even. Some of these developments will be announced exclusively at The Next Web conference (Thursday, April 29 / 11:15 – 12:15) in Amsterdam next week. We’ll let you know later that day via Twitter, Facebook and/or this blog what’s been announced. Follow!

So? Well… Party! Tomorrow from 8pm, until you all decide to go, we celebrate the first six months of 22tracks at MiNiBAR (Prinsengracht 478 / Amsterdam). See you there? Say yes.

Hit me two times: from Ian Dury to Bottin

As a blogger on, I’m looking for an angle when I want to write about a track, or an artist. This is why you haven’t seen me covering any Latin or contemporary classical music here as of yet; it is pretty much alien to me. If you think there’s a good story to go with your favourite song on 22tracks, make sure to let me know at job[at] Here’s a song with at least two angles, though: Telonious‘ “Hit Me”, the Bottin (pictured) remix of which is #nowplaying on the disco playlist.

I was a bit hesitant about this release because it is a cover version of a classic hit single by one of Britain’s tightest bands ever, Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Here’s the original verion, from a 1978 Top Of The Pops performance:


German producer Jonas Imbery AKA Telonius is one of the founders of the Gomma label and also one half of Euro post-punk disco revival pioneers (you got that?) Munk, who made a record titled “Kick Out the Chairs” with LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy and Nancy Whang as far back as 2004. His credentials, in other words, check out more than fine. Having said that, I’m not too sure about his version of “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”. It falls a bit flat to my ears. The Blockheads were such a bad-ass band. Earlier this year, an Ian Dury biopic even hit British cinemas, a film that I’d love to see. Here is the trailer for Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll:


Italian producer Guglielmo Bottin‘s “Hit Me” remix, however, is excellent. In fact, there’s another Bottin track #nowplaying on the disco playlist. I told you there would be second angle. “Galli (Give it Up)” is a co-production with fellow countryman Rodion, who is signed to… Gomma. I love it when a story ties up this neatly. More importantly, “Galli (Give it Up)” proves that modern day cosmic Italo disco is alive and well. If its uptempo piano groove doesn’t get you going, I’m not sure what will.

Hit me!

It could be Game, or…

It’s 2010 and, frankly, I wasn’t expecting all that much anymore from either The Game or Pharrell. Both seemed to have peaked in the mid-’00s, with the latter (as one half of The Neptunes) peaking quite a bit longer and higher than the Cali rapper. Nevertheless, their time seemed to have passed. I’m not claiming that their new collabo “It Must Be Me” scales the same heights as, say, “Dreams” or “Grindin’”, but it is a very fine single indeed, and it is #nowplaying on 22tracks’ hiphop playlist.

I think this is the first time Game and Pharrell have worked together, but it’s hard to keep track in the very feature friendly field of hip-hop. The West coaster and the East coaster seem to have hit it off, as the next single from Game’s forthcoming R.E.D. Album (due half June) is another Neptunes production. “Ain’t No Doubt About it” will also be enhanced by a Justin Timberlake chorus.

That’s a lot of big names already, but they’re by no means all. Oh no. Game, known for making references to tons of fellow artists in his rhymes, apparently has Dr. Dre, Timbaland, The RZA, Kanye West and DJ Premier all making appearances on his next record. Those are just about the most influential American hip-hop producers of the last fifteen years, The Neptunes included. If there’s something hot about The R.E.D. Album, it could be any of them.

Watch Game and his “best hip-hop friend” in the studio:


Let Farah turn you around

One of my favourite new songs #nowplaying on 22tracks’ pop playlist is Farah‘s “Gay Boy”. To my surprise, it proved a little bit controversial. Well, I got two less-than-enthusiastic tweets about it, anyway. What’s not to adore, though? “Gay Boy” is a half-spoken/half-sung ode to an unattainable love, a hilarious love song from a woman to, well, you can probably guess the rest. “I can’t just be your fag hag anymore,” pleads Farah. The music is Moroderesque ’80s pop ballad with a dash of electro. “Won’t you change your mind?”

I’m sure “Josh” is at least tempted.

Farah Folly is a Texan artist signed to the very fine Italians Do It Better label, who also put out music by nu disco trendsetters Chromatics, Glass Candy and Desire. All of whom, Farah included, are produced by the talented Johnny Jewel, with Farah’s debut album Into Eternity coming soon, apparently. I can’t wait. I met Jewel very briefly in 2008 after a Glass Candy show in Amsterdam, when I bought a CD and a T-shirt, and got another CD for free. Glass Candy’s new single “Feeling Without Touching” is also #nowplaying on the pop playlist, but not for long as next week’s update will rudely see them off. Here’s the video, for posterity:


Back to back with DJ hero DNA

I engaged in a curious back-to-back DJ session the other day. There was no one dancing, and I didn’t even see fact-to-face with my tag partner. Me and DNA were e-mailing each other MP3 files to compile a special playlist that is up now (temporarily!) on 22tracks to promote the DJ op de Dom event next month in the Dutch city of Utrecht. We’re both judging its DJ and VJ contest.

Utrechter Arjen de Vreede AKA DNA is nothing less than a legend in Dutch music. As a DJ in the 1980s, he pioneered first hip-hop and then house music in seminal Dutch clubs like the Vrije Vloer (Utrecht) and Roxy (Amsterdam). As a member and co-producer of the band Urban Dance Squad, he injected the wild possibilities of sampling and scratching into a couple of genuinely groundbreaking albums, scoring a Billboard Top Ten hit along the way with “A Deeper Shade of Soul” in 1990. These days, DNA plays in the wonderful Stuurbaard Bakkebaard, and teaches music production and sound design at the Arts, Media and Technology department of the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht.


I visited DNA AKA Donotask at his home/studio in an abandoned school a few years ago, to interview him for my book on the early days of house music in Holland. Huge racks of vinyl! But apparently the man’s mp3 collection runs deep as well. He started the our 22tracks session off with a delightful Seventies funk 45 by Surinam band Happy Boys, who shoutout their hometown of Paramaribo in “Kronto”. After this, I just had to play Dutch MC U-Niq, who namechecks the “Surinam paradise” of his ancestors in the self-explanatory anthem “Rotterdam”. I’m not sure how this song led DNA to follow up with Charles Mingus, but this is how we went back and forth until I could wrap things up with Al Kent‘s disco jam “Come Back Home”. Enjoy!

Part 1 of a 1992 documentary about the UDS (in Dutch) by VPRO’s Bram van Splunteren:


Fast forward, if you have to, to 5:49 to see DNA.

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