Label boss Jim Thomson steers Electric Cowbell as an independent, artist-run label that produces and releases unique records. 101 Things To Do In Bongolia gathers the labels singles of the past year.
Initially the vinyl-oriented 45RPM Electric Cowbell record label politely shunned any concern that their singles be made available digitally until our family members and friends without turntables began asking how they were going to get a chance to hear the songs. This formatting issue, coupled with the label’s intrinsic desire to promote and disseminate the bands and their music to a wider audience, has been resolved by offering digital album version-also available as CD-of the label’s first year of singles. 101 Things To Do In Bongolia is a sonic brochure of Electric Cowbell’s first batch of singles from 2010-2011 with the addition of some bonus tracks and remixes from the label’s current releases.
All of Stuart Bogie’s super group’s-Superhuman Happiness-45′s are represented here as well as his only-in-New-York collaborations with Sierra Leone-born vocalist Sahr Ngaujah who played the lead of Fela Kuti in Bill T. Jones production Fela! on Broadway. Ex-Black Flag guitarist founder Greg Ginn’s Electric Cowbell 45 gets an unusual remix treatment here by the promiscuous electronica outfit ENE that deftly combines both sides of Ginn’s 45 to make an entirely new song Freddie’s Tea. The synth pop-driven Amazing Ghost marry Arthur Russell’s Buddhist disco with latter-era Eddy Grant’s electric funk and escort Shuggie Otis on a milky waltz with their two singles: I Gettupa and Tiny Raindropz.
Bio Ritmo is a one of a kind phenomenon in today’s hard-bitten indie salsa world – a band with both a healthy adventurous streak and a solid underpinning of authentic sabor criollo. On this comp they weigh in with their singles La Muralla and Dina’s Mambo as well as a tasty remix of Majadero by the Brooklyn-based production team That Little Chimps of Concent Productions.
New York’s only boogaloo band Spanglish Fly gets their Bside Let My People Bugalú get mixed up by the dynamic and always soulful production squad of Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite from Truth and Soul Records.
Free jazz felons Talibam! deliver scrambling shape-shifting disco maneuvers that cross-pollinate Brainiac and Lady Gaga with Captain Beefheart and Salem in the astral post-jazz firmament with Cosmic Attidude.
The exhilarating eleven-piece Ethio-groove collective from Boston known as Debo Band are largely inspired by the unique sounds that once filled dance clubs of 1970s Ethiopia but they are by no means just a retro outfit as evidenced by their rendition of Adderech Arada and it’s remix by Kiddid which echoes a Madlib production like Dr. No’s Ethiopium.
One of the highlights for Electric Cowbell last year was Barbes Records licensing the label the hauntingly beautiful chicha track Silbando from the highly anticipated Roots of Chicha 2 compilation for a 45 that got a tasty remix by the ever reliable Greenwood Rhythm Coalition. The Brooklyn Chimp (Concent Productions) extended remix of CSC Funk Band’s A Troll’s Soiree‘ rounds out the sonic portrait of the Electric Cowbell family.
Electric Cowbell Records came about very quickly in Brooklyn in 2010 when drummer/percussionist Jim Thomson (GWAR, Alter-Natives, CSC Funk Band, Bio Ritmo) felt the urgency to document and commit his instrumental experimental psych/funk group-CSC Funk Band-to a big hole 45RPM record. Guerilla-style recording plans were hastily put in place to record two songs- each under five minutes-in a Bushwick basement by guitarist Colin Langenus (USA Is A Monster). The group had to tame its experimental jam band leanings of playing 20-minute songs at loft parties and condense the essence of their sound to the pithy template of the big hole 45RPM format. Within 6-weeks the group was hocking a tangible, physical object at their shows and to local independent record stores in New York City. Boom. Electric Cowbell Records was born.
The rush and excitement that followed this release led to the idea of Electric Cowbell becoming an old-school singles label that releases music in the 45RPM format, kind of like a sound gallery of small (audio) paintings for a group show. All the bands that have output on the label are natural extensions of founder Jim Thomson’s extended musical family of friends and associates culled from his 30 plus years of making music, promoting shows, producing records, and booking tours. In the age of the zip files, mp3′s, file sharing and the general deluge of the digital download, the retro reaction to return to a simpler, physical format allows for listeners to pause and reflect and hold something in their hands. They have to get up and put the records on the turntable then drop the needle. This act becomes more of a ritual event and a welcome reprieve for people who can’t even seem to keep up with their lives let alone process the constant inundation of digitized music made available these days. Invariably the single-or 45-puts the emphasis on the song and the quality of what’s contained and released from the grooves rather than quantity factor that defines digital age.
Along with horn wizard and NYC-based producer Stuart Bogie (TV On The Radio, Antibalas, Iron and Wine) and keyboardist Marlysse Simmons (Bio Ritmo), label boss Jim Thomson steers Electric Cowbell as an independent, artist-run label that produces and releases unique records that their friends and people can connect with. Being that there’s no business model to run on or venture capitalist lurking in the shadows, the label relies more on the old-fashioned word of mouth method of marketing. It also gives groups and musicians between full-length releases an opportunity to get something out there in the meantime. Although there’s no genre-specific agenda in terms of releases, there’s a soft focus on the funkier side things. DJ’s tend to prefer the often fetishized 45 format as well and Electric Cowbell likes to think that the label’s records could be dropped and go off well on a dance floors and parties.
Free Songs from “101 Things to Do in Bongolia”
“GMYL” – Superhuman Happiness (FREE DOWNLOAD – HERE)
Los Riberños – Silbando (Greenwood Rhythm Coalition remix) Download
1. Superhuman Happiness
Track: Human Happiness
2. Debo Band
Track: Adderech Arada
3. Spanglish Fly
Track: Let My People Bugalú
4. Bio Ritmo
Track: Dina’s Mambo
5. Superhuman Happiness
6. Amazing Ghost
Track: I Gettupa
7. Los Ribereños
8. Superhuman Happiness
9. Bio Ritmo
10. Amazing Ghost
Track: Tiny Raindropz
Track: Cosmic Attidude
12. Debo Band + Kiddid
Adderech Arada (Kiddid Remix)
13. Bio Ritmo
14. Superhuman Happiness vs. Sahr Ngaujah
Track: String Theory (GRC Vocal Remix)
15. CSC Funk Band
Track: A Troll’s Soirée (Brooklyn Chimp Remix)
16. Greg Ginn and The Taylor Texas Corrugators vs. ENE
Track: Freddie’s Tea (Dif Juz DUB)
17. Superhuman Happiness vs Sahr Ngaujah
101 Things To Do In Bongolia