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A big shout out to the crew members from all the ships in the fleet who came to help me celebrate my birthday over the weekend. Some ridiculously good times were had, so my space-hat is off to all of you.

Speaking of birthdays, I eyeballed April 26 over at good old Wikipedia and was pleasantly surprised to find out I share a birthday with legendary Italian producer Giorgio Moroder (unlike poor Atomique, for whom the most interesting thing about her birthday is that it is also International Stuttering Awareness Day).  I’ve written about guys like Joe Meek and Bob Moog who created the technology, whereas Moroder is one of the people who took the gear and really ran with it. And how.

Viper Pilot – Ballad of the Colonial Roughnecks (Moroder vs Freestylers vs Battlestar Galactica)

Famous for his Academy and Grammy winning soundtrack work as well as his work producing tracks for Blondie, Donna Summer (and scores more), Moroder can really pimp a synth – without him disco would have been even more lame.

Following is by no means a thorough discography of Giorgio Moroder; rather just a collection of some of the badass tracks he’s created over his career. Listening to these, it’s hard to think he was creating music that sounded like this in the late 70s when it sounds so very much like the future.

Giorgio Moroder – E=MC²

Blondie – Call Me (co-written & produced by Moroder)

Giorgio Moroder – The Chase (Vitalic Remix)

Giorgio Moroder – From Here to Eternity

Donna Summer – I Feel Love (co-written & co-produced by Moroder)

Oh, also: Clash of the Titans was laaaame. The script was meandering and the dialogue was lacklustre. While the 3D wasn’t used to any great effect, the glasses did at least hide from Atomique how many times I fell asleep.

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This is only the top quarter of the chart… granted, those magenta circles get ridonkulously huge and there aren’t that many pieces of information left in the other three quarters.Click the image to head to Information is Beautiful and eyeball the rest of it.

The figures are certainly eye-opening.  2:1 label to artist revenue isn’t great for a CD, but it’s way better than anything else on the list in your more mainstream retail channels.

Guru – Le Bien, Le Mal (feat. MC Solaar)

Around the turn of the millennium, American rappers often crossed the Atlantic to record collaborations – not with their fellow English-speakers in the UK, mind you, but the artists of the booming French hip-hop scene. The UK has not until recently been all that great at producing hip-hop acts, whereas France with its large African population was both receptive to American rappers and good at creating local stars.

IAM – Revoir un Printemps (feat. Method Man & Redman)

French hip-hop came out of the same place as American hip-hop: the poor African communities, where music was one of the few escapes from a hard life in the ghetto. The African community in France faces many of the same problems that the African community in the states has already gone through (remember those riots in Paris back in ’05?).

Alliance Enthnik – Fat Come Back (feat. Biz Markie)

Another connection is religion: the Wu-Tang Clan and IAM both claim strong connections to Islam*, and Prodigal Sunn spells out pretty clearly what’s influencing his diet in 1997’s Le Saga.

IAM – Le Saga (feat Prodigal Sunn)

Given all the similarities, culturally, that formed the connection between American and French hip-hop, I don’t think the same forces are at work propelling the current crop of Americans to grace Australian hip-hop tracks with their presence. It’s happening all the same, though…

Hilltop Hoods – Classic Example (feat. Pharoahe Monch)

I can take a shot in the dark at what’s going on here – Australia is another market to tap out. In the 80s and 90s mainstream hip-hop still had a solid grip on its credibility and connection to its roots, hence the strong connection to French hip-hop. In the 21st century, though, rap is just another exercise in big business; this new wave of cross-border collaboration is certainly bound to have been dreamt up in a board room, not in a room full of marijuana smoke at an MC battle comp afterparty. The overwhelming majority of established Aussie hip-hop artists are not of African descent, are most likely from a middle-class suburb and not the ghetto, and most certainly are not Islamic.

Downsyde – What U Came Here 4 (feat. Guru)

Board room decision or not, it’s so far been dudes with some lyrical credibility turning up over here; there’s no sign of 50 Cent or the Black Eyed Peas, which bodes well enough for the quality of the music that will come out of this new wave.  Skip-hop probably isn’t the descendent of its Francophone counterpart, given the different motivations behind the collaborations, but it does seem like it’s based on some kind of respect for the music coming out of Oz nonetheless (and, of course,  the fact that a strong local scene equals dollars to be earned).

This could be a good sign for my home country, because if the Aussie acts are significant enough to attract some American players, maybe some day Canadian hip-hop will get to be the new Australian hip-hop…

* Not that I’m endorsing crazy-assed Islamists by any means, but I’m not about to let that asshat Mohammad get in the way of a kickass beat.

Yeah, so the mother-in-law’s post-grandchild-embirthenating residency on our orbital habitat has come to a halt.  If plotted on a pretty infograph, this departure would coincide neatly with the slumber this blog has lapsed into.  I’m slowly ramping back up to full-scale blogmunition production.

In the meantime, amuse yourself with a thorough exploration of The Known Universe (it’s big, yet the video compacts it into a tidy 6:31).

Viper Pilot Audio

Looking for music by Viper Pilot? This blog is the current home of Viper Pilot's Munition Works, where he stores all of his mashes and mixes.

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