DJ Olive - Bodega
Bodega might be the first album by Gregor Asch, aka DJ Olive, but he has been far from idle, as collaborations with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and composer/drum programmer Ikue Mori, plus a live electronic set at the 2003 Venice Biennale prove. Bodega is a selection of tracks produced in different venues around the world throughout 2002 and 2003. This gives the flavour of a sound travelogue, of DJ Olive travelling through different time and space zones, ranging from Ystad, Sweden, Wels, Austria and Le Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland to his hometown Brooklyn. "Trains, planes, and parks", meanwhile, provide the thematic basis of the album, with the insert's artwork complementing the theme. Stefano Giovanni's images of the bodega encapsulate the journeyman theme of a mixing of elements - the typical bodega shopfront of cinematic colour and eclat mixes well with Olive's fusion of sounds.
Olive has fashioned the phrase "rooftop music", which serves as a sharp description of this CD. "Ally Way" rumbles out of nowhere, with its collection of riffs and underground murmurings. Its dub influenced syncopated drum lingers even in the high tones of the Latin-flavoured, disco-influenced tracks "Shy Ear Swing" and "Ballad and Scrambled".
The mixes on "Hen Porch Blues" take the bodega theme elsewhere; coupled with the solitude of cinematic track "Tinthology Roof", they together cause a slow wind reminiscent of the danceable and low energetic grooves of DJ Olive's WE trio with Rich Panciera aka Lloop and Ignacio Platas aka Once11.
The Wire: Greg Tate's Invisible Jukebox
I don't even know who this is, but yeah, this is the disembodiment of soul. This is a recognition of the deathlessness of doo-wop too, the way that the voice always creates a space for itself inside whatever kind of music. I like this alot.
DJ Olive's "Bodega" is the sound of the barrio rewired and recontextualized, a genre-defying mash-up encompassing everythign from brash Latin horn solos to twangy spaghetti Western guitar riffs to reverberating dub basslines. Not at all what one would expect from an avant-garde turntablist who's collaborated with names like Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and free jazz legend John Zorn, but it's an irresistably funky and fresh collection of backtard bangers all the same. The end result is blended seemlessly in the style of a block-party-rocking mix disc. Muy sabroso!
Everyone loved We's first album, "As Is." I mean, I'd hand it to anyone with ears on their head, and they'd come back agreeing with me that it was soooo good, and/or changed their whole stance on electronic music. Popular opinion was that after the first album, the sophomore jinx set in, then despite a few highlights, the recorded output never quite matched the quality of the first album ... Now about Olive's album: This is the real shit. Puts the motherf*ckin' "ill" back in illbient. The first "section" (five tracks seamlessly blended) brings to mind B-boys battling with switchblades. Graceful and dangerous. The tracks have that inimitable "technorganic" sound that We is famous for. Bionic dub-rhythms are hooked up with countless well-placed layers of sound to create a free-flowing stream of urban bliss. Track six marks the beginning of the Latin side of the neighborhood. Seems Olive intends to show us around his favorite spots in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Cool ... (The rhythms heard bleeding out of countless car-systems in various NY streets appear throughout the album, masterfully blended in.) In "Ballad and Scrambled" the tropical vibe reappears but suddenly breaks into an underwater quiet storm, then back again into the beat. Olive is master of the switcharoo set-up breakdown, always changing directions beautifully. Another album I'd recommend to anyone. Bodega is an A.D.D. masterpiece.
One would expect the DJ who coined the term "illbient" and whose nickname is the Audio Janitor to take listeners on a twisted, mind-warping ride. Instead, Brooklyn-based DJ Olive's debut LP Bodega takes you on a summertime strut through barrios, block parties, and stoop jams while the Jeeps bump, ghetto blasters blast, and eclectic sounds simmer from open windows. It's a warmly produced non-stop mix of organic sounds ? flamenco guitars, distant voices, frantic bongos, and wild horns ? as well as electronic glitches, bouncing rhythms, and Jamaican style dubs that fade in and out. After many collaborations with downtowners like Kim Gordon, Elliot Sharpe, and Ben Neill, DJ Olive's debut solo turn is a true New York soundwalk.
All Music Guide
Bodega is the perfect title for this album. Like a good downtown cornershop, it offers a warm and friendly ambience and is well stocked with a variety of tasty international treats. There's the rich dubwise reggae flavor of the aptly titled "Yard Swing", the rhythmic found-sound kaleidoscope of "Take It to the Corner", the South-America-Meets-South-India ambiguity of "Back Fence Suite", the faintly creepy "Funky Cortado", with its surf guitar and wisps of crooning vocals, and, last but not least, the jazzy "Gate Closer Blues", on which tightly arranged horns alternate with skronky free-jazz elements. Best of all, though, is "Rooster Rooster", on which the alternating elements are jittery trip-hop and smooth rock steady. The whole program is presented as a continuous DJ mix, which means that the tempo doesn't vary as much as it should -- or at all, really. But the DJ Olive does an admirable job of keeping the various musical elements ebbing and flowing in such a fascinating way that the album ends before you realize it. Excellent. (4 Stars)
All Music Guide
Wer diesen New Yorker Dub, Bass, Drumsound verfolgt hat, wird DJ Olive kennen, noch aus Jungle Sky Zeiten. Als kunstnaher Turntableist h?lt er sich hier gl?cklicherweise zur?ck und kommt eher mit dieser Art Spookyinfizierten Dubsound, der selten mal den Boden unter den F?ssen findet, daf?r aber an Assoziationen und Soundeffekten gl?cklicherweise nicht ganz so ?berschaubar ist, sondern sehr darauf achtet auch digitale Effekte und Sounds ins Spiel zu bringen, die den Tracks eine Basis von dichter Athmosph?re geben k?nnen. Eine der besten Platten die ich von ihm bislang geh?rt habe.
Who has followed this New Yorker Dub, Bass, Drum Sound will know DJ Olive, also from the Jungle Sky times. As artful turntablist he holds himself fortununately back here and comes rather with this style of Spooky-infected dub sound, which seldom finds the floor under the feet, for which though on association and sound effects is fortunately not entirely so reasonable, but rather, on this recording, Olive very much pays mind to bring digital effects and sounds into play, which can give the tracks a basis of thick atmosphere. One of the best records that I've heard from him in a long time. (4 Stars)
Blackie Lawless Fanclub
"Illbient" ? whatever it's creator's intentions ? is up there with wearing your clothes backwards and NAFTA as far as bad 90s ideas go. Like a new chef over-spicing a soup, post-everything "omni genres" tend to end up flavorless gruel. Except instead of first-year line cooks, these guys were passing themselves off as master gourmands. This time the ingredients were the then painfully hip jungle, trip-hop, and experimental electronica. We (very post-authorial) were better than most of their peers, albums like Decentertainers more physical than "intelligent" wallpaper. Now We's DJ Olive goes solo on Bodega. As always, it's important to focus on the ?bient rather than the Ill-. Like Boards of Canada, the hip-hop breaks are there strictly as ballast/propulsion for the mosaic of shifting textures. Structured as one long track (or a "journey" to get all DJ on you), Bodega is one night in New York City. Or any city, really. It evokes that spectral moment around 4 am when the city itself seems to be asleep, its citizens (even the criminals) all snug in their beds. Indigo skies are dotted with pale white streetlamps. Garbage trucks rumble down alleyways. Powerlines hum in sympathy. Taxi's splash through puddles looking for the last stray drunks and clubbers. No "songs" (so pass?, darling), but plenty of beguiling noises. If you're a daysleeper, Bodega won't be of much use to you. But if you keep normal hours (or live in the suburbs), it?s an often beautiful evocation of the downtime of industrial society.
Blackie Lawless Fanclub
Describing Bodega as a randomly warped and twisted journey of chopped up funk- rhythms, dub, down-tempo and nu-jazz would be a fair assessment, it would also only be scratching the surface.
Having worked with such notables as Kim Gorden (Sonic Youth) as well as jazz-fusion pioneers Medeski, Martin and Wood - Bodega is an excellent showcase for DJ Olive's mixing abilities as well as creative intelligence.
Covering both the darker and lighter sides of the electronic spectrum, Bodega is an intricate and often times complicated undertaking. Although the album has a definite non-commercial feel to it - the progression and story telling quality of the CD keeps from alienating the listener.
Provided your guests understand that electronic music expands beyond the world of Dirty Vegas and Fat Boy Slim, Bodega is perfect for an intimate late-night listening session as well as an amazing CD for your bed to envelope you in.
DJ Olive hangs with the downtown avant-jazz crowd alot, but his first full-length release is more dub-inflected and spacey than full-on freak-out skronk. Bodega puts you on a New York City street as a lapm wirs electricity, the moon drips quiet light from above, snippets of voices echo down from open windows, the wind creaks the No Standing signs, and a souped-up speaker system thumps by in a beat-up Oldsmobile.
(Michael J. Kramer)
DJ Olive, however, has a far more aggressive approach to his source material, much of which he hacks, mutilates and distorts beyond recognition. Bodega is full of hallucinatory jump cuts, surprising interjections and in-your-face eruptions of noise. This is his first full-length solo release and is long overdue. He has put in sterling work as a collaborator with people such as Sonic Youth-s Kim Gordon, Ikue Mori, Bill Laswell and John Zorn, never failing to lift the music whenever he is present; but until now, comparatively little of his own material has made it to disc. All sorts of references get cited as precursors of hip-hop of this kind (funk, dub, Latin, breakbeat etc), but to me, this seems to hark back to another form of defiantly disruptive music. Just as house music cited Kraftwerk as key precursors, elements of CDs such as these bring to mind Kraftwerk's fellow Krautrockers, Faust, particularly The Faust Tapes. There is the same ruthless chopping between radically different tonal palettes, pure noise, bursts of found sound and general disregard for traditional musical language. In both cases a vivid, fresh new sound emerges. While it is not something I've ever seen acknowledged, I do wonder if a few Faust albums are lurking at the back of these guy's record collections, and indeed they did collaborate with New Jersey hip hop merchants Dalek on a track from their 1999 album Ravvivando.
(Ian Simmons) nth Position
If you're into darker sounds, beats that escape the middle line and esoteric bleeps then not only will The Agriculture provide but Olive's debut Bodega will surely deliver. Of the many tracks present and the sounds they contain it would seem only natural to mix the work together. Olive seamlessly pulls it off keeping it unique and diverse. The albums distinct nature keeps me interested. It s an album to listen to, one that you should sit with, though at times the beats seem to move your feet. In the downbeat field many styles are represented here. Look to "Round Fire Strut" & "Domino Roll" for reggae spiced dub. Tracks like "Hen Porch Blues" & "Shy Ear Swing" have a definite place in the nu-jazz world and then off to left field for "Ballad & Scrambled". It would almost seem based on the un-patterned like mixture of sounds and the deduction of verse chorus verse that Olive had the mix in mind before the individual work itself. I can't wait to hear more.
Both Sides of the Surface
Considering how long DJ Olive has been spinning records and making music (perhaps best known for his work with the group WE), it's hard to believe that he's just getting around to releasing his solo full-length. Crazy thing is if you played Bodega for most people, they would probably think that it's a mix CD. Besides, who in their right mind would slap so many sounds together on one album and deliberately have the selections run into each other? But this is the method to the Audio Janitor's madness: unclogging the kitchen sink for a multicultural flush of varied rhythms, breaks, and bass lines. This is the perfect album for that friend of yours who gets bored easily; the changes come so often that they're bound to stay interested if they keep their ears open. The sum total of Bodega is the equivalent of standing on a Brooklyn street corner listening to passing cars and boomboxes blasting tunes simultaneously. Dub and dancehall, Brazilian and breakbeats, hip-hop, soul, and funk all have their say. Patterns introduce themselves briefly only to reappear twelve tracks later and ask, "Remember me?" And let's not get it twisted: this album is for the ass, so shake what your mama gave ya and let your brain take a much-needed vacation. To point out individual tracks would be absurd since this album behaves more like a mix CD (and outshines most of them, by far). Need beats for the jeep? Keep Bodega on crunk.
Both Sides of the Surface
Believe it or not, this is DJ Olive's first solo album. After forming We (with Lloop and Once11) and releasing three pathbreaking illbient CDs; contributing to too many compilations to count; recording collaborations with a slew of artists spanning the jazz, avantgarde and turntablist genres; putting (literally) a new spin on Jewish cantorial music and Gustav Mahler with Uri Caine; remixing dozens of tracks (my personal favourite might just be his take on Material's and William Burroughs' "The Western Lands"); and establishing his own genre, "roof music", on his own label, The Agriculture - DJ Olive finally puts his name all alone on the sleeve of an album.
_Bodega_ fits smoothly into the roof music aesthetic - cooler than a Beatnik's cigarette holder, warmer than a July night in Brooklyn. Unimagined and unlocatable atmospheric landscapes propelled by laidback, sneaky beats perfect for grooving away the early morning hours of the night before.
The beats throughout are so attractively crafted they are a thing of beauty themselves, and the continuous mix folds in the dub, the dancehall ("Domino Roll"), the African trance (check out that drum circle on "Shy Ear Swing"), the funk ... but never the noise. Though nota bene: _Bodega_ is definitely not constructed to rock you to sleep on your comfy sofa - "Hen Porch Blues" incorporates shimmering vocals, rhumba rhythms and an irresistably insistent and driving horn section, and the ping-ponging of "Back Fence Suite" will make you sit up straight and wonder how much time Olive spends listening to Philip Glass and/or Steve Reich. Late-night cartoon country lounge crooning? Go directly to track fourteen, "Funky Cortado". More South American sweat interleafed with Jamaican jamming and horns from outer space? The misleadingly titled "Birds Eye Blues" and the closing, autistically-extended remix of same. It's an urban collage, it's a dip into a genetic pool containing all the various DNA combinations of "beat", it's a postmodern smorgasbord of ideas, never-obvious juxtapositions and, in the final analysis, the musical equivalent of the hunt for "le mot juste".
Hybrid head music equally appealing to the heart and the tush.
After untold collaborations, singles, and compilation appearances, the ex-WE member finally released his debut album. Olive, a fidgety character, more than earned his DJ colors by unleashing a blistering, seamless mix of original material. His range of samples shows the inherent haziness existing between the boundaries of dub, hip-hop, and drum & bass. Bodega artfully distills the dusty, Brooklyn "roof music" flavor of his live sets, with each leaden Gangstarr kick drum or King Tubby chord sounding street-level grimy. He remains entranced by these referential components of music, a fascination that makes the album both respectfully hip and good old-fashioned rockin'. Without a doubt, DJ Olive still sounds current and quite impressive.
Boston's Weekly Dig
When the mid-90s ushered in the Illbient movement (self-defined by Asphodel's Incursions in Illbient compilation, the music press made it sound like Brooklyn's broken beat ambassadors like DJ Olive, Lloop, Sub Dub, and Byzar were heading for 'the next big thing' material. Soon after the Illbient sound made it out of New York and into chill out rooms and hip playlists around the world, it fell painfully silent with a handful of meandering releases that overstayed their welcome. DJ Olive, part of the seminal Illbient group WE, has only just now released his debut solo effort and it may be a little late, but it's the sort of album the early WE, DJ Spooky, and company's work promised. Bodega is heavy on the urban dub and cuts together a world of sounds with the all-inclusive collage aesthetic that made the old days on Asphodel exciting. The deeply textured found sound recordings of the city and stylistic experimentation that populated early WE material is replaced here with the execution of a solidly and continuously mixed party record for people who's idea of a party is somewhat more cerebral and subdued than, say, Andrew WK's. That's not to say that the beats on Bodega can't inspire some hip shaking and merry-making, but the album seems more focused on being a mellow trip through an ecclectic record collection than anything else. Of course, the samples have all been distilled down through the filter of dub to become something else, which is something that seems to set dj/artists apart from simply good djs. I had lost hope that the Illbient crowd had been able to sustain the creative flow under the weight of catchy genre labels and referential name-dropping, but if DJ Olive's latest is any indication, there are still some vital beats coming out of Brooklyn that need your attention.
Finally, after building a name for himself as a member of We and recording with a number of big New York names, DJ Olive has released his own solo full-length. In almost all of his work and DJ sets, Dub has played a huge role in shaping the outcome. From the song structure, his use of effects, and dub bass lines, DJ Olive has kept the sound alive and most likely brought upon new ears at many Brooklyn rooftop parties. But while many New York dub lovers like the ISM/Agriculture and Wordsound crews have kept it going, they have added many of the other influences and sounds found around the city and the world. On this release, DJ Olive continues to gather an immense amount of styles as he always has and built up an album of 17 tracks that flows together like a DJ set. The album sounds primarily sample based which may explain the rich and saturated sound that seems to stick to true form of each style. In other words, DJ Olive doesn't throw a hard kick drum over a latin loop or make a Budda Bar version of multi-national music. Instead, he builds darker elements of dub, Latin, Afro-Cuban, funk and more and allows us to explore each for a few moments before jumping continents.
Dissident de la sc?ne ? illbient ?, DJ Olive s'illustrait ces derniers temps plus du c?t? de la sc?ne improvis?e que sur le front du groove urbain. Avec ce premier album sorti sous son nom propre, l'ex moiti? du duo We fait un retour remarqu? sur le terrain qui l'a r?v?l?. Avec ce mix ininterrompu de 50', le platiniste new-yorkais projette sa science du breakbeat contamin? sur la piste d'un soundsystem global. Au total, ce sont pas moins de dix-huit morceaux qui soulignent les dimensions festives mais aussi abstraites du mix live tendance dub! Dix-huits pi?ces d?licieusement v?n?neuses, en qu?te d'un compromis grisant entre racines latino-jama?caines et boucles ?chantillonn?es. Alignant au passage quelques clins d'oeils fantaisistes (de la disco-soul vintage au downtempo lounge), Olive d?montre une nouvelle fois son talent ? concilier la culture du sample ? celle du groove! Un must en la mati?re que l'int?ress? n'a pas h?sit? ? d?dier ? King Tubby et... Luc Ferrari.
released November 11, 2004
2004: DJ Olive drops his first solo full length, "Bodega", a fast paced continuous mix of 17 ass shaking tracks that sound like they were scraped off old funk and dub 7"'s. This is a new gritty sound best described as hanging out behind a Brooklyn bodega with drums, horns, dancehall rhythms, and passing jeep bass while folks woop and holler. "Bodega" is an example of Olive's beat writing skillz, both funky and filthy but never cliché or easily definable. We could say dub, dancehall, roof musik, downtempo, latin funk, and breakbeat, but we would still only be dancing around the highly original sound of these sneaky booty rhythms. Unlike most continuous mix records, "Bodega" is the sound of a dj wildly mixing it up while never losing the groove.
written & produced by gregor asch aka dj olive the audio janitor at skin tone riddles greenpoint brooklyn 2004
(c)&(p) gregor asch all rights reserved. the Agriculture ASCP 2004
design by multipolyomni photographs by Stefano Giovanni 2004