Tag Archives: Dizraeli

DIZRAELI & TOM CARUANA: People Taking Pictures (2012)

People Taking Pictures, the lead single off new Tom Caruana and Dizraeli hook–up LP White Man (Moves) (due 15 March) reprises TC’s penchant for Bollywood-fuelled beats (check his excellent Okayplayer – The Bollywood Remake LP) while rapper Dizraeli lays into western backpackers. You may be surprised to learn that it’s the picture-taking he doesn’t like – that and the people who take them. So pretty much all of them then..? Well

DIZRAELI & THE SMALL GODS: Monthly podcast (2011) Free download

They’re a bit folk, a bit hip-hop – hmmm – what can we call it? Putting that knotty conundrum to the side for a minute there’s just time to say that Dizraeli and his Small Gods crew (now including DJ Downlow of Itch FM) have started up a regular monthly podcast. Or ‘Godcast’ as they’re calling it. And actually, just for that shocking play on words, they deserve to be called ‘folk-hop.’ Freely downloadable, you can cop said podcasts and such

DIZRAELI & THE SMALL GODS: ‘Million Miles’ – free download – 2011

If you’ve been missing UK folk-hop in the hiatus occasioned by the lack of anything from either Dizraeli or, say, Tom Caruana’s alter-ego Tom Bombadeal in the last couple of years, fear not, for the Diz is back leading the vanguard of the beardy beats brigade. And this new single from Dizraeli and crew The Small Gods (and when I say ‘crew’ I imagine more of a village gathering) has got some trippy lyrics.

TOM BOMBADEAL: Further Into The Woods – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★½

Before there was Dizraeli, there was…Tom Bombadeal. Is it a coincidence that both artists are connected to the hip-hop scene in Brighton or evidence that there really are ley lines radiating through the English landscape which plug into a major socket round those parts and are now fuelling a burgeoning folk hop massive? Whichever it is, let this LP serve as a warning of what comes of having a toke on a summer’s day in the vicinity of the Long Man Of Wilmington or, as the missus put it, “this is weird music – sounds like it’s from that Wicker Man film.” Inevitably, given that Brighton and folk music are involved, ‘folk-punk’ bores the Levellers make an appearance (well, their fiddle player Steven Boakes does) though (despite expectations) this doesn’t spoil the LP. Neither does the fact that Bombadeal (a.k.a. Tom Caruana aided and abetted by a motley but equally talented crew including Dizraeli and Elemental) raids wholesale the more tripped-out moments from Tolkien’s epic Lord Of The Rings and specifically the character Tom Bombadil – a fat, jolly sort given to talking utter bollocks in rhyme which – as coincidence (again!) would have it – makes him perfect rapper material. In any case, despite all the ‘green man’ antics, the fol-de-rol-ery of this album has its tongue stuffed firmly into its apple-rosy cheek.
What could be irritating is the fact that with thirty five tracks in just over fifty minutes nothing ever seems to last for quite as long as you want it to – a fact recognised on the antsy two minutes of Family Name, “It’s Tom Bomba along yonder/ Some wonder why ain’t the songs longer.” It isn’t a question that seems to get an answer though there are rumours of a ‘proper’ Tom Bombadeal LP to come where this liberty cap-fuelled ADHD might be cured – don’t sleep on that one. Further Into The Woods is basically an agreeable sonic meander through a very English beatscape that (perhaps because of the shortness of tracks and the amiable ambience) you might initially put on as background music though sooner or later you’ll find it creeping it’s way into your forebrain. Take What Is It About The Night for example – a gorgeous acoustic ballad sung by Sadie Jemmett – all of a minute and twelve seconds long, or Growing Up (one minute fifty) where Caruana evinces his knack for a fat beat. Despite the production ADHD however, this is plum full of hooks and beats and as well as drawing heavily from folk and hip-hop there are flashes of ska (Jamboree/ Moon & Sun) and even (at the end of Night Vision) Zeppelinesque rock. It sounded like it was a lot of fun to make. Did I mention that this is a concept album too – probably not or you might have stopped reading earlier but apparently the idea is that Bombadeal’s rural idyll is under attack from crystal miners or something.

To summarise then: Further Into The Woods is an eccentric folk/ hip-hop hybrid concept album, featuring a member of The Levellers (alright – only on one track), that draws creative inspiration from a Tolkien character, where songs rarely reach two minutes in length (and many barely exceed one) with additional linking narrative by what sounds like a combination of Willie Rushton and a pissed up Adge Cutler…I’ll be the first to admit that that looks really bad on paper. It’s so ridiculous you ought to be compelled to give it a shot though and were you to do so you’d find it utterly bizarre in a strange way that is as likely to appeal to beat heads as hippies and children as well as adults and, as such, I am at a loss to describe it as anything other than truly Tolkienesque…Now go on and get your ass down them woods.

Listen to Tom Bombadeal – Further Into The Woods

Tom Bombadeal – Myspace

DIZRAELI: Engurland (City Shanties) – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★½

If you’re serious about something, if you really love it…you’ve got to be able to allow the piss to be taken out of it. Otherwise you’re a fanatic and everyone knows how those humourless bastards roll. Thus, given the overriding folk inflections to Dizraeli a.k.a. Rowan Sawday’s full-length debut, he may have to put up with Engurland (City Shanties) being referred to as ‘hippy-hop,’ by some – for this is less block party than midsummer revels. Still, if something’s good you can only take the piss for so long and this is pretty damn good. For one thing, you are unlikely to have heard anything quite like the way Engurland… takes an urban musical genre that originated in the Bronx and make it sound as English as Punch & Judy shows – although more the kind of Punch & Judy show you get in Russell Hoban’s post-apocalyptic novel Riddley Walker than any other kind.
Homeward Bound (On The Overground) opens with the sound of waves over which echo slightly ominous close vocal harmonies. Nimble-fingered acoustic guitar picking appears and ushers in an unmistakeably hip-hop beat, scratching and vocal loops about ‘Victoria Sponges.’ It shouldn’t work but it does. In The Garden showcases Dizraeli’s ear for an almost Sergeant Pepper-era psychedelic-folk tune but then morphs almost immediately into beats and rhymes. And that’s the thing about Dizraeli. It’s not just that he has a distinctive slightly hoarse rapping voice with the ghost of a burr but that he can also carry a tune with ease – witness his range on this very song – as well as rustling up beautiful acoustic instrumentals. On the track Engurland he pulls off the feat of critically analysing UK culture (“Silly thoughts tell a stranger he’s a prick/ Receive a hit, lips and teeth are split/ But it isn’t a party unless you bleed a bit”), which performs the neat trick of using a football chant’s tune to carry the ironic chorus, retaining the infectiousness of the chant itself while rendering it melodic as opposed to drunken and thuggish. I wasn’t so keen on second single Bomb Tesco which is less the rage against the machine than a slightly wordy subverting-the-deli-counter slice of whimsy but it’s succeeded in any case by the beauty of Take Me Dancing, a ‘proper’ song with singing and everything where Dizraeli is joined on vox by the very capable Cate Ferris.
The only real misstep for me on the whole album is It Won’t Be long. I’ve come to regard this as the ‘Sting’ song and have to skip the ‘de-de-de-dah-do-dah-de’ bits (surely a moment of madness on Sawday’s part) which I can only attribute to the excessive quaffing of home-brewed scrumpy. Happily, once again it’s successor is a thing of beauty and this time it’s the acoustic guitar instrumental of Reach In which precedes what was the album’s debut single (and eulogy to old tramps), the stomping blues-riff based and really rather good Reach Out.
If this gets heard by the mainstream press no doubt lazy comparisons will be made with The Streets, though if such lazy comparisons encourage more punters to listen that will be no bad thing. A genuine original, Engurland successfully combines the urban and the rural in a way you wish town planners and architects would and quite simply for that reason alone nobody beats the Diz.
(Out now)

Listen to Dizraeli – Engurland (City Shanties)

Dizraeli – Myspace


DIZRAELI: Bomb Tesco – Free download

Bomb Tesco? It’s hard to disagree with the sentiment. I don’t know about you, but round my way they want to build a new Tesco superstore despite the fact that there’s already a Sainsbury, an Asda, two Tesco Metros and a Tesco Homeplus within a three mile radius. Apparently they’ll only get the go ahead if ten thousand homes are built (on green belt) so there are enough customers. Consequently, I’d give this props for it’s title alone even if it was the latest piece of diet-Kanye housey-keyboard-crap. Which it isn’t. What you do get is a quirky piece of almost latin-rhythmed folk-hop that’s so organic even homemade soya milk feels guilty next to it. It’s a typically British piece of gently-comedic, surrealist whimsy that imagines how some hippy rapper (no, really) banging out rhythms in the car park gradually compels the store’s entire staff to ‘feel the music’ at the expense of their dead-end vocations. Possibly not quite as satisfying as the alternative tale from my head which envisions some sort of ‘fatwa’ against Tesco’s board of managers culminating in a suicide attack that blows their fucking heads off and follows it up with a second onslaught where members of the public take it in turn to shit down the bleeding stumps of these representatives of rapacious consumerism. Metaphorically, obviously. The chirpy music could stay the same though as it would still essentially be a positive tale.
Dizraeli – Bomb Tesco – Listen/ download HERE
Dizraeli’s LP Engurland (City Shanties) is out soon…


Dizraeli – Myspace

DIZRAELI: Reach Out – 2009 – Single review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Like his Victorian Prime Minister namesake, Brighton’s Dizraeli isn’t afraid to wax lyrical. This one is called Reach Out and is set to become a seminal folk-hop standard. No. Seriously. Diz’ charismatic’ slightly hoarse ‘been-up-all-night’ rhymes keep it real about some old hoboes he’s met, Cate Ferris drops sweet vocal folk hooks on the chorus and the rest of it’s all about the stomping bayou blues beat. It’s free to download – check it out HERE. You’ll be Glad(stone) you did. Sorry. Couldn’t resist that.


Dizraeli – Myspace

DIZRAELI: Engurland (City Shanties) – 2009 – LP Update

(PRESS RELEASE) Having made his name on stages around the world as frontman for the dub-hiphop band Bad Science, and picked up a string of awards as a slam poet (including BBC Radio 4 National Poetry Slam Winner and Farrago UK Slam Champion), rapper, singer and multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli has gone solo to craft his very own album. He says, “Hiphop is folk music for the modern age; real stories of ordinary people, spoken in their own voices. It’s music that takes part in our everyday conversations, and isn’t afraid to name names. I love that”.

‘Engurland (City Shanties)’, Dizraeli’s debut, makes the link between the old folk and the new, drawing on sea shanties, gospel and blues to create a form of hiphop that speaks for the streets and the valleys in equal measures. Journey with Dizraeli through the aisles of Tesco and the factory corridors, from the vomit-slicked Bristol backstreets to the grey pebbles of Brighton beach. This is 21st century England, told through stories of love and grief and defiance. Musically, the album echoes the drunken sway of Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs and the grit of Jay Dee’s production; it’s full of the sounds of Engurland – slamming doors and traffic whooshing, children’s voices and shopping-trolley rivers, as well as features from some of the most exciting emerging singers and instrumentalists around.

‘Reach Out’, the first single from the album, follows two lonely old men, on separate journeys through the rain-stricken twilight. It’s set to a stomping blues backbeat, and features the gorgeous harmonies of Cate Ferris, better known as backing singer for Martha Tilston. ‘Reach out’ is available now for free download on www.dizraeli.com, as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Amie St and other melodic webspots.

‘Engurland (City Shanties)’ will be released at the end of September, followed by a tour in late October / early November, for which Dizraeli will be joined by a blindingly gifted set of musicians on double bass, beatbox, cuts, accordion and strings. Gigs at London’s Cargo, Bristol, Brighton, Bath and the Eden Project in Cornwall have already been confirmed. In the meantime, keep your ears peeled for ‘Bomb Tesco’, the next single, which will emerge alongside a guerrilla video sometime in the next fortnight…

Listen to Dizraeli – Reach Out

Dizraeli – Myspace