Ever think of the colour purple without thinking of Prince? Impossible. Seductive, erotic and hypnotising, Prince was the walking definition of this colour. The life and soul of Prince represents true artistry and individuality between 1958-2016. It has been said he “lived life like movie”, his head being a constant radio, forming melodies and rhythms – a procedure he used for the “one take” process of his music. He is an iconic symbol of a man who did not go by social norms, he played and performed the way he wanted to completely within his own vision. It seems as if he was obsessed with this controversial colour, making it his total theme for music and art as if he really did adopt it like his own. The newly released book by Mobeen Azhar ‘PRINCE Stories from the Purple Underground’ gives an ultimate pictorial tribute to the artist in the truest form of his life, evolution, career and death. For the first time we see key members of Prince’s ongoing legacy give a first-hand account of the artist in a light never seen before. Author of the piece Mobeen is a fanatic of Prince, even appearing on stage with the man himself, who evidently is the perfect passion and person for the making of the book.
This is a beautiful record of Princes life, it features photos all the way back to when he got his first record deal at 19 years old, to performing at Madison Square Garden decades later. The photographs are bold, powerful and heroic, helping us understand the real Prince on and off stage. It is an unbiased, yet honest portrayal of the artist, making the pages personal and sentimental to the reader. We witness how much of an inspiration he was to many, even teaching one guitarist to only love the way they play guitar and no one else, to fully embrace yourself (without being arrogant). These personal monologues prevent the Purple Underground book from being a cliche autobiography, making us hear the different voices and experiences from many who feature in the book. One story in particular comes to mind which mentions having to share a an awkward moment inside of a lift with him.
Left: Prince in Canada, December 1996. Top right: On stage during the Parade tour, 1986. Bottom right: Photoshoot at Kemps Ice Cream building. Minneapolis. 1997.
What comes to mind when imagining the colour purple? Perhaps a smoky jazz bar or even the only two flags in the world that contain this colour. Although it is seen upon as a colour of spiritual awareness in China it is somewhat a controversial tone, even to be seen as a negative, unlucky or a forbidden colour in some cultures. As a powerful member of the rainbow, it’s a colour that represents a strong level of power which is particularly used by royals or emperors. Considering it to be culturally controversial and neglected in some areas, Prince saw it as the ultimate colour of inspiration (as do some others) which could still quite be an unusual choice to make in the world today.
For this months theme of LOUCHE, we have been asking several musicians what they associate with the word louche musically. At Cent, we feel that the word louche is defined as something or someone who is laid back, relaxed and a little bit sultry, we asked the band Future Generations what top ten tracks they would associate with the word louche. Future Generations will be releasing a self-titled album on the 29th of July, you can find their website here, but in the meantime here are there top ten louche tracks and why they chose them:
Washed Out – New Theory
Ernest Green, the musician/producer behind Washed Out, has serotonin flowing through his veins. You know that anesthetic concoction doctors give you before surgery? Ernest Green mixes it with his coffee in the morning. Washed Out’s name and corresponding song titles (“Amor Fati” translates to “love of one’s fate”) invoke a consistent sense of optimistic determinism, as if to say “It’s all out of our control, but it’s cool.
Anderson Paak. – The Bird
I was listening to a best music of 2015 podcast last year, and one of the featured songs was “Suede” by NxWorries, which is a collaboration between Anderson Paak. and Knxwledge. We all really fuck with Knxwledge, who does production for Kendrick Lamar, so, I showed their 2015 mixtape to Mike and he, being the world’s foremost hip-hop historian, already knew it and turned me onto other Anderson Paak. stuff. “The Bird” is from Paak.’s “Malibu,” a mellow-jazzy banger.
Widowspeak – Stoned
This one always seems to find its way onto our playlist whenever we go out on the road. Ethereal vibe. Mike saw them on a boat once – chill.
Slum Village – Untitled
J Dilla has had monumental influence on Mike and Dylan and this song represents his ability to establish neck breaking grooves with effervescent harmonic structure. The way the keys float in and out of the progression while the strings glide over top of the heavy hitting drums and bass is the very thing about Slum Village and J Dilla that has established them as legends. Roll down the windows on a hot summer day, jam this song, and watch yourself get taken from reality for 3 short minutes.
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
From the sleepy and reverbed whole-note guitar line to the whispering gang harmonies, “For What It’s Worth,” I’m pretty sure, started chilled, laidback music as we know it today. It’s a protest song masquerading as a friendly stoner’s lament. Disguising the message or theme of a song with a melody of opposing is something we like to do as well, and Stephen Still and co’s work is some of the earliest and effective examples of that technique in pop music.
Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt
This song rules. The greatest track on one of the best albums of the 21st century. The Wayne Gretzky of VW tracks.
Baio – Sister of Pearl
Speaking of Vampire Weekend, their bass player, Chris Baio, has done some seriously groovy solo work. For Sister of Pearl, Baio reached into the Vampire Weekend pantry of ingredients, pulled out plunking harpsichords and heady wordplay, threw in some breathy tenor vocals and a heavily compressed melodic bassline for personal spice and ended up with a 5 Star dish, best enjoyed poolside. There’s your extended food metaphor for you.
Active Bird Community – Pick Me Apart
Buddies from the music scene back at Fordham University. Played some basement shows with them, and now they’re killing it after college. These guys rock. Shout out, Rams and Pugsley’s Pizza.
Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m a Man
“I think this is the chillest fucking song ever,” said Dylan, a statement immediately confirmed by the other four.
Bahamas – All the Time
It was really tough to choose the last song for this list. But, it basically came down to the task at hand: picking ten laidback summer tunes. And Bahamas’ “All the Time” is a melting popsicle of a song. It’s literally called “All the Time.” And the name of the band is Bahamas! And there are only, like ten lines in the whole song. And one of those lines is “I put work in front of my girl/there’s something wrong with that.” God. S’chill.
Bruce Springsteen – Jersey Girl; Sports – You Are the Right One; Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle; Phoenix – Love Like a Sunset Pt. 1 & 2; America – Ventura Highway; Guru – Coast Modern; Mac Demarco – No Other Heart
Chip E is an American DJ and record producer. He contributed to the ‘Seeing Stories Telling Pictures’ issue of .Cent Magazine.
Edgar Froese is a German electronic artist & pioneer. He contributed to the ‘Seeing Stories Telling Pictures’ issue of .Cent Magazine.
Jonny Greenwood is an English musician and composer who is known as a member of Radiohead. He contributed to the ‘Contradiction’ issue of .Cent Magazine.