Selected Aphex Works mix for Solid Steel

Record_Collector_8_AFXFew can’t have heard that earlier this month user48736353001 started uploading copious amounts of old tracks to their Soundcloud account claiming that they were a fan of Richard D James aka Aphex Twin and had made lots of tracks in his style. Very quickly speculation spread that this was actually Richard and these tracks were selections from his mythical archive or thousands of unreleased tunes, some dating back from before he broke through in the early 90’s. As more and more tracks appeared and comments started appearing from the user it became apparent that this was indeed the real deal and Xmas had either been delayed by a month or arrived ridiculously early.

I was suspicious at first but when a track named ‘8 Utopia’ was uploaded I knew that even if the person uploading and commenting wasn’t Aphex then the music was. Way back in the mid 90’s I was made a ‘best of’ tape of unreleased work by a friend of Richard’s on the condition that I kept the content to myself. As you can see from the track list above, the compiler wasn’t 100% sure on a lot of the titles but the track that starts side 2, ‘The one that makes you shiver’, was the same as ‘8 Utopia’, albeit in far worse quality. As more tracks were uploaded I started recognising more tunes with even a couple of titles matching. A total of 5 out of the 17 tracks from the tape appeared, with another 7 having been heard on RDJ-related records elsewhere since the tape was made, leaving me no doubt that this was Aphex. Here’s how the original tape titles match up (and bear in mind that the cassette titles could be wrong in the first place):

i. ‘AFX vs UZiq’ = not uploaded to Soundcloud
ii. ‘-?-‘ (’94) = track 11 from the Joyrex tape that was uploaded a few years ago, although at a faster speed
iii. ‘Untitled Jungle tune’ = track 10 from the Joyrex tape that was uploaded a few years ago, although faster
iv. ‘Epic Breakbeat’ = not uploaded to Soundcloud
v. ‘Mantra’ = the track known as ‘Humanoid Must Not Escape’ from the Caustic Window ‘Joyrex J9′ picture disc (303 side), you can hear a sampled voice say what sounds like ‘Mantra’.

After ‘Mantra’ comes a short 30 second piece of electronic glitching with the sample, “I had to kill Bob Morgan because he made a mistake”, the same as on the ‘Bob Morgan’ track included in the uploads.

vi. ‘AFX vs. Uziq’ = ‘Giant Deflating Football’ from the Mike & Rich album on Rephlex
vii. ‘unreleased Ventolin’ = ‘phlangebeat’ although a lot slower on the tape
viii. ‘Bradley Styder’ = the first track from ‘Bradley’s Robot’ from the Strider B. 12″ on Rephlex
+ scanning by R.James‘Phone Pranks’ (Part 1 & 2) from the original Caustic Window LP that was finally released via a Kickstarter by WATMM.

i. ‘The one that makes you shiver’ = ‘8 Utopia’
ii. ‘-?-‘ (’93) = not uploaded to Soundcloud
iii. ‘GAK track’ = ‘d15-10 dulcimer dub’
iv. ‘—- ” —–‘ = ‘Untitled’, track 5 from the officially unreleased ‘Analogue Bubblebath 5′ EP
v. ‘-?-‘ (’91/92) = not uploaded to Soundcloud
vi. ‘Dance To The Beat’ = ‘dance2thebeat’ although the tape version is speeded up noticeably so that it clocks in at under 4 minutes.
vii. ‘Fresher + Cleaner’ (The Best Aphex Track Ever!) = ‘Fresher + Cleaner’ minus the intro hi hats
viii. ‘AFX vs Wagon Christ’ (Hissy Mix) = not uploaded to Soundcloud

Looking at some of the dates on the titles – mid to late 80’s – I’m slightly dubious as this would mean RDJ was making fully-formed gabba Techno at the same time as the Detroit pioneers were weaving their magic. Anyway, back to the present day and, eventually, 155 tracks appeared and, after making my way through them all, I pulled out 40 favourites for a mix. These were further whittled down to 31 with the addition of interview snippets from Radio 3‘s Mixing It show and John Peel‘s Sounds of the Suburbs TV program, and the whole thing clocks in at 86 minutes.

My Top 10 AFX Soundcloud tracks in no particular order:

Red Calx / Red Calx [slo]
Make A Baby
Luke Vibert – Spiral Staircase [afx remix]
Fork Rave
Moodular Acid
Th1 / th1[slo]
Heliosphan live
afx 126b
Utopia
Moodular Acid

DJ Food added to the 45 Live roster

DJFood_45L_labelI’m very pleased to be added to the roster over at 45 Live – a collective of DJs who spin 7″ only sets. The site was set up by Scott Boca 45 and Pete Issac (Jelly Jazz) as a hub for booking DJs who use purely 45s as their format of choice in their sets. This is becoming more and more popular and playing at Scott’s 45-Live night in Bristol last year convinced me to jump in. The site aims to also act as a magazine showing vinyl-related stories and mixes, a shop and, later, a label. Check out my profile here.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be ditching the Serato and AV sets by any means, this is more for special occasions where I’ll be concentrating on Rock, Psych, Electronic and Break-led sets like my ‘Magpie Music’ mixes, with as much new material as old classics. It’s a different kind of discipline and doesn’t reply on the ease with which digital files mean that every DJ can have every song they want. I like the challenge of that and, now entering my 30th year as a DJ, a challenge can revitalise you in all sorts of unexpected ways.

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Other Voices 3&4 pre-order from Ghost Box

GBX713and14Steve Moore and two of Friendly Fires join the fray for not one but two volumes of Ghost Box‘s Other Voices series. Jon Brooks once again proves that he never sleeps by teaming up with the two Eds from FF to make the dreamy pop of The Pattern Forms. Check out the trailer video for the B side of Other Voices 03, ‘The Sacrifice’, made by Ed MacFarlane and pre-order HERE

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Flexibition #6: Young London / Permissive Paradise

Flex6_Young_London_cover_front
My first guest post in the Flexibition belongs to John Stapleton, co-owner of Wanted Records in Bristol and mega-collector extraordinaire. He compiled the Dope On Plastic compilation series starting in the mid 90’s and ran his successful Blow Pop nights for 15 years as well as DJing worldwide. He even contributed a remix to the ‘Refried Food’ release Ninja put out back in ’96 under the name, Hidden Chipsters. John’s a wealth of record knowledge and immediately jumped in with this flexi when I asked him.

“This swinging 60s artefact was originally issued as a promotional tool for Frank Habicht‘s excellent photography book, ‘Young London – Permissive Paradise’ in 1969. The book – now pretty collectible – is a snapshot of late 60’s London, and the contrast between the old guard and the 1970s just around the corner.

Some photos here….

Flex6_Young_London_cover_backThe record features, on one side, opinions on Swinging London and the book itself from various members of the public and a couple of 1960s celebrities, including DJ Emperor Rosko (who bizarrely sounds nothing like any other recording I’ve heard of him) – which is mildly interesting (it also namechecks the 1968 ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’ exhibition of computer music at the ICA, which spawned a very rare record as well).

Flex6_Young_London_DiscA

Side 2, though, is where the meat of the flexidisc lies – with the track ‘Permissive Paradise’, performed by ‘The Pleasure Garden’, who were actually cult band The Iveys, soon to be known as Apple recording artists Badfinger. Presumably they recorded the track – a very credible pop art psychedelic fuzzer – under a pseudonym for contractual or tax reasons.
Flex6_Young_London_DiscB

I’ve actually had two copies of this record: the first from the sadly now-lost Tor Records in Glastonbury sometime in the 90s, and another, rather better condition copy which was 50p from a car boot sale last summer. That one included the never-seen-before publisher’s letter to booksellers, offering other promotional material for the book – posters, blow-ups of photographs – which I’d like to think are still out there somewhere waiting for me to find them.”

Flex6_Young_London_Press_sheet

Rammellzee ‘Gothic Futurism’ interview for Mo’ Wax from 1995

Enlightening interview with Rammellzee from 1995, great story about a bet he had with Jean-Michel Basquiat. It was available on a 12″ at the Mo Wax exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery late last year but was way too expensive (like everything there). The original post was from the excellent MoWaxplease.com where there’s more background info from Ed Gill who made the interview plus a full transcript.

Rammellzee

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Mixmaster Morris @ Telepathic Fish 2, May 2nd 1993

Mixmaster Morris – Ambient Tea Party Vol. 3 mix – Brixton 02.05.1993 from Fiasko One on Vimeo.

Here’s a bit of musical history I just found online, Mixmaster Morris DJing at the second Telepathic Fish party that I hosted with David Vallade, Mario Aguera and Chantal Passamonte aka Mira Calix back in 1993. This is volume 3 and I should have the other 2 volumes somewhere in the archive, one with Aphex Twin playing I think as well as my own efforts. Check the cassette inlay for some ‘of its time’ design by my own hand.

For those that aren’t familiar with it, Telepathic Fish was the name my then housemates and I gave to a series of Ambient parties that we staged in London in the early to mid 90’s. They started on a Sunday afternoon and went through to the early hours and the emphasis was on chilling out rather than dancing (although that did happen too sometimes). At some point I’m going to compile the whole Telepathic Fish experience into a series of blog posts or a small book as it was quite a formative time for me as well as the rest of the crew. For more mixes from Morris, who was a guiding light for me back then, you can now check out his brand new website here.

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“An eye for an eye, a truth for a truth”

Eyes01www-scarfolk-blogspot-comRichard Littler‘s Scarfolk blog just keeps on giving, the latest entry is one of the best, a perfect balance of the horror and dark humour that the site thrives on coupled with excellent graphic creations to match. I can’t recommend the book enough and, if you pop into Forbidden Planet to buy one (in London at least), they also have a fine line in Scarfolk mugs, birthday cards and magnets too.

Eyes02www-scarfolk-blogspot-com

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Blackhill Transmitter 3 EP

“Rain struck the tower but we persisted – the broadcast was scheduled, it had to go ahead, suddenly we were plunged into darkness – silence – nothing – then the noises started – slowly building – the transmission had begun ……..”

Blackhill Transmitter 3 is a four track digital EP and a Future Sound of London side project. You could roughly place this in the hauntological category being that the Black Hill transmitting station in Scotland became the final transmitter to switch off analogue television in 2011. There’s a bit more to it than that though, dark and heavily textured, the four tracks flow into each other, working as one 15 minute piece. It’s available from FSOLDigital.com and if you like it there are two previous volumes here and here.

 

Flexibition #5: Springtime for Hitler / The Inquisition Song

Flex5_Event_Springtime
This disc was given away with Event magazine, now long deceased, which was a rival to Time Out in the early 80’s when it ceased publication for a bit. It was a promo for Mel Brooks‘ 1981 film, ‘History of the World Part 1′, from which the two songs on the disc came. As ever with Brooks, both were politically incorrect before the term even existed, being about Hitler and The (Spanish) Inquisition (he also later released ‘The Hitler Rap (To Be Or Not To Be)’).

This is probably one of the first flexi’s I ever got after the freebies with Flexipop magazine and was most likely rescued from the paper-recycling shed at school along with a pile of early copies of The Face that would periodically come in, unsold, from the local newsagent. I had so few records at this time that I’d grab anything and ‘The Inquisition Song’ even made it onto my first proper mixtape in 1987.
You can see the scene from the film here, it starts at about the 2 minute mark. (Warning: very inappropriate lyrics)

Update: More info on Event magazine can be seen on the website of Pearce Marchbank who was art director.

Flex5_Event_Springtime_label

New Solid Steel logo / identity

SS_logo_0_2015
Keen-eyed listeners to the Solid Steel weekly radio show may have noticed a logo makeover last week. A new, slimline logo has taken place of the previous single ‘S’ one as we continue to streamline the show for online consumption. The logo comes in white on black circle but can be reversed and I designed it in three weights with the heaviest being for small usage where the centre circle is offset with the outer circle also in box form. Expect a new responsive website redesign in April too. SS_SSpacek_Kutmak_BlkSS_logo_small_square_2015

Metroplex by Stormjang

tumblr_ni36woXVex1r22moqo1_1280Found on a tumblr site via another tumblr site which, predictably, didn’t have any info on where it came from or who drew it because of the re-titling that goes on when you post on these sites. I despair at an information age in which the information is stripped from half the content. Google image search reveals it’s by a guy called Stormjang and comes from Deviant Art.

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RIP Rod McKuen

McKuen_SFHippieTripIt’s been a bad week for deaths in the music world, first it was Tangerine Dream-founder Edgar Froese, then Demis Roussos and now Rod McKuen, the spoken word poet dubbed ‘the King of Kitsch’. He wrote over a thousand songs, several books and released hundreds of records in his lifetime and there’s sample gold in that silky voice.

McKuen_TheEarth Listen to one of my favouties by Rod, ‘The Mud Kids’ from ‘The Earth’ LP and tell me it’s not genius, transports me back to a time I never knew but can imagine existed. Keen-earned listeners might also recognise the opening strings from a certain mix I did with PC and DK way back.

McKuen_AboutMe
Guilty pleasure, ‘Seasons In The Sun’, the 70’s hit by Terry Jacks, was an adaptation of a McKuen piece which was itself taken from a Jacques Brel song that he translated. He jumped on many bandwagons, aligning himself with the Beat Poets on ‘Beatsville’ and the Hippies on ‘Rod McKuen Takes A San Franciso Hippie Trip’ but the results were never convincing.
McKuen_SomethingMcKuen_AmorAmor
The Rod McKuen disco LP? Sure, ‘Amor, Amor, Slide… Easy In’ has at least one decent break on it and was also as used by Christian Marclay in one of his album sleeve assemblages (the hot pants side).

McKuen_AmoreAmorback

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The 3-Way Mix in St. Petersburg

St Peterburg_statue
I think Russia is rapidly becoming one of my favourite places to play, 3 gigs in the last 3 months, all memorable for different reasons and all the crowds have been so good. They seem way more into the music and not preoccupied with their mobiles, very vocal but in a positive way. Plus we got to play at the Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg with one of the biggest video screens yet.
One guy on Saturday night was stage-diving to the Beasties mix from the off, so much so that he got himself thrown out. Another kept shouting ‘more volume’ and led the crowd in his chant but we were already in the red. Afterwards we were informed that he’s a little bit deaf and always does this at every gig.

St Peterburg_Airportstatue St Peterburg_Erarta St Peterburg_Erartastatue St Peterburg_ice St Peterburg_poster St Peterburg_Putineggs St Peterburgx3

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