I’ve been away for the last four days at Camp Bestival with the family but it looks like biggest news of the weekend is this monster. The Rammellzee ‘Cosmic Flush’ project just gets better and better and is shaping up to be release of the year if it continues like this. Here’s the blurb: “Part 4 in Rammellzee‘s Cosmic Flush project brings together Doze Green and Edan, two heavyweights who need no introduction. Pre-orders are now live, limited to 500 copies with 250 signed print editions.”
Here’s an oddity that you don’t hear much – a rare The The track given away free as a flexi disc with the Melody Maker in 1983. ‘Dumb As Death’s Head’ is an early Matt Johnson composition and, to my knowledge, this is the only place that it was officially released. You can hear a musical link to the earlier MJ solo album, ‘Burning Blue Soul’ and similar era tracks that later turned up on B-sides like ‘Leap Into The Wind’ or ‘The Nature of Virtue’.
What makes this special is that it’s been included in some track lists for the unreleased / scrapped ‘Pornography of Despair’ album – what was to be The The’s debut LP and a forerunner to ‘Soul Mining’ – and is certainly from the same time period. The version I found on YouTube was so terrible as to be almost unlistenable so I’ve encoded it again and cleaned it up although there are odd bumps and a jump at the start but such is the nature of flexi’s. I found my copy at a car boot sale in Surrey back in the late 80s, a time when locating something as ephemeral as this was a lot harder than it is today. Not hard to find now though, there are several for sale through the magic of Discogs as I type.
(Above): Jimmy Page tries out his new Roland gear and the new 303 and 606 are released in May, 1982.
(Below): A full page illustration for a huge tech special pull out in Sounds and an ad for an electronic compilation called, ‘Machines’.
(Above) – Two ads from separate pages for a Japanese release – Sounds had a big thing for Japanese music in the early 80s and championed it where few others did. (Below)” The Sound Burger is released in April 1983.
I was away most of the weekend and was saddened to hear of the death of Don Joyce of Negativland. As a foremost practitioner of the cut up and a campaigner for the right to sample he was one of the pioneers. I never met him but Negativland were and are one of the bedrocks of the cut up/collage/sampling genre from their records to their Over The Edge radio shows. Here’s ‘Yellow, Black & Rectangular’ from ‘Escape From Noise’.
Their ‘Helter Stupid / The Perfect Cut’ is one of my favourite cut up records and their backing of releases like Jon Oswald‘s Plunderphonics anthology is admirable. Walking past a shelf of ephemera we have in the house today I spied this little set of badges nestled amongst them, half hidden, probably included free with a bunch of cassettes that I ordered from their website back in the midst of time. RIP Don.
Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us knew Don well and dedicated a radio show to him just last week and you can read Negativland’s heartfelt statement after his death on the KPFA radio station blog, home of Over The Edge.
Bookmark it should you ever need to politely decline a request for your services when there’s no budget.
Produced by Scofield Editorial, Inc.
An absolute gem of an album recently surfaced on Trunk Records – ‘Galactic Nightmare’, a kind of low budget War of the Worlds first released on cassette in 1986 and now transferred to a double vinyl album with gatefold sleeve, printed inners and extra art. There’s a nice story behind it on the Trunk website and I love that GN logo above – so 80s. Only 500 copies on double vinyl, sold out on the label website but they have digital if that’ll do you. A real special one-off as only Trunk can do, look out for it, here’s a short preview…
Looking forward to this in October. “A curated selection of classics, rarities and unreleased tracks from the On-U Sound vaults by DJ & Audio Visual artist Trevor Jackson (aka Playgroup / Underdog), renowned for his Metal Dance compilations of industrial-dance on Strut Records, having worked with the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Four Tet via his Output Recordings Label, and a recently released acclaimed multi edition album of his own music (FORMAT) via The Vinyl Factory.
This is the electro-fried avant-garde side of On-U Sound. Whilst still containing the dub DNA that define Adrian Sherwood’s productions, these tracks document a period when this sonic vision was realised through saturated sheets of electronics, reverberating drum machines and extreme chopped-up tape edits.
Fully annotated with sleevenotes that tell the story behind each track. Features 3 completely unreleased tracks (inc. a crucial early cut by Neneh Cherry) and 6 tracks that have never been reissued on CD or digital (inc. the amazing debut recording by a pre-Massive Attack Shara Nelson).”
Available on as a 2CD / 27-track set, or a 3LP edition that has 20 tracks on the vinyl plus the additional 7 tracks from the CD as part of the download card. Pre-Order Here: (there’s a nice T-shirt bundle available too)
1. Ace Of Wands / The Missing Brazilians
2. Over Board / Dub Syndicate
3. Off The Beaten Track / African Head Charge
4. Chemical Specialist / Creation Rebel & New Age Steppers
5. Asian Rebel /Suns Of Arqa
6. Animal Space / New Age Steppers
7. Parasitic Machine / Alan Pellay
8. Quit The Body / The Chicken Granny
9. Stebeni’s Theme / African Head Charge
10. Dead Come Alive / Neneh Cherry & The Circuit*
11. When Tonight Is Over (US Thunder Mix) / Atmosfear
12. Loudspeaker (alternate version) / The Circuit*
13. Dee Jay?s Program / Fats Comet
14. Now What? / Tackhead
15. Move / Keith LeBlanc
16. Dub Storm / Fats Comet
17. Stopping And Starting / Voice Of Authority
18. Latin Temperament / African Head Charge
19. The Wrong Name And The Wrong Number (DJ Battle) / Mark Stewart & the Maffia
20. Kunta Kinte Dub / Singers & Players*
21. Melody Dub / Bim Sherman
22. Aiming At Your Heart Pt.2 / Shara Nelson & The Circuit
23. Forty Winks / Playgroup
24. Drilling Equipment / Dub Syndicate
25. Radial Drill / New Age Steppers
26. Quicksand Beach Party / The Missing Brazilians
27. 77 Emerging Strips / Little Annie*
* Previously Unreleased
I’m delighted to have this offering from special guest Jon More of Coldcut in the Flexibition as it ticks many boxes for me. The flexi in question came free with a comic (tick) includes a spoken word cut up (tick) and they sampled a tiny phrase from it on their classic remix of Eric B & Rakim‘s ‘Paid in Full’ (tick). Obviously I’m inextricably linked to Jon (and Matt) through their label, Ninja Tune, and radio show, Solid Steel, but I was a fan of their work from their first appearance on vinyl so I’m chuffed to have a contribution from Jon here. I’ll let him explain how he came to be in possession of this cracking, president-baiting flexi disc… *
“I bought my first volume of Raw in Holland in 1980 – I used to go every New Year for the fireworks mayhem, record buying in Concerto – junk market digging at Waterloopleinmarkt. On the way to Concerto I passed this, now historic, comic shop… Lambiek – I came out with a copy of Raw Volume 1… From then I was hooked. When volume 4 came out (March 1982) it came with a bonus Flexi disc…”
*the black & white front cover of the mag is die-cut so that the colour interior shows through – above you can see the Reagan head underneath the cut out window*
“Raw had a history of including odd & sods – chewing gum & trading cards, the serial insert Maus, from Art Spiegelman… Raw was an important discovery, we used excerpts from the Flexi as jingles on Solid Steel. I first discovered artist Mark Beyer in Raw – we asked Marc to design artwork for our first album – ‘Whats That Noise’… Undoubtedly the cut up style of Doug Kahn‘s Flexi disc sunk in…. interesting little story on producing the Flexi is included in the magazine…”
Khan’ s recording contains a speech by Ronald Reagan, expertly cut and reshuffled to exaggerate the president’s age, failing memory and general ineptitude. It’s an early example of the kind of cut up that Cassette Boy has made a career out of. At one point you hear Ron utter, “OK, alright”, and this tiny snippet ended up near the end of Coldcut’s game-changing ‘7 Minutes of Madness’ mix for Eric B & Rakim. Check it at 1.14 mins in the recording…
…and then at 5.45 and 6.04 in their remix…
To round off the post, here’s some connected art: a ‘Reagan Speaks For Himself’ illustration by Sue Coe from Raw #4 and the Mark Beyer cover that resulted from his commission to design Coldcut’s debut album.
* in a bizarre case of extreme coincidence, the day before I received this entry from Jon, the Cut Up documentary I featured in on Radio 4 aired and one of the featured entries was this exact flexi disc.
A brand new album of material by John Baker from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop is getting a release on Buried Treasure next month. You may remember me featuring their Rare Psych, Moog & Brass comp over a year ago that I’m still playing tracks out from.
From the press release: “Whilst producing ‘The John Baker Tapes’ albums for Trunk Records, Alan Gubby – Buried Treasure’s label manager – unearthed several reels of music & sound effects from the 1960’s BBC TV series ‘Vendetta’ – an organised crime / mafia thriller starring Italian actor Stelio Candelli (Barbarella, Django, Planet Of The Vampires). John produced a tense, rhythmic & unhinged James Bond style score for the 1st series in 1966 featuring live drums, radiophonic bass lines, taped atmospherics & screaming jazz improvisations.
Available for the 1st time ever, The Vendetta Tapes displays Baker’s legendary skills in combining tape manipulation with live instrumentation. The music is thrilling, sleazy, deranged & very hip. Highlights from the score are presented on this compilation alongside other previously unreleased tracks plus a couple of classics from the hard to find Trunk compilations – all digitally remastered by Mark Ayres from the radiophonic archives.”
Released on LP, CD on the 14th August 2015 via Modulor Distribution (Paris) but you can buy the digital right now from the BT bandcamp page. Unfortunately all CD & vinyl copies have already been swallowed up by the stores such as Rough Trade or Norman Records so hit the links to pre-order.
An extra 20 minute supplement to the ‘Cutting Up the Cut Up’ documentary that aired on BBC Radio 4 earlier this month.
Just saw Love & Mercy – utterly fantastic in so many ways. The casting was superb, the music (both real and recreated) was spot on, the attention to detail between the time periods right on the money. It moved me to tears several times and their portrayal of the injustice Brian Wilson suffered without resorting to sensationalism was admirable. A big hand should also go to Atticus Ross for his amazing sound collages that use snippets of Beach Boys songs and studio outtakes to form mood montages throughout the film, let’s hope they get an official release at some point.
Paul Dano as a young Brian – superb, Paul Giamatti‘s Dr Landy was terrific and Jake Abel WAS Mike Love. John Cusack as the older Wilson wasn’t facially convincing but he got the mannerisms down although that half of the film was more about Landy’s battle with Melinda Ledbetter anyway. As a hardcore Beach Boys fan who’s read the books (official or otherwise) and waded through the bootleg sessions, it got the tone pitch perfect.
Here’s a late 80s oddity that I was turned onto recently by Steve Cook – he of Secret Oranges fame. A 1988 Acid House 12″ made by the late, great Brett Ewins among others that comes with an 8pg B&W ‘lyric sheet’ featuring the art of Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Jamie Hewlett, Shaky Kane, Philip Bond, Jamie Hewlett and more.
The tracks themselves are primitive attempts to make Acid House (without the aid of the all-important Roland 303 by the sound of it) but have a period charm to them. Brett intones creepily over the top of the A side sounding like a riled up Timothy Leary on speed. The B side houses two instrumental cuts with ‘The Church of Acid’ coming on like Bam Bam with a sledgehammer and there IS a snatch of 303 but it sounds sampled and slightly out of time.
‘Dr. Microdot’ is a shorter version of same with the addition of an unidentified voice asking you to relax (we’ve all been there) and both tracks suffer from a lack of a decent arrangement, stumbling along with samples and effects being randomly thrown in and out of the mix. I’m being unkind but it’s fair to say they haven’t aged well although the fact that they were made in the middle of the second summer of love gives them a certain kudos. I’m wondering if the Ken Thomas credited with producing this fascinating artifact is the same one who has worked with everyone from Queen to the Cocteau‘s?
The artwork is the gold here and the free comic is basically of lot of the early gang of artists responsible for Deadline taking a page each and letting rip with whatever they feel is appropriate. Brendan, Philip and Shaky come up with some crackers but I’m not sure where Jamie’s contribution is exactly unless he collaborated with someone and isn’t credited. Ron Merlin, an early Deadline character, makes an appearance but it’s not clear if he is supposed to be the voice on the A side. There’s very little about it on the web but I love these musical comic crossovers (the Madness off-shoot ‘Mutants of Mega City One’ is another) even if the sounds often play second fiddle to the artwork.
OK, so – Gamma Proforma – UK label dealing in music, art, books and apparel (T-shirts to you and me). I’ve mentioned them before, most notably with the recent Divine Styler album that blew my socks off in January but also with the ReWire kickstarter of last year and the Futurism 2.0 exhibition they put on a couple of years back. Their ‘roster’ – if you can call it that as they seem to deal in a project by project way – is full of name familiar to this blog both new and old: She One, Augustine Kofie, Divine Styler, Futura 2000, Will Barras, Remi/Rough, Delta, Rammellzee, Syd Mead and Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift among many more. If that isn’t enough to get your interest then you may as well stop reading now. I just want to highlight some of the currents releases coming out of this great label who seem to have tapped into my mind at times and assembled items that tick multiple boxes to an extent where it’s just getting silly now.
Their current big project is a multi-part release of The Rammellzee‘s final album, ‘Cosmic Flush’, incomplete at the time of his death but now finished by producer Jonah Mociun whom he worked on it with. Each track is being released on a single 12″ backed with a remix + instrumentals with a different artist chosen to provide the cover which is also included as a signed print.
Above and below are the first two singles, ‘Brainstorm’ and ‘How’s My Girlfriends’ with art by Futura 2000 and Ramm acolyte Ian Kuali’i and remixes by Divine Styler and Mr Len (ex-Co. Flow). The third 12″ – released next month – will be ‘Crazay’ with art by Delta and Mike Ladd on remix duties. Each 12″ is a pressing of 500 with half of these adding the print, these versions aren’t cheap and the Futura one is already sold out but the quality is top notch. Eventually all the releases will form the album proper although I’m not sure whether that will be collected into a box of some sort or issued on CD.
As you can see, there’s a heavy emphasis on the more leftfield, abstract side of graffiti on these releases and that’s carried over into the books and T-shirts too. The She One book with 7″ picure disc below is a heavy slab of goodness chock full of James Choules’ flaming brushstroke camouflage styles from close ups to sketch book scraps and a beautiful collection presented without all the usual clichés of the genre.
Similarly Phil Ashcroft‘s angular spikes take on a more ‘futuristic’ tone in his book of dystopian visions and sci-fi seems the be at the heart of what Gamma produce with Syd Mead T-shirts being an early release. There’s also a shirt series underway too with Kofie supplying the first example on a white shirt below and Will Barras depicting a menacing Rammellzee in his signature style for the second.
All the pieces mentioned here are immaculately laid out and design forms the subject of another forthcoming book – a retrospective of Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift‘s career titled ‘Full Circle’, due in the autumn but you can pre-order it now. I daren’t even mention the Will Barras book arriving shortly, the prints, magazines, original art or the digital freebies available if you peruse the Gamma site at length…
PS: in a weird act of synchronicity the Has It Leaked site just put up a look at the label too with quotes from me included – read it here and find out even more…
Just uploaded to the Pillage Roadshow YouTube account – the film of DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist‘s recent ‘Renegades of Rhythm’ tour where they played Afrika Bamabaataa’s records and formed a history of Hip Hop from some of the vinyl it was created from. Not sure if this will ever get a legit release due to all the licensing that would be needed to make it legal so this may be the only way to see it if you weren’t there. It was definitely gig of the year so far when I saw it in January. Thanks to Suki Majhail-McLean for the heads up.
I came across these at the weekend in a window of a shop in Lyon, they were so striking I had to take a photo. A quick google reveals they’re for a campaign for Sephora makeup from a few years back and there are more in the series. A great example of how a simple visual idea can attract the attention & subvert the usual clichés.
Another 8″ x 8.5″ magazine with discs inside for this week’s Flexibition, only this time they aren’t strictly flexi’s as the grooves are pressed into a thin layer that is fixed to the card pages similar to some of the playable post cards I’ve featured (and will feature) already. Living Music takes the same format as the previous Echo and Sonorama publications in that there’s a spindle hole through the centre of each page and they fold back with the ring binding so that the whole mag is placed on the turntable to play. There are only actually two records inside, with narration by Milton Cross about 10 sampled albums and the fidelity is suprisingly good but nothing to get excited about unfortunately.
It’s primarily a music magazine, highlighting releases and news of an audiophile nature, ‘converting your hi-fi to stereo’ is one such article, and there are ads for Garrard turntables inside among others. A coupon offers $2.50 off the annual subscription of 12 issues to Charter subscribers and suggests that it was available on newsstands. The editorial also promises more to come with focus on contemporary Russian music, Gypsy, Classical Jazz and technical info in future issues. This is issue one, an American publication from 1959, and I can find nothing else about it on the web so have no idea if they made it to issue two, any info is appreciated.
I try to be positive but sometimes a negative is needed. From the collection of Steve Cook who kindly passed it on to me earlier today, thanks mate More to come…