Selected Aphex Works 1 & 2 mixes


Seeing as it’s 25 years since Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 1’ was released and exactly 2 years to the day that my first ‘Selected Aphex Works’ mix was aired on Solid Steel, I thought I’d repost both the first mix and the lesser heard follow up I created for GCASFM.com about a year later. Due to multiple requests in the comments I’ve put up a very limited download of the 2nd mix here and in the Mixcloud comments.
There’s still enough for at least a third volume from the enormous Soundcloud upload he made back in 2015 but if you’re fiending for more then I’ll be premiering a special AFX AV set at Archspace in London on Feb 25th.

Selected Aphex Works 2 mix

SS image DJ FOOD-AFX2.2

Earlier this year I was asked by the organisation ‘Give Crohn’s A Slap From Me’ if I would provide them with a mix as their remit is to help raise awareness of the disease through art, music and design. For their hospital radio slot they’ve already had the likes of DJ Vadim provide one and I wanted to do something a little different that would, potentially, bring more people to the site than your standard mix selection.

I always wanted to do a follow up to the ‘Selected Aphex Works 1’ mix I did early in 2015 for Solid Steel, an 86 minute collection of my pick of the bunch of tracks uploaded to Richard D. JamesUser48736353001 Soundcloud account during the early months of that year. The plan is to hopefully get some of the near 100,000 people who listened to the first mix to come to the Crohn’s site for more so, beginning from the place where the first left off, here’s a second volume, culled from tunes uploaded after the first mix was finished.

Up until mid February 2015 there were around 160 tunes to choose from but, as I was completing the first mix, there were still more tracks being uploaded. At various times after the transmission date on Solid Steel of Feb 24th around 90 more were uploaded with the final total being an estimated 275 tracks before they were deleted. There were more than enough to make another mix and there could easily be a third from all the songs that wouldn’t fit or didn’t make the grade the first time round. There are albums worth of material as good as any official Aphex release in the Soundcloud uploads, which I view as one of the most important ‘releases’ of 2015.

On the subject of Aphex, I recently found this poster below, designed in my third year at Camberwell College of Art in 1993. I’d recently discovered his music via Colin Dale‘s Outer Limits show on KISS FM and took inspiration from his music to make my own designs for releases – this one being ‘Xylem Tube’ on R&S. The original design was supposed to be portrait but I prefer it landscape now with the benefit of hindsight.

AphexTwin_XylemTube_posterweb

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

New Aphex and FSOL albums


photo by Edwin Wong
Not one but two electronica bombshells were dropped this week – first the Aphex Twin blimp and stencils then the announcement yesterday of a new album. You can pre-order the album here including being entered into a raffle to purchase a £250 (!) limited edition vinyl version and read the press release which looks like it’s been google-translated from Japanese.
AFX gear list

Over on Facebook, Gaz from Future Sound Of London has finally been giving some previews of Environment 5 – the long-awaited next installment of their Environments series, the low-key soundscape set that they’ve been releasing for the past few years. This time though it seems as if this is THE new Future Sound of London album as the tracks are all said to have been written this year instead of from their archive. This will also be available on vinyl as well as CD and Download and note that it’s ‘Environment’ instead of the plural. Now all we need is a new Kraftwerk album…


Posted in Music. | 2 Comments » |

Mix of Apollo Records classics on Solid Steel

SS image DJFood_ApolloRecords
I’m not sure if today’s generation of dance music heads know of the impact Apollo made on the electronic scene in the 90s, especially the first half. Apollo was the ambient offshoot of legendary Belgian techno label, R&S, set up to release Aphex Twin‘s ‘Selected Ambient Works’ a quarter of a century ago and distinguish the mellower, more experimental output from the harder, clubbier sounds of the parent imprint.

At that point Warp and R&S were neck and neck as purveyors of the finest electronica outside of the US, their catalogues combined yielding classic after classic of the genre. Although Warp may have ultimately collared Aphex as one of their main artists it was R&S who got him first for two EPs (Didgerydoo and Xylem Tube) and debut album (later followed by ‘Classics’, a compilation of the EPs and other cuts). Even though ‘SAW 1′ was his only release on Apollo it’s one of his most revered and stands up today as the pioneering work it was.

We were in the middle of the great ambient revival of the early 90s where The Orb and the Future Sound of London were making their early classics, Mixmaster Morris was championing all and sundry from the eclectic Rising High label and Pete Namlook’s Fax label was churning out an album a week from his base in Germany. Into this mix Apollo did battle with Warp’s Artificial Intelligence series with their own roster including David Morley, Biosphere, Robert Leiner, Sun Electric and Locust amongst others. The Designers Republic did many a sleeve for them as well just to add to the Warp comparisons.

The label also featured appearances from Global Communications, early Orbital offshoot Kinetic, The Orb, Andrea Parker, Model 500, The Irresistibe Force, Jam & Spoon, Cabaret Voltaire, John Beltran, Thomas Fehlmann, Dave Angel, Ken Ishi, Billy Ray Martin, Riz Maslen, Pete Namlook… the list reads like a who’s who of electronic and ambient music.

Winding down around the early 00’s it was reactivated five years ago to release new music and this year sees the 25th anniversary of the label with a reissue of ‘Selected Ambient Works vol.1’ already in the shops. Search for Apollo on a digital service like Beatport however and you won’t find it although some of the titles are available under the R&S banner, best head to Discogs to flip through the seven pages of releases and discover the many treasures hidden in their catalogue. Or start with the mix they commissioned me to make from a personal selection of my favourites from back in the day to celebrate, which Solid Steel hosts exclusively from today.

FourFromFoodFridays: 17.6

FourFromFoodFridays 17.6
Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things that have been doing it for me. They can be new or old, any style so long as it’s been getting some rotation in the studio. From top left:
David Axelrod – The Solid Steel interview (2001) Radio mix – RIP The Axe
Kid Koala feat. Emiliana Torrini – Music To Draw to: Satellite (A&C) LP – first ever ambient turntablist album?
The OST show feat. Soundsci (Resonance FM) Radio – Hip Hop, Library and Soundtracks
Aphex Twin – entire back catalogue in preparation for the Archspace gig on April 25th

Openmind ambient mix on Solid Steel 26.09.94

Telepathic Fish 4 webI was asked by the m.cast website to write some background history on a mix I did for Solid Steel with old friend Mario Aguera under the Openmind DJs name back in 1994 (this was before I became part of DJ Food or had been given the Strictly Kev moniker). Here’s a little slice of London ambient history as I remember it:

Openmind originated at 102 Tintagel Crecsent in East Dulwich, South East London around late 1992. The shared house spread across three floors above a shop, rented out by a local chemist specifically to students at a very reasonable £37 each per week, and the occupants came together by chance from different circumstances. Computer programmer Mario Aguera and 3rd year Camberwell School of Art students David Vallade and Kevin Foakes were later joined by Chantal Passamonte at some point in 1993. They frequented many of the clubs, gigs and underground parties of the time like Club Dog, Tribal Energy and Megatripolis but often found themselves enjoying the post-club comedown chill out sessions more than the actual clubs themselves.

After an incident with a synthesiser, a Rastafarian and a bowl of fish (see David Toop’s excellent ‘Ocean of Sound’ book for details) they formed a collective called Openmind and started a series of ambient parties under the name Telepathic Fish. Nearby neighbour Mixmaster Morris took them under his wing and introduced them to many of his contacts.

The first party was held in their house across two floors which held a rave room with strobe lighting and a chill out complete with tower of scavenged TV sets broadcasting trip videos, black lights and Morris DJing from decks on the next door kitchen counter. Advertised through word of mouth and a few posters at the college, the party drew 300 people and they realised that they had to find somewhere else to do the next one.

A squat in Tunstal Road, Brixton was located and a line up of Mixmaster Morris, Aphex Twin and the Openmind DJs (Mario and Kev) with Matt Black (Coldcut) on visuals played throughout a Sunday afternoon into the evening. A second gig was held at the same venue later that year (’93) which saw members of The Black Dog, Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia and The Future Sound of London checking out what was happening. Early flyers included shaped fish pendants and tea bags, hand-assembled using tracing and holographic paper.

After Matt Black’s initial revelatory experience at the Fish (his first ever VJ set) he invited Mario and Kev to guest on his and Jon More’s weekly KISS FM radio show, Solid Steel in the summer of ’93. They appeared a number of times (11.07.93 / 07.11.93 / 04. 03.94 / 15.07.94) and Matt and Morris continued to guest with music and visuals at the parties.

The venue then changed to the Cool Tan building in Brixton for a fourth excursion that included Matt Black on decks with PC (DJ Food), a pre-Leaf Tony Morley and visuals by Hex. Just before that party Mario and Kev were invited back onto Solid Steel on 26.09.94 and you can hear Matt giving the party a shout out in the mix. The sets played here are a pretty good indication of the sort of thing they played at the Telepathic Fish parties, sometimes pooling their then meagre record collections to fill out the nights.

There were more parties after this, usually as part of bigger events – Orbital’s Brixton Academy gig VIP room, Quirky, Megatripolis, a New Year’s Day party at the derelict Roundhouse and a Dutch excursion that saw them playing in a gas silo. They also produced four issues of an ambient fanzine called Mind Food which they sold at the parties, by mail or in various record shops in London.

Mario went on to join Hex for their early explorations into visuals and software and then headed up a team at a major video game developer. Chantal, David and Kev all worked at the Ambient Soho record shop in Berwick St. at certain points. Chantal went on to become Mira Calix and sign to Warp. David designed record sleeves for Warp, Ntone, Worm Interface, MLO and Reflective among others. Kev became part of DJ Food, carrying the Openmind name on as his design alias whilst shaping the look of the Ninja Tune label in the 90s and 00s.


You can down load this mix directly from the m.cast website here

First hour: Mario Aguera (Openmind/Telepathic Fish)

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force remix) (BMG)
UVX ‎- Elevator (13th floor spectrum) (Magick Eye Records)
Frankfurt – Tokio Connection – Luminescent Avatar (Harthouse / Rising High)
Golden Girls – Kinetic (Morley’s Apollo mix) (R&S)
Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia – Obsidian (Deconstruction) (KK Records)
The Grid – Crystal Clear (The Orb remix) (Virgin)
Ongaku – Mihon 2 (Fax/Rising High)
UVX ‎- Elevator (13th floor spectrum) (Magick Eye Records)
Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby (Natural Trance Mix) (Columbia)
Peter Gabriel – At Night (Real World)
Amorphous Androgynous – Mountain Goat (Virgin)
System 7 – 7-7 Expansion (Double Edged Sword mix) (Big Life)
David Morley – Calibration (Apollo)

Second hour: Kevin Foakes (Openmind/Telepathic Fish – pre-DJ Food)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Warriors of the Wasteland (End) (ZTT)
Harold Budd & The Cocteau Twins – Memory Gongs (4AD) / S’Xpress – Coma (Record Mirror) No-Man – Days In The Trees (Reich) (One Little Indian)
KLF – What Time Is Love (Virtual Reality mix) (KLF Communications)
Jesus Jones – Zeroes & Ones (Aphex Twin Reconstruction 2 mix) (Food/EMI)
David Sylvian – Home (Virgin)
This Mortal Coil – Andialu (4AD)
B12 – Soundtrack of Space (Warp)
Spacetime Continuum – Fluorescence (Reflective)
Eurhythmics – The City Never Sleeps (Capitol)
Moody Boys – Free (XL)
Depth Charge – Depth Charge (Drum Death Version) (Vinyl Solution)
Material – Mantra (Praying Mantra mix) (Axiom)
Dub Syndicate – What Happened? (On-U Sound)
Moody Boys – Pumpin Dumpin (XL)
Plaid – Yamemm – (Warp)
unknown (Digidub or Moody Boys?)
Minnie Ripperton – Lovin’ You (Epic)

Highlights of 2015

2015 Albums
They say that creativity flourishes under oppression and bleak times and it’s been a great year for music so there must be a grain of truth there. In an effort to glean something positive to remember 2015 by in light of all the injustice and hate out there in the world, here are some of my favourite things, in no order whatsoever.

There were several amazing music releases that went far beyond the normal album format – the main one being Aphex Twin‘s incredible Soundcloud dump of archive tracks which continue to drip out and now number over 200 tracks even if he has taken a lot of them down now. If there’s a ‘release’ of the year then that wins hands down although I’m still trying to process it all and tried to compile a selection of the cream in this mix for Solid Steel but bear in mind that that was when he’d only released half of it so by it’s no means definitive.
The other mega-release that deserves special mention is Rammellzee‘s ‘Cosmic Flush’ magnum opus that’s still in the process of materializing in a physical format. Released across seven 12″s with one track + remix + instrumentals + art print each, to be collected in a limited box with booklet around Spring 2016, it’s taken a huge effort by the Gamma Proforma label to bring to fruition seven years after the record’s completion and five years after Rammellzee’s death. It’s been a vintage year for independent Hip Hop too with great albums by Divine Styler, Ollie Teeba, Memory Man and The Fabreeze Brothers.
It’s nice to see the Leaf label celebrating 20 years of existence and still as vital as ever with Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear, Radioland and new signing The Comet Is Coming all releasing excellent records this year. One last mention must go to the album at the top of the list below that crept out under everyone’s noses on Record Store Day and has slowly been gathering attention through word of mouth in the last eight months. So much so that it won the Dead Albatross Music Prize – an alternative to the Mercury award set up by independent Norman Records to nominate records that would otherwise be passed over at such things. If you only listen to one album from the list below, make it the Annabel (lee) one.

Albums:
Annabel (lee) – By The Sea & Other Solitary Places (If Music/Ninja Tune)
Rammellzee – Cosmic Flush (Gamma Proforma)
Divine Styler – Def Mask (Gamma Proforma) (technically 2014)
Memory Man – Broadcast One (Chopped Herring)
Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down
Jane Weaver – The Amber Light (Bird)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Blood Music (Grautag Records) (technically 2013)
The The – Hyena (Death Waltz)
The Fabreeze Brothers – S/T (AE Productions)
Markey Funk – Instinct (Audio Montage) (released fully in Jan 2016)
Aphex Twin – Soundcloud Archive dump
Amon Tobin – Dark Jovian EP (Ninja Tune)
Radioland – Radio-Activity Revisited (Leaf)
Ollie Teeba – Short Order (World Expo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Light In The Attic)
Various Artists – The Delaware Road (Buried Treasure)
Floating Points – Elaenia (Pluto)
Morgan Delt – S/T (Trouble In Mind) (technically 2014)
Gaz Coombes – Matador (Universal)
Black Devil – Disco Club (Lo Recordings)
Bruce Ditmas – Yellow Dust (Finders Keepers)
Rodinia – Drumside / Dreamside (Now Again)
Various Artists – In A Moment (Ghost Box)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)

Tracks:
a few of these are from a few years ago but new to me…
Noel Gallagher – The Right Stuff (Sour Mash)
Graeme Miller & Steve Shill – Moomins Theme (Finders Keepers)
The The – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die) (Cineola)
The Comet Is Coming – Neon Baby (Leaf)
Reso – Richochet (Hospital)
Black Channels – Oracles (Death Waltz Originals)
Paul Rutherford – Get Real (Hardcore) (1989)
Beck – Dreams (Capitol)
Band of Skulls – Hootchie Cootchie (Ignition Records) (2014)
Pond – Zond (EMI)
Ash Grunwald – Walking (2011 but via the Amorphous Androgynous ‘Wizards of Oz’ 2015 RSD comp)
Olivier Libaux – No One Knows (feat. Inara George) (2013)
Alan Copeland – Mission Impossible/Norwegian Wood (ABC) (1968!)

Packaging 2015

Design / packaging / covers:
so many incredibly high quality creations, a oglden age for record sleeve packaging and design…
Science Fiction Dancehall Classics compilation (Trevor Jackson) (On-U Sound)
The The – Hyena (Cineola / Death Waltz/Mondo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Signal Starr) (Light In The Attic)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)
Tame Impala – Currents (Robert Beatty)
The ‘Beat Bop’ record case (Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings)

Artists2015

Artists:
Dan Lish
Kim Jung Gi
Signal Starr
Oddly Head
Ameet Hindocha
Reuben Sutherland
Stan & Vince
Jonathan Edwards
Laurie Lipton
Larry Carlson

Books2015

Books / Comics:
Augustine Kofie – Keep Drafting (ZERO+ Publishing)
Stephen Coates – X-Ray Audio (Strange Attractor Press)
Roger Perry – The Writing On The Wall (Plain Crisp Books Ltd)
Hanson, Godtland & Krassner – Psychedelic Sex (Taschen)
Island – Various (Image)
Sandman: Overture – Gaiman/Williams (Vertigo)
Ody-C – Fraction/Ward (Image)
8-House – Various (Image)
B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth – Various (Dark Horse)
Punks: The Comic – Fialkov/Chamberlain (Image)
Judge Dredd: Enceladus – New Life – Williams / Flint (2000AD)

Format expo

Exhibitions:
Peter Kennard at the Imperial War Museum
Charles & Ray Eames at the Barbican
Cosmonauts at the Science Museum
X-Ray Audio at the Horse Hospital
Trevor Jackson / Format at the Vinyl Factory space
Zulu Nation 42nd Anniversary at House of Vans

mad-max-fury-road-poster

Film / TV: (I really didn’t watch much this year)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars : The Force Awakens
Love & Mercy
Dune The Complete Saga (Fan edit)
‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’
Rick & Morty

Secret Cinema X-Wing

Moments:
The X-Wing Fighter flying overhead during Star Wars Secret Cinema
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood box set getting nominated for an AIM award for best box set design
Interviewing Edwin Pouncey aka Savage Pencil for a forthcoming book
Getting to wear a full Stormtrooper suit whilst DJing during Star Wars Secret Cinema
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Renegades of Rhythm show at Koko
Writing a piece and creating a mix about Rammellzee for the Quietus
The moving sale finds at Lambiek in Amsterdam
Crazy scenes at the Southbank for the Big Fish Little Fish free Sunday session

BFLF Southbank

Heroes:
Ben Coghill (again) for being the best agent in the business
The NHS – for saving my mum’s life and generally being incredible
Joshu Docherty – for recommending me for Star Wars Secret Cinema
Jeremy Corbyn – for giving hope that there can be an alternative
Sarah Coleman & Leigh Adams – for releasing their first film, making unique and
interesting things and generally being great people
Pete Williams – for getting the keys to the basement
Shindig! magazine – for overcoming the odds and turning a bad situation to their advantage
Pete Isaac & Scott Boca 45 for getting the whole 45 Live crew together and building an international collective
Everyone who gave their time and dug through their collections to contribute to the weekly Flexibition posts on the site: Jonny Trunk, Pete Isaac, Jon Brooks, Markey Funk & Ofer Tal, Stephen Coates, Jon More, John Stapleton, Steve Cook, Anton Armtone, Sarah & Leigh, Spencer Hickman.

RIP:
Mike Allen (Legendary Hip Hop DJ), Lemmy, Demis Roussos, The Pizz, Don Joyce (Negativland), Shusei Nagaoka, Kája Saudek, Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate), Daevid Allen (Gong), Leonard Nimoy, Brett Ewins, Noriyoshi Ohrai, Rod McKuen, Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Mark B.

Looking forward to:
Transmission shop opening in Margate
David Bowie – Black Star LP
Mute 40 book
The Black Channels LP
The Allergies – Rock Rock feat. Andy Cat (Ugly Duckling)
Prophet: Earth War

Electric Love Blueprint – A Brief History of Electronic Music

Dorothy-104 Electric Love_B Web

A brief history of electronic music mapped out to the circuit board of a theremin, which is widely regarded as one of the first electronic musical instruments, is available at Dorothy.

The Electric Love Blueprint celebrates over 200 inventors, innovators, composers and musicians who have been pivotal to the evolution of electronic music from the invention of the earliest known sound recording device in 1857 to the present day. Key pioneers featured include Léon Theremin, Bob Moog, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, John Cage, New Order and Aphex Twin.

The 60 x 80cm metallic silver screen print includes areas dedicated to specific genres such as the electroacoustic Musique Concrète, Krautrock, Synth Pop, Acid House and Electronica. There are also references to the experimental BBC Radiophonic Workshop and innovating record labels Mute and WarpBuy here:

Dorothy-104 Electric Love_2 Web Dorothy-104 Electric Love_3 Web Dorothy-104 Electric Love_4 Web  Dorothy-104 Electric Love_H Web

303OClock twitter takeover

This weekend just gone I guested on @303OClock‘s twitter feed with a selection of my favourite Acid tracks. The twitter account posts two Acid tracks a day, at 3.03 am and pm, with weekends given over to guest curators. Couldn’t be simpler – give them a follow if you fancy some Acid, twice-daily. Here are my three picks:

DJ Food – Guest Pick 1. Paul Rutherford‘Get Real’ (Hardcore). A recent discovery, a 9.5 min unlabelled 3rd 12″ promo remix. Check the run out groove matrix no’s. (NB: this was produced by ABC back in 1988!)

DJ Food – Guest Pick 2. Sulphuric – The Acid Chamber. Kris Needs & Pete Smith – the B side of their only 12″ on Bandulu‘s Infonet label. Absolute killer of a tune

DJ Food – Guest Pick 3. Aphex Twin – Green Calx. Beautiful, classic Richard D James with a 303 sound that I can only describe as ‘dripping’ at the start.

… guests are also invited to choose one of their own tracks:

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RIP Colin Faver

Techno DJ Colin Faver has died, best known for his Abstract Dance radio show and club night, Knowledge. His and Colin Dale‘s shows on a Monday and Tuesday night on KISS FM in the early 90s were essential listening. It was there that I first heard the Aphex Twin and the emerging UK electronica scene amongst all the other great Hardcore and rave tunes. A pioneer.

Posted in Event, Music. | 2 Comments » |

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.

Top 10 DJ Food Kraftwerk covers from Tsugi magazine

Back at the end of 2014 the French magazine Tsugi devoted an issue entirely to Kraftwerk. They gave me a 4 page feature where I was asked to choose my top 10 Kraftwerk cover versions and I promised to post an English language version of the text here in the new year. Seeing as the magazine should have been and gone from the shelves by now, here it is.
Tsugi Kraftwerk cover
The questions from Tsugi magazine:

When and how did you discover Kraftwerk ?

When I was 11 in early 1982 ‘The Model’ became a no.1 hit in the UK and I was suddenly aware of this ‘new’ electronic group from Germany in the charts alongside The Human League, Depeche Mode and Gary Numan. As a result EMI reissued most of their back catalogue and I bought Man Machine, Computer World and Trans Europe Express on cassette which I loved.

What do you like in Kraftwerk ?
The melodies first and foremost but also the electronic drums and percussion, I just find the songs very pure, simple and timeless. Plus they were singing about the future, robots, spaceships, computers etc. and that appealed to me rather than love songs at that age even though they wrote those too.

Do you have a special story related to yourself and Kraftwerk ?
I actually first heard them when I was about 5 years old on a tape my dad had recorded from the radio although I didn’t realise it was them until much later. The song was ‘Autobahn’ and I always remember liking it when it came on the tape but was a bit scared of the breakdown part with the motorway sounds as it reminded me of the Cybermen in Dr Who. When I bought the reissues of their albums later on I realised that I already knew ‘Autobahn’ although it was a very edited radio version, not the long LP one.

Why are you so passionate about Krafwerk’s covers ?
Being a fan of the band was difficult because they didn’t release anything new for so long so I began to seek out cover versions as a way to fill the gap they had left. It happens with many artists who don’t release new music regularly these days – Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin are just two examples. Fans show their love of an artist by covering their songs.

Do you think that sometimes covers are better than originals ones ?
Occasionally they can be, when someone takes the song into a new style or territory and these are the ones I primarily look for. I don’t see much point in recreating a techno version of a Kraftwerk song although people have done it very well. For me the most interesting ones are those that transpose the songs into a new style but still retain the essence or ones that take the song to an extreme that becomes comedic.

How many covers have you ?
Of Kraftwerk, probably about 300 but there are many more out there, for every cover I hear and like I probably hear another two techno / electro / house versions that I discard because they are just poor copies of the originals.
Tsugi KraftwerkFoodspread1
What are your 10 favorites cover records and for each, could you explain me why?

Gaudi & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Dil Da Rog Muka Ja Mahi (KKK vol.7)
An Indian version of ‘The Model’ but only just, I’m not sure how I found this, possibly on a now discontinued blog of cover versions of various artists. I think the blogger listed 70 different versions of The Model alone.

Makoto Inoue – Europe Endless/Neon Lights (KKK vol. 1 & 3)
Beautiful Gamelan versions of these rarely covered songs, this cover really takes it to another genre entirely, transposing the melodies to sound like an ancient tribe is playing the songs. Nothing electronic about it at all, in fact a lot of my favourite covers are ones that take Kraftwerk’s songs into other genres of sound altogether.

Das Erste Wiener Gemueseorchester (First Viennese Vegetable Orchestra) – Radio Activity (KKK vol.2)
The whole thing is played on vegetables, I’m not kidding and it’s as mad as it sounds but you can heard the song in amongst all the weird sounds. One of the weirdest Kraftwerk covers I’ve ever heard.

Miladojka Youneed – Pocket Calculator (live) (KKK vol.2)
A rawkus almost country version with saxophone and harmony singing. you can almost see the stetsons on their heads. This sounds as if the group has learnt the song from reading the notes and lyrics in a book but never heard the original but they sound like they’re having such a great time playing it.

Satoru Wono feat. Meiwa Denki – Dentaku (KKK vol.2)
A Japanese version with very busy percussion and woodwind instruments, very odd but works perfectly. The vocals still sound robotic but there are spoken in Japanese making this even more alien, the playing is very mechanical and precise despite the organic sounds of the instruments.

Alenia – Home Computer (KKK vol.4)
Quite a straight electronic version but I brings something to the original I can’t put my finger on, maybe this is one of those covers that makes the song perfect for today’s clubs, it’s a bit heavier than the original but still quirky.

6Blocc – Digits (KKK vol.5)
A very detailed dubstep version that updates ‘Numbers’ for the dance floor, it cleverly re-edits the drums and bassline into a half time skank and just about keeps everything from falling down.

Case Managers – Autobahn (KKK vol.5)
Absolutely bonkers Australian version, sounds like it was recorded live at the BBQ after many beers had been consumed, very funny. The singers (all male) seem to get drunker and drunker as the song progresses, the absolute opposite of what Kraftwerk are on record.

Menschmaschine – Spacelab (KKK vol.8) Beautiful jazz version, just stunning, the whole build up of the intro had me from the first listen and I’d say this is probably one of my favourite Kraftwerk covers ever. In fact I recommend the whole Menschmaschine album of jazz cover versions of Kraftwerk’s music

Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Das Modell (KKK vol.8)
‘The Model’ is the most covered song in the band’s catalogue but this one is by a female choir from Belgium. Again another example of a version where there are no electronics and the song is easily carried by the melody and lyrics across to another genre.

You can find all my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection mixes so far here:

Tsugi KraftwerkFoodspread2

DJ Food ‘Influences ’57-’92’ mix liner notes


If you’ve arrived here via the Dust & Grooves site feature on my collecting then the following is an in depth explanation of the mix made especially for that article. There will be some duplication with the D&G piece along the way, hopefully there will be plenty more to hold your attention though.

If you’ve not yet seen the feature and the beautiful photos by Eilon Paz then get yourself over there and check out the wonderful site when you have a spare couple of days.

How to make a mix of the favourites from your record collection? Impossible at best for as soon as you start combing the racks for ‘the essentials’ you quickly realise that half of it is worthy and you’re going to have a 10 hour set on your hands. For my Dust & Grooves mix I set myself a brief of picking tracks that had made a huge impact on me on first listen, shivers down the spine excitement, the shock of the new. Mind blowing sounds that somehow influenced me and fed into the mess of musical connections and contradictions that make me who I am today.

I also wanted to present them in the order in which they were released as far as possible thus making a chronological timeline as my listening habits progressed. This was a ridiculous idea and made the whole thing so much harder but sometimes interesting things happen from constraints and that probably says as much about me as any of the records here. Keeping this down to under an hour was also a tough call and sacrifices had to be made, not just losing artists but also in editing down songs – the essence of the essentials if you like. None of these records or songs are rare (with one exception…) and you will most likely be able to pick any of them up cheaply and easily. This isn’t some showboating ‘look at my rarest items that you’ll never have’ kind of mix, it’s about the songs and sounds that have signposted my early musical input and led to later collaborations both musical and artistic.

DJ Food – Influences 57-92 for Dust & Grooves by Dust & Grooves on Mixcloud

We start with an intro from Ken Nordine, presenting ‘Sound Paintings’ and he’ll be returning throughout as a guide, touring the record bins and opening doors to different parts of the psyche. He has a connection to several people in the selection, Mixmaster Morris (who features later under his Irresistible Force guise) first turned me on to him when we first met and I later went on to work with Ken in 2000 on a version of his ‘The Ageing Young Rebel’. When Eilon from Dust & Grooves came to my studio and I started pulling records he immediately recognised the Word Jazz LPs as Dom Servini had shown him the same when he’d visited his home earlier in the trip. So, even though I didn’t hear Ken until 1993, we start with him for Eilon and already the chronological timeline idea is knackered although it is technically the oldest record in the selection, having been released in 1957.

OK, to the real beginning: Kraftwerk‘s ‘Autobahn’, I probably heard songs before this but I don’t remember a piece of music affecting me in the same way this did. Heard from a tape my dad made of the single in the mid 70’s (I would have been about 5) and it stuck with me because it scared me and signals a love of electronic music. Even more so because the band would go on to become so influential not just to me but for so many.

It’s well known that the band took inspiration from The Beach Boys for the ‘fun, fun, fun on the autobahn’ refrain so I paired the two up with a slice of my favourite Beach Boys song (and there are many), ‘Surf’s Up’. I’m not ashamed to admit that this track has reduced me to tears on a few occasions and I was obsessed with the whole ‘Smile’ saga from whence it sprung as the nineties came to a close. Here I have each band dueting, trading lines in the tradition of all the best mixes, two elements that shouldn’t work together but in doing so create a third. Gary Numan was another electronic pop musician who instantly appealed when ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ climbed to the no.1 spot in the charts in 1979 and I followed his career for a good few years afterwards.

The Queen soundtrack to the 1980 remake of Flash Gordon was the first cassette album I ever bought (I didn’t actually have a record player until I was 13) and I played the shit out of that little tape. In the tradition of listening to one collection again and again I got to appreciate the album as a whole rather than cherry pick my favourites. It was paced the same as the film and included dialogue to push the story along and spoken word has always been a favourite component of ‘music’ for me. The same thing propels the intro to ‘Blush Response’ from the score to Blade Runner, the tense meeting of Deckard, Rachel and Tyrell before the release of Vangelis‘ icy, fluctuating keyboard work. Both of these soundtracks signpost an early love of sci-fi film with synthesiser-led scores (the orchestral bombast of Star Wars never really did it for me).

The Human League, although starting out around the same time as Numan in the post punk landscape were beaten to the punch chart-wise by Gary and the cash-in re-release of their first single, ‘Being Boiled’, post-‘Don’t You Want Me’ success was the track that resonated most. That eerie build up with Phil Oakey‘s, ‘OK, ready, let’s do it’ casually left in before Martin Ware‘s gothic Korg 700 bass line comes in. Listen to the voice of Buddha indeed, so great we included it near the start of mine and DK‘s ‘Now, Listen Again’ Solid Steel mix CD.

Eno & Byrne‘s world music collage collaboration has never been equaled to my mind and although I didn’t hear it until the early 90’s it’s tucked in here as it was released in 1981 and dovetails nicely with another world music smash and grab by the white man.

Malcolm McLaren‘s ‘Duck Rock’ album had all sorts of ramifications in my musical landscape, not least because it bought a bastardised version of Hip Hop to Europe with graffiti, scratching, rapping and breaking alongside the Westwood fashion and Keith Haring artwork.

I vividly remember first hearing ‘Buffalo Gals’ on the top 40 countdown and almost being disgusted by the mess of it. As a song structure it just didn’t make any sense at all, seemingly random elements all thrown together periodically stopping to be primitively scratched. My 13 year old brain couldn’t comprehend it at all, I still don’t think it’s a great song but the album it comes from is a giant flagpole for things to come, mainly for the production team of Trevor Horn and the early incarnation of the Art of Noise.
Which brings us to a little Zang Tuum Tumb megamix section, full of synths and samplers, sex and slaves, drum machines and ‘Dr Mabuse’. Art of Noise’s ‘Beatbox’ was the first release from the label in late ’83, closely followed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s ‘Relax’ (which only gets a tiny look in here unfortunately). Propaganda‘s debut, ‘Dr. Mabuse’ was the third release and appears in extended form before the title track of Frankie’s debut album gets a truncated turn.

Rounded off by a little gem of an unreleased mix of Grace Jones‘Slave To The Rhythm’ by Bruce Forest of Better Days fame. This is where I show off my digging credentials for a minute, this percussion-less mix for voice and orchestra was done on spec in the early 90’s by Bruce and remains unreleased as yet (although I’m trying). For the full story know that this is an edit of the full version and another exists that reinstates a lot more of the EU GoGo percussion. Both were done from master tapes at the Sarm West studios in London and hopefully one day they will see a proper release.

We’re now in the mid 80’s – a turning point for pop music and also for me as I dove headlong into Hip Hop with a passion for the rest of the decade. Without a pause we jump from ‘the Rhythm’ to ‘the Rebel’ (see what I did there?) and Public Enemy‘s classic squealing sax ‘n’ funky drummer smash. I remember the hairs on my neck standing on end when I first heard that transformer scratch after Chuck D roared, “Terminator X!” (even though it was probably Johnny ‘Juice’ Rosado who made the cuts).

I originally had four PE tracks in the mix, starting with ‘Son of Public Enemy’, the B side of their debut under that name and the first I heard played on the radio. The JB’s ‘Blow Your Head’ moog solo was so alien in Hip Hop and with the formless Flavor Flav freestyle over the top it just sounded even more extraterrestrial. This was excised from the mix along with the Terminator X Getaway Dub of ‘Your Gonna Get Yours’ from the A side of ‘Rebel…’s first release but I did also include ‘Countdown To Armageddon’. The opener from ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ is in there because I was actually at the gig it was recorded from at the Hammersmith Odeon in London and even briefly met Chuck and Flav outside beforehand. Everyone has a few ‘I was there’ gigs and this is one of mine.

Around the same time a couple of self-appointed dance floor hooligans were showing the yanks that they could play the same game and after the Double Dee & Steinski homage of ‘Say Kids What Time Is It?’ Coldcut kicked the doors in with ‘Beats n Pieces’. One of the heaviest sample-led dance floor demolishers to emerge from the UK up until Depth Charge waded into the fray (sadly missing from the line up here) and, unbeknownst to me at the time, set to play a huge part in my musical journey (into sound) during the next decade.

Rewinding a couple of years to 1985 when I had a revelation the first time I tuned into Mike Allen’s Capital Radio weekend Hip Hop show and amongst the unaffordable US imports I would come to covet was Word of Mouth‘s ‘King Kut’. Featuring DJ Cheese who would go on to win the DMC Championship a year later on the cuts, it was everything I wanted to hear at 15 – beats, rhymes and scratches. Cheese’s cuts were hugely influential for me but he never got a chance to shine much after his DMC win although he guested on many tracks, he received little or no credit and fell foul of bad management.

The Beastie Boys‘Shake Your Rump’ needs no introduction or explanation except to say that most tracks in this mix are just one extract from albums that are cornerstones of my collection and musical education. Several have had to be left out such as De La Soul, Tackhead, Double Dee & Steinski and Foetus because of time constraints and musical shoe-horning for the sake of it isn’t my style. The The had to be in the mix though and I’ve not picked an obvious track for this one, more something that suited the mood and tempo of this particular part of the timeline. ‘Twilight of a Champion’ is from side 2 of ‘Infected’ but I could have picked anything from that or Matt Johnson‘s ‘Soul Mining’ debut. Interestingly the orchestral arrangements on this track were by ZTT artist at the time Andrew Poppy and Art of Noise member Gary Langan mixed a couple of the tracks on the LP.

From here we jump back into Hip Hop with more UK rap from Hijack, giving Public Enemy a run for their money and influencing DJs like Q-Bert in the process with the amazing cuts from DJs Undercover and Supreme. This group were so good they were one of the first UK acts to land a US record label deal, with Ice T‘s short-lived Rhyme Syndicate, whilst they were nurtured by Simon Harris in Britain on his Music of Life label. Note how only a year on from Coldcut‘s game-changing remix of ‘Paid in Full’ they reference it at the start of the track and then rip the needle off the record. So many people started copying the ‘This Is A Journey’ spoken word back then that it got old real fast. Another Brit copping an ear to what the Americans were doing before he moved to the West Coast was Jack Dangers and Meat Beat Manifesto, an early adopter of sampling after starting with more industrial roots. ‘I Got The Fear Pt.1’ from the amazing ‘Storm The Studio’ LP is cut from the same cloth as ‘Hold No Hostage’ being that they both sample from the same source except Hijack beat MBM by a year.

There’s a quick Jungle Brothers a cappella from their criminally undervalued ‘Done By the Forces of Nature’ LP before we hit Acid House territory with Stakker‘s ‘Humanoid’. This is the track were I finally ‘got’ what Acid was about after hearing various bits and pieces and not being too impressed (I was heavily into Hip Hop’s golden age at the time). Also the fact that Brian Dougans – later to become one half of the Future Sound of London – was responsible for this tells you something and I had their ‘Expander’ lined up to go into the mix later but couldn’t make it work.
William Orbit‘s stunning Spatial Expansion remix of S’Xpress‘Hey Music Lover’ follows, search out the full length version as it’s one of the best mixes he’s ever done and a pinnacle of the UK dance music scene of the late ’80s. The Orb had to feature and, were I keeping to the progressive timeline, I would have included ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ or ‘A Huge Evergrowing Brain…’ at this point. Instead I’ve jumped forward a year to ‘Close Encounters’ from their second album as it suits the wind down into the ambience that follows better.

By 1990 I had moved to London to study graphic design and left most Hip Hop behind for electronic ‘dance’ music, the copycat gangsta-isms of Rap beginning to bore me. Madchester and baggy were in full swing but I was more interested in ‘intelligent techno’ as it became known and the emerging ambient scene. The Orb, were central to this along with the loosely affiliated KLF who soon made the jump into the pop charts. The latter’s ‘Chill Out’ LP knocked me out as I’d never heard anything like it spread over a whole album before. It’s pretty difficult to choose a single track from so I’ve just included some moments that stuck in my mind – “rock radio, into the 90’s and beyond” seeming apt at this point.

Another huge champion of ambient music both then and now is Mixmaster Morris aka The Irresistible Force who I met at some point around 1992 and was a huge influence on my musical education for a few years. He played so many artists who are now considered the foundations of the genre to me for the first time. He also gave advice and info including a contact for Matt Black of Coldcut which set me off on the path I would follow for the next two decades. I have much to thank him for and include a section of ‘Mountain High (Live)’ from his unfairly overlooked debut ‘Flying High’ here in tribute. Find a copy, it’s beautiful and this track alone is 20 minutes long.

Since I’d moved to the capital I had access to the newly launched KISS FM station with Colin Favor and Colin Dale‘s techno shows on a Monday and Tuesday night which I religiously tuned in to. This was where I first heard Aphex Twin‘s ‘Digeridoo’ which was like being run over by a steamroller at the time as it was a good 10 bpm faster than everything else. That started a love of his music which continues to this day and nearly rounds out the mix as I’ve chosen to stop at 1992 – a particular turning point in my life as well (a story for another time).

For the final track (the encore if you like) I’ve chosen a song from an artist I’ve held in high esteem for decades and one which most would have assumed should have kicked off the mix rather than ended it. Adam & The Antz’ ‘Zerox’ was the first record I ever bought – four years after it was released it has to be said – and the band were the first I would hold up as being crazy about. From the moment I heard their first chart entry, ‘Dog Eat Dog’, on the radio I was in love with this group as an impressionable 10 year old and as soon as I got a turntable their back catalogue was the first one I collected. For me their early post punk period that this hails from stands the test of time the best and I finally saw Adam live only last year. Ending where I began seemed to be the best option for a 140 bpm punk single rather than try to sandwich it between Kraftwerk and Queen, it’s rightly home on the timeline.

So, that’s a little trip back in time through the tracks that impacted upon my impressionable mind for the first 20 years or so of my life, maybe one day I’ll do an ‘Influences Pt.2’, kick off from 1992 and see what surfaces. It’s funny reading all this and the D&G article back (originally done about 18 months ago) – this is where I’ve been and although I still hold many of these records dear there’s still a long way to go until we arrive at where my head’s at today.
The new edition of the Dust & Grooves book is about to ship out as of writing – you can buy it here.

14:76 tribute to 76:14 by Heuss

GC 76-14There seem to be an inordinate amount of anniversaries for great albums and films at the moment. 30, 25 and 20 ‘years ago today’ posts pop up every day at the moment, reminding up of countless classics and making me wonder if there’ll be quite so many in 10, 20, 30 years time?

One that no one will argue with is Global Communication‘s masterwork, ’76:14′ – one of the  greatest ambient albums of the 90’s (alongside Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works II’, The Orb’s ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ and FSOL’s ‘Lifeforms’).

Apparently it’s 20th has come and to commemorate the occasion a producer called Huess has created a tribute version and flipped the timing around (the numbers of the title refer to the minutes and seconds the album lasts for – maybe Kasabian never heard of GC before?). It’s pretty good and well worth the 15 minute listen.

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10 tracks whilst studying at Camberwell College of Art

Arts London Music Magazine asked me to name 10 influential tracks to kick off their Rewind series. These are specifically songs that took me through my three year BA degree course at Camberwell College of Art in London during the years 1990-93. I wrote a little piece about each including design inspirations as well as a couple of old pieces of college work that I did in response to music-related briefs whilst on the course, unseen for 21 years pieces. To cap it all off I gave them a mix I made for a college reunion in 2012 that features many of the songs plus plenty more and runs for nearly 2 hours. Full track list and info in the link above.

ALM Mix 01: DJ FOOD – Citrus ’12 by Arts_London_Music_Magazine on Mixcloud

Below are some more detailed shots of the ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ piece I made. It takes the Ricki Lee Jones interview that’s heavily sampled on the track and twists it typographically using hot metal and wood block printing on tissue paper (in itself a very difficult thing to achieve without ripping the paper). That was then mounted on clear acetate and meant to be hung away from the wall so that light could pass through it to reflect the cloud-like nature of the piece (student thinking huh?).

Sacrum Profanum 2012, Krakow, Poland

It’s taken me a while to post these as I was collating a lot of photos from the concert in Poland last weekend. Here’s a selection of images from my own efforts plus a few that I gleaned from the web, some by photographers Andrzej Banas and Wojciech Wandzel
Copyright: 10th Sacrum Profanum Festival, Krakow, Poland

The event was Sacrum Profanum, the 10th time it has happened in Krakow, situated in a working steelworks which is usually a no go area for the city’s inhabitants. This time the focus was on four Polish composers – Penderecki, Gorecki, Kilar and Lutoslawski – and the reinterpretation of their works. I was invited, alongside The Kronos Quartet, DJ Vadim, King Cannibal and Grasscut, by the Polish duo Skalpel, to perform a work by Kilar called ‘Krzesany’ in front of over 2,000 people for the event.

The set up ran like this: The Kronos Quartet would perform a piece (or a section of) by one of the composers, then one of us would perform our remix, then Skalpel would perform their take on another piece by the same composer. Once the show began we were encouraged to leave very little time between each piece so as to present a seamless flow, save for applause at the end of each piece. The audience were incredible, absolute silence during the pieces, no talking, mobile phones etc. – you wouldn’t find that in the UK at an event like this.

Skalpel are huge in Poland and this also acted as their reunion concert as they have been working apart the last few years (the Igor Boxx album on Ninja Tune is a solo record by Igor Pudlo from the group). They got big cheers when they appeared and, even though I was unfamiliar with all the music in both its original or remixed form, theirs stood out as being quite excellent. But the highlight for me was Grasscut’s take on Lutoslawski, an incredible piece in 11/2 time which grew to epic proportions with the addition of drummer Aram Zarikian. Coupled with the multi-layered projection screens behind them and the fantastic lighting design the whole stage resembled a huge stained glass window with the sun streaming through at points. The visuals were a big part throughout, helping fill the cavenous space.

The Kronos Quartet played their first piece with their backs to the crowd, reading a huge rolling projection of the score as they plucked and tapped their instruments to create a concrete opener for the concert. After this the screen was lowered as DJ Vadim presented his take on Penderecki (who was actually in attendance too) and an ‘X’ shaped cluster of screens were revealed showing different notes and textures. The X was a feature of the festival graphics, being that it was their 10th anniversary, and two of the huge supporting structures within the factory had also been lit to form the giant letter. I had sent animations of my own although I couldn’t see them when I was performing but was delighted to see used in photos afterwards.

A truly incredible gig in a year that has already had its share of great moments and events. I was honoured to be asked to such a concert (Aphex Twin and Johnny Greenwood had played similar pieces the year before) and will remember it for a long time. All the music I heard was excellent and I hope this will be collected and released as an album at some point. It was all filmed for DVD and Blu-ray release at a later date as well. More gigs like this please!

Posted in DJ Food, Event. | 3 Comments » |

Mixmaster Morris needs your help

It’s arguable whether I would be where I am today without the help of Mixmaster Morris. You can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t have the connections to give you that foot in the door then you can fall through the cracks. Morris gave me that connection back in the early 90’s by putting me in touch with Matt Black, and as a result, Ninja Tune. He came and played at parties I held for free, gave advice, information and mixtapes of new music that I couldn’t afford to buy as a student. I have treasured memories of sessions round his flat in Camberwell, where he still lives today, listening to track after track of new and old electronic music which Morris would seamlessly mix together in his living room as he chatted (and those who know him know he likes to talk). I was a complete novice in a lot of this at the time, still finding my feet after exposure to The Orb, The Shamen, KLF, early Solid Steel shows and Colin’s Dale and Favor on KISS FM. At the end of the mix, Morris would take a cassette from his machine – he’d been recording all along – and give it to me to take home. This was the real underground stuff, the music that didn’t get written about or get near the charts but is now acknowledged as seminal.

He didn’t have to do any of this, he was busy with his own career, but he did and now he needs help as he’s faced with bailiffs and a £2,500 tax bill that needs to be paid now. Please see if you can spare anything if this man’s music and DJ sets have ever blessed you ears, you can send donations via paypal to [email protected]. The world of electronic music would be a worse off place without his relentless championing of new artists, many a time I saw him relentlessly feed information to journalists who would then go and write about said artists and make the rest of the world aware of them. His knowledge of Krautrock, Prog Rock and New Wave electronica was also extensive and he was the first person to rave about Can, Harmonia, Neu, Faust and Gong to me, long before they became fashionable names to drop and the subject of whole magazine articles. Sun Ra was also another name he dropped and Morris was the first person to play me Ken Nordine as he had a Best of Word Jazz CD, and we know where that led… This was all pre-internet when word of mouth was important, people like Aphex Twin, B12, Carl Craig, The Black Dog, Psychik Warriors of Gaia, Pete Namlook and his Fax label, Luke Vibert, As One, Reload/Global Communication… all of them I heard of from Morris before I’d seen their names in print anywhere.

(top: Morris invited me to play at his Nubient night at the Big Chill Bar in 2010, right: with Stevie Chick at the Ninja Tune 20th anniversary book launch.)
Here is side A of the first mixtape he did for me, this blew my 22 year old mind at the time as it opened up a new world of music, I’ll post side B later.

and here’s side B

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Life begins…

I hit the big 4-0 today so I thought I’d reminisce…

I remember when (in reverse order):young Strictly

The Blue Note was the place to be every night of the week

Coldcut couldn’t get a gig in the main room of any club because they were too ‘chilled’

The KLF were the greatest pop band in the world

Cynthia Rose’s ‘Design After Dark’ was the bible for dance music related artwork.

The smiley face badge from Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen’ was copied by Bomb The Bass and kicked off the whole Acid fashion for smileys.

Big Black called it a day

The DMC finals were held in the Albert Hall

Mike Allen ruled the airwaves for Hip Hop in the South East via Capital Radio

12″ singles were £1.99

Kraftwerk were number 1 in the charts

Thatcher got in (please not again)

2000ad was 8p

Star Wars was everything

‘The King’ left the building

Epiphanies in sound:

These are songs or albums that I remember vividly having a profound effect on me when I heard them first, the ‘Shock of the New’ if you will. Most of these I remember having a hold over me whereby I had to play them again and again because I couldn’t get enough of the sounds each contained. They gave a rush of excitement that I’d been looking for that cannot be described, a feeling so alien from everything else I’d heard before that it was all I could do to keep pressing the rewind button. These are kind of in the order I heard them rather than the order they were originally released. Some of them occupy the same place because a friend made me a tape with both on or something.

chart-singles 82&83Kraftwerk – Autobahn – this has been documented before in my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection piece but to paraphrase – one of the first songs I remember, even though I didn’t know what it was until later.

The Police – Message in a Bottle – I loved the drums and the whole energy of it, one of the first pop songs I consciously remember liking.

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog – My dad liked the drums so taped it off the radio, little knowing that my 10 year old ears would want to listen to little else for the next 3 years

Kraftwerk – Computer World – perfect in every way, an alien world and forerunner to electro.

The Human League – Being Boiled – pretty creepy pop to an 11 year old

Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock – After hearing ‘Buffalo Gals’ and not knowing what was going on I was seduced by the ghetto blaster on the cover and Worlds Famous Supreme Team patter.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (Maida Vale mix) For some reason, when I came to tape ‘Relax’ off the radio the version I got was a special remix made by Dave Cash (a Capital Radio DJ) and this was on repeat play every day after school for the first few months of ’84.

Art of Noise – Beatbox – The DMX is still my favourite drum machine.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (Annihilation) After what seemed like an eternal wait for the follow up to ‘Relax’ (all of 6 months) this 12″ mix blew away everything in the charts and was a landmark in reconstructing a pop single until Coldcut made over Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ 4 years later.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome (LP version) 16 minutes of Prog Pop perfection.

Double Dee & Steinski – Lesson 2 – A milestone (with the other Lessons) in cut and paste excellence, still stands up today where others sound dated.

Arthur Baker – Breaker’s Revenge – Something about this grabbed me and it was probably the Latin Rascals’ edits as much as the melody, when I discovered the remixed 12″ after hearing the Beat St. soundtrack version I flipped.

Grandmaster Flash – Adventures on the Wheels of Steel – Much like the Lessons, this was an even earlier example of how to mix and match (literally with the Queen and Chic basslines)

Word of Mouth & DJ Cheese – King Kut – The first time I tuned into Mike Allen’s hip hop show this was amongst the selection he played and still remains one of my top 10 favourite beats ever.

DJ Cheese – Capital Radio live session for Mike Allen ’86 – a scratch showcase as part of the set by Cheese (at the same time as he won the DMC championship) made me want to learn how to scratch.

Public Enemy – Son of Public Enemy – The sound of the JBs’ ‘Blow Your Head’ sampled over this made it as strange then as when I first heard ‘Buffalo Girls’. Plus I heard this version before the rap, making it seem even more odd.

Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause – When Terminator X scratched in the ‘rock n roll’ line I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up it was so cool, still one of the funkiest, but simplest scratch patterns ever.

De La Soul – 3 Feet High & Rising – A blast of fresh air that seemed like it was beamed down whole from another planet.

You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath – Hole   / Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – Nail – Classics – early sampling, great wordplay and catchy songs too.

The The – Soul Mining / Infected – Two of my favourite records ever

Coldcut – Beats n’ Pieces – Heavy beats and breaks, spoken word and scratching – the blueprint for so much and by two British guys to boot – unheard of quality at the time.

Big Black – Atomizer / Songs About Fucking – Power and precision with a drum machine instead of a drummer – awesome.

Slayer – Reign In Blood / South of Heaven – I was never really into thrash metal but spent several weeks one summer at a mate’s house painting a Megadeth banner for him to take to the Donnington festival. During this time I was played everything from Metallica to Slayer, Anthrax to G.W.A.R. Some grew on me more than others but these two particularly stood out.

Stakker – Humanoid – I was never much into house music but I ‘got’ acid when I heard this and it still stands up as one of the greats.

Fishbone – Truth & Soul – Ska, funk and thrash metal, what a combo, Fishbone were one great live band but never got their dues. A friend taped me this in college and it was stuck in my walkman for months.

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique – Unjustly rubbished on release, I never understood why, I suppose everyone wanted ‘Licensed to Ill’ part 2 but couldn’t they see that this was a much more complex beast?. Rightly acclaimed as an ahead-of-it’s-time classic years later.

Jungle Brothers – Done By The Forces of Nature – One of the funkiest hip hop records ever, supreme layers of samples and totally on point raps. I never tire of hearing it.

Depth Charge – Depth Charge – Sonar ping industrial ‘trip hop’ before the phrase was even invented.

808 State – Cubik – Heavy metal techno, the bassline is so simple and stupid it’s brilliant.

Coldcut vs The Orb – KISS FM ’91/92 – actually my introduction to the Orb and hugely influential as a signpost for where I was heading in the 90’s.

The KLF – Chill Out – a real soundtrack without a film kind of record, made just before they went stratospheric

Brian Eno & David Byrne – My Life in The Bush of Ghosts – no.1 in a field of 1

Future Sound of London – KISS FM radio mixes ’92/3 some of the best crafted ‘mixes’ ever, more like virtual worlds inside the radio, also opening up a whole heap of new music to my ears.

This Mortal Coil – Filigree & Shadow / Blood – I got played this after a friend heard me playing a FSOL record that had sampled it and I loved the concept, breadth and execution of them.

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay – Plight & Premonition – possibly my favourite ambient album ever.

Cocteau Twins – ~Victorialand / Treasure – Their pinnacle (along with their collaboration with Harold Budd, ‘The Moon and the Melodies’)

Aphex Twin – Didgeridoo – Changed the face of techno at the time, it was a good 10+ bpm faster than anything else at the time and sounded like it came from an alien planet.

Ken Nordine – Word Jazz vol.1 – Mixmaster Morris played me this in ’93 during one of my epiphanic visits to his house, little did I know I would end up actually working with Ken later.

Zimbabwe Legit – Doing Damage (Shadow’s Legitimate mix) Alongside ‘Entropy’ and ‘In/flux’ this pointed to a new way of presenting hip hop.

David Shire – The Taking of Pelham 123 – just an amazing suite of music based on a few simple themes, unavailable for years but now deservedly given it’s place amongst classic soundtracks.

DJ Zinc – Super Sharp Shooters – Stealth anthem and one of the best fusions of hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass ever

DJ Shadow – Changeling – if any track of Shadow’s is worthy of the label ‘prog hop’ then this one is it, Sublime, switching time signatures, mood building, he’s never bettered this.

Dick Hyman & Mary Mayo – Moon Gas – I searched high and low for this after reading Mike D rhapsodise over it in Grand Royal, it didn’t disappoint, a very unique record.

Boards of Canada – Skam EP – Beautiful and otherworldly, another record beamed in fully formed from somewhere else yet seemingly familiar.

Cut Chemist – Lesson 6 – the only other Lesson that measures up to the original three

Evolution Control Committee – The Whipped Cream Mixes – the origins of what we now know as the mash up, a complete comedy record from start to finish as all the best ones are.

Mr Bungle – California – stunning

Britney Spears – Toxic – a perfect pop song with a great video too

If you made it to the bottom of that I applaud you for indulging me, thanks to Steve Baker for the scan of the tape cover, possibly the first Strictly Kev mix tape? And congratulations to DK and family who had a new addition on Monday.

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