DJ Food ‘Songs of Praise’ mix

DJ Food - Songs of Praise web
In recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in religious records, specifically rock operas from the late 60’s, early to mid 70’s era. Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar are the most obvious ins to this genre and there are many, many versions of those but they’re the tip of the iceberg once you get into pressings from independent labels run by the church. The astounding thing with this genre – and possibly because of the success of Hair and JCS – is the budgets and records that come out of the woodwork. Box sets with foil printing, 12″x12″ booklets, double albums, full chorus, strings, horn sections, top notch session musicians right down to hand drawn covers and small ensembles recorded in halls with bad sound. Generally though, there was a lot of money about to do this stuff and it shines through in the passion and creativity poured into the songs and performances on these records.

A recent trade with fellow collector, Shane Quentin, (co-contributor to the Wobbly Sounds flexi disc book last year with Jonny Trunk and myself) resulted in me offering an exclusive mix for his long-running The Garden of Earthly Delights radio show. Having chanced upon an incredible religious album recently, full of great tracks, I was looking for a reason to put a load of them together and offered a mix of religious rock and such as I knew he’d get a kick out of it. The results can be heard in my new mix, ‘Songs Of Praise’, tonight on his show between 10pm and midnight – point your browser at http://www.crmk.co.uk/listen. It’ll also be available via Shane’s Mixcloud UPDATE: Full show below, my mix starts at the 33 minute mark.

I love every one of these records and have been playing the mix daily since I made it earlier this month which is unlike me, there’s something both weird and wonderful about them. I had to cut 20 minutes of material to get it in at an hour and already have enough for half of part 2 so this may become an annual, pre-Xmas affair on Shane’s show. A lot of these records are available for very little (one of them I bought for £1) but there’s a lot to plough through in the genre to find the gems.

Mixcloud Select 34: Strictly Kev – Solid Steel 03/06/1995

MS34 Strictly Kev - Solid Steel 3:5:1995 tapeThis is one of my favourite sessions from the 90s, KISS FM, Friday night (we often pre-recorded then and it was broadcast ‘live’ 1-3am Saturday), Matt, Jon, PC and I piled into the tiny studio on the Holloway Road with a bunch of new records, the word treasure jingle CDs that housed all the various samples we’d ’slurp’ over each other’s mixes and no plan but to record 2 hours non stop.

There’s another hour that precedes this that PC should be putting up on his Sound/Mixcloud soon where it’s his turn and possibly Matt Black before him. There’s also a missing 20 minutes at the end of my mix which may well have been Jon finishing off the set. This is a classic trip hop selection taking in blunted beats, turntablism, downtempo electro and hip hop B sides, a bit of ambience and spoken word thrown in and some new Ninja productions at the end.

Things were getting busy and exciting on all fronts in 1995, the year that the label finally broke through with the first Ninja Cuts compilation and solidified things with Coldcut’s Journeys By DJ mix, our first overseas tours and the start of the club, Stealth. Gigs around the UK and Europe were becoming more and more regular and I was designing everything Ninja Tune could throw at me. It was a slow build, not some overnight sensation, things just grew and continued to grow for the next few years, maybe slowing somewhat by 1998 but then we were at the 10 year anniversary by the year 2000.

If anyone can tell me what the opening track is I’d be grateful, Shazam has nothing, I have no record of the set list but I’m thinking it might be something from the New Breed label maybe? DJ Smash? Something from one of the Fat Jazzy Grooves comps? You can tell it’s the 90s with those kind of names. The Ken Nordine sample makes me think it’s from the US as few had sampled him by 1995. *UPDATE: Edward has come through with the answer, it was JazzadelicMessage From Outer Space, he also pointed out that the date was 3rd of June 1995, not May – thanks Edward. The Prunes track that follows is definitely from that label, still quite underrated/forgotten over in the UK, there’s all sorts of great trip hop on that label going back to 1992.

DJVadim_NonLat_12_label

I had a trick that I used to do, it’s an old hip hop thing that DJ Vadim showed me with a roll of gaffe tape and a turntable, you can see it illustrated on the cover of his first Ninja Tune single. You place the roll of tape on the platter, sit a record on top of it, making sure it’s as central as possible, unscrew the headshell of the tonearm and slot it back in upside down. Tip the tonearm weight back as far as it will go and then place the needle on the underside of the elevated record so the needle is facing up. Put it in the middle of the record, not the edge, as the grooves will be carrying the needle from the inside to the outside of the disc once the platter is rotating. Press start on the deck and the sound comes out reversed as the needle is tracking it backwards now. I would do this in clubs and it would always get a great response as it’s such a visual trick, you had to do it with something recognisable and that didn’t change too much plus it was hit and miss where you got the needle but you could get it in time in the mix with a bit of push and pull. I did this with the 45 King’s ‘900 Number’ during this show to general amazement as I don’t think the others had seen it done before.

We get a scratch-fest of DJ Cheese, the Jeep Beat Collective (shout out to Dave the Ruf and DJ Mark-One) and 2 Live Crew’s Mr Mixx before some more downtempo beats from The Prunes and Mike Paradinas alias, Jake Slazenger. I must have just got his album as two tracks feature in quick succession here. Early Wall of Sound makes an appearance in the form of Mekon from the first Back To Mono compilation and then it’s the evergreen Solid Steel staple of Forrest Ackerman’s ‘The Tin Age Story’ from Music For Robots. New Coldcut/Food collab ‘The Worm Turns’ leaps in before we close with a fresh-out-the-studio DJ Food remix of Nobukazu Takemura from the Japan/Germany-only Child’s View Remix album which, if you haven’t heard it, is excellent and features amazing remixes by Aphex Twin and Wagon Christ.

Such fond memories of this time, people and music, not a care in the world.
UPDATE!
PC has put his mix that preceded mine from this show up on his Mixcloud – check it out, there’s an unreleased DJ Food remix in there too – and give him a follow while you’re there
https://www.mixcloud.com/knobblyknee/solid-steel-030695/

Track list:
Jazzadelic – Message From Outer Space
The Prunes – Vinyl Anal
45 King – The 900 Number
Spacepimp – K9 Law
Word of Mouth feat DJ Cheese – King Kut (Dub)
Jeep Beat Collective – Nah, Nope It’s Dope (Scratch Mix)
Anquette – Ghetto Style (instrumental)
The Prunes – Somethin’ Funky
Jake Slazenger – Megaphonk
E.A.R. – Sub Aqua
Jake Slazenger – ERP
Mekon – Minnie’s Broken Arm
Forrest J. Ackerman – Music For Robots
The Illuminati of Hedfuk – The Worm Turns
Nobukazu Takemura – Crescent (DJ Food remix)

Mixcloud Select: Strictly’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt.2 05/12/99

DJFoodMixcloudSelect33I mistakenly listed last week’s mix as Part 2 for some reason, probably because it was that way wrong on the PRS sheet despite an opening sample starting, “tonight on Solid Steel we have… “. Anyway, tonight we have a lesser known Boards of Canada remix from Funkstorung’s Michael Fakesch’s first solo single, ‘Demon. 1’ opening the show. It flows into a Pilote track I’d completely forgotten but am very glad to be reminded of (bit out of tune but have you ever tried mixing Boards with anything melodic? Virtually impossible).

The Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia track is one of my very favourite techno tracks of the 90s, as you can hear by my attempt to mix the whole thing in and under Four Tet’s ‘Glasshead’ despite the latter being loose as hell and the tuning being off, bass lines fighting etc. Trevor Jackson’s Output label was really firing on all cylinders around this time, his Skull EP, Kieran’s 12” and 7-Hurtz’ first release, all top drawer material and we’d hadn’t even got to the DFA connection yet.

Part 2:
MICHEAL FAKESCH  – SERFAISE (BOARDS OF CANADA MIX)
PILOTE – JUNIOR
PSYCHIC WARRIORS OV GAIA – OBSIDIAN
FOUR TET – GLASSHEAD
7-HURTZ – 7-HURTZ THEME
PSYCHIC WARRIORS OV GAIA – OBSIDIAN

Mixcloud Select: Strictly’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt.1 05/12/99

Adventure in Wonderland DATWe’ve had a lot of the ’00’s recently so I thought I’d reach back into the 90s a bit and pulled these from the DAT files, a couple of mixes from the same show near the end of ’99. Both are quite different so I’ve split them up as the part 1 and 2 that I recorded them as. We kick off with a hip hop-heavy half hour full of crashing beats and samples from a time when R’n’B hadn’t quite started to invade hip hop and the underground scene was in rude health.

Trevor Jackson’s Skull alias kicks the door in and crops up later too, there’s a healthy UK/US crossover with The Herbaliser collaborating with Latyrx on ‘8 Point Agenda’. I can hear a few samples that were floating around during the making of ‘Kaleidoscope’ in this and we would have been finishing it around this point. The computer ‘ghost voice’ also appears, programmed from an app and used as a presenter for the mixes as we’d left KISS FM by this time and were either recording mixes up at Ninja HQ in Ahead of Our Time studios or at home. There was no way to talk on the mic in the studio and, freed up from the need to play ads and ‘reads’ for the station, we just got on with the music. Streaming in a basic form was being explored by Matt Black via the Ninja Tune website ‘Pipe’ and track lists could be posted but this was early days and only a few were engaged on that level. This was sort of a wilderness period when we weren’t officially on the radio, just the web but we never stopped recording a show each week. Coldcut were very insistent that we keep going and not stop the weekly routine as something would come up, and it did in the form of the BBC a year down the line.

Porn Theatre Ushers’ ‘Me & Him’ is an under recognised classic and Public Enemy had made a decent enough single to get featured after a string of so-so releases. I first heard the second Skull track appearing here at a gig I was doing with DJ Vadim somewhere, he played the track from the beginning and let it run to an increasingly puzzled crowd, once the beat dropped everyone was on board though and I had to know what it was. The looseness and uniqueness of the production really made you stop in your tracks and pay attention. Finishing off with Shadow’s Lifer’s Group remix which got bootlegged at some point in the 90s along with the Zimbabwe Legit mix, this is pretty straight up but leads us into a more mellow late night techno excursion next week.

Part 1:
SKULL – SPAZTIK
THE HERBALISER – 8 POINT AGENDA
D.I.T.C. – GET YOURS
STEADY – TRICKNOLOGY
PORN THEATRE USHERS – ME & HIM
SKULL – CRASH
PUBLIC ENEMY – WHAT WHAT
LIFERS GROUP – THE REAL DEAL (DJ SHADOW REMIX)

New Celestial Mechanic EP

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)To celebrate the US publication of Rian Hughes book, ‘XX, A Novel, Graphic’ on Nov 10, we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out today, including a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ alongside satellite piano variations made during the ‘Citizen Void’ LP.
https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission

Celestial Mechanic is a new project I’m part of, directed by Rian Hughes and in collaboration with his sister, pianist Saron Hughes. Rian put us together and commissioned a soundtrack for his book earlier this year. In his novel “XX” he includes a review of a fictional album based on a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin. I and Saron were tasked with the job of taking this review and making the album a reality. In what may be a first, the review actually preceded the music.

“XX” is published by Picador (UK) August 20 2020, Overlook Press (US) November 10 2020.

 

Mixcloud Select 31: Strictly Kev – Just A Phase (extended version) 02/04/2001

31 CD DiscMy archive disc says this is an extended version and it clocks in at 69 minutes so there’s an extra 9 minutes that wouldn’t have been on the Solid Steel broadcast.
The lovely sax sample used in the intro is from Stan Getz‘s ‘Soul Dance’ that also crops up in full later and he features twice here. That track reminds me so much of pillaging the easy listening bins for Command, Project 3 and others on North American tours. The Jim Backus record (the voice of Mr. Magoo and also God on a recent rock opera I found) was absolutely scratched to bits but I managed to clean it up. Who knew that that Bonobo remix of Pilote would wind up on a phone advert and he’d go on to become not only one of the biggest Ninja artists but one of the biggest on the world stage? Ah, this Neotropic stuff slays me every time, her best album of the era, ‘La Prochaine Fois’ is an electronic folk masterpiece, great memories associated with that one.

I think the comedy inserts throughout about the car starting and the radio DJs are from a Robert Klein comedy album, Child of the Fifties’ (also check his ‘Mind Over Matter‘ release). He was a comedian who also did a radio show in the late 70s and early 80s, some of which were syndicated and pressed onto vinyl. So much great stuff in here that I’d forgotten, the Groop track, ‘Moonbase‘, a nice slice of psych on Jazzman offshoot, Stark Reality, Ian O’Brien‘s beautiful ‘Midnight Sunshine’, cLouddead‘s ‘Jon Abercrombie-sampling ‘Jimmy Breeze’. Sixtoo‘s ‘Work In Progress’ is still some kind of crazed masterpiece, shame about the tuning in the mix! I remember going to his apartment in Nova Scotia before he moved to Montreal and him playing us demos of forthcoming tracks, telling tales of neighbours banging on the door complaining about the noise (something he recorded for a future release). We went digging with Dynamic Syncopation and Fink in the freezing weather on a Sunday with huge icicles hanging off gutters and spent all afternoon in a local record store with condensation steaming up the windows, when we emerged hours later it had snowed and the whole street was covered in fresh powder. The second appearance of Stan Getz features my favourite song of his, ‘Bonjour Tristesse’, a beautiful track from his ‘Communications ’72’ album and something I ended up featuring in my live turntable re-score of The Monkees’ ‘Head’ film around this time.

31 PRS

As you can see from the sticker accompanying the tracklisting, this was from the period when Solid Steel was on BBC London, or LDN as they rebranded it. After Stan we have the extended content including another great lost artist, Broadway Project, who also samples the same track as cLouddead earlier. I believe he largely writes for film and TV these days although has recently upped loads of work to Bandcamp. The ‘William Tell Overture’ version I have no recollection of but looking it up, it’s from the Zachariah soundtrack which has some superbly weird moments as I recall. Tony Mottola‘s smoother than smooth version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ plays us out, coupled with more Robert Klein. This was definitely a phase I was going through.

Track list:
Phase 3
Jim Backus & Friend – Delicious
Pilote  – Turtle (Bonobo remix)
Neotropic – Still
Neotropic feat. Shorti – Memories
Groop – Moonbase
Mike Sharpe – Spooky
The Allies – D-Day
Ian 0’Brien – Midnight Sunshine
Stan Getz – Soul Dance
Phase 4 
cLOUDDEAD – Jimmy Breeze
Tortoise – Seneca
Dakota Oak – How Danny’s Friend Became A Force For Good
Neotropic – Je Suis
Sixtoo – Work in Progress
Stan Getz – Bonjour Tristesse
Broadway Project – Life of a Refugee
Jimmie Haskell – William Tell Overture
Tony Mottola – Spinning Wheel

Mixcloud Select 30: Strictly Kev – Going Through A Phase 26/03/2001

30 CD disc Subtitled ‘Canadian Vinyl Excavation series’, these two mixes were very much a result of going through the spoils of touring the US and Canada in 2000 and mixing in a sprinkling of new releases from the time. As I’ve no doubt previously mentioned, the international tours of the day were also excuses to go wild in record shops overflowing with vinyl post-CD boom, pre-vinyl resurgence, all cheap with a strong pound against a dollar conversion and an even better Canadian dollar rate. Regular day routines would be to travel to the next city, check in and either hit the record shops or do the soundcheck and try to squeeze in a dig before dinner. Days off were a free for all and the van or bus bays would fill up with bags of vinyl pretty quickly.

I’m using the trusty Line 6 FX pedal in some of this, it has a lovely long sustain on it and a gritty analogue sound, very versatile but a bit of a beast to control. This and next week’s mixes were based around the opening track by Vanilla Fudge whose concept album ‘The Beat Goes On‘ was split into four phases. Some great UK hip hop in here from Stylee C and Def Tex, both from the Son label, run by Al from the Ninja Tune office at the time. Some background on the Peter Cook & Dudley Moore track, a 1967 track that got put on a Beatles bootleg and led some people to speculate that it might be the band incognito. Dudley Moore wrote, “Regarding “The L.S. Bumble Bee“, Peter Cook and I recorded that song about the time when there was so much fuss about L.S.D., and when everybody thought that “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” was a reference to drugs. The exciting alternative offered to the world was L.S.B.!, and I wrote the music to, in some ways, satirize the Beach Boys rather than the Beatles. But I’m grateful if some small part of the world thinks that it may have been them, rather than us !”.

30 PRS

The Gil Trythall ‘Nashville Moog’ track was the last track on a frankly terribly Country Moog album I picked up but is a genuinely enjoyable piece of comedy filler. The Jonny Dankworth ‘Experiments with Mice’ is also a gem, fished out of a Toronto 45 bin, a fantastic retooling of the nursery rhyme in a jazz context, renaming the three mice after famous players and using their signature styles to flesh out the story, a kind of live mash up. At this point I’d been buying up jazz and soundtracks at a rate of knots for several years on tours, the costs being minuscule compared to UK prices, but was beginning to dip my toe into the psych rock pool with The Mothers of Invention and anything that said ‘psychedelic concept acid freakout’ on the cover. Of course I picked up a few duds along the way as many bands and artists cashed in on the summer of love but it made for some great sleeves. Apropos to nothing, the Quincy Jones track sounds like the Batman theme to me. That’s a very ambitious mix from The Mothers into Herbie Hancock, it just about holds together, the search for his ‘The Spook Who Sat Behind The Door’ flexi still goes on… For the final track I see I included Andy Summers & Robert Fripp, I have no recollection of this, or of ever owning any of their albums, although I’ve since become a Fripp devotee, very odd.

Parts 3 & 4 next week…

Phase 1
Vanilla Fudge – And The Beat Goes On
Stylee C – Old 3 Piece Suite
Mondo Grosso – MG2SS
Miroslav Vitous – Bassamba
The Soul Destroyers – Blow Your Top
Sandy Nelson – Bang That *%$£@+ Drum
Lord Buckley – Willie The Shake
5th Dimension – Good News
Def Tex – Sad Songs
Peter Cook & Dudley Moore – LS Bumble Bee
Gil Trythall – Nashville Moog
The Avalanches – Thank You Caroline (Andy Votel mix)
Phase 2
Jonny Dankworth – Experiments with Mice
Paul Horn – Interludium
Arthur Lyman – Taboo Tu
Quincy Jones – Boogie Bossa Nova
The Mothers of Invention – Help, I’m a Rock
Herbie Hancock – The Spook Who Sat Behind The Door
Fingathing – Slop
Sonny Terry – Blue’s Last Walk
Jack Nitzsche – No. 2
Andy Summers & Robert Fripp – Maquilage

Mixcloud Select 29: DJ Food – Rave New World 25/04/2005

I Love Acid

Approximately 12 years ago this weekend I played my first set at a Halloween-themed version of Posthuman’s I Love Acid parties (see graphic above I made for a DVD of visuals I compiled for the set). Whilst there’s no recording of that set that I know of, there are photos as I took my good friend, photographer Martin LeSanto-Smith, along with me and he ended up shooting countless nights of the parties for them afterwards.

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Roughly three and a half years earlier I’d put together a mix christened ‘Rave New World’ for Solid Steel, full of old late 80s and early 90s favourites which isn’t far off some of the Big Fish Little Fish or acid 45 sets I’ve been doing in recent years direct from only 7” vinyl. I’m not sure what prompted this collection of tunes at the time but I still stand behind each and every one of them.

29 Rave New World disc
The first track after the intro is from a clear flexi disc I’d traded with someone with no info at all on it (re-edited to say me name at one point) which I’ve since found out the origin of. Without Discogs to provide this valuable information I was in the dark for years but the full story behind this can be found here as part of my Flexibition entry of party and rave invites.

29 Rave New World PRS

A couple of notable debuts feature later in the mix in the shape of Aphex Twin (Pacman) and Autechre’s debut release, two slices of hardcore from before they found their voice. I don’t know what to say about any more of these tracks as I love them all so much – the set gets heavier and heaver as it goes on so you have been warned. There’s a short, mystery track unlisted at the end that I have no recollection of putting there and can’t remember who made, let’s just leave it that way.

Track list:
Redruth – Solid Steel intro
Strictly Underground – lllegal Rave II advert
808 State – Cubik
Doug Lazy – Let It Roll (accapella)
John & Julie – Circles (Spiral mix)
Bam Bam – Give it To Me
The Destroyer – Senses (Hooligan mix)
DJ Dick – Weekend
GTO – Listen To The Rhythm Flow (remix)
Future Sound of London – Papa New Guinea
Meat Beat Manifesto – Radio Babylon
Incubus – The Spirit
Eon – Fear: the Mind Killer
Hardfloor – Hardtrance Acperience
Meat Beat Manifesto – Mindstream (Orbital remix)
Pacman – Power Pill
Autechre – Cavity Job
Sulphuric – The Acid Chamber
Vapourspace – Gravitational Arch of 10
The Hypnotist – Hardcore U Know the Score (remix)
The Hypnotist – House Is Mine (GTO remix)
Wiseblood – Death Rape 2000
Amen Andrews – Fear
Squarepusher – Come On My Selector
Aphex Twin – Cock 10 (Delco Freedom mix)
Caustic Visions – cvthru202
DJ Redoo – Bulldozer

Mixcloud Select – Version Galore Deluxe 4/10/2004

fullsizeoutput_1cea I realised we hadn’t had anything from 2004 yet so went to find something from around this time back then. Just over 16 years ago the world was a very different but no less scary place, 9/11 had happened and the Iraq war was in full flow, as evidenced by some of the cut up speeches from George Bush Jnr. near the end of this mix. Despite that, this mix features an assortment of versions, covers and parodies of classic tracks as a running theme. From 60s pop to piano ballads, reggae mash ups (when they were still a new thing) and string versions. You can still hear the fallout of the bootleg craze and Armando Ianucci spoken word crops up throughout, possibly from Time Trumpet?

This mix is an odd one with virtually no contemporary tracks save for maybe the Depeche Mode remix and the M83 track at the end. It was also put together partly digitally as there are a lot of overdubs and extra touches. By the 00’s I was fully utilising the editing capabilities of Cubase to chop up and overlay mixes from the decks and construct sets that had a lot more going on in them than just a pair of records being played. The availability of more digital music via the web meant that songs could be edited in that I didn’t have physical copies of but this was still a year or so before I got Serato and was able to mix the two formats more easily.fullsizeoutput_1ce8

Incidentally, the mix opens with the winner of the Solid Steel intro competition – an online comp for people to record new intros to the radio show using only the famous bleeps as a guide. It was won by Tom Miller and Jules Green – who both went on to set up the Keep Up! label and later, Tom with Shapes of Rhythm – the ‘version galore’ sample in their intro gave the mix its title. Les Surfs, who start the mix proper, released a ridiculous amount of singles during the 60s including this version of ‘The Clapping Song’ which I was collecting copies of at the time. The two versions of ‘Wild Thing’ later on are both sides of a mid 60s 7” I picked up somewhere in North America, parodying two competing senators recording versions to win votes but both ‘wildly’ out of their depth. Regarding the role call of American actors and musicians and US Army speeches that bookend the M83 track – I can’t recall their origins but both most likely came from the web.

Track list:
Tom & Jules – Version Galore Solid Steel intro
Les Surfs – Clac Tape
Anita Harris – The Clapping Song
Josie & the Pussycats – Clapping Song
Goyte – Just Can’t Get Enough (Mothloop mix)
Depeche Mode – Clean (Colder remix)
Marilyn Manson – Personal Jesus
Unknown – Dr Who theme
String Quartet – Work It Out
Beyonce – Work It Out (a capella)
Leroy Sibbles – Express Yourself
The Killer Meters – Just Kissed My Baby
Hot Paste – Make It Busta
Grandmaster Melle Mel – The Message (Paul Nice bootleg mix)
Bumps Jackson – Funky In Jamaica pt.2
Senator Bobby – Wild Thing
The Party Party / RX – Sunday Bloody Sunday
Senator Everett McKinley – Wild Thing
M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts

Plus contributions from Beat Street, Mantronix, Armando Ianucci, George Bush Snr and Jnr

Mixcloud Select 27: DJ Food – XEN Tour pt.2 10/2000

27 Xen Tour 1+2 CD 30 years ago this month, Ninja Tune came into being and 20 years ago the label made it into double figures.  I made a Ninja-centric set for the occasion and this was recorded across various dates of a UK tour to support the Xen Cuts compilation album. At some point I put it down in two parts and the first 30 minutes of part 1 was played on Solid Steel 09/10/200 but the rest of this mix went un-broadcast I think.27 Xen Tour 1+2 CD back

Part 2 continues the theme – warning – some very shonky mixes in parts here, never try mixing heavily swung half time jazz with regimental double time drum n bass. Also – lots of scratching near the end, I had edited in some scratch jam from a set with Ollie Teeba and DK that I’d completely forgotten about, it goes on a bit but has some nice moments (only some, indulge me).27 Xen Tour CD 2 inside

What’s nice about this is that you can hear the crowd at points and, in the current climate, that’s not something we’re going to hear much of any time soon. Also, this is all vinyl, Serato wasn’t even on the horizon at this point so all the jumps and wonky pushes and pulls you hear are me wrestling with the records in real time. No cue buttons to jump back to the start of a track, no ‘relative mode’ so that when the needle skips you don’t hear it, no loop function… I don’t miss it at all :)

Happy Birthday 30th birthday Ninja!

Track list:
Mr Scruff – Get A Move On
DJ Food – Mr Quicke Cuts The Cheese
DJ Food – Ninja Walk
DJ Vadim – The Pimp Theme 126
Funki Porcini – Rocket Soul
Dynamic Syncopation – Closer To The Line
The Illuminati of Hedfuk – The Worm Turns
Neptune – Soul Pride
Up, Bustle & Out – Los Locos Cubanos (Snowboy mix)
Cinematic Orchestra – Ode To The Big Sea (Four Tet remix)
Cinematic Orchestra – Channel One Suite
2 Player – Extreme Possibilities (Wagon Christ remix)
Amon Tobin – Like Regular Chickens (Dillinja remix)
DJ Food – Scratch Yer Hed (Squarepusher remix)
Jungle Brothers – Jungle Beats
Dynamic Syncopation – Internal Affairs
Amon Tobin – Creatures
DJ Vadim – Friction feat. Iriscience
– Scratch jam w. Ollie Teeba + DK
Styly Cee – Here Comes Son
The Bar-Kays – Holy Ghost
KMD – Peachfuzz (Instrumental)
The Upsetters – Popcorn
Red Snapper – Hot Flush (Sabres of Paradise remix)
The Radiophonic Workshop – Dr Who Theme

Mixcloud Select 26: DJ Food – XEN Tour Pt.1 10/2000

26 Xen Tour CD130 years ago this month, Ninja Tune came into being and 20 years ago the label made it into double figures. To celebrate there was a run of dates in London, starting on a Thursday night in three separate bars around Hoxton. Plastic People, The Strongroom Bar and The Pool bar played host to various DJ combos as a warm up for the weekend.
The newly opened 93 Feet East played host on Friday – so new there was still wet paint in places – with Amon Tobin, Hexstatic, Coldcut, Kid Koala & P-Love, Fink, Neotropic, Mixmaster Morris, Mr Scruff and myself with visuals by The Light Surgeons.

x gigs flyer back

The Scala saw a big funk and hip hop line up on the Saturday with The Herbaliser, DJ Vadim, Dynamic Syncopation, Kid Koala & P-Love, Luke Vibert & Blu Rum and a Big Dada Room with Roots Manuva, Mike Ladd, Gamma, Ty and New Flesh For Old.

Mercifully, Sunday saw a mellow come down at Ronnie Scott‘s as we all nursed out hangovers and witnessed intimate sets from DK, Clifford Gilberto, Chris Bowden and The Cinematic Orchestra.

26 Xen Tour CD inside

I made a Ninja-centric set for the occasion and this was recorded across various dates of a UK tour to support the Xen Cuts compilation album. At some point I put it down in two parts and you can hear that the Mr Scruff – Ug/DJ Vadim – The Terrorist mix we put on the first Solid Steel mix CD originates from here. The first 30 minutes of part 1 was played on Solid Steel 09/10/200 but the rest of this mix went un-broadcast I think.

Part 2 to follow next week. Happy Birthday 30th birthday Ninja!

Track list:
Steinski – The Xen To One Ratio
The Herbaliser – Mr Chombee Has The Flaw
The Cinematic Orchestra – Channel 1 Suite
Mr Scruff – Fish
Neotropic – 15 Levels
Dynamic Syncopation – Bahian B-Boy
Up, Bustle & Out – Revolutionary Woman of the Windmill
Cabbage Boy – Planet
Amon Tobin – Sordid
The Herbaliser – Mrs Chombee (DJ Food remix)
Funki Porcini – Let’s See What Carmen Can Do
Mr Scruff – Ug
DJ Vadim – The Terrorist (acapella)
DJ Food – Turtle Soup (Wagon Christ remix)
The Herbaliser feat. Latyrx – 8 Point Agenda (acappella)
DJ Shadow & The Grooverobbers – Hardcore Instrumental Hip Hop
Quantum – Blue Flames
DJ Shadow & The Grooverobbers – Hardcore Hip Hop
Latyrx – Say That
Amon Tobin – 4 Ton Mantis
Saul Williams – Elohim
Dynamic Syncopation feat. Mass Influence – 2 The Left
9 Lazy 9 – Electric Lazyland
Roots Manuva – Fever
DJ Food – Sexy Bits (Autechre remix)
Dynamic Syncopation feat. Mass Influence – Ground Zero (acappella)
Big Dada Allstars – Showtime
Dynamic Syncopation feat. Mass Influence – The Plan
DJ Food – Dark Lady
Luke Vibert – Get Your Head Down
DJ Food – Freedom (Fila Brazillia mix)
Animals On Wheels – Modular Existence
DJ Food – Consciousness (Ashley Beedle Unconscious Dub)
Up, Bustle & Out – Bicycles, Flutes & You

Mixcloud Select 25: Openmind – Strictly session 09/12/94

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This is the other side of the tape from week 15 (which was the week after this) and comprises a mix I did of 45 minutes which is all I have of this show. There may have been more but the cassette ran out. This is still billed as Openmind but Matt Black refers to me as ‘Strictly Kev on the mix’ at one point so this is somewhere midway to coming to the Solid Steel / Ninja fold and becoming a part of DJ Food.
Trip hop and electro is in full flow on this one with the first release on Clear – The Jedi Knights’ ‘May The Funk Be With You’, Afrika Bambaataa and an early Andrea Parker / David Morley production for the Apollo label under the name Two Sandwiches Short of a Lunchbox.

Jon More‘s (then) secret weapon – Forrest J. Ackerman’s ‘Music For Robots’ is deployed for spoken word effect (just wait until we got to Japan in a few years time…) and coincidentally (or maybe on purpose) the Yoshinori Sunahara track that opens the set is titled ‘Music For Robot For Music’.

After that the Art of Noise gets molested by Rick Rubin’s uber slow, ultra heavy ‘Dust Cloud’ from the Tommy Boy ‘Masters of the Beat’ compilation, it doesn’t always work but you can hear what I was trying to do. An early David Holmes mix for Justin Warfield and the Future Sound of London in their Far Out Son of Lung guise both dip their toes in psyched out trip hop with long, tripped out distorted beats and FX, this was the stuff I really loved (and still do) – weird, heavy, psychedelic beats and samples.

I think most people are hip to Justin’s LP debut LP by now, ‘My Field Trip To Planet 9’ – a trip hop classic before the term was even coined, if you’ve not heard it then check it out. The only other things like it at the time coming from the US were bits of Beastie Boys’ circa Check Your Head, some Divine Styler and maybe a bit of the DJ Muggs stable. UK remixes by Holmes, Ashley Beedle and The Dust Brothers (UK version, pre-name change). In a weird twist of fate Justin would soon feature on Bomb The Bass‘Bug Powder Dust’ single which would also sample DJ Food’s ‘Dark Lady’. Sadly he largely left hip hop for more rock-based bands for about 20 years after this although he made another rap album 20 years later and made this astute observation: “The only caveat being I didn’t know what to talk about, and since hip-hop is at it’s best a vehicle for an artist with something he or she has to say, a point of view given voice over beats, and that if you had nothing to say, well…then better to not say anything at all. (A point lost on some modern rappers, and more importantly, the ever-growing audience that gobbles it up).

Track list:

Coldcut – Solid Steel intro jingle
Yoshinori Sunahara – M.F.R.F.M. (Armed)
Boymerang – The Don
Forrest J. Ackerman – Music For Robots
Art of Noise – Moments In Love
Rick Rubin – Dust Cloud
The Jedi Knights – May The Funk Be With You
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force – Looking For The Perfect Beat (Bonus Beats)
DJ Food – A Little Samba
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force – Looking For The Perfect Beat (instrumental)
Two Sandwiches Short of a Lunchbox – Too Good To Be Strange
Justin Warfield – Live From The Opium Den (David Holmes Dub)
Future Sound of London – Far Out Son of Lung & The Ramblings of a Madman
Bandulu – Run Run

Mixcloud Select – Strictly’s Jazz Beatnik Hipster session Pt.3 25/10/1998

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As we conclude our field trip with Mr Geets Romo and the hopelessly out of his depth square narrator, played by Del Close and John Brent on their ‘How To Speak Hip‘ album we continue down the electronic jazz path of the late 90s. The Death track came on a silver 12” with no labels but a skull sticker listing the components used to make it and I regularly used it as a rhythmic bridge between styles when DJing. Looking it up now I see that it was the only release under this name by Thomas P. Heckman who started making all manner of electronic records in the 90s including starting the Trope label which this is on. It’s great having the internet and Discogs now to look this stuff up, back in the 90s, although we had email and a vague version of the web, it was hard to find out about some of the more obscure releases that turned up in record shops unless they came with a press release or were featured in a magazine.

The Tortoise remix here is by Bundy K. Brown who I was keeping close tabs on after we’d met in Chicago on our first tour of the US and pledged to work together. I love his remixes, there’s something about the way he puts things together with both a musician and engineer’s mind that brings out unique results. I love the way he draws things out here, the groove and mood gently unfolding with minute changes. Also, this one is LONG, so much so that I play the whole of the next record over it and barely get time to mix another track in before that’s ended.

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Those records being Jamie Hodge’s Born Under a Rhyming Planet alias and Kingsuk Biswas Bedouin Ascent with their takes on electronic, abstract jazz. Both were prolific in the mid 90s and then went quiet as the 00’s appear, neither having released any music for over a decade now. Kingsuk especially I thought could have been as big as Aphex or label mate Luke Vibert, his complex angular rhythms were like no one else’s. Following this we have a track from the rare MASK 400 12” from Gescom’s Skam label, which sees Grace Jones’ ‘Private Life’ remixed by Post which may have been an alias for Mike Williamson. We get another (very out of tune, mix wise) track from Papa Blue’s ‘En Velo’ 12” (remember, cheap over on Discogs) and ‘Proxima Session’ was from a 12” entitled Jazz Roux by Uriel who followed a similar pattern to others here by being super active in the mid to late 90s and then disappearing.

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Track List:
Del Close & John Brent – Field trip no.3
Death – Electronic Realisations 2
Tortoise – Find The One (Wait , Abstraction No.3)
Born Under A Rhyming Planet – Spasm Band
Bedouin Ascent – Internal Bleeding
Grace Jones – Private Life (Post remix)
Papa Blue – Luna en la Pampa
Uriel – Proxima Session

Rian Hughes’ XX book featured in Electronic Sound

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Very pleased to see Rian Hughes’ new book ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’ featured so prominently in the new issue of Electronic Sound magazine with a double page of layouts.If you want an idea of what the book’s about then Sci-Fi Now has a very good review.

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The Celestial Mechanic album that I created with Saron Hughes and Robin the Fog soundtrack’s the novel and also gets a mention – you can hear that here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com

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Mixcloud Select – Strictly’s Jazz Beatnik Hipster session Pt.1

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‘Come with us now…’ Having finally secured a copy of Del Close and John Brent‘s ‘How To Speak Hip’ LP after coveting it from the pages of the Incredibly Strange Music books I was keen to put its extensive spoken word passages to good use. Thus the Jazz Beatnik Hipster sessions were born, three half hour mixes that all aired on Solid Steel on 25/10/1998 (the 18th date on the inlay was when they were recorded). Using dialogue from the album to punctuate the sets and give them some continuity, I mined the album for nuggets before plundering it even further for ‘The Riff’ on Kaleidoscope. I always recall the end of the 90s as an odd time for music, after a decade of incredible dance music that seemed to mutate and spew forth a new genre each year, things seemed to be slowing down a bit. People started looking back for new things and the easy listening/moog scene was a notable example, the soundtrack reissue/bootleg market seemed to be booming and compilations of library music started cropping up for the first time.

Big Beat had taken over in the clubs and, after the initial excitement of The Dust/Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim‘s early singles, become seemingly wedded to lad culture and followed a formula that saw it get old pretty fast. Ninja and Mo Wax were now firmly established and no longer the hot new thing, both had broadened their palette with two of their more ambient/electronic signings featured here in Andrea Parker and The Irresistible Force whose ‘The Lie-In King’ is a bit of a lost classic. Another is an early Fink offering here, the same but very different sounding Fink who is now a world famous acoustic singer songwriter, but who started out on Ninja sub-label, Ntone. I remember touring with him in the late 90’s and he once casually mentioned that he wanted to win a Mercury Prize one day, we all looked at him as if he was mad but he’s not far off these days having worked with John Legend and Amy Winehouse over the years.

NT were a Scottish group who promised much with their first two singles but seemed to falter somewhere along the line and although an album exists as a CD promo I don’t think it came out properly, not sure what happened there. Independant hip hop labels like Rawkus and Fondle ‘Em where putting out the most interesting rap at this point in the US with Company Flow and MF Doom making their debuts. The Arsonists made some great 12″ singles too with this low slung track in 3/4 time. A Get Carter theme ensues for the end of the mix with UNKLE‘s sample sound-a-like and a track from Roy Budd‘s soundtrack followed by Stereolab‘s cover version of the main theme. The ‘Lab were in their golden period at this point, one of the coolest groups in the business, hopped up on Krautrock references, hook ups with Tortoise in the US and having people like Autechre, Luke Vibert and UNKLE remix them.

Part 2 follows next week…

Track list:
Del Close & John Brent – Field Trip no.1
Andrea Parker – After Dark
The Irresistible Force – The Lie-in King
Fink – The Fink vs DJ Ali-Cat
NT – Distances Dub
The Arsonists – Geembo’s Theme
UNKLE – Rabbit in Your Headlights (instr)
Roy Budd – Getting Nowhere in a Hurry
Stereolab – Get Carter

Ambient mix for the Soundwave podcast

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Joseph Aleo runs a music podcast called Soundwave and recently asked me to contribute a mix – I turned in an hour’s worth of new ambient music that’s been floating my boat recently including an exclusive track from the forthcoming New Obsolescents LP I made with Howlround. The mix also includes Robert Fripp, Jon Brooks, Steve Hauschildt, Celestial Mechanic, Clocolan, Deepchord, LF58, Squarepusher and BUNKR.
Listen here Soundwave : 22

Mixcloud Select 20 – Strictly’s Dark Star set Pt.2 – The Bomb 14/09/97

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More space age shenanigans with part 2 of the Dark Star set with an odd mix of (then) current electronica and old moog-y bits plus a trio of Stereolab side-project cuts from the Turn On album sitting somewhere in the middle. This was the period where the band were really getting interesting, leaving their indie guitar roots behind and embracing krautrock and electronica more and I was hoovering up everything they touched. They appear again in a remix capacity on the Microstoria track and early Air crops up (the French version). Another track from George Harrison’s Electronic Sound LP appears and there’s a huge chunk of the bomb scene from Dark Star to finish.

Part 2 – The Bomb
Turn On – Ru Tenone
The Electronic Concept Orchestra – Rock Me
Mr Mahoney – Harmonica Storm
Microstoria – Microlab: Endless Summer (Stereolab remix)
Air – Le Soleil est Pres de Moi
Lalo Schifrin – Commando Opus
Turn On – Delimiting
Turn On – Glangerous
Autechre – Krib
George Harrison – Under The Mersey Wall
excerpt from Dark star – Bomb Speech
Dick Hyman – Moon Gas

Strictly’s Dark Star set Pt.1 – 14/09/1997

20 DAT tapeThis is part 1 of two mixes, The Sphere and The Bomb – both share excerpts of spoken word from Dark Star and John Williams’ ‘The Conversation’ from Close Encounters of the Third Kind joins them. The original name on the box was ‘Strictly’s Dark Star sci-fi sex-up‘ – not sure what that was about. The Bomb follows next week…

I think my obsession with 70s sci-fi started around this time, we’d caned the Dark Star original soundtrack on the Blech cassette mix for Warp and there was so much mileage still left in it. Jack Dangers had, of course, got there first and peppered parts of it throughout the excellent Meat Beat Manifesto album, Satyricon as well as sampling a small flute and and strings loop from somewhere on the track ‘Placebo’.20 DAT box

This is where I first heard the riff from Dudley Moore’s ‘The Millionaire’ from the soundtrack to the film, Bedazzled. Ollie Teeba was a huge fan and identified it from the short skit and then the hunt was on for a decent copy of the LP, rare by any standard in the 90s. I eventually found one a year later in the Cinema branch of the Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill and paid a lot of money for it (some of it was in vouchers actually). Anyway, it was one of the few records I’ve shelled out big money for but I then sampled it on ‘Nocturne’ on the Kaleidoscope album and it’s proved quite popular over the years.

There’s some distortion on this recording, mainly on the Si Begg and 2 Player tracks which were overloaded on the recording. I’ve tried to smooth this over as best I can with the tools now available, this would have been one of the first shows I recorded at home with a portable DAT player. Before this we would record at KISSFM or at Ahead of our Time studios in Clink Street, the home of Ninja Tune up until 2000.

It looks like I used the end of the tape to record a soundcheck of myself, Kid Koala and Ollie Teeba jamming on 4 decks in Vancouver on tour which was later used in part on my remix of Coldcut‘s ‘More Beats & Pieces’. 1997 was super busy with recording and touring and I was asked by Jon & Matt to remix the track just before I went off on tour. Knowing I’d be sharing stages with other great scratch DJs I bought along copies of the DJ record of parts that had been made to give to remixers and we recorded various soundchecks and also did a session at Kid Koala’s flat at the end of the tour as well.

Track list:
Neil Norman – Dark Star
Kirsty Hawkshaw – Sci-Clone (Raw Dog mix)
Spiritualized – C Phase
George Harrison – No Time Or Space
Si Begg – Sing Circle System
Turn On – Electrocation of Fire Ants
excerpt from Dark Star – Listening Pleasure
Meat Beat Manifesto – Placebo
Beck – Strange Invitation
2 Player & DJ Vadim – White Painted Roads
John Williams – The Conversation (from Close Encounters of the Third Kind)

Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void album

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Released today is a new album of music I’ve been working on over the past few months – ‘Citizen Void’ by Celestial Mechanic. The music is a companion to the debut novel by designer, illustrator and typographer, Rian Hughes, ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’. The book is released in hardback in the UK today (later this year in the US) by Picador and, as you can see from these photos, it’s a huge, beautifully-designed monster at nearly 1,000 pages.

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This is no ordinary novel, as with everything Rian does, the devil is in the detail and the book is a beautifully designed object in itself, both inside and out. This is also not a graphic novel or a straight prose sci-fi tale as you can see from some of the spreads below. Synopsis from the Picador press release:

‘At Jodrell Bank a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin has been detected. Artificial Intelligence expert Jack Fenwick thinks he can decode it. But when he and his associates at Hoxton tech startup Intelligencia find a way to step into the alien realm the signal encodes, they discover that it’s already occupied – by ghostly entities that may come from our own past.

Have these ‘DMEn’ (Digital Memetic Entities) been created by persons unknown for just such an eventuality? Are they our first line of defence in a coming war, not for territory, but for our minds?

XX presents a compelling vision of humanity’s unique place in the universe, and of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history.

As compelling as it is visually striking, Rian Hughes’ first novel incorporates NASA transcripts, newspaper and magazine articles, fictitious Wikipedia pages, undeciphered alphabets, and ‘Ascension’, a forgotten novelette by 1960s counterculture guru Herschel Teague that mysteriously foreshadows events.

Wrapping stories within stories, Rian Hughes’ XX unleashes the full narrative potential of graphic design. Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, it ask us who we think we are – and where we may be headed next.’

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Even if you’re unfamiliar with Rian and his work, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it at some point over the last 35 years. He wears many hats, from writing and illustrating comics for 2000AD, Escape, and the much-heralded return of Dan Dare for the short-lived Revolver in the early 90s to designing logos for virtually any character and publisher who’s anyone in the comics world. His branding for the Forbidden Planet franchise is still in place over two decades later, he’s authored books about 20th century advertising, the sci-fi artist Chris Foss and published collections of his comic work and burlesque life drawings. He’s also an accomplished typographer having designed hundreds since the 90s, first with the FontFont house and now for his Device Fonts imprint.

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Above are just some of the covers of the book within the book, Herschel Teague‘s ‘Ascension’, which features a certain Celestial Mechanic as its central character.

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So why have I written an album of music to go with a sci-fi novel?

Part of the book features a cover design and review of an album by a fictitious group, Celestial Mechanic, for their album ‘Citizen Void’, created by taking an alien signal from space and working it into musical forms.

Rian commissioned me, along with his sister, classically-trained pianist Saron Hughes, to make this album and it may well be the first album written after the review.

The basis for much of the material was Saron’s solo piano experiments which I then took and reworked, masses of NASA recordings from space, some of which went through generative sound apps that spat them out in a myriad of ways. Tape experiments left over from the forthcoming album by The New Obsolescents that I made with Howlround were also pillaged as were pages from Rian’s book which I fed into an image to sound app to generate original samples. The family connections are strong on this project with Saron’s husband, Pete Harris featuring on guitar on one track and her and Rian’s late father, Alan Hughes reading his poem, The Silent Voice’ throughout. One of my sons even provides treated guitar effects on one track.

As anyone who knows me will appreciate, this is a bit of a dream project – music, sci-fi, design, typography, comics – multiple boxes ticked. Working with Rian and collaborating with Saron has been extremely rewarding and we’ve all learnt lots from the experience so far. It’s also nice to sit back and let someone else handle all the design side for a change and not have to do a thing, knowing that the person in charge is more than capable, with years more experience and their own unique vision.

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You can hear it by using the QR code in the book or above (the card above is from a promo copy of the book) or this link to take you to the Bandcamp page. It was always the intention to have two ‘sides’ to the album with the 20 minute epic, ‘The Signal’ taking up the second half, as per the review in the book. The first side is intended to be listened to merged together and this will be included as a bonus download when you purchase the album from Bandcamp.

There isn’t a physical version at the moment, there may never be, the nature of the way the album came to exist in the book and the zeros and ones of the cover design dictated that it should be digital in form. So the book is the nearest thing you’ll get if you want to buy a copy to put on the shelf and it’s an amazing novel, there’s nothing else like it out there that I know of.

No, there won’t be a vinyl or CD version at the moment, maybe if a label expresses an interest but Bandcamp is the only way to get it right now.

No you don’t get the album for free if you buy the book, likewise the book if you buy the album. They are separate entities but are linked and part of the same release.

Rian will be doing an online Q&A with Grant Morrison via the Forbidden Planet site today, Admission to this event comes FREE with every copy of XX (signed hardcover), which also comes with an exclusive signed art card PLUS an exclusive enamel pin for the first 100 customers – order your copy here. A code to access the talk will be mailed on Wednesday 19th August to all Forbidden Planet customers who have purchased a signed copy of XX.

Look for reviews and interviews appearing all over the place too. There are things still in the pipeline for the US release later this year and talk of an audio book, so who knows what will appear between now and then.

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