Mix of Apollo Records classics on Solid Steel

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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.

Excerpts from The Search Engine 360 dome show this weekend

TSE screen2 I’ll be talking about and showing some of my 360 degree dome show at approx 4pm this Saturday at the GaiaNova 360 Theatre launch event in London’s docklands. This was made to accompany my album, The Search Engine, in 2012 and was only shown in London three times on January 19th at the launch event at London’s Planetarium in Greenwich. It’s played in Birmingham’s planetarium, the Leicester Space Centre and a few festivals as well as multiple showings at the SAT centre in Montreal but it rarely gets an outing these days.
The event is free and features all sorts of other dome content and demos, it’s at Cody Dock Cafe 11c South Crescent, London, E16 4TL this Saturday between 11am and 8pm, it’s free but you have to RSVP here

Here’s some screen grabs, imagine this wrapped around a dome and animated…
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DJ Food & Pete Williams at Further, May 6th

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Pete Williams and I opened and closed our first Further at the Portico Gallery on Saturday. We’d spent the past six months or more preparing for this, creating over 350 hand painted slides, video loops, chaining projectors together to automate them remotely and working out the best way to transform the gallery into a canvas for our work. During my set I looked around and finally relaxed, feeling dwarfed by the encompassing visuals, most of which I’d been painting under a microscope only a few weeks earlier. This is just the beginning, we have plenty more to show and do…

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I’ve been posting photos of each of the acts every day here and we’ve set up a new Facebook page for the venture where you can get a peek at all the photos right now, please ‘like’ our page if you do that sort of thing whilst you’re there. Martin LeSanto-Smith took the photos and without him we wouldn’t have been able to physically set the thing up. John Price from the Portico Gallery let us make it happen and was supportive all the way – massive thanks to both of them and also for Hannah Saunders from Big Fish Little Fish who gave advice, loaned projectors, helped on the door and bar and was generally a hero on the night.

Further at the Portico Gallery

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The reason it’s been a bit quiet on here recently is because of a little (big!) thing called Further that’s been occupying my time for the last few months. Myself and Pete Williams hatched this idea last summer, started talking about it seriously in the autumn and stockpiling equipment over the winter. A studio space was found early in January and we started planning an event that brings together lots of the things we love into one space. Music, visuals, records, food & drink, analogue techniques and leftfield artists. After a test run a couple of weeks ago, at the behest of Alex from The Orb, at the Royal Festival Hall we unveiled the first evening at the Portico Gallery in West Norwood on Saurday May 6th.

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Featuring guests Jim Jupp & Julian House from Ghost Box records playing an AV set and Howlround presenting the premiere of their live rescore to Steven McInerney‘s film ‘A Creak In Time’, we opened and closed the night with our own multi-projection slide / oil / video sets. Local café/deli Pintadera came over to provide delicious Italian food and Michael Johnson from the Book & Record Bar down the road set up a record stall selling records by the artists and music sympathetic to the event. The whole thing wouldn’t have been possible without the support of John Price at the Gallery who let us use the building as our own for the night and Martin LeSanto-Smith who helped set up on the day and managed to take amazing photos all night whilst simultaneously being on a date!

Further @ Portico 2web Nathan AdamsI’ll be posting photos of each of the acts each day here and we’ve set up a new Facebook page for the venture where you can get an early peek at the photos right now, please ‘like’ our page if you do that sort of thing whilst you’re there. There should be a video by the end of the week too but there’s a lot of footage to go through. To give you a taste, here are just a few of the photos harvested from social media, Tuesday I’ll post Ghost Box images, then Howlround, then us on Thursday with the video to follow by the end of the week.

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Photo credits: Top: Neil Mason (Electronic Sound), 2x panoramas: Nathan Adams, slide stills: Spectrascopic, Howlround silhouette: Zoe Plumb, video: Tony Coleman (London Electricity)

What a weekend part 2 – Record Store Day

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Saturday was Record Store Day 2017 and dragging myself out of bed and down to Rat Records in Camberwell was well worth missing a lie in for. The shop was heaving when I got there after 10.30am with one punter reportedly spending £1,400 already!! The bulk of a huge collection from a Scottish indie collector was making its debut in the shop and there were multiple copies of some sought after items flying out the store. I spotted the 10″ Rephlex 4×10″ Radiophonic Workshop compilation on the wall, a couple of copies of the JAMMs ‘1987′ LP and multiple 45s of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. I ended up spending far too much and all of it secondhand, no official RSD releases at all. Sadly I don’t have any photos of that but it was a blast and it’s always a pleasure to chat to Philippe, Pete and a rare sighting of owner, Tom.

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After a quick lunch break it was over to West Norwood to The Book & Record Bar to score some new releases and play a set in store after Alex Paterson, Andy Higgs, Mr Parker, Dave Laine and Pete Williams. I decided to play something quite ‘up’ and plowed through a pile of beaty hip hop and classic house/acid/rave 7″s to a bustling shop. I also managed to score all my wants and start going through a small collection of German 45s that had just come into the shop before giving way to Oliver Sudden on the decks.

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All in all a fantastic day, not chasing crazy limited editions up in town but staying local and going to the record shops and hanging out in them which is what we should be doing first and foremost. People buying and selling records on the web are missing the point of RSD, it’s called Record STORE Day, go and support yours on more than one day a year. Shops like the ones above are hubs for people to come together and connect, form alliances and get creative, I’ve met so many good people through them, long may they flourish.

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What a weekend part 1 – The Orb at the RFH

OrbscreenRFH Friday saw myself and Pete Williams as part of the bill for the Orb‘s extravaganza at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, doing a test run for our Further event on May 6th. Upon being asked to play on the 5th floor balcony area by Alex Paterson, we decided to use a load of our equipment to projection all along the roof of the outside area overlooking the Thames. We got in around 1pm and were just about set up by 7pm when Michael from The Book & Record Bar and DJ Dadaist aka George Holt arrived. Teething trouble with getting the lights turned off or down so that we could see the projections were dealt with as were security who suddenly roped off the public space and would only let ticket holders for the gig in the main auditorium in. As the daylight faded and the projections along the balcony pointing across the ceiling appeared, everything clicked into place.

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Tons of friends turned up and we managed to get a lot of great photos and footage before the 11.30pm curfew. I even managed to see a bit of The Orb with Youth painting a huge canvas live onstage, walking in just as one of my favourite tracks, O.O.B.E. was playing. Strip down of the equipment took two hours by the time we were loaded out, then driving back to unload and retiring to our beds saw that it was 3am by the time I hit the sack. All worth it though, a very memorable night and a success in terms of what we wanted to achieve.
(Many thanks for the photos above: Martin Le Santo-Smith, and below: Mike Oscar)

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Further at the Portico Gallery trailer

Here’s a trailer for what to expect at Further on May 6th at the Portico Gallery

DJ Food & Pete Williams present a new, irregular evening by creating an audio visual space to enjoy. Films, slides, oil projections, food, drink and plenty of seating form the environment to soak up the sights and sounds.

Programme:
7.30 – 8.30: Doors, there will be a record stall with stock picked to compliment the evening by Micheal from the nearby Book & Record Bar and delicious food from local café Pinterdera served alongside the fully licensed Portico bar with beers & ales

8.30 – 10.00: Ghost Box Records in the form of Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group) will be playing an audio visual DJ set.

10.00 – 10.3: Howlround will perform a live score to ‘A Creak in Time’, a film by Steve McInerney (Psyche´-Tropes), via tape loops and reel to reel machines.

10.30 – 12.00: DJ Food & Pete Williams will open and close the evening with their multi-projection Light & Sound Designs.

Location: Portico Gallery, 23B Knight’s Hill, London, SE27 0HS, UK

Tickets here: (limited cheaper early bird price nearly gone)
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/further-at-the-portico-gallery-tickets-32880361045

Travel:
Train: West Norwood overground station (1 min walk)
Buses: 2, 68, 196, 315, 322, 432, 468, 690

Announcing Further at the Portico Gallery

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Announcing a new venture put together by myself and old friend Pete Williams (Eikon / Out Of The Wood) – a collision of Light, Sound and Design… Further.

An irregular event held in different places, it’s not a club night, it’s not monthly, there’s no dance floor. It has got all the things we love in it though: experimental music and film, food and drink, socialising and a bit of record hunting.
The first event is on May 6th at The Portico Gallery, a hidden treasure in the heart of West Norwood and a venue very dear to us that offers an extremely adaptable space to project, perform and present our guests in.

We have Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group) from Ghost Box Records playing an audio visual set and Howlround sound tracking Steven McInerney’s short film, ‘A Creak In Time’.
Pete and I will be pulling all manner of projections, films, slides and FX out to illuminate the gallery at the beginning and end of the evening to compliment our DJ sets.

There will be food on sale from local café Pintadera, a fully licensed bar and plenty of seating. Michael from the nearby Book & Record Bar will also have a stall selling hand-picked stock for the event.

Venue: The Portico Gallery, 23 Knights Hill, West Norwood, London, SE27 0HS
Doors: 7.30 and we’re all done by midnight. Let’s go Further…

V. limited early bird tickets are on sale now through Eventbrite

Facebook event page here

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Dust & Grooves Weekly Grooves giveaway

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The #WeeklyGroove Series & #Giveaway Week 5: Strictly Kev (DJ Food)

This week Dust & Grooves have made me the subject of their Weekly Groove giveaway series

By end of week, they will give a fine-art print from their photo archives, signed by @eilonpaz and a signed, quadruple 12” version of my album ‘The Search Engine’.

To participate in the giveaway, tag a friend on the #WeeklyGroove posts on @dustandgrooves Instagram account ONLY.
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Bigmouth podcast guest appearance

I was very pleased to be asked to guest on one of my favourite podcasts: Bigmouth, talking about 2000AD’s 40th anniversary, the new Magnetic Fields album and the first part of new BBC drama SS-GB alongside guest Matt Allen and regular hosts Andrew Harrison and Matt Hall. Also hear which track of the week I chose and what closing time chatter gem I dredged up.
UPDATE: Annoyingly I go the date of the Orbital Comics closing party gig wrong at the end, it’s March 10th, not 9th.

The Delaware Road At Kelvedon Hatch Audio Apocalypse Survival Kit on OST

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(Mark, Robin, Dan, Chris, me, Ian – out of shot Zoe, Hannah and Alan – who was taking the photo)

On Saturday I was invited to be a guest on the OST show on Resonance FM – this time with Robin The Fog ably sitting in for an absent Jonny Trunk (away on Basil Kirchin business in Hull). Joining us in the studio were Alan Gubby (Buried Treasure), Mark Pilkington (Strange Attractor Press), Dan Wilson (Radionics), Hannah Brown (Kvist), Ian Helliwell (Tape Leaders book and so much more), Chris Sharp (Concretism) and Zoe ‘Lucky Cat’ Baxter who stayed on after her show beforehand.

The reason was twofold – to try and present a sonic picture of all the artists who would be contributing / playing at The Delaware Road event at Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker on July 28th. If you’re not up to speed on exactly what The Delaware Road is then please go here.

The gathering was also to highlight a very special prize bundle assembled from all who’d be taking part that’s being auctioned off in aid of Resonance FM’s annual funding drive. Here’s a photo of most of the items to be included:

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Here’s a link to The Delaware Road At Kelvedon Hatch Audio Apocalypse Survival Kit auction in aid of ResonanceFM

Here’s a link to buy tickets for The Delaware Road gig on July 28th

and here’s a link to the 2 hour show featuring music from a lot of the prizes featured above.

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.