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

ES XX spread

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.’

XX spread2 XX spread3 XX spread4 XX spread5 XX spread6 XX spread7 XX spread8 XX spread9

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.

EfnabeLWsAU_lLl

 

Mixcloud Select – US Vinyl Excavations Pt. 3 Strictly’s Dial-A-Dirty-Joke

A Pause in the Disaster LP
Track notes:
Continuing the selection of music I found in the US in 2000, no new music here. You can hear a snatch of something we later used in the intro for the first Solid Steel Now, Listen mix in 2001, the little string motif that starts Rod McKuen’s ‘The Mud Kids’. I adore this song, the whole nostalgia-fest feel of it, I added in Marshall McLuhan commenting on Batman in the mid section as it just worked so well, also the long sustained note of the last horn over the Charlie Byrd song, there’s so much detail in some of these mixes that I’d forgotten.

The Dial-a-Dirty-Joke sketches that give the mix its name is a recurring riff from the album ‘A Pause In The Disaster – The Satire of the Conception Corporation’, something I bought on tour with Dynamic Syncopation and that sketch turned into a running joke throughout the tour. Whenever there was a pause in the conversation one of us would start up, “A chicken, is standing on a corner…”. The vamp of The Cannonball Adderly Quintet’s ‘Book-Ends’ is one of my favourites from his catalogue and it was written by David Axelrod who produced a number of his albums in the 70s. Not sure if needed my added echoes though!

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The ‘Kevin is rocking’ it’ message over the Buddy Rich & Alla Rakha track is from Seven of Chocolate Industries who was after my track for the comp of graffiti-inspired songs. The female messages are from T-Love, the LA rapper who I went on to design the album cover for after she moved to the UK for a bit at the end of the 90s. She lived downstairs from me for a couple of years in an old converted mental asylum in Camberwell where my half of Kaleidoscope was recorded and mixed and the ‘project’ she was enthusing about was that album, newly released.

Track list:
intro – Plan 9 from outer space
Rod McKuen – The Mud Kids
Charlie Byrd – I Don’t Have To Take It
Roland Shaw & Orchestra – Diamonds Are Forever (reprise)
Cannonball Adderly Quintet – Book-Ends
Quincy Jones – Threadbare
Yussef Lateef – Technological Homosapien
Beaver & Krause – Walkin’
Buddy Rich & Alla Rakha – Rangeela
Quincy Jones -Threadbare
The Beatles – What’s The New Mary Jane
outro – plan 9 from outer space

Mixcloud Select – US Vinyl Excavations Pt.2 – Magoo’s Hi-Fi

18 CD Back at the start of 2000, PC and I went to the US and Canada to do some gigs and a load of press for the Kaleidoscope LP which was due out in April – imagine that, flying to America to meet journalists face to face for interviews in magazines!. While we were there we bought a lot of records as you do. On returning, we of course played lots of them on Solid Steel. I made three ‘U.S. Vinyl Excavations’ mixes although I’m not sure where part 1 is right now, I think it’s on DAT somewhere as I switched over to using CDRs to archive in 2000 after trying DAT for a bit and cassettes before that.

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There’s way too much echo on this (a common trait for me back then) and the set is a mix of breaks, cover versions, soundtracks, easy listening, jazz, spoken word and future sample fodder. It was also the first time I delved into the psyche rock genre, buying Mothers of Invention, Rare Earth and the like. The Yussef Lateef I’d been hunting for a while after hearing it sampled on a Meat Beat Manifesto LP. On tour with Kid Koala and his then sidekick, P-Love, we returned from a digging session and were showing the spoils and he’d scored a copy. I’m not sure whether I swapped it with him or managed to get a copy later but I seem to remember that this was the one he found. The record shopping was so good back then, visiting cities across the States and Canada you’d have a mental wants list of stuff and could pick up virtually whole discographies in one two week period.

Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Yussef Lateef, Billy Cobham, George Duke, Zappa, Blue Note and Command records, they were everywhere and cheap. I also bought a lot of music that would later crop up in my rescore of The Monkees’ film, ‘Head’, some of which you can hear in these sets. The first mix is themed around a comedy stereo test record with Mr Magoo which crops up throughout and there are a clutch of personal answerphone messages near the end which I used to record and re-use back in the day. Part 3 next week and I’ll try and find part 1…

Part 2 – Magoos Hi-Fi – 07/08/2000
Track list:
Richard Rodney Bennett – Love Scene
Memphis Underground – Eleanor Rigby
Susan with the Children’s Chorus – ABC song
A Special TV Record – Wild Drums
Quincy Jones – Hangin’ Paper
Jimmy Castor Bunch – Creation (prologue)
Mothers of Invention – King Kong Pts 1,2 & 3
John Simon – Beach Music
Yussef Lateef – Sister Mamie
Jerry Garcia – Spider Gawd
Al Hirt & Hugo Montenegro – After Mass On Sunday
The Groovin’ Strings and Things – The Fool On The Hill

interspersed with selections from Mr Magoo’s ‘Magoo in Hi Fi’ – RCA Victor

New 45 Live mix – Aug 6th PST on Dublab

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It’s that time again, my now annual guest mix for the 45 Live radio show hosted by DJ Greg Belson on Dublab premieres on Aug 6th PST which will be early in the morning of Aug 7th in the UK. This mix is a trip through the incredibly fertile years during and after the second summer of love and the fallout from acid house. The fast-moving dance scene is splintering with influences cross-pollinating into indie, hip hop and techno. Early signposts to rave and hardcore can be heard and Mr Fingers‘ evergreen ‘Can You Feel It’ seems like it comes from a different time.

It comes with a touch of sadness too, just as I’d finished the mix and after I’d taken this shot of the records used, I heard the sad news that Denise Johnson had died. A vocalist for A Certain Ratio, New Order and Primal Scream at various points among many more, this was the era where she came to public prominence for perhaps her most well known feature on ‘Don’t Fight It (Feel It)’ from the latter’s ‘Screamadelica‘. I quickly reworked the intro of the mix to include this classic which sits perfectly in the set as it was a staple of the turn of the decade club scene. RIP Denise.

PS Spot the one track from 2020…

DJ Food – Words With The Voda – Solid Steel 06/10/2003

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Track notes:
I was intrigued to pull this set out because I don’t remember much about it, especially the Henry Rollins track at the end, so curiosity got the better of me. Around 2002/3/4 I was pretty productive on the Solid Steel front and probably put more hours into some of these mixes than at any other time. This was pre-being a parent so the hours were there and this is what I’d call a proper mixed bag style wise, veering from break-led cut ups to electronica and 80s synth pop as the mash up era continued with Richard X now in the charts.
Lots of the usual suspects on the list of labels played, Stones Throw, Output, Twisted Nerve, Skam and of course Ninja who were still on a creative roll after the tenth birthday three years before even through the record industry was slowly falling apart around our ears due to downloading.

‘Words With The Voda’ in the title refers to a sample about a computer that’s used throughout the mix although I can’t remember where I got it from. But John ‘Voda’ (actual name John Moore – not the Jon More from Coldcut) was the name of the guy who mastered a lot of Ninja Tune’s records over the years. He started off in a little studio in the Canary Wharf building that also housed Ninja, Hex/Hexstatic, artist Shiv and the Hydrogen Jukebox label and slowly progressed to the whole of the top floor. When we moved out of London Bridge at the turn of the century he moved into the middle of Soho and had a full mastering and repro operation going and I remember going there to master the ‘C Is For Cookie’ and ‘Pinball Number Count’ release. A quick google reveals virtually nothing of his current whereabouts – anyone know what happened to him?17 PRS sheet

There’s some buried treasure on here for sure – Alex Attias’ version of Sun Ra’s ‘Nuclear War’ (with my reversed expletives for radio), Mu’s ‘Chair Girl’, Goldfrapp’s remix of Marilyn Manson… Ah yeah and I remember that Rollins sketch now, it’s worth the wait, “evil woman, look out!”

Track list:
Kid Koala – Skanky Panky
Bonobo – Pick Up (Four Tet remix)
Charles Mintz – Give A Man A Break
J Rocc – Junkies  Pick
Mu – Chair Girl
Luke Vibert – Propertronics
J Rocc – Junkies  Pick
Alex Attias presents Mustang – Nuclear War
Akufen – Hawian Wodka Party 1
Secondo – It’s Ok, I’ve Overstood
dncn – bwdm remix
The League Unlimited Orchestra – Things That Dreams Are Made Of
Richard X feat. Kelis – Finest Dreams
Marilyn Manson – This Is The New Shit (Goldfrapp Remix)
Forss – Jazz For Nerds
Quinoline Yellow – mystery track
Henry Rollins – Breaking Up

Mixcloud Select 16 – DJ Food – Solid Steel Twisted Nerve mix 15/01/01

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Some things never change, nearly 20 years on I’m still playing Luke Vibert, Boards of Canada and loving Ken Nordine and Sesame Street spoken word. But some things most definitely do, Chocolate Weasel only made one record for Ninja Tune, Photek never quite scaled these heights again and the Twisted Nerve label morphed into the wondrous reissue venture, Finders Keepers. This set is from a run where Solid Steel had moved to Radio LDN at Bush House (as explained in previous posts), each time you arrived you had to sign in and get a stamped sticker and wear it so that security knew you were OK.

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The first half of this set is full of tricky time signatures from the off, the wrong-footing Ski Oakenfull track, the Chocolate Weasel tune which I still can’t work out the time signature of, the switch from the 120bpm of Luke Vibert to the 80 of Boards and then 160 on Photek. Then our ‘Looking Glass’ track mixed at 160bpm instead of 120, it shouldn’t work and it doesn’t really but it’ll make you hear it in a different way and sometimes that’s what DJing is about. Future Ninja signing (MC) Sixtoo crops up on the end of part 1 guesting on Aquasky‘s ‘Shamen’, I remember pushing for Ninja to sign him around this time and he made a couple of excellent records for the label in the 00’s.

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The second half presents a mix of the then relatively new Twisted Nerve label and surrounding artists, a love that still endures nearly 20 years later and a catalogue that’s still fascinating. You couldn’t have a much starker contrast between the two halves if you tried. Even though there’s no distortion I was quite surprised to see a lot of brick wall compression going on in the mix, not sure what I was putting it through when recording or mixing down but there’s a lot of rectangular blocks with no dynamics in the original recording. We live and we learn don’t we?

Track list:
Part 1
Ski Oakenfull – Fifths (Jazzanova 6 Sickht mix)
Chocolate Weasel – Music For Body Lockers
Luke Vibert – Chris Chana
Boards of Canada – Zoetrope
Photek – Seven Samurai
DJ Food – Looking Glass
Aquasky feat MC Sixtoo – Shamen

Part 2
D.O.T. – Say Your Prayers
Andy Votel – Diode
Cherrystones – We Three Kings
Sirconical – Pumpfarm
Mum & Dad – Swinchiard
Alfie – James’ Dream Pt 2
Jane Weaver vs Doves – Seven Day Smile
Dakota Oak – J Saw The Figure Five
Andy Votel – Spooky Driver
Pedro – Abacus
Sirconical – Moondance

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Mixcloud Select 15: Openmind – Wizard of Oz – Coldcut Solid Steel 04/03/94

15 CD imageTrack notes:

What an embarrassment of riches this mix holds, a very special time musically as you will hear over the course of the hour. I’m fairly certain that this was probably my third ever appearance on Solid Steel, still as part of Openmind and not yet DJ Food. You can hear the chill out scene still going strong, but the beginnings of trip hop emerging and the Artificial Intelligence era of techno in full swing. Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works II must have just come out as he gets a huge six tracks played, Autechre get two, Global Communication also weave in and out with Locust and Drome. Tricky, Justin Warfield and the Beastie Boys signpost the tripper end of hip hop gaining momentum.

I think we recorded this live on air on a Saturday night at KISS FM, it was myself and Mario Aguera from Telepathic Fish (who did the second hour after I did the first) and Matt Black from Coldcut on the mic and various samples. We were still new to the radio studio and it was nerve wracking knowing that we were live on air with Matt watching and listening. A couple of my mixes are a bit wonky to say the least and I remember Matt would always shout ‘escape!’ if he thought a mix was going out too wildly, still makes me smile when I think of it. I decided to weave bits of the soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz in and out of the mix to give it some continuity, hence the mix title.

Track list:
Coldcut – Strange music jingle
Edgar Frose – Ngc 891
Wizard of Oz – intro
Beastie Boys – Namaste
Chapterhouse – Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis – Beta Phase (Global Communication retranslation)
Tricky – Aftermath
Chapterhouse – Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis – Beta Phase (Global Communication retranslation)
Justin Warfield – Tequila Flats (inc Hidden Material, Ghosts of Laurel Canyon)
Autechre – Lowride
Aphex Twin – Untitled from Ambient Works II
Justin Warfield – B-Boys On Acid
Aphex Twin – Untitled from Ambient Works II
Wizard of Oz + Whale noises
Aphex Twin – Untitled from Ambient Works II
Drome – Age of Affordable Retina
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick
Reload – The Biosphere (Global Communication Remix)
Insides – Skinned Clean
Wizard of Oz – Tin Man
Aphex Twin – Untitled from Ambient Works II
Locust – Lust
Autechre – Basscadet
Aphex Twin – Untitled from Ambient Works II
Wizard of Oz  – outro

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Almost Jazz Funk & Soul Festival online event

Almost_Announcement
Birmingham’s Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, like so many others, is under threat and they are putting on a fundraiser online and a virtual event to raise funds to keep the wolves from the door. I played last year and it was one of my favourite gigs of the summer. Tune in for a special audio visual mix by myself and DK based on our Now, Listen Again mix sets and if you can please consider donating to this good cause.

Mixcloud Select 14 – Steinski vs Strictly Sevens for Solid Steel 12/08/2005

fullsizeoutput_191fTrack notes:
Steinski was coming to the UK, cut up collagist and all-round nice guy legend that he is. We’d known each other since 1998 when we played together in Brighton for a night Krafty Kuts had put on and had kept in touch ever since. He was visiting the UK for a holiday with his wife and we asked if he would play unannounced at our monthly Solid Steel night in London to which he agreed.
The night had a policy of never announcing who the guests were, it was DK and myself as residents and you paid £3 on the door and found out who was on the bill when you got downstairs to the basement where the club was. This meant that people genuinely wanted to be there and felt part of something when they could say they saw Four Tet or Diplo or Luke Vibert the night before in a sweaty basement in central London for less than a fiver.

So Stein comes over and hangs out and has made two special mixes for the night too, which he gracefully let us play on Solid Steel a few weeks later. Not only that, I’d bought a box of 45s on eBay a few months before but the seller only shipped them within the US. I got them sent to Steve’s place in New York and he bought them over. There were a couple a quite rare Christian spoken word 7”s in the box, one including John Rydgren but there was plenty of other good stuff too. This mix is made up of the contents of the box plus a few random flexi discs I also added to the mix. Add in Steinski’s two mini mixes and you have an hour of very random beats, bits and bobs.

There’s a lot of drug messages in this as several of the records were about that. The Fenella Fielding flexi disc is a classic and Jonny Trunk swears that she farts at one point in it. The Kenny Everett and Michael Aspel disc, ’On Love’ is very strange, Kenny seems pissed or high, Michael makes an inappropriate confession about his daughter and Kenny confesses to unrequited love with someone called Henry which, given that this was made way before he was out of the closet, is another one for the list of now obvious clues he dropped throughout his broadcasting career.

Track list:
Steinski – Ruby Lo mix 1
Dr Donald B. Louria – Is Marijuana really habit forming?
Rhythm Heritage – Theme From Rocky
Dr Donald B. Louria – Does LSD Increase creativity?
Marc Hamilton – Tapis Magique
Everyday People – I Like What I Like
Guitar Self instructor For the Very Beginner
The Cousins – The Robot (Madison Twist)
John Rydgren – The Butterfly
Steinski – Ruby Lo mix 2
Doobie Brothers – Listen To The Music
Grand Funk – Destitute and Losin’
Cliff Richard – A Personal Message To You
Kenny Everett & Michael Aspel – On Love
Love Unlimited Orchestra – Sweets Moments
Fenella Fielding – Limber Up with…
Elton John – Bennie & The Jets
Dr Donald B. Louria – Are people using other potent hallucinatory drugs?
John Rydgren – The Lord Is My Shepherd
Dr Donald B. Louria – Is Marijuana really dangerous?
John Gibbs & the US Steel Orchestra – Steel Funk
Jerry Samuels – Who Are You To Tell Me Not To Smoke Marijuana?
Kenny Everett & Michael Aspel – On Love

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Mid year summary

In-Sect collage 3 I’m very aware that this blog seems to mostly be mixes at the moment so I thought I’d update people with what else has been happening these past few months. Since lockdown and the loss of all gigs I’ve been super busy, firstly trying to adjust as we all have to this new weird order, and working on lots of projects.

I started a Mixcloud Select channel 13 weeks ago (as you can’t fail to have noticed if you read this blog) – weekly uploads from my tape archive for the price of a cuppa a month.

I also started a digital-only label on Bandcamp, Infinite Illectrik, for my turntable experiments and other non-DJ Food projects. I’ve been working on several collage pieces (examples seen here) which will eventually result in a comic to be included with another project I’ll be recording for the label, The In-Sect, no release date for that yet, probably next year.

In-Sect collage 4

An old collaboration with Howlround has been resurrected and completed under the name The New Obsolescents, I’m listening to the masters of the album as I type and preparing the handmade covers over the next few weeks, it will be different and the sleeve will be very special indeed. More info very soon…

PC and I compiled three Kaleidoscope companion mixes to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album we made in 2000. We’re currently assembling a proposed release for it, i’ll let you know what becomes of that.

I’m currently in the middle of composing a soundtrack to a book that’s being published this summer, again collaborating with a few different people, that should be getting a CD and digital release this year too.

In-Sect collage 1

Graphic work largely ground to a halt during lockdown including a trilogy of albums for The Real Tuesday Weld and a zoetrope project for another artist. That work is slowly picking back up it seems and I hope to finish these as well as starting another zoetrope job for a huge act next week.

In-Sect collage 2

I then have a mix for 45 Live to do, a live stream audio visual mix of my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection airs on July 18th and there’s another very special mix which I’ve yet to record that will be getting a physical release at some point too but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Mixcloud Select 13 – Strictly Session – Coldcut Solid Steel 05/05/1996

13 Tape Track notes:
Firstly, this tape actually dates from 1996, not 1995 as it says on the label. I know this for sure because not only did most of the records played come out in ’96 but I remember taping this on my then girlfriend’s stereo as it was broadcast. She later became my wife and we hadn’t even met on this date in 1995 (my birthday funnily enough) so I’m pretty sure I labelled it wrongly.

Anyway, this was a good one, a proper headfuck of a mix, lots of trip hop – heavy beats, scratching, trippy sounds, electronics, tape loops and weird spoken word – that’s trip hop in my book. Trouble Funk and As One bring the groove, Camping Gaz & Digi Random (actually from Spain, not Italy as Jon More says) bring the comedy and Scala (a little remembered offshoot of Seefeel with Locust’s Mark Van Hoen producing) bring a distorted slice of filth called ‘VDT’.

Richard Dorfmeister appears twice, remixing Alex Reece with partner Peter Kruder and in his Tosca guise, DJ Shadow gets a whole side of his Mo Wax Excursions release played, accompanied by frenzied scratches via a Bionic Boogie Breaks record and Kirk Degiorgio crops up again at the end. The As One tracks were from his album for Clear, ‘The Message In Herbie’s Shirts’ which, I had an unlabelled test pressing of at the time so I didn’t know the titles. I even impressed myself by playing Pauline Oliveros in 1996, her track ‘I of IV’ is from the same record as Reich’s ‘Come Out’ which is then sampled in UNKLE’s remix of Tortoise’s ‘Djed’.

The Up, Bustle & Out track is a real oddity, actually a remix by Gwen Jamois and a pre-Cinematic Orchestra Tom Chant who recorded under the name The Sycophants, they remodel it entirely into a skronky jazz track! Squarepusher shows up under his real name in the lesser-heard ’Squeak’ from the Worm Interface 12” ‘Bubble & Squeak’. This was on the shop Ambient Soho’s label and there are three versions of it out there, a colour screen printed cover and B&W cover with crayons stuck to it, both my fellow Openmind designer, David Vallade. Then there’s a third version designed by me with photos provided by Tom.

Track list:
The Groove Robbers feat. DJ Shadow – Hardcore Instrumental Hip Hop
The Groove Robbers feat. DJ Shadow – 1/2 Bonus Scratchapella
The Groove Robbers feat. DJ Shadow – Last Stop
Steve Reich – Come Out
Tortoise – Died (UNKLE Bruise Blood remix)
Req – Req’s Garden
Trouble Funk – The Beat
As One – The Kiss
Pauline Oliveros – I of IV
Camping Gaz & Digi Random – Camping Gaz (Calliphora Vomitoria Mix)
Scala – VDT
Alex Reece – Jazz Master (Kruder & Dorfmeister mix)
Tom Jenkinson – Squeak
Tosca – Fuck Dub
Up, Bustle & Out – ‘Revolutionary Woman of the Windmill’ (OestroGwen mix)
As One – A Short Track About Love

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Mixcloud Select 12: DJ Food – Mixed Bag – Solid Steel 09/06/2003

MS12 SS CD Track notes:
Going through my CDRs this week to make them easier to sort, I tried to find a show that was close to this week’s date. Worryingly there seems to be a batch of CDs yellowing around the edges so I should get them encoded before the CD rot sets in further.

This mid 2003 set from 17 years ago seems to have several links from some sort of meditation record which for the life of me I don’t remember. Musically it’s the era of great chart hip hop, reggae, silly mash ups and garage-y club bangers. Also there seem to be a couple of Marilyn Manson tracks nestled in there which I remember caused a few raised eyebrows at Ninja back then. The funk 45 craze was still unearthing treasure and the show opens with Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Vannier’s incredible ‘La Horse’ which had just been reissued as part of DJ Oof’s Cinemix project.MS12 CD+tracklist

Nestled in the middle of the mix is a mash up I made under my Flexus alias called ‘Bite My Salami’ (there’s a whole album’s worth of these which I used to make for DJ sets). It layers  Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’, Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and Pepe Deluxe’s ‘Salami Fever’ and sort of works but really needs some of the guitar from Timberlake’s tune. At the time you couldn’t get the a cappella for this so I ended up buying the CD single and using the phase insertion trick with the vocal and instrumental versions to cancel out everything but the vocal. Then Sean Paul gets overlaid with a version from The Bug, it was a different time…MS12 SS front

Track list:
Serge Gainsbourg/Jean Claude Vannier – La Horse
Geezers of Nazareth – Loving the Pole (pt 1)
HIM – The Way the Trees Are
Cardinal Offishall – Belly Dancer
Trashman – Got To Get Ya
Connie Prince – The Badger
DJ Format – Here Comes the Fuzz (Quartertones remix)
Prince Paul feat. Chubb Rock, MF Doom, Wordsworth – People, Places and Things
Marilyn Manson – Baboon Rape Party
Amon Tobin – Hot Korean Moms
Flexus – Bite Your Salami (demo mix)
The Bug – Slew Dem (version)
Sean Paul – Get Busy (acapella)
Massive Attack – Butterfly Caught (Jagz Kooner remix)
Marilyn Manson – Thaeter
Camping Gaz & Digi Random – Circus World (Skamping Gaz Simphony 2)
Jammin’ – Tonka
Tubbs – 5 Day Night (Baloo mix)
Instrumental – All Shook Up

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