Kaleidoscope Companion mixes

KC cover pt.1

This week is a big one – two mixes but no Solid Steel archive show as I’ve been working on this very special selection and didn’t want to put this behind a paywall. Seeing as the DJ Food album, ‘Kaleidoscope’, turned 20 earlier this month, PC and I thought we’d raid our archives and put together a pair of companion mixes containing early or alternate mixes, versions and unreleased tracks that were made around that era which was roughly 1998-2000.

Patrick has made his own mix and it’s a bit of a revelation as most of the material is unreleased and even I’d not heard half of it. There’s another version of The Crow Dub, an earlier take on his collaboration with Jason Swinscoe which would become Neptune‘s ‘Soul Pride’ later. The original A Splash of Debussy and Monocle ideas and the genesis for what became ‘Cookin‘ in ‘The Power of Rawkus Soul‘. The real treat for me though is the previously unreleased ‘Ents Go To War‘ and ‘Zoom Zoom‘, both of which should never have been left in a drawer for two decades IMO. You can hear that below

Kaleidoscope Companion track list Pt.1 track list:

1) Ents Go To War (00:00 – 05:26)
2) The Crow Dub – The Rook (05:26 – 10:54)
3) See Saw (10:54 – 13:08)
4) Spa (13:08 – 16:04)
5) Night Time (Soul Pride) (16:04 – 19:13)
6) Thumb Piano (19:13 – 21:10
7) A Splash of Debussy (21:10 – 22:48)
8) Zoom Zoom (2:48 – 25:41)
9) Monocle (25:41 – 29:49)
10) Bernard Matthews (9:49 – 30:16)
11) The Power of Rawkus Soul (30:16 – 31:59)

My offering follows on with even more early versions and outtakes…

Full Bleed (Different Vibrations version)
Brixton Baby loop
Hip Operation 3
Sukia – Feelin’ Free remix 1 (big swingle)
god i’m hungry (sample)
The Quadraplex Suite
Stelf (long)
Nevermore (early version) intro
Introvert (early version of Nevermore)
Nevermore (early version) outro
The Ageing Young Rebel (early version w. diff middle/end)
Kenton
A Strange Walk (early version of Feelin’ Free remix 2)
Bad Trip (embryonic version of The Crow)
8 Track Mind (version 1)
Boo Hoo (The Sky At Night early version)
Crow’s End

Track notes:
These recordings are taken from cassettes, DAT tapes and CDRs so the quality and fidelity varies, there’s tape hiss, the odd drop out and distortion but that’s the way they came out. PC remastered a few bits and pieces and some tracks are edits / re-edits. Lots of these versions aren’t fully mixed down or mastered in anyway either but I like that rawness. It was fun revisiting these tapes again, hearing lost parts and versions that we’d completely forgotten about, in certain cases not even played to each other. There’s lots of material, more than you hear here, but you probably don’t need to hear them, believe me. This is the meat so to speak. The late, great John Peel evidently liked the album, playing Break, Cookin’ (twice), The Riff and The Ageing Young Rebel over the weeks preceding the album’s release, even asking us in for a session (see the debut Mixcloud Select upload) and I’ve included a few of his comments from broadcasts I only recently found online.

Full Bleed (Different Vibrations version)
• Probably the earliest version of the track that I compiled featuring Bundy K. Brown’s parts, I sent this to him for his opinion and I remember there was one specific melodic part that I’d pu in twice and he wanted just once near the end. You can hear the basics are in there, spoken word parts were different and it’s kind of rough and loose, especially at the end where I hadn’t finished the arrangement yet. I like the way it’s kind only just hanging in there and almost falling apart by the end (no quantize here). I realised that Bundy was varying the tempo of his drums between 84 and 86 bpm when I was putting it together as it was really messing with the click track, he said it was to give it a live-er feel. We both started from the same breakbeat and worked on that as a foundation, then I comped it up in my studio and Bundy came over to the UK when he was working on a High Llamas album and did some time on the arrangement before I finished it off.

Brixton Baby loop
• We loved Roy Ayres’ moody ‘We Live in Brooklyn Baby’ and PC wanted to do something in that vein. One of the first tracks we worked on had the working title ‘We Live In Brixton Baby’ as much of the album was recorded in Patrick’s flat on Josephine Avenue in Brixton. This was just a loop he made of the Roy Ayres rhythm that I found on a tape, the track we worked up had none of this funk.

Hip Operation 3
• This was an early track which had a long, protracted birth, various versions and ultimately didn’t make the final cut. It started out as a thing called ‘Swingle’ which was a chunk of big band and easy listening samples that ended up morphing in the first version of Sukia’s ‘Feelin’ Free’ remix we made. Like a lot of peers at this time we were discovering the early electronic period Herbie Hancock and wanted to use something from ‘Raindance’ on his excellent Mwandishi Band album, ‘Sextant’. We then loaded it up with a ton of spoken word including Ken Nordine and excepts from a Beastie Boys interview disc and had a breakdown that featured the sounds of Patrick playing squash. I love the strings at the end, we were still finding our feet on this, it’s pretty finished but we never really saw it as a contender for the album when the time came to compile the tracks.

Sukia – Feelin’ Free remix 1 (Big Swingle)
• This is the second half of the original, unreleased version, the breakdown and ending, otherwise we’d just be repeating ourselves a bit. There’s some very distorted low end bass on this, it’s not your speakers.

God i’m Hungry (sample)
• Just a silly sample I found, we decided on no skits on the album because, as PC observed, ‘no one listens to skits’.

The Quadraplex Suite:
• The tracks that made up The Quadraplex EP were always intended to go on the album but, by the time we’d finished them, we realised they really took up a huge chunk of the record. It’s was meant as a trilogy – Hour Glass, Looking Glass and Shattered Glass – made from the sampled sounds of glass and put with a gamelan-type rhythm that changed over time. When we decided it should be a standalone EP we edited together a 4th part – Monocle – from the myriad of versions we’d made (hear even more on PC’s companion mix). It’s still one of my favourite things we ever did so please indulge me on this long middle section of the mix. The resulting section here is threaded together from excerpts from five different versions:

Looking Glass (nearly finished /slower dub) – this is a good 4 bpm slower than the other versions, not sure why, might be the tape it came off running slower or we may have pitched/speed the whole thing up, I can’t remember.
Hour Glass / Shattered Glass (early version) – very minimal early arrangement try out.
Hour Glass / Looking Glass (live drums version) – Patrick was always messing with different percussion effects with this
Looking Glass (early version 1 & 2) – some great EQ/dub FX on this one, watch your headphones/speakers! Parts of this was edited into ‘Monocle’ on The Quadraplex EP.

Stelf (long)
There are several versions of this – a PC composition – and a shorter take of it was so very nearly track 2 on the album but was dropped by us at quite a late stage. I love it but the Taxi Driver ‘morbid self attention’ spoken word sample could have been problematic and in the end we added Ken Nordine’s vocal to it and it became the ‘Gentle Cruelty’ remix of ‘The Ageing Young Rebel’ for the Xen Cuts compilation later that year.

Nevermore (early version intro)
• A really basic collection of samples which were reworked into ‘Nevermore’ later, laid over the end of ‘Stelf’, not really a track.

Introvert (early version of Nevermore)
‘Nevermore‘ started out as a track called ‘Introvert’, in fact, I had so many samples and parts for this track that I ended up splitting them into two tracks (Nocturne and Nevermore). ‘Introvert’ is sort of what was left over and never went any further than this. You can hear the end percussion is all loose and unfinished.

Nevermore (early version outro)
• Strings from the arrangement of ‘Nevermore’ before it was really knocked into shape.

The Ageing Young Rebel (early version w diff middle/end)
• An early arrangement of the backing track where we had the coda as the middle eight/breakdown and then went back into the chorus after an odd little ‘drum solo’. I’d totally forgotten about this and it doesn’t really work which is why we ditched it.

Kenton
• A short little track PC made from a sample at the end of ‘The Ageing Young Rebel’ – this nearly made it on the album too and there’s also a version with some spoken word stuff over the top. I later reworked this (twice) into ‘Theme From Stolen Moments’ on the EPs that preceded ‘The Search Engine’ album. Its title is a clue to the sample source.

A Strange Walk
• A
track that eventually became the second version of our remix of Sukia’s ‘Feelin’ Free’ – unreleased by the band as they broke up but later included on the Xen Cuts comp bonus disc under the sub heading ‘Elephants doing the Washing Up’.

Bad Trip (embryonic version of The Crow)
• I’m sure everyone will recognise what this turned into…

8 Track Mind (version 1)
• A spoken word experiment based on brains and mind samples that I got carried away with and that ultimately didn’t work very well. I was obsessed with John Abercrombie’s track, ‘Timeless’ and wanted to make something out of it so badly. It was a huge sample so I remade the track under the spoken word completely for a second version which I now can’t find. You can hear the same ‘ooweeooweyeah’ sample that’s in ‘Hip Operation’ in here too.

Boo Hoo (The Sky At Night early version)
• Here’s a fascinating early version of ‘The Sky At Night’, before the ’crystal pools’ vocal was added and with a different melodic structure.

Crow’s End
• A slightly extended finish to PC’s epic to wrap things up.

If you’ve enjoyed this meander down memory lane I’ve set up a Mixcloud Select channel where, for £2.99 a month, I’ll be uploading vintage Solid Steel mixes from my archive – access that here https://www.mixcloud.com/strictlykev/

Also check out PC’s Minestrone of Sound MIxcloud and Soundcloud channels where he’s been quietly posting all sorts of unreleased audio treats for years.

While we’re on the topic, I’ve asked Ninja Tune to add some releases to the DJ Food Bandcamp page which has been sitting there for ages with not much content. Maybe some of the material from this post will find its way up there as an official release at some point too?

DJ Food Bandcamp

KC cover pt.3

And there’s more… PC found even more material and has done a short Pt.3!

Mixcloud Select 02 is up

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Thanks to everyone who got on board with my new Mixcloud Select channel last week, it really means a lot, please spread the word if you can, there are some treats coming up this month including at least one exclusive that isn’t a vintage show but is a mix of vintage tracks, many never heard before in this form.

This week’s upload is a session I did for Coldcut’s Solid Steel show from 17th of February 1995, at this point still going under the Openmind name for mixes but as you will hear, the Strictly Kev moniker was in place which originated in ’94 on a trip to Amsterdam for the Triplex Festival gig. We would have been working on A Recipe For Disaster’ at this point and I was inducted into the DJ Food project at some point between here and its release in Autumn ’95.
This was the final section of the 2 hour show and I’ve included the break for some vintage KISS FM adverts and jingles of the era, I even left the news on the end to add to the period charm.

Sign up for £2.99 to have access to these recordings, tracklists and notes plus a few exclusives as I put them up https://www.mixcloud.com/strictlykev/

02 CCSS Openmind Mixcloud

Kaleidoscope turns 20

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It seems today is the 20th anniversary of ‘Kaleidoscope’, the album PC and I made in 2000 for Ninja Tune. I thought it was more like mid April but a quick look on Discogs shows a promo CD I designed with April 3rd on it so there it is.

We’re still immensely proud of this record and the collaborations with Bundy K. Brown and the late Ken Nordine (RIP) it contains. It also features one of the songs most asked about in the DJ Food discography, ’The Crow’. I’ve lost count of the times this has been used to soundtrack scenes in independent films and it was once adapted for a school orchestra.

PC and I have been digging through our archives for recordings we made around this album – including The Quadraplex EP which was supposed to be a part of it originally but was saved for later. We’re currently compiling selections from them for an anniversary mix that will feature outtakes, alternate versions and other curios from the time.

These will go online later this month via Mixcloud, stay tuned… Meanwhile – the album is available here:

https://ninjatune.net/release/dj-food/kaleidoscope

https://djfood.bandcamp.com/

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/kaleidoscope/416333639

https://open.spotify.com/album/6NZdnBIelaaa2jVnrZL5jV

Beastie Boys article in Mojo

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I missed this last month but the March 2020 issue of Mojo did a feature on the Beastie Boys circa Paul’s Boutique and has asked me for reminisces from the time as well as a photo from the era. I didn’t realise they’d also asked the Dust Brothers, Bill Alder and Chuck D! pretty weird to see my 18 yr old face in that company, especially as I was a rabid fan at the age and would share a bill with the Boys a decade later on the London date of the Hello Nasty tour.

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And here’s the original that was taken from, my 18/19 yr old self photographed short after spraying the piece in the background on a friend’s bedroom.Kevin Foakes:DJ Food 1988
and around the same time with a hand painted jacket I used to wear in college – note graffiti photo join-ups and copies from Subway Art on the wall, car posters and hanging model aircraft were my brother’s. Bottom right, my first stereo that I learnt to scratch on.

Beastie Boys jacket

New DJ Food Mixcloud Select channel

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Given the times we’re currently in and the loss of gigs and jobs all round, it’s time to open the archives and let people hear all those tapes, DATs and CDRs that have been sitting there for decades. I’ve set up a new subscriber channel via Mixcloud SELECT – and I’ll be uploading exclusive, newly-encoded vintage mixes from my Solid Steel archive regularly for a monthly fee.
I like the Mixcloud model because over half the fee goes to paying royalties for the artists being played, Mixcloud take a cut for providing the service and then I get a bit for all those hours spent making the mixes in the first place. The fee is £2.99 a month (although you can pay more if you wish) and for that you’ll have access to mixes from my personal stash (some pictured below).

Mixcloud Select 1

These will date back to the 90’s and even predate Solid Steel occasionally, they’ll all be mixes that I’ve made or occasionally collaborated on. I’ll endeavour to make sure none of them are currently available anywhere else and include track lists and making-of details where I can. These will be exclusive to subscribers only for the foreseeable future, I’ll still upload free new mixes to my regular Mixcloud account but subscribers will also have some exclusive new mixes that I make specially for several months ahead of them being made public – sign up here

The first one is the complete session PC & I did for John Peel’s legendary BBC Radio 1 show 20 years ago this month, just before the release of our Kaleidoscope album. Only half of it was broadcast at the time and I’ve restored it from CDRs I found recently.

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Track notes: (Mixcloud’s word count is quite low for text so I’m adding notes here)

A restored version of the original session PC and I did for the late John Peel just before the release of our Kaleidoscope album. This was jammed out live on 4 decks in my studio at the time in Camberwell and then overlaid with spoken word later.
I think we were way too over-eager on the first half with all the scratching but some of it manages to be pretty humorous in places. It all gets way deeper once we calm down and I was surprised how ambient it got, listening back.
It’s very rough and ready but you have to remember that this is completely improvised on 4 decks with one of us ‘driving’ the mix and the other embellishing it in response at different points. This is how PC and I worked, I can’t think of any time that we rehearsed anything in the same way that DK and I did later for our 4-deck shows.

The intro and outro skits are from a great album called ‘Miniatures’, 1 min sketches and songs compiled by Morgan Fisher in the 80s, when we knew we were doing a John Peel session I thought it’d be a laugh to have ‘John’ introduce the mix. The Steady track, ‘Alarming Frequency’ is the first ever release on the Tru Thoughts label. The Leonard Nimoy read of Ray Bradbury‘s ‘Marionettes Inc.’ turned up in another form a year later on our first Solid Steel mix CD. The Spontaneous Sound gong record is actually an alias of Christopher Tree, a percussionist whose album I found in the US one time, it had virtually no info on it other than the title and the stamp of a drum shop where it had been sold.
I had to look up some of these tracks using Shazam and Discogs, both still twinkles in a programmer’s eye at the time this mix was made, twenty years is a long time ago but we’ll be going even further back soon…

John Peel session track list:

Norman Lovett – John Peel Sings The Blues Badly (Pipe Records)
David Shire – The Taking of Pelham 123 (Music On Vinyl)
Steady – Alarming Frequency (Try Thoughts)
Tortoise – Died (UNKLE Bruise Blood mix (Thrill Jockey)
Ray Bradbury read by Leonard Nimoy – Marionettes Inc. (Nonesuch)
RYU – Rhythm Asobi (feat. DJ Krush & Tunde Ayanyemi) (Cross)
Spontaneous Sound – Spontaneous Sound (Private Pressing)
Sun Ra monologue from Space Is The Place film
Rhythm Devils – The Apocalypse Now Sessions (Passport Records)
Fridge – Of (remix) (Go! Beat)
Kid Koala – Tricks & Treats (Ninja Tune)
Slowly – On The Loose (Autechre remix) (Chill Out Label)
Eric B & Rakim – Follow the Leader (acappella) (4th & Broadway)
Bushflange – Redokov (Hard Hands)
Child’s View – Shift (Blue Note)
Kid Koala – Scurvy (Ninja Tune)
DJ Food – Turntable improv
Major Force – Sitting On the Edge Of The World (Apeman Records)
George Duke – North Beach (MPS Records)
Morton Subotnik – Silver Apples of the Moon loop
Weather Report – Milky Way (Columbia)
Herbie Hancock – Raindance (Columbia)
Unknown breakbeat
Andy Partridge – The History of Rock ’n’ Roll (Pipe Records)

DJ Food – The Mother Lode for Out Of The Wood, WNBC

Your MotherDuring Mother Nature’s current reminder that we’re mere tiny specks in the scheme of things it felt right not to go to the Book & Record Bar to record my guest slot for Out of the Wood radio. Seeing as the date for the set was Mother’s Day I thought I’d use this as a theme so here’s a mother lode of tunes to see you through and remind us that we should always respect our mothers.

Tears For Fears – Mothers Talk (Extended version)
Fun-da-mental – Mother India (Moody Boyz Spirit of the Tiger mix)
Ramsey Lewis – Mother Natures’s Son
Hodges, James and Smith – Momma
DJ Food – Your Mother
Goldie – Mother (excerpt 1)
Genesis – Mama
The Herbaliser – Another Mother
Funkadelic – Music For Your Mother
Parliament – Mothership Connection
Paul McCartney – Momma Miss America
Jonny Guitar Watson – A Real Mother For Ya
Pharcyde – Ya Mama (J Swift UK remix)
Roxanne Shante – Big Momma
Queen Latifah – Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children (The Infant Mix)
Lyn Collins w. The J.B.s – Mama Feelgood
James Brown – Mother Popcorn
Kool & The Gang – Mother Earth
Derek & Clive – Alfie Noakes
The Mothers of Invention – Motherly Love
Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (excerpt)
Blue Pearl – Mother Dawn (The Orb Buckateer Mix 1)
Goldie – Mother (excerpt 2)
Julian Cope – Peggy Suicide is Missing
The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper
Can – Mother Sky
Jonny Zamot – Hey Mama
Lonely Island feat Justin Timberlake – Motherlover

Acid Valentine mix for 45 Live

To mark the release of the excellent new Type 303 release on 45 Live RecordsSticky Disko / Analogue Acidbath – I was asked by label head and fellow acid 45 collector, Pete Isaac, to make a promo mix to celebrate. ‘Acid Valentine’ is my love letter to both old and new acid on the 7″ format, showcasing a lot of contemporary releases as well as a clutch of old classics too.

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I’ve been getting into B sides a lot recently, going back to the well-worn bangers of the day and turning them over for dubs, forgotten tracks or alternate mixes seldom played out. So you get Arcade Fantasy from A Guy Called Gerald rather than Voodoo Ray, the Suck Mix of Bam Bam‘s Where’s Your Child and the Dub Mix of Longsy D’s This Is Ska instead of the overplayed A sides.

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Of the newer releases, most are recent or from the last 5 years or so and pressing runs are way lower than back in the day. DimDJ’s Aerotrak was only produced on flexidisc in an edition of 50 from Greek label Kinetik and Chevron‘s Smud 7″ wasn’t even sold, just given to DJs who had supported the Balkan Vinyl label. All that to say, the scene is in rude health and 7″s both old and new are still turning up, I thought I’d pretty much grabbed everything from the classic late 80s era but there are still a handful out there to find…

To grab a copy of the Type 303 7″ just go here

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2019

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What a grim end to the year and the decade, good riddance to the last four years at least. Writing this on the morning of Friday 13th as the results and fallout of the election come in, it’s hard to muster the energy and will to rejoice in anything when the turkeys have voted for Xmas. I used to be largely ignorant of current affairs and politics, back in my youth, I thought it was dull and boring, why would I be interested in any of that? But you grow up, you have a family and these things start to matter because they affect your life whether you like it or not. Back in the first half of December it felt like there was still hope, a chance to pull things back from the brink, but not now when the country has voted overwhelmingly for Johnson’s government in the belief that he will fix things that he helped engineer in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I was ignorant again, as ignorant as those who didn’t vote or voted on personalities, believing the lies and propaganda peddled by the media. But you can’t just turn that tap off, not once you’ve understood how the system works and see the soap opera play out. You CAN however blot it out for a bit by reading, watching, visiting or listening to great art made by your fellow man, or woman or non-identifying person. There was a lot of it this year and here’s some of the favourite ways I blotted parts of this year out.

LPs 2019

Music / podcasts –
way too much new music to keep up with only so much time and money, I probably listened to Adam Buxton‘s shows from the archive more than anything else this year:
Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth LP (Ghost Box)
Various – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Recordings)
Chris Moss Acid – Heavy Machine 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless)
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette (Miracle Pond)
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP (Fire Records)
Big Mouth podcast (various) (Acast)
Beans – Triptych LP (Gamma Proforma)
Roisin Murphy – Incapable single (Skint)
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine LP (Om Swagger)
People Like Us – The Mirror LP (Discrepant)
Coastal County – Coastal County LP (Lomas)
Adam Buxton podcast (various) (Acast)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song For Paul LP (Karma Chief)
Jon Brooks – Emotional Freedom Techniques LP (Cafe Kaput)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Organ Farmer (from Infest the Rat’s Nest LP) (Flightless)
Jane Weaver – Fenella LP (Fire Records)
Polypores – Brainflowers cassette (Miracle Pond)

Seemed to acquire a lot of tapes this year too…

Tapes 2019

 

Designs 2019

Design / packaging – so much good stuff out there, Nick Taylor goes from strength to strength, Reuben Sutherland‘s work for Sculpture always inspires and Victoria Topping continues to do great art for On The Corner Records:
Pepe Deluxé – The Surrealist Woman lathe cut 7″ (Catskills)
Various – Science & Technology ERR Rec Library Vol.2 (ERR Records)
DJ Pierre presents ACID 88 vol. III LP (Afro Acid)
Mark Ayres plays Wendy Carlos – Kubrick 7″ (Silva Screen)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input 10″ (Polytechnic Youth)
The Utopia Strong – S/T LP (Rocket Recordings)
Jarvis – Sunday Service LP (ACE records)
Andy Votel – Histoire D’Horreur cassette (Hypocrite?)
Sculpture – Projected Music 5″ zoetrope picture disc (Psyché Tropes)
Lapalux – Amnioverse LP (Brainfeeder)
Hieroglyphic Being –  Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism LP (On The Corner Records)

films 2019

Film / TV – I really don’t watch too much TV or get to the cinema as often as I’d like to:
Sculpture – Meeting Our Associates (Plastic Infinite)
This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC)
Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
Imaginary Landscapes – Sam Campbell (Vinyl Factory)
What We Do In The Shadows (BBC2)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Books 2019.2

Books / Comics / Magazines I read constantly, all sorts of stuff, a lot online, I found less interesting new comics this year or there were fewer that made an impression. Also many of my regular reads came to an end so there was less to consume on that front.
Beastie Boys Book – Mike Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Spiegel & Grau)
Cosmic Comics – A Kevin O’Neill Miscellany (Hibernia Books)
Electronic Sound (Pam Comm Ltd)
Eve Stranger – David Barnett / Philip Bond (Black Crown)
Bicycle Day – Brian Blomerth (Anthology Editions)
Moebius – 40 Days In The Desert (expanded edition) (Moebius Productions)
Rock Graphic Originals  – Peter Golding w. Barry Miles (Thames & Hudson)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Silver Surfer Black – Donny Cates/Tradd Moore (Marvel)
Help – Simon Amstell (Square Peg)
The Scarfolk Annual – Richard Littler (William Collins)
Wrappers Delight – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)

Gigs 2019

Gigs / Events – I spent a lot of time in Café Oto, socialising to the sights and sounds of Jonny Trunk & Martin Green or watching groups that featured Cathy Lucas this year:
Vanishing Twin @ Prince of Wales Pub, Brighton
Stereolab @ Concorde 2, Brighton
People’s Vote march 23rd March, London
Wobbly Sounds book launch @ Spiritland, London
Confidence Man @ The Electric, Brixton, London
Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Moseley, Birmingham
Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Manchester
HaHa Sounds Collective play David Axelrod’s Earth Rot @ Tate Exchange, London
School of Hypnosis play In C @ Cafe Oto, London
Palace Electrics, Antenna Studios, London
The Delaware Road, New Zealand Farm, Salisbury
Breaking Convention closing party, Greenwich, London
Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s Hidden Library @ Spiritland, Southbank, London
Negativland / People Like Us @ Cafe Oto, London
HaHa Sound Collective plays the David Axelrod songbook @ The Church of Sound, London,
Sculpture, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei + the 26 turntable ensemble @ The Old Baths, Hackney, London Vanishing Twin & Jane Weaver’s Fenella @ Studio 9294, Hackney Wick, London

Art 2019

Exhibitions – there was so much art to see in 2019, I managed most of it but London does spoil you sometimes and you can’t see it all. Just a stroll round the Brick Lane area of east London will delight with the free art painted, stuck or sprayed on the walls for all to see:
Sister Corita Kent @ House of Illustration, London,
Augustinbe Kofie @ Stolen Space, London,
Victor Vasarely @ Pompidou Centre, Paris,
Mary Quant @ V&A Museum, London,
Stanley Kubrick @ The Design Museum, London,
Tim Hunkin’s Novelty Automation Museum, London,
Keith Haring retrospective @Tate, Liverpool,
Nam June Paik, Tate Modern, London,
Takis @ Tate Modern, London,
Shepard Fairy @ Stolen Space, London,
Damien Hirst ‘Mandalas’ at the White Cube, London,
Bridget Riley @ The Hayward, London,
Museum of Neo-liberalism, Lewisham, London.

Openmind 2019

Another year over and what have I done? quite pleased with this lot this year:  
Become by own agent for the first half of the year (not fun)
Designed As One’s ‘Communion’ LP sleeve for De:tuned
Toured my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set
Contributed to the Wobbly Sounds book on flexi discs published by Four Corner Books
Performed a 30 minute reimagining of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radio-Activity’ album
Appeared on Big Mouth, Out Of The Wood, Jonny Trunk’s OST, Dusk Dubs, Mix-Ins, 45 Live, Mostly Sounds podcasts / shows
Continued the design for De:tuned’s 10th anniversary with a 10th volume, poster, tote bag and more
Built a modified turntable with three extra floating arms for future performances
Designed a fold out 3″ CD Xmas card for The Real Tuesday Weld – more to come in 2020…

For no other reason – Badges, along with the cassettes it’s like the 80s never stopped

Badges 2019

RIP: Daryl Dragon, Ron Smith, Ken Nordine, Peter Tork, Mark Hollis, Keith Flint, Magenta Devine, Hal Blaine, Scott Walker, Quentin Fiore, Dr John, MAD magazine, Vertigo comics, Rutger Hauer, Ras G, Peter Fonda, Richard Williams, Pedro Bell, David Cain, Patsy Colegate, Clive James, David Bellamy, Phase 2, Gershon Kingsley, Emil Richards, Dave Riley (Big Black), Vaughn Oliver, Neil Innes, Syd Mead.

Looking forward to: – not much to look forward to except a year of Brexit, economic downturn and US Presidential campaigns but these might lighten the mood…
Paul Weller and Plone on Ghost Box
A Touched Music special release in conjunction with De:tuned for World Cancer Day – 4th Feb.
The second Revbjelde LP, ‘Hooha Hubbub’, from the Buried Treasure label
More designs for The Real Tuesday Weld…
The next Group Modular album, released on a UK label
The Castles In Space label releasing a remastered vinyl version of Clocolan’s excellent 2019, cassette-only, ‘It’s Not Too Early For Each Other’ album.
The return of Slow Death Comix
45 Live releasing their first acid 7” with Type 303 in Feb
Ian Holloway from The British Space Group’s new label, Wyrd Britain – the first release will be his own ‘The Ley of the Land’.
The Amorphous Androgynous album, ‘Listening Beyond The Head Chakra’ and album-length single, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’ around Easter
Ninja Tune’s 30th anniversary in the Autumn
An exhibition about electronic music at the Design Museum featuring Kraftwerk, Jeff Mills, Ellen Allien, Jean-Michel Jarre and BBC Radiophonic Workshop among others
The Masters of British Comic Art book by David Roach in April
The return of Spitting Image (we really need this)

Happy New Year x

Sculpture, Projected Music release party

Projected Music poster
A huge night coming up on November the 29th in East London, Psyché Tropes celebrate the release of the 5″ picture disc of locked grooves Sculpture have done with them by putting on a gig of avant garde turntablism. Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei and Sculpture themselves will be headlining and interspersed will be a 26 turntable ensemble made up of: A’Bear, Arran Bolders, Ben Rodgers, Billy Pleasant, Bjorn Hatleskog, Blanca Regina, Chloe Frieda, Chris Thomas Allen (The Light Surgeons), Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Daniel WJ MacKenzie, DJ Food, Graham Dunning, Hems, Horton Jupiter, Janek Schaefer, Lia Mice, Mariam Rezaei, Merkaba Macabre, Odd Lust, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Rado Bogasch, Reuben Sutherland (Sculpture),  Robin The Fog (Howlround), Spatial, Tida Bradshaw, Tom Richards.

I doubt the same people will ever be in the same place on 26 turntables ever again – should be a riot!
The record is great and available here and tickets for the event are available here for the absolute steal of £5.

New mix for Mostly Sounds

I was asked to do a mix of soul, funk and jazz for Mostly Sounds who run the Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul festival in Birmingham which was one of the most fun gigs party-wise for me this summer. There’s an amazing amount of great music around at the moment that roughly falls into this category so this was the perfect place to get all that down in one mix.

Silke Schwinger & Fatty George – WeiBer Sand (Digatone)
The Relations – She Only Wanted To Be With You (Spun Out Of Control)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – Seven Eight (Karma Chief)
Coastal County – The Drop (Lomas)
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – Summer Storm (Patterns of Behaviour)
Vanishing Twin – Cryonic Suspension May Save Your Life (Fire Records)
Coastal County – The Landing (Lomas)
Serge Gainsbourg & Jean Claude Vannier – Les Chemins De Katmandou (opening titles) (Finders Keepers)
Jane Weaver – Mission Desire (Fire Records)
Jorge Navarro – Repartamos El Funky (Mukatsuku)
Popera Cosmic – Batman (Finders Keepers)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – Skin I’m In (Karma Chief)
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – Gemini Calling (Patterns of Behaviour)
Serge Gainsbourg & Jean Claude Vannier – Le Roi Des Phlébotomes (Finders Keepers)
Planet Battagon – Moon Of Dysnomia (On The Corner Records)
Silke Schwinger & Fatty George – StraBenfahrt durch Wien (Digatone)
Vanishing Twin – Backstroke (Fire Records)
Ebony Steel Band – Spacelab (Om Swagger)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Conversation (Karma Chief)

Dusk Dubs – Season 6 playlist

DD0601-- DJ Food

The good people at Dusk Dubs asked me to assemble a playlist of influences and important records so I picked songs jumping off from the Dust & Grooves influences mix I did a few years back, which roughly cut off in the early 90s. I’ve rewound a few years back into the end of the 80s but the bulk of the music comes from the decade after. This isn’t a mix and I’ve only selected the content rather than constructed the flow, as is the Dusk Dubs way, There are notes to go with each selection over on their site to put each track into context too. Listen HERE

Phase DJ hardware

Phase box I recently bought Phase to add to my DJ set up and thought I’d set down some initial thoughts about it.
A quick overview for those who haven’t come across it before – Phase works with digital Digital Vinyl Systems (DVS) like Serato and Traktor which use a traditional turntable and a controller record/soundcard combo to control the music. Traditionally the turntable needle reads timecode on a vinyl disc and relays that back to a laptop containing software with 2 virtual decks, the turntable becomes a controller for these decks, onto which you drag and drop music from your laptop to play out.
Phase consists of two ‘remotes’ that magnetically clip over the turntable spindle onto any record or object that you wish to use to control it with (it doesn’t have to be a timecoded record). The remotes then send a wireless signal back to the Phase receiver (which doubles as a charger) telling it where the orientation of the turntable deck is.

This is relayed back to the laptop via USB * UPDATE 1 (via Anton – Mr Armtone) “Remotes just send a wireless signal back to the Phase receiver and it reproduces classic audio time-code signal as on timecode vinyl or CDs. If you turning on “THRU” signal on Serato – you’ll hear it. That’s why you need to connect Phase by RCA to your Serato sound-cart (mixer, box, midi-controller). Also, you can connect Phase directly into power socket by USB-adapter, like an iPhone, and thereby to make free one USB port on your Laptop. So, USB on Phase is only needed to update and as a power source.
– and you have control over your virtual decks without having to use the needle on record method of old.

Phase remoteWhy would you add this to your set up when the traditional DVS set up works just fine? With decks and DVS systems comes the problem of worn needles, dust on the stylus inhibiting the signal, bent tonearms, scratched vinyl controller records, bad headshell contact connections and knackered RCA plugs – all of which can corrupt the timecode being relayed back to the laptop and cause glitches, pitch distortions and dropouts. I’ve done so many gigs where the scopes on Serato have wavered, dipped into the red with onstage feedback, dust has built up and glitched out the signal or headshells wouldn’t connect at soundcheck and you’re constantly in fear of everything packing up.
All completely eradicated when using Phase and it’s great to eliminate these potential technical failures from the set up when going to different venues where the equipment is always unknown. Personally I’ve always loved the tactile touch of turntables, never got on with CDJs and, similarly, never found a controller that I’d be happy to use – mostly because of the size of things I suspect – and any working turntable with pitch control can be used with Phase.

There are problems with it but they seem to be more about human error than machine at this stage. The first is remembering which deck is playing the music and not moving the one spinning accidentally, I scratched/stopped the wrong deck twice during a 4 hour set. Also not using the needle, which is an automatic action after all these years, takes a bit of getting used to, not helped in my recent DJ set by the fact that I was also alternating between DVS and actual vinyl playing. The remotes can get in the way when rewinding the decks via the label and there’s no more tweaking the spindle for those micro pitch shifts as the remote sits over them. It does come with an added level of cables to plug in, if you want simplicity and not to have to carry an extra bit of (very small) kit then go for RekordBox and a couple of USBs in a CDJ. This would come down to each individual’s preference when playing ultimately. I’ve seen people questioning the responsiveness of the remotes online but it all seems to be good for me, maybe there was the tiniest bit of lag when scratching but I can’t be sure, it’s certainly minimal if it’s there and remember, this is new hardware/software, it takes time to iron out the kinks, Serato wasn’t perfect straight out the box either.

BTW, I should say, the design of it is beautiful, clean and slick packaging with tasteful minimal touches to the compact hardware. The software that comes with it is equally minimal at the moment, there’s plenty of scope to expand that but nice touches like customising the colour of the lights on the remotes and magnetic stickers to affix them to your records are welcome. I’d like to see versions in other colours rather than the standard black that everyone does (why are so many mixers in black which are just hard to see in a dark club?). An ‘A’ and ‘B’ on the actual remotes so that you can remember which is which would be good too and making the signal light green instead of red (the traditional bad signal colour) in Serato would be good but I suspect this is more to do with how Serato set up their app. *UPDATE 2 Another interesting fact, that this signal from Phase doesn’t support officially, that’s why it comes with “red line” (not grey) on Serato software.”

I only gave it a light test run, no video yet (not that that should make a difference – it’s just sending timecode, not streaming video data) but I loved using it and I didn’t have any problems with them beside my own human errors. They will take a little getting used to but they replace the use for a needle perfectly and personally Phase works for me and I’ll be using it for digital DJ sets going forward.

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The Delaware Road 2019

Delaware Road flyer crop
It’s been nearly a week and I’ve been away since returning from this madness so this is late but: The Delaware Road, 2019 : Ritual & Resistance, a 1 day event deep in the heart of Salisbury in a working army base was a blast. Hidden at the end of a road which went through a ghost village and fields of rusted tanks and distant watch towers, red Routemaster buses ferried us to the destination, driven by a man who asked us to reset our watches to the local time of 1944.

DR Salisbury plains DR Salisbury tankDR Salisbury buses DR Danger sign

Along the way locals muttered about a rave happening at the military base but this was no ordinary party. 40 performers ranging from live bands to DJs, poets, installation art, spoken word artists, a witch and a lot of men looking very intently at laptops, tape machines, keyboards and modular synths filled the concrete spaces with a huge amount of sonic beauty and debauchery. The stark concrete and brick huts and outhouses housed all manner of the most leftfield electronica and alternative music and performance you’ll see in any venue or festival, let alone a working M.O.D. facility.

The Delaware Road encampmentDR MOD campDR bus stopDR camping

The main gathering space and stage inside the curved Nissen hut

DR fest site

Stand out moments are hard to quantify as there was so much on and it was a battle to either catch certain acts or get into the rooms they were playing in as some were cramped/crammed by the time you’d arrive. The exception was the main Nissen hut/stage which was big enough to accommodate many and came into its own once the sun went down and the projections kicked in. In the Psyché Tropes room, Sculpture rocked as they always do and Howlround with Merkaba Macabre in a tape loop/modular synth soundclash definitely blew the cobwebs away and probably affected the baby swallows in the nest up in the rafters forever. The Castles In Space room was rammed for Polypores, The 12 Hour Foundation and Concretism and the Buried Treasure room hosted Ian Helliwell, Simon James and Soundhog whose set I caught the last part of with the memorable special lighting effect deployed during his ode to the Commodore 64. Add Andrea Parker playing an electronic pioneers set and Doug Shipton layering cosmic sounds in the main hut before a frankly terrifying performance by Lone Taximermist after which Steve Davis and myself closed things and this was still only half of what was on offer. You could have gone again and had a completely different festival so props to Alan Gubby for all his hard work making it one of the most memorable and manic line ups yet in the Delaware Road saga.

Andrea ParkerDR Andrea Parker
Doug Shipton
DR Doug Shipton

Polypores
DR Polyphores

The 12 Hour Foundation DR 12 Hr Foundation

I never did find out who this lot were but they seemed to play all over the place, Push and Neil from Electronic Sound magazine look on over the wall.DR unknown

Frances Castle from Clay Pipe Music exhibiting her wares DR Frances CastleFrances Castle prints 2Frances Castle prints

Ben SoundhogDR Ben Soundhog

Ian HelliwellDR Ian Heliwell

Simon JamesDR Simon James

Nick Taylor from Spectral Studio exhibiting his workDR Nick Taylor printsDR Nick Taylor

Howlround and Psyché Tropes DR Howlround + Psyche Tropes

Sculpture DR Sculpture

A short blast from their set at this link https://www.facebook.com/strictly.kev/videos/10156224556540025/

Steve Davis and yours truly courtesy of Robin The Fog
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Steve having a wail of a time closing the festival.
DR Steve Davis

O Is For Orange at the Bluedot festival

fullsizeoutput_f6dWell, the Bluedot Festival was ace for the few hours I spent on site, very well organised, lovely people plus tons of interesting science-based attractions aside from the music. Great crowd for my set too (see view from the stage above), thanks to those who came up to me afterwards and said nice things. Some great photos from my set below via Lisa Sabotig and Bluedot themselves.

Food Bluedot Lisa Sabotig1 BD2019_Sunday_Orbit_DJFOOD_-_LucasSinclair_lowres-1 Food Bluedot Lisa Sabotig2 BD2019_Sunday_Orbit_DJFOOD_-_LucasSinclair_lowres-2 Food Bluedot Lisa Sabotig3
And below, some of my own snaps from things I saw on site
IMG_2324 IMG_2326 Bluedot telescope IMG_2338 IMG_2337 IMG_2323 IMG_2327

Big Mouth podcast

BigMouthThe king of puns, Andrew Harrison, and the lovely Siân Patternden invited me back onto the Big Mouth podcast this week to review the Warp 30th anniversary, the new Thom Yorke album, Anima, and the current TV adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. The Quietus’ Luke Turner also joined us and we each chose current favourite tunes and stories we’d seen in the news recently. It you become a Patreon backer of the podcast you’ll get the show at least a day early and an exclusive ‘Extra Bit’ each week, where we describe our worst and best festival experiences this time round.