Cutting and mastering

Spent the day at Soundmasters in Latima Road, West London, cutting my third EP before the album gets compiled. Kevin Metcalfe was again in control and Aaron Thomason aka 2econd Class Citizen came down to oversee the track we had collaborated on. It all went well until the Analogue to Digitial converters started playing up, causing a drop out as we were cutting the actual disc. I had to leave before the end but I’m assured it won’t be on the final cut. Here’s a few shots of the mastering room, the kit and cutting the disc.

This is the third of three EPs which will form the DJ Food album proper, this one totals about 27 minutes over 5 tracks. That means I have nearly 90 minutes of music to choose from for the album, some tracks from the EPs won’t make it, four from the previous two EPs have been reworked or remixed so will be in different states when it’s all finished. I’m mastering these four next week and then compiling a running order for the CD which will be all mixed, with the downloads as separate tracks.

 

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DJ Food – 3rd EP finally finished

It’s been a productive week for music, I finally finished the 3rd EP in the trilogy that will make up my album. Plus the cover version of The The’s GIANT featuring Matt Johnson on vocals that I’ve literally been working on for years. The keen-eyed among you will also have spotted that Matt’s friend and sometime musical collaborator, JG Thirlwell appears on one track too.

I have one more track that I’m reworking from a previous EP to finish for the album and then I have to sequence it all for the CD version and do artwork. Also next week I am remixing Loka for the first single from their second LP, due out this autumn on Ninja Tune. 2econd Class Citizen, whom I collaborated on this EP on one track, has also turned in a remix for this which is a nice touch.

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Crazy scenes at the last ever Mixed Bizness

I played in Glasgow last night as the special guest at Boom Monk Ben‘s last ever Mixed Bizness night at the School of Art. After my 90 minute AV set Ben played the final hour and the crowd went progressively crazier until he ended with Beck’s ‘Mixed Bizness’ (what else?) and a full on stage invasion. Predictably ‘one more song’ was requested to which he responded with Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ at which point there was full on crowd surfing! Another stage invasion occurred and demands for one more ‘one more song’ were granted by Roots Manuva’s ‘Witness’ and the place erupted. I think Ben feared the whole table and laptop were going to be pushed over at one point from the amount of people on the front of the stage and behind the decks.

It was a great end to years of regular nights Ben has been doing at the Art School, which is due for renovation and will be closed for at least 2 years while they rip everything out. The week before, I did a phone interview with Shaun Murphy for Mixed Bizness about the forthcoming show and my forthcoming album, which you can listen to here

I stayed in the lovely Citizen M hotel when I was there which is full of great designer furniture by the likes of Panton and Eames with compact rooms that resembled Japanese pod hotels.

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DJ Food LP cover, first look

Hot out of the in-box this morning, here’s a detail of Henry Flint‘s cover image for the forthcoming DJ Food album. I’ll post more as time goes on but this is only a close up of part of it, there will be background added (by Henry) and colour (by myself). On the finished product you’ll see how all the different images he’s done for the releases work together too, although I’m trying to find a way to make that work with the packaging!

 

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Food update

I should take some time to fill you in on what’s been going on in Food land this year and some of the reasons why no third EP and album appeared last year. There is one very good reason and it simply translates as 2010 = Ninja Tune XX. As I tried to begin the third and final part of my album/EP trilogy early last year the full enormity of the task of creating the elements that would make up the 20th anniversary for Ninja came into focus.

I’ve already gone into detail about what was involved in creating the look, book and box set for the whole campaign elsewhere but breaking down 2010 went roughly like this:

Jan – Jun – creating the identity for the whole event, designing, researching and laying out the entire ’20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ book. Also beginning consultation as to what the box set would contain and designing the package from scratch.

Jun – Aug – designing the box components alongside many other offshoot releases such as the separate CDs, multiple 12″s, posters, flyers and more. I also curated and put together the exhibition of artwork that opened in London for the book launch before getting a week off for a family holiday.

Sept -Dec – preparing an audio visual best of Ninja / Big Dada DJ set with DK, helping with design elements for the big London show, designing King Cannibal‘s ‘Way of the Ninja’ mix CD and then taking it all on the road. I did every city on the NTXX tour, taking in Europe, the States and Japan and even went to China for a one-off gig near the end of it. The final gig was in Brighton on December 10th and to say that I was burnt out would be pretty accurate. I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world though because what came out of it was my biggest design project ever, the celebration of the label I love and have grown with for over 15 years and a great load of memories to go with it. Trying to find the energy and imagination to create new tracks as the year drew to a close went nowhere, a new DJ Food record could wait another year, Ninja XX couldn’t.

Now it’s time to look forward rather than back though, so, in January, I began work on the final phase of the Food album. At the moment I have no title for the EP but the album is called ‘Stolen Moments’ although that may change. I’ve remixed some of the tracks from the first two EPs for the album and have a few more collaborations but I don’t want to reveal them until they’re properly in the bag. One that’s almost finished is a multi-part track with 2econd Class Citizen called ‘Magpie Music’ that’s currently clocking in at nearly 12 minutes. Stylistically it’s all over the place but features Bollywood, Gamelan, Rock and Turkish influences and more with a ton of spoken word.

Cover artist on the previous EPs, Henry Flint, is completing the final part of the cover art (detail left) and I plan to spend most of May mixing down the final tracks and versions. There should be a 12″ with four or 5 tracks for the final EP and then a CD for the album collecting all the major tracks in a continuous sequence while the digital version will have them all separate. Release is pencilled in for Sept/Oct if I deliver in June and a new DJ Food-centric AV set will be in the works as soon as the album is mastered to go out and tour with. There’s more but I’ll save that for another time.

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64 Bar Music challenge no.6

In June I’ll be mixing the next installment of the 64 Bar Music challenge, first instigated by members of the Ninja Tune forum. A quick crash course in 64 Bar Music: the concept is simple, a tempo is decided upon for each new challenge and you write a piece of music, in any style, no longer than 64 bars. The poll to decide the bpm for 64:6 (there have been five so far) has just been set at 110 bpm.

Anyone can join in and the best of the entries will be turned into a mix by yours truly, debuting in July. If you fancy a bit of that then hop along to 64BarMusic and check out the details, deadline is June 1st. It’s an excellent way to get your production heard in amongst producers both released and unreleased. People like Dr. Rubberfunk, Proof of Concept, Remdog, Tom Central, dtnl, AGT Rave Cru and DJ Moneyshot have already contributed and there are many excellent unknowns who have taken part in the past.

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‘The Crow’ animation by Tom Webb

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Tom Webb contacted me with this film he made as part of his 3rd year Illustration Minor project. It’s the first half of the DJ Food track ‘The Crow‘, written by PC, from our Kaleidoscope LP. Here are his comments about the making of it;

“I set myself the task of trying to illustrate the DJ Food album Kaleidoscope. Initially, I was trying to produce stand alone images but eventually decided to dive into the world of animation for the first time. I created a sequence for the first half of The Crow. I was hoping to animate to the whole track, I storyboarded a lot of it but the deadline got the better of me.”

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“The images were created as spontaneous responses to the sounds and atmospheres I was hearing inside some of the tracks. I started investigating ‘Full Bleed’, ‘Cookin’, ‘The Riff’, ‘The Crow’ and both the ‘Sleep Dyad‘s’ a lot because of their particular energies.

The idea was to finish making the image before the track finished, so I started painting with my hands to help speed things up and build a small library of personal reactions in texture. I then scanned the images at hi-res and chopped out suitable macro sections which were then imported into the animation. There was a lot of trial and error involved. It’s also the first time I’ve had a go at animating so I had to learn the program from scratch as well.”

I personally love the syncopation he’s got and the movements from dark to light corresponding to the moods of the track. You can see more of Tom’s work on his blog calamridropkick.com

The Death of Output

DoO1-3 coverL3output logo webBack at the end of 2006, when Trevor Jackson‘s Output Recordings folded, I put together a 3 hour tribute mix of my favourite tracks. This went out as 3 separate mixes on Solid Steel and I even made a very limited number of facsimile Output CDRs of the mixes. I’ve recently had requests to upload it again so, by the miracle that is Soundcloud, it’s available. I’ve also edited it into one piece finally and the track list is embedded in the Lyrics section of the mp3. Being an avid collector of the label I thought I’d show off the screen printed promo releases and a few other choice pieces.

Further reading from early 2007 can be had on Mark E’s ‘ireallylovemusic’ site.

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The Death of Output by DJ Food

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Videocrash Solid Steel AV XXmas party this Saturday

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A bit of a special one this: Videocrash and Solid Steel team up for a XXmas knees-up at the Electrowerkz in an Audio Visual rave up this Saturday. Hexstatic will be presenting a ‘Trailer Trax’ special, Cheeba will no doubt be previewing some tidy new pieces and DK and I will round out the year with a final showcase of our own Ninja Tune XX AV mix before packing it up and putting it to bed. Joining us will be Digitonal showing their new ‘Deep Space’ a/v set – an hour long set constructed around a voyage that starts with Earth. moves past the Moon and planets, and into the infinite…

Not only that but Graffiti artist, stenciller and sticker-er (?) supreme, SNUB23 from Brighton will be joining us and painting an original piece live from 11pm. This will later be auctioned off in aid of the MacMillan Cancer Support charity after being signed by all present. He might also bring some stencils for custom T shirts too (see below). It all starts at 8pm and will probably end messily at 4am, this is a final farewell to a great year for Ninja and the 20th celebrations before we break for Xmas.

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December gigs

Lots of gigs coming up in December (see full listing over on the right) The Ninja Tune XX celebrations travel to Brighton, London and Prague, Belgrade and Beinne this month.
Brighton 10th flyerKINGFLY(2)-2A2.indd First off is the big Bonobo gig after party in Brighton at the Concorde 2, the day after is King Cannibal’s ‘Way of the Ninja’ mix CD launch at the Rhythm Factory with free entry all night and goody bags for the first 100 in.

The next week sees me in Prague at the Palac Akropolois with Grasscut for a Ninja 20th AV set and then Belgrade the next day at the Tube.

Saturday 18th I have not one but two gigs in London, a Videocrash Solid Steel XXmas party with Hexstatic, DK, Cheeba and more down at the refurbished Electrowerkz. Before that though I’ll be spinning a guest slot down at Classic Material at C.A.M.P. in Old Street, with a vinyl only set of classic Hip Hop from the year 1989. in case you’ve not heard about this night, this is the third installment and each month sees a year celebrated from Hip Hop’s golden periods. DJ Format and Andy Smith have both stepped up and it’s my turn this time. Only records from ’89 will be played, special box sets will be available on the night of CD mixes and T shirts and Chris Read and co. (who run the night) will be in support.

New Years Eve sees DK and I see the year out in fine fashion in Bienne, Switzerland with a special 4 deck AV set.

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Hong Kong Clockenflap festival last weekend

Many thanks to all the people I met last weekend in Hong Kong for the Clockenflap festival (Craig, Jay, Mike, Kumiko, Clive, Justin, Andy, Phil etc…). Hong Kong is a long way to go for a 1 hour set and, luckily, they let me play longer. I was playing after some local bands and the also the Charlatans, who had flown in from Singapore I think, as part of their tour and the space was the 15th floor of a large warehouse-type building on one side of the island. (Picure of me playing above by Chris Lusher)

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I’ve only been to Hong Kong once before, 15 years previously, and other parts of China only one other time so it’s still new to me. The food is great, the architecture too and it has obvious elements of Eastern charm in the same way that Japan does but on a much more subdued level. I had some time off before the gig so I took the ferry from the Central part I was staying in over to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) which seems to be much more flavoured towards your traditional tourist than the part I was in. As soon as you dock you seem to be bombarded with people trying to sell you Rolex watches, suits or weed on the streets next to massive department stores for all the top fashion houses. In the streets behind these though you’ll find smaller stores selling all sorts of knock offs and little indoor markets crammed with bootleg goods.

I wish I had more time there but it’s never the case these days, on the way back to the hotel I passed a tiny store crammed with robot toys, a street away from my hotel. If you’d have run across the equivalent in the US it would have been called a ‘mom & pop’ store. The couple inside were idly watching some sort of game show on a big TV on the wall while I persused the wall of Gundam, Ultraman, Macross and more figures and kits, some of which looked like they had been there for decades and had a layer of dust to match. I ended up buying this lovely kit which looks straight out of the 70’s, box dents and all, as well as a few bits for my boys, all for less than £10.

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DJ Food – Sunday At Bundy’s mixtape

[singlepic id=220 w=320 h=240 float=left] I’ve just dug the master DAT for the DJ Food mixtape I compiled in the late 90’s out, cleaned it up and stuck both sides on Soundcloud. This collection of radio show, gig and other recordings was put together to sell on tour in the States, Canada and Japan mainly. It includes some jams with Squarepusher (one of which he ended up sampling part of), DJ Krush and Ollie Teeba from the Herbaliser amongst answerphone message from DJ Vadim and aftershow banter.

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DJ Food – Sunday at Bundy’s (Side A.) by DJ Food

It’s rough and ready, all live, no edits or overdubs, sub-titled an ‘audio scrapbook’, it’s exactly that, little sections torn out of sets played around the world in the mid 90’s. There were around 500 made I think, all long gone now but you can hear a bit of what went down at clubs like Stealth back in the day and all the early Ninja Tune DJ package tours.

DJ Food – Sunday at Bundy’s (Side B.) by DJ Food

Original cassette artwork and info here.

The KLF – The Sound of Mu(sic)

I made this with Mr Trick some years back and have just put it up on Soundcloud after a few requests. There’s a long and winding tale about it’s creation and the reasons for etc. (with pictures) in the Download section (click above) or HERE if you’re lazy. If you’re familiar with it there’s nothing new here but if you like the KLF and have a spare 30 minutes it’s an entertaining read and listen.

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