Imaginary Landscapes film from the Vinyl Factory

An excellent film about the use of the turntable as instrument (not in the hip hop scratching sense) and especially fascinating to see as I’m currently developing something along the same lines for performance. Go here for the original article on the Vinyl Factory site and try to see Graham Dunning live if you can, what he does is incredible.
Also just premiered via Resident Advisor is a film about dubplate cutting and present in both films is Shiva Fesharecki who performs both in clubs and concert halls with turntables.

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.

New music round up – June 2019

New releases web
The current musical landscape is awash with great new music in equally great design and packaging – at least in the independent sector, I can’t speak for the mainstream because I rarely dip my toe in. On the fringes there are some fantastic records and tapes being made and I’ll attempt a potted round up here as much for my own sanity as anything else because I can barely keep up. Phew! This took ages to compile, buying links in descriptions…

Loops cover web
Jane WeaverLoops In The Secret Society 2xLP (Fire Records) A gentler, deeper, cosmic take on parts of Jane’s last two albums, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology, with new tracks and interludes to tie it all together into one sublime trip. Buy here NOW!

LV LPweb
Luke Vibert – Valvable 2xLP (Balkan Vinyl) – Luke makes an entire double album using only a Roland TB303, TR808 and JX-3P, on random variant coloured vinyl. It’s funky, minimal and instantly recognisable as Vibert. Coloured and black vinyl has sold out at the label’s Bandcamp but check the shops as black variants are shipping this week.

Various Artists – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Records) Great contemporary acid, ConSequence‘s ‘Glass Of Water’ is one of the most joyous, funky pieces of dance music I’ve heard all year. Downfall shop – warning, no digital.

Beans Lps

Beans – Triptych (Gamma Proforma) A curveball from Gamma, who ceased operations a while back, these are the last two releases from that phase of the label, finally released. The Beans album is a collection of works from 3 albums that were released simultaneously and isn’t available in any usual retailers unless directly from either Beans, artist O.Two who hand-painted all 140 of the covers or Rob at Gamma. The shame is that it’s a cracking hip hop record that’s provided one of the only breaths of fresh air I’ve heard in the genre for years. Worth it for the Broadcast-sampling ‘Pendulum’ alone, destined to be a sought after classic. Listen to selections here
DJ Krush – Cosmic Yard LP (Gamma Proforma) The Krush album was actually released late last year, also has its fair share of banging beats plus two collaborations from old cohort Toshinori Kondo and this one should at least be more generally available. *Also catch him with me in support on July 21st at Oslo, Hackney, London, plug plug*
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Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP/CD/Cassette/DL (Fire Records) One of the albums of 2019 already and a cracking live band – the comparisons with Stereolab and Broadcast are warranted but only a starting point, they’re far more cosmic than that. Beautiful artwork, spiral picture disc version and full colour fold out band poster – a very special record, why they’re not bigger is a mystery to me. Buy here from the label or find the cassette direct from the group’s Bandcamp page.

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The Relations – Night’s Prelude cassette/DL (Spun Out Of Control) – CorrelationsNeil Hale unveils a multi-collaboration side project with touches of psychedelia, krautrock and a lovely cover by Eric Adrian Lee. Buy digital here

Chanct CD front
Justin Hopper & Sharron Kraus w The Belbury Poly – Chanctonbury Rings LP/CD/DL (Ghost Box)
Another essential GB release – see full review here

Pictogram - Trace Elements - web_
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette/DL (Miracle Pond) Beautiful ambient music from one man graphic factory Nick Taylor on his new Miracle Pond label, is there no end to this man’s talent? Buy Miracle Pond releases.

Humaoid LP

The Future Sound of London – Yage LP/DL / Humanoid – Built By Humaoid LP/CD/DL (FSOLDigital) – While they finish their Amorphous Androgynous magnum opus, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’, there’s more than enough to keep hungry FSOL fans happy. ‘Yage’ from their Dead Cities album has been revived, remixed and expanded into an album and Brian has reactivated his Humanoid alias for a new album of acid experimentation. Order here, including new T-shirts, magazines, posters and more, it’s hard to keep up.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless) Back for their first LP of the year (so far) Giz decide to go glam boogie and it works! Comes with full colour fold out poster and seaweed-coloured vinyl.

Home Current LP cover

The Home Current – Civilian Leather LP (Castles In Space) A unique album of 80’s post punk electronics meets Plaid-like hyper-detailed composition, a real mixed bag of a record, sometimes sounding more like a compilation because of the variety of styles. Lovely Nick Taylor cover and inserts too Check it out here

Heat Death – Dalham LP (Castles In Space) – Shades of Boards of Canada permeate this album of instrumental electronica on the now essential Castles In Space label. There’s more going on here than mere BoC pastiche though, I’ve not had enough time with it to fully immerse yet, hear a couple of tracks on the mix below to judge for yourself. Or preview / buy here

Andy Votel – Archipelagogo cassette (Hypocrite) Soundtrack to the exhibition of Felt Mistress and Jonathon Edwards figures inspired by the work of Tove Jansson and first release under the Votel name for a while.
Colours May Vary in Leeds have copies.

Simon James Cosmic Surgery
Simon James – Cosmic Surgery cassette / DL (Spun Out Of Control) Soundtrack previously only available with a book gets a full release via the excellent Spun Out Of Control label. It’s hard to keep up with James’ output of late, not only did he release a tape on Nick Luscombe‘s Musicity label of foley and Buchla recordings in China but also has a meditation/relaxation release entitled Space No Space out on Golden Ratio Frequencies at the beginning of July.

Posthuman – Voyager 3 cassette (The Dark Outside) More cassette-only madness with The Dark Outside and a concept album based on the (possibly fictitious – or is it?) Voyager 3 space probe from Posthuman. More ambient than acid, this tape goes deep and needs the full headphone treatment for full effect. Unfortunately this is all sold out so it’s a hunt on the secondary market for this one. UPDATE: Digital is now available here

WXAXRXP

Various artists – WXAXRXP 30 broadcasts (NTS) Boards of Canada dropping a rare mix of inspirations scattered with little unreleased sketches from their archive, Autechre delving into their unreleased pre-Warp tape archive, Brian Eno with Extinction Rebellion, Aphex Twin live sets, a vintage mix tape made by Trish from Broadcast, unreleased Mark Pritchard club edits, Warp really know how to celebrate a birthday in style. 100 hours of exclusive material, they even played my Blech 20.1 mix from 10 years ago as well apparently :)

If you want to hear some of the above then here’s a recent Out Of The Wood radio show I did for WNBC.London which features selections from about 50% of the above and other recent purchases.

Forthcoming:
Clocolan – It’s Not Too Early For Each Other cassette, July

As One – Communion LP (De:tuned) – First new album from Kirk DeGiorgio in 10 years with a cover by yours truly. Also don’t forget the monthly DE.10 releases (up to #5 currently) of a variety of artists celebrating a decade of the Belgian techno label. Listen on their Soundcloud

DeT 1-3covers

TS Cit Input
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input mini LP (Polytechnic Youth) Who knows what this will bring but the previous LP was one of my albums of the year.
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King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardInfest The Rat’s Nest – yes, another LP, album no.15, merely 2 months after the last, rumour is that this is the heavy thrash record fans have been waiting for.

King Giz, new vidz

Nutters, no idea what is going on but looks like the thrash metal album is go
Invest The Rat’s Nest – album XV – out Aug 16th on Flightless Records
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– Deluxe yellow and black galaxy wax (2000 copies)
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– Deluxe black smokey wax with brown, red & gold heavy splatter (2000 copies)
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– Deluxe highlighter yellow wax with blue & green splatter (2000 copies)

– Gatefold sleeve with matte lamination
– 24″ x 36″ fold out wall poster
– 4″ iron on embroidered patch
– Record sleeve comes packaged in a custom paper bag
– Comes with FLAC Lossless Download of the album

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Kubrick, Kunz and Quant in London

Last weekend I did the rounds of some current and newly-opened exhibitions in London, Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum, Emma Kunz at The Serpentine and Mary Quant at the V&A.

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I wouldn’t call myself a Kubrick fan particularly but I’ve always been drawn to the design and imagery in 2001 and A Clockwork Orange in particular and this exhibition doesn’t disappoint on those fronts with many examples of props, artwork and ephemera associated with the films on display at close quarters. Philip Castle‘s airbrush paintings and foreign logo designs are a treat as are the Allan Jones-esque Korova Milk Bar figures and Droog costume.

Kubrick 2001 Kubrick 20012 Kubrick 20013 Kubrick 20014 Kubrick 20015 Kubrick 20016 Kubrick 20017 Kubrick 20018

If you’re a Kubrick fan who hasn’t visited his archive I’d say there is probably everything you could want here. It was particularly nice to view Saul Bass’ concepts for The Shining poster up close complete with letters to Kubrick and the latter’s rejection comments.

Kubrick Shining 1 Kubrick Shining 2 Kubrick Shining 3

Emma Kunz was a wild card, I’d never heard of her but seen the work online and decided to give it a go as I was nearby. Not hugely impressive technically and with little to explain what and why she’d chosen to make these drawings with the most perfunctory titles, I was a little underwhelmed. The art was very hard to photograph in the light of the Serpentine so don’t take these as the complete picture.

Kunz 1 Kunz 2 Kunz 3 Kunz 4

For Mary Quant I went for the packaging and graphics more than the clothes (although plenty were to my taste). The slightly confusing layout of the exhibits took some navigating if you wanted a chronological experience but the display design was excellent. I left wanting just a bit more than was on display and if this had been coupled with the content of the recent Fashion & Textlie Museum contents along similar lines then I think it would have felt more fulfilling.

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Delaware Road festival updates

The Delaware Road event in August continues to ramp up the line up as word gets around about it with more announcements to come. This will be a truly unique event, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale before. Transplant yourself to a secluded army base in the middle of the Salisbury countryside for over 12 hours of sonic, audio visual and performance-based adventures in sight and sound with a who’s who of the current crop of leftfield electronic, weird, and experimental practitioners working on the margins today. Buried Treasure, the label who hosted the last two experiences, have put together a mix showcasing some of the acts playing.

Tickets are available for the event, including group and camping options and follow the Facebook event for updates and competitions to win tickets and packages of merch from some of the featured acts and labels.

Delaware final back

Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ animation by Roger Mainwood upgraded A/B comparison

Autobahn AB6

Whilst putting together my recent Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set I’ve been searching for the best quality footage possible for the visuals. One thing that has always alluded me is a decent copy of Roger Mainwood’s trippy video for ‘Autobahn’ that was commissioned by EMI in the late 70’s, originally to be issued on laserdisc. Bad to worse copies have cropped up on YouTube for years, hazy, blurred and cropped, always seemingly encoded from video sources which was the only official release it gained eventually.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a French DVD compilation of the Halas & Batchelor studio which features a whole host of animations, including the aforementioned Kraftwerk hit. I was expecting a better quality version with un-muddied colours but was blown away by not only the crystal clear clarity of the image (you can see pencil lines on the figures) but also new areas of each frame, much of which had been cropped off when encoded for the web. See above and below for some A/B comparisons of what I’d been missing, the new edition on the right will now be making its way into my future sets for your viewing pleasure.

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Flexi Record Store Day stuff

RSD19 haulJust so much going on at the moment, hard to keep track – Record Store Day was great fun, got a few releases (the Yage and Acid 88 releases are excellent, the Stone Tape less so). Played silly flexi discs at Audio Gold with Shane Quentin first thing, the shop was bustling and my Jonathan King ‘Lick A Smurpf For Christmas’ disc got a cheer. The staff generously treated us to pizza and drinks as well as pushing a couple of filthy flexi’s my way – thanks guys!

Kev@AudioGold Shane@AudioGold New Flexis

Excellent package of the day goes to the Kubrick 7″ from Silva Screen which is a delight on many levels even though it’s actually Wendy Carlos arrangements re-recorded by Mark Ayres and not quite what it was sold as on the original RSD info mail out. The Acid 88 design is also particularly tasteful with the label designs causing some excellent flickering motion when revolving.

Acid88 cover Acid88 labelblack Acid88 labelwhite Acid88 back Kubrickfront Kubrick orangeinner Kubrick Shininginner KubrickOrangedisc Kubrick front 2

After this we headed down to Palace Vinyl in Crystal Palace for a bit of acid techno with the Downfall crew and a dig through their considerably stuffed crates – if you want any kind of secondhand electronic dance music from the last 30 years then this is the place to go although they mainly sell online. The new Corroded Circuits EP on their label is another winner.

Last stop was the Book & Record Bar in West Norwood where we nearly didn’t get in it was so packed for the showing of Shawn Lee‘s ‘The Library Music Film’, a 2 hr journey through the medium that had our legs aching as we had to stand the whole way through. Records were bought, played and beers consumed afterwards too and it rounded off a great day with friends and a set from King Michael that culminated in a shop-clearing Goblin tune.

Monday saw a private showing of Vickie Bennet‘s ‘Gone, Gone Beyond’ 360 degree film at Goldsmith’s College, a kind of fever-dream across multiple screens with surround sound that made me wonder if she was sane. Collage cross-referencing across multiple decades and genres was the order of the day with a particularly successful hall of mirrors sequence and crazed compression of what seemed like my 70’s childhood for a finalé. If you get the chance, go and see it but it’s only showable in a tiny amount of spaces due to the nature of the surround medium.

Shane&Jonny@spiritland Flexis@spiritland Flexi set RSD

Tuesday night saw Shane, myself and Jonny Trunk at Spiritland in Kings X for the Wobbly Sounds book launch, playing flexi discs on their mega sound system – it sounded awful! 😀 It didn’t matter though as the place was packed and everyone had a great time, especially the Four Corners Book publishers Elinor and Richard. I ended up chatting to actor Paul Putner (aka The Curious Orange from This Morning With Richard Not Judy among many other roles) who is a massive music fan who really knows his stuff.

Off to Bristol this Saturday for the second performance of my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV show at the Cube Cinema with DJ Cheeba, which is sold out! There are two mixes forthcoming this month too, one imminently and one on the 27th – both very different, more info soon.

Kraftwerk – Klassics, Kovers & Kurios premiere this Saturday

One of the reasons it’s been so quiet on here this year is because I’ve had my head in the video editing suite for this Saturday’s premiere of my new AV show; Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios. I’ll be taking this up to Manchester for its initial outing, at The Deaf Institute, who have previously hosted my other AV sets (why should London have all the good stuff first?). Tickets are available here

The show (at the moment) is very dance-orientated with the obvious techno, electro styles accompanied by hip hop, samba, breaks, mash ups and maybe a bit of juke if I can make it fit. Above is a tiny excerpt from one track where I got a bit carried away. The show takes the band’s various eras, looks and line ups and combines them into a 60 track, 90 min+ collage of Teutonic Techno, European Electro & Kraut Crunk together with the visual history of the group. I’ve really dug around for old archive for this one, which is hard on the older material as there is so little and in bad quality but I’ve been collecting this stuff since the early ’00s so have a fair bit. Below are some screen grabs of an Italian performance of Pocket Calculator where the cameraman really wanted to know what they were playing.

PocketCalcInstruments

2018 – a vintage year for new music

It’s the end of the year and reading down the list of sounds that have moved me most in 2018 I’m struck by how much new music there is after years of digging a lot of reissues over current styles. This may well be because the well is finally running dry on a lot of the stuff I’m interested in but more likely that the old adage of great music being made in times of great strife is coming home to roost again. There is no order to the lists below, no No.1 or ‘best’ of anything although they are mostly chronological as I write stuff down as I hear or see it.

Special mentions though for the Castles In Space label that continues to go from strength to strength, the Confidence Man album which got a lot of play despite me missing them live twice. Trevor Jackson‘s beautiful design for his ‘System’ CD and cassette, so good I bought it three times, The Advisory Circle‘s ‘Ways Of Seeing’ LP and the Tomorrow Syndicate‘s excellent ‘Future Tense’ album, complete with Nick Taylor artwork.

Supporting both The The (on several UK dates) and the Art Of Noise was the stuff of teenage dreams and the former’s biography by Neil Fraser is a fascinating read. The Karminsky Experience Inc.’s ‘See Inside’ VR single was a genuinely eye-opening experience and having them and Markey Funk down at Further was a treat. Walking into the House of Illustration‘s John Vernon Lord exhibition to be unexpectedly confronted with the original drawing of his 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’, was the art high of the year and the People’s Vote march in October restored my faith in humanity for an afternoon. Electronic Sound magazine continues to excel and their first LP release, Jack Dangers‘ remix of Terry Riley‘s ‘In C’, was another disc that saw a lot of play this year.

On Dec 23rd I played a lot of my favourite releases of 2018 on WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood show which you can hear below, complete with mic. fluffs and wrong track listings.

As we go into 2019 I’m dreading the first three months, leading up to the Br*x*t deadline, hoping against hope for a last minute chance to reconsider but bracing for a fallout post 29/03/19 that could see chaos come to the UK. I hope that I’m writing a more positive missive this time next year, if not then at least the music will only get better and better…

Music 2Music / chat:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside 7″ (Patterns of Behaviour)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Flightless)
Beautify Junkyards – The Invisible Worlds of LP (Ghost Box)
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting LP (Trunk)
Bigmouth podcast (Audioboom)
The Turbans – Baba Ganooz 7″ (Mona Tone/Delights)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade LP (Duophonic)
The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing LP (Ghost Box)
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel (single) (Wondaland)
Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People LP (Heavenly)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre_)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (single) (Dairy)
Jonny Trunk – OST show (Resonance FM)
Regal Worm – Pig Views / Use And Ornament (Uranium Club)
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Electronic Sound)
Patrick R. Park – Library Sounds LP (Castles In Space)
David Shire – The Conversation LP (Trunk)
Amgala Temple – Invisible Airships LP (Pekula)
Adam Buxton podcast
Type 303 – The New Ravelution EP (Insult To Injury)
Luke Vibert – 165 303 – from the Gradients vol.2 LP (Astrophonica)
Luke Vibert presents Garave vol.1 LP (Hypercolour)
Kosmischer Laufer – Vol.4 LP (UCR)

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Packaging / design:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR glasses (Patterns of Behaviour)
Chop – CDL 10″ (Drumetrics)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (2nd edition) (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System 1st & 2nd edition CD + Cassette (Pre_)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour Cassette & comic (Tapebox)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense Regular + Ltd Ed. LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Spider Jazz – splatter vinyl edition LP (Trunk)
Spun Out Of Control vinyl + cassettes
Aver – River of Ice Cream 7″ promo flexi disc
Listening Centre 5″ lathe cut picture disc (Polytechnic Youth)

Packaging design

Books/Comics:
VS – Ivan Brandon / Eric Ribic (Image)
A Year In The Country ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – Stephen Prince
The Adventures of Jodelle – Guy Peellhaert (Fantagraphics)
Batman – White Knight  – Sean Murphy (DC)
Orla Kiely – A Life In Pattern (Octopus Books)
Electronic Sound magazine
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music – David Hollander (Anthology Editions)
House Industries – The Process Is The Inspiration (Watson-Guptill Publications)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour comic (Tapebox)
Proxima Centuri – Farel Dalrymple (Image)
Doomsday Clock – Geoff Johns / Gary Frank (DC)
Saga – Brian K. Vaughn / Fiona Staples (Image)
Long Shadows, High Hopes – Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)
Judge Dredd – The Small House (Rob Williams & Henry Flint) (2000AD/Rebellion)
Lawless  – Dan Abnett / Phil Winslade (Judge Dredd Megazine/Rebellion)
Pete Fowler – Decades of Lead (Unbound)
Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)

Books + comics

Film/TV:
Inside No.9 series 4 + Halloween special
The Inertia Variations documentary
Flowers series 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Yellow Submarine 50th anniversary remaster
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR + packaging
Bobby Gillespie on Newsnight
The Clock – Christian Marclay, Tate Modern
Bros: After The Screaming Stops (BBC)

Film3

Events / Gigs:
Art of Noise, British Library
‘O Is For Orange’ premiere Archspace, London
The The, Albert Hall, The Troxy, London, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
The Crystal Palace Festival afterparty @ The Paxton Pub, Gypsy Hill, London – one of those gigs where every track flows and lands just right.
The Indie Label Market, Spitalfields, London
The People’s Vote march in October
Jane Weaver at EArtH, London
The Soundcarriers, Gloria and Strange Majick @ The Victoria, London
Dirty Fan Male at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, London

Gigs

Exhibitions:
Sister Corita Kent – Ditchling Art & Craft Museum
Orla Kiely – Fashion & Textile Museum, London
Aphex Twin posters – Elephant & Castle underground, London
The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, London
May The Toys Be With You – New Walk Museum, Leicester
John Vernon Lord – The House of Illustration, London
Peanuts – Somerset House, London
Daniel Mullen – Lisa Norris Gallery, London

Exhibitions 2018

“Another year over and what have I done?”
Designed Peshay‘s ‘Reflections’ LP for the De:Tuned label
Created a 3 minute spoken word collage for Penguin/Random House‘s Voices event at the London Palladium on World Book Day
Supported the Art Of Noise at The British Library
DJed multiple times at Secret Cinema presents Blade Runner
Opened for The The at several of their UK gigs including the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Glasgow Barrowlands and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Further at the Portico Gallery with Pete Williams, Markey Funk and the Karminsky Experience Inc.
Designed a nine disc set for De:tuned‘s forthcoming 10th anniversary releases
Mixes for Solid Steel, 45 Live, Brokers, Rat Records, Out Of The Wood, Diggers Dozen and radio show appearances for Resonance and Soho Radio
Overhauled my Openmindesign.uk website

DJ Food gigs

RIP: France Gall, Ken Dodd, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Lovebug Starski, Jabo Starks, Tom Wolfe, Aretha Franklin, Orla Kiely shops, Carlos Ezquerra, Paul Allen, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, HMV, June Whitfield.

Looking forward to: The Delaware Road 2019, Keith Haring retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the Wobbly Sounds book, Further at the Ace Hotel, Sister Corita Kent at the House of Illustration, De:tuned‘s monthly 10th anniversary 12″s, Avengers: Endgame

Happy New Year!

10 films in 10 days that affected you in your youth

I was nominated to do the ’10 films in 10 days’ thing on Instagram – here they are, in no particular order but with a bit of context. For my ‘youth’ I’ve confined these selections to the period between 1970 and 1990.

1.SW
It can’t really be overstated how much Star Wars had an effect on my generation, it was suddenly there and nothing was the same again after. Who couldn’t be affected by that opening scene at the age of seven? Not much more to say here that hasn’t already been said.

2.Stylewarsmayorkoch
Style Wars is THE bonafide hip hop documentary from the 80s, with special attention being paid to the graffiti scene. Where there were other docs that came later and the Hollywood-isation of the movement via films like Wild Style, Beat Street and Breakdance, you knew that this was the real deal and it made heroes of writers like Seen, Skeme, Dondi and Kaze 2 whilst Cap was the bad guy. Info was scarce back in the day and to have a film version of the classic Subway Art book was like discovering gold.

3. BR
Another blindingly obvious one although I didn’t get it as a 13 year old watching a crappy VHS copy for the first time in the early 80s. It was slow, Harrison Ford was our premiere action hero and this was mostly talk in the shadows. I read the book, that didn’t help much either but the Syd Mead Spinner design and that killer dialogue…
It crept into popular culture, kept alive by video that fed the cult of Blade Runner, sampled by everyone from Sigue Sigue Sputnik to PWEI. The Director’s Cut in 1991 gave me a chance to reappraise it at a more appropriate age and that’s when I realised its brilliance. The frustration of the non-Vangelis version of the soundtrack endured for years and prompted seeking out bootlegs and fan made downloads once the web arrived. Without the original ‘happy’ ending the film is perfection in every way. I only got to see it on the big screen a few years ago when they released the Final Cut theatrically but played at the Secret Cinema version earlier this year and saw it several more times into the bargain.

4. Brazil
Terry Gilliam‘s masterpiece, Brazil, has so many memorable moments, performances, lines and threads that it was and still is like nothing else. I first saw it in the late 80s after it was broadcast on TV and got my dad to tape it for me as I was going out. Later I asked how it was, ‘it was a load of old rubbish about a bloke who got arrested just because someone got his name wrong’, was the reply. Of course that’s how it starts and the nightmares of bureaucracy escalates from there, reminds me of a similar situation we’re in at the moment. I loved it and it’s probably one of my top three favourite films of all time. Gilliam’s struggles and eventual vindication on the release of the film also add to the legend – watch ‘The Battle For Brazil documentary if you can for the full story.

5.Head-12
Head is one of those films that could only have been made at a certain time, within a small window when Hollywood was rushing to capitalise on the acid generation, everyone was doing too many drugs and the stars – The Monkees – wanted to kick at their established image. This is their ‘Smile’ / ‘Sgt. Pepper’ / ‘His Satanic Majesties Request’, including all sorts of cameos along the way, and it’s both baffling and brilliant. I’m sure it made perfect sense to them at the time but in the hard light of day when you’re stone cold sober you can see why people didn’t get it. They went  too far and the whole thing crashed and burned when fans and critics couldn’t understand what the hell was going on and just wanted pop tunes. Again, taped off late night TV some when in the 80s, it inspired me to do a re-score  live on three turntables in the early 00s.

8.Public voice

I’ve written about this before and caught it one night on – I think – Channel 4, in one of those slots five or ten minutes before the hour when they would run animation shorts to fill up the schedule. I had no idea what it was and stood transfixed as it slowly unfolded. All I caught was that the title had the word ‘public’ in it and it took years to find once the internet arrived. Eventually I found out that it was titled ‘Den Offentlige Rost’ (The Public Voice) by Dutch film maker Lejf Marcussen. Watch it here (oh for a decent resolution) and marvel that this was done in 1988, pre-computers.

6.clockwork_orange
A Clockwork Orange was one of those video nasty holy grails in the 80s, up there with The Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Zombie Flesh Eaters. I can’t remember when I finally managed to see it via a terrible quality VHS but it didn’t disappoint, although I was probably watching it for all the wrong reasons. Long before that the design and iconography of it fascinated me from the Droog costumes to the Allen Jones-esque ‘furniture’ in the Korova Milk Bar, the Makkink brothers’ paintings and sculptures and Philip Castle’s iconic poster. Years later, when the film finally got a theatrical re-release, I went to see it ‘properly’ and it’s still shocking in places. It blows my mind when I see it for sale in Sainsburys for under a tenner as it was so notorious back in the day.

7.FlashG
Flash! AAAAAAAAHH! My dad took me to see this as he loved Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon in his youth and saw the opportunity of a bit of father/son bonding. He hated it in comparison but I loved it, so colourful and kitsch compared to the weathered realness of Star Wars. Queen‘s soundtrack was the first album I ever bought (on cassette no less) and I read the paperback novel and collected the free cards in packs of Weetabix at the time. I drew scenes and logos from it in sketch pads and wanted a Flash T shirt like Freddie Mercury’s so badly. Alas it didn’t have the kind of merchandise roll out that Star Wars did (not in the UK anyway) and my appetite for it went unsated. Years later in college I remember watching it with the sound turned off and a mixtape for the soundtrack in a friend’s room on some kind of comedown. It all seems to segue perfectly with the tape until someone put Mike Oldfield‘s ‘Hergest Ridge’ on and the magic was shattered. Over the years it’s become a cult classic, largely for its naffness and Brian Blessed‘s over the top performance but the soundtrack still rocks and it was pleasing to see comparisons being made between the costume design of this and the recent Thor: Ragnarok film.


“Well, she won’t BE getting back will she, Den?” The jewel in the crown of the Comic Strip films, Bad News Tour (and its follow up, More Bad News) was a perfectly paced look at a disillusioned band struggling to make it with not a second wasted. I probably know every line along with all the Young Ones and Blackadder‘s of the day. Not being that well versed in classic rock in my teens it took me a while to cotton on to the huge steals they’d taken from bands like The Who and I prefer this British take on the rockumentary over Spinal Tap any day. The actual records they released are also worth seeking out as they expand on the series and bear repeated listens which is rare for comedy albums.

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A double whammy for Terry Gilliam in this list, the predecessor to Brazil, Time Bandits, really is a wonderful film for both children and adults. I would have been eleven when it was released and, having kids of my own now, I see the years between ten and teendom are difficult ones in terms of finding film and literature that seems appropriate. To me, Time Bandits occupies this position perfectly; intelligent, funny, scary, weird, sad and heart-warming, Gilliam’s tales of good versus evil through rampaging through different periods of history have a bit of everything with enough going on to stop the attention wavering. He even manages to put his spin on the ‘it was all a dream – or was it?’ ending without it seeming corny.

Honourable omissions: Aliens, Predator, Akira, Airplane, Hellraiser, Robocop, Stakker: Eurotechno, Spinal Tap, Mad Max 2, Repo Man, Weird Science, Max Headroom (the original TV film) and I Drew Roger Rabbit, a documentary about animator Richard Williams that showed clips from the uncompleted The Thief & The Cobbler.

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Howlround & Steven McInerney – A Creak Retimed

This is a bit special – Howlround’s ‘A Creak In Time’ soundtrack to Steven McInerney‘s film of the same name – remixed both aurally and visually. The third release on Steven’s Psyché Tropes label, it features exclusive new tracks by Howlround, Dan Hayhurst, Tom White, Merkaba Macabre and Ian Helliwell. 180g Toxic Yellow LP, available now in a limited edition of 275.
The film component has been reworked from 16mm film reels that didn’t make the final cut, resulting in a zero waste film project.‍‍‍ The album features two exclusive Howlround tracks, one brand new composition and one outtake from the original sessions.