Interesting image, looks familiar, seen it before somewhere, can’t place it…

hff_main_strip_site_v2TCO A2 poster (promo)

I’m just kidding, go check this out if you’re in London this weekend, a couple of Light Surgeons’ things are playing:

SCHLIMAZELTOV! dir. Christopher Thomas Allen 11m
Documentary short exploring the concept of luck or “mazel” through London’s Jewish Community.
(this is excellent and beautifully shot)

and a live performance of

True Fictions is a live audio-visual spectacle that fuses documentary film making, music, animation and motion graphics with cutting edge digital performance tools. A stunning collage of music and live cinema which explores the themes of truth and myth through a multitude of American and Native American voices; with a original musical score created through the collaborations of 25 New York based musicians and vocal artists.
(you need to see this live, multi-layered screen collage at its best)

More info here

The Light Surgeons – LDN 24

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”320″]http://www.vimeo.com/13009495[/vimeo]

If you’re in London, around the Barbican, you can witness 24 hours in the life of the city in 30 minutes. The Light Surgeons have produced an installation of visuals and rolling statistics about the city around a 360 degree LED curtain installed in the Museum of London’s benugo Sackler Hall café. This short film of the installation shows it in situ but you really have to see it in the flesh so to speak, there are some simply breathtaking shots from all over, at all times of the day as the film begins and ends at midnight, speeding through an average day in half an hour.

I have to declare an interest at this point as my better half worked on this as Producer but I’d be posting this regardless as I view the Surgeons as one of the few film makers who have transcended their beginnings as club visual specialists (sorry, I can’t say VJs, they’d kill me). They have a unique sense of space and composition which can bring out beauty in the most mundane objects and situations, coupled with a great ear for the perfect soundtrack, often composing it themselves.

The Museum has just reopened it’s doors after a major refit and it’s no longer the stuffy place of old, the items they have on show are many and span centuries of London’s history right up the present day. Have look if you’re in the area and then grab a drink and relax whilst the Surgeons’ installation speeds you through a day in the life of the Big Smoke.

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Ah yeah…

I was in the Ninja office today, sifting through boxes of press archive, found some amazing things, hilarious photos of old and some situations I don’t even remember. Lots of weird and wonderful people have passed through Ninja over the years and there are a lot of memories attached to it for me. I’m currently deep into the design and ongoing picture research for the Ninja Tune book which will be published this summer by Black Dog Publishing.

It’s a gargantuan project and one that we are not taking lightly – don’t expect the usual spread of press shots you’ve all seen before, we’re digging deep for lots of unseen material and it turns up in the most unlikely places. There’s no way it will all make it into the book but I promise to share some of the bits and pieces that don’t make it at a later date via this blog.

Also, these turned up today… :) Better res than Vimeo, I promise.
L&L DVD 650

Psychedelic Pink

A current big hit in our household are the Pink Panther cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s with variations on Henry Mancini’s excellent theme to by Walter Greene to accompany them. One of my favourite episodes is this tripped out classic from 1968, the Panther goes into a weird bookshop and strange things start to happen. The background designs by Tom O’Loughlin are sublime and show a rare glimpse of the times in a chidren’s cartoon. See the gallery above for more shots…

[singlepic id=2137 w=640 h=480 float=left]

Posted in Design, Film, Oddities. | 1 Comment |

C-Mon & Kypski’s More Is Less video

Video clipI’d never heard of this dutch group C-Mon & Kypski before until someone posted a link to their new video on the Ninja Tune forum. Besides loving the track – an mixture of ska, a sampled soul tune and synth bass more than a little reminiscent of Shadow’s ‘Mashin’ on The Motorway’ – the band are attempting to make their video online with the help of the general public.

The idea is very simple and anyone can take part as long as they have a webcam. They have already shot a basic video of the band larking about and you are invited to switch on your cam whereby one frame will be chosen at random for you to replicate. Strike a pose (they alternate your view with the chosen frame) take the picture (you have 5 seconds to get back into position) and they will add your image into the video. They already have over 6000 frames done and you can watch the video so far which is updated hourly.  Try it yourself

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DJ Food & DK – Now, Look & Listen 78 minute AV set

It is with great pleasure that DK and I finally bring you months of hard work with a mix comprising parts of our Video Turntablism sets from the last 12 months. Massive thanks to DK for really pulling out all the stops to get this thing realised from all the material we have, it couldn’t have happened without him.

[vimeo width=”635″ height=”480″]http://www.vimeo.com/8073574[/vimeo]

Strictly in Kiev and the DJ’s dilemma

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Sorry for the atrocious pun in the title but if I didn’t do it then someone else would have. I was in Kiev over the weekend and was overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm of the crowd there. As soon as I walked into the club I was asked for my signature including someone who had printed out the cover of the last EP on a sheet of paper for me to sign. The Ukrainians aren’t backwards in coming forward and I was passed many notes during my set as well as being asked to play tracks so I thought I’d show a few of them here.

I’ve been collecting these notes for years and plan to show more of them on here at some stage, they deserve their own little section really as some of them are brilliant. These show the different expectations of the crowd and also what they expect of ‘DJ Food’ – something I’m mindful of but which can change depending on territory and my mood. For instance, I don’t play much DJ Food material in my DJ sets, something I’ve been aware of for years and that will be rectified in 2010. But first on to the messages, the first one I got was:


Interesting take on what DJ Food is, I have nothing against IDM but I don’t play much of the genre unless the author is literally referring to it as Intelligent Dance Music – which could mean a number of things to many people. I started my set with some no-brainer breaks and beats to get things going without being too clever before I settled into a groove so I can take that one on the chin.

Next I got this from a girl who looked very exasperated when I told her ‘no’:


As much as I love the record (and I know others do) most of it just isn’t dancefloor material and the couple of tracks that are don’t have the sort of production that can compete with current music. I’m going to remix a couple of bits and beef up the production for my sets at some point though but I’ve played stuff before and it’s home listening headphone music for the most part. Tricky 3/4, 6/8 and 7/8 time signatures, spoken word and 80 bpm or lower tempos aren’t the kind of thing to set clubs on fire. I’ve always been a DJ before I’ve been a producer, subscribing to the Bambaataa, Flash, Double Dee & Steinski and Coldcut schools of DJing. This means mixing musical styles as well as beats, tempos and trying to add a twist of humour occasionally into the proceedings.

The more I play east of Europe I find that part of the audience is still expecting the DJ Food and Ninja sound of old in my sets -ie Trip Hop, breaks, Hip Hop and jazz-based sampled music. This forms a very small part of my sets at the moment as little of anything that falls into this category excites me and the bits that do are not always dancefloor friendly. I played very little electronic stuff in this set but maybe I should have tested the waters a bit more. Shortly after that I got this:

Hip hop

I really appreciate that people add please on the end, it really makes a world of difference. I got this just as I’d gone into drum and bass so I wasn’t about to about-face and revert to something else as jumping all over the place stylistically ruins the groove and pace of the night. So, the drum and bass went down pretty well with a portion of the crowd, especially with the obvious classics. Shortly after I finished with the d n b and the same guy pleaded with me again for Hip Hop, I got this note from him:


Well, he went home happy in the end but I suppose it looks like I’m not really playing what people expect! I chatted to several people after the set, who were all very complimentary, before heading off to the hotel for the night. The next day I had the opportunity to look around the city a little with my host Bogdan before heading off to Budapest. The bridge railings with all the padlocks and messages is a place lovers go to ‘secure’ their love for one another although apparently there have been several people jumping to their deaths as well! The house with the strange sculptures on the roof is the Secretary to the President’s house, originally built by an architect years before the revolution on land it was thought was un-buildable on.

Posted in DJ Food, Film, Gigs, Music. | 7 Comments |

Ninja goes to the Movies

Verity (Vez) Hoper used to work for Ninja Tune as press officer and her big passion was all things video and film related. She soon became commissioner for many of the videos being made for the label in the first half of the noughties and co-founded the monthly Antenna night at the NFT which set out to showcase the best new music videos being made. Along the way she befriended Edgar Wright, director of Spaced and later Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. She even appeared as a zombie extra in the former but possibly her biggest contribution was providing a number of rare posters from the Ninja archive to help dress the set of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost‘s house. Many of these were never made available to the public so eagle eyed Ninja fans have an extra treat when watching this excellent film. The biggest treat for me was seeing my Funki Porcini ‘Fast Asleep’ poster taking pride of place above the decks in the living room.

Big Ninjas on Tour poster from an old 90’s tour of Europe

Ninjas On The RoadAmon Tobin ‘Out From Out Where’ promo poster

Amon TobinYou can see the huge Funki Porcini ‘Fast Asleep’ poster in the background above the decks. To the left, a Canadian poster for an Amon Tobin / Kid Koala gig and a Amon Tobin / DJ Food / Kid Koala ‘Meals on Wheels of Steel’ tour poster.

Tour posters and Fast Asleep
Meals on Wheels of SteelA Herbaliser gig poster sits centre stage with a DJ Vadim Russian Percussion tour poster by Remi / Rough.

The Herbaliser / DJ VadimThe aformentioned Funki Porcini poster looming large in the background, to the left you can see a Big Beat Boutique poster with Cabbageboy‘s real name – Si Begg – not too far off Simon Pegg.

Funki PorciniBetter view of the Ninjas on the Road poster – this must have been from the first proper Ninja tour of the continent – mainly Germany and France – in ’96 being as it includes, Coldcut (Jon More), The Herbaliser (Ollie Teeba), DJ Vadim and DJ Food (PC and myself)

Amon Tobin / Ninjas on the RoadFog poster in the background

FogMike Ladd project The Infesticons‘ first LP ‘Gun Hill Road’ on Big Dada promo poster

InfesticonsPest single promo poster

PestNinja Tune label manager Peter Quicke‘s wife is a film set dresser and she was ‘lucky’ enough to be employed on the set of The Spice Girls’ ‘Spiceworld – The Movie’ back when girl-power was at it’s height. During the film (what do you mean you haven’t seen it?) the Girls do a number at the Ministry of Sound whilst Meatloaf, their driver, waits outside in the tour bus. After the song, Sporty Spice comes bounding out to wake him up and you catch a fleeting glimpse of a row of ‘Ninja Cuts : Flexistentialism promo posters, freshly pasted on the wall in the background.

Ninja Cuts in Spiceworld

Posted in Film, Ninja Tune. | No Comments |

Videocrash 2

Videocrash2.1Well, the second Videocrash was on Saturday night at Koko in London with a line up of Hexstatic, Bomb The Bass, Cheeba, Octavcat and yours truly amongst others and it was a blast if a little bit of a shorter one than before. Seven acts on a bill, including two bands with drummers, is a bit much to cram into 8 hours which was cut down to 7 when the soundchecks overran.

Videocrash2.2Most sets were cut including ours and new Solid Steel member Cheeba‘s. Poor guy had travelled down from Bristol to soundcheck a full 12 hours before his set – he only had an hour and had the graveyard shift from 3 until 4am – only to get 30 minutes before closing time.

Videocrash2.3DK and I slashed nearly half of our set and added some new bits in we’d been working on the past week which worked pretty well. All photos here were taken by the inimitable Martin Le Santo (thanks again mate)

Videocrash2.4Now, back to the records…

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