25 years ago – UFOrb

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Twenty five years ago my friend David Vallade and I traveled to Brixton to see The Orb, being poor students we ended up buying last minute tickets from a tout outside. When it came to entering the venue David got in and I didn’t as my ticket wasn’t deemed valid. Gutted, I returned home and David was left to do the all-nighter on his own. Above is the flyer, found online earlier this year, a fly poster version of which I had on my wall for years with its early typography by The Designers Republic that was later changed for the album artwork.

Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear bunker visit

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Seeing as it’s half term this week I thought I’d get my two out of the house and the city so, naturally, I opted to visit a secret nuclear bunker out in the countryside near Brentwood. The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker is a spooky place and also soon to play host a second version of Alan Gubby’s play / album / gig, The Delaware Road (for more info on exactly what that is – please go here).

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For those lucky enough to see the first incarnation at the Reading Arts Club some 18 months ago I can assure you it won’t be a repeat performance but something else entirely. The line up has swollen to twelve artists, the venue will have several spaces operating simultaneously with performers on rotation on different levels and the audience will very much be entering into something to be explored and experienced rather than the narrative-led musical presentation of old. Think of a Cold War setting channeling the Radiophonics and music concrete of the sixties with added pagan and occult references, it’s going to be like some sort of underground (literally) happening where the DJs use tape instead of turntables.

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The story will still be a part of the night with Dolly Dolly‘s turn as Director General of The Corporation, a state controlled media organisation happening in one of the spaces, one he’ll be sharing with Ian Helliwell and myself throughout the night. There will be no headlining act, no support or warm up, every artist will contribute to the whole with the star of the night most likely being the venue itself. It’s spooky enough in the day, heaven knows what it’ll be like at night.
Tickets are selling steadily and are almost gone with at least one of the two double decker buses put on to ferry people up from London directly to the site having long sold out. Get yours here

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Posted in Event, Gigs, Music. | 2 Comments |

DJ Food & Pete Williams at Further, May 6th

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Pete Williams and I opened and closed our first Further at the Portico Gallery on Saturday. We’d spent the past six months or more preparing for this, creating over 350 hand painted slides, video loops, chaining projectors together to automate them remotely and working out the best way to transform the gallery into a canvas for our work. During my set I looked around and finally relaxed, feeling dwarfed by the encompassing visuals, most of which I’d been painting under a microscope only a few weeks earlier. This is just the beginning, we have plenty more to show and do…

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I’ve been posting photos of each of the acts every day here and we’ve set up a new Facebook page for the venture where you can get a peek at all the photos right now, please ‘like’ our page if you do that sort of thing whilst you’re there. Martin LeSanto-Smith took the photos and without him we wouldn’t have been able to physically set the thing up. John Price from the Portico Gallery let us make it happen and was supportive all the way – massive thanks to both of them and also for Hannah Saunders from Big Fish Little Fish who gave advice, loaned projectors, helped on the door and bar and was generally a hero on the night.

What a weekend part 2 – Record Store Day

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Saturday was Record Store Day 2017 and dragging myself out of bed and down to Rat Records in Camberwell was well worth missing a lie in for. The shop was heaving when I got there after 10.30am with one punter reportedly spending £1,400 already!! The bulk of a huge collection from a Scottish indie collector was making its debut in the shop and there were multiple copies of some sought after items flying out the store. I spotted the 10″ Rephlex 4×10″ Radiophonic Workshop compilation on the wall, a couple of copies of the JAMMs ‘1987′ LP and multiple 45s of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. I ended up spending far too much and all of it secondhand, no official RSD releases at all. Sadly I don’t have any photos of that but it was a blast and it’s always a pleasure to chat to Philippe, Pete and a rare sighting of owner, Tom.

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After a quick lunch break it was over to West Norwood to The Book & Record Bar to score some new releases and play a set in store after Alex Paterson, Andy Higgs, Mr Parker, Dave Laine and Pete Williams. I decided to play something quite ‘up’ and plowed through a pile of beaty hip hop and classic house/acid/rave 7″s to a bustling shop. I also managed to score all my wants and start going through a small collection of German 45s that had just come into the shop before giving way to Oliver Sudden on the decks.

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All in all a fantastic day, not chasing crazy limited editions up in town but staying local and going to the record shops and hanging out in them which is what we should be doing first and foremost. People buying and selling records on the web are missing the point of RSD, it’s called Record STORE Day, go and support yours on more than one day a year. Shops like the ones above are hubs for people to come together and connect, form alliances and get creative, I’ve met so many good people through them, long may they flourish.

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What a weekend part 1 – The Orb at the RFH

OrbscreenRFH Friday saw myself and Pete Williams as part of the bill for the Orb‘s extravaganza at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, doing a test run for our Further event on May 6th. Upon being asked to play on the 5th floor balcony area by Alex Paterson, we decided to use a load of our equipment to projection all along the roof of the outside area overlooking the Thames. We got in around 1pm and were just about set up by 7pm when Michael from The Book & Record Bar and DJ Dadaist aka George Holt arrived. Teething trouble with getting the lights turned off or down so that we could see the projections were dealt with as were security who suddenly roped off the public space and would only let ticket holders for the gig in the main auditorium in. As the daylight faded and the projections along the balcony pointing across the ceiling appeared, everything clicked into place.

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Tons of friends turned up and we managed to get a lot of great photos and footage before the 11.30pm curfew. I even managed to see a bit of The Orb with Youth painting a huge canvas live onstage, walking in just as one of my favourite tracks, O.O.B.E. was playing. Strip down of the equipment took two hours by the time we were loaded out, then driving back to unload and retiring to our beds saw that it was 3am by the time I hit the sack. All worth it though, a very memorable night and a success in terms of what we wanted to achieve.
(Many thanks for the photos above: Martin Le Santo-Smith, and below: Mike Oscar)

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Further at the Portico Gallery trailer

Here’s a trailer for what to expect at Further on May 6th at the Portico Gallery

DJ Food & Pete Williams present a new, irregular evening by creating an audio visual space to enjoy. Films, slides, oil projections, food, drink and plenty of seating form the environment to soak up the sights and sounds.

Programme:
7.30 – 8.30: Doors, there will be a record stall with stock picked to compliment the evening by Micheal from the nearby Book & Record Bar and delicious food from local café Pinterdera served alongside the fully licensed Portico bar with beers & ales

8.30 – 10.00: Ghost Box Records in the form of Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group) will be playing an audio visual DJ set.

10.00 – 10.3: Howlround will perform a live score to ‘A Creak in Time’, a film by Steve McInerney (Psyche´-Tropes), via tape loops and reel to reel machines.

10.30 – 12.00: DJ Food & Pete Williams will open and close the evening with their multi-projection Light & Sound Designs.

Location: Portico Gallery, 23B Knight’s Hill, London, SE27 0HS, UK

Tickets here: (limited cheaper early bird price nearly gone)
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/further-at-the-portico-gallery-tickets-32880361045

Travel:
Train: West Norwood overground station (1 min walk)
Buses: 2, 68, 196, 315, 322, 432, 468, 690

Diggers Dozen vs Soundsci mixes

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The Diggers Dozen vs Soundsci ‘My Boosey Weighs A Ton’ launch party at Joyeux Bordel in Old Street the other week was as nerdy and bloke-centric as you’d expect with frequent outbreaks of ‘breakface’ and clusters around the decks as library oddities were pulled out left, right and centre. Various old heads were in attendance and new acquaintances were made until 1.30am when it wound down. Much chatting obscured indepth appreciation of the musical treats going down but Maxwell from DD has kindly snipped some of the sets out of the melee and uploaded them to the cloud of mixes. If you listen carefully you can even hear the faint sound of chatter coming through the needle in the quiet parts. First up, Jonny Cuba (above left, below right) with his ‘spy jazz’ set, then Jonny Trunk (above right).

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My mix, alongside more from Ollie Teeba and Mr Thing can be heard here

Announcing Further at the Portico Gallery

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Announcing a new venture put together by myself and old friend Pete Williams (Eikon / Out Of The Wood) – a collision of Light, Sound and Design… Further.

An irregular event held in different places, it’s not a club night, it’s not monthly, there’s no dance floor. It has got all the things we love in it though: experimental music and film, food and drink, socialising and a bit of record hunting.
The first event is on May 6th at The Portico Gallery, a hidden treasure in the heart of West Norwood and a venue very dear to us that offers an extremely adaptable space to project, perform and present our guests in.

We have Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group) from Ghost Box Records playing an audio visual set and Howlround sound tracking Steven McInerney’s short film, ‘A Creak In Time’.
Pete and I will be pulling all manner of projections, films, slides and FX out to illuminate the gallery at the beginning and end of the evening to compliment our DJ sets.

There will be food on sale from local café Pintadera, a fully licensed bar and plenty of seating. Michael from the nearby Book & Record Bar will also have a stall selling hand-picked stock for the event.

Venue: The Portico Gallery, 23 Knights Hill, West Norwood, London, SE27 0HS
Doors: 7.30 and we’re all done by midnight. Let’s go Further…

V. limited early bird tickets are on sale now through Eventbrite

Facebook event page here

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Selected Aphex Works 1 & 2 mixes


Seeing as it’s 25 years since Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 1’ was released and exactly 2 years to the day that my first ‘Selected Aphex Works’ mix was aired on Solid Steel, I thought I’d repost both the first mix and the lesser heard follow up I created for GCASFM.com about a year later. Due to multiple requests in the comments I’ve put up a very limited download of the 2nd mix here and in the Mixcloud comments.
There’s still enough for at least a third volume from the enormous Soundcloud upload he made back in 2015 but if you’re fiending for more then I’ll be premiering a special AFX AV set at Archspace in London on Feb 25th.

An Ambient Evening with the Orb and friends

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I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be part of The Orb‘s ‘An Ambient Evening…’ at the Royal Festival Hall on April 21st alongside The Orb (of course) Youth, Roger Eno, Metamono, Gaudi, George Holt (Cakelab), Micheal Johnson (The Book & Record Bar) and more. As part of the ever-growing local South London crew that have gravitated to the West Norwood Broadcasting Company (WNBC) operating out of The Book & Record Bar, Alex Paterson invited us to be a part of the evening to showcase some of the people within this community. Tickets are on sale now .

Not only that, Pete W (Out Of The Wood radio/WNBC) and myself will be unveiling the first outing of our new venture into sight and sound: Further.

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We’ve been kicking this idea around since last summer, wanting to create a space where music and visuals come together in different social settings to form an environment with as much emphasis on the visual as the musical. We’ve gathered an arsenal of analogue kit to make this happen, multiple slide and oil projectors, 3″ cassette effects and all manner of antique controllers to trigger them, with the aim of going back to some of the pre-digital practices that are being lost as we advance into a virtual world. It’s also a chance to showcase the kind of music we’ve been playing in the record shop, on the radio show and in venues like Spiritland over the past year or more – a willfully obscure blend of anything goes from the deepest, unexplored corners of our record collections.
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The idea is to install Further into different places, working with different layouts to make each one different and fresh. Musical and visuals guests will be invited and given space to do their thing and and we’ll provide the environment for them to fit into. Think the 60s UFO club meets a 70s Arts Lab meets the 90s Land of Oz nights with a leftfield audio/visual agenda. We’re currently talking to various different people about the possibilities of staging one of these events in their venue so if you think this could work for you then please get in touch: [email protected]

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What is The Delaware Road?

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The Delaware Road currently exists in several forms; an actual road in London where the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop was originally situated, a compilation released in 2015 by the Buried Treasure label and a multi-faceted performance piece based around a story created by the label’s founder, Alan Gubby and David Yates aka Dolly Dolly. The Radiophonic connection is no coincidence, being that the piece that ties the music contained on the album and play together is loosely based on two key figures working at the BBC Workshop at the height of its powers. Gubby describes it as, “…a work of fiction based on actual events & some unusual anecdotes gathered whilst researching for archived electronic tape music albums released in recent years”.

The story is situated in London, the possibilities of technology and tape are being stretched by inquiring minds and the swinging sixties are upon us. “Two pioneering musicians compose electronic themes for television & radio. They discover a recording that leads to a startling revelation about their employer. Fascinated by the occult nature of the tape they conduct a studio ritual that will alter their lives forever.” Add in dashes of psychedelics, orgies, spirits summoned via stone tape theories and the relentless march of progress and you have the ingredients for a wild ride through the middle of 20th century London, from analogue to digital as the 80s approach and new ways replace old.

The live staged version of the concept album is narrated by the incredible Dolly Dolly, sitting stage right at his desk throughout the performance, suit and tie in place, illuminated by a single anglepoise lamp. His earnest delivery ties the acts together that sonically illustrate the different chapters in the piece, his speeches becoming more animated as the story progresses, enhanced by oil and video projections. The first performance was held at the South Street Arts Centre in Reading and featured a host of acts using tape manipulation, analogue synths, ancient percussion and home-made electronic devices, each in roughly chronological order as the years played out. There was even some jazz on the menu and the whole thing was book-ended by Jonny Trunk and Pete Wiggs playing suitably-themed tunes for the occasion, I covered the night for Shindig! magazine at the time and you can read my review here.

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The album suffered distribution problems upon initial release, as did other Buried Treasure output, but a new deal should mean greater availability and a re-release is planned, there’s even talk of some kind of illustrated version too with various artists being commissioned to bring scenes to life. I can’t recommend the record enough as it perfectly soundtracks the piece put together to showcase it and there’s nary a bad tune in its 20 tracks. Listen to it and buy via Bandcamp.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this now as a second performance will be taking place on July 28th, this time at the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker site in Essex. Tickets are on sale now but places are limited, there’s even a chance to book a place on a double-decker bus that will take you to the venue from the nearby Brentwood station and discounts for groups of four people. I’m also delighted to reveal that I will be opening and closing the event in a DJ capacity too! I’ll be bringing visuals and delving into my collection for a suitable selection to mark the occasion.
Follow the event and the bands playing it on Facebook, this is going to be a very special evening.
The line up so far is: DOLLY DOLLY, HOWLROUND, TELEPLASMISTE (Mark O Pilkington & Michael J York), RADIONICS RADIO, IAN HELLIWELL, GLITCH, SAUNDERS & HILL, CONCRETISM, SIMON JAMES (The Simonsound), THE TWELVE HOUR FOUNDATION, LOOSE CAPACITOR, DJ FOOD.

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Openmind ambient mix on Solid Steel 26.09.94

Telepathic Fish 4 webI was asked by the m.cast website to write some background history on a mix I did for Solid Steel with old friend Mario Aguera under the Openmind DJs name back in 1994 (this was before I became part of DJ Food or had been given the Strictly Kev moniker). Here’s a little slice of London ambient history as I remember it:

Openmind originated at 102 Tintagel Crecsent in East Dulwich, South East London around late 1992. The shared house spread across three floors above a shop, rented out by a local chemist specifically to students at a very reasonable £37 each per week, and the occupants came together by chance from different circumstances. Computer programmer Mario Aguera and 3rd year Camberwell School of Art students David Vallade and Kevin Foakes were later joined by Chantal Passamonte at some point in 1993. They frequented many of the clubs, gigs and underground parties of the time like Club Dog, Tribal Energy and Megatripolis but often found themselves enjoying the post-club comedown chill out sessions more than the actual clubs themselves.

After an incident with a synthesiser, a Rastafarian and a bowl of fish (see David Toop’s excellent ‘Ocean of Sound’ book for details) they formed a collective called Openmind and started a series of ambient parties under the name Telepathic Fish. Nearby neighbour Mixmaster Morris took them under his wing and introduced them to many of his contacts.

The first party was held in their house across two floors which held a rave room with strobe lighting and a chill out complete with tower of scavenged TV sets broadcasting trip videos, black lights and Morris DJing from decks on the next door kitchen counter. Advertised through word of mouth and a few posters at the college, the party drew 300 people and they realised that they had to find somewhere else to do the next one.

A squat in Tunstal Road, Brixton was located and a line up of Mixmaster Morris, Aphex Twin and the Openmind DJs (Mario and Kev) with Matt Black (Coldcut) on visuals played throughout a Sunday afternoon into the evening. A second gig was held at the same venue later that year (’93) which saw members of The Black Dog, Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia and The Future Sound of London checking out what was happening. Early flyers included shaped fish pendants and tea bags, hand-assembled using tracing and holographic paper.

After Matt Black’s initial revelatory experience at the Fish (his first ever VJ set) he invited Mario and Kev to guest on his and Jon More’s weekly KISS FM radio show, Solid Steel in the summer of ’93. They appeared a number of times (11.07.93 / 07.11.93 / 04. 03.94 / 15.07.94) and Matt and Morris continued to guest with music and visuals at the parties.

The venue then changed to the Cool Tan building in Brixton for a fourth excursion that included Matt Black on decks with PC (DJ Food), a pre-Leaf Tony Morley and visuals by Hex. Just before that party Mario and Kev were invited back onto Solid Steel on 26.09.94 and you can hear Matt giving the party a shout out in the mix. The sets played here are a pretty good indication of the sort of thing they played at the Telepathic Fish parties, sometimes pooling their then meagre record collections to fill out the nights.

There were more parties after this, usually as part of bigger events – Orbital’s Brixton Academy gig VIP room, Quirky, Megatripolis, a New Year’s Day party at the derelict Roundhouse and a Dutch excursion that saw them playing in a gas silo. They also produced four issues of an ambient fanzine called Mind Food which they sold at the parties, by mail or in various record shops in London.

Mario went on to join Hex for their early explorations into visuals and software and then headed up a team at a major video game developer. Chantal, David and Kev all worked at the Ambient Soho record shop in Berwick St. at certain points. Chantal went on to become Mira Calix and sign to Warp. David designed record sleeves for Warp, Ntone, Worm Interface, MLO and Reflective among others. Kev became part of DJ Food, carrying the Openmind name on as his design alias whilst shaping the look of the Ninja Tune label in the 90s and 00s.


You can down load this mix directly from the m.cast website here

First hour: Mario Aguera (Openmind/Telepathic Fish)

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force remix) (BMG)
UVX ‎- Elevator (13th floor spectrum) (Magick Eye Records)
Frankfurt – Tokio Connection – Luminescent Avatar (Harthouse / Rising High)
Golden Girls – Kinetic (Morley’s Apollo mix) (R&S)
Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia – Obsidian (Deconstruction) (KK Records)
The Grid – Crystal Clear (The Orb remix) (Virgin)
Ongaku – Mihon 2 (Fax/Rising High)
UVX ‎- Elevator (13th floor spectrum) (Magick Eye Records)
Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby (Natural Trance Mix) (Columbia)
Peter Gabriel – At Night (Real World)
Amorphous Androgynous – Mountain Goat (Virgin)
System 7 – 7-7 Expansion (Double Edged Sword mix) (Big Life)
David Morley – Calibration (Apollo)

Second hour: Kevin Foakes (Openmind/Telepathic Fish – pre-DJ Food)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Warriors of the Wasteland (End) (ZTT)
Harold Budd & The Cocteau Twins – Memory Gongs (4AD) / S’Xpress – Coma (Record Mirror) No-Man – Days In The Trees (Reich) (One Little Indian)
KLF – What Time Is Love (Virtual Reality mix) (KLF Communications)
Jesus Jones – Zeroes & Ones (Aphex Twin Reconstruction 2 mix) (Food/EMI)
David Sylvian – Home (Virgin)
This Mortal Coil – Andialu (4AD)
B12 – Soundtrack of Space (Warp)
Spacetime Continuum – Fluorescence (Reflective)
Eurhythmics – The City Never Sleeps (Capitol)
Moody Boys – Free (XL)
Depth Charge – Depth Charge (Drum Death Version) (Vinyl Solution)
Material – Mantra (Praying Mantra mix) (Axiom)
Dub Syndicate – What Happened? (On-U Sound)
Moody Boys – Pumpin Dumpin (XL)
Plaid – Yamemm – (Warp)
unknown (Digidub or Moody Boys?)
Minnie Ripperton – Lovin’ You (Epic)