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.
So sad to hear of the passing of David Axelrod tonight. If you don’t know the man’s music then all you need is this interview that DK and Dean Smith did with the man back in 2001 for Solid Steel. It’s unlikely that most people wouldn’t know parts of his music, being that he was sampled so widely by hip hop artists like Dr. Dre, DJ Shadow, Black Sheep and more. DK has been an uber-fan for as long as I’ve known him so this interview goes deep.
I 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)
The latest Solid Steel show features DJ Mighty Atom‘s deconstruction of DJ Shadow‘s ‘Endtroducing’ album, now 20 years old, in hour 1 and my taster mix for the new De:tuned Records ‘Brainbox’ compilation in hour 2. I’m biased but that’s a great way to spend 2 hours this weekend IMO.
Mighty Atom’s mix follows Solid Steel’s tried and tested blueprint of finding the original sources used in heavily sampled classics (see Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Beck and Nas of past shows) and adding spoken word snippets relating to the making of said album. He rises to the challenge admirably and this has to be one of my favourite mixes of the year.
My own mix takes a sample of tracks from the huge new 6xLP ‘Brainbox’ compilation, adds some past releases from the same label and hides some exclusives not due until next year in too. For fans of 90s era electronica from labels like Warp, R&S, Red Planet or Axis then this is for you – lots of familiar names, all brand new tracks.
After the audio version on Friday’s Solid Steel, here’s the video version, a collection of retro-futuristic sounds from the past and present that premiered at the recent Videocrash night in London. A host of specially edited videos assembled from my visual archive with interjections from ‘This Is Marshall McLuhan’ and ‘Magic Trip’ among others. Spot the difference between this and the audio version…
Due to various streaming problems we’ve put it on two different platforms, if one doesn’t work for you try the other
Here’s my latest mix for Solid Steel – the third installment of my Future Shock series, largely culled from the performance I created for last month’s Videocrash night in London, it’s a mixture of old and new with an emphasis on the trippy analogue side. There’s a video version coming too…
Last week, DJ‘s Cheeba & Moneyshot finished their deconstruction of Beck’s album, ‘Odelay’, which celebrated it’s 20th anniversary on June 18th. As he plays Glastonbury this coming weekend, Solid Steel will premiere the mix on Friday 24th, entitled, ‘Yo! Delay’. A long time in the making, it’s over an hour of the LP broken down into samples, interview snippets, scratch routines and more, in the same way our ‘Caught In The Middle of a Three-Way Mix’ did with the Beastie Boys’ ‘Paul’s Boutique’ a few years back.
Lucky enough to hear it before the public, I stuck it on and we had a message session via Facebook, below are some of my (edited) comments as I listened for the first time…
you get a Devil’s Haircut acappella?
is that the Stones with the guitar riff?
mad JB cover there
I reckon Beck might thank you for not putting the track list out there
This is great guys
oh that New Pollution sax break is great
Oh Lee Michaels! – you have that album? Killer
I hope you got Mantronix into Where It’s At?
There she blows!
hairs on the back of the neck moment
Anyone ever do a porno with whales called ‘There she blows’ Roy?
ah this is f**king great guys, I’m grinning
This extended freakout bit with samples and spoken cuts is redefining the mix guys – insane
oh! Dick Hyman!
f**k guys, mix of the year so far
A few people are going to have their dreams shattered though – “I thought Beck wrote that!”
make a little commentary to go with it, the first real time mix commentary – you could break down what you did?
Well, guys – mix of the year so far, you nailed it, didn’t want it to end – well done
I totally forgot to post this last weekend as I was away. After their storming gig in London in February I asked Tim Gane from COAM if he’d be up for a Solid Steel mix for us. Not only did he say yes but he delivered two exclusive hour long mixes titled ‘Whiteout Mix’ and ‘Blackout mix’ that parallel each other with some of the same artists appearing on both hours. As a result we gave the whole of last week’s show over to him.
“An abstracted trawl through some prized recordings. Music can be like a fever dream with no rational interpretations possible and all these tracks have given me that rush. Over the years they have shown me the door and window to another kind of sound and new forms of composition and an endless collage of possibility.Totally shocking listening to these tracks again and putting the mix together. I have included one of my own mess about loops from about 8 or 9 years ago.”
The Comet Is Coming celebrate the release of their debut album Channel The Spirits on The Leaf Label, King Shabaka, aka Shabaka Hutchings (also of Sons Of Kemet and Melt Yourself Down) drops his first mixtape with a quality selection of music personal to him.
“I’ve never done a mixtape before so when asked to do this I immediately though back to my favourite DJs and what their selections did for me. I love it when I hear massive leaps in genre during a set which seem to make sense despite all the odds and retain a trajectory of intensity. Immediately I think of Gaslamp Killer who I toured with last year and was able to see him do his thing up close, and Ntone Edjabe who is a DJ extraordinaire based in Cape Town. These are all tunes that have meant a lot to me at various points in my life so it’s interesting for me to see the narrative which connects them.”
For all those who won’t see the updated posts further down the feed; here’s last night’s new Resonance FM show, Near Mint, that I featured on with some highlights of my collection. Plus here’s the 45Live Radio Show I had an all-45s guest mix slot on with Greg Belson last Friday night/Saturday morning on Dublab.
Tonight at 8pm US PST (tomorrow 4am UK time) I’ll be the featured guest mixer on the 45 Live Radio Show, hosted by Greg Belson on Dublab in LA. The hour-long mix takes in Rock, Pop, Psych, Hip Hop, Electronics, Breaks, Funk and more. My mix starts 32 mins in but Greg drops some ridiculously rare gems too.
Last week I played at the opening of the ‘Cosmic Flush’ exhibition in London at the Magda Danysz Gallery. The contents of which celebrated the work and life of Rammellzee, the MC and artist who passed away in 2010. Instigated by the Gamma Proforma label, it was full of art from the new album and attended by a who’s who of the leftfield art scene. Pieces by Futura 2000, Kofie 1, She One, Will Barras, Dan Lish and Poesia sat with art from three of Ramm’s crew: Doze Green, Ian Kuali’i and one of Dr Zulu‘s Lego letter racers. There were also life-size cut-outs of Rammellzee in full battle gear by Will Barras with backgrounds by O.Two.
The exhibition will run until 22nd December. The gallery is open daily from 11am-7pm, closed Mondays.
You can buy the seven releases that make up the ‘Cosmic Flush’ album from Gamma’s online store.
During the run up to the exhibition opening The Quietus website premiered a piece I’d written about Ramm which you can read in full here. It featured a previously unseen image by Timothy Saccenti, made in collaboration with Rammellzee, for a photo session they did in 2005. Here’s another unpublished image from the same time and I’m incredibly grateful to Timothy for letting me use these great images for the piece.
At the opening I played an all-Rammellzee set including a new mix I made for Solid Steel celebrating his musical career. The object was to map an aural history of Rammellzee‘s recorded output, in roughly chronological order, to showcase his music, theories and wordplay for those who wondered what all the adulation and legendary status was about. Take a trip from the early 80s up to the present day, through Ramm’s intricate, confusing, yet always unique recording career from his old school origins through to his final masterpiece.
As an addition to The Quietus piece, for which I had way too many images, here’s an extended look at some of his releases over the years. Going back to the beginning, want to see Profile Records‘ original master tape of the ‘Beat Bop’ single? It was recently unearthed by Noah Uman and given a proper reissue after countless bootlegs over the years. Originals now go for triple figures, but here’s the no frills master tape box that was taken from Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s original reel.
Here’s the Slinky Gym School single he featured on in 1983
The 1985 Death Comet Crew 12″ on Beggars Banquet
The Flexibition is going to have to wait this week – it’s a huge one unfortunately – I’ve been busy doing other things, some of which will drop imminently. A last reminder that the ‘Cosmic Flush’ exhibition opens 6pm tomorrow evening at the Magda Danysz Gallery in London and if you want to go you have to RSVP here.
Here’s the details for the Psychonavigation Records 2000-2015 mix CD I’ve just finished: 23 tracks from the 45 track ‘Music On A Shoestring’ digital compilation, mixed by yours truly into a 74 minute head trip. Here’s an online stream of the mix in full, see what you think…
If ambient electronica, deep space dub, classical piano and acoustic pieces are your thing then this is for you.
Some names you might recognise from the line up: The Future Sound of London, Autechre, Brian Eno, Alex Paterson, Thomas Fehlmann, Dr Atmo, Spacetime Continuum…
It was very hard to fit all the tracks I wanted onto one disc as the hit rate on the compilation is so high, my original wishlist was 35 of the 45 tracks. You can pre-order the mix CD here or buy the full digital compilation for only €10(!), selected by label boss Keith Downey from the last 15 years of releases. I can’t convey how many beautiful tracks are on this comp and all for €10 is an absolute steal, some of them are available to preview on the Bandcamp page right now.
We’re excited to announce a brand new radio show broadcasting live out of Los Angeles CA, on Friday 6th November, 8pm US PST (4am UK GMT) on the legendary Dublab.com featuring the entire 45 Live Crew!
‘The 45 Live Radio Show’ will be on air bi-monthly which will fall on the first and third Friday of each month. Your host will be soul, funk & gospel connoisseur DJ Greg Belson, and it’ll feature a guest on a rotational basis from the 45 Live elite (full roster here if you want to know who will be featured).
Something to get you in the mood for the 45 Live gig this Saturday at Factory in Plymouth.
All 7″s, no track list yet, bonus point for those that get the title reference without googling it.
After a drought I’m overflowing with mixes at the moment and there’s more to come…