Acid House 7″ mix #3 for 45 Live

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It’s my turn again to provide a guest mix for the 45 Live radio show, hosted by Greg Belson and featuring only music played from 7″ vinyl. As usual I wanted to stray from the path and have been digging hard to find rare or obscure acid house singles that either I or 45 Live co-founder, Pete Isaac, haven’t played before on our 303-heavy mixes. Pete and I have been collecting acid 45s alongside one another for the last few years now and a healthy competition has developed between us in finding tunes from this tiny niche. But it’s a microscopic playing field, even counting today’s modern acid scene, and only numbers in the hundreds of releases on the 7″ format. It’s heartening to see current labels like BBE and Get On Down finally putting some classic house and acid gems on 45 in recent months to add to this finite corner of the digging world.

My first all-7″ acid mix was for the I Love Acid radio show a couple of years ago, the second for 45 Live last year and for this third outing I’ve spent months finding euro oddities from the 80s to give an authentic period mix – the one exception being the lead track, Mr. Fingers’ ‘Washing Machine’, which was first released in 1986 but not issued on 7″ until 2018. All other tracks featured were released in ’87, ’88 or ’89 with one lone 1990 release (ACR’s ‘Good Together’ which first appeared on a stamped pink label 12″ in ’89). At times I’ve felt like I’m scraping the barrel but there’s always an unexpected gem to be found where you least expect it.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned whilst digging for acid 45s over the years:
Most of them originate in the UK or Europe, there weren’t many US 7″s pressed as it was the longer running 12″ that was the most ideal format. Because the music charted heavily in the UK, record labels pressed 7″s with edited versions of many releases into the early 90s when they were eventually replaced by CD singles around ’92/’93. You can also find a limited supply of rave 45s fairly easily but by the time jungle happened they were a dead format for dance music save for the odd magazine freebie.

In Belgium, Spain, Italy and Germany there was a small industry in copycat cash-in singles feeding off the MARRS ‘Pump Up The Volume’ / Bomb The Bass ‘Beat Dis’ / Coldcut ‘Doctorin’ The House’ / S-express style of cut-up house, often using whatever synths they could find to emulate the Roland TB-303 acid sound. All these singles are peppered with ‘enjoy this trip’ radio announcer-style samples, Run DMC ‘ah yeah’s’ or ‘check this out’s’ and cries of ‘acieeeeeed’ if they were released in ’88. They must have all been sampling from the same sources and, with only a few exceptions, these records are universally awful, have smiley’s on their sleeves and have dated horrendously.

For a short period of time in the late 80s it seemed that any old pop act got an acid makeover – Bros, Bananarama, Yazz, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Army of Lovers, even Sam Fox got into the act (‘Love House’ – the ‘Sulphuric Mix’ is actually passable). There are all sorts of acid mixes hidng on the B-sides of British pop artists, by some of the greats of the house genre – Bam Bam, Adonis, DJ Pierre, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Kevin Saunderson all have some of their earliest major label remixes hidden away on singles by the most unlikely artists. Some of Saunderson’s first remixes were for the Wee Papa Girl Rappers (‘Heat It Up’, ‘We Know It’ and ‘Blow The House Down’ alongside Adonis) and he also serviced Neneh Cherry, Paula Abdul, Sam Fox and Loose Ends.
Bam Bam – of acid classics ‘Where’s Your Child and ‘Give It To Me’ – had his fingers in many pies remixing Coldcut, Yazz, The Shamen (years before their 90s pop success) and most bizarrely, Brass Construction.

Ex-Frankie Goes To Hollywood backing singer, Paul Rutherford, had some of the best acid makeovers for his debut single, ‘Get Real’, produced not by natives of Detroit or Chicago but by Martin Fry and Mark White aka Sheffield’s ABC! Of the three 12″ versions of the single out there the rare nine minute ‘Hardcore’ mix is the best but hardest to find as it was pressed with the ‘Sinister’ mix label and cover and you can only tell a copy by checking the matrix number on the run out groove. I’m betting Hardlfoor heard this mix before writing their huge ‘Acperience’ track years later.

But we’re straying from the subject of the 7″ – typically, few of these remixes made it to the 45 version but occasionally one would turn up on a foreign pressing. There’s an acid version of a worldwide late 80’s hit that exists only on one of two different french pressings that’s so far alluded me, the differences between the versions being so minescule that most sellers simply list the wrong version when it comes up for sale. By 1990 things had died down as the fad had passed in the fast-moving world of dance music and Hip House and the Italo sound replaced the unfashionable acid squiggle and smiley. But it had made its mark, the Madchester scene, Deee-lite and Screamadelica were all products of acid house and the Dutch and Germans sped up the tempo and pushed it into new forms of techno throughout the 90s. I already have nearly enough 45s for a 90s-00s acid mix but this new one is possibly my last word in 80s era cuts save for a handful of singles that I’ve yet to find.

The 45 Live Radio show airs twice a month on a Friday night from dublab in LA but you can catch up from their Mixcloud page or subscribe through iTunes. Much love to DJ Greg Belson for hosting and curating it over the last three years and Pete and Scott for steering the 45 live ship.

 

Trevor Jackson ‘System’ album

System CD yellow

Back in May I bought the yellow/orange version of this album direct from Trevor at the Indie Label Market from an edition of 150 copies, now he’s released it fully in a revised edition (the music is the same, just the packaging is new) and it’s debatable which is nicer. The cool, clean white / clear of the new edition nearly had me buying the CD again but I went for the cassette instead. This is the last release on his Pre_ label of archive music solely made by himself over the last 15 odd years and this one is excellent. As of writing there are only 10 copies of the CD left on Bandcamp – be quick

System CD white System tape

Further preview radio show

It’s less than a week until the next Further at the Portico Gallery, and i’ve has put a special preview together of the acts playing for the Out Of The Wood radio show on WNBC.London.


The first hour consists of a primer for special guests The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk followed by a selection of Boards of Canada – the subject matter for my ‘O Is For Orange’ audio visual performance. Finishing with the kind of eclectic set co-host Pete Williams will be spinning in the last half hour, you get the gist of the sounds going down this Saturday 15th in West Norwood.

Add copious amounts of retina-singeing visuals, the Karminsky’s giving away copies of their new VR glasses (see above) and tasty local food on sale via the Pimento ’62 people (see menu below) and you get the idea about what to expect. Final batch of tickets for Sept 15th available here.

Sculpture ‘Nearest Neighbour’ short and remix

I know I post about Sculpture a lot but I just cannot get my head round how they do some of their stuff – this video has so much work in it that my brain hurts. The comic of the album gets the animated treatment with a couple of tracks from the album including ‘Nite Flight’, my favourite. Listen and buy a copy on cassette or DL here as well as this free remix

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The Karminsky Experience Inc. See Inside VR glasses freebies at Further

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We’re really excited to be hosting The Karminsky Experience Inc. for a DJ set at Further on Sept 15th but got even more excited when they revealed that they’d be giving away some of these VR viewers to punters at the gig too. This pair of Cardboard VR glasses, beautifully illustrated by Dry British, lets you view their new 360 degree film to go with ‘See Inside’ from their last LP, ‘Beat’ which they should also have copies of on sale. I’m told this will be the first time you’ll be able to get your hands on these beauties but numbers will be limited.

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After extracting and assembling the glasses, you scan the QR code on the side with your phone or find the video on YouTube via the URL they provide – adjust the settings accordingly, press play and pop the phone into the viewer. From then on you’re taken into a Karminsky world whilst the music plays and you look around. Obviously it’s impossible to convey in writing, you really have to experience it first hand. Come along and maybe you can have a Karminsky Experience of your own.
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Tickets for Sept 15th w. The Karminsky’s, Markey Funk (Delights), Pete WIlliams and myself are available here.

Further 2 at the Portico Gallery, November 2017


Seeing as I never got round to posting these at the time (I moved house the week after) and with a new event upon us in a month’s time, here’s a quick look back at the last Further at the Portico Gallery, November 2017 with guests Sculpture and Simon James (The Simonsound). Photos by Martin LeSanto-Smith and myself

Simon James at the Buchla 200e Electric Music Box


Here’s a film of Simon’s performance by his brother, Curtis James

Simon James Buchla 200e performance at Further from Simon James on Vimeo.

The record and merch stall was kindly provided by Michael and Dorian from the local Book & Record Bar



Sculpture at soundcheck and during their performance

Tickets for the next one – Sept 15th, 2018 with myself, Pete WIlliams, The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk (Delights) are available here.

Aphex Twin advert at Elephant & Castle station

AFX tunnel
This is last week’s news now but I finally found myself in Elephant & Castle underground station this week and went in search of the Aphex Twin adverts that had appeared the previous Monday. Nestling in a corridor near the lifts below the shopping centre end of the station are the two op-art-esque logos, seemingly tiled into the wall although closer inspection reveals a carefully designed paste on advert like any other, just with special attention made to the scale of the tiles being rendered.

AFX side 2AFX head on AFX side
AFX cornerIt really is a great example of advertising assimilated into its environment and having all the more impact for it, it’s beautifully done, even if whoever pasted it up couldn’t quite be bothered to line the tiles up on the right hand side (see above). Other, similar designs also started popping up in other countries too, follow #3 aka Paul Nicholson, the original logo designer, for pictures and locations.

By now we know that this was advance warning of a new release, the ‘Collapse’ EP, scheduled for release on Warp mid September on vinyl, CD, cassette and limited foil-covered 12″ which intrigues me the most because the French company who used to produce those foil sheets you sometimes see on old record sleeves went out of business about a decade ago. Someone must have found a way to make them again and it’s a custom Aphex logo design rather than a pattern, very interesting…

Anyway – there’s a new video by Weirdcore that references the design above and the various formats can be pre-ordered here. (Beware – really awful website design alert – probably intentional)

With odd timing I’m pulling my Selected Aphex Works AV set out of retirement this weekend for an outing at the Space Theatre in Bangor, N. Ireland so I’m including the new video in the mix and then also playing a bonus club set at The Hop House nearby afterwards.

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Further returns Sept 15th

Further 3 Portico poster

Further returns to its spiritual home at the Portico Gallery for another night of Light, Sound & Design.

Markey Funk flys in from Jerusalem to present his take on the heavy fuzz and psych sounds coming from his Delights label.
I’ll be bringing my AV ode to Boards of CanadaO Is For Orange – to the big screens with exclusive visual extras.
The Karminsky Experience Inc. grace the decks with their selection of swinging library, soundtrack and beatnik grooves.
And just when you think you’ve heard it all, Pete WIlliams pulls out those special audio treats he’s been hoarding for just this occasion, all accompanied by the sensory overload of the Further slide, oil and video projections.

Delicious food will be available from Pimento ’62 Catering and a fully licensed bar.

V. ltd. early bird tickets available here now!

Tomorrow Syndicate poster and LP

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Fantastic artwork by Nick Taylor on the new Tomorrow Syndicate album and promo poster. You can get both from the band’s Bandcamp page – the poster is A2 and in the merch section but the album is only available in digital form frustratingly. Much as I love the music Polytechnic Youth are putting out, they don’t make it easy to actually buy it. Small runs are sold via pre-order from their Facebook page with no audio previews and few represses, you have to be quick and, as the label gains popularity, if you’re not on the web when pre-orders go up then you have to chance your luck with mail order from the likes of Monorail or Norman Records. Still, it makes it all the more fun and precious when you do manage to get one. The album’s great and takes in most of their previously released tracks (two 7″s and a VHS) with nods to La Dusseldorf krautrock and Radiophonic Workshop spacey synth madness.

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Unusual Sounds book

Unusual Sounds book
A new-ish book – ‘Unusual Sounds’ – subtitled ‘The Hidden History of Library Music’ by David Hollander tells exactly that via a series of interviews and potted histories of numerous European and North American libraries and their major players. It’s a thick paperback clocking in at over 300 pages and illustrated with hundreds of sleeves in colour as well as photos of master tapes, studio shots and catalogues, ending with a gallery of film posters that contain library cues as their soundtracks.
The final section seems a little pointless and I’d have preferred more pages given to showcasing sleeves from some of the libraries featured earlier in the book (Musique Pour L’Image is given two pages and their beautiful 10″ covers are mentioned but not shown for example). There is some crossover with Jonny Trunk’s ‘The Music Library’ book, as you would expect, but this is a worthy addition to any bookshelf. It’s published by Anthology Editions for $55 and check out their catalogue as there are some pretty interesting titles.

Saturday July 28th – The OST Show and Upfest

Mark your calendars, diaries or whatever you use to save a date for this Saturday 28th of July because Robin The Fog and I are hosting a 2 hour edition of Jonny Trunk‘s OST show on Resonance FM.
With Le Fog and I at the controls it can only mean one thing: Sesame Street, we’ve collected our favourite songs, skits, incidental music and themes for a joint celebration of all things from the Children’s Television Workshop.
Tune in to Resonance 104.4 FM on Saturday the 28th, 4.30pm-6.30pm – or if you can’ t then the show will be on the Mixcloud archive

SS mock up cover

UPDATE: And here’s the show!

Simultaneously (because we’ve pre-recorded the show) I’ll be in Bedminster, Bristol at Upfest, the annual street art paintathon, providing music outdoors to soundtrack the art. There will be food, drink, sunshine if this weather keeps up and it should be a great family day out.

Upfest 2018 flyer

Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour

Nearest Neighbour by Sculpture Press Release-1Not only does the next release from Sculpture contain Dan Hayhurst‘s trademark scattershot tape manipulations and noise bursts – housed inside a red cassette this time round – it also comes with a graphic novel, illustrated as usual, by Reuben Sutherland as only he knows how. It’s not all microscopic sound exploration though, standout track, ‘Nite Flite’ comes on like a classic late 80’s house meets early 90’s B12 exploration, complete with 4/4 kick and sci-fi synth pads. Preview a track here

Nearest Neighbour: Graphic Novel/C70 Compact Cassette by Sculpture from Sculpture on Vimeo.

Nearest Neighbour 2 by Sculpture Press Release-6
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Reuben this time pushes the boundaries of what an abstract comic can be whilst still readable as a sequence of events. Imagine one of his undulating zoetrope/phenakistoscope animations spread out across the pages, subtle changes in repetition and zooms pushing the visual narrative forward with each panel. The mind boggles as to how he lays this stuff all out without the joins showing. The 23 track album is released on 11th August on their Tapebox label as a cassette/download/book. Pre-order it here https://plasticinfinite.bandcamp.com/album/nearest-neighbour

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Dig magazine

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Dig magazine is a new mini magazine that will fit in your pocket (perfect to take to the record shop) full of esoteric info and ones to watch for from a selection of fine DJs. Mr Thing, DJ Format, Mr Krum, Si Spex, Susanslegpolicy and more all spill the beans on a curio from their collection including anecdotes, info and cover images and there’s even a URL at the end so that you can preview said tracks in an online mix. It comes in a neat stickered sleeve that makes it look like a milk crate which the (ironically) CD-sized mag slips inside, waiting to be dug into.

Dig contents

Oh yeah, and some chancer called Strictly Kev has a page in it too, you can order it for £3.50 here…

Dig Format:Food

Logan’s Run repress

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There’s a new, double vinyl repress of the Jerry Goldsmith score to Logan’s Run just out from Waxworks. This is the expanded score that was released on CD by Film Score Monthly in 2002 boosting the track count from the original’s 12 to 23. The beautiful artwork above is by Martin Ansin who has done many a Mondo poster, see his takes of Alien and Prometheus below. Transmission still have copies in the UK.LogansRungatefold Prometheusposter AlienposterMartinAnsin

The original Logan’s Run theatrical poster with another, possibly fan made, example below.
LogansRunorigPosterLogans Run alt poster

It was 30 years ago today

PE Nation of Millions coverAnother anniversary post, this occasion being three decades ago that Public Enemy released their second LP, ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’. This post isn’t entirely about that though but about their debut London gig as part of the 87 Def Jam Tour, supporting LL Cool J at the Hammersmith Odeon, the November before. Also on the bill were Eric B & Rakim (notice the spelling below – and the upcoming Bad News live show posters) and the whole thing was being recorded by the BBC for their ‘Fresh Start To The Week’ rap show.

Hammermith Odean Def Jam Tour 87
Keen-eared listeners will of course know this from the opening lines of the album, MC’d by Fresh Start… host, Dave Pearce, “Hammersmith Odeon are you ready for the Def Jam Tour? Let me hear you make some noise!”. Parts of the gig were interspersed throughout ‘Nations…’ courtesy of The BBC who had already broadcast it by the time the album dropped the next year. Somewhere in among the hollering and whistling were my friends and I as well as many others I would later go on to meet along the way. But first some context:

This was PE’s first trip to the UK, their debut, ‘Yo, Bum Rush The Show’ had been out a while but they’d also released the iconic ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ on the B-side of their last single, ‘You Gonna Get Yours/Mi Uzi Weighs A Ton’. They were supporting LL Cool J on this trip alongside Eric B & Rakim (who were having their own hits like Paid In Full). PE rose up the ranks with incredible speed though. Their first single, ‘Time Bomb/Public Enemy No.1’ was a real oddity, the album dropped in February ’87 and was even weirder but was released on Def Jam so was given perhaps more time than an unknown. When they dropped ‘You Gonna Get Yours’ with the crazed Terminator X Getaway Mix and ‘Rebel…’ on the B side, it was a done deal.

‘Rebel’ was an instant classic – a summer anthem – and more of the same followed. In the autumn, ‘Bring the Noise’, (from the Less Than Zero soundtrack) proved they could do it again and once ‘Nation’ dropped to unanimous acclaim, they were premiere league. By the time they came back to the UK they were either headlining or co-headlining with Run DMC who were still riding off the back of their world-smashing ‘Raising Hell’ album and easily the biggest rap group in the world apart from the Beastie Boys, who still looked like a novelty at that point. But Run DMC’s star was fading and PE – arguably – replaced them.

Winding back to November ’87, they were still the new kids but they’d put quite a show together to make a good first impression. Before we even entered the venue, the unexpected happened, Chuck and Flav appeared outside – behind a barrier and escorted by S1Ws – and chatted with fans. At first they were hesitant but there was such a clamour that they embraced it for a bit, well, Flav did as you can see below.

Chuck + S1W outside
Flav signs autographsFlav + fansFlav + fans 2

Kev + Flav London 1987

That’s me above on the left in the black Kangol hat, what you can’t see is the black body warmer I had on over my leather jacket with a hand-painted Public Enemy stencil logo on the back. This was back before the band even had merch for sale. Chuck was impressed. Below is the concert ticket with a message from Flav scribbled on my train ticket. In hindsight, I think they were perhaps a little overwhelmed at how the UK embraced them on that first tour (remember, ‘Yo, Bum Rush the Show’ was their current record, hence the faded intro on the opening segment on ‘Nation…’). But once the second album dropped, with its BBC recordings and copious thanks to DJs and artists from the UK alongside PE’s US peers, it seems that we made as big an impression as they did.

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Public Enemy were on first – the stage was packed, there were air raid sirens and the enormous PE logo. Terminator X flanked by two gun-toting, S1Ws on pedestals either side, Professor Griff stalking in the shadows with Chuck and Flav in bright white, bounding all over the place. It was a full on, high octane experience from start to very quick end (about half an hour I think), a scrappy, stop-start show that didn’t let up, and if it did then the whistle and foghorn posse just filled in the gaps as can be heard on the recording.

PE arriveChuck+Griff+S1WFlav+Griff+S1W+ChuckGriff + S1W S1W TerminatorX RocknRoll

Above is the ‘Terminator X!’ moment from ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ which the crowd went absolutely nuts for.
You can see actual footage of the gig on the DVD, ‘The First London Invasion 1987’.

In the middle we had Eric B & Rakim who seemed dwarfed by the huge stage with Eric B largely static, high up on his DJ pedestal and no backdrop graphic, leaving only Rakim to prowl the stage for visual entertainment. I’ve actually cropped more off these photos but wanted to show the enormity of the space they occupied. The sound was poor and Rakim called for more volume a few times.

Eric B + Rakim 2 Eric B + Rakim

After this slightly underwhelming middle act it was LL’s turn and at this point he was the bonafide star of the show. At the top of his golden era hip hop peak with his second album, ‘Bigger & Deffer’, out and the forumla-breaking but uneven ‘Walking With a Panther’ yet to come. His intro blew nearly everything before it to pieces. Set in a mocked up Farmer’s Boulevard street scene (his home, referenced on countless numbers of his rhymes), bookended by two DJ booths, a huge, flashing mothership of a boom box descended from the ceiling to the theme tune of ‘2001’ as his DJs, Cut Creator and Bobcat, scratched over the Original Concept’s ‘Can You Feel It’ until the ‘legend in leather’ walked onstage.

LL Boombox descends

Oozing youthful arrogance, you could see why there were a LOT of women in the audience there for him, here was your first young hip hop heartthrob, only just out of his teens. He was in amazing shape too (see bottom photo) and knew exactly how to work the crowd with a choreographed set involving both DJs (Bobcat even played hype man I seem to remember). His one misstep was to do ‘I Need Love’, the soppy, skip-it-please-ballad from the second album, and he was booed mercilessly for it by a large proportion of the crowd from where I was standing, eager to get back to the high-testosterone beats and cuts. At that point, love ballads had no place in hip hop such as this but the joke’s on all of us as LL and Def Jam had seen some sort of future where RnB would slowly blend with rap so as to become one. James Todd Smith can claim to be a pioneer of that scene, for good or bad, (he didn’t do too badly out of it).

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It was 20 years ago today

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June 23rd, 1998, Brixton Academy, London, UK. A date I’ll never forget, the day I was part of the support package on the London date of the Beastie BoysHello Nasty tour. Pretty mind-blowing, humbling and scary-as-f**k.
The warm up were the Invisibl Skratch Piklz (Mixmaster Mike, Q-Bert and Shortkut) and Money Mark featuring Kid Koala. Mike acted as compere between acts as I recall and we hung out backstage with him, Kid Koala and Money Mark before the show whilst MCA quietly ate at a nearby table. The Beasties were the main attraction of course and played a 30+ song set which I couldn’t completely enjoy because I was so nervous about playing afterwards.

This was no ordinary gig (because The Beastie Boys, who else?) so there was a full-on party DJ roster afterwards too, kicking off with Rob Swift and Total Eclipse from the X-Ecutioners, then Ollie Teeba from The Herbaliser and myself on 4 decks, followed by the original Scratch Perverts (Tony Vegas, DJ Primecuts, Mr Thing and DJ First Rate) all topped off by Alec Empire to clear the place out (which he did in fine style). What a line up! Playing at ‘home’ there were numerous friends and such in the absolutely rammed venue and walking out after the X-Ecutioners was pretty daunting, even though Ollie and I had been practicing our set for weeks. It all flew past and before we knew it we were being hustled off for the Perverts to rip it up.

BeastieBoys Backstage supportAbove: backstage shot, clockwise from top left: Q-Bert, Mr Thing, DJ First Rate, DJ Primecuts, Harry Love, DJ Ollie Teeba, myself, Tony Vegas, Mista Sinista, and Kid Koala centre left.

The few photos I have from that night are pretty terrible but the show poster, complete with guest pass, has hung in my home for the past two decades.

BBBrixton poster
Below: Rob Swift on the decks.

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The Delaware Road comic pt.1 – Black Propaganda

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The mystery that is The Delaware Road deepens with the first episode of a projected six part comic from the Buried Treasure label. Taking the story back to the Second World War we meet new characters as it sets the stage for a new chapter in this tale of the occult, orgies and oscillators. Less than 10 copies are left so be quick as there won’t be any reprints in this form. The comic is A5 size, 20 pages, colour cover, B&W interior, and comes in a protective bag with backing board. DelRdinsideDelRd inside2

The The’s comeback tour in Leeds and London

Leeds soundcheck
It’s been quiet on here for a bit because I’ve been so busy I’ve not had a minute to put things together. After last week I really had to sit down and write something to summarize what’s been going on though. It’s very hard not to gush over being asked to support The The for three nights in London for their comeback concerts but the experience was a unique one that I’ll never forget. I’ve known Matt Johnson now for about 15 years, we’ve done a few things together and when he asked me to spin a set of cinematic ambience from his back catalogue before each show it couldn’t have been any more of a dream job.

Mattx3LeedssoundcheckMatt is a very astute character, virtually everyone I met during the past two weeks was either a friend, relative or had worked with him in the past at some point. Surrounding himself with such people brings something unique to the events that I’ve not experienced since the early Ninja Tune days. Everyone was top class in their field, approachable, friendly and relaxed. There was no ego, pecking order or division between the crew, everyone ate together and mingled after the shows and I felt accepted very quickly and easily. Matt especially was extremely attentive to everyone’s needs despite having to deal with the awful news of his dad’s death the weekend before. That he pushed forward and went ahead with the shows is a testament to his character and resilience, lesser men would have crumbled.

TheThe Leeds soundcheck
Leeds was the first show, a ‘warm up’ or ‘public rehearsal’ on a Sunday at the end of May, and I was nervous dropping into the middle of a crew after they’d been on the road for a couple of days already. Despite this I knew a couple of people already, Vicki Bennet aka People Like Us and her partner Peter, had put together the video backdrop for the show and were traveling up to preview it. James Eller, the bassist, I’d met the year before and he’s one of the nicest people you could ever meet; calm, warm and funny, a rock solid person and just what you need in a band such as this. Kate Wilkins, the production and lighting designer whose work gave the gigs more of a theatre mood than rock concert, was immediately friendly and welcoming as was Levi, the road manager and the tech crew.

TheTheLeedscrowd

Stepping out onto the small stage in Leeds was pretty daunting, the place was full with hardcore fans and I’m sitting in the middle of the stage playing a collage of samples, edits, loops and atmospheres from nearly 40 years of The The productions. Some were obvious, some very obscure and I quickly realised that a lot of subtlety was lost in the live setting with people talking. The support slot is an odd one, no one is there for you, they’re waiting for the main event and you’re really just filling time, treading water until the clock ticks round to the time the band take the stage. For anyone paying attention I hope I at least filled the gap with something interesting for half an hour, a duration that went by in a flash, having only played half of what I’d prepared.

BrixtonSoundcheck

The band are quite the revelation, Matt’s voice is as strong, clear and commanding as I’ve ever heard it, James’ basslines never wavering. Earl Harvin on drums, a reserved but warm person to chat to, told me that he cannot speed James up or down in tempo if he tries, once he’s locked in that’s it.

JamesEller-Brixtonsoundcheck

Harvin is a killer drummer, whether lightly wielding brushes on ‘The Beat(en) Generation’, pounding out ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow…’ or simultaneously playing the beat AND the percussion to ‘Infected’ with separate hands, I never heard him drop a beat in four nights. DC Collard on keys is a friendly, hilarious character whose star turn on the solo during ‘Uncertain Smile‘ is a set highlight and crowns him man of the match every night. I had to wait until after the first gig to meet ‘Little’ Barrie Cadoghan properly, a red hot guitarist with the unenviable job of filling Johnny Marr‘s shoes who rapidly felt his way into the set and banished any such comparisons by the end of the first run.

RAH soundcheck

The set list is far from an obvious collection of crowd-pleasing hits, with a couple of relative obscurities from Matt’s solo ‘Burning Blue Soul’ debut alongside cuts from the excellent but overlooked ‘Naked Self’ album from 2000. There were a lot of ‘Dusk’ era songs (six!) which were well-judged as the crowds seemed very familiar with them, but only three apiece from ‘Mind Bomb’, ‘Infected’ and ‘Soul Mining’. Notable exclusions were ‘Perfect’, ‘GIANT’ and ‘The Mercy Beat’ but it was a treat to hear ‘Flesh & Bones’ – a ‘Soul Mining’ era compilation track – thrown in near the beginning. Highlights for me were the more uptempo numbers; ‘Armageddon Days…’, ‘This Is The Day’, ‘Infected’ and ‘Uncertain Smile’ and by god DC’s reinterpretation of that piano solo was great EVERY night.

RAH soundcheck2

I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow…’ is a challenging number to play as the bass parts waver between four and six bar runs against the original 6/8 drum track which seems to have its own random arrangement. At the end, just as you think they’re done with it, there’s a huge snare roll from Earl and the band drop into a funky jam where Barrie gets his chance to shine. For a taste of the sound of the new band you can check out their recent session on BBC 6 Music for the next month including an interview with Matt where an unexpected link between his and interviewer Steve Lamacq‘s childhood is revealed.

DJFoodRAH-Le@l_n0tePhoto: Leo @l_n0te

RAH panorama

I’d forgotten what a beautiful and intimidating building The Royal Albert Hall is, having not been there since the early 90s, huge but with fine acoustics, it was the perfect setting for the comeback proper. For this gig, Tim Pope filmed the show and I got to watch from the center, back behind the mixing desk. It took ‘This Is The Day’ to get the crowd completely on their feet but it was a fine show.

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DJFood-RAHsoundcheck-PeterPhoto: Peter Knight

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Photo: Nancy Brown

The Brixton Academy was a lot rowdier and I was asked to play on longer as hundreds of people were still outside, presumably thrown by the band’s 8.30pm stage time and the summer weather that day. Things got a little tense as the audience already inside got impatient, there’s nothing like being on stage, having to tread water when thousands want to see and hear the main event. The band had real trouble with the sound on stage with this gig, although you’d never know from their performance, but apparently it was bouncing around all over the place for them.

BrixtonAcademyfromthedecksDJ Food-Brixton-PaulNoblePhoto: Paul Noble.
Matt bought his youngest son, George onstage at the start of the Academy gig, it was the first time he’d seen his dad on stage and did a great job of breaking the ice immediately.
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The Troxy was new to me, I’d heard all about its Art Deco interior and it didn’t disappoint. Neither did the crowd – a hugely appreciative lot who sang along to everything and even applauded after another extended set from myself as more latecomers were squeezed in.

Troxy crowd
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Johanna St. Michaels‘ documentary, ‘The Inertia Variations‘, is now available to watch online and it’s well worth checking out if you have a passing interest in Matt’s history and want to find out where he disappeared to for all those years. I could have watched another hour of it easily as there are so many competing threads left hanging so tantalisingly. Next stop will be Neil Fraser‘s official biography, ‘Long Shadows, High Hopes’, just released this weekend, to fill in the gaps. This is all starting to sound like a huge advertorial so I’ll stop here, honestly, you wait 16 years and then all the buses come at once! A fantastic comeback and I’m so glad people are finally hearing Matt’s songs live and on daytime radio again in the present day. I’ll be supporting again at the Newcastle and Glasgow dates in September…

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs, Music. | 7 Comments | Tags: ,

New music

IndLabMrkt haul

I thought I’d better post some new music recommends on here seeing as the Four From Food Fridays thing took a back seat since I moved house late last year. I went to the Independant Label Market in Spitalfiends the Saturday before last and picked up a good haul of music at affordable prices, direct from the artists or labels. No queues, no waking up at silly o’clock, some limited editions but I managed to get everything I was after and I arrived a good three hours after it had opened.

Clockwise from top left: Pink Lunch (Trevor Jackson alias) – S/T LP (Pre), Dark They Were And Golden Eyed (Trevor Jackson alias) – Design Your Dreams LP, (Pre) Jon Brooks – 52 (Clay Pipe Music), Larry McGee Revolution – The Burg 7″ (Dynamite Cuts), Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space), Heavenly Records sampler CD, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Heavenly), Soundhog – Newtown Parkway / Astrablast 7″ (Castles In Space), The Twelve Hour Foundation – Bunch of Fives lathe cut 7″ (Castles In Space), Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre), Of The Night (Trevor Jackson alias) cassette (Pre).

This is where the spirit of Record Store Day lives for me, it was busy, it was exciting, I spent a chunk of money that went straight to the artists/labels and even grabbed copies for friends who couldn’t make it. Every release I got was new bar one reissue that I was given and I bought vinyl, CDs and a cassette. 7″s were around £5 or £10 for a lathe cut with multiple inserts, LPs between £15 and £20 and there was food and booze nearby to enjoy afterwards. Later we dropped into a local record shop only to see multiple copies of unsold RSD Shaggy 7″s and the Florence & The Machine single retailing for £18.

The clue is in the title, ‘Independent Label Market’, twice annually in London at Spitalfields – and yes, I realise I’m lucky enough to live in a city where such a thing happens – but they’re expanding. Next month sees one in Berlin, another in Soho and October has one scheduled for Paris.

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Castles In Space are really killing it with releases right now, the Concretism album is excellent, the Twelve Hour Foundation‘s 7″ above is a great taster for the album to follow and Soundhog‘s debut for the label bodes well for the future. With the Akiha Den Den album last year and more on the horizon, this Brighton-based label is doing good things in electronic music – lovely design by Nick Taylor on the THF single and Richard Littler (Scarfolk) for the Concretism too.

ConcretismLP

Outside the market there’s plenty to be scooped up on the web – The new Delights release is out any day, with only half the stock left – a new Group Modular 45 with an update of their Acid Wheels track and a brand new A side. Each comes with this lovely screen print too and it’s limited to 150 copies. Grab one here

Acid Wheels printAcid Wheels discAcid Wheels

If deep, dark modular electronics are your thing then you could do far worse than grab one or both of these releases which both feature Camberwell local Guido Zen. Vactrol Park is his band with Kyle Martin and this 3 tracker pre-empts a forthcoming album on Malka Tuti label – really nice stuff, similar in vein to their previous two EPs on ESP Institute. The PNZ ‘Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’ LP is a collab between Zen, Colin Potter, who has worked with Nurse With Wound among others and Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving.

Vactrol Park

Trunk comes up with another winner in the form of the spy-jazz KPM cues for the 2nd and 3rd series of the animated Spiderman cartoon of the 70’s. Fantastic spider-splat vinyl too although these may now be sold out.

Spider Jazz coverSpiderplate vinyl

Demdike Stare also just put out a tape of them remixing The Feed-back by Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (Morricone‘s infamous psychedlic jazz outfit) – I was hoping for something a bit more crazed and fuzzed out but it’s an interesting listen. Sadly I think this is sold out already

Demdike Feedback

DJ Food supporting The The on forthcoming UK dates

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It gives me great pleasure to announce that I’ve been asked by Matt Johnson to open for The The on selected UK dates for their comeback tour this year. Matt didn’t want a conventional band support in the slot but asked if I would prepare something cinematic and ambient, incorporating his music from the last four decades. Fortunately this is exactly the place my head’s been at over the last few years and the chance to do this with Matt’s back catalogue is the stuff of dreams. Expect an improvised ‘cineolascape’ to greet you on arrival for the gigs, different for each night.

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I’ll be joining the band – who have video accompaniment from Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us and design by Kate Wilkins – on
May 27th – Leeds, LMUSU
June 5th – London, Royal Albert Hall
June 6th – London, Brixton Academy
June 7th – London, Troxy
Sept 3rd – Newcastle, Newcastle University
Sept 4th – Glasgow, Barrowlands
Sept 5th – Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall

Also just announced: the new band line up (see above photo by John Claridge), the long-awated biography by Neil Fraser release date and more screenings of The Inertia Variations documentary at the ICA.
Go to https://www.thethe.com/ for more info…

the_the_LongShadowsHighHopessmall

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs, Music. | 3 Comments | Tags: ,