On Some Faraway Beach – David Sheppard

I can recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in Brian Eno although there are plenty of insights into many of his associates over the years too – Fripp, Bryars, Cale, Ferry, Bowie, Byrne – they’re all here. The bulk of the book concentrates on the 70’s and the research is impeccable. It’s no rose-tinted ride either, there’s dirt amongst the many platitudes despite this being 100% Eno sanctioned which is refreshing. Occasionally it does seem that he can do no wrong and this isn’t all the writer’s imagination as the hit factor on projects and records involving ‘The Captain’ is remarkably high when you collect them all together. Amongst the reams of info in the book I was surprised to learn that Brian doesn’t drive and that, when he first moved to London in the sixties, he lived about a 5 minute walk away from where I currently live.

Eno

My only criticism of the book is that the ending  feels rushed and lapses into ‘list-mania’ seemingly trying to cram everything Eno has done into a rapidly dwindling page count. We spend 360 odd pages idling through the sixties and seventies up until 1984 and a phone call from U2 and then it’s a headlong dash through the next two decades in less than 100 pages. True that the meat and the more interesting material has been well documented and most fans will want his early career explored to it’s fullest – and they won’t be disappointed – but after the expert job done with the first half the end leaves you feeling frustrated.

Saying that it’s only about one fifth of the book and the other four are a gripping read, you really wonder how he managed to fit so much in and be so on top of the game for so long. All his major releases and collaborations are explored in detail with plenty of archive interview material interspersed with modern day recollections from friends and family past and present. The dilemma-solving Oblique Strategies are present throughout and I have one of my own which I keep in mind whenever I get stuck on something – “What would Eno do?”

My Funky Eno mix “More Volts” is also still up on the downloads page if you haven’t heard it.

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Aupheus – Excavated EP

Aupheus 7" packageAupheus stamp detailAupheus paper

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, Aupheus’ Excavated 7″ arrived the other week and a beautiful thing to behold it is. The cover comes on papyrus paper which is then hand stamped and stickered! The release showcases edits of two tracks from the full download EP, a code for which is contained in the 7″ –  available from 2600 Recordings now but hurry, only 250 were made (assembled by Aupheus himself no less). The music is downtempo, atmospheric, leaning heavily in the older realms of DJ Shadow’s work, Sixtoo and DJ Signify and very good too.

There’s a great little trailer for the EP here too

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DJ Shadow Remix Project teaser

Remix Project Teaser-CD Coming Soon! by djshadow
Interesting selection of snippets from an up-coming CD of fan made remix of DJ Shadow’s work just posted on Soundcloud. I was lucky enough to score the full version of the DJ GodBeing mix of Scatter Brain some months back and have been playing it out in sets since. Also, Bristol’s Awkward has done a heavy mix of Blackalicous’ ‘Halfway Home’ which stretches out and improves the original. More details on Shadow’s site soon…

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Ninja Tune XX box set tracklist announced

Full boxset mock up 1

This has been consuming my time for the last 6 to 8 months – mainly the book but recently the box set and all its contents.

The set includes 3 hardback books: one is an exclusive hardback edition of the forthcoming Ninja Tune – 20 Years of Beats & Pieces book by Stevie Chick, published by Black Dog Publishing and designed by yours truly.

The second houses 6 CDs – 2 of them only available in this set, with 90% new and exclusive material specially made for this compilation. There is also a large format 24 pg booklet with a download code for a 7th CD’s worth of material (I can’t say what it is yet but it’s excellent).

The third book contains six 7″ singles with exclusive material not on the CDs, two posters – a Ninja family tree by Nigel Peake and a complete cover gallery by me – and 20 stickers. All this is housed in a heavy slipcase with foil blocking.

Go to the Ninjashop to pre-order at a limited cheaper price until July 8th and see the full tracklist. I’m pretty excited to hear these:

Big Dada Sound ‘Signs’ *

Eric B & Rakim ‘Paid In Full’ (Switch meets Coldcut Remix) *

Diplo ‘Summers Gonna Hurt You’ (Diplo 2010 Remix) *

Quincy & Xen Cuts Allstars ‘I Hear The Drummer’ (Tunng edit) *

DJ Vadim ‘Terrorist’ (Gaslamp Computer Killer Remix) *

Roots Manuva ‘Witness’ (Slugabed Remix) *

The Bug ‘Skeng’ (Autechre Remix) *

King Cannibal ‘The Grind & Crawl’ *

Coldcut ‘Autumn Leaves’ (2010 Budapest Mix) *

Coldcut ‘True Skool’ (Zomby Remix) *

Clifford Gilberto ‘Deliver The Weird’ (Dorian Concept Remix) *

The Bug ‘Poison Dart’ (Prefuse 73 Broke Moog Version) *

Roots Manuva ‘Witness’ (Modeselektor Remix) *

Roots Manuva ‘Join The Dots’ (Cut Chemist Remix) *

Kid Koala ‘3 Bit Blues’ *

Pop Levi ‘Blue Honey’ (Amorphous Androgenous Remix Edit) *

Coldcut & Hexstatic ‘Timber’ (The Orb Remix) *

DJ Kentaro ‘Paid In Full’ *

DJ Food ‘African Rhythms’ (Tom Middleton Remix) *

DJ Food ‘Dark Lady’ (808 State Remix) *

Herbaliser ‘Something Wicked’ (Roots Manuva Dub)

      Two Fingers ‘Bad Girl’ (The Bug Dub) *

      DJ Vadim ‘Bang it Out’ *

      Wagon Christ ‘Sloth Gets Paid’ *

        New Demdike Stare coming…

        LOVE065_dist_previewIf you like your music deep, dark and heavy then this release is for you. Wheeling out the second of three vinyl only releases this year are Demdike Stare, mutating their own corner of the music world into twilight hours industrial darkstep. Actually, trying to describe this music is nigh on impossible, one track, ‘Regolith’, reminds me of the JAMMs’ classic ‘It’s Grim Up North’, stripped of vocal and synth, slowed down and mixed with the kind of soundscapes Coil or Nurse With Wound turn out. This time they up the stakes with 6 tracks running to 45 minutes total and another superb sleeve by Andy Votel – released on July 26th.

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        Ghost Box Study Series 7″s

        Coming next month from Ghost Box is the start of a run of 7″ singles under the banner the ‘Study Series’. The first up feature Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle and, one of my favourites, Moon Wiring Club. Gorgeous artwork as always by Julian House, hopefully this will build into a lovely little set over the coming months. Pre-order at the ghostbox shop and I can heartily recommend just about everything else if you’re a newcomer as it’s one of my favourite labels.

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        New Qemists LP cover by Glenn Fabry

        Herbaliser - Wall Crawling..

        Ninja Tune artists seem to have a love of comic art and one particular comic in particular has played host to various artists who have also graced Ninja Tune sleeves – 2000AD. The first was The Herbaliser’s ‘Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks’ 12″ back in 1998 with a cover painting by Jason Brashill -aka graffiti artist Jase – who used to paint with Req and She One in Brighton. His design of a robotic bug perched on a pair of decks and a mixer is one of my favourites of that era.

        DJ Food - ...Weird...World EP 12"cover (72 dpi)My own DJ Food EPs from last year featured new work from Henry Flint who has been a regular on both the weekly comic and monthly Judge Dredd Megazine for over 10 years. He kindly gave me some of his personal work, highly detailed abstract ‘doodles’, to colour for my sleeves (you can see one to the left of this post) and there will be more for the third EP and album.

        SITSFrontCoverQemistssamplercover1600px

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        FInally we have the latest addition: The Qemists have enlisted none other than Glenn Fabry to paint their new ‘Spirit In The System’ LP cover in what looks like a homage to Stanley Mouse’s Grateful Dead work. If you’ve been paying attention to the recent Qemists releases you’ll notice that the first two are sections of a large ‘logo-ified’ version of the painting, I hope Ninja press a vinyl LP of the album too.

        Moog T-shirt from Chalk Brighton

        This has been in the pipeline a while, I think I did the design last autumn but had been collecting the contents for longer. Chalk Brighton, the brainchild of old friends Dean Ricca-Smith and Simon Skevington, is a new company specialising in limited edition T-shirt prints with a difference. One of their debut designs spelt out SOUL in bold letters entirely made up of titles of their favourite soul records and was a big hit. They plan to continue the series and I submitted my entry in the form of Moog. Not an obvious follow up but Chalk isn’t an obvious kind of company.

        Moog shirtMoog designThe tracks within my design either refer to records with Moog in the title or famous songs which feature the Moog somewhere in the kit list (did you know that the bassline to Donna Summer‘s ‘I Feel Love’ was played on a Moog?). Anyway, the shirt is big on design but minimal of contrast so it blends together nicely when printed and is actually a lot more subtle than these photos suggest. Also you have to love the attention to detail with the names on the neck tag :)  Get them while they’re hot…

        Chalk store
        Moog detail
        Chalk tag

        Moog covers

        Moon Wiring Club

        I first heard of Moon Wiring Club through Jim Jupp’s Belbury Parish blog associated with the Ghost Box label and then later they cropped up on Jonny Trunk’s Original Soundtrack radio show with a very entertaining hour long interview. Their website is a joy to behold and contains all manner of info and pictorial lushness associated with the project. I snapped up the three CDs already released and entered into a correspondence with ‘the Club’ with a view to securing an exclusive Solid Steel mix.

        And here it is, entitled ‘Confectioners Radiogram for Home Entertainment’, coupled this week with my own ‘Time For Tea’ mix (For Tea – 40 – geddit?) which also features copious lashings of their tracks as well as a trio from the Simonsound who will be guests on next weeks show. But more of that next week.

        Solid Steel Radio Show 7/5/2010 Part 1 + 2 – Strictly Kev by Ninja Tune

        Solid Steel Radio Show 7/5/2010 Part 3 + 4 – Moon Wiring Club by Ninja Tune

        TCR05

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        Diplo – Florida (limited screenprint edition) (Big Dada)

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        An oldie but goody for the last entry in this week-long vinyl series – Diplo’s debut (and only solo) record, the classic ‘Florida’. I’ve been pulling out all manner of releases from the Big Dada, Ninja and Ntone catalogues over the last few months as material for the on-going Ninja Tune book I’m working on and this is the very rare screen printed cover edition.
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        As I recall, Diplo actually wanted to have an old Frazetta image of dinosaurs on the cover but it was decided that would be too expensive to license and he found an artist to do the illustration in a similar style. Only 500 were made with hand-stamped labels and a sticker on the reverse stating the number of the edition (you can see mine is 045).

        Posted in Art, Design, Music, Records. | 3 Comments |

        It’s Time For – Tristram Cary (Trunk)

        Tris Cary cover
        Possibly one of the covers of the year – how beautiful is that? The usual high stand of Trunk is in full force, unearthing still more treasure from the seemingly endless supply of forgotten British composers. Tristram Cary’s name was familiar to me but I didn’t have any of his work until this record and it’s a mixed bag of music concrete, electronics and found sound.
        Tris Cary back cover detailTris Cary cover detail
        His repertoire spanned music for Expo fairs, public service films, soundtrack work and even commissions for Olivetti. The LP has just been repressed on clear vinyl due to popular demand – be quick! The CD also contains many more tracks, damn you Jonny Trunk! I had to buy two copies of the vinyl AND the CD on top. More info from Trunk here and the Quietus did a great piece the other day too.

        Posted in Design, Music, Records. | 2 Comments |

        2econd Class Citizen – Divided Reality (Equinox)

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        This is the most gorgeous smelling record I own. i don’t know what they put in the ink they printed this with but it smells like sickly sweets to me. This is a (very) limited repress – only 30 copies – of Aaron Thomason, aka 2econd Class Citizen‘s first release, a four track white label made back in 2005. Half the EP bears the sort of style you’d expect from him today albeit in a more primitive form, the song ‘Wishing Well’ was later reworked for his ‘Wyred Folk’ EP. The other half of the EP is more of a surprise, a couple of tracks that definitely sound of their time and show a different path that Aaron could have taken.

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        The sleeve is a wrapround piece of heavy card, screenprinted and designed to look like a private press release with minimal layout by Gunter, the label head at ever excellent Equinox records. Each one has been signed and numbered by Aaron and it’s all housed in a plastic sleeve. I think there are a few copies left if you contact Aaron or Gunter at Equinox but if not then you can still buy the mp3s.

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        Posted in Art, Design, Music, Records. | 1 Comment |

        The Advisory Circle – Mind How You Go (Revised Edition)

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        A lovely record from an excellent label and, surprisingly, their first ever issued on vinyl after 12 CD releases. This is a revised and expanded version of GBX05, a 3″ CD originally, and contains two new tracks and two remixes. Nice as the 3″ CD is, the whole ethos of Ghost Box is so suited to vinyl that it’s a surprise it took them this long to get round to it.

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        Julian House’s beautiful artwork translates perfectly to the bigger format and I can only hope they do more revised releases, especially their only other 3″ release – GBX01, Belbury Poly‘s ‘Farmer’s Angle’. The music is excellent too – obvious jumping off points are Boards of Canada, Radiophonic Workshop, Library music and Public Service films of the Seventies. All very UK-centric and full of nostalgia for a childhood past.

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