Something In The Water

These two CDs landed on the doormat within a week of each other, both originating from Brighton and both featuring the sea as cover star. The contents aren’t a millions miles away from each other either, beautiful ambience and laid back electronica being the order of the day, a perfect soundtrack to the current weather and late night work sessions.

Lost Idol‘s second album – ‘Brave The Elements’, out soon on Cookshop – is perhaps the most varied of the two, featuring vocals on some tracks, a distinct nod to Boards of Canada here and there and a full tip of the hat to Kraftwerk on the excellent opener ‘Lightwerk’.

Lost Idol / Nest

Nest’s ‘Retold‘ – on the Serein label – is partly made up of the duo’s self-titled EP from 3 years ago but bolstered up into an album by five new tracks. All mine a similar vein to the Eno and Cluster school of ambience. Mostly beatless it takes in drones, piano, strings and odd percussion to create spaces filled with calm and beauty without ever resorting to the tweeness that some ambient music seems to come ingrained with. The new tracks are even stronger than the EP in my opinion, looking forward to more from these guys.

Thanks to James at Cookshop and Rob at Multilink for the CDs.

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Solid Steel, Soundcloud and the Funky Eno

Solid Soundcloud
More Volts: The Funky Eno by DJ Food

Eno-Roxy

We’ve finally knocked the streaming problems that have plagued the Solid Steel site on the head and embedded file playable from Soundcloud directly into the page.

I’ve also got a mix up in the second hour this week called More Volts: The Funky Eno’ – an hour long trip through the funked-up side of Brian’s output since the 70’s. Expect David Bryne, nonsense verse, Talking Heads, The Grid and a whole lot of slap bass.

Edward Willliams’ Life On Earth soundtrack

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I only got this last week, a shameful admission as I’m usually first in line with my tenner when the Trunk mailout pops in the In Box, and yes I have done the funny drawings Jonny asks for too. Had I bought it when it was released though then it would have instantly made my best of 2009 list – what a soundtrack! A mixture of classical wind and strings sections with occasional gamelan-like percussion and electronics. One track even has snatches of David Attenborough’s narration dubbed into it with full echo, was that in the series?

Best of all it invoked one of my favourite sensations upon first listen, something I only experience on rare occasions and frustratingly fleeting at that. The sense of a door in my childhood that has been locked for decades suddenly being opened again, remembering something entirely forgotten but has been sitting patiently for the right code to active it again.

That code was the rising crescendo of notes that finish the ‘theme’ to Life On Earth, music I haven’t heard for 30 years but that is still etched into my memory. As soon as I heard them I was transported back to being a 9 year old, getting ready for bed on a (Sunday?) evening as the closing credits of the series faded. I didn’t watch it, I was more interested in Star Wars and life in outer space than watching life on this planet, but my parents obviously did and something must have stuck. So, thankyou Jonny Trunk for releasing it (and sending me one of your remaining copies too), it really made my day.

You can read more here and listen and buy the CD here

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A Shape Of Things Reader – a 70 minute EP mix

Shapes track images A Shape Of Things Reader by DJ Food
I’ve just uploaded last weeks’ Solid Steel mix to Soundcloud – it’s a trip, it’s got a funky beat, and I can… oh, wait, that’s not right, (although it does include an old Beastie Boys track). As with the last ‘reader’ that accompanied the first EP, it showcases the tracks from the new record alongside, influences I was listening to at the time, the odd sample I used in it’s original form and also some of my favourite tracks from the tail end of 2009.

• Tracklistng:
The Simonsound – Tour De Mars (Project Blue Book)
John Murtaugh – Slinky (Unknown)
Anti Pop Consortium – The Solution (Big Dada)
DJ Food & DK – Sentinel (Shadow Guard) (Ninja Tune)
2econd Class Citizen – A World Without (Equinox)
The Slew – Robbing Banks, Doing Time (Ninja Tune)
Dudley Moore Trio – GPO Tower (Decca)
DJ Food – Brother John (Ninja Tune)
Alan Parker – The Free Life (a) (Whr)
The The – Tender Mercy (Lazarus)
DJ Food – Extract From Stolen Moments Too (Ninja Tune)
Beastie Boys – Do It (Grand Royal)
Anti Pop Consortium – Capricorn One (Big Dada)
King Cannibal – A Shining Force (Ninja Tune)
DJ Food – All Covered In Darkness (Mr P Beats/Vocal Remix) (Ninja Tune)
Deckard – Dignity Of Men (Equinox)
DJ Food – Giant (instrumental) (Ninja Tune)
Juice Aleem – Higher Higher (Big Dada)
The Slew – Battle Of Heaven & Hell (Ninja Tune)
DJ Food – Sentinel (Lunar Defence) (Ninja Tune)
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Anglo Ethio Suite (Strut)
DJ Food – All Covered In Darkness (Mr P In 3 Remix) (Ninja Tune)
Imogen Heap – Just For Now (Deep Design Just For Later remix) (Mp3)
Skylab – ? Pt.3 (Eye Q)

Rave Wars 7″ with free figure

AT-AT DriverTie Fighter PilotDarth

A mysterious package turned up yesterday, inside were three 7″‘s titled Rave Wars, each complete with an original Star Wars figure attached to the front in the style of the old Palitoy figures of yesteryear. Whoever sent them must have figured me for a follower of the dark side as I got Darth vader, a Tie Fighter pilot and an AT-AT driver. The back cover shows a gallery of characters from the first trilogy (collect all 77 – ah the memories). The labels are blank save for a rebel and imperial logo and the legends “If only you knew the power of the dark side” and “The Force is strong with the one” (sic). The music is a ravetastic barrage of amen breaks, electronics and samples from the first (only) three films. Any more I cannot tell you…

Back coverRun Out Groove
Hear and buy here but be quick there are only 200

Posted in Music, Oddities, Toys. | 10 Comments |

C-Mon & Kypski’s More Is Less video

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

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

Posted in Film, Music, Oddities. | No Comments |

Amorphous Androgynous CD with this months Mojo

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble mix (starting with Ninja offshoot Counter Records’ Pop Levi no less) cover mounted with February’s issue of Mojo (out now though). It also features an exclusive version of their Oasis remix which was one of my favourite tracks of 2009 (who could have predicted that?). The mag features an interview with AA as well as a multi-page article on Slayer! I’d buy that for errr… £4.50.

AA Mojo CD

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10 favourite sleeves / packages for 2009

Looking at my favourite records for 2009 made me think of my favourite sleeve designs as well, as several were represented in the selection. I’ve noticed a definite resurgence in sci-fi imagery this year, particularly of the 70’s Roger Dean / Heavy Metal / Moebius fantasy variety. Dan McPharlin is probably the best exponent of this style and has two designs in the selection. Julian House is still mining the collage aesthetic although seems to be leaving the Penguin cover design style behind more and more. Warp’s 20th boxset was a beautiful piece of work, making for a great celebratory object in the age of the download and Jeff Jank continues to innovate over at Stones Throw.

12 x favourite covers 2009 650

Oasis -Falling Down (Amorphous Androgynous remix)(Big Brother)
Designed by Julian House

Various Artists – The Byg Deal (Finders Keepers)
Designed by Liars

Roj – The Transectional Dharma of Roj (Ghost Box)
Designed by Julian House

Various Artists – Warp 20 boxsert (Warp)
Designed by YES / Bernard Ryan / Metropolitan Works

Anti Pop Consortium – Flourescent Black  (Big Dada)
Designed by Ron Croudy Illustration by Mark Evans

Mr Chop – Light Worlds (Now Again)
Designed by Dan McPharlin

Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Amphexian (Warp)
Designed by Dan McPharlin

Madlib – Beat Konducta vol.5-6 (Stones Throw)
Designed by Jeff Jank Photo by Ernesto Yerena

J G Thirlwell – The Venture Brothers vol.1 (Adult Swim /Williams St)
Designed by unknown

Various Artists – Studio G – G Spots (Trunk)
Designed by Flack

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

Music Top 10s for 2009

2009 music picks

I don’t usually do this kind of thing because it’s largely meaningless but a friend asked me to round up some favourites for the year so here they are. I have to say I’ve been very uninspired by a lot of new music in general this year hence the fact that a lot of this is retro sounding or backward looking and this list is by no means definitive, I’ll probably think of a load more tomorrow.

10 favourite new records for the year 2009 (in no particular order)
Oasis – Falling Down (Amorphous Androgynous – A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind Remix) 12″ (Big Brother)
The Slew – 100% LP (Ninja Tune)
Mr Chop – Lightworlds EP (Now Again)
The Simonsound – Reversed Engineering LP (CDR)
Antipop Consortium – Flourescent Black LP (Big Dada)
2econd Class Citizen – A World Without LP (Equinox)
Proof of Concept – X As In Box (reprise)
King Cannibal – Let The Night Roar LP (Ninja Tune)
Juice Aleem – Jerusalaam Come LP (Big Dada)

6 reissues / compilations of the year 2009:
Amorphous Androgynous – A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind Vol.2 CD (Platipus)
The Beastie Boys – Audio commentaries for Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty mp3 (Grand Royal)
Studio G – G Spots LP (Trunk)
John Hill – 6 Moons of Jupiter LP (Finders Keepers)
Foetus – Limb CD/DVD (Ectopic Ent.)

10 favourite DJ Mixes for the year 2009:
DJ Moneyshot – Beastie beats – Check Your Head sources
DJ Moneyshot – Rotten to the Core ’77 – John Lydon’s Capital Radio show recreated
DJ Cheeba – Solid Steel radio part 3
The Simonsound – Have You Heard?
Skywave Systems – A Boards of Canada mix
Grohs – Plundering Zizek
Lazy – Mind The Gap (KLF soundscape)
Zoon van Snook – Solid Steel mix April 09
The Broken Keys – Engine Oil & Elbow Grease mix
Passing Time with Lazy Pt.2 (Orb megamix)

Posted in Music, Radio, Records. | 1 Comment |

‘Brother’ John Rydgren

silhouette-back-front.jpg
On my new EP, The Shape Of Things That Hum, there’s a track called ‘Brother John’, a tribute of sorts to a remarkable man with a remarkable voice. He appears in the form of samples taken from records, air check recordings and station idents for his LOVE radio show. Most will never have heard of him but I’ve been collecting his recordings for many years now and thought this would be the ideal time to write up a proper introduction for those wanting to know about the man behind the voice.

I’m not sure how I first found the work of John Rydgren, it may have been via Otis Fodder and his 365 days project or maybe the single vinyl bootleg of his ‘Silhouette Segments’ album that began circulating around 2003. I can’t remember what drew me to it, it may have been the psychedelic cover (I’m a big advocate of judging a record by it’s cover).

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Anyway, as soon as I heard that baritone voice, the hip but sometimes dark delivery and the selection of music he chose to recite over, I was hooked. Many compare Rydgren to Ken Nordine and they certainly do have a lot in common. The crucial difference is that Rydgren was a man with a message and that message was spreading the word of the Lord. “Oh, he was a preacher”, I hear you cry, well yes – he was a Pastor and the American Lutheran Church‘s Director of Radio/TV and Film – but not in the clichéd fire and brimstone sense that we picture when one thinks of such things.

Rydgren – who also went by the moniker Brother John – was much subtler than that and chose to integrate God’s word into his radio shows, intertwined with subjects that the youth of the day could relate to. Sex, drugs, rock music, fashion, cars, it all went in with a Lord’s eye view on each and every one. The creation of the world was turned into a psychedelic trip with allusions to heavy rock and growing weed, a girl with thigh length boots he was checking out suddenly gets him thinking about who had made the girl – “quite a design”.

As well as weekly radio shows Rydgren was broadcast to Vietnam for the troops, intermingling his playlists of rock and pop of the day (Stones, Beatles, Byrds) with short segments he’d written and narrated. Over easy listening backing tracks he planted seeds for the listener to think about the relevance of god within their everyday lives. It was never heavy-handed or overblown and certainly never preachy. His messages were usually slipped in after setting a scene a teenager could relate to, bringing the church into the present day as opposed to the stuffy idea of it being something your parents foisted upon you. One of his often used motifs was, ‘they say…” before going off to quote an example of a commonly held belief before turning it on it’s head.

He was always playful but deadly serious, especially when talking about the Lord, almost to the point of morbidity on occasion as his voice dropped lower and lower in register. He was also very anti-drugs, regularly interviewing musicians of the day and quizzing them on the need for weed or LSD to gain enlightenment. As a Pastor for the Lutheran church he tirelessly spread the word in the form of spoken word radio plays and stories ranging from Moses to Elijah to Xmas tales of Theodore and the Angel, most of which he wrote and co-narrated.

All of his records are promo only radio station issues or were sold at church meetings and, as a result, are incredibly hard to come by. Originals, if you can find them, fetch a high price. Ridiculously rare interview 7″s for radio shows occasionally turn up, flexi discs, religious tales, Xmas stories and sampler records of radio inserts are among the unknown quantity of recordings he made over the years. The best of these is the double album ‘Silhouette Segments’ – literally segments from his radio show ‘Silhouette’. This includes the ‘Dark Side of the Flower – a meditation on the decline of the hippy movement over what sounds like a lost David Axelrod track.

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‘Worlds of Youth’ and ‘Contata Of New Life’ are two similar releases and it’s this last one that Rydgren is ironically best known for, although it’s by default and not actually for any of his vocal work. An internet debate has raged for years over where DJ Premier sampled the main hook from for Nas‘Nas Is Like’ and it appears that crate diggers have honed in on the backing track to one of Brother John’s pieces on the aforementioned album. The track is question, ‘What Child Is This?’, has John reciting over a version of ‘Greensleeves’ and Premier himself has said that the label of the record he sampled was pink with a fish on it, the same as the Lutheran church record label. (side note: my copy of Contata has plain black labels with silver lettering and is 12″ sized, i’ve never seen a Lutheran 10″ record but I’m sure they exist). Where John took this version of Greensleeves from is still open to debate but it’s a shame that most internet searches of his name will bring this up rather than any detailed information of his life and work.

Sadly John suffered a stroke whilst on air in 1982. Over time, with therapy, he was able to recover somewhat but had to relearn to read and speak from third grade level. He returned to work in the 80’s for a few years but died in 1988 aged 56. I was lucky enough to track down John’s son, Shane, and obtain his permission to use the voice of his father and am very excited to be able to release such a song knowing it has the blessing of a family member.

You can hear the track Brother John, as well as the rest of the EP, here:

john-x-3.jpg

The Shape Of Things That Hum EP out today

Shape logo & stickerWell, it’s part 2 of the trilogy that hits the web today – not the streets as projected because of a manufacturing cock up that saw the 12″ run pressed on lightweight vinyl. The physical format will now be available in shops from Jan 11th 2010. But, for those that can’t wait there is a place to order it and it should arrive before Xmas if you hurry – the Ninja shop has copies and will be open until Friday the 19th.

For a fiver you get a 5 track 12″ housed in a full colour inner sleeve, wrapped in an A2 double-sided poster cover, all held together by a snugly fitting plastic sleeve. Not only that, you get a code that lets you download all 5 tracks PLUS 3 remixes by Mr P (aka ex-Fooder PC) of ‘All Covered In Darkness’ – not a bad deal by any means. Alternatively, if you only do the digital thing then the 8 track package is available from all good download stores from today.

Lots going on this week; as well as the 12″, last week’s ‘Now, Look & Listen’ AV mix with DK there’s the first part of my Warp mix – Blech 20.1 dropping on Tuesday, a mixed guide to the new EP’s contents and a second Warp mix that are both nearly finished. I also have a very special post scheduled about one of the artists I sampled on the new record. You wait for ages and then 6 come along at once…

Shape 12" + inners

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

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

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