30 years of Solid Steel

Solid Steel 30Solid SteelColdcut’s weekly 2 hour mix show – is 30 years old – wow, now I feel old too. To celebrate they’ve commissioned a clutch of special mixes which will air throughout the first week of December. Juan Atkins (the show’s first guest back in ’88), The Bug, Bernd Friedman, Gerd Janson, HAAi and Mark Pritchard have all recorded mixes as well as Coldcut, DK (with an epic 4 hr effort) and myself.

What do you do when you’re faced with a blank canvas to commemorate a 30 year anniversary? I’ve been with the show for 25 of those years and so much music has flowed through it in that time it’s impossible to crystalize that into one set. Instead I thought I’d attempt something I’d not done before and put together a collection of classic minimalist songs by the masters – Kraftwerk, Eno, Reich, Riley, Can etc. – and weave other elements in and out of the mix. In some respects I succeeded but I started out with seven hours of music! A lot had to go as flow and tuning just didn’t work and I also didn’t want too much 4/4 kick drum to pin things down, rather just the throb of forward motion.

Mixing this stuff takes time and patience, the tracks are long, you can lose your place in the rhythm very easily and most of them are played live so not locked into any steady metronome or midi clock. Getting the mix tight was a constant headache. I’ve used some tracks more like samples to add textures to others rather than to have their own spotlight and the intention was to always have at least two things creating a third, which is the basis of all the best mixes.

When compiling sets for the Solid Steel mix CD series, then Ninja A&R for the series, Dean Smith, used to talk about ‘moments’. Each mix should have at least two or three points that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or blend the sound to such a point that you got a rush. It’s not enough to just blend two ends of a track together, we’re sculpting here, making connections that wouldn’t normally sit together and, in the best instances, mean that you can never hear one of those tracks on it’s own again without hearing the other playing in your head. There are subtleties at play in recorded mixes that can never be experienced in clubs as the volume and crowd noise often pushes out the details.

Two thirds the way through the set I also did something I’ve never done before too – inserted another guest mix. Chatting to Brian Dougans from Future Sound Of London, he’d confessed to being a Solid Steel fan, regularly taping shows throughout the 90s and being inspired by the weekly mixdowns. When I told him it was the 30th anniversary he offered an exclusive mix of new Humanoid tracks, an alias he’s just reactivated as it’s three decades since he first had a hit under the moniker with ‘Stakker Humanoid’. It seems fitting to have a contribution from an artist whose career started at the same time as the show, FSOL’s own radio shows in the 90s similarly inspired me and this is a nod to their idea of inserting guest mixes into their early Kiss FM shows. The six acid tracks are a stark contrast to my own selection but rather than surround them with similar material I’ve let them occupy their own space within the set, you might have to adjust your mood though. A massive thanks to Brian for this mix and all the music he and Gaz have bought us over the years.

After 25 years as part of the Solid Steel team and after hundreds of hours of mixes, it’s great to still be inspired to push myself and be among such esteemed company as the show morphs once again into a new era. Solid Steel moves to a new format next year, already with some killer guests lined up, and there are around 8 years worth of mixes in the archive online along with an extensive database of dates and guests from the past 30 years.

DJ Food Solid Steel 30th mix featuring Humanoid

Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms (Kapp Records)
Brian Eno & David Byrne – The Carrier (Virgin)
Pink Floyd – On The Run (Harvest)
Kraftwerk – Autobahn (Vertigo)
Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois – Ascent (An Ending) (Virgin)
The Beach Boys – Our Prayer (Brother/Reprise)
Vapour Space – Gravitational Arch of 10 (Internal)
David Bowie – Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix) (Columbia)
Herbie Hancock – Rain Dance (Columbia)
Can – Messer, Scissors, Fork & Light (Spoon )
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Tardis Cymbals (Duophonic HF Discs)
Pat Metheny – Electric Counterpoint fast (Nonesuch)
Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians (ECM)
10cc – Wet Rubber Soup (Polydor)
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
David Sylvian – Answered Prayers (Virgin)
Manuel Gottsching – E2:E4 (MG-Art)
The KLF – Deep Shit (The Cult of Mu 7″ mix) (CDR)
Jon Brooks – A Mechanical Eye (Ghost Box)

Humanoid In Session 2-4th Nov 2018 – guest mix
– 1 Acid Ho
– 2 Spore
– 3 Point Cloud
– 4 Co-Pilot
– 5 Koma Flow (808 State)
– 6 Far-Point
– Recorded live at 9L West, Engineered by Yage for EbV. Fsoldigital Recordings.

Terry Riley vs Meat Beat Manifesto – In C (Version 4.2) (Electronic Sound)
Boards of Canada – Telepath (Warp)
Psychic Warriors of Gaia – Obsidian (Organically Decomposed) (KK Records)
This Mortal Coil – Waves Become Wings (4AD)
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani – A New Day (RVNG INTL)
Vapour Space – Gravitational Arch of 10 (Internal)
Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms (Kapp Records)

X-Ray Audio pop up at Soho Radio

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I recently took part in a radio show hosted by Stephen Coates (aka The Real Tuesday Weld) and his co-conspirator in X-Ray Audio Project, Paul Heartfield for Soho Radio. The pair are doing a takeover for two weeks with a series of themed radio shows and a small exhibition in the front of the station. (photos by Hannah Brown)

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The show I took part in was about flexi discs and we were joined by Barry Cain, the original publisher of anarchic early 80s Flexipop magazine. Other episodes on X-Ray discs, self-made records, bootlegs and a live performance & x-ray cut are also archived on the soho radio site.


I mention the Flexibition during the program so here’s a handy link to all the entries if you’re wondering what it is and want to have a look & listen.

New mix for The Word radio show Brokers

I was asked to contribute a guest mix to Belgian radio show Brokers on The Word radio station in Brussels, which just aired on Monday morning. It’s a little glimpse into what’s currently floating my boat from recent releases with the odd old gem thrown in for good measure.

Hinterhof – Molecular Love With A Molecular Sound (Deep Distance)
Trevor Jackson – Machine Worshippers (Pre_)
Correlations – Resistance Is Underground (Spun Out OF Control)
Todd Rundgren – Born To Synthesize
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Version 4.2) (Electronic Sound)
The Tomorrow Syndicate – A Glitch In Time (Polytechnic Youth)
Kallaste Elektrooniline Muusika – Pohjast Pinnani Aina Lomalla)
Silke Schwinger und Fatty George – Sexsong (Digitone)
Concretism – Black Special (Castles In Space)
The Tomorrow Syndicate – Altered State (Polytechnic Youth)
Rodinia – Neusi (Now Again)
Nicola Spiromarino – Senza Titolo Uno (Delights)
Popera Cosmic – Batman (Finders Keepers)
Silke Schwinger und Fatty George – SchluBmusik (Digatone)
The The – Occupy Your Mind (Lazarus)
The Natural Yoghurt Band – Satellites (Black Milk Music)
Embryo – Tausendfussler (Wah Wah)
Popera Cosmic – Etreinte Metronomique (Finders Keepers)
Nicola Spiromarino – Senza Titolo Due (Delights)

Spun Out of Control label

SOOC frontThe Spun Out Of Control label  – purveyors of limited cassettes featuring synth-heavy soundtracks to real and imaginary films – has started releasing vinyl. The first is a reissue of Steve Nolan‘s ‘Sodium Party’ soundtrack, originally the third release from the label in 2016 and the second, a new outing by Correlations, ‘Aftermath’, a sort of follow up to his previous ‘Night Acquisitions’ album of last summer. This release features a few names familiar to readers of this blog, Simon James (The Simonsound / Akiha Den Den) and Pablo Clements (The Psychonauts / Toydrum) both contribute on certain tracks and the whole album is mastered by the busiest man in electronic music, Jon Brooks.

SOOC backCorrelations vinylObi

Musically the label leans towards synths and dark ambience in the Carpenter/Howarth, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream vein without sounding completely retro. With over 20 releases in under three years, usually limited to 100 copies, the label is just testing the water with vinyl. Their latest tape arrives this weekend for Cassette Store Day in the shape of Stefan Bachmeier‘s ‘The Infernal Machine’. Hiding behind a back story of an author who wrote soundtracks to accompany his books and then disappeared leaving his tapes to Stephen Buckley (Polypores), this is the second of Bachmeier’s archive excavations, with a beautiful clockwork skull in pink and green cover.

Infernal tape

If you’re looking at the Bandcamp page and wondering where to start I can recommend the Correlations and Bachmeier releases obviously, the Jan Borré and Turquoise Moon too, ‘WASP’ by Bryce Miller, Steve Nolan and the Repeated Viewing releases have some great moments too and that’s about as far as I’ve dug in so far. The design for the label is spot on too (yes, that’s a real obi strip, not printed on the sleeve), provided by Eric Adrian Lee who has the whole Mondo / Deathwaltz horror genre down pat with his beautiful work. Check more of it here.

Infernal tape inside

Markey Funk DJ sets in London, Sept 2018

Further 15th Sept-21WarmGlowOur friend Markey Funk stopped off with us for a few days mid September in the middle of his annual Delights tour and played three sets in London – two of which were recorded and posted here for your perusal. His opening set at Further will have to remain in the the memory of those who were there but the next day he graced the decks at the Book & Record Bar for WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood radio show. Made up of tunes from his set vs tunes he’d picked up along the way, it’s 2 hours of treats and he left a bunch of his Delights releases with the shop if you want to pick them up in London.

Markey@Spiritland

After a quick dig through the shop and some late lunch we headed to Kings Cross and Spiritland for a 4.5 hr set stretching into the evening. Monday saw us outside Rat Records in Camberwell at opening time and then back off to West Norwood for a proper dig at the BARB, opened specially for Markey on Michael’s day off.

Markey@RatRecords
After lunch it was into Soho for a look in Reckless and coffee with Shindig magazine’s Paul Osborne and then back to mine for a breather after the whirlwind three days. It was great to catch up, show him some London spots and play host, our whole reason for doing Further that weekend centered around the fact that Markey was coming to the UK and looking for a London gig.

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.

 

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.

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

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.

DefJamTourTicket+autograph

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).

LLCoolJ arrivesLL Cool J 1LLCoolJ 2LL Cool J shirt off

DJ Food – Out Of The Wood show #92

The Out Of The Wood show is back, firing on all cylinders for 2018; each Sunday a local, invited guest or patron of The Book & Record Bar in West Norwood gets 2 hours live on the decks inside the shop, playing to whoever wanders or tunes in. It’s a chance to grab a bag of anything and play around for yourself, try things out and spread out. In my first show of the year I’m bringing a box of recent buys, gifts, samples, a few forthcoming gems and throwing out some improv soundscaping into the mix in places, something I’ll be building on all year.

Some Food excursions coming up

I should do a little round up of a few things I’ve had a hand in that have recently come to light:

visitbristol.co.uk

The rarely seen 360 degree dome show version of my 2012 album ‘The Search Engine‘ is playing in Bristol at We The Curious, the Bristol Planetarium on January 30th and Feb 27th – tickets here. I won’t actually be at the shows, it’s a straight playback of the AV set I created in 2012. I was present at those but it’s always been a pre-rendered thing.

I did an interview for online magazine Fat Hipster – available in both English and Serbian.

Alex Fitch‘s Panel Borders podcast includes some of the talk about music and comics I was part of at the Caption festival in Brighton last December.

I’ll be supporting The Art of Noise (legends!) at The British Library in March! Tickets here

Eat Or Heat flyer

I’m on the bill again at the Eat Or Heat fundraiser at the Wild Card Brewery on Feb 17th – great cause, donation on entry. Talking of fundraisers – the Resonance FM fundraiser is on now – a radio station very dear to my heart for many reasons – support independent leftfield radio here.

OOTWFood

And talking of radio – I’ll be on Out Of The Wood radio this Sunday (Jan 21st) – attempting something different. Taking place live at the Book & Record Bar, West Norwood between 12-2pm – tune in to WNBC.london here.

Bigmouth podcast guest appearance

I was very pleased to be asked to guest on one of my favourite podcasts: Bigmouth, talking about 2000AD’s 40th anniversary, the new Magnetic Fields album and the first part of new BBC drama SS-GB alongside guest Matt Allen and regular hosts Andrew Harrison and Matt Hall. Also hear which track of the week I chose and what closing time chatter gem I dredged up.
UPDATE: Annoyingly I go the date of the Orbital Comics closing party gig wrong at the end, it’s March 10th, not 9th.

Soundsci at Cavendish Music part 1

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This is the first part of a special visual exclusive on the new Soundsci album, ‘My Boosey Weighs A Ton’, the music of which is made completely (and legally) from samples provided by the Cavendish music library (formerly Boosey & Hawkes). Below are photos by Simon Ashton and recollections from group member Jonny Cuba on their visit to the archive to search for material. These are the last days of the archive as you see it here, shortly after this it was packed up and put into storage so thanks to Simon and Jonny for these pictures and thoughts. Part 2 on Monday will feature more shots by sleeve designer Darrell Krum.

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My pace quickened as we strode towards our destination, High Holborn in the heart of old London. As we crossed the road, I wondered what treasures were stashed just out of sight of the bustling High Road. I ushered my fellow adventurers Darrell and Simon into a grand building. The dull glow of architectural light was in high contrast to the brightly lit area immediately around a smart reception desk. We were surrounded by an aura of quality and affluence. However, before we even reached the desk we took a sharp turn through a set of almost invisible double doors.

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We traveled along corridors and down numerous staircases. The decor took us back time the further we ventured and at last we reached our destination. The vault. There was a heavy door made of thick steel and as we stepped inside Darrell immediately remarked upon the strong odour, a mixture of musty paper and damp. As we ventured deeper into the labyrinthine cave the smell enveloped us and the damp was clearly manifest on the walls and on some of the treasures contained within.

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Amongst the prizes I saw was a huge leather bound master score, handwritten, of Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’. Ledgers and books of ancient share certificates spilt out of numbered boxes. However, all these things were secondary to the real treasures. Shelves and shelves of reel to reel tapes, vinyl LP’s and shellac 78’s. Digger’s Manna.

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The archive has now been packed away and moved to an industrial space outside of town. London changes, but the nooks and crannies where culture and mystery collide are remembered by us in our music and art. – Jonny Cuba

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Listen to Jonny, joined by Ollie Teeba – the other half of the production duo in Soundsci – on Jonny Trunk‘s OST show a few weeks back where they layout how they went about making the album, play cuts and joust with Señor Trunk over who has the rarest library and soundtrack cuts. You can pre-order the album here before it drops on Monday – only 500 copies and half of them are already spoken for apparently.

The Delaware Road At Kelvedon Hatch Audio Apocalypse Survival Kit on OST

OST show 18.02.17
(Mark, Robin, Dan, Chris, me, Ian – out of shot Zoe, Hannah and Alan – who was taking the photo)

On Saturday I was invited to be a guest on the OST show on Resonance FM – this time with Robin The Fog ably sitting in for an absent Jonny Trunk (away on Basil Kirchin business in Hull). Joining us in the studio were Alan Gubby (Buried Treasure), Mark Pilkington (Strange Attractor Press), Dan Wilson (Radionics), Hannah Brown (Kvist), Ian Helliwell (Tape Leaders book and so much more), Chris Sharp (Concretism) and Zoe ‘Lucky Cat’ Baxter who stayed on after her show beforehand.

The reason was twofold – to try and present a sonic picture of all the artists who would be contributing / playing at The Delaware Road event at Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker on July 28th. If you’re not up to speed on exactly what The Delaware Road is then please go here.

The gathering was also to highlight a very special prize bundle assembled from all who’d be taking part that’s being auctioned off in aid of Resonance FM’s annual funding drive. Here’s a photo of most of the items to be included:

Delaware Road bundle

Here’s a link to The Delaware Road At Kelvedon Hatch Audio Apocalypse Survival Kit auction in aid of ResonanceFM

Here’s a link to buy tickets for The Delaware Road gig on July 28th

and here’s a link to the 2 hour show featuring music from a lot of the prizes featured above.

FourFromFoodFridays: 17.6

FourFromFoodFridays 17.6
Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things that have been doing it for me. They can be new or old, any style so long as it’s been getting some rotation in the studio. From top left:
David Axelrod – The Solid Steel interview (2001) Radio mix – RIP The Axe
Kid Koala feat. Emiliana Torrini – Music To Draw to: Satellite (A&C) LP – first ever ambient turntablist album?
The OST show feat. Soundsci (Resonance FM) Radio – Hip Hop, Library and Soundtracks
Aphex Twin – entire back catalogue in preparation for the Archspace gig on April 25th

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RIP David Axelrod

Axe SS CD CoverSo 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.


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What is The Delaware Road?

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

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

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

Delaware poster +CD

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

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

Delaware poster