Rat Records instore to mark Pete’s last day


A little 7″ only set I did instore at my local, Rat Records in Camberwell, this summer to mark Pete’s last day after working there for years. It was sweltering hot and we were all dripping with sweat but it was a fun, laid back day just hanging out and drinking on a Saturday. Rat is one of my favourite record shops in London, always something new in there to find, cheap prices and weekly rack restocks keep me coming back regularly.

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 Davies who has the whole Mondo / Deathwaltz horror genre down pat with his beautiful work. Check more of it here.

Infernal tape inside

New music recommends Sept / Oct

Conversation

There’s a lot of great music coming out at the moment so I thought I’d stick it all in one post.
Above is Trunk’s reissue of David Shire‘s ‘The Conversation’, a minimal piano-led score available on vinyl for the first time. Initial ‘transparent overcoat’ copies are already scarce and completely sold out at the label but some shops may have them, otherwise it’s standard black vinyl only, no download on this one.

RW_Use&Ornament
One of my favourite artist discoveries of the year so far is Regal Worm aka Jarrod from I Monster / Cobalt Chapel. His new album, ‘Pig Views’ is a contemporary prog masterpiece as is its forerunner, ‘Use & Ornament’check out his Bandcamp page and dive into the world of Regal Worm.

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After buying the initial yellow CD version of ‘System’ from Trevor Jackson at the Indie Label Market earlier this year I’ve been playing it non-stop at home. I’m glad he didn’t leave it to languish as just a limited edition CD because the reworked white design must be contender for one of the best-looking releases of the year and musically it’s too good to only be heard by the few. Some of the most sublime techno you’ll hear this year, I think the 2nd edition CD is sold out but there are still some cassettes left.

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Markey Funk‘s Delights label releases its tenth serving in two weeks time and this one’s from a mystery artist, Nicola Spiromarino, with two slices of giallo soundtrack electronica and beats, a top notch release, both tracks killer, let’s hope there’s more to come. Pre-order here

Nicola Spiromarino

A new release from Dinked Records sees Run DMC‘s Hair-sampling, Pete Rock & CL Smooth-featuring ‘Down With The King’ paired with an instrumental in a beautiful gatefold sleeve (perfect for storing doubles if that’s your thing).   Pre order now

RunDMC

Buried Treasure come up trumps with a comp of Amphonic & Soundstage library music, ‘Moodsetters’,  featuring Keith Mansfield, Alan Parker, Paddy Kingsland, Jim Lawless and the Art of Noise‘s Anne Dudley among others. Library seems to be the word at the moment with the recent KPM Allstars gig, the release of the Library Music Film that Shawn Lee’s been making for years + forthcoming complimentary compilation as well as a companion disc to the recent ‘Unknown Sounds’ book about to hit.

Moodsetters

Finders Keepers, always with one foot in the opposite direction, release the excellent ‘Popera Cosmic ‘Les Esclaves’ French musical concept album from 1970 and adds a no-stone-unturned account of its genesis and demise, penned as ever by that fount of all leftfield musical knowledge, Andy Votel.

PoperaCosmic

Julius Vanderbilt has so far (to my knowledge) only cropped up as a footnote on the LP by The Dandelion Set, A Thousand Strands’ (seriously – grab a copy of this, there are a handful left, it’s the ‘Dr Z’ of 30 years time plus it’s great!). Julius may or may not be closely related to a member of the Set and he’s released a cassette and CD of library (it’s that word again) cues in a beautiful little package called ‘Action Catalyst’. Purchase herewith.

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And last but not least (because I’ve devoted a whole other post to the label but you might not see that) Spun Out of Control, the limited edition cassette label specializing in real and imagined soundtracks, has started pressing vinyl!

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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.

 

Artifact #23: DJ Food vintage record box

DJFoodRecordBoxFrontMy first flight cased record box – long retired. This has seen some places, miles and times. I used this throughout the 90’s on the early Ninja Tune DJ package tours around the world. I would pack a Line 6 FX pedal, needles, leads, slipmats and headphones inside as well. It was heavy as you like when full and this was before trolleys or record bags with wheels. The stickers tell the times it was used in, see how many you recognise. Made a nice seat too! These days it’s packed with archive materials, sketchbooks, artwork, all protected until needed. See the last pic for a flat pack, make-your-own version.

DJFoodRecordBoxLSide DJFoodRecordBoxBack DJFoodRecordBoxRSide DJFoodRecordBoxBottom DJFoodRecordBoxTop Record box flat

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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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.
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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.

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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).

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

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.

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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

Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People

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It’s seldom that I hear something so fresh, so immediate and so mind-numbingly good that I have to go out, buy it straight away and then play it on repeat. I found Confidence Man via a recent Bigmouth podcast (thanks Andrew Harrison), a group described as a cross between Dee-Lite and Girls Aloud by no less than The Quietus and who live up to the hype. It’s pop with a capital P, a male and female fronted quartet with two shadowy (literally) background players/producers who crank the sound up for the clubs as much as the radio (I see Ewan Pearson was on mix duties for most of the album).

303 acid squiggles vie with sampled breaks, Italo piano and singalong hooks galore, one minute there’s a dead-ringer for ‘Come Together’ from ‘Screamadelica’ and the next it’s going all ‘I Feel Love’. It’s played with a straight face but tongues are firmly in cheeks and if the basslines don’t have you from the off then you must be partially dead or deaf. The LP, ‘Confident Music For Confident People’, came out last month on Heavenly in the UK and if it’s not in every album of the year list at the end of 2018 then there’s something seriously wrong. Get a load of this

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Big Mouth podcast (with Infinity War spoilers)


I was a guest on Bigmouth last week – the weekly pop culture podcast – pontificating/nerding out on Avengers: Infinity War, Janelle Monae’s ‘Dirty Computer’ LP, new Sky Atlantic series, ‘Barry’ and the latest ‘Too Slow To Disco: Brasil’ compilation. There are masses of spoilers for Avengers so don’t listen if you’ve not seen it yet but it is at the end of the show so there’s plenty to listen to before we start giving the game away.

The Advisory Circle – Ways of Seeing album

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It’s that time again, for another Jon Brooks album to grace the turntable and record shelf/box/bag, returning under his The Advisory Circle guise to the consistently dependable Ghost Box label. Wrapped, as always, in a gorgeous gold mirrorboard sleeve design by Julian House, Jon has conjured up another set of gorgeous melodies and lush scenarios loosely based around the theme of photography. Gone are the uneasy undercurrents of his last outing for the label, ‘From Out Here’, and instead we get a summery set of beautiful library-like cues, never outstaying their welcome (some leaving too early) with a guest vocal from The Pattern Forms’ cohort, Ed MacFarlane on the final track. Pre orders just went live, get it here on LP, CD or DL.

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Haendehoch! phonographics

IMG_7597 A mystery package of three 45s and 3 posters arrived a few weeks ago from Dutch label Haendehoch! phonographics. Each single is hand-stamped on the label, wrapped in a risograph printed sleeve, folded inside a plastic sleeve and comes with an A3 sized poster to compliment the release.

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The idea for the label is to rescue music from the web that was never given a release on a physical format at the time and the first three releases glean their contents from Soundcloud files uploaded between 2011 and 2014. It’s a novel way to start a label and, whilst the music wasn’t really to my taste, the graphics are absolutely beautiful.

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The label seems to be the brainchild of the Haendehoch typographics studio in Utrecht who have been creating work for the music and club scene in the Netherlands for over a decade. You can judge for yourself and buy the single now here
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Sure Shot Tools custom 45 adaptors

Pablo+Food@PB I spent Record Store Day in sunny Krakow, Poland this past weekend, playing an instore at the excellent Paul’s Boutique record shop and later spinning at Club Alchemia.

IMG_7541Whilst I was there I was graced with a pair of custom made 45 adaptors by new kid on the block, Sure Shot Tools. Having recently invested in a pair of the SydDefJam 7″ middles I’m pretty much set up for life as far as centers go as they do everything you’d ever need an adaptor to do. The difference here though, is the personalised machine-finished logo on the top, which sets them apart from the Australian leader of the pack. Syd offers hand-punched lettering but it’s rough and ready whereas Sure Shot can take a logo and engrave it perfectly onto the top of the middle for that professional finish.

IMG_5681His centers are as heavyweight as Syd’s but lack the rubber ring that holds the records firmly in place. Another plus point for us Europeans is that the postage costs aren’t as prohibitive on the Sure Shot’s than on Syd’s but really it’s down to individual taste in the end, they both do the job admirably and look great into the bargain.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.2

GUAMBO poster
Continued from part 1
I’m not sure who did the design above but, from the date, I’d guess it was Zappa, regardless it’s a great poster

Around the end of making The Mothers of Invention‘s ‘Absolutely Free’, Cal Schenkel started working with Frank Zappa on artwork (he also appears on the ‘Freak Out’ album as one of the studio voices). From then on he became the graphic artist most associated with the Mothers and some of Zappa’s solo works, his collages, paintings and sculptures adorning many of their classic LPs. Here’s an ad for ‘Absolutely Free’

Abs Free ad CalSchenkel hit parader dec-67e

Cal created several ‘Moop’ ads, odd comic-styled pages, “…yeah, and we also did a series of ads which you might have seen at one point… for MOOP. You ever seen any of the MOOP ads? …but they were the weirdest ads, they were like just funny little surrealistic comic strips…and there’s a bunch of ads that were running–like, Hit Parader, and just the oddest places…” – from this interview

schenkel_c_absolutelyfree 1967-10-xx Hit Parader MOOP1 05 schenkel_moop21968-05-xx Crawdaddy n15 48Lonely Little Girl ad

This beauty below appeared in Marvel comics’ Daredevil #38

Mothers Daredevil 38 ad Uncle Meat adschenkel_cal_kidding

By the 70s, things had started to change graphic-wise in publications and we go into what I call the ‘statement’ era of advertising where text played a big part in hooking the viewer in via an intriguing ‘headline’ and then selling the product in a quirky sales-pitch style similar to these examples below. Crazy graphics, surrealism and excessive detail were out and, as a designer, I can’t blame them. Much the same as the sometimes impenetrable psychedelic posters of the late 60s were only meant for the heads in the know to decipher, their time was up and now the marketing men had to sell this stuff to the masses rather than keep it underground. Cue straight, no-nonsense text in blank space and packshots of the album or group in question.

1969-06-14 Rolling Stone [UK] n35 051970-10-29 Rolling Stone n69 23One Size Fits all ad

Cuphead Posters

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I’m still loving the design of Cuphead, the recent release from Studio MDHR based on the look of the old Fleischer Brothers animation studios. There seem to be lots of great posters for it online, possibly official, it’s hard to tell these days. Many follow the multi-coloured, multi-character model but some keep in line with the look of the game. There’s also merchandise starting to appear, from enamel pin badges to the inevitable Funko toys but the best object so far has to be the 4xLP original soundtrack.

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Housed in a 30’s book-style sleeve with gold leaf cover graphics, separate leaves for each disc and yellowed ‘pages’, it looks like it could have come straight from your grandparents’ vinyl collection. There’s also a lovely 7″ with selections from the near 3 hr LP set. At an eye-watering £71 + postage it’s a bit out of my league at the moment but it looks worth every penny from the photos.

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* Beware of pre-orders of figures from PopInABox – my Cuphead and Mugman figures are now 2 months overdue, one has been dispatched from overseas without a tracking number and the other remains in limbo while they wait for stock, meanwhile I’ve seen them in shops in the UK.

Diggers Dozen DJ Food set

DD set
On March 13th I was invited to be one of the selectors at Diggers Dozen, a monthly get together at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, where each DJ is asked to play 12 records. The rules are: vinyl only, no reissues, no compilations – aside from that there’s no stipulation on music policy but it’s a sort-the-men-from-the-boys kind of situation in an age where anyone can have anything in digital format and a large proportion of what were once holy grails have been reissued or compiled over the last two decades or so.

Which of course isn’t to say there isn’t still plenty of gold out there, not all of it expensive either, you just have to know where to look, be patient and dig a bit deeper sometimes. Of late I’ve been getting into spiritual records and rock operas which have provided many unexpected treasures, especially from certain eras. Above are the records I played and the mix itself. Thanks to Maxwell, who runs the night, for inviting me and you can check out the other sets and more over on the DD website.

 

Elzo Durt

couv-livre-elzoThrough an odd set of web links I chanced upon the work of Elzo Durt today, his modern take on collage and psychedelia catching my eye and making me investigate further. This Brussels-based artist works with the Recyclart people (I’ve played for them a couple of times and maybe, unknowingly, seen his work) and runs a record label too. Find out and see more of his work at www.elzodurt.com

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