Pinball Number Count and Sesame St anniversary

According to Sesame Street, who celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, Walt Kramer‘s ‘Pinball Number Count’ (featuring the Pointer Sisters on vocals) debuted today 43 years ago in Season 8 of the show. To celebrate they’ve made an online pinball game version that you can play here.

Pinball game

Of course Ninja Tune were the first label to release the track on vinyl back in 2003, on the B side of the Larry Levan remix of ‘C Is For Cookie’, which I also had the pleasure of designing the sleeve for.
Pinball label cookie monster cover websesame pinball cover

Detuned – DE:10.01 released today

DE01 front

Out today: #1 of 10 projected releases I’ve designed for the De:tuned label as they celebrate their first 10 years. One release a month, multiple combinations of great artists coming up across nine 12″s whose covers fit together to form a larger image, with a tenth remix 12″ to finish things off.

DE10 01B

Listen:

Pre-orders available now:
Phonica: bit.ly/2BypxZV  •  Bleep: bit.ly/2HUwLOw  •  Japhy: bit.ly/2Gejlv8  •  Red Eye: bit.ly/2F8v4ut  •  Norman: bit.ly/2HffoaD  •  Deejay: bit.ly/2Vu5NQk  •  Decks: bit.ly/2BvWTso  •  Rush Hour: bit.ly/2H9ev3B  •  Triple Vision: bit.ly/2zsIpJt  •  Juno: bit.ly/2Fa03q3

DE10 01A DE01 back

Gaijin Blues EP on Shapes of Rhythm

Gaigin Blues 12
The latest release from Shapes of Rhythm (Tom Centrals label) is from a new duo from Wroclaw, Poland, Gaijin Blues. The band certainly know how to throw everything at the record and there’s a big Japanese influence running through their music – channeled via Poland – never sitting still long enough for you to pin them down.
The EP is out Feb 1st but is up for pre-order now

In another premiere for the label, they’ve got an extremely limited run of screen prints of the cover illustration up for grabs too by my sometime screen-printing cohort, Hannah Brown, aka Kvist. You can order one here
GB print GB print 2GB print no

New Pye Corner Audio on Ghost Box

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Annnnnd we’re barely into the new year and there’s a Ghost Box record in the inbox, new Pye Corner Audio, sounding excellent to these ears on the second listen today. I found his first for the label a game of two halves, wasn’t keen on side A but side B did it for me. His second, ‘Stasis’, was much better and ‘Hollow Earth’ is sounding very good too. Supposedly a companion to ‘Stasis’, it mines the same dark channels but with an increasing nod to 80s synth soundtracks and 90’s era techno like The Black Dog (‘Bytes’ era) and B12. Beautiful artwork as always from Julian House, can’t wait to see one of these in the flesh! Out on LP / CD / DL Feb 15th, pre-orders up now.
Two extra tracks on the CD plus a bundle deal with ‘Stasis’ elsewhere in the shop.  Listen here

Hollow Earth 02

2018 – a vintage year for new music

It’s the end of the year and reading down the list of sounds that have moved me most in 2018 I’m struck by how much new music there is after years of digging a lot of reissues over current styles. This may well be because the well is finally running dry on a lot of the stuff I’m interested in but more likely that the old adage of great music being made in times of great strife is coming home to roost again. There is no order to the lists below, no No.1 or ‘best’ of anything although they are mostly chronological as I write stuff down as I hear or see it.

Special mentions though for the Castles In Space label that continues to go from strength to strength, the Confidence Man album which got a lot of play despite me missing them live twice. Trevor Jackson‘s beautiful design for his ‘System’ CD and cassette, so good I bought it three times, The Advisory Circle‘s ‘Ways Of Seeing’ LP and the Tomorrow Syndicate‘s excellent ‘Future Tense’ album, complete with Nick Taylor artwork.

Supporting both The The (on several UK dates) and the Art Of Noise was the stuff of teenage dreams and the former’s biography by Neil Fraser is a fascinating read. The Karminsky Experience Inc.’s ‘See Inside’ VR single was a genuinely eye-opening experience and having them and Markey Funk down at Further was a treat. Walking into the House of Illustration‘s John Vernon Lord exhibition to be unexpectedly confronted with the original drawing of his 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’, was the art high of the year and the People’s Vote march in October restored my faith in humanity for an afternoon. Electronic Sound magazine continues to excel and their first LP release, Jack Dangers‘ remix of Terry Riley‘s ‘In C’, was another disc that saw a lot of play this year.

On Dec 23rd I played a lot of my favourite releases of 2018 on WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood show which you can hear below, complete with mic. fluffs and wrong track listings.

As we go into 2019 I’m dreading the first three months, leading up to the Br*x*t deadline, hoping against hope for a last minute chance to reconsider but bracing for a fallout post 29/03/19 that could see chaos come to the UK. I hope that I’m writing a more positive missive this time next year, if not then at least the music will only get better and better…

Music 2Music / chat:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside 7″ (Patterns of Behaviour)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Flightless)
Beautify Junkyards – The Invisible Worlds of LP (Ghost Box)
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting LP (Trunk)
Bigmouth podcast (Audioboom)
The Turbans – Baba Ganooz 7″ (Mona Tone/Delights)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade LP (Duophonic)
The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing LP (Ghost Box)
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel (single) (Wondaland)
Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People LP (Heavenly)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre_)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (single) (Dairy)
Jonny Trunk – OST show (Resonance FM)
Regal Worm – Pig Views / Use And Ornament (Uranium Club)
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Electronic Sound)
Patrick R. Park – Library Sounds LP (Castles In Space)
David Shire – The Conversation LP (Trunk)
Amgala Temple – Invisible Airships LP (Pekula)
Adam Buxton podcast
Type 303 – The New Ravelution EP (Insult To Injury)
Luke Vibert – 165 303 – from the Gradients vol.2 LP (Astrophonica)
Luke Vibert presents Garave vol.1 LP (Hypercolour)
Kosmischer Laufer – Vol.4 LP (UCR)

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Packaging / design:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR glasses (Patterns of Behaviour)
Chop – CDL 10″ (Drumetrics)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (2nd edition) (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System 1st & 2nd edition CD + Cassette (Pre_)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour Cassette & comic (Tapebox)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense Regular + Ltd Ed. LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Spider Jazz – splatter vinyl edition LP (Trunk)
Spun Out Of Control vinyl + cassettes
Aver – River of Ice Cream 7″ promo flexi disc
Listening Centre 5″ lathe cut picture disc (Polytechnic Youth)

Packaging design

Books/Comics:
VS – Ivan Brandon / Eric Ribic (Image)
A Year In The Country ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – Stephen Prince
The Adventures of Jodelle – Guy Peellhaert (Fantagraphics)
Batman – White Knight  – Sean Murphy (DC)
Orla Kiely – A Life In Pattern (Octopus Books)
Electronic Sound magazine
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music – David Hollander (Anthology Editions)
House Industries – The Process Is The Inspiration (Watson-Guptill Publications)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour comic (Tapebox)
Proxima Centuri – Farel Dalrymple (Image)
Doomsday Clock – Geoff Johns / Gary Frank (DC)
Saga – Brian K. Vaughn / Fiona Staples (Image)
Long Shadows, High Hopes – Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)
Judge Dredd – The Small House (Rob Williams & Henry Flint) (2000AD/Rebellion)
Lawless  – Dan Abnett / Phil Winslade (Judge Dredd Megazine/Rebellion)
Pete Fowler – Decades of Lead (Unbound)
Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)

Books + comics

Film/TV:
Inside No.9 series 4 + Halloween special
The Inertia Variations documentary
Flowers series 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Yellow Submarine 50th anniversary remaster
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR + packaging
Bobby Gillespie on Newsnight
The Clock – Christian Marclay, Tate Modern
Bros: After The Screaming Stops (BBC)

Film3

Events / Gigs:
Art of Noise, British Library
‘O Is For Orange’ premiere Archspace, London
The The, Albert Hall, The Troxy, London, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
The Crystal Palace Festival afterparty @ The Paxton Pub, Gypsy Hill, London – one of those gigs where every track flows and lands just right.
The Indie Label Market, Spitalfields, London
The People’s Vote march in October
Jane Weaver at EArtH, London
The Soundcarriers, Gloria and Strange Majick @ The Victoria, London
Dirty Fan Male at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, London

Gigs

Exhibitions:
Sister Corita Kent – Ditchling Art & Craft Museum
Orla Kiely – Fashion & Textile Museum, London
Aphex Twin posters – Elephant & Castle underground, London
The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, London
May The Toys Be With You – New Walk Museum, Leicester
John Vernon Lord – The House of Illustration, London
Peanuts – Somerset House, London
Daniel Mullen – Lisa Norris Gallery, London

Exhibitions 2018

“Another year over and what have I done?”
Designed Peshay‘s ‘Reflections’ LP for the De:Tuned label
Created a 3 minute spoken word collage for Penguin/Random House‘s Voices event at the London Palladium on World Book Day
Supported the Art Of Noise at The British Library
DJed multiple times at Secret Cinema presents Blade Runner
Opened for The The at several of their UK gigs including the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Glasgow Barrowlands and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Further at the Portico Gallery with Pete Williams, Markey Funk and the Karminsky Experience Inc.
Designed a nine disc set for De:tuned‘s forthcoming 10th anniversary releases
Mixes for Solid Steel, 45 Live, Brokers, Rat Records, Out Of The Wood, Diggers Dozen and radio show appearances for Resonance and Soho Radio
Overhauled my Openmindesign.uk website

DJ Food gigs

RIP: France Gall, Ken Dodd, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Lovebug Starski, Jabo Starks, Tom Wolfe, Aretha Franklin, Orla Kiely shops, Carlos Ezquerra, Paul Allen, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, HMV, June Whitfield.

Looking forward to: The Delaware Road 2019, Keith Haring retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the Wobbly Sounds book, Further at the Ace Hotel, Sister Corita Kent at the House of Illustration, De:tuned‘s monthly 10th anniversary 12″s, Avengers: Endgame

Happy New Year!

10 Years of De:tuned label releases

De.Tuned 10 all covers 1 1200x1200I’m very pleased to have been asked to design the De:tuned label’s 10th anniversary releases, nine 12″s released monthly throughout 2019, which they have just announced. The above image is a representation of elements of the nine sleeves which, when put together, form a larger image. I’ll be posting them here as they’re released along with pre-order links, the line ups are a who’s who of electronica from the past 25 years, some of which are revealed below.

De:tuned celebrates their 10th anniversary with a 10 part EP series released across 2019. The first part is planned for February and the project will continue each month throughout 2019. The artwork of the first 9 releases of the series forms a 3 x 3 poster display.

PRE-ORDER l Phonica: https://bit.ly/2QNtuVi

De:tuned have called on designer Kevin Foakes (Openmind, DJ Food, Ninja Tune) to create all graphic work.

‘DE:10.01’ kicks off with a special treat from the golden 90s era: on offer a welcome combination of previously unreleased DAT material by Kirk Degiorgio and affectionate As One remix treatments of both original Sensurreal and Jedi Knights (Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton) work, pure bliss.
PRE-ORDER l https://bit.ly/2BypxZV

The second EP of the series dives deep down into the ambient techno world. The A side makes you drift away on a rare Sun Electric get together, followed by a beautiful Higher Intelligence Agency piece. DeepChord’s dubbed lushness completes this highly intense journey.
PRE-ORDER l https://bit.ly/2LtqIOZ

John Beltran, Mark Archer, Future Beat Alliance and max 404 line up on the third 10 years anniversary 12″ for De:tuned. Both John and Mark deliver a timeless, Detroit indebted techno vibe, resulting in 2 dancefloor-friendly tracks. FBA and max 404 activated their DAT recorder and struck gold with previously unheard crisp yet sensitive cuts.”
PRE-ORDER l https://bit.ly/2ByYTQA

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)

xray2Xray1

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)

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 Lee 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.

a0721970622_10

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.

System CD whiteSystem tape

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.

Julius VanderbiltfrontJulius VanderbiltinsideJulius Vanderbiltback

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!

SOOC front

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.

TS LP frontTS LP back

Dig magazine

Dig #1
Dig magazine is a new mini magazine that will fit in your pocket (perfect to take to the record shop) full of esoteric info and ones to watch for from a selection of fine DJs. Mr Thing, DJ Format, Mr Krum, Si Spex, Susanslegpolicy and more all spill the beans on a curio from their collection including anecdotes, info and cover images and there’s even a URL at the end so that you can preview said tracks in an online mix. It comes in a neat stickered sleeve that makes it look like a milk crate which the (ironically) CD-sized mag slips inside, waiting to be dug into.

Dig contents

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

Dig Format:Food

Logan’s Run repress

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

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

It was 30 years ago today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kev + Flav London 1987

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

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

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.

12HrFound

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

ConcretismLP

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

Acid Wheels printAcid Wheels discAcid Wheels

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

Vactrol Park

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

Spider Jazz coverSpiderplate vinyl

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

Demdike Feedback

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.