Keen-eyed listeners to the Solid Steel weekly radio show may have noticed a logo makeover last week. A new, slimline logo has taken place of the previous single ‘S’ one as we continue to streamline the show for online consumption. The logo comes in white on black circle but can be reversed and I designed it in three weights with the heaviest being for small usage where the centre circle is offset with the outer circle also in box form. Expect a new responsive website redesign in April too.
Future Shock was a 2hr mix that I cooked up for an online ‘pirate’ radio station a couple of friends set up earlier this year called Altar Ego Radio. Billed as ‘Music from the Future you remember from your Past’, I mixed sci-fi electronica with a retro feel from Jokers of the Scene, Falty DL. The Books, Sculpture, Nico Motte and Jeremy Schmidt. Here’s the first hour, exclusively sans the chat of the original broadcast which was hosted like a regular radio show. Much like the recent Magpie Music mix of a few weeks ago I intend to expand on these themes in forthcoming Future Shock mixes focusing on the more electronic side of my current tastes. Altar Ego Radio will also be back on the air over the August Bank holiday weekend, more info here
I’m very pleased to be sharing airtime with the legend that is Matt Berry on Solid Steel this week – my Magpie Music show that debuted on Altar Ego Radio earlier this year is paired with his trip though gospel rock, soundtracks, spoken word and classic Pop.
Matt has a new album out at the moment on Acid Jazz called ‘Music For Insomniacs’ which mines very different territory from his previous outings. This time he’s channeling Vangelis, Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream and turns in a more ambient, synth-laden set although there are plenty of surprises that spring up in the mix too. He’s currently filming the new series of Toast of London and we’re thrilled to have him on the show. Got to Acid Jazz to buy his album or previous records + tour memorabilia.
Imagine an alternate version of the 80’s pop chart, not the one already there in the form of the extended 12″ remix that came to prominence in that decade, but a secret, subtly twisted one with different producers at the controls. Imagine Depeche Mode and Gary Numan remixed by a Hip Hop engineer, Tears For Fears cut to ribbons by a tape edit king, Bow Wow Wow and The Human League streamlined into a slow disco groove. Grace Jones and Heaven 17 pumped up for a House club, Japan remixed by Giorgio Morodor or Grace Jones covering Tubeway Army – no actually, those last two really happened.
My latest Solid Steel mix compiles an hour of mostly unofficial remixes, re-edits and versions of classic pop songs from the 80’s, remodeled by fans or studio engineers with access to the separate track stems. What emerges is a collection of pop classics seen through a distorted looking glass, culled from the darkest corners of Soundcloud or the hard drives of those with access to audio they shouldn’t have and time on their hands. See below for track listing and more info.
‘E Is For Eighties’ – An Alternate 80’s (Re)mix
Gary Numan – Films (DJ Butcher Instrumental) (soundcloud mp3) – Found on Soundcloud, this toughened up Hip Hop take on the Numan classic, beloved by break fiends from back in the day, is minimally tweaked for the dance floor. Check more of DJ Butcher‘s wares here.
Tears For Fears – Shout (Remix di Marco De Luca) (soundcloud mp3) – a crazed edit-fest of cuts and splices of one of TFF’s best known songs, I actually had to edit this down a little as the machine gun edits got so relentless that it was a difficult listen – the full 8 minutes is here.
Grace Jones – Slave To the Rhythm (Better Days’ Rough Slave version) (mp3) – The first of three versions of Grace’s finest moment – this one takes the multitracks and strips away the percussion and bass to leave a gorgeous string and acappella version that’s billed as a ‘Rough Slave’ version on YouTube.. Info suggests that this was done by DJ Bruce Forest circa 1990, who got the chance to do a quick mix when working at SARM Studios on a different project. It has since been taken off of the web.
Grace Jones – Slave To the Disco (Tribute To Trevor Horn mix) (We Mean Disco mp3) – upping the bpm to a steady 110 this new cheeky re-edit turns a mid 80’s hyper-polished pop masterpiece into a dirty disco groove to brilliant effect. I’ve added a fair amount of the Better Days acappella and strings version over the top of this as the original is mainly instrumental.
Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy (Deep Sound Design Balearic Dub) (soundcloud mp3) – Taking the original’s drum and bass groove and stretching it out, the mix just feels so dirty. Again I edited this down as the sugar-sweet singing of Annabella sounded a little too cheesy in the mix but check out Deep Sound Design‘s Soundcloud pages for tons of excellent mixes both past and present, he even makes ZZ Top sound good.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (Hibakusha ‘Don’t Crack’ mix) (CDR) – One of my favourite 80’s songs tackled by my good friend Jeff Knowler aka Hibakusha. This is a few years old now and was largely achieved through EQing the various mixes of the song and re-sampling parts to achieve a mix. This is actually only half of Jeff’s version and he’s done many more Frankie and ZTT mixes in his own time, all sounding like they could have existed 30 years ago and among the best fan mixes I’ve ever come across.
Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime (Hibakusha remix) (CDR) – Another one of Jeff’s, originally done for a friend’s birthday present and now presented here for the first time in public.
The Human League – Seconds (Antony Toga Unlimited Orchestra Mix) (soundcloud mp3) – The ‘Don’t You Want Me’ B-side taken and stretched into a menacing 8 minute groove with the help of the ‘Love & Dancing’ version by Anthony Toga. I added the news bulletin dialogue as JFK’s assassination took place and edited it again for length.
Japan - Life In Tokyo (Extended Disco mix) (Virgin) – A bonafide original, this actually saw a release in 1979 with Giorgio Morodor at the controls, one of the turning points in Japan’s history which saw them at a crossroads between outdated glam rockers and early adopters of synthesisers who were put in the same bracket as the Futurists.
Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm (Steve Anderson & Chad Jackson remix) (soundcloud mp3) – A third outing but justified by this killer mix for DMC from the late 90’s, unreleased but one that successfully ups the bpm by 20 or so to make this go-go pop classic into an 11 minute house club banger. Check out Steve Anderson’s Soundcloud for tons of interesting mixes in this vein.
Tears For Fears – Mad World (ABH Remix) (soundcloud mp3) – Another Soundcloud find, TFF’s breakthrough hit given a crunching big beat undercarriage by ABH from London.
Depeche Mode – Big Muff (K Master bootleg demo) (soundcloud mp3) – This is actually an unfinished demo but I liked it so much I featured it anyway. A slowed down, Plastikman-esque remake of one of my favourite tracks from DM’s debut album, ‘Speak & Spell’ – hopefully one day he’ll finish it. K_Master hails for Minnesota, USA, not to be confused with the K Master from the UK.
Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement (Eggman Remix) (soundcloud mp3) – The mysterious Eggman Productions from London, filters the Heaven 17 classic into House territory – the original is nearly 10 minutes long but I edited it a lot to fit it in, hear the full version here.
The Clash – Rock The Casbah (Dubrobots 12″) (mp3) – One of Jeff’s engineer friends who goes by the name of Dubrobots takes on The Clash. ‘…Casbah’ has been versioned a few times over the years but this sympathetic, dubbed out mix using the original stems to break it down caught my ear for the open piano passages. Also check out his Dubrobots HQ blog for a great mix of Adam & The Antz – Cartrouble Pt.1 (Dubrobots ‘Who’s The Slave & Who’s the Master’ mix). It’s a rarity to find any remixes of Adam Ant material, even more so to find one of the original, pre-fame Antz tracks. His is a fantastic re-imagining of ‘Cartrouble Pt.1′ which really exists in its own little world, I’m not sure how you’d place this with any other music successfully and it just didn’t make the final cut because of this.
Grace Jones – Me, I Disconnect From You (Island) Another track that’s legit but has only just seen the light of day. Originally recorded in 1981 for inclusion on the ‘Night Clubbing’ album, Grace covered Tubeway Army but it sadly never made the cut. Finally released on the new 2 CD deluxe edition we get to hear it and I mixed a little of the original into the ending so that Numan bookends the whole mix.
Along the way, whilst making this mix and auditioning a lot of other mixes in a similar vein, I stumbled upon Paul Dakeyne‘s site where he has a number of interesting posts including one on tape edits with an unreleased Omar Santana ‘Bullet edit’ version of the same Tears For Fears track I used. It’s pretty full on and comes from a cassette Paul had, his Soundcloud page is also worth a look with unreleased megamixes of Paul Hardcastle material.
Sadly on Sunday it was two years since MCA passed away and there was a weekend long celebration in Brooklyn to remember the man and the music he made with the Beasties. With another, happier, anniversary also approaching – 25 years since the release of ‘Paul’s Boutique’ – there is a fair bit of Beastie-related activity on the horizon.
Above and below you can see a comic created by Derek Langille illustrating the song ‘Sabotage’ - this was done nearly two years ago now and takes a similar old school comic style to Ed Piskor‘s excellent on-going ‘Hip Hop Family Tree‘.
A couple of fans in Italy (SM&A Prod.) are preparing a ‘visual companion’ to the album, to debut online on July 25th (see new trailer above) and Filter magazine are running a special on it in an upcoming issue.
The 3-Way Mix should be getting a feature somewhere in that issue and I was interviewed recently for an updated version of Dan LeRoy‘s 33 1/3 book about the making of the album.
Also over the weekend the deconstructed mix of the album that I made with DJ Cheeba and DJ Moneyshot finally hit 100,000 plays on Soundcloud – this is a big milestone for us so thanks to all for listening.
This week’s Solid Steel has a particular Acid taste with two distinct flavours. In the first hour Posthuman give us a very special look through 30 years of music made with the Roland TB303 from 1984-2014 assigning one track a year to give just one particular history of the machine. The choices had to be harsh and lots of obvious tracks were missed but you get a year by year progression ending with Posthuman themselves.
Talking of endings, their seven year-old night, ‘I Love Acid’, will breath its last on April 12th, the day after this mix debuts and this is a fitting way to celebrate the end of an era.
Amongst the line up is a certain Luke Vibert whose track of the same name titled the night in the first place. In a beautiful piece of synchronicity we have Lexis from Music Is My Sanctuary with an hour-long retrospective look at Luke’s career in many of his different guises after 20 years of official releases.
and in another little bit of Acid-related news I found this first review for the Roland TB 303 in a 1982 issue of Sounds this week, even back then with only two years left until production would cease, it received a glowing review.
Off to Australia tomorrow for 3 gigs in the sun – can’t wait to feel warm again and hook up with the likes of DJ HDD and others. Posts on here may be sporadic to non-existent for the next 10 days but I’ve just finished a mix of 80’s pop remixes and re-edits that may appear on Solid Steel at some point.
Solid Steel this week features an exclusive hour of Kid Koala live in Victoria, Canada. The second hour brings a mix from yours truly coupled with a tribute to Trish Keenan and the music of Broadcast by Markey Funk.
It’s now three years this week since Trish passed away and last year Markey put together a new soundtrack to the 1966 Jonathan Miller TV version of Alice In Wonderland made entirely from the music of Broadcast. We feature half an hour of that mix but it’s best watched with the film in full which you can see here or here.
My mix kicks things off though and takes the distorted drums and fuzzy electronics route with a detour into James Murphy‘s recent David Bowie remix in the middle.
Very pleased to have commissioned this mix from Chop for the latest installment of Solid Steel and it’s something slightly different from him too. Here’s what he said about it;
“I’ve been listening to quite a lot of French, Japanese and electronic library music of late. This mix for me has been about discovering and re-discovering some fantastic artists/music from around the globe. Whether its the eccentric French sounds of Marc Moulin‘s – Telex, mutations from YMO genius Haruomi Hosono or the influential proto-electronica of Manuel Gottsching I think there’s something here for everyone from diggers to digesters of great music.”
His last album, ‘Illuminate’, came out in August 2013 on Now Again and is available here
DK and I have created a set on Soundcloud where you can directly access all my Solid Steel mixes with one click. With the archive on Soundcloud now several years deep and also being that it is part of the overall Ninja Tune account, it’s increasingly hard to find things easily. Now you can with one click. If I’ve had a mix on the show it should be here, whether a solo mix, part of a collaboration or sharing an hour with another DJ.
So, if you wanted to check the Beastie Boys ‘Paul’s Boutique’ reconstruction I did with Cheeba and Moneyshot, it’s here. Likewise the ‘Free Comic Book Day’ mix, ‘O Is For Orange’ or ‘In:Motion’ mixes and many more. I give most of my mixes titles, one day I should go through and make an inventory of the lot…
I joined two recent Solid Steel mixes together to form this downtempo, dark synth-laden hour of sparse electronica and such. I think they work together nicely as one piece rather than separate sets. Enjoy in headphones late at night.
More excellent photos of Friday’s gig – this time by Fabrice Bourgelle aka Photography by Focus.
What to say about last Friday’s Solid Steel 25th anniversary at Fire in London? It was amazing, exhausting, exhilarating and unique at different times. I personally had a great night and haven’t danced so much in years (mainly to Robin Hexstatic‘s amazing Acid set in the Light Box).
I heard fantastic music in all three rooms, it’s just a pity I couldn’t actually be in all of them all night. DK, PC and I surprised people by doing an unannounced version of the ‘Now, Listen’ mix CD from 2001 – unrehearsed and mainly mapped out at sound check. Cheeba, Moneyshot and I managed to just about pull off the Paul’s Boutique 3-Way mix and PC stepped up afterwards with a rousing Nelson Mandela speech (RIP) and straight into Ritchie Havens’‘s ‘Going Back To My Roots’.
Here are some photos of the night by Beth aka Daddy’s Got Sweets and there are more over on Resident Advisor. (Coldcut meets The Orb flight deck, Matt Black and Alex Paterson and 3-Way Mix kit photos by Cheeba and I)
Earlier in the evening, at the pre-gig dinner, DK and I were presented, completely by surprise, with a tongue-in-cheek framed disc by Coldcut, recognising our ‘broadest beats, masterful mixing and unerring dedication’ to the show over the years
Tickets available from Resident Advisor or on the door.
Nearly forgot, I take up the last half hour after DK on Solid Steel this week with a companion piece to last weeks mix – very mellow and a bit dark in places too.
I wrote a piece about 25 years of Solid Steel for The Quietus, highlighting one of my favourite mixes – the original Coldcut meets The Orb from 1991.
Only one week until the big London show where they meet for a third time alongside Four Tet, Mr Scruff, Actress, Trevor Jackson, Illum Sphere, DK, PC, Hexstatic, James Mountain and myself, Cheeba and Moneyshot doing our Paul’s Boutique routine.
The Hydra (who are promoting the event) have a competition over on Facebook to win tickets, goodies and a £100 bar tab if you share the flyer from their page.
Not long now until the London Solid Steel 25th anniversary gig at Fire closes out the year in fine style. Tickets available here…