New Demdike Stare coming…

LOVE065_dist_previewIf you like your music deep, dark and heavy then this release is for you. Wheeling out the second of three vinyl only releases this year are Demdike Stare, mutating their own corner of the music world into twilight hours industrial darkstep. Actually, trying to describe this music is nigh on impossible, one track, ‘Regolith’, reminds me of the JAMMs’ classic ‘It’s Grim Up North’, stripped of vocal and synth, slowed down and mixed with the kind of soundscapes Coil or Nurse With Wound turn out. This time they up the stakes with 6 tracks running to 45 minutes total and another superb sleeve by Andy Votel – released on July 26th.

Posted in Music, Records. | No Comments |


On Adam Ant’s solo album from 1983, ‘Strip’, he has a song called ‘Montreal’. It was always my favourite track on what was a pretty patchy album and it shares its name with is one of my favourite cities in the world, second only to my hometown of London. I love it mainly for its unpretentious, multi-cultural, wildly artistic inhabitants and this last weekend I was there playing at the Jazz Festival on a bill with Spank Rock and The Slew in one of two Ninja Tune XX shows. It was a pretty laid back affair as I flew in on Friday, played Saturday night and flew out on Sunday evening, a rare treat in my usual touring schedule. The weather was perfect and I got to catch up with lots of friends from the North American Ninja office which is based there as well as catching tons of amazing art dotted around the downtown district where the venue, Metropolis, was.

[singlepic id=2275 w=300 h=210 float=left] [singlepic id=2279 w=460 h=360 float=]


The gig was good, Spank Rock were nuts and the Slew were just amazing, virtually playing their 100% album in its entirety. British Airways managed to forget my mixer in London so there was a mild panic for a minute to source a duplicate – I can’t do my video set without the Rane 57 – but this seemed no problem. It eventually turned up 20 minutes before I finished playing, being brought on stage by the soundman much to my relief.

[singlepic id=2282 w=400 h=290 float=left] [singlepic id=2281 w=380 h=290 float=left]

On Sunday I visited the Museum of Fine Arts to check out the Miles Davis exhibition which was stunning and is on until the end of August, make the effort if you’re in the city. It is laid out immaculately, chronologically guiding you through his life and work room by room. The late 60’s and 70’s rooms were the ones I’d come for and I wasn’t disappointed as they had the Mati Klarwein originals of the Live/Evil LP cover, Corky McCoy sketches for On The Corner and Water Babies and some hilarious memos to record company staff from Teo Macero. One for Filles De Kilimanjaro ended, “Also Miles would like all the titles on the album translated into French. HELP!”. The whole thing was suberbly put together with original LPs, magazines, sheet music, stage wear, instruments and even some of Miles’ art amongst much more – highly recommended.

[singlepic id=2280 w=640 h=480 float=left]

After this I met up with ex-Ninja staff, Phillipa Klein and Pat Hamou and Eric San (Kid Koala) who took us to a great Chinese dumpling spot nearby the museum. It’s not widely known but Eric is the number one food stop diviner when on tour. If you’re in a strange city and you need to eat, Eric will know somewhere that will usually turn out to be exceptional. After stuffing our faces we went back to Eric’s with his wife and daughter and marveled at his studio, chock full of amazing kit, 3D models of miniature towns they’d built for a forthcoming project and his own, personalised record cutter. In the basement there was a full size robotron ‘costume’ made out of metal and his studio boasts a massive model of a swordfish sitting atop a bookcase. He played me a new track he’s just finished for the Ninja Tune XX compilation and revealed that he’s recording the first parts of a new Slew record next week in between tour dates.

[singlepic id=2274 w=640 h=480 float=left]

My time was up so we drove back to my hotel and said goodbyes, a great way to spend a weekend for sure, the flight back was overnight and the week ahead sees me tying up the last parts of the Ninja box set artwork, starting a 4 deck AV set for the 20th parties and finishing a track for the compilation.

Posted in Art, Event, Gigs, Ninja Tune. | No Comments |

3A books launch today

headerbeiOne of my favourite artists and certainly my favourite toy-making company – Ashley Wood and 3A – launch their new book range today on the eve of a massive art and toy show in Beijing. Two hardback books with work from Phil Hale and Ashley Wood are available for $25 each but the one I’m most excited about is ‘Entr3At’, a 282 page celebration of the first 2 years of 3A toys. Packed with paintings, photos, works in progress, designs and box art, it’s going to be one of my books of the year for sure. Order any or all of them from bambalandstore now.entreat-cover

Posted in Art, Books, Comics, Design, Robots, Toys. | 1 Comment |

Ghost Box Study Series 7″s

Coming next month from Ghost Box is the start of a run of 7″ singles under the banner the ‘Study Series’. The first up feature Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle and, one of my favourites, Moon Wiring Club. Gorgeous artwork as always by Julian House, hopefully this will build into a lovely little set over the coming months. Pre-order at the ghostbox shop and I can heartily recommend just about everything else if you’re a newcomer as it’s one of my favourite labels.


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

New Qemists LP cover by Glenn Fabry

Herbaliser - Wall Crawling..

Ninja Tune artists seem to have a love of comic art and one particular comic in particular has played host to various artists who have also graced Ninja Tune sleeves – 2000AD. The first was The Herbaliser’s ‘Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks’ 12″ back in 1998 with a cover painting by Jason Brashill -aka graffiti artist Jase – who used to paint with Req and She One in Brighton. His design of a robotic bug perched on a pair of decks and a mixer is one of my favourites of that era.

DJ Food - ...Weird...World EP 12"cover (72 dpi)My own DJ Food EPs from last year featured new work from Henry Flint who has been a regular on both the weekly comic and monthly Judge Dredd Megazine for over 10 years. He kindly gave me some of his personal work, highly detailed abstract ‘doodles’, to colour for my sleeves (you can see one to the left of this post) and there will be more for the third EP and album.


qemists_hurtslessFInally we have the latest addition: The Qemists have enlisted none other than Glenn Fabry to paint their new ‘Spirit In The System’ LP cover in what looks like a homage to Stanley Mouse’s Grateful Dead work. If you’ve been paying attention to the recent Qemists releases you’ll notice that the first two are sections of a large ‘logo-ified’ version of the painting, I hope Ninja press a vinyl LP of the album too.

Moog T-shirt from Chalk Brighton

This has been in the pipeline a while, I think I did the design last autumn but had been collecting the contents for longer. Chalk Brighton, the brainchild of old friends Dean Ricca-Smith and Simon Skevington, is a new company specialising in limited edition T-shirt prints with a difference. One of their debut designs spelt out SOUL in bold letters entirely made up of titles of their favourite soul records and was a big hit. They plan to continue the series and I submitted my entry in the form of Moog. Not an obvious follow up but Chalk isn’t an obvious kind of company.

Moog shirtMoog designThe tracks within my design either refer to records with Moog in the title or famous songs which feature the Moog somewhere in the kit list (did you know that the bassline to Donna Summer‘s ‘I Feel Love’ was played on a Moog?). Anyway, the shirt is big on design but minimal of contrast so it blends together nicely when printed and is actually a lot more subtle than these photos suggest. Also you have to love the attention to detail with the names on the neck tag :)  Get them while they’re hot…

Chalk store
Moog detail
Chalk tag

Moog covers

Moon Wiring Club

I first heard of Moon Wiring Club through Jim Jupp’s Belbury Parish blog associated with the Ghost Box label and then later they cropped up on Jonny Trunk’s Original Soundtrack radio show with a very entertaining hour long interview. Their website is a joy to behold and contains all manner of info and pictorial lushness associated with the project. I snapped up the three CDs already released and entered into a correspondence with ‘the Club’ with a view to securing an exclusive Solid Steel mix.

And here it is, entitled ‘Confectioners Radiogram for Home Entertainment’, coupled this week with my own ‘Time For Tea’ mix (For Tea – 40 – geddit?) which also features copious lashings of their tracks as well as a trio from the Simonsound who will be guests on next weeks show. But more of that next week.

Solid Steel Radio Show 7/5/2010 Part 1 + 2 – Strictly Kev by Ninja Tune

Solid Steel Radio Show 7/5/2010 Part 3 + 4 – Moon Wiring Club by Ninja Tune


Posted in Music, Radio, Solid Steel. | No Comments |

Life begins…

I hit the big 4-0 today so I thought I’d reminisce…

I remember when (in reverse order):young Strictly

The Blue Note was the place to be every night of the week

Coldcut couldn’t get a gig in the main room of any club because they were too ‘chilled’

The KLF were the greatest pop band in the world

Cynthia Rose’s ‘Design After Dark’ was the bible for dance music related artwork.

The smiley face badge from Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen’ was copied by Bomb The Bass and kicked off the whole Acid fashion for smileys.

Big Black called it a day

The DMC finals were held in the Albert Hall

Mike Allen ruled the airwaves for Hip Hop in the South East via Capital Radio

12″ singles were £1.99

Kraftwerk were number 1 in the charts

Thatcher got in (please not again)

2000ad was 8p

Star Wars was everything

‘The King’ left the building

Epiphanies in sound:

These are songs or albums that I remember vividly having a profound effect on me when I heard them first, the ‘Shock of the New’ if you will. Most of these I remember having a hold over me whereby I had to play them again and again because I couldn’t get enough of the sounds each contained. They gave a rush of excitement that I’d been looking for that cannot be described, a feeling so alien from everything else I’d heard before that it was all I could do to keep pressing the rewind button. These are kind of in the order I heard them rather than the order they were originally released. Some of them occupy the same place because a friend made me a tape with both on or something.

chart-singles 82&83Kraftwerk – Autobahn – this has been documented before in my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection piece but to paraphrase – one of the first songs I remember, even though I didn’t know what it was until later.

The Police – Message in a Bottle – I loved the drums and the whole energy of it, one of the first pop songs I consciously remember liking.

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog – My dad liked the drums so taped it off the radio, little knowing that my 10 year old ears would want to listen to little else for the next 3 years

Kraftwerk – Computer World – perfect in every way, an alien world and forerunner to electro.

The Human League – Being Boiled – pretty creepy pop to an 11 year old

Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock – After hearing ‘Buffalo Gals’ and not knowing what was going on I was seduced by the ghetto blaster on the cover and Worlds Famous Supreme Team patter.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (Maida Vale mix) For some reason, when I came to tape ‘Relax’ off the radio the version I got was a special remix made by Dave Cash (a Capital Radio DJ) and this was on repeat play every day after school for the first few months of ’84.

Art of Noise – Beatbox – The DMX is still my favourite drum machine.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (Annihilation) After what seemed like an eternal wait for the follow up to ‘Relax’ (all of 6 months) this 12″ mix blew away everything in the charts and was a landmark in reconstructing a pop single until Coldcut made over Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ 4 years later.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome (LP version) 16 minutes of Prog Pop perfection.

Double Dee & Steinski – Lesson 2 – A milestone (with the other Lessons) in cut and paste excellence, still stands up today where others sound dated.

Arthur Baker – Breaker’s Revenge – Something about this grabbed me and it was probably the Latin Rascals’ edits as much as the melody, when I discovered the remixed 12″ after hearing the Beat St. soundtrack version I flipped.

Grandmaster Flash – Adventures on the Wheels of Steel – Much like the Lessons, this was an even earlier example of how to mix and match (literally with the Queen and Chic basslines)

Word of Mouth & DJ Cheese – King Kut – The first time I tuned into Mike Allen’s hip hop show this was amongst the selection he played and still remains one of my top 10 favourite beats ever.

DJ Cheese – Capital Radio live session for Mike Allen ’86 – a scratch showcase as part of the set by Cheese (at the same time as he won the DMC championship) made me want to learn how to scratch.

Public Enemy – Son of Public Enemy – The sound of the JBs’ ‘Blow Your Head’ sampled over this made it as strange then as when I first heard ‘Buffalo Girls’. Plus I heard this version before the rap, making it seem even more odd.

Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause – When Terminator X scratched in the ‘rock n roll’ line I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up it was so cool, still one of the funkiest, but simplest scratch patterns ever.

De La Soul – 3 Feet High & Rising – A blast of fresh air that seemed like it was beamed down whole from another planet.

You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath – Hole   / Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – Nail – Classics – early sampling, great wordplay and catchy songs too.

The The – Soul Mining / Infected – Two of my favourite records ever

Coldcut – Beats n’ Pieces – Heavy beats and breaks, spoken word and scratching – the blueprint for so much and by two British guys to boot – unheard of quality at the time.

Big Black – Atomizer / Songs About Fucking – Power and precision with a drum machine instead of a drummer – awesome.

Slayer – Reign In Blood / South of Heaven – I was never really into thrash metal but spent several weeks one summer at a mate’s house painting a Megadeth banner for him to take to the Donnington festival. During this time I was played everything from Metallica to Slayer, Anthrax to G.W.A.R. Some grew on me more than others but these two particularly stood out.

Stakker – Humanoid – I was never much into house music but I ‘got’ acid when I heard this and it still stands up as one of the greats.

Fishbone – Truth & Soul – Ska, funk and thrash metal, what a combo, Fishbone were one great live band but never got their dues. A friend taped me this in college and it was stuck in my walkman for months.

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique – Unjustly rubbished on release, I never understood why, I suppose everyone wanted ‘Licensed to Ill’ part 2 but couldn’t they see that this was a much more complex beast?. Rightly acclaimed as an ahead-of-it’s-time classic years later.

Jungle Brothers – Done By The Forces of Nature – One of the funkiest hip hop records ever, supreme layers of samples and totally on point raps. I never tire of hearing it.

Depth Charge – Depth Charge – Sonar ping industrial ‘trip hop’ before the phrase was even invented.

808 State – Cubik – Heavy metal techno, the bassline is so simple and stupid it’s brilliant.

Coldcut vs The Orb – KISS FM ’91/92 – actually my introduction to the Orb and hugely influential as a signpost for where I was heading in the 90’s.

The KLF – Chill Out – a real soundtrack without a film kind of record, made just before they went stratospheric

Brian Eno & David Byrne – My Life in The Bush of Ghosts – no.1 in a field of 1

Future Sound of London – KISS FM radio mixes ’92/3 some of the best crafted ‘mixes’ ever, more like virtual worlds inside the radio, also opening up a whole heap of new music to my ears.

This Mortal Coil – Filigree & Shadow / Blood – I got played this after a friend heard me playing a FSOL record that had sampled it and I loved the concept, breadth and execution of them.

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay – Plight & Premonition – possibly my favourite ambient album ever.

Cocteau Twins – ~Victorialand / Treasure – Their pinnacle (along with their collaboration with Harold Budd, ‘The Moon and the Melodies’)

Aphex Twin – Didgeridoo – Changed the face of techno at the time, it was a good 10+ bpm faster than anything else at the time and sounded like it came from an alien planet.

Ken Nordine – Word Jazz vol.1 – Mixmaster Morris played me this in ’93 during one of my epiphanic visits to his house, little did I know I would end up actually working with Ken later.

Zimbabwe Legit – Doing Damage (Shadow’s Legitimate mix) Alongside ‘Entropy’ and ‘In/flux’ this pointed to a new way of presenting hip hop.

David Shire – The Taking of Pelham 123 – just an amazing suite of music based on a few simple themes, unavailable for years but now deservedly given it’s place amongst classic soundtracks.

DJ Zinc – Super Sharp Shooters – Stealth anthem and one of the best fusions of hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass ever

DJ Shadow – Changeling – if any track of Shadow’s is worthy of the label ‘prog hop’ then this one is it, Sublime, switching time signatures, mood building, he’s never bettered this.

Dick Hyman & Mary Mayo – Moon Gas – I searched high and low for this after reading Mike D rhapsodise over it in Grand Royal, it didn’t disappoint, a very unique record.

Boards of Canada – Skam EP – Beautiful and otherworldly, another record beamed in fully formed from somewhere else yet seemingly familiar.

Cut Chemist – Lesson 6 – the only other Lesson that measures up to the original three

Evolution Control Committee – The Whipped Cream Mixes – the origins of what we now know as the mash up, a complete comedy record from start to finish as all the best ones are.

Mr Bungle – California – stunning

Britney Spears – Toxic – a perfect pop song with a great video too

If you made it to the bottom of that I applaud you for indulging me, thanks to Steve Baker for the scan of the tape cover, possibly the first Strictly Kev mix tape? And congratulations to DK and family who had a new addition on Monday.

Posted in Event, Oddities. | 11 Comments |

Diplo – Florida (limited screenprint edition) (Big Dada)

[singlepic id=2264 w=640 h=640 float=left]
An oldie but goody for the last entry in this week-long vinyl series – Diplo’s debut (and only solo) record, the classic ‘Florida’. I’ve been pulling out all manner of releases from the Big Dada, Ninja and Ntone catalogues over the last few months as material for the on-going Ninja Tune book I’m working on and this is the very rare screen printed cover edition.
[singlepic id=2265 w=320 h=240 float=left] [singlepic id=2270 w=320 h=240 float=left]

As I recall, Diplo actually wanted to have an old Frazetta image of dinosaurs on the cover but it was decided that would be too expensive to license and he found an artist to do the illustration in a similar style. Only 500 were made with hand-stamped labels and a sticker on the reverse stating the number of the edition (you can see mine is 045).

Posted in Art, Design, Music, Records. | 3 Comments |

It’s Time For – Tristram Cary (Trunk)

Tris Cary cover
Possibly one of the covers of the year – how beautiful is that? The usual high stand of Trunk is in full force, unearthing still more treasure from the seemingly endless supply of forgotten British composers. Tristram Cary’s name was familiar to me but I didn’t have any of his work until this record and it’s a mixed bag of music concrete, electronics and found sound.
Tris Cary back cover detailTris Cary cover detail
His repertoire spanned music for Expo fairs, public service films, soundtrack work and even commissions for Olivetti. The LP has just been repressed on clear vinyl due to popular demand – be quick! The CD also contains many more tracks, damn you Jonny Trunk! I had to buy two copies of the vinyl AND the CD on top. More info from Trunk here and the Quietus did a great piece the other day too.

Posted in Design, Music, Records. | 2 Comments |

2econd Class Citizen – Divided Reality (Equinox)

[singlepic id=2260 w=640 h=640 float=left]

This is the most gorgeous smelling record I own. i don’t know what they put in the ink they printed this with but it smells like sickly sweets to me. This is a (very) limited repress – only 30 copies – of Aaron Thomason, aka 2econd Class Citizen‘s first release, a four track white label made back in 2005. Half the EP bears the sort of style you’d expect from him today albeit in a more primitive form, the song ‘Wishing Well’ was later reworked for his ‘Wyred Folk’ EP. The other half of the EP is more of a surprise, a couple of tracks that definitely sound of their time and show a different path that Aaron could have taken.

[singlepic id=2258 w=375 h=283 float=left] [singlepic id=2263 w=320 h=280 float=left]


The sleeve is a wrapround piece of heavy card, screenprinted and designed to look like a private press release with minimal layout by Gunter, the label head at ever excellent Equinox records. Each one has been signed and numbered by Aaron and it’s all housed in a plastic sleeve. I think there are a few copies left if you contact Aaron or Gunter at Equinox but if not then you can still buy the mp3s.

[singlepic id=2261 w=320 h=230 float=left] [singlepic id=2262 w=320 h=230 float=right]

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