RIP Talcy Malcy

A sad loss, one of a kind for sure, the Sex Pistols – whatever. For me it was all about the Duck Rock LP. I wrote this for Wax Poetics #19 back in 2006 for my top ten all time greatest cut and paste records:

Malcolm McLaren “Duck Rock” (Charisma) 1983

More a collage of cultures than literal cut and paste—this is generally considered to be the record that brought hip-hop to the U.K. The rulebook was still being written and McLaren stuck his head in the door, staged a smash and grab and headed off to Africa via Cuba, Columbia and Tennessee with the words “Zulu Nation” ringing in his ears. He got pretty lucky with his big steal too—breaking by the Rock Steady Crew, art by Keith Haring and Dondi White, vocals by the Ebonettes, all dressed up back in London by Vivienne Westwood. Luckiest of all he got Trevor Horn to put it all together before he rocketed to super producer status with Yes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Grace Jones. After liberally sampling everything, McLaren left it to Horn and his team to work out which way up the map went before returning to take all the credit.

This is McLaren’s strength, he’s a great A&R man and he was in several right places at the same time. He’s not an artist (Horn described working with him as like “knitting with fog”) he’s an ideas man and a publicist, this time with himself as the star. It always seemed a little weird to me at the time to see McLaren fronting this lot with his ginger curls and pasty complexion, he couldn’t have been further removed from the players and performers surrounding him. The whole thing had the air of someone’s dad trying to be ‘down with the kids’ because everyone knew of his past dealings in the Punk and New Romantic scenes. Even back then people were asking what bandwagon Malcolm was jumping on this time.

This is a record much like “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, one that exists in it’s own bubble; white, middle class Brits trying to adapt black traditional and homemade culture into pop music, of sorts, just don’t call it ‘World Music’. What they came up with is a gigantic, mutant version of the reality they sampled, rearing it’s head up into the charts, that could only exist for a very short while before all it’s constituent parts crashed to the ground and scuttled off in their own directions. This is more than a super group combining their talents, more like a super nation all finding themselves at the same party and staying just long enough to make something unique and never to be repeated.

McLaren 650

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The Simonsound – LP and Solid Steel mixes on the way…

I’ve been raving about this LP from the Simonsound – aka Matt Ford (DJ Format) and Simon James – for a while now, and a test pressing dropped through the door last week. It’s a fantastic mix of moog funk, radiophonic workshop atmospherics and downtempo soundtrack beats with a smattering of vocals. First Word have picked it up for release after two 7″ singles appeared on the duo’s Project Bluebook label covering Kraftwerk’s ‘Tour De France‘ and Jimmy Casto Bunch’s ‘It’s Just Begun’ to brilliant effect, backed by their own compositions.

The good news is that the LP will be out on May 10th and the even better news is that we will have an exclusive hour long mix from them on Solid Steel on the 14th. Even better news is that they have not only done a mix but have put together an hour long video podcast as well!!! We’ll be hosting both and word is that DJ Spinna and Gilles Peterson have been digging it too…


Posted in Music, Records, Solid Steel. | 3 Comments |

I Love Acid Blech set

I played a special Blech set at I Love Acid on Saturday at Ginglik, under Shepherd’s Bush Green. It was an amalgam of the two mixes I did for Warp records’ 20th anniversary that you can hear on my Soundcloud page.

Photographer Martin LeSanto-Smith took some excellent photos with a promo Aphex mask I took down, one of my favourite nights out in London, even though the tube had shut down that weekend.

AFX collage

AFX Kev 650warp backAll photographs are property of and copyright to Martin LeSanto-Smith and not to be reproduced without permission.All Rights Reserved. Contact:- Tel: 07779 234104 or email:- toastyoneuk[at]

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs. | No Comments |

There was an old lady…

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Max in boat 650

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Bought this book for my boys yesterday (I’m a sucker for beautifully designed childrens books) Such a unique way of presenting the old tale and at the end her eyes close after she eats the horse. We also have another version by Jan Pienkowski (who did Meg & Mog and the classic Haunted House pop up book) in which she turns into a ghost on the last page!

This book though is illustrated by Jeremy Holmes and available from Chronicle Books from San Francisco, presumable available online but I got mine from Tales on Moon Lane in Herne Hill who have re-installed part of my Where the Wild Things Are Window display.

Posted in Books, Design, Oddities. | No Comments |

Ah yeah…

I was in the Ninja office today, sifting through boxes of press archive, found some amazing things, hilarious photos of old and some situations I don’t even remember. Lots of weird and wonderful people have passed through Ninja over the years and there are a lot of memories attached to it for me. I’m currently deep into the design and ongoing picture research for the Ninja Tune book which will be published this summer by Black Dog Publishing.

It’s a gargantuan project and one that we are not taking lightly – don’t expect the usual spread of press shots you’ve all seen before, we’re digging deep for lots of unseen material and it turns up in the most unlikely places. There’s no way it will all make it into the book but I promise to share some of the bits and pieces that don’t make it at a later date via this blog.

Also, these turned up today… :) Better res than Vimeo, I promise.
L&L DVD 650

Psychedelic Pink

A current big hit in our household are the Pink Panther cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s with variations on Henry Mancini’s excellent theme to by Walter Greene to accompany them. One of my favourite episodes is this tripped out classic from 1968, the Panther goes into a weird bookshop and strange things start to happen. The background designs by Tom O’Loughlin are sublime and show a rare glimpse of the times in a chidren’s cartoon. See the gallery above for more shots…

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Posted in Design, Film, Oddities. | 1 Comment |

Something In The Water

These two CDs landed on the doormat within a week of each other, both originating from Brighton and both featuring the sea as cover star. The contents aren’t a millions miles away from each other either, beautiful ambience and laid back electronica being the order of the day, a perfect soundtrack to the current weather and late night work sessions.

Lost Idol‘s second album – ‘Brave The Elements’, out soon on Cookshop – is perhaps the most varied of the two, featuring vocals on some tracks, a distinct nod to Boards of Canada here and there and a full tip of the hat to Kraftwerk on the excellent opener ‘Lightwerk’.

Lost Idol / Nest

Nest’s ‘Retold‘ – on the Serein label – is partly made up of the duo’s self-titled EP from 3 years ago but bolstered up into an album by five new tracks. All mine a similar vein to the Eno and Cluster school of ambience. Mostly beatless it takes in drones, piano, strings and odd percussion to create spaces filled with calm and beauty without ever resorting to the tweeness that some ambient music seems to come ingrained with. The new tracks are even stronger than the EP in my opinion, looking forward to more from these guys.

Thanks to James at Cookshop and Rob at Multilink for the CDs.

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7 Up

This arrived this morning, most won’t know or care what it is but for those who do and are expecting a similar package it’s the end of months of waiting and speculation.

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Another Ashley Wood/3A toy production, pre-sold with a few prototype shots last Autumn to a rabid fanbase – seven 1/12 scale Bertie droids and their Square companions – all in packaging that won’t have you throwing the box away and not half the price you’d think.

Proper pics of the actual bots soon…

Posted in Design, Robots, Toys. | 1 Comment |

Solid Steel, Soundcloud and the Funky Eno

Solid Soundcloud
More Volts: The Funky Eno by DJ Food


We’ve finally knocked the streaming problems that have plagued the Solid Steel site on the head and embedded file playable from Soundcloud directly into the page.

I’ve also got a mix up in the second hour this week called More Volts: The Funky Eno’ – an hour long trip through the funked-up side of Brian’s output since the 70’s. Expect David Bryne, nonsense verse, Talking Heads, The Grid and a whole lot of slap bass.

Edward Willliams’ Life On Earth soundtrack


I only got this last week, a shameful admission as I’m usually first in line with my tenner when the Trunk mailout pops in the In Box, and yes I have done the funny drawings Jonny asks for too. Had I bought it when it was released though then it would have instantly made my best of 2009 list – what a soundtrack! A mixture of classical wind and strings sections with occasional gamelan-like percussion and electronics. One track even has snatches of David Attenborough’s narration dubbed into it with full echo, was that in the series?

Best of all it invoked one of my favourite sensations upon first listen, something I only experience on rare occasions and frustratingly fleeting at that. The sense of a door in my childhood that has been locked for decades suddenly being opened again, remembering something entirely forgotten but has been sitting patiently for the right code to active it again.

That code was the rising crescendo of notes that finish the ‘theme’ to Life On Earth, music I haven’t heard for 30 years but that is still etched into my memory. As soon as I heard them I was transported back to being a 9 year old, getting ready for bed on a (Sunday?) evening as the closing credits of the series faded. I didn’t watch it, I was more interested in Star Wars and life in outer space than watching life on this planet, but my parents obviously did and something must have stuck. So, thankyou Jonny Trunk for releasing it (and sending me one of your remaining copies too), it really made my day.

You can read more here and listen and buy the CD here

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