MEGADETH!

One my oldest friends, Steven Baker, found this in a box of stuff this week. I painted it for another friend, Cliff Purtell, back in 1988 I think, maybe later, I don’t really remember. He was going to Donnington (the rock festival) and wanted to show his appreciation of the band. I can’t quite remember how long it took but it was somewhere in the region of 2 weeks I think due to the fact that a lot of it was painted with modeling paints watered down, you know, the tiny pots you can buy to paint up Airfix kits and the like. We didn’t have money for proper paints and figured that these wouldn’t run if the weather was wet. We also only had an old tablecloth or bed sheet to paint it on as you can see from the not-quite-finished-yet bottom corner.

Megadeth banner

Anyway, I would troop round to Cliff’s place each morning (it was the summer holidays) and he would furnish me with tea and biscuits all day and blast out heavy metal. This was my introduction to thrash metal primarily although I think I bought a fair bit of LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy with me to even things out. Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth (obviously), Slayer, G.W.A.R. probably a lot more that didn’t stick too, all were played on repeat throughout the making of this banner, a tiny picture of which ended up in Kerrang the week after the festival. Cliff swore that, during their set, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth quipped, “You’ve got some fucking nice banners out there”.

Posted in Art, Oddities. | 2 Comments |

Art Of Noise and Propaganda reissues

AON Influence coverPropaganda outside +

These were out last week, Propaganda’s classic ‘A Secret Wish’ is now remastered and expanded to 2 CDs with plenty of rare and unheard gems. The Art of Noise get a double CD set too with a great compilation of both ZTT and China-era tracks on disc 1 and remixes, rareties and unreleased cuts on disc 2.

One of these is the ‘Anne to Tears’ version of Moments in Love that I photographed when I visited the ZTT vault last year and props to Ian Peel for doing a sterling job on curating both releases. Also a tip of the hat to Philip Marshall for his excellent design skills, keenly referencing the artwork by XL and the London Design Partnership from the originals – reissues don’t get much better than this.  Even more of a joy for me is a mention of my ‘Raiding The 20th Century’ mix with Paul Morley in the sleeve notes of the Influence booklet :) Well I did steal it from Paul after he stole it from the Situationists. Buy them both from here

AON Raiding sleevenote

Posted in Design, Music. | 2 Comments |

Pepe Deluxe – Queen of the Wave

Front New crop

This record is (will be) incredible. Pepe Deluxe‘s next album is called ‘Queen of the Wave’ and it expands on territory they explored on ‘Spare Time Machine’ and goes even deeper. If you like concept albums with a Rock/Prog/Baroque/Surf/Pop/Soundtrack/Psyche/Folk bent then this is for you and I’ll bet it’ll be one of the only records to cram all this and so much more in. Pepe (Jari and Paul) have assembled a huge list of both musicians and instruments on this (all too short at under an hour) pop opera including The Great Stalacpipe Organ (apparently).

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to hear the album in various stages as it has unfolded over the past two years and last week received a near complete version along with graphics and sleeve notes which doesn’t disappoint. It’s a complete trip from beginning to end, bursting with detail and unashamed pop songs that will have you humming them absent-mindedly whilst wondering where you heard them. I’m really looking forward to this release, hopefully this year, definitely one for the end of year polls.

While we all wait I’ve dug out an old Solid Steel mix from August 2007 with my Pepe Deluxe ‘Go For Blue Suite’ in it. The mix starts off with some Dragons-related surf psyche, skips into a trio of Pinball Number Count cover versions and then onto a montage of various remixes of Pepe’s ‘Go For Blue’ and various colour-themed classics. Remixes by Viva Voce, Optimo and Lost Idol collide with Blue Monday, Mellow Yellow, Purple Haze and more with plenty of Ken Nordine’s ‘Colours’ thrown in for good measure.
Solid Steel inc. Pepe Deluxe vs DJ Food ‘Go For Blue Suite’ 21.09.07 by DJ Food

Posted in Music, Records. | 2 Comments |

Promo picture

XX Promo CDs

Ninja Tune XX 4xCD promos are in – all watermarked and going out to specific people, even I don’t have one! This is roughly half of what people who buy the box set will get, music-wise. The box is in production as we speak and Ninja are going to release several 12″s off the back of it plus a DVD.

Exclusive box set 12″s (only buyers of box set can get these – the individual code in each box must be given to get them – free! That’s right, free)
a. Pop Levi ‘Blue Honey’ (A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Mix by The Amorphous Androgynous – full 16 and a half minute version)
b. Coldcut ‘More Beats & Pieces’ (United States Of Audio Remix), Flanger ‘Psy Sound’

a. Roots Manuva ‘Witness (Modeselektor Remix)’, Coldcut ‘True Skool’ (Zomby Remix), Stateless ‘Ariel’ (Rustie’s Pentagram Remake)
b. DJ Food ‘Dark Lady’ (Alix Perez Remix), The Herbaliser ‘Something Wicked’ (Roots Manuva Dub)

12″s for General Sale
a. Two Fingers ‘Fools Rhythm’, Zomby ‘The Forest’,
b. Toddla T & Ms Dynamite “Want U Now’, Diplo ‘Summers Gonna Hurt You (2010 Remix)’

a. The Bug ‘Tune In’ (Version), Poirier ‘Get Crazy’ (Mark Pritchard Vocal)
b. Dj Vadim ‘The Terrorist’ (Gaslamp Computer Killer Remix), Coldcut ‘This Island Earth’ (Joe Goddard Remix)

a. Amon Tobin ‘Lost & Found’, Amon Tobin ‘Foley Versions’ (Kronos Quartet Interpretation)
b. Roots Manuva ‘Dub Styes’ (Michachu Remix), DELS ‘Eating Clouds’

a. Spank Rock ‘Tell Me What It Look Like’ (Todd Edwards Remix), Fink ‘Pretty Little Thing’ (EL-B’s Digital Remix)
b. Dark Sky – Leave, Shuttle – Lion

All in individual XX house bags – there will also be one more special 12” doing the rounds with a couple of mixes of a Ninja classic on either side…

To Kill A Mockingbird – New US 50th Anniversary cover

Mockingbird_Final

There’s a lot of talk about Harper Lee’s classic at the moment being that it’s 50 years since its original publication and I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and declare my love for it. I read this in school and it was probably the first ‘proper’ book to affect me, even though I haven’t read it for 25 years or more I can still remember passages of the book and being enthralled by it.

The reason for this post though is that my friend Sarah ‘Inkymole’ Coleman was asked to illustrate the cover for the American 50th anniversary edition I just found out. Being that it is one of her favourite books, this is a lifetime dream and I was really pleased for her when I found out. Even more impressed when I saw what she’s come up with for it, love the detail of the hole in the tree trunk where Boo Radley leaves his gifts on the spine. More info with work in progress on Sarah’s site and you can buy the book from Barnes and Noble as well. I’ve included a selection of other covers from across the years too.

killamockingbird covers

Posted in Art, Books, Design. | 3 Comments |

On Some Faraway Beach – David Sheppard

I can recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in Brian Eno although there are plenty of insights into many of his associates over the years too – Fripp, Bryars, Cale, Ferry, Bowie, Byrne – they’re all here. The bulk of the book concentrates on the 70’s and the research is impeccable. It’s no rose-tinted ride either, there’s dirt amongst the many platitudes despite this being 100% Eno sanctioned which is refreshing. Occasionally it does seem that he can do no wrong and this isn’t all the writer’s imagination as the hit factor on projects and records involving ‘The Captain’ is remarkably high when you collect them all together. Amongst the reams of info in the book I was surprised to learn that Brian doesn’t drive and that, when he first moved to London in the sixties, he lived about a 5 minute walk away from where I currently live.

Eno

My only criticism of the book is that the ending  feels rushed and lapses into ‘list-mania’ seemingly trying to cram everything Eno has done into a rapidly dwindling page count. We spend 360 odd pages idling through the sixties and seventies up until 1984 and a phone call from U2 and then it’s a headlong dash through the next two decades in less than 100 pages. True that the meat and the more interesting material has been well documented and most fans will want his early career explored to it’s fullest – and they won’t be disappointed – but after the expert job done with the first half the end leaves you feeling frustrated.

Saying that it’s only about one fifth of the book and the other four are a gripping read, you really wonder how he managed to fit so much in and be so on top of the game for so long. All his major releases and collaborations are explored in detail with plenty of archive interview material interspersed with modern day recollections from friends and family past and present. The dilemma-solving Oblique Strategies are present throughout and I have one of my own which I keep in mind whenever I get stuck on something – “What would Eno do?”

My Funky Eno mix “More Volts” is also still up on the downloads page if you haven’t heard it.

Posted in Books, Music. | No Comments | Tags:

The Light Surgeons – LDN 24

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”320″]http://www.vimeo.com/13009495[/vimeo]

If you’re in London, around the Barbican, you can witness 24 hours in the life of the city in 30 minutes. The Light Surgeons have produced an installation of visuals and rolling statistics about the city around a 360 degree LED curtain installed in the Museum of London’s benugo Sackler Hall café. This short film of the installation shows it in situ but you really have to see it in the flesh so to speak, there are some simply breathtaking shots from all over, at all times of the day as the film begins and ends at midnight, speeding through an average day in half an hour.

I have to declare an interest at this point as my better half worked on this as Producer but I’d be posting this regardless as I view the Surgeons as one of the few film makers who have transcended their beginnings as club visual specialists (sorry, I can’t say VJs, they’d kill me). They have a unique sense of space and composition which can bring out beauty in the most mundane objects and situations, coupled with a great ear for the perfect soundtrack, often composing it themselves.

The Museum has just reopened it’s doors after a major refit and it’s no longer the stuffy place of old, the items they have on show are many and span centuries of London’s history right up the present day. Have look if you’re in the area and then grab a drink and relax whilst the Surgeons’ installation speeds you through a day in the life of the Big Smoke.

Posted in Design, Event, Film. | No Comments |

Spiderman meets Dr. Strange by Brendan McCarthy

[singlepic id=2289 w=640 h=480 float=left]

Just finished reading this short, 3 part series where everyone’s favourite wall crawler teams up with Dr. Strange in a story called ‘Fever’. I’m not a big superhero comics fan, Superman, Batman, X-Men etc. don’t do much for me. I generally prefer the more leftfield end of things, in fact I think this is the first Spiderman comic I’ve ever bought outside of the watered down kind for my boys. So, why the special occasion? Brendan McCarthy. One of the demi-gods of UK comic book art, 2000ad veteran and, in the last 2 decades, storyboardist and character designer to Hollywood.

I’ll buy pretty much anything with Brendan’s name on it as he’s a unique talent, rarely repeats himself but has a visual language all of his own. Sometimes copied – Jamie Hewlett’s early work owes much to McCarthy – but never bettered, he is one of the few comic book artists who can portray psychedelia effectively on the printed page, Savage Pencil being another example. He mainly left comics behind after getting his foot in the movie making door and who can blame him, I’m sure the pay is better. But recently he’s been active again here and there and this Marvel Team Up is his first major comic book for some time.

This time round he’s writing as well as illustrating too and seems to have been given quite free reign with the character, something he dives head on into conjuring up a Spider-themed story that incorporates magic, other dimensions, soul-snatching and even references Spidey’s origins quite neatly. It all serves to provide material for a great big acid trip of a story with nods to Steve Dikto and a thinly veiled Alistair Crowley. If you like your comics dark, camp and sporting all the colours of the spectrum then this is for you. In fact one of my only criticisms (aside from the shortness of it all) is the colouring ,which has been done via computer. Some of it works but, knowing McCarthy’s painted work from the past, there’s something lacking in some of the pages. Also for some reason, I’m guessing meddlesome middle management, the covers are pretty awful, really badly laid out with muddy colours which is a shame as his work is usually so bright and bold.

[singlepic id=2287 w=500 h=400 float=left] [singlepic id=2288 w=500 h=400 float=left]

Posted in Art, Comics. | 4 Comments |

Aupheus – Excavated EP

Aupheus 7" packageAupheus stamp detailAupheus paper

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, Aupheus’ Excavated 7″ arrived the other week and a beautiful thing to behold it is. The cover comes on papyrus paper which is then hand stamped and stickered! The release showcases edits of two tracks from the full download EP, a code for which is contained in the 7″ –  available from 2600 Recordings now but hurry, only 250 were made (assembled by Aupheus himself no less). The music is downtempo, atmospheric, leaning heavily in the older realms of DJ Shadow’s work, Sixtoo and DJ Signify and very good too.

There’s a great little trailer for the EP here too

Posted in Design, Music, Records. | No Comments |

DJ Shadow Remix Project teaser

Remix Project Teaser-CD Coming Soon! by djshadow
Interesting selection of snippets from an up-coming CD of fan made remix of DJ Shadow’s work just posted on Soundcloud. I was lucky enough to score the full version of the DJ GodBeing mix of Scatter Brain some months back and have been playing it out in sets since. Also, Bristol’s Awkward has done a heavy mix of Blackalicous’ ‘Halfway Home’ which stretches out and improves the original. More details on Shadow’s site soon…

Posted in Music. | No Comments |

Ninja Tune XX box set tracklist announced

Full boxset mock up 1

This has been consuming my time for the last 6 to 8 months – mainly the book but recently the box set and all its contents.

The set includes 3 hardback books: one is an exclusive hardback edition of the forthcoming Ninja Tune – 20 Years of Beats & Pieces book by Stevie Chick, published by Black Dog Publishing and designed by yours truly.

The second houses 6 CDs – 2 of them only available in this set, with 90% new and exclusive material specially made for this compilation. There is also a large format 24 pg booklet with a download code for a 7th CD’s worth of material (I can’t say what it is yet but it’s excellent).

The third book contains six 7″ singles with exclusive material not on the CDs, two posters – a Ninja family tree by Nigel Peake and a complete cover gallery by me – and 20 stickers. All this is housed in a heavy slipcase with foil blocking.

Go to the Ninjashop to pre-order at a limited cheaper price until July 8th and see the full tracklist. I’m pretty excited to hear these:

Big Dada Sound ‘Signs’ *

Eric B & Rakim ‘Paid In Full’ (Switch meets Coldcut Remix) *

Diplo ‘Summers Gonna Hurt You’ (Diplo 2010 Remix) *

Quincy & Xen Cuts Allstars ‘I Hear The Drummer’ (Tunng edit) *

DJ Vadim ‘Terrorist’ (Gaslamp Computer Killer Remix) *

Roots Manuva ‘Witness’ (Slugabed Remix) *

The Bug ‘Skeng’ (Autechre Remix) *

King Cannibal ‘The Grind & Crawl’ *

Coldcut ‘Autumn Leaves’ (2010 Budapest Mix) *

Coldcut ‘True Skool’ (Zomby Remix) *

Clifford Gilberto ‘Deliver The Weird’ (Dorian Concept Remix) *

The Bug ‘Poison Dart’ (Prefuse 73 Broke Moog Version) *

Roots Manuva ‘Witness’ (Modeselektor Remix) *

Roots Manuva ‘Join The Dots’ (Cut Chemist Remix) *

Kid Koala ‘3 Bit Blues’ *

Pop Levi ‘Blue Honey’ (Amorphous Androgenous Remix Edit) *

Coldcut & Hexstatic ‘Timber’ (The Orb Remix) *

DJ Kentaro ‘Paid In Full’ *

DJ Food ‘African Rhythms’ (Tom Middleton Remix) *

DJ Food ‘Dark Lady’ (808 State Remix) *

Herbaliser ‘Something Wicked’ (Roots Manuva Dub)

      Two Fingers ‘Bad Girl’ (The Bug Dub) *

      DJ Vadim ‘Bang it Out’ *

      Wagon Christ ‘Sloth Gets Paid’ *