Mixcloud Select 45: Strictly Solid Steel Pt.2 19/10/97

MS46 tapeHere’s the second of two parts from late 1997. I don’t think I’ve heard this since it was broadcast, pretty sure this is taped from the radio broadcast as it has that lovely KISS FM compression across it and part of an ad at the end. This was my second set from the first hour of the show with PC providing the second hour.

A Reminiscent Drive made some lovely ambient / classical records on F Comm, more Plaid, Stereolab from career high ‘Dots & Loops’, oh how spoilt were we back then. No idea why I thought MC Shan would work after them but it just about does, crazy to think there’s now a documentary about this song. Wonderful Quincy Jones from his ‘Guala Matari’ LP into a way more funky, out there Hot Butter album cut than I remember, must dig that out again, it’s not all about ‘Popcorn’. Ending with Billy Cobham and ‘Storm’, part of a 4 section ‘sound portrait’ called ’Spanish Moss’ from ‘Crosswinds’, one of his increasingly electronic 70s LPs.

Track list:
A Reminiscent Drive – Footprints
Plaid – Rakimou
Stereolab – Refractions in the Plastic Pulse
MC Shan – The Bridge
Quincy Jones – Hummin’
Hot Butter – Space Walk
Billy Cobham – Storm

Under The Covers 001: Sleevenote interview

Openmind selectionI did a very enjoyable interview with Tom Vek from Sleevenote about design for music past and present with an emphasis on my work for Ninja Tune and how things have changed in the digital age. It’s the first in what will be a series of interviews with designers and features an example of how the Sleevenote site is digitising LP artwork for the streaming generation to preserve the art of the sleeve in the age of the thumbnail.

Read the interview here and have a look at Sleevenote too, you can browse cover art and play tracks by clicking the interactive sleeves which are linked to Spotify and Apple Music, work on desktop or mobile.

Sleevenote page

Mini CDs #7: XTC – Oranges & Lemons

XTC front
This beautifully unique object is possibly the first example of a full album presented across three mini CDs, housed in a fragile cigarette-sized box. Sporting a Yellow Submarine-esque flip up cover, the discs are stacked as you see them below in tiered slots but the box is easy to crush or tear – as you can see here. I always found it odd that they did this album after two Dukes of the Stratosphear LPs but maybe they had dipped their toes in the psychedelic waters enough to put it out as XTC by this time.XTC inside
XTC 3 CDs 2 XTC back

Posted in Design, Mini CDs. | No Comments | Tags:

Food For Thought – 10 Food related records

Foodstuffs x 9

I was asked to make a list of food-related records for something back in 2009, I forget what, again, all archived on a CDR I recently found, here again just for the hell of it.

The Dragons – Food For My Soul (Ninja Tune)
This has to be top of my list because of the title, the message and the association with The Dragons that blossomed with it. If it wasn’t for licensing this track for the ‘Now, Listen Again’ mix CD then their unreleased ‘B.F.I.’ LP wouldn’t have come to light.

Dragons BFI0-10cc-life

10cc – Life Is A Minestrone (Mercury)
Until Godley & Creme left 10cc could do little wrong when it came to singles and this is one of the classics. Honourable mention should go to the duo’s later ‘Snack Attack’ from the ‘Ismism’ LP which has to be one of the greats.

Gong CamembertCookie M & TGS

Gong – Camembert Electrique (Virgin)
Maybe not their best album but great nevertheless, as well as the title it contains the track ‘Wet Cheese Delerium’.

Cookie Monster & The Girls – C Is For Cookie / If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked A Cake (Sesame Workshop/Ninja Tune)
Cookie Monster tracks are rarely about anything but food, the former was released in disco mix form by NInja, backed with my re-edit of the classic ‘Pinball Number Count’.

Pepe Deluxe - Spare Time machine00BeachBoys-TheCompleteSmileArtwork

Pepé Deluxe – Apple Thief / Salami Fever (Catskills)
Can’t decide between the two of these. ‘Apple Thief’ is from my album of 2007 – ‘Spare Time Machine’ – and is pure psyche pop beauty. ‘Salami Fever’ has been a staple of my DJ sets for many a year and is a collision of rock guitars, scratches and distorted vocoder that I never tire of.

The Beach Boys – Vegetables (Capitol)
From the Smile / Smiley Smile sessions, featuring Paul McCartney on carrot (!) Has to be on the list just to get Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys on there.

Paul's BoutiqueHot Butter Popcorn

Beastie Boys – Egg Man (Capitol)
Only a tenuous link with Food but Paul’s Boutique is one of my favourite records and mixing the themes from ‘Psycho’ with ‘Jaws’ just wouldn’t happen legally on a record any more. Also for the epic ‘B-Boy Bouillabaisse’ and they mention the next record too.

Hot Butter – Popcorn (Musicor Records)
Two food stuffs for the price of one, this evergreen novelty hit has been covered by quite a few including Aphex Twin and has to be on here to represent the Moog.

Frank Zappa – Lumpy Gravy (Bizarre)
The entire album – one of my favourite Zappa albums from his early days with the Mothers, pure madness on vinyl.

Lumpy_Gravyyou_are_what_you_eat_1

Various – You Are What You Eat OST (Columbia)
This is the soundtrack to a little known film which is full of all sorts of gems although only the title is about food. My favourite track is ‘Freakout’ by the Electric Flag and John Simon, a 10 minute jam of unparalleled insanity – you know when people describe things as ‘psychedelic’ and then you listen to them and it just sounds like some badly recorded garage band? – this track actually warrants using the P word.

 

Posted in DJ Food, Records. | No Comments |

Mixcloud Select 45: Strictly Solid Steel Pt.1 19/10/97

MS45 tape
*The date on the post is correct going by other sources, the date on the tape above is wrong, no idea why.

A shorter mix this week after last week’s hour+ special. Here’s the first of two parts from late 1997. I don’t think I’ve heard this since it was broadcast, pretty sure this is taped from the radio broadcast as it has that lovely KISS FM compression across it and part of an ad was at the end. This was my first set from the first hour of the show with PC providing the second hour.

Kicking off with Skylab, the great Mat Ducasse / Major Force West collaboration from a clear 7” on Eye Q Records – I loved everything Mat did with his Skylab project and told him so when we met later in life. He said he was inspired by listening to Solid Steel so the circle was complete, everything is getting a reissue now so no excuse if you missed it first time round. The #1 LP and ‘Oh! Skylab’ EP are essential and this track comes from the #2 LP era https://skylab.bandcamp.com/

Brandi Ifgray made the ‘Le Mutant’ LP on Puu, an offshoot of Finnish label Sahko Recordings, home of Jimi Tenor, Metri, Pansonic and more. The next three tracks I barely remember but Plaid’s ‘Not For Threes’ LP was obviously new around this time. I always felt Laika could have gone the same way as Broadcast as this is from a pretty experimental 12” with Cabbage Boy (Si Begg) and Luke Vibert among the featured remixers.

Juryman (Ian Simmonds) and Spacer (Luke Gordon) were always excellent both recording together or apart and this comes from the one collaborative LP they made. That V/Vm track? I think it may have been from the Skam Records ‘0161′ compilation? New Flesh on Big Dada, early on when Part 2 still rapped and they hadn’t dropped the ‘4 Old’ from their name, really bold UK hip hop, full of ideas.

Part 2 next week!

Track list:
Skylab – Bite This!
Brandi Ifgray – Bumble Bee
Plaid – Extork
Laika – Shut Off/Curl Up (Cabbage Boy remix)
Juryman vs Spacer – Personnel Wanted
V/Vm – Asymetric
New Flesh 4 Old – Electronic Bombardment

Resonance FM fundraiser 2021

TNO StarburstIt’s that time of year again for the Resonance FM fundraiser, this independent radio station relies on donations to keep the lights on and having just had to relocate after what seems like years of waiting, they need it more than ever. They’re not doing the usual eBay auctions this year so Robin the Fog has taken it upon himself to put three special records up there with a little help from the Castles in Space label.
I’d like to bring your attention to a ‘Starburst’ edition of our The New Obsolescents LP, officially released today but totally sold out, this one was held back for just this occasion. Bid on this here

If you want to hear what it sounds like and maybe buy a digital copy then head to Bandcamp

HWLRD cover

Also a secret 31st edition of Robin’s last Bandcamp Friday Howlround lathe cut 7″ EP ‘Rec & Ruin’ – again, made specially. Go here to bid
HWLRND labelHWLRND back

Also available is a full package of CiS goodies in the form of Field Lines Cartographer‘s recent ‘Leaving In Storms’ 7″ test pressing with all the trimmings. Bids away!  All proceeds go towards Resonance FM

OriginalPhoto-632998857.178352

And if you have these already or they’re just not your bag but you want to help the station out then you can donate here  https://resonancefm.com/donate

 

Mini CDs #6: The The – Gravitate To Me

Gravitate frontThe post-Mind Bomb’ single, again released on multiple formats including 7″, cassette, two 12″s and another 12″ box set with photos, postcard and stencil, it also came as a 3″ CD in downscaled fold out card sleeve with pocket for the disc. It’s horribly fragile, isn’t easy to keep in good shape 30 years on and hasn’t any exclusive material. I’m not sure whether the German stamp on the inner cover is the previous owner’s or a shop address.

Gravitate openGravitate insideGravitate back

The 90s comics bubble bursts

Speakeasy cover

I recently ran across this issue of Speakeasy from 1991 – a once monthly UK publication, part-comics news and interviews, part-comic shorts – and wondered if this was the peak of the late 80s / early 90s independent comic boom? Looking at the people featured in that issue alone it’s an embarrassment of riches: Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, Brian Bolland, Daniel Clowes and Simon Bisley just on the cover alone. Any two or three of those would have seen me picking up the issue and the Bisley cover has him at the height of his painterly powers.

Speakeasy Biz

Bisley had done Slaine: The Horned God and was in the middle of the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover Judgement on Gotham and Morrison had just finished Doom Patrol and was handing over his Drivel column to Warren Ellis. Clowes was some issues into his Eightball run and McKean was doing Sandman covers and publishing Cages, his 12 issue square format reimagining of what comics could be. Bolland had long gone over to the US to do The Killing Joke and front cover work for numerous lines but that’s not all. Also featured are interviews with Harvey Pekar on his American Splendor collection and words and pictures from Shaky Kane. That’s a pretty great collection of talent.

Speakeasy Bolland

Top news stories are the Infinity Gauntlet saga in the Marvel universe, a Batman vs Predator team up with Dark Horse rolling out the first of their licensed Aliens, Predator and Terminator comics. Kevin Eastman’s recently-founded Tundra is still spilling out titles, early attempts to sell Manga to the West in the shape of Otomo’s Akira are reviewed and Pete Bagge is getting into his stride with Hate. Mike McMahon‘s The Last American was also mentioned and the now-classic America story had run in the Judge Dredd Megazine. So many books and stories that would go on to become classics.

Speakeasy InfinitySpeakeasy Clowes

On the shelves there was much from the Brits to pry the money out of a fanboy’s grubby hand but the ever-present 2000AD was looking a bit outdated in its teenage years and about to slip into a creative quagmire for much of the 90s. In competition there was the aforementioned Judge Dredd Megazine, Deadline in full flow with Tank Girl et al, Crisis was wobbling through some content troubles and Toxic had just been launched in the anarchic spirit of ’77 by some of 2000AD’s originators. Viz was at the height of its popularity, selling over a million copies an issue and anthologies like A1 and the Marvel UK reprint title, Strip were around too. And this is before your forked out for any of the American imports…

Speakeasy Morrison

The first cracks had begun to show with the cancellation of hugely hyped Revolver the previous year after only 7 issues and with the next issue of Speakeasy the magazine was about to evolve into a full comic of its own under the name of Blast! As great as this was it would also only last 7 issues (with Speakeasy as an insert for just 5) before being cancelled and, as with Revolver the year before, it seemed that this was the last big attempt to launch a new title into an already oversaturated marketplace. One high profile failure was bad but two in the space of a year seemed to ring the alarm bells that maybe buyers couldn’t sustain this much content. Incidentally, 2000AD would also try to launch another comic (twice) in 1992 – Earthside 8 which had then morphed into Alternity – neither of which made it past the mock up stage to the shop shelves.

Speakeasy Pekar

By the end of the year both Toxic and Crisis had also folded with Deadline ending a few years later in 1995 after blazing its way through the comics boom and hitching itself to the Britpop movement, even helping birth a Hollywood film of their lead character, Tank Girl. They had a good run and over in the US things faired a bit better with Dark Horse and Image building into hugely successful publishing houses and DC’s Vertigo imprint starting in 1993 and operating for 27 years. The biggest casualty at the time was probably Kevin Eastman’s Tundra operation, set up as a creator-owned imprint with the profits from his and Peter Laird‘s Ninja Turtles, it closed in 1993, never making a profit and costing Eastman a reputed $14 million.

Speakeasy Shaky

The house of Tharg ultimately survived everyone, 2000AD is into its 44th year, struggled through its adolescence and has been in a second golden age for nearly 20 years now after a threadbare 90s patch. The Megazine mutated through several different formats and weathered their own Hollywood flop in the shape of the Judge Dredd film starring Stallone before finding their feet and are still on top form 30 years later.

Speakeasy Blast

Posted in Comics. | 3 Comments | Tags: ,

The Making of Christmas Rappin’

Kurtis Blow cover

Noah Uman‘s Music Archives Ltd Instagram is a treasure trove of hip hop memorabilia and he’s expanded into the real world with a small A5 sized booklet, written by Bill Adler, about the making of Kurtis Blow‘s rap classic, ‘Christmas Rappin’. The story of what was essentially seen as a novelty record is fascinating and you realise what a groundbreaking record it was. The booklet is full of flyers, live photos and more and breaks down the circumstances behind how it was recorded, signed and promoted. You can find copies here and it comes with two badges.

Kurtis Blow 1 Kurtis Blow 2 Kurtis Blow 3 Kurtis Blow 4 Kurtis Blow 5 Kurtis Blow 6 Kurtis Blow 7

Buro Destruct 4 book kickstarter

Buro-Destruct-4-00_GIF
Those lovely guys from Buro Destruct in Bern, Switzerland have just launched a kickstarter for their 4th collection of design work (see excerpts above and below). I first became aware of them in the mid 90’s when we started touring Europe and when we played at the Reitschule in Bern the flyers and posters plastered over the walls were of a higher standard than normal. This was in large due to Buro Destruct who provided a lot of the work and it didn’t take longer for their work to feature in magazines and books of the time as well as their own publications collecting the work.
They’re now onto the 4th volume, featuring 12 years of work (volume 3 was back in 2009) including unused work, intermediate steps and experiments along the way. The softcover book will be 256 pages long and you can support the kickstarter here although only 5 of the early bird discounted price copies are left as I write this.

Buro-Destruct-4-08 Buro-Destruct-4-10 Buro-Destruct-4-11 Buro-Destruct-4-12 Buro-Destruct-4-13

Mixcloud Select Exclusive 01: Lynch Party Mix 2

DJFood MSX-01In my first exclusive new mix for subscribers I’ve chosen to make something that’s been on the ‘to-do’ list for an astonishing 10 years (!) Back in June of 2011 I made an hour long mix for Solid Steel entitled Lynch Party Mix from some of the remixes of Brendan Lynch and Martin ‘Max’ Heyes aka the Lynchmob. Working together and sometimes going by Lynch Mob (but never to be confused with the rap group of the same name) they made some of the most psychedelic, dubbed out remixes and productions of the 90s. You can find that here in the second hour.

Working primarily with Paul Weller after stints around the Acid Jazz/Talkin’ Loud camps in the late 80’s/early 90s, Lynch oversaw Weller’s return to the limelight as a solo artist, working with him on the final Style Council LP, ‘Modernism’, which initially didn’t see the light of day due to record label indifference.

With Lynch as producer and Heyes as engineer they worked on Weller’s 90’s run of albums, the self-titled debut, ‘Wild Wood’, ‘Stanley Road’, ‘Heavy Soul’ and ‘Heliocentric’ plus all points in between, Lynch even co-writing on songs like The Changingman, Sunflower and Wild Wood. Where they really excelled though was in deconstructing the songs for B sides, stretching them out and using all manner of sonic tricks to twist them inside out.

The Lynch Mob Bonus Beats mix of ‘Kosmos’ is an early example and was perfectly in tune with the then current trip hop movement. Taking that style and using it on Primal Scream’s trilogy of albums, ‘XTRMNTR’, ‘Vanishing Point’ and ‘Evil Heat’ was the next step and they also worked on several of the remixes under the band’s name for the likes of Asian Dub Foundation and Massive Attack. Remixes as the Lynchmob followed for Air, ADF, Dr John, Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene with Heyes also working on a couple of tracks with Weller drummer Steve White and ex-Councillor Mick Talbot.

If the Lynch Party Mix covered the more downtempo, dubby side of their output then part 2 picks up where that left off and slowly builds in tempo to a galloping blues rock crescendo. It includes a 6 minute megamix of various versions of the aforementioned ‘Mathur’ as well as two remixes of Weller’s ‘Brushed’ only issued as a promo. The ‘Lynch Mob Bonus Beats’ and ‘Acid Dub’ mixes came from an acetate obtained from someone who worked in the industry at the time. I love the freeform nature of all these mixes, they’re full of backwards guitars, reverb-heavy drop outs and copious amounts of delay, even if it can get a bit full on at points. I can only imagine they achieved this by doing live mixes on the desk and then editing down the results to get a modern psychedelic sound without resorting to cliché. Also it’s HEAVY, they get a big, chunky sound that recalls some sort of acid trip where the music warps and moves in and out of your headspace.

*A word about the mix – there’s some extreme panning, feedback and distortion going on throughout, this is part of the original recordings and intentional, just be careful on the volume.

I’ve used dialogue from a drug information film called The Mindbenders throughout the mix to give it a running theme, it seemed appropriate and this concludes the Lynchmob mixes. I always intended to do two as I had plenty of material for them and it feels good to finally get this one down. There will periodically be more exclusives as I go through my list of themed mix ideas and tick them off, I can’t say when but this gives me a good excuse to finally get round to doing them.

Track list:
Paul Weller – Sunflower (Lynch Mob Dub)
Primal Scream – If They Move, Kill ‘Em (12” Disco Mix edit)
Asian Dub Foundation – Free Satpal Ram (Primal Scream & Brendan Lynch Mix – DJ Food Edit)
Ocean Colour Scene – Falling To The Floor / 100 Mile City
Ocean Colour Scene – July (Forza Moderna Mix)
Indian Vibes – Mathur (Discovery of India mix / Adbhuta / Extended mix / Lynch Mob beats DJ Food re-edit)
Paul Weller – So You Want to Be A Dancer
Talbot / White – Off the Beaten Track (4-1 Dub mix)
Paul Weller – Brushed (Lynch Mob Acid Dub / Lynch Mob Bonus Beats DJ Food edit) (acetate)
Primal Scream – Burning Wheel (DJ Food edit)
Ocean Colour Scene – Flood Tide Rising
Deus – Sun Ra (Lynchmob Dub)
Paul Weller – From The Floorboards Up (Lynch Mob Instrumental Remix)

Mixcloud Select Exclusive Mixes

DJFood MSX-01I’ve decided to start doing occasional exclusive mixes this year for subscribers to my Mixcloud Select channel, ticking off that to-do list of themed mixes I’ve been meaning to do forever but never got round to. We’re currently at 99 subscribers and once we hit 100 I’ll post the first of these – a follow up to the 2011 Lynch Party Mix that featured various remixes and productions by Brendan Lynch & Max Heyes aka the Lynchmob.
That means a lot of tripped out 90’s era Paul Weller, Primal Scream, Asian Dub Foundation, Ocean Colour Scene.. no, wait! come back! – these guys made them sound so good and it includes a couple of unreleased Weller remixes too.
For £3 a month you get a weekly archive Solid Steel mix or similar from my archives dating back to the early 90s, full track list, detailed notes and stories from the era. Future exclusives will include an Eno remix collection, the infamous unreleased Sesame Street ‘D Is For Dig’ compilation remastered and at least 2 more Kraftwerk Kover Kollections.
All brand new mixes will be exclusive for at least a year before being made public. Hit the purple button to subscribe, Friday 10.30am GMT is usually the drop time so, if one more person subscribes by then, the first exclusive goes up.

New King Gizzard ‘LW’ LP and single

I really don’t know how these guys do it – new video, shot and edited in 24 hrs and a new LP,  ‘LW’ out in 7 days! The single sounds like a return to ‘Polygondwandland’ mixed with a bit of the microtonality of ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ of which the previous album, ‘KW‘, was also a part 2 of. Looking at the new title and sleeve, this seems to be volume 3.

LW

I Photoshopped the two LP covers side by side (because I’m that kind of nerd)  and they match exactly.

KGLW

Posted in Music. | No Comments | Tags:

Four hour Kevin O’Neill 2000AD podcast

One of my absolute favourite British comic artists is Kevin O’Neill, co-creator of characters like Ro-busters, A.B.C Warriors, Nemesis The Warlock, Metalzoic, Marshal Law and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In this 2 part epic 4.5 hr podcast he tells of his time before, during and after 2000AD in what must be one of his most in depth interviews.

Posted in 2000ad, Art, Comics. | No Comments | Tags: ,

Lateral or Literal? The KLF Re-Enactment Society

lateral literal
The KLF have just thrown a new curveball in the shape of the KLF Re-Enactment Society and a long tract that seeks to get fans to choose sides in how they express their fandom now that the band have returned to activity.

For those who need to get up to speed; after the Welcome To The Dark Ages event in Liverpool in 2017 and the People’s Pyramid / MuMufication / Toxteth Day of the Dead project the duo largely fell silent. On January 1st this year they announced a five part streaming series starting with their best known hit singles. In tandem with the release of an altered version of their ‘Chill Out’ album earlier this month, The KLF Re-Enactment Society appeared on the web. Some fans took exception to the new version of an old classic (all the major samples had been removed and replaced) and a long response was posted on February 12th that reappraises past history and the fandom associated with the band during the last 30 years.

By recontextualising acts of fandom, tributes (the Wanda D episode in particular) and the duo’s own past actions and dividing these into lateral or literal responses they’ve invited fans to take sides in how they interact with the group and display their affection for their work. Fandom can be a Catch 22 situation with some factions clinging on to every tiny detail and connection from the past whilst anticipating unheard material or revelations to emerge to sate their thirst for the artist in question. This literal kind of adoration is usually steeped in nostalgia and the feelings they originally felt decades past, something that can never be re-enacted as the world, people and places they first transpired in have long since changed.

KLF RES

The literal fans are the historians and gatekeepers of the legacy, preserving the past where the band may not be keen to, guardians of the exhibits, ensuring the collection is complete and in the best quality possible. The literal fan is always searching for something new but complains when a reissue arrives with nothing they haven’t already seen or heard, choosing to then compare and contrast the tiniest of details between the original and new versions. Discogs comments are littered with people talking about the pressing and sound quality merits of multiple versions of the same record rather than the music.

Give the literal fan a new version of a beloved release and chances are they will also complain that the original was better / the new version is inferior / the artist has raped my childhood etc. (see Star Wars fans especially on this front). Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. What they seemingly refuse to accept is that times have changed, people with them, both the artist and the fan themselves. The feelings and shock-of-the-new that they felt the first time round just cannot be recreated but the lateral-thinking artist will try to find new ways to create those moments using the tools of today, just as they used what they had decades before.

Witness the new version of Chill Out, now retitled ‘Come Down Dawn’, shorn of Elvis, Acker Bilk, Fleetwood Mac and more – most likely due to copyright restrictions. 1990 was still open season for sampling although doors were starting to close, an underground, pre-hits, pre-internet band like The KLF could easily fly under the radar with snatches of these artists incorporated into their work. Not in 2021, with audio fingerprint algorithms detecting copyright violations upon upload to any major streaming platforms. The irony of the band’s acronym sometimes standing for Kopyright Liberation Front was not lost on some.

The lateral fan views things with fewer constraints, today’s output and movements don’t have to fit the age-old accepted narratives, concepts can be expanded, changing as the narrator has changed over time. Few of us are the angry, arrogant young people we were 30 years ago and we accept the contradictions – to use a Bill Drummond phrase. The lateral fan will take elements of the artist they admire and make their own versions, tributes, remixes, art and events, referencing with a nod and a wink to the originators, hoping to maybe attract the attention and approval of said artist in the process. The KLF have seemingly added a whole heap of these projects, tributes and re-imaginings onto the Re-Enactment Society website, acknowledging – if not always praising – these past efforts whilst throwing their own recent efforts into the same ring.

In an echo of an old K Foundation poster the duo may have thrown down the gauntlet to those unwilling to move on from the past and invited fans to ‘Divide & Kreate’ – embracing the new versions they’re carving from the old. I’m reminded of Bill’s instructions on preparing my DJ set for the closing party of Welcome To The Dark Ages at the Invisible Wind Factory

DJ Food Bill brief

Mini CDs #5: The The – The Beaten Generation

The The Beaten cover
The The‘s eagerly-awaited single, preceding their ‘Mind Bomb’ album and including the first fixed line up of a band Matt Johnson had assembled to tour with, including a certain Johnny Marr. Released on multiple formats including 7″, two 12″s and a 12″ box set with postcards and badge, it also came as a 3″ CD that downscaled the box set with fold out insert. It’s a cute little item but doesn’t have any material not on other formats and is hard to find in good shape.

The The Beaten inside 2 The The Beaten insideThe The Beaten back

The New Obsolescents LP cover process 2 – Cover assembly

TNO Printed stack

For the first part of this process and a little back story, see Part 1

TNO selection

Once Jonas Ranson at paperHAUS had screen printed each panel during the summer of 2020 it was down to me to assemble them. Each sheet was 18″ x 18″, sadly not large enough to fold round into a full LP sleeve, so each panel had to be trimmed to a 12” x 12” size and painstakingly glued to each already printed sleeve – 300 of them.

TNO cutting

I’d specified that the designs be printed dead centre of each pattern to take advantage of the symmetrical nature of the cover graphic so there were lots of offcuts (which will be used somehow on future projects).

TNO offcuts

This was all done sometime during the Autumn of 2020 in my studio while we waited for the vinyl to come back from the pressing plant. The original plan had been for Colin at Castles in Space and I to then rent a bigger space for a day and glue the foil panels to each sleeve but I quickly realised that this just wasn’t going to be possible in such a short time. The next lockdown put a stop to any thoughts of that anyway.

Eventually the vinyl turned up and Colin arrived one evening with 17 boxes of covers in the back of his car and, in a socially distanced handover, I hauled them up to my studio.

TNO plain

Just after the Xmas period, during the 3rd lockdown, I began the extremely long task of gluing a panel to each sleeve, padding every cover out with a card square then laying them between newsprint sheets to avoid anything sticking while drying. The glue would start to curl the card within about a minute as it dried and started to contract so it was imperative to press them flat under weights.

TNO sticking beginsTNO sticking 2

I could average two boxes of 17 a day in two shifts by the end; one box first thing in the morning then leave to dry. Once stuck they were inspected for marks, sleeved in PVC outers and then boxed. Clean the area, do another box before bed and leave to dry in a stack overnight. By the end I could do one box in under 50 minutes, below is the last box on the 8th or 9th day.

TNO Last boxTNO Boxes done

As a nod to the site of the original performance recordings at the Museum of London, with moon rock bean bags and a space travel theme, we decided on a silver and black hybrid moon surface effect for the vinyl. The whole process of making the sleeves probably took longer than the whole album but I couldn’t be happier with the results, I doubt it’ll see a repress in this state as I’m told the foil stocks are virtually gone now but it was worth it.

TNO Hyperspace
Hyperspace

TNO Spiral
Spiral

TNO Starburst
Starburst

TNO Cross
Cross

TNO Curls
Swirls

TNO Back

Mixcloud Select 44: Openmind Solid Steel mix 21/01/95

MS44 Openmind mix tape

I’ve been asked for more mixes from 1995 so here’s one from the start of that year that I barely remember, it’s from a show featuring PC and I, possibly Jon More also did a mix too as he’s on the mic at one point but I only have Patrick’s and my mixes. I’m not too sure where this was recorded as there are additional FX in the mix that suggest it was a studio mix outside of KISS FM and we were using Coldcut’s old studio DJ mixer with inbuilt sampler that could pitch shift samples and loops via a trigger button. You can hear me getting way too excited with it at certain points. I can’t remember if Ninja Tune was situated in Clink Street at this point but there was a point where we were doing some work out of Jon’s home studio in Herne Hill as I remember working on bits for ‘A Recipe For Disaster’ there and this may have been one of those sessions. Or it may have been in the Clink St studio as I’m sure we recorded the DJ magazine mix there and that came out late 1994 I think?

Anyway – details, how much of it really matters? There are some great tracks here that I’d forgotten and the front half is loaded with hip hop beats and scratches whilst the second half is more acid, electronic and slowed down jungle beats. There’s at least one mix that is in time but the wrong part of the bar which wrong foots you a bit from the flow of things, I would do this sometimes, get lost in rhythms and lose where the 1 was.

We kick off with a white label promo mailed out at the time with just ‘Lynch Mob Beats’ stamped on it featuring a tripped out psych guitar and FX jam that I loved and realised was the work of Brendan Lynch who went on to produce and mix for Paul Weller and Primal Scream as well as the classic Indian Vibes track, ‘Mathar‘. This was your typical major label trying to get one over on the dance DJs trick of having a white label with no info so as not to prejudice opinion. It was Lynch working over Weller as he would do repeatedly to excellent effect and I couldn’t have cared less who the original artist was but you have to remember that Weller was at a career low in the early 90s and ‘Wild Wood’ was the album that bought him back after years of critical bashing with The Style Council and his early solo work. To me, Lynch is one of the unsung producers of the early to mid 90s who had a unique sound and completely psychedelic production techniques that few else came close to. I’d love to know how he did his mixes, I’m presuming they were free form jams that were edited down later but he dubs a mix up like no other. I put a load of his mixes together 10 years back under the name Lynch Party Mix and there’s enough for a part 2 lurking on the hard drive (I must do that, maybe a subscribers exclusive).

The first of two tracks from the freshly-minted Clear label turns up in the form of Mike Paradinas’ Tusken Raiders ‘Beatnik #3’ and then into Gunshot and a trio of Jazzy Jeff scratch tracks where I get way too excited with the sampler. Jon had hipped me to Trouble Funk’s ‘The Beat’ so I threw that in and then into a couple of Fax label tracks after the break. You can already hear that the ambient content of the early Openmind mixes on Solid Steel are diminishing to be replaced by more trip-hoppy beats and early strains of drum n bass with the electronic content still there via artists like Plastikman, Autechre and Air Liquide. Jon refers to me as ‘Telepathic Kev’ so maybe the Strictly part hadn’t stuck yet. I was still very much finding my feet in the Ninja camp at this point but ’95 would be the year when I really consolidated that position with the design and DJing as well as studio work as I’d left my full time job in a book shop and just worked at weekends at Ambient Soho records.

If anyone can identify the track after DJ Crystl I’d be grateful as it’s alluding me, there aren’t many track lists surviving for most Solid Steel mixes pre-’98 so I have to make these from a combination of memory, Discogs and Shazam and the latter isn’t coming up with anything. It doesn’t help that I’m playing it on the wrong speed either as we used to do with early drum n bass like Photek, Crystl, Smokin’ Drum Recordings and such. Bit of a throwback to the late 80s with Bam Bam and Bomb The Bass, nothing changes there and then playing out with Jedi Knights on Clear which sadly stops abruptly as the tape runs out.

Track list:
Paul Weller – Whirlpool’s End (Lynch Mob Beats)
Tusken Raiders – Beatnik #3
Gunshot – Colour Code
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – A Touch Of Jazz
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – Hip Hop Dancer’s Theme
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – A Touch Of Jazz
Trouble Funk – The Beat
Plastikman – Lasttrak
Air Liquide – Combat Zone
Pulsation – Pulsar
Ongaku – Mihon
Autechre – Bronchusevenmx
DJ Crystl – Let It Roll
Unknown – Babylon
Bam Bam – Where’s Your Child?
Bomb The Bass – Beat Dat (Freestyle scratch mix)
Jedi Knights – Intergalactic Funk Transmission