John Vernon Lord at the House of Illustration

JVL_BeneathTheTreefullThe John Vernon Lord exhibition of Ulysses, Finigan’s Wake and Alice in Wonderland illustrations just started at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross. What I didn’t realise when I visited was that his huge 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’ was also on display and it was breathtaking to see in the flesh.

The details visible in the original, not possible to see in the version printed in his Drawn To Drawing book, were many, from tiny messages written along tree roots to hidden numbers and miniature details in the shadows. Worth the price of admission alone to finally see this incredible piece which usually resides in the collection of the University of Brighton.

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Artifact #23: DJ Food vintage record box

DJFoodRecordBoxFrontMy first flight cased record box – long retired. This has seen some places, miles and times. I used this throughout the 90’s on the early Ninja Tune DJ package tours around the world. I would pack a Line 6 FX pedal, needles, leads, slipmats and headphones inside as well. It was heavy as you like when full and this was before trolleys or record bags with wheels. The stickers tell the times it was used in, see how many you recognise. Made a nice seat too! These days it’s packed with archive materials, sketchbooks, artwork, all protected until needed. See the last pic for a flat pack, make-your-own version.

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The Karminsky Experience Inc. See Inside VR glasses freebies at Further

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We’re really excited to be hosting The Karminsky Experience Inc. for a DJ set at Further on Sept 15th but got even more excited when they revealed that they’d be giving away some of these VR viewers to punters at the gig too. This pair of Cardboard VR glasses, beautifully illustrated by Dry British, lets you view their new 360 degree film to go with ‘See Inside’ from their last LP, ‘Beat’ which they should also have copies of on sale. I’m told this will be the first time you’ll be able to get your hands on these beauties but numbers will be limited.

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After extracting and assembling the glasses, you scan the QR code on the side with your phone or find the video on YouTube via the URL they provide – adjust the settings accordingly, press play and pop the phone into the viewer. From then on you’re taken into a Karminsky world whilst the music plays and you look around. Obviously it’s impossible to convey in writing, you really have to experience it first hand. Come along and maybe you can have a Karminsky Experience of your own.
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Tickets for Sept 15th w. The Karminsky’s, Markey Funk (Delights), Pete WIlliams and myself are available here.

O Is For Orange AV set for Glasgow

McChuills flyer
Glasgow friends, I’ve finally managed to sneak in a performance of my ‘O Is For Orange’ AV set in your fine town, during the two days I’m in Scotland with The The next month.
I performed the 1st AV mix – Selected Aphex Works – last year and Glasgow was one of the best audiences ever.
This is the 2nd and if you like Boards of Canada then this mix is for you…
Sept 4th, McChuills bar, limited tickets here

Further 2 at the Portico Gallery, November 2017


Seeing as I never got round to posting these at the time (I moved house the week after) and with a new event upon us in a month’s time, here’s a quick look back at the last Further at the Portico Gallery, November 2017 with guests Sculpture and Simon James (The Simonsound). Photos by Martin LeSanto-Smith and myself

Simon James at the Buchla 200e Electric Music Box


Here’s a film of Simon’s performance by his brother, Curtis James

Simon James Buchla 200e performance at Further from Simon James on Vimeo.

The record and merch stall was kindly provided by Michael and Dorian from the local Book & Record Bar



Sculpture at soundcheck and during their performance

Tickets for the next one – Sept 15th, 2018 with myself, Pete WIlliams, The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk (Delights) are available here.

Slides for Further 2 at the Portico Gallery

IMG_6422Dipping back into the archives for some previously un-posted slides that we made for the second Further at the Portico Gallery back in November 2017.

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The next one is Sept 15th, same venue, with The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk guesting while I perform a rare outing for my ‘O Is For Orange’ Boards of Canada-esque AV set. Tickets available here

Aphex Twin advert at Elephant & Castle station

AFX tunnel
This is last week’s news now but I finally found myself in Elephant & Castle underground station this week and went in search of the Aphex Twin adverts that had appeared the previous Monday. Nestling in a corridor near the lifts below the shopping centre end of the station are the two op-art-esque logos, seemingly tiled into the wall although closer inspection reveals a carefully designed paste on advert like any other, just with special attention made to the scale of the tiles being rendered.

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AFX cornerIt really is a great example of advertising assimilated into its environment and having all the more impact for it, it’s beautifully done, even if whoever pasted it up couldn’t quite be bothered to line the tiles up on the right hand side (see above). Other, similar designs also started popping up in other countries too, follow #3 aka Paul Nicholson, the original logo designer, for pictures and locations.

By now we know that this was advance warning of a new release, the ‘Collapse’ EP, scheduled for release on Warp mid September on vinyl, CD, cassette and limited foil-covered 12″ which intrigues me the most because the French company who used to produce those foil sheets you sometimes see on old record sleeves went out of business about a decade ago. Someone must have found a way to make them again and it’s a custom Aphex logo design rather than a pattern, very interesting…

Anyway – there’s a new video by Weirdcore that references the design above and the various formats can be pre-ordered here. (Beware – really awful website design alert – probably intentional)

With odd timing I’m pulling my Selected Aphex Works AV set out of retirement this weekend for an outing at the Space Theatre in Bangor, N. Ireland so I’m including the new video in the mix and then also playing a bonus club set at The Hop House nearby afterwards.

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Orla Kiely at the Fashion & Textile Museum

OK poster
Orla Kiely can probably lay claim to having an item of clothing or home ware in most 30 to 40-something homes I’d wager. From the ubiquitous bags seen on every yummy mummy to the stem-printed jugs, jars, towels and bedspreads infiltrating kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms in any discerning middle class household, you see her patterns everywhere in all sorts of shades. Personally I’m not into flowery prints but Kiely continues to thrill me with her never-ending range of retro-modern colour palettes and there’s just enough for a male fan like myself to buy for the home without it looking too feminine. Her current retrospective at the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey is chock full of two decade’s worth of designs, a total Orla overload.

I love her patterns, preferring the more geometric ones with autumnal colour schemes.

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OK hallEntering the museum you’re confronted with huge flower prints and cases of bags, I couldn’t pull these off myself but love the pattern designs.

OK bag 1 OK bag 2

Next are several corridors with an explosion of Kiely products for the home including pattern design concepts (some still forthcoming) kitchenware, toys, stationery, mugs, wallpaper, luggage, books… You name it, it’s there with an O.K. pattern on it. In their colour-coded glory it’s quite something to behold, you want to steal it all but a whole house of this would be overkill.

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The main room consists of huge versions of dresses, as if made for giants, guarded by life size rotating block models that shift outfits like a children’s mix and match book depending on their alignment. The oversize garments are offset by handmade dolls wearing the same outfits in miniature, lining the walls. This was an interesting concept in showing off a collection but it didn’t work for me after the complete overload of the previous corridors of kitchen and homeware. The wow factor was initially there but very little was contained in the biggest room on closer inspection, they’d crammed it all in the preceding space because they needed the height to show off the hanging frocks.

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Last but not least is a wall of bags, followed by a photo retrospective of various seasons and styles. Kiely has a great eye for modernising old 50s/60s and 70s styles and colour combinations whilst continually reinventing key logos and patterns from previous lines. It doesn’t always work but her hit rate is high and the body of work has a definite personality and flow to it that makes it unmistakably hers. I came away only wishing she’d one day hit the late 60s and do her take on psychedelia and flower power, what a riot that could be.

OK corridor 3

Further returns Sept 15th

Further 3 Portico poster

Further returns to its spiritual home at the Portico Gallery for another night of Light, Sound & Design.

Markey Funk flys in from Jerusalem to present his take on the heavy fuzz and psych sounds coming from his Delights label.
I’ll be bringing my AV ode to Boards of CanadaO Is For Orange – to the big screens with exclusive visual extras.
The Karminsky Experience Inc. grace the decks with their selection of swinging library, soundtrack and beatnik grooves.
And just when you think you’ve heard it all, Pete WIlliams pulls out those special audio treats he’s been hoarding for just this occasion, all accompanied by the sensory overload of the Further slide, oil and video projections.

Delicious food will be available from Pimento ’62 Catering and a fully licensed bar.

V. ltd. early bird tickets available here now!

Tomorrow Syndicate poster and LP

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Fantastic artwork by Nick Taylor on the new Tomorrow Syndicate album and promo poster. You can get both from the band’s Bandcamp page – the poster is A2 and in the merch section but the album is only available in digital form frustratingly. Much as I love the music Polytechnic Youth are putting out, they don’t make it easy to actually buy it. Small runs are sold via pre-order from their Facebook page with no audio previews and few represses, you have to be quick and, as the label gains popularity, if you’re not on the web when pre-orders go up then you have to chance your luck with mail order from the likes of Monorail or Norman Records. Still, it makes it all the more fun and precious when you do manage to get one. The album’s great and takes in most of their previously released tracks (two 7″s and a VHS) with nods to La Dusseldorf krautrock and Radiophonic Workshop spacey synth madness.

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Unusual Sounds book

Unusual Sounds book
A new-ish book – ‘Unusual Sounds’ – subtitled ‘The Hidden History of Library Music’ by David Hollander tells exactly that via a series of interviews and potted histories of numerous European and North American libraries and their major players. It’s a thick paperback clocking in at over 300 pages and illustrated with hundreds of sleeves in colour as well as photos of master tapes, studio shots and catalogues, ending with a gallery of film posters that contain library cues as their soundtracks.
The final section seems a little pointless and I’d have preferred more pages given to showcasing sleeves from some of the libraries featured earlier in the book (Musique Pour L’Image is given two pages and their beautiful 10″ covers are mentioned but not shown for example). There is some crossover with Jonny Trunk’s ‘The Music Library’ book, as you would expect, but this is a worthy addition to any bookshelf. It’s published by Anthology Editions for $55 and check out their catalogue as there are some pretty interesting titles.

Saturday July 28th – The OST Show and Upfest

Mark your calendars, diaries or whatever you use to save a date for this Saturday 28th of July because Robin The Fog and I are hosting a 2 hour edition of Jonny Trunk‘s OST show on Resonance FM.
With Le Fog and I at the controls it can only mean one thing: Sesame Street, we’ve collected our favourite songs, skits, incidental music and themes for a joint celebration of all things from the Children’s Television Workshop.
Tune in to Resonance 104.4 FM on Saturday the 28th, 4.30pm-6.30pm – or if you can’ t then the show will be on the Mixcloud archive

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UPDATE: And here’s the show!

Simultaneously (because we’ve pre-recorded the show) I’ll be in Bedminster, Bristol at Upfest, the annual street art paintathon, providing music outdoors to soundtrack the art. There will be food, drink, sunshine if this weather keeps up and it should be a great family day out.

Upfest 2018 flyer

Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour

Nearest Neighbour by Sculpture Press Release-1Not only does the next release from Sculpture contain Dan Hayhurst‘s trademark scattershot tape manipulations and noise bursts – housed inside a red cassette this time round – it also comes with a graphic novel, illustrated as usual, by Reuben Sutherland as only he knows how. It’s not all microscopic sound exploration though, standout track, ‘Nite Flite’ comes on like a classic late 80’s house meets early 90’s B12 exploration, complete with 4/4 kick and sci-fi synth pads. Preview a track here

Nearest Neighbour: Graphic Novel/C70 Compact Cassette by Sculpture from Sculpture on Vimeo.

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Reuben this time pushes the boundaries of what an abstract comic can be whilst still readable as a sequence of events. Imagine one of his undulating zoetrope/phenakistoscope animations spread out across the pages, subtle changes in repetition and zooms pushing the visual narrative forward with each panel. The mind boggles as to how he lays this stuff all out without the joins showing. The 23 track album is released on 11th August on their Tapebox label as a cassette/download/book. Pre-order it here https://plasticinfinite.bandcamp.com/album/nearest-neighbour

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Dig magazine

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Dig magazine is a new mini magazine that will fit in your pocket (perfect to take to the record shop) full of esoteric info and ones to watch for from a selection of fine DJs. Mr Thing, DJ Format, Mr Krum, Si Spex, Susanslegpolicy and more all spill the beans on a curio from their collection including anecdotes, info and cover images and there’s even a URL at the end so that you can preview said tracks in an online mix. It comes in a neat stickered sleeve that makes it look like a milk crate which the (ironically) CD-sized mag slips inside, waiting to be dug into.

Dig contents

Oh yeah, and some chancer called Strictly Kev has a page in it too, you can order it for ¬£3.50 here…

Dig Format:Food

Logan’s Run repress

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There’s a new, double vinyl repress of the Jerry Goldsmith score to Logan’s Run just out from Waxworks. This is the expanded score that was released on CD by Film Score Monthly in 2002 boosting the track count from the original’s 12 to 23. The beautiful artwork above is by Martin Ansin who has done many a Mondo poster, see his takes of Alien and Prometheus below. Transmission still have copies in the UK.LogansRungatefold Prometheusposter AlienposterMartinAnsin

The original Logan’s Run theatrical poster with another, possibly fan made, example below.
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It was 30 years ago today

PE Nation of Millions coverAnother anniversary post, this occasion being three decades ago that Public Enemy¬†released their second LP, ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’. This post isn’t entirely about that though but about their debut London gig as part of the 87 Def Jam Tour, supporting LL Cool J at the Hammersmith Odeon, the November before. Also on the bill were Eric B & Rakim (notice the spelling below – and the upcoming Bad News live show posters) and the whole thing was being recorded by the BBC for their ‘Fresh Start To The Week’ rap show.

Hammermith Odean Def Jam Tour 87
Keen-eared listeners will of course know this from the opening lines of the album, MC’d by Fresh Start… host, Dave Pearce, “Hammersmith Odeon are you ready for the Def Jam Tour? Let me hear you make some noise!”. Parts of the gig were interspersed throughout ‘Nations…’ courtesy of The BBC who had already broadcast it by the time the album dropped the next year. Somewhere in among the hollering and whistling were my friends and I as well as many others I would later go on to meet along the way. But first some context:

This was PE’s first trip to the UK, their debut, ‘Yo, Bum Rush The Show’ had been out a while but they’d also released the iconic ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ on the B-side of their last single, ‘You Gonna Get Yours/Mi Uzi Weighs A Ton’. They were supporting LL Cool J on this trip alongside Eric B & Rakim (who were having their own hits like Paid In Full). PE rose up the ranks with incredible speed though. Their first single, ‘Time Bomb/Public Enemy No.1’ was a real oddity, the album dropped in February ’87 and was even weirder but was released on Def Jam so was given perhaps more time than an unknown. When they dropped ‘You Gonna Get Yours’ with the crazed Terminator X Getaway Mix and ‘Rebel…’ on the B side, it was a done deal.

‘Rebel’ was an instant classic – a summer anthem – and more of the same followed. In the autumn, ‘Bring the Noise’, (from the Less Than Zero soundtrack) proved they could do it again and once ‘Nation’ dropped to unanimous acclaim, they were premiere league. By the time they came back to the UK they were either headlining or co-headlining with Run DMC who were still riding off the back of their world-smashing ‘Raising Hell’ album and easily the biggest rap group in the world apart from the Beastie Boys, who still looked like a novelty at that point. But Run DMC’s star was fading and PE – arguably – replaced them.

Winding back to November ’87, they were still the new kids but they’d put quite a show together to make a good first impression. Before we even entered the venue, the unexpected happened, Chuck and Flav appeared outside – behind a barrier and escorted by S1Ws – and chatted with fans. At first they were hesitant but there was such a clamour that they embraced it for a bit, well, Flav did as you can see below.

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Kev + Flav London 1987

That’s me above on the left in the black Kangol hat, what you can’t see is the black body warmer I had on over my leather jacket with a hand-painted Public Enemy stencil logo on the back. This was back before the band even had merch for sale. Chuck was impressed. Below is the concert ticket with a message from Flav scribbled on my train ticket. In hindsight, I think they were perhaps a little overwhelmed at how the UK embraced them on that first tour (remember, ‘Yo, Bum Rush the Show’ was their current record, hence the faded intro on the opening segment on ‘Nation…’). But once the second album dropped, with its BBC recordings and copious thanks to DJs and artists from the UK alongside PE’s US peers, it seems that we made as big an impression as they did.

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Public Enemy were on first – the stage was packed, there were air raid sirens and the enormous PE logo. Terminator X flanked by two gun-toting, S1Ws on pedestals either side, Professor Griff stalking in the shadows with Chuck and Flav in bright white, bounding all over the place. It was a full on, high octane experience from start to very quick end (about half an hour I think), a scrappy, stop-start show that didn’t let up, and if it did then the whistle and foghorn posse just filled in the gaps as can be heard on the recording.

PE arriveChuck+Griff+S1WFlav+Griff+S1W+ChuckGriff + S1W S1W TerminatorX RocknRoll

Above is the ‘Terminator X!’ moment from ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ which the crowd went absolutely nuts for.
You can see actual footage of the gig on the DVD, ‘The First London Invasion 1987’.

In the middle we had Eric B & Rakim who seemed dwarfed by the huge stage with Eric B largely static, high up on his DJ pedestal and no backdrop graphic, leaving only Rakim to prowl the stage for visual entertainment. I’ve actually cropped more off these photos but wanted to show the enormity of the space they occupied. The sound was poor and Rakim called for more volume a few times.

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After this slightly underwhelming middle act it was LL’s turn and at this point he was the bonafide star of the show. At the top of his golden era hip hop peak with his second album, ‘Bigger & Deffer’, out and the forumla-breaking but uneven ‘Walking With a Panther’ yet to come. His intro blew nearly everything before it to pieces. Set in a mocked up Farmer’s Boulevard street scene (his home, referenced on countless numbers of his rhymes), bookended by two DJ booths, a huge, flashing mothership of a boom box descended from the ceiling to the theme tune of ‘2001’ as his DJs, Cut Creator and Bobcat, scratched over the Original Concept’s ‘Can You Feel It’ until the ‘legend in leather’ walked onstage.

LL Boombox descends

Oozing youthful arrogance, you could see why there were a LOT of women in the audience there for him, here was your first young hip hop heartthrob, only just out of his teens. He was in amazing shape too (see bottom photo) and knew exactly how to work the crowd with a choreographed set involving both DJs (Bobcat even played hype man I seem to remember). His one misstep was to do ‘I Need Love’, the soppy, skip-it-please-ballad from the second album, and he was booed mercilessly for it by a large proportion of the crowd from where I was standing, eager to get back to the high-testosterone beats and cuts. At that point, love ballads had no place in hip hop such as this but the joke’s on all of us as LL and Def Jam had seen some sort of future where RnB would slowly blend with rap so as to become one. James Todd Smith can claim to be a pioneer of that scene, for good or bad, (he didn’t do too badly out of it).

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It was 20 years ago today

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June 23rd, 1998, Brixton Academy, London, UK. A date I’ll never forget, the day I was part of the support package on the London date of the Beastie BoysHello Nasty tour. Pretty mind-blowing, humbling and scary-as-f**k.
The warm up were the Invisibl Skratch Piklz (Mixmaster Mike, Q-Bert and Shortkut) and Money Mark featuring Kid Koala. Mike acted as compere between acts as I recall and we hung out backstage with him, Kid Koala and Money Mark before the show whilst MCA quietly ate at a nearby table. The Beasties were the main attraction of course and played a 30+ song set which I couldn’t completely enjoy because I was so nervous about playing afterwards.

This was no ordinary gig (because The Beastie Boys, who else?) so there was a full-on party DJ roster afterwards too, kicking off with Rob Swift and Total Eclipse from the X-Ecutioners, then Ollie Teeba from The Herbaliser and myself on 4 decks, followed by the original Scratch Perverts (Tony Vegas, DJ Primecuts, Mr Thing and DJ First Rate) all topped off by Alec Empire to clear the place out (which he did in fine style). What a line up! Playing at ‘home’ there were numerous friends and such in the absolutely rammed venue and walking out after the X-Ecutioners was pretty daunting, even though Ollie and I had been practicing our set for weeks. It all flew past and before we knew it we were being hustled off for the Perverts to rip it up.

BeastieBoys Backstage supportAbove: backstage shot, clockwise from top left: Q-Bert, Mr Thing, DJ First Rate, DJ Primecuts, Harry Love, DJ Ollie Teeba, myself, Tony Vegas, Mista Sinista, and Kid Koala centre left.

The few photos I have from that night are pretty terrible but the show poster, complete with guest pass, has hung in my home for the past two decades.

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Below: Rob Swift on the decks.

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