Mini CDs #1: Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend

CD3 logo bannerI’ve been meaning to catalogue and show my collection of 3″ mini CDs – much the same as I did for my flexi discs – for about 5 years now but haven’t got round to it. With the dawning of a new year and the impetus to start something new I thought it was about time, seeing as the CD revival still hasn’t swung round yet, although with the current price and manufacturing times of vinyl it can’t be far off.

But first, a little bit of history:
3″ or 80cm mini CDs first appeared around the end of the 80s and, for a short while at least, were a companion release to the 7″ and 12″ singles of the pop and dance music of the era before being replaced by full sized CD singles. The main problem with the discs was their size, they were so small that they were difficult to play unless you had the right CD tray or an adaptor and they disappeared in the racks. A few attempts were made to come up with some sort of standardized cover packaging including transparent plastic moulded holders the same size as regular CDs which would encapsulate the card sleeve and disc but these never caught on. In the US they were known as CD3 and the regular albums as CD5 and some came in the long boxes of the day over there which were eventually phased out due to the excessive waste of the card packaging.

The discs could hold 24 minutes of music and would generally contain three or four tracks like a 12″, sometimes with exclusive mixes or edits. With designers already complaining about the miniaturisation of the album sleeve to normal 5″ CD size, these posed an even smaller canvas to work with but some found a way to make beautiful packaging to house them. By the early 90s they were superceded by their larger cousins and then started being used by more experimental and enterprising labels, keen to exploit their unique format for tour EPs and cheap extras inside books or magazines. The Japanese especially loved 3″ CDs and there are many different examples throughout the 90s and 00s of them being used to great effect as promos.

First off I’m going to concentrate on the late 80s, mainly in the UK and then move roughly through the 90s and up to the present day with selections from my collection. This is by no means a definitive list, just examples of mini CDs I’ve picked up over the decades for their content, packaging or design.
Eric B cover

Eric B & Rakim‘s ‘Microhone Fiend’ has a miniature version of the UK 7″ for the cover, designed by Trevor Jackson at Bite It!, but has to dispense with the regular back cover for a track listing as the text would have been way too small to read otherwise. The single also includes the 7″ edit of ‘Follow The Leader’ which isn’t on any other version.
Eric B back Eric B front

Posted in Design, Mini CDs, Music. | 2 Comments |

Psychedelic craze comic crossovers

BunnyI always like seeing the psychedelic style of the late 60s adopted by items outside of the immediate area of music. It’s usually a watered down version but it’s always fun to see how some ‘straighter’ mediums co-opted to style of the day to be hip with the kids. Regular comics especially went through a phase of being ‘groovy’, ‘swinging’ or ‘hip’ and it was big with love and romance titles for girls. Here are some covers I’ve collected on my internet trawls, obviously omitting work from the underground sector whose artists helped build the style in the first place.

Teen -InScooter3503680-mod-love-cover-art-e1439262598915Falling In Love 099-01fc8141f7f7a3d9d51f3341691aa0ab4d--old-comic-books-romance-comicsJust Married
Early Nick Fury covers really went at it for a short period too
Nick Fury
Nick_Fury_005nick-fury-4Jimmy Olsen Groovy

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Mixcloud Select – Strictly’s 2 hr Rub 10/08/97 Part 3

DJFoodMixcloudSelect40I don’t remember half the tracks on this mix save for the Journeyman, Coldcut and Attica Blues tunes. Journeyman’s ‘Rusty Beats’ is SO heavy, I think that was from his second album on Ntone, I have no idea who 2nd Gen is so had to look it up, it was from an EP on Flo (Flo 001 no less) called ‘Noise Sculptures’, seems he signed to Novamute the next year. The Override track came out on Ntone and was an alias of Tom ‘Klute’ Withers and you can hear that Photek / Bukem influence. I have Aquasky ‘Opaque’ down as the track midway through the mix, maybe something from the LP ‘Orange Dust’ that I may have had a promo of with no titles. The Animals on Wheels track is hard as nails too, this was from a 10” EP on the iLL label.

How scary / familiar does the Jello Biafra rant over Coldcut sound now? Who knew 23 years ago? Jello’s inclusion of course comes from the spoken word extract we used on the Coldcut Journey’s By DJ mix a couple of years before. Matt & Jon thought it would be good to remake it with Jello for real and one day he arrived at Ninja HQ in London Bridge. I was in upstairs with Jon Voda, in the mastering suite on his floor, working on the Coldcut/Grandmaster Flash collaboration track I think and Jello appeared at the door as he was to use the vocal booth to record his part. Jon introduced me, ’this is Strictly Kev, from DJ Food’. ‘From DJ Food or IS DJ Food?’ boomed Jello in his distinctive west coast drawl. And that’s my meeting Jello Biafra story…

Part 4 next week….

Track list:
Journeyman – Rusty Beats
2nd Gen – Statutory Angels
Override – Hungry
Aquasky – Orange Dust
Animals on Wheels – F.Y.A.
Coldcut – Every Home A Prison
Attica Blues – Enter

Material live in Montreux with Grandmixer DST & Keith Haring in 1983

DK sent me this link of a 1983 performance by Material at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland featuring not only scratching, MCing and breakdancing duties by the Grandmixer DST but also live painting by Keith Haring!
An incredible slice of history. They do a version of ‘Rockit’ midway too, I wonder who has the Harings now? It might also explain how he came to do several posters for the festival in the 80’s too.

Talking of ‘Rockit’ there’s an incredible full Herbie Hancock band version live on The Tube from a year later including not only DST but also the dancing robots from the Godley & Creme-directed video.

Mixcloud Select 39 – Strictlys 2 hr Rub 10/08/97 Pt.2

DJFoodMixcloudSelect39Rifling through tapes for this week’s upload I found this mid ’97 show which came in 4 parts. Part 1 was actually an excellent Autechre radio mix that was a promo for ‘Chiastic Slide’ but which they allowed us to air. If you want to assemble a full show then it’s listed on Discogshttps://www.discogs.com/Autechre-Radio-Mix/release/17922

Part 2’s track listing caught my eye though because the second track is M.F. Doom‘s debut single on Fondle ‘Em records, a Scooby Doo-sampling minor classic that first bought his new alias to the world, post-KMD.

Obviously with his shock passing announced in the closing hours of 2020 I thought it would be a little nod to include this set. I see these are now going for an insane amount on Discogs, not that my copies are for sale. His ‘Operation Doomsday’ album is a bonafide classic and would include a re-recorded version of this track.

The bulk of this mix though is taken up with the full length ‘invisibl skratch piklz vs da klams uv deth’ turntable routine from Q-Bert, Shortkut and Mixmaster Mike that blew everyone away when it debuted and won them the team title in the DMC championships in the mid 90s. The Underdog remixes Massive Attack and Steinski’s collaboration with Coldcut, ‘I’m Wild About That Thing’, is featured from their ‘Let Us Play’ album which dropped around this time. I probably picked the Doom and Piklz 12”s up in the States on tour with them that summer. I have to admit, the mix is pretty pedestrian but the content is great.

Part 3 next week…

Track list:
Pt.1
Autechre    Radio mix (Not featured here)

Pt.2
The Invisibl Skratch Piklz    vs da Klams uv Deth
M.F. Doom – Hey!
Massive Attack    – Rising Son (Underdog mix)
Coldcut – I’m Wild About That Thing

Artifacts #24: Negativland – Zapped! Over The Edge tapes

Zapped covers

Just found these today, sent off for from Negativland around 2000 – their Zapped! (Zappa tribute) Over The Edge 5 hr radio show, personally dubbed, written & stickered on 3 TDK cassettes – not on any discography, I think they’d dub any show for you for a fee back then via their website. Luckily, through the power of the internet, you can listen to this and many more shows from their huge run (1981-2015 I believe) via the Internet Archive.
Seriously, there are so many show up there you many never need to listen to anything else ever again.

Zapped back Zapped x3 closeZapped writing
Actually, I think that’s my handwriting on that edge

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Kaiser George Marionettes

Kaiser George Joe Meek

I saw this on Facebook the other day, reposted by Andrew Divine, and had to investigate further. ‘Kaiser’ George Miller sculpts these marionettes of rock n roll legends, Ursula Cleary makes their clothes, Chris Taylor illustrates the cards and box art and ‘Kaiser’ Johnny Maben prints it all. So far they’ve made Xmas cards, prints and bubble gum cards which you buy here. Here’s hoping one day they get round to doing Kraftwerk
Follow K.G.M. on Instagram

SS card backs SS detail B&W SS detail colour

Coldcut – Solid Sphinx New Year 92-93?

E03-00824
As it’s New Year, and this set possibly dates from then, I’ve decided to put it up for all to hear, not just for subscribers. This is one of the oldest sets I have from Coldcut in my archive and it’s a very good indication of the chill out room aesthetics of the early 90s. I have very little info about this as it’s before my time on Solid Steel but from the track listing and style of show I would guess that it’s a pre-recorded jam with Matt, Jon and maybe PC from around 1992/93.

Periodically in the early to mid-nineties Solid Steel would give up it’s traditional mix / talk / ad break / mix format and morph into a Sphinx for an hour or two. The first time I ever heard of this was when I turned up to do one of the regular Friday pre-records at KISS FM one evening and Matt said that tonight the show was going to be a ‘Solid Sphinx’. What the hell was that?, I asked. ‘That’ meant minimum chat and no ads, just two hours of straight mixing, usually erring on the ambient and electronic side of things. ‘Great!’, I thought, as the usual 15-20-minute-mix-then-break-for-ads format was restricting – just as you were getting into the flow you had to stop for the commercials.

Ranging in title from Alien Sphinx, Return of the Alien Sphinx and More Than An Alien Sphinx (and probably a whole host of others besides), I seem to remember a 3 hour one once when the clocks went back and we suddenly had an extra hour to play with between 12 and 2am. They were sprawling soundscapes inhabiting similar territory to The Orb and FSOL at the time. I always had an inkling that the name came from the supposed Sphinx face that had been ‘discovered’ on Mars and asked Matt about it:

HoagCNN2

“Yes, its from the Alien Sphinx ‘Face on Mars’ thang. I was turned onto it by Fortean Times. Just thought it was a wicked concept, though the images of it never convinced me…humans see faces everywhere, we are optimised for it. We first used the name on the full length Video ‘Global Chaos’, a Hex project. Rob Pepperell and I made a 3D character called ‘Alien Sphinx’. I guess the idea morphed into an inscrutable ancient mystery sound trip after that!”

This show sounds like a studio jam with electronic FX, spoken word jingles thrown in from the sampler and pitch-shifted down at times. Around the 12.40 mark you can hear the original sample that the Solid Steel bleeps is taken from too. One of the infamous ‘K Mixes’ is played midway (Technical Dub – K Mix 67) and several tracks help date it: The Moody Boys’ ‘Free’, The Orb’s remix of Blue Pearl’s ‘Mother Dawn’, The Irresistible Force remix of Coldcut’s ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Sign’, both from their ‘Philosophy’ LP, and Laraaji to finish. I think this came straight from DAT around the time we were encoding shows for the 20th anniversary of Solid Steel and the title was a guess based on the tape contents. There are still a few tracks I couldn’t identify so, if you recognise anything, then please leave a comment.

Attempted track list:
Gondwanaland – Eagle (?)
Roger Powell – Lumia: Dance of the Nebulae
Polonio – Do (?)
Beaver & Krause – Sequential Voltage Sources, Composition
Unknown
Blue Pearl – Mother Dawn (The Orb’s Buckateer Mix 1)
‘Teknical Dub’ – K Mix 67 1992
Unknown (reggae track under People Hold On)
Coldcut feat. Lisa Stansfield – People Hold On (A cappella)
Moody Boys – Free
The Irresistible Force – War & Peace Live
Jam & Spoon – My First Fantastic F.F.
Unknown (banging techno with spinbacks)
Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (The Irresistible Force Full Chill mix)
Coldcut – Sign
Laraaji – Zither Dance

2020

Stay Alert papers

Where to start? – a horrible year in so many ways and not one I’m sure many will want to remember or repeat in a hurry. Not to want to gloss over the fires in Australia or Trump nearly starting WW3 at the start of the year, the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the BLM movement or Joe Biden winning the US election in November, but 2020 was dominated for many by the pandemic.

2M v2

Like many, when lockdown came, I started sorting, clearing, taking stock. Archives were dug into, things thrown away, digitised, uploaded, sold. Old projects that had laid dormant for years were revived, restarted, some even finished. All those jobs that I’d meant to do started getting done. I turned 50 in May, in the middle of the first lockdown and that all gave pause for reflection. Did I need all this stuff? What could I live without? Oddly, the limiting nature of the lockdown seemed to unlock the creative gates and I had time again to do musical projects. I’ve always juggled graphic design, DJing and music production and, if I’m honest, the music side always comes last as I just don’t have the time and head space to do all three. With gigs firmly out of the picture there was suddenly space again.

2M v3

After the initial shock and adjustment had passed, I started to like lockdown, the quiet, the space and pace of life in London when I did venture out, the fact that it was Spring helped too. The cleaner air, the public displays of affection for the NHS and key workers in windows around my neighbourhood which I took the time to explore far more than before. Just the time to stop, reflect, get off the deadline treadmill and do some personal life evaluation was welcome. Of course there were down days too, frustration at the government’s handling of the situation, the futility of it all, the not knowing when it was going to end, the cabin fever.

The realisation that the entertainment sector was not going to get back on its feet any time soon and any thoughts of gigs should be put out of mind for the foreseeable future. More importantly though, copious amounts of friends who work in the live sector of the industry who suddenly have no job to go to and no income once the furlough period ends. The thing about the creative sector though is that they are resilient, fast-acting and respond to situations like these in many different ways. There have been numerous charity compilations, protests, self-help articles, the #weareviable movement and online gigs and forums set up to help people’s mental health. Without a doubt, in terms of coming to the aid of artists trying to see a decent return on their music, Bandcamp have been the heroes of the music industry in 2020. Their revenue-waiving Fridays have become like monthly record store days (a now barrel-scraping exercise in unnecessary reformatting of material no one was asking for by the majors). It has also re-ignited the discussion about stream revenue from platforms like Spotify which can only be a good thing. Mixcloud too jumped into the fray with their Select subscription channels and streaming upgrade, each paying a portion of proceeds to the artists being played as well as those playing them.

2M v1

Turning off the news became a necessity to stay sane, just tuning out to protect from spiralling down into a day of depression and inactivity. But there were unexpected pluses once things began to reopen, the break had given some a chance to change, bring their businesses up to date, upgrade, expand, come back better than before. More space in shops and restaurants, increased hygiene, less people on public transport – great! For those who don’t live in the city, it’s packed at the best of times and not always the better for it. Buying a round of drinks at the pub on an app and having it bought to your table rather than fighting your way to the bar, viewing the menu through a QR reader and paying for it on the phone, I’m up for that although I’ll no doubt be cursing once the targeted advertising starts. The sale of bikes soaring and more people able to work from home, giving them new options for home locations, less commuting stress and more family time – all welcome.

I’ve neglected this blog a fair bit other than my weekly archive mixes and the odd release-related news, I’d like to get back on it a bit more in 2021 but can’t promise. The speed and immediacy of Instagram has taken over where some things like street art and record finds are concerned. Looking back over the year it’s been another vintage one for music releases and books, obviously less so for gigs and exhibitions. I’ve listened to more podcasts and audiobooks than ever before though, a noticeable change in wanting to hear informative chat or comedy over music sometimes. The creative roll that the Castles In Space label has been on this year has been a constant with the regular label and now the subscription library to add to that in 2021 plus I’m pleased to have a release forthcoming on the label early in the new year. Discovering the Astral Industries and Russian Library labels via Bandcamp were two highlights and Robert Fripp‘s continuing weekly Music For Quiet Moments series gave me something to look forward to each Friday. Likewise the weekly 2000AD progs never faltered when most comic lines derailed, even reaching new heights with the incredible new story, The Out whilst season 2 of The Mandalorian reinstated a love for the Star Wars universe again. Without wanting to focus on the negatives (we’d be here all week), there was a lot to love in 2020

2020 LPs

Music –
Type 303 – Sticky Disco / Analogue Acidbath 7″ (45 Live)
The British Space Group – The Ley of the Land CD (Wyrd Britain)
Squarepusher – Be Up A Hello LP / Warp 10 NTS mix (Warp)
Future Sound of London – A Controlled Vista ‘I Can’t Find You’ (FSOL Digital/Touched Music)
dgoHn – Undesignated Proximate (Modern Love)
LF58 – Alterazione LP (Astral Industries)
Brian Eno – Music for Installations CD box set (UMC / Opal)
Robert Fripp – Music For Quiet Moments series (DGM)
Run The Jewels – RTJ4 (BMG)
Simf Onyx – Magenta Skyline / The Unresolved 7″ (Delights)
Luke Vibert – Modern Rave LP (Hypercolour)
JG Thirlwell & Simon Steensland – Oscillospira (Ipecac)
Aural Design – Looking & Seeing 7″ / DL (Russian Library)
Luke Vibert – Rave Hop (Hypercolour)
Clipping. with Christopher Fleeger – Double Live (Sub Pop)
APAT – Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ performed on Modular Synthesizer (YouTube)
Field Lines Cartographer – The Spectral Isle LP (Castles In Space)
Jane Weaver – The Revolution of Super Visions single (Fire Records)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – K.G. LP (Flightless)
Humanoid – Hed-Set – forthcoming on (De:tuned)
Ghost Power – Asteroid Witch 7″ (Duophonic Super 45s)

Sleeve designs 2020

Design / packaging –
Jon Brooks – How To Get To Spring LP (Clay Pipe Music)
Bernard Grancher – Soleil Gris Eclatant LP (Castles In Space)
Plone – (Ghost Box)
Various Artists – Portals LP (Behind The Sky Music)
Luke Sanger – World of Inherent Noise Cassette (Miracle Pond)
Proto Droids – Cybernetic World LP (Spun Out Of Control)

Podcasts

Podcasts
Adam Buxton – Podcast (Acast)
Louis Theroux – Grounded (BBC)
The Bureau of Lost Culture (Soho Radio/Mixcloud)
Richard Herring – RHLSTP / Retro As It Occurs To Me
Broken Record episodes w. Rick Rubin (Pushkin)
Cartoonist Kayfabe (YouTube)
The Bunker (Acast)

films 2020

Film / TV –
Inside No.9 (BBC)
What We Do In The Shadows Season 2 (Netflix)
Tales From The Loop (Amazon)
Keith Haring – Street Art Boy (BBC)
John Was Trying To Contact Aliens (Netflix)
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Season 2) (Disney+)
Long Hot Summers – The Style Council documentary (Sky Arts)
Zappa (Alex Winter)

Books 2020

Books / Comics / Magazines
Confessions of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)
The Often Wrong – Farel Dalrymple (Image Comics)
Take It Like A Man – Boy George (Harper Collins)
Adam Buxton – Ramble Book (Harper Collins)
Edwin Pouncey – Rated SavX (Strange Attractor Press)
Jeffrey Lewis – Fuff (all issues – really late to the party on this one)
Elton John – Me (MacMillan)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Rian Hughes – XX – A Novel, Graphic (Picador)
Cosey Fanni Tutti – Art, Sex, Music (Faber)
Caza – Kris Kool (Passenger Press)
Dan Lish – Egostrip Vol.1
Electronic Sound magazine
Decorum – Jonathan Hickman & Mike Huddleston (Image)
Discovering Jack T. Chick’s ‘Chick Tracts’ mini comics
John Higgs – Stranger Than We Can Imagine
Simon Halfon – Cover To Cover (Nemperor)

Tomaga

Gigs / Events –
Tomaga & Pierre Bastien @ King’s Place, London (RIP Tom Relleen)
Discovering my neighbourhood more intimately than ever before on regular walks

Exhibitions –
Aubrey Beardsley @ Tate Britain
Shoreditch and Brick Lane never ceases to be a constant source of inspiration art-wise
Secret 7’s – Greenwich Peninsula


Another year over and what have I done?
Got burned by an artist and agent overseas on some ‘prospective’ design work they never paid me for
Designed ‘Blood’, Dreams’ & ‘Bone for the Swan Songs trilogy of albums for The Real Tuesday Weld, available in 2021/22 as well as the 2020 foldout Xmas card & 3″ CD.
Made some zoetrope labels for the band Peninsula‘s ‘Constellations/Constelaciones’ LP
Designed a zoetrope picture disc for an as yet unannounced reissue project that was a dream job…
Promo mixes for the 45 Live record label, De:tuned‘s 10th anniversary round up, Out Of The Wood, Soundwave blog, Shane Quentin‘s Garden of Earthly Delights show and did an Instagram takeover on @forgottengraphics for a week.
Unearthed and digitised old DJ Food mixes for my new Mixcloud Select channel with full track lists and notes.
Made the ‘Kaleidoscope Companion’ mixes with PC on the 20th anniversary of our album and compiled a version for a vinyl release on Ahead of Our Time in 2021
Started a label, Infinite Illectrik, for turntable experiments and other one-offs including a remix of Four Tet‘s side of locked grooves from his ‘Sixteen Oceans’ LP
Designed three covers for Nebari on OTA Recordings plus one for Syon Ward
Finished the Howlround meets DJ Food release, ‘The Superceded Sounds of…’ The New Obsolescents, inc. a track on Castles In Space’s ‘Isolation Tapes’ comp with the LP due on the label in 2021 sporting five different screen printed foil covered sleeves.
Cut my own hair for the first time
Designed a zoetrope for Pendulum that went unused and several for BT Sport’s European Final TV spot with Doves that sadly didn’t make the cut because of a technicality.
Made the Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ album in collaboration with Saron Hughes for Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX, a novel, graphic’, as well as a 30 minute EP. Both available on Bandcamp with a vinyl LP forthcoming in 2021 on Utter
Created the cover image for Clocolan‘s 3rd album, due in 2021 on Castles In Space
Designed De:tuned DE:10 courier bag + slipmat for Bleep‘s Xmas advent calendar and saw the label repress the DE:10 series from last year on coloured vinyl
Designed Steven Rutter and Humanoid releases for De:tuned
Created a one hour long ‘Cineolascape’ from my The The support set material in 2018 for release on Matt’s Cineola label in the future.

RIP: Wolfgang Dauner, Neil Peart, Steve Millington (Dry British), Terry Jones, Wes Wilson, Nicholas Parsons, Kirk Douglas, Andy Weatherall, Max Von Sydow, Tom Watkins, Genesis P. Orridge, Manu Dibango, Albert Uderzo, Eddie Large, Bill Withers, Hal Wilner, Mort Drucker, Tim Brook-Taylor, Tony Allen, Florian Schneider, Ben ‘Ty’ Chijioke, Little Richard, Christo, Steve Priest, Bonnie Pointer, Ian Holm, Milton Glaser, Ennio Morricone, Q magazine, Time Out, Russell Mears aka Rusty Spray – an original artistic inspiration, Tom Relleen, Simeon Coxe, Diana Rigg, Terence Conran, Eddie Van Halen, Sean Connery, Geoffrey Palmer, DJ Spinbad, Dave Prowse, Harold Budd, Richard Corben, Barbara Windsor, Jeremy Bullock, MF Doom.

Looking forward to:
More designing, more music making, releases of some of the above records after what seems like years in the wilderness – trying to remain positive against all the odds although I can’t wait for 2021 to be over already, it’s not going to be much fun.
The Castles In Space Subscription Library
Beautify Junkyards – Cosmorama LP (Ghost Box)
Jane Weaver – Flock LP (Fire Records)
The Book of Boba Fett
Tales To Enlighten (come on Matt, this year, eh?)

 

Happy New Year x

Lennon Ono Tiers

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Mixcloud Select 38 DJ Food – The Sounds of Christmas 13/12/2004

TSOC front I performed as part of Christian Marclay’s ‘The Sounds of Christmas’ in December 2004 in a tent erected outside the Tate Modern gallery in London. Marclay was in town with his collection of Christmas records and invited various artists to come down, rifle through the racks, pick a selection and then improvise a set with them. I joined Matt Black, Janek Schaefer, Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), Ergo Phizmiz, Matt Wand (Stock, Hausen & Walkman), Paul Hood and The Bohman Brothers.

It was a tough gig, there were two performers per night and I forget who I was paired with but I bought my Line 6 delay pedal to loop things up with. Marclay had hundreds of Christmas albums and I was working largely with no knowledge of what any of them would contain so went for stuff that looked funk, jazz or electronic-based. I remember pulling a great Lou Rawls album, a Jacksons LP, The Beach Boys and some sort of electronic synthesized carols LP.

Rushing through piles of LPs during soundcheck I made notes on each one, which tracks were good and discarded the ones I felt I couldn’t use. The crowd filed in and the tent filled up, it was freezing cold being mid December and I think I had to wear a coat and hat while I wrestled with the vinyl and delay pedal to construct some sort of Christmas soundscape / DJ set out of records I’d only heard snatches of an hour or so before. Apparently Marclay also used a Line 6 pedal and was heard to exclaim, ‘oh wow, he actually knows how to use it!’ :)

TSOC back

I’ve not heard the set for a good 10 years before digging it out again and it’s rough around the edges and barely holds together in places but has a kind of charm of its own and was probably the earliest example of a kind of turntablism that I’d later explore on the forthcoming New Obsolescents record and my Infinite Illectrik releases. Also, earlier this year, I discovered that Marclay had actually put out a record compiled of selections from the performances himself, mixing everything into his own collage and including locked grooves on the B side. I remember signing a release form when agreeing to the gig but never heard anything about a physical release but there it is. A beautiful embossed snowflake adorns the plain white cover and there’s my name on the back in the line up.

TSOC text

I’m not sure if this went out on Solid Steel at all, I have a feeling it did because I found an extended version with extra Xmas-related content edited onto the end marked as Dec’05 but the Solid Steel site has no track lists to check. It’s also very hard to do a tracklist for this as I have none of the records and it’s very chopped up. I’ve included an excellent Doors parody medley Christmas themed lyrics as a coda as it’s so well done.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to everyone, thankyou so much for subscribing, it means a lot. There are many more hours of mixes and stories to fill 2021 and beyond. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and discovered some great music along the way. I have at least three physical releases in production for release in 2021 including a reissue of ‘Kaleidoscope’ with an extra double album of unheard music from 20+ years ago. See you on the other side…

Kev

Mixcloud Select – Bendy Uptempo Funk + The Rocket 14/02/99

Bendy : Rocket : Chicago

Special request upload for Anton Kibeshev: an early 1999 mix that was part of a show with Funki Porcini on Solid Steel although, sadly, the Funki Porcini part is missing as he must have recorded it elsewhere. I transferred these mixes from a DAT earlier in the year but part of the first mix is missing, there was something else on the tape recorded over it (part of an Autechre live set I think). It’s only the first track and a half but it bought the first mix – titled ‘Bendy Uptempo Funk’ – in at 24 minutes so I thought I’d couple it up with the second set – ‘The Rocket’ to make it to nearly an hour. Next week is Xmas so I’ll dig out something suitably themed.

There’s a lot here that I don’t recall, most of it would have been current buys/releases and I always seem to recall that the end of the 90s was a bit patchy after the yearly new genres that the rest of the decade had sprung on us. There’s plenty to digest here though, First Born ‘The Mood Club’ still gets plays out from a great little 7” with a variety-speed mix on the B side., Klute’s ‘Blood Rich’ has aged well, The Fantastic Plastic Machine remix was from a Japanese remix album of anime soundtracks I think.

310’s ‘Prague Rock’ EP is something I return to annually, 5 tracks of classic British Prog Rock chopped and sliced into polyrhythmic soundscapes on the Leaf label, all totally illegal samples from giants like Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. It’s fantastic, every track a winner and I’ve never heard anything else come close aside from some early DJ Shadow productions. The record is easy to find and sells for around £2 on Discogs and was only ever a promo because of the samples. ‘The Voice of Britain’ is a Genesis cut up and the video on YouTube just adds to the weirdness, honestly, this is one of my all time favourite sample records ever, still sounds fresh 21 years later and 310’s own productions are nothing to be sniffed at either, amazing skills. You can hear and download it for free via their site including 2 remixes not on the 12”

Bendy DAT

‘Trama Nella Metropoli’ is one of the only old tracks here but it was new to me via a compilation that the Karminisky Experience Inc had given to me of old I Marc 4 tracks, this was one of the first legal library compilations out there and they still drop this track to this day. Apologies for my abstract / awful scratching into Q-Bert’s ‘Redworm’, I was so into this kind of turntablism in the mid to late 90s, unfortunately this kind of 100% purism rarely formed into anything other than a technically impressive but rather mediocre arrangement. Tracks like ‘Bear Witness’ were a far better showcases of exceptional Q-bert’s skills.

Part 2 is called ‘The Rocket’ – I have absolutely no idea why. Dodo kicks it off who was a quirky producer affiliated with the Digidub collective for a while I think who seemed to make a couple of singles and an album and then disappear. Roots Manuva’s excellent ‘Motion 5000’ sounds so good, loved this era of Rodney’s music but this Black Dog track I have no memory of. Tom Tyler made some great records for D C Recordings for a while and it looked like he was going to go the same way as The Cinematic Orchestra but it seems like he’s not made a record for 15 years according to Discogs. DJ Vadim finishes things off with the first single from his then second album which reminds me of a story connected to this date.

Valentine’s Day 1999 – I was living in the basement of a converted mental hospital in Camberwell, sharing with The Herbaliser’s Ollie Teeba and had gone to Sunday dinner with my girlfriend at her parents’ place in South West London. Midway through the afternoon her dad burst into the room, ‘It’s Ollie on the phone, you’ve been burgled, they’ve taken everything’, he deadpanned. Just like that, I didn’t know whether to be shocked at the message or his directness, it was a terrible piece of news to receive so we drove back to South East London to find that they hadn’t actually taken everything but had had a good root around and made off with a fair bit.

My decks and mixer went, that was gutting, not only because I needed them but because they were my first Technics, bought with money my late grandmother had left me when I first came to London. As a student, Technics were out of my price range and I wasn’t so foolish as to spend my grant on them and live off toast for the rest of the year. I wanted the money she left me to mean something so invested it in a pair of secondhand decks as I knew they would repay themselves several times over. One of them had been customised too with a black and yellow reverse switch, so if you ever come across a 1210 with an extra switch near the on/off button then it was probably mine. So this mix here is the last one made on my original turntables.

My Mac computer, monitor (one of the super heavy blocks, pre-iMac), money and a camera also went. Luckily I had an internal door lock on my room so they couldn’t actually get into the rest of the flat so Ollie’s room escaped untouched but my first thought was the work that was on the computer. One of the projects was the artwork for this Vadim single and forthcoming album as well as early designs for The Herbaliser’s ‘Very Mercenary LP. Another thing was an external drive under the table that had all my work for the ‘Kaleidoscope’ LP so far on it, luckily they’d ripped the wires out and left it, just taking the monitor and tower. That was an unhappy Valentine’s Day.

Bendy PRS

I’ve not included the ‘Unreleased Chicago Connection’ set as it was fairly minimal and was mainly taken up with Bundy K Brown‘s 18 minute Ariel M remix, all the material came from a DAT he sent me at this time when we were working on ‘Full Bleed’ for the aforementioned DJ Food album. The Chicago Underground Trio track has long since come out although I’m not sure if the Red Red Meat track ever made it.

Part 1 – Bendy Uptempo Funk
The Isolationist – Intro (from original tracklist, missing here)
Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra – Daunerfisch
Klute – Blood Rich
Firstborn – The Mood Club
Fantastic Plastic Machine – Theme From Lupin the 3rd (FPM Reconstruction mix)
310 – The Voice of Britain
I Marc 4 – Trama Nella Metropoli
Q-Bert – Redworm

Part 2 – The Rocket
Dodo – Iridium
Ian Simmonds – N.V.Y.
Third Eye Foundaion – Fear Of A Wack pPlanet
Roots Manuva – Motion 5000
The Black Dog – Babylon (Blue mix)
Tom Tyler – Swing Children
DJ Vadim – Friction

Zappa documentary by Alex Winter

Alex Winter’s new Zappa documentary is an amazing treasure chest of delights and essential for any fans of the man and his music. Given access to his legendary vault, Winter spent 2 years transferring and restoring films and tapes of every kind to build the visual elements and it’s incredible. Along the way he also came across lots of Frank’s original artwork including flyers and greeting cards he drew as a jobbing artist in the 60s. This is another string to his bow that is rarely acknowledged but always a treat to see. Below are some screen grabs, check out the doc if you can, go here to find it www.thezappamovie.com plus there’s a soundtrack available.

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PS: I know this last one is a Cal Schenkel illustration – for more Zappa art go here and here

The Real Tuesday Weld Xmas card 2020

3 CD template back 2020 webI designed this year’s The Real Tuesday Weld Xmas card for the very patient Stephen Coates :) – very limited 3″ CD in fold out sleeve – link to buy here. I’ve also been hard at work on a trilogy of album sleeves for him this year, the first of which – ‘Blood’ – is at the pressing plant now and should see the light early next year to be followed by ‘Dreams’ and ‘Bone’ later.

Mixcloud Select 36 – Strictly’s Home Economix Part 2 31/05/1998

MS36 Kev:Riz 18:01:98 PRSIt seems apt to kick off with UNKLE’s Silver Apples-sampling ‘Rock On’ seeing as Simeon Cox passed away a few months back. DJs were catching onto krautrock, moog, library and psychedelia by the end of the 90s as new avenues from the by this time well-depleted soul, funk and jazz sample staples of much hip and trip hop. London was awash with bootlegs from the US and Italy of all sorts throughout that decade with many spurious compilations appearing laden with choice treats plucked from closely guarded digger’s secrets, sometimes with fake names. I think I chanced upon a boot of the first Silver Apples album around this time, the originals were out of my prices range but no matter, the music was there and this was still before sites offering copious such treasures for free download. In a way, the piracy of the physical form was killed by mp3s and the like in the Wild West Web of the 00s although there were still some doing the respectable thing and licensing library compilations like Jonny Trunk, Martin Green and Mark B.

Of the tracks here, only UNKLE, David Holmes and Red Snapper still seem to be active, The Sons of Silence were an interesting group on the Leaf label who put out a great cut up promo 12” with a B side called ‘The Golden Age of Men’s Music’, you can find it very cheap and it samples some very big names as well as another mysterious 12” called Black Helicopters which cuts up Led Zeppelin and Kenneth Williams. Cartel Productions I’d completely forgotten about, this was from a Clear Records side label called REEL Discs and sounds very like Kirk Degiorgio to me but is actually Dave Kempston aka Clatterbox. The Trolley Dollies was something to do with DJ Harvey and samples Mort Garson’s ‘Hair Pieces’ extensively I think. At the time he was doing his Black Cock re-edit boots with Kraftwerk and Dick Hymen cut ups that were big in clubs. Not sure what Buddy Rich and Tom Jones were doing in here, probably big club records at the time, Rich having been sampled by All Seeing I and Jones having a nice breakdown. David Holmes remixes Red Snapper to finish, pre-empting his later alias, The Free Association, with all manner of psychedelia, he must have done his Essential Mix around this time where he surprised everyone by pulling out a crate of funk, rock and psych instead of the techno he was known for.

NB: – the DAT and box pictured above isn’t the same one that this session came from, I did two separate shows with Riz from Neotropic and, although this was one of them, the other is on the DAT pictured. I’m 99% certain the date on this show is correct.

Track list:
U.N.K.L.E. – Rock On (Nutcracker mix)
Depth Charge – Romario (Rio Percussion Unit mix)
Sons of Silence – Vibra Slap (Ronnie & Clyde mix)
Cartel Productions – Park Central
The Trolly Dollies – Spacecake
Buddy Rich – The Beat Goes On
Tom Jones – Looking Out My Window
Red Snapper  – Bogeyman (David Holmes remix)

Mixcloud Select 35 – Strictly’s Home Economix 31/05/1998

MS35 Strictly Home Economix pt.1 DATThis is an odd set although I’m enjoying discovering some forgotten gems in these end of the 90s sets recently. The track list was labeled ‘Strictly’s Home Economix’ which suggests (to my mix-titling logic) that it was recorded at home. It came off a DAT originally and has none of the Solid Steel jingles or chat on it so bears out this theory and the levels are all over the place which also suggests that it was recorded straight to portable a DAT player that I had around the end of the 90s.

When we recorded sets at KISS or the Ahead of Our Time studio there would always be someone on hand to watch the desk levels and even things out or the signal would go through some sort of limiter. Some of the mixes here are pretty slack too so I wasn’t yet into the mix/edit stage of my Solid Steel sets that I’d begin around 1999/2000 – this is all still one-take, slips and slides and all. There was no date on the track list or the DATbut it was part of a show with Riz Maslen aka Neotropic and I remember we did a couple together around this time, one was at the studio but this one can’t have been. DK had the answer in his Solid Steel PRS archive, it was from 31/05/1998.

There are 3 parts on the DAT, with one very ambient / illbient / deep jazz set of nearly 30 minutes that I’ll spare you because A) it’s not that interesting and B) it has some nasty distortion on some of the tracks. It’s highly likely that it was never transmitted for just that reason. Regardless, there are two other parts that bear repetition on the tape, the first of which is here.

Part 1 kicks off with a recording of Company Flow – featuring El-P – doing a freestyle session over an MF Doom instrumental for Solid Steel and name-checking Coldcut(s). This was cheekily recorded and pressed up by DJ Vadim for a now very rare release on Mark B’s K’Boro label. I think it only came out as a white label and a quick check on Discogs reveals it’s one of 31 TPs and now goes for around £30! I actually designed some labels for it as I was doing lots of Jazz Fudge and some K’Boro artwork at the time and later on we get a Mark B & The MUD Fam track from the same label.

A mix of hip hop and trip hop from Ninja Tune and MoWax makes up a lot of this set plus Autechre remixing Stereolab, The Cinematic Orchestra’s Jason Swinscoe remixing Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Psychonauts reconstructing label mate, Money Mark. One half of King Kooba was Charlie ‘6 Ft’ Tate who also worked with The Herbaliser on occasion and Mr Quark was a producer from France I think who did some very twisted and hilarious trip hop-ish tracks that remind me of Sukia or Kid Koala. Excuse the mix of the loose 6/8 time Arsonists out of J Swinscoe’s even looser jazz mix, should have escaped from that a lot earlier. The mix of ‘Turtle Soup’ into ‘Chat ‘Bout’ is inexcusable though, should have got a red card, really not sure what’s going on there.

Part 2 next week!

Track list: Part 1
Stereolab – Refractions in the Plastic Pulse (Autechre remix)
King Kooba – Brown Blood (Campaign mix)
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Salvation (J Swinscoe remix)
Arsonists – Geembo’s Theme
Money Mark – Push the Button
Mr Quark – Am I Really Different?
DJ Food – Turtle Soup (Wagon Christ remix)
Mark B & The M.U.D. Family – Chat ‘Bout
Money Mark – Maybe I’m Dead (Psychonauts remix)