Imaginary Landscapes film from the Vinyl Factory

An excellent film about the use of the turntable as instrument (not in the hip hop scratching sense) and especially fascinating to see as I’m currently developing something along the same lines for performance. Go here for the original article on the Vinyl Factory site and try to see Graham Dunning live if you can, what he does is incredible.
Also just premiered via Resident Advisor is a film about dubplate cutting and present in both films is Shiva Fesharecki who performs both in clubs and concert halls with turntables.

Music Declares Emergency

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Proud to add my name to this new initiative by the UK music industry calling on the government to recognise and act on climate change/emergency whilst attempting to minimize current impacts created by our sector. For more info.

Completely separately, yesterday I stumbled across this online resource, Anything But Plastic which has alternatives to everyday household items I’d not even considered replacing with greener alternatives.

I currently use Naked Larder for package-free shopping on certain items – you sign up, order from them once a month (minimum order £25) then book a pick up time to collect your order in your own containers.

And to the eBay user who gave me my first negative feedback in 18 years because I used recycled packaging to send him his record – F**K YOU!

Big Mouth podcast

BigMouthThe king of puns, Andrew Harrison, and the lovely Siân Patternden invited me back onto the Big Mouth podcast this week to review the Warp 30th anniversary, the new Thom Yorke album, Anima, and the current TV adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. The Quietus’ Luke Turner also joined us and we each chose current favourite tunes and stories we’d seen in the news recently. It you become a Patreon backer of the podcast you’ll get the show at least a day early and an exclusive ‘Extra Bit’ each week, where we describe our worst and best festival experiences this time round.

Detuned – DE:10.06 released today

DE06 front

Out today: #6 of 10 projected releases I’ve designed for the De:tuned label as they celebrate their first 10 years. One release a month, multiple combinations of great artists coming up across nine 12″s whose covers fit together to form a larger image, with a tenth remix 12″ to finish things off.

DE10 06B

Listen:

DE10 06A

Order:

Juno:
Phonica:
Bleep:
Rush Hour:
Deejay:
Clone:
Red Eye:
Norman:
Decks:
HHV:
Triple Vision:

DE06 back

Clocolan – new album album preview and pre-order

The new Clocolan album, It’s Not Too Early For Each Other, is set for release on July 19th on extremely limited cassette and DL. Preview four tracks from it here and check the lead single, Thirstland above. It seems incredible that this is getting such a limited release when the quality is so high and, elsewhere, people are fawning over utter garbage. A portion of each sale goes to Extinction Rebellion.

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New music round up – June 2019

New releases web
The current musical landscape is awash with great new music in equally great design and packaging – at least in the independent sector, I can’t speak for the mainstream because I rarely dip my toe in. On the fringes there are some fantastic records and tapes being made and I’ll attempt a potted round up here as much for my own sanity as anything else because I can barely keep up. Phew! This took ages to compile, buying links in descriptions…

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Jane WeaverLoops In The Secret Society 2xLP (Fire Records) A gentler, deeper, cosmic take on parts of Jane’s last two albums, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology, with new tracks and interludes to tie it all together into one sublime trip. Buy here NOW!

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Luke Vibert – Valvable 2xLP (Balkan Vinyl) – Luke makes an entire double album using only a Roland TB303, TR808 and JX-3P, on random variant coloured vinyl. It’s funky, minimal and instantly recognisable as Vibert. Coloured and black vinyl has sold out at the label’s Bandcamp but check the shops as black variants are shipping this week.

Various Artists – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Records) Great contemporary acid, ConSequence‘s ‘Glass Of Water’ is one of the most joyous, funky pieces of dance music I’ve heard all year. Downfall shop – warning, no digital.

Beans Lps

Beans – Triptych (Gamma Proforma) A curveball from Gamma, who ceased operations a while back, these are the last two releases from that phase of the label, finally released. The Beans album is a collection of works from 3 albums that were released simultaneously and isn’t available in any usual retailers unless directly from either Beans, artist O.Two who hand-painted all 140 of the covers or Rob at Gamma. The shame is that it’s a cracking hip hop record that’s provided one of the only breaths of fresh air I’ve heard in the genre for years. Worth it for the Broadcast-sampling ‘Pendulum’ alone, destined to be a sought after classic. Listen to selections here
DJ Krush – Cosmic Yard LP (Gamma Proforma) The Krush album was actually released late last year, also has its fair share of banging beats plus two collaborations from old cohort Toshinori Kondo and this one should at least be more generally available. *Also catch him with me in support on July 21st at Oslo, Hackney, London, plug plug*
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Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP/CD/Cassette/DL (Fire Records) One of the albums of 2019 already and a cracking live band – the comparisons with Stereolab and Broadcast are warranted but only a starting point, they’re far more cosmic than that. Beautiful artwork, spiral picture disc version and full colour fold out band poster – a very special record, why they’re not bigger is a mystery to me. Buy here from the label or find the cassette direct from the group’s Bandcamp page.

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The Relations – Night’s Prelude cassette/DL (Spun Out Of Control) – CorrelationsNeil Hale unveils a multi-collaboration side project with touches of psychedelia, krautrock and a lovely cover by Eric Adrian Lee. Buy digital here

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Justin Hopper & Sharron Kraus w The Belbury Poly – Chanctonbury Rings LP/CD/DL (Ghost Box)
Another essential GB release – see full review here

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Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette/DL (Miracle Pond) Beautiful ambient music from one man graphic factory Nick Taylor on his new Miracle Pond label, is there no end to this man’s talent? Buy Miracle Pond releases.

Humaoid LP

The Future Sound of London – Yage LP/DL / Humanoid – Built By Humaoid LP/CD/DL (FSOLDigital) – While they finish their Amorphous Androgynous magnum opus, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’, there’s more than enough to keep hungry FSOL fans happy. ‘Yage’ from their Dead Cities album has been revived, remixed and expanded into an album and Brian has reactivated his Humanoid alias for a new album of acid experimentation. Order here, including new T-shirts, magazines, posters and more, it’s hard to keep up.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless) Back for their first LP of the year (so far) Giz decide to go glam boogie and it works! Comes with full colour fold out poster and seaweed-coloured vinyl.

Home Current LP cover

The Home Current – Civilian Leather LP (Castles In Space) A unique album of 80’s post punk electronics meets Plaid-like hyper-detailed composition, a real mixed bag of a record, sometimes sounding more like a compilation because of the variety of styles. Lovely Nick Taylor cover and inserts too Check it out here

Heat Death – Dalham LP (Castles In Space) – Shades of Boards of Canada permeate this album of instrumental electronica on the now essential Castles In Space label. There’s more going on here than mere BoC pastiche though, I’ve not had enough time with it to fully immerse yet, hear a couple of tracks on the mix below to judge for yourself. Or preview / buy here

Andy Votel – Archipelagogo cassette (Hypocrite) Soundtrack to the exhibition of Felt Mistress and Jonathon Edwards figures inspired by the work of Tove Jansson and first release under the Votel name for a while.
Colours May Vary in Leeds have copies.

Simon James Cosmic Surgery
Simon James – Cosmic Surgery cassette / DL (Spun Out Of Control) Soundtrack previously only available with a book gets a full release via the excellent Spun Out Of Control label. It’s hard to keep up with James’ output of late, not only did he release a tape on Nick Luscombe‘s Musicity label of foley and Buchla recordings in China but also has a meditation/relaxation release entitled Space No Space out on Golden Ratio Frequencies at the beginning of July.

Posthuman – Voyager 3 cassette (The Dark Outside) More cassette-only madness with The Dark Outside and a concept album based on the (possibly fictitious – or is it?) Voyager 3 space probe from Posthuman. More ambient than acid, this tape goes deep and needs the full headphone treatment for full effect. Unfortunately this is all sold out so it’s a hunt on the secondary market for this one. UPDATE: Digital is now available here

WXAXRXP

Various artists – WXAXRXP 30 broadcasts (NTS) Boards of Canada dropping a rare mix of inspirations scattered with little unreleased sketches from their archive, Autechre delving into their unreleased pre-Warp tape archive, Brian Eno with Extinction Rebellion, Aphex Twin live sets, a vintage mix tape made by Trish from Broadcast, unreleased Mark Pritchard club edits, Warp really know how to celebrate a birthday in style. 100 hours of exclusive material, they even played my Blech 20.1 mix from 10 years ago as well apparently :)

If you want to hear some of the above then here’s a recent Out Of The Wood radio show I did for WNBC.London which features selections from about 50% of the above and other recent purchases.

Forthcoming:
Clocolan – It’s Not Too Early For Each Other cassette, July

As One – Communion LP (De:tuned) – First new album from Kirk DeGiorgio in 10 years with a cover by yours truly. Also don’t forget the monthly DE.10 releases (up to #5 currently) of a variety of artists celebrating a decade of the Belgian techno label. Listen on their Soundcloud

DeT 1-3covers

TS Cit Input
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input mini LP (Polytechnic Youth) Who knows what this will bring but the previous LP was one of my albums of the year.
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King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardInfest The Rat’s Nest – yes, another LP, album no.15, merely 2 months after the last, rumour is that this is the heavy thrash record fans have been waiting for.

King Giz, new vidz

Nutters, no idea what is going on but looks like the thrash metal album is go
Invest The Rat’s Nest – album XV – out Aug 16th on Flightless Records
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– Deluxe yellow and black galaxy wax (2000 copies)
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– Deluxe black smokey wax with brown, red & gold heavy splatter (2000 copies)
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– Deluxe highlighter yellow wax with blue & green splatter (2000 copies)

– Gatefold sleeve with matte lamination
– 24″ x 36″ fold out wall poster
– 4″ iron on embroidered patch
– Record sleeve comes packaged in a custom paper bag
– Comes with FLAC Lossless Download of the album

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Funki Porcini Fast Asleep poster reprint

funki cover 3#throwbackthursday
Back in 2002 I designed the cover for Funki Porcini’s ‘Fast Asleep‘ album (with additional photography by Martin LeSanto-Smith). Ninja Tune then blew the image up to 1m square fly posters to advertise it. You can see one in the living room above the decks in Shaun of the Dead and one hung behind the counter in my local, Rat Records in Camberwell, for years.

SOTD FP poster

Now, Funki’s made a limited edition reproduction of that poster (on better paper too) available from his Bandcamp. While you’re there check out his back catalogue including brand new album, ‘Studio 59’.

Detuned – DE:10.05 released today

DE05 front
Out today: #5 of 10 projected releases I’ve designed for the De:tuned label as they celebrate their first 10 years. One release a month, multiple combinations of great artists coming up across nine 12″s whose covers fit together to form a larger image, with a tenth remix 12″ to finish things off.DE10 05B

Listen:

DE10 05A

Pre-order:
Phonica
Juno
Bleep
Clone
Rush Hour
Red Eye
Norman
Deejay
Decks
HHV
Triple Vision

DE05 back

Nights Over London radio show premiere

Kev & George

A couple of weeks ago I joined friend George Stewart-Lockhart at Soho Radio to chat about my clubbing experiences from the 80s to present. George has a new show at the second Soho Radio building just opened on Broadwick St. He has an old head on young shoulders and his show aims to interview people who have been around a bit, seen and done things and can honestly use the LCD Soundsystem adage, “I was there”.

We cover the mid to late 80’s hip hop and acid house era, the 90’s chill out clubs, Blue Note and Ninja Tune nights, the 00’s mash up scene and the Solid Steel residency which continued throughout the decade from London to Bristol. I also bought along a handful of records that resonated with me as being key milestones or reminders of these days but I have to stress, this is just my take on things, my memory is fairly good on dates but we’re going back over 30 years here in places.

DJ Food records

Chanctonbury Rings album by Justin Hopper, Sharron Kraus & The Belbury Poly

Chanct CD front The newest release from Ghost Box is another leftfield curveball, even for a label so esoteric. In a scene currently awash with acts sporting tenuous back stories to the origins of their material (usually involving Satanic rituals, fictitious B-movie composers or uncovered master tapes), GB has unearthed a tale deeply rooted in UK history. In the South of England lies Chanctonbury Ring, an ancient site that contains a hill-fort and a ring of beech trees said to be haunted or the site of weird visitations. Scour the web and you’ll find numerous accounts of incidents said to have taken place there at different times of year from unnatural acts to strange sightings.

Chanct CD insideJustin Hopper, an American writer based in the UK, takes us on a journey to the Rings where several occurrences make his trip more than a quiet ramble in the countryside. His soft American accent is in stark contrast to the very British history and myth he explores but it works and bears repeated listens. Accompanying him musically is Sharron Kraus, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist who has previously appeared on the final Other Channels 7″ release from the label. I can’t say I was a huge fan of that release personally so I approached this album with some trepidation but needn’t have worried as, aided by Belbury Poly aka Jim Jupp, she fleshes out Justin’s observations beautifully with just enough to evoke the scenes he’s witnessing.

Chanct CD disc

Much like the best examples of Mike Mignola‘s original Hellboy comics, where ancient local myths and locations are explored in silent panels before a big reveal, Chanctonbury Rings, weaves its tale over 16 short chapters/tracks that work best as a whole rather than singularly. Listened to in one continuous, seamless sitting it has some genuinely affecting moments and I wasn’t expecting to be so easily transported to the South Downs whilst sitting at a computer in my concrete residence in such a busy city. The album explores and unsettles as it unfolds and I imagine would be quite the companion in headphones on a walk through the countryside it describes. Top marks to all involved for pushing out of the usual comfort zone but still exploring the essence of the hauntology genre the label is known for.
Pre-order it here: LP/CD/DL
Chanct CD back

To launch the above album, Ghost Box and Trunk records are holding an incredible gig on June 21st in London, featuring Justin and Sharron performing live, Pye Corner Audio, The Soundcarriers soundtracking a Julian House film, Jonny Trunk and Robin The Fog playing original Basil Kirchin tapes, a Wisbey request set, DJ sets, T-shirt printing, food and an exhibition of Clay Pipe Music artwork.

GB Summer Solstice poster

Kubrick, Kunz and Quant in London

Last weekend I did the rounds of some current and newly-opened exhibitions in London, Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum, Emma Kunz at The Serpentine and Mary Quant at the V&A.

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I wouldn’t call myself a Kubrick fan particularly but I’ve always been drawn to the design and imagery in 2001 and A Clockwork Orange in particular and this exhibition doesn’t disappoint on those fronts with many examples of props, artwork and ephemera associated with the films on display at close quarters. Philip Castle‘s airbrush paintings and foreign logo designs are a treat as are the Allan Jones-esque Korova Milk Bar figures and Droog costume.

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If you’re a Kubrick fan who hasn’t visited his archive I’d say there is probably everything you could want here. It was particularly nice to view Saul Bass’ concepts for The Shining poster up close complete with letters to Kubrick and the latter’s rejection comments.

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Emma Kunz was a wild card, I’d never heard of her but seen the work online and decided to give it a go as I was nearby. Not hugely impressive technically and with little to explain what and why she’d chosen to make these drawings with the most perfunctory titles, I was a little underwhelmed. The art was very hard to photograph in the light of the Serpentine so don’t take these as the complete picture.

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For Mary Quant I went for the packaging and graphics more than the clothes (although plenty were to my taste). The slightly confusing layout of the exhibits took some navigating if you wanted a chronological experience but the display design was excellent. I left wanting just a bit more than was on display and if this had been coupled with the content of the recent Fashion & Textlie Museum contents along similar lines then I think it would have felt more fulfilling.

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Flexi discs on the OST show

Flexis OSTI was happy to be asked onto Jonny Trunk’s OST show on Resonance FM yesterday to feature various selections from my flexi disc collection. Listen back to our Flexible Finds and Wobbly Sounds from earlier, lots of stupidity and hilarity, inc.Star Wars, Biz Markie covering Elton John, Humpty Dumpty, Fenella Fielding, Ken Nordine, Blondie doing a Christmas version of Rapture and a silly competition.

Detuned – DE:10.04 released today

DE04 front
Out today: #4 of 10 projected releases I’ve designed for the De:tuned label as they celebrate their first 10 years. One release a month, multiple combinations of great artists coming up across nine 12″s whose covers fit together to form a larger image, with a tenth remix 12″ to finish things off. This one comes with an extra Peshay track as a digital download too.
DE10 04B

Listen:

Buy:
Red Eye: https://bit.ly/2Vzl9T6
Bleep: https://bit.ly/2uNPfqm
Norman Records: https://bit.ly/2FSdQiW
Intense Records: https://bit.ly/2D1Y6t7
Juno: https://bit.ly/2YQzYDb
Clone: http://bit.ly/2UtbpZy
Deejay: http://bit.ly/2XAEB2O
Decks: http://bit.ly/2GzOKqH
HHV: http://bit.ly/2UOU02o
Triple Vision: http://bit.ly/2W3edOw

DE10 04A
DE04 back

Kevin O’Neill miscellany ‘Cosmic Comics’ from Hibernia Comics

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Hibernia Comics, who published the excellent ‘Beyond 2000AD’ a few years back, have a new release that taps into possibly the ultimate Thrill Powered nostalgia-fest yet – a miscellany of Kevin O’Neill artwork called Cosmic Comics. Collecting covers, short story illustrations, mock up adverts and full runs of his Captain Klep (first published in Tornado) and Dash Decent (from 2000AD).
A 68 page collection in full colour and black & white, we’re treated to Kev’s first forays into comic strip work, one-off cover stories and other oddities that don’t cross over into his ABC Warriors, Dredd or Nemesis work. Starting in the late 70s and progressing through to the late 80s (although mostly rooted in the earlier part of the decade) it’s dripping with detail and creativity as we witness the glory years where he made his reputation as one of the clutch of artists responsible for 2000AD’s first golden age. This is the collection I’ve been waiting for for 30 years and never thought I’d see so I’ll be buying it as soon as I can and hats off to David McDonald at Hibernia for putting this together. Buy it here for the princely sum of £8 (Earth Money).
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