New ‘Above The Clouds’ guest Mix for Jonny Cuba radio show

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Long time friend and music ally, Jonny Cuba – of Dynamic Syncopation / Soundsci / Other Mirror and more – invited me to make a mix for his new radio show / podcast via the Jason Charles podcast network. Each show is themed with a different guest choosing the theme and providing a 30 minute – this episode’s is ‘Above The Clouds’.

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The Bureau of Lost Culture: The Comix Underground with Tony Bennett

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I had the absolute pleasure to spend an afternoon recently at Soho Radio with Stephen Coates and special guest Tony Bennett, the founder of Knockabout Comics  – underground and alternative publisher since 1975. We chat to Tony about his history in the counter culture, publishing some of the greats of the genre from Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Alan Moore, Hunt Emerson and more including his run-ins with the law, customs officers and trials for obscenity.

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It’s hard to think of another publisher who has done more in the underground comics medium in the UK and Tony was a delight to chat to. He bought along a whole pile of books for Stephen and I including a copy of his very first self-published and very hard to find comic, Trip Strip from the early 70s. Pictured above are just a handful of the comics Knockabout have printed and distributed over the years – for more check their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/knockaboutcomics/

Trip Strip

Mixcloud Select 57: All Quiet On The Western Front 31/05/04

MS57 CDR This was taken from the end of a show I opened with 45 minutes of REALLY odd/awful versions of songs in ways that you wouldn’t expect. I was obviously still into the mash up thing as it pitted Melle Mel with Grenadier Guards, Dick Hyman covering James Brown, an Adam & the Ants cut up and Autechre reworking Rakim (from a live set by the group themselves). A set of tunes named after days of the week are shoehorned together by some unknown creator while Beyonce and Destiny’s Child get twisted into reggae and ragtime styles. It went on and was all a bit of a car crash, lots of it had aged pretty badly so I won’t be featuring it here I’m afraid – believe me, I’ve spared you. But that was version 1 – I’ve since discovered that I felt pretty much the same way back in 2004 and reworked the mix into something much better which I’ll share next week.

Si Begg aka Cabbageboy was the guest that week and then I wrapped up the show with this 30 minute mix which has faired far better over the 17 years since it was first broadcast. Around the early 00’s we had a competition for listeners to rework the show intro and were inundated with material, it was a seriously difficult job choosing favourites. One of mine was by someone under the name of Pangaea who made a beautifully musical version using the bleeps we provided which opens this set.

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As you might guess from the mix title, this is a restrained affair featuring music for the quieter hours. Max Richter’s ‘The Blue Notebooks’ are featured twice, from the original release on Fat Cat sub label 130701 and this was the first time I’d heard of him. It’s a beautiful album and has since been quite rightly reissued after his later success. Stunningly atmospheric late night music, I used to listen to it in headphones, working to the early hours and it’s all too short. Neotropic appears from a compilation called ‘Crossfaded: Vol.2’ which I don’t remember at all, or it could have come from a CDr Riz gave me at the time because this track also appeared on her ‘White Rabbits’ LP four years later.

This is a far more mature set than the one that preceded it with M Craft and Animal Collective providing some contemporary folk songs before The Free Design beam in from the 60s. I think their records were being rediscovered and reissued around this time and Stones Throw did a series of remix EPs. I have no idea how Status Quo got to close the show but I was delving into psychedelia around this time and was surprised to find out that their early, pre-denim riffing was quite a bit different. From their second album, ‘Spare Parts’, and not written by the group, it’s a full on post-Sgt. Pepper ‘flower children’ epic with strings and brass but they were a little behind the times with this arriving in ’69 and it was a commercial flop. They changed musical course after this, dropped the psychedelia and the rest is history…

* Dates on the CDR refer to when the mixes were recorded, the PRS sheet says 28th, Solid Steel.net says 31st.

Track list:
Pangaea – Solid Steel intro
Max Richter – The Blue Notebooks
Neotropic – Feeling Remote
Max Richter – Shadow Journal
M Craft – Cone To My Senses
Animal Collective – Leaf House
The Free Design – 2002 A Hit Song
Satus Quo – Mr Mind Detector

Mixcloud Select 56: Strictly Kev – Space! The vinyl frontier 21/05/2001

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From almost 20 years ago, a space-themed mix which was a favourite of Dean Smith who worked in the licensing dept. at Ninja Tune HQ at the time. I’d be lying if I said eyebrows weren’t raised with the inclusion of Destiny’s Child in this mix, I even remember a few annoyed comments from punters when DK and I dropped them into a mix at Cargo months later for the ‘Now, Listen launch party. But whatever, a good song is a good song, it was also the dawn of the mash up as you can hear but the inclusion of the Girls On Top mix of the Human League and TLC, one of the first of this wave. Frederick & Nina was an alias for Paul Jason Fredericks and Riz Maslen aka Neotropic and featured on one of her Council Folk releases with this great little samba.

Brian Eno made one of his best albums in 2001 and few people noticed, ‘Drawn From Life’, a collaboration with percussionist J. Peter Schwalm is full of beautiful tracks and features Laurie Anderson, Holger Czukay, Leo Abrahams and more. The strings in ‘Persis’ reminded me of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Suite Revenge’ from the Deathwish soundtrack so I added that next then remembered that the Major Force West album on Mo Wax a few years before contained a track which had sampled them.
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The space theme really only starts at Tom Dissevelt’s ‘Drifting’, a favourite from a 4-track 7” I’d found recently by the Dutch electronic pioneer. I’d also found a huge National Geographic box set with a book about man in space with several records telling the story of the space race. I added choice bits of this into the set at certain intervals and they can be heard from here on. An excerpt from Jimmy Cauty’s Space project follows, this was due to be The Orb’s debut album but Jimmy and Alex Paterson had a disagreement and it was put out under this name without Alex’s contributions, it’s so sparse that it makes ‘Chill Out’ seem full on.

Banabila is Michel Banabila from a 12” on Pork Recordings, the only thing he did for them, I really need to check him out, he’s done loads of albums and is still recording. Neotropic in This Mortal Coil mode precedes the opening track from Autechre’s ‘Confield’ album and then more Space. An excerpt from Harold Budd’s ‘The Pavilion of Dreams’ appears before Joe Meek closes the set with a track from his legendary ‘I Hear A New World’ LP that had recently been rediscovered and bootlegged.

*The difference in the dates on the CD and the BBC card is most likely because Solid Steel went out on a Monday evening when we were broadcasting on the radio with the corporation and then go up on the web on the Friday after.

Track list:
Simian – The Wisp
Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Timbaland mix)
Squarepusher – Red Hot Car
Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (original mix)
Girl’s On Top – Being Scrubbed
Frederick & Nina – Running
Eno & Schwalm – Persis
Herbie Hancock – Suite Revenge (excerpt)
Major Force West – Sonic Scale For Percussion No.113
Tom Dissevelt – Drifting
Space – Space (excerpt 1)
Eno & Schwalm – Bloom
Banabila – Voices from a Secret World
Neotropic – Cornershop Candy
Autechre – VI Scose Poise
Space – Space (excerpt 2)
Harold Budd – Bismillahi Rrahmani Rrahim
Joe Meek – Valley of No Return

Mixcloud Select 55: Strictly Kev Solid Steel 06/05/2002

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Almost 19 years ago today I opened a Solid Steel show of two halves, the 2nd being taken up by my deconstruction of DJ Shadow’s ‘The Private Press’ album under the title, ‘Press Cuttings’. That mix is already on my Mixcloud and Soundcloud so I won’t be posting it but the half hour that preceded it has a lot to recommend it too.

Kicking off with The Flashbulb totally destroying LL Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’, this is an acquired taste but I love it and can’t hear the original without thinking of how some of the lines are mangled here. This of course was during the period where mash ups were big news and I was constantly looking for things of this ilk that would push the boundaries of how well known songs were retro-fitted with others. Scuzzy Buffer Underrun’s version of The Orb’s ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ was just such an example and there was a whole site full of these kind of versions. Using an artificial speech generator to replace lyrics was something that I thought was going to be the next fad in the mash up genre but it never caught on.

At the time a lot of this material was only available via the web so lots were downloaded and burned onto CD-Rs and I’d use a Numark CDJ in my sets in addition to the two turntables. This particular model could pitch up or down + or -100% with pitch lock and you can hear this in the playing of Negativland’s ‘Yellow, Black and Rectangular’ which is pitched right down to mix in to the “purple and red and yellow…” of The Orb (see what I did there?). You can hear the fragmented audio throughout the start and it gradually speeds up to the 124bpm of the Wookie track.

The mix from ‘Scrappy’ into 808 State’s ‘Cubik’ caught me off guard listening again, I’d noticed the similarity of the descending bass lines in both and scratched the latter to fit the former. This is a really random set with The Herbaliser’s serious overhaul of their own ‘Something Wicked’ track in the form of a bossa nova which, to me, is even better than the original. Another rework that radically retools the original is the Lotek version of Roots Manuva’s ‘Dreamy Days’ which rolls into an excerpt from Steinski’s as then unreleased ‘Nothing To Fear’ mix. Coupling Nelly and Marvin Gaye and peppering it with references to weed hence the subsequent track about marijuana that follows.

Tracklist:
The Flashbulb – Mama Said Knock You Out
Scuzzy Buffer Underrun – Little Fluffy Clouds
Negativland – Yellow, Black and Rectangular
Wookie – Scrappy
808 State – Cubik
The Herbaliser – Something Wicked (Bossa remix)
Evolution Control Committee – K-Tel-commercial
Roots Manuva – Dreamy Days (Lotek Bonanza Relick)
Steinski/Nelly/Marvin Gaye – Country Grammar
unknown – Marijuana

Part 2 can be heard here: https://www.mixcloud.com/strictlykev/press-cuttings-the-private-press-compacted/

Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void vinyl pre-order

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Online today is the vinyl version of the Celestial Mechanic album, ‘Citizen Void’, that I co-wrote with Saron Hughes last year. The album is a soundtrack of sorts to Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX – a novel, graphic’ after he tasked us with created the actual music for a fictitious album review featured in the book.

The release which is immaculately designed by Rian, is a lavish package featuring an LP and 7″ on yellow vinyl with inner sleeves, 12″x12″ print and original album press release. The cover is finished with silver ink and features a slightly reworked version of the sleeve that appears in Rian’s book. Part of the book focusses on an alien signal from space that is detected on Earth and is used at one point to make an album, a QR code inside takes the reader to a Bandcamp page with the music on it. For more info see my original post about the book.

Upon release we were contacted by Alex Egan of Utter who was excited to put it out on vinyl to compliment other multi media entries on his label. We had a problem in that ‘side 1’ of the album on the digital release was 30 minutes long and an LP can generally only cram 24 mins tops onto one side before the sound deteriorates. After unsatisfactory edits and deleted track line ups the solution was to snip the final two tracks and place them onto a bonus 7″ – more artwork for Rian! The whole package is a perfect visual companion to the book and differs slightly from the original digital version in that side 2’s side-long epic, ‘The Signal’ is the remixed version from the follow up digital EP.

UPDATE: It’s come to my attention that the pre-order from Bandcamp now adds tax onto the record and shipping total for the LP – seemingly as a result of Brexsh*t continuing to shaft us in all sorts of ways we never could have foreseen in the name of ‘taking back control’. If you pre-order via the Phonica link you should be able to get around this. It’s limited to 300 copies so be quick if you want one – release is early July.

Mixcloud Select 54: Solid Steel DJ Food Part 2 18/01/1998

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This mix was the third part of a show where I tag-teamed with Riz Maslen aka Neotropic, each doing two half hour mixes. Recorded up at Ninja Tune HQ in Clink St before it moved and engineered by Ali Tod who added samples and effects whilst watching the levels.
A more restrained intro with Fridge’s Steve Reich-esque ’Astrozero’ from their Anglepoised release on Output Recordings blending into ‘Orgien IV’ which was a really odd LP by Khan I found in New York on tour. Khan is the brother of Cem Oral, part of Air Liquide, and they would often feature on the same compilations so I’d always look out for his work which could range from acid techno to ambient. Around the time he was living in NYC and owned a record shop in Manhattan called Temple Records (quite possibly where I found this) and a label of the same name. The album came wrapped in a huge A1 sized poster printed on newsprint that was folded around the disc.

We pick up the pace with the excellent ‘Ape Shall Never Kill Ape’ from UNKLE, possibly the last everyone-pile-into-the-studio-and-see-what-comes-out track from James Lavelle and co. before Shadow stepped in a took the reigns. It’s an excellent breaks and Planet of the Apes soundtrack cut up with scratching by Tony and Joel from The Scratch Perverts and production by Jadell but we can now see that James had his eyes on something a bit bigger in scope. This was later retitled as ‘March of the General’ and released on Nigo’s album in 2000, this would have been from a Japanese 12” release at the time I played it. A really rather ropey mix of Stasis‘Samba de Fat Bloke’ lurches into the fray and shows that just because two things are in time, they don’t necessarily go together smoothly.

I’d completely forgotten this A Reminiscent Drive track, aptly named ‘The King & The Elephant’ because it sounds like a large mammal lumbering along, from his debut album, Mercy Street on F Comm. ‘Iced Cooly’ by Boards of Canada is from their debut 12”, Twoism and yes, this was played from an original copy which I still own – proof I had one back in ’98. The Fifty Foot Hose track isn’t from an original sadly, from another one of those dodgy Italian compilations that were so prevalent in the late 90s (The Might Mellow – A Folk – Funk Psychedelic Experience) and we close with the beautiful ‘Lillian Lust’ by Dudley Moore from the Bedazzled soundtrack.

Fridge – Astrozero
Khan – Orgien IV
UNKLE feat. Nigo & Scratch Perverts – Ape Shall Never Kill Ape
Stasis – Samba de Fat Bloke
A Reminiscent Drive – The King & The Elephant
Boards of Canada – Iced Cooly
Fifty Foot Hose – Rose
Dudley Moore – Lillian Lust

Mixcloud Select 53: Solid Steel DJ Food Part 1 18/01/1998

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This mix was part of a show where I tag-teamed with Riz Maslen aka Neotropic, each doing two half hour mixes. Recorded up at Ninja Tune HQ in Clink St. before it moved and engineered by Ali Tod who added samples and effects whilst watching the levels. Ali was the resident engineer around this time and also helped mix tracks on Kaleidoscope and loads of club and live events.

The Psychedelic Beach Trip Part 3 remix of The Lightning Seeds was by Ashley Beedle, from a promo 12” of the time that includes Psychedelic Beach Funk Part 1 & 2 mixes on the flip and can be had for less than £1 on Discogs. The bizarre but brilliant version of Melle Mel and the Furious Five’s ‘White Lines’ was by UK hip hop DJ’s Pogo and Cutmaster Swift. This was from some reissue around this time and their slowing down of the song to make a jazz version using the same bassline that The Herbaliser had half-inched for ‘Scratchy Noise’ a few years earlier was pure genius. ‘King Wasp’ was Add N To X’s second single on Satellite Records before then signing to Mute and old flatmate Chantal Passamonte’s debut on Warp as Mira Calix, ‘Sandsings’, features briefly. Two takes on Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Bullit’ theme tune appear in the form of The Midnight Funk Association (a Mark Broom project) and The Black Dog’s late 90’s remix version.

The Giancarlo Gazzani ‘Under Drama’ track was alas not from an original but from the excellent set of Easy Tempo compilations out of Italy that were around at the end of the 90s. At this point there were so many comps of soundtracks, easy listening and library around, some legal, most bootlegs, that it was hard to keep up but these were definitely good ones and ran to ten volumes by 2003. Tadashi Takatsuka’s ‘Odd Job’ was from a great little 4 track 7” EP titled Man From Electone that I must have picked up in Tokyo on tour.

The Lightning Seeds – Psychedelic Beach Trip Part 3
Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five – White Lines (Swift & Pogo mix)
Kid Loco – Relaxin’ With Cherry
Add N To X – King Wasp
Mira CalIx – Sandsings
Midnight Funk Organisation – Byte The Bullet
Lalo Schifrin – Bullit (Black Dog mix)
Giancarlo Gazzani – Under Drama
Tadashi Takatsuka – Odd Job
Rhys Chatham – Domestik Life

Songs To Enlighten mix for the Tales To Enlighten Kickstarter

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Earlier this year I put together this mix for Megatrip as a sweetener to accompany the ‘Tales To Enlighten’ Kickstarter that began on April 1st. It’s the second of three sets made to add some more online content to push the fundraiser along during the month. We didn’t need it as the book was funded in 6 hours and continues to gain ground, currently at four times its target! Regardless, not wanting to let a good mix go to waste Matt is pushing ahead with them anyway with Bobby Corridor’s Trip Hop Faster mix debuting last week and mine this.

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Given the heavy religious content of the book I decided to do a second mix of religious rock and spiritual spoken word. Following on from the first one, Songs Of Praise – which featured on Shane Quentin‘s Garden of Earthly Delights radio show last year – here’s Songs To Enlighten, more of the same with spoken sample contributions from Megatrip’s Soundbank library. It’s an hour long romp through rock operas and church run label releases by obscure bands spreading the good word and has been a joy to put together. Go here for the full lowdown including a download of the mix.

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If you’re not familiar with the Kickstarter and enjoy blasphemous anarchy, psychedelic mayhem and a load of great art then take a look as there’s still two weeks left to go even though the project is funded. This won’t be sold in book shops, it’s ready to print and a second volume is also at an advanced stage.

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Mixcloud Select 52: Openmind on Solid Steel 26/09/1993

MS52 CDR52 uploads – just over a year since this subscription started (I missed at least 1 week I think) and over hundred subscribers – thanks to everyone for the support, the newcomers just joining and the hardcore for sticking with it. There’s still plenty more to get through, in fact the amount is hard to navigate sometimes. Not only the audio but the visual too as I’ve been going through my artwork archives and digitizing lots of material like flyers, postcards, stickers, badges, posters and associated ephemera, mainly to do with Ninja Tune and my design work under the Openmind alias.

Part of this is to create an online visual archive which you can see the first few uploads of here https://www.instagram.com/openmindesign/
Please give us a follow if you want to see rare and classic Ninja Tune and Openmind items from over the last 25+ years as well as contemporary design work I’m doing. There will be lots of rarely seen promo items I’ve hoarded but what’s the point of having these things unless you share them, right? Much like the audio archive it will take years to go through all this stuff so bear with me but I will eventually be selling some of the items I have multiple copies of via my openmindesign site. Anyway, on to this week’s show…

Matt Black at KISSFM 1995

*UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me by super Solid Steel collector Anton Kibeshev, that this set was actually from 1993, not 1994!
Another early Openmind guest mix from myself – actually the second appearance – partnered with Mario Aguera on the first hour of this show while Matt Black held down the mic and jingles, seen here in the KISS studio from a later session around 1994/5 that I found this week. Ambient is still very much the order of the day but supplemented with dubbed-out beats, electronica and even a bit of pop. Matt mentions a Telepathic Fish gig we were doing around this time and I think this was the one we did at the Cool Tan in Brixton which David Toop later reviewed for some publication around the time. This was recorded up at KISS FM, live on a Saturday night with the two of us getting a cab back south of the river to the flat we shared in East Dulwich at the time.

Kicking off with two copies of the intro to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Warriors of the Wasteland (Return)’ mix faded back and forth we then go into the Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd’s collaboration – this one-off album is seriously worth tracking down. This was overlaid with S’Xpress’s ‘Coma’ (essentially ventilator breathing and sonar pings) which was only available on a 7” given away with Record Mirror magazine in the UK and was a stable of ambient sets of mine at the time. Steve Wilson’s first band, No-Man make an appearance with a Twin Peaks sample before one of the more out there KLF mixes of ‘What Time Is Love’ which comes on like a mini version of ‘Chill Out’.

It seems to be indie / electronic ping pong here with Jesus Jones remixed by Aphex Twin, This Mortal Coil next to B12 – I had a big thing for 80s 4AD at this point in time and was mining some of their back catalogue for a slightly different take on the ambient genre. The Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil were always good for this, the Future Sound of London seemed to think so too, sampling DCD and working with Liz Fraser. Nice to hear Spacetime Continuum’s debut, ‘Fluresence’ again, an ambient classic gifted to me by Mixmaster Morris and recently compiled on the excellent ‘Virtual Dreams: Ambient Exploration In The House & Techno Age 1993-1997’ compilation by Music From Memory.

The second half of the mix gets dubbier with the very end of a Moody Boys track serving as an intro to the Eurythmics from the 91/2 Weeks soundtrack. ‘Free’ (which would later appear on Coldcut’s ‘Journeys By DJ’) kicks off a trip-hop-ish section with Depth Charge woven in and out of Material’s ‘Mantra’ whilst parts of the Orb’s remix of same track surface before Dub Syndicate’s excellent ‘What Happened?’. This is on a 10” with another brilliant track on the flip that samples the soundtrack to Peter Whitehead’s ‘Tonight, Let’s All Make Love In London’. More Moody Boys in the form of ‘Pumpin Dumpin’ and then into one of my favourite Plaid tracks and a highlight of the mix where it really feels like it’s rocking. I have no idea what the bassy rim shot break is near the end, I thought it might be more Moody Boys or from some breakbeat album but nothing springs to mind, please refresh my memory if you recognise it. I play out with Minnie Riperton’s classic ‘Lovin’ You’, an obvious reference to the Orb using it on ‘An Ever Growing Pulsating Brain…’ before Matt hits the news jingle too early, live radio eh?

This whole mix evokes great times, music free-floating and experimental, making connections in the music industry and early days working with Ninja Tune as well as my flatmates under the Openmind name with our Telepathic Fish events. As well as that, having left college and started working I finally had some disposable income to spend on records and the hunt for knowledge about artists and genres was constant (still is).

Track list:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Watching The Wildlife (return)
Budd, Fraser, Guthrie, Raymond – Memory Gongs
S’Xpress – Coma
No-Man – Reich
The KLF – What Time Is Love (Virtual Reality Mix)
Jesus Jones – Zeroes & Ones (Aphex Twin Construction #2)
David Sylvian – Answered Prayers
This Mortal Coil – Firebrothers
B12 – Soundtrack To Space
Spacetime Continuum – Fluresence
The Moody Boys – Lion Dance
Eurythmics – This City Never Sleeps
The Moody Boys – Free
Depth Charge – Depth Charge
Material – Mantra (Doors of Perception mix)
Depth Charge – Depth Charge
Dub Syndicate – What Happened?
The Moody Boys – Pumpin’ Dumpin’
Plaid – Yamemm
Unknown – unknown
Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You

Big Mouth podcast – 10th April

I was asked back as a guest reviewer on Andrew Harrison and Sian Pattenden‘s excellent Big Mouth podcast this week. If you want to hear me getting tongue-tied and being largely less eloquent then Andrew, Sian and other guest Michael Hann, then hit the link. The film, Nomadland, TV series, Wellington Paranormal and new albums from Raf Rundell and Matthew E. White all get reviewed.

Mixcloud Select 51: Strictly Kev – War Is Stupid 07/04/2003

MS51 CDR Going back in time 18 years ago this week, I’ve dug out the second of the two anti-war mixes I did around the time of the Iraq war kicking off. There were plenty of songs to choose from as you can imagine and I remember performing a version of this live at the Autechre ATP, arriving super late, just as I was due to go on and setting up on stage with 2 decks and a CDJ and tearing through this in a burst of adrenalin.

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There’s a lot of angry music here as you would expect although not without its more poignant moments like the end trio of The Disposable Heroes, Roberta Flack and Timmy Thomas. A strong start with two copies of Time Zone’s classic ‘World Destruction’ sees multiple mixes cut back and forth with additional spoken word and a nice little slow down trick from 45 to 33 into Zack De La Rocha and DJ Shadow’s ‘March of Death’ (was this ever properly released?). There were a lot of spoken word cut ups criticizing or making fun of world leaders appearing on the web around this time as uploading audio became the norm although I think this is still pre-YouTube. A highlight for me is the Tackhead / S’Express section with Jello Biafra hollering over the top, stacking tracks up only to knock them down again. Sadly the world is no better off, there were no WMDs, the Chilcot Report deemed the war unnecessary and over 150,000 people died – beyond stupid.

Track list:
Time Zone – World Destruction (original/industrial remix)
Zack De La Rocha/DJ Shadow – March of Death
Trouble Funk – Drop The Bomb
Organised Konfusion – Prisoners of War
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Satanic Reverses
The The – Sweet Bird of Truth
Kurtis Blow – America (Dub/Original)
Coldcut feat. Sweet Toothed Sonny – Acid Drops (Bomb The Mix)
Unknown – The Duke of Hazzards
Bill Hicks – The War
The The – Heartland
IDC – Safe From Us
Saul Williams – Made You Look (freestyle)
Organised Konfusion – Drop Bombs
Tackhead – Mind At The End of the Tether
S’Express – Coma 2 (AM/OK)
Jello Biafra – Die For Oil Sucker
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Winter of the Long Hot Summer
Roberta Flack – Compared To What
Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together?
The KLF – America No More
Whingy Manone – Stop The War

Mixcloud Select 50: Coldcut Solid Steel 13/05/1995 JDJ warm up

MS50 Coldcut Solid Steel 13:05:1995 JDJ

If there’s one mix that I’ve found that’s the genesis of my main contributions to the Coldcut Journey’s By DJ mix then it’s this one. This was my set from a Solid Steel show, recorded at the Ahead Of Our Time studios inside Ninja Tune HQ at Clink St, London and fans of the JDJ mix will recognise many of the tracks here. There’s no finesse of the finished mix and several inclusions that didn’t make the final version (I seem to remember Public Enemy was refused) but here are some of the building blocks. Apologies for the quality, this was recorded from the radio broadcast so it’s a little ‘fluffy’ around the top end, just on the edge of distortion.

The Sabres of Paradise mix of Red Snapper was a huge tune at the time, here not yet embellished with the Dr Who theme by PC’s hand – always a supremely melodic mixer, listening for musicality over the adrenalin rush of a heavy drop. I first heard The Octagon Man being played by Rob Hall of Gescom in The Sound Shaft at Heaven for one of the Thursday night Megatripolis sessions we would sometimes play at. I knew J Saul Kane’s Depth Charge moniker but this weird electro/techno hybrid full of crazy machine gun drum programming. I found a copy as soon as I could.

The Jedi Knights were kicking off the Clear label’s mission to reinstate electro into clubland with their superb ‘Noddy Holder’ and covered several musical bases in the process. When in doubt, pull out Bam Bam’s ‘Where’s Your Child?’, I seem to have played this a lot more than I remember across sets over the years but then it is one of the greatest acid tracks of all time. Keeping with acid of a (then) modern nature is Ritchie Hawtin’s Plastikman with Coldcut’s ‘More Beats’ on 45 mixed over the top.

Depth Charge proper comes after, we really wanted this to kick off the mix but it was refused so we cheekily took the beginning spoken word only, figuring it was a sample anyway. The PE mix into it is pretty shoddy and also the 2 Player remix out of that – still learning about the different swing of beats in the mix, just because they’re the same tempo doesn’t mean they’ll slot together cleanly. The Wagon Christ remix was a no-brainer because we were all so excited about it and being on Ninja it was a dead cert, obviously it turned up elsewhere in the final mix.

Vapour Space was/is a great tune but was used as a bridge here for a tempo change to Autechre and friends under their Gescom guise. ‘Mag’ (sampling Ultra Magnetic MC’s) is still such a killer tune with that huge breakdown. I’m glad we didn’t go into the Chemical Brothers in the final mix as it changes the tone quite a lot, it would sound great in a club though. You can hear the sample, ‘This Is just the beginning, we’re just getting started’ at one point which was later used to finish the ‘Now, Listen’ Solid Steel mix, flown in from one of Coldcut’s ‘Word Treasure’ compilations of spoken word made for the radio shows. After a word from Lord Buckley from the same CD it’s PC’s turn to step up and he performs his Junior Reid/Truper mix before the tape ends, sadly I don’t have the rest of the show.

Coldcut’s brief for the mix was always that we just do what we do on the radio show but the best we’ve ever done it. To those who tuned in every week the released mix wasn’t maybe anything new but to many it seemed to be a revelation that this many different styles could be so easily mixed together on one disc.

Red Snapper – Hot Flush (Sabres of Paradise remix)
The Octagon Man – The Demented Spirit (Okugai Eigakan)
Jedi Knights – Noddy Holder
Bam Bam – Where’s Your Child?
Plastikman – Fuk
Coldcut – More Beats
Depth Charge – Depth Charge (Han Do Jin)
Public Enemy – Mi Uzi Weighs A Ton
2 Player – Extreme Possibilities (Wagon Christ remix)
Vapour Space – Gravitational Arch of 10
Gescom – Mag
Chemical Brothers – Leave Home
Lord Buckley – The Bugbird (The Raven)
Junior Reid – One Blood
The Truper – Street BeatsVol.2

Mixcloud Select 49: Openmind mix 21/05/1995 + 23/06/1995

MS49 Openmind mix 21:01:1995 + 23:06:1995

If there’s one mix that I’ve dug up so far that encapsulates the moment and excitement of the Ninja Tune label finally coming into its own and starting to release what are now considered classics of the era then it’s this mix. From early 1995 this Solid Steel set showcases track after track from the label that bring the memories flooding back, lots of these would have been played from white labels and I would have been designing the artwork for them at the same time, playing our first gigs and tours around the UK and Europe. There was also the work on the DJ Food ‘A Recipe For Disaster’ album and Coldcut’s Journeys By DJ mix (more of that next week), the first Ninja Cuts compilation and, later on, the first Stealth nights at the Blue Note.

1995 was a vintage year, I’d quit my day job at a book shop on Oxford St, was still working some weekends in the record shop Ambient Soho on Berwick St. in between gigs away with Coldcut, PC and The Herbaliser and was designing whatever Ninja Tune could throw at me. Solid Steel shows were usually pre-recorded Friday evenings at KISS FM on the Holloway Road or in Coldcut’s newly constructed Ahead of our Time studio in Clink St. This mix was the former and you can hear Matt on the mic at one point saying ‘Ninja Tune blowing up in ’95’ as there was a sense of excitement and direction at the label with lots of new signings and singles from The Herbs, Funki Porcini, London Funk Allstars, Up, Bustle & Out, Neotropic and Food of course.

Coupled with the label’s new visual identity, lexicon (see the Ninja Skinz inside notes) and the sense of purpose around the groups all working on debut albums, it made for a friendly but competitive environment. A small trickle of press interest had happened following Mo Wax’s emergence as the forerunner of the trip hop sound plus new labels like Wall of Sound and Skint were starting. The mix kicks off with a truncated beginning unfortunately as we’re into the latter half of The Herbaliser’s original version of ‘Repetitive Loop’ before plunging into the Autechre mix of DJ Food’s ‘Sexy Bits’ (basically the samples at the end of the Jazz Brakes albums).

The electronic side of things was also in fine form with three mixes from Autechre in this set alone, Disjecta (Seefeel’s Mark Clifford) and more than I can’t identify from ailing memory or Shazam, if anyone can fill in the gaps please let me know. I’m surprised to hear a snatch of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ at the end here as I didn’t think I bought a copy until later than this but it was probably from a compilation from around this time.

I have three dates for mixes on this tape and it’s likely that this mix is actually two sets from different dates, as the other side of the tape is definitely one set. At around the 14 minute mark, after the Beastie Boys, there was definitely an advert break because I remember it. After this, the mix may well be from another session, possibly at the AOOT studio. The dates I have are 13/05/1995 + 21/01/95 + 23/06/1995 but my good friend, Solid Steel collector and historian Anton Kibeshev tells me that I’ve mistakenly labelled one part and it should be 21/05/95. I’m going to peg the first half of this mix as 21/05/95, then 23/06/1995 as the second. Next week – for the 50th upload – will be 13/05/1995 which is where the JDJ mix comes in…

Track list:
The Herbaliser – Repetitive Loop
DJ Food – Sexy Bits (Ae9V mix)
Heights of Abraham – 700 Channels
DJ Vadim – Live From Paris
Beastie Boys – Something’s Got To Give (live)
The Herbaliser – Scratchy Noise
Simon Harris – 95 bpm breakbeat
Akasha – Mescalin
Up, Bustle & Out – Revolutionary Woman of the Windmill (La Bandolera Del Molino)
Depth Charge – Five Deadly Venoms
Unknown – unknown
Scorn – Falling (Autechre FR 13 mix)
Disjecta – Vistic
Autechre – VLetr mx
Unknown – unknown
Terry Riley – In C

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Mixcloud Select 48: DJ Food – Warp 100 mix 05/07/1998

MS48 Warp DAT

During the summer of 1998 Warp Records put out their 100th release, a compilation of new tracks from all artists entitled ‘We Are Reasonable People’, which also celebrated their 9th anniversary. I put together a mix of all the tracks on Solid Steel although don’t be expecting a Blech pt.3 as this definitely isn’t as involved as that. I think I had to do it as the vinyl sides let me over the 3 discs, pairing up tracks from different sides plus a copy of the 4 track promo 12”. (I may have had double copies actually listening to the N.O.W. section)

As it says on the DAT cover, it’s pretty pedestrian in the way it’s put together although (my mix that is, not the contents). There’s a very odd mix of the Mark Bell track out of Jimi Tenor – how to get a banging techno tune into a slow lounge number? Put it on 45 so it’s double time, mix together then turn down to 33. Sometimes you’re better off leaving a gap but I was young and determined to find a way to mix EVERYTHING together. If you just want to listen to the comp without too much interference then this is one way to do it. Just look at that line up! All tracks were exclusive to this comp at the time and several still aren’t available anywhere else.MS48 Warp Box

Part 1
Plaid – Ilasas
Squarepusher / AFX – Freeman Hardy & Willis
Red Snapper – 4 Dead Monks
Broadcast – Hammer Without A Master
Plone – Plaything
Nightmares On Wax – Fishtail Parker
Part 2
Boards Of Canada – Orange Romeda
Jimi Tenor – Wear My Bikini
Mark Bell – A Salute To Those People Who Say Fuck You
Mira Calx – Umchunga Locks
Two Lone Swordsman – Circulation
Autechre – Stop Look Listen

 

Mixcloud Select 47: Hip Hop ABCs/ TV is the new religion 01/04/2002

MS47 disc Going back almost 19 years to April Fool’s Day 2002 and a thing titled ‘Hip Hop ABC / TV is the new religion’ this week although the date on the CD and tracklist here is most likely when it was recorded rather than transmitted. Opening with DJ Shadow’s excellent ‘Mashin’ On The Motorway’ (with edited swearing for the radio) from ‘The Private Press’ LP, an album that suffered from far too many comparisons to ‘Endtroducing’ at the time despite being amazing. Given that the album came out in June 2002, it’s early to be playing this track but I do remember versions leaked online around this time.

There’s a lot of Sesame Street spoken word throughout this mix as I was in the middle of a big Children’s Television Workshop collecting phase, compiling material for the later ‘D Is For Dig’ mix – I have to say the segue from Grover into KRS-1 is quite inspired. The first half of this mix is heavy on current hip hop of the time erring towards the independent side of things with both UK and US talent featured. I always wondered if Black Twang were hoping for some kind of football TV syndication with ‘Kik Off’ but maybe not with those lyrics. How good is that Zeb Roc Ski track featuring Blade? Big Two Hundred was an alias of Andrew Meecham aka The Emperor Machine, Bizarre Inc. Chicken Lips and more who made one album for DC Recordings, very much in the Liquid Liquid post punk style.

MS47 PRS

Halfway we switch to a mixture of funky rock and religious spoken word from Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s excellent ‘Resurrection’ compilation, a record that sparked an interest in religious records that I’m still exploring today. The end breakdown of Mountain’s ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ was of course the theme to LWT’s ‘Weekend World’ news programme during the 70s and 80s and brings us into the TV themes, covers and library cues section with a heavy bias on old BBC shows. The secret of library music had been out since the late 90s and many labels were reissuing fantastic comps of all the big hitters, there was a nostalgia for our 70s youth being stirred up that would eventually manifest itself into the hauntology genre with labels like Trunk helping fuel the fire.

Another thing fanning those flames were sections of the mash up community fusing old TV themes to new pop acappellas for laughs, hence the ‘Dad n Bass’ extract featured here which I must have found on the web somewhere. This scene was just starting to get into gear and I always thought the best mash ups were the ones that made you laugh at the ridiculousness of their pairing. This one is just that, if anyone knows who did it then please let me know. The daddies, Coldcut, close the show with an example from the late 80s of just this, showing they were, as ever, ahead of their time. This recording seems to be from a Capital Radio broadcast with Mick Brown and the mix was later featured on the July ’88 DMC mix album which was the only place you could find it until the Cold-Cut-Outs compilation.

DJ Shadow – Mashin’ On The Motorway
Kela – Crop Circles
Antipop Consortium – Tuff Gong
Cannibal Ox – The F Word (RJD2 remix)
KRS-1 – Get Yourself Up
Edan – Mic Manipulator
Blak Twang – Kik Off
Sir Beans OBE – How Would You Put This
Zeb Roc Ski feat Blade – On The Run (Junk’s UK remix)
Big Two Hundred – Replaceable Head
unknown – The Sun Worshippers Speak
Roger Limb – Alien in the Family
Ted Taylor Organisation – He Who Would Valiant Be
Neil Merryweather – Eight Miles High
Mountain – Nuntucket Sleighride
Ronnie Hazelhurst – The Two Ronnies Theme
Heavy Action – Superstars
Martin Cook & Richard Denton – Tomorrow’s World
Dudley Simpson – The Tomorrow People
unknown – Dad ‘n’ Bass
Coldcut – Off To Work

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

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.

 

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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