Crazy scenes at the last ever Mixed Bizness

I played in Glasgow last night as the special guest at Boom Monk Ben‘s last ever Mixed Bizness night at the School of Art. After my 90 minute AV set Ben played the final hour and the crowd went progressively crazier until he ended with Beck’s ‘Mixed Bizness’ (what else?) and a full on stage invasion. Predictably ‘one more song’ was requested to which he responded with Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ at which point there was full on crowd surfing! Another stage invasion occurred and demands for one more ‘one more song’ were granted by Roots Manuva’s ‘Witness’ and the place erupted. I think Ben feared the whole table and laptop were going to be pushed over at one point from the amount of people on the front of the stage and behind the decks.

It was a great end to years of regular nights Ben has been doing at the Art School, which is due for renovation and will be closed for at least 2 years while they rip everything out. The week before, I did a phone interview with Shaun Murphy for Mixed Bizness about the forthcoming show and my forthcoming album, which you can listen to here

I stayed in the lovely Citizen M hotel when I was there which is full of great designer furniture by the likes of Panton and Eames with compact rooms that resembled Japanese pod hotels.

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs. | 2 Comments |

DJ Food LP cover, first look

Hot out of the in-box this morning, here’s a detail of Henry Flint‘s cover image for the forthcoming DJ Food album. I’ll post more as time goes on but this is only a close up of part of it, there will be background added (by Henry) and colour (by myself). On the finished product you’ll see how all the different images he’s done for the releases work together too, although I’m trying to find a way to make that work with the packaging!

 

Posted in Art, DJ Food. | 1 Comment |

Food update

I should take some time to fill you in on what’s been going on in Food land this year and some of the reasons why no third EP and album appeared last year. There is one very good reason and it simply translates as 2010 = Ninja Tune XX. As I tried to begin the third and final part of my album/EP trilogy early last year the full enormity of the task of creating the elements that would make up the 20th anniversary for Ninja came into focus.

I’ve already gone into detail about what was involved in creating the look, book and box set for the whole campaign elsewhere but breaking down 2010 went roughly like this:

Jan – Jun – creating the identity for the whole event, designing, researching and laying out the entire ’20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ book. Also beginning consultation as to what the box set would contain and designing the package from scratch.

Jun – Aug – designing the box components alongside many other offshoot releases such as the separate CDs, multiple 12″s, posters, flyers and more. I also curated and put together the exhibition of artwork that opened in London for the book launch before getting a week off for a family holiday.

Sept -Dec – preparing an audio visual best of Ninja / Big Dada DJ set with DK, helping with design elements for the big London show, designing King Cannibal‘s ‘Way of the Ninja’ mix CD and then taking it all on the road. I did every city on the NTXX tour, taking in Europe, the States and Japan and even went to China for a one-off gig near the end of it. The final gig was in Brighton on December 10th and to say that I was burnt out would be pretty accurate. I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world though because what came out of it was my biggest design project ever, the celebration of the label I love and have grown with for over 15 years and a great load of memories to go with it. Trying to find the energy and imagination to create new tracks as the year drew to a close went nowhere, a new DJ Food record could wait another year, Ninja XX couldn’t.

Now it’s time to look forward rather than back though, so, in January, I began work on the final phase of the Food album. At the moment I have no title for the EP but the album is called ‘Stolen Moments’ although that may change. I’ve remixed some of the tracks from the first two EPs for the album and have a few more collaborations but I don’t want to reveal them until they’re properly in the bag. One that’s almost finished is a multi-part track with 2econd Class Citizen called ‘Magpie Music’ that’s currently clocking in at nearly 12 minutes. Stylistically it’s all over the place but features Bollywood, Gamelan, Rock and Turkish influences and more with a ton of spoken word.

Cover artist on the previous EPs, Henry Flint, is completing the final part of the cover art (detail left) and I plan to spend most of May mixing down the final tracks and versions. There should be a 12″ with four or 5 tracks for the final EP and then a CD for the album collecting all the major tracks in a continuous sequence while the digital version will have them all separate. Release is pencilled in for Sept/Oct if I deliver in June and a new DJ Food-centric AV set will be in the works as soon as the album is mastered to go out and tour with. There’s more but I’ll save that for another time.

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64 Bar Music challenge no.6

In June I’ll be mixing the next installment of the 64 Bar Music challenge, first instigated by members of the Ninja Tune forum. A quick crash course in 64 Bar Music: the concept is simple, a tempo is decided upon for each new challenge and you write a piece of music, in any style, no longer than 64 bars. The poll to decide the bpm for 64:6 (there have been five so far) has just been set at 110 bpm.

Anyone can join in and the best of the entries will be turned into a mix by yours truly, debuting in July. If you fancy a bit of that then hop along to 64BarMusic and check out the details, deadline is June 1st. It’s an excellent way to get your production heard in amongst producers both released and unreleased. People like Dr. Rubberfunk, Proof of Concept, Remdog, Tom Central, dtnl, AGT Rave Cru and DJ Moneyshot have already contributed and there are many excellent unknowns who have taken part in the past.

Posted in DJ Food, Event, Music. | 3 Comments |

‘The Crow’ animation by Tom Webb

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Tom Webb contacted me with this film he made as part of his 3rd year Illustration Minor project. It’s the first half of the DJ Food track ‘The Crow‘, written by PC, from our Kaleidoscope LP. Here are his comments about the making of it;

“I set myself the task of trying to illustrate the DJ Food album Kaleidoscope. Initially, I was trying to produce stand alone images but eventually decided to dive into the world of animation for the first time. I created a sequence for the first half of The Crow. I was hoping to animate to the whole track, I storyboarded a lot of it but the deadline got the better of me.”

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“The images were created as spontaneous responses to the sounds and atmospheres I was hearing inside some of the tracks. I started investigating ‘Full Bleed’, ‘Cookin’, ‘The Riff’, ‘The Crow’ and both the ‘Sleep Dyad‘s’ a lot because of their particular energies.

The idea was to finish making the image before the track finished, so I started painting with my hands to help speed things up and build a small library of personal reactions in texture. I then scanned the images at hi-res and chopped out suitable macro sections which were then imported into the animation. There was a lot of trial and error involved. It’s also the first time I’ve had a go at animating so I had to learn the program from scratch as well.”

I personally love the syncopation he’s got and the movements from dark to light corresponding to the moods of the track. You can see more of Tom’s work on his blog calamridropkick.com

The Death of Output

DoO1-3 coverL3output logo webBack at the end of 2006, when Trevor Jackson‘s Output Recordings folded, I put together a 3 hour tribute mix of my favourite tracks. This went out as 3 separate mixes on Solid Steel and I even made a very limited number of facsimile Output CDRs of the mixes. I’ve recently had requests to upload it again so, by the miracle that is Soundcloud, it’s available. I’ve also edited it into one piece finally and the track list is embedded in the Lyrics section of the mp3. Being an avid collector of the label I thought I’d show off the screen printed promo releases and a few other choice pieces.

Further reading from early 2007 can be had on Mark E’s ‘ireallylovemusic’ site.

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The Death of Output by DJ Food

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Videocrash Solid Steel AV XXmas party this Saturday

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A bit of a special one this: Videocrash and Solid Steel team up for a XXmas knees-up at the Electrowerkz in an Audio Visual rave up this Saturday. Hexstatic will be presenting a ‘Trailer Trax’ special, Cheeba will no doubt be previewing some tidy new pieces and DK and I will round out the year with a final showcase of our own Ninja Tune XX AV mix before packing it up and putting it to bed. Joining us will be Digitonal showing their new ‘Deep Space’ a/v set – an hour long set constructed around a voyage that starts with Earth. moves past the Moon and planets, and into the infinite…

Not only that but Graffiti artist, stenciller and sticker-er (?) supreme, SNUB23 from Brighton will be joining us and painting an original piece live from 11pm. This will later be auctioned off in aid of the MacMillan Cancer Support charity after being signed by all present. He might also bring some stencils for custom T shirts too (see below). It all starts at 8pm and will probably end messily at 4am, this is a final farewell to a great year for Ninja and the 20th celebrations before we break for Xmas.

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December gigs

Lots of gigs coming up in December (see full listing over on the right) The Ninja Tune XX celebrations travel to Brighton, London and Prague, Belgrade and Beinne this month.
Brighton 10th flyerKINGFLY(2)-2A2.indd First off is the big Bonobo gig after party in Brighton at the Concorde 2, the day after is King Cannibal’s ‘Way of the Ninja’ mix CD launch at the Rhythm Factory with free entry all night and goody bags for the first 100 in.

The next week sees me in Prague at the Palac Akropolois with Grasscut for a Ninja 20th AV set and then Belgrade the next day at the Tube.

Saturday 18th I have not one but two gigs in London, a Videocrash Solid Steel XXmas party with Hexstatic, DK, Cheeba and more down at the refurbished Electrowerkz. Before that though I’ll be spinning a guest slot down at Classic Material at C.A.M.P. in Old Street, with a vinyl only set of classic Hip Hop from the year 1989. in case you’ve not heard about this night, this is the third installment and each month sees a year celebrated from Hip Hop’s golden periods. DJ Format and Andy Smith have both stepped up and it’s my turn this time. Only records from ’89 will be played, special box sets will be available on the night of CD mixes and T shirts and Chris Read and co. (who run the night) will be in support.

New Years Eve sees DK and I see the year out in fine fashion in Bienne, Switzerland with a special 4 deck AV set.

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Hong Kong Clockenflap festival last weekend

Many thanks to all the people I met last weekend in Hong Kong for the Clockenflap festival (Craig, Jay, Mike, Kumiko, Clive, Justin, Andy, Phil etc…). Hong Kong is a long way to go for a 1 hour set and, luckily, they let me play longer. I was playing after some local bands and the also the Charlatans, who had flown in from Singapore I think, as part of their tour and the space was the 15th floor of a large warehouse-type building on one side of the island. (Picure of me playing above by Chris Lusher)

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I’ve only been to Hong Kong once before, 15 years previously, and other parts of China only one other time so it’s still new to me. The food is great, the architecture too and it has obvious elements of Eastern charm in the same way that Japan does but on a much more subdued level. I had some time off before the gig so I took the ferry from the Central part I was staying in over to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) which seems to be much more flavoured towards your traditional tourist than the part I was in. As soon as you dock you seem to be bombarded with people trying to sell you Rolex watches, suits or weed on the streets next to massive department stores for all the top fashion houses. In the streets behind these though you’ll find smaller stores selling all sorts of knock offs and little indoor markets crammed with bootleg goods.

I wish I had more time there but it’s never the case these days, on the way back to the hotel I passed a tiny store crammed with robot toys, a street away from my hotel. If you’d have run across the equivalent in the US it would have been called a ‘mom & pop’ store. The couple inside were idly watching some sort of game show on a big TV on the wall while I persused the wall of Gundam, Ultraman, Macross and more figures and kits, some of which looked like they had been there for decades and had a layer of dust to match. I ended up buying this lovely kit which looks straight out of the 70’s, box dents and all, as well as a few bits for my boys, all for less than £10.

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Posted in DJ Food, Event, Gigs, Robots, Toys. | No Comments |

DJ Food – Sunday At Bundy’s mixtape

[singlepic id=220 w=320 h=240 float=left] I’ve just dug the master DAT for the DJ Food mixtape I compiled in the late 90’s out, cleaned it up and stuck both sides on Soundcloud. This collection of radio show, gig and other recordings was put together to sell on tour in the States, Canada and Japan mainly. It includes some jams with Squarepusher (one of which he ended up sampling part of), DJ Krush and Ollie Teeba from the Herbaliser amongst answerphone message from DJ Vadim and aftershow banter.

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DJ Food – Sunday at Bundy’s (Side A.) by DJ Food

It’s rough and ready, all live, no edits or overdubs, sub-titled an ‘audio scrapbook’, it’s exactly that, little sections torn out of sets played around the world in the mid 90’s. There were around 500 made I think, all long gone now but you can hear a bit of what went down at clubs like Stealth back in the day and all the early Ninja Tune DJ package tours.

DJ Food – Sunday at Bundy’s (Side B.) by DJ Food

Original cassette artwork and info here.

The KLF – The Sound of Mu(sic)

I made this with Mr Trick some years back and have just put it up on Soundcloud after a few requests. There’s a long and winding tale about it’s creation and the reasons for etc. (with pictures) in the Download section (click above) or HERE if you’re lazy. If you’re familiar with it there’s nothing new here but if you like the KLF and have a spare 30 minutes it’s an entertaining read and listen.

Posted in DJ Food, Music, Oddities. | 5 Comments |

Ninja Tune XX – Japan

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Japan, in contrast to the States the week before, was a fairly easy affair with not half as much packed in and just two dates in four days. This time the line up was myself and DK, Toddla T, Kid Koala, DJ Kentaro, Eskmo, Coldcut, Roots Manuva & Ricky Rankin and The Qemists – the full live band consisting of eight people. Also along for the ride were various other Ninjas including Mox and Pete Quicke on their chosen work jollies.

Japan still fascinates me as it is such a highly visual city, even in the everyday walking down the street, you can spot beautiful signs, logos or adverts as well as stickers and the odd but of ‘street art’. We had the first day off so I spent time in Shibuya, seeking out those strange little shops on the eleventh floor of some tower block that are filled with European library records at outrageous prices. It never ceases to amaze me, the obscurities from all over the world that turn up in Japanese shops, it just doesn’t happen in the same way anywhere else in the world.

It’s not all record shops though, I bumped into Jon More and then DK in the kitchen dept. of Tokyu Hands (a kind of condensed version of the larger Mark & Spencers stores), buying presents for the family. Japan wouldn’t be what it is without Manga, anime and toy robots so, after my customary visit to Mandarake, an underground shrine to all the above, I ventured out of my comfort zone in Shibuya to the Akihabara district via the train system. This is known as the Otaku area, ie: a place for nerds and collectors of anime, manga and video games to gather and shop. First stop was a look at the Gundam Café – basically a coffee shop with an interesting design concept and a place to buy waffles that look like robots. Second there was a 7 storey version of Mandarake selling everything from vintage toys to dodgy cosplay, manga porn and enough comics and DVDs to make your head spin. The rest of the time was spent just looking, looking, looking, although I could have spent a fortune on various things.

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Back in Shibuya, the gig was at Shibuya-O-East, a big, two room venue with a great sound system and a ton of sushi back stage :). DK and I were on second, after Eskmo but then had later sets in the smaller second room until the end of the night. This second room contained a large Ninja logo head with ‘X’s for eyes with coloured lasers shot through it and was a great way to stretch out without the need to incorporate video. DJ Kentaro and Beatink (our press and distributor in Japan) had made a special cake which was presented to Coldcut onstage and I arrived backstage after my second set to find it still uncut with the note “Please wait Kev! Don’t cut this cake” – they know me too well, I duly snapped a few pictures and then we all scoffed it. A 5am finish saw us trooping out into the early morning light and piling the gear into a van which would leave immediately for Osaka and the gig later that night, the Ninja head propped up against a back wall. Thankfully, we got to use the hotel and rose at a more suitable time to catch the bullet train en-mass, hungrily consuming bento boxes for breakfast.

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Osaka is a little more laid back than Tokyo it seems and we all had a little time to wander about after sound check, which I made use of, almost getting completely lost in the process. The club was a long, thin venue with a balcony and a VIP room above that looked down on the dance floor. Eskmo was on first again, this time with randomly screaming girl at the front, check the video below right, she was like this throughout his set, I don’t know how he managed to sing through it! We were up next but, because of the constraints of the stage size, had to play from the very back which made it hard to connect with the audience in any way, I think we did OK though. Unfortunately we had a 6am lobby call the next morning for flights back to Tokyo which then connected to London, a 20 hour journey home and I chose take the easy route and get some sleep rather than party as the jet lag was now out of control.

Posters in Osaka

Ninja Tune XX in the US, Part 1: NYC

Day 1: Wednesday – NYCWFMU, Coffee Break for Heroes & Villains

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We’re flying to the States for the next leg of Ninja Tune XX anniversary gigs, by we, I mean myself, DK and Tom Bell (Toddla T). We land at New York’s JFK airport and meet Jeff Waye – head of Ninja Tune N. America – and Steve Beatty – tour manager with his assistant Tamara. First stop is the Sohotel in downtown Manhattan where, one by one, Amon Tobin, Brendan Angelides (Eskmo), Eric San (Kid Koala) and DJ Kentaro and his brother Kotaro arrive. The first night is free so some of us go to eat and catch up, well it’s free for the others, but not for me. I’ve agreed to guest on Noah Uman‘s show on WFMU – the great alternative station based over the river in New Jersey – which kicks off at midnight!  So, whilst my body is telling me to go to bed I’m getting picked up and driven to the station with Noah and friends Egor and Greg, wondering how long I’ll last over the course of the three hour show.

I’ve only known Noah for about a year, he contacted me via the web to see if I would be interested in providing a brief quote for a reissue he is working on – Marshall McLuhan‘s ‘The Medium Is The Massage’ – not the book but the record. It’s one of my favourite cut & paste / spoken word pieces and even more amazing in that it actually lives up to the book’s legend. He’d clocked that I would be in town and asked if I would guest on his show which plays predominantly Hip Hop, albeit everything but the major label kind. We hit it off immediately and he took us to the library room where he proceeded to pull a few bits before we hit the studio. I had an inkling of what the station would be like given the material they display and I wasn’t disappointed. Customised record sleeves lined the walls, a huge rack of cassettes was still present, a corridor of strange paintings of public figures like Elvira, Elvis and Sarah Palin (!) all rendered in an odd style by a fan of the station were just some of the decorations. The toilet contained a framed book cover, ‘DJ’ this is THE big one that tells you about THAT man and THOSE people – bizarre sleeves abounded and downstairs was a huge cross made from melted records – ‘the Death of Vinyl’ – again provided by a fan.
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We kicked off and Noah and I were in our element, nerding out and chatting non stop about oddities and obscurities both on and off the air whilst I played a selection of old school favourites of the lesser-known kind, cover versions, cut ups from the UK and Japan and novelty records. I’d pulled out Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s 1981 single ‘Monster Rap’, essentially a rap retread of his ‘Monster Mash’ hit, and lo and behold so had Noah, only he’d found one with a picture sleeve. You know when you meet a kindred spirit, I felt at home straight away and before we knew it it was approaching 3am! Jesus, where did the time go? I got back to the hotel about 4am and bid my goodbyes, Greg was going back to LA the next day but I’d see Egor at the gig the next night. Even though I was flagging badly by now (having been awake for over 24 hours) I could hardly sleep as the room was so hot and the air con like a helicopter when turned on.

You can listen to the show and see the tracklist here

Day 2: Thursday – NYC Double Dee & Steinski, Matt Johnson and a last minute change of venue.

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Rising at 8.30am, DK and I looked for breakfast nearby, it was only on finishing and going to pay that I realised I’d lost my credit card. Great start to the tour! I quickly deduced that I’d had it in the airport and had probably forgotten to take it from a machine in my haste to board, anyway, had to cancel that with a no doubt expensive mobile call to the UK. The rest of the day was ours until a 4pm soundcheck and I’d arranged to hook up with Steinski for lunch who had texted to say that he was up at Double Dee‘s studio in Midtown. The sun was out and with 90 minutes to kill I decided to do the typical foreigner-in-town thing and walk it, checking out people, art, buildings and day to day stuff en route. I arrived at Douglas’ studio as he was finishing off cutting TV promo spots for ‘Meet The Fockers’ and we chatted for a bit before Stein and I jumped on the subway back downtown to the soundcheck.

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The venue – Santos Party House, owned by Andrew WK – had the most speakers I have ever seen in a club of its size, the stage was mounted on subs, rows lined the ceiling either side of the bar, tiny tweeters hung down in clusters above our heads and there was a huge cabinet at one side of the stage that you could have slept in quite easily. Set up was pretty painless even though we had five different performing configurations: DK and I have 4 decks and 3 mixers, Kentaro: 3 decks and 2 mixers, Koala: 3 decks, 1 mixer, Amon: 2 decks, 1 mixer and Eskmo: his own specific set up.

It was then that I realised my headphones were missing and that I’d probably left them in the radio station the night before in my jet-lagged state, second thing I’d lost in the space of a day! By this time Ghislain Poirier had joined us as well as several of the office staff from the UK, having all been given a lump sum each to go to an international gig of their choice. A huge dinner was planned shortly nearby for the staff and the distributors in NY but first I had another date.

I’d arranged to meet Matt Johnson, of The The, who was incidentally in town with his son on business, for a quick drink and chat which he would record and use on a later monthly podcast. Our cover version of his song ‘Giant’ is ongoing and we both agreed that it should be finished by the end of the year, me reworking my instrumental and him providing vocals in a new style. He was staying 2 blocks up from the party and after meeting we happened to walk by the club with soundcheck still booming out across the street. He took us to a bar he knew from his days living in the city, lamenting the closure of many of his favourite old haunts. Throughout the drinks I was getting ever increasing texts from Steinski: “were being invaded!”, “there are business people everywhere!”, “help!” so after a couple of beers I scooted off the the restaurant to find him and Double Dee literally surrounded by Ninja artists, staff and distributors, very few of whom they knew. The dinner descended into ordering mayhem with dishes arriving no one had ordered, people nicking other’s meals and a bill that seemed way over the odds.

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We crept back to the hotel to get some rest before the night began and I called Noah to see if my headphones were at the station. Whilst waiting for him to call back I got a text message from Nigel Peake (also in town on business): “I’ve just seen a squad of New York’s finest heading into the club, what have you been up to?” Thinking he was joking I texted back, “No idea but it’s going to be pretty loud in there tonight” – famous last words. Next thing my phone rang and I answer thinking it’s Noah calling back with news of my headphones, instead it’s Steve, “Come to the club right now, the police have shut down the party, we have to get the gear out, grab DK too”. Shit! Great start to the tour, credit card and headphones lost and now the first gig shut down before it’s even started. We raced down to the club, luckily there wasn’t too big a crowd yet and we managed to easily get inside without trouble and proceeded to rip down the gear as fast as we could.

Jeff, Steve and the promoter wanted a show of hands to see who was up for trying to do something elsewhere if we could find it and all were in agreement. By the time everything was packed a venue had been found on Bowery and we all jumped in cars and cabs (Egor came to my aid out of the blue) and made our way over to the new venue, Crash Mansion / BLVD to be greeted by a severely grumpy sound man. “These are my monitors, you don’t touch them unless I tell you to”, he stated, like some sort of whiny drill sergeant, fine, we were just glad of somewhere to play, we didn’t want to start messing with his speakers. He produced the most rickety tables I’ve ever seen, one of which he had to screw back together just so it could stand up and we soon realised that we would have to have a rotating pair of set ups, one act playing whilst the next one built their set-up. Just before midnight we were ready and a large crowd had got word and trekked over (the power of Twitter), forming a huge line round the block.

We’d managed to uproot the whole party in less than three hours and restart with only the loss of the video and a seriously compromised soundsystem. Downstairs was opened so that Poirier, Toddla T, Priest and M Sayeed from Anti-Pop could play but it didn’t quite work as either people didn’t realise it was on or were too captivated upstairs. I was flagging badly by this point and fell asleep backstage during Amon’s set (photo evidence by Melissa Phillips), DK and I were on last due to us having the largest set up and the gig finished at 4am. I really didn’t get very many good pictures due to low light and tiredness but the Hi-Fi Cartel site has some 150+ excellent ones. Everyone was relieved but exhausted and we hauled everything back to the hotel with only an hour until lobby call for the flight to San Francisco at 6am.

Read Part 2…

Ninja Tune XX in the US, Part 2: San Francisco

Day 3: Friday – San Francisco – White Walls Gallery, 5000 people and a pillow fight

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Half dead with jet lag and exhaustion we pile into the van for the airport, none have eaten but suddenly Jeff appears with a big bag. “I’ve got pie!” he exclaims and we remember that Melissa Phillips (aka Aeluv from the Ninja forum), who had been taking photos the night before, is an expert baker and had bought a couple of large apple pies with her. Saved from starvation, thanks Melissa. The flight to SF was six hours so we finally got a bit of sleep until we touched down and wound the clock back another three hours to west coast time. We had a short window until sound check and I’d done some homework before I left; Augustine Kofie was having a show at the White Walls Gallery ten blocks from our hotel and I really wanted to see it ‘in the flesh’ so to speak.

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It was well worth the effort, Kofie’s work is a masterclass in collage, construction and colour balance, each piece has as much woodworking in it as painting. He uses found objects, textures and images alongside a geometric constructivist style that springs, somewhere along the way, from graffiti, framing some of the pieces with printed wooden rulers that he finds on his travels. One corner of the gallery was a recreation of a hypothetical Kofie workspace, complete with table, lamp and cutting mat, the shelves piled with rusted spray cans, clipboards and storage boxes that he had customised. On the back wall he’d painted one of his signature style pieces, skewed circles and tightly controlled detail, some of his work reminds me of Syd Mead‘s organic technology designs.

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Soundcheck saw a huge line up of decks with Amon, Kentaro, Koala, DK and I all fitting across the stage for this one. Anticipation was high as this gig was a free party, paid for by Converse who had sponsored the tour. There had been over 6000 applications for tickets and, even though the club had 4 rooms, it was doubtful that everyone would get in (5000 ended up through the door apparently). I’d hoped to meet up with Michael Bartalos – the creator of the original Ninja logo – at Kofie’s show but he couldn’t make it, luckily he made the gig and appeared at the DJ booth 5 minutes before we were due to play. It was great to finally meet the man who had been the catalyst for my own versions and fitting that it was the 20th anniversary that had marked the occasion.

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The show was a great success, marked by the introduction of a pillow fight interlude in Kid Koala’s set where he took two pillows from the hotel and asked for volunteers from the audience. Two had to have a pillow fight, holding one arm behind their back whilst a third was asked to operate a small sampler onstage filled with foley sounds á la Loony Tunes cartoons to soundtrack the fight. This was a great success and rendered all the more bizarre because Eric was playing a version of ‘In The Mood’ called ‘Classical Cluck’ where the song is recreated by clucking and squawks. Upstairs after our set Jeff’s wife had arrived with their new baby who was sound asleep even though the bass from Amon Tobin’s set downstairs was making cups literally jump off tables nearby. SF Weekly has a nice review and a few pictures too.

Read part 3…