The Quadraphon Mk II turntable & Levitation fest

QMkII 1 The Quadraphon Mk II – a lot of last week was spent working on this, making container pods that hold three extra tone arms, attached to a modular sliding rail that can be fitted over any DJ turntable.

QMkII 2

Each tone arm can be moved and locked into position to recalibrate where the arm sits in the groove and the whole thing comes apart for portability.

QMkII 3
It’s not perfect but better than the Mark I which had free-standing tone arms. Still got to perfect the sliding action to make it smoother and retool one of the pods but it all works. If you want to hear what comes out of such a contraption then check out the releases on my Infinite Illectrik label on Bandcamp.

QMkII 4

Its debut should be at the Castles In Space Levitation show in Whitby, Nov 6th as part of The New Obsolescents’ first proper live show, the time and details of which are below. There are two nights and tickets can be bought here

CiS Schedule CiS_Halloween_1_Amend

Middle Earth flyers part 2

ME July-Oct 68
In this second part of Middle Earth flyers collected from the International Times archive we get to the point where the club moved from their original Covent Garden home to The New Roundhouse in Chalk Farm after numerous raids by the police. At the top we see the Magical Mystery Tour event still advertised on Aug 24th/25th 1968 (see previous post) but by the next issue (two weeks later) it was replaced by a regular gig featuring Traffic, Family and Free but with a large ‘& then’ before announcing The Doors and Jefferson Airplane gig. There’s a uniformity to these ads previously unseen at the old venue, broken by the tall thin ad above right and the circular orange one below which advertises a programme of classical music by the Middle Earth Symphony Orchestra!

IT_1968-10-18_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-42_020 IT_1968-11-01_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-43_020 IT_1968-11-15_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-44_016 IT_1968-11-29_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-45_022-023ME Dec 68 - Jan 69IT_1969-02-28_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-51_002

Problems with The Roundhouse meant that the club was forced to move again by early 1969, the nearly blank advert above appearing mid February in IT. Following a message in the next issue stating they’d moved to the Royalty Cinema in Notting Hill Gate, a month’s worth of gigs were later listed through March into April. After that things appeared to dry up until a series of tiny ads appeared in September, one a week, stating, ‘Middle Earth is alive and well…’ ‘and coming soon’, ‘is The Power of The Picts’. Then in November, a full page ad announced the rebirth of the night as a record label with a management address in Soho Square. It lasted for two years, releasing five singles and five albums in that time, there’s a short history of it here.

IT_1969-09-26_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-65_009IT_1969-11-06_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-67_004Middle Earth record

Middle Earth flyers part 1.5 – The Magical Mystery Tour

IT_1968-08-09_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-37_020
The full page back cover advert above appeared in the 9th Aug 1968 issue of International Times magazine, promises much and looks like some sort of insane bargain for the princely sum of £3. The idea of the event, as you can read from the text, was to take 3,000 paying punters on a Magical Mystery Tour via a fleet of blacked out buses. 90 minutes later attendees would disembark inside a ‘walled Pleasure Garden’ with deer roaming in the grounds  for 48 hrs of music, mischief and mayhem. Undoubtedly taking its name from The Beatles’ song of the same name released the previous year, there were reportedly the first showings of the film of the same name due to take place but I’ve not been able to confirm this.
The first sign of the impending gig was a small ad in the back of the 12th July 1968 issue of IT with just these words…
IT_1968-07-12_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-35_008-013

This also seems to coincide with the moment when Middle Earth at the King St. address in Covent Garden moved to The (New) Roundhouse in Chalk Farm with some reports suggesting that this event even took place at that venue. Again this seems to be pure speculation and hardly fits the bill of the advertised ‘lawns and woods within the walls’ plus how would they do a six hour firework show indoors?

Magical Mystery Tour ad IT magicalmystery Haphash colour
Above is a full colour poster for the event by Hapshash & The Coloured Coat although it’s been credited solely to Michael English too. A version of this image also exists for the First International Pop Festival in Rome earlier the same year, and it appears that the poster may have been over-printed, adding new band names whilst obliterating the original festival name and date. According to Middle Earth club DJ, Jeff Dexter, this was, “put together by Giorgio Gomelsky with Dave Howson from Middle Earth.” I’d speculate that they wanted to add to the promotion for the event with an eye-catching poster at short notice, thinking that few would have seen the Italian festival poster? Hapshash had of course done many posters for both UFO and Middle Earth and were pretty much the premiere poster designers for that era in the UK along with Martin Sharp. If anyone has any further info on this I’d love to know more.

First International Pop Festival
Below are both sides of a poster (or possibly flyer) designed by Ozmosis – who had also assembled the ad at the top of this post plus the smaller flying baby one. I’ve not been able to dig up anything about who Ozmosis were from anywhere –  Jeff Dexter didn’t know, psychedelic poster collector, Peter Golding had heard the name but no more, antique book and magazine seller, Adrian Sclanders of Beatbooks drew a blank and artist and ex-IT arts editor Mike McInnerney hasn’t so far got back to me.Magical Mystery Tour posterMagical Mystery Tour poster back
So what happened? Any eye witness accounts, footage or reviews of the event are missing in action whereas there are plenty for the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream or The Million Volt Light & Sound Rave. You’d think something as ambitious as this would be up there as one of the events of the era? The answer seems to be in a small news piece in the 23rd August 1968 edition of IT. IT_1968-08-23_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-38_019
Jeff Dexter again, “The Mystery tour never happened due the weather and lack of sales, but there was a quickly put together event by coaches from Covent Garden to a very smart reception space the ‘Baronial Hall’ in the City of London.”
The Doors / Jefferson Airplane gig mentioned here two weeks later has of course passed into legend though…

 

Middle Earth flyers part 1

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Middle Earth was one of the original, late 60s psychedelic clubs in London, coming shortly after The UFO (pronounced You-Fo – Underground Freak Out) club on Tottenham Court Rd. and pitching itself up in King St, Covent Garden. It actually started out as The Electric Garden but after a disastrous opening weekend with completely misjudged vibes, heavy security and bizarre VIP areas, it had a change of name as well as management and became Middle Earth. See below for eye witness details of the opening event – all these clippings taken from the International Times magazine online archive which is an invaluable resource of the times.

IT_1967-06-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-14_012 Middle Earth raided

Middle Earth, an obvious Tolkien reference, John Peel was one of the resident DJs along with Jeff Dexter who would play to the crowd and the dance floor rather than Peel who would play more for the listeners out there. Jeff told me that they would be situated under the lighting rig for the light show until a small booth was built for them out with the stages for the bands to make them more part of the events. A regular track for him was The Lemon Pipers’ ‘Through With You’ apparently, the nearest thing to an anthem for the nights, he liked this because it was nearly 10 minutes long so he could go for a smoke.

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Above, the listing for the re-opening week, I like the way they were closed on the Friday that UFO was on rather than give the impression that they were competing.

IT_1967-10-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-20_014 IT_1968-02-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-25_016

There was no consistent art direction with the adverts featured in IT and most were dictated over the phone and the magazine would come up with the designs for the issue.

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Below right: A benefit for Oz magazine with a ‘sexy Barney Bubbles Light Show’Barney Bubbles being the alias of Colin Fulcher who went on to design so many great sleeves for Hawkwind, Stiff Records and many more. Along with other pioneers like Liquid Len, he got his nickname from doing light shows where he would heat ink and oil under glass clock faces and project it across the club after witnessing this on the hippy scene in San Francisco on a trip to the States.

IT_1968-05-03_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-30_005-012 IT_1968-06 middleearth june july 68 IT_1968-06-14_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-33_006-015
One of the mysteries of the Apple Middle Earth 3 Day festival listed above was that it never officially happened, something I’ll cover in another post, but things were changing for the club around this time. Middle Earth was raided repeatedly by the police and was eventually forced to move to another venue, The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, which I’ll cover in part 2.

Mixcloud 59: Solid Steel – Audio Adventure’s in Africa

Africa Adventure BoxThis one may divide people and lose me a few subscribers as it’s not your regular mix set. A few weeks ago Ninja Tune re-shared a small red packet of Ninja Rizlas on their social media from my new Openmindesign Instagram page where I post my artwork and Ninja ephemera. The customised packet had the ‘Rizla’ logo replaced by ‘Ninja’ and a separate tab pasted in with details of a gig in South Africa that Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, PC and I did in 1999.

Ninja Rizla
Promoters Ralph Borland and Adam Lieber bought us out and South African promoter living in Montreal, Victor Shifman came out with us to tour manage and show us around. Whilst out there I had a handheld tape recorder and recorded all sorts of things during our long stay out in Cape Town and Johannesburg. As a result the sound quality is pretty bad but it’s a moment in time that I’m happy I recorded, this is the nearest thing to being on tour and at shows with us back then.

Airport crew
On the bus to the plane: Victor, Amon, Ralph, Adam, Eric, PC

Ralph and Adam
Ralph and Adam
Roadside breakdown
Worse places to break down

As you will hear, we were all watching The Fast Show a lot and had got Kid Koala into it as well. You’ll hear in-flight banter, improvised scratch demos at a youth club, unknown bands jamming at restaurants, gig excerpts with technical problems and running tour gags. The Johannesburg show was plagued with technical problems at the start and we were playing in a disused prison in the open night air, it was awesome but by 5am we had to stop or we weren’t going to catch our flight back to Cape Town in time to which the crowd roared their displeasure. Eric had started to do his ‘Drunk Trumpet’ show piece around this time although I’m not sure it had a title at that point but it was a show-stopper.

Kid in Joburg
Johannesburg gig in an open air ex-prison

Record shopping at the Treasury
The Treasury in Johannesburg, a 5 story warehouse, this was one floor, insane amounts of records. Treasury 12

We were lucky to have several days off and went up mountains to see the sunsets, drove round the coast to see Penguins on the beach, went to outdoor markets, did a free performance in a youth club, met all sorts of great people, an amazing trip which I’ll never forget.

Airport farewell
Airport farewell: Eric, Victor, Amon, Kev, PC, Ralph centre, Adam kneeling

Part 1 of this was broadcast at the end of the 02/05/99 show but part 2 has never been heard. Normal service will be restored next week…

Africa Adventure DATPart 1: Cape Town
KLM voice over – Take off
Kid Koala, PC, Strictly, Reddy D – Cape Town Turntable Jam Pt. 2
skit – Amon’s table
Unidentified  bar band 1 – unknown
skit – How old is Eric San?
Kid Koala, PC, Strictly, Reddy D – Cape Town Turntable Jam Pt. 1 inc. technical problems
skit – Suits you
Unidentified bar band 2 – unknown

Part 2: Jo’Burg/Cape Town
KLM voice over – in flight banter
DJ Food – 1sr set intro – Summertime sound problems
skit – Some words with Amon Tobin
Kid Koala – Techno set
Eric San – this week…
DJ Food – 2nd set intro – Yussef meets Jeru
skit – More words with Amon Tobin
DJ Food – Plastic Neotropic Gangstarr
DJ Food – Scruffy
Kid Koala – Easy now chair (Drunk Trumpet)
KLM voice over – Landing

Africa Adventure PRS

UFO Club adverts from International Times magazine

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Recently researching light shows in London around the mid 60s I was perusing the International Times archive online and noticed that the UFO Club had various ‘flyers’ present in each issue around its tenure at the Blarney Club and The Roundhouse during ’66-’67. It’s no surprise as UFO initially gave money to IT and you’ll notice the first event was called Night Tripper / UFO as they couldn’t decide on a name.
There was no format, some had to be decoded and the 27th October ’67 issue featured a piece stating that UFO is Dead! Reading between the lines you can detect some general annoyance that some promised cash flow had been cut off. The final image here maybe or may not be connected but it was on the same page as the club obituary and features lights in the sky.

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IT_1967-02-13_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-8_016 IT_1967-02-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-9_016
IT_1967-04-28_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-12_012 IT_1967-05-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-13_014 IT_1967-06-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-14_015IT_1967-06-16_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-15_012IT_1967-06-30_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-16_016IT_1967-08-31_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-18_020IT_1967-10-05_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-19_020IT_1967-10-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-20_013
There was a posthumous analysis of what killed UFO in IT nearly a year after it closed, comparing the audience’s locations as the popularity grew.

IT_1968-04-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-29_003 UFO is Dead

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

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

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

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

TSOC back

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

TSOC text

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

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

Kev

Mixcloud Select 27: DJ Food – XEN Tour pt.2 10/2000

27 Xen Tour 1+2 CD 30 years ago this month, Ninja Tune came into being and 20 years ago the label made it into double figures.  I made a Ninja-centric set for the occasion and this was recorded across various dates of a UK tour to support the Xen Cuts compilation album. At some point I put it down in two parts and the first 30 minutes of part 1 was played on Solid Steel 09/10/200 but the rest of this mix went un-broadcast I think.27 Xen Tour 1+2 CD back

Part 2 continues the theme – warning – some very shonky mixes in parts here, never try mixing heavily swung half time jazz with regimental double time drum n bass. Also – lots of scratching near the end, I had edited in some scratch jam from a set with Ollie Teeba and DK that I’d completely forgotten about, it goes on a bit but has some nice moments (only some, indulge me).27 Xen Tour CD 2 inside

What’s nice about this is that you can hear the crowd at points and, in the current climate, that’s not something we’re going to hear much of any time soon. Also, this is all vinyl, Serato wasn’t even on the horizon at this point so all the jumps and wonky pushes and pulls you hear are me wrestling with the records in real time. No cue buttons to jump back to the start of a track, no ‘relative mode’ so that when the needle skips you don’t hear it, no loop function… I don’t miss it at all :)

Happy Birthday 30th birthday Ninja!

Track list:
Mr Scruff – Get A Move On
DJ Food – Mr Quicke Cuts The Cheese
DJ Food – Ninja Walk
DJ Vadim – The Pimp Theme 126
Funki Porcini – Rocket Soul
Dynamic Syncopation – Closer To The Line
The Illuminati of Hedfuk – The Worm Turns
Neptune – Soul Pride
Up, Bustle & Out – Los Locos Cubanos (Snowboy mix)
Cinematic Orchestra – Ode To The Big Sea (Four Tet remix)
Cinematic Orchestra – Channel One Suite
2 Player – Extreme Possibilities (Wagon Christ remix)
Amon Tobin – Like Regular Chickens (Dillinja remix)
DJ Food – Scratch Yer Hed (Squarepusher remix)
Jungle Brothers – Jungle Beats
Dynamic Syncopation – Internal Affairs
Amon Tobin – Creatures
DJ Vadim – Friction feat. Iriscience
– Scratch jam w. Ollie Teeba + DK
Styly Cee – Here Comes Son
The Bar-Kays – Holy Ghost
KMD – Peachfuzz (Instrumental)
The Upsetters – Popcorn
Red Snapper – Hot Flush (Sabres of Paradise remix)
The Radiophonic Workshop – Dr Who Theme

Almost Jazz Funk & Soul Festival online event

Almost_Announcement
Birmingham’s Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, like so many others, is under threat and they are putting on a fundraiser online and a virtual event to raise funds to keep the wolves from the door. I played last year and it was one of my favourite gigs of the summer. Tune in for a special audio visual mix by myself and DK based on our Now, Listen Again mix sets and if you can please consider donating to this good cause.

What goes on? Well…

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It’s been a bit quiet on here as I’ve hit the ground running after a very refreshing New Year break and am ploughing into several graphics jobs that include albums, cassettes, zoetropes, x-rays, laser-etched boxes, stickers and probably more, it’s hard to keep track and there are many unknowns to work out. Music: I want to make some pretty badly but have to pay the bills so the graphics come first and the accounts also need doing. There’s a short video to edit too, left over from last year, a track to make for a compilation and another two audio projects to find time for.

I played a set of fave tracks from 2019 on Jan 5th on the Out of the Wood show which you can hear here (excuse the shoddy mixing early on) and appeared on the Big Mouth podcast a week later talking about the film 1917, the BBC’s new take on Dracula and The Rise of Skywalker among other things. You can hear that here.
I also just dug out some mixes from 2000 from Solid Steel and tweaked them for Edzy from Unique 3’s 99.9 Emergency FM station, they’ll be scheduled in soon and I also found something quite special while I was at it. That’ll get an upload in March on its 20th anniversary if I remember.

This Saturday I’ll be in Lisbon at the Kalimodjo 18th birthday party, playing a drum and bass set with AV accompaniment, should be fun. Then next month I’m down in Hastings presenting my Kraftwerk AV mix at the Sonic 2020 festival alongside Mr Thing, Tim Exile and more on the Sunday session. After that I only have one more gig in the diary, which is slightly worrying so, if you or anyone you know needs a versatile DJ for their gig, party, festival or opening then please get in touch. I’ve still not managed to secure a London date for the Kraftwerk AV show and a fan in Belgium wants to see the Boards of Canada one pretty badly too so any leads in that area are appreciated.

sonics 2020

2019

LBDbanner

What a grim end to the year and the decade, good riddance to the last four years at least. Writing this on the morning of Friday 13th as the results and fallout of the election come in, it’s hard to muster the energy and will to rejoice in anything when the turkeys have voted for Xmas. I used to be largely ignorant of current affairs and politics, back in my youth, I thought it was dull and boring, why would I be interested in any of that? But you grow up, you have a family and these things start to matter because they affect your life whether you like it or not. Back in the first half of December it felt like there was still hope, a chance to pull things back from the brink, but not now when the country has voted overwhelmingly for Johnson’s government in the belief that he will fix things that he helped engineer in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I was ignorant again, as ignorant as those who didn’t vote or voted on personalities, believing the lies and propaganda peddled by the media. But you can’t just turn that tap off, not once you’ve understood how the system works and see the soap opera play out. You CAN however blot it out for a bit by reading, watching, visiting or listening to great art made by your fellow man, or woman or non-identifying person. There was a lot of it this year and here’s some of the favourite ways I blotted parts of this year out.

LPs 2019

Music / podcasts –
way too much new music to keep up with only so much time and money, I probably listened to Adam Buxton‘s shows from the archive more than anything else this year:
Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth LP (Ghost Box)
Various – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Recordings)
Chris Moss Acid – Heavy Machine 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless)
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette (Miracle Pond)
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP (Fire Records)
Big Mouth podcast (various) (Acast)
Beans – Triptych LP (Gamma Proforma)
Roisin Murphy – Incapable single (Skint)
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine LP (Om Swagger)
People Like Us – The Mirror LP (Discrepant)
Coastal County – Coastal County LP (Lomas)
Adam Buxton podcast (various) (Acast)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song For Paul LP (Karma Chief)
Jon Brooks – Emotional Freedom Techniques LP (Cafe Kaput)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Organ Farmer (from Infest the Rat’s Nest LP) (Flightless)
Jane Weaver – Fenella LP (Fire Records)
Polypores – Brainflowers cassette (Miracle Pond)

Seemed to acquire a lot of tapes this year too…

Tapes 2019

 

Designs 2019

Design / packaging – so much good stuff out there, Nick Taylor goes from strength to strength, Reuben Sutherland‘s work for Sculpture always inspires and Victoria Topping continues to do great art for On The Corner Records:
Pepe Deluxé – The Surrealist Woman lathe cut 7″ (Catskills)
Various – Science & Technology ERR Rec Library Vol.2 (ERR Records)
DJ Pierre presents ACID 88 vol. III LP (Afro Acid)
Mark Ayres plays Wendy Carlos – Kubrick 7″ (Silva Screen)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input 10″ (Polytechnic Youth)
The Utopia Strong – S/T LP (Rocket Recordings)
Jarvis – Sunday Service LP (ACE records)
Andy Votel – Histoire D’Horreur cassette (Hypocrite?)
Sculpture – Projected Music 5″ zoetrope picture disc (Psyché Tropes)
Lapalux – Amnioverse LP (Brainfeeder)
Hieroglyphic Being –  Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism LP (On The Corner Records)

films 2019

Film / TV – I really don’t watch too much TV or get to the cinema as often as I’d like to:
Sculpture – Meeting Our Associates (Plastic Infinite)
This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC)
Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
Imaginary Landscapes – Sam Campbell (Vinyl Factory)
What We Do In The Shadows (BBC2)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Books 2019.2

Books / Comics / Magazines I read constantly, all sorts of stuff, a lot online, I found less interesting new comics this year or there were fewer that made an impression. Also many of my regular reads came to an end so there was less to consume on that front.
Beastie Boys Book – Mike Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Spiegel & Grau)
Cosmic Comics – A Kevin O’Neill Miscellany (Hibernia Books)
Electronic Sound (Pam Comm Ltd)
Eve Stranger – David Barnett / Philip Bond (Black Crown)
Bicycle Day – Brian Blomerth (Anthology Editions)
Moebius – 40 Days In The Desert (expanded edition) (Moebius Productions)
Rock Graphic Originals  – Peter Golding w. Barry Miles (Thames & Hudson)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Silver Surfer Black – Donny Cates/Tradd Moore (Marvel)
Help – Simon Amstell (Square Peg)
The Scarfolk Annual – Richard Littler (William Collins)
Wrappers Delight – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)

Gigs 2019

Gigs / Events – I spent a lot of time in Café Oto, socialising to the sights and sounds of Jonny Trunk & Martin Green or watching groups that featured Cathy Lucas this year:
Vanishing Twin @ Prince of Wales Pub, Brighton
Stereolab @ Concorde 2, Brighton
People’s Vote march 23rd March, London
Wobbly Sounds book launch @ Spiritland, London
Confidence Man @ The Electric, Brixton, London
Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Moseley, Birmingham
Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Manchester
HaHa Sounds Collective play David Axelrod’s Earth Rot @ Tate Exchange, London
School of Hypnosis play In C @ Cafe Oto, London
Palace Electrics, Antenna Studios, London
The Delaware Road, New Zealand Farm, Salisbury
Breaking Convention closing party, Greenwich, London
Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s Hidden Library @ Spiritland, Southbank, London
Negativland / People Like Us @ Cafe Oto, London
HaHa Sound Collective plays the David Axelrod songbook @ The Church of Sound, London,
Sculpture, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei + the 26 turntable ensemble @ The Old Baths, Hackney, London Vanishing Twin & Jane Weaver’s Fenella @ Studio 9294, Hackney Wick, London

Art 2019

Exhibitions – there was so much art to see in 2019, I managed most of it but London does spoil you sometimes and you can’t see it all. Just a stroll round the Brick Lane area of east London will delight with the free art painted, stuck or sprayed on the walls for all to see:
Sister Corita Kent @ House of Illustration, London,
Augustinbe Kofie @ Stolen Space, London,
Victor Vasarely @ Pompidou Centre, Paris,
Mary Quant @ V&A Museum, London,
Stanley Kubrick @ The Design Museum, London,
Tim Hunkin’s Novelty Automation Museum, London,
Keith Haring retrospective @Tate, Liverpool,
Nam June Paik, Tate Modern, London,
Takis @ Tate Modern, London,
Shepard Fairy @ Stolen Space, London,
Damien Hirst ‘Mandalas’ at the White Cube, London,
Bridget Riley @ The Hayward, London,
Museum of Neo-liberalism, Lewisham, London.

Openmind 2019

Another year over and what have I done? quite pleased with this lot this year:  
Become by own agent for the first half of the year (not fun)
Designed As One’s ‘Communion’ LP sleeve for De:tuned
Toured my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set
Contributed to the Wobbly Sounds book on flexi discs published by Four Corner Books
Performed a 30 minute reimagining of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radio-Activity’ album
Appeared on Big Mouth, Out Of The Wood, Jonny Trunk’s OST, Dusk Dubs, Mix-Ins, 45 Live, Mostly Sounds podcasts / shows
Continued the design for De:tuned’s 10th anniversary with a 10th volume, poster, tote bag and more
Built a modified turntable with three extra floating arms for future performances
Designed a fold out 3″ CD Xmas card for The Real Tuesday Weld – more to come in 2020…

For no other reason – Badges, along with the cassettes it’s like the 80s never stopped

Badges 2019

RIP: Daryl Dragon, Ron Smith, Ken Nordine, Peter Tork, Mark Hollis, Keith Flint, Magenta Devine, Hal Blaine, Scott Walker, Quentin Fiore, Dr John, MAD magazine, Vertigo comics, Rutger Hauer, Ras G, Peter Fonda, Richard Williams, Pedro Bell, David Cain, Patsy Colegate, Clive James, David Bellamy, Phase 2, Gershon Kingsley, Emil Richards, Dave Riley (Big Black), Vaughn Oliver, Neil Innes, Syd Mead.

Looking forward to: – not much to look forward to except a year of Brexit, economic downturn and US Presidential campaigns but these might lighten the mood…
Paul Weller and Plone on Ghost Box
A Touched Music special release in conjunction with De:tuned for World Cancer Day – 4th Feb.
The second Revbjelde LP, ‘Hooha Hubbub’, from the Buried Treasure label
More designs for The Real Tuesday Weld…
The next Group Modular album, released on a UK label
The Castles In Space label releasing a remastered vinyl version of Clocolan’s excellent 2019, cassette-only, ‘It’s Not Too Early For Each Other’ album.
The return of Slow Death Comix
45 Live releasing their first acid 7” with Type 303 in Feb
Ian Holloway from The British Space Group’s new label, Wyrd Britain – the first release will be his own ‘The Ley of the Land’.
The Amorphous Androgynous album, ‘Listening Beyond The Head Chakra’ and album-length single, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’ around Easter
Ninja Tune’s 30th anniversary in the Autumn
An exhibition about electronic music at the Design Museum featuring Kraftwerk, Jeff Mills, Ellen Allien, Jean-Michel Jarre and BBC Radiophonic Workshop among others
The Masters of British Comic Art book by David Roach in April
The return of Spitting Image (we really need this)

Happy New Year x

Sculpture, Projected Music release party

Projected Music poster
A huge night coming up on November the 29th in East London, Psyché Tropes celebrate the release of the 5″ picture disc of locked grooves Sculpture have done with them by putting on a gig of avant garde turntablism. Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei and Sculpture themselves will be headlining and interspersed will be a 26 turntable ensemble made up of: A’Bear, Arran Bolders, Ben Rodgers, Billy Pleasant, Bjorn Hatleskog, Blanca Regina, Chloe Frieda, Chris Thomas Allen (The Light Surgeons), Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Daniel WJ MacKenzie, DJ Food, Graham Dunning, Hems, Horton Jupiter, Janek Schaefer, Lia Mice, Mariam Rezaei, Merkaba Macabre, Odd Lust, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Rado Bogasch, Reuben Sutherland (Sculpture),  Robin The Fog (Howlround), Spatial, Tida Bradshaw, Tom Richards.

I doubt the same people will ever be in the same place on 26 turntables ever again – should be a riot!
The record is great and available here and tickets for the event are available here for the absolute steal of £5.

Sculpture 5″ zoetrope picture disc of locked grooves

Sculpture: Projected Music from psyché tropes on Vimeo.

“Sculpture meets Psyché Tropes for a post-transitory broadcast in reductionist methodology, exploring the non-standard definitions in a petri dish from the other side”. (it says on the press release)

Projected Music is a 5-inch zoetrope picture disc containing 26 locked grooves. Each loop is 1.33 seconds in duration cut at 45rpm reaching a total playing time of 34.58 seconds although the loops are intended to be played at any speed. In the possession of two or more disks, the listener can interact with a modular album whereby the source material is open to interpretation. Despite its minimalist size and composition, this release is intended as an LP. With the expansive nature of the turntable, there are almost limitless possibilities.

Remixes by Maria Chavez, Philip Jeck, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei, Me, Claudius, Graham Dunning and Tom Richards will accompany the 5-inch as a free download. The official release will be on 29th November at The Old Baths in Hackney Wick with live performances by Sculpture, Janek Schaefer and Mariam Rezaei. An ensemble of 26 turntables for 26 locked grooves (including myself) will improvise throughout the intervals.
Event info: https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1327194

5” Vinyl Pre-order. Releases 29 November 2019 via Bandcamp
https://plasticinfinite.bandcamp.com/album/projected-music

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More Jason Galea tour posters for King Gizzard

KG BerlinIf, like me, you’re following King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s current world tour to support their new ‘Infest The Rat’s Nest’ album then you’ll be aware that ‘8th member’ Jason Galea who provides all their artwork is making individual posters for each headline show of the tour. Galea, who has made videos, sleeves, T-shirts and more for the band since they started out has long put repeated motifs and characters into the artwork and is drawing on much of this for the subject matter of the posters.
He continues to knock it out of the park with new posters almost daily and the quality threshold is high, see examples from the US tour here. I saw the band in London recently and he was doing the visuals for them as well! You can follow him on Instagram KG LondonKG Leeds KG Luxembourg KG Paris

Phase DJ hardware

Phase box I recently bought Phase to add to my DJ set up and thought I’d set down some initial thoughts about it.
A quick overview for those who haven’t come across it before – Phase works with digital Digital Vinyl Systems (DVS) like Serato and Traktor which use a traditional turntable and a controller record/soundcard combo to control the music. Traditionally the turntable needle reads timecode on a vinyl disc and relays that back to a laptop containing software with 2 virtual decks, the turntable becomes a controller for these decks, onto which you drag and drop music from your laptop to play out.
Phase consists of two ‘remotes’ that magnetically clip over the turntable spindle onto any record or object that you wish to use to control it with (it doesn’t have to be a timecoded record). The remotes then send a wireless signal back to the Phase receiver (which doubles as a charger) telling it where the orientation of the turntable deck is.

This is relayed back to the laptop via USB * UPDATE 1 (via Anton – Mr Armtone) “Remotes just send a wireless signal back to the Phase receiver and it reproduces classic audio time-code signal as on timecode vinyl or CDs. If you turning on “THRU” signal on Serato – you’ll hear it. That’s why you need to connect Phase by RCA to your Serato sound-cart (mixer, box, midi-controller). Also, you can connect Phase directly into power socket by USB-adapter, like an iPhone, and thereby to make free one USB port on your Laptop. So, USB on Phase is only needed to update and as a power source.
– and you have control over your virtual decks without having to use the needle on record method of old.

Phase remoteWhy would you add this to your set up when the traditional DVS set up works just fine? With decks and DVS systems comes the problem of worn needles, dust on the stylus inhibiting the signal, bent tonearms, scratched vinyl controller records, bad headshell contact connections and knackered RCA plugs – all of which can corrupt the timecode being relayed back to the laptop and cause glitches, pitch distortions and dropouts. I’ve done so many gigs where the scopes on Serato have wavered, dipped into the red with onstage feedback, dust has built up and glitched out the signal or headshells wouldn’t connect at soundcheck and you’re constantly in fear of everything packing up.
All completely eradicated when using Phase and it’s great to eliminate these potential technical failures from the set up when going to different venues where the equipment is always unknown. Personally I’ve always loved the tactile touch of turntables, never got on with CDJs and, similarly, never found a controller that I’d be happy to use – mostly because of the size of things I suspect – and any working turntable with pitch control can be used with Phase.

There are problems with it but they seem to be more about human error than machine at this stage. The first is remembering which deck is playing the music and not moving the one spinning accidentally, I scratched/stopped the wrong deck twice during a 4 hour set. Also not using the needle, which is an automatic action after all these years, takes a bit of getting used to, not helped in my recent DJ set by the fact that I was also alternating between DVS and actual vinyl playing. The remotes can get in the way when rewinding the decks via the label and there’s no more tweaking the spindle for those micro pitch shifts as the remote sits over them. It does come with an added level of cables to plug in, if you want simplicity and not to have to carry an extra bit of (very small) kit then go for RekordBox and a couple of USBs in a CDJ. This would come down to each individual’s preference when playing ultimately. I’ve seen people questioning the responsiveness of the remotes online but it all seems to be good for me, maybe there was the tiniest bit of lag when scratching but I can’t be sure, it’s certainly minimal if it’s there and remember, this is new hardware/software, it takes time to iron out the kinks, Serato wasn’t perfect straight out the box either.

BTW, I should say, the design of it is beautiful, clean and slick packaging with tasteful minimal touches to the compact hardware. The software that comes with it is equally minimal at the moment, there’s plenty of scope to expand that but nice touches like customising the colour of the lights on the remotes and magnetic stickers to affix them to your records are welcome. I’d like to see versions in other colours rather than the standard black that everyone does (why are so many mixers in black which are just hard to see in a dark club?). An ‘A’ and ‘B’ on the actual remotes so that you can remember which is which would be good too and making the signal light green instead of red (the traditional bad signal colour) in Serato would be good but I suspect this is more to do with how Serato set up their app. *UPDATE 2 Another interesting fact, that this signal from Phase doesn’t support officially, that’s why it comes with “red line” (not grey) on Serato software.”

I only gave it a light test run, no video yet (not that that should make a difference – it’s just sending timecode, not streaming video data) but I loved using it and I didn’t have any problems with them beside my own human errors. They will take a little getting used to but they replace the use for a needle perfectly and personally Phase works for me and I’ll be using it for digital DJ sets going forward.

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs. | 3 Comments | Tags:

New Vanishing Twin video and european tour

The excellent Vanishing Twin have just premiered a new video for ‘You Are Not An Island’ from their ‘Age of Immunology’ LP. Most of their videos so far have been monochromatic, surreal mini-masterpieces, harking back to various visual movements of the 20th century (check the Man Ray-isms of ‘Telescope’) but the new one changes the format somewhat. Adding muted colours and a Moebius-like world vision full of bowl helmeted figures and pulsing black spheres.

They are also off on tour around the UK and Europe over the next few months. Go and see them, buy their records, they’re one of the most interesting bands out there at the moment.

VT-tour-poster-2019_web

Posted in Film, Gigs, Music. | No Comments | Tags:

Jason Galea tour posters for King Gizzard

KG Adelaide If, like me, you’re following King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s current world tour to support their new ‘Infest The Rat’s Nest’ album then you’ll be aware that ‘8th member’ Jason Galea who provides all their artwork is making individual posters for each headline show of the tour. Galea, who has made videos, sleeves, T-shirts and more for the band since they started out has long put repeated motifs and characters into the artwork and is drawing on much of this for the subject matter of the posters.

KG ChicagoKG Denver
Drawing different designs and screen printing 100 copies per show, only to be sold at the gig on the night, this is going to test even the hardest of hardcore fans in ways such as the 180 and counting formats of their ‘Polygondwanaland’ album that they gave permission for anyone to press would. The Australian leg of the tour is already done and they’re now well into the North American leg before heading to the UK and Europe in a month’s time.
KG LAKG Melbourne
I’ve included just a few of the posters so far here, there are about as many again and grows weekly with an estimated 40 different designs being made by the end of the run. My tickets for their London show just arrived in the post, i’m looking forward to seeing what Jason cooks up for that gig.

KG SF KG Sydney KG Vancouver