Solid Steel: Amorphous Androgynous + Stephen Mallinder

This weeks Solid Steel features not one but two guest mixes plus a 30 minute set from yours truly. Kicking things off we welcome The Amorphous Androgynous back with a half hour culled from their new 2xCD release of ‘psychesploitation’, ‘The Cartel’. They showcase some of their new tracks in a funky 70’s cop soundtracks/ fuzzed up Blacksploitation style – it’s the sound of Get Carter‘s swinging London and the sleazy San Francisco of Dirty Harry. Both volumes are available now from their online store and a third volume will feature a remix from me at some point in 2014.

From here we drift into a darker, more synthetic sci-fi soundscape with eight esoteric tracks I picked that play on the spacier side. Tracks from compilations; ‘The Sound of Belgium’, ‘Music Sans Frontiers’ and ‘Space Oddities’ feature as does music from the new Richard Norris/Luke Insect collaboration Dark Seed. This is the first part of a mix called ‘Night Music’, a selection of new acquisitions that I’ve been enjoying after dark recently.

In the second hour we have a real coup, Stephen Mallinder – ex of Cabaret Voltaire and a long-standing solo artist in his own right – has put together an hour of:

“Peers, associates, co-conspirators, influences and baton-carriers. Starting with early head-turners This Heat (1978) and filtered  through the mix claps from composer Steve Reich (1972) onto post-punkers 23 Skidoo who I’d gigged and recorded with.
A couple of FSOL tracks – covert Cabs somewhere in there and back up north to Sheffield’s first real label WARP – the original Forgemasters reworked by bleepers Unique 3, The Black Dog posse and sonic provocateurs supreme, Autechre. An offering from my own Cabaret Voltaire – a rework of ‘Yashar’ with the original ’70 billion people’ sample.
Keith le Blanc and co – Major Malfunction, classic tough electro, there’s a whole history from Sugarhill to Tackhead in there. And rounded  off with our one-time co-conspiritor On-U’s Adrian Sherwood‘s mix of metal-machiners Einstürzende Neubauten, complete with sniff sample.

All spiced with some period spoken word courtesy of Malcolm X, Mr Burroughs and JG Ballard stories and lovingly mixed by hand.”

It’s an excellent selection and there’s also a timely Cabaret Voltaire box set just out covering the years ’83-’85.

Format & Phill ‘UK vs Philly’ + Mr Armtone SS25 mixes

A very special pair of exclusive mixes on Solid Steel this week (isn’t there every week?) or should that be three mixes?

First up we have DJ Format AND Phill Most Chill, hot off the release of their new album, ‘The Foremost’, they’ve put together a 30 minute mix each, representing their home turfs of the UK and Philadelphia respectively and in Matt’s own words:
“Instead of doing yet another promo mix that incorporates a song or two from our new album, I thought it would be fun for me & Phill to each do a 30 minute mix of Hip Hop from our respective areas. I’m from Southampton, and since that’s not a very big place I thought it would be more fitting to play some of my favourite old UK Hip Hop records. Philadelphia always had a healthy Hip Hop scene that boasted famous artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Cash Money & Marvelous and Steady B just to name a few. Phill wanted to showcase some of the more obscure/random Rap records from Philly that he loves.”

You can hear and buy the album HERE and HERE – I know this is the third post about it in as many weeks but it really is great.

Next up is Solid Steel’s Russian agent, Mr Armtone, back with the follow up to his ‘Time Machine’ video mix from last year (how does he do it?). Firmly club-based in style and with a very high standard of visuals and on-screen blends (no YouTube rips here) he brings a 80 minute AV set to add to the quality collection we’re slowly building on our Vimeo page.

Mr. Armtone – Time Machine II from Solid Steel on Vimeo.

3 Way Mix practice session

I just spent Sunday in Bristol continuing rehearsal work on the 3-Way Mix that DJs Cheeba, Moneyshot and I will be premiering in Paris on Nov 16th at the Solid Steel 25th anniversary gig at La Bellevilloise. This is a 90 minute version of last years ‘Caught in The Middle of a 3-Way Mix’ tribute to The Beastie Boys‘Paul’s Boutique’ album, made from all the original samples, acappellas and more.

We’ll also be performing it at the London Solid Steel gig at Fire on Dec 6th and taking it to Australia in February next year. Anyone wishing to book us please contact Ben Coghill at Elastic Artists.

Fulldome mix on Solipsistic Nation no.308

The soundtrack mix to my fulldome version of The Search Engine has just gone up as part of the latest podcast on Solipsistic Nation. Alongside a short interview you can hear an altered, slightly more ambient version of the album with remixed versions and edits of a lot of the tracks.

This is the version that plays at the dome shows and includes the ‘Deep Space’ version of ‘GIANT’ remixed for Matt Johnson‘s as yet unreleased Lazarus compilation ‘The Others’. You can listen to the podcast here or download it directly here.

Four Tet 2 hour Solid Steel takeover

It’s never been done before but Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet has been granted a 2 hour mix for this week’s Solid Steel ahead of his appearance at Solid Steel 25 at Fire in London on Dec 6th.

This mix is made from exclusive DJ edits either by Kieran or by fellow DJs like Daphni or Floating Points, very few of these will ever see the light of day legally and are made for club sets rather than release.

Kieran will be headlining the main room for our 25th anniversary show in London, tickets can be bought here.

Ollie Teeba’s War of the Worlds mix for Solid Steel 25

About a decade ago Ollie Teeba and I embarked upon a session to re-soundtrack The War of the Worlds using Richard Burton’s excellent narrative for Jeff Wayne‘s version as the glue. That session was never finished and the audio languished for years until Ollie rebooted it and recorded a 45 minute version a few years back, presenting unique CDRs to friends and family one Xmas.

It was good but it was dense and the spoken word sometimes relentless, so I suggested he spread things out, play more of the underlying music and extend it to an hour for the show. And he has, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the radio play first being broadcast across America and sparking a panic that the world was being invaded.

Ollie has re-styled the piece with large helpings of 70’s soundtrack work and psyche rock, digging into his favourite genres outside of Hip Hop. Well known pieces by Axelrod and Schifrin take on a new light when coupled with Burton’s story-telling and many seem tailor made for this presentation. Re-scores of famous books are pretty unique and I think this is the first time we’ve featured anything like this on Solid Steel.

You can hear Ollie performing as part of Soundsci in Bristol this evening at Sip The Juice in Stokes Croft. His Herbaliser partner in crime, Jake Wherry, will be holding it down tonight in London at Village Underground with Jaga Jazzist, Mr Thing, Kelpe and Tom Central.

Paul’s Boutique live set debuts at Solid Steel 25, Paris

In 4 weeks time myself, DJ Cheeba & DJ Moneyshot debut a live 4 deck version of our reversion of the Beastie BoysPaul’s Boutique album. Subtitled ‘Caught In The Middle of a 3-Way Mix’ we’ll be premiering it at La Bellevilloise in Paris on November 16th alongside DK and the 2013 DMC team winners, DJ Deska, Mr Viktor and Hertz.

We’ll be reprising it at the London Solid Steel at Fire on December 6th and then taking it to Australia in February 2014. Anyone interested in booking the show please contact Ben Coghill at Elastic Artists.

DJ Food In:Motion mix on Solid Steel

A week to go until our gig in Bristol supporting DJ Shadow at the city’s official Solid Steel 25th anniversary date. Myself and DK will be joining Coldcut, DJ Cheeba and special guest Benji B to rip it up at Motion on October 11th.

For this I’ve put together a more dance floor friendly mix of releases than some of my recent offerings, taking in Mark Pritchard,  Machine Drum, Om Unit, Reso and Drums of Death – the last three all of whom have appeared on the excellent Civil Music label who also have a room at the Motion gig too.

‘T is for Trapped’ mix on Solid Steel

Another mix from me this week on Solid Steel, this time it’s a continuation of the ‘O is for Orange’ mix I did some months back. You may remember that this was the Boards of Canada-inspired one for the night we did called ‘A Few Old Tunes’ that happened around their LP release.

Well, I had 30 minutes recorded left over from that initial mix so I’ve added to it to make a second part. I’ve worked pretty hard on this and there are a few moments in it that I think are among my best when it comes to placing music together. It’s probably going to annoy some BoC purists for several reasons, most likely because I’ve layered other elements over a pristine recording of the officially unreleased ‘XYZ’, of which I’m lucky enough to have a copy.

Unfortunately this time the set is not accompanied by a video mix of the same but I may get round to that later and the images above are taken from several tracks that I already have footage for.

ColdKrushCuts 3xLP repress now in stock

Out now via Ninja Tune‘s Beat Delete repress label – the mix PC and I did in 1997 for a face-off between Coldcut and DJ Krush. It’s a triple disc with the mixes on opposite sides of each disc, if you have two decks you can even mix the beginning and end parts together to form the full thing.

I remember recording this in a professional studio somewhere in London’s West end, I think it took us less than a week after some initial ideas had been gone over in our own studios and a selection made.

The brief was for only Ninja and Ntone releases as this would be easy and quick to license. We did add a lot of spoken word from other sources though. We also made a conscious decision to include some of the more esoteric sides of the label as we second-guessed the kind of material Krush would go for. We were thrilled to have him as a part of it as MoWax was (and still is) one of our favourite labels.

This is the mix with the infamous ‘Bug’s Eye View’ spoken piece that I detailed the source of earlier in the year. We had an engineer recording and editing what we did the whole time, tracks would be mixed live and then sections edited together and overlaid if need be.

It was nice to give the artwork a good brush up and sort out the myriad of spelling mistakes that were on the original. I never liked what I did first time round and, whilst this isn’t a million miles from it, it’s a hell of a lot tidier and easier to read. The idea was that the cover could be placed either way up and that East met West from either direction, being that Krush hails from Japan.

‘Nightrous’ by Peezee was an exclusive track that only features here, PC pulled it out of the bag when we needed something to fit into a troublesome section. Listening back to the mix recently for the first time in 15 years I really enjoyed it as a time capsule of the label at a point where the Trip Hop thing was coming to an end and the label was set to branch out with the ‘Funkungfusion’ compilation the next year.

You can buy it now direct from Ninja Tune.

‘Out Of The Future’ mix on Solid Steel

I’ve been in full on mix mode this week. I finished off a follow up to the Boards of Canada-inspired ‘O Is For Orange’ set from earlier this year called ‘T Is For Trapped’. This was already half recorded as I couldn’t fit everything into 1 hour before so had 30 minutes left over which I’ve updated and added to with other like-minded songs that have been patiently waiting their turn. At the moment I’d love to do a video version too but just don’t have the time, but it may happen as I have video for at least half of it.

The second mix, that I’ve literally just finished, is for the In Motion night we will be doing in Bristol with DJ Shadow, Coldcut, Cheeba, Civil Music and more. This set is straight up club material, unashamed four to the floor stuff and a load of ‘Amen Brother’ flavoured d’n’ b as well which will probably debut the week before the gig in October.

But firstly it’s another mix up on Solid Steel ‘Out Of The Future’ – in a similar vein to ‘T Is For Trapped’ it features lots of synths, spacey sounds and such. The title comes from an old ad for Micronauts toys that appears at the start and Gary Numan, The Simonsound, Four Tet, Scanone, Sinoia Caves and more feature. Late night headphone music… enjoy.

In other news I’ve just finalised a DJ Food library compilation of material with Jon Tye for his Lo Editions imprint. This will be music for TV and film and it features unique edits, instrumentals, reworks and even the odd bit of unreleased material. You won’t be able to buy it but I’ll put a link up in a couple of weeks when it’s online so that people can have a listen.

I’m also about to begin work on not one but two remixes for The Amorphous Androgynous (!) and write an album of new music based around samples from the Bruton catalogue in conjunction with Universal. There’s also the small* case of rehearsing the ‘Paul’s Boutique’ mix with Moneyshot and Cheeba and the usual DJ gigs…

*(not small at all)


Coldcut – 2 Hours of Sanity Pt.1: Love

It’s easy, in this daily avalanche of media, to hype something to the stars and proclaim it the greatest thing in the universe. People are paid to do it for a living regardless of the content they’re pushing but I will only feature items here that I truly think measure up.

As it’s the aforementioned 25th anniversary of Solid Steel, we’re pulling out a lot of the stops this year to bring the very best mixes to the show in the sea of free that is the web these days. We’ve had Coldcut meets The Orb, Kirk DeGiorgio embracing ambiance, classic albums by De La Soul and Public Enemy reconstructed by United States of Audio and DJ Moneyshot respectfully and that’s just the first half of the year.

So it’s a great moment when the creators of the show, Coldcut, step up with the first part of a new mix series – ‘2 Hours of Sanity’ – the first part being a mix ruminating on ‘Love’, and it’s up there with the best. This has been germinating for 3 years, I’ve heard it in various forms for at least the last year and it’s fantastic to finally have them share it with everyone. The word ‘masterclass’ has been bandied about a lot in the few days since this debuted and it’s used with good reason.

The art of the mix is about layering, combining songs, sounds and speech in new ways, in a coherent flow and creating something new from old and new. Many mixes are one song after another, beat-mixed into each other to form a perfect linear trip from A to B. It’s my opinion that the best mixes throw tempo, genre and linearity to the wind and travel from A to Z. You’ll know many of the tracks here if you’ve listened to the show over the years but you won’t have heard them like this before.

Not to forget show producer DK holding up the rear of the show with a solid (pun intended) selection and a rather tasty Bollywood Steel’ mix from collaborator 2econd Class Citizen.

Trevor Jackson’s ‘Edit!’ mix for Solid Steel 25

DK takes the first 40 minutes then Trevor Jackson cuts up the Tape Edit Kings of the 80’s.

In his own words; “This mix consists of electro/freestyle/miami bass classics & bonus beat edits by the likes of Chep Nunez, Omar Santana & The Latin Rascals, how they did what they did with just tape, a reel 2 reel & a razor blade still defies belief  and continues to inspire me as much as it did when I first heard their work in the mid 80’s
There is no tracklisting & won’t be because I come from a generation when Shazam. Discogs, eBay & Google didn’t exist, when I first heard something on the radio in a club or a mixtape it often took me many months of desperate searching to find out what it was, I’m more than happy to inflict this highly satisfying laborious experience upon you, you’ll appreciate it in the long run.”

The second hour has an interview with Thundercat and DK finishing up with a tribute to George Duke who died earlier this week.

DJ Moneyshot – Solid Steel & the Hour of Chaos

This week we return to the Solid Steel birthday celebrations and share the cake with something else that turns 25 this year – Public Enemy‘s ‘It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ album.
To honour both occasions our very own DJ Moneyshot shows us once again why he’s the mixtape king with the career-best offering, ‘Solid Steel and the Hour of Chaos’.
Over 60 blistering minutes he takes in all the beats, breaks, samples and spoken word nuggets that made this seminal Bomb Squad production such an explosive release.
Amongst the vast stack of tracks in the mix, expect words of wisdom from Louis Farrakhan, exclusive interviews with Hank Shocklee, and all the soul, rock ‘n’ roll and early rap tracks that went into making up P.E’s (if not hip-hop’s) finest album.

After taking part in last year’s dissection of ‘Paul’s Boutique’ and US of Audio‘s trbute to ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ – can Moneyshot raise the bar? Of course he can. If you enjoy the mix, why not read his exhaustive feature on the album in the pages of this month’s Future Music magazine?
Power to the people and the broadest beats.

Markey Funk & Gilli tha Kid ‘…in search of Mordy Laye’ mix

I love these guys. Taste-wise I may as well be listening to one of my own mixes here, so many tracks that I know and love. And the ones that I don’t know, I want to know.

With a graphic like that I can’t resist either – go take a listen and then – if you like what you hear – check the Group Modular album that Markey Funk made with Mule Driver.

‘O Is For Orange’ AV mix for Solid Steel 25

This week I decided to put down some of the set I made for ‘A Few Old Tunes’, the Boards of Canada-inspired night we did on June 20th. Because I’d edited so much video to go with it, I thought I’d finally get round to my first solo video mix too, so here it is.

(UPDATE: Vimeo closed the Solid Steel account that hosted this mix after three copyright strikes so it’s currently offline but some kind soul has uploaded it to their own ‘Solid Steel’ account here but I can’t embed it here)

‘O Is For Orange’ is the sound of weathered tape saturation, detuned analogue synthesisers, vinyl crackle and machine hum. It’s also the look of unfocused, flickering lenses, mirror image filters and blurry grain embedded into film. Unofficial fan films sit alongside experimental animation, public information shorts and even the odd official video. Material that BoC took inspiration from blends with their own work as well as many that they inspired.

I make no apologies for the quality of the vision here, some of it is only available via the web at frustratingly small sizes. In a couple of instances I’ve actually downgraded the look and quality of the image to make it blend in better and in others, even my best attempts at filtering can’t disguise the low quality of the source material. No HD or widescreen here, I’ve gone back to 4:3 for this one even though some of the clips were originally 16:9 or wider.

On the Vimeo page I’ve endeavored to list as many of the videos and their respective directors as possible alongside the track list. When we’ve done video mixes in the past we’ve repeatedly found that some film makers take exception to having their work used like this, whereas few artists would email you requesting that you take their track out of a mix. I can see why, especially if a promo they’re done for one group ends up being re-edited and bolted on to a completely different track.

Anyway, enough guff, thanks to everyone who inspired this mix, especially Boards of Canada, and everyone who requested that we recorded our sets for ‘A Few Old Tunes’ last week. Josh from Posthuman‘s is already up in audio form (here) and I’m reliably told that Tom Central has his waiting in the wings for next week.

African-themed Solid Steel with Melt Youself Down

This week’s Solid Steel has a definite African slant and I kick things off with a mix of music I call ‘Afreaka’. Percussion heavy funk with a tribal feel, from Madlib sample grabs to Malcolm McLaren or Eno & Byrne‘s imagined ethnic soundscapes. For part two we welcome Melt Yourself Down into the guest slot for a whole world fusion of flavours from Ali Hassan Kuban to the Mad Decent stable.

The band release their debut album on June 17th via the Leaf Label after a trio of killer singles that fuse post-punk Pigbag skronk funk with acid electronics. Catch them on tour across the UK right now with a must see live show that recently ripped Jools Holland‘s ‘Later’ show a new one. Check out their site for date, music and merch.

Jon More fills the Solid Steel 25th slot with a mix of African music proper. Over the past quarter of a century, if there’s one continent that has been well represented since day one, it’s Africa. Coldcut have always dug deep into it’s rich musical heritage and Jon More displays another fine selection of Afrobeat and African inspired music. There’s Bala Miller from Nigeria, Alemayehu Eshete from Ethiopia and Julien Babinga from Congo, plus music from Ocote Soul Sounds, Shina Williams and Troubleman.