Matt Black live-remixing ‘Sentinel’ on Pirate TV

On last week’s Pirate TV show, Coldcut‘s Matt Black in his Altered Fist guise live-remixed mine & DK‘s track, Sentinel (from The Search Engine LP) using JAMM Pro software. Every Wednesday night around 9pm (GMT) Matt hosts a 2 hr show of music, visuals, chat and news via Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/coldcutofficial

Mixcloud Select 62 – Openmind Mixxx, 12/02/1995

MS62 OM Mixxx tapeAn early ’95 set for Solid Steel with Jon More and PC, lots of trip hop, hip hop, acid and a bit of drum & bass on the wrong speed. Coming out hard and heavy with RSW and FSOL and a couple of Wagon Christ tracks from one of my favourite eras of Luke’s work, the Throbbing Pouch album and satellite singles. Hustlers of Culture were a short-lived act on early Wall of Sound, Mantronix everyone knows, Art of Noise make an unexpected entry, slightly derailed by Jon having to read the KISS competition. This was the bane of the show, having to do ads was bad enough but there would be promo spots to read out sometimes that DJs were obliged to do to be on message for the station.

Back to the music, Ninja business from 9 Lazy 9 with a remix from Marden Hill who were a Mo Wax affiliate which was a big deal at the time. 4E’s Temple Traxx was a staple of my record box for years as it grooves along at hip hop tempo with acid squiggles, it was a side project of Khan as in Khan & Walker and he made several releases around the mid 90s. Andy Weatherall’s incredible dubbed-out remix for Galliano was another monster cut that was always on hand of which Studio Pressure aka Photek slides out of, on 33rpm instead of 45. A short snatch of Tusken Raiders aka Mike Paradinas aka Muziq plays us out to the news.

Track list:
Renegade Soundwave – Blast ’Em Out
Future Sound of London – Snake Hips
Wagon Christ – Yeah
Wagon Christ – How You Really Feel
Hustlers of Culture – Herbs & Spices
Mantronix – King of the Beats
Art of Noise – Close Up
9 Lazy 9 – Train (Marden Hill remix)
Jungle Brothers – Jungle Beats
4E – Temple Traxx
Galliano – Skunk Funk (Cabin Fever mix)
Studio Pressure – Touching Down… Planet Photek
Tusken Raiders – Gaderffi Stick

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…

 

Brian Eno – The Lighthouse radio station

The-Lighthouse-Station-Artwork

Brian Eno has teamed up with Sonos – the speaker company – to launch a radio station of his unreleased music, 30 years worth. The station is called The Lighthouse and is available on Sonos Radio HD which is a subscription channel of the brand. There is the first of three preview shows up with Brian talking about some of the tracks featured, check it out.

Mixcloud Select 61: DJ Food at The Reverb, Toronto, 27/01/2001

DJ Food Reverb flyer 2001
I have no tape or CD-R of this set, only a digital file, and no idea where it came from. I do recall there was a video online, filmed with multiple cameras for a local TV show of this set or a similar one in 2000. But it’s an example of my club DJ sets at the start of the millennium and was recorded on tour in North America at the Reverb in Toronto according to the file title. The first section reprises part of the Xen Cuts 10th anniversary set I made the previous autumn, complete with wobbles, pushes and pulls – remember, this is all coming off vinyl. I

Amazingly I had the flyer for this show so can confirm the date and venue is correct but, trying to find info on the web about this, I found this review on NME.com of all places. It was dated as Sept 2005 so I can only deduce that it was posted later on, possible from elsewhere. I can guarantee you that I wasn’t in Toronto in Sept 2005 though as my kids were about to be born.

DJ Food: Toronto The Reverb Ninja Tunes stalwart rips up the jazz-hop breaks…
By NME 12th September 2005

Tonight, a courageous young gentleman in the audience is decked out, perhaps unreasonably, in full ninja regalia. It’s a cartoonish, obscenely intricate costume – one quite obviously modelled after the pesky record-flinging mercenary that makes up the Ninja Tune logo. This, you see, is indicative of the kind of unabashed devotion that DJ Food and labelmates Fink and Dynamic Syncopation will bask in this evening.

For his part, the chain-smoking Fink performs admirably, wheeling off an expertly constructed set of electroid bleeps and rapid-fire, stuttering breaks. And although they’re questionably occupying the closing slot, Dynamic Syncopation are also wholly dependable, weaving together a heady pastiche of ’70s funk and retrograde hip-hop.

But the night quite obviously belongs to Food, who are on this occasion solely represented by the venerable Strictly Kev. His set is, in a word, fierce. Piecing disembodied remnants of rejigged classics together with more contemporary reference points, Kev’s got the audience in rapture. By the time he gets round to spinning a handful of re-Tuned swing numbers, they’re engaged in the kind of frantic, hands-up revelry normally reserved for someone about to be saved by a gasbag televangelist.

A storming evening then – even Kev walks offstage with a bemused smile. And why not? If it’s good enough for the ninja, surely it’s good enough for the rest of us.

Mark Pytlik  https://www.nme.com/reviews/reviews-nme-3935-328553

Track list:
The Herbaliser – Mr Chombee Has The Flaw
The Cinematic Orchestra – Channel One Suite
Mr Scruff – Fish
Neotropic – 15 Levels of Your Stealth
Up, Bustle & Out – Revolutionary Woman of the Windmill
Cabbage Boy – Bean (To This World)
Amon Tobin – Sordid
The Herbaliser – Mrs Chombee Takes The Plunge (DJ Food remix)
Quantic – Lie In The Rain
Jurassic 5 – Swing Set
Wagon Christ – Get Your Head Down
Breakestra – Live Mix Part 2
Colour Climax – Plug It In
Rufus Thomas – The Funky Bird
LL Cool J – Illegal Search (Keep On Searching’ Mix)
Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five – Pump Me Up
Art of Noise – Beatbox (Diversion One)
Westbam – Alarm Clock
Banbarra – Shack Up
The Beatmasters – Boulevard of Broken Dreams
De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays
K. Scope – The Set Up
Major Force – The Re-Return Of The Original Artform (Cut Chemist mix)
Jungle Brothers – Beyond This World (acappella)
Unsung Heroes – Daily Intake
LB – Ashes To Ashes
Wagon Christ – Cris Chana
Massive Attack – Safe From Harm
Photek – Complex
Quincy Jones – Soul Bossa Nova

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.

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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.

IT_1968-03-08_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-27_016IT_1968-04-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-29_016

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 Select 60: Strictly Bites The Big Apple 03/06/2002

MS60 CD In the Spring of 2002 I went to NYC for 10 days and stayed in Manhattan on a working holiday. The plan was to visit the Children’s Television Workshop and go through their archive for a compilation, visit Steinski at his studio and work on a track together and, of course, do some record shopping. I also visited Double Dee in his studio with Stein and DK who was also in town for a couple of days (jet-setter that he is) and we recorded an interview with them both for Solid Steel. The interview with Douglas and Steve was great fun, two personal heroes who were instantly at ease in the studio as I repeatedly cocked up my intro spiel, cracking us all up and breaking what little ice there was.

CTW was amazing, I sat in a small studio for a few days with access to a console with a searchable database of clips and shows from the early 70s through to the 00s and watched old clips all day, making notes of the ones I wanted transferred later for the music and video content. This was all pre-YouTube so that kind of access was a goldmine and a unique form of digging. I was also given a huge pile of records to go through from their archive from all different countries, many I’d never seen before. Steinski’s studio was far less successful, full of wonderful records and memorabilia as it was, we had far too good a time hanging out although we did get a chorus of a song made but little else. Oh, and the tapes for the uncompleted Lesson 4 came up in conversation which I got to re-edit for the interview and the duo later finished and released last year.

But the record shopping was great, as you can imagine, even though I didn’t venture outside of Manhattan and most of this mix was bought on the trip although I chucked in a few New York-centric tracks to flesh out the theme too. It’s a decent mix of then contemporary hip hop, vintage funk with a few cut ups and pop songs for good measure. RIP Duke Bootee. There are several tracks, listening back to the set, that I’d completely forgotten about, one being Si Begg’s ‘It’s the Weirdest Thing’, which I cannot for the life of me remember the origin of. I have to apologise for the Frank Sinatra mix near the end, not sure what I was thinking.

UPDATE: Si Begg tells me it was from Noodles Discothechque Vol.4

MS60 PRS

Various – Back from NY intro
Tino – H-Bomb
Steinski – NY, NY
Tino – Jazz Overload
Blackalicous – Chemical Calisthenics
Baker Brothers – Paste
Natural Self – Raise The Game
Emil Richards – Garnet (January)
Otto Von Schirach – Smelly Mustard
Kenyon Hopkins – Hard Latin
Ursula 1000 – Ooops There Goes the Crowd
Adam & the Ants – Deutscher Girls
The Osmonds – My Drum
Mr Lif – Fulcrum (Edan remix)
Duke Bootee – Broadway
J-Live – Like This Anna
Lighthouse – Love of a Woman
Si Begg – It’s The Weirdest Thing
Odyssey – Native New Yorker
Paul Humphrey & Cool Aid Chemists – Baby Rice
Frank Sinatra – New York
Harlem Underground Band – Smokin’ Cheeba Cheeba

NB: written on the bottom of the PRS sheet was this multiple choice question – presumably, who directed ‘Jubilee’? (because of the inclusion of Adam & The Ants’ ‘Deutscher Girls’ from the soundtrack)

MS60 comp

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

Kaleidoscope reissue + Companion album

KAL Comp titleHeads up – New/old release/reissue package now up for pre-order – 4xLP – the original Kaleidoscope LP repressed on blue/white vinyl and the all new Kaleidoscope Companion featuring unreleased/alternate tracks ’97-2000 on orange/red vinyl in gatefold sleeve w. download, out mid July (and yes the label has them in hand, no 6 month wait)

Pre-order here : (support record shops if you can)
Norman Records. http://bitly.ws/dZwy
Bleep http://bitly.ws/dZwC
Resident http://bitly.ws/dZwJ
Sister Ray http://bitly.ws/dZH8
Phonica http://bitly.ws/dZHq
Ninja Tune http://bitly.ws/dZwN
Bandcamp http://bitly.ws/dZwR
Full Digital / streaming links: https://djfood.lnk.to/kaleidoscope

New Companion tracklist: The Crow features in two forms – Crow (Slow) and The Rook + Type 3The Quadraplex EP has been remixed and edited into a new 13 minute epic that includes unreleased material, the keen-eared with recognised Stealth as the backing for the Xen Cuts remix of The Ageing Young Rebel although this is a different mix, and Boohoo is an early version of The Sky At Night. All tracks on the companion were recorded around Kaleidoscope
1. The Ents Go To War
2. Prototype I & II
3. The Crow (Slow)
4. A Strange Walk
5. Hip Operation
6. Skylark
7. Zoom Zoom
8. Quadraplex (A Trip to the Galactic Centre)
9. See Saw
10. Stealth
11. The Rook + Type 3
12. Boohoo

Kal:Kal Comp outer + discs2Kal.Kal Comp inner highKal front + 4 discs2Kal Comp front + 4 discs2Kal front + discs 22 Kal label A KAl back + discsKal discKal inner + discs2Kal Comp label + titlesKal Comp front + disc 22 Kal Comp back + discsKal Comp disc

The Hauntologists – Tales From The Scary Magic Field 7″

Haunt cover
I was lucky enough to grab one of the last copies of this hilarious parody record by The Hauntologists the other week. ‘Tales From The Scary Magic Field’ pokes good-natured fun at certain aspects of the Hauntology genre, most prominently the whole ‘thought to lost tapes found in an attic supposedly from an obscure horror film’ scams that have become so prevalent in recent years.
Haunt backYou can hear the A side on Bandcamp but the vinyl contains a hilarious B side that pokes fun at musique concrete styles by chucking everything and the kitchen sink into the (concrete) mix. The splatter vinyl is a thing of wonder too. Hauntology fans will spot the references and should check the write up on the BC page for more in-jokes.

Haunt vinyl

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

JONNY01_FOOD_LISTEN

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

JONNY_PREMIERE_previewDJFOOD

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

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

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

MS57 PRS

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

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

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

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

Openmindesign Instagram

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Thanks to Coldcut sharing my Openmindesign account on Instagram yesterday we just went over the 1000 followers mark, thanks guys. I’ve been saving this entry for just such a milestone.IMG_1009

I remember well, setting up the huge flight case that would become the toy box on the cover of this album in Matt Black’s Spacelab studio at Ninja Tune HQ in Clink St one sunny spring morning. Matt and Jon More had pulled out various items that they felt were part of the Coldcut story for inclusion and Hex’s Rob Pepperell had created a game box with graphics of the duo and added a copy of his book, ‘The Post-Human Condition’ too. I’d made a set of assembly instructions with the album title on it the night before as we’d decided on no obvious typography on the front cover.

IMG_1010Suzi Green was in charge of photography and we arranged the box a number of different ways as well as shooting the underside for the back of the sleeve. You can see all sorts of items in and around the box; badges, CDs of samples, previous records, a portable turntable, a flyer for Stealth, tapes of studio sessions, a toy Ninja and the Journeys By DJ mix tape. Hex – including a pre-Hexstatic Robin Brunson – computer generated the ‘toys’ of Matt and Jon and perfectly photoshopped them into the cover image afterwards.

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I used old children’s play blocks for the lettering on the labels and a 3D box typeface for the Let Us Play titles, also finding an image for each track. There really wasn’t an inch of space that wasn’t used on this, a crazy amount of information. I’d do it differently these days of course but I think it was what was needed given the smorgasbord of contents inside.

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There was so much info to go into this album, it was never going to be a minimal design. Suzi had taken various shots around the Ahead Of Our Time studio which featured around the edges of the inside sleeves and gatefold, then there was a freaky ‘chakra’ inner sleeve, lyrics, loads of collaborator credits and info. Then there was the CD with bonus enhanced disc of games and digital toys, the cassette, the video and multiple press ads, posters and more, it went on and on, one of the biggest album campaigns of the label’s history up until that point and quite rightly.

Then there was the remix album ‘Let Us Replay’ in early 1999… read and see more at www.instagram.com/openmindesign and give us a follow as there are daily postsIMG_1014

Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void vinyl pre-order

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

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

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

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

DJ Format – Devil’s Workshop album

Devils workshop cover
Jumping straight onto my albums of 2021 list is DJ Format‘s latest LP, ‘Devil’s Workshop’, a ten track largely instrumental affair shorn of the usual MCs who are replaced by sampled vocals and spoken word. Each track has a video to accompany it and it’s a deep affair which rewards with each listen. Available today on LP, CD and DL via Format’s Bandcamp page – essential purchase, also check out his other wares including his and Mr Thing‘s religious mix, Holy Shit!.

Devils workshop labelDevils workshop back

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

MS53 DAT

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

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

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

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

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

MS53Box

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

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

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

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

The KLF – White Room 1989 Director’s Cut

Sample City 4 White Room
The latest addition to The KLF‘s Sample City Through Trancentral series is a 1989 Director’s Cut of The White Room album which is very different for those familiar to the original from 1991. It’s not the original original 1989 version of the album which kicked off with Kylie Said To Jason, featured a Pure Trance version of 3AM Eternal and has been passed round collector circles for years containing even earlier versions of the songs either. This is more of a bridge between Chill Out and the final White Room that was released in the midst of their pop pomp heyday in 1991 but excludes What Time Is Love and 3AM Eternal, presumably because they had already been posted as part of the Solid State Logik sets. A lot of the versions feel a little more restrained and polite than the originally released version, yet to be fully fleshed out and pumped up in places for radio play.
This must be the ‘lost chapter’ they have alluded to before as there’s lots more to look forward to with the Pure Trance Series, Moody Boys Selection and Kick Out D’Jamz chapters yet to come.

Listen on YouTube now

White Room flyposters

UPDATE: Confirming my suspicions – from The KLF themselves:

“THE WHITE ROOM – Director’s Cut by The KLF is not The White Room album that was released globally by The KLF in various formats with various track listings in 1991. Nor was it a version of the same album not completed or released in 1989.

THE WHITE ROOM – Director’s Cut by The KLF is a version of The White Room that was completed but not released in 1990.

THE WHITE ROOM – Director’s Cut by The KLF was constructed in various recording studios by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, between early 1989 and sometime in 1990.”

More info here about all the chapters so far

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The Real Tuesday Weld ‘Blood’ and ‘Tape Dust Memories’ albums

Blood front cover red vThis has been a long time coming but… ‘There will be Blood!’. More specifically The Real Tuesday Weld‘s ‘Blood’, the first in a trilogy of albums under the umbrella of ‘Swan Songs’, the final bow of Stephen Coates‘ 20 year+ recording career under this name. ‘Blood’ is the first, to be followed by ‘Dreams’ and ‘Bone’ over the next 18 months and each will be supplemented by cassette versions with completely different tracks in sympathetic packaging to each main title.Blood back cover poster DLBlood red contents

The whole design concept was started over a year ago, pre-lockdown, but stalled like everything for months mid year until we picked it back up in the summer, reworked the concepts and mapped out the whole set. With the benefit of hindsight it was worth the rest and the design is better for it as we went through various stages and ideas, coming back to it with fresh eyes. There’s a small books-worth of unused elements and ideas that never made it for this series, a huge folder of work that was slowly honed into shape over months as the artwork formed.
Blood red contents back Blood splatter contents Blood splatter v light TRTW

The ‘Blood’ vinyl comes in red or red & black splatter vinyl versions, has an inner sleeve with a short story (a feature of all the albums), die-cut back and inner covers and download card. Depending on how you insert the record / inner sleeve or poster you can have different back covers.

Blood back poster Blood back Stephen Blood back Blood

If you pre-order direct from the Real Tuesday Weld Bandcamp page you get an exclusive target print and beermat with the 10 track album plus there you can also find a bundle with the 11 track cassette companion, ‘Tape Dust Memories’ which is housed in a blood bag with medical-style lyric sheet and download card. This is a completely different album of extra tracks from the same sessions and possibly not available anywhere else. I’m extremely pleased with how these have both turned out and we’re forging ahead with the follow up, ‘Dreams’ for the end of 2021.
TDM blood bag TDM Blood bag 2TDM tape ATDM contentsTDM contents 2

For those wanting a CD version, there may be something at the end of the trilogy that collects them all, we’ll see…

Blood red v stamp