Kaiser George Marionettes

Kaiser George Joe Meek

I saw this on Facebook the other day, reposted by Andrew Divine, and had to investigate further. ‘Kaiser’ George Miller sculpts these marionettes of rock n roll legends, Ursula Cleary makes their clothes, Chris Taylor illustrates the cards and box art and ‘Kaiser’ Johnny Maben prints it all. So far they’ve made Xmas cards, prints and bubble gum cards which you buy here. Here’s hoping one day they get round to doing Kraftwerk
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SS card backs SS detail B&W SS detail colour

Coldcut – Solid Sphinx New Year 92-93?

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As it’s New Year, and this set possibly dates from then, I’ve decided to put it up for all to hear, not just for subscribers. This is one of the oldest sets I have from Coldcut in my archive and it’s a very good indication of the chill out room aesthetics of the early 90s. I have very little info about this as it’s before my time on Solid Steel but from the track listing and style of show I would guess that it’s a pre-recorded jam with Matt, Jon and maybe PC from around 1992/93.

Periodically in the early to mid-nineties Solid Steel would give up it’s traditional mix / talk / ad break / mix format and morph into a Sphinx for an hour or two. The first time I ever heard of this was when I turned up to do one of the regular Friday pre-records at KISS FM one evening and Matt said that tonight the show was going to be a ‘Solid Sphinx’. What the hell was that?, I asked. ‘That’ meant minimum chat and no ads, just two hours of straight mixing, usually erring on the ambient and electronic side of things. ‘Great!’, I thought, as the usual 15-20-minute-mix-then-break-for-ads format was restricting – just as you were getting into the flow you had to stop for the commercials.

Ranging in title from Alien Sphinx, Return of the Alien Sphinx and More Than An Alien Sphinx (and probably a whole host of others besides), I seem to remember a 3 hour one once when the clocks went back and we suddenly had an extra hour to play with between 12 and 2am. They were sprawling soundscapes inhabiting similar territory to The Orb and FSOL at the time. I always had an inkling that the name came from the supposed Sphinx face that had been ‘discovered’ on Mars and asked Matt about it:

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“Yes, its from the Alien Sphinx ‘Face on Mars’ thang. I was turned onto it by Fortean Times. Just thought it was a wicked concept, though the images of it never convinced me…humans see faces everywhere, we are optimised for it. We first used the name on the full length Video ‘Global Chaos’, a Hex project. Rob Pepperell and I made a 3D character called ‘Alien Sphinx’. I guess the idea morphed into an inscrutable ancient mystery sound trip after that!”

This show sounds like a studio jam with electronic FX, spoken word jingles thrown in from the sampler and pitch-shifted down at times. Around the 12.40 mark you can hear the original sample that the Solid Steel bleeps is taken from too. One of the infamous ‘K Mixes’ is played midway (Technical Dub – K Mix 67) and several tracks help date it: The Moody Boys’ ‘Free’, The Orb’s remix of Blue Pearl’s ‘Mother Dawn’, The Irresistible Force remix of Coldcut’s ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Sign’, both from their ‘Philosophy’ LP, and Laraaji to finish. I think this came straight from DAT around the time we were encoding shows for the 20th anniversary of Solid Steel and the title was a guess based on the tape contents. There are still a few tracks I couldn’t identify so, if you recognise anything, then please leave a comment.

Attempted track list:
Gondwanaland – Eagle (?)
Roger Powell – Lumia: Dance of the Nebulae
Polonio – Do (?)
Beaver & Krause – Sequential Voltage Sources, Composition
Unknown
Blue Pearl – Mother Dawn (The Orb’s Buckateer Mix 1)
‘Teknical Dub’ – K Mix 67 1992
Unknown (reggae track under People Hold On)
Coldcut feat. Lisa Stansfield – People Hold On (A cappella)
Moody Boys – Free
The Irresistible Force – War & Peace Live
Jam & Spoon – My First Fantastic F.F.
Unknown (banging techno with spinbacks)
Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (The Irresistible Force Full Chill mix)
Coldcut – Sign
Laraaji – Zither Dance

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 37 – Bendy Uptempo Funk + The Rocket 14/02/99

Bendy : Rocket : Chicago

Special request upload for Anton Kibeshev: an early 1999 mix that was part of a show with Funki Porcini on Solid Steel although, sadly, the Funki Porcini part is missing as he must have recorded it elsewhere. I transferred these mixes from a DAT earlier in the year but part of the first mix is missing, there was something else on the tape recorded over it (part of an Autechre live set I think). It’s only the first track and a half but it bought the first mix – titled ‘Bendy Uptempo Funk’ – in at 24 minutes so I thought I’d couple it up with the second set – ‘The Rocket’ to make it to nearly an hour. Next week is Xmas so I’ll dig out something suitably themed.

There’s a lot here that I don’t recall, most of it would have been current buys/releases and I always seem to recall that the end of the 90s was a bit patchy after the yearly new genres that the rest of the decade had sprung on us. There’s plenty to digest here though, First Born ‘The Mood Club’ still gets plays out from a great little 7” with a variety-speed mix on the B side., Klute’s ‘Blood Rich’ has aged well, The Fantastic Plastic Machine remix was from a Japanese remix album of anime soundtracks I think.

310’s ‘Prague Rock’ EP is something I return to annually, 5 tracks of classic British Prog Rock chopped and sliced into polyrhythmic soundscapes on the Leaf label, all totally illegal samples from giants like Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. It’s fantastic, every track a winner and I’ve never heard anything else come close aside from some early DJ Shadow productions. The record is easy to find and sells for around £2 on Discogs and was only ever a promo because of the samples. ‘The Voice of Britain’ is a Genesis cut up and the video on YouTube just adds to the weirdness, honestly, this is one of my all time favourite sample records ever, still sounds fresh 21 years later and 310’s own productions are nothing to be sniffed at either, amazing skills. You can hear and download it for free via their site including 2 remixes not on the 12”

Bendy DAT

‘Trama Nella Metropoli’ is one of the only old tracks here but it was new to me via a compilation that the Karminisky Experience Inc had given to me of old I Marc 4 tracks, this was one of the first legal library compilations out there and they still drop this track to this day. Apologies for my abstract / awful scratching into Q-Bert’s ‘Redworm’, I was so into this kind of turntablism in the mid to late 90s, unfortunately this kind of 100% purism rarely formed into anything other than a technically impressive but rather mediocre arrangement. Tracks like ‘Bear Witness’ were a far better showcases of exceptional Q-bert’s skills.

Part 2 is called ‘The Rocket’ – I have absolutely no idea why. Dodo kicks it off who was a quirky producer affiliated with the Digidub collective for a while I think who seemed to make a couple of singles and an album and then disappear. Roots Manuva’s excellent ‘Motion 5000’ sounds so good, loved this era of Rodney’s music but this Black Dog track I have no memory of. Tom Tyler made some great records for D C Recordings for a while and it looked like he was going to go the same way as The Cinematic Orchestra but it seems like he’s not made a record for 15 years according to Discogs. DJ Vadim finishes things off with the first single from his then second album which reminds me of a story connected to this date.

Valentine’s Day 1999 – I was living in the basement of a converted mental hospital in Camberwell, sharing with The Herbaliser’s Ollie Teeba and had gone to Sunday dinner with my girlfriend at her parents’ place in South West London. Midway through the afternoon her dad burst into the room, ‘It’s Ollie on the phone, you’ve been burgled, they’ve taken everything’, he deadpanned. Just like that, I didn’t know whether to be shocked at the message or his directness, it was a terrible piece of news to receive so we drove back to South East London to find that they hadn’t actually taken everything but had had a good root around and made off with a fair bit.

My decks and mixer went, that was gutting, not only because I needed them but because they were my first Technics, bought with money my late grandmother had left me when I first came to London. As a student, Technics were out of my price range and I wasn’t so foolish as to spend my grant on them and live off toast for the rest of the year. I wanted the money she left me to mean something so invested it in a pair of secondhand decks as I knew they would repay themselves several times over. One of them had been customised too with a black and yellow reverse switch, so if you ever come across a 1210 with an extra switch near the on/off button then it was probably mine. So this mix here is the last one made on my original turntables.

My Mac computer, monitor (one of the super heavy blocks, pre-iMac), money and a camera also went. Luckily I had an internal door lock on my room so they couldn’t actually get into the rest of the flat so Ollie’s room escaped untouched but my first thought was the work that was on the computer. One of the projects was the artwork for this Vadim single and forthcoming album as well as early designs for The Herbaliser’s ‘Very Mercenary LP. Another thing was an external drive under the table that had all my work for the ‘Kaleidoscope’ LP so far on it, luckily they’d ripped the wires out and left it, just taking the monitor and tower. That was an unhappy Valentine’s Day.

Bendy PRS

I’ve not included the ‘Unreleased Chicago Connection’ set as it was fairly minimal and was mainly taken up with Bundy K Brown‘s 18 minute Ariel M remix, all the material came from a DAT he sent me at this time when we were working on ‘Full Bleed’ for the aforementioned DJ Food album. The Chicago Underground Trio track has long since come out although I’m not sure if the Red Red Meat track ever made it.

Part 1 – Bendy Uptempo Funk
The Isolationist – Intro (from original tracklist, missing here)
Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra – Daunerfisch
Klute – Blood Rich
Firstborn – The Mood Club
Fantastic Plastic Machine – Theme From Lupin the 3rd (FPM Reconstruction mix)
310 – The Voice of Britain
I Marc 4 – Trama Nella Metropoli
Q-Bert – Redworm

Part 2 – The Rocket
Dodo – Iridium
Ian Simmonds – N.V.Y.
Third Eye Foundaion – Fear Of A Wack pPlanet
Roots Manuva – Motion 5000
The Black Dog – Babylon (Blue mix)
Tom Tyler – Swing Children
DJ Vadim – Friction

Zappa documentary by Alex Winter

Alex Winter’s new Zappa documentary is an amazing treasure chest of delights and essential for any fans of the man and his music. Given access to his legendary vault, Winter spent 2 years transferring and restoring films and tapes of every kind to build the visual elements and it’s incredible. Along the way he also came across lots of Frank’s original artwork including flyers and greeting cards he drew as a jobbing artist in the 60s. This is another string to his bow that is rarely acknowledged but always a treat to see. Below are some screen grabs, check out the doc if you can, go here to find it www.thezappamovie.com plus there’s a soundtrack available.

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PS: I know this last one is a Cal Schenkel illustration – for more Zappa art go here and here

Mixcloud Select 36 – Strictly’s Home Economix Part 2 31/05/1998

MS36 Kev:Riz 18:01:98 PRSIt seems apt to kick off with UNKLE’s Silver Apples-sampling ‘Rock On’ seeing as Simeon Cox passed away a few months back. DJs were catching onto krautrock, moog, library and psychedelia by the end of the 90s as new avenues from the by this time well-depleted soul, funk and jazz sample staples of much hip and trip hop. London was awash with bootlegs from the US and Italy of all sorts throughout that decade with many spurious compilations appearing laden with choice treats plucked from closely guarded digger’s secrets, sometimes with fake names. I think I chanced upon a boot of the first Silver Apples album around this time, the originals were out of my prices range but no matter, the music was there and this was still before sites offering copious such treasures for free download. In a way, the piracy of the physical form was killed by mp3s and the like in the Wild West Web of the 00s although there were still some doing the respectable thing and licensing library compilations like Jonny Trunk, Martin Green and Mark B.

Of the tracks here, only UNKLE, David Holmes and Red Snapper still seem to be active, The Sons of Silence were an interesting group on the Leaf label who put out a great cut up promo 12” with a B side called ‘The Golden Age of Men’s Music’, you can find it very cheap and it samples some very big names as well as another mysterious 12” called Black Helicopters which cuts up Led Zeppelin and Kenneth Williams. Cartel Productions I’d completely forgotten about, this was from a Clear Records side label called REEL Discs and sounds very like Kirk Degiorgio to me but is actually Dave Kempston aka Clatterbox. The Trolley Dollies was something to do with DJ Harvey and samples Mort Garson’s ‘Hair Pieces’ extensively I think. At the time he was doing his Black Cock re-edit boots with Kraftwerk and Dick Hymen cut ups that were big in clubs. Not sure what Buddy Rich and Tom Jones were doing in here, probably big club records at the time, Rich having been sampled by All Seeing I and Jones having a nice breakdown. David Holmes remixes Red Snapper to finish, pre-empting his later alias, The Free Association, with all manner of psychedelia, he must have done his Essential Mix around this time where he surprised everyone by pulling out a crate of funk, rock and psych instead of the techno he was known for.

NB: – the DAT and box pictured above isn’t the same one that this session came from, I did two separate shows with Riz from Neotropic and, although this was one of them, the other is on the DAT pictured. I’m 99% certain the date on this show is correct.

Track list:
U.N.K.L.E. – Rock On (Nutcracker mix)
Depth Charge – Romario (Rio Percussion Unit mix)
Sons of Silence – Vibra Slap (Ronnie & Clyde mix)
Cartel Productions – Park Central
The Trolly Dollies – Spacecake
Buddy Rich – The Beat Goes On
Tom Jones – Looking Out My Window
Red Snapper  – Bogeyman (David Holmes remix)

Mixcloud Select 35 – Strictly’s Home Economix 31/05/1998

MS35 Strictly Home Economix pt.1 DATThis is an odd set although I’m enjoying discovering some forgotten gems in these end of the 90s sets recently. The track list was labeled ‘Strictly’s Home Economix’ which suggests (to my mix-titling logic) that it was recorded at home. It came off a DAT originally and has none of the Solid Steel jingles or chat on it so bears out this theory and the levels are all over the place which also suggests that it was recorded straight to portable a DAT player that I had around the end of the 90s.

When we recorded sets at KISS or the Ahead of Our Time studio there would always be someone on hand to watch the desk levels and even things out or the signal would go through some sort of limiter. Some of the mixes here are pretty slack too so I wasn’t yet into the mix/edit stage of my Solid Steel sets that I’d begin around 1999/2000 – this is all still one-take, slips and slides and all. There was no date on the track list or the DATbut it was part of a show with Riz Maslen aka Neotropic and I remember we did a couple together around this time, one was at the studio but this one can’t have been. DK had the answer in his Solid Steel PRS archive, it was from 31/05/1998.

There are 3 parts on the DAT, with one very ambient / illbient / deep jazz set of nearly 30 minutes that I’ll spare you because A) it’s not that interesting and B) it has some nasty distortion on some of the tracks. It’s highly likely that it was never transmitted for just that reason. Regardless, there are two other parts that bear repetition on the tape, the first of which is here.

Part 1 kicks off with a recording of Company Flow – featuring El-P – doing a freestyle session over an MF Doom instrumental for Solid Steel and name-checking Coldcut(s). This was cheekily recorded and pressed up by DJ Vadim for a now very rare release on Mark B’s K’Boro label. I think it only came out as a white label and a quick check on Discogs reveals it’s one of 31 TPs and now goes for around £30! I actually designed some labels for it as I was doing lots of Jazz Fudge and some K’Boro artwork at the time and later on we get a Mark B & The MUD Fam track from the same label.

A mix of hip hop and trip hop from Ninja Tune and MoWax makes up a lot of this set plus Autechre remixing Stereolab, The Cinematic Orchestra’s Jason Swinscoe remixing Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Psychonauts reconstructing label mate, Money Mark. One half of King Kooba was Charlie ‘6 Ft’ Tate who also worked with The Herbaliser on occasion and Mr Quark was a producer from France I think who did some very twisted and hilarious trip hop-ish tracks that remind me of Sukia or Kid Koala. Excuse the mix of the loose 6/8 time Arsonists out of J Swinscoe’s even looser jazz mix, should have escaped from that a lot earlier. The mix of ‘Turtle Soup’ into ‘Chat ‘Bout’ is inexcusable though, should have got a red card, really not sure what’s going on there.

Part 2 next week!

Track list: Part 1
Stereolab – Refractions in the Plastic Pulse (Autechre remix)
King Kooba – Brown Blood (Campaign mix)
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Salvation (J Swinscoe remix)
Arsonists – Geembo’s Theme
Money Mark – Push the Button
Mr Quark – Am I Really Different?
DJ Food – Turtle Soup (Wagon Christ remix)
Mark B & The M.U.D. Family – Chat ‘Bout
Money Mark – Maybe I’m Dead (Psychonauts remix)

De:tuned DE:10 series repress full series

DE10x10

The final four coloured vinyl represses from the De:tuned DE:10 series were released yesterday including a clear vinyl DE:10, still with the silver foil blocked sleeve. There is one more piece in the puzzle for this series that should make an appearance in the next two weeks…

Here’s some handy order links if you’re looking to pick up the last batch
Bleep: bit.ly/3dQ23RF
Juno: bit.ly/2Zb4iLd
Red Eye: bit.ly/2yaq4nb
Norman: bit.ly/3h9gQI9
Deejay: bit.ly/3dQwPty
Decks: bit.ly/35nZ5mz
Horizons: bit.ly/2WCfMWr
Intense: bit.ly/322VM1H

Into 2021 there’s much more great music to come from this label and I’ve designed two fantastic releases that are currently in production with another to start on before the year’s end. The two in the can are dream come true projects and I’m extremely happy with the results.
If you’re not familiar with the De:tuned label then the DE:10 releases are an excellent place to start. Some of their contents are in this special promo mix I made for them earlier this year.

In the mean time, look at these beauties…

DE01

DE02

DE03

DE04

DE05

DE06

DE07

DE08

DE09

DE10

DJ Food ‘Songs of Praise’ mix

DJ Food - Songs of Praise web
In recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in religious records, specifically rock operas from the late 60’s, early to mid 70’s era. Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar are the most obvious ins to this genre and there are many, many versions of those but they’re the tip of the iceberg once you get into pressings from independent labels run by the church. The astounding thing with this genre – and possibly because of the success of Hair and JCS – is the budgets and records that come out of the woodwork. Box sets with foil printing, 12″x12″ booklets, double albums, full chorus, strings, horn sections, top notch session musicians right down to hand drawn covers and small ensembles recorded in halls with bad sound. Generally though, there was a lot of money about to do this stuff and it shines through in the passion and creativity poured into the songs and performances on these records.

A recent trade with fellow collector, Shane Quentin, (co-contributor to the Wobbly Sounds flexi disc book last year with Jonny Trunk and myself) resulted in me offering an exclusive mix for his long-running The Garden of Earthly Delights radio show. Having chanced upon an incredible religious album recently, full of great tracks, I was looking for a reason to put a load of them together and offered a mix of religious rock and such as I knew he’d get a kick out of it. The results can be heard in my new mix, ‘Songs Of Praise’, tonight on his show between 10pm and midnight – point your browser at http://www.crmk.co.uk/listen. It’ll also be available via Shane’s Mixcloud UPDATE: Full show below, my mix starts at the 33 minute mark.

I love every one of these records and have been playing the mix daily since I made it earlier this month which is unlike me, there’s something both weird and wonderful about them. I had to cut 20 minutes of material to get it in at an hour and already have enough for half of part 2 so this may become an annual, pre-Xmas affair on Shane’s show. A lot of these records are available for very little (one of them I bought for £1) but there’s a lot to plough through in the genre to find the gems.

Mixcloud Select 34: Strictly Kev – Solid Steel 03/06/1995

MS34 Strictly Kev - Solid Steel 3:5:1995 tapeThis is one of my favourite sessions from the 90s, KISS FM, Friday night (we often pre-recorded then and it was broadcast ‘live’ 1-3am Saturday), Matt, Jon, PC and I piled into the tiny studio on the Holloway Road with a bunch of new records, the word treasure jingle CDs that housed all the various samples we’d ’slurp’ over each other’s mixes and no plan but to record 2 hours non stop.

There’s another hour that precedes this that PC should be putting up on his Sound/Mixcloud soon where it’s his turn and possibly Matt Black before him. There’s also a missing 20 minutes at the end of my mix which may well have been Jon finishing off the set. This is a classic trip hop selection taking in blunted beats, turntablism, downtempo electro and hip hop B sides, a bit of ambience and spoken word thrown in and some new Ninja productions at the end.

Things were getting busy and exciting on all fronts in 1995, the year that the label finally broke through with the first Ninja Cuts compilation and solidified things with Coldcut’s Journeys By DJ mix, our first overseas tours and the start of the club, Stealth. Gigs around the UK and Europe were becoming more and more regular and I was designing everything Ninja Tune could throw at me. It was a slow build, not some overnight sensation, things just grew and continued to grow for the next few years, maybe slowing somewhat by 1998 but then we were at the 10 year anniversary by the year 2000.

If anyone can tell me what the opening track is I’d be grateful, Shazam has nothing, I have no record of the set list but I’m thinking it might be something from the New Breed label maybe? DJ Smash? Something from one of the Fat Jazzy Grooves comps? You can tell it’s the 90s with those kind of names. The Ken Nordine sample makes me think it’s from the US as few had sampled him by 1995. *UPDATE: Edward has come through with the answer, it was JazzadelicMessage From Outer Space, he also pointed out that the date was 3rd of June 1995, not May – thanks Edward. The Prunes track that follows is definitely from that label, still quite underrated/forgotten over in the UK, there’s all sorts of great trip hop on that label going back to 1992.

DJVadim_NonLat_12_label

I had a trick that I used to do, it’s an old hip hop thing that DJ Vadim showed me with a roll of gaffe tape and a turntable, you can see it illustrated on the cover of his first Ninja Tune single. You place the roll of tape on the platter, sit a record on top of it, making sure it’s as central as possible, unscrew the headshell of the tonearm and slot it back in upside down. Tip the tonearm weight back as far as it will go and then place the needle on the underside of the elevated record so the needle is facing up. Put it in the middle of the record, not the edge, as the grooves will be carrying the needle from the inside to the outside of the disc once the platter is rotating. Press start on the deck and the sound comes out reversed as the needle is tracking it backwards now. I would do this in clubs and it would always get a great response as it’s such a visual trick, you had to do it with something recognisable and that didn’t change too much plus it was hit and miss where you got the needle but you could get it in time in the mix with a bit of push and pull. I did this with the 45 King’s ‘900 Number’ during this show to general amazement as I don’t think the others had seen it done before.

We get a scratch-fest of DJ Cheese, the Jeep Beat Collective (shout out to Dave the Ruf and DJ Mark-One) and 2 Live Crew’s Mr Mixx before some more downtempo beats from The Prunes and Mike Paradinas alias, Jake Slazenger. I must have just got his album as two tracks feature in quick succession here. Early Wall of Sound makes an appearance in the form of Mekon from the first Back To Mono compilation and then it’s the evergreen Solid Steel staple of Forrest Ackerman’s ‘The Tin Age Story’ from Music For Robots. New Coldcut/Food collab ‘The Worm Turns’ leaps in before we close with a fresh-out-the-studio DJ Food remix of Nobukazu Takemura from the Japan/Germany-only Child’s View Remix album which, if you haven’t heard it, is excellent and features amazing remixes by Aphex Twin and Wagon Christ.

Such fond memories of this time, people and music, not a care in the world.
UPDATE!
PC has put his mix that preceded mine from this show up on his Mixcloud – check it out, there’s an unreleased DJ Food remix in there too – and give him a follow while you’re there
https://www.mixcloud.com/knobblyknee/solid-steel-030695/

Track list:
Jazzadelic – Message From Outer Space
The Prunes – Vinyl Anal
45 King – The 900 Number
Spacepimp – K9 Law
Word of Mouth feat DJ Cheese – King Kut (Dub)
Jeep Beat Collective – Nah, Nope It’s Dope (Scratch Mix)
Anquette – Ghetto Style (instrumental)
The Prunes – Somethin’ Funky
Jake Slazenger – Megaphonk
E.A.R. – Sub Aqua
Jake Slazenger – ERP
Mekon – Minnie’s Broken Arm
Forrest J. Ackerman – Music For Robots
The Illuminati of Hedfuk – The Worm Turns
Nobukazu Takemura – Crescent (DJ Food remix)

Mixcloud Select 33: Strictly’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt.2 05/12/99

DJFoodMixcloudSelect33I mistakenly listed last week’s mix as Part 2 for some reason, probably because it was that way wrong on the PRS sheet despite an opening sample starting, “tonight on Solid Steel we have… “. Anyway, tonight we have a lesser known Boards of Canada remix from Funkstorung’s Michael Fakesch’s first solo single, ‘Demon. 1’ opening the show. It flows into a Pilote track I’d completely forgotten but am very glad to be reminded of (bit out of tune but have you ever tried mixing Boards with anything melodic? Virtually impossible).

The Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia track is one of my very favourite techno tracks of the 90s, as you can hear by my attempt to mix the whole thing in and under Four Tet’s ‘Glasshead’ despite the latter being loose as hell and the tuning being off, bass lines fighting etc. Trevor Jackson’s Output label was really firing on all cylinders around this time, his Skull EP, Kieran’s 12” and 7-Hurtz’ first release, all top drawer material and we’d hadn’t even got to the DFA connection yet.

Part 2:
MICHEAL FAKESCH  – SERFAISE (BOARDS OF CANADA MIX)
PILOTE – JUNIOR
PSYCHIC WARRIORS OV GAIA – OBSIDIAN
FOUR TET – GLASSHEAD
7-HURTZ – 7-HURTZ THEME
PSYCHIC WARRIORS OV GAIA – OBSIDIAN

Mixcloud Select 32: Strictly’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt.1 05/12/99

Adventure in Wonderland DATWe’ve had a lot of the ’00’s recently so I thought I’d reach back into the 90s a bit and pulled these from the DAT files, a couple of mixes from the same show near the end of ’99. Both are quite different so I’ve split them up as the part 1 and 2 that I recorded them as. We kick off with a hip hop-heavy half hour full of crashing beats and samples from a time when R’n’B hadn’t quite started to invade hip hop and the underground scene was in rude health.

Trevor Jackson’s Skull alias kicks the door in and crops up later too, there’s a healthy UK/US crossover with The Herbaliser collaborating with Latyrx on ‘8 Point Agenda’. I can hear a few samples that were floating around during the making of ‘Kaleidoscope’ in this and we would have been finishing it around this point. The computer ‘ghost voice’ also appears, programmed from an app and used as a presenter for the mixes as we’d left KISS FM by this time and were either recording mixes up at Ninja HQ in Ahead of Our Time studios or at home. There was no way to talk on the mic in the studio and, freed up from the need to play ads and ‘reads’ for the station, we just got on with the music. Streaming in a basic form was being explored by Matt Black via the Ninja Tune website ‘Pipe’ and track lists could be posted but this was early days and only a few were engaged on that level. This was sort of a wilderness period when we weren’t officially on the radio, just the web but we never stopped recording a show each week. Coldcut were very insistent that we keep going and not stop the weekly routine as something would come up, and it did in the form of the BBC a year down the line.

Porn Theatre Ushers’ ‘Me & Him’ is an under recognised classic and Public Enemy had made a decent enough single to get featured after a string of so-so releases. I first heard the second Skull track appearing here at a gig I was doing with DJ Vadim somewhere, he played the track from the beginning and let it run to an increasingly puzzled crowd, once the beat dropped everyone was on board though and I had to know what it was. The looseness and uniqueness of the production really made you stop in your tracks and pay attention. Finishing off with Shadow’s Lifer’s Group remix which got bootlegged at some point in the 90s along with the Zimbabwe Legit mix, this is pretty straight up but leads us into a more mellow late night techno excursion next week.

Part 1:
SKULL – SPAZTIK
THE HERBALISER – 8 POINT AGENDA
D.I.T.C. – GET YOURS
STEADY – TRICKNOLOGY
PORN THEATRE USHERS – ME & HIM
SKULL – CRASH
PUBLIC ENEMY – WHAT WHAT
LIFERS GROUP – THE REAL DEAL (DJ SHADOW REMIX)

XX book US edition and Celestial Mechanic EP release

XX US edition

The US release of Rian Hughes’ debut novel, ‘XX’ happened yesterday, the book, as mentioned before, is a sci-fi epic coupled with graphic design elements throughout. To mark the occasion we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out via Bandcamp with a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ and several piano pieces created for the album but unused in the final mix.
Check it out here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission and if you like it there’s a whole album too, made by myself and Saron Hughes with contributions from Robin The Fog on tapes and Saron’s husband, Peter Harris on guitar.
Rian’s book is out on Overlook Press with a different cover, if you’re in the US you can order it here.
Also, Thursday night, Nov 12th, Rian is doing another web chat with writer Grant Morrison online and it’s free! Log on at 7pm Eastern Time, more details here

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)

New Celestial Mechanic EP

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)To celebrate the US publication of Rian Hughes book, ‘XX, A Novel, Graphic’ on Nov 10, we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out today, including a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ alongside satellite piano variations made during the ‘Citizen Void’ LP.
https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission

Celestial Mechanic is a new project I’m part of, directed by Rian Hughes and in collaboration with his sister, pianist Saron Hughes. Rian put us together and commissioned a soundtrack for his book earlier this year. In his novel “XX” he includes a review of a fictional album based on a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin. I and Saron were tasked with the job of taking this review and making the album a reality. In what may be a first, the review actually preceded the music.

“XX” is published by Picador (UK) August 20 2020, Overlook Press (US) November 10 2020.

 

Mixcloud Select 31: Strictly Kev – Just A Phase (extended version) 02/04/2001

31 CD DiscMy archive disc says this is an extended version and it clocks in at 69 minutes so there’s an extra 9 minutes that wouldn’t have been on the Solid Steel broadcast.
The lovely sax sample used in the intro is from Stan Getz‘s ‘Soul Dance’ that also crops up in full later and he features twice here. That track reminds me so much of pillaging the easy listening bins for Command, Project 3 and others on North American tours. The Jim Backus record (the voice of Mr. Magoo and also God on a recent rock opera I found) was absolutely scratched to bits but I managed to clean it up. Who knew that that Bonobo remix of Pilote would wind up on a phone advert and he’d go on to become not only one of the biggest Ninja artists but one of the biggest on the world stage? Ah, this Neotropic stuff slays me every time, her best album of the era, ‘La Prochaine Fois’ is an electronic folk masterpiece, great memories associated with that one.

I think the comedy inserts throughout about the car starting and the radio DJs are from a Robert Klein comedy album, Child of the Fifties’ (also check his ‘Mind Over Matter‘ release). He was a comedian who also did a radio show in the late 70s and early 80s, some of which were syndicated and pressed onto vinyl. So much great stuff in here that I’d forgotten, the Groop track, ‘Moonbase‘, a nice slice of psych on Jazzman offshoot, Stark Reality, Ian O’Brien‘s beautiful ‘Midnight Sunshine’, cLouddead‘s ‘Jon Abercrombie-sampling ‘Jimmy Breeze’. Sixtoo‘s ‘Work In Progress’ is still some kind of crazed masterpiece, shame about the tuning in the mix! I remember going to his apartment in Nova Scotia before he moved to Montreal and him playing us demos of forthcoming tracks, telling tales of neighbours banging on the door complaining about the noise (something he recorded for a future release). We went digging with Dynamic Syncopation and Fink in the freezing weather on a Sunday with huge icicles hanging off gutters and spent all afternoon in a local record store with condensation steaming up the windows, when we emerged hours later it had snowed and the whole street was covered in fresh powder. The second appearance of Stan Getz features my favourite song of his, ‘Bonjour Tristesse’, a beautiful track from his ‘Communications ’72’ album and something I ended up featuring in my live turntable re-score of The Monkees’ ‘Head’ film around this time.

31 PRS

As you can see from the sticker accompanying the tracklisting, this was from the period when Solid Steel was on BBC London, or LDN as they rebranded it. After Stan we have the extended content including another great lost artist, Broadway Project, who also samples the same track as cLouddead earlier. I believe he largely writes for film and TV these days although has recently upped loads of work to Bandcamp. The ‘William Tell Overture’ version I have no recollection of but looking it up, it’s from the Zachariah soundtrack which has some superbly weird moments as I recall. Tony Mottola‘s smoother than smooth version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ plays us out, coupled with more Robert Klein. This was definitely a phase I was going through.

Track list:
Phase 3
Jim Backus & Friend – Delicious
Pilote  – Turtle (Bonobo remix)
Neotropic – Still
Neotropic feat. Shorti – Memories
Groop – Moonbase
Mike Sharpe – Spooky
The Allies – D-Day
Ian 0’Brien – Midnight Sunshine
Stan Getz – Soul Dance
Phase 4 
cLOUDDEAD – Jimmy Breeze
Tortoise – Seneca
Dakota Oak – How Danny’s Friend Became A Force For Good
Neotropic – Je Suis
Sixtoo – Work in Progress
Stan Getz – Bonjour Tristesse
Broadway Project – Life of a Refugee
Jimmie Haskell – William Tell Overture
Tony Mottola – Spinning Wheel

Bandcamp Recommends November 2020

It has to be said, there’s a tidal wave of good music coming out on a near weekly basis now and a lot of artists are saving releases for Bandcamp Fridays which can be slightly overwhelming but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, great music is needed in such grim times so let’s get to it.

Groop Mod TM LPGroup Modular – Time Masters DL and very limited vinyl pre order (also vinyl coming any day now from Polytechnic Youth so follow them on Facebook or sign up to their mailing list)
A long time in the making but finally here, Markey Funk and Mule Driver‘s collaboration continues…
https://groupmodular.bandcamp.com/album/time-masters

Markey Funk 45

Markey Funk – Magic + Sparks Remixes 7″ (Delights)
Two old remixes for other bands make it to 45, if psych rock with distorted vocals and drums is your thing then you’ll love these https://delights.bandcamp.com/album/magic-sparks-apdlt016

Jane Weaver – Flock LP pre-order (Fire Records)
It’s going to be a long wait until March for this to finally arrive but on the strength of the single alone it will be worth it
https://janeweaverfire.bandcamp.com/

JW LP cover

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)Celestial Mechanic – The Signal: ReTransmission, An EP (Bandcamp)
*Self promo dept.* There’s a new 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ from Saron Hughes and my ‘Citizen Void’ LP to welcome the US release of Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX, A Novel, Graphic’, out today along with satellite piano variations made during the album that form a 30 minute EP.
https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission

KGATLW KG LP

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – K.G. DL/LP (Flightless)
New album, vol.2 of the Flying Microtonal Banana series, ‘Honey’ in particular is beautiful. https://kinggizzard.bandcamp.com/album/k-g

also there’s a Live in San Francisco album from 2016 from the ‘Nonagon Infinity’ era https://kinggizzard.bandcamp.com/album/live-in-san-francisco-16

Scarred 2

Various Artists – Scarred For Life 2 DL/LP (Castles In Space)
The sequel to the original comp of themes to imaginary spooky TV shows that never were, all in aid of charity.
https://scarredforlife.bandcamp.com/

CiSSUBLib cardVarious Artists – Castles In Space Subscription Library – I may as well just open an account with Castles In Space – Oh I just did! 10 releases over the next year – how they’ll do it alongside the heaving schedule of the regular label I don’t know but it looks great! £8 digital or £15 vinyl subscription per month, first releases are a members library card and badge and a new Field Lines Cartographer LP (the last one is one of my favourite releases of 2020). All beautifully designed buy Nick Taylor too, lathe cuts, T-shirts and more to come, there’s a provisional list floating around the web but I can’t find it now…
https://cissublibrary.bandcamp.com/community

FLC LP
FLC LP 2

Stefan Bachmeier The Strange Worlds Of

Stefan Bachmeier – The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier DL/LP (Spun Out Of Control)
Compilation of previously released works from the three LPs so far, wobbly analogue synth horror on vinyl rather than cassette now and wrapped in a lovely Eric Adrian Lee sleeve.
https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/the-strange-worlds-of-stefan-bachmeier

6S4wzuss.jpg large

AI 21 cover

The Abyss Within Us – Life In A Circle LP (Astral Industries)
I love everything on this label, if 20 minute ambient pieces are your thing then you can’t go wrong
https://astralindustries.bandcamp.com/album/ai-21-life-in-a-circle

AI-04 LP
They’ve also repressed the fourth release on the label, long out of print, from Wolfgang Voight & Deepchord – up for pre-order today but be quick as the scalpers are out in force, buying them to flip on Discogs (what is wrong with these people?)
https://astralindustries.bandcamp.com/album/ai-04-colours-of-time-re-interpreted

In C David Harrow

David Harrow – In C
I’ve been on a bit of an ‘In C’ binge this year and David sent me his versions a while back, looks like he’s decided to release them now. https://rattle-records.bandcamp.com/album/in-c

A couple of recommends for fellow artists whose work I’ve always admired who don’t have new releases but have their catalogue on Bandcamp.

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Vicki Bennett‘s People Like Us project, decades of cut and paste audio collage – dive in
https://peoplelikeus-vickibennett.bandcamp.com

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Riz Maslen‘s Neotropic and Small Fish With Spine aliases plus selections from her Council Folk label
https://music.neotropic.net/music

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Penninsula – Constellation/Constelaciones LP zoetrope label


A quick rough and ready demo video of the zoetrope label I made for the Mexican/Canadian band, Penninsula earlier this year for their new album ‘Constellations/Constelaciones’.
Available now to order – remember 100% of Bandcamp sales goes to the artist today!

Pennisula LP labelPenninsula LP

Mixcloud Select 30: Strictly Kev – Going Through A Phase 26/03/2001

30 CD disc Subtitled ‘Canadian Vinyl Excavation series’, these two mixes were very much a result of going through the spoils of touring the US and Canada in 2000 and mixing in a sprinkling of new releases from the time. As I’ve no doubt previously mentioned, the international tours of the day were also excuses to go wild in record shops overflowing with vinyl post-CD boom, pre-vinyl resurgence, all cheap with a strong pound against a dollar conversion and an even better Canadian dollar rate. Regular day routines would be to travel to the next city, check in and either hit the record shops or do the soundcheck and try to squeeze in a dig before dinner. Days off were a free for all and the van or bus bays would fill up with bags of vinyl pretty quickly.

I’m using the trusty Line 6 FX pedal in some of this, it has a lovely long sustain on it and a gritty analogue sound, very versatile but a bit of a beast to control. This and next week’s mixes were based around the opening track by Vanilla Fudge whose concept album ‘The Beat Goes On‘ was split into four phases. Some great UK hip hop in here from Stylee C and Def Tex, both from the Son label, run by Al from the Ninja Tune office at the time. Some background on the Peter Cook & Dudley Moore track, a 1967 track that got put on a Beatles bootleg and led some people to speculate that it might be the band incognito. Dudley Moore wrote, “Regarding “The L.S. Bumble Bee“, Peter Cook and I recorded that song about the time when there was so much fuss about L.S.D., and when everybody thought that “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” was a reference to drugs. The exciting alternative offered to the world was L.S.B.!, and I wrote the music to, in some ways, satirize the Beach Boys rather than the Beatles. But I’m grateful if some small part of the world thinks that it may have been them, rather than us !”.

30 PRS

The Gil Trythall ‘Nashville Moog’ track was the last track on a frankly terribly Country Moog album I picked up but is a genuinely enjoyable piece of comedy filler. The Jonny Dankworth ‘Experiments with Mice’ is also a gem, fished out of a Toronto 45 bin, a fantastic retooling of the nursery rhyme in a jazz context, renaming the three mice after famous players and using their signature styles to flesh out the story, a kind of live mash up. At this point I’d been buying up jazz and soundtracks at a rate of knots for several years on tours, the costs being minuscule compared to UK prices, but was beginning to dip my toe into the psych rock pool with The Mothers of Invention and anything that said ‘psychedelic concept acid freakout’ on the cover. Of course I picked up a few duds along the way as many bands and artists cashed in on the summer of love but it made for some great sleeves. Apropos to nothing, the Quincy Jones track sounds like the Batman theme to me. That’s a very ambitious mix from The Mothers into Herbie Hancock, it just about holds together, the search for his ‘The Spook Who Sat Behind The Door’ flexi still goes on… For the final track I see I included Andy Summers & Robert Fripp, I have no recollection of this, or of ever owning any of their albums, although I’ve since become a Fripp devotee, very odd.

Parts 3 & 4 next week…

Phase 1
Vanilla Fudge – And The Beat Goes On
Stylee C – Old 3 Piece Suite
Mondo Grosso – MG2SS
Miroslav Vitous – Bassamba
The Soul Destroyers – Blow Your Top
Sandy Nelson – Bang That *%$£@+ Drum
Lord Buckley – Willie The Shake
5th Dimension – Good News
Def Tex – Sad Songs
Peter Cook & Dudley Moore – LS Bumble Bee
Gil Trythall – Nashville Moog
The Avalanches – Thank You Caroline (Andy Votel mix)
Phase 2
Jonny Dankworth – Experiments with Mice
Paul Horn – Interludium
Arthur Lyman – Taboo Tu
Quincy Jones – Boogie Bossa Nova
The Mothers of Invention – Help, I’m a Rock
Herbie Hancock – The Spook Who Sat Behind The Door
Fingathing – Slop
Sonny Terry – Blue’s Last Walk
Jack Nitzsche – No. 2
Andy Summers & Robert Fripp – Maquilage

Mixcloud Select 29: DJ Food – Rave New World 25/04/2005

I Love Acid

Approximately 12 years ago this weekend I played my first set at a Halloween-themed version of Posthuman’s I Love Acid parties (see graphic above I made for a DVD of visuals I compiled for the set). Whilst there’s no recording of that set that I know of, there are photos as I took my good friend, photographer Martin LeSanto-Smith, along with me and he ended up shooting countless nights of the parties for them afterwards.

_MG_4820

Roughly three and a half years earlier I’d put together a mix christened ‘Rave New World’ for Solid Steel, full of old late 80s and early 90s favourites which isn’t far off some of the Big Fish Little Fish or acid 45 sets I’ve been doing in recent years direct from only 7” vinyl. I’m not sure what prompted this collection of tunes at the time but I still stand behind each and every one of them.

29 Rave New World disc
The first track after the intro is from a clear flexi disc I’d traded with someone with no info at all on it (re-edited to say me name at one point) which I’ve since found out the origin of. Without Discogs to provide this valuable information I was in the dark for years but the full story behind this can be found here as part of my Flexibition entry of party and rave invites.

29 Rave New World PRS

A couple of notable debuts feature later in the mix in the shape of Aphex Twin (Pacman) and Autechre’s debut release, two slices of hardcore from before they found their voice. I don’t know what to say about any more of these tracks as I love them all so much – the set gets heavier and heaver as it goes on so you have been warned. There’s a short, mystery track unlisted at the end that I have no recollection of putting there and can’t remember who made, let’s just leave it that way.

Track list:
Redruth – Solid Steel intro
Strictly Underground – lllegal Rave II advert
808 State – Cubik
Doug Lazy – Let It Roll (accapella)
John & Julie – Circles (Spiral mix)
Bam Bam – Give it To Me
The Destroyer – Senses (Hooligan mix)
DJ Dick – Weekend
GTO – Listen To The Rhythm Flow (remix)
Future Sound of London – Papa New Guinea
Meat Beat Manifesto – Radio Babylon
Incubus – The Spirit
Eon – Fear: the Mind Killer
Hardfloor – Hardtrance Acperience
Meat Beat Manifesto – Mindstream (Orbital remix)
Pacman – Power Pill
Autechre – Cavity Job
Sulphuric – The Acid Chamber
Vapourspace – Gravitational Arch of 10
The Hypnotist – Hardcore U Know the Score (remix)
The Hypnotist – House Is Mine (GTO remix)
Wiseblood – Death Rape 2000
Amen Andrews – Fear
Squarepusher – Come On My Selector
Aphex Twin – Cock 10 (Delco Freedom mix)
Caustic Visions – cvthru202
DJ Redoo – Bulldozer