People Like Us album(s) and exhibition

I’m currently enjoying People Like Us’ (aka Vicki Bennett) new album ‘Welcome Abroad’, it’s a frequently hilarious mixture of cut and pastry based around her time stuck abroad due to the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland. You can listen to the whole album on her Soundcloud page or buy it here. She also has her first solo exhibition, ‘The Doors of Perspection’, opening at the end of July in London at the Vitrine Gallery, previewing new films she has made by extending panning shots from existing films into widescreen format (if i’ve understood the press release correctly).

Also a few months back I received a lovely box set from the Edinburgh Printmakers‘Prints of Darkness’ exhibition, which includes a gatefold sleeve housing a poster and 12″ picture disc by Vicki entitled ‘This Is Light Music’. This 10 track mini album heavily cross references some of the music on ‘Welcome Abroad’ too and can still be bought here although it is limited to 250 copies.

PS: I actually think this is even more wonderful than ‘Welcome Abroad’, I’ll never be able to hear certain well known classics the same way again.

Posted in Event, Film, Music, Records. | No Comments |

DJ Ollie Teeba’s Classic Material ’91 mixes

A couple of weeks ago Ollie Teeba (one half of the mighty Herbaliser) followed myself, DJ Format, Andy Smith and Mr Thing at the Classic Material night in Old St. The year he was helping celebrate was 1991 and, whilst researching records to play for the night, he found he had 17 hours of material!

He ended up playing a 3 hour set and kindly put down over 4 hours for us to enjoy via his new mixcloud page. The next night is on April 16th with Big Ted and the year will be, you’ve guessed it, 1992.

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Vinyl Veterans, Classic Material and The Boom Bap

Two upcoming events for your diary, both on the same weekend, featuring two friends of mine in similar settings. First up on, Friday March 18th, is The Vinyl Veterans at the Black Dove in Brighton with Jonny Cuba (ex-Dynamic Syncopation / Soundsci).

The day after it’s the turn of Classic Material at C.A.M.P. in Hoxton, London with Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser / Soundsci).

Both events share a similar theme: a love of Old School Hip Hop, funk and breakbeats and a fondness for vinyl as the preferred medium to DJ with (Vinyl Veterans is Vinyl ONLY!). Readers of this blog with be familiar with Classic Material’s monthly theme of a different year as the basis for each session and this month it’s the turn of 1991.

Also check out their excellent themed mix, shirt and stickers sets in their store, there’s a new one each month featuring a re-rendering of a classic Hip Hop label logo – Classic Material store.

Also, both events are FREE so there’s no excuse about door prices, if you love what Rap used to be about and not what its sadly become, then these nights are for you. There seem to be more and more cropping up too, Rap History in Berlin and the Boom Bap in London, which I played at last night and is a weekly concern!

Posted in Gigs, Music, Records. | No Comments |

Amon Tobin – Splinter Cell Remixes

Amon Tobin‘s 2005 Splinter Cell game soundtrack has been remixed to coincide with the release of a new 3D version of the game. Various Ninja Tune artists such as Daedelus, Kid Koala, King Cannibal, The Qemists, Eskmo and Lorn have worked their magic on the tracks alongside a couple of new pieces by Amon himself.

For the artwork I was required to update the original and decided to experiment a little with the 3D analyph technique you can achieve in print. If you have a pair of red and blue 3D glasses to hand, have a look at this from the inner sleeve of the vinyl. The physical LP and CD versions are released in April but you can buy the download version right now from the Ninjashop.

ZEN171 3D cover 650

Chart Sweep / Time Sweep

This little piece of history has been going viral over the last few weeks after being put up on Soundcloud by a user called mjs538.
*UPDATE: Another user: DJMOOG1 has put up a better quality version which I’ve embedded above.
Although not actually by mjs538, the pieces have a strange and convoluted history in themselves as well as portraying the history of pop music based on all the #1 hits in the US charts since 1958. Both mixes use up to 5 seconds of each and every #1 since the mid fifties, in order, up until 1981 in Part 1 and into the early nineties in Part 2. Whilst a herculean effort, even in this day and age of digital editing and online stores to source the material, it’s all the more impressive that the bulk of Part 1 was made in the late seventies using reel to reel tape and a razor blade.

MARKFO_BThe piece – known as ‘Time Sweep’ – was part of an extensive radio show called The History of Rock n Roll’, made by Drake – Chenault Enterprises for radio in the US which utilized 52 hours to bring the first comprehensive history of rock music to the airwaves. Each year was prefaced with a medley of that year’s #1 hit singles (a ‘Chart Sweep’) and the whole was compiled into a ‘Time Sweep’ to end the mammoth series. The engineer responsible was Mark Ford (above), a veteran of radio jingles and production. He compiled and edited all the selections up until 1977, not only cutting and splicing but also EQing and time stretching sections to make them fit together sonically and selecting and pairing little couplets of lyrics at certain points – Roy Orbison‘s “Pretty woman, walking down the street”, segues into “there she was, just a walking down the street”.

For a little ‘behind the scenes’ info, check out this link on the making of the special

But the story doesn’t end there. For those paying attention, just after the Meco version of ‘Star Wars’ in Part 1, the sound quality noticeably changes in both the stereo field, quality and editing. The reason for this is that a teacher from Maryland University called Hugo Keesing extended and updated the concept of the Chart / Time Sweep for his classes as each year finished up until 1991. With all due respect to Keesing, he isn’t a sound engineer and it shows in the application of edits and production. This is where the piece stops being art and turns to documentation and, as such, loses the essence of its greatness. Keesing was using a Wollensack tape recorder to edit with and had no way to clean up or EQ the tracks. So, the majority of Part 1 is Mark Ford’s original (up until 1977) and then Keesing’s extension, which runs the entirety of Part 2.

Five Seconds Of Every #1 Pop Single Part 2 by mjs538

How this piece came into circulation on the web was via a tape with Keesing’s name on it that was passed to the Evolution Control Committee‘s Mark Gunderson in the 90’s and the piece was widely believed to have been by him in it’s entirety by the cut and paste fraternity unfamiliar with the History of Rock n Roll programme. Eventually Keesing was tracked down and you can read an interview with him over at Jon Nelson‘s ‘Some Assembly Required’ blog.

For a comprehensive overview of the whole story check here, there is also an update of the whole concept from 1993 to 2010 if you can’t get enough of this kind of thing.

Posted in Music, Oddities, Radio, Records. | 6 Comments |

The Death of Output

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

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


The Death of Output by DJ Food

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Steinski WFMU podcast and Dennis Coffey remixes

That old devil Steve Stein aka Steinski – who should need no introduction to readers of this blog – has been hard at work on the musical and spoken word front recently. Firstly, go to his site – – and download the monster of a spoken word podcast he’s made for New York’s WFMU station entitled ‘Walkin’ & Talkin’. It’s a wild and varied ride through all manner of spoken word material whether from the Beats’ hip poetry to Hip Hop or a surprising amount of British Pop from the 80’s. Steinski guides you through the whole thing and, if you’re so inclined, you can follow it up and watch a lot of it via the mammoth post he’s made on his site illustrating most of the content with YouTube clips. It’s a very rewarding 2 hours plus and I suspect the site content will take just as long to hoover up.


On the music-making front Stein has just given some new Dennis Coffey material the remix treatment, one track of which will be released as a 7″ on Record Store day. A full album of new material and covers by Coffey is coming on Strut on April 25th featuring contributions from Mayer Hawthorne, Paolo Nutini, Kings Go Forth, Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs and more. Check the cover referencing artwork too.

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’88 was great but ’89 is mine

classicI was recently asked to play at a night called Classic Material, run by Chris Read and Nick Armitage. The idea for this is to give each month over to a year from Hip Hop’s past and only play tracks released during it. DJ Format did ’87 (entirely on 45’s!), Andy Smith – ’88 and I was given 1989. ’89 was a special year for me as it was the year I moved away from my home and parents and started studying in London, a city I’ve remained in for more than half my life now.

It was also a year rich in musical delights with the beginnings of gangster rap taking over Hip Hop and the emergence of De La Soul‘s Daisy Age with their incredible ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ album. Actually possibly my top three all-time favourite Hip Hop albums were released in ’89, the aforementioned ‘3 Feet High…’, the Beastie Boys‘Paul’s Boutique’ and the Jungle Brothers‘Done By The Forces of Nature’.

De La shirt webThe Beasties’ album was critically mauled at the time but has undergone a reappraisal since and is now hailed as the classic it is but the Jungle Brothers’ record is still only really feted by Hip Hop heads in the know. It’s their strongest record with as much inventiveness as the De La album if not quite the wackiness of Prince Paul‘s production. In it you can hear the whole blueprint for the Native Tongues movement that was beginning to emerge but also a precursor to Deee-Lite‘s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ – which would be the anthem of 1990 – Towa Tei was even involved in aspects of the record. On the west coast the Dust Brothers were in their most high profile period with Tone Loc, Young MC and the production of the Beastie’ record. The whole NWA/Ruthless Records camp was basking in the glory of ’88’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and surrounding releases like the D.O.C‘s ‘No One Can Do It Better’ album.

Hip House and the general speeding up of Hip Hop was the order of the day with a lot of UK only remixes of licensed US tracks having this edge to them. Alongside this you had the Stone Roses’ debut album and the whole Maddchester scene as well as the fallout from the acid house excess of the previous year making it’s mark on both the charts and surrounding music genres. S’Express made their best records and Tim Burton‘s first Batman was the film of the summer, complete with soundtrack by Prince.

Whilst all this was going on I was doing my Foundation course in Art and Design in Reigate and used the screen printing facilities to make some custom T-shirts for myself and others featuring De La Soul surrounded by psychedelic lettering I drew. It’s with this design that I want to illustrate the mix I put together for Classic Material, done completely on vinyl – what a pain that was after using Serato for 5 years!

’88 was great but ’89 is mine by DJ Food

Elsewhere J Saul Kane was starting his own journey with the first Depth Charge releases on DC Recordings but that comes to fruition about five years down the line.

Posted in Art, Music, Records. | 2 Comments |