Mixcloud Select 65: The Openmind Collective debut on Coldcut Solid Steel 11/07/1993

MS65 tape

28 years ago last week I was heading back into London from my Dad’s 50th birthday party to the Holloway Road to meet Matt Black at KISS FM. This was the first time I ever appeared on Solid Steel, alongside old DJ partner Mario Aguera as part of the Openmind collective. Mixed totally live on air on 3 decks and a CD player (the old rack mounted ones) with a few Coldcut jingles being thrown in off of 8 track-style carts by Matt (Jon wasn’t in the studio for this session).

I’ll never forget it, the nervous countdown to 1am in the quiet studio, both of us shitting ourselves as we were going to be live on the radio for the first time and it was on Solid Steel! The news ending and Matt triggered the intro jingle, and we were off with the luxury of 3 turntables layer up the mix with. It was a seminal moment in my DJ career and I’m eternally grateful to Matt for inviting us on and giving us a chance as it was like getting a foot in the door or the first rung of the ladder. If I’d never done another Solid Steel again I’d have been happy but of course he asked us back again and again.

Looking at the track list I’m pleased that it all still stands up and a few long-term staples were in there; Kraftwerk, Aphex, ZTT, Jungle Brothers and The Irresistible Force. The mix is mostly tight, the odd stumble here and there but no disasters – not bad for a first go live on 3 decks although there was way too much George Carlin in the mix.

Mario took over after  the Barbarella track, we shared a house at the time and pooled our records when playing out as I was only just out of college and he had a full-time job so could afford to buy more new records than me. Along with Chantal Passamonte (now Mira Calix) and David Vallade, a fellow graphic designer who has done covers for Clear, Reflective, Worm Interface, Ninja Tune and many more, we did the Telepathic Fish chill out parties. One day I’ll get a little site together with all the mixes, photos, magazines and flyers I have stored up from those years…

Thanks to Steve Norgate many years ago for the superior audio and track listing as the quality is superior to my own D90 cassette and I doubt a DAT recording of this exists.

Track list:
Sequential – The Mission (Live From the Outer Zone
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome to The Pleasure Dome 12″ intro (on 33rpm)
Sexy Selector – Original Rockers
St Etienne – Your Head My Voice (Voix Revirement by Aphex Twin)
Jungle Brothers – Ultimatum Jungle Beats + unknown African chanting
LS Diesel & Launch DAT – Rougher Than A Lion
Psychic Warriors of Gaia – Maenad (The Valley) + Hear This! spoken word
Kraftwerk – Home Computer
Seefeel – Minky Starshine
Nightmares On Wax – Nights Interlude + George Carlin – God
No-Man – Heaven Taste
21st Century Aura – Disorientation
DJ Spike – Outer Land (part one)
Grace Jones – The Crossing (Ohh The Action…)
Kraftwerk – Morgenspaziergang
Dreamfish – School Of Fish
Barbarella – Barbarella (Irresistible Force Mix) + George Carlin – Nursery Rhymes

Mixcloud Select 12: DJ Food – Mixed Bag – Solid Steel 09/06/2003

MS12 SS CD Track notes:
Going through my CDRs this week to make them easier to sort, I tried to find a show that was close to this week’s date. Worryingly there seems to be a batch of CDs yellowing around the edges so I should get them encoded before the CD rot sets in further.

This mid 2003 set from 17 years ago seems to have several links from some sort of meditation record which for the life of me I don’t remember. Musically it’s the era of great chart hip hop, reggae, silly mash ups and garage-y club bangers. Also there seem to be a couple of Marilyn Manson tracks nestled in there which I remember caused a few raised eyebrows at Ninja back then. The funk 45 craze was still unearthing treasure and the show opens with Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Vannier’s incredible ‘La Horse’ which had just been reissued as part of DJ Oof’s Cinemix project.MS12 CD+tracklist

Nestled in the middle of the mix is a mash up I made under my Flexus alias called ‘Bite My Salami’ (there’s a whole album’s worth of these which I used to make for DJ sets). It layers  Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’, Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and Pepe Deluxe’s ‘Salami Fever’ and sort of works but really needs some of the guitar from Timberlake’s tune. At the time you couldn’t get the a cappella for this so I ended up buying the CD single and using the phase insertion trick with the vocal and instrumental versions to cancel out everything but the vocal. Then Sean Paul gets overlaid with a version from The Bug, it was a different time…MS12 SS front

Track list:
Serge Gainsbourg/Jean Claude Vannier – La Horse
Geezers of Nazareth – Loving the Pole (pt 1)
HIM – The Way the Trees Are
Cardinal Offishall – Belly Dancer
Trashman – Got To Get Ya
Connie Prince – The Badger
DJ Format – Here Comes the Fuzz (Quartertones remix)
Prince Paul feat. Chubb Rock, MF Doom, Wordsworth – People, Places and Things
Marilyn Manson – Baboon Rape Party
Amon Tobin – Hot Korean Moms
Flexus – Bite Your Salami (demo mix)
The Bug – Slew Dem (version)
Sean Paul – Get Busy (acapella)
Massive Attack – Butterfly Caught (Jagz Kooner remix)
Marilyn Manson – Thaeter
Camping Gaz & Digi Random – Circus World (Skamping Gaz Simphony 2)
Jammin’ – Tonka
Tubbs – 5 Day Night (Baloo mix)
Instrumental – All Shook Up

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Mixcloud Select 11: DJ Food – Osy Kicks It Off – Solid Steel 04/03/2002

MS11 CDThis week’s upload was requested by never_be_game_over who cited it as one his favourites. Titled ‘Osy Kicks It Off’ in reference to Osymyso who starts the show with a recording culled from another show at the time, XFM’s The Remix. Why was I pulling audio from another programme? At this point in 2002 the bastard Pop / bootleg / mash up scene was in its early stages with a handful of physical bootleg records available but the majority of these creations existing purely online through sites like Boom Selection (run by a 14 year old school kid called The Dr but that’s another story).

Eddy Temple-Morris and James Hyman’s XFM show, The Remix, quickly became the place to showcase a lot of these tracks and host mixes by the leading lights of the scene, Osymyso being one of the originators alongside The Freelance Hellraiser and Cartel Communique who started the first London club exclusively playing mash ups. Originally named ‘King of the Boots’ before changing to the much more direct ‘Bastard’, this was a monthly event in a tiny, sweaty basement under a newsagent just off Tottenham Court Road in London’s West End and were some of my favourite clubbing experiences ever. There’s a brief clip of it at the start of this Swiss TV piece featuring Osy and myself DJing at Bastard, just look at that pre-mobile phone crowd.

Anyway, Osy’s Intro-Inspection was a megamix made completely from intros of famous pop songs and the recording I pinched was the only way of getting it as it hadn’t been pressed yet. It didn’t occur to me to actually ask him for a digital copy even though we’d met years before and have since become great friends but I heard it and thought it was so brilliant that it had to be the show opener. You can hear Osy (Mark Nicholson to his mum) and James Hyman at the end and James even names checks Coldcut as being up next which is odd as I don’t think they ever had an XFM show, maybe it was a guest mix, either way I thought I’d leave it in.
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The rest of the show is a mix of current hip hop, both UK and US, which is in rude health by all accounts, mixed with trip hoppy experiments by the likes of Sirconical (on the then new Twisted Nerve label), Sixtoo, Money Mark and the first fruit from DJ Shadow’s second LP, the incredible ‘Monosyllabik’ track, allegedly made from only two samples. Lightening the mood are more mash ups from Girls On Top feat The Sugarbabes (later to be a UK no.1), Pitman’s take on Pharaoh Monch’s ‘Simon Says’ and Wevie Stonder’s sound effects guessing game. Whilst the US rap scene was embracing RnB and having crossover pop hits with the likes of The Neptunes and Timbaland the underground had gone back to the old school and was pioneering a much rawer composite of back to basics sampling exemplified by The P Brothers and their Heavy Bronx sound in the UK and Edan in the US. The early 90s was a golden age for music magazines too with the likes of Big Daddy and Wax Poetics picking up the baton land down by the Beastie Boys’ short-lived Grand Royal mag and doing in-depth interviews with scene pioneers even as the music industry plummeted into the abyss of file sharing.

MS11 inside

Track list:
Osymyso – Intro-Inspection (part two 48-101)
Sirconical – Spank
Ultramagnetic MCs – Poppa Large (accapella)
Wevie Stonder – Kenkeneb
Midnyte – Nott’s Rep
DJ Shadow – Monosyalabik
Sixtoo – Camino
Girls On Top/Sugarbabes – We Don’t Give A Damn About Our Friends
P Brothers – Science
Jehst / Jzone / Harry Love – Staircase To Stage
Dr Dre (feat Nocturnal) – Bad Intentions
RJD2 – The Proxy
D Stroy – Roll Out
P Brothers (feat Cappo) – Nottingham Bronx
Pitman – Pitman Says
Edan (feat Mr Lif) – Rapperfection
Blade – Survival of the Hardest Working
Money Mark – Soul Drive 6th Avenue DJFoodMixcloudSelect11

Mixcloud Select 7: Strictly Kev – Magic Transistor Radio Pts. 1&2 10.04.00

07 Magic Trans Radio CDI have this down as the first set I made for Coldcut Solid Steel in its new home at BBC London Live on 10th April 2000 – a busy month what with the release of ‘Kaleidoscope’ just a week before. We’d left KISS FM a year ago when they announced an impending overhaul of the roster, jumping before we were pushed basically. I’m sure it hurt Matt & Jon more than the rest of us as they had been with the station over 10 years and seen it come up from a pirate to a legal entity. As with everything, things had changed there as commercial concerns took over but it was strange not to suddenly have a weekly show broadcasting around London to go to.

All was not lost though, over the previous five years studio editing technology and CD-R burning had become more commonplace and we were all in the position to either record in our home studios or in Coldcut’s Ahead of Our Time set up at Ninja Tune. We’d been doing this since the KISS studios became unavailable and Matt had already set up Ninja’s first website (Don’t Believe The Pipe) and investigated early streaming technology, keen for us not to lose our weekly flow. Streaming wasn’t what it is today though, you had no idea if anyone was listening, the sound quality was terrible and the technology unreliable – it didn’t feel like being on the airwaves of a ‘real’ radio station. But, as in a lot of instances, Coldcut forged ahead and were early adopters, dragging us into the future with them.

07 Magic Trans Radio CD cover

When Ninja HQ moved from Clink St. to Kennington at the turn of the decade the studio set up changed so, more often than not, I would record sets at home and bring DATs or CD-Rs into the office for Darren ‘DK’ Knott who was now officially producing the show each week. He would organise who was playing when, co-ordinate guests, assemble each 2 hr show in time for Friday and mail out CD-Rs to stations around the world who subscribed to the weekly sessions.

When we first found out we’d got the London Live slot we were overjoyed that we’d finally, officially, be back on the airwaves. Reborn from GLR (Greater London Radio) and later rebranded as Radio London, then Radio LDN, they were having a mini renaissance with DJs like Dr Bob Jones and Ross Allen in early evening slots that were capturing the 20-30 something club goers.

Our joy was slightly curtailed when we got to the BBC studios to present the show and discovered a rather pedestrian set up with turntables over a meter apart and a broadcasting mixer fitted into the desk between them – definitely no turntable gymnastics with that set up. KISS, being a dance music station, was set up for club DJ-style sets, the mixing desk and mic one side and a table with Technics and DJ mixer the other, plenty of room and maneuverability if you wanted to plug in extra FX or move things around.

07 Magic Trans Radio CD backIt was decided that the best way to keep doing what we did was to prepare the mixes beforehand, that way we could be as radical as we liked and not have to worry about any technological limitations. This also meant we could be a lot more creative, didn’t have to rely on one take mixes thus keeping things tighter and also overdub other tracks if need be. Things could be edited but it also meant that things generally took longer as they could be more complex than before. The mix format suddenly opened up to me because of this and I think I did some of my best work in the next decade.

By this time I was getting increasingly into themed mixes or a set with a connecting or recurring factor, I also started naming the sets as I now had years worth under my belt for Solid Steel, only identifiable by date. The theme for this mix was Brian Wilson’s odd 7” single that came free with the Beach Boys Holland LP,. I was deep into my BB obsession at this time, hoovering up the late 60s and 70s LP and mining them for the gems they mostly contained until they went full-cheese as disco took hold. ‘Magic Transistor Radio’ is a children’s fairy tale about a pied piper who lives inside a radio and is Wilson is full blown la-la land mode. I threaded excerpts from it throughout the mix as it was so apt, being that it took part inside a radio.

There are so many great tracks here, Broadway Project’s LP is a forgotten classic IMO, David HolmesOrganisation-sampling ‘Living Room’, early DJ Format, Tommy Guerrero (arguably the last great record on Mo Wax), Sirconical on Twisted Nerve, 7-Hurtz on Output, Broadcast

But I’ve gone on WAY too long with this one, have a listen and see what you think. One more thing, I was so enthused I even made a CD cover for this one, I’m sure I intended to do this with all the mixes but only managed two like this. Turn on, tune in and freak out to the Magic Transistor Radio.

Kev

07 Magic Trans Radio CD + PRS

Track list:
Part 1
Brian Wilson – Mount Vernon & Fairway
Broadway Project – Sea of Change pt2
7-Hurtz – Stokes Motor (version)
DJ Format – Extra Lesson
Sirconical – Choppy
Timmy Thomas – Funky Me
Broadcast – Minus 1
Tommy Guerrero – So Blue It’s Black
A.L.O. Orchestra – The Last Time
Brian Wilson – Magic Transistor Radio
David Holmes – Living Room

Part 2
Brian Wilson – I’m the Pied Piper
Meat Beat Manifesto – Oblivion/Humans
Speedy J – Balk Acid
Recloose – Get There Tonight
Family Values – Last Days & Time
Freeform Arkestra – ?
She 1 – Kwaidan
Broadway Project – Clouds
E.A.R. – Sputnik
Gershon Kingsley – The Sound of Silence
Brian Wilson – Radio King Dom

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Mixcloud Select 02: Openmind mix Solid Steel 17.02.95

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Thanks to everyone who got on board with my new Mixcloud Select channel last week, it really means a lot, please spread the word if you can, there are some treats coming up this month including at least one exclusive that isn’t a vintage show but is a mix of vintage tracks, many never heard before in this form.

This week’s upload is a session I did for Coldcut’s Solid Steel show from 17th of February 1995, at this point still going under the Openmind name for mixes but as you will hear, the Strictly Kev moniker was in place which originated in ’94 on a trip to Amsterdam for the Triplex Festival gig. We would have been working on A Recipe For Disaster’ at this point and I was inducted into the DJ Food project at some point between here and its release in Autumn ’95.
This was the final section of the 2 hour show and I’ve included the break for some vintage KISS FM adverts and jingles of the era, I even left the news on the end to add to the period charm.

Sign up for £2.99 to have access to these recordings, tracklists and notes plus a few exclusives as I put them up https://www.mixcloud.com/strictlykev/

02 CCSS Openmind Mixcloud

New DJ Food Mixcloud Select channel

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Given the times we’re currently in and the loss of gigs and jobs all round, it’s time to open the archives and let people hear all those tapes, DATs and CDRs that have been sitting there for decades. I’ve set up a new subscriber channel via Mixcloud SELECT – and I’ll be uploading exclusive, newly-encoded vintage mixes from my Solid Steel archive regularly for a monthly fee.
I like the Mixcloud model because over half the fee goes to paying royalties for the artists being played, Mixcloud take a cut for providing the service and then I get a bit for all those hours spent making the mixes in the first place. The fee is £2.99 a month (although you can pay more if you wish) and for that you’ll have access to mixes from my personal stash (some pictured below).

Mixcloud Select 1

These will date back to the 90’s and even predate Solid Steel occasionally, they’ll all be mixes that I’ve made or occasionally collaborated on. I’ll endeavour to make sure none of them are currently available anywhere else and include track lists and making-of details where I can. These will be exclusive to subscribers only for the foreseeable future, I’ll still upload free new mixes to my regular Mixcloud account but subscribers will also have some exclusive new mixes that I make specially for several months ahead of them being made public – sign up here

The first one is the complete session PC & I did for John Peel’s legendary BBC Radio 1 show 20 years ago this month, just before the release of our Kaleidoscope album. Only half of it was broadcast at the time and I’ve restored it from CDRs I found recently.

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Track notes: (Mixcloud’s word count is quite low for text so I’m adding notes here)

A restored version of the original session PC and I did for the late John Peel just before the release of our Kaleidoscope album. This was jammed out live on 4 decks in my studio at the time in Camberwell and then overlaid with spoken word later.
I think we were way too over-eager on the first half with all the scratching but some of it manages to be pretty humorous in places. It all gets way deeper once we calm down and I was surprised how ambient it got, listening back.
It’s very rough and ready but you have to remember that this is completely improvised on 4 decks with one of us ‘driving’ the mix and the other embellishing it in response at different points. This is how PC and I worked, I can’t think of any time that we rehearsed anything in the same way that DK and I did later for our 4-deck shows.

The intro and outro skits are from a great album called ‘Miniatures’, 1 min sketches and songs compiled by Morgan Fisher in the 80s, when we knew we were doing a John Peel session I thought it’d be a laugh to have ‘John’ introduce the mix. The Steady track, ‘Alarming Frequency’ is the first ever release on the Tru Thoughts label. The Leonard Nimoy read of Ray Bradbury‘s ‘Marionettes Inc.’ turned up in another form a year later on our first Solid Steel mix CD. The Spontaneous Sound gong record is actually an alias of Christopher Tree, a percussionist whose album I found in the US one time, it had virtually no info on it other than the title and the stamp of a drum shop where it had been sold.
I had to look up some of these tracks using Shazam and Discogs, both still twinkles in a programmer’s eye at the time this mix was made, twenty years is a long time ago but we’ll be going even further back soon…

John Peel session track list:

Norman Lovett – John Peel Sings The Blues Badly (Pipe Records)
David Shire – The Taking of Pelham 123 (Music On Vinyl)
Steady – Alarming Frequency (Try Thoughts)
Tortoise – Died (UNKLE Bruise Blood mix (Thrill Jockey)
Ray Bradbury read by Leonard Nimoy – Marionettes Inc. (Nonesuch)
RYU – Rhythm Asobi (feat. DJ Krush & Tunde Ayanyemi) (Cross)
Spontaneous Sound – Spontaneous Sound (Private Pressing)
Sun Ra monologue from Space Is The Place film
Rhythm Devils – The Apocalypse Now Sessions (Passport Records)
Fridge – Of (remix) (Go! Beat)
Kid Koala – Tricks & Treats (Ninja Tune)
Slowly – On The Loose (Autechre remix) (Chill Out Label)
Eric B & Rakim – Follow the Leader (acappella) (4th & Broadway)
Bushflange – Redokov (Hard Hands)
Child’s View – Shift (Blue Note)
Kid Koala – Scurvy (Ninja Tune)
DJ Food – Turntable improv
Major Force – Sitting On the Edge Of The World (Apeman Records)
George Duke – North Beach (MPS Records)
Morton Subotnik – Silver Apples of the Moon loop
Weather Report – Milky Way (Columbia)
Herbie Hancock – Raindance (Columbia)
Unknown breakbeat
Andy Partridge – The History of Rock ’n’ Roll (Pipe Records)

30 years of Solid Steel

Solid Steel 30Solid SteelColdcut’s weekly 2 hour mix show – is 30 years old – wow, now I feel old too. To celebrate they’ve commissioned a clutch of special mixes which will air throughout the first week of December. Juan Atkins (the show’s first guest back in ’88), The Bug, Bernd Friedman, Gerd Janson, HAAi and Mark Pritchard have all recorded mixes as well as Coldcut, DK (with an epic 4 hr effort) and myself.

What do you do when you’re faced with a blank canvas to commemorate a 30 year anniversary? I’ve been with the show for 25 of those years and so much music has flowed through it in that time it’s impossible to crystalize that into one set. Instead I thought I’d attempt something I’d not done before and put together a collection of classic minimalist songs by the masters – Kraftwerk, Eno, Reich, Riley, Can etc. – and weave other elements in and out of the mix. In some respects I succeeded but I started out with seven hours of music! A lot had to go as flow and tuning just didn’t work and I also didn’t want too much 4/4 kick drum to pin things down, rather just the throb of forward motion.

Mixing this stuff takes time and patience, the tracks are long, you can lose your place in the rhythm very easily and most of them are played live so not locked into any steady metronome or midi clock. Getting the mix tight was a constant headache. I’ve used some tracks more like samples to add textures to others rather than to have their own spotlight and the intention was to always have at least two things creating a third, which is the basis of all the best mixes.

When compiling sets for the Solid Steel mix CD series, then Ninja A&R for the series, Dean Smith, used to talk about ‘moments’. Each mix should have at least two or three points that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or blend the sound to such a point that you got a rush. It’s not enough to just blend two ends of a track together, we’re sculpting here, making connections that wouldn’t normally sit together and, in the best instances, mean that you can never hear one of those tracks on it’s own again without hearing the other playing in your head. There are subtleties at play in recorded mixes that can never be experienced in clubs as the volume and crowd noise often pushes out the details.

Two thirds the way through the set I also did something I’ve never done before too – inserted another guest mix. Chatting to Brian Dougans from Future Sound Of London, he’d confessed to being a Solid Steel fan, regularly taping shows throughout the 90s and being inspired by the weekly mixdowns. When I told him it was the 30th anniversary he offered an exclusive mix of new Humanoid tracks, an alias he’s just reactivated as it’s three decades since he first had a hit under the moniker with ‘Stakker Humanoid’. It seems fitting to have a contribution from an artist whose career started at the same time as the show, FSOL’s own radio shows in the 90s similarly inspired me and this is a nod to their idea of inserting guest mixes into their early Kiss FM shows. The six acid tracks are a stark contrast to my own selection but rather than surround them with similar material I’ve let them occupy their own space within the set, you might have to adjust your mood though. A massive thanks to Brian for this mix and all the music he and Gaz have bought us over the years.

After 25 years as part of the Solid Steel team and after hundreds of hours of mixes, it’s great to still be inspired to push myself and be among such esteemed company as the show morphs once again into a new era. Solid Steel moves to a new format next year, already with some killer guests lined up, and there are around 8 years worth of mixes in the archive online along with an extensive database of dates and guests from the past 30 years.

DJ Food Solid Steel 30th mix featuring Humanoid

Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms (Kapp Records)
Brian Eno & David Byrne – The Carrier (Virgin)
Pink Floyd – On The Run (Harvest)
Kraftwerk – Autobahn (Vertigo)
Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois – Ascent (An Ending) (Virgin)
The Beach Boys – Our Prayer (Brother/Reprise)
Vapour Space – Gravitational Arch of 10 (Internal)
David Bowie – Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix) (Columbia)
Herbie Hancock – Rain Dance (Columbia)
Can – Messer, Scissors, Fork & Light (Spoon )
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Tardis Cymbals (Duophonic HF Discs)
Pat Metheny – Electric Counterpoint fast (Nonesuch)
Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians (ECM)
10cc – Wet Rubber Soup (Polydor)
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
David Sylvian – Answered Prayers (Virgin)
Manuel Gottsching – E2:E4 (MG-Art)
The KLF – Deep Shit (The Cult of Mu 7″ mix) (CDR)
Jon Brooks – A Mechanical Eye (Ghost Box)

Humanoid In Session 2-4th Nov 2018 – guest mix
– 1 Acid Ho
– 2 Spore
– 3 Point Cloud
– 4 Co-Pilot
– 5 Koma Flow (808 State)
– 6 Far-Point
– Recorded live at 9L West, Engineered by Yage for EbV. Fsoldigital Recordings.

Terry Riley vs Meat Beat Manifesto – In C (Version 4.2) (Electronic Sound)
Boards of Canada – Telepath (Warp)
Psychic Warriors of Gaia – Obsidian (Organically Decomposed) (KK Records)
This Mortal Coil – Waves Become Wings (4AD)
Steve Hillage – Rainbow Dome Musick (Virgin)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani – A New Day (RVNG INTL)
Vapour Space – Gravitational Arch of 10 (Internal)
Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms (Kapp Records)

Jean Jacques Perrey meets Coldcut on Solid Steel

Jean Jacques Perrey on Solid SteelRIP Jean Jacques Perrey – a true pioneer and a man not afraid to keep the comedic in electronic music – here’s an archive interview Coldcut did with JJP back in 1997 for Solid Steel.

“Coldcut meet Jean Jacques Perry. This occurred in early 1997, at their Spacelab studio in the old Ninja HQ in Clink St. (now luxury flats with a Starbucks underneath). E.V.A. was enjoying a huge revival as the soundtrack to a Lucozade commercial and Moog, Easy Listening and Music Concréte were all back in vogue. Jean Jacques was
promoting the reissue of the track and playing his first gigs for years. Matt Black had recently acquired three huge Korg PS3300’s, was deep into his analogue kit and instantly struck up a rapport (Richard James would later buy one of the Korgs from him when studio space grew tight).”

Bear Witness

#solid_steel #result_art #dk #bear_witness #stage_jump

A video posted by Anton (@mr.armtone) on


I think this is one of my favourite videos of the year. From the Resultart party DK and I did in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia last weekend (that’s him playing on the right) I wasn’t around for this but wish I had been. The party was in an old warehouse that had been left unused until just a month before and had been transformed with artwork and a huge video screen into a great club space. The soundsystem was SO loud that the bass frequencies were hurting my ears and rippling the screen of my laptop at times.

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Polar bear video courtesy of Mr. Armtone who managed to find me a very rare ‘bone disc’ (see last week’s Flexibition) which I will treasure forever. Thanks Anton! :)DSC00002

Brand new Solid Steel website by antipattern

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We have a brand new Solid Steel website, built for us by antipattern, which finally does all the things we wanted it to do with the vast archive of mixes we’ve accumulated from the last 27 years. We’re very pleased with the results as the site is full of easy to navigate touches that leave plenty of room for a gallery of artwork and photography to grace your desktop, tablet or phone whilst you listen.

Here’s a quick walk through: (above) Main landing page with Featured mixes bar on the right – just tap Featured to close it. (Below) Once a mix is selected just hit play on the Solid Steel logo on the left, you can jump through the mix once it’s loaded or pause by tapping the logo again. Click Tracklist to open a side bar with a scrollable tracklist.
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SSSite_Tracklist

(Above) Click the Synopsis tab to bring up details of the mix plus a link to Soundcloud where you can find the mixes and leave a comment or download. (Below) If you fancy finding an old mix there are several ways of accessing them: the good old Search button in the middle of the three top left circles or the Timeline button next to it which brings up a new graphic showing the decades from 1988 to the present.

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(Above) Click the Year you want and a side bar will appear with a scrollable list of all the shows from that date. You can also then scroll vertically through the years too. (Below) Finally there’s an A-Z directory down at the bottom left so that you can see if an artist you love has contributed a mix to the show, hit the name and all their mixes will appear in a scrollable side bar.
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Big thanks again to Suki and Paul at antipattern, go visit their new site, DK for producing the whole project and Tom and James at Ninja for the behind the scenes help.

Solid Steel logo process

Solid_Steel_logo+1_2015The start of the new Solid Steel site was the creation of a new logo for the show, from which we determined where we were going design-wise. A clean, modern look was wanted that also had to work alongside an image of the mix artist featured each week. I decided on a very thin, san-serif font that would leave plenty of space for an image, show date and artist name, all within a circle or square that would work at thumbnail size.

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(Above) I started off with variants of the existing single ‘S’ logo which looked OK but lacked that certain something.

(Below) I won’t bore you with all the endless font and weight placements but there were many and I ended up with a central ‘o’ which aped a record or CD appearance from a distance and a very thin font on which I did a lot of work kerning and re-sculpting letters to sit at different weights. There were many subtle variations on the ‘S’s and by extending the ‘L’s and ‘T’ the text was suddenly no longer floating and a unique, eye-catching logo had been formed.

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(Above) Variations in a heavier weight as well as an off-centre ‘O’ were needed for use at smaller sizes.
(Below) I then started experimenting with different ways to unify the weekly artist images – toning or tinting the images and discarding an oblong title card inside a square as it looked too much like existing mix show graphics.
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Image test 4

(Below) A brief flirtation with breaking the circle which was discarded because it would cause too much trouble when placed onto a coloured background or image.
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Image test 3
(Above) Different weights of type for readability. (Below) By moving the artist name out of the centre circle we freed up space and gave ourselves room for longer names. I have to be creative with the image placement each week but the date is readable and there’s plenty of room for the artist names in the top right section.
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Future Shock AV show premiere at Videocrash, Koko, London

My new Future Shock 2 mix is getting a lot of love on this week’s Solid Steel and now I can reveal that I’ll be premiering the AV show that goes with it at Videocrash at Koko, London this May 23rd. *UPDATE – Soundcrash cancelled this gig after changing the line up four times in two weeks. It has since been rescheduled for another date in December at a different venue.

New Solid Steel logo / identity

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Keen-eyed listeners to the Solid Steel weekly radio show may have noticed a logo makeover last week. A new, slimline logo has taken place of the previous single ‘S’ one as we continue to streamline the show for online consumption. The logo comes in white on black circle but can be reversed and I designed it in three weights with the heaviest being for small usage where the centre circle is offset with the outer circle also in box form. Expect a new responsive website redesign in April too. SS_SSpacek_Kutmak_BlkSS_logo_small_square_2015

Future Shock on Solid Steel


Future Shock was a 2hr mix that I cooked up for an online ‘pirate’ radio station a couple of friends set up earlier this year called Altar Ego Radio. Billed as ‘Music from the Future you remember from your Past’, I mixed sci-fi electronica with a retro feel from Jokers of the Scene, Falty DL. The Books, Sculpture, Nico Motte and Jeremy Schmidt. Here’s the first hour, exclusively sans the chat of the original broadcast which was hosted like a regular radio show. Much like the recent Magpie Music mix of a few weeks ago I intend to expand on these themes in forthcoming Future Shock mixes focusing on the more electronic side of my current tastes. Altar Ego Radio will also be back on the air over the August Bank holiday weekend, more info here

Matt Berry / DJ Food Solid Steel mix

I’m very pleased to be sharing airtime with the legend that is Matt Berry on Solid Steel this week – my Magpie Music show that debuted on Altar Ego Radio earlier this year is paired with his trip though gospel rock, soundtracks, spoken word and classic Pop.

Matt has a new album out at the moment on Acid Jazz called ‘Music For Insomniacs’ which mines very different territory from his previous outings. This time he’s channeling Vangelis, Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream and turns in a more ambient, synth-laden set although there are plenty of surprises that spring up in the mix too. He’s currently filming the new series of Toast of London and we’re thrilled to have him on the show. Got to Acid Jazz to buy his album or previous records + tour memorabilia.