Friday, December 31, 2010

There's Always Time For One More

Apart from anything else, Christmas and the New Year always serves to highlight death. I don't think I'm being particularly morbid. Obviously news is slow so stuff that may have been otherwise shelved gets more of a look-in than normal. Having said that, the tsunami of 2004 broke al records for bad news over the festive season. Anyway, James Brown left us on Christmas day in 2006, and this year, either side of the 25th, we had Teena Marie and Bobby Farrell. Although by far the most artistically credible I can't just reinvent myself as a fan of Teena Marie now she's gone. I knew of her and heard some of her records way back when, I also knew of an association she had with Rick James, and the only way I knew of Rick James was because 'Super Freak' and 'Give It To Me Baby' were played at almost every club I visited, regardless of the crowd, throughout the early/mid eighties. In any case, I confused Teena Marie regularly with Kelly Marie, a Scottish singer who made it big in the eighties, sort of, with a tune 'Feels Like I'm In Love' which I remember mostly because of her dance routine in which she was flanked by two camp black guys who bounced to the beat of trebly synth drums. Takes me back to my primary school days actually, when I was made to absorb the Catechism, (so much so in fact that I can still quote passages from it now), and the answer to the question "What Is God?" . . .the answer of course "God is a living being without a body." Anyway, when I was a young whippersnapper inside the Catholic school system I initially misheard the response as "God is a living bean without a body." Consequently, I used to think that God lived in a tin and breathed tomato sauce.

Bobby Farrell as well. Definitely a hero from my days of Top Of The Pops addiction. I put up some words about Captain Beefheart when he died the other week, and mentioned what an influence he'd been . . .well Boney M, although I deride my girlfriend for having one of their cds in the car, made just as much a mark in their own way, and their centrepiece was Farrell, his gruff, murmur of a voice and his silly, but eminently watchable dance turns. Out of all the artists mentioned here, (except Kelly Marie), although he fronted the least artistically credible group, he gave me just as many musical memories as anyone and they weren't bad by any means so, for that reason, he'll be very sadly missed.

Have a Happy New Year and a great 2011 whoever and wherever you are.

P xxxxx

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rounding Off

It's been a good year, (that's unless you mention football); lots of new music consumed, books read, household chores put off for infinity, a tuberculosis breakout at work, finally getting paid for writing in the service of music . . .not bad at all. Difficult to say who stood out for me over the year as I'm not a great one for lists of any description. Having said that I did, for the first time since having started contributing to them, deign to complete the Resident Advisor end of year poll. I was unable to finish the top tracks section though. Maybe I'm not listening hard enough, or is it really a case of not enough individual tunes standing out . . ? I don't know. Anyway, I would have found it easy to chart whole releases - which is what I do every month in the same studied, but arbitrary, fashion.

In any case, as RA don't publish individual contributor's polls, opting rather for the "put everything in a bag, shake it all about and let it spill out" approach, here are my individual results in the categories of Top Artist Albums, Top Compilations/Mixes and Top Labels, in that order. Oh, and as well as not sending in my "top tracks" I also didn't bother with "top live act" either.

Top Artist Albums 2010:

Flying Lotus

The Black Dog
Music For Real Airports

Contact, Love, Want, Have

Peter van Hoesen
Entropic City
Time To Express

Anthony “Shake” Shakir
Frictionalism 1994-2009
Rush Hour

Marcel Dettmann
Ostgut Ton

Arkpokalypse Now

City Slang

Robert Hood
M Plant

Mr G
Still Here (Get On Down)

The Traveller
Ostgut Ton

John Roberts
Glass Eights

Hot Flush

Greatest Hits
Circus Company

Harmonie Park

Re Call To Mind

Matthew Dear
Black City
Ghostly International


Massive Attack


Top Compilations/Mixes 2010:

Ostgut Ton

Fabric 52

Kode 9
DJ Kicks

Seth Troxler
Boogybytes Vol 5

Fabric 50

Fabric 55

Ben Klock
Berghain 04
Ostgut Ton

Superlongevity 5

Todd Terje/Various
Remaster Of The Universe
Permanent Vacation

Scientist Launches Dubstep . . .

Top Labels 2010:

Ostgut Ton


Hot Creations

Underground Quality




Crosstown Rebels

Upon You


In order to be more critical and, of course, more precise next year I'll have to start taking notes from next month so I plan to be a lot more investigative from 1/1/11. Meanwhile, I hope you all had a happy Christmas, or a good equivalent if you don't celebrate it, and all the best for 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Q & A With Billy Dalessandro & Brian Ffar

Here's a link to an interview I did with Siteholder Records Billy Dalessandro and Brian Ffar for Ibiza Voice.

Here's a link to the mix page of Brian's website, (the most recent is from June of this year), and here's one of Billy's from a few posts back. Scroll down a bit to get it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Chart

Some winter warmers To Keep Your toes tapping over Christmas:

Where The Freaks Have No Name - Benoit & Sergio (Visionquest)

The L Word feat Jada - Deniz Kurtel (Crosstown Rebels)

Big Ass Biscuit/Clive's Alright EP - Pteradactil Disco (Hot Creations)

Space Is Only Noise LP - Nicolas Jaar (Circus Company)

Harry Klein Records 03 - Marco & Dario Zenker (Harry Klein)

Wolkenreise - Deepak Sharma & Dieter Krause (Hidden Recordings)

What Is Who? EP - Manik (Poker Flat Digital)

Superlongevity 5 - VA (Perlon)

Cottam 4 - Cottam (Cottam)

Midas - Roof Light (Millions Of Moments)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don Van Vliet: 15/1/41-17/12/10

Heard about Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, passing away yesterday. Sixty-nine years old and taken by that most stealthy of diseases, multiple sclerosis. I didn't rush up and play one of his records, rather preferred to give in to nostalgia and all that remembering his music evokes. More than anything else it evokes happiness and youth. The song titles, 'Big-Eyed Beans From Venus,' 'When I See Mommy I Feel Like A Mummy,' 'Lick My Decals, Baby,' etc. I don't have to hear these tracks to be transported to my, or Vinny's - one of my oldest friends - bedroom in the early eighties. These were temporal autonomous zones of hedonism while the music continually played and our parents went about their business downstairs, separated from the party by the floor's breadth of a small, northern English house. I doubt that anyone's music evokes such affection and wistfulness quite as much as Beefheart's, and what I always find amazing, and what I'm always very thankful for, is the way I came across him. Once a punk always a punk I suppose, because had it not been for my sudden exposure to the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, The Clash, etc; a logical progression in many ways from being blown away by the likes of Bowie, Sparks, Roxy Music and Mott The Hoople on Top Of The Pops in the early seventies, I wouldn't be the person I am now. Coming across Beefheart, first by way of 'Shiny Beast, Bat Chain Puller,' (I think), and then fervently plundering his back catalogue was all very natural, and would continue to be so across all genres. I'll dance the Candle Mambo tonight. RIP

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thirty Five To Forty People To See Matthew Dear On A Friday Night In Liverpool

It's happened to me before, as I'm sure it's happened to most of you. I remember it particularly when I went to Brixton's George lV in 1998. Terry Francis was playing in his South London heartland, (even though he's from Leatherhead). Wiggle was at it's peak, selling out parties, as it always has and continues to do. It was a Saturday night, £5 to get in, the George was normally packed to the rafters for "Come Shake The Whole" (it's monthly house hoedown), surely it would be the same, if not more so, for Terry. Well, apart from me and my mates, maybe five or six others made it in. There were no more than fifteen of us all night. We had a great time all the same but I found it quite inexplicable why the night had been so poorly attended.

That feeling of incredulity returned last weekend when a friend of mine, let's call him Colin, told me that only around thirty five to forty punters were in attendance to check out Matthew Dear on the Liverpool date of his tour, playing at the O2 Academy. I was very surprised, Liverpool being a city with a reasonably well-developed club scene and one where live music has traditionally always found a very willing and responsive audience. All this and only £8 to get in on a Friday night, what could possibly go wrong? Well, under attendance on a grand scale. Check this link to see how many people - and they're just RA members - went to see him in Glasgow. The ultimate kick in the nuts was the presence of a poster advertising a Shakin' Stevens gig at £22.50 a shot.

In any case, Colin enjoyed the evening very much, chatted to a very unassuming Matthew Dear and came away happy, which is how it should be. He'd just been to great gig, the star attraction of which was one of the worlds foremost electronic artists who, as a side order, is also an exceptional DJ and has just released one of the years best albums of any genre. What could possibly have gone wrong?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Set Me Up

It's been a while since I've posted any mix links, (having said that, I did sneak in the last to Bodytonic podcasts in the previous post). In any case, here are a few which are so fresh off the press that I haven't had the chance to listen to them yet.

The latest in the Promo Mix series (see link at the side of this page) has recently gone up, and it's a tribute/hommage to Red Zone from New York mixed by Function. There's an hour-long mix and, interestingly, the club biopic is in the form of an mp3. I haven't listened to it yet so I don't know if it's an interview with Function, someone else or just a monologue. It could even be an outtake of the first RA Exchange podcast, which featured Function. Whatever; it's sure to be interesting and just serves to whet the appetite further in anticipation of future episodes in this series.

I've just come across a Robert James podcast. James is a Leeds-based DJ who sparang into the collective conciousness this year with his 'Sleep Moods' release for Jamie Jones' and Lee Foss's Hot Creations, (one of my labels of the year). Here's a link.

Full-time lawyer and DJ Norman Nodge recently contributed a solid techno mix to the impeccable FACT Magazine series. This is life-affirming stuff. Grab it here, but be quick, its time on Earth is short.

Siteholder Records supremo Billy Dalessandro has mixed up a podcast or the Thoughtless Series. I'm currently waiting on an interview with Billy and partner in crime Brian Ffar. I have it on good intuitive authority that he's an extremely twisted individual. There's only one way to find out I suppose. Grab some depravity here.

Rolando for Field Recordings can be found here. I wonder if he still dislikes the US football team as much as he told me on a Barcelona beach during the 2006 World Cup. Mmmm . . .

Soul Clap and their Thanksgiving selection can be found here. Not a turkey to be found.

Andy Wevvers recently appeared on 6 Music and this was his heartfelt selection of resolute non 4/4 grooves.

I could go on for much longer, but this stuff's all freely available, all you have to do is dig a little. In any case, bringing up the rear for today is everybody's favourite Romanian, Rhadoo, with a set from last week at Halcyon, NYC. Get it here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover . . .Or Rather Do?

Soft Targets?

The last two podcasts in the Bodytonic series have both been wonderful. The 97th by one of my
all-time favourite selectors, I-F, the 98th and most recent, by arguably the best up-and-coming house DJ of the moment, Seth Troxler. Two DJs with very different record bags, so you wouldn't really confuse them, would you? Well, Bodytonic suffered, and may still be suffering, some technical hitches this week and so the Troxler download actually went out as the I-F. The commenters on their board didn't seem to be aware of this issue though (check the comments further down the page). Kind of reminds me of the Elliot Eastwick story form when he was resident at Hard Times in the mid-nineties. Once, when guest DJ Duke failed to show, Eastwick crouched down a little bit lower behind the decks, put a baseball hat on the wrong way around, and started banging out some tunes. No one seemed to notice and the crowd even began a chant of "Duke, Duke." After God knows how long, Eastwick took his hat off and came clean, only to be met by a barrage of boos from the unsuspecting and hoodwinked crowd.

I suppose this can serve to highlight a few things. Notably the faceless disposability of this music, something that still exists no matter how much we may try to dress it up. This isn't necessarily a negative characteristic, but it's still the reality. I like it that way, and always will. One look at any photos of The Swedish House Mafia should reinforce this, especially after reading the little write-up of their forthcoming film, 'Take One' in yesterday's Guardian Guide, which describes dance music as fertile ground for the rock cliches used so effectively and humorously in "This Is Spinal Tap." "It shouldn't matter what the DJ looks like, you're supposed to be dancing," (or something like that), quoth A Guy Called Gerald. He's right of course, but certain spinners are in danger of looking more and more ridiculous. I remember an old Tina Turner video, (I think it was her); can't recall the song, just the keyboard parts when the camera focussed on some musclebound chimp using the power of Greyskull just to prod the keys.

DJing is only a spectacle, when the turntablists or similar virtuosos are concerned. No matter how technically proficient the mixing, the trainspotters were always around the box to check the tunes, not the wrist action. As this business becomes ever more sanitised so the artists look blander and blander. David Holmes, upon hearing DBX's 'Losing Control' remarked that it was impossible to have made such a track without being under the influence, then couldn't believe his ears when he heard that Dan Bell didn't dabble. I'm constantly surprised at how underwhelming and physically small and nerdy a lot of DJs are. Those in question have still played wonderfully well but a feeling of not something being missing has always lingered. Maybe that's why The Swedish House Mafia look the way they do. I've never met them, so can't gauge exactly how tall or small they are from their photos, but they're definitely trying to large it in more ways than one. Humphrey Bogart used to insist on being photographed standing on a wooden box; other famous shortarses, like Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone, like Bogart, use their small man syndrome in various ways to ensure they'll be remembered for more than their size, (maybe not too much for their acting though). They say you should never meet your heroes. Maybe not, but at least be aware of their output.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November Chart

It's about time I did a November chart.

In no particular order then:

Beau Rivage - Falco Brocksieper (Sub Static)

Discovaries - Alland Byallo (Poker Flat)

Hard Boiled VIP - SCB (SCB)

Void 23 EP - Ramadanman & Appleblim (Aus Music)

Humming Bird EP - Maya Jane Coles (Hypercolour Digital)

Knossos - Russ Gabriel (Dieb Audio)

Lucky J Vols 1 & 2 - Mark Henning (City Fox)

Outflow Boundary EP - Adam X (Prologue)

Playing With Acid EP - Ahmet Sisman (Slash)

The Leisure EP - Clandestine (Thema)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scientist: An Exercise In Nostalgia

I recently experienced a moment of Proustian remembrance, (it is remembrance Sunday after all). No Madelaines were involved though, only music which, along with food or taste, has to be the most evocative form of self-expression. Anyway, I digress. Scientist has just released a new album on Bristol dubstep label Tectonic 'Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space.' Now I haven't even got around to listening to it yet, but no matter. Quite apart from anything Scientist has ever worked on, or how influential he's been, (good article about/interview with him in this months Wire), what I've missed are the sleeves.

Like a lot of music lovers of my generation, I went through an intense reggae phase. There were many reasons for this: the close affinity that punk had for reggae, their dual rise to prominence, Bob Marley's arrival on these shores during punk's golden period and his recording of "Punky Reggae Party" as well as the explosion of Jamaican artistic talent, harnessed to a large extent by Virgin's Front Line offshoot. I could go on . . .My discovery of weed as a life-enhacing substance helped a lot, as did John Peel, whose devotion to Misty In Roots in the early eighties was as intense as his championing of The Fall. In any case, it seemed a natural progression from punk. Black music was what I gradually fell into during the eighties and beyond, reggae being the first form I embraced, soon to be followed by jazz and then african (bit of an umbrella term there I suppose. Just to say that King Sunny Ade and Fela, different though they were, formed my first excursions into the music of the dark continent.) Apart from Probe in Liverpool, the best record shop I have ever had the pleasure to spend lots of money in, Reaction Records in New Brighton was the place to go. Run by two hippies confusingly called Rob and Rob, it could always be relied on to have most of what one wanted in times of desperation.

This isn't a Scientist love-in, I didn't even have many of his releases, just one or two. The one I had that I remember most was, I think, the record that marked his arrival into comic book sleeve design, 'Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires.' A dub album, pure and simple, and from what I can remember a very uncomplicated piece of work. Predictably heavy riddims offset by moaning and crying as vampires sank their teeth into the necks of virgins and other willing victims. All I think about when I remember that record is what a battering the cover took as it was the skinner upper's weapon of choice. My bedroom was a regular opium den in those days, and the size of my mum's house! It was/is really small. I'd go up to my room with some mates and we'd get wrecked, hitting the knives on a calour gas and rolling joints on sundry album covers, all under the glare of my red light bulb.

So, I haven't even played the new Scientist album yet, but that isn't really the point, is it? It's often enough to have these things in order to remind us first hand about what things were like and how, if we can be arsed, they can be again.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Astrobiological Funk EP - Miles Sagnia (Ornate Music)

Well, I've just failed my driving test for the second time in the last six months, but Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 yesterday and there's more good music than you can shake a stick at. With that in mind, here's a link to my RA review of Miles Sagnia's latest.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

End Of Weekend Thoughts

Aurorae Pts 1& 2 - Kuoyah (Frijsfo Beats)

Two separate releases from Kuoyah, aka Marco Donnarumma, on the impressive Frijsfo Beats. Space dub from the fifth dimension across this soon-to-be separately released double-header. Ethereal grooves from another world, this collection is very high on quality. The sound of synapses and nerve endings being programmed, reprogrammed and unleashed during the carboniferous period.

First Impressions - Miruga (Logos)

As with all the releases so far on this label, the attention to detail and reverential feel is tangible. You know what you're getting. Deep, Detroit-infused house/techno for the most part, but this is an altogether jazzier release and a lot looser-limbed. A fine piece of work.

Aleph Part Four - VA (Darek)

Ten tracks of varying tech-house intensity from artists located in the four corners of the globe. Some you'll like, some you won't. No great insight to be had here other than you stating that there will almost certainly be something that you do like.

TV Junkie EP - Lado (FVF Records)

The Right Place EP - R. Audiard (La Folia Recordings)

Quite trancey. Not bad. Has a timeless quality that I quite like, but occasionally shimmers a bit too much.

Lost Files Vol. 3 - VA (Hypercolour Digital)

Some new remixes of, amongst others, Glimpse and Mark Henning. Shannon's remix of Glimpse's 'Train In Austria' is a burly monster of a track that takes no prisoners while Bodycode's interpretation of Hanning's 'The Right Time' is characteristically wonderful. There's more if you want to check it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Poker Hand EP - Mutant Clan (Rockets & Ponies)

Just been away for a few days so posting has suddenly become much less frequent. I've also started reviewing for Ibiza Voice. Here's my first.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October Chart

In no particular order:

Love You Gotta Lose Again - Nicholas Jaar (Double Standard)

I Can't Wait/Rock Me - Russ Yallop (Crosstown Rebels)

Temporary Thrills - Space Dimension Controller (R&S)

Funf - VA (Ostgut Ton)

Melody Attack - Decimal (Soma)

Aurorae Parts 1&2 - Kuoyah (Frijsfo Beats)

Arkuarium - Ark (Thema)

Re:Call To Mind - Commix (Metalheadz)

Mercury's Infuence - Obtane (Solid Goove)

Bipolar Remixes Part 1 - Niederflur (Niederflur Trax)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Words . . .

The Parallel Remixed By Solab, DJ Mourad & Nachklanmusik (Nice & Nasty)

Very refined stuff. Liking all contributions here. The Parallel is a very talented chappie indeed and, although this is a remix package, it shouldn't in any way detract from who put the tunes there in the first place. Very promising stuff.

McLovin You - Manik (Cuprit)

Delicate and understated but with backbone. Small details do the trick throughout this EP. There's a darkside to all this but that diesn't prevent the sun shining through.

Iberic Tantra - Groovik (Freaky Vibes)

Evocative and atmospheric, the type of track that has hedonism and Ibiza embossed on it. A little bit cliched also, but not bad. Good to see filter disco's coming back.

This Is The Place - Justin Harris (Pack Up & Dance)

Impressively energetic. A spaced-out gallop in its original form. The 'Mug Dub' compresses things and the original loses a lot of what makes it so appealing. More remixes than you can shake a stick at, but nothing beats the original, although Manuel Perez does make a good effort, as does Iroko.