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.