Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radio, Radio!

RA have just published a feature called "Community Radio." While the article in itself is an interesting appraisal of the non-commercial side of dance music on the airwaves, it doesn't come close to describing the community radio scene I was involved in for over six years, five and a half of them as a show presenter, engineer and selector. I'm aware of how pedantic this is beginning to sound, but I'm not about to let rip with negativity. You've got to have the right conditions though, and live in an environment receptive to such ventures. Sadly, despite the best efforts of all who participated in it, 209 Radio came to an untimely end just over a year ago. Maybe it was better that way.

In any case, the reason this blog was set up, initially at least, was to accompany the show and although the name has changed to Cacophonous Bling, the relics of the radio are evident in the url. I have nothing but wonderful memories of my time presenting but, if I'm honest, things could have been so much better. Apart from a few paid employees everyone was a volunteer and, as well as show organisation, presenting etc, we were expected to also duty manage other shows. This is something that myself and a relatively small number of other presenters complied with, but which the vast majority didn't. In short, it wasn't all about turning up with a bunch of tracks and playing them.

So while it's great to hear anything spontaneous, interesting, passionate and specialist on the radio, the situations described in the RA article are a million miles away from anything I experienced. We broadcast online from February 2003 up to February 2010, and on FM in Cambridge from October 2007. I fondly remember every moment, but I also can't forget what an uphill struggle it was to put shows on, (they had to be broadcast with a Duty Manager present, and it was often not until the last minute that one turned up, often the management as no one else would volunteer), as well as keep the station afloat. Radio is still my preferred medium of choice, but musically it's never been universally listenable; and while they are much appreciated, Anja Schnieder, Tim Sweeney, etc have got it easy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You're Not As Old As You Feel

This article caught my eye when I came across it earlier on. Only in your thirties and already feeling like you're past your sell-by date? I'm forty-eight and although my best clubbing days are probably behind me it's only a lack of people to go out with that's stopping me. Of course this problem is mentioned in said article, as is the dislike of having to stay up for most of the night in the comments; and the lack - except during the summer, depending on where you live - of daytime parties to combat the tyranny of forever being marginalised in the night is something that has always frustrated me. Suffolk, where I live, is hardly a hub of the avant-garde and since I've been living here my days of going out have ground to a halt. Not one that I've given into at all though. I still hanker after going out even though I have no desire to be doing it every week.

Clubbers, along with football fans, must be the two groups that get short-changed the most in this country. Treated like cattle and taken for granted at every turn. This is a bit of a sweeping generalisation but true nevertheless and has made me cynical regarding anything resembling organised clubbing for a while. In the UK, with a few exceptions, I am reluctant to go out to a club. Except for the big cities, there really isn't much going on anyway. We really don't have it as good today as we'd like to think. There's a lack of invention, a conservativism and an awful homogenisation of people going out these days. There's also a reverse eclecticism that is constantly mistaken for diversity. The lack of drama in our political lives is truly depressing and patronising. The Libyan situation is depressing and looks like concluding in another expensive and unnecessary war. George Osborne takes a penny off a litre of petrol and we're supposed to do cartwheels and the digital age means that the market if constantly flooded with crap, nowhere mores than in music, where the mp3 has, for most people, meant the death of quality and the rise of bad journalism.

This won't affect the discerning flaneur who can always languidly detect craftsmanship from an educated standpoint, but it's depressing anyway. As is mentioned in the linked article and comments, family and life have a habit of taking over. I've got three boys of varying ages, from three to twelve to twenty, but I can't imagine a time when I won't be into what I am now. Coming home after a hard days night, battered this way and that, was always a pleasure. Malleable through hedonism I used to engage, and be engaged by, my kids the most natural and empathetic way imaginable. Of course the only thing I was capable of eating was cereal, but I was totally on their level. I would travel down to London regularly to go out all night, but that fizzled out about five years ago when the inhumanity of public transport between London and Cambridge. coupled with the odyssey that had to be undertaken in order to use it and get home in one piece, finally became too much. A typical night would involve me going down to a friends mid-afternoon, getting baked for about five solid hours before going out, taking thirty to sixty minute cab ride across London, probably arriving past midnight, dancing and getting wrecked until six, somehow getting to Kings Cross for seven or maybe eight, train home one hour, unless there were engineering works. This would mean boarding a bus, often with a full bladder and experiencing real discomfort, as well as exercising amazing self-control. I would tumble into bed around four hours after I'd left the club. The kids would leave me alone and when I'd get up I'd still be high as a kite and feel great. I miss that feeling.

I need to go out and listen to music, a lot. I refuse to not be interested in it because of my age. What a ridiculous idea. I'm embarrassed to say that I've only just got around to reading 'England's Dreaming' by Jon Savage. Being someone who is old enough to remember punk the first time around it's very interesting to read about what happened in the most graphic, investigative way. I found "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" very evocative, but I hadn't experienced first hand the majority of what was written about. Punk was different. Savage's book rings a huge host of bells every time I open it, from the cultural and musical angle, to the political. It's quite difficult to explain how drab the seventies really were. Even as a kid, in spite of the long, hot summers and Liverpool constantly winning everything in site, the political penetrated. The power cuts ffs! I remember going to be with candles. I'm not advocating a return to those days, but I see an airbrushed version of them coming back.

As I get older I'm certainly getting more bothered, about music, fashion, art, politics and the shite that I'm forced to put up with. I'm a firm believer that "back in the day" should be left exactly where it is, but that doesn't mean one can't be inspired by the past on all levels. Things change but don't necessarily evolve. I believe the class system in the UK is more apparent than ever before during my lifetime and I've never been more aware of the imbalance between the haves and the have-nots. There isn't even that much more real opportunity nowadays, just a repositioning of incentives and a metamorphic media intent on control.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


To define house is like trying to nail a manifesto to a bubble. Each time you hammer it goes "pop." So where are the parameters? It's a question that nowadays is as far away from being satisfactorily answered as ever. One's definition of house can play an important part here, but if, like me, you adhere to the hoary old chestnut "house is a feeling" it can never be truly pinned down. House is John Coltrane, David Bowie, Sparks, Move D, Jeff Mills, the monologues of William Burroughs and it's musical spirit is nowhere more evident at the moment than in the eclectic, cross-pollinating spirit of dubstep, UK funky and grime, or bass, as is now the common parlance.

I rarely listen to individual tracks or albums on the Ipod, preferring mixes instead. The Last FM scroll on the right reflects home listening exclusively, a lot of which is listened to for reviewing purposes. I listen to mixes through my Ipod classic, which doesn't have scrabbling that registers on the scroll. In any case I'm a serial downloader and cyber hoarder and consume music at an alarming rate. I'm extremely pleased, but not surprised that, as I approach my half-century - not until October next year, so I've got some time to prepare my mid-life crisis - I've lost none of my enthusiasm. Indeed, I will be making some forays into the world of music-making over the next year or so. It has always been a dream of mine to run a label and to make some music. However, being a product first of punk, and then of house, I've maybe appreciated the DIY ethic a bit too much and consequently failed to learn any instrument, acoustic or synthetic. DJing has and will be my preferred form of musical communication, its versatility saving one from the boredom of endlessly rehearsing the same music and being able to spontaneously engage with an audience on a variety of levels. I've always had ideas though, and the ground has never been more fertile, so watch this space.

Anyway, to emphasise how interesting things are at the moment, here's a link to the most recent Essential Mix, courtesy of Kode9. and one that's been around for a few weeks now but I forgot to link to it before; this set from Peter van Hoesen at Berghain. Two guys both at the top of their respective trees and making it all sound very effortless indeed. They are both very much "house" to my ears, even though they defy convention as often as they can. The last three Essential Mixes have been great, and it'll be a nostalgia fest for the next one with Dimitri from Paris. How long before Tiesto comes in to stop the rot?

I hope the videos are all self-explanatory in the context of this piece.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Chart

Very busy this week doing everything in general and nothing in particular. Here's this months chart, some stuff on here yet to hit the stores. All good. The usual random mixture of single releases and albums.

Hot Waves - V/A (Hot Waves)

Live Your Life - Art Dept (Crosstown Rebels)

Deep Heet Vol 2 - Planetary Assault Systems (Mote-Evolver)

The Panther's Walk - Pherox (Dumb Unit)

Wade In - Joy O (Hotflush)

Refined Textures Vol 1 - Miles Sagnia (Atmospheric Existence Recordings)

Remixes Pt 3 - Skudge (Skudge)

Jack Is Back - V/A (Poker Flat)

Flirt EP - Zumo (Losing Suki)

Utopia - Footprintz (Visionquest)

We're New Here - Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX (XL)

Analogy - Wandler (Motoguzzi)

Routes Not Roots - K-S.H.E. aka Terre Thaemlitz/DJ Sprinkles (Skylax)

The Achromorphe - V/A (Aconito Records)

Loss/Future Unknown - SCB (Aus Music)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

It's Red Wine With Venison Sausages & Mash Tonight!

The title of this post just describes the mood I'm in. Of course it has nothing to do at all with the music I'm linking to; rather the incidents of these afternoon where a Dirk Kuyt hat trick and a relatively faultless to a man performance gave Liverpool a three one win over Manchester United at Anfield. I had a good feeling about this when I found out that, amazingly, England beat South Africa in the cricket World Cup. So far, so tenuous and sporty, so let's crack on with the music.

So, first up it's a Wiggle double header with Terry Francis and Cesar Merveille being the culprits. There's another Terry set doing the rounds at the moment. Part one of a Fabric two parter. The big man can still effortlessly command sound from around his ample girth.

Patrick Walker
and Smear do it for the Anatomy podcast series. Expect nothing less than bespoke techno eloquently presented.

ND Baumecker
with a three hour journey into the nether regions of after-hours house.

Richy Ahmed with the first in the Kubicle house party podcast series.

The last two Essential Mixes featuring Carl Craig

[00:00] 01. Essential Mix - Intro (03:23)
[03:23] 02. ID - ID (08:08)
[11:30] 03. Martinez - Mzuzu Chant (07:37)
[19:07] 04. ID - ID (05:09)
[24:16] 05. Anthony Shakir - The Floorfiller (Skudge's Floor Killer Version) (03:32)
[27:49] 06. ID - ID (05:31)
[33:20] 07. Strip Steve & Das Glow - Calcium (03:05)
[36:24] 08. Faze Action - In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 Remix #1) (06:39)
[43:03] 09. Robert Hood - The Family (04:44)
[47:48] 10. ID - ID (05:03)
[52:51] 11. ID - ID (04:12)
[57:03] 12. Recloose feat. Dwele - Can't Take It (Carl Craig Remix) (04:39)
[61:42] 13. Kenny Larkin - Glob (Ben Klock Remix 1) (04:40)
[66:21] 14. Agoria feat. Carl Craig & La Scalars - Speechless (05:22)
[71:44] 15. Vozmediano - There's A Light (Rolando Remix) (04:25)
[76:09] 16. Robert Hood - Power to Prophet (05:42)
[81:51] 17. Carl Craig - Angel (Jerome Sydenham Deep Space Dub) (04:31)
[86:22] 18. Ben Klock - Subzero (04:55)
[91:17] 19. Clark - Lofthouse (02:58)
[94:15] 20. Snuff Crew - Kings Cross (04:00)
[98:15] 21. Kenny Larkin - You Are (05:31)
[103:47] 22. ID - ID (05:08)
[108:55] 23. ID - ID (05:12)
[114:07] 24. Moodymann - Dem Young Sconies (03:40)
[117:47] 25. Ramadanman & Appleblim - Void 23 (Carl Craig Re-Edit) (01:37)

and Soul Clap.

The always interesting Roger 23 from Red 313 last month

and the latest Bodytonic podcast featuring Roswell Return . . .there's such a lot about at the moment.

Here's the goat-like Lee Curtiss from Paris a couple of weeks ago . . .

and the Jean-Claude van Damme of techno, Evad Streaklov

That was going to be that, but just a couple more. Bill Patrick has popped up with a new one for the Pulse series

and we close with some dubstep courtesy of Appleblim and his 'Fabric Main Room' mix.

1. Butahn Tiger Rescue - Beginner's Waltz - excerpt (Kompakt)
2. October & Borai - I Didn't Mean To (forthcoming Apple Pips)
3. Kowton - She Don't Jack (Idle Hands)
4. Axel Bowman - Naomi (forthcoming Glass Table)
5. October & Appleblim - NY Fizzzzzz (forthcoming Smorgasbord)
6. George Fitzgerald - We Bilateral (forthcoming Hotflush)
7. Al Tourettes - Badger (forthcoming Bloc / Baselogic)
8. SCB - Loss (forthcoming Aus Music)
9. Pulsar - Coconut Shuffle (unreleased)
10. Sunday Roast - Choices (Soulserious)
11. Arkist & Kidkut - Vanilla Imitate (forthcoming Hotflush)
12. Phat Chex - Can't Stop - (unreleased)
13. Paul Woolford - Let It Go - Komonazmuk & Appleblim Remix (forthcoming Intimacy Music)
14. Gatekeeper - Atmosphere Processor (forthcoming Apple Pips)
15. Gatekeeper - Let Us in (forthcoming Apple Pips)
16. Arkist - Fill My Coffee (forthcoming Apple Pips)
17. Gatekeeper & Kidkut – Alpha Apex (unreleased)
18. Gatekeeper & Kidkut - Code Red (unreleased)
19. Arkist - Rendezvous (forthcoming Apple Pips)

I hope this give those of you who can't be arsed finding these for yourselves, or who are simply inept, many hours of listening pleasure. I'm not scooping anything here, they're all freely available all over the net, but I know that some of you guys out there like them to be corralled, and as I enjoy doing it, everyone's happy. Some will have slipped through the net, but I'll try and remedy that later in the week.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Marcin Czubala Interview For Ibiza Voice

Here's a link to an interview I did with Marcin Czubala for Ibiza Voice.

Here's a link to a mammoth night he appeared at on the 28.2.11 at The Harry Klein in Munich along with Hector and Ana. It's eight hours long and I don't know at which point he comes on as I haven't listened to it yet. It may also be a live set, and not a DJ one.

Here's another to the latest Tsugi magazine podcast, which is Marcin in DJ mode. Tracklist below:

01. Martin Augustin - Bubba (Supra1 rmx)
02. Claude Von Stroke - Aundy (James Zabiela mashup)
03. Gorge - Garuna (Solomun rmx)
04. Russ Yallop - I can't wait
05. Jonny Cade - Sanguine Lamb (Huxley rmx)
06. Taras van de Voorge - 1998 (Deetron rmx)
07. Tony Lionni - Precious (Deetron rmx)
08. Viadrina - Better
09. Wollion - Santa Cruz (Teva rmx)
10. DJ Sprinkles - Grand Central (MCDE Bassline dub)
11. Catz 'n Dogz - I can understand
12. Solomun - Love Recycled