Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Vladimir Ivkovic @ Making Time 2023

Magical Real w/ jaye ward 10th september 2023 - the final show


Covenanza 2023


When I snapped up tickets for this years Covenanza, and then quickly sorted out the flight, I was already in a state of advanced euphoria – induced senility. I must have been, because not only did I buy the ticket through Opodo, mistaking their website for Ryanair’s, I also didn’t notice that the flight out to Caracassone from Stansted was at 6:15 am on the Friday. We flew out on Friday and came back on Sunday, something brought about by our recent acquisition of a dog, and not wanting to be away from him for too long. This won’t be the case next year. I plan Thursday to Monday minimum. Anyway 6:15 am came into sharp relief very quickly, the only relief about leaving at this ungodly hour was that we are only a 40 minute drive from the airport. Of course we had to be there 2 hours before, which meant getting up at around 2:45 am. What was even worse was the weather. Apocalyptic rain of biblical flood proportions. Driving was terrible and when we finally got to the carpark we had to wade through a ridiculous amount of standing water. Once in Stansted we slalomed around the crashed out cadavers, got through security and went into the eating, duty free area. Hideous. Jam-packed with zombies. It could have been a Friday afternoon it was so rammed. The flight wasn’t full, which surprised me, but there were a fair few recognisable Covenanza attendees on it. Anyway, landed on time and it was boiling. The temperature during the day over the weekend was around 30-31 degrees, and it didn’t dip below 20 at night. We had to hang around an hour or two until we could go to our apartment, so we went to a cafe and walked up to the Canal du Midi near the train station. After that we went to our accommodation and crashed out. Knowing when to rest and then to roam was a difficult balancing act, but I think we got it right over the weekend, which was a holistically charged one, because we only went up to the chateau at 10 both evenings, missing any of the acts that came on before. On Friday we caught the end of Sons of Slough’s set, which sounded brilliant, and the same for Om Unit on the Saturday. Vox Low followed Sons of Slough, and Acid Claus were on after Om Unit. Everything was great. As far as the music goes a few observations. Vox Low felt like chug made flesh. They are a heavy, grinding, densely layered experience in which the feeling is of being chucked down the cosmic rabbit hole, having a skeleton transplant and then being sonically reassembled on the other side. Acid Claus were interesting. It’s difficult to shake the feeling that you’re not listening to a rave rendition of John Cooper Clarke who occasionally morphs into Jason Williamson. Great use of the vocoder, the girls could sing, and everyone had presence. They were fun. Sean Johnson closed proceedings on the Friday and was on blistering form. I’m a big fan, even though apart from last years festival, my only point of contact is the EBS series of mixes. I’ve never been to ALFOS in The UK, but this will change soon enough. I’m not going to get into the track id scenario, it was just a chuggy throb, but not necessarily linear. There were plenty of moments when the mould was broken and we went beyond the point of no return, only to be brought back onto solid ground. So many beans were being consumed, but no one was making a nuisance of themselves; oh, maybe that chubby bloke who didn’t seem to be able to stand upi straight for more than a few seconds and had the knack of walking in front of you every five minutes from any point in the chateau. Harmless buffoonery though. Just gently push him out of the way and watch him propel himself into the milieu, of which there were many. Ivan & Chloe on Saturday built it up very patiently. I recognised a tune, one that I have, but can’t remember what it is. Anyway, they were flawless and face melting. Not much more to say really. Everyone was in the moment and I was no exception. The music was deep, very danceable and narcotically influenced. One thing for next year though, The queue for wristbands and drinks tokens on Friday was a joke. It felt like we were in line for new passports and everything was incredibly slow. We returned the next afternoon for tokens, but couldn’t get any for the first night. We were also told by the lady managing the tokens on Saturday that the police had been in at around 2 am to stop any more booze being sold. I mean it probably didn’t matter by then as everyone was twatted, however, a more up for it, but simultaneously placid crowd would be difficult to find. I pondered the possibilities of the local bizzies using three dimensional profiling, by which everyone attending would be required to say how many kids and pets they have, and these wojuld be somehow holographically projected on on a 3d diais around their person. And I wasn’t even on drugs. We also squeezed in a couple of great meals. Friday night at Brasserie Des Platains, somewhere we discovered last year. Cheap as chips proper French brasserie scran, and on Saturday night Le Bistrot d’Alice, a real high quality temple of nosh. Both brilliant meals and really nice places to pass a couple of hours. Food is very important you know.

Monday, October 02, 2023

Voyage de Lux w/ Alex Downey & Charles Green - 27.09.23


Kmyle - Obsession EP (Kmyle Records)


Title: Obsession EP

Artist: Kmyle

Label: Kmyle

Cat Number: KML005

Genre: Techno

1: Obsession

2: Autobahn

3: Canicule

4: Kinetical Rhythm

5: Kinetical Rhythm (Vril Remix)

6: Dark Bodega

Kmyle’s ‘Obsession EP’ is, for the most part, an over accelerated piece of work which, if it just took its time a little, could have been so much more. Each of the original versions rattle along at break neck speed, fusing together elements of techno and trance in such a way so they reach some sort of symbiotic critical mass and coalesce in profundity. There are certain parts of certain tracks I like, but it’s all so unnecessarily rushed and needs to take stock somewhere along the line. ‘Obsession’ and ‘Canicule’ are the tranciest of the pack, with ‘Autobahn’ possibly trying to simulate a no holds barred drive on an empty road. ‘Dark Bodega’ is, for all its lack of restraint, possibly the most interesting piece here, (undulating synths can be very effective), while the Vril remix of ‘Kinetical Rhythm’ is funkier than the original and has more meat on its beats than each of the other tracks here.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Track Of The Day: Hutton Drive - Push It (Soma)

A great piece of epic, Detroit-inflected techno courtesy of Hutton Drive, aka Subculture resident Dominic Cappello. It came as part of his second release on Soma, and predates his output on his own 7th Sign. The title comes from the subtle eponymous spoken word sample that’s quite low in the mix and has the power to evoke Salt n’ Pepa’s track of the same name. At 9+ minutes long, it’s a rolling, break beat propelled monster which, while undeniably influenced by the Motor City’s finest, also feels like it contains strong traces of The UK’s seminal machine funk mechanics. Listen and be enveloped by analogue power.

LPY Mix Series 07 - Andrey Pushkarev

Anthony Naples - Live @ Waking Life 2023


Wednesday, September 27, 2023



Such is life. I’ve been meaning to write some more spontaneous gibberish for a while, and when I finally get my finger out I’m cut down by Covid. This means that all physical activity feels laboured and is to be avoided. It also gives one the familiar, but nevertheless daunting feeling, that all energy has gone, never to return. I go running a lot, but over the last 6 months have cut down hugely because of a muscle injury. And I was about to try and resume what I felt would be a normal routine when this happens. Of course the tendrils of forced inactivity stretch themselves into other areas of the psyche. Such as listening to and playing music. This is one of he biggest reasons why I keep this blog going. Apart from nurturing the token creative process, it’s stability and routine is very important to me. Also, when all else fails it takes very little physical effort to post something. It’s random, but regular, which makes perfect sense to me. As much sense as never aligning with anyone or thing in plain site. It would be nice if we all has the same, positive definition of what is good, but we don’t. It’s not a perfect world and the sooner that is understood then it makes it easier to negotiate. “Yada, yada, yada”. I also believe that we have reached a nadir of sorts with music. Not creation or permutation though. “Every writer has only one story to tell, and he has to find a way of telling it until the meaning becomes clearer and clearer, until the story becomes at once more narrow and larger, more and more precise, more and more reverberating.” I guess that this is why I believe that playing other people’s music is the most underrated art form. At the risk of repeating past posts, the idea of being in a band and having to nail down the same songs ad infinitum by constantly practicing and rehearsing them feels just as routine the most boring job. The end result is something else of course, as is the reaction to it and the pleasure gained by playing it in whatever context suits it best. With DJing no two sets are ever the same, (unless they’re prerecorded), and the creativity is the culmination of knowledge gained in the most pleasurable of ways. At the moment I feel like shit, and even though I want to listen to music, I can’t be arsed. It seems like the ultimate paradox. There’s no effort involved is there? I suppose that’s if listening to music is always to be regarded as a passive process, which it is sometimes. However, most of the time I listen to it tends to be active. Does this take the enjoyment out of it? Is there a tendency to think too hard about something and over-itellectualise it? Well, that’s one thing I try to avoid doing. Was it always better BITD, or just different? How difficult can it really be to mix two records into each other? Is beatmatching a cultural foundation stone? I can understand sometimes people saying that there isn’t any skill in DJing. And it can sometimes be difficult to argue the opposite. There is though. Lots. The knowledge gained from listening to music with the minimum of critical thinking required to separate a normal human being from a protozoa is rich and never ending. Some are better than others at doing this, and then deploying that know how into playing records. Technical skill, while welcome can very easily fall into the flashy category and lose its appeal once one realises that one just want to listen and dance to something. Sound is everything, as is selection. Mixing is also extremely important, and I don’t consider it to be a “technical skill”. Doing it should be as natural as breathing. I have great admiration for anyone who can embellish a set with the appropriate pyrotechnics, but it’s not a prerequisite. Mastery of contemporary hardware is a great thing, but not essential. Of course it all depends on what you want. I would say that if tricks, effects and technique are to be a feature of a set, then they should be not only noticeable, but also have a human quality as well. In other words, if someone is controlling the situation, it would be good that whatever they choose to embroider it comes infused with their personality. It’s easier for this to be noticed when mixing with vinyl and on CDJs/XDJs I guess. Maybe Traktor and Serato to a lesser extent, and much less with Ableton. Is this still a thing? I think that while the technology is here to stay and will only get better, it has stalled for the moment and boredom has set in. Vinyl won’t make a comeback, like it ever went away. It will be pressed in ever decreasing amounts though until it’s only available on Bandcamp, or similar platforms, in the form of limited collectors editions. Something which is more or less the case now. The second hand market, and that of the Discogs sharks, will continue to thrive for the time being, until, ecologically, everyone agrees that it all has to leave the building.

Track Of The Day: The Morning Kids - Free Lovin' (Housedream) (Balihu Records)

A wonderful piece of disco bliss, courtesy of Daniel Wang and Balihu. There’s a very luninhibited feel to this tune, and the whole direction of the label was one which, to me at least, evoked the spirit of The Loft and other, similarly liberated outposts. Both the percussion and the guitar start in Africa and end up in the disco. A road very much travelled, but no less notable for the amount of traffic on it.



Tuesday, September 26, 2023

David Holmes ft. Raven Violet - Necessary Genius Remixes Part 1 (Heavenly Recordings)


Title: Necessary Genius Remixes Part 1 

Artist: David Holmes ft. Raven Violet 

Label: Heavenly Recordings

Cat Number: 

Genre: Who Cares?

1: Necessary Genius (Lovefingers Dub & Response 142 bpm)

2: Necessary Genius (Lovefingers Dub & Response 130 bpm)

3: Necessary Genius (Decius Remix)

4: Necessary Genius (Phil Kieran Remix Vocal)

This release is a precursor to David Holmes’ “first solo album since 2008’s ‘The Holy Pictures’ and is made up of two identical, save for the speed,  Lovefingers Dub & Response mixes, as well as a Decius remix and one by Phil Kieran. I’m not quite sure what to make of them really. I think the whole package needs to put the brakes on, with probably the chunky Decius remix being the only one I would play out. Both Lovefingers remixes are functional and you takes your choice innit. Horses for courses and all that. Why not a 120 bpm offering? I suppose that’s what the pitch control is for, so 130 bpm could be serviceable under the circumstances. But that’s just me. Phil Kieran’s version has some nice touches and throbs nicely. Mostly feels a bit phoned in though

Track Of The Day: Isolée - Schrapnell (Playhouse)

It’s probably fair to say that not that many people had heard of Rajko Mueller, aka Isolee before ‘Beau Mot Plage’ got a release on Classic. Fast forward seven years and the masterpiece that is ‘We Are Monster’ is released, and album full of originality and endeavour. ‘Schrapnell’ is a track both epic in scope and big on detail. It’s orchestral breadth made possible by focussing on the sonic minutae, enabling the disparate elements within to coalesce in an imaginative and dynamic way.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Track Of The Day: Dusk - Honcho Sex God (Peacefrog)

From the ‘Aquarian Project’ release, which was released in 1995, ‘Honcho Sex God’ is a bass-propelled rave monster whose tempo and groove were ahead of its time. If we’re talking literal tech-house, then this is a fine example. It blends machine funk, dramatic breakdowns and has a sense of impending doom, all done at a bpm rate that preserves the funk. The other two tracks are excellent, but I like this for going out on a limb and also for having real hardcore vibes. Oh, and Dusk was a pseudonym of Josh Brent/Schatrax; as if you needed another reason to seek this out.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Track Of The Day: Happy Mondays - Hallelujah (Andrew Weatherall & Paul Oakenfield Club Remix) (Factory)

I have no idea who did what on this remix, but to the untrained ear it sounds like mostly, if not all Weatherall. To think that this track came out in 1990 and it anticipated a decade of middle aged hip swivelling twenty years later. In spite of that, even though it’s a great remix, the fact that it can be inserted into an appropriate set now, not raise an eyebrow says a lot about both AW’s talent and the state of house and techno in 2023. The most appealing aspect of Balearic, is its power to absorb literally anything and render it ageless. And this is a great example of such a tune bridging two epochsearly 80s cosmic, contemporary chug while belonging to neither, or either.