London's Dreaming Mix

I know, I thought,  I'll make a Hardcore mix. All my own personal favourite tracks. No, wait a second. What about four mixes? 92. 93. 94. 95-96.

Then, hang on, why don't I just make one massive five-hour continuum style mix spanning the whole era. But was such a thing even possible in human terms? Would I survive such an endeavour?

It took weeks to go through all my old jungle records appraising them. It couldn't be one of those tedious "best of jungle" mixes" that litter YouTube and Mixcloud full entirely of famous tracks which everyone has heard. And I picked up a few new tracks. My, how expensive they have become...

Equally it couldn't be simply obscure tracks, because the big tracks are frequently the greatest. "Personal favourites" - that became the organising principle and there are many tracks in here that even the deepest Hardcore aficionado will never have heard.

If there one was one mix which inspired me it was J Rolla's "Drum Trip" mix - well, I may not be able to beat that but I thought I'd give it my best shot. Rolla's is a brilliant mix. I even stole two tracks from him. Thanks for that J. I may have given him a run for his money but the criteria are different. I haven't had to deal with the dread of repeating myself too much, which anyone DJ-ing and uploading more frequently would have to contend with. But I still avoided tunes from my mixes Joyride,  Ambient Jungle, and Brick Door all of which traverse similar terrain.

I briefly looked into studio mix software, then thought better of that. I rigged up the ol' 1210s (I had to reclaim them from my children) and got my bearings with the beat mixing reasonably quickly. There is some bad mixing - there are a few tense moments. A few cuts are too abrupt (woah, it's going wrong!!!). It was completed in three sessions. The only post work was to bring up the volume of a couple of tunes and splice out Foul Play's original version of "Feel The Vibe" with "Feel The Vibe (Again)" - their remix is SO much better.

Here's to the genius of those wonderful dreamers who gave us these 83 magical tracks.

London is Dreaming track-list in full:

Rhythm Section - Dreamworld
Urban Shakedown - Bass Shake
A Guy Called Gerald - The Musical Magical Midi Machine
Nookie - Give A Little Love
The House Crew - Keep The Fire Burning
4 Hero - Ghost Stories
Ephemerol - 456
MI7 - Rockin’ Down The House
The Brothers Grimm - Exodus
Hyper-On Experience - Assention
Sy-Kick - Follow Me
Sub Love - Maniac Music
Foul Play - Feel The Vibe
Body Snatch - The Strength
Foul Play - Dubbing You
Rufige Kru - Kemistry
Noise Factory - All Crew
Yolk - Music 4 Da People
DJs Unite - Bass Penetrates
Psychotropic - Hypnosis (SL2 Remix)
Andy C - Never Felt This Way
A Guy Called Gerald - The Freak Inside
Q Bass - Funky Hardcore
D’Cruze - What A Rush
Neuromancer of Structural Damage - Pennywise
Wax Doctor - The Stalker
Tango - Timebomb
Bay-B-Kane - Bagpipes in Effect
Timelapse - Sued For a Sample
DJ Rap And Aston - Feel The Magic
Ekude - Common Sensi
DJ Crystl - Suicidal
Hyper-On Experience - Disturbance
Noise Factory - We Have It
Body Snatch - Tuffness
A Guy Called Gerald - Darker Than I Should Be
4 Hero - Journey From The Light
The House Crew - Maniac (The Final Conflict)
Ruffige Cru - Ghosts of My Life
Foul Play - Finest Illusion
Manix and Rufige Cru - You Held My Hand
Noise Factory - Can You Feel The Rush
Doc Scott - Street Knowledge
Trinity - Chapter 19
DJ Hype - Come Again
Dillinja - Untitled
The Whitehouse Crew - Anonymous
Underground Software - Music Maker Possee
Tayla - Remnants
Flatliner - The Big Bang
DJ Kane - Lost
Smokey Joe - Shining Remix
Randall and Andy C - Feel It
International Rude Boyz - Paragone
DJ Solo - Deal Wid It
L Double - What Am I Gonna Do?
AK47 - Body Candone
DJ Flynn and DJ Flora - Jungle Love
Aladdin - We Enter
Noise Factory - Feel The Magic
Fusion - Love for the World Part 2
Roni Size - Fresh
Dillinja - Stompers Delight
Dillinja - Deep Love Remix
Cold Mission - Drug Store Rude Boy
Deep Blue - Helicopter (Rufige Kru Remix)
Low Key Movements - Come Cross!!
Koda - The Deep
DJ Crystl - Crystylize
Gappa G and Hypa Hyper - Roach is Burning
Charlie Recall - Submerged
DJ Nut Nut + Pure Science - The Rumble
DJ SS - Black
DJ Pulse - Stay Calm (Foul Play Remix)
Shimon - Within Reason (Liftin’ Spirits Remix)
Cool Hand Flex - Melody Madness
808 State - Azura (Dillinja Remix)
Maldini - Daze
DJ Die - Play It For Me
Glamour Gold - You Can Run
Firefox - Bass-switch
Capone - Mysteries of The Deep
Firefox - Bonanza Kid


Music as News

It’s one of the oft-repeated cliches about Reggae, that MCs were like news reporters. Big Youth was known as “The Gleaner” - after one of Jamaica’s newspapers. His “Green Bay Killing” was one of slew of tracks about this massacre of 14 JLP party members by the opposing PNP. To pick one of many examples; in the same way there were a number of tracks which referred to the story of a “duppy, or ghost, [that] had been spotted in numerous locations speeding through the land on a three-wheeled coffin, perched upon which were three John crows, or buzzards, one of which could talk and was asking for a Mr. Brown” - most notable of which being The Wailers’ “Mr. Brown”.

As often, the structural fundamentals of modern music were first worked out in Kingston’s ghettos. If music is going to survive in the 21st century it needs to become more like the news. In some quarters it has. The current triumph of Kanye West and Taylor Swift is predominantly because they have latched on to the internet’s insatiable thirst for news.

The theatrical concept of the “fourth wall”, in which actors do not break the illusion of their belonging to a fiction by acknowledging their audience, was applied to the PR tactics of rock behemoths like Led Zeppelin. Blessed was the groupie ushered backstage. The post-modern technique of Kanye and Taylor is, in contrast, to project an illusory “open-access” to their lives. Every bleat or tweak, kitten or carbuncle becomes a minor news item in their never-ending twittered and instagrammed logorrhea. They have newsified themselves. However, in strictly theoretical terms, Kanye and Taylor are only nearly there. West's LPs are still over-blown clearing houses for outdated liaisons. He should abandon the format and release strings of tracks - just as he tweets. Swift's gossipy videos are in effect closer.

Weird music music should learn from this. It needs to abandon its historical attachment to its own eternal preservation. It must stop thinking of itself in terms of durable statements, of poems to be remembered for eternity. It has to stop plotting its own embalmment on formats. Weird music needs to hurry out controversial missives commenting on the idiocies of a world consumed by nationalisms and hellbent on ecological destruction.


Scritti at the Roundhouse

One word sums him up: sensitive. Green isn't comfortable on stage. He doesn't like it at all. He has taken a stoic vow with himself that it's something he needs to accept and do his best at. And hang it all, he should be cheerful...

We are aware that Green is uncomfortable. We can ascertain that he doesn't like this at all. We observe that he is giving it his best shot. This is the contract we enter into at a Scritti concert. Meta but funny too. Funny like the most Woody Allen-ish Larry David sketch. He laughs too. In his studio, away from prying eyes, Green can craft that croon. He can check his tuning. He can multitrack that beautiful, improbable voice. He's not stared at by an impassive mass of people clutching iPhones. Like me.

Showing willing tonight meant at least three things: The very first live performance of "Asylums in Jerusalem"; courtesy of senior BBC newsreader Harriet Cass (present in the audience) a re-voicing of her originally unwitting contribution to "28/8/78"; and a medley of new material. After the medley Green shakes his head endearingly - submitting his own harsh review. Accordingly there was a tremendous sense of event.

Scritti Politti have a remarkable catalogue which can be divided into startlingly distinct phases whose delineation is only made stronger by the frequent gulfs of time between them. There's the squat skronk-pop of "Skank Pop Bologna", the new-wave rocksteady of "The Sweetest Girl", the synth-spangled crossover soul of "Word Beez", the new jack swing-a-like of "She's a Woman" right to today's (and possibly my favourite) home-brewed dad-rock of "The Boom Boom Bap". That's an astonishing wealth of material to draw on and tonight, his own misgivings aside, Green and the band did it great justice.