21.4.17

Lost Samba Book


I met Richard Klein on a post-production job. Both of us building a roman camp in Maya for a TV series. I overheard Richard playing "Clube Da Esquina" and we got chatting. Richard is a quite a bit my senior - he's around ten years older than me.

He pointed me to this book he had spent a very long time painstakingly writing. It's about his childhood and adolescence growing up in Brazil. A certified head, his frequently wild, vividly-described experiences are set against a backdrop of the music of MPB of the seventies and early eighties. I can thoroughly recommend it - it's quite something to finally get some cultural insight into that era from someone you actually know.

Richard also put together a massive Spotify playlist which covers his favourite Brazilian music of that era and it's really brilliant. I've been discovering some amazing things through like it "Samba Pra Vinicius" by Toquhino and Vinicius and Rita Lee's "Agora E Moda" - too many to mention on a Friday evening.

20.4.17

Two Hot Reissues


Ragnar Grippe's ambient classic "Sand" one of the many highlights of the legendary Shandar catalogue sees a beautiful vinyl reissue. Don't sleep on this one.


Shrinkrap ahoy. And a welcome reissue for Klaus Weiss' "Time Signals" by the Trunk-meister. Always wanted to hear this one. Sterling work Johnny.

Filles De Killimanjaro



Two delightful slices of ultra-modern French Pop - if you can forgive the phonetic English. Jain - Shades of Gainsbourg's afro dalliance or perhaps even a poppy Lizzy Mercier Descloux. The Christine and the Queens - encore un fois with the cool and arty New Wave touches (or is that Nouvelle Vague?). Bloody great videos in both cases.

17.4.17

Break From The Pack

Sleeping Bag Greatest Mixers Compilations



Why was dance music interesting?

There's the implication with a question like this that I don't find dance music interesting any more. I don't know if that's really the case. I do look at Resident Advisor occasionally, like just now, and it seems very sterile - maybe that's just the curse of contemporary graphic design? There is a suffocating sense though of here being a form of entertainment which is wholly codified, one which has ceased forming.

Thinking long and hard about what drew me into dance music, this genre I abandoned, and I came up with a thought. Looking at the long sweep of post-war music culture it seems pretty clear that the 1969-1996 stretch of dance music (bookended by Francis Grasso and Todd Edwards) was, at its strongest, the sublimation of the counter-culture. Sublimation defined by Freud as "a mature type of defense mechanism where socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations are unconsciously transformed into socially acceptable actions or behavior, possibly resulting in a long-term conversion of the initial impulse."

Part and parcel of that is the notion that, in a way that often dance music afficionados find repellent, that it is miscegenated at root with the dionysian impulse of Rock music. Rock's yearning for a crystalline ecstacy is the virus that Disco can't shake off. At times this easier to see for stylistic reasons. Both Larry Levan and Ron Hardy were wide open to Rock and its overcast spirituality. Although I have yet to hear a set from either that wasn't pure disco, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that'd they play it. Certainly Arthur Russell is unmistakeably a Rock interloper in disco, from his background in The Flying Hearts through to his electric folk opus "World Of Echo".

I've always thought it significant too that Derrick May's first record was the Post-Rock talisman of The Who's "Tommy", that Marshall Jefferson who I fist met with Charles Bullen of This Heat, was a Led Zeppelin fanatic, and that Joey Beltram held a candle for Black Sabbath.

In the UK there's the detente between New Order and Arthur Baker, Be Music and the Hacienda. UK Dance music of course being flooded with the second-string of rhythmic Post-Punkers like Tony Thorpe (400 Blows) and Bill Drummond (Big In Japan). The Mancunian indie-dance of Happy Mondays et al had a degraded reputation of the time, of scallies jumping on a bandwagon - but over time I've come to appreciate their appositeness.

Rock's original conceit is that it functions as Agape, an unmediated relationship, not with social communion, but with nature and the universe itself. At its most spiritual, for instance in the nihilistic abandon of The Stooges' "Dirt", Rock requires its listener to be intimate only with their own body and the caverns within and without it. It's the same sensation people discovered in relative safety, sublimated in the womb of the dancefloor, at The Loft or Labyrynth.

Why did dance music die in 1996?

"Dom Phillips insists that, even more than the 1988 acid house revolution, the real turning point in dance culture came in 1994 when clubbing got dressed up and turned its back on the sweaty rave movement which had spawned it. As if to prove his point club promoters recall 1995 as the year when they made the most money ever." 
Brewster/Broughton "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life"
Imagine a very large maze. Fill that maze with mercury. The mercury rushes into the structure but it fills the deepest corners last. Then quite quickly the mercury starts to seep into cracks and holes. The first places that empty are the large central corridors. Those corridors are House and Techno. The deepest corners, where for a while the mercury lingered in pools, stand for genres like Two-Step and then Grime in the early noughties where the ramifications of acid house house are still being worked out.

The first and most blatantly obvious thing to me as a rabid consumer, a passionate disciple of the music between 1990 and 1996, was the shocking precipice the entire culture fell off mid 1995. If you look at the dates on those mixes alone: 1983-19961986-19941985-1995 that pretty much tells the entire story.

I sat up when I read the quote above in Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton's book because it shon a bright and very unforgiving light on the reason the dance music culture died. There's defintely a distinction between the continuum of music that leads slowly up to the earliest House and Techno and the music in these mixes. That continuum is most easy to witness in the New York music where Disco and Electro flow easily into the new music. Again in Chicago, Frankie Knuckles came directly from the Paradise Garage and Disco. On the other hand in Detroit, Detroit Techno was an updated form of Electro - purely and simply, with Derrick bringing some esoteric Disco flavour back from Ron Hardy in Chicago.

But, yes, as Dom Phillips alleges the real turning point, the true break in the continuum comes in 1994, with the after effects slowly filtering their way through the culture. You can HEAR it in the music. Suddenly in 1996, whatever the major genre, the music sounds dreary, long-winded and the energy has disappeared. I struggled to find great later tracks for all of these mixes.

Of course, the Phillips quote is shorthand for "when it all became about money", when dance music culture became capitalised. That's certainly the inference. It's difficult for me, a debit-card-carrying capitalist, to approach this even-handedly. On the one hand I hear it, but equally when was dance music not engaged in a scruffy and unseemly quest for money? That was certainly what the alliance between organised crime, drug dealers and promoters was all about. Without getting bogged down in nuances I think I'd rather view it as a more subtle and profound shift. It seems to have all been about an adoption of "the culture of money" rather than the involvement of money itself per se.

That's one way to re-order the readings that the critics of the left have woven around culture. Cultural death is not so much about the reduction of everything into the terms of its validity within a capitalist model, a loss of purity of motive; as a frequently misguided, blind belief in the power of capitalism's de facto structures and the sickeningly bland, soul-destroying shit that follows in the wake.

My friend Paul Arden used to complain alot to me about the death of creativity within advertising agencies. The reason was that the producers lost confidence in creativity, an unpredictable chimera that they could never control, and instead placed more and more emphasis into planning and control groups. Into ways in which they work out marketing solutions based on a pseudoscience of what would appeal to their target audiences. The massive irony is that in advertising, raw, entirely crazy, passionate creativity is about 1000% more effective in the marketplace than creativity massaged by committee. Remember the bonkers and luminous commercials of the past?

The same applies to any database-led surveys though. Like those ridiculous massive, double-blind, placebo-controlled medical trials which yield less significant information than well-designed, tiny, control groups. Or even, to chose a wildly different example, how one person's list of great books for teenage boys can be more illuminating than a database collating the habits of millions of readers.

With Dance Music here was a cultural arena which had proved through its vibrancy and popularity that it could make money. The suits got involved. Oh you THOUGHT you were making money, they said. No, no, no. You need to attract a more upmarket group of people. We need to involve BRANDS. Et-bloody-cetera. It probably worked for about 6 months.

2.4.17

Elders

One of the key dynamics within music's adoption and dissemination is one in which questions of sound itself are almost entirely absent. It always strikes me as one of the most mystical qualities of music as well. It relates to to both a very sensitive perception of the "grain" of characters as well as a profound understanding of one's own location upon the river of time, one's own mortality. I'd argue that a connection with it implies, too, an implicit sanction of concepts like Jung's Universal Unconscious. I'm talking about "elders", the music made by those people who are older than one which has some intangibly charismatic quality to it, like the bunch of grapes just out of Tantalus' reach.

It's inevitably always a personal thing. It relates to who one's own "elders" are. For me, something like this set by DJ Hype on Fantasy FM (I could have chosen any number of different things to illustrate the point) has the fingerprint. I would have been nineteen but, yeah, Hype would have been unmistakably senior, of an earlier cohort, like the kids only two years ahead of one at school who seemed like distant deities. Possessing of a different but subtly evolved consciousness, of a seemingly unattainable confidence. And that dynamic, in a nutshell, is what drove the "nuum" for twenty years. Young people aspiring to the community status of those two or three years older and the sanction that a nod from these elders imparted. Fabio plays your dubplate. Wiley includes you in Roll Deep. To my mind it also explains the nuum's self-referential quotes, the snatches of earlier nuumological music.


Of course it's precisely the same in Reggae. That's the drive of Shabba's epochal "Respect", on the face of it is a call for building on the foundations of Reggae, the importance of understanding your roots and culture; but I read it more as a clarion call for the youth to respect the dynamic of the "elder". Shabba is saying this sociological system only works, can only continue to work, if we feel the same magical empathy for our seniors. It's the same system which led Dego and Marc Mac to run Reinforced records like a community outreach project. Or indeed like Underground Resistance has always run in Detroit. Or even like the tradition of influence that through Disco from David Mancuso through Larry Levan to Tony Humphries.

At the same time as there exists these organic traditions of seniority in music there will always be examples of hucksters who try, occasionally successfully, to short-circuit this time-honored dynamic. I would argue that grasping the rope of a sonic tradition immediately implies the existence of something greater than one that reaches back in time before one was born, into the mystical realms of the universal unconscious. Recycling a Studio One bass-line, by implication, opens a channel into another realm. What these confidence tricksters, or perhaps they are simply magicians, do is invoke those earlier phases of consciousness. Frequently LSD, or other psychedelics, play a part in their cosmic games.

My favorite example of this must be Van Morison's "Astral Weeks" which, although the work of a young man, time-trips back, sometimes to the very present itself, with the zen-like simplicity of a higher enlightenment that always characterises the insight of an elder. Another perfect example would have to be The Aphex Twin of the early nineties, of Selected Ambient Works 1 and 2 when he was dreaming of the future. Though in Aphex's case I sometimes think his key contribution to twenty-first culture was tonsorial.

If there was ever a proto-hipster beard it was Richard's. Tied up in it from the get-go was a Dr Who-like subterfuge to disrupt time. It was a blatant stab at being the "elder", the one of wisdom and expanded consciousness. That strategy, to disrupt the traditions of secession is precisely what has characterised the Hipster. In many ways that's what Retro is, and was, about. As a cultural marker it denotes enlightenment just as it, somewhat ignorantly and arrogantly and ultimately ineffectually, seeks to tears apart the fabric of time and social justice.

25.3.17

Nu Grooves: New York House and Techno 1983-1996


Calm yourself people! No, this was not mixed by a machine. It was mixed by I, the god-like Woebot. Live on the twelve-tens. No edits. Bo bo bo! Absolutely stunning mix skills in effect. The final part of my massive all-conquering epic House and Techno Roots trilogy and displaying almost scarily perfect taste, education and acumen.Oh my gosh... Bit shorter than the other two mixes at 1 hr 40 mins - a mere 35 tracks - but it felt right.

The sonic argument here is that, in real terms, in genres spawned and ideas conceived, New York was the true sonic innovator of the golden era of dance music (1984-96). New York gave us House (the epicentre moved from Chicago quite quickly), Rave (Beltram, Landlord), Trance (Revelation - first trance track IMHO), Ambient House (the likes of Sound Waves), Jazz House (Burrell), and Dub Techno - Dubstep, even! (Bobby Konders).

We start with a slice of Electro-Garage, Cuba Gooding's "Happiness" already pre-echoing the UK's innovations, take in Todd's "Weekend" remix (Disco still very close) and then we're off! Special mention must go to Code 6's "Third Aura" - Beltram's finest moment. No "Energy Flash" in the same way the Detroit mix had no "Strings Of Life" and the Chicago mix skipped "Acid Trax".

-


Cuba Gooding - Happiness Is Just Around The Bend
The Todd Terry Project - Weekend
Lenny D and Tommy Musto - Everything Bamboo
Masters At Work - Alright Alright
The Break Boys - And The Break Goes On
Ray Love - The Delusion
Flowmasters - House The Crowd (Dub The Crowd)
Landlord - I Like It (Blow Out Dub)
Fallout - The Morning After
DMS - And The Beat Goes On
Royal Orchestra Ltd - Get Down
Bas Noir - I'm Glad You Came To Me (Dub Mix)
Sound Waves - I wanna Feel The Music
33 1/3 Queen - Searchin'
CLS - Can You Feel It (In House Dub)
N.Y. House'n'Authority - Apt 2A
Metro - Angel Of Mercy
Aphrodisiac - Song of The Siren (Black Sea Mix)
Project 86 - Total Recall (Original Mix)
Rydims - Rydim #2 Version
Code 6 - C.O.D.E.S.
Project 86 - Legends
Revelation - First Power
4 Most Poets - Reasons To Be Dismal
Beltram - Reflex
Lost Entity - On The Verge
Code 6 - Third Aura
Major Problems - Overdose
Gypsymen - Bounce
Nu Yorican Soul - The Nervous Track
Aly-Us - Follow Me
South Street Player - (Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind (The Night Mix)
Kenlou - The Bounce
Mood II Swing - I See You Dancing
Todd Edwards - Fly Away

18.3.17

I'm Diogenes


David Keenan has recently published a book on Faber, a piece of fiction called "This Is Memorial Device" which I have bought and look forward reading. As part of his media round he talked to that national treasure and bastion of indie journalism John Doran at The Quietus. It's a highly entertaining podcast and I listened to it from start to finish not just once, but twice. Just to make entirely sure I understood where Keenan was coming from.

I don't have much time for the Coil, NWW and Current 93 axis which Keenan celebrates in "England's Hidden Reverse" (which book has been reissued and is available at Strange Attractor Press who have another paperback edition available in June this year). I guess I'm inspired by the idea of health - psychic, physical and psychological well-being. That doesn't square with Industrial music. 

And, again speaking personally, rarely does that music manage some detente with the holy.  It has to travel so far round the world in the wrong direction before glimpsing the sun on the horizon of night. David played a really excellent track by Whitehouse "Cruise (Force The Truth)" - which is as good an example of this as any. It may be, in part, because the acerbic, angry voice and twisted lyrics become "so much noise" - and what we hear is nought but the soul of man.

How music abets health, is food for the weary soul, is something I need to explore in writing more. The axe I want to grind here and now is a different one though. Listening to Keenan, and in fact Doran too, two monuments of the "underground" got me to thinking about psychological strategies that these self-appointed mavens deploy.

Keenan talks revealingly, when he discusses Whitehouse (the highlight of the interview) about how William Bennett "jams signals" - that's to say plays a strategic hand in such a way that it negates criticism. How can the groop pitch their message to disable resistance so as to ride through the receptive barriers: "It's boring" - hardly. "It hurts my ears" - it's supposed to. "It sounds a bit funny and a little ridiculous" - like Punch and Judy, yeah? "I feel awkward listening to it" - that's the point. It's a very combative way to engage people - but that's the staple procedure of Modern Art, to sidestep defenses and overpower our senses.

In the same way Whitehouse "jam signals" Keenan's own cultural power-move could be described thus:
"I'm Diogenes."
Diogenes, visited by Alexander The Great and who tells this world-conquering general that he should get out of his light. And by celebrating the music he does, the bracing, local, individualistic anti-commercial skronk, Keenan is saying "I'm Diogenes, I'm the high-priest of Airdrie, who are you?" And, yes, it's a good move. It's also a move which, on the peripheries, in Glasgow (or indeed Cambridge or Somerset - scenes I've covered) is almost vital. If you aren't operating in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris or Tokyo you practically HAVE to take this position if you're going to carve yourself the psychic space you need to survive. Strategic opposition and an inversion of the idea of a dominant culture makes sense in those geographical contexts.

However, whether it's a move the "underground" is sensible playing en masse I question. Here's a glossary of useful concepts:

Obscurity (buzzing with buzzwords today) - that's a concept I long ago stopped giving any credence to. That something is obscure does not in any way denote it has cultural value. Try selling your own "obscure" records and you should figure this one out quickly.

Good taste. Doran himself raised this with Keenan who, tellingly, seemed to miss the point of the question which was that Doran was implying the very existence of good taste ought to be controversial. In Glasgow good taste is something (perhaps refreshingly?) people don't question. For instance, upon Doran's inquiry about the validity of good taste Keenan proceeds to hold up Throbbing Gristle as an example of good taste as opposed to Echo and the Bunnymen who (according to Biba Kopf) are in bad taste. But this is still conceiving good taste as a concept in a positive way (it is confused - so just listen to it) in fact Doran meant that yes Throbbing Gristle are in fact good taste - in the sense that they are "approved"- Throbbing Gristle are canonical and therefore need to be questioned.

Canonical. How really valuable is the canonical as a concept? As a notion this is embraced unquestioningly in Scotland - probably because as a nation it isn't swamped by cultures like it is here in London. There's still a space for a counter-culture (or two...) in Scotland. But canons should be looked at askance - and by the same measure things which are "commercial" should really be understood at face value on their own merits (the gist of my Lost 100 Rock Albums of the Seventies book) - indeed something like the NWW list should probably be given no more credence than the scribbling on the back of a postcard. It should be valid as only someone's historical idea of a canon, and no more.

Seminal. The seminal is another concept tied up in all this which feels like something Keenan doesn't really scrutinize. The seminal had its validity in that era when we were all fumbling around in a fog of ignorance - when those leads to the talismans of deeper past were really valuable and illuminating. But with everything laid out as it is on a big buffet - not so much. Keenan is long on how things are influential. Frankly I long for the simplicity of the times when that was even conceivable.

-

As much as any other obsessive record collector I wish Keenan were right about the implicit cultural value of certain recordings but I guess I don't have that monomaniacal belief in some music's inherent superiority. Certainly I feel some things much more acutely than others but I've come to accept that that's my thing... It's almost certainly my loss to be a victim of subjectivity but as a result the bittersweet truth is that, I believe, saying "I'm Diogenes" in the act of building a cult from opposition and obscurity is no longer meaningful. The modern condition in this era of narrow-casting allows one to do no more than embrace one's own idiosyncratic isolation and be at peace with it.

Diogenes


This is a single-page comic I did in 1997 that has never seen the light of day. (Just) before this kind of data could be collated at a press of a button I rounded up the information from reading Robert Anton Wilson's "Eye of the Pyramid", Rabelias's "Pantagruel", and Lempriere's "Classical Dictionary".

From Lempriere and on the cutting room floor (this from an old notebook):
- Retires to Athens to become a disciple for Anisthenes who first refused to admit him to his house and even beat him with a stick. "Strike me Anisthenes, but never shall you find a stick sufficiently hard to remove me from your presence whilst there is any information to be gained from your conversation and acquaintance." - lol
- Was once sold as a slave but the magnanimity of his character so pleased his master that he gave him control over his estates. 
- Ordered his dead body to be carelessly thrown into a ditch.
- The people of Sinope built a tomb for him with a column of marble with a marble figure of a dog erected upon it.

This is possibly my favorite comic I've done of all time. Back then I was drawing every day and, as is the way when one practices anything, I got quite "flexed". It was drawn straight out, frame by frame, without any planning at all and no corrections.

In 1997 I was passing out of the influence of Ken Downie which had meant reading a lot of Alchemaic texts - books like [glances across his shelves] Donnelly's "Atlantis", Remy De Gourmont's "The Natural Philosophy of Love", J.W. Dunne's "Experiment With Time", Jung's "Psychology and Alchemy", Burroughs "Cities Of The Red Night", Jean Overton Fuller's biography of The Comte De Saint Germain, Joscelyn Godwin's "Robert Fludd", William's "Voodoos and Obeah", P.D. Ouspensky's "The Fourth Way", Israel Regardie's "The Tree of Life", the Atlas Anthology on Raymond Roussel and Griaule and Dieterlen's "The Pale Fox". I even remember visiting the Swedenborg bookshop (I wonder if it is still there?) and picking up a copy of his "Heaven and Hell".

Hanging out with Ken and coming to understand his ethos, essentially as a fervent disciple, had been a shock to the system. I had had only a cursory understanding of occult ideas beforehand and it was a veritable baptism by fire. Digging myself out of that fascinating tomb required really understanding and synthesizing that school of thought. When Erik Davis' epochal "Techgnosis" came out in 1998 I was fully up to speed on the crosscurrents between electronic music and the gnostic and indeed emailed Erik at the time about La Monte Young (historical note: email was a kind of virtual electronic postcard that people would send to each-other in the days before social media).

At the end of the nineties many people were flung out of raving on drugs to electronic music into exactly this quasi-space. Many decided to stay there and build invisible kingdoms. I chortled to myself recently when I read John Higgs' initially intriguing but eventually over-cooked book on The KLF "The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds" because these were the ideas which had inflamed and excited us "back in the day" - and they did seem, if not necessarily entirely silly, then certainly anachronistic and endearingly daft.

I remember reducing the sum total of my new knowledge on madness and the occult to one maxim: "Fiction is real." If you ever find yourself caught up in the starry dynamo or realise you are seeing too many of the number 23, then use that as your tiller back to the safety of consensual reality.

5.3.17

Chicago House Music 1986-1994


On to part two of my monumental trilogy of mixes dedicated to the US roots of House and Techno! The artwork above, which I have always loved, turned out on closer investigation to be by an old friend of mine Suzy Godson who is now the deliciously controversial sex columnist for The Times.

-

Detroit produced an army of shaolin monks toiling away to finely hone masterpieces of neurotic electro. Chicago's approach could haven't been more different. Disco, not electro, was always the template and rather than working away in cloistered obscurity Chicago producers seemed under an invisible pressure to commit their ideas to tape as quickly as possible before someone else had the same idea. Often, as is perfectly illustrated by the trio of "Video Crash", "Video Clash" and Magic Feet" producers pretty much released the same track.

This closely-fought squabble for near-identical intellectual capital is hilariously highlighted in the story of JM Silk and Farley "Jackmaster" Funk's very names. Silk announced one afternoon to his friend Farley that he intended to call himself "Jackmaster". Farley thought this was too great an idea to let his friend keep and went around the neighborhood that evening announcing that henceforth he was to be known as Farley "Jackmaster" Funk. The next day the furious and chastened Silk had to contract his choice to "JM".

Tracks always seem as though they are mixed live, the hurry extending to pressing the discs themselves which often suffer from legendarily bad pressings. To criticise this is to fail to grasp the breathless urgency which gives this music its astonishing raw energy. Originality isn't the cherished concept it is in Detroit so the brilliant inventiveness of the music is a testament to the genius of its creators.

Recorded live on the 1210s the mix is, again, arranged chronologically. It moves from the early Jacking sound, to Vocal House to Acid. Acid is most definitely still in the air. There's the splendid pHarmerz "20 Acid Clonk Greats" release and as recently yesterday FACT posted a playlist of TB-303 tunes an instrument with which shows up in the strangest places. DJing Acid requires nuff chops because, unlike Techno with which you can be "neat and discrete" and chop into a new track, Acid is intended to be layered. The long segue is essential to get those 303s chattering in sync and to produce the rich, multiplied harmonics.

After Acid there's a palate-refreshing sequence of Hip-House before a touch of, I guess, proto Ambient House (by the likes of Virgo) before a stretch of the hard Jacking post-acid sound whose most notable protagonist must be the godlike Steve Poindexter and found its home on the peerless Muzique label. Towards the end of the mix Cajmere and his Clubhouse and Relief stables predominate. By this stage there is the sense that Chicago's distinct local identity is beginning to be subsumed into New York's. This is exemplified by Pierre's move to that city and his Wild Pitch mixes on that city's Strictly Rhythm label.

Word must go out to my illustrious ancestor Sir Herbert Ingram who perished with his young son on Lake Michigan in 1860. My aunt, the family historian, contradicts this Wikipedia entry and tells me that Herbert had joined all the passengers on one side of the steamer so as to have a view of Chicago and that this action caused the boat to capsize and for them to be drowned in the freezing waters.



Tracklisting

Jamie Principle - Your Love (Original Mix)
Fingers Inc - Can You Feel It (Martin Luther King Mix)
Fingers Inc - Waterfalls
Adonis - No Way Back
Robert Owens - Bring Down The Walls
CJ & Master - Dub Love
Jungle Wonz - Time Marches On (Straight Up Mix)
Fingers Inc - Music Take Me Up
Jungle Wonz - The Jungle
Blakk Society - Just Another Lonely Day
Da Possee (feat Martell) - Searchin' Hard (House Mix)
Joe Smooth - Promised Land
Ralphi Rosario (feat Xavier Gold) - You Used To Hold Me (Micky 'Mixin' Oliver Mix)
Pierre's Fantasy Club - Dream Girl (Ralphi Rosario Mix)
Adonis - Reck This Joint
Hot Hanas Hula - Hot Hands
Armando - 151 (Orig. Mix)
Armando - 151 (Hot Mix 5 Mix)
Farley "Jackmaster" Funk - The Acid Life
Armando - Confusion Mix ("Land Of Confusion")
K Alexei - Vertigo
Steve Poindexter - Maniac
Bam Bam - Where's Your Child?
DJ Pierre - Box Energy
LNR - Kream (Till The Cows Come Home Mix)
Phuture Phantasy Club - Slam
Da Possee - In The Heat Of The Night (Vocal Version)
K Alexei - All For Lee Sah
The "Chicago Bad Boy" (feat Gershon Jackson) - House Music All Night Long (New York Club Mix)
The DJ Fast Eddie - YoYo Get Funky
Tyree - Video Crash (Crash Instrumental)
Lil Louis - The Original Video Clash (Often Imitated Never Duplicated)
The MD Connection - Magic Feet (Orig.)
William S - I'll Never Let You Go (Instrumental Mix)
Virgo - In A Vision
Da Possee - It's My Life (Aluh Mix)
Ron Trent - The Afterlife
Terry Hunter - Back 2 House (The House Mix)
Mike Dearborn - 1991 (A New Age)
Steve Poindexter - Body Heat (1991)
Steve Poindexter - Mental Problems
Ricky Smith - Crazy Drums
LNR - Work It To The Bone
Neal Howard - To Be Or Not To Be (Mayday Mix)
Cajmere - Mind Gamez
Cajmere - I'm A Dreamer
DJ Rush - Jack N Da Box
Steve Poindexter - Entercourse Of The New Age
Jungle Wonz - Bird In A Gilded Cage (Club Mix)
Green Velvet - Flash (Green Velvet Mix)
Robert Armani - Circus Bells (Armando's Mix)
Phuture - Rise From Your Grave (Wild Pitch Mix)
Chez N Trent - Untitled

1.3.17

Methuselah


I watched this again for the first time in ten (?) years the other night. It's not too bad. Not too bad at all. There's something very nasty about the way the voiceover reminds me of The Magic Roundabout AND John Cale reciting "The Gift" - nasty in an unsettling way that is, which was certainly what I was striving for.

Jungle Tape from 1994

27.2.17

More multiples


When I asked him, no begged him, for another copy of "Reflekzionz" Nick Edwards was convinced I'd flogged my copy to a secondhand shop and refused. I was really embarrassed and actually began to think that I might have done just that to this excellent LP. But no, surely not?

Eventually I gave up repeatedly going through my (now very carefully ordered) collection looking for it and dialed into Planet Mu and bought myself a brand new copy.

Only when it arrived at the house did I realise the error of my ways. Just looking at the spine I had assumed it was Laurel Halo's "Quarantine" - the colours are kind of similar.

21.2.17

In Search of The Best Of House Volume 2


So as I was saying. The first copy of this disc I had came from a box and as I threw the box away leaving me with a copy without a sleeve and eventually I threw this away. Why look so horrified? It was worth nothing. The second one I was sent by accident by a dealer on Discogs - purely by chance. It was very badly scratched and I wanted a tolerably good copy.

So I ordered another copy on Discogs (again, we're talking £1). This one, although listed as VG+ was completely fucked. So I got a refund from the seller and bought another copy. I asked this second (third?) seller if he wouldn't mind checking it was in OK condition. "It's fine mate," was his perfunctory reply. This copy was in laughably poor condition - even worst than the one I was sent by accident. Honestly, what a Muppet! So again I got a refund and set about buying ANOTHER copy.

This time I decided to take no chances at all and found a Near Mint copy for the princely sum of £3. The record arrived and it was indeed a perfectly sparkling copy...of Regina Belle's "All By Myself" LP. Thanks a fucking million. Again I negotiate a refund. Again I order yet another copy, which turned up today and, praise be to god, is in good condition.

I've never had such a hassle on Discogs since when I tried to buy a copy of Tod Dockstader's "Electronic Volume 1"  on Boosey and Hawkes to replace my Creel Pone CD-R and was twice sent an adjacent serial number before eventually plumping for the (excellent) Mordant reissue.

Cary Grant Comic Re-Up



Download the pdf here.

Whitechapel Art Gallery 4/11/05



Rinse FM 17/4/05



6.2.17

Dua Lipa



Oh my. Not everyone one grows up wanting to make Grime, Techno or Underground Rock. I mean, you're a ravishingly sultry young lady do you HAVE to be an invisible presence? This is Pop music, not as marketing category, but cosmic emanation of beauty. Love the Diana Dors touches of Soho streets and Primrose Hill - there's a shoestring quality to the video that looks like they didn't even get permission to film.

5.2.17

More Trevor Jackson "Bite It" Artwork of New York House Music






These ripped from Discogs. I have the Earth People one actually (not a very good record) and also the Aphodisiac one but on Nu Groove (I think it's a bootleg...) so without this sleeve. He's a talented bugger that Trevor Jackson. The last thing I saw of his were the Metal Dance Industrial Compilations on Strutt.

I once bumped into Trevor, literally, when on Conduit Street he reversed his black Saab into my VW Camper (a veritable Retro collision). I remember being quite irate actually, and he was extremely apologetic and not all arrogant like one might perhaps assume he might be (Is that fair?) The event left me feeling very conflicted and a bit embarrassed for myself even. Tee hee.

4.2.17

Trevor Jackson's Todd Terry Sleeves










I've posted these Trevor Jackson Todd Terry sleeves before. But I just discovered Trevor's amazing sleeve for Royal House's "A Better Way," which makes up the set, so I'm taking the opportunity for a re-up. I frickin' love them...

Segue! Also this is an opportunity to give you a heads-up that my Detroit mix before Christmas was but the first part of a trilogy and soon I'll be uploading the New York chapter. And possibly before that the Chicago chapter.

27.1.17

The Best Of House







OK! So don't rush out and buy these because, er, that would be a mistake. However, it would probably cost you about twenty pounds and into the bargain you'd get (quickly counts) sixteen completely awesome tracks. You'd also get a whole bunch of other drek in which the good "underground" stuff is hidden, the worst of which is the British stuff. These compilations on the Serious label came out in the late eighties and are made up quality tracks from New York, Chicago and Detroit mixed in with the first wave of chart-topping dance hits which were cut into the selection like talcum powder into imported cocaine. That's not an entirely sensible analogy for a clean-living dude like myself to make, but you've got to admit it's an accurate one.

There's a good, if radically confused, piece at Pitchfork about IDM this week. Simon Reynolds writes a good introduction and then a bunch of people come up with poor suggestions about what, in their manifold ignorance, they consider to be good IDM records. What the feature doesn't mention is that IDM in the UK was a reaction to just this dynamic that is audible in the Serious compilations. A bunch of arrogant, overly-socialised cunts and posers discovered the marvellous and magical things that were coming from the USA. They were largely oblivious to their artistic majesty, and proceeded to rip-off, wreck and dilute what made them magnificent by promoting randomly-selected commercial rip-offs (also from the USA but of commercial sources) and their own cheesy home-grown attempts. You only have to listen to the WARP Influences CD to understand what, in its original and purest sense, IDM was. The geeks at the back of the room who upon listening to the mess the London "elite" had made of their music had been scratching their heads and whispering to themselves in confusion "Oh no, that's not it's all about..." They simply wanted to reconnect to the original spirit of the music.

It took a while for the UK to develop a music which was actually the same in spirit as the original American music (as mad, fucked-up, bleak and tracky as the best music coming out Detroit, Chicago and New York). In that early transitional phase before Ardkore kicked in, and "the people" began to understand the same dirty Drug/Music relationship that had long been grasped by the likes of Ron Hardy at the Warehouse, we had to tolerate a lot of a shit.

This is why the Ardkore - vs - Detroit argument is fundamentally incorrect. Of course Ardkore had more in common with Detroit than with anything else! That's why Mark Ryder's M-D-EMM "Get Acidic" came out on Transmat along with the closely 'nuum affiliated Bang The Party's "Release Your Body". That's why Kevin Saunderson licensed Nexus 21, Manix and Blame. That's why 4 Hero put out "The Deepest Shade of Techno". That's why all manner of Ardkore heroes were Detroit Techno fans from the more obvious Fabio and Bukem right the way through to the unruly Dillinja. And in some very real senses British IDM, as I argued in the sonics of the Fragments mix, was the twin brother of Ardkore. They were two faces of the same coin. That's why you have Aphex making "Pac-Man" or Mark Pritchard graduating from Shaft's "Roobarb and Custard" to Global Communication to say nothing of the Nexus 21/Altern8 switch-over.

I used to own all these Serious Records in a massive box that I picked up in Glasgow in the nineties for, ooh, was it a tenner? It also included the two excellent Acid LPs (more on that soon). Then, because it contained a lot of shit music, I dismantled the box and kept what were my favorite two discs (can't remember precisely which ones but I always loved The Keynotes "Let's Let's Dance" and Cultural Vibe's "Ma Foom Bey"). Then, of course those two records didn't have sleeves. So I threw them away and picked up the actual LPs with their charmingly shit artwork. Then a dealer by accident sent me another one I didn't have - at which point I had three of the five discs with their sleeves. So then I decided, fuck this, I need all of these to form a perfect set around which I could draw a magic circle. I found one from a dealer on Discogs - and they are ubiquitous and cheap.

With the last one I went analog and I cycled down the canal to Vinyl Pimp in Hackney because their website showed that they Volume 3 in stock. My phone died on the way down there and so I had cycle through Victoria Park asking people if they had a phone on them and if so would they awfully mind pointing me in the direction of Felstead Street. I had to do this twice, once to get me to the right exit of the park, the second time to get me across the motorway to the shop itself. It's a pretty weird unit with a modular synth studio in a section of it and a coffee machine too - typical hipster nonsense really. They only have a very few records on sale and although expensive, extremely good and interesting ones - definitely worth a visit. It's a storage unit for a ton of records really, not a shop. I had to get the guy who was making coffee to call his boss and tell him where "The Best of House Volume 3" was in the mass of vinyl at the back. I paid the princely sum of £1.49. Quite a little adventure. For someone who is allegedly not buying vinyl any more I seem to spend a lot of time doing just that.

15.1.17

Mark Fisher



An old picture of Luke's. Drinking lager in the Stratford wastes. RIP.

11.1.17

Joke#1

On hearing that Mick Jagger had described the wrinkles on his face as ‘laughter lines’ – George Melly retorted ‘Nothing is that funny’.

1.1.17

Detroit Compilations


Where it all started. Faultless. Great track after great track and Derrick's side-long DJ mix of everything to boot.


And then the Second Wave. Much harder to find back in the day. Invaluable for Carl Craig's beautiful "Elements" which for a long time was unavailable elsewhere.


Networks seminal "biorhythm" compilation.

Not just Detroit music, but three tracks from Detroit and one from Chicago's Neal Howard who had a strong Detroit connection. Notable too for two from Mark Archer and Chris Peat. These before the dissolution of Nexus 21 and the unstoppable rise of their rave alter-ego Altern-8. Everyone had a copy of this. Features the best version of Rhythim Is Rhythim's "Emanon" which is unavailable elsewhere.


More early, useful, Network/Kool Kat business. For a long time the Transmat stone tablets were extremely hard to get hold of - on scarce imports or occasionally at record fairs only - so something like this was a god-send. Studied, yes studied, very closely.


And the later "expanded version" on R&S. A little unwieldy. The Buzz Transmat "Relics" Compilation was nicer but I've sold my copy of that. Which I regret a little.


Great early KMS compilation. Some choice Transmat licensing too. Features Janet Street-Porter's squeeze Normski on Magic Juan's "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah". Never liked the second "Made In Detroit" KMS comp which I sold a long time ago.


Mark and Dego 4Hero's loving tribute to Detroit. Some UR and more third wave tracks. All of these before the pounding, usually boring, minimalism of Rob Hood and Jeff Mills.


Utterly awesome, faultless, indispensable Damon Booker Retroactive compilation. Retroactive, possibly the hippest record label ever. A friend came by the house a couple of years ago with the beautiful Sarah Gregory in tow and I rushed up to my study to bring her down my copy of "Wrap Me In Its Arms" - both of us standing there slightly embarrassed. Classic record geek behaviour.


Like "Equinox" above, this "Panic In Detroit", is another lovely comp by Belgium's Buzz. Tinges of Soul and Ambience but not in a cartoon-ish "we're funky and intellectual" way.


Very good +8 records compilation. I used to have the second, less good one too.


Carl Craig's amazing Planet E label's first compilation. The LP of this beauty was never available at Fat Cat when I went in. That's where I bought a lot of my Detroit Techno. Puzzlingly I had the "Bug In The Bassbin" twelve which shopped with it - so they must have become uncoupled. I think I have all the twelve inches though... (sighs) I'm just so cool...


The second E Planet Compilation also fantastic.


And a great roundup of Carl's Paperclip People releases. Bought as new, the £7 sticker was from when the house was burgled and I found it in the local record shop! Tsk.


Ho, ho! The Detroit "Retro" compilation. When things were moving so fast that retro meant four years ago :-O Bloody lovely record. And super helpful geek-tastic breakdown of KMS/Metroplex/Transmat releases with catalogue numbers on the inner before this kind of information was to be found at the press of a button.


Gorgeous, gorgeous collection of Detroit and the techno diaspora. Contributions from UK man dem, Neuropolitique, As One (Kirk Degiorgio) and B12 as Redcell as well as Derrick, Carl, Stacey and Kenny.


And this dream-dish. Utterly unmissable.