Thursday, 20 August 2009

Support Your Local Record Shop

Every time a record shop closes its doors for the final time, internet forums are alive with people moaning about how mp3 downloads and internet shopping are killing music. These gripes are normally interspersed with tales of great shopping trips to the now ex-record shop, reminiscing of the time “that Captain Sensible dub was in the bargain bin for 50p” and the like. It’s a mixture of outrage, disappointment but there is also an acceptance of the inevitability of these closures - the shops concerned didn’t move with the times, they didn’t have online shopping, and of course, the kids can’t play a dusty Canadian import 12 on their mobile phone at the back of a bus.

Many of these moaners can also be regularly found on the same forums talking about Badelli play lists, the latest batch of Black Cock re-re-presses, or the same 5 new disco edits/house records everyone else likes this week, before with a click of mouse, they are off to Juno, Discogs or eBay to try to buy records the being discussed.

Well the news just in is it isn’t technology or a disinterested youth that are killing specialist record shops - it’s dicks like these.

There are more than enough vinyl and CD buyers and collectors out there to sustain real life record shops, it’s just many of them are too bloody lazy to go out on a rainy a Saturday and spend the afternoon sifting through piles of dusty old discs in search of a bargain or something original. They’d rather drop 50 sheets online on a tune someone else has popularised and made a safe bet.

If the internet was around at the time, do you think Ron Hardy and Larry Levan would be on it all the time checking what other people play, making a list and buying those records off Discogs? Do you think that is what Harvey and the Idjuts do that now? Would Alfredo have been poring over internet forums checking out what some bar DJ from Slough had bought from Phonica that week? And do you think Mark Seven paid a £150 for a his copy of Javaroo after hearing it on someone else’s internet mix?

Of course they didn’t and of course they don’t. These people put in the leg work required to own an original record collection. They made their own signature tunes. They took risks. And they forged their own path rather than following the well trodden track.

The internet is a wonderful tool, if used wisely, but it can also make people lazy and lead to homogenous record collections. Great record collections aren’t necessarily expensive record collections, they’re original and interesting record collections. And you’re only going to have original and interesting records than to get down to some record shops, dig through some crates, and listen to some music you’ve never heard before.

Okay, maybe your local shop doesn’t stock what you normally listen too, so get out of your comfort zone and listen to the stuff they sell. In my local shop I’ve seen the Idjuts buying world music, Rahaan’s been in buying UK pop 12s and Ashley Beedle buys reggae there. Maybe not that surprising but a lot more interesting than the latest edit everyone else has.

Maybe your local shop doesn’t have a listening post? Well buy a portable record player. In short, just get out there. The excitement of finding a pristine copy a tune you’ve been after for years at the back of a rack is a thousand times better than it turning up on a eBay search. Equally, picking up something fresh straight off the import van before any of your mates is a right buzz too. As is actually meeting and chatting to real life like minded souls, in real life situations.

And that stuff ain’t ever going to happen on the internet, so turn your laptop off and go and do something less boring instead..

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Feel Up Podcast Mix

Kerry Jean Power and Billie Jean DeVoil, the lovely young ladies that run Feel Up, were kind enough to ask me to do a mix for their podcast, and I was only too happy to oblige.

Feel Up in a monthly party that takes places in East London, most recently at 3 Blind Mice (formerly Ravey Street, soon to be Kingsland Road). Kerry and Billie regularly invite their friends down to play and your likely to hear sounds from a fairly broad pallet - disco, boogie, afrobeat, deep house, acid, techno, blue eyed soul, funk, pop, jazz, reggae and loads of other stuff too. As the girls says, "If you can dance to it - it'll get played!!"

As well as the parties, there is also the Feel Up pod cast, which has exactly the same ethos - mates playing a wide range of music. Previous contributors have included Joey Negro, Mudd, Greg Wilson, The Hardway Brothers, the late, great Simon 'Freaked' Brant, along with Feel Up stalwarts, Jim Lister, Dayo and of course, Kerry herself.

So I feel like I'm in fairly esteemed company!

My mix, 'All Moths Must Die', is one of deep, modern house music. I have a tendency to bang on about old house and disco records (see this blog for evidence) and I thought it would be nice to play a few of the newer records that have been floating my boat in recent months. I actually think house music is as exciting as it's been for years and I think this is born out by the amount bright, trendy young things you see out in house clubs and house records shops these days! Well, maybe.

You can listen to the mix here:

Monday, 3 August 2009

Those Obscure Objects of Desire (pt.2) – The Legendary Adventures of a Filter King

This is the second instalment in the occasional series of rambles about stuff I want and in all likelihood, can't afford. And quelle surprise, it's another box set of records!

Hitting the shops later this month, the 26th August to be precise, is 'The Legendary Adventures of a Filter King', a collection of Carl Craig's releases under his '69' moniker, which include what is widely regarded as some of his best material.

The box set contains all of the original 69 EPs: Sound on Sound; Lite Music; Pungtang; and 4 Jazz Funk Classics , the first ever release on Planet E records. In addition to this there is also a bonus Disc with two previously unreleased versions of "If Mojo Was A.M." and "Poi Et Pas."

What’s all the fuss about then? 4 EPs you already own and a single bonus disc?

Well, apart from the lovely packaging, each track has been re-mastered at Berlin's Dubplates & Mastering studios, there are only 500 copies in total, and 100 of those come with a limited edition tee-shirt by San Francisco designers Nice Collective (whoever they are).

The down side and why this package on my ‘unobtainable’ list, is it costs £150 with tee and £130 without. Re-mastered in a nice box or not, that is a lot of dough.

But they ARE re-mastered…

And it IS a nice box…


Well, if like me, you might not be able to resist the allure of this package and fancy investing in one of the 500 copies (and it will be an investment…unless you trash them doing drunken spin backs) , rather than wait for the 26th to come round, you can pre-order now from Phonica and Rub-a-Dub, amongst other places.

To whet your appetite, here's awesome 'Ladies and Gentlemen', which quite simply one of the greatest techno records of all time.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Summer House Chart

I’ve been kind of busy recently and I’ve been neglecting the blog. I thought it needed a quick update and a chart or two seemed to fit the bill, kicking off with this one full of housey its that I have found appealing over the summer.

1 - Pepe Bradock ‘Route of Most Resistance’ (Atavisme) - One of my favoutrist producers ever (but don’t mention bloody Deep Burnt, for Pete‘s sake) and quite simply has to the record of the year so far. Really upbeat, it skips along with a sense of urgency and real energy, as the fresh keyboard hook and nagging vocal snippets carry you deep into its heart. When it finishes you instinctively reach to put the needle back to the start, it’s a hard record to follow and you’ll still be playing it in 10 years time.

2 - Leif ‘Designed with that in Mind’ (Fear of Flying) - The original mix of this is pretty dull but when Giles Smith (Secret Sundaze) and Martin Dawson get hold of it in the guise of Two Armadillo’s, they really bring home the bacon with their ‘Tribute To Trax Remix’. I’m not sure it sounds like any Trax record I’ve ever heard but that is a mere aside, as they ditch the boring bits of the original track (i.e. all of it) and construction something completely new. A deep bass line is complemented by a piano that has a dream like quality you might associate with the memory hazy summer evenings or even hazier early morning dance floors. It’s a wonderfully crafted, subtle and intelligent house track that I can only hope is around for some time to come.
>>listen to clip<<

3 - RNDM ‘Third Hand Smoke’ (Dial) - To be honest, the artist name doesn’t bode well and suggests the listener will be subjected to some sort of MNML dirge. But that could not be further from the truth, as this so deep you’ll need an aqua lung to listen to it. This is Efdemin collaborator, Oliver Kargl’s debut solo release on Dial’s new vinyl only off shoot Laid, and it’s cracker. Coming on like a cross between ‘Morning Factory’ and a Schmoov record, but still sounding fresh and totally relevant.
>>listen to clip<<

4 - Patrice Scott ‘Excursions’ (Sistrum) - One of Detroit’s men of the moment, along with Omar S and Keith Worthy (looks like Keith lucked out in the cool techno name stakes though), Patrice is back with a bang after a couple of less spectacular efforts. Evoking memories of early Fade II Black and Octave One records, this is a wonderfully emotive electronic masterpiece. And like Fade II Black’s ‘In Sync’ it’s got a corking reprise too.
>>listen to clip<<

5 - Isolee ‘Albacares/Les Andalouses’ (Mule) - Ha! Another one of favouritist buy-on-sight producers ever! ‘Albacares’ is real skanking dub feel to it, if you like the Isolee mix of ‘Africa/Brasil’ on Vega from a fewrs ago, you’ll like this. I prefer the more clubby ‘Les Andalouses’ which seems to be built around train horn noises. Not as bonkers as it sounds but typically Isolee. Fantastic.
>>listen to clip<<

6 - Cabin Fever ‘Work It/Let’s Play House’ (RKDS) - This is the sixth release in the Matt Edward’s (of Radio Slave fame) Cabin Fever series. I think most of them use other tracks as their basis, hence the ‘unofficial’ nature of their release. ‘Work It’ is just plain fierce, has plane noises, someone saying ’work it’ a lot and that heavy percussion you've come to associate with Radio Slave. ‘Let’s Play House’ is an altogether different proposition, with hissing hi-hats and Victor Simonelli-esque drums complimenting the looped up piano line, it really could be a dub mix of a US house record from around 1994. And that’s a good thing in my eyes!
>>listen to clip<<

7 - Sven Weismann ‘Shove’ (Artless) - Whilst this is on a Mojuba sub label, this is a bit of a departure from Sven’s output on that label. Rather than 2 long sides of US influenced deep house, we get 6 tracks of almost ambient soundscapes and straight-up techno. A truly wonderful record, especially the ambient bits, and probably my favourite thing Sven has done to date.

8 - Reggie Dokes ‘I Wear The Mask’ (Clone Loft Supreme Series) - Two sides of goodness from the Chi-Town nu-skool on this new Clone Records sub-label. ‘Chicago Pimp’ has got people talking with its deep late night loopy groove, which I think sounds a LOT like a Scott Grooves record. But for me, the stand out is the flip ‘I Wear the Mask’. Much more going on and very dramatic, with all sorts of strings and pianos flying around. Really infectious and I can’t see how this would fail to make people move, although, thinking about it, this track sounds like a Scott Grooves record too…

9 - STL ‘Silent State’ (Smallville) - Anthea from JC Freaks put me onto this. Well when I say ‘put me onto this’ I mean she played it to me Phonica and then I bought it. If you’re regular reader of this blog, you may remember that JC Freaks debut release, ‘The Rock’ made it into my chart last summer, and in a way this track is reminiscent of Oracy’s mix of ‘The Rock’. Not that they sound the same but they creep up on you. If you were to skip through ‘Silent State’ you might think it a tad boring but it listen to the whole thing and you are slowly enveloped in the hypnotic groove. Just beautiful sparse, deep, dubby house for serious house heads.

10 - Steinhoff & Hammouda ‘Touch’ (Smallville) - Also on Smallville, I picked this to listen to the Jus-Ed ‘Euphoric’ mix of ‘You Are’. Much as I’m a Jus-Ed fan, I’m not sure what he thought was euphoric unless he thinks euphoria is triggered by fairly pedestrian plodding deep house by numbers? Anyway, I digress, because as luck would have it ‘Touch’ on the other side of this record is great. Snippets of laidback jazz piano, ever so overlay driving percussion and then you find moody synths slowly sneaking up. I’m thinking if Moodymann was German he might sound like this, but this doesn’t sound like yet another Moodymann off. If that makes sense?

11 - Tony Lionni - Found a Place (Osgut Ton) - There’s a lot of fuss around old Tony at the moment. He’s the hot new kid on the block, although Liverpudlian DJ ain’t no kid and had probably been round the block a few times first. ‘Found a Place’ has been around for a while now, I heard it few times online and everything, and didn’t feel it at all. Then I went out to Sonar and at the Rekids party at about 6am Spencer Parker dropped it and all of a sudden, soaked in sweat, surrounded Spanish clud kids, models and early morning freaks, it made perfect sense. A record made by a DJ clearly knows his stuff, for the dancefloor, I suppose it’s only right it makes sense on the dancefloor. 21st century piano house the way it should sound.

12 - Theo Parrish ‘Space Station’ (Sound Signature) - Theo teams up with one of Detroit’s other men of the moment, Omar S, who maybe repays the favour for 'The Grand Son Of Detroit Techno' by helping to deliver a sublime modern day acid classic. Starting off all floaty, with delicate keys, the clam before the storm is broken as the huge acid b-line comes thundering over the hill, interwoven with melancholic synths, weird high pitch noises, and WALLOP, it’s time to your rave on. It reminds me somewhat of Gherkin Jerk records, in that it has a quite experimental feel to it. Don’t expect to hear this on a Hed Kandi comp anytime soon.