Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Cleveland Robinson - Xmas Time Is Here Again (Ewan Hoozami)

Xmas Time Is Here Again! Shameless Self-Promotion Time Is Also Here Again!

This is a potentially credible funky xmas track. You can download it for free. Don't say I never do anything for ya!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Daedelus/Kneebody: Kneedelus & Romare - Projections (Ninja Tune)

Killing two Ninja Tune birds with one stone, we are. Talking like this, we are. Star Wars related topical appropriation, this is.

OK, I'll stop now.

I've grouped these releases together because, to me, they share some major similarities. That's not to diminish their originality in any way - both possess auteurship in abundance. It's more that they come from a similar place and arrive in the same ball park. Your girlfriend/Dad/Grandma would no doubt say 'it all sounds the same to me'. But they're a fucking idiot and only dragging you down.

One major difference is that only one is available on wax... Wail, lament and bemoan.

Daedelus & Kneebody: Kneedelus

Kneedelus, a collaboration between Brainfeeder's legendary hip-hop/beats pioneer Daedelus and instrumental quintet Kneebody came out 27th November - digital only, which is a wonderful thing and a missed opportunity all at once. The first tune to be leaked racked up 100,000 plays on Soundcloud in a few days so you'd have thought the appetite for a vinyl cut was there. Ninja seem to know what they're doing, though, so I'll leave it at that.

Format issues aside, the music itself is a fascinating concoction - shuffling, skittering beats that remind me of Blockhead, Charlie Mingus and Buddy Rich in equal parts. The jazz aesthetic is maintained throughout - this is less a collection of songs and more a procession of movements, with switching time signatures, pace and a Miles Davis-esque use of brass phrasing. Take the drums out and it could be a soundtrack to a gritty film noir about a beautiful barmaid who gets caught up in a Lynchian world of drugs, catwalks and a mysterious man in a raincoat inexplicably seducing her in a taxi.
Re-insert the drums and it's the kind of record you could stick on the turntable any given Sunday afternoon as a soundtrack to a Scrabble marathon or similarly sedate and elegant leisure pursuit. Only you couldn't, because it's not on fucking vinyl. Ninja Tune, please address this issue.

Buy it digitally here

Romare - Projections

'They' keep saying you can't sample any more. The lawyers will find you. They'll climb up the drainpipe in the dead of night, slithering, serpentine, through a crack in the window; reptillian eyes burning beneath scaled brow. As you sleep, blissfully unaware of the evil you've imbued through late night MPC sessions, the  Lawyers slip under your duvet, entangling you in slippery limbs to haul you down to the burning pits of Hell itself, chanting verses from the Necronomicon, or Copyright Law Regulations as earthly creatures know it. An eternity spent steaming the creases from Mick Jagger's puckered arsehole awaits any fool who dares lay claim to a fleeting slice of Copyrighted Material.

At the very least, no commercially lucrative label will touch you.

That's what they say. Only, the exceptions keep proving the rule.

We're not in the Wild West days of the 90s any longer, when artists could take whatever they wanted from any source without the concern of impending litigation. It's a more refined art, now, but sampling has not gone away.

Employing a cut n'paste technique that many could have assumed had gone the way of the baggy jean into cultural purgatory, Romare has managed to make a record that sounds familiar, brand new, ambient, uplifting and dancefloor friendly all at the same time. No mean feat and one which has seen him vault into the loving arms of one of the world's most famous independent labels.

There's a heavy blues element on display, from snippets of gospel and Americana to twanging guitar loops and drifting keys. At times the tracks are redolent of early Jel compositions, maybe a touch of Joey Beats, Cut Chemist and of course DJ Shadow. There are some ultra-modern flourishes to - the stripped back, trap-like instrumentation and poly-rhythmic percussion of tracks like the nina Simone-sampling Work Song. The LP closes with the appropriately titles La Petite Mort, a woozy ambience reminiscent of Air's French electronica and a title that translates as 'The Little Death'... Cut, pasted, filtered and looped, each record enshrined in Romare's Projections LP has suffered a little death, but the kiss of life comes in the reconstructed beauty of the composite parts. No Frankenstein's monster, Romare's patched-up doll is one of my records of 2015.

Buy it here

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Scribes - Mr Teatime and the end of the World (Reel Me Records)

“Greetings. My name is Mr Teatime. I am contacting you from the year 2074. The World is now a very different place. After the bomb dropped the robots took control. Please heed my warning.
I am so alone.”

Back in the days of yore, releases like this would have got a short run vinyl pressing, and, having achieved cult status 30 years on, original copies would fetch ludicrous sums, leading to a Record Store Day repress. This is 2015, though, and precious few labels can afford the risk of pressing to wax, even when the output deserves it.

The Scribes Mr Teatime and the end of the World is a staggeringly original work from my long time buddies. (Yes, I'm blogging things my mates have done. Fuck you, get your own blog!)
I've been lucky enough to share the stage with them on many occasions, filling in as scratch DJ and occasionally performing the tracks Shaun and I wrote for my last album (plug). Must be at least 7 years' of shows, on and off. In that time I've seen them develop immensely. They have always had a ridiculously infectious stage presence - something which has actively alienated them from the UK Hip-Hop scene at times, because, you know, you're meant to shuffle about like a paranoid recluse - but over the years their finished product has become ever more polished.
They've earned a rep for being 'the kind of hip-hop you'd like if you liked indie most of the time', which has opened up doors to less traditional audiences. That rep sounds like a back-handed compliment, and to hip-hop purists, it is... but it's really served them well, and given them the courage to push boundaries in terms of sound and lyrical content. There's always been a kind of mawkish malevolence about the lyrics and delivery, without ever going full-Necro, which marries nicely to bouncy beats that encourage dancing and a range of lyrical topics from monstrous fantasies to positive affirmations about the inherent beauty of life.

This release is, I suggest, a line in the sand. The same malevolence flows through each track, but gone is the almost histrionic delivery, replaced with a brooding, battle-scarred baritone... a grown up sound for a messed up world. It's basically Utopia: The Musical, or a 'hip-hopera' as the act have called it. In truth, concept albums don't always fare as well on record as they do on paper. This one fares better. The biggest triumph is that the sound wins over the concept. Crisp, deliberate beats punch through mechanical, retro basslines and glimmering, glitchy sound effects. It sounds like it comes from a dystopian future decimated by nuclear war, with only rudimentary tools and a battered MPC 2000 available to make music with. Which, when you've called your album Mr Teatime and the end of the World, must go down as a success. More than simply scoring a direct hit conceptually, the record's plaintive lament from 2074 has something to say to us in 2015... who hasn't watched the news over the last few years and not felt a creeping dread at the impending doom we seem to be accelerating towards?
This is the soundtrack to its aftermath.

Check out the stark new video

And buy the EP digitally here 

With a new album dropping in early 2016, it could be a big year for The Scribes!

Jackson - Rain/Change

We aren't just about the vinyl at CMFCP... We also reserve the right to champion pieces of inspired, curious music for all you curious people. Whatever the medium. Particularly when it's your mate what wrote it.

Jack Baldus is a bit of an unsung hero on the Bristol scene, but I'm pleased to see him being a bit more, er, sung, recently. Having gained acclaim as the eye-catchingly prodigious keyboardist in Laid Blak, he's been ploughing his own furrow for a while, even featuring on my last album Robot Soul (and some tracks on my next one!). The most polished and cohesive of these furrows is his new band Jackson. The debut EP was produced by none other than Full Cyclist and all round bristol leg-end DJ Die, and comprises 8 outstanding musicians, conducted by the man like Jack. Kind of like Sun-Ra's Arkestra without all the illegitimate children and cosmic flim-flamming. Musically, however, there are definite similarities to the cosmic jazz-tronaut. It's pleasingly reminiscent of Chick Corea, Sun Ra, Jaco Pistorius and Stanley Clarke... intricate, full of texture and displaying virtuoso levels of songwriting and performance.

But don't take my word for it - check out Jackson's first two videos below - recorded live at Factory Studios, Bristol

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Macka B - Never Played a 45

Macka B has a not-so-subtle message for DJs across the land... and we agree with his sentiments!

It's not about lambasting people for their choice of medium, we just agree that the feeling of manipulating wax is a crucial part of the true pleasure of DJing. The video's cool too.

In all seriousness, while we play strictly vinyl at our DJ sets, I personally play off Serato a lot of the time when performing as Ewan Hoozami and love the fact I can use cue points for live editing, dub effects, beat-rolls and so on, plus I can play my own tracks without getting them cut to wax. I often get people coming up to me when I'm playing vinyl saying 'ah nice to see someone DJing properly, none of this laptop shit'. Equally, I get people cussing me when I'm on Serato for 'cheating'. 
Well, here's a newsflash for anyone that thinks like that - you're plain wrong. 
DJing with vinyl and DJing digitally are, to me, as different as playing electric or acoustic guitar... the basic principles are the same, but the style, sound and vibe you achieve are totally different. Neither is 'right' or 'wrong' - however I would argue that DJs that have never used vinyl are missing a crucial part of their education.
It's refreshing to see Macka B avoid the traditional 'old school' stance - the heads often take up a tribal stance of 'vinyl is the only true form of DJing' - and acknowledge the role of digital in today's DJ culture.
But if you are a DJ who's never played a 45, we think you'll fall in love with the wax if you give it a shot.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Feature - Cultures of Soul Records

I'm delighted to have grabbed a few words with Deano Sounds, head honcho at one of my favourite repress labels, Cultures of Soul. CoS seek out fantasticmusic from across the world that always manages to be both unusual and yet dancefloor-friendly. I don't think I've played a vinyl set in the last few years that hasn't included at least one CoS record!

 OK let's start with the basics... I note from your website that you started in 2008, born out of a radio show on Viva Radio, but there's obviously a lot of behind the scenes action required to turn that idea into reality. Did you have any prior experience? And what can you tell us about the first steps of the Cultures of Soul imprint? 
I was DJing and collecting records and had also wanted to start a music label at some point.   I guess the first steps would be that my friend had some contact info for Bili Sparrow who turned out to be our first release. And then it went on from there.


What's the line up at CoS? 
We've got two ambitious projects coming out now and coming out soon. First a box set of 7 x 7inches of Brazilian Funk and Soul and then out in January the Boston Creative Jazz Scene which is an album compilation with an 80 page book about the underground Jazz scene in Boston in the 70s..

How many releases have you out out so far?  
Too many to count! 

Do you try and do a certain number a year, or is it more a case of 'it's ready when it's ready? 
It's really a case of when releases are ready. There's really no master marketing plan other than to put out the most interesting high quality product that we can.

You've developed a reputation as a purveyor of a more international brand of funk, soul, disco and jazz... you've unearthed some astonishing music from Bollywood, Brazil and the Caribbean, to name but a few unusual sources. How do you find the music, and what criteria do you use to choose which tracks to release? 
I usually start a project by looking for interesting music or an interesting theme and then I try to fill the compilation with the best material that fits together in that particular cultural lens. 

I think our readers would be interested in the process of getting a record out on your business model... talk us through the basic process, from sourcing and selecting tracks to designing and distributing. 
That is quite a long answer and one I feel your readers might finding boring. It's like sauuges the process is not pretty and sometimes you don't want to know what you have to go through to get to the other end!

You're clearly a busy working DJ in your own right - has the label opened doors for you to perform at more illustrious or far-flung venues? 
It has to a certain extent. It's still tough to find great venues willing to host DJings playing eclectic vintage music. But I did recently play a gig at a night in Montreal called the Goods that was amazing!

There's an evident growth in the reissues vinyl market - do you see that as a positive thing? Have you worked with any other labels or collaborated with any? Do you find there's a sense of community between independent reissue labels? 
Well it's great that the younger generation is buying vinyl. The only problem is in my opinion so much wasted vinyl releases are coming out i.e. dollar bin fodder like Fleetwood Mac - Rumors type stuff. I don't believe in pressing vinyl in massive quantities or unneccesarily.I worked with Frank Gossner Voodoo Funk. I think there is definitely a community among the older more established reissues like Numero, Strut, and Soul Jazz. Those are the labels we look up to.

What are the future plans for Cultures of Soul? 
We're actually working with a lot of interesting remixers and producers at the moment including Ruf Dug, Africaine 808, Alma Negra, and Names You Can Trust on a project of unreleased material from the leader of the Kelenkye Band - Jagger Botchway. And I'm also working with Rahaan and Gerd Janson on a few companion 12"s to go with some of our upcoming compilations.
We're putting out a compilation of rare Gospel Disco compiled by Greg Belson and a compilation of South African Disco/Boogie as well as the unreleased material from Jagger Botchway with the remixes. And also some new music produced in 2015 so stay tuned!

BBE Music - Free Shipping globally until this weekend!

We thought you'd like to know that one of the UK's very finest record labels, BBE, have announced an offer of Free Shipping on all orders until this weekend. Nice! Just go here and treat your loved ones to a nice xmas present (or just treat yourself)

Always championing great contemporary beat-based music and with an impressive array of represses and re-issues, you're bound to find something you dig.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Our band has released a Charity single for the MS Society's Christmas Appeal!

Seasons like this need a hero... and when MRSL-01 receives the call, there's only one thing to do. The Mind-Reading Space Lasers spring into action, chasing Santa across the galaxy in a desperate bid to save Christmas and restore the cosmic balance... but who will prevail?

A bonkers video, a famous family, a noble cause, a mission to save Christmas from an intergalactic Santa Claus and… a Bob Geldof cover. That’s what The Mind-Reading Space Lasers, AKA Daniel and Adam Hignell, have in store this Christmas. 

The Brighton-based brothers have applied their analogue space-pop sound to one of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time... It's Band Aid, but turned up to 11, and wearing spandex leggings. 

They are aiming to raise money for The MS Society - a charity doing important research into curing and treating Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disease which their father, ex-England rugby player and BBC broadcaster Alastair Hignell, was diagnosed with some 15 years ago 

So don your space-suit, dip into your pockets, engage warp drive and help the Mind-Reading Space Lasers can save Xmas! 

Made with a budget of £125, the video mimics the classic B-Movie’s of the 80’s, lovingly recreating the Betamax cassettes of that bygone era, dodgy tracking and all. The song is performed, written and arranged by the Mind-Reading Space Lasers, with special thanks to the ‘Space Cadets' - Jeannie and Alastair Hignell, Lucy Finchett-Maddock, John Guzek and Layla Hignell-Tully.
You can buy the single for £1, or donate more if you feel like it (its for a good cause after all!)

All proceeds go to The MS Society Christmas Appeal. The funds will be invested in Myelin Research,which could one day lead to a cure for this cruel, degenerative condition. Registered charity nos. 1139257 / SC041990.

How to support:
1) BUY THE TRACK HERE! ALL PROCEEDS GO TO THE MS SOCIETY CHRISTMAS APPEAL! https://themindreadingspacelasers.ban... 
YOU DO NOT NEED A PAYPAL ACCOUNT - JUST CLICK 'I Do Not Have a Paypal Account' and you can pay with credit/debit card

Santa's gone bad! Instead of delivering presents, he's turning everything in the Cosmos into holograms, leaving a trail of festive destruction in his wake! Can anyone stop him? Does anybody care? Do they know it's Christmas time in space?


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Boca 45 feat. Louis Baker - Soul on Top (45 Live Records)

Our debut featured article on Curious Music for Curious People gives shine to another debut - the first 7" release from 45 Live, stable to a fleet of pedigree beat-wranglers and disc-jockeys, from DJs Food and Format to Smoove, Shepdog and many, many more...

We caught up with 45 Live founding member, Peter Isaac:

Thanks for your time Pete - I imagine things are pretty busy at 45 Live HQ right now! What's going down?

It is pretty crazy right now with the launch of 45 Live Records, 3 festival shows in planning for next year, as well as our regular Bristol night, the radio show in Los Angeles and trying to keep on top of the web site, social media, plus all the artwork etc. Personally, I've been running club nights and DJing for 23 years, and have got very comfortable in those processes, but the sheer amount of new stuff I have to learn for the label in particular is quite daunting! But with the help of my partner Scott (Boca 45), who's been making records for years, I'm sure we'll get our heads around it all. We've certainly bitten off a large chunk with respects to workloads, and as with any new business, making any kind of living from it is a long long way off, so we both have to keep our other jobs/projects on the go too, it's a very big juggling act right now.

Tell us about the origins of 45 Live. Was it an 'on the back of a beermat' idea, or something you've always wanted to do?

Scott had already started a night in Bristol called 45 Live, but it was purely a club night and nothing else. We got talking in the pub one day and started crafting the concept of making it into something bigger, so yes, it was a 'beermat idea'! Between Scott and I, there is a pretty broad base of experience in many aspects of music and promotion, and we reasoned that we could bring this together, learn a load of new stuff and create something with gravitas and longevity.

Initially you started as an agency/event promoter. What prompted the decision to become a record label?

Starting a label was always a prime goal from the get-go, a celebration of the 7" format demands that we actually release records! We maybe took a little longer than I wanted to get our first record out, but we've had a very busy year. Firstly, we needed to create a bespoke hand coded website, so with N9 Design in Plymouth, we got that launched earlier this year. Then it was all about building the team and getting some events on the go. We had our first full 45 Live stage at The brilliant Masked Ball festival back in May, that was amazing, we got to make a load of giant 45s to hang all over the tent and with a kickin' line up rocked 100% 45s for 12 hours straight! We knew then that we had got the recipe right! We then followed that with 3 parties at Glastonbury and the Halloween Masked Ball event in Cornwall with the biggest line up so far with another all night session - featuring a surprise guest set with D&B royalty London Elektricty! That was wicked.

Amongst a stellar cast of artists (Andy Smith, Jon More, Ollie Teeba, Format, Food and more), was it hard to choose the artist to pen your debut release? Tell us a bit more about what Boca 45 brings to the table, for anyone unfamiliar with his work.

Having Scott make the first record was the obvious and most probably the easiest choice as we're both heavily motivated to drive it forward. Scott is on fire at the moment with his production and DJing, as an artist he is maturing with great finesse which can be seen especially on one of his recent music project with Ben Salisbury, 'Dolman'. Although a huge departure from what he is mainly known for, namely funky as hell breaks and beats, this really really impressed me. He's also had his most recent Boca LP out on Digga Please which is chock full of dancefloor bangers. As far as I'm concerned, having Scott make the first tune was a no-brainer.

The record features a collaboration with RBMA protege Louis Baker. How did that come about?

Scott and Louis met in Amsterdam earlier this year whilst both playing shows there, basically they hit it off and got talking about a collaboration, which resulted in 'Soul On Top', a classic sounding joint with modern production, it's a total winner in our book!

Now, don't take this the wrong way, but your roster is on the experienced side... let's call them grizzled veterans. I think we can all appreciate that the cultivation of suitably impressive 45s collection is a lifetime commitment, but are you seeing many younger DJs coming through with the requisite talents and dedication for future inclusion? 

I will say that this aspect has drawn one or two comments, i.e. we're all, shall we say, slightly older gentlemen, white and mostly balding! But it's like this, we all know each other through many years of gigs, record releasing, festivals, etc, so it was just natural for Scott and I to ask our mates to be part of 45 Live. But in the longer term, a primary goal of 45 Live is that it IS inclusive to all, we want to grow the agency and most definitely welcome anyone (whatever their gender, colour and age) who wants to be part of the wider aspects of this, so creative input like films, stories, DJ mixes, interviews, anything to do with 45s basically. The idea is that it's a base for all to celebrate our shared passion/obsession with the mighty 7". It's going to take time to build it into what we imagined... starting a magazine, record label, radio show, festival events brand, regular club night all from scratch takes a phenomenal amount of time and effort. We are thrilled that so many people around the world do want to join the team or get involved, and we promise that we will gradually expand things out as soon as we can, bear with us!

The roster reads like a Who's Who of legendary crate-diggers and beatsmiths. Is there anyone out there you'd really love to add that you haven't yet?

Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow and Mr Thing would be very welcome!

Now you've entered the vinyl market, what are the next steps for 45 Live?

We will be nailing down the next release asap, and right now I'm working on events mostly. As mentioned above, we have UK 3 festival shows in planning for 2016. And we want to expand this aspect further, especially outside of the UK. This is in fact where we can better bring DJs who live elsewhere into the team through collaborations on shows abroad. I am planning to move to Los Angeles next spring (just for a couple of months), so will be hooking up with Greg Belson who's hosting the 45 Live radio show on Dublab there and hopefully we can get something happening in town with another one of our US members, Monk One from Wax Poetics, as well as invite Cut Chemist along!!

Anything else you'd like to add?

I'd like to tell the taxi driver in France to get his damn cab serviced more regularly! I say this as we unfortunately lost 2 of our DJs - Aeon Seven and DJ Suspect - for The Masked Ball event in October because his cab broke down on the motorway, hence missing their flight from Paris. Next time I'm gonna drive over and pick them up personally!

Boca 45 feat. Louis Baker - Soul On Top/Diego

Well, that's the taxi drivers of Paris told... thanks Pete!

We better move on to the record itself. As mentioned, the A Side is a collaboration with up and comer Louis Baker, whose soulful drawl lends Boca's looped, loping beats some Motown-esque feeling. the beats themselves are expertly refined, managing to hark back to golden era breaks and simultaneously sound brand new; think Mayer Hawthorne with Cut Chemist chopping dope loops underneath. With Louis Baker sounding like a modern day Marvin Gaye we are served a confident and accomplished slice of robust soul with a strong hip-hop aesthetic. 
The flip is an older Boca cut, the Apache-sampling and mighty Diego - Scott gave me a copy years ago and it still gets many a spin.
Congratulations to Scott and Pete for a mighty fine debut record. It'll be in my crate for a while, that's for sure - well, as soon as payday comes anyway!

Check out the audio and buy it below:

If it's sold out via Bandcamp try Juno

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Brasileiro Treasure Box of Funk and Soul 7inch Box Set (Cultures of Soul)

I'm having a massive case of Deja vu right now. I feel like I'm in the car trying to leave that town in The Returned but every time I turn the corner I'm right back where I started. Or I'm Bill Murray's news anchor in Groundhog Day. Either way, I have fucking blogged this already! I swear it... am i going mad? Have I lost my mind and started fabricating memories of inconsequential activities?
Maybe GCHQ snooped on me and deleted it in the night for inciting booty-shaking. Maybe the CIA are planting memories in my mind as part of a wider experiment on unsuspecting proles. Someone call Mulder and Scully!

Since the only record of my blog post exists in my mind, let's try again.

I want to tell you about a wonderfully tempting box set of Brazilian funk from those good folks at Cultures of Soul. If the CIA let it past, maybe this time my post will stick.

To my shame, I've run out of enthusiasm for writing a dedicated piece (and it's nearly home time) so here's what they have to say about it:

Greg Caz and Deano Sounds have teamed up once again to bring you another fine package of vintage Brazilian music. This one stretches across the scope of funk, soul, and psychedelic music from Brazil. Some highlights include: the extremely rare and funky "Labirinto" by 2001 & Beto, the blistering psychedelic funk of Antônio Carlos & Jocafi's "Quem Vem Lá," the essential rare groove track "Bananeira" by Emilio Santiago, Osmar Milito E Quarteto Forma's rare "América Latina" sampled by Madlib, Tom Zé’s unstoppable riff on “Jimmy, Renda-Se,” and many others. Here are some words on the project from co-compiler and Brazilian music aficionado, Greg Caz:
"Without necessarily having a central theme other than funky nuggets from the first half of the 70s, we believe this compilation displays its own particular sense of logic, and that these songs ultimately all sound fantastic together. Regardless of one's familiarity, or lack thereof, with artists like Antonio Carlos & Jocafi, Os Incríveis, Toni Tornado or Celia, the material on these 45s speaks its own truth and justifies their inclusion here. Many of these were originally available as singles, while others were taken from albums, but all are guaranteed to find their way into many DJ boxes and playlists."
The 45 box set version comes in a durable glossy case with 7 x 45s, a poster containing the original artwork for the album, and a booklet printed on thick paper. 

All I will say is that it's beautifully packaged and ultra-funky...

Have a good old listen below or buy it here (UK) or here (worldwide)

Nik WESTON presents KIKI GYAN/TUNJI OYELANA (Mukatsuku Records)

Mukatsuku Records are one of my personal favourites - I've bought so many releases over the years and almost all of them are still regular selections. A heady blend of really, really good remastering and a great ear for a funky gem make Nik Weston's releases essential purchases for many Funk, Soul, Jazz, Afrobeat and Disco DJs. If, like me, you play a lot of all those genres, you'll be hard pushed to find a more consistently excellent label for your needs. Some tracks are hitherto unknown, but what i like is that the first criteria seems to be 'is it really fucking good?' rather than 'is it really fucking rare?' - so we also get Fela Kuti, Grant Green and other well known artists featuring in the catalogue.
Every purchase comes with some stickers and a genuine-sounding note from Nik that displays a heartfelt gratitude to his customers. It's the little things, and marks Nik out as the sort of chap one would enjoy a good pint with. I've never met him though, He could be a psychopath. Or a Tory voter.

The latest offering is a welcome installment in my Afrobeat/Afro-Funk education, featuring, as it does, a couple of artists whose work is new to me. Kiki Gyan delivers an extremely happy slice of Ghanian Disco with Love To Love You, which is followed on the flip by Tunji Oyelana's wonderfully jaunty It's Not Your Fault. Both are Nik Weston edits and his sure touch make for killer afro-funk cuts. Get in my basket.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Our DJ set from Dead Wax Social is available to listen to now!

We managed to record 4 1/2 hours of our DJ set at Dead Wax Social last week. Which means that you can relive the magic... all you have to do is find some 70s school furniture to sit on and go outside every time you want a fag...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Freak of the week - 9 - Classroom Projects

It's records like this that I live for. A compilation of 'incredible music made by children in schools', the record features only a handful of the saccharine choral works you might expect, opting instead for some rather wonderful juxtapositions. Children singing about children dying? Check. Children interpreting John Cage? Check. Children fronting Bradford's 'Don't drink and drive' campaign? You betcha. Almost all the tracks are excellent, and all are performed by or written by primary school children, brought to life by a series music teachers with surprisingly avant-garde/dark tastes. We get bits of choral stuff, a cover of Bright Eyes, some tape-manipulation and some solo-cymbal pieces that might have been penned by Alvin Lucier. The CD, annoyingly, has a whole bunch of extra tracks not found on the record, but even so, this compilation stands out as a truly odd, and oddly experimental album.

Buy it here 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Free Records!*

*Probably crap ones

Vinyl Pimp in Hackney recently stumbled upon a 24,000 strong collection of 80s and 90s dance records. Jackpot! Except, of course, even a large record store might struggle if it suddenly won such a gargantuan stock increase... and you could be the beneficiary!
Admittedly, these records aren't necessarily the best - many are simply ones that didn't make the grade or are damaged. However, some will be duplicates of decent records from a pioneering and exciting time in the evolution of dance music, so you never know!

You can pick up 10 free records every Friday this month if you like and share this Facebook post.

Good luck!

Charity Shop Gem of the Week 10 - The Neutrons - Black Hole Star

Not to be confused with Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun, I stumbled across The Neutron's Black Hole Star on a recent flea-market rummage, and mainly bought it because tyhe cover is all silvery and spacey. Current obsession with space-pop and synthy-psychedlia meant I was compelled.
What actually comes out of the speakers when needle hits groove is quite unexpected. Where I expected to hear Moogs and Mellotrons I basically get traditional Prog Rock arrangements. Which is fine, and some of the songs are really good. But I was a bit disappointed.
It is, nevertheless, a gem... the album works as an opus, each song leading into the next in a really pleasant way, and there are some lovely changes of pace. It's not John Keating, but it is rather good. Plus it's got a song called Dance of the Psychedelic Lounge Lizards. Which can't not be a good thing.
Best track: Mermaid and Chips

Pick up a copy yourself here

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Plastic Dance 1: Domestic Synth Pop & Plugged In Punk

Andy Votel and Doug Shipton need no introduction to record collectors and oddity-aficionados. They've long been mining the seams of undiscovered, ultra-rare and freakishly different musical plunder from bygone times and distant lands. They have a rare knack of stumbling across music that was out of place, out of fashion or simply too out of its mind for the time it was released in... stuff that died ingloriously but is resurrected to fervent acclaim a few decades later.
Plastic Dance 1 is a collection of such music - a few buck the trend, such as the celebrated space-pop pioneers Cybotron, but the rest are an obscure and unheard of crop of wildly original artists from the late 70s and early 80s. mostly, the music ploughs a very psych-synth-rock furrow... like the B-52s on strong sedatives. We have the plaintive, Germanic barking on Plastiktanz Mir Geht Es Danke Gut - which I believe translates as 'I'm fine, thank you' while sounding like they aren't fine at all. The afore-mentioned Cybotron deliver a robust, pulsing slice of spaced out disco, which Zed's The Premen outdoes for jazzy, synthesized psychedelia. At least 5 of these tracks could be modern day synthwave tracks and I don't think I'd have known - probably only the acoustic drums really set them apart, while there are some flashes of glam-punk with Andrezej Korzynski's Tylko Punk Rock and Don Gere's There's a Star In You.

Buy it here

Baballah Loves Turkey

An excellent mix for your ears here, from a chap known as Baballah.
Here's what he has to say about it:

"Since I started to try and collect vinyl records from a large array of cultural spaces around the globe, I've had a couple of big surprises. The music of Turkey's 70's has been one of the biggest ones. So modern, so funky, so psychedelic and yet sofaithfull to its roots!! As usual the tracks you will discover in this selection are not taken on compilations or re-edits, although I am sure that some of the tracks here have been reedits by labels doing a wonderfull job... Electric Saz, Mad darbukas, sometimes Davul or Zurna, Big Breaks, sick Hiphop samples...the list of the discoveries is long for the ones who do not know yet how it's like to listen to Turkish Psych. For the others, I hope the selection will be good enough to please the good connoisseurs. Enjoy!!"

We think the selection is very much good enough and entreat you to give it a listen. 

If you check out Baballah on Mixcloud you'll find many more wonderful mixes. This guy knows his records!

17.Akla karayi sectim

byErsen ve Dadaslar

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Sasha Conda - Bronco

"Bronco Stephenson - a man devoid of self doubt or the capacity for deep thought, but exceedingly effective in more carnal procedures. Armed with a solid gold hand cannon, a long territorial strut and a fierce addiction to adrenaline, inhalants and psycho-inhibitors, Bronco carves a path through The Palace Interior - a hyper-terrarean ultra mall the size of a city. A mecca of consumeristic glee where half-jacked vape junkies crowd the halls of The Walgreen’s Health Services Stratum, and The Plasticmen survey every square inch of marketable real estate."

That's what it says on the Bandcamp page, anyway. Bronco is a concept album from Sasha Conda (music) and Patrick Scott-Walsh (words), who appear to hail from Minneapolis. Out on the hipster-sating medium of cassette with story-book, I want to hate this, but it's just a little too good. 

There are some beautiful arrangements on display in an album that maintains a dramatic, 80s superhero soundtrack feel throughout, but manages to surprise the listener by drifting into unusual rhythms and ethereal atmospherics at the same time. There are elements of Cumbia, Electronica, even Trance jostling with crescendoing Electronica, arpeggiated Synthpop and psychedelic swirls, all underpinned by the driving, retro sound currently enjoying a resurgence (for good reason, I might add).

Released by the ever-interesting Not Not Fun Records, Bronco is reminiscent of Synthwave artists such as Com Truise and Matthew Dear, while retaining its own distinct sound.

As I don't have a cassette player I'll just stick to the digital release while lamenting the lack of what would be a beautiful record. Although having said that, the cover art is pretty hideous. Not really sure why they gave the brief to a thirteen year old boy who just got Photoshop for his birthday, which is what I assume they did.

You can buy it here and listen to snippets of all the tracks via Juno, but the rest of the internet appears to only house the 3 singles, which you can check out below

Freak of The Week - 8 - Yellow Magic Orchestra - Firecracker / Technopolis

Some glitchy, ahead-of-its-time computer game synth pop for this installment of Freak of the Week... all the way from Japan.

Yellow Magic Orchestra (AKA YMO) were (are?) a pioneering group of musicians credited with influencing the early days of synthpop, electro and electronica. Using samples and drum machines before most people considered them 'proper' instruments, they forged sounds that seem less wild today than they would have in 1979, when this particular 12" came out. To be fair, this could have been a Charity Shop Gem of the Week as it was picked up in a bargain bin for 99p many years ago, but I feel its combination of glitchy 8-bit sounds, peculiar synthesis and the ridiculously long build-up to Firecracker make it a glorious candidate for Freak of the Week instead.
Also worth noting there are some serious samples to be pilfered if you're that way inclined!

Each of the 3 tracks is deliciously wonky and has that Japanese sense of wonder - I love it.

And of course you can pick up a copy for peanuts at Discogs

Charity Shop Gem of the Week - 9 - The Bonzo Dog Band - Keynsham

As a rule I try to steer clear of these sort of knowingly 'wacky' records that seemed so abundant in the 60's and 70's, and as such never paid too much attention to the Bonzo Dog Band. Having recently stumbled across a Keynsham however, I found myself drawn by it's title - a small and not particularly cool civil parish near where I grew up. Musically the album is pretty adept, with some quite lovely arrangements spread across guitars, drums, horns, flutes and basses, all held together by lyrics than oscillate from the overwrought prog fare one might expect, and the intensely silly. The album harbours a penchant for sudden changes in style and various spoken word/comedy segments, akin to Monty Python, and manages to be (nearly) as funny. Gems such as Tent offer up passages such as 'my love is so inscrutable / in a stoic sort of way / my baby is as beautiful / as a tourniquet' in a charged, almost punkish manner, whilst the operatic Sport has a wonderfully overblown chorus, ostensibly about the wonders of P.E.
Lyrics aside, there is actually some surprisingly contemporary aspects at play - whilst many of the tracks sound a bit like The Beatles (or perhaps more suitably, The Rutles), tracks like Noises for my leg sound like an early incarnation of Add N to X, and there are even a few dashes of what might be considered Musique Concrete, were it in any other context.

Were this an entirely serious late 60's pop/rock album, it would be a very, very good one. I fear the addition of humour relegates it to 'oddity' rather than 'classic', perhaps explaining it's lack of commercial success, especially given it comes not long after the bands fairly popular television show.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Freak of The Week - 7 - The In Sound From Way Out! (Perrey-Kingsley)

Beastie Boys fans will recognise this record title, and indeed cover art, font and graphic style - the Beasties released a 1995 album of the same name that looks remarkably similar to Perrey-Kingsley's 1966 escapade into experimental synth-pop psychedlia. In turn, that record owes a lot to the influence of another 'delia' - not psyche-delia, but Delia Derbyshire, the pioneering sound designer famous for her work with the BBC during the 60s. See what i did there? That's journalism, baby.

The In Sound From Way Out is a remarkable collection of standards and hits a la mode, reimagined using the trusty Moog synthesizer, plus field recordings, found sounds, tape splicing and many other experimental techniques... from children laughing and splashing about in the bath to what sounds like someone snoring, sped up. The results are some quite remarkable sounds, with some choice loops appearing throughout that will delight many a producer.

Also worth mentioning is some superior recording and mixing - many similar records suffered from muddy, dull mixes, but this record has splendid depth of sound and is beautifully mixed. Well worth searching out... but let us do the work for you... here's its Discogs entry 

And you want to hear it as well? Bloody hell... alright, fine!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

VARIOUS - Library Of Sound Grooves: Obscure Psychedelic Manuscripts From The Italian Cinema 1967-1975

If ever a record title was going to relieve me of my cash, it's this... every word in the overlong title has me screaming 'Shut up and take my money!' while I log in to my Juno account and feverishly hit 'buy'.
I didn't even listen to it, which was a foolish move - I've certainly been burnt in the past. Sometimes just throwing the word 'psychedelic' in front of a genre can conveniently hide the utter dearth of likability in a record.

So, this foolish record collector opened the sleeve full of trepidation... the cover has tits on... good start... actually its collage of 70s B-movie stills is quite cool... 

Tell you what, I wasn't half impressed by the music. Dann reeled off a bunch of 'famous' composers that feature, that I felt perhaps i should have heard of, but in my ignorance I just feasted on a smorgasbord of prominent, funky bass riffs, strong percussion and psychedelic arrangements. there are slow ones, fast ones, funky ones and jazzy ones, but not a dud in sight. Impressively remastered, each song across 2 records sounds crisp, raw and sufficiently powerful that any DJ out there will not find them wanting amongst funk records of the same era.

Listen and buy below

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Week 8 - Charity Shop Gem of the week: Cignol - Logan Systems EP

Ok, so it might be a bit of a stretch to call this either a 'Charity shop' find, or for that matter a 'gem', but this is a record of note one-the-less. Discovered in a box marked 'free records!' left outside a local pub, this was one of several fairly unbearable forays into drum 'n bass / dub-step territory left out upon the pavement, all of which are, on first listen, pretty bloody trite. This particular 12' however, has that peculiar charm wherein a not-very-good record thats played at the wrong speed, suddenly becomes quite-a-good record after all. Gone are the ADHD beats of the original, gone are the all too rhythmic wub-wubs - in their stead we are left with a jaunty, almost early-electro beat, and a pulsing, robotic bass-line straight from the bowels of some swing-less, impossible to program 80's sequencer. Everything about this record improves with a drop in speed - it's both heavier and less cheesy, it's timbres more delicate, less obviously constructed from a 'Massive' preset. I could be being hard on the original - its genre is so far from my cup of tea that its virtually Horlicks (does that work? Probably not). The fact remains however, that it is a far superior record with a nice bit of jaunt.

This is the moment where I would normally provide a link.. however such is the obscurity of this catch, that I can find literally nothing about it online - it's record label has closed down, the artist has a soundcloud page but has not uploaded any music to it, and the record is not held by a single online distributor in any form. In absence of any audio or visual addendums to the Logan Systems EP, I will leave you instead with the next best thing - a poster from the similarly epithetic Logans Run:

Image result for logans run