Tuesday, 30 June 2009

It's Great When Your Straight

All this sunshine puts me in a real Balearic mood, so whilst I pad off in my espadrilles for another cold San Miguel, I'll share this mix from a young DJ by the name of Phillip Harvey. Check him out ont Facebook here. Contradicting my earlier thoughts on Indie, this is a little different to my usual fodder.

The original spirit of Balearic encompased dance, pop, hip hop rock and all points in beween, so I thought this excellent mix was a fitting tribute.

Over to Philip Harvey for the intro whilst I pull up a sun lounger.....

"So here's the latest effort. It's called 'The Ind-iza Sunset Terrace Mix' and as the title suggests, was inspired by an open roofed Ibizan terrace (but using indie artists as opposed to dance).

It's been a while in the making. 73 minutes, 38 tracks and 30 years of music. There were endless hours of editing, chopping, looping and tempo-anchoring of tunes. And that's before mixing them together. Then it was quite a task seeing what worked and what didn't, taking tunes out and adding new ones until I was satisfied the remit had been answered.

It's something of a concept mix. The idea is that it's for an Ibizan terrace as the sun is going down. Except only using indie artists (with a couple of exceptions). So picking the playlist was incredibly difficult as I was trying to create a very specific atmosphere. And there isn't really indie music out there made with this kind of atmosphere in mind. It had to be stuff you could dance to but not party music, epic and optimistic but melancholy at the same time.

Download it here:

• Intro
- Placebo 'Passive Agressive' (Brothers In Rhythm Remix)
- TV On the Radio 'Staring at the Sun'
- Zoot Woman 'Saturation'
• M83 'Couleurs'
- (The Killers 'When You Were Young' (Acapella))
• Animal Collective 'My Girls'
- (Animal Collective 'My Girls' (Gigamesh Proper House Remix))
• Simple Minds 'Theme for Great Cities'
- (Hard-Fi 'Hard to Beat' (Axwell Mix))
• MGMT 'Kids'
• Talking Heads 'Once In a Lifetime' (Funk Fusion Remix)
• Friendly Fires 'Skeleton Boy' (Air France Remix)
• VHS Or Beta 'Alive'
• Vampire Weekend 'The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Chromeo Remix)
- (The Holloways 'Generator')
• Planet Funk 'Chase the Sun'
• Cut Copy 'Out There On the Ice'
• The Whip 'Sister Siam'
• Roxy Music 'Angel Eyes' (Extended Mix)
• Kings of Leon 'Be Somebody'
• Mystery Jets 'Half In Love With Elizabeth' (Delorean Remix)
• Arcade Fire 'No Cars Go'
• Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman
• Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman (Cousin Cole)
• New Young Pony Club 'The Bomb (Kaos Disco Bomb Extended Dub)
- (Foals 'Like Swimming')
- (Peter, Bjorn & John 'Young Folks' feat. Victoria Bergsman (Punks Jump Up Mix
• Foals 'Olympic Airways'
• Bloc Party 'I Still Remember'
• Morrissey 'Suedehead'
• Joy Division 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'
• Joy Division 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (Arthur Baker Remix)
• M83 'We Own the Sky'
- (Man Like Me 'London Town' (Doorly's Cockney Wideboy Remix))
• Spiritualized vs the Beach Boys 'Wouldn't It Be Ecstasy'
• Jack Peñate 'Tonight's Today' (Extended Mix)
• Doves 'There Goes the Fear' (U.N.K.L.E. Remix)
• DJ Shadow 'Blood On the Motorway'
- (Snow Patrol 'Shut Your Eyes'

Friday, 26 June 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

So Michael Jackson is gone. I’ve seen plenty of comment about this, some positive some down right stupid. However whatever you say, Jackson changed the face of popular music beyond recognition. Quite aside from practically inventing the music video genre, breaking MTV and propping up Motown, Jackson alongside Quincy Jones moved black music into the heart of pop, creating a legacy that undermines all but the blandest, whitest of today’s music. Before Thriller, there was soul, funk, and disco and then there was every other type of music, including pop. By exhibiting a healthy disregard for genre, Jackson quite literally defined his music as what was to be known as pop, a decision that resonates with almost everything of any note since.
Easily as influential as the Beatles, Velvets or any other rock ‘n roll band, Jackson the man may have been a questionable proposition, but his music lives on….


Michael Jackson Tribute Mix by DJ Premier

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

DJ Vadim_ U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun

DJ Vadim first entered the consciousness through the Ninja Tunes camp and a definite association with trip hop, a genre so steeped in the nineties I last saw it down the Blue note sporting Carharrt jeans and Nike Huaraches.

Judging by the press release, time has not been kind to Vadim, encountering as he has a string of personal misadventures, including mass bereavement and ocular melanoma (eye cancer). Musically, however this purple patch seems to have invigorated the artist formerly known as Russia favourite cut n paste hero (probably)

Whilst being rather unsure of it role, this album showcases admirably Vadim exemplary production skills, and love for the bass driven end of black music in all its forms.

Schizophrenically switching styles from roots reggae to straight up breaks, via clipped hip hop and soul, the album meanders ingeniously but tastefully across a myriad of musical styles.

Opening with the laidback guitar led ‘Soldier’, lets the album down as the righteous roots vibe recalls a dozen student gaffs thick with the smell of cheap draw. The album soon moves into darker territory with the Kraftwerk meets Jammy’s uptown vibe of ‘Imaginashun’ (and yes this IS a good thing.) Digital dub as genre is about as fashionable as Piers Morgan, but Vadim carries it well, keeping tight to the groove with falling off into noodling territory.

Things get interesting again later on with the instrumental goodness of ‘Game tight’ beautifully sampling ‘Nadia’s Theme’ also used by a certain Miss J Blige, and the bouncy soulful closing jam ‘Hidden Treasure’, what’s known as a ‘banger’ and definitely the highlight of the record.

A few dodgy vocal performances aside, this is a real summer party record, Vadim has managed to throw off the clichés of his past and overcome his personal demons to create, not quite a masterpiece, but certainly a worthy record. Worth Checking.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Pop Art ?

Just cant fault this, came across these superb classic albums as Pelican books on Flickr

Anybody with a love for classic nineties albums and cheap paperback (isn't that everyone?) should take a look.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Ze30: ZE Records 1979-2009

Disco, it seems is no longer the dirty word it was. Once the nemisis of the mass of mainstream punters hardwired by the hideous rewriting of the seventies that pushed the image of tacky suburban nightclubs and cheap polyester suits, to those who had evolved a groove, disco has always been another slightly truncated form of funk and soul. Indeed to the house music generation, in a way it embodies a more authentic view of four to the floor hedonism.

To some this was always the case, and to two New York immigrants, one the son of a wealthy British retail dynasty (Mothercare no less!) the other a transient French punk rocker, Disco was just another party of a party mix, part of a collage of sounds that sounded great at two o’clock in a steamy basement club. It was these two guys, Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban who in 1977 created ZE records, a seminal New York ‘No Wave’ label that mixed the stripped down experimental bassline disco being championed by the likes of Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage, with the spiky indigenous punk being created in the wake of the Ramones and New York Dolls.

More that just a record label, ZE came to embody the spirit of the anything as long as you can dance to it, musical policy of NY clubs like The Roxy where the ice cold minimalism of Kraftwerk, could be heard next to bad ass funk from James Brown mixed in with the jerky rock n roll of Talking Heads. And it was this mix and match attitude tied together with a funky bassline, that steered ZE to become the influential downtown label of the late 70’s early 80’s.

Soon the label boasted an impressive roster of the cream of the twisted underground signing up such new talent as James White and the Blacks, Was (Not Was), Kid Creole and the Coconuts, alongside more established performers including John Cale and Suicide.

ZE 30 is a timely release from reissue label par excellence Strut that collates some of the finer, funkier and frankly weirder moments from the labels history. The 14 track selection stretches from to good times dancefloor classic ‘Tell Me That I’m Dreaming’ from Was not Was, to Avant-garde industrial experimentation from Suicide with ‘Dream Baby Dream.’

It’s easy with these label perspectives, to be willfully obscure in order to gain some uber-hip upper hand, but Strut tread a fine line here of showcasing the astonishing breadth of material on the album with some genuine floor fillers. The aforementioned Paradise garage sound is represented by Larry Levan weighing with his stripped back druggy mix of Kid Creoles demolition of Caribbean politics, characterized by a rush of syncopated handclaps, whilst the more white boy punk sound can be heard in Alan Vegas willfully obscure techno rockabilly ‘Juke Box Baby’

The slickly marketed music industry of the last two decades has been quick to compartmentalize and pigeonholes sounds and scenes to create highly lucrative ‘units’ meanwhile missing the point of the soul of pop, a soul based on crossover and masterful accidents. Its only with the democratization of content bought about by the internet that things are starting to change,, and its into this musical palette that the far out low down sounds of ZE nestle nicely.