Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Orbital Electro Mix

To be honest, Chime and Belfast aside, I never really had much time for Orbital. However they are veterans of the scene and redeemed themselves a little bit by throwing down this classic electro mix on 6 Music a couple of weeks ago:

Download here:


Shannon - Let The Music Play
Newcleus - Automan
Kid Frost - Rough Cut
Roxanne Shante - Bite This
Hashim - We're Rocking This Place
Imperial Brothers - We Come To Rock
Afrika Bambaatta - Planet Rock
RSW - The Phantom
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Riot In Lagos

Here's a robot:

Still Going........

Still Going: Still Going Theme (With some dodgy visuals)


Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Straight out of Bonafide....


Born With Teeth


Out of Manchester on the ATIC label, Crowhead is the debut long player from the artist formerly known as DJ Woody, alumni of Grand Central Records-the discerning head nodders label of choice at the back end of the Nineties.

Having returned to his roots to work with fellow Grand City associate Aim, ‘Born with Teeth’ admirably captures the GC vibe of slick beats, liberal use of melody and guests from roaming US rapper.

Kicking off with an uplifting bass driven melodic vibe, that almost recalls the sun rising over the Hacienda at dawn, opening track‘ECM’ does a great job in harnessing the Manc roots of the team This record is far from a retro chill-out trip however as it soon heads straight into the clipped beats and expertly delivered rhymes of ‘The Bends’, boosted by Niko dropping his chromatic flow.

From there in its a real music lovers delight, with the instrumental ‘Until You’re Dead’ delivering an almost perfect blend of straight up beats, samples and horns of doom, treading the line carefully between the funkier end of breaks and indulgent beat nodding.

Referencing hip- hop so heavily in what is essentially a modern UK electronic album is a difficult juggling act in itself. However rather than deferring to the default ATCQ position of shuffling beats and jazz samples employed by those trying to distance themselves from the bling; Crowhead takes the road less travelled by throwing a hefty slice of genuine experimentation into the pot.

This cross genre approach is never better than penultimate track ‘Super 8 Bit Disco’, a fucked up Atari bleep disco joint that manages to cram a reference to everything radical about growing up in inner-city UK in to four and a half minutes..

Unless I’m proved very wrong (it happens) then Crowhead is never going to bother the charts, or scoop a MOBO, and maybe it’s all the better for it. Having the breathing space of being detached from scenes and scene-makers seems to have given Crowhead time to breathe. A solid album, from a solid team- catch the crow before it flies.

Toby Hemming

Down and Out with Toddla T

Interview I did last week for Bonafide with Bassboy Toddla T.

With his mixture of gruff Yorkshire burr mixed with rude boy patois, on first hearing Sheffield boy wonder Toddla T, it’s easy to dismiss him as a Northern Westwood wannabee. But this 23 year old club kid from Sheffield has enjoyed a meteoric rise from underage backroom rave gopher to toast of the scene, strictly on the back of his unique take on a contemporary British genre-hopping dance pop sound.

With Toddla about to drop the latest mix on the reliably consistent Fabric live series, home to such unshakable legends such as Grooverider, Tayo and Bukem, its seems he has finally been handed the official seal of approval.

Speaking to him down the phone from Fabrics’ London offices, where he was unashamedly “checking out the leather sofas and the inside of the fridge, “ I spoke to the boy himself about his first high profile mix CD and the background that has made him threw name to drop this summer for leftfield dancefloor aficionados.

“I’m loving where I am man, I came to playing beats through listening to a lot of US rap music and reggae as a kid. We used to go to these little parties, nothing flash just a few speakers and a shit load of bass. That where I learnt what I’m doing now. It wasn’t till later that my man hooked me up with house and techno, but to me it’s all the same, all about moving the crowd innit?”

The Fabric mix is a testament to this streetwise attitude showcasing the breadth of his own productions mixed with the cream of the underground. The 21 track mix is also scattered with a magnificent selection of collaborations, including a liberal selection with ‘red hot right now’ grime poster boy Skream. “Yeah I’ve know Skream for a few years now, his sound is killing it, I’m well glad that boys got the props he deserves and I definitely going to be doing more with him in the future.”

Toddla’s trademark sound is a bass driven mash with a bit of grime and DnB thrown in for good measure, but it’s the West Indian influence that really holds the whole thing together. From Ragga chatting to the sonic textures of his own productions, his sound puts a focus on that key ingredient, the deep dirty bassline. “Its funny really because I think reggae gets overlooked when people talk about electronic music. There are some bat cuts out there that were way ahead of their times, loads of Jamaican producers were using synths and computers way before anyone else, so it aint anything special to me. If I’m spinning and I drop a ragga tune next to a grime or techno cut, as long as it works I aint bothered where it comes from .“

It’s this attitude and passion for his roots that makes Toddla stand out from the legions of his esoteric peers. There is certainly a different texture and flow to both is DJing and productions that marks him out from those schooled in the world of straight up 4/;4 music. Listen for example to Manabadman, his debut single featuring the voice of Serocee. Whilst it packs a heavy punch for the floor, the production style is reminiscent of a cyber version of rave pioneers Shut up and Dance, another crew who came to house music from sounds systems and eschewed traditional club music to plant the seeds for what became drum and bass.

Toddla’s style is definitely something else, and refreshingly future focussed, albeit with a healthy regard for the past. So what’s next for him, planned world domination perhaps? “I dunno man I’m just out there doing what I do, I’m lucky in that I’ve got the best job in the world playing my tunes and Im happy people pick up on it. I’ve just started my Radio 1 show, and with this mix dropping I’m pretty happy about where I am at the moment to be honest. “

Speaking to Toddla T is a refreshing insight into the possibilities today’s pick and grab culture could provide. Maybe through the democratisation of music, kids like Toddla may be able to fulfil the promise that acid house and punk failed to deliver. The idea of real genre crossing, picked from all the recorded music ever made is an exciting and very real possibility. For now he’s busy just starting the party. But if they carry on dreaming, its kids like this that might hold the key to the next big thing, and that’s something certainly worth watching out for.

Toby Hemming