Thursday, 23 September 2010

Surgeon: fabric 53

Bonafide Zine

Fabric 53

If recent alleged reports of administration are to be believed, clubbing stalwart Fabric may be drawing its final breath as London club land goes even deeper underground (Ed, fortunately this is no longer the case).

It was the rise of the ‘Super Club’ that buried the final nail in the corpse of acid house. Fabric however always remained a beacon of hope amongst the larger-scale clubs, demonstrating a unique and refreshing take on heads down twisted dancing. And this instalment in the legendary mix series is a real testament to that profound take on dance music culture.

Surgeon has bobbed and weaved his way through the underbelly of raving for over a decade with his sets becoming synonymous withy those who prefer the hedonistic rather than chin-stroking side of what was once known as ‘real techno’. Compromising a strong 4/4 bottom end with a range of instrumental electronic textures throughout, the breath taking bone-shaking journey takes in everything from the classic Detroit sounds of Robert Hood and Luke Slater’s Planetary assault Systems, through to the minimal Dubstep of Appleblim and even crazy distorted hip-hop from Starkey and Rustie.

It’s not easy listening, but that’s not the point; however it is uncompromising and ultimately a lot of fun, which is.
If it’s a hard night on the tiles, sound tracked by a man who can justifiably wear the title of legend you are looking for- this is the ultimate mix.

Toby Hemming

The Grid Flotation: Prin Thomas Remix

The Grid: Floatation - Prins Thomas Remix by RichardNorris

Thursday, 16 September 2010

G.I. Disco

GI Disco


GI Disco is a tenuously linked – but very high quality – comp from BBE that purports to chart the legacy of visiting American GIs in West Germany during the late 70s and early 80s. To a country hooked on Euro-pop and hard rock, the appearance of Afro-American soldiers brought to the nightclubs and airways a healthy and much needed dose of NY disco, funk and boogie.Most fans will already have the majority of these cuts in their collection, leaning as it does solidly towards the dancefloor rather than willful obscurity. But if you think disco means drunken sales reps shimmying to KC And The Sunshine Band, there could be worse places to start discovering the joys of ‘real’ disco music.Opening track Rumors by Times Social club defines well the music of this era, as disco embraced technology and moved away from the media spotlight creating a heavier underground groove. Many people may be familiar with Freeze’s IOU, but it’s the darker dancefloor sound of The O’Jays with Put Our Heads Together, and particularly Surface vamping it up with Falling In Love that really make the grade here.As a collection of classic tracks, the uninitiated could do a lot worse than seek this tightly curated compilation out as a window into the roots of today’s contemporary dancefloor music of all genres. A high velocity package from start to finish, GI Disco is a worthy and very enjoyable comp if not particularly innovative in approach – definitely one for any collection lacking the groove.TOBY HEMMING

Monday, 2 August 2010

Because I Can

Lovely old school train set from DevilMaycare on Flickr

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Back on the review game at Three D World

New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975(Strut/Inertia)

The ever reliable Strut records continue to mine the crates for another impeccably presented history lesson in world grooves. Sitting at the place where world music meets party music, this is the latest in a long line of so-called ‘undiscovered’ masterpieces. Vibraphone and keyboard player Mulatu Astatke left his native Ethiopia in the 60s, eventually finding himself in the hot bed of emerging contemporary jazz scenes of London and New York. This compilation is a testament to the first African musician to combine traditional music with the freeform grooves of the jazz world and a great statesman of modern music. For most people the idea of a world music/jazz fusion invokes images of over studious chinstroking muso buffs., but this lands on the right side of funky, applying intelligent melodies to a strangely appealing bass-led groove. And as with all Strut releases the attention to detail in packaging and liner notes make this an essential purchase.

Toby Hemming


Shoes your Illusion I & II(Shoes Recordings/Inertia)

Are re-edits really just the preserve of music fans with little discernible musical talent, but a working knowledge of pro tools? Or are they in fact part of a rich musical tradition taking in the earliest dancefloor pioneers searching for a way to make the record just that little bit funkier? This comp from the shadowy Shoes Crew is in fact a cut above the traditional formula of extending the intro and stringing the breakdowns out a bit. Shoes your Illusion is a double album of unashamed funk and soul standards, each given a subtle but intelligent work-over to create more than the sum of the parts. To tackle a set of classics of this calibre and come out on top is no mean feat, and the Shoes crew re arrange classics such as Bitches Brew and Why Can’t we Live Together to admirable effect. It’s a great way to rediscover your favourite songs, or for the uninitiated the perfect introduction to your musical heritage, highly recommended.

Toby Hemming

Hey, what's that sound: Moog synthesisers

Brilliant Article on Moog (that's pronounced Mogue by the way) Synths from The Guardian

Technically ingenious and historically significant, Moogs ooze character with a sound that can be kitsch – or pulverising

David McNamee, Monday 2 August 2010

In the Moog ... Dr Robert with his iconic synthesiser in 1970. Photograph: Hilton Archive/Getty Images/Jack Robinson

What are they? The most iconic synthesisers of all time. FACT.

Who uses them? Pretty much anyone with an interest in electronic music will have had a dalliance with a Moog at some point, so enduring is their legacy and appeal. But it was Walter (later Wendy) Carlos who first brought attention to Moog and synthesisers in general with the landmark Switched-On Bach album in 1968. Here's a Spotify playlist of other Moog heroes.

How do they work? Dr Robert Moog's great innovation was voltage control. Previous attempts at synthesiser-type instruments, such as the Hammond Novachord or the hulking United States Air Force-constructed RCA Mark II, generated sound using hundreds of individual vacuum tubes. But the invention of the transistor prompted electrician Moog to consider using voltage to control the frequency of an oscillator (which generates pitch) as well as loudness. By using basic increments of one volt per octave change of pitch, Moog was able to make simple circuits using everyday components. His 1964 paper Voltage-Controlled Music Modules – which initially proposed the idea – invented the analogue synth as we know it.

Where do they come from? At 14, entranced by Clara Rockmore, Bob Moog made his first theremin. Years later one of Moog's theremins would fall into the hands of the godfather of electronic music, Raymond Scott, who invited the young electrician to see how he was using it. Moog's theremin had been gutted, its innards wired up into a keyboard-controlled contraption Scott called the Clavivox, which had a profound influence on Moog. He continued to build circuits for Scott's technology throughout the 50s, and in 1964 debuted his first Moog modular synthesiser.

Comprising a potentially infinite array of oscillators, filters, noise generators, ring modulators, triggers and mixers, linked by telephone exchange-type patch cables, and played using joysticks, pedals, ribbon controllers and keyboards, the modular Moogs had no interest in replicating existing instruments. They were machines for creating sound that sounded electronic. Massive, fragile and impossible to tune, the modulars were designed and built to order in consultation with high-end consumers, but synthesisers at this point were far out of the price range (and comprehension) of the average musician. This all changed with the launch of the Minimoog in 1970 – a portable, sturdy and powerful keyboard synth designed for concert performances. Tweaked now so that the synthesiser could reliably perform as either a melodic lead or propulsive bass instrument (rather than just as a complex sound-generating machine), the Minimoog changed everything.

Why are they classic? Though technically ingenious and historically significant, what we really love Moogs for is their sound. Synth nerds might rep just as hard for less-hyped gems such as the EMS VCS3, but the Moogs oozed character. Their sound could be quirky, kitsch and cute, or pulverising, but it was always identifiable as Moog.

What's the best ever Moog song? There are so many 70s Moog-pop chart classics. Hot Butter's Popcorn, Space's Magic Fly to name another, Autobahn and Are "Friends" Electric? all rank pretty highly. But in 1977 Giorgio Moroder pulled the voice of God from the void. Everything that isn't the kick drum or Donna Summer are the big-brained dreams of a Moog modular. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you I Feel Love.

Five facts and things

Stop pronouncing Moog with an "ooh". It should rhyme with "vogue". At least that's how Bob Moog chose to pronounce his surname, although the original Dutch variant is something entirely different. The "vogue" pronunciation makes the pun in the Moog Rogue more apparent, but the pun in The Plastic Cow Goes MOOOOOOg sadly redundant.

The pitch control on the Modular Moogs was so shonky because few of Dr Moog's early customers – sound artists, choreographers, and studios interested in electronic sound effects - were interested in playing conventional melody on the instruments, so making the things stay in tune seemed a low priority.

Gary Numan's classic breakthrough, The Pleasure Principle, is almost an album-length advert for the Polymoog. Those beautiful, stark, synth-strings frozen all over the songs is the Polymoog's Vox Humana preset.

After a serious of disasterous changes in ownership, Bob Moog left his own company in 1978. He worked as a consultant on other electronic music innovations such as the Fairlight CMI, and in the 90s manufactured his own theremins and Moogerfooger effects pedals. It wasn't until 2002 that he reacquired the Moog Music name and returned to synths with the Voyager – a well-received update of the Minimoog.

Dr Moog sadly passed away in 2005, at the age of 71. The last synth to bear his creative input was the posthumously released Little Phatty. Moog Music has since made inroads in the guitar market, with the launch of the Moog Guitar in 2008

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Guru vs Run DMC |

R.I.P. Guru, so much said already, but check out this fantastic IV by Frank Broughton from DJ History

In 1993 Gang Starr front-man Guru released his landmark solo album Jazzmatazz on which he collaborated with a series of jazz veterans. The same year, Run DMC staged a come-back tour on the back of their Down With The King album, roping in the hottest producers of the moment to update their signature style. Frank Broughton brought them all together in the offices of Profile Records, with Guru quizzing the Hollis trio about rock riffs, God, the old days rapping in the parks and wearing glasses with no lenses i
Guru vs Run DMC |

Monday, 26 April 2010



Righteous Fists Of Harmony

Funky left-field electronic beat-smith Daedelus last surfaced in 2008, with his Love To Make Music To album.

Heavily influenced by the poppier end of break-beat driven rave scene of 91, Daedelus’ music showcased an originality of style that belied its mass-market influences. Fast forward to 2010, and Daedelus has re appeared on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint, with Righteous Fists of Harmonyshowcasing a totally new introspective and brooding direction. With an artist as maverick as Daedelus , there is no shame in pushing the boundaries of your sound to create a new direction. Indeed the constant desire to innovate is what separates electronic and beat music from the worst of its plodding rock contemporaries.

However in this instance, it’s a shift in focus that is as confusing as it is different. Instead of looking to the heyday of outdoors raving, Daedalus has seemingly immersed himself in a psychedelic haze of stripped back ‘trip-hop’ and slow burning atmospherics. Similar to the introspective route mined by Massive attack over the last decade, the album delivers a slo-mo fusion sound that doesn’t quite work.

Not to say there aren’t some nice touches at work here, such as the dreamy Order Of The Golden Dawn, featuring the shimmering vocals of his wife Laura Darling, or the tense syncopation of Fin De Siècle that creates a tension sadly missing from the rest of the tracks on offer. In fact the majority of the album rolls very smoothly into one tripped out downbeat passage, teetering perilously close to the edge of mediocrity.

Whilst it’s great to see producers like Daedalus stretching their wings, in this instance its a case of too much atmosphere and not enough soul.

Toby Hemming

LCD Soundsystem- Drunk Girls

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Easygroove Live at Kitsch 1990

I wasn't always the mild mannered man I am now, I spent a portion of my youth standing in fields and warehouses around the South West of England. A mile away from the shiny clubs and festivals of today these things were pretty ruff around the edges, and in Easygroove we had our own hero, "come to mash up the place" as they say....

Easygroove Live At Kitsch 1990 - Part 1 by muzza15

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Friday Night at St Andrews

Interview I did last week for Bonafide

Far from being just the big guy in a shower hat behind Eminem, Detroit rapper Bizarre boats a musical legacy to rival even some of today’s more high profile rappers. Ahead of the launch of his solo album, “Friday Night at St Andrews” Bizarre took the time to speak to Bonafide about the hip-hop legacy of his home city, MC Battles and oh yes, the shower hat.

So to kick off, where is St Andrews and what’s so special about Friday Night there? “The name St Andrews refers to a club in downtown Detroit where we all started out. Fridays nights was the dope night, the night where we would all get up and spit our stuff. I started there, D12 started there, Marshall (Eminem) started there.” Is this the club featured in Eight Mile? “Yes the very same, but you know it was a lot madder than that- this place was pretty freaky you know. The people who went there used to look so different. People used to laugh at you for going there.“ So are you trying to catch that vibe on the record? “ Yeah you got it. Hip hop today’s kind of funny you know, people are doing that euro discos stuff and auto tuning all over the place? I think I need to, I got to, bring some of that rawness back, we come from the street and that what we be representing”

For all its post industrial gloom Detroit has consistently produced world beating musical acts across all genres, any reason for this? “Yeah you right, Berry (Gordy) put this place on the map, and then us and also not forgetting my brother Jay Dilla. We stuck in the middle you know? Between New York and the West Coast, you might say that we got the best of both worlds.” Tell me about Jay Dilla, you were working with him when he was relatively unknown? “Yeah, he was a genius flat-out. I love that boy, and I miss him so much, the things he was doing were unbelievable. I know he gets props but he deserved more you know? I think he could have gone on to rule the music world, not just hip hop but every kind of music. I got a loads of is stuff that aint never going to come out, and its raw man you just wouldn’t believe the styles he was capable of.”

So who’s making the music now that Dilla is unfortunately no longer with us? “This record has been produced by local producers, the new kids and the up and coming. I think if we are keeping it street then it’s the kids who are going to make it happen. I have sat around waiting for the phone to call I wanted to offer that same opportunity that I got out a bit further.” No turning to Dre or any of the big boys to get a sure-fire hit then? “If it’s about St. Andrews, it needs to sound raw and it needs to sound live. Every song on this album, I can hit it live, it’s something I can see myself performing.”

And it’s that ability to pick up a mike and genuinely rock the house that seems to lead to where Bizarre is at the moment. “It’s the battles man, the battles are where I’m from and that’s what hip hop means to me personally. I can step up to anybody, and Im pretty sure that I can take them, that’s what this record is about. If you want pop then that’s fine, if you want the real thing then St Andrews is where it’s at.”

It’s refreshing to speak to somebody who has had such a close brush with superstardom and not only lived to tell the tale, but still shows such genuine respect for his roots. Bling culture generally means a rejection of where you are coming from in favour of where you are at, but Bizarre doesn’t feel that way at all. “No man, for me it’s the street and it will always be the street and that just me.” No Hollywood career of perfume range then? “Fuck no; I love the beats too much.” He laughs every so slightly sinisterly down the phone.

As Bizarre’s PR breaks the conversation up to signal another interview, I manage to ask the one question that I have been dying to pose all night. So what’s with the shower hat? “Why not.” he laughs, “I was goofing about in the hotel and it just kind of came to me. I wanna be a bit different you know? Not like all them other rappers. Hell who doesn’t?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Enough of This Rubbish- Some Proper Tunes

Enough of this rubbish- time for some proper heads down party music here:

Originally available as a 90 minute mix given away to everybody who went to legendary Scottish party starters Optimo's Hogmany Party.

Check out the listing...

Optimo - Hogmanay End of the Decade Poptimo Mix

1 - Delkom - Superjack Infusion One
2 - James Curd - We Just Won't Stop
3 - Gyratory System - Yowser Yowser Yowser (An Optimo (Espacio) mix)
4 - Roni Griffith - Spys
5 - Roni Griffith - Desire
6 - Situation - Bulletproof Heart
7 - Retro Grade - Zoid
8 - Fuck Buttons - Sweet Love For Planet Earth (Andrew Weatherall mix)
9 - Ralphi Rosario - You Used To Hold Me (Accapella)
10 - Rebolledo - Guerrero
11 - Levon Vincent - Late Night Jam
12 - Mike Dehnert - Umlaut 2 (Levon Vincent mix)
13 - Ragtyme - I Can't Stay Away (Ron Hardy Mix)
14 - Manicured Noise - Metronome (Cousin Cole mix)
15 - Faze Action - Good Loving
16 - Empire Of The Sun - We Are The People
17 - Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (Late Night Tuff Guy HMC version) 18 - The Beat Club - Security
19 - OMD - Messages (Greg Wilson edit)
20 - Williams - I Feel The Shivering
21 - Cold Cave - Life Magazine (An Optimo (Espacio) mix)
22 - Yam Who - Go Bang!
23 - Elias Rahbani And His Orchestra - Liza (Twitch pitched down version)
24 - Amadou & Mariam - Sabali

Sunday, 7 March 2010

I Love 1988 Tribute Mix

I generally try and avoid these things- smack a bit of "The Greatest Dance Hits Party Ever"
But this from Phil Harvey is a cracker- A1 mixing and a great and rather diverse track selection (didn't think I would ever be bigging up INXS)

Rocking it like 88, let's go.... N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton Mantronix - King of the Beats - Public Enemy - Bring the Noise (Acapella) Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock - It Takes Two Fine Young Cannibals - She Drives Me Crazy INXS - Need You Tonight Yello - The Race A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray Jungle Brothers - I'l...l House You (Acapella) S'Express - Theme from S'Express D-Mob - We Call It Acieed feat. Gary Haisman Inner City - Big Fun Salt-N-Pepa - Push It Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine

Download here: