A couple more records

The Age Of Selfishness : Wakako’ka (Alex Atias + Oren Walters – house one side, broken the other)

Inverse Cinematics : Shoot The Pianist (See Danny’s review from last week)

Ennio Morricone : Remixes Volume 1 (Everyone and their mom on the remix doodies)

Luke Vibert : YosepH (first Vibert I’ve bought since Tally Ho!)

Violator Featuring A Tribe Called Quest And Erykah Badu : I C U (Doin’ It) (can’t wait for the album, sounding in good form, if with a bit more emphasis on prototypical hip hop choruses)

Various Artists : Jazz Bizniz 3 Reworks EP (can’t remember what this one’s all about – seem to recall it was quite tasty)

Infinity Plus One : Rhythmic Unison / Looking Like U Sound AAAAAAACCCCCCCIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDD!!!

Fabric rant, Fabric Birthday and other online shenanigans

Posted a huge rant to [313] about big club deaths the other night, then followed it up by going to a big club last night. Here’s the story:

Speaking as an outsider, I think the bigger clubs are suffering from their own weight these days, which in my mind is a good thing since most underground DJs will never step up in a big space. With the wealth of tunes and DJs around now, it’s no wonder larger clubs book who they do, and who can really blame them? They are there to support a larger audience, give people what they want, etc. Unfortunately, very few of those larger clubs have found a way (or maybe just the balls + insight) to sustain themselves while appeasing an audience that come for what they know, and are sick of it at once (as illustrated by The Orbit).

To this end, I think it is amazing the kind of lineups Fabric pulls in while constantly filling to way beyond capacity. They push boundaries much further than The End (which also fills regularly) on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, the place has a somewhat deserved reputation for pulling in a load of wankers, and even more unfortunately, the DJs who spin there rarely extend themselves in that venue. Rob Hood played a great set on my birthday, but it wasn’t his most adventurous outing. Francois K and Jeff Mills each played good sets late last year but nowhere near their best. Very few performers really have enough faith in that audience to say ‘f*ck it’. I can think of three nights in the last year when I got that treat, and on each occasion the crowd responded more than usual. One was Fabrice Lig opening up (for nearly four hours I think), earlier this year. Another was Octave One live (Stacey Pullen followed with wank) while the Jedi Knights held it down all night in the 3rd room for six hours. The third was Technasia live (following Dave Angel, who sucked).

Basically, as much as I would like to place the blame on hugeness, I think most of them have dug their own graves through complacent bookings rather than some inherent flaw in being large (as Fabric illustrates), and what dissapoints me most is that when artists who play both medium and large venues get a chance at bigger spaces with a good agenda, they rarely capitalize on the opportunity. Fabric could be such an amazing nexus, but most DJs aren’t willing to take a chance there. I think with few exceptions the performers are equally to blame. Just look at Fabric’s lineup for the next month and tell me it shouldn’t kill: http://www.fabriclondon.com I’d be surprised if most of those DJs live up to their potential though.

Francois K may be the prime example of this. He’s deveoping quite a reputation for playing brilliant eclectic sets where he has faith in the crowd, and really flacid effects-laden techno when he doesn’t. As a result, it further separates the small and large audiences. This ‘knowing your audience’ thing has gone way too far… When a DJ who has 25 years under his belt can stun his crowd one weekend and deaden them the next, the formula has failed. This is why I’m seeing him on a boat tomorrow, and couldn’t care less about his performance at Fabric next weekend, even though for once, Fabric is cheaper and it has the added bonus of Aukufen.

So I was saying I thought this was a good thing. Maybe I don’t really, but given that I don’t believe things will change, I’d rather just get to see who I want where I know they will actually play good music. And while I really hope Fabric’s amazing lineups continue, I think the DJs need to do a lot to bring the heads back into those spaces.

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That was the rant. Here’s last night’s bit:

Further to my rant, I attended Fabric’s birthday party tonight after another wicked Bleep (Emile/Plant 43 played a very nice set). Got there around 12:30 – line around the block. I wouldn’t have gone unless I was lucky enough to get guestlist via a friend, but that is what typically makes it enjoyable. I usually hate that crap – but @ Fabric you normally have a bit of a reprieve up there, with a great view of the dancefloor and no hassle.

However, it was so unbelievably rammed (I’d estimate nearly 200 people over capacity) that there was a 15-20 minute wait for drinks up there and you could hardly even move in that ‘exclusive’ space. There must’ve been *at least* 250 ‘VIPs’. To state the obvious, it was even more packed downstairs. At 3:15 LFO live came on, and it was a perpetual fight just to stay put, about 10 deep from
the stage. At one point, some f*cker barged up behind me and said ‘come on – give us some space’, so I turned around and screamed ‘THERE IS NO F*CKING SPACE’! It was rather annoying. Nothing new for Fabric but amplified beyond the usual levels of chaos.

Anyway… LFO live was not so much ‘live’, as it was a bizarre hybrid of DJing and live performance. It was fantastic though. He started out with some proper, reminiscent-of-mid-’90s-Mark-Bell-minimalism, which switched back and forth between that and his newer brand of noise-coated electro, mixed with a healthy dose of jack. His 2nd or 3rd track (if you could call it that – the whole thing was seamless and integrated over long periods) was a really varied minimal techno track that very well could have been his, but on the 7th and 8th beat of every few bars the whole track would drop out and that LFO sub bass sound from ‘LFO’ kicked in. Seriously mind-bending. A few minutes later he was well into some other song and the primary synth line from ‘LFO’ kicked in. This kept up for a while, with special emphasis on the Chicago jack, then about 30 minutes in he got really into noisey IDMish electro territory, then came back out into a switch back and forth between that and electro stage, and then suddenly it was over after 45 minutes. Very sudden. He played a couple tracks off the new album along the way as well.

So… we ran over to the other room to catch the last 1/2-hour of Villalobos (through some feat of unbelievably crappy scheduling, LFO was 3:15-4:15 and Villalobos was 3:30-4:30 in the other room). WTF??? Anyway, when we got in he was playing this really crappy electro song, but after that he settled into a very Chicago-sounding Perlon style for most of his last 1/2-hour, which really hit home. Very nice conclusion! I will make a point of finding him again. Then I left well before the 10am finish.

In the end, I came out feeling like it was a great night, despite the even fuller and wankier crowd than normal. I guess if you’re seeing something once in a lifetime like LFO live, you make do with an annoying surrounding. I think that explains a lot of why a club like Fabric can maintain.

Whistleboat

I’ve had a couple of hours to digest what happened. First and foremost, amazing fucking boat, and amazing fucking crowd! Seriously up for it throughout!

2nd, FK did not quite live up to my expectations, which were quite high. There was nothing wrong with his set per se, but somehow it lacked a cohesive direction and that really substantial momentum that he can generate. This is not to say there weren’t unbelieveably energetic parts, but he never sustained it. In this instance, his impulse to switch things up may have hindered him, because eventually I just wanted him to hit a house groove and run with it (which he did at the end). Maybe I’m just a pussy though…

3rd, after discussing it a bit, and thinking back on my activities throughout the night, I realized that I danced nearly the entire fucking time once I got on the dancefloor, that it was one of the best dancefloors I’ve ever been on in terms of communal feeling, and the whole damn party was just so much fun! Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen him, because it was a really fantastic voyage in every respect.

He played a load of house of all sorts (the aptly selected Whistle Song sounded great early), the DK edit of Strings of Life nearly sunk the fucker, followed by Tres Demented which kept it up. Beyond that the general theme was a la Body & Soul – east coast garage anthems and disco/funk/rarity smatterings in between. The selections really were impressive – nothing canned about this, just not quite what I’d built it up to be, and not quite on a par with his Deep Space performance in May. Still worth every penny and then some. The assembled cast and crew made it a night to remember.

A sneak preview of sorts

Because I can’t be assed to SPAM the world at this hour, you, yes you faithful reader, have the privilige of downloading the newly uploaded archive of my Samurai mix. Welcome to [email protected]. Don’t forget to tip the attendant in the john!

My Remix of Sean Deason’s The Shit

It occured to me today that I haven’t yet mentioned that my remix of Sean Deason’s The Shit is finally getting released on December 7th, over a year after completion! I’m very happy about this despite the wait and anguished wonder about whether or not it would ever happen. If you want to give the track a listen, it is available for download from here. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think, especially if you don’t like it!

October Top 10 + Reviews

1. Freedom Soundz Feat. Vanessa Freeman – Feelings EP – Nepenta Promo

2. RSL – Wesley Music – Player

3. Pepe Bradock & Michelle Weeks – Distorted Echoes – KIF

4. Truby Trio – Universal Love (Âme Remix) – Compost

5. Stateless- Leave Me Now (Brooks Remix) – Freerange

6. Only Child featuring Amp Fiddler – U Bring Me Vibes – Grand Central

7. John Tejada – The Toiling of Idle Hands – Immigrant

8. John Arnold with Amp Fiddler – Get Yourself Together / I Can Be (inc Joshua / Spacek Remixes) – Ubiquity

9. LFO – Sheath – Warp

10. 32 Project – The Root Of World – Ibadan

11. I haven’t cracked open the Jaylib album yet, but I bet it deserves an honourable mention.

As you’ve probably noticed I’ve bought a ridiculous number of records recently, so I figured I should share with you the cream of the crop. For starters, there are two new John Tejada albums out as of last week (or at least that’s when I found them). I just mixed through the entirety of each, so my impressions may not be 100% accurate, having only heard them once, and being in a hurry to get to other stuff, I found myself in the mix most of the time.

Anyway… the first, with Arian Leviste is on Playhouse, ‘Fairfax Sake’. Slightly clicky in places with those Tejada chords you’d expect. Much more techno than most Playhouse material. Some of it doesn’t quite elevate to the levels I’d hope for, but the whole thing is solid throughout. Not a weak track on it really, but no single track stood out high above the rest.

The second, ‘The Toiling of Idle Hands’ on Immigrant, is quite varied and showcases a good number of his talents. The whole thing is dance floor playable, but it covers a healthy range from broken techno to straight up Detroit sh*t (or at least his L.A. variant thereof). Having not heard his album on A13, but always having ranked ‘The Matrix of Us’ at the top of his discog, I’d have to rate this right beside it at a glance, if not covering as much downtempo stuff. The 4th, 7th and 8th tracks on this are really really nice but it all holds together as a proper techno album – a rarity at that.

While I’m on the topic, the latest Domu + Volcov ‘Last of the Great Apes’ on Residual is really freaked out broken techno, and includes a crazy Titonton mix, with his beats at their funkiest. Three really solid tracks on this, and one that didn’t particular affect me. And while on this topic, the latest Titonton ‘Raunchy’ is quite nice, if not his most groundbreaking work. It reminds me of his track on the Soul in Motion comp (maybe it was called ‘Anticipation’???), but with beats that kick throughout.

Some of the other new purchases that have really been doing it for me:

Headspace 3 sampler – I don’t think this is terribly new, but it’s a great representation of Europe’s take on Detroit. Fabrice Lig and Arne Weinberg’s tracks stand out to me, but all four are really nice. Remind me to get these EPs!

Techno is back! 🙂

Only Child – U Bring Me Vibes – Grand Central: Features Amp Fiddler on vocals and keys, with two remixes from DSL (of Chili Funk fame), and another from Mantis Recordings. Each of the remixes adds a new twist, but the original holds it all together best for me. If you like Amp Fiddler, this is pretty much a must in my mind.

John Arnold with Amp Fiddler – Get Yourself Together / I Can Be ( inc Joshua / Spacek Remixes ) – Ubiquity: Recently reviewed here to death, so I won’t go into a lot of detail other than echoing the other sentiments. Each remix is great, and the originals are as good as you’d expect from this duo. I still haven’t had a chance to take in the full John Arnold album yet b/c I want to devote the attention to it that it deserves.

Stateless- Leave Me Now ( inc Swell Session / Brooks Remixes ) – Freerange: I really like the Stateless album ‘Art of No State’, and it sort of surprises me that I haven’t seen more discussion of it anywhere (not necessarily here). The Brooks remix on this adds a bouncy galloping beat that kind of reminds me of some of Thomas Fehlmann’s more recent beat work, with sparse sounds and melodies that don’t interfere with the amazing, huge airy vocal. It also sounds to me as though he’s altered the delivery of the vocals pretty substantially in order to fit it into his rearrangement. It works really well. This is another excellent remix from Brooks. I think I like his heavily vocal stuff best of his work, even if all if it is excellent.

Pepe Bradock & Michelle Weeks – Distorted Echoes – KIF: I know I’m beating a dead horse, but this is fantastic. I’m sure it will be warming dance floors through the new year. Definitely makes the top 20 of 2003, without a doubt.

Freedom Soundz Feat. Vanessa Freeman – Feelings EP – Nepenta Promo: Alex Attias certainly has a way with vocals. This may be the best record of my recent purchases. Very hard to classify – perhaps ‘Broken House’? Although that description may not do justice to the prototypical West London synth line that ties this all together. It’s one of those really crafty arrangements that gives you the counter before the melody, and shifts the puzzle pieces throughout. The primary synth line is constantly developing, and the vocal is so sweet and powerful. Everything fits together like a dream on this record. It even has thematic beats, where the vocals match what the music does. I completely geek for that stuff. 8) The B side is also very nice. Another one for the top 20.

Truby Trio – Universal Love (Âme Remix ) – Compost: I don’t often find myself in the JCR camp. Really enjoy the stuff but it doesn’t often wind up on my platters, so I tend to avoid. This Âme remix is fantastic though, and quite unlike what you’d expect. A tightly rhythmic male vocal over detuned Detroit chords and a sparse beat. It sounds more like Pepe Bradock than Compost stuff. This is gonna destroy some dance floor.

32 Project – The Root Of World – Ibadan: Hiroshi Watanabe on Ibadan! Sounds odd for sure, but when you put it on it makes sense. Strongly reminiscent of Wayne Gardiner or Larry Heard, but still distinctly Tread(ed). This is lush.

LFO – Sheath – Warp: Some of the first side of this record is a bit noisey for my taste these days. Certainly not bad, but doesn’t really excite me much. This isn’t as revolutionary as I’d expected from my drunken ½ memories of ATP, but still a very solid return to writing for Mr. Bell. I think this will be a grower too. There are at least three or four tracks that really hit home, especially towards the end of the album.

RSL – Wesley Music – Player: As featured on and blown up by Gilles Petersen this Spring, this is as anthemic as they come. I finally found my copy a few months after release when Piccadilly became the benefactor of a distributor find. And it sounds like something rescued from a vault, locked up for 25 years. Uplifting in the best way, and dripping with funk, this is completely essential, and is already hard to find due to the Petersen hype. If you see it buy it. Pure funk. The B side is also great, adding a hip hop edge, subtracting the vocals. Manchester seems to have a ton of great creative activity at the moment. This is another certainty for the top 20.

Back to those new tunes now…

Mo’ new chunes

John Arnold : Get Yourself Together / I Can Be (with Amp Fiddler, this is toooo good)

John Arnold : Neighborhood Science

John Tejada. Arian Leviste : Fairfax Sake

John Tejada : The Toiling Of Idle Hands

Pepe Bradock & Michelle Weeks : Distorted Echoes (this is easilly one of his best. gorgeous)

RSL : Wesley Music (this is sooooooooooooooooo good)

Trouble Men feat Colonel Abrams : Underground Ep (this is not so good doh)

Stateless : Leave Me Now ( inc Swell Session / Brooks Remixes ) (this is toooo good)

Various : Harry The Bastard presents Club H vol 2 (includes D. May Sueno Latino remix!)

Atjazz : Its Complete ( inc mixes by Chateau Flight / Uschi Classen)