543 Mix

Since it was a beautiful day in London yesterday, I stayed inside and mixed for three hours – because I’m stupid like that. I remembered to press record for about the last two hours of it, so you’ll be joining a mix in progress should you choose to accept this mission. As you can see from the brevity of the tracklist I let this stuff play out for the most part. Lots of house, some more house, and a few odd bits of other stuff to boot. Mostly newer stuff too. Not my best mixing ever, but nothing too horrendous (I hope you’ll agree) except when the breeze in my flat knocked the needle mid-mix in a place or two. :/ Prepare your hi-speed connection and delete some pr0n from your hard drive, as this is just over 100MB. Still not that perfect mix, but whatevah…

5 4 3

Tracklist:

Isolee – It s About (Lopazz und Casio Casinos Maxi Mix) – Freundinnen

Ramiro Mendes – Angola (Carl Craig’s Mix) – Lusafrica

Pitch Black City featuring Roberta Sweed – Runaway – Mahogani Music

Sun Ra – Saga of Resistance (Theo Parrish Promo Version) – Kindrid Spirits

Blaze – Gloria Muse – Slip n’ Slide

Kunuyuki – Precious Hall – Natural Resource

Walter Jones – All God’s Chilren (Juan Nunez & Little Chris Rmx) – Westbound Music

Passion Dance Orchestra – After the Dance – Inner Music

Soha – Balance – Basic Recordings

Ola Jagun & the Ancestral Rhythms – Odo Oya (The Rebirth Version) – Spiritual Life Music

Osunlade – Rader Du (featuring Wunmi) – Soul Jazz Records

Kemit Sources – An Ka Sein – Isma’a

Rima – This World (12″ Version) – Jazzanova Compost Records

Terrence Parker – Your Love – !K7

Glad Today – Thoughts of You – M-Break Recordings

Atjazz – Dry Red Line – Mantis Recordings

Brooks – Dripping in Gold – Mantis Recordings

House of Gypsies – Sume Sigh Say (Tee’s Ultimate Vocal) – In House Records

Joshua – Hustlin’ – Select Recordings

Headman – It Rough (Chicken Lips Trax Dub) – Gomma

Nubian Mindz – Burning – Twisted Funk

Gotan Project – Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre) (Pepe Bradock Wider Remix) – Ya Basta!

Francois de Roubaix – La Mer est Grande (Carl Craig Remix) – Sido Music

Pub – Surgery – Ampoule Records

I Know I Shouldn’t Have

This was just the stuff that if I hadn’t picked it up now it would be forever gone, so…

Amp Fiddler : Basementality – 12″

Francois De Roubaix : Remixes Vol.1 – 10″

Cesaria Evora : Angola (Carl Craig & Pepe Bradock Remixes) – 12″

I:Cube : Vacuum Jackers – 12″

Rima : This World – 12″

Raphael Saadiq : Sky’s The Limit (AKA “Skyy Can You Feel Me”) – 12″

Somatik : Interaktion – 12″

I picked ’em up. 😉 How could I have said no to two new Carl Craig remixes, even if one of them was a £15 10″?

Sloppy Ass Broken Beat Mix

I did this mix to give an audio accompaniment to a broken beat thread on [313] lately. Have a gander if so inclined. Here’s the disclaimer:

Unfortunately, this mix didn’t turn out like I’d hoped. It’s kinda sloppy in a couple of parts. Hopefully you don’t think any of my mess is too disastrous. I’ve never actually tried to mix an entire set of broken beat stuff before. While I’m usually telling people it’s not *that* hard to mix, I was making that assessment based on including a few songs in a varied mix, but to put together a whole set is an entirely different matter. It’s really difficult. I tried to work it out almost every night this week, but after tonight’s go, I decided I’d accomplished the introductory mission and I didn’t have the energy to try and perfect such a difficult mix (I almost always abandon preconceived mixes). So I figured better to produce something rough than nothing at all…

I’m not totally happy with the breadth of what I covered either, but I really do love all the songs, so hopefully it will be enjoyable on that merit if flawed in other respects. 14 tracks clocking in at 51 minutes (the last track has mysteriously disappeared – think I ran out of disk space while adding maximization). Arghhh… Sorry for the abrupt ending. Doh! Anyway, here it is:

Sloppy Ass Broken Beat Mix

Tracklist:

Domu – The Long Way Up – Neroli

Dapp – First Off (Dub Version) – OMOA Music

Recloose feat. Justin Chapman – Ain’t Changin’ (Extended Mix) – Planet E

Nutmeg – Oscar’s Shed (Rima Re-prise) – Neroli

Mustang – Twilight (Freedom Soundz re-edit) – Visions

Alex Attias & Ed Motta – Sus 4 Jam – Visions

Russ Gabriel – Offenbach West – Out of the Loop

Seiji – Second Nature (Exclusive Dub) – Bitasweet Records

Seiji feat. Lyric L – Loose Lips – Bitasweet Records

Red Nose Distrikt – N.Y. Boom (Domu’s Nose-Beast Mix) – Rushhour Records

Plutonia – Wear Your Size – Visions

Russ Gabriel – Flip Down to Break – Emoticon Recordings

Nubian Mindz – Burning – Twisted Funk

Somatik – Prismatik – Twisted Funk

Pre-ATP Record Buying

Russ Gabriel – Spirit Of Corea – Soul On Wax

Black feat Roberta Sweed (prod by Kenny Dixon Jr) – Runaway – Mahogani

Jordan Fields – Organic Dubs – Experience

DJ Cam feat Cameo – Love Junkee ( inc Dilla aka Jay Dee Remix ) – Inflamable

DJ Jazzy Jeff ( feat Jill Scott / J Live / Raheem…. ) – The Magnificent – bbe

Jesse Saunders – On & On ( Limited Edition ) – Broken Records / Jes Say

Blaze – Spiritually Speaking – Slip N Slide

Kemit Sources – An Ka Sein / Pas An Tombe – Ismaa

Alex Attias & Ed Motta – Patinete / Sus 4 Jam – Visions

Isolee – Its About (inc Mocky mix) – Freundinnen

Slum Village – Trinity (Past Present & Future) – Capitol USA

Instant House ( Joe Claussell … ) – Instant House 1988 – 1993 ( LTD / inc Over / Awade / Lost Horizons … ) –

Natural Resource

All Tomorrow’s Parties

Note: this post has been moved above the two below it, in order to preserve chronology – originally posted yesterday. You may want to read those for the full story. I’m trying to recap in order (and what I remember – thank goodness for this little line-up card):

Friday

====

The Fall were really good. Never seen them live. Not a ton for me to say really. Just good rock ‘n roll.

Public Enemy was fantastic. Haven’t lost a step, and *everyone* was getting down. You could tell they were having a great time, and it was really infectious.

Guy Called Gerald and C2 – remember liking both a lot and dancing a ton, but can’t recall any specifics really. I think Gerald played a lot of house, but my memory is quite sketchy at this point. Carl Craig was good, but as with the last time I saw him, and on The Workout, I wish he would mix more aggressively. My favorite sets from him are always more active.

Missed Baby Ford and Gescom- ran out of steam around 3:00 after being up since 7:30. Will see Baby Ford on Wednesday and Gescom on Saturday though,

so no urgency.

Saturday (AKA the day when darkness reigned and time lost meaning)

======

Note: the venue upstairs was nearly pitch black in the middle of the day. This was severely disorienting. Recall finding out it was 7:30 pm, thinking it was 2:00 am…

Checked Disjecta for about 15 minutes (he = Mark Clifford, once of Seefeel). He was basically just improvising on a guitar with crazy effects. It was really cool, but did my head in a bit after about 15 minutes.

El-P and Murs – damn fine rather political hip hop. El-P had a nice 15 minute turntablism intro as well. Good stuff!

Kool Keith and Kutmaster Kurt – really, really dissapointing. Utter crap. What has happened to Dr. Doom???

Bola (apparently didn’t show) but the visuals while they played some of his music (I think) were mind-blowing. Someone else may be able to fill in gaps about this.

[things get very very blurry]

Aphex Twin – WOW!!! Played about an hour of 110bpmish-techno-industrial-signature-aphex-god-knows-what that sounded like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I believe most of this was live. Concluded with an hour of drum ‘n bass – lots of ragga included. Wicked.

Skam DJs. Lots of fun. Degraded into making out with some woman on the dancefloor. VERY obnoxious. Apologies to anyone who witnessed.

In bed at a healthy 7:30am.

Sunday

=====

Arrive about 1/2-way through Stasis. Playing nice house rather poorly. Strictly Kev is a no-show (or maybe showed up about 10 minutes b4 the end of his set???) Stasis played lots of hip hop. Never heard so much ‘Stakes is High’ in one weekend. This is good.

Checked Jim O’Rourke for about 15 minutes. Nice pure ambience (i.e. no discernable beat). Not suiting my mood. Head back for more Stasis/Kev/Whatever.

Graham Massey – appears on stage with enormous wire-lantern-bulbous-head-thing. I leave immediately.

Coil (probably my most anticipated show) – really long set-up process (like 45 minutes). Really weird experimental vocally stuff with 3 Nords?!? Cool

stuff. Not right for the moment. Run downstaris for…

LFO (Mark Bell) DJ set. Had no idea what to expect from this. It probably wound up as my favorite set of the festival. Tons of techno classics mixed absolutely flawlessly (using Traktor + 1 CD player it looked like). I suspect he was cueing up two instances of the same track in Traktor and rocking doubles with it. Was really really effective. His mixing was seriously amazing. He finished with what were surely three new LFO tracks – and I can promise you, the wait has been worth it. He’s gone off the IDM deep-end, but the result is pretty stunning, and really complex. I can’t wait.

Shake’s set was not his finest – seemed to be having an off night, although he and the crowd both seemed to enjoy it quite a bit despite the mixing troubles. It got much better as it went on, but the first 1/2 of the set was pretty messy. We all have these nights though…

G-Man: played for about 20 minutes of his live set and some assbag pulled the fire alarm (or maybe it was a real fire???) – no one seemed to know for sure. Retreated to chalet.

Returned just in time for the beginning of Mark Broom. I danced non-stop. Always an excellent DJ – throwing in just enough bangers and just enough depth to keep it constantly interesting. It is true that we are spoiled for choice in London.

Surgeon: Holy crap! This was a proper Final Scratch workout. It wasn’t the best DJ set I’ve ever seen, but I’ve never seen another set like it. He went everywhere seamlessly, and directed the pace with a mastery that’s only been equalled, not surpassed.

Drexciyan DJ Stingray was tight, but hearing tracks like M4 and M5 played at 45 ruins them for me. The whole set was really really ghetto tech fast, but slowed a bit towards the end. It was a bit too much for me after 2 and a half days of non-stop movement and throbbing bass. Needless to say, Venetian Snares after him were equally lethal. I lasted about 10 minutes of their set before running in fear, clinging for sanity. And that about sums it up… in short the top three sets were:

LFO

Surgeon

Aphex Twin

In sum: WAY too much air hockey, blood, saliva, sweat (almost forgot about the sweat), beer, gin and amazing music for one weekend. Not nearly enough food. Can’t wait for next year when all the previous curators do one day each! This was a festival of DEMF magnitude and intensity, enhanced further by the ever-outrageous London techno massive.

Nothin’ but Music

Nothing much to report from the last week. I spent almost the whole time listening to Real Audio, shopping for records. I bought 45 new records Thursday night, but won’t have them until next week because it’s gonna take a few days for my paycheck to clear. This is what I got coming from Vinyl Junkies:

VJ No = VJ4729

Artist = Ana Rago

Title = Youre God (inc mixes by I Cube & Herbert)

Label = Set

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

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Item Number = 2

VJ No = VJ7253

Artist = The Mighty Bop feat Duncan Roy

Title = Lady ( inc Herbert / Tom & Joyce Remixes )

Label = Yellow

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

***************************

Item Number = 3

VJ No = VJ4441

Artist = Various – inc Atjazz / Charles Webster / Rythm Plate

Title = Public Nylon Vol 2

Label = Mantis

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 5.75

***************************

Item Number = 4

VJ No = VJ7010

Artist = Brooks

Title = You Me & Us

Label = Mantis

Format = LP Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.99

***************************

Item Number = 5

VJ No = VJ6061

Artist = Brooks

Title = Pink Cigarettes

Label = Mantis

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 5.75

***************************

Item Number = 6

VJ No = VJ4916

Artist = Norma Jean Bell

Title = London Fog

Label = Pandamonium

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.50

***************************

Item Number = 7

VJ No = VJ4980

Artist = Miss Bombay 1974

Title = Mahatmatronic / Hindustan Ambassador

Label = Mantis

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 5.99

***************************

Item Number = 8

VJ No = VJ5759

Artist = Miguel Graca

Title = Monkey Mass EP

Label = Bombay

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.50

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Item Number = 9

VJ No = VJ7232

Artist = Various – inc James Mason / Charles Earland / Marlena Shaw / Leon Thomas / Side Effect….

Title = Soul Brother Selection

Label = Soul Brother

Format = LP Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.99

***************************

Item Number = 10

VJ No = VJ6910

Artist = Freddie Hubbard

Title = Anthology – The Soul-Jazz and Fusion Years 66-82 ( inc Little Sunflower )

Label = Soul Brother

Format = LP Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 13.99

***************************

Item Number = 11

VJ No = VJ6484

Artist = Player 1/2

Title = Automan 4 (inc Wardance)

Label = Automan

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.50

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Item Number = 12

VJ No = VJ5835

Artist = Player 1/2

Title = Automan 2 ( inc Peaches & Prunes )

Label = Automan

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.50

***************************

Item Number = 13

VJ No = VJ4551

Artist = Osunlade

Title = Paradigm

Label = Soul Jazz

Format = LP Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.50

***************************

Item Number = 14

VJ No = VJ7140

Artist = Projections

Title = Between Here And Now

Label = Guidance

Format = LP Triple

Qty = 1

Price = £ 15.99

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Item Number = 15

VJ No = VJ7244

Artist = Muziq

Title = Half Crazy ( The Other Version / Limited New House Mix )

Label = White

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.99

***************************

Item Number = 16

VJ No = VJ7265

Artist = The Music Solstice

Title = Glad Today

Label = M Break

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.50

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Item Number = 17

VJ No = VJ6922

Artist = Glowing Glisses

Title = On The Bridge ( Larry Heard Remixes )

Label = Dessous

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

***************************

Item Number = 18

VJ No = VJ6878

Artist = The Movers

Title = Love Cosmic Spiritual

Label = Life Line

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.50

***************************

Item Number = 19

VJ No = VJ6988

Artist = Little Louie Vega feat Arnold Jarvis

Title = Life Goes On

Label = MAW

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 8.99

***************************

Item Number = 20

VJ No = VJ7039

Artist = Savannah feat Chezere

Title = The Right Time ( inc Trouble Men / Rurals Remixes ) / Ida V Vuelta / Night Of Time

Label = Kif

Format = 12inch Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.99

***************************

Item Number = 21

VJ No = VJ6625

Artist = Passion Dance Orchestra

Title = Alone Together

Label = Inner Music

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

***************************

Item Number = 22

VJ No = VJ7169

Artist = Gotan Project

Title = Santa Maria ( Del Buen Ayre ) ( Pepe Bradock / Tom Middleton Mixes )

Label = Ya Basta

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

***************************

Item Number = 23

VJ No = VJ4073

Artist = Kemeticjust

Title = For Your Love (mixes by Pepe Bradock / Fresh & Low / Needs / Dixon / Freestyle Man)

Label = Silver

Format = 12inch Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.50

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Item Number = 24

VJ No = VJ4168

Artist = Theo Parrish

Title = Segments From The Fifth Wheel

Label = Moods & Grooves

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 7.50

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Item Number = 25

VJ No = VJ4356

Artist = Russ Gabriel

Title = Hes The Man

Label = Out Of The Loop

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 5.75

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Item Number = 26

VJ No = VJ6969

Artist = Pepe Bradock

Title = Un Pepe En Or vol 2

Label = KIF

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.99

***************************

Item Number = 27

VJ No = VJ5073

Artist = Partial Arts ( Ewan Pearson / Al Usher )

Title = Canopy ( inc Riton / Russ Gabriel Mixes )

Label = Out Of The Loop

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 5.75

***************************

Item Number = 28

VJ No = VJ7072

Artist = Various Artists ( Black Strobe / Riton / John Tejada & Titonton / J Rawls )

Title = Off Limits 3 PT 2 ( inc Russ Gabriel Remix)

Label = Recreation / Sonar Kollektiv

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

***************************

Item Number = 29

VJ No = VJ7215

Artist = Russ Gabriel

Title = Into The Unknown

Label = Out Of The Loop

Format = LP Double

Qty = 1

Price = £ 12.99

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Item Number = 30

VJ No = VJ7198

Artist = Kemit Sources

Title = Play / Bor Dlan ( inc I Cube Remix)

Label = Versatile

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.80

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Item Number = 31

VJ No = VJ7267

Artist = NDambi

Title = Call Me (Limited Re-Edit)

Label = White

Format = 12inch

Qty = 1

Price = £ 6.50

From Rush Hour:

LAIDBACK – WHITE HORSE – AUTOMAN

AUTOMAN 5 – AUTOMAN

RED NOSE DISTRIKT – SCUMBAG/SUNSHINE – RUSHHOUR

CUT CHEMIST VS MADLIB – BUNKY’S PICK – STONES THROW

TAM TAM – MILES – MUSIC FOR SPEAKERS

From Groovetech (their order confirmation was missing some info, so I’m trying to resurrect it below:

Glenn Underground – Secrets of CVO EP – Guidance

Seafoam – The Mile High Ep – Guidance

Avalanches – Since I Left You – ???

??? – For All The Music – ???

New World Aquarium – Spirit Ep – Delsin

Thomas Fehlmann – Visions Of Blah – Kompakt

Pub – Surgery-Cokeshandy – Ampoule

New World Aquarium – Heavy Metal EP – Peacefrog

And that cost a whole lotta money… There were only a couple of new records that I couldn’t find. Meanwhile my used want-list is growing by the day. I also have some music with guitars I hope to get from Rough Trade, but I can’t convince myself to spend any more than I already have this month, and that stuff probably isn’t going anywhere. Oh, and I realized that part of the reason Groovetech looks so cheap is because they add VAT after the subtotal, while VJ and Rushhour include it in the price you see. If you can’t tell, I really love Vinyl Junkies.

KJ is here for a visit, and Otto will be showing up tonight. We’re all going to see Osunlade spin for 6 hours at The End tonight. w00t!

Monade, The High Llamas and The Sea and Cake at the Union Chapel

I have too much to say about this show, so strap in, pour yourself a hot chocolate, grab your best spectacles and read on!

Last night was my first trip to The Union Chapel in Islington. I got off the bus a couple of stops too early, walking up Upper Street for about 10 minutes on my way there. I passed 3 other churches on the way, each looking more magnificent than the last. When I finally arrived at Union Chapel I could hardly it would be so tall, yet there was a line of indy rockers, ready to rock out, so I made my way over. I paid my £13, spent my last £10 on 4 cans of John Smith’s and found myself a seat near the aisle with a view of the trap set. I knew I wanted to see what John McIntire was up to more than anything else. This strategy paid off. Between 7:30 and 8:00 more people filtered in, I examined the stunning church around me, and took in some amazing entrance music that sounded like the string arrangement in the last ½ of Nobekazu Takemura’s remix of Yo La Tango’s Danelectro. It probably was another Takemura I haven’t heard yet, and it played between all of the intervals. It really set the mood and made the anticipation that much sweeter. One other thing I noticed during the intermissions was that the crowd seemed to be very American. This was not nearly as bad as the Superbowl the night before, but strangely annoying. They should quit following me… 🙂 Anyway, on to the show…

Monade was up first, in what I would later find out was their first performance, when the singer of the High Llama’s pointed it out. Monade is Jim O’Rourke, who has produced everyone and everyone’s mom, including Stereolab, The Sea and Cake, Sonic Youth and Wilco. He also has a number of his own projects under his belt. Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab joined him, along with an unknown rhythm section. I imagine this was probably the first time she’s performed live without Mary Hansen since she was killed in a biking accident in London last month. Given that I’ve never heard her sing without Mary Hansen’s accompaniment, the first few songs sounded very lonely. I could’ve been reading that into it on my own, or it could have been really there. In either case, it was there for me, since I missed Mary Hansen’s voice next to Laetitia’s. It was also strange when the male bassist would sing along with her. Mary Hansen will indeed be missed.

You could also tell there was a composed anxiousness from these performers, who have all got tons of experience on stage, but none as a unit. There were a few near-mistakes in the first few songs – nothing that leapt out as terribly bad but a few unexpected ‘errors’ fed the energy of a raw, experimentation with new material. For instance, Laetitia would be concentrating so hard on the chords she was playing on guitar she would sometimes pull away from the microphone accidentally. There was also the really silly entrance before the first song, where they all got ready to play, and then Laetitia realized she didn’t have here pick. She fumbled though her corduroy pockets in front of a full room of antsy customers who all seemed to be enjoying the humanity of the moment. Towards the end of the first song, she busted out some trombone, but it wasn’t exactly the best tromboning I’ve ever heard. Still fun though!

The music itself was splendid. It sounded like a paired-down Stereolab. I got the feeling they are still working out some of the mixing issues, because Jim O’Rourke’s Nord Electro keys often drifted into the background. Again, it didn’t detract at all for me, as all of the rawness translated into untold enthusiasm elsewhere. One thing that stood out (for all but one song) was the de-emphasized rhythm section. It seemed to be very squarely on the shoulders of Laetitia and Jim. No complaints here. More than anything else, what really made its mark on me was Laetitia’s voice. She slides in and out of French monotone to a scary, accurate range that seems to come out of nowhere. In one song, she started singing before Jim O’Rourke’s synth line crept in, which created a perfect-pitch ‘reverb’ to her words on entry, trailing off just after her voice. It was a creepy and effective technique that really took me by surprise. You expect a singer to match key to an instrument, not to be so perfect that a keyboard can join in unnoticed. Her voice simply transformed into a synthesizer, and continued to do so throughout the refrain. I was also blown away by how accurate her voice sounds live to the quality on her recordings. There is no difference at all from what I can tell, further evidenced by the sometimes-strange facial contortions she makes to hit some notes. Real singing does not usually look pretty. It was really refreshing to watch someone bare all on stage like that, rather than look good and lower their register. Her voice was given the spotlight throughout, and she seemed to take advantage of that liberty even more than she does with Stereolab. This was all I could’ve hoped for and more, especially for their first performance. Everyone at ATP should run to check this out (I hope she will be there – Jim O’Rourke is confirmed).

I must confess to knowing very little about the High Llama’s. They are Irish, and very Stereolabesque, for lack of a better word. There are six guys as follows:

-Drummer on trap set

-Percussionist on vibes and Roland drum pad with effects (playing with four mallets at once and twiddling drum pad effects)

-Keyboardist on two keyboards (sounded like a Rhodes and a Farfisa to my ears, although from what I understand the Farfisa does not travel well, so it may have been something else, or at least this is why I hear Stereolab does not travel with theirs)

-6 string Guitarist/Banjoist (about a 50/50 split between the two)

-6 string bass

-Singer/12 string guitar/keyboard (also could have been a Farfisa, not sure)

The singer was really humble and polite. Probably a weird thing to say in a music review, but it really came through. The first things he said on stage was that he really loved Monade’s debut, and that it was an honor to play with them and Stereolab. The guy just oozed ‘nice-guyness’. His singing was a bit ‘folksy’ for my taste, but I have to say his brief speeches between songs really endeared me to the authenticity of his singing. When he wasn’t singing, the songs broke out into very Stereolabesque territory, meandering everywhere, with slight variations on a theme. I enjoyed them more as the set progressed. One thing that made the biggest impression on me was how amazing the vibes sounded in that church. Wow! They rung out with the most luscious authentic reverb I’ve ever heard. Amazing…

I need to preface the rest of my comments by confessing that The Sea and Cake are my favorite band. I have easily listened to them more than anything else in my collection for the last three years solid. In my estimation, Archer Prewitt is the best guitarist since Johnny Marr and John McIntire is the best drummer ever. Add to that an uncanny musical chemistry between the two, the discordant vocals of Sam Prekop, his own excellent guitaring, bass work that knows its place, a healthy does of synths, and you have the definitive modern band. Nearly every song has vocals, but most allow at least half the song for the instruments to breath.

Sam Prekop’s vocals were brilliant. I still don’t understand what he’s on about most of the time, but one thing that really impressed me was how many of the vocals were different now. That is a dedication to writing, and the first evidence of their commitment to endless revision and a gift-giving live show. I wish I had words to describe Archer Prewitt’s guitar, but they are failing me. I can only compare it to the diversity of Johnny Marr, never requiring the focus, always delivering when it’s given. I also never realized how much singing he does, and how well he does it. Can’t believe I missed his solo stuff until now…

What really distinguishes both Tortoise and The Sea and Cake is that every song gives John McIntire a chance to shine in some way. He drums like a man possessed. The look in his eye is of a completely immersed consciousness, pounding precisely with a funk uncommon at half his speed. He rotates, massages and lends dynamics to beats in a way that no one else has ever done before. His funk is curved at a swing that doesn’t exist in time – just in rhythm. He literally massages the snare with his stick (to what effect I’m not sure), while drumming at 160 bpm. To watch him play subtle background rhythms is engrossing – to see him gain focus in their finale is awe inspiring. I have simply seen nothing like it, and am really regretting not having paid more attention to Tortoise when they played DEMF in 2001. Later that same day IIRC, The Roots’ drummer blew me away in his DEMF 2001 15-minute finale, but this is something altogether different. You need to hear it, learn it, then witness it live, with all the added variations that slide past unnoticed unless you watch him in action. One very minor detail that explains some of what needs to be seen is that with one hand, in the middle of a song, he unscrewed a tambourine from the foot pedal to which it was attached, did it in a way that it only shook once when he grabbed it, again when he lifted it, and one last time when he plopped it on the ground (it was still mic’d throughout this process). He did all of this while drumming with his other foot and hand, and each of those shakes was not only in-time, but perfectly accented the guitars that were dueling in the foreground.

The synth-man just came along for the tour – he is not an actual member of the band (they usually do this bit after recording, or have it sequenced while playing live, I suspect). He was this bigger crew-cut-lookin’ guy who totally looked out of place, but he had some sweet tricks up his sleeve. There was some sort of pen device he was using to play all of their legato synth solos with. That was really cool to see – the guy was literally writing music (I should know better than to throw out such a horrible pun towards the end of such a long review ;).

If I have any complaint at all about the show, it’s that The Sea and cake were trying out the material from their new album ‘One Bedroom’ live for apparently one of the first times. While I was really excited to hear what I haven’t bought yet, their music is crafted with such care that it often takes about 4 or 5 listens to start to hear it, and about 20 to really get the idea. Usually after hundreds I still pick out nuances I’ve missed. So when they only played about 5 older songs, I didn’t get quite what I’d bargained for. This is not to say the new stuff wasn’t great. In one of the first songs they played, Archer Prewitt busted out a rare solo that was mind-blowing. I’ll point it out when I get the CD. In that dueling guitar song I mentioned, Sam Prekop had his own solo, which I think is really unusual, and very cool to see.

The encore came quickly, to a crowd that was very subdued (it was a church full of people sitting in pews after all). At one point in between songs, Sam Prekop even said “Shhh…”, joking about how quiet it was in there. I’d love to see them in a more animated venue, although this was good in its own reverent way. So this finale lasted for about 15 minutes, in which John McIntire got to do three show-off songs. In two of them he completely recreated the beat from the original, in a way that was still recognizable, but completely reemphasized. These were also three of my favorite songs. The end of the last song even extended into a droney drum and guitar dialogue that explained all of the chemistry between Prewitt and McIntire. After only 75 minutes I wanted more. After only 15 minutes of uptempo McIntire madness I really wanted to hear The Man Who Never See’s a Pretty Girl That He Doesn’t Love Her a Little, which is his opus and probably my favorite song by them. But I was happy to have had an introduction to them live, knowing that they will probably stop back through here in May on their European tour. With all this music, it helps so much to know the songs inside and out before you see the live performance, which inevitably breaths new life into that material, no matter how well you know it. Good musicians will reinvent it and show you some more of what you can barely keep up with through speakers alone. It is precisely what music should be. It is what inspires me more than anything else these days.

Bleep NYE

I arrived at Public Life around 9, and I was one of the first there. It was surprisingly empty early, and most people came and went much more than I ever would have expected. I still hadn’t had a drink by 9:40, so I started then. My set started off really shaky, for about the first 5 or 6 mixes. People told me later that they couldn’t tell, but I dunno if I buy that. The recording will clarify for everyone how crap I started out. However, by the 30 minute mark I had hit my stride more-or-less, and from then on in it was all good. People kept filing in, and more people came to the dance floor. By the time 11:00 rolled around, I’d gone from 5 dancers to nearly 50, and then I really had some fun, playing way more techno than I’d planned. It went over so well! I can’t believe how receptive the crowd was. It is such an amazing feeling to DJ for a crowd that has the same musical vocabulary as you, I can’t explain what a difference that makes. More than any ‘breakthrough’ this year, I think that one is the most impressive to me. I really had an amazing time while DJing that last hour of my set tonight. It completely healed all that ailed me. Afterwards Toby hailed me for an ovation, which was really cool, if embarrassing. I don’t handle accolades well, so it was a bit awkward, but really warming.

Prosthetic Memory