Thursday, June 29, 2006

Radio Ga Ga

Hello, hello! First off, apologies to anyone who made it down to the Flection night at the Arc on Saturday to see us play. Unfortunately there was a bit of a poor turnout, so things were moved onto one floor. We were offered to play for an hour at the end, but we unfortunately had to decline and head off into the night with our record bags. Thanks to Dan Mincham of Radioplastic for sorting us out with the booking, and I hope that we can do something together another time. After leaving the Arc we headed on down to Puffin's other night, Big Ting, to check out Tom from Rooted Records playing a rare dubstep and grime set. Climaxing with Digital Mystikz's 'Earth A Rin Red' on Soul Jazz, Tom deftly laid down an impeccable selection of tunes, so cheers to him for kicking our Saturday off with a bang.

Also present was the nicest man in dubstep, Bristol's own Pinch (pictured above), who revealed his plans for the next few months. Excuse my memory as the Guinness may have been taking its toll by that point, but he's got a new 12" dropping on Planet Mu in late August/early September entitled 'The Punisher' (currently available on the 'Sacred Symbols Of Mu' double CD compilation - get it from Boomkat for a fiver here). As with Qawwali, the 12" will have one of Pinch's VIP mixes on the flip, and I for one can't wait. He's also got a remix coming on Tectonic (no idea who of), and is in the middle of touching up his debut full length release.

Following on from Cosies, we headed down to Stokes Croft's Blue Mountain club, which recently held Venn festival's dubstep night. No adventures in sub-sonic bass tonight, however, as it played host to both Switch and Erol Alkan (pictured left). We didn't get there in time to see Switch unfortunately, but we arrived to see Erol already relentlessly boshing it out with his stern brand of rough and ready electro-house. Everything was bubbling along nicely, until I heard a guitar refrain and turned to my good friend Puffin and exclaimed 'that's bloody Rage that is!'. Little did I know that Mr Alkan had re-edited the beginning of Killing In The Name, and it proceeded to slay the dancefloor as you'd expect it to in that situation. It brings to mind Twitch's set down at Our Disco at the beginning of the year, where he mixed The Ramones' 'Blitzkrieg Bop' into some techno track to a rapturous response. Well done Mr Alkan, and apologies for me getting you to down that double in my addled state. Extra apologies to one of the organisers that I pissed off by running around the booth like a headless chicken at the end of the night looking for my misplaced record bag. Needless to say, I was very fucked by that time, but as the Tape saying goes, 'Carnage by name, Carnage by nature'!

Speaking of TAPE sojourns to the capital, there's a series of Adventures In The Beetroot Field boat parties going on at Waterloo Pier, the last one of which we plan to attend. All seven of the weekly Sunday night parties have strong lineups, but the one going on on the 27th August has a bill that'll take some beating. First off you've got TAPE cohorts Simon Rigg of Phonica and Antony from FACT magazine propping things up, along with various DJs from Nottingham's Liars Club. I haven't spoken to Mr Waites (a.k.a one half of Nightmoves), but I'm guessing that he'll be a part of this along with Ricky Haley. All this is just the icing on the cake, however. The meat of the lineup starts with the production team of Riton and Ben Fat Trucker who'll be appearing under their Gucci Soundsystem guise (check their recent double A on Bugged Out! for some fat electro action), and then you've got a Padded Cell DJ set. It's probably no mystery that I'm a huge fan of Padded Cell, and I've been wanting to see Richard Sen in action on the decks for a while now, probably due to the fact that it seems like no-one in Bristol even listens to that style of dub disco goodness, never mind playing it out. The night will finish with two of the techno game's big boys; Wagon Repair's Konrad Black, who will no doubt take the roof off with his quirky, dark tech-fest of a set, and man of the moment Matt Edwards who will be appearing under his Radio Slave moniker. All this and a few live acts to potter about and see, and I think that we've got a night to maybe even beat that Sweeney/Optimo/XXJFG Our Disco party. Full line-ups for all seven of the parties can be found

The blog should be kicking up a gear in the next week or so as we've got a dubstep mix from Puffin coming up, another of my mixes, and I'll be ripping some clips from some of my latest vinyl purchases for you to salivate over. As always, we'll be subjecting you to some chart action from ourselves and also some celebrity guests (hopefully!) so keep checking back. I may also have some audio up for you later tonight, you lucky kids!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Return of the zombie blogger

Hello, hello, hello.

I'm back from Sonar, if not quite ready to rock; I promise to bring you my buxom and needlessly detailed diary of the trip in the coming days, just as soon as I scan in some of the many scrupulous and scandalous photos I snapped during my time there (I really should get a digital camera). Rest assured, I had a fucking marvellous time; will fill you in ASAP.

In the meantime, here's something I should've alerted you to ages ago. You may remember I did a fairly lengthy post a coupla months back in praise of the French house sound, and in particular the work of perennial nearlyman and 4x4 genius Etienne De Crecy. Well, two of our readers - Eddy Current and KSPR.SPKR - informed me then that they were working on a wee mix in tribute to the pure amylated glam of 90s/early 00s French house; that mix is now finished, and if you follow the link below, you can get your hands on it. I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear any feedback, so leave us a comment if you have any thoughts. Here's the tracklisting:

1. Jess & Crabbe - Startin' Sumtin' // Fiat Lux
2. I:Cube - Disco Cubizm (Daft Punk Remix) // Versatile
3. Motorbass - Ezio (Cassius Remix) //Different
4. Daft Punk - Around The World (I:Cube Remix) //Virgin
5. Air - Sexy Boy (Cassius Remix) // Trax
6. Daft Punk - Harder, better, faster, stronger (Jess & Crabbe Regulator Mix) // Virgin
7. Raw Man - Number Seven (Le Knight Club Mix) //Crydamoure
8. Cassius - Cassius 1999 (Full Version) // Virgin
9. Thomas Bangalter - Ventura // Roule
10. Cheek Venus - Sunshine People (DJ Gregory Remix) // Versatile
11. Daft Punk - Da Automatic Funk (Bootleg) // White

Eddy Current & KSPR.SPKR - Miraculeusement: Un Mixage Collant // CDR

OK, and here's the belting De Crecy mix of Whomadewho's 'Out the Door', which most of you've probably heard, but fuck it, one of you hasn't...Buy the Super Discount LPs, Mssr De Crecy deserves to be living comfortably for services to house music more than most. P.S. Has anyone got an mp3 of the demented 'Spinal Scratch' track from Thomas Bangalter's Irreversible soundtrack? If so YSI me dearest, please...

Whomadewho - Out The Door (Super Discount Remix) // Gomma

I also have some really fine music from Jah Schmidt to post up in a few days; JS is an up-and-coming producer whose compelling dubstep-not-dubstep tracks I've been sitting on for far too long. Remember, if you're a producer and you have stuff that we and/or the people who read this blog might like, don't hesitate to post/e-mail stuff to us at the addresses on the sidebar; the same goes for a mix you may've dashed off. WE NEED SOUND.

Meanwhile, play safe n' all and get back to the World Cup where you belong.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fantastic Plastic

Hello all! No audio this time unfortunately, as I'm just posting a little heads up on a couple of nights that we're going to be doing over the next couple of weeks. This Saturday (24th) we'll be playing the downstairs at Flection which is held at the Arc Bar. There's a live set upstairs by Radioplastic (check his site for more information and sound samples), and he'll be joined by Kingpin's Kraymon and Flection residents. Unfortunately Mr Soft won't be in attendance, so it'll be up to me and Puffin Jack to lay down our electronic agenda. We'll be encompassing techno, electro-house, dubstep and cosmic disco, so if you're in the area and fancy a boogie, you could do a lot worse than come down and check things out. However, if you can't be arsed this weekend (or if you're going to go and see Erol and Switch like any sane man would) then you can wait for the next instalment of Mutant Pop!

Mutant Pop - Friday 14th July

Arc Bar, Broad Street, Bristol
9pm-2am - Free before 11pm, £3 after

Matt Waites (Nightmoves/Kitsune)
Richard Carnage
Puffin Jack
Mr Soft

Special Guest (TBC)
Mike Bull
Gareth Watkins

If you didn't know already, our next Mutant Pop night will host Nightmoves' Matt Waites. Along with Pete Cage, Matt's been making waves on the remixing circuit of late with his remix of Klaxons' 'Gravity's Rainbow' being championed by Erol Alkan and Paul Epworth amongst others. Kitsune have been very keen to release it, and have pencilled it in for a July release alongside mixes from To My Boy and Van She. Currently they're in the middle of mastering their next two mixes for The Infadels (acid-inflected dub disco) and again for Klaxons (boshing electro-house), so expect those to drop sometime in the next couple of months. As far as his DJing is concerned, Matt has been honing his craft as one of Nottingham's Liars Club residents for the past couple of years and has recently played at Fabric alongside Tape favourite Trevor Jackson. If you're a minimal techno fan then don't fret - Mike and Gaz will be rocking their usual skeletal sounds downstairs with a special guest, and the Tape boys will be upstairs playing our usual heady mix of disco, techno and electro-house.

I should be back later on today/tomorrow with some juicy mp3s for you, so keep checking back for your fix!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Groove Is In The Chart

So off goes Mr Soft to Sonar (the bastard), leaving the blog in the (in)capable hands of myself and Puffin Jack. Usually I find myself posting pretty sporadically, probably due to me being bone idle, but also due to the sheer quantity that he writes. However, I've got a couple of days off so I finally have the time to do this shit properly and repent for my laziness. There's plenty of time to write about Venn and Lazerboy's transformation into 'Lairyboy' amongst other things, but it's only right to start things off with a chart since it's been so long. New stuff, old stuff, and ancient stuff; there's sure to be something to whet your musical whistle.

Carnage's Current Top 10
1) Shackleton - Blood On Our Hands // Skull Disco
Just in case you were wondering, dubstep isn't just all about basslines at frequencies that would make your grandmother shit herself. Yes, Shackleton's latest effort is much gentler than the usual fare, but the dark, eerie atmosphere remains. Hypnotically sublime.

2) Luciano & Melchior - Father/Solomon's Prayer // Cadenza
Luciano does it again with a delightfully delicate plink-plonk percussive masterpiece, helped out by the capable hands of Mr Melchior. Yet another classic Cadenza release.

3) Gucci Soundsystem - aCarpenter/Lord A Mercy // Bugged Out!
Let's face it - all the Gucci Soundsystem remixes so far have been fucking rubbish. So when this debut 12" from Henry Smithson (a.k.a. Riton) and Ben from Fat Truckers appeared, I have to say that I was healthily cynical concerning its quality. However, I'm glad to say that I've been proved wrong, as both sides (italo inflected house, and grotty tech house respectively) and ooze the class more generally associated with Riton's solo work over the past couple of years. Pick of the bunch is 'Lord A Mercy', with it's pummelling bass synth and locomotive percussion.

4) Gabriel Ananda & Cio D'or - Lauschgoldengel // Treibstoff

Trendy trance and minimal techno collide with beautiful synergy in this collaboration from Ananda and scene fledgling Cio D'or (pictured above) who recently both played at the Phonica party down at The Key. Beginning with intricate percussion and a single repeated bass note, it soon envelops you in its celestial synths and takes you to that holy dancefloor in the sky. Plus, it's on one-sided etched vinyl so all you non-DJs have got no excuse not to buy it! Lovely stuff.

Gabriel Ananda & Cio D'or - Lauschgoldengel // Treibstoff

5) Asha Puthli - Money // CBS
Feel good, string laden, slo-mo disco from Asha. Really, just do yourself a favour and pick up the third volume of the very dodgy Cosmic Dancer bootleg comps for this and 4 other assorted disco belters.

6) Digital Mystikz - Misty Winter // Soul Jazz
Instead of the usual DMZ release, here the Mystikz gain the Soul Jazz stamp of quality with four tracks spread over two 12"s. Both releases shine through with their usual low frequency shenanigans, but it's the green one that you'll really want to pick up for this little gem.

7) Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Funky Stuff // Ze
I'm still to thoroughly wade through the mountain of disco delights on Ze's Mutant Disco series of compilations, but here's a great little nugget from the first volume that has been a favourite for a while. A Kool & The Gang song done in a choppy No Wave stylee? Yes sir!

Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Funky Stuff // Ze

8) Strategy - I Have To Do This Thing // Community Library
Now here's a record from about a year ago that I've been pulling out a bit lately. The b-side on his World House release, it's a brooding yet bouncy cosmic houser that, of course, brings Metro Area immediately to mind. Mysteriously, both myself and Puffin Jack took it to this month's Mutant Pop, and if that isn't recommendation enough, I don't know what is.

9) Tres Demented - Shez Satan // Planet E
Carl Craig goes mental yet again on his second Tres Demented outing, with a deranged pitchshifted vocal from the man himself. Don't expect the usual fare, as this time he's plumped for low slung wonk-techno instead of his usual delicious deepness. Check it below, and get some of that evil bouncy bass in your face.

Tres Demented - Shez Satan // Planet E

10) Beyond The Wizards Sleeve - I Swim Around // 3rd Mynd
Erol Alkan and Richard Norris do their psych edit thang with Neu's 'Hallogallo', and it certainly is a work of magic. I'm guessing that it'll sell out in a week or so, so get over to
Phonica and pop it in your basket.

On a totally unrelated note, Matt and Pete of Nightmoves have added their latest Klaxons mix (steady on boys - the first one isn't released until July!) to their Myspace, so head over there to check it out. Needless to say, it's a banger, and that bass drop about 5 minutes in will be sending the Bugged Out dancefloor well into the stratosphere! I have to say, Nightmoves certainly are boom. Also, watch out for their dub disco mix of The Infadels' 'The Girl That Speaks No Words' that should be dropping sometime soon. On another note, I turn twenty two today, so I'll leave things here and go and drown my sorrows in the pub with our Puffin. It's today that I can start being really nostalgic about my childhood. Oh happy days...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Guest TAPEr's Chart: Skull Juice, London

Alright my dears. I'm about to head off to have a boogie at Trash before boarding our plane to Barcelona; I hate to go on about it, but I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT. Having just heard about the Wagon Repair and BPitch/Border Communitiy parties my excitement has been piqued beyond control. Let's hope I get there without any problems.

So, as I told you t'other day, I'm not going to be posting for a while, but before I piss off I have a guest TAPEr's chart for your delectation: this time from Skull Juice, aka Alex Egan and Benedict X, those London based DJs/budding producers whose fantastic
blog you've probably seen and whose 'Serious Fun' mix you MUST hear (you can find that on their blog n'all). The young bounders have dangerously good taste and fearsome skills to match; catch them spinning at Corsica Studios on July 1st (details at the bottom of this post). Here, then, is the chart they've kindly worked up for us and some mp3s to boot....

Skull Juice's 'Coal Souled' Top 10

0. Skatt Bros. - Walk The Night // White
So so good we named our club night after it...

1. We Are Wolves - Vosotrous Monstrous // Uknown
There a lot of bands named for the wolf, ultimate creature of the night; Aids Wolf, Wolfmangler, Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Wolf Parade...most of them are loud, but We Are Wolves you can dance to instead of just suffering so beautifully until your eyes bleed, and this is a stomping dance party of a rock song, soon to be re-edited by Benedict too, watch out for that...

We Are Wolves - Vosotrous Monstrous // Unknown

2. Tango & Ratty - Tales From The Darkside // White
One of the ultimate oft-overlooked hardcore classics, in classic old skool style, it's at least three tunes in one and they're all golden, gold 'n' evil, of course

3. Bruce Haack - Mean Old Devil // QDK Media
Bruce Haack makes the best and weirdest kids records ever, an early synth pioneer as well as super-multi-instrumentalist, his records are like dripping liquid acid into your kids ears with a clown shaped pipette. When I have kids I'm going to play them this stuff, I think they'll turn out fine. Big clown shaped beds too, like in the Simpsons, that's what kids like right?

4. The Dayton Sidewinders - Slipping Into Darkness // Unknown
A cover of the War song , though it's hard to tell, the Dayton Sidewinders version is way better and way way dirtier, full of wah wah, b-boy dream drums and horns a plenty, dark summer night sex music

The Dayton Sidewinders - Slipping Into Darkness // Unknown

5. Midnight Mike - Midnight Drive // The Republic of Desire
Imho, mike's crowning acheivment, a super dark, oppressive shuffle techno monster that could crush your soul into, well, coal i guess

6. Dark Day - Nudes In The Forest // Plexus
Super dark proto electro pop made up of comedy squelches and Bruce Haack's drum kit. Over the top Robin Lee Crutchfield croons nonsense about girls with bicycles going to see the snowman with a kitten, oh yeah, and automatic Irene

7. Experimental Products - Nightmares Parts 1&2 // Short Circuit Records
Simply the sound of evil creeping up behind you when you're in the garden of the big house on the corner looking for your ball and it's got dark all of sudden and you know Jimmy said she was witch but you didn't believe him but whats that noise, who's there? Hello? Hello?? Oh hey it's just a huge robot made out of the bodies of the people who died in Assault on Precinct 13, that's ok then, phew

Experimental Products - Nightmares Pt. 1 // Short Circuit Records
Experimental Products - Nightmares Pt. 2 // Short Circuit Records

8. Supersuckers - Evil Powers Of Rock 'n' Roll // Koch Records
"You might be crazy, I might be high", very big, not clever, but duh, who has the most fun in life, unix geeks or hell's angels? and who's better, Creed or Monster Magnet? Is the frontman of the Supersuckers called Eddie Spaghetti? Oh yes he is, 10million bonus points to that man.

9. Solid Space - A Darkness In My Soul // Unknown
Dark white light washes over your ravaged soul while casio drums march you into it

Solid Space - A Darkness In My Soul // Unknown

10. Flash And The Pan - Midnight Man // Epic

Either in its original (as featured on Rub & Tug's wonderful Campfire mix) or Francois K's amazing extended edit, Flash & The Pan return us back to where we started this list with joyous camp disco stomp of the highest wave your hands and scream order, wooop, it's not all doom and gloom people, the darkside can dance too!

Flash And The Pan - Midnight Man // Epic

The first WALK THE NIGHT will be on saturday July 1st at Corsica Studios, Elephant & Castle, London. Join us!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Race for the prize

Holy shit. What a week. After a dreary May of work deadlines, February-style weather and general mental and physical fatigue, everything has changed for the better. That mythical beast, the Great British Summer, has once again asserted itself against the odds: As I write this I’m sat under the shade of a yew tree in the garden, with only the chatter of nature as my soundtrack, tiny insects splatting against my screen and keyboard. Fucking bliss. What’s more, there’s only one day to go, repeat ONE DAY, till the World Cup. Wherever you’re located in the globe, I dare say World Cup Fever, a peculiar kind of mental illness, is infecting you or at least your familiars. It’s amazing. I actually awoke from a dream last night, flustered and sweaty, in which Becks was holding the trophy aloft and chaos had become order and the reason for being had at last become startlingly clear. I find it conceptually impossible to imagine what would happen in Blightey if England were indeed to succeed in their gargantuan task this month. I’m sure, the economy would collapse, plunging us back into the Dark Ages, just a full-on meltdown. Can it happen? Can we actually do it? I don’t know. But every cell in my body is screaming out for it to happen. So fingers crossed.

What’s more, I’m off to Sonar on Tuesday. My trip coincides brutally with the group stages of the World Cup, but I’m not about to complain; hopefully the collusion of unrelenting sun, glorious architecture, sozzled party people and sick sick sick music will make up for me missing such compelling fixtures as, say, Togo vs Saudi Arabia. But of course, it’s watching games like that which make the World Cup what it is…Anyway, Sonar is Sonar. There are already a few football-unrelated clashes on the schedule: Matthew Herbert’s performance at the ‘Sonar Pub’ is happening at the same time as Tiga’s set in the ridiculously large hangar-like thing out of town. On the face of it, it wouldn’t be a hard one to call – Herbert would win hands-down. But the thing is, he’s not doing a DJ set, and having previously seen him in that incarnation absolutely DESTROYING peoples limbs-n-brains, I have a feeling that the interference of Dani Siciliano and the Scale-vibed jazzy stuff won’t quite cut it for me. Tiga, the Peter Andre, or more flatteringly the Robbie Williams, of electro-house, will of course just be playing the narcy pop-tech top 100, but I’ve never seen him spin before, and I dare say that he’ll attract a huge and wasted army of revellers to his set. We’ll see. You can’t call this kind of stuff until it actually happens. As for the rest of the festival, well, I quite want to catch the feast of noodling helmed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, but as regards techno/electro there isn’t a great deal vying for my attention: the Spectral showcase, with Audion and James T Cotton banging out dem smacky sound, will certainly be worth a wiggle, but I’m more concerned with a couple of the off-Sonar parties: the Kompakt vs Musik Krause night, featuring the Wighnomys among others, the Poker Flat night, where I may finally get the chance to hear the mighty Steve Bug play out, and Trevor Jackson’s Output party, where Prins Thomas, Tim Sweeney and the like will be behind the wheels. Whatever we do, I’m sure a good time will be had, but I also should warn you now: this may be the last post I write for a fortnight, but if it’s any consolation I’ll be back with what will hopefully be an action and foolishness-packed Sonar diary. But this is all the future; let’s go back into the past….

On Friday, after a couple of days having finished my degree and progressing quickly from Herculean drinking and that ‘I can do anything now’ mentality to a state of listlessness, boredom and anxiety about my uncertain future, I decided I should get my arse back to Bristol for our Mutant Pop night. We’d already had two parties, but I didn’t attend either on account of what was, at the time, a punishing work schedule and battered, bleeding bank balance. So it was clearly time to show my face and play some tunes. Furthermore, my sometime ‘employers’ FACT asked me to review the Venn festival while I was at it, and not being one to reject the chance to pull some budget-Hunter Thompson moves I accepted the assignment willingly.

Venn is Bristol’s annual showcase of local musical talent, garnished with choice acts from around the world. Unfortunately, the two keynote events of the programme coincided with out own night down the road at the Arc bar: one was a performance at St George, a palatial concert hall with legendary acoustics, from Vashti Bunyan, backed up by a performance from the superb Max Richter (pictured above), producer of her new album. I was introduced to Richter’s own LP, The Blue Notebooks, a couple of years ago by Carnage – it’s a rich and emotional neo-classicist suite, with perfectly-weighted orchestration and judicious use of ambient electronic effects and found sounds. It’s a modern classic as far as I’m concerned, and I was gutted not to see Max and his orchestra play in the flesh; along with Music for Airports, The Blue Notebooks is one of my choice records for falling asleep to, placing me as it does in a divine, meditative halfway-house between wakefulness and sleep – you know the one, where you’re perfectly relaxed and dreaming, but still conscious enough to enjoy it. It’s marred only by the horrifically pretentious spoken word voiceovers from Tilda Swinton, but you can’t have everything. Here, as just a little sample, is one of the tracks; I’ll do a Richter-based post this month and give you some more then.

Max Richter - Shadow Journal // Fat Cat

Anyway, while we were plugging away at Mutant Pop, Bristol’s Malcolm X Centre was playing host to a night of very special madness: The Aliens, formed out of the ashes of The Beta Band, were joined by epic noise-mongers 65DaysofStatic and Glaswegian techno-disco-no-wave-acid geniuses Optimo (pictured left). For reasons already outlined, I didn’t make it down, but our friend Al Dare was charged with the task of looking after Twitch and Wilkes, and assures me that their climactic set provided ‘one of the best parties Bristol has ever seen’, which will come no surprise to you if you’ve ever heard them play before. After all, Optimo have the ability to make any party feel like the best party ever, no? Anyway, reliable accounts inform me that their night ended in extended drunken revelry, and with another member of the TAPE family (who cannot be named here for legal reasons) leaving drunken, abusive messages on Lazarus’s answer-machine at Optimo’s protest/behest. Kids, eh? Meanwhile, due to a lack of promotion and half our usual crowd understandably engaged at the Optimo gig, Carnage, Puffin and myself played to a very unpacked Arc Bar; still, a triple whammy of ‘You’re All Over My Head’, Hug’s ‘Dance’ and Man With Guitar’s immortal ‘Man With Guitar’ finally got the sparse crowd on our wavelength, at which point we handed over to October, our guest for the evening. Originally a student of d&b and breaks, October has moved over the years into more abstract broken beat territories and on into the proggy electro-house, dub-infused techno sounds you and I both love. His set on Friday was exceptional, dropping some of his own productions for Fluid Ounce in amidst the minimal and broken-not-broken goodness.

Quite apart from how exceptional his set was, I’d like to thank Jules for coming to play with us, and to apologize for not quite assembling the crowd he deserved. Seeing as I don’t recall meet anyone as heroically pleasant as October since, well, last October, I find it hard to imagine he was actually annoyed. With understandable excitement, he was telling us that the evergreen Peter Kruder had requested a personal audience with him at Fabric on Saturday, so let’s hope something good comes from that; certainly, October is a production name to watch out for and you can pick up his Fluid Ounce releases at Phonica…Gareth Watkins, one of our Mutant Pop residents, polished off the night and had us dancing bombastically to Chardronnet’s ‘Eve By Day’ and Tejada’s ‘The End of It All’, two tracks that I’ve recently been enthusing about on this here blog. The highlight of a strange evening, however, was Puffin’s impromptu MCing. I saw him lunge for the mic during ‘Eve By Day’ and thought, Christ, he’s drunk, what the fuck is he going to try…But then it came out, absurd and perfectly formed: ‘TECHNO,’ he said authoritatively. People whooped. When the monumental breakdown hit its stride, he added a ‘PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR IF YOU LURRRRVE TECHNO’ with imperceptibly mingled comedy and seriousness, summoning at once the spirit of a key-tar player in a 90s euro-house act and that of any decent, modern jungle toaster, and lo, people did put their hands in the air, and loved it. So. Techno MCing. Is that the future? Let’s hope, er, so. TECHNO.

Woke up on Saturday feeling like I had shit for blood, but managed to exhume Carnage from his bed-shaped grave and get us down to Havana, my old breakfast haunt, for one of their epic, 9+egg omelettes and a decent coffee. It was another glorious, sun-lashed day, so we headed down to Venn Festival HQ to get our press passes and survey the schedule. After some initial kerfuffle (‘Er…you’re not on the list.’ Always keep your confirmation e-mails with you, kids), our wristbands were fitted and we were taken up to a large attic room, where the radio station Venn FM broadcasts from for the festival’s short duration. Luckily enough, when we paid our visit it was Appleblim (pictured above), one of the fellas from the tremendous Skull Disco team, spinning – champion grotty dubstep sounds, for sure. After deciding there was virtually nothing we wanted to see at the festival, save for TAPE’s own (MC)Puffin Jack and Lazerboy, ‘shambolic’ (read crap) folkster Ariel Pink and Berlin electro-punk vixens Cobra Killer. People were understandably getting excited too about the performance from Basic Channel-affiliated Scion. There was no doubt in our mind that the climax of the evening would be the much-feted dubstep/techno night at Blue Mountain, which I’ll tell you about in good time.

Anyway, we twatted around for most of the day, walking inanely up and down the Gloucester Road in search of stimulation, drinking Orangina, getting high, melting, and imagining that the classically, comically, tall, gay-seeming, blonde-as-anything German tourists consulting their map across the road were in fact Scion. We received confirmation that the Great British Summer had found its foothold when we walked into the pub to catch the tail-end of the England vs Jamaica friendly to find that our boys had creamed ‘em 6-0, with national joke-cum robo-hero Peter Crouch having netted a hat-trick. Good times. We hung around to watch Lazerboy play, and though the place had emptied out as people went home to rearrange themselves for the evening and/or get the last of the sun’s rays, Lazers’ set was one of the best things I heard all day – highlights included an old Naum tune on Speicher, Lawrence’s ‘Ananda’ mix and that bumpin’ Adam Sky track released on Crosstown back in the early days. By this stage, we’d consumed four or five pints, but you know what the sun’s like, it gives you delusions of inexhaustibility and we dropped off to meet some friends at a sorely-missed pub, The Pipe and Slippers. After polishing off a splendid plate of bangers-n-mash (why am I telling you this?), I proceeded to polish off another three pints and a gin-and-tonic, not taking into account quite how drunk I was rapidly, and irrevocably getting. Always the way. By this point Carnage had lapsed into a stoned perma-silence, a silence uncured by my incessant, drunken badgering of him. Sorry Richard. I was providentially punished for my boorishness later, as you will see.

Ariel Pink’s performance had to rank among the worst things I’ve ever seen. A sizeable crowd, representing Bristol’s palsied middle-twenties indie-kids, with their polka dots and red shoes, had gathered to check out this handsome ruffian. But Jesus. It sounded horrific. In fairness, they were having problems with the sound, not helped by the rising heckles from the crowd. As well as the perfunctory ‘YOU’RE SHIT!’,when Pink’s keys player asked the sound guy if she could be turned up, a solitary, perfectly normal-looking bloke behind me shouted right back ‘FUCK OFF BITCH!’ Who actually says that? In public? But of course I laughed. Cobra Killer, it’s alleged, cancelled their gig and flew back to Berlin with their unwarranted money because their hotel wasn’t deemed satisfactory. Can you imagine? So it was left to Puffin Jack to fill the void of sound, and fill it he did, rocking Robotnick’s ‘Dark Side of The Spoon’ among other treats, while Carnage toked, I spilled drinks on myself, and Lazerboy took advantage of the booth’s elevated position by chucking plastic drink-cups on unsuspecting punters’ heads. Ah, delightful.

After enjoying a particularly satisfying joint, sat behind the boot of a parked car outside the club which would be playing imminent host to the dubstep festivities, I realized I’d left my sunglasses in the pub. I sprinted back, wheeling and flailing like only a man ten-pints-to-the-good can manage, and, happily, retrieved the shades. Flushed and crazed with relief, however, I fell prey to my own astronomical hubris as I peddled back to the club. Having decided that a strong E or two would restore my brain’s balance (as if it would), I decided to stop dead when I heard a wily black guy casually working the street. There are no excuses for what followed, save for the overarching one that I was outrageously pissed and could barely see. After negotiating a fair price for a few pills, I handed the money over BEFORE he gave me the drugs. He went round the corner, supposedly to get his stash (like a street-dealer ever has a stash) and I, drunk, unwieldy, stood there diligently for about thirty seconds before realizing that there was literally NO chance that matey would be coming back. Having spunked away twenty pounds on nothing, you’d think even a severely inebriated Soft would have the good grace to accept his losses, power back to the club and get on with having a good time. But no. No, no, no. Just as I swivelled ruefully and decided to head back, I was accosted by another, slightly less wily, black pusher. He was all, ‘Why the fuck you tryina buy shit off him? I TOLD you he’s a crook mate, why didn’t you listen?’ After getting chummy with me, in a way that only a truly drunk and skunked idiot would fail to see right through, he managed to convince me to get some beans off him. OK, I said. And what did I do? Exactly the same thing. Literally, I was NOT thinking. Just gave him a tenner, and waited while he went to get his ‘stash’. This time, about five revelatory seconds passed before I cursed myself and ambled defeatedly back to the club. Lessons, as if you didn’t know them already: 1. Never buy drugs off someone in the street. 2. If you do, get the drugs before you hand over the cash. 3. Never attempt a drug deal when you’re so drunk you LITERALLY don’t know your arse from your elbow.

Anyway, I finally found myself in Blue Mountain, a club I haven’t frequented since my first year at uni, when I used to make the exodus across town to catch people like Kool Keith and Mr Lif. London-based Bass Clef, formerly known as RLF (pictured above), who I’ve raved about on these pages before, absolutely KILLED it, with his live dubstep gubbins, brilliantly (and not even faintly embarrassingly) augmented by FX-ed up cowbell, theremin and, er, trombone. Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before this guy blows up; here’s a pair of his tracks for your delectation:

Bass Clef - Untitled (Strings) // CDR

Bass Clef - Silverlink // CDR

Bass Clef has a 12” coming out on Blank Tapes later in the year, followed by an album; we’ll let you know when it’s due to hit. Meanwhile, try Werk's Planet Grim compilation, which features his tune ‘Welcome to the Echo Chamber’, and check out his out his blog, where you’ll find mp3s of his own productions alongside other select musical booty.

Ralph (that’s Bass Clef’s real name; in true Bristol incestuous style he used to work at Imperial Records with Puffin) was set up by the ‘nicest man in dubstep’, Brizzurrrl kingpin Pinch, who slaughtered the mushrooming crowd with evil frequencies and killer snare patterns (As Sherburne opines in this month’s Critical Beats, dubstep indeed is all about the snares now). All these sounds have found mad favour in Bristol, a town which has always taken bass culture to heart: dubstep unites the jungle, downbeat and hard techno sounds which in themselves have always been insanely popular in the West Country, so it was no wonder that some of the gathered dancers, unitiated in what has until recently been a very London-centric sound, looked like all their Christmases had come at once.

Kode9, boss of Hyperdub, who put out the recent Burial LP which you’ve seen me wanking over this past month or two delivered a blinder, drawing on proper jungle and pitched-up techno sounds to give some dancefloor dynamics to the standard bass sludge. I tried to talk to Kode9 as I ordered myself a pair of tequilas at the bar (it’s amazing what you think’ll make you feel better when your four thousand sheets to the wind, eh?) but he looked at me pleasantly but fearfully, as if I was a crackhead stalker, so I contented myself with a nod and smile of appreciation. I have a lingering fear that I may also have patted his head, but let’s not even think about that…Dub-techno heroes Scion were also on form, and it almost goes without saying that they were indeed exactly those gay-seeming, tall, blond-as-anything German tourists we’d seen consulting their map earlier that day. By this point I had absolutely no idea what was going on, though, and I apologize for the fact that I can’t even begin to accurately critique what I was hearing post 1am. We left around 2.30am in search of Bristol’s fairly legendary all-nighter pub, The Star and Garter, but by that point I had reached the end of the line and thank God we all agreed to call it a day. For once, I was more fucked than Carnage and he managed to escort me home safely, though the sandwich I rabidly purchased from the Esso garage found its way onto the floor as soon I opened the packet. I remember, though I wish I didn’t, picking up the two halves of the sarnie and trying to isolate those bits which hadn’t made contact with the ground. Jeeeeesus. Not Sodom and Gomorrah, I’ll grant you, but I surrendered more dignity than I had to spare that day/night.


Rhythm & Sound - See Mi Version (Basic Reshape) // Burial Mix

Kode 9 - 'Babel' April Mix // CDR

It’s amazing that I didn’t just kill myself when I woke up, but I actually rose feeling fine, save for the unavoidable mental blankness. I hooked up with some old friends and, somewhat erroneously, chose to drink through the afternoon, by the end of which I realized I had twisted my ankle somehow the night before, and not noticed. Four days on and it’s still swollen beyond recognition, but it’s on the mend, and should be back in action if only to be twisted again in Spain next week. I rounded off the weekend by limping to see Battle, the sourly over-looked indie-rockers who eschew skinny-tie effeteness for the golden combo of genuine charisma and blokey non-appearance. There were fuck-all people there to see ‘em, but it was a solid performance, and I was pretty transfixed throughout. If my leg had been hurting less, I would probably have some more illuminating thoughts to share. Sorry.

I got back to Oxford on Tuesday, since when, apart from drinking, I’ve been nursing my ankle back to health, and lying on beautifully located lawns smoking myself into blissful oblivion. One thing which has been helping me along the way is this...

Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Relevee (DFA Remix) // DFA/EMI

It’s absolutely sublime, with that sumptuous New York-in-the-summer sound and nod to piano-house (I’m digging pianos so much these days), but I’m only going to keep it up for a day, otherwise I’ll have DFA/EMI threatening to kill my parents or something. Thanks to Ian T for hooking me up with it.

This is it, then, till I get back from Sonar. But I will, if I have time, do you my TAPE: TEN SUMMER SLAMMERS, mp3 booty of the highest order. So look out. And, of course, Carnage will be returning soon with a vengeance and an arsenal of good tunes, so keep checking back.

P.S. Now that I'm finally actually posting this, there are officially 0 days to go till the World Cup. Boom! I thought this day would never come...Enjoy the sun, enjoy the football and, above all else:


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Guest TAPEr's Chart: Electrobot

is a DJ in Setubal, Portugal. If you think your P'gese is up to scratch, or even if you don't, check out his blogs Power Up and Local Heroes. Here, anyway, is a quick rundown of his current top 10:

1. Booka Shade - Night Falls EP // Get Physical
2. Remote - Get A Real Job EP // How to Kill The DJ
3. Boys Noize - Kill The Kid // Boys Noize
4. James Flavour - Da Ride // Dirt Crew Recordings
5. I-Robots - Frau Pandullu // Boys Noize
6. Lazy Fat People - Big City/Dark Water // Border Community
7. Shit Robot - Wrong Galaxy // DFA
8. Uffie - Pop The Glock/Ready To Uff // Ed Banger
9. Williams - Pinball // Tsuba
10. Various - F.U.N. 2 CD // Fine

Coming very soon: TAPEr's charts from Skull Juice and some very special celebrity guests...


Yo, I'm slowly piecing my life back together after a fun but terribly exhausting weekend in Bristol which I will bore you about at length in the very near future. For now, enjoy a little survey of my current listening and a few related mp3s.

Softie's Current Top 10

My favourite track on Made in Menorca eschews the kind of disturbed slo-mo disco-dub grooves that characterize its neighbours on the LP, and instead blossoms into a (relatively) pitched-up Balearic disco-houser, absolutely stunning in its simplicity, melody and stylistic aplomb. The rising builds, kept in check (and therefore, I guess, set free) by the lo-fi production aesthetic should see ‘Retro Active’ turning the world’s more discerning dancefloors into so much euphoric rubble this summer. Buy the LP, it’s a grade A stonker, as I never tire of informing you.

Rekid – Retro Active // Soul Jazz

2. RHYTHM & SOUND – SEE MI YAH (BASIC CHANNEL VERSION) and POOR PEOPLE MUST WORK (CARL CRAIG REMIX) // BURIAL MIX Burial Mix save the best for last, with the fourth and final of the versioned R&S series boasting a pair of spanking dub-techno edits from the boys themselves (as Basic Channel) and the tirelessly good Carl Craig. You know what to expect; so go buy…

3. BOOKA SHADE – IN WHITE ROOMS (ELEKTROCHEMIE REMIX) // GET PHYSICAL I’ve swayed back and forth this year, but once again I feel intensely bored by Get Physical. The tune that everyone’s saying will be this year’s ‘Mandarine Girl’ (which, I think it’s fair to say, it won’t be) is undoubtedly superb, but even taking into account the pop-sophisticated production we can always rely on Booka Shade to lay down, it leaves me lusting after something rather more grotty and, frankly, more obtuse. Hoover-bass-botherer Thomas Schumacher dons his Elektrochemie cap to provide a solid mix, stripping back the yearning melodies of the original and turning up the punchy synths. Both versions are a certain kind of dancefloor firepower, for sure, but we deserve more fresh ideas from electronic music in 2006, don’t you think?

4. MORGAN GEIST – MOVES EP // ENVIRON I know, I know, I should be talking ‘bout his new Most of All 12” which just popped out, but last night I found this 2002 release secreted in the ‘Flying Burrito Brothers’ folder of my hard drive, which it seems to have been calling home for at least a year and a half. Still, what a blinding rediscovery – three muscular tracks of at once clean and very busy boogie.

Morgan Geist - Probs // Environ

I haven’t leapt on Output releases of late, but after some transitional problems they seem to’ve finally sorted out a fulsome catalogue for us to look forward to in ’06, including some interesting bits from Lopazz, How to Curse Dyslexia and George Demure to come. On this track, Paul ‘Erotic Discourse’ Woolford takes apart DK7’s ‘Life is Everywhere’ to fashion an industrial, bassy electro-growler which will shake up your dancefloor good, and tickle your cerebellum while it’s at it.

6. CANDIDATE – ANTICIPATION (SERGE SANTIAGO & CHRIS BONES REMIX) // WHITE I completely creamed myself over Serge’s mix of The Sunshine Underground, and retrospect has told me quite how inordinate my praise was. So it’s with some trepidation that I get on my knees and kiss the ass of this tune, Candidate’s ‘Anticipation’ as ripped to shreds by Santiago and his mucker Bones. It’s rangy, big-cocked electro-house with retro vibes and more peaks, drops and hooks than I can be bothered to recount; suffice to say, it will absolutely kill out. Can’t believe I (dis)missed this when it appeared last month….

Candidate – Anticipation (Serge Santiago & Chris Bones Remix) // White

7. JIMPSTER – LOVE YOU BETTER (JESSE ROSE REMIX) // FREERANGE Wherein the Dubsided fella delivers a tough but deep version of a not-at-all-bad Freerange tune, working in some phased, Detroity keys to offset his usual urgent electronics. Sound.

8. ALEX SMOKE – DON’T SEE THE POINT (HENRIK SCHWARZ REMIX) // SOMA Mellow jazz-tech (not as bad as that makes it sound) edit from the increasingly ubiquitous Schwarz, found on Smoke’s Brian’s Lung EP which emerged this time last year; the odd, morose vocal is stretched out a wee bit and cradled in bold drum patterns before giving way to the most elegant, heart-rending piano motif I’ve heard in a house record in a long time. Really nice.

9. HEADMAN – MOISTURE (DARE DEVIL’S MY MIDDLE NAME) (MUSTAPHA 3000 REMIX) // GOMMA Completely ignored this, what with everything Headman/Manhead having released in the last year or so being, to my ears at least, inexplicably and unrelentingly dull and/or crap; but here the ever-on-a-roll Erol A fashions something completely unmissable out of something wholly forgettable. I wonder what his Long Blondes productions are going to sound like? Anyone heard ‘em?

10. WARLOCK - JUST A FACE IN THE STREET // RAG & BONE RECORDS Fast, strong-arm dubstep cut to punish the dancefloor with; you should also really check out Warlock's Dirtage mix, an absurd but brilliant tape that he laid down in April - it swings from gutter grime and darkstep to industrial techno with ravey signatures, and for better or wose recalls the spirit of Jilted-era Prodigy - it's not always a pleasurable listen, but it's never a dull one. Head here where you can download it jus' like that.

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