#cultureclash

Last Wednesday was a momentous day. Obama was re-elected. Celtic won against Barcelona. And grime collective Boy Better Know beat Annie Mac, Major Lazer and reigning champs Channel One at the Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash.

I jest, slightly.

Culture Clash was more than just an awesome night of sound entertainment, and I’ll tell you why. First, it’s the full and final confirmation that the British iteration of the Jamaican dancehall soundclash has been fully revived and revitalised. Secondly, it tells you a lot about the power and forward motion of grime. And thirdly, much like in the ‘90s when rave music was all over the charts, it means our current crop of teens are getting schooled in UK street-up music, which bodes well for the next generation of British musical hybrids – and indeed for British culture and society in general. Mainstream society might not recognise it as such but this is art.

The original Jamaican soundclash was a development of the way liquor store owners set up speakers outside their shops to bring in more custom. This turned into dances as we understand them: outdoor musical events where American R&B, and then new Jamaican music was played to appreciative crowds at loud volume. Rivalries ensued between competing sounds, which eventually turned into the soundclash, where two systems would be placed facing each other with the crowd inbetween and would take turns to play sets, with the people deciding the winner through the volume of their appreciation.

In the UK, it shifted and changed. It wasn’t possible to hold dances outside and most of the year it’d be too cold anyway. So the dance moved into community centres and the clash moved with it. Two sounds at either end of places like Pountley Hall, showing off their selections and their ‘specials’, big songs that had been re-vocaled by the artist to ‘big up the sound’ or diss a rival. I don’t know exactly when the soundclash died out in this form but it must have been at the point that single sound dances run by dons like Aba-Shanti-I or Jah Shaka took over, so perhaps the late ‘80s.

In the interim, there was silence. Well, that’s not exactly true. Soundsystem culture swung into the DNA of every new hybrid of UK street music since Lovers Rock, coursing through our version of house music, jungle, garage, grime and dubstep. But there was no clash apart from the grime MC battles so memorably recorded on the Lords of The Mic DVDs or perhaps in the shadows of the MCs waiting to get on stage at grime raves like Sidewinder determined to outdo the previous performer, or perhaps even in the idea of the b2b where two DJs would play together, five tunes on, five tunes off.

In November 2010 as part of the London Red Bull Music Academy (of which I was part – I’ve hosted interviews at the Academy since 2002) the clash was revived. DMZ, Metalheadz, Trojan, Soul II Soul went head to head in a supersized four-way clash at The Roundhouse. I’m easily pleased by this kind of thing but this was a night to convert even doubters. This was high-octane musical collaboration and abrasion at it’s finest. Metalheadz had Goldie dashing about on stage, DMZ frontman Sgt Pokes insulted everyone, Trojan drew for the original style dub reggae and Soul Jazz mixed up the selection. Metalheadz won. The following year four different sounds (reigning champions Metalheadz, dub specialists Channel One, Soul II Soul and Skream and Benga) stepped up with similarly energetic effects – and Channel One reigned supreme. This week, the whole thing moved up a notch or two. It was at Wembley, there were 7,000 people there including a swathe of 16-18s allowed by the lowering of the entrance age and the participants came from Radio One (Annie Mac’s AMP stage), from LA, with hitmaker to the stars Diplo aka Major Lazer, reigning champions Channel One and grime dons Boy Better Know. I hate to sound smug, but my money was on BBK right from the start because who knows better about battle styles than London’s grime MCs?

I’ll post some footage when it’s up.

BBK’s powerful, hilarious, no-holds-barred final round and eventual win says a lot about the healthy state of grime. Wiley is all over the charts and is packing out his Eskidance raves. Elijah and Skilliam’s Butterz empire has shifted instrumental grime into hyper-loaded jump-up rave territory but with brilliant tunes that nod to early grime instrumentals like Musical Mobb’s Pulse X and multiply them. JME’s ‘chatty policeman’ series on YouTube, where he films himself being (repeatedly) stopped and searched has many thousands of views. Grime is national, multi-ethnic and as open to ladies with the right flow as it is to the thousands of boys who step up their literacy by writing and practising bars every lunchtime. If the government wants to explain recent rises in literacy (according to NASUWT, not Michael Wilshaw) it might want to thank grime rather than the counterproductive literacy curriculum which gets results despite of rather than because of its impact.

So who’s for next time? There are some big names who have not yet entered the arena: David Rodigan; Jamaica’s multi-winning Stone Love team; the aforementioned Butterz; Lemon D and Dillinjah’s Valve Sound; a UK garage sound headed perhaps by revivalist DJ Oneman… this thing could run and run. And hopefully, it will.

Classic Clubs Vol 1

Way back in Spring I got my first radio commission. Well, actually, I got three: a short feature about tattoos and piercings which I made for The Surgery and went out in August; a documentary about why people make music which transmits next year; and a two-parter on Classic Clubs.

The first part of the latter goes out tonight on 1Xtra, with the second part going out next week. As the name suggests, it’s about nightclubs. Part one is about the clubs that laid the foundations for the powerful and self-regenerating underground music scene we’ve got in the this country, and part two looks at three clubs that invented a new genre. I chased down MCs (got some, lost some), DJs (ditto) and club regulars to try and tell the story of what those places were really like, and to show what they created. I honestly believe that clubs are a massive motor of creativity, and a place where social boundaries can be explored and extended, and I wanted to find a way to communicate that. Clubs (and those that know, will know) can be more than places to show off, more than places to pull, more than places to experiment with drink and drugs. At their best, clubs become a focal point for creativity, for flow, for good times, and for building things that didn’t exist before. Alright, so I’m sounding excitable, but I can’t help it. I’m just not a cynic.

I interviewed Martin ‘Blackdown’ Clark for the documentary and he summed it up: “to see a scene develop in front of your eyes is the ultimate thing for any music fan.” There are tonnes of clubs I never went to that I know had major impact: daytime1970s club Crackers, the clubs Norman Jay and Gilles Peterson ran at Dingwalls in the ‘80s; AWOL, Roast, Labyrinth and the hardcore clubs that helped invent jungle; Speed; Eski Dance; Club 69 in Paisley where Detroit techno dons would come and play in a basement under an Indian restaurant on an industrial estate and many others. When people make music together their biochemical signals synchronise: a group’s heart rates, blood pressure and breathing step into collective line and I’d bet a large amount of money that the same thing happens to people who are on a dancefloor, lost in a musical zone.

I took my friend Graham Styles to Deviation a year or so ago, when it was still at Gramophone. Deviation sums up everything I really rate about London clubs: amazing music, a solid sound system, a cool, mixed crowd and that interplay between DJ and crowd that you only get at proper clubs. Graham was one of my original club buddies and we drove in his car from Orpington up town on numerous occasions to numerous clubs. When I took him to Deviation he completely understood and totally loved it. He found his spot at the back by the speakers, and it was like he’d never left. On the way home, he summed it up “I’m just glad the stuff we built is still alive” he said. And that’s why this country is so good at nightclubs, at proper clubs. We keep building on the foundations like a city, pulling down derelict buildings and building new ones, layer upon layer, sound upon sound, memory upon memory. We build, we destroy, we build and that’s why (along with pirate radio) our music is picked up all around the world.

Anyway, the documentaries are what they are. I interviewed DJs in my car in Beckenham Marks and Spencer’s carpark. I caught up with grime promoters on a Northampton roof. I went round to the delightful Jazzie B’s house. I went down to Heartless Crew’s subterranean studio. I finally managed to grab Goldie for ten minutes before he went to DJ at the Red Bull Revolutions in Sound event on the London Eye. It’s not perfect, it’s not definitive, but it was made with love and respect for all the people everywhere who’ve ever had the balls and the energy to put on a club so they can hear the music they love.

Right then, I’m off.

Zone Music

I went to see Martin Clark yesterday. He produces and DJs on Rinse FM under the name Blackdown and also runs Keysound Recordings. I was talking to him for a radio documentary I’m making about influential club nights and got a good hour of insight and stories from his years spent watching over dancefloors from Metalheadz to the recent Butterz Records party at Cable. Afterwards, he drove me back to the station with the Vex’d album on the stereo. I hadn’t heard it, but listening, it occurred to me that it was what you might call ‘zone music’; sounds that allow you to build you own imaginary external space and lets you live in it a while. If pop songs build you a castle with defined walls and furnishing, zone music lets you build you own.

I think most of the music I really love is zone music. I like songs although I have to admit I mostly hear vocals like another instrument. Unless it’s a really powerful performer, I tend to hear sounds and emotion, not words, which is odd given that I’ve spent a vast portion of my working life dealing with words. You’d think I’d be a lyric freak but to be honest I hardly ever hear them, which might explain the fact that I only know the words to about three records. It’s frankly embarrassing at times.

But back to the zone. Music must have developed as a way of communicating information (drums as ISDN lines) and as a way of allowing people to experience altered states. Anyone who’s ever sung with other people on terraces or in church, or got lost on a dancefloor, or disappeared into a mosh pit must know that. If you’re reading this and you’ve never experienced the loss of ego psychologists call flow then you need to close the blinds, crank up some suitable music and let it invade and transport. I’ve never actually done this but I think it might give you the idea.

Zone music can come from any time, and from across musical worlds. I know very little about Early Music apart from the fact I really like Catherine Bott’s Early Music Show on R3 and I can see myself getting heavily into music from a thousand years ago. Like this piece written by a French dude at the end of the 12th Century. He knew about the zone.

Perotin ‘Viderent Omnes’

Leaping forwards a millennia, this is music that takes you away from yourself, into another space.

Mala ‘Lean Forward’

I could go on, including things like Armando’s Land Of Confusion, or Dillinja’s darkside transporter The Angels Fell, but instead I’ll finish on this as I’ve started to appreciate a new type of zone. I got into this band through discovering Mark McGuire whilst testing out various clips on Boomkat and I really like them. So much, I’m going to see them with Fennesz at The Union Chapel in a few weeks as part of the Barbican’s Transcender festival.

Emeralds ‘Candy Shoppe’

Always FWD>>

Genuinely influential nightclubs are rare and precious. FWD>> is one of those places, and this weekend, it celebrates a decade of influence. Here’s a few reasons I’m proud and happy to have experienced it, and why I’m looking forward to tonight, where DJs from Youngsta to Ben UFO will be playing music from the last ten years of FWD>>

The people behind FWD>> understand the need to create and destroy. They provided the foundations for this thing we call dubstep but it was never just a dubstep club and they never got stuck in a genre. The DJs played (and play) grime, house, garage, weird electronic music, whatever they want.

They’ve curated tonnes of new talent. I can’t tell you how many people I saw go from the dancefloor to the DJ booth. If you’re good, they give you a chance. Ask Ramadanman, Oneman, Braiden, Brackles and countless other people. People who went to the club were inspired to to make music, start record labels and radio shows, to write and design blogs and to photograph what was happening. Once you understood the power of FWD>>, you could apply it to your own life. It’s an excellent philosophy to live by.

FWD>> has serious levels of persistence, confidence, attitude and taste. To start with it was just producers and their friends and the hardcore originals. Later, after a location mutation to Plastic People, and stints on Thursday and Friday it would be busy every week, with big queues outside, so they moved to a Sunday night to deter people who just wanted to get pissed and the fly-by-nights.

As a community, FWD>> is very open-minded. If you’re into it, you’re accepted. I went regularly between 2006 and last year and regularly saw baby-faced youngsters, people in their 30s who’d been through jungle and recognised immediately how good this music was, students in battered trainers, Croydon girls in denim dungarees and allsorts, basically.

FWD>> has been brilliant at creating a space for their music, and letting other people join if they want to. There’s no sense that they’ve ever tried to appeal to anyone. They just do what they do, and they do it well. Sarah Lockheart, Geeneus and Neil Joliffe and resident Youngsta have built something powerful that will continue to influence the UK’s music and creative industries for some years to come.

Hats off, that’s what I say.

James Blake ‘James Blake’… Some Thoughts

I got James Blake’s album in the post today. And as well as the usual feelings of anticipation and curiosity you’d expect to feel when faced with such a hotly-awaited piece of music, I also felt a genuine sense of pride. I didn’t have anything to do with this album, obviously. I didn’t write the stripped down gospel songs, or let the beats fall in that idiosyncratic way, or allow the silence to gain such momentum that it became a presence: 22 year old Blake did all of that in his bedroom. But I know something about it, I know something that he knows, because I also attended FWD>> regularly during that heady period of expansion between 2006 and 2008, a place that is regularly cited as the springboard for Blake’s music. I wasn’t there at the start; I was part of the generation that took over from the hardcore that built dubstep’s foundations, a period that maximised the beginnings, but before the existence of all those horrible records people shout over on Radio1.

When I think about FWD>> I think about the music, and the darkness behind the curtain that separated the dancefloor from the bar area (watch any YouTube footage to see how dark that place was. All you can ever see is the orange light behind the DJ booth and the odd lighter). It was funny, intense, energetic, hedonistic, powerful. You’d meet people from wildly different lives: sophisticated 16 year olds who’d post on the dubstepforum about bouncing across the playground to Barefiles mixes; old school bassheads who had been around the block and recognised that spark of scene genius; short Croydon girls in loads of make-up and shirt dresses; middle-class students and of course the regular contingent of DJs and producers who you’d find at the back, where the bar merged into the cloakroom.

But where is FWD>> in James Blake’s self-titled debut? I can hear shades of Plastician and Skream playing their mix of Black Ghost’s ‘Some Way Through This’, or the first time I heard Appleblim playing there – my overriding memory of that set is hearing shockingly irrational beats with huge cliffsides of compressed air powering through the speakers, and hearing him play ‘Circling’ – or those weekly spins of galloping, understated soulful Mala tracks ‘Left Leg Out’, ‘Blue Notez’ and ‘Lean Forward’.

Most, though, I can hear Kode9 playing Massive Music’s ‘Find My Way’, a song recast to suit the needs of people who’ve grown up with breakbeats and who understand instinctively that music, song structure and rhythm can be re-arranged. ‘Find My Way’ felt like one of the first records I heard within dubstep that could be classed, however vaguely, as a song (that’s excluding all the dancehall and grime lyricists who’ve always surrounded the music) and to me, it’s a definite precursor to Blake’s music. One major difference is that Blake has dropped any hint of Jamaican soundsystem heritage from his album and replaced it with Bon Iver-style vocodered folk (that one second of vocoder on ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’, stretched out over a whole song on ‘Lindesfarne I and II’), sparse, skinny gospel (‘Measurements’), and emotional, hungover pop (‘Limit To Your Love’). I might write a fuller album review at some point, but for now, two listens in on a rainy Saturday morning, I think that’s enough.

I saw someone questioning on Twitter whether 2011 would be the ‘year dubstep meets the pub singer’ and at its worst, that’s an apposite and accurate observation. On the other hand, this is a year when people who’ve experienced something special are coming back into the world, armed with everything they know about sub-bass and silence and perfectly misplaced beats and they’re taking this armoury into pop songs. James Blake has done it and who knows what fellow FWD>> alumni Ikonika, Braiden, Subeena, Deadboy or Ramadanman will create over the next few months and years. But I’m telling you. It’s going to be interesting.

Exclusive: An Interview With Scientist

I was half way through Friday night’s Pick N Mix show when someone came to the studio door and said that two gentlemen were in reception and that they wanted to drop off a hard drive.

“Want to meet Scientist?” asked Brendon, the studio manager.

So we had a quick huddle, switched around the timings for the last hour of the show and went outside to meet Mr Hopeton Brown and his manager, and asked if he had a spare ten minutes to come on the show. He did.

Here’s what happened, though of course you can hear the whole thing here.

Welcome
Hello and thank you.

It’s our pleasure. In terms of dub reggae, you’re one of the guys that originated things back in Jamaica, influencing much of the music we’re all enjoying today.
Yes.

Hmmm. Short but sweet. Some people will have seen you last night at Fabric, playing with The Upsetters. They were on the stage and you were in the booth, controlling things. How was it for you?
I can’t complain. It was very good, one of the best gigs I’ve done in a long while.

Can you explain why you weren’t up on the stage with the band?
I am shy.

You must have had a problem, then, with all the eyes peering at you through the grid around the DJ booth…
I felt it, but I had to keep focused on the objective which was to make the band sound as good as possible.

It was a really nice evening. You spent all of the day before down here at the studios. Can you tell us what you were doing?
I recorded three tracks with The Upsetters. I shared some recording techniques. They captured some of it on tape: how to mic the drums, and after that I did a dub mix of one of the songs we recorded.

Are you usually a fast-working person?
Growing up in Jamaica you’re pushed to the max, just like they pushed that racing car outside. A lot of folks doesn’t have an unlimited budget. Some folks can only have a bit of studio time, and exactly what happened here happens there. You do four songs in four hours: mix, overdub, horns, percussion, the whole nine yards.

Another thing you’ve done recently is work on an album that’s forthcoming on Tectonic where you reversioned tracks created by dubstep artists. Can you tell us how that came together?
I played at Bloc Weekend and after that I came to Bristol. I was interested in doing some more dubstep after I saw what I saw that weekend. I’ve never seen anything like it before, a whole weekend with 20,000 people. Lee Perry was the only person there with vocals.

That was your first introduction to dubstep. It must have been interesting and strange: you must have seen the connection to what you guys did, but you must also have seen how it’s been switched up…
Yes, and I appreciate the switch. The guys doing dubstep, they’re onto something very good. I personally endorse it and want to see more of it.

What do you know about dubstep now that you didn’t know before you entered into the fray so to speak?
I am hooked on it.

Is that the addictive quality of bass culture?
Yes. Music is music. It’s like good food. Everybody appreciate good food.

What else have you got coming up?
When I get back to the States I have a Santigold mix I’m finishing up. But who knows what else. I might end up mixing the Fairy Godmother.

I’d like to hear that one. Scientist, thank you very much.

Thank you.

PICK N MIX SHOWS on Mixcloud

I uploaded the shows from the start of the month today, and I’ll upload the rest over this week til they’re all on my mixcloud page mixcloud.com/emmawarren. I need to sort out the tracklisting for each hour as I haven’t yet separated them out into the correct hour sections but I’m sure you’ll work it out in the meantime. This show was the first one since the NME radio hiatus and it was good to be back on air. The show had interviews with Diplo and Funkineven (the latter talking about his favourite acid track) and a really good carnival set from Joker who somehow has transformed from the quite serious heads-type DJ I used to see at FWD>> to a proper party DJ. Oh, and we started as we mean to go on, with the uncompromising, ear-twisting sounds of DJ Nate, straight from the hardcore heart of Chicago. All together now: “hatas our motivation, hatas our motivationa, hatas our motivation”. Or ‘hats are our motivation’ as Mike ‘Planet Mu’ Paradinas put it, when I interviewed him this week for the ongoing footwork/juke feature I’m seemingly endlessly engaged in.

Pick N Mix tracklist 17/9/10

So, the show went out again on Friday night, with loads of new music and an interview with Jah Wobble, down at the Red Bull Studios. Some real favourites in this show: the Jamie Woon track is properly lovely (and I’ll be playing the Ramadanman mix in the new few weeks), and I’m a little bit head over heels for the VHS Head track. It made me draw for those old vvm and Cassetteboy 7″s where they cut Lionel Ritchie up and made him do bad things, and once released, after the event, a particularly edge-of-wrong track called Di and Dodi Do Die. There’s a also another Too Cool For Old School track, which is a regular on the show, where we select an old classic. This time it’s Laid Back (not scary Slovenian band Laibach, who I used to believe made records that would play themselves if you left them alone too long… well scary) and their post-disco early ’80s classic White Horse. The shows will be going up on Mixcloud soon, honest.

Jamie Woon – Night Air (Candent Songs)
Spokes – We Can Make It Out (Yppah Mix) (Counter Records)
Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer (Toro Y Moi Remix) (Static Tongues)
VHS Head – Sunset Everett (Skam)
Dels – Shapeshift (Kwes remix) (Ninja Tune)
Letherette – In July Focus (Ho Tep)
Steve Mason – Just A Man (Studio Mix) (Domino)
Arkist and Komonazmuk – Outbreak (If Symptoms Persist)
Unicorn Kid – Wildlife (The Blessings Mix) (Cool Records)
Andras Fox, Sui Zhen and James Pants – Touch-N-Talk (Various Assets)
Pariah – Crossed Out (R&S)
Badness – Silencer (Teddy Productions)
Gang Gang Dance – Kamakura (Latitude)
Subeena – Wishful Thinking (Opit Records)
Apaloosa – Intimate (Glass Candy Mix) (Italians Do It Better)
Cooly G – Dis Boy (DVA Hi Emotions Remix) (DVA)
LV and Okmalumkoolkat – Boomslang (Hyperdub)
Laid Back – White Horse (Sire)
Scuba – Latch (Will Saul and Mike Monday Remix) (Hotflush)
Ramadanman – Bass Drums (Soul Jazz)
Foals – Spanish Sahara (Transgressive)

Skream Interview For Groove Magazine

Sometimes you end up interviewing the same person over and over again because they’ve got a record out. I remember interviewing Dizzee Rascal about eighteen times for various magazines circa 2001/02 and went on similar multiple interview missions with a whole load of people from Massive Attack to Mike Skinner over the years. And so it is with Mr Oliver Jones. This interview is for Groove Magazine’s version of Desert Island Discs, the Radio4 programme where a person of stature talks about their life through a selection of eight records. The German version of this comes out very soon.

When did you first start buying music?
To be honest I first started buying music when I was in primary school, mostly East 17 and Peter Andre. I was six or seven. It was generally from Woolworths and I’d always buy the deluxe CDs with bonus remixes on it and I always liked the remixes best. Return Of The Mack, that remix was sick. Back then, the boys liked East 17, the girls liked Take That. Then I realised my brother worked at a record shop and I would find any means of making money so I could go and buy records. Anything I heard I needed. It wasn’t that I wanted it, I needed it.

How much music do you have?
I got fucking loads of vinyl. I was buying vinyl from the age of 12 and that’s a lot of garage, a lot of ’99-2000 drum and bass. And I got all my brother’s records from ’89 to ’94. I got every big garage record, every big remix that was every made, every shit bootleg that was ever made, any record that any big MC MCed over, then as I got older I got into disco. I went into this shop in Canada, and me thinking it was the same price as buying garage records, I picked up a pile and it cost $500. I bought three records. I got into a phase of buying funky house, not UK funky but Naked Music, soulful funky house. I’ve got a Paul McCartney album. Temporary Secretary! That was electro back in the day. I got a few hip hop acapellas that I tried to turn into dubstep before dubstep existed.

What does your collection look like? How is it stored?
Up ’til two years ago they was on my wall, shelves on my wall. My old bedroom was my brothers old bedroom and he built stacks on the wall, but then my mum boxed them up and put them in the loft. He was very not happy. The one thing about all my records is that they’re made around the baselines. I’ve got a two faced record collection: one’s really pretty, ones horribly disfigured. Some I’m ashamed to have bought like Eminem Vs Judy Cheeks. It was sheer boredom. I didn’t even play it. I used to play a lot of house parties and them tunes was necessary.

OK, so let’s move on to the tracks you’d take to a desert island….
Artwork
Rank

Artwork had just bought this Nord keyboard from Japan and I’d never heard nothing like it. It was so dark and weird and horrible. It amazed me. I actually heard this record while it was being made because their studio was upstairs from Big Apple and me and Benga would go and hang out up there. It was the same with Sounds of The Future. I made the ringone for that actually. That was my sideline at the time: Arthur would give me the notes and I’d programme it on the Nokia 3810. I head the first loop of the bass and I was gone. I once tried to remake this record but I couldn’t do it.

Elephant Man
Log On (Horsepower Remix)

We all first heard this tune for the first time in Big Apple. I remember it really well. There was me, John who ran the shop, Benga, Hatcha and Artwork. It was a real ‘fucking hell!’ moment. This tune is so heavy. The vocal was there obviously, but the beat behind it was so original and it was a massively inspiring record to us all. This mix was around even before FWD>> started and it came out around the time when Big Apple did the Xmas party in Croydon, when Fonti from Heartless Crew did the dubplate-only party. That night was how FWD>> started. It gave everyone the idea to do our own club and that’s how the night got started.

Wiley
Eskimo

This track sent everyone mad. There wasn’t one person that didn’t like it. It was a tune that made people do gun fingers before gun fingers were trendy. I listened to a lot of pirates and I was obsessed by the clashing and good MCs. One of my favourite clashes was the Heartless Vs Pay As You Go when Heartless proved they were kings. It was amazing. Heartless were fun whereas Pay As You Go were a bit more ghetto. Dizzee was my favourite, though. There’s a reason he’s so big. When he come on the circuit on those old Sidewinder tapes, he’d bring such a strong vibe and agginess. The only equivalent now is Tempa T’s Next Hype, that’s a tune with agginess and hype. I think Wiley’s a genius.

Tortured
Coki

All I can say is it never heard anything like this tune before and it nearly made me break my neck once, I actually injured myself going mad to it. It used to send people bonkers. I’ve always been been amazed by Coki. Everything he has ever done has been groundbreaking. In my eyes, he’s the best engineer around and I’m really glad he’s starting to step out of the shadows. He should be headlining places, getting ten grand a set and producing for everyone. He don’t sound like nobody. But it’s musical at the same time. I listen to the programming and I swear I can’t get my head around it. And his basslines talk. It sounds like they’re saying words sometimes.

Prince
Erotic City

It’s amazing. And I love the fact it caused so much controversy. At the time it couldn’t get mainstream play because he never said if the lyrics said ‘fuck’ or ‘funk’… I think it says both. It’s a dance record but the record is really political: Am I straight or am I gay? Am I black or am I white? When i’m walking in the sun, and you’re listening to this, you just start shrugging your shoulders, getting a swing in your step. People think it’s a swing record. Those classic Prince chord changes are just killer.

Jimmy Edgar
Hot Raw Sex

I bought the album yesterday. It’s sexually creepy, it’s quite nonce, and the whole album is filth. You can imagine someone whispering it in someone’s ear. It’s the nearest to that Prince era I like, though the shameful thing is that it won’t be massive. Why would I take this to a desert island? It would make me feel a bit sexy and if I was stranded alone I would need to feel sexy somehow. I’m saying I’d take Jimmy Edgar, I’m just talking the music. I’d be laying there under the stars, no-one watching, at one with myself.

On Desert Island Discs you can also take a book and luxury item. What would you take?
Anything by Martina Cole. I read The Take and that’s amazing. It was the first book I read since I left Primary School. Luxury would have to be a laptop with some kind of production otherwise I’d fucking go mad.

NME Radio Show… back on air

My Pick N Mix show went out on Friday night, after a few months off air. Here’s what I played, with a few Youtube links hyperlinked in case you’re interested in how it sounds, because there’s nothing more annoying than getting a list of music you can’t listen to.

The shows should eventually be hosted for listen back on redbullstudios.com…. but not just yet. Next week’s show is 8-10pm, Friday night, on NME’s DAB station or on nme.com/radio. Plus there’s a new app.

DJ Nate Hatas Our Motivation (Planet Mu)
Silver Columns Always On (Caribou Mix) (Download)
Matthew Dear Soil To Seed (Ghostly International)
Solar Bears Crystalline (Letherette Remix) (Planet Mu)
Ahu To Love (One Handed Music)
Cooly G Up In My Head (Hyperdub)
Friendly Fires and Azari III ‘Stay Here’ (Download)
Superrisk ‘Find Your Way’ (Mensah Mix) (Punch Drunk Records)
Jon Hopkins Vessel (Four Tet Mix) (Domino)
Katy B ‘Louder’ (Rinse)
DJ Naughty Goosebumps (Roska Kicks N Snares)
Kaseem Mosse ‘We Speak To Those’ (Non Plus)
Count and Sinden ‘Do You Really Want It’ (Domino)
LV and Bears ‘Explode’ (2nd Drop)
Vaccine ‘Cascade Failure’ (Non Plus)
Hell Interface ‘Midas Touch (Skam)

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