XL Recordings Documentary on BBCR1

The BBC are broadcasting a documentary about XL recordings tonight. It’s made by the extremely talented Becky Jacobs and is well worth a listen as Richard Russell’s label is one of the most influential we’ve ever had, right up there with Island, Factory and Rough Trade.

XL started out as a hardcore breakbeat label born out of the acid house explosion, releasing the music people started making when the Roland 303 acid bleeps faded out and breakbeats took over. They were there when Prodigy did their first gigs at rave chaos-pit Labyrnth and that signing bankrolled the label for the whole first phase of their life. Happily, and unlike other label heads, they chose to spend the money on more music rather than a big diamond watch and a Boxster.

There’s a million things you could say about XL: the way they shifted to bands in the early 2000s; the finely-tuned radar-ears that allowed them to sign Dizzee on the back of the I Luv U white label and allowed them to release Boy In Da Corner in all it’s pristinely raw-from-road honesty; the genius of re-releasing the first two White Stripes albums and getting Jack front and centre of their newly-expanded internationalist roster. And that’s only the half of it. All record labels go on about only releasing music they like but either a) some of them are lying or b) some of them like horrible music. XL have remained like that music loving person you know: slightly arrogant but pretty much right about everything, and hallelujah for that.

If you were to ask me which labels are doing the same thing now, I’d have one answer. The Rinse family of labels, events and radio. They’re connected to the roots of their culture in exactly the same way XL were, and to a pretty large degree, still are.

One way of ensuring that you stay relevant is to focus on the roots, not fruits of a culture, and XL are definitely in camp roots.

Info here.

Terror Danjah on Pick N Mix

Just a warning, really. Grime producer Terror Danjah is coming down to the studio tonight to be interviewed on my weekly radio show. I’ve got questions about the space between grime and dubstep, about SB.TV and about his trademark gremlin cackle… and who knows what else’ll come up. He’s a nice man. So nice in fact that he came down to Live Magazine a few weeks ago, armed with a bottle of Lucozade to keep him refreshed while the journalists of the future grilled him for a profile piece we ran in the mag.

I’ll put up a transcript of the interview over the weekend some time, ready to read alongside the show which will be available to listen again on Monday.

Radio…. transmission

My monthly radio show, the Pick N Mix, is up now here: http://www.rbmaradio.com/ARCHIVE.153.0.php

It contains me rambling on, the Martyn mix of Shut Up And Dance, the good track off the Yo Majesty album where they go all OutKast, Portuguese dubstep from Octapush, new-school conscious grime from Geeneus and a wicked old street soul electro number from Dhar Braxton. And me rambling a little more.

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