Friday, 28 November 2008

Techno Pressure!

Gotta keep up the pressure.
Been a busy week at work, but it's also been a busy month (damn is November nearly over already!) on the decks and back on the 10th I threw down a selection of techno tunes from axross the last decade.

Back between about 95-2000 I bought a lot (and mean a real lot) of US and European techno, much of it in the Mills/Surgeon/Beltram/Advent vein; I was clubbing a lot at the time, primarily and House of God and Atomic Jam in Birmingham, my home town at the time. I still have all these tunes of course, and every now and then the pile gets supplemented.

That is how this mix came about, first I picked up some bargain tunes from DJ Punisher, who runs Seismic records, Detroit. Two 4-track EPs from the early 2000's. Secondly, a rather surprising track turned up in the shape of Oliver Klein's remix of James Holden's "One For You", a £1 record fair purchase, I love Holden's style, but would normally count him as edgy progressive-trance, not techno, but this mix more than creeps into techno territory. So here I had some quality "new" material (new in my collection if not to the world at large) , and I felt the need to dig out some quality tunes to join it all up.

The results are here, tracklisting as follows:

Joel Mull - The Mole (Ben Sims "Just Don't Understand" Remix) [Primevil]
Wind's - Detention (D'Jedi Rmx) [Calme]
Greg Gow - Chemical Compounds A2 [Seismic]
Simon Digby - Bottom Line (G Flame's I Want Remix) [Strive]
Joey Beltram - The Infinite Wisdom [STX]
Ken Ishii - Misprogrammed Day [R&S]
James Holden - One For You (Oliver Klein Remix) [Direction / Silver Planet]
Grudge - Pneumonia [Seismic]
Marco Lenzi - Who Cares B2 [Who Cares]
Virulent - Hive Minded [Seismic]
Electric Deluxe - Electric Deluxe (Cristian Varela Remix 1.0) [Additive]
Electric Deluxe - Electric Deluxe [Plus 8]
Steve Bicknell - Why? And For Whom? (Surgeon Definition) [Cosmic]
Mark Williams - Drum Generation Prt 2 [Drumworks]
Cozmic Spore & Fanon flowers - Chemical Compounds B1 [Seismic]
Cozmic Spore - IT [Seismic]
Cozmic Spore - Chemical Compounds A1 [Seismic]
Punisher - Dilated [Seismic]
Alenia - Chemical Compounds B2 [Seismic]
Dean Rodell - Dissolved Distance [Drumcode]
Bandulu - Running Time [Blanco Y Negro]

And download it here!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Return and Revenge of Dubstep

Back again.
Things are coming thick and fast. I hope I can keep up the pace. I have loads of mixes to upload and publicise as I have said, And right now I want to get my latest efforts online as quickly as possible!

So first up this week is my newest dubstep mix, which was recorded earlier in the month - 7th Nov to be precise.

Now of course dubstep is the sound du jour and everyone is putting out dubstep mixes at the moment, and I have to confess to climbing on the bandwagon a bit late. That said, I have liked the sound of the music since I first encountered it, before the dubstep name had become unequivocal, and terms like grime, eski and niche were also still being used if not interchangeably, then at least overlapping- although many would no doubt still argue the distinctions!

The sad thing is that I don't own much dubstep, the main reason being a shortage of funds. I actually heard a new style of music I really liked, and rather fearing it could become a money pit, almost deliberately avoided getting "into" it. 10 years ago or so I was spending literally hundreds a month on music, as a single person with small outgoings this was possible. Now that is no longer true, the mortgage is over twice the size, there are extra mouths to feed etc etc.

Anyway enough of that, what about the music. Well, a mixture across the last 3 years or so and varying styles in dubstep. The four Planet-Mu tunes are all off the same compilation. Planet Mu was set up by Mike Paradinas a decade or so ago. He is a long-time Aphex Twin cohort and I was into his stuff as Mu-Ziq from the mid-90s, and he helped introduce many other artists such as Jega and Shitmat to the world. More recently his label has diversified and released dubstepalongside the other styles of experimental electronica. I think its a good fit - Dubstep is a return to the dancefloor for experimental sounds, as it has a wide span of styles that encompasses electronic tweaking as much as dancehall stylings.

A few other notable tunes in the mix:

Breakage - Dharma ("Lost" references anyone?) is a great dubstep tune from this Drum & Bass producer, really dark and deep, and available free from the Digital Soundboy website! Rossi B & Luca brought the fantastic UB40 "One In Ten" based "Nobody Knows" that I used in my earlier dubstep mix (two B-side tracks are in this mix here), and on checking their back catalog I discovered this wicked rework of the Specials' "Ghost Town".

J:Kenzo brings "Tekno Bass" to the party, a tune that references my love for Aux 88, a wicked Detroit Electro-Bass outfit, while the D&B Contingent return towards the end with TC and Chase & Status representing big-style. That TC remix by Caspa absolutely rips, and has been tearing up D&B dancefloors so much that it was in the official 1Xtra & Radio 1 D&B Top 10! Chase & Status are one of the artists of 2008 for me - their capability in producing not just D&B, but dubstep and also hip-hop/funk (check "Against All Odds" on their debut LP More Than Alot) is astounding. Burial's "U Hurt Me" rounds things off, just chilling the mood slightly.

Finally listen up for Burial - Archangel in the mix, it might not appear to be well placed in the tracklist order, but I hope you enjoy my indulgence.

Vex'd - 3rd Choice [Planet Mu]
Skream - Stagger [Tempa]
Breakage - Dharma [Digital Soundboy]
Skream - Rutten [Tempa]
Benga & Coki - Emotions [Tempa]
Pinch - Punisher [Planet Mu]
Boxcutter - Chiral [Planet Mu]
Distance - Traffic [Planet Mu]
Rossi B & Luca - Optimus Prime [Heavy Artillery]
Slaughter Mob - Break Out [Urban Graffiti]
Rossi B & Luca - Pull Up [Heavy Artillery]
Rossi B & Luca - Ghost Town [A.R.M.Y.]
J.Kenzo - Tekno Bass [Soul Shakerz]
Burial - Archangel [Hyperdub]
TC - Where's My Money [D-Style]
Rusko - Cockney Thug [Sub Soldiers]
Chase & Status - Eastern Jam [Ram]
Burial - U Hurt Me [Hyperdub]

Oh and you'll need the link!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Buckle Up!

My next mix doesn't come with such a long story. This is a mix I did at the start of September, of "breaks" material, you know, Thursday Club, Y3K, that kinda style. Not a scene I follow closely, and one which sometimes seems to me to get into a rut all-too easily, some of my pet peeves being:
  • samey beats - even a simple boom-tsh-boom-tsh half-step being an excuse for a "breakbeat" on all too many tracks, the ones where you get two kicks to a bar but no syncopation anywhere
  • over reliance on re-edits of classics and remixes of well-known tunes from the mainstream house scene.
But that is not to say there is not some stonking stuff and some excellent, innovative labels, and after all dance music is about having fun, and if it makes you dance, then that is what matters.

I can hardly claim this mix to be a showcase of carefully selected tunes or anything like that. I just had a big pile of CDs knocking about, picked up cheap from record fairs etc, and eventually enough breaks tracks built up for a decent mix.

Here's the tracklist:

FX: Alan Key - Get Ready Keyhole
Mylo - Muscle Car (Tiga's Nightmare Chords Mix)
Deep Dish - Stranded (Brother Brown B-Mix)
The Doors - Hello, I Love You (Adam Freeland Remix)
Stanton Warriors - Blue
Ferry Corsten - Watch Out (Lee Coombs Remix)
The Egg - Work (Atomic Hooligan Remix)
Freestylers - Push Up (Steady J re-edit)
Stanton Warriors - Still Here
Freq Nasty - Sil Num Tao (Plastic Pervert Remix)
Merka - Mystic Man (Retro re Dub)
ILS - Next Level
Splitloop - Electric Fence
ILS - Cherish (ILS Instrumental)
Backdraft - Labrat
Freq Nasty - Brooklyn to Brixton (Freestylers Raw as Fuck Mix)
S.C.A.M. - Killer
Pendulum vs Freestylers - Fasten Your Seatbelt

That intro is from a sample disc that came with iDJ Mag (I think), while several (Splitloop, Backdraft and S.C.A.M.) are off another iDJ disc, "Premium Breaks" which really is an excellent compilation. The Deep Dish tune is perhaps not what would be expected, but this mix has a wicked old-skool beat sampled under it; this is pretty much the oldest track on there (not counting the original of the Doors of course!). The "Steady J Re-Edit") of Freestylers "Push Up" is nothing so grand in reality - just live use of the looping and other features on the CDJ-400s to extend this excellent track, because I only have the short version of this mix. In my usual style, I worked the tempo and the intensity of the tunes towards the end. I didn't even have the Pendulum track lined up for the mix until I dropped the S.C.A.M. tune and realised I had a good fit and a real stonker to finish off the set!

Enjoy the Mix!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Summer Love - Winter Chill?

The second mix I am posting is entitled "Summer Love". Rather unseasonal? Well yes, but I think while we often associate the sort of music in this mix with lazing on beaches, it could equally be appreciated while sitting by the fire with a good book, snuggled up in bed, or anywhere else - your choice. It was actually recorded in August so the title was appropriate.

This one all began when my friend Matt told me his girlfriend kept going on about a Ministry chill-out ad she was seeing on TV - "I Love these tunes, can James do me a mix with these tunes"? It took me a while and of the tunes featured in the ad, only one or two found their way into the mix, but in the end I don't think that mattered, the feedback has been excellent!

So anyway, I approached this one rather differently from my usual beatmixed sessions. I guess I usually behave like a warm-up DJ, starting with some good grooves and building up the tempo and the atmosphere, never dropping a beat if I can help it. This was different. Most of the tunes have a beat, and many of the tempos are compatible, but keeping in key was just as important for that smooth mellow chillout vibe, so quite a bit of preparation was required. My recently acquired CDJ-400s with their pitch-lock were also very useful for some of the transitions!

These tunes spread back over the last decade and beyond, some are very well known, others more obscure.

FC Kahuna - Hayling
Stef Pako & Frederik - Magic Shop (Forth's Shopping Trolley)
Electrotete - I Love You (Original)
Moby - Go (Jam & Spoon In Dub Mix)
Salt Tank - Sargasso Sea (Eugina)
Mark Snow - X-Files
Accadia - Into The Dawn (Accadia Ambient Mix)
Art Of Noise - Moments In Love
Groove Armada - At The River
Stef Pako & Frederik - Seaside Atmosphere (Evolution's Ambient Seagull)
William Orbit - Barber's adagio for Strings
Coldcut - Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Mix)

I started with FC Kahuna because it is just the perfect intro, it sets the tone. My original choice was Electrotete, but this was just a bit obscure and at times too "electronic", I just felt it set off on the wrong foot slightly. "I Love You" works perfectly with "Go" however, as it seems to sample some of the synths from the original version of Moby's 1991 classic. I made use of Jam & Spoon's awesome dub mix of "Go" for this chillout mix though. I was amazed when I found how many of these tunes all seemed to be in the same or related keys, running easily through the classic Salt Tank into Mark Snow's original version of the X-Files theme. For one mix I must admit to some major "influence". I first heard Art of Noise blended with Groove Armada in this way on a "Sunset Ibiza" compilation. But I hope the use of the loop function on my CDJs has enhanced the anticipation in this mix!

Stef, Pako & Frederik make 2 appearances on this mix, a high incidence considering the size of their discography, but both these remixes make awesome chillout tunes. I first heard "Seaside Atmosphere" on a Muzik mag cover-disc back in 99, and was lucky enough to pickup the 12" cheaply some years later, only to find this awesome near-beatless version on the flip.

Barber's Adagio for strings is one of the tunes from the "inspirational" ministry advert, and should need no introduction, while Mixmaster Morris's take on Coldcut's version of Autumn Leaves has been a standard in chillout sets since it first appeared in 1993.

Having completed the "perfect" chillout mix I was then inspired to produce a "bangin" alternative, basically because every tune in the mix existed in my collection in a more uptempo form (sometimes by a different artist). The only exception was "Moments In Love" but I soon tracked down a decent trance version by Rob Searle, who has done excellent (imo) remixes of LFO and Frankie Goes to Hollywood among others.

I mixed this on 25th September. The tracklisting is all switched about, as matters of tempo came to the fore, but somehow I managed to keep things in key as well. I had to be a bit brutal with the time-stretching for Groove Armada and Moby into opposite ends of Electrotete at the start of this mix, but the CDJ400s cope admirably well with this, producing only minimal digital artifacts for a budget device operating in real-time. After that the tempo gradually progresses upwards, and in fact the track order was partly determined by bpm, with adjustments for continuity, flow and key considerations

The tracklisting goes:

Groove Armada - At The River (English Riviera Mix)
Electrotete - I Love You (Peter Ramson & Danny Van Wauwe Remix)
Moby - Go (Woodtick Mix)
FC Kahuna - Hayling (ILS Remix)
Accadia - Into The Dawn (James Holden Mix)
Way Out West - The Fall
Stef, Pako & Frederik - Seaside Atmosphere (Evolution's Donkey Derby)
Stef, Pako & Frederik - Magic Shop (Original)
DJ Dado - X-Files
Salt Tank - Eugina (Tiesto Remix)
The Art Of Noise - Moments In Love (Rob Searle Remix)
Tiesto - Adagio For Strings (Album Version)

Here are the links
Summer Love (Chillout Mix)
Summer Love (Pumped Mix)