Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beat Frequencies

Get down heads up: the keyed-in crew at Locksmith Beats Radio have featured one of my sets in their latest Podcast, so head on over and subscribe to their beat stream.

You can also catch me on on Tuesdays at 22:00 and Thursdays at 20:00.

The tracklist for Locksmith #007 is:

1. Friendly Fires - Paris (Aeroplane Remix)
2. Stimming - Una Pena
3. Force Of Nature - Sequencer (Stefan Goldmann Remix)
4. Daso - Meine (Lucio Aquilina Mix)
5. Mark E - R&B Drunkie
6. Worthy - Crack-El (Justin Martin Remix)
7. Justin Martin - My Angelic Demons
8. Kid Cudi - Day N Nite (Crookers Remix)
9. Hot Chip - Touch Too Much (Fake Blood Remix)
10. Kraak & Smaak ft. Ben Westbeech - Squeeze Me (Trevor Loveys Remix)
11. Sei A - Smile For Me (Chaim Remix)
12. Cari Lekebusch - Shaded (Compuphonik & Kolombo Remix)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pulp Rhythms

Whatever happened to drum 'n' bass?

Earlier in the new millennium it was all anyone remotely interested in dance music could speak about, and double bass-driven rhythmic exploits from the likes of Roni Size's Reprazent scooped critical acclaim and awards including the coveted Mercury Prize. Then the minimal and mechanical techstep animals of Ed Rush, Andy C and co. took over the farm and ruined all the fun...

I have acquaintances who still think the form is alive and kickin' and it still sells by the truckload in the UK, but every time I've been on a drum 'n' bass floor in past six or seven years, I've been bored beyond belief.

The one exception was when Hospital Records' Tony Colman (aka London Elektricity) played a storming set, high in melodic hijinx and variety, to a near empty club in Johannesburg in 2003. That a DJ who exemplifies how wide-ranging, colourful and complex drum 'n' bass can be was ignored by the so-called 'heads' spoke volumes. I haven't bought a drum 'n' bass track since.

But I still love listening to the often magical rhythmic escapades that were ubiquitous when drum 'n' bass at its peak - "Brown Paper Bag", "Pulp Fiction", London Elektricity's 'Pull The Plug' album - and when I received a request recently for soundtrack-ready music that was Tarantino-esque, sleek and swift, I realised how cinematic, soulful and noir a lot of the best drum 'n' bass is.

I sent these classics on and thought I'd share them here too - if anyone can recommend newer drum 'n' bass that's anywhere near as compelling, please post them in the comments section.

Alex Reece - Pulp Fiction
EZ Rollers - Walk This Land (Vinyl rip)
London Elektricity - Pull The Plug
Roni Size - Hi-Potent

Get Simon Reynolds' thoughts on jungle and drum 'n' bass and how they figure in his 'hardcore continuum' - as well as their relationship with garage, grime, dubstep and funky - in a long but revealing talk hosted by FACT in association with the Wire Magazine HERE.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Songs In The Key Of Life

"Don't you ever wonder how the hell does Stevie Wonder see things?" - Hot Chip, "Keep Fallin'"

OK, the man may make a few too many appearances in inappropriate places (most notably lately: on stage at the Grammys with Jonas Brothers), but there's no denying that pop music would not be anywhere near where it is without the efforts of one Stevland Hardaway Judkins, aka Stevie Wonder.

Lately I've had plenty cause to dive deep into into his twinkling well of righteously original tunes, having been booked to DJ at an 80s-themed birthday party as well as at a shop launch where the brief is disco. Stevie works er, wonders in both contexts.

Prepping for these events over the past weekend, I dropped the needle onto my vinyl copies of 'Songs In The Key Of Life' and 'Hotter Than July', and bathed my soul in the glorious heart-tug of tracks like "Master Blaster (Jammin')", "Sir Duke" and "All I Do". I highly recommend this to everyone on a Saturday afternoon.

Having won an incredible 22 Grammy Awards (the most ever by a solo artist), one might expect this legend to just slink off into the shadows, but he's still relatively busy and has collaborated with far cooler cats than Jonas Brothers in recent years.

In 2006 he hooked up with British soul singer Omar on the 'Sing (If You Want It)' album, and their "I'm Feeling You" recently turned up remixed by Henrik Schwarz. If I wasn't convinced already that German producer Schwarz makes the most golden dance music on the face of the earth, I'm beyond sold after listening to this reworking.

Enjoy a Stevie classic and what for me is, by far and away, the song of the year so far...

Stevie Wonder - All I Do
Omar ft. Stevie Wonder - I'm Feeling You (Henrik Schwarz Remix) [Excerpt]