Flying Lotus @ Roundhouse (22.10.11)

Billed as one of only three live shows this year, the others in Paris and New York, expectation was high. Recommended in Time Out, Flying Lotus would be flanked by a vj set from AntiVJ and supported by Martyn and Kutmah, the former’s new lp already a Dash’n’Verve favourite.

So perhaps I started to let excitement get the better of me as we filed in to the excellent Roundhouse to hear Martyn drop Mega Drive Generation. Though he wasn’t the main event, the Chicago house inspired Masks and enveloping Popgun from the album Ghost People proved Martyn has a lot to offer FlyLo’s label Brainfeeder.

Kutmah with a warm up set next. an amazing version of Shugge Otis’ Aht Uh Mi Hed slinked through the mix and big bouncy r’n’b retakes reminded of the massive influence Hudson Mohawke has had on the genre.

And so to Flying Lotus. The big screen centre stage blinked with a galaxy of stars (or a windows screensaver as a Dutchman behind me quipped) and out Steve Ellison came, fresh white shirt and all. A couple of bass heavy hits in to his Ableton set, Flying Lotus appeared to apologise for something. Whilst it wasn’t clear what the apology was for, it felt to me as though something was supposed to be better. A quick post mortem on the performance…

The AntiVJ visuals were dull – like being trapped inside the crystal maze dome without a hope of reaching 100 gold tokens net. And from the guy who brought us Unexpected Delight, GNG BNG and the matchless Cosmogramma lp, the sound unfortunately matched the visuals. On the aforementioned lp tour, FlyLo drew on the fantastic Thundercat and Austin Peralta to do something truly live with the band Infinity. This was more like going to an expensive Italian restaurant and being served a Dr Oetker pizza.

Yes, the music was great, typified with FlyLo’s finale of Astral Plane followed by the Rolling Stones classic Paint it Black. But playing to thousands of punters paying 25 notes each, you need to offer more than a laptop and an apology.

Mosca – Done Me Wrong / Bax

I didn’t really latch on to Mosca first time around. Releasing his debut offering, the Square One EP, on Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990’s club night turned label, Night Slugs, in 2010, I heard the hype but just wasn’t being pushed over the edge into euphoria for the music like others seemed to be.

And I mean, this EP got plaudits. The “b-side”, Nike got voted superblog XLR8R’s track of 2010, and when you have five (you can only just count ’em on one hand) remixes of the title track on your debut release from names like Roska, Julio Bashmore, Greena, L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok, there’s clearly something nifty going on.

So, the record collection was still awaiting it’s first Mosca purchase. Needless to say (you may have seen this coming), it’s now happened. Marking the 16th release on the Numbers label, Done Me Wrong / Bax is a heady throwback to garage sounds from 10 years ago muddled with an assortment of tropical bells and elastic dubby stabs.

No Mars bars will be awarded for guessing the influences that have gone into these tracks, they’re pretty clear. What I like is that there are so many and that they come together in such a coherent way. There’s mellow moments, the face is screwed in appreciation at others, and you’re definitely stepping the whole way through.

You’ll undoubtedly hear both of these tracks jammed into sets up and down the land for the rest of the year. If you’re up late after a club session next Wednesday night, I highly recommend tuning into Benji B where Mosca will be having a chin wag and tickling us with a 30 minute mix.


Done Me Wrong by Mosca


Bax by Mosca

“Come on!”

Champion – Rainforest [EP]

Remember Remember The 5th of December… cos Champion’s War Dance will drop! That’s how the saying goes yeah? Hmm, well it probably will do soon. I’ve been following the latest offering from Champion after first hearing it on Benji B’s Radio 1 show a month or so ago. It makes me happy that it’s now got a release date.

Bleeping, laser beaming and shuffling into the descending bass hook, Champion’s War Dance is a big time roller. Released on the increasingly prolific Roska’s Kicks & Snares (‘RKS’) label as part of the Rainforest EP, the track features the almost trademark, stuttering DJ name vocal layered over the top. It works for Roska, and it works for me on this one too.

The EP also features modern tribal offering; Rainforest, complete with atmospheric monkey chorus and native chants. Finishing off the three track release is Selecta, featuring garage shouts and rewinds hot from 2000, over a fresh and crisp Champion 2011 beat.

No complete track to listen to just yet (well, there’s this rip off the Benji B show), but here’s a nice sneak peak of all three tracks from the RKS Soundcloud.

Check Champion on Twitter – @Champion_DJ

Friends of Dash & Verve: Brackles

In the first of a series of entries charting the rise and rise of our peers, Dash & Verve catch up with bass music heavyweight and all round nice guy Brackles.

Brackles

It’s been five years since Dash & Verve last saw you. What have you been up to since then?
After uni, I started getting into writing music properly, initially for Appleblim who put me in touch with Rinse. That led me to playing at FWD and things kicked off from there: I got a show on Rinse and it’s snowballed from there.

We’ve seen you on the rosta for some big Rinse fm nights and tune into the radio show on Thursdays. How did you get involved with Rinse?
Because I was sending stuff to Appleblim, he suggested I send a mix CD to them and they gave me a set at FWD. I asked the guys at Rinse if I could do a podcast for them and they said ‘you may as well come down and do a cover show instead’. From there I started doing cover shows once a month and when I quit my job I was ready to start doing a proper show [Brackles’ show is on every week, Thursday 3-5pm].

When we used to get you on D&V, you were more juice DJ champ than producer. When did you start producing in earnest and how did you get your foot in the door to produce for labels like Berkane Sol, Pollen, Planet Mu and Apple Pips?
I started taking producing seriously towards the back end of uni. I always knew if you wanted to get anywhere [in the music scene] you had to produce your own music. It’s really hard to break through if you’re just a DJ – there are only a few people who have done that such as Ben UFO, ONEMAN and Jackmaster but even they’re involved with labels so you’ve got to be doing something beyond DJing usually. [Laughing] It’s probably the wrong kind of answer – usually people say I had this great artistic vision – but it was probably because I wanted to get more DJ bookings really.

How did your early DJ career and winning the Juice DJ competition give you more opportunities further down the line?
I was playing student nights at uni. The Juice DJ stuff and playing those gigs was good experience for reading the crowd. Although it was just Hip Hop and R&B…

You used to play a lovely selection of R&B back in the day! What styles do you tend to drop in your sets these days?
When I play out I probably play a bit of house, garage, UK Funky and a bit of grime at the end and maybe some Dub Step. I listen to a lot more than that like jazz, soul and folk – all sorts. I still buy a lot of that on vinyl but it’s not the sort of thing I play out.

Once upon a time, you were after me to buy MF Doom’s Doomsday lp off me on vinyl. Are you still in the market for that?
I think they re-pressed it didn’t they? How much was I offering you then? I’ve got that one now anyway!

Oh well…I should’ve cashed in at the time. What’s in the record box right now?
Anything by Funky Step who’s just had a bit out on Hyperdub. Really feeling Champion and DJ Naughty. Playing quite a lot of stuff on the Eglo label like Fatima and Floating Points. Alex Nut has got another small label called Ho Tep which is putting out some really good stuff.

Have you got any projects on the go at the moment?
I’ve just had a 12” out for Rinse which is a sampler for a producer album I’m doing with them. It’ll be 10 of my tracks so I’m just working towards that at the minute. It should be out in 2012.

Looking back at your time in Notts, what do you remember most fondly about uni days?
I look back on the Lizard Lounge nights really – they were a lot of fun. I went on a bit of a Neptunes binge the other day. Their old productions probably made up about 50% of the sets then…that and Timberland stuff!

Finally, where are you headed next?
We’re building towards the Rinse CD – it’ll be a clean slate for me once that’s out and I’ll be starting on a new project then. I’m playing at the Rinse night on Boxing Day too; they’ve got every DJ playing on the station at that.

So there you have it. Keep your ear firmly pressed to the tinterweb for more on Brackles at the following places:
http://soundcloud.com/brackles
http://rinse.fm/brackles/
http://www.myspace.com/brackles

Give Me Some Signal!

It was a pleasure, I mean an absolute honour, to finally witness in the flesh, the one, the only, David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan when he rolled into town for the Warehouse Project last Saturday night.

David Rodigan

I’ve always been aware of Rodigan and his reggae exploits over the years, but never made the time to see him. It was by chance that it ended up happening. A friend said that he could get a couple of tickets to see Nero at the Warehouse Project and asked whether I wanted them? A brief second later I’d made my decision – YES! It was only when I checked the full line up that I realised that Rodigan was playing too.

Honestly, I don’t think most of the people in the venue had any idea who he was, I saw quite a few confused faces when a heavily balding, bespectacled sexagenarian bounced onto stage with the energy and vigour of someone a quarter of his age. Then he started giving his opening lecture, again the crowd looked around with eye brows raised. They’d come for music, heavy, bassy music, “gramps” wasn’t going to be serving that up any time soon was he? Oh how wrong they were.

For the next hour and a heartbeat, Rodigan layed down anchor after anvil of monstrously weighty dub and reggae. From Tippa Irie “ticka ticka tock”ing his way through the set to Hawaii 5-0 surf style dub washing over the increasingly rampant crowd, Rodigan made new friends with every track he dropped. Not only was he playing this music, but he was educating as he went. Providing narrative to go with each new dubplate, informing the uninitiated about Sound System culture, reminding the knowledgeable about why they love the Sound so much. This was literally, a master at work.

My only regret, the ocean of Red Stripe I’d consumed before the set. Sadly my memory of the names of the tracks Rodigan played (and no doubt he told us what every one was) completely eludes me. The solution, get out and see him again.

For a snippet of what the man does best check out his Kiss FM show, or have a look at these videos from his appearance at the Boiler Room earlier this year.


BR #67 David Rodigan (Pt.1) from BOILER ROOM on Vimeo.


BR #67 David Rodigan (Pt.2) from BOILER ROOM on Vimeo.

Now – GIVE ME SOME SIGNAL!

Martyn – Ghost People

I’m excitedly awaiting an early end to the day so I can shoot down the road to Piccadilly Records and pick up a copy of Dutch born, US based, heavyweight producer Martyn’s new LP offering – Ghost People.

Martyn - Ghost People

After the release of his debut full length – Great Lengths – back in 2009, I’ve been a keen follower of his remixes, original cuts and mixes. His selection as the 50th act to represent the Fabric mix brand was a strong shout and brought me over the “Fabric” side after being a snobbish “FabricLive” only listener previously.

If the album lives up the expectations built in me by the first track I heard from it; Viper, then we are all in for a treat. Viper embeds itself in your head like a rapidly rotating sawmill blade, all gritty and aggressive with its metallic sounds. At the same time it retains a refined balance, never getting too wild as it builds through the introduction of sharp hats, breathy pipes and dampened disco claps.

The official video is up for your visual delectation on all your favourite video sharing websites. It reminds me of digital video technology from 1991 but with the colours and sheen of a 2011 production. Have a butchers yourself.

Brainfeeder, the generous tykes that they are, have given Mixmag the whole album to stream on a try before you buy vibe. I, being conscious of how limited people’s attention spans can be, have tacked all the tracks to the bottom of this blog.

Now go buy!