BBC Prom 37 – Grime Symphony

Been a while ain’t it!? But it’s summer so we’ve been sitting out, sipping cider and enjoying the sunshine. Tonight though, we’re heading inside for the BBC Prom 37, the Grime Symphony presented by 1Xtra.

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The line up consists of none other than Stormzy, Wretch 32, Little Simz, Fekky, Krept & Konan, Chip and Lethal Bizzle dropping their biggest chart slammers over the top of an orchestral back drop courtesy of the Metropole Orkest (conducted by Jules Buckley).

If this one drops, it’s going off! Heck, it’s going off regardless.

Time to Flex #2

DV and friends (Drums Eat Everything and Hijacker Records) will returning for round 2 at Benji B’s rather excellent XOYO residency.

Ossie

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A firm DV favourite for quite some time. This boy is a true modern selector. Write’s a good tune or two as well…

Moodymann

We had the good fortune of witnessing Kenny Dixon Jr. DJ at Sonar 2010. Seems like a fitting time for a five year nostalgia re-run. We’ll be listening out for this towards the end of the night…

Dance and be merry people.

Time to flex #1

This Saturday night sees DV’s first of two outings to Benji B’s residency at London club XOYO. We can’t blooming wait! Alongside the man himself on the bill this week are:

Gilles Peterson

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One time mentor and legend of the scene Gilles Peterson will be bringing his global flavours to the dance floor. A taster for the summer music season ahead when DV will also be heading to France for his Worldwide Festival.

Pepe Bradock

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The mysterious French DJ with a varied musical background (he’s played in jazz, funk and hip hop crews). Expect an education in house from a true innovator.

Jon K

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Hailed as “your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ” by Fact Magazine, Jon K has been keeping the Manchester scene ticking with the Hoya:Hoya night taking place at the awesome Roadhouse that will sadly shut down at the end of this month.

Worldwide Awards 2012 @ Koko, London

Ever since hearing Hold On by SBTRKT last year, I was determined to see Messrs Sampha and SBTRKT perform live. The self-titled lp released on Young Turks marries garage and broken beat influences to create what Pitchfork strangely term ‘post dub-step’. The album includes huge vocal performances and flows seamlessly from start to finish. Unfortunately, 2011 was a year of fails vis-à-vis catching the live show. Glastonbury: couldn’t reach the tent in time. Brixton: SBTRKT were replaced by Big Pink as support to Friendly Fires. First headline London gig in 2012: sold out.

Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2012 presented the perfect opportunity to see them live. Winners of the Worldwide award for best long player with the self-titled debut, SBTRKT’s performance at London’s Koko was just one of many highlights on a memorable night.

Take the Pyramids, whose 1970s ‘jazz cabaret’ was considered too future until they recently reformed. Their set was brought to life by charismatic front man Idris Ackermoor who switched to tap shoes part way through the show and won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hudson Mohawke, Lefto and, fast becoming my favourite Brighton via LA dj, Kutmah, served up juicy disc jockey sets before Michael Kiwanuka enchanted the sell-out crowd with a beautiful vocal performance.

Kiwanuka, the BBC’s pick for Sound of 2012, has been criticised already for lacking originality. My view is that people hanker for wholesome music, particularly when delivered by gifted vocalists. Kiwanuka delivers on both counts, epitomised by Tell me a Tale and Home Again.

The award for best label went to Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’ all-star roster which includes the likes of Daedelus, recent joiner Lapalux and Thundercat. The latter was in London to collect the award and play live alongside fellow label mate – and ridiculously gifted pianist – Austin Peralta. This set had everything Fly Lo’s at the Roundhouse didn’t – not least live music. From the lush, California sun-infused Is it Love? to the ethereal For love (I Come Your Friend), the poncho-wearing bassist glided effortlessly through his set. If you missed The Golden Age of Apocalypse last August (or were in two minds like me), give it a go.

Jamie XX followed, playing a bashment retake of Drake’s Take Care. This track started out as Jamie XX’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron‘s I’ll Take Care of You. Heron’s death last year ended a genre-defining career in music; his far-reaching influence was celebrated at the Worldwide awards.

Then the main event: SBTRKT live. The masked duo combined drums, keys, vocals and sequencer to full effect, pounding the heavyweight Koko soundsystem. Little Dragon‘s Yukimi Nagano joined for Wildfire but it was Sampha’s soaring vocal throughout the set that did most for the soul.

And so it was that I heard SBTRKT play Hold On live. What is it the people at Guinness say?

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.

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!