â€¦ your heart out
form & function
The relationship between the music we listen to and the reasons we listen to music is pretty complicated. You could go crazy trying to analyse why we listen to music. Like, for instance, why do we suddenly have an urge to dig out a specific record we haven‟t played in a long, long time? I would say that Photek has created some of my favourite music ever, but it was only recently that I felt like I „needed‟ to hear some of his old records. Before that I guess it had been a good few years since I had listened to Photek. Why the sudden whim then? Was it some sub-conscious acknowledgement that much of the best music of recent times (e.g. Skull Disco) has seemed somehow related to Photek? Was it prompted by the realisation that on a daily basis we are edging ever closer to the Hidden Camera surveillance society, beyond good and evil, Photek‟s music seemed to suggest? Ironically it took me ages to find which cardboard box my old Photek CDs were in. The logic of my filing system clearly wasn‟t as clever as I imagined it was. It was only later after playing the CDs and falling in love with Rupert Parkes‟ music all over again that I noticed the cardboard box in the living room, bearing the tag: “Form & Function”. This seems to be branding used by Nuo, manufacturers of electrical appliances, whose goods are stocked by Robert Dyas. There have been some really attractive deals on their products, hence the empty cardboard box for a jug kettle in the living room. I‟m not sure of the provenance of Nuo products. Ordinarily when buying electrical goods I would opt for a well-known „trusted‟ brand. So it‟s a little bit out of character choosing Nuo. Was the choice of Nuo anything to do with subconsciously making a connection between the branding and Photek? Could there even be an intended nod from Nuo towards Photek‟s second LP which collected up tracks from some of his early 12”s? I mean when you stop and consider it the design Nuo use is pretty close to the look and feel the designer Manuel Sepulveda came up with for the original Grime compilation on Rephlex. Ironically my old Photek CDs turned up in an old cardboard box which once was home to a Morphy Richards jug kettle. It was stored next to one that originally was home to a Carlton toaster. There just may have been a subconscious Smith & Mighty/Bristol loyalty at work there judging by the age of that particular box and its contents. ************************* Like many people who spend a lot of time thinking about music there are a lot of things about music I don‟t spend any time thinking about. *************************
“What is the difference between PPL and PRS for Music? PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies. Whilst carrying out similar functions the two organisations operate independently, represent different rights holders and have separate tariffs, terms and conditions. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music, on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes money for the use of music and lyrics, on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. Playing recorded music in public legally requires you to obtain both licences.” 1
*************** I‟ve become quietly obsessed with a CD I found for a pound in the Red Cross charity shop: Voices In My Head by Some Other People. I had no idea what it would be like but it looked like it would be worth a gamble. Even the label name, Infinite Mass, didn‟t mean much to me. The cover wasn‟t particularly appealing. But a few things on the back of the jewel case caught my eye. The title Ghost House has an oddly contemporary feel, though the record seemed to be from 1992. The dedication to Fabio was a good sign – and instinctively the house reference made me think Fabio Paras rather than the jungle legend. Then there was the thank you for “George & Dennis at Porkys for fitting 150 DB of kik drum on a single piece of plastic.” Well, at a pound, you couldn‟t go wrong. I am not sure I am any more aware of who Some Other People was/were, but it‟s a fantastic record. And, as one of the few comments on the internet I could find about the record suggests, it‟s a perfect 1992 house record. The lovely thing is you would struggle to pin it down: progressive house, bleep „n‟ bass, breakbeat, trance. And to be honest who cares if it shoots off in several directions. It‟s got that same magical feeling as some of the lost early Warp acts like Rhythm Invention, RAC, Wild Planet. And it makes incredibly effective active background music for housework or decorating or general pottering about.
“Lubricate Your Living Room, recorded and released by Pop: Aural on their Accessory label, described as background music for active people. The best background music for these accelerating complicated times is high in incident. Music contrived to calm the listener invariably irritates. Noise as stimulant is far more effective and useful”. 2
If you‟re setting out in business as a self-employed instructor in something like tai chi or yoga you already have enough to worry about: getting the right venue, attracting people to your classes and keeping them coming along on a regular basis, insurance, publicity costs, equipment, and so on. The music part should seem a very minor detail. But this seems to cause the biggest headache. The information out there about who needs a licence to use music as part of their business is confusing, the talk of fines and back-payments is intimidating, and the fees are unwelcome with a Public Performance Licence (PPL) alone likely to cost £200. Over the course of a year that amount might not seem too bad, but it‟s another business expense in difficult economic times. And it‟s not surprising that people running classes look for ways round the licence issue. Business is business, and inevitably there are a host of companies out there in the market to sell music that lets people like tai chi instructors avoid having to get performance licences. These companies sell CDs and provide downloads of suitable „mood‟ music which can be used in classes. It‟s a whole world of musical activity that is incredibly far removed from, say, the „release-promotion‟ cycle that revolves around things like whether a Guardian journalist can spare the time away from developing his Twitter persona to make some snarky comments for the paper‟s music section that will inflame the type of reader who feels the need to share comments. The irony is that some of the music used for what is a very specific purpose (a tai chi/qigong class, say) really is quite appealing in an inevitably downbeat, ambient, chill-out way. Amid all the washes of Philip Glass on the beach and The Orb carrying on up the Amazon, there are some oddly familiar trip hop sounds that seem eerily to have escaped straight outta Bristol circa 1996, and could easily be Purple Penguin or something else on Cup Of Tea, merging into the most ambient of drum „n‟ bass from the LTJ Bukem/Good Looking stable. It can all seem a little disconcerting when you‟re doing your movements and forms. *******************
For a long time now I‟ve been going for a brisk walk first thing in the morning, rain or shine. I walk down to the station, pick up the papers, and head home taking a slightly different route, going against the flow of the commuters. Of late, ever since finding that box with the Photek CDs in, on these walks I‟ve been regularly listening to old drum „n‟ bass LPs using a battered old CD Walkman stuffed in my jacket pocket, clunking along in what seems a charmingly cumbersome and oddly rebellious manner. In this way I get a good, solid uninterrupted 30-minute blast of beats „n‟ bass which suits the walking pace, and the clatter is pleasantly audible above the traffic roar. This is all a little perverse. I realise most of the archival interest is in old mixtapes and 12”s, but there is something special about a drum „n‟ bass LP when it really works and creates a unique atmosphere, sustaining a specific mood and taking the listener on a journey. I suppose the general consensus is that 4hero‟s Parallel Universe (from … what was it now … 1994 or ‟95?) was the first drum „n‟ bass record to transcend the culture of club nights, pirate radio, 12”s, etc. and create an extended listening experience that was self-contained and, if you like, a conceptual soundscape. The imagery and aura around Parallel Universe played perfectly into the hands of certain sections of the media which were steeped in science fiction books and films. I really have never had much of an interest in sci fi, horror, fantasy and the occult. Oh I like the odd science fiction work, Ursula Le Guin, Walter Tevis, and so on, but generally it‟s not my thing. But I got caught up in the futuristic feel around drum „n‟ bass and techno, nevertheless. I even somehow ended up buying a series of pamphlets published by the Ccru on Abstract Culture because of a supposed overlap with the music I was listening to and reading about. The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (Ccru) was a collective within the Social Studies Faculty of Warwick University which attracted quite a bit of attention within the academic world of the 1990s. Simon Reynolds, for example, wrote enthusiastically about how “their „theoryfiction‟ is studded with neologisms, delirious with dystopian cyberpunk imagery, and boasts an extravagantly high concentration of ideas per sentence. Bearing the same distillate relation to its sources (Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Paul Virilio,William Gibson) that crack does to cocaine, CCRU-text offers an almighty theory-rush.” Hmmm. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I found the CCRU texts absurd. And soon threw away all the Abstract Culture series, with the exception of one which was a transcript of an interview with Kodwo Eshun where he is making a pitch of what would become his 1998 book, More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. The text of the interview with Kodwo (Motion Capture) and the book itself could be exhilarating reads. He spun quite a story, drawing together strands of afro-futurism within music, and it was easy to be caught up in a web that was formed of Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, the electric Miles, the late Coltrane, George Clinton, Lee Perry, RZA, Kool Keith, Underground Resistance, Drexciya, Creation Rebel, A Guy Called Gerald, 4hero, Goldie. In other words, the music Kodwo was writing about was the music I‟d been listening to, for example on the train to and from work. It wasn‟t Kodwo‟s fault that the future let him down. In the interview and in the book he adopts an exaggerated persona (indeed the interview is reprinted in the book)
just like many of the people he writes about. And it works. He also says occasionally brilliant things like: “The history book that crams in everything only succeeds in screening out the strangeness of the Rhythmachine. In its bid for universality, such a book dispels the artificiality that all humans crave.” I can excuse Kodwo most things because he is a good writer (or “concept engineer”), and he wrote what I consider to be one of the best features in pop music history on The Future Sound of Berlin for The Wire in 1998: “Every CD released by Berlin's Chain Reaction label arrives in an identical silver metal case. Vertically stamped in relief, the label's logo towers above minimal track info printed on a square of mottled grey. Way down at the bottom, in minuscule type, is the artist's name. Clarity provokes mystery. You scan the sleeve and the CD, and your mind supplies the missing confusion. Chain Reaction's aesthetic raises label runner Mark Ernestus's shyness and elusiveness to the third power. With anonymity comes freedom.” And yet the influence of Ccru persists and it‟s not a good thing. Part of the Ccru inner circle was Mark Fisher and he continues to make vigorous use of its language and tone in writings in his K-Punk persona. While there may be excellent arguments among the cultural theory and self-promotion any impact Fisher may have is lost because of the ludicrous language. Reading his texts I desperately want to take up a red marker pen and brutally sub the script to tease out the magic and ideas that just may be hidden there amid the jibberish. The funny thing is that if Parallel Universe was a perfect fit for some critics‟ outlook then their later output for Gilles Peterson‟s Talkin‟ Loud label left the theorists bemused with its spectacularly ambitious scope and content that drew heavily on another strand of afrospirituality that was part of a different web altogether where the CTI label, Strata East and Charles Stepney‟s work at Chess were strong influences. The LPs, Creating Patterns and Two Pages, are deep listening experiences that are worthy still of intense investigation, but they are not perhaps useful in a functional sense. Mind you, the clues had been there earlier with very specific references to the use of ARPs, Moogs, and Fender Rhodes, as well as Carol Crosby‟s singing on Universal Love. Parallel Universe may still sound fantastic but it has a lot of cultural baggage. I find instead maybe the most effective soundtrack for my brisk walks is often a record that ironically 4hero put out on their Reinforced label, and that‟s the debut LP by Arcon 2 from 1997. I don‟t think you will find fulsome dissertations on the work of Arcon 2, or even much in the way of biographical detail other than it was one of the identities adopted by Noel Ram or Leon Mar who made some enduringly fantastic experimental drum „n‟ bass that could be as dark or as light as you could wish for. And the fact that there is so little information instantly available about Arcon 2 adds to the mystery the music evokes. As a musical accompaniment for a walk it is provides the perfect soundtrack, and it‟s only going past the sorting office that any other sound intrudes as the radio played loudly in that workspace blares out through the open window …
Music for businesses Find out how much it will cost to play music in your business and how you can benefit from it.
Charity and community Cinemas Clubs Educational establishments Hair and Beauty Health Hotels and guesthouses Leisure, sport and fitness Music on hold Offices and factories Premium telephone lines Pubs and bars Restaurants and cafes Shops and stores Sports grounds and stadia Other
****************** The Eric Coates composition Calling All Workers was the theme tune for the long-running BBC radio programme Music While You Work. For many years, from 1940 onwards, this show featured broadcasts of music that was originally designed to improve workers‟ morale and increase production in factories and other work places. There are amusing or alarming examples of the very prescriptive guidelines the BBC issued about what should and should not be played. The whole concept, no matter how well intentioned, seems more like a send-up of a Soviet state‟s approach. And it‟s easy to imagine how the broadcasts could be torture for young workers more attuned to new styles such as jazz. Yet, from this distance away, a lot of the music that is associated with Music While You Work, a peculiarly British brand of light orchestral compositions stranded somewhere between classical „seriousness‟ and pop „immediacy‟, has an enduring appeal. Light music is a great British art form and its ability to evoke moods and create hummable melodies should not be underestimated or dismissed airily.
While pop writers have made convincing cases for English composers, like Michael Bracewell in England Is Mine with Benjamin Britten and Rob Young in Electric Eden with Ralph Vaughan Williams, there seems to be an incredibly small amount of recognition given to the greats of light music, that is the composers, conductors and arrangers like Eric Coates, Robert Farnon, Haydn Wood, Charles Williams, Sidney Torch, Ronald Binge, George Melachrino, Albert Ketelbey, and Frederic Curzon. That‟s sad. I have grown increasingly enchanted by the artistry of the light music composers. It‟s tempting to be a bit mischievous and dismiss all the yearning for Arcadia and Albion and celebrate the fact that composers like Eric Coates were inspired by cities and provided the sounds of the suburbs. Indeed, the favourite quote I‟ve read about Coates‟ composition is that one particular red post box in London inspired one of his works. It is probably a gross generalisation, but a lot of the light music composers seem to have been from nondistinguished backgrounds, a number came from immigrant families, plenty of them worked their way up from provincial orchestras or the like. I particularly love the functionality of light music. It speaks volumes that a number of compositions have endured as theme tunes for long-running radio shows. And light music proved perfect for film soundtracks and incidental music on TV. One of the later masters of light music, for example, was Ron Goodwin who composed extensively for the film industry. His composition for the „quintessential „60s film The Trap has been given a new lease of life thanks to its use in coverage of the London Marathon, and his Miss Marple theme and many other film compositions are classics. His themes for British war movies, like 633 Squadron, Where Eagles Dare, and Battle of Britain, were a core part of a 1970s record collection that had aspirations towards the classical alongside Holst‟s The Planets, and a bit of Strauss or Tchaikovsky. Like Laurie Johnson, Ron Goodwin got a start working at the early British independent label Polygon, set up by among others Petula Clark‟s father to protect her career. Ron would later work extensively with George Martin, including on the somewhat later gorgeous exotic easy listening Gypsy Fire LP which came out in 1967, an important year for George I believe.
Other than her releases on Warp, she has also composed music for the following: The circus production Lactic Acid, by The Generating Company. A video installation with Felice Limosani; Final Touch. A sound installation for the Barbican Gallery; Le Jardin d'Barbican. A soundtrack to accompany an exhibition by the origami artist Michael Jackson. Music for the National Theatre production of Free by Simon Bowen. Sonnet 130 commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company Elephant and Castle directed Tim Hopkins for the Aldeburgh Festival Dead Wedding produced by Faulty Optic for Opera North and The Manchester International Festival Onibus commissioned by Opera North Transparent Roads - film soundtrack Natures - video installation - commissioned by Faster Than Sound Festival My Secret Heart commissioned by Streetwise Opera Ort-Oard commissioned by the London Sinfonietta Chorus - installation- commissioned by United Visual Artists and Opera North Strata 2 - video installation with Quayola - Nemo Festival Late Junction Sessions - with Malcolm Middleton She'll Be Around - commissioned by the ICA 4
**************** “train travel: make your own movies with the soundtrack for a dream.”
***************** The quiet obsession with the charity shop find, Voices In My Head by Some Other People, led me to other Infinite Mass releases, including a 1994 CD by Crowbar called The Day The Furniture Argued. I strongly suspect it‟s the same person/people as Voices In My Head, but I‟m really none the wiser. The sleeve has another credit for George & Dennis at Porky‟s and there are nods of thanks in the direction of Lord Sabre of Sabres of Paradise and Paul & Neil of Leftfield, which certainly fits with the „progressive‟ nature of the music. The bass „n‟ bleeps „n‟ beats on this occasion tend towards the darker, dubbier, downtempo ambient end of techno. I suspect if I‟d heard the record at the time I would have marked it down as ideal for train journeys. It‟s certainly the sort of music I would have loved playing on my journeys to and from work in the late „90s. I made quite a study of what music worked best while on the move. The train environment meant certain sounds were more effective than others. Jazz could get lost, for example, and the more ambient techno sounds could disappear altogether. The music needed to be able to compete with the hubbub of chatter in a carriage. And if a record could create a particular mood conducive to movement that was ideal. The Day The Furniture Argued would work particularly well on a train journey because it gets its balance right. At its most pounding the music still has a melodic magnificence that complements the momentum perfectly. At its most restrained the music doesn‟t drop away
completely and the beat is just forceful enough to mirror the click of the train on track so that at times you would not be sure if you are still listening to beats or whether the outside ambience has taken over completely. This would happen most often when listening to something like pole or one of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction acts.
SONICJOURNEYS Sonic Journeys is a new collection of aural landscapes that connect the creator, listener and music with the world around us.
The Journey “Hot on the heels of his Fabric 55 release, sounduk is delighted to announce that unique British bass producer Shackleton will collaborate with his original musical partner, spoken word artist Vengeance Tenfold, to present his own distinctive vision of a journey through some very special parts of Devon for the second in our Sonic Journeys series. “In partnership with Beaford Arts and The Dartington Hall Trust, sounduk has commissioned Shackleton and Vengeance Tenfold to create and record an exclusive new Sonic Journey in response to and inspired by sections of two of the most beautiful stretches of train line in the South West – using part of the main line between Exeter and Totnes, and part of the Tarka line between Exeter and Barnstaple. “Travelling from Exeter to Newton Abbot, in South Devon the artists respond musically to the iconic stretch of railway as the stopping train rounds the bend at the end of the Exe estuary and passes Dawlish Warren station. On the stopping train start the music as the train comes along the sea, past the Red Rock café, and journeys through this wonderfully dramatic scenery. If you are on the fast train start the music earlier as you first see the estuary. “In North Devon, listeners can enjoy a contrasting experience along a section of the Tarka line which runs beside the River Taw through the middle of North Devon‟s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Starting from Portsmouth Arms station heading north towards Barnstaple, the piece takes in countryside which once inspired Henry Williamson‟s classic novel „Tarka the Otter‟ and has changed little since the railway opened in the mid 19th century, but which is now a case study in facing the environmental changes to come."
****************** The last time I came across Simon Fisher Turner he was talking to the media about the soundtrack he‟d been working on for the BFI National Archive‟s incredibly valuable footage of The Great White Silence, Herbert Ponting‟s film of Captain Scott‟s doomed 1910 expedition to the South Pole. Reading about it really caught my imagination, and it‟s very much on my shopping list. It was intriguing to read about how Simon worked old gramophone recordings into the score having learned how Scott took music with him on the voyage itself. The first time I came across Simon Fisher Turner was when él records appeared on the scene with a flourish in the mid-„80s, and the label released Simon‟s adventurous soundtrack for Caravaggio 1610, the Derek Jarman film. At around the same time there was within me that glorious frisson of excitement and confusion at trying to reconcile that work with the fact that Simon was also appearing on él as The King of Luxembourg, a foppish figure who can now be seen as a fine pop caricature in the tradition of David Bowie and Ian Whitcomb. Any confusion was compounded on learning Simon had once been groomed as the next David Cassidy by Jonathan King and had been an actor, appearing for example in Michael Winner‟s gloriously eccentric English take on The Big Sleep.
Over the years I have become a huge fan of Simon‟s scores for Derek Jarman‟s films, Caravaggio and The Last of England. I think they are far more effective and moving than the actual movies, but then it‟s not unusual now to enjoy a soundtrack removed from its cinema setting. I must confess I‟m not fond of Jarman‟s films, full stop. I think, for example, Shena Mackay‟s books say much more about people and politics, art and civilisation. I think Shena‟s work is far bolder and challenging. I know that‟s probably an act of cultural heresy, but I‟ll go further and dismiss the work of Patrick Keiller, too. In fact the one interesting thing about Keiller is that he seems to have a link to an early incarnation of The Raincoats. Coincidentally, one of Simon Fisher Turner‟s many activities is to have worked with Gina Birch in The Hangovers, her project outside of The Raincoats. Simon‟s soundtracks have worn well, and indeed él records has grown more attractive with age. What was irritating at the time (the contradiction between the label‟s avowed exoticism and its boss‟ plainness) is now appealing. In other words, él works well because Mike Alway was more Woody Allen in Casino Royale than Dirk Bogarde in Modesty Blaise. If the label had lived up to its persona it would have been insufferable. Where Always always deserves credit is in having the nous to collect a cast of characters that were as talented as his farfetched imaginary roster. The melodic artistry of Louis Philippe, for example, underpins much of the él repertoire, including the often magical recordings of Anthony Adverse and The King of Luxembourg, and that was a very shrewd signing. The group that particularly appealed to me on the él label was Marden Hill, who in their early incarnation caught that Henry Mancini Two For The Road thing perfectly, conjuring up new soundtracks for Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn oozing style, swishing through the countryside in a Triumph Herald. The odd thing was that Marden Hill had a life beyond él, turning up as early participants to the Mo‟ Wax phenomenon, for example, where the group‟s sound fitted perfectly into a vogue for downtempo, jazzy, funky music that at least indicated an awareness of contemporary hip hop. Simon Fisher Turner played his unique own part in creating the él legend. His contributions included masterminding the extraordinary recordings of Bad Dream Fancy Dress, a duo who took the spirit of the chorus of „mysteries‟ in Lionel Bart‟s Fings Ain‟t Wot They Used T‟Be into the post-punk age. He also composed a couple of early numbers for Jessica Griffin‟s Would-Be-Goods, including The Hanging Gardens of Reigate which does capture something
of a Shena Mackay world. His songwriter partner on that song was Colin Lloyd Tucker. It would be many years before I heard earlier works that Simon and Colin had mischievously recorded as Deux Filles, creating music cloaked in an elaborate invented identity that even él might have hesitated to use: “The short, mysterious career of the aptly named female French duo Deux Filles is bookended by tragedy. Gemini Forque and Claudine Coule met as teenagers at a holiday pilgrimage to Lourdes, during which Coule's mother died of an incurable lung disease and Forque's mother was killed and her father paralyzed in a grisly auto accident. The two teens bonded over their shared grief and worked through their bereavement with music. However, after recording two critically acclaimed albums and playing throughout Europe and North America, Forque and Coule disappeared without a trace in North Africa in 1984 during a trip to visit Algiers, where Forque had lived from birth to the age of five. Theories from abduction and murder to a planned disappearance to spontaneous human combustion have been floated, but in the ensuing years, not a trace of the duo has turned up except for a mysterious letter purportedly written by Coule claiming that the pair journeyed to India on a spiritual quest, only to meet with further hardships. Indeed, the short and terribly unhappy lives of Forque and Coule are at the root of the small but fervent cult following the mysterious duo have gained since their disappearance, not least because the placid, largely instrumental music on the duo's albums betrays no hint of the sorrow that framed their personal lives.”
****************** “‟It was a time of huge changes for me,‟ points out Moxham now. „In YMG we‟d functioned on cups of tea and fags, but after the split I moved into a really grim Stoke Newington squat where I spent my time permanently stoned, never seeing daylight, and listening to reggae dub really loud. I didn‟t know it, but I was heading for four years of clinical depression. “En route to his girlfriend‟s house in Nottingham, he crashed his motorbike and suffered multiple injuries which left him in plaster and on crutches for a year. „I now went into a heavy acid-taking period. Walkmans had just come on the market, and I spent a lot of time hobbling around the streets of Nottingham, wearing headphones, with the microphone from an Aiwa recording Walkman clipped to my lapel and the gain turned up so high that I could only hear what came in through the mic.‟” 7
“Stuart I guess sometime in 1981 went into Cold Storage studios and, with Phil Legg as producer, put together an LP which at the time I would have desperately wanted to be a dozen variants on the theme of Love At First Sight. Instead they came up with a strange, fragmented collection which 30 years on still seems to reveal new delights. The Gist left us with so little which hinted at so much, and now I want the LP somehow to develop further its various themes. It would, for example, be lovely to hear more of how Stuart would work with the TV theme ideas that started with the YMGs‟ Testcard experiments. For the non-waged and those outside of the weekday working pattern daytime TV has been a constant distraction, and so often the addictive music from kids TV programmes (Rainbow, Play School, etc.) has inveigled its way into our subconscious. Stuart Moxham in an alternate world would surely have found steady employment putting together such themes.” 8
Martin: It is definitely whimsy and was very influential on 90s music. The 90s were a very reflective period where we were constantly looking back over the 20th century and pulling out the bits that we found exciting. One of the areas we were passionate about was film music, television music… Jonny: And children’s television music… Martin: And that’s where we draw a lot of our creativity from. Mixing soundtracks together like the melody of the television series Record Breakers with Play Away. Paddy: Which you then played at the club, Smashin… Martin: … Of course. Smashin was like a party in your bedroom and we would just find different records and put them all on. It was very chaotic… Music for biscuits .cent, Issue 8 9
***************** If you look up library music, the first references you see won‟t be to Jonny Trunk and all the other ardent aesthetes who are assiduous archivists of what‟s also known, in the trade, as production music or stock music. And yet Jonny and co. have done so much to shed light on the strange world of library sounds recorded during what is considered to be the golden age, from 1968 to 1976. That, at least, is the period covered on the first volume of The Sound Gallery, the collection that in the mid-„90s seemed to codify a resurgence of interest in easy listening and mood music of various types. The Sound Gallery was compiled by mavens Martin Green and Patrick Whitaker, and for the musical magpies among us it was a very important record. What was particularly helpful was the way it identified many of the
composers and arrangers who made the music like Alan Parker, Alan Hawkshaw, John Cameron, and Keith Mansfield which was at once oddly familiar and strangely mysterious. With the subsequent explosion of information available about library music we all have had opportunities to hear what the LPs were like that the inner circle of composers and musicians made for the various now-legendary companies active in that field. Bathed in the golden glow that time and distance allows these works are revealed as often things of incredible beauty and artistry. Part of the appeal is that these works were often deliberately blank canvases to be used as required, so it is easy to use golden age library recordings to promote our own passions. In my own case I have a very specific agenda about inventive M.O.R. or easy listening music that is rooted in the early 1980s when Vic Godard and others like Simon Booth of Weekend were challenging ideas about what pop should be. The connections that a record like The Sound Gallery enabled me to make helped my cause wonderfully. John Cameron‟s work with Donovan, Harold McNair, Hot Chocolate, C.C.S. etc is a perfect example. And the same applies to Keith Mansfield, who had done amazing arrangements for the Love Affair and Marmalade and then at the end of the „70s made his own sophisticated disco LP, Night Birds. Indeed there is increasingly a definite case to be made for exploring library sounds well beyond the so-called golden age was said to have expired. Spotting the names of Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw among the credits on Serge Gainsbourg‟s L‟Homme a Tete de Chou was another of those moments when with great delight you could draw a direct connection between the King of Gallic Cool and the theme tune for Grange Hill. It was even better to learn that the two Alans were part of the Histoire de Melody Nelson recordings. So, again it was possible to make all sorts of strange connections (e.g. to the long-running Top of the Pops theme) the more you learned about the people involved in the recording of library music. Beyond the actual people included on The Sound Gallery there are plenty of connections to be made involving makers of library music that will delight. Mike Moran, for example, is better known in other circles for his collaboration with Lynsey De Paul on the Eurovision contender Rock Bottom. And Roger Webb seems to have provided the motorik funk for a Lorraine Chase 45 in 1979 which would have been very at home on one of his production music sets. Lorraine ironically was someone who found fame through a series of Campari TV commercials. Then Barbara Moore popped up providing backing vocals (alongside Madeline Bell and Lesley Duncan) for Dusty on a DVD of performances from her 1960s TV series. Barbara‟s name first registered when Hot Heels by the Barbara Moore Sound opened Soul Freedom, one of those essential and aesthetically spot-on Jazzman compilations, and everything I‟ve heard since then has made me love Barbara more – including her splendid contribution to Jonny Trunk‟s radio documentary on library music. It‟s no surprise the Barbara Moore sound appeals so much as I am particularly partial to pop and jazz with a generous helping of gorgeous choral arrangements in the mix, from Coleridge Parkinson‟s work with Max Roach and Donald Byrd to the Dave Pell Singers doing Oh Calcutta. I am especially fond of wordless works where the voices are used as an instrument, and readily confess to considering the Morricone and Edda Dell‟Orso‟s recording of Metti Un A Serra A Cena to be the pinnacle of pop perfection. I have grown to love the fact that what Barbara Moore was doing in creating mood music for library recordings reflected what people were doing around the world in terms of fusing beautiful harmonies with melodic warmth in a very intricate way.
Even with the resurgence of interest in library recordings there seems to be a dearth of salvaged Barbara Moore material available. There may be good, practical reasons for this. Indeed the only collection I‟ve seen is a fantastic 2001 Japanese 2-CD set called Sing Sweet Barbara, which features snippets of her library work, some advertising jingles (the Rael Brook gents shirts one is a dream come true), flavours of some of her collaborations (e.g. Birds and Brass with Stan Butcher), and the gorgeous soundtrack from a 1980 documentary Sinai. But beyond that … The fact that this music is still underrepresented in official histories means many of us have had more fun joining the dots between Barbara Moore and the Novi Singers in Poland, ensembles like Qaya in the old Soviet Union, the French tradition of Blue Stars, Les Double Six and the Swingle Singers, collectives like the Anita Kerr Singers, Howard Robert Singers and Singers Unlimited in the States, even some of the singers of the left like Quilapayún from Chile and Finland‟s Agit Prop. And then there was the Brazilian connection via Quarteto Em Cy and the bossa phenomenon that underpinned this art form. It has to be mentioned that Mike Alway‟s él organisation in its revivified 21st century form has done an awful lot to promote this music, and its catalogue includes important examples of bossa, Italian soundtracks, tropicalia, exotica and inventive easy listening sounds. Among the works él has salvaged is Rogerio Duprat‟s A Banda Tropicalista Do Duprat, and in the liner notes it is correctly noted that “the name of Rogerio Duprat on any record is the hallmark of quality”. The trouble is the name Rogerio Duprat really doesn‟t seem to be on enough records. As far as I know the only other record he made as himself was ironically for the KPM music library rendering it pretty much anonymous. I know when I came across it via the Loronix site I really could not believe the dots had been joined so perfectly. Rogerio Duprat‟s recording of The Brazilian Suite KPM-1071 (1970): "A modern theme suite written in filmic style by the highly acclaimed Brazilian composer Rogerio Duprat". I remember reading that and thinking this is just too good to be true. But the music is as wonderful as you could dare to imagine, and certainly up there with anything composed by Quincy Jones or Lalo Schifrin. It‟s frustrating this is seemingly a one-off, irritatingly unavailable (as far as I know), and even with such a lot of interest in the KPM 1000 Series there‟s a lack of information about how records like The Brazilian Suite came about. I genuinely don‟t know who was behind the commissioning of the KPM titles, but it intrigues me. The next title in the series after The Brazilian Suite was Bugaloo in Brazil by Les Baxter, which is as gorgeous as Rogerio Duprat‟s set, in much the same driving bossa/soul/jazz way, but with added choral arrangements which provide a new dimension.
This set at least got a commercial release (earlier) as African Blue by The Exotic Rhythms of Les Baxter Orchestra and Chorus, and this at least allows us to know Carol Kaye and Clare Fischer were among the musicians involved. Add in the wonderful Alan Hawkshaw/Alan Parker set, Flute For Moderns, and you start to suspect someone at KPM was indulging a specific passion, and taking advantage of the budgets available to have some music made the way they loved it. For, as fantastic as these KPM titles sound now as stand-alone artefacts at the time the progressive types would have considered the music shockingly passé. The fools.
****************** “The voice of Jackie Lee was also heard in many cinema and TV commercials including an award-winning campaign for Fablon (1967) with John Barry. Sadly, despite this level of constant employment, Jackie's public profile remained very low. Her marriage to Len Beadle also fell apart, and she had still not achieved a hit single in over ten years of professional singing. But there was a light on the horizon, and it would establish Jackie's name. Or that was the plan, anyway. “Having signed with the new management team of Tony Palmer (former EMI staffer) and Adrian Rudge (Page One plugger), Jackie's first hit was to come from an unlikely source. A theme tune was needed for the English transmission of a Yugoslavian children's TV series which the BBC was planning to transmit through the spring and summer of 1968 (and, as it turned out, for many school summer holidays beyond). Jackie was presented with the theme song for 'White horses' by Michael Carr and Ben Nisbet. The song was privately recorded early in 1968 and Philips took up the single which, assisted by regular tea-time broadcasts on BBC television, shot into the British Top 10. “However, Jackie did reap some short-term benefit from the huge sales of the single, which remained in the UK chart for four months, as Philips followed another summery single, We're off and running with a long-player. The album is of special interest as it features three songs Jackie co-wrote with her friend, the under-rated composer, arranger and singer, Barbara Moore. These jazz-inflected songs are highlights of Jackie's first long-player, with Things I don't mean containing very fine piano work by an uncredited Dudley Moore. Also worth hearing is the Lee-Moore composition Out of sight, out of mind which deserved wider exposure.” 10–
****************** “Epic Score is a Los Angeles-based music production company owned by Gabriel Shadid that concentrates on producing music geared towards trailers. We have recorded our own custom choirs, orchestras, percussion and many other elements to create our unique sound. Plus, we've been fortunate to work with a small team of wonderfully creative people. We love this kind of music and hope that our passion comes through in our tracks. “Since the launch in 2006, Epic Score's music has been licensed into many film trailers, game trailers, television themes, network promos, inside games and more. Plus, Epic Score's music is being distributed in more than 20 countries.” 11
******************* If you look up library music, the first references you see will be to the huge number of companies offering a service to anyone who needs to „use‟ music but doesn‟t want to pay the earth. Purists among the ardent aesthetes and assiduous archivists will mourn the decline of library music as it was in the golden age of the late „60s and 1970s. They will airily dismiss the oceans of production sounds that are now out there. But that is to ignore the fact that advances in technology have made it possible for so many more of us to put together films and videos. So, if someone does want to use music in a presentation or in a video promoting a business where do they turn? The companies offering production music provide a service. The music they offer may be just what a potential client needs. The laws of pop probability suggest some of this music will turn out to be great. But this may be the least of the client‟s worries. Particularly if they want to do things by the book … 12
Kyan Laslett O'Brien
For bookings & all other enquiries contact. firstname.lastname@example.org
Music composer & Sound designer.
For Online Media - Apps -Television-Radio-Film-CommercialsSonic Branding-Environmental & Ambient Media.
Kyan has a wide ranging background in music creation.
the world’s leading directors & creative talent to create award winning original work.
Kyan has released records on the legendary No U Turn-Saigon1210-Moving Shadow & Worm Interface labels and with music in over 250 TV shows and films worldwide, it's quite likely you have already heard his work.
Specializing in Composition-Production-Sourcing-Remixing & Sound Track Supervision.
He has been involved in campaigns and projects that span the creative spectrum, working alongside
****************** bjรถrk: biophilia the ultimate art edition the ultimate edition was only available for a limited period of time and is no longer on sale. release / delivery date: 26th september 2011 click here for more detail and photos of the ultimate art edition. strictly limited to 200 copies with individual numbered certificates, the ultimate art edition will be made to order and fabricated only once. lacquered and silkscreened oak hinged lid case containing the biophilia manual, along with 10 chrome-plated tuning forks, silkscreened on one face in 10 different colors, stamped at the back, and presented in a flocked tray. each fork adjusted to the tone of each of the tracks from biophiia and covering a complete octave in a nonconventional scale. each case comes with an individual numbered certificate detailing the use of tuning forks. the ultimate art edition contains the biophilia manual. the manual presents the music of biophilia in a 48-page, full-color, hardbound, cloth-covered, and thread-sewn book, tipped on lenticular panel to the front cover, with foil-blocked spine and back cover; the music, on cd, is housed in black uncoated board wallets. the manual is removed from the case by means of a ribbon pull.
I haven't listened yet, but is this the one with a track of streaming digital data tacked onto the end ? Never did find out which computer it was for...probably a spectrum or C64 or somesuch.
In 1983 Jim Shelley declared in the NME that there is nothing like Sudden Sway. At that time they would have just about broadcast their first session for the John Peel radio show. Recording a Peel session was a rite of passage for any young group. It was often an early opportunity to try out material before it was „commercially‟ recorded. The irony was that the Peel sessions often sounded better than the officially sanctioned product when it ultimately appeared. Very few people, however, used the Peel sessions outlet as an opportunity to do something really different.
Sudden Sway‟s first Peel session was aired on 24 November 1983. It consisted of two „performances‟ or activity modules from Conceptat, the ideas agency, that played with themes around self-improvement or motivational tapes, inter-active learning, role-play, and exercise. It was produced by John Porter who would soon be indelibly linked with The Smiths. It‟s tempting to think that the BBC team would have thought: “What the …” But in fairness the session was incredibly well received, and there must have been a sense of relief in working on something so „different‟. The session had perhaps more in common with an „eccentric‟ tradition the Peel show had always supported that included Viv Stanshall and Ivor Cutler. Indeed, that first Sudden Sway session was one of the first to be released on the Strange Fruit label when it was launched by Clive Sellwood and John Peel in 1986.
A second Sudden Sway session was aired on 21 November 1984, and introduced us to the idea of Hypno-Stroll and accelerated data collection, from the laboratories of ImPrac, a research division of Conceptat, the ideas agency. The lead track gets us to close our eyes, focus, project and materialise in order to take part in a Hypno-Stroll around Greenwich Park, which includes a memorable moment where the narrator does a runner from the tea shop after realising his Giro and a bit of Tibetan currency is not going to pay the bill for scones and tea. Again you could see how the session might appeal to BBC types in the same way that The Hitch-Hikers‟ Guide To The Galaxy seems to have been a gift from the gods for The BBC Radiophonic Workshop when it came along.
CREATIVE MARKETING IN EIGHT DIMENSIONS ..You have entered the SINGSONG dimension.. Dear Customer: You are now in possession of an Eight Dimensional Sound spectrum derived from source sounds by the 3D Earth carbon Subject Material collectively identified as „Sudden‟ Sway. In keeping with the current physical laws of FABRIC (Fundamental Alphabet of Relations in the Cosmos) this fun to collect product has been issued in a random manner to all retail outlets. The product you receive may not be the section of the spectrum aimed specifically at your market or indeed which you originally desired but this should not be of concern since by receiving any product of the spectrum you partake of its whole. PERMITTED INTRODUCTION SENTENCE (not more than 23 words) “Hi, this is Sudden Sway making important statements for you on our own completely independent label U-Nited Worldypop Everything An„that which is going ¿ This inter-activity module "Sudden" Sway is brought to you by The League Of The Uninformed in association with CONCEPTAT® The Idea Agency
Sudden Sway‟s genius seems to have been to toy with a sense of what was to come. The first activity on signing to Blanco y Negro, the WEA-sponsored label set up by Geoff Travis, Mike Alway and Dave McCullough was to issue a set of 7” singles featuring eight different versions of „the old Earth favourite‟ Sing Song, including an Adrian Sherwood mix. This exercise which at the time seemed ludicrously extravagant seems now to be eerily prescient. We have now, after all, arrived at a point where in a review of a Toddla T single the critic will mention nonchalantly that “a large set of remixes further tangle past and present by turning the song into vintage House, Speed Garage, dubstep and breakbeat Hardcore”. Sudden Sway called it „creative marketing‟. How many of the WEA executives who will have frowned at the cost and purpose of the original Sudden Sway concept now routinely commission multiple remixes of a new artist?
Their "Spacemate" double album contains some futuristic advertising jingles for imaginary products. The LP comes with some instructions on how to "spacemate" which stands for "Super Dimensional Perceptive Aid Combining Every Manner and Type of Everything". A note of explanation from the LP cover - "which means it helps you expand your dimensions". There are some puzzles and other goodies included by the previous 'owners'.
When people write about Sudden Sway‟s Spacemate and the elaborate packaging, the difficulties shops had displaying it, the dented boxes and so on, the fact that the music itself featured on the two records included was so wonderful seems to get lost along the way. It was almost as if Sudden Sway were contemptuously toying with the songwriting process. The music and melodies, if played straight, could easily outdo „celebrated‟ contemporaries like the Pet Shop Boys or Prefab Sprout and indeed show such artists up as being not quite as smart as they think they are.
CREATIVE MARKETING IN EIGHT DIMENSIONS ..You have entered the PROBLEM SOLVING dimension.. Stories of old lives Ephemeral compilations of the lived-in …an exhibition at the ICA, London, entitled „Home Is Heavenly Springs‟ – a walk-in show, consisting of booths and kiosks, with the group playing „requests‟ in a central peep-show, surrounded by participatory kiosks, where people can push buttons, watch videos, experience atmospheres and enjoy “an entertaining portrayal of modern society, and the ultimate consumer”… …Sudden Sway are completely serious about the whole thing… …Clive Hewson - a home owner of many years standing - provides cinematic documentary at Stand One. His topic? The problems and profit of developing your individuality to fit in with your Formica kitchen. You see, while most of the „80‟s generation will take to fast food, Brent Cross, and the multi-purpose leisure centres like a duck to 440 degrees Celsius, some people just can‟t adjust to the glamorous life of Hemel Hemstead… ...Sudden Sway are quite avant-garde. Their approach to narrative points your brain in many directions and leaves you to make of it what you will... …for the more energetic visitors, a trip around Heavenly Springs is laid on. No, no exercise is required, because behind the wheel of a vehicle simulator you can travel without moving. It‟s here that fantasy becomes fatality. For in front of your eyes you can see that Heavenly Springs already exists. It could be Crawley, it could be Milton Keynes. And tomorrow, it could well be you… …you would be an extremely fortunate person to ever see Sudden Sway perform live, but if you ever see one of their records, buy it! They started life as an energetic new wave dance band but throughout the '80s their sporadic releases have been some of the most bizarre on vinyl: eight recordings (not mixes) of the same song, each on a different single; a keep-fit record for evolving life-forms; a collection of futuristic advertising jingles; the incomprehensible "Spacemate" boxed set of records, charts and "games"; an album of a non-existent rock opera which turns out to be a description of one Saturday in Peterborough in 1976. When they did tour a couple of years ago, they performed in art galleries as a hologram jukebox from a city in the future. They will never be a big name, but they have carved out a niche that is very definitely all their own… This inter-activity module "Sudden" Sway is brought to you by The League Of The Violated in association with CONCEPTAT® The Idea Agency
****************** CREATIVE MARKETING IN EIGHT DIMENSIONS ..You have entered the UNWEA dimension.. GARY GUERILLA HOUSEHOLD MILITIA Domestic guard. Kills to protect. Cavity wall cover. Fear. Sinvelling. Double Sink & mixer tap territory. Unwanted toy. £offers? “YOU” – ON CAPABILITY CLUB Old & current tapes. Abnormal. Voyeur? Studio pass. All deformities visible or otherwise. Appearances arranged. £offers? LATEST AUTOBATION RUG Usual facilities. The joy of brute. Twisted piles for rear entrance. Would prefer that. Amercian style comfort. £offers? FATHERS EYES A carry on. Handed down. Repetition of cycle. Endless. Endless. Desired facsimilie. Frames. For perfect condition. £offers? OFFICIAL SWAY LOOK Vanity. Kit. Superfluidous face pack. Crawling. Envy bag. Be like the Stars. Box. Overdecorated. £offers? DESKTOP GERM RECEIVER Allergies. Some skin disorders. Enuresis. Sweat. Faeces. Most seeping. Body exudance returned to owner. £offers? THE CLASSICANA POOR DOOR Thingrain. Acting veneer. Low quality period look. Hungerplay. Looks like the real thing. 3-ply pretend & no brass etc. £offers? PACKET OF VACUUM Nothing. Empty pop-out. Empty. Period. Film covered. Suffocated. Dieing. Still in wrapping. £offers? This inter-activity module "Sudden" Sway is brought to you by The League Of The Nouveau Poore in association with CONCEPTAT® The Idea Agency
‟76 Kids Forever is the defining Sudden Sway work. It‟s up there with Dexys‟ Don‟t Stand Me Down as the great pop art statement of the 1980s. As the years have passed it has revealed more and more, and it succeeds on so many different levels. But what is it? You could argue ‟76 Kids Forever is a recording of a pop group playing songs from an imaginary soap opera which features a musical set in a small West Midlands town performed by repertory players and others that take part in amateur dramatics. Or it could be said that ‟76 Kids Forever is a clever critique of mid „80s enterprise culture, highlighting how self-seeking, self-interest, naked greed and materialism had contributed to an attack on a sense of community and society. And yes ‟76 Kids Forever just happens to be set in 1976, on the brink of punk, with Margaret Thatcher pretty new to her role as leader of the Conservatives. It feels like a more innocent, less complicated time. Sudden Sway were ahead of the game in returning to the West Midlands of the „70s to highlight some of the ills of the present day. This was way before Jonathan Coe‟s The Rotters Club. It was also a good few years before Lawrence, Denim and The Osmonds. And the other groups that would utilise a special „70s sense like World of Twist and Pulp. There is certainly a great deal of cleverly used detail scattered throughout the lyrics or libretto of ‟76 Kids Forever. I really like the references to the Woolworths caff and all at the Co-Op, the FA Cup Third Round football violence between Albion and Forest, cola and aspirin, Joe Hawkins and Inter-City, Range Rovers and Northern Soul, cheese cloth and Adidas bags, New Towns and Garden Cities, Linda Lusardi and Lift Off With Ayshea. What makes ‟76 Kids Forever all the more powerful is that Sudden Sway were really never the sort of people to be looking back to some golden age. They had been very much about the future, a technological utopia, in the William Morris News From Nowhere dream sense. It may have been Sudden Sway‟s own experiences with WEA/Warner Brothers. It may have been the world around them as a whole. But something changed along the way. Sudden Sway certainly never fitted with that „80s luxury, opting-in, competitive/commercial thing Scritti Politti and others advocated. Indeed, it is hard to think of a group that went more out of their way to avoid conventional success. ‟76 Kids Forever was nevertheless a remarkable success. On a pure pop level the music was fantastic. They resisted the temptation to make it too „70s, and it‟s very definitely Sudden Sway, but there are moments when it‟s hard not to reach for lines about imagining if Sparks had recorded for the Spark label. The lyrics are fantastic, and littered with great one-liners (“I‟ve got more sports jackets than morals”) that really show up the likes of the lauded Pulp and those dreadful words of Cocker‟s for songs such as Mile End and Help The Aged.
And I have to say I approve enthusiastically of groups playing with the „musical‟ format. Shortly before ‟76 Kids Forever appeared Vic Godard was vowing to write a musical like My Fair Lady. My own very first „live‟ musical experience was seeing the musical Billy starring Michael Crawford in the West End. I certainly didn‟t realise it at the time, but the show had quite a pedigree: music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black, book by Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais, based on the play Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, which was based on the 1959 book by Keith Waterhouse. It made quite an impression on me. And I suspect it‟s a big factor in why I am more on the side of the Dennis Potters, Lionel Barts and Anthony Newleys, and all those that chose not to take the easiest of paths.
********************* Ko-Opera is in some ways their „straight‟ record, though musically it was a blueprint for the „90s to come. Similarly, well before the likes of Iain Sinclair were the toast of the town, to complement Ko-Opera there were special themed Klub Londinium walks around the Capital. To my eternal shame I didn‟t take part, though I do seem to remember seeing people pick up headsets at the Rough Trade shop in Covent Garden. This is borrowed from an account posted online, with thanks and apologies to the author Ken C: “Klub Londinium was the best thing they ever did. It was an exercise in psychogeography in which you walked the city in someone else‟s shoes. Having completed a personality assessment questionnaire, you were assigned to a tour for a quite different personality. They decided I was an Outsider, so sent me on the Hedonist tour. The cassette contained two voices; one giving directions and factual, historical information about London; the other representing the interior monologue of the „raver‟ driving himself to despair in pursuit of the good time that must be going on somewhere else. The tour began at Charing Cross station and led through Soho and Mayfair, describing this history of the Crystal Rooms in Leicester Square, the location of the first strip show in London, Sheeky‟s restaurant, the location of private gambling clubs, 18th century brothels, and much else. A tremendous amount of research must have gone into the tours. I bought the tapes for the other tours: the „Mystic‟ personality (a satire on new-age nonsense the led around Regents Park and up Parliament Hill); Materialist (through the City, St Katherine‟s Dock and the yuppie housing in Docklands, ending in Tobacco Dock) and, the best I think, the Outsider tour, an eternal wanderer‟s search for a home, through Spitalfields and Brick Lane, ending at the Geffrye Museum. The degree of synchronisation between the taped speech in your head and what you saw in front of you was often uncanny; graffiti on the walls was read to you as you passed; an electronic tone representing the onset of a migraine kicked in as you emerged from the shadow of a building into the sunshine; the sound of footsteps following you as you walked through a long tunnel in a dodgy part of Shoreditch.” 15
EZ ROLLERS DRUM & BASS PRODUCER PACK Multi-Format (ACIDized WAV, Reason Refill, EXS24, HALion, KONTAKT instruments and REX2 Files) When it comes to Drum'n'Bass The EZ Rollers need no introduction. One of the UK's premiere D'n'B production teams has finally made a sample library, and it rocks... This is the most happening selection of Drum & Bass samples on the planet from one of the world's best Drum & Bass production teams. A killer collection of the freshest beats, basses, pads, synths, fx, vocals and general weirdness. All in multi-format including ACIDized WAVs, Reason Refill, REX files, EXS24, HALion, and KONTAKT instruments. Drop this bomb in your tunes and watch it blast your productions into hyperspace. These sounds have enough energy to make even the hardest productions sound even heavier with basses so rough you will start wondering about the reliability of your speakers. This is hardcore Drum & Bass at its finest. Rough, gritty, hard and heavy.
Featured Formats: 200 REX2 files ACIDized WAV files Reason Refill 350 EXS24 instruments 350 HALion instruments 350 Kontakt instruments 350 NN-XT instruments. Featured Sounds: Beats Percussion Loops Basses Pads Delays Drum Hits FX Guitars Sci-Fi Stabs Vox FX and more... This multi-format sample collection gives you the ultimate in sampler and software compatibility: Acid-ready WAV files , Emagic EXS24 sampler instruments, HALion sampler instruments, Kontakt sampler instruments, Reason Refill and REX2 Recycled files! AVAILABLE VERSIONS: Multiformat DVD/CD Version REX2 Reason ReFill NN19 (for REASON) NI Kontakt HALion EXS 24 ACID .WAV
Following up on the much-loved Minus Live Packs that Ableton gave to users in June comes a new set of 5 Live Packs that are free downloads for registered users of the software. The Create Diversity packs come as a nice change of pace from the Minus packs too. Taking aim at organic, world and experimental music these sets offer a broad palette of sounds and routings to work with and should inspire different avenues of creation. These kits feature experimental sonic textures and drum kits courtesy of Saturn Never Sleeps (USA), funky, Neo-Afro live stylings from Gazelle (South Africa), a breakdown of “Hit Me” — the Italo-disco take on Ian Dury’s classic by Telonius (Germany), as well as the results of a sampling spree through the catalog of Truth and Soul Records by Apple Juice Kid (USA) and some experiments in extreme compression from Ben Frost (Iceland). 17
“The water garden is surrounded by benches. Old men sit and smoke and teenage Asians contemplate a life on the dole. There are small hidden speakers throughout Friars Square shopping mall providing us with a soundtrack for our shopping experience. This morning it’s The Best of Mike Oldfield; yesterday it was The Shadows playing hits of the ‘80s. I always enjoy whatever has been selected for us to listen to. Poignant or toe-tapping, it is fine by me. Some morning I stand beneath one of the hidden speakers pretending to be interested in a shop-window display when in reality I’m just listening to Incense and Peppermints and trying to remember which mid-‘60s West Coast band recorded it.” 18
“In 1983, he created the album Musique pour Supermarché (Music for Supermarkets), which had a print run of one single copy. The album was made expressly to voice Jarre's distaste and disregard for the music business. Jarre destroyed all the master records from his studio work, allowed a radio station (Radio Luxembourg) to broadcast the album once and auctioned it, raising £10,000 for French artists. People recorded the album using their tape recorders while it was broadcast on the radio, so they can listen to that album, at a very poor quality though (the radio station was an AM station).” 19
18 Million Opportunities ASDA FM reaches an unprecedented number of Asda shoppers with live, targeted and personalised messages for our customers. Live DJs talk to the customers in real time giving the ability to have fantastic conversations with consumers. There are a wealth of tailored opportunities including weather activated spots, sponsored sport updates or branded competitions. 20
Why & How Music adds brand value and helps attract new audiences. It builds credibility, brand recognition and engagement, integrating into the very heart of everyday life. We don't just put great music in your adverts or shops; we redefine your brand as an integral and lasting part of music culture, strengthening your core business. Most importantly, we use music to develop long-term, revenue opportunities, demonstrating a direct return on investment for our clients, and providing a solid method of evaluation. We know how powerful music is. Our clients do too. That's why it's all we do … and why we're so passionate about our work.
- Live events and showcases - Festival integration - Brand revenue generation through music - Music-specific experiential activity
- Brand music partnerships - Music styling, in-store channels and radio - Brand-owned record labels and compilations - Music content sourcing and delivery
********************** Behind the idea Creative 9-5: Dan Neale I love music and luckily my job is all about the use of music in advertising. I work for one of the UK’s greatest ad agencies, RKCR/Y&R, whose clients include Virgin Atlantic, M&S, Lloyds TSB, Dreams and Land Rover among others. My day involves anything from searching for a music track for the latest M&S TV campaign, working with the composer on the BBC World Cup Titles or speaking to a label or publisher to negotiate contracts. 10.32 Meet Domino Records/make tea 11.15 XL confirm that they will be coming in next week to play the agency some new signings and releases over lunch (we call these ‘Pop Sushi’) 11.30 Continue Dreams music search… Of course! This track’s perfect – I send it to the team 22
******************** “Pram archly avoided ever sounding ordinary no matter how long they stayed around. If anything they grew stranger as time went by, and that takes some doing. The reference points are worn on their sleeves, but it’s all thrown together in such an odd offhand way that it doesn’t matter. A Morricone sea shanty here, a Martin Denny russian folk song there, a Sun Ra calypso perhaps, a Brechtian bossa to boot, a cock-eyed Cuban excursion, a hawaiian hoedown, klezmer cocktail sounds or a midlands mambo maybe. Anything goes and everything works. Despite having a hugely loyal cult following Pram perhaps not surprisingly never sold that many records, but their influence has helped shaped the sound of others, like close comrades Broadcast. When before one of the key 2006 World Cup games Broadcast’s Come On Let’s Go was used to, ahem, score very effectively a collage of clips it will have made many an underground pop fan drop their drink …” 23
The original theme tune for the World of Sport which was shown every Saturday on the UK‟s independent television network was composed by Don Harper, an Australian jazz violinist. Nowadays he is better known as one of the people behind Electrosonic, a KPM title from 1972 (KPM1104). There has been so much interest in this because Don‟s colleagues on this recording were revealed to be Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson of the BBC‟s Radiophonic Workshop fame working incognito. It‟s a record devised ostensibly as a functional LP of production music, but its enduring appeal is entirely down to its wonderful mixture of atmospherics, melody and electronics. “There was an obstacle to be overcome, thanks to their staff positions with the BBC, and so were born the somewhat heroic names Li De La Russe and Nikki St. George. Brian recalls that "[David Platz] said "oh, do me a mood music album" and we said we can't use our names, 'cause we're at the BBC. “We went to the cocktail bar at the Cumberland Hotel, which is rather swish, deep midnight blue with tiny pinlights and a white alabaster bar, and we stocked ourselves up with some large vodkas and tonics and black Russian cigarettes and mulled over a few names and that's what came up. !They were jokey names. Somebody said is there a great significance? Li De La Russe is an anagram, and I said no, there isn't, they were just fun names thought up in a slightly pissed moment! People love to find motives and significance in things which are very often just frivolous". “Russe and St. George could work in great harmony, but by the time they came to record Electrosonic, a third element caused an awkward shift to this balance: Don Harper. "Don was an Australian mood music composer", says Brian. "He'd done a Doctor Who or so. I'd done something for KPM some years earlier and there was an opportunity to do some work, so we did [Electrosonic]. I felt uncomfortable working with Don. At our first meeting he was pleasant enough, but I just felt he was using Delia and I to do something he couldn't do himself. He was pernickety. Delia had that capacity for dealing with his perfectionist thing. I think perfectionism is fine, but I'm more interested in broad brush strokes. Harper got up my nose a lot, so I really kept out of it as much as I could. Sometimes if Delia and I were working with Mark Wilkinson at the National Theatre, Delia couldn't stand Mark, but I got on with him fine, so I tended to do most of the work on that and Delia tended to do most of the work on Electrosonic. There were some of my things which I just said to Don "have this" and gave him tracks, but I would say my contribution to it was much less than either Delia or Don's". 24
Don would record other library works, and some of these have proved to be useful to beat seekers such as Danger Doom. These production music sets include 1979‟s Sonic Brass and the New Decade collection for De Wolfe, credited to The London Studio Group, featuring a track Moving Shadows, described as “melancholic uncertainty”. Electrosonic, however, was not the only synthesizer led recording Don was involved with. In 1974 he released Homo Electronicus which is an extraordinary record, and for those who believe the importance of connections, significantly, the recording was „supervised‟ by Denis Preston, one of the most important figures in British music. The sleevenotes for Homo Electronicus dwell on the role of the synthesizer in the making of the record, and the interaction between Don Harper the composer and Brian Steadman the programmer of the ARP 2600. The tracks oscillate oddly between electronic reworkings of familiar themes (Doctor Who and World of Sport) to wildly ambitious lengthy mood pieces. As well as the electronics there is a strong jazz presence on the record, which is perhaps not surprising given Denis Preston‟s patronage and Don‟s roots as a jazz violinist. Don had first recorded with his own quartet in the UK the late „50s for Pye Nixa, and it‟s inevitable that Don Harper and Denis Preston would have been acquainted from that time.
Also present on Homo Electronicus are the saxophonist and keyboards player Alan Branscombe and the wonderful singer Norma Winstone who can be heard briefly, in that wonderfully wordless way, at the start of the 16-minute journey that is Cold Worlds, a track that would have been a perfect fit on ECM, the label Norma would later record for as part of Azimuth with John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler. Norma had certainly worked with Denis Preston before, notably on the Joe Harriott and Amancio D'Silva LP Hum Dono.. There are some pretty adventurous free flourishes on Homo Electronicus which makes you wonder who on earth this LP was aimed at. Even the Doctor Who theme itself is given a jazz rock workover which works wonderfully. Towards the end of the „70s Don Harper was playing in outfits with guitarist Denny Wright, someone else with close links to Denis Preston. It was Preston that persuaded Denny to play on early Lonnie Donegan sessions and to play the memorable Latin American solo on Johnny Duncan‟s Last Train To San Fernando. Interestingly, Don Harper and Denny Wright both played on a Bruton Music Library set of country and western themes. Denny oddly also appears on The Sound Gallery with The Hustlers performing Shout About Pepsi, from a 1974 Music For Pleasure LP Non-Stop Pepsi Party featuring great arrangements of pop hits recorded at the KPM Studios. The cover girl is sporting a cut-off singlet bearing the advertising slogan "Lipsmackin' thirstquenchin' acetastin' motivatin' goodbuzzin' cooltalkin' highwalkin' fastlivin' evergivin' coolfizzin' Pepsi." ********************** I remember I used to get mad every time that old Levi‟s advert came on the TV where Nick Kamen was stripping off in the launderette to the strains of Marvin Gaye‟s I Heard It Through The Grapevine. I really resented the approrpriation of old soul sounds as some sort of signifier for brand authenticity. I would rail and lament for a time when songs originating in adverts took on a life of their own and became hits in their own right – the world of Cook and Greenaway, etcetera. But then I‟d remember that one of my earliest musical and visual pleasures had been the use of Honeybus‟ I Can‟t Let Maggie Go in the advert for Nimble bread where a beautiful young lady floats through the countryside hanging from a hot air balloon. By the time the ad would have registered with me the song itself would have been a few years old but I loved it and it stayed with me for years. It wouldn‟t be until many years later that I realised the song had been by Honeybus, or that songwriter Pete Dello had been a staff writer for Lionel Bart‟s publishing company. Lionel himself made something of a comeback after troubled times in 1989 when he appeared in an Abbey National advert with a group of kids singing the irresistibly philosophical Happy Endings (Give Yourself A Pinch).
Years later I heard someone say they‟d got into soul music thanks to the use in adverts of old recordings by Marvin Gaye, Percy Sledge, etc. A happy by-product of commercial exploitation, perhaps? Still, there was nothing new about the use of old music in adverts. Another of my early musical/visual memories was the dramatic use of Carl Orff‟s O Fortuna from Carmina Burana in the classic Old Spice advert where the guy is riding the waves and we‟re assured we‟ll find success if we use this after shave lotion which is “the mark of a man”. I confess it would be many years before I realised the music was by Carl Orff, and his name only really registered when Broadcast included, I think, Berceuse in a mix or playlist. It was only recently that I learned Carl Orff had been a pioneering figure in the field of Music and Movement in education. That‟s another area in which there has been a resurgence of interest, drawing together the aesthetics of John Paynter books and BBC schools programme recordings featuring Roy Curtis-Bramwell design work and John Baker and Delia Derbyshire BBC Radiophonic Workshop compositions. It‟s easy to understand the appeal, though for those of us who were in primary education in the early „70s and loved prancing around the school hall in white vest and black slip-on plimsolls, curling up into a tight ball then growing like a tree reaching for tomorrow, there was a sense of vindication.
********************** "Trash pop. All I care about is trash pop... In the films, the inner DJ comes out. That is what it is, it's me nicking all the stuff I like." I'm sitting in the bustling foyer of the British Library in London, talking to the film maker Adam Curtis about his television series All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace which has just been broadcast on BBC2. It's less an interview than it is me listening in on his prodigious internal dialogue as it free associates across a plethora of different subjects. Throughout Curtis alternates between being chatty, gossipy, straightforward, blunt and elusive in rapid succession. But rather than being frustrating or unfocused, it's an entertaining routine to listen in on. Curtis explains the series's introductory sequence: "I started with the Pizzicatto 5 track ["Baby Love Child"] because I like that song and it sort of worked. And I don't know, it was just silly ... You want to tell people that you aren't taking it too seriously."
Creating soundtracks for imaginary films became a popular pastime in the 1990s. Imaginary soundtracks also became a default setting for critics to fall back on when describing records. There was a growing interest in soundtracks and library music, so understandably this was reflected in new recordings. Pram, for example, in 1996 put together an EP for Stereolab‟s Duophonic label called Music For Your Movies which on the cover deliberately caught something of the easy listening/exotica thing. This was perhaps a little misleading as the EP didn‟t conform to the „imaginary soundtrack‟ norm. There were, after all, words. But then the greatest moments on film soundtracks were once songs, exquisitely and elegantly sung. Rosie from Pram is perhaps one of the few lyricists of recent times who has been able to conjure up an entire film in the space of a few lines. Take, for instance, the song Silver Nitrate from the Music For Your Movies EP where Rosie sings the verse: “The woman who discovered light was puzzled by her own complexity and spun her thoughts like spiders‟ webs and with these delicate chains was set free”. That‟s beautiful isn‟t it? And then from Eggshells on the same EP: “Once I thought you‟d shelter me, put your arms round me and hold me close, but now I‟m vulnerable as a child „cos you‟re at the mercy of your ghosts”. That‟s like something from the most forlorn film noir torch song. Another Duophonic release, Whispering Foils by Kev Hopper, from the turn of the Millennium seems to pop up with curious regularity in charity shops where I live, which has always seemed an oddly appropriate place for copies to be purchased on the off-chance. It‟s a record that has become a particular favourite, and in terms of „imaginary soundtracks‟ it at times provides a beautifully, dreamy score for musing amid London‟s decay. That‟s not an entirely random observation, as the record is indisputably steeped in the atmosphere of the Capital. Kev‟s trademark musical saw at times sounds theremin-like, in that required „imaginary soundtrack‟ way, and Dominic Murcott‟s use of marimba, vibes and other percussion adds to the atmospheric effectiveness. Charles Hayward and Sean O‟Hagan are among the players on the record, and in many ways this gloriously calming and evocative record is what a lot of groups were reaching towards in the latter half of the 1990s. It is truly a record whose soundtrack you can lose yourself in.
********************** “Tortoise it is easy to forget did at one time seem to be ones that might shake popular music up a bit. And while their early records may still delight, once in a while, the real importance again of the group‟s approach was that of a real hunger, a hunger for all sorts of sounds that were outside the traditional rock format. It was no big artistic statement, but more a genuine enthusiasm. An enthusiasm to absorb and utilise everything from the then (mid„90s) underheard Krautrock, John Fahey and Ry Cooder‟s Paris Texas soundtrack, Art Ensemble of Chicago and Herbie Hancock‟s Mwandishi, the fire music being salvaged by Impulse!, bossa nova and tropicalia, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, English progressives like Henry Cow and Robert Wyatt, Augustus Pablo and Ennio Morricone, King Tubby and the Penguin Café Orchestra.” 26
There was a short period when John McEntire seemed to be the most important person in pop music. I stumbled across him playing drums for The Sea & Cake in the basement that was the Covent Garden Rough Trade shop, and didn‟t have a clue who the group was but fell in love instantly. I subsequently thought their string of LPs in the latter part of the 1990s (from Nassau to The Biz to The Fawn to Oui) was just about as perfect as pop could get, poised beautifully between melodic ache and experimental edginess. I was mad about McEntire‟s „real‟ group Tortoise and inevitably the early records they made, particularly the Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters remix project which seemed to underline a sense merely implicit elsewhere of being part of a wider hip hop culture. And I thought, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, the Stereolab LP that McEntire was involved with, caught something perfectly of the questing spirit of the time and „the groop‟ used its inspirations so inventively and powerfully on that record in a way that still surprises. While I seemed to buy most of the records at that time John McEntire was involved with (the Rome one springs to mind), I had no idea until a year or two ago that he‟d made a soundtrack. I saw a CD in a charity shop featuring music from the motion picture Reach The Rock with music by John McEntire, and figured it was worth a whirl. The sleeve said the score came out in 1998, but it had totally passed me by. I figured the film itself would be one of those art house productions only a few people have ever seen. The score itself is great, very atmospheric, and McEntire‟s compositions fit perfectly in with what is so appealing still about the early Tortoise recordings. Indeed, Tortoise are featured on the soundtrack, along with The Sea & Cake, Polvo, and Dionogah. There‟s also a fantastic jazzy dub track by Bundy K. Brown called Drift. It‟s a very Chicago soundtrack you might surmise, but it‟s not on Bettina Richards‟ Thrill Jockey label as you might anticipate. I have never seen Reach The Rock, and it‟s never been available on DVD. That is a little odd, as it is in fact far from being a small budget independent production. The film was in fact written and produced by John Hughes. Now I am really not the person to ask about the films of John Hughes, and I confess it didn‟t really register at first that Reach The Rock was a film by THE John Hughes. I know John Hughes‟ films mean a lot to a lot of people, and that the soundtracks are said to be a special part of the experience. So, somewhere there is a tremendous irony that the only soundtrack to a John Hughes film I am familiar with is Reach The Rock, a film that by all accounts disappeared on release. Being incredibly slow on the uptake it took me even longer to make a direct connection between Reach The Rock being made by John Hughes and its soundtrack being released on Hefty Records, a label I was vaguely aware was run by one John Hughes III. Naturally it turns out they are father and son, and it all begins to make sense. Hefty I think I first became aware of through the Savath & Savalas record, Folk Songs For Trains, Trees and Honey, which was leased to Warp in the UK at the end of the „90s. And while it now still has a certain charm in its Tortoise shell-like way, its significance lies in introducing Scott Herren to us, ahead of his Prefuse 73 adventures.
The second Savath & Savalas record, Apropa‟t, which finally appeared in 2004 through Warp, was a very different affair, featuring Eva Puyeolo Muns on (Spanish) vocals. While retaining the crackles of abandoned vinyl and stray electronics, the feel was very much a lilting, loping Brazilian one, mixed by John McEntire in his Soma studios, and featuring John Herndon from Tortoise on drums, and Josh Abrams on bass. Significantly the LP featured a cover of the Maricio and Lo Borges composition Um girasol da cor de seu cabelo from Milton Nascimento‟s Clube Da Esquina, a key coincidence just as many of us were fumbling around trying to find our way while exploring Brazil‟s musical heritage. By that time Herren had released a couple of LPs as his better-known Prefuse 73 persona on Warp. Now Prefuse 73 for all sorts of reasons can divide opinion very dramatically, but that‟s not necessarily a bad thing. People can get pretty dogmatic about Prefuse 73 records, but I think they can be pretty wonderful things for all sorts of reasons. They are frustratingly fragmented, yeah, but that‟s part of the appeal. There are, after all, plenty of smooth and fully realised rap and r‟n‟b records for us, so there‟s room for anything. And somehow what Herren was doing 10 years ago sounds strangely contemporary given what people like Flying Lotus, Georgia Anne Muldrow, the One-Handed Music collective, and so on, have been doing. The other great thing about Herren‟s early work as Prefuse 73 is the way it draws together different strands of what were listening to. So there‟s the abstract hip hop tradition, pre-Dilla and Madlib, of Divine Styler, Anti-Pop Consortium, Dan The Automator, Company Flow, Carlos Nino and Ammon Contact. And there‟s the pop progressives like The Sea & Cake, Stereolab, Broadcast. And the proper hip hop stalwarts like Mos Def and M.F. Doom. And so on. All these things, all these people, all these sounds, all these different ideas are mixed up time and again on Prefuse 73 records, and sometimes it sounds great, sometimes it grates, but it‟s like a lot of things: it depends what you need from music at any given time.
******************** “When the music from Pennies From Heaven first appeared on television and records in the late 70s, interest in 1930s dance music was of the purely nostalgic or antiquarian kind. There had always been people, mostly men by the way, who collected ancient 78s and there were always people, women too, using old records to chase their lost youth. So there were LP reissues around and enough of the faithful bought them to guarantee a continuing flow. Dennis Potter has a lot of them and I even more – because my unlikely friendship at the end of his life with Lew Stone, one of the era’s most important bandleaders, meant that songs and records of his time had already become a sort of furtive special subject, the way others listed hall-marks, studied little magazines or hoarded wrappers from jam-jars. Old pop songs were less of a nutty fad than train numbers but until Pennies, nobody was taking them ‘seriously’. They meant the smell of junk shops or the embarrassment of an old man with a scrapbook trying to persuade you he’s once shared the starlight with Harry Roy. For some years before Pennies From Heaven, Dennis Potter had been changing that slowly. Several of his plays had titles or echoes of dance music about them – Only Make Believe, Angels Are So Few, Double Dare – and one – Moonlight On The Highway, not only uses the name of Lew Stone’s most atmospheric hit but has a main character obsessed with Al Bowlly and the ‘sweet music of yesteryear’. His psychic trauma is the despair of psychiatrists but is his fixation on daft romantic tunes and the sound of a crooner who died before he was born a pathetic symptom of mental illness or is it, as Potter suggests, an authentic for of healing and relief? What should we value, a National Health doctor who prescribes pills in three colours and orders you not to eat cheese, or syncopated palliatives telling you the moon is blue, that the night is full of healing serenades and love is good for anything that ails you? Commercial, bland, silly and escapist the whole thing may be but perhaps a genuine port in the human storm.”
… and, in 1934, The Haunted Ballroom, which portrays the Masters of Treginnis who are cursed to dance themselves to death in a gloomy ancestral ballroom by the ghosts of the women whom they had loved. As in Ruddigore, the curse is passed to the heir of the accursed. The piece makes "imaginative... use of an eerie... chorus commentary". The Haunted Ballroom was Margot Fonteyn's first principal role and also starred Robert Helpmann. Ninette de Valois choreographed both works and revived The Haunted Ballroom several times after Toye's death. Its last performance in Sadler's Wells's repertoire was on BBC television on 24 February 1957. The original choreography of the piece now survives only in fragments. The Waltz from the score is probably Toye's best-known composition and has been recorded several times. It remained popular for many years as an orchestral piece. 28
“Not only is the central waltz in The Haunted Ballroom consummately well-constructed and poignantly delivered, but the work as a whole is an eerily dramatic deconstruction of the waltz, as was Ravel’s La Valse. Unlike La Valse, (of which Diaghilev is reputed to have said "Ravel, it’s a masterpiece. But it’s not a ballet, it’s a picture of a ballet") Toye’s work as ballet music is a real dance of death; the very opening distant adumbration of the theme already has the sickly smell of decay about it, so that when it reappears in full, the rich, lush harmonies and sweeping contours of the melody are painful, a musical smile before dying.” reviewed by Jonathan Still, Lecturer in Music Studies in the Faculty of Education at the Royal Academy of Dance.
THE CARETAKER An empty bliss beyond this World (LP/CD) "Leading medical research explains how Alzheimer's patients who endure increasing memory loss can still recall songs from their distant past. The prefrontal cortex is among the last brain regions to atrophy. With this in mind, The Caretaker once again recalls fifteen occasions where memories are locked in a timeless and haunting loop." 29 ***************************
“Sometimes music therapy is communal, sometimes individual. It is astonishing to see mute, isolated, confused individuals warm to music, recognize it as familiar, and start to sing, start to bond with a therapist. It is even more astonishing to see a dozen deeply demented people – all in worlds or nonworlds of their own, seemingly incapable of any coherent reactions, let alone interactions – and how they respond to the presence of a music therapist who begins to play music in front of them. There is a sudden attention: a dozen pairs of distracted eyes fasten on the player. Torpid patients become alert and aware; agitated ones grow calmer. That it may be possible to gain the attention of such patients and hold it for minutes at a time is itself remarkable. Beyond this, there is often a specific engagement with what is being played (it is usual, in such groups, to play old songs that everyone of a similar age and background will have known). Familiar music acts as a sort of Proustian mnemonic, eliciting emotions and associations that had been long forgotten, giving the patient access once again to moods and memories, thoughts and worlds that had seemingly been completely lost. Faces assume expression as the old music is recognized and its emotional power felt. One or two people, perhaps, start to sing along, others join them, and soon the entire group – many of them virtually speechless before – is singing together, as much as they are able.” 30
1. Medical Music Therapy PRS for Music does not make a charge for music used as part of Medical Music Therapy sessions, in whatever premises those sessions take place. Medical Music Therapy means formal therapy sessions where music is an integral part of the therapy, used for the direct benefit of individuals with diagnosed conditions. Medical Music Therapy does not include background music use as part of other kinds of medical or nonmedical therapy, such as physiotherapy or massage, as music is not an integral part of the therapy. 31
*************************** Along the high street there seem to be more pawnbrokers opening up, and more shops offering to buy our unwanted gold. There are fewer charity shops now. And so there‟s even less opportunity to buy records. There is, however, a new shop that‟s bucking all the trends, selling all sorts of odd crystals, birthstones, handmade Celtic jewellery, and offering Tarot readings, Reiki massages, and a tea room out the back with homemade cakes. The shop also sells an intriguing range of books and CDs. The CDs, unsurprisingly, have a meditation or relaxation theme, specifically targeted to appeal to those interested in aspects of yoga for example. This is a thriving market embedded within the music industry. And it‟s easy to see why there might be a clamour for functional music that aids meditation or relaxation. A desire to escape the lure of the laptop, the demands of the mobile device, the endless cycle of commenting, is understandable. Music of this type is conveniently classed as new age, and there are plenty of arguments to be made for and against it. Its antecedents, from a time before New Age was codified, often intersect with very acceptable strands of music history. Approaching New Age from a different angle I was intrigued to pick up a charity shop copy of Tony Scott‟s 1965 Verve LP,
Music For Zen Meditation (and other joys). I had never come across this LP before, but looking it up there are descriptions of it as the first New Age recording. In a way, it all makes sense. It was after all the jazz loving beats, Kerouac and Ginsberg etc. who popularised Zen Buddhism and meditation through The Dharma Bums and so on. Scott at least couldn‟t be accused of creating exotica. He‟d been playing in south east Asia for a few years before, and had worked extensively with traditional Japanese musicians before making the Zen Meditation LP of improvisations featuring clarinet, koto and shakuhachi. It‟s a beautiful work, but like a lot of music supposedly specifically produced for meditation and relaxation it doesn‟t necessarily aid enlightenment and proves ultimately to be distracting, encouraging the mind to wander rather than focus. Actually, a far more interesting snippet to muse upon is that on his return to the States in 1965 Tony Scott brought the great Japanese jazz/pop singer Mieko Hirota with him to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival. Tony Scott did have a point though. Jazz is fantastic music for meditating to, whatever form it may take. Meditation can, of course, simply be pushing aside distractions, sitting or standing quietly, contemplating, and getting lost in a reverie, haunted by a melody, allowing the mind and body to relax, recharge and maybe even heal if you go for such things. You can go as deep as you want into meditating and contemplating, but it‟s got to be a good thing to put aside electronic intrusions and concentrate on something else for a short while, such as an Alice Coltrane or a Lonnie Liston Smith LP. There are, of course, plenty of other examples of music you can lose yourself in, and different things will work for different people. If it‟s a specially marketed CD of relaxing sounds that aids meditation then that‟s great. Bossa nova balladry or an old dub LP are among the sort of things that work perfectly for me. There was, in fact, a classic dub set from the late „70s by Winston Riley called Meditation Dub which is perfectly understandable given the spiritual of roots sounds. The Meditation Dub was collected up in 1997 on an expanded CD edition called Techniques in Dub on Adrian Sherwood‟s Pressure Sounds salvage operation. My copy seems to have a £1.99 Oxfam sticker on the front of the jewel case. Winston Riley also featured on a collection Sherwood put out on another On-U offshoot Maximum Pressure, which focused on digital/dancehall reggae works. As far as I know there were only four titles on this imprint, but they are beautiful sets. The collection of Winston Riley productions, Dancehall Techniques, covered the period 1986-1991 and features some fantastic tracks from some heavyweight DJs and singers guaranteed to make you move in mysterious ways.
************************* The Chinese Reggae band Long Shen Dao will release a debut album on new year's day of 2011 3 years waiting, Long Shen Dao finally will open their intoxicating old wine to people. As the first real reggae band in China music history, they stand out from the superabundant vintage waves. After their own big successes in music, six band members got together by the same interest of pursuing a more open, more flexible and more relaxing music. And Long Shen Dao made it -- that's the "Tai Chi Reggae", an album that bases on reggae music as well as filled with Chinese Tao philosophy. Especially the fusion of rock, dub, drum & bass, ska and even guzheng makes their music a totally different reggae. Handsome faces and cool dreadlocks of course ain't the reason for Long Shen Dao's high box-office shows. Packed houses are all for packed love. Oriental love meeting western freedom, oriental philosophy melting in western spirits, that is the Dragon God's essence.The heart, more than anything else, points the way forward.. 32
―Mae Orr's courses, though not as chaotic as the Make Up's performances, are electrifying experiences in their own right. In the Bloomingdale studio, students fill the wooden floor to capacity with their long colorful mats and padded bolsters. The class begins with a long back stretch, gazing at the ceiling while Mae Orr delivers a succinct lecture on the importance of selfdiscipline. "Zen tutors aren't known for their kindness,‖ she tells the class. ―They badger and bully the acolytes into deeper understanding. I'd like us all to ask today how we can challenge ourselves in our practice to push past the complacency." ―Then, as she starts ushering the class into a fast-changing series of increasingly complicated motions and postures, she turns on the stereo and dims the lights. The music starts with some recognizable soothing alternative rock but soon shifts to more abstract tunes. The timing of the mix seems to follow her voice commands. As people wobble on one foot with arms outstretched, she dims the lights even more and the stereo switches to a harp playing swooping melodies over a jazz drumbeat. The result is an expert combination of college radio show, dance routine, and religious experience — though the closest Mae Orr gets to a spiritual admonishment is when she cajoles the students to "Let yourself go." When she’s finished, the classmembers sprawl on their backs in silence until she rings a small golden bowl to bring the session to an end. ―Most students are not aware of her background as a indie rock icon though. "This is the first I've heard of it," says Christine Schellack, who attends her classes at the U Street studio. "Now I'm intrigued." Schellack tried four different studios around town before settling on Michelle as her instructor. The appeal was twofold: "She is able to pair music to practice in a very fluid way. And she makes this incredibly genuine effort to break down a lot of hype and elitism that sometimes scares people away from the beginner’s learning curve in yoga." ―Mae Orr’s music taste is a crucial part of this effort. "In one of the first classes I took with her, the music choice was a bit unique – very deep, wordless baritone chanting that sounded like it was coming from inside a cave. And this song kind of just looped for an hour and half. It was different from the regular anthology of music choices that you find in a yoga class, but that class with the looping chants – probably over seven months ago – still remains in my memory as one of the best yoga experiences I’ve had." It’s not hard to imagine why — after almost 10 years without an instrument, Michelle Mae Orr still knows how to make a crowd move.‖ 34
*************************** “In Western dancing you move the body, but sometimes you keep moving the body, and people lose the rhythm of breathing and movement together, and so it causes you to use a lot of energy. When you’ve finished dancing, you will breathe hard, exhausted even because you are using up energy. It is like people who do a lot of physical training – they finish exhausted. But if you catch the right rhythm, get the balance, move the right side and the left side together using the centre, your waist, your back, when you finish your energy will still be strong and your body will not be exhausted. That is the difference between the Western exercise and the Eastern exercise”. 35
*************************** There was, it seems, another Some Other People record called Orbitality, which came out on Infinite Mass in late 1993. Having found out that it existed, thanks to Discogs, I managed to track down a very reasonably priced copy on eBay which oddly enough would be dispatched from very close to home. This CD has the, by now, obligatory thanks to George and Dennis at Porky‟s. But apart from that there are still few clues to who Some Other People were. The jewel case looks a little like the sort of CD you might see for sale in Ambient Soho or somewhere along Berwick Street. Indeed, it sounds like something they might have put out on their Worm Interface label. Orbitality beautifully covers the full spectrum of what might be too conveniently called electronic dance music as it was in 1993. And there I suspect is part of the problem for Some Other People. They were great all-rounders, making indefinable music on a label without a definite identity. If Orbitality had been on Warp, for example, or R&S or something, then no doubt it would be considered a classic, but as for now it‟s simply lost.
*************************** ―I know there are tunes I’ve put on, I’ve seen people cry, Moving Shadow tunes, old tunes, because this music is old enough now for it to mean that.‖ 36
That cardboard box, the one where I found my Photek CDs, its contents were pretty interesting. It was pretty much a drum „n‟ bass box, and everything had a pretty loose link to Photek, I guess, either through labels (e.g. Source Direct) or geographical location (darkness on the edge of East Anglia). What was particularly striking though was how many of the CDs had been released by Moving Shadow. I had kind of lost track of what a fantastic run of releases that imprint had. I am very aware of how, say, the first 20 LPs issued by Rough Trade were special, but the Moving Shadow equivalent seems just as impressive. Rob Playford‟s Moving Shadow label really is one of the great specialist labels, and it maybe even up there with the Mad Professor‟s Ariwa imprint. I realise that full-length single-artist CDs are not the first love of most drum „n‟ bass fans, but they fascinate me. And Moving Shadow maybe succeeded with this format more than any of their contemporaries. Yet thinking back to the 1990s it would be Mo‟ Wax or Warp that I would think of as the great labels of the time. I‟m really not sure I realised how much I‟d bought into the Moving Shadow ethos, but the small pile of CDs which I‟ve been playing pretty intensively of late speaks for itself: Omni Trio, Foul Play, E-Z Rollers, Flytronix, Dom & Roland, Aquasky, Technical Itch, Guardians of Dalliance. There is no one defining Moving Shadow sound or style, but there is something that unites these artists. There were no gimmicks, grand design or even a specific hype, but time has been incredibly kind to the Moving Shadow brand.
The enduring identity the label seems to have is one of a brooding intensity, or a sinister spectral presence. But it could be quite a different one. Even listening to Omni Trio‟s The Haunted Science, acknowledging Rob Haigh‟s reputation as arch-experimentalist and mood manipulator, the track Haunted Kind oddly now 15-years-on evokes the warm familiarity of the slow motion flow of a chilled out track on a bespoke CD for tai chi or yoga classes. The Aquasky mix of Who Are You has a similar meditational feel, while other titles on the record hint at another story: Nu Birth Of Cool and Trippin‟ On Broken Beats. The very wonderful, early Moving Shadow compilation Storm From The East was subtitled “an inter orbit compilation of cool & jazzy drum „n‟ bass”, and featured tracks from a collective of artists from England‟s East Coast, often with interchangeable members, including PFM, E-Z Rollers, Flytronix and Hyper-On Experience. It captures what was an emerging attitude as those in the drum „n‟ bass scene reached out to other influences and interests, in some cases drawing on soul boy/jazz funk roots (some of the East Coast resorts like Caister were home to Soul Weekenders etc.) and in others reflecting a growing interest in the dancefloor jazz that people like Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge were highlighting on the radio and in clubs. Photek, for example, sampled Lonnie Liston Smith‟s Astral Traveling on his Rings Around Saturn (which in itself is almost a perfect Eastern Sebald title) before the Fender Rhodes thing became a cliche. The record that captures the „east coast vibez‟ thing the best is Archive by Flytronix, an ambitious 2-CD set from 1998 which was painstakingly put together by Danny DeMierre who I would suggest is one of the unsung heroes of the „90s, also being part of Hyper-On Experience (with Alex Banks of E-Z Rollers) who put out some great tracks and engineered much of the Foul Play Suspected set. Archive, like the records 4hero made for Talkin‟ Loud, is fantastic at dealing with the basic sounds but is at its most interesting when it reaches out to something different. Notably there are a couple of tracks which fuse drum „n‟ bass with jazzy hip hop and poetry. One of these, Not Much Music, features Roger Robinson delivering a fantastic elegy for hip hop‟s lost spirit. More recently Roger Robinson has worked with Kevin Martin (The Bug) and Hitomi as part of King Midas Sound, releasing the excellent Waiting For You set on Hyperdub. Not Much Music is really brilliant: “Lyrics burst like fire bombs in the air between the icy steam of uncrushed souls and rivulets of sweat and foul where MCs howl rhymes polyphonic and fertile, on sober Saturday nights into the purple black of midnight, with thoughts of shattered glass and sand, tumbling every head of definity, because it was, their world, my world, our world where we paint the bullion slash of emptiness, peeling back the subsonics of mortal fragmenting speech shrapnel, with six beats for beauty, one more for flow, and one more for change but, every week my TV screen gleams MCs as, thousands of them echo lamentations but, knowone answers, knowone answers, now, melting moons boil bubble and burst as cotton clouds damp my worst wounds as I, lay my head on a bed of dried flowers and contemplate, the loneliness of storms, the new of vibrations forms a staircase of dust as, big shadows become living memories of us, and we, and how, hiphop used to be, but now …” 37
“E-Z Rolled for a Smoother Groover” declared the sleeve of the first E-Z Rollers LP on Moving Shadow, Dimensions Of Sound, adding that it should be filed under “deep ambient jazz funk soul drum „n‟ bass”. This would be enough to frustrate the more serious scholars of the jungle tradition, and it‟s easy to envisage them despairing, adopting apoplectic poses like Tony Wilson pretended to do when seeing what A Certain Ratio were doing circa Sextet: “Are they playing what I think they‟re playing?” Can we cast Kelly Richards as the Martha Tilsonstyle saviour or villain of the piece, depending on your position? Oddly, Dimensions of Sound, like Sextet, has worn remarkably well and now reveals rather more edge than it was acknowledged to have at the time.
There is probably a case to be made for E-Z Rollers having roots in the world of jazz dance, rare groove and fusion, in much the same way as Factory acts like A Certain Ratio and Kalima were inspired by what was happening in Manchester via a similar scene featuring DJs Hewan Clark and Colin Curtis among others. Both Martha Tilson‟s and Kelly Richards‟ vocals fit perfectly into that tradition, Flora Purim with Chick Corea and so on. You could even argue the British lovers rock tradition had that vulnerable, detached quality. Actually I like the way Chic described the way they used vocals as “functional”, part of the whole sound. Ironically the second E-Z Rollers LP on Moving Shadow, Weekend World, was a fair bit tougher. But its lead track, Walk This Land, was used on the soundtrack of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels rendering them beyond redemption for many I guess. Actually I preferred the smoother sounding tracks E-Z Rollers made, and kind of wished they were smoother still. The last Moving Shadow LP I seem to have bought was Diffusion Rooms by Guardians of Dalliance, from the end of the decade, which perhaps stretched the drum „n‟ bass meets jazz fusion thing as far as it could go. James Mitton-Wade of Guardians of Dalliance also recorded as Carlito, primarily for Creative Source, and notably did a number of remixes including Omni Trio‟s Trippin‟ On Broken Beats and Anthea‟s Side of Blue from the great lost Words And Beats (collaboration with Chris Bangs) set from 1999. The name Guardians of Dalliance (James together with Mike Hall and singer Sophie Perks) apparently came from a hypnotic instruction tape which gives a bit of an idea where the group was heading. The Guardians of Dalliance template kind of updated what Simon Booth was doing with Weekend/Working Week in the „80s, and expanded on the mix of live jazz instrumentation and drum „n‟ bass that Jaz Klash had started in the mid-„90s with the Thru‟ The Haze set on Cup of Tea. The Klash being LA producer The Angel (whose 60 Channels recordings are well worth tracking down) with kindred spirits Rob Smith and Peter D from More Rockers/Smith & Mighty, whose rhythm „n‟ bass maternal instincts are rightly revered in certain circles. The Guardians of Dalliance and Jaz Klash LPs still work wonderfully as easy listening background music, and benefit now from a degree of detachment historically speaking. Growing up in London with the early rave scene, Dom got into production when one of his friends Nico Sykes, already an accomplished engineer told him that all he needed was a sampler and a computer to get going. With the early crop of bedroom producers using „Akai s1000‟ samplers, Dom, wanting to be different, went out and purchased a „Roland S760‟ and hence the name was born. Dom started releasing records through „No-U-Turn‟ records in 1994, a small independent label that at the time was gaining a large amount of respect from the then famous radio DJ‟s of the day including the now highly credited „Grooverider‟, who helped him out immensely at this time providing almost blanket coverage of Dom‟s music on his shows. On the strength of this early success and regular airplay, Dom persuaded his bank manager to lend him enough money to upgrade his home studio to professional standards. When he wasn‟t travelling to distant places, Dom now found himself engineering and producing tracks for other Drum & Bass DJs/Artists who did not yet know how to use studio equipment themselves. During this time Dom mixed and produced various Drum & Bass classics including „Mutant Revisited‟ and „Sonar‟ with DJ Trace, and others with „Virus‟ boys, Optical and Edrush; it was in fact Dom that introduced them to each other! Moreover it was for this first collaboration with Trace, that Dom created the now legendary „Tramen‟ break - a break that has been sampled and used in Drum & Bass tracks by other artists ever since! The late John Peel was also a great fan of Dom‟s work and asked on a couple of occasions to record with him, although unfortunately due to their separate busy schedules this dream was never realised. Autumn 1998 saw the long awaited release of Dom‟s first album, „Industry‟ - to unanimous public and critical acclaim. This album was so popular on its first two weeks of release that it went in at No.3 on the Music Week Independent Album Chart, with only „Tribe Called Quest‟ and „Lauren Hill‟ beating it to the top slot. Several BBC documentaries also used sections of this album for their theme music including „Merseyside blues‟, a popular police reality series in 1999. In 2001,while working on his second album „Back for the future‟, Dom, alongside Derrick May and Surgeon, were each commissioned to write five exclusive pieces of music for „Midnight club‟, one of the first games to be released on the Playstation 2, these tracks were also subsequently released on Moving Shadow, one being the mighty „Imagination‟ a monster of a track that Dom will always be remembered for, and that has been remixed countless times since. Although he prefers making albums, Dom has continued to write music occasionally for „Rockstar‟ and other games companies. 38
Right up there among the most magnificent of Moving Shadow moments would be the fin de siècle pairing of Dom & Roland‟s Industry and Diagnostics by Technical Itch. These are fantastic functional soundtracks for when you are in need of something to satisfy a craving for a pulverising, pummelling, relentless melodic harshness with a militaristic precision. Both these LPs ooze a sense of suspense and foreboding, and are dripping in dread and impending danger. They have the ability to make you feel cold and icy in a heatwave, and clammy and anxious in arctic conditions. Industry seems a particularly appropriate title, with the implied double meaning of hard work and heavy machinery – frantic activity, driving pistons. The tracks on these two LPs could easily be retitled in the tradition of library recordings with snappy descriptions of the industrial actions they‟re soundtracking. They do certainly conjure up movies in your mind: a desperate scramble against time to defuse a deadly bomb, and that sort of thing. Mixed up with that is a sense of familiarity now as this music has been used extensively in all sorts of places, from films to computer games, which seems perfect considering the way the music was initially claimed and renamed by low-end theorists.
Moving Shadow At Moving Shadow we are always very interested in finding new routes to push our artists' music to the public. Rollcage 2 represents a quality product with the potential to make a big impact on the driving game market; we are therefore very pleased to be associated with it. Six Moving Shadow artists; Omni Trio, the E-Z Rollers, Flytronix, Dom & Roland, Aquasky and Technical Itch have been working on the soundtrack to Rollcage 2 - providing twelve specially commissioned pieces of music which together make up the entire soundtrack of the game. This is, we believe a first for any independent record label and once again puts Moving Shadow and Psgnosis at the very forefront of music and gaming development. 39
*************************** Sounds Industrial is a collection of library music recorded and composed by Roger Roger in the mid„70s for the French label L‟Illustration Musicale, which I think was run by Eddie Warner who recorded for the label along with contemporaries like Jacky Giordano and Bernard Fevre. I first came across a mention of Sounds Industrial via a mix the imposingly cool Broadcast had put together in 2003-ish. The mix also featured Heavy Machinery by Basil Kirchin from his wonderful mid-„60s Abstractions of the Industrial North set for De Wolfe, a good few years before Trunk salvaged it. When I eventually heard all the 16 tracks on Sounds Industrial they became a bit of an obsession, and remained a favourite long after gorging excessively on illegally shared library LPs. It still sounds ridiculously ahead of its time, with its use of experimental electronic sounds to create drama and suspense. What I really love about the Roger Roger library recordings is that they swing dramatically between high art and delightful daftness, as the mood or need dictates. We need both extremes in our lives. I also love the fact that Roger‟s background was in light music. He‟d been composing popular orchestral works since the 1930s, and had worked extensively in the film industry, providing scores and incidental music. His ability to create mood music and melodic miniatures to order made him a perfect choice for Chappell when they were first venturing into the realm of library music. His „production music‟ became favourites among those that appreciated „test card‟ broadcasts on the BBC, just as his later forays into electronic music and experimental recordings (and those of his long-time friend Nino Nardini) would become favourites with a new generation of sonic explorers after his death in 1995.
*************************** The title track of Girl Unit’s debut was Night Slugs’s first real hit, and became one of the dance tunes of the year. Apparently it was heard in the Whitehall kettle on Day X of the student protests. A reminder that musical adventurousness needn’t come at the expense of dancefloor popularity, I.R.L is both menacing, shrill and mysterious and upfront, simple and danceable. Its main hook contrasts a deep, powerful, borderline-kitsch exclamation on synth cellos as from a film noir or old B-movie soundtrack with a downward-gliding sawtooth screech like blood dripping from the ceiling and down the walls. The track launches straight in with the fake cellos, which are joined by the screeches in a drop a mere sixteen bars later. 40
*************************** I‟ve thought a lot about this. And, I‟d say all that really matters is that you keep moving, keep searching, and keep on learning. You can‟t keep up with everything. You don‟t need to. It‟s not worth even trying. What is not healthy is being too immersed in one scene or one sound. You‟d miss so much. But ironically while exploring hither and thither there is a genuine risk of missing out on what‟s happening in real time at grassroots level, perhaps out of a fear that being a dabbler or dilettante excludes participation. It‟s likely that for many of us some musical activity will only register when there is a particular buzz about it. A good example of this is the Night Slugs phenomenon. For some this will be a life-or-death thing. For many others it will still mean nothing at all. I only caught on to what was happening in early 2011 when the Rouge‟s Foam site published an astonishingly detailed examination of the label‟s activities which caused quite a stir. It is, after all, pretty unusual for online music criticism to focus so intently on one theme. Possibly because it did as a piece of writing so spectacularly buck the trend I found it fascinating, and went out and bought the Night Slugs All Stars Volume 1 compilation even though a number of the tracks were posted as part of the article. I don‟t really have any interest in the pros and cons of Night Slugs „raves‟ or club nights in London. It‟s not my world. But I am thoroughly enjoying the label‟s output and way of conducting itself. I see strange parallels with Mo‟ Wax in the way that the label may be achingly trendy, consequently provoking strong feelings for and against the set-up. There is also a similarity in the aesthetic approach, where the releases ooze attention to detail, notably in the way they look and feel. Night Slugs‟ releases may come in orthodox formats, but they seem special. Mo‟ Wax had that sense of occasion, of course, with the design work of Will Bankhead and Ben Drury being so vital to the label. What has particularly endeared me to Night Slugs is the fact that its first full-length artist release was by the Toronto-based producer Egyptrixx. While there may be very good, practical reasons for this, nevertheless it sends a strong message about not being pinned down to any one location, scene or sound. It‟s a pretty contrary collection with which to promote an ambitious label, and it‟s intriguing to observe something that seems sonically to have a lot in common with the work of Carl Craig, Drexciya and Urban Tribe being at the centre of attention, and enjoyed as part of a rich and varied musical diet that seems a pretty healthy thing.
The barbers I go to, and trust, is also favoured by the sharp young kids though I do my best to avoid them despite a certain fascination with whatever the current in-demand cut is. I guess the clientele has something to do with the commanding presence of a massive flat screen TV which seems to be permanently tuned in to a digital music channel where they show what I guess are chart pop videos with a heavy bias towards r‟n‟b and club sounds. Every time I‟m in there it seems at least one track grabs my attention and gets me thinking: “Wow!” But inevitably that‟ll be on while I‟m actually in the chair, having my neck shaved or whatever, making it impossible to find out what‟s being shown. Invariably I will leave the barbers vowing to pay closer attention to what‟s in and around the charts, or at least deciding I ought to steel myself and listen in more often to what‟s being played on the radio, even if it‟s only Rinse FM on a more regular basis (not just Alexander Nut either when I remember to listen which I confess is rarely), and there again the chances are knowing my luck I‟ll miss out on any details about an attention-grabbing tune. But somehow my resolutions fade away, and I‟ll be off making my own fun, distracted by what‟s there to be discovered in some other underexplored corner. While I readily acknowledge that the most adventurous innovative music of this century has been created in the r‟n‟b arena, new music does demand a certain commitment, not least financially, which can be a barrier especially when you have a voracious musical appetite which leads you off in all sorts of strange directions at once. There have been times when I‟ve become wilfully immersed in the r‟n‟b marketplace and grown incredibly passionate about specific artists, only to watch them fall by the wayside, ignored by the wider media, messed about by record companies, and so on. I‟ve been completely bemused that the occasional record which has caught my attention has disappeared, underpromoted, uncelebrated. And I‟ve got distracted. For every Beyonce or Rihanna, raking in the millions, endorsements proliferating as they are towering over the pop landscape, there will be another Teedra Moses or Nikkiya giving their fantastic music away on mixtapes, hoping for that big break. And when you have fortuitously stumbled across these occasional treats you try not to think too much about the ones you will inevitably be missing out on.
*************************** Brief biography: Steve Goodman is a Lecturer in Music Culture in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of East London. He runs the MA Sonic Culture and is currently writing a book entitled „Sonic Warfare‟ due for publication on MIT Press 2009. The book is a theoretical investigation of the intersection between war and sonic culture. He is a member of the autonomous research collective, the Ccru (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit), runs the record label Hyperdub, and produces electronic music under various guises. Areas of interest/Summary of Expertise:
Cybernetic Culture Sonic Culture Diasporic futurisms Abstract Materialism 41
Ikonika: I thought it was a little daunting at first, because I was a big fan of Burial and Kode9. I understood what Hyperdub meant to so many people and felt that I couldn’t really justify being on a label like that, thinking that this label was too big for someone like me, someone who just accidentally landed on planet Dubstep. I still think I’m a risk, I have no rules and that makes it very hard to label me, but then I just think I wouldn’t be signed to Hyperdub if that wasn't the case. 42
*************************** Record labels may not have the same commercial clout they once had, but they retain a strong sense of brand identity and brand loyalty. And this can be a huge factor still in determining whether we know about, listen to, and ultimately purchase a particular release. Would, for example, the Bangs & Works Chicago Footwork compilation have had the same jarring impact if someone other than the respected Mike Paradinas and Planet Mu been behind promoting it? The same goes for Honest Jons and the Shangaan Electro collection from South Africa, and earlier still there was the Funk Carioca set on Mr Bongo. These were all labels with significant status that got behind specific regional bursts of inventiveness that we casual dilettantes might otherwise have missed out on. Of course these labels‟ own reputations were boosted by such smart moves in the market place. Branding can work both ways, though. An irrational antagonism towards certain labels is not uncommon. I‟ve had petty prejudices against labels like 4AD and Domino but readily acknowledge that they‟ve occasionally released great records (Kendra Smith, Pram, Midnight Funk Association, Colourbox, etc.). Hyperdub is another label I‟ve never warmed to. I‟m not sure why. Maybe there has just been a bit too much of a sense of grown men sitting around in flats, smoking, going on about old 4hero records, William Gibson books, computer games and the Kevin Martin sleeve notes for Macro Dub Infection Vol. 1. That‟s probably totally unfair. Regardless of any reservations about Hyperdub as a label, credit must be given to Steve Goodman for providing the right creative environment for the young producer Ikonika to put together the excellent Contact, Love, Want, Have. There have been so many artists swallowed up too soon, consumed, subsumed. But that Ikonika record, when I finally caught up with it, really connected. Even though it has been played an awful lot, there always seems more there to discover. The curious thing I have no real sense about why I even bought it. It‟s rare for me to invest in a new artist I‟m not that familiar with. I didn‟t know much about Ikonika. I hate the word iconic. But then I do have a soft spot for old Factory Records videos on the Ikon F.C.L. So maybe there was a subliminal connection there? I can‟t even claim that it was the cover of Contact, Love, Want, Have that particularly appealed to me, as I hadn‟t seen it before I ordered the CD. It is a fantastic cover though, and it was only by chance that I found out it was by Manuel Sepulveda who came up with for the original Grime compilation on Rephlex, and actually did the cover design for the Steve Goodman (Kode9) book on Sonic Warfare and how music is used as a weapon. Manuel‟s prismatic design for Ikonika is lovely, and captures something about the way her music works.
What I really like about the Ikonika CD is the way she makes the keys sing. It‟s like she‟s picking out snatches of melody that she‟s remembering in her head from some r‟n‟b tune she‟s heard in a club, and the listener in turn finds they are compelled to sing along to imagined chorus hooks that embed themselves in the brain. It seemed apt therefore on looking up more about Ikonika to find she is a fan of Ryan Leslie. Intriguingly there was something Casio-tone-ish about her work that had made me think of the phenomenally inventive record Ryan Leslie had made with Cassie back in 2006-ish, and in particular the melody of Me&U where I was always convinced the track was going to break into Unique 3‟s Rhythm Takes Control, which is just about the highest compliment you can give some days. There are moments when Ikonika‟s creations seem to bear the same relation to popular r‟nb/club sounds that the early electronic sounds did to the pop music of the day. I am thinking of something like Pepper Box by The Peppers, which in 1974 became a massive hit in the UK when it was released by Spark Records and had a tangential connection to the Northern Soul scene. Its origins, however, were in France with a commission for a TV advertising campaign for Gillette. And if you start to examine the personalities involved in painstakingly putting together this piece of pop perfection you will get tangled up in a glorious tangle of links and connections. So, for example, the person behind the Pepper Box project was Roger Tokarz and it was written by Peter Arpadys (I believe, a pseudonym for Pierre Alain Dahan) and Mathias Camison. Now if you start tracking those names you will have hours of fun disappearing down a rabbit hole on the trail of French disco and library music that will take you to others including Sauveur Mallia, Slim Pezin and Marc Chantereau, and on to the immortal Voyage catalogue, Cerrone, and a whole host of recordings for the Tele Music library imprint and Chappell‟s Dance & Mood Music series. Then there was Arpadys, Spatial & Co, Disco & Co … and tracks like Pierre Dutour‟s Jungle Melody that get picked up on by those in the know. It‟s so easy to see how such investigations can take over and absorb our time and energy in a quite bewitching way.
Podcast 158 by DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn I love being able to download podcasts and mixes for free. This one is off XLR8R and it‟s by two of my favourite juke producers from Chicago. I love the hip hop vocal samples and off 808 beats. Simplicity at its best. 43
********************* It seems as though it almost doesn‟t matter now if you‟re short of money. You can still keep up with new music if you want to. Actress is giving music away, letting people know via his Twitter account, and Muhsinah‟s giving away new material to people on her mailing list. That‟s a snapshot of a particular moment. But it‟s a typical scenario. And one that‟s nothing to do with the endless arguments about illegal filesharing. People will have their own reasons for giving the occasional track away. It could be a thank you for fans. It could be a shrewd piece of advertising. It may even be simply a desire to elude the industry‟s time-consuming processes and share a piece of music while it is „hot off the presses‟ or still a work-inprogress. This is in a way an egalitarian extension of the reggae „dubplate‟ tradition, which has evolved alongside outlets like MySpace, YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. In addition, Ikonika‟s been making great new music available as part of a Summer 2011 mix posted on her Tumblr site. In many ways the practice of making free podcasts and mixes available is now deeply engrained in the way the music business works. For an artist it can be a great opportunity to stretch out, raise their profile and showcase their product in a particular context which they have control over. For an online publication it‟s a fantastic way of drawing readers in. And for the visitor to the site it can be like being presented with the keys to a sweet shop. There almost seems too much to take in, and sometimes that can make you want to run to the hills and hide. But there are occasions when a mix can be there just at the right moment, almost as though it was placed there especially for you. XLR8R is always a site worth checking for its podcasts. A brilliant July 2011 one from Nguzunguzu had me scurrying off to find out more about this production team and the same with the Dark Sky collective one, which I guess is what it‟s all about. And FACT magazine is an online outlet that has raised the mixtape phenomenon to something akin to an art form. Maria Minerva, Mike Paradinas, Roll The Dice, Laurel Halo, Royal-T, Clams Casino, Ossie, Silkie, Current 93, 2 Bad Mice, Global Communication and Anstam are among the creators of impeccably presented mixes FACT mixes over the summer of 2011. And there is a glorious assortment of free music to immerse yourself totally in and learn an incredible amount from. That is, assuming you don‟t start feeling overwhelmed by it all, and begin to want to resist the ceaseless cycle of first to hear/first to comment. The most intriguing of the Summer 2011 mixes FACT has hosted is the one by Pursuit Grooves, aka the NY producer Vanese Smith. The mix itself is fantastic, and it created a bit of a buzz by using samples of the (fashionable-for-some) cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek among the inventive beat collages. I loved it but felt terribly guilty because I‟d come across Pursuit Grooves via MySpace in the early days of YHO, fell in love with her „beat tape‟ Sustainable Movements For A New Age which was given away to celebrate Earth Day in 2009, but I‟d lost track of what Pursuit Grooves was doing .
So it was great to learn that the FACT mix coincided with the release of a full-length Pursuit Grooves LP on the Bristol label Tectonic, run by Pinch (Rob Ellis). But even this good news came mingled with guilt because I would have to confess to losing track of Pinch and Tectonic after the release of the ambitious Underwater Dancehall double-set a few years back, which is odd as I thought it sounded great at the time and sounds even better now (having retrieved it from another cardboard box), especially the songs on which Indi Kaur and Yolanda sing. I liked the fact Pinch was prepared to have a go at tapping explicitly into the Bristol blues „n‟ roots tradition via Smith & Mighty, Henry & Louis etc. but I completely missed out on later Tectonic releases from the likes of Jack Sparrow and 2562. And there seems to have been a Scientist remix project. I also missed out on what seems to be an exceptional Pinch 12” on Loefah‟s Swamp 81 label called Croydon House. You see what happens when you become too preoccupied by dusty corners? But it really doesn‟t matter „when‟ you get to hear something. It‟s actually more interesting „why‟ you get to hear something. Without the prompt provided by Pursuit Grooves‟ FACT mix I would almost certainly have missed out on the Frantically Hopeful CD released by Tectonic in the summer of 2011. And that would have been a real tragedy as Pursuit Grooves has created something pretty special. It‟s a record that captures something of the clatter and clutter of modern life, and offers if not answers to all the contradictions then at least an aural antidote that reflects the revulsion and the fascination. Frantically Hopeful defiantly in the age of specialism summons up the swarm of influences and interests her listeners are likely to have, veering between abstract electronica and r‟n‟b lullaby even on the same track as a direct protest against the homogenous whole. The titles Revolutionaries and Bailouts at least reflect this is a record released in 2011, as we alternate between despair and hope, constantly bombarded with commentary, and appropriately one of the extended themes is the overwhelming demands of digital distractions and the need to disconnect and re-energise. Ironically Vanese will realise it is these same channels of communication that allows her to reach like-minded souls scattered around the globe, like Pinch of Tectonic whom she met via MySpace. I really need to give credit to Pinch/Tectonic for putting out music by Pursuit Grooves. And I feel incredibly guilty for not being loyal to the label. I wasn‟t even aware that Photek had released a phenomenal track, Closer, on Tectonic. And that‟s a bit spooky when you think about it as I really had no idea he was out there making new music when I had the urge to track down my old Photek records.
References and Sources 1. PPL: http://www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/ 2. Paul Morley on Fire Engines, NME, January 1981 3. PRS for Music http://www.prsformusic.com/users/Pages/default.aspx 4. Mira Calix Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mira_Calix 5. Sleevenote for TGV, from It! By Coco Steel and Lovebomb, Warp Records, Warp 24. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42.
Sonic Journeys/SoundUK http://sonicjourneys.co.uk/journeys.htm http://www.appelstein.com/ymg/embracemojo.html - http://yrheartout.blogspot.com/2011/05/hiss-shake-leggs-eleven-pt-4.html http://www.lydiafulton.co.uk/articles/cent/issue-8 Steve Panter http://www.jackielee.org/ http://www.epicscore.com http://www.prsformusic.com/users/productionmusic/Documents/2011%20Rate%20Card.pdf http://www.kyanmakesmusic.com/ http://www.thesoundprojector.com/2010/07/24/to-you-with-regard/ http://thelondonnobodysings.blogspot.com/2010/05/klub-londinium-20-30.html http://www.flickr.com/photos/fruitier_than_thou/sets/72157624103027124/with/4624786059/ http://www.dubspot.com/ Bill Drummond, from My Modern Life, 45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_for_Supermarkets http://www.asdamediacentre.com/asda-media/asda-fm/ http://www.thesyllabusagency.com http://www.dandad.org/learning/commentary/creative-9-5-dan-neale http://www.tangents.co.uk/tangents/main/2006/october/reason42.html http://freaknet.org/martin/audio/D-D/electrosonic-glospot-notes.html http://thewire.co.uk/articles/7091/ http://www.tangents.co.uk/tangents/main/2006/september/reason38.html Kenith Trodd, 1990 â€“ from notes to a BBC twin-cassette edition of Pennies From Heaven, 48 Original Recordings Featured in the BBC TV Serial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Toye http://thecaretaker.bandcamp.com/album/an-empty-bliss-beyond-this-world Oliver Sacks - Music and Identity, Dementia and Music Therapy from Musicophilia (2007) http://www.prsformusic.com/users/businessesandliveevents/musicforbusinesses/Pages/doineedalicence. aspx http://site.douban.com/longshendao/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/the-teachers/?trainer_id=14723 http://www.tbd.com/articles/2010/09/the-make-up-s-michelle-mae-orr-and-the-rollins-band-s-berniewandel-teach-yoga-in-d-c--13852.html Michael Tse, Qigong, Chinese Movement & Meditation for Health, 1992 http://thehauntologicalsociety.blogspot.com/2011/05/burial.html From Not Much Music, on Archive by Flytronix, Moving Shadow 1998 http://www.domandroland.com/biography.php http://www.rollcagestage2.com/ http://rougesfoam.blogspot.com/2011/01/artl-night-slugs.html http://www.uel.ac.uk/hss/staff/steve-goodman/ http://blackdownsoundboy.blogspot.com/2010/03/pitchfork-march-ikonika.html http://www.metro.co.uk/music/848645-kode9-girl-unit-and-madonna-are-on-ikonikasipod#ixzz1WEzBV7l2
Put together during Summer 2011
â€Ś your heart out www.yrheartout.blogspot.com