Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A conversation with Michael Rother & James Holden at the RBMA. (And some music of course!)

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Krautrock obsessives, techno historians and synth tinkerers alike will want to check out this epic 100-minute conversation between James Holden, the Border Community boss who’s made his love of motorik grooves well known, and Michael Rother, prolific multi-instrumentalist and former member of Kraftwerk, Neu! and Harmonia. krautrock pioneer Michael Rother of Neu! and Harmonia, and techno’s errant master James Holden of Border Community to explore conversational themes that are both shared and divisive. Topics range from Michael’s struggle to keep things in synch, while James aims for the opposite; the current software they both use to try and get the sounds they want; Michael’s nightmare mastering from tape, while James uses expensive plug-ins to try and achieve the warm tape sound; and both have endeavoured to get drummers to play with sequencers with varied results.

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Michael Rother has had an enduring influence on German electronic music, and wider notions of western music since he first started playing and recording in the late 60s. Rother played in a short-lived version of Kraftwerk in 1971, which despite some successful live shows didn’t manage to capture the sound in the studio. However, the experience did result in a working partnership with drummer Klaus Dinger, and the two founded the visionary krautrock duo Neu! Their unconventional mix of extended cosmic workouts and proto-punk leanings recorded with Conny Plank, earned them a steady fan following: and even though immediate commercial success eluded them, the Neu! albums have gone on to become cult classics. After Neu! took an extended hiatus, Rother went to recruit Cluster duo Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius to join Neu!, but instead the three ended up collaborating as Harmonia, and recorded the albums Musik von Harmonia and Deluxe in their own studio in the rural village of Forst. In the mid-70s, Harmonia were credited by Brian Eno as “the world’s most important rock band,” and after befriending the trio during a concert, Eno was invited to visit the studio at Forst and they recorded the songs that later became known as Tracks And Traces. By this time Harmonia had disbanded, and having secured a couple of weeks of studio time with Conny Plank, Rother invited Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, and they recorded Flammende Herzen, the first of Rother’s many acclaimed solo albums. As the years have gone by, Harmonia and Neu! have gained critical mass, inspiring everyone from David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Gary Numan and DEVO, to Radiohead, Stereolab, Joy Division, and many others.

Border Community’s founding father James Holden, who kicked off proceedings with the genre-defying melodic anthem A Break In The Clouds, before coming of age with his twisted debut mini-album of next level music-for-dancing-to The Idiots Are Winning in 2006, is a man of many talents: label boss, trend-setting producer, hugely in-demand monster remixer (check his take on Radiohead), and on top of all of this he finds himself at the head of the pack of that very modern breed of DJ. Holden is exploiting new technology to the fullest in order to bring his unique musical vision to life by brazenly uniting tracks from music’s past and present, regardless of scene or status, confounding the purists and making club hits out of many an unwitting dancefloor virgin. His supreme and unrivalled command of the modern technology available to him allows Holden to go where other DJs fear to tread, consistently pulling off daring mixes on-the-fly which just wouldn’t be possible on a conventional two turntable set-up. And so distinct is the resulting sound that your average conservative dance music night can barely contain it. Having brought his unique take on the club experience around the world, Holden returned with a sophomore album that classified as epic in many ways: 2013’s The Inheritors is a transformative electronic trip through England’s pagan mythology, as well as a bow to his native country’s musical legacy, that created a whole new, psycho-active narrative of its own.

Enjoy the audio from this conversation courtesy of the RBMA website below:

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Monday, 26 January 2015

Rude Kids Never Die!

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An old(ish) mix this morning from a couple of Summers back thats been sat, gathering dust on an old laptop. Some slow and low, sunshine vibes. Just as at home listening to over a couple of menders on a balmy July afternoon as it is on on crisp January morning on your way to work.
Tracks from Craft Spells, City Reverb The Dandelion Council, Frontera, Smith & Mudd, Mushrooms Project, Lindstrom & Prins Thomas, The Kenneth Bager Experience, etc, etc.
It still sounds half decent(ish), if I do say so myself! Honest!

Hope you enjoy. X

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Monday, 19 January 2015

Never shave with Occam's razor + 6 hours of Msr. Smagghe & Co. For our 200th upload!

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I was on a train yesterday morning. I am not a man who delights in train travel, especially early in the mornings. I find it as appealing a prospect of eating breeze blocks in a burning toilet. Still, I had to do it. It’s an intermittent necessity in my ongoing battle to dodge doing anything that could be construed as 'a real job'.

On this train there was a family with two young children. I am not a fan of small children, when they are noisy small children. I can tolerate it up to a point, and that point is constant yelping and bellowing. One of the children was doing that elongated crying thing, which is something I am sure you’re familiar with. It involves a full, unbroken eight second cry, getting louder and more screamy. This becomes another scream, then another one. Just when you think that’s over, it becomes another fucking verse of screaming. Then back to the crying.

If I did that, I’d be chucked off the train. Okay, I have done that, but only at about midnight, on my own.

Anyway, I just sat there muttering “Jesus fucking Christ, make it stop” under my breath, until finally the doors spat open and I got off.

While I walked to the meeting I was already late for, I began to rant internally. “Jesus. It’s like kids turn crying into an Olympic fucking sport or something.”

Brings me to my idea. Olympic screaming and crying. Instead of any sport whatsoever, every single athlete has to compete in one huge, two week crying session. 100m crying. Hurdle crying. Screaming into buckets. Bellowing in absolute despair. And all the cries and moans and whimpers are recorded, eventually being played back and looped together, so that after some time, the stadium is filled with the ear blasting sound of thousands of people crying.

And here’s the best bit. The audience can’t cheer. They must cry back, and scream into megaphones that they are all given. Then their voices are recorded and played at 1000 decibels. On gigantic speakers. Nobody is allowed to leave, and at no point is the crying switched off.

Imagine it. You could also have sad things there to induce crying. A dog with a bandaged eye. A story told by a little boy about his cat going missing.

Seb Coe, you really missed a trick with this one innit.

You know, ramp up the tears. Now fuck off.

Ivan Smagghe, Zaltan & Sacha Mambo @ Le Sucre (16/01/2015)

In keeping with our last update and it's MAMMOTH contents (the 6 hour Mathew Dear and Carl Craig mix) we return with something of an equally elongated running time for our 200th 'Mixcloud' upload, as TOLAS fav, Ivan Smagghe took to the decks at Le Sucre in Lyon last week alongside the residents Zlatan & Sacha Mambo for a 6 hour pumpathon.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

H.O.M. in Newcastle + Mathew Dear & Carl Craig, B2B live from Art Basel.

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H.O.M. (Helping Old Men.)
Sponsor An Old Man And See The Dfference.
Throughout the developing streets of Jesmond, Byker and Bensham, it is a stark fact that thousands upon thousands of old men, often widowers, are lonely and dressed in unsavoury clothes. Pensions don't go far today and life is no picnic for many of them. After 40 or more years of backbreaking labour in the bookies and signing on, their carpets are dirty, their food is undercooked and they are overrun with Guiness. It's a disgrace. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all this is the systematic abolition from public houses of their preferred tipple - mild - in favour of gassy lagers and vitamin-free alcopops. Given access to their nutritious mild, with or without ork scratchings, these old men could live long and fruitful lives, breaking out of the cycle of misery forever. And that's where HOM, with your support, can help. When you sponsor an old man with H.O.M. you won't only be helping that old man - you'll be supporting his community too. Working with the community, H.O.M. establishes what needs are greatest and then directs its energies to fulfil them. It may be help with shopping, bathing, prostate problems or bowling. Whatever your sponsorship supports, you can be sure that your monthly contribution will improve, even save, lives - now and in the future.

Experience the joy of sponsoring an old man:
When you sponsor an old man, you are not left wondering what difference your money has made. One of the most important aspects of H.O.M.s work is facilitating the exchange of letters and photos between you and your sponsored old timer. Through these letters you will be able to chart his progress for yourself, and you, your sponsored old man and your respective families will learn about very different ways of life. As each of his bus passes expires you will be sent a photocopy of it for your records.

Sponsoring an old man today is easy:
How often do you get the chance to improve the life of not just one old man, but also the lives of his family, friends and the people he plays dominoes with? Sponsorship costs just £5 per month - thats under 17p pence per day - and can make a world of difference to an old man who will become a part of your life. But don't just take our word for it. Take a look at these letters from satisfied old men ,,,,,

Dear H.O.M.
I just had to write to tell you about my potato peeler. It's fixed and it's all down to your sponsorship thing. Not only that, but the £5 I receive each week from the Chadwicks has enabled me to trade up to Royals and pay off my tab at William Hill. It's a wonderful thing you've done for me. Yours Sincerely,
Ron Gillespie.

Dear H.O.M.
When we first began sponsoring Pete he was severley underweight had fallen into dissrepair and had a hole in his foot. Now he is a chipper 78-year-old with clean socks, two new hips and a proper shed. Bob and Cheryl Comanche,
South Gosforth.

What more proof do you need? Not as if we're pocketing all the readies ourselves only to blow it of a weekend on booze and heavily cut narcotics while we discuss to moral vaccum that is confidence trickery.
So there you go. Don't delay, sponsor an old man TODAY!

Music time now with a live recording from last years 'Art Basel' festival, the Worlds premier art show for modern and contemporary works where Mathew 'Audion' Dear and Carl Craig took over the decks at Miami's 'Trade' nightclub for a mammoth 6 hour session. Enjoy!

Till next time. Big love.
Mark. X

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

'An Open Letter to Writers of Open Letters' & some bish on this weekends 'Moon Rocks' party.

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An Open Letter to Writers of Open Letters.

To those who feel compelled to address the world from Facebook, Twitter, and email chains, here is a message: No one is listening, least of all Luther Vandross.
We need to have a talk, under the illusion of its taking place in private but actually for anyone to read. Also, the talk will be unilateral and you will never respond to it. Ready? It doesn’t matter, because I’m not listening to you!

The practice of writing open letters must stop. I agree, it was a creative form back in the days of the Bible, and was used effectively throughout history by such figures as Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, and Luther Vandross.

But now every John, Dick, and Luther with internet access can write an open letter for potentially everyone to read, and most of our discourse is already public (I actually originated that last phrase in 1996, which is no. 8 on my list of 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me, just after no. 7—'I murdered a man in Laos on 6/19/2002 and have never been apprehended.') Writers of open letters, it’s time, for the following reasons, to retire the form, one as hackneyed as the enumeration of arguments through bullet points:

• First, there’s the arrogance of presuming that your letter will really be read by the public, not to mention the greater hubris of signing the letter with your location and date, as if the act of writing it is a historic event whose place and time we must note for the ages. Chances are, no fucker cares enough about the issue to read it, so people end up shamelessly larding their letters with search-engine-friendly phrases like, oh, I don’t know, 'Justin Bieber haircut', 'Angelina Jolie nude' and 'Did Luther Vandross ever really write an open letter? He didn’t, right? It was just a joke, like I thought at first wasn't it?'

• Intervention by letter is an emotionally unhealthy way to address something. If you’re upset about something, therapists often do recommend writing a letter to the person who has upset you — but not sending it. You reap all the benefits of self-expression without the interpersonal conflict. Is it really worth expressing your frustration over Virhin Money's takeover of Northern Rock to have an awkward encounter the next time you run into Richard Branson in Asda?

• Speaking of Branson, a few people or entities to whom there should be an immediate moratorium on writing open letters: Primeministers; the High Court; billionaires. They are too busy and important to ever read it, except for Nick Clegg, because he’s so insecure he has a Google alert set up for his name.

If you absolutely must write an open letter, at least conform to a few tropes of real letter-writing, such as mixing in breezy updates about your own life. For example, in an open letter to Nick Griffin, you might write, “In conclusion, sir, I, for one, am extremely grateful you and your party are doing a great job in showing what a bunch of absolute retards as I find morally reprehensible each and every one of your doctrines. P.S. By the way, last night, Sheila and I watched 'Shrek' . We both thought of you! P.P.S. I sincerely hope your own daughter is never raped and impregnated by one of your backwoods cousins."

I would also call for a ban on the short semi-open letter that’s taken root on Facebook and Twitter, such as 'Tuesday afternoons, why are you so interminable?' or 'Oh, Antiques Roadshow, how I love you,” or 'Dear Luther Vandross, did you ever write an open letter? Also I wonder what music you’d be making now if you hadn’t died in 2005.'

Writers of open letters, since you’ve read to the end of this letter and haven’t rebutted me, I assume you’re in agreement and, therefore, the matter can be considered officially closed.

Yours in meta-openness,

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Now, a quick word about this weekend and the Moon Rocks party. After a cracking inaugural party last month, it's back again on Saturady night! As you may or may not be aware the venue, Ernest is currently closed in order to carry out a few interesting tweaks here & there & will reopen this weekend… Just in time for the second instalment of Moon Rocks! 

So you can still join everyone for their first party of 2015 & also check out what's new with the venue. Judging by how busy it was last month and how much fun everyone had AND the fact that it's FREE, you'd be well advised to get along EARLY!

Covering all corners of the ever so slightly left-of-centre dancefloor. From dusty bargain bin b-sides through to bonafide peak-time classics and back again… 

Look out for various guest DJ’s and live acts from across the spectrum over the coming months…

MOON ROCKS with Mick (Last Waltz) & Pav (Cubik)

On the 2nd Saturday of every month, 8pm - 1am @ Ernest
1 Boyd Street (Behind The Biscuit Factory)
Newcastle upon Tyne

Big love.

Mark. X

Friday, 2 January 2015

Start the year off properly! A bastard tells you about the future and a mix from Silent Servant.

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Daniel Dunsford, acclaimed astrologer, medium, intuitive healer and practicing twatist, charts your incredibly specific horoscopes for the week ahead. If you would like a more indepth forecast please call 0898 989 4884 (Calls cost £19 per min.)
You will feel Jupiter’s gravitational pull so strongly in 2015 that you will veer to the left like a dodgy Mondeo.
A prison sentence is afoot. Keep your head down and do your porridge with dignity.
You need to face up to some home truths this year: no one cares about your blog and Grayson Perry is never going to follow you back on Twitter.
On the plus side, that Kickstarter campaign will raise £24.75 for your new business.
2015 should be about learning new skills and not getting on everyone’s tits. Bending spoons is cheap and easy, but only if you are psychic and the spoons are not yours.
Your head lice problem will lose you the Miss World title. Douse your scalp with vinegar, there’s always next year.
You’ve been feeling very paranoid lately. Trust your intuition. People are talking about you behind your back. They’ve been saying you drink your own piss. Nasty comments like that.
Your Jack Russell can flex his legs both ways. Play your cards right and this could be a real money-spinner!
Events triggered by Saturday’s aspect between your ruler Jupiter and the earthy Saturn bring amazing ideas and propositions. Ignore them.
Your long lost son will return this week. The one you left in a bread bin in 1994. Don’t worry; all is forgiven.
Your pin number is 1394. Am I right?
You might want to turn over a new leaf in 2015 and stop being an absolute monster. Also, your cavity wall insulation needs addressing.
Wear blue for energy.
People have spotted your wig. I think in future it’s worth pushing the boat out and going for real hair instead of nylon weft.
Also – and I’m saying this for your own good – stop trying to sell people pyramid schemes.
You have been having a tough time of late, what with your fungal nail infection and your council flat burning down. Pamper yourself with a pina colada and a floatation tank session.
A relative will refuse to give you their bone marrow this week. Have the last laugh by cutting them out of your will.
On a regular basis, spiders climb inside your mouth during the night. There is nothing you can do about this.
You have been writing to Princess Anne and copying her hairstyle for the last 17 years. She has noticed and is flattered.
Your stigmata will reappear around Easter time. Wear mittens when shaking hands with non-believers.
You will find yourself homeless this week after a twister tears through your idyllic thatched cottage like a warm knife through fudge.
You will also get a final warning at work after someone finds your hipflask in the filing cabinet.

Central American born Silent Servant aka John Juan Mendez, has performed worldwide in clubs from LA, Berlin to Osaka. A chance meeting with Karl O'Conner in 1999 would establish a friendship that would open the door to the Sandwell District label in 2006. Silent Servant's sound is a reinterpretation of early '80s post-punk electronics, paired with the deep, metallic sounds of Basic Channel and Downwards.
This mix was recorded in mid 2013 during a night at San Francisco's 'Honey Soundsystem' and touches base with almost every style of modern (and not so modern) dance music at some point with all the musical genres you'd expect given Mendez' pedigree. An absolute barnstormer of a set riding roughshod across genres with the lack of respect they deserve across it's running time.
Treat yo' ears.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X