Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gavin Russom

I've always been a fan of Gavin Russom's work since he appeared on the scene with Delia as DELIA & GAVIN back in 2003 on DFA with the El Monte / Rise 12". In fact that, The Days of Mars LP and the Black Leotard Front - Casual Friday 12" have never left my record box since I got them. Deep twisting electronic music of the highest order. In fact the Days Of Mars LP is probably the reason we've released the Brain Machine LP as its the closed in musical terms to the Delia & Gavin sound recently. I remember seeing Delia & Gavin play to a tent of only a hundred or so people at around 5am at Benicassim a few years ago - the crowd were just waiting for a kick drum to emerge from the whirlwinds of synths that steadily built in momentum and intensity. But it never came. I heard that once they gave in and dropped a kick drum and the venue they were playing practically exploded. That may well have been their last gig together. Who knows. Like Donnie Darko a worm hole could have opened at precisely the point the kick drums first hit the speakers.
Anyways I am unsure of Delia's whereabouts but Gavin Russom has emerged again recently after some hard drive disasters (mental note - I need to back up my hard drive) with a new project for DFA called Black Meteoric Star. Two works have emerged mainly via the DFA filter that is Tim Sweeneys Beats In Space show (mental note - why does Tim never play Thisisnotanexit Records? Bah) called DEATH TUNNEL and WORLD EATER. Both 15 minute epic dancefloor destroyers that has seen Gavins relocation to Berlin (the other side of the wormhole?) discover the kick drums that have now emerged in the Black Meteoric Star sound. Maybe Delia is a drum machine. Head to the Beatsinspace archive if you want to discover their sound - a little searching and a little work and you will be rewarded.
Gavin though has recently emerged as a remixer of the highest order as he has remixed Berlin band PALMS (which I heard him play at a small club in East London and sounds like that really wild Killing Joke Floating Like A Leaf Remix that I can't remember the name of...). I'm not sure when this is coming out but mark it on your list of records to hunt out as it is rather special.
The other work is the Gavin Russom Remix of Peter Dundov which emerged last week on Music Man. On white 12" vinyl in a clear plastic sleeve with printed artwork it sure looks nice - and dam if it isn't one of the best things I've heard in ages. In fact I've stopped buying records recently (well the odd one here and there - the ones that stop you in your tracks - the classics - the goose bump ones - not the mountains and mountains and mountains of edits that appear to make up the new release section now) and this is worth every penny I spent on it. In fact it will probably be in my record box for the next few years. Absolutely IMMENSE it is. 14 minutes of twists turns and pure twisted electronic genius. I told my mate MOSCOW to buy a copy and he literally got on his bike and cycled into town to buy a copy as he was that blown away by it.
Anyways search it out. Its the record you should definitely buy this week if nothing else. Think of it as a little Christmas present for yourself.
As an aside I remember that there was supposed to be a follow up to Black Leotard Fronts 'Casual Friday' called Hey Coach. In fact I'm sure I saw James Murphy DJ and he played it. This might be a lie. Or a dream though.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I can't find my Claro Intelecto 12"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 in review...

I was going to write some thoughts about 2008 and whats happened musically but then my mate Kiran Sande from FACT Magazine went and wrote something a whole lot better than I could ever manage. So here it is cut and pasted from the FACT Magazine website. I'm not claiming this in any way but thought it was an interesting read. Enjoy.

2008: Put a donk on it....

What was 2008 all about? What does it boil down to? The global financial crash? America electing their first ever black President? Burial being unmasked? By its very nature, history, however recent, is a formless mess; we humans impose order and teleology on it to stop ourselves going mental. The past is, at best, a sub-Burroughsian cut-up, a jumble of phrases and sentence fragments with the occasional unifying flourish. There’s no grand narrative, no through-line that we can draw from Mark E. Smith killing a couple of red squirrels to Sam Taylor-Wood releasing a single on Kompakt and ‘Put A Donk On It’ clocking up a million YouTube views. Or is there?

Status update: since the turn of the century, the fate of music has been inextricably linked with the evolution and convolutions of the internet. Recording, production, distribution, publishing, marketing, listening, copying, pirating: these are all activities that have been revolutionized, rotted or reinvigorated in the era of Web 2.5. Our day-to-day relationship with music is no longer passive. These days we’re all getting involved, all giving our tuppence-worth: not only listening to music, but blogging about it, remixing it on our cracked copy of Reason, rubbishing or recommending it to our mates on Facebook.
Perhaps the most significant ‘net trend of ‘08 has been the ubiquity of the album-sharing blog. Such sites are often harmless, even helpful, to an artist: as on “sharity” blogs, which bring hard-to-find or out-of-print records to an audience they might never have otherwise found. But then there are the other kind: those sites which leak albums far ahead of their release date, sometimes even before they’ve been completed. “Making music is no longer a way to make a living,” declared Morgan Geist’s when his Double Night Time turned up on a blog a whole three months before it was due out. Deerhunter’s Weird Era Cont and embryonic Atlas Sound tracks were pilfered directly from Bradford Cox’s Mediafire folder. “Who do they think they are exactly,” Cox railed, “to decide when my album comes out?”

We music fans are deeply complicit in all this: while we might not officially ‘approve’ of the Rapidshare era, who among us hasn’t at least once enjoyed its fruits? Still, you have to laugh at some of the most shameless, self-aggrandising bloggers behaving as if there’s moral purpose to their antics: they see themselves as Robin Hood figures, liberating music from the tyranny of marketing and release schedules, and getting it to the people who need it. “Well, to say that I’m living up to my reputation today is an understatement,” proffered Antiquiet’s Skwerl shortly before he was arrested for posting tracks from Guns ‘N Roses’ Chinese Democracy. That arrest is unlikely to set a precedent – the epidemic is too virulent and diffuse to be easily contained. Most people under the age of 25 view music as a free entity, on a par with air or water – albums are no longer released, they are simply leaked. Wait three months to pay £10 for a Telepathe album when you can get it for free now? Are you fucking joking? Legal action might be costly, but the record industry’s best option could be to attack: don’t be surprised if dummy albums and virus-ridden zip folders flood the web in 2009.

War isn’t the only option. Creative and commercial minds alike have realized that – indignity of indignities - music alone isn’t going to be enough to sell music (though it’ll happily help you sell jeans or mobile phones). No, if you want people to buy an album, you have to give them some incentive. While the In Rainbows pay-as-much-as-you-want model proved untenable for less robust artists (just ask Cliff Richard – his loyal but not entirely stupid fanbase didn’t want to pay much more than £0), it sparked a vogue for deluxe vinyl editions of old, and more crucially new, albums: Portishead, Primal Scream and Madvillain all got the deluxe treatment. The Flaming Lips went as far as to offer popcorn and a gig ticket with their Christmas in Mars CD, while bands like Foals, Earth and Sunn O)) continued the time-honoured tradition of tour-only 12”s and 7”s. Kate Moross’s Isomorph label presents short-run 7”s and 10”s by artists like Midnight Juggernauts and Heartsrevolution in bespoke, visually ravishing artwork, and sells them directly to fans at a premium price. Underground acts as diverse as Blank Dogs and The Caretaker placed a little more trust in their fans, giving them the option to download music for free and/or purchase it on limited vinyl, cassettes and CDs.

Ah, the poor old CD… Much of the early part of ’08 was spent intoning its funeral rites, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. The CD not only continues to shift units in all genres, it’s also the most versatile, space-saving way of owning musical physically, and surely the best vessel for enjoying much ambient and long-form music. Yes, the CD is the lumbering Neanderthal man to the mp3’s homosapiens, but trust me – it will live on for some time, if only as a nostalgia item (and nostalgia is, let's face it, big business these days). Labels like Touch, Ghost Box and Raster-Noton have always striven to make CDs beautiful – and the latter’s GAS book, a lavish photo-journal with a disc of previously unreleased music enclosed, suggested a way forward. At the other end of the scale, home-made CD-Rs from artists like Hush Arbors, Glass Candy and Voice of The Seven Woods proved very desirable, and even the humble cassette enjoyed a resurgence thanks to hipsterish bands like Titus Andronicus and Times New Viking. The OED’s secondary definition of ‘fetish’ applies could conceivably be that of ‘record’, ‘cassette’ or ‘CD’: “an inanimate object worshipped by primitive peoples for its supposed inherent magical powers”, “a thing evoking irrational devotion or respect”. In 2008, we came to terms with our fetish, and went out of our way to indulge it.

If the 12” and cassette are these days the realm of fantasy, then the internet is our undeniable reality, and this year saw major and independent labels accept the reality, to work positively with bloggers and websites to generate hype around their artists. Hence a deluge of free mixes, mp3s, internet exclusives, webcasts – an unprecedented level of choice for the average consumer.

Right up ‘til the end of last year, major and medium-sized labels were signing up British indie bands and nu-ravers faster than Topman could manufacture natty belts, hoping for the next Klaxons, Hot Chip, Horrors or Libertines. Hardly any of these derivative, idea-starved groups sold any records; most were dropped, and the world’s eyes turned away from London and over to Brooklyn – where scene godfathers like Gang Gang Dance, Yeasayer and Animal Collective found themselves presiding over a vibrant petri-dish culture of neo-hippie pop. As well as launching a thousand cult concerns like Telepathe and High Places, this new psychedelia has crossed over into the mainstream thanks to the watered-down iPod fodder of Chairlift and the rather more affable anthems of MGMT. The band’s most famous song seems to nail not just the spirit of youth, but of our general cultural condition: we are indeed fated to pretend.

The noisier likes of Ponytail and their west coast counterparts No Age pushed through: they made some of the year’s best records and have reached many, many more listeners than their sales figures might suggest (that’ll be the blogs…). Of course, with so many blog-inches to fill, many more bands are getting hyped then rapidly discarded: here-today-forgotten-tomorrow neo-hardcore bands like Health and Lovvers are a case in point. In Britain the media continues to puts it faith in quirky solo artists like Little Boots and Lykke Li. I mean, who is actually “into” Lykke Li?

As our current decade enters its twilight phase, the one that preceded it falls into focus, and we begin to look back on it in earnest. The ‘90s have resurfaced everywhere I look – in the nu-gaze of School of Seven Bells, in Zomby’s ‘ardkore tribute Where Were U in ’92, in the box-office-busting My Bloody Valentine shows at The Roundhouse. A raft of that era’s foremost electronica artists were formally canonized in 2008 – with reissues of key works by GAS, Basic Channel and Pole on that most ‘90s of formats, the CD. Perhaps this renewed interest in idea-heavy techno of the past had something to do with contemporary minimal techno running aground. Villalobos and Hawtin shows were more like circuses than raves; Berlin became overrun with wasters and wannabes; the underground had, inevitably, become the establishment, attracting idiot punters in their legions and off-putting sponsorship from companies like TDK and T-Mobile. More crucially, the music itself seemed to lose any semblance of punk attitude – even the better stuff was drowned out by the boring, merely functional records crowding the market. Minimal felt like one long, draining after-party that none of its self-conscious revellers could afford to leave. The comedown is going to be savage.

Dubstep, once a united front, splintered into (for the most part friendly) rival factions – the wobble-heavy thugstep expounded by Caspa, Coki et al, and the sleek, skippier, techno-influenced sound pioneered by producers likes Peverelist, Appleblim, Ramadanman and Martyn. Bass music – for want of a better word – was resoundingly where the action was to be found. The wonky sounds of Starkey, Ikonika and Rustie were big news, but it was Joker – the young Bristolian behind ‘Gullybrook Lane’ and ‘Snake Eater’ – who emerged as the most exciting, inventive beat-maker of the past 12 months. The Numbers and Lucky Me axis, earmarked for greatness throughout last year, also came good: Hudson Mohawke’s ‘Oops!’ being a highlight. The B-more breaks favoured by Jackmaster and his Dre$$ to $weat roster found favour with a post-MIA, post-Diplo public attuned to global ghetto music’s occasionally sublime frequencies. It’s telling that Mujava’s ‘Township Funk’ – a lo-fi South African kwaito tune roughly inspired by ‘90s bleep techno – was one of the year’s biggest dancefloor burners.

Of course, the “dancefloor” is by its very nature a global construct these days. The proudly localized phenomenon of pirate radio is, to all intents and purposes, a thing of the past; but online mixes and podcasts have taken up the slack – and proved to be even an even more invaluable tool for breaking new dance music, whatever the genre. You didn’t have to be living in the Greater London area and listening live to hear Marcus Nasty and Mak10’s landmark September mix for Rinse FM, widely considered to be the moment funky “happened”. From the soca-pop of Crazi Cousinz ‘Do You Mind’ to the heavy bruk of Roska and Lil’ Silva, this grime-infused derivative of funky and tribal house, bassline and garage sidestepped the considerations of fashion or propriety to capture London’s imagination and, after years of male-heavy, police-targeted grime raves and gangster-centric MC culture, everyone, not least the girls, got dancing again.

We’re all music fans now – and whether your taste is for Nigerian funk or Norwegian black metal, an online community, with an attendant shitload of free music, awaits you. Not only that: whether we know it or not, we’re each of us becoming cultural archivists, musicologists searching for and occasionally providing a context and a reference and a precedent for everything. The internet is a living museum, and it’s open all hours. But remember: there’s a world outside it too.

2008 was the year that the past became ever present – which makes the future a strange and thrilling prospect indeed. It was also the year that Timmy Mallett did the Rolex Sweep. Oh, to be sure: it’s been a good one.

KIRAN SANDE (Fact Magazine)


Friday, December 19, 2008


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


December 15th Purchase

This week I highly recommend getting a hold of Glass Candy's new compilation cd called DEEP GEMS which you can get from the Italians Do It Better store for $12.00 (plus postage). Glass Candy alongside Chromatics have emerged from Troubleman onto Italians Do It Better and have become almost the pinnacle of the 80s italo-disco analog sound recontemporised for a 00s audience. Anyway the cd features a bunch of stuff that was previously unreleased and is as good as anything off BEATBOX.


Go buy! Or befriend them on myspace - they now have a staggering 38,919 friends!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm still ill.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On Wednesday 10th December Detachments will be playing live at The Purple Turtle in Camden previewing material from their forthcoming debut album.
You can get your tickets here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/39565
City Angels who are promoting it can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/cityangelspresent

In other news I've just had a terrible phone call. Hopefully it isn't as bad as it could be. Fingers crossed.

Monday, December 01, 2008