Flangestock 2012

Once more, I find myself singing the praises of Flangestock, a small festival of friends held each year, somewhere in Suffolk.

To say we were blessed with the weather would be an understatement. Despite being a few weeks into September, the sun shone like it was mid-summer.  As the sun set on Saturday, the tent began to fill, as Ryu from Rockit Science performed a great warm up, teasing the crowd along to the point where The Plumps’ ‘Creepshow’ seemed a good starting point to me.

About the only part of my set I had planned was to lead with ‘Chariots Of Fire’ by Vangelis, seeing as how it was the year of London2012, but decided it might kill the crowd.  From then on, it was just a case of smacking them out and it went down really well.  So nice when people keep saying thank you for the set for hours after.

Following up on that night was Jung, who smashed it and the mighty collins303, who did another stellar trademark set full of 80′s love and vocals.  The crowd finished singing again.

Big love to all involved… the djs, the crowd and of course all those who helped organise, especially the one and only Emskina Flange.  What a host!

Here’s the recording of my set for your ears.  Until next year…?  Unless anyone else wants to book me. ;)

Download

Tracklist

Plump DJs – Creepshow [2004]
Kosheen – Catch (Decoder Vocal Remix) [2001]
Unknown – Orbootal [2003]
Stanton Warriors – Hope Time [2006]
Dopamine – Zoit [2005]
Ils – Music [2002]
Move Ya & Steve Lavers – Dopefreak [2004]
PMT – Gyromancer (Stanton Warriors Remix) [2005]
Karton – Spacetrip 82 (Beta Remix) [2009]
Freeland – We Want Your Soul [2003]
Koma & Bones – Questo E Sporco [2003]
Freestylers – Now Is The Time [2001]
The Breakfastaz – Kick It [2004]

And please ‘like’ shaman if you like. :)

Smashed It!

So, here we have it. The first mix I’ve released since 2007 and it’s a live one!

I was lucky enough to be asked to play at Flangestock this year, a small festival/ party with a group of friends on a campsite in Suffolk, that’s now into its 5th year. In many ways, this year was the best so far. It’s so great to spend the weekend with friends, new and old, and there’s a really special vibe there.

This year, my only plan for the set was to rip yet more vinyl and create a crate in serato with tunes from 2006 and earlier, mostly breaks, all breakbeat. On the day, I decided to deliver some classic, huge tunes of breaks legend and the reaction was fantastic. This music just has so much more to offer than the modern sound, helped along by the fact that some of these tunes are favourites amongst a crowd that follows breaks.

There were a few problems along the way, such as a recurring fluffy needle on one deck, but overall it all went pretty well, considering I’d never practiced this set before. Some things worked, some things just got crowbarred in, but I can safely say I’ve never had a reaction to a set, like the one I got that night.

It was so rewarding, and my appreciation goes out to all those that came and danced and cheered, to the producers who made this fantastic music way back when and most importantly of all, to Emskina Flange, who asked me to play.

The tracklist is in the image above.

Download

Music Search Engine

You know the situation. You’re looking for a tune and you have to open up every download site you can think of and use their search engine to find out if it’s stocked there.

It can be quite time consuming and a pain in the arse if you’re trying to find the best deal. So why not create your own search engine?

Fortunately, Google provide a handy tool. I created the search engine above in a few minutes, which searches named sites for entries and can be linked to on its own homepage. Give it a try.

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Flangestock 2010

So…  three weekends since Festinho and here I am gushing about another small, intimate and friendly festival.  This time it’s Flangestock, a private party on a campsite in Suffolk, put on by a good friend.

This is my third visit and it gets better every year.  This year it moved from its more usual date in May, to mid-September, but the weather behaved itself, putting August to shame.

Great people, a relaxed atmosphere and some fantastic music from the DJs set the scene for one of the parties of the year.

Bring on Flangestock 2011!

Here’s a set recorded last thing Friday night – Awe Soundsystem reunited for the evening.

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Festinho – Size Isn’t Everything

It’s been a few years since I went to a festival.  In fact, the last festival I attended was in 2006 – The Glade Festival, near Reading – which was my 4th visit in a row.  To be honest, I would probably have gone for the fifth year, had it not coincided with a friend’s wedding weekend, but the ever increasing size of the event (from 4-5K people in year one to closer to 15,000 by year 4!), combined with continued sound restriction problems that rather lessened the impact of the bass, was already starting to put me off.  It was still highly rated amongst people who came for the first time, but I found that special vibe I experienced in the first year harder and harder to find.

So it was a real blast from the past to experience Festinho last weekend, now in it’s 3rd year and still numbering less than 5,000 people.  What a breath of fresh air!  The location was fantastic.  The freedom from continual security checks and an apparent absence of crime waves made everyone feel relaxed and friendly.  I have to say, when I saw the line-up, I pretty much recognised none of them, but what I found there was a diverse and eclectic mix of music, incorporating bands and cabaret and DJ’s, that meant there was something for everyone.

Of the four small stages, the Clocktower and Woodland stage stood out for me, the latter located in a small clearing in some trees, giving the feel of the party times of days gone by.  Throughout the weekend, I found myself dancing to Hip Hop, Disco, Funk… anything with a beat, a world away from the world of breaks, where people stop dancing if anything lacking a breakbeat makes an appearance.  There’s no time to ponder the genre when everyone is smiling and laughing and having a good time is there?  You just get on with it and enjoy yourself.  And the eclecticism of the sets made it impossible to put any DJ into a box anyway.

There were two special sets that made my weekend.

The first was the Headset Disco, set in the courtyard of the Clocktower Stage.  Two DJs broadcasting to everyone on wireless headsets, giving you the chance to choose between them by switching channels.  It was great, with the silence to outside observers allowing the party to continue beyond the usual midnight cut-off point, until 2am.  Drum n Bass, Hip Hop and even a healthy smattering of Breakbeat filled my ears and I danced away in the gravel until the end of the night.  And when people wanted to talk to each other, no longer did they have to scream into each others ears above the music.  Because you can just remove your headset and have a decent chat.  So refreshing!

Finally, on Sunday night, AGT Rave Cru played on the Woodland Stage.   Every tune that came out of the speakers was a classic.  Higher State, Renegade Master, The Prodigy, Salt & Pepper. They covered it all, accompanied by the cheers of about 100-150 people, adorned in the glowing bracelets handed out at the start.  It was, quite literally, massive and brought about the end to one of the best weekends I’ve had in ages.

Of course, more than anything, it was the people who made it a really special event.  Everyone was so friendly and uninhibited that guards were down and friends were made.  In fact, the festival touched me so much, I decided that perhaps I might start practicing DJing again and come out of the apathetic retirement I seem to have found myself in.

So here’s to the next one.  It doesn’t need to be bigger.  Or better.  It’s pretty much fine as it is.

So shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone.  OK?  ;)

Bil Bless – The Life Mechanism 2

Bil Bless has done what some would call ‘a Radiohead’, in releasing his latest collection of bleeping, glitchy productions on a ‘name your price’ basis.

Of course, there are some differences between this experiment and that pioneered by Radiohead.  Bil Bless doesn’t really have the marketing power of Radiohead.  Or a major record label to fall out with.  It’s probably fair to say that his music isn’t going to be quite as universal as Radiohead’s (although they have their critics) and it would be difficult to claim that he doesn’t need the cash – not that I have seen his bank statements mind you.

But for me, the major differences are as follows:

Unlike the Radiohead experiment with ‘In Rainbows’, you can actually preview Bil’s album.  You can play every single track on the site, from start to finish.  So, when you decide to ‘buy’ the album and are presented with a box in which you decide whether to enter a zero, or something bigger, you have some idea of what you are valuing.

And, while those who downloaded ‘In Rainbows’ ended up with the surprise of an album of 192kbps mp3′s, Bil Bless lets you know what you will end up downloading, as you can choose your format, from lossy mp3′s to lossless flac files.

But of course, these finer details mean very little in the great scheme of things.  It’s the music that counts.

I’ve been a fan of Bil Bless productions for a number of years now, including tracks released under his alias, Son Of The Electric Ghost (SOTEG).  It’s glitchy, experimental music.  You’ll find unusual samples and irregular rhythms in his music.  It can sometimes seem a little inaccessible to the casual listener, perhaps too complex for easy listening.  There are tracks that I would struggle to have the confidence to play out in a set, for fear of pushing the dancefloor too far.  But this album seems a bit different.

The Life Mechanism sounds more structured, more dancefloor orientated.  It still has all the trademarks of Bil Bless/ Soteg, but I can see myself slipping quite a few of these tracks into a live set.

Which is why, when faced with the opportunity of giving nothing for this album, I took the time to think about what it was worth to me.  In the end, I decided on $10.  It’s a little less than I’d pay at Addictech, although I would probably choose only a few tracks I liked in that situation.  But of course, I imagine that more of the money gets to the man who produced the music this way.

Besides, with online stores seeming to take such a large slice of the pie, the future must lie with artists selling their own music.

I for one, would like to encourage that.

You can download the album here:

http://bilbless.bandcamp.com/album/the-life-mechanism-2

name your price

Serato and Ableton set the date!

A while back, in October 2008, Serato and Ableton, two pioneering companies in the history of digital DJing, announced that they were forming a ‘creative partnership’.

Serato and Ableton announce a creative partnership

October 16, 2008

Serato and Ableton are happy to announce a partnership, which will pave the way for the future of Digital DJing.

With shared artist rosters from hip-hop (DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Nu-Mark, A-Trak) to electronica (Paul Van Dyk, DJ Sasha), both Ableton Live and Serato Scratch Live are renowned as the premier performance platforms in clubs around the globe.

While Serato’s Scratch Live excels in vinyl emulation, music library control and lightning quick hands-on scratching, Ableton Live provides the tools for production, on-the-fly remixing and beat creation.

“Ableton and Serato take different approaches to modern musical performance,” says Ableton CEO Gerhard Behles, “But both companies live by the philosophy that software should be straightforward, easy to use, and most importantly, reliable and stable onstage and in the studio. Ableton has never had an answer for the DJ who wants vinyl control, and rather than try to emulate what Serato do so well, we simply make sure that our products work well together.”

Serato Audio Research CEO Steve West agrees. “After years of talking together, we’re thrilled to be working with Ableton. It’s exciting to think about what we can offer to DJs and producers: the ability to go beyond just spinning records and add a personal stamp to the music they play.”

Just where this Serato and Ableton collaboration will take us has yet to be seen but one thing is clear: the worlds of DJing, remixing and production for artists worldwide have changes ahead.

Pretty exciting news, especially for someone like myself who went for the tried and tested reliability of serato over traktor scratch, with it’s growing list of extras.

Now, finally, after a pretty successful media blackout, it looks like the two companies are ready to announce what they have created since that announcement.  The website is now active and the date is 14 January 2009, at the NAMM Show in California, with a live event to be held on 16 January in the same State.

So, just what are they set to announce?  Nobody seems to know.   Well, some people must know, but they aren’t saying…

So all we can do is guess.

The site provides some clues.  It’s not very clear whether this is a lineup for NAMM or for the free ‘Getdown’ party in the evening, but the ‘Throwdown’ tab seems to suggest a ‘versus’ battle, with two teams representing the two companies.

Despite numerous board room meetings and cross continental flights, the two music software titans are still in disagreement about some last minute product decisions… and so they have decided to settle it on the streets.  On January 16, Ableton and Serato will lace up their favorite Air Jordans, toss on their Jordan jerseys and throwdown on the mean streets of Anaheim, CA.  Check back for the final score!

So, if we are looking at a battle between the two systems, then we have to assume, that at least it is going to be possible for the two systems to be running alongside each other.  Which, you would imagine, would involve some sort of midi system to allow ableton to match the bpm of serato, with any slight drifts detectable to some degree.  Other than that, it’s down to the imagination.

Being able to run serato through ableton to utilise effects, record and rearrange ‘on the fly’ would be a well received addition.  Serato’s latest addition of the SL3, with it’s ‘aux’ channel, plus 6 sample players in the software interface may also be involved in some way, allowing ableton output and prepared loops to play alongside the tracks being played in serato, opening up a multitude of ‘virtual decks’ for those for whom two decks isn’t enough.  Hopefully, some efforts will have been made to facilitate the operation of both power-hungry programs on the same machine, with, perhaps, a ‘combination’ software interface that allows easy control of both programs without to much closing and opening of windows.

Serato have a reputation for a ‘little and often’ approach, so I’d expect a system with more ‘potential’ than one burgeoning with loads of stuff, risking stability problems.  One thing’s for sure, January 14 2010 is a date that is sure to start a race amongst the competition to develop things further in a struggle for survival.  It’s going to be an interesting date for owners of all vinyl emulation systems.

Instant Party

This mix, given away for free with Mixmag in December 2001, really has stood the test of time.

Like many other people I know, it is so good that I have an empty CD case at home and, not being able to buy an original, someone was kind enough to provide an mp3 of the mix, which I’ve decided to make available to download here.

It’s a great mix, featuring 30+ tracks covering Hip-Hop, Funk, Breaks, Reggae and the name  is quite appropriate.  Put this on and the party won’t be far behind!

Tracklist

  1. Krafty Kuts – Intro
  2. J-Walk – Soul Vibration
  3. Jerry Beeks – Bronx Slang (LP Version)
  4. Biz Markie – Turn The Party Out
  5. Breakestra – Cramp Your Style
  6. Kid Creole And The Coconuts – Stool Pigeon
  7. Krafty Kuts – Ill Type Sound (Krafty’s Mixmag Party Mix)
  8. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear
  9. Shakedown – Get Down (Club Version)
  10. Atari Boys – The Funk (Acappella)
  11. Stompa Phunk – The Crowd Seems To… (Burns Move Right Mix)
  12. Markus Nikolai – Bushes (Norman Cook Club Remix)
  13. Fatboy Slim – Star 69 (Acappella)
  14. Phil Kieran – Chunka Funk
  15. Disco Assassins – Hook You Up
  16. Freq Nasty – Amped
  17. Arc-En-Ciel – The Juice
  18. Meat Katie – Work Ya Body
  19. Humanoid Stakker – Humanoid 2001 (Krafty Kuts Remix)
  20. Sounds Of Vancouver – Take It (Krafty’s Dub Mix)
  21. Soul Of Man – Killa Brew (Killa Mix)
  22. Laidback – Wait For The Break
  23. Stanton Warriors – Da Antidote
  24. Krafty Kuts – Street Freakz
  25. Krafty Kuts – Get Funky
  26. Praga Khan – Injected With A Poison (Krafty Kuts Remix)
  27. Precision Cuts And Rickie – Whoop Whoop Always True
  28. Deejay Punk-Roc – Blow My Mind
  29. Krafty Kuts – Funky Ass Beats (Ed Solo’s Breakbeat Mix)
  30. Krafty Kuts – Lock The Hype
  31. Shimano – Dopestyle
  32. Jah Screechie – Walk And Skank

Download link

Bennie Project

It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard something truly inspiring appear on the breaks scene.

So I was pretty stunned when I heard the sounds of Bennie Project on a release by Hungary’s Glack Audio. The VERS EP is a collection of tracks from a man called Teun Verstraaten, based in The Netherlands.

Three tracks on the EP have stayed in the box; V.E.R.S, Fleshwound and The Peep Show remix of Zora’s Domain, ultimately because they feature broken beats.

The tracks feature a lot of contrast, building from haunting electro sounds into heavy growling electro bass, more in keeping with tearout breaks. The beats skip and repeat, keeping the mind interested and the quality of production is high.

Here’s hoping there will be more of the same arriving in the pipeline, which will make Bennie Project a name to watch out for in the future breaks scene.

Look out for his remix of Trackbasse, by Xenon and The Weekenders too.

Lawgiverz – Live at Bass Plus!

 

Lawgiverz are an outstanding act.

Two DJ’s combine to showcase some of the most powerful glitchy bass and breaks you will hear, incorporating scratching, cuts and FX to create a devastating soundscape that can move you. Physically!

This mix was recorded live in March 2008 and put up for download by the people from Bass Plus!, but is, unfortunately, no longer available for your listening pleasure from the site.

So I’ve put it here for posterity, as it’s just brilliant.

In many ways this mix is different to what many expect from Lawgiverz, but it really shows that they are about more than heavy basslines. Over more than two hours, they traverse through a diverse selection of music, combining the driving heavy bass sounds with the more mellow, laidback glitch, dropping the tempo, building things up again. At times, you find yourself asking if you are still listening to the same set, as it chops and changes with ease, sweeping through styles and emotions.

Check it out for yourself. It really is a beautiful 2 and a half hours of live mixing and a rare glimpse of what a live set should be all about.

A true journey.

Download

Lawgiverz are residents at Trigger, in Birmingham, UK and you can buy their music from the Lawgiverz minisite at addictech.