Monday, 9 April 2018

057. Shuffle 003: Trance

Push - Universal Nation [Inferno : CDFERNLP3] (2002)
Soundcheck - Minddrive [Tsunami : TSU_6011] (1999)
Airwave - Another Dimension [Bonzai : BTP-086-2002] (2002)

Traktor Scratch Pro 2, Pioneer DJM600

Friday, 23 March 2018

056. Shuffle 002: House

Push - Universal Nation [Inferno : CDFERNLP3] (2002)
Soundcheck - Minddrive [Tsunami : TSU_6011] (1999)
Airwave - Another Dimension [Bonzai : BTP-086-2002] (2002)

Traktor Scratch Pro 2, Pioneer DJM600


Saturday, 17 March 2018

055. Shuffle 001: Techno

01. Exium - Nucleoid (A Sensible Alternative To Emotion) [Polegroup : POLEGROUP016]
02. DYAD - From Another Place (Original Mix) [DYAD : DYAD 001]
03. Mauro Picotto & Riccardo Ferri - My Friend Tesla (Original Mix) [Alchemy : ALCDG051]

Traktor Scratch Pro 2, Pioneer DJM600

Friday, 29 March 2013

054. Gatecrasher: Red & Black [13-10-2012]

At the turn of the Millennium, Sheffield based clubbing promotion Gatecrasher was in the decided ascension. Throughout 1998 Trance was fully establishing itself in the collective clubbing consciousness, leading the way as the underground and overground dominant paradigm genre. By 1999 it had defined itself as the sound of the era, it's own production values seeping into artistic styles of other genres (think dubstep now). Trance was the zeitgeist. Gatecrasher was central actor in this process.

Unlike Ministry of Sound, which while commercially larger and around longer and having carved itself a niche as a trendy place to club. Gatecrasher had succeeded in a way MOS never could have imagined. It had spawned its own youth subculture. Like the Ravers, Goths, Punks, Metal Heads and Teddy boys before them the Crasher Kid was its own, if rather niche youth sub-culture which was essentially linked with music. Gatecrasher had it set out: the music, Trance, the new clubbing sound with european influence whit a harder edge, clothes from Cyberdog and a vaguely, but certainly undefined and often unacknowledged, Cyberpunk/cyber goth leanings. Oh, and that’s forgetting a little bit of a drug connection with MDMA and amphetamines.

Things change a lot in 14 years and all signs of that core cultural connection had long since been replaced by trendy handbags, shoes and shirts done up to the collar button.

Gatecrasher Red & Black was headlined as part of Gatecrasher Birmingham's 4th Birthday. While the Gatecrasher brand had been around for much longer, the club had expanded from its Sheffield home. In way of celebration, a classics night featuring Tall Paul, Seb Fontaine, Judge Jules, Scott Bond, Solar Stone and Signum.

During that era Judge Jules was at the peak of his DJing career. Listening to his two weekly shows on Radio 1 was the reason why I got decks and started DJing in the first place. Seeing him play the tunes I owned, and remember playing on the radio would be tempting to say the least.

I have always attributed to Jules the skill of 'understanding' as a DJ - recognising the time he was playing, who he was playing between and importantly what kind of night he was playing at. I regarded him as a 'safe pair of hands' who could be trusted to keep the course true. I distinctly remember Jules adapting his sound the the particularities of any given night. Sadly, he got this horribly wrong at Red & Black, playing only a handful of 'classics'. While I understand the incentive to play some contemporary music to keep modern, younger fans interested, the balance last night was poor to say the least.

Things were amply atoned for with the arrival of Scott Bond on of the main driving forces behind the success of Gatecrasher during its halcyon days. As the average age of the dance floor dramatically increased, he produced a perfectly pitched set full of classic era tunes without the commercial baggage. A set brimming with the sound of Gatecrasher as I remember.

Pulp Victim - The World (Moonman Remix) by dcp84

Ticket Price: £13.55
DJ of the Night: Scott Bond
Tune of the Night: Pulp Victim - The World (Moonman Remix)

Monday, 23 April 2012

053. Hysteric Ego - Want Love [EGO 001]

Comparing this iconic house record, straight from the halcyon days of mid 90s Ibiza, to contemporary house music and the difference seems insurmountable. On the one hand you have real synthesizers short loops and samples, on the other huge risers, endless monolithic grooves, and increasingly complex automation channels all woven together on a DAW.

If all these divergent sounds and influences are to both be considered house music, we need a common denominator. Chords and melodies won't do, nor will production techniques; both of these get caught in the tidal shifts of technology, societal trends and the interests of capital. Intrinsically, the only single essential element to house music is the 4/4 electronic kick drum with a ride cymbal on the off beat. Even then, these rules are broken on numerous occasions.

Once these rules get broken consistently, the variations spawn into their own unique genre. In some cases, the differences become so profound and sounds so established they themselves develop into a parent genre such as Techno or Trance. As a genre they come with with their own rules; rules which become broken, and so evolution progresses.

This continues to the point where the end products seem so far removed from the point of origin there seems to be no semblance of continuity between them. Yet, without house, there is no Acid. Without house (and synthpop), there is no Techno. Without Techno, there is no Trance.

Indeed, with so many variations on the theme, and so little consistency between themes, we could easily head down the social constructionist route. House is nothing more than an unwritten agreement between DJs, dance floors and record producers; it is a temporally and socially specific sound.

House music is nothing more than what we are told house music should sound like at any given time. Perhaps this is true. Either way, Hysteric Ego – Want Love is a classic house record, one which should be selectively reintroduced to contemporary house dance floors.

Hysteric Ego - Want Love [EGO 001] by dcp84

Hysteric Ego – Want Love
[Ego : EGO 00]

Discogs: £2.74

Saturday, 8 October 2011

052. Tidy Girls EP

Back in the game! Finally, another record added to the collection. Over the last year collecting records has been relegated on the priority list. Yet, I still remember a time when amassing the coolest record collection the DJing world had ever seen was a priority second to none.

I'm not quite sure where this record fits into that goal, but this is certainly a record from those earlier years. By contemporary standards, its a bit laughable. And, if I'm honest, even in 1999 it wasn't much more. The key track from the EP is Lisa Lashes' offering, Looking Good. This was a central track from the first wave of vinyl releases which pushed Hard House further from the underground and closer to commercialism.

Roland - Alpha Juno 1
The entire EP is dominated by the Roland Alpha Juno. Even if you know nothing about synths, by listening to this record and reading the above sentence, you'll know that the Alpha Juno is responsible for 'that' sound – the hoover.

Hard House had a thing for hoovers. Starting out as a bit of harmless fun, it quickly became fetishised to an morbidly sickening state. Imagine what it might be like to watch the 28th consecutive season of Big Brother, for 52 hours non-stop...without sleep. The relationship between Hard House and hoovers is now apparent.

The irony of all this was that most people were already sick to death of the sound by the late 90s. The Alpha Juno was already feeling fatigued from the hoovering it was forced to do on all those Rave, Happy Hardcore and Gabba tracks before Hard House was but a twinkle it its parent-genre's eyes.

Ok, so I've probably cheapened myself and my record collection just that tiny bit by succumbing to the sickly sweet charm of this EP, but the innocent enthusiasm of the young 15 year old record collector was stirred from the subconscious by the discovery of a £1.99 near-mint copy.

'Mon the hoover! (As they used to say back in the day.)
   Lisa Lashes - Looking Good [Tidy Girls Ep] by dcp84
Tidy Girls EP
[Tidy Trax : TIDY123T]

Oxfam, Oxford: £1.99

Saturday, 13 August 2011

051. Lizzy & Gareth’s Wedding

For anyone wanting to hone their practice of the dark art of playing music to other people, a wedding offers no better a social occasion. DJing at a wedding is particularly tricky. Unlike a club, people don’t come with the intention of having a drink, socialising and having a dance. People attend a wedding to see and celebrate the happy couple. Everything else is an optional extra. So, as a DJ trying to operate the dance floor you’re immediately on the back foot. You have a wide mixture of ages, a wider still mixture of musical tastes, and a number of social rules and set pieces to navigate through. This is the couple’s ‘perfect day’. They’ve spent months agonising over the menu, the dress, even the typeface of the invitation. Then finally comes you; the compulsive record collector with a garage load of audio electronics.

The opulent Tring Park School for the Performing Arts was the magnificent venue for the wedding reception of Lizzy and Gareth. Setting up in the ballet practice room of the beautiful building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built during the 1600s you couldn’t have wanted for a nicer location to set up. Given our location, selected movements from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake seemed only fitting as a quiet backdrop as the evening progressed.

After the initial half an hour of dancing following on from the bride and groom’s first dance, it was evident that most people were more inclined to soak up the splendour of the venue, let their dinner settle, and catch up with old acquaintances. Prudence at this point recommended a lower-key approach and for the next half an hour acoustic, jazz and soul featured on the playlist.

Some choice motown was used to assess the mood for dancing and as the toes started tapping and the heads nodding, it was time to start upping the ante and tempt people to the dance floor. The challenge in this gig lay in the venue’s layout. With a vast and beautiful outdoor area, seating in one room, the bar in another room and the dance floor in another room – where drinks were not allowed – getting people into the disco was hard work.

Hard, but not impossible, and the steady ebb and flow of people to and from the dancefloor continued for the rest of the night. As the bride and groom made their way from the wedding reception in their carriage, the night began to wind down as many people from the north of England who had a considerable drive ahead of them began to make their way home. After a final few floorfillers it was sadly time to wrap up the night and pack up the gear, reflecting on how beautiful a venue it was to DJ in.

Congratulations once more to the happy couple: Lizzy and Garreth.

Special thanks must go to Sonic Bass for their exceptional professional service:

Finally, if you'd like to discuss the possibility of hiring me to DJ at your event be it a club night, corporate event or wedding, leave me a message and I'll be in touch.

Tune of the Night: The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Cleared the Dancefloor: Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire (First time I've ever seen this get a bad reception! Are people finally getting bored of it?)