A while ago I was asked to put a selection of tunes together for the Hell Yeah! podcast. I was keen to oblige but I’m not really a DJ and despite owning decks I’ve never learned to beat-match. The brief was pretty wide – “something we can listen to in the afternoon, 1 hour” was all the guidance I had – but still enough to worry me as (regular readers here will know) I don’t really do laid-back so much, and while I’m happy to listen to banging jungle and hardcore all afternoon I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea for that time of day.
So I gave it some thought and came up with a set of some of my favourite records that you don’t hear in mixes nearly enough and that I thought would go together tolerably well with my ham-fisted blending from one to the next. It’s really a very mixed bag, with ambient house, acid, techno, dub, jungle and more, starting off mellow and nice, building up to a pretty dark section in the middle and then ending up happier again. The DJ skills are non-existent but I stand by the tunes – each one is great in its own right, you can decide for yourself if they should ever have been put in a mix together!
You can read more and find the tracklist over at the Hell Yeah blog.
And while you’re there check out Hell Yeah’s output – you can listen to everything on the site and pretty much everything on the label is a winner. I’d recommend starting with stuff by Luminodisco, Crimea X and the Balearic Gabba Soundsystem edits. Support them with a purchase or two if you can, they’re an independent label trying to make a living putting out great music.
Also highly recommended are the Balearic Gabba Soundsystem mixes that you can find in various places on Soundcloud – check the links below for a couple and have a search for more if you like them – you won’t be disappointed!
Nail – Cassiopeia
I’m very much enjoying this right now so thought I’d share, it’s been a while I know. From when trance was still good, this track comes from 1993’s Strictly 4 Groovers, an LP from rave favourites the legendary DiY soundsystem crew.
It’s a slow builder, starting off with some trancey arpeggiated synths, the lush bassline comes in after a minute or so, the spacey atmosphere grows with hints of cymbal until the beat finally arrives three minutes in. even then it’s another minute until the handclaps (my favourite) hit and we’re into full-on gorgeous ambient trance.
Try it, you just might like it.
And if you’re unfamiliar with DiY then there are worse places you could start than the seminal DiY Jack set from 1992’s Castlemoreton festival – check the link below to download the whole set.
Download MP3 (9:46min / 16MB)
Altus- Winter Embrace II (excerpt)
The second in what looks like being a rather short series of winter-themed posts, given that the current cold snap has ended (at least where I am). That says, if February is a cold one, there could be many more instalments…
Altus is a guy called Mike Carss based on Ottawa, Canada, who has been making ambient albums for just over 10 years now. Mike has around 35 releases available for free download in either MP3 or lossless FLAC format from his website. This is extremely generous, given that the one album I’ve downloaded so far (this one) is very good indeed… I was put in mind of a more slowed-down, glacial version of Global Communications’ mid-90s effort 76:14, which is high praise indeed. The whole album is one 61-minute track, which I’ve made a 12 minute excerpt from, just to give you a taster. Mellow without being at all boring, and just the thing for those Winter Sunday evenings. I’m downloading some other Altus releases right now and I expect to be featuring more stuff from the increasingly popular free-to-download ‘netlabel’ phenomenon on Dilated Choonz as this year progresses.
Download MP3 (12:24min / 23MB)
Pete Namlook – Season’s Greetings – Winter
I had an idea for a series of “theme” posts of music inspired by winter and coldness: but of course due to my usual slackness I didn’t manage to get the first post out the door until the present UK cold snap was almost over. However, better (almost) late than never, so here we are: another tribute to the recently deceased Pete Namlook, here is an excerpt from one of the four “Season’s Greetings” pieces he released as full-length CDs in 1994/95. The pieces were then edited down into extracts of 15-20 minutes each for a single “Four Seasons” CD a little while later.
The idea of a musical suite based around the seasons is, of course, as old as the hills: Vivaldi for example, and probably a lot of examples before that too. But Namlook makes the concept his own here. An icy sound and yet strangely comforting.
This is hosted externally because the file was too big to fit on the Dilated Choonz website so I don’t think you’ll be able to preview it – sorry about that.
Download Media (0:00min / 0MB)
Pete Namlook and David Moufang – Polar Melt
On the continuing Space: 1999 here is a nice ambient track with some samples from the show (the episode “Earthbound”, if I’m not mistaken) which also serves as a fitting tribute to ambient music maestro Pete Namlook, who died last November. A lot of people know Namlook’s v early work – Silence, Air, the Dreamfish collaboration with Mixmaster Morris and From Within with Ritchie Hawtin – but often don’t realise that after those 1993-4 high points, Namlook carried out making good stuff for another twenty years! This track is from 2010 and was on the 19th of 23 collaboration albums between Namlook and David Moufang (who produced LPs under the name Deep Space Network in the 1990s). Including solo and collaborative projects I would be surprised if Namlook produced less than three hundred LPs in his career and it may be substantially more than that. Anyway, very sad to see one of the true greats leaving us at only 52 years of age.
Download MP3 (10:38min / 17MB)
Hal Berstram – Spaced: 1998
From a fictional 1999 to the real 1998 (at least I think it was 1998…) I’ve been playing all my old cassettes into the computer and came across this piece which I made and then promptly forgot about. The equipment list was (I think) a Yamaha DX7 and a Zoom effects unit, multitracked using Cakewalk on my old PC. It’s a bit formless but illustrates some of the sounds that the DX7 was capable of quite well I think – a real travesty that this synth became known for electric piano and marimba imitations in the mid-1980s. I’m particularly pleased with the strange burbly sound that comes along at about 8:13 – sounding very similar to the Synthi AKS loop on Fripp and Eno’s “Swastika Girls”. I had no idea the DX7 was capable of such a weird sound, and still can’t quite work out how I did it, 15 years later. Oh well…
Download MP3 (9:59min / 18MB)
Michelle Amador – Because Of You (Yoruba Soul Mix)
This is a track that has cropped up for me a couple of times recently – I first heard it about 3 weeks ago on the radio (probably on Flex FM I think) and then again yesterday when I was pointed to an old Rahaan Mix.
Both times it completely grabbed my attention, it’s got a really sleazy, hypnotic groove and this amazing vocal, reminiscent of Nicolette’s voice but with a quality all of it’s own.
So I tried Googling parts of the lyrics to find out what the record is – this works for most songs these days (well at least the ones I’ve wanted to find out about), but there’s not a single hit for this. Next I tried the good old-fashioned way of asking someone who might know – our own Kevvy K – but he didn’t. He did, however, suggest trying Shazam (just call 2580 from your mobile phone, pop pickers) which I’ve not done before. At 50p a go it seems pretty expensive to my innate frugality, but what the hell I gave it a whirl and second time lucky it came up with the goods (it failed the first time but told me to turn it up very loud and try again!).
Turns out it’s from way back in 2007 so sorry if it’s old news to you, it still sounds completely fresh to me, I’ve had it on four times this morning already!
Download MP3 (0:00min / 0MB)
It’s pretty scrappy here and there, but I finally got the mixer fixed- and uploaded a 2 hour set to soundcloud
Blawan – “Getting Me Down”
###THE GRAND FINALE!!!###
This track is easily the stand-out floor-killer from 2011. I first heard it on Blawan’s mix on FACT magazine- which is a superb and often absurdly deep acid/house workout, linked below- and when this track drops at 26’55” it completely blows up!
Love everything about this track- the grinding muted bass growl, the plucky percussion, and the completely mutated mashing of the original Brandy vocal- even that it was only available as a limited pressing single sided 12” (and I’ve got one!)
Like any self-respecting Yorkshireman Blawan is no one trick pony and isnt tied down to any one style- his releases on Hessle Audio and good old R&S records mark Jamie Roberts out as a man to watch (or listen to, anyway).
Awesome stuff, and no other tune came close to topping it in 2011.
and just for jolly, here’s the original track:
Download MP3 (0:00min / 0MB)
dBridge – “Inner Disbelief”
I know the suspense must be killing our listeners (both of them), so time I brought this pitifully late list of ten tunes that only have anything to do with 2011 because of my own out of whack listening habits, to a close.
At number 2, a sublime piece of drum n bass from prolific and multi-talented producer- and exit records officianado Darren White aka dBridge. A long time producer, dBridge was one of the three original members of Bad Company back in the mid/late nineties, and before that, part of the production crew on Lennie De Ice’s we are ie. So he goes waaaay back.
This track- which was released on Exit Records in Dec 2009- features dBridge on all aspects of the track- including lyrics and vocals. It’s built for the floor, but it’s got a broad streak of the blues running through it. As you’d expect from a track called inner disbelief. As Mr White says:
“The thing about my lyrics is that they do generally start off quite bleak, but I try to resolve them in some ways. As much as I do write about how much of a prick I am, I do want things to be better; there is hope.”
Not a lot of people know…
Darren’s brother is Steve White aka Steve Spacek, of Spacek Sound System fame.
Download MP3 (0:00min / 0MB)
:: next page >>