Spaced: 1998 (or thereabouts)

2013-01-03 by Hal Berstram

Hal BerstramSpaced: 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…

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Happy New Year from 1999

2013-01-01 by Hal Berstram

Barry GrayRing Around the Moon: The Captives of Triton/Moonwalk

Greetings to any aliens who have stumbled onto this site thinking it’s the 2013 equivalent of the test card: on this first day of the year I bring you a tribute to the great TV programme-maker Gerry Anderson, who died on Boxing Day last year. Anderson was probably best known for his 1960s puppet-based sci-fi shows such as Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5 and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. All were commercial and critical successes, but for me Anderson’s best work came in the 1970s with UFO and Space: 1999.

Space: 1999 was a programme about a group of scientists living on the moon, which has become a nuclear waste dump. On September 9, 1999 a huge explosion of nuclear waste sends the moon hurtling out of Earth’s orbit into interstellar space. If you can look past the scientific prepostrousness of the premise you’ll find probably the best non-BBC TV sci-fi series of the 1970s. OK, that sounds like damning with faint praise, but it’s a good ‘un.

This track is from the soundtrack to series 1 of Space: 1999 and was scored by TV music veteran Barry Gray. It’s not a bad piece but is immeasurably better when accompanied with the visuals from the TV episode (see here): the main organ and wah-guitar theme is accompanied by possibly the most ludicrous TV “moonwalk” sequence of all time. It has me in hysterics every time I watch it! Space: 1999 is often ludicrous (and even more so in Season 2, which is a different furry monster entirely) but never did they get it as right as this again.

This is blast-off for me in 2013 as I attempt to counter the inactivity of the blog by posting a track every day for 365 days. Insanity or just blind ambition? You decide…

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Because Of You... I tried Shazam!

2012-06-29 by The Double K

Michelle AmadorBecause Of You (Yoruba Soul Mix)

Michelle Amador - Because Of YouThis 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!

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A new mix

2012-06-16 by The Mighty Alboy

It’s pretty scrappy here and there, but I finally got the mixer fixed- and uploaded a 2 hour set to soundcloud

Alboy's Best of 2011: #1

2012-05-09 by The Mighty Alboy

Blawan – “Getting Me Down”


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:

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Alboy's Best of 2011: #2

2012-05-08 by The Mighty Alboy

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.

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The spunky drummer

2012-04-14 by The Mighty Alboy

We interrupt my top 10 of 2011, to bring you this video of spunky young chap Baard Kolstad, who has dragged his entire drum kit on the back of his go kart to busk his crazy stuff in front of a small crowd and some unbelievably oblivious-looking passers by- come on! The guy is like a one man samba band!

“the best drummer in Norway”- and as far as I know, the entire Nordic region

Alboy's Best of 2011: #3

2012-04-12 by The Mighty Alboy

Ghost Poet – “Survive it”

Just a beautiful track this, from South London (Tooting Bec!) lad Obaro Ejimiwe, aka Ghost Poet.

If you havent got his LP peanut butter blues and melancholy jam, then you’re missing out- like Ghost Poet missed out on the Mercury Prize in 2011. Shoulda been his…

Cool video too:

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Alboy's Best of 2011: #4

2012-04-12 by The Mighty Alboy

Scottie B – “I’m Ill”

This is from 2008, but Scottie B is from waaaay back. This track is a BMore version on Lil Wayne’s a milli, from Scottie’s Mr International EP and it’s proper lairy.

There’s a great interview on auralstates about how they started out coming up with the BMore club sound, and how they were influenced by the UK hip house and rave scene in the early 90’s. They both worked in record stores in Baltimore and would get UK stuff on import:

SB- Anyway the records from the UK were coming. They were hip house, and we were playing the instrumentals. Eventually we started making records just like the instrumentals. Those were the tablets for what we ended up doing. We mostly used different samples, but they used the Lynn Collins too. They relied on sampling notes from famous records, and we sampled words from hip-hop records. Instead of making the track a minute long and then crazy, which is what they started doing, we made the whole three or four minutes work for what we needed.

SC- It’s exactly the same way hip hop started, when you take into consideration we were playing the breaks of these imported records. It was only hot for about 20 seconds, but that drum pattern in that particular break is what started the whole thing. It was all about the drums. These UK records would start with drums, and that would be hot to us. Then is would get into the rave part, which was the shit that didn’t work for us. All those hoover synths.

SB- In fact, we used to take Hoovers and Spray Cans and only play the drums in the beginning.

So that’s the beats sorted…

As for the rhymes, apart from the big bass thump, Miami Bass influenced downbeat thing, I don’t really get the whole dirty south thing. But then I found out about Sizzurp (or “that Purple Drank”) and it kind of made a bit more sense:

Sizzurp original formula:

Promethazine w/Codeine syrup
Any fruit flavored soda
A jolly rancher

Put it all in a styrofoam cup and enjoy

Reckon that would you drawl and want to listen to some slowed-down bass-heavy shit!

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Alboy's Best of 2011: #5

2012-04-10 by The Mighty Alboy

Active Minds – Hobsons Choice (Boys Mix)

This one definitely not from 2011- but thanks to the present day interest in bass music, UK Garage has enjoyed a bit of a revival of late.

I was reminded of this belter from 1998 (holy moly- that’s 14 years ago!) by 4tet’s very fine Fabric mix, where it features and stands proud among present day output.

Recorded by west London boy (quite liderally- he was a mere 17 at the time) Jess Jackson and put out on a limited edition 500 copy white label. Proper bit of 2-step/reese bass toughness.

He’s now in Los Angeles and looks to be working with Peter Andre. How the world turns…

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