Friday, 18 July 2008

26 Records That Changed My LIfe - Part Two

11) DEEP DISH - THE DREAM (1994)

In many ways I really think that I went to university at possibly the best time for house music. In the week I could be going to see someone like Masters at Work or Todd Terry on a Wednesday night, then my weekends were divided between Cream (Liverpool) and Shindig (Newcastle). My tastes in house music were swaying more towards the us sound championed by the likes of Roger Sanchez, Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia, and lablels like Tribal. This track was my favorite by emerging talents, Deep Dish, was before they hit it big. Lush and atmospheric house music.

12) SIZE 9 - I AM READY (1995)

Now by 1995 I had managed to blag myself a residency at Newcastle Uni's (and arguably at that point, Newcastle's biggest and best house night, 'Arcane'. A 3000 capacity all building, end of term event which started in 1992 and still takes place to this day. (I would play drum and bass at Arcane over the next few years - see below). The day I finished my exams also happened to be the same day as Arcane, so I was more than up for it.
Ironically, that night was the CREAM tour at Arcane- lol.
I played alongside Paul Bleasedale, as well as Digit, Efx and Rasoul from San Fransisco. Size 9 by Josh Wink had just come out and was my ultimate record of 1995 - it got 2 spins from me that night. Check the ridicuolus breakdown - Josh Wink was on fire at this time - 'Dont Laugh', 'Higher State of Consciousness'- the boy could do no wrong.


Its strange how I fell into drum and bass. I had come back from uni, got a few djing gigs in bars playing house and/or hip hop. Someone played me this at 33rpm (?) saying that it was a 'jungle' record on this new shit hot label called Metalheadz, and that a lot of djs were playing it at 33rpm. This was actually true - but when I played it at its proper speed something clicked inside me - the beats were crisp, the snare was tight, and what the hell was going on with that bassline?! A few more trips to buy up anything on Metalheadz and a few other labels and drum and bass had me.

The sub bass on this track has to be heard on a decent system - its barely audible here!


By 1996 I was well and truly obsessed by drum and bass. I hooked up with Brendan Collins, who had just had his first record signed as 'Futurebound', and I would buy basically every drum and bass record on the shelf worth having at the shop he worked in, Unity Records on Bold St, Liverpool. I then started what was Liverpool's first ever regular drum and bass club, called 'Brake', in the autumn of 1996 at The Mardi Gras in Liverpool on a Sunday night 7pm-12am. Guests included Kemistry and Storm, Peshay and Doc Scott.

Photek was the ultimate in drum and bass at this time - scientific, precise beats. Water Margin was one of many bombs.


In 1997 I revisited Arcane in Newcastle and played in the drum and bass room with the other residents, Hidden Agenda. These boys were freakin awesome - and Geordies to boot. This is a relationship that would continue for the next few years. Any of their releases on Metalheadz are classics. Here is just one .......

16) DAFT PUNK - BURNIN (1997)

In amongst all this drum and bass, there was no way anyone could ignore the impact Daft Punk had. An album out of nowhere in the shape of Homework. No need to explain - this is my favourite track, and it soundtracked my last visits to Cream before it went downhill for a while (in my opinion).


Peshay was the absolute fucking daddy as far as I was concerned. By now, I was pretty much an established name locally in drum and bass, and even got a couple of bookings on the Metalheadz Label tour outside Liverpool, as well slots opening for Coldcut, Tricky etc. I was resident at Chrome between 1997 - 2000, arguably Liverpool's greatest ever drum and bass club. I played jazzier than the other residents, and this track was one of the reasons why. How could you not play this?

(Also check DJ Krust's - Warhead from around this time, and anything else on V Recordings)

Click here to listen (embedding disabled on this one)

18) KOSHEEN - HIDE U (1999)

Decoder was one of the darkest drum and bass talents out there. So I was was surprised when he made this. He played this at the end of his set at Chrome one night and I was in awe on first listen. A great hook, and almost a chant. It was no surprise, although a little disappointing, that it got remixed and reworked to death to the point were most dint even know that it was originally a drum and bass record! Fare play to him though - it was his breakthrough record and got him into the top ten, even through a dodgy 'prog house' version :)


By 2000, the politics and bullshit in drum and bass in Liverpool left me completely disillusioned with the scene. Chrome ended amidst a flurry on in-fighting and eventual low attendances, and I had had enough. My drum and bass purchases slowed to a crawl, and I lost interest.
This record however, is one of my favourites! The best 'rolling' drum and bass track ever as far as I am concerened - from top bloke Marcus Intalex straight out of Manchester, Uk.


I had djed 'eclectic' sets in bars and clubs since 1992, but it wasnt until 1999/2000 that it became my main focus, with my moving away from drum and bass and clubs, and into the vip set. I played at baby blue in Liverpool, as well as many other places, and could basically get away with anything.
I was finding myself discovering records I had missed, or was too young for, first time around. Loose Ends was a staple of these sets.


Another example of the kind of track I was playing around 2000/2001. My favourite djs then were Rae and Christian, Aim (and the rest of the Fat City crew) and Gilles Peterson, and I think that was reflected big time on the dancefloor.

22) STEINSKI - LESSON 2 (1983)

Another big influence on my djing style was Liverpool dj, and ex-Cream resident, Robin Jackson. Robin played all night at Mello Mello every Friday, and I can safely say that I went nearly every week for two years! This was one of his staples (along with Carly Simon - Why) , and it quickly became one of mine.

23) MJ COLE - SINCERE (2000)

Speeed Garage was massive in UK between 1999-2001 but most of it was totally crap. MJ Cole was the exception and this track is pure gold. It may even be my favourite of all time. Great bassline, velvet vocals - awesome.


The original was great, but MAW turned this track into a dancefloor with that intro. Cheryl Lynn (Encore/To Be Real) also deserves a mention here.


And one from more recent times. Jamie Lidell is the bomb, of that there is no question. And this cover is a work of genius. He even makes it sound cool with Jools Holland on piano here :)


During 2000 through to June 2008, I played rnb every week as well as house (as a resident for Cream). Rnb gets a bad press, and quite deservedly so most of the time so, but it is also the most creative and forward thinking genre as well. Timbaland, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Dr Dre - they are all super producers in my mind.
At Vibin in Liverpool, Id like to think we played something different from the mainstream, and we enjoyed a great 6 years doing it. A little more soulful - this was the ultimate Vibin anthem.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

26 Records That Changed My LIfe - Part One

Ha- a bit of a grandiose title I know, but there have been so many records that have influenced me big time over the years, so I thought I'd try and document some of them. They are roughly in order, starting with the earliest ones that defined my musical taste, up until a few years ago,


I was 12 years old when this came out, and up until this point was unaware that music really existed outside of Top of the Pops. My interests switched from Madonna and Duran Duran when a couple of my schoolmates lent me some Street Sounds Compilations, along with a few other Hip Hop records from the US. This was on one of those compliations - and even though it was more the juvenile subject matter that got my attention, it got me into hip hop big time. A whole new world awaited....

2) MANTRONIX - WHO IS IT? (1987)

I cant overstate how dope Mantronix were. I bought the Music Madness album from one of friends and played the whole non-stop for weeks. Awesome, awesome beats and so ahead of its time. Music Madness and Bassline were big tunes, but check this performance of 'Who Is It?' from the album on 80's music programme The Tube, complete with a young Paula Yates!


While I was becoming a fully fledged embarrassing hip-hop white kid, into Public Enemy, Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim and Ultramagnetic MCs, I was unaware that a new for of music was rearing its head. That was until I went on holiday to Spain when I was 14 and heard Lil Louis's French Kiss EVERYWHERE. Amazing, and totally caught my attention, it was like nothing I'd heard before. Awesome. Very much a one-off though in terms of house music making an impact on me-that didnt happen until a few years later.

4) DE LA SOUL - BUDDY (1989)

Mid-late 80s hip hop was so lighthearted and cool as fuck. 3rd Bass, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Queen Latifah and the like brought hip hop away from the darker messages of groups like Public Enemy, and into the daisy age. Tracks were sampled to death as if copyright had never been invented. De La Soul sampled half of the 70s on their debut album 3 Feet High And Rising! This was the golden age of hip hop to me.


'Rave' exploded in 1991 in the UK and into my consciousness. I remember the first breakthrough rave tracks being in the charts, and them all being from Liverpool or nearby. Bassheads (named after the Basement Club in Birkenhead, just down the road from were I lived) had a top 10 hit with - Is There Anybody Out There, and K-Klass had Rythmn is a Mystery in the top 20 at the same time! There were even dodgy rave tracks from Liverpool going to number one in the shape of Oceanic - Insanity :)
For me there were two big influences at the time. The first was a radio show on Piccadilly Radio by Stu Allan, the second was a club in Birkenhead which my then girlfriend's dad owned called The Pleasuredrome. It switched music policy overnight from a sticky carpeted fun club into a full on rave-a-thon. I saw The Prodigy live there in 1991 as well as Carl Cox, Grooverider, Orbital and many more. It didnt even seem that big a deal at the time, as none of these names were yet the superstars they would become.
This track defines that era for me.


A strange time for me in that I was getting into bonkers rave tracks, going to clubs like Bowlers in Manchester, but still firmly into my hip hop. Its something that has never left me in a way - I've never been one for genres or labels and always try to listen to as many different styles as possible, even though I may obsess over one for a while. I'd even started djing (at house parties) at this time, and would play this track every set. A Tribe Called Quest could be the greatest rap group of all time. Check this.

7) 2 BAD MICE - BOMBSCARE (1992)

2 Bad Mice came out on Moving Shadow recordings in 1992 and blew me away. Emerging djs like Sasha as well as Fabio and Grooverider would hammer this track, and it was typical of the melting pot that was rave at the time. Bombscare predates drum and bass as well as a whole multitude of other genres. Rob Playford (Head Honcho of Moving Shadow and the guy who produced all of Goldie's best tracks) was one of the members of 2 Bad Mice.


I started university in 1992 and also commenced djing properly, spinning at Newcastle Uni's student union, and anywhere else that would have me. My grounding in rave back in my sixth form days took a step up for three reasons 1) My flatmate Dan McGuinness was a musical encyclopedia and had every single emerging house record worth buying, or in my case, borrowing. 2) I started to go to probably one of the best clubs in the UK, Shindig, which had just started, and it was here that over the next three years I would see the likes of Kenny Dope, Dave Morales and CJ Macintosh. 3) Cream started in the Autumn of 1992. I didnt set foor in the club until 1993, but when I did I got to see Dave Morales and Frankie Knuckles play and loop this track and I was mesmorised. House was now my thing.


Another record that came out in 1993. I saw Tony Humphries probably before I went to Cream if the truth be told, at a club called Rockshots in Newcastle City Centre. I think that was the first time I actually felt like a dj had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Tony played this track for 30 minutes and the crowd were in an organ-induced trance. Respect to the big man.


US house was massive in 1993. And this track was so worn out by me that I went through 3 copies! Awesome vocal, shuffling beats, great production. Sounds dated now, but I still love it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Cream Amnesia Mixes

I played for Cream last Thursday at Amnesia with Sasha (yawn) and Crookers (hooray). I managed to record my full two and a quarter hours before Sasha took over, so here are the mixes if you fancy.

Part One

Cobblestone Jazz - Dump truck
Johnny D - Orbitalife
Argy and DJ Gregory - Our Drums
Martin Bros - Stoopit
Sadat - Turkish Avenger
Santiago and Bushido - Head Trick
Ryan Ryback -Boom (Lee Mortimer remix)
Santiago and Bushido - For What (The Bulgarian remix)
Crookers - Brick City Go
Oliver $ - Singalong
Puzique - Dont Go Away
Italoboyz - Bahia
Robosonic - Kaputt in Hollywood (Santiago and Bushido Remix)
Green Velvet - Electricity (Andy Mac refix)

Part Two

Peace Division - Club Therapy
Hercules and Love Affair - Blind (Serge Santiago remix)
Josh Wink - Stay Up All Night
Jak Z - Cutie Pie
Boys Noize - Lava Lava (Feadz remix)
Popof - Alcoolic
Mowgli - Boot It Again
Machines Dont Care - Afrojack
Crookers - Sveglia
Daft Punk - Rollin and Scratchin
Jape - Floating (DIM remix)
Popof - Chomper
Workidz - Washing Machine
Moby - I Like to Move In Here (Popof remix)
Proxy - Dancing in the dark
Housemeister - In Order to Dance