Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Beat Goes On.....

I’ll be accused of being a miserable old bugger if I say I’m well keen to see all house records with the word sunshine in the title or chorus banned. Forever….ok I’m a miserable old bastard then.

Fact is, with the honourable exception of the un-toppable “Sunshine” by Unit 2, Underground Resistance and Mad Mike at their peak (and after which there was no need for another record to attempt to repeat the concept..end of story), records that wail “Sunshine” over and over again on top of a four on the floor are inevitably incredibly mediocre and do my head in…they sound desperate. Then again if you are sitting in London, which is oddly where most of them seem to originate, with your 350 days a year of dank greyness, it may be seen as an optimistic cry for help I guess. But enough of that…that’s an aside…my fingers typed without really knowing where they were going…..driven. I was, until, I heard “Sunshine……..bompity bompity….” (it was this bloody record…and yes, I know I released it…) coming from a car downstairs that took me off on a tangent. Incidently, talking N’n’U albums, Jake, who was in the TVC for the second volume, has his own blog these days…here

Oh, and massive happy three ohhhh to Jen

I know I had a dig at a Kiwi FM and listening to it rather confirms for me what I said there…I’ve made a real effort to listen and had a few thoughts…firstly hour in hour out of mainstream Kiwi rock’n’pop really illustrates the weakness of the production levels on much NZ pop…still boxy and flat but its getting there and radio play is the key to improving it surely…secondly I have to say how much I really like Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan in the morning…simply for the fact that they’re intelligent, funny and unlike many other mainstream radio hosts don’t assume that their audience are idiots and talk down to them…they’ve dragged me away from Otis & Mark a couple of days recently. To my mind the other great untapped radio and / or TV talent in NZ has to be young Nick Dwyer, or Nick D to the wider world. Why doesn’t someone give this man a proper TV slot, outside C4…..

Incidentally the Kiwi FM web site loads erratically on my Laptop, and the front page branding which I hear may or may not have been somewhat “borrowed” from Wellington’s pioneering Radio Active, usually freezes to read “42% New Zealand Music”…which I think is rather funny. Then again, appalling, user unfriendly web sites seem to be something of a trademark for NZ radio and TV…only the indies seem to get it close to right

On Kiwi, I discovered the new Katchafire single (god I don’t even know its name and their web site is no help) which I really kinda like….from being an average Marley tribute act (but I’m confused by the Wailers support thing…surely, of the three people who were the Wailers core, 2 are dead and one ain’t in the band..whats that all about then?) they’ve matured into quite a pop act. I have to admit NZ’s obsession with all things Marley confuses me though…his best work was behind him by 1975 and Jamaica was producing mountains of superior music in the next few years, but for NZ, Bob it is…….

Favourite records this week, old and new: the Brennan Green remix of the 1983 vintage Liquid Liquid track “Flextone”, gnarly disco punk that’s fairly timeless; Eddie Kendrick’s Philly produced (with Norman Harris production and all the MFSB crew intact, including the great late Ron Kersey) “He’s A Friend” (for 3 bucks!); Yukari Fresh’s seriously limited “Break”, (in a hand stamped sleeve) complete with a Headman mix that sounds like the New Order record that you have when you don’t have a New Order record; but….fortunately we have one of those too…”Krafty” is as New Order-ish and as naïve and as wonderful as you’d want, complete with the sort of terrible lyrics only NO would even try to get away with, and do; Booka Shade’s remixes off the lovely (I guess that’s the right word is lovely..its a non word but it implies things quite well somewhat) “Memento”, Ada’s mix of Vertigo being the bizz; the Rolling Stones mid period comp “Thru The Past Darkly” which I grew up with and sums up the their slightly nutty and wonderful try-hard and in the shadow of the Fab Four period (before they became 70’s rock gods and a bit sad in the 80’s and thereafter)

and ………………………..have I mentioned that Carl Craig is coming………..

What this blurb was going to be about was a muse following the six hour dj set I did on Friday night for the Kaleidoscope post Xmas party, which was fun. I did it for Esther Watkins, who helps run the company (and is almost family), and because, if I’m gonna DJ out (which is rare these days) I like to do it for a decent stretch (at least three hours but up to eight) and I like to be able to play what I want and go on some sort of a journey. I love playing records to people but I really like to take it somewhere and the brief here was kinda cool…anything, you chose..and in six hours you can take it places. Especially to a drinking social, convivial and reasonably musically literate crowd, as this was, and getting more twisted by the hour. To be able to play Orange Juice, Television, The Clean, Sandy’s Gang, Herb Martin, Eric B & Rakim, The Kane Gang, Inner City, Alexander O’Neal, The Meters, Lindstrom, and yes, Carl Craig, (and a whole lot more in between) all in the same set is fun, and it occurs to me how boring it must be to be a DJ who, week in week out has to be stuck in the same style..and by extension, being defined as someone who plays such. I’ve watched genre wars online in recent days and its all a bit pointless…it must be bloody scary to be so pigeon holed…”I play breaks” or “I play hip hop”….Francois K puts it really well here

I always DJ with a camera in hand too, however I’m not going to publish any of the photos here…after all, many of these people are my friends….

I tried to go to Ben Watts at The Studio afterwards but not being a real fan…he’s just too polite for me…I ended up at Ink to see a bit of Churchill, whom I haven’t listened to for a while, and that was worthy as always but after six hours bending over crates my legs gave out……

And finally and most importantly, this week we lost my friend Karlos. We weren’t close but we’d known each other for a good few years and I really always liked him a lot. Few people always have a smile on their faces and an unassuming kind word for everyone but Karlos did, no matter what. Karlos was always there, grinning, and I always assumed he always was going to be, but sadly that is not gonna be the case. I remember (vaguely) a night about eight years ago when I was in a particularly non sensical mode at Cause Celebré, we talked and laughed for about an hour, until my staff said I’d better leave (whoopps…getting tossed out by my staff was not easy)…he knew exactly what where I was coming from..or at least I thought I was coming from and told me a day or two later he’d really enjoyed the conversation …then again maybe he was coming from the same place that night…whatever…Karlos you’ll be sadly missed…sleep easy buddy.

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