Gather round, friends, lots of exciting new stuff to talk about this week. First off the latest Near Mint show on Resonance 104.4FM sees myself and Hannah Brown taking a trip deep into the jungle, where we’re searching for treasure – more specifically, the rarest and most ridiculously over-priced treasure we can find. It’s the first of a two-part special playing the most expensive hardcore and jungle we could… well, I was going to say lay our hands on, but at these prices that would be fraud.
I’ve spoken often on these pages about my great love for oldskool and hardcore jungle music of the 1990s and my quest to fill the odd gaping whole in my otherwise robust collection. But the sky-rocketing second-hand price of some of the rarer 12″s over the last couple of years has really started to hamper my efforts – and I’m not the only one to notice. For example, the record shown above is our opening track, a 1994 single-sided white label by DJ Crystl that’s currently retailing on the Discogs website for £125.22 – and that’s the cheapest record featured on the programme. A legendary producer and a great track – but is it really worth that much? Mind you, it’s probably a little early to start asking that question, I can inform you in the second part next week the silliness levels go right off the chart. Listen closely and savour the experience, you’ll almost certainly never come across these records in the flesh…
In other news, Buried Treasure Recordings commander-in-chief Alan Gubby has been extremely busy of late, producing and uploading a number of videos from last year’s Delaware Road launch party, including this rather spiffy video trailer:
You might remember his appearance as my special guest on Resonance FM’s OST Show last month, where he treated us to some as-yet-unreleased Radiophonic delights. Well, after the success of the launch party and the plethora of extremely complimentary reviews that has followed in the album’s wake, he’s let slip that he has big plans for the future of the project, including a series of further live dates and even a screen-play in development. I will of course keep you informed on all the latest. In the meantime, you can find the Delware Road video playlist in full here. And the label is also poised to release an album by Delaware contributors The Dandelion Set. Only one track from A Thousand Strands 1975-2015 is currently available online, but it’s a collaboration with the legendary Alan Moore and an absolute belter to boot. Have a listen:
Over in Portland, Oregon, my good friends Gray Columns also have an excellent new album to show off. Making good on the anticipation caused by posting a couple of tasty tracks online last year, debut full-length release Cloud of Night is a single track split into four movements and recorded in just two days. Described as ‘masterful, beautiful, and the right kind of unnerving’ by ExperimentalPortland.com, it’s a dense and gorgeous tangle of crepuscular drones, creaks and crackles. Erik and Ben, I salute you. Now when are you going to come over here so we can get that collaboration started?! The kettle is on…
Speaking of talented comrades, very excited to hear new material surfacing from Ordinate. The duo of JP Hartnett and John Flynn (who also records solo under the name Spaces) contributed a track of thick, murky techno to Earwiggle’s excellent Eight Wigglin’ Ways To Die compilation last year and now look set to release their debut 12″ next month. To further whet our appetites they’re produced a session for Mantis Radio On FutureMusic.FM, choc-full of new and unreleased material. Have a listen to the programme, then befriend them on Facebook and Soundcloud, why don’t you? Can’t wait to hear the finished release!
Gosh, what a bumper crop of awesome stuff I’ve unearthed this week. I really am too good to you….
A very special edition of Near Mint this week as Hannah and I embark on a voyage to the Moon. Along the way we enjoy some in-flight Casuals, a spot of German sci-funk, some Space-Monkey-business, a smidgin of hungry Disney martians and a performance of Greensleeves live from Lunar Central. Those in the know are already describing this week’s show as a ‘belter’. Don’t forget to tune in 6pm every Tuesday on Resonance 104.4FM. Next week’s show promises to be a very noisy one…
The scene is almost absurd, and very British; a Cleesian visual element to a superlative chorus of outsider sound art. Concrète theatre. The drone thunders on, temporally alien and multilayered. Defeated, Robin places the machine down and lowers the squall. “That’s as good a place to stop as any, I suppose,” he says. Oto cheers. It’s glorious. Drone isn’t supposed to be fun, is it?
We’re charmed and humbled by this article on Howlround in FACT magazine and the splendid Mr. Tom Howells, particularly the description of the delightful chaos that ensued during that Cafe Oto set alongside Mr. William Basinski. And for digging out a track from Soundcloud that we’d practically forgotten making! Eagle-eared listeners might have noticed that it’s actually an early version of this track from our second album:
— FACT (@FACTmag) March 16, 2016
The fact that this embedded Tweet insists on sitting to the left of the frame instead of in the centre is really affecting my OCD impulses….
An absolutely classic Near Mint show on Resonance 104.4FM this week, featuring a trip through the record box of voracious digger Tom Central. Resident DJ of long-running club night Soundcrash, one half of the Shapes Of Rhythm duo and the man behind the rather super Keep Up! label, his collection is literally groaning with killer library, Bollywood and psychedelic jams from years spent scouring record shops across the globe for the rarest and strangest vinyl – that is now threatening to take over his house. We’re very happy he let us have a rummage – but also extremely jealous. Have a listen and you will be too!
Two for the price of one on Near Mint-related activities this week. First off, the latest edition of our weekly Resonance FM show with a very exciting exclusive ‘Business Funk’ mix from Datashat, an alter-ego of the London-based DJ, producer and ‘programmer nerd’ John Davies. As well as making his own highly-regarded brand of glitchy electronica under the name Datassette plus numerous remixes and mash-ups (his cheeky re-working of the Starfleet Theme remains a personal favourite), he also released a trilogy of Businessfunk mixtapes several years ago that rapidly gained a cult following and have been considered the definitive statement by connoisseurs of the genre ever since. This week’s show is the long-awaited fourth instalment – a special bonus edition, but no less corporate!
To those unfamiliar with the genre, Datashat claims, probably quite rightly, that Businessfunk is really the only way to describe ‘this insane subgenre of late 70s and early 80s library music’. ‘It’s such an odd little scene’, he continues, ‘a lot of it seems to have been written specifically for pompous corporate videos of sales charts going through the roof, with track titles like “Money Markets” and “Positive Image”, but it often carries a completely ill-fitting funk and disco influence that attempts to give the corporate world a bit of street-cred or friendliness something. It often fails so hard you can’t help but laugh. On the other hand some of it is just genuinely good music!’ We’re very excited to have him on baord, and if this exclusive bonus instalment whets your appetite for more, you can still hear the original Businessfunk series at Datassette.net, along with all sorts of other exciting bits and pieces.
Datashat’s Fun Facts:
- ‘Track 4 is by library legend Andy Clark who played keyboards for David Bowie on his Scary Monsters tour and Charlie Morgan who co-wrote the theme tune for “The Bill” for the same studio in the previous year, probably using the same drum kit. That’s the snare off “The Bill” for sure!’
- ‘Track 13 is by Jean Michel Jarre’s “Zoolook” co-producer.’
Howlround’s first live performance on 2016 occurs this Thursday 10th March at The Amersham Arms in New Cross as part of this rather super line-up that also includes Nuances, Design A Wave and much more. Further details can be found by visiting the event’s Facebook page here.
It certainly will be a pleasure to return to venue with a long history of supporting experimental and electronic music. I seem to remember the last time I was there was quite a few years ago now, orchestrating a chaotic piece of audience-participation performance art based on a gigantic game of ‘Simon Says’. Against all expectations it was a total triumph, ending up in a dead heat between two guys attempting to slow-dance while whistling for an imaginary cat; both determined to win the grand prize of a whole pint of lager. The game was finally halted when the promoter pointed out that one of them was on crutches. Spoilsport…
Please enjoy the latest edition of the Near Mint show on Resonance 104.4FM, featuring a field trip to sunny Southend to visit this week’s special guest Jennifer Lucy Allan. Writer, journalist, former staffer at The Wire magazine, co-runner of the rather super Arc Light Editions label, qualified carpenter and the first person ever to undertake a PHD on Foghorns, it should be immediately obvious why we asked if we could have a rummage through her collection. And what a rummage it was…
It’s a pretty heady brew she’s served up for us, featuring everything from a Japanese record on the subject of earthquakes, super-rare Finnish jazz, 60s Bollywood, Pierre Henry’s magic space pop and even some forthcoming Arc Light Editions treats from the legendary Joan La Barabara. Huge thanks to Jen for a great show and you can find this show as well as all previous episodes in the Near Mint series on my Mixcloud page. I rather think that future guests are going to have to work jolly hard to keep up the standard we’ve maintained on the series so far!
And finally, thanks to Ben Soundhog for digging out this stimulating visual accompaniment to the show’s opening track: