Monday, December 31, 2007

The Bears Upstairs

I used to do a radio show with Paul Hughes on Unity Radio when I lived in Manchester and since I left the name has changed from Kumo Radio to The Bears Upstairs and with a combined raving age of 900, Jif, Paul, Jeffo, TC and Spaceface have been having far too much fun for their own good. They're a diverse bunch of boys with Paul filling the Disco Dad quotient, Jif the slo-mo Italo Bluenose quotient, TC the 'well balearic' quotient, Jeffo the 'I fookin' love Jens Lekman' quotient and Spaceface the 'remember this one from when we were off our 'eds at The Hacienda' quotient. Between them you get an education and a load of laughs due to their highly entertaining inebriated style of presenting.

On Thursday, Jif, Spaceface, Jeffo and TC did their round-up of their favourite records from 2007. (Spaceface was taking the picture) Left to right are Jif, TC and Jeffo.

Oh wait, I just cribbed onto Tony's Facebook page and here he is laying down the balearicdiscoleftfieldfunk filth.

Here's the tracklisting...

Reverso 68 - Piece Together (Part 2)
LCD Soundsystem - Freakout
Fujiya & Miyagi - Uh
The Dynamics - Miss You
Arsenal - Either
Fre$hro - Spiritual Blues
Smith & Mudd - Plot of Land
Arsenal - Saudade
A Mountain of One - Can't Be Serious
Midlake - Roscoe (Justin Robertson Remix)
Peter Visti - Balearic Love
Underworld - Beautiful Burnout
The Heavy - Set Me Free
Jens Lekman - Sipping on the Sweet Nectar
Neon Neon - Raquel
Smith & Mudd - Shulme
Woolfy - Odyssey
Still Going - Still Going Theme
Elitechnique - Fingerfood (Major Swellings Mix)
LSB - Fog
Fleetwood Mac - You Make Lovin' Fun (Trailmix Edit)
Holy Ghost - Hold On
Mock 'n' Toof - Digit 2
Les Edits De Golum - Chico
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Method Man - Hold it Down
Ilya Santana - Quasar (Pete Herbert Remix)
Bonar Bradberry - Beat The Bed
Lee Douglas - New York Story
ELO - Last Train To London

Did they record it? Did they fuck! They've been trying to work out how to record a show for months now, which is frightening when you consider that they have two IT experts who work for a major UK bank amongst their ranks. No wonder the website for the bank doesn't bloody work.

Check them online here.

You can listen to them every Thursday at 10PM UK Time on the internet on Unity Radio.

Disco Beard - Beardism

The Disco Beard has given everyone a belated holiday gift of a free album of edits for your listening pleasure.


Earlene Bentley - The Boys Come To Town - Disco Beard Piano Edit
JJ Cale - Gypsey Man - Disco Beard Edit
Donald Byrd - Lovin' You - Disco Beard MiniDisco Edit
Clifton Dyson - She's A Playgirl - Disco Beard Polegirl Edit
Giorgio Moroder - Utopia - Anniversary Edit
Bonzo Dog Dooh Dah Band- You Done My Head In - Disco Beard Catwalk Edit
Annie - Popbitch - Disco Beard Popbitch Edit
Stereolab - Margerine Melody - Disco Beard Dear Marge Edit
Claudio Simonetti - Demons - Disco Beard Evil Edit
LCD Soundsystem - On Repeat - Disco Beard Franchise Edit
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Peek-A-Boo - Disco Beard Strobelight Edit

Get it here.

Little Rock Records

Adidas Originals Festivals

Normally I wouldn't punt anything whatsoever to do with the vile waste of trees that is Vice Magazine but they've teamed up with Adidas Originals to do something fairly unique by introducing an Online Game that lets you create your dream music festival.

Starting with a budget of $100,000, you’re invited to put together your own dream festival line-up from a pool of around 200 bands across different genres from electro to hip hop to rock. Along the way you get to select the venue type, name your festival, design the promo poster and even book the after-party band or DJ.

You can choose from bands including Bloc Party, LCD Soundsystem, Sonic Youth, The Horrors, Battles, Animal Collective, M.I.A, Peaches, Duran Duran, Damn Arms, Midnight Juggernauts, Diz zee Rascal, Dirty Three, Macromantics, Digitalism, Airbourne, Black Lips, The White Stripes, Har Mar Superstar, Andrew WK, The Slits and Spank Rock.

Each band has a different asking price to get on your line-up, so you can choose to blow your budget on a big headliner or spread the love across more grassroots acts.

You then get to promote your festival to your buddies via email or online by posting on your MySpace page or blog. The festival with the greatest attendance (ie. the most number of visits) will win the major prize - a trip for two to the 2008 Berlin Festival, including flights and accommodation, plus VIP treatment courtesy of VICE, and a shopping trip to the adidas Originals store in Berlin.

There will also be prizes for best and worst designed promo posters, and festivals created by various industry personalities will be showcased on the game’s homepage.

The competition runs until February 29, with the winning festival announced the following week.

Go to Originals Festival to play the game.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blog Raid

Bumblebee Unlimited - Lady Bug

Get more from Keyboard Masher.

Debbie Jacobs - High On Your Love

Get more from Donna Slut.

Linus Loves - Skagg

Get more from Cool In The Pool.

Maynard Ferguson - Pagliacci - Joe Claussell edit

Get more from American Athlete.

Roy Ayers - Everybody

Get more from Another Night On Earth.

Billy Paul - Only The Strong Will Survive - Magick edit

Get more from Love Fingers.

DJ Quiet

Here is some more artwork that I did for Naoyuki Ebihara's Root 70 Lounge Digital label. Designing for iTunes is interesting in that the text has to be bold and legible on screens of iPods, iPhones and other media players as well as on iTunes. Massive squint and you'll see it vibes.

It'll be available in January from iTunes, King Beat and Junodownload.

Here's the promotional flier that I did for the album as well.

Basic Soul Interviews

Some more interviews that I have done for Simon Harrison's Basic Soul website over the past couple of years. I'm interviewing Flying Lotus soon and if there is anyone else that you think I should be interviewing then let me know.

Kirk Degiorgio
As One/ The Beauty Room and many, many more.

Kirk Degiorgio is one of the most sought-after mixers/producers/Dj in today's eclectic dance music scene. Steering away from musical cliches and sticking to his soul-boy roots, he has managed to maintain his musical integrity over the years. Having recorded under numerous aliases including As One, Elegy, Esoterik, Critical Phase, Family Values, Super-A-Loof, The Off World Ensemble and his current most expansive project, The Beauty Room with the vocalist Jinadu.

Having run the ART label (Applied Rythmic Technology) and the Op-ART label in the early 90s he released seminal early material by artists such as Carl Craig, Aphex Twin, Stasis, and The Black Dog. Degiorgio cemented his reputation with his As One albums "Reflections" and "Celestial Soul", which both made the Muzik Top 30 albums for 1994/5. Further albums for Clear and Shield secured his reputation as a producer with a unique, individual sound that often incorporated jazz, soul, and funk elements into his beautiful electronic soundscapes. Degiorgio's sound is a true reflection of his main musical influences: P-Funk, Motown, early hip hop, Detroit techno, and mid-60's Blue Note. With his Beauty Room project making huge waves over the course of the past few months you can be sure that Kirk will continue to offer us the highest quality, most sublime enriching tapestry of sounds in no matter what form they undertake for years to come, and for that our record collections will that much the better.

Read the interview here.

Tyler Askew
Rude Movements/ My Favorite Things

Tyler Askew isn't your average record hound; for a start he's a highly respected art director and designer having worked on campaigns for the likes of MAC cosmetics and Bill Blass, and since 1999 he has worked as a scribe and creative consultant for the record connoisseur's bible Straight No Chaser alongside his design mentor, the legendary Swifty. Since 2003 he and partner Karl Injex have taken over APT. in New York on the second Tuesday of every month for a gathering of like-minded people who like to get down to their eclectic jams at a heavy session they call Rude Movements. With Puma working alongside them and a record label underway you can bet that we are going hear a lot from this talented man in the future.

Read the interview here.

Kelvin Brown
Eyes Down

Originally from Coventry, Manchester-based Kelvin Brown has been shaping the local musical landscape for the past few years with his diverse DJ sets, taking in everything from jazz to hip hop to minimal techno, that have been warmly received everywhere from his own Eyes Down night to national platforms such as Benji B's "Deviation" show on 1Extra. His diary is fast filling up with dates everywhere from Jigsaw in Birmingham to destinations such as Barcelona and Porto simply because of his policy on playing music, which is that if a record is good then it needs to be heard, and it is this refreshing attitude that should keep him on the top of the pile for years to come.

Read the interview here.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jim Dine v. Trevor Jackson

Jim Dine is an American pop artist who is sometimes considered to be a part of the Neo-Dada movement. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and first earned respect in the art world with his Happenings, which he pioneered with artists Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, in conjunction with musician John Cage. The "Happenings" were chaotic performance art that was a stark contrast with the more somber mood of the expressionists popular in the New York art world at the time. It's basically the same modus operandi that the Dadaists had in Europe but twenty-five years after those initial noise concerts. Since then his drawings and sculptures have been exhibited in just about every fine art museum across the States.

Now the reason why I bring him up is to highlight what influence he has had on contemporary sleeve art and most particularly on Trevor Jackson's art direction for his Playgroup 'DJ Kicks' album.

Jim's work Name Painting (1935-1963) #1, 1968-1969, which I saw in the modern art wing of the National Gallery of Art here in Washington, DC yesterday is most certainly the basis for the artwork for the !K7 release. Jim's work is almost a journal in that it chronicles everyone that he came into significant contact with during the period beginning in the top left hand corner and working its way down to the bottom right. The interesting bit is that you can work out when he starts to come into contact with the art world, and especially art dealers, as these famous art pushers names become more and more predominant indicating a tremendous shift in his life.

What Trevor has done is use the same idea but write the artist and track names in much the same way and using the same medium, charcoal on canvas, to form what is easily one of the most striking record covers in recent years.

Trevor is probably best known in the music world for the sadly defunct Output Recodigs, which was the initial home to bands such as Blackstrobe, Four Tet, Fridge, George Demure, DK7, The Rapture, Soulwax, LCD Soundsystem and many more, and he recently released a retrospective compilation for the label called 'I Hate Music', which should be in all half decent record stores now. He is also part of Playgroup who had a relative degree of success with their album 'Number One' released back in 2001. Personally I love his Chromeo remix, which is 115 bpm sax-driven smack house of the finest order. Seek it out. He is also the original Underdog under which he released some of the finest hip hop influenced dance music of the mid-90s.

What I particularly appreciate about Trevor is his work in art direction. His work is immensely original and appeals to both the font nerds and the image conscious designers. His work is bold, brave and invariably always stands out amongst the dirge of shit design that litters art work in this day and age. A few years ago at the zenith of his popularity he took over the art direction for the cover that he appeared on for Jockey Slut magazine and what he produced was a strikingly simple but effective cover that beautified the newsstands for a month. His work utilizes some of the most forward thinking photography, loads of open shutter work, and combines it perfectly with font choice to form some of the most pleasing aesthetics that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. I'm gushing now, so I'll digress but you can gather that I love and respect the man's work immensely. Do yourself a favour and check his portfolio on his website, startling stuff. I'd love to see him and Chuck Anderson work together.

Jim Dine - Name Painting (1935-1963) #1, 1968-1969 (I'd have used a better image but the guy at the gallery was taking his job very seriously and threatened me with expulsion from the place if I so much as dared to take a picture. The only option was to go to the press office and ask for permission, which they weren't going to give me for a lowly blog so this is as good as it gets unfortunately.)

Below is the artwork for the DJ Kicks album.


Inside of the gatefold


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane.

I'm off to DC, Maryland and Virginia for a week, so all the best for the new year to both of you that read this. All I want for Christmas are wins over Blackburn and Liverpool at home and a draw against Newcastle away... actually fuck that, the bar codes are rubbish, I'll take three more there.

Snake Hips

Here's a couple of mixes from one of the most underrated DJs in Manchester, Adam H.

Adam is one of the heads behind Stay Free and you can be assured that anywhere that quality balearic, disco, house or techno records are being played in Manchester that he'll be somewhere on the dancefloor giving it horns. He's also one of the finest DJs in the city with his ability to weave seamlessly through the gamut of quality music a cut above. I can remember when we were driving back to Manchester after one of David Mancuso's Loft parties a year or so ago and our tired bodies and minds were endlessly entertained by Adam's mix-tapes which got us more and more into the mood the longer the journey went on. Even in my knackered state I had to seek out a few of the records that he introduced to us on that trip as soon as I stumbled through the door and they've become staples of mine.

Easily one of the best sets that I heard during my time in Manchester was after I hurried off to the Music Box after DJing at Dry to catch the last 90 minutes or so of a criminally under-attended party in the Shack, and during that time with only about 15 or so of us on the floor he effortlessly weaved through Underground Resistance rockers, disco goodness, quality house music all the way to his inevitable stamp of approval on a great night - Ashford & Simpson's 'Stay Free', which is a record that never sounds as good as when Adam is playing it. It was a cracking night.

Every time he came down to play a few at our Music Is Music night I'd invariably step away and get on the dancefloor while he was on as I knew that I could learn a lot about selection and technique from the floor and be thoroughly entertained the whole time.

Adam and the rest of Stay Free also pulled off a major coup by getting the legendary New York DJ Nicky Siano of The Gallery fame to come and play for them, which from what I gather (I was out of the country at the time) was one of the great nights out for everyone who had the privilege of being there. I am still kicking myself for missing it.

Adam will probably come and tear the roof off your party for the princely sum of a couple of pints and some space to dance. The spirit of acid house is strong in this one and hopefully people will begin to recognize this and give the man the platform he deserves to showcase his vast talents behind the turntables in 2008.

Enjoy the mixes, I know I do.

Adam H - World 25.12.07

Timmy Regisford - African Jazz
Juzu Aka Moochy - Lugar Precioso (Kulumbe Forest)
Erol Josue - Papa Loko (you Can't Steel Papa Loko's Thunder)
Juzu Aka Moochy - Lugar Precioso (Precioso Dance)
Joe Claussell - Spiritual Insurrection
Francois K - Road of Life (Quiet Village Remix)
Franck Roger - Dom Drum
Force of Nature - Afroshock
Unknown - Arp 001
Far East Band - The Call Up (Martin Buttrich Remix)
Jerome Sydenham - Blacktro
Eric Kupper Presents K Scope - Electrikiss
Manoo & Francois A - Magnetic

Adam H - Shaped

Underground Resistance Ft Yolanda - Your Time Is Up (UR 01)
Office Gossip - Carbon Copy
Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Martin Buttrich Dub)
Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Martin Buttrich Remix)
Markus Enochson - Red Coffe (Redshape Sweat Mix)
Green Velvet Presents Jamie Principle - The Choice
Tommy Bones - Focused Energy
Larry Heard Presents Mr White - The Sun Can't Compare
Future Beat Investigators - DUK (Dixon Edit)
Dubfire - Ribcage
Kevin Saunderson - Till We Meet Again (Carl Craig Remix)
Redshape - Unfinished Symmetry (Pts 1 & 2)

Adam H - How II House

Vince Watson - Rendezvous
Faber & Sydenham - Timbukto
Fish Go Deep - The Cure & The Cause (Ferrer)
The Enigma - Man on Fire
Leela James - Good Time
Ron Trent - Love To The World & Maxine Innes - I Appreciate (Percapella)
The Enigma - Schmoov
Kerri Chandler - In The Morning
Ron Trent - Love To The World (Beats)
TOT - Voices
Jon Cutler - South Slope
Ibadan 10 - #7

Stay Free........................
For the Mind, Body & Soul.
Stay Free
Adam H

Monday, December 24, 2007

Adam Buxton

Adam Buxton cracks me up.

And this is just brilliant.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Northern Comfort

Northern Comfort is a blog/website run by Manchester's tallest man, Rob D and featuring contributions from Catcalledmorris (Chris to his mum) and Treva Whateva of Tru Thoughts and Ninja Tunes fame as well as various other contributors here and there. They cover many bases musically but with a predominance of hip hop posts, something which the three of them are very well versed in, they tend to provide me with more than enough information and enthusiasm on a genre that has defined a culture. There is also a decent amount of humour involved which can make for a highly entertaining read.

One of the many strengths of Northern Comfort are the mixes on offer. My personal favourite mix is by Rob's better half, Elisabeth Kurtis, which concentrated on all-girl bands from over the years and, to be honest, what Elisabeth doesn't know about all-girls bands quite simply isn't worth knowing. Rob and Chris are also superb DJs who have guested just about everywhere from Last Rites to Northern Disco and beyond and they've both contributed to Ema Nosurak's Nu Boogie radio show on Salford City Radio. Rob has been kind enough to let us link to his Xmas Mix, which should keep you jolly over the festive period. Northern Comfort is also the home to Kelvin Brown's impeccable mixing and selections, which have never been in more evidence than on his latest Celestial Blues.

Not content with keeping things on the Interweb, they're going to be starting a monthly night in Manchester in 2008 as well as guesting at other nights such as the awesome Northern Disco. Their site will also be featuring mixes from Hot Pot radio, which used to be broadcast on Samurai FM and featured the likes of Mr Scruff, the Unabombers, Treva Whateva and guests.

Rob is also adept at making records and you can download a few of them here.

Northern Comfort is definitely going from strength to strength but don't take my word for it, visit them here and see for yourself.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Weakest Link

I just got sent this and it's Anne Robinson at her finest and the rappers hold their own very well. Very funny.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Chuck Anderson/No Pattern

I'm not even sure where I first saw 22 year-old Chuck Anderson's work, I think someone sent me a link to his work and I was instantly blown away not only by his technical abilities but also by his amazing feel for composition and colour. There are some things that art school graduates like myself tend to pick up through various spheres of influence such as technique and application but one thing you can’t teach someone is how to have an eye for detail and, moreover, how to integrate these into the greater dynamics of a composition. Chuck has this ability in bucket loads and that is why he stands out in the oversaturated design market.

Chuck basically holds down three full-time jobs. Firstly, No Pattern is the name that he freelances under. Secondly, NP&CO. is the label under which he sells prints, t-shirts and books and also acts as an online store. Lastly, THE BRILLIANCE! is something that was started by Benjamin Gott and Chuck as ‘a labor of love/hobby/creative outlet/entreprenaurial-experiment-endeavor sort of thing’. That puts those of us who barely hold down one job quite clearly in the shade.

Chuck has worked for clients as varied as Adidas, Dolce & Gabanna, Helio, Microsoft, Nike, Mountain Dew, NYLON Magazine, Lowdown Magazine, XLR8R, Vans and many, many more and he’s currently exhibiting until the end of January at the new Threadless Gallery in Chicago, which is upstairs if you go into their new retail store. If you’re in the area I implore you to go and have a look at his work. Oh and seeing as it's Christmas a print or two would be nice, just in case you were stuck for ideas.

To learn more about Chuck and how he got his start, his influences and so forth visit his website and check out the press section where you can find various interviews with him that’ll, erm, paint a fuller picture of this prodigious talent.

Below I’ve highlighted some of my favourite pieces of his. One thing I do quite enjoy of Chuck’s is his hand drawn work. Most people who use digital media to do their artwork usually can’t draw for shit but Chuck’s ability to give life to his characters within his detailed compositions is very impressive and it comes as no surprise that he is regularly asked to speak at universities about his work.

These are his Upper Playground / Fifty24SF collaboration shoes, which I have somewhere in storage. They're dope. I need a bigger house.

This is the furniture that he did with Lars Amhoff of Kinky Form. Again if you're stuck for ideas for Christmas or my birthday...

The awesome Lupe Fiasco record cover.

This is just one of the t-shirt designs that you can buy from NP&CO.

Chuck is also available for freelance work and you can contact him through No Pattern.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today I got an e-mail from Adidas informing me about the 'sale to end all sales' and seeing as (1) it never takes much to get me to an Adidas store (2) do we really need a second reason? Anyway one thing that I found out on the way to the address that they gave me was that it was slap bang in the middle of an outlet mall.

Oh yes, we drove past a field of wind turbines.

I don't know if any of you have ever been to an outlet mall, but they're filled to the brim with all the shit that the stores can't sell through their high street stores. Everything is either XS or 3XL, so if you're tiny or morbidly obese then an outlet mall is your nirvana. Well after fighting my way into the store, I was pretty much disappointed with what was on offer until I saw a pair of ZXZ Oddities for $12. Twelve! I'm not even sure how many pairs of shoes I have now but none have cost me $12. I did a little dance on the way out.

Anyway afterwards the wife and I decided to go and try a place called Native Foods in Palm Springs. If someone had told me 7 years ago that I'd be looking forward to a meal in a vegan restaurant I'd have asked them for two of whatever they were taking. Anyway, times have changed and having a vegetarian wife has surely helped sway me to the rabbit side. Native Foods was started by Tanya Petrovna who wanted a place that is 'an organic vegan / vegetarian restaurant designed to meet the needs of today’s discriminating, health-conscious diners – vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.' If you looked at their menu you would have trouble believing that you're in a vegan restaurant with all the chicken wings, burgers etc. on offer. Obviously everything is made from soy but the taste and texture is superb even for a carnivore like myself.

For starters we had the 'free' the chicken wings.

Jeni had a chicken burger.

I had a Jamaican jerk burger.

They also gave us a frequent eater card that is going to get a lot of use out of the two of us. That's the wife looking none too impressed as we were driving around trying to find out what the point of Palm Springs is. It's just a fuck off big retirement home, isn't it? I'm kidding, kind of.

So try out Native Foods if you're ever in SoCal.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jeff Soto interview

This was done prior to his show as the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York a few months back. Yes, I know another Jeff Soto post. Obsessed? Who dear? Me dear? No dear! (OK, just a bit)

Another Night On Earth

Johannesburg-based Chris Keyz is the knowledgeable man behind easily my favourite music blog on the Internet, Another Night On Earth, supplying heads like myself with quality music cultivated from his extensive and deep record collection as well as mixes from some of the best DJs on the cosmic/disco scene - people like Andrew Allsgood, DJ Bwyse, Jaz, Kool Dj Dust and, well, Paul and myself. Chris is also a great DJ with a great sense of drama in his mixes and it's just a pity that he lives in Jo'burg where the opportunity to play the music that he loves is seriously limited by the fluffy bra brigade. Chris also designed our new banner here at Kumo, and we're honoured that such a designer as talented would take the time to do some work for us, and he has also been kind enough to allow us to stick the superb artwork and the links to the mixes from his blog up here for all of you to enjoy. For tracklistings and more please visit Another Night On Earth. Thanks a lot, Chris!

DJ Bwyse - Saturnal Reflections

Sebastian Broms - All In Your Mind - Hangover Mix

Paul and Marc Get High and Go To The Beach

Paul Williams - Permanent Vacation

Diepvries - Cool-De-La

Andrew Allsgood - A Million Sunsets

Brubbek - Brubbek Love

Jaz - Fresh Into The Sexy Night

Worst Friends - We're All Friends Here

DJ Kool Dust - Change The Goddamn Beat and Don't Be A Biter