Saturday, December 15, 2007

Record Stores

Amoeba Music
Los Angeles
Amoeba On The Web

The place takes up an entire city block and has thousands and thousands of titles in stock. Personally I prefer smaller stores where there is a bit of customer service but in this case the sheer volume of records on offer outweighs the lack of personal attention. The absolute best thing about the place is that the rarer records are worth nothing more than $30, which would never be the case in stores in Japan and the UK. The jazz section is great and the house section, which encompasses everything from Miguel Migs to Lindstrom to Audion records, has loads of bargains in it. They had all the Whatever We Want releases for a staggeringly low $8 each. As you can guess I cleaned up. Kelvin Andrews swears by the dollar bins as well of which there are plenty.

Fat City
Fat City On The Web

The first stop in Manchester for anything funk, jazz or hip hop related. With Jon K behind the counter you're assured that you will leave will something heavy. The amount of records that man has pulled out for me is ridiculous and going in, listening and buying can be a great source of education about records. Absolutely no attitude whatsoever in the store and they do a great mail-order as well. The jazz section is a goldmine.

Piccadilly Records
Piccadilly Records On The Web

When I lived in Manchester Piccadilly was conveniently located on my walk home, so it was inevitable that I would stop by every day eager to get my hands on the flood of new releases that came streaming through their doors. I'd hate to know how much I spent in there but it was easily the better side of £50 a week, probably more. On any given day you could bump into a vertiable who's who of the Manchester club scene and not to mention whoever is gigging that week in the city. They don't cater for one specific style but rather stock anything from any genre that meets the high standards that they have when they purchase records. The quality is unbelievably high. The staff are great as well.

Rough Trade
Rough Trade On The Web

This is probably Jeni's (the wife) favourite store outside of possibly Record Time in Ferndale, MI. Her eclectic taste in rock and indie is catered for and then some. They have a great techno and disco section but the gems lie in the sections mentioned above. They also seem to be the first to get anything in and a lot of the bands that we know and love were broken here first.

Jazzy Sport
Jazzy Sport On The Web

Mitsu and Taro run quite possibly the best (and most partner friendly) store on the planet. If Jon K worked here the place would be perfect. The selections in the bins are second to none where everything from Count Bassie to Fela Kuti to Moodymann to Robert Hood is to be found. Classics and future classics aplenty. They also do a great run on merchandise and were kind enough to give the wife a free brew while I salivated over all the records. I think they even gave her a promo of something as well, which was a nice touch. A great record buying experience.

Beatin' Rhythm
Beatin' Rhythm On The Web

I tend to go in here with the fear. I know that they probably have what I am looking for but with the staff seemingly knowing everything there is to know about soul and funk records you know they are going to come with a price that'll make you shed a tear or two. I've got some great bits 'n pieces from here like Masha Hunt's '(Oh No!) Not The Beast Day!' and the Trammps 'Rubber Band' amongst them and for the sake of my marriage I won't tell you how much I spent on them.

Sounds of The Universe
Sounds of The Universe On The Web

Closely associated with Soul Jazz Records, Sounds of The Universe is the sort of store you go to if you want the freshest cuts, especially if you are looking for disco, funk, reggae and dubstep. The guys behind the counter will pull records out for you until your credit card explodes and if you dig a bit under the surface downstairs you'll find bargain disco 7"s aplenty. They do some superb compilations as well.

Another home game, another win.

Nine out of nine for Sven and Frank. Goals from Bianchi, Hamann, Vassell (next goal due Oct 2009) and Etuhu push us back into the Top 4. Villa away next.

Barclays Premier League Table
15 Dec 19:11

1 Arsenal 37 points
2 Man Utd 36 points
3 Chelsea 34 points
4 Man City 33 points
5 Liverpool 30 points
6 Everton 30 points

Some old flier designs

These are some of the fliers that I have done in the past. They're not in any order but I'm sure that you can work it out if you need to.

I wish had access to the ones that I did pre-2005 and especially the ones I did for the Quality Control parties.

Sene - Anywhere But Here - Root 70 Lounge Digital

I've been doing some artwork for my Japanese friend, Naoyuki Ebihara's Root 70 Lounge Digital label that he is launching very soon on King Beat and iTunes with the new album by Sene. I met Nao when I taught him English in Manchester for a while and we ended up going to nights like Eyes Down and the Electric Chair together. We also went to see Fat Freddy's Drop play at the Academy and Nao danced his socks off, as did I, to the Aotearoans roots jazzed up soulful funk (crap description, I know but it's pretty much how they sound). Anyway he has since moved back to Japan and gotten involved with releasing records by Himuki and has now taken the plunge and started his own label.

Nao and myself at the Last Rites BBQ at the Sally in Hulme, Manchester.

I thought I'd just share with you a bit of the design process. There wasn't much of a budget and we had a very short time-table in which to work.

This was my initial idea for the front.

And the back. This is just a sketch and I was going to tighten it up a bit later in the process but the idea was rejected.

We then discussed this and decided to make it more 'street and jazzy', so I sent through this idea for the front. I must point out that one of the challenges of this brief was to make every bit of writing legible for people playing the tunes in iTunes - Nao isn't doing any CDs or 12"s at all.

Then it was pointed out that it was a solo album, so it was back to the drawing board. I didn't really like this design in all truth. Now the next challenge was using pictures that were 2cm x 3cm with a dpi of 65, I kid you not. This is what I came up with for the front.

And the back...

It's intended to be, ahem, seen like this.

Sene didn't like the font choices and he wanted me to use a different picture, so we ended up with it looking this this. I'm not a great fan of the font chosen but then again when you're working for someone else you don't really have the final say. I also had to give the boombox with the wings a more drawn kind of feel. Here is the front.

And the back...

And the whole shebang.

In the end it came out fairly well and Nao and Sene were both happy with it.

The album gets released on iTunes at the beginning of January.
And as of last night it is currently available from King Beat.
King Beat
Direct Link
King Beat Blog

Friday, December 14, 2007

James Kumo - Kumomusic Vol 1 - Ann Aimee

January will see the release of James' (Victoria or Posh Spice as I like to call him) debut EP on Ann Aimee, which is the sister label to The Netherlands' almighty Delsin Records imprint. They're busy promo'ing it at the moment and as you can tell from the reactions it's going to do well by the looks of things. DJ Rolando of UR fame has even stuck one of the tracks into his most recent chart. As you can probably guess we're massively proud of James here at Kumo HQ.

Release date: January 2008

Press/DJ Feedback:

"Beautiful, as always full radio support " - Laurent Garnier (F-Com)

"Fluid chugs along nicely, this one should definitely get things going in a set...45 days days is the pick of the EP for me...taking things up a notch from Fluid, will be able to find lots of ways to work this in..Koma is really nice, no way to play it except for a non dance situation but still great to listen to and play whenever possible.. very creative and original EP!" - Dan Curtin (Metamorphic)

"45 days!!!!! i played this 45 times in one gig!!!!!" - Vince Watson (Bio Music / Delsin)

"Raw and basic. Will try out the 45 days, as I can imagine this doing the best in the clubs." - Josh Wink (Ovum)

"some nice ideas, Fluid probably wins by a nose. Promising." - Lars Sandberg (Funk D'Void Productions)

"45 Days for me. The straightforwardness will work for dancefloors." - Ken Ishii (70 Drums)

"and again 3 great tracks wich i just don't know wich one to prefer,very cool and original ideas which inspire me a lot....winner!" - Benny Rodrigues

"Fluid and 45 Days will work perfectly in my sets. Koma is good for the radio. Full support !" - Tomaz (Switch - Studio Brussel)

"Fluid's got a deep,bumping and dark vibe that works well but 45 Days is the one for me with it's BIG peaktime full on sound. Can see that really going off in the clubs Very nice." - Colin Lindo (Nubian Mindz)

"Yo Delsin - Consider "Fluid" as the opener to dj any set. The ladies will freak to hypno vibe. 45 - Gets mad support from my side as well, A dark track but Im really digging it! Roberto Q. Ingram Black Nation, Exun, Disko Massaka" - Roberto Q. Ingram (Inspiration Network)

"'fluid' is the one for me here. like the sounds and the metalicy congas" - Dave Mothersole

"Fluid is definitely the main track of this ep. Reminds me of old 808 State drum programming, when Gerald was still part of that bunch. " - Rene Passet (Dj Broadcast)

"I am loving "Fluid." Will get big support at Demon Days events here (party with Carl Craig - we start a new NYC residency on Feb 14th). " - Gamall (Demon Days) (Demon Days / Backspin Promotions)

"nice ep .Im into Fluid and 45 days. i will play and support of course. more of that please! " - Alex Attias (Freedom Soundz)


Delsin Records
Delsin Myspace
Ann Aimee Myspace

Vinyl pre-order:

Rush Hour pre-order
HMV pre-order


Juno Download

The EP will be available on these sites soon.

Here is an interview that I did with James on Unity FM, followed by a blinder of a mix.

Jeff Soto

Jeff Soto is one of my heroes. He sights Star Wars and Robotech as his inspirations and it shines through in the sheer drammatic quality of his work that is interspersed with his trademark imagery of robots which are almost playful in nature. His technique is incredible and his ability to use colours is, for me, unaparalleled in the contemporary art world today. What I really like is that he has taken street art aesthetics and dragged them kicking and screaming into galleries across the world from which he has garnered serious plaudits from all and sundry. I'd fill my house with his pieces if I could afford more.

Jeff Soto Website
Jeff's Blog

Things that I like

I'm not a complicated person by any stretch of the imagination, especially when it comes to clothing. It's pretty much Adidas Originals, Diesel, WeSC, LRG, Graniph, Kenzo and that's it. I'll spend hours and hours looking for records and at art but when it comes to clothing I make snap decisions and more often than not they turn out alright. I like bright colours and simple clear graphics - a bit like my art, and the art that I like, in all truth. There is an argument that I dress a bit too young for my age but to tell you the truth I'm old enough to know better and young enough not to care. Here are some of my favourite bits 'n pieces.

Adidas Originals


WeSC (WeAreTheSuperlativeConspiracy)

WeSC is a street fashion brand for intellectual slackers. WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy symbolizes what WeSC as a company represents; a group, a family of good and competent people working towards the same ideal and goals. WeSC is addressing people with awareness, regardless of race, religion or financial background.

- Taken from their website.

I like them mainly because they do great collaborations with Nokia and Adidas. Their banana tees and sweatshirts are my most liked pieces.



A brand that I stumbled upon in the Harajuku district of Tokyo with my wife a few years back. I could've bought the store but I was restrained by the wife who probably wasn't prepared to stick one of her kidneys on the black market to pay for all of my swag and quite rightfully so. They're the t-shirt brand on the planet. (There is another brand that is equally as good that I saw in Singapore but I haven't seen it since anywhere, so it's probably best left at that.)