Monday, May 11, 2009

Twitter is the shitter!

I'm on Twitter, if you want to follow me then add me here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Taking A Break

I'm busy working on a number of projects at the moment including a clothing line and a record label, so I'm having a bit of trouble finding time to do the blog and I'd rather not do a half-hearted post every other week and as a result I'm going to cease posting for a while. Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my ramblings.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Suite For Ma Dukes Pictures

As seen on Swindle Magazine.

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

Easily one of the greatest records of all-time, and one that still gives me chills when I hear it. Originally on the Blue Lines album this cut sung imperiously by Shara Nelson cut through the musical hemisphere at the turn of the 90's like a daisy-cutter. This is still the blueprint to my youth and something that I have been playing incredibly loudly in recent days. Still love it!

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

Adidas Originals House Party

David Axelrod - Holy Thursday

I think this is the first time that I have ever put a David Axelrod track on the blog, which in all truth is incredibly shameful considering how I much I love the man's work. David Axelrod is a master musician who was the man who pushed the likes of Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderly to the forefront of music during his time as A&R and composer at Capitol Records in the late 60's and early 70's. He has been sampled by just about ever person who has ever made hip hop and probably most famously by DJ Shadow who spearheaded the resurgence in his music by letting the whole world know about him through the grooves of Endtroducing. Holy Thursday is an incredibly beautiful and ambitious track that shows just about everything that is good about Axelrod's work and listening back to it you can definitely hear why so many people have sampled him and why he is so influential. This is meant to be played incredibly loudly.

David Axelrod - Holy Thursday

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Edgar Müller

I had never seen work by Edgar Müller before and it is a very interesting take on the street art that you see in cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice where people paint images on the streets quite regularly. It must have taken him ages to work out the dimensions on these pieces as well as constant reordering of the focal point. Pretty astonishing stuff.

Edgar Müller was born in Mülheim/Ruhr on 10 July 1968 and grew up in the rural city of Straelen in the outermost west of Germany. His great artistic talent to represent its surroundings graphically and picturesquely turns out early, fascinated by painting from youth. He attends the high school in the neighboring town Geldern where the internationally important competition of the street painters takes place for over 30 years now. Inspired by the transitory works of art which meet him on his way to school Edgar Müller take part to this festival at the age of 16 years for the first time. With 19 years he wins this competition with a copy of the picture "Jesus at Emmaus " (Caravaggio).

Within the years following on this he could decide many other international competitions for himself. Since 1998 Edgar Müller owns the title 'maestro madonnari' (master street painter) whom worldwide only few artists bear. This award will allocate on the best known festival of the street painters in the small Pilgrim town Grazie since 1972 in Italy.

Arround the age of 25 Müller decides to devote himself to street painting completely. He travels all over Europe and denies his cost of living with his transitory art. He gives workshops at schools and is co-organizer and member of committee of different Street-Painting-Festivals. Mueller sets up the first and so far only board for street painters in Germany - an internet forum designed for solidarity of the german street painter community.

Edgar Muellers open studio is the street. He presents the people the excellent works of old masters in their weekday, and draws his perfect copies to the observers feet. He invites his audience to his fascination about the old masters art, her expressed view of the world - seeing and understanding it in depth.

Despite courses among well-known artists and studies to the communication designer Edgar is actually an autodidact. He looks for new representation forms for himself again and again. Inspired by the three-dimensional illusion paintings (particularly by works of Kurt Wenner and Julian Beever) he follows this new art form and creates his own style. Based on his knowledge about traditional painting and modern communication Müller uses a more simple and graphic language for his art. He paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new appearance thereby, challenging the perception of the passers-by. The observer becomes a part of the new scenery offered. While proceeding their daylife the people are changing the painting's statement on and on. Numerous publications in press and television draw one's attention to its unusual art.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Suite For Ma Dukes

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending an event that completely and utterly affirmed my love for music, Suite For Ma Dukes, an orchestral tribute to the music and memory of J Dilla.

The night kicked off with the legendary J Rocc of the Beat Junkies absolutely killing it after House Shoes had gotten the place all nicely whipped up.

Then the orchestra played with a cast that included the likes of Karriem Riggings, Bilal, Diana 'Decibel' Booker, Amp Fiddler, Talib Kweli, Posdnuos, Dweli, Illa J, Common and loads more all conducted beautifully and with an incredible amount of genuine emotion by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.

The show was shot by B+ and will probably be made available in the coming months but in the meantime check this sneaky film of the finale and the encore that has just surfaced on Youtube.

This was without a doubt a night of music that I would have loved each and every one of you to have been able to experience. I do not have the words to describe how incredible it was.

Tony Allen & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Documentary

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fela Kuti v Kano - I'm an I.T.T.

This is a more than decent mash-up of Fela's I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) and italo bomb I'm Ready by Kano, and is something that I've never gotten the chance to play out but will probably do so the next time I step up to the decks, whenever that may be. Proper dancefloor tackle for a Saturday.

Fela Kuti v Kano - I'm An I.T.T.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tony was 18...once!

This was a mix done by my partner-in-crime Paul Hughes for Tony Spaceface's 40th birthday celebrations that apparently went down an absolute storm at the Sally last weekend. Happy birthday Tony, and what a great gift. My 30th is coming up in a week and the gift of music is always welcome. Download the mix here.

Tracklisting - all unashamedly pre-88 party-bangers.

Love International - Dance On The Groove
Izit - Stories (stories mix)
Mano Negra - king kong five
Cry Sisco - Afrodizziact
Duke of Burlington - Flash 83 (dub)
Chris Rea - Josephine (version francais)
Evo e - Esta Amor
Dizzi Heights - Would I Find Love
Kongas - Anikan-o (tom moulton mix)
Mascara - Baja (dub)
Its Immaterial - Driving Away From Home (dead mans curve)
Scarlet Fantastic - No Memory (extra sensory mix)

Marlena Shaw - Woman Of The Ghetto

The first female to be signed to Blue Note, who are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, Marlena Shaw's deep take on soul mesmerized players and punters alike as she charged up the charts all in her own inimitable style. This cut, Woman Of The Ghetto, was famously being sampled in the 90's by Blueboy on their hit track Remember Me which seemed to be everywhere when it was released on Guidance, and was also sampled by St. Germain on one of my favourite cuts of all-time Rose Rouge at the turn on the century both of which if you haven't heard before you really should seek out. In addition to her time on Blue Note, Marlena has released records on Chess, Cadet, Columbia, Soul Brother, Verve and South Bay the majority of which are absolutely essential for any self-respecting record collector. Marlena was recently honored at the World Wide Awards in London and she continues to seduce with her sultry and dulcet tones the world over. Look beyond the dime-a-dozen pop strumpets littering the airwaves and sink your lugs into the real deal. This is one to play ear-bursting loud.

Marlena Shaw - Woman Of The Ghetto

Joe Crepusculo - Gabriela - El Guincho remix

I know absolutely nothing about Joe Crepusculo beyond, and to be honest this is a guess, that he is Spanish and that his work can be at times very hard to digest, so it is with a huge sigh of relief that El Guincho has gotten his hands on a track and turned into what is admittedly just the right side of cod reggae with an incredibly full sounding reworking. This is just the sort of thing that the Balearic (slowly becoming a dirty word) massive should eat up. One for those days when the sun is shining.

Joe Crepusculo - Gabriela - El Guincho remix

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Koushik - Lying In The Sun

Koushik Ghosh is an interesting cat, not content with simply making hip hop he blends a health does of psychedelia in and the results at time are quite breathtaking. He's worked with a number of artists such as Madvillian, Manitoba, Four Tet and many more and has found a home on the increasingly psych-friendly label Stones Throw who have just recently released a great 45 of his. This track, Lying In The Sun, taken from his must have album Out My Window is an adventurous take on the beats cannon and sounds absolutely incredible in the sun, which finally peaked its head out today after a few days of snow. Buy the album, trust me.

Koushik - Lying In The Sun

Daptone Records Broken Into

I've been asked to post this on the blog.

Friends and associates,As you may have heard through the grapevine by now, Daptone was broken into last night. Unfortunately, there was a lot of equipment (mics, pre-amps, monitors, turntables, guitars, amps, computers, etc.) stolen and damaged. It is going to take us a while to go through everything and take full stock of what was stolen, and we are not supposed to touch anything until the cops come back to collect fingerprints so we can only guess what’s missing from some mic drawers and cabinets.

And, no, we did not have insurance. We had been shopping around with different companies earlier this month but had not signed a check, so nothing was insured. We are working on replacing the gate in front, installing an alarm system, and getting insurance, but it is President’s day so it’s not going as quickly as we would have liked. Nydia’s computer was stolen (which wasn’t backed up) and the modems/ phone system was ripped out, so we’ll be relatively out of commission for a few days.

I would like to ask for everyone’s help first in keeping an eye out for all of our stuff showing up on ebay/craigslist/local music shops, and secondly (and more realistically) keeping an eye out for good deals on headphones, mics, pre-amps, etc. I could really use a heads up on any kind of studio package for sale or studio equipment to be possibly bought or borrowed as soon as possible. We have a session scheduled for Friday to lay down some music for (I know this sounds surreal) Rod Stewart, and I’m going to have to get the studio running by then. I know I’m going to need to find headphones, cables, mics, and pre-amps by then. I’m not sure what else yet.

Upon first glance we are definitely missing:
Fender Super Guitar Amp in case
Fender Deluxe Guitar Amp
A whole bunch of headphones and wires
Nydia’s HP laptop computer
One Desktop MacIntosh Computer
One Purple Audio API style lunchbox with
four Purple Audio Biz mic pre-amps
2 Yamaha NS10 monitors
Vintage Harmony Rocket Guitar
One steel string acoustic guitar
Martin Tenor sax in a gig bag
Technics 1200 turntable
Ion USB turntable
Teac Receiver/stereo amp
Sony dual deck CD burner/player
All of our modem/phone system stuff was ripped out and taken.
A whole bunch of condensor and dynamic microphones (I still need to figure out exactly what’s missing)
The power supply for my Trident console was tossed and the board was moved (probably not gently) so the status of that is still questionable.
A baldwin organ was tossed and is probably broken.
Lacie External hard drive.

Over the next few days, as we sort out the rubble, we are going to figure out what else we lost.

We are putting in a roll down front gate, alarm system, and finally getting our insurance happening this week. We are also going to hire a security guard to watch the house for tonight as the cops and alarm guy seemed pretty confident that they will be back with a truck now that they’ve seen what’s in here.


Thankfully, we all still have our health, ambition, tape machines, and sense of humor in tact. You can slow us down, but you can’t stop us. Sleep well knowing we here at Daptone will continue to…

Keep putting Soul up,

Gabriel Roth

You know what to do people! Keep an eye & ear out… any dodgy gear going for.

If you know anything contact the boys through their website.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Sushi is by far and away my favourite food and Tokyo is by far and away my favourite city, so this brilliantly simple idea really caught my imagination this afternoon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hot Rocks - Chopper - Extended Edit

When Sebestian Tellier's incredible La Ritournelle was released a few years ago there was a rush of people seeking out alternatives to its undeniable charms and this cheeky edit that surfaced was hailed by one of Manchester's premier tastemakers, Jeff Plant, as being even better and over the years that I've been pulling this out I have to say that I couldn't agree more because as far as end of the night records go (and that is my favourite part of any night) this is exceptional, proper soaring, and dare I say it, emotional piece of work. Beautiful.

Hot Rocks - Chopper - Extended Edit

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Matmos - Steam & Sequins for Larry Levan

This is a bit of a mystery to me, I know who Matmos is but I'm not sure where this record is from but I'm assuming it is coming out on a new album at some point in the very near future. Matmos are of course American cut and paste producers whose work is as clever as it it bonkers, the majority of which would part a dancefloor like Moses but play their records at an afterparty and everyone and their dog wants to know what has just tickled their ears. I actually prefer Drew Daniels' The Soft Pink Truth stuff but this is a perfect example of what made Matthew Herbert to sign them to his Accidental label a few years ago. To be honest, I haven't quite made my mind up about this one - what do you think?

Matmos - Steam & Sequins for Larry Levan

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tony Allen Live!

Now as many of you know I am a tad obsessed with former Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, and recently he played a gig in London at Karen P's Broadcasting night that included an incredible array of guest artists including the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who are made up of eight of erstwhile Sun Ra Arkestra member Phil Cohran's sons, Ty, Natty and Senegal's legendary Baba Maal all of which was captured recently for RBMA radio and you can listen to it here. Truly inspirational stuff, and a great interview with the man himself through the broadcast.

Fake Male Voice - OMG!!!FMV!!!

This is a venture into solo work from TV on The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and is from the superbly packaged 7" that comes accompanied by a DVD and is released on a Japanese label with a Brooklyn mailing address, hmmmmm. This does sound like a TV on The Radio record but without the heavy guitar and horn work that characterized their last must have album, and it has most certainly grown on me in recent days. Definitely something I would've played on the, erm, radio.

Fake Male Voice - OMG!!!FMV!!!

The Selby

Todd Selby is a New York-based photographer who has been shooting movie directors, fashion models, designers, painters, writers and indie magazine editors in their homes in New York, London, Paris, Mexico City and Los Angeles and he posts the results on his brilliant website which I have become fairly obsessed with in recent weeks since I was introduced to it via Tyler Askew's excellent blog. The one thing that I have learned is that if a house has a KAWS companion then generally I end up liking the person after a few hours of Google gymnastics. This is one of those little gems that makes the Interweb so great.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

James Yancey RIP

Born James Yancey, Detroit-bred J Dilla excelled as a hip-hop producer with a penchant for collaborating with the most versatile and underground of hip-hop performers. In the mid- to late '90s he conceived beats for hip-hop's most eclectic visionaries: De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Tha Pharcyde, the Roots. His producing style was never flashy, often exerting the right low-range mix of street funk and boho jazziness perfect for many of the aforementioned artists. The 32-year-old Dilla passed away from lupus complications on Fri., Feb. 10 2006. He will always be seen as a godsend to both hip-hop artists and listeners.

Gone but not forgotten.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses - Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve re-animation

Krautrock-obsessed psychdelia masters Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve have somehow managed to make the house record of the year with their superb take on the new Franz Ferdinand single that is as good as it is surprising. This is very much a hark back to the times when Gourmet Records were at their zenith and every record that came out had a groove with just enough melody to keep the smiles on the faces as you danced the night away well beyond the witching hour. Superb stuff and a record that I can certainly see the more discerning selectors out there igniting discos with. You better be quick with this one as it is very limited.

Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses - Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve re-animation

Idjut Boys - Roll Over and Snore - Long Stayer Mix

Dan Tyler and Conrad McDonnell are the Idjut Boys, two of the finest proponents of deep disco, well that is not entirely accurate as they were deep house when they first emerged and then cosmic disco came along and they were slotted into that camp, so I'm sticking with the lazy deep disco, and over the years they have released and recorded music as Pastrami Man, The Idjuts, Phantom Slasher and many, many more but I've always felt that they'd left their best dubbed out discoid moments for The Idjut Boys moniker and this wonderful piece of rolling dance music that came out on the sadly missed Nuphonic is easily my favourite. It is all about the piano-line, which is one that is just the right side of smooth and works an absolute treat for just about any crowd. A lovely record to have a boogie to.

Idjut Boys - Roll Over and Snore - Long Stayer Mix

Coming Soon

Made in Japan.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Raise It Up For Ma Dukes

Tomorrow is James Yancey aka J Dilla's birthday and unfortunately we lost this incredible talent to a rare blood disease and sadly his mother is now afflicted with the same condition, so with that Stones Throw have enlisted the help of Dutch artist Parra to design an exclusive t-shirt where some of the proceeds will go to paying for her medical bills. An incredibly generous thing for the label to do and I have just done my part by purchasing the t-shirt. You can buy it yourself here or at the usual local stockists in your area.

Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson will also be performing a Suite For Ma Dukes, a celebration of J Dills with a 36-piece orchestra on February 22nd in Los Angeles, the previous installment included the wonderful Ethio-Jazz legend, Mulatu Astatke, and with future shows by Brasilian master Arthur Verocai and the legendary David Axelrod this is something that if you're in the area you truly should try and get down to. Tickets and more information here.

Here is a taster from the series.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DJ Hell - The Angst

Munich's DJ Hell may be to some associated with the blink-and-you-missed-it Electroclash scene but I first heard his records when he released the incredible My Definition of House Music, which still sounds fresh today, and his work when he launched International Deejay Gigolos and his spellbinding work with the immensely talented Anthony Rother all of which are body music and not limited to haircuts. This track is a bit of a case of two steps forward and one step back with Hell making a record that is almost balearic but with those electronic touches that we've come to know and love from the man. Next to MDOH this is to my ears his best track! Seriously good stuff from a man who can.

DJ Hell - The Angst

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Raphael Saadiq - Big Easy

Former Tony! Toni! Toné!, Lucy Pearl and D'Angelo writer/producer/performer Raphael Saadiq has just released an absolute gem of an album, The Way I See It which features performances by Joss Stone, The Rebirth Brass Band, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z and Rocio Mendoza all of whom contribute to what is a scintillating piece of modern soul that really deserves to be a lot bigger than it waswhen it was released, but fear not its charms have been revealed to the record buying community by the likes of Gilles Peterson and dancefloors are throwing some serious shapes to records like this one, Big Easy which to my ears is the very epitome of Saturday night gymnastics on a 7". I absolutely love this. Play it loud and I defy you to not clap your hands while you listen to it. Sunshine.

Raphael Saadiq - Big Easy

Monday, February 2, 2009

Crowhead - The Bends

This is really ace. Salfordian man about town and all round good egg, Woody is about to release an album on ATIC Recordings in the summer and this track entitled The Bends is the first sneak peak to have emerged and what a teaser it is. He's the resident DJ at Friends & Family all over the world but as with all the lads involved in the night he is a music man and his album promises to be a true representation of all of them. Can't wait for this to come out on vinyl. Big!

Erick Sermon feat. Marvin Gaye - Music

Here is a real Monday morning jam, something that gets the week off to a perfect start. Erick is of course one half of legendary hip hop band EPMD who recorded this jam for the soundtrack of a film that I never saw and in truth can't be bothered to look up and obviously years of sampling the likes of Eric Clapton, Zapp and the like hasn't been lost on our man who expertly blends legendary soul man Marvin Gaye's dulcet tones into what is an exceptional piece of hip hop. Just imagine if sampling laws weren't as stringent as they are now, we'd be swimming in genius and not having to fight through piles of violence that seem to fill most records that spew forth from the Tri-State area these days. Big up an original, and yes that was one sentence!

Erick Sermon feat. Marvin Gaye - Music

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yaw - Where Would You Be

This was easily my single of the year for 2008 and even though I have listened to it hundreds of times it still kills me each and every time. Emotive backing, solid lyrics and an arrangement to die for, this is modern soul music at its finest. Nothing much more to say than turn it up loud and drown in the beauty.

Yaw - Where Would You Be

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Janelle Monáe - SIncerely, Jane

Janelle Monáe is destined to be absolutely huge, and I was introduced to her by Geoff over at Pass The Feeling On and what is abundantly clear is that this is pop music made perfectly with great arrangements that are as interesting as they are catchy, none of that watered down Britney (bar Toxic, which is a tune!) shit but rather a tune with a massive Northern groove and a singer who sings the cut to perfection. She has been nominated for a Grammy this year and anybody who lists her influences as Judy Garland, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Jackie Wilson, Grace Brown, Karen O, Lauryn Hill, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Outkast, Nona Hendryx, Bach, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Fiona Apple, Björk, Anita Baker, and The Hives is ok in my book. Check her performing in the video below for some serious delivery and dance moves - I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the near future. (Oh, and judging by her band and the clips somebody has thrown some serious cash behind her!)

Janelle Monáe - SIncerely, Jane

Bill Withers - Harlem - Eamon Harkin edit

This is quite simply the best edit that I have heard in years. All of those of you who take scissors to tracks let this be a lesson to you, he's kept the quality and feeling of the original in tact but at the same time he has given it loads of bite and this is screaming to be played to the heaving masses. Now just who is Eamon Harkin? Well, he's an Irish-born New York-based DJ who plays pretty much across the board because like he says, "In this day in age, with few exceptions, it’s really quite boring to hear the same genre played seamlessly all night." Never a truer word uttered. He's played alongside everyone from Afrika Bambaataa to Crystal Castles to The Glimmers to A-Trak everywhere from Paris to London all without selling his soul to the commercial devil and playing music true to his tastes, and with his edits appearing on Wurst and other projects on the horizon I think it is time that we took note of the man as he's on the verge of being very big indeed. This edit is banging!

Bill Withers - Harlem - Eamon Harkin edit

The Superimposers - The Northern Song - Ashley Beedle's Southern Psychedelic Mix

The Superimposers are a band that should be a lot bigger than they are, what with them sounding like the bastard love child of The Beach Boys and The Mizzell Brothers and on this single The Northern Song they have been aided by studio wizard Ashley Beedle and the result is just the sort of thing that will sound absolutely incredible in the sun surrounded by all of your mates. Check their wonderful website and radio show, which recently featured he of impeccable taste Sir Moonboots, for more of the magnificence. Here is an excellent interview with the duo that you really should read. All around sublime stuff.

The Superimposers - The Northern Song - Ashley Beedle's Southern Psychedelic Mix

Black Devil Disco Club - Never No Dollars

Now this piece of Italo-inspired goodness may not be to everyone's tastes but lately I have been playing this one mega-loud at 5pm when I get home from work and trying unsuccessfully to get my cats to throw some shapes with me as I make a vague attempt at turning my front room into a frankly rubbish recreation of Typhoon. Now this isn't even the sort of record that Bepe Loda would've played but it is definitely late-night heads down tackle that deserves Saturday night plays, so get on it if you haven't already. The guys behind the record Bernard Fevre and Jacky Giordano made this pretty much from scratch playing all the parts or so legend goes. I heard a rumour that the whole obscure found in a vault story is nothing more than their label trying to create legend in a bid to shift units but at the end of the day who cares really as long as the music is as good as this. Play it loud and drown in the synths.

Black Devil Disco Club - Never No Dollars

Animal Collective - Brothersport

Animal Collective are avant-garde musicians from Baltimore, MD who even when they're making tracks that may not be instantly palatable they never fail to make you listen and there aren't too many acts that you're prepared to lovingly sift through the dirge to get to the incredible and this is one of them. This is the last cut from their new album Merriweather Post Pavilion and was supposedly originally based around a sample of a Moodymann record but I can't hear it but this is the type of record that you could definitely play it towards the end of the night when a bit of clapping and jumping about is required before you step out back into the real credit crunched world after a night of intoxicated escapism. Buy the album, trust me.

Animal Collective - Brothersport

Fabulous Souls - Take Me

This record was unearthed by Egon for his Now Again imprint a few years ago during his Mid-West funk digging phase (last I checked he is busy mining Korean and Turkish funk) and pretty much all I know about this superb energetic slice of get up is that they released two versions, one done in their native Indianapolis and one in Los Angeles which was the norm for touring bands eager to put their tracks out wherever they went. I can't help but wonder how many closets and storage vaults have masters to other touring bands letting off some steam at some pitstop on the way to the next dance. Actually Egon probably knows the answer to that and I'll ask him when he comes up here in February. Records like this reaffirm why I love music so much.

Fabulous Souls - Take Me

John Martyn RIP

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Scottish music legend John Martyn this morning. I have written about his epic track Don't Want To Know off the essential Solid Air on this blog previously here and truly words can't do justice to the big man who always thought that the music was way more important than the adulation or the fame, which is incredibly rare in the current music climate where people seem only content on getting famous and not taking the time to think of the longevity of what they are putting out - it is always a shame when people dilute the message. John's theme was life and all the ups and downs that go along with it and he did it in a way that made you think. I always play John when the mood calls for something serene.

I was introduced to this clip by Kelvin Brown a few years back and is what started me off on the road to enlightenment about our hero and is something that I've watched on plenty of occasions and seems appropriate for today.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Designers Republic

Sheffield-based The Designers Republic were shut this week by what is effectively a perfect storm in the advertising world - they lost a few major pitches, a client owed them a massive amount of money, a huge tax bill came through that should've been rectified and they lost a couple of clients. You're pretty much dead in the water if one or two of those happen but if all four occur at the same time then you're done.

When I was at Michaelis, everyone in the Design & New Media department idolised Designers Republic simply because they were doing everything that we wanted to do, namely working with cutting-edge record labels on artwork where money wasn't an object (to a degree). I mean who doesn't want to work for Warp? 23 years in the business has seen them work from a multitude of clients that most agencies would give their front teeth to have, and especially have those same clients who pretty much gave them free reign which is almost unheard of. They were anti-establishment but at the same time they did embrace brash consumerism and this juxtaposition lead to arresting work that still catches the eye all of these years later. This is of course the agency that had the balls to open their own shop in Shibuya, The Peoples Bureau For Consumer Information™, in an area that is so heavily trafficked ideal space isn't the easiest to come by and did so with aplomb.

They've designed everything from record sleeves to the packaging for Wipeout to their own Swatch watch to rebranding an entire city, Quito in Ecuador, not bad, eh? How you ever get the chance to rebrand a city is beyond me. In an age where cutting-design slowed down and because dull and monochromatic they stepped forward and produced work that at times felt like someone was eating your brain out with a spoon - check the Aphex Twin 'Windowlicker' cover for further proof - and for that I salute them but this may just be a turning point in tDR story as Ian Anderson's parting words do give me a glimmer of hope that this great design institution hasn't had its last laugh just yet - "I’m looking out the window and it’s a lovely sunny day - as it always is in Sheffield - and I think there are a lot of plus points. The Republic is dead… long live the Republic."