It's well known that the music libraries of the 60's and 70's have become serious sample fodder for hip-hop and electronic producers. But the music has also become a staple on adventurous dance floors a la carte, or in some cases after subtle tweaks from a gifted editor. That's exactly what Manchester producer Waiwan has done with his expert take on the Keith Mansfield classic "Crash Course." We've posted a download to our Soundcloud page, and the original version is available on Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library, which is out now.
The term "sleaze" as applied to disco goes back to the mid-70s, and was used to describe the slower, often vocal-lead tracks that DJs would spin toward the end of a party, in many cases in the early hours of the morning. The always informative Horse Meat Disco guys used the sub-genre as an inspiration for one of the discs on their third compilation with us, and there is of course an ongoing and healthy debate taking place online as to what technically is and isn't bona fide "sleaze."
As Dennis Citizen Kane (the man behind the Disques Sinthomme / Ghost Town labels, one of our favorite DJs in New York, and another great source for disco history and information) is launching a new club night at the Soho Grand this Friday featuring some authentic sleaze sounds, we thought we'd take the opportunity to have him share some of his favorites.
Says Kane: "These songs are not ranked in any specific way, they are just 10 great sleazy jams, they all have tremendous atmosphere and great sonic palettes. All of them convey such an intense mood and intimacy, elegant, erotic, exotic, and modern."
Sleaze to Please - 10 sleazed-out jams selected by Dennis Citizen Kane
10 Pino Presti - Disco Shitan
9. Shock Taktix ~ Morocko
8. Puccio Roelens - Northern Lights
7. Jo Dassin - Le Jardin Du Luxembourg ( TeeTwo Mariani Edit )
6. Night Creatures - That's the night
5. Crystal Bird - Tunnel
4. Francis Lai - #1
3. Marti Cane - Love the way you love me
2. Bob Chance - Jungle Talk
1. Double Fantasy - Food for fantasy
The story of Celluloid Records is a complicated one, and one that goes deeper than the music. Vivien Goldman did a fantastic job of outlining some of the label's history and context in her liner notes for Change The Beat, and now we have the pleasure of learning even more from some of the key players in the label's storied history. Filmed in Paris and New York City, this two part series features producers and musicians Bill Laswell and DXT (formerly Grand Mixer DST) and founder / owner Jean Karakos. Part two in the series will be posted shortly. Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story is out now on double CD, double vinyl w/ CD insert, and digital download.
Ashley Beedle is one of those incredible DJs who has most likely forgotten more about music than most of us will ever know. Hyperbole aside, it's a thrill to hear him speak about his early nightlife experience, the transition from soundboy culture into early club days, and the music that soundtracked the different times of his life. We're honored to have Ashley on the line-up for our Christmas Party this week, and hope you can join us for what promises to be an incredible evening!
You used to talk about soul clubs in North London that you went to when you were young. Can you tell us about those days?
Yes, I was 16 or 17 when I was going to places like Bumbles, which was either in Tottenham or Palmers Green, and the Royalty in Southgate. I actually saw Marvin Gaye perform there. At the time, I was dabbling with sound systems and I was involved with Stateside which was a sound up in Wembley. My cousin Ricky Bushell hooked me in and I travelled around with them. Already at that stage it wasn't just about being a pure reggae sound - 2-step soul had started to come in since reggae was a very male phenomenon at his height. The DJs had realised that they had to appeal to the girls and it was soul tunes like Natalie Cole's 'This Will Be' that worked and got them onto the floor. Norman Jay was doing that too with Joey on his sound.
My first club experiences were really during my last year at school when London's West End was big. Clubs like Crackers and Obie J's. Where I was living, Harrow (North West London) had a big club scene at the time - there was a big Asian and black population there and the soulboy thing was big. Places like Harrow Leisure Centre, the Kings Head at Harrow On The Hill, Circles in South Harrow, the Headstone in Harrow & Wealdstone and the Co-Op disco which was very influential. There was a white guy, Dave, who ran a sound system called Channel One - not the reggae one we know today - and he played big reggae hits next to tracks like Fatback Band 'Spanish Hustle' and 'Going To See My Baby', then Elton John's 'Philadelphia Freedom', Mass Production - 'Cosmic Lust'. I went to Wembley too - the Hop Bine. The dancers from Crackers used to go there and they moved around different clubs and cut each other up. It was a really interesting time. Hammersmith Palais did a Sunday gig where Kelly's Roadshow played . The biggest tunes were The Real Thing's 'Can You Feel The Force' and GQ hits like 'Standing Ovation'. I remember there was a turning point when jazz funk became too insular - you'd be paying £20 for a rare album with just one playable track on it. Then kids got into Slave, Freeez, the Brit funk wave which was massive during the early '80s. There was crossover with the punk scene too as punks took elements of Soulboy fashion like mohair jumpers and plastic bag tops while studded belts and winkle pickers crossed into the soul crowd. That doesn't often get mentioned.
Which were your favourite clubs during the heyday of electro and boogie around '83-'85? Any life-changing club moments at that time? Where did you used to buy your records back then?
This was a strange time for me - I opted out a bit during this period. I was checking bands like The Clash, A Certain Ratio, Orange Juice and Siouxsie And The Banshees. At the same time, Rob Mello and I used to go to Bentleys where Derek B was the main DJ. I first started to hear electro and boogie there, all mixed up, just as the B Boy thing was coming through. Then there was Spats in Oxford Street where Tim Westwood was the resident. He'd play that US remix of Tears For Fears with the big break, Ryuichi Sakamoto 'Riot In Lagos'. It all changed so quickly. Boogie was big and I got totally caught up again after being an indie kid for a while! I had blue plastic brothel creepers, a quiff, the lot! There was a lot of crossover with electro and boogie. A seminal record back then was Terence T 'Power' which was a big record when pirate station LWR first started up. Rumour had it that it was Terence Trent D'Arby behind it but it wasn't! It came out and I remember that you could only get it in Tower Records in Piccadilly. We had no mobiles so it was all word of mouth at that time - a collector called Rajan tipped me off that they had copies. I got there and the queue was round the block! I used to go to obvious small shops like Groove Records in Soho but HMV and Tower used to have some good records back then too. Groove would sometimes even buy their copies there. Reggae shops too - Hawkeye in Harlesden brought in UK boogie tracks and soul to broaden their selection.
How did you find the transition from sound system DJ to club DJ back in the day? Or was it a natural move for you? Where did you first cut your teeth as a DJ in clubs?
I started to make my name when I was with Shock sound system. When we started that, it was just before acid house. Rare groove was really going on but then these proto house records started to appear. I went to Meltdown one night, a club run by Jonathan More and Norman Jay at The Crypt in Brixton. They were playing proto house records mixed in with Fela and James Brown and then eventually all these other house records appeared and they played them too. There was a 12 called 'JB Traxx' by Duane & Co. - a massive record. That was the vibe, then Trax came in. We were then given our own room at Clink Street and that was the first time that we did longer sets, playing 2-3 hours. None of us really went to Shoom at the time but the Shoomers came to Clink St after Shoom had finished. We were playing the black end of house which was very different to their sound and we still played soul too staying tru to our suburban soulboy roots. Then Phil Perry, who had Queens in Windsor, approached me to play there - that was the first time I saw Phil, Breeze (God rest his soul) and Weatherall. They played odd records but I adored them and I kept going up to booth asking 'what's that, what's that!' Tracks like Les Negresses Vertes 'Zobi la Mouche', 'Oh Well' by Oh Well, Belgian new beat. All coming in at different angles.
You're in Manchester now? How are you finding life there... and music?
It's one of the best moves I've ever done. London was good but personalities had started to outstrip what the music was about. I found that none of them talked about music - it was all about their careers. I met with T. Williams and listening to his stuff buzzed me up again. Julio Bashmore too. Floor-edged UK funky house that references the older stuff we played but in a great new way. I did my 'Yardism' EP in response to that (which is doing well, may I add!). So, I moved to Manchester partly to get out of London and my partner is also studying here. There are so many little scenes here - everyone knows each other and everyone is really helpful. There's some really new stuff up here and, dare I say it, it may be a bit ahead of London! Wet Play is a great night, Red Laser Disco, Hot Milk playing bashment (which Eoin Mcmanus who is connected to the Oi Polloi store is involved with). Another lot called New Bohemian, Irfan Rainey flying the flag for black house music - he runs a night called Community. Then the Electric Chair crews influence is here everywhere. They really were the forerunners of a lot of stuff happening in Manchester now.
At the Strut party, we're looking forward to you getting back to the original vinyl. Do you get a chance to spin the rare older tracks as a full DJ set these days?
I do and I don't. I try and keep a balance, making sure that I'm playing new material but bringing in old tracks too. I mix it all up. If you've been DJing as long as me, you start to know what your records are about. DJ Harvey said that you start to understand that when you hit 40! I'm looking forward to the Strut night - it should be great fun.
We love throwing parties in London: the incredible DJ talent, the lovely people, and, in the Tamesis Dock, an incredibly unique floating venue. We're particularly excited about our holiday party this year, which sees us returning to the Dock with a cracking line-up that is sure to make your Yuletides bright.
It's a pleasure to be linking up once again with Ashley Beedle. One of the most talented and adventurous selectors we know, Beedle goes way back with Strut. His Grassroots mix is one of the first releases on the label, and he has continued to share incredible sounds with us, through his Inspiration Information collaboration with Horace Andy in 2009. For the holiday party, he'll be laying down a set of classic soul and boogie. We asked him to give us a rundown of some of his all-time favorites to get you in the spirit. Here are "ten killers definitely shaking my tree this Xmas!" courtesy of the man himself.
1. Logg - You've Got That Something
2. Terrance T - Power
3. Average White Band / Ben E. King - Star Of The Ghetto
4. Slave - Spice Of My Life
5. Steve Arrington - You Meet My Approval
6. D Train - Keep Giving Me Love
7. GQ - You're The One For Me
8. Gwen Guthrie - Outside In The Rain
9. Gwen McCrae - Keep The Fire Burning
10. Sahara - Love So Fine
By 1986, Laswell's work for Celluloid became increasingly sparse as he was pulled onto major projects for Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, PiL and more. The label, meanwhile, continued its eclectic path with recordings by jazz legend Eric Dolphy, John McLaughlin and the Welcome To Dreamland compilation of out-there Japanese pop overseen by regular Laswell cohort, Fred Frith. African music also continued to feature heavily in the label’s later output through world pop stars like Kassav and Toure Kunda.
Change The Beat is released in conjunction with Jean Karakos and Celluloid Records. Formats include 2CD, 2LP and digital. All physical formats feature rare photos from the Celluloid Records archive and extended interviews with label owner Jean Karakos, Bill Laswell, Afrika Bambaataa, John Lydon, Rusty Egan (Time Zone) and more. The digital version of the album features five extra tracks not featured on the physical formats.
1. SHOCKABILLY – DAY TRIPPER 3.43
1. NINI RAVIOLETTE – SUIS-JE NORMALE 6.34
Shark Vegas was a Berlin-based outfit, lead by Factory Records' German representative, Mark Reeder. Despite an excellent pedigree, including Bernard Sumner on the boards and the infamous Connie Plank recording, the group's music remains an overlooked entry in Factory's vast catalog, and performance footage of the group is extremely scarce. You can imagine our surprise then when we turned up this recording of a performance of the track "You Hurt Me," which also happens to appear on Fac. Dance 02, in a dig through the !K7 video archives. Call it synchronicity. From the lighting to the video quality to the instruments on stage, every element is perfectly evocative of the era. Fac. Dance 02 is out now.
One of the most rewarding parts of working on This Ain't Chicago was the ability to learn about the golden age of the UK underground party and acid house scene from the people who were a part of it. By virtue of the word of mouth nature of the scene, the inside story hasn't been widely shared in same manner as, say, accounts of the early days of hip-hop in New York. As a supplement to the music on the compilation (and the excellent liner notes by Dave Swindells), we sat down with some of the major players, including Lesley Lawrence of Bang The Party, P-Mac (producer for May), Kiss FM DJ Colin Faver, and of course Richard Sen, to speak about the parties, drum machines, labels, and drugs that inspired the music. These guys are a wealth of knowledge and talent, and it was an honor to listen to their stories.
This Ain't Chicago is available now:
iTunes • Amazon • Boomkat
Even though the first volume of our celebration of Factory Records' dance catalog was a full double album worth of music, we couldn't help feeling that the legendary label's dance-leaning output was still fertile ground for exploration. One look at the track list for Fac. Dance 02 should show that there is still plenty A-list material to be collected. In addition to indisputable classics from groups like ESG and A Certain Ratio, we've also gathered some wonderful oddities, including Cheba Fadela’s Algerian rai blast, “N’Sel Fik”and the heavy dub and reggae stylings of The Wake, X-O-Dus and ACR alter ego Sir Horatio. Fac. Dance 02 will be out September 18th, with detailed track notes by Factory biographer James Nice, together with rare photos. The digital version of the album features five tracks not featured on the physical formats.
1. A CERTAIN RATIO – THE FOX 3.47
2. ESG – MOODY 2.46
3. MINNY POPS – BLUE ROSES 2.33
4. THICK PIGEON – BABCOCK + WILCOX 3.44
5. BITING TONGUES – MEAT MASK SEPARATIST 4.57
6. SIR HORATIO – SOMMADUB 7.18
7. X-O-DUS – SOCIETY 4.20
8. THE DURUTTI COLUMN – SELF PORTRAIT 4.40
9. SECTION 25 – KNEW NOISE 4.43
10. SHARK VEGAS – YOU HURT ME 6.59
11. FADELA – N’SEL FIK 7.06
12. KALIMA – LAND OF DREAMS 6.47
1. 52nd STREET – CAN’T AFFORD (Unorganised mix) 10.02
2. NYAM NYAM – FATE 8.06
3. A CERTAIN RATIO – LUCINDA 3.53
4. ESG – YOU’RE NO GOOD 3.09
5. SWAMP CHILDREN – SOFTLY SAYING GOODBYE 4.09
6. QUANDO QUANGO – GO EXCITING (12” mix) 5.57
7. SURPRIZE – IN MOVIMENTO 5.33
8. ANNA DOMINO – TAKE THAT 4.13
9. THE WAKE – HOST 7.57
10. ROYAL FAMILY AND THE POOR – VANEIGEM MIX 6.22
11. SECTION 25 – SAKURA 3.58
12. AD INFINITUM – TELSTAR 3.13
As savvy listeners return to the joys of classic Acid House, revelers with their fingers on the pulse are taking inspiration from the energy and spontaneity of the late 80s warehouse / underground scene for a fresh run of quality events. Accordingly, a mere one day after our NYC celebration Richard Sen will be joining the absolutely killer line-up of A Little Summer Of Love to celebrate the golden age of UK House Music. Feel the love!
Saturday June 30th @ Westbourne Studios (242 Acklam Road, London)
A Little Summer of Love w/ A Guy Called Gerald, Noel Watson, Richard Sen + more
7:00 PM - 2:30 AM
One of the joys of working with a connoisseur like Richard on putting together a collection like This Ain't Chicago is being hipped to some great tracks that might have flown beneath the radar. Colm III's "Take Me High" (Mansion Mix) didn't make the biggest splash for the West Midlands production duo, but it's a hell of a track, and we're happy to share it with you. We'll let one half of the group, Mike Evans of Ruby Red Records, contextualize it for you:
(from the album notes)
“Ruby Red was one of the best known shops in the West Midlands for many years – we did well with dance music and catered for whatever anyone wanted, really. We sold a lot of bootleg Northern soul records. Colm III was myself and a DJ called Malcolm Heath who also worked in the shop and 'Take Me High' was one of the first records we released. It was really only picked up by Midlands and Northern DJs at the time. The follow-up single which had a track called 'Acid Cracker' was picked up by a couple of shops in London.
“It was the early stages of that type of music. After that, we did score a chart hit with ‘Addicted To Love’ by Powerzone and I started Cleveland City Records (Ruby Red was in a road called Cleveland Street in Wolverhampton). We had some big records there – Tony Di Bart ‘The Real Thing’ was a national Number One and we scored dancefloor hits by Chubby Chunks, Direct 2 Disc and a few others.”
We couldn't be happier to have a new collection of incredible music on the way from the expert selectors in Sofrito. And with a release date in late July, International Soundclash will come at a perfect time to add some extra heat to the summer.
Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis have dug incredibly deep to bring you a one-of-a-kind selection of music from Trinidad, Colombia, Dominica, Congo, Cameroun and beyond. Exclusives include the deep Pacifico sound of Grupo Canalon’s "La Zorra y El Perol" - a new project from Nidia Góngora, singer with Quantic's Combo Barbaro - a previously unreleased track by UK/Kenyan sensations Owiny Sigoma Band, and a Tropical Treats edit of Haiti’s dynamite Les Difficiles de Petion-Ville.
We also have a really special piece of packaging, courtesy of visual maestro Lewis Heriz, who interprets Sofrito's fresh perspective on the world with a specially designed cut-out globe on a pull-out poster to accompany the CD and Double LP. Sofrito International Soundclash will be available July 24th.
With his two-disc collection of alternative dance music (which he claims could be called "Trevor's Teenage Years") coming soon, the man behind Output Recordings, Playgroup, and too many excellent record sleeve designs to count sits down to tell us a little bit more about the aforementioned teenaged years. His discussion of exposure to London club life as a fourteen-year-old make us nostalgic for one of the golden eras of nightlife. The music on Metal Dance just makes the the feeling hit that much harder...
Trevor Jackson, known for his work as Playgroup and the incredibly influential Output Recordings, has the kind of crates that even hard core collectors envy. So when he came to us with the idea of collecting some of his favorite rarities from the under-explored world of 80s industrial & post-punk dance floor material, we couldn't say no. Having already gotten into the groove with our Fac Dance collection of material from the legendary Factory label, we knew this would be something special. The two-disc collection covers recognized masters such as Cabaret Voltaire & Nitzer Ebb as well as names that we know are going to be new to quite a few listeners. If the term EBM (Electronic Body Music, coined by Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter) means anything to you, you're in for a treat. If not, there's a world waiting to be discovered...
1. The Bubblemen – The Bubblemen Are Coming
2. 400 Blows – Pressure (Club Pressure)
3. Cabaret Voltaire – Seconds Too Late
4. Neon – Voices
5. Pete Shelley – Witness The Change (Dub version)
6. Shock - Dream Games
7. Executive Slacks – The Bus (EP version)
8. Analysis - Surface Tension
9. Nitzer Ebb – Control I’m Here (Clouston’s Controlled Edit)
10. DAF – Brothers (Mix Gabi)
11. Portion Control – The Great Divide (Dub)
12. Stanton Miranda – Wheels Over Indian Trails (Dub)
13. Jah Wobble – Invaders Of The Heart (Exotic Decadent Disco mix)
14. SPK – Metal Dance
15. Fini Tribe – De Testimony (Collapsing Edit)
1. Alien Sex Fiend – Under The Thunder (Ignore The Dub)
2. Hard Corps – Je Suis Passee (Dub)
3. Naked Lunch – Slipping Again
4. Secession – Touch (Part 4)
5. Severed Heads – Dead Eyes Opened
6. The Cage feat. Nona Hendryx – Do What Ya Wanna Do (Dub version)
7. Yello – You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess (UK promo mix)
8. Ledernacken – Amok!
9. Nash The Slash - Womble
10. John Carpenter & Alan Howarth – The Duke Arrives – The Barricade / The President At The Train (Extended version)
11. Diseño Corbusier – Golpe De Amistad
12. Schlaflose Nachte - Move
13. 23 Skidoo - Coup (In The Palace)
1. Cabaret Voltaire – Seconds Too Late
2. Neon – Voices
3. Diseño Corbusier – Golpe De Amistad
4. Analysis - Surface Tension
5. Hard Corps – Je Suis Passee (Dub)
6. DAF – Brothers (Mix Gabi)
7. Jah Wobble – Invaders Of The Heart (Exotic Decadent Disco mix)
8. Yello – You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess (UK promo mix)
9. Naked Lunch – Slipping Again
10. SPK – Metal Dance
For all its inventiveness and artful genre-bending, it's easy to forget that the convergence of post-punk, dance music and funk typified pioneered by many of the Factory groups and others in the early 80's was motivated as much by the desire to have fun as by anything else. The spontaneity and sometimes outright goofiness really comes across watching the vintage footage of A Certain Ratio in their video for "Back To The Start," an excellent slice of disco-fied noise (complete with spontaneous percussion breakdown) from 1981.
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