New album review up on Skiddle
Every time the man behind the best vibes in music, in every sense, comes back to the UK we usually bring back my article on Skiddle about his breakthrough UK releases. I am of course talking about Roy Ayers, and the jazz musician heads to Nottingham’s Southbank on Sunday 24th July which, fingers crossed, will follow a day of “folks getting down in the sunshine”. Classic stuff.
“How does voting remain or leave impact on the ravers, gig goers, musicians and festival dwellers of the UK?”
I’ve just co-written a piece on Skiddle which talks about how the impending vote on our status can impact on the music scene. Even though it’s on a music website and clearly focused on what it means for this side of things, the comments section is a hoot.
“We’ll never see a club quite like this again, and in the interests of evolution and progress we probably don’t need one. But for one more time Nation was again the hot ticket, the ultimate Saturday night.”
Everyone has their first club they fall in love with. My first experience happened in with a hatrick of dalliances at lost Midlands club Mezzanine, and I even squeezed an appearance at Godskitchen which was an overall favourite during my two year love affair with trance and hard dance right at the start of my raving career. But no club gripped me quite like Cream did the first few times I spent there, as I arrived in Liverpool as a wide eyed teenager in Autumn 2000.
It was a weird time to be going to the club. Although those first few Saturdays spent in there in 2000 and early 2001 were mesmerising, the club’s music policy had moved away from the thunderous trance of recent times for a more progressive template, and it was starting to lose its lustre. I can remember working a shift with someone at my part time job who had poured scorn on me for going, saying “everyone in Liverpool got bored of necking tablets at Nation years ago” (newsflash, I don’t think people will ever get bored of necking anything in this city). But that first year of going it was still regularly packed, and fucking amazing week after week.
Cream’s drop off coincided with my own shifting musical tastes, and slowly the nights at Bugged Out! were more appealing. That said I was still proper shocked when it shut, this seemingly impregnable fortress of party time suddenly shutting despite me seeing a packed courtyard go nuts to a lengthy Mauro Picotto set only a few weeks before the announcement. the news was everywhere, across uni it was all a lot of people were talking about, either smirking indie wankers or die hard ravers. Little did they both know they’d be raving together within a year once the 2ManyDJs effect took a hold…
Saturday 17th October I got to relive that magic (read my Skiddle review of the Cream finale event), and it was literally amazing. The venue was the same sweaty, creaky and dark warehouse it always was, once again bossed by supreme sound, fantastic DJs and a superb crowd, albeit one that was well older than it was back in the day. Seb Fontaine stole the show for me, but listening to Paul Oakenfold crank out the classics was still utterly joyous, and the whole thing was pretty much perfect start to finish.
As sad as it made me, and even more so looking back these past few days, Saturday was a really special and lucky thing for everyone involved. My love affair with Cream was one of a few truly special life affirming moments in dance music, from the way electroclash tore the rulebook up a few years later to being part of a partying family around my own small clubnight a few years later. I’ve tasted Balearic heaven a few times and overseas raves too, but very few of these are things that can ever be repeated, particularly with enough of the people that made it special – my own personal friends form the Cream era were sadly not there at the weekend.
But so many people got the chance to relive an experience so special just one more time. They’ve got another bite of the cherry on Boxing Day as well. Just like clubs like Cream don’t come along that often in our lifetime, neither too do these gilt edged gifts. Everyone grows up and moves on but these fleeting opportunities need to be grasped; I’m just glad I got the chance again.
Historically I’d never been that much of a fan of Craig David beyond his singles. I’ve always been hugely into turn of the century R&B and the Artful Dodger’s pop garage vibes but the two meeting didn’t appeal that much, but I revisited his debut album for Skiddle.
It’s much better than I remember, and has aged remarkably well – making his revival all the more well timed. The man himself even started following me on twitter as a consequence of it – re-result.
A fantastic kickstarter campaign has just started to publish some unseen photos of Biggie Smalls as part of an exhibition. The photos were took by a then aspiring photographer David Mcintyre for Interview Magazine, with the negatives lost up until recently (full story on the video below). They’ve since been found, but David has eschewed the usual push up on social media for exposure route to put them on in an exhibition, but after encountering a lack of funding took to the good old internet to get it. Fund the campaign here.
You can read what I thought about BIG’s classic debut Ready To Die, the album these photos originally promoted, here.
Most of this EP isn’t really something for me TBH, well produced rolling techno which will probably sound great in a club but isn’t my bag, but the final cut ‘Y3’ I’m definitely down with. It’s got a decent solid groove on it with a kick that gets a right stomp going on. It’s full of tinkling effects, a fairly illegible vocal and is proper heads down tackle for those serious moments in the disco. Check it for yourself above.
The EP is out now on Butane’s Alphahouse imprint (he also contributes a remix). Head here for more info.
I’ve selected five examples of the best places to head off to get your boom bap fix at a festival this year, with everything from Kanye giving it the big un at Glasto to Run the Jewels begging you to put their dick in your mouth all day in Croatia. Check it here.
To Pimp a Butterly is rapidly becoming the most discussed album of the year, Kendrick Lamar’s mammoth opus igniting the literary love from all corners. I’ve absolutely loved it to death (you can vist my review here) but the early release did stunt me a little from a writing perspective. I’d penned close to 1500 words of a eulogy to Lamar for Getintothis about whether he could follow on from good kid MAADD CITY which I was due to polish into a final article the week commencing only to get a etxt saying the album was out early on Spotify. As I excitedly listened to the brilliant new album part of me was proper gutted that this meant the end for my words, which it turned out, were prophetic. Only me and my laptop knew this though…
Even though some of that went into the review I wrote, I still felt like I needed to really shine a light on a different component of the album, and the more and more I listened to it the more and more I was drawn to Rapsody’s verse. It was so beguiling because it was understated dopeness, not the instant standout verse on the album but still one that just became more and more interesting the more I listened to it, one of the many layers and textures to the release that had still not been truly picked up (to my knowledge at least) by critics.
So I started writing about it, and mindful of already missing out on getting my point across I tried to come at a different angle as possible. It’s weird really that I could wrench 2000 words about a single verse on an album so jam packed full of ideas, but everything from the lyrics up to the decision to even enlist her spoke volumes about the concept of the LP and how it fits in the lexicon of great hip hop releases. The fact a woman was the only person who properly guest rapped on the album differs from hip hop; every solo guest of real punch has always been a man, which says so much about the dominance of men in the genre despite a plethora of great female rappers.
— Rapsody (@rapsody) May 8, 2015
The reception was by far and away the best I’ve ever had for an article, 9th Wonder retweeting it on a few occasions, Rapsody herself tweeting at me saying she was honoured (below) and sharing on her Facebook (above). It’s also something I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere, although once I’d written the piece I read this interview on Complex where she talked about how a lot of the thematic similarities were a coincidence. Normally that kind of assertion reaks of bullshit but I thoroughly believe her, and it blows my mind about the verse even more.