I need flatmates

And here is as good a place to advertise as any. I live in East London. Mail me for details. You could live in the dream factory where the webs of this very blog are spun. You’d also have a fairly large freezer.

Some gigs

Yo I’ve just started a new job (in kids TV, lol) so things are a little busy this week but just a quick note about some gigs. On Friday 29th I’ll be playing at Jam Bar on Shoreditch High Street in the basement for the Phone night, which goes till about 3am. These parties are always a good laugh especially when the basement is open so come along if you’re around the area.

The following Friday, June 5th, as I mentioned I’ll be at the below gig in T-Bar

Then the following Saturday, that’s June 13th, I’ll be back at Pygmalion in Dublin for the second HIAF residency. If you’re around for any of these come along, should be lots of fun.

Keep an eye on the site here for a guest mix coming soon, a WPP roundup, and some more substantial posts over the next few days.

Dreamer G-I’ve Got That Feeling

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWPnWoAZpfs[/youtube]

If you’re in need of a good finger wagging “oh no you didn’t” house track of a Thursday afternoon then just turn this up. I heard it on Jus Ed’s show from Roof FM, after being released first in 1992 it seems it’s been reissued. How can you not like this baudy house stuff? The histrionic machismo of this shit is unreal, not just real house music, real pop music.

Arto Mwambé at T-Bar-Friday June 5th

So I just heard yesterday that I’ll be playing before Arto Mwambé at High Horse in the new T-Bar on Friday June 5th. This should be loads of fun, it’s a real buzz to get to play at T so I’m looking forward to it, and to seeing the Arto guys play. Come down and check out the gig if you’re around, I’m on from 9-11 and it’s free in.

The following Saturday (13th of June) I’ll be back in Dublin for the second HIAF residency at Pygmalion.

Zap

Get over to Roof FM to check out what seems to be a short live mix by Anton Zap. I’ve listened to this twice today and it’s great, real propulsive house rhythms with some dub techno melodies, a good combination at a time when there’s so much formulaic dub techno about.

“B1 is the one for me”

You all probably know what “feedback” means in techno. In 1745 British traders travelling through what is now Berlin used the term when exchanging a harpsichord for several bags of salt, and it has been embraced by Europeans ever since.

They have added their continental flair to the term: eg “give us your feedbacks” has a nice French revolution feel to it.

If you don’t know your history (the above anecdote comes from “Loving the A-Side, Thanks Man!: A History Of Independent Record Label Promotion” by Laurent Garnier) I’m talking about those quotes from DJs that appear on websites or on the piece of paper that comes with a promo vinyl (prompted by a discussion on ILM.)

They tend not to be Wildean in their insight. “B1 is the one for me” has become such a cliché that I’ve seen people on Bodytonic or Resident Advisor saying the exact phrase as if it makes them more DJ-like. I mean seriously, “the one for me”? As with all clichés, you’d love to know how it began. And perhaps execute the person responsible. Either that or give them a stern telling off.

I’ve often sent people “my feedbacks” over the years but it’s almost always been when I’ve got mailed a link to a record and I listened, then replied to the mail with my two cent (although many were worth even less than that, ho ho.)

Like most people, if I don’t like the record I don’t mail back, unless the record company or whoever sent it really wants a reply. Partly because I don’t want to upset people, but also because it’s not a review, and hence not something I have to comment on.

Of course I’m at the bottom of the food chain anyhow. If I say “B1 Is The One For Me” nobody really cares if me and B1 move to the Seychelles and have a briefly happy marriage before I start drinking and sleep with the digital bonus track on B2, “that little minx”. But for people whose opinion sells more records than mine ever will, I assume there is even more demand for feedback.

When this happens, there is a trade sentence which miraculously removes any need for opinion or further elucidation. An inner sanctum of DJs actually hired a panel of Oxford University wordsmiths (including Susie Dent) to come up with this. Since bloggers are now increasingly part of the promo circle I’m going to reveal it now.

“NOT FOR ME THANKS”. Make a note of that, it could save your life one day.

So recently I’ve started getting more formal promos. This means it’s not as simple as mailing a record label who give you something you really like to tell them that. When you’re sent something by PR firms if you like the sound of the record you often have a form to fill out before you can download it. The forms usually require you to give the tracks a mark out of five. When you see one you know you’re sitting in the players bar of the “B1 is the one for me” ballpark.

So how to respond? Well I mostly can understand the utter blandness of feedback comments. Firstly, the vast majority of the people responding are not writers. But secondly and more importantly, I think it’d feel even more shady to put your heart and soul into a feedback response that you know is meant to drive sales.

What I try to do, assuming I really like the record and want to play it, is just mention I like the artist’s stuff to date and that it’s another good release, or say that I am enjoying the label so far, or say something useful for someone involved to take heart from and for people reading to agree or disagree with. My first concern is almost always for the label owners.

But it’s hard not to slip into cliché or just dull comments that call to mind Simon Reynolds’ almost perfect criticism of bad dance reviews: that they read like racing tips.

As I said on ILM, I’ve been thinking of ways to spice things up a bit. Maybe when I like a record I can Irish the hell out of my responses and say “That’s lovely hurling on B1”, or “A1-Now we’re ‘suckin diesel!'”, or “STL is a terrible man for the dub all the same!” etc.

The funny thing is I think this whole process, though seldom discussed, actually carries a significant weight of influence. For a journalist reviewing a record (or someone buying it) they’re often confronted with this wall of opinions before they’ve even played it. There’s no escaping comments in 2009 is there?

For STL’s “Silent State”, the very first comment by Efdemin says: “Charts #1. THIS IS A CLASSIC! One of the best tracks I heard in years.” Is that not influential? You can be as hardcore as you want, but personally I respect Efdemin’s DJing a lot and it’s very hard to ignore that. The only litmus test is hearing the record, but there’s a lot of extra context attached.

The issue isn’t that people are led astray by feedback, or automatically agree with it, but rather that we’re in a critical climate where reviewers or DJs are often forced to react to reactions. How comfortable are people with that?

Back when I wrote single reviews for RA, most of the time I reviewed things I had bought myself, because ironically by the time I’d be sent promos of something it was already on the feedback wagon and praising it felt somehow cheaper.

I do think there’s a value to feedback. It provides another filter, a nebulous filter like the name of a record or the cover, and one that’s no more reliable than either of those. But it’s still a filter, a way for you to decide which record to listen to after you’ve already spent an hour listening to the ones by names you recognise. Hell, maybe it makes you listen to a record you would have otherwise skipped.

The fact that these filters aren’t failsafe is just another reason why we’re all missing out on great records all the time. But let’s just try and make the actual comments a bit more interesting, and name and shame the positivity whores. On which tip poor old Laurent Garnier has to take the ultimate prize!

Gonzalez breaks Guinness World Record for longest continuous piano concert

I watched quite a bit of Gonzalez doing this live last night and it was about the most vital thing I’ve ever seen on a Sunday night at 1am (challenged only by many life changing Tiffany Amber-Thiessen TV movies involving murderous wives/drifters)

Gonzalez, whose sleazy weird concerts some of you may remember, performed for 27 hours, using 300 songs he had prepared already, without any repetition of material. He took a five minute break every hour. Amazingly no booze or stimulants were involved (he was tested) but I imagine his fingers must be in serious pain right now

The crowd actually picked the tunes from lists which his assistant then crossed out. He had them entranced (I think he rotated crowds after a few hours) and moved from showtune standard stuff to blues to classical and generally all over the place. I never knew he was actually such an accomplished pianist, having only heard his (actually quite good/funny) cover of Daft Punk and Romanthony.

Hopefully some clips with better sound quality will emerge but something about watching him feverishly hammer out song after song live was amazing.  I’d like to think there were a few fans or associates there for the full 27 hours. I mean, how different would a song sound when you’ve watched the performer playing for 6 hours? How about for 12 hours? 18? It’s got to be interesting.

You can read how he prepared here.

HouseIsAFeeling@Pygmalion

You know you’re DJing in Dublin when somebody beside the booth repeatedly shouts “you dirty cunt!” and it’s a compliment.

Last night was the first monthly HIAF night at Pygmalion on South William Street in my home city, and it couldn’t have gone much better even if I say so myself. The place is being turned around a bit and so early on there were some ghosts of the previous venue about, but by midnight or so there was a full dancefloor in the main room (or main cavern let’s say.)

The style of the venue really suits a housey sound and you can play pretty steady without the usual Irish pressure to peak the whole night to 3am. Personally, I actually hadn’t DJed out for quite a while, it was my first time playing since I took a break from techno/this blog, and I got a huge kick out of it. It’s funny how refreshing a break can be.

I played back to back with Pyg resident Aidano for most of the night, and by the end the place had that really loose atmosphere, just a buzzing dancefloor and a real sense of fun around. It was a really enthusiastic crowd and if you can reinfuse some meaning into the word “intimate” then that’s how the vibe was.

Obviously I’m involved in the night so feel free to call me biased, but I wouldn’t bother doing a blog post about last night’s gig if it was crap. (Cos I’m hungover.) The place is still being built up and it’s early days, but there’s the nucleus of a really good venue there, with a great soundsystem. (It also has speakers in the toilets.)

I’ll be playing again on Saturday June 13th and in the coming months the Pyg guys have Livio and Roby/2000 and One which should be a great night. Thanks to those of you who came down.

As for the tunes. Anonym’s “Roots Muziel” completely blew the place up last night. I think this record shows a huge leap forward for him. It’s 11 red hot minutes of real dynamism, 11 minutes you’ll want to play all of, and the sort of track that blows a room up after a few hours of stoking things. Check a stream of it below.

Fuck

Fuck, just a quick post as I fight the utter tedium of burning CDs, to point you towards some good listening material.

Go here to check out some of Johan Agebjorn’s mixes and while you’re there check out Sally Shapiro’s new single, which sees her owning the holy motherfuck out of the twee italo market (I mean seriously, this is some fucking sensitive heartaching shit) Johan of course is the producer who works with Sally, creating those fucking swooning shit eatingly beautiful soundscapes.

I am listening to this mix of his non fucking stop, which features Air France and the KLF, and the most fucking faffing indie New Order impersonation I’ve ever heard. (In a good way though, fuck!)

Shit if you’re still in need of some tunes then….hell, I think you should go here to Fact Magazine and check out a mix from Benedict Bull, who is part of the Friday night High Horse club at the new T-Bar, which starts tonight. I’m in Dublin for the weekend to play in Pygmalion on South William Street this evening.

So fuck it I’ve got about 40 minutes until I leave for my flight, if you’re in the city of expensive beer and real fucking chips come along to the gig and say “how the fuck are you?” or “good to fucking see you?”.

Have a good weekend, whatever the fuck you do!

“Tripping up disableds”

I notice the “tripping up disableds” line has been edited out of this piece.

It originally said: And yes, we’re more than aware we’re not the first people to take the piss out of Richie Hawtin, and we know he’s an easy target. That just makes it more fun, like tripping up disableds.

I found the whole article unfunny and at times felt the jokes hinged on offence, not humour. The disabled line made it hard to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

Does a hatchet job need to employ the word “gay” as a pejorative or resort to casual sexism? Richie Hawtin has given people enough rope that the answer is surely no.

I guess my problem with music crit’s version of satire is that generally the people writing it believe in something or other, whereas one look at the Onion or Brasseye or the Simpsons shows the best mockery is chaotically irreverent.

Anyway, no doubt you’ll have your own opinion.