Monday, 30 May 2011

House Logger Likes... Music #6

I've had this track in my head for fricking ages after hearing Adam Freeland play it at The Nest, just couldn't figure out what it was until today!!!!!

Event Review #2 - Swedish House Mafia

Well this is one event review I never thought i'd be writing, but its happened... I ended up driving to Alexandra Palace after figuring out the location was miles from the centre of London - which meant that getting a train was going to be a difficult mission.  That left me sober for this event...

Before the event I wasn't sure what to expect, I certainly wasn't expecting to see a figure of 10,000 people expected to attend the event, I had never been to Alexandra Palace so didn't know how large it was.  That left the mind boggling at the amounts of money being thrown about for these guys.  We arrived at 8.30 for a 9pm start and it was clear that this was not a normal club night set up - the queue already at that time was LARGE, this was more like a gig/concert.  So far all I had seen was a late teen - mid 20s audience, most girls with very high heels on and blonde hair, and the guys with arms the size of my legs...

After a drink at the bar at the entrance we joined the queue which I have to give to AP, was extremely efficient, they were backing people up into 4 lines then releasing one whole line at a time, with 10 people processing the tickets it was extremely smooth and impressive.  We went from at the back of a queue to inside the venue in 15 mins max.  Walking into the atrium gave a sense of scale to the place - HUGE, the main entrance was beyond that with large temporary bars set up, merchandising and food.  It was like a mini indoor festival...

We acquired a few drinks and went through to the main hall, the DJs were on the left handside and the cavernous room just opened up in front of us.  It was an extremely impressive venue to hold something like this in, with an extremely high ceiling and plenty of room to curtain off parts of the room off for the toilets, extra bars etc.  The opening DJs, who I think were Third Party, were setting the tempo off at aproximately 1000mph, banging the tracks out at 9.30pm, it felt odd but people were going for it.  I had to remind myself I wasn't in Fabric.  Heres where it gets interesting - it wasn't actually that bad, didn't really know many of the tracks except for a version of Dennis Ferrer's Hey Hey, it didn't sound too disimilar from what I've heard in room 2 of Fabric previously (I know, I was surprised too).  This gave me a chance to listen to the sound system and I was very surprised, it was definitely loud enough and even standing right at the back of the room it was a decent volume and could still feel the bass, I would guess that the sound people have had a lot of experience!

The room began to fill up more and more and it was time to test out the facilities - ie toilets, the guys' weren't that bad, portaloos brought in on trailers, but the girls' produced huge queues across the back of the room.  Thank god I am not one of them!

Alex Metric came on approximately 10.30 odd and started a mainly electro based set that wasn't interesting at all but everyone else seemed to enjoy it...  Then it was time for the main event.  We actually missed their appearance but I am guessing from the huge white sheet behind the warm up guys that it dropped to reveal 'them'.  They were standing in line on top of a elevated platform that was covered in LEDs with large screens either side making pretty patterns.  The cameras also came on and the pictures were sent to large screens displaying happy people's faces...

And the music?  Meh... It had energy and their main tracks that had been in the charts - 'One' and the other one I don't know the name of sounded great in there I will admit.  But I didn't hear any other real stand out ones.  They didn't play the vocal of One thank god.  What I found disappointing was two things -

1) Nothing they played was really 'house' it was more like a electro trance genre.
2) They kept on interspersing their tracks with pop hooks - ie from Coldplay 'Clocks', Adele, etc etc...

This kind of indicated to me that their own material was not strong enough to form a set on itself...

We left at around 1.30 to avoid the crush to get out that was no doubt going to happen.  One of the things that stuck out to me the whole night was how much everyone seemed to enjoy it - it was clear that although there were a lot of 'good looking' people there, they were there for the music... This is something that has been missing from my trips to more credible nights...

Overall a good experience, and a great one off for the girlfriend!

Venue - 9/10  A great place for a concert, shame about the location compared to central London...

Music - 6/10 (for me) 10/10 (for my gf)

Crowd - 8/10  Everyone up for it, yes I can claim their taste is rubbish, but that would be my opinion...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Swedish House Mafia

Strange topic you might think for a blog like that this which seems fairly underground... Well my girlfriend and I are going to see them play this Sunday night at Alexandra Palace.  I am genuinely curious about the night - how its going to be programmed and who will be attending...

I am expecting to be surrounded by late teens who have heard 'One' on the radio and think it is the best thing ever, and expecting to hear a fairly commercial warm up set from whoever is doing it - and thats ok.  Its not pretending to be pretentious or anything its not.  I mean its a shame they probably won't bring Adam Beyer along to do that part but never mind...

I have nothing against the three guys, all of whom have produced some quality records before they joined up, and I have nothing against anyone riding on success - I would do it if I had the chance!

I just really hope the night isn't just boshing out and there are some surprising moments...  Maybe i'll even find that energy (see below post!)...

Most of all I hope I can convince the gf to let us go to an afternoon party, after all it would be a shame to waste the time... ;-)  Event review on Monday...

Wheres the energy gone?

I'm going to start with the obvious answer - i've been looking in the wrong place...  But when I go shopping on Beatport or some other site I ALWAYS listen to a variety of artists and labels across the genres of house/indie disco (never liked that term on BP).  I'm struggling to find anything now, new music wise, that is willing to pick me up, give me a flew slaps around the face and then scream at me...

I think there may be a couple of reasons for this - first the revivalism of classic house that to me always had quite soft beats and a deeper sound.  Acid aside it was actually quite slow as well - although that should be no obstacle to energy.

Secondly the rise of ket and minimalism over the last few years has lead to people wandering around the dancefloor in a trance willing to raise their hands at the first chance of a swooshing sound.

Thirdly, the come back of disco samples responsible by Soul Clap, Jamie Jones - and Hot Creations etc, seems to have led to the peak time DJ playing, what would have been a few years ago, fairly deep and early time house.  I mean give the warm up guys a chance!  If the peak time guys are playing that deep the warm up guys will have to start playing pitched down Minus records where nothing of any note happens at all...

To get the energy that I'm looking for I've had to go to my itunes and start playing my Defected singles, Soma tracks and (older) Buzzin Fly tracks.  I've resisted the urge to go back to the Hed Kandi, but thoughts keep on straying there!

Speaking of Defected, does anyone else agree that we seem to be heading down the 'proper' funky house route again?  I'm expecting to see the glitter balls being broken out anytime soon...  AND they'll be calling it new!!!

Someone please produce something with energy, or suggest things to me...!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

House Logger Likes... Music #5

Jamie remixes this modern disco classic into something altogether different while keeping the vocals intact!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

CD reviews #s 1 & 2

Been meaning to review #1 for a while and #2 dropped onto my doormat yesterday...


Fabric's line of mixes has seen rising popularity since its conception, and thats no surprising thing given the popularity of the club itself.  To me their choices are sublime for mixing the CDs, the end results are however another matter, some are destined for the passenger door pocket which means that they get regular plays, others are destined for the CD box in my brothers house...  

This mix comes from Agoria, the small man from France with jazzy influences (you'll probably read that on every review so thought i'd mention it here too).  With tracks like 'Speechless', 'Baboul Hair Cuttin' and 'Les Violons Ivres' in his production repertoire I was expecting long drawn out mixing verging into techno.  I was half right - the long mixing is there but I was blown away by the track choice - it is sublime, from the spaced bliss of SDC - Mercurial Attraction to the frankly banging 'Treehouse' from Lil Tony.  

This is a mix that climbs out of your CD player, envelopes you in a world of emotion and depth of colour and retreats leaving you wanting more.  Right from the word go there is the throbbing deepness that rises until the beat kicks in and from there is it a lesson in house that many could take note of.  Highlights include the vocal of Ella Fitzgerald over Moritz Von Oswald - Ole and Jerome Sydenham & Joe Claussel - Rhythm before it is fully released it all its glory later on. 

Put simply this is one of the few CDs I can listen to all the way through - and thats saying something - It will be staying in the passenger door pocket.



With preferences lying in house music, my views on the Fabriclive series are mixed, some are genuinely great - naming the Pearson Sound/DJ Yoda ones for example, they get regular plays from me and are great examples of genre crossing mixes that are entertaining.  There have been a couple of stinkers however that won't be gracing my CD player at all...

Jackmaster is a name I have only come across recently and have not heard live or even any mixes so this is a first introduction to me - I am presuming that by getting a CD deal from Fabric he must be fairly established if they are throwing their weight behind him.  

Turning over the CD box reveals an interesting tracklisting - my curiousity is piqued - classic house, techno, electro, dubstep (the best kind), and even moody indie rock all one tracklisting?  I'm never one to write anyone off early and as the person responsible for some very strange tracklists indeed I was eager to see what he could produce.

After the first listen I felt let down - the way the mix is arranged is disappointing and a bit strange - some of the transitions between tracks are very well thought out - eg from Gieom > Doug Willis, others aren't - eg Sia > CLS.  There does not seem to be any structured purpose to the mix - theres no sensation of a journey, more of a sensation of being thrown from from era and genre to another with no real link between each...  Some tracks are in for 5+ mins such as The Sun Can't Compare while others are thrown in and discarded before given a chance to shine.  It just feels a bit like Jackmaster tried too hard to show what he could do and his depth of knowledge, for a young guy that has captured interest there is plenty of time for him to do that through live sets, it does not have to be captured all on one CD at the start of his career...

Might keep it in the car for my girlfriend to judge but definitely not a classic mix...


Boring DJs

There are some DJs out there that are flat out, straight up BORING DJs out there.  Its true...

We've all heard DJs that haven't been so good - either too drunk, bad mixing, wearing sunglasses inside, banging away at 7pm to an empty floor etc...  But none of these compare to the ultimate sin in my opinion - playing boring music - there really is no excuse.

The main culprit is tech house, with more modern deep house coming in a close second.  The most annoying thing is that most of these tracks are great - on their own, and yet DJ X somehow manages to make them sound completely forgettable when doing a set.  Whats even more annoying my last experience of someone doing this was at a major night, with a serious face... at 10pm... WTF???

Get loose and have fun!  When DJing becomes all about the anally tight blends and playing rhythmic (codeword for monotonous) music then I'm sorry but you've lost what DJing is all about for me...

Heres some tips if you think you fall into this category (and this is from me being a punter on the floor, not my DJ side):

  • VOCALS - have you forgotten what they are???  They can break up the snoozing coming from the dancefloor within seconds - people prick their ears up and start to smile!  Finally something is happening...
  • What got you into DJing?  How did you get to this point?  Go back to your old tracks, drag them out and have some fun with them!
  • Edits - theres plenty of them about all of varying quality, the edits of older disco stuff - with the full vocal/hooks will guarantee a flood of people to the floor
  • LOOK UP!  The previous DJ did his set and left the floor half empty, is there anyone still there 30 minutes into your fantastically rhythmic set?  If there isn't then DO SOMETHING about it!  Don't just carry on as you are...
  • Ok, your playing at a night where you know the DJs later on will be playing good stuff later on but might not be sticking to one genre - why do you have to?  If you can do it get some funk and soul in there as long as it doesn't sound too out of place...!
I hope people take note of this...

Heres to the next time I hear Sexual Healing in the middle of a house set...


Friday, 13 May 2011

DJs supporting each other

I saw a status update (one of many!) on FB from Spencer Parker - a fine spinner... It went:

"saw Mike Huckaby dj for the first time last night - he was fucking great !!!!

got me wondering though,i've always thought it's kinda weird how rarely you see dj's give OTHER dj's props... don't they go out if they are not playing/see other people spin...?"

Now I thought this was interesting coming from Spencer, and can see two conflicting views:

1) Professional DJs are just like anyone else - they treat DJing as work, as the money earner, and who wants to go to work out of hours?

2) Other DJs treat DJing as their idea of fun - their ideal job, I have a feeling that Spencer falls into the latter category and theres nothing wrong with that!

As someone that works 5 days a week in a regular job I can sympathise with the 1) category, but with someone with DJing as a hobby then I can understand 2) as well.  Those with families and children may not want to go out anymore than they have to although treating nights out as research projects sounds like my ideal job!

The giving props to other DJs is another matter - it smacks of competitiveness, theres no reason why DJs at the top of their game shouldn't do that - they know that no one can really challenge them.  I would understand it lower down the ranks where competitiveness is even more rife, people challenging for fewer and fewer spots.  

I'd love to see a mentor scheme come in where the top DJs are given 5-10 DJs to look after and guide through their careers - kind of like Dennis Ferrer and the Martinez Brothers.  It is refreshing to see honesty from someone like Spencer and I hope his post inspires DJs to go and see people they haven't seen before.  I hope his research projects go well!

Come down off that stage and mix with the lowlifes on the floor!

Monday, 9 May 2011

How party promo videos should be done...

Saw this link on RA today and was amazed by the quality of this video - video promos are on the rise as a good way of quickly putting over the vibe and music of the party... Often they make use of dark underlit footage which looks like it was filmed on an iphone - not a professional look!  This is how it should be done!

(can't embed because blogger won't let any other videos embed - clever google!)

I would for one also like to see more interesting promos rather than the obligatory crowd and fist pumping DJ - I can see that on dancetrippin at better events!!!!!!!  Get me interested and intrigued in the aura around your party!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The 500 Up Mix

Massive thanks to all those that have viewed, read, liked or disliked the blog...

The mix is on this page somewhere!

Kenneth Bager - Fragment 11 (The day after yesterday pt1) 
Crazy P - Never gonna reach me (Hot Toddy remix) 
Ilya Santana - Transborder 
Champs - Can I show you the way (Blunted Monkz remix) 
Gonzales - Red leather 
Ilya Santana - Wicked sequence 
Baby Mammoth - Elephunk 
Motor City Drum Ensemble - Raw cut #6 
Chilly - For your love (Alkino edit) 
Bad Rabbits - Shes bad (Gadi Mizrahi & Soul Clap remix) 
Trus'me - War (dub) 
Fiakun Team - Around your neck 
Delano Smith - Something for myself 
Black Joy - Untitled 
Lindstrom - Another station (Todd Terje remix) 
John Roberts - Porcelain 
Linkwood - RIP 
Blaze Lovelee dae (Losoul remix) 
Lulu Rouge - Bless you 
DJ Sprinkles - Grand Central pt1 (Motor City Drum Ensemble remix) 
Arnold Jarvis - Take some time 
Karizma - Krispy burnt 
Gene Siewing - You're not a DJ 
Tiyiselani Vomaseve - Vanghoma 
Ultra Nate - Free (Tiefschwartz dub) 
Boola - Blitzski 00 
Liquid People - Don't you go away 
Mat Samo - Peplum Africa 
Steffi - Yours 
Carl Craig Vs. Telex - Moskow disko 
William 'Smoke' Howard - Thats what love does (Jski extended edit)

Event Review #1 - Kaleidoscope with Adam Freeland & Todd Terje

I'd been wanting to see TT for quite a while now, after hammering his edits and tracks in my mixes I was pretty excited, added to that was visiting a new club - The Nest in Dalston, and seeing Adam Freeland for the first time AND getting in for free... Well that was just a recipe for greatness!

After driving through the middle of London with a drunken pair in the back of the car we made it after dumping the car in a side street and entered just before 10pm.  That was our first mistake - after seeing the drinks prices I worked out it would have been cheaper to go to a local pub for some drinks then heading to the venue later and taking the £5 hit on the door...  Oh well live and learn!  At least we'd be seeing a long set from Adam Freeland right?

Well... No...  After seeing the flyer - above and reading this on the Nest's blog:

"AF: The Nest has a cosy vibe and great sound, I set up Kaleidoscope there so I could play exactly what I wanted and book people I want to be playing with, I start really deep and mellow and self-indulgent with Ambient , Manuel Göttsching or David Sylvian kind of vibes and build it layer by layer from there.  What’s your dream gig line up or scenario?
TT: I´ve always fantasized about playing music under water. I don´t know why… Don´t you think Message From The Shaman by David Sylvian would sound amazing carried to your ears by waterwaves? I also really enjoy playing daytime sets when there´s no connection to a dance floor. People accept much more “music” then, but as soon as one drunk punter starts to move slightly, everyone suddenly thinks your beardy pseudofreudo folk rock selection sounds weird…"

I was under the impression that Freeland was playing all night with TT joining him for a guest slot later on - I was wrong, we got in at 10pm and had to endure an hour of complete monotony from somebody before AF came on at 11pm.  After what looked like a few technical problems and a bizarre move of actually turning the sound down (it wasn't that loud to start with) he started with a lovely few minutes of electronica goodness.  By this time the place was still relatively empty and I genuinely thought he was preaching to the wrong crowd because they didn't seem to get it.  Things progressed into beats and bass though and the set started to evolve into tracks I recognised (but can't actually remember the names of  - am terrible at that).

By 12.30 the room was packed after a surge in attendance and the crowd was moving well.  I liked the fact it was busy but you could still get a drink after minutes, the place was pretty cool as well with kitsch features hidden in alcoves around the room.  TT came on at 1am and started a lot harder than I had expected from him - playing 'Bonysh' and some heavily influenced Scandinavian tracks. 

Overall a good night in a great little venue - some of the posters of the wall showed some really great nights coming up that look very appealing...  Next time though i'd prefer to see AF play all night long!

Venue: 8/10 (could have been louder)
Music: 7.5/10
Crowd: 8/10 - met some very friendly people

Friday, 6 May 2011

The wonder of house...

I've been thinking about house music pretty much non-stop for around 8/9 years - ever since I picked up my first Defected compilation actually and its amazing what this music has achieved in just 30 years.

First of all its still going strong - that in itself is a testiment - many genres have fallen along the way out of popularity but house seems to be growing if anything which is great.

Secondly it has pretty much expanded the festival scene around the world - yes yes theres Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading for the guitar fans but there are countless more dance music festivals.

Thirdly - how many other types of music pretty much take over entire islands and cities during the summer?  You know where I'm talking about...

Fourthly - how many other types of music have been totally embraced around the world from Australia to Fiji to Norway?

Fifthly - how many other types of music have large scale conferences to actively talk about the state of the scene and to discuss where it goes in the future?

Sixthly - what is the type of music that all the so called ex-hip hoppers are producing now?

Sure there may be a crash coming soon when indie comes back but house music has stamped its legacy around the world.

So why is it so popular?  Well I can only give my personal feelings - I think it is because it is fun - it doesn't pretend to be anything but itself, theres no pretentious feelings, no self pity, no depression, (almost) no violence and theres a genre to suit most people...  House music exists for it to have a great time and so it does...  LONG MAY THAT CONTINUE!