The first instalment of Bicep’s Hot Jamz back in September 2011 is one of the best mixes I’ve ever heard, period. Frothing disco jams, cranky electro funk and proper jig tastic brilliance, I’ve blogged about it on these pages twice. Done in conjunction with We Love… Space on the Ransom Note, it was an afterparty staple for ages, one of those mixes you lash on when you’ve stupidly stayed up too late with one or two miscreants.
They dropped part 2 as part of their recent Rinse FM takeover and the results are below. Time will tell if it is as essential as the last one, but on first listen it’s lifted me out of my early week blues with deft ease. Big up Bicep!
As mentioned previously, I was going to be interviewing Russ Reid of Wasted Heroes ahead fo the #CircusX celebrations this weekend. The result was an insightful look into the world of club design. Hit the quote to head to the interview.
There’s an oft forgotten role in clubland. Whilst we move to the sounds of DJs, crowd around in clubs, and give our money to the promoters wily enough to orchestrate it all for us, one role is crucial in garnering our attention in the first place – the graphic designer. One of those who has had a particularly dynamic role in clubland is Russell Reid, who is undergoing something of a furtive period right now. As the lead designer for Circus for nigh on the entirety of their ten years, he’s been responsible for iconic designs such as the following masterpiece:
Russ has a three day epic weekend rolling up for his wares and club involvement, with Circus turning ten with two shows In London and Liverpool and him hosting Space’s El Salon for the We Love closing party on Sunday 30th September. Featuring at the shows are the likes of Seth Troxler, Maceo Plex, Bicep (who headline El Salon at Space), Sascha Dive, Yousef (obviously) and Riva Starr, whilst a gluttony of artists have been pcitured wearing Russ’ eye catching Circus X merchandise in recent months. One of them being a rather well know grinning superstar who appears at the top of this page.
I’ll be posting more details in the upcoming days on some interviews with Russ as well as one or two places you can win some of his clobber. However until then head over to the Wasted Heroes website and the Circus X merchandise mini-site if you want to get your hands on the clothing sooner.
Those lovable doyens of House and disco Bicep have a label out. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on their blog knows they have impeccable taste worthy of the Greek Gods, as well as a penchant for similarly dressed Adonises (the images on their site are almost as good as the music). I will be amazed if this doesn’t equate to a ridiculously essential label in mere months.
Unsure of their pedigree? check out the below mix they contributed for We Love last year, for whom they have held a residency this summer, which one year on is still the kind of hot and sweaty musical selections that give me a boner. Aural viagra.
I gave up on vinyl a long time ago. Every now and again though, a record comes out that makes me want to start buying it again. This is one of those tracks, an unashamed homage to sweaty 90s garage (the swinging New Jersey sound rather than the London ruffneck riddim) by those bastions of brilliance Bicep.
If you don’t know who these fine purveyors of dance music’s historically fantastic moments (late Seventies Disco, early Acid House, 80s Boogie Funk etc) then you need to get on their blog. The above image is a tribute to the iconography they use on their blog, directly brought to you from my own personal wank-tank. But for when they are really at their finest, dig this amazing mix they did last year for We Love… Space and the Ransom Note. Amazing stuff.
When famous people die, especially in music, there’s that rare period of time where everyone is too overcome with grief to hold grudges against them musically. Not tearful wrecks, but genuinely open to celebrating someone’s life more than they were when they were alive. It normally lasts a week. Ask anyone in Glastonbury during the festival in 2009 and they will remember the way Michael Jackson’s death was remembered; likewise with Amy Winehouse dying being honoured by the Innervisions crew closing their season stealing set at We Love… Space last summer with ‘Tears dry on their own‘. You don’t drop 83bpm soul and expect it to make sense on the most famous dancefloor of Ibiza, but mourning does funny things to people, and the reaction from all accounts was understandably euphoric.
From a personal perspective I’ve been djing around the death of a lot of voices from our generation in the past few years; I can remember the cheer when I played Nate Dogg in May last year and, pathetic as it may sound to a lot of people, I was geuninely moved. I actually found out about Michael Jackson ten minutes before a set that fateful Thursday evening, and was this weekend inundated at Bumper with loads of Whitney requests as the news broke about her death. I’m not particularly precious about the kind of music I play sometimes but there is no way I’d ever play ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ outside of a well paid wedding, but Saturday I burned a disc on the sly and did as the bating hordes wanted; getting a great reaction. And you know the same group of people will hate the same song a week later (they actually didn’t think much of it when I drunkenly played it again that evening; ooops).
But me djing in a bar in Liverpool is a far cry from making this kind of moment work at Panoramabar in Berlin, especially utilising the vocal for a simply stunning backdrop with Kraftwerk. This is what the Facebook page celebrating arguably the most influential club in the world claimed had happened during the late hours of Sunday morning, with Mano le Tough really capturing a moment. Whitney had an amazing voice, there’s no doubt about that, but her music was by no means as universally popular with underground dance music fans as it may have been with millions across the world. But, if there’s one slither of positivity to be drawn from what is increasingly looking like a very tragic and avoidable death, it’s the magic her music and the timing of others can provide. Sometimes as DJs you get the chance to really capture the moment of someone’s memory, and it sounds like Mano managed this effortlessly at the weekend. She’ll be missed, not least by the most discerning dancefloor on the planet.
And now Moodymanc has delivered this cracker of an edit of ‘Not right but it’s okay’ as well. Great stuff.
Personally, I think that was arguably his most fertile period, with his remixes and productions hitting a stride where they shone from beyond the underground and gave his arpeggio heavy Detroit sound a more mainstream appeal. Check his remix Tony Allen’s ‘Kilode’ for unerring proof, up there with the best of his output from Paperclip People and Innerzone Orchestra era.
This Boiler Room set is similar in scope to that era of C2, and it’s pretty fucking special to my ears and eyes. There’s a great deal of debate about how much of the equipment assembled for the show he actually used and whether he ‘gives up’ playing live midway through the set. But there’s some genuine moments of spine tingling genius; check the way the Curtis Mayfield sampling ‘Ladies and Gentleman’ by alias 69 ripples through on the half hour mark.
Also worth noting the front row dancers who sometimes come off as a Vice Mag parody too. Click the image at the top to see more, and also check this rather good video from Ibiza dons We Love… Space with Carl and Paul Woolford waxing lyrical about Planet E.