Aug 1, 2012

This bloke is a one-man music curator. Greg WIlson is a brilliant DJ and for one of the elder-statesmen of his profession he totally gets it when it comes to spreading the good word in the digital age.

Elitisim and exclusivity are things a lot of DJs hide behind. Not Greg. You drop him an email and show a genuine interest in his work, next thing you know he's asking for your address and sending you three CDRs of his edits and DJ sets. Unbelieveable.

If you don't already subscribe to his Soundcloud feed, his own site gregwilson.co.uk, or his superb electrofunkroots.co.uk go to it with haste.

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Apr 11, 2012

Been meaning to blog for a while about the lovely melancholia of Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen. Stung into action by a couple of things - the annoucement of the Spotify Play button and an interesting blog by Lucy Jones for The Telegraph.

As technical developments go, the first piece of news hardly ranks alongside the creation of packet-switching by Treorchy's Donald Davies. After all, bloggers have been embedding music and video for a while thanks to Soundcloud, YouTube and the rest. 

It does neatly coincide with The Telegraph blog, which asks whether we are losing our respect for music due to ever-increasing accessibility to it. It's an interesting piece. Lucy Jones does a great job of presenting the argument with clarity and common sense. And she's right - we don't listen to albums in the same way as we did 10 years ago. We rarely invest hours, days, weeks obsessing over one body of work. Nowadays, it's a smash-and-grab raid of the best stuff and then onwards.

Thirty years ago, alternative music fans would be lucky to consume more than ten hours of new music a week, mostly by listening to John Peel on BBC Radio 1. If they read NME, Sounds or Melody Maker, chances are they would read about hundreds of hours of exciting music - and never get the opportunity to hear most of it. So they fell in love with the idea of the music and the music journalists who presented those ideas.

If the price to pay for being immersed in music is the music journalist gets to lose his or her gatekeeper's role, then so be it. I was a teen during the 1980s and can remember what it feels like being starved of good music. Nowadays, I love my irregular adrenalin-fuelled explorations of Spotify, Soundcloud, Beatport and The Recommender.

All of which eventually brings us back to Daniel Rossen and his lovely Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP on Warp. Not being the biggest Grizzly Bear fan on the planet, I would have ignorantly spurned this little gem were it not for Spotify. Have a listen. You might like it.

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Mar 9, 2012

It's the awkward ones you've got to look out for. Matthew Walker is a kid from Bristol whose consistent delivery of edgy bass-meets-house tracks and mixes has rightly made him a darling of the British underground.

His story is nothing special - influenced by his older brother's Daft Punk records in his teens, he started messing about with his sibling's decks and soon enough started making his own music. What's intriguing is the stuff going on in his head that has helped him create a subtle signature style all of his own.

So many artists seem to deny themselves the pleasure of mixing underground sounds with a hint of crowd-pleasing commerciality - all in the the pursuit of being respected by their peers. This vinyl release from late 2011 encapsulates the delicate balance that Walker has nailed, sampling a vocal abstract from Scouse disco exponents The Real Thing's 'You To Me Are Everything'.

Hats off to the excellent Hype Machine podcast for spreading the good word about this beaut.

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Mar 8, 2012

Never mind all that guff about guitar music being so limited in scope it has to revisit its past every few years. 'Crystal Caverns 1991' goes back to the first British wave of techno. It's a familiar place to people of a certain age who struggle to deal with the fact that Ryan Giggs is now a veteran footballer.

I was no raver, but two of the most exciting musical memories of that era are techno-related. One is going to a Thursday night techno club at The Fridge in Brixton around 1988. I'm guessing that Energy Flash author Simon Reynolds was one of the 30 or so punters who got to hear this mad new music in a club for the first time. Perhaps he even remembers the name of the night.

My abiding memory is watching K-Klass play their first EP, 'Wildlife' live. Four blokes from Wrexham hunched over keyboards and mixers, playing a cover of the John Barry theme tune for BBC nature programme Wildtrack. They sounded great, but I didn't imagine for a minute that it would ever catch on.

Hearing the subterranean rumble of 'Cubik' by 808 State was the highlight of a crushing day at Spike Island in 1989, when The Stone Roses confronted us with the harsh truth that they were just another rock band. The track played as I walked from the bus to the site. It sounded phenomenal, like nothing else around.

Of course, you don't need all this misty-eyed reminiscing to recognise Matt Cutler has got something special going on. But just you try and stop me.

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Mar 7, 2012

There's nothing like a proper blogging frenzy to get the blood flowing. If you ever thought the likes of Burial and Four Tet were nothing more than darlings of the underground, have a look at the numbers on the Soundcloud page hosting this collaboration. Nearly 300,000 listeners in four days is not bad going by anyone's standards...

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