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Ross Allen // The Meltdown

September 23, 2010

Hello and Welcome

I trust you are well ? Nice to get a bit of sun, eh ? thought it was all over ? Maybe but not just yet… I actually quite like the autumn but you know the darkness is coming.

Well the power of the missive has been borne out this week – one week you are slagging off moody fisherman, a few weeks later after a bit of online communication/debate and then you are fishing yourself. From critic to the critisized in under a month ! It wasn’t fishermen per se that I was slagging off just the miserable ones who snarled us on our canoeing trip. I have to thank Ed for my introduction to fly fishing from which I have just returned. Didn’t catch a thing but a day on a beautiful lake, in the late summer sun, was a joy to behold – and I didn’t get bored or lose my temper when i tied myself in knots whilst trying to learn the country art that is fly fishing. Well you gotta try stuff….and we smiled all day… Looks like I’ll be out again and soon.

So this week I have mainly been out, eating, dancing (well more frugging – that music biz dance) and making merry – the fishing trip was kind of needed, by way of actually getting some fresh air. This club night, The Meltdown, is already taking its toll. It starts early and inevitably finishes late, which means that you end up drinking… lots, and it’s not like I actually want to. In fact I have never intended to drink loads – it seems like a weird mission statement that some people have, I have never got the concept of ‘lets get pissed’ . I often hear it bandied about and it confuses me. My excess drinking is merely a by product of needing something to with my hands and an inexplicable inability to say ‘no’. Still the night is going very well, almost too well (could that happen?). Well, it is, or has been, great fun. A time check on an early dancefloor explosion was recorded as early as 8.45. I think the after work drink vibe of the night is a good one and fits the music. I love a ‘warm up’ set where you just play tunes and then build it up, the way I think you really should DJ. Well you can do that here and no one asks you to ‘pump it up’. It was good to have Ashley Beedle playing, we have long sung from a similar hymn sheet, and the music just got more mixed up, styles were switched and changed with a great deal of regularity and everyone just bounced around. Rowdy Superstar Live was exactly the sort of act we want down there, quirky, rocking and sexy. It was all over so quickly – though that may have been the drink. We then went on to East Village were Dom Moir was celebrating his birthday with Danny Rampling, Stuart Patterson and a few others playing. The disco selection I played seemed to go down a storm… well they are old !

Music wise on the show there are a few gems that you should pay attention to. The new Wiley track produced by MJ Cole is ace a minimalist, almost grime beat gets a great and classic Wiley lyric, with more insights in to the man’s life. They should do a Wileycam or an Osbournes type documentary on that bloke as he really does have a fascinating time/mind. I think he is great – intriguing is what you want from your stars – he is. As I have never had to work directly with him i love his unpredictability too. He is a nice guy too FACT. I met him years ago when he was all icey and that !

The Afro Cubism track is the first offering from the LP of the same name that is what the Buena Vista Social Club meant to be. To explain. This is an album that was meant to be out years ago. A fusion of African and Cuban sounds and musicians. The date was set, flights were booked but the Malian musicians could not get to Cuba to record, so in their place Nick Gold and Ry Cooder decided to record a group of local musicians this makeshift scenario became the multi million selling Buena Vista Social Club. All these years later, they finally got the Mailians out of Africa and recorded them with a group of Cuban musicians, and Afro Cubism is the result. It is another winner from World Circuit, we will be playing more from it in the coming weeks but the single sounds so good I thought we’d go with that first and it almost sounds a bit like the classic Buena Vista cut ‘Chan Chan’.

I didn’t get to the record stores last week but decided to go for a bit of online purchasing – something I still find a little odd – I like product, and my slight Luddite disposition often thwarts my wanting to get involved in all this digital business. Still I went in and was rewarded – It’s like most things you just have to get involved – and you are rewarded (like fishing, alright, there were no fish but it was a lovely day). Anyway… Traxsource, if you know it great, if not its kind of a US house store along the lines of Beatport or Juno – I do find them a bit difficult to navigate but i did find a few good bits, well 5 to be exact and it only took about 4 hours ! Convenient, as in you could do it in your own house at midnight, but you can’t chat to anyone or get any real tips, its just a bit of a lottery, i like guidance (unless its from the Pope)… Bring back people and real interaction not that virtual type written shit. I like to talk… Anyway the tunes were good and a few of them feature in the, well, I was going to call it housey mix but I might use ‘uptempo’ as it is a mixture of all sorts of things that I can’t really name.

The thing that I am picking up on in ‘dance’ music is that there is a very good, and not so reverential, return to those early 90′s NY house tunes, similar keyboard sounds and feel but with rougher, Baltimore beats or breaks or electro stylings. They are funky and rough but have different feels to them and are different again, the 90′s feel is in the keys and warmth but the sonic and bottom end are now and fresh. If you want evidence check out LV, Pretty Boy Haters and Ethix. Later on in the show we go a bit Juke, prompted by the new Mark Pritchard release – who keeps talking to me about ‘footwork’ music which i assume is this Juke thing, it’s certainly got the hype with bpm’s running at 160 and is historically a regional dance style from Chicago’s rougher areas, where house got twisted up and sped up and the dance style became the battle weapon. It’s been around for ages but may now be filtering in to Britain, and the worlds ever expanding musical pallette where no tempo is left alone for too long. Out On The Floor is another Pritchard gem and it is quickly followed by one of the many Cajmere ‘Percolator’ remixes, this one by DJ Gant man. As with most new micro genres most of it is poor but the good ones are fresh and different – we will continue our search as we did with the Baltimore sound. A few gems and you don’t need to go to much further. We’ll keep you posted, as I could be wrong !

On a retro trip I got a bit clever this week. Two 40th anniversaries were celebrated this week/year. Jimi Hendrix’s death and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew release – could I let an anniversary like that pass ? Well not when one amazing woman links the two great men – enter Betty Davis. The woman who put the funk into Miles’ cool, apparently inspired by Jimi’s influence on her. Anyway there are three rock – funk – jazz gems back to back in my aural triptych (not bad eh ?). Also I have to say how much I am loving the Stax gospel compilation that Dean Rudland put together – ‘The Gospel Truth’, we are getting him in next week to play us some obscure oldies and he is threatening some unreleased gems from the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The week after we are joined by that lovable disco freak – Dave Lee.

Anyway there is a show to listen to HERE….