Monday, 23 March 2009

Victory in New Zealand

Remember the recent blackout protests in solidarity with internet campaigners in New Zealand?

Well now the NZ Prime Minister has stepped in to throw out the controversial Section 92A proposal, which would have forced ISPs to sever the internet connection of anybody accused of copyright infringement.

At last, a victory for civil liberties and no doubt the blackouts had at least some kind of role in getting across to the NZ government the widespread anger at such a draconian law.

Not only is it a victory for civil liberty groups, but it's a devastating blow for the copyright advocates who will seemingly stop at nothing to protect their precious profits, even if it means impinging the most basic tenet of law or stomping all over creativity.

Viva la revolucion!

Friday, 20 March 2009

'Spring Has Sprung' - Spotify Playlist

Here's a playlist I just whacked together on Spotify. It's a collection of mainly jazz/broken beat/hip-hop stuff that I feel has a bit of a spring in its step - perfect now the sun is shining and spring has officially arrived.


Fridge - Cut Up Piano and Xylophone
Nicola Conte - A Time for Spring
Outlines - Just A Lil Lovin'
The Herbaliser - You're Not All That (feat. Jessica Darling)
Recloose - Catch a Leaf (feat. Rachel Fraser)
The Matthew Herbert Big Band - Pontificate
Jazzanova - Far From Home (feat. Phonte Coleman)
Krafty Kuts & A Skillz - Fluteism
Jurassic 5 - The Influence
Mr Lif - Get Wise '91 (feat Edan)
Belleruche - Bird Mess
Soul Quality Quartet - I'm Not Here
Bolia We Ndenge - Bosamba Ndeke
Charlie Parker - Koko
Baby Mammoth - Pigs in Space
Osunlade - Thira
Outlines - Matter of Time
Jazzanova - Lucky Girl (feat Paul Randolph)
Santana - Jingo
Janis Joplin - Summertime
Grateful Dead - Friend of the Devil
The Clash - Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad
The Beat - Tears of a Clown
The Black Seeds - The Answer
Laurent Garnier, Bugge Wesseltoft, Phillippe Nadaud, Benjamin Rippert - M Bass
Earl Zinger - Think They All Gone Home Now
Nostalgia 77 & Barth - Omaha Boy

If you don't have Spotify, you need it! Stream music for free from a huge and ever growing catalogue. Find out more here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Copyright Extension Debate

An interesting discussion on the European Union's recent approval of copyright extension is unfolding on Shane Richmond's Telegraph blog. The debate is taking place between guest bloggers, Professor Martin Kretschmer, and Assistant General Secretary of the British Musicians Union, Horace Trubridge.

I'll add my tuppence worth once the series of posts draws to a close but in the meantime you can see for yourself.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Fabric 45 - Omar S -Detroit

By jove! Fabric have gone underground! They've ditched the limelight hoggers, the superstars, the zeitgeist and introversion is once again the flavour of the month in EC1. As much as it's still a cracking venue, responsible for many insane nights out and equally impressive CD releases, it wouldn't be unfair to say that the London institution has gone a bit more 'safe' in recent years, especially after being seduced by yellow plastic duck botherers O2 into opening Matter inside that pseudo-60s tribute to a diaphragm, the Millenium Dome, I mean The O2...

Instead of plodding down yet another well trodden path, the Fabric lot have roped in Detroit native Omar S to whip up something tasty for their latest mixtape. Little known outside Detroit, and less so inside it, Omar is something like the last bastion of underground Detroit, quietly going about his business (100 releases to date) without so much as even a myspazz page to shout about if from.

The mix is ambitiously a collection of Omar S productions and nothing else. This angle has already been tried, successfully, by Ricardo Villalobos and his hard drive full of minimalism. This time, the sleeve notes declare this to be 100% analog with "NO COMPUTER BULLSHIT PROGRAMS!", stuck in the past perhaps, like the famous city where it was conceived? Or an effort to rejig well worn drum machines and synths into something refreshing?

Well it's a bit of both really, oozing both classic Detroit and more contemporary vibes. Opener 'Polycopter' is insanely funky, spinning round and round and twisting inside out like some warped fairground ride while the church-like synths of 'Strider's World' float around like an unreleased score to The Omen. 'Crusin Conant' is stripped back twenty-first century minimalism that morphs into 'U', a slow ode to Joey Beltram's 'Energy Flash'. The slow blips of 'Oasis 13 1/2' play alongside a teasing beat that keeps hopping in and out, all the while a subtle electric piano tinkers in the background before oozing into the foreground

I'm a sucker for complex percussion and 'Simple Than Sorry' is fantastically fidgety, an imposing kick alongside what sounds like an army of tap dancing spiders in tandem with a scratch DJ and subtle synths that evoke Berlin. 'Psychotic Photosynthesis' is a futuristic groove that feels cold yet warm and infective at the same time. The sci-fi synth is a mind control tool from the future that really gnaws at the brain and is wonderfully juxtaposed with the jacking soul of 'The Maker'.

This is maybe an early choice though and the mix loses its way as the energy and vibe is lost in the transition into 'Oasis One', but such is the nature of Omar's work that it's only a momentary lapse. 'Oasis One' gently builds and develops in an almost orchestral manner - it really feels like every individual component of the track is being played by a seperate musician, all skilfully arranged by the feather light touch of the Detroit maestro. 'Blade Runner' is an old school delight that should be on the soundtrack to the eponymous film and the Unreleased Long Mix of 'Day' is more Chicago than Detroit with its bumpy bassline-driven rhythm something of an anomaly on this particular mix, not that anybody should mind.

Maybe it's pscyhological, after having read his sleeve notes, but there is definitely a rawness about Omar's sound. The beats sound incredibly organic and wholesome and in true testament to the spirit of Detroit he manages to squeeze some real warmth out of his machines. The only complaint is that it doesn't quite work as a mix. It's something I can't quite put my finger on but some of his records would probably sound better within a 'deeper' mix. Such is the scope and range of his work that in some ways it stifles the true potential of his productions. In a longer, more in-depth mix that really taps into the human psyche, such tracks as 'Psychotic Photosynthesis' would unleash their power and fill the dancefloor (or bedroom); rather they are forgotten about as the next track enters the fray.

This is no bad thing of course, and just one of the many nuances of the art of DJing. The Fabric press material proudly proclaims this "a stunning, arresting portrait of who he is as an artist, as a DJ, as an outsider, as a radical in an otherwise indifferent music world" and to be honest it's hard to disagree with that. Some of the more minimal tracks maybe wouldn't cut the mustard in a Hawtin set, but the boy has clearly got some talent, and considered as an artist album rather than a mix compilation, Omar S' effort is certainly deserving of its plaudits.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Atomic Jam, Birmingham (7th March)

Q Club feels like a throwback to the good old days when anything with four walls and a roof (and sometimes less) was ripe for a party. Housed in a former Methodist hall and not in the slightest bit small, the bible bashers have long since made way for those who are instead slave to a beat. Techno mentalists Atomic Jam set up shop here many a year ago before the venue shut for five years but after a successful homecoming in November, the Jam crew have committed to throwing two parties a year. Headlining the bill Saturday were Dave Clarke, Adam Beyer and Ovr (James Ruskin and Regis), ably supported by residents Chris Finke and Steve Strawberry and in the other rooms by a whole host of bleepy, breaky, bassy DJs and performers from Birmingham's underground.

Quite frankly, I'm surprised the HSE let anything go on in there at all; dancing up in the gallery overlooking the floor in the main room is only suitable for those with a head for heights, and certainly a memorable experience. The whole place could really do with a lick of paint - peeling, crumbling walls, long untreated wood and torn fabric chairs are abound - but quite frankly who cares? With hundreds of likeminded clubbers swarming through the venue there's more than enough life about the place. There's also no clear presence from the organisers, save a shabby little portakabin on the way in, and it all very much feels like a little secret, albeit a loud one. Pranged out and over excited clubbers prowl around the upper levels and the dank corridors, but even the most unsavoury of clubland characters feel harmless as flies. It's all very blissful and there's something heart warming about seeing old forgotten buildings given a new lease of life and a new purpose, almost like a life transfusion.

By far the most charming aspect of the club is the punters. Students, mods, the odd chav, glammed up girlies, metalheads, fashionistas, seasoned ravers and even a few couples the wrong side of 40 all shared the space, and as cliched as it sounds, were simply united by the music. Despite the cavernous main room with its ceiling up in the clouds somewhere, the techies have got the sound near perfect and the oozing acid of Hardfloor's 'Acperience' welcomed our arrival to an already buzzing and bustling dancefloor. Looking up at the gallery it was hard not to think of the rave scene in the Matrix and the irony of a subculture getting their rocks off to their own demigods in an abandoned place of worship was never far away.

Adam Beyer was the first of the headliners to take to the booth and plunged into a Drumcode inspired set of rolling, percussive techno, warming up smartly for Dave Clarke. As ever, the baron of techno tore the crowd a new arsehole, showing off an astonishing ability to read a dancefloor and keep it on tenterhooks throughout. Chris Finke followed with a more Detroit and pure funk orientated set, but it lacked a bit of direction and by the time Ovr took the controls the crowd was thinning, a shame, considering their set was funky as hell.

Elsewhere in the rabbit warren that is Q, drum'n'bass rocked the generally empty third room at ridiculous decibel levels, whilst in the bar tucked away behind the main arena, Noodle, Electrode and Data Trace Records warmed the cockles with some bass heavy electro and dubstep. The turntables lay dormant in this room, with all manner of hardware devices controlling the music, most of which I've never seen before and no doubt it was the cutting edge that was carving out a groove all night. And if all got a bit much, there was the Chai Tea room overflowing with the charm of a school tuck shop come hippy haunt, though somehow my vast reserves of energy steered me away from there until the end of the night when half the club could be found piled on top of each other in a soporific mess.

In a clubland where clearly defined crowds dominate despite the increasingly mixed and ambiguous music policies, Atomic Jam is a breath of fresh air, it's clubbing as it's supposed to be. Simple, bare bones with a melting pot of good people and great music. Long may it continue.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Jazzanova - Of All The Things

Jazzanova have been delighting the nu-jazz crowds for well over a decade but it's only now that the Berlin collective have found time to release their second proper album, Of All The Things.

Unusually for a collective composed mainly of DJs, the song reigns joyous and supreme over this particular album. The heavy beats they're renowned for are given less prominence, making way instead for a raft of soulful singers including Ben Westbeech, Ursula Rucker, Bembe Segue and Joe Dukie of Fat Freddy's Drop.

That's not to say Jazzanova's beatsmith hat has been completely thrown out the window though. Such strong vocal talent is perfectly complimented by instrumentation that draws on many different influences.

Opening track, 'Look What You're Doing to Me', has a distinct Santana feel whilst 'Lie' is a light, breezy number, somewhat reminiscent of 'Eleanor Rigby'. 'Little Bird' immediately follows, a heartfelt encounter that benefits from some restrained and intelligent production on the piano that does just enough to let Jose James' voice dominate and make your skin tingle.

Jazzanova also prove themselves dab hands at hip-hop with 'So Far from Home'. Phonte Coleman's empathetic rapping over uplifting beats sits comfortably amongst the rest of the album and is in stark contrast to his sung contribution in the opening ditty.

A lot of credit must go to the running order of the album, which is expertly arranged, constantly piquing interest and leading the listener further in. Furthermore, this smooth 'journey' subtly proves the collective's talent at mixing together many different influences, instruments and rhythms to produce something incredibly cohesive.

Of All The Things is a welcome respite from today's doom and gloom, injecting hopeful smiles into downtrodden and weary faces. Definitely one to keep close to the stereo over the next twelve months.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Agoria - Go Fast

The painfully slow and poorly concerted efforts of HMV and Royal Mail finally, somehow, conspired to have Agoria’s third studio album land on my doormat; so apologies if this is rather late.

Go Fast, I learnt upon opening my brown paper bag, is actually the soundtrack to a French indie film of the same name. How that got past me, I don’t know, but it posed a little problem. Having not seen the film, nor being able to find it anywhere to buy online, I felt reluctant to listen to the album if I couldn’t put it into context. But being the admirer of Agoria that I am, I also couldn’t bare to have his material lying around and not being heard.

Opening track ‘Tender Storm’ is a beautiful, intense composition. Ominous, ethereal vocals swirl around in the dark alongside dull, tribal beats and low-end synths. It’s a piece of music that plays on fear and curiosity, simultaneously warding you off and beckoning you forward; the perfect album starter. The following tracks are deep, slow burning and heavily influenced by Detroit (via a slight detour into bluesy guitar territory with 'Around the Corner') and not at all in your face, which is ironic considering the title.

Nearer the end, ‘Run, Run, Run’ alludes to Plastikman’s ‘Spastik’ but turns into something far less frenetic and remarkably organic sounding, and through slight of hand turns itself into a heavy breaks track that harks just a little bit back to the 90s. Closing track ‘Diva Drive’ is the most dancefloor friendly; a bumping, minimal techno cut that constantly evolves and teeters close to the edge of hedonism, bringing around an about turn in the mood of the album and perhaps hinting at some kind of reconciliation in the film?

Go Fast is remarkably different to Sebastien Devaud’s previous artistic efforts, Blossom and The Green Armchair, which were a lot ‘harsher’ in a Vitalic vein. Rather, Go Fast is more akin to his fabled DJ sets, which indulge in his passion for Detroit and jazz and are a bit more noodly, but despite the fantastic opener and strong finish, everything in between seems to lack any raison d’etre.

Clearly, obviously, this album is supposed to soundtrack something and from the sense of emptiness you can’t help but think about the film and what story it scores, but it does little to suggest anything insightful. A great deal of the album feels like a ship bereft of its captain, floating around in the doldrums with no distinct course to follow.

However, taken away from the home stereo and transported to the soulless, clacking commute of a train speeding through bleak Birmingham landscapes, with the rain zipping past windows and grey clouds crawling in the ever darkening sky, Go Fast takes on a life of its own - my life in fact - weeding out those trains of thought (no pun intended) and complex emotions we often dwell on when doing something as mind numbing as commuting.

Unfortunately, I’m not in the mood for riding trains to Birmingham, or other concrete monstrosities for that matter, just for the pleasure of listening to a particular album. At home, away from any kind of narrative, it just feels like it’s soundtracking a forgotten past, when in fact it’s major strength is in soundtracking the present, whether it’s a drab train trip or something more exciting. No doubt, if I were to see the film then listen again the album would take on a new meaning, but most of it still feels a bit empty and rather unsuitable for home listening.

Maybe I shouldn’t have opened it after all?


Valentino Kanzyani (Download)

I'm a big fan - you should be too.

Here's the first part of his set from the Kristal Club in Bucharest a month ago:

ValentinoKanzyani_Kristal_part_I.mp3 / 77.42MB

Friday, 27 February 2009

If all else fails...

...try The Kinks.

Even if I'm in the foulest of moods, with an utter slapped arse of a face that not even a pubescent teen pining over 'unfair' pocket money or a woman with a blood smattered groin can compete with, The Kinks will turn that frown upside down.

Who's your 'fallback' band or musician?

Radio SiZG

Reet, here we go again, still no commute tunes though, didn't fancy wearing my ma-hoo-sive cans on the bus.

Nostalgia 77 - Various
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Earl Zinger - Speaker Stack Commandments
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane - Live at Carnegie Hall

DJ Marky - Bingo Session Volume 2
Nic Fanciulli - Porn House Mix (Mixmag)
Dave Clarke - Archive One
Matthew Herbert - Plat Du Jour
Erykah Badu - FreakQuency

Esko Closes

Late night Leicester venue Esko has unexpectedly closed. A popular haunt for the more debauched of Leicester's clubbing fraternity, this little corner of Humberstone Gate will be sorely missed.

The first I heard about it was through seeing a group appear on Facebook, pleading for 'One more night', followed by a status update from the owner, Ben Hunt, saying: "Wishes to thank everyone for the past 3 yrs at esko. I had some of the best nights of my life. Djs, promoters, customers and all staff. Thankyou xxx."

Not long after, the official Facebook group for Esko, updated its news page saying not much more than another warmly felt ‘thank you’.

I've no idea why it has shut, nor do I really want to speculate too much. Maybe it's the recession? I don't know, but the last few times I've been there it's been absolutely heaving. I notice many posts seem to be people saying "If only I'd known it was the last night I'd have come", so maybe it wasn't always that busy? Either way, it's a sad loss.

The venue started out three years ago as a members only club, but soon gave up the closed door policy to welcome all and sundry. Despite the shift in policy, Esko always retained its 'secret' charm. Tucked away down a dilapidated, ruined and long forgotten street, just beyond the corporate monstrosity that's Life and behind a nondescript door in the wall, it was hard to gauge what was going on inside.

That was, until the smoking ban hit and an excited babble of revellers began populating the paving stones immediately beside the door. The little smoking area was like a little window on the club itself; animated, delightful chit chat, happy vibes, and the occasional burst of music whenever the door swung open. Esko was delightfully lost in its own reverie. Life was only a few doors away, spilling out mutton-dressed-as-lamb underage girls and an equal splattering of horny adolescent boys and pervy old men, drunkenly swaying to the tiresome chart r’n’b that afflicts so many city centres in England today.

Esko just got on with it, you’d forget Life was even that close. It was an anthropologist – nay - physicist’s dream - two parallel universes sat side by side. Inside Esko, everybody was one happy family, shirking the need to look the part as is the prevailing trend in today's clubland. There was never any trouble, the music policy shifted each week, from the adam’s apple bashing bass of the Biscuit Tin Soundsystem to the cratedigging eclecticism of Jon Kennedy, a joyous celebration of all things funky.

Occasionally, the ponces and pansies from that culturally devoid melting pot of brain dead, drug fuelled hedonism, Sophbeck, would find their way into the nurturing womb of Esko, but even this sorry subculture was tempered and curtailed by the great spirit of Esko. It was a sorely needed venue in Leicester’s electronic scene and will be much missed.

RIP Esko.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

On the Blackout

You may have noticed the little black .gif on the right hand side of the screen. It's not a permanent advert, but where a picture of my glorious self usually resides. Those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will also have noticed that for the past week my ugly mug has been missing, replaced by a far more fetching blacked out picture. The reason? An incoming law in New Zealand that will force ISPs to block the internet connection of users accused of infringing copyright law, known as 'Guilt Upon Accusation'. The blackout is a solidarity campaign initiated by Creative Freedom NZ to spread the word about this fascist law that shows a blatant disregard for people's right to be held innocent until proven guilty.

Citizensheep posted a blog earlier this week, in which he questioned the reticence of people taking part in the protest. There were a number of comments defending those who had only blacked out half their avatars, noting the inconvenience it caused. Here was my response:

The reason I’ve been taking part in this blackout is that I harbour genuine concerns something like this could happen in the UK in the not too distant future and I want to highlight this particular case to as many people as possible. The blackout, I feel, is particularly effective in that so many people have been asking what it’s all about. Granted, in itself it probably won’t alter the position of the NZ government, but at least far more people are now aware of the issue. Furthermore, it’s effective because the public images we present of ourselves, which so many people are so used to seeing, are suddenly taken away, almost like one has ‘died’ online - which is what anybody unfortunate enough to fall foul of the law in NZ would experience.

Covering only half your avatar or putting it in a shadow, to me, seems a half-arsed effort. This is only a week of blackout protest. Blacking out avatars does make it a bit more inconvenient but it’s only for a week. As I said above, it’s the sudden lack of an identifier that makes this action successful in at least as much as raising awareness. Still being able to see somebody’s eyes in their avatar doesn’t really have the same powerful effect nor cause the necessary kind of disruption required for sticking the issue firmly in people’s minds.

I do realise that for mass protests to be successful, they have to require little effort. I’ve only recently graduated from university where I was very active in the politics of the students’ union and trying to get the students to care was nigh on impossible because quite frankly most of them were too lazy. The blackout doesn’t require much effort - simply change your picture. The only effort required is in making the best of the disruption caused (such as identifying avatars rather than names) However, I firmly believe that for protests to be effective they do have to be somewhat disruptive. It’s disruption that awakens us from our happy slumber and forces us to think about serious issues in the world. Many people don’t like it, but without disrupting their cosy little existence it can be extremely hard to make them sit up and pay attention.

I still stand by what I said. I'm not sure what impact this protest will have had, no doubt the NZ government will forge ahead with the law, but at least I've informed other people elsewhere about this ridiculous law.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

My Identity Crisis

Some people suffer schizophrenia and I think my DJing persona is enduring a similar ailment. As you may gather from the little spiel at the side, I have a somewhat varied taste in electronic music, which also spreads into my penchant for acoustic and 'proper' music too.

Without meaning to sound all "ooo look at me and my eclectic taste" I own albums by Sufjan Stevens, Dave Clarke, The Mars Volta, Miles Davis, Shy FX, Gil Scott Heron, Test Icicles, Maximo Park, The Grateful Dead, King Tubby, The Plump DJs, Jurassic Five, a collection of classical composers and everything in between. It's no big deal, so do many other people, I'm not the only person to simply like music. If it's heartfelt and conveys some kind of emotion to me, then I'll gladly listen to it time and time again.

But when it comes to DJing this makes it particularly difficult for me to settle on one sound to play. My DJing bio is a story that goes all over the place. When I first started DJing nearly eight years ago it was house, a bit of trance and some hard house (at the tail of end when the scene was still simply tough house music, before the hoovers and BOSH!!!! took over).

Through my obsession with Ministry magazine (RIP) I was soon introduced to breakbeat, through Freq Nasty's 'Fresh', a brilliant name for a record which opened my eyes to the drum break as a rhythmic tool and kick started a love affair with breakbeat that has lasted to this day.

Not long after, through listening to Fergie's late night show on Radio 1, I fell in love with techno, particularly thanks to the likes of Agoria, Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke and Phil Kieran, not to mention, of course, Laurent Garnier. By now trance and hard house had disappeared from my record box, although house, particularly proggy and electro stuff, was still in there somewhere.

And then! Drum'n'bass rolled its way into my life. I'm not sure where this infatuation with deebee came from to be honest - I think it was a natural progression from breakbeat - and soon after drum'n'bass came some of the jazzier, broken beat sounds, courtesy of Gilles Peterson and a stonking Essential Mix from Switch.(1)

So now, my bedroom was rocking to beats and pieces from all over the electronic spectrum, beyond what I've listed above, my ferocious appetite for all sorts of music just couldn't be satiated (it still can't) and with the Fabric CD series and Radio 1's specialist shows holding my hand through the record stores I was constantly introduced to new sounds (fuck off Mighty Boosh).

It's in the record stores where it went wrong the most. My sixth former's weekly wage packet didn't really stretch much beyond about £50 a week. One 12" was a fiver at the very least but usually a bit higher and with no record store in sight that meant buying online, so adding the p&p, buying records was a bloody expensive business! And when I did have the money, what to buy? The latest tune from the Plump DJs? Or the latest Intec release? Or how about High Contrast's new white label (for a tenner, pfft).

With so many styles I wanted to play, trying to amass any kind of collection, let alone an up to date one, was nigh on impossible. I tended to focus on my breaks and Switch-style house (years before it blew over big time, get me!) but this meant my techno and drum'n'bass suffered and ultimately my DJ 'persona'.

As with any scene within the music business, if you want to make a name for yourself and get the sets you need to focus on one area and become associated with it. Many DJs successfully incorporate cuts from many different genres within their sets, such as Laurent Garnier or Gilles Peterson, but there always tends to be an overriding theme uniting the different layers.

In Gilles' case, I'd say it's 'intelligent' soul (2) and with Laurent it's a similar theme, but a lot more electronically orientated; in search of the essence of techno which is to produce emotional music from machines. There are also others like DJ Yoda who cut and paste whatever they want, a true turntablist, but the skill he employs is ridiculous and only a few DJs in the world possess such talent.

A tweet this week from @solobasssteve caught my eye, in which he said: "People don't enjoy music because of the style, but because of how it makes them feel. Style is just a search tool." Amen to that, not a truer word has been spoken on the pigeon holing of music. This is how I approach my DJing, I don't restrict myself, anybody who does is a dunce.(3) Instead I like to stick to the underlying feel to my music, a la Gilles Peterson.

At university I started getting club and party sets out in Leicester. In the first couple of years I played mainly breaks but in the third year it took on a lot more electro/fidget feel, mainly because that's what people were looking for, but all under the name 'Jitterbug'. I chose this nom de plume, or whatever the DJ equivalent is in French (I'm not gonna get philosophical about DJs writing with records or something) because I like to play music that you just can't resist dancing to, but specifically with a break in it, as opposed to a 4/4 beat, because, well a flat beat isn't very jittery is it?

But now, I don't know what to play. I'm bored of the surrounding, drugged up and 'cool' scene of the whole electro and fidget styles, despite taking great pleasure from playing them and find that many of the crowds want instant satisfaction from a DJ, in contrast to my growing desire to play more thoughtful, structured sets where I establish a groove and keep it going, rather than drop bomb after bomb.

But then sometimes this is exactly the kind of set I like to play - party style. I love the attitude of hip hop DJs and the crowds of some of the electro nights where they simply just want to get down and bloody rave. However, I do still want my 'groovy' sets ie techno or drum'n'bass and if I didn't have the time or money to pursue them before uni I certainly don't have the former now (although the finance is a bit rosier thanks to a full time job and acquisition of ScratchLive).

I've never taken my techno seriously enough, but if truth be told it's the music I most get a kick out of both playing and listening to, from the deeper Detroit stuff, to the rolling, loopy stuff or the more minimal kind. And drum'n'bass is becoming a huge factor in my life again. I gave up taking it seriously at university, but some awesome drum'n'bass sets in the past year, coupled with some great releases, have reawakened my passion for it and I really want to get back into playing good old drum funk.

Whether I will take up drum'n'bass again, perhaps to satisfy my desire for the break in the probable future absence of breakbeat and electro, I'm not sure, but techno is definitely on my to do list this year.

And as a final point there's a whole naming issue here. The Jitterbug moniker can't cover both the above 'new' bases and the breaks/electro one I don't want to leave behind, though truth be told, I probably already have. Unfortunately the name thing is a necessary headache. Realistically, in the world of @solobasssteve which I advocate, there are no different personas but in the dance world the scenes are so segregated you can't but help need a different name for your different styles, but which to apply Jitterbug to? Aaaargh! How bloody stressful, this whole self branding bollocks!

Are there any other musicians suffering from multiple personalities out there? How do you accomodate your tastes? Get in touch.

Before Dave Taylor took over the controls of Switch on his own, following the 'departure' of Trevor Loveys and when they were still jazzy and less electronic.
(2) I know this sounds snobby and a bit la di da, but there's a lot of thought behind the music; it's not at all haphazard or hastily thrown down slices of soul. In some cases he may play a track that is brilliantly simple but then ultimately it manages to work on so many different levels.
(3) I understand I say I play 'breaks/electro' or 'techno' or 'drum and bass'. Within these are so many more substyles and it's these substyles that many DJs for so long have restricted themselves to playing. Even when playing the broader styles I will often include a drum'n'bass track in a breaks set, or an electro track in a techno set. It's the way I've always played and always will but you have to take into account want the crowd wants - say at a drum'n'bass gig they probably won't be interested if you suddenly drop Depeche Mode in there!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Radio SiZG

This week has been an empty one musically, primarily because I have a feeling some pikey student nabbed my earphones at the Warwick Economics Summit. Either that or the pixies snuck into the lecture theatre and swiped them from wherever I stupidly left them. Ergo, work and the commute were silent, except for the hot girl on the bus giving an ear full to some inept delivery company who couldn't find the Chemisty building - you go girl! - until she finished the call by putting on her sunglasses. On the bus. Posing cow.


Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Commix - Fabric Live
The Heritage Orchestra - The Heritage Orchestra
Paul Woolford and Howie B - DJ [Mag] Face Off
Rui Da Silva - International DJ [Mag] Allstars

Some quick scribblings on copyright

Copyright has been in the news quite a bit this past week. First of all, the EU approved extending the period of copyright protection for musicians. Then internet users around the world embraced a self-imposed blackout out of solidarity with campaigners in New Zealand fighting a proposed law that would make it possible to sever the internet connections of people accused of breaching copyright. That is, merely accused, not actually found guilty. And in the meantime, Swedish based BitTorrent tracker, Pirate Bay, are in court fighting a lawsuit brought against them by the music industry for copyright infringement.

My personal feelings regarding copyright have always been a bit ambiguous. First of all, I actually like to physically own an album on vinyl or CD. I like the designs, I like the sleeve notes and all the imagery and really appreciate it when musicians put effort into the album beyond the actual music. For me, an album is a wider entity, a display of emotions and ideas that extends beyond the simple collection of tracks that it’s reduced to when put into digital format. That’s not to say I only believe an album can exist in a tangible form. I actually believe it’s ultimately somewhat intangible, but all the accompanying non-musical artistic work help reinforce the spirit of the album.

Secondly, as a DJ who uses Serato ScratchLive, I want only decent quality digital formats and also owing to my eclectic tastes the best place to find the tunes I want, in high quality, is often in the online record stores. And further to this, as a DJ who has often been paid for his sets in clubs, playing other people’s music, I only feel right to plough that money back into other artists, by paying for their tracks. Therefore, I’ve never felt the need to download illegally or obtain copies and thus find myself well and truly in the whole copyright quagmire. To really affirm my opinions on the subject I do need to read into it more, which I am currently doing.

I know enough though, that I believe music, like all the arts, should be shared with the world. Therefore I find copyright laws inherently repressive and counterproductive to the true purpose of music, which is to inspire, instil hope, enliven and empathise with people’s emotions. I very much want to get into producing music, once I have the time, and when I complete my first production I’ll be happy to share it for free with the world. However, I recognise the fact that for somebody who goes into the music business full time they have to be compensated in some way for this devotion of their time, hence payment is necessary, but still the prevailing ethos behind music should be that it is made to be enjoyed and shared, not profited from.

Which is why I find the news from the European Union that they are to extend copyright protection from 50 to 95 years utterly ridiculous. The main thrust of the argument appears to be that musicians should profit from their early work when they need it most, in their later years. If that’s the case, then why can’t it be applied to many other jobs? Why can’t the brickie profit from the house he built fifty years ago? Why can’t the cosmetic surgeon profit from the tit job he did last century? They then contradict this argument by going on to state that copyright protection for music written by collaborative artists will extend to 70 years beyond the DEATH of the last surviving author.

Although I am undecided about copyright laws in general, particularly with my eagerness to reconcile the right to share and build upon art with the right of the artist to be compensated, at the moment I believe that if they must exist, it should be for no more than ten years and I’m inclined to think maybe even less. This is to allow the musicians to benefit upon immediate production and dissemination of their work, as we all do, but after that make it beneficial to the wider community by making it free to the world.

Hence, my opinion on the Pirate Bay trial is somewhat undecided. I support their case in as much as I can see all they do is simply facilitate filesharing. They don’t physically copy files or force people to share them - they’re no more than a lighthouse guiding ships in the dark and this is why the prosecution have dropped half their charges. I’m not yet ready to jump headlong into the huge wave of anti-copyright support that backs Piracy Bay, but I do have a longstanding hatred of the major record companies and such bodies as the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, as I put forward in my post last year about the ProDub licence for DJs in the UK.

The industry is well known for being fiercely out of touch with reality in the digital age. Although a recent survey from Marrakesh records and Human Capital showed many young people feel music should be free, half have still paid for a download and 70% paid for a CD, indicating to some extent that young people will still pay for their music.

Most interesting was that those surveyed “felt £6.58 is a fair price for CD album, but that a downloaded album should be just £3.91 and a single 39p” – a lot cheaper than what we currently pay online and reflective of the groundswell of opinion I’ve sensed for a few years, that people don’t mind paying for music, but it should be cheaper. Unfortunately, the industry appears deaf to such a general consensus and is determined to squeeze every last penny out of the consumer, standing in the way of any real debate on reforming copyright laws.

An argument I put forward against the ProDub licence was that it seemed to me to be the act of a blinded, stubborn buffoon of an industry that had been losing the fight against piracy for years. So in order to recoup some of their losses, they looked for easy targets. Ordinary people downloading music at home are hard to pin down whereas DJs playing off laptop are clearly playing other people’s music and are easy to back into a corner by introducing a mandatory licence and forcing venues to make sure they only book DJs that hold one.

The Piracy Bay lawsuit seems to be a similar tactic. Target those who are easy to find and continue to completely ignore the overwhelming general consensus that music is too expensive.

And finally, the Guilt Upon Accusation law in New Zealand which will force ISPs to break the internet connection of those simply only accused of copyright infringement, not actually found guilty in a court of law. This is another example of governments bowing to pressure from the media industry rather than taking it upon themselves to have a serious discussion of copyright laws that are quite clearly out of touch with the digital world and the vast number of people that are a part of it.

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These are just some brief thoughts that I shall return to within the next week, stay tuned and feel free to leave any comments.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Commix - FabricLive 44

Commix step up to the plate to deliver the latest mix in the Fabric series, an intricately thought out collection of dark, trippy drum’n’bass that harks back to the jungle days of yore and often throws forward to some of the more futuristic sounds of the scene today. It’s a bit of a slow burner, the first half of the mix a bit plodding with not much variation in the break; much like background deebee if such a thing exists.

Not until D-Bridge’s remix of their own ‘Belleview’ do things get a bit more spicy, with a tough, growling bassline and future funk bleeps turning the mix in a direction lot more inviting of the listener that weaves between breakbeat science, dubby liquid and the more experimental sounds associated with Commix. Yet as soon as things get going it all unravels, albeit rather elegantly. Breakage’s ‘Old School Ting’ is nothing more than a death throe before two Instra:mental twenty-first century takes on jungle sandwich Photek’s timeless ‘Yendi’.

It’s technically flawless making for a fluid mix but it never quite gets out of the starting blocks or raises its game. The final coupling is probably the highlight of the mix but comes at the end of a relatively uninspiring effort. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a long night time drive with nothing but the open road and open mind to think about, but in the comfort of your own home it fails to illuminate much.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Radio SiZG

Where did my week go? It's all a hazy memory punctuated by filming the former governor of Hong Kong and current Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, another boring international friendly and a tipsy trip to Brumtwestival. So much for bashing out a couple of reviews and a piece on ecstacy declassification. Hopefully, some remnant of my to do list will be winging its way forth on Sunday although my immediate schedule for the weekend is no less relenting. (Warwick Economics Summit, if you're interested.)

Once again, a new Jitterbug mixtape (for submission to Woolfire Festival) is on the backburner but with the near future a little less cluttered I'll cook something up soon. In the meantime, here's what's been rocking my world this past week.

Dave Clarke Essential Mix
Akiko Kiyama (Fabric Recording)
Steve Reich - Different Lines/Electric Counterpoint
Daedelus - Love To Make Music To
Soil & Pimp Sessions - Planet Pimp

DJ Format - If You Can't Join Them, Beat Them
The Clash - Essential Clash
The Mars Volta - Amputechture
King of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak
The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico

Sub Club: 20 Years of Underground
Ellen Allien - Fabric 34
(err that's about it at home, again, I've barely registered at my abode this week)

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A Skillz Mix

Here's a link to a tasty one hour mix from Finger Lickin' darling, A Skillz. Of course, nothing comes for free, they want you to vote him Best DJ in the upcoming Breakspoll awards but I'll leave that to you to decide. I don't dabble in awards ceremonies...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sex in Zero Gravity

So I've relaunched. The old blog has gone. I wasn't happy with the name as I'd stolen it from what can best be described as a 'user generated' clubnight run by a music messageboard I had no particular input to, so I've stolen a new name for myself.

Sex in Zero Gravity by The Martian is an early 00s techno tune that I completely adore; a true testament to the spirit of techno to produce emotive music using them soulless machines. I've never been in space and can't imagine I'll ever get round to having a nosey up there but sex in zero gravity sounds like a fantastic past time and when I get lost in the groove in some dark, sweaty club or gig venue, the wave of euphoria that washes over me is probably what cosmic copulation feels like, hence the name for the blog.

I've migrated some of the content from my old blog, which you can see below and intend to add to it with more album reviews, gig reviews (focused on the Midlands) and more opinion, as well as a weekly list of what's been hurtling down my ear canal. On top of this I'll be making a concerted effort to keep track of the glorification of drugs in the music press. Drug use is part and parcel of the dance scene and I personally hold no beef against those who indulge, but the media have a responsibility when it comes to drug use and I'll be keeping a close eye on the way it's portrayed.

This design isn't final, there'll be a few tweaks, but have to thank for the banner and Drew Mallins for taking the picture of me in the student union a couple of years ago.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Live @ The Kasbah

It’s been a while since I saw some live guitar based music and being new to Coventry I thought it best if I got myself down to The Kasbah, the city’s leading venue, for a night of local bands. First to take the spotlight were Momma’s in the Kitchen and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when they first took to the stage. The drummer was sporting an extreme version of that horrendous indie hairdo I like to call the ‘negative fringe’. You know the one, short on top, long on the sides, bit like a bowl cut gone wrong then to top it off they’ve lopped away a perfect square from the front so they can see where they’re going. This guy’s face frame was so long he looked like an ironed spaniel, whilst the lead singer looked like Russell Brand had been fucked in the ass by a Christian rocker and was considering singing about Jesus on the back of a truck like that really weird bit in Vanishing Point.

But let me not judge a book by its cover. They were actually rather good, defying the above mentioned indie-Jesus-rock soundclash their style suggested (hang on, isn’t that Kings of Leon?) to play some rather funky blues that hinted at The Who in places. The instrumental tunes were nicely arranged but the bassist sounded like he had stiff fingers; rather than driving the rhythm he was playing catch up most of the time and the odd occasion the lead guitarist pitched in with backing vocals I couldn’t help comparing his voice to George Dawes in Shooting Stars. And why a band from Coventry sang about the Mississippi Delta I’ve no idea, there’s plenty to inspire a blues band in Cov isn’t there?

Next up were
The Illchemists, quite a fitting name as they take different sounds and mix them together with the eccentricity of an old English quack to produce some jolly spiffing musical gold. I have to say I wasn’t impressed when the lead singer turned up on stage wearing Wayfarers though (indoors! ffs!) Musically, they’re a riot, a bit hard to describe but rather like Das Wanderlust doing ska covers of The Raconteurs, a little bit everywhere yet quintessentially English; Blackpool organs and Coventry two-tone blazing through the melee.

Unfortunately, lyrically they leave a lot to be desired. Repeating the title of a 60s B-movie over and over again a good song it does not make. Well done, you know your exploitation movies, get over it, superstar prat Paul Oakenfold already namechecked that film a couple of years ago (Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill!) Most of their other lyrics I couldn’t make out but one song seemed to be inspired by Patrick MacGoohan in The Prisoner, something about not being a number but it was really rather monotonous and hackneyed and easily forgettable, which is a shame because their music is great fun and really gets the old plates of meat moving.

Finally, the stage was swamped by
The Bellows, an eight piece ensemble with an equally large ensemble of instruments. Acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, tambourine, trumpet, clarinet, megaphone, one of them mini-keyboards you blow into, I think there was a banjo in there too and a short arse brunette who wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself, all got a look in. It made for a wonderful eclecticism, going a bit hillbilly ho-down here, a bit of ska there, the tiniest smidgen of Santana somewhere else, all underpinned by a good old folky feel good sound.

It was a bit disappointing that the lead singer chose to sing in a vaguely American accent – when will British bands just be proud of where they’re from? Unless of course he is American in which case I apologise profusely – but as the set progressed and the (bizarre as it sounds) folk cuts became that little bit more effervescent it was hard not to get swept away by all their energy, which actually seemed rather effortless. On another night when they’re in fifth gear their wall of sound would probably be more like a bulldozer, but it’ll come with time and they proved a great way to finish the night.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Charlotte: Just not cool?

So The Charlotte in Leicester may have closed its doors for the last time after the venue ceased trading and called in administrators. The licensee pulled the plug after it no longer became financially viable to keep it running, because of a fall in numbers so I’ve been reliably informed. The venue owners, Punch Taverns, have expressed their interest in keeping it open as a live venue but are yet to make any decision.

It’s a place I hold dear in my heart, where many a good night was had in the company of some fantastic acts and people. It’s a venue that needs no introduction, having been right at the centre of Leicester’s music scene for many a year – if you come from the area and don’t know The Charlotte, quite frankly you don’t know about music.

The fact that it doesn’t require an introduction is indicative of how engrained in the Leicester scene this great venue is. I frequented it many a time but actually have little idea of its history. All I know is that when I arrived in Leicester it was The Charlotte that people talked about in the bars and online, like they were talking about an old friend and that's how I soon came to view it too.

It doesn’t boast about itself or its history, its flyers are simple monochrome jobs listing upcoming gigs and its website is pretty prehistoric. It doesn’t have to come to the fan because the fan goes to it, a strange kind of relationship in today’s market driven music industry and as such you kind of take the place for granted.

It simply exists and you subconsciously check out what’s happening there because with near daily gigs there is always something to suit your tastes. I’ve heard ska, dub, breakbeat, hip-hop, indie, drum’n’bass, math-rock, punk, prog, blues, a whole lot more and also probably missed God knows what else.

This is why it is so loved, because it gives everything and everyone a chance to be heard. The likes of Oasis and Radiohead all played here in their formative years and many of those bands have returned since making it big – there’s not many venues where superstars can share the stage with first timers.

Musically, I live by a general rule of thumb, that the rawer the venue, the better it is. Nowadays too much comes in a sterile, soulless veneer that doesn’t really let the music breathe. The Charlotte delightfully ignores all this for a filth ridden shell and nothing more. It’s just beautifully simple. Everything inside is painted black, no doubt to hide the filth, there’s no shiny plastic or fancy sound system, the crowd are crammed into a low ceiling room and bands have to squeeze all their equipment on a stage right next to the women’s toilet.

On a busy night The Charlotte absolutely rocks. It’s a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare, being stood shoulder to shoulder in a touchy feely, boiler room atmosphere. Before the smoking ban you could barely breathe at times and on busy nights there’d be beer everywhere. As for the toilets, they’re undoubtedly disgusting. I lost track of how often the men’s sink was blocked with vomit or I had to trudge through piss, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The Leicester music scene without The Charlotte is like The Beatles minus Lennon. It’s a place where being cool counts for nothing, unlike many other venues in Leicester and further afield it’s all about the music and the connection between fans and the artists.

Note how I’ve talked about it in the present tense. It may have ‘ceased trading’ but so do banks on bank holidays, hell, even some Tescos cease trading on Christmas Day. There’s hope yet that it will reopen, although with little being heard it’s only a faint glimmer of hope we can see, because maybe within its success lies the problem.

Because it’s a place where cool doesn’t exist, it’s no longer a cool venue and today, nothing seems to matter in music more than being cool, especially amongst the youth in Leicester. Although there is a bubbling house and techno scene in the city, the more serious stuff shall we say, few young student types bother. Instead, they’re attracted to the electro and ‘urban’ spectrum, which to be fair is producing some cracking music but is unfortunately overshadowed by a crowd obsessed with being cool and being seen at particular venues and events.

It’s a trend I’ve noticed more generally in dance music mainly, where my heart lies the most. Dance music culture always seems to be plagued by trends. And I mean cultural trends as opposed to musical trends. I started DJing towards the end of the superclub era, when a clubbers backlash against being force-fed the same music, same DJs week in, week out in the same superclubs at the same super expensive prices ushered in a new era that returned to the underground. This soon morphed into a more welcome and open minded view of what is acceptable for DJs to play, leading to somewhat more ‘eclectic’ sets and music policies in the clubs.

Today, the prevailing trend seems to be about being cool. Coolness has always existed but now in Leicester particularly it appears more prominent than ever before. Everyone has suddenly become shallow. Before, going to a club was about enjoying the music and having fun regardless of any other expectations; simply being oneself.

Now we see people wearing ridiculous outfits and adopting equally ridiculous personas in a blatantly transparent effort to draw attention to themselves, indulging in cocaine and mandy to achieve parity with their pickled peers whilst enslaved by scenes which are incredibly cliquey and/or image centric such as Justice and their whole live bollocks; a snapshot of youth culture so brilliantly predicted by Chris Morris’ Nathan Barley a few years ago.

It first hit home at a gig at The Charlotte about 18 months ago, where two cunts in front of me sporting shades with floppy fringes and a wardrobe straight out of Shoreditch spent the entire gig photographing each other poncing around the dancefloor. They clearly had no desire to pay any attention but simply record their time at the gig, no doubt for the benefit of their Facebook friends to coo over them seeing whichever band it was playing that night.

Point is, it was completely out of place at The Charlotte, because The Charlotte isn’t a ‘cool’ place. Ironically, it actually is cool, probably the coolest venue in town because it doesn’t in fact try to be cool, a fact that is lost on these drug addled prats who share more in common with a Topman mannequin than an actual cognitive being.

Rather, in Leicester, the ‘in’ place to be has shifted. Weekend revellers must now go somewhere the rest of the ‘in’ crowd end up, which tends to be Sophbeck and Superfly or occasionally Esko. Everything seems to gravitate towards the shit infested Sophbeck. Even many ‘genuine’ music fans have been sucked in by its inexplicable allure, either fully converting to the cool or at least embracing their inner sheep, flocking to Sophbeck where the cool runs riot and the dancefloor is populated by the kind of people who thought Nathan Barley was actually a documentary.

Unfortunately for The Charlotte, this means that many people now forgo the smaller gigs from local or lesser known bands for a night getting trolleyed with their fellow cunts at Sophbeck. Apart from the bigger gigs from the bigger bands, it would seem people have forgotten The Charlotte, which can’t even think about diversifying because of the monopoly on cool held by Sophbeck and Superfly further in town, not that it should have to.

Leicester is in thrall of image and being known. In a way it’s too small for its own good as access to the inner circles of the trend set (an overstatement since they do little of anything original) is easy if one if willing to divulge oneself of any facet of a personality, thus perpetuating the cool zeitgeist and sucking the lifeblood from the young scene. This is by no means an all encompassing reason for the decline of The Charlotte, but I reckon it can explain a lot and quite frankly – it’s saddening.

Fair enough, the sound and facilities in The Charlotte aren’t top notch and I don’t want to sound like I’m clinging to tradition and shying away from innovation, but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of filth now and then. Sometimes all music needs is a space for people to come together and enjoy the beats and bass and riffs and hooks and forget about everything else, just let the music do the talking and provide a blank canvas for personalities to meet and clash and spark off each other like the crowds in The Charlotte used to, which unfortunately seems to be an ideal antithetical to what much of Leicester craves today.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Radio SiZG

Craig Richards Essential Mix, June 2004
Anja Schneider (Fabric recording)
Hipp-E & Halo (Fabric recording)
Chet Baker - Chet Baker Ensemble
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

The Mars Volta - Amputechture
Captain Beefheart - The Best of... The Liberty and Virgin Years
RJD2 - Deadringer
Jurassic 5 - Jurassic 5
The Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart

The Grateful Dead - American Beauty
Fabric 44 - John Tejada
Fabric 40 - Mark Farina

(it's been a rather quiet one at home this week...)

Thursday, 15 January 2009

John Tejada

There often comes a time in them debauched nights out when the last jot of energy simply drains from your body and even the most hardened of hedonists resort to autopilot. With some luck, any DJ worth his salt will tone down proceedings and slip into ‘recharge batteries mode’ forsaking the bangin’ choons for something a little more soporific, which is where this John Tejada mix excels. Conjuring up a late, late, late, late night mix of Detroit influenced dark and dreamy techno, Tejada’s selection adroitly keeps the body bumping. The mix begins with the ominous beats and bass of Dave Hughes’ ‘Let’s Do It’ but it proves to be a false start as the slow burning ‘Kamm’ by Pigon wades in to the mix. Tejada then returns to squeeze out the last few drops of energy from the dancefloor before settling into a deep groove that characterises the rest of the mix, proving his DJing nous by occasionally lifting things a little with such gems as the prowling, guttural acid bassline of Alex Cortez’s ‘Phlogiston EP’. Like the knowing nudge from a smiling friend in the deepest, darkest hours of the morning when the buzz is wearing off but the beats keep rolling, Orbital’s timeless ‘Fahrenheit 303’ is a welcome left-turn before the groove returns and slowly winds down into the almost trance like conclusion of Plaid’s remix of LJ Kruzer. Alongside Arian Leviste, John Tejada has forged a well established career headlining techno clubs around the world, but on this occasion Tejada has crafted a mix tailor made to the end of the night when the superstar jocks have hobbled off and only the die hard saunter on into the dawn light. The only downside is that it isn’t any longer.