Monday, 31 August 2009

Shambala Festival: Review

Until this weekend I'd never been to Shambala before, although I'd heard a lot of good things about this small festival. I imagined it as halfway between the crazy beautiful fancy dress madness of Secret Garden Party and the relaxed hippy vibes of Sunrise. I wasn't wrong.

We arrived in Market Harborough on Friday evening and, from the moment we boarded the red routemaster bus, everything seemed to slot into place for the rest of the weekend. Arriving late and with no programme I had no idea what I was in for musically, so let myself be guided by the tastes of others; a policy which seemed to work extremely well!

First up after a bimble round the art forest were Brighton's Transformer in the Kamikazee tent, a brilliant angular electro disco band with two kids on stage playing percussion. Apparently one of them's deaf so he must be loving the bass vibrations! Then over to the Rusty Garden for First Degree Burns infectionsly danceable dub/ska/hip-hop. It's all a little hazy after that but ended with some heavyweight roots somewhere.

Saturday I was practicing for a fireshow all day, but by some grace of fortune my one hour break coincided with Zion Train's set on the Shambala stage. Zion Train's electronic dub and live trumpet combo is one of the all time classic festival sounds and one of my favourites so, with almost the entire audience in outrageously silly costumes, dancing to this was one of my festival moments of 2009. Apparently there's a remix album due out soon which should be worth checking out.

After our fire show we dived into the Rusty Garden again for King Porter Stomp, another Brighton band who played one of the best sets in Chai Wallas at SGP this year. This set was as good as always but didn't kick off as much as SGP. We then arrived in the Kamakazee to have missed Baobinga but settled in for The Bays who started with a wicked dubstep number. They were followed by DJ Die who launched straight into some full on d'n'b. Although we were planning on moving on the 'timetraveller' set kept us all glued to the dancefloor as he moved back into the oldskool for some hands in the air jungle classics by the end. Haven't had that much fun dancing to d'n'b in ages!

Sunday was much more chilled, with most of it spent playing on the hilarious crazy golf course. It also provided an unexpected musical gem in the form of the Cirque de Freaque backing band whose atmospheric dubstep (again with live trumpets) really gave an edge to the choreography. Later on MC Xander proved to be another massive highlight on the Lakeside stage. I've only seen him in little tents before, so it was good to see that his dubwise d'n'b beatboxing works just as well, and sounds even better, on a larger scale. Absolutely spine tingling.

Yes Sir Boss are yet another Brighton ska band who played late in the Rustic Garden. Their singer has amazing vocals but the tent was far too hot and having seen them at SGP we wandered out halfway through. It was a good move since we discovered a live jukebox with a man in a guitar in it who played two of the funniest songs I've heard in a longtime: 'Where is my Tent?' (sung to the tune of the Pixies) and Johnny Ball's Chemistry Set. Brilliant!

All in all it was a lovely little festival with lots to see and do and plenty of quality music. It never felt crowded and everyone that we met was exceptionally friendly. Final shout goes out to the UR Wall people for letting me draw the rabbit!

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ill.gates: autopirate

By far one of my favourite albums of the last year is ill.gates - autopirate, which came out on muti music in December. Blending hip-hop, glitch, breaks and dubstep with on and off scratching, tight vocals and psychedelic sounds, the album is full of bass heavy variation. I'm still listening to it as much as I was then.

This track with Irma Vemp is getting the re-mix treatment and a re-release in October this year:

In fact it's so good that I got in touch on myspace at the time to ask for a mix. Nothing materialised but now, just as ill.gates makes his way to the playa for Burning Man he's just dropped a live set full on fresh tracks over on the awesome Jungo Road. If you haven't heard of ill.Gates yet (aka. The Phat Conductor) make sure you read the full article.

ill.gates is not the only one heading out to Black Rock City. He will be joined by Bassnectar, a whole bunch of Muti Music artists and just about every other member of the San Francisco/US glitch-hop family. Oh, and my girlfriend has just set off from Reno. Any guesses where I want to be right now? Bloody job. At least I've got this to enjoy...

ill.Gates - Juno Road Mix, Edmonton, 31 August 2009

1. Massive Attack – Angel [Virgin/EMI]
2. Deadbeat – Roots and Wire [Wagon Repair]
3. Fine Cut Bodies – Huncut Hacuka [Chi Recordings]
4. Dubnosis – Dub Africa (Freedom Song) [Latenite Lounging]
5. The Man From Havana – Track 5 [Unreleased]
6. Santogold – L.E.S Artistes (xxx change Remix) [Downtown Records]
7. Coldcut – Timber [Ninja Tune]
8. Aphex Twin – Windowlicker [Warp Records]
9. Bassbin Twins – Shot You Crunk [Unreleased]
10. EPROM – Fliplets [Unreleased]
11. Boreta – Slide That Dutch (Intro only) [Unreleased]
12. Dabbler – Future Rhythm (Beat only) [Unreleased]
13. ill.Gates + Filastine – Untitled [Unreleased]
14. ill.Gates + Meesha – Irma Vep feat. Masia One (Sharps Remix) [Muti Music release in October 2009]
15. ill.Gates + Meesha – Sweatshop (Subvert Remix) [Muti Music]
16. ill.Gates – Collateral Damage [Muti Music]
17. EPROM – 64 Bytes the Dust (ill.Gates Remix) [Addictech]
18. Sub Swara – Hi Fidelity (ill.Gates Remix) [Low Motion]
19. Nero – Bad Trip [Audio Freaks]
20. Ooah – Heat Up The Night [Glitch Mob Unlimited]
21. Cotti feat Doctor – Calm Down [Bass Face]
22. OSC feat. Budros Gali – One Mile High [Full Melt]
23. Evergreen & Landlord – Jah Rain feat. Danman [Ranking Records]
24. Tanya Stephens – It’s a Pity (FoNoicH Dubstep Remix) [Bootleg]
25. Dub-Z – Time Shines Brightly (Dj Snipaz Remix) – [Bassclash Records]
26. Joker – Snake Eater [Soul Motive]
27. Beber – Juvenile Delinquent (Bassbin Twins Edit) [Marina Parade]
28. DJ Deekline – Murder in the Jamrock [Bootleg]
29. Jinx in Dub – Rockers [Bassrock Records]
30. Freestylers + Pendulum feat SirReal – Painkiller (Ed Solo + Skool of Thought Remix) [Against the Grain]
31. Pendulum – Tarantula [Breakbeat Chaos]
32. Evol Intent – Street Knowledge [Renegade Hardware]
33. Boreta – Bubblin’ In The Cut [Glitch Mob Unlimited]
34. Breakbeat Buddha – Crank That Thang [Bootleg]
35. Ewun – Illest (Jantsen Cutup) [Warning Label]
36. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name (SebastiAn Remix) [Bootleg]
37. Drums of Death – Ozzy Remix [Bootleg]
38. Megasoid – Soundbwoy Bass Instro [Weaponshouse]
39. Jantsen and Dave Seied – Original Nuttah (Jantsen and Dave Seied Remix) [Bootleg]
40. BreakbeatBuddha feat. Shugga – Endurance [True Movement]
41. Mediacracy – Imagine (ill.Gates Remix) [Bootleg]
42. ill.Gates – Live and Learn [Unreleased]

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Agent Smith: Psyfunkscratchbreaks

Whilst bouncing around by the Origin stage at Glade (see review below) I was made a very happy man when Dan aka. Agent Smith (above right) pressed a copy of his summer promo into my hands. Unfortunately the CD didn't survive the next three festivals in my bag, but at last I've got the mp3.

Why so happy? 'cos Agent Smith plays the funkiest badass breaks this side of London! The number of times I've been flagging at a party or after-party in London and found myself bouncing around at obscure times in the morning/afternoon to some upbeat choons pumping out the system... only to find it's Dan who has taken the reins. A lot of the time it's improv too!

Dan's receipe for breaks starts with plenty of funk, to which he adds a good portion of chunk, a sprinkling of scratch and an ample squeeze of psychedeliciousness. As this mix shows he certainly knows how to get your feet moving. If you like Far Too Loud you'll love it....

Agent Smith - Psyfunkscratchbreaks Summer 2009 (You Send It link)

Tracklisting to come when Dan gets his ass in gear *nudge nudge* ;)

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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Glade 2009: Review Summary and Podcasts

I've been very slack on here lately, which is partly due to the fact I've either been in a field or house-sitting somewhere with crap internet. Anyhow, I'm long overdue a review of Glade in July, which music-wise has been by far the best festie of the summer for me. This is epic, so I will break it down into three digestible days. So here goes...


This year was first on a new site for Glade, Matterly Bowl in Hampshire, recongisable by some for hosting Homelands. For many, this led to some pre-festie anxiety over teething problems and whether it would really capture that Glade vibe that’s kept us going for the last 4 years. On the other hand though, the line up was sick and the organizers had secured a much later licence, so the usually excitement soon built up for what, for many, has consistently been the most important date in UK dance music’s annual calendar!

Thankfully our mate Charlie scored us a wicked pitch by the hedge on the path down to the mainstage, so with the new layout it felt like we had the whole festival at our fingertips. This was helped as well by the fact that everything was much closer together, bound by the nexus of the awesome outdoor Arcadia stage (more of that later).

So how about the music? Well, the line up was awesome and with Function 1 and Opus systems in abundance the sound quality was first class. I was a bit worried about the bleed between the closer tents but generally this wasn’t a problem, especially once you got yourself in a sweet spot!

Atmosphere? Incredible, helped by the new site, again the addition of the Arcadia stage, a later licence, half decent weather and the fact that for one weekend a year you can party with all your mates to the best dance music around! Our weekend was slightly spoilt by some c*nt slicing the side of our mate’s tent open to nick his wallet and shitting in our neighbours gazebo on the first night, but this was the only incident in what was otherwise a lovely weekend. And Joe did get his empty wallet back in the end thanks to some kind soul.

The full review will be in the next three post-dated posts. Don’t forget you can still download wicked Glade podcasts by all the headliners, including Freeland, Underworld, Booka Shade and Squarepusher here:

Glade Festival Podcasts
Podcast address:

You can also still buy an exclusive Glade festival compilation and mix featuring a lot of the major tunes from the weekend for only £ 5.99! Have a listen and download from here:

Track Listing:
01. Underworld – Glam Bucket
02. Tom Real - Bang The Box
03. James Monro presents Quiet Storm - Curve
04. Perfect Stranger - Free Cloud
05. Mutant Clan - Kenesai
06. NAPT - Gotta Have More Cowbell
07. Krafty Kuts & A Skills - Happiness
08. Deekline & Wizard - Bounce and Rebound
09. Rennie Pilgrem - Rich Rule Us
10. Drop The Lime - Hear Me
11. Plump DJs - Beat Myself Up
12. Beat Assassins - We Run Tings
13. Far Too Loud - Play It Loud (Broken Robot Mix)
14. Plaza De Funk - Drop The Bomb
15. Disco of Doom - The Click (Zombie F*ckers Mix)
16. Chromatone - Smarty Pads
17. Tristan - If Only
18. High Rankin - Escape From The Hood
19. Shitmat - DJ Got Virus
20. Sub Focus – Timewarp

Glade 2009 Review: Friday

As always, we kicked the weekend off on the Origin stage. Peter Digital’s set looked like it might be marred by the heavy showers at the start but soon, spurned on by a committed hardcore, a decent number of us decided that we’d rather get soaked than miss the lush, floaty techno coming out of those gorgeous speakers. Rain? What rain? I’m more used to hearing the Digital Structures sound on Sunday afternoon, but having it ease us into the weekend was perfect.

Next up up, Liquid Ross looked a tad nervous as he took the reins, pulling some fantastic expressions of concentration during the first few mixes. Moving from some badass psychedelic breakbeats to full on funky psy-trance though, his face soon broke into a cheshire cat grin as he reaslied that he was nailing home the first proper Origin dancefloor set of 2009. As the basslines grooved their way out across the campsite (advantage of having Origin as the outdoor stage), late risers got their dancing shoes on and the crowd swelled.

Straight from Liquid Ross to see NAPT in the Breakdown tent. NAPT have been mopping up the breakbeat awards this year and this set showed why. Unfortunately the sound wasn’t as loud as it should’ve been but this didn’t stop them getting the whole tent bouncing to the N-Funk! There were some great mash up moments, but I can’t for the life of me remember the tunes now. An energetic onstage presence really made the set as well, the energy was infectious. Surprised these guys weren’t headlining later (perhaps due to the fact they had a better offer?). Gotta have more cowbell!

I took five after NAPT, regrouping with my crew in time to saunter down to Freeland on the Glade Stage. For some reason I felt this was the best year for the Glade Stage set up – it really felt like a showcase at the entrance to the festival with lots of space to spill out without noise bleed from other areas. By the time we got there, the sun had made an appearance and was bathing the crowd in golden light as the warm up DJ was laying down some proper funky breaks (anyone know who this was?).

We were right down the front so got a good view of the band when they came on. With a rockier sound and Alex Metric on board, Cope definitely translates well for the live Freeland band. They previewed a lot of tracks off the new album, Cope, which have been floating around on promo mixtapes for a while. Perhaps predictably, highlights included Do You, Strange Things, Bring It, Morning Sun and of course everyone went mad for We Want Your Soul. A perfect sound for the evening sunshine (complemented by a well timed balloon) and a welcome return after the wait from Now & Them!

In the last few years The Rabbit Hole has become one of my favourite places at Glade, and somehow this year it seemed cosier and fluffier than ever. I had a wicked poi spin to Droptear Modelmaker’s live liquid d’n’b sound, before shooting off with Tom Wobbler to bath in the lushness of Booka Shade. I’d been very excited about this, and for me they didn’t disappoint, even if it did feel like they kept building up to the end of the set like cock teasing bitches, leaving us wanting more and then re-delivering for what seemed like endless encores. It was lush while it lasted.

Things get a little hazy after Booka Shade but I do know I was drawn to the flames of the Arcadia stage like a moth to a candle (I’d actually planned to see Deekline and Wizard in the breakdown). This rig was awesome, 360 degree Function One with flame throwers, a DJ tower with a lighthouse like perspex screen, stages to dance on and strobes with enough light to burn your retinas off. Danielle had told me about it at Electric Picnic last year and I’d seen the video from Glasto, but still wans’t prepared for the full on Burning man meets mad max-esque craziness of it.

We arrived just in time to see Freeland’s DJ set, heavy dubstep remixes of his new tunes twisting into some proper filthy electro. Quite different from the live band, but ideal for the post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

Following Freeland were Liquid Records secret weapon, Atomic Drop. I’ve been going on about these boys since I saw them at Luminopolis last year. Their heavy electro breaks basslines are some of the crunchiest sounds this side of a demolition ball, and for Glade they were pulling out a turbo charged set with Djems swinging around the DJ tower like a ghetto biker monkey on heat. Beyond this I remember very little…

Friday, 21 August 2009

Glade 2009 Review: Saturday

Saturday started off pretty wet. D-raa and I had a very lazy start to the day, spending most of it snuggled up in bed. We started the day proper with Far Too Loud in the Liquid tent, by far the beast breaks I heard all weekend. These guys are awesome. Chunky, funky and powerful, you just can’t help but shake it all out. 'Play it loud' has to be one of the iconic tunes of the festival.

After Far Too Loud we headed over to the Interstellar Circus on our way to the Glade Stage. A very welcome expansion of the cabaret, there were some incredible hula and aerial acts on throughout the weekend (props to Merlin, Loz, Chanti and Em!).

Reaching the Glade Stage we somehow managed to get almost everyone together for Squarepusher’s bass playing madness. I’ve seen him once before at Glasto with a really small crowd (incredible) and this was a perfect time to see him on a larger scale (Glade Stage pays off again). With a live drummer it turned out to be very rock for the fiorst half and more of the usual d'n'b electronica style for the second.

Squarepusher Live

From Squarepusher we charged over to Venetian Snares for some proper mental junglist breakcore. I’ve been trying to see him for ages (anyone remember last time at Glade?) and there really is no better way than straight after Squarepusher. Really.

By the time we were done having our head pulverized we ran up to see the Wobbly Squadron rock the Rabbit Hole. The wobblers were made for this venue full of colouful characters bumbling around, and their funky psychedelic rock wobble is the perfect antidote to having your ears put through an electric blender to be fed through your nose. Amazing upbeat party atmosphere and great tunes to dance around to… wobble on!

After the wobblers we staggered around to some of Flying Rhino’s psytrance on Arcadia, which by now seemed to have been discovered by more people. The party was in full swing, heaving with grooving bodies silhouetted by fire light and frozen in the shutter flashes of the strobes.

We’d already had our brains fried a fair bit though so retired to the ever beautiful sanctuary of Inspiralled’s LED light, glowing, flowing, smooth stretched shapes and shelters. We arrived to the bouncy sounds of Ed Solo and Skool of Thought’s ‘We Play the Music’ which soon mixed through to some lush dubstep. Another perfect moment. It could only be Liquid Djems, whose down-tempo breaks and dub sets are often the high points of my night (and the source of many new tunes!). I actually find out for sure until I saw him on Sunday morning but I was more with it by then anyway. We bimbled around chatting and met a doctor handing out flying saucers.

We’d agreed to met our mates Joe and Hannah in the Vapour tent for Juan Atkins and Adam Beyer. By this time, the idea of grooving around to techno in a half empty cavern seemed very dull next to the prospect of an Arcadian dawn, so we soon left and headed back to the junkyard to find the most banging minimal techno and electro house.

At this point I experienced the best balloon of my life (no kidding) to Disco of Doom’s remix of the Chemical Brothers ‘Do it Again’. Having downloaded this tune the week before, it wasn’t till I climbed up to join the grooving masses on the platform, and bumped into Djems, that he told me that it was in fact Disco of Doom playing, and that the madman leaning out of the tower and swinging his arms at us was Tom Real. Epic.

Once the set ended we hung around like lost sheep before heading back over to Inspiralled to see the morning in.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Glade 2009 Review: Sunday

Sunday has always been my favourite day at Glade. It’s when the sun usually comes out as we bounce to reggae, sway to dubstep and groove to progressive trance, high on the accumulation of a weekend’s dancing.

This year wasn’t quite the scorcher it has been in the past, but the sun did make an appearance. After a snooze in the sun and breakfast, I rushed down to the Origin to see Perfect Stranger and Freq. Perfect Stranger was good but I found the set quite floaty without ever really getting into the groove. Likewise Freq was good but didn’t blow me away.

It was down to Ans and Allaby, whose techno set last year was a definite highlight, to really get me going. Their pounding, minimal and melodic 3 hour set certainly didn’t disappoint, with plenty of ass shaking and the traditional smiley Sunday vibes on the Origin. Like Peter Digital their deep techno sound worked really well with the rig.

After hours of dancing I went back to the tent, embarked on a tent art trail, cooked dinner and then spent ages looking at the epic cloud formations as the sun set. Although the weather wasn't perfect this year, it did stay dry every night and those clouds were amazing!

It was a bit strange getting used to the fact that the music still went on after 8 so we spent most of the evening bumbling between things. Avalon was keeping the party going with some proper forest trance down on the Origin stage. Drawn back to Arcadia we had an amazing dance to something I could only describe as baille funk electro crunk. She told me her name was Ghettozoid.

The final Arcadia set from DJ Syn was also epic. He dropped the phatest dubstep remix of Dizee Rascal’s (otherwise overplayed) Bonkers and ended on Far Too Loud with the sample ‘This is your soundsystem speaking, I am now in control’. Very fitting.

The last Inspiralled set was Merv from Eat Static playing some lush downtempo dub and breaks, it’s just a shame it had to be so quiet. The party kept going for a while in the tiny tiny Psy Forum tent which had about 500 people trying to cram into space for about 5, and at an ice cream van hosting an old skool jungle rave. It was fun for a while but I finally went to bed after realising that I want’t 15 any more and didn’t much want to be…

And so ended another epic Glade. Better than 2008? Hard to say, but it was easily as good and certainly passed all expectations. Here’s to next year’s evolution!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tim Azar Progcast: music to melt into

It's lush evenings like this that mixes like this come into their own - Tim Azar's podcast is one of the floatiest, grooviest, sun drenched mixes that I've got. Starts off very floaty, but it's all about when that Talisman and Hudson Dousk remix drops! Epic...

» Tim Azar - Progcast #113 on

01. Pole Folder - Mona Kea (Human Adams Remix) [Proton Music]
02. Marcus Schossow & Thomas Sagstad - Moog Me (FM223 Mix) [GU Digital]
03. Steve Mill - Hanauma Bay [Elevation Recordings]
04. Talisman & Hudson - Leaving Planet Earth (Dousk Remix) [Too Much Information]
05. Eelke Kleijn - Lost And Confused [Groovecollection Black]
06. Dibby Dougherty - Arizona [Global Underground]
07. Serge Flibustier - Nowhere (Dorohov Remix) [Deepology Digital]
08. Steve Mill - Abandoned Fields (Neil Quigley Pacemaker Remix) [Brown Eyed Boyz Records]
09. Guy J - Under Pressure [Bedrock Records]
10. DJ Steep - Love Desire (Matteo DiMarr Remix) [Reinvent Music]
11. EDX - Premiumline [PinkStar Records]