Nov 23, 2009

Cafe Del M12 playlist: 22nd November 2009

Here's the playlist for the Cafe Del M12 programme I guest co-presented on ALL FM on 22nd November 2009. Thanks to those who listened. I'm sure I'll do it again soon.

11 of the 19 tracks were mine, although I also gave co-presenter and desk driver Enchanted Gordon the wrong track at one point, so you would have also heard a snippet of Proem's Long Distance Tiara too.

Bugge Weseltoft - Existence (a cracking opening track, methinks)
Xploding Plastix - Sports Not Heavy Crime
Squarepusher - Fly Street
Boards of Canada - Seven Forty Seven
Tobias Selbermann - Acid Gabi (does anyone know who he is, because we tried to find out and failed)
Jon Hopkins - Symmetry
Joe Goddard / Four Tet - Apple Bobbing (nearly seasonal)
Plone - Be Rude To Your School
Clark - Future Daniel
Bill Wells / Annie Whitehead / Stefan Schneider / Barbara Morgenstern - The Hermitage Of Braid (they seriously need to find a group name)
Digitonal - Maris Stella
Wisp - The Fire Above (complete with uber-Koyaanisqatsi breakdown)
Plaid - Get What You Gave
Ulrich Schnauss - A Letter From Home
Harmonic 313 - Problem One (we nodded our heads to this one)
Bibio - Fire Ant
Hudson Mohawke - Polkadot Blues
Neil Landstrumm - Ross Kemp As Pixel
Styrofoam - Make It Mine

Nov 22, 2009

Tend the tables, broom the rats out for me

I've been brooming out the rats this afternoon and I've come across a few links that I'll share with you before a chuck them into the recycling bin.

Firstly, two people have been blogging about the Refresh FM situation (see posts passim). My radio co-presenter Lee has written an eloquent and nuanced piece about his role with Refresh FM, complete with a picture of one of our legendary wallchart playlists. Also, the Guardian's Comment Is Free has written about me, Refresh FM and the wider role of volunteers. Writer Ally Fogg says:

"Anyone who thinks volunteers are immune from workplace bullying or unfair treatment should think again. Victims of such treatment usually (but not always) go quietly, taking their skills and enthusiasm with them. That is a huge loss to us all."
Also, Soundproof Magazine completed their top 20 Manchester albums of all time. The Stone Roses debut album was voted the greatest because:
"In our (admittedly unscientific) poll of Manchester-based journalists, bloggers, club owners, and artists, almost every single one chose The Stone Roses, and the album accumulated more than twice as many points as almost any other album on this list. It wasn't even close."
Stone Roses was my number four, although in retrospect, it should have been a bit higher.

Finally, Autechre are supporting Salt N Pepa. Well, kind of. They're both on the same bill at Bloc 2010. I hope they bleep it, bleep it real good.

(Autechre's cover design of Tri Repetae is pictured above. It's strangely similar to the original cover of Starflyer 59's Gold, released four months earlier. Scandal!)

Nov 19, 2009

Hey! We're going to Ibiza Levenshulme!

And so a new chapter begins in radio following the debacle that was Refresh FM.

I will be back on the airwaves this Sunday on a late night programme of chilled electronica, downbeat tunes and "aural oddities".

Cafe Del M12 brings a bit of bleep to the Manchester rain, and it will broadcast on Manchester community radio station All FM this Sunday 11pm until 1am in the morning. You can catch it on 96.9FM if you're within nuking distance of Moss Side*. There is also live streaming available, but it can be limited.

Incidentally, Refresh FM is history for me. I expect they will broadcast again in 2010. I worry that they will come up with agreements that tie any volunteers to a particularly narrow evangelical viewpoint. That means jettisoning equality and opportunity in favour of proselytizing an especially narrow and potentially damaging strand of Christianity.

This is bad for them, and also bad for community radio. Anyone who loves community radio should be worried about this, and I would encourage Refresh FM to take the better path of agreeing to disagree on certain issues whilst still welcoming Christians with different viewpoints into their radio community. Diversity is the key to great radio, and a much better way of getting their mission out there without compromising their core beliefs.

But like I said, it is history for me, and that is the last time I will mention that station's name in the same post as my current, rather exciting radio activities.

See you in the Cafe Del M12, live and direct this Sunday night.

*Moss Side is actually quite a decent place with lots of stuff going on.

Nov 16, 2009

The Top 20 Manchester Albums Of All Time

Manchester, Manchester, Manchester: so good, I just named it three times.

Soundproof Magazine has begun publishing the top 20 Manchester albums of all time. It's based on lists scrawled on foolscap and paper-aeroplaned to them over the past few months.

I was one of the contributors, as was Northern Comfort, Expletive Undeleted, Alan McGee (Alan bloody McGee!) and a postman's bulging sackful of Manchester makers and shakers.

I'm pleased to report that a wee smattering of my own choices (posted on my blog in August) have made it into the final top 20. You'll just have to stay glued to Soundproof to see how it all pans out.

Nov 15, 2009

It's like... um... like... er... um... like Flying Lotus covering Lil Wayne

What's Flying Lotus doing covering Lil Wayne?

Lil Wayne (pictured), for those who don't know, is a gun-toting cough syrup-slurping MTV Man Of The Year rap artist who, in his own words, is "lick, like a lollipop".

Bizarre similes aside, Lil Wayne once recorded I Feel Like Dying. This is a Mary Jane toking piece of rap whimsy where Lil (can I call you Lilly?) muses on playing basketball with the moon, and when it's played backwards it seems to throw up the line "without the trousers, we are nude".

Flying Lotus has done his own version of I Feel Like Dying, which is even more blunted than the original. You can hear it on his MySpace page. It's not the first time he's covered Lil Wayne, and I'm all in favour of electronica artists doing other people's tracks.

I'd especially like Venetian Snares to cover the Benny Hill theme tune. Are you reading, Mr Snares? Will you do it? Just for me?

Back to the MySpace tracks. There's another good Flying Lotus track on there too: Prince is a very short tune that sounds like Mr Ozio dropping like it's hot on a Nintendo. Like a sexy Pacman popping blue pills instead of yellow ones.

Put that in your simile pipe and toke it, Lil Wayne.

Nov 8, 2009

Super celluloid stunners of 2009 (provisional)

Some of these might not be 2009. Some of them might not be films. Some of them I probably just dreamt in a blur of pot and catnip.

But apart from that, these are totally, like, the 20 bestest films of 2009. I've given each film a one-word review. Like Twitter, but even twittier.

It's provisional because I will see more films before this year gasps its last breath. I'm thinking of two in particular. That rumbling sound you hear is a Coen Brothers flick stampeding towards us at a rate of knots, and Where The Wild Things Are could just be a furry delight.

What do you think?

1. Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Public Enemy No 1. Exhilarating. (Vincent Cassel pictured.)
2. Moon. Rockwell!
3. Anvil. Uplifting.
4. District 9. Fishy.
5. Frost/Nixon. Authoritative.
6. Let the Right One In. Cold.
7. In The Loop. Sweary.
8. Slumdog Millionnaire. Fun.
9. Wall-E. Human.
10. Drag Me to Hell. Heavenly.
11. Up. Sweet.
12. Watchmen. Dong.
13. Milk. Inspiring.
14. Entre les murs. Challenging.
15. Che Part One and Part Two. Smoking.
16. The Wrestler. Grappling.
17. The Hangover. Hilarious.
18. Coraline. Buttons.
19. Bronson. Relentless.
20. Maybe 500 Days Of Summer, maybe The Men Who Stare At Goats, maybe not...

Nov 5, 2009

Vive la crackle: Kraftwerk drop a klanger with Der Katalog

So then, Kraftwerk's classic bleepiness has been digitally remastered in the form of The Catalogue, an eight-album box set.

Ralf Hütter has been digitally storing the Krafty ones' crumbling old master tapes for some time, so it was inevitable that some kind of redux release would end up on our shelves.

Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes, remastered things make sense. The extra shiny bits in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind are quite nice. I much prefer the 1,400 page version of Stephen King's The Stand, if only for the trailblazing anti-hero Trashcan Man.

But what's wrong with analogue fuzziness? You wouldn't attempt an 8 bit version of Eno's Music For Airports and you wouldn't scrap your Minimoog because it oscillates too much.

I'm being too old fashioned and grumpy, and anyhoo a major music magazine has already beaten me to it with this withering review:

"Sadly, the remaster is a fiasco. The soft tones of Computer Love become sharp, the wide spaces of Home Computer contract into tunnels, and Pocket Calculator bears down on us like a spiked ceiling in a horror film.
"Equally poor is the remastered Radio-activity, where atmospheric crackles and hisses have been removed by noise reduction software. For pity’s sake, they’re part of the music!"

Nov 2, 2009

Five vocalists I definitely want to work with if I was a music producer who was definitely wanting to work with any one of five vocalists

Wesley Willis

Epically prolific Chicaco-born schizophrenic who reached Shaun Ryder-like heights with Rock N Roll McDonald's. Try this rhyming couplet for size: "A Big Mac has 26 grams of fat, a Quarter-Pounder has 28 grams of fat." Although his vocals were like a drunk hyena being attacked by a cabal of badgers, he brought a warm humanity that would have provided rich material for an overwrought X Factor biography piece - if he hadn't died before X Factor was invented, that is.

Dizzee Rascal

He sounds like he wants to sound like Scooby Doo. Enough said.

The scary woman from Human Nature

Let the carnival begin. Every pleasure every sin. Gary Clail's Human Nature was a strange old beast from the early 90s: a fairly standard dance track with the kind of choppy pianos that were de rigeur at the time, but with added Scary Transvestite who seemed to be dressed in the contents of 20 thousand grandma's jewellery boxes. At least, I think she was a transvestite - or, to be more accurate, drag artist. She sounded like a heroin-hit Boy George. Wait. It's Boy George, isn't it?

50 Cent (pictured)

The second most famous Jackson of all time (yes, that's his real name) decided to Get Rich instead of Die Trying, which must have taken a lot of courage. His rapping is singularly the most awful style since Robbie Williams tried to toast all over his middle eights. I think it's meant to sound lazy, but it just comes across as... well, lazy. He is the Barney The Dinosaur of rap, although in honour of that, his vocal chords should be declared the fifth element of hip hop. Despite my mockery, I would love to hear his version of Squarepusher's Red Hot Car.

Polly Harvey

The Mercury Music Prize got it right in 2001. Potato-gizzling -guzzling* sculptress Harvey is a folk singer from the depths of hell and she is wonderful. She is the most famous saxophonist not primarily known for playing the saxomophone. Her vocals are like felt drizzled in acid. She is definitely not to be confused with the depressive member of East 17, nor with the failed footballer and So Solid Crew MC, nor with the rabbit from Donnie Darko that tormented Jimmy Stewart as he jumped off that bridge (I think I got that right).

* Edit: I preferred 'gizzling'.