My Mate Dave

Dave is one of my oldest friends. We started knocking about together when we were around 16. He knew me before I started to pretend to be someone else. He’s seen all the personality changes, crises, and failings. He knows what’s underneath – probably better than anyone. We lost touch for almost a decade – a consequence of young families coming first….and me moving mine to Japan. But we reconnected a couple of years ago – in part because I`d been writing short stories about us. Ever since, on and off, we’ve been swapping mixtapes – enthusing about recent musical finds – just like we did when we were 17. Here are few things that are going on the next one. No ambient, no balearic beat (well, maybe just the one), no chocolate milk or brandy, no jazz, no promos, the other stuff…

The spirt of Andrew Weatherall still looms large over the bulk of the music I go “digging” for. I’m still very much following the clues that he left behind. I’m still trying to listen to all the amazing music that’s out there that I haven’t heard yet. When Martin Brannigan posted an old mix of Andrew`s, just before Christmas, on the Flightpath Estate Facebook page, it turned out that 4 of the tunes could be found on a single comp. It`s Happening Vol. 4 boasted Latimore Brown`s Boogaloo Sue, Hank Marr`s The Out Crowded, The Nervous Breakdowns doing their 13th Floor Elevators, mutated Nuggets garage R&B thing, and Los Johnny Jets` cover of FeverFiebre – which rocks right alongside those recent Radio Martiko reissues. The comp itself is pretty scarce. I think a few of us obsessives worked it out, `cos most of the on-line copies went overnight. An uncredited bonus on side 2 is Cindy & Bert`s bonkers rework of Black Sabbath`s Paranoid. 

In the same vein, The Cords` Too Late To Kiss You Now, jumped out while researching for an interview with Convenanza`s Bernie Fabre. 

De De Soul And The Spidells` Soul Chills also comes from a Flightpath Estate discussion / dissection. In this case folks were trying to remember records played at a particular Soul Jazz party. This was one of them. Its rather raw funk sounds like it might have built around the break from Friends & Lover`s Reach Out In The Darkness. 

Nuffwish`s Loaded Chalice was a top tip from fellow blogger, The Bagging Area`s “Swiss” Adam Turner. When compiling the A Dub For Auntie Audrey mixes, I finished #5 by crass and crudely banging together The Upsetters` 10c Skank and the famously sampled speech from Roger Corman`s The Wild Angels. Nuffwish back in 2004 had a similar idea, which they executed expertly. 

Parliament and Come In Out Of The Rain. Fuck me I love this record. My eternal gratitude goes out to Balearic Mike. As I format Mike`s marvelous weekly Musical Diet`s – usually on a Sunday night – there are always a few gems that I don’t know, that become immediate “wants”. This one, so far, is the pick of the pile, and I guess it`s still kind of Weatherall-related – as its the sort of righteous call for revolution – pissed-off hippie ideals fed through US Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War protests – that informed Screamadelica (see also Chairman Of The Board’s The Skin I’m In), and the type of tune I imagine soundtracking The Scream`s tour bus.

I was planning to review the whole of Moodymann`s Taken Away, until I realized that most of the album had been available on-line for at least a year. I had no idea that it existed before the vinyl arrived a few weeks back. KDJ`s productions – even the demos, cassettes, ADATs and floppies – sound simultaneously maximal and minimal – like he’s constructed something detailed and complex, and then stripped it right down again to the bare essentials. The space between beats buzzing with a busy that`s no longer there – just the subliminal suggestion of it. Cuts created with the kind of looseness that only comes with 10 X 10 X 10 X 10,000 hours practice. Apparently as if he’s tossed it off with a “that’ll do” laissez faire. The key to being serious is to look like you ain`t. I’ve got no idea at all of Moodymann`s process, and I hope it stays that way. I once watched that movie of Jackson Pollack painting, and I think it`s so true that the magic is lost if you give too many of your secrets away. What I hear here is the blues. It runs though the whole record. We Wanna Party in particular left me breathless. Where a minute of skit transforms a dance track into a short story – I could see the scene – full of heartbreak and all sorts of pain. If you don’t get it, then you’re either lucky, or haven’t lived – right now – when it`s late and I’m alone – I’m not sure which. What I also hear is Prince. I don’t think anyone`s picked up The Purple One`s mantle as magnificently as Moodymann. Well, that`s what I hear. Do Wrong I guess is the set at it`s most accessible – that`s the one for everybody, even non-house heads. 

I’m also gonna include ESG, because I just interviewed Renee, and in prep for that chat I`d dug this LP out, Sample Credits Don’t Pay Our Bills! Privately-pressed by the band in 1992, legend has it that Dave Hill found a stash of unsold stock in NYC, stickered the records up, and put them out through his label, Nuphonic. I got my copy from Atlas, in London’s Soho. On Like This The Scroggins Sisters make mischievous and get their own back on Chip E, for his – uncredited – sampling of their tune, Moody. 

It was Dave Hill`s efforts, for sure, that ignited the mid-90s UK interest in ESG – that resulted in those Soul Jazz collections, brought the band over to tour, and gave rise to great homegrown punk-funk acts such as Gramme. A movement that eventually morphed into electro-clash, which brings us to Soulwax and their remix of Fontaines D.C.`s A Hero`s Death. Two Tribes Brewery`s Justin Deighton and Disco Tees` Chris Howell-Jones both charted this tune, so when hand-stamped whites landed in my local emporium it had to be checked. The Dewaele brothers do indeed make The Fontaines distinctly danceable – buoyantly bolstering the song`s life affirming – fuck the bullshit, fuck the grind –  lyric – making it a potential “balearic anthem”.

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