Archive for September, 2009

Movements in Music – Aug/Sept 09

September 29, 2009

Its been a busy couple of months for the External Sounds crew with gigs in Manchester, Croatia, & Electric Picnic. All amazing experiences with plenty of musical food for thought. Croatia most of all. It was amazing to hear some of the tunes that got played across the festival site. From the Aficionado lads playing the theme to Blue Peter on their boat party, to the crowd on the Tikki Bar going mental late on Saturday night to Talk Talks ‘Its My Life’. Adriatic is most definitely the new Balearic. my dj chart for the last 2 months is very much influenced by that week in the sun.

Andrew K’s- Dj Chart Aug/Sept 08

Mark E – Freakin & Shriekin / Formed
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasure Dome
David Joseph – You Can’t Hide (Your Love From Me) – Larry Levan Mixes
Various Artists – Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol 2
Chaplin Band – Il Veliero
Toni Lionni – Found A Place

Various Artists – Horse Meat Disco Compilation
Womack & Womack – Love Wars
Bumblebee Unlimited – Ladybug
Tom Trago – Lost In The Streets Of New York (Original)
El Michels Affair – Shimmy Shimmy Ya
Chris Rea – Josephine – 1987 Remix

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Electric Elephant, Croatia – Review

September 28, 2009

Words – Jane fitz 

Courtesy of Residentadvisor.net

“After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down…” As the flight delay stretched longer, Conrad Idjut Boy didn’t know if he was going to miss his afternoon set at the Beach Bar. By the time he arrived, he was already a couple of hours behind, but he scraped it to soundtrack the sunset. Those lyrics, from JJ Cale’s “After Midnight,” drifting from the speakers, signalled the beginning of this year’s Electric Elephant festival, sounding like a prediction of what might come later. Yet, who knew? They had another meaning too. Because behind the decks, as he settled into his set straight off his flight, Conrad was dropping his jeans and pulling on a pair of shorts…

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The Electric Elephant returned this year for another long weekend of laidback disco-backed merriment under the Croatian sun. Billed as a three-day knees-up, the fiesta was in fact warmed up on Wednesday and wound down on Monday night. (Such is the way when you mix DJs and sunshine into The Garden’s readymade party site and a two-step stumble back to your room.) Electric Elephant is less full-on festival, more extended long-weekend to the Adriatic with 1000 new friends—pasty Brits going red in the scorching heat while someone, somewhere is dropping something vaguely cosmic on an outdoor turntable.

Much of this is thanks to the setting: The tiny fishing village of Petrcane boasts very little in the way of bars and clubs, and lots in the way of tiny white cottages and Croatian families soaking up the last of the summer holidays. This weekend, the party prescription of choice for the mostly Brit crowd is sun-factor 15. San Antonio this is not. This part of the Croatian coast—backed by pine forests, distant craggy mountains and overlooking outlying islands that peak out of the misty horizon—offers a different kind of hedonism. One that bobs along to laidback beats as the sun goes down before moving over to the main stage for a bit of dub or folk, and gently breaking into something with a kick drum later on.

Friday

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Friday night’s fiesta properly began when Horsemeat Disco’s effervescent Severino and James Hillard buckled down to disco business. Hair-frizzing humidity tonight had as much to do with them as the weather. Dancers jumped around a paddling pool to Linda Clifford’s “Runaway Love” as warming-up Elephantees shuffled around the main dance floor. It was only a crowd-pleasing “I Believe in Miracles” that brought the party to life. Main attraction Andrew Weatherall—surely sweating buckets in this heat under the weight of his spectacular tash—signalled his arrival with a wallop of bass, setting out his stall with Abe Duque’s “What Happened?” Slowed down, significantly mangled Chicago-style house gave way to one almighty jack. Behind the decks HMD’s Severino maniacally waved a hand towel in approval while Weatherall even afforded himself a little shuffle. The party was go.

Inside, Theo Parrish was getting to grips with Barbarella’s Discotheque. It was ’70s in appearance alone. Inside, we were huffing under the heat. Smoking inside is banned in Croatia but no one here seemed to have noticed, as Friday night partiers lit up and clambered onto ledges, tables, booths or anywhere else that could possibly be used instead of a dance floor (which by then was filling up). Parrish jumped from disco to garage to throbbing acid tracks, and soon the club was screaming. It’s loud. Really loud. It’s getting hotter too. And sweaty. It’s slightly wonky mixing, clammy dancers with dirty flip-flop feet and sticky hair going ape. And it really is LOUD.

Saturday

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 Saturday, the sun is beating down and it’s maybe a degree or two less than Friday. But it’s still sweaty. Locals say a storm will blow in tonight. From two miles away you can hear the dull thump of the beach bar—but it’s a day of rest after last night. Elephantees drift about, lounging on the beach bar platform that stretches out over the sea, grabbing a sunset massage, or a beer. The Unabombers evening boat party is called off early: The Argonaught—a huge sailing vessel that takes two trips a day loaded with shipmates around the islands for a boozy disco cruise—returns to shore early.

The predicted storm is blowing in fast. As Stuttgart’s Motor City Drum Ensemble lines up his first tune, it’s hard to think of a more prophetic opener—Kerri Chandler’s “Rain.” MCDE’s stripped and spacious, bass-heavy house music comes alive thanks to nature’s special effects—who needs smoke machines or lasers when, out to sea, the murky black breaks for shards of lightning, the bass swings on the back of gale-force bursts of wind. Lazy writers often talk about DJs “kicking up a storm.” Rarely do DJs get to soundtrack a real one, the needle occasionally being blown straight off the decks by random gusts.

Sunday

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It’s impossible to see everything at a party that boasts two outdoor stages, an indoor club and several boat parties a day. But that’s the point. Wander round, stumble on something, catch the tail end of one band, the beginning of a DJs set. Yet to invest in a boat party is to commit to four hours with one host. Or, in the case of Sunday’s Basement Boogaloo vs Downtown Sounds & External Sounds boat party, a handful of them. This was two attitude-free disco club collectives battling it out over a glass sea with plenty of beer to go round. Busy enough to go off, not too rammed to dance, as the Argonaught left harbour, Earth Wind & Fire’s “Fantasy” rolled off the speakers. It was going to be a good afternoon.

Boat parties are built on moments—one of them was catching Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” as we skirted an island, dancing in the rigging, on the poop deck, on the bridge. All too soon Petrcane’s coast was in view, Frankie Knuckles’ “Your Love” was a final tune and someone was ringing the bell to signal it was time for everyone to walk the plank. No worries—only an hour to wait until the Lowlife crew set sail.

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Back at the festival, Daniele Balldelli stopped riding in around the site on a bike for a moment to play some records—unrecognisable spacey disc to a jaded but appreciative crowd jostling on the sea platform. By now, Friday’s disco enthusiasm had given way to Sunday night’s sunbaked skin, three-night hangovers, lost money/keys/plots, new friends, tired feet, wonky smiles. On the main stage, reggae artist Natty refused to budge as sound engineers tried to usher his band offstage.

“We’re going to play another one anyway!” he threatened, breaking into a lolloping live drum and bass throb. Inside Idjut Boys crunched out into some house, buoyed by the fact that the beach bar was sounding like a terrible Costa-Del-Sol holiday cheese fest (Armand’s “U Don’t Know Me.” Anyone?). It’s the last night, officially, and no one wants to go home (or stumble around the bay to a rented apartment). The ToTheBone crew are pitched up behind the decks in Barbarella’s. The sound engineers are having such a good time they don’t want to go home either. It’s meant to end at 5. It’s gone 6 before it’s over.

Monday

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Monday and the pace is slow. Half the crowd has now peeled away. If they’re not on their way to the airport, they’re snoring off three days’ excesses or have sneaked onto a couple of ad hoc boat parties. Following a live recording of ToTheBone’s radio podcast, Pavel Plastik unveils a dreamy selection of afternoon Balearica. (Or should that be Adriatica?) It might not be the Cafe Del Mar, but who wants 1,500 beery Brits cheesily clapping the sunset, when you can take your pick of a lounger and hear Jill Scott’s “It’s Love” glide out of the sound system? Is there a more good-natured, feel-good, festival than Electric Elephant? As Idjut Boy Conrad is back in his rightful spot, not rushed this time, shorts on, instructed to play music “not for dancing,” I can’t think of one.

 

Words /Jane Fitz

 

Photo credits

Vinyl dance floor – Duba (Cinedelic Records)

Ireland – Simon Conneff Barbellas discotheque – Duba (Cinedelic Records)

Speaker on the water – Derek Smith

Turntables on the water – Jo Bradbury

Crumpled flyer – Lucie Meurice

End of an era @ The Purple Room

September 21, 2009

Purple Room

On Saturday night I was in the Purple Room with the rest of the External Sounds crew, nothing unusual about that you may say, however this time it was purely pleasure and not business.
The Milk lads had the legend that is Justin Robertson as their guest dj for the night. Dj’ing worldwide since the early 90’s Robertson is one of the most respected dj’s out there and has played at every top club and clubnight around. From Manchester’s legendary Hacienda, to London’s super cool Fabric nightclub, He’s played them all.
So what had him in the Purple Room you may ask? Well first and foremost a belief and passion in promoting quality music nights in the town of Drogheda. Milk (formerly 4PLAY) along with External Sounds have been putting on music events in The Purple Room since early 2008. Since then both collectives have put on nights that have showcased the best in local up and coming talent as well as inviting world renowned artists such as Justin Robertson, Andrew Weatherall, Norman Jay, Andy Smith, The Unabomers, plus many more, to play in the venue.
The Purple room offers a very unique clubbing experience, its dark walls and low celling, make it feel like a basement hid under the streets of Drogheda, but at the same time its small capacity and the crowd it attracts make for a very intimate and friendly atmosphere. From the men having to dance across the dancefloor to get to the toilet, to the lack of a cloakroom, its quite obvious that the Purple room is not a custom built venue for what it is currently been used for.
So its for this reason the it will be closing its doors for period so that renovations and some modifications can be made to the venue. External Sounds event on Saturday 3rd of October will be the last night in The Purple Room as we know it. The management are very aware of the pitfalls of tampering too much with something good and ruining it, so a lot of thought and effort is going into keeping the unique charm and atmosphere of the venue throughout the renovations.
It will be reopening just in time for the Christmas period with what we hope is a new Purple Room with all the atmosphere and vibe of the old venue.

Words: Andrew K

Image courtesy of Jay McCarthy

wind ’em up

September 20, 2009

chuck

One of the things l love about most record shops in Dublin is that they work to push lrish labels and artists. Was handed a rework by this mysterious group called Check the Guns, and the guy in the shop started weaving them into the Dublin disco tapestry for me, letting on that they’ve got one of the better music nights in town.

Side one is essential, but the b-side is the joint, taking Chuck Brown’s Soul Searchers tune “Funk to the Folks” and letting it get its swerve on.

You might know Chuck Brown as “the godfather” but before he launched the good ship Go-Go, look up “Ashley’s Roachclip” (from the same album as the tune below) and hear that break that infected everybody from 2 Live Crew to Eric B and Rakim to Eazy-E, to Cutty Ranks to LL to freakin’ Milli Vanilli (what?!) Then check your albums, and if you’ve got Trouble Funk, Rare Essence, or any hip hop at all, you’ve got a piece of Chuck in there.

lt’s here in low low bitrate to keep the scallies off the trail – go buy it from a record shop and love thy neighbor. Massive shout out to Wayne A. Scales – big up!

Check the Guns – Folks Prescription (The Dr Edit) – Tape Edits 001

– Hicks

Electric Picnic 2009 – Review

September 16, 2009

Electric Picnic 2009 – Review

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As the last notes of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ faded out and are replaced by a chorus of cheers, claps & whistles, we bid farewell to another year of the Electric Picnic festival.

EP-Mud

Picnic 09 was certainly a little different to those that have come before, most notably for the weather. The usual long days of sunshine and lounging where replaced this year by rain, mud & wood chippings. Long traffic delays and flooded car parks greeted our arrival while wellington boots and ponchos were the must have fashion accessories of the weekend, but somehow this still did not break the spirit of this years attendees. The Irish festival goer is certainly a battle hardened campaigner and these conditions only seemed to galvanize their determination to enjoy themselves come what may.

An impressive line up of artists on this year’s bill which included Californian surf sound legend Brian Wilson, rave pioneers Orbital, ska stompers Madness, and disco divas Chic, kept the main festival site buzzing all weekend long. But it was a small corner of the Body and Soul Area that preoccupied the External Sounds crew for the weekend. The curiously named Ambient Lounge tent was to be our main stage where we would have Good Vibrations, to make Everybody Dance, at our House of Fun, in these Halcyon days.
So after months of preparations and planning Friday 4th of September was upon us and the first sounds of Electric Picnic 2009 rolled out of the tent and into the Stradbally countryside. As Freeman Bear played a dj set of his own compositions, the beanbags in the Ambient Lounge began to get acquainted with their first derrieres of the weekend. The Sun who felt like a long overdue visitor also decide to join the party and everything was off to a great start. The afternoon continued in similar style with a very nice mix of electronic folk from the Kill Krinkle Club and laid back grooves from dj Craig Connor.

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As Mr Moon replaced the Sun and night time descended on the festival the usual change of gear and atmosphere kicked into action. The gentle tapping of feet and bobbing of heads was replaced by hip shaking and the waving of hands in the air. The sound track to this vibe was gratefully supplied by Kev Sheridan’s one man multi instrumental loop show and the Fatty Fatty djs, who keep the busy tent jumping till the small hours of the morning.

As sore heads arose from their tents on Saturday morning and wondered where they could get a decent breakfast roll, the external sounds crew were busy trying to get the Ambient Lounge ready for another musical assault. After a quick sound check and a brush of the carpet, that had lost its bright green lustre from the day before, we were ready to go.

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First up was Manchester based Dj Emmie Lou who’s down tempo disco set was well received by her fellow females in the tent who were gleefully showing their love on the dancefloor. Sonar Kollectiv’s Stee Downes continued on a similar tip playing a classy set of soul, funk and disco. After this it was time for a change of pace. Irish singer song writer Lisa O’Neill took to the stage and delighted the audience with a performance of what could be best described as humorous country folk music.

The rest of the day was one for the live band fans. After a bit of a delayed start Huey & The Hobgoblins got the tent going with their bluesy rock sound. The already lively crowd was taken up a notch with the arrival of a four piece brass section to accompany the lads on a rousing performance of ‘A Message to you Rudy’ by The Specials.

Huey

The Live music continued with Irish reggae band Intinn playing what was widely touted a one of the best performances of the weekend. Their blend of reggae with conscientious lyrics and Irish traditional music sound from their harp players was a massive hit with the large crowd inside the tent. For the people that enjoyed the trad elements of Intinn’s set there was more to follow with the next act up.

Daithi O’Dronai may play a fiddle but there is certainly nothing traditional about his style of playing. His use of a loop peddle, and effects unit delivered a very unique performance that went down a storm with the audience.

Harp

This set was the ideal bridge between the live music that preceded it and the dj sets that were to follow. Nightflight djs Jimmy B and Louche took to the decks and dropped a set that kept the large crowd right where they where, even during short period that the tent was plunged into dark silence due to a power cut.

The last set of the night was taken by External Sounds very own US import, dj Derek Hicks. His set of bass heavy tropical grooves was only matched in intensity by his stage presence.

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So Sunday was upon us already and we woke to the pitter patter of rain drops on our tents. The rain that had mostly held off since the start of the festival was now falling steadily making walking without slipping and sliding very difficult. A subdued crowd began to gingerly make its way into the festival site. Covered areas and tents found them selves unusually full for the early time of the day thanks to the rain. Dundalk dj Ford PreFect didn’t mind this one bit and happily played for the precipitation dodgers that had gathered in the Ambient Lounge tent. The addition of ‘Singing In The Rain’ to his set seem to raise a smile from the crowd who’s spirits were in need of some lifting.

Zzz

Their spirits were certainly lifted when the next act took to the stage. Philadelphia native Sean Scott Jones and his Jazz Duo was the perfect tonic for lifting the blues of the crowd. This seemly improvised jazz set began to get the crowd into the swing of things and before we knew it the rains had stopped but not many people had left the tent.

Afterward Dj NM continued with the vibe with some soul and blues classics. If the day’s music was beginning to become the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon then nobody had told Dj Paul Conroy. Accompanied by the Dig Deep percussionists he grabbed the audience and shuck it dry with a great set of upbeat funk and disco house tunes.

Sunday was now alive and kicking and it was the turn of Drogheda band Geriko to show Electric Picnic what they were made of. Straight from the start the crowd were into what the lads had to offer, and their talented playing and witty crowd interaction had the tent rocking, with a vibe and atmosphere that would be more accustomed to some of the larger arenas around the festival.

This set the scene nicely for our final live act of the weekend. Dublin Hip hop outfit The Infomatics took to the stage late into the evening and kept up the great vibe with there melodic hip hop tunes, their dubstep encore had the External Sounds crew scrambling to take away the last of the bean bags that were now caked in mud from being danced on.

Makka

Dublin’s Subject Djs took to decks just after 11pm to entertain the large crowd that had squeeze into the tent. The crowd that was now in attendance had for what ever reason decided to spend the end of their festival with the smaller acts rather then the festival headliners that had made the brief visits to our shores.

We where now approaching the business end of the festival and anybody that was holding back of flagging, mustered up the energy for one final musical assault.

As Sunday night gave way to Monday morning the atmosphere in the tent was at boiling point. Classic songs dropped by the djs began to get welcomed and greeted like long lost friends. Peopled danced and punched the air with smiles like Cheshire cats on their faces to the sound of kitsch anthems like Toto’s ‘Africa’ and disco stompers like Teddy Pendercast’s ‘You cant Hide from Love’.

Mugs

So finally it was time for the last set of the evening and for the hosts for the weekend External Sounds to take everybody through to the end. After and short speech from the microphone happy Andrew K we were on our way. A typical eclectic and dance floor anthem filled set from the lads was going down a treat with the receptive crowd.

The popular tunes of the set seemed to be the ones that the crowd could sing a long so the dj’s kept the coming. When the fader was dropped on the Humans Leagues ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ 200 voices in unison perfectly sang along to the chorus.

At 3:20am the word came through from Body & Soul production staff that there was just 10 minutes left. As the house beats of ‘Happy Hip Hop’ by Dj Kose faded out and the first percussion beats of Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ kicked in, the crowd knew this was the end of another magical weekend of musical madness. When then the obligatory ‘one more tune” began to chorus around the tent, the dj’s couldn’t help but oblige.

So it was the universal good times sound of Bob Marley that finished off the tent and the External Sounds Electric Picnic 09 experience. Its amazing that as quickly as it comes the moment is gone and becomes yet another great memory to recall back on in more subdued times. This years experience was most definitely different, but if we could, would we go back and do it all again? Where’s my wellies?

where

Words:  Andrew K