Fine Times

Hi readers,

It’s been a while, I’ve been busy the over past month or two with a few things, not least deejaying at a few places here and there and also doing PowerFM.org with my buddy Tóirse. Sometimes when you’ve a string of gigs in a row there’s just no time for digesting or articulating what it all means. Better to spend time practicing and playing out rather than worrying about words and such.

At the start of May I did a set at a new night called Front Left where I warmed up for Brassfoot. It was in a basement bar and guess you could say the music was sort of acidy. The crowd was small, but Brassfoot played a strong set. Brassfoot, a fella named Ruben, turned out to be a sound guy. Ruben, Reddy from Front Left, a few heads and myself chilled after the club and stayed up chatting for a good few hours. My lasting memory of the night is my mate Megan and I dancing at 3 a. m. to this old MAW tune from way back when:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KRH05Nq_JI0

Here’s a funny pick from the end of the night when the bouncer asked Ruben to turn off the music:

Ruben and bouncer

I guess if I could derive a point from the above hedonism it would be that it’s really nice to dance when it’s late. At that time it really doesn’t matter if the crowd is small, all my worries about whether the night will make money for the promoter or not kind of disappear. “Worries” is perhaps too strong a word, but I mean it’s in the back of my mind if a promoter I like is doing some good underground shit and is at risk of losing out. Ultimately all that matters is if there’s a buzz between the folks that are there. At the Brassfoot gig it was there in spades.

Later the next week the Internet told me that I am 48 years old. Somehow I lost a decade:

Pauly 48 years old

The next weekend I was involved in a fundraiser party for the Yes Equality campaign. Many people were involved in organising it and we raised over 2k. It was an afternoon-into-evening party in an artists’ studio building that is not normally used for gigs. A lot of effort went into the decoration of the space, which made it especially good and unusual. I played some disco records and fluffed some mixes. It was not my finest hour on the 1s & 2s that’s for sure.

I was impressed by Patrick Kelleher and Brian Conniffe. They played live and did a tune that reminded me of the band Suicide. It was kind of industrial, but fuzzy. I hope they release that stuff – I want to hear more of it.

Sunken Foal played a blinder at the end of the party. That was special too as our friend Rod Morris stepped in on keys and they both improvised for much of the show. Dunk (Sunken Foal) toes a good line between instrumental hip-hop, bass, fuzzy shoe-gaze music and electronic weirdness. Rod’s keys are like Bob James on ayahuasca.

David Kitt, and Somadrone played live too. Neil (Somadrone) played one long track for his whole set that had a nice slow 4/4 feel to it. Kittser played some cover versions in a lovely understated way.

My buddies Christine (DJ Conjugal Visits) and David (Deasy) also deejayed. Christine is an awesome party DJ, she plays in a pub called Anseo every week. Deasy is one of the best DJs in Dublin and I don’t say that lightly. Deasy holds the record for the longest running residency in Dublin city. You can catch him in The Globe on Georges Street each and every Saturday. What he can do with a set of CDJs needs to be seen to be believed.

Find more info on what it was all about here: http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2015/05/11/large-increase-in-people-milking-yes-campaign-to-boost-own-social-status/

The next weekend I flew to London to join my friend Tim in celebrating his 40th birthday. It was a Bop Gun party. Bop Gun is a randomly held party that we throw from time to time where we play the kind of funk orientated dance music that we like. This is the second one we’ve done in London. For this one Tim & I played records along with loads of other folks at a place called Bar-A-Bar. One thing that is super about Bar-A-Bar is that the venue owner is a really nice guy. The PA system in there is very sweet too. We danced until very late, then a good few of us stayed up all night talking about techno music back in Tim’s gaff.

Bop Gun May 15

It was great also to catch up with my pal Babs in London. I like the city a lot, and the memories of when I used to live there came flooding back to me. There’s so much to do over there and there’s so many great little scenes to be involved in. It also reminded me that Dublin is really tiny in comparison to it.

Back in Dublin the following Saturday Tóirse and myself went to see DJ Sprinkles at the second ever Out To Lunch party in Tengu Bar. DJ Sprinkles is an interesting person and a DJ that takes the art seriously, not that you’d guess that from her name. It was a great booking on behalf of the Out To Lunch crew given that that Saturday was election results day for the gay marriage vote. The Yes result ended up being a landslide victory and Dublin that night was in party mode like never before.

Sprinkles, real name Terre Thaemlitz is an out spoken DJ. She writes pretty extensively on transgender issues, house music and other cultural phenomena. I recommend reading her piece titled “Social Media Content Removal Fail.” It’s a brilliant explanation on how YouTube and their like are only interested in corporate gain at the expense of artist’s intent and intellectual copyrights. You can read that and some more interesting stuff at her site here: http://www.comatonse.com/writings/index.html.

Some of the music she played that night was nice to space out to. Although I do like listening to Sprinkles at home I found over all her set was a little downbeat for the club. That said the crowd were really up for it. Every one was hugging each other in celebration of the result for gay marriage and the atmosphere was a special one.

After a while though both Tóirse and myself really wanted to dance and for the music to kick in properly. Happily and eventually it did kick in at the end of the night. She played an edit of Over & Over by Sylvester, which is a firm favourite of ours to dance to. She also played this awesome banger titled “Tony’s Bitch Track” by Frank Ski:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Sp7REpywVBQ

The following weekend Tóirse & I did another of our bi-weekly online radio shows up at the Power FM studio. Below are links to the archives for the last show and the one we did previously:

Episode two: https://www.mixcloud.com/platinumray/dance-it-ude-delivered-by-terchplatz-may-24/

Episode one: https://www.mixcloud.com/platinumray/dance-it-ude-delivered-by-terchplatz/

Our next show is this Sunday June 7th. I have a pre-recorded a guest mix from Eddie Galavan that I’ll be playing. Eddie is a great dude and a music enthusiast like myself. He kindly asked me for a guest mix last year for his show on Open Tempo FM based in Waterford http://www.opentempofm.com. It’s nice to be able to return the favour and play Eddie’s mix.   Tune in here on Sunday 8 p. m. (BST) to listen live: www.PowerFM.org.

Last Sunday I played records at the Grand Social. My brother Daragh and friends Caroline, Ann and Megan came along. I don’t like to plan my sets ahead too much so I can adapt to different situations if it’s a dead night. But, because my pals were there I was confident in just going for it. I got the chance to play many great disco and house tunes over the course of about two or more hours. It was fun to say the least and when I went harder into techno at the end of the night the crowd created a dance circle out on the floor. Some spectacularly insane shapes were pulled.

So all that said, I’ve been lucky to have had a great few weeks immersed in music that I love. I’ve danced hard, met great people and had a fine time deejaying. I’m one lucky old man.

Thanks again for reading,

Cheers,

Pauly

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It’s jazz Jim, but not as we know it: Afrikan Sciences – Circuitous (LP)

Afrikan Sciences – Circuitous (Pan 2014) http://www.discogs.com/Afrikan-Sciences-Circuitous/master/766726

I got into this LP a few months ago and it has grown on me more and more ever since. First of all look at how gorgeous the album’s artwork is:

Circuitous is an LP forged using electronic equipment, but it’s influences and scope are somewhat breathtaking. Musically Afrikan Sciences (aka producer & DJ Eric Douglas Porter) seems to be influenced heavily by the philosophy and futuristic sounds of the great Sun Ra:

Jazz and sci-fi ascetics lead me Afrofuturism which is a cultural phenomenon that provides endless fascination. The memes of Afrofuturism pop up in underground electronic and dance music pretty often: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrofuturism.

As well the Afrofuturistic strain in Circuitous I have also felt it’s sonic tonality to be noteworthy in that it sounds somewhat revivalist of electronica from the early 2000s. It reminded me specifially of “Confield” by Autechre and and “Rest” by Isolée, two old albums from this era that I love dearly to this day. Perhaps this connection I’ve made is entirely coincidental and that Eric Douglas Porter has never heard those records. I sometimes like to think that the world of music is analogous to the physical cosmos of galaxies and stars. Sometimes similar elements can be formed through different processes happening countless lightyears away from each other.

There’s also a very modern sounding dryness to the production on Circuitous. Here you’ll find very little reliance on the smoke and mirror techniques often applied in electronic productions. Reverbs and delay effects are applied economically. Any trance inducing repetition is interrupted with a shift in drum patterns.

Each of the tracks in Circuitous evolve rhythmically in their own way and have their own personalities. However, that said I think that all the tracks on there work best when the album is listened to as a whole. As best as I can describe it though Circuitous is really a cauldron of nonconformity and is difficult to pin down onto a singular genre. With each ladle Afrikan Sciences dishes up a tune and within each tune is contained a lucid, but dreamlike journey in it’s own right.

Circuitous is a truly great album and if you’re into spacey jazz influenced electronic music I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Cheers for reading,

P

10 Acidic Face-Melters

Ayup,

First just some context: I’ve been asked to DJ at a party next week Friday May 1st in support of Brassfoot. There’s not much on Discogs by way of a description of this new producer right now. The guy’s got a couple of releases out on Apron records from London and they have put some great records out over the past few years. Brassfoot then comes from a stable of fine pedigree. Brassfoot’s style so far seems to be in part influenced in by acid, not the LSD kind I hope you understand, more the music descriptive kind as in “acid-house” and the many of the offshoots stemming and intertwining with this strain of dance music. I don’t want to assume anything else about Brassfoot, as I really don’t wish to pigeonhole a promising young artist.

I do want to give props and thanks to Reddy and the FrontLeft crew for making the booking and I have no doubt whatsoever that the party will be 100% dope off the back of Brassfoot playing. Also good, of course, because myself and Rashers Tierney are doing the warm up set. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1821814221376580/

To get some buzz going ahead of the party Rashers Tierney asked me to draft a top five “Acid Trax” list for the event page. I was delighted to be asked because it’s a genre that’s close to my heart. The thing is though that the classic acid-house list has been cited already about fifty million times. Here’s a great one here by Ed DMX for example: http://www.factmag.com/2014/01/22/20-best-acid-house/

It’s a genre that has been fetishized over time and time again by folks that probably know more about the early days of acid than I do. That said I do like my acid (music, not LSD) as much as the next person. Maybe even I like it a wee bit more than most humans out there today living their lives. So I decided to do a list of some slightly more obscure acidy numbers out there. These certainly won’t all be from the golden years of the late 80s nor will this list be anything that definitive. Acid to me a best understood in a loose way, sure 303s are synonymous with the sound yada yada yada, who cares at this stage. Fuck nostalgia! This music is relevant right now and when deejayed well it can be a whole lot of fun to dance to.

So here’s a list of Ten Acidic Face-Melters to get down on:

*Sponsored by YouTube (we Ad the “You” back in the Tube)

Mix Masters – House Express (Boogie’s Express Mix) https://youtu.be/J9AecGLVSco

Richard Bartz & DJ Hell – Take a Shot https://youtu.be/W0D0t1p2LLs

Traxx presents The Dirty Criminals – Jak Da Box https://youtu.be/B_z8zCHf-Xo

Pépé Bradock ‎- Mujeres Nerviosas https://youtu.be/3lJRV67yry8

James Cotton – Press Your Body https://youtu.be/f9-egAR5HB4

Slugo, Africans with Mainframes, CeCe Peniston https://youtu.be/bntTj5-mWdc

Jackmaster Dick’s Revenge – Sensuous Woman Goes Disco https://youtu.be/u2jZcWKF24A < – NSFW

Paranoid London Featuring Paris Brightledge – Paris Dub 1 https://youtu.be/3uh1GZifkT0

KMFH – 12 Doors (feat. Nas1) https://youtu.be/LayLZzVK77o

Omar S – Frogs https://youtu.be/MKRubfdNMyc

Here’s the YT playlist: 

Cheers,

Platinum Ray

Joining the Dots: Milo Johnson aka DJ Mil’o aka DJ Nature

Hi,

In this piece I want to write about the great DJ Nature, aka Milo Johnson, aka DJ Mil’o. This man’s career spans five decades (he started spinning in the late 70s), plus he’s kind of an underground figure so for me to get his full story on here will be impossible. There’s still much I need to learn about Milo’s DJ’s career, but for this piece I wanted to put down a flag to explain why he gets my admiration. In fact it’s really more accurate to say he gets my wife’s admiration as well as mine.

Some time around 2004 I started seeing my now wife Niamh and it was she who got me into this mix CD which was released on the Strut label in ’02: http://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Wild-Bunch/release/123867

In my world in the mid 00s I had just moved back to Dublin after living in London for a few years. Techno seemed to me to be losing some of it’s it’s funk and I wasn’t in the loop of much of the good house music that was coming out at this time. When I take a look at this mix’s track list today I can see why it left such an indelible mark on me. It covers 80s hip-hop, Disco & Boogie and house. It reignited my interest in disco at that time in the mid 00s when my own listening habits were becoming a bit tired and I started to look back to the past for musical inspiration.

The mix nods it’s head to Milo’s roots in the sound system culture of Bristol City. This is a good example of the way that the UK bass genres are somewhat linked to disco through a wider musical history other than dub alone. Personally I think this connection is a fascinating one and DJ Milo bridges the genre stepping stones like no one else.

There seems to be two biographies on Milo Johnson: one on his hip-hop side under the moniker DJ Mil’o and another on his disco & house side under the name DJ Nature.  I wonder is this dichotomy intended by the man himself…

In an industry that likes it’s genres clearly defined does Milo wish to separate his DJ personas?

I shouldn’t really speculate, but it seems the DJ Nature persona came about after Milo moved to New York in the late 80s. At least according to this bio it is the case: http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/djnature/biography.  But, it’s interesting that there’s no mention here of the previous DJ Mil’o name nor any of his part in the burgeoning Bristol hip-hop scene. However, in this DJ Mil’o biography it does mention his move to NY and a connection with the awesome Nu Groove house music label: http://dj-milo.net/bio.html. So we see the hip-hop and house dots starting to join up.

Listen to this DJ Nature remix from ’93: https://youtu.be/NFbc5-Z2VGI.  It sounds like Milo must have been heavily influenced by the NY house scene which is firmly rooted in disco. Who wouldn’t if you lived in New York at this time?

DJ Nature spins house and disco to this day and is arguably more popular and relevant now than at any stage during his awe inspiring career. 2014 gave us two full LPs: “Groovotica Collection 1” on Golf Channel Recordings and “Let The Children Play” on the Jazzy Sport label.

Milo’s “Year End” mixes over the past couple of years have become essential listening for me. I think the 2013 one is gone from SoundCloud now, but you can still get with his ’14 warm up selection mix here: https://soundcloud.com/natureboy/year-end-mix-2014-part-1-foreplay.  Also worth a listen is his LWE mix here: http://www.littlewhiteearbuds.com/podcast/lwe-podcast-167-dj-nature.

Now DJ-wise he specialises in slow groove sets. Niamh and myself with some friends were lucky to catch a DJ Nature set at a Together Disco night we went to last year. One of the great things about the party from my perspective was the way Milo kept the tempo slow and mixed between disco and house effortlessly. I have to say there is nothing “warm up” about this music when the system is tight and the crowd are up for it. I would jump at the chance to catch him play again.

I hope Milo continues to DJ and set the standard for what a successful career in dance music should look like. Go on DJ Mil’o, we are big fans!

Incidentally as a foot note I want to say that the Strut, Nu Groove and Golf Channel labels are incredible and each are worthy of at least their own blog entry by me. I may get to them in more detail another time.

That’s all for now readers and thanks again for clicking on my blog.

Cheers,

P

New Power FM Show

Myself and my good friend Tóirse (aka Educution) started back on Power FM last Sunday.

For those that don’t know Power is a long running underground dance and alternative radio station based in Dublin. In the ‘90s it was on the FM dial and the DJs played house, jungle, techno, hip-hop, dub and a lot of other stuff. These days it’s online at ww.PowerFM.org. The current roster of shows is very diverse and the DJs have license to be eclectic in their selections. The station was off air since Oct last year, but is back now as of last week. However, the website design and the archiving of the new shows is yet to be put in place.

So, seeing the re-launch as a good opportunity to bring a new concept to our show Tóirse and myself laboured over what we’d call it and how we wanted to go forward with it. Then our slot on Power got gazumped by an eastern European DJ named Terchplatz. “Dance-it-ude: Delivered by Terchplatz” is the name of his show. Tertchplatz is also sponsored by a product called Ab-Natural. As far as I can tell Ab-Natural is some kind of cream that bodybuilders use to rub on their abs after a workout.

But, I have good news everyone, Tóirse and I have been allowed to fill in for Terchplatz whenever he can’t make his show. The only catch is that we have to play the Tertchplatz jingles at the start of the show and play any announcements from Tertchplatz’s manager, a German gentleman named Bjern Jerböllinz.

Here’s a promo poster:

Tertchplatz

The next show is on April 26th at 20:00 hrs (GMT +1.)  Tip:  if you want a laugh please tune in for the jingles at the start of the show.

That’s it for now,

Thanks for reading,

P

Ron Trent: The Best to Ever Do It

Ron Trent?  Say no more!

For me personally getting a chance to see Ron Trent play would be akin to a spiritual experience. This guy is the zenith of what deejaying is about, no one does it better.  But, he’s the best DJ that I have never seen.

Hear me cry it:  CAN SOME DUBLIN PROMOTER PLEASE GET THIS MAN OVER TO DJ FOR US!

In the meantime we can always listen and learn from a master of the craft.  Note the mix linked below is just a section of what was an 8 hour set in Berlin earlier this year.  8 hours!

https://soundcloud.com/musicandpower/young-soul-berlin-2-13-2015-ron-trent-live-prince-charles

I could write a good bit more, but there’s is no point.  If you don’t know, now you know.  Go find his records and if you ever get a chance to be on a dance floor where Ron is spinning get on it immediately.

Cheers for reading!

P

Traxx: the Vinyl Architect and my transgression

Have you heard of Traxx?

Quickly explained Traxx (real name Melvin Oliphant III) is one of the best DJs doing the rounds right now. His style is somewhere between acid-house and dark industrial EBM (electronic body music). Here’s some info on him:

http://www.jak-nation.com/index.php?id=3

Traxx played a set in Dublin a few weeks ago and as a big fan of course I went along. The day before the party things got a small bit heated on the Facebook event page. The promoters posted a Traxx Boiler Room set video clip on the page to get people excited about the night ahead. The clip itself is really awesome, his BR set is one if the best ever put down in my opinion.

However, I had a hunch that Melvin himself wouldn’t like that clip to be posted. You see Traxx is known for being quite opinionated on the subject of commercial dance music. The whole Boiler Room thing is pretty commercial with corporate sponsorship and global reach as a brand within the dance music industry. So this led me to wonder what Traxx signed up for when he did the BR set. I came to the conclusion that he must have been well compensated for his set and that as such he would have to be cool with the clip being up online for all to see.

I was very wrong in this assumption, but what I did next was worse than a mere thought crime against Traxx. I dumbly decided that there was no way Melvin would see the event page, after all I thought he is way too underground to be on Facebook checking event pages wherever he goes. Wrong wrong wrong! Platinum Wrong!

Anyway I proceeded to post a short gif of Traxx from the same BR clip. The gif is well known and is actually pretty funny if you don’t know the context. It shows Melvin going into that deep stare one gets when they’re 100% immersed in the sound of music. Irish people might say he was away with the fairies in this gif. The gif is actually pretty cool in my view, but having known that there was a chance that Traxx mightn’t like it I still went ahead and posted it anyway. Now I feel pretty bad about it.

Melvin posted on the event page soon after and here’s what he had to say about the gif, “not fuckin funny- I absolutely dislike this and boiler room as I don’t understand why the this video keeps getting posted.” I deleted the gif immediately and privately messaged Melvin to apologise. Melvin explained that he hates the clip and the gif. He went on to say two very pointed things, “I’m not made to be a gif for people to laugh at and I’m no entertainer either.”

So that got me thinking about a few things with this situation:

Firstly, to what extent did Melvin give the Boiler Room people permission to record his set and put it on YouTube for everyone to see? Is there a chance his set was recorded and broadcast without consent and against his will?

I know a little bit about how the music industry works and it is very feasible that Boiler Room hijacked Traxx against his will. That said I think it’s more likely he gave consent, but has subsequently changed his mind about Boiler Room. Or perhaps it was written into the gig contract from the party he played at.  Perhaps all the DJ sets were to be presented by BR and Traxx didn’t see the contractual small print. Who knows?

Secondly, assuming Melvin was in fact compensated and gave permission does that mean that the BR footage is now fair game for people to use as “content.” Fair game even for folks to make gifs of and decontextualize the moment from the whole clip?

This taps into a lot of stuff already out there and the whole celebrity culture phenomenon so I’ll step away from this path. Quite honestly it’s an artistic and moral minefield that I’m not prepared to enter today. But, it is interesting to me the way the same questions that arise from mainstream culture can also arise within underground scenes.

Then there’s the whole DJ as a performer / entertainer question. I’m going to tackle this one by tying it in with how the actual party went later that night.

Traxx did a short meet & greet, or Q&A if you like, before things got started. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to this, but I caught up with some friends who were there. My friend said that Traxx does not define himself as a DJ, instead he said that he is a “Vinyl Architect.” Now if you know how Irish people are you’d know that this kind of statement is going to be met with bemusement and a few chuckles.

What is he now? An Architect? Go away, he has some notions so he has!

So that’s it, he’s not an entertainer he’s a vinyl architect. In existentialist terms I agree with him. Be whatever you want to be. Go for your life sir!

Lastly there’s the real questions: Was Traxx any good? Did he play a great set? Was the party any use?

I had seen him warming up for DJ Funk many years ago and it was good, but this time I will say Traxx exceeded my expectations. He played slow and jacking for about 4 hours, never letting the tempo get above what felt like 118bpm. At times the sound was nasty, I could tell he was pushing the mixer into the red on purpose. It worked to great effect. He played a shed load of low-fi sounding arpeggiated groove tracks, reminiscent of early Lil Louis tunes. There was a mad kind of tape effect going on in one tune that played into the hedonism of the crowd. This was around the time people started to get nicely wasted about half way through his set.

For me there were two highlight tracks that he played. He dropped something by Siouxsie and the Banshees that I’d never heard before and as testament to his skill it worked brilliantly with the house music he was playing earlier. Towards the end of the night be played what sounded like some new stuff off his label Nation, but not before he dropped an edit of a tune by Propaganda. By this stage of the night I was right up in front of the decks dancing like a mad man:

https://youtu.be/WWoL_JkWVi8

That’s it then for my exposé on Melvin Oliphant III aka Traxx. He’s some man and I’m glad I got a chance to learn from him.

Cheers for reading,

P