Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Sun on the Skylined

 When a sunny day finally appears I get a little shot of happiness before I’ve even 

start my day. That small adrenaline like feeling you get only when looking out of a 

window onto a blue dawn, knowing that a day of warmth is ahead. That’s the feeling I 

want replicated in my record that represents my sunny day, the record to help me 

celebrate or find a little bit of sun on a grey passionless afternoon, for this task I 

choose  ‘Skylined’ by ‘The Prodigy’ the stick out track on the their sublime second 

album ‘Music for a jilted generation’ 

 A piece of music so powerful and personal it makes me feel like I’m in the sun.

If I close my eyes when listening to it I get the vision of just gliding towards an Ibiza 

sunset, over the emerald waters of the great white isle, a cliché maybe, but for me the 

ultimate summer image.

 The backbone of this track is its rolling tribal drums, which confirms the Balearic 

image in my mind to the point of feeling sand between my toes.

 The production being almost orchestral in its composition, sweeping in with 

crescendos and holding different levels of sounds as little audio platforms that leaves 

it feeling like a condensed electronic symphony, I truly believe if Mozart was alive 

today and had our technology and sound capabilities he would be sitting in a little 

studio in Vienna churning out epic little journeys like this for fun, but fear not we 

have our own Mozart and his name is Liam Howlett and he’s from Essex 

. Long live the Prodigy.

Sunday, 19 April 2009



Its 8.30pm and the crowd are hollering for more. Some are shouting Stoke related observations, but most of this Sheffield crowd just want one more song before the main act is on. It’s a great reaction.

When I heard local band New Education were about to embark on their first big breakthrough tour supporting the rifles I knew I had to go and take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

With tour dates supporting the Holloway’s and the Twang, plus new single  ‘today’ under their belts this four piece are starting to gain momentum.

The venue on the first night of this sixteen-night tour is the sold out Lead mill in Sheffield. Surrounded on three sides by student accommodation this place always promises to be a wild affair.

Fortunately I managed to talk my way into tagging along on this inaugural outing and get an inside view of an up and coming band on the road.

This is a four-piece band whose two creative drivers are in the form of the bassist Jack and the front man Ryan. The Dooley’s

There is a healthy friction in the band, omitting almost entirely from the Dooley’s and usually towards each other. This sort of sibling energy, previously in the form of the Gallagher’s was what powered Oasis towards success, so comparisons are hard to ignore

It was going to be busy tonight, so the sound check is meticulous and drawn out as there is a problem with the bass dominating the monitors, so after much tweaking the stage is set.

Of the seven tracks that new education perform new single ‘today’ whips the crowd into frenzy.

Their solid sound is raw with passion, and the working class message goes down a storm with the Sheffield crowd. 

There is no pretence or image to pander to here, just music from the heart and received by the heart.

This band is going to make a splash. So be ready.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


bus anywhere in the country and you will witness a regret ion in personal stereo technology. Whether it’s the number 26 caught in hackney to London Bridge, or the number 50 from Birmingham city centre to Moseley. You will have to listen to a tinny muffled version of Basshunter or some high energy ‘bounce’ track that has probably got a ‘donk’ on it.

So what’s happened? The personal has gone from personal stereo. The teenage masses do not believe in the headphones. Why? Do they want to give us a nice gesture in the morning, wake us up with a rejuvenating dose of ‘grime’? I think not, its seems to be some sort of pre pubescent territoriality. “My donks bigger than your donk.” And may god help you if you get stuck in the middle of a ‘donk off’. Then its sounds like being trapped in a baked bean tin that’s been lodged behind a speaker in the back of a club, as these 'chavs ' fight it out for there sonic transport superiority.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an old grouch, I love fast hard electronic music, but not at 8.30 in the morning being played through a 3mm speaker. And neither does anyone else seems to who is sitting around me. “Say something!” I hear you cry, but the tabloid press has painted such a picture of these 'hoodies' I dare not for being gang stamped. And the driver says if they are not fighting then he doesn’t want anything to do with it.  So its ‘Tss tss tss tss tss” all the way to the destination. Well if you can’t beat them join them. Tomorrow I will step aboard the mobile party known as the no 25 and attempt to out donk. Dutch industrial gabber anyone?

Thursday, 9 April 2009


Outechno timing.


I love my mac, I love that my music collection is right there, I love that all my work past and present is accessable at the touch of a button, I love the fact any of my friends that are dotted all over the planet are contactable for free at any time. But there is something I do not love, techno timing. This is when all of these wonderful things gang up on me in the form of a………phrase.

3 weeks ago my back up hard drive went pop, and it was a pop, followed by a slight fizz. I thought bugger as there was probably around 2000 tracks on there that I did not keep on my laptop. So I thought ills send it back with it still being in its warrentee it will either get fixed and ill recover everything on it, or ill just get a neww one cut my loses on the extra tracks on there, as the cream of my music crop is on my latop. I can easily back it all up again on a new machine……. No problem.

6 days later the worst thing that coud happen happened. The laptop started to hiccup and twitch. I paniced and a nee jerk reaction took me to a computer specielist in the area instead of making the journey to the mac shop.

“ too many applications running mate, too much crap and duplicates on your system”

“o.k what can you do”

“lift off your main folders and applications and clean it up, re install, right as rain, two days”



So as I sit at home that night I am reasonably confident that this technology conspiracy is not going to take me down. This confidence followed me right through the following two days, into the shop to pick it up and all the way home. Its is there when this emotion legged it and left me high and dry. Everything looked great at first, everything seemed to be upgraded, and all my wedding photos were there, so I will live another day. But then as I opened my itunes I realised that there were 389 tracks on there, that’s about 10,000 tracks light.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Due to the introduction of the digital age our listening habits have changed. No longer do we listen to whole albums or complete mixes anymore. before when we bought a cd we would put it into the  player and just hit play and enjoy, yes we used to skip back to our favourite's  and listen to that one or two more than the others. But now we take it home listen and then install it onto itunes. This is where this change has taken place. now we have playlists and random buttons that give us individual tracks, our top choices and we forget about the little classics tucked away that might compliment a fav tune. A whole album can paint a picture in your head of what the artist is trying to achieve. This is especially the case with dance music mixes. Back in the day most mixes came on tape so you listened to the whole thing, the DJ taking you on a journey from start to finish. 

" listen to this mix coming in, its banging"    "what is it ?"  "don't know but its bangin". i miss that. When the very first ' essential selection' album came out in 1996, the tracks were split half way through the track so that when you listened to the tracks individually you got the whole mix from one track to the other celebrating the DJs skill on the turntables. what a great idea as when you listen to one track on that album your hooked because your in the mix from the word go not just listening to the track you liked the most. you have to listen to where the music is going and what the DJ is going to do. And on this first essential selection album the DJs are Pete Tong, Sasha, Oakenfold and the wonderful Carl Cox, so you better believe the mixing is the highlight. We can download any track any time, but what one of these guys can do with two of those tracks mixed together is really what is worth listening to on a mix album. Even though our listening capabilities are now huge, we are listening to less albums as a whole. We want instant gratification aurally as with all aspects of modern life. Im sure that was not the aim when Pink Floyd made dark side of the moon or when Kid A was produced. so when you get in tonight stick on an album or mix and listen to it from start to finish, you will be surprised and gratified.