Category Archives: Mixtape Madness

Mixtape Madness #7 – Chemical Brothers / Live at the Social, Volume 1

Live+AT+THE+Social+Volume+1+chemicalliveatthesocialThe Chemical Brothers were, alongside the Prodigy, my gateway drug into electronic music and hip-hop, tempting me from the big hair, tight jeans and wailing guitar solos of Def Leppard and Guns n Roses into the far broader beats I’m now more than a little obsessed with

Growing up in the North Midlands, you didn’t really have much choice as to the music you listened to -it was either guitars or guitars. After all we had local heros such as the mighty Noddy Holder and Ozzie Osbourne to look up to, so aside from the few drug-addled  *ahem* experimentalists who ventured to the heady metropolis that was Birmingham to listen to the cutting edge ‘Trance’ that was on show there METAL was the only respectable option

Then the Chemical Brothers happened.

I don’t know why it was acceptable for little indie kids/metallers like us to like ’em, but I  still remember sitting around with mates listening to the Chem’s seminal debut album, air scratching (cringe) at In Dust We Trust, and being sucked in by the braincrushing  beats, driving Techno tinged basslines and eclectic samples – given the strictures of ‘commercial dance’ music of the time this was an utterly different beast, and something completely new to our parochial little corner of the world.

Live at The Social is exactly what it says – a live recording of  Ed and Tom at The Social in Islington, which was a case of, and I quote the CD liner,  ” get a back room in a dirty old boozer on a Sunday night. Get a pair of DJs who were more renowned for their party rockin’ than their fluid mixing. Get guests , anyone and everyone from pop stars to shit hot DJs and get them to play their favourite records. The only rule – our guys go on last. Build up your own anthems, find new heroes, find your own stimulants. You think you’ll get maybe 70 people, but after 13 weeks when you call it a day, you’re turning away 700. ”

Dang, I wish I was a few years older at the time, as this sounds right up my street.

Despite it’s short duration it had a huge following and some seriously influential people turned up, with Bjork, Primal Scream and one pre- Fatboy Slim Norman Cook being in attendance, and buying into the Big Beat thing.

From the faded in sample warning of ‘mind-bending chemicals’, via the electro hip-hop of DJ Cash Money and Marvellous / Mighty Hard Rocker, to their homebrewed remix of The Charlatans Nine Acre Court, entitled Nine Acre Dust, to the classic New Orleans funk cut We’re Doing It (Thang) by Eddie Bo it’s quality all the way through.

Mixtape Madness #6 – DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist / Brainfreeze

Reminiscent of Double Dee and Steinski’s seminal ‘Lessons’ series but with the added bonus of being done live rather than over painstaking months with a razor and sticky tape, Brainfreeze is the hip-hop tour de force from DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.

Consisting of two 25-ish minute mixes entitled Uno and Dos, Brainfreeze started life as a recording of a practice session for a series of shows that the pair were to perform in ’99. It’s a masterclass in cutting,scratching and beat-juggling old funk and soul 45s, slicing sections of tracks in and out of one another whilst maintaining the overall flow of the mix, which in my opinion is something a lot of more ‘technical’ DJs can forget in an effort to flex their skills.

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Mixtape Madness #5 – DJ Moneyshot / Mothers Ruin

By way of making up for my poor show on the last Three on a Thursday, I though I’d shower your ears with some more audio loveliness in the form of the next installment of the Mixtape Madness series, and give you another ‘so-good-it-changes-what-you-think-a-mixtape-can-be’ mix, to chase away the dreary weather outside.

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Mixtape Madness #4 – The Nextmen / Personal Golf Instructions (from Driver thru Putter)

Now this is the real shit…

Personal Golf Instructions is probably the mix that made me take up DJing, so these boys have a lot to answer for. Up until the point that I heard this mix I thought DJing was all about playing crap trance, and whanging half of Columbia’s National Product up your nose, but this mixtape showed me it was possible to do something different, taking a big batch of genres and odd samples stir ’em all up and come out with something, and not only manage to make it work but to make it sound utterly awesome. For that, I’m forever grateful to The Nextmen.

Brad and Dom show some serious skills covering the bases from hip-hop, via the dancehall , electropop , reggae, disco, funk, soul and some drum and bass all tied together with a series of samples lifted from what sounds like old Arnold Palmer golf instructional record. For a good few years this was only available on CD, and was a bugger to get hold of, leading to it costing a small fortune, but now, thanks to the internerd, it’s available to all. Despite being released in ’04 this has barely aged a jot and is still a ‘go-to’ mix for me for warming a houseparty up …

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Mixtape Madness #3 – RJD2 / Your Face or Your Kneecaps

Was discussing the blog with an mate of mine over a few beers at weekend, and we starting pondering over what mixes should be given the dubious honour of being featured as part of the ‘Mixtape Madness’ series. A fair few names came up and will show up on the blog over the next few weeks and months, but the first one that both of thought of was this beaut, and I got an understandable barracking for not having put it up yet. This is a terrible ommision and will be sorted forthwith.

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Mixtape Madness #2 – Coldcut / 70 Minutes of Madness

In some sort of vague attempt to make up for the lack of a Ctrl:Alt:TheBeat recording for you this week, I was going to give you some classic Nextmen shizzle as the next in my Mixtape Madness series. Then as if to taunt me, another spanner was thrown in the works when the mix I was going to point you at was taken down so at short notice I’ve selected another for you, and it’s an absolute corker.

To be frank, I’d be slightly surprised if you didn’t know Coldcut /  Journeys by DJ – 70 Minutes of Madness, as it’s probably one of the most influential mixes of the last 20 years, spawning many imitators but to my mind, never being beaten.

Looking at the track list it seems almost wilfully schizophrenic, covering genres as from dub, drum & bass, house, techno, hip-hop, poetry, experimental electronica, jazzed up breaks and Dr Who, but somehow Ninja Tune founding fathers Matt Black and Jonathan More manage to not only make it work, but also raise it to an artform, with the tracks forming an almost continuous whole shifting between moods and styles effortlessly. It really is that good.

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Mixtape Madness #1 – Itchy & Skratchy DJs / Shhh! Mixtape 2011

I spend quite a lot of time digging to find new tunes for my shows, and quite often this involves listening through tons of mixes. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can get away with sitting at my desk plugged in to my iPod ploughing through the reams and reams I download, picking up the odd gem here and there, but most of them are a bit ‘meh’.

Sometime however you pick up a belter, and I thought that in order to save you from the dross, I’d throw up some of the good ones I’ve found over the years up on the blog for your enjoyment. So from today, every few weeks I’ll try to post a new one for you – it might be new, it might be old , but it’ll be a cracking selection of tunes.

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