So That Was January, Mostly…

So still the same old problem of taking in masses of things but not managing to write about any of it. It’s perhaps a cross between writers block and short attention span. It’s also not wanting to consciously take something in just to write about it, as for some reason that feels fake and forced. It’s different if you’re asked or simply intend to report on a specific subject or event but when writing about my life I’d rather it be lived freely first, rather than trying to think how it might look on a blog post. I had a similar problem with photography, constantly looking at life through a lens. Saying that I would still love to get back into photography and have been borrowing cameras just to warm myself back into it again. When there is a good natural flow between life itself and the images you capture from it then there’s nothing more magical for me I don’t think (there are a couple of photos up on my new Flickr account, bit rusty and I remember nothing about the technical side of it at all but hopefully it should be a base to mark my progression. There’s a few from my recent trip to France below).

In a similar fashion I love it when what I write can also capture the essence of how I feel, without having to struggle too much, or agonise over the positioning of words. It would perhaps be false to say that I love to write, the actual process itself can truly eat me alive sometimes but I enjoy thinking about things to write and occasionally feel satisfied having finished writing. Perhaps it’s all a matter of practice and also building up confidence in what you have to say, which is why a blog can be most handy…. when you actually write on it. With this in mind perhaps I should try and pick out some of the highlights from 2012 so far, or build a general impression of what I’m up to right now. I fear that such a thing could get a little long winded but bollocks to it, you don’t have to continue any further but I think I might have to, just for its cathartic nature if nothing else.

Okay so my main focus at the moment and my main source of gainful employment is London Pleasure Gardens. I’ve hinted at bits of it but not really broken it all down for you, and to be honest, I’m not really going to do that now either as that would definitely take this post into epic territory. Plus I’m still not 100% on what’s official and what isn’t yet to be public knowledge so don’t really want to get into trouble just yet. However, here is a short introduction video that was done a little while ago and you can find plenty more info over on the website: http://londonpleasuregardens.com

I will talk more about the night’s I’m planning soon, once they are better locked down but one thing that I definitely can mention about as the information is now freely available is Bloc Weekend, a festival I have been meaning to check out for a while but which has managed to elude me by very small margins each year. The line ups are always phenomenal and very much in keeping with my musical focus for the Chrome Kids project. This year thankfully the festival has in essence come to me and once again they have assembled the dream team of the electronic music world with the likes of Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Four Tet, Digital Mystikz and Loefah (all of whom have provided me with some of my favourite sets over the past couple of years) alongside legends Gary Numan and Orbital. Check their website for the full line up and this little taster video.

Speaking of Chrome Kids, that has also been a big focus at the moment. I’ve been running the blog for a few years and it’s led me to some unexpected and exciting ventures but I felt it needed a rethink and a refit so it’s currently being given a make over by the ever talented Marc Heatley. The musical output is more mature and focussed, or will be at least. A good marker for where I’ve taken it (or rather we’ve taken it as my partner in crime and one of the newest members of the Chrome Kids family, SnowSkull has been a massive part of the rebirth) is the Radio Show which I intend to be fortnightly come rain or snow (hear the latest episodes at Mixcloud), and our Facebook Group, which will still receive more frequent postings than the blog, albeit less indepth.

We shall also be putting on more events after the relative success of the last one at the Signature night in Buffalo Bar, Cardiff. I say relative as, even though we did change up the space quite a bit and there was a great vibe in there generally, I’m beginning to believe that (most) pre-existing club’s are perhaps not the right space to experience much of this music. Still, we managed to do what we set out to do and I thoroughly enjoyed playing a bunch of stuff that I never normally get to play out and was rather overwhelmed at the level of positive feedback afterwards. Believe me there will be plenty more of those sets to come if I can help it. In fact I have finally settled on playing the more Chrome Kids centered sets as Kaptin and the more party stuff that I still love as Kaptin Is Dead (a decision and concept I shall explain in detail some other time). Here’s a couple of shots from the night as well as a brilliant picture my mate Tony Hassett did for us especially. That is apparently me riding the rhino AND he managed to get an owl in there too… legend!

Astroid Boys have been going from strength to strength as usual. Went to see them play with their new drummer the other day and they absolutely smashed it. They’ve also got a new guitarist but he was in Morocco at the time, still I shall see plenty of them over their forthcoming UK tour. They’re supporting Hyro Da Hero on 13 dates across the country, here’s just one of their recent vids (more of a D&B tip this time) with a list of shows. Pop in if you’re near by.

Tuesday, February 7 @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff.
Wednesday, February 8 @ Club Academy, Manchester.
Thursday, February 9 @ King Tut’s Wa Wa Hut, Glasgow.
Friday, February 10 @ Corporation, Sheffield.
Saturday, February 11 @ The Cockpit, Leeds.
Sunday, February 12 @ Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent.
Monday, February 13 @ Academy, Birmingham.
Tuesday, February 14 @ Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes.
Wednesday, February 15 @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham.
Thursday, February 16 @ Waterfront, Norwich.
Friday, February 17 @ Forum, Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Saturday, February 18 @ The Borderline, London.
Sunday, February 19 @ The Thekla, Bristol.

Working for LPG means I’ve been living in London for a lot of the time, although I still spend a fair amount of time back in Cardiff at the moment. I’ve always had a soft spot for London and for years after living there as a kid it felt like going home when I would visit, but the more time I spend there the more in love with it I fall. It has everything I could want from a city except an abundance of sunshine (the only reason San Francisco might just beat it as my favourite, although I’m yet to spend as much time there). Every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, I discover something else amazing. My latest is Rich Mix which is just around the corner from our office. I’ve been getting their email newsletter for a while for some reason but I only just realised that all of the stuff they talk about is happening in one venue. The day of my first visit I discovered that Astroid Boys had played there just the night before (yes I know I should probably be keeping a track of things like that but who can keep up completely with those crazy kids). I ended up there again on Sunday just gone to see Yiddish Twist, whom I wrongly thought were a Klezmer band. They are actually more of a Latin Ska band with bits of Twist inducing Rock N Roll. Vocals are provided by Natty Bo, a great frontman who I’ve seen sing with the Topcats and DJ some fantastic tunes at Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues in Notting Hill Carnival and on New Years Eve (I gave him a brief mention then I believe). Check them out if you get the chance, they have a song about bagels which is particularly fun and induced a visit round the corner to the Brick Lane Beigel Bake shop straight afterwards.

My other favourite trip out in London this month was to a night called Wicked! Wicked! in the Star of Bethnal Green pub. A Thursday night rave up to some old skool Jungle (despite the name they have vowed never to play ‘Incredible’ by General Levy) provided for the most part by Tayo alongside Rompa from Urban Nerds, whom I had just met the day before. The sound system wasn’t amazing and the mixing got a little dodgy nearer the end of the night but the tune selection was top notch and there was a great vibe, especially for a cold Thursday night in January. Plus it boosted my refound love for Old Skool Jungle… not that I ever lost it actually. In fact I’ve just started a new Tumblr which is heavy on the Jungle and Reggae, if anyone fancies sprucing it up then please let me know as I have no idea on such things (as this blog will prove). It’s at http://championsoundldn.tumblr.com

The first post on there is a Jr Blender remix of Gotye‘s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. A song I was blissfully unaware of until I caught a Hip-hop refix from STS. At first I hated the chorus but after a few listens of the Reggae version (mixed to great effect with one of my all time favourite Riddim tracks, Aswad‘s ‘Dub Fire‘ it has firmly sank in. As my good friend Dregz remarked recently, ‘anything can sound good with a Reggae version.’ I think I shall leave it there for now with the 2 I just mentioned. Thanks for listening.

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