Gosh. It's a long time since I've typed a 1990s date in the blog heading.
You wouldn't think hilltops could be that muddy but in Lancashire anything is possible. Shamania, August 2008 was a three day festival of psychedelic trance and techno held near Pendle Hill. Although in a different place than Shamania 2006 we continued with the "camping on bare hilltops" theme, unfortunately the weather broke just beforehand after a fortnight of sun. A good time was enjoyed by all but as you see in the panorama shot we were the first high ground the weather encountered coming off the Irish Sea !
One of the first electronic albums I bought was The Black Dog "Bytes" back in about nineteen ninety mumble. Hear how The Black Dog evolve their sound a level beyond Plaid and take it deeper into techno territory for the 21st century. All terrific but especially recommended is "Live at BLOC Weekender".
Don't forget to support musicians like The Black Dog and O.O.O.D by buying their albums as well as downloading the sets they generously upload !
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Back from Shamania, we listen first to Fluffy Spangled Sunrise mix from www.oood.net/mixes. Steve OOOD lulls you into a smooth but energetic set of trance lines and banging beats, before subtly - before you know it - letting you down into deep breakdowns and lengthy progressive or ambient breaks. Just when you think the set is done it picks you back up into the psychedelic groove with acid riffs and a progressive beat before finally landing you gently on the ground, after an hour and a quarter of journeying.
Future Progressive - continues the same vein with more acid buildups and breakdowns in a progressive vibe. Always keeping moving, the 4/4 beats twine and build around the synthesizer channels and samples before annihilating the rhythm with some acid trance classics and a final bounce of classic techno bass lines.
May Manoeuvres - Electro/Progressive. Although it's "prog" there is always plenty going on in this festival of electro psychedelia. Mixing subtly between house and trance beats the bass ranges are laden with hooks and tweaks, which suddenly move to the foreground and bring your mind with them whilst the melodic electro sounds take second place for a few bars. Under-stated acid noises form patterns and counterpoints, and then breakdown to form a hole in psychospace with more twisting sounds inside it.
Electronington is not in any way minimal despite the roots in techno bleeps and beats. Solidly rooted beat lines strum out the measure as acid riffs both mid and bass trill and twirl among them. Lines of samples come and go counterpointed by a bass and double-bass synth clef, ever returning smoothly to a driving progressive groove. Great set for chilling along in the evening or turn up the bass a bit and dance, the type of journey set that is all too rare nowadays !
Shamanic Dreams - Chill Mix
Memories of long happy nights at the Boxing Club in Reading :-) These pics must have been taken some time in 2002, give or take a year ! Sorry about the grainiess of some of the pics, I was experimenting with high speed film (result of the experiment was a decision not to use it again). Your DJs are Dark Angel and, err I forget ...
We came late to the stunning voice of Amy Winehouse, who has been around for several years. But we bought Amy's first album Frank as a Christmas present for ourselves late last year, and loved her sound the moment we first heard it. So when we saw the second album Back to Black was in the chart section of our local supermarket we seized on it with glad cries and carried it home to listen to.
Back to Black is an excellently bouncy album whose fun and rhythm just lifts you along. In the week we have owned it it scores an amazing Amarok rating: 5.0 Favourite, 5 listens. And I might have continued thinking of Back to Black as a dryly ironic window by an adult 24-year old woman into a theoretical life, were it not for the extraordinary actions of Amy's father concerning this album.
Yes, as Britain begins the 21st Century, a gentleman apparently attempted Victorian style censorship on this music by means of crude pseudo-moralistic economic pressure. As far as I am concerned Amy writes with humour and realism about what may have been, but probably wasn't, a life threatening episode in her life with drug use. As an adult Amy is surely qualified to decide for herself. Regular readers will know that I believe history shows that attempts to ban any substance will always cause more harm than would regulation and regulated availability of that same substance. And as for censoring the freedom to discuss such bans, words fail me.
I myself was told some years ago that I should "responsibly" censor my thoughts and writings so as not to offend the sensibilities of those who hadn't thought so deeply about the facts of Prohibition. This further apparent attempt to censor and ban both Amy's thoughts and feelings and my own, via calls for a boycott of this album, made me so angry that I went out and bought a second copy of Back to Black — and gave it to a DJ friend with instructions he play it during his sets :-) He seemed very pleased !
It would be presumptuous of me to call that Back to Black should be adopted as the protest album of the 21st Century, a call in favour of social reform and against the failed 20th-century authoritarian policies of the Bush/Blair Politics of Compulsion. But I'm going to ask you all to do something for me. When you go and buy Back to Black for yourself, buy two copies - and give one away to the first person you meet on the street.
Play it loud, sistah.
Acidfairy - 666.mp3 - Fast kicking bassline with Prisoner stabs. Tune should be twice as long, it's great.
Acidfairy - Acid Angel.mp3 - Slower more measured but insistent bassline. Nice build-up into a bouncy and fun 303 main theme.
Acidfairy - Acid Illusion.mp3 - Soft yet moving bass under swirling acid themes, multiple layers of hooks and complex changing kicks take you down the rabbit hole. Recommended.
Acidfairy - Acidraaaaar.mp3 - Acid plings segue into hoover stabs and an accelerating techno bass, building under rising 303 based dischords. Keeps you on your feet and your mind on its toes.
Acidfairy - Chanter.mp3 - Rock your body and set your feet tapping with an acid ceilidh :)
Acidfairy - Distortion Pipe.mp3 - A piping hot medley of sounds for discerning dancers.
Acidfairy - Foreplay.mp3 - Just the thing to get you in the mood ;-)
Acidfairy - God loves the 303.mp3 - Well doesn't everyone ? 303s a-plenty in this short but lovely little piece of nostalgia.
Acidfairy - Intergalactic Bootleg.mp3 - quickly gets down wierd and dirty, bootleg techno stylee. Knock 'em up some more, sistah.
Acidfairy - Kicksome.mp3 - piratical screaming acid pipe ceilidh with leftfield Moby/Massive Attack influences. One for the dancefloor. Nuff said.
Acidfairy - Kicksome remix.mp3 - Kicksome kicks the pipes in !!
Acidfairy - On the 7th Day.mp3 - Bein a good Glasgow girl you have to have a religious song, innit. Recommended.
Acidfairy - Play it.mp3 - Rockin da massive, acid folk dub stylee.
Acidfairy - Sistah.mp3 - Kickin' up your skirts with Acidfairy.
Acidfairy - Somewhere around Barstow.mp3 - Nuff said. Top tune. More please !
Acidfairy - Special K.mp3 - not one for the Kiddies, but just go for it ...
Unfortunately I seem to have blown my ISP's bandwidth limits two months running with that burst of downloading. Whilst I wait for the end of the month I'm going to mention some of these recent downloads we've been listening to here at the Warren.
There are a load of Rama sets on Psytunes of varying style and I can recommend them all. Next up, Psysoup is a nice piece of daytime psychedelic trance on a sunny Saturday, with wide swirling riffs around a firm underlying beat building up to a crashing finale. Amarok rating: 4.0 Excellent
Third on the electronic wheels of steel is Planet Rama, a lilting journey around the oceans of Ram's home world with mists of African and Indian chords drifting over the sea. Amarok rating: another 5.0 Favourite, 2 listens
All Over The Shop dives sideways into the James Bond dub, rap, swing and underground Latin room of Rama's style. Well you get the idea it is indeed all over the shop. Got to be worth a listen just for the Bagpuss sample ... Amarok rating: 4.5 Amazing, 2 listens
You can see why I'm so excited about the quality of music available for download on the net today. Needless to say new ISPs are being considered. I'd be interested to hear what Be are like as they have unbundled our exchange so should give a good speed and they are supposed to have very good transfer allowances. Mail me at the address near the top right of this page.
To Shefstock this weekend, for a day and a night of festivity and music. First time we've been there, but it has always looked really good in the pictures. Unfortunately we didn't plan well enough for the weather since I didn't take enough dry clothes ! But it was a great little festie anyway and I'm glad we went despite the damp. When it said "50% chance of rain", this proved to mean 50% chance that there would be 100% rain. We lost the toss but won the match with the weather as everyone seemed to be smiling and in good spirits.
We got soaked just putting the tent up and thereafter never really dried out much beyond the "muddy wreck" stage. Fortunately the place we camped was ideally located for the shape of the valley to get 3 or 4 of the major rigs in harmonious balance. For most of the night we had the pounding fast acid beats of the Preston Mad Hatters pointing down the valley from the top entrance; then a trancier rig with some deep progressive sounds - I think the Camouflage Disco - plus a world/folk/jazz stage and a dub/reggae one all mixing in - without even getting out from under our quilt. We thought the fireworks which punctuated the rain throughout the night were a particularly positive and optimistic note !
So I'm afraid we proved to be lightweight festy goers but we had a great time anyway, drinking wine and eating brioche in bed, with four or more distinct rigs somehow swirling and merging around us as if the DJs were all jamming with each other. Basically our own personal chillathon 2007 :-)
Thanks to all the relaxed friendly people involved for a great weekend and we'll see you next year !Pictures Shefstock 2007 Baraka Chillathon 2005
I just downloaded a brilliantly funky set from a DJ called Doyley who played recently for Audiophile in Nottingham. If you insist on a name for it, I'd call it deeply twisted prog electro housey stuff. I think he hails from an outfit called Zerozero in Cardiff. You lucky, lucky sods down there, having talent like this around :-) I can see I'm gonna have to brave the students and get along to Audiophile one of these months.
And whilst I've got this editor open, here's another funky electro prog house set . I've had this one lying around my hard drive for a couple of years, but never listened to it before. It's a single-label promo mix of tunes from Hadshot by DJ Clown, not as dirty as Doyley's stuff (I mean it's even got psy-style house in it at one point, and ethereal hard house verging on trance!) Not to mention a couple of great remixes of familiar tunes (shame i haven't a clue what they're called, eh). Nevertheless rather good. Both of them are just the thing for a sunny Saturday afternoon relaxing with a glass of vino ... enjoy.
Just want to give a biiig pointer to the new Manmademan album Free To Listen. By coincidence I was sorting my old email folders this past week. Did we really go and see Manmademan at Brixton Academy in July 2001 ? Doesn't time fly. I wrote that it was a really great night – well it must have been because I don't remember very much ;-)
Anyway get yourself over to their website and download a copy of Free To Listen. Just select the album or track(s) and then use the "download" button on the right (the paypal option is there in case your browser doesn't run the plugin). Also available for free download are Manmademan's older albums Cell Division and Lovetechnology, which by some coincidence I already have on vinyl. However thanks to www.manmademan.com we now have a CD version too that can play on the hi-fi.
Free To Listen is an innovative album not only in its distribution format but in the sheer variety of ways acid noises are tortured into Manmademan's exquisite sound. Available in a smooth mp3 mix session or DJ friendly individual tunes, I guarantee you'll be hearing these beats on the dance floor and in the chillout. Get yerself sum now !
I've just discovered Psytunes which offers free mix hosting for psychedelic DJs, and there is some great music on there. We've been listening yesterday and today to some of Steve OOOD's mixes on there (Steve, Ryo and Rama of the Collective are all there). Just going to download one of Rama's for offline listening. I'm blown away by the quality of the music available. Do go and get a slice of that OOOD action :-)
I've got to get them to lose the autoplaying music on their Myspace home page though. Not that it's not good, but I tend to go there when I'm already listening to some OOOD mixes and the Myspace track just blasts over the top :-(
I wish I had been there. Credit to Digital Frog - browse his wonderful photos (NSFW).
We were sorry to miss you play, Barclay and SNAFU and all our friends. We realised on the Saturday morning that it was Psycle.
We'd had a really busy week. Had thought of doing Pure Filet(TAWTBILI), Nottingham's self-proclaimed “Filthiest Techno night” last week on Saturday (3rd), but decided we really needed to take the stairs to pieces to mend them. So Sat 3rd was spent hacking off plasterboard, which was in turn covering cracked but tough and thick Edwardian (1901-10) lath and plaster, off the back of the upper half flight, to reveal the full horror of previous owners' bodgery on the staircase (separate report to come.) Dust masks were much in evidence of course.
Naturally the 4th was spent shouting at the kids to take it slowly on the staircase, clearing up a washing basket full of sharp laths and two rubble sacks rull of misc plaster and plasterboard, wuth some more shouting at kids to take it slowly on the stairs and a bit of vacuuming. Only then was it ready for screwing on support bits, where the treads were cut far too short to reach from side to side of the stairs, and for banging back in all those staircase wedges which still had some wood to support, before cleaning up and showering for dinner time. Phew !
And all week since then it's not let up really. Work is always busy but it is looking as if we may be getting somewhere at last. More on that if and when it comes clearer. If you can have such a things as a “social life online” then I've been struggling to have one and put some effort back into newsgroups in return for all I've read and adsorbed over the years. And I owe loads of people emails including JohnM and his publisher not forgetting catching up on family news. So we had a busy Saturday too and got various other bits of d-i-y done. Come 10pm yesterday (Sat 10th) and time to think of getting ready for Psycle we were just too tired.
So we hope you all had as good a time as we did at home. Cos we had a really nice weekend ! Tune of the night for me at least was probably Duran Duran "Rio Rio" which we listened to on some TV charts show with entertaining videos, a nice followon to our opening the weekend with hours of swing, soul, rock and pop randomness from Niquid and gal via Internet radio from Psystream.net on Friday night :-)
Colin from O.O.O.D's latest DJ set, which was podcast on Chaishop recently, starts off with a funny little sample of somebody rambling on about a telepathic race called "the Ood". It's a great set, full of unreleased killaaah mixes of the sort OOOD do so well. Go have a listen if you like trouser-shivering acid trance.
Anyway, I seemed to recognise the voices in the sample, and having chatted to the esteemed Colin O.O.O.D. a few times at The Awakening (website now offline), I assumed he sampled himself or someone else I knew, speaking whimsically about their band's own name.
But no ! Due to the <sarcasm> high quality and innovative programming </sarcasm> we get on our 30+ digital telly channels these days we were reduced to watching repeats of Doctor Who one evening last week. Though for me it wasn't a complete reduction, as I missed all but one of the so-called “second series” (actually something like the 28th season, and I saw almost every episode of seasons 1 to 23 as they were first broadcast). I think Billie Piper is a great Doctor's Companion and I will be sorry to see her go. Her character is well up with the best-written of the short-skirted low-cut lassies from the 1970s and she's a good actress to boot. The Doctor has had intelligent and capable companions before, but I think only Stone Age apparelled companion Leela was given as independent a personality as Rose Tyler. But the big question is, has Rose actually done a proper full-on Doctor's Companion stylee scream yet ?
I was pleasantly suprised to find, after my 20 year gap in watching the programme, that I really enjoyed Christopher Eccleston's single season as the ninth Doctor. A Doctor who (sorry...) was believable for adults and kids alike. I'm starting to accept David Tennant as the Doctor now, provided I don't have to watch him for too long. Even with a good character it always takes me a couple of stories to get "into" a new Doctor. After the first Doctor's regeneration, the seven-year-old me thought Patrick Troughton and his penny-whistle were far scarier than the monsters he vanquished. In his first serial the second Doctor definitely had me hiding behind the sofa !
Now the character written for the tenth Doctor, apparently drawn from a composite of Ant+Dec and Richard Hammond, just irritates the hell out of me. Great entertainers of course, all of them, and I love the Hamm-ster on Top Gear as he regularly punctures Clarkson's inflated self-importance. But all characters lacking in the gravitas and other-worldliness which should deepen our renegade Time Lord's quirky irreverence. I mean, the Doctor getting slushy ? Never happened even with his old Time Lord flame Romana. That's just a cheap fallback by directors and scriptwriters who lack the imagination to show an alien character, genuinely adapting to the human emotions he's been exposed to for so long (see authors such as Ursula Leguin, C.J.Cherryh, etc.)
Russell Davies please note, suspension of disbelief will stop when you break the spell. If you're going to take characters in a new direction, it does actually matter that it's compatible with their previous behaviour. We don't need no steenking Personality Transplant Fairy, let alone alien abductions.
But I digress ...
The episode we watched, or at least watched part of until Tennant's antics irritated me once more, was The Impossible Planet [plot spoilers] from last summer. You could have knocked me down with a sonic screwdriver when the bloke in the mining base, the Doctor and Rose started quoting that deadpan sample about the odd Ood. For a minute I thought the script writer was into psy-trance too. I'm always cheered up whenever I spot the origin of a sample I know well. Apart from increasing your enjoyment of the tune by sharing the composer's sense of humour, you can bore people for ages afterwards telling them where it comes from and then rambling on about Doctor Who ;-)
Who was the Mystery Guest ? We think it was someone from Tribe of Frog, we loved the familiar Froggy tunes :) We danced for an hour and three quarters continuously thanks to all those wonderful swirling acid lines. And no folk barging through the dancing pack to get across the dancefloor. Who were the crew in Post Office dayglo vests ? We couldn't get away from the floor until the Frogz finished, only then could we tear ourselves downstairs to hear the second half of Barclay's excellent chillout set. It was a really good night for exorcising the frustrations of the last few months. I have never tripped the light fantastic so much to Rest Proof Clockwork in my life. The final DJ downstairs was another deck wizard, with tunes like "1200 Micrograms" to get us on our feet (in the chillout nochmal). Didn't chuck us out until 2.30 and we eventually got home at about 3am. One of the best Psycles ever I think !
A peacable weekend at Shamania enjoying top psychedelic trance somewhere near Skipton, despite being camped on a pimple-shaped shade-free hilltop with little breeze on the hottest weekend of the year !
20th-21st August, 2005. A weekend of real ale, psytrance and chilling with our friends from Baraka at a very relaxed country pub, somewhere in deepest Oxfordshire:
More Chillathon 2005 pics
I like acid techno. I seem to be the only person who still does. I still think the Liberators and Rowland The Bastard and Choci are gods. I don't care if I'm the only person in my musical acid heaven, I don't think it's out of fashion.
Now playing: V.C.F.- Modernistic Acid Trance: Part Three , Choci's Chewns / J Liberator
By Nick Leverton
Photos by Ian Manson
Article copyright © 2000 O-Reading
INNA?STATE is one of those wonderful nights where there's usually someone on the dance-floor right from the beginning, expressing the music and enjoying themselves. In fact, it's usually me.
The whole crowd, both the many regulars and those who visit on the strength of its name and musical reputation, are always brightly dressed, happy, smiling and welcoming. I've always liked it because you feel involved there from the moment you walk in, and it's clear that although everyone knows each other, they also want to know you and to make you part of the Inna?State family, both young and young-at-heart.
With all the weather and transport problems, plus the fact that the Boxing Club has just lost its 6am licence and the promoters have had to put the end-time back to 2am, tonight could have been a bit of a flop. The event has had to be drastically cut back, losing two of the visiting DJs (Mick Chaos from Chaos Unlimited records, and JP from Horaizon).
To reduce costs, the chillout marquee has also had to go, with the chillout being moved into the back of the main hall, as it used to be for Float a couple of years ago. But Out of Our Depth (O.O.O.D) are still visiting for a live set and the 100 or so dedicated party-goers who have come along are determined to 'ave it large come what may,
Reading's only regular psychedelic trance night has been running for over two years now, and back in August the team successfully moved venues from the After Dark Club to the Boxing Club for their first venture into an all-night trance party. It seems a pity they have been curtailed so soon.
DJ Amanita Muscaria, one-time stalwart of Lost The Plot and now a regular at Inna?State, opens with a selection of eclection to entertain and tickle the auditory taste buds. I mean, how often do you hear George Formby played out these days ? But he manages to drop a snippet in, behind and in the middle of some large, swirling psychedelic number so that you wonder what you are really hearing.
Next fluoro warrior DJ Dark Angel, prime mover of the Inna?State crew, gives us a trawl through his ever changing record box, a set that works at one and the same time for the psychedelic voyagers, the tune spotters and the energetic dancers. Being a bit of all three, I appreciated it anyway.
But you don't have to be deeply into esoteric psy-trance to appreciate Barclay's sets. They are as musical and danceable as you will ever find anywhere in any genre. Finally O.O.O.D., visiting from their Oxford base, dance and jig as they play a stunning live set of innovative trance tunes, involving the audience and dancers and bringing the night to a close with style and energy.
But Inna?State isn't only about the music. Dooza Lighting from High Wycombe provide one of the best light shows I've ever seen at the Boxing Club (get yerself over to Wycombe to Dooza's monthly night "Magic" if you want to experience it yourself.) Fluoro hangings and decor turn the Boxing Club into a red, yellow, green and blue ultraviolet wonderland.
Where will Inna?State go next, now that Reading has no licensed venue for an all night event? I don't know, but I'm going to keep my ear to the ground, because I want to be there whenever and wherever it goes. In the meantime, if you see a copy of the petition which was launched last Friday, or if you can write to the council to express the need for 6am dance licensing in Reading, please do your bit - all the regular local nights need as much support as you can give on this one.
I can see big insects - help!
It's been a while since I've been Inna?State, in fact well over a year now, but the thought of them moving to the Boxing Club is an interesting proposal. I don't think it was ever really suitable for the After Dark - yeah an enjoyable time for all, but the back bar just doesn't work as a chill-out area.
So, with "likkle" email reminders from Inna?State master Dark Angel including promises of UVs, massage area and a tea room (YES!), I headed off through the hell that is Reading on a Friday night - pissed up anti-social lager louts - to see if they could achieve it all.
Last week's Frontier Spirit set a new standard for all nights in Reading, but even yours truly is surprised that Inna?State have managed to pull off something pretty damn good. The chill out area (the usual Ooops! tent) has been decored to the hilt, full of vibrant colours and giant insects, brought to life under the UV tubes - they even put down carpet!
The tent is nearly rammed by the time I turn up. The numbers there don't bode well for inside of the Boxing Club itself, but, no, there's an adequate smattering of bodies dancing their proverbial nuts off to live sounds and (computer generated) projections of Lunatik Fringe and the gloriously monickered Aminita Muscaria who got the revellers revelling by playing the Carpenters classic 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. As the night progressed, the beats got harder and faster (moving into an almost Techno direction rather than Trance) and as the floor began to fill up, my foot started twitching, but since I have two left feet I couldn't do a thing about it!
Wandering around, there were enough happy, blissed up faces - no beer boys or worse still cattle market fever, that seem to ruin certain nights in town - all intent on getting down to the beats, rather than attempting dodgy chat up lines etc.
Unfortunately, due to my, somewhat, hectic schedule over the next week or so, I bow out early (yeah, I know - lightweight!), but I know that the next Inna?State is going to be high on my list of club priorities, maybe next time even I might shake a leg. Damn! I even forgot to get a cup of tea - next time.
For some reason, there seem to be a lot of pictures of mud. It was my first and probably (now) only Glastonbury, and I had a great time. I wish I'd taken more pics of the non-mud features of the festival too ... mind you most other people's pics look the same !