Our latest guest mix comes from the west coast of Ireland, and with it comes a really enjoyable accompanying piece of writing discussing the mix and the music selected. The stream/download is at the bottom of the post…enjoy!
For most of the year dancing as we do it is confined to sweaty basements where the scourge of natural sunlight strikes terror into your addled soul. Nothing wrong with that of course but from embryonic disco on Fire Island, Alfredo on the Amnesia terrace or trying to keep your face together in the Berghain garden, summertime has a special place. ’69, ’88 and others have taken on a mythical status while almost every music scene counts down to its own annual rituals and destinations. From “A Whiter Shade of Pale“ to “One Dance”, every generation has their sound of summer.
Music in particular takes on a quality in the fine weather. Records you’ve heard a hundred times can sound almost brand new while others click in ways they previously had not…For DJ’s it’s an opportunity to draw from the more neglected crates to build a different atmosphere. In fact, when the sun arrives, recording a new mix is usually the first thing most of us think of.
Commercially it is the most lucrative time of year and for many people, ‘Ibiza anthems’ style compilations were an early gateway drug where kids could get hold of two dozen massive chooons for a fraction of the price. While ambient producers and the likes of Café Del Mar had been putting their name on compilations since the mid nineties, Summer mixes in their own right only started to get codified during the late nineties ‘chill out’ boom before the whole thing ballooned into increasingly tired CDs, festivals and so on.
For this mix there was no particular plan other than it is made for the outdoors. Given the complete saturation of distraction we all contend with I usually don’t see the point in DJ’s putting stuff online that doesn’t say whatever it needs to in 45 minutes but this selection is intended to drift in and out of the background so everyone can have their own moment. Many records are given full breathing space and there is a preference for gentle blends over the frantic cutting you might expect on a more club orientated soundtrack but I hope the common thread is clear.
Records included are ones that caught my ear during many days spent on the edge of Galway bay and more than anything, that glorious view is the primary influence here. For that reason, one feature running throughout is the use soaring lead melodies in the shape organs, flutes and so on which sort of lift and drift off into the distance. There are some tasty basslines but this was mixed with bluetooth speakers in mind. Recorded in one take at the Bierhaus in Galway during the hottest day of the year.
The Bamboos – Voodoo Doll
Gil Scott-Heron – Three Miles Down
N’gaho Ta’quia – Going Down
Eddie Hooper – Tomorrow’s Sun
Bobbi Humphrey – Chicago Damn
Shina Williams – Agboju Logun
Barabra Moore – Hot Heels
Martin L. Dumas – Attitude, Believe And Determination
Kicking things off with a B-side cut put out on one of Kenny Dope’s imprints from about ten ago; The Bamboos, Australians specialising in that relentlessly recycled funk sound. All about the organ on this one. Next, straight into Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson with a proletarian paean to health and safety. This LP is strong and worth buying for the cover alone. The flute, gospel and that gloopy almost moogish bassline weaving its way through background made it a staple of my sets this past while. Next up is N’gaho Ta’quia, who might be better known as Sauce81 on Eglo Records and whose album ‘In the pocket’ caught a bit of love last year. He’s behind a number of accomplished records along that tightrope of styles that Eglo, Jazzy Sport and fellow travellers walk so well. I struggled to pick out one track for this mix but the chirps won me over in the end. Great synth work, as is a characteristic of his tracks.
Next to Guyana and Eddie Hooper’s mighty ‘Tomorrow’s Sun’. A big record for Mancuso. The vocals are a slightly off key and the strings reminiscent of Detroit but the real star of show for me is that Roland C78 drum machine loyally ticking away which provides nice respite from its more ubiquitous grandchildren. Bobbi Humphrey was one of the first women to appear on Blue Note in her own right and ‘Blacks and Blues’ is one of my all time favourite LPs. Produced by the Mizell Brothers, Humphrey claims to have improvised every track and every track is wonderful. ‘Chicago Damn’ here is, I presume, playing on Nina Simone’s ‘Mississippi Goddam’ and reference to riots in wake of MLK’s assassination a few years earlier. The jazz flute sound on here is something I always associate with New York city and the cliché of Bronx kids running under busted fire hydrants but coupled with the organ it just soars away to far more exotic climes. Magical stuff.
Next to Logos and Shina Williams. ‘Agboju Logun’ translates as ‘Don’t Rely On Family Wealth’ and is such a fantastic club record. You are missing out if you haven’t heard that low end on a decent rig. An endless groove that thankfully has seen a few reissues and compilations appearances over the years. The horns are straight out of Studio One. Barbara Moore’s ‘Hot Heels’ sounds like an early seventies travel TV show theme and was reissued on Jazzman a while back. Next another big reissue from last year and one of the most life affirming slabs of pure ideology you are ever likely to dance to. Martin L. Dumas’ Attitude, Belief & Determination is essentially what would happen if you asked a bunch of The Apprentice contestants to write disco lyrics. All material obstacles are overcome by hard work and positive thinking. You could sort of imagine a room of billionaire CEOs awkwardly bopping around to this after their mindfulness session at Davos. I first came across this tune on Discogs when someone in the south east of Ireland was mysteriously selling a bunch of heinously expensive original disco presses. Fortunately it got a re-release proving dreams really can come true if you believe hard enough.
52nd Street – I cant let you go
Pieces of a dream – Warm weather
Leo’s Sunshipp – madam Butterfly
Human Cargo – Cary Us Beyond
Needs – Forever You
Domingo Cura – Canta tu cancion
Anthony Hobson – Savanagh Gold
Wally Lindo – Midnight
I have deep affection for jazz funk and so should you. 52nd Street itself was the core of the big apple but in this case was the adopted name of a Manchester band who churned out a string of quality tunes throughout the 80s. Initially signed to Factory they later moved on to 10 Records and included the recently departed Diane Charlemagne on vocals. The dub version of ‘I cant let you go’ combines the best of a number of strains that existed around that mid eighties period and could well a have been a Levan remix.. Which leads us to Warm Weather by Pieces of a Dream, a garage classic in its own right. An obvious candidate for a summer mix (at least I didn’t include Roy Ayers) but a sublime tune from a sublime album. The theremin work on other tracks from Leo Sunshipp 1978 LP suited this mix better but the blend dictated the philly groove of ‘madame butterfly‘ made the final cut.
Human Cargo?—?Carry Us Beyond, proof that Discogs remains the last corner of the internet with a decent comment section.
Believed to be played by Aswad, this tune was released on New Age Movements 12″ in 1980. Shaka had been playing it exclusively on dubplate for a year or so before it was released, and it’s said he first played his dubplate cuts when he travelled to North London to play Fatman and mashed up the dance with this tune.
An an absolute juggernaut of a stepper. Interlocking hooks, perfect effects and not one element out of place. A real high point in British dub that pounds along at 120bpm leaving room to attempt blends with house, which I have done here with Need’s ‘Forever You’. The chords and bass combo here always struck me as a Balearic cousin of Planetary Assault Systems – ‘Booster’. A short interlude of waves here, yes, waves, recorded one day as the Atlantic rolled in on Galway bay before we move to Argentina and a bit of bossa from Domingo Cura. Flute, rhodes organ and big double bass. Plucked from his 1972 eponymous LP which is a real treasure.
Next is a track that I’ve been playing for about three years and each night without fail have someone run to the booth for an ID. ‘Savannah Gold’ is the best track off a 1983 LP called ‘Millennium’ by Anthony Hobson. I don’t know much about them other much of the brothers’ work suggests they ware making corporate/soundtrack jingles in an expensive studio. Most of the tracks on this LP are in similar vein to G.A.N.G ‘Incantations’ or Paul Hardcastle without ageing nearly as well. This on the other hand is totally special and the foundation tune of this mix.
Andres Fox – Water
Letta Mbulu – Down By The River
Larry Heard – Precious Tear
Craig Cooper – Sweet Water
A Vision Of Panorama – Reef
Virna Lindt- Underwater Boy
This segues nicely into a dub version of Barry White’s ‘Midnight And You’. Willie Lindo, after his time with The Aggrovators, brings dub sensibility to a Love Unlimited classic. Next Andras Fox does a blissed out turn before Down By The River. I first came across Letta Mbulu on one of Sean Pennycook’s compilations and have included ‘normalizo’ in every other set since. People love it. She has gained greater stature recently on the first Beach Digging compilation and later LP reissue on Be With last year. Not every tune from Fingers ‘sceneries’ LP have aged well but I wanted to include something. Precious Tears sneaks in here by dint of tempo and that glassy underwater synth. Craig Cooper wraps a number of previous sounds on this mix into an unmistakably LA package. One of those tune people should post a ten hour loop on youtube. Next to Russia where A Vision of Panorama have been knocking out some supremely accomplished productions. Any number of VOP tunes could have ended up here but I stand by the achievement of anyone who makes digital pan pipes so good. Next Virna Lindt who sounds a lot like Roisin Murphy on this woozy record that sounds like Claudja Barry’s Love for the sake of love on holiday
Black Rascals – So In Love
Second Crucade – Choice Is Yours
Donnie – Cloud Nine (Quintin Harris mix)
To close things out we go back to Zanzibar. Garage is unrivalled in the sunshine and I wanted to include much more but two hours was long enough. To start, Blaze get busy on the M1 organ before the full version of So in Love melts in. Timeless. Sexcapade is a Cajmere joint that sounds like it should be going for inflated money on some trendy Nu Groove reissue but that laser-guided bassline for now remains a bargin in that deep well of second generation-Chicago gems. The Choice Is Yours is dustier than Theo Parrish’s floorboards and a classic Paul Hunter record. In terms of sampling its as peerless a house record ever to come out of Glasgow. This came out on one of Todd Terry’s labels about twenty years ago and hasn’t aged a day. Lastly, the remix that launched Quentin Harris’ career. I heard this one Sunday in Panorama Bar and the ten minutes pressed on wax is scarcely enough. One of the great New York records.