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Review: Altered State – The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House – by Matthew Collin

altered state

I’ve already read a Matthew Collin book – This is Serbia Calling – so I was chuffed when I stumbled upon this work, a history of UK dance music culture. As a DJ and Promoter for 24 years I’m quite aware of a lot of the history of dance music in the UK. This book, however, filled in many of the gaps, and was a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening read. The well known story of how acid house culture came to the UK via Ibiza’s Summer of Love where Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and Trevor Fung experienced the delight’s of Alfredo weaving magic on the White Isle and brought back their ideas to the London clubscene, is a familiar tale, often recited religiously in club culture publications like Mixmag. The author gives a comprehensive account of the beginnings and it was great to hear the true story and what bliss these guys must have experienced. Shoom, Spectrum and the Milk Bar launched successfully and the early adopters were soon welcoming new ‘Acid Teds’ and a hippy revival based on lush house electronica began to hit the mainstream. The book looks at London and Manchester in detail as well as exploring some of the less likelier destinations of UK club culture like Blackburn and later the countryside free party and rave movement. The study of the fracture of dance music into its various sub-genres and the movement of people that followed each branch provides much analysis and we see Warehouse parties, techno anarchists, drum and bass division and later the emergence of new genres like speed garage, grime and dubstep. The book focuses a lot on the role of narcotics in this new ascendant youth culture. The critical importance of ecstasy (MDMA) to the whole movement which eventually led to a massive increase and normalisation of drug culture across the country, with polydrug use becoming popular and clubbers and ravers exploring acid (LSD), cocaine, heroin, ketamine, amphetamines and the various different types of cannabis. It’s amazing how much anti dance music propaganda was spread by the media. Governments were scared and there was a great deal of legislation set up to counter the whole movement. Enlightened masses were a danger to the establishment and the whole culture was seen as an alternative political situation. The long-running battles between promoters, DJs and the UK Police was interesting and it was…

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Review: Mister Good Times by Norman Jay MBE

mister good times

I was lucky enough to be a warm up DJ for Norman Jay back in the 1990s in The Cross Nightclub, London and I think I was billed on a couple of other events with him. He was a great DJ, I remember him once, in Ministry of Sound, having a full glass of drink topple on the bar decks where he was spinning from the above balcony and Norman, lightning quick just kept the music rolling and not even a skip of the needle. The book is divided up into several unique sections. The first part covers Norman’s Good Times sound system at Notting Hill Carnival which is for what he has been most famous. The whole logistics of such an event is well detailed enough for the professional DJ to thoroughly enjoy and learn from and to any reader the whole politics and excitement and logistics of such a fun event must be enlightening. The book covers Norman’s childhood, whereby he was brought up in Ladbroke Grove, West London to Windrush Caribbean immigrant parents, both of whom seemed very hardworking and supportive and keen to give their family the best start to life. The book discusses a lot about how being a black DJ was defined during the early years of the deck revolution. For me, a highlight was Norman’s journey to New York, where he learnt the best of what would be culturally exported from the USA to British streets. Norman Jay’s love for Tottenham Hotspur football club is covered in detail and during the excitement of terraces and the emergence of the hooligan years it is great reading of times past and the fun and frolics of being a serious football fan. For me, as a Liverpool fan it was truly disturbing to read about racism at Anfield back in the 1970s. Growing up in the John Barnes era of Liverpool, for me I always felt that we were a progressive club when it came to racism which is still a fight in the beautiful game to this very day. I really wanted for the book to keep running once it hit the years of house music. The warehouse parties with Judge Jules thrown across London were particularly interesting, the funniest moment in the tale, when the Met Police tried robbing all the takings from the promoters and Judge Jules and Norman hid under raincoats, pretending…

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Tribute To The Loft

tribute to the loft

Wez G – Tribute To The Loft by Wez G on Mixcloud The Loft was the location for the first underground dance party (called “Love Saves The Day”) organised by David Mancuso on feb 14th 1970 in New York City. It’s a legendary club where the roots of dance music took hold. This rare Wez G tribute DJ mix explores the Loft’s music and delivers disco beats interspersed with dub, reggae and early house. :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Chuck Mangione – Land Of Make Believe [Mercury] 2. Eddy Grant – Living On The Front Line [Epic] 3. The Trammps – That’s Where The Happy People Go [Atlantic] 4. 280 West – Love’s Masquerade (12” Edit) [Kaleidiascope Records] 5. Luna Project – I Wanna Be Free (The Higher Mix) [Black Label] 6. Man Friday – Love Honey Love Heartache [Vinylmania] 7. Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa [Fiesta Records] 8. MFSB – Love Is The Message [Philadelphia International Records] 9. O’Jays – Love Train [CBS] 10. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Chapter Three [Crazy Joe Records] 11. Johnny Hammond – Los Conquistadores Chocolates [Milestone Records] 12. Atmosfear – Dancing In Outer Space [Elite] 13. Stevie Wonder – All I Do (Is Think About You) [Motown] 14. Blackbirds – Walking In Rhythm [Master Dance Classics] 15. James Brown – Give It Up, or Turn It Loose [S12] 16. Whispers – And The Beat Goes On [Solar] 17. Ten City – Devotion (Bam Bam’s House Mix) [Atlantic] 18. The Winners – Get Ready For The Future [Ariola] 19. Risco Connections – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now (Version) [Black Rose Music] 20. Lamont Dozier – Going Back To My Roots [Warner Bros. Records] 21. Idris Muhammad – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This [Kudu]

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Reelhouse Records

reelhouse

I’ve been in discussions the past 48 hours with CN Williams, head of Swansea-based electronic music label, Reelhouse Records. Clifford has kindly agreed to sign several forthcoming Wez G releases… I had a busy week last week, with several tracks having the finishing touches applied to them in the mastering studio. It is pleasing to be able to announce that the debut EP of my Megman vs Wez G project is all ready to go. Boom Beat Zoo EP will demonstrate the exciting fusion of live guitars with electronica. Megman Merrett, a talented Caldicot musician with much experience, has been hammering out hits in the studio with me for a couple of years now… Boom Beat Zoo EP, so called because of the animal association with most of its tracks, is an exciting debut EP, which will hopefully start to generate us a fanbase and assist us in funding further Megman vs Wez G EPs and hopefully a studio album…. The aim is, that once we have finally discovered our true sound, that we take this unique project to live audiences. Boom Beat Zoo offers a glimpse of the sound we are establishing. It covers a wide variety of genres, appealing to electronic aficionados as well as those who prefer acoustic music. Some of it is Cafe Del Mar-esque chillout, others more dancefloor friendly bangers and the epic Kicking Squirrels reminds me, as the producer, very much of the sound of legendary Rock n Roll band, the Doors. I’ve been hard at Ableton to give the project its necessary instrumental oomph and it’s been a steep learning curve… We have about 40-50 unfinished jams ready to progress and we are hoping that the public get behind the release and spend a few pennies on helping to finance the continuation of Megman vs Wez G. Reelhouse Records have taken the plunge and signed the debut EP and we look forward to striking up a successful business relationship with perhaps Wales’ finest independent dance music label. When you look through the Reelhouse back catalogue it is a bit daunting to see such luminary figures releasing tunes there, as Byron Stingly and Lenny Fontana, to name but a few… We hope that our sounds are fully appreciated by the Reelhouse market.   The second new track to be released on Reelhouse Records is a Wez G original: Shine Melody is a funky touch-edged disco…

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Dolphin Deep (Chillout)

Time for another mix in the Wez G chillout series. It’s a beaming hot summer and it’s always nice to get some fresh, sunny tunes to while away the time… This mix goes a little more four-four than usual and might be a post-sunset Cafe Del Mar session… It’s (dolphin) deep and funky and quite acoustic… I enjoyed it, especially going more full-flow towards the end… :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. World Of Intros -Vietnam Intro (Reporter Mix) [Butcher Music] 2. 9 In Common -Action & Reaction (Original Mix) [Seamless Recordings] 3. James Solid – Underwater Rain (Original Mix) [Solid Fabric Recordings] 4. Puremusic – Unsaid (Original Mix) [Silk Sofa Music] 5. Oniris, Pat Brooks – The Rebirth (Blissed Out Mix) [Bedrock Records] 6. Rodg – Into Nothing (Original Mix) [Body Condition] 7. Rodg – Life Is Life (Chill Mix) [Body Condition] 8. The Grid – Floatation (Prins Thomas Miks) [Klik Records] 9. Club Des Belugas – Welcome to Brazil (Papa Cobana Hiphop Soccer Remix) [ChinChin Records] 10. Seconds – Another Day (Lexx Remix) [Klik Records] 11. Agnostica – Wildcat (Original Version) [Audiokult] 12. Chuva Speaks Arab – Airplanes (Name Surname Mix) [Hotfingers] 13. Ian Tosel – Lookin At You (Original Mix) [Prison Entertainment] 14. Gorkiz, Close Enough – Stars (Lou Van Remix) [Sleazy Deep] 15. Framewerk – Electric Religion (Original Mix) [Prison Entertainment] 16. Max Lyazgin, JazzyFunk – Element of Life (Ed’s Dream) (Original Mix) [Deepalma] 17. Loui & Scibi – Your Love Feat. Nuwella (Ian Tosel Remix) [Milk & Sugar] 18. WhoMadeWho – Heads Above (Original Mix) [Darup Associates] 19. London Grammar – Hey Now (Sasha Remix) [Metal & Dust Recordings Ltd] 20. M.A.N.D.Y., Booka Shade – Home (Kollektiv Turmstrasse – Interstellar Mix) [Deepalma] Wez G – Dolphin Deep (Chillout) by Wez G on Mixcloud

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Head Alchemy

Head Alchemy

I felt like a bit of a change, a bit of an up-tempo feel to the mix to warm those toes in the murky winter weather… I’d recently put together a nice acid house feeling dub for a Brazilian vocalist to work on and wanted to fit it into the mix… It is Hacienda style Acid House… This mix flows from Acid House to techno and back down to Acid… I wanted to bang it up to full-on Adam Beyer style techno and add in some Goa Trance but unfortunately couldn’t get the tempo geared up that high in 80 minutes… Some nice Laurent Garnier tracks thrown in and he has been a big influence on me as a DJ – I’ve never seen anyone at all demonstrate crowd control on a dancefloor like he does… He’s like an operatic conductor and his versatility and range of music in his sets is astonishing… I started off in the scene listening to a lot of techno and playing it so I guess this mix is taking me back full circle… :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Wez G – Brasil Acid (Dub) [White] 2. Joey Beltram – Energy Flash (Original Mix) [Transmat] 3. Irregular Synth, Andrea Frisina – Dub City (Lutzenkirchen Remix) [Gate Null Recordings] 4. The Japanese Popstars – Heavy Hitter (Sharooz Remix) [Bedrock Records] 5. Paul Ritch – Run Baby Run (Original Mix) [Drumcode] 6. Gabriel D’Or, Bordoy – Kepler 69 (Original Mix) [MKT rec] 7. Soulik – Enjoy This Trip (Original Mix) [Audio Elite] 8. Möd3rn – Mö 3 (Original Mix) [Mod3rn] 9. Scan X – Midnight (Laurent Garnier Edit) [WTF! Music] 10. 04LM – Tragicaller (Original Mix) [Soma Records] 11. Gayle San – The Porter (Original Mix) [H-Productions] 12. Kollektiv Turmstrasse – Grillen im Park (Dreher & Sm.art Remix) [DJ Series] 13. Mark Henning – Blackout (Original Mix) [Soma Records] 14. Syco – Danaka [Oxygen Music Works] 15. Laurent Garnier – Jacques In The Box (Chicago Bordelo Remix) [Ed Banger Records / Because Music] 16. Dax J – Spotlights (Original Mix) [Unknown Territory] Wez G – Head Alchemy by Wez G on Mixcloud

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