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Review: Happy Mondays – Excess All Areas – by Simon Spence

Happy Mondays

This is the third Simon Spence book that I have read. He is a very talented music journalist from Manchester with a taste for documenting, wild, stylish cultural movements that have emerged from the Madchester craziness. Excess All Areas covers perhaps the most successful and innovative band to have ridden the early acid house craze that swept the nation in the mate 1980s. With the charismatic Shaun Ryder heading up the band, a true hedonist, a notorious substance abuser, it was always difficult for the true Happy Mondays to translate through the myriad web of journalists who tried to document them. Ryder, much to the annoyance of most of the musical backdrop of the band, Paul Ryder (Bass), Gary Whelan (Drums), Paul Davis (keyboard), Mark Day (Guitar), Mark ‘Bez’ Berry (dancer), got into a habit of blagging the press and feeding them over the top exaggerations of the band’s history and exploits. In hindsight, this was pure marketing genius and led to much of the mystery and notoriety that paved the way for success. However, it sifting all the bullshit, has made the writing of this book that much more difficult for Simon Spence. The early days of a relatively privileged middle class upbringing contrasts with the bunch of Manchester council estate ‘scallies’ they tried to portray themselves as. Sure there was petty crime and shopflifting etc. but nothing serious, although perhaps the addition of Bez to the group was actually verging on real true life crime as he obviously was up to the neck in it as a youngster and quite obviously expanded his mini empire quite a lot under the guise of being part of the band…. Manchester Giants, Factory Records and Tony Wilson picked up the band and signed them which paved their way to success following the ilk of luminaries Joy Division and New Order and allowing them direct access to one of the UK’s most influential music venues, the Haçienda. It all happened at just the right time for this band, as the cultural rebellion against failed Thatcherism took hold of the UK’s disillusioned youth masses and expressed itself in the ‘Acid House’ movement. Ecstasy-fuelled, fashion shifts, mass movement and gathering of people in raves, parties and festivals, vast increase in polydrug clubbing and mainstream ending of anti-drug taboos. A lot of this movement was driven by DJs and the Mondays’ uniqueness was that they…

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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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Wez G Sessions – Episode 11

Wez G Sessions Episode 11

This week’s Wez G Sessions Episode 11 contains a heady blend of deeper sounds, a nice variety of different flavours and some fancy beats. :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Vangelis – Love Theme [WEA] 2. Apparat – Granular Bastard [Shitkatapult] 3. Coldcut feat Robert Owens – Walk A Mile (Henrik Schwarz Remix) [Studio !K7] 4. Way Out West – Domination [Deconstruction] 5. De Los Andes – Porque Te Quiero [Unknown] 6.The Doors – LA Woman (Paul Oakenfold Remix) [White] 7. Ennio Morricone – Death Rides A Horse [EMI] 8. Fluke – Life Support [Circa] 9. Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home [London Records] 10. Banco De Gaia – Last Train To Lhasa [Planet Dog] Wez G Sessions Episode 11 by Wez G on Mixcloud

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Famous DJs who have worked with Wez G

  • Utah Saints

  • Tristan Bolitho

  • Tony DeVit

  • Tom Budden

  • Tom Bouthier

DJs and artists Wez G has directly worked with include: Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway, Jim ‘Shaft ‘ Ryan, Judge Jules, John Kelly, Norman Jay MBE, Sister Bliss, Mark Moore, Sonique, Angel, Tom & Jerry Bouthier, Pete Tong, Tony DeVit, Jeremy Healy, Al Mackenzie (D:ream), K-Klass, Utah Saints, Altern-8, Lisa Loud, Norris da Boss Windross, DJ Nibc, Adrian & Mark Luvdup, Anthony Pappa, Chris Coco, Tom Budden, Andrew Galea, Grayson Shipley (Deepgroove) , Big Al, Sarah G, Tristan Bolitho, Mike Shawe

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Free The Planet

It’s been a long summer and there’s been a break in my regular mixes. Anyway I’m back with a bang and keen to ‘Free The Planet’. Watching the news here in the UK over the past year or so and I am detecting a disturbing pattern of police brutality and the erosion of our fundamental human rights. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ warns of a ‘Big Brother’ society where every thought is monitored and people punished for the most minor of detours from the authorities’ policies. To me house music represents freedom. The feeling of unity you can only experience in the middle of the dancefloor gives people breath and helps you to evade the oppression of our masters. I don’t want everyone to listen to this and go out smashing the windows in JJB Sports for some new trainers in a violent orgy of looting. Just turn on the speakers, enjoy what (good) summer weather we have left and chill to the sounds of liberty. :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Tricky – Time To Dance (Maya Jane Coles remix) [Domino] 2. Kasabian – Underdog (Sasha Remix) [Sony BMG] 3. Phreek Plus One – Passion feat. Mr. White (DJ T. Remix Instrumental) [Compost] 4. Morgan King – I’m Free (Soma Remix) [Accidental Music] 5. BT – Lullaby For Gaia [Perfecto] 6. Alan Fitzpatrick – Moon Palace (Wez G Inspired Edit) [White] 7. MANIK (NYC) – Kent Ave (Warriors) (Original Mix) [Ovum Recordings] 8. Chambao – Pokito A Poko (David Ferrero Housepark Remix) [Sony BMG] 9. Vincenzo, Talking Props – Seduction (Original Mix) [Dessous Recordings] 10. Jody Wisternoff – Shivver (Original Mix) [Anjunadeep] 11. Sasha, Krister Linder – Cut Me Down (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth] 12. Gabriel Ananda – Hey Blop (Original Mix) [Basmati] 13. Way Out West – Surrender (SommerStad Remix) [Armada Music] 14. Róisín Murphy – Cry Baby (Paul Oakenfold Mix) [EMI] Wez G – Free The Planet by Wezg on Mixcloud

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Swine Flesh

Ooh dear… We’re all going to die from Pig Flu… While we wait for the disease to engulf the planet, you can get prepared by listening to the Wez G podcast. House music is like a disease and this dirty, dark, melodic, progressive number will have you rolling around in your sty’s muck… Some old classics thrown in to meet some upfront cutting edge vinyl slices. Corking, Porking House Music, to make your ears bleed… :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Perfecto Allstarz – Reach Up [Papa’s Got A Brand New Pig Bag] (Indian Summer Remix) [Perfecto] 2. Apparat – Arcadia (Sasha Invol2ver Mix) [White] 3. Charlie May – Demons Among Us [5ThirtyWest] 4. Undisputed Truth – Let the Drums Speak (Ground Earth Mix) [Plastica] 5. Bedrock – Beautiful Strange (John Digweed & Nick Muir’s Even Stranger Remix) [Bedrock Records] 6. Sunscreem – Love You More (Band of Gypsies) [S12] 7. Deadmau5 – Cat on a Leash [Mau5trap] 8. The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die (Stereo Mono Remix) [White] 9. Da Hool – Meet Her at the Love Parade (Nalin & Kane Mix) [Manifesto] 10. Kraftwerk – Tour De France (2009 Kraft mix) [White] 11. André Sobota – Self Constructive (Original) [Spectrum] 12. Lexicon Avenue – Psycho Killer [White] 13. Rone – Flesh (Sasha Invol2ver Mix) [White] Wez G – Swine Flesh by Wezg on Mixcloud

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