The new, much-improved BiggaBush website is now online and also features all previous posts from this blog as well as a fully-featured shop with the full Lion Head Recordings catalogue, preview audio, video clips and instant downloads on purchase.
I’ll be posting all my future blogs there from now on so why not head on over and have a look.
My website is under reconstruction at the moment so while that’s happening here’s the latest news:
After several month’s intensive studio work I finished my new album, “Music By The Yard” in early December and plan to release it as a download in January 2012, hopefully with a CD version following. It’s quite a departure from the previous stuff I’ve done – part beat-tape, part library resource, part abstract breaks/prog rock sampler. The album was created in a flurry of activity between February and December 2011 and features 23 tracks designed to be played in any order.
This is “6 Figure Some”
The album reflects a lot of the stuff I was getting into through 2011, starting with the huge effect Suite For Ma Dukes – an orchestral tribute to J Dilla:
had on me, which then took me back to the hip hop and gave me an appreciation I’d never really had before. I hope I’ve done this justice on the new album…here’s another tune, “The Karaoke Sauron”, named after Marina Hyde‘s acerbic take on the evil mastermind behind the X-Factor.
You can check out my latest Mixcloud session to get more of an idea where I’m coming from.
Another big influence – not only for hairy funk grooves, and prog stompers – but also for brevity of tracks – were Andy Votel’s epic mixes, especially Vertigo Mixed,
….the fuzzed up guitars, leaden drumbeats and wonky time-signatures really took me back to my youth, obsessively staring at the Vertigo spiral as it span on my parent’s radiogram and seemed to go into 3-D (without taking any drugs, honest)
on albums such as Black Sabbath and Gentle Giant’s first eponymous releases, the latter featuring this one:
…so it was quite buzz to hear that Madlib and MF Doom had sampled this track “Funny Ways” on their excellent Madvillainy album:
So the template for this record was essentially short tracks, textures, beat-heavy and with elements of prog rock, library music and LOTS of strings…and plenty of non 4/4 rhythms.
Above all 2011 has been the year I’ve started buying records (as opposed to CDs and mp3s) again, not only from carboots (although these have been particularly fruitful) but also seeking out second vinyl shops, which have been on the up this year. Like the fantastic Disc-O-Box shops in Weymouth and Blandford, Dorset. If you’re in the area, give them your support, they are an invaluable public service, with tons of great vinyl plus CDs and DVDs!
Early in the new year I’ll be posting a special mix of the album, interspersed with lots of spoken word snippets.
Meanwhile here’s another track – Horizontal Hold – with film shot on my Digital Harinezumi.
Just accidentally (thank you James) re-discovered the wondrous Max Tundra, who I saw live at a crazy factory-based event that I was DJing at in Warsaw in around 2006. Here he is playing “Will Get Fooled Again”:
On a more topical note, if anyone has ANY doubts about where the current UK government is taking us (straight to hell) – and even if you don’t doubt it – read this incisive article by Stuart Hall. It made my blood run cold.
And as we still try to comprehend the political and social fall-out of the recent riots, check this great new tune from Rodney P and associates on Tru Thoughts. Nice sample of Johnny Osbourne’s Truth and Rights too.
“Render your hearts and not your garments” – LYRICS!
Still loving the new Hudson Mohawke EP Satin Panthers, particularly this one:
On the film front, caught the excellent “My Best Fiend” doc about Werner Herzog’s incredibly fraught yet amazingly creative relationship with Klaus Kinski. Kinski was undoubtedly a nightmare to work with, and there are lots of clips which show this side of his personality. What really struck me though was the end sequence, where he shows a much gentler side:
Music by Popol Vuh, who also soundtracked Aguirre Wrath of God – featuring Kinski at his most compelling as a doomed conquistador.
Finally a plug for my man Spread who is producing some breathtakingly good photos lately:
LION HEAD RECORDINGS OF BIGGABUSH/LIGHTNING HEAD/ROCKERS HI FI etc. ARE NOW AVAILABLE FROM JUNO
…is the latest 12″ from Bass Clef. Have a look at this very cool video for some amped-up technicolour Hanna-Barbera goes samurai action:
More on the Magic and Dreams/Bass Clef blog. I’m really enjoying Bass Clef (aka Ralph Cumber)’s new direction, taking the manic energy of early house and breakbeat but giving it a contemporary twist. Missing the trombone a bit though….
Speaking of ravey breakbeaty stuff, I just found a vinyl copy of this old boiler on the car boot:
And coming right up to date, here’s one of Falty DL’s take’s on the genre:
This is a track called “Smack” by Perez Prado from the Contour album “Now”. Note the very weird mangled vocals. Something definitely gained in the translation. I confess to slightly mangling up the video too.
Also floating my gondolier recently is the very wonderful Letta Mbulu – she grew up in Soweto and ended up working in the US with the god-like genius that is David Axelrod, who produced this track:
On a recent trip to Brighton I had a good trawl through some second hand record shops and unearthed a comp from 1995 called The Beat Route on Safe and Sound Recordings, kicking off with a beautiful track from Lorez Alexander, “Baltimore Oriole”:
Once I started searching for this track I immediately found the 4Hero version, which interestingly does away with the D & B breakbeat of the original:
and from there it was a short step to their Life:Styles comp on Harmless which is equally worth a listen.
There’s also the classic Nicos Jaritz percussion work out Otao E Eu
So as summer tails out and we cross our fingers for a mellow and sunny September I’ve also been back in the lab churning out new tunes with a distinctly hip (trip?) hop, beats-go-orchestral, proggy, library-ey flavour. I have around 30 on the go and will be posting some on Soundcloud very soon.
In the meantime here’s the latest BiggaBush Mixcloud session, not a new mix I’m afraid but some easy-cheesy classics from my carboot faves.
Here’s the set I did at this year’s Chilled Cider, organized by former Big Chill head honcho Pete Lawrence. It was a great afternoon and the sun shone all day despite there being a wind-chill factor of about minus 10 degrees. It’s real shame it totally pissed with rain all day on the Sunday.
Here are some more pics from my visit to Cardiff the other week, at Chris Brick’s shop Folk Farm, taken with my Digital Harinezumi:
Do check out the excellent Brick Channel on Youtube too for a unique take on Englishness (Welshness?).
On the music front I’ve been mostly diggin stuff out to play at Chilled Cider, actually trying to avoid stuff I’ve played at previous Chill events but inevitably coming up with some dub and roots faves, such as Linton Kwesi Johnson’s “Sonny Lettah”:
and from the same era, acerbic poetry from John Cooper Clarke:
The Alexis Korner track “Sunrise” however has lyrics that leave rather a lot to be desired – surely a case of some late-night studio action with Alexis blearily reaching for his biro as the sun came up to pen something (anything) to get the session finished. So I made a vocal-free edit which makes a nice instrumental interlude. Hear it on the latest Mixcloud session.
My band, the Magic Drum Orchestra’s music is featured in a new short film – Method – written by and starring Alexandra Barretto as an aspiring actress who goes to extraordinary lengths to inhabit a role in her bid for stardom. The film is being shown at the opening of the Palm Springs International ShortFest and making waves on the US indie film fest circuit as I write this. Nice to hear our stuff in a film soundtrack too – you can check out more of our tunes on Soundcloud or Myspace. We’re just gearing up for our busiest time of the year with appearances at Larmer Tree, Festinho and Cloud Cuckoo Land Festivals plus various parades, parties and street events this summer.
Currently rocking the pod is the new album from 6th Borough Project, a lovely blend of deep house and disco all the way from Glasgow. Highly recommended (and thanks to DJ Dick for the tip).
Also on a deep tip some nice work by Andre Lodermann on Bestworks