Tag Archives: BiggaBush

New BiggaBush website is live

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.

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End of Year Approaches

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,

Music To Watch Girls Cry

and Songs in The Key Of Death on Fat City

….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.

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End of Summer grooves

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:

which is on his album “The Edge” and also on a great comp called “Letta Mbulu sings Free Soul”.  Sort of Northern soul with an African tinge…love it.

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

which definitely had an influence on my Studio Don album (see earlier post)…

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.

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Cider & Rain

BiggaBush Chilled Cider Session June 2011

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:

It being a fairly folksy event I had a delve into Andy Votel‘s excellent “Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word” series and picked a couple of quirky tracks to play.   Here‘s a great Votel  mix done last October for Dublab)

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.

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Brass frolics and gnarly knobs

In London at the weekend for a rival wedding and a highlight of the day was parading from Sutton House to Chat’s Palace in Hackney, led by the Hackney Colliery Band – an eight-piece drum n brass outfit with a real ear for rousing tunes with bubbling bottom end, funky sousaphone and rampant snare.

Here’s them covering Toto’s Africa: don’t worry, it’s way more palatable than the original.

I was later delighted when they launched into one of my favourite brass tracks, “Brooklyn” by Youngblood Brass Band who can be seen here doing it at the Big Chill (R.I.P.) in 2005:

On the subject of funky sousaphone, or Sousaphunk as I like to call it, here’s the Diesler/BiggaBush remix of that track from the last Lightning Head album.  I have a whole album’s worth of remixes from that period that for one reason or another never saw the light of day, so watch this space for more links and release info.

Other stuff that’s been floating my boat this week has been the amazing Madlib/MF Doom collab on Stones Throw from 2004, “Madvillainy”, and wouldn’t you know it, here’s the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble playing one of my top tunes from the album, called Rainbows:

Here’s Madvillain’s version:

Love that Sun Ra sample.

Going further into Stones Throw territory today I stumbled across an interesting sound from artist Dam Funk, with a track called Mirrors:

WORK that keytar, Damien…

Finally for some reason Hudson Mohawke came into my consciousness over the weekend, someone I originally heard on the excellent first Beat Dimensions comp.  Here’s a typically crazy track, sort of Todd Rundgren on helium with gas mark 10 beats and full-on DX7s:

Hope you enjoy.

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To Marwencol

Just a quick one to bring people’s attention to an amazing film about Mark Hogancamp – who some 5 years ago was savagely beaten up by five guys who took a dislike to him in a bar. Beaten so badly his face had to be reconstructed, he was in a coma for nine days, and once he physically begun to recover had to re-learn how to walk, read, write, eat – not to mention that he had entirely lost his memory of his life before the attack. As part of the process of recovery he started to construct and take photos of a world of his own, populated by dolls and models in a town called Marwencol. This not only assisted his hand-to-eye co-ordination, it also got his imagination working again, as he constructed a storyline for his doll alter-ego in which he finds love and – via a babelicious bunch of armed-to-the-teeth Barbies – takes a rather Tarantino-esque revenge on his attackers, represented in Marwencol as a group of SS officers.

This is the trailer for a feature-length documentary made by Jeff Malmberg called Marwencol, broadcast in the UK on More 4 as “Village of the Dolls”
I urge you to watch the whole film, it’s spellbinding.

Here’s an early plug for an upcoming gig in Cardiff – just love the poster.

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Circling over the library…

…still on the Library Music theme I wanted to post this track from a KPM album, “Flamboyant Themes Vol 3” – which I was sent on vinyl in the early 1980s whilst working at the Triangle Arts Centre in Birmingham, England.  The LP also contains the classic “Gala Performance”, better known as the theme for “This Is Your Life”.  It’s amazing to think that a piece which was written as a piece of library music then became synonymous with the programme for about 30 years.

This one, “Little Boy Blue” by Syd Dale is one of my faves, full of blasting horns, cool double bass breakdowns and lush alto flute runs.

KPM generic album cover

Also on a library tip, I found a great track by the Library Vultures, appropriately called “Library Vultures Theme” on Turbotrax that fuses some of the urgency and propulsive nature of the best library music with hard hitting beats.  More please.

This big band/library sound was to have quite an influence over a band I formed in the mid-80s, BIG MOMENTS, with PK CHOWN (now of the Blue Planet Sound).  Styling ourselves “the Late 80s Big Band” we were clearly a Thatcher-era austerity big band as we only ever reached about 11 members, with four brass, piano, double-bass, drums, percussion and PK and myself taking lead vocal duties.  Here’s our one and only promo, shot on Super-8 at Birmingham’s Faces Night Club:

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