Hectic City 3b – Sounds for the Festive Vortex

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Ah, the Festive Vortex. That most fidgety period of days twixt Xmas and New Year. The lucky amongst us can easily fill this time with noble pursuits and endeavours, but spare a thought for the unlucky ones, who have no alternative than to either vegetate in front of their television munching endless rounds of turkey sandwiches, or maybe take another trudge round the already well-combed winter sales. Yes, for some the Vortex can be a tough time.

So to raise the spirit of the times, and to enable mental preparation for the coming New Year celebrations, here’s part two of our skip through the records that made our switches click in 2006. Hope you enjoy.


Hollertronix – Gold Digger (single)
Spank Rock – Bump [Switch Remix] (single)
Motor – Black Powder (from the album “Klunk”)
The Come-Ons – I Feel Love [Michael Ivins Flaming Lips Remix] (single)
Wolfmother – Woman [mstrkrft remix] (single)
Superqueens – Per Ardua Ad Strangeways (from the album “Royal Shit”)
The Rapture – Whoo Alright Yah Uh Huh (from the album “Pieces Of The People We Love”)
Cansei De Ser Sexy – Alala [Bondo De Role Remix] (single)
Peaches – Do Ya (from the album “Impeach My Bush”)
Peter, Bjorn & John – Young Folks (from the album “Writer’s Block”)
Grandaddy – Elevate Myself (from the album “Just Like The Fambly Cat”)
The Emperor Machine – Bodilizer Bodilizer (from the album “Vertical Tones And Horizontal Noise”)
Distance – Traffic (single)
Amy Winehouse – Rehab (from the album “Back To Black”)
DJ Farrapo & Yanez – Baiano Vem Baiano Vai (single)
Eagles Of Death Metal – I Want You So Hard (from the album “Death By Sexy”)
Dev2.0 – Boy U Want (from the album “Dev2.0”)
Ali Love – K Hole (single)
Kelis – Bossy [Cavemen Remix] (single)

Pulled by Soundcloud, but direct download here: MP3 or FLAC

Hectic City 3a – Hip-Hop Started In Ipswich

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Feeling chock full of festive cheer, having just returned from late-night food shopping, it’s time to present the third Hectic City – The first hour of a three part sort-of-mixed run through of some of our favourite tunes of the year.

Originally I was going to do some talky-talky in between the tunes, but once the pile of possible tracks had been assembled, it proved so difficult to trim them down that it was the talky-talk that ended up on the cutting room floor, the better to make way for more of those fine tunes.

And it has been a fine year for tunes. No links on the tracklist, sorry, but everyone there is easily googleable, I think, so please don’t let that deter you from searching out some fine tunes.

Hope you enjoy. We did. Part two and three to follow.

Tracklisting for part one:

Cornelius – Music (from the album “Sensuous”)
7L & Esoteric – Play Dumb (from the album “A New Dope”)
Paul Simon – Outrageous (from the album “Surprise”)
Dondolo – Dragon [Brennan Green Remix] (single)
5 Mic Cluster – Basildon Lover (from the EP “Crystal Mic”)
Cansei De Ser Sexy – Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above [Spank Rock Remix] (single)
LCD Soundsystem – Time To Get Away (from the album “Sound Of Silver”)
Nicky Van She & Dangerous Dan – Around The World Again (single)
New Young Pony Club – Get Dancey (single)
Luke Haines – Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop (from the album of the same name)
The Legion Of Doom – Crazy As She Goes (bootleg)
Breakout – Planet Rock [part one] (single)
The Gossip – Listen Up [mstrkrft remix] (single)
My Robot Friend – Swallow (from the album “Dial 0”)
Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve – Dig (from the mini-album “Spring”)
Zero DB – Bongos, Beats and Basslines (from the album of the same name)
Girl Talk – Bounce That (from the album “Night Ripper”)

P.S. Oh, by the way, New Year’s Eve is now sold out (although it looks likely that it’ll be running until the morning, so if you come down from 4am onwards there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get in), but if you do want some K-action, don’t forget Eric’s doing a set at Bust The Box on New Year’s Day – it’s free, but always packs out, so get down early and claim your corner!

Happy holidays :)

Direct download: MP3 or FLAC

Hectic City 2 – A String Quartet Tribute To The Kleptones

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

A String Tribute To The Kleptones

Something a little different for the second installment of the Hectic City mixtapes. I guess we should be flattered that we’ve been given the String Quartet Tribute treatment – after all, many artists of our stature have had this unusual form of honour bestowed upon them, so we must feel safe in their company, if a little bemused.

Unfortunately, as yet we’ve been unable to get hold of a full copy of the album, despite repeated requests, but as the next best thing, we’ve managed to record several excerpts played on recent BBC Radio broadcasts. These bootleg recordings have been edited together and we now serve them up to you as Hectic City mixtape No.2.

Direct download: MP3 or FLAC

Mixtape frenzy

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

First up, thanks for the feedback and suggestions to the first Hectic City Mixtape – got it fixed up now, although quite bugged to find I can only attach one piece of audio per post to the RSS2 feed – if anyone knows a way round this, I’d be eternally grateful if you’d let me know (even though I’ve not had time to do a dig around yet) – I’d really not have to post each slice of future episodes in a separate post – there are a couple of ideas for future HCs that would rely on that to function correctly, so here’s hoping there’s a way round it.

Anyway, in other K-related podcast news, Radio Clash have posted the second part of the wine fuelled chat we had during the Web 2.0 Summit last month – this time we deviate from the music to talk trannys, topography and transport, and there’s also an interview with A&D from Bootie – you can find it here. Also don’t forget I’m DJing for Radio Clash’s occasional club tomorrow night in London, and it’s free! Details are here.

Secondly, we’ve also released our first contribution to the podcasts over at A Swarm Of Angels (don’t know what ASOA is? read this first) – A departure for us, as not only does it contain all Creative Commons licenced tracks, but the intention is rather different – hence we’re referring to the mixes as “Moodcasts”. The idea is to slowly warm to the simultaneous development of the scripts, so rather than look for immediate, dominant sound, we’ve initially chosen tracks that are more gently suggestive, and will develop the themes and ideas over the series in tandem with received feedback and the work going on in other areas of the project. Check the initial K-cast for the first of the two scripts, “Glitch”, here.


Hectic City Mixtape 1

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Okay, well, let’s get away from the heavy duty stuff for a bit, and get back to the music, and finally (well, for me anyway) I’m proud to announce the first Hectic City mixtape! Yay!

(FX: Champagne bottle smashing against server. Several people cheering half-heartedly.)

Fingers crossed, this will be a regular event. This time there’s a DJ Mix from earlier in the year – Not a full mash-up mix, although there’s a couple in there, but some good tunes all round, I think.

Direct download: MP3 or FLAC

We are the future…

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Well, not quite, despite Music Thing‘s inventive paraphrasing, but as the Gowers Review slowly seeps into reality (and I mean slowly… still no sign of the full report, but it can’t be long now), the word is good, not only for anti-copyright-extension activists, but also for the remix and mash-up communities.

The Times summarises:

“The report suggests that exemptions to copyright law should be allowed for “transformative works”. This would permit the use of copyright material in new and creative ways, so long as it did not detract from the value of that material or offend artistic integrity. It calls on the EU to amend the law to allow for that exception. It would allow “rappers” and other creators to rework old material.”

Gotta love those “rappers”, eh?

However, as one would expect, there is already a whiff of caution in the air. Laurence Lessig pops up in the Financial Times to warn on the copyright term recommendations:

“There is not much doubt about what it will say on this proposal. There is much more doubt about whether the government will follow the report’s sensible advice.”

Coming into an election year, this is a serious likelihood. And, especially if there is a change in power, it is also entirely possible that the more radical recommendations of the report, such as the above “transformative works” exemptions, could quietly slip off the agenda completely.

Still, as openDemocracy points out:

“…until this point, there has been no effective, accessible forum for debating IP in the UK – or indeed anywhere. “The sense that democratic dialogue is failing on this topic is a serious one”, write Kay Withers and William Davies of the Institute for Public Policy Research in their recent paper Public Innovation, concluding a nine-month research project into the UK’s current intellectual-property framework. Gowers, it seems, opened the doors to such a dialogue. How his review is interpreted by government later this week will be crucial.”

And equally crucial will be the continuing strength of the effort to keep these doors open, and the debate alive and kicking until these recommendations become law.

Yet even if you’re not interested in participating in the intellectual debate, all you have to do is lead by example, and keep mixing

Living in another world?

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Well, at least people seem to be talk-talking… Following on from EMI Vice-Chairman David Munns comments during our debate at the Web 2.0 Summit (in which he suggested that availability of remixable content, alongside a simpler sample-clearence system could be possibilities), now Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr, during an interview within Second Life suggests the same thing:

“It’s our hope we can find a way to generally license much or all of our content for users to adapt in any way they see fit.”

Yet again, the emphasis is, as with David’s comments, always on “hope” – as bootlegger Andy Churchill commented today on the Get Your Bootleg On Forum, “I’ll believe it when I see it”.

This exactly mirrored my thoughts stepping down from the stage following my Web 2.0 Summit debate. The labels, naturally, are always looking for new ways to monetize their content – However, their admittance that this is something they are now investigating (or at least considering investigating) pushes things one step further towards reality. The issue now lies with the next major hurdle, one touched on by David Munns during our discussion, which is the wishes of the rights owners and actual artists.

Okay, sure there are going to be artists that will not allow any manipulation of their work, regardless of the financial benefits, but this is no reason to shoot the idea down in flames – I’m wagering that there are plenty who do, too – particularly ones that are looking to revitalise their (maybe long deleted) catalogue. Recent major-label compilation series, such as Universal’s “The Trip” have shown again that there is considerable interest in unearthing hidden catalogue jewels, so why not develop this further?

Furthermore, many artists (such as Prince) have already made their content available in a similar format; that of Sample CDs – raw limited-license-on-purchase material for studio musicians. Although Sample CD content is expensive, there’s usually a considerable amount of material on each disc, so the cost per sample isn’t that huge. Translate that to a digital distribution medium, and maybe there’s something to start with, no?

Still, if the heads of the majors are realising this, one hopes that there is internal research going on to see how feasible this is, and, I think, for once, rather than allowing a third-party company to take the reigns, I’ll bet that they’ll be wanting to administer this online themselves.

Another rumour posted suggests that Universal Music are doing exactly this at the moment, costing up the internal work involved in making such a service available. What form this will take is unclear at this time, of course, but it’s an interesting rumour.

It’s been a long held opinion of mine that the majors are wasting an opportunity in not developing their content in this way (“no shit, Eric?”). The only time they dip into this area is when looking for ways to promote new artists, usually in the form of remix competitions, and always seemingly very half-heartedly.

EMI’s remix competition for Lily Allen’s “LDN” is a good example of this. The competition stated that mixes would be put on Lily’s website for fans to hear, but so far, over a month after the closing date for the competition, nothing has appeared. Maybe the sole prize incentive of a single pair of Lily-designed Nike sneakers failed to galvanize the remixing public…

…Which is more than half the problem. Seeing the only benefit of making this content available as a lure to get names on a mailing list is not only narrow-minded, but is also interpreted as patronising by the very people who would like to remix the music – the label’s intentions are rather transparent, and the competition results will suffer accordingly. Guys, you’re pitching at the wrong audience!

Allowing song parts to be made available for a limited time, and a community to develop around these mixes has already been successfully achieved by sites such as Acid Planet, which had already been established by Sonic Foundry as a remix community for their “Acid” software prior to the company’s purchase by Sony. Unfortunately, the content is, again, always made available as part of a competition.

However, it could be argued that some Acid Planet content (which has always been DRM free, and always in uncompressed wav format, so as best to utilise the “acidizing” ability of the software) has benefited certain artists greatly once the content has been utilised outside the Acid Planet site.

Remix parts (including acapella vocals) for, amongst others, Madonna’s “Ray Of Light”, New Order’s “Crystal” and The Chemical Brothers’ “Galvanise” all first appeared on the site, and have since gone on to form part of the essential toolkit of any wannabe mash-up artist and thus have been utilised many, many times, resulting in some classic mixes, such as Go Home Production’s “Ray Of Gob”, which was even blessed with a semi-legitimate (i.e. “blind-eye”) vinyl release.

None of this material’s release and subsequent online trading seems to have hurt the artists in question at all. If anything, the range of adaptions of Madonna’s vocals (in a similar way to previous use of Missy Elliott and Eminem) has given her a considerable cache of underground cool that would be impossible to generate in any other way. And it cost virtually nothing.

So the artists (and therefore, labels) are already benefiting from free distribution of their remixable content, even if it isn’t within the intended parameters. Therefore it’s no surprise to the remix community to see that the heads of labels are finally acknowledging that there is a market for such content, even if, again not surprisingly, they’re unsure as yet how it can be best utilised (i.e. monetized). But it will be a very interesting situation to see develop.

Is this the point where Mash-Ups go public? Who knows, but let’s not hold our breaths, eh?