I was recently invited to the Big Top 40 studios in London to attend an intimate acoustic performance from UK singer, songwriter and producer Taio Cruz. I was among a selection of UK bloggers present in the Big Top 40 studios with the presenters of the show, Rich and Kat, who gave a great interview before the artist performed three songs incluiding "Dirty Picture" and "Break Your Heart" - he's got a great voice.
Come On Girl
Break Your Heart
The Big Top 40 show runs every Sunday from 4-7pm and each week they are giving away the entire Top 40 in music downloads, all you have to do is listen out for the song on this Golden Ticket and enter the "artist name" and "song title" in at this website. Check it out.
VBS.TV has dropped the next three part mini-series of its 'Vice Guide to Film' documentaries, exploring bizarre and often extreme international film industries.
In 'Norh Korea Part 1 of 3' Vice Co-Founder Shane Smith clearly had a (government approved) wild time putting the pieces together of this wild and freaky territory -- and went on the weirdest of missions to get into the country in the first place. North Korea has a completely unique industry given that its dictator, Kim Jong Il, is not only the country's most obsessive film-buff (an avid fan of slasher-horrors, Godzilla and Elizabeth Taylor) but also its leading film-maker; having even built a movie studio in the nation's capital, Pyongyang. It's interesting to note how multi-talented Kim Jong Il is, and quite hard to believe! He also wrote a book on the theory of film called "On the Art of Cinema".
Kim Jong Il is obviously a nutter, especially since in 1978 he kidnapped director Shin-Sang Ok (who made films such as "Pulgasari" and seems to be linked to classic franchises such as "3 Ninjas") because he didn't have anyone to make a film he had in the works.
I am not even going to mention the rest... Unreal.
I started a new job last week and it was a job I set as a target to
get before Friday 23rd April. This was because last Friday a
dubstep night took place that I have been eagerly awaiting and one I set my sights on as a celebration of getting said new job - which thankfully I got just in time. South London promoters
Deadly Rhythm teamed up with UK bloggers Better Never Than Late to hold a
night at The Legion in Shoreditch presenting Elijah & Skilliam, Spyro
and of course the first London gig for Kito.
I had been looking forward to this gig for months ever since I saw it
listed on MySpace. Despite being ill all week and then being faced
with a couple of setbacks and travel issues that night, I powered through and we eventually arrived fashionably late to
the gig. By the time we were through the door I well and truly felt
like a ten year old on Christmas Day!
Upon arrival Elijah & Skilliam were on the decks spinning out some
severely rudeboy beats: blending up fresh tracks, modern
classics and old skool garage-inspired bass music. That's why I love
dupstep - it is such a broad spectrum.
There was once a track I thought of as the best garage track ever made, a track by Dem 2 that I heard on Kiss 100 when I was about thirteen years old. It
took me until 2010 to do my research and identify the tune. Under
the alias US Alliance, Dem 2 called the track 'Da Grunge Mix' of 'All I
Know' and when I found it on YouTube I was ecstatic (after all that time). I also found it
on an Elijah & Skilliam mix set that I downloaded and so whilst they were mixing it up at The Legion I had to ask them
to play it, however they didn't have it on them. This is
the track, and the vibe that has long inspired the music that
descended from it to date:
'Destiny' has got nothing on that right? What a majestic tune!
So I head nodded and had a little bounce to their set while getting my
drink on and as the night progressed I got more and more excited. Spyro was up next, however, for me, it was hard to distinguish his set
from the set before, as he took over with a similar ragga-stylee grime-oriented
selection of tunes. The crowd was loving it, this is just my view -- this branch of the dubstep tree isn't my particular favourite. Or
maybe I was just impatient, the mixing was immaculate of course.
I am the shittest photographer, especially when I am drunk (as you can tell) and I tried to capture the moments of the night but every photo I took was just completely shite. My mate and I
were both thoroughly enjoying ourselves though (she'd been on it since 1pm).
point some goon in a suit swiped my beer off the table and walked off
- so I swiftly reclaimed it. What a f*nny!
I have heard people speak of Kito as an
amazing DJ and I have been lapping up the sets of
hers that I have downloaded, but seeing her spin live was something
else. The Australian-now-London-based producer and DJ truly inspired me when I first heard her innovative sound. Her tracks introduced me to a flavour of electro and drum and bass inspired breakbeat music that I had never heard before. By the time she was on the ones and twos I was on that
dancefloor ready to be taken away.
From the first tune it was clear that some people in the audience
were taken back by her beats -- that they were hearing something new, fresh and incredibly unique; gradually absorbing it and moving with it. By the second
half of the set those people who just came for a 'dubstep' night were stepping
up and dancing with the real heads. I myself was raving from the
start, unable to resist moving and jumping to the increasingly awesome
set blended seamlessly track after track. Every piece of music she played was stunning, with immense drops, epic bass lines, beautiful musical progressions, futuristic sound designs and elaborate rhythms. It was no surprise that a lot of the tunes sounded as if they were her own productions; the signature of her funky beat patterns, mutating synths and lush vocals was all over the set.
I was very happy when she dropped her new track 'This City', currently one of my favourite tunes:
By the end of the night I was sweating out a little bit. I like getting carried away! Kito's set was absolutely rinsing and I am certain when I say that she is one of the best DJs on the planet (and a very modest one too). Her skills and choice of tunes (yet alone her productions) mark Kito as a genuine pioneer, holding the future of 'dubstep' in her hands.
There is something very exhilarating about seeing an artist play or perform their own material. The first time I saw Paradox live was a night I'll never forget.
I left The Legion on Saturday morning a very happy boy! My mate and I missioned it home in our drunken states and dealt with the hangover on Saturday. The night was such a memorable celebration. The only disappointment was that Kito didn't play 'Cold'...
This week The Big Top 40, which is the only official radio music chart based on digital downloads alone and is played on many stations across the UK, is launching The Big Top 40 Golden Ticket Competition to offer one listener each week the opportunity to win the entire Top 40 music downloads.
Throughout the course of the week a code will be released via great websites and blogs (containing an 'artist name' and 'song title'). When the song is played during The Big Top 40 show every Sunday from 4pm, visit The Big Top 40 website and enter the code while the song is playing for a chance to win.
On top of this there will also be a monthly competition for someone to meet a Top Ten music artist at an intimate gig.
I would be so happy if I was the guy that found the next generation Appple iPhone (0S 4) which was 'accidentally' lost in a bar in Redwood City, California. I would revel in the fortune. The funniest thing is that it happened to be found and picked up by someone from Gizmodo; the most awesome of gadget and tech blogs (what are the odds?) and my personal bible of iPhone applications (what are the odds?). Gizmodo have convincing evidence that it is real. Hype?
I've stolen one of their pictures, as I believe in sharing the wealth; and they have released a short video. It looks wicked - now I only have to wait a year and a half for my current mobile contract to expire:
" What's new
• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than
the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display. It's unclear if it's the 960x640 display thrown
around before—it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes"
screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top,
next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic
• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or
ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through.
Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound
compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could
just be the orientation of components inside making for a different
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make
room for the larger battery"
This is the weirdest thing. It kind of hurts my brain a little bit, especially after one of those annoying nights when you can't sleep very well. The following photograph was taken during the 1940s and contains some random dude that looks suspiciously out of place. Could he be a time traveler caught on candid camera?
Forgetomori has gone to town with a rigorous analysis of the evidence.
To be an international DJ, artist, label owner and director of one of the worlds biggest electronic artist booking agencies must be an amazing thing. Alley Cat, owner of fresh dubstep / drum and bass / "all things subby and magical" label Kokeshi and director of booking agency ESP International (which represents Black Sun Empire, dBridge, Dom & Roland, Klute and Club Autonomic to name a few) transcribes the inner-workings of her musical-mind in the third release via the Kokeshi label; in a collaboration with Singapore based producer Kiat. These tracks emphasize the mystical and unique style of the label, which delivers a dreamy sound with heavy electro and breakbeat influences.
Kiat & Alley Cat - 'Purple Clouds'
'Purple Clouds' has a celestial, choral vocal that introduces industrial, jumping beats and flows through the track as it becomes more ferocious and drifts into darker territory. The beats intensify and glitch with ripples of Aphex Twin and you will float away with rich pads that soothe heavy eyes.
Kiat - 'Missing Channel'
'Missing Channel' has a more fantastical feel; as if the introduction and recurring melodies were the soundtrack to a legendary adventure. Pure sub-bass pumps the track into a minimal and profound journey of sound through a vast landscape in which the adventure unfolds and comes to a peaceful climax.
My online reputation has been soiled. I could delete the evidence, but I have chosen to embrace it. One meaningless, piss-taking comment has received backlash (albeit from two people, but it's still upsetting) and I have been textually abused. I am refering to my post about a Mystery Jets gig in which I made a meaningless comment about dressing slightly less impressively than majority of people there; which I linked to on another website and made yet another meaningless comment about being caught on candid camera. I admit the comments do sound stupid (and I do sound like a tw@) if I look at them from a serious perspective, but I don't; I really don't care. I didn't take what I wrote seriously when I wrote it and I certainly don't take myself too seriously, which is why I am writing about this instead of hiding away from it or quarreling about it. The one thing I took seriously was the music and that's what the post was about in the first place. The internet allows people to express themselves freely, which is what this is all about.
If you want to know what was said and done click here, or click on the image below, which contains offensive language:
If you like cyborg-spawned dubstep that is as heavy as it is warped out, then Excision is your man. I am personally not too big on the noise-ridden, head-banging side of the dubstep world, but I like these tracks from the Canadian EX7 label:
Filthy basslines and bouncy riffs of synth collide:
Excision - 'Subsonic'
This tech-stepping spiral of potency is impossible not to nod your head to:
I am loving SuRjoN'sremix of Deadmau5's'Ghosts N Stuff', which takes the lead melody of the original track and twists it up with an unusual LFO'd-up bass line, atmospheric chimes and industrial techno-stynth; laid back with a minimal dub vibe that becomes hyper in the mid-section:
Soviet Parallel Cinema emerged from the revolution of Old Soviet Russia during the 1980s when "the walls of Eastern Europe were coming down". Essentially Parallel Cinema is the messed up, independent cinema of the 80s; underground cinema embracing artists, actors, rock musicians and film lovers and which Shane Smith rounds up as "anti-establishment (and) madness on film". This experimental cinema was criminalized and watched by the KGB.
In Moscow he met several of Parallel Cinemas founding fathers, including Boris Yukhananov, Gleb Aleinikov (who now runs the second largest TV station in Russia) and Oleg Kulik; a performance artist who famously lived as a dog for a year and has done many other extreme / dark / messed up things.
The film also profiles Andrei Silvestrov, the father of 'Alco-Cinema' (a concept embracing arts, entertainment and alcohol) with whom Shane Smith made a movie.
Part 2 of 3of the Parallel Cinema mini-series is now up. I have not yet had a chance to watch it but here it is:
As an addition to my previous post about the Avatar Interactive Trailer (which was only available as a downloadable Air File) Paramount and Marvel have created an interactive trailer for 'Iron Man 2', only this one is embeddable and shareable across multiple platforms, as below.
The widget contains "clickable hotspots", which allow you to delve deeper into the story and characters. It's bad! This is about as modern as it gets.
This is a track that I have produced and I haven't felt so high about my own music since I was 17. This is one of two tracks I have made in years. It isn't quite finished and still quite rough, but please listen and I appreciate any and all criticism; so please do comment?
'The Gift' caught my attention at Empire Online and is supposedly in-line to be adapted into a major feature. The piece portrays a dismal reality, with humans living among robots and coveting a secretive box:
'DarkRoom', by Johnny Hardstaff, is an equally sinister piece of tech-noir that presents a twisted kidnapping plot in a Blade-Runner-esque city: