dirty martini

old music for new people

la isla bonita June 23, 2008

sometime a girl just needs her cat, a cocktail and an island, right?

download here

mo’horizons – dance naked under palmtrees

3rd core – mindless and broken

kid coconutz – needed moonlight

towa tei -senor coconut

art of noise – island

red snapper – lobster

talvin singh- traveller

sisterlove – the hypnotist

art of noise – majorca

lovers lane – island memories

beloved – sweet harmony

solid gold easy amex – enjoy

bentley rhythm ace – bentley’s gonna sort you out

bbg – snappiness

blow monkeys – la passionara

ultramarine – saratoga

sheer taft – atlantis

future sound of london – papua new guinea

 

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original musiquarium May 29, 2008

i’m an aquarius so perhaps its only natural that i’m drawn to anything watery and aquatic. when i was little, my ambition was to be a mermaid. i thought that was an achievable occupation.

i made this mix in anticipation of hot summer afternoons when i’d need cooling sounds to chill out to. i’m not going to start going on about the damn weather again…oh no…screw it, i am.

looking out of the window today i’m having serious deja vu. last summer it rained a lot. and i moaned about it a lot. seriously, a lot.

weather is a big thing for us brits

download here

audio lotion – jacuzzi jazz

fous de la mer – stars and fishes

morcheeba – the sea

fc kahuna – hayling

groove armada – at the river

aphex twin – on

energy 52 – cafe del mar

ott – shower of sparks

three drives – greece 2000

ultramarine – stella

sheer taft – cascades

black mighty orchestra – ocean beach

the grid – flotation

mental generation – cafe del mar

massive attack –  weather storm

leftfield – melt

 

ibiza: a post about chilling December 23, 2007

ibiza-sunset.jpg

at the turn of the 80s, there was a largely forgotten exercise in building a more caring and sharing society. new age arrived with ethereal, mystic promise, based on spirituality rather than actions. this wasn’t a rehash of 60s free love by modern day hippies. 

for many this was a stark contrast to to the overriding ethos of the 80s – you can believe in what you can see in front of you. those who disagreed with that mercenary philosophy had sought refuge away from the capitalism and excess and discovered likeminded souls by seeking out the new and the strange. 

this didn’t just mean jetting off to ibiza, or turning up to shoom and warehouse raves as a means of differentiating from mainstream society. this wasn’t a friday and saturday night revolution. some pranksters – revealed to be the klf  -got up in the early hours each day to carve crop circles into fields, leading bemused and excitable farmers to proclaim that the aliens were coming. those who have no recollection can’t imagine how alien ‘1990’ sounded at the time, when it had seemed like the 80s would never end. i remember seeing decimated fields on the news and inwardly laughing at how the adult nation were taken in by this joke. it was harmless fun, a subtle yet memorable message that things needed to change before we descended into weirdness.

the new decade was an opportunity to sweep everyone else up in this movement. i once heard a tv commentator on one of those nostalgia shows, i love 1989, probably, make the insightful statement that the 90s actually started in the summer of 1989 when soul ii soul hit number one. there was no such landmark a decade later, the new millenium was just an excuse for inflated club entry fees. capitalism had returned in 1995.

if peace and love had lasted, i’d have called that summer of 1989 the true turn of the millenium. as it went, it was the start of five years of freedom, soundtracked by emerging house, techno and drum and bass sounds. don’t be fooled into thinking that cream, ministry of sound and renaissance played any part in this – as much fun as they were, i now realise they eventually killed the scene and brought us back to where we are today. there’s nothing new age about paying £30 to get into a club in ibiza – we already live in the UK, things are supposed to be cheaper abroad that’s half the point of going on holiday.

the new age movement grabbed me – well, i liked crystals. at one point in 1990, absolutely everyone wore white jeans, trainers and a lilac tshirt, the new age uniform. we failed to grasp the fact that our levis, reebok classics and topshop tshirt were in direct contradiction to the movement we thought we were representing. like most fads, new ageism became something you could pick up and appropriate without a speck of understanding as to its roots and philosophy, as long as you liked the music.

still, those older and wiser are lucky enough to have experienced the scene for what it should have been before the superclubs took over. they sat outside the cafe del mar before the sunset ritual became a patented experience. they danced in clubs where dj’s played music and were rewarded with genuine appreciation – not a £3000 booking fee. i visited ibiza in 1994, when the tide was turning. it was underground, but the marketability of the island was slowly being realised. when i returned two years later, it was fun but inauthentic.

all the choice we have now started in 1990, but then it was genuine choice, rather than marketing making the decision for you. it was like a trial – many of the the things we did then you can get arrested for now.  bubbling resentment hadn’t boiled over into terrorism – new age ethics reasoned that 80s consumerism and power was naive and should be allowed to correct itself, not be punished.

1990 was an exciting and emotional time. it wasn’t just the music and the philosophy. there was the world cup. anyone who can sit through nessun dorma without at least the urge to cry is, well, under 25. 

most chillout tracks for me sound like they were recorded in the early 90s. those produced later tried to emulate the sounds and mood and many did so successfully, which is why they’re in the mix. to manage any expectation, i am not a dj. this is a long, inexpertly mixed set that is a blatant attempt to squeeze as many tracks as possible onto my mp3 player, but it sorts me out when i’m drunk or hungover, stressed, can’t sleep or feel like floating away in the sun (rain).

back then we knew we were on the verge of something exciting, and we were, it just didn’t last that long or turn out the way we thought it might. i miss those days, i doubt 14 year olds now feel the way i did then.

check out my posts on the 1994 and 1996 ibiza club scenes.

90s chillout mixdownload here

leftfield – melt

sisterlove – the hypnotist

ibizarre – lazy living

nightmares on wax – les nuits

sofa surfers – sofa rockers

st etienne – only love can break your heart – andrew weatherall mix

the grid – floatation – subsonic grid mix

innocence – natural thing

bentley rhythm ace – bentley’s gonna sort you out

sheer taft- cascades – hypnotone mix

the orb – little fluffy clouds

sun electric – sundance

the beloved – the sun rising – gentle night

aphex twin – xtal

sub sub – past

orbital – belfast

klf – what time is love – original mix

fsol – papua new guinea

altern8 – self hypnosis

moby – slight return

lemon interupt – dirty

sabres of paradise – smokebelch ii – beatless mix

bbe – seven days and one week – sindaar mix

energy 52 – cafe del mar – michael woods mix

moby – go – jam and spoon mix

groove armada – at the river

fc kahuna – hayling

808 state – pacific 202

bbg – snappiness

 

the summer of 1985 June 8, 2007

if there’s one summer from my childhood that i remember fondly, it’s the summer of 1985. not just because it was an actual summer, with sun and heat (not humidity – there’s a difference). before global warming screwed up the weather and i had to get on the year round sauna they call the london underground, summer was anticipated as an enjoyable season.

if the weather was like it is today – that’s torrential rain and dismal temperatures, for non-brits – the summer holidays were spent inside or shopping. but for most days, we had a beach hut, and every day I would get up early to watch tv-am with roland rat, and most importantly, the weather forecast, to see if we’d spend the day at home or go down to the beach.

i’d put on my jelly shoes, grab my jelly bag and we’d set off. not in a car, that would have been too easy. we had to walk for about 30 minutes to the right bus stop, then get a hot, sweaty bus to the seafront. back then children didn’t rule the world, so I’d probably have to stand or some miserable old bag would literally glare you out of your seat.

on arrival, we checked who else was there. the hut was only really big enough to house a kettle, a portable radio, some folding chairs, a windbreaker and a hula hoop. why we sacrificed valuable space for a kettle, in the height of summer, i’ll never know. why do parents panic at the thought of not being able to drink tea every five minutes? mine were always making excuses not to do something because they ‘hadn’t had a cup of tea yet.’ and still do.

so if no other kids were there, I would cut lonely figure, playing with my little ponies, hula hooping, and trying to catch butterflies in a fishing net. my mum would lie there in the blazing hot sun, with her cup of tea, listening to radio victory and tuning me out. me and my friends wandered pretty much wherever we wanted, across the road to the beach, to the lake, the playground, the fair. you could do things like that, back then.

i suppose these days most kids would get bored going to same place about four or five times a week. in the 80s there really wasn’t much point staying at home unless you wanted to watch why don’t you… all summer.

so this is the soundtrack to those hot sunny days at the beach. yes, there are dance routines to all of these songs which i am often tempted to break into when i hear them. it was probably the same dance routine for nine year old girls all over the UK.

now that’s what i call the summer of 1985…download here

amazulu – excitable

the 7″ single was a cool transparent blue vinyl, which looked a frisbee. amazulu were a pop/reggae band who had a string of hits in the mid 80s, their biggest was a cover of ‘too good to be forgotten’ originally by the chi-lites (although I was completely unaware of this at the time).


cameo – single life

cameo, before they became infamous for ‘word up’ and that red codpiece, made quality 70s and 80s funk. cameo always did have some humour, it just wasn’t as outlandish earlier on. i can’t believe this hasn’t been sampled yet?


cool notes – in your car

the cool notes had already been lovers’ rock legends and post-disco soul stars by the time the mid 80s arrived but this incarnation as jheri curled poseurs proved their most successful yet. i remember hearing this song on the top 40 and deciding it would be the next single i bought. five star – love take over

god i loved five star…i saw past the dodgy matching catsuits, crispy fried hair and scary eyeliner. and that was just the boys. in this video they danced poolside before piling into a jeep, no storyline. didn’t need one.


madonna – into the groove

this was the moment, for me, when madonna became the biggest star of the 80s. this song gave me a clue as to what the older kids were doing. drinking and dancing in smoky underground clubs. the dance she did in this video, with her hands clasped above her head, was immediately imitated by millions of precocious pre-teen girls. mai tai – history

mai tai were a german soul trio who sang all together and so had a fairly unique sound. bananarama did the same, for a different reason. they sounded like a cat scratching a tin individually. this track, like many uk tracks, doesn’t feature in many round ups of 80s soul classics as it’s not by a us artist. travesty.

prince – raspberry beret

possibly my most favourite prince song ever, but definitely the one i’ve loved for the longest. i like how the lyrics aren’t trying to be clever, they just tell the story. there’s no hidden meaning and unlike a lot of other 80s songs, I don’t understand it differently now that I’m older.

princess – say i’m your no.1 to this day I don’t know how a cheese factory like stock aitken and waterman managed to produce this classic. it’s a shame they didn’t focus on making more music like this, alongside the hugely successful pop conveyor belt.

sister sledge – frankie
this song was just made for little girls. how old was frankie though? we hoped he was 15, and sister sledge were 12, as per the lyrics, but there was a strange old man in the video….and the sisters were pushing 30.

steve arrington – feel so real

steve arrington was the lead singer of slave but i didn’t know of them at the time. this song just sums up that summer as far as, it was just everywhere. it wasn’t necessarily my favourite song but i always think of the beach when i hear it.

tears for fears – everybody wants to rule the world

you couldn’t move for this song in 1985. safari suits and mullets, hmmm…

whitney houston – how will i know

pastel knitwear and pixie boots whitney, while stylistically challenged, was a lot more fun and made better music than crack addict whitney in her velour tracksuit. i remember arguing about the lyrics to this song with an unbearable kid called sally who thought she knew everything. I was right.