dirty martini

old music for new people

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

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sometimes it snows in april April 6, 2008

i’m speechless. what was i saying about the british weather? friday was the hottest day of the year and now this.

clearly something is changing in the northern hemisphere. we had a blisteringly hot summer in 2006 and barely a season ever since.

I vaguely remember that it snowed on our way back from a may holiday in majorca in about 1983, and that new year’s day in either 1990 or 1991 was unseasonally warm and sunny. but four seasons in one week? never.

prince wrote that song for a reason. most uk kids will remember the garage cover version by amar and mc rankin which is so far from the original that it’s barely worth comparing.

download here

angie stone – snowflakes

basement jaxx – hot and cold

faze – cold sweat

frank washington – ice

lemon jelly – nice weather for ducks

madame x – cherries in the snow

omarion – icebox

prince – sometimes it snows in april

tone loc – funky cold medina

vanilla ice – ice ice baby

 

ibiza: a post about chilling December 23, 2007

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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

 

who knew November 30, 2007

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 it’s a sad time, we’ve lost a good friend and family member. i haven’t felt like posting but normal service will resume this weekend.

in the meantime here are some early 90s chillout tracks as a tribute to a very cool person who kept the spirit of that era alive for me. RIP, we miss you.

download here

air – all i need

future sound of london – papua new guinea

klf – what time is love

leftfield – melt

moby – go

nightmares on wax – les nuits

nitin sawnhey – immigrant

orbital – belfast

sabres of paradise – smokebelch ii

sheer taft – cascades

st etienne – only love can break your heart

sub sub – past

 

under the sea October 27, 2007

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i love anything that sounds watery. as an aquarian, perhaps this is to be expected. my favourite fairytale was always the little mermaid and this is what i used to say i wanted to be when i grew up.

when i was very young, we had actual aquarium photo style wallpaper in our bathroom and i was so upset when my mum redecorated to some beige early 80s monstrosity but lacked the articulation to tell her so at the time.

i can stare at fishtanks all day and when i play ‘kitty goes fishing’ a dvd for cats, that i bought for my little fluffballs, i often end up mesmerised right along with them.

download here

air – sexy boy

like swimming with frogs, and no not because they’re french, i  just hear frog noises in there. so less of a sea on this one, more like a pond. with lily pads.

all saints – pure shores

purpose built wateryness as this was on the soundtrack for ‘the beach’. at the time this track was a huge departure for the girls –  a long way from the met bar and maharishi.

carnival of the animals – aquarium

this used to play as we filed into the hall for assembly at infant school. hearing it takes me right back to that huge wooden floor and the sun beaming in through the windows.

fish go deep – the cure and the cause

this act were aptly named as their track sounds like the theme to a deep sea adventure.

grid – flotation

so much better than their later efforts, especially the ghastly ‘swamp thing’. if only water had become a theme instead rednecks…

maxwell – submerge

like the aural equivalent of a jacuzzi. or, sticking your head underwater in the bath, for those on a budget.

prince – diamonds and pearls

no obvious watery theme here but thats what it sounds like to me. i suspect prince was actually going for ‘twinkly’.

sade – no ordinary love

i seem to remember that sade was a mermaid in this video, so it seems that the director agreed with me that it sounds aquatic.

smoke city – underwater love

obviously.

sos band –  weekend girl

something very tide in, tide out, about this one.

ten sharp – you

this sounds so aquatic to me that i once had a dream in which it was the soundtrack to big crashing waves.

 

the sound of summer August 25, 2007

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ok, i’m getting this one in quick. its bank holiday weekend and i’m reliably infomed that this weekend is going to resemble summer. as reliable as uk forecasters get anyway, what’s this 90% chance of rain business? they can never be wrong!

so this weekend, make the most of it and secretly thank god that your failed diet summer 2007 can be put on the backburner until the new year. i’ve actually learned to cope with rain better than i used to so that’s something good to come out of the monsoon.

and if the weather fails us again? girls – that boots brand airbrush fake tan, the one thats been half price, is quite good and much cheaper than the l’oreal version. it just smells a bit like a candle burning out, but not entirely unpleasant…

songs we haven’t had much need for this yeardownload here

jazzy jeff and the fresh prince – summertime

i used to know all the words to this. ok, i still do. this version is a remix that i don’t remember. it may be new or old but its by yam who.

dove shack – summertime in the lbc

g funk classic. no idea who they are.

isley brothers – summer breeze

one of my mum’s favourite songs by one of the greatest soul bands ever.

10cc -dreadlock holiday

‘i don’t like cricket. i love it.’ eh? sounds like a compliment from simon cowell.

another level – summertime

from the boys’ second album. their last single, if i remember correctly.

belinda carlisle – summer rain

the musical embodiment of the word ‘humid’.

bob marley – sun is shining

the original version, not the ibiza remix.

deeelite – picnic in the summertime

who can resist lady miss kier and co? from their 1995 album dewdrops in the garden.

stevie wonder – summer soft

one of many stevie wonder songs dealing with summer and sunshine.

lighthouse family – ocean drive

south beach is summer.

friends of distinction – grazing in the grass

have barely walked on grass this year let alone sat on it!

chic – a warm summer night

disco queens chic actually made some mellower tracks too, like this one.

 

chilling in the summer rain July 4, 2007

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update: clearly it is going to rain every summer until the end of time now so I’ve posted a new aquatic chillout mix and we should all just get used to being underwater…

so…apparently the UK will only get one day of actual summer this year, not counting those early teasers in april and may. july 15, thankfully a sunday. summer 2007 is officially a washout and anyone too busy, broke or nervous to fly to sunnier destinations has a choice. either moan and get wet, or remember the sweaty, suffocating heat of last year and breath a sigh of relief.

but bad weather, reignited fears of terrorism and the spiralling cost of living in the UK is stressful. everyone i meet seems stressed, in some way or another. every night i listen to the chillout playlist on my creative zen and find it soothing, so i thought i’d post up some of my favourites as a departure from my usual retro offerings, to mark my arrival here on wordpress. blogger was just an absolute arse to use, in terms of formatting.

maybe the media hysteria surrounding our predicted lack of summer will prove unfounded and by this time next week i’ll be posting sunny anthems for beach-bound brits?

ten sounds that epitomise our lack of summerdownload here

aaliyah – those were the days

days when the temperature crept above 20c, that is.

janet jackson – making love in the rain

obviously.

mariah carey – underneath the stars

unusually understated vocals from mad ms carey. worth going out and lying on the wet grass to listen to this one.

sounds of blackness – optimistic

this really reminds me of the hot summer of 1992. well, you never know, it wouldn’t be the first time forecasters got it wrong. i think i’m wishful playlisting now…

amerie – just what i needed to see

apparently this was a bonus track from her debut? amerie, like kelis, is not appreciated in her native US as much as in europe.

rotary connection – i am the black gold of the sun

a song about the sun but to me the instrumental sounds like rain.

swv – can’t cope

this unreleased swv track sounds to me like something written on a humid, sweaty summer night just before a thunderstorm. not sure why.

destiny’s child – now that she’s gone

melancholy, whooshing production and soothing harmonies. perfect.

sos band – weekend girl

summery 80s soul that sounds all whooshy, watery and tinkly…yep, kind of like all this damn rain.

donny hathaway – someday we’ll all be free

when all else fails…donny’s your man. i’d sit in a torrential downpour all day to hear that voice.

bonus: jamiroquai – seven days in sunny june

…and little did we know that would be our lot.