Thursday, 15 December 2011
Which isn't to say I didn't do that too. In fact I had a bumper year for crate digging and at one point found ~£300 worth of records (according to discogs anyway) for a mere £20.
So over the next few day I'll make up a few lists of stuff I bought/found/did in 2011, should anyone find it in any way interesting:
Ten 12" records of 2011 which I thought were really good (in no particular order):
Levon Vincent - Man or Mistress [Novel sound NYC]
There's been a lot of hoo-ha about Levon Vincent which I didn't really understand. Then I heard this. Just perfect really. Sonically beautiful & perfectly structured with a subtle yet demanding breakdown. I love every moment of this track.
Doubleheart - Salsa [Nonplus+]
JD Twitch of Optimo and Neil Landstrumm's collaboration led to a "what the fuck is this?" record which I'm sure would be called 'Post-dubstep' by journalists but as pointed out by Konx-Om-Pax that just means "just normal fucking house music" to anyone else.
Automatic Tasty - In It For The Money EP [Lunar Disko]
Soundstream - Soundsampler Vol. 1 [Soundsampler]
Matt Whitehead - Obsession EP [Rebel Intelligence]
Having a studio partner who works in a record shop is a perfect example of the pleasure/pain principle: You don't miss out on belters like these but you spend more money than you intended when you 'pop in to say hi.'
In fact, this phenomena is so acute that Thomas from Resurface Records actually had to send other people into Rubadub to get things to avoid Aleks bankrupting him. Rubadub: give that man a raise.
EDIT: It's just come to my attention that the Automatic Tasty record came out last year. It's really good though so I'm leaving it in anyway.
Shit Robot - Take Em Up (John Talabot RMX) [DFA]
John Talabot turns Marcus and Nancy's boogie gem into a swirlingly hypnotic house record which adds a real sense of melancholy to what was already a fairly heartbreaking track. Oh yeah, and it's on white vinyl.
Franz Underwear/Naum Gabo - World Unknown Vol. 1 [World Unknown]
From the ashes of dissident comes World Unknown. Similarly mysterious and just as great. All four EPs are instant classics but the debut release is the real keeper.
Johnwaynes - Black & White EP [Groovement]
Cracking house record from Portugal. White Track is the stand-out for me here with it's Chicago groove and off-kilter chant of "Gotta get you back into my life."
Tevo Howard - The Drum Machine Man [THR]
Like Levon Vincent, I wasn't blown away by Tevo Howard's stuff (maybe I just like bucking the trends?) however, every track on this is superb, especially Arena
Dimitri From Stoke on Trent - I Wanna Be You Lobster
Look, it's a great edit of Prince, what more do you want me to say?
I'm sure I missed out lots of great stuff. I can already think of three records (Storm Queen's It Goes On and Mickey Moonlight's Close To Everything being MASSIVE oversights) that probably should have been on here but those were the first ten to pop into my head.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Saturday, 19 November 2011
The Detachments remix Aleks and I did gets an official release this month. It's a big, ducking and weaving synth number which we tried to make sound like a funfair at Butlins or Blackpool Pier.
The full release has remixes by Florian Meindl, Richard Richard, Frenchbloke, Son Of Sam and Aquiline (that last one's my favourite.)
Out this month on This Is Not An Exit from all good download sites.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
The album itself is a mighty piece of work which craftily blends italo, house and krautrock into something familiar yet entirely of its own. Very cinematic which is just as well saying as the album has been made in conjuction with Supersoul's creative director, Marek Polewski, so that each track comes hand in hand with its own video which forms part of an art installation event the first of which took place in Berlin last month.
I was sure I had links to the concept drawings and videos but for some reason I can't find them. Each track has video projections cast onto each wall of the room. the concept is pretty fantastic and the photos for the first show look like it worked amazingly well. I hope this comes to the UK at some point soon.
Here is a video with Xaver and Marek talking about some of the concepts.
Finally, the 'missing' track 'Device of the Devil' is coming out on a 111 copy ltd release 12" etched vinyl which just looks AMAZING.
Device Of The Devil (original version) by supersoulrecs
The mock ups of the 12" have the black vinyl etched with a ouija board and the outer sleeve is personalised with cut outs over the initials of each person who purchases a copy. A dream for a total geek like myself.
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
click the pic to download
I now own two copies of this Moroder produced gem: one red vinyl, one white. Neither cost me more than £1, thought the red one has a big warp in it. Not enough to make it unplayable but enough to make it a pain to DJ with.
I have heard tales of another less frantic, more soulful version which was never officially released but I haven't actually heard it yet.
I'm afraid I have little else to say as I am horrifically hungover after last night's party in Glasgow.
That said though, every other record I've bought in the last two months has been less than £4 with most coming in at a quid or less. (So maybe I get away with the mean being <£4? Mmm...ok, no.)
I'm going to try to rip them all and get them up here as evidence that you don't need to spend loads of money to get old classics and that mp3's aren't any cheaper, though I do concede after moving my entire collection from Glasgow to London that they are easier to move about.
So first up is a sub £1 'take a chance' punt that I picked up a few weeks ago. Record hunting in second hand/charity shops can be a risky business as quite a few don't have listening stations so you often learn to buy by looking at a combination of label, producer, year and title to figure out whether or not something is worth a punt or not. It might be only a quid but there's nothing worse than gambling and going home to find the record you've taken a chance on is total guff.
I'm getting quite good at this after spending some time with the more encyclopaedically knowledgable David Barbarossa and together we've put together a few rules of thumb which I'll post up as and when I remember them.
(One that springs to mind is that any British record made between 1991-1993 that has the word 'hypno' in it is probably worth giving a shot.)
Today's rule is that the word 'dub' combined with a U.K. label circa early 90s is a good sign.
Click the picture for a link to a download.
I can't give you any history on this track, band or label other than Breakthrough only appear to have released four records between 1992-1993. If anyone knows more, I'd love to hear from you.
This record also has a pretty good acid track on the A side which I'd've posted up too, only my record players are in storage at the moment.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Our fourth birthday is on Saturday and this gives a fair old idea of what you can expect from our little bassment party.
Donacha Costello - Cocoa II
Sons & Daughters - Orion (Wrong Island's Messages From The Cosmos)
Community - Red Hearts
Q - The Voice Of Q
Madonna - Get Into The Groove
Dionne - Come Get My Lovin'
Panda Bear – Surfers Hymn (Actress Primitive Patterns Mix)
Lone – Rissotowe 4
Bakazou – Risky Disko
Virgo Four – Do You Know Who You Are?
Levon Vincent - Man or Mistress
Dimitri From Stoke on Trent - I Wanna Be Your Lobster
Rick Wilhite - Drum Patterns and Memories (Moodymann Mix)
KT Tunstall - Uummannaq Song (Wrong Island's Cold Summer Version)
Silverspin Feat Zöe - Oh Superman!
The Knife - Silent Shout
Daphni - Ye Ye
Photek Feat. Linche - Sleepwalking (Faulty DL Remix)
Thursday, 1 September 2011
This one I did and it's not bad. In fact it's rather good.
Probably my favourite poster and possibly my favourite party. Al Doyle's dancing that night was incredible.
Probably my favourite poster and possibly my favourite party. Al Doyle's dancing that night was incredible.
Unprinted poster for Larry's 30th Birthday.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Just been reminded of this Stong Cold Classic and thought it was worth sharing. Dub, English and Español versions are all equally great. Heard this first on a Larry Levan mix and bought it staright away. Don't think it left my record bag all year which is EXACTLY where it's going. (Once I find it...)
Yup, so for four years now, myself and Larry have been quietly making lots of noise in the basement of Nice&Sleazy. Cannae believe it.
Things have gone pretty well for us so far, considering the choice you have in Glasgow and the added pressure of a) being a residents' night and b) being a pair of disorganised twats therefore finding it hard to get articles written about us.
Despite our best attempts at making our lives difficult, some people still seem have cottoned on. Resident Advisor just mentioned us in their piece on Glasgow clubbing which was a nice surprise considering a few of the bigger, bolder clubs aren't mentioned. OK, so we know Kit and he comes to the club a lot but still...it's nice.
Birthday mixes coming up soon on luckyme, Radiomagnetic and some other places...
Friday, 19 August 2011
Paradise Garage 2nd Birthday
Talking of birthdays, Wrong Island's fourth birthday is in Glasgow next month. We'll be doing a host of mixes which we'll post up real soon.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Remixing is a funny thing as you end up putting just about as much work into it as you would with an original compostition only with the added attraction of not having to write lyrics.
This one came about in a rather long and convoluted way: I saw KT play in MacSorley's on Jamaica Street in Glasgow as part of a tour of wee pubs she was doing. This song stuck out due to the Kate Bush sounding backing vox and I thought we'd quite like to remix it. So I asked her tour manager if she'd say something at the end though in the end it was a bit of a rush out the door thing so I never got to speak to Ms. Tunstall herself. A few months later I got an email from an old friend in San Francisco who'd met Kate through a mutual friend and it turned out she'd mentioned me asking about the remix. Fast forward about 8 months and I got an email in NYC with the parts as an attachment. Very nice.
The remix we've done is quite different to what I thought we were going to do; mostly because of Aleks having borrowed a Vostok synthesiser which we had a bit of fun with (mostly him patching lots and lots of cabling in while I looked dumbfounded and tried to keep up with the sheer volume of information he was telling me.) before laying down a bassline. Always a good place to start.
We then layered several arpeggios over each other, added drums, percussion (I finally got my timbale obsession out my system) and then the vocals. There's still one or two minor changes to get done but mostly this baby is put to bed. Hope you enjoy.
KT Tunstall - Uummannaq Song (Wrong Island's Cold Summer mix) by wrongisland
Monday, 30 May 2011
Due to copyright issues this is an edit and the first track is missing. You can download the full, unedited version here:
I suppose in a way this is a companion piece to Larry's 'Mind of a Creep' mix; it’s a bunch of records I pulled out when I had a weird time recently. The theme is roughly ‘Loss’, whether it is a loss of Love, a loss of things which are significant, a loss of friends or even loss of places (again significant ones).
I felt like I was in one of those funny transitionary times where everything in your life is in flux and you don’t feel like have any control over events. Some things leave your life and there’s a bit of a void whilst you wait for new stuff to fill the vacuum.
All of which was exacerbated by the fact I got crazy jetlag from flying to NYC, not sleeping more than 2 hours a night for a week then flying back just as I got used to the time difference. I think I went slightly mad. I keep comparing it to the last episode of Twin Peaks where the ‘wrong’ Agent Cooper returns from the Lodge; the ‘wrong’ Teamy came back from New York and it took a wee while for things to return to normal (ironic for someone who runs a night called Wrong Island).
It’s a natural thing to feel bereaved and sad when something/one leaves your life but it’s also natural to begin to accept it and move on. You are not betraying a memory by getting on with things as hard as it may be to let go sometimes. ‘Time soothes all sorrows’ as The Little Prince says.
And from loss sometimes come new opportunities; if a tree in the jungle falls over there is a sudden surge of growth from below the canopy as seedlings which would otherwise die reach up as quickly as possible to the sunlight which now reaches the ground.
Talking of trees, the last thing I ‘lost’ before I did this mix was my favourite tree in the park across from my flat. I was upset about it for reasons I won’t bore you with but the other day I realised that whilst I might not be able to sit under this particular tree, I can now sit on it instead. I wonder if the council might let me carve it into a bench? That'd be nice.
So yeah, that’s a rather complicated and pseudo-philosophical way of saying that this mix is about letting go of the things you’d like to hold onto.
Jimmy Scott – Sycamore Trees (download only)
Khan & Julee Cruise – Say Goodbye
DaFluke – Hotboyz
Magda – Panna Cotta Eyes
Delia Gonzales & Gavin Russom – Track 5 (Ame remix)
Bad Boy Bill – Sex
Mu - Let’s Get Sick
Photonz – Shaboo (andy’s edit)
John Waynes – White Track
Out Hud – Put It Away, Put It Away, Put It Away, Dad
Two Lone Swordsmen – The Bunker
Das Krause Duo Nr. 2 – Illegalkrafthaschie
Bukaddor & Fishbeck – Raederichen
Tevo Howard – Arena
Disco Nihilist – Quit While You’re Ahead
James ‘Jack Rabbit’ Martin – Only Want To Be (Acid Mix)
Ralph Rosario – You Used To Hold Me (Kennny ‘Jammin’ Jason mix)
The Chemical Brothers – It Doesn’t Matter
The Sixteen Million Dollar Man – Pink Yo Black
Hutton Drive – 324
Kenny Larkin – Loop 2 (Luke Slater mix)
*EDIT*I'm happy to say my favourite tree is now trimmed and seems to be getting left in the park. I went by the other day and there was lots of kids using it as a climbing frame. I realised it's really nice now as a tree that was special only to me before is now special to lots of people.
Thursday, 17 March 2011
It was for my friend, Rob Theakston's morning radio show in Kentucky and was gonna be on the early slot so I thought it might be quite nice to have one half sort of like a dream, sweeping in and out and slightly surreal followed by lots of tunes to get people up and going in the morning.
Teamy's slightly high concept morning mix for radio free lexington, kentucky by teamy
A Lewisman in Exile - Sarah Jane Summers
P - Labradford
A Shapely Balloon - Ivor Cutler
100 Miles/Going Home To Live With Love - The Parsonage
Teamy's Alarm Clock
Wake Up! - The Upsetters
Good Morning, How Are You? SHUT UP! - Ivor Cutler
Don't Stop The Music - Yarborough and Peoples
You Gave Me Love - Crown Heights Affair
K Choppers - Mock and Toof
Piece of Mind - Linkwood
Open The Door (Truffle Club Mix) - Lynsay J and Sneak Thief
Jolene (Peter Visti edit)
Floating (Prinz Thomas Discomiks) - Jape
Rambha Ho - Usha Uthup
Friday, 11 March 2011
I was trying to put a mix together towards the end of last year, just as my life was going through one of those shitty wee phases that come along every so often.
Without doing a great deal of searching I began pulling out records from my collection that were somehow reflective of how I was feeling at the time. It’s funny sometimes when my emotions are high, or low in this instance, that certain records seem to have a way of finding me, presenting themselves as some kinda emotional therapy for my problems, well I guess that’s one of the things that music does so well for so many people!
So anyway being the procrastinating fool that I am, it took me till March of the year 2011 to actually get round to finishing the damn mix and this is the end result…
I made a few changes to the original track selection from last year, as it was turning out to be a little bit too doom and gloom for my liking, and hey life ain’t all that bad right now! The result is still a pretty moody affair, quite dark, a little weird, seedy and ‘creepy’ for the majority, with of course moments of uplifting relief.
For those who know me (and those who think they know me), the title and concept of the mix will be apparent. Delve in.
Sunday, 13 February 2011
It was filled with obscure references to things which while my 19 year old self hadn't heard of yet were strangely intriguing. Unfamiliar names like 'Satie' and 'Muslimguauze' sat in song titles alongside some which I did know such as Jamaica Street.
After many a late night listening to this EP, sucked in by the four tracks of otherwordly dub, I asked the guy who had sold me the record about this band and if there were any other records by them. That weekend I was taken by said record shop guy, Mr. Jon McCue, to my second ever Optimo (my first had been a few years before in 1997 but I think I was too young to 'get it'.)
And so the door opened to all sorts of music which I had never heard and many, many new friends.
Later, I bought the second E.P. and I went home excited not only by the prospect of yet more slightly oddball music but by a set of records with a running design theme. (I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.)
The first track was instantly a hit. A warbling synthline introduces a big dub beat and then a beautiful female voice yearning for an erstwhile or faraway love. The words were credited to one Arthur Russell which at the time I assumed was someone that the guys in Mount Florida knew. It wasn't till a few years later that I was introduced to the original version, which I mistook for a cover of the Mount Florida track.
Anyway, the point of this post is that I vaguely recalled there was an interesting story behind this version which I thought might me nice added to my story of how I came to go to and therefore work at Optimo so I emailed Keith McIvor (Optimo and Mount Florida's J.D. Twitch) to ask a few questions about this track. It turned out there was indeed a great story, though it wasn't the one I'd thought about:
The cover you did was out way before any of the Soul Jazz compilations or the documentary 'Wild Combination', how had you first heard about Arthur Russell? At that point, how many of his records had you heard/bought?
In my teens and early 20s there used to be a Rough Trade magazine called "The Catalogue" which was full of information about records that Rough Trade / The Cartel distributed.
There was a lot of editorial in it and in one issue they had a feature about Arthur's "The World Of Echo". I didn't ever see a copy but he sounded like an interesting guy and was thus vaguely on my radar. A few years later, around 1994, I was reading some fanzine and there was a review of his "Another Thought" album that made it sound like something I had to hear so I bought a copy and became completely obsessed with it.
I have probably listened to it more than any other album and it inspired me in so many ways as well as helping me get through a rather low patch I was in at that time. I went on a mission to find everything he had ever recorded and was lucky that my sister was living in New York at that time and I went over to visit her on a number of occasions. New York record shopping then was maybe the best in the world and over the course of a few visits I found all his dance records and a few other bits and pieces.
By about 1999 I think i had almost everything he had ever had put out up until that point.
I seem to remember that there's a nice little story about how you met Madeline MacDonald, the vocalist who arranged and performed the song for you. Would you mind going into that for me? Had she heard the original before she arranged and sang it?
Madeline used to own a restaurant called "Madeline's" which is where the Korean restaurant on Argyle street is now. My then girlfriend lived around the corner and we used to eat there all the time. Madeline was quite a character and had been a professional singer so she used to do singing nights at the restaurant where after dinner she would sing torch songs. I was entranced by her voice and asked her if she would sing on a track we were working on.
We didn't let her hear the original song until after she had recorded it but gave her a typed sheet of the lyrics so she could work out her own arrangement.
Was the music written intentionally as a cover or did it just happen in a round-about way?
No, it was just an instrumental that I thought could be enhanced by having a vocal. I had struggled to write a lyric and then came up with the idea of using Arthur's lyrics.
In effect it's not really a cover as the music and the vocal phrasing bear no relation to the original song. It's really just a track with borrowed lyrics (he is of course credited with this). Just to make it more confusing, although it's called "Another Thought", the words are from his song "A Little Lost" as our previous EPs first track had been called "Lost in Satie" and I didn't want to repeat the "Lost" theme.
The best thing about the track is that it led to a beautiful friendship. I had to do a lot of phone interviews with journalists when we were putting out the album. Matador (our label) in New York would arrange conference calls and one day I had to do 8 hours of these. There was one left to do and I was totally fed up and intended to make the last one as short as possible.
So, the phone goes again and the press person at Matador says "I have Kurt in Seattle on the line for you". Kurt was massive Arthur fan (quite a rarity at that time) and had wanted to interview me as he was blown away that someone had covered one of his songs. We instantly hit it off on so many levels - it was as if i had an identical twin on the other side of the world albeit one who was short and gay. i think we did the interview in about three minutes and then ended up chatting for over two hours (every so often getting interrupted by the press person to see if everything was ok as they couldn't understand why it was taking so long).
He remains a friend to this day and we have met up a couple of times and his writing has inspired me greatly. We both joke that the spirit of Arthur was guiding us towards each other.
Ten years later and the piece Kurt wrote is still online!
The album, 'Arrived Phoenix' is available on iTunes, do you know if there's any plans for the E.P.s to become available to download or are they just going to remain vinyl only 'oddities'?
Vinyl only I reckon which I kind of like.
So here's a link to a pretty scratchy rip of Mount Florida's 'Another Thought'. It should be pretty apparent by now that I have played this copy a lot so apologies for the surface noise. If you like it, go buy a copy of your own. There's a few on discogs.
Oh, and THANK YOU ARTHUR! May your spirit continue to guide us all to places and people with whom we belong.
*EDIT* There's now a version of this track up on Twitch's soundcloud page so you don't have to deal with my battered rip.
(From the vault - 1999) Mount Florida - Another Thought (Arthur Russell "cover") by JD Twitch
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
It's a bit of a funny one but Larry and I have known each other for nearly ten years and have been DJing together for four of them yet I don't think I've ever been record shopping with him. This might not seem that strange as I realise that record shopping has changed quite a bit over the last few years and that it's much more common for people to search for music via the internet before buying or just to go and download it but I'm a romantic old soul who still loves the ritual of record shopping and I'm fairly certain Larry does too as he still buys records. Yet we've never been to a shop together.
Perhaps one reason for this is that Larry, as I have mentioned in previous posts, plays a lot more modern music than I do so he'd be much more likely to be found in the frankly excellent Rubadub or Monorail than the dusty shit-tips I frequent which don't even have new-fangled things like websites. (I should also point out my slight guilt in not buying many new records as I realise that we in Glasgow should be very grateful indeed to still have not one but TWO records shops with nice staff who really know what they are talking about.)
There's something about second-hand record shopping that really appeals to me: the uncertainty of there being anything worth looking for; the real knowledge that you need to get the really good thing; the chance, no matter how slim, that there might be a REAL bargain in the somewhere, getting to know the staff so they point you in the direction of the new arrival or even sometimes put stuff aside for you. Even the dust that invariably gets on your hands (it's really not for molysmophobics) and the sore back and pins and neddles in your feet you sometimes get bending over the pound bins. These things all add up to create a perfect little ritual.
Recently, I've been having some really good luck digging in the crates in Glasgow and found a few oddities, some old classics and on two occasions that holiest of grails: a record in the pound bin worth substantially more than a mere quid.
As well as being a romantic old soul, I'm also generous so here's some links to a few of the cheaper tracks I picked up today. You should be able to find these online for a few quid, so if you like them, please go buy the record. They can be such things of beauty and as Keats said
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."
Now I don't think you could say that about an MP3, could you?
Sister Sledge - Lost In Music (Special 1984 Nile Rodgers Mix)
Featuring Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor from Duran Duran on 'background vocals' as they were in the studio next door to Nile, recording 'Wild Boys'.
Quite why 'Lost In Music' needed another mix or quite what the Wild Boys contributed is another matter.
Carrie McDowell was signed to Motown in the mid to late 80s and this was the only single to make any impact on the charts. Whilst some of the lyrics in the chorus are a bit clanky in my opinion, the music is good enough to give it charm. Also her voice is fantastic. I never would have guessed she was white either. There's a dub if you don't agree (or do agree about the lyrics.)
Carrie now lives in Tennesee and does Christian albums with her husband, so I guess a song espousing sexual abstinence is a fitting legacy to be carrying.
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
However, there is one type of music which I loathe and that is HOLD music. You know, the music you get played whilst waiting on a call centre operator to answer. Its crimes are numerous: repetative; often badly made; constantly interupted by some voice telling you you are in a queue (AS IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW!) and worst of all, tinnier than the Tin Woodsman's toenail clippings.
Sometimes though it's not so bad; some call centres have put a little thought into it, realising that the hell that is waiting can be alieviated somewhat.
So whilst on the phone today, I decided to have the inaugural
Official Wrong Island Call Centre Hold Music Championships™.
Call centres around the country, NAY...THE GLOBE, will be be selected and audited on the following criteria:
1. Style of Music and relevance to the type of business
2. Repetativity (I don't know if that's actually a word.)
3. Time between announcements
4. Relevance of announcements
5. Boredom factor
The scores will be totted up (in my head) and an overall score will be posted out of 12.
The winner will be awarded the no doubt soon-to-be sought after title of Wrong Island Best Call Centre Hold Music Champion 2011.
May the least annoying cunts win!
First up, from East Kilbride in Scotland it's
Centre One Tax Office (part of HMRC)!
So the hold music here is pretty dreadful. Three different loops being switched between every 20 seconds or so. It's not unlike listening to a 19 year old DJ with ADHD and a newly torrented copy of Traktor playing three loops from The Greatest Hits of General MIDI.
One loop is a picked guitar thing, another sounds like a duck getting squashed and the other so stultifyingly dull that I've forgotten what it sounds like. No matter though because it'll be back on in 40 second or so. Joy unbridled.
Mind you, saying as some people will be ringing up to find out that they have a tax refund due, the Government probably commissioned someone to make the music as brain melting as possible so that you don't hold on long enough to actually get through. God forbit anyone ringing up to find they've not paid enough though. Mind you, would the Taxman care? Of course not, the utter bastard.
Overall rating: This is pretty bad and I can't imagine anyone having a hold 'experience' worse. The music might well be designed to put you off so I suppose it should get points for relevancy but otherwise, there's nothing redeeming about this except the lure of a tax refund so I'm giving them 3 out of 12
Recommended replacement music: Taxman by The Beatles or perhaps Money by Pink Floyd
Our next contestant hails from the lovely city of Glasgow....give a warm welcome to:
Direct Line Insurance
First impressions are good. The initial music sounds like Santo & Johnny. Nice and relaxing and doesn't sound so bad being tinny.
After getting the call answered and asking the operative on the line a few questions that I know I'll be put on hold for, I am greeted with the strains of 'Love and Marriage', best known to me and most people my age as the theme tune to Married With Children. I melt away into nostalgic daydreams of Peggy Bundy tossing my salad, quite happy to hold on. Next up is They Can't Take That Away From Me as sung by Ol' Blue Eyes himself.
This choice of big band classics works very well as hold music; inoffensive, friendly, jocular. All things one wants to hear before a nasal Scotsman tells you how much it'd be to insure a 25 year old female learner driver for 3 months.
In addition to the excellent music choice, the announcements are different ever time and often informative.
Why no, I didn't know that if an uninsured driver hits me that Direct Line will cover the excess. And my No-Claims won't be affected? Why, I'm really learning here.
Overall rating: these guys have put a bit of thought into the hold reel here. With the possible exception of the music not really having anything to do with cars or insurance, they have really hit it on the head.
10 out of 12
Recommended replacement music: Warm Leatherette by The Normal, Baby You Can Drive My Car, something by INXS, High Risk Insurance by Ramones, Take Good Care Of My Baby by Bobby Vee
Contestant number three, representing the North East of England, it's mobile telephone company
Oh dear...it takes forever to actually get to some music here. Far too many button presses and questions. Don't they realise there's a Championship at stake here?!
Finally, when I get through, the music is pretty bad. Tinny as fuck pop music from the last five years. Eek.
Thankfully and, if I'm honest, unusually for Orange the call is answered quickly and I am soon greeted with the lovely voice of a Geordie. Having a call centre in the N.E. of England is a pretty good move as that soft, lilting accent is so soothing that the operative could tell you that it turns out that your phone actually is giving you brain cancer and you'd still be pretty cool about it.
They should really replace the music they have got with one of the middle aged women that seem to make up 90% of the staff telling a nice story. Though your brain might get confused and think it's a bed-time story and you might miss the call due to having a nice nap. They should definitely replace the 'sexy' voiced southerner that does the voice of the answerphone on Orange. She gets on my tits.
Overall rating: The music is pish but the operatives are so nice, i'm going to give them an extra point so they get 8.
Recommended Replacement Music: Eberhard Schoener Feat. Sting - Why Don't You Answer
Not only for the Sting-north East connection but also because every other time I've rang orange, it's taken the best part of half an hour to get through.
The first heat is over and we have some strong contenders here. Feel free to email in with any suggestions for companies I should be checking out.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
They are probably best known these days for the Italo track 'On the Grid' which sounds very much like it had an influence on the music made by New Order around the same time. This was certainly the first track by them that I'd heard and it fits in nicely with lots of different genres of dance.
For me though, the better stuff (and I'm using "better" in a very subjective way here as I'm sure some people will think I've lost the plot) is in the sometimes over-blown songs they released such as 'I Don't Want to Lose You' and the totally over the top 'Babe, We're Going To Love Tonight'.
The latter track is a hyper-fast fusion of Hi-NRG and Italo with vocals that sound like they are channelling AM rock-pomp and Kate Bush. Check out the video to see what I mean by "slightly odd looking".
I played "Babe..." at the last Wrong Island and the crowd really went for it, which I was quite surprised by if I'm honest. I thought it would be the wrong side of OTT and the floor would clear.
Another thing that attracts me to these records is the real sense of cohesion that runs across all the releases not just in terms of music but also the artwork on the sleeves. Very 80s but very futuristic at the same time. Or at least what they thought futuristic would look like in the 80s. Anyway, the nice bright colours and 2000A.D. style art catch my eye which also makes them very hard to miss when yr out digging in second hand shops.
Monday, 10 January 2011
Always find it pretty tough trying to pick one track from a whole year worth of great music being released and this year has certainly been no exception.
David Kennedy, 2010 was your year and "Blanked" is my choice cut of 2010. Can't wait to hear more from this kid in 2011..
Monday, 3 January 2011
It's a bit more downtempo than what we'd do at our parties. Maybe the sort of thing you might hear in the first hour; bit of post-dubstep or funky or whatever it's called this week alongside some old boogie records and stuff you might like to hear at a roller-disco if they still happened.
The only problem was that after a very long festive period, what they'd written about us was so lovely that I got a bit emotional. Time for some Horlicks and two days in bed with a book maybe?
Wrong Island Luckyme Mixtape
Around this time it's traditional to do some sort of list of the top tunes of the previous year, which often leaves me a bit lost as for the last few years I hardly ever went off doing crazy things like buying new records; at our Wrong Island parties, Larry is much more the one to be found playing the new stuff while I back it up with all the 'new' old records I have found whilst getting my fingers dusty from flicking thru piles of records in second hand shops or charity places.
That said, after a little bit of thinking I have realised that there was one record which didn't leave my record bag from the moment I bought it this year. It's called 'No Worries' by Butch and came out on Cecille Records sometime in 2010.
It's a jacking house thing that really reminds me of the sort of stuff I was mad about circa 1999 like Roulé and Crydamoure which I had a bit of a reminiscence about last year.
It's got a really good build up to a BIG bass drop but without feeling like it's following a traditional structure.
I'm going to stop talking about it and just link it. Turn it up LOUD. (on a stereo, not yr laptop speakers...)