June 22, 2011
World Unknown is a night run by Andy Blake of Cave Paintings/Dissident and Joe Hart of Bodyhammer and Bloc. It is now also a record label coming your way soon and we are on the second release (our does do more than what you hear honest). They have a way with words so I am going to pass this over to them so you can read what it’s all about. For more information on the label click here.
World Unknown is a monthly underground party held in a railway arch in Brixton, South London.
It’s a post-industrial pleasure dome full of strange and often exotic music that pumps and throbs and shimmers and shakes. The 60s and 70s vintage projector-based lighting and roomful of disco-fog adds to the otherworldliness of the night which is totally unlike any other club in London, and quite possibly the world.
Noting a distinct shortage of contemporary record labels releasing the kind of music that they play at the parties, organisers and resident DJ’s Andy Blake (Cave Paintings, Dissident) and Joe Hart (Bodyhammer, Bloc) decided World Unknown should have it’s own 12” only label.
Each World Unknown release will be a split-artist 12” and there will be six coming out in the first year of it’s life. Here are details of the first two, due to hit the shops in the first week of July 2011.
WORLD UNKNOWN 1
Release date – early July 2011
Format – limited edition 12” only – no digital release
Side W: Naum Gabo – Whop! (Excerpt)
The first World Unknown 12” kicks off with a slamming piece of prototype house from Glasgow’s Naum Gabo aka Jonnie Wilkes from Optimo and his production partner James Savage. Showing that a relatively low pace doesn’t mean any drop in energy levels and dancefloor pump power, Whop! cracks along like something from an alternate reality version of 1980’s Chicago. It’s as easy to imagine it rocking the house at Medusa’s or the Box as it is to envision it in the present day soundtracking some kind of bizarro fetish party or a particularly intense session at Berghain’s Lab-oratory. This is jacking in the true sense of the word.
Side U: Franz Underwear – Grauzone (Excerpt)
On the flip side Italian born Berlin resident Franz Underwear ups the tempo with a stunning piece of slamming European musclebeat. Shades of Ibiza 88-89 pervade here; the kind of pumping, chunky synth action, Teutonic vocal exhortations and vaguely menacing but ultimately benign vibe that sent thousands of potty European kids totally round the bend and changed the world of dance music forever. Fuse together ideas of glamorous open air Mediterranean nightclubs full of sex-crazed hedonistic Eurotrash, sweaty, strobey, smoky South London acid-house basements with walls of bassbins at one end, and your first decent E – that one so strong and clean that your brain nearly popped out of your head and ended up on Mars, and you’re getting somewhere near what this record sounds like. Savage, joyous and teetering on the edge of sanity.
WORLD UNKNOWN 2
Release date – early july 2011
Format – limited edition 12” only – no digital release
Side W: Neville Watson – One Four Green (Excerpt)
If you were to cut Neville Watson he would bleed acid house, he’d also quite likely knock you flat on your arse for having the temerity to wave a knife at him, but that’s a whole other story. For his first WU contribution he ventures down the ethereal proto-house boulevard. Jacking 707 patterns, a bouncing Juno bassline and outer-space synth lines take you into the upper atmosphere for a glorious airborne joyride. As ever, Neville manages to evoke those 85-89 feelings without ever sounding merely retro or like some kind of pastiche, something that many attempt but very few manage to pull off.
Over on side u Apiento, the force behind the magisterially brilliant Test Pressing website (paid him for that one – Ed), chips in with a heartfelt homage to the new beat sound. Another testimony to the fact that a lower tempo doesn’t have to mean diminished energy levels, The Orange Place simply oozes class from top to bottom. Like some lost Ancienne Belgique classic it pounds and pumps along, building up the tension all the while until the quasi- Eastern refrain lets loose half way thru and all of a sudden a mystic portal opens up in the space-time continuum that leads all the way to Southwark Street in late 87.
World Unknown are also having a launch party in Brixton on Friday 8th July. It won’t be the usual record launch party though. Just the usual WU faces, two bags of records, a smoke-filled room and a big black wall of speakers pounding out the pressure. DJs on the night are Andy Blake and Joe Hart of World Unknown playing throbbing electronic music for dancing™ from 11pm -6am. Email the chaps here for £5 list all night (ltd to first 50).
Our regular Brixton Venue, a railway arch far far away from the tyranny. It’s easy to get to by tube (Brixton 10 mins walk), overground (Loughborough Junct 30 seconds) and bus. The 35/N35 stops right outside and runs all night and day. Address will be sent closer to the time.
This comes from an interview with Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter in today’s The New Review magazine (part of the Independent). The passage has been about Mott manager, and later producer of ‘London Calling’, Guy Stevens, and his cavalier attitude to life when they got onto the subject of the band recording in Island Record’s studio.
In early recording sessions with Mott The Hoople the level of criminal damage caused to studios owned by their then-label Island Records, often instigated by their drug-fuelled Svengali, has become legendary.
“When you were in the studio with Guy, he was just frantic. He knew nothing about music. But he did have a propensity to wind you up. He would take you on a flight of fancy; you could feel yourself mentally leaving the building. An hour later, he would go, ‘OK: play.’ And of course you really wanted to play, because you had been listening to this bullshit for an hour. When we were recording ‘Brain Capers’ he arrived in a highwayman’s outfit. And there was a fire in the studio.”
“Who lit it?”
“I don’t know, ” Hunter claims. “But I had to ring (Island Boss) Chris Blackwell. ‘Er, Chris, there has been a bit of a problem in the studio.’ He said, ‘Problem? What kind of problem?’ I told him it had been set on fire. There was a pause. Then he said: ‘Was it really necessary?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Fair enough.'”
October 16, 2010
August 4, 2010
We were on our travels in Gothenburg recently and ran into Emil Broome from the Malmö-based Lugnet label. If you like the cosmic end of the Scandinavian balearic sound then check their releases out below (well, our edited streams of them). The first two releases are edits made by Tiaz and the third one is an original 12″ produced by VED. If you want to get hold of them we suggest you go direct to Lugnet.
We’ll get a mix from Emil at some point but until then check the interview and mix at Cosmic Disco. Finally, we should also mention the chaps at Lugnet are also part of a collective in Malmö called Prejka, who run a rather nice blog.
Rå Energi / Lokomotiv / Sommarstorm
Tralla / Bitterljuv / Tidsbrist / Flåjd
Sture / Din Egen Spegelbild /The Anointed Word (Tiaz Remix)
May 18, 2010
The postman arrived at work today with a package of records from the ‘hot off the blocks’ Bubble Club label. They seem to be a label getting it right with all tracks made by Dan Keeling and Robin Twelvetree in a balearic disco acid form, killer artwork and spot on remixes.
The first twelve, ‘Violet Morning Moon’, which may have already sold out by the time you read this comes, with a mix by Rub N’ Tugs Eric Duncan under his Dr Dunks pseudonym.
In June comes the second release, ‘Morning Star’ and ‘Eyes On The Prize, with a mix from Soft Rocks, with Brennan Green bringing up the rear on the third release in a timely Maurizio style on a track named ‘Lonely Acid’. That one is out in September.
We’ll see if we can get some streams to give you an idea of what they sound like soon but until then check the website here. We doff our caps.
November 14, 2009
The year, going by the label, was ’92. My mind is all about fuzzy around those times as a lot was going on, but we were working in Ladbroke Grove and music was good. House music was alive and well and slowly other bits and pieces were appearing referencing further back than I’d gone before. I remember Dwayne Dawson from Amato Distribution giving me an old disco, funk and soul cut-up reissue/bootleg (I think ‘Bits N’ Pieces’) and me not getting it. Then these JPR Records appeared, supposedly from the US, but actually coming from W10.
They were the first records I’d heard that joined everything up by taking those Kenny Dope-style drums and basically running them under a re-edit adding synths replaying the original parts. They were definitely key to opening the door to a world of music that I hadn’t really thought about bar T-Connection and the big Salsoul/disco anthems. They cut into records like Maze ‘Twilight’, The Jones Girls ‘Nights Over Egypt’ and ESG tracks (I’m pretty sure the Patti Jo re-release wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the Hope release (JPR 003)). Anyway, soon after the disco revival hit full swing. Well compiled Salsoul catalogue re-issue comps appeared on import, the Garage and Loft classics boots appeared, Black Cock records arrived and Ashley made ‘New Jersey Deep’. The more switched on magazines started writing articles on Larry Levan et al and off we went.
Disco is seen as a staple now but back then it wasn’t really on the radar so much so the JPR label was pretty important to me and maybe a few others of my age. It also reintroduced the idea of the re-edit. Some tracks stand up better than others to my ears, though that’s just the nature of beats, but as a moment in time and influence on their future they are good to hear. Phil Mison and a few others are still breathing life into them and they are pretty cheap right now if you have your Discogs switched on. Anyway, here are the first three releases.
(EDIT – As I said this is a personal take on that time but everyone’s is different. Tim H said the following, ‘In my memory, Jump Kutz did more to kick start the disco edits, but maybe they were all happening at the same time. In my eyes the real influence was Norman Jay/Paul Trouble and Zoo gigs and radio shows.’ – Ed)
September 9, 2009
For the second of our label round-ups/interviews we thought we’d get in touch with Mudd, owner and recording artist, for his very own Claremont 56 label. Claremont have been steadily flying the flag for quality music, across the realms of mellow balearic disco, in a forward thinking fashion for some time now, as well as releasing some classic back catalogue material from Sal P from Liquid Liquid and the forthcoming Holger Czukay release. Add in the Originals series, so far compiled by Moonboots/Balearic Mike and Mark Seven, plus all the hand-numbered releases and you can see this is a label of love.
What was the original reason/inspiration for setting up the label?
I set it up to have the freedom of releasing anything I want whenever I want and to have the option of doing nerdy things like hand numbering and matt laminated gatefolds. Mmmm.
Where did you get the name from?
It’s the address of where I grew up and also where Tom, Steve and I made the first Akwaaba album.
If you could sign any artist who would it be? What period?
Arthur Russell, 70/80s
Favourite release to date? I know it’s hard to pick one…
I’m very proud of the track I did with Ahmed Fakroun so that’s up there and Shulme will always be a favourite, but I think the Idjuts remix of Vegetable Square has to take it because it was pretty ground breaking at the time. I know they’ve since been asked by other labels to do something similar.
How did you hook up with Sal P?
I met him when I played APT in New York with Spun about 3 years ago and the after licensing his track for the first Originals comp, he revealed he had a few bits tucked away that I might want to hear.
Must have been amazing going through the tapes – is there more to follow?
It was very exciting as I had absolutely no idea of what I was going to hear. He sent me about 10 in all that had a huge cross section in style but sadly some were in so poor shape sonically that I couldn’t use them. Most were recorded on cassette tape and were just from live jams in the studio so they were never really intended for release.
Another legend you are releasing soon is Holger Czukay – how did that come about? Good choice of tracks by the way and nice design…
I got the chance to see him at the Roundhouse Theatre earlier this year and he told us a story about how the original of Ode to Perfume was 22 minutes long so he had to chop the end off to fit on the LP (this is Fragrance, which will be on the B side). He then played us a different version that really made my hairs stand up and I immediately thought it needed to be released, hopefully on Claremont 56.
I spoke to him about it by email and there was a bit of confusion about who owned it, and after going round the houses it all seemed to be going nowhere. Three months later I’d almost given up hope but then his manager called me and after 40 minutes worth of questions she said she’d get back to me. Two minutes later she called me back and handed the phone to Holger, he approved and they’ve been really helpful ever since.
Future plans for the label? Where do you see it going? More albums? Own webstore?
I’d like the chance to work with some more of my heroes and I’m really enjoying the search for tracks that have never come out but the main route for the label is to release good quality new music. The originals series will continue and hopefully I’ll find some new acts to break. I’ve also started Claremont inc with my friend Simon and that will release more live band based music.
I do have a webstore on the site at the moment, it’s here.
Is digital important to Claremont or is it just a way to inform about the physical releases? And where do you sell online?
Physical sales are down for everybody and I think if you ignore the impact of the digital sector (which I did for a while) then you’re going to lose out. You’ve got to move with the times to stay afloat and as the label builds it has started to become very important factor in keeping it going. Also, every track is pretty much available on blog sites as soon as you release them anyway so you might as well try and make some money out of it!
I use bagpak in New York to handle it and they seem to be on the ball. You can buy them from all the usual suspects, beatport, dancetracksdigital, iTunes etc.
What would make life easier for you as a label owner?
A trained monkey for the hand numbering, kids getting back into vinyl and people paying on time.
What’s upcoming on Claremont?
Next up is the Holger Czukay release which should be out before October starts and following that is a new EP by Smith & Mudd that goes a bit darker than the usual stuff. Originals 4 is ready and there’s a LTD 10″ (300) of one of the rarer tracks to go with it.
There’s also a 7″ coming out that will be exclusive to Oki Ni which comes with a sexy wooden middle.
Any celebrity fans? Has Robert Plant been in touch?
None that I know of and no, not yet!
You run the label full time – how did you get into this? What’s your background?
I trained as a typographer but always dreamed of being in the music business so the real job kept me fed while I immersed myself in my hobby of producing. I eventually just thought fuck it, it’s now or never and made the break with a small pot of money behind me. It’s amazing how many options open up to you when you make the move and I know that if I continued to do both, I would never be in the position I’m in now. I’m poorer, but a lot happier!
I love the hand numbered releases – who is the poor bugger that has to sit there and number them?
Just me and my silver pen.
Who distributes the label and where can anyone interested get in touch to find out more?
I distribute to the UK, Clone handle Europe, Groove Distribution America and my friend Ban from Japonica handles Japan. They can get in touch with me through the website.
What’s been your favourite experience while running the label?
Getting the chance to make the music, design the label, manufacture it and then sell it is an incredible feeling that I feel very lucky to have. Everyday is different and can change with an idea or one email so it’s always exciting and interesting. It’s hard to pick the best bits but the photography for the Originals compilation series is always lots of fun as it’s normally beer fuelled.
Nice one! Thanks a lot for your time.
Holger Czukay and the fourth Originals album (those with keen eyes will not one is missing – Sean P’s is delayed) compiled by Matthew and Jolyon (tidy!) will be out in October.