May 18, 2011
Right I am going to get many of my facts from Wikipedia on this one so any complaints on facts and them being incorrect we can blame the crowd sourced world of the internet. Konrad “Conny” Plank (frequently spelled Planck) was born on May 3, 1940. Born in Hütschenhausen, he was heavily involved in defining the krautrock sound and worked with bands such as Kraftwerk, Neu!, Cluster, Harmonia, Ash Ra Tempel, Holger Czukay (Can), and Guru Guru.
Plank began his career as soundman for Marlene Dietrich and was an ardent believer in the possibilities of electronic music. He was also a master of creating electronic soundscapes and was adept at blending them with conventional or natural sounds, or in some cases industrial objects used as percussion instruments.
He was one of the first European producers to fully exploit the possibilities of using multi-track recording facilities to create dramatic production effects and treatments that acted as musical and rhetorical elements in their own right. Plank used radical combinations of echo, reverberation and other electronic, mixing, equalisation, editing and tape-based effects and was influenced by the work of Jamaican pioneers like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. It is said that he has been a key influence on producers and artists such as Brian Eno, David Bowie and John Lydon.
Thanks to the good Doctor Rob for compiling.
February 21, 2011
We decided (well Dr Rob did) that Adrian Sherwood has too much good music to only do one compilation dedicated to him so here we go again. Round 2 and with a special funk reprise to boot. He really is flipping amazing on that desk. Hope to get up the road and interview him at some point. Next up if our mate Pete gets round to it is Lee Perry.
Thanks to the good Doctor Rob for taking the time to compile.
November 22, 2010
I should really have got Dr Rob to write the introduction to this compilation as he took care of the tracklisting but I forgot to ask so here I go. If I had to pick my favourite record label there would be no doubt it would be Island Records. The breadth of the music, the Compass Point years, the logo and the sleeves – all made with the utmost care.
When Chris Blackwell was at the helm of Island Records the music always seemed to come first. Not only did he own and run the label and have the common sense to sign the right artists (or employ people with great ears such as Muff Winwood and Joe Boyd to do it for him), he also often produced the albums – rounding up groups of complimentary musicians, producers and engineers, and leaving them to get on with the job. He knew exactly where to take Grace Jones when she was a down and out disco queen, and not only trusted Bob Marley with a wedge of money to go and record an album (unheard of in Jamaica at that time) but also knew exactly what was required to take him from the streets of Kingston to the rest of the world. He also gave the world U2 but we’ll forgive him that one for now.
If you feel like exploring further and want to start with one Island album then my current suggestion (especially with winter arriving fast) would be the deluxe edition of John Martyn’s ‘One World’, worth buying for the instrumental of ‘Small Hours’ (as well as the two tracks featured here). That track just about sums the label up. According to the sleeve notes they were high, it was recorded across a lake at 3 a.m (listen carefully and you can hear the animals) and Steve Winwood was in support on the Moog. Class.
Thanks to Tim H for the Winwood, Martyn’s ‘Blackman At Your Shoulder’ and the B52s.
September 19, 2010
Tony Thorpe, one of the UK’s finest dance producers, steps up to the plate (well Dr Rob does it for him), with a selection of his finest productions to date. From raw house (‘Koro Koro’ is still sounding incredible) to the KLF and some rude boy business. He’s massively underrated, so here we go with some Tony Thorpe specials to try and readdress the balance.
July 28, 2010
Neil Fraser, a.k.a The Mad Professor is one of the finest dub producers in the game. Nicknamed Mad Professor as a boy due to his fascination with electronics, he was originally born in Guyana and emigrated to London aged 13. His mix of synths and dub has created his particular take on the sound. If you didn’t hear the Mad Professor’s podcasts for Fabric take a listen (number 24 and 25 here). He gently talks you through the link between soul and dub in the first one and then brings it all up to date with his work with Dennis Bovell in the second. So, here Dr Rob steps up to the plate to pull out his favourite Mad Professor moments. Dubwise.
June 18, 2010
William Orbit is someone both myself and Phil Mison had the pleasure of working with in the mid-90s. William didn’t really know what to do so it was off to Fat Cat (London record store) with a wad of his money and a load of new records were bought. It was an exciting and eclectic time with loads of slow instrumental stuff coming out. 4/4 had been around for a while so this all seemed fresh to jaded ears. One of the record I remember getting was that first Kruder & Dorfmeister twelve with them parodying Simon & Garfunkel on the sleeve. We later got them to mix ‘Million Town’. I also remember having the great pleasure of listening to him record the mournful ‘Adagio For Strings’, (later tranced up) which after eight hours turned into one of the most depressing days of my life.
William was enjoying the studio. Running a mix down, and using a mixing desk, seems to be something that seems to have been lost in these days of automated music but William ran it like crazy. I like to think Adrian Sherwood does the same on a mix. Watching him work that was one of the greatest things I have seen in a studio. Running delays, dropping tracks in and out, and bouncing it all down to decide later which parts to use.
He’s done his thing now producing Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ but there was a time when William had a habit of making ridiculous music by accident. His mix of ‘Zobi La Mouche’ (borrowed by Oakenfold for his mix of Happy Mondays ‘W.F.L’) was a killer with a hard bottom end whilst ‘Via Caliente’ shows Orbit in full balearic mode. He is, on top of it all, a great musician and guitarist. William Orbit was class. I hope he picks up the acoustic guitar and hits record soon.
Thanks to Dr Rob for compiling a nice broad selection from the acoustic to the tough. Tim – time for some Carl Craig.