Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sunship on Ministry of Sound's Essential Garage show

Headliners at our next Days Like That rave, Sunship were this week's guests on the natty Ministry Of Sound Essential Garage show. There's nuff exclusives and upfront remixes from the men themselves, some proper vintage gear from Tuff Jam, Todd Edwards and Dem 2. There's also Rusko's future garage-styled 'Hold On' what we featured on the blog last week. Basically, it's the bollocks. So stream it here.

Essential Garage : 28th June 2010 : Sunship

01 : Macy Gray - Lately (Sunship Remix)
02 : Groove Control - Beautiful(Tuff Jam Unda-vybe Mix)
03 : Songstress - Seeline woman (Todd Edwards Mix)
04 : Party Hard - Let's Go(Sunship vs Chunky Mix)
05 : New Horizons - Find The Path (Tuff Jam Mix)
06 : Dem 2 - Desire
07 : D-note - Say What You Want (Sunship Mix)
08 : Jodeci - Freak 'n' You (MK Mix)
09 : Reach and Spin - Hyper
10 : Cock And Bull Kid - Misery (Sunship Dub)
11 : Hackney Soldiers - Hold Tight
12 : Sunship ft Charlise- 4u4me
13 : DJ Deller-Romantic Call
14 : Shut Up & Dance - Moving Up
15 : Youngsta - True VIP
16 : Untitled - Untitled
17 : Rusko - Hold On ft. Amber Coffman
18 : Sovereign - Chi Ching
19 : Sunship - Love Suicide ft. Robbie Craig
20 : Sunship - Saturday ft. Buzzkat

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Rusko on a future garage tip

Nice little summer two-steppa from dubstep-not-dubstep don Rusko. It's off his recent album 'O.M.G.' and definitely captures the sweet sunny vibes of classic vocal two-step with a future flex - and even some tranced-out synth action towards the end. And good to see Rusko still reaches back to his UK roots now he's a celebrated LA-living studio badman - producing for M.I.A. and Britney Spears.

Sentinels Interview

We don't know much about Sentinels, but what we do know is this. They are influenced by a decade of listening to pirate radio stations in London. They make deep, futuristic but fun synth-lead two-step, neon grime badness and future garage. They hate souless wobble music. And their bright rave-steppa 'Love Rhythm' is the freshest, bounciest blast of future two-step we've heard all year - when Whista dropped it at last month's Swivel party it sent us running to the decks in that classic open-mouthed 'what THE FUCK is THIS? stylee within the first 6 bars. Oh and Garage God Todd Edwards is a fan and inlcuded said track on his recent podcast for ultra-hip US mag XLR8.  Prop and plays from one of.... actually, fuck it, THE garage scene's biggest legends? It's definitely a good look. So basically, we don't know much about Sentiels, but everything we do know - and have heard - from them points to big tings for this mysterious production force. We thought it was time to get to know more, so we hooked up with James from Sentinels to get the low down.

DLT: First up, who are you and where are you from? What's the story behind the Sentinels name?

J: We are Sentinels, from North and North-West London, Finchley and Edgeware area. There are two of us James and Steve. I (James) take on engineering duties and online stuff and Steve does more of the DJ side of things and also does production. The name came about after driving around and seeing a sign on the road. I think it was for a house building company strangely! It made me think of the X-Men bad-guys and when I got home and looked the meaning up it felt right. It means 'watcher' and a sentinel was a type of Roman guard. I like the idea of the music being influenced from standing back watching things, like people, places and the motion of our city, London.

DLT: You describe your sound as inspired by a decade of listening to pirate radios in London. What were your earliest musical influences on the underground side of things?

J: We went to the same school together and both seriously got into UK Garage. Lush FM was an important station where DJ Luck and MC Neat were residents, Heartless Crew, DJ EZ and the like were all massively important. Getting decks and having banter on the mic was an essential part of growing up for us. Later Steve got into drum & bass and I went down the dark garage, grime and dubstep route. Steve's come back round to the vibes again and I really can't stand the souless dubstep wobble thing anymore, not to say that loads of artists associated with dubstep aren't great. It feels closer to gabba than the Horsepower, Bias, Darqwan stuff that the name comes from. Luckily there is this new breed of garage coming through again and some fringe artists and labels keeping things exciting.

DLT: As well as classic hardcore, the biggest retro influence we can hear in Sentinels music is UK garage - what was your entry into the garage sound? Which producers inspired you early on?

J: It's funny that the classic hardcore thing gets mentioned coz at the time we made tunes like 'Love Rhythm' the genre wasn't at the forefront of our minds, but I understand the comparison. We both grew up exposed to hardcore, from tape-packs to DJs at youthclubs and leisure centres in our earlier years. On the garage side of things, I think a whole range of garage artists do it for us. A lot of what you support with your night crops up. Dem 2, anything 2-step on Locked On, MJ Cole has been consistent throughout the years. Artful Dodger are a bit of an obvious name to check, but they could handle the delicate swing of garage so, so well.

DLT: A lot of people seem to be reaching back to those times and they seem to have inspired so much that is relevant today - be it Burial, Ramadanman, UK Funky, Peugot adverts! What do you think the classic UK garage sound has that so many other genres or sub-styles don't? Do you think it got mistreated or, at least, misconstrued first time round?

J: I think that the two-step pattern allows so much scope to play with. The subtleties of shuffle itself is a whole world of exploration and then you have the delicate balance of light and dark, male and female that all the best rave music deals with equally. I think the genre got closed off to people the first time round due to the associations with rude-boys and violence but I feel there is unfinished business to be had with garage. I respect entirely the nostagia factor of garage of many producers, intentionally or unintentionally but our aim is to push things forward and look to the future. I think two-step will outlive this funky galloping beat pattern that is becoming cliche, I'm not hearing much of a development with it yet. There is not as much room to play.

DLT: How did you first get into production? Did you have a musical background from a young age?

J: Our story is the pretty standard one of getting decks, vinyl and then moving on the making beats on a PC with no formal training. We use Fruityloops and still do for the majority of our productions although Logic is getting used for more recording and mixing these days. I think the Fruityloops program itself doesn't get enough respect in the audiophile world, but so many of our more successful contemporaries use the program to make amazing tunes. I think JME, Skream, Ramadanman (if I am correct) all use the program and cook up such sick beats.

DLT: Where can people hear your releases? And what have you got coming up? Any interesting collabs or tings on the card?

J: We are pleased to announce our first release on L2S Recordings which will be 'Love Rhythm' and 'Synaesthesia' coming out over the summer. Look out for our mix I have done for the Fundamental Mixology series. We'd also like to start up a vinyl and digital label with Fundamental, I'd like to push colourful synth-lead two-step, there are not many labels putting it out yet and hopefully it will become a vessel for our productions.

DLT: What's your exact involvement with Fundamental?

J: I started the site a month ago because I felt there was a need for a garage portal on the net that covers the contemporary sound and there are a few of us involved now with the project. There is so much good garage coming out (and not coming out!) and there needs to be a channel for it all. I didn't want to just create another hype blog, but start a directory for newcomers to get to grips with all of the artists making two-step as well as provide up-to-date information to the more educated heads. There are a few artists and labels that get do great things for the scene that I support, but already get enough press coverage and net hype (say Hotflush or Hyperdub.) Fundamental is about those artists that fill in the gaps. Dark Sky or Submerse are perfect examples. We support all sides of two-step from artists like SBTRKT, XXXY and Pangaea to the future garage boys like Whistla, Night Audio and Fortified. Hopefully it can help the scene build and grow and get more respect from those not in the know yet.

DLT: Safe James, now for our DLT quick questions:
5 favourite garage tunes of all time?

J: Very tough... off the top of my head...

1. MAW feat India- To Be In Love (MJ Cole Remix)
2. Wookie- Battle
3. Dreem Team vs. Artful Dodger- It Ain't Enough
4. Nu Birth- Anytime
5. Colours- What U Do

DLT: 5 favourites tunes of all time?

J: See above. lol.

DLT: Best DJ moment to date?

J: Nothing yet under the Sentinels guise really. But we are ready for bookings!

DLT: Who's going to win the World Cup?

J: I'm starting to fancy Holland you know. I think that ex-colonial dutch thing could spur them on. Hopefully it will be England of course, I'm just a realist!

Thanks loads to Sentinels for their time and also their sick summertime mix which you can download here. Also be sure to check out the Sentinels own Soundcloud page to keep up to date with all their killer fresh beats.

Friday, 25 June 2010

DLT Mix 003: Sentinels

Summer, summer, summer time. North London production duo Sentinels drop our third Days Like That mix - a nostalgic 45 minute smash of sweet summer bangers, cheeky bass badness and classic two-step anthems. We'll have a full interview with the Sentinels boys, currently causing a rave ruckus with their future classic 'Love Rhythm', up on site next week too. For now download this badboy, slap it in your stereo and get the summer vibes flowing.


N'n'G- Right Before My Eyes (Remix)
Dream Team vs. Artful Dodger- It Ain't Enough
Reservoir Dogs feat 702.- You Don't Know
Amar- Sometimes It Snows In April
M.A.W feat. India- To Be In Love (MJ Cole Remix)
Cleptomatics- All I Do (Bump and Flex Club Mix)
Ed Case- Something In Your Eyes (K Warren Mix)
Some Treat- Lost In Vegas
Colours- What You Do
Sia- Little Man (Wookie Mix)
Azzido da Bass- Dooms Night (Timo Mass Remix)
Teebone feat Sparks and Kie- FLYBI
Sticky- Golly Gosh 2
Jameson- Urban Hero
TNT- Unique
Same People - Dangerous
Beatfreaks- Speakerbox
DJ Narrows- Saved Soul

"I did the mix using 2 CDJs and a Technic 1210 but all of the tunes were vinyl uploads or vinyl from our collection of UK Garage that we started a decade ago (I feel old saying that!) It starts with bumpy vocal two-step and goes a bit darker towards the end and ends up with the dark garage that preceeded the grime and dubstep era. Highlights for me are two of my favourite garage tunes of all time the MAW MJ Cole mix of 'To Be In Love' and Cleptomatics' 'All I Do', also I pulled out the old trick of mixing 'Flybi' into 'Dooms Night' which we always used to do back in the day haha! Wookie's remix of Sia's 'Little Man' is also a highlight. I really enjoyed it and I think it gave me a reminder of how decently produced most of the classic tunes are, the songcraft and sequencing of the tunes are sick. They may not be louder than say a modern fidget house tune, but there is a much greater dynamic in the mixes and everything on vinyl is generally much better mastered than most modern digital mp3s that float about. Truly days like that. Bring 'em back!"
James (Sentinels)

 Days Like That Mix 003 - Sentinels by Days Like That

Who remembers this one? 002: B15 Project feat. Crissy D & Lady G 'Girls Like Us'

Can you tell it's summer? Viiiiiiiiiiiibes!

Garage legend Todd Edwards gives away remixes on Soundcloud

Is there any garage head in this world than hasn't got love for US producer Todd Edwards? It's no overstatement to say that Todd Edwards is unanimously the biggest single influence across the garage sound. His mad scientist use of vocals and his ability to splice and dice them into seamless, otherworldly instruments of their own has been running like a constant grain throughout the whole evolution of UK garage - from Tuff Jam to Burial everyone owes a little to Todd The God. And somehow he's even more relevant than ever - headlining Fabric, remixing the biggest artists around and influencing a whole new wave of producers. We've even heard on the garage grapevine that he's putting a new mix album together for Ministry Of Sound.

But we digress. The real reason for this post is coz he's giving away a shit load of unreleased remixes on his Soundcloud right now. Yep, over 20 unreleased dubs, remixes and refits from a true master of the art just waiting for the taking. Props, indeed.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Who remembers this one? 001: Sunship 'In The Pocket'

Can you believe this track is over 10 years old? One of Sunship's less celebrated classics (for classic it definitely is), 'In The Pocket' was the opening track on their 1998 album 'Is This Real?' which, in our opinion, is pretty much the most underrated UK garage LP of all time. But that's another post altogether. As for 'In the Pocket'... it's everything we love about Sunship's sound. It's smooth, soulful, musical and slick, but also raw, bumping and - even listening today - futuristic at the same time; Noel McKoy's soulful tones bending blissfully across the bouncy steppa beats and almost-but-not-quite-rave stabs. The perfect summertime steppa - it's in the bounce!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

DLT Props 001: DJ Whistla

Like any music heads, there's a shit load of people out there that we think deserve more props than they get and seeing as we've got this (cyber)space at our disposal our 'props' series will be all about giving them to them - simple really, innit. We just want to put a little focus on the inspirational, the undercelebrated and the interesting heads both past and present -  be they DJs, producers, promoters, label owners or simply music enthusiasts. And our first subject - one DJ Whistla - fits easily into every one of those categories.

Both a serious connoisseur of the old school garage sound and a huge champion of the 'future garage' movement (it was arguably him that coined the term), Whistla is a man dedicated to reaching back to the true - and diverse - essence of UK garage and giving it the future he feels it never had first time round.

If we were talking about a less passionate being or a more jaded DJ, then it would be easy to take his often expansive 'future garage' ideas as little more than empty rhetoric or vacuous PR spin. But we're not. Unconcerned with hype, fads or ego, Whistla literally lives and breathes this sound. His DJ mixes online have revealed pages of garage history that we never really properly examined (check out his mix of underground legends KMA Productions here ), his L2S label gave the world a bountiful supply of quality modern garage before the sound had become en vogue once more and he's generally a top bloke; enthusiastic, unpretentious, impassioned and friendly. We're also pretty honoured to say he's been at every Days Like That so far - so double props for that one.

On paper, or screen to be more apt, the theoretical term 'future garage' is almost a contradiction in terms. And in many ways that's the beauty of the way Whistla executes it in practice. Listen to anything Whistla has his hand in and it's at once unmistakably classic in feel but futuristic in form. Ghosts of pirate stations past given a new lease of life, Whistla beats always take vintage, nostalgia-flooding garage - and rave - flavours into another dimension altogether without ever shape-shifting their essential form; the swing, the soul, the shuffle, the late-nights-driving-through-London, the renegade FM crackle and bittersweet optimism is always seeped into his sound.

The most recent - and arguably best - examples of this are the products of Whistla's four-track EP out next Monday on  L2S. A dubby soul drenched, rave-reflective garage track, 'Never Again'  has strains of classic Reinforced Records, Todd Edwards and Dem 2 mixing beautifully. Another 'ardkor rave meets bumping two-step garage (ravage anyone? maybe not!) 'London Love Story' is a ruder, more angsty affair, while 'No-One' is a dark string laden gem.  The fourth track 'Only Treasure' has more classic rave sounds, garage shuffles and a touch of vintage Horsepower to it - which is always a good thing. 

Anyway, if you're still wondering what the hell this 'future garage' thang is all about, then don't fret. Whistla did this pretty natty introductory mix last year which is below and there's also a wicked and highly insightful interview with legendary journalist Blackdown here. So that should get you clued up.

Whistla - Future Garage An Introduction by Whistla

Days Like That 6th August with Sunship, Dem 2, DJ Para and more

Ok, we're back. We've been keeping it on the low down for a while, London life has kept us on the grind, but we've got our next line-up locked and we're seriously hype about it. For any two-step or garage fan, our headliners Sunship should need little introduction. And, for us, they're the perfect booking. Tracks like 'Try Me Out'  are basically a two-step soundtrack to London summertime and feel-good 4/4 bumper 'Friendly Pressure' with Jhelisa always brings a smile. And anyone that can make a post-Artful Dodger-era Craig David sound THIS GOOD gets massive props in our book. Anyway, they'll be rocking a 90-minute set - serious!

After smashing up the floor with dangerous dubs and elusive exclusives, the legendary Dem 2 are now back as residents while our mainstay DJ Para (DEA Project) is a man on a mission thanks to his fast-rising Yosh! Records project - bringing garage back into the future. Love's True Flavour from kindred East London spirits Wifey teams up with our mysterious underground hero DJ Haus for a set of vintage garage influences - think MK, Todd Edwards and beyond. And resident MJE completes our bill. It's gonna be bad all day (and night). You know what to do. Facebook event is here. We're back on it now so hold tight for more mixes, interviews and news. And some serious Sunship appreciation posts.