Etch Gems 01 : DJ Spooky – Songs Of A Dead Dreamer

11 Feb

ImageSo I haven’t posted on here in quite a long time, for various reasons (the main being I forgot my password), In recent time i’ve been sitting on public transport, trains, coaches, more and more often listening to music and writing loops and rough drafts of tunes to work on later, but between that I’ve also been writing a few little bits on some of my most inspiring, important and generally underrated albums/ep’s/12s etc… I’m gunna start uploading a few to here instead of letting them go to waste.

I first heard this album when I came home from a club at about 7am one time while I was in my first year of college. In that year me and my mates would go to a club in Brighton called concorde2 with extremely shoddy fake ID’s (0’s on our passports taped over the 2 in 1992 or 1991, our year of birth) which somehow seemed to work flawlessly. And typically at the end of the night I’d walk all the way back to my house, roughly 4-5miles out of Brighton, taking shortcuts through cowfields and such, they were pretty profound experiences as the sun was rising. So anyway I got back home with the average comedown, couldn’t get to sleep but was really tired but also pretty relaxed, so to kill some time I went and got lost in the internet looking for new music, links lead to links lead to URL’s lead to dodgy Russian sites (this must’ve been around 2007/8) and I stumbled on this, I’d heard of DJ Spooky before via his tune “B-Side Wins Again” being featured on the soundtrack to Need For Speed : Most Wanted (I think), but it was nothing quite like this.

An extremely hazy mish-mash of dub, hip hop, musique concrete and trip hop, I hadn’t heard anything quite like it. Obviously white noise could have sounded profound to me in that state of mind, but I kept coming back to this album and to this day it doesn’t feel one bit aged. DJ Spooky was a leading light in the long forgotten, little know New York Illbient scene. Spooky himself jokingly described it as “UK Ambient going to school and getting shot”, fusing the deepest darkest corners of Dub with the crusty darkness of hardcore Hip Hop. I feel it was probably overshadowed quite a lot by trip hop that was big at the time, this album itself came out in 1996, amidst critically huge albums from the likes of Portishead, Sneaker Pimps and Massive Attack to name a few. Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky (That Subliminal Kid) named after a character from a William Boroughs story, was onto something special, his future albums Riddim Warfare and Drums Of Death were also prime examples of these fused sounds, however none quite reached the mysterious, floaty realms of Songs Of A Dead Dreamer. It’s tracks were featured extensively in hip hop classic, a film titled ‘Slam’ which came out in 1998, starring Saul Williams (another guy who’s music is well worth checking out, particularly The Inevitible Rise & Liberation Of Niggy Tardust!) as a young MC sent down when his drug dealer is gunned down, he then rises the ranks in the prison as the best rapper in there. Despite it’s pitfalls the film is a brilliant visual embodiment of the sounds DJ Spooky creates.

For those interested in Illibient and DJ Spooky as a whole you should check the compilation album released on Asphodel called “Incursions In Illbient” feat. tunes from DJ Spooky, The Ummix and a few others. Also DJ Spooky’s entire discography is crazy, he’s also a lecturer now i believe? at some university in the US, pretty sure he’s also released a few books on philosophy and science fiction.

I’ll be writing in here a bit more often now, got a few more of these backed up to put on here too very soon. Hope it’s opened a few peoples eyes to some good new music!!


New track up – Where Were U In ’94?

17 Mar

Where Were U In ’94?

New beat, taking it back a bit, straight jungle vibes, crackly warm synths and crunchy chopped up breaks with some classic sample pack female vocals.  Also drop it down to dubstep in the middle. All about the 140 jungle.

Eyes Down March 31st – Blue Daisy, Whistla & Etch

1 Mar



The Lineage Project

23 Feb

You may have seen quite some posts back a huge post on the topic of oldskool breakbeat hardcore, jungle and rave. Declaring my love for it and labels such as Basement, Moving Shadow, Reinforced and Metalheadz. I find that modern music is always looking backwards to go forwards, almost as if we have used up everything (despite what Zomby may say about him being a god amongst men and the future of music, being completely “original”) Recently music has been looking back to garage, techno and classic house. But it seems that rarely does a musician take styles from the 1992-1994 golden age of breakbeat hardcore and also early jungle, there are a few bringing that vibe forth such as Lone and Machinedrum, however I still feel it to be extremely overlooked.

Despite taking my primary influence from Garage and Dubstep, this music has such a strong place in my heart and mind for how i piece together music and program my synths, so I have set it upon myself to create a series of remixes of classic tunes that I love from 1990-1996. Titled Lineage as I will be incorporating elements of every facet of UK dance music into the tunes from garage, house, dubstep, garage, jungle and breakbeat. So far I have begun work on remixes of:

  • Photek – The Rain
  • Aquasky – Cosmic Glue
  • Pin-Up Girls – Take Me Away
  • The Prodigy – Your Love
  • DJ Die – Reincarnation

With a lot more ideas in my head I think this will equal to a small albums worth of music which I will release for “PAY AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE” (worth a try), for now I’ve got two little snippets of the first mentioned tunes in that list.

01 – Aquasky – Cosmic Glue (Etch Grey SE10 Remix)

02 – Photek – The Rain (Etch Reflected Remix)

The first is one of my fav Jungle tunes of all time. Released on the legendary Moving Shadow way back in 1996, I sampled the original piano/pad samples then built around it with vocals, my own beats and some layered breakbeats in the vain of that lost slap and dash art of DIY rave.

The second is a Photek classic from the Natural Born Killa EP released on Metalheadz in 1994, Photek was always years ahead of his time with his complex drum programming and coldly executed razor edge perfect production. Again I sampled the single hit pads and effects featured on the intro and through out the tune then layered my drums, breakbeats and sub on the top.

Keep your eyes out, this is probs my most heartfelt project yet!!
Oh and here are the originals:

New Beat From Me – Tek-9

15 Feb

Etch – Tek-9 (Version01)

Made over about a week on and off. Recycling some of the sounds used in my previous tune “Consolidate”, tried to get a deep hardcore tinged garage vibe, some of my most complex beat work to date I think. Cut some evil slowed down vocal out of Wu-Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M. Version02 is a little mellower, nearly finished, should be upped in about a week

Recent Listenings…

14 Feb

Been a while since I updated this place, been absolutely swamped out with work at uni and been trying to get my producing head on a little bit more too (some clips to come soon), so I realize the “Tune Of The Week” idea is a bit distant at the moment; so I’ll just whack up what I been listening to recently:

DJ Die – Reincarnations

Big up Dan Barker-Wyatt for showing me this, excellent example of the Full Cycle sound in the mid-ninetees when Jungle was slowly turning into a darker, sleeker beast altogether. Reincarnations is an excellent example of the mannerisms of jungle being stripped back into a hazy smoke filled minimal bubble


Dismantle – Times Up

It’s fantastic when people you know really make tunes that turn your head. Will Knighton’s beastly UFO dubstep roller is exactly what I look for in the now extremely fragmented sound that was once dubstep. Dark vibes and weight. Big up William, taking over the world as we speak.


Mickey Pearce – Don’t Ask Don’t Get

Swamp81 raising the bar as usual for forward thinking mutations in bass music. Mickey Pearce (formally Shortstuff of the Blunted Robots) creates something that you literally cannot pin down in definition, but whatever it is, it’s fucking amazing.


Burial – Kindred

Yep. It’s here, Burial’s Kindred EP, seemingly to make up the 2nd part of his 3rd album (at least this is what I assume as Street Halo was released with Kindred on CD together in Japan), I could rant for ages about how sublime this new EP is (and in my eyes shitting all over Street Halo) but I don’t think I need to, we all know everything Burial touches turns to gold and that’s not just hype-mongering. My fav cut from the EP is definitely Kindred, the opening chords/pad/strings and choir vocal sample all together hitting a strange ethereal note sends a shiver down my spine, and the percussion as always is spot on. And the fact it’s over 11mins long just adds to the epicness of it all. Big up Burial, as always.


Skanna – Find Me

Found this in an untouched section in a mass of vinyl rips from my uncles hard drive i got years ago recently, I dunno why I never stumbled across it before and it seems just as I found it FACTmag did a lil’ article on one of Skanna’s EP’s which you can read here. Skanna provides exactly for what I look for in the magic years between 1991-1994 when acid house became breakbeat hardcore which became jungle. Smooth vibes and rolling drums and a prevalent sub. Skanna is probably one of the most underrated producers from the era. Need to start collecting all the bits he produced before producing wank trance as Quivver.

Hauntology, Ghost Box, Paganism and British Folklore

22 Jan

An unusual post from me. But it’s something I feel I had to vent in to some sort of research based blog post. I often find myself falling endlessly into researching things I don’t even actually care that much about on the internet from the golden ratio found in the structure of the Amen Break to the true nature of DMT. Pointless I know. But one thing that always keeps playing on the back of my mind is the audio visual prowess of musicians such as Moon Wiring Club, Boards Of Canada, The Focus Group & Broadcast etc….

While not necessarily being linked in many ways, they all share a continuous deeply rooted vibe of English folklore and nostalgia. I can’t quite put my finger on how or why their harmonics (or inharmonics) trigger this sense of perception in me, or others for that matter. I know when listening to Geogaddi all that goes through my head is 1973’s The Wicker Man and obscure little villages embedded in the hilly countryside of Devon and Cornwall.

I often talk about the importance of british culture and urban lifestyles in modern day dance music. But this is a lot more deeply rooted than that. Despite only being 19, I can feel the sounds within these artists music taking me back to another place in time. Let’s take a look at The Focus Group first. Head of obscure record label Ghost Box Julian House aka The Focus Group is known for his mind melting psychadelic explorations into sound design. Creating what is quoted as being “pure nostalgic” music, welded together though bits and pieces of samples of old 1970’s TV shows, library sounds and public education video tapes shown in schools throughout the mid to late 1900’s and vintage electronics the BBC Radiophonic Workshop way. The Focus Group also recently worked with Warp act Broadcast on a mini album of half songs and sound collage oddities called “Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age”, a key album in what I’m trying to convey through this post. Musicians that really interest me are those that create a sound that is almost inseparable from location’s I’ve visited or those I haven’t but have a pre-determined knowledge of. While Burial creates a sound specified to inner city London, The Focus Group fills me with images of the Great British countryside in Autumn. Or even the psychadelic whirlwind of the UK in the summer of love in the 1960’s. Eitherway, the journey this music takes me on is enjoyable.

I’ll spare you my gushing love and respect for Boards Of Canada, If you don’t know who Boards Of Canada are you have probably been in Fritzl’s basement since birth. But I’ll say this. They are probably one of the most unique musicians to come out of electronic music and spawned a generation of copycats that can’t even touch their sound. But they have disappeared into obscurity since around 2009. Fingers crossed they make a comeback. They fit in with this post because similarly to The Focus Group, have a penchant for crafting sounds that spark an overwhelming sense of place in the countryside and a feeling of nostalgia. As well as their sound, Boards Of Canada are surrounded with so much superstition and curiosity that it adds to the feeling and haunting vibe of their sound. Based in a remote part of the Scottish countryside, rarely playing live shows and rumored to throw strange outdoor parties for themselves and the rest of their “Hexagon Sun Collective”, they are indeed an enigmatic pair. Fusing samples of 1970’s Boards Of Canada public notification videos, old television, dusty drum machines and analogue synths they create a sound so specific to themselves, they are irreplaceable.

Next up we have The Moon Wiring Club. It’s got to be said, I don’t know much about this guy, other than that he produces some extremely moving music and soundscapes. you can read a bit more about him here and listen to his mix on factmag. Similarly to the others, he produces a sound so specific to old England and creates the eerie nostalgic warmth of early explorations into electronic music through early analogue synthesis and tape experimentation.

“MWC is the alter ego of Ian Hodgson, and English eccentric in the grand tradition. Since 2007 he’s been delighting and occasionally confounding with his prolific output, graduating from hand-assembled CD-Rs to increasingly lavish vinyl and CD editions; his most recent full-length offering is the terrific Clutch It Like A Gonk.

Every Moon Wiring Club release tells a story, and each one is populated by characters from Clinksell, an imaginary community inspired by oneiric fragments of 1970s TV and VHS obscurities, the occult, steampunk, vaudeville, dated board games, weird children’s books and refracted memories of Peak District villages. Hodgson brings Clinksell to life through his own illustrations, which adorn every release and have become synonymous with the bewitching music contained within.”

– Fact Mag

But what category do we fit all this amazing music into? I wish it were as easy as to say it was just “Electronic Music”, but these days there is a name for everything, and to call it electronic music would be ignorant of what it really is, could you honestly categorize this stuff alongside Skrillex or Venetian Snares? I mean it is all electronic music after all?

Some people are calling it Hauntology. Relating back to some sort of philosophy inspired by Karl Marx, which I actually do not understand in the slightest. Hauntology does pretty much what it says on the tin. Eerie sounds that are not neccesarily what one would classify as music in it’s traditional sense, but capable plunging the brain into depths of feeling. I’ll spare explaining it myself. You can find a deeper explanation of this here.

And that is it. A rather constructive end to an otherwise pointless day of playing Worms: Armageddon and Tekken in my rather dull student house. Hope people read this and learn something