DJ Die

Music Box by Roni Size and DJ Die from 1996. How bad is this tune? Rare groove meets rolling breakbeat. DJ Die's one of my favouritest producers EVER. It's A Jazz Thing, with Roni Size also is a seminal jungle cut, while track such as Autumn and Jittabug are stone cold classics too. Die's has been working on his new label and producing Ben Westbeech's gorgeous soul and rinsing d&b with Clipz. Here's an interview I did with Die that appeared in Newcastle Metro on Friday.

5 Questions for DJ Die

Producer/DJ Die (Daniel Kausman), pioneered jungle/d'n'b with Bristol's Full Cycle crew (Roni Size, Krust) and was an integral member of Mercury Prize-winning Reprazent before forming punk-d'n'b band Breakbeat Era (XL). In recent times he's produced Ben Westbeech (signed to Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings) and this year started his own label, Clear Skyz

Did you take a break from producing d'n'b?
I've not put out as much music as i did a few years back but I'm always producing beats: hip hop, funk, soul, house, disco and off key stuff. You can get stuck in a rut but if you make different types of music it keeps it interesting and helps with my inspiration for d'n'b. I worked with Ben Westbeech on his album and we've also done a few hip hop tracks that we're looking to put out.

How's the release schedule looking for Clear Skyz?
Things are looking good. The next release is a Die/Clipz collaboration Indian Summer, then there are tracks I've done with Break, another with Lenny Laws from Breakbeat Era, and my own tracks are going to make an appearance too. My initial aim is to put out four singles a year and keep the quality control high. There are also going to be exclusives available on www.clearskyz.co.uk

Are you surprised there haven't been more d'n'b bands after Reprazent, and Breakbeat Era?
I don't know why there aren't more live acts in d'n'b. Maybe because you need to have a big budget to go on tour as so many people are involved: band, tour manager, mixing engineer, monitor man, lighting man, roadies. D'n'b's mainly independently run and hasn't got the resources.

Rave is currently enjoying a renaissance. Will the same happen with jungle?
It already is, let's not forget that a lot of old school jungle is rave/old school hardcore. I recently played a old school jungle set at a Hospitality gig in Bristol and it was a new school crowd. You could tell that they had never heard alot of what I was playing but they were loving it.

You were a keen skateboarder do you still indulge?
Yeah I live two minutes from a skate park and I'm friends with Danny Wainright and the 50/50 crew in Bristol. I'm not out as much as i was when i was 25 but I'll be out come summer time. I will always have a skateboard state of mind just these days i have a record label to run too.


Hip hop ya don't stop

Boy are London hip hop headz being spoilt or what? And mainly thanks to the Loosechange crew (Mos Def, Krush, Mef'n'Red). Rob Waller big up.


Hip hop dates for the diary

Considering Dan Greenpeace is the man who spotted and backed Sway WAAAAAAAAY back when, this promises to be large.

Kashmere's the most abstract, evocative MC we've got. The UK MF Doom. Can't wait to see him live.

Mef'n'Red - important announcement

This just popped into my inbox. Grrrr!

Due to unfortunate family circumstances Method Man has had to reschedule the UK Method Man & Redman shows by a couple of weeks. The new dates are 15 April in London (Shepherds Bush Empire), 16 April in Bristol Academy (the final UK date in Glasgow is just in the process of confirmation)

Whilst it is disappointing having to wait a little longer we wish Meth and Red well and are counting the days until what will surely be the best live hip hop shows of the 2008!

All tickets for this weeks shows are valid at the new dates (ticket buyers have been contacted through normal outlets).


tehn with two fifty six from tehn on Vimeo.

That there technology is amazing. Cheers to Flying Lotus for the heads up. Look out for the sublime electronic hip hop head at Plastic People on Wednesday, playing alongside Kode9 (who smashed it at the Warehouse Project, Manchester last Thursday), after Mef'n'Red at Shepherds Bush Empire: Wednesday promises to be a BIG night of fabulous music.


Meth & Red - next week

There can't be a hip hop head in the UK that doesn't know about this date. Nevertheless, here's the lowdown. There's a couple hundred tix left for London. See you down the front. Here be da official press release

Soundcrash presents…
The Bristol Academy, 25 March 2008
The Shepherd's Bush Empire, 26 March 2008
The Glasgow Academy, 29 March 2008

Hahaha! – What do you want to hear? It's all true peeps and it's all good.

On the one hand we got Johnny Blaze, The Ticallion Stallion, founder member of the Wu-Tang Clan and Multi-talented, Multi-Platinum selling artist in his own right, METHOD MAN. And on the other we've got Reggie Noble AKA The Funk Doctor Spock AKA Redman, Brick City's finest coming straight out of Noo, Noo Jersey... Between them creators of one of the coolest hip hop albums of all time, and they're coming to the UK for a series of shows… All live all the way.

Yeah, you know it, these are guys you'd throw your own brother out of an airplane to go see individually, let alone together. But this is a Soundcrash production and as they're the ultimate tag-team, you've not only got a Redman solo spot before the main Method Man show, but you'll also get them both kicking it in true Meth & Red, Blackout style. How High? 2 of the world's best mc's sharing the stage. How Sick? THE greatest hip hop shows of the 2008!

With some very special support acts lined up, tickets are bound to go like hot cracks for this one so GET IN EARLY or don't get in at all!

With early rumours of buses being appropriated from all corners of the land to get you to these awesome shows there's really no excuses……Get Involved!


Hip house - Don't call it a comeback

Youtube absolutely rocks for digging out classic videos and tracks, like this. Here's a START HERE piece I did for Metro looking at the history of hip-house. Really it's just an excuse to dig out loads of brilliant videos.


Hip house: Jungle Brothers: I’ll House You (1988)

In late-1980s New York two of modern music’s most influential movements, house and hip-hop had emerged from seedy clubs and block parties, and began cross-fertilising.

Debate rages over what was the first record to splice hip hop with house but the first hip-house smash hit was undoubtedly the Afro-centric, conscious rap trio Jungle Brothers, I’ll House You – produced by house pioneer Todd Terry aka Todd The God.

Like plenty of early house I’ll House You is a looped, stuttering drum track brought to life with swirling samples (sirens, disco divas screaming), effects (acid stabs, DJ Sammy B’s scratching) but the icing on the proverbial cake is Baby Bam and Mikey G’s rhythmic, party incantations – ‘jump, jump’ ‘house music all night long’ and of course, ‘I’ll House You’.

Jaunty, playful and sing-a-long, I’ll House You elicits the same dancefloor reaction 20 years on – pandemonium and breathless comedy dancing (the running man). And just as early house and rave is enjoying a renaissance there are hints of a hip-house revival, with Wiley’s current electro-house-rave-grime anthem Wearing My Rolex, a convincing case in point.

Next stop: Rob Base/EZ Rock – It Takes Two, Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam, Nomad – Devotion, KLF - What Time Is Love?, Snap – The Power, Wiley – Wearing My Rolex


Nomad - perhaps this is the ultimate hip house track for marrying hands in the air, spine tingling house to rap. Check the references to Maggie Thatcher also...

Finally... Best til last? Snap... I'm the lyrical Jesse James. Heavy.

Santogold - LES Artistes

New official video to Santogold's LES Artists. Her LP's coming in May...


Skepta - Newcastle tonight!

My preview for of Skepta's appearance in Newcastle tonight at Grime On The Tyne at Stereo, for Newcastle Metro. This follows Wiley appearing in Newcastle within the last couple of weeks too. Whether the mainstream press likes grime or not it's here to stay and not just a London ting.



Skepta (aka Joseph Junior Adenuga) is slicker than your average grime MC: one of his biggest hits is Sweet Mother a gushing tribute to his mum set to Nigerian high-life, and he also featured in politics weekly The New Statesman, imploring the government to make asthma inhalers available over the counter.

Skepta does all that’s expected of grime MCs, he’s bullishly cocky (debut LP is titled Greatest Hits) has a fierce venomous flow yet has the maturity to deliver more meaningful, conscious rap (Blood Sweat and Tears highlights the struggle and sacrifices of the parents of a generation of adolescents killing each other with guns and knives).

Skepta is one third of Boy Better Know (featuring his supremely talented younger brother JME and grime godfather Wiley), who are without doubt grime’s leading live outfit. Individually and collectively, their performances are honed to the extent where they can tear up Aya Napa garage clubs, dubstep and grime nights, mainstream events including Fabric (last Friday) or Peaches Geldof’s birthday party, indie-discos PAs, or warehouse raves. Whether it’s gigs, clothing (selling BBK t-shirts via eBay), or mixtapes, BBK’s hunger and zeal is admirable.

There’s no question that grime’s best sampled live with a baying audience feeding off 16-bar rap explosions and spurring MCs greater heights: in the flesh it’s a High Definition, Dolby stereo surround sound experience, while on CD it’s black and white TV. There couldn’t be a better boy than the larger-than-life Skepta to bring it to vivid life.


London is the place for me - Lord Kitchener

Forget the video, listen to the soundtrack. Fantastic tune - thanks to DJ Yoda who closes his FabricLive 39 with this track. It's a great mix, and nothing less than you would expect from the master DJ.

African Beats on tour from tonight

Further proof that world music's running tings in 2008


DMZ - 'appy birthday

Forgive my lateness in posting anything. Last week was manic, to say the least. It might have been a week ago (a lifetime in blogging terms), but I had to say a few words about DMZ.

For me, it is the best club night in the capital at the moment and this is an opinion I've had since setting foot in DMZ at Mass around two years ago - it reminds me of being at Metalheadz at Bluenote in 1995, with totally new music being born before your ears and everyone in the club knows it and appreciates it.

The one key difference is DMZ has this roots reggae 'one love', 'everyone welcome' vibe and that's down to the personalities of Mala, Loefah, Coki and Seargant Pokes. It gives it this spiritual dimension, and that's been confirmed by a couple of hippy-ish mates from Birmingham who have made the effort to come to the night, despite not being dubstep fans.

Unsurprisingly the third birthday was roadblock: I met Markle and half of dubstep forum down the Effra pub (best pub in Brixton before the best night in London), including one cheeky chappie who reckoned his fave buzz is booze plus valium so you feel wobbly on the inside and get maximum effect when those monstrous wobbly basslines hit. I like his logic.

Nevertheless, I don't understand queuing up for the club at like 915pm. We queued for 80minutes and were still an hour off getting in, before I spotted Loefah and did the guest list thing (I didn't do it straight off coz it was so bloody early, there was no clip board person). So I was in there and having it by 10.30pm - very bizarre - and enjoying the extra sound as Pinch and Cyrus and then Distance and Goth Trad (scary), went back to back.

Removing the screen from the DJ booth really opened it up and emphasized the all-inclusive vibe. It's the details, I tell ya.

I don't usually get to a rave til midnight/1am so it was weird, but DMZ is social as hell and I met dubsteppers from America, Finland and Amsterdam. I guess that's a key difference between Web 2.0 raving and mid-1990s raving when peeps largely kept themselves to themselves - being social wasn't cool, everyone was skunked out or pilled up and often in their own world, and we didn't have forums to virtually chat and befriend likeminded peeps, and then actually meet up.

Mala's records got left in Norway apparently - airline fuck up... hopefully he's got them back - and he was naturally devastated as he'd been saving some dubs for the occasion. Highlights are hazy - Joe Nice playing I Want To Sex You Up by Color Me Badd (sic), and plenty of 'woah, woah, woah', 'yeah, yeah, yeahs' from Pokes.

As Markle observed if you were to have dropped a bomb on Mass that night, dubstep would be no more, coz just about the entire scene was there.

I'll be glad when DMZ returns to normal and I can get my skank on in peace, with my partner in crime, Ravos, who was sorely missed and perhaps we'll be able to enjoy that valium/booze buzz :-0)

PS: I logged onto dubstepforum on the Sunday evening after the night before and was staggered to find a 20 page thread on the night. That's a 20 page thread less than 24 hours after the event. Without sounding like a corny, gushing wanker - I'm a cynical journalist with a 16 year raving career after all - there's ALOT of love in, and for, DMZ. Big up Mala, Loefah, Coki, Pokes and all the crew, including the lovely, welcoming, smiley ladies who man - surely that should be woman? but that's the sexist english language for you - the cash til and who tell me off for not mentioning Pokes in my Metro previews.


Sound Of Kuduro - Global ghetto sounds are taking over

How BAD is this?! Love it. Whether it's baile funk or grime's revival, this shit is taking over: real, meaningful, rowdy, life-affirming music.


Double S - From Day

Double S' single From Day - a taster of Eye Of The Tiger Volume 2 by the much respected True Tiger camp, and Double S forthcoming mixtape Monies [sic] The Motive - sorry to be a pedant but that should be Money's The Motive, I'm a stickler for punctuation, spelling and apostrophes, that's why I do what I do - out on Always Recording. Like Chipmunk (who he records with) Double S is another ridiculously young (17), talented MC. Big up Stanza for the link.

Wot Do U Call It? dubstep? house? techno? garage? funky?

A jellyfish with damn good taste in music has a dance and a prance to dubstep in the official video to Benga & Coki's Night - the biggest tune in clubland over the last six months. Wot do u call it? Dubstep, house, techno, garage or funky? Answers on a postcard please. Here's my review of Benga's LP that should be in today's Metro.


Benga: Diary Of An Afro Warrior

Benga is the king of explosive, energy-packed dubstep (or ‘bangers’ as he calls them) however he quickly breaks the shackles that might constrain the 22-year-old-Croydonite to an LP of club music, with dreamy opener Zero M2, although its wind chime like jangling cymbals eventually give way to suffocating sub bass. Despite Diary…’s dislocated, drifting feel, Benga’s dancefloor disciples won’t be disappointed as rough and ready anthems Crunked Up and 26 Basslines, which sounds like 26 shiny pin balls careering around a pinball machine, appear. However the cascading techno-house bleeps of Night - dubstep’s most whistleable (and biggest crossover) track to date – reveal what Benga’s about as he sucks electro, Detroit techno, bleeps, jazzy melodies, and moody chords into a vortex of dynamic bass while intricate, unexpected beat patterns, tempo shifts and key changes cast a hypnotic spell.