This week’s Weekly Review of Dance Music is all about dance music reviews. I’m reviewing a recent night out I had at Fabric, I’m reviewing a new music production software called Ableton Live 8 and I’ll also be reviewing the new DJ Kicks album by Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb.
However, before I kick off this week’s weekly instalment I need to say a few words about the troubles that have rocked London, Birmingham, Manchester and Clapham over the last few days. WRDM is in no way affiliated with ANYONE involved in rioting. If I find out that ANYONE involved in looting shops and mugging people’s hard earned houses is reading/subscribing to this pile of shit I write EVERY WEEKEND I will personally lump hammer the fucker’s kidneys in, find out where their families be and do unto them as I have previously done unto you and then repeat it over and over and over again. I’m fucking serious about this. I do not tolerate violence or anti-social behaviour of ANY kind. This website is about peace, love, forgiveness, understanding and dance music.
Rant over. ;-)
I was at Club Fabric at the end of July to see my all time favourite DJ, Ricky V (otherwise know to his fans as Ricardo Villalobos). I’ve heard people say that RV is the only DJ who really knows what all the buttons do on the famous Fabric sound-system control decks. As this was my first time seeing him play live I was eager to see if the story was true. As soon as he played his first record, ‘Times R Hard’ (Knot Blog Vocal Dub) by Fighting Charity, I could tell that this mother fucker is a serious mother fucking DJ. He was playing around 130bpm to kick his set off so I knew that the next 2 hours were only going to get harder. Me and my mates were rubbing our hands together! After that he just played track after track of pure dance music. I spent the whole 2 hours sat at the back of the stage rubbing Ketamin into my gums – it was honestly one of the best sets I have ever heard a techno DJ play. I’m not sure what bpm he was up to by the end of his set but the lad I was sat next to said it was about 141.
I can’t talk about Fabric without mentioning the fantastic job the lighting guys do in Room 1. Throughout the night there were strobe lights and green lasers flashing to the beat. I’d even, if pushed, go as far as to say the famous Fabric strobe lights are just as important as the music insofar as and inasmuch as it could be stone silence in there on the dance floor but if the strobe lights keep on flashing then I can comfortably agree with myself when I say this that I would definitely still be tripping my head in with or without the music being played in Room 1, depending on who I was with and how fast the strobe light was flashing, beats or not.
After Ricky V finished his set we listened to a bit of Craig Richards before fucking off back to our flat in Muswell Hill for some afters. We played the Jacques Lu Cont Fabric CD, the Stacey Pullen one, the Andrew Weatherall one and then the Dave Clark Electro CD from World Service 1. I could talk about how good those four CDs are all day.
Ricardo Villalobos at Fabric = 10/10
I’ve recently bought myself a new laptop from Dixons. It’s a silver Sony Vaio, running XP on top of Wi-Fi. I’ve got Virgin broadband at home which I use for browsing the internet. Laptops are fucking brilliant – you can pretty much do anything you want on them. Now you can even make dance music! Ableton is a clever new company that has come up with software that allows you to produce dance music on laptops. It’s properly unbelievable stuff. A mate of mine who knows about this kind of stuff was telling me about it so I ‘Googled’ Ableton and went to buy a copy. The only negative aspect of Ableton Live 8 is the price. It is over £300. Nobody is going to pay that amount of money for software so I took another look at the price and ‘Googled’ some illegal copies.
Once I’d downloaded it to my laptop I was well impressed. The standard background colours are a classy mixture of grey and black; it really makes you feel like a proper DJ/producer. In the middle of the screen you have spaces to put instruments in – this is called ‘Session View’. Here you can adjust volume, fades and panning easily by moving the lines underneath each instrument. Instruments are in folders at the side of the screen – there are drum kits, synthesizers, pianos, pads and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Once you have your instruments in place you can start making dance music (another draw back is that you can’t change the standard 120bpm).
If you press TAB on your keyboard it takes you to the ‘Arrangement’ screen. This is where you can record what you’re playing through the instruments and arrange the track you’re working on. In this screen you can add effects like echos, beat repeat and reverb. The depth of stuff you can do in Ableton Live 8 is just fucking deep. You can drop the bass, cut the middle and lose all the treble if you want to. This piece of kit is only for the hard core music nerds.
I’m working on my first track on Ableton at the moment. It’s a 136 bpm banger called “Ecstasy World (Where I Wanna Be)”. Look out Top of the Pops!! LOL.
So, overall I would give Ableton Live 8 an 8/10
As you know, my main music is minimal techno. That is my bread and butter. What you fuckers didn’t know though is that I am also a massive gangster rap fan. Biggie Smalls is the illest.
So, what do you get if you mix minimal techno and gangster rap? Wolf + Lamb v Soul Clap DJ Kicks Volume 7 on the DJ Kicks label. This CD has kept me going over the summer. I probably listen to it 3 times a week. It starts off slow, gets a bit slower here and there and ends on a mid/slow house jam. Its about 90 minutes long and is mostly house.
What I like about Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb is that they play pop, rap and house all in one go, at the same time. NO ONE has ever done this before – which is why I find their whole shit so da bomb. Know what I mean? This is music you don’t have to triple-drop 4 or 5 pills to (which is why I doubt I’ll ever see them at Club Fabric). I’ve listened to this album in the back garden, in the living room, on my iPod on the tube, in my bedroom, I had it on when I had a bath last week, walking around the shops and I made my mate play it when I went round the other week but he didn’t like it.
The only draw back is the cover of the album; each member is CRYING. Not being funny, but if I had an album out like this I would not be crying. Really not sure why they let the photographer take that photo and then put it on the album for everyone to see. Its just depressing. I know its not everyone’s cup of tea but I really like the ‘Bonkers’ compilation covers. They encapsulate what dance music is all about; fun, dressing up in mad costumes and getting fucking mashed.
Anyway, for a debut album this is brilliant. The lads from New York City get a 9/10 from Tonka in London. Keep up the good work, lads. If you ever start playing in Europe, let us know and I will definitely come down to watch.
Right, that’s me done for the week. Hope you found these reviews informative.
Tune in same time next week and smack some fucking sun cream on your face because I’ve got a mate who’s coming back from Ibiza tomorrow. I’m going to ask him what it was like and then I’ll review the 2011 Ibiza summer season here on my blog. Tres Bien!