I love music that plays somewhere in that glitterball-lit realm between disco, house, dub, funk, rock 'n roll, and pop. This site will host mixes I've made and songs I like that dance across the genres. Let me know what you think. And if you've got a party or night you'd like moving to this sound, drop me a line on rorychallands (at) gmail (dot) com.
You see that little fleck of colour on the end of the big toenail? That's the last of the lurid pink toenail paint I had on for Burning Man 2010. This mix is in memoriam for its passing. It's a fitting tribute.
Now, it has been remarked on that maybe I don't wash my feet enough. I say 'pah!' to that. First of all that nail varnish was so indestructible I could have sandblasted my feet and it wouldn't have done diddley squat. Secondly, every time I've glanced down at those toes for the past 6 months I've been given a glorious reminder of my high jinks in the desert.
Dancing under the setting sun, the warmth and wonder of the Head Space crew, the new recruits, the wild and weird natives, the amazing food cooked by Wiley, bumpy bike rides across the arid lansdscape, the Jalapeno tequila, and the jaw-dropping spectacle of the Playa by night. All that was instantly evoked by a glimpse of a slightly embarrassing pink toenail.
Tracklisting: 1. Lou Reed - Walk On The Wild Side (Holtoug Bootleg), 2. Space Dimension Controller - BBD Alignment, 3. Visions Of Trees - She's My Girl, 4. Azari & III - Into The Night (Nicolas Jaar Remix), 5. Curtis Mayfield - Love Me (Hunee Edit), 6. Hankat - Be The First (Flip & Simioni Remix), 7. !!! - Steady As The Sidewalk Cracks (Tim Goldsworthy Remix), 8. Joakim - Spiders (Ewan Pearson Remix), 9. De Signer - Suicide Girl (Crazy P Remix), 10. KZA - Goody Goody, 11. Jaydee - Plastic Dreams, 12. Four Tet - Pinnacles, 13. Murphy Jax feat. Mike Dunn - It's The Music (Alden Tyrell Remix), 14. Egyptrixx - Chrysalis Records
If you're still here, then many thanks for waiting. My blog, like a small and sleepy hedgehog, seems to have been hibernating for a few months. It crawled into a pile of dry brown leaves and snuffled itself to sleep.
My excuses are the inertia that often seems to come with the change of seasons; an increased focus on my other main hobby, messing about with film cameras; and a creeping indifference to quite a lot of 2010's music.
But it often only takes the discovery of one or two great tunes to get the metabolism back up to speed. In this case those are the tracks that wrap up this mix: It Takes a Muscle by Spectral Display, and Just A Bitter Love by the Dead Rose Music Company. Both are wonderful slabs of heart-on-the-sleeve emotional electronic disco.
I tried to make the pulse of this collection deep, and almost melancholy. 2 Late 4 U And Me and Pain In My Brain are to my mind two of the best bits of deep house you'll ever hear. There's also twinge of nostalgia I think that's appropriate to London's recent colder weather. Speedy J and The Orb both got heavy play on my Walkman as a teenager, and I've been listening to them lots again. Things get a little new-school-old-school ravey with I Got A Feeling, and Dirty Cash can move ANY dancefloor. Enjoy.
Tracklisting: 1. Nicolas Jaar - Mini Calcutta 2. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Love Sick (Four Tet Remix) 3. Isan - 64 Fire Damage 4. Space Dimension Controller - SH-8040 5. Jamie Principle - Waiting On My Angel 6. Bagarre - Dirty Love 7. Speedy J - R2D2 8. Moody - 2 Late 4 U And Me 9. Ladyvipb - Pain In My Brain 10. The Orb - U.F. Orb 11. Shit Robot - I Got A Feeling 12. The Adventures Of Stevie V - Dirty Cash (Eli Escobar Edit) 13. The Dead Rose Music Company - Just A Bitter Love 14. Spectral Display - It Takes A Muscle (Get A Room Edit)
Sheesh! Not only have I not posted for a bloody age, but I'm about to sod off without doing what I intended. I've been meaning (and trying) to make a new mix for about a month. But somehow it hasn't gelled. The mojo has gone AWOL.
The mix was meant to be taken out to the Nevada desert to gift to wild-eyed hippies at Burning Man. And also, of course, to be given to you lot. Turns out I'll have to think of something else to placate the dusty and unwashed Freaks of the Playa. For you guys, I've got some tunes I've been listening to a lot recently.
Jamie Principle's Waiting on my Angel is one of those 'possibly the first house tune ever' kind of records. It's got a wonderful sense of alchemy to it. Glacial European new-wave has been melded with the campness of Prince for sweaty, outcast disco dancers in a basement on the wrong side of the tracks. But that's the beauty of the genesis of house. Circa 1984 it was being played off tape by Ron Hardy at the legendary Music Box in Chicago. It finally made it onto vinyl in 1985, with production by Frankie Knuckles. The two of them would storm on to make more bona fide early house classics like Your Love, and the totally filthy Baby Wants To Ride.
I don't know much about Fern Kinney. The Mississippi soul singer had settled down as a housewife before a disco comeback at the end of the 70s. Baby, Let Me Kiss You is off her 1979 album, Groove Me. It's in the same camp as Donna Summer's I Feel Love, and Blondie's Rapture - though there's a more sexual playfulness here. It's gloriously bubbly electronic disco which flirts with you mercilessly, like the school tease. You can find it on the superb Balearic compilation Down To The Sea And Back - which is well worth buying.
Cruisin' is one of those tracks you'd instantly file in the 'I'd rather tempura my own testicles' corner of your brain if someone described it to you. It's the picaresque tale Lucy and Ramona journeying through LA with their friend Sunset Sam. The song is the 1979 disco-rap creation of the ex-Monkee, Michael Nesmith, and it could charitably be ascribed to his 'when will the acid wear off' career stage. That said, there's magic here. It's irresistibly funky, and the video has to be seen to be believed. This way happiness lies... a total leftfield dancefloor bomb.
Anyway, I'm off to the desert for three weeks. I'll have another crack at that mix when I get back. Toodle pip!
Here's some music for urban heat. London's wonderful current spell of sizzle demands only one course of action.... move the boom box out onto the front step, grab a frosty bottle from the fridge, and sit enjoying summer pass by. These are tunes that just wouldn't feel right in the countryside. They need blaring car horns, yellow streetlights, and mile after mile of concrete to sound as they were meant to.
Quincy Jones' Summer In The City is perfect. The cover of the Loving Spoonful's most famous song has been sampled, pilfered from, and robbed blind umpteen bazillion times, but it still retains all its shimmery glory. Hazy keys, soporific bass line, purring female vocalist. It smells of blistered asphalt and lingering perfume.
Detroit's Underground Resistance label make tracks as uncompromising as music gets. Its signature sound is purist techno that often sounds like misanthropic machines locked in a perpetual diatribe against humanity. However, The Jaguar is the bunch at their most delicate and humane. This track still bumps and rolls, but the soft bubbling synths and swung percussion give The Jaguar a beautiful sense of yearning. Perfect for a night time drive along deserted fly-0vers.
Attention all raving crew! Throwback is a scorcher. This could easily fit into any set of mongrel London bass music going back as far as 1991. Weirdly, despite its overpowering whiff of Croydon, it comes from Texas, and has only just been released. If there's an old pair of Reebok Classics lurking in your wardrobe, pull them out and get stepping. Then holler for a reeeeewind!
And something sad to finish with. I'm a huge Nina Simone fan, but I'd never heard Baltimore until very recently. It's off her 1978 Baltimore LP and it's a reggae requiem for a dying city. Yup, Nina doing reggae. This Ex-Friendly edit from Nottingham's Justin Turford just gently turns up the dub a couple of skank levels, and adds a few swooshy effects. It draws the track out nicely and doesn't do anything to get in the way of Ms Simone's peerless voice. Melancholy magic.
I like music that makes me want to dance. Lots of it does. I make mixes of that music for my friends and you might like them too.
If you want me to play music like this at parties, festivals, club nights, contact me at rorychallands (at) gmail (dot) com.
I post music here because I think people should have more of it in their lives. If you like what I put put up, please follow the Amazon and iTunes links and buy the albums. People's livelihoods depend on it. If you're an artist and you want a song taken down for any reason please email me on rorychallands (at) gmail (dot) com.