You don’t need me to tell you that a lot changed in the world between August 2018 and August 2022. That time period also marked the gap between the second and third edition of Houghton Festival. 2019 fell victim to ‘high winds’ and 2020 and 2021 were both casualties of COVID.
The 2018 festival was the first time I came across A Love From Outer Space, the project of Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston. They delivered a transfixing set, which felt both completely at home in, and completely distinct from, the house music surrounding it. Fast forward four years and we are now without Andrew Weatherall, who tragically died in February 2020.
Sean Johnston has been keeping the spirit of the duo alive by playing under the ALFOS moniker, and returned to play one of the closing sets at Houghton 2022. It was highly emotional, studded with tributes to his dead friend, and once again utterly transfixing. As well as some ALFOS favourites, Sean played Canto Della Liberta by 3rd Face. This was probably the most memorable tracks of the festival for me – bizarre, punchy and loads of fun.
Sean Johnston is playing as ALFOS at Phonox in December. Trust me, not one to miss if you can help it.
Long time no see listeners. I’m back with a triple-helping of Dusky goodness.
First up, one of my fave tracks from 2012, their remix of Cloud 9’s Don’t You Want Me Baby. This’ll be sure to get a smile on yer face.
But look, this is Dusky we are talking about, and it all really began (just over) a decade ago with Stick By This. Earlier this year they released a deluxe 10 year anniversary edition with some tasty little edits. Here. You. Go.
And finally, they released a new album just last week. Maybe you were at EartH this weekend for the launch party. Anyway, Pressure is a tribute to the sound of their youth, which is… garage. I have to be honest, most garage isn’t really for me – but for these guys I’ll make a small exception. Check it out here.
It has been a beat since I’ve posted about Bonobo. The guy is my most listened to artist of the year, again, again, so it only feels right. Top 1% of listeners baby.
Anyway he has 4 new tracks out ahead of the release his upcoming album Fragments, including collaborations with O’Flynn, Jamila Woods and Jordan Rakei. My pick of the bunch is Rosewood. Bonobo delivering a trademark Bonobo track. Doing what he does best. Touch.
Bonus: all 4 tracks are on this playlist if you want to check out the others. And let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?
There are tickets on sale to 4 dates he has at the Royal Albert Hall. Definitely worth a look.
This one caught me off guard. Wairunga is a sumptuous 1 hour live album that has come out of nowhere. Better yet, it is accompanied by a film of the recording, which takes you right there to their secret little concert.
The album is named after the location that the tracks were recorded. It is a little town on the New Zealand’s East coast that appears to have one road, but is a regular retreat for the band. For this recording they set up shop on a grass tennis court, and got to work. As they play, the weather starts to come in around them – they plough on and it feels like the elements of Wairunga leave their mark on the recording. It feels right that they credit it in the name.
This is utter alchemy from everyone’s favourite Kiwi seven-piece.
After a little Summer break I’m coming back at you with a few new stellar releases over the next few days.
First up it is the wonderfully-named DJ Seinfeld with his debut full length album, Mirrors.
Mirrors is a set of tuneful electronic jams, and it comes with a sweet story attached. When DJ Seinfeld shot into the limelight out of nowhere in 2017 with his now-trademark dusty lo-fi house sounds, you might have noticed that the track names and general vibe were a tad depressing. At the time our man Armand Jakobsson was going through a break-up. Fast forward 4 years and he has found love. Out with the I Hope I Sleep Tonight and the I saw Her Kiss Him in Front of Me and I Was Like Wtf? and in with the She Loves Me, the Walking with Ur Smile and The Right Place. Ain’t that nice. Live your best life Armand.
DJ Seinfeld’s other project is also worth getting to know, under alias Rimbaudian.
Finally, he is playing live at EartH in Hackney in October – see you there.
It is fair to say that Leon is becoming increasingly experimental. To give you a feel for it, here is the copy accompanying his latest release Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been:
over and over in a snake’s life it will molt and shed it’s old, outgrown skin. it does not grow with the size of the snake itself, and soon hinders its advancement, leaving the skin behind like a memory. an artefact of where it once was. I believe good artists do this too. it’s what I try to do with every record. SNAKESKIN ∞ HAS-BEEN is my recognition of that.
I SHOULD. I COULD. I WOULD.
The music itself does pick up where Nothing is Still left off, with introspective, moody soundscapes. They swing and build and fizzle in a pattern that is mesmerising, if not exactly approachable. His style fills you with a huge sense of anticipation, while never quite unscrambling into something that’s easy to ingest. If you like your music challenging, then you’ll find Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been pretty rewarding – if you prefer your Leon more banger-centric scale (and there’s no shame in that) head back into his dicography.
I almost forgot, he is playing at Heaven on 24th November. You can get presale tickets here
Now that I’ve got that off my chest I want to draw your attention to Youtube channel Cercle. They take DJs to beautiful locations, and let them do their thing. The result is a magical combination of sound and visuals. Until we can get back to the real thing, this will have to do.
*I like Daft Punk, I really do, but I just don’t know if I have anything interesting to add to the avalanche of media that has been created about them this week. Here’s some reading if you want it.
Over much of Europe lockdown may be easing (for now) but there is one thing that we are all still missing: live music.
This is a beautiful recording filmed in Sylvan Esso’s homestate of North Carolina in November of last year, with behind the scenes content that ramps up the intimacy. Live music at its tip-top, spine-tingling, goosebump-raising best. I honestly can’t recommend this enough.
Their third full album, Free Love, drops on the 25th. Two singles, Rooftop Dancing and Ferris Wheel are already out – check them out now.
Right, so obviously one half of what makes Boiler Room videos great is the randos losing their nut next to the DJ. I get that. But obviously that setup ain’t the most socially responsible right now. So we have to make do with the other half – stonking sets delivered to your screen.
Boiler Room have lined up some of their favourite producers for quarantine sets. My favourite so far is from Mall Grab. Worth it just for that track 8 minutes in. If anyone can ID it I’ll be eternally grateful.