Tuesday, 28 March 2017

'Watch The Ride' revisited.

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I've been having a bit of a trawl back through my record and CD collection looking for some overlooked gems recently. As such, this definitely doesn't fall into that category but is most definitely worth revisiting if you've not had a listen for a while!
Famous for it's laissez faire attitude towards mixes and following a run of breaks, house and three straight drum 'n' bass volumes, Weatherall's installment of the 'Watch The Ride' series, released back in 2008, was always going to be something a bit different. Taking in rock, disco, indie and a smattering of electronics it came as something of a shock to those who were expecting a straight up techno/electro mix when it landed. Right from the very start with the moody ambiance of  Ray Montgomery's 'London is swinging by his neck' monologue, WTR set it's stall out as something clearly a bit different. Steering us through now famous names such as Simian Mobile Disco, Alloy Mental and a sublimely unsettling rearrangement of Siouxsie’s 'Into A Swan'. The churning, spaghetti-dub, punk joyride reaches a heavenly peak with Saturn 5’s 'Oscillation' and Silver Apples’ 'I Have Known Love' it is as close to the sound of England after dark as it got in 2008, in reality or otherwise. More than any other British DJ, Weatherall has consistently produced mixes that managed to reflect the mood and feel of a country while still being able to champion the diverse as well as making you dance! His most enduring and endearing trait has always been the element of surprise, from production to DJing and the 'Cut the Crap' mix in the mid 90's had all the energy, but most importantly the snap and crackle, of a vibrant dance scene, whilst his journeys into rockabilly and dub where more reflective as a youth scene grappled with post ecstatic adjustment. But for me this piece best captures the mood of the late noughties in British music culture. It's the sonic equivalent of a Martin Amis or Will Self novel from the same time, moving from bedsits in Victorian mansions to crazy clubs, onto haunting early morning streets and the inevitable mad encounter on the way home. Ending in such a jaunty fashion is proof that in the ears of anyone who's ears are as open as their mind, good music is good music, whatever the genre, and here he’s simply letting fly with a killer selection of dance music, showing his uncanny knack for presenting the right records in the most toupee-whisking fashion.
The challenge is to blend it so beautifully into an hour long piece. As always, the best judge of a mix is how it sounds after a lengthy lay off. Having played this today for the first time in a good 4 or 5 years, it felt like the first time I'd ever heard it and as good it did when new.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Monday, 20 March 2017

Help save Cobalt! Crowdfunder.

Without sinking too deeply into the bog of misty eyed nepotism, it's safe to say that we're big fans of Cobalt Studios in The Ouseburn. Situated about as far away as possible, both physically and culturally, from the cliched glitz and fake glamour of Newcastles 'Diamond Strip' and 'Bigg Market' areas, it's part of our favourite little nook of Newcastle and sits pride of place in the middle of a busy little creative hub which includes a number of our favourite bars and venues. We were so taken by it we even threw our first party as 'Bodytalk' there with Nathan Wilkins and Ivan Smagghe.
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The story of how the space we all know as Cobalt Studios came about is really quite spectacular, as it was a mere 18 months ago that Mark and Kate turned what was a wood work shop into a low key arts venue that they wanted to run by way of research, to see what felt right in the space. To find what people wanted and what worked. Use of the space since has been diverse, ranging from storytelling to student art exhibitions to workshops, networking, film events, live music and DJ nights. They have taken part in The Hidden Civil War Project, our own Bodytalk party, Evo Emerging, Open Studios, The Late Shows … entry has been free on many occasions and when they have charged they've always tried to keep the cost as low as possible. Any profits made have gone straight back into improving the space with additional equipment, more lighting etc.

Feedback has been incredibly positive and they are now clear about how they want to run the space; it won’t open all the time but each time it does open it will be filled with something unique and often unseen in Newcastle. They want to search far and wide, nationally and internationally, for performance and music and bring it to you in an intimate, colourful and carefully cared for space. They also want to facilitate local talent and say yes to some of the brightest creatives in this city with ideas they would like to showcase.
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However, a noise complaint has been made against the venue and despite the dozens of messages of support for them that the council and licensing authorities received it's now been stated by those departments that without significant building work to contain noise they won’t be granted a permanent or even temporary licence.
Unfortunately, with these noise complaints they have hit an unexpected obstacle and in order to be allowed to continue they must prevent noise escaping and have also had to get a licensing lawyer to represent them. Legal bills are not cheap.
They don’t have a secret stash of money in place to achieve this and the time scale is especially challenging, but if you are willing to support them so that they can make this happen they will repay you many years of colourful cultural events and there are lots of rewards too !
Its not always easy to run independent and alternative spaces and your help and support is really appreciated.
They need to soundproof cobalt studios venue space and are asking for all of our help!! In return they have dreamt up some great incentives and can promise many years of colourful music, dancing and events. Without soundproofing they simply won’t be allowed to continue putting on great live music, DJ’s, performance and other stuff on at Cobalt Studios.

THIS IS ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL FOLKS! If they don't hit their target you get it all back and they will return the space to a woodwork shop or a studio. If they manage to fund this it will allow them to add some magical touches and also to get the floor poured on the top floor as the start of an open studio space. If you're interested in getting involved and went to see what the incentives on offer are and how much you can pledge then get yourself across to the soundproof Cobalt crowdfunder page by clicking here.

Follow Cobalt Studios on Twitter, here.
Follow Cobalt Studios on Facebook, here.
Check out the Cobalt Studios website here.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mozhgan * Hugo Ball/Daphne podcast.

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The Hugo Ball mixes are always a highlight for us here at TOLAS and this one is of particular note, not least as this installment was put together by one of our earliest podcast contributors, rapaciously talented San Francisco selector, Mozhgan Shariat. A DJ who definitely goes many places and touches on many genres, she's been draining the fevered sweat from San Frans' underbelly since 2011 alongside Jason Greer and Solar as part of the We Are Monsters crew and has crafted a truly cosmic perspective on sound tapping into a wider spectrum of influences than most. Comfortable throwing together sets which touch base with everything from dub, disco, afro, techno, rock and industrial sounds, it's these ideas that mark Mozhgan out as a truly great selector and the reason we're always excited to hear her work. For a long time now she's been described as a 'best kept secret' of sorts, a tag now however that is becoming wholly inappropriate given her current rise.
This mix comes as part of Hugo Ball's contribution to Smart Bar's Daphne series, which celebrates the marginalized women and non binary voices in electronic music presents a month long series that focuses on some of our favorite artists currently working in the trenches.
Dive in.

Follow Mozhgan on Soundcloud, here.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Dunsford & Algar: Astrologers to the easily confused and feeble of mind.

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A pair of annoying, directionless, wretches, Daniel and Mark are Newcastle's premier soothsayers, astrologers and intuitive healers. Their incredibly specific astral chart will plot your month ahead. Dan has weird fat legs and Mark is licensed to carry neither a badge or a gun. Regardé.....

Aquarius - All your Koi carp have died from being fed Wotsits. This might leave you vulnerable to joining Isis. Find a hobby. Zumba is popular with the general public. Failing that, ‪Mabe treat yourself to something long and expensive. Not 3 weeks in St. kits, though. Maybe try a solid gold hose pipe?

Pieces - Your contact lens has slid down the back of your eye and is resting on your frontal lobe, causing flashbacks to traumatic events. Wear an old Brian Robson era Man United shirt for energy.

Aries - Your Mooncup has become lodged in your friend’s U-bend. Extract it immediately or risk ruining their housewarming. Tuesday brings luck with a windfall in the form of a years subscription to the jelly of the month club.

- As a Tauren, you're loving but stubborn. This translates as fat and lazy. Don't bother with that dress from the ASOS sale, the colours are off and you'll trip over that 3 bar heater in your takeaway strewn bedsit. It and by extension you, will go up a fucking charm. Luck wears bootcuts in Ladbrokes.

Gemini - New love relationships start up and then seem to spontaneously combust; But so will you. Enjoy it but do not count on it lasting long. Established relationships experience short term turmoil...because as I just mentioned, you fucking blow up.

Cancer - The astral energy is kicking in and you feel the need to socialize and get out to any meetings or parties that you have been invited to. If you have nothing to attend (far more likely) then try creating an occasion of your own such as; Spirit Cooking with Marina Abramovich, Ghost Hunting with Bez or Great Canal Journey's with Timothy West & Prunella Scales, you will have some great conversations, from which an interesting relationship could develop. Please remember though, this is all in your mind and you've not left the house in weeks you deluded clown shoe.

Leo - Wow! What a month for you fucking massive haired kitty cats! Where to start? On the plus side You'll enjoy arrogant theatre, stubborn holidays, self centred colours and inflexible fun with friends. There's a always a flipside though, so be prepared to be creatively ignored, generous amounts of brutal reality and cheerfully not being treated like a king or queen. Fair one.

- Weirdoes find you irresistible. You’ve always dismissed them in the past. Maybe give one a chance, as all the normal people are now taken. It's helpful to remind yourself that most Virgans do indeed die virgins and that love sounds like ‪situationist disco.‬ KEEP YOUR EARS OPEN!!

Aries - The Ram, or to give it its Sumero-Babylonian name 'The Agrarian Worker', although let's not dwell on that in the current climate as you'll not be able to go to DisneyLand Florida with Dawn & the kids for sounding like a Muslim collectivist. Imagine that, a Muslim Socialist! I'm on a watch list for just typing that shit. Let's be honest, You are a cunt though, so that travel ban is a timely intervention and I hope they extend it to you.

Libra - You’re thinking about getting a St Bernard but consider the size of his stools before taking the plunge. You are allergic to a rare strain of pollen which could result in blindness or death. Luck smells like the number 4.

Scorpio - You will suffer an electric shock while repairing your toaster, causing you to miss an episode of MasterChef. Hopefully a neighbour will be around to prod you awake with a wooden stick. Matt Damon says to give up on your dreams. It's never going to work.

- Your production of Swan Lake is tired and unoriginal. Why you gave up a well-paid job in advertising to concentrate on shit like this is beyond me. Those barrels of agent orange you have stored n the garage may come in handy when bribing critics. Failing that, decimate the foliage round their homes with it. See how they like the fucking neighbours peering into their gardens when their fat wives are barbecuing two dozen hens for a snack.

Capricorn - Time to get your moles checked. That one on your back in the shape of Africa has developed a sinister crust. Beware of men from Barkshire, tree bark, and barking dogs.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark & Dan. XX

Monday, 6 March 2017

The best DJ you've (probably) never heard of #8. Nosedrip.

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Ziggy Devriendt is the DJ behind the mysterious Nosedrip moniker. One of Belgium’s new wave of brilliant young exports, when he’s not indulging in his self proclaimed 'unquenchable love for online radio, by keeping busy busy running Stroom.tv and his monthly NTS Radio Show (playing everything from new age, new wave, French psych, minimal synth, post-punk to a whole bunch of other stuff) or in between various other music projects, he can be seen out and about playing in some of Belgium and Holland's best clubs as well as working in Music Mania, Ghents best record shop.
He's been a favourite for a while with us at TOLAS and his sets always display a deftness and assuredness which belie his youth. Nowhere is this better highlighted than in his old mixes for Lullabies For Insomniacs and Oops, Wrong Planet as well as more recently, brilliant selections for Strange Sounds From Beyond and Dekmantel.

Follow Nosedrip on Mixcloud here and on Facebook, here.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X