The photos above were taken at a free instore installment of my favourite club series, On Loop. On Loop‘s organiser Moxie DJed alongside Peach and Saoirse. Unlike all the other On Loops I’ve hit, this was a 6-9pm weekday event without club lighting, but, as is always the case, the sets were punchy, classy and sick. People loosened up quickly, shaking off their jobs and their public transport awkwardness.
My favourite moment was when Saoirse dropped Seekers, exactly the kind of perfectly poised positivity that I treasure in a DJ set.
Certain types of dance music attract people with certain temperaments; extroverts and adrenaline junkies for drum’n’bass, 24/7 head-to-toe wearers of black for industrial techno, cheeky lads for tech-house.
On Loop’s DJs play and produce sonically colourful, tonally ambiguous strains of House and Techno, open music for the previously uninvited. I’ve brought friends and family to On Loop for their first rave experience, confident that they would love it. I remember one particularly great transition set from Moxie, segueing from Chaos in the CBD’s disco textures into Avalon Emerson’s synthetic freakout, tipping with the gradual breakdown of Four Tet’s Buchla.
In his 1988 article Let’s Play House, Jon Savage wrote that ‘the new 1980s House records concentrate on melodrama or, post-AIDS, abstract this sexuality into the mystery of love… it translates contemporary sexual tensions into an irresistible beat.’ I feel that the pull and release of these records resonate with those who have been compressed, those who love dancing and conversation all the more for their previous exclusion.
I think Hypnotize is an undeniable banger which shows off the best of 1990’s rap music, its effortless cool and smooth af (as with all biggie tunes). Biggie was a poet and made me really love rap music and the culture that surrounds it. This song holds a particularly special place in my heart as it reminds me so much of my brother and I can’t mention it without giving a shout out to him, I miss him more than words can say but a ‘sad’ song would do him no justice, indeed many would say that this was an odd choice for his funeral but if you knew James it was entirely appropriate. A family friend describes him better than I ever could:
More gansta than Biggie
More front than Brighton
More ridiculous than Louis Spence
More charisma than Mourinho
More Hollywood than James Dean.
The most hilarious man I’ve ever met.
I came across Virgil Hawkins through just running my event and I’ve been introduced to so many amazing artists like the absolute angel that is Donalee and Scuti.
I’m grateful for having had the occasion to meet all these people and I hope to work with them in the future again!
Out Of Sorts
I love where I was brought up. On the Wirral coast, nestled in between Liverpool and North Wales. The people and the peninsular formed who I am. For now there’s no concrete reason I would go back, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still seek connection to the people and places amongst the sand dunes and plant fumes. Always on the underplayed side of indie, barring a couple of exceptions, the musical output of the region is suitably niche to feel easy affinity to.
I’m starting as close to home as I can, with a song about the telephone box outside my local. That telephone box now has a dazzle garb, a nod to the famous dazzle ships of Liverpool and their album of the same name, perhaps. My mum went to youth club with Andy McClusky, and a younger me was blown away when I realised Enola Gay, a reletively well-known song about a huge world event, was written by a guy who lived down the road. I have a habit of picking up any OMD vinyl where I see one, in eternal hope that one day they’ll be truly appreciated. [photo credit: Cécile Lebon]
Acerbic punk grumps Half Man Half Biscuit need a lot of introduction, but they shouldn’t. Nigel Blackwell should be considered a national treasure, but unfortunately – though understandably – not many people can get past the unpolished accent. That’s a shame, as the lyrics portray small town irritations and agitations flawlessly. Fellow fans of Tranmere Rovers, it’s now lore that they turned down a fame-making appearance on Channel 4’s The Tube for a friday night kick-off.
New listeners need a steer with this band, so here’s a few of my favourites. National Shite Day is a diatribe on any day spent on a dreary high-street, Arthur’s Farm is a relatively well-arranged song that weaves together Animal Farm and limbless fighter pilots. You want direct esotericism? Tour Jacket With Detachable Sleeves is a romantic tragedy with a backdrop of provincial prog rock tribute nights. If you dig deep with this band, you won’t be disappointed.
I still beam if I hear Dreaming of You or In the Morning come on in a pub, before boring everyone by telling them, again, that The Coral are from two towns over to where I grew up. The band, and now Bill Ryder-Jones’ solo work, is still sating my 16 year old cardigan days, drinking Boddingtons and beginning to feel out of place. The hits are still great, but last year I was shown a song I’d not heard before, at 4am in a living room, by a German friend who really knows his psych. The daft pride, at that moment, was immense.
This song was perhaps the longest standing ‘get your shit together, we’re leaving’ song of my time at university. An anthem to announce the departure from one part of the night, and the entrance into another. The rushed preparation of a journey juice, the ever required phone/wallet/keys pat down, assurances that someone had gum on them and that everyone had enough change to get the bus. Reflecting on this song, I think it particularly represents a time in my life when I urgently and desperately sought to be part of a greater whole. A time when I was surrounded by individuals I cared and still care about greatly, and yet I couldn’t help but shake the feeling of segregation. Invisible, intangible barriers of my own construction preventing me from realising how good I had it. The moments of belonging, those when I was not preoccupied with my own thoughts, were those when I was surrounded by these same people, a time in my life I still yearn for at times, despite knowing I wouldn’t want to return to that version of myself.
I can’t say that I know what the song is about, and to be honest I’ve never sought any deeper meaning from it. I am sure it will fail to elicit the same hair raising, spine tingling effect that many other Deep Cuts selections will, but that’s OK with me, for me this song is the sound of belonging and the warm embrace of unquestioning inclusion.