This week we welcome, Music Producer, Graphic Designer, DJ and Vinyl Collector DJ Food aka Strictly Kev, as we ask him to delve into his exhaustive record racks, and present an 'Influences 1989-2019' selection...
Strictly Kev has been involved with the multi-producer DJ Food project on Ninja Tune for over 25 years, being the sole remaining member for over 15. He's DJ'ed the world over with Food originators Coldcut and PC as well as performing 4 deck Audio Visual sets with Solid Steel radio main man DK.
From 1995’s 'Recipe For Disaster' onwards, he's mixed 100s of hours of audio for compilations (Including Coldcut's Journey's By DJ mix), radio and the web using his 30+ years of experience and vast record collection. Re-scoring The Monkees’ cult classic film ‘Head’ on turntables or inviting Paul Morley to narrate a history of cut and paste music on his ‘Raiding the 20th Century’ mix are just two examples of personal projects he created during the 00s.
An avid collector of records, comics, toys, original art, music memorabilia and vintage sci-fi books, he's been in the enviable position of scouring the Sesame Workshop archives in New York for an aborted mix album and being one of the only people invited to dig through Trevor Horn’s master tape collection for reissue material on the ZTT label.
In tandem he has enjoyed a career as chief designer for Ninja Tune since the early 90's, running parallel with his music making. In 2010 he was responsible for the entire look and design of the Ninja Tune XX campaign and releases that celebrated 20 years of the label.
His last album, 2012’s ‘The Search Engine’, featured JG Thirlwell (Foetus), The The’s Matt Johnson and Natural Self across several vocal cuts. The launch party was conducted in the London Planetarium with a 50-minute 360 degree full dome visual showcase made by Kev in conjunction with their astronomers.
In recent years he's written articles for The Quietus, Shindig!, Dust & Grooves and Rough Trade's 40th book and frequently documents his collecting finds on his djfood.org site. At home with vinyl, digital or audio-visual content, he's a member of the 45Live DJ crew and contributes to the 'Out Of The Wood' radio show collective. A champion of the leftfield with a love of sci-fi, collage and psychedelia, he continues to look for new ways to present music and image outside the normal conventions of clubland with his new audio-visual night, Further...
"A few years ago, I did a mix for the Dust & Grooves website that charted inspirations from my teenage years up to around '92/93. When Dusk Dubs asked would I like to compile an unmixed 'All Back To Mine vs Desert Island Discs' selection I took it as a chance to continue where the D&G mix left off.
Backtracking slightly, it includes the late 80s and takes us through roughly another 20 year stretch of influential favourites from the 90's and 00s. I wanted to include something by Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention, Autechre and Herbie Hancock but this was just holding up the whole thing as there’s just too much to choose from. It's interesting (for me) to note that there is hardly anything here from the last decade save for two tracks. Certainly not for want of new music, maybe the tidal wave of media means less sticks these days or maybe more time needs to pass before a song can make this kind of list?
Maybe less seems revolutionary the older we get as we've heard so much before? Maybe I should attempt a list exclusively from the last 15 years next time..." [[ Kev ]]
You can find DJ Food HERE:
1) DJ Shadow - ‘Changeling’ from Endtroducing (Mo Wax)
Still Shadow’s masterpiece IMO, incredible choice of samples, time signatures and that breakdown in the middle where everything goes out the window but pulls back for the final section. Timeless.
2) Cut Chemist - Lesson Six (The Lecture) (A Stable Sound)
A masterclass in sampling that breathed new life into the cut up with its playful swing, truly deserved of the title ‘Lesson’. Infused with the humour of the original trilogy but taking it somewhere new at the same time.
3) Belbury Poly - ‘The People’ from The Owl’s Map (Ghost Box)
Jim Jupp & Julian House’s Ghost box label has been a constant inspiration for the last decade and this track for (I think) the second Belbury Poly album has always given me tingles. The perfect balance between beauty and creepy.
4) The Advisory Circle - ‘Osprey’ from Mind How You Go or ‘Sundial’ from Other Channels (Ghost Box)
John Brooks’ output is extraordinary, he manages so much and rarely seems to repeat himself whilst keeping a subtle signature sound in everything he does. These tracks perfectly capture those nature documentary soundtracks or summer nostalgia recollections he’s become known for.
5) Playgroup - ‘Number One’ (Source)
Trevor Jackson’s work is always interesting and worth investigating, both musically and graphically. His Playgroup LP was defiantly 80’s-centric when such a thing was still largely a dirty word associated with dayglo leg warmers and PWL pop pap. People forget that the 80s weren’t always considered so cool, I once did an 80s-themed mix in the late 90s containing groups like Art of Noise and Sigue Sigue Sputnik and it was considered a bit too uncool for Solid Steel. It’s hard to pick a favourite but the unashamed electro pop of the single, complete with break-dancing robot video is as good as any.
6) Eno - ‘Third Uncle’ from Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) LP (Island)
Eno single-handedly anticipated post punk by 5 years in this track. There’s so much Eno to choose from but this one doesn’t get enough props, usually I would have gone for anything from My Life In The Bush of Ghosts.
7) LCD Soundsystem - ‘Losing My Edge’ (Output/DFA)
As first singles go, this is a hard one to beat and they could have been a novelty one-hit wonder with this, although ‘Beat Connection’ on the B side showed they had plenty more ideas up their sleeve. The rest they wore proudly outside for everyone to hear and the roll call at the end would signpost many stops on the band’s career over the next decade. This one spoke to me quite directly though, being of a similar age to James Murphy at the time and feeling the first pull of ‘the kids, coming up from behind’.
8) Andy Votel - ‘Return of The Spooky Driver’ (Twisted Nerve)
Another graphic artist/music maker/DJ who I’ve long admired, this was a fun little 7” that has that fast/slow/loud/soft thing going on throughout. I don’t know if it’s his best but it’s the one I remember most.
9) Stereolab - Ping Pong (Duophonic UHF Discs)
The first song that caught my attention from the ‘lab, before this they always seemed like a regular indie band with interesting titles and sleeves. Something changed with Mars Audiac Quintet, maybe it was the psychedelic modular on the cover or the retro-futuristic video but the ‘dum dum dum, de dum…’ section as the end is one of the sexiest vocals ever.
10) Depth Charge - Depth Charge (Vinyl Solution)
J Saul Kane’s input into dance music can’t be underestimated, from his blueprint for trip hop outings under the Depth Charge name to his electro offerings as Octagon Man and the Vinyl Solution/DC Recordings labels. I first heard this on a tape in the summer of ’89, that huge beat drop and the submarine pings were like nothing else, a pioneer for sure. He was well known for sampling large chunks of dialogue from obscure kung fu, horror, western and porn films and some of his early tracks were played on 45 in clubs to speed them up into fast breakbeat tunes alongside acid and early rave. He briefly got his due in the mid-90s when he collected the early Depth Charge singles on the Nine Deadly Venoms LP but seems to have disappeared over the last decade. Special mention must also go to close associate Eon aka Ian B (RIP) who Kane worked with on various projects and shared his love of sampling film dialogue on his early singles.
11) Shamen - ‘Phorward’ from Phorward (Moksha Recordings)
A bona fide acid classic in my house, this is right at the point where they were crossing from indie to dance, pre-‘En-tact’ and when Will Sinnott was still alive. I often wonder how things would have sounded with him around, would we have ever got Ebeneezer Goode? We’ll never know but this has all that late 80s wide-eyed LSD rush to it, complete with Timothy Leary and acid test samples.
12) Black Dog - ‘Hub’ from the Vanttool EP (General Production Recordings)
This track will forever remind me of evenings round at Mixmaster Morris’ Camberwell flat in the early 90s where he would play the contents of his current record box and my sponge-like brain would soak it all in. He’s known for his ambient DJ sets and records but he championed what would become known as ‘intelligent techno’ with just as much fervour back in the day from The Black Dog, B12, Aphex Twin, As One, the Evolution label, Carl Craig and more German producers than I can remember.
13) Photek - ‘K.J.Z.’ from the Hidden Camera EP (Science)
Photek always stood out from his DnB contemporaries but with this release he broke the mould and stepped into his own corner, no longer constrained by the needs of the dance floor. Search out any of his mid 90s releases and you’re in for a treat with layer upon layer to absorb. This track could strangely feel at home in the main room or the chill out room. Apparently, legend has it that ‘K.J.Z.’ stands for ‘Kirk Jazz’ after Kirk Degiorgio hipped Photek to a load of jazz as sample fodder.
14) Boards of Canada - Everything you do is a Balloon’ from the Hi Scores EP (Skam)
I first became aware of BoC through the Skam label, who I was occasionally designing for, it arrived in the post like all their other releases, very little info, odd name, very odd music. That quickly wormed its way into my head and has never left, every Boards record is something special, but this was my first. Like any early recorded output, this sees the duo finding their musical voice and several styles wouldn’t be heard of again but this one contains the essence of their forthcoming Music Has The Right To Children era.
15) Wagon Christ - ‘Throbbing Pouch’ from Throbbing Pouch (Rising High)
A seminal album where Luke Vibert seemingly found the first of his many voices and, with his trademark humour, lolloped through a whole album of easy listening beats and breaks just as the trip hop genre was forming.
16) Paul Weller - ‘Kosmos’ (Brendan Lynch Bonus Beats remix) (Go! Discs)
In my book, this is trip hop. Brendan Lynch takes Weller’s original and dubs the hell out of it, warping it into new forms with little regard for the original. I’m a huge fan of dub FX (much more than the music it gets its name from), when a producer has the skills and balls to twist a song inside out. This is a great example of that and a decent song from Weller.
17) Oasis - ‘Falling Down’ (Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Mix) (Big Brother)
Possibly a contentious opinion but I always thought Oasis got more interesting at the end of their run. Working with Julian House on artwork and videos and letting the Amorphous Androgynous loose on their final single, ‘Falling Down’. In the same way that Coldcut re-invented the remix with their Eric B & Rakim ‘Paid In Full’ mix, AA re-invent it again here with a truly psychedelic, 22 minute, 5 chapter rework that takes the original and then presents multiple readings of it before finishing in a flutter of cawing crows and a child reading the lyrics.
18) Fridge - ‘Ark’ from Eph (Go! Beat)
Much like Stereolab, this is where it all came into focus for Fridge for me, maybe it was the sampling aspect that Kieran Hebden was experimenting with under his Four Tet pseudonym at the time, but this record has a mood that isn’t present on their other albums.
19) Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley - In C (version #3) (Electronic Sound)
Originally remixed for a performance of Riley’s In C, Jack Dangers went back to his version and created another three for the premiere release of Electronic Sound magazine’s vinyl imprint. He twists and turns it inside out, adding juddering dubstep beats at one point but for me it’s the final ambient version that really takes me away. I could have chosen so much from the MBM back catalogue and I think Dangers is one of the most underrated artists out there. His trio of mid 90s albums ’Satyricon’ / ‘Subliminal Sandwich’ and ‘Actual Sounds & Voices’ (plus their accompanying single & remixes) are incredible documents of sampling production and song writing. Up there with any of the acknowledged pioneers of the field, in fact in some cases, Jack did things years ahead of the pack, many a time I’ve found an incredible oddball 60s album, packed full of samples and recognised something from it, ‘oh, Jack’s already been here’.
20) King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - The Wheel from ‘Gumboot Soup’ (Flightless)
It’s hard to pick one King Gizzard track as this whole playlist could be made up of selections from their rapidly-expanding discography. Not since Mr Bungle has a band so effortlessly hopped from genre to genre so successfully, often within one album, sometimes within one song. There’s plenty to choose from and I wanted to pick something from their prog masterpiece ‘Polygondwanaland’ but extracting one track doesn’t quite work as it flows as a whole, this goes for most of their albums of late too. As a constantly evolving band they never sit still for long, never rest on laurels and are seemingly overflowing with musical ideas as well as ways to present themselves. They’ll be headlining festivals within years and will no doubt be seen as the Hawkwind or Led Zeppelin of this age in decades to come. I’ve plumped for ‘The Wheel’, the closing track from ‘Gumboot Soup’ as this was essentially a compilation of offcuts from the other four (!) LPs they released in 2017. A beautiful meditation on the wheel of life, the track speeds up at the end and, on the vinyl version, settles into a lock groove that loops forever.