26 Jul 2009

Damn! They Feel Good

Is there a sweeter sensation than buying new trainers?

When I remember I like to pop down to Glasgow's branch of Size? and check out new entrants and old flames. It was a couple of weeks ago I did just that and found there was a sale on. I have been looking for a pair of stripped down basic white trainers with mid to dark blue design. The simpler the better.

The first two I asked for were not available in my size. So after wandering across the road and back again I noticed the recently released Adidas Originals By Originals Ayasha Jagwire's. I had seen them before but their £90 tag scared me off...but not totally. They were now down to £50 and after the formality of the try-on they were mine.

Without a doubt the best pair of trainers I have bought since an impromptu purchase of a pair and white/red Puma Baskets in Ellesmere Port. The Jagwire fit like Mrs Addidas stuck my feet directly into the mould. They look super-sonic-cool if I do say so and are so so comfy.

More than a purchase. More than a style. More than a bargain. More than a.....

Boston - More Than A Feeling

23 Jul 2009

Probably The Best Boxset In The World

Happened across this the other night and started foaming at the ears. A truly wonderful sounding and looking piece of musical companion. Its the Warp boxset that is being released in September to celebrate 20 years of the Sheffield based label breaking new ground, genre twisting and making bodies twitch.

Here is breakdown of what is included. I warn you, reading this may cause you to smile so widely you may paralyse your face:

Warp20 (Box Set) comes beautifully packaged in a 10 inch square slipcase wrapped in charcoal Buckram embossed paper with tipped-on gloss-laminated cover photograph, designed by YES, photographed by Dan Holdsworth.

Warp20 (1989-2009) The Complete Catalogue: 192 page book -
10” square, 192 page full-colour, perfect-bound book. The complete-ist’s dream – a catalogue of artwork of every Warp release from its inception in 1989 to August 2009. Includes artwork from over 400 sleeves including work by the Designers Republic, Julian House, Build, Universal Everything and Kim Hiorth√ły amongst others. Forward by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Black un-coated board cover with debossed and foiled typography.

Warp20 (Chosen): Double CD album -
The definitive best of Warp on 2 x CDs. Ten songs chosen by you (Warp20.net), ten songs chosen by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Packaged in deluxe case-bound 10” folder, exclusive to this box set. Your personal messages and memories from Warp20.net featured on pullout poster.

Warp20 (Recreated): Double CD album -
2 x CDs featuring twenty brand new cover versions of Warp songs by Warp artists past and present; including tracks by Autechre, Harmonic 313, Jamie Lidell, Plaid, Clark, Maximo Park, Seefeel, Luke Vibert and more… Packaged in deluxe case-bound 10” folder exclusive to this box set.

Warp20 (Unheard): Triple 10” Vinyl -
Secret treasures newly rediscovered from the Warp vaults. Completely unheard tracks by Boards of Canada, Autechre, Broadcast, Elektroids and others cut to 3 x 10” vinyl. Housed in uncoated card sleeves with debossed typography. Vinyl exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set).

Warp20 (Elemental): CD album -
Specially-commissioned hour long piece by re-edit master Osymyso, made from sections, samples, and fragments of Warp music from the last 20 years. Exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set) and packaged in deluxe case bound 10” folder.

Warp20 (Infinite): Double 10” Vinyl -
2 x 10” vinyl cuts of hand-picked locked-groove loops from Warp tracks. Four sides of loops for mixing fun. Exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set) and housed in uncoated card sleeves with debossed covers.

The price £100. Maybe. Maybe......

While I think here is a track from the new album by Clark, Totem's Flare. As you would expect from Warp it does remind you of what a Spectrum 48K's brain would sound like when it explodes after being asked, "What is love?"

Clark -Growls Garden

22 Jul 2009

Funk Vs Flunk

Most remakes suck. Just look at this list. Its full of remakes that suck all the subtlety, originality and simplicity out of the first film.

Off the top of my head the only one I can think that really improves on the original is 1978's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

This summer sees a film that will offend my senses like no other. The remake of The Taking Of Pelham 123. The original 1974 effort is one the great seventies movies.

The story of four armed men taking control of of a New York City subway train. Holding the passengers hostage they wait for their ransom while the cops led by the brilliant performance of Walter Matthau try to work out how to stop them. Its got a sensational cast with Jerry Stiller, Robert Shaw, Hector Elizondo, Dick O'Neill and Tony Roberts supported by a wealth of New York character actors.

Its got action, drama, tension and big big laughs. New York has its classic urban nightmare feel with dirty streets, dirty flares and dirty accents. Under it all is David Shire's score which adds a perfect drop of funk. And its finale? One of the best. Honestly watch this film.

Fast forward to this summer. Dullard fat boy John Travolta is the bad man taking control of the train. Strangely he looks like a Village People reject (as above). Up against him? Our Denzel. Why is Denzel, one the great actors of his generation, in this? The film looks to have no humour, no characters, a different ending and has all the looks of a music video. Thanks Tony Scott you soul-less old man.

Check out the contrasting trailers and then listen to the main theme from the original. (ta, mario)

David Shire - The Taking Of Pelham 123 (main theme)

20 Jul 2009

Best Beastie Wishes

Just saw an announcement from Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch (in the beard above), where he explains how the upcoming album and tour dates will be postponed because he he will be getting treatment for a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland. He seems in good spirits but Pontiac would like to wish him all the best. I've included the clip below and one of those Beastie videos which they are rightly celebrated for.

19 Jul 2009

Beauty & The Bird

Alone in the land of the Pontiac tonight. And with nothing on the tv I watched a film.

Now the great thing about my V+ box is that I can hit the red button at anytime and it will record. With 90 hours of space on the hard drive running out of room is never an issue. However, that strength is also the V+ weakness. I continually choose to record a variety of weird and wonderful sounding films. But with little time to watch them and Mrs Pontiac's aversion to the sound of them (if not the actual viewing experience) they just sit there.

I recorded Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud last August and finally watched it tonight. The most fun and randomn film I have seen in a long time.

It bares all the common traits of themes of Altman's early ouput like MASH, Nashville, The Wedding and the Long Goodbye. Overlapping & conflicting dialogue, improvisation, a dis-jointed narrative, absurdist humour, parody, a disregard for a normal filmviewer relationship and highly individual characters who appear distant from those around and who all have their own quirk.

Brewster McCloud is bascially about a young misfit whose belief in the power of flight draws him into murder and obsession. Around him he has a mysterious guardian angel and a young tour guide he meets and falls for. With murders across the city hapless police chase the killer, a self serving local politician brings in a supercool detective from San Francisco who obsesses with the case. Around them are a host of bizarre and odd characters who ultimately revolve around the actions of Brewster.

From the the first few seconds of the film I was hooked as the film unravelled like a story scrumbled into tiny balls and thrown at the audience. There is a constant parody of Steve McQueen's Bullit throughout the film culminating with a Altman-take on the famous car chase. Sally Kellerman's guardian angel is mysterious and jester like. The horror of Brewster is masked by his growing love the a sensational Shelley Duvall. Sensational in her sweet-subversive and incredibley sexy performance. See the pic above. If you aint in love then I don't want to know what love is.

As it all climaxes the absurdism reaches a fitting finale with the cast taking their bow to the audience dressed as assorted film and circus characters (see below). This is what 21st Century fairy-tales should look like. Inspirational, unsettling but sweet as candy.

No accompanying music track with this post but I will say that I listened to the soundtrack for John Carpenter's Assualt On Precinct 13 while writing this.

18 Jul 2009

The Jungle's Edge

In bringing the jungle sessions to a close it would be a fatal not to say a little something about the nights out had by me and the rest of the Speirs Wharf Massive.

Stirling University offered few opportunities to regularly stretch our drums and basses. Paul DJ'd on a Wednesday/Thursday night at the student union and if we were lucky the guys at the local independent record store (can't remember the name) would put on a night in town.

So like most of Scotland we would head to Glasgow for some culture. There we could choose between the Art School, Elements @ Trash, Yang (Paul got some Djing time there too), downstairs in Bacchus and the Arches. That is where you really got to hear jungle in its real environment and dance dance DANCE!

There were so many great tracks around that time but one that really resonates with me was DJ Trace's Sonar. The mp3 below, like most mp3's of jungle does do it justice given digital's supression of the bass that vinyl celebrated. As soon as you heard the opening of the track you just waiting for that point 2 minutes into it when the bass would drop in and boil your intestines. I would recommend listening on headphones to try and feel the affect but really unless a large soundsystem is pulsing it through the air, it aint the same.

And for Aldo. You asked for Ed Rush and here he is. The likes Ed Rush, Optical, Andy C came from the dark corners of jungles but made some immense and very dancable tracks. Full loud cracks, metal grinding and machine gun breaks it was the sound that dominated the Glasgow jungle dancefloors. I was listening to some of my old records records from these guys and they sound so fresh. Mrs Pontiac hates them but that's what headphones are for.

Finally, the guys who brought jungle onto the wider public view. Roni Size & Reprazent made the, in my opinion, the only coherent jungle album with New Forms. But this wasn't some intellectualised attempt to go mainstream. The were were justy innovating at such a rate it was scary. As part of that their live show at the Arches in 2007 was the best gig I attended. The place was packed, everyone was up for it and the live performance including giant bass had everyone bouncing up and down and around and around. I am pretty sure I jumped so high I touched the roof. While the song it not a hidden gem Brown Paper Bag really sums up what they did for jungle. Still a great track.

So I leave the jungle memories with those tracks. Remember. Use your body as the bass and arms as the breaks.

DJ Trace - Sonar

Ed Rush - Sabotage

Roni Size & Reprazent - Brown Paper Bag

13 Jul 2009

The Difficult Season

Jungle will back in the next post with some old skool SWM floorfillers for Aldo. However, a nice surprise tonight when checking out Mininova. Entourage is back for season six. The difficult season.

Why a diffcult season? Well season five came off the back of four pretty hysterical, genuinely fresh and narratively coherent seasons. It was a real mish mash of rehashed stories, hysterics, a reliance on t & a, contradictory plotlines and a potentially good ending which sold out to the 'lets hug it out' machismo which it had spent time subverting. Kinda like Sopranos season six after the glorious season five.

Anyway enough of the big ideas. It's back and I'm watching it. First episode set up the season pretty much while returning to some of the themes from season five. No suprises, no big laugh but its earned enough respect for me to watch without too much grumbling. Lloyd, Gary Cole and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are still there so nuff said.

Download illegally if thats your thing or watch on ITV2 @ 10pm from this Thursday.

9 Jul 2009

Speirs Wharf Massive

As I mentioned before my jungle experience would not have been half as exciting if had not been for the my drum n bass cronies. The posse that started in Stirling University campus soon moved through to Glasgow where we had a larger choice of drum n bass nights.

Myself and Lee had set up home in Speirs Wharf and the flat was a regular destination before and after nights out. In the area around the flats there was loads of tags from local gangs like YGX, YQX and YPF (Young Georges Cross, Queens Cross and Possil Fleet). We took it upon ourselves to form our own ultra-ironic gang. The Speirs Wharf Massive. SWM!!

Largely our gang actvity was about giving rival gangs' tags the finger, laughing about how crap we were and maybe, just maybe getting a pen and writing SWM beside YGX on the nearby steps. So not really Jets & Sharks but fun n bass. I have no photoss of SWM but I think the above pic represents our style and swagger. Left to right: Paul, Allan, Myself and Lee.

However, SWM managed to reach national levels when we went to Fabio & Grooverider's live One In The Jungle set at the Glasgow School of Art. Paul wandered up and asked for a shout out to SWM which Fabio or the MC, I cannot remember which, duly did. Live on Radio One. haha, them were the days.

Got a couple of tracks to share. Roni Size's big BIG pal DJ Krust with the ferociously clinical Warhead and Lemon D's immense Manhattan Melody with its elastic bass shaking your body into tribal movements.

DJ Krust - Warhead

Lemon D - Manhattan Melody

4 Jul 2009

Swords 'n' Bass

I want to apologise to Photek because as I write this I am listening to Journey 'Don't Stop Believing' because I feel it will help wake up Mrs Pontiac. So not really the appropriate soundtrack for a post about one of most memorable drum n bass producers but its Saturday morning, so hey!

Photek stood in the crowded jungle because you always recognised his tracks. His signature clinical production was like music made in cleansed laboratory by an army of Ipswich clone scientists piecing each beat, break and tweek with titanium tweezers. Clean and clinical thats my belated point.

That is not a criticism of other producers. Back in the day all the key players were doing some amazing stuff and more often than not they would fill a dancefloor well before any Photek track. But a Photek remained an anticipated event.

Not sure what he doing now. i did read on the bio in his site that he has been in the USofA producing and remixing. Good luck to him. The last Photek product I got was in the form of a present. Jackson gave me his excellent Solaris for my 24th birthday. Solaris was a break from his previous cold, paranoid style....in that a couple of house orientated tracks felt a little, not a lot, more friendly.

So anyway its Saturday morning and the sun is burning down. Kenny Loggins in now on!!! So on to the tracks. I have included two tracks from Photeks 1997 album Modus Operandi and one from Solaris. I think they show his minimalist complexity perfectly. BREAK!!

Smoke Rings (Modus Operandi)
Axiom (Modus Operandi)
Junk (Solaris)

1 Jul 2009

Mind Your Tech Step

Back to the jungle after my liberal America gushing.

While our little collection of junglists did a pretty good job of picking up quality drum n bass from Stirling's few decent music outlets and on trips into Glasgow, we could only touch the tip of the rapidly developing and innovating jungle scene.

So radio was vital to cath up with the latest tracks and happenings. Stirling did not have a Kool FM but we had One In The Jungle on Radio 1. Predominately hosted by Fabio and Grooverider (pictured above) it was an essential listen when we stottered back in from the pub. I used have hunners of taped shows to listen but they all disappeared years ago.

However, I recently stumbled across a One In The Jungle archive which has loads of the shows and in reasonable quality. I was relistening to the 14 March 2007, A Guy Called Gerald, MC Normski & Navigator recording. Always remember it for some reason. Hopefully the other shows will have Fabio hysterical monologues about Eastenders, Pete Beale and Arsenal.

One In The Jungle Archive

Senator Al Franken

Yesterday Al Franken became Senator Al Franken eight months after winning the senatorial election in the American state of Minnesota. The Minnesota Supreme Court judged that he won the election by 312 votes.

I've been following this regularly and I'm delighted to see him get some justice. While I would not agree with a lot his political viewpoints, he is Pro Choice (edit: haha & OMG! I originally typed Pro Life when in fact Al is clear supporter of a woman's right to choose), Pro Gay Rights and Pro working class.

Most of all he has spent much of his time tearing into the rabid conservative right, be it Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly or Anne Coulter. His book Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right is a funny and passionate rejection of right wing lies.

Well done Al.