Sound Exchange: Ambient Babestation Meltdown and Bleaching Agent reveal their finest swaps
At the beginning of 2021, Bleaching Agent and Ambient Babestation Meltdown had never met or even communicated.
Since then, they’ve shared hundreds of incredible records between them and have begun to spin them together in nightclubs. Not bad, given the year we’ve all had. Now, the time has come for the unsuspecting club denizens of London to embrace their niche space between good taste and potential signs of madness.
Bleaching Agent, the alias of Al Matthews, is a firm favourite not only on the nosebleed circuit for his somewhat punishing but charismatic techno and gabber sets, but also his later, more melodic ‘indie dance’ on labels like Optimo Music and Hot Concept. Meanwhile, Ambient Babestation Meltdown, otherwise known as Rachael Williams, is a live performer and DJ whose taste runs the gamut from obscure Italo to electroclash with a smattering of “off key sex jokes and weird sound samples.”
Their individual tastes and sense of humour have been prominent throughout ‘Us & Them’, a group on the website formerly known as Facebook turned weekly Newcastle club night, initially established by North-Eastern rave svengali Man Power to promote “music for outsiders, music by outsiders, music that is on the outside right now, or music that is so on the inside that it’s come all the way round and finds itself on the outside again.”
This is exactly the kind of (probably not literal) jazz they will be playing at Hot Concept at The Waiting Room on November 27th; the first ever London party for the Berlin label founded by John Loveless, and also featuring Loveless alongside his occasional production partner, Gramrcy, also planning on musically diverse but floor-focused form. With the usual charm and range, ABSM and Bleaching Agent are pleased to present some of their finest swaps exclusively with you, R$N reader.
Chagrin D’Amour – Chacun Fait C’qui lui Plait
BA: I mean you knew that was my first pick…
ABM: OK, we genuinely need to discuss why the lead singer of Chagrin D’Amour sounds about 20 years older than he looks. This video also looks a bit like trying to watch an early David Lynch film, but without my glasses on.
BA: I think he’s partly aping 80s Serge Gainsbourg and clearly doing Ian Dury as well. Plus French people smoke like fuck. I like the backing singer that looks like a zombie Trevor Horn.
ABM: Okay I am wheezing at “zombie Trevor Horn”. God, I love a shit rap in a tune. Do you wanna hear one of the first tunes I stole from you? Actually a bit gutted to have to reveal this publicly.
DJ Naughty – All The Boys Look Superchic (Gigolo Theme)
ABM: I really wanted people to think I discovered DJ Naughty all by myself, from my own misspent electroclash youth. But weirdly it is one that slipped through that early 2000s net for me.
BA: Ahh yeah all ze boys look superchic!
ABM: Wait, hang on, I need the Spongebob meme so I can say “i PUt tHIs iN mY djMaG mIX”. It’s such a thumper this tune.
BA: Yeah it’s another crap European rap, haha. Also he says “fantastique” so this counts as another French tune yeah?
ABM: OH MY GOD. Yes, let’s count this as French. But do we know where he is from, Monsieur Naughty?
BA: I’m guessing Germany but I know Gigolo had quite a few French folk. But I’m guessing he’s one of DJ Hell’s old chums. I might be wrong but he might have been on Gigolo 01 too?
ABM: Ok I checked Discogs, he’s half German, half Italian. Not French. But do you have another French song lined up for us next?
Natasha King – AM FM
BA: Nah I need a combo breaker. I mean it’s one of those songs you kinda recognise but it leapt out when you sent it to me.
ABM: AHHHHHH!!! More shit rap though! I was actually singing this loudly to myself earlier whilst doing chores.
BA: Haha. I do the saxophone parts.
ABM: Wait did I just admit I do a shit rap?
BA: I think it’s a good rap! She has an ace voice for it. Gutted there’s no music video cos it’s such a legit brilliant pop song.
ABM: There’s so few videos for my fave synth-pop and italo tunes though. I always end up watching some terrible VHS quality RAI performances.
BA: I possibly did hear AM-FM in passing on one of I-F’s radio shows but sometimes the right person sends you a track at the right time and it sticks with you.
What’s your next one? “Actually this one’s Belgian, Alan”
Yello – Lost Again
ABM: Swiss! I KNOW I would have had this, but it didn’t stand out til I heard it in one of your mixes. I think from your Body Horror mix with The Niallist? Also we have another music video to critique now! It makes me want to be in an 80s sci-fi noir. And unrelatedly, I would like to rewatch Highlander.
BA: Ahhh yeah this is the most Rachael of Yello songs! They were one of my daughter’s first favourite bands. The videos are incredible. Great developmental aid. We were in Outlaws Yacht Club once and a DJ put on Bostich and she ran up to the decks, had a dance then told a couple “This is Yello. I’ve got this record.”. She was 4. Tell a lie, it was The Race. She doesn’t have Bostich on vinyl. Yeah it’s very Blade Runner isn’t it?
ABM: I can’t wait to hear the music your daughter makes when she inevitably starts a punk band.So what country are we going to now? Please say it’s not another French track next.
Alisha Chinai – Bombay Girl
BA: Nope! Indian! This is mainly cos you did an extraordinary amount of digging around Alisha Chinai.
ABM: I just really needed to know if this was actually the original of Barbie Girl. I still don’t know for 100% haha! I like to think it is! And I really ought to admit I heard this on Moving Still’s Radio Alhara show.
BA: Yeah but you also found she later did a copy of Barbie Girl right back at them.
Alisha Chinnai – Main Hoon Bombay Girl
ABM: Okay and the outfits in that were INCREDIBLE. And no I don’t know why that man was holding a lamb??
BA: Oh that guy! He had all sorts going on. Was it a trenchcoat, a lamb, did he have a beret as well?
ABM: I believe he had the most enviable and most late 90s Kangol style beret! Right so as you stole that from me and I stole it from a radio show…
My next one is from one of your Narr radio shows.
Jonathan Kusuma – Street Siren
ABM: The great thing about having a shit memory is I get to rediscover your tracks over and over and repeatedly ask you for the same track ID.
BA: Haha! Yeah cos how would you describe this? The one that goes neeaaaow neeeaaow. “Err, Charlie by The Prodigy?”
ABM: I describe it as that one that where if I’m listening to this mix at the gym I hope I’m not on the cross trainer when this tune comes on cos I will die. I mean it is UTTER FILTH.
BA: I did actually do one radio show mostly under 100bpm mainly to give you a breather.
ABM: I feel like everything I tune in randomly Narr is often under 100bpm. It’s defs one of my fave stations. Oh can I claim credit for you even being on it? I totally did that.
BA: You did do it, Joe Gill from Narr told me so!
ABM: I would lose my mind if I heard this in a club. Let’s make that happen please!
BA: Speaking of which, god these are beautiful segues…
Sharif Laffrey – Always
ABM: YOU NEVER STOLE THIS FROM ME? Are you joking? I thought I stole this from you hahaha.
BA: I’m going to steal it! I was partying round my mate Jim’s not long ago, and this is one of the few tracks I put on that he didn’t hate.
ABM: Either way it’s so killer! I love the Pet Shop Boys sample SO MUCH, it’s just so west. It’s brill.
BA: I remember you kept saying “I need seasick tunes for my DJ Mag mix”
ABM: Haha! This is very seasick. I wish I’d played this at Us&Them in Newcastle actually. I think the crowd would have loved this. A record you DID play in Newcastle and it’s totally okay for me to pick this cos I didn’t make it…
Blacknecks Don’t Dream It Be It Prins Thomas Version
ABM: And I have physically stolen your copy now.
BA: When I was making this I couldn’t get a good noisy kick drum to fit it so me and Tom just released it without drums. Luckily Prins Thomas wanted it for his compilation and did an edit which meant he finished it for us.
ABM: So with this tune I always think about you saying about the DJ who played it whilst inside a… I want to say giant spider?
BA: Sasha! Sasha on the streets of Miami DJing in a fifty foot high metal spider, playing this! The most chizzy thing ever.
ABM: This tune is quite chizzy mate.
BA: Italo melodies innit mate.