The UK is alive and well with the sound of music as an inspired array of young creatives and producers continue to push the boundaries of genre and stereotype. Contours is a producer, disc jockey and musician from Cumbria now based in Manchester, he has released music on the likes of Rhythm Section, Shall Not Fade, Banana Hill and more but it is perhaps his most recent collaboration with Cervo which is his most exciting output to date. Kawuku Sound is a musical project which saw the pair collaborate with Ugandan percussion troupe Fonkodelis Arkestra - the result a beautiful mixture of far reaching flutters of drums and electronic soundscapes. Contours knowledge runs deep and his interest in music from the far flung corners of the globe makes his own production style unique and intriguing.
He delivers a mix for us this week.
Please introduce yourself…
I’m Tom Burford aka, Contours.
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I’m a producer, DJ, radio host, musician and music facilitator from Cumbria, living in Manchester.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
I’m proper shit at drawing so this google image of some contours is going to have to suffice…
Where was the mix recorded?
At the Reform Radio studio in Manchester. Big up to Reform as always!
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
On a beach, up a mountain, in a dark sweaty club with friends, in your living room with a cup of tea. All are appropriate!
What should we be wearing?
Whatever you want.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Lamu, Northern Kenya with a pair of technics and all my records on the bozak mixer from Corsica Studios and the Brilliant Corners sound system.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I’m really digging the new Andy Hart track LFTR on Voyage Records, but I think favourite track in the mix at the moment has to be Atjazz - Can I Touch the Sun. Picked this up from my local Oxfam recently after Mr Scruff secretly dropped of hundreds of records. This record is an absolute broken-beat dancefloor heater.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
When I was still living in rural Cumbria I remember stumbling across Appleblim’s Dubstep Allstars vol 6 mix. I remember this being one of my favourite mix CD’s for quite a while. It felt so new to me at the time. It was a mix of sparse and sub heavy 140 sounds taking in dubstep, garage and dub vibes from the likes of 2562, Martyn, TRG and Pinch. Aside from that it would have to be one of the many all-night ‘keep it unreal’ mixes I’ve picked up after Scruff’s monthly residency parties at Band on The Wall in Manchester. These always traverse all corners of the musical spectrum and are an absolute masterclass in selection!
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
Probably David Mancuso, just to be able to experience the energy and vibe in the loft!
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
My first ever set up was a pair of banged out cash converter citronic turntables with counter weights made out blue tack (and a little white tack thrown in when we ran out of blue), a Numark M2 mixer, a charity shop technics amplifier and my grandparents old Bang & Olufsen hifi speakers from the 70’s (which I still have today as they sound mega!)
Now I’ve got a pair of technics 1210’s, Allen & Heath Zone 23C mixer and a pair of rocket 5’s. My grandparents Bang & Olufsen speakers are set up in our living room, which makes for a quality chill.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Depends on the context but I think the track you start with. I really like the early sections of a long set where you get to dig deeper into less conventional sounds that might not usually get played in a club. A DJ set is always a journey, and so the sonic foundations you establish are definitely important to setting a vibe!
What were the first and last records you bought?
One of the first ever records I bought was in Bristol at Rooted Records when it was open. It was an Illum sphere record on 3024. I’d never heard of Illum sphere at the time but was recommended it by the guy behind the counter. Weird sort of LA beats/club sounding stuff – Low End Theory kind of vibe! Think I got some charity shop records before that but can’t remember for the life of me what they were. Probably Holst – The Planets. I swear that made up 1 in every 3 charity shop records in Cumbria.
Last record I bought was Gifted Culture curated by Autre & Two Thou. A collective of jazz musicians from Berlin who curated a series of Live sessions, the outcome of which is incredible.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
A thick slice of freshly baked bread with butter after a long days work!
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
Mohamed Gubara – Sounds of Sudan. The obscure rhythmic patterns and tempo modulations of the record make it hard enough to mix as it is. The fact it is also warped only makes the situation harder!
Upcoming in the world of…
Aside from the Throng of Orbs comp, I’ve just released a collaborative album with Cervo and Ugandan percusssion troupe the Fonkodelis Arkestra which we made in Kampala last year. The LP is out now on Banana Hill so go check that! I’ve also got a second EP coming out on Shall Not Fade towards the end of the year, with a remix from one of my alltime favourite producers, Kaidi Tatham.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Make sure you lock in NTS Radio and catch the Expansions show with myself and Yadava delving deep into soulful, jazz tipped productions and percussive obscurities. Next Show is Nov 3rd 2-3pm, stream 2. We’ve got some unreleased goodness to share with you all as well!