THUNDER PICKS #001
As you know we love Thunder round these parts… Mr Miles Simpson of Thunder has also graced these pages with many a fine interview too.
In the first of a new series, Mr Simpson makes some fine selections from the world of Thunder.
Catchily titled 'Thunder Picks', this week he digs over Neville Watson's album, Kenny Hawkes' Bench, Levon Vincent, Paradise Garage & Gemini represses. Enjoy good people…
Neville Watson Songs To Elevate Pure Hearts (Crme Organisation) I have to declare an interest here. When we kicked Thunder off with our first party in August 2011, the man that braved the riot torn streets of Dalston to come and play records in our basement that night was UK acid house don, Neville Watson. What many people dont know is Neville was also instrumental in getting the Thunder crew to get our collective finger out and do the party at all. But putting that bias aside for a moment, not only is Neville a great DJ but hes also a fantastic producer. His Time To Lose Control on Andy Blakes Dissident Records introduced me to his work and Ive been a fan ever since. So it was a real pleasure to see that after years of studio troubling, last week Neville has finally released his debut album. It's bloody brilliant too and displays the true versatility of Nevilles production, from the Blade Runner-esque Dark Star to hilariously titled abrasive machine music of Everything I Know About House (I Learnt On Facebook) to the beautiful electronic meandering of The Girl From Kowloon Tong to the uplifting dubby techno of Against The Tide. Its a genuinely exciting body of work. Not only can you can buy it from all good record shops right and you can also catch Neville interviewing and being in turn, being interviewed by Semtek here.
Kenny Hawkess Bench (Brighton)
This coming Monday, the 10th June, marks the second anniversary of the passing of DJ and producer Kenny Hawkes. Not only did Kenny make an indelible mark on the British house scene, setting up the hugely influential Girls FM radio station London, running nights like Fridays R Firin at the original Plastic People on Oxford Street and the absolutely seminal midweek house club, Space at Bar Rhumba, he was also one of the warmest, most genuine people you could ever hope to meet and he had a wicked sense of humour too. The effect he had on people led to calls in the house community to do something more permanent to remember him by. Now we all know that this sort thing starts off as a well-meaning idea and then with all the best intentions in the world, peters out fairly quickly. But not on this occasion. Friends got busy, a plan was hatched, a benefit party was thrown (with Derrick Carter jetting in from Chicago to play), a design was drawn, memorial t-shirt and posters were produced, money was raised and with a Herculean effort from Roual Galloway from Faith Fanzine and Kennys partner Wendy, finally, last week Kenny got his own bench on the sea front in Brighton. So, if youre ever in town and Kenny touched your life in some way, why dont you pop along, sit down and spend a moment remembering the big man. Its on Marine Parade in front of Burlington Street and Bloomsbury Place.
Levon Vincent Represses About a week and half ago, Levon responded to repeated requests via social media by announcing he was finally re-pressing of two of the most sought after of his Novel Sound singles, These Games and Man or Mistress. Hes also taken steps to address criticism (many would say was unfounded) about the quality of the vinyl hes used in the past and poor sound quality of some pressing. He explained, I re-mastered NS-01 closer to 'audiophile' spec. We cut from DSD and I used some other equipment enhancements to add (very) subtle nuances to the original, a little saturation and treated the low end a little better. I made sure not to re-invent the tunes, just some engineering subtleties I have learned in the past 5 years, since NS-01 was first released. They should sound tighter in the club this time. It is cut in white vinyl and for this reason has the cat # NS-01.2. With NS-05, I pressed in cherry red vinyl… It's really freakin red! Its worth noting that not Man or Mistress really red, I think its also the best record hes ever made. Im not sure how long these are going to be around though, they were made available through Rubadub Records in Glasgow originally and melted their website on the day of launch, but you can still pick them up in Kristina Records in London too.
Paradise Garage Video This remarkable 2 hour long video surfaced last weekend. It seems to be made up of extracts from the last week at the Paradise Garage and some from the last night itself. Ive spoken to a few longer in the tooth club goers in New York and none of them have seen this before. Little bits of it, yes, but not all 2 hours! It really is a treasure, a window directly onto the dancefloor of the clubs that shaped the music so many of us love today. And there are so many magic moments. The queue, the famous ramp, the lone dancers wheeling away on the empty floor to E2-E4, the house music, the crowds reaction Spank, the even bigger reaction to You Used To Hold Me, the show-womanship of Gwen Guthrie, Liz Torres and Master C&J live on stage, Keith Haring on the dancefloor, the dancefloor unity during We Are Family, in the both with Larry as he drops Jeanette Thomas Shake Your Body, Adonis, the ultimate end of night moment of Make It Last Forever and Ce Ce Rogers Someday being played at the end, twice. It demonstrates that were Larry still alive today, he certainly would not be stuck in a disco time warp. But on a more basic level, its a probably the most fantastic 2 hours of video on youtube right now.
Gemini re-press – The of story Spencer Kincey, aka Gemini, is a pretty sorry tale. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted of the second wave of Chicago house producer, he released records that can quite reasonably be described as seminal on labels like Cajual, Relief and Classic amongst others. He was also a naturally talented DJ with a gift for energy and creative mixing, that everyone I have spoken to who played with or heard him remembers wistfully. But he is also a man who struggled with his inner demons and the cut throat nature of the music industry, something that apparently inspired his track 'Swimming Wit Sharks'. Then in the early noughties, it seems he finally succumbed those demons, seemingly dropped off the radar and has not been heard of since. Then a week or two ago, German house label Rawax trailed the first release in a series of ten Gemini records, a repress of his untitled EP on Cajual. Next up is 'Swimming Wit Sharks' and the promo blurb on Juno suggests that new material is in the offing too. Intrigued I contact the label and they said he's been found. I'm hoping to catch up with them and find out more about the project very soon but in the meantime you can check the first release here:
You can find similarly idle chit-chat to this everyday in the Facebook Thunder group