Interesting Blends


Rediscovering my old Vinyl

I don’t really have the money or the patience to be an audiophile but being a music fan the thought of having a nice set up to listen to my vinyl on is really attractive. I’ve DJ’d for 20-25 years on and off, and realising that nowadays I seldom do my mixing outside the box, I decided it was time to retire the mixer to the cupboard, where it can be called upon in an emergency and use my Technics 1210 as a dedicated record player.

So I decided to go whole hog and sort out my vinyl, chuck it all in a book case from Ikea and buy a phono pre-amp etc… and set it up as a nice little listening music room that doubles as my studio.

First up was sorting the room and the vinyl. For storing the records we went out and bought the standard Ikea Expedit. I’ve got about 2000 records at my apartment, this is about half of my collection with the other half being at my brothers – actually if I’m honest it’s our collection which we split in half when we both grew up and went our own ways. So between us we have somewhere in the region of 4500-5000 records. The immediate problem for me was sorting the stuff I listen to most and storing it where I can access it. There are countless record storing solutions out there, none of them cheap but all f them much of a much, but in the end we went the direction that most vinyl collectors in recent years have taken and bought two of the 4 x 2 Expedits from Ikea, and they soak up the vast bulk of the collection I have.

Sifting through all my records, with a little help from my son, was enlightening and I realised how much I missed the vinyl experience. I was never massively bothered about the format for me it was all about the music, but it’s nice to have a genuine product in your hands.

So, records sorted and next up was buying a phono-preamp. I’d toyed with the idea of selling my 1210 and buying something like a pro-ject debut, or elemental but I decided to keep by 1210 on the basis that it’s a fantastic piece of engineering, that looks and sounds great and whilst it’s not the most perfect of sound I do still dj and it’s good to be able to practice when I need to. So I started looking at pre-amps. As with most things audiophile the price swing is massive, I could spend anything from about €10 to €1000 but realistically would I be able to tell the difference in an untreated room and mainly listening in headphones or recording into my soundcard?

So I set a budget of €50-€80. Pro-jects Phonobox was my initial choice but after reading reviews and taking into account the fact I wasn’t using an audiophile deck I choice to opt for the cheaper TCC TC-750, from  $43.50 + P&P in all it came in around the same price as the Pro-ject before shipping, and I have to say it’s nice. My main concern was getting rid of the annoying hum that was there in the background on my mixer, music would obscure it but in the most quiet parts and silence it was there and I knew it.

The TCC has definitely done the job and removed the big chunk of metal and knobs making the whole set up much nicer to look at and sit in front of.

After that I decided that perhaps I should also change my needle from a DJ one to a midrange listening one. I’d been using the Shure M447N’s for the last 10 years or so, mainly because I was a scratch DJ. I had a spare headshell and figured it was worth having a DJ set and listening set I could change for whatever i was doing. So after reading the forums and deciding I wasn’t spending more than the price of the turntable on it I opted for the Audio Technica AT95E for €30. After mounting it properly and breaking it in (about 20 hours) it sounds good enough for me.

So there it is, it’s not the most amazing set up, I’m sure it will get some frowns from the true audiophiles but it’s good enough for me and it was enjoyable putting it together.

Older Posts

MAESTRO: the History of House Music in New York

It's always interesting to see a documentary outline the origins of a genre but so few seem to have really nailed the house music scene, and those that have are quite hard to come by. So i was pleased to see the excellent documentary MAESTRO had been put up on youtube by some kind soul. 

It's a fantastic look at how dance music culture began and the people instrumental within the scene, but doesn't shy away from showing the more underground process that was ongoing at the same time.

anyway, it's a cracking watch, a must watch actually…. enjoy.

Motion Liverpool: 1st Birthday – Video

Just watched this courtesy of Greg Wilson. It's a video from Motions 1st Birthday, featuring interviews with both Greg and Derek Kaye.

Both are huge legends in UK dance music enjoying a bit of a renaisance and the documentary is a lovely little watch, touching on their origins, and how their friendship grew.

If you have 15 minutes spare make a cup of tea and watch.

Andrew Weatherall Interview

Sorry, no posts for a while but i thought i'd quickly drop this on you as i stumbled upon it whilst doing other things…

It's a fantastic insight into one of the greatest ment to ever be involved in dance music, Andrew Weatherall.


Buddy Peace – Sons of Bitches

Been a bit slack around here of late, but i blame the holiday period. So I am going to kick of the new year with an amazing album by Buddy peace that reworks the Miles Davis Classic Bitches Brew sessions.

He takes it, chops it into a tone of funky but dark Jazz-Hop numbers and shows how creative a man can get with some talent, a niggling idea and an MPC 500.

Amazing, support!

CHANGE – Mutual Attraction (Project Tempo Re-Edit)

Yeah, i know, i've been shockingly slack, but that's because i've got a new job and it's eating up my time.

But i come bearing gifts from our favourite french re-edit team, Project Tempo. They've been slipping us their re-edits for a couple of years now, and this morning in my inbox was another, this time their dj friendly re-work of Change – Mutual Attraction. it's a nice little re-rub, and they've made it available for free on soundcloud as an early chrimbo pressie for anyone who wants it.

They have a new EP coming very soon of original material, but this should tide you over until then.

Dream Continuum Boiler Room DJ Set

It's a Bank Holiday here and i had to work, but no point in letting that stop me enjoying myself I decided that as the office was empty i'd stick on a few things i’ve been meaning to catch up with, and this boiler room set by Dream Continuum (Om Unit & Machine Drum), being one of them, is absolutely spot on.

It's essentially the two of them going back to back, two tracks each. The set is absolutely spot on, and i'm not a massive Juke/Footwork fan. Lots of altering timesignatures and lashings of melody, ragga and Dub obviously feature heavily.

There is an Audio download of the set here.

Subculture At South Place Hotel, London 2013

Haven't posted any music for a while, but my listening has been a bit of a mixed bag of late. My own projects, couple with some old stuff i've been ripping to Vinyl and so on left me thinking i should post on other stuff… but at the weekend i came upon this  mix by two of my favourite DJ's Harri and Domenic from Subcultre in Glasgow and i had to post it.

I've been a long time fan of Harri ever since first hearing him spin alongside Kenny Hawkes at Fridays R Firin at the original Plastic People on Oxford Street. It became a regular crusade to go along and listen to two fantastic DJ's work a tiny little basement room. The Sub Club is the other name i instantly identify with Harri. An iconic venue not just in Glasgow but within deep house int he UK, it's probably one of the best clubs i've ever been to.

For well over a decade Harri and Domenic have been the saturday night residents, with Optimo taking the Sunday slots. So it was interesting to hear this set, with the guys DJ'ing atthe critically acclaimed South Place Hotel (look it up). 

It's a great listen, taking you on a wonderful journey through deep house, both current and classic, and is a must listen for anyone with even a passing interest in the deep soulful house sound.

Wrongtom interviews David Rodigan

If like me you have more than a passing interest in Reggae and Dub, this will be right up your street. It's an interview from May 2013 with legendary DJ David Rodigan about… well, pretty much everything. I grew up listening to Rodigan, on Capital and later Kiss FM so it's nice to see him talk about how it all started and how his career blossomed.

It's a brilliant watch, in two parts (edit: it’s actually three parts), touching on Rodigans resurgence, and the resurgence of dub within club land off the back of Dubstep and Dubs immense influence on the current Nu-Disco and Deep House scenes.


The Art of Rap: Something from Nothing

I went back and watched the amazing "Art of Rap: Something from Nothing" today. 

If you havent seen it it's a documentary directed by Ice T covering the art of the MC within Hop Hop. it covers a lot of bases but never dips in quality. so many great MC's and so many stand out moments, it's an easy watch and never strays too far from it's core objectives.

I've embedded the youtube clip of the advert below to wet your appetite, and you can watch the full film here The Art of Rap: Something from Nothing, but it is region locked so you may or may not be able to watch it depending on where you are based. To be fair though it's like ₤4 on iTunes and Google play so you may as well grab it, as it's a fantastic watch.