Thursday, November 17, 2011

TEA on Tour - Part 1


I boarded one of Qantas' gleaming new Airbus A380's and was blessed with a 21 hour bump free flight to London. A 45 minute stopover in Singapore was enough to stretch the legs before being rounded up into holding pen C23 to be filed back on to QF9 bound for London.


Wedged between two seats in 86F, a constant power struggle over armrest territory was waged for the duration of the flight, me loosing ground on both east and western fronts. During the downtime of battle I took to transcribing and recent interview I did with a speedy talking Glaswegian, not the easiest of tasks but respite nevertheless.


A quick skim through Qantas' impressive in-flight viewing options saw me chose (for some reason) a two part documentary on the trails and tribulations of making it into the Australian Army's SAS (SPecial Air Service) - Australia's ultimate problem solver apparently. Half way through part one I new I had made a bad decision but like the troops I was watching I soldiered on and saw it through to the end.


It was a typically cliche flight of short sleeved and overly camp air stewards complimenting customers on their selections of chicken over pork, 3 Aussie lads championing the efforts of David Boon's infamous 52 VB can binge, DVT prevention exercises and people wearing noise cancelling headphones, I eventually touched down at Heathrow Airport and 2 hours later found my way to my final destination of Bow in the east end, home for my time in London.


A cup of lemon and ginger tea followed by a quick 2 and half hour power kip and I was ready hit London, the first time I had been back since my 2 living stint in 2008. First stop was lunch in Camden with a old friend followed by my first purchase of the trip. From here the Northern and Central lines rattled me into Soho were a trip to Vinyl Junkies saw me purchase 5 or 6 R&S classics at two or three quid a pop. Next up was the short hop, skip and jump to Phonica where I wasn't greeted by a lethargic and typically uninterested record store clerk, seems to be prerequisite these days. I walked out with XBD - Bakfom still yearning for the day I engage in a friendly conversation about music with a record store employee.


Vinyl Junkies - Soho


A date with some more friends at my favourite old haunt The Carpenters Arms capped off day 1 of my first visit to London in close to two years. Tomorrow I was boarding a flight to Amsterdam for the Amsterdam Dance Event where the opening parties of Planet E's 20th Anniversary with Carl Craig, Moritz Von Oswald, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Ben UFO (plus others) at Melkweg and CLR's label night with Chris Liebing, Terence Fixmer, Tommy Four Seven, Monoloc (plus others) at Studio 80 were waiting.


A 4:00pm rendezvous at Liverpool St Station carried me north of London to Stansted Airport bound for Amsterdam. After a hastily made decision of shepherds pie and a pint of Amstel (Dutch beer innit) I was politely reminded by a friend that we were soon to board and was forced to down my shepheards pie in the same fashion as my beer. After taking off from Stansted, the seatbelt sign had barely been turned off before we were told to prepare the cabin for landing, arm doors and cross check, touching down in Amsterdam a nifty 35 minutes later. Specks of rain accompanied our trek into the southern part of the city but it wasn't enough to deter our childlike bemusement of the cities coffee shops and a regrettable flake out Wednesday night quickly ensued meaning we missed two of ADE's impressive opening parties.


Thursday started with a coffee, cream cheese bagel and very berry muffin, served by the sweetest of Amsterdam locals. Walking around the canals after breakfast I noticed bit by bit my wardrobe was slowly falling apart, the hole in the crouch of my jeans was getting bigger with every step, water in the streets from rain the night before informed me of a newly formed hole in the front of my right shoe and the pin securing the left arm of my sun glasses was still at large. Time to hit the shops.


Red Light Radio - Amsterdam


New trousers and shoes purchased and I was now ready to hit ADE. That night I was invited along to a Red Light Radio broadcast, a radio station which operates out of a pre-owned workers booth located in the heart of Amsterdam's red-light district De Wallen. The Dekmantel lads kept things sweet and moody with a touch of sleaze whilst plenty of beat spotting, track championing and back slapping was had inside, confusing the window shoppers passing by.


From there we took off to the Fachwerk label night at the bitter sweet Sugar Factory. Upon entry Sascha Rydell had the club shuffling to a typically Fachwerk template of dubby low end beats and flaky hats buried deep within the mix. Roman Lindau took the reigns from Sascha Rydell indicating to me that this would be a Fachwerk threeway and I was soon proved right as Mike 'the don' Dehnert took over and round 1 was complete. Round 2 saw Rydell keep to his previous low end theory before swapping with Lindau who punched out a personal favourite of mine Can't Fix It giving the night some needed momentum. After some more warped vocals and shackling percussion Sugar Factory stepped up a gear as Dehnert straddled the building vibe and brought a close to round 2. The night didn’t end up being as late as I expected but I do remember walking out with big fat Fachwerk smile on my face.


Late Friday morning we set of to the same bagel house as we had been to the previous morning, only we weren't greeted by the same sweet little lady as before, but a Goldmember-esque bagel warden. On top of that we were attacked by a squadron of pigeons who were all to used to human contact closing the book on our bagel and cream cheese chapter. As the afternoon turned into night we did sushi and devoured a varied selection of sushi rolls, wagyū beef whilst tipping back warm saki. We then headed to the Rush Hour All Stars party at Cafe Cox where props go to JuJu of JuJu and Jordash fame for donning a Scott Ferguson T-Shirt. Scott Ferguson FTW.


Rush Hour All Stars Party - Cafe Cox (Pic Courtesy Tony Poland)


All Star Line up


After JuJu and Jordash’s set we caught the first few tracks of Awanto 3 but were forced to hop a cab to Amsterdam's super club Trouw, Dutch for trust I was told by the cabby. The first thing I noticed when walking into the Trouw (minus the Berghain looks and intimidation) was the clarity in sound and impressive Funktion 1 rigging. I managed to catch the last half an hour to forty five minutes of Julio Bashmore's set where a very receptive crowd responded well to the MK's Dub of the 1995 R&B hit Freak You by Jodeci and Bashmore's own Battle For Middle You. I parked myself up, above and next to the DJ booth but far away enough to not be considered a groupie, fan boy or hangers on. I watch intently as Martyn introduced his set with some fresh cuts from his new album Masks as well as some sprinklings from Great Lengths. Once they were out of the Trouw was served a typically eclectic set of drum n bass, jungle with the accompanying Amen breaks, house and garage and techno.


Colors - Trouw (Pic Courtesy Trouw)


The Man The Martyn (Pic Courtesy Trouw)


The Battle For Middle You, Julio Bashmore (Pic Courtesy Trouw)


Addison Groove (Pic Courtesy Trouw)


Trouw Peak Time (Pic Courtesy Trouw)


Next up was Addison Groove who if I had to guess was pushing 140bpm at +8 for the entirety of his set. AD’s milkshake brought all the boys to the yard and the rest of the night was high-powered to say the least as the baseball capped Bristolian finished off the night with some teasing spin backs and a nostalgic if not cliche closer. The next day a toasted ham and cheese melt and short espresso macchiato brought back my Fachwerk smile from the previous thursday night and conveniently across the road from where we had breakfast was Record Mania, housing a incredible array of anything from Classical, Jazz and Funk to Post Punk, Rock N Roll and Avant Garde records. Still yet to burst my Amsterdam record shopping cherry I indulged in an Art of Noise picture disc, Talking Heads Stop Making Sense live album (thanks mum), Brian Eno and David Byrne's My Life In The Bush Of Ghost's as well as John Cage’s Nova Musicha featuring a reinterpretation of Cage's seminal 1952 piece 4'33”.


Saturday afternoon was full of more record shopping as I made my way to Rush Hour. Like an excitable child asking are we there yet? are we there yet? I arrived to a packed out store full of out of town record shoppers (such as myself), so much so there were cues for the listening stations. A sift through their second hand section (one of the most exciting parts of record shopping) had me come across John Heckles Life On Titan EP on Mathematics. I put myself on the Dutch artist and label tip seeing I was in the country and picked up a JuJu & Jordash remix of Cloud's What You Want on Exceptional Blue as well as Mike Dehnerts - Before Framework EP on Delsin. When waiting to use a listening station a beefy house rang through Rush Hours having me look over at mate to which he mouthed Aard--Vark. It turned out to be (Just Washed) That Pig (Extended Mix) released on Rush Hours new Vault Series. After some other quick pick ups I made my way to the counter and was on the verge of paying when the friendly clerk put on Blawaan's epic R&S cut Vibe Decorium/What You Do With What You Have, yep throw that one in as well.


Record Mania Mania Mania Mania!


Listening Booth In Rush Hour.


Rush hour at Rush Hour, get it?


Feeling content we left Rush Hour a few Euro down and a few records up and stopped past yet another warm looking freehouse and debriefed over our purchases clinking Leffe Blondes and gobbling up two rounds of a traditional dutch bar snack Bitterballen. Saturday nights cards turned up with Theo Parrish and Kyle Hall at Toko MC and RA's X party at Trouw. Out of all the ADE nights to flake out on we may well have picked the best one as Theo was reported to clear a lot floor space with his 100bpm grovellers and RA's X secret X artist was Sascha of Sascha and Digweed fame. Awakening the following morning as bright as Daisy's or erm..Tulips we started the day with a Shmoke and a Pancake which soon lead to a food coma thanks to the gluttonous pancake and waffle menu available to me. I walked off breakfast over 3 blocks where we made our way to an Irish pub to sink a few Guinness's whilst watching Man United get dragged through the mud by Man City 6-1 at the theatre of dreams.


Bitterballen, Dutch For Beer Nuts.


We Got Waffles, We Got Pancakes.


From here I made tracks to the Ostgut Ton Party at Toko MC, an old Cinema space and caught the end of Nick Hoppner's set which was neither deep house nor techno, but a pleasure to listen to nevertheless. Next up was Marcel Dettmann who opened with some light chords and ambience slowly introducing some streamlined kick, snare hat combo’s, nicely done. Behind the decks Dettmann gives off a presence of complete control and his precession mixing is a absolute pleasure to listen too, his mix of Planetary Assault Systems Bell Blocker was definitely a moment.


The World Wide Phenomenon That Is Ostgut Ton.


Next up was Marcel Fengler disappointingly not wearing his two tone suit seen on the cover of his Berghain 5 mix. I was under a time constraint to get back to Trouw for their closing party and to say goodbye to a friend who had looked after us during our stay in Amsterdam. Reluctantly I left the Ostgut party and hopped a cab to Trouw where I was surprised to walk into Seth Troxler banging out Ben Klock's remix to Martyn's Is This Insanity. Maybe this wont be so bad I thought but my doubts were confirmed when (piss weak in comparison) tribal percussion and african chanting aka tech house was mixed over the top and remained the theme for the rest of the night. We said our goodbyes and like true tourists hopped in a cab and got ripped off, maybe telling the cabby to take us to the Heineken Brewery was enough of a reason for him to do so. I pushed through a 6am rise and boarded a flight back to London where the Stansted Express rolled me back into Liverpool St Station at approximately 9:30am. A short tube ride further east saw me find my way home back to Bow where a day of rest, pizza, cherry coke and Lious Theroux capped off what was a very memorable trip to the land of the super friendly, Amsterdam.


I also managed to make a quick 1 hour Ableton mix on the first leg of my journey from Singapore to Melbourne. Enjoy.


Download QF9 MEL-SIN Mix

  1. Efdemin & Kassian Troyer - Blount [Curle]
  2. Conforce - Vacuum [Delsin]
  3. Mikkel Metal - Cassini [Tartelet Records]
  4. AnD - Hydrothermal [Idle Hands]
  5. Chevel - Portego [Stroboscopic Artefacts]
  6. Dark Room Alliance - Stige (Deepbass Remix) [Archetype Records]
  7. Northern Structures - Bolts [Sonic Groove]
  8. Mattias Fridell - Indicating Absence [M_Grey]
  9. Luke Slater - Lurchers Dub [Mote Evolver]
  10. Henning Baer - In Transit [K209]
  11. Conrad Van Orton - After Smoke [ANG Records]

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