Dream pop Electronica Prog Psychedelia

Plastic Dreams

So, I was invited to DJ for the first time and provide a psyche set. At least that’s what I think my brief was. I ran with that anyway. After a couple of lessons on the ones and twos with the event organiser, and feeling a bit nervous, I took the plunge at Voodoo Keller, a popular bar in Chelmsford.

The venue was pretty busy at seven o’clock on a Saturday evening in the other two rooms, but in the section in which the turntables/dancefloor were located there was but one interested spectator: my tutor.

I thought it’d be fun to name tracks I played, and explain why I chose them, so please read on. Hope this’ll appeal to list lovers. Click the links to hear the music (other links go to related articles).

A psychedelic person playing decks

Heaven’s End – Loop. In an attempt to inspire a trippy effect from the start, I played not one of the masters of repetition actual tracks, but the run out of their debut LP A side, which consists of dialogue from the Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey spoken by a computer HAL 9000. HAL begins to malfunction and jeopardises the human crew. When confronted by a crewperson HAL says: “I honestly believe you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.” I was going to finish the set with the speech when HAL is deactivated: “My mind is going.” But no one was really paying attention. And it began to seem like an in-joke too far. And it was quite fiddly.

Clone Theory’ – The Early Years. This is a fantastically enigmatic track from the London-based purveyors of kosmische. I saw them support Damo Suzuki more than ten years ago. The group has seemingly gone quiet, but I recently heard from their Sonic Cathedral label boss, who said: “I have heard one new song to date and it reminded me of that Cale/Eno [Wrong Way Up] collaboration album from 1990, which is a very good thing in my book!

The Metallic Index’ – Fenella. A comparatively short piece from ambient pop project of singer/songwriter Jane Weaver with her frequent collaborators Peter Philipson and Raz Ulla.

Did You See Butterflies?’ (loop variations) – Jane Weaver again. Playing this track was intended to firm up the branding of this blog. Butterflies. Geddit? This reimagined version isn’t as strong as the original LP (H>A>K) version. However, as this was a non-CD event, I had to buy the loop variations vinyl as I’m not in the habit of buying a 12 inch when I already have the 4.7 inch.

Constant Connection’ – Erasers. I accidentally come across this song and it blew my away. So much so that I promoted one of their shows when they were over from Australia. Minimalist but so synth-tastic.

Message Personnel’ (single version) – Dot Allison. I have written many words about my appreciation of Ms Allison, musically and as a supporter of this blog. This song means the world to me. Hits me right in the emotions. Guitar legend Kevin Shields is all over this … and he makes another appearance later.

Flying’ – The Telescopes. This is a shimmering beast of a record with a surprising addition of bango that works so well. The male/female vocal harmonies are to die for.

Kiss Them for Me’ (Snapper remix) – Siouxsie and the Banshees. What with Siouxsie announcing she’ll play live for the first time in ages, it felt right to include this classic. Was hoping for this choice to start ‘trending’ in the ‘socials’, but influencers there were none in attendance.

Swallow’ – My Bloody Valentine. Continuing the vaguely exotic vibe of the previous two tracks, it was good to give this often overlooked piece of sex on wax an airing. Is a bugger to cue in records that have no beginnings or ends, I discovered.

The Sun Also Rises’ – Helicon. Trademark sitar from the Glasgow sonic explorers. Would’ve probably chosen a song from their new LP released the day before, but it didn’t arrive in time.

Motorik’ – Kontakte. Motorik indeed, to the absolute maximum. One of my best friend’s founded this band. He and this blog (you read it here first) will be collaborating to release the last recordings that were made before his bandmate sadly died, much too young.

A Star Turns Blue’ (Patty Hearse EP) – Magic Shoppe. Another band I promoted last year. The four tracks on this 7-inch EP have a running total of less than six minutes. Punk psyche anyone?

Fermion’ – Loop. An astonishing single from the band’s first LP in thirty years (released last year). So good to hear this at the level it is meant to be heard. Loud.

The Storm’ – World of Twist. Stone-cold classic. Deeply humorous but deadly serious at the same time. WoT were from the future but, weirdly, firmly rooted in the past too.

Dayvan Cowboy’ – Boards of Canada. My favourite group ever? Must be in the top twenty at least. If someone says they don’t like instrumental music, play them this. Then stare deep into the sceptic’s eyes. If you see not a flicker, that person is probably dead.

The Sky Was Pink’ (Holden remix) – Nathan Fake. All nine minutes plus of it. Every second is pure gold. Is this the greatest remix ever? Probably of this century. No more words necessary.

I really appreciated the invite and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Thanks to those who came to support, Voodoo Keller, and the other DJs. Until the next time …?

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