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www.markdevlin.co.uk

www.markdevlin.co.uk

Saturday, 25 September 2010

MD'S TOUR DIARY, NEW YORK/ NIAGARA FALLS, USA



































































The travels got underway again on Sunday 19th, this time to the U.S. I had been due to visit in April, but the Icelandic volcano put paid to that. The BA flight from Heathrow Terminal 5 was extremely choppy over the Atlantic, the extreme turbulence making many passengers uneasy, (myself included,) so touchdown at JFK was a great relief. The huge immigration queues reminded me that I really should have arrived into Newark, which tends to be slightly less hectic. US Immigration have changed the Visa Waiver programme so now, instead of filling in the green forms, you're obliged to complete one on-line before you travel. Not entirely fair on old folk who don't have a computer. I was delighted to see they still run the entertaining question 'between 1933 and 1945 were you involved in Nazi war atrocties?' Has anyone honestly answered yes to this? Even if you were, why would you admit it? Plus, even if you were only 18 in 1933, that makes you 95 now. Do many 95-year-olds hop on to flights?

I spent Sunday night in a JFK airport hotel, before heading back in the morning for a Jetblue departure up to Buffalo. From there, I bussed it to Niagara Falls, where I spent 24 hours on the tourist trail. The Falls are truly breathtaking, and I crossed the Rainbow Bridge to Canada to get a selection of pictures from both sides of the river, (they're here.) Incredibly, in 1896, the Falls completely froze over for four days, and there are pictures showing an explorer walking behind the resulting sheet of ice. The only disappointing thing about Niagara was my hotel room. I've known cleaner landfill sites.

On Monday evening, I linked with Chris Baran, an up-and-coming DJ who I'd been corresponding with, and we headed to a bar in nearly Buffalo for beers and a chat. I had been due to spin at Pure nightclub in the city, but that got cancelled following the incident during the Summer where a guy went beserk and shot four people at a wedding reception in a restaurant. The city's nightlife scene went into meltdown as a result. Cheers, mate.

Back to the airport the following day to connect back to JFK, and from there, on to Brooklyn. My homie DJ Drastic had told me of an epidemic of bedbugs which was supposedly sweeping the city, and the Prince Hotel in Bay Ridge, where I was staying, looked just the sort of place for it - although there were none in immediate evidence. I linked with Drastic for a late-night 'Hood tour around the district. We linked again the following day to hit Manhattan, with the former site of the legendary Fat Beats record store among our stop-offs. It was sad to see a location that has passed into hip-hop legend reduced to a derelict shell. We ran off a quick video which you can see here:



After that, it was back to JFK Airport for the return home from what amounted to the briefest of whistle-stop tours. The BA flight was held on the tarmac for two tedious hours due to take-off queues, which felt more like two weeks, and reminded me NEVER to fly into JFK again. Always use Newark.

Friday, 24 September 2010

DJ DRASTIC IN DERELICT FAT BEATS RECORDS, NEW YORK CITY

The Untouchable DJ Drastic gives a glimpse of the derelict shell that was the legendary hip-hop record store Fat Beats, two weeks after its closure in New York City. A sign of our times.

LAURYN HILL DROPS SOME WORDS TO THE WISE

Saturday, 18 September 2010

DEVLIN 'RUNAWAY'

MD'S TOUR DIARY. LATVIA/ IBIZA/ BULGARIA, SEPT '10





































































































August was my driest month of the year. By the time of its welcome departure September was looking a whole lot more inspiring, with visits to Latvia, Ibiza, the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and New York/ Niagara Falls on the cards.

First off was my debut spinning at Wordplay, the underground hip-hop night run by my long-time associate and former MC Kid Fury at The Cellar in Oxford. The session on Wednesday 1st was all set to be a hip-hop karaoke special, which stood to be fascinating. In the event, none of the amateur rappers who'd turned up seemed interested in doing a hip-hop version of 'Road To Amarillo', and instead the night turned into a good-natured freestyle cipher between three or four MCs while I did my best to make sense of Fury's Serato selection and keep the instrumentals going. Great fun.

The following day, I set off for a two-night visit to Latvia, joining the country's most prominent mash-up DJs Ai-Va and Rudd. London had been basking in warm sunshine when I left. We touched down in Riga to find it pissing down, and it barely let up throughout my visit. Should have packed an umbrella. Thursday night's gig was a return to Pulkvedis, where I'd last played a year before, (and which means 'colonel' in Latvian, so I'm told.) The venue has a bar feel, but with a club-style atmosphere, and was just as lively as before. Ai-Va showcased his latest selection of cut-and-paste-style mash-ups, involving familiar hip-hop beats overlaid with unexpected vocals by everyone from Johnny Cash to Nirvana.

It seemed clear that the rain would affect attendance levels at Riga's Rhythm Institute the following day. The set-up is operated by Ai-Va and exists as a resource for budding DJs and music artists. I was due to give a presentation about my book, 'Tales From The Flipside', and relate some of the scenarios that young DJs can expect to encounter as they move through the business. I'm a long way from hitting the after-dinner speech circuit, but having done a few of these now I like to think I'm getting slowly better!

After a meal, Ai-Va and myself set off for the industrial town of Saldus, around 120km South West of Riga. Club PMK is a venue on the edge of town which had been closed all Summer, and which was holding its opening party for the new season. It was heaving and sweaty, and my two-hour set was a real blast. Arriving back at my hotel around 6am, there was time for three hours sleep before heading back to the airport. Once back home, a recovery nap set me up for the night spinning at The Bridge in Oxford.

It was time for a bit of late-season Ibiza action on Thursday 9th, and this time, with our 20-month-old deposited with her grandfolks, I managed to get Parveen along for her first ever trip to the White Isle. This year, for the first time, Easyjet has been running daily flights at convenient mid-day timeslots, (whereas previously the high cost of securing slots from the airport authorities meant their flights left either at the crack of dawn or last thing at night). We touched down at a convenient 5.15pm to be picked up by Soul City top man Julian, who gave his usual rundown of the highs and lows of another Summer on the island. August had been a killer for weather, with sweltering temperatures that made even hardened locals melt. Happily, it was a pleasant 80 degrees or so for our visit, with a slight breeze.

After a hotel pool dip, dinner and a quick snooze, I set off on the walkway round San Antonio Bay to Soul City, located in the rowdy West End. I'd last spun there in peak-season July. Inevitably, the resort and venues are slightly quieter in September, but the SC kicking atmosphere was still in effect, and I had a blast dropping tunes between all-Summer residents Horse and Mister Ice.

Thursdays play host to Twice As Nice's big weekly event at Eden, and after finishing at Soul City, Julian used his connections, (mainly TAN head honcho Steve Gordon on the door) to get me in for a look. DJ Ironik had been in PA, and Scottie B was spinning, with Dr. Psycho handling the mic, poised between dancing girls on the podium. There was a surreal moment when Scottie dropped Oasis 'Wonderwall'. It could easily not have worked, but it had the crowd singing along lovely, (see the video below to relive it.) It may have been down to the fact that it was close to 6am, and most of the crowd was the worse for wear. Having had shots poured down my throat all night I was too, and I figured it might be time to leave.



Inevitably I missed breakfast and felt pretty battered as we set off for Parveen's first daylight walk around San An. Later in the day we caught the Ryanair back to Stansted. At only 24 hours it was a fleeting visit, but I'm the guy who's visited Ibiza for as little as eight hours on a few occasions, so by comparison this was a long stretch!

The following Wednesday, 15th, I was off for another end-of-Summer-season blowout, this time marking my debut visit to the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. The only direct flight to Bourgas, the nearest airport, was with the Hungarian budget carrier Wizzair out of Luton. This lot have structured their entire business model around Ryanair, (apparently low prices obscuring peak-season high ones, a torrent of hidden extras, fascist-like contempt towards customers, extortionate food and drink prices, you know the score.) I swear their seats come with even less legroom than Ryanair too, with even the shortest of passengers sitting with their knees against their chins. There was an alarming moment when a black carry-on case seemed to appear from nowhere in the aisle, and nobody on board was claiming it as theirs. Thankfully, it got offloaded before we took off, much to everyone's relief.

Picking me up at Bourgas was Gary, a Mancunian who's lived and worked in Bulgaria for the past 20 years, so I got a good overview of the loose, anything-goes culture of the country as we headed towards Sunny Beach. The resort survives entirely off just three months of Summer trade, and we were right at the tail end of the season, Gary explaining that in Winter the beach is often covered in snow and is a desolate wilderness. My gig was at the underground Revolution Music Factory. The challenge was to prevent the crowd from dwindling too early, and a barrage of uptempo, energy-fuelled tuneage achieved the desired effect. The following day I sampled Sunny Beach itself. Again, August here was apparently like a furnace, but the September temperature was pleasant and balmy.

MD'S CLUB DATES, OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER '10

















Saturday 25th September
The Bridge, Oxford

Saturday 2nd October
Mirage, Aylesbury

Friday 8th October
The Living Room, Milton Keynes

Saturday 9th October
The Vaults, The Second Bridge, Bath

Friday 15th October
Mirage, Aylesbury

Saturday 16th October
Black Sheep Magazine North West Launch Party, Lounge 31, Manchester

Friday 22nd October
The Living Room, Milton Keynes

Saturday 23rd October
Le Noir, Capitol Club, Warsaw, POLAND

Thursday 28th October
She-J Competition, 411 Club, Cardiff, WALES
(Judging and DJ set)

Saturday 30th October
The Bridge, Oxford

Friday 5th November
The Living Room, Milton Keynes

Saturday 6th November
Mirage, Aylesbury

Saturday 13th November
The Vaults, The Second Bridge, Bath

Friday 19th November
The Living Room, Milton Keynes

Saturday 20th November
Twist Lounge, Mumbai, INDIA

Saturday 27th November
The Bridge, Oxford

MARK DEVLIN: THE SWEETEST DAY IN AUGUST/ UPLIFTING SOULFUL HOUSE MIX














Although I'm generally considered a hip-hop head, I've always enjoyed deep, soulful, funky and uplifting house too, so I've just exhumed this mix of those styles that I put together in 1997, (the mix's title is evidently a reference to Joe T Vannelli's 'The Sweetest Day In May', although this one was done in August. Do you see what I did there?) As I didn't have PC editing facilities in those days, this was done live in one take.

As I recall, I bought the vast majority of these records from Vinyl Mania and Dance Trax in New York, (remember vinyl, kids?) I also heard most of them on Danny Rampling's highly influential Love Groove Dance Party show on Radio 1 at the time. Not only were the 90s a golden decade for hip hop and R&B, it was also a fantastic time for this style of house music. How that decade is missed.

Download, absorb and enjoy.

SANDY B: WORLD GO ROUND (Deep Dish Mix)
TODD TERRY PROJECT: I'LL TAKE YOU TO LOVE
MILK & SUGAR: HIGHER AND HIGHER
BOBBY D'AMBROSIO Featuring MICHELLE WEEKS: MOMENT OF MY LIFE
MIKE DUNN: HE'S GONNA MAKE IT ALRIGHT
CHAKA KHAN: NEVER MISS THE WATER (FRANKIE KNUCKLES MIX)
LIL LOUIS & THE WORLD: CLAP YOUR HANDS
ALCKY: DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
ULTRA NATE: GET IT UP (THAT FEELING)
HARLEM HUSTLERS: GET ON DOWN
MIGHTY DUB KATZ: IT'S JUST ANOTHER GROOVE
H20 Featuring BILLIE: NOBODY'S BUSINESS
KNEE DEEP Featuring SHARLENE HECTOR: TAKE ME BY THE HAND
ANGELIQUE KIDJO: WOMBO LOMBO
TORI AMOS: PROFESSIONAL WIDOW (ARMAND VAN HELDEN MIX)
HUFF & PUFF: HELP ME MAKE IT
L.A. MIX: DON'T STOP (JAMMIN')

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

CANIBUS 'CHANNEL ZERO'. NOT FOR THE X-FACTOR MENTALITY


Here's one for those that like their mind blown, and a great example of how hip-hop can be a truly revelatory force when it wants to be.

Canibus really went in with this track off his 1998 Can-I-Bus album, displaying his penchant for deep lyricism by addressing everything from the Roswell alien crash, to Freemasonry in US politics, to the origin of the 'gods' who seeded human life on Earth millions of years ago. All over a sonically unsettling beat. Exactly. This is not one to listen to when you're in an X Factor frame of mind. It's so cerebral that it definitely warrants a couple of good listens free of distractions to get the full effect.

As this was never a single there was no official video. But this homemade one includes the lyrics for the full effect.

Monday, 13 September 2010

MARK DEVLIN: THE SWEETEST DAY IN AUGUST/ UPLIFTING SOULFUL HOUSE MIX














Although I'm generally considered a hip-hop head, I've always enjoyed deep, soulful, funky and uplifting house too, so I've just exhumed this mix of those styles that I put together in 1997, (the mix's title is evidently a reference to Joe T Vannelli's 'The Sweetest Day In May', although this one was done in August. Do you see what I did there?) As I didn't have PC editing facilities in those days, this was done live in one take.

As I recall, I bought the vast majority of these records from Vinyl Mania and Dance Trax in New York, (remember vinyl, kids?) I also heard most of them on Danny Rampling's highly influential Love Groove Dance Party show on Radio 1 at the time. Not only were the 90s a golden decade for hip hop and R&B, it was also a fantastic time for this style of house music. How that decade is missed.

Download, absorb and enjoy.

SANDY B: WORLD GO ROUND (Deep Dish Mix)
TODD TERRY PROJECT: I'LL TAKE YOU TO LOVE
MILK & SUGAR: HIGHER AND HIGHER
BOBBY D'AMBROSIO Featuring MICHELLE WEEKS: MOMENT OF MY LIFE
MIKE DUNN: HE'S GONNA MAKE IT ALRIGHT
CHAKA KHAN: NEVER MISS THE WATER (FRANKIE KNUCKLES MIX)
LIL LOUIS & THE WORLD: CLAP YOUR HANDS
ALCKY: DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
ULTRA NATE: GET IT UP (THAT FEELING)
HARLEM HUSTLERS: GET ON DOWN
MIGHTY DUB KATZ: IT'S JUST ANOTHER GROOVE
H20 Featuring BILLIE: NOBODY'S BUSINESS
KNEE DEEP Featuring SHARLENE HECTOR: TAKE ME BY THE HAND
ANGELIQUE KIDJO: WOMBO LOMBO
TORI AMOS: PROFESSIONAL WIDOW (ARMAND VAN HELDEN MIX)
HUFF & PUFF: HELP ME MAKE IT
L.A. MIX: DON'T STOP (JAMMIN')

MD AT REVOLUTION MUSIC FACTORY, SUNNY BEACH, BULGARIA, THIS WEDNESDAY

Sunday, 12 September 2010

TWICE AS NICE IBIZA CROWD SINGS ALONG TO OASIS

Scottie B drops Oasis 'Wonderwall' at urban night Twice As Nice in Eden, Ibiza, with Dr. Psycho on the mic ... and it works?!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

'MADE IN BRITAIN' UK HIP HOP/ STREET SOUL MIX, 1997















Here's one I made earlier - in 1997, in fact. A mix of some of the homegrown hip hop and street soul tunes that were around at the time. It's a long way from Grime and UK Funky.

Sadly, no track listing has survived from the time. I've done my best to recall the tracks, but there are a couple of ones whose identity I can't remember. Any suggestions appreciated!

Listen and download here.

Monday, 6 September 2010

DAVID ICKE TALKS ABOUT 'BLUEPRINT' CORPORATION RAP

If your first instinct when it comes to David Icke is to dismiss him as a nutter ... take a listen to what he has to say here, and see if you still feel the same way. Real talk. And just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding how we're all being systematically duped and controlled every day.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

MD LATVIA DOUBLE BILL, THIS THURSDAY & FRIDAY



































Thursday 2nd September
JAMMIN' HARD! (with DJ Ai-Va & DJ Rudd) @
Pulkvedis, Riga, LATVIA

Friday 3rd September
GRAND OPENING (with DJ Ai-Va) @
Club PMK, Saldus, LATVIA

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

MD AT THE RHYTHM INSTITUTE, RIGA, THIS FRIDAY











I'm delivering another Flipside talk at The Rhythm Institute in Riga, Latvia, at 5pm this Friday, 3rd September. See the video for a recap on last year's.