Please note: If you have come here looking for the Beatles mashup, it has gone on holiday. Soundcloud told me it was no longer welcome around these parts. I might put it up on Youtube or Mixcloud, but we'll see. A totally legal and public release version of 'All together Now, Everything The Beatles Ever Did' is available for download from Bandcamp
Ramjac is the artist name chosen by me, Paul Chivers in 1989 after a year playing percussion and samplers at raves in the London orbital area. Trained in Ghanaian and Cuban palm drumming, for Ramjac, rhythms and sampling are a central part of my compositions. Coached in sampling and described by school friend and tech guru Mixmaster Morris as his protege, Ramjac performed live with a sampler and Atari computer to thousands of ravers at events that included Energy, Back To The Future, Sunrise, Live Wire, Spiral Tribe and Fundamental. Trading and blending song for song with Mixmaster Morris, Ramjac's 'Massif', was recorded and released on the Live At The Brain album in 1990, becoming a celebrated record in various parts of the world.
Also in 1990 Ramjac released two records on another label, Irdial discs, run by another school friend, Akin Fernandez. The first DJ to pick up on this record was Mr C, soon to join the Shaman, who Ramjac went on to support on their 1991 UK tour. Mr C mixed two copies of Ramjac's Cameroon Massif, a studio version of the previous live record, rapping on top, to make the centrepiece to his DJ / MC set.
Raving with friendly XL records boss Nick Hawkes, I was invited to help initiate a new project, from my bedroom studio. As a favour to this friend, and to the now XL boss Richard Russell, I facilitated a piece that soon grew into Kicks Like a Mule's 'The Bouncer'; "You're Name's Not Down, You're Not coming In". I was excluded from the project as soon as I had faithfully transferred the samples in the MCA publishing recording studio.
Some Ramjac music was released, re-enterpreted through the production of Mr C and Paul Rip's Plink Plonk label under the names Ramses and the collaborative Underground Science project with Megalon. Great studio experiences and some amazing music were sadly, not enough to result in many releases.
Unimpressed with the music business, Ramjac and Adamski's manager Philski Smith, who I had met at Energy in 89, created a new live audio visual show in 1994 entitled Jack Shit. Playing shows in London and Lille, and what became a wicked and weekly Drum n Bass comedy show on interFACE Pirate Radio for four years, they were spotted by Dave Robinson of Stiff Records fame, and Jack Shit recorded an album for Acid Jazz, entitled "The Self Fulfilling Prophecy', which indeed it was, as the label imploded under legal pressure from around the world. Label boss Eddie Pillar had previously released Shuffle Bump, by The Explosions, a band Paul co-founded in 1988 with James Johnston of Pigbag. In another band with Johnstone, The Rainy Season, I played percussion alongside college friend and collaborator Aniruddha Das, also a band member in DFD, Paul and Ani's sequencer, tape and percussion duo, which supported Siouxsie and the Banshees on their 1989 UK tour.
Setting up a sampler based studio in Community Music's Farringdon base, The Music House, I watched Aniruddha's creation of the Asian Dub Foundation, having hosted the first meeting between 'Dr' Das and Steve 'Chandrasonic' Savale at my place and then became the ADF sound engineer for the band's first shows. I continue to contribute to ADF material both live and recorded, particularly as a drum programmer, a role I have also played with Juno Reactor, Coldcut and Mark Stewart. I toured as percussionist with State of Bengal, making a little known about but ground breaking trip to China in 2001, and to India and Bangladesh in 2002.
I now play percussion and live samples in the amazing Dub Colossus with producer Nick Dubulah Page of Transglobal Underground and Nick Van Gelder the drummer from Jamiroquai's quintessential line up, session bass player Winston Blissett from Massive Attack, Robbie WIlliams, Kylie and the rest, vocalist Mykaell Riley from Steel Pulse and the Reggae Philharmonic, and the wonderful chanteuse Daughter of Elvis and Black Stripe, Julie Higgins. The line up is crowned by Dizzy rascal's horn section. An earlier incarnation of the band saw them record three albums for Peter Gabriel's Real World Records with 5 inspiring Ethiopian musicians, including piano prodigy Samuel Yirga, who invited me to play percussion on his recent album, Guzo.
Often invited to participate in interesting projects, I programme for producer and DJ Zafrul Sattar, promoter of Club Indigo at Madam JoJos, am involved in the current renovation of The Spice Isle reggae recording studio, with all its vintage gear and I play percussion, trumpet and samples for Dr Das. I work with music technology and percussion with young people at WAC Arts in London's Belsize Park, where I runs the recording studio HMVS, with Eva Brandt, both of us hold MAs in sonic art. The studio is developing an explorative archive of new material aimed at breaking with all musical cliche and moving music forward. In 2013 I became the City Lit's first sonic art tutor and run a monthly show and tell from the studio. Ramjac's most widely enjoyed piece, has to be 'All Together Now, Everything the Beatles Ever Did', an eight and a half minute mashup of exactly that, which went viral in 2011, receiving almost a quarter of a million plays on Soundcliud before being rumbled for copyright infringement and taken down earlier in 2013.
Smultaneously a large body of unreleased Ramjac material is surfacing again, airing some flavours of the oldschool; the Coolschool as Irdial's Akin Fernandez would say. In your hearts, not the charts, another of his slogans. Raw from the sampler, much of this material is unmixed, awaiting its time, perhaps approaching soon. However, the form in which they are currently heard is exactly as they would have been played through huge sound systems at raves from 1988-1992. Another body of work circulating, is from 2000-2004, more unreleased, stripped down and underscored dancefloor bass heavy Ramjacisms. Try Mixcloud for that one.
"I'm tripping and I just want to know if that was me or you" Oliver Devine
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