by Ninja Tune
Solid Steel (5th July) It's Ross Allen in the 25th Anniversary slot this week taking over most of the show and it's very much a personal selection. Having listened to Solid Steel since it's pirate roots, the well respected DJ picks out tracks played by Coldcut over the years that have 'shaped his musical mind' and be sure to read the full run down in his own words below.
You can catch him playing alongside Jon More from Coldcut tonight Friday 5th in South London details here;
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PART 1 + 2 - Ross Allen https://twitter.com/rossallenmusic https://www.facebook.com/ross.allen.12?ref=ts&fref=ts
Oumou Sangare _ Mousoulou _ World Circuit 12"
Nusrat Ali Fat Khan _ Mustt Mustt (Massive Attack Duck Pond Remix) _ Real World 12"
Masters At Work _ Blood Vibes _ Cutting 12"
Sexy TKO _ Tribe Of Love _ Major Force 12"
Mickey & The Soul Generation _ Iron Leg _ Maxwell 7"
Myra Barnes _ Message To The Soul Sisters _ King 7"
MC 900 ft Jesus _ All The Way To Heaven (Instrumental) _ Nettwerk 12"
Fela Kuti _ No Agreement _ No Agreement
Lola _ Wax The Van (Jon's Dub) _ Jump Street 12"
Aphex _ Ageopolis _ R&S LP
Joe Church _ I can't wait too long _ Sleeping Bag 12"
Balil _ Norte Route _ Warp LP
Unique 3 _ Digicality _ Ten LP
Model 500 _ Off To Battle _ Metroplex 12"
Satin Storm _ Can't Take No More Of That _ White label EP
Ragga Twins _ 18" Speaker _ Shut Up & Dance LP
Twinkle Brothers _ Magnetic Enforcer _ Twinkle LP
Martin Campbell _ Wicked Rule _ Ragadelic 12"
Ross Allen in his own words about Solid Steel;
"Is it really 25 years of Solid Steel ? Jeez, I know I getting old ! I remember ‘bunking off’ from my first proper job, at the Midland Bank in the City, on a Friday afternoon, not having had a lunch so I could get home to check and tape the impeccable selections (and mixes) of Matt Black and Jonathan More.
Whilst at school I had listened to their separate shows on Fridays/Saturdays on,the then totally essential (for any aspiring London trendy), Kiss 94FM.
I loved their presentation -downbeat, articulate and heavy on the sarcasm, and their selections. their take on the nascent London Soul Underground, was as fresh and open minded as the original Hip Hop blueprint. And they dug… Deeper and broader than the rest. You could hear anything that was good on there. New, old and more often than not essential !
This mix is an homage to the selections (not the mixing !) that shaped my young musical mind. They, and others, warped it in the best way. It’s a burden I have long carried: i am officially (I wont bore you with the details) too eclectic for my own good and it was these two, and that show, that made me this way.
I never understand why anyone would want it any other wayThere is too much good music from across the genres to focus on one and, when put together properly, they sound best when woven into a whole new tapestry. This is what Coldcut did and subsequently PC, DK and Strictly Kev continued to do right up to the present day. It’s a good man who knows when not enter the fray, and with regards to the master mix I am that man. I know my place… For the record this is a blend coz’ I can’t test !
This collection is small selection of the music that I recall hearing on the radio, in or out of the mix, on their show/s. It reflects the open mindedness of two of British Hip Hop’s greatest pioneers.
For it is a Hip Hop that roots this selection. always looking for the perfect beat whether that be Little Sonny, The Vibrettes, MC 900ft Jesus or Salt N Pepa or looking for the future sounds of Unique 3, Aphex Twin and early Model 500 or scanning the planet for sounds with soul and a groove; from Pakistan’s Nusrat Ali Fat Khan to Mali’s then, cassette only, sensation Oumou Sangare.
They captured the mood of a very creative time in electronic/black music. A time when the music went from being the underground black alternative sounds of electro funk to the over ground successes that are modern Hip Hop. electronic music too was rapidly evolving then in all its many strands. It is Interesting to note Back then they were often the same thing. The music was the DNA that iginited the revolution and in the middle of it blending all these deep and different strands together were Coldcut and Solid Steel.
The inclusion of Otis Clays modern soul anthem from the late 80’s ‘The Only Way Is Up’ is, apart from it being a genius track in it’s own right, an example of how they could take a cult track, add some acid house, a pop sensibility and take an obscure southern soul gem to the top of the charts around the world. Back when DJ’s first started to take their club based aesthetic into the studio (in this country particularly) Coldcut were leading the charge. Applying all their musical knowledge to the precise and laborious task of making their own ‘Lesson’ (Double Dee & Steinski’s tryptic of cut n paste genius from the mid 80’s).It was when They first came to my attention. when Pete Tong played ‘Say Kids What Time Is it ?’ on his Invicta Radio Sunday night show (actually pretty genius at the time). It blew me, and everyone else who heard it, away. They had the best and broadest beats and unleashed them with Ninja like precision to a London Underground saturated (though nothing compared to now) with import 12’s, long deleted funk obscurities and a small trickle of UK DJ based white labels. Back then this music we are swamped in was hard to trace but elements popped up all over the place. Especially on their show.
They championed the DIY punk ethos of early club music whether it be from the US, the UK, Jamaica or Japan. It was the sound of drums, bass, samples and delays… Coldcuts on Solid Steel.
As i said earlier I used to love their presentation skills. Always understated and heavy on the irony. it was very reminiscent of John Peels selection/presentation style except blacker. I had never heard of Fela Kuti, The Twinkle Brothers, Arthur Russell or Oumou Sangare until here.
I had heard of an early Boogie Down Productions but was amazed to find out on Jon’s show that Scott La Rock had been shot dead in the Bronx. Jon announcing the terrible news with the rather curt ending of “well if you will sit on your album cover brandishing an Uzi may be you should expect something like that to happen !’’
It’s a fair point… I think Solid Steel - ‘the broadest beats in London’ was literally all about the beats, lyrics were great when they were good but were so often a let down when compared to the presenters intellectial and political stance and the quality of many of those early leftfield, beat tastic productions. Who needs lyrics when you have beats as good as Masters At Works ‘Blood Vibes’ or ‘All The Way To Heaven’ by MC 900ft Jesus. You can basically see the birth of Trip Hop here and the birth of their now seminal label Ninja Tune.
The reggae influence was always strong and their open minds where the only link I had to early hardcore and Jungle sounds reflected here with Satin Storm’s Babylon sampling “Can’t Take No More” and The Ragga Twins proto Jungle gem “18’’ Speaker”. The original JA sound was always represented whether through all time classics like Bunny Wailers’ ‘Rise & Shine’, The Twinkle Brothers genius in dub ‘Magnetic Enforcer’ or the UK based roots prophet Martin Campbell who’s ‘Wicked Rule’ they helped release.
This selection hopes to swiftly glide you through some seminal moments in musical history that were first brought to my attention by a radio show that is now 25 years old but still carrying the same aesthetic as it always has had ‘the broadest beats’ on Solid Steel…"