International News

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Minimal techno icon Richie Hawtin unveiled details of his latest high tech compilation album DE9: Transitions this week, with an incendiary press release attacking the tyranny of beat mixing.

“DJing is more about performance now, it’s verging on a live show, and part of the progression towards that is moving further and further away from turntable technology and the idea of mechanically mixing two records together,” said Hawtin.

“We used to spend so much effort on getting records to stay in time with each other. But once you stop having to worry about that, you can really start thinking about what sounds work together and you can get deeper into the structure of the mix,” he suggested.

“The progressive people are thinking, if computer technologies can automate one task, what can I now do better?”

One task it looks like he’s been able to spend more time on is make-up artistry,
certainly judging by the immaculate eye shadow and mascara visage he’s wearing on the packshot of the new disc. Featuring a heavily photoshopped close-up of half of Hawtin’s face, the sleeve presents the unlikely heart-throb in quasi Sven Vath style cyber-punk mode, presented with the kind of precision he’s always been acclaimed for in his music and DJing.

“It’s a picture of my face which is totally made up of these track names, so it shows you that although this is made by me I’m no greater or lesser than the information I’m using, he said, explaining the logic behind the computer generated imagery.

DE9: Transitions is out on October 31 on Novamute.

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Breakbeat legend Rennie Pilgrem chatted to Skrufff this week as his acclaimed label TCR prepared to mark its hundredth release and shed further light on recent  that he once stood on Sting’s foot and refused to apologise.

“My wife was managing his guitarist and we were at a party and I think I was trying to extinguish either a cigarette or a spliff above a mantelpiece, when it happened,” Rennie recalled.

“It was one of those situations where for some reason Sting was lying on the floor with his legs sort of up in the air but I didn’t see him and I was just aware that while I was leaning over to get rid of my cigarette I treading on something. I looked down and basically I was standing his foot.”

“For some reason I just kept it there, I don’t know why,” he laughed, “I guess I felt a bit embarrassed to say ‘Oh my God –you’re Sting’. I also thought it kind of served him right, because I thought ‘Why are you lying on the floor at a party where everyone else is standing up?”

The highly popular producer also displayed a vicious streak in praising fellow breaks star Blim’s tea-making abilities, admitting he takes advantage of his good nature at every available opportunity.

“He always makes the tea, I think it’s because he cracks first,” said Rennie.

 â€œIf he’s round and we’re doing a tune then he’s got a lower threshold for waiting for it to happen. It’s quite nice having him as tea boy in the studio.”

Rennie also confessed to taking advantage of Uberzone’s passion for tidying up the studio, declaring ‘he is the Howard Hughes of breakbeat.’

“He’s very, very keen about cleanliness and tidiness etc, so he’s very much into doing that,” he explained.

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Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook and Paul Oakenfold were branded B List celebrities this week in a Heat magazine feature examining the restaurant choices of Brit VIPs.

The superstar spinners were spotted ‘gossiping in the White Bar at the Radisson hotel, Liverpool’, prompting Heat to dump them in the second class celebrity category, alongside mediocre TV comedians including Graham Norton, Frank Skinner and David Walliams.

Absent from the rankings was Radio 1 spinner Pete Tong, who coincidentally told Skrufff last week that he’s ‘kind of over celebrity’.

 â€œIt just seems that with the last four or five years of Big Brother and reality TV and reality magazines and a camera up everybody’s nose, we’ve ended up in a world of D list celebrities filling our TV shows and our magazines,” said Pete.

 C listers who came below Oakey and Cook included Duncan from Blue and tabloid ‘personality’ Jodie Marsh, though the pair were eclipsed by A list celebrities including Hollywood cracked actor Mickey Rourke and super-rich socialite Jemima Khan.


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Counter-culture guru Genesis P.Orridge called on artists and radicals to pool resources in order to fight the corporate takeover of rebellion this week, in a well argued polemic accusing corporations of ‘corrupting rebellion ’and neutralising dissent”.

“People seem to be hypnotized into not believing that it is possible to be potent and significant in this culture,” the Psychic TV founder told Useless magazine.

“One thing that happened in the last 20 years to those who would have become the rebels, is that they have been trained to be competitive and see each other as a threat. Trained to be very insecure. We have a lot of greed and competitive people in the art world and the music world. It is distraction from content,” he suggested.

The legendary counter-culture agent provocateur urged artists to set up independent networks of twenty or so collaborators ‘secure enough in their creativity not to be competitive with each other. . . to set an example of alternate ways of life.”

“The enemy is always hypocrisy, bigotry, violence and fear, he added, “Those who collude in those ‘thought energies’.”

P.Orridge has been relentlessly attacked by both media and political authorities throughout his 30 year career, most recently attracting scorn after he had have silicon breasts implants in 2003.

“People always want to ask us about our sex lives, especially since Genesis had his breasts,” his girlfriend Lady Jackie told the Independent, “I always tell them that we have the life of a Normal Married Couple.”


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Boy George flew into London after being charged with cocaine possession by New York authorities this week, following an incident at his Little Italy flat when cops allegedly discovered 13 packets of cocaine stashed in his condo.

The former Culture Club singer reportedly invited cops into his flat himself to investigate a suspected burglary, and speaking after he was charged, his lawyer Louis M Freeman stressed he had no knowledge of how the drugs got there..

“Boy George doesn’t know where the drugs are from. He’s a very social person. He has a lot of people over to his apartment,” Mr Freeman told the New York Post, “A man who has something to hide does not call the police.”

The notoriously vicious New York tabloid later revealed that George had been accompanied in the flat when the cops arrived by  ‘Japanese fashion model and drag diva groupie’ Kyoko Nagami, though by the time he arrived back in England, the story had already slipped off the front pages. Arriving at the airport, George told waiting reporters ‘don’t ask me any questions because you are not going to get any answers at all’, reflecting his long held hostility to the mainstream British press.

Speaking to Skrufff soon after he moved to New York in January 2004, he admitted he’d long taken media vilification personally, admitting ‘of course I do, I find it really insulting.’

“They’re always trying to perpetuate this idea that I don’t do anything, just a bit of DJing at the weekend, that I’m a sad washed up old pop star. Fuck off, leave me alone, I’ve never been so busy in my life,” he stormed, “I wish they’d just fuck off and leave me alone.”

George also spoke presciently about New York’s increasingly schizophrenic character, declaring ‘it’s very much a city of extremes, America seems to have a puritanical streak and yet there is also a manic sexual energy too.”

The cross dressing icon is due back in court on December 19 and faces up to 15 years in jail and a permanent ban from the States, said human rights lawyer Mark Stephens.

"Boy George is innocent until proved guilty but if he's found guilty it could have major implications for him to be allowed into the US. He would effectively be excluded,” he told the Daily Mail, “They treat drug convictions very seriously in America." (‘George has protested his innocence and Boy George is innocent until proved guilty . . . !!’)
(Boy George’s friend Kyoko Nagami)

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West London electro/ house/ anything goes weekly No Disko moves from Sundays to Friday at Woodys from this weekend, expanding across all three floors of the Westbourne Park venue.

Bent, The Rev Milo Speedwagon and the Idjut Boys spin on the opening night alongside residents/[promoters Zak and Jase with future guests lined up including James Priestley and Kaiser Souzai.

Chatting to Skrufff this week, Zak and Jase stressed that No Disko’s music policy is about variety, with all three rooms mixing it up in equal measure.

“There’s a little bit of that East London electro thing going on but I’d say there’s more of that Italian vibe, quite an eccentric vibe, we’ve also started bringing in a little bit of that German techno vibe in recent month,” said Jase.

“Every DJ says the same thing but I really think it’s beyond genres these days, if a record works, then we play it, whether it’s German minimal techno or really camp 80s screaming cheese,” Zak added, “ If it works, it works.”

The pair started the club just under two years ago when each coincidentally discovered they were talking to Woodys.

“It was totally unplanned and completely random. I got approached to see if I was maybe interested in taking on a small weekly Sunday night event at this club that I’ve never heard of, in an area that I never went out in,” said Jase.

“And I happened to be talking to the venue about doing something there which I wanted to but didn’t really have the time and energy to do it totally on my own,” Zak concurred.

“Jase and I knew each other because he did the press for my Trans Europe Express Festival. So we both discovered we were talking to the same venue, and arranged to meet up. We both hardly knew each other at this point, but decided to have a go.”

From there, the duo started off hosting parties every Sunday, with mixed results for much of the first six months.

“We went through ups and downs, we had periods of several weeks in a row when it was really thin on the ground, but at the time we were only doing one little room in the club so even if we had 30 people down, it was such a small room that with the right music you could still end up with a great party,” said Jase.

Whereas in last six months it’s been packed every Sunday with around 150 people and now we can fit in 400 people. (Nodisko @ Woody's, 41-43 Woodfield Road, London W9,  8pm-3am, free before 9.30pm / then £10, Friday October 14)

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UK Clubs Face Five-Decibel Noise Cut

British health and safety authorities are introduce tighter regulations against noise levels in nightclubs and bars which will make hearing protection compulsory for workers if levels exceed 85 decibels, some 5 decibels lower than the previous rate of 90 decibels.

The new rules will come in force in the New Year and employers will be expected to offer hearing protection to all employers when levels pass 80 decibels, said Royal National Institute for the Deaf spokesperson Mark Hoda.

“Because noise damage is cumulative and the effects not immediate, employers often fail to enforce hearing protection for their staff,” he said. “A simple measure of wearing quality ear plugs would protect these workers from long-term irreparable damage.”

“We need to help employers and workers in the music industry understand the risks of noise exposure,” Lawrence Waterman, President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health added.

“Music can bring so much joy and colour into people’s lives, how sad then that those working in the industry can lose their own hearing, simply endeavouring to bring this pleasure to others.” (Are you at risk? Have you ever come out of a gig and realised your ears are ringing? Or have you ever left a club and found everything sounds a bit dull?’) (‘Do people with tinnitus have to avoid all loud noise? Traditionally younger people with tinnitus have been told that they must avoid all exposure to noise. This is very unhelpful advice, as almost all younger people wish to incorporate noise into their lives. . .’) (ER 15 earplugs)


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Bird Flu Pandemic & Peak Oil’s Apocalyptic Threat

The much heralded arrival of bird flu in Britain could destroy day today normality leaving millions cowering in terror at home, the Daily Mirror predicted this week.

“We are worried that a new pandemic might turn out to be Force 10 on the Richter Scale of new emerging viruses on humans,” Health Protection Agency chief virology expert Maria Zambon told the tabloid.  “We are concerned it might affect the young adult population and in doing so, bring society to a halt.”

Broadsheets newspapers were slightly less alarmist, suggesting public transport and social gatherings being banned with infected victims being confined to quarantined areas at gunpoint, though the Independent’s ‘‘what to do if a pandemic strikes’ advice suggested the key tip is  ‘don’t panic’.
“Try to minimise contact with other people, get in stocks of food and water and try, as far as possible, to sit out the pandemic,” the paper suggested, “The authorities will almost certainly have closed schools and theatres, cancelled sporting fixtures and may restrict transport.”

The Sunday Times also highlighted the travel restriction aspect of a pandemic, urging those planning to head for the hills to ‘act fast’ as soon as the disease takes hold.

“Infected people, and anyone they have been in contact with, will be quarantined. the Times warned, ““The government has the power to throw up cordons round entire neighbourhoods and to police them with armed troops.”

Coincidentally the paper ran another apparently unrelated article ‘how to survive when the oil runs out’ this week predicting that oil shortages could soon reduce standards of living to ‘essentially Stone Age conditions’.

“Living without oil, if we don’t start to prepare for it, will not be like returning to the late 1700s, because we have lost the infrastructure that made 18th century life possible, “ said the Times “We have lost our basic survival skills.” (bird flu masks etc)


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Organisers for dance music’s biggest annual business convention the Miami Winter Music Conference revealed that next year’s event will be taking place from March 24-28 at the Wyndham Resort Miami Beach.

The hugely successful faces increasingly stiff competition from start up events including next weekend’s Amsterdam Dance Music Festival, as well as issues connected to its size, which last year saw a number of British delegates being attacked by bouncers panicked by the huge numbers trying to access already full clubs.

“I had a VIP pass, and I was queuing waiting to get in as they were doing a one in, one out, then the next thing I know I’m being thrown down the stairs backwards,” one (extremely mild mannered) executive told Skrufff on his return in March.

“When I landed in a heap at the bottom, after my glasses had smashed and my watch come off, I was given a kicking, then thrown out of the door. They were kicking me in the body and in my head, I have grazes down one side and big bruises along my leg and in my chest.”

Azuli boss and conference regular Dave Piccioni had no such problems though told Skrufff that he came back ‘with a slightly negative view’, also on his return,

“It’s just about big clubs and big promoters and it seems like it’s just another ruthless way to make money now whereas it used to be genuine fun,” he complained.

“The people that used to go there seemed to be happy to be there and the clubs were very quiet and they’d be glad to have you coming in. DJs would play for free and it seemed a lot more genuine whereas today everyone’s out to rinse (exploit- slang ed) you.”


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Mainstream newspaper Scotland On Sunday published a classic ‘dance is dead’ feature this week, using the recent turnaround in Scotland’s live scene to launch a woefully inaccurate tirade against the country’s still thriving club scene.

“The rave is out and the gig is back,” said SoS staff writer William Lyons, “Gone are the days when bands would play to half-full arenas while nightclubs would be packed to capacity with superstar DJs playing their latest mix of techno, house and hardcore.”

The ‘Arts correspondent’ backed up his theory by interviewing local rock promoter Peter Irvine, who told him "the days when big-name DJs like Judge Jules flew around the country, stayed in five-star hotels, went to a nightclub with their little CD case and picked up £10,000 or £20,000 for the night are over. People have got bored of it,” prompting an amused reaction from Judge Jules.

“Scotland remains one of the strongest regions in the whole country for dance culture.  In the past six months alone I've played sold out gigs in Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh and Dunfermline- all were venues of minimum 1000 capacity,” Jules told Skrufff.

“If anything these clubs have got busier rather than quieter over the past 18 months and most people in the clubbing fraternity have commented how much the dance scene has picked up nationwide during this period. This journalist clearly doesn't frequent the same places in Scotland that I do, but since the places I play are amongst the biggest clubs in their respective cities, I can't see what he bases his evidence on,” he continued.

“The whole feature is one of those classic newspaper articles fitting the prejudices and aspirations of the person writing it,” Jules added, “Who’s no doubt always hated clubs and longs for them to go away so he can revert to his old favoured order of things.”


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