Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Swing House via Baz Madej

Baz Madej of Nysa Speakeasy has just posted some work by this chap to my Facebook and I liked it, so I thought I would share it with all of you too. Some nice Swing House from DJ Mibor for you all. Enjoy.


DJ Mibor - Cosmic Messenger (Original Mix) by DJ Mibor 


I should also point out that Baz's Nysa night is this weekend, Friday 27th April. Sadly as I am off on cricket tour for a few days I will not be attending, but it looks like they are planning a bit of a DJ battle: 

"The next Nysa Speakeasy is on Friday 27th April and this time we’re mixing it up even more and will have a battle on our hands. With Dj’s playing Funk, soul, Electro-Swing and Commercial, the more people dancing to each Djs set, the more that Dj gets to play his genre. So if you want a night of Electro-Swing, you need to rally the masses and get them signed up so the commercial crowd don’t own the dance floor. All we want to do is to throw a great party. So let the games begin and the party start!" 


Above taken from the Nysa Facebook page. 


If you want to support Baz and his electro-swing, get along and burn up that dancefloor! 


Jack

Electro Swing Club - London

It is to my great shame that I had never been to this event, even though it is the longest running in London - the timing has always been a bit of an issue - the third Saturday of each month is quite some distance from payday and funds always seem to be a bit low. This month was different as it was the Hon Rumple Fuddly's birthday, so a group of us trooped over from West London to Liverpool Street and thence to The Book Club on Great Eastern Street.

Clearly the length of time that this event has been running has worked in its favour, as when we approached we were rather surprised to find a huge queue. Using a certain amount of chicanery we were able to bypass this and get out of the rain pretty quickly.

The venue, which covers two floors, is pretty big, but there were a lot of people there. The ground floor, which has lots of seating, played host to Aunty Maureen's Silent Disco, which looked like it was drawing lots of Shoreditch locals. Downstairs was the main dancefloor, where DJs Globalution, Woolfie, and Kitten and the Hip played some great tunes.


We decided that we would rather be downstairs, but there was not a lot of seating. A little exploration revealed a small room at the back, so we piled in there, only to be told that it was a private party. Happily, Ruth, the guest of honour at that party, graciously allowed us to take a table as a base of operations - thanks to her we achieved our second blag of the night.

From this auspicious start things just got better. The DJs surpassed themselves time and again. The real climax of the evening for me was the final set from DJ Woolfie. His swingstep and swing-hop set completely blew my mind. One track in particular, a remix of Dead Prez's "Hip Hop" was so pleasing that I had to go and ask him what it was - it turned out to be the first track on this little mix from DJ Twister.
  Swing Session Vol. 1 (preview) available now at JunoDownload by Dj Twister

All in all I think it was probably the best electro-swing night I have been to. The main dance floor had just enough space for some vigourous dancing, without being empty, and the people were extremely friendly. I love to see other people really getting into the music, so it was especially nice to be able to share a couple of dances with complete strangers - a sign, I feel, of the friendliness of the crowd.

In the absence of any pictures from the night, I offer you instead this rather lovely little mix from Woolfie. The title says it all really. Note that the whole mix is available for download from Soundcloud.

Wolfie - Razzmatazz Whomp Concerto no.5 by Wolfie Razzmatazz

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Correspondents to close for Mumford and Sons

I understand that the Correspondents are to close the show for a couple of one day festivals in Galway and Huddersfield, arranged by folk-pop outfit Mumford and Sons. This will be quite an unusual gig for Mr Bruce and Mr. Chuckles I should expect - I wonder what the crowd will make of them. Still, is should bring electro-swing to some new ears. More details can be found at the event's website


Love


Jack.

The Dancee Dancee pt.II

This was shared on Facebook last night by White Mink and I absolutely love it. Not only is it a fabulous new song from Caravan Palace that I have not heard  before, but the dancing is so much fun - a great little routine, with a fantastic flourish at the end - very impressive to pull something like that off, and to sing immediately after such an energetic performance. The very same post seems to suggest that they might come to the UK quite soon... exciting stuff... check this one out too... looks like a great gig! 


love


Jack

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Dancee Dancee

As I have mentioned in one of the club night reviews, one of the things I love about electro-swing is the dancing. It differs from normal club music as the swinging beat removes some of the aggression, while the partner dance style of Lindy Hop and similar dances translates really well to a modern setting, as well as opening the doors of possibility for meeting people and making friends. While I have had a couple of lindy lessons a couple of years ago, I mostly make it all up as I go along. 

I have just come across this handy instructional video from 1944 which not only explains the origins of some of the steps and might even provide some inspiration for some of you - I particularly like the Hesitation Shorty George. Complete with comedy vintage voiceover, this is a real gem. 

I would also like to post this video, which I found ages ago and return to occasionally as I think it a wonderful piece of choreography, excellently executed.



And finally, here is the king of the swingers, the man who started this whole journey for me, and who all my female friends drool over. Perhaps the best dancer to have ever donned spandex and a pair of two-tone shoes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. Bruce of the Correspondents:



In this second video you can't quite make out his feet, but you do get a taste of his remarkable MC skills and the now legendary treadmill dance.


Lots of Love,

Jack

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bands

Most of my posts this far have focussed on DJs and producers, but I think it is important to recognise some of the live acts out there, some which are firmly electro-swing, others which paddle in the shallows. Having already spoken before about the Electric Swing Circus I shall mention them here and then move on.

The first band to mention is Caravan Palace. The video below was perhaps the second or third electro-swing clip I ever saw.

The band consists of six members, with the delightful Sonia Fernandez Velasco on vocals. Reportedly they formed when three of the band members were asked to record the soundtrack to a silent porn movie, which might explain the seedy sound they produce. This Paris based electro-swing and gypsy jazz outfit have been stalwarts of the scene for several years, - it is rare to attend an electro-swing night and not hear one of their tracks.

From Paris we head east to Austria and a brief word about Parov Stellar and his band. The news that he would be gracing the Koko stage at the end of May was extremely welcome as he has never played a live gig in the UK, despite his popularity in Europe. Sadly, if you have not got a ticket yet you will just have to watch this video and wait for my report as tickets sold out in a matter of days.



Back to London now, to mention Molotov Jukebox. These guys played at my office Christmas party back in Feb (long story) and really got the crowd going. Their music includes influences from afrobeat to flamenco to balkan swing to dubstep. With brash brass, violin, accordion and the gorgeous Natalia's sexy delivery they had, until recently avoided a genre label, but the style has recently been referred to as 'gyp-step', which leads nicely into the last group...



Sam and the Womp an 8-piece band fronted by the eponymous Sam, formed in 2009 and play a style that owes a great deal to dubstep, balkan brass and Ska, or as he so eloquently puts it "Gypsy-dubstep-in-your-face trumpet madness". These guys really love to rave, and their live shows are really quite bonkers - if you get the chance you must see them. They have performed at Secret Garden Party and have womped crowds at venues as diverse as The Notting Hill Arts Club and the BBC London jazz Festival. They have produced this handy instructional video on how to Womp properly. You didn't know you had been doing it wrong, did you?



Lots of love,

Jack

Friday, 13 April 2012

And another thing...

This is a crazy little mixtape from Kiwistar - prepare yourself for a wild ride!




Kiwistar - Minitape for Glade Festival - Vaudeville Rave Stage Contest by Kiwistar 






 Jack

Swing Rebellion

It has been a busy few days for this blog, so it is perhaps a good thing that I will be heading out to the country this weekend to indulge my other passion in life, cricket. 




Before doing so I would like to take the opportunity to  welcome the good people behind another new site to the online world of electro-swing - in their own words www.swingrebellion.com is "a platform for electro-swing enthusiasts" and contains info on events, artists and the electro-swing lifestyle. Some of the names will be familiar to readers of this blog - Jamko, The Electric Swing Circus's Mr Tophat and Mme Electrifie. You may even see the occasional contribution from Jack himself.


There is also a mixcloud podcast available to listen to - check it out!


Welcome, chaps!


Jack




Swingstep from Senor Zazou

Just came across this on Soundcloud and I think it utterly splendid. I love it when I find something really grubby!

->Scrape Swing<- Senor ZAzou!!!!Mash Up (Sweet Life Society VS Ozma VS Sub Focus VS Counterstrike) by SeƱor ZazoO





Enjoy!


Love,


Jack



Thursday, 12 April 2012

More electro-gospel and the like


Following the previous post, the chaps behind the final video contacted me via Facebook to let me know that they have remixed a load more gospel tracks. I like "Don't Rock the Boat" best.


 

The Evolution of Swing

I am sure that I do not need to inform the educated, informed and intelligent readers of this blog of the origins of 'popular music' and the role played therein by things like slave songs, spirituals and so on. We all know how these songs developed into the blues, bluegrass, jazz and eventually swing, then rock n'roll and finally gave rise to hip hop, r'n'b and all the diverse genres we are familiar with today.

One of the things that I love about electro-swing is that it is such a clear continuation of this tradition. In addition, the remix culture fits Jazz (I use this as an umbrella term) beautifully - we are all used to the idea of different performers giving us their own versions of the 'jazz standards', and now the DJs and producers can do the same.

All of this leads me to the point: I thought it would be fun show the three stages of the process using a song known variously as "Go Down Moses" or "Way Down in Egypt Land". As might be expected, I came across the most modern iteration first, and then worked backwards in time to end up with the spiritual version. 

In this first track, by the Golden Gate Quartet, is a beautiful harmonised version sung a capella in a barbershop style. Although I am not a religious person, it gives me goosebumps to listen to. Also, keep an ear out for the guy singing bass - what a warm sound. If you want to hear an astonishingly bassy rendition, search for it on Spotify - I had no idea the human voice could get so low. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here is the track (apologies for the none-too-exciting video - it was the only one I could find)

The Golden Gate  Quartet were founded in 1934 and have continued with a variety of line-ups until the present day. 

The next version of this song is by one of the most instantly recognisable voices in the jazz genre - Louis Armstrong. Again, the spiritual quality of the song comes through, with some gorgeous harmonies, but this time with a walking pace blues sound. 


Finally, the last version is electro-swing. It is a remix of the version you have just heard .This is a great example as it shows how the original melancholy sound can be immediately altered - it is perhaps not the finest electro-swing tune in the world, but I love the other two versions so much that I love to hear it. I also adore the video for its dancing bears and the chap dancing at 0:50.  Enjoy!


Oh, and one, no, two more things. C2C, from the previous post, have produced an homage to Satchmo: 


If you want to know what it sounds like when you go straight from gospel to dance music, listen to this, and for a fun game try singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' in the breaks.


Lots of love,

Jack

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Scratch and Swing


These guys have completely blown me away. I came across the above video on one of my internet trawling sessions about a month ago, and their vids have been on repeat chez Jack ever since. Not only do I love the tunes that these guys are making, but I love the way the video is made: before I had watched this I did not really understand how scratching works - now I do (I think).

The video is of the routine that won C2C their third world team DMC Championship (out of four). As you will see, the performance has three parts, all of which I adore. The middle section, with a Brazilian feel, is wonderful - each of the four DJs has a different sample (watch for when they show you which it is) and they are blended and scratched to create that wonderful track. The other obvious thing to point out is how slick these guys are: scratching each other's decks (no sniggering at the back), swapping positions... very very cool.

Although they clearly owe plenty to hip hop and breakbeat, the work they do with the blues plonks them firmly in the electro-swing camp. Who would have known that scratching a harmonica would work so well?

Oh, and if you were concerned that while they can make a good studio track, they may not be able to reproduce the effect live, think again. And their lighting man deserves a medal:

They have just released their first EP, entitled "Down the road", on On and On Records.




Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Electric Swing Circus



One of the nice things that has come about as a result of this blog is that people have started sending me links to tracks they have found. This one came from Domenika in Slovakia - thanks to her!
The Electric Swing Circus were one of the first groups I came across on my initial YouTube foraging missions, so it seems only right to share this video with you all.
They remind me a lot of Caravan Palace.
Enjoy!
Jack.
Ps. Please send me your favourites!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Jeeves and Wooster remix

The  Jeeves and Wooster stories and novels have always been favorites of mine, and I have always loved the television show - great casting, wonderful hats and people saying "what ho" a lot. The other great thing about the show is the music, so imagine my joy when I came across this little number that had been posted to the White Mink Facebook page. Do let me know what you think! Jack

Thursday, 5 April 2012

White:Mink

Since the last post about one of the smaller electro-swing nights in London I have been racking my brains as to how to do justice to what is probably now the biggest. I do not know if I have done so- hopefully this is informative and entertaining, if nothing else.
White Mink’s nights began in Brighton as a launch party for their compilation albums (White Mink : Black Cotton) and have grown rather quickly. In addition they have run successful festival stages, including the Larmer Tree Festival and The Thames Festival.



The brains behind the outfit are Nick Hollywood (described by the Guardian as “Godfather of electro-swing”; Chris Tofu ( of Continental Drifts, the team behind the Shangri La and Lost Vagueness stages at Glastonbury, and the one of the team behind the international “Electro Swing Club”); and Dan O’Neill, who brings business nous to the table. It is also worth pointing out that that these are the guys behind the Freshly Squeezed Music label, to which many of the biggest names of the genre like The Correspondents and Swing Republic belong. NB –their radio show is well worth checking out.
It is this combination that makes the White Mink nights so much fun. They are, as I mentioned in the previous post, immersive nights – while the dress code is not enforced people are encouraged to dress in a ‘vintage’ style (I am sure you can imagine that I need no encouragement) and in additon to DJs and bands there are a number of cabaret performers – magicians, burlesque dancers and so on - drawn from the books of Continental Drifts.
I have now attended two of these events, at New Year and the inaugural monthly event at the beginning of March. The venue, The Bedroom Bar , is ideally suited – it is a bit of maze, which helps to create the ‘speakeasy’ vibe.  The main room is downstairs, and at first glance it appears that this is the full extent of the place, but in fact recent refurbishments opened up a staircase which gives access to the upper level. Here you will find another dancefloor, plus the ‘chillout room’ or Kasbah Bar, where you can relax on comfy sofas amid Moroccan-style furnishings . The corner of this area has been curtained off to create the bedroom in the name of the bar – this is reserved for private bookings. The higgledy-pigglydy nature of the venue help to create a sense of space too.
When I attend an electro-swing event I am there to dance, and at the most recent event I found that the main room was too crowded for me. I was desperate to see the performance by Bart and Baker (who have played at events for Dita Von Teese and Marc Jacobs), but I had to vacate fairly quickly as the crush was hindering me. That that I did catch was fantastic - really great beats and a lovely swing, so it was a bit of a shame that it was so crowded. It is to be expected of course, so I certainly don't see it as a negative, it just doesn't suit my more, shall we say, expansive style of dancing.
Most of my time was spent upstairs, enjoying the tunes that Chris Tofu was playing and making the most of the extra space (there was only one incident, when one of my friends, Madame Catastrophe, had an encounter with a pillar - this may have been partly my fault, though the booze helped). Spending time in this room worked in my favour, as the Hon. Rumple Fuddly has worked at festivals with Mr. Tofu. Thanks to this connection I was introduced to not only Chris, but also to Wayne - the venue owner, and, joy of joys, to Bart and Baker themselves.
Wayne is a big fan of electro-swing, and there was one thing that he said to me that really sums up the appeal of the genre. He told me “[White Mink] is one of my favourite nights – everyone gets really into it, the people are fantastic. I love the fancy dress, the performers and the atmosphere.”
Speaking to Bart and Baker was a definite highlight for me. These top-hatted gentlemen are amongst the most important DJs in the genre at the moment – their celebrity connections as mentioned above are influential in spreading the word into the world of media luvvies, thus helping to bring the music to the attention of a wider audience. They were extremely friendly, as can be seen from the position of the Hon R-F in the last picture of this facebook album.
I am hoping that this could result in an interview feature with Bart and Baker – watch this space!
The next White Mink event is this weekend, Saturday 7th April, and the line up features Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm, Madame Electrifeie, Don Dapper of Swing Zazou, Nico Bently and The World's Tallest DJ, plus cabaret acts, black and white movie visuals, swing classes and an official photographer. At the time of writing there are still tickets available - I look forward to seeing you there!http://www.crowdsurge.com/whitemink/

Lots of love,

Jack