Category Archives: Vinyl Collecting

The Best of Trip Hop


Trip Hop, that sometimes maligned genre, I thought was worthy of an audio re-appraisal. Certainly there were some coffee table crimes committed in the name of this genre, however I’d love to name a style of music that doesn’t have its fair share of swill amongst the silk.

At its best Trip Hop was innovative (at least at first), evocative, creative and also a genre around which some enduring artists made their names. Kruder & Dorfmeister, Portishead for example are not constrained by their Trip Hop history, but certainly owe a debt to the genre for providing a platform for future success. Artists such as Massive Attack and labels such as Ninja Tune and Mo Wax formed around the nascent Trip Hop scene, drawing in influences from sound systems, hip hop, graffiti and more creating this uniquely UK sound – that went on to influence others further afield – from France to Japan and beyond.

Yes there is a lot of bland ‘trip hop’, the genre did eat itself somewhat & much like ‘Big Beat’ perhaps became overshadowed by its worse elements rather than being celenrated for its best. So a re-appraisal? Lets take the evidence at hand – some of the best of the genre. I have sought to bring together a series of selections that hopefully represent some of the genres high-points. With elements of dub, drum & bass as well as hip hop, soul and a touch of funk I have been a little liberal with the term ‘trip hop’ but certainly aim to stay true to the over-arching ethos of trip hop nights of the time with the choices made. Have a listen – this isn’t supposed to be a definitive best of, there are great records I don’t have – and have a think. Was Trip Hop so bad?

So – to the music…







Balearic Mix #45 The Original Balearic Classics 

Barefoot In The Head

A few pics from the early years of Ibiza that capture the original Balearic spirt:


ibiza 5

I have put together a selection of some of the original Café Del Mar / Balearic classics as played in the early wide eyed days of sound-tracked sunsets on the white isle. Balearic pop, tropical shufflers and more. Before the advent of Café Del Mar rip-off comps and identikit chill out music, these tracks set the tone for what was to follow.


Track list:

  1. Art Of Noise – Moments In Love
  2. Antenna – Camino Del Sol
  3. Donna Summer – State Of Independence
  4. Linda Di Franco – TV Scene
  5. Flash & The Pan – Walking In The Rain
  6. Carly Simon – Why
  7. Penguin Café Orchestra – Music For A Found Harmonium
  8. Sueno Latino – Sueno Latino (The Latin Dream)
  9. Tullio de Piscopo – Stop Bajon…Primavera
  10. Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots
  11. A Man Called Adam – Barefoot In The Head (Remix)

ibiza 4

ibiza 3

The mix:

This Is Radio Saint Etienne 

Saint Etienne are far and away one of my favourite bands. Ever since picking up a copy of Fox Base Alpha in the early 90’s I’ve had a soft spot for their blend of pop, Indie, Balearic and post acid house music. Fox Base Alpha is surely one of the defining albums of the post second summer of love era, it’s blend of come-down atmospherics, positivity, pop and nostalgic references was a perfect counter point to the heavier though similarly influenced Screamadelica.

Fox Base Alpha (1991)

So Tough (1993)

Saint Etienne followed up FBA with anyone slice of beautifully measured nostalgia, deep house inspired grooves, and pop, all held together with carefully selected samples. Taking spoken word from the likes of Peeping Tom and Billy Liar ‘So Tough’ played out like a perfect Sunday afternoon. Memories of  music from the night before, washed over with afternoon matinee film references all kicked off with a call for a cup of tea and a bun.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart (1991)

Nothing Can Stop Us Now / Speedwell  (1991)

With their latest ‘Home Counties’ album due next month in June; it seems a good time to share this mix I put together a while back. By no means intended as a best of, these are just a few of my favourite tracks by Saint Etienne. These are pretty much all from the period covered by their first three albums.

Early days image

More info…

Please check out the band’s website for details of the new album, merchandise and tour information.

Home Counties (2017)

The mix:


Whilst looking forward to their new work, for me this is the era of classic Saint Etienne.

Part Two now added:

Perkin’s further adventures into a Blazing Mass of Constantly Emergent Velvet Patterns

Perkins continues his adventures; getting lost in a haze of psychedelic grooves in beautiful junkyards, the labs of wired doctors experimenting with energy, down back alleys, red lit eastern European discos and electronic beat playing hideaways.

Perkins loves to share his adventures in sound, why not join him.

Track list
1. Cherry Stones – A Pattern Emerges
2. Andrzej Korzynski – L’arme Du Milleiieu Parkarz
3. Beard In Dust – Biala Sowa, Biala Darma, Bialy Kruk
4. Fatma – The Dirty Beat
5. Free Association – Heavy Velvet Affair
6. Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca – Completto Geometrico (Andy Weatherall remix)
7. The Solid Doctor – A Blazing Mass Of Energy
8. Fur – Pulp
9. Jamie Paton – Telefuture
10. Beautiful Junkyards – Constant Flux
11. Nicolas Peyrak – Rite
12. Family Four – En Hast Utan Namn

Perkins story

Perkins alarm clock had failed him; he consoled himself with the thought that it at least still told the right time twice a day – he’d heard that somewhere but couldn’t recall when or by whom.

Time to rise,  Time to travel,  Time to explore. Like an aural cosmic amalgalm of Mr.Benn, Billy Liar and a beatnik Doctor Who, Perkins traverses time and space in order to uncover adventures in sound.

“I found myself seeking something, an item that would assist with forming order to my days. I needed a device that would somehow categorise, divide and provide instant information on the passing of my days. It must also alert me from my slumber should I need to attend urgent matters. What would such a device be? Who could create such a thing? I must go in search of such a wonder.

I cross continents, speak with psychedelic shamans of percussion, doctors of science trying to control energy as a mass and seek guidance on future developments from technicians of boundless creativity. I only find myself  lost in a dusty village, listening to a familiar tune recounted in an unfamiliar tongue. My travel are not over – I still seek a device to order time itself.”

Perkins – As told to Andy Hickford.

Perkins will return…

Downtown Science Radio Show 25th April 17

All four of the crew again in attendance. The Boogie Monster kicking off proceedings, followed by a blinding set of Latin broken beat and deep vibes from Decknologist.  Andy Hickford then stepped up with some chilled tunes from Mixmaster Morris as we are pleased to be dj’ing with him in Leeds in July. Andy followed up with some mellow Boogie before dropping a Prince tune in recognition of his passing one year ago. 

Andy Hickford’s set from the April show:

Track List:
1. Irresistible Force – Lie-in King
2. Irresistible Force – Nepalese Bliss (DJ Food Mix)
3. INYRMND – Chromed Out Beamerz
4. Max Graef & Muff Deep – Mambo Jambo
5. Mori Ra – Musically Time
6. Hitomi Tohyama – Wanna Kiss
7. Prince – Starfish & Coffee

The Radio show is back the last Tuesday of every month on Box Frequency FM 8pm-10pm.

The New Mori Ra EP on Tracy Island

No recording, but we do have Decknologist’s track list:

Bonobo – Bambro Koyo Ganda [Ninja Tune] 

Faze Action – Support [Mr. Bongo]

Quantic And His Combo Bárbaro – Mas Pan (DJ Day Remix) [Tru Thoughts]

Owiny Sigoma Band – Margaret Okudo (Jesse Hackett Dancehall Remix) [Brownswood Recordings]

Nickodemus & Osiris – Inside The Dance [Giant Step Records]

4 Hero – Escape That (Ron’s Dub Remix Edit) [Talkin’ Loud]

Unfortunately due to technical issues the full show wasn’t recorded – hopefully we will have the full show for you again as usual next month.

Perkins Lost Shadow 

IMG_20170416_223649_567Perkins awakes, half asleep he makes his way to the café on the corner near his flat. He speaks to the waitress, takes a seat outside in the sunshine and watches the sun rise over the city of London as the warm rays slowly burn away the morning mists. Perkin’s sits back and tries to order his muddled thoughts.

Gentle music soothes his soul, his order arrives and a first memory of the night before hits – SHADOW – what did I do with the shadow tapes? Tension pulses through Perkins, James had given him the newly mastered tapes – hold them close he had been told – these will change everything.
Perkins thinks back – what had happened? – he was given the tapes to Endtroducing – and then what? Perkins sits back, tries to focus and recall all that had happened once he’d left the recording studio. His promises to James & Josh that the tapes were safe with him still echoing in the lobby as he walked away.

Just a quick one thought our hero; Andy Smith was dj’ing round the corner – I’ll just say hello thought Perkins… Endtroducing was wrapped – Perkins role in the album would never be revealed, P insisted on that – he set off on a solo and unintentional after party. 1996 – London – nothing could go wrong – could it?

Perkins thought back, yes, he saw Andy Smith – honing his cross-genre style, a beer, one more, a couple of shots of Tequila – where next? David Holmes was in town – Perkins needed to check his psychedelic soul & funk and then… the Dust Brothers were kicking off across town – heavy beats and hands in the air – so much going on right now… Gilles P, Mo Wax, Ninja, Bristol – there was no other country to be in and London was at its heart. Back to his mission – did he keep the tapes safe? He vaguely recalls DJ Krush at a late night session at Blue Note and then? Hang on, where the tapes were back where he started?

Perkins recalls running across town, on a bus, in a cab & back to Andy Smith – memories of yesterday… the tape the tape? He crashed – clubbed out. Did Perkins lose his shadow, or was it found?
Perkins finishes his tea and bun, the sparkle returning to his eyes – he leaves a tip for the waitress and strides home. He lays his keys down on the sideboard, picks through a stack of flyers and underneath he spies James Lavelle’s scrawl across a plastic box – ENTRODUCING.

Perkins puts the tape in the deck, sits back and is the first to listen to the newly mastered album that would set standards for decades to come. Perkins lost, then found his shadow.

1. Barry Forgie – Dawn Mists

2. DJ Shadow – Transmission 2

3. Dave Richmond – Heavy Load

4. Lalo Schiffrin – Shifting Gears

5. Barry White – Can’t Seem To Find Him

6. Depth Charge – Number 9

7. Roy Budd – Hallucinations

8. Georgie – Tears

9. Dusty Springfield – Spooky

10. Doris – You Never Come Over

11.Andre Perry – Ode A L’Affaire

12. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper (Reprise)

13. James Taylor Quartet – Mission Impossible

14. Roland Vincet – L.S.D. Party

15. Barry Stoller – Heavy Hitter

16. Beastie Boys – Jimmy James

17. 8UP – Ya Don’t Quit

18. Sabres Of Paradise – Theme

19. Emmanuel Top – Lobotomie

20. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows

21. Chemical Brothers – Life Is Sweet

22. Jean Jacques Perry – E.V.A.

23. John Klemmer – Yes To Life

24. Beats International – Dub Be Good To Me (Accapella)

25. Mystic Moods – Cosmic Sea

26. DJ Shadow – Lost & Found (S.F.L.) (Intro)

27. Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic

28. Milton Floyd – I Am Shadow

29. Portishead – Sour Times

30. Rob Dougan – Clubbed To Death (Variation)

31. DJ Shadow – Best Foot Forward

32. DJ Shadow – Organ Donor

33. DJ Shadow – Number Song

34. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World

35. DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 1)


Digging In Amsterdam  (Reprise)

Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities in the world and I was lucky enough to return there for 24 hours last month. Even better was the fact that I was there not just to buy records, but play them too as I was booked to dj at Cafe Belgique. This is probably my favourite spot in the city for a beer and music. It’s a compact place but finds room for 2 turntables and a mixer and is frequented by friendly crowd as keen in the music as they are the beers served there. 

Before hitting the decks though, I had a list of stores to check including the new location for Rush Hour. The new store is only a stones throw from the previous location. The old shop was great, but could be cramped with you elbow to elbow with others at the listening posts and the shelves, however the size of the shop is much improved. 

Light and airy, loads of display space, ample decks to check out records this shop is a wax addicts dream. New and second hand records, plus regular top level guest dj’s performing in store this place is perfect. 

Rush Hour:

No trip to this city is complete without spending time in Red Light Records.  The store is located in the Red Light district (obviously) down an alley way that opens up into a small courtyard – the Red Light Complex. Please see my previous post for address details and store review. 

Red Light Records & Complex:

Cafe Belgique

Hidden away on a small street near Dam Square, Cafe Belgique is something of a city institution. Popular amongst those who both buy and sell vinyl in the cities many record shops, this is a great place to spend an hour or 5 working through the dozens and dozens of beers they have and listening to great music. With a superb roster of dj’s curated by DJ Kléo (check out her mixcloud page link below and find her dj’ing regularly in the city and beyond) this is a music lovers bar.

 A night at Cafe Belgique

Please check out DJ Kléo mixcloud page:

Includes live mixes from Cafe Belgique as well as Red Light Radio guest spots
We did manage few other record shops – please see my previous posts on Dam Digging for details. 
There was a new store – one that we discovered in this trip anyway – not far from Rush Hour and near Dam Square. 

Dreamtime isn’t what it appears, it seems the dreamcatchers and incense sticks gave way recently to a decent selection of funk, soul, jazz and hip hop vinyl with lots of bargain bin prices. Worth a look…

Many thanks to all at Cafe Belgique for making us all so welcome, to Clélia (DJ Kléo) & Mijke (DJ Margie ) for the after hours drinks and music chat and to James of The Promised Land (Leicester) for being my partner in crime buying and playing records. Hope to do it all again very soon.