Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Mix by Burlish

It's been a really long time since I've heard a mix from the 'Smooth Operator' aka Burlish. He's been a supporter of Futurepast Zine since issue #3. This mix features a lot of his own unreleased music, it was recorded using vinyl and acetates - the good ol' fashioned way ;)

Burlish has had releases and support from a select few including Justice (MJAZZ), Beneath (No Symbols), and Rob Booth (Electronic Explorations). Listen and enjoy:

Burlish - Last Chance
Tessela - Butchwax
Burlish - Bleepo
Omar S - Psychotic Photosynthesis
Burlish - Shutta
Burlish - H8o8
Planet Soul - Set U Free (Mars Mix)
Burlish - Weird Cup Riddim
Altered Natives - Crop Duster
Rawtrachs - Untitled Alien Ting
Burlish - Felix
Burlish - CTBW
Theo Parrish - Beat These
Burlish - Octave Won

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Listening sessions: Congo Beat The Drum

On the 22nd May, Listening Sessions & Club PST will be showcasing a documentary, 'Congo Beat The Drum'. It's an exclusive screening and there will be some live music on the evening from Kalbata who also directed the film.

This is something new for the regular Listening Sessions crowd who are normally used to hearing Birmingham's finest underground music. The guys behind Listening Sessions (Goosensei & Elkie) are doing something different and interesting and so I asked a couple of questions to find out how it all came about.

FPZ: What's the event about?
G-Sensei: I have been a fan of Kalbata's music since I first heard 'Ninja We Ninja' in 2009.

This was pretty soon after I started to develop an interest in producing electronic music and wanting to DJ. Then one of the 1st records I bought after I became hooked on vinyl was 'Play Music Selecta', out on Soul Jazz, and this was a collaboration between Kalbata & Mixmonster and featured Jah Thomas on vocals.

A record that was played in every one of my sets for about a year after it arrived into my bag. Then after stumbling on the 'Congo Beat The Drum' trailer when it was first uploaded onto vimeo a couple of years back, I was seriously fixed on seeing the full length documentary, so to cut a long story short, I've been looking forward to this one for a while :) 

This is a more in depth description by Freestyle Records who released the album: “Two years ago, Ariel (Kalbata) and Uri (Mixmonster) went into their Tel Aviv studio with the purpose of recording a 100% analogue reggae/dub album, combining the spirit of the late King Tubby and the early dancehall era of the late 70's and early 80's. They insisted on not using any computers in the process, whilst blending in elements of techno, psychedelic funk, African tribal music. They then travelled to Kingston, Jamaica and began tracking down their favourite singers and deejays, such legends as Jah Thomas, Little John, Trinity, Echo Minott, Mutabaruka, Major Mackerel, Puddy Roots and the sadly, recently departed Prince Jazzbo.” 
Elkie: The story of a couple of Tel Aviv based producers travelling to Jamaica to learn the origins of the traditional art of reggae/dub production is really something special, and to observe them tracking down some of the true living legends of the genre whilst they were over there adds another amazing aspect to the whole thing. I've been listening to the 'Congo Beat the Drum' album religiously in the run up to this event - to see how this was all put together, followed up by Kalbata himself playing these tracks is going to make for a really special night. There's some really prolific vocalists on the album - artists like Echo Minott, Mutabaruka and Little John are personal favourites of mine and to hear them lend their unmistakable voices to this project is something really wicked. 'Prisoner In Love' with Little John is a really special track - his vocals paired with Kalbata's excellent production is just a sublime, silky smooth combination!

FPZ: What's happening on the night?
G-Sensei: The night starts at 21:00 and begins with an hour of 'open decks' for anyone that wants to be get involved and spin some Roots music! Then Bongo Damo from Birmingham's Jam Jah Sound, an amazing percussionist, drummer in the Friendly Fire Band and wicked DJ will be warming things up (, then Sticky Joe (, a local up and coming Reggae / Dub artist will be joined by Birmingham veteran Chesire Cat (who has been vibeing up dances since way back when with groups like Leftfield) which will lead onto the documentary screening which starts at 23.45 running for an hour. Then the main man Kalbata ( will be playing a 90 minute set made up of vintage roots and might even find its way into some more dancefloor orientated riddims also! To finish things off myself Goosensei ( and fellow Dub enthusiast and producer, Jeph1 ( will play back to back for a finish. Also on the night Screams Africa will have a stall setup in the venue where you can buy art and fashion made by African artists so check that out

Elkie: The format of the event is something pretty new to us, whilst in the past we have done our signature "showcase" events alongside a few more standard club events, to throw a documentary screening into the mix is something really new and exciting. I felt like it was another great branch of what we do, and in some ways a logical evolution - to take a step back from the usual dancefloor oriented format and to do something that has a strong appeal to music producers but is still interesting for those who just want to observe and soak up some unique culture. To be able to wrap that up with a DJ set from the man Kalbata is just the perfect finish to what should be a really different vibe!
FPZ: How did you guys make the collaboration happen for Listening Sessions?
G-Sensei: After seeing there was a screening taking place of the "Congo Beat The Drum" documentary in Israel a couple of months back I sent Kalbata a message asking when the documentary would be released looking to buy the dvd. He said officially it wouldn't be out for a while but there was a screening planned in Brixton in early May (just gone) and I could go see it in London. So I enquired about a showing in Birmingham as I knew the perfect venue for it (PST) and it went from there :)
Elkie: We are really lucky in having such an amazing venue who are really understanding of what we are trying to do with Listening Sessions - without PST we wouldn't be able to put on things like this, so I just want to give them a little shout out for all the amazing support. I really feel there is nowhere else in Birmingham this event would work - the intimate vibe of the rooftop will set the perfect stage for a night of real roots and culture.

Here's the trailer for the documentary:

If you like what you hear and see, then come and check it out!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Music to Check Out

Here is a selection of music I have come across that I am really feeling. I keep telling myself I'm not into Drum and Bass and I don't really play much of it, but funnily enough a few of the tracks below are of that style! Please take the time to read and check them out…..


A few weeks ago I interviewed, Justice, for the blog and he mentioned a new MJAZZ release from Metro, Momentum and himself. It's a 2 tracker and both tracks are around 10 minutes long! 

I listened to them in my car on the way to work in the morning when the sun was shining down - it was the perfect sound track for my ride. Both tracks have only a handful of elements (breakbeat, bass, melody, sound fx), it's the arrangement of them which makes the tracks really standout. Anyone can make a 10 minute track and call it 'epic', but there is a skill in being able to do this well - these tracks definitely display that. They were easy to listen to in their entirety. This E.P. has been released at the perfect time for me as the days are getting longer, warmer and brighter.


On exactly the same day the clouds turned grey on my way back home after work and it began to rain a little. I was listening to the latest release on RQ. It reflected the change in weather. 

The track I listened to was 'Third Ground' it's my favourite track off the E.P. It reminded me of the feel of Photek and Hidden Agenda tracks from around 1996/97 (I mean this in a positive way). This track is full of texture and suspense. It feels like there's lots of snippets from different records - they all work together really well. Sometimes when you hear music, the different elements of a track really stand out such as sparkly hi hats, or the bass is really strong and boomy. In this track it felt like everything just worked together in a way where there's some kind of 'chemistry' going on between the different elements. I'm not sure if that makes sense... what I'm trying to say is that because all the sounds gel together so well, there wasn't a particular element that stood out. But yeah, a really beautiful track to vibe to.


A few months back I was introduced to 'Phuture Shock Musik', a record label based in Bristol (UK). I picked up a couple of 12"s, one of which was this one.

This release by Simon/off is very rhythmic and it's around the 120-130 bpm mark (I think!). The first track uses a combination of beats, of particular interest is the way the Funky Drummer break is used in the track, it's clever and I think it will appeal to quite a few of the headz that are into their beats. The tracks on this E.P. are somewhere between that broken beat and percussive uk funky sound. Really cool tracks. They'd fit neatly with something like an old Crazy Cousins tune. I'd say these tracks by Simon/off (and Psyah who I will mention in a moment) would work well for the dancers and skankers out there.


Once again, these tracks are in the vein of UK funky and broken beat. Definitely for people that like to flex and skankout. Tough beats with sweet melodies. These tracks are from 2010 but they still sound pretty fresh to me. 

'Shrunken Head' is slightly different, it's more on a house tip, 4/4 kicks. The bass reminds me of LFO's 'LFO', and it's filled with bleepy melodies. The drums are classic Roland. I'm really looking forward to hearing more from Phuture Shock Musik and the artists that have featured on their releases.


Rawganics is a record label based in Birmingham (UK), they've been releasing some deep space music and put together some amazing podcasts for a few years and they also featured on #5 of Futurepast Zine :-)

They recently released this album by Dyl. I have to admit that I haven't checked out much music from this guy and so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it was going to be a bunch of radiator beats (beats made by tapping a central heating radiator :D). Boy was I wrong! Haha. 

Most of the time I listen to music in my car, and when I listened to this album it was like I was on a predator style spaceship, filled with dread type aliens in a deep sleep and somehow I'm able to tap into their minds and they're sending me these sonic images….. anyway before I get carried away…. this album is wicked, I haven't heard anything like it before. It's not too f-ed up and far out, and it's not too typical and straight either. There's a good mixture of tracks that would work on a dance floor or away from it. I've been blasting this in my car waving my hands around like I'm operating a spaceship and other drivers have been giving me funny looks but f-em because if they were listening to this, they'd be doing the same.

A lot of the tracks are on a 170 tip, and I was surprised that I was engaged by the all the tracks as usually I like a fair bit of variety on an album. There is one techno track on it, so it's not all 170 bpm. The album to me feels sci-fi, tribal, primal and heavy. Armageddon. But there is one favourite track I have. It's the 7th track, 'Element 7'. The track fills me with hope, it sheds light. The synth sound on it almost feels like it's singing and the bass lifts you up, it's really beautiful music and my hat goes off to Dyl for this.


I think this is an alias of Simon/off, I may be wrong! The music here is not like the Simon/off tracks I have heard, but there is something consistent between them, and that is the beats are really good, funky and tough. 

The tracks here are a definite nod to Jungle and Juke, I have to say that a lot of stuff like this I've heard just sounds wack to me and it's so obvious - grab an old jungle record and stick loads of 808 kicks over it. The tunes here are different though, when I listen to them it makes me feel like I'm listening to a Jungle tape pack but it sounds new if you know what I mean.

The standout track for me is 'The Difference'. It starts of with a really cool melody and some vocal snippets help to build up the track. There's a hint of mentasm to draw you in, and then boom…... Head and shoulders business!
I really love the vibe of these tracks mainly because of the breakbeats, the bass, and the sounds used. Yeah, it's a killer E.P.


Skutta Records are another record label based in Birmingham (UK). They've been releasing a mixture of Drum n Bass styles for a while and they have a wicked show on Jungletrain so check them out.

All tracks here have a dub wise feel to them. One track really does something for me - 'Nine Euro'. I haven't got a clue what that's in reference to. The track is seriously HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY! Put it this way, I had to keep playing this track from start to finish for about 40 minutes. Rinse and repeat!

The track begins with filtered kicks and dub sounds, and a vocal about not causing pain (but it does oh so much damage :D ). When the bass kicks in you just wanna skankout. Bad tune! The bass is ridiculous, it excites the hell outta me lol, the thing that takes it to the next level is the vocals in it though, deadly track! I swear I've had to listen to this 3 times on repeat while writing this. Underground music for the underground people. Bless.

The other 2 tracks ware good too, but 'Nine Euro' kills it.


Another deadly release from Skutta Records by Slaine. An artist that has been steadily getting his music released and is constantly testing his music out at the Listening Sessions nights in Birmingham.

This music featured here (and his music in general) is immaculately produced.

My favourite track from the E.P. is 'Serpent'. It features atmospheric pads and the bass in the track feels like it's an electric charge. It's my favourite from the release because I like the way the beats and the bass work together. There's little touches in the beats which keep me interested and that's why it's a roller.

I've got to mention 'Commix Sans'. It's a tribute track to Commix, and an excellent one at that. The bass is soothing and the snippets of melody make the track come alive. It's a hypnotising track, and now this one is my favourite! 


This track is part of an album released on Dubs Alive called 'Don't Tread on Dub'. The headline for me is 'Reach Out', created by the deadly duo otherwise known as Goosensei and Krytikal. I've heard it umpteen times before it was released :-)

It's a dubstep tune that's got bass to make your rib cage rattle, and is immersed in dub fx. I love the percussion around the 2.45 mark. I've witnessed this tune tear out the place on a heavy soundsystem. I'm really looking forward to hearing more from these guys!

There's a track by Dubsworth and Tapa, 'Clave Maria', which is pretty damn cool also! I love the bass on this tune, it's almost grungey but without the midrange, and the beats are a kinda 2 step flava.

Niko '4AM' is killer material, pretty much every single track on this album is quality! I highly recommend checking this out. I was nicely surprised as I thought all the tracks would be 'typical' reggae/dub influenced, but it's not typical at all, it's more of an exploration with reggae/dub as a foundation.


You know what to do….