Friday, 29 February 2008


Things have been a little busy for the Sketch City crew of late.

Earlier this month the Contact Theatre-based art/club session played host to their pal Mr Scruff.

Then the team took over the Music Box slot vacated by the Electric Chair to start their promising Hoya:Hoya night with Ryan Hunn and Jonny Dub on hand as more-than-capable residents. And - while exploring everything from afrobeat to techno via Latin, soul, funk, hip hop and disco - that's certainly one to keep an eye on. March's offering even features guest slots from James T Cotton (AKA Dabrye) and Toddla T.

Seemingly planning on their own brand of world domination, they also launch their own gallery tomorrow. Up at Malboro House (Newton Street), their 1,600 sq ft Upper Space project will make its debut with This Is Us: a show that features the work of Jon Burgerman, Dist and the Sketch City Artists.

Thursday, 28 February 2008


How long has it been since we had a competition around these parts? Too fucking long, we reckon.

So do try getting your brains around this one:

Magnetic Man is the once mysterious dubstep guise that was later revealed to be an outlet for scene visionaries Skream, Benga and Artwork. After repeatedly making cutting-edge bass science - i.e. gut-grabbing music that can make you cry for your nana - the three of them decided to dig out their laptop bags and embark on a tour. It includes a date at the former Paradise Factory on 14/03/08 where they'll fuse improvised sounds with recognised underground anthems. And you and a friend could check it - plus further sets from Stanton Warriors and Rich Reason - for free.

We shit you not.

Just answer this:

The film Be Kind Rewind features a character who becomes magnetic. Who is the chubster/actor that plays said magnetic man?

Answers to northernights at gmail dot com by noon on Wednesday 12th March please.

Monday, 18 February 2008


We've been a little vocal in the past regarding nostalgia within Manchester's music and clubs. The thing is, we don't really have a problem with the past. We just reckon that the reverence that surrounds earlier times in the city's history can, at times, be unjustified.
And we do get pissed off when barely a fraction of the interest in Manchester's creativity surrounds what's happening in the 21st Century. And how committees consistently plot to build some dreary Madchester Theme Park instead of, like, a modern radio station or a cutting-edge festival.
That aside, we do think that some of our citizens produced some fine records over the years. We especially like it when someone else comes along and upsets 'the purists' by offering their own version of some 'classic'.


Friday, 8 February 2008


We launched the Northernights site last year and marked that date by offering some haphazard DJ support for a date at High Voltage from Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Back then they were a duo. Now they've added a frontman and become a trio. But even back then, the track 'We Are Rockstars' had done the rounds. Now it's latest incarnation is due a proper release in with a video and everything.

Meantime, High Voltage is set to play host to the Kitsune-signed Thieves Like Us 16/02/08.

Monday, 4 February 2008


It's mix time again and this latest highlights the kind of tracks played at Common's Stop Making Sense session.


1. fujiya & miyagi - collarbone

2. talking heads - born under punches (the heat goes on)
3. visage - fade to grey (extended 12" mix)
4. smd - i believe (prins thomas diskomiks)
5. roxy music - the main thing (rub n tug's photon saga remix)
6. liquid liquid - optimo
7. escort - all through the night
8. esg - moody (spaced out)
9. box codax - rat boy (mock & toof remix)
10. the emperor machine - monkey overbite
11. talking heads - psycho killer (greg wilson re-edit)
12. hercules & love affair - roar
13. sweetlight - le grand sommeil

Download it here [zSHARE].

Sunday, 3 February 2008


James Smith was an integral part of midweek rave fave Tramp and brought the likes of Justice, MSTRKRFT, New Young Pony Club, In Flagranti, Chromeo and Diplo to Manchester. He was also heavily involved in programming one of the most cohesive Futuresonic festivals to date.

His latest role is as head-honcho at London's Bad Apple bookings agency where he looks after the diaries of Zombie Disco Squad, Allez-Allez, Drums of Death and Starkey. Despite this, he's not given up promoting completely.

With his pals from Hot Chip [yes, the Hot Chip] he's hosting a party at Islington Mill. Taking place 16/02/08, GrecoRoman vs Bad Apple is set to feature a Hot Chip DJ set plus live performances from Booji Boy High, Drums of Death and Grovesnor. (The latter following David E. Sugar with the latest release on the GrecoRoman label.) Further details to come.

Saturday, 2 February 2008


Australia's Cut Copy are bursting back on to the old music scene armed with some great new material produced by DFA's Tim Goldsworthy. They will also be doing some dates (their first UK gigs in two years) yet have somehow managed to miss out Manchester. Oops.

As a consolation, you can make do with this latest mix from Cut Copy titled 'So Cosmic'. It pretty much follows on from the impressive one they did for Fabric. Only this one, we think, is even better. And free.

Here's what they say about the selected tracks:

aphex twin. This is one of Aphex Twin's classics, and I've always used it as an intro to our DJ sets. I'm a big fan of looped piano riff (two other faves of mine being mike oldfield's tubular bells or DJ Shadow's building steam from a grain of sand). It's almost hard to imagine this is the same guy who wrote come to daddy.

cut copy - so haunted (knightlife end edit) Our mate Knightlife called me up when he heard 'so haunted' on the radio and asked what happens after it fades out. He was imagining this sun soaked disco reprise so we gave him the parts and two days later we had our hands punching the air listening back to it.

panda bear - bros This panda bear record is without a doubt my favorite of 2007. For me it's like paul simon graceland era meets animal collective meets the avalanches. Some of my favorite shit.

popolice - (edit) Popolice is a one man my bloody valentine - it's a trick because whenever I close my eyes at his shows you can imagine a whole band with wailing guitars and heartbrakingly beautiful textures and harmonies. A bit of an underground favorite in melbourne, he's played with us and become a mainstay on the cut copy stereo.

delia & gavin - rise For me this song reminds me of driving at dusk, or perhaps it's the sound of the world as it was being created. I've only seen them play once but they had me transfixed for the 25 minutes that they played, with no gaps or talking. amazing.

elitechnique - fingerfood (major swellings mix) There's a touch of herbie hancock in all of us. And I must admit I remember seeing the electronic saxophone on a show called 'beyond 2000' when I was a kid and badgering my parents to buy me one. They never did.

nu musik - warp This song is incredible to me. It's one of those tunes that transports you; from chicago house to blissful acoustic guitar, sounding like one of the best remixes you've heard. I was staggered to find out it's actually from 1982 and the original version of the song.

panthers - goblin city (holy ghost! dub) Holy ghost! seem to be one of the heroes of DFA's new wave of talent. This mix of panthers is as good as many of the DFA's own. I cant wait for more.

alan braxe & fred falke - horizon This track appeared on the promo for Rubicon a number of years back but (perhaps due to it's length) has remained a tantalizing piece of braxe/falke magic. I love it every time I hear it, but never manage to listen to it long enough to get over it. pure bliss.

bell x1 - flame (chicken lips dub) This mix is a bit like a modern pop interpretation of the anthemic white-funk of talking heads. One my favorite chicken lips remixes for some time.

giorgio - knights in white saturn This is one of my favorite giorgio tracks. I love this era of his music where in parternship with pete bellotte their songs build and deconstruct themselves piece by piece over a whole side of vinyl. This particular one is a cover of Justin Hayward and spans three disco interpretations of the song. The cover is also absolutely genius.

aeroplane - aeroplane Aeroplane is my new favorite artist. This track comes like a contemporary version of the songs that inspired the new cut copy record 'In ghost colours'. Not out of place next to Jean Michel Jarre's 'Equinoxe' or PIL's 'this is what you want, this is what you get'. An epic soundtrack to... well... something.

fleetwood mac - never forget 'Tusk' was an ambitious double-album and although it probably didn't scale the heights of 'Rumours', it has some truly heartwarming/breaking chords and melodies.

lifelike - so electric Like alan braxe and daft punk, lifelike seems to be at his best when his tracks stumble upon some sort of shared musical consciousness; a melody seemingly from the past which takes hold like a fond memory of childhood. 'So electric' is simultaneously triumphant and nostalgic, and for me an instant classic.

saturn 5 - oscillations pure kraut. It goes to show you dont need more that one chord (or even one note for that matter) to write a compelling tune.

international music system - runaway (edit) A lot of the time in writing our second record was spent researching and listening to music from the past, making connections between our modern favorites and those that inspired them. To me almost like a proto-alan braxe blueprint. Unfortunately it's incredibly difficult to get information about many of these italo artists so I know precious little about it. It's good though.

cut copy - lights & music This song was written from two ideas and then joined together. The chorus began as an dubby electronic disco number I wrote and the verses from post punk inspired jam that Tim and I recorded on bass keyboard and drum machine. It's also our next single.

jean michel jarre - equinoxe (edit) What more can be said about Jean Michel Jarre? He's a hero. For the tech heads, he has put the Yamaha CS60 and 80 into our hearts forever.

harmonia - deluxe (drum edit) Harmonia was the all-star 'dreamteam' of krautrock. Michael (Jordan) Rother from Neu on guitar combined with the Cluster pair and Roedelius (AKA Shaq) and Moebius (not unlike the silky skills of Clyde Drexler). Seriously though both the harmonia albums are masterpieces. Over the last couple of years I've listen to these records countless times for inspiration.

the bells - target group (C90 mix) C90 seem to have emerged as blog favorites for many people. This is my pick of their mixes.

holy ghost - hold on I cant say enough about Holy Ghost! This record is a hands down classic for me. From the throbbing staccato synth of the verses to the soaring clavinet piano of chorus. This the Cut Copy 12" anthem of 2007. When are these guys going to do a remix for us already? DFA, you've done it again...

bagraiders - nil by mouth Bagraiders have emerged along with wunderkind Knightlife (who also remixed this particular tune) as part of the new wave of Australian electro producers. For some reason more than most other countries this scene has really taken hold here when only a few years ago it was Jet and their rock revival clones that seemed to rule the bars and clubs.

space - save your love This is an instrumental edit of Space's 'save your love'. Not be confused with the KLF/Orb collaboration also called 'Space' this is more than remeniscent of Daft Punk's Disovery era.

inflagranti - additional alpha blocker In my opinion these guys rarely put a foot wrong. And even when it is wrong, goddamn it - it's still so right. This track almost goes into transcendental chicago house territory. I cant wait for their next 12.

oran juice jones - the rain An 80's underground soul classic.

cut copy - hearts on fire (a cappella)

cut copy - hearts on fire (joakim mix) Joakim is someone who I've followed musically over his career and have always been surprising and inspiring. His most recent forays into mixes seem to have been his most successful in terms of club play and he seems to be really hitting his stride. This version of our tune came through to us when we were at DFA recording our album and was a soundtrack for that period. Hands in the air!

Download it here [zSHARE].

Friday, 1 February 2008


I went to the launch of Rob Bailey's 'Hello World' exhibition at Common last night. Bailey is one of the team that puts together the Licktronica dates at the same venue and has, in the past, played host to Ulrich Schnauss, Claro Intelecto and Naomi Kashiwagi. He's also been responsible for the beautiful images for flyers and posters that - as my lovely companion Sara pointed out - evoke a golden age in French graphic art. (Apologies to anyone viewing in black and white, but he also has a great way with colour too.)

Anyway, there's some brilliant new work there that you just might want to check out for yourself.

MP3: Sia - 'Breathe Me (Ulrich Schnauss remix)' [Yousendit]