Thursday 27 May 2010

Byte presents B-Mix 003:
Vast & Bulbous
'Beyond The Seventh Seal'
(Byte, 2010)

It's been a hot second since we last had an update on here (OK, best part of four months but time gets away from you now and then), so we thought it timely before the bank holiday madness hits to return with another installment in the B-Mix series. This time around we have an incredible set from one of the best DJ tag teams to come out of Bristol in some time - Vast & Bulbous. The duo behind interstellar disco wonk extravaganza I Feel Space have been steadily carving out a very intriguing niche in the sometimes anemic Bristol club scene with a raft of guests including Boxcutter, Various Production, Late Of The Pier, Illum Sphere and many more.

Promotions aside, these two young whippersnappers are also amazing DJs and producers in their own right, with a breadth and depth of music knowledge that is quite astounding given they are only just out of short trousers. Expect to see and hear many more great things from this pairing very soon, and to get us on our way there we have a blistering throwdown from them which takes us all the way from wonked-out future garage and crazed rhythms to old skool house and majestic disco licks. To ice this incredible bass-cake we also have an exclusive remix from them of another B365 favourite, Antoni Maiovvi. We caught up with the pair to chat about dystopian futures, Jamie Oliver on PCP, cling-film funk and death metal disco. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

B: Good evening Vast, good evening Bulbous. How the devil are you?

V&B: Good evening. We have both shed our dense winter plumage and are getting ready to revel in the full disappointment of British summertime.

B: Fantastic. Where are you right now?

V&B: Sat in an armchair taking in a bit of Jamie Oliver. We think it's scandalous the amount of
salt the man consistently puts in to his dishes, given his ambitions as some kind of modern day prophet of healthy-eating. But the big question is why is nobody talking about it? The popular press is being stonewalled, and it's lucky that these kind of outlets exist to get the message out there.

B: What do you think Jamie Oliver likes to listen to when he's 'getting on one'?

V&B: We think he probably likes to dip a Sainsbury's Ultimate Chipolata in a bowl of street-grade PCP, roll up his sleeves and get stuck into the lush production sound of Mr. Bobby Orlando.

B: Top of the list of queries has to be: why Vast, why Bulbous?

V&B: Why yin and yang? Why alpha and omega? Why Tango and Cash?

B: Which one in Tango & Cash was vast, which was bulbous? Should girth make a difference in a name anyways?

V&B: There's no question that Cash was both Vast and Bulbous, Tango was always just along for the ride.

B: What's the history of V&B? How did you find your way into DJing?

V&B: V&B started essentially as a shared blame system. When the beer bottles start flying it's nice to have someone to duck behind. We started DJing out of an unhealthy love of vinyl, and a desire to share the combinations we could make out of records. I remember when I first got decks spending days trying to mix a great Vangelis track into my latest drum and bass purchase. We didn't quite realise that wasn't what DJs did, and I'm not sure we've actually learnt that lesson yet.

B: Well thanks for taking the time to do this mix for B365. It's quite an eclectic affair - do you feel this represents your live incarnation well?

V&B: It's definitely an aspect of what we do. This is kind of our take on bass music, though you'd be just as likely to hear us rassing out some old disco or Tom's new genre of the month cling-film funk. I think whatever we're doing it would probably have the same eclectic feel to it - kind of like a musical ADHD. Except not with the connotations that seems to carry these days, where people play about 20 seconds of the most banging bit of each tune like we're all in some kind of horrible dystopian future where everyone walks around with glazed eyes and a fixed grin. We like to play our songs the whole way through, but we don't like playing the same kind of thing for too long.

B: Cling-Film Funk??

V&B: It's a sub-genre that's still awaiting a solid descriptive fence to separate it from the flock. Essentially the sound is like someone has sheathed a raging disco hard on in a four ply johnny and whacked it with a hammer. Or it can be said to be akin to listening to Talking Heads at -8 speed with a fishbowl on your head. It's a dense, creeping and incredibly seductive brand of music.

B: Sounds delightful. This track-listing perhaps reflects a maturity in your tastes that belies your ages. Do you feel you are a little removed from the usual cut and thrust of fad genres, or do you feel younger music fans are becoming more and more refined these days?

V&B: We love fad genres - that intense burst of creativity that accompanies them before they go stale are the source of some incredible music. The important part is being able to take them as just a part of music history as a whole. We like to pick and choose the best bits of each, without getting too caught up in one or the other of them as the only future of music. When we see figures like Prins Thomas playing out weird Spanish psych records or Ben UFO digging up Smith and Mighty tunes, that inspires us to be bolder in our own choices. I suppose the accessibility we have to the entirety of recorded music, via the Internet, makes young people grow up quicker musically. We go from wide-eyed innocents to jaded hacks who've seen it all in the space of a couple of years. It's like growing up in the Bronx. The E-Bronx.

B: Off the back of that, do you think the Interbang has kind of f*cked up people's appreciation for music as an art form? Everything is instantly attainable....we seem to cycle through new 'genres' every three months now...(I'm aware of the irony of saying this on a music blog)...

V&B: I think it has definitely ruined people's attachment to certain music - made it a bit more disposable. People are constantly looking to the next thing rather than cherishing what they have. I suppose its like a hit of blog crack which wears off so quick you need to find the next one ASAP. What people really need is the gentle, slow, loving embrace of quality vinyl skag.

B: What influences do you bring to the table with you? Who or what has inspired you over the years?

V&B: Jack's a less than closet black metal fan - with the obligatory studded wellies and a distaste for human company. This has stealthily lead him to gravitate towards dance music with undertones that are cold, atmospheric and filthy. In an attempt to redress the balance Jack's brain has told him to develop an unbridled passion for camp as tits italo hammers and disco stompers. Tom committed the crime of liking big-beat as a youngster and has since then been obsessed by the concept of sampling which has given way to an unhealthy passion for overly looped house and disco music.

B: Would you consider merging black metal and italo into some kind of satanic amyl-stained glitterball hybrid?

V&B: I had this idea once, and went through all of my cds to try and find something, but it really is a totally ludicrous pairing. It was a sad day when I had to admit that. Probably the closest we'll ever get is a Heartbreak mix on the Allez Allez blog where they start off with one of the ambient tracks off of Burzum's Filosofem album. If I'd still had that CD I could have beaten them to it, but someone stole it after I put it on at a house party back when I was 16 or something. Thinking about it now they probably threw it away rather than actually stealing it.

B: Who do you think is gearing up to be the best pick of the future generation of producers coming through right now?

V&B: There is some incredibly exciting music being made in the UK at the moment, drawing influences from all over the shop, and not just the usual musical ghettos that bass music has relied on in the past. We are lucky enough to have been able to showcase a lot of the new crop of producers we rate the highest via I Feel Space. The dysto-step of Illum Sphere, the moonbeat of Space Dimension Controller, the throbbing musclefunk of Antoni Maiovvi and the fierce live synth-hop of Kelpe alongside the glittering analogue frenzy of Ali Renault and Brassica have all been floating our boat recently for their unique and heartfelt approaches to making music.

B: Do you feel Bristol is an open-minded place for the V&B sound? Or do you feel with the advent in the popularity of Dubstep, commercialisation is starting to blinker the scene here?

V&B: Well we haven't been banished for crimes against music just yet, and we do manage to eke out an existence on the music scene so we couldn't ask for any more really. I definitely wouldn't say the popularity of dubstep is something that is counting against us. We've been fans of the sound since we first heard it coming out of the trombone of Bass Clef at a Toxic Dancehall back in the day. The only disappointing thing is that back then we would have classed Mr Clef as just another spin on the dubstep idea, but now it would be called some kind of radical mutant strain. That's kind of sad. But really if I was going to pick any underground genre to go overground it would be dubstep, because it has such a rich underbelly of experimentation and diverse influences. That's only going to be a good thing for people who get deeper and deeper into the sound.

B: So what's next for V&B?

V&B: We're just going to keep plugging away pushing the music we like. We've got Ali Renault and Brassica coming down for our next party at LAB on June 5th and they're bringing a big stack of vintage synths down to play live for us. Nobody beats those guys and the rest of the Cyberdance / Dissident crew when it comes to UK electronic music that smashes the mould, and puts it back together as a hyper-coloured synth fantasy.

I Feel Space is at Lab, Bristol on June 5th 2010.

Byte presents B-Mix 003:
Vast & Bulbous
'Beyond The Seventh Seal'
(Byte, 2010)

01. Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsemen [Vertigo]
02. Jamie Vex'd - Radiant Industry [Planet Mu]
03. Space Dimension Controller - Galactic Effector [Acroplane]
04. Dave Da Gato - Carbon [Fluid Oz]
05. Vast&Bulbous - Bless The Apparatus [Dub]
06. Red or Dred - How I Feel (Afterhours Dub) [Locked On]
07. The Hayden Andre Project - Tribal Life (Bang D Drum Remix) [Strobe]
08. Adonis - No Way Back (Greg Wilson Edit) [Global Underground]
09. 2nd II None - Waterfalls (Peverelist Remix) [Heavy Artillery]
10. Rossi B & Luca - Jah No Dead [Soul Motive]
11. Adam Port - Boogie Bass [Souvenir]
12. Of Norway - The Governer's Daughter (Danny J Lewis Remix) [Afro Art]
13. Emperor Machine - You Clapper [DC Recordings]
14. Debbie Malone - Rescue Me (Dub Mix) [Krunch]
15. Floating Points - K&G Beat [Planet Mu]
16. Rhythim is Rhythim - Kao-Tic Harmony [Transmat]
17. Tangerine Dream - No Man's Land (V&B Edit) [Dub]
18. Eskmo - We Have Invisible Friends [Ancestor]
19. Vast&Bulbous - Point Reyes [Dub]
20. Millie and Andrea - Temper Tantrum [Daphne]
21. Boxcutter - Other People [Dub]

DOWNLOAD : B-Mix 003 : Vast & Bulbous - Beyond The Seventh Seal
DOWNLOAD : Antoni Maiovvi - Tessa (Vast & Bulbous Re-Work)

FFI : I Feel Space Myspace
FFI : I Feel Space Facebook
FFI : Vast & Bulbous Soundcloud