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Saturday, 21 June 2008

Ramdom Colatrons

"This is Radio Luxembourg"....the first English words spoken on the legendary pirate radio station, by Stephen Williams.

When me good friend Scott Johnson sent an email round the gang, saying how he was taking a break from producing my fave podcast, Ramdom Thoughts, and that he was was looking for guest presenters to stand in, in the interim, my somewhat booze addled brain immediately turned to the idea of a pirate radio broadcast 'taking over' the podcast. I loved the concept. Bobby Martini had turned in a cracking podcast before when standing in for Scott, and I had so many tunes on my PC that I wanted to share with folk, I just had to have a go myself. The notion of the Voice of Colatron, stealing the airwaves and hijacking the show was appealing. Scott had mentioned the rules - the show must include the presenter's voice, but then as no-one on t'interweb has ever heard the true voice of Colatron, if I did my normal thing, would that be breaking the rules?

Starting with the concept of opening the show as per normal with Scott's jingle, my trademark DJ Shadow-based beat would kick in, before I would announce my presence and intention to entertain for the next hour or so. Straight away, I began racking my brain for samples and audio clips that could achieve this - I remembered straight away, the old opening to the Outer Limits sci-fi show, where the mysterious voice from beyond would declare "We are controlling transmission" and within 3 minutes of googling, I had the sample I needed. It's crazy how these things all fall in to place as I'm going along (much like how the whole EVP mix came together as a result of goold old Vrilon of the Ashtar Galactic Command - and wouldn't you know it, the old bon viveur makes a brief appearance here too! The Rotter...)

So with an intro made, I had to choose the tracks to play. Now bearing in mind, I have been listening to this genre of music since '00-'01-ish, and so that be a WHOLE LOT of mash-ups to choose from. Considering Scott at any one point has a playlist of around 700 tracks, this was not going to be an easy task. Initially, I wanted to play the tracks that first got me in to the scene, the big hitters, the producers who inspired me to get a hooky copy of a well-known DAW and have a go myself. The obvious legends of bootleg jumped to the forefront, but then I thought to myself, well, I would like if I can to try and get a bit of mixing in there too, to give the podcast a flow - not a full continuous DJ mix as such, but something a little different to the normal introduce each track and away you go type thing. As most of you know, I'm no DJ and mixing can be an absolute chore to me with beatmatching and the like and a lot of the big hitters best tracks would not be easy to put in to a coherent danceable mix. So I had to cast that idea aside. Tracks that inspire me came to mind. Then the new breed of producers and some of the most update tracks seemed like a good idea. But in the end, it just made sense to have a wide variety of tracks in there. The tracks that I couldn't mix, I would mask with my usual intermissions/samples/comic relief.

So which tracks did I choose? And why?

RX - Imagine...Walk On the Wild Side (John Lennon vs. Lou Reed vs. George W. Bush)

A fondly remembered but much mis-identified bootleg track. Even I was convinced it was by Wax Audio, and I still can't remember to this day whether or not Coldcut play it in their now legendary Essential Mix session - I wouldn't mind but I only had it on the other day in the car! Had to include this as it was the inspiration behind my own Bush-massacre, the two parts of Six Day War I made. And Bush-bashing is fun, especially when he's so close the end!

The Who vs. iLS - Baba O Reilly (VIP)

Another track I had listened to recently, and so it was fresh in my mind - it appears on the great Eddy Temple-Morris CD, "Dance Rocks". E T-M was an early champion of the mash sound so if it's good enough for him, its more than good enough for me. And besides, the Who kick ass, Baba O'Reilly being in my top 10 tracks of all time. And a wicked film about the Who was on when I was compiling the final tracklist so it's fate this was included.

Bobby Martini - Offshore and Lazy (Chicane vs. David Byrne)

Most people know by now, I like to consider Bobby a great friend in the world of mash. He's held in high esteem, and so it's a big confidence booster that he has the time to give me help and advice, and kind words on my own material. Besides, he has no ego, which makes him a ruddy bloody bloke in my eyes. This was one of his standout tracks from last year, and a little known fact is it inspired at least two Colatron tracks. Chicane brings back so many great memories of clubbing in Ibiza in the late 90s, and one of the first times I became truly aware of bootlegs, was when Dave Seaman mixed it with Power Circle - 'A Little Love' on an old Renaissance CD I had - must dig that album out, that track was bloody outstanding!

Flying White Dots - True School Walrus (the Beatles vs. Coldcut)

FWD is simply astonishing. His two mash albums were easily the best things of the last 12 months, and I remember all the hoo-ha about whether it was really Fat Boy Slim doing bootleg, or whether GHP had a secret identity, etc. etc. I chose this track for the simple reason, I had some great John Lennon samples I wanted to drop in the mix, but as a track, it kicks bootie anyway

Go Home Productions - Rolling Confusion (The Rolling Stones vs. The Temptations)

The Return of the King! No, not a film about hobbits and nasty demi-gods hiding in the shadows of Mordor, but Mark Vidler, aka Go Home Productions, the man who is single handedly the biggest reason for me being in to this music; he quit it all about 6 months ago, only to return with the most amazingly sublime album "Spliced Krispies" featuring tracks that simply should not work, but in GHP's hands do and he makes it sound so bloody easy! This was the standout track for me, mainly due to the awesome Temptations vocal which was sampled so well on one of my favourite UNKLE tracks, 'Eye for an Eye', but anything Rolling Stones is going to grab me by the throat and throw me around the dance floor too. I don't know if he'll stick aorund in the mash scene any longer but his legacy is incalculable.

Lenlow - It's Time We Ramble On (Led Zeppelin vs. Buffalo Springfield)

I've admired Lenlow's tracks for some years now. Not as prolific as some in terms of output, his tracks seem all the better for it, as you can hear the love and care put in to each one (unlike me and my 5 minute mashes!). This is one of the best, if only because I MARK OUT BEEEEEEG for the mighty Zep, and Buffalo Springfield was constantly on my playlist at Uni (I was such a tree-hugging hippy back then! Lol)

Z*Trip - Immigrant Noise (Led Zeppelin vs. Public Enemy)

I've mentioned my love of Z*Trip here many a time before, the guy is a genius - Shadow remains my fave, but Z*Trip and his live mashes can sometimes steal the thunder! Seemed like the natural progression from the previous track too, to carry on with some more Zep. Man you gotta love the Zep. Thanks to Butch too for posting this MP3 on his blog a few weeks back. Damn, Z*Trip takes me back to sitting on a beach in Thailand with the girls from Melbourne....sigh.....

The Outlaws - Chiq (ABBA vs. Prisoners of Technology)

In the words of the dude from the EVP mix who flies in to Area 51, "Let's crank this thing on up!". The Outlaws are just mental. Straight up. When I first encountered them, I thought it was all about the bootleg. Then it was crazy radio samples. Then it went to insane post-rave rave. You can't pidgeon hole them which is what I like. But this track is straight up mash-up at it's best (and most eclectic!). Taken directly off their Soulwax-ribbing "Too Many Fools..." CD, I had to do some fancy chopping to get this in, but worth it for the bone-crushing bass that takes Abba, kicks them hard up the posterior and makes them relevant once more. "How the f**k do you feel?"

10000 Spoons - Sweet Killers (Liquid vs. The Killers)

Oh yeah! Now we're talking. The track that launched a hundred (or at last count, approx. 15) Colatron old skool mashes. Top bloke, Lee Prince took an all-time classic and put it with a new time classic, and shook me to the bone with this one last year. So blindingly obvious, and yet I missed it at the time - this track makes me wanna don the gloves of white, smear Vicks under me eyes and bounce on the spot like a demented grasshopper all night long. I only regret for the purposes of this show, I had to speed it up slightly, so apologies for any noise artifats that distract from the sound quality - I really must start looking at beat warping in Ableton and leaving Acid behind...

Loo & Placido - Toop Toop Groove (Cassius vs. Madonna)

Second only to GHP are the French masters of the scene, Loo & Placido. True superstars with their productions for MTV and others, again, a duo that much like GHP make everything sound so bloody simple, but as someone whos had a go at this stuff, you come to realise that what they do is something magical. This was a more recent track of theirs, and again, makes me want to hit a dance floor everytime i hear it. The sign of a great bootleg is when you actually believe that the two or more tracks that have been combined were always that way anyway (if that makes sense? My grammar is awful sometimes). The Cassius track IS the instrumental to Into the Groove. Simple as. Formidable mes amis!!

2 Many DJs - NY Lipps (Soulwax vs. Lipps Inc)

Where would a mash-up podcast be without the guys who took it to the mainstream. Again, without "As Heard on Radio Soulwax", there would be no Colatron (so blame them!). Pioneers, and it scares the bejeesus out of my when I think back to when I saw them perform live as Soulwax back in the tiny Cockpit venue in '98 in Leeds when Stephen Dewaele stood next to me to do the beatbox section to the song '2 Many DJs'. God moves in mysterious ways...

DJ Schmolli - Justice for Billie Jean (Justice vs. Michael Jackson)

Bllie Jean.
Is it not obvious why this is in here?

Colatron - Give The Robots Their Liberty (Kraftwerk vs. Liberty X) **EXCLUSIVE**

Hehe....erm....not sure how this made it in here....I originally began work on this a few months back before I struck gold with pairing Liberty X with Orbital instead, but never one to give up, and needing a quick mash-up to include on the show, I put the finshing touches to this. Now includes added R2D2! Cylons! B9 Robot of 'Lost in Space' fame! This should probably have made it on to the soundtrack for I, Robot. Go on, let them go free....

AplusD - Love Will Tear You Apart (She Wants Revenge vs. Joy Division vs. Bauhaus)

APlusD are another set of characters, that just make it sound so damned easy. I love the sound they get and the production is second to none. And they throw bloomin brilliant parties (if only I lived in San Fran...sigh....). Now I must admit, when I first heard this, I didn't like it. I probably just didn't get it, especially not knowing the band She Wants Revenge. And then one day, I heard it again in a mix by GK, and it clicked. Oh my god, can I not got enough of this track now?! Seems silly looking back I never got in to this at first, since I love Joy Division, the Bauhaus track is constantly on in the car (I only come out at nights) and She Wants Revenge are obviously influenced by both bands. I think the power/ambiguity of the lyrics was what finally made me click with this track. Who can resist the line "I wanna f**king tear you apart"?

The Who Boys - Strange Pyramid (Radiohead vs. Billie Holiday)

England's own, the Who Boys. This is so off the wall, it makes me head hurt. How can you take one of the trickiest time signatures in music, and apply such an old, old song to it! One of the most emotional vocals ever sang? How do you think of these things! Seriously. Truly haunting, the boys describe it best on their own website - "A cautionary tale"...

Nu Yorican Soul - I Am The Black Gold of the Sun (4Hero Remix)

A classic summery vibe, d'n'b remix of a soul classic. I always play it this time of year and it never fails to put me in a good mood. I thought it would be nice to share that mood with you all.

Divide & Kreate - Always With You (U2 vs. Willie Nelson)

A great parting gift - again, this is inspired, if only as I have the sample pack on my PC that D&K fuses over the top of the mash and I never would have thought of using Willie Nelson, let alone the U2 track. D&K again, has a sound all of his own, unmistakeably his. And yeah, Colatron is always with you....

In amongst the madness, as I say, you'll find the trademark Colatron sample frenzies, intermissions, mood pieces and narratives. I had great fun putting those together. And what I said earlier about sticking to Scott's rule about presenters' voices...? Well, technically, I did. The "True Voice of Colatron" appears in there as a sample. See if you can spot me. It's the audio equivalent of "Where's Wally/Waldo".

I must say a big thankyou to Scott for the opportunity to host the show. It was an absolute pleasure. And a big thank you to the producers who make this stuff. you are all truly inspirational (and a big sorry to the fantastic Party Ben also, I only wish I had the space to squeeze in 'Galvanise the Empire'!).

Anyway, enough of my ramble. You can download the show directly from here

but please, do go and visit the Ramdom Thoughts website at

where you can subscribe to the podcast, listen to and download previous shows, and leave comments on the show for Scott to read and respond to.

You can find links to most of the producers' websites on the left of this page, so go along and support these guys and gals too. If you got any questions, feel free to drop me a comment or email (if you know me email address that is!)

So in parting, I sailed the seven seas, I boarded other ships and took their bootie, I was the scourge of the shipping lanes. I was Radio Colatron.

And dont forget, Tony Blackburn got his big break in pirate radio; could I be next...?


Unknown said...

Wonderful article on your thoughts etc behind your wonderful guest show Andy. I'm sure my listeners will be interested to read this, so I've posted a link directly to this article in the show notes for show 108 - as well as posting a link to your website.

I'm going to play your show again now - while I do a bit of tidying up in the flat.

Enjoy your long weekend. Weather is crap here as well - humid - but very cloudy, and was raining earlier.

A good day for me to catch up on a ton of mashup downloading, and possibly planning out a future show.

Bye for now.


Butch Rosser said...

Thanks for the shoutout, CT. Glad I could help on such an awesome show with so many old and new favorites.