Subversion Incorporated

•February 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Remember back in the late 90’s and early 00’s when every kid under the sun had a Rage Against the Machine hoody, tree trunk trousers and a venomous hate for the “establishment”? Well I do because I was one of those angry little buggers, moshing was my favorite past time, I had long hair and despised the manafactured pop music churned out by so called popular society. I was a lovely little boy really. Older and wiser now, or at least that’s what I like to think, it’s funny to look back on that era and see it for what it really was. Namely a total lie based upon it’s own factory line principles.

There are the four dominant record labels in the world today:

  • EMI
  • Sony
  • Universal
  • Warner Music

Each one of these labels is comprised of subsidiary record labels, branching out into smaller and smaller markets.  For example the dominant heavy metal label Roadrunner Records, responsible for Slipknot, Nickleback, Sepultura and a lot of the sludge colored music videos from the era, are a branch of Warner Music.  While this is a product of the business world as a whole, not the record companies; thanks to the possibility of hostile take overs.  Nevertheless shows that our little rebellion against the Justin Bieber’s of the world was utterly shallow.

So what happens when history repeats itself?

You might think in this age of legal piracy, things have changed, but no.  Yes we have more control of our media and wider access to the industry as a whole, but the industry and its influence over our tastes is adapting very very quickly.  Investment in the artist, is a hundred times more important these days, as once someone is invested in the artist, they will ultimately buy their material and attend their live shows.  The marketing is there just as it was before and people are still just as shallow as they always were.

Take for example this footage of the Millbank riots, cut with Tempa T – Next Hype

Now I’m not saying the use of this song as a soundtrack to the riots is shallow, rather at the time when it was being blasted out of impromptu speakers powered by a bicycle or being sung by the students themselves it summed up the energy of the protests.  The song is in no way political, but in the context it was thrown into, has become undeniably so.

Alongside the riots the following was released as a free single by Chase & Status:

This is where the song and its associations become marketable and lose any meaning that they may not have had before, whether Chase & Status coordinated the collaboration or not is irrelevant, the fact remains that the so called avant-garde  is once again assimilated to be spat back at the all consuming public.

This is where history begins to repeat itself, Chase and Status had recently signed to Mercury Records, part of Universal, following worldwide critical acclaim of their production skills.  Immediately concerns where raised, blah blah they’ve sold out, blah blah they’re gonna produce for Britney Spears now and so on.  Whatever.  It’s the same old process of bands rising through the ranks and breaking through and by all means that should be a good thing.  Whether or not it is depends on your perceptions and preconceptions.  Case and point, we’ve been here before.

Now alongside the protests concerns were raised by the general public (by that I mean the papers and the police) following a resurgence in illegal warehouse raves, culminating in Scumtek’s huge Halloween celebration in Tottenham Court Road that resulted in young “revellers” clashing with police.  Recalling the era of the Criminal Justice Act and Public Order of 1994, the party was about as “anti-establishment” as one could possibly get.  The police couldn’t do anything but wait until the premises was empty, drugs were clearly rife and ultimately people were enjoying a not for profit event at the behest of the law itself.

Fuck authority eh?

So what followed from good old Chase & Status?

The marketing machine at work here is perhaps at its most sophisticated; pandering to the notion that rave culture is the antithesis to the economic misery wrought upon us by the suits up above.  At the same time it reaches out to people who aren’t part of the same culture, presenting an idealized and marketable vision of the realities of drug use and illegal raves.  Whereas before we were told to hate the world, because Slipknot said so, we are now told to “fight the power” for entirely different political reasons.

Just history repeating over and over as the alternative is euthanized of all meaning by mass culture for monetary gain.

Long live subversion incorporated.


The Road to Bloc Weekender

•January 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Bloc Weekender in Minehead is fast becoming one of the best and most revered festivals on the U.K scene at the moment. Taking place in a Butlins of all places, Bloc maintains an extraordinarily varied line-up consisting of the greatest acts around. Highlights from last year included Grandmaster Flash, Salt ‘N Pepa, Mixmaster Mike, D.J Zinc, Miss Dynamite and Joy Orbison. In many ways the line-up speaks for itself, however the location is what gives Bloc it’s totally unique nature.

Having a chalet at a festival is a luxury that cannot be understated, a bed to sleep in, a shower for those grotty mornings and a kitchen to cook yourself a dinner to be forced down by necessity of staying alive for the next three days. Not to mention the swimming pool, restaurants and television which broadcasts the sublime Bloc TV twenty four hours a day; featuring films from all over the world, broadcasts from each of the stages and some seriously weird plinky plonky visuals to mess with your mind in the wee hours. All this creates a vibe akin to a school trip with no rules, just mates and a showcase of the best and most varied talent dance music has to offer.

This year Aphex Twin is due to make a return after one years hiatus, the man responsible the terrifying Come To Daddy and the sublime Windowlicker and Flim is bound to play a remarkable if not controversial set as always. For what to expect just look at the visuals on youtube from his set last year, including hired hands running around the audience with jet pack speakers on to freak out the audience and break the fourth wall so to speak. Featuring archive footage of Butlins cut with footage from Bloc, Aphex has released a sneak preview of what is to come, namely a scary ass roadblock:

The rest of the line up includes Four Tet, Joy Orbison, Magnetic Man, LFO, Mary Anne Hobbes, Untold, Laurent Garnier, Redlight, Modeselektor, Roska, Toddla T, Vitalic, Mala, Beardyman, Drop The Lime, Loefah, SBTRKT, Shackleton, Daedalus, L-Vis 1990, Pinch, Gemmy, Guido and so on.

Bleep who are hosting one of the stages, have also started a D.J competition alongside their best of 2010 promotion in which punters can buy the top 100 selected tracks from last year for a meagre £30. Winners receive a set on the stage, a Serato system, Ableton software and some very very expensive TMA-1 headphones. In order to win entrants have to come in the top ten, relating to the amount of plays and favorites on their Mixcloud link, thereon they are judged by the Bleep staff who will pick the winner.

Enter the competition here:

But make sure you check out my entry first and favorite if you have the time.

Roll on a sick weekend…

Saints Don’t Sleep

•January 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So I decided to go out again yeah?  Namely to a night called Saints Don’t Sleep at the Den and Centro (formerly known as the infamous End & A.K.A).

Despite taking place place in a club that is nothing but a shallow anagram of what came before, the night was extremely impressive, both in its music policy and the crowd present for the evening.  Firstly it was clear that the owners were sizing up the promoters so to speak, seeing as the night didn’t actually take place in The Den itself; instead it took place in the interconnecting bar next door, complete with slightly dubious sound-system and strippers poles rife for drunken plebs to lather themselves on.    Needless to say it appears that expectations were exceeded on almost all levels as the dance-floor and the balconies were utterly rammed (don’t even mention the queue to go for a cigarette which resulted in half my party going home).  In these terms a night can be a resounding success in monetary terms, yet thoroughly unpleasant for all those stuck in what is just a revolving queue for the bar, dance-floor, toilet, smoking area, cloak-room etc, Fabric I’m looking at you.

Thankfully this wasn’t the case as some blinding sets from the D.J’s at hand saved the day.  Bar the exception of Pariah who let the team down so to speak, playing a slightly disappointing House set that faded into the background like the run of the mill ibiza fair it was.  Dark Sky of Ninja Tune and Black Acre fame played an extremely bold set ranging from Hip-Hop to Future Garage, a genre that is becoming increasingly more important as time goes on.  Branching out from the ever popular Dubstep genre that is becoming increasingly tired and boring.  Fusing influences from the 90’s fascination with House & Garage and elevating it with huge bass-lines, clever vocals and drum-loops that create a both a relaxed atmosphere in the club as well as causing the odd involuntary “skank-out”.

It is this sensibility of the most forward thinking genre in Dance music that Saints Don’t Sleep has incorporated, bringing with it a generation that is finally reaching musical maturity so to speak, moving past the adolescent Dubstep phase and into a future with a million and one possibilities.  All in all a great night, so hopefully the fat cats at The Den & Centro will take note and open up the venue for something a whole lot bigger.

Also big ups to the boys who played the last set, featuring a sweet mix up of Zomby’s Mush (Hyperdub), raw tune!

Watch out for the next event featuring stellar producer Synkro!

As for me, I drew up a demo for the promoters to listen to, check it out here.

Dragons Den

•December 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Alo all, hope that you had a good Christmas and what not, I know I did as my birthday was the week before, meaning I’ve pretty much been on tour round the country drinking and eating too much with friends and family. Not to mention lots of presents, making sure I bought ones for people that in reality I want (because I’m a bloke and that’s what we do). But anyways back to reality, slightly plumper and with one hell of a sore head…

So the climax to the whole terms work in our class on entrepreneurship for the term, following the foundation of Cloudbow was the presentation of our business model in the dreaded Dragons Den. No that doesn’t mean we matched wits with Theo Parfeatus (yeah that’s what I called him) or that grumpy old lady, although I would like to give those smug somebodies a piece of my mind; rather we were taken into a room of four “dragons” selected by Corrine in order to lay ourselves out on the line. Sadly there wasn’t a big pile of benjamins up for grabs. Here is the presentation which we submitted, split into a minute of slides for each of the team to vocalize.

Needless to say we were all dolled up in suits of the highest order, despite the fact that I got mine from Primarche (Primark you plumb). The presentation itself went very well, public speaking being something that puts the fear of god into me. Meaning I was extremly happy that I managed to get through my part without stuttering like Percy Pig on a bad day.

Damn Sexy

Following the presentation itself we were asked various questions for the next fifteen minutes addressing various concerns that the “dragons” might have surrounding our plans. The main concern raised by one of the “dragons” was concerning the development of our website, which he stated wouldn’t be up to speed unless we sunk thousands of pounds into its development. It’s quite clear at least to me that this criticism is utterly redundant when looking at what is merely a student upstart, while I appreciate and agree with the view expressed we are here to use the skills at our disposal, not bury ourselves in 5 digits of debt. Secondly an issue of screening the quality of artist submissions was raised, to which the response was fairly clear, seeing as we are screening the quality of our submissions thus far as we certainly don’t want to present a bad image, no sir! Thirdly we were asked how the business model is relevant, to which I managed to respond (yeah I’m proud of this) by outlining how it follows key trends as with websites like soundcloud or mixcloud allowing artists to promote their work, we are tying into a current trend and applying to an area with a night-life economy second only to Leicester Sqauare. Schwing!

The rest of our session with the “dragons” merely allowed us to outline the aspects of our business to a further degree, this met with a lot of nodding and appreciation for the ideas that we were putting forth. So even if our business is to be an utter failure (which it won’t), at least we presented it well.

Lastly we were given feedback sheets on which we were scored a total of 17 out of 25, which was the joint highest mark, not to mention one of the “dragons” offering us the oppurtunity to work with him.

All in all I thought that we did well, so roll on the real Dragons Den, we’ll teach those amateurs.

I Killed Kenny!

•November 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

The notorious Count & Sinden have opened up a remix competition on the Domino label in the lead up to the long awaited release of their debut album Mega Mega Mega. Addicted to You featuring Bashy is the track which has been let loose for budding producers to cut up in their own fashion, all for a digital release alongside the single (not to mention a prize-load of additional swag). Needless to say this is a chance for up and coming talent to demonstrate their skills on an international level.

Each of the entries have been extremely impressive, however one in particular has stood out.

I Killed Kenny (you bastards) a.k.a Seany Bizzle & Barny Sparks from Dartford have produced an exceptional entry amongst the free for all. Mixing together an impressive range of influences from Dubstep, Electro, Crack House to Grime, the full and professional sound they have created hits all the right notes. These boys are definitely one to watch already having played alongside monsters of the scene The Maccabees and Example.

Bring the Bass!

Tune of the Year?

•November 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Absolutely stunning tune! Produced by Will Bevan a.k.a the almighty Burial! Definitely one to watch in the coming months!

A Little Bit of “Market Research”

•November 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

Okay so let’s be clear on this, part of running an events company is knowing events and in my experience going out a lot to put your fingers in a lot of proverbial pies is the key to success. Call it “networking” if you will, “making contacts” or for the purposes of this blog “market research”.

Honestly I have been working hard…

Halloween is perhaps one of the most lucrative commercial holidays in night life terms, bar New Years Eve perhaps. The one night of the year in which your average Joe feels the urge to whack on a stupid costume and head out to get bladdered in the most comical of fashions. A convention with perhaps endless possibilities that can be exploited to facilitate various nuances and innovations on the average night out. So in the name of academic research I painted myself as a zombie and camera in hand ventured with trepidation to Chew The Fat’s “Zombie Black Out”.


Innovation is the key word here, something which we are trying to exploit with prospective events under the Cloudbow banner. Chew the Fat promoted this kind of innovation as the attending audience were required to bring a torch to the night as the club was to be plunged into total darkness. Building on this the zombie theme helped to create an environment moulded to emulate night life’s spin on a toungue in cheek horror movie. As such the ethos was reliant on audience participation. This in turn creates a massive draw for punters as the interactivity and novelty factor promotes a sense of not wanting to miss out.

Chew the fat also has a distinct feeling of community created by nurturing a vibrant community of attendees, the website (, contains a wealth of articles on hired acts, as well as exclusive mixes and forums that encourage audience participation even further. This feeling of cult is something central to a successful venture into the night life economy and Chew the Fat exemplifies this by collaborating with various other club nights, hiring high profile yet niche resident D.J’s and frequently adapting to the progressive nature of the music scene.

Needless to say judging by the sheer amounts of people in costume and the effort people put in the night was a resounding success.

What follows is a video and a few photos of “market research” to demonstrate just how far people went with their costumes and the feeling of the night. A big thanks to Paul Arnold who allowed me to make this video. You’ll have to excuse the poor lighting and brief nature of the video as it was very hard to see anything. I had to use my flashlight to illuminate what I was filming!!

Martyn (made an effort)

Yours Truly