Tech News: Campaign to Re-introduce the Technics SL-1200

A campaign was recently launched on Change.org to get the Technics SL-1200 series back in to production. 

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In 2010 Panasonic announced that they would be discontinuing the production of the Technics SL 1200 series due to dwindling sales and fewer suppliers of the parts. The iconic turntable, which has been hailed as 'most important musical instrument of the last two-and-a-half decades', is a favourite amongst analogue enthusiasts and an industry standard for DJing. Since being discontinued they are gradually becoming a collectors item. The London Science Museum even have a set on display as one of the pieces of technology that has shaped the world we live in. With the campaign having gained over 12,000 supporters so far perhaps Panasonic will listen and return to the market.

Pioneer teased earlier in the year that they would be releasing their own turntable, no doubt aiming to adopt the better characteristics of Technics with some improved tweaking. Whether they will or not is still to be confirmed. At Musikmesse 2014 they exhibited said turntable with no serial number or information, so it seems at the moment they are checking if their is demand there. On some forums their has been chat about them using lasers rather than a needle to read the vinyl although this is purely speculative. Price wise this wouldn't make sense as the asking price for a laser turntable is about $15,000. A more likely speculation is that they will include MIDI features on the turntable.

Will any of this become true? Not sure. But with DVS and turntables becoming a common DJ set up and the cost of Technics rising, DJs are on the look out for a sturdy affordable turntable. 

On a side note... Have you seen the limited edition gold Technics?

First Edition Gold Technics

Panasonic produced a limited number of these in two editions; one batch in 1997 and again in 2004. Apparently there were 10,000 made of the first edition which were completely gold (above). For the second edition there were 3,000 made where they replaced all of the metal parts with 24-karat gold. The first edition was the prize given to the winner of the DMC World Championships for a few years, not sure if this is still the case. A pair of these will set you back about £3,000 on eBay.

Second Edition Gold Technics

Second Edition Gold Technics

By Russell McMahon

Posted on April 11, 2014 .

Unleash the D'n'B #1 : Liquid

To truly appreciate music you have to understand where it comes from. In this blog series we look at the different sub-genres of Drum & Bass and how they came to be. So here’s your “what’s it all about” guide to drum and bass, courtesy of the Frogbeats team. Our objective is to spread our love and knowledge DnB, and the direction of Unleash the Beast in the process.

We're going to Eden 2014!

We're going to be filling our backpacks with juggling balls, dark rum and carnival outfits for this one. June 12th marks the beginning of Eden Festival 2014 and our press team is going to be heading out to Dumfries & Galloway for the weekend to take part in all the action. If you didn't see the article we wrote about last years festival then read it now.

Staying true to their quirky style the team at Eden put together this video to announce the line up so far. There is more yet to come.

Tickets for the weekend are £95+BF. More information on Eden's website.

Posted on March 18, 2014 .

Lektion (Lesson)

Stumbled upon a collective called Den Sorte Skol today courtesy of a lovely chap, Mayawaska, who recently put together a Transcontinental mix for our Broadcast series. They are a 3-piece from Copenhagen and have put together some of the most beautiful mixes I have heard with the concept of taking hundreds of samples, from dozens of records, from all over the world.

Their latest mix, Lektion III, is available for download (available in FLAC/WAV). If you are not skinto, then you should drop them a donation via their site to keep their work going.

"Lektion III is a 1,5 hour-long journey through music history and beyond build from thousands of sampled pieces lifted off more than 250 old vinyl records from 51 different countries on six continents. A musical odyssey that blends everything from Moroccan traditional songs, Indian hymns and field recordings of Cameroonian Pygmies to forgotten Yugoslav psych, French avant-garde rock and early German electro into a dark and giddy, genre-melting trip.”


Click here their website.


By Russell McMahon

Introducing : Frizzo

Have you ever heard the story of how Swing music reached Europe? 

It all began in America in the 1920’s when Swing, the first pop phenomenon in music, was born during The Great Depression. Every portion of society in that time grew to find some form of Swing favourable for their dancing or listening. The ideology behind the music was to fund belief in American exceptionalism, in ethnic pluralism and democratic equality which was ideally suited to the collective needs of a nation battling Fascism. By World War II Swing was reaching its peak but the draft of big band members, a lot of them Afro-American, to the army spelt the demise for many big bands America and the beginning of its recognition overseas in Europe. Travelling musicians-turned-soldiers would take the music with them and introduce it to others. Most noticeable Glenn Miller and his band who kickstarted the phenomenon in Britain with ‘In The Mood’ while playing to soldiers in order to up morale. Meanwhile overseas, Nazi Germany had banned swing in the run up to the war as they believe it an antithesis to the Reich, but when the war began popularity prevailed they viewed swing as an ideal vessel to spread propoganda because it was so popular. The Nazis created their own swing bands (Charlie and his Orchestra) to compose songs containing satirical messages. Records would be dropped over enemy lines via parachute and radio waves beamed to enemy and neutral countries spreading the propaganda. These two factors of propoganda swing being broadcast by Germany and musicians continuing to travel post war lead to its advancement throughout the world.

History lesson over. Fast forward to the present day. Swing music has undergone vast changes. It split in to other forms not long after the war, such as bebop and ragtime, and has been incorporated into a variety of other genres. In it’s most contemporary form, ‘Electro Swing’: an amalgamation of EDM and the old-time swing music. This branch has lost the racial and political factors behind it and is simply about frenetic, frivolent fun. This music, ladies and gentleman, eventually found a young producer named Frizzo. An aficionado, DJ and producer of the genre all the way from Italy. Let us introduce you.

The interview…

FB: Tell us a little bit about your background in music.

Frizzo: I have always been interested in a number of different music genres. As a teenager I loved Reggae and Ska then I started to appreciate a wider range of electronic music, but at the same time I always loved to chill to Jazz and Classical music. At the moment I am playing and producing Electro Swing and Nu Jazz because it allows me to join the rich Jazz harmonies with the club sound and mix the two sides along with all the newest possibilities of electronic music.

FB: What led you to get involved in music?

Frizzo: Music has always been my main passion, first playing the piano then trying to learn as much as possible about audio and sound. I feel that I can give a lot through music, it’s the most authentic way to express my personality.

FB: What was the first instrument you played?

Frizzo: I played classical piano for 11 years, playing the piano is the best way to understand many aspects of composing and assembling different elements in the same song/track. I can play the clarinet too which got me into the big band/dixieland music. All this has an influence in my music, all my tracks include instrumental parts.

FB: So how does Glasgow compare to Italy?

Frizzo: I was born and bred in Italy, but I have been living in Glasgow for the past 5 years. There is a huge difference between Italy and Glasgow. I love Italy because of the landscape and the weather, but i prefer Glasgow for the people and music scene. Glasgow is such an eventful place and music has a central role in the city.

FB: You’ve received a significant bit of attention on your Soundcloud, but it’s been 5 months since you released any music. Does this mean that you have something up your sleeve?

Frizzo: Yes indeed, I have been working to an upcoming release with Broken Records, a Bristol-based label. The new EP will include 2 tracks merging 40s-50s music samples with a fat bass and a bouncy groove.

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Frizzo

Frizzo will be releasing with Frogbeats Records soon. Look out for his upcoming releases with Broken Records. In the meantime, catch him playing his debut for Frogbeats at Scantily Beast on Friday October 25th at Stereo, Glasgow.

By Russell McMahon

Audio Soup 2013: Preview

Words by: Max Walker (below)
imageEdited by: Russell McMahon

No two ways about it, we’ve had a good summer. August will soon give way to the amber leaves of September, but we beseech you to not quite pack away your sleeping bags and dancing shoes just yet, because the sunny season is yet to offer one last bash. As Scotland strives towards independence so do its upcoming festivals, and none more so than grass-roots music event AUDIO SOUP. Taking place out at the picturesque Back Braids, Dunbar, this weekend (30th Aug – 2nd Sept) the festival, going onto it’s fourth year, will play host to a vast array of unsigned acts without the impersonal influence of corporate sponsorship. We can provide our guarantee as scholars, gentlemen and reprobates that in AUDIO SOUP you’ll find an event that rides high on carnival spirit and bacchanalian energy, catering (as it does) for all tastes and creeds. It really is a festival by the people, for the people.

Allow us to shine the spotlight on four acts that display what it’s all about.

JAMIN NIMJAH

Ben ‘Jamin Nimjah’ Parkes is a young raggamuffin born in Brixton but Edinburgh raised - out on the mud is where he spent most of his days. Recently having completed an Art degree in Aberdeen he resides now in Edinburgh’s Southside, where he continues in a life of sonic experimentation. Perhaps best known for his frequent representation in the east coast junglist/hardtek scene and bringing the bass as a founding member of the BBL sound system, his repertoire more than proves his pedigree not just as a musician, but as an artist. Soon to be released on Core Collective Records, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lad with a more exquisite understanding of exactly why jungle is forever the tonic for what ails you.

Find JAMIN NIMJAH @the Wub Hut, 10pm, Sunday.

imageThe Notorious ‘Wub Hut’, built and ready to go for this weekend.

REBECCA VASMANT

We last saw the hugely talented Rebecca Vasmant around a year ago at an undercrowded night in Glasgow’s premier techno sweat box, La Cheeta on Queen St. The crowd of 40 or so west coast gurners writhed and pulsed like a nest of decapitated cobras – we highly recommend you take the opportunity to find out why. Its been a busy year for Ms Vasmant, having played in over 20 countries as part of the Ministry of Sound International Tours. Her sets tend to inhabit that spectrum that ranges from techno to house and nu-jazz, with a special prevarication for demoniacally hypnotic loops that promise to tickle your pickle in a way that would cause even the village priest to renounce his sacred vows. In fact, we’re listening to her ‘Journey through Techno’ mix as these words are being written, and so strong is the temptation to ignore the fact I’ve got ungrateful European teenagers to teach in the morning I might just slap on a string vest, grab a bottle of Evian and bust my suburban groove.However, it is more likely I’ll wait until the weekend.

Find REBECCA VASMANT @ABNORMAL LOADS TENT, last up, Saturday.

THE VICTORIAN TROUT CONSPIRACY

We at Frogbeats like nothing more than bigging up our favourite local acts, in the hope that they become your favourite local acts. A group that we will happily harp on about until the fish come home is THE VICTORIAN TROUT CONSPIRACY, the interestingly monikered Edinburgh-based ska act. Its been a big year for the Trout, having played festivals such as Eden (see previous articles) and Wickerman. Currently they live in that delicate space between wider recognition and pub gigs –has it been a year already since they performed that excellent night at our preferred coastal drinking-hole, the Three Monkeys in Portobello? Believe the hype, and bathe in hipster credit by going to see them now, before the inevitable descent of fame means they’re lost forever to the charms of limousines and rarefied sexual gratuity.
 Find VTC @BY THE RIVERS, time TBC, Sunday.

Chimping VS LSD-licious : Nelly Roger Showdown

And finally, for the bold hearted. Straight outta Yorkshire ‘Nelly Roger’ bring the fire with a ruffneck mashup of future jungle, juke, mutant bass and cosmic crunk. This duo bring something slightly different to the fore.

"Two hours of basswarped madness to dilate your pupils and re-arrange your neural pathways."

This experimental mix of sounds is likely to be something new to a lot of you but don’t be shy - it will be a welcome addition to your life if you like all things glitchy, ridonculous and flailing around with fellow party goers like salmon bound up river.

Juicy Jungle by Lsd-Licious on Mixcloud

Find them on Sunday 8pm-10pm @the WUB HUT

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You can still purchase tickets and find the full line-up for the weekend on the Audio Soup website.

Post event write up to follow! Stay tuned…

Festival Feature: Our Trip to Eden (2013)

Author: Max Walker (picture right)

Editor: Russ McMahon (picture left)

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Where else to begin, but the beginning?

Friday 7th June and the clock has not quite struck 2pm, and I arrive from my Govan lair at frogbeats HQ to meet with company Director Russ McMahon. Giddy as a pair of hypoxic schoolgirls. we run a last minute check on our equipment and provisions; swan papers are safely ensconced in a water tight container, tent poles have been located, and two litres of spiced rum, a bottle each, are securely nestled – the sweet alcoholic cores of our wrapped sleeping bags. A third bottle, half consumed on a previous occasion, has been decanted in to a derelict plastic bottle of Irn Bru. This was later proven a very wise decision.

With no further ceremony our taxi arrives, taking us to Buchanan street. The bus station has been busy this weekend, serving to conduct revelers to opposing corners of Scotland for either Eden in the south or Rockness in the north. This is evident in the genuinely jolly mood of the staff, who attempted to convince us alcohol had been banned from the premises, and we would need to hand over the blue bags of lager we were attempting to ferry – I hope someone fell for the trick, as the sun already beat down strongly on the rows of idling coaches, concentrating that atmosphere of dust, and diesel, and anticipation. What we could not anticipate, however, was the refusal of the driver of the X57 to allow any drink to be kept out-with the hold bay for the duration of the journey. This, obviously, was a problem – how else is one to herald the start of a debauched outdoor weekend, than with bus tins? Ultimately our chance prevailed – it is a lucky thing that in the light of summer, rum takes on the same luminescence as Scotland’s favourite orange soft drink.

The fact that our drink could not be mixed down, I believe, only improved matters. We were away to party in the woods, and if our aim of reconnecting with the more primal elements of our nature was to be achieved, our hearts would be more truly guided by the consumption of raw liquor rather than some effete diluted concoction. The journey passed swiftly, and not before long our coach pulled in at some unremarkable country path. In spurts and drips ourselves - plus a trio of fellow festival goers - were ejaculated upon the roadside, backpacks and tents included, and the coach grunts, coughs, and shuffled onwards.

A rutted path leads to a fence, upon which two elven children are perched, quite naturally. They smile and welcome us, pointing the way forward. Another few hundred metres and the trees give way to a landscape of rolling hills that crown a forested valley. From this vantage point the entire festival is lain before us; the camp site stretching around the boundaries a picturesque Scottish valley, a wide crescent of tents, bunting, and camper vans. We pick a likely looking clearing and begin the descent. Good fortune ensures the nominated spot is not far from some faces familiar to the FROGBEATS team – local boys and girls, veterans of Eden who share our pride in serving their corner of Scotland with stacks of noise and excessive decibels. We are clearly kindred spirits, and their hospitality over that weekend was critical in supplying us alternatively with friendly chat and vital nutrients. By which, of course, I mean in the form of supermarket brand orange juice… Eden is family friendly, and so shall be this review.

We had established our forward operating base, now came the time to launch our first foray in to unknown territory. Loftily waving our guest passes at the volunteers manning the entrance portal, we were ready to enter Eden and begin our adventure with an enormous feeling of wanderlust.

Friday

The first day of any weekender always has a particular set of characteristics – it is the day where you become acquainted both with your surroundings, and with it’s current inhabitants, you’re soon-to-be new friends. We started off with an early evening grand tour in the sunshine around the festival with one of our familiar faced friends working the festival comprised of over 15 stages and countless other stalls and activities to do over the weekend ranging from saunas, to circus classes and a 3D sound arena. We were pleased to learn that taking drink in to the arena is okay, as long as it is decanted - an ethos not shared by commercial counterparts. By the time we had properly hit the arena the sun was setting, and we, imbued both with the spirits of discovery and sugar-cane, veritably floated past the rustic bars and smaller music tents for our first taste of Eden’s aural offerings. Under the benign aura of a swollen moon, we elbowed our way to the front of the main stage to be part of the crowd that had gathered to see SLAMBOREE. The set, designed by VJ Baba, resembled the troubled birth of a rogue alien grasshopper – giant screens to either side of an unfurled chrysalis, lit up by a series of fractal projections, green and malevolent. Slamboree describe themselves as a ‘PYRO CIRCUS RAVE MASSIVE’; and so it came to pass, these being the only decipherable words our editor could utter after being located in the morning. After a show which shall only be referred to as ‘rollicking’ we stretched our calves, in preparation for a proper bounce to D&B high priest SHY-FX alongside STAMINA MC - who we are sad to say refused our editors offering of a penguin suit and chief hat combo (See above photo). An hour later, and our boots were proper filled with snares and breaks. At this point the narrative gets hazy. The FB team split up as half decided to ‘check the tent’ with a nice girl from Penrith who liked the chief hat, the other with a look both determined and glazed-over to experience the other-worldly delights of the Voltan Stage and take refuge in the hammocks and festival vibes of the Vishnu Lounge - anything from Amy McDonald, to a DJ playing sax along with his tracks, to a dub song about Gary Barlow.

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The Vishnu Lounge: Paradise.

* * *

Saturday Yo

I awoke that morning, and began the process of disentangling myself from the human nest of sleeping bags and fag packets that entailed our domestic arrangement. Mercifully I was alone – for there is no glamour in surfacing to consciousness after two hours of sleep and meeting the eyes of a person to whom you spent a rather long time convincing of your value, the taste of metabolising safrole ripe on your breath. The only way up was out, and so I got out the tent. This being our first proper day at Eden, it was time to learn the lay of the land, without the fireworks in one’s neocortex.

The lay-out of Eden was fantastic, not in the usage where unimaginative people commonly ejaculate when they mean ‘very good’, but the old school sense of the word – in that it beckoned to one’s sense of fantasy. The theme was under the sea, and this found it’s expression in the myriad of jelly-fish that were cleverly suspended from trees and poles. These were some big motha-loving jelly-fish, do not misinterpret my meaning. Tall as two men, so they were! The site itself was shaped like a Q – the tail representing the main route in, with all stages, bars and workshops positioned around the loop. It cannot be stressed enough how useful this is, when after a shandy or two under the sun, one can harmlessly wander from loud noise to bright light and always, always, eventually end up back where one started. In such a manner did I eventually find our editor, who was dancing a red eyed yet oddly demure two-step in front of BREEZAK BASS from MUNGOS HIFI and their new Buckfast single which some of you may be lucky enough to hear some day. The spirit of Eden had flown free in both their hearts that night – or was that the Buckfast margaritas? In either case it was a joyous reunion. We swapped battle stories then proceeded outwards for some day time shenanigans.

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One of the more lively pieces of miscellanea we encountered was a jungle dub sound system entirely powered by child labour. This occupied a section of the wide clearing deigned the children’s area where the miniature offspring of those presently collecting melanoma by the beer tent could frolic and squeal to their heart’s content. I did not approach too closely as I know the owners of these little humans consider them fairly precious, and with one clumsy step, I could break one. I do not exaggerate, but I do obfuscate… for it is more accurate to state the jungle rig was powered by… a volley of bicycles hooked to dynamos. With kids pedaling. Finally, making children work for their crust. At one point I crumpled to the grass for a wee seat and witnessed this panorama; 8 children sweating and pedaling all to serve the demented musical cravings of large pack of indifferent adults. Metaphor? For like… society and shit? Or were my thoughts being twisted by a combination of dehydration and that under-cooked falafel? It’s impossible to know, but food for thought never the less.

After a quick trip back to the campsite to take a dip in the river and wash the sweat off we headed back to the arena for a spot questionable Irish dancing to the celtic/balkan crossover sound of USHTI BABA complete with beat boxer, witnessing a bunch of grannies perform a choreographed routine on zimmer frames while clearing off a bottle of tonic, one of our personal highlights MR MOTIVATOR taking a thousand Edenites on an afternoon of step-aerobics in the sunshine, and we caught Edinburgh-ska outfit THE VICTORIAN TROUT CONSPIRACY in action - taps aff. All of this on one of the hottest days of the year. The night was finished off with energetic performances from both SAM AND THE WOMP and THE CORRESPONDENTS after which we vacated to our tent for Sunday.

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Photo by Steven Brown Photography.

Oh, and how could we forget the notorious paint fight…

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Photo by Steven Brown Photography.

* * *

Sunday, Ruddy Sunday

Sunday, being Sunday, was always going to be a day of relaxed meditation and winding down reminiscing over tales of the weekend’s escapades so far. The clouds were out which was a welcome sight for most of us now lobster-faced Scots baked by the sun the previous day. We spent the day catching up with the familiar faces and new friends that we had made over the course of Friday and Saturday, pooling together our remaining resources to summon up enough energy for the day ahead, while we sat on chairs made from scrap metals and a reclaimed speed boat that looked as if it had somehow fallen from the sky and landed in the Scottish countryside.

The afternoon was spent exploring the arena and visiting its various trinket stalls. There was no shortage of things to do for our assembled mod squad, being bereft of energy following a weekend of dancing. The grounds were strewn with poi,fire sticks, diabolos and juggling balls to tempt the more dexterous of us before taking another shot at powering the Green Space Geo-Dome system. There’s always something to do at Eden, no matter what mood you are in.

There was one man who’s name had been mentioned more so than not around the campsite - the true funk soul brother CRAIG CHARLES. We had certainly caught on to the hype and his show would the the finale of our little Eden adventure. Truly a man possessed behind the decks, one who while playing looks as if he is being exorcised. We took our positions, this time amongst some visibly worn out faces, but all still wearing as big a smile as they would have entered the festival with on the Friday.

After over 48 hours in an environment as surreal as Eden, one’s brain eventually drops the psychic defences, figuratively downing tools and deciding it’s better off unfolding a lawn chair and knocking back a few tinnies. Such was our reaction to the sight of Dave Lister cheerily slamming down a groove-funk remix of the RATM rebel poem, Killing in the Name. This is a song that for a certain subsection of fading youth plugs straight into a primal part of the cerebellum. As the song was building up to that chorus, looking to my left and right I identify other ex-moshers who knew that the only way to properly celebrate Zac De La Rocha’s anti-establishment anthem is by inflicting a severe level of friendly violence upon each other. The chorus rose to that crescendo. A stranger and I lock eyes, exchange a nod barely perceivable yet full of intent, and as the final drum beat rung out, made to slam against each other… Except this was not to be the Craig Charles way! For instead the breakdown was mellow and jazzy. WTF man. My spontaneous partner in violence shrugged, embarrassed, and in an awkward embrace we jigged a ragged two-step.

After his set I overheard CC state to his roadie that he “fucking smashed it man!” You certainly did, sweet prince.

In Conclusion

If you prefer an intimate event of a more personal scale, then in Eden you shall find a festival which can be savoured over a number of years; one that encourages a host of new friendships each year you choose to attend, as well as the welcoming reminiscence of last year’s. For the endearing charm of the setting, the variety of peculiar and wonderful people, the family-friendly circus-like atmosphere, the diversity of music, and the sheer quirkiness and charm of it all that will draw you back year after year, hungry for another adventure.

Eden Festival from Ben Wright on Vimeo.

Early bird tickets for 2014 are available now from Eden’s website.

Eden Festival 2013: Preview

Written by: Max Walker

Edited by: Russell McMahon

As the last exhalation of winter passes like the final breath of a consumptive miser, we at Frogbeats HQ are filled with thoughts of summer. The sun shines ever so sweetly outside our Glasgow office, drying out and beautifying the dog turds and locals alike. It is time to step outside, and be taken by the breeze. This weekend, the wind leads us to Eden Festival, located near the historic town of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway.

For those who seek an escape from the drudgery of routine, Eden provides an alternative to joining the corporate sponsored exodus of lager soaked office drones - amongst the woodland and meadows of Galloway a more holistic festival experience can be discovered. The dramatic setting is just as critical as the myriad of acts and activities in augmenting one’s escape from regularity, where nature is complemented by an environment replete of psychedelic sculpture and billowing canvas.

Highlights this year include everyone’s favourite spacebound smeg-head Craig Charles and his award winning 6music funk and soul show, the electro-swing trailblazers Caravan Palace and our personal hot pick, up and coming Edinburgh based ska ensemble Victorian Trout Conspiracy. And lets not forget to mention that perpetual object of our admiration, D&B legend Shy-FX. Being, as we are, the power behind Glasgow’s best loved D&B night Unleash the Beast (bi-monthly, Thursdays, Sub Club) you can bet your surviving grandparent the Frogbeats crew will be havin’ it large.

Whilst the sun still floats, Eden is very much a family friendly event, with activities such as face painting, story telling and craft workshops – as well as a massive hay fort, that provides a meeting point/ambush spot for old and young alike. There will be more than enough to provide yourself and your little ones with both lifelong memories and opportunities for new friendships, in a safe and welcoming environment. A quiet camping area is provided for when the fun becomes too much, and sleep beckons.

So we at Frogbeats urge you to join us as we descend upon the woods for a weekend of wholesome, homebrew, hump-de-bumping fun! Come have your taste buds tickled by a variety of of organic treats, both to snack and something substantial.

Its going to be a good one folks. We’ll see you there!

You can find more details or purchase your ticket on the Eden website.

Posted on June 5, 2013 .

Twisted Kaleidoscope: New Resident Chris Kelly (Bigfoot's)

By Russell McMahon

With a scorcher of a night settling in the dust behind them thanks to some French flair from Phil Weeks (Robsoul Recordings), Perth outfit Twisted Kaleidoscope are rolling up their sleeve for their next party of 2013.

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Chris Kelly; Resident DJ at Bigfoot’s & Twisted Kaleidoscope.


We’ve been following Twisted Kaleidoscope since we first found a love of their underground house/tech sound. This was back in October ‘12 when Esa headlined at The Ice Factory. You can see an interview with founders Findlay Jamieson and Garry Traill HERE. Now over two years old the collective have opened their doors to a new resident, and that resident goes by the name of Christopher Kelly. Having played with TK on previous occasions - he headlined their notorious all-day summer party in 2012 - they could think of no one better to deliver the goods. You may have heard of Kelly before from Bigfoot’s - he has been a resident with them ever since they started out 4 years ago. Bigfoot’s are recognised by techno-heads all over Scotland for throwing one stupendous party and they were included in Mixmag’s top 10 club nights in the UK for 2012. With Chris’ years of achievement and experience playing with the likes of Ambivalent, Camea and Christian Burkhardt, TK have their arms wide open and are looking forward to a new era. As commentators on the Scottish scene, we have arranged an interview with the man of the moment along with a little mix you can find below.

Hi Chris, so we’ll cut to the chase. You’ve played with TK on previous occasions. How did you end up falling in with the crew?

How I met the boys from TK is quite an interesting story. A few years ago I applied for a job to be a deckhand on a ship sailing from Scotland to the Indonesian island of Komodo. As it happened Findlay, Gaz and Gregor were also accepted for the same position. We became good friends in the lead up to the voyage whilst we completed our training. On the first day we set sail it became clear that we were surrounded by a gang of necrophiliac cannibals. At that point the decision was made to jump overboard. We washed up on shore somewhere near Southend-on-sea and had a fair adventure to return home. I think because we shared that experience it meant we were friends for life.

You co-founded Bigfoot’s who are notorious for throwing some big parties over the last few years. In your opinion what makes a ‘good’ night?

The music is the most important thing. If the tunes sound decent it’s going to be a good night. One thing we’ve tried to do with Bigfoot’s is focus on the production of the night. We spend a lot of time to ensure that the venue sounds great and is visually pleasing. The sound of the night should always be the main focus, I don’t think you can compromise with that aspect any way. Visuals definitely add an extra dimension to the night, helping to create an all encompassing experience. In my opinion it makes the night a lot more enjoyable. Although you can work hard to ensure your putting on a well organised night, the people who attend are the key to how special the whole night will be. There’s nothing better than being in a club with like minded people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the music. Where everyone is up for going a bit wild and having a good time. That leads to the best nights out i think.

Have you got any big plans for your set at TK?

I don’t know if you could say i’ve got big plans to be honest. Recently I’ve been playing more stripped down Techno tracks and I’ve always been in to music that sounds slightly weird and abstract. So I guess my set will probably sound like that. I normally just play tracks I like and hope someone is up for dancing to them.

And finally, if you were stranded on an island and you could only have 5 records with you, what would they be?

Thats a really tough question to ask anyone. I’d probably change my mind daily about which records I’d like to have. Ah well, i guess I’d say:

1) Plastikman - Spastik.
Probably an obvious choice from me but it’s the best record. It would always be my first choice.

2) Butane - Hey Hipster.
I could listen to this song on repeat for days. a Sick bass, unsettling vocals and weird synths. What more could you ask for?

3) Womack Womack - Teardrops (12” Extended).
This song is perfect. It sounds great at any time. It’s impossible not to dance and sing along to this record.

4) Polarius - Nemo Airfield.
This is a really good tune. It has such a ace vibe about it. Nina Kraviz played this track when i was in Panorama Bar. It’s definitely one of my favourites.

5) David Bowie - Oh You Pretty Things.
Can’t leave Bowie out. He’s the greatest man to walk the earth. In fact i’d be pretty up for having only Bowie tunes with me.

Twisted Kaleidoscope on Facebook.
More details on their upcoming night.

Happy Birthday Dear Beast

By Russell McMahon, Marketing Director

This month (Dec 2012) marks the first anniversary of our jungle / drum & bass showcase ‘Unleash The Beast’, and we can’t believe how time has flown. Since our humble beginnings confined in the basement of Sub Club we’ve seen our first club night progress as one of Glasgow’s most unique club night offerings demonstrating a wide selection of a genre which is by all means a rarity in the cities bustling nightlife calendar, fitting jungle decor and one of Scotland’s most notorious sound systems fit for bass music to top it off. That said, what has really made it so special is the clan of revellers and DnB heads new and old that have gotten behind the night since first ‘unleashing their beast’. We thank you all for your support.

We’ve seen a roster of local guests pass through the booth over the past year - Jamin Nimjah (UTB#3), Snow Fox (UTB#5) and Markey / MC Rasta Locks (UTB#6) - to play alongside our residents Denney, RIZE and Pharo. Each of these has put their own spin on the night, from the heavy breaks and raggatek exemplified by Jamin, to the hip-hop/jungle and MC mash up at UTB#6. As episode #7 of our series approaches we’ve invited one of the most established local names we know, DomY2D, to join the roster for our biggest party to date, and we shall be celebrating the golden era of jungle in true Frogbeats fashion.

We can promise a lot more to come in 2013. A long overdue and nostalgic return of one of our long lost bretherin Pharo is on the cards for January - he’s been in Toronto for the last 6 months and is returning a formidable vinyl selection for you to feast on. More Scottish guests are also to be announced. 

Here’s a look back at some of our favourite moments over the past year. Well, the ones that we’ve got evidence of. The rest, as they say, is history.

UTB#1 - Our first poster, designed by Pharo, was designed and printed within a week of booking the date. Fortunately we managed to get almost 200 folk down!

UTB#2 - Our second edition was all caught on camera. The footage speaks for itself.

We really do enjoy a bit of production.

This piece of artwork was given to us by Lacey Carter, an exchange student at Glasgow School of Art.

 

We asked Denney if he could use his artistic skills to depict the beast as a mask that we could wear. This is what he came up with. Sort of a mix between the pig’s head from the film Saw and Seasick Steve, but that’s open to interpretation.

UTB#4 - The Beast getting down on the dancefloor.

UTB#5 - The Beast has certainly taken a hold of this one. Probably our favourite snap of the year.

UTB#6 - Denney, MC Rasta Locks, RIZE and Markey.

Live recordings:

Frogbeats Glasgow’s Cloudcasts on Mixcloud

Much love,

The Frogbeats Crew

Twisted Kaleidoscope: The Insight

By Christina Knowles & Russell McMahon

They came as a savior for one of Scotland’s smallest town in a time when they needed a party the most, and now they have big ideas. Perth house and techno collective Twisted Kaleidoscope is attracting house nuts from all over the shire and further afield for their wild parties, particularly their annual 12-hour all day party, built on the foundations of discerning bookings, mesmorising light shows and an ethos of fun. Past guests are in the calibre of the likes of locally acclaimed DJ’s Hans Bouffmyhre, Esa, Milton Jackson and Christopher Kelly and only spanning bigger. Whether your familiar with the DJ’s or not, TK certainly deserves a place on your ‘nights out I need to go to’ list - trust us, you’ll have a bloody good time. 

This month the collective turns two years old, and to celebrate it Sam Russo has been booked in for his Scottish debut. We caught up with Twisted Kaleidoscope founders Findlay Jamieson and Garry Traill ahead of their big night to get an insight in to their world.

What originally gave you the idea for TK and how did the original concept take shape?

Gaz:Back in 2010 we started getting asked to do private party’s after noising up many angry neighbours in various flats and houses across Perth. People liked our sound so we decided to try our own night with our own rules and on Christmas Eve that year Twisted K was born!
 
Garry Traill, Resident. 

Fin: We didn’t actually have an idea to be honest. It just sort of happened! Gaz and me started out dj’ing at friends parties, from there we were offered our first gig in a bar in town. It was on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. We played for beer and only our friends turned up, things have changed a bit now. It was a lot simpler back then. We kept up doing the free parties for a while and it grew from there. We started booking guests and added a couple of DJ’s to the TK roster. We’ve just been plugging away since and soon we will be celebrating our 2nd birthday. Its just been a natural progression really.


Findlay Jamieson, Resident.

How and why did you establish your relationship with the Ice Factory and why do you feel it suits you as a venue?

Gaz: After doing a few of our own nights and having the opportunity to play alongside Slam we were approach by the owners and ended up with a weekly residency in ‘That Bar’ which eventually led to us being residents on nights when the Ice Factory was open. We suddenly realised how great this venue was and put plans in motion to have our first Twisted K there. It suits us a venue as there are no noise limits, 3 different rooms with there own unique style, and a courtyard area for a bit of outdoor fun! No club in a 50 mile radius can offer us that. Almost perfect!

What have been your highlights during the time you’ve been running the night?

Gaz: Ahh Esa was an easy one! We first saw him at Bigfoot’s Tea Party’s all-dayer in early July, Esa played round about tea time. Was probably one of the best sets I’ve heard this year. He tore it up with his live percussion over funky pumping house. The crowd response was insane and we thought to ourselves that we need to bring this man to Perth, and that was that!

I don’t think that the night could have went any better. The crowd loved him and his passion on the decks (and bongos), we’d have him back anytime.

Fin: There’s been so many highlights over the last couple of years, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. The all day party was amazing fun! The first time we had Simon Stokes was a riot too. Simon and Chris (Kelly) played back to back at the afters for hours. Unfortunately law enforcement put a stop to Simon’s set after several hours!

The night we done with Kollektiv was another one, we had Harvey McKay, the night was a sell out. The Casbah (smallest room in the Ice Factory) was totally rammed and Harvey smashed the place to bits. Esa was amazing too, the vibe was unreal that night. Playing back to back with Milton (Jackson) was a great experience and a personal highlight for me too.

What are your current plans for future TK events and who would you potentially be interested in working with in the future?

Gaz: In the future we plan on more collaboration’s with some of Scotland’s top nights as well as sticking to our usual high quality production. Always nice to bring something new to town!


Expect plenty of lasers.

We like to keep tight lipped about our future guests, all I can say is that we’re going to go bigger, possibly bring in some artists from overseas.

Fin: We have our 2nd Birthday Party this Saturday at The Ice Factory. For the occasion we have Leftroom’s Sam Russo coming up to Perth for his Scottish debut. Also our friends at Headway have asked us to join them and Autodisco for their Hogmanay party at Reading Rooms, Derrick Carter is headlining the night. Really chuffed to be asked, Derrick is one of our favorites. He blew us away at Rockness in 2011, we can’t wait to see him play again. As for future projects we’re not giving too much away. We can say that we’re looking at international guests, all day parties and plenty of Funktion-one. 

You can see all the details for their 2nd birthday party on Saturday 22nd December here.

Posted on April 1, 2013 .

Our Favourite Tracks of 2012

By Russell McMahon, Marketing Director

It’s the end of another year and surprise surprise, the world has not ended as predicted by our Mayan ancestors. As per, Glasgow has played host to many brilliant nights and artists in 2012. Here is a selection of some of my favourite tracks that have cropped up this year. More of a personal preference than critical opinion.

Jonas Rathsman - Tobago

This track holds special sentimental value to us. We love you too Jonas.

Bobby Womack - Love Is Gonna Lift You Up (Julio Bashmore Remix)

We had the privelege of catching Julio down at Sub Club in October. Not the most expressive of fellows, but the man makes some great tunes.

Julio Bashmore - Au Seve

It’s been a good year for Bashmore. We have Twisted Kaleidoscope to thank for getting this song stuck in our heads. 

Todd Terje - Inspector Norse

When dropped will make anyone rise to the occasion, so long as they contain the funk.

Blawan - Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage

Blawan has made numerous appearances in Glasgow this year. This became a highlight when it was dropped at Rubix Present: Pariah & Hackman.

Parov Stelar - Save The Last Dance

Bakermat - The Mixtape

The soundtrack to your life. We needn’t say more.

Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa

A funky little festive treat.

Cheers to 2013! 

Much love,
Frogbeats 

Beatboxing

By Russell McMahon, Marketing Director

“Boots ‘n’ cats ‘n’ boots ‘n’ cats ‘n’ boots ‘n’ cats”. That is the sound of scat, one of the origins of what we now refer to as ‘beatboxing’. We take a look at how this branch of musical culture is progressing. Did you know that it is a part of Scottish history? imageBeardyman

What is it?

We’ve all got the ability to beatbox, though most of us will probably just look like we are sneezing and send spit flying from our mouths. Beatboxing is simply a way of making music with your mouth by utilising vocal percussion to create drum beats, rythms and melodies using the lips, tongue, voice and hands. The term was taken from the name given to the earliest drum machines used by artists in the 20th century and the mimicry of this sound using the voice box. ‘Beatboxers’ mimic the sounds created by musical instruments or immitate turntabalism techniques, such as scratching. These sounds can be combined with equipment like loop machines or other instruments to create whole ensembles and entertaining, inexpensive live performances. The most charming thing about it is it’s unconventionality and how impromptu it can be. It is very much music that belongs to the streets. 

History
The origins of beatboxing can be traced back to a traditional Scottish form of music, puirt a bel. In more contemporary times one of the earliest forms was Scat. Jazz, and later Hip-hop, were the pioneers of integrated beatboxing into popular music. Doug E Fresh was one of the earliest artists in hip-hop to do this. By no means is it restricted to any shortlist of music.

Progression
It was in the ‘naughties’ as the digital music generation was growing that the humble street art of beatboxing started to grab attention all over the world. The ability to share videos of beatboxers creating music was something of an internet sensation. Before all of that you might have only caught it on the street, and if you did you would have been a fan straight away. So audiences grew, more people started doing it and techniques developed to the point where you weren’t sure if the sound you were hearing was really coming from the performer or a band hidden somewhere nearby. And it’s not only in music, now it’s used in films (Police Academy) and comedy shows (Beardyman).

And now for some videos. Sit back, relax, and be amazed!

Beardyman, live @ the Edinburgh Comedy Festival 2009.

Michael Winslow in Police Academy.

Michael Winslow, again, doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin.

Petebox, remix of ‘The Pink Panther’ using a loop machine.

Naturally 7 are a 7-piece male beatboxing band.

Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra - a total of 8 beatboxers - performing Massive Attacks ‘Teardrop’.

All female 5-piece beatboxing group The Boxettes.

Bellatrix @ the Female World Beatboxing Championships.

And last, but not least, a 3-part documentary about two buskers who call themselves ‘Heymoonshaker’ and create blues and dubstep using their guitar and beatboxing.

PART ONE

PART TWO

PART THREE

A New Era of High Fidelity Sound

By Russell McMahon, Marketing Director

You may be familiar with the new revolutionary ‘wonder material’ named Graphene. Created in 2005 at the University of Manchester, it’s made up of pure carbon atoms by chemically processing graphite and it is one to the strongest materials known to man, with 300 times the breaking point of steel. It’s so strong that it’s calculated you could support an elephant on a sheet as thin as cling film. It is also extremely lightweight - a 1 atom thick sheet 1-square-metre in size weighs just 0.77mg. Some physicists regard it as one of the most important substances to be created since synthetic plastics over 100 years ago. Graphene has many theoretically potential uses; wallpaper thin televisions, super capacitors (batteries), it could replace silicon as the raw material for computer chips, and bendy Harry Potter like newspapers to name a few.

Now researchers at the University of Berkeley California, Qin Zhou and Alex Zettl, have been looking in to the applications of graphene to audio technology and have created the world’s first electrostatically-driven speaker - an earphone. They have replaced conventional diaphragms with sheets of graphene 30nm thick and 7mm wide in earphones. The new speaker is simple. It consists of a graphene diaphragm sandwiched between a couple of electrodes that create an electrical field. When this field oscillates, it causes the the graphene to vibrate too and this generates sound. Because speakers typically work best with lightweight and high stiffness to mass materials for a diaphragm graphene is ideal, “It is electrically conducting, has extremely small mass density, and can be configured to have very small effective spring constant” say Zhou and Zettl.

The extraordinary thing is that the new graphene speakers outperform conventional speakers without any tweaks to the acoustic design, “The graphene speaker, with almost no specialized acoustic design, performs comparably to a high quality commercial headset.”

Most of the current diaphragms used in audio need to be ‘damped’ in order to broaden the frequencies in which they perform and prevent them from ripping to shreds. One way to reduce the amount of damping engineering required is to make the diaphragm very thin and light with a small spring constant so that the air itself damps its motion which is difficult due to the weakness of materials as they become thin. Since graphene is both solid and strong it doesn’t need to be damped. Finally, the new speakers also transform most of their energy in to sound so they are incredibly energy efficient.

So what does this mean for the future of audio speakers? Graphene being tipped as the next ‘gold standard’ in the industry. At the moment this ‘wonder material’ is very much still in the research & development stage but its future is looking promising with big grants funding the research. The material itself isn’t exactly cheap right now, but in time it is more than likely that it will be mass produced and affordable to the consumer market. This will presents the opportunity to build even bigger and more powerful soundsystems with insane levels of sound clarity, theoretically. For us, it essentially enables us to enjoy our music even more. Winning.

Posted on April 1, 2013 .

Interview: Pharo

By Russell McMahon

image
Pharo - Resident for Frogbeats, Unleash The Beast.

If you’ve joined our DnB bandwagon over the last year and a bit then we’d like to say it’s a pleasure to have you, and let you know that you have this man to thank for it all. 


It was Pharo (James Harrison) who first suggested in 2011 - whilst being a humble promotor for the likes of Mungo’s Hi Fi, Boom Monk Ben and Bunty Beats - that Glasgow needed more drum & bass (and jungle!) along with a couple of other notable people (Mr.Max Walker). The hard-working 21-year-old vinyl enthusiast from Swansea has been working with us to put those plans in to motion ever since our inaugural Unleash the Beast on the 15th of December 2011. This was also his debut performance, not a bad one either with Sub Club being the place to be in Glasgow for almost 25 years adding Pharo to the long list of DJs who have been lucky enough to get behind the purpose built system found in the depths of the dark, grungy basement. He was also responsible for bringing partners Denney and Rize in to the fold too, thus creating the three members of their collective; Anura.

In terms of what you lot have seen of him, he’s been very understated (he’s a humble man); he played at our first 4 nights,  designed those respective posters along with the most recent letterpress poster for UTB#9, he played with iAM for their Tribal Rave, and most recently played at the launch night of charity outfit Keep It Local. Last Autumn saw him leave our shores for Canada and hence off our radars for a while - bar checking up now and again on how the night was going. Good news though, he has returned from the land where dubtech is rife and a monkey in an eskimo jacket got found in ikea (seriously, look it up) in time for our January slot at Sub Club with a new-found hunger to push forward with his career as a musician. We thought it about time to reveal a little more about the enigma making a solid contribution to lift drum & bass from the depths.

Q1) What/who are your main influences? 

There are too many names across a huge amount of genres that spring to mind when thinking of influences. Even though I put on drum & bass nights there is a time and a place for it, and Sub Club is a very suitable place. I would definitely say that Electronic music is the main type of music I listen to. I’ve really enjoyed listening to bass music in the evenings, mainly clean 140 stuff. I’ve been loving the releases by Deep Medi, along with Black Box, they have some amazing tracks, if you want names some that come to mind are producers like Mala, Kahn, V.I.V.E.K, Kryptic Minds, Pangaea, Moderat, Digital Mystikz, Loefah, Phaelah to only name a few. I have strong influences from Dub techno, which my eldest brother introduced me to by giving me two vinyls. I love relaxing to the very ambient progressive tracks. In terms of production, I get a lot of my influences from modern drum and bass artists who manage to put that creative spin on their music. For example I have been really enjoying the new-ish Spectrasoul album - Delay No More, producing a lovely variety of drum and bass and 140 tunes, yet still keeping that classic Spectrasoul feel. If you want more artists that I listen to, here they are… Amoss, Bop, Floating Points, Aphex Twin, DFRNT Big Bud, Fat Freddys Drop, Bonobo (his first few albums), Alix Perez, Breakage, BV Dub, DeepChord, Big Bud, Fluxion, Alt-J, Biome, Jurassic 5, Kahn, June Miller, Kode 9…

Q2) What got you in to DJing in the first place?

I’d been thinking of DJing for many years before I actually bothered to buy a crummy pair of Numark TT-100’s off gumtree for 70 beans. It was my good friend Josh Smith who had decks and some great jungle records, he let me have a go and I made a right hash of it, scraping the needle everywhere and dropping his vinyl’s over the floor. This was when I was living in Falmouth, Cornwall. When I moved to Glasgow I bought decks and my brother gave me some of his old Drum & Bass records to start me out and taught me how to beat match and I went from there.

Q3) What do you want to be recognised for as an artist?

I would love to have a couple of alias’ for a few different genres. I want to be able to play the underground music that I feel extremely passionate about and that I love hunting down on Discogs. I guess I want to be recognised for intelligent, strictly vinyl sets that are very tightly strung together. My main style is underground drum & bass, purely because that is what I have the most amount of right now. Eventually I want to branch out when I get funds in and be mixing more 140, dub techno/deep house and be putting more nights on in Glasgow.

Q4) What can I expect from you in terms of your productions?

I literally opened Logic last month, and haven’t had much time to get into the swing of things. Alex (RIZE) has been showing me the ropes, teaching me what things do and what everything means. I’ve been making simple beat structures, and learning what samples and recording sound good over each other. I definitely want to be making my own music, it just takes so much time. When I get things up and running, my ambition is to produce both Drum & Bass and some nice clean, 140 bass music. I have a few other genres in mind but I’m not going to get to hasty. 

Q5) What sort of reaction do you like to get from a crowd?

I really like it when someone comes up to me and ask ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?’ in the best way possible obviously. I feel like all the work I’ve done searching and hunting down tracks that will fit in nicely with my sets pay-off when I can tell I’ve influenced someone on the night. Obviously when everyone is enjoying the tracks and the mixing goes well it’s just a great feeling, and I guess it’s nice to get acknowledgement for that. 

Pharo’s latest mix:

RIZE & Pharo B2B // 90s Jungle/DnB Promo Mix by Frogbeats Glasgow on Mixcloud

RIZE & Pharo B2B // 90s Jungle/DnB Promo Mix by Frogbeats Glasgow on Mixcloud