I'm in the mood for talking about some things by other people that I like. Talking about your own work gets really boring sometimes!
My friend Kev sent me his new record recently, 'The Shape Of Things That Hum' on Ninja Tune records. Kev is better known as Strictly Kev (I never have found out why), of the DJ Food outfit and I do need to point out we were buying his records long before we started getting free ones! *winking emoticon*.
This one's a bloody corker though. Not that the others haven't been, I play A Recipe for Disaster (listen to it here and/or buy it here) a lot, even though it must be cocking on for 14 years old (my partner prefers Kaleidoscope), it's just that this one comes with exquisite art (Kev is also the Charlie Big Potato designer for Ninja) and we can't stop listening to it. The artwork is jewel-like and very pretty; it looks a bit like a mad man with a healthy dose of OCD has gone into a jeweller's, smashed up all the gems, and calmly re-arranged them all on the big shop windows with glue then shone a light through them.
The line work for the art is by Henry Flint, whose detailed writhing comic book art work you'll have to seek out in a non-web format as he does not have a site of his own. (Strangely refreshing, that). Kev has painstakingly coloured these images retrospectively and 'against all the odds'...
And it's a killer package too - big juicy poster and download and there's a DVD to go with it. But the main thing is that it really sounds like someone who's taken time to ruminate and masticate and all those other things you have to do to stir up a really fresh brew. It takes time. It still sounds like DJ Food, but DJ Food gone away for a bit and had time to fondle some new sounds and play for days on end with robots. Because this does have a robot theme, you see; Kev is a big fan of the mechanical man, and this suits me just fine because if I only ever had to watch Iron Man and Robocop and Terminator and all their sequels for the rest of my cinema-going days, I'd be a happy geek, though not quite as happy a robo-geek as Kev himself:
It hangs together really well and the sound seems, if I may so bold, more fulsome. More reverb and bass. Still very Kev though - narrative vocals, jazzy bits, groovy percussion (groovy in the old-fashioned sense of the word) and ... an element of minor threat lurking beneath. Or at least a warning.
The other thing is the cover / re-invention of one of my favourite artist's tracks, 'Giant' by The The. I put the record on without reading any liner notes (always do, listen first read later) and kept thinking, bloody hell! This is cheeky! But Matt Johnson and Kev have been friends for a long time, so it only made sense that they'd collaborate on something like this eventually. There's a fresh vocal being recorded for it too, which I can't wait to hear. The The was the inspiration behind my 'O' level art exam project (don't laugh) and to this day I go all tingly when I hear the opening notes of 'This Is The Day'.
Cheers Kev for sending it and making it in the first place, and may there be lots more. Kev's studio by the way is one we should all aspire to - tidy, clean and decorated with all things visually delicious and design-tastic - have a look. (Then go and tidy up in an embarrassed frenzy!)