Saturday, 26 April 2008

Favourite breaks

Well it's just too hard to list your top five breaks! So instead, during the project I'm just gonna drop a few of my favourites as we go along.

So to kick things off......

Bra by Cymande.
click here to listen to the track: Bra - Cymande.
I love this tune. It's guaranteed to rock the dance floor.

They all orginated from the caribbean and came together in London town to create a new form of music they described as Nyah-Rock. To quote from the album "We call our music NYAH-ROCK and through it we speak of our ideals, our heritage and ourselves. We try to engender a feeling of happiness and to convey this feeling to those people who want to find the time and the reason to listen to us. NYAH-ROCK is our rock. It is the music of the man who finds in life a reason for living."

Rumour has it they all hung out in Brixton. I'd love to find out whether that is actually true.

This 1972 album has been sampled all over the shop, by the likes of De La Soul, Master Ace, MC Solaar and for a whole host of house music tunes. It also features The Message, another classic track.
Click here: The Message
for the original and the Mc Solaar sample.

As I mentioned at the very start of my blog Samplers derive their name from the Old French "essamplaire". Here we have a 22 yr old frenchman uploading videos mixing orginal breaks with some of the musicians who've sampled them.....sometimes don't you just love You Tube.

Sampler vs Sampler

As I've started to learn more of the glossary of embroidery terms I've realised how many words, in addition to the word "sampler" it shares with dj culture.

needle vs needle
  • Embroidery needles - a piece of equipment to help pass a piece of thread through the fabric. Needles include crewel, chenille, tapestry, milliners and beading needles.
  • The needle on a record player to pick up the sound -"put the needle on the record".
freestyle vs freestyle
  • surface embroidery - which can be worked on any fabric without regard to the fabric threads following a design
  • improvising on the microphone - "freestylin"
cut vs cut
  • cutwork - an embroidery technique where you cut away the orginal fabric to produce a design, normally edged with the buttonhole stitch.
  • cutting up records, as in scratching and mixing cutmaster swift, cuttin' records, etc.
loop vs loop
  • loop stitch, which is used for straight or curved lines or to fill areas of the fabric.
  • loopin' beats - repeating the same sampled sound

count vs count
  • count the number of threads per 2.5m in evenweave fabric, counted thread embroidery worked on evenweave fabric by counting the number of threads
  • counting the number of beats - bpm (beats per minute)

I'm not sure if Encroaching Upright Gobelin has yet to be embraced by djs but hey the night is yet young.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Poetry and Politics

Quick post to let you all know that one of the collaborators on Sampler, poet Yusra Warsama will be performing at the Soho Theatre on Wed 30 April at 8.30pm.

If you're in London town it would be great if you can make it along.
For bookings: 0870 429 6883
I'm off up north tomorrow to meet another of the collaborators - Jason Singh for a weekend of sampling shenanigans and crate digging in some of my old haunts. Jason is a dj, beatboxer, workshop facilitator, composer and visual artist. Alongside his own work he regularly performs with Nitin Sawnhey.

To wet your appetites, here's a video of Jason from a recent trip to India collaborating with traditional musicians from Rajasthan performing Dhim tanna. You can find out more about Jason's work by clinking on the link in the collaborators section of my blog.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

stitch it

Whilst I was at the Embroiderers' Guild last week, I picked up two beginners' guides to stitching from their bookshop.

The first was the Guide to Embroidery Stitches published by Hachette Illustrated (ISBN 1-84430-140-0), which is a fantastic practical guide to starting to embroider and explains the techniques involved in creating 260 different stitches!!!!!!! which fall into different catagories including line, chain, crossed, blanket, feather, isolated, couching, satin, woven, woven filling, insertion, drawn thread, pulled and smocking.

The second was the "Stitch-it kit - simple instructions and tools for 35 chic to classic embroidery projects" by Jenny Hart who, apparently, is the founder of Sublime Stitching. It's published by Chronicle Books (ISBN 0-8118-4321-1).

I thought I'd have a go at learning to embroider, so this kit seems ideal for a novice like me. I'll let you know how I get on..wish me luck.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Crate Diggin'

Today was my second visit to the Embroiderers' Guild HQ at Hampton Court to search through the fantastic archive of over 500 samplers in its collection, dating from the 17th century onwards. Being in their archive, surrounded by racks and racks of boxes, is a very similar experience to searching through crates of records "crate diggin" for the non-dj folks out there. I felt the same sense of anticipation and excitement, unwrapping the protective tissue to uncover a beautifully worked piece of fabric, and important piece of social history, as I do when I'm scrabbling around on the floor searching through dusty boxes of records for that rare 7" vinyl or yet to be discovered break-beat. It appears that the museum archivist and the crate digger maybe more closely related than I first appreciated.

Here's two great short films about the joys and some of the perils of crate diggin'.

Kings of Diggin', featuring Showbiz from Showbiz and A.G.
Vinyl Ark

As the project develops, I will be sharing some of my favourite pieces from the Guild's sampler archive with you. If you are interested in researching and exploring the archive for yourself, you can contact the Guild to book onto one of its Collection Study days.

A huge thank you to Lynn Szygenda (Curator at the Embroiderers' Guild) for putting up with me, for her assistance, her generosity, for sharing her knowledge, her ideas, and her humour. I'm really looking forward to continuing working with her and everyone at the Guild, as the project develops.

Find out more about the Embroiderers' Guild's work by clicking here: Embroiderers' Guild.