Pearsall – Dreaming of Berlin [Free hard trance download for Bandcamp Friday]

As part of this Bandcamp Friday I am re-releasing a track I did back in 2013 just before I moved to Berlin. It’s called ‘Dreaming of Berlin‘ and I have always liked it, so I thought it would be cool to get it back out there again as a freebie (although of course you can pay more, should you choose).

If you want to download it, head over to Bandcamp.

The track itself is a 170 bpm freeform hardcore / hard trance tune that was heavily heavily influenced by the classic sound of mid-90’s European hard trance.

Here’s what I wrote about the track at the time:

As you might know, since I keep going on and on about it, my family and I are moving to Berlin very soon, so two weeks ago I made my way to Orpington, on the south-eastern edge of London, for a day in the studio of Alex ‘A.B’ Bailey of Stamina Records, where we cooked up this tune, ‘Dreaming Of Berlin’.

It was quite an interesting day out for me. I had sent a lot of different influences through to Alex in advance (from hard trance to jungle), so when I got there he was able to quickly translate my somewhat hazy ideas into a real actual track in just one day. As is the usual case when a dj works with an engineer, what I did was basically arrangements (“no hi-hats there”, “let’s make the acid stab sharper”, “put the Amen snatch right on the bass note in the break”, “how about we take the bubble off the bass and stick to a straight off-beat?”), with him doing all of the actual manipulations for the sake of speed and clarity. Overall, it was a lot of fun being in the studio, and I am personally very pleased with the results.

With this tune I wanted to capture some of the magic of the mid-90’s M-Zone and Mark EG hard trance sound and cross it with contemporary freeform … judge for yourself how well we did it!

Thanks to Nick Cocozza for the artwork!

By the way, I’ve also cut the price of my Squat Rocking EP to 8.99 EUR. Buy it here.

Pearsall presents Keysound Recordings Special (Begrime 23-03-2022)

Pearsall presents Keysound Recordings Special (Begrime 23-03-2022)

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Mixed in Berlin, March 2022
100% Vinyl
(68:24, 156 MB, 320 kbps MP3)

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Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/begrime/Pearsall-KeysoundRecordingsSpecial.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Dizzee Rascal – Strings Hoe (Wen Refix) [Keysound Recordings]
  2. Sully – Let You [Keysound Recordings]
  3. Wen – In [Keysound Recordings]
  4. Wen – Road [Keysound Recordings]
  5. JT the Goon – Oil on Ice (Version 2) [Keysound Recordings]
  6. Walton – Cool It VIP [Keysound Recordings]
  7. Kellen303 – WHB [Keysound Recordings]
  8. Detboi – Give Love [Keysound Recordings]
  9. Wen – Play Your Corner ft Riko (Walton Remix) [Keysound Recordings]
  10. Dusk + Blackdown – High Road [Keysound Recordings]
  11. Blackdown – Crackle Blues (Burial Remix) [Keysound Recordings]
  12. Dusk + Blackdown – The Bits ft. Trim [Keysound Recordings]
  13. Logos – King Mob VIP [Keysound Recordings]
  14. Visionist – From A Place [Keysound Recordings]
  15. dlvry – Guilt [Keysound Recordings]
  16. Sully – Casablanca ft Jendor [Keysound Recordings]
  17. Skream – Sweetz (2005 Flex) [Keysound Recordings]
  18. Blackdown – Concrete Streets ft. Durrty Goodz [Keysound Recordings]
  19. Dusk + Blackdown – Kuri Pataka (The Firecracker Girl) [Keysound Recordings]
  20. Geeneus – Knife & Gun ft. Riko, Wiley & Breeze [Keysound Recordings]
  21. Starkey – Gutter Music ft Durrty Goodz [Keysound Recordings]
  22. DVA – Bullet A Go Fly Feat. Badness, Riko, Flow Dan & Killa P (Dusk & Blackdown Remix) [Keysound Recordings]
  23. DJ Sinclair – Gunman What [Keysound Recordings]
  24. Sully – Charms [Keysound Recordings]
Continue reading Pearsall presents Keysound Recordings Special (Begrime 23-03-2022)

Pearsall presents Rethinking Missed Chances: The Return of Jungle Techno

Pearsall presents Rethinking Missed Chances: The Return of Jungle Techno

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Mixed in Berlin, December 2021
100% Vinyl
(90:00, 206 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/jungletechno/Pearsall-RethinkingMissedChances-TheReturnOfJungleTechno.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Response & Pliskin – Life Without Death [Western Lore]
  2. Unknown – Decadence [White Label]
  3. Dandalf – Justice [Deadbeat]
  4. Eight Dudes & A Chick – Bwoy [White Label]
  5. Slim Sinna – Retrigger [Sub Code]
  6. Innercore – Cov Sound [Innercore Project]
  7. Crashead – Everything [Amen Brother]
  8. Pearsall – Crossbones [Sonicrampage]
  9. Wislov – Too Much Coffee [Kniteforce]
  10. Fat Controller – In Complete Darkness (Pete Cannon Remix) [Uphoria]
  11. DJ Jedi – Takeover [Jedi Recordings]
  12. TenTun – Ruff It Up [Rave Radio]
  13. Stu & Nee – Highest High [Enormous Mouse]
  14. Innercore – Dreams 2 Reality [Innercore Project]
  15. Shadowman – Remember The Future [Deadbeat]
  16. DJ Y – My Bizz [Faces of Bass]
  17. Slim Sinna – Give It To Em [TufStuf]
  18. DJ Mindhunter – Mind Full of Stars [Parallax]
  19. Tim Reaper – Slugs Penetrate [Hypercharger]
  20. Tim Reaper & Dwarde – Globex Corp Vol. 9 (Side B1) [7th Storey Projects]
  21. Peter Darker – Peter’s Pals-R-Ace [7th Storey Projects]
  22. DJ Jedi – Earthbound [Jedi Recordings]
  23. DJ Mindhunter – Mindtrips [Parallax]
  24. Worldwide Epidemic – Side Swipe [Knitebreed]
  25. Unknown – Stomp! (Side A) [White Label]
  26. Tim Reaper & Dwarde – Globex Corp Vol. 8 (Side B1) [7th Storey Projects]
  27. Tim Reaper – Globex Corp Vol. 6 (Side B1) [7th Storey Projects]
  28. Hornchurch Hardcore – Planet Earth [Dark Age]
  29. Mahakala – The Exodus [Mahakala]
Continue reading Pearsall presents Rethinking Missed Chances: The Return of Jungle Techno

Pearsall presents Eurotrash 7

Pearsall presents Eurotrash 7

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Mixed in Berlin, February 2022
100% Vinyl
(101:48, 233 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/et7/Pearsall-Eurotrash7.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Acrid Abeyance – 303 in Love [Important]
  2. Microwave Prince – Golden Times [Le Petit Prince]
  3. Origin – Acid! [Important]
  4. DJ Misjah & Groovehead – Psycho City [X-Trax]
  5. S.D.L. – Jumping Java [Labworks]
  6. Emmanuel Top – Lobotomie [NovaMute]
  7. The Micronauts – Get Funky Get Down (Daft Punk Remix) [Phono]
  8. Shawnee – Sioux War Dance [Drizzly Limited]
  9. Junk Project – Exceed [Universal Prime Breaks]
  10. Megamind – Taub [Nukleuz]
  11. Men of Noise – The Yeti [Definition]
  12. Gravital Force – File003.tmp [Nitric]
  13. Gabry Fasano – Jaiss Bangin’ (Bang Mix) [BXR]
  14. Acid Warrior – The Subject Is Me [Junkfood]
  15. Tesox – Wings [Plastic City America]
  16. Healium – Acid Horizon [Djax-Up-Beats]
  17. Intoxication – Walking [Poison]
  18. DJ Misjah – Ultimate High [X-Trax]
  19. Sudden Death – Semtex [Thai]
  20. DJ Toxic – Dropzone (Chris Liberator Remix) [Geometry]
  21. Pearsall – Pendulum [Sonicrampage]
  22. Human Resource – Beyond the Edge (Speedy J Remix) [XSV]
  23. DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access [X-Trax]
  24. DJ Push to Flush – Then You’ll Be It [Pro-File]
  25. Club Quake – Resurgence [Jerk]
  26. CJ Bolland – Counterpoint [Internal]
  27. DJ Bountyhunter – Recharged [Bonzai]
  28. Defcon 1 – Substrate [Nitric]
  29. Trax-X – Inter-X [Re-Load]
  30. The Montini Experience – Mind Expander One [Nitric]
Continue reading Pearsall presents Eurotrash 7

Pearsall presents Random Order Selection 2 [Little Grime Mix I made for Begrime on SubFM]

Pearsall presents Random Order Selection 2

Mixed in Berlin, December 2021
100% Vinyl
(60:52, 139 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/begrime/Pearsall-RandomOrderSelection2.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. B:Thorough – Digital Orchid [Coyote]
  2. Lamont – Hold Dat [Tectonic]
  3. Blackwax – Offkey [Tube10]
  4. Zha – Floating [Naan]
  5. TMSV – Temple [Innamind]
  6. Spooky – Snow Forest [Oil Gang]
  7. JT The Goon – Winter Sun [Oil Gang]
  8. B:Thorough – Pixel Drops (Devil Mix) [Dream Eater]
  9. Nights – Combat Mode [NSX]
  10. Jook – Unwary [Sector 7 Sounds]
  11. JLSXND7RS – Ceres ft Armour (Burke Remix) [Dream Eater]
  12. Riz MC – Dark Hearts (Bok Bok Dub) [Night Slugs]
  13. Commodo – Shift ft JME [Deep Medi Musik]
  14. Slackk – 90 Years [Local Action]
  15. Stirling – Alleyway [Slimzos]
  16. Kaiju – Troll [Deep Medi Musik]
  17. BNKRGBY – W.O.R.K. ft Riko [NSX]
  18. Chemist – Blocks (Last Japan Remix) [Coyote]
  19. Walton – Koto Riddim [Tectonic]
  20. Kahn & Neek – Chevy [Bandulu]
  21. Macabre Unit – Mash Up Da Place VIP [Nomine Sound]
  22. Rapid – 3rd Eye [Fabric]
  23. Spooky – Swift Jaws [Ghost House]
  24. Mssingno – Scope [XL Recordings]
  25. Wiley x Zomby – Step 2001 [Big Dada]
Continue reading Pearsall presents Random Order Selection 2 [Little Grime Mix I made for Begrime on SubFM]

Pearsall presents Hybrid Hogmanay

Pearsall presents Hybrid Hogmanay

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Mixed in Berlin, New Year’s Eve 2021/2022
100% Vinyl
(65:18, 149 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Artwork by Eyejack

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Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/hh/Pearsall-HybridHogmanay.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Laurent Garnier – The Force [F Communications]
  2. Circle Children – Zulu (Trance Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  3. Erik Rug – Rainbow [Going Global Series]
  4. Mood II Swing – All Night Long [Groove On]
  5. Hardfloor – I Can’t Complain [Harthouse]
  6. Metro – Green Line Acid [Bassex]
  7. Roy Davis Jr – Rock Shock (Roy’s Original Mix) [Roule]
  8. Armand van Helden – Donkey [Strictly Rhythm]
  9. Kings of Punani – Fantasy Girl [Kings of Punani]
  10. The Usual Suspects – Daydreemin’ (Mr. C Remix) [End Recordings]
  11. Plantastik – Tardis [Kickin]
  12. HMC – Cum On [Dirty House]
  13. Circuit Breaker – Teacher [Probe]
  14. Dave Clarke – Gonk [Bush]
  15. Co-Fusion – Break Beats (Wild World) [Pro-Jex]
  16. Ben Sims – House (Ben Sims Remix V.1) [Primate]
  17. Technasia – 2 The Floor (With DJ Nasty and Fletch Flex) [Technasia]
  18. Mr Sliff – The Riff [Primevil]

These are the tracks I played while livestreaming on New Year’s Eve for my good friends Andy and Lizzie’s Hybrid Hogmanay party. Originally I was supposed to be in Edinburgh with them for the actual party, but the Omicron variant put paid to that, so instead I streamed from my home in Berlin.

I was playing first, at 5:30 Berlin time (since we had a party to go to as a family in the evening), so I decided to keep things to a rather stately 130 bpm and not get too caught up in chopping and changing. Also, since I hadn’t planned or practiced, I mostly used records that I already knew quite well – most of these records have appeared on various past mixes.

Actually, I think it’s a pretty cool mix! You can judge for yourself, of course. But I like it. 😀

Here’s a few words about each of the tracks that I’ve used on this mix:

The Force: I’ve kicked off the mix with my favorite ever Laurent Garnier track. Moody bassline, acid, repetitive robotic vocals? Sounds like fun to me! I’ve previously used this on both Morally Diminished 3 and Meaty Aged Acid Dad.

Zulu (Trance Mix): Thumping tribal house from the master Armand van Helden, this is from a 1994 appearance he made under his Circle Children alias on Strictly Rhythm. Yes, I did indeed use another mix of this on Downtown Sound a few weeks back.

Rainbow: Erik Rug was a French house producer who made a few well-received records back in the 90’s, but this one in particular is a tune I’ve always liked. I picked it up in a second-hand shop in Paris back in the late 90’s and I’ve had it ever since. Just a nice, groovy house record. I used this previously on Tessmix.

All Night Long: Is this the best NYC house record ever? Change my mind! Just a masterpiece of house music. Timeless. Funky bassline, soulful vocals, plinky keys. It’s got it all! Weirdly it’s been almost twenty years since I used this on a mix – the last time was Rampage Teknikal 3.

I Can’t Complain: I always like a spicy mix-up, so following on from vintage deep house with trundling acid madness was, well, fun! This is the German acid gods channeling the early Chicago sound; they originally recorded this for their DJ-Kicks mix compilation in the 90’s, where it featured alongside vintage 80’s acid classics, sounding 100% correct and well suited. I used this seven years ago on A Long Way to Enlightenment.

Green Line Acid: More acid! This time it’s from West Coast act Metro, whose acid breaks sound was very popular across the US back in the 90’s. I’ve never actually used this track in a mix before, mainly because I’ve never actually done a mix this slow! I like it though – pumping acid house that later turns into tumbling acid breaks, although I mixed out before the beat switch happens.

Rock Shock: Chicago house legend Roy Davis Jr is most famous for his deep house classic Gabriel, but this is a more upbeat disco-funker for Thomas Bangalter’s Roule label. Kind of a switch from the two acid tunes preceding it, but why not, eh? I last used this back in 2009 (gulp) on Morally Diminished 2.

Donkey: Ridiculously banging house from the legendary Armand van Helden. It’s just a kickdrum, some squeaky noises, a little percussion, and a guy repeating ‘get on the donkey’ over and over in a New York accent. Genius. I’ve never used this one on a mix, but I did use Jerome Hill’s homage to it a few months ago.

Daydreemin’ (Mr. C Remix): Tech-house has become something of a dirty word, but back in the late 90’s in London it meant a warm, bass-heavy sound that combined the best of house and techno. It was the sound of Wiggle, Subterrain, and the early days of Fabric. End Recordings, the in-house label of the legendary club The End in Covent Garden, was one of the key labels for the sound, and this cut features three of the key artists from the period: Layo & Bushwacka (under their The Usual Suspects alias) and label and club boss Mr. C (formerly of early 90’s chart botherers The Shamen). Sinister and funky! I kind of lost interest in the overall London tech-house sound a while ago, but I still really like this record – even though I haven’t used it on a mix since Morally Diminished 2 in 2009.

Tardis: Another Bushwacka production (two in a row!), this is an acid bubbler from his 1998 album Wak’d, an album which is undeservedly obscure these days! Lots of cool stuff on there, in my opinion, and this particular track is my favorite. It’s also the hardest, so I guess no surprise there? This is the first outing for it on a mix since The Waveform Cult in 2008.

Cum On: Back in the 90’s, South Australia’s HMC produced some of the most memorable acid techno of the decade. From everything I’ve heard from Australian friends he is also a genius dj, but I’ve never had the pleasure of hearing one of his sets. I’m a big fan of his productions – just relentless, rolling, tweaking acid. The perfect soundtrack to dark, strobelit rooms. This is a classic of the genre – not over-the-top in any way, shape or form, but an unstoppable pulse with constantly percolating 303 lines riding over the top. What ‘minimal’ should mean. Love it! This one last made an appearance in my 2017 Mechatronica promo mix, which is now a surprisingly long time ago!

Teacher: This one is just Canadian techno legend Richie Hawtin bashing you over the head with some sharp-edged, percussive acid techno. I’ve not been a huge fan of all of his work, but I’ve always loved his harder stuff, and I think the tracks he released in the early 90’s under his Circuit Breaker moniker are amongst the best acid ever released, so I’ve been excited to hear him start to re-explore this style recently, as on his new track Acid King. I’ve never used this track on a mix, but I’ve used some other Circuit Breaker tracks before, for example ‘Creator’ was on 30×3.1: Your Mind on Acid.

Gonk: Dave Clarke needs no introduction, but this track might. This is probably one of his lesser-known tracks, originally appearing on the flipside of the massive techno anthem ‘Wisdom to the Wise’ (also known as Red 2). B-sides of much-loved anthems often struggle to get a hearing, but I think this one should be better known. I love this track’s combination of panel beater percussion, organ vamps and funkily twisted bassline. I last used this one in 2008 on Tessmix.

Break Beats (Wild World): Here’s another track that I feel is criminally overlooked – it’s a production by Japanese techno artist Co-Fusion that is just perfect in it’s simplicity. It’s basically a kick drum with some heavily chopped up breakbeats over the top with a little synth action and some cut-up vocals. That’s it! The nice thing here is that the breaks don’t sound like hardcore or jungle-style breaks, which is what you would typically hear from UK techno artists, but really more like funk or soul-style drums just chopped over a techno kick. It’s a really funky track! I first heard this on Amil Khan from Technasia’ Plus Mix, which I picked up in Japan in the spring of 2002 when I was visiting my friend Dan there. I loved it, so I ended up tracking down a copy for myself. This is yet another track that I last used on Morally Diminished 3.

House (Ben Sims Remix V.1): If you’re a fan of the funkier side of techno, you’re no doubt acquainted with Ben Sims. Coming from just outside of London, he’s well-known as one of the best and most consistent dj’s in the scene, as well as for his extensive back catalogue of relentless machine funk. This tune is one that he put out on Primate many years ago, it’s not among his better-known tunes, but I like it! Just funky techno, nothing more, nothing less, but that’s enough! I thought that I’ve never used this one on a mix before, but I’ve just checked and in fact I used this in 2003 on Rampage Teknikal 2, so almost twenty years later it has got another airing. 😉

2 The Floor (With DJ Nasty and Fletch Flex): I don’t know if I’m capable of making a techno mix without one of Technasia’s old tracks. Definitely among my all-time favorite techno artists, I previously used this track on my Technasia tribute Kowloon Nights.

The Riff: To finish things off, here’s an epic track from Swedish techno legend Adam Beyer on Primate’s sub-label Primevil. This is as euphoric as techno gets – when that bassline hits, arms fly into the air! Amazing track, and my favorite from him. This is actually the third time I’ve used this track – most recently it was on Morally Diminished 4, and before that on Rampage Teknikal 6.

25 for 25: A New Project for 2022

Happy New Year!

In February 2022 I will have been officially a dj for 25 years, which is pretty cool!

It is also a sign that I am now getting … old.

Which is OK – it happens!

Bitten hard by the bug of electronic music, I’d been frantically saving money through 1996 to become a dj – saving my allowance money, money from part-time jobs, from regular babysitting gigs, and, sure, from my Dad kicking in some money on my birthday and at Christmas. Thanks Dad! Finally by February 1997 I had enough and my Dad and I drove up to the outer reaches of northwest London to visit the Sapphire dj equipment store and pick out my first dj setup: two Technics 1210’s and a basic mixer. With a good quality amp and tape deck (remember those?) and some basic speakers already in place, I was ready to fulfil my destiny and become a superstar dj.

Um, life has different plans!

Needless to say, since I didn’t actually know any other dj’s, it took me a while to figure out how to mix (sorry neighbors!), and I never actually became the big name dj that I dreamed of becoming as a teen, mainly because within a couple of years I realized it wasn’t something I wanted for myself.

Over all, though, I would say that being a dj for so long has been a fantastic privilege. I have accumulated so many wonderful memories over the last 25 years; I’ve played at places as diverse as illegal London squat parties, a free party on a Scottish farm, the function room of a Finnish sauna, in a rich guy’s custom-built rave room on the Black Isle, a tunnel deep in an East Berlin forest, innumerable house parties, and a whole variety of clubs from the famous (Berlin’s Griessmuehle, London’s The Drome) to smaller but still respected (Club 414 in Brixton, or YAAM and Urban Spree in Berlin, amongst others) to a whole range of tiny random sweatboxes in a variety of cities and countries. I’ve been a promoter for one mad, hectic year with Rampage in Edinburgh. I even released an EP last year!

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve made lifelong friends through music.

And all along the way I’ve made mixes. Many, many mixes. Mixes from all kinds of genres. Mixes that I planned with military precision, recording over and over until I got them just right. Mixes that were completely improvised with no preparation. Short mixes. Long mixes. Really really long mixes. Mixes with carefully thought-through themes. Mixes with, uh, no real theme. Some were better than others, as with anything in life, but I have a soft spot in my heart for all of my sonic children.

Since I never need any encouragement to embark on daft, overly-complex mix sprees (see The 780 Project or Get It) I’ve decided that to celebrate 25 years of being a dj, I’m going to try to do 25 mixes this year. Which is one every two weeks, give or take.

To be totally honest I think that this plan is a bit, um, ambitious, and I’m not sure that I will be able to do this, but it will certainly be fun!

Luckily enough, I start this project with three mixes in the bank, so I have a bit of a runway to get this plane off the ground:

  • Hybrid Hogmanay – a NYE livestream recording, old house and techno stuff. Maybe my slowest ever mix hehe!
  • Rethinking Missed Chances – modern jungle techno
  • Random Order Selection 2 – a grime mix I threw together last week for Begrime

Beyond those, I have as always a bunch of ideas for different mixes that have been percolating in my head, including a major tribute to one of the most influential labels in UK dance music history (Moving Shadow), a tribute to one of my favorite new skool jungle label (AKO Beatz), some artist tributes (Om Unit, Stranger, maybe some others?), a revival of the Eurotrash series, a variety of concepts I have in mind for Begrime, and, well, that’s just a sample. 😉

Outside of my own efforts for Sonicrampage, I’d like to play out at least a couple times this year in Berlin (Covid situation permitting) as well as sell some more copies of the EP, re-release my 2013 track ‘Dreaming of Berlin’, get invited to submit guest mixes to a few different places, and even do some livestreams for different people. It would be fun to play for Hoer Berlin, for example!

So let’s see where the year goes – I’m excited to celebrate this arbitrary milestone in a fun way!

Pearsall presents Downtown Sound: Armand van Helden in the 90’s

Pearsall presents Downtown Sound: Armand van Helden in the 90’s

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, November 2021
100% Vinyl
(102:05, 238 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Bigger Cover
Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/avh/Pearsall-DowntownSound(ArmandVanHeldenInThe90’s).mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Circle Children – Indonesia (Sambal Badjak Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  2. Jungle Juice – Egyptian Magician (Ethnic Mix) [Nervous]
  3. Deep Creed – Warrior’s Dance (Armand’s Circle Mix) [Eastern Bloc]
  4. The Mole People – Break Night [Strictly Rhythm]
  5. Hardhead – New York Express [Strictly Rhythm]
  6. Sagat – Luvstuff (Armand van Helden Ghetto House Dub) [Maxi]
  7. Reality – Wanna Get Busy (Armand’s Prime Time Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  8. Pirates of the Caribbean – Tu No Sabe [Strictly Rhythm]
  9. Circle Children – Zulu (Ndako Gboya Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  10. Veda Simpson – Oohhh Baby (Armand’s Club Mix) [Hi Life]
  11. Armand van Helden – Witch Doktor [Strictly Rhythm]
  12. Kim English – Nite Life (Retail Club Mix) [Nervous]
  13. Armand van Helden – Break da 80’s [Strictly Rhythm]
  14. 2 in a Room – Carnival (Armand van Helden Kokonut Killa Mix) [Cutting]
  15. Capella – Tell Me the Way (Armand van Helden Mix) [Systematic]
  16. Sara Parker – My Love is Deep (Armand’s Dub of Doom) [Dream Beat]
  17. Vanessa Williams – The Way That You Love (Armand’s Funky Foam Mix) [Mercury]
  18. Armand van Helden – Work Me Gadamit ’96 [Henry Street]
  19. Chupacabra – Aw Yeah (125th Street Bootleg Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  20. Subspecies – From Da East [Strictly Rhythm]
  21. Armand van Helden & DJ Sneak – Futuristic Cipher [Relief]
  22. Trancesetters – The Search (Armand’s Pu-Tang Mix) [Sm:)e Communications]
  23. Da Mongoloids – Spark Da Meth (Bangin Like A Benzi Mix) [Strictly Rhythm]
  24. Daft Punk – Da Funk (Armand’s 10 Minutes of Funk Mix) [Soma]
  25. Armand van Helden & DJ Sneak – Psychic Bounty Killaz Pt. 2 [Armed]
  26. CJ Bolland – Sugar Is Sweeter (Armand’s Drum And Bass Mix) [ffRR]
  27. Goldie – Digital ft KRS-One (Armand van Helden Mix) [ffRR]
  28. Genaside II – Narra Mine (Armand Van Helden’s East Coast Mix) [ffRR]
  29. Nuyorican Soul – It’s Alright, I Feel It (Armand Van Helden Remix) [Talkin’ Loud]
  30. Armand van Helden – U Don’t Know Me Feat. Duane Harden [Armed]

2021 … some year, huh?

I guess it was a strange one for many people, at times it felt almost normal, and then at other times it didn’t really … a bit of a weird one! On the musical front it’s been a fun one, released a record and made some cool mixes, even played out a couple times, and to close out the year here’s a very special mix that I’m quite excited to share with you.

No need for suspense, you had to scroll down to get here, so you know exactly what I’m talking about … the mix in question is my tribute to legendary house producer Armand van Helden!

To be honest, it’s a mix many people might not expect from me, and sure, it’s pretty rare for me to do a house mix, but, well, I’ve been a big fan of Armand van Helden’s productions ever since I first encountered them in the mid-90’s.

So why not, eh?

OK, I guess I could stop there, but that would be a pretty lame blog post, so I’m going to have to give a bit of a longer explanation about just what is going on here …

I like house music, I can vibe to it, but it’s not my go-to and it never has been – it just has never been something that I have felt deeply passionate about, not in the same way that dedicated househeads do. I recognize that for many, many people house music is something that has played a key role in their lives. This is especially true for the deeper side of house, which has offered community, self-expression, joy and a quasi-spiritual sense of release to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions.

I’m not one of those people, and that’s OK!

But I do like some of it, and amongst the dozens (hundreds?) of house music sub-genres and little scenes, probably my favorite moment in time is that classic mid-90’s New York City house sound, that vast flood of music that emerged from that last moment when NYC was unquestionably one of the global capitals of club culture.

The sound of labels like Henry Street, Eightball, Nervous, Tribal, King Street, Nu Groove, Strictly Rhythm, amongst others.

The sound that boomed through clubs like Sound Factory, the Limelight, Twilo, the Tunnel, Roxy, the Palladium, Club USA, and more.

The sound of swooping diva vocals, uplifting pianos, rumbling tribal drum sessions, disco loops filtered to oblivion and back. Pumping kickdrums, funky basslines. Sirens, stabs, crisp percussion. Mellow keys, sweeping strings, every now and then a slinky saxophone. Snatches of hip-hop vocals, gospel choirs, inspirational speeches, catty queens, lilting Caribbean Spanish. Luscious pads, tinny horns. Samples from disco, soul, funk, salsa, rock, samba … the whole spectrum of modern music repurposed for dark dancefloors and endless nights.

And behind it all, the relentless pulse of the kickdrum.

The sound of Masters at Work, Todd Terry, Mood II Swing, Francois K, Danny Tenaglia, David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Mateo & Matos, Junior Vasquez, Victor Simonelli, and a cast of literally thousands of dj’s and producers operating across all five boroughs and throughout the whole Tri-State Area. A sort of collective genius in action.

But my favorite?

Always, always, always Armand van Helden.

The boshing kickdrums, the unapologetic diva theatrics, the application of killer samples, the hip-hop attitude, and above all, the sheer genius for bassline magic Shit, he’s a guy who churned out a small mountain of house remixes of terrible 90’s pop acts (Capella? Ace of Base? Vanessa Williams?) and rarely dropped a clunker … he could have just taken the cash and ran, but somehow we managed the rare feat of polishing some particularly pungent turds. And not just once or twice, but over and over and over!

To me, there’s something so distinctly, so quintessentially New York about his music. It’s just New York to the core, in the attitude, the grit leavened by a refusal to get too serious, the joyous abandon and the intensity.

Sure, he might actually be from Boston originally, but let’s not let that get in the way of this theory.

And it’s completely fitting that it’s not until he moved to New York in 1994 that he really found his audience and his success.

So as someone who bough my first Armand van Helden record all the way back in 1996 (it was this one, if you’re asking), you could say that this mix was literally decades in the making.

As with many of my mix projects, this one has been slowly germinating for a while as I built up a little collection of his tunes. This year, finally, I hit a critical mass of tunes, and it was time to make it happen!

But how?

With all of my mixes I start with the question: “What do I do with this big pile of records?”

Sometimes I just hit record and see what happens, but in this case I wanted to put a little more thought into it, so I pulled out my stack of Armand van Helden tunes and started listening to them, and what really struck me was that he did all kinds of stuff through the course of the 90’s. Maybe that’s kind of an obvious point (‘musician doesn’t stand still’) but when I sat and listened to about thirty AvH records it became pretty obvious that the story of the mix would be to highlight this career progression and make it explicable to the listener.

The solution was, in the end, pretty straightforward … organize the records by year (more or less) and that would tell the story very clearly. The mix thus covers van Helden’s output from 1994 to 1997, roughly (there’s I think one record from 1993 and one from 1998), and this approach provides a very interesting overview. Just from listening you can hear in it house music’s transformation from a sound for underground clubs to the soundtrack to the rising super-clubs and dance music’s emergence as a genuine global phenomenon.

The early tracks have that classic New York tribal sound, all relentless pumping rhythms, whereas by the end of the mix we are encountering a very different sound, much bigger and more ambitious, epic in scope and precise in execution. Gone is the charming roughness of only a few years before, replaced with a deep confidence that, fuck yeah, I can make some big motherfucking ANTHEMS.

Like this one, one of the biggest house records of all time. I didn’t use it though! (It’s not one of my favorites)

In those last few tracks you can hear Armand van Helden at the absolute peak of his commercial and critical success, dropping bassline monsters that helped spark London’s emerging ‘speed garage’ scene into life, while also raiding the disco archives for the samples that helped him to vaporize dancefloors worldwide and cause an entirely new generation to reconsider the much-maligned 1970’s and its signature music style.

It must have been a wild ride for him!

The sheer speed at which his sound progressed in the mid-90’s brought to mind a parallel process in a scene that van Helden was deeply influenced by – the UK breakbeat scene, which in mere years progressed from hardcore to jungle to drum n’ bass. This music had a huge impact on van Helden’s work, altering his own house productions in the late 90’s, which in turn sent shockwaves through the world of house as jungle-style basslines were introduced to dancefloors that just weren’t expecting them. It’s also worth mentioning that he even made an amazing Monica-sampling white label drum n’ bass classic called ‘Ain’t Armand‘.

This gave me the hook for the mix – once I sorted the records by year the pattern was obvious. Just as with my Amen Promo Mix, the best way to tell the story of Armand van Helden in the mid-90’s was to do it chronologically, starting in 1994 and ending in 1997, and allowing the listener to hear the transformation over time.

I hope you enjoy listening to the mix as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Bonus reading:

Pearsall presents The Yaam Sessions [Deep Dubstep Mix for Begrime]

Pearsall presents The Yaam Sessions

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, October 2021
100% Vinyl
(66:35, 152 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Bigger Cover
Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/begrime/Pearsall-TheYaamSessions.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Kryptic Minds – Badman [Swamp 81]
  2. Landslide vs Slaughter Mob – Splurt (Skream Remix) [Halo Beats]
  3. Silkie – Head Butt Da Deck [Deep Medi Musik]
  4. Skream – Gritty [Deep Medi Musik]
  5. Kromestar – Late [Southside]
  6. Coki – Dry Cry [AWD]
  7. Skream – Pass the Red Stripe [Soul Jazz]
  8. Mala – Stand Against War [DMZ]
  9. Martyn – Shadowcasting [Revolve:R]
  10. Matty G – Summer Solstice [Argon]
  11. RSD – Forward Youth [Tectonic]
  12. Rusko – Soundguy Is My Target [Sub Soldiers]
  13. The Art of Noise – Moments in Love (Caspa Remix) [White]
  14. Roommate – 50 Blocks Away [10 Bag]
  15. Kromestar – Corrupshun ft Leebra [Bare Dubs]
  16. DJ Madd – Rizla Dub [War]
  17. Digital Mystikz – Thief In Da Night [Soul Jazz]
  18. Cotti – Rise the Temperature ft Doctor [More Than Alot]
  19. Breakage – Together [Digital Soundboy]
  20. TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn’s DCM Remix) [Hessle Audio]
  21. 2562 – Third Wave [Tectonic]
  22. DJG – Bunker [Tube 10]
  23. Jus Wan – Action Potential [Apple Pips]
  24. Caspa – Back to ’93 [Fabric]

More music!

After a slowish start to the year, I’m trying to pick up the pace of making and releasing new mixes by getting into a new habit, namely recording in little bursts a few nights a week. Nothing major, just 20 to 30 minutes at a time, as I’ve found this fits in a bit better with my family life and it takes away the excuse of ‘oh, I don’t have time to do a full mix’. Sure, on any given night I don’t have 60-90 minutes, but I can definitely rustle up 20-30, and if you do that four times a week you end up with between 80 and 120 minutes of material, which is plenty for a mix, right?

As I write this, therefore, I have one finished mix (Armand van Helden tribute!) also done, and I’m working on another one (modern jungle techno!), and I plan to do a different one (Berlin techno! Or maybe AKO Beatz!) next week … so the gears are grinding along and stuff is happening.

I guess the younger me would 100% have considered such an approach to be ‘cheating’, but the younger me didn’t have two kids nor a job that was anywhere near as demanding, so fuck that guy and his overinflated purism. 😉

This mix, specifically, has been on the shelf for a little while – I originally recorded it in October for the Begrime radio show and I am only now getting it up on Sonicrampage. The genesis of this mix was, well … not very complicated! I didn’t have much free time and the deadline for submission was looming, so I just got out a stack of records and did it in little bursts over a couple of days and then stitched it together in Soundforge.

Normally I would do a grime mix for Begrime (and in fact this is what I’ve done in the past; see here, here and here), but this time around I decided to do something a bit different: a deeper dubstep mix.

OK, that’s not that different – similar bpm, similar roots, all that.

I wasn’t getting too wild and crazy!

But still, a little bit different.

Why did I do a dubstep mix?

There’s not really a very complex story to it – Begrime did a little party in September at the beach bar at Yaam, a venue by the river in Friedrichshain, and the management asked us not to go too hard too early, so I volunteered to go first and play dubstep, on the assumption that it would be a bit more mellow than straight-up grime.

To be honest, I didn’t think too deeply about it in advance, I just got out some of my older dubstep records, mostly on the deeper side (no mid-range tearouts!), did a little practice, and packed my bag. That’s it!

On the day itself, I was pretty exhausted and was sort of looking for reasons to not do it, but I still made my way there for 7pm and … it was great!

Like obviously 7pm on a windy September evening with a bunch of people sitting around drinking, the first fall chill in the air, is not a prime slot in any way shape or form, but frankly it was just so much fun to play these records and hear them loud (or at least loud-ish). Clearly it’s a different experience to hear music on a proper soundsystem as opposed to on headphones or a home stereo system, and that goes for all genres of music, but, well, dubstep stands out even more so in this regard.

What you never experience with dubstep at home is the sheer physicality of it, the intensity of the bass. You hear it and experience it in a whole new way, and even though I was playing to a bunch of people who, frankly, probably didn’t care too much either way, it was just really really fun. I did my one hour set and walked off absolutely buzzing! It was so cool to hear this music at this volume again, and especially to play so many tunes that I hadn’t really played much for a while.

A great experience!

It was also very nice that my cousin Diana stopped by with some friends – they seemed to have a nice time! She’s from New York City and is studying in Amsterdam this year – it was great to see her.

Afterwards I was feeling very inspired, so I ended up doing this mix a few weeks later to try to recapture that vibe a little bit – I reused quite a few of the tunes, but not all. Everything on this mix was in my bag that day.

Here’s the setlist from the actual party, for those of you who are curious:

01. Matty G – Back to the Bay feat. Ugene [Dub Police]
02. Babylon System – Everyday Hustle [10 Bags]
03. Silkie – Head Butt Da Deck [Deep Medi Musik]
04. Skream – Phatty Drummer [Deep Medi Musik]
05. Coki – Burnin’ [White]
06. Kromestar – Late [Southside]
07. Von D – Coquine [Black Acre]
08. Martyn – Shadowcasting [Revolve:r]
09. 2562 – Kontrol [Tectonic]
10. Skream – Memories of 3rd Base [Digital Soundboy]
11. Matty G – Bass Frequency [Dubplate]
12. Matty G – Summer Solstice [Argon]
13. Landslide vs Slaughter Mob – Splurt (Skream Remix) [Halo Beats]
14. Loefah – Natural Charge [Version]
15. Vybz Kartel – Emergency (Coki Remix) [Greensleeves Dubstep]
16. The Arts of Noise – Moments in Love (Caspa Remix) [White]
17. RSD – Forward Youth [Tectonic]
18. Mala – Maintain Thru Madness [DMZ]
19. Skream – Midnight Request Line [Tempa]
20. Coki – Dry Cry [AWD]
21. King Soly – Wicked King of Persia [Bass Face]

Pearsall presents The Further Adventures of Count Jackula (A Second Jerome Hill Tribute Mix)

Pearsall presents The Further Adventures of Count Jackula (A Second Jerome Hill Tribute Mix)

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, September 2021
100% Vinyl
(77:28, 177 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Bigger Cover
Cue File

Direct link to the mix:
http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/jerome_hill/Pearsall-TheFurtherAdventuresOfCountJackula(A2ndJeromeHillTributeMix).mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. Jerome Hill – Weird Language [Super Rhythm Trax]
  2. Jerome Hill – Song for Aitch [Dext]
  3. Jerome Hill – Plumphouse Groove [Super Rhythm Trax]
  4. Jerome Hill – That Truck [Don’t]
  5. Jerome Hill – Mind Goes Blank [Super Rhythm Trax]
  6. Masc – Non Stop (Jerome Hill Remix) [Super Rhythm Trax]
  7. Jerome Hill – Chicken Head George [Super Rhythm Trax]
  8. Jerome Hill – Dustbin Acid [Super Rhythm Trax]
  9. Jerome Hill – Donkey Bite [Don’t]
  10. Jerome Hill – Goatwerk [Don’t]
  11. Jerome Hill – (don’t)cometodaddy [Don’t]
  12. Luke’s Anger – Work That Mod (Jerome Hill’s Rockin Horse Mix) [Don’t]
  13. Jerome Hill – 1994 [Dixon Avenue Basement Jams]
  14. DJ Schwa & Name Does Not Matter – Obsolete (Jerome Hill Remix) [RFR]
  15. Jerome Hill – The Creeper [Swords]
  16. Jerome Hill – Snap [Don’t]
  17. Tim Taylor & DJ Slip – Pleasure Unit (Jerome Hill Remix) [Dame]
  18. Autonation – Sit On The Bass (Jerome Hill 18 Years On Mix) [Don’t]
  19. Wevie Stonder – Ton Wah (Jerome Hill Remix) [Don’t]
  20. Jerome Hill – Lovely Sound [Don’t]
  21. Jerome Hill – Don’t-U-Later [Nasty Colour]
  22. Nightwave – Psychic Tonic (Jerome Hill Remix) [Dext]
  23. Jerome Hill – Transmissions [Accidental Jr]
  24. Ben Pest – Rumbler (Jerome Hill’s Clubbed To Death Mix) [Don’t]
  25. Ben Pest – G-Zus (Jerome Hill’s Acid Swamp Remix) [Riot Radio]
  26. Jerome Hill – Jiba [Riot Radio]
  27. Jerome Hill – Duck Walk [Don’t]

One of my favorite dj/producers of all times is, no question, London techno hero Jerome Hill.

I made a first tribute mix to him a few years ago, Full Metal Jacking.

Last year I did a mix of tunes from his Super Rhythm Trax label called Super Rhythmic Facts.

And now I’ve done a second tribute mix, which is this one.

Suffice to say I’m a pretty big fan!

I did get in touch with the man himself to see if he wanted to do a follow up interview, but he (very politely!) declined, which is fine.

So in the absence of an interview (easy solution!), I’ve been struggling about what to write to accompany the mix. I already have written fairly extensively about what I like about Jerome’s music (pounding machine funk! An actual sense of humor! A diverse range of sounds! Lots of old skool flourishes!), and I feel like there isn’t too much more I can say on the topic that wouldn’t just be very repetitive.

This mix features a bunch of his tunes and remixes from different points in his production career, from the mid-00’s right through to now. It also traces a bit of an arc through his sound, starting with the kind of rumbling jacking house stuff that his Super Rhythm Trax label has become known for, before working its way through some of the off-kilter techno sounds that his label Don’t has championed, before heading towards some more straight-up techno bangers at the finish.

In the absence of having really clear ideas about what to include in this blog post, I’m going to just throw in some stuff I enjoy.

First up, here’s a great livestream set he did last year for Fold London:

Secondly, here’s the awesome cover for the Super Rhythm Trax compilation album:

Next, a great mix he did for Dame Music:

A little snip from my interview with him:

The first sets I heard from you back in the day were at squat parties in London – do you still play on that scene or have you moved on? Any favorite memories from that world? (I have plenty but also to be fair it could be very grim at times!)

If I have a weekend off and there happens to be a good one going on, then yes, I’ll sometimes show up with my records. It’s few and far between these days, though – I actually went to play at one a few weeks back but when I arrived outside it had just been shut down by the police so had to drive home again.

But looking back there are too many memories: cinemas, bingo halls, swimming pools, job centres, universities, quarries – you name it, we played techno loudly inside it! But the main thing was the positive feelings of everyone being like a family and just showing up any Sunday morning and the family would all be there. *sighs wistfully*

How has the London scene changed since the start of your career? Is it much harder to put events on now than it was?

In terms of squatted venues, yes. It’s much harder to get away with stuff now!

Do you still use vinyl when you play out? If so, do you find it easy / difficult to get access to decent quality setups (I sometimes find decks to be somewhat … sketchy)

Yes I use half vinyl and half USB. And yes, decks are often sketchy as fuck, which is why sometimes the USBs are a saviour!

How has your dj style evolved over the years?

Not sure. It depends what mood I’m in as to how I play I guess. Sometimes I’m in a deep mix and blend mode, and other times in a scratch the fuck out of it and throw stuff around mode. I still love playing music people wouldn’t expect, like rock n’ roll or hardcore hip-hop in a techno set.

How do crowds in Berlin compare to other places you have played?

I love playing in Berlin. They do clubs so well there, and the crowds are great. They kind of have it good there and are seasoned pros who are used to the best and loudest sound systems and ridiculous amounts of dry ice … just how I love it. And I love the fact that in most of the places I play, photographs are banned. Really makes for a better atmosphere on the dancefloor.

Lastly, check out this interview with him at the 909 Originals site.

Ah, finally, here’s the cover art for the Don’t compilation Songs that Changed the World, really like the art for this as well.

Pearsall's free MP3 mixes from across the dance music spectrum

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