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!

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Soundcloud 30k


How sweet it is.

Big shout to everyone who has listened to my mixes on my Soundcloud page.

New mix and special 30k celebration competition coming up.

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday (OK, Wednesday) Time Machine: Fat Stacks Edition

A Berlin classic: Currywurst from Zur Bratpfanne on Schloss Strasse

Ok, this should have been posted yesterday, but such is life!

If you saw Mondayday’s post you’ll know that I’m currently sorting through my records in our new Berlin flat. So, for today’s edition of the (very occasional) Tuesday Time Machine, here’s a look at all nine of the tunes that are nestled (somewhat precariously) on top of the stacks in the picture. I have a big collection, so there are even more tunes out of view!

First up, let’s jog your memory with the pic again:

site news

Getting back on my feet in Berlin

Sorry for the radio silence, been a hectic couple of weeks moving from London to Berlin. We’re now settled into our new flat in Wilmersdorf, work is all good … new content soon, I promise!


‘Slow Down Baby’ … where’s that sample from?

So, if you were wondering where the ‘slow down baby’ sample from my ‘Dreaming Of Berlin’ tune came from, all can be revealed (well, I just forgot to include it in the last post); it’s from ‘Strictly 4 My Jeeps’, by the absolute best fat ginger Albanian rapper from Queens … Action Bronson!

site news

Pearsall – Dreaming Of Berlin (Forthcoming on Freeformatted Vol. 2)

Berlin street art
Street art in an alleyway off Brunnenstrasse in Mitte, Berlin

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!

This tune will be featured on the forthcoming Freeformatted Vol. 2 compilation that we, the Freeformaniacs crew, are very excited to be unleashing on Halloween.

Other artists to feature on the album include Qygen, Le Dos-On, Olly Addictive, Wyrm, SamHard vs Meke, Ikaruga_Nex, Evolutionize, H-Blast, Sebucan, and more! If you want to hear some of the other tracks from the comp, check out Dyzphazia’s latest mix.


I am Edward Snowden! (Or at least his voice …)

In my professional life, I work for ITN Productions, the in-house production arm of ITN (although not for much longer, as I am actually leaving in a few weeks to go to a new job at Viewster); anyways, yesterday, being the only American guy in the office, I got roped into voicing Edward Snowden’s statement for the Truthloader team. Somehow, I doubt a future in voiceover awaits me, but if you’ve ever wondered what my voice sounds like, here you go …


If you listen to one thing today …

Champion NattyJungle Souljah

… make sure you listen to this incredible Congo Natty tribute by Uncle Dugs. All junglist crew!


01. Rebel MC Feat Tenor Fly – Comin On Strong
02. Rebel MC Feat Tenor Fly – The Wickedest Sound (Don Gorgon Mix)
03. Rebel MC Feat Little T – Rich Ah Getting Richer (B-Line Ruffneck Mix)
04. Rebel MC Feat Tenor Fly & Barrington Levy – Tribal Base (Foundation Mix)
05. Rebel MC + Prince Lincoln Thompson – Humanity (Bass Till Your Head Buss Mix)
06. Rebel MC + Prince Lincoln Thompson – I Can’t Get No Sleep (Jungle Fever Mix)
07. X Project – Walking In The Air (Mix A1)
08. X Project – Inah Sound
09. Conquering Lion – Phenomenon 1 (Catch The Fever Mix)
10. X Project – Dub Plate Special (Ruff Cut)
11. Conquering Lion – Code Red (Wild Apache Mix)
12. Blackstar – Kunte Kinte
13. Blackstar Feat Top Cat – Champion Dj (Blueprint Mix)
14. Conquering Lion – Stamina
15. Rebel MC Feat Junior Reid – Banana Boat Man (Original Mix)
16. X Project – Jah Sunshine
17. Barrington Levy & Beenie Man – Under Me Sensi (Jungle Spliff) (X Project Remix)
18. Conquering Lion Feat Beenie Man – Rastaman (Original Dubplate Version)
19. Blackstar Feat Sweetie Irie – Get Wild (Knowledge & Wisdom Mix)
20. Tribe Of Issachar Feat Peter Bouncer – Junglist Pt2
21. Conquering Lion Feat Beenie Man – Code Black (Remix)
22. Tribe Of Issachar Feat Peter Bouncer – Fever (The Revolution Has Now Begun)
23. Lion Of Judah Feat Bounty Hunter – Emporer Selassie I (King Of Kings)
24. Tribe Of Issachar – Wardance Millennium (Original Dubplate)
25. Tribe Of Issachar Feat Top Cat – His Imperial Majesty (Original Dubplate)
26. Congo Natty Feat Top Cat – Original Sess (Police In Helicopter)

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Optical – The Shining

Today the Tuesday Time Machine is headed back to 1997 with The Shining, a vintage slice of techstep from the legendary Optical!

Optical - The ShiningBest known for his long-running partnership with Ed Rush, Optical (known to his mom as Matt Quinn) was originally a solo producer, responsible for many excellent releases like this one, which appeared in 1997 on Metro Recordings, a label owned by his brother, Matrix. It’s not a particularly complicated tune, but a highly effective one. For the first minute and twenty seconds there are no beats, just deep, atmospheric chords, with the first hints of percussion percolating through at about the one minute mark. When the beat finally drops, it is a crisp two-stepper undergirded by a grimily distorted bassline, the legendary Reece bass tortured into a new shape. And that’s … about it. A simple and hypnotic tune – if you’re listening to this on headphones you can’t help but move, and if you are on the dancefloor you find yourself swept away without being really conscious of it.

This is hardly one of his most famous tunes, but it is one that I have always really liked. If you like this, you should definitely make a point to check out the Ed Rush and Optical albums Wormhole and The Creeps, which are both fantastically produced slabs of that minimal neurofunk sound (which they, of course, pioneered).

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Alex Reece – Basic Principles (Dillinja Step 1)

Alex Reece - Basic Principles (Dillinja Step 1)

An occasional feature where I grab a record from my collection … and write about it

On today’s edition of the Tuesday Time Machine, we are going to look back at a vintage, yet relatively unknown, Dillinja remix – his 1995 remake of Alex Reece’s Basic Principles on Metalheadz. Unlike a lot of Dillinja’s most famous tunes from that era, this is not a tear-your-face-off Amen smasher designed to completely annihilate the dancefloor. Something like that wouldn’t really make sense, given the fact that the original, in true Alex Reece style, was a mellow, jazzy roller designed for the dreamier floors (and for top-down summer driving). So, instead of going completely berserk, the Dilli-man reaches a nice compromise, draping Reece’s summery chords and vocal vamps over some properly iron-plated drums and stomach-punching bass that hint at the total madness that Dillinja so often unleashed. However, by practicing some restraint, this tune retains a versatility that it might not have if it really went balls to the wall. As such, it can work either as a tougher moment in a mellower set, or as a lighter moment in a harder set, or just as a nice vibing tune in the midst of a rollers selection.

Plus, because it is not one of his better known tunes, it is available really cheap on Discogs.

Want more Dillinja? Check out the History of Dillinja mixes by The Law.

If you want more drum n’ bass/jungle, here are my three most recent mixes:

King of the Rollerz – My DJ Zinc tribute
Dark Side of the Nuum – Vintage ragga jungle
Urban Takedown – Classic mid-90’s jump-up