(Black Science Orchestra / X-Press 2 / Out Hear Audio / Dark Star - London)
There arenâ€™t many producers and DJâ€™s around who can claim to have had as much influence on the UKâ€™s dance music scene as Ashley Beedle. Always been the loving pulse of the London music scene â€“ he brought house music to Notting Hill Carnival and produced one of the first British garage tunes. His initial production as Black Science Orchestra on Junior Boys Own broke him internationally. X-Press 2â€™s massive hit, â€˜Lazyâ€™, an inspired collaboration with former Talking Head David Byrne, and other number one hits has meant X-Press 2â€™s albums have traveled the globe. Ashleyâ€™s remixes have ranged from pop and rock bands, little house labels; hip hop mixes, house mixes; as a solo remixer, and as part of X-Press 2. There really are too many to mention, though Elton Johnâ€™s number one hit â€˜Are You Ready for Love?â€™ and Bob Marleyâ€™s â€˜Get Up Stand Upâ€™ spring to mind. But then donâ€™t forget his moments with The Streets â€˜Weak Become Heroesâ€™ and Bentâ€™s â€˜Alwaysâ€™.
Other projects worthy of mention include: Delta House Of Funk, Disco Evangelists with protÃ©gÃ© David Holmes (Oceanâ€™s 11, 12 and 13 Hollywood score master), Roots Revolution on Roger Sanchezâ€™ label, the demon dub-house of Jamayka Boys (championed by many as the first Dub Step production), Black Jazz Chronicles, the London Heavy Disco Revue, Afro Art, and, of course, the Ballistic Brothers. Similarly there are too many compilations to fit within this word count but Strutâ€™s Grass Roots series that Ashley launched has earned its place in history as well as most discerning DJs boxes.
Ashleyâ€™s ability to always stay ahead of the pack continues with his futuristic reggae inspired Warbox project (which has included chart smashing remixes for the likes of Lilly Allen), a rock techno inspired project with the Filthy Dukesâ€™ Mark Ralph, called Ralph und Beedle, a blue eyed soul project called Mavis which is to be released on !K7 in Feb 2010 (featuring Lambchopâ€™s Kurt Wagner, Cerys Matthews, Ed Harcourt plus many more) and his new moniker, Space Programme. Ashley has also joined forces with the legendary Cosmo â€˜Colleenâ€™ Murphyâ€™ as Dark Star â€“ with events, remixes and an album all in the pipeline â€” and of course, more disco output from on his label, Out Hear Audio. Ashley has also released an album with the great Horace Andy, â€˜Inspiration Informationâ€™, on Strut Records is a fresh album of roots, fusions and rasta messages.
(Swag / RAC / Popular Peoples Front / Duckbeats - Sheffield)
Hailing from Sheffield Chris Duckenfield grew up on a diet provided by northern Acid House institutions, whilst running the highly successful Asterix and Space pirate radio show and playing at raves for 15,000 people. Chris then went on to getting â€œa proper jobâ€ at the legendary Warp record store, whilst making abstract electronic as RAC and touring Europe with the label. Through Warp Chris also met Richard Brown, forging one of the most genius homegrown house music partnerships as Swag, with a plethora of releases and remixes that have now gone down in history. Chris has run two highly successful record labels Odori, which he killed before it became 40 and also the slightly younger Primitive, which he killed before it became a teenagerâ€¦ With the digital age of the noughties Chris decided to adopt a more subversive one off approach to productions as record labels seemed to pass into a huge, pulsating blog of digital data so his interest in running one evaporated. Chris has also been involved in a number of anonymous projects, but he likes to leave you to work them out for yourself.
More recently, and contrary to all common sense, Chris has set up a Vinyl distribution company called ALL EARS with old friend and record peddlar extraordinaire Alec Greenhough (who also used to run Sheffieldâ€™s TOKO label in the 90â€²s). Itâ€™s a boutique affair, with the emphasis on quality, limited edition labels, serving, what Chris honestly says, is still a very strong, if somewhat shrunken market for the black stuff. Apart from all that he started (contrary to everything he just mentioned) a Digital label, with Timmy Stewart of the Jet Project, from Belfast. Itâ€™s called EXTENDED PLAY and is all about immediate club music. Chris occasionally writes and do an even more occasional radio show and one-off parties called TONIC with his extremely talented graphic designer buddy, Pipes â€“ They also did a couple of books together. One called â€˜No Ideaâ€™ about graphic design and the other a profile of Sheffield Graffiti artist, rapper and all round Hip Hop maverick, Edna / Kid Acne â€“ No one batted an eyelid.
Having been Djing for about two decades Chris thinks he may have just about got a handle on it. Spending ludicrous amounts of money on music, forsaking many material essentials such as setteeâ€™s, soap and food in order to quench his thirst. Chris has been lucky enough to get booked to thundering cathedrals of rave like Fabric as well as such bastions of House Music as the Sub Club in Glasgow and Mad Racket in Sydney, not to mention temples of soulful sonic wizardry like The Electric Chair (RIP) and, well too many to mention here really, but you get the idea â€“ all of which he loves equally. Chris DJâ€™s most weekends and is loving it more than ever, meeting lovely people and entertaining is addictive to him in the extreme and heâ€™s still having enormous amounts of fun making music.
(Stefano & Leo - Mancunia)
Ever since their first collaboration playing space disco in the dark depths of Cord basement Stefano & Leo have fast become one of the most notorious and mischievous duos namely the Disco Outcasts. The pair sport haircuts regarded by the Manchester Evening News as the best in the city, whilst their parties were also regarded by the newspaper as "a flagship in Manchester". History was written for the Outcasts at Manchesterâ€™s sadly departed disco dive bar â€“ The Purple Pussy Cat. The vibe was electric and with cutting edge artists making regular guest appearances perfectly complimenting the kitsch surroundings of the venue it was regarded as one of the cites most loved weekly club nights for over 3 years.
With the duo attracting interest from some of the coolest underground promoters it was no surprise they have done this before. Stefano is a real legend in the Manchester music scene, having released records that sold in excess of 70,000 units and playing everywhere from the Hacienda to Glastonbury, from Ibiza to ReykjavÃkâ€¦ Stefano has toured with acts such as Oasis and Run DMC, demonstrating he's one of the most versatile DJ's around. Leo has quickly become one of the city's most exciting talents, with a record collection reminiscing those twice his age. His technical ability has impressed many a veteran, dubbed junior disco amongst his peers. Leo is the brains behind Manchester's phuture parties, as well a previous warm up residency during Tangled's legendary reign at The Phoenix dubbed as one of their "stars of the future".
The pair have recently relocated to Manchester's number one basement club - Joshua Brooks, specifically to take care of their edgier side with their fourth birthday party imminent with Ashley Beedle and Chris Duckenfield headlining the party. Outside of the clubs they are busy in the studio with Stefanoâ€™s collaboration Pulp Disco & The Outcasts due to come out with a limited vinyl run on Ashley Beedle's Out Hear Audio in November with a killer rework from Mr Beedle himself. Leo is working on some experimental tracks with bass guitarist of Death To The Strange and talented local producer Year of the Rat. The Outcasts mischief out of Manchester is even more notorious for their antics on the road, especially in their second homes of Marseille and Paris, magical Croatian festivals, Ibiza and beyond. They are also firm favourites on the air waves across the globe, including residencies on David Dunne's Nu Cool radio show on the Galaxy Network and SÃ©lections Naturelles on 88.8fm Radio Grenouille Marseille.