Add Rhythm Sampler

In 196addriddim7 the Harrow based Ad Rhythm Records put out its first three 7 inch singles, entitled Add Rhythm. Rather than featuring complete songs, each of them contained four drum rhythms; two on each side for musicians to “Add Rhythm to your own melody”. The three singles, entitled Dance Time, Pop Time and Latin Time, are a unique example of technological repurposing; it was no longer your gramophone it was now, “the most effective practice aid a musician ever had”.

In August 2013, I found two of the Add Rhythm 7 inches in a Red Cross charity shop in Hendon. Taking the Add Rhythm singles home two things became apparent: firstly that these rhythms were entirely usable, and secondly that they represented ancestral missing links in the technologies of break beats and sampling. I resolved to use them for my own recordings, but then as I showed off my newly won treasures online, I had a bigger idea: I thought that it would be better if *lots* of people used them for recording.

By the 30th September I had received twenty-seven recordings from the contributors. Over two thirds of the original applications. I was astounded both by the quality and the range of material on these recordings. Certainly I expected some of the playful noise-based reactions to the rhythms but there were a wide range of musical responses using a variety of techniques and even a pleasing array of songs. With most tracks ranging between three to three and a half minutes, the resultant feast is more like a mouthwatering selection of tapas than a stodgy diet of carbohydrates.

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Leee Nite – Rest in Space

photo by Mark Pilkington
photo by Mark Pilkington

It’s sometime in the mid-noughties in a basement venue in Dalston. Not the Dalston we know now but a more down-at-heel Dalston that acts as a counterbalance to its more popular cousin, Stoke Newington.

A man and a woman are on the stage. The woman is slight and addresses the ungainly form of an old Korg synthesizer, the man is wearing a cherry red SG and towers over a shanty town of effects boxes. The armada of pedals annexes half of the stage. If he switches all of them on at once we fear that the power in the venue might fail or perhaps the block might become a singularity where gravity brunches heartily upon space and time.

The idea, he explains earlier at the bar, is to keep the signal moving around the maze; transforming, expanding and contracting like an electric genie for as long as possible. It’s like ten million years down in there.

At the end of the set after the applause has died down and the next band start to set up I wonder if the signal is still in there somewhere.

Raagnagrok Album in September

26337_179742548839729_2047863471_n“In July 2005, in the immediate wake of the explosions that ruptured the London transport network, a small package was delivered to a Stamford Hill address for the attention of Mr Otto Amon and Mr Solomon Kirchner. The gentlemen who recieved the package have never revealed who sent it to them or what was inside it but a body of urban myth has grown up around the Lapis or Ovoid that was rumoured to have been seen in various locations from Frognal to Fitzrovia.

“We are told that Amon and Kirchner subjected the Lapis to broad and narrow range frequencies in Pythagorean clusters which caused the object to “sing” or “recite”. We are also told that for five or six years, in spite of their efforts, the lustreless surface of the Ovoid could not be broken.

“The object, whatever it was, has never surfaced in the collectors’ market, and its recipients have maintained their silence. Whether their newly released collaboration, Man Woman Birth Death Infinity, affords any clues, we cannot honestly say.”