Tuesday, 24 July 2018

DIG Mag Issue 1 Review

The internet changed everything.

From altering the way (and speed) we obtain news, listen to music, watch films to socialising and meeting other people.
It can be also argued that the internet killed the written word. Well, not killed exactly but perhaps scared the shit out of it causing the printed media to acknowledge that its' days were numbered and that it might be forced to pull a sickie or two.

Whilst this is certainly true in the cut & thrust world of well-respected and now defunct mags such as FHM, The Face, More! and Christian Reformer, all of whom couldn't cope due to the large drop in readership of magazines in general some publications have had a stay of execution and continue to adorn newsagent shelves.

This can only be temporary of course because as our reading habits continue to evolve then so will our buying habits. Digital is the buzzword. Many famous brands have their toes dipped in both worlds and continue to sell in a tactile as well as this mythical fashion. But what if you still value the old ways? What if you will never relinquish the feeling of holding a physical object in your hand?

What? Do you mean something akin to wanting to still collect dusty old records rather than listening to mp3 files?
Well, I hope you're wearing some double-thickness pants because I'm about to shock you.

DIG magazine is a real, physical, compact and very beautiful publication aimed at those who appreciate the world of record collecting. I say beautiful because this is exactly what it is. Created with an abundance of love for design and perfection this box-shaped mag bursts with pride from the very first glance.
The magazine itself is petite - 12cmx12cm - and comes housed in a square, transparent plastic case which has a superb record crate design emblazoned upon it with the DIG logo. Flip it over and you'll notice a humorous sticker securing the flap. This is a lovely touch.
Once you've slid the magazine out you'll notice that it could easily fit inside a generic CD jewel case. However it is slightly larger than the average liner notes pamphlet and thankfully so because it holds 28 pages of gorgeous-quality, 150GSM+, gloss coated paper. Yessir.

Written on this high-fallutin' paper are musings from all manner of the weird, the wonderful, the famous and the fabulous spouting their tales of musical discoveries in brief, bite-size chunks.
You have graphic artist to the stars, Mr Krum talking about a recent chazza find (Ronnie Dukes & Ricki Lee, 'Spinning Wheel') and Britain's answer to Rammellzee, susanslegpolicy and his joy of finding a much sought-after 45 from his Wants list.
Keep flipping through and you have Chris from The Shed, DJ Format and Mr Thing as well as others all regaling stories of their vinyl obsession.

Together with reading the magazine DIG also supplies a link to a specially-made mix of all the songs mentioned throughout which instantly adds another worthy dimension to an already marvellous product.
Look closely at each entry on the pages and you'll also find a link that will take you to the respective Discogs database listing. Come on, if you're that anal-retentive about rekkids then you should have at least be anticipating this. Again, it's a great touch.

As I mentioned earlier, the design is second-to-none with crisp, clean pages emphasizing the straight facts you want to know. Strictly all killer, no filler.
It comes as no surprise then that this project is the brainchild of LG, the same supremo behind Digging 4 Victory, Style Warrior as well as the current Lovegrove (t-shirt) designs.

If you perhaps thought that this write-up was being used as a last-ditch attempt to try and shift at least a few copies then you would humorously mistaken. There was an initial run of a batch of 300 units which sold out in days. In days.
There will be a reprint for anyone that wants one when issue 2 is published but you can still find all the info for issue 1 here.

DIG mag is set to be a real goldmine so you'd be advised to start collecting them as soon as you can.

The main page to buy DIG is here:

If you are on Facebook then go here:

To contribute to a future issue of DIG go here:

LG's Digging 4 Victory podcasts are here:

The Blow Monkeys' 1986 hit Digging Your Scene is here:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Paul Nice Breaks For Days 2 - The Rise & Fall Via Social Media

Yeah, well. This is a bit embarrassing.

Up until a week ago my estimation of Paul Nice was that he thoroughly deserved his moniker what with being such a great beatsmith and all. However it's come to light (via Facebook) that he is actually duping a lot of people by promising to sell them his products and then stopping any communication with them. Or if he does then it's then accompanied by tales of woe and broken promises.

Basically he's pocketing all their hard-earned cash.
All I can do is shake my head.

Remember life before social media? Didn't that thin veil of mystique that enshrouded your favourite artist used to be so welcome - at least now in hindsight? Did you, like me, feel that the solid line of separation between artist and fan mean that you looked up to them that much more?
Nowadays with everything seemingly on a flat surface, a ground zero if you will where the playing field is almost wide open there seems to exist a blurring of lines and DJ Supa-Beatmaker is now your virtual BFF because he 'liked' one of your Twitter or Instagram posts.

The rise of social media, at least in my eyes, has been a double-edged sword and has shone a spotlight - either good or bad - on everyone in the public eye, magnifying their everyday behaviour.
Someone who behaves like a nob probably WAS a nob back in 1992 but it's only now that because celebrity invites Joe Public into their lives through the medium of their smartphone that everything is up for discussion and there isn't really room for secrets any more.

There's a whole other related topic I could get into about social media and how it is very good for spreading music to thousands of pairs of ears in an instant. It's just that another thousand pair of ears then want to share their music to even more ears. The rise of social media means the lowering of quality control and proliferation of average songs that are pushed to seemingly sky-high levels because of the almost now-meaningless and redundant 'Like' button. A barometer of mediocrity.

Anyway, that said, enjoy this mix from half of of The Fabreze Brothers - who's album of the same name is still one of my absolute favourites from the past few years - which features some great breaks that even though you know well do still love.

Breaks for Days 2 - Mixed by DJ Paul Nice


Big shout to Pipomixes for the heads-up.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Haynesy - Hip Hop Advocate Album Sneak Preview Review

We at ABU were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of HAYNESY's upcoming album, Hip Hop Advocate.
For the uninitiated, Haynesy was half of the DJ Cue Tips & MC Dashy D partnership (responsible for the classic, 'Control' as featured on the Hard Core One album from 1988) as well as the SLR Crew (South London Renegades) so he has a good pedigree.
Tired of not hearing the sort of stuff he likes he decided to go one step ahead and simply make his own stuff instead. The result of this decision is what eventually became Hip Hop Advocate.
Entirely self-produced, Haynesy has employed the talents of two talented wordsmiths; Scorzayzee and Dweller who proceed to float over the tracks as smoothly as a pint of Guinness and give the set a glaze of lyrical perfection.

There is already a huge buzz about some of the tracks that have already been heard on the radio and no diggidy, you will certainly agree when you hear them.
The album is just going through it's final mastering stages then will be available through the usual audio platforms (Spotify/Apple etc..).
More details when we get them.

Here's a track-by-track run-thru.

1. 1995 ft. Scorzayzee (95 bpm)
An homage to hip-hop five years before the Millennium took place with many namechecks of artists, albums and events of the era. This is a mid-tempo plodder with a Rockit stab which acts as a sealant to keep the funk flowing throughout.

2. Jewels ft. Scorzayzee (93 bpm)
Some nicely-furious rhythmic scratch in the chorus really does propel a song along and this is a oft-repeated tactic here on H.H.A. With Scorzayzee's effortless rhymes acting like a lyrical cosy pillow, DJ Cue Tips' turntable trix act as that early morning alarm bell to wake you from your slumber, albeit in a good way.

3. On & On ft. Scorzayzee (93 bpm)
A great groove on this with some dirty funk guitar licks and brass as Scorzayzee drops his flow.

4 Love 'Em All ft. Scorzayzee (96 bpm)
Dope sparse break punctuated by a Bouncy stab giving way to plucky guitar and snazzy hi-hats on this one.

5. B-Boy Showdown (110 bpm)
A seriously scorching instrumental which as the title suggests is aimed primarily at the dancefloor. With it's uptempo bpm this cut bounces along with some fine production and unloads breaks and stabs at an alarming rate which is destined to provide a highlight to any forward-thinking club night with open-minded dancers.

6. Dusty Vinyl (90 bpm) ft. Dweller
DWELLER is on the mic for this moody "old school banger". Initially punctuated by some sly Meters drums it quickly drops into a mid-tempo, thematic groove.

7. The Limits (82 bpm) ft. Dweller
This first 'slow' track of the album utilises the En Vogue Hold On bassline to tremendous effect here. And if you're after a mic-drop moment, then ,"I took hip-hop and restored it to it's Factory Settings" is certainly it.

8. Portraits (94 bpm) ft. Scorzayzee
Guitar licks pepper the dreamy groove with Scorzayzee's rhymes of how he is perceived by others ("I am whoever made me…however you wanna paint me"). Strictly 4 the head-nodding crew.

9. Brain Tour (96 bpm) ft. Scorzayzee
The brass on this lends the feel of a big band on production - it seems larger than it is and fills any blank spaces in the track with horns, flute and scratch. If your cranium is peckish this a feast for the ears.

10. Bonestash (92 bpm) ft. Scorzayzee
As we reach the end of the session one thing becomes clear - there have not been any rap cliches throughout. The breaks mostly sound as if Haynesy has invited a live funk band into his front room, given then a fresh brew, couple of Hob-Nobs and pressed 'play+record'. Double naughty.

Overall this album is excellently produced and the tracks - although not dirtily-raw - are clean which allow the vocals to shine through without getting muffled in the mix. The choruses all feature a sadly-lost motif from hip-hop of yesteryear and that is, quite simply, the scratch.
Every chorus has a scratch running through it either subtly (The Limits) or more frenetically (Jewels) which automatically gets the ABU thumbs pointing sky-high.
Also what compels me to grin like a loon about this album is that it utilises that not-oft practice in which just one producer gets to layout his sound throughout. This is the opposite of the usual 'too many cooks' approach in which the average album can get lost in the many examples of different sounds trying to be heard from start to finish.
Haynesy, with his unique stamp driven into this project, adds a notable calibre to this UK rap album making it an easy contender for any punter's top 5 long-players of 2018.

And with this in mind, we're giving Haynesy's Hip Hop Advocate album a rating of 4.5 LEEs out of 5.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Digging 4 Victory Podcast 34 – June 2018

Just a quick heads-up to let you know that the latest Digging 4 Victory podcast is now up and ready.
Two hours of the classiest tunes around all put together by LG (ex-Style Warrior) and there are some absolute crackers this month.
Laid back jazz-funk, retro synthwave, freshly-made funk covers of classic hip-hop plus....classic hip-hop.
With the weather being so bloomin' good to us recently (have we beaten 1976 yet?) D4V is the perfect accompaniment to this heatwave.

ALSO... incoming review of LG's sister project DIG magazine very soon.

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