While we’re awaiting the 3rd release on BATB Records, we have started Beauty Bits, a sub label dedicated to re-edits/reworks. This will be strictly limited to those special edits that go further than just looping a few bars in the intro/outro, edits that not only reinvent the originals, but also which have been tried and tested on the dance-floor.
To kick off we have released a pair of edits of mine which have been sitting in my hard drive for almost a decade! Big up to Rune Lindbaek and Belle Bete for the early support on Harer Nama, and to Frankie Valentine to whom I gave a wav of What Have We Done? in 2007 or so, and who has since been giving me multiple nudges to put this on wax. Well, here it is, in all its glory, and full mastered by Matt Colton @ Alchemy Mastering!
You can read a cracking review of the records from the lovely chaps at Piccadilly Records here
The record is available on our bandcamp, but is not expected to last long! Limited to 300 copies, and no digital release!
Following on to a Live Resident Advisor appearance earlier this year (note that I wore the same T-shirt!), I was recently invited to appear in a Boiler Room session for the first time, for what was dubbed a ‘psychedelic special’ session where I would play after The Flamingods and before cult Colombian cumbia band The Meridian Brothers.
We all have our own opinions about BR, some praising the exposure it gives to DJs while others (myself included) moan about its objectivisation of the DJ art form where, because of the cameras, a set becomes more a performance than about the music itself. It is indeed hard to stay still and let the music play when there are 3 cameras permanently in your face. However I took this as an opportunity to reach a wider audience and show what a typical (albeit very condensed) Cedric Woo set would sound like.
I had made sure a lot of my friends would be in the audience and hence distract me from the cameras, and indeed they helped. The #1 recipe for a good party is to have your friends in front of you. Then you have the music, and the quality of the sound system. This meant I felt reasonably comfortable considering the circumstances, and was able to do my own thing. Just over one hour is of course very short, especially when you’re trying to play across genres as I always do, but all in all it was a good exercise (which I prepared more than usual) and it went down quite well. The full set is now available on YT below, and also on soundcloud: if you’re tired of watching my face.
– Clemenceau Kancel, Edmonde Rusland – Cyclone Hugo Salot
– Uele Kalabubu et sa Tribou – Matata
– Eric Brouta – Machine A Lanmou
– Prins Emanuel – Aquarius
– Blackbush Orchestra – Sortez Les Filles (Kay Suzuki remix)
– Kiwi – We Are Here
– Tapes Meets The Drums Of Wareika Hill Sounds: Datura Mystic Dub
– Gotan Project: El Capitalismo Foraneo (Kushite remix)
– Wailing Souls – Shark Attack
–Tony Allen – Yebre
–Xanga – Mi Gusta Mi Cuica
–Toquinho & Jorge Ben – Carolina, Carol Bela
–Issa Bagayogo – Poye
–Sammy Massamba – Azali
–Mister Ho & Heap – Feeling Hopeful
–Jean Claude Naimro – Avèou Doudou
–Leonidas & Hobbes – Web Of Intrigue (Extended Mix)
The (long awaited) 2nd release on our Beauty and the Beat label has finally landed, and it’s a family affair. The main producer is our man Atemi based in Nantes, long time partner in crime behind the decks and fellow record digger and music lover. About his first release, Atemi says that “at the heart of this project is to let the music come alive and evolve out of the meeting of musicians with different styles and backgrounds.” + more
2016 will forever be remembered as a year to…forget ! Much has been said about the passing of David Mancuso and as far as I’m concerned it felt like losing a family member. I had come to the point where I thought David was immortal (as some people should be, really) and that he would always be around to guide us…well I guess he will, though not physically any more. With David’s passing, I for one have learned about my own mortality all too suddenly, and this came as a shock. I wasn’t prepared – no one was. However, if anything this has reinforced even further our essential need of dancing with friends, as often as can possibly be. Love is the message and music is our way of life, let’s never forget.
As if that wasn’t enough we lost other luminaries like Prince (whose music I will forever be playing and carrying around with me – starting with CREAM at the gong of midnight this past NYE), David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, and too many more…and that gave us a really shitty year…which became officially one the worst year of my generation as we witnessed the Brexit, Trump and the rise of populism and xenophobia across the world. These times we are living they ain’t easy. Sometimes I wish I could just be transported to that first Loft party on Valentine’s day 1970 on Broadway, NYC, and just stay on that magic carpet ride to eternity…
However we still have a life to live, and we might as well bounce off and fight back…and party more ! In terms of musical output at least, 2016 was a vintage as good as any, be it for new music or quality reissues of timeless music. A lot less edits these days it seems, as people prefer to put out straight reissues, which can only be a good thing. As always I will try to compile my own personal favourites of these last 12 months. There are still many reasons to stay positive and look forward to better days. I’ll start with the best of the best releases, the ones that really were unmissable this year, before listing most of my personal highlights.
For my inner circle of music friends, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been said about David already, especially since his passing on Monday the 14th of November, but for my ‘triathlon friends’ I thought this little tribute would be much welcome as I believe most wouldn’t even have heard of him.
I won’t do a full biography/music history here, as others are much more qualified and have even done so eloquently already, starting with this exceptional interview of David done by my friend Tim Lawrence, author of the dance music bible Loves Saves the Day (whose title itself comes from an invitation at David’s Loft party in 1970). Rather I will keep these reflections quite personal and link all the relevant tributes along the way.
In March 2014 I moved in a new flat , and ALL my records got mixed up in the process. What seemed like a disaster at the time actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as once I decided to listen each and every one of them I got quickly addicted to rediscover my collection. I was literally digging in my own house. It took me about 18 months to go through everything, filing every record on the shelves and in the discogs database (6007 and counting), getting rid of a few hundreds (only keeping the ones I love 100%), and more often than not taking a trip down memory lane.
Obviously though, in the midst of all that, it’s not like I stopped buying new music…au contraire! Discogs tells me I’ve acquired 269 (!) new records this year, meaning records that were released in 2015 (old or new, whatever format)! If I were to add all the second hand records I also bought on top of that while digging and do a bit of math, I believe I would come up to a scary amount of ££$$€€¥¥ spent exclusively on wax…a number which I’d rather not know to be honest! The vinyl junkie is indeed an addict – but a healthy one bien sûr.
Here we are, finally, after years of procrastination and a couple of false starts: the first Beauty & the Beat release has landed, just in time to help celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the party. The track “Balafon Jam” by our mates Soundspecies has been a firm favourite since its release on a Boglewaltz comp a few years back, but sadly was never released on vinyl.
After asking John Talabot for a remix a couple years ago, and having him agreeing but not failing to deliver, we’ve asked ‘man of the moment’ Wolf Müller to step in…and that turned out to be the right move indeed. The resulting remix is a belter of a tune, deep, tribal, cosmic, a perfect match to the ethos of the party.
I was recently asked by my friend Jim Lister to write a blurb about some of my favorite dub records for his recently launched Version blog, and since dub has always been a major influence in my life, I was more than happy to comply, and here is what I came up with:
I have now the pleasure and pride to have a mix featured on the classy Krossfingers blog/website. In very good company here!
It did take me a bit longer than usual to do this mix, the idea was to play mostly old records and surprise the blog’s head honchos Sasha Tessio and Artem Ikra. Not an easy feat when you know the scale of these guys’ knowledge! This meant I had to think about this one quite a bit, dig out deeper than usual, and still try to come up with something that would represent me. Labour of love all the way, and I must say I am rather happy with the result! + more
Music, whether listening to, dancing to, digging and filing records has once again been my drug of choice, keeping me sane and smiling always. Countless hours were spent week in week out socialising, dancing, listening, debating, upgrading audio, etc from the natural hub that has become Brilliant Corners, which has now completed its first year in style -and we’re all ready to keep growing and push things forward. Too many great memories in that space to mention, but on a personal note playing alongside Floating Points back in March was a definite highlight (what a master!), as well as a private after party post Journey Through the Light back in June, house party style…the Klipschorns were literally singing that night. The man Tako Reyenga (of Red Light Records / Music From Memory, more below) also played the best DJ set I’ve heard all year. Inspiring!
Our Beauty & the Beat parties have kept on growing and evolving, selling out every time and culminating with a 17 hour (!) NYE/NYD marathon to ‘celebrate’ the closure of our home for the last 5 years, the New Empowering Church. Unforgettable. Those moments are what I live for, simple. With the best crowd around and such a great momentum, we will hopefully find a new suitable venue soon, at least before our 10 years anniversary in June (!). + more