In The Shadow Of The Moon
DJ Harvey is playing Robert Johnson tonight. Then Panorama Bar this weekend. Now, I would almost certainly go to see him if I was in Frankfurt or Berlin this week – he’s saving the UK for next year unfortunately – but I’m consoled by the fact that despite the cult following that surrounds him in there is pretty much a 50/50 chance that he won’t be that good. Harvey is Harvey, and when he drops a Japan edit into a jazz fusion record cut from your uncle’s arse into acid house which sounds like it was made around the time of the Big Bang it doesn’t always work. Then again sometimes he’ll play the right song at exactly the right time in exactly the right place and then repeat that ad nauseum until your mum has to peel you off the floor at the end of the night. Apparently.
Either way he’s undoubtedly one of the most important proponents and dispersers of music (not just ‘dance music’) around. Weirdly enough his first record (as a drummer in a Cambridge punk band at the age of 14) was played by that other guy who knew about everything, John Peel. A trip to New York in the early 1980s found him perfectly placed to witness the birth of hip-hop, instilling in him a love of drum breaks which naturally led him to pick up a pair of turntables. He then set about becoming responsible for the cross-pollination of American Disco, House and Garage in the UK, in large part through his TONKA Hi-Fi parties which have gone down in legend with people who were there but probably actually weren’t because if you were there you wouldn’t remember because it was like this (skip to 3.53). He learnt from Larry Levan, and he was a resident at Ministry Of Sound before it became known as The Shittest Place In London™. Then he made the Black Cock series with Gerry Rooney, thus making it possible for a million people with Ableton to copy him 15 years later, and then in 2001 he made a mix CD for a clothing company which catapulted him back onto everyone’s consciousness just after they’d forgotten about all of the above.
These days he surfs all day in Hawaii and makes weird but freakin’ awesome records with his new Locussolus project, but he’s just been given a green card to leave America so he’s out on tour making shit loads of money. I really am looking forward to seeing him in London next year, but for now I’m making do with Moonshadow Pt. 1. It’s the first part of a mix series which showcases the more esoteric side of a DJ who is often really fucking esoteric, and even the geeks over at DJ History haven’t train spotted the whole tracklist yet. It starts with some weird sample of girls talking about being groupies, has 3 Mandre tracks on it (always a good thing) and finishes with one of the greatest pop songs ever written. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but believe me it’s the right song, at the right time. Just trust me.
You can download Moonshadow Pt. 1 here.