“You go through a few barriers with your sound, and you get to the point where you’re just dripping in your environment, dripping in the sounds you’re producing, and you instinctively know how to hone it and sculpt it together. It just reverberates as the years go on, the studio evolves, you evolve as a person, you dabble in different chemicals, you go to different nightclubs. Your dreams influence what you do, your nightmares, your family. It’s osmosis, totally subconscious; you’re just this vessel.” - Actress
Finally got round to collecting some samples of the work that has been produced for Chocolate Chip. Starting with the early stuff and showing how it progressed to where it is now. I will try and keep it up to date, as I’m prone to changing its look regularly.
I was introduced to Alex Coulton’s music in the best possible way, it was in January of this year, on my birthday. I’d arranged to go to Dalston for a free night put on by the Wifey boys with Beneath headlining at the Alibi. The group of us managed to take up a position near the back left speaker before the tiny dance floor became rammed with passively aggressive drunk women holding hands trying to push themselves aimlessly around the venue. Once Beneath got underway the vibe was on. I distinctly remembered a group of guys next to us doing this hilarious chant every 4 bars that went so well with Beneaths tracks for a few moments I thought I was listening to some tribal edit.
At some point in his set, he played something that made me feel dizzy, maybe even a little bit nauseous, I was about to lose my mind. It was the sound of these dissonant, drawn out bleeps, combined with pure sub-bass kicks. I was absolutely captivated by it. I’m one to give credit where credits due and for my own sanity I had to find out more before leaving that night. So in the mists of it being mixed out I forced my way to the DJ booth and asked Beneath what exactly it was he had just played. He showed me the vinyl, a dubplate with the words “Bleep Sequence” scrawled across it. Then he told me the name, “Alex Coulton”. I’d quite like to think I was on top of my artists, but this one didn’t ring any bells, so I rather stupidly replied, “Who is he, is he your mate or something?” Then he quickly school’d me that he had a few releases out and returned to the mix. Slightly embarrassed that this had slipped under my radar, but supremely happy I had discovered what I had to know, I returned to the dance floor to enjoy the rest of Beneaths music as it should be, near to a speaker bussing a next skank.
Since then my infatuation with Alex Coulton has grown. When I was still just playing Dubstep on the Chococast my favourite artist were, without a doubt, Kryptic Minds, I would snatch everything they put out and be in absolute awe of the production tekkers they displayed and the careful restraint that they showed in arrangement. They made some seriously dark music, focusing on the very bare tropes of Dubstep, and when played out on a large sound system the results were destructive. I am seeing parallels between the two and how they appeal to me in not so different ways. Alex Coultons productions are far more varied than Kryptic Minds ever were, but each track still has this razor sharp, ultra crisp, clean sound of a producer that knows exactly what they’re doing in the studio. The results of which, were witnessed first hand at the Alibi.
There’s something that he’s managed to tap into that only seems to come from the naivety of early grime and funky producers, for all the delicately EQ’d percussion and overall polish of the tracks there is a still an innate rawness to it. As I witnessed for the first time, going to a FWD» + Rinse night in the now closed Matter, it was the older tracks that stood out the most, hit the hardest and had the biggest impact on the dance floor. When you ask a speaker to just push out a few elements as opposed to many it accentuates those few elements and they in turn become devilishly efficient at their purpose. In the case of UK Funky, that purpose was to dance. There are a few examples of this, “Grande Swing” being the easiest to recommend as “Bleep Sequence” is currently only listenable through Beneath mixes apparently.
Here are a few of my favourite Alex Coulton numbers so far.
I’m looking forward to whatever he dishes out next, his most recent soundcloud upload suggests something more along experimental “Bleep Sequence” lines. Whatever direction he decides, it’ll probably be polished, devastating dance floor material.
On Friday I made the long journey up to Aberystwyth to attend the last #Shuffle night. A night I co-started with Andy about 2 1/2 years ago that now had to come to an end as current flag bearers of vibes, Duke, Chilled and Andy leave the little Welsh town for different pastures this summer.
There will be time for further contemplation and the retelling of the #Shuffle story later. In the mean time, watch out for pictures and videos of the night on the Facebook Page.
After 5 months I eventually got round to putting this video together. There was a tremendous amount of footage to sift through but it’s finally done.
A short, “documentary” if you will, of one Shuffle night in November 2012. You’ll witness the gruelling and sometimes confusing car journey along the M6 and across the border. You’ll see questionable dancing, but you’ll also get a little glimpse of what it’s like to attend a Shuffle Party. Aberystwyth only true House, Bass, Garage and Vibes night.
On May 10th 2013, Aberystwyth says goodbye to Shuffle as it’s remaining members depart the town at the end of the academic year. At some point we’ll get round to featuring a full article about how the night started, possibly in collaboration with Andy, and about the life of Shuffle, the challenges of running it, how it grew and how it affected those who were a part of it.