Nov 20, 2014

RELEASE: DJ Milktray – All Because The Lady Loves EP

After months of anticipation the mysterious DJ Milktray has finally dropped his debut EP on Astral Black. Those of you who have been paying attention will already be well aware of the hype surrounding the Burberry-clad beat maker, with his bootlegs of 50 Cent and Cassidy racking up thousands of plays. Described as ‘RnG’ by the genre-thirsty media, his attempt at injecting a little fun into instrumental grime has certainly gone down well with the dancefloor, attracting heavy support from the likes of Slackk, Cashmere Cat and Nightwave.

Consisting of four bouncy bangers, ‘All Because The Lady Loves’ doesn’t take itself too seriously, with the aforementioned re-rub of Cassidy and R Kelly’s ‘Hotel’ setting the tone. Chopped vocals and rearranged guitar strokes make it the most playful track on the release, but ‘Genieriddim’ also aims for the sweet spot with delicate chords riding a snap beat with an ass that won’t quit. It’s all good fun, and we’re very intrigued to hear what he does next.

Listen to the EP in full below:

DJ Milktray ‘All The Lady Loves’ EP is available now via Astral Black. Catch him alongside Skepta, Jon Phonics, Bu$hido Brown and more for the EP launch party this Friday at the Art School.

DJ Milktray on Soundcloud
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Nov 19, 2014

GET TO KNOW: Machines In Heaven
WORDS: Alex Caslano

“We tend to put a lot of energy into the live show because subconsciously we're very into what we're playing!” Reflecting on their performance at this month’s Simple Things Festival, we can confirm that Machines In Heaven gave it absolutely everything. Appearing on our own Synth Presents stage, we (and everyone else in the room) were blown away by the passion with which they delivered their music. From spiralling synths to striking guitar riffs, their mix of electronic and live instrumentation made for a truly invigorating experience.

Listen to their latest EP, ‘Hindu Milk’, and that on-stage emotion becomes easy to identify with. Comprised of Davey Gwynne, Greg Hurst and Connor Reid, the trio's sound is both introspective and electric, fusing intricate beat patterns with cosmic chords and reflective vocals. The EP’s title track for example, sees Gwynne use a vocoder in a style not so dissimilar to Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’. As the name ‘Machines In Heaven’ would suggest, there is an almost celestial quality to their music, a suggestion that machines have soul.

Also releasing their debut album, ‘Bordersbreakdown’, this year, it would seem that the trio are keen to push their sound forward: "we're experimenting more with sound and vision and are striving to create something unique for both the evolution of our sound and the live show" they tell us. It’s certainly an exciting evolution to witness, and it makes Machines In Heaven one of the most interesting electronic acts Glasgow has to offer.

Check out the 'Hindu Milk EP' below, as well as an interview in which we talk influences, musical experiments and what it was like recording at Red Bull studios with access to some seriously rare synths:

Synth: We were seriously impressed with your performance at Simple Things Festival and particularly loved how much energy you poured into it; does that come naturally with your music when you play live?

MIH: Thanks! We particularly enjoyed Simple Things; the stage at Broadcast, like everywhere else in the city, had a pretty awesome line up so we were really looking forward to playing. We tend to put a lot of energy into the live show because subconsciously we're very into what we're playing! There have been casualties before - laptops falling over, guitars flying around, that sort of thing - but the show must go on, so we've all agreed Connor gets to break out the 25 minute freestyle-jazz solo if we need to fix anything.

Synth: It can be a bit ‘smoke & mirrors’ for some electronic acts, but incorporating guitars and being really active on stage seems to bring your music alive; was it always your intention to combine electronic and live elements?

MIH: Yes, it was really. When we first started it was only supposed to be a studio project as I (Greg) was already in a band and didn't have time to be in another! After a short time though, it was clear the band was taking on a life of its own, so we began to reverse-engineer some early, shambolic live shows.

The very first song we did (‘Divided By Zero', from the LP) mixes ambient synths and breakbeats with acoustic guitar in strange time signatures, so that set the template from the start really - throw every influence into every song. I also love all the DFA productions, particularly the way they mix sampled and live drums, so early on we experimented with a live drummer. It didn't quite work though - live drums have a way of taking over a band's sound, so nowadays we use a sampler!

Synth: You recently recorded an excellent track called ‘Feel Slow’ at London’s Red Bull Studios; what was the experience like? We read you had some one on one time with a rare synth?

MIH: Red Bull was awesome - those guys are lovely and made us feel welcome after the long drive. We were very excited at the prospect of being let loose on such a well equipped studio. And yes, we're synth nerds so we were certainly in our element. There were a few beautiful synths there that we were let loose on actually! Most impressive was a Roland SH-3a, which none of us had ever heard of. It was so old it had all sorts of weird controls we'd never seen before. It was actually capable of manipulating time and matter.

Synth: If we talk a little about your musical influences, were there any artists who you bonded over when you first met? And did any of those influences inform your own music?

MIH: Last year driving to festivals was when we really did the most bonding over music, all thanks to our collective CD wallets! Road trip favourites cover everything from The Kinks, The Stooges, Brian Eno and Beach Boys, to Burial, Rustie, Death Grips, Wu Tang, Lorde and Caribou! We were stuck in traffic somewhere between Inverness and Glasgow for 2 hours, but listening to the whole 36 Chambers album four times meant that it was worth it.

Synth: You released your debut album, ‘Bordersbreakdown’, earlier this year on Hotgem; what was the recording process like? You’re obviously quite an experimental band so how did you find focusing all your ideas onto one record?

MIH: It was done over nearly three years (we'd originally planned for one year) in a makeshift studio in a friend's spare bedroom. Original founder, Graham Crossan, had all the songs bouncing around his head but didn't have a way of getting them recorded the way he wanted. So this is where I and producer Brian Docherty came in. Bit by bit I transcribed melodies into electronic form, assembling the songs as we went. Graham had already written all the music in his head, but I was given complete free reign with sounds, beats and effects. For example, ‘Divided By Zero’ started off as a mainly acoustic song, but went off in a completely different electronic direction when I got my hands on it...

Synth: You recently released a new EP called ‘Hindu Milk’; will you be moving in different directions with you music as we head into 2015?

MIH: Our new EP could come as a surprise as there are noticeably less guitars and it has a synthier feel; the next LP is definitely going to be somewhat darker though. We're experimenting more with sound and vision and are striving to create something unique for both the evolution of our sound and the live show. There will be much more information later on, so keep yer eyes peeled!

Machines In Heaven ‘Hindu Milk EP’ is available now via Hotgem.

Machines In Heaven on Soundcloud
Machines In Heaven on Facebook
Machines In Heaven on Twitter

Nov 18, 2014

RELEASE: Hex – Tin Man/Skitta

Recently celebrating ten years of Glasgow’s premier drum & bass night, Symbiosis resident Hex has been busy in the studio writing an absolute facemelter for Transmission Audio. Scheduled for release in December, ‘Tin Man/Skitta’ goes straight for the jugular with two brutal basslines which hit hard. Sounding like something from a post-apocalyptic dancefloor, both tracks will cause mayhem if dropped at the right time, ripping the soundsystem like a rusty chainsaw. Those with a nervous disposition need not apply.

Hex: “Tin Man is a straight up dancefloor banger with hectic breaks and metallic bass, while Skitta amps up the atmosphere for a rolling drum workout set to a steady, rising reese line. The bassline tooling is a bit of a dark art; it involves some synthesis, some samples, EQ, distortion and patience!”

Hex ‘Tin Man/ Skitta’ is available on Dec 20th via Transmission Audio.

Hex on Soundcloud
Hex on Facebook
Hex on Twitter

Nov 17, 2014

VIDEO: Arm Watches Fingers – Romo Meta

Following the satisfyingly fresh ‘Sensi Cut EP’, one of our favourite new Glasgow producers, Arm Watches Fingers, returns with a short film to accompany unreleased track, ‘Romo Meta’, pushing the boat further out in the process. Directed by Dan Aitken and Robert J Hunter, it depicts a commuter who becomes mentally and physically trapped under a concrete flyover, reduced to a bloody, disorientated mess. The man’s anguish is clear to see, and his suffering is said to represent the abrasive nature of such an imposing environment. Shot over two weeks under Glasgow’s M8 motorway, the video perfectly compliments Arm Watches Finger’s music, with the track’s uncompromising quality reflected in the unnerving images.

Dan and Robert explain:

"The video is an ultraviolent snapshot of a yuppie that's fallen off the production line. Loosely inspired by J.G.Ballards ‘Concrete Island’, it shows a man trapped in his own modernist Hades. We decided to push the amount of information on screen, focusing on the action with our unconventional framing amplifying the relentlessness of the track. Throughout the whole process we worked directly with Alex (Arm Watches Fingers), sending the files back and forth. We did a role-reversal and he created a custom soundtrack for the video’s introduction, transforming the project into more of a short film."

ROMO META - Arm Watches Fingers from Dog Dick Films on Vimeo.

Check out the ‘Romo Meta’ production blog for footnotes, concept art and behind the scenes pictures.

Arm Watches Fingers on Soundcloud
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Arm Watches Fingers on Tumblr

Nov 13, 2014

FEATURE: David Barbarossa’s Top5 From 54

In late 70s New York there was only one place to be on a Saturday night. Hordes of people would gather outside but only a lucky few would get in (handpicked by owner Steve Rubell, no less), and the dancefloor was always heaving. The venue in question is of course Studio 54, and even long after its closure its legacy as one of the most debauched, excessive and influential clubs on the planet still lives on. Regarded as an epicentre for disco at the time, it inadvertently spawned Chic’s megahit ‘Le Freak’, and was the testing ground for some of the biggest tunes of the time (not to mention a playground for the filthy rich and famous).

This Friday night, Subcity Radio intend to recreate some of that unbridled hedonism with a one-off party at Stereo featuring some of the station’s most devoted disco lovers. Featuring the likes of Den Haan and David Barbarossa, we’ve already heard rumours about the planned production, and while we doubt there will be suspicious white powder pumped through the air conditioning system and onto the dancefloor, you can certainly expect a fairly elaborate makeover of Stereo’s basement.

Ahead of the party we tracked down one of Glasgow’s most revered record collectors and DJs, the aforementioned Barbarossa, and asked him to pick five of his favourite Studio 54 floorfillers. Check them out below:


“In 1978 enigmatic Studio 54 DJ Richie Kaczor put together a compilation for Polydor named ‘Steppin' To Our Disco’. He kicked it off with Gloria Gayor’s ‘I Will Survive’, a track he discovered languishing on the B-side of her cover of Clout’s ‘Substitute’ and played religiously until it became the karaoke conquering, wedding-dancefloor-filling disco classic that we all know today. We’ll leave that one there for now though, I don’t think I ever really need to hear it again.

For me the sure-fire smash on the LP is Don Ray’s ‘Got To Have Loving’, a Cerrone produced killer that tears up the party from the off. The message is classic disco (let’s be honest, who doesn’t want more loving?) and the tune is perfect, especially the long instrumental break from the 4 minute mark which gives me goosebumps every single time.”


‘It was night, and suddenly I felt like dancing…
Well I was in and everybody was "travolting"
The fashion queens, the models and the movie stars
Andy snapping
Margaux dancing with Scavullo
Liza dancing on the floor and Bianca walking through the door.’

“Heavy with the sound of dropped names, this camp classic gives you an idea of what went on under the ‘moon with a spoon’ sculpture. I don’t think Amanda was too impressed. A little too saxy for my tastes, but the video certainly gives you few ideas for your outfit and your dance moves.”

‘Who is in, who is out?’


“Jimmy Bo Horne’s ‘Spank’ was undoubtedly a classic at virtually every dance club worth it’s salt. This dubious cover version/bootleg by Began Ceckic (mixed by one of the pioneers of DJ’ing Tee Scott) cuts out all of the vocal and adds plenty of sirens and heavy percussion in its place. Needless to say it’s an improvement. One of the most played records in all my time behind the turntables; you need 2 copies to cut between the A & B sides (both variations on the same theme) for maximum extended pleasure.”


“With their offices initially housed above Studio 54, West End Records was always well placed to be one of the all time classic disco labels. From down-tempo numbers like Taana Gardner’s ‘Heartbeat’ through to teeth-clenching Hi-NRG burners, West End had it all. I could have picked any number of tunes from their catalogue but this one is a current favourite, a sweet message with maximum dancefloor appeal.”


“Whilst Studio 54 was generally known more for the glitz and glamour, and a soundtrack which erred slightly more on the commercial side of disco, I’m lead to believe that this slow electronic sleaze (from the brain of the mighty and mightily underrated King Sporty) was also a big hit under their mirrorball.”

David Barbarossa plays alongside Den Haan, The Shiny Disco Ball and Francis Murphy at Subcity Presents Stereo 54 this Friday at Stereo. Entry is £4/5 otd.

David Barbarossa on Subcity Radio
David Barbarossa on Soundcloud
David Barbarossa on Facebook