Jul112018| July 11, 2018
The storied after-hours venue that helped birth house and techno.
Detroit Sound Conservancy has launched a campaign to resurrect the original sound system from Club Heaven.
Open from 1984 through 1994, the venue became an epicentre for Detroit’s burgeoning house and techno scene, and a haven for the LGBTQ community.
“If the speakers could tell stories, when you walked into the building you felt the sound in your body. Your shirt, bra, hair follicles, everything,” explains longtime Heaven attendee Damon “Magic” Percy.
“As soon as you walked into that room you were encapsulated by a wall of sound.”
After sitting unused in a basement for 20 years, the set-up was gifted to DSC by legendary Detroit producers Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson.
“Heaven’s sound system was remarkable and Ken Collier worked it. The treble speakers jutted from the club’s ceiling and the bass bins — the famous “earthquakes” — were situated at floor level,” shares the Metro Times in an article about the storied club.
“The results, according to longtime Detroit DJ Norm Talley, were “ferocious,” as Collier would tweak the highs, and drop the bass out completely before kicking them in at peak moments.”
The Kickstarter campaign funding will go toward restoring damage caused by flooding and mould.
Head here for more info on DSC’s Club Heaven Kickstarter which runs through 9th August.
(Photos by Christopher Cushman.)
Sep082017| September 8, 2017
Putting the spotlight on female sound system operators for the first time.
Let’s Play Vinyl, a new photography exhibition launching in October 2017, is exploring the current generation of reggae sound systems across the UK, and bringing long overdue recognition to female sound system operators who are driving the scene forward.
“The rich history of UK sound systems from the 1950s to the 1990s has been widely documented in books, films, documentaries and exhibitions, but little has been recorded about the new generation of sound systems.”
Let’s Play Vinyl “uses portraiture and interviews to shine a light on some of these new, more diverse, sound systems, which are pushing through the traditions of reggae and vinyl.”
“At dances, men often say: ‘What are you doing with those records?’ It feels fabulous to shock them,” says April ‘Rusty Rebel’ Grant, operator of Birmingham’s Rebel Rock sound.
LPV will also include an “interactive sound installation, consisting of a custom-built sound system, turntable, Matamp Super Nova mixer/preamp, Matamp Quasar amplifiers and Fane loudspeakers, alongside a series of participatory workshops on how to build your own system, how to DJ, and more.
The exhibition launches in Leicester on Saturday 14th October 2017 through Friday 24th November at Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester.
Head here for more info and check out the exhibition dates below.
Let’s Play Vinyl exhibition tour dates:
Leicester: Saturday 14th October 2017 – Friday 24th November at Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester.
London: Wednesday 10th January – Monday 12th February 2018 at Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths University of London,
Birmingham: Wednesday 21t March – Thursday 5th April 2018 at Parkside Building, Birmingham City University.
Huddersfield: Thursday 10th May – Friday 29th June 2018 at Creative Arts Building, University of Huddersfield.
Photo credit: Elliot Baxter.
Sep072017| September 7, 2017
Cut your own records.
A mint condition Vestax VRX-2000 Vinyl Recorder is being sold on eBay.
According to seller chintheo535, who has 100% positive feedback from 293 ratings: “I bought this writer several years ago now with the intention of using it in my studio for making dubplates and scratch records but never got round to it. When I bought it I paid a high price but I knew it was good and had very little use.”
Bidding is currently at £726.00, with 8 days left. The cash only item is available for UK collection only.
Aug042017| August 4, 2017
The London venue is hitting the road.
From a small corner of Kingsland Road to a festival near you, the folks behind Brilliant Corners have teamed up with the Analogue Foundation to roll their caravan of soul to Houghton festival next week for the first iteration of their new Giant Steps sound system.
Demoed at Farr Festival last month, the sound system is built around a repurposed vintage BBC Technics turntable console, similar to the one sold on eBay earlier this year.
Embedded with a set of fully suspended Technics SP10 MK2s, the console is paired with four custom stacks, combining Japanese TAD bass speakers with classic Klipsch La Scalas for what is the most refined festival sound system around.
“The aim is to create an atmosphere of freedom, comfort and togetherness, so that sounds travel straight into the hearts and souls of the dancers,” brothers Aneesh and Amit say.
At Houghton the rig will be manned by a rolling cast of like-minded selectors playing round the clock from 6pm on Thursday 10th August til 4am on Monday 14th. Expect to see Ben UFO, Floating Points, Hunee, Donna Leake, Chuggy and more pass through over the course of the weekend.
Jul072017| July 7, 2017
The ultimate festival sound system?
You’d be forgiven for thinking a bar that opens onto Kingsland Road might not be the best place to find one of London’s premiere sound systems and listening spaces. Buffered by a low lit counter, the back room at Brilliant Corners – Japanese restaurant in the evening, dance floor at night – has, for almost four years now, been just that.
A refined programme of DJs soundtrack the space every evening, invited to play on a sound system that (we imagine) feels like the equivalent of driving a finely tuned Rolls after a lifetime stalling in a second-hand Skoda. Technics SL1210s, top of the range Audio Technica cartridges, a Bozak rotary mixer and four Klipschorns, tucked discretely into every corner of the room. The beauty of Brilliant Corners is its simplicity.
For the second year now, brothers Aneesh and Amit are taking the Brilliant Corners experience on the road. Hosting a stage at Sunfall in London last year, the duo have this year put together a sound system which they will debut at Farr Festival located in a 200-person repurposed yoga tent (spiritual vibes guaranteed).
The four stacks pack have rare Japanese TAD bass speakers mounted in custom cabinets (made by Tom Smith of Cosmic Slop for Floating Points) with Klipsch La Scalas on top – variants on the Klipschorns in so far as they don’t need to be put in the corner.
As Amit says, there are various modifications to the set up because “it doesn’t necessarily make sense to use the same sound system as Brilliant Corners in an outside space.”
The most obvious modification being the DJ set up. A nigh on identical version of the BBC Technics turntable unit that sold on eBay earlier this year for close to £8,000, the pair acquired their own console before that, which will be the centre-piece of the sound system.
“Whether this sounds better than a DJ mixer with modified turntables I don’t know,” Amit says, “but it definitely sounds good and it’s everything in one. The turntables fully suspended so you don’t need to think about isolation, and they’re Technics SP10 MK2s which were built to broadcast standard.”
“The budget for funding the best unit for sound reproduction at that time must have been different to what they do now,” Aneesh adds. “It seems the BBC spared no expense in making it the best. The phono stage is custom made with discrete circuitry and it even has rack-mounted Technics external power-supplies inside.”
So you can forget your makeshift windbreakers and turntable dampeners, but what about actually mixing records? “It looks like you can blend one channel into another, but you can’t actually do that so we had to modify it slightly,” Aneesh says. “I think most people will be quite excited to try it and it’s fun to bring something like this to a festival setting.
“The SP10s didn’t have pitch controls but they custom made the pitch controls here as well and it goes up by increments so it might make it a little bit harder to mix, which is not necessarily a bad thing.” Amit and Aneesh grin. When it comes to sound, they never cut corners.
See the Brilliant Corners Sound System in action at Farr Festival, 13th-15th July.
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16-18 Marshall Street
London W1F 7BE
Registered in England and Wales under no. 04184222.