A Thousand Beautiful Things: Inside the Blu Mar Ten albums

“Musically it’s the same button we’ve been pressing since day one, trying to find that particular and delicate place between sadness and hope. We rarely find it, exactly, but we come close sometimes. It’s like what they say about jazz players, always trying to find the ‘lost chord’ …” Interview for UKF, November 2016.

Blu Mar Ten album covers

Blu Mar Ten album covers

A common trait among music fans is their ability to recollect little details regarding their musical icons. A series of coincidences and seemingly unrelated events acquire a whole different gravity in hindsight. Although I firmly believe in the maxim “Don’t meet your heroes”, happily enough, meeting Blu Mar Ten has been a distinct exception to the rule and I feel quite honoured to have known them in person and consider them friends.

I accidentally discovered Blu Mar Ten in 1996 and I have closely followed their musical career path ever since. Their sophisticated approach, art and literature connotations, eclectic taste and cinematic aesthetics have never ceased to amaze me. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their discography debut, Blu Mar Ten recently released their 7th studio album entitled ‘Empire State’. What follows is a retrospective, but not exhaustive account of their career from my biased perspective, emphasizing on releases, which I have associated with fond memories and have had a profound impact on me; an array of reminiscences printed on vinyl grooves. Browsing through my record collection, I also present my personal highlights from each LP, instead of a track-by-track review, trying also to deduce and identify their creative influences. This is essentially my own perception and an attempt to capture the essence of the album narratives, which is completely arbitrary and probably nowhere near Blu Mar Ten’s actual vision and purpose. Nonetheless, I believe that the value of an artistic product is to create different emotions, thoughts and interpretations.

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Count To Ten: Nookie

Nookie

Undoubtedly one of the leading lights in the Drum & Bass scene, Nookie (aka Cloud 9, Freddy Fudpukker, Main Attraction, Private Productions, Second Vision, Traces Of Guilt and Windy Milla) is London Herts dj, producer, artist and remixer Gavin Cheung.

Nookie is a true veteran of the drum & bass scene, whilst at the same time one of its most forward thinking protagonists. With dozens of releases on key labels such as Reinforced, Moving Shadow, Labello Blanco, Penny Black, Good Looking and his own Strictly Digital and Phuzion, almost a hundred remixes and five albums under his belt, Nookie has been one of the most prolific drum and bass producers keeping a perfect balance between quality and quantity.

An early fan of hip-hop and electro, Gavin Cheung was a member of a break-dance crew that also recorded several sessions during the mid-’80s. After studying for several years, he began working in a record store around the time of the acid-house explosion of the late ’80s. Debuting on wax with a ragga/hip-hop remix of Ninjaman’s “Zig It Up” in 1990, Cheung was a proper player in Britain’s growing hardcore techno scene of the early ’90s. Continue reading