Interview for Italian blog sentireascoltare.com

This article has been Google-translated from the original by Tony D’Onghia – apologies for any weirdness in the wording.

Glyn “Bigga” Bush was, with his project Rockers Hi-Fi, one of the protagonists of that musical era that for most of the 90s saw, starting from the United Kingdom, a flourishing of producers and musical formations appropriating the hip hop styles to provide a revised and corrected version, more jazzy now, heavily influenced by dub reggae in other cases or genetically modified through electronic or pop grafts. Call it trip-hop, if you want. From then on Bigga Bush has signed countless other jobs for labels such as Stereo Deluxe and Lion Head, or by publishing under a pseudonym in some cases – Lightning Head, Dandelion Set, Magic Drum Orchestra – but always drawing from their musical roots and giving them homage. The recent release of his intriguing album Sunken Foal Stories, as well as the imminence of a new release for his side-project Magic Drum Orchestra, have prompted us to contact him to learn something more. Here’s what Glyn told us.

Surely some of our readers will remember you for your experience in Rockers Hi-fi. Would you tell us something about your beginnings, about your love for reggae and dub and how your adventure started in that band?

To talk about my beginnings you have to go back to the early 70s, when I discovered my love for records … I remember that the first record that had a big impact on me was a 45 laps of The Who, probably The Ox or Pinball Wizard. I remember perfectly what I felt while I stared hypnotized that piece of vinyl that turned on a Dansette – a typical turntable of that era, mono, with an automatic loading system for which you could put one on top of the other discs that you he wanted to listen in sequence – and how, while I was listening to that rough sound coming out of the speaker, I found myself thinking, “I want more of this stuff!” Later in the decade I learned how to play guitar and I started listening to John Peel’s programs on the radio, and that’s where I came to discover reggae and dub for the first time. More generally, the broad spectrum of musical genres that Peel included in his programs – especially bands like Faust and Henry Cow, but also the more conventionally rock ones – represented the beginning of my musical education, up to 1976, year in which I formed my first band together with some classmates.

In 1978 I moved to Birmingham, immediately getting excited for the local post-punk scene, starting to compose compact and angular songs and playing with other non-musicians in the band The DeGoTees. Throughout the 80s I continued to found and play in local bands, and in about 1988 I started working on sampling and MIDI. After a while I started working as a DJ in the local scene, and that’s where I met DJ Dick and, after having chatted about music, I started making music with the Original Rockers moniker – a name taken from an album of Augustus Pablo. At the beginning trying to produce house music, trying to simply copy stuff that we heard around. At one point, however, it occurred to us to sample dub discs, for the incredible sounds they had and for the parts that were well suited to be ricliclate. Push Push was the second song we made, in that production all our influences were put in the foreground, especially through the vocal champion Johnny Osbourne we had taken from Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires. That was a great club success and led us to sign a contract with Island Records, and at that point our name changed to Rockers Hi Fi, at the request of Augustus Pablo himself.

Manufacturers like Kruder & Dorfmeister and Thievery Corporation were great fans of Rockers Hi-Fi. Songs like Push Push and What a Life have become hits. What memories do you have of that period, right in the middle of the so-called trip hop era?

That success turned out to be a kind of double-edged sword. Island Records evidently had an interest in contracting only one trip hop artist, and that was Tricky, so he downloaded us only a year later. But of that period I have a special memory, just the first time I listened to Kruder & Dorfmeister, during my first trip to the United States in 1994, at a club in San Francisco. Original Bedroom Rockers … that piece completely kidnapped me. I am convinced that that EP, entitled G Stoned, is still unmatched.

The mix signed by Rockers Hi-Fi for the DJ-Kicks series is still considered one of the best of that period, combining dub, downtempo and drum & bass. Would you tell us something about that experience?

I remember well those sessions. At that time we had a studio above a musical instrument store in Birmingham and we used to start working in the evening, after opening some Red Stripe and entering the night mood. Dick had put the set together, Farda P was at the microphone and I was responsible for the dubs and the mixing. Everything went spontaneously, it seems to me that the version that was published was the second one we recorded. But that was how we used to play live – as we said at the time “Decks n FX” – so we used to practice that kind of session.

Looking back to things in retrospect, do not you think that after three excellent albums, the Hi-Fi Rockers deserved better luck and the same level of success that other artists of that period have achieved? Perhaps coming from Birmingham rather than the celebrated Bristol did not help you …

All in all, it did not go too badly at the European level, and especially in Germany, even if it was a shame not to be able to make us better known in the United Kingdom. I do not know if it was some sort of prejudice against us in Birmingham, or if things would have been different if we had come rather from London … that was how things were then.

Among your records as a soloist made since the late 90s, what is the one you are most fond of?

I am proud of every one, even though I think my best work is what I will produce in the future.

You recently released an album called Sunken Foal Stories. For this work you have almost completely abandoned the beats based approach, typical of your music, to focus on the atmospheres and textures created by the samples you have chosen and reassembled. Would you tell us something about it?

I’ve always been on the lookout for interesting records and over time I’ve put together a decent collection with the intent of doing something, one day … easy listening album, stereo system test, strange folk records obviously bought by someone during the holidays in Greece or Turkey, after falling in love with the places visited. Disks bought as souvenirs by people who then forgot them and left somewhere to take dust. It is also noted by the fact that many of these albums are still in perfect condition, ie never been played.

Can you tell us about the process of creating and recording this particular album and the way you chose the samples to loop and overlap?

Over the course of a couple of months I worked intensively on the new album of my project Magic Drum Orchestra, titled The DNA of Rhythm and released by Tru Thoughts, so for all this time in my ears I had only beats, beats and more beats , everyday. I felt the natural need to compose some more quiet music, to make the ears and the brain rest a bit, and I spontaneously came up with the idea of ​​pulling out two or three records and finding something quite random. to be sampled quickly. Something that, once extracted from the original context and looped, could sound intriguing. A particular change in tone, an instrumental passage that is not very successful. So starting from two or three samples, in about twenty minutes I had a song ready, simply following the inspiration of the moment and what the chosen sounds pointed to me. I continued to work with this method until I had thirty minutes of music, according to my intention divided into fifteen minutes for each side of a vinyl album. Some traces could be more properly defined edits, where only one original sample was cut at different points and reassembled. In others I have combined samples taken from different sources and looped one superimposed on the other. All this by trusting only my ears, in a spontaneous and natural way. This process has taught me to keep my ears open and accept a certain degree of randomness in the production of my music, rather than purposely seek the elements that can “work” in combination with each other. And this also applies to the material I’m composing at the moment, more based on rhythm. You can listen to something about this creative process here:

Speaking of the more beats oriented aspect of your music. As you have already mentioned, you have also returned to your project Magic Drum Orchestra, with an album from which it was taken as a single a particular version of the classic of the jungle Original Nuttah …

Yes, I always enjoyed trying to cover the most different songs. The first was Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot, which has always been a great success every time we performed it live. Nuttah is a classic song that seems to have been created to be reinterpreted. I like to put something original and unexpected in the covers, hence the decision to give the vocalist Bundy a feminine perspective to the text. The next step was to reconstruct the bass line and the rhythm with the instruments used by the Magic Drum Orchestra. The original song is very Spartan, it is not a typical jungle piece, since it is only made up of a beat, without particular edits or cuts – which is what I generally prefer – and then a bass line, voice and that particular and distinctive sound that I recreated thanks to a Tibetan cup.

To conclude, would you tell us something about your plans for the rest of 2018?

I’m working on a version of Sunken Foal Stories, which also includes beats, extending the life of the originals, developing them more musically. Trying to bring them back to the essence of dub. I am also producing electro pieces under the pseudonym Elektrassassin. In the meantime I’m always looking for old and new music for my weekly podcast, which you can listen to on his Soundcloud. And I’m trying to play the guitar more!

6th July 2018 by Tony D’Onghia

Sunken Foal Stories – new album from Glyn Bigga Bush

The new LP from BiggaBush is out now on Lion Head Recordings/Schamoni Musik, available on bandcamp and at all good record stores.

Here’s a review from the Wire:

GBB_Wire_Jun18

and some reactions from listeners:

“21st century cultural decay meets alice in wonderland”

“These pieces are of a time, a time that is not now, a time stumbled upon, a cinematic flashback”

“a disconcerto, soundtracking the hive-mind’s motion picture dreamtime”

“Percussive phonics seduce and unnerve. Space crackle and serenade into dub-beats, Maxwell-esque”

Listen to the story of Sunken Foal Stories on soundcloud and check out this radio interview with Glyn talking about the album and his history with Rockers Hi Fi, Lightning Head and the Magic Drum Orchestra.

Track listing:

SIDE A
band one 3.33
stories
cairo wonk
ballache mansions
band two 3.15
jazz pact
feelin dank
industrial giant colour
band three 4.12
theme from tincleton now
man next door
band four 4.17
now there’s pain
art slab

SIDE B
band one 3.38
teahead of time
western monk
band two 3.29
carnaby st caper
gongs2go
turnintuit
band three 3.34
bontempi ventures
speltre flecks
band four 3.55
kitten kindred
zvuk poisk
cimbolism
band five 1.10
baked tapes

BBDig#13/Podcast 15

01 Ursula K Le Guin & Todd Barton – Heron Dance

02 Cavern of Antimatter – Malfunction

03 System Error – Are You Sure

04 Michael Bundt – La Chasse Aux Microbes

05 Kraftwerk – The Man Machine

06 Aphex Twin – Cheeta2 ms800

07 Roxy Music – Ladytron (1971 demo)

08 Sambaybamba – Shatner’s Bassoon

09 MDO – Scree Rider

10 The Mattson 2 – Beach Trance (from Vaults of Eternity – Japan)

11 Andre Previn – America

12 Diplo – Krunk (Variation 2)

13 Ventoux – Afro Blue in 5

14 Sandoz – King Dread

15 Karl Bryan & the Afrokats – Money Generator

This Saturday (7.4.18) at Spiritland – BiggaBush on the decks

Come and hear BiggaBush on the incredible Spiritland sound system in Kings Cross, London…playing a 5 hour vinyl set ranging from Miles Davis to David Axelrod to krautrock to electronica to hip hop to dub to Bigga productions such as Rockers Hi Fi, Lighting Head, Magic Drum Orchestra and more…

You can also hear an exclusive preview of the new album from Glyn Bigga Bush –  Sunken Foal Stories, released on Lion Head Recordings/Schamoni Musik in May 2018.

Admisson free.  20:00 till 01:00.

Podcast 14

Hear it on soundcloud

01 Basil Kirchin – The Dice Is Cast

02 Jesse Fischer/Sly 5th Avenue – Vein Melter

03 Radioactive Man – Steve Chop

04 Henry Greenleaf – Six

05 Bigga Productions – Beat Four

06 The Electromagnetic Azoth – The Left Hand of Nothingness (edit)

07 Khruangbin – Lady & Man

08 The Magic Band – Your Love Brought Me To Life (instrumental)

09 DJ Fulgeance & The Scientist – Imperialist Monsters

10 Stig of the Dump ft. Rag & Bone Man – She

11 Elektrassassin – Untitled

12 Thundercat – 3AM

13 Electric Prunes – General Confessional

14 Moondog – Oo Solo

15 Muhavishla Ravi Hatched – Bombay Palace Part 1

16 King Geedorah – Krazy World

Podcast Twelve

Podcast Twelve on soundcloud

01 Steve Gray – Go For Broke

02 Nico Gomez &His Afro Percussion Inc – Ritual

03 The Residents – Boo Who?

04 Can – Oscura Primavera

05 Tangerine Peel – Trapped

06 Amon Duul II – Soap Shop Rock (ext)

07 Deerhoof – The Perfect Me

08 Thee Oh Cees – Transparent World

09 Madlib Invazion mixed by J Rocc (ext)

10 J Dilla – Make It Fast (unadulterated Mix feat Diz Gibran)

11 Madlib – Rock Konducta (Exts from Side A/Side B)

12 Captain Beyond – A Thousand Days of Yesterday

13 Todd Rundgren – International Feel

14 Paul Bonneau – Univers Sideral

15 Olivier Messiaen – Chant d’Amour 1 (ext)

16 The Jimi Entley Sound – Charlie’s Theme

17 Amon Duul II – Halluzination Guillotine

18 Jefferson Airplane – Today (Diplo beat-up)

19 The Free Design – Harve Daley Hix (Stereolab remix)

20 Gorillaz – Welcome to the Plastic Beach

21 MF DOOM – Tick Tock

22 Glyn Bigga Bush – Baked Beats

Originally broadcast as BBDig#9.

BiggaBush Podcast Three

 

 

 

We kick off with a piece from Space, Energy & Light Experimental Electronic and Acoustic Soundscapes 1961 – 88, as ever a beautifully researched and packaged collection of synthesiser explorations from Sounds of the Universe, who also give us a couple of tunes from their excellent Soul of A Nation album.  Steve Reich gets a both a reggae treatment from Jimi Tenor and the hypnotic sound of a blackbird singing ever more slowly from Chris Hughes Shift album.

A quick trawl though John Peel’s archive (see Podcast Two) inspired Kidkanevil on First Word Recordings.

Can offer 7″ worth of pleasure from their fine Singles LP – a brief tribute to the late Holger Czukay who died earlier in 2017.

Lalo Schifrin is a favourite film composer and I have very fond memories of watching Mission Impossible as a kid and loving the incidental music, especially those extended snare and flute pieces…which I still haven’t been able to track down, but Bower Hotel catches the vibe.  Also on the soundtrack front is a piece from The Prisoner soundtrack – another fave from my 60s TV watching days.

There are a couple of tracks from my “Sunken Foal Stories” project which is due out sometime in 2018 (pressing plants willing). This started off as an idea to grab two of three records at random from my collection and sample short sections with the idea of working quickly and with no specific idea of an overall sound or direction.  Inevitably I started applying some sort of filters almost immediately and I was drawn towards charity shop and carboot albums, obscure foreign albums, spoken word and jazz stuff.  Tracks took on a life of their own and within four weeks I had the basis of the whole album – short tracks, uneven length loops, odd juxtapositions, a very cinematic feel….I sent an early draft to Schamoni who released the Melody & Electronics EP in 2017 and they got it straight away, hence the release plans.

Lisa Carbon is an alias of Atom TM – well worth checking out his prodigious output, especially as Senor Coconut.

Designer Julian House puts on his Focus Group hat for another bonkers collection of strange sounds, tape glitches and easy listening samples.  His redesign of the Ghost Box website is also well worth a look, as are all his sleeve designs for Broadcast and Stereolab.

Another Nahid Akhtar track found its way into the mix, just can’t get enough of her Bollywood stylings at the moment.

I found the Gordon Beck album “Experiments With Pops” in a great record shop in nearby Bridport and felt compelled to share this amazing version of the Beach Boys classic.  It also features a very young John McLaughlin tearing up and down the fretboard.

 

 

 

 

 

We end with a Sun Ra cover played by probably the most amazing big band I’ve ever seen, the Spatial AKA Orchestra, put together by Jerry Dammers with a huge lineup, two bassists, timps, 18-piece brass section, drums, percussion, vibes and the wonderful Zoe Rahman on Fender Rhodes.  This track was recorded from a Later with Jools Holland broadcast and to date the band sadly have not put out any studio recordings.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for listening and feel free to comment.

Podcast Three tracklisting

01 Carl Matthews – As Above, So Below

02 Kidkanevil – A Love That’s Worth Sampling

03 Phil Ranelin – Vibes From the Tribe

04 Jimi Tenor/Steve Reich – Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices & Organ

05 Can – Shikako Manu Ten

06 Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble – Malcolm X

07 Lalo Schifrin – Bower Hotel

08 Glyn Bigga Bush – Teahead of Time

09 Lisa Carbon – Space Oddity

10 Chris Hughes – Slow Motion Blackbird

11 The Focus Group – New Toytown Walk

12 M. Ashraf feat. Nahid Akhtar – Dilbar Dilbara

13 Gordon Beck Quartet – Good VIbrations

14 Ariel Kalma – Zdunkska Wola

15 Prisoner OST – Mini Moke & Speedboat Escape

16 Glyn Bigga Bush – The Tincleton Now

17 Spatial AKA – Soul Vibrations of Man

The BiggaBush Podcast – Episode One

Hear on soundcloud or Tunein:

Podcast One Tracklisting:

01 Celio Balona – Tema de Batman    date unknown Bemol

02 Meat Beat Manifesto – Radio Mellotron    1996 Nothing

03 Keith Mansfield – Statement 2 – Fanfare 1970 KPM

04 Brad Smith – Breathe (from Moon8 bit) 2010 (not on label)

05 Easy Star All Stars – On the Run 2003 Easy Star Records

06 Plug – 7.44 1996 Blue Angel

07 The Pops – Som Imaganario De Jimmi Hendrix 2010 Tropicalia In Furs

08 Meat Beat Manifesto – Prime Audio Soup (Vegetarian Soup remix by Boards of Canada) 1998 Nothing

09 Talc – Robot’s Return 1997 Wah Wah 45s

10 Luke Vibert/Jean Jacques Perrey – Ye Olde Beatbox 1997 Lo Recordings

11 La Formule du Baron – La Gigouille 1971 CBS

12 Francis Monkman – Daredevil 1978 Bruton

13 Frank Zappa – How Did That Get In Here? (extr.) 1967 Zappa

14 HP Lovecraft II – At the Mountains of Madness (extr.) 1968 Phillips

15 The Residents – Hello Skinny 1978 Ralph

16 Thee Oh Cees – Always Flying 2012 Castle Face

17 Cluster – Heisse Lippen 1974 Brain

18 Cavern of Anti-Matter – Irradiated Dream Mouth 2013 Grautag

19 The Residents – Beyond the Valley of A Day in the Life/Swastikas on Parade (extr.) 1976 Ralph

20 Magma – “Iss” Lanseï Doïa (extr.) 1971 Phillips

21 Pink Floyd – Jugband Blues 1968 Columbia

The BiggaBush Podcast – Episode Zero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An irregular hour of irreverent tunage….hear here

Podcast Zero Tracklist:

01 Al Hirt – Theme from THE Cat (RCA Victor) 1966

02 The Mattson 2 – Dif Juz (Um Yeah Arts) 2014

03 Henry Cow – Upon Entering the Hotel Adlon (extr.) (Virgin) 1974

04 Christian Scott – The Eraser (Concord Jazz) 2010

05 Karl Hector & the Malcouns – Leealeh (Now Again) 2015

06 Mort Stevens – The Long Wait (Capitol) 1969

07 Environments – The Pacific Ocean (Syntonic Research Inc) 1979

08 Marais & Miranda – Introduction to Nature Study (extra.) (Motivation Records)

09 Faust – Meer (alt.) (ReR Megacorp) 1973

10 Morgan Delt – The Age of the Birdman (Sub Pop) 2016

11 The Bad Plus – Iron Man (Columbia) 2004

12 Hailu Mergia & the Walias – Woghenei (Awesome Tapes From Africa) 1977

13 Suely E Os Kantikus – Esperanto (Phillips) 1968

14 Deerhoof – Life Is Suffering (Polyvinyl) 2016

15 Inner Ear Brigade – Too Good To Be True (Altrock) 2012

16 The Homosexuals – The Birds Have Risen (Black Noise) 1982

17 Kali Uchis – Chimichanga (Not on label) 2012

18 Anthony Braxton Creative Orchestra Cut Two (extr.) (Arista) 1976/Faust – Party 1 (ReR) 1973

19 Mahapurush Misra – Roopak-Tai (extr.) (Connoisseur Society) 1966

20 Norma Taneiga – A Street That Rhymes at 6am (Stateside) 1966

21 Black Moth Super Rainbow – Untitled Roadside Demo (Graveface) 2007

22 Eno – Blank Frank (Island) 1973

23 Brian Eno – King’s Lead Hat (Polydor) 1977

previously aired as Continuous Play Episode 5

 

Continuous Play Episode 11 with BiggaBush

Hear on mixcloud

01 Wagon Christ – Reedin (Redone) (extr.)

02 Johnny Darkos – Wargames

03 Madlib – Cue 5 (from Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton)

04 Fid Mella – Henny

05 Ursula Rucker – Electric Santeria

06 Turn On – Delimiting

07 Ariel Kalma – Ba-Tu-Kalma

08 Dit + Uta – Science Fiction Park Bundesrepublik

09 Kairon: IRSE! – Valorians

10 Blood Wine or Honey – The Young Ones

11The Auteurs vs µ-zik – Underground Movies

12 Elly & Rikkert – Heksenkring

13 OST Viva (extr.)

14 Albert Marcoeur – Appalderie

15 Ma Dukes Orchestra – Take Notice

16 Schnauser – Justice

17 Julius Vanderbilt – Passage to Cairo

18 Keith Mansfield – Rainbow Valley

19 Stereolab – Chemical Chords

20 Z.S.K.A. – La Surete Nr 3

21 Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone