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

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 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 Five

Podcast Five

01Intro

02 Stanton Walgrave – Another Suburban Romance (ext)

03 Henry Cow – Nirvana for Mice (ext)

04 Schnauser – As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still

05 Bubbha Thomas And The Lightmen Plus One – The Phantom

06 Sun Ra – The Antique Blacks

07 Dorothy Ashby – Cause I need It

08 Mustapha Ozkent – Karadir Kara

09 Pearly Queen – Quit Jivin

10 Annette Peacock – Survival (ext)

11 Madlib – The String (Heavy Jones)/Two For Pay Jay

12 Herbie Hancock – Party People

13 Anthony Braxton – Five Pieces 1975, No 3

14 The Slits – Face Place/Face Dub

15 Jimi Tenor – Better Than Ever

16 Blockhead – A Better Place (edit)

17 Sun Ra – Sleeping Beauty (ext)

18 Arthur Verocai – Queimadas

19 Yesterdays New Quintet – The Horse

20 Dick Hyman – Give It Up Or Turn Turn It Loose

21 Mulatu Astatke – Asiyo Belema

22 Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me

23 Letta Mbulu – Pula Yetla

BiggaBush Podcast Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one I made earlier….about a week ago as it happens so there are some new bits and pieces, blips on the radar, as well as tracks from way back.  I had a fruitful trip to the excellent Centre for Better Grooves in Bristol which turned up both the Lalo Schifrin/Black Dog thing for a quid plus a nice copy of Hugh Hopper‘s first solo album 1984 – one of those records I’d always wanted to get but never quite found at the right price until now.

On another digging trip in Nottingham recently I heard some of the James Holden album in Forever Records, another great little shop where I picked up the Nahid Akhtar LP, feeding my ongoing obsession with totally bonkers film music from the Indian subcontinent, on the excellent Finders Keepers label.

Both the Mr. Thing, Ras G and J Rocc tracks were all sourced in a similar way; Mr Thing being allowed to visit the John Peel archive and plunder sounds to his heart’s delight for First Word Records and the others being part of a dublab project in which four producers were each given 5 dollars to spend on 5 records each and then come up with a track.

See how they did it here.

Then there’s a clip from an amazing film soundtrack:  The London Road tells the story of a murder investigation in Ipswich, told through verbatim transcriptions of interviews with local people and reporters, so their words are turned into musical phrases and often sung by a huge chorus.

No time to detail all the tracks here but please feel free to comment and ask about anything.

Podcast Two tracklisting:

01 Mr. Thing – Higher (First Word 2016)

02 Simon Park – I am the Walrus (EMI 1974)

03 Lalo Schifrin – Bullitt (Mini Driver Jam by the Black Dog) (Warner 1997)

04 The Invaders – Spacing Out (Duane 1970)

05 Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork – Cellular Material (Extract from The London Road OST)

06 Hugh Hopper – Minipax 1 (CBS 1973)

07 Snakefinger – Living In Vain (Ralph 1980)

08 Lenny Bruce – To Come (Douglas 1970)

09 Sun Ra – Thunder of the Gods (Modern Harmonic 2017)

10 Testbild – Friendly Noise Theme

11 Brian Cant – Mr Farthing’s Song

12 Nahid Akhtar – Sheeshy Ki Botal (FInders Keepers 2017)

13 Ras G – Untitled (Dublab 2009)

14 John Stuart Anderson – extract from Dracula’s Guest (Studio2Stereo 1968)

15 Mike Westbrook Orchestra – Metropolis Part V (RCA 1971)

16 James Holden & The Animal Spirits – Each Moment Like the First (Border Community 2017)

17 Whitefield Brothers – Breakin’ Through (Now-Again 2009)

18 Abstract Orchestra – King (ATA 2017)

19 J Rocc – Untitled (Dublab 2009)

20 Johnny, Earl & Jenny – Dub Street Version (Studio One 1982)

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

BiggaBush presents Continuous Play Episode 9

Listen on mixcloud

01 Tonto’s Expanding Headband – Cybernaut

02 Faust – Exercise With Voices (extr.)

03 Dick Hyman – The Topless Dancers of Corfu

04 Schnauser – There’s A Fist

05 Ice – The Ice Man

06 Unknown

07 The Residents – Boo Who?

08 Ex Ovo Pro – It’s Raining In My House

09 Julius Vanderbilt – Danger In Movement

10 Gordon Staples and the String Thing – Strung Out

11 Com Os Falceos Reais – Ele Seculo

12 Sun Ra – The Night of the Purple Moon

13 Broadcast – Microtronics 12

14 Dimlite & El Dubio – Searching It

15 Dangerdoom feat. Taleb Kwali – Old School

16 Flying Lizards – Her Story

17 Amon Duul II – Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse

18 Tame Impala – Expectation

19 Soft Machine – Love Makes Sweet Music

 

 

 

The Dandy Hour Episode 11

The Dandy Hour Episode 11 by Thedandelionset on Mixcloud

01 The Dandelion Set – Game Plan
02 The Dandelion Set – The Third Programme
03 John Barry – 007 & Counting
04 Minny Pops – Kojak
05 Diplo – Sarah
06 Cecil Leuter & Georges Teperino – Electro Sounds No 8
07 Visitors – Visitors
08 Egg – Long Piece No 3 Part 2
09 Casualties of Jazz – Luke’s Wall/War Pigs
10 Flaming Lips – Are You A Hypnotist?
11 Schnauser – I Wuv You Mummy
12 Jon Poole – Swim My Own Blood
13 Bigga Productions – Cyclogyro
14 Lisa Carbon – Dry Clean America
15 Suicide – Rocket USA
16 Craig Armstrong – Starless II