RIP Mark Bell. Thanks for all the wonderful music.
RIP Mark Bell. Thanks for all the wonderful music.
It has been a while since Nigel Peake has published a little zine or book. I guess that isn’t true as his book, In The City, came out just before Christmas last year. Anyway, Places, is a new book that features illustrations of different places in the world. It is published by the Japanese Zine shop Utrecht. You can either buy it from Utrecht, or Nigel has some for sale in his online store.
I first heard this song on the Psychonauts mix for the Breezeblock. It took me a while to find out what it was. It’s great.
This month’s guest top tens are all from people who used to post on the Mo’Wax forum back in the day.The idea for this came about from James Lavelle’s Meltdown festival earlier this year and also the Urban Archaeology book. I tried to get in touch with as many as possible that I could remember. Here they are:
1 The Art Of War: Who Dares Wins
2 DJ Shadow – High Noon
3 Bubbatunes – This is Just a Dance
4 DJ Krush – Meiso LP
5 Eye for an Eye Kubricks
6 RPM – Food Of My De-Rhythm
7 Celestial Annihation Picture Disc
8 DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 1, 3+4) (10″, Promo, S/Sided, Blue)
9 Deborah Anderson – Lonely Without You (Pink 12″)
10 Nigo – March Of The General (Chicken Lips Conquest Dub / DJ Format Remix)
UNKLE PSYENCE FICTION LP
DJ SHADOW NUMBER SONG CUT CHEMIST REMIX
VARIOUS – NOW THING LP
MONEY MARK LEGITIMATE POP SONGS 7″
DAVID AXELROD ‘ David Axelrod’ LP
HEADZ 1 LP
MAJOR FORCE 12″ (the one with Mugen on it…)
LA FUNK MOB ‘Tribulations extra sensrielles’ 12″
INNERZONE ‘Big in the Bassbin’ 12″
DR OCTAGON ‘Blue Flowers’ 12″
DJ KRUSH ‘Strictly Turntablized’ [MW025] 1994
I’m pretty sure this was the first Mo’Wax record I bought. I picked up a load around the same time, but I’m almost certain this was the first one and it’s pretty apt that it was. As soon as I heard “Kemuri” I knew I needed it and I’ve picked up pretty much everything Krush has done since.
DR OCTAGON ‘Ecologyst’ [MW046] 1996
I had been buying hip-hop since I was 10, first picking up on the Inspector Gadget theme of Doug E Fresh’s “The Show” and in the period from 1988 until 1996 I’d bought almost nothing but hip-hop, but, despite that, this was something new and totally different to me. Of course many hip-hop albums had scratching on them, but not like THIS. They had abstract head nodding beats sometimes, but not like THIS. And none of them had anything like Kool Keith in this mode (not even the Ultramagnetics records).
DJ SHADOW “Midnight in a perfect world” (US 12″ with Gab mix & Cut Chemist Number Song remix) [MW057] 1996
This is my first semi-cheat. Officially, it probably wasn’t a strictly-speaking MW release – this was the US issue of the single released as MW057 in the UK, but the US single had something the regular version didn’t: Cut Chemist’s Party Mix of “The Number Song.” I don’t remember ever playing a DJ gig where it wasn’t in the crates (just in case) and I still love it just as much today as when I first heard it all those years ago. I always expected Cut Chemist to drop an LP on Mo’Wax; no idea if it was ever on the cards, but it’s a shame that never happened.
DJ SHADOW ‘Endtroducing…’ [MW059] 1996
Not much to say about this one, other than it took me a long time to really get with. So many people were raving about the album, but I was still firmly rooted in the style of “Entropy” and “Hardcore (Instrumental) Hip-hop” and this transition to a more song-based format wasn’t what I expected from Shadow. In time I came to appreciate what he’d achieved with the album and it stands alone for what it managed to do. In all honestly, it’s far from my favourite Shadow release, but, as one of the albums which defined Mo’Wax, how can I leave it off the list?
DJ SHADOW ‘Camel Bobsled Race’ [MW084] 1997
I remember arrived at the record shop the day this came out and having no idea it was coming at all! That was the beauty of pre-internet things – releases were often a total surprise. I was a massive Skratch Piklz fan and this was absolute gold to me.
BLACKALICIOUS ‘Melodica’ [MWSSLP001] 1994
Although Krush’s Mo’Wax debut LP was the first album I bought, this was the first MW record I heard. I was down at Nic and James’ house in Portswood, Southampton (Nic & James being Superdense Child & the reason I ended up producing my own music at all). James had picked it up and I was completely blown away by it. I was all over west coast hip-hop, nerding out on Freestyle Fellowship and the many branches which extended out from Project Blowed and the Goodlife Cafe, but I had somehow missed Blackalicious completely. I listened to this EP so much I literally learned every single word of it and it still blows me away to this day.
THE PRUNES ‘The Plot’ [MWEX001] 1996
The Prunes! 3 guys from Copenhagen who just GOT IT like few other producers have GOT IT, ever. I always imagined they’d drop an LP on Mo’Wax one day, but sadly that never happened. Over the years I’ve hunted high and low to grab every single thing they ever did and they remain a massive influence on me (as do all the records on this list).
UNKLE – Japanese Trilogy
The first of my cheats, this Japanese trilogy of UNKLE 12″s wasn’t strictly speaking a MW release (hence the lack of MW catalogue number), but I’m having it anyway. UNKLE was so quintessentially Mo’Wax in this incarnation and these 12″s mark pretty much the final act of this incarnation of the group. Within a year or so, UNKLE would be produced by DJ Shadow and feature a catalogue of external contributors (mostly vocalists) which changed the original UNKLE sound forever.
VA – ‘Art of War’
Cheat #2. The only way I could get DJ Shadow’s “Untitled Heavy Beat” on the list, this has to go on. The Psychonauts remix of “I Changed My Mind” is another essential track that rarely left my DJ box too, as was the Cut Chemist remix of MFW. Including this compilation allows me to put in appearances by some of my favourite artists – Tommy Guerrero, Malcolm Catto, Beans from APC, Divine Styler, the apallingly good Indopepsychics – as well as many favourite tracks like the Cut Chemist-produced Blackalicious monster “Alphabet Aerobics”
VA – ‘Ape vs Mo’Wax’
Cheat #3. There are so many releases I wanted to put on this list that I had to go for including this. Another Toy’s Factory release, including Ape vs Mo’Wax on here means I get to include UNKLE “Berry Meditation”, DJ Shadow “Hardcore (Instrumental) Hip-hop”, the Psychonauts remix of Liquid Liquid (even the ultra-rare Dave Paul/DJ Phantom Liquid Liquid remix), the ‘Heat’ sampling remix of “Stem” from the 7″ single and the outstanding remix of “Cry” by the Dust Brothers. Each and every one of those deserves to be on the list and now they are (of a fashion).
– RPM 2000. Just a classic 12
– Entroducing. Loved the other releases but such a quality album
– push the button. A great almost pop album. You could imagine this being a hit today with the right promotion
– DJ Krush – Milight. Prob my favourite Krush LP. Whilst the others probably have better individual tracks this one has a bit more diversity. I even don’t mind the interludes in the flow of the lp, which is rare.
-Air Modular. Don’t really care for much of their other stuff, but this is a great 12
-Dr Octagon LP. Such a great album, plus there was a bit of quality control for probably the last time in keiths career…
– la funk mob – tribulations. May have put my hands into the air to this on the odd occasion
-prunes- the plot. Just a great 12 on all tracks that came out of nowhere.
– sam sever 12. Just a reminder of the time when mo wax was just a stamp of quality
-unkle. Berry meditation or the time has come. So i cheated at the end!
If i allowed one compilation i’d choose time machine, as when you listen its just a reminder of so many great records.
Be There Japanese Release (Trendy)
High Noon EP Shadow (Version with Organ Donor although it drives the cat mad)
Unkle Japanese Trilogy (Rare)
Peshay Miles From Home Underdog Remix (Damn you James why didnt you release the whole album)
Entroducing Shadow (Unbelievably good)
Unkle Psyence Fiction (Lost my copy somewhere)
South From Here on In (Puppets on the cover)
Unke Time Has Come EP (Picture Disc of course)
Major Force West The Original Artform Boxset (Weighs a Ton)
Blackalicious A-G (Didnt want to open the shrinkwrap)
Blackalicious Melodica (A Bugger to find)
DJ Krush Meiso (Bought in HMV would you believe)
Dj Krush Milight (See Meiso)
Dj Krush Holonic (Mad Skills)
Psychonauts Time Machine (Even Madder skills)
These are the Mo’Wax releases I still listen to regularly, almost 20 years later. No particular order.
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…. (1996)
Dr. Octagon – Octagonecologyst (1996)
The first and second Mo’Wax releases I bought, and what a way to be introduced to the label. Until this point, outside of some Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Tricky, etc. I had been an alt-rock guy, all Sonic Youth, Fugazi and the Velvet Underground.
I got the Shadow CD on its week of release, and knew it was special when I got it home and opened the packaging: an oversized gatefold in a slip case, the CD in a cloth bag. It felt special before it even entered the CD player, and once the first few notes of Building Steam… played, I was hooked forever.
A few weeks later I bought the Dr. Octagon CD. This time the CD came in a clear jewel case with a 1/4 size CD booklet, a card slipcase and a plastic sleeve with a velcro resealable tab — after this and the Spiritualized pill packaging, I was a packaging junkie, too. This was my first extended exposure to real hip hop, and it’s shaped my tastes ever since. I just got the new Q-Bert album after backing his Kickstarter, and I can trace it back to 1996 and this release.
DJ Assault – Belle Isle Tech (1999)
I didn’t expect this album to make the list, but I still listen to it in the car a lot, and it turned out to be surprisingly prescient. Who can help but sing along to Ass And Titties?
As One – Planetary Folklore (1997)
This hits the sweet spot between my love of techno and jazz. Kirk Degiorgio has made many great albums, but this is the best and it’s a crime it’s out of print. Perhaps he’ll reissue it as part of the As One-Thology series.
Blackalicious – Nia (2000)
Still their best record, even if it is a little overlong. The Mo’Wax version came out before the Quannum version, has one less track, a different running order, and a very different feel to the US version. It is a masterpiece of its time.
Nigo – Ape Sounds (1999)
I keep coming back to this one for Freediving, March of the General and Kung-Fu Fighting. The other songs are strong too. Not a typical Mo’Wax release, no real extended beat excursions, and more of a compilation than an album, but solid nonetheless. I prefer the UK version to the Japanese, despite the fact the Toy’s Factory release has some rarities.
This almost goes without saying. It defined not just the label, but the next few years of electronic, hip hop and breakbeat music in the UK. A couple of tracks are skippable, but it’s solid 90% of the way through. Almost every song is a highlight.Headz 2A and 2B, despite seeming like the future when they were released in 1996, have aged considerably worse than this record.
Royaltie$ Overdue (1994)
The Story Of Mo’Wax (1995)
Ape vs. Mo’Wax (1997)
Maybe I cheated here, but the pre-Endtroducing days on Mo’Wax were really all about the singles. It’s a crime that La Funk Mob, RPM or Palm Skin Productions never released albums on Mo’Wax.
Headz was a great compilation, but did not accurately represent the label’s output. Royaltie$ Overdue, released the same year, and The Story Of Mo’Wax (licensed to Marlboro Music in Germany, but official nonetheless) give a true picture of the 1993 to 1995 singles era. Ape vs. Mo’Wax, released in Japan on Toy’s Factory, shows where the label went after Endtroducing…. and has a heavy UNKLE/Shadow lean.
UNKLE – Psyence Fiction
Urban Tribe – Esatward
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
V/A – The Art Of War
Nigo – Ape Sounds
DJ Krush – Mirai
Rob D – Clubbed To Death
La Funk Mob – Tribulations Extra Sensorelles
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
Blackalicious – Melodica
DJ Shadow – Entroducing…
UNKLE – The Time Has Come EP
Headz – A Soundtrack of Experimental Beathead Jams
Dr Octagon – Ecologyst
Major Force – Re-return of the Original Artform (Cut Chemist Mix)
UNKLE – Psyence Fiction
Major Force West – 93-97
DJ Shadow – Premptive Strike
Various – The Original Art-Form Boxset
1. DJ Krush, Meiso (Vocal Mix by DJ Shadow)
2. Sam Sever, Raiders Of The Lost Art
3. Attica Blues, Tender (Organised Konfusion Remix)
4. La Funk Mob, Motor Bass Get Phunked Up (Electrofunk Remix)
5. David Caron, Fantasy On A Fantasy (Mark Broom Remix)
6. Innerzone Orchestra, Bug In The Bassbin: 31st Century Jazz Mix
7. Money Mark, Legitimate Pop Songs Live @ Rough Trade
8. David Axelrod, David Axelrod
9. Major Force, The Original Artform
10. Headz (A Soundtrack Of Experimental Beathead Jams.)
I was drawn to the Mowax site when I read the liner notes on Psyence Fiction. I was soon drawn into the world of MoWax and its forum. Yet what appealed to me most wasn’t the music, but all the rest that went with it, whether it was the promo items, the toys, the books and the clothes. So my top 10 is not just the music which says something about a record company, and I guess how you look at the label then only you can decide if that is a good or bad thing!
2. Unkle 77 figure (in green)
3. Futura’s book
4. Psyence Fiction
5. Clubbed to Death
6. Ape vs Mo Wax
7. Mo Wax edition of Relax magazine
8. Contents Under Pressure book
9. MWA sticker sheet
10. UNKLE 12” figure by Medicom in BAPE colour ways
iO – Claire 1995 MWEX002
James Lavelle – Cream Live Vol. 2 1996 Among the Psychonauts’ finest work.
DJ Krush – Meiso (DJ Shadow Mix) 1996 MW042DJ Still heavy after all these years.
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing 1996 MW058 Where it all started for me, after hearing Stem on Board Stupid. So many good tracks, my gateway into hip-hop and many other worlds of music through its samples.
DJ Shadow – High Noon 1997 MW063 My first purchase after Endtroducing, and what a B-side.
DJ Shadow – The Number Song (Cut Chemist Remix) 1998 MW086DJ
DJ Krush – Holonic ‘The Self Megamix’ 1998 MW088CD My most-listened Mo’Wax release; know it inside out.
Futura / Ben Drury – UNKLE Tactical Assault Figure 1998
Quannum – I Changed My Mind (Change My Style Mix) 1999 MWR114 DJ2 Tough call between this and the original, particularly in its double 7″ format, but this was a refreshing take and a great example of Pablo Clements going well beyond the brief.
Tommy Guerrero – Soul Food Taqueria 2003 MWR 158 Remains a perfect summer studio soundtrack.
I discovered Mo’Wax at an impressionable time as a teenager. I remember listening to the Radio 1 documentary that talked about the label, but also identity and I feel that a lot of my identity comes from Mo’Wax. I definitely discovered a lot through it.
1. James Lavelle – Cream Live 2
This wasn’t the first Mo’Wax thing I had encountered, but it definitely has had the biggest impact on me. I still find this mix exciting to listen to. There is a lot going on in it which is the best thing about it. It sums up Mo’Wax to me in that there are a lot of different styles of music in it and lots of different samples.
2. Dr Octagon – Ecologist
This was the first Mo’Wax release that I got. I had heard Bear Witness on the first Panic skate video and instantly fell in love with it. It was so weird and different from anything else I had listened to at the time. Living in a small town where there was only a John Menzies and Woolworths to buy music meant that your choice was limited. I remember hearing this on The Evening Session on Radio 1 and finding out what it was called. My brother bought me this album for my Christmas and told me not to let my mum hear it. He was right, some of the lyrics on this are ridiculously rude, but classic Kool Keith.
3. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
I think this album went over my head when I first heard it. It didn’t have any rapping on it and it sounded like it had been recorded on to an oxidised tape. I made my own version of the album and reordered them. I put in all of What Does Your Soul Look Like? and the DJ Shadow remix of Meiso. I wish I still had that tape as I can’t remember the order of anything. I still listen to this album a lot and it is definitely a masterpiece. For me, the stand out track is Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain. I don’t really know why. At 11 minutes long, it takes some effort to listen to. I really like it when DJ Shadow throws in some 80s synths in to his music.
4. Mike Mills – A Visual Sampler
This release blew my mind. It was a record sleeve, without a record in it, but instead had posters and stickers. It took me a long time to get this but I am glad I did. Mike Mills did so much good work in the 90s. His work for the Beastie Boys and Air springs to mind. To me this is one of those cool by association aspects that Mo’Wax was so good at. They worked with lots of people who worked with people that they liked.
5. David Axelrod – David Axelrod
Through DJ Shadow I had got in to David Axelrod and when I found out that Mo’Wax were releasing an old album by him I couldn’t wait. There are some amazing tracks on the album but the two that were used for the promo 12″ always stick in my head, Jimmy T and Dr and The Diamond. There were two new tracks recorded and I was looking forward to hearing what the drummer would be like, but alas there are no drums on the new tracks. I had managed to get a promo t-shirt for this album and was wearing it to a DJ Shadow gig, I met him afterwards and he asked where I had got the t-shirt from, as he didn’t have one and wanted one.
6. UNKLE – Psyence Fiction
I don’t understand the media backlash on this album. I still think it is great. Only Mike D’s dodgy rapping lets it down and even then that is still quite good. He’s from the Beastie Boys. This was much more of an instant like than Endtroducing. I just like how they chose the people to appear on it and also the stories behind it. Alice Temple was a BMX champion, so let’s put her on the album. Thom Yorke liked the Headz compilation, so let’s put him on it. I like all of this. This is what Mo’Wax was about, collaboration.
7. Liquid Liquid – Liquid Liquid
My parents went to New York when I was 1. I obviously don’t remember it, but it has always stuck with me. I am obsessed with New York. I didn’t really have a clue who Liquid Liquid were but I soon found out. This is just a great compilation. I love all the sleeves for the album, the promo and the remix singles. I remember seeing what albums were coming out in a record shop and being intrigued by this release. It was about 5 years before the whole post punk movement became big.
8. V/A – Headz
If I need to get some work done, then I like to listen to this. This is music for getting lost too. You can just listen to this and zone out. What was great this compilation was the sleeve. Not only did it have artworkd by 3D from Massive Attack on it, the sleeve notes also gave you other music to check out. In a time before the internet this was amazing.
9. DJ Krush – Meiso (DJ Shadow Klubb Mix)
There isn’t much I can say about this. DJ Shadow remixing DJ Krush and making a homage to Pete Rock. The bassline on this track is amazing and all the drums are great too. What I really like about this track is the synth line that comes in near the end of the song. That and it appeared in the James Lavelle Cream Live 2 mix.
10. Nigo – March Of The General (DJ Format/Chicken Lips remixes)
I’ve included this later release by Mo’Wax because these two remixes are amazing. It was slated that DJ Format would release an album on Mo’Wax and he did some remixes for them. This one is great. Lots of Planet Of The Apes samples and when you get to the Tony Vegas scratching it goes into a big electro breakdown. Brilliant stuff! The Chicken Lips Conquest Dub is great too. A fat disco bassline, some out of time drums and synthesizers going bananas. It introduced me to the Chicken Lips which lead on to The Emperor Machine. I also like how this remix is a homage to Moody by ESG too. Sometimes I wonder what Mo’Wax would have been like if it continued.
1. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing. Completely changed the way I thought about music, hence why No. 1.
2. Various – Headz
3. Unkle – Psyence Fiction
4. Various – Headz 2A
5. DJ Krush – Meiso
6. Parsley Sounds – Parsley Sounds
7. Major Force West – 93-97
8. Unkle – Berry Meditation
9. Blackalicious – Nia
10. Psychonauts – Time Machine
Money Mark – Mark’s Keyboard Repair
V.A – Headz
Dillinja & Peshay – Headz 2 Sampler
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…
Liquid Liquid – Self Titled
Blackalicous – A2G
UNKLE – Psyence Fiction
V.A – Time Machine mix by Pscyhonauts
David Axlerod – Self Titled
V.A – Now Thing
MW017 La Funk Mob – Ravers Suck Our Sound And Get Fuck
Even after all these years I play it all the time and never get tired of it.
MW028 Unkle – The Time Has Come EP
The first Mo’ Wax record I bought way back in 1994. I initially picked
it up because of the cover, but then bought it without listening to it
just because it had a Portishead remix on it. It also introduced me to
MW061 Headz 2A Disk 2
I love all the Headz albums, but this particular disk I’ve played to
death. There is nothing better to listen to on a cold, rainy night
(except for maybe the Blade Runner soundtrack!)
MW057 DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World Single
I once tried to hit on a girl by playing her the extended version of
this in a dark room.
MW024 DJ Krush – Kemuri
This was the song I used to play people to introduce them to Mo’ Wax.
MW029R Palmskin Productions – Evolution Of The Beast (Autechre Mix)
This was the track that introduced me to Autechre, closely followed by
Lowrider on Headz.
Nobody where I lived had enough money to buy Headz. One of the first
records I remember saving up for, and being so excited when I took it
home on the bus.
MW005 RPM – Food Of My De-Rhythm
Probably my second most played Mo’ Wax track. Still gets played at
least a few times a year.
MW062LP The Prunes – Intermission Pt 3
Love this track, wish it was longer.
MW078 Liquid Liquid
Found this while browsing in the record shop and another one I bought
without listening just because it had a Mo’ Wax logo on it. Glad I
picked it up!
MW027 DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like?
Love everything about this – the fact it’s one suite broken into four
parts, and the simple black cover with the symbols is inspirational.
…and the Futura book!
In no particular order:
Psyence Fiction LP
Psyence Fiction Gatefold LP
Psyence Fiction CD
Psyence Fiction Gatefold CD
Psyence Fiction Survival Kit
Psyence Fiction cassette
Psyence Fiction Japanese cd
Psyence Fiction Japanese gatefold cd
Psyence Fiction Japanese LP
Psyence Fiction Japanese gatefold LP
1. Holiday to France
2. Supreme Desert Camo Camp Cap
3. Fridge – Early Output 1996 – 1998 (Temporary Residence Limited)
4. Madlib – The Beats – Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton Original Soundtrack (Stones Throw)
5. Toffee Popcorn, Chocolate Mascarpone and Miso Ice Cream @ Stravaigin
6. Maxmillion Dunbar – Drizzling Glass (The Trilogy Tapes)
7. Silent Listener t-shirt
8. Garlic Bread @ Sarti’s
9. Cymande – Second Time Around (Janus)
10. Subcity Radio Slipmats
This is still one of my favourite DJ mixes. I guess it is more of a composition than a DJ mix. I wrote more about it here.
1. Collet dels Estanyets and Collada d’Anglos walk in Spain
2. Tour de Le Frechet, Aurignac, Montoulieu St Bernard et Alan
3. Auberge Alanais
4. San Miguel
5. Tomme Noire des Pyrenees
6. Pic de Cecire
7. Counudere walk near Arbas
8. Pic de Lion at Crete de la Coume
9. Le Rempart in Aurignac
10. Jimmy’s Hall @ Cinema a Aurignac