Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Monday: Controlled Weirdness

Neil Keating aka DJ Controlled Weirdness has been DJing since the 1980s, playing out all kinds of bass and beats in London, New York, Berlin and many other places (I first came across him at Dead by Dawn in Brixton in the mid-1990s). While best known for hard breaks and electro-tinged sounds, he is also a formidable authority on disco (especially it's crossover into early rap)  as I can vouch having once spent time crate digging with him in Friedrichshain - check out some of his mixes at Ill FM.

Controlled Weirdness recently at the Bussey building in Peckham

From his Rotherhithe tower block HQ he has also released numerous tracks under various guises on his own Unearthly Records and other labels. He has recently started uploading much of his back catalogue on to Soundcloud (he has made some of the tracks featured here temporarily available for download so get busy). 

The Deptford Market Arcade Classics EP (2003) was 'Inspired by rooting through the debris and detritus of South London. The sound at the start of Docklands Battle Breaks is the Thames river rushing through one of the old dock gates in Deptford'.

'South London Bass' (2005) is a classic; the title is self-explanatory.

His latest upload is the previously unreleased 'I'm the Guvnor'.

'Let's all have a South London Acid House Party'  - great late 1980s sample at the beginning: 'Saturday night in South London, hundreds of young people are gathering for the latest craze - an acid house party in a disused warehouse'

Neil has written an excellent article in Datacide magazine about clubbing and warehouse parties in 1980s London, You’re too Young to Remember the Eighties – Dancing in a different time:

'The Saturday night ritual was to head to the Spice of Life pub on the Charing Cross Road. This is where all the various clubbers would congregate before heading out to different parties. Here you would hear about these illegal warehouse parties that had started taking place in the run down old docklands areas near the Thames and around London, Blackfriars and Southwark Bridges. This area was pre regeneration and was full of empty old warehouses with nobody living near by. You would get the address and head down after midnight and try and find the party. It would be Five pounds to get in and you could buy Red Stripe beer for a pound which was sold out of dustbins crammed full of ice. Some of these parties were massive and you would get a real cross section of people crammed into a dirty warehouse and dancing all night. The music was usually rare groove which was basically obscure funk 7 inches that DJ’s had started digging up. There was no door policy like at the some of the trendier night clubs so you’d get people dressed up in designer clothes next to punters in jeans and T-shirts dancing all night'.

As mentioned here before, Tooley Street by London Bridge was the location for some of these warehouse parties.

Controlled Weirdness is playing at the Festa Junina Brazilian festival in Berlin in June, and has some other nights lined up a bit nearer home. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for details.


Anonymous said...

Controlled Wierdness was the very first DJ I heard at my very first rave -- in Pittsburgh (U.S.) 1991, weirdly. One night changed my life forever and the music he spun was the reason.


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