30 years on from its first broadcast, Ninja Tune has announced that the weekly Solid Steel mix series is to come to an end.
The final show will air this Thursday night into Friday morning (December 6/7) with a special mix from Juan Atkins, who provided the very first mix in the series almost 30 years to the day before the last edition.
The series was created in by Coldcut who also shared mix duties on the first edition alongside Atkins. It originally aired on the then pirate radio station Kiss FM and has since found a home via numerous different outlets, still airing weekly. It has aired on London's NTS since
"I remember doing the show with Coldcut in from someone's apartment, like on the ninth floor or so in what seemed to be a huge apartment building," Atkins said. "I was amazed by all of the pirate radio stations in London that were introducing the UK to all the new music, music styles and genres. We had nothing like that in the USA. Pirate radio stations in the UK were responsible for this music making it into the charts as well."
Atkins' mix will air later this week while a new mix from The Bug, aired earlier this week, can be heard here. Ninja Tune says that Solid Steel will return in a new iteration in
Solid Steel are a series of DJ mix albums issued on Ninja Tune, an independent record label in the UK.
Solid Steel also has a radio stationwebcast and related live concerts which further showcase the DJing talents of such artists.
In , Solid Steel began as a radio show on Kiss FM hosted by Coldcut's Matt Black and Jonathan More, where they were not only able to play and mix records, but also display their cut-up technique live. The show was known for airing "The Broadest Beats in London" They were joined by PC and Strictly Kev from DJ Food in The two-hour show was filled by improv, with each DJ taking sets of 30 minutes. In , Darren Knott, otherwise known as DK, joined the show as producer, as Coldcut and DJ Food were increasingly away on tour.
They left Kiss FM in after playlist changes meant they would be consigned to the Tuesday 2am 4am graveyard slot. The show was still recorded each week, being available online and syndicated worldwide. In , they were offered a slot on the advertisement-free BBC's London Liveradio station and were on the station until This unique 2-hour show has expanded to include guest mixes, regular video mixes (often the #1 video podcast on iTunes) and the additional 1-hour podcast highlights, regularly featuring in the top 10 music podcasts on iTunes, with over 3 million downloads to date and hosted on the Ninja Tune SoundCloud each week.
In , Solid Steel joined Strongroom Alive internet radio to perform a weekly live show on Thursday nights (7 9pm). Other shows include Ross Allen, Clash + Dazed magazine. The show is hosted by Jon More (Coldcut), and he is often joined by DK, DJ Food and rolling guests.
Guest mixes and interviews have featured most of the Ninja Tune roster as well as many other artists and DJs including;
Four Tet, Skream, Norman Jay, Robot Koch, Goldie, Tim Healey, Company Flow, Jackmaster, Z-Trip, Steinski, Seiji, Pearson Sound, DJ Kentaro, Toddla T, Freestylers, Hudson Mohawke, DJ Marky, DJ Yoda, Diplo, Ben Westbeech, Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow, 4 Hero, Andy Smith, Laurent Garnier, Kenny Dope, RJD2, Amorphous Androgynous, Alec Empire, The Orb, Robert Owens, Portico Quartet, Kutmah, Pinch, Trevor Jackson, Machinedrum, FaltyDL, De La Soul, Double Dee & Steinski, David Axelrod, Ken Nordine, Jean Jacques Perrey, Quannum Projects, Juan Atkins, Mr Scruff, Kid Koala, Bonobo, Daedelus, Luke Vibert, and Anti-Pop Consortium.
The first Solid Steel album was released by DJ Food and DK in
Solid Steel discography
Radio stations playing the Solid Steel show
- Radio Solid Steel - Russia - http://solidsteel.tk/
- Radio Campus - France - http://www.radio-campus.org/
- Radio Active - Wellington, New Zealand - http://www.radioactive.co.nz/
- FSK Hamburg - Hamburg, Germany - http://www.fsk-hh.org/
- "The Move", XM Satellite Radio - United States - http://www.xmradio.com/
- UMFM fm - Manitoba, Canada - http://www.umfm.com/
- FM4 - Austria - http://fm4.orf.at/
- Radio 3 Fach - Lucerne, Switzerland - http://www.3fach.ch/
- Resonance FM FM - London, UK - http://www.resonancefm.com
- Juice - Brighton, UK - http://www.juicebrighton.com/
- Radio B92 - Belgrade, Republic of Serbia - https://web.archive.org/web//http://www.bnet/indexs.phtml
- FM - Israel - https://www.webcitation.org/69ZKROjr5?url=http://wwwfm.co.il/
- Dinamo FM - Turkey - http://www.dinamo.fm/
- Radio Magnetic - Glasgow, Scotland - http://radiomagnetic.com/
- Triple J - Australia - http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/
- Radio National - Australia - http://www.abc.net.au/rn/
- 3PBS - Melbourne, Australia - http://www.pbsfm.org.au/
- 2SER - Sydney, Australia - http://www.2ser.com/
- 95bfm - Auckland, New Zealand - http://wwwbfm.co.nz/
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Coldcut aka Matt Black and Jonathan More are a pair of DJs who seem to believe that the whole world is there to be cut and pasted, “we mix things, over as broad a spectrum of activities as possible.” Hence the duo’s label-running activities in the early and mid-nineties were augmented by a plethora of other club nights and multimedia experiments. Through the 90s, Coldcut were doing their “Solid Steel” radio show on Kiss in London every Saturday, keeping up the traditional mixed bag and stacking up awards. By , though, the culture at Kiss has become too commercial for Black and More and they moved first to the BBC but with th main focus on building Solid Steel’s profile as an internet destination. It is a tribute to Coldcut’s standing as well as the sheer diversity of their output that the last few years have seen them re-work the theme to Dr Who, the music of Herbie Hancock and the Trojan catalogue, that they returned to the South Bank’s Meltdown festival for a live audiovisual dub with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Mad Professor and Headspace. They are currently working with Dave “Switch” Taylor and piecing together a sequel to their all time classic “Journeys By DJ” mix.. As Matt Black puts it, “Is there life after JDJ? We shall find out.” You’d be mad to bet against them.
Precious metal: Saying farewell to Solid Steels weekly transmissions
Listen to five stone-cold killer mixes from the legendary shows final run of weekly sessions
- Michaelangelo Matos
- 17 April
Thirty years is a long time in dance music – and in radio. So it was big news when the producers of the Solid Steel radio show announced in December that its weekly shows would be coming to an end. The program, which debuted on December 3 on London’s then-pirate Kiss FM, went out with a flurry: five ‘final’ shows, one a night for a week, leading to the finale: an encore of Solid Steel’s debut, featuring Coldcut on the decks for the first time in two years and special guest Juan Atkins in his first appearance since that Kiss opener. The mixes, thankfully, continue on Ninja Tune’s SoundCloud; Ben UFO’s near two-hour workout went up in March.
For the vast bulk of its run, Solid Steel was a Ninja Tune showcase – fair enough, since the label’s founders, Coldcut, had started the show, with artists PC, Strictly Kev and DK all involved with its production since then. And of course, the Solid Steel remit of sharp, diverse, playful mixes was mirrored by Ninja Tune’s roster. That eclecticism remained evident even as, in more recent years, Solid Steel became a more straightforward showcase for DJs from beyond the label’s orbit (the show’s history is available for perusal at SolidSteel.net; a handy episode guide can be found on MixesDB.com).
Fittingly, the show’s final 10, grouped together as a SoundCloud playlist called ‘30 Years Of Solid Steel’, had the feeling of the show’s trajectory in miniature – which is to say, as iffy as not. As in baseball, no mix showcase bats – which is a polite way of saying that the Atkins and Coldcut sets are not their best work (frankly, neither is the legendary OG ’88 Atkins set, except for historical purposes). Sure, you can hear both play better in other venues, but it hardly matters, because five of that ‘30 Years’ playlist – fully half – are absolute stone-cold killers. Here they are, in order of appearance:
The Bug (December 4, hour 1)
“It’s been my aim for years, since naming myself The Bug and devoting myself to soundsystem culture, to try and develop my own mutant dancehall vocabulary,” Kevin Martin writes in the introduction to his Solid Steel farewell. His methodology for the mix is 40 wire-taut riddim bangers, a great many of them his own – “prototypes and demos of what will form future Bug releases,” as Martin puts it, an enticement in itself. It also acts as an informal history of post-digital Jamaican production, with look-ins from JA legends Bobby Digital, Steely & Clevie and – near the end, cleverly dipping back to – David Eccleston’s ‘Ride Pon Riddim Version’.
Mark Pritchard & The Milky Man (December 5, hour 1)
Sometimes Solid Steel sets are just too eclectic – disjointed and all over the place, rather than broad but cohesive. This leisurely two-hour showcase from the Sydney producer Pritchard, who records for Warp, and his old friend (about whom I could find nothing beyond this set), is in that crazy-quilt fashion – but its frayed edges and oddball selections (from the likes of art-rockers Henry Cow and Syd Barrett) have a lived-in appeal that speaks to the best parts of the show’s whimsical air. Most inspiring is the ending: astral jazz from LA giant Horace Tapscott, followed by NYC indie singer-songwriter Jeffrey Lewis’s bracing ‘What Would Pussy Riot Do?’, a song to sing to yourself the next time you’re at an ‘underground’ party surrounded by corporate insignia, and finally Social Climbers’ ‘Palm Springs’, gorgeous proto-electronica from
DJ Food feat Humanoid (December 5, hour 2)
In his introduction, DJ Food (Kevin Foakes) explains: “I wanted to take a bunch of motorik, minimal tracks and fuse them together into a steady pulse of polyrhythms and then add more layers.” Sounds simple, but the results are otherworldly, as when The Beach Boys’ ‘Our Prayer’ stretches out over Eno & Lanois’ ‘Ascent (An Ending)’, or the delicious expanse underpinned by Steve Reich’s ageless ‘Music For 18 Musicians’. But what, you may wonder, is the ‘feat Humanoid’ part? Simple – that artist, the early alias of Brian Dougans, later of Future Sound Of London and responsible for the early UK acid standard ‘Stakker Humanoid’, recorded six new songs that Food drops, almost willy-nilly, roughly two-thirds into the set. A mix isn’t necessarily an album, but who says it can’t contain an EP?
Gerd Janson (December 6, hour 1)
Smooth house mixes may not be the first thing that comes to mind with Solid Steel, though it has in fact been a primary strength in recent years; one of ’s highlights (in terms of the show specifically, and DJ sets in general) was the disarmingly supple Beautiful Swimmers mix from May. Running Back main-man Gerd Janson’s isn’t merely in that vein, it sums up that vein, offering a mere nine selections over 62 minutes. Don’t call it ‘deep house’; it doesn’t have that sort of soulfulness. But is it flavourful? Extremely so.
HAAi (December 6, hour 2)
Apparently it wasn’t enough to make the Essential Mix of the year; instead, the London DJ born Teneil Throssell flexed with equal facility on this playful showcase of misty acid, opalescent electro and ambient glitch. “I’m a big fan of long, winding, melon-twisting mixes,” she said in January. “Playing a longer set definitely allows you to become more experimental, it allows you to build real trust and lay down much more interesting trips.” Here’s proof she can do just that in a mere hour.
Michaelangelo Matos is a regular contributor to Mixmag, follow him on Twitter
Show solid steel radio
But Katka left for training and forgot her keys. Completely obsessed with her voyage. Na.Solid Steel podcast #177 - DJ DK
No, not here. If my supervisor. Then lock the door, it'll be over in ten minutes, but if something happens, I will smear you off. Don't pony. Lock the fucking door.
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