Monday, 25 April 2011


“ON AIR:MK” – Live Sessions Of ‘Basement Music’
Review by MMT.

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We’ll get to the other reasons to buy a copy of “On Air:MK” in a minute, but #1 and surely the Main Reason – it’s a really good compilation by a load of MK acts! Musak technology has improved to the point where it’s actually reassuringly easy to get together a collection of local band recordings these days – but that doesn’t always mean they’re going to be good collections!

But this 21-track extravaganza, culled from roughly a billion live sessions (give or take) recorded by DJ Michael Andrews and his team over the first year-and-a-bit of his “Basement Music” show on CRMK? This is good. So that’s reason enough alone – from the opening clatter of “Crash & Burn” by the excellent SuperMassiveMonkeyMen via the rolling “The Call” by City By Dawn to the scattergun rap of Soul which closes the CD – it’s a great mix of the sorts of bands they have on every single flippin' week!

People are downright sick of me & Phil banging on about the great local acts we see all over the place at acoustic open mics, full on gig gigs and all sorts of super festivals in town, so it’s a pleasure to hear so many of the performers we enthuse over collected together by someone else who appreciates them: people like Seeking Salvation Through Love, Isabelle, and YC Olie are familiar treats to us by now. But there’s new stuff here too, bands we’ve never heard before. The jaunty but tuneful “Gangsters” by Idoltribe is one of the best tracks featured, I’ll definitely be looking out for them on the local circuit now. Likewise Beds act Embrace The City, whose full electric sound doesn’t lose any energy in this acoustic translation.

One of the things I like best about the compilation is that they’ve left in some of the rawness of the sessions. Several of the tracks open with the artist’s own introduction from the show, and on occasion we hear DJ Michael himself chatting with the acts. So it may be a bit rough round the edges, but that’s all part of the ‘live session’ charm. Having said that, several of the bands manage to create a full sound despite the tinyness of the CRMK studios (the excellent dance act Dusque especially).

Though not every single track is necessarily My Cup Of Tea, it’s also a nice mix of genres – though there is a lot of acoustic stuff (due to the nature of the studio) it covers lots of differing flavours therein (folky, soulful, lo-fi, poppy, rocky), and there’s also dancier sounds (hip-hop n’ scratching from Soul & DJ Kraze1 and funky grooves: Dusque again). And some of the acts do something a little different from their usual work – there’s a beautiful ukulele version of “Old Rosie” by Dudebox regular, the artist formerly known as Project Wolverine.

Reason #2. Though we absolutely and loyally support Basement Music and all who sail in her, we’re just not able listen every week. It’s a crying shame given how much work Michael does for local music – and so if you, like us, can’t listen to every single show, buy this instead! Use it as a handy compendium of all the great stuff you’ve missed!

Reason #3. It’s for charity. And a charity close to home to some of the people involved in the compilation too (Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund). And that’s a reason you really can’t argue with. Dig deep. And rock on.

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