I had the pleasure recently of warming up for Chris Duckenfield aka The Duck at The Reading Rooms in Dundee.
Now I have to own up from the start and say Chris is my favourite DJ. I’m a fan. In fact, in my opinion The Duck is one of the best disc jockeys the UK has ever produced. He is one of that rare breed who are not only highly technically gifted, but also have a top notch taste in music added to a real performer’s feel for the room and the crowd. He is also a top guy and can drink like a pirate. The full package basically.
Check this House mix he did for our Home Taping label a few years back if you don’t believe me…
or this more Disco influence affair for Disco Deviance:
In terms of history he has also been in the game since the very early days of Acid House when he worked for Warp Records and released on the now legendary imprint as RAC.
I first met The Duck in Glasgow during his SWAG days after witnessing him hypnotise a whole room of gyrating people. The whole place was vibing as he busied away slapping records on, mixing them in and flipping them off as he nodded away incessantly to the groove. His style was mesmerizing and highly infectious.
SWAG – which he formed along with producer whizz Richard Brown – were one of the most successful UK house acts of the dance era. They made a couple of great LPs, remixed an endless list of underground and major artists, and they also made this track ‘Groove Seeker’s Allowance’ on another legendary label JBO which had a massive influence on people like me.
Since the days of SWAG came to an end, The Duck has continued to DJ rather impressively at residencies like his The Idiots Are Winning in London and at Hopeworks which is part of the Sheffield warehouse revival scene. An annual residency at Electric Elephant in Croatia was also a perfect home for his DJ talents and social skills. And The Idiots boat parties became the stuff of Adriatic legend.
Chris has also been the man and the producer behind a number of highly successful, vinyl only edit/rework projects which have set dance floors on fire around the world. But I can’t tell you about that, or he would have to kill me. So look into it yourself instead.
Personally for me a DJ set without a Duckenfield production is highly unlikely and highly suspicious.
Finally, Chris set up a hands on, small scale distribution company alongside long time chum Alec from Toko about 10 years ago in response to the demise of the top heavy distribution dinosaurs. And even if you don’t know it…All Ears are basically responsible for getting most of the high quality labels and releases that kick around today out there into the shops and right onto your decks.
Anyway enough blowing smoke…The Duck will hate this after all as he is not one to blow his own trumpet. And he strongly dislikes the contemporary world of music/DJIng and its self promoting clap trap.
However to get back to the point of this story…as part of the promotion for the night in Dundee The Duck talked us through some records which are essential items in his box and in his sets. As there was such a great response to them on social media and they were such good tunes, I thought it might be worth posting it up here for more long term viewing. And of course it is always nice to take in The Duck’s very particular turn of phrase.
Anyway see what you think and if you get the chance to catch The Duck play…then do it! You will not be disappointed.
DUCK BEATS ESSENTIAL SELECTIONS FEB 2016
It’s a rare treat to be given a longer set, so I’m over-packing for the trip up to Dundee & very much looking forward to getting back on the floor with you all at the Reading Rooms this weekend
Dicky asked me to pluck a few favourites from the ever-growing pile of 12’s for this one, so here goes…
ANON – WHISTLE
A bit of a secret Sheffield weapon, that has never left my bag since it came out in ’93.
Basically a full blown carnival condensed into a fierce, sparse drum jam concocted by the legendary DJ Parrot (Sweet Exorcist / The Crooked Man).
GOLDEN TEACHER – DIVINE
I’m a super sad fanboy when it comes to GC. This one came out a couple of weeks ago via London’s amazing Sounds Of The Universe crew.
A totally irresistible & loose fusion of Chicago / Italo / New Wave that just tears up the dance.
SADAR BAHAR – SOUL SEARCHING
A man who’s clearly forgotten more than most know.
This superb re-edit came out on a 7” a couple of years ago. It’s painfully short, so I took the scissors to it and extended this bold and brassy Northern Soulish stomper into a longer, floor-wrecking & raw workout. Pass the talc !
SHIT ROBOT – WHERE IT’S AT
My most played cut of last year I think. The mysterious Johnny Aux transforms the track into a glorious Acid Houser featuring the legendary Reggie Watts on vocals.
A stripped down and Strobelit masterpiece.
VOISKI – FROM WHITE TO RED
Both this guy’s EP’s on L.I.E.S are stunning, modern Techno collections, but this track in particular has become an anthem at our wonderful warehouse party Hopeworks. It’s the perfect combination of a hypnotic tribal beating and rich synth pads that’s just an energy powerhouse on the floor.
DJ QU – UNTITLED (HI LIFE)
Another go-to favourite from my Hopeworks residency.
A modern Ma Foom Bey that manages to be insanely uplifting while slightly moody.
CESARIA EVORA – ANGOLA (CARL CRAIG’S MIX)
Another one that’s never left the bag.
An absolute masterclass in how to arrange a record, this builds beautifully across 8 magnificent minutes into an absolute frenzy.
DJ FETTBURGER & JAYDA G – NYC PARTY TRACK
Norway strikes again !
I have a real soft spot for sellotaped together sample-House jams like this, especially ones that expertly flip well worn loops (GQ’s ‘Disco Nights’ AGAIN).
Less is always more though. A proper jump around, acting stupid record that leaves all the flatulent laptop bore-a-thon’s for dead.
DAN SHAKE – BUY YOURSELF FRIENDS
A perrenial Sylvester classic that’s a huge favourite of mine gets a new lease of life via a looped up an expertly edited take by Mr Shake.
And as a late addition here’s a recording of most of The Duck’s set from A Night With…Chris Duckenfield at The Reading Rooms that night. Enjoy the music! We did.