AJAY SAGGAR of THE BENT MOUSTACHE & KING CHAMPION SOUNDS – Song For Ewe

“SONG FOR EWE”
with AJAY SAGGAR of THE BENT MOUSTACHE KING CHAMPION SOUNDS

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“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.

Today is the turn of a soundman extraordinaire, who if you’ve seen any of the following live: My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Mogwai, Aerial M, Clinic, Kurt Vile, Bright Eyes, Swervedriver, Bardo Pond, Best Coast, Sophia (i could continue), you will have seen captaining the mixing desk like a white water rafter, hitting the peaks, compressing the troughs. He’s also been bassplayer and band leader of two bands immortalised by our mutual hero John Peel, The Dandelion Adventure and Donkey (who I remember very well through Guided Missile Records), who’ve left behind two albums and a Peel sesh each. A restless creative spirit and man of the world, an Indian born in Kenya, raised in Britain, living in Amsterdam where he production manages the renowned Paradiso Club, tour manages, writes about music and still plays both in the Kevin Shields endorsed The Bent MoustacheDeutsche Ashram and King Champion Sounds, I’m pleased to welcome the multi talented and massive Fall fan Ajay Saggar!

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Ajay is such a big fan of the cerebrally caustic ever-changing musical landscape of The Fall that while in Iceland he had to track down the engineer from “Hex Enduction Hour” album. And obvs not only has he met MES but he’s enjoyed a big hug from him. I was gutted to miss Ajay while he was over last week for The Fall’s Garage residency (though not as gutted as missing The Fall gigs themselves with a throat infection), but it’s great to have Ajay on Velvet Sheep, as we have tons in common, as big fans of both The Fall and Peel.

Never knowingly under-employed I asked Ajay for a snapshot of what he’s up to at the moment:

“I will be releasing an album in the summer with KING CHAMPION SOUNDS…..its a double 10 inch album with very many special guests including J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Mike Watt (Stooges / Minutemen), Tom Carter (Charlambides) etc. An album that took me a lot of energy but the results are mighty! I will also be going on the debut tour with my new band DEUTSCHE ASHRAM from May 13 to May 16 (Antwerpen, Paris, Rotterdam, Arnhem). Its a duo alongside with Merinde Verbeek, and has frequencies a la Cocteau Twins / Spacemen 3. Will be recording a DEUTSCHE ASHRAM album after the tour for release in the autumn, and tours to follow. Besides that, I’ll be buying tons of records, attending thousands of shows, DJing if I’m asked, making music radio shows, and writing about music too.

Oh….and have organised forthcoming European dates for Archie + The Bunkers, Mrs. Pilgrimm, The Marbles Jackson, etc etc”

I knew that Ajay would choose a corker, and I’m always a sucker for the dub selections on these here pages, so without further ado, it’s over to Ajay for his “song for ewe”…

“The records in my collection skit across all genres and for “Song For Ewe” I decided to pick the last track that blasted through my speakers at home.

King Tubby features pretty centrally in my modus operandi to listening to and approach to making music. His sense of rhythm, space, use of the studio as an extra instrument, and arrangements are critical factors that made him the maverick and genius producer he was.

I’ve chosen a track where he collaborated with young and upcoming producer Carlton Patterson. Tubby was a mentor, and father figure to the young Carlton, and encouraged his young protegee to push his production skills to the limit.

Carlton would use the downtime at Tubby’s studio to hone his skills, usually during the dead of night. This track “Weatherman Skank” was recorded at 3am, when a heavy rainstorm passed through….hence the name.

The tracks name-checks Muhammad Ali, Pele, and Michael Campbell. Campbell was none other than the soon to be famous Mikey Dread. Just as Tubby has encouraged Patterson, so Patterson recognised Campbell’s talent and encouraged him to ride the rhythm….and hence kickstarted his career.

Stories like this make the versions and rhythms even more special to listen to.

This track highlights the distinctive roots production of Carlton Patterson and the engineering genius of the mighty King Tubby.”

PEACE TO YOU AJAY. CHEERS MATE!

Author: Nick Hutchings

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