Prog 58: Steve Davis' Interesting Alternative

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Recently, The Interesting Alternative Show (under the guise ‘Dark Matter’) branched out for a live gig at the Redchurch Brewery Tap Room, a great music-friendly bar in Bethnal Green with superb beers on offer from the vats downstairs.

My first ever foray into DJing was a bit of an ear-opener. The clientele weren’t exclusively avant-prog aware. Great beer and atmosphere are the attractions, but hopefully, over time, the knowledge that the music will be ‘different’ adds to the kudos of the venue! Cue moi and well-known ‘funny music’ hero Kavus Torabi (or ‘Tarkus’ to his close friends) to the decks!

“Who’s this music bloke Tarkus Varkoni you do a radio show with?” asked a BBC researcher once during a snooker event. I didn’t correct him as I thought it sounded a far better stage name. Anyway, “our John” (as Tarkus’ father calls him) spun some tunes first, while I got stuck into a nice porter. It was refreshing to see that the heavy lifting service industry isn’t exclusively male these days.

What quickly became apparent was that one’s musical preferences sitting listening at home could very easily be lost in translation at a venue, and perhaps a different set of parameters needed to be applied. The difficult thing was choosing reasonably accessible tracks without selling your soul to the MOR devil.

It may not have mattered what we played, but pride of performance is important in any walk of life, so it was nice on occasion that random people approached the turntables to enquire about specific tracks. These gems had obviously stood out from the crowd and, based on that fact, are perhaps as good an introduction as any other to a potentially new music scene that you may never have known existed.

Biosphere’s Meltwater, from the album Polar Sequences, was a marvellous atmospheric ambient offering to gain people’s attention. Skeletons by Grandma is from the amazing album People, and it has a guitar riff that’s so addictive.

Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul’s Afflux de luxe from Ex-Futur Album was the poppiest thing I played, but it has a superb Aksak slant that nearly got people dancing! Charming Hostess’ Aish Ye Kdish, from Punch, is the ultimate avant-Jewish wedding music. Mysteries Of The Revolution by The Crunch (from MOTR) is the ultimate jazz-rock driving music.

Finally, Transparent Radiation from Surgeon’s Breaking The Frame. I implore you to dip a toe into the intelligent end of techno.

Dark Matter will be back at The Redchurch Brewery on August 22.