The 10 Best Tracks from Phantasy Rave in Reigate on 30/09/1989, according to DJ Phantasy
There’s something to be said for someone taking not a deep, serious look at house music and dubstep, but more of a quizzical, sideways one. South London producer West Norwood Cassette Library (Bob Bhamara) picks at dance music’s fibres with playful eccentricity – rather like an overexcited scientist I imagine, who’s just been granted a shiny new laboratory filled with new, fascinatingly complicated, toys and is too enthusiastic about just getting on and using them to read the instruction manual.
Last year he released two records on his own WNCL imprint, ‘What It Is’ and ‘Mrs. Fingers’, as well as ‘Blonde On Blonde’ on Denmark’s Teal Recordings. All showcase a pleasingly scruffy, off-kilter aesthetic, which he also brilliantly highlighted on this exclusives-packed mix for London event-throwers Way Back Here earlier in the year. His songs, as with the mix, often sound like they’re falling to pieces around you, as though he’s so intent on packing as many ideas in as possible he barely has time to string them all together properly. It’s a far more boisterous listen, filled with far more character, than if these tracks were all smooth surfaces.
Coming up next week in terms of releases, is his next record ‘Get Lifted’ (listen to some clips below), which comes backed with a Karenn remix – the new project from producers Blawan and Pariah – as well as the ‘Say What?/Flashlight’ record on Canadian label New Kanada in October. You can here download the frazzling, off-kilter sounds of Drop, a track left over from the recording of the New Kanada 12”. It’s effect lands it somewhere between a less heavy-handed take on Instra:mental’s Thomp and someone spilling acid on dubstep. Which is a great place for a song to find itself. Listen on this page, and scroll down to read Bob’s words about himself.
Possibly too old for this malarkey.
West Norwood, naturally.
Some have called it dusty house music, others future hardcore (that last one might have been a joke). Personally, I don’t have a clue – it’s a miracle that there’s any sound at all (see answer below).
How do you record?
On shockingly bad equipment. Everything in my studio is broken.
Some so-so mid 90’s House trax as The Bob Bhamra Project, a bit of late 90’s Drum and Bass with Plastic Soul, a few almost-ambient releases at the turn of the century with Data 70 and one-off sound projects as No.1 Astronaut.
DJ C, Knowing Looks, Milyoo, Don Froth, Brackles, Quantec and Karenn.
For someone else’s label – ‘Blonde on Blonde’ on Teal Recordings.
By me – An EP for Adam Marshall’s New Kanada label, featuring two trax, Say What? and Flashlight, with an Adam Marshall dub of Flashlight on the flip. That’s coming out on 12” in October.
On WNCL Recordings – WNCL007. Two stomping 138bpm trax, Balboa and Von , by L.A.’s Don Froth (Phonica). 10” out in September.
Way Back Here at The Questionmark Bar, Stoke Newington on Saturday 13th August with Elgato and James Fox.
Could you tell us a bit about your blog? That’s something that existed before you started recording under the name West Norwood Cassette Library right?
I started it at about the same time that I got back in the studio after a lengthy period of non-activity. It’s just as a notice-board to document any projects that I’m involved with under the WNCL banner. There are no prosaic reviews or pearls of wisdom on there. It’s quite pedestrian, really.
How do you think things have changed, in terms of influences and how you work, since you started making music?
I’ve only been recording as West Norwood Cassette Library / releasing on WNCL Recordings for just over a year so it’s hard to judge. From the start, the releases have encompassed varying styles and tempos just because that’s my taste. Whether I’m buying records in a shop, producing in a studio or releasing other people’s music, I only really care about how much I like the music rather than if it will fit in with anything. I know – it’s a boring producer’s answer.
A couple of places people should visit in West Norwood?
This week I would advise that you mostly stay indoors, of course. I’m hard pushed to suggest anywhere to visit. I enjoy living there but there’s not many places to go. You should really check out the cemetery. A magnificent space – home to Mrs. Beeton, amongst others.