DJ Sid James is another alter ego of musician, writer and artist Ade Rowe (Awkward Geisha, Koi Karp). Rowe’s work is not new to Joyzine as he has featured several times throughout the years (here, here and here)
For his latest release, The Shite Album, this time as DJ Sid James, Rowe has taken abstract expressionism, samples, collage/cut up, Free Jazz, absurdism and sonic experimentation to the nth degree.
Opening with ‘Dollop’, this 50 second track is a good introduction to what you are in for with this LP. A clash of 80s adverts for SMASH powdered potato with various sampled conversation and throbbing bass electronica.
‘Interlude’ is the first in four interludes which are more lifted adverts from the 70s and 80s. This one is for McCain Oven Chips. ‘You Fucking Cunt’ follows straight after and is one of the infamous ‘Derek and Clive’ sketches by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore set to a throbbing beat with. The shockingly nonchalant use of the swear word used throughout the piece is strangely given a completely different context and feel with the accompanying beat and subsequent gentle electronica that finalises the track. Very clever stuff I think.
The next ‘Interlude’ is the theme tune to 70s/80s oddball children’s comedy series ‘Rentaghost’. This fits this LP perfectly. The epic 13.00 of ‘Hyper Power Leslie Crowther’ is an infectious track that houses collage, samples, experimentation and an at times, unashamedly danceable house track. It’s glitchy, jerky, abstract expressionism is refreshing and testament to Rowe’s ability to create these soundscapes that at times infuriate, confuse, but ultimately make one smile at it’s joyful- noise making. Great stuff and a standout track.
‘Interlude’ 3 is one of the iconic ‘Scotch Videotape’ adverts. ‘Storm in a teacup’ is an American Newsroom sample heavy track that is insanely danceable and just exudes gentle house music vibes. Another standout track.
‘Dickhead’ opens with the infamous footage of supposed spiritual medium Derek Acorah channelling someone called Mary and that she ‘loves Dick’. Thus, the playful (and again, very danceable) track is interspersed with references and samples of this infamous exchange, and it playfully pays homage to the ridiculousness of the whole episode.
The final ‘Interlude’ is a particularly haunting and disturbing as it’s the advert for using seatbelts that was headed up by Jimmy Saville. The final sign off of “clunk, click, every trip” has never sounded more menacing or creepy. ‘Horsey Walkies’ is a gentle free jazz opus that soon becomes a punishing harsh noise masterclass that Rowe has expertly shown his form of previously (see above).
‘Fag Packet’ opens with the classic “hope it’s chips it’s chips. We hope it’s chips it’s chips” advert sample that then melds in into a massive house track with throaty electronica and bass. It’s frustratingly short!!
The LP ends with the ‘And In the END tthe love you youo take is eQUALK to The Love You Y Make’ and is a fitting finale.
DJ Sid James says that he was raised on a diet of Fish Fingers, Musical Youth, and Bodie & Doyle, and it shows. ‘The Shite Album’ delves into 70s and 80s TV nostalgia brilliantly, whilst also combining it with bang up to date sampling, mixing and beats.
I think this LP is something that plays with the experience of being British during a fragmented and turbulent time (70s and 80s). Influenced by disco, house, techno, noise the LP is occasionally seeped not only in controversy, but also in joyful dance music, and this is the lasting feeling I get from this LP. Revel in the music, samples and glitch. Smile at the adverts that you remember from childhood, but also dance to the beats that DJ Sid James creates, as you will also be smiling at them too.
I’m a big fan of Rowe’s work, and this latest collection of tracks compiled as DJ Sid James is a brilliant continuation of his prolific and high-quality output. More please.
Review by Ioan Humphreys