As we slide into Spring dodging masonry and possibly conscription, it’s kind of hard to accept we’re trucking through 2022 all of a sudden. Been a lot of TwentyNineteenesia going around, as if earth wandered into a temporal rift, I say fair enough - 2021 at least hit us like an overeager dealer at the Hippodrome, to say it was a bust would be an insult to Hellenistic sculptors, maybe even Sosa and Paul Wall. It’s easy to forget that there was a lot of good shit to break through the tachyon emissions.
Started in the hopeful 'pokey' days of web2.0 (arse end of myspace, pre-flappybird) as a fresh moniker to post up new bits and park new mixes amidst the lightning-fast dominance of Juan Forté bass weight, WNCL has become an ever expanding stable of like minded productions and close-knit musical ties, spanning the UK underground sound family tree with a penchant for the more broken-branches, especially (often very hard to decide where to re-file 12s in the shop).
Snapping us all back to reality with a mix of twenty one cuts from 2021, it’s a testament to artist escapism and optimism, and a very welcome addition to our mix series.
Beamed via a secure connection from a South London node on the Aokicoin™ Network, we caught up with zone three’s No. 1 Astronaut - Bob, aka West Norwood Cassette Library for a mix series debrief, a 2021 e-grief and hopefully a modicum of re-lief.
“A good tune is for life not just for the end of year lists.”
If 2021 was a bad first date, where had you been and where did it all go wrong?
I had a hot date lined up with a certain French pressing plant and got stood up. It all went wrong when that floosy dressed head to toe in dayglo puke turned up and hogged the limelight. C’est la vie …
If you pivoted to industrial paint manufacturing (WNIPM Global maybe), what shade would 2021 be in the new fan-able catalogue?
I couldn’t pinpoint a particular shade to sum up the last year so I’ll stick with the tried and
tested . A colour for all seasons. Especially if you’re a bleep freak, like me.
Last year saw you dust off some delightfully prescient old tackle for the label. Was that a case of you wanting to hear it refracted through the labels’ current roster, or like me were you just trying to remember the good old days a lot last year
I don’t need much of an excuse to dust off my old tackle - it’s why I don’t get invited to parties anymore. Releasing an old ’93 hardcore track was just part of the overall WNCL “it felt like a good idea at the time” policy. It should have come out in 2020 to celebrate the label’s 10th anniversary but ended up coming out in 2021 to coincidentally celebrate my dad’s 93rd birthday which is pretty hardcore in itself.
Hardcore for sure ! Any plans for more dives into the (very considerable) archives?
Probably. As far as putting stuff out on the label is concerned, I have no regard for whether a track was produced 30 years ago or if it came off your hard drive this afternoon. The mix is fully 2021 so I’m sure we can glimmer some of your top picks of the year inside – are we getting a proper ‘21WNCL Wisden run down or was there more you wanted to get off your chest with the mix?
It’s a bit late in the day to be doing a best of ’21 mix but a good tune is for life not just for the end of year lists. Every record I bought last year could / should have made the cut otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them in the first place but “21 from ‘21” was kind of neat so something had to give. Being someone equally used to playing breakbeat at shut-ins as post punk to mid 00s scenesters, did you feel any shifts last year in the musical landscape?
I have no idea. One day it feels like just another [insert genre name here] painting by numbers revival, the next day someone’s taken all the same old ingredients and still managed to completely blow my head off.
I also need a date for the full dubstep 140 revival Bob, c’mon. I heard Skream & Benga are brewing up some bits again…
Don’t call it a comeback! We’re in danger of incurring the wrath of the die-hard dubstep faithful that never went away …
true true (out to the old thursday nite rye wax posse💣🔥)
Any non-musical 2021 recommends?
Anything outside of the day-job, endless pre-records for my Balamii show (which celebrated its 5th year in 2021) and twiddling my thumbs in front of the computer not producing any tracks then no, not really. All non-musical cultural activity was centred around our 7 year old daughter who’s social life is infinitely more interesting than mine
Got any furtive plans for a best case 2022?
Getting the next record out would be nice. WNCL040 has been Test Press approved since last summer and still nothing. Ho hum …
Anyone or anything you’d like to throw in your wheelie bin?
Just the usual numpty and his mates. I doubt there’s much room in that bin after we’ve squashed that lot in there.
Just time for obligatory shout outs
Shouts to the Cassette Librarian extended family (without whom, etc etc), Sam & Ivy for getting me through another year, all Balamii crew and Natalia Bjerke who shot the pic for this podcast at Pollination’s recent fundraiser at TOLA, Peckham. The photographer’s credit always gets missed off!
Rye Wax / West Norwood Cassette Library February 2022 01. MEOWSN . Werdz (Running Out of Steam) 02. NICOLA CRUZ . Individuality Riddim (Rhythm Section International) 03. JENS SCHWAN . Frontier Reichenberg (Dizzy Tunes) 04. CODY CURRIE & ELIZA ROSE . Flame (Shake) 05. KRYWALD & FARRER . Cantoria (K&F Edit) (Persies) 06. STE ROBERTS . Free (Stedit) 07. BLAWAN . Under Belly (XL) 08. RHYVAHL . Hassle (Off Beat) 09. DRUMSKULL . Negative 7 (Seagrave) 10. HOOVERIAN BLUR . Despite Everything (Further Electronix) 11. YOSH . Out of Control (Hot Haus) 12. HIGHRISE . Rescue (Disc World) 13. DJ SWAGGER . Where You Come From (Time Is Now) 14. PEAKY BEATS . 2001 (Peaky Beats) 15. MANI FESTO . Come Wid It (WNCL) 16. COMPA . Mind Control (Deep Medi Muzik) 17. PARADOX . Octa4 (Sneaker Social Club) 18. JUSTICE . A Two Minute Experience (Library Tool Kit) 19. BORAI . Keep Steppin (Vivid) 20. LMAJOR . Can’t Do It (Astrophonica) 21. WINSTON BROTHERS, THE - Winston Theme (Colemine)