Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tuesday 7th July: Glastonbury Festival 2015: Block9, Awesome Tapes From Africa

Brian Shimkovitz (a.k.a ATFA) rounded off a 4 month stint of worldwide touring with a weekend on Worthy Farm.  Block9 booked Brian to bring his crates of cassettes to DJ both a night time disco set in the Downlow tent and a daytime boogie on the Genosys stage.   Here is his precious cargo unwrapped in its Ghanaian fabric and the tape decks which are his prerequisite equipment to play.  To explain for anyone not familiar with his act = it is kind of already explained in the name and comes from the blog he started in 2006 "Awesome Tapes From Africa".  Out of this resource of music that he finds on field trips and uploads for public listening  pleasure, has now become a record label re-reissuing personal favourites.   Here he is wearing one such artwork on his T-Shirt of this year's release "Ata-Kak" and also the actual tape from which he played "Bome Nnwom" on the Saturday afternoon.  Later on in the early hours of Sunday morning his set was the soundtrack for the Downlow's disco divas dancing on stage and intro-ed into a secret special appearance from Florence Welch.   It's a vision that I will never forget.  London's east-end drag-queens perfectly shaking their hips in time to South African house music, in a nightclub that's a recreation of 1970's New York Disco, dug out of a field in Somerset.  For that reason I think Brian had a ball and an exceptional experience to close a chapter of travel before heading straight home to LA.   When he first arrived onsite and his tape decks had gone missing from the Park Stage and the clouds broke into an epic downpour, events could have gone a different way.  But that's the beauty of the Glastonbury anomaly and one which he embraced, enjoyed and took in his (mud slide) stride to bless Block9 with his highlife beats.  
He's returning to the UK in a few weeks to play Cafe Oto in London and the Port Eliot Festival in August.  Listen back to his recent interview on NTS to hear the whole story behind the Ata-Kak album and how he tracked down the artist.
Also listen to two of the label's tracks on my marathon mix-tape compiled by Coby Sey.

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