For the second in our Off The Record Mix Series we welcome London-based DJ, record label curator and radio host Alex Bradley. Alex’s Utopia Records has been a firm favourite of ours over here at Phonica in recent years, with its exquisite array of electronic and ambient-leaning releases from such artists as Vangelis Katsoulis, Lars Bartkuhn, Alex Kassian and Manabu Nagayama & Soichi Terada to name a few.
Alex’s Utopia Project shows on NTS Radio have been known to venture through many musical genres – ranging from jazz to soul to ambient to boogie, disco, house and everything in between. The spectacular two and a half hour mix Alex has recorded for us here is a great reflection of his eclectic tastes in music and his ability to effortlessly weave in and out of genres. The mix and short interview are available to browse below. Enjoy!
Hey Alex, great to have you providing us with some sounds, what’s the inspiration behind the mix?
On being asked to provide a mix of music that is ‘the other side’ of Utopia Records, i.e. away from dance music, I drifted into the home listening, meditative and organic sounds of the label, a sound that’s become the focus for the early stages of Utopia Project happenings. For some years, I ran DIY warehouse parties which provided a sanctuary for escapism, now I’ve found myself curating in a similar way to people working in holistic and spiritual practices…. Musically, its more challenging, because as cliche as it sounds, ‘the journey’ and selection becomes everything the more conscious people are on the dance floor. It’s a beautiful thing really to play Pat Methaney records and Steve Roach soundscapes mixed with Jon Hassell and people be into it in 2019 and that’s what they want to hear.
Can you tell us a bit about utopia originals?
Well in part, it’s a way to distinguish between the main label and makes things easier for myself…. but its also demand, I have been playing out old music for close on a decade now and thought it was time to share some of my more obscure and hard to find bits. On a more selfish tip, sometimes I can’t get my hands on the good stuff and can’t afford it when I can so I’m cheating a bit by releasing them, which to be honest feels better than paying hustlers on Discogs crazy prices that don’t get back to the artist anyway. This way the artist gets the reward, Soichi Terada now tours the world after Hunee and I shone a light and that’s a beautiful thing. The originals name comes from me wanting to stay true to the ‘Original’ as possible, with the artwork and sound and so forth, straight high-quality reissues… I’m very lucky to be working with Iury Lech, Gianni Gebbia and Yoshio Ojima for the first three releases.
Exciting, what are the other plans for the year ahead?
The year ahead looks good, I’m very fortunate to be working with Phonica on some great new releases on the label and the launch of a 12” dance and house music series. The space we have been living and hosting events from can develop further to include some filmed content, interviews and features of artists, the aim is for it to be broader hub than just music but cross-cultural in the arts, philosophy and so forth… I’m working with an excellent filmmaker and collaborators to expand things in that direction. The event I hope to develop into a boutique festival concept in some interesting and beautiful locations integrating different mediums, we might even try and get something together for the end of summer in Italy to coincide with the release of one of the artists from the label.
On a personal note, I have a residency at Five Miles in Seven Sisters soon to start that will be more specifically dedicated to a deep spiritual dance sound, which I’ve been needing for a while and its the club to do it. I’m fortunate to have such talented people on the label like Alex Kassian and Lars Bartkuhn who I think have something to say. Add to this I’m working in the studio more and more on my own music as well as collaborations with label artists which is a wonderful thing to be doing… making music that hopefully, people are able to really get something positive from.
Tracklist:Decimus – Annus Mundi 1 Noctis In Die Una – Morning and Evening Ragas (2016)
Alvin Curran – Under The Fig Tree – Under The Fig Tree (1972)
O’Yuki Conjugate – Ascension – Into Dark Water LP (1987)
Mythos – Dedicated To Werner Braun – Dreamlab LP (1975)
Biosphere – Kobresia – Substrata (1997)
Graeme Revell – The Bali – Necropolis, Amphibians & Reptiles – Musique Brut (1986)
Gianni Gebbia – Shamal – Arabesques (1987)
Eric Clapton with Michael Kamen – Oxford Circus – Edge Of Darkness (1985) *played at 33 1/2
Jon Hassel – Dreamworld (Dance) – Flash Of The Spirit (1988)
David Hudson – The Hunter – Australia: Sound Of the Earth (1998)
Joe Claussell – Betrayal – Un.Chained Rhythms (Part 5)
Upcoming – Upcoming – Upcoming (2019)
Iury Lech – Final Sin Pausas – Otra Rumerosa Superficie (2019)
Smoke – Uush 2 – Kemuri No Demo (2018)
Yoshi Ojima – Biodome – HandSome (1993)
Alex Kassian – Bells Of Ukyo – Hidden Tropics (2018)
Harold Budd – The Flowered Room – The Room (2000)
Steve Roach – The Canyon’s Embrace – Desert Solitare (1989)
Quad – Tapestry – Angel Of Ecstasy (1993)
Nankara – Balimba – Nankara Percussions (1984)
Steve Roach – Songline – Dreamtime Return (1988)
Steve Roach – Flatlands – Desert Solitaire (1989)
Miles Davis & Marcus Miller – Submission – Music From Siesta (1987)
Neil Tolliday – Wednesday – Spirit Wrestlers (2019)
Pat Metheny – Midwestern Nights Dream – Bright Sized Life (1976)
Michel Banabila – E.T. – Hilarious Expidition (2005)
Mahavishnu Orchestra – You Don’t Know – The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
Karan – Silky Way – Wiederhoren (1977)
Ivory Playground – Dance Of the Dewdrops – Scattered Clouds (1986)
Modaji – Unreleased – Unreleased (TBC)
Lord Of The Isles – Expansions – In Waves (2016)
Gianni Gebbia – Verdesi Passare Le Cose Attorno – Gianni Gebbia (1987)