James Steventon Artist | Writer | Runner

The Art of Noise


A recent iPod shuffle coinciding with a discussion about the similarities between DJ-ing and curating afforded me with the opportunity to reconsider a mix I created in September 2017 as a leaving gift for Yasmin Canvin, as she moved from Fermynwoods Contemporary Art to Director of Leicester Print Workshop.

During the 8 years that we worked together at Fermynwoods we had many conversations about curation, music, politics and so on. With hindsight it is apparent that these conversations influenced the mix as much as they have influenced myself.

I’ve suggested that both DJ-ing and traditional curating involve organising individual works together to be more than the sum of their parts and to speak to people individually and as a whole.

When shortlisting tracks to include Mr G’s Going Home came to mind as I imagined that Yasmin might listen to this mix on her final long drive home from Fermynwoods. A deep house track that features an anonymous sample proclaiming, “I want you to make sure there is money for the artists because there are too many people who are talented out there who don’t have a shot because they spend all the money on something else”, which if in need of further explanation is reinforced by Charles Webster’s Give Me More refrain in the following track.

The theme is developed by DJ Sprinkles and Mark Fell’s track Fresh, which uses a rousing Tony Benn speech to punctuate the rolling rhythms. “I think our most powerful weapon is education” begins the former socialist MP, a sentiment shared by Fermynwoods education programme.

Despite 7 years between the two tracks Charles Webster’s Lament For A Dead Generation felt like the perfect follow up, matching in key but teasing, “I smell the flesh of a revolution”.

Frequent collaborator and fellow DJ, Jason Singh provides the bridge to the mix with his track Dream, which develops into a cover of The Cure’s A Forest, mirroring his development in Fermyn Woods.

After some positive agitation, melancholic moments and periods of reflection, I wanted the mix to end with a feeling of optimism, resulting in the upbeat 3-dart finish of Dancing In Outer Space, Purple Disco Machine sampling the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, and the infamous Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald in a nod towards Yasmin’s raving days.

As an artist I’ve struggled with the inevitable free association that comes when an audience encounter my work. But as a DJ, and perhaps as a curator, I enjoy threading together a story which allows enough room for an audience to respond to and interpret in their own way.

  • Mommy What’s A Record (Intro) – Kerri Chandler
  • Lockdown Party (DJ Sprinkles Crossfaderama) – The Mole
  • Going Home – Mr G
  • Give Me More (Charles Webster’s ‘Much More’ Mix) – Charles Webster ft Shana Halligan
  • Fresh (Sprinkles Alt. Mix) – DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell
  • Lament For A Dead Generation – Furry Phreaks with Emillie Chick
  • Battleships (Sasha Involv3r Remix) – Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka ft Abigail Wyles
  • Fools Gold (Rabbit In The Moon’s Message To The Majors) – The Stone Roses
  • Dream – Jason Singh
  • A Forest – Of Norway
  • Melankoli – Lulu Rouge
  • Amok (Greg Wilson Version) – MySpaceRocket ft Nina Kraviz
  • Dancing In Outer Space (The Revenge Rework) – Atmosfear
  • Move Or Not – Purple Disco Machine
  • Voodoo Ray (Original 12” Mix) – A Guy Called Gerald
James Steventon Artist | Writer | Runner

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