DJ Ordeal
(Originally written for Probemusic, March 2002)

Wow and flutter. These words are the mantra of DJ Ordeal. It doesn't wow him if it doesn't flutter. If it doesn't sound like the record is warped he's not interested. He won't get out of bed unless the turntable drive belt is saggier than charity shop Y-fronts. His latest release is Magic Trick, a vinyl edition limited to just 25 copies, or a CDR of quantity limited only by demand. Magic Trick is the sound of an adolescence refracted through a cracked prism, of blurred and blunted beats and sporadic shafts of brilliance. It is schizoid, blitzoid and misfitzoid and only marginally more coherent than the 80s pop pillage that was previous album, Organistics.

Astonishingly, he claims not to be obsessed by warped records or worn turntable belts. ("Sounds rather unhealthy.") So why do his tracks sound like they're playing that way? "I am at the mercy of some very suspect and ancient equipment. The four track has a life of its own, I am sure the most ancient tape machine will explode and the record deck is crap. I'd buy a new one but I'm skint, owing to getting silly records pressed up on a far too frequent basis! But I definitely get a buzz from the results of unpredictable equipment. It's the element of surprise."

The real surprise is that he doesn't use a computer for his insane constructions. ("Or deconstructions!") So what does he use? "Well that'll be those wondrous old tape machines, video audio output, Dictaphone and old scratchy records." And the process? "Recording all the bits, listening back, recording beats, press pause, record that bit again, press pause, that bit again. Press pause, that bit again. Press pause, that bit again. Hello? You still with me?"

And he's not obsessive? Then his motivation must surely be sonic terrorism. "No." What then? "I love playing around with sound and melding things together to create a mood or atmosphere. I enjoy strange records and having fun making 'em."

His most accessible moment to date is almost the most easy to obtain. Maureen, a 7" single for the Johnny Kane label is the record that Scott Walker would've made, had he taken an acid trip in a loony studio and found that he enjoyed dissociated film samples and strange records and having fun making 'em. DJ Ordeal's hoping that future releases can be made available on the internet for free, so perhaps some enterprising, and darkly disturbed, reader could help him out?



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