Mo’Wax, James Lavelle, DJ Shadow, and more in a new documentary

A new documentary is poised to take what looks like a personal, thrilling look at the UK turntablism revolution.

The film is “The Man from Mo’Wax,” a documentary set to premiere at the end of August, with a full digital release (disc and download) on September 10.

The film centers on James Lavelle and his label, the pioneering purveyor of trip hop, alternative hip hop, and other things involving vinyl. And because of Mo’Wax’s seminal role in the 90s UK music scene, you get Lavelle’s story, but a lot more. DJ Shadow, Joshua Homme, Badly Drawn Boy,
Robert Del Naja (3D), Ian Brown, Futura, Thom Yorke and Grandmaster Flash… you name them, they’re in this picture. And it’s a coming of age story about Lavelle, who launched his DJ career at 14 and the label at 18 – all the ups an downs.

And of course, a lot of what sampling and beat-driven music is today is connected to what happens in this film.

How you get to watch this – apart from the YouTube trailed we’ve embedded here – is also rather interesting. Via something dubbed ourscreen, you can actually order up a screening at a participating local cinema… erm, provided you’re in the UK. For the rest of us, of course, we can just wait some extra days and microwave some popcorn and make every crowd around our MacBook or something.

The real fun will be for Londoners on the premiere date:

On Thursday, 30 August at 20:30, London’s BFI Southbank will host a premiere launch screening alongside a live Q&A with James Lavelle and the filmmakers. The event will also feature a Pitchblack Playback of an exclusive mix from UNKLE’s new forthcoming album. Plus, join us for an after-party with a live DJ set from Lavelle. The Q&A with James Lavelle will also be broadcast via Facebook Live from the BFI.

Given the subject of the film, of course there’s also a lovely limited edition record to go with it:

If you can’t wait, though, here’s FACT’s two-parter on Lavelle from the label’s 21st birthday.

Images courtesy the filmmakers.

Thanks, Martin Backes!

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Breaking news: Netflix are trolling us so hard

What do you do when an EDM movie turns into one of the worst flop of all time? Simple: make an even worse EDM movie with even less experienced personnel. Because… um… millennials?

Netflix apparently wanted to make up for being the thing we’re all watching when we’re not making music, for showing Stranger Things, and for Stranger Things having one of the best music scores of the year. And so, they’re giving us this year’s unofficial follow-up to last year’s terrible EDM movie, We Are Your Friends. (Wow – the 90s really are back. Remember when Armageddon / Deep Impact, Bug’s Life / Antz, Twister / no I don’t remember the name of that made-for-tv tornado movie that came out the same time as Twister — all came out at once?)

And so, we get XOXO.

The trailer is probably proof enough, but dig into the movie’s producers, and you discover weird choices. For some reason, they thought, let’s hand a feature film about EDM to a guy who was an animator for Death Cab for Cutie and … did a documentary on the US lottery. Huh. Okay.

At the same time, the music supervisor is Pete Tong. Seriously – the actual Pete Tong. (Maybe this film is actually what the “it’s all gone Pete Tong” was trying to warn us about?)

Don’t assume that means you’re going to get any experience or skill though. Like, the key grip on this movie has way more experience than the director. Frankly, I would have just let the key grip direct and write the movie.

Or for that matter, the gaffer, who actually has directing experience (some of it quite good).

But here’s the thing: I have high hopes for XOXO. Not for it being good. No – for it being much, much, much worse than We Are Your Friends.

Seeing that film was fun in that, for once in my life, I was able to directly impact box office numbers. (We did some back-of-the-napkin calculations and realized that our small group of friends in Neukölln, Berlin may have outranked the entire box office sales for the country of Germany on the day we saw the movie. If you count the dub and original English-language version separately, that certainty rises.)

The problem with We Are Your Friends was it just wasn’t bad enough. It was just a limp film sliding into an 80s afterschool anti-drug special crawling into a feel-good teen movie ending about how life is special or something or you should really make all your drum samples out of field recordings or … I can’t even put together the words.

XOXO seems to look really beyond awful, like “play drinking games with your friends” or “see who just gets physically ill and has to stop first” bad. But that could make it somehow more watchable than the generally-just-boring mostly-awful We Are Your Friends.

Meanwhile, the trailer a trainwreck of misogyny and female objectification to boot. (Wait… I’ve just forgotten why I thought this would be fun. But the drinking games and friends may play into it somehow.)

In fact, just how depressing is this? It’s so bad that — and I can hardly believe my own eyes — deadmau5 isn’t trolling the filmmakers on his Twitter account. Seriously. Nothing. It’s almost heartbreaking. (I will ask him on Twitter, on behalf of CDM, to please keep up the good fight.)

(His take on last year’s disaster: “Let’s make an EDM movie, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.” I concur.)

This film is so bad that the downvotes on YouTube can’t keep up, because people don’t have the energy to lift their fingers.

Oh, well, let’s gear spot.

And memo to manufacturers: if you actually willingly loaned your gear to this production, please tell us in comments below, and we will SHAME YOU FOR ALL TIME.


Roland AIRA TR-8
AKAI MAX keyboard
Pioneer RMX-1000
Novation Launchpad (original model)
Lacie external hard drives
M-Audio audio interfaces (I think it’s an Audiosport and a 410?)
Pioneer CDJ-2000nexus

Strap in. Here we go.

“XOXO follows six strangers whose lives collide in one frenetic, dream-chasing, hopelessly romantic night.”

Funny story: that’s kind of what the Superbooth was like. You should have been there.

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