Friday, December 01, 2006

rob and chris listen again


Justin Kleinfeld ~ BBC Radio One DJs Rob da Bank and Chris Coco are two musical evangelists who have dedicated so much time to the pursuit of new sounds that their own mothers probably struggle to recognize them. Luckily for us, Rob & Chris' family relationships are their problem, not ours, and we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors in the form of Listen Again. This double-CD compilation features a selection of celebrated and undiscovered gems from across the musical spectrum. Listen Again enchants, entertains and promises to introduce even the most jaded listener to what could well be his new favorite band.

In everything they do, Rob & Chris have both found ways of taking the best of what is perceived as “fringe,” “leftfield” or “niche” music and presenting it in a way that highlights its mass appeal. This is exactly what they achieve across the 26 tracks of Listen Again. For every established act like Hard Fi or Jose Gonzalez, there are little known gems from acts such as Patrick & Eugene or Rainbow Family. For every slice of blessed-out studio magic (The Freelance Hellraiser, Jim Noir) there is a slice of raw rock 'n' roll (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Gogol Bordello). Thoughtfully, the pair also included some exclusive live recordings from Arab Strap, James Yorkston, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and King Creosote from their BBC Maida Vale sessions.

Rob da Bank's first foray into the business of music was in 1995, when he launched the Sunday Best night at Clapham, England’s Tearooms des Artistes. Based on a love of chill out, electronica but with an anything goes musical policy, the club was so successful that in 1997 it spawned a record label - Sunday Best Recordings - which unveiled then unknown acts Groove Armada, Bent and Lemon Jelly to the world via single releases and compilations. Such a good idea could never be contained in one small south London club, and over the last decade Sunday Best have partied everywhere from Glastonbury to Ibiza, and in 2004 launched Bestival - Rob's very own independent three-day festival on the Isle Of Wight. The 2006 edition of Bestival was a complete sell-out and featured live headline performances from Pet Shop Boys & Scissor Sisters.

Chris Coco first made his name as promoter during the acid house explosion of the late 80s, but quickly found himself reconnecting with a passion for moody electronica, dub reggae and film soundtracks first nurtured as a youthful fan of New Order, Kraftwerk and The Velvet Underground. He spent the mid to late 90s as a globe-trotting DJ spinning everywhere from sunset parties in Ibiza to fashion parties in Tokyo. DJing led to producing and compiling, Chris has been behind a string of acclaimed albums over the last decade, recording for labels including Warp and Distinctive, and collaborating with everyone from Nick Cave to Iain Banks in the process. He is also much in demand for his soundtrack work, making music for feature films and TV shows like The Football Factory and Nip /Tuck.

With so much in common, it seemed inevitable when Rob & Chris were brought together by Radio 1 in April 2002 as the presenters of the Saturday morning “Blue Room” show (www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/dance/blueroom). Presenting the show alone on alternate weeks, Rob & Chris quickly made the Blue Room one of the most influential shows for launching new music on the airwaves; a vision that was reflected in the subsequent release of two Blue Room compilation CDs. Displaying the same disrespect for genre and ear for quality that is so evident throughout the two CDs of Listen Again, the pair made the “Blue Room” essential listening for anyone keen to discover extraordinary music - past, present and future.

2006 sees Chris and Rob as busy as ever. Chris is currently on tour with Robbie Williams, DJing and adding a sprinkling of sonic space dust to the band's live performance; over the course of this year he will have played in front of over two million people. Rob continues to run the successful Sunday Best label and is preparing to take on a new role at Radio 1: from September 2006 he will host a new show called “Sundays With Rob da Bank.”

For more information on “Listen Again,” Rob da Bank and Chris Coco visit: EtherMusic.net,SundayBest.neet, ChrisCoco.comBestival.net or BBC Radio 1 (rob) (blueroom).

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