From Joe Cowton’s end, it was shopping in Boomkat's old physical store, Pelican Neck Records, that he says was the decisive (and no doubt wallet-lightening) habit in the formation of his basic tonal vocabulary. Shopping at Pelican Neck also introduced Joe to Liam from Mindset, who put out the first Narcossist record, back in 2008; but, as I see it, it was the move to Bristol in the same year that really clinched it. Joe started haunting Rooted records, where, while developing his current sound signature – deliberately trying to fuse earlier, darker garage sounds with 'all houses narcotic and nautical' – he was introduced to Chris Farrell, who runs Idle Hands.
Kowton’s EPs are the best possible fit for ‘the devil’s workshop’ – they’re not only deep, dark and warm, but also seductive and, at a pinch, sexy – just like the Dark Prince, or so I've been told. Perhaps I’ve come under Satan’s sway, but for me, both EPs released so far on Idle Hands sound like someone who’s been at it for much, much longer: this is a music knowledge which is anything but basic.
Joe can also mix: his RA cast from September last year was one of the three or so that I played off the hook all through the last part of 2010. It even survived a January Pod purge so merciless that Ming would fain dip his lid in a flash**. What my feelings kept forcing me to repeat to Chris – and anyone else who would listen – is that Kowton’s RA podcast was genuinely and sincerely contemporary, in a year where so much music was all naked bathing neck deep in tape hiss and its pastiche-y analogues. It's a fine line between nostalgia and neuralgia. For me what that means is that Joe’s music is focused on the now – by which I mean his now, not some colourlouss, odourless zeitgeist – developing new and subtle directions from the recombination of influences he’s accumulated and assimilated over years of careful listening and creating. And this is a creative mix that bears and rewards careful listening. Over to Joe:
‘The mix is some of my favorite records of the moment, a few classics, and some of my more recent tracks. Most of the early drafts of the mix I recorded were late at night, just on headphones, and I think the way it came out reflects that, both in the tunes and the way it was mixed. I've tried to keep things simple – and hopefully it works.
Kowton - Ssg Special
Kowton - Keep Walking / Show me (Nakedlunch)
Kowton - Looking At You / Dusk - Fraction (Kowton remix) / Dusk Fraction (Keysound)
Kowton - Metronome / Clak Clak Clak (Commune)
Kowton - Untitled 29-6 / Never Liked Dancing / ? / ? (Idle Hands)
5th Feb @ The Blast, Bristol w/ Funkineven
11th Feb @ Dubstudio Sessions, Bristol
1st March @ Acetate, Leeds w/ Pinch & Peverelist
5th March @ Disconnected, Nottingham w / Andrew Weatherall
26th March @ Club Cosmique, Bristol w/ Space Dimension Controller