DJ/producer/designer Alex Egan studied BA Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Art between 2004-2007. Since then, he’s released and remixed electronic music under his own name and various other guises, including The Draughtsman and Astronomer. As one half of the (now defunct) DJ duo Skull Juice, he co-promoted the Walk The Night parties in Camberwell and was resident at the infamous Blogger’s Delight and High Horse nights.
December sees the launch of Alex’s own record label, Utter. The first release is an audiovisual collaboration between two former students who were at Camberwell at the same time as Alex – Jack Latham (better known as Jam City) and Daniel Swan. When not making music, Alex can be found behind the counter of Soho vinyl institution Phonica Records.
For his Rewind selections, Alex has picked ten musical highlights from his student days in the mid-2000s.
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
“While I struggle to remember my listening habits during my time at UAL, I have to start with Endtroducing as it’s been a very special album to me since my mid-teens. I think Mo’Wax was the first label I avidly ‘collected’, particularly the Shadow, Krush and Dr. Octagon records. When I moved from Wimbledon to Camberwell to start my graphic design degree back in the summer of 2004 I distinctly remember setting my decks up and playing this LP first while unpacking. Made me feel right at home. A masterpiece from start to finish.”
Boards Of Canada – 1969
“Speaking of Shadow, I discovered BoC through his XFM mix back in 2002. I was very much into hip-hop and scratching, beat-juggling and all that back then, but the last third was one of the most ingenious combinations of tracks I’d heard up to that point; Anti-Pop Consortium’s Ghostlawns into Idioteque by Radiohead into 1969…it opened my mind to the idea of mixing disparate forms of electronic music together. A timeless gem from the fantastic Geogaddi LP. That and Music Has The Right To Children are untouchable.”
Quasimoto – Tomorrow Never Knows
“Yep, it’s the obligatory Madlib track. Not much I can say really, other than he’s a genius and a prolific one at that. I bought all his records back then, Lootpack, Jaylib, Madvillain, Rels, the YNQ projects… pretty much anything with his name on. The second Quas album came out a year or so into my course and thankfully was just as good as The Unseen. I’ve been trying to find out the sample in this track for years… no, not the Firesign Theatre one, but the main loop… so here’s a good opportunity to ask for help. Get in touch if you know!”
The Emperor Machine – The TV Extra Band
“Before my Camberwell days I did an art foundation at Kingston College, and before that I studied Music Technology A-Level there as well. I became friends with another vinyl-buying nut on the course called Ben and he put me onto a lot of great music, including Emperor Machine. From there I went on to discover Andy Meecham’s other work as part of Chicken Lips, Sir Drew, Big Two Hundred etc, and the DC Recordings label. Ben and I lost contact after our A-Levels but a couple of years later both found ourselves at Camberwell and DJing at the same house parties. That led to a long period of collaboration on projects such as our duo Skull Juice and promoting parties like Walk The Night, Blogger’s Delight and High Horse. But I digress. Andy’s TV and Sh3a were early Camberwell favourites. Great artwork on this 12″ by the ever excellent La Boca and a blinding b-side in Bloody Hell to boot. Super solid record.”
Skatt Brothers – Walk The Night
“While we were studying, Ben and I were still buying records like mad, recording mixes and DJing where we could, but soon decided we wanted to focus on something we could call our own. We started one of the first music blogs which was an outlet of sorts, but the urge to put on a regular club night took over. Walk The Night by Skatt Bros was one of the many highlights on Optimo’s Psyche Out mix and instantly struck a chord with us, so we named the party after it. We then approached the squatters at Red Star (now known as Nollywood) on Camberwell Green about putting on a weekly night. We also asked a few of our friends at the college to play with us, so Bok Bok and Matthew Stone were early residents too. WTN ran for over five years and we put on loads of guest bands and DJs across a number of venues before Ben and I moved on to other projects in 2011. This track was always played last and quickly became a bit of an anthem for us.”
Dizzee Rascal – I Luv U
“It’s been written about ad nauseam, but the early to mid–2000s really was an exciting time for new music in the UK, particularly in London. There were so many ideas flying around and I reckon chief amongst that was what would eventually be called Grime and Dubstep. The ‘scene’ was quite insular for a while but Dizzee’s first album deservedly got wide exposure. I Luv U was all over the radio and it just leapt out the speakers. The whole of Boy In Da Corner sounded so alien, cold and paranoid yet most importantly, shockingly refreshing. It still does. His production back then was absolutely on point, all across the album, but also on Wheel, Vexed, Strings Hoe and loads more.”
Aphex Twin – XMD 5a
“Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a bit of an obsessive when it comes to Aphex. I probably listened to Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and Drukqs most back then, but as all 11 of the Analord 12″s were released in 2005 they were on repeat while I was at Camberwell. It’s really, really difficult picking just one track but I have a particular soft spot for this one. I highly recommend checking out the whole series though, as well as his records as The Tuss, which followed in 2007.”
Mu – Paris Hilton
“Alongside DFA, I loved Joakim’s Tigersushi and Trevor Jackson’s Output labels and followed them both religiously for a few years. Between them they put out the first two Mu albums, which were like a breath of fresh air. Maurice Fulton is one of those producers who has such a recognisable sound, though no-one can do what he does. Not even close. Paris Hilton is just bonkers dance floor goodness – very playable but so odd. I think I first heard it on a 2manydjs mix. Only Maurice can pull off chicken squawks as a hook! He’s produced three albums for Mutsumi so far and they’re each crammed with energy and amazing ideas. I won’t even get started on the many other superb records he’s behind… that would be an entire essay in itself.”
Brian Eno & David Byrne – Regiment
“I’m a huge fan of both Brian and David’s music. I think I would even go as far as saying Talking Heads are my favourite band, especially the albums Eno produced. His early solo LPs such as Before And After Science, Another Green World and many ambient releases are fantastic too. This one’s from their first collaborative album My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. It’s arguably one of the first records to feature extensive sampling throughout and yet is still one of the best examples of the practice. I love it. It’s also one my dad introduced me to as a youngster and was apparently an Ozrics ‘tourbus classic’ so I reckon it had a big influence on them as well.”
Ozric Tentacles – Toltec Spring
“From around the mid–’80s to the millennium my dad John was part of the space-rock band Ozric Tentacles. Their music was a huge part of my youth. This track, Toltec Spring, is from their 1990 album Erpland and is probably one of the mellowest tracks the band recorded. It’s borderline balearic. My dad plays flute on it and while it’s relatively short, it’s one of my favourite recordings of him. Like most of their late ’80s/early ’90s material it’s wonderfully otherworldly. I have a deep sense of nostalgia whenever I hear those early albums.”
Photography by Amy Knight