Charles Webster – Miso Mix-66-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
It’s great when your star is in the ascendant, especially in that headiest of all heady worlds, the music business. That unbeatable adrenalin rush as your career seems to be on a permanent upward trajectory. Everyone loves you, everyone wants to be your friend. They slap you on the back (ouch, that hurt actually…), they want to be seen with you (hang on, your trousers reflect badly on me…), take drugs with you (just say no…).
Then the inevitable come down. The hits dry up, your new friends disappear, your old friends are sore that you forgot about them, your label drops you. (didn’t the Jam write a song about this?). You could write a concept album about it. With a bit of luck, an old friend in A&R might have been sacked by his major label employers (probably for being crap, a crackhead, or most likely both) but been given a big enough pay off to start his own independent, he’ll fund it.
STOP! There is another way. It’s a way we first glimpsed when the electronic music revolution spread like wildfire from the world’s bedroom studios in the mid 80s, demystifying and democratising the music-making process virtually overnight. The possibilities seemed endless, especially when the music spawned a culture in acid house that put the emphasis on participation – no ‘us & them’ between audience and artist. We were all ‘us’ in the scene, ‘them’ were simply those who didn’t (wouldn’t, couldn’t) get it.
Of course it couldn’t last, as the ‘industry’ slipped out of its own backside for long enough to find ways to exploit this new scene. So we got (cough) superstar DJs, club (ahem) “brands”, all the hits & more cheesy megacomps, ‘avin it in Ibiza ad nauseam (literally)….
STOP AGAIN! Some of those who’d witnessed the other way liked what they saw. They stuck with it. They eschewed celebrity status, the pop charts, three gigs a night, unnecessary remixes, radio edits. No compromise, no sell out.
Rather, they worked at their craft. They strived for perfection, refusing to accept it was all but unattainable. They pushed boundaries, challenged fanbases that relished that fact. They survived & thrived. They made the world of music a better place….
…and a select few of them are still here, still challenging us and thrilling us in equal measure. Enter stage left(field) Charles Webster.
People love Charles. DJs love him for making their jobs easier…producers love him for the inspiration he provides…his loyal fanbase love him because they can trust him to deliver time & again. Twenty odd years in the game and Charles has the RESPECT of several generations of music lovers.
So how did we get here?
Well Charles is from a blessed generation. One whose parents owned Beatles albums, one which was seduced by the likes of Bowie and Roxy Music, then had its senses awakened by the double whammy of the DIY punk ethic and Kraftwerk’s electronic revolution…then was still young enough to embrace the possibilities of the digital age. And so it was that this unassuming, bespectacled, hat-obsessed musical troubadour from semi-rural England set about making his mark on the world.
Charles got his first instruments aged 14 (guitar, synthesizer and drum machine) and began treading the boards in early electronic bands round Sheffield , Nottingham and Derby, then eventually the ‘musical mecca’ that is London.
Then another fateful hand was dealt. Charles moved to Nottingham, started working in a restaurant... the owner of which also just happened to own the city’s 'Garage Club', definitely the first House club in Nottingham (and arguably in England). The owner invited all the staff to the opening party of his new club. One Graeme Park is the resident DJ, Larry Heard and DJ Pierre are on the turntables, and suddenly Charles is aware that the genre-defying music he has been creating himself has by chance happened across a genre and a scene which can take him to their very hearts.
From hereon it’s a blurred tale of late nights in studios and clubs, collaborators aplenty, all pieces fitting together and helping to shape the king of electronic soul we know and love today. Earning his dance music spurs engineering for the great, the good (Blur, Juan Atkins etc..), and just occasionally the godawful (secret…!) at the city’s seminal Square Dance Studios, Charles truly came of age as a producer in his own right with 1990’s Sine and 1992’s Megatonk projects.
A brave move to San Francisco in 1993 enabled his production career to go into overdrive as the prime mover behind the acclaimed Love From San Francisco label. This in turn lead to tracks coming out on other acclaimed Stateside labels such as Emotive, Nitebeat, Rey-d , Happy Traxx et al. Charles launched the prodigious talent that is Terra Deva, then 16, into the dance music world via Furry Phreaks’ seminal ‘Soothe’ and ‘Want Me Like Water’.
Back in the UK in 1996, Charles started the Remote label for his increasingly in demand output, and began to get serious props as a DJ. ‘Getting Lifted’ by Presence led to Pagan Records offering the Webster-masterminded project an album deal. The hugely successful ‘All Systems Gone’ release took the often staid world of so-called deep house into new stratospheres, won ‘album of the month’ plaudits in pretty much every publication that reviewed it worldwide (even scoring an unprecedented 11 out of 10 in one mag), and gave the world the classic single ‘Sense of Danger’, featuring Shara Nelson.
Keynote remixes for the likes of Dr Rockit (Charles’s remix of Café de Flore by this Matthew Herbert pseudonym must be one of the most licensed mixes ever) and Groove Armada (‘At The River’) saw Charles conquer the ever-growing chill out market much as he had with the deep house one, and helped pave the way for his first album under his own name, ‘Born On The 24th July’ (Peacefrog / Statra), released in 2002 to universal acclaim. Perhaps the closest thing yet to a full depiction of Charles’s musical vision, it is a deep yet uplifting, soulful, diverse collection – and makes for a truly coherent album, rather than a patchwork of club tracks and fillers. A remixed version of ‘Born…’, featuring such leftfield luminaries as Herbert, UFO and Pepe Braddock, was released to similar acclaim in late 2003.
2007 and Charles Webster just can’t stop. His latest Furry Phreaks creation ‘All Over The World’ with Terra Deva has major release via Defected; more releases are lined up for his much-feted Miso Records; in 2008 a definitive and long-overdue Webster compilation project is released, also on Defected; swiftly followed by a Coast 2 Coast compilation for NRK records, he is producing luminaries such as Tracy Thorn (everything but the girl/massive attack) , Shara Nelson (massive attack), Cathy Batistessa and Robert Owens; and the global dj’ing continues. And we haven’t even mentioned his internationally syndicated radio shows; his remixes for the likes of Salif Keita, Martina Topley-Bird and Fish Go Deep; the number of quality compilations still falling over themselves to feature his work (old & new) …
A true innovator in the electronic music scene, Charles Webster is one of the few real mould-breakers in an increasingly stale & predictable dance music world (though whether a man whose favourite artist is Rickie Lee Jones, and whose records ooze such soul and depth should really ever be pigeonholed as dance is another debate…).
Charles has sold over 100,000 albums without ever being considered a sell-out …he has toured the world with a full (genuinely) live band…he has also dj’s worldwide, playing regularly in every continent in the worlds top clubs, without ever having had the need to be feted by the dance media as a flavour of the month…he’s had the nous to have been running his own labels for years, frequently laying them to rest before they get tired and switching to other projects…he is comfortable making music at any tempo, straddles numerous genres (both real and imagined) with ease…bloody hell, he even writes songs.
Charles Webster. Respect, as they say, is due.
recent projects include.....
3 cd compilation on defected records.compilation on NRK records....furry phreaks with terra deva - ‘all over the world’ 12”....lot’s of remixes..(inc – dennis ferrer….markus enochson…shara nelson….paul Randolph ….phonique…andre lodemann..etc..)...tracks for new album....tracks with shara nelson ….BBC 6 music ‘6 mix’ show…gilles Peterson ‘worldwide show’... a weekly syndicated radio show (Ibiza/turkey/Ireland/japan/canaries etc..)
upcoming projects include…Lecture for ‘red bull music’ in Amsterdam...a major Jazz album project with Peter Wraight (featuring emilie chick and paul Randolph and 28 piece choir on vocals)…a new Charles Webster album…a new mix compilation…an exclusive track for ’15 years of Om records’ with Samantha James on vocals…a new project with vocalist Cathy Batistessa...release of Presence ‘s ‘sense of danger’ single with new mixes from Charles and Moodymann.......the second Version (charles and atjazz with vocalist Emilie chick) 12” …another mix compilation….many dj gigs…inc Berlin, Cork, Paris, nuites Sonores, Amsterdam, Dublin, London etc….live dates…...remixes for ; Yoko Ono, Wendy and Lisa, Bliss and Ane Brun,Vanessa daou, fish go deep, liebe detail..etc...
Charles Websters posts
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-57-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-55-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-54-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-52-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-50-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-49-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-48-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-47-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-45-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-44-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-42-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-41-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-40-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-37-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-32-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-30-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-29-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-27-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-26-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-24-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-23-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-22-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-21-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-20-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-19-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-18-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-16-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
Charles Webster – Miso Mix-15-2013 by Motionfm on Mixcloud
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