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Friday, 27 January 2012

Funky Filthy Headphone Roadtest

If you are here at Funk and Filth, then chances are you have good taste in music, and probably like to listen to your tunes all over the place. So arises one of life’s great questions: which headphones should I choose to accompany me upon my daily wanderings?

My last pair of headphones departed this world one morning when they got sucked up inside the Dyson, breaking the headphone cord and ruining the Dyson as well. That was an expensive morning, and serves me right for trying to be clean and tidy!

So this was when I realised the dilemma of choosing and purchasing a new pair of cans. You don’t want some cheap piece of rubbish, but then again we don’t all have 300 notes lying around to spunk on some top of the range technology. Plus, whilst its nice to have the best available, there’s the problem of walking around with a few hundred quid hanging round your neck – any mugger worth his salt will recognise an expensive pair and may feel inclined to request you to hand them over to him.

With this in mind, Funk and Filth got hold of some reasonably priced headphones from some of the biggest brands, and tried them out on your behalf. How nice. Being Funk and Filth, only a certain sort of tune was going to be suitable for testing out our samples.
It had to have bass to test the low end.
It needed to have vocals to test the upper end.
It needed to be well produced and good quality (320kbps).
And it needed to be something I could listen to over and over again and still love! So, we went for the DJ Frenzy Re-Bounce of Zedd’s Slam The Door. With a big pounding bass line and those nice plinky plunky bits it was perfectly funky. Plus it has swear words in it, so it must be cool. Here it is for you to download for free on its own, or as part of Frenzy’s pretty damn awesome Reckless mix.



Now I could go into the technicalities of weight, frequency, impedence, magnet type etc for each, but I’m guessing most people will just be interested in how much they cost and whether they are any good or not. So here goes:



Bose AE2 - £119.99
Things started off well as I grabbed for the Bose. They felt very light, but still premium, what you would expect for over a hundred quid. Sound quality was generally very good and crisp, but I wasn’t as blown away as I was hoping I would be by the Bose. The fact that each cup swivels is always a bonus.









Beats by Dr Dre Solo - £149.99
We know Beats look cool, especially the Studio range, but we are focussing here on the more affordable Solo range. The bass, as you would expect, was very meaty, but this almost gave the tune an unnatural sound, and possibly even sounded as though the sound was dispersed a little unevenly between left and right channels. Having just put down the very expensive feeling Bose, the Beats felt comparatively cheap in my hands.








Sennheiser PX360 - £99.99
Really good over ear fit (I’m assuming at this point that I have normal size/shape ears!) which meant the best noise cancellation out of the whole lot. The bass wasn’t quite as full as I’d heard on the previous two sets, but the sound quality was really crisp. They swivelled as well. Got to love a swivel!









Sennheiser HD448 - £79.99
Sound quality was pretty much spot on all round, and this set even had better sounding bass than its more expensive Sennheiser brother. Felt really nicely put together in my hand and, in my opinion, the best looking set out of them all.









Skull Kandy S6HEDZ-116 HESH - £47.99
Clarity of sound was not exactly brilliant, but the bass was good and powerful for a relatively low cost pair. They looked really funky as you would expect from Skull Kandy (I picked up the black and blue pair!) and felt secure on my noggin. No swivel though, tut tut.









Sony MDR-XB500 – £49.99
These were amazingly comfy to wear, probably because they have enormous amounts of cushioning yet are still nice and lightweight. Sound was really good all round too, surprisingly so for one of the cheaper sets, and the bass rumbled nicely. They did feel a little on the cheap side, but then look at the price, they are a little on the cheap side.









Sony MDR-XD200 - £24.99
As you would expect, being the lowest cost pair I looked at, these felt very cheap and brittle. The sound, however, was surprisingly good, but I did get the feeling that they wouldn’t last very long under a consistently funky, filthy pummelling!









Philips SHO9560 - £99.99
These look pretty cool, but don’t exactly feel premium to hold. They also lacked the bass of the other similarly priced headphones, but otherwise had a real clarity to the sound.










So, what is the verdict?
Well, I was decidedly unimpressed by the Solo Beats, especially as they were the most expensive ones being looked at, although I know the Studio range is another thing entirely. The Philips, the Skull Kandy and surprisingly even the Bose were also nothing to write home about. So taking everything into account: look, feel, price, clarity, bass, I think it comes down to a head-to-head between the Sony MDR-XB500 and the Sennheiser HD448. Both of them thumped out Frenzy’s funky bass and x-rated vocal sample really sweetly, and both looked and felt like you were getting more for your money than you actually were. But in the end, I think the HD448’s looked and sounded just that little bit better, and would be worth shelling out that extra score for – even if they don’t swivel!

Thanks to our friends at Comet who supplied the headphones, and for anyone who is interested, the device used to play the tunes was an iPhone 4S.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Funk and Filth File o' Facts : Left/Right

His real name is Chris Lund.
He's from Dallas (the place, not the TV show).
And he is one funky little fella!
You might know him better as Left/Right, and if you've heard his stuff you will know he has beats tighter than jeans in January, and an ability to make funky get-up-and-shake-it tunes, as well as some proper dark moody stuff as well . . . love the breadth of this stuff.

Check out a whole load of his free downloads right here. Want the moody stuff? Try his 'Subway' remix. Fancy some funkytime instead? Go for his 'Night Mix', it's been around a while, but it is a whole hour of gold dust! Or if you don't mind paying for your tunes, get a hold of 'Organizized' (also below), awesome tune, and the one that first got me hooked on his stuff.





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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Breakspoll 2012: Not sure who to vote for?

It's looming on the horizon.
"What is?" I hear you ask.
Only the best damn night of the whole year.
It's Breakspoll, it's on Sat 25th Feb at Cable in London, and it is immense.

One of the best things about Breakspoll is that you get to vote to have a say in who gets the awards for all their hard work, but one of the hardest things is working out who to vote for! Either you have too many people that you think have been chucking out some fantastic funk and some fabulous filth, or there are some names on the shortlist that you might not have heard of.
Well, fear not, Funk and Filth is here to help. We've shortened the shortlists further for you with some recommendations, or in some cases just point blank stated who we reckon should get the award! We've also provided some examples of some of the DJs and Producers' work so that you can judge for yourself. Check out below, then head over to www.breakspoll.com to vote. Have fun.


Best Track
These are added here in the priority order of recommendation. There were so many awesome tracks in 2011 that it is hard to pick, but here is the massive Breakspoll shortlist reduced down to Funk and Filth's Top 10!











Best Remix
Loads of great remixes this year, and when you see names like 'Afghan Headspin and 601' together in the same sentence, or 'Krafty Kuts and Pyramid' you know you are about to hear something special. I think the winning combination of 'Anthem, Ender, Skibadee, Chan and Hulton' will be hard to beat though!







Best Album
For consistent quality throughout there are two clear contenders this year, but I think Elite Force & Klaus Badelt's 'Shockland' deserves the nod over 'Antiques of the Future' by Colombo. See for yourself here.


Best Label
Got to be either 'Funkatech Records' or 'Ape Music' in my opinion. The likes of 'Pyramid', 'Specimen A' and 'Far Too Loud' from Funkatech go up against Ape's '601', 'Freerange DJs' and 'Freear & Ekaj'.

Best Producer
Again there has been some magical stuff out there, and alongside Funk and Filth favourites 'Deekline' and 'Slyde', I think 'Vent', 'High Rankin' and 'Noisia' have all had a really good year.
- Deekline
- Slyde
- Vent
- High Rankin
- Noisia



Best DJ
'Deekline' had a big year, his set at Arcadia at Glastonbury was one of the tearouts of the century! But then 'Krafty Kuts' has smashed it several times in the last year, including the Boardmasters clifftop in a monsoon and possibly the best set of Bestival 2011. Then there's 'Nick Thayer', who has also had a great year, ripping up the floor with the early crowd at Cable in November. But for being consistently epic throughout 2011, including top notch sets at Bestival, Freeze, the Old Queens Head and Cable I can only recommend one man . . . 'A.SKillz'.



Best New DJ
James D'Ley's name has been cropping up a lot recently, and where he is involved you can always expect top quality . . . expect big things from this guy!


Best large event
Glasto Dance Village, including performances from 'Sub Focus' and 'Trolley Snatcha' was massive in 2011.
I've still not made it to Shambahala over the other side of the pond, but I hear tales of legendary beatsmiths that must apparently be heard to be believed!

Best Small Event
Boardmasters
Elite Force Boat Party

Best Website/Blog
Funk and Filth of course!! :) Please select "Other" on the voting form and enter 'Funk and Filth' to show your love.

Best Radio Station
Rough Tempo gets the Funk and Filth seal of approval, here's a taster.


Best Radio Show
Annie Nightingale is a legend, got nothing but love for Annie, but think this year it is only fair to recommend the work being done by Ben & Lex in their Beatz n Bobz show on NSB.

Best Free Blog Track
It can only be California Soul by A.Skillz!


Outstanding Contribution
It can't be denied that 'The Freestylers' have made an outstanding contribution over the last few years, and I have no doubt that their time will come, but I think credit is due to the 'Finger Lickin Records' guys, and in particular to Mr 'Abel Reynolds' for his outstanding work with the troublesome Krafty, A.Skillz and co.

Now head on over to www.breakspoll.com to cast your vote. Good luck to everyone involved and see you at Cable on 25th Feb!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A good feeling about 2012 . . .

Well, after a nice Christmas and New Year break it is all back in the office at Funk and Filth Towers, with a definite feeling that 2012 is going to be one hell of a year, and Funk and Filth will be delivering the best free bits straight to you!

2011 is going to be a hard one to beat, if our Funk and Filth Hall of Fame throughout December is anything to judge by. Having run down the funkiest and the filthiest people of last year, it seems only fair to set the good folk of 2012 a benchmark to aim for. So, with that in mind, here is my interpretation of some perfect funk and some textbook filth from last year.

Funkier than James Brown!
Coming near the top of the year was A.Skillz's remix of Marlena Shaw's 'California Soul'. With crisp vocals snipped from the original and a bassline sweeter than a honey-coated sugar cube it was obvious from the first play that this one was going to be hard to beat! A.Skillz has offered it up for free download, grab it right here:


Filthier than Skeletor's jock-strap!
The Kill The Noise remix of Porter Robinson's 'Spitfire' destroyed dancefloors all over the place for the second half of 2011, and is still featuring in a lot of sets as we head into 2012. With an unmistakable intro and a second drumstep drop that will leave your ears ringing and your feet stomping for several days after . . . download it for free below to see what it's all about.


DJs and Producers of 2012, the gauntlet has been thrown down, the standard has been set and we are braced for impact.
Do. Your. Worst!