Kulturcast episode 3 – Morvern Cunningham, LeithLate

Now I’ve had a bit of time off I’ve managed to get Kulturcast podcast episode number three recorded which features a conversation with Morvern Cunningham.

Morvern runs Edinburgh-based art festival LeithLate and we caught up at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith to chat about the organisation LeithLate and the festival of the same name.

The festival runs between the 23rd and 26th of June 2016, over 4 consecutive days making it the biggest LeithLate yet, but more on that in the podcast.

We spoke about how LeithLate came to be, what is on this year’s agenda and what’s to come in future, including a really interesting early doors partnership of LeithLate and Deptford X festivals.

Morvern was very busy so I really appreciate her taking and hour or so to chat to me about what she and LeithLate are doing. It was a really interesting conversation, and I hope you’ll find it just as enlightening!

Check out some of the previous public artworks organised by Leith Late and Morvern below.

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So, on we go with Kulturcast episode 3 with Morvern Cunningham.


UKB Guest Mix #38 – Kov Rah [UKB038]

An hour of slick micro house from Kov Rah, Paris based DJ and producer.

After striking up conversation over one of the older UKB Guest Mixes we decided to sort out his own guest appearance – this hour long techno-y microhouse mix.

Like many who enter into production, his musical background and motivation doesn’t trace its origins to a specific instrument(s), but to a place.

The place, not Paris, but London.

It was nights out at the much missed Cable and Fabric as well as 2 or 3 raves during his time there that triggered a huge desire to, as he puts it, “press a few buttons”.

Press a few buttons he now does, and with some considerable talent too.

Kov Rah swiftly followed up his London time with stints in two of my favourite European cities, Berlin and Marseille.

These days he finds himself back in Paris, a city that has definite pedigree in terms of dance music, but lacks the “culture” of those other places, in his mind.

“Historically, Paris does not have a big culture of clubbing. But it’s undeniable that there have been plenty of initiatives in the recent years.”

“A lot of clubs regularly have big names and summer is full of pretty cool places like Ferme du Bonheur, Cracki and Pavillon du Dr Pierre. But for now it’s still just a trend and has yet to become a real culture, and not a business.”

Cue this one up and let Kov Rah guide you through an hour of his selections for UKB038.


Dazzle Ship – Edinburgh Art Festival 2016

I suppose one of the appeals of ‘urban art’ is that it can crop up anywhere, really. By far the most unique example I’ve come across (in more ways than one) has to be Ciara Philips’ “dazzle ship” as part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival.

As astonishing as the design is, the story behind the ship is just as amazing.


The MV Fingal, now docked at the Prince of Wales dock in the historic port of Leith, sticks out with its striking design and bold lines and colours. Amazing then, that this type of design was used in the first and second world wars as a form of camouflage.

The design from Glasgow-based Turner Prize nominee Philips was inspired by the team of women who worked under British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, inventor of the “dazzle” technique.

It’s a little known fact that most of these designs were devised by women, and included in this piece is a message in Morse code embedded within the pattern in retro reflective paint reading “Every Woman a Signal Tower”.



Characterised by brilliant, glaring geometric patterns these designs were widely used in both world wars.

Instead of aiming to make the ship invisible to the enemy, it set out to confuse their attempts to sink it by making it difficult to accurately gauge the distance, direction and speed of travel.

A brilliantly outlandish stroke of genius. I wonder what happened during the meeting where that idea was brought up…



Ciara’s ship design won’t be blending in down Leith way.

Instead it stands bright against the bland port surroundings, and is a welcome addition to the area, having briefly departed to Queensferry for the Battle of Jutland commemorations this weekend.

A really spectacular sight to see in person.







Check it out now, and read more about the project on the 14-18 NOW website which includes a number of other designs across the UK.


Rival Consoles – Hidden Door 2016

We’re right in the thick of Edinburgh’s purely volunteer run arts and music festival just now. Rival Consoles‘ arrival in town on Saturday marked the first in a week long series of personal musical highlights set out by the Hidden Door organisers.

I had my eye on this one since being given a tip to check out his latest EP “Howl”. Further online investigation raised an interesting comparison with the likes of Nils Frahm and Jon Hopkins. A date was set. Tickets duly acquired.


Ryan Lee West, better known as Rival Consoles, is now three EPs deep into his synth led atmospheric electronica. With Odyssey, Sonne and now Howl to draw upon in his impressive armoury, his one hour live set was a rugged work of classy genre spanning electronica.

Like his reputation and released work, this one hour performance was built upon music suited not only to your headphones but also for the big space of the Long Room. His background as a guitarist, rather than dance music producer, perhaps giving the balance needed to deliver music with a foot in both camps.

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Taking to the stage with little fanfare, he made quick progress in setting the tone for a slightly more ambient first half with Odyssey.

Straight to business, West dodged to and from the pieces of kit laid before him guiding his set to a noticeable half-time split. Accompanied by tripped out dot-art visuals, and a crowd ready to dance, captivated whoops and yells of delight accompanied drops and breakdowns.

A more dancefloor orientated second half, yet no less listenable, was brought to a thrilling climax with “Looming”. This Burial-esque atmospheric stomper bringing the whole room forward, some arms aloft, delighting in the refreshing atmospheric and synthy finish.

Quick discussion with the stage manager followed, soon after another brash, bouncing track filled the room before he disappeared for good. Leaving the stage with a nod, thumbs up, and a swig of a pint.

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As unassumingly as he took to the stage, he left it. Hidden Door day two done by 11pm – and a room full of people in the mood to dance.

They say you should always leave the crowd wanting more. I don’t think there was any doubt that was the case.



D*Face, Misfits and Misprints at StolenSpace

I’m a little late with my review of D*Face‘s last exhibition, Misfits and Misprints, at his home turf of StolenSpace. It’s now made way for the London Police, sadly. But all is not lost.

You can relive the glory of his offerings now via this blog post!


This exhibition was a bit of a rarity in more ways than one.

It proudly displayed a series of one off paper pieces from D*Face’s archive. Included were misprints, proofs and editions that hadn’t been seen in public before.

Screen printing is really important to him. In fact, he makes the bold claim on his artist statement that it changed his life.

From early Warhol prints to the screen printed decks of Surrey skateboards. Envelopes stuffed full of Shepard Fairey OBEY stickers, to the successful completion of his first home printed run of stickers.

Screen printing hasn’t just been in his blood. It kinda is his blood.




“I have always been fascinated by the process, which in its simplest form is a very basic method of mass print production, practically the lowest rung on the ladder of printing (just after potato printing).”

“Achievable to anyone willing to invest in the small amount of money and time needed to learn the dark art.”

“At the same time it’s revered as the top of the printing food chain and carries with it a trade and skill that is forever being honed by master printers.”


“It can be deeply frustrating to people trying to achieve print perfection, but liberating to those who embrace the beauty of misprints and repetition.”

I loved the pieces in this exhibition.

The Coca-Cola bottle and typography, rebranded with the word “Riot”, and his Lichtenstein-esque cartoon characters are perfect examples of his ever-present theme of subversion.


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With every piece there’s always something else that bubbles just beneath the surface. Suggestions of something a little more sinister, in the underbelly, is his forte.

No better examples than his characters of the multi layered prints, with print upon print upon print creating, at first look an incomprehensible mish-mash. However, on closer inspection each layer becomes clearer.

It takes a bit more work to appreciate, but there’s reward lying in wait for your efforts.

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There were also multi-layer pieces put together physically – as in different layers of paper displayed in front and behind each other, as opposed to layers of paint – giving additional depth and a different take on the screenprint.

Overall another great exhibition in these four walls. It’s a gallery that sets the bar high with a constant level of quality, It always tempts me down to the Whitechapel Road end of Brick Lane.

If it’s on at StolenSpace, chances are it’s worth making the time.

With that in mind – make it along to see the London Police exhibition now happening, because if it’s half as good as this, it’ll be unmissable.



UKB Guest Mix #37 – Steven Blyth [UKB037]

I’ve been really getting into the underground Romanian minimal sound, which I discovered during a visit to the country’s capital roughly a year or so.

Bucharest’s underground scene is no doubt the envy of many Western European cities, and despite some recent tragic events, is doing its best to become safer whilst remaining as solid and uncompromising as ever.

With producers like Rhadoo, Raresh, Herodot and Ada Kaleh high on my list, I’ve been collecting tracks inspired by the distinctive minimal sound, not necessarily exclusively from Romanian artists, but others whose sound fits.

So on Sunday morning I selected a few and put them together for what can presumably be titled a “resident” guest mix. That won’t win prizes for the slickest title ever, but it does kick the UKB Guest Mix podcast back into action.

I hope you enjoy it!


1. Tres – Jessica Diaz
2. Little Antennas – Lilith (NL), P. Jones
3. Moro – Nepemora, Mariano A.S.
4. Haze (Jessica Diaz remix) – Chad Andrew, Jessica Diaz
5. Everybody Needs a Hobby – Martin Dacar
6. Smoking – Martin Dacar
7. Buhos (Chad Andrews remix) – Jessica Diaz, Chad Andrews
8. Drinking – Martin Dacar
9. Senderos RMS – Jessica Diaz