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The Blue Room - Bringing you the Late Night Sound of Radio 1


Feature: Jack Foley

CHRIS Coco and Rob Da Bank have long been regarded as pioneers and innovators in their field.

The Blue Room - on Radio 1, every Saturday between 5am and 7am on 97 - 99FM - has led the way for forward-thinking eclectisism since its inception in early 2002, and is the blue print for those who love the most fantastically diverse and emotive music on Radio One.

Every time you hear the show you are guaranteed to hear a blend of all that's great in the world of cutting edge eclecticism.

Now comes the double mix album that shows exactly why the formula works - 38 songs of the highest quality, mixed over two CD's.

The Blue Room started in January 2002 as a three-hour segue of music. It was a nice idea, but tricky to execute.

So BBC spies started looking into the nooks and crannies of Britain's small, musically sentient clubs and discovered a pair of nightworld individuals who could make the Blue Room their own.

They found Rob da Bank in the corner of his Sunday Best club, and lassoed Chris Coco away from his excellent productions and compilations. The result? Perfectly pitched horizontal chaos that has played out live from Sonar and Glastonbury and continually flags up the best in strangedays sounds.

"It's not really a chill-out show at all," says Coco, whose real name is Chris Mellor, and who ran legendary 90's Brighton event, The Coco Club.

"Because if you just play chill-out you send people to sleep and that's not ideal.

"We can play music that sounds quite weird but seems right at five o'clock in the morning.

"The Blue Room ethos is that we play music across all genres," adds Robby (real name lost in the mists of time). "We're the link between John Peel, Gilles Peterson, Mary Ann Hobbs and Pete Tong. It's… (long pause punctuated by addled grin) a pot pourri."

The Blue Room looks set to reach a whole new slice of listeners.

Aside from taking the show out of the studio and into the world's best music festivals - the Blue Room boys have transferred their nocturnal ramblings onto a compilation.

"On the radio," says Coco, "we put our records together in a way that makes sense. It's like chess but not as difficult.

"We piece things together, say between Aphex Twin banging acid techno and a mellow folky thing. We're still linking all these unconnected pieces of music, and hopefully people'll recognise that it's the Blue Room - of course, it's all over the place."

Chris Coco and Rob da Bank share The Blue Room, and naturally, they share space on the compilation.

Musically they're as widescreen as each other, showcasing The Cure's deadpan Lullaby, The Flaming Lips' delirious, brilliant All We Have Now, cut-up merchants Cassette Boy,with Bring Back Cloaks and - hailing from BR's favourite sonic country, Norway - Ralph Myerz and The Jack Herren Band and You Never come Closer.

"If you listen, it's all quite accessible and easy to understand," continues Chris. "We'll guide you through the music we like without being patronising, just because we're so enthusiastic about it.

"I actually think that Robby and I have quite commercial tastes. These are left-field tunes but given the exposure, they could easily be hits."

It's a typically anarchistic take for a show that is essentially meant to be a post-club chill-out zone.

"You're talking to a whole other world, separated from the world that wakes up at 7am," says Coco. "A lot of people work at that time in the morning, watering golf courses and picking peas".

"Midwives and milkmen," adds Robby. "You get the clubbers but you get a whole load of other people too. We had one woman texting in to say that her contractions had just started and could be play some records and send out some love?

"It's really intimate and special. My 87-year-old grandpa listens to it every week. He sets his alarm clock, makes a cup of tea and sits in bed listening to the whole show, then dozes back off.

"Which other show is bringing pensioners and kids together?"

"Yeah," agrees Chris, continuing the familial connection. "My mum really liked some of the skits we did for Glastonbury. She was like, 'I really likes those ones you did about peace and harmony."

So the Blue Room is jam-packed with exciting new projects and a blinding compilation CD.

But what about our erstwhile presenters and their multitude of side projects?

Chris Coco is putting together an 'arty, accessible' classical music-meets-electronica compilation ('It'll rock the classical world,") and when he's not fulfilling DJ dates, ranging from providing music for smart young author's book readings, he's working on a new Chris Coco artist album.

Rob da Bank is kept ludicrously busy with his Sunday Best club and label and is taking over Ibiza, with four Sunday Best parties which are guaranteed to send even the tidiest person into a happily messy spin. "My Summer is end to end," he says, "but it's all good."

Tracklisting:

The Blue Room CD1 Mixed by Chris Coco
1. The Orb - Blue Room (CocoDaBank Remix)
2. Ulrich Schnauss - Crazy For You
3. cane141 - Sugarfoot
4. Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band - You Never Come Closer
5. Calexico - Not Even Stevie Nicks
6. Ikon - The Dove
7. Static - Inside Your Heaven
8. The Polyphonic Spree - Light And Day/Reach For The Sun (The Bees Remix)
9. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - On The Low
10. Moly - Me And Lucifer
11. My Morning Jacket - Phone Went West
12. Ja-Man Allstars - West Man Skank
13. Chris Coco - Revolution
14. Ultrafox - Cloakroom Girl
15. Ladytron - Cracked LCD
16. Erlend Oye - Ghost Trains
17. Cassetteboy - Bring Back Cloaks
18. Mark Thibideau - Distance Between
19. The Flaming Lips - All We Have Is Now

The Blue Room CD2 Mixed by Rob da Bank
1. Hubtone - Seeing Things
2. Chungking - Making Music
3. Harpers Bizarre - Witchi Tai To
4. Psychonauts - Hips For Scotland
5. Peven Everett - They So Cold
6. Impossible Beings - Dois Pólos
7. DJ DSL - Happy Bear
8. Lazyboy feat. Lee "Scratch" Perry - Penguin Rock (Manasseh Meets the Upsetter Remix)
9. Annie - I Will Get On
10. Kraak en Smaak - Money In The Bag
11. Putsch '79 - Steam Engine
12. Uusi Fantasia - Lattialla Taas
13. Rise Ashen - Second Wind
14. Plej - Lay Of The Land
15. Spiller - Cry Baby (Röyksopp's Målselves Memorabilia Mix)
16. Blu Mar Ten - The Feeling
17. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
18. The Cure - Lullaby
19. The Orb - Blue Room (CocodaBank Remix)

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