Reflecting on how it all started 25 years ago, Moon considers their no-plan-plan to be a makeshift plateau which evolved organically: “All we did was try to play good records one after the other without any consideration for fashion. And people wanted that”. Alternative approaches were not unknown at the time, but Aficionado, as Jason and Moon’s Sunday sessions became known, pressed the reset button with unique resolve.
Jason elaborates: “It was 1998 when we started. It was our own 'fuck you’ to the Super Club regime - almost everywhere then. The ‘anything goes’ Balearic ethos was in abeyance. It wasn’t cool at the time, but we both just wanted to keep that original spirit alive. ‘Keep it open’ had always been my approach to DJing - even from playing at Youth Clubs as a teenager. No rules or generic constrictions. Play anything that you like from any era, any style from any time. We always encouraged our guests to dig deep and play outside of their comfort zones, their usual styles”.
Regular contributors quickly realised there was a freedom here which expected exploration of the most cobwebbed corners of the collection. The trick was to do something that hadn’t been done before - to play a record which might make these genuinely genre-less sonic adventurers double take. Aficionado reserved the right to apply the brakes and offered the same opportunity to their guests in terms of avoiding stultifying ‘sets’ and routine dance floor button pushing. At the same time, Jason and Moon were also adept in responding to the hedonistic excess that often erupted by playing music likely to facilitate random outbursts of dancing on tables on a school night. Aficionado never settled or coalesced into something readily identifiable and easy to sell.
While there were many Manchester venues, for Jason Sundays at Zumbar were special: “It would get very deranged. A cranky Citronic double deck console and very lo-fi, but a real vibe. Free pizza! At Fat Cat we got offered a proper wage - credit in the straight world! A basement by the Canal”. Moon concurs: “Zumbar was crackers - Sunday became the essential day to go out for our lot. But my two favourite ’Nado venues were Arch in Hulme and Fat Cat. People who’d been up all weekend would turn up spangled. Some bods stopped going out on Saturdays and made Sunday their big night out. Did these people have jobs? Very, very funny times…”.
The lovingly crafted musical mystery tour of this compilation, considering its pleasantly hypnagogic intent, may not reflect the madness of these now distant memories. This is an older and considerably more responsible collection and this is what we need right now - a temporary respite from a world almost capsized. A mood, a meditation created by masters of their craft. Odd socks from disparate global locations making new sense side by side. An assemblage, if you like. A thread through many different kinds of thinking. A new picture pieced together from the lost pieces of many jigsaws.
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: Aficionado is a cult. A nod-and-a-wink into cryptic catacombs of musical discovery. A paradoxical combination of Moonboot’s hushed mythical reverence and the contagious sense of enthusiasm and adventure from Jason Boardman.
A club night that’s uniquely Mancunian in spirit yet has gone on to inform and inspire a whole global network of record obsessives. A label that spins on a different axis to the mainstream, yet evolves and adapts in natural cycles in harmony with the growing maturity of its founders. Which is why we find ‘25 Years Of Aficionado’ in a decidedly unhurried and meditative mood - showcasing sounds that are at home amongst sun-blushed beaches, English countryside and the relaxed contentment of a free weekend afternoon. Rather than re-hash the hits that soundtracked their debauched Sunday sessions back in the day, the pair have curated a contemplative set that reflects the unwinding of pace that undoubtedly comes with age – in turn delivering something that’s unequivocally relevant to the listeners it's aimed at.
I’ve had both the joy and pain of playing at ‘Nado. Forced to spend most of the evening wearing record sleeves on my head as my ill prepared set contained bootlegs, edits and, the biggest rule break of all – beat matching! I was young and ignorantly unaware of these basic fundamentals, but it was a beautiful schooling. To some this might seem like a militant and contrary manifesto; but it serves to highlight the purity of spirit that can easily be lost in today’s modern age, where digital versions of most songs can be acquired at the click of a mouse and true undiscovered rarities come few and far between. JB & Moon epitomise the excitement of the hunt, the joy of eclecticism; and I think it's due to this immovable and uncompromising passion for unearthing true vinyl gems that goes someway to explaining the pair’s universal admiration and acclaim as DJs and label curators.
1. Held By Trees - In The Trees - Ambient
2. Stanley Clarke - Desert Song
3. Jan Akkerman - Ode To Billy Joe
4. Alain Debray - Concierto De Aranjuez
5. The Hightower Set - Departure Lounge (Nothing To Declare)
6. J-Walk - Cool Bright Northern Morning
7. Canyons - Akasha (Begin Remix)
8. Waves - Summer Sunday
9. Mudd - Summer In The Wood
10. Trevor Heiron - Love Chains (Instrumental)
11. Korallreven - Honey Mine (Lissvik Remix)
12. Giorgio Tuma - Through Your Hands Love Can Shine (feat. Laetitia Sadier)
13. The Superimposers - Seeing Is Believing
14. Teacher - Can't Step Twice (On The Same Piece Of Water) (New Version)
15. Kalima - Shine (Gilles Peterson Vibrazonic Dub Mix)
16. The Haggis Horns - The Traveller Part Two
1. Stanley Clarke - Desert Song
2. Jan Akkerman - Ode To Bellie Jo
3. Alan Debray - Concierto De Aranjuez
4. High Tower Set - Departure Lounge (Nothing To Declare)
5. J-Walk - Cool Bright Northern Morning (Exclusive)
6. Canyons - Akasha (Begin Remix)
7. Waves - Summer Sunday
8. Mudd - Summer In The Woods
9. Trevor Herion - Love Chains (Instrumental)
10. Korallreven - Honey Mine (Lissvik Remix)
11. Georgio Tuma With Laetitia Sadier - Through Your Hands Love Can Shine
12. Superimposers - Seeing Is Believing
13. Cecilio & Kapana - Someday
14. Teacher - Can't Step Twice On The Same Piece Of Water
15. Kalima - Shine On (Vibrazonic Dub Mix)