When the Olympics Committee asked Underworld to put together the official playlist for the London 2012 Games, they were clearly hoping for a soundtrack that manages to be both crowd-pleasing and cool. But while the music that will soundtrack the opening ceremony on Friday admirably mixes up the old and the new — Arctic Monkeys alongside “Land Of Hope And Glory” and the theme tune for EastEnders (and thankfully omits Tom Jones and Take That), the inclusion of Elgar and Eric Clapton means, well, it’s not going to win any medals for bravery, is it? So, in the spirit of sporting competition, we asked Warp’s Kwes — who comes from Lewisham, South East London — to create eMusic an alternative playlist for the Games. Forget “The Eton Boating Song”, this is the real soundtrack of East London.
"Although Darren Cunningham, aka Actress, is based in East London, this album actually sounds like it's from outer space. It took two and a half years to record, and I think Darren just zones out when he's working so the music comes from a completely "other" place. Sometimes it makes you think of dark basement clubs, but it's also very human too."
Clout!, “Maxwell’s O”
"I've remixed this track, but I love the original and I love what the band do generally. They're from Essex but moved to East London to get a studio and work on their music. They're the kind of people who would be creative wherever they were, though, with a brilliant DIY attitude. They jam for hours then edit it down — I think they're the closest thing to Can that exists now. They are incredible live, too. True musical experimentalists."
D Double E feat. Dizzee Rascal, “Bluku! Bluku!”
"East London has always felt creative, urgent and a bit dirty to me. And right from his first album Boy In Da Corner, Dizzee embodied these qualities: He's really abrupt, like "This is what's going on, take it or leave it." This track is direct and fierce and is about the things that go on in the council estates, good and bad. It shows how people find creativity in the hardest environment, and I think that is what's so inspiring about the East End."
Silkie & Mizz Beats, “Purple Love”
"Mizz Beats is an incredible talent from Walthamstow, which is couple of miles from the Olympic stadium. She's under-appreciated now but I think she'll be a major name one day. She started out as a grime producer — she's worked with Dizzee — but her style is completely unique, almost like futuristic R&B. This is soulful and melodic, and manages to combine dubstep and grime while sound like nothing else at the same time."
Dels feat. Elan Tamara, “DLR”
"Elan is another girl from Walthamstow and an amazing singer-songwriter. Dels is from East Anglia, but you can hear the influence of the city in his music. I produced this track. "DLR" stands for "don't like the rain," but it also refers to my love of the Docklands Light Railway, which runs through East London and and into the City."
Jessie Ware & Sampha, “Valentine”
"This is here to represent the Young Turks label, which is a subsidiary of XL Records and has a space in East London. The label is very much about crossing boundaries and getting people to collaborate. They also have an association with the Boiler Room [an internet broadcasting team], who are based in East London too, and are about getting people together and getting the music out there."
Micachu, “Golden Phone”
"Mica is based in East London, and I think she's synonymous with what's going on there. Her band Micachu & The Shapes make some of the most creative, playful, whimsical and forward-thinking music around at the moment, and I always take inspiration from them. Lyrically, Mica is inspired by the East End, but the music comes from anywhere and everywhere. They listen to everything and absorb it into their music."