Raj Gupta under the name Ray Mang released his first EP entitled "Number One" in 1996 which, since its release, has become an underground classic. It has been included and critically cited as one of the strongest tracks on both Mixmag Presents "Monsieur Dimitris De-Luxe House Of Funk" and Groove Armadas "Back To Mine" compilations and there are still people feverishly trying to track down copies of the original 12” release on the Noid label!

This was followed by a string of 12” releases on his very own Mangled imprint finding their way into everyones boxes from Pete Tong to Harvey and back via Gilles Peterson, James Lavelle, Glimmer Twins, Daniel Wang, Trevor Jackson and Andy Weatherall. All demonstrate his trademark fat n funky percussive sound with a cheeky sensibility that acts like a magnet, pulling people onto the dance floor with an almost irresistible force.

Moving into the naughties and Ray hooked up with the new trendiest label in Belgium, Eskimo Recordings, to release an album of some of his past 12” excursions. The Ray Mang album "Mangled" was released in April, 2002 to critical acclaim.

Another artiste identity, Block 16, is Raj with writer/keyboards/producer Peter Zivkovic. The two have emerged as key players in the London Nu House scene over last ten years, amassing a huge and diverse amount of credits between them, such as Ian Brown, Xpress 2, Terry Callier, Raisa, Midfield General, Faze Action, Zero 7, Soul Family Sensation, Idjut Boys, James Last, Pat Lundy, Saint Etienne and Nina Miranda. Having crossed paths numerous times working on various different projects in varying roles through the years (even ending up as flatmates at one stage!), they finally found the time to combine their respective talents to make something bigger than the both of them.

Block 16 have done remixes for Bloc Party ("Banquet") on V2, Zero 7 ("Distractions") on Ultimate Dilemma, James Hardway ("Speak Softly") on Hydrogen Dukebox and Terry Callier ("Sierra Leone") on Mr. Bongo. Production duties included over half an album for Belgian world beat/electronica duo Arsenal whose album "Oyebo Soul" was nominated for three Zamu awards (Belgian Grammys). It was released in 2004 on US label Kriztal Entertainment and was critically well received.

Ray Mang joined a new band for writing and production duties early in 2004. Dirty Minds is a collaboration with Belgian DJs The Glimmer Twins and vocalist Tom Derie (Ultrasonic, Soapstone). The first single, "Im For Pleasure", came out on Eskimo Recordings in 2004 and was followed by "Life Of Brian" and "Scream (I Want U)" (which also featured on a DJ Kicks compilation) in 2005.

Also in 2005, Ray Mang had two singles: "Big Bambu" and "Tels Bells" (featuring the leftfield vocal delights of Westbury stablemate Crazy Girl).

Remix duties at this time included West Phillips 80s quirky funk classic "Im Just A Sucker For A Pretty Face" on Eskimo Recordings, LBs techno rendition of James Browns "Super Bad" for the Trevor Jackson Output imprint, Banda Black Rios "Tomorrow" for Mr Bongo, Mudds "Adventures In Bricket Wood" for Rong and Community Recordings "Electrotech" and "Left My Feet In San Francisco" for Totem.

Collaborations include Lady Kier, Jhelisa, The Glimmers and Foolish Felix. "Disco Dementia", a collaboration with Foolish Felix came out on US West Coast label Smash Hit Music Co in early 2006. Raj has produced tracks for Jhelisas new 2006 album "A Primitive Guide To Being There" on German label Infracom!.

Ray has just finished producing an album with Westbury stablemate, vocalist Pegy Gaile, which has yet to find a label.


Ray Mang

Uploaded by RAJ GUPTA 10/10/2011 12:31:00 PM