Sunday, February 08, 2004

Well it sure was great to see Dizzee in the flesh and prancing up and down the fashion runway-like big back end of giant monstertruck (everybody else I spoke to almost bar none was BLOWN AWAY by his performance, I was slightly underwhelmed, could just be that live rapping by and large doesn't agree with me, but for whatever reasons he didn't quite come across as strong as I thought he would,
--except on the beat-less accapella things, the best bits I thought). And Matthew Dear's live set was excellent (suave looking chap in his suit, seems to be a Ghostly hallmark that--CEO Sam Valenti IV setting the tone there). BUT quite unexpectly the highlight for me of Saturday night at Volume (great venue) in Williamsburg wasn't in the main room at all, but a side room set of ab-so-lutely rinsin' jungle by a female DJ hitherto unknown to me who calls herself RIPLEY (after the heroine in Alien, presumably). She was playing back to back, alternating ten or fifteen minute stretches, with a male DJ whose name I didn't catch (also very good-- but the intensity and inventiveness levels noticeably increased when it was Ripley's turn). Although the bulk of the set was old skool (meaning 94 to 97) what was good about it was that it didn't feel retro or nostalgia a-go-go but very much a living thing, rampagingly present-tense, a music still full of possibilities somehow--this (salutary illusion?) partly due to the way spurts of post-97 nu-skool d&B got woven in (its surging tunnel-focus linearity proving both effective and exhilirating in a context where riddim/feel-wise it was outnumbered); also some breakcore and drill'n'bass (including Hrvatski's 'Catstep DSP'), and a veeeeery nice stretch of roots and early (ie. skank-feel) dancehall. In terms of the d&B, especially enjoyable was a thread of bootlegs and official relicks of R&B and rap hits, reminding me how adept jungle was at taking pop and remaking-in-its-own-image: so we got mash-ups (in the true potent sense) of 'No Diggity' and 'Country Grammar' (also--and really amazing to hear on a big system rather than your tv/radio--the original untampered, un-D&B-ified version of that other early Nelly hit--'E.I.'? 'I.O'? 'I.E.'? 'E.U.'??? memory fails me, an amazing production). Bulk of the set was 94-95 ragga-junglizm, though, mixed harder fiercer topsy-turvier exuberant-er than most name-DJs back in the day that I can recall (so often, I find, it's the star djs that seem nothing-special-really while some of the best nights of your dancing life come courtesy relative unknowns). So yeah it was rhythmic danger in overdrive, Amen-smithereens hurtling everywhichway, roiling pot-boiler Thinks, rootical rally-cry uproar, low-end turbulence and hard-steppa nimble-like-a-pantha B-lines--all occurring in the absolute right environs: big sound inna small room (but not uncomfortably packed room), smoky darkness, tang of sensi in the air. OK, fess up, an element (just a teensy bit) of a 'stalgia sesh pour moi BUT not for the DJs I don't think (way too young) PLUS being as clearminded about it as I can (given it says JUNGLIST on my passport) hearing that music again brought fully alive did honestly and truly make the beatz being dropped by Slimzee seem kinda unwieldly and enervated (the energy in them the opposite of brock-out); likewise, the sheer up-and-down dynamics (both across the set and internally within individual tracks) of the music played by Ripley and her male cohort really made the chug-chug-chug vibe of Dear-style click-tech/micro-H seem a distinctly level kind of experience in comparison. In conclusion, cheers to Geeta for dragging me in the Ripley zone, and this is a warning warning warning to a Mr. Soundmurderer of Michigan (same venue, March 13, on a line-up including Michael Mayer, Superpitcher and rumor has it Richard James), you are going to have to pull out all stops, my friend, to compete on the junglizm resurrection front.

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