Wednesday, May 12, 2004


various artists, fuzzy boombox v. 2 (fuzzybox)

greg davis, curling pond woods (carpark)

areal records/various artists, bi sneunzehn (areal)

the mountain goats, we shall all be healed (4AD)

charalambides, joy shapes (kranky)

the caretaker, we’ll all go riding on a rainbow (V/Vm)
makes me think of seances for some reason -- eerie, sort of position normal from beyond the grave, no solid form whatsoever, just tenebrous emanations

stone love, new years eve, 03/04 (yard tape)

sandoz, digital lifeforms redux (mute)

nao wave, post punk from brazil (comp, label tba)

dna, dna on dna (no more records)

martina topley-bird, anything (independiente)
good to hear that shortcake-crumbling-in-the-mouth voice again. She’s got a slight lisp, hasn’t she -- I never noticed that before. lisps rule.

matthew dear, backstroke (spectral)

D12, world (shady/interscope)
Killer tune: “american psycho II”. And the single of course.

Petey pablo, "freek-a-leak"
Lil jon produced chip off the usher ‘yeah’ block, right down to the teknoriff that could be da hool/rave creator at their most effectively massive-pandering

M83, dead cities, red seas & lost ghosts (mute)
Killer tune: “noise”. apparently influenced by tangerine dream although not apparent on this track. but definitely a reference point to note down for this year's Uberhipster Index (oh yes, it's annual, believe)

dj dara, the antidote (breakbeat science)

hakan libdo, clockwise rmxs ep (shitkatapult)

!!!, louden up now! (touch and go)
it’s all about the drum sound. pure groove, everything else is superfluous

really feeling

ivan smagghe presents death disco (eskimo recordings)
most exciting mixcd I’ve heard in many a moon and apparently this isn’t even his best mixcd. Killer tune: kiki, “luv sikk”. almost enough to re-engage me vis-a-vis dance culture! kind of what i thought archigram would sound like. dramatic, boombastic, somehow symphonic.

MarkOne/plasticman/slaughter mob--grime (rephlex)

The return of faceless techno bollocks. The thing about this stuff, the reason I can see it might actually gain ground on the pirates and with the massive, is a/ the danceability and uptempo NRG b/ the dependability. See, stuff that has vocal and lyrical content, when it’s mediocre, it’s a helluva lot more aggravating than mediocre instrumental/tracky stuff. Something about average MCing with samey lyric content (that overdose of guntalk/misogyny thing simon silverdollar was complaining about a while back), it’s really fucking grating in the way that samey sublow/croydon sound just isn’t. somehow the verbal element really rams the impoverishment of imagination right in your face. At the same time--and everybody knows this, don’t they?--when you compare each style’s highest heights and absolute peak exponents, the MC stuff (proper grime, as commonly understood in other words) is just a whole level above the tracky stuff. “Hard Graft” (here excellently reversioned as “industrial graft”) was one of my faves last year but you compare it with “boys love girls” or “birds in the sky” and it’s like….. nah. The return of vocals (songs, song-fragment, MCs, whatever) is THE defining post-rave paradigm shift from circa 1998 on -from 2step to folktronica to green velvet to electro/nu-wave to (some) microhouse to grime to… -- and I don't seem much sign that’s about to change any time soon. (although the radical defacialisation-as-intensification shift as in the birth of acid house etc would be even more radical in today's supaceleb culture than it was in '88 i spose). but back to croydon sound and Grime -- as faceless techno bollocks secondary tier biznis goes, this comp is most defintly ruff. good on headphones, good in dark bass-dense confined clubspaces.

the eternals, rawar style (aesthetics)
untaggable -- hints of various post-s (-punk, -rock --there’s some links to tortoise in terms of past drummers, who engineered the records in the studio etc), of the loopier side of hip hop/trip hop (maxinquaye's weirder, more swordfishtrombones-y side), maybe even the faintest hint of 2-Tone at its most filmic (more specials, dammers going loco in the studio) … sometimes the elements don’t quite gel but all the more enjoyable in a not-quite-get-your-head-around-it way… I know that singer/keyboarist/sampler-controller Damon Locks is a fan of basement 5 AND funboy 3 which seems germane somehow although they don’t actually sound anything like basement 5 and only a tiny bit like funboy 3. Killer tune: “bewareness”

Richard h. kirk earlier/later (mute)
lives up to nick gutterbreaks praise, esp. the second disc of early days stuff. and worth the price just for the front cover --photo booth pic of kirk as a teenager looking like this sort of glam kid gone feral/reverted to hippie -- bowie meets peter the wild boy

twista, “overnight celebrity”
still don’t care for the sentiments overmuch, but what a production, that violin lick, luvvit

nina sky feat jabba, "move your body"
this year’s Lumidee? (except it’s sung in tune) [sorry didn’t mean to reopen that wound]. sonixly this is like.... ooh, luscious jackson meets bleep’n’bass meets diwali (except less frantic). vocally it’s sexy without being self-demeaning inna pole dancing styleee or self-goddessifying inna insufferable froideur/hauteur beyonce-stylee, just this wonderful understated confidence and… not even sass, just self-possession… and it’s a song for and about the girls

colder, again (output)
killer tune: “where”. a brilliant update of gang of four but in a much more post-electronica studio-sculpted way that really kinda shows up some of the more literal resurrections of the andy gill guitarsound these last few years

ruff sqwad, pirate show april (?) 04

new brand flex, pirate show apri (?) 04

desi desi desi
no messing about here -- full-on, straight to the pleasure centres, ruthlessly entertaining, and very very shiny. Well they’ve been blinging it for centuries, the indians, haven’t they.

david sylvian/ryuichi sakamoto, “world citizen” (samadhisound)
totally ambushed by this one--it’s a straight up, totally plainspoken, direct to the jugular let’s-not-mince-words-shall-we protest song about everything that’s happened since 9/11 that then goes into a sort of utopian plaint -- sort of "Imagine" for Wire readers, which sounds vomitous admittedly, EXCEPT the music’s not really avant and the production’s nothing like what you’d expect (hard to see where sakamoto’s contribution resides and it’s nothing like that last sylvian album which I never managed to get into i must shamefully admit), no this is sort of lush AOR/studio-folk, almost like tracy chapman for a post-compression era (i'm not making this sound very enticing am I?) totally radio-ready, you could imagine it being a big hit if any station in this country had the guts to play it. I dunno, if anybody else sang this maybe it would totally bypass me but the idea of David Sylvian being so affected by the events of the last couple of years and emerging from his little cloud of serenity up in vermont or wherever it is and feeling like he just had to speak out… I found it really touching, and the "world citizen” concept is a lovely trope to base the whole song around. In some weird way it’s like a musical parallel to the Pillbox. Anybody else, it might seem hectoring but in his still suave-voice, "world citizen" works.

sorta kinda feeling (a bit)
the beta band, heroes to zeroes (regal/astralwerks)
there’s something wrong with this record but enough of what used to be right (mainly persisting in the vocal melodies and great time-capsule-from-1966 singing) to make you not quite ready to give up on it. hate records like that! I’ve not got the space for lingerers! the closets are chockablock

not feeling

radio 4, stealing of a nation (astralwerks)
c.f. the sylvian record, except this time I didn’t tear up…. One certainly shares their concern, feels the rage, and appreciates the fact that a neo-postpunk group’s actually trying to supply some actual, like, content and political edge, but… to be brutally honest it all comes over a bit midnight oily. The vocals remind me of big audio dynamite or even jesus jones; the production is overslick, like their aim is to be the Linkin Park of neo-postpunk, and (unlike !!!) the un-swinging groove isn’t punk-funk, it’s dance-rock -- subtle difference, but the chasm between gang of four and INXS resides therein.

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