Thursday, February 26, 2004


that beenie man single

j-kwon, "tipsy"

switchfoot, "made to live" (for the lyrical echoes of "i don't live today", the jagged riffage... shame about the band's name though and that annoyingly ubiquitous effect on the lead singer's voice)

wiley, treadin’ on thin ice
pick hits: ‘pies’ and ‘goin’ mad’

deadbeat vs. stephen beaupre, it’s a crackhaus thing

remarc, unreleased dubs 94-96

really feeling

ying yang twins, "salt shaker"
level pegging with kanye ‘through the wire’ for single of 04 even though they both came out the end of last year... a 30 minute version would be bleep'n'bass heaven

broadcast comp 12.03 (selected and programmed by julian house)

linda perhacs, parallelograms

really really feeling

junior boys, last exit
yeah i know join the fucking club,….
pick hit: tk #2 ‘bellona’

the streets, a grand don’t come for free
pick hits: "could well be in", "blinded by the light", "i wouldn't have it any other way", "dry your eyes". pickest hit/anthem of 04 so far: "get out of my house". love the way mike skinner takes the halting Anglo speech rhythms thing to even further extremes of unwieldy-yet-strangely-funky. this applies to the album as a whole but is especially potent here. the chorus lick will take over your brain (it's enjambent, innit) and the girl rapper is this year's Unidentified "I Luv U" Chick Who Steals The Show.

kinda sorta feeling (a bit)

tortoise, it’s all around you

not really feeling

pluramon, dreams top rock
New York Fauna and Flora Report
(formerly known as 'biting luka stylee')

So i'm staring vacantly out the window across the street and my gaze settles on a man who is restraining a large plastic bag by holding it down against the sidewalk, a plastic bag that appears to be pulsing and seething with eerie HP Lovecraftian energy-shapes. Wha... ?!? My eyes 'correct' what I'm seeing into something that makes sense: obviously he's just trying to stop a plastic carrier bag from blowing away in the violently gusting wind. Except it's not windy. And why's he now carefully scooping up the bag, and with a fist tightly gripping the neck to keep it shut, swiftly moving to bundle it into the back seat of a car, where someone lurking inside takes it? All this done with a furtive, surreptitious, but practised air. Now I really see: it's a bag full of pigeons--for some reason they favor that corner patch of sidewalk--which he's cunningly trapped, presumably with birdseed. But what does he want with a dozen or score of New York city pigeons, those proverbial rats with wings? He's clearly not doing this in an official capacity, unless the city's Pigeon Population Control Squad has plainsclothe undercover agents. As the car drives off with a distinct hint of getaway haste, I'm just hoping he's not in the restaurant business.
Well the great café wars of feb 2004 have subsided a bit...

that's probably the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been living outside the UK too long… must have that missed the meeting where it was decided Pret a Manger was pure evil... the phrase "only in england" does spring to mind just a bit, as in "only in england" could such a modest advance in the direction of edibility be regarded as some sort of class treason ... a slight whiff of inverted snobbery c.f M.E. Smith and his "wholemeal bread tastes like dust" ... reminds me just a tiny tad of those SWP types who would rail against vegetarianism as bourgeois-bohemian lifestyle politics, cuz real proles eat bangers and fish fingers and have arteries as hard as their politics ... and Beautiful South, man, that's wounding, but whatever their audience sees in them Paul Heaton always struck me as a bitter drinker and batter eater type (interviewed the BS once believeitornot, they took me to the most depressing redbrick bungalow-style pub in Hull)


what i'd rather address is the concept of standardisation, and specifically ponder aloud as to when that started to get deemed a bad thing... presumably this comes out of that postwar 'admass' critique (was that JB Priestley? Richard Hoggart?)... although john 'the intellectuals and the masses' carey goes on about high-culture types sneering at canned food and similar mass-manufactured stuff much early in the 20th Century... but i'm sure there was a time when standardisation equated with the notion of high standards, an aspiration to a certain quota of quality. That positive meaning of 'standard' endures in the way a lot of Indian restaurants are called Standard, and frequently have
standardised menus with the same dishes…. Quality here is equated with non-individuality, the absence of quirky personal touches….

You get a weird after-echo of this idea in the way UK garage slang uses the word 'standard' as a superlative or expression of quality, as in "standard bizness"-- the suggestion being of a routine excellence, something you can turn on like a tap... or perhaps can't turn off... couldn't do inferior work if we wanted to ... this similar maybe to the way "safe" used to be used to mean "fine" or "jolly good"

("safe" and "standard" and "decent" as praise words seems to somehow capture the entire essence of modern Britain, in the same way that the expression "mustn't grumble" would have caught the soul of an earlier Britain)

I'm sure this ought to be the point where I refer to Wiley's "Pies"
gigging regular in the East Village


no kidding!

some sort of New Agey jazz-fusion entity w/ Buddhist overtones it seems

i might just go and see 'em, just for the perversity

Friday, February 20, 2004

Sample Spotting Saddo (slight return)

Ah, I see... bit slow on the uptake ... of course, some of the text recited on Slave to the Rhythm is from Jean-Paul Goude's Jungle Fever book... a term which refers to attraction across race lines, miscegenation et al... and according to one source i found is actually an old colonial expression containing the implicit idea that you'd have to be sick, delirious, not in your right mind, to be sexually attracted to someone not your own race.... so lots and lots of applications to jungle music, the Black Atlantic, postcolonial sonic traffic et al...

And then there's that other-- much more ubiquitous and well-known--sample from Slave To The Rhythm, the phrase "annihilating rhythm" -- written by sleevenote-creator Ian Penman (although possibly nicked from Bataille) and intoned by Ian McShane -- then sampled and heard on countless house tracks.
... i suppose there's just a bit of cognitive dissonance to the idea of two CCRU associates pining for the days when you could get a propah cuppa brewed in a tea turn... :)

probably the only reason i like Pret A Manger is that whenever i'm in london i'm always in a huge hurry trying to get across town to take in as many record stores as possible, so the Pret A Manger sign shines out like a reassuring beacon of Something Reasonably Edible in No Time At All Grab It and Run... but yeah they're not exactly places to hang out and pass time... no bands will emerge from them after hatching their aesthetic and masterplan in long drawn out sessions nursing a cold meniscus-forming coffee for hours...

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Chipping (no pun intended) in to the discussion between Mark K-Punk (starting Caf? Culture on Feb 19) and Robin Undercurrent (Feb 19, Wave The Rotten Flag) on the charms of bad British food and decaying England, itself sparked originally by Adrian Maddox?s Classic Cafes book/website/crusade... i've already drawn some incredulity and derision for the contention that with all those disappearing London cafes by and large, the food was atrocious. that's why Pret A Manger has taken off. Mom and pop establishments are great if you live somewhere like new york or paris or rome where the standard of everyday cuisine is just so much higher..." apart from that being both incontrovertible and not especially controversial (i'd have thought), i'm just curious how this odd forgiving attitude or even fondness for lousy nosh maps onto music-taste... obviously Starbucks or Burger King or whatever could be seen as corresponding to Global UberPop Brands like Britney or Justin T... reliable pleasure lacking any local character, pure product, homogenizing, Americanizing etc etc --
but i wonder what do the classic greasy spoons correspond to musically ? there could be a Grime/Greasy parallel (parochialism, the aestheticisation of deficiency, Dizzee sounds like his mouth is full of sausage roll) .. but you could also see the cult of bygone Englishness as equivalent to Britpop.... or perhaps it's similar to my love of Position Normal which is very bygone-crap/car-boot-finds based sampladelia?

(Strange that Maddox didn't include "Mario's Cafe" by Saint Etienne in his list of music/cafe culture crossover )

Also curious re. the disjuncture between being Futurist in terms of music taste and liking all this quaint old crud...

(Not that one has to tie up and integrate all one's impulses and tastes to form a coherent and consistent package of Self, of course)

I'm certainly not immune to the charms of seediness and decay... precisely the syndrome as described in that Graham Greene quote ("Seediness has a very deep appeal ... It seems to satisfy, temporarily, the sense of nostalgia for something lost")
... i really regret not having bought a copy of Boring Postcards. And I'd love to just go sit in these places Maddox eulogises, I'd just be a tiny bit wary about eating anything prepared therein... some bad gastr(onom)ic memories!... and definitely been spoiled by living in new york in that respect

it seems like there's a bit of subtext or thread of masochism/nostalgia/insularity that connects these stances and aversions to the Americanising and Standardising/Standard-Raising.... a bit of School Dinners/School Disco comfort syndrome... when we were crap but we were British and knew who we were .... .it smacks a bit of Morrissey, and of course I was a big Morrissey fan so I can feel the pull of it.... can share that feeling of wanting to cling on to these things that are disappearing... (i went through a phase recently of feeling nostalgic for boredom, the kind you felt as a suburban child in the uk in the 70s -- the utter sense of privation experienced on a Sunday around 6 PM when it was just religious programmes... the dearth of stimuli... tv used to go off in the afternoons, there was just a testcard... no night time tv... no web, none of the surfeit distractions kids today have... it was almost spiritual, the sense of oppression weighing on the soul, nothing to relieve the tedium... it was enriching in the sense that you were forced to develop an imagination to survive it)

Can see also how this clinging to the decayed and decrepit, the shabby and bygone, represents a form of revolt through recalcitrance and drag against NowPop and Bling and Cappucino-isation... especially perhaps as the lick of modernising style-culture paint slapped over everything is just covering deep abiding ongoing decay...

Don’t know why I’m on their mailing list, but BPM’s arrival every month has become something of an inadvertant day-brightener. The daft names and titles in the Breakbeat and Prog/Trance section are a reliable source of amusement. In the December Issue, the unexpected treat was a feature by editor-in-chief David Ireland describing his trip accompanying Louie Vega on a DJ tour of the Mediterranean. Which sounds niiiiiice--sunshine, beaches, clubs, free booze--if that's your idea of fun, but it turns into a glimpse into the sheer grinding hell of being a top-level house deejay: endless plane flights, bad food, never being able to stay any place for longer than a day, never enough sleep, time-zone misalignment and fucked-up biorhythms, an endless hangover from too much free booze, increasingly brittle tempers. After taking three flights in a row to get to Ibiza, “I pass into a coma as a virus (later dubbed the Greek death virus) slowly ravages my body”, writes Ireland. By the time they get to Thessaloniki, Vega succumbs to the GDV but true professional and solja that he is still makes the gig. And then this: “Louie spins until 6-AM when a ghastly smell overtakes the club and puts a serious damper on the mood. No further explanation, frustratingly: I really wanna know, what caused that smell? I dunno, it made me cackle anyway.
Sample-Spotting Saddo
^^^ the first of an occasional series^^^

“Magic bird song” (from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Out of This World: Atmospheric Sounds and Effects From the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, 1976)

Used On:
“Anything Test (Exclusive Mix)” by Pure (aka Swift & Zinc, Suburban Base, 1995?)

A dreamy tweeting refrain, with a gauzy quality like it’s drifting through the crystalline rain-forest of an alien planet’s Silicon-based ecosystem. I’m sure this got used on dozens of records in the early Nineties-- if not by The Orb, then other ambient-dub/chill-out type outfits. One of those meme-sounds that just drifts virally across the samplasphere

Grace Jones, Slave To The Rhythm (album, ZTT, 1985)

Used on
“Slave”, by DJ Buzz (No U Turn, 1994)

A minor classic of prime-peak jungle from a pre-fame No U Turn, I always lump it together with DJ Nut Nut and Pure Science’s “The Rumble”, and it also has something of the ominous vibe of “Bludclot Artattack”, also on No U Turn. Grace’s stentorian declaimed “slaaaaaaaaaaaaaave” appears at various points throughout the Slave to the Rhythm concept-album-or-is-it-a-megamixed-single, most strikingly on the avant-accapella stereo-mosaic “Operattack”. Intriguing given the racial/riddim subtexts of that album that the word ‘slave’ should undergo a kind of symbolic repatriation and end up back in the jungle.
(See also Suburban Base act The Noise of Art.)
That new Ludacris video-single, ‘waterfall splash’ or ‘splashy watersports’ or whatever it’s called: grotesque. If’n the music weren’t lousy enough… the bit where he’s having webcam sex with two women via two different laptops (laptop-dancing heheh), while a meat-world flesh’n’blood babe saunters in from the bedroom. The bit at the end where he Unveils the Majesty of his Cock. For some reason I’d gotten the idea Luda was an amiable fellow, but clearly mistaken on this score.
Biting Luka Stylee: second in an occasional (very occasional) series

Singing the Greys

Dusk approaches as I wander through Stuyvesant, a huge East Village housing estate composed of scores of twelve-storey apartment blocks, which are interleaven with lawns, pedestrian ramps and walkways, grassy slopes, playgrounds and recreation areas, regimented-looking copses of trees, and strange pagoda-like air-ventilation towers. The apartment blocks, minimalist slabs of dark red brick, look appealingly utilitarian in the daylight but take on an oppressive bulk and gloom as darkness encroaches. A piteous sound cuts through the cold air. An unearthly sound. A dry, scrapy cawing, harsh little blurts of “anguish” emitted in this very regular, almost mechanical pattern. A noise I don’t recognise as any known bird or critter. I’m looking around for a corncrake or something and then I spot the source: a squirrel, perched up a tree, huddled in a little nook where branch meets trunk. I could almost swear it was hugging itself. It seems to be singing the blues. That’s projection, obviously. Maybe it’s just ate something that disagreed with it, a rancid acorn perhaps. Maybe that’s what rejoicing sounds like in ‘squirrel’. But I don’t think so: it sounds plaintive, desolate. It makes me think of that track on Eskimo by the Residents, where the woman goes doolally through sensory deprivation during the long Arctic winter and has to be sung back to sanity by the tribe. Except the squirrel is ‘singing’ to itself. Fucking eerie anyway. I grew up in the Chilterns, have frequented no end of parks in London and Manhattan, encountered probably tens of thousands of grey squirrels in my life, and I’ve never heard them emit any vocal noises whatsoever. Any naturalists out there able to shed light?
Woebot’s February 13th thing on Swaps made me chuckle--the way it starts out with him complaining about having too much music to wade through, great stacks of CD-Rs in his room, but then it circles round to end up with a general appeal to the Woebot readership for more more more! I understand only too well where he’s coming from psychologically speaking. Totally inundated, backlogged, too much music--bought vinyl, promo’d cds, traded cdrs--but still I crave MORE. It’s not even collectoritis (don’t especially fetishise the original recordings, although being quaint-like-that I’d rather have something solid in my hand than a dematerialized file in my computer). It’s just this monstrous gluttony/curiosity/anxiety-about-missing-out-anything syndrome. Verily a sickness.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Skykicking's massive survey of 2003’s Grime highlights. Nobody does this kind of hyper-detailed formalist analysis better. Formalism is the angle here, deliberately ignoring the content and attending to the pure sonix and riddimatic materiality of Grime, as if was just tracky dance music. Which obviously kinda contradicts the lived reality of the scene, where the dance imperative has withered away--punters reportedly just “screwing and standing”, absorbed in the verbals, headnodding, cheering when certain famous verses are dropped, as opposed the DJ bringing in a particular anthemic track. But why not, it’s a productive angle. Also there is a sense that there’s an axis that Grime’s traversing which pushes Content/Context >>>Form/Texture, whith its own ZFI whose threshold Grime is approaching. I’m not sure I want it get more assimilated to US hip hop values than it already is: more personae-focused, more text-based, more this-is-my-life-narrative-my-struggle-to-make-it oriented (God forbid Deuce turns into The Source). Like Tim (and me not being so hot on the poetry comprehension) I often listen to the MCs as animated glyphs of texture-flava, rather than as narrators or truth-tellers. I don’t honestly think that many people have stories worth telling. I’ve said this elsewhere but I kind of pine a bit for the old rave-descended function of the MC as compere, sidekick to the DJ, enhancer of the music. In jungle, the MC was an adjunct to the drumz, a sort of human breakbeat. In UK garage, with that more languid smoove baritone style of MCing (e.g Neat on Corrupted Cru’s “G.A.R.A.G.E.”), perhaps more like an extra B-line. MCs in jungle and UKG came with an arsenal of practised licks, catchphrases, vocal-noise “logos” and signature gimmicks, but there was much more of an improvised thing going on in terms of how they’d deploy their verbal ordnance, and generally a lot more ad libs and off-the-cuff nonsense: that real quirky parochical-English stuff I love so much (e.g. this Easter 1999 2step tape I tug out for someone, where the guy starts bigging up “the Cadbury’s Crème Egg massive”). Today the MCs write their verses in advance and deposit small books worth of material on top of the beats, and often its feels like the pre-written flow doesn’t fit the beats as snugly. In jungle and 2step, they adapted to the music more; in Grime/8-bar, the music itself has adapted to the MC’s requirements, according to Luka the actual rhythmic structure of the beats fits the blurting cadences of UK speech patterns (as in the famous “probably… probably” sequence in ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’), so that we’ve ended up with this fascinatingly grotesque and clunkily dysfunctional music as a result.
Some info on Ripley’s “wreckstep raggaphonics” and a set you can download

Her cohort’s called Kid Chameleon, not Kickin’ A as reported--some info here
The Dizzee Rascal/Soft Cell Connection, Part 2

Marc Almond’s fans = Gutter Hearts

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Geeta has pix of Saturday night and Andy B has an ecstatic account of Diz & Dear plus evocation of the space.

Yeah it was almost like a rave, the no running water, lack of a cloak room--so nice to go to an event that was big but not glitzy like Centrofly, and underground-y but not small poky and shrunken-in-significance seeming.

Don’t know about "staking out rhetorical camps" though, I guess you follow your body, where it's drawn to-- to where the fun is--or at least your kind of fun. Ideally you could have two bodies and be in different rooms simultaneously! I mean, come March 13, I’m going to be really physically torn: on one hand craving to get mash up w/ Soundmurderer and on the other wanting to get the proper M. Mayer X-perience (as opposed to that show at APT, a poor space to hear dance music of any sort--at Volume Mayer’ll have the right size of sound, the right size of space, hopefully they’ll turn the lights down real low, hopefully there’ll be people who are visibly on drugs--so I can dance near them and assimilate the vibe osmotically). But yeah--being spoilt for choice: an unfamiliar NYC clubbing experience these last three-four years!
If you wanna read the Sasha Frere-Jones piece mentioned below you can find it at , and if you don’t want to deal with the NYT log-in folderol you can find it cut-and-pasted in its entirety by some cheeky sod on this ILM thread.

If hip hop has reached its 1975/1985 state of supremacy/stagnation, then how appropriate that Timbaland should be remaking "We Are The World" (is the concept African Americans For Africa, or is there some other more deserving bit of the globe?) one can only hope it's some sort of rap supastar noblesse oblige trip as offputting as the original. Also symbolising Tim's ascent to Quincy Jones level, as in "now we can forget about this guy".

Monday, February 09, 2004

C.f. Mark K-Punk’s recent remarks about hip hop being the problem, the hegemony, the That Which Most Needs to Be Overthrown, I thought
the most intriguing bits in SF-J’s New York Times Magazine piece on Virginia Beach is where he reports that Timbaland “repeatedly voiced to me a frustration with pop music, particularly the hip-hop end of it”. Tim is quoted saying: ''It's time for me to retire, because it ain't the same. Music's almost becoming like damn near toys and cars. It's too easy. That's why I want to go over there to that rock side,....'' (Amazing notion that he thinks rock is more happening than rap! See also his remark: “Coldplay and Radiohead are the illest groups to me. That's music. Norah Jones is music…. The stuff I don't get tired of is the stuff that's musical.'') And how about this for an astonishing admission of ennui: “I'm tired of stuff now, even stuff that I do”. This comes close on the heels of Jay-Z’s declaration that he’s retiring because he’s “bored with hip hop,” that rap today is “corny” and that the peer pressure cooker competiveness is no longer there for him to keep raising his game or even want to stay in the game. I mean it’s all very well for us outsider-dilettante types to complain about hip hop’s output, but this damn-near indictment is from the horse’s mouth!

Can’t help also thinking mainstream acknowledgement of this sort (what with the Grammy nominations and all) is itself a sure sign that the end is nigh for that particular Beat-Geist as co-created by Tim and 'Tunes. Time for some upstarts, some upheaval. I did a thing for NYT on Timbaland as King of the Beats in 1999, around Missy’s Da Real World, and even then as a story it felt a little bit on the late side (and that maybe they were already dropping off a bit, with “Are You That Somebody” as the peak). Mostly these epoch-defining, template-creatin', radio-reigning R&B production styles, like Philly, or the Chic Organisation, or Jam & Lewis, they really have about three or four years max. “One In A Million” came out in 1996--Timbaland’s been on top for eight years, churning the stuff out without respite. No wonder he’s shagged out and dried up.
The Dizzee Rascal/Soft Cell connection

At the moment it’s, like, sedate everyone with this gloss, this wash, this totally over-produced nothing, you know? But that bit of grime--it’s important!”
--Marc Almond, NME, Jan 1983
Ripley’s male cohort is called Kickin’ A….

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.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Postscript to the what-to-call-G**** debate: here's a fascinating little morsel of scene-discourse, a postcard/flyer thingy that fell out of my copy of Black Ops' 'Haywire', I think it's quite a bit older than that release, I'd estimate it dates to 2001, or maybe even as early as 2000. At any rate it's not often you get a chance to observe a scene, or intra-scenic fragment thereof, thinking aloud about genre-icity and what's at stake in the name game. I reproduce it here, almost in full, complete with spelling errors and typos.

Front side:

"Last weeks key's is this weeks Gee's"
We are the street's. You are the street's. So listen 2 the streets
L.D. Cats

Back side:

Jon $ Cash: Rap style Mc with a very fast tongue and the ability to Mc for a very long time. A new concept in UK London Underground House n Garage. So new we are going to stop fooling you all and give it a new name. Will call it Sub Low. Sub low is what you call underground house and garage, just think if the new name was called Sub Low you wouldn't be fooled when you are deciding what rave to go on a Friday or Saturday night or what room to go and dance in your local club and still don't get it. All you up and coming Dj's playing dark side bass and drum tune's like Bond, Buddha Finger, and the like's of Wookie's new stuff do you really think that is House n Garage. "Think about it" When you go out raving and you don't hear some of your favourite tracks, It's because we as the people are all being fooled if the name of this style of music was changed we would not be fooled as clubber's going out to enjoy our selves. Up and coming Djs and Mc's just think if the music got split into two House n Garage and Sub Low, and you are very good this would give you all a chance to get in the game and show off our talent's and then you could be a Dj that gets $250 an hour for playing good music. If clubber had a choice of rave on a saturday night there might just be more dancing in the clubs and people would at least get to know what kind of rave they are going too before they spend there hard earned money to get in.Right now House n Garage is going commercial and it belongs to the Big Boys and what they say goes. Sub Low is the streets underground music so if it ever turns commercial please, please keep it real.

Black Op's underground street music movement. Our music represents represents how we feel and what is going on in the streets today. We are just syaing what saying what some people are scared to say, and then putting it on plastic without being influenced by any promoter, Dj or Mc. Nobody but the streets can influence us so let the streets influence you.

Black Op's is not a crew we are a movement all we represent is Sub Lo music. We have Dj's, Mc's and producers who all feel and represent the Sb Low sound and all we want is all of you to do is just keep it real....

Apparently Dizzee is making his American TV debut on February 10th--next Tuesday--on the Jimmy Kimmel
show. Not hugely sanguine about how it'll come over I must admit. Having seen the 'Fix Up Look Sharp' vid on MTV2 a few times now, it just doesn't translate--for some reason Dizzee simply doesn't command the space of the video like even your most run of the mill second-division American MCs routinely do. It's the same with Mike Skinner's videos. They're both too slight as figures. Hearing that scrawny g**** sound, so perfect in its proper piratical place, on the telly just seems utterly out of place. And the voice is so foreign it might as well be from Tibet, or Mars. Nah, astounding press profile notwithstanding, Diz's not a hope in hell of making it here outside hipsterland. Still, success d'estime plus formidable, n'est ce pas? Even the Dean loves him, an A minus in this week's Voice, and there's even some lines in the review that could be used as pull quotes (something Christgau never normally does).
Da Missus on the new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm--which initially seemed like it was going to go the way of The Office #2 (comedy of cringe taken deep into the discomfort/distress zone) but so far has stayed just the right side of that particular ZFI.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Not a poetry buff by any stretch (indeed I used to fail poetry comprehension at school, which accounts for my frequently wonky interpretations of lyrics) but that’s enjambment isn’t it, the thing makes that particular Kelis verse so hot--the one that goes “you want me to teach the/techniques that freak these/boys”? I always hear the first line as a delicious archaism--“you want me to teach thee”--then remember there’s more coming.
Re. Woebot’s cashmere incident--well, I once saw Nick Cave scoping out Burberrry raincoats in Harrods during the sale. 1989, this was, and I’d interviewed him fairly recently, so mindful of his feelings about journalists (the "Scum" flexi being fresh in the memory) I skulked behind a rack of overcoats until the coast was clear. I don’t know why it seemed so incongrous that he was in there: even Dionysian poets of sex’n’death need protection from the rain.
There’s a punk-funk song in a car advert in the USA at the moment--it’s a dead ringer for the Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers” but it’s not. Well. courtesy of ILM I learn it’s a track by Radio Four. Which seems vaguely disgraceful: that two touted bands in a hot hot scene could have a/ two songs weirdly similar in sound yet b/ so closely modeled on the signature sound of a earlier band (Go4, obviously). Anyway, does this mean that neo-postpunk is going to be the new electronica in terms of achieving hegemony in adverts but not in the charts(!!! and LCD as the new Crystal Method and Norman Cook)?
There’s a neo-punk-funk song in a car advert in the USA at the moment--it’s a dead ringer for the Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers” but it’s not. Well, courtesy of ILM I learn it’s a track by Radio Four. Which seems vaguely disgraceful--that two highly touted bands in a hot hot scene could have a/ two songs so freakily similar to each other's yet also b/ closely modeled on the signature sound of a earlier band (Go4, obviously). Anyways, so I wonder, does this mean neo-postpunk is going to be the new electronica in terms of achieving hegemony in adverts but not in the charts (!!! and LCD as the new Crystal Method and Norman Cook?).
I’m sorry, I know the official line now is he gets it all from dancehall, but I refuse to believe Timbaland is not systematically ransacking the last 10 years of UK dance culture--that new (lame) Missy single, the airhorn sound is pure jungle-94 bizniz, the main bit is riddimatically like something by Phuturistix or Dem 2 (after they lost da vybe), and the middle bit could almost be broken beat, something by Seiji, say. It's like he had a subscription to Muzik or something. What next for Tim? Nicking licks and noises from Ils, Tipper and Pilgrem?
A confounding moment in this month’s Wire--suddenly, near the end of Dave Tompkins’ Christian Vanderesque hip hop column (no, look, it’s fine, I just enjoy it as pure sound-poetry, OK?), there's an unexpected oasis of lucidity, of mundanity even: “Having just played my way through a large stack of HipHop promos that failed to dent me, I had no great expectations for Kinky Disco’s new single. But hey, it’s OK.” The review continues in this rather unenthused and lacklustre manner until the punchline, which is the byline: Byron Coley. Byron Coley?!?!?!? Byron Coley’s into hip hop?!?! It’s hard to picture: Byron Coley of Forced Exposure wading through a hefty stack of mediocre rap promos, persevering until he finds one that’s just sufficiently whelming that he simply HAS to dash off a quick micro-review for The Wire. What’s going on? Are the pickings in Beatnik land really so slim at the moment? Next thing you know Keenan’ll be jutting into Sherburne’s column to grudgingly endorse a “dancefloor plodder” or two, offer some faint praise re. a new Tempa twelve.
Charged with occult significance:


(well for maybe the 2 percent of East Village population who are rock critics)
Well I suppose the short version of The Name Game thing below is: part of the collective swagger of a scene that’s on the up and brimming with confidence is having a name and using it. So there were loads of jungle tracks with the word "jungle" in it (remember Tribe of Ishacar’s--not sure about spelling- ‘I’m a junglist’?), and loads of house tunes with the word ‘house’ in it, and likewise for every major music genre or movement right back to rock’n’roll.

Man Like Chris Houghton informs me that pirate cru Musketears (Lady Fury and Maxwell D's lott on 99.3 FM, Tuesday nights 10-12) are calling their sound the muske-sound (pronounced "muskeh" aaprently), all through the show they keep saying: "That's NOT garage, that's the MUSKEH sound you're listening to."
Can't see that one catching on. Ridiculous, innit--
they should just call a Council meeting like in the jungle days, big pow-wow of all the warlords and clan chieftains, and sort it out, settle on something.