Depressingly accurate assessments, sensibly non-defeatist conclusions from mr martin clark rounding up the year in grime. See i had to demur a little bit with the note of optimism sounded recently by woebot re. the health of the scene recently. it just seems untenable that yet another year'll roll around and grime'll be where it's been the three previous January 1st's, i.e. in this state of about-to-break, about-to-blow poisedness. In a sense, the quality of the music being made--whether it's dipped, or in a holding pattern, or set to resurge--that's almost irrelevant. What I'm talking about, if you'll pardon my french, is grime's "libidinal economy". The last three years (even longer if you date the pivotal moment as "i luv u" circulating on white), it's like an endless fuck with no climax. And because the scene is so much about "we're coming through, you can't stop us, gonna bust, gonna blow", the idea of just rolling into 2006, Run the Road 3, and so forth.... The alternative, though, is (as Martin kinda hints with his talk of autonomous infrastructures and long-term strategy) that grime readjusts its self-image and instead of seeing itself as potential-pop, as soon-to-be-overlording-the mainstream-a-la-American-rap, it settles for being a permament underground. In which scenario, it'd be, like, another UKrap scene on the top of the one we already got! And what would the music become like in that scenario? So much of its actual quality and vibe is bound up with its explosive, hungry-to-conquer, extroversion. Grime needs lebensraum.
On this subject, this interview with Lethal Bizzle chez Chantelle didn't exactly dispel the gloom, specifically this bit on his album getting a re-release:
LB: "... To be honest with you I’m not too happy with my label. I’m just doing my thing but if I was relying on them I don’t know where I’d be.... I’m grafting. There’s been no posters for my album nothing, I’ve sold about 10,000 -- I could have done that myself.... All of this is going to give me the ammunition to do it myself because end of the day all that happens in this game is you get signed and you get dropped. They’ve offered me another album but I’m not sure at the moment whether to try and do it to myself. I signed to take me to another level but I feel I’m in the same place."
He must have a powerful sensation of deja vu, here we go again, the big hit ("Oi!"/"Pow!"), the album that falls short, the major label that doesn't know what to do with him, the return to grafting on the underground.