Thursday, March 29, 2007

uk pressure 90-91 = fabulous gutterbreakz mix of bleepNbass... uk teknno finding its true voice for the first time. Sounds so fresh still. A lost moment when the E-rave/hardcore and intelligent/pure/minimal strands were indivisible, it was just "techno"--or even just "house" according to LFO in "What Is House"

meanwhile in his controversial "funky house" post Woebot argues that the lineage from rave is over, exhausted (says it reached its end/culmination with bruza's "get me"--i'd have thought grime itself was the end, anti-rave on so many levels, but maybe that still makes it part of the dialectic, and it's still nuuum/MCs-as-ephemeral-pirate-artform-on-the-fly, perhaps where grime should have stayed, rather than having album/career fantasies), further implying that dubstep is just a protracted act of (failed) mourning, a kind of audio-memorial

trouble with invoking "funky house", Matt, is that people think you're referring to this kind of thing (Louie Latino on bongos!)

ie. a sort of default-option vaguely classy soundtrack to a dressy crowd into getting expensively drunk and chatting up the opposite sex

still Matt does make the specific funky house creme de la creme trax he's talking about sound e attractive -- almost like the answer to my prayer a few years ago for the arrival of a MACROhaus (rough coordinates: "Felix 'Don't You Want My Love' meets Giselle Jackson 'Love Commandments' meets The Mover meets Energy 52 'Cafe Del Mar' ") to defeat and drive away microhouse's detail-oriented audio-decor with some full-on banging, boshing, diva-tastic NRG.

the appeal to the pleasure-principle though doesn't seem enough in itself to generate interesting cultural action (it's a kind of replay of what happened at the end of the 90s, the return of house in various forms -- also the song, the voice--across the spectrum, in response to the self-dessicating/anorectic/overly technical dead ends that minimal techno and drum'n'bass drove themselves down)

also microhouse--which Woebot sets alongside dubstep on the other side of the divide from
funky house--was surely part of this return to the pleasure principle. as tasteful and well-designed as it is sonically, that finessing of texture and detail is part of its hedonism, its exaltation of pleasure as supreme value. for the Sight and Sound music documentary piece I recently watched Maja Classen's vivid and insightful film about Berlin's underground club culture, Feiern: Don’t Forget to Go Home, and the people on that scene are serious hedonists, no doubt about it--in fact "feiern" means party, with more than a hint of "hard" to it

but specificially with the nuum.... historically, there's been an internal pendulum between pleasure and the more-than-pleasure X-Factor/Edge-Factor (difficulty, danger, militancy, spirituality, complexity, darkness/apocalypticness). This pendulum swings back and forth between pure-pleasure-and-nothing-else versus the ascesis/punitiveness of Edge Factor pursued to the exclusion of entertainment. It's a self-correcting mechanism (similar mechanisms function on other other axes too, ones that roughly align with pleasure/un-pleasure, but are not precisely the same -- light/dark, treble/bass, yin/yang, song/track, etc etc). These mechanisms are activated (deejays, producers, promoters responding to the desertion of the dancefloor, or deterioration of the vibe) whenever the music goes too far in one direction... techstep leading to speed garage was the classic landslide election "swing" (punters voting with their dancing feet).... funky house seems to have been activated by the doubled upshot of grime and dubstep, indeed there was a trial run of it a few years ago called "urban house" (timmi magic talking about getting rid of the MC and the rewind and restoring "live percussion"--clearly the latter is the hallmark of funky house!), but perhaps has swung back too far in the opposite direction, to the nullity of pure pleasure, with dubstep representing an opposed swing too far towards meditational/innovative (although to be honest I've never read a piece where anyone has explained exactly what is the defining Big New Idea in dubstep...)

the diagonal to follow -- or to hope for/pine for in absentia (and it's the one attained by all the "crest" moments in the nuum: hardcore, jungle 94, speed garage, 2step) --is where the pendulum wavers in the middle zone where pleasure/entertainment and challenge/menace tussle it out rather than have uncontested dominion over the other

like a hung parliament or gridlocked congress maybe

No comments: