Monday, November 26, 2007

Emerging from the miasma of work, excursion, disruption, and illness to present a round-up of recent-ish reading... Catching us off-guard yet again, bloggworld draws another breath and refuses to expire!

Impostume, on the Blue Orchids's The Greatest Hit and (don't want to do a spoiler) another product of Manchester

Thence, head immediately to sign Carl's petition for Bramah, Baines and full original crew to reform to perform the album in its entirety in sequence, ideally zonked on the same extraneous influences it was made on


Owen on grim/glam, and especially his remark about Saturday Night Fever. Finally seeing a few years ago I was struck by how it's basically a gritty social realist movie (surprisingly little of it takes place on the discotheque floor), acute on class (e.g. the status jostling between Travolta's character and the thinks-higher-of-herself older woman dance partner).

Also belated shout for Sit Down Man's riff on Black Box Recorder/Daily Mail/Anglo-fascism. The Auteurs really got on my wick when they arrived on the scene--so not what my mid-90s was about, "wryness and dryness" was Haines manifesto I recall--but this makes me want to reconsider.

I always thought the pop sound of the Daily Mail, its true soul-voice, was the nasal blare of Elaine Paige. Which is not so unconnected with the paper being Hitler enthusiasts in the 1930s, in so far as Evita's popularity suggests it tapped into a deep yearning for authoritarianism, a salvation fantasy in which a blonde dominatrix comes to lead the nation out of darkness; a mid-Seventies ‘this country’s gone to pot’ dream which comes true by decade’s end with Mrs T. Lloyd Weber circulated in a right-wing milieu where the idea of a coup d'etat, the Army stepping in to sort out the union and other enemies-within, was more than idly entertained.


"We need some discipline in here". So argues K-punk, sort of, in a post that starts with Supernanny and just… goes

See also this month’s The Wire, practically taken over by Mark--a Burial profile (oo-er, facialized metaphor!), Epiphany on Rufige Kru/Japan hauntological wrinkles through time, and lead review on Miles Davis’s On the Corner six-box.

(It's a meaty read,the new Wire, with Pram on the cover--giving me the hauntological willies for a good while as one of them looks uncannily like someone I used to know at university--and a Harry Partch primer, plus Michael Bracewell on Roxy's music...)


And more Burial: Fangirl's Emmy Hennings interviews him for Cyclic Defrost

Unnerving how eloquent, how insightful, Mr Burial is--here, in Mark’s piece, in all the interviews--how he "reviews" his own music better than the lot of us!

I do sometimes get that queer feeling that Man Like Burial is almost too good to be exactly true.... as if he’s somehow been hallucinated into being by the sheer yearning power of discourse… lack given form...

Yet equally--contradictorily--I wonder also if he’s blown it ever so slightly… By this time round talking so readily, candidly… Okay, the face still remains blurry in those coyly obscured photographs. But the contours of an actual breath-and-blood person, a solid biography grounded in familial reality (references to mums and cups of teas, elder brother who hips him to rave) have emerged. He talks poetically
about wanting to make the sort of mystery pirate tracks that seemed authorless and originless, but he's already let himself be situated much more in an Aphex-style auteur-career trajectory.

Doesn’t detract from the marvellous music, though… Yet…


Still digging the bassline house. Out of curiosity I dug out an old speed garage tape I made in 1997, the very first one I compiled, using on the real motley bunch of 12 inches that turned up in Satellite )the New York dance store that now seems to have shuffled off this retail coil judging by its Bowery storefront--although maybe it's relocated) back in the winter of 1997-98. So the tape is a total hodge podge of classics like "Ripgroove" and 187 Lockdown and "Soundbwoy Burial" with of-the-moment chaff and period curios. Anyway I took it with me along with these tapes I'd made of Q's 1xtra show, to listen and compare on the flight (Yes, tapes, being a bit sad-like I've not worked out how to record audio streams on a PC and so I just stuck the Walkman in front of the computer speakers, and you know what it sounded surprisingly good, bass response a little weaker than you'd want, but loud and clear and bright and in your face, albeit interrupted regularly by the ping of an email entering my inbox). So: comparing speed garage 97 with bassline 07, the difference is quite striking. There's a lot less swing and syncopation in the drums nowadays. Above all, the whole aspect of "deep" you got with garage, signposted with song titles both in proper US garage like Hardrive's "Deep Inside" and in improper UK garage like Lady Penelope and Abstrac's "Deeper", the way there's a recession of space within the mix, layers of depth, with dubby sounds flickering at different levels--all that seems to be squeezed out in the bassline house. Bassline seems much more in your face and to my ears has something of the "flat" sound I associate with Justice and all those French disko-roque type outfits (which really leap out at you through computer speakers but I can only imagine is supremely grating through a big system). Perhaps the depth in bassline house comes across more in club situ, but I doubt it somehow.