Tuesday, July 14, 2009


a few things that have been caressing my cochlea recently, in ascending order


Ludic(rous). There's a sort of abject intellect involved in this meticulous mess that makes it something like wobble's "Windowlicker". See also Raffertie's "Antisocial", an even more intricate splatterfest. Proof that there is an upside to "glutted/clotted."

"The Hauntological Song", teehee. Still can't find the Supertramp sample buried in here. Wrapping up recent ace output from Mordant & pals, this is a more than solid holding action until MM's SyMptoMs (very much the non-sequel to Dead Air) drops roundabout when the leaves start turning yellowy-brown.

Loathe to like, but this duo's (a M.I.A. ex-wives club?) remorseless--almost unscrupulous--will-to-entertain crushes all resistance.

The upside of "glutted/clotted," part 2. A collaboration between Vas Deferens Organisation and Ariel Pink, wazzing in the inter(outer)zone between Der Osten Ist Rot, Hairway to Steven, and other elsewheres.

Splendid, yet… disconcerting. It's like Neil Landstrumm decided to enter the race to produce the Debut Zomby Album and has actually beaten Zomby to the finishing line. Like he got together with Rouge's Foam, made a close study of the metrical deviancies and super-saturated electro-glow-tones, and mastered the style. Hard to think of another case where an established artist's submerged their identity within another's signature to this extent. (There's loads of cases where it's impressionable youths embarking on their careers, but someone who's been around the block, got an extensive discography under the belt?). Just about the only clue it's been made by someone much older than Zomby: a sample from Spacemen 3's Playing With Fire, Pete Kember intoning "tell me, how does it feel?"

Paul Thomsen Kirk picking up where his Akatombo album for Swim a few years back left off: dead-television-gray gtr-drones swirling and scouring somewhere between the becoming-postrock of "The Overload" (by Talking Heads) and the becoming-postrock of Hydra-Calm (by Main). Excellent.

"Narst"'s a bit arse, but "Love Dub"'s luvly, cutting an odd, unexpected line across the nuum by tapping into its tradition of the long-drawn-out intro: think Dillinja "Sovereign Melody", Higher Sense "Cold Fresh Air," Da Intalex "What Ya Gonna Do"... glancingly delicate jazz-keys, limpid pads, synth washes, reverb-rippled bongos, soul-chanteuse murmurs and coos. Cooly G spins an entire song out of this kind of lull-before-the-breakbeat-storm.

Set to inspire more overwraught prose (pro and anti) this year than any other recording. Can I refrain from contributing? I'm helped by having no idea really what this group is trying to do. All I know for sure is that the four-song sequence from "Stillness" to "No Intention" is the most rapture-inducing music I've heard in an age. Elsewhere it's never boring but sometimes a little… overwraught. Or even over-wrought, like Art Nouveau metalwork. Jon Dale cites Cupid-era Scritti as a parallel, for the "knowingness" and the "desire to interface with urban music", which I can see with the R&B vocalization and Rihanna-like sentiments of "Stillness". But I'm actually struck by a faint resemblance to the Early Scritti---the springing-apart structures and odd chordings, the highly-strung tones and clashing multiple melodies---with songs like "Cannibal Resources" [i actually meant "Temecula Sunrise"] sounding a bit like Pretzel Logic meets "Bibbly-O-Tek". Certainly you do get a Green-like sense of it all having been thought-through to an excessive degree, and yet (as with Scritti)there's an inkling that somehow all the cerebral contortions and historical hyper-consciousness don't in the end have much to do with where the music comes from, a mysterious gift that bypasses all rationalisations.

The best Jewish-British pop androgyne since Justine Frischmann. Maybe even Marc Bolan.

I've been trying to work out why this kind of noise-pop, or pop-noise, is… I won't say "better"… but why it's so much more enjoyable (for me) than your regular chart pop. And wondering if it's got something to do with how "personally, I'm more of a savories man" (to quote World of Twist). Compared with all the Antaras/Aspartame enhanced chartcandy, Micachu and the Shapes's music is like Twiglets or something. It's a small voice, Mica's, quite plain in texture, yet it's delicious in a way that reminds me of digestives, where the salt is more important than the sugar. More-ish too: like opening a packet of McVities and finding it hard to stop, Jewellery's by far my most listened-to album of the year.


My actual period-piece review of Let's Play Domination can be found here while a fulsome appreciation of a World Domination Enterprises performance in Croydon in early 1987 is reproduced in the CD booklet of this reissue.

Several years ago I started something I couldn't finish: a countdown of the Top 300 Hardcore Tunes of All Time. More like started something I could barely start, actually: the #300 entry (Acen's "Window in the Sky") was the only one I completed. Partly because soon after doing it I released it needed to be, at bare minimum, a Top 500. Anyway, #299 was going to be A Guy Called Gerald's "28 Gun Bad Boy" and #288 was going to be the very first track on this here Bizzy B auteur-producer anthology, Warped Kore's "The Power." (I had a sweet conceit planned, incidentally, where the #1 would be Acen's "Trip to the Moon, Part 1", forming a cute circle). Listening to Retrospective I realise that several other cuts (the rampaging Amens and lazer-like Mentasms of "Slow Jam" and "Bad Boy", for starters) would also make this chart, which clearly would have just kept on expanding in scale, passing the four figure mark with ease…

Planet µ continue their sterling nuum-curatorial work with this career-survey of grime's most inventive and accomplished producer. Got a ton of Terror Danjah vinyl so was surprised/pleased yet also alarmed/made anxious by how many tunes I'd not heard/not even knew about in this compilation of mostly (but not entirely) previously released tunes. (Gremlinz was selected, I gather, from out of EIGHTY Danjah instrumentals!). Look out also for Industry Standard Vol 4 due on Planet µ soonish.

Apropos of almost nothing: I was struck a few months back when Danjah--on the eve of making his return to deejaying--talked about wanting to "smell and feel the emotion first hand like I used to when I was a Jungle/Drum & Bass DJ" (he and Bruza were in Reckless Crew) and anticipated his upcoming set would include "grime, a lil Dubstep, maybe a lil Funky, and even some old school Jungle!". That, right there, is your nuum! If you actually attended that particular Night Slugs, those audio brockwaves impacting your body, that was the living history of the nuum. You were in it.

Also struck by how freakily the Aftershock label's waning rate of activity (after 2005, just a couple of flickers) mirrored my own fading interest, as if Terror Danjah was somehow grime's secret bellwether! Does that mean, if he rekindles, I will too?


Sensational Alex Harvey Band, "Faith Healer"

I'm sure there must be a few but right now I can't think of a rock song with a structure--all build, no climax--quite like this.