Sunday, July 27, 2003

"We make complex grime" Uh-oh, alarm bells! Musical Mob talking of playing music, not one-finger crap like all the other crews churn out. Of getting into using live drums and all live instruments, into melody and grooves. Of wanting to make stuff that MJ Cole would dig. Is jazzy eightbar, a grime New Forms inevitable? Are the cycles condemned to repeat? They won't know what they had until they lose it...

Saturday, July 26, 2003

A belated, semi-sorta-notreally-contribution to the industrial debate recently raging across one corner of the blogosphere: me on the boom in archival industrial. Wonderfully incongruous notion: Throbbing Gristle reforming to play Pontins holiday camp next May! Chalets available for booking!

Thursday, July 24, 2003

... well there's Sean Paul, whose album is great yeah--but dancehall's kind of the default desperation option for the mainstream and hipsterati alike, isn' t it? It bubbles on pretty much same level of greatness year in year in out, and folks tune into when they've got no other options and the springs of vibe have run dry...

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The missus on the music video television wars. As you can imagine in this household we’ve had MTV2, Fuse, BET, etc on rather a lot lately, and really, there’s no getting round it, s'gotta be said--man, it’s bleak out there. Rap absolutely leached of sonic invention, imagination, individuality (‘Tailfeather’: surely some kind of nadir?); nu-metal not even intriguingly grotesque and jaggedly overstated like it was a few years ago, but slick and sonically airbrushed (Evanescence, it’s like Enya or All About Eve) or drably worthy (Thrice, zzzzzz…); a post-Sum 41 plague of bands who think ‘punk’ began with Green Day, all perky overmelodious tunes and whelping puppy-dog vocals. The pop mainstream is wall to wall lame. I should qualify that to " the American pop mainstream" … (Although my vague sense, or suspicion, is that the British pop mainstream may actually be even more of a mire of dire). Do you know, there’s people who’ll actually insist that 2003 is turning out to be another great year for music! And sure, you could probably piece together a respectable-enough facade of an annual harvest out of microhouse, Wirey-stuff, a bit of retro-ravey post-IDM, some left-field rock, and morsels from other marginal crevices in the culture. Same as every year, then. Plus there's always the glut of reissues as a dearth-masking device, artificially bulking up the year's crop--like accountants cooking the books, adding liquidized assets to this year's revenue-stream. But if Pop-ism is your creed, or the idea of vital currents making waves in the mainstream is something even remotely dear to your heart, then…. I simply cannot see what could sustain such rictus-like conviction that these be days of plenty praise the Lord. The forced (p)optimism resembles some Moonie-like creed. I’m not even comparing the present moment to those storied golden ages of long, long ago, the ones some people get upset if you bring ‘em up (inconvenient thing, history). No, I’m talking compared to recent years like 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, the years of R&B and street rap, of 2step and the house renaissance, of Britney even. Short term memory stuff. Seriously, and it brings me no joy to say it, right about now, Grime’s pretty much the only game in town. (And even that ain't exactly looking like it's gonna be tearing apart the charts any time soon....)

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Hmm, unintended continuity weirdness ahoy: stabs in music, recent events in the life of one D. Rascal...
Matthew riffs on Tompkins stab. "It'd be quite easy to get all Jungian and Chomskyian about the primal nature of this stab riff." Mmmm, nice idea: stab-responsiveness as hardwired into our brains. I'm curious though, if there's any difference between a stab and a riff? Between a stab and a vamp, a stab and a fanfare, a stab and ostinato, etc etc. Is the portentous duhn-duhn-duhn-DUH in Beethoven's Fifth a stab? Did Free and AC/DC, maestros of the rock use of silence and spacing, do stabs? Is a stab just a riff with even fewer notes and even more of a staccato hard-angled feel? Seems like the history of the ostinato/refrain/riff/stab involves simplifying it down to ever more rudimentary and primitive/primordial-seeming melodic-percussive patterns. So could you pare/distil it to down to the one note stab, a single jabthrust of sonic blare? Maybe gabba's already got there long ago.

(Incidentally in the B-boyz-on-XTC zone, there's a tune on Bad Boy out at the mo that sounds like it could be on D-Zone from back in the bleep day--Loon's "How You Want That": simple looped break, nag-nag-nagging synth-vamp. Overlaid with contempo-rap's standard-issue suave lechery, it could be this year's "When The Last Time").

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

From the Latin vulna, meaning 'wound'. Well, it brings a whole new slant to the debate about his vulnerability. Get better soon Dizzee.