Thursday, December 30, 2004

flippin eck, you wait days and days for an end-of-year wrap-up to come and then six of them turn up all at once!

The grimist view (first instalment)

the 128 bpm view

the she's-the-greatest-dancer view (part one)

the Matos view (part one)

the Matos-and-minions view

the cold rationalist view

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

FAVES 2004


Terror Danjah--evil cackling cyborg death-goblin laughter audio-logo (“Frontline”, “Creep Crawler”, TJ/Aftershock productions/remixes passim)

D Double E--“mui mui” audio-logo (passim)

D Double E -- indecipherably mangled and guttural vocalese in first eight bars of “Destruction VIP” (worthy of Iggy on Funhouse)

D Double E--“Think you’re a big boy cos you go gym?/bullets will cave your whole face in” (“Cockback”)

Bruza--all 27 seconds of his bars on “Cock Back,” but especially “I come across with a force that’s coarse, of course,” “you’ll be left in ruins for your wrong-doings,” and, double-especially, “brutal and British”

Bruza--“mo’ money mo’ problems, though/but forget the problems--GIMME THE MONEY! (Shystie, “One Wish (Terror Danjah remix)")

Riko--“Stay calm/Don’t switch/Use composure, blud/Use your head to battle through, ca’ you are the chosen one,” “On satellite/On Saturday/On Saturnight/On Saturnight?/ That can’t be right/But I told you before, I can say what I like,”” and patois-to-patter switch in the sign-off “so yeah alla my rude boy, let me tell ya, stay calm, just stay calm, keep your composure, mate, and everyfink’ll be all right, and you can go froo life, every day and all that, sweet as a nut” (“Chosen One”)

Target--beats on “Chosen One”

Target-–pizzicato string part on “Chosen One”

Kano--wary, measuring-all-angles, poise 'n' deliberation of his knotty cadences passim, but especially “Lately” and his suavely-seductive-yet-still-strategic mode on "So Sure"

Kano--“from lamp post to lamp post, we run the road” (“Destruction VIP”)

Wonder--glacial, tonally-harrowed synths (“Lately”)

Wonder--bass-thrub and dead-eyed electro-splashes (“What”)

Wiley--entire “I know trouble but Trouble says he don’t know you…. I know Ghetto but Ghetto says he don’t know you” etc etc bit (“Destruction VIP”)

Jammer--chopped ‘n’ diced flurry of pugilistic fanfares and blacksploitation bombast-blaring horn-blasts (“Destruction VIP”)

Terror Danjah/Big E-D--signature Aftershock style of post-Swizz/Ludacris suppressed-but-ominously-lurking fuzz-gnarly doom-blare fanfares (“Frontline”, “Creep Crawler,” passim)

Terror Danjah--idyllictronic synth-flickers (“So Sure”)

Lethal B--hectic carousel groove (“Pow” aka “FWD”)

Dizzee Rascal--woozily baleful bassdrone (“Graftin’”)

Lady Sovereign--“nooooooh-I-never-go/Cha-Ching” “the white midget,” “the multitalented munchkin,” “Cha Ching/It’s Ms Sovereign, the tichy t’ing/Me nah have fifty rings/but I’ve got fifty things/To say/in a cheeky kind of way/okay?” (“Cha-Ching”)

Infinite Livez--fey, polymorphous “ooh-just-a-bit-more” last-drops-of-breast-milk bit at the end of “The Adventures of the Lactating Man;” extra-laaaaaarge voice passim

Lil Jon--ice-plinky Omni/”Stronger”-style keyboard chords (“Da Blow”)

Lil Jon--whistling descending synth-refrain (“Yeah”, “Freek-A-Leek”, "In This Club," passim)

Eminem--haggard-yet-resolute grain o‘ voice and “coward/empowered” rhyme (“Mosh”)

The Streets--voice, cadence, intonation, idiom, of C-Mone, aka "that girl", especially “you shouldn’t be gawping in fin air” and “I needed you to come over, man/I needed you to be there,” (“Get out of My House”)

The Streets--Skinner’s sadsack excuses and the deliberately lame fake-bass-2-dark-UKG-circa-2001 middle eight (“Get Out of My House”)

The Streets--cold-rush activating hollow-souled trance synths (“Blinded By the Lights”)

The Streets--sadsack stoner-loser voice on “Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way” (is he staying in cos he’s in love with the girl or the weed?)

The Streets--“it’s hard to take but her mind has been made up”, “it o-o-o-ver” (“Dry Your Eyes”)

Twista--violin (and violin-playing chick) (“Overnight Celebrity”)

Animal Collective--the “moment,” unforgettable and unrecoverable, that was their entire show at Bowery Ballroom

Pixeltan--voice of girl singer (“Get Up/Say What,” “The Way I Like It”)

J.O.Y.--voice of Yoshimi P-We (“Sunplus”)

The Libertines--splintered guitars, passim

Goldie Lookin’ Chain--Twin Town meets Rockers: “alla the youth shall witness the day Babylon shall fall” in thick Welsh accent (“The Maggot”)


The Top 21/1st equal

Big E.D.--"Frontline (Creepy Crawler Mix)"
Terror Danjah, “Creep Crawler”
Riko and Target “Chosen One”
Jammer feat. Wiley, D Double E, Kano and Goodz, “Destruction VIP”
Lady Sovereign, “Cha Ching (Cheque 1, 2 Remix)”
Terror Danjah feat. Hyper, Bruza, D Double E and Riko 'Cock Back'
Lethal B featuring Fumin, D Double E, Nappa, Jamakabi, Neeko, Flo Dan, Ozzi B, Forcer, Demon, Hot Shot, “Pow” a/k/a FWD riddim
Wonder featuring Kano, “Lately”
Terror Danjah featuring Kanoe and Katie, “So Sure”
Infinite Livez, “"The Adventures of the Lactating Man"
Britney Spears, “Toxic
Usher feat Lil Jon and Ludacris, “Yeah”
Pixeltan, “Get Up/Say What”
J.O.Y, “Sunplus (DFA Remix)”
The Streets, “Get Out of My House”
The Streets, “Dry Your Eyes”
Beenie Man, “Dude”
Kanye West, “Last Call”
Twista featuring Kanye West and Soulful Chap, “Slow Jamz”
Twista, “Overnight Celebrity”

The Next 55 (second equal)

Ying Yang Twins, “Salt Shaker”
The Streets,“Blinded By The Lights’
The Streets, “Could Well Be In”
The Streets, “Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way”
Dizzee Rascal, “Graftin’”
Kiki, “Luv Sikk”/”Luv Sikk Again”
Kanye West, “Through The Wire”
Kanye West, “All Fall Down”,
Nina Sky feat Jabba, “Move Your Body”
Pixeltan, “That’s the Way I like It”
J.O.Y, “Sunplus”
Shystie feat. Kano, Bruza and Ronnie Redz, “One Wish (Terror Danjah Remix)”
Juvenile, “Slow Motion”
Wiley, “Pies”
Wiley, “Going Mad”
Wonder, “What”
Snoop Dogg, “Can I Get A Flicc Witchu”
Petey Pablo, “Freak-A-Leek”
Modest Mouse, “Float On”
J-Kwon, “Tipsy”
David Sylvian/Ryuichi Sakamoto, “World Citizen” (Samadhisound)
Phonique feat Die Elfen, “The Red Dress” (Tiefschwarz Remix)
Spectrum, "Kinda New (Tiefschwarz Remix)"
Colder, “Where”
The Libertines, “Can’t Stand Me Now”
Maroon 5, “This Love”
Switchfoot, “Made To Live”
Eminem, “Mosh”
Lil Jon, "Da Blow"
Lil Jon, “Aw Skeet Skeet”
Jay-Z, “99 Problems”
Black Leotard Front, “Casual Friday”
Three of A Kind, "Babycakes"
D12, “Name of My Band”
Durrty Goodz, “Gimme Dat”
Dizzee Rascal feat D Double E, “Give U More”
OT feat Dogzilla & Syers, "STD"
Big E.D., “Zoanoid” (Roadsweeper EP)
Terror Danjah, “Haunted” (Roadsweeper EP)
Unknown, “Frontline Refix”
Trim, “Boogieman”
Ruff Sqwad, “Lethal Injection”
Ruff Sqwad, “Tingz in Boots 2”
Tincy Strider, “Nug Tings (Pum Pum Riddim)”
D.P.M. feat Bruza, Nappa, Shizzle, “Ave Some of That”
Davinche, “Stinger” (from Dirty Canvas EP)
Davinche, “Madness” (from Dirty Canvas EP)
Davinche, “The Chase” (Dirty Canvas 2)
Durty Doogz, “Back 2 School”
P Jam feat D Double E, “Anger Management”
Magum & D.O.K.,"Crazy Beat (Terror Danjah Mix) (from Payback EP: the Remix)
Terror Danjah, "Juggling"(from Industry Standard EP)
Terror Squad, "Lean Back"
Supertramp featuring Fabolous, "Breathe"
Bruza feat Footsie, Triple Threat and Shizzle, "Bruzin'"


1/ Various, Run The Road
2/ Kanye West, The College Dropout
3/ The Streets, A Grand Don’t Come For Free
4/ Infinite Livez, Bush Meat
5/ Dizzee Rascal, Showtime
6/ Various/DJ Clever, Offshore Presents Troubled Waters
7/ Ariel Pink, Haunted Graffiti 2 THE DOLDRUMS
8/ Various, DFA Compilation #2
9/ Various/Ivan Smagghe, Death Disco
10/ Throbbing Gristle, TG Now
11/ Tiefschwarz, Misch Masch/Eleven Remixes
12/ Panda Bear, Young Prayer
13/ Junior Boys, Last Exit
14/ Wiley, Treddin’ On Thin Ice
15/ The Libertines
16/ John Cale, Hobo Sapiens
17/ Tod Dockstader and David Lee Myers, Pond
18/ Animal Collective, Sung Tongs
19/ Robag Wrhume Wuzzelbud, KK
20/ Devendra Banhart, Rejoicing in the Hands

the rest of the best
Aim High Music Presents: Vol. 1--DJ Target; Gogol Bordello Vs Tamir Muskat; Lil Jon, Crunk Juice; Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Greatest Hits; Gang Gang Dance, Revival of the Shittest; Gang Gang Dance; Ricardo Villalobos, The Au Harem D’Archimede; The Eternals, Rawar Style; The Eternals, Out of Proportion; Spektrum, Enter The Spektrum; Sagan, Unseen Forces; Franz Ferdinand; Kiki, Run With Me; The Soft Pink Truth, Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth?; Knowledge presents Inperspective Records in the Mix; The Caretaker, We’ll All Go Riding On A Rainbow; Prodigy, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned; Blevin Blectum, Magic Maples; Charalambides, Joy Shapes; Charalambides, Unknown Spin


1/ Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Mambo Nassau
2/ Brian Eno, Ambient 4: On Land
3/ Brian Eno and Harold Budd, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirrors
4/ Richard H. Kirk, Earlier/Later
5/ Metal Boys, Tokio Airport
6/ X Project/Congo Natty 12inch rereleases: Ras Project, “Walking in the Air”, X Project, “Jah Set It,” “Code Red”

The rest of the best
The Abysinnians and Friends, Tree of Satta; Minny Pops, Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement; Saint Etienne, Travel Edition 1990-2005 (especially "Finisterre"); Crawling Chaos, The Gas Chair; Crunk Classics; Doctor Mix and the Remix, Wall of Noise; DNA, dna on dna; Various Artists--Volga Select Presents "So Young But So Cold: Underground French Music 1977--1983" ; Arthur Russell, Calling Out of Context; Cristina, Sleep It Off, Doll in the Box; Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Press Color, all the other Eno reissues

Favela Funk 2004 Rio (A. Nicechap)
Broadcast Comp 12.03 (J. House)
Computer Says So! (Dub’s Love Affair w. the drum machine) (P. Maplestone)
Grime O4 (M.Ingram)
Kwaito (M. Ingram)
Desi 1/Desi 2 (M. Ingram)
Historic MCs (M. Ingram)
Dancehall Riddims 2004 (P. Kennedy)
Dancehall^Bashment^ Desi (D. Stelfox)
Here Comes Grimin’ Simon (P. Kennedy)
Grime Summer Selektion 2004 (S. Reynolds)
Terror Danjah and Aftershock Cru: Auteur Series #1 (S. Reynolds)

If a cd existed of Ripley & Kid Kameleon's set at Volume earlier this year that would be my favorite mix-CD of 2004.

Peepshow, Office Xmas special, first four episodes of Nighty Night, Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls First Season DVD, Wonderfalls, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, John Martyn documentary on BBC 4, Philip Roth, the Plot Against America. Bloggaz man dem and gal dem (even though we're now in the "1970s" bloggworld wise). Sideways, I Heart Huckabees, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

FEH (all categories)
Metallica movie (it's alright until halfway through you realise: "I paid money to sit through a movie about Metallica". Last two episodes of Nighty Night. All emo. U2, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb; Various, Box Bloody Fresh; Various, Unclassics. Shystie's shitey album.


* So I appear to be a rap fan now. The Top 5 albums are a lockdown, in the singles non-MC based music barely gets a look-in, and as “discrete moments” reveals, almost all the puncta that have lived with me, memory-wise, are MC-and-beats oriented. Now, contrary to a belief held in some quarters, me and hip hop go back a long ways. Almost from the minute I went professional (end o’ 85--coming up for two decades in the game now!) I was rave reviewing things like Schoolly D, Mantronix, Ultramagnetic MCs, Def Jam etc. And there’s barely been a year since when I’ve not had at least half an ear trained on the genre. BUT the insinuation of non-attachment to rap has a tinge of truth to the extent that, at no point in any of that time would I have described myself as a hip hop fan. At least not in the sense of “fan” as fanatic, believer, someone massively invested in the whole cultural project. There’s people, white ones and all, who're total patriots for hip hop and go through great pangs as its collective muse wanes or they become convinced its irreversible decline has set in. That’s never been me. My ears prick up when it’s in an up phase (my idea of an "up" phase not necessarily coinciding with the cognoscenti's, natch), but I don’t go into mourning when it’s in a trough. It’s not at the core of my being, whereas I would happily, and accurately, have slapped “raver” or “junglist” on my passport. Those white folks who do take on “hip hop” as their primary identity always seem a bit…. not exactly suspect, but I wonder how they make that leap of cultural cathexis so confidently, given that the music’s obviously not made with them in mind (Whereas rave and jungle were predicated on an “all welcome here” ethos, at least in theory). Any road, I now find myself in a position where people shouting boasts and threats and other unpleasantness over beats is my absolute preferred form of entertainment/stimulation. So I appear to be a rap fan, finally.

* Well, that said, of course if you took the UK out of the picture then this being a “rap fan” business would boil down to loving College Drop Out, some Lil Jon productions, and a few other BET-gleaned bits ‘n’ bobs. Really, it’s only because rave has evolved through its own aberrant logic into a warped Brit equivalent to rap that MCs rule my world. I'm a raveist-turned-grimeist, essentially. By and large, I’d say hip hop in its homeland wasn't especially inspired this year. Who are the compellingly original new personalities and larger-than-life characters who’ve come through lately? (Lil Flip!? Fabolous!?) Who’s bringing some really interesting new content? As for form, well, a certain fatigue has set in with the mindbendingly weird riddim thing. It’s sorta been established that almost anything no matter how fucked-up, dysfunctional and defective, can be made into a beat. Things like “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, while reasonably cool’n’all (may I commend the ‘Tunes on the hi-hats, which sound especially good over a sound system) don’t hit with the same impact that their equivalents did four or five years ago.

* Run The Road as #1. Heard murmurings on the lines of it ain’t that great a comp.
Purely practically, it wins because it’s got four of my Top 20 singles in it--“Destruction”, “Cock Back”, “Ca Ching,” “Chosen One”--while the second-tier tunes (“Gimmie Dat”, “One Wish”, “Give U More”, No Lay’s “Unorthadox Daughter,” EARS’ “Happy Dayz,” Kano’s “Mic Fight”) have really grown on me. Still can’t quite see why Kano’s “Ps & Qs” is such a mega-mega tune on the scene but, yeah, it’s good. Symbolically, it’s #1 because Grime’s my favorite form of music, still beyond-question the cutting-edge sector, the biggest source of visceral (‘n vicarious) thrills and food-for-thought, and given that it’s not really a single-artist album-oriented genre (despite Dizzee ‘n’ Wiley), the comp is necessarily paramount (and I wish there were more of them, more readily available, and done better. The DVDs don’t do the same job, ‘cos you have to sit there and watch, it’s TV not music, putting you in passive mode--I’ve got Practice Hours and haven’t actually had time to sit down and watch the thing). Run The Road is the best grime compilation I heard this year (better than Aim High, pisses from height over Box Bloody Fresh). Come to think of it, it’s probably the best grime comp ever. And being the first full-on Grime major label comp it’s got a bit of a landmark aspect. Ergo ergo ergo, it’s the record of 2004 (ignoring the awkward fact that owing to various hiccups it’s not actually going into the shops, bar a few UKgarage specialists that already have it, until January 2005, although Americans take heed and take heart, it’s being picked up by Vice domestically, so I’m told).

* Grand and Showtime I thought would be jostling for #1 (interesting to see the Observer Music Monthly have them as #1 and #2 respectively), but both slipped a tiny bit in my estimation over the year. Grand’s an odd one, the whole concept ain’t all that, really, and the five or six songs I adore--“Get Out,” “Dry,” “Blinded”, “Could Well”, “Wouldn’t Have”, “Empty Cans”, and (grudgingly) “Fit” too--are surrounded by ones I can barely remember. Which is so the opposite of Original Pirate Material (almost wall-to-wall killer, seems to get better and better as the album proceeds too). Compared with OPM, the music on Grand sounds really thin and perfunctory. Showtime’s even odder: when I listen to it, all the appropriate “it’s a masterpiece”-type responses occur, plus it always seems so much more listenable and cohesive than Boy. But afterwards I can’t actually remember hardly any of the tunes, except for “Graftin’” and the Captain Sensible/South Pacific-ripping one, or the lyrics either, whereas with Boy, there’s five or six songs that burned into my soul almost instantly and stayed there, and lines that live with me still. Boy’s a difficult album to listen to all the way through, granted, whereas Showtime goes down easier and feels like a whole. But I think the debut’s the one we’ll remember him for--his Maxinquaye.

* My favorite track on College Dropout is the oft-maligned finale, “Last Call.” KW took real risks with this one, I think, not just through doing such a protracted and self-reflexive track but through his demystifying the hip hop industry, both through detailing the career moves and games you have to play (like the cringy-but-hilarious bit where he’s sycophantic to Jay-Z) to get anywhere, and through letting in the hum-drum (the oft-cited references to shopping at IKEA). What’s really touching is the sense of precariousness. At certain points in the long, long track (which always induces in me the feeling “when it’s going to stop?” then “actually, I don’t want it to stop”), you really feel like he’s not going to make it--that Kanye’s ascent wasn’t at all inevitable, he could easily have failed. Then from that, you get a painful glimpse of how contingent everything is in life, how much the breaks you get or don’t get play in determining outcomes, all the different places you could be in your own life if something had gone just a little bit different. There’s one bit where he’s discouraged by some setback, by how long it’s taking to get anywhere, and the music gets really tentative and crestfallen-sounding, almost idyllictronica-wistful. Always brings a tear to my eye.

* Electro-House and Schaffel. Must admit, the cynic in me, upon hearing such a genre even existed, courtesy of the ILM thread, felt that this was just bleedin’ typical of dance music in 04--can’t think of a new thing to do, so in lieu, let’s combine two illustrious but radically separate genres and besmirch their respective past glories. Having actually heard a few examples of E-H now, though, I’m moderately impressed, some genuine frissons to be had here. Schaffel, though, really smacks of desperation if you ask me. 10 years ago, at the peak of the whole cultural-sonic project of electronic drug-dance whatever, if someone told you that within a decade dance music would be having to resort to resurrecting 30 year old rhythmic ideas from rock music, that the hot new thing would be grooves that move like Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In the Sky”…. !!!! I mean, I love T. Rex, but it's a bit of a comedown, innit?

* Had a whole little rant mentally prepared on the truly-quite-disgraceful marketing of the Libertines, the use of photos of Pete Doherty sucking on a crack pipe in features on the band, the web diary he operated while in rehab (or was it prison?), the Babyshambles website with its smack-glorifying imagery, the way every review devotes 2/3 of its length to the saga (Doherty burgling the other guy’s flat for crack money, the tortured making of the record), the album cover with its two junkies shooting each other up imagery. Basically the rant was gonna put forth the proposition that the Libertines were the first post-Behind The Music band, the first group to realize it’s no good having these sagas of drug-fuckup/internecine love-hate/mismanagement etc etc gripping the viewers 20 years on down the line, you need to have this stuff working for you right at the start, helping you shift your current product. The Libertines as the first band (possible exception: Happy Mondays circa Yes Please) to integrate their disintegration into the marketing campaign and indeed into the musical content (“Can’t Stand Me Now,” etc). The rant would have concluded with a few pot shots about how lame the music was, plus a glancing barb re. the unholy alliance of Alan McGee, Mick Jones, and--of all people--Geoff Travis. Unfortunately the plan was scuppered because the friend we stayed with in London a few weeks ago had a copy of their latest album. And it’s great! Love the splintered guitars (as much Subway Sect as Only Ones, with a bit of freakbeat John’s Children/The Eyes/There Who in there too), the ramshackle yet potent rhythms, the “transcendentally wrecked” (I. Penman on Big Star’s third LP) feeling throughout. Still extremely suspicious of the whole shtick/marketing/hype, but having listened to it again on the plane back (Virgin, these days, have dozens of cds in their inflight entertainment set up along with 300 hours of film and TV), you know what, there’s definitely something there, believe it or not.

* Goldie Lookin’ Chain. Pitman must be fookin’ seething with rage.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

another one bites the dust

(heroes, that is)

RIP Susan Sontag
check it out, antipodean sound bwoy peter maplestone's revival rhythm track featuring Mikey Murka

also, he's giving away a cool classic yard tape over here

also, dj ripley has a blogg

Thursday, December 23, 2004

killamix of bleeps'n'breaks'n'bass from the "mysterious" (hardly!) Dr. Wo, virtually an essay on the genealogy of ukrave in hip hop and reggae given sonic form. my favorite transition: Ability II's "Pressure Dub" into Maurizio's "M7" (now why is these white guys' appropriation of the rootical less problematic for me than the drill'n'bash street kids's? cos it's so utterly earnest, perhaps, tapping directly into the religiosity? or is it cos it's more of fusion--with techno&house--thing than a wholesale parody/homage?)
sherburne returns, with some good ripostes and queries viz an argument by jane dark about IDM-as-racist (link courtesy somedisco)

if Felizitas/Dark had based the argument in terms of IDM-circa-drill'n'bass-viz-jungle then the critique would make perfect sense--while at the same time being old news and hardly a shattering insight

but the IDM-viz-hip hop really is way off base for all the reasons philip (and comments-box folk) points out. Also (in re. being old, old news), IDM is now, what, four or five years into a self-critique of itself for a lack of "street", meaning "urban", meaning "black" energy. I.e. Kid606, the NWA and Missy Elliott tributes, Gold Chains, Violent Turd,etc etc. In the last year especially there's been the emergence/consolidation of a whole "street-beats/pan-Black Atlantic" fueled omni-genre that takes on elements of ragga, crunk, Amen-era junglizm, bass'n'booty, soon Desi and favela and grime and grimm and kwaito.... and... Mashing together bits and bobs from all the "stupid" dance musics and borrowing/parodying/exaggerating their traits. "Drill'n'bashment," perhaps--that Shockout comp (really rather entertaining, if utterly redundant in an absolute sense), operators like Shitmat, DJ Rupture, Soundmurderer. Or think the whole Planet Mu approach really (plus they throws in another lumpen street music, this time white-Euro, into the mix: gabba), which goes into a whole new phase with the Mark One album.

drill'n'bash is not without its own problematics in terms of colononialism/expropriation, but it's definitely an advance in that instead of feeling superior to "urban" musics there's a real sense of trying to catch up with them... there's a certain pathos to it, in fact... if only we could be as radical-yet-popular as Neptunes/Lil Jon/Timba/etc

the other thing is that IDM is so washed up and beyond-marginal at this point it hardly seems worth giving a kicking!

personally i'm actually kind of longing for a revival of first-wave IDM-izm before it was even called "IDM", ie the early Aphex and Global Communication etc stuff. When in fact it was at its most bleached, in terms of sonic negritude. The big shift there, back in 92/93, was away from rhythm/texture/noise to melody/texture/harmony.... which could certainly be seen as racially coded (especially the aversion to breakbeats*) but is as much to do with class and with mood (from rave to reverie, physical brocking out to aural contemplation)

IDM doesn't describe a genre, it describes a type of person, partially determined by class, really.... someone who prizes individuality rather than the crowd (hence squarepusher's risible comments about the jungle scene being all about followers, whereas he was a lone individualist)... what's funny about drill'n'bashment is that it posits a kind of pseudo-massive, the hallucination of the mother-of-all-massives. When of course the room's just full of nerds**.

* Geeta mentioned a while back that when she interviewed Michael Mayer she played something with a breakbeat in and he was, like, "aarrgh, i hate breakbeats, I loathe them". it was an almost physical aversion. Hearing that gave me a little flashback to "no breakbeats, no Lycra" in '93, and also helped me understand a bit why i don't dig Kompakt all that much. Seeing Mayer DJ a month or so ago, I was enjoying it sufficiently and then suddenly it struck me: erm, this music is pretty much "Age of Love"/93-R&S after they lost their hardcore/Germanism of early-mid Nineties. A little bit trancey, a little bit progressive-housey, very faintly gabba-y at its absolute darkest.

had a very odd and revelatory experience in a NY club recently that i'll discuss here at some point, basically it involved the very architecture of the building dramatizing and spatializing the state of dance music and the interrelationships therein of class/race/history. It was really quite eerie!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

jess has a jolly good whinge

my own 2004-list ought to materialise by xmas eve or thereabouts
Blackdown bwoy, pure niceness, on the aptness of "grime" as term reflective of its environmental inputs and backdrop.

After years of visiting Dalston only under cover of night (to rave down Labrynth, which I hear they're demolishing--sob!) I finally went there during daylight hours in 96 or 97, to interview Labrynth founder Joe unspellable-polish-name for Energy Flash. And finally saw the place properly. Jesus, it was bleak. Leached of colour. People looking like grey-faced automatons. I thought: how can people live in this place? Well they do it, as the English always have, by manufacturing their own sunshine--2step being a prime example ("spirit of the sun", Sunship, and countless other examples of UKG's heliolatry). The 2step pirates pumped out, and still pump out (they outnumber grime pirates), a kind of consensus hallucination of Aiya Naipa all year long, a soul-warming mirage. One reason for the barely-even-semipopular status of grime (see this Dissensus thread) is that it reflects/assimilates/intensifies the desolation of East London rather than creates a line of flight. The closing of Big Apple in Croydon must surely have something to do with the fact that the music they sold--plasticman-style darkdubstep aka Grimm--sounds like Croydon.

Grime and its mute cousin Grimm, they're both winter music. And winter in London (i've just returned from a brief, literally funereal visit) is not lovely. There's a special kind of English cold, damp where New York's is brisk and dry and oddly invigorating, that gets inside your clothes, inside your marrow, where it saps your spirit. (Primary reason why I don't think I could move back to London: the winter grey skies. In New York it's fucking freezing but the skies are often blue, we're on the same latitude as Barcelona).

The coldness in the music is not an absence of emotion, though, it is the emotion--pitiless desolation. It takes a certain kind of hardiness and spiritual mettle to want to embrace that. Hence the slender sales for Grime and Grimm.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Mark has a response further explicating his (oops, biographism, beg pardon) position.

I suppose ultimately I don’t really get what he’s talking about when he uses the word “rationality”, now that’s supposed to include emotion and the body?

But judging by the general tenor of his arguments--anti-mammalian, squeamish about emotion--the key word, the one he's got most invested in, is “cold”.

Isn’t thought, however abstractified and supersublimated, always an emotion, though? That’s why the notion of artificial intelligence is a non-starter; what could motivate such an intelligence to be bothered with thinking? Thought without emotion is a sail without wind. You have to have a body, monkeymatic flaws and all, to have the energy and will to think.

Even the impulse to achieve a cold precision of thought is itself an emotional impulse, somatically rooted.

Equivocations? The basic idea is pretty clear, I think. Music, as far as I can tell, belongs to a whole category one could designate with words like “non-sense” and “un-sane”. There’s no point to it, and that’s, sort of, the point of it. Lots of good things in (my) life actually fit those categories, and my response is to affirm that glorious non-utility (I suppose that's the dreaded “vitalism” and Romanticism one hears about? I think these must be the bits in D&G I really like!)

It also strikes me as perhaps not entirely unconnected that since Mark’s been on this cold rationalist tip, he’s barely written anything on music. Perhaps music in its essence is too much an incitement of stuff that’s not in the CR programme.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It is, of course, brilliantly argued. Here’s just a few quick thoughts glancing off K-punk’s piece on Bataille as proto-fascist

-- Isn’t fascism precisely the alliance of atavism/abjection and cold rationality? Atavism on its own might produce a pogrom, or an isolated Travis Bickle type paranoid schizo, or a Bataille-style perv. But it takes a dose of cold technocratic reason to create Treblinka (or for that matter the gulag).

---there’s an awful of potent, provocative culture that exists in that dodgy zone between Romantic/primordialist and fascist/totalitarian. In rock alone, there’s elements of glam, Killing Joke, metal, rave, gabba, industrial, crunk, maybe even Roots reggae, that work off those ambiguous energies. Then there’s the whole modernist/fascist mini-tradition of writers like Wyndham Lewis, Celine, etc -- a personal obsession of mine.

--Just because fascism uses the appeal to the atavistic/pagan/primordialist, doesn’t mean it owns those categories (c.f. the anti-natalist argument -- fascist regimes encourage childbirth means breeding is proto-fascist = not very good logic)

-- Isn’t it as facile to say that Romanticism leads to Fascism as the converse argument (advanced by disillusioned French post-marxists in the 70s) that the Englightenment led to Auschwitz/the gulag? There are presumably many mixtures and inbetween states and coexistences that intermingle reason and non-reason. and those are places where most of us live, practically.

--- this is the question I’m most interested in actually, which is appropriate given what this blog is 97 percent about: Music. Where does it fit in the cold rationalist scheme? (Nick Land: "Every theorist who hasn’t a real place for music ends up with one-dimensional melancholia.”)
Seems to me that the way Mark’s thought is developing he ought to end up in a Plato-like stance of being suspicious of music itself as irrational, counter-revolutionary, and so forth. After all, what is Music if not emotion, intoxication, sensuality, violence, the orgiastic? Or more precisely (and intriguingly) perhaps one could say that Music operates at the cusp of the the abstract/conceptual and the sensory/sensual (you have to have a body to be able to hear it; even classical music appeals to the body, works through rhythm and the psychomotor apparatus). Music is always simultaneously a contemplative and physical experience. Moreover all attempts to reformulate music according to allegedly rationalist procedures ended up with things like Schoenberg and the twelve-tone scale ie. music which only Ben Watson (a sort of hot rationalist? he's into shagging!) enjoys? There is an absolute mystery and an arbitrary senselessness to music which invites words like “magic”. (Music is certainly my window to the Sacred, the one thing I feel mystical about). The loveliness of melody, the violence of "annihilating rhythm" -- there are rules that govern how these things work, but the rules themselves in their very existence have no reason to be, they are arbitrary, pointless, non-purposive. (Same applies incidentally to the poetics and musication of language: Rhyme without reason). There is a superfluousness, a futile gloriousness, an excess to requirements, an utterly non-necessary aspect to music--- which relates very well to the Bataillean worldview.

-- via the fact that one “plays” music (as listener or performer), I’d ask where “play” as a concept fits into the CR worldview--“play” and its related concept of “mischief” a/k/a the imp of the perverse. (this is something where having kids, or hanging out with them, is a very useful reminder. Kids being simultaneously Pantheism's angels walking among us, and little devils).

-- finally I do kinda share commentator Axiomatik’s amused puzzlement at how swiftly Mark (and presumably others in the post-CCRU milieu) have junked one entire canon of thought (nietzche, bataille--whom nick land wrote a great book, The Thirst for Annihilation, about--Deleuze & Guattari, presumably Ballard too now as he’s a big fan of surrealism, mythology, etc) for its complete inverse. But I guess it’s all part of the adventure that is the life of the mind.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Bloggers! Let's club together and get the deluxe DVD of this as a Christmas present for K-punk!
missus on highlights and lowlights of a year's TV
Resonance blogg doc available for download chez Woebot

Luka sounds grime, not just that lean, hungry grain o' the voice, but he's got those halting, racing-ahead, nervy speech patterns, he could be Dizzee's cousin!

Mark sounds extremely chilled.... if i didn't know better I'd swear K-Punk was puffing onna spliff before Magz did the interview :)

Also like the twinkly idyllictronic music-of-the-bloggspheres in the background throughout

I understand where Matt's coming from in his is-it-all-over?/was-it-all-a-dream? ruminations. Personally if I'm burned at the moment, it's owing to circumstances that have nothing to do with blogging. And there's various other people who've been taken out by life-stuff (good to see Jon Dale back BTW). I actually have about forty topics I've been wanting to blog about (no seriously, but i might just have to scribble the core idea as a single phrase or sentence in here, and then, being quite a bright lot, you can just work out the rest of it yourselves). There just never seems to be the time (oughter be working right now to be honest).

I also think if there's a bit of a energy deficit at the moment bloggworld-wise it's actually because pop (including for these purposes semi-pop, downright-unpop, etc) music is not honestly coming up with the goods at the moment. Well it's generating good stuff in the sense of discrete items of brilliance (the end-of-year list, which may be the next thing up here actually, is going to be pretty gargantuan, like last year, like every year). The trouble with discrete items of brilliance, though, is that you pile them up and you can make quite a towering, idioysyncratic, reflects-well mound of theme, but there's gonna be that air of inconsequentiality.
Pop/semipop/unpop etc is by and large failing to come up with the startling new formations that would provoke a massive burst of discursive energy (a la Grime which provided, and even several years on still provides, a host of dissension points and cruxes of argument). The energy centres of 2004 -- grime, dutty south, dancehall, psych-folk, dfa--are the same ones that were bubbling in 2002. At the same time, don't particularly sense any great amount of animation coming from the pop-ist end of things at the moment, unless the umpteenth rehashing of rockism-bashing gets your blood boiling. Yup there's an entropic feel at the moment, more than likely related to what's been going on in the real world. And fair enough really.
Lady Like Chantelle defends Wiley from the haters and under-raters
Nice piece by Man Like Martin Clark at Blackdown on violence in grime lyrics.
Kid Kameleon, partner of Ripley, has got a blogg with a link to this great Shockout mix he's done.
Stubbs, inspired, on Seinfeld versus Rumsfeld

A week or so back we were watching a TV doc on the making of Seinfeld (timed to promote the DVD's release obviously) , all about the early days and how the series very nearly never got off the ground. And the missus and I were indeed reflecting, a la Stubbs, that, viz the Nineties, those were different times indeed. They seem positively halcyonic in retrospect. A bit of centrist underachieving and ultimately thwarted muddle-through would be utopia compared to what's going on now politically. And curiously--undermining that old theory that hard times and turmoil and instability create great music, culture, etc--the Nineties was pretty much nonstop greatness when it comes to music. Whereas the first half of the Noughties, which is now coming to an end, the first five years are up, has been... honestly not that impressive. (Oh there are pockets of amazingness, but there always are). The culture of resistance that you'd think might emerge in such conditions has pretty much failed to materialise, and where it does exist it's on very reduced and cornered-seeming premises. And meanwhile, mainstream-wise, the culture of irony/triviality/kitsch/pomo-pastiche etc etc is ever more ascendant (so much for 9/11 and the new seriousness). Odd.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My new least favorite band--My Chemical Romance.
The trouble with the word "punctum" is it doesn't sound like what it's meant to signify. It always makes me think of The Fat Controller in Thomas the Tank Engine--the sound of the word is portly and punctilious. (Unlike jouissance, which feels swoony, langorous, voluptuous, dissipatory). "Studium", though, is perfect, the sagging quality of the "ium" conveying the sense of chore, of slogging through something improving and well-wrought/well-meant.
"If you put someone's head in a vice and tighten it, some interesting stuff is going to ooze out. I'm not from London originally so I notice this more. Being an alien, you see that this city is like a vast compression chamber, packing in all these diverse elements, ethnicities, influences, stresses, tensions, so everyone has to wriggle about so as not to suffocate. The power of Afro-caribbean sound system culture is not just about the sonic influence of dub, reggae, dancehall and soca, but a whole set of microcultural practices for not just avoiding suffocation, finding breathing space, but for finding some kind of way out. The futurism comes via the competitive pressure, which forces rapid change, recombination and mutation as a matter of survival."

Kode 9, interviewed, on presha and the hydraulic theory of sceniotic creativity (cf Peter York on "steam" and the from-below pressure of those denied conventional routes to social mobility, and that Kanye West lyric about steam powering his rise)

And how's this for hip:

"Outside of garage tempo, I've been listening to microrecordings of the ebola virus."

That CCRU lot, you got to love 'em doncha!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New York Massive! Come support this night:

Sci-Fi Soul & Brooklyn Garage present:

Wild FleX

SATURDAYS 10pm - 3:30am

Debut night: this coming Saturday, December 4th 2004

FREE admission

200 Orchard Street between Houston and Stanton, NYC
(F Train to 2nd Ave or Delancey St)

DJs: Paul Kennedy & guests

grime, ragga, favela funk, 2step, bubblecrunk, neukÖln, ardkore jungle, lover's rock +

combining the best UK underground with U.S. & Jamaican flavas plus elektrohaus and dance classics


i attended the dummy-run rehearsal night last saturday, Paul Sci-Fi Soul rocked the crowd w/ mash-up old skool Amenizm, dirty south bass, gutter garridge, dancehall, the full spektrum. The Orchard Bar has a surprisingly good sound system -- it's about 8 times better than that pretentious pisshole APT, for instance -- and (whisper it) a really quite large dancefloor area, cunningly tucked out of sightline-from-the-street (from a passing cop's eye view, it just looks like a very long and narrow bar) creating an almost speakeasy/keep-it-onna-downlow/dancers-as-guerrilla-cell vibe that's quite... vibesy. Admission is free, drinks reasonably priced. Future guest spots include Man Like Stelfox juggling his dancehall 7's, w/ yours truly chatting 'pon the mic (okay that last bit was a total lie, but Stelfox is coming over for early January). Seriously, though, this is the only place in New York where you'll be able to hear Grime and UKG (not to mention favela funk mixed with crunk mixed with dancehall AND summadat metrohaus you young'uns seem to like so much...) so if you care or are intrigued about the current UK sound then be there. even if you're doing something else that night, drop by for a bit, use it as your meet point, whatever.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Did a review the other week for the Observer of the Run the Road comp, this here's the director's cut which conveys more of the flavour of the record:

Various Artists
Run the Road
679 Recordings
* * * * *

Grime is our hip hop, the final coming of a Britrap that’s not merely a pale reflection of the original. Instead it’s a wonky, hall-of-mirrors reflection. To American ears reared on “the real thing”, grime sounds disconcertingly not-right--the halting, blurting MC cadences don’t flow, the gap-toothed, asymmetric grooves seem half-finished and defective. Something of grime’s skewiff quality is captured in the title of this compilation. “Road” is grime-speak for “street”. On “Destruction VIP,” one of the killer tracks here, Kano proclaims “from lamp post to lamp post/We run the road”. The intent is gangsta menace, an assertion of territorial might, but perhaps even to English ears, the quaint phrasing makes the boast fall a little short. American rap fans would most likely crack up on hearing the line. No wonder Grime’s modest fanbase in the United States consists almost entirely of white Anglophile hipsters.

If Grime doesn’t have a hope in hell with American’s hip hop heartland, it can console itself with the knowledge that right now it’s got the edge over “the real thing”. The records sound cheap’n’nasty next to US rap’s glossy production values, but Grime’s way with rhythm and sound is far more jaggedly futuristic. More crucially, Grime has a feeling of desperation that American hip hop has largely lost. Individual rappers may still follow rags-to-riches trajectories, but as a collective enterprise, hip hop has won. It dominates pop culture globally. The music oozes a sense of entitlement, something you can also see in that lordly look of blasé disdain that’s de rigeur in rap videos nowadays. In America, rising MCs rhyme about the luxury goods and opulent lifestyle they don’t yet have because it’s also so much more plausible, within reach. The path is well-trodden--not just selling millions of records, but diversifying into movies, starting their own clothing lines, bringing their neighbourhood crew up with them once they’ve made it.

As a sound, Grime is still very much an underdog, and so its fantasies of triumph and living large are much more precarious, and affecting. There’s a definite ceiling to how much money can be made on the underground scene. Selling 500 singles is a good result, shifting a thousand is a wild success, and even hawking your white labels direct to London’s specialist stores with a huge mark-up won’t generate that much cash. At the same time, nobody in Grime, not even Dizzee, has really mapped out a crossover career path yet. Indeed, making that transition from pirate radio to Top of the Pops is risky. Take So Solid Crew, who got to #1 with “21 Seconds” a few years back. Their second album flopped and their rep on the street (or should I say "road"?) is now non-existent.

You can hear all this in the music, in those pinched, scrawny voices--the sound of energy squeezing itself through the tiniest aperture of opportunity and grabbing for a chance that most likely will prove to be a mirage. All of the guys (plus occasional gal) on Run The Road already feel like legends in their own minds. Standout track “Chosen One” by Riko & Target distils that sense of destiny and destination. Over majestic sampled movie-soundtrack strings
Riko imagines himself as a star on satellite TV, then offers counsel that applies equally to other aspiring MCs and to everyday street soldiers dealing with adversity: “Stay calm/Don’t switch/Use composure, blood/Use your head to battle through, ca’ you are the chosen one.”

American rappers, once they’ve made it, can sound like bullies and tyrants when they reel out the same old lyrical scenarios: humiliating haters, discarding women like used condoms. From Grime MCs, the endless threats and boasts, the big-pimpin' postures, somehow seem more forgivable. When Grime MCs batter rivals real and imaginary, they’re really battening down their own self-doubt, chasing away the spectre of failure and anonymity with each verbal blow. Sure, the misogyny and gun talk can be hard to stomach. “Cock Back,” one of 2004’s biggest grime anthems, is a Terror Danjah riddim constructed from the click and crunch of small arms being cocked. Over this bloodcurdling beat, D Double E spits couplets like “Think you’re a big boy ‘cos you go gym?/Bullets will cave your whole face in.” Outnumbered twenty to one, the female MCs give as good as their gender usually gets. No Lay, on “Unorthodox Daughter”, promises to “put you in Bupa” and warns “soundboy I can have your guts for garters/turn this place into a lyrical slaughter”.

Possibly the best grime collection yet, Run The Road is also touted as the genre’s first major label compilation. Actually, a Warners sub-label released one in 2002, Crews Control. But its contents were more like proto-grime, the beats mostly 2step and UK garage, and the vibe far more playful and genial, courtesy of now almost forgotten crews like Heartless and Genius. Their brand of boisterous bonhomie and quirky humour is in short supply on Run The Road. One exception: Lady Sovereign’s “Cha Ching”, on which the squeaky-voiced “white midget” announces “It’s Ms Sovereign, the titchy t’ing/Me nah have fifty rings/but I’ve got fifty things/To say/In a cheeky kind of way/Okay?” Bruza sounds comic, injecting the Cockney into “Cock Back” with his lurching, Arthur Mullard-like delivery and lines like “you’ll be left in ruins for your wrong-doings”. But content-wise, he’s “brutal and British”, reeling off the usual list of inventively gory acts of revenge. Run The Road’s brand of laughter is mostly the gloating, vindictive kind. Hence the eerie digital cackle, like an evil, leering cyber-goblin, used by Terror Danjah as a motif on all his productions (on this comp, “Cock Back” and Shystie’s “One Wish”). Compared to even a few years ago, Grime seems like it has less scope for goofing about now. There’s a deadly seriousness in the air, possibly influenced by the sense that there’s more at stake--a real chance of making it, now the majors are cautiously sniffing around and signing up MCs like Kano.

If Grime ever does makes it, collectively--achieving the sort of dominance that American rap enjoys--these last three years of the genre’s emergence will be looked back on as the golden age, the old skool. Make no mistake, the MCs on this compilation-- Kano, D Double E, Riko, Sovereign, Dizzee, Wiley--are our equivalents to Rakim, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Nas, Jay-Z. To twist slightly the words of another rapper from that American pantheon, Notorious BIG: if you (still) don’t know, get to know.


Now did I really write "these last three years of the genre's emergence"? Wrong. Here's something I wrote and posted on the website back in April 2001, actually tucked away as a coda to an Unfaves of 2000 item on breakbeat garage. After slagging off Stanton Warriors et al, a late surge of incoming pirate data causes an unexpected spike in optimism:

"That said, the last batch of pirate tapes I got, showed signs of a new twist in this breakstep (or whatever they're calling it) direction: not so much jungle-slowed-down, and more like a post-rave, drum'n'bass influenced form of English rap. On these spring 2001 pirate tapes, there's hardly any R&B diva tunes, and every other track features very Lunndunn-sounding MCs or ragga-flavored vocals, over caustic acid-riffs and techsteppy sounds, like some latterday Dillinja production. Unlike with techstep or recent d&b, there's very little distorto-blare in the production, there's this typically 2step clipped, costive feel, an almost prim and dainty quality to the aggression-- a weird combo of nasty and neat-freak. Lyrically, the vibe seems to be similarly pinched in spirit, a harsh, bleak worldview shaped subconsciously by the crumbling infrastructural reality beneath New Labour's fake grin; UKG seems to be already transforming itself from boom-time music to recession blues. The Englishness of the vocals reminds me of 3 Wizemen and that perpetual false-dawn for UK rap. Lots of killer tunes I can't identify, but one in particular stood out that I could: "Know We" by Pay As U Go Kartel. As I say, quite mean-minded and loveless music but sonically very exciting-- a new twist if not quite paradigm shift from the hardcore continuum."

Yes, that shrill, off-key noise you can hear is the sound of someone blowing their own trumpet...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Burhan Tufail RIP

Monday, November 15, 2004

grime bloggage a go-go from the Deuce posse:

Martin Clark's blackdown

Chantelle Fiddy's World of Grime (!)

more on UK urban music in this excellent piece by DJ Red at Bassnation blogg -- thoughts in response to come, possibly

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004




Thursday, October 28, 2004

Communique from the Department of the Bleedin' Obvious

between work, woe, and the election, i've not had an ounce of mental energy left for blogging.

normal service to be resumed when it's all over.

can't wait for it to be all over. my nerves are tattered from futilely following every last twisting and turning minutiae of the ugliness.

anyway, if you haven't been there already, check out this place which is gathering nicely. and this here is one of the things that's been cheering up this household during the dark days.

it's been quite a while since a record made me tear up, so take it as a sign of the times that that's happened twice in the last week. the culprits: Riko & Target "Chosen One," Eminem "Mosh"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

RIP music-lovin' Johnny Plee

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Wayne Marshall, who brought enlightenment you may remember in re. junglists versus gardenists, has a blog. He also has a record, Boston Jerk. In the sleevenotes, he says it bears the same relationship to his dissertation as synthesis does to analysis. And it's really good, weaving together dancehall-inspired beats, collaborations with Jamaican deejays (meaning MCs), field recording type elements, and his own rhyming, to end up somewhere kinda in between Pirate Flava and Original Pirate Material. Makes you think maybe all academics should make records to flesh out their theories and research findings. (Actually, on second thoughts, maybe that's not such a bright idea after all).
Kpunk on Foucault. I remember when The History of Sexuality came out for the first time in English, must have been 1981 or so, and there was this BBC 2 books programme. Terry Jones, of Python fame, was the guest presenter on one episode. He prefaced a section of the programme thus: "I love sex. And if there's one thing I like almost as much as sex, it's reading books about sex." He enthused about a bunch of sex-related books and then his face darkened. "I really disliked this book ". He was talking of course about The History of Sexuality. As a Sixties sort of person, it must have fucked with all his basic core beliefs, rubbed him up the wrong way good and proper, been a real turn-off.

As Mark writes, The History of Sexuality is the kind of revelatory reading experience from which you don't recover; you can never go back to how you thought about things before. I had quite a bit of interest in the Sixties before then (and still do) but that's one aspect of the era--sex-as-liberation, as harbinger/agent/etc of revolution, Eros Vs Thanatos, desire versus the military-industrial-death-complex--that was forever dismantled for me by the force of Foucault's critique--especially those passages quoted by Mark. All those 60s sex-radical thinkers in the Wilhelm Reich lineage suddenly became historical curios at best. (Although Marcuse, to be fair, did invent the concept of "repressive desublimation", right?). One of the things that seemed most radical to me about rave was its asexuality--the fact that it was a youth movement in which sex-as-subversive/naughty/transgressive/forbidden was simply not part of its agenda. (Ed from the Chemical Bros recalling his rave days in an interview with me, enthused about "the sexless uniformity of it". Everyone lost in music, no sexual display or predation or role-play. A sort of chaste orgiastic frenzy, a Dionysianism of agape not eros).

And of course E was crucial to that. I didn't really understand the concept of the body-without-organs until I thought of it in terms of the Ecstasy experience. E turns on the BwO by turning off all the basic appetites and drives of the organism -- hunger, the need for sleep, and the sexual drive. In it, on it, you become angelic.

Then again, E is nothing if not a sensual/sensuous experience; what it does is unshackle erotic energy from the couple-manacle and generalise it towards the group of people you're out with, the crowd you're dancing in (ooh the knowing illicit flash between eyes, the pursed lips of shared almost-unbearable pleasure), and the music itself (congress with the sound system, the DJ caressing the crowd-body, taking it on a tantric journey).

Disagreeing slightly with Mark though, the "bodies and pleasures" in History of Sexuality seems crucial to me, liberating it from the apparatus and discourse of sexuality as truth/resistance/subversion etc etc. Foucault wasn't talking about dispensing with or putting to one side the ways of the flesh, in fact in his later years he rather energetically pursued the body's capacity for pleasure, using sex, drugs, etc. (I love the idea of Foucault going to discos in San Francisco, i wonder what the "yellow pills" he refers to were -- Quaaludes? MDA? Or even Ecstasy, which was probably beginning to circulate in clubland by then? I wonder what he wore....).
high as a kite after the debate. i actually had trouble sleeping. the buzz was finally wearing off yesterday and then i read about the newsweek poll showing Kerry two or three points ahead. could it be, could it possibly mean, that sanity is going to prevail?

only downside is having to be on tenterhooks for another month. in some ways total despair and fatalism was easier on the nervous system!

some videowhiz should do a cut up of kerry synched up to the FWD riddim, every rhetorical jab, parry and thrust matched to those pugilistic blares of clipped-fanfare blare, with shots of Bush looking flustered and cornered flashing in time to the low body-blows of bass and beats. Like the Destruction riddim (similarly based around chopped up movie-soundtrack/blacksploitations stabs and Rocky-like horn bombast), FWD sounds literally punchy:
it's feels like being in thick of close combat, an ugly street fight, people slugging it out no holds barred. You can see why it's (legendarily, anyway) been banned in Essex. It's virtually incitement to war on the dancefloor.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wayne Marshall brings enlightenment viz "junglists" and "gardenists":

"i believe what you're looking for is arnette gardens--which is located in trench town, not far from tivoli gardens. both "gardens"--a term created by the political parties that built and named these public housing schemes (and made sure that their "supporters" were housed in them)--are located in west kingston, downtown. i believe the two areas were (and still are) politically antagonistic garrison communities. tivoli, which was created by plowing over longstanding squatters' developments, was and has always been the base of seaga, who as you note is the reagan-ally that many jamaicans blame for the country's ultra-violent, gun-saturated politics. people still big up "jungle" and "junglists" on tapes and records and such. don't think i've ever heard "gardenist"! so, i'm afraid that they're all "gardenists," in a sense--even the "junglists." that means there's less poetry--and perhaps politics--to the resonance of the term."

Arnette Gardens! Of course, of course. (John Eden confirms the derivation, but spells it Arnett Gardens.)

Wayne Marshall, incidentally, isn't that Wayne Marshall, but he's the real (or a real) Wayne Marshall, he points out, "cos the the dancehall singjay adopted "marshall" because he thought it a better stage name than his real name, wayne mitchell". Our Wayne is an academic whose field of expertise includes Jamaican music, bizarrely enough.

Somehow I imagine the support in particular areas of Kingston for one party or the other was probably fairly non-ideological: in other words, less about policies or values than getting your people into power to get hold of the spoils--patronage, funding, etc, etc. Bit like how the old "machine" politics used to operate in American cities.

(Seaga, incidentally, although pro-America, had a past of being deeply involved in the Jamaican music industry).

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

There was a wee ILM discussion last week on the provenance of the terms 'jungle' and 'drum'n'bass' , and on what the difference between the two actually was. An opportune moment (except I was too busy with grim stuff) for me to pitch in and make the public confession of getting me facts wrong. Well, it's all MC Navigator's fault. In 1994 he told me that "junglist" came from Concrete Jungle, the nickname of a grim housing project in Kingston, Jamaica, called Tivoli Gardens. The gangs from Tivoli, called "junglists", would be namechecked and shouted-out to on yard tapes; these would get exported to the UK and then get sampled on ragga-tekno/hardcore tracks, and.... So said Navigator, confidently. So that's the information I've always parlayed, in pieces, in Energy Flash and elsewhere. Including at some academic event a few years ago, during which an eldery Caribbean-looking professor type actually stepped up in the middle of my talk and slipped me a note while I was still pontificating, somewhat to my consternation.

Afterwards I went over and he explained, not unkindly, that the rude boys from Tivoli were called "gardenists"!! Doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it? Can you imagine, "ruff in da garden, ruff in da garden", "calling all gardenist cru, big up ya chess, and don't forget the secateurs". The prof also told me the name of the housing project that was nicknamed Concrete Jungle, and whose denizens were known as junglists. Unfortunately (slaps forehead repeatedly) I've completely forgotten what it was called. Can anyone help me here?! Maplestone? It's quite famous, and possibly the inspiration for the Wailers' "Concrete Jungle".

(The gardenists, if I've got it correct, were supporters of Seaga, who was conservative, pro-Reagan/foreign capital, stooge of America. And the junglists were supporters of Manley--socialist, anti-Western, friendly with Cuba, user of Rasta type Jah-shall-smite-the-unrighteous type imagery in his speeches, undermined by the CIA. So at least the political resonances of gardenist versus junglist are totally congruent with jungle the music.)
Hooray for the return in scan-tastic glorious technicolor of Woebot! (Those acid jazz reminiscences were harrowing, man.) The opposite of hooray for the suspension of Heronbone

PS. Did anyone tape that Resonance blogg prog, missed it on account of being in another country? Or is it, like, stored somewhere in webspace?
Gutterbreaks, niiiiiiiiiiiice, on LFO. Haven't downloaded/assembled it yet but the comp of B-sides and remixes and EP trax is a terrific idea. There's probably a fair few techno-rave auteurs you could do that with: pull together a whole comp's worth of non-album trax that might actually be better than the official album of that era. In fact I already did this with Omni Trio (and it does surpass The Deepest Cut by a significant margin). Project for when things get on an even keel: the Auteur Series.
(an irregular series applauding well executed sentences)

1/ From K-punk:

"When they say they don't believe in organized religion, their reservations aren't Deleuze-Guattari critiques of organisation :-), they are just saying that they want to continue to Carrie Bradshaw about in perpetual shilly-shalllying consumer equivocation, treating life as a buffet lunch to pick at."

The last two clauses particularly.

(Mind you I probably fall into the category of "mildly spiritual, suspicious of organized religion"--which would make me a half-hearted dimwitted bourgeois individualist I guess. I quite admire believers--from a distance. Even envy them. But music, really, is the only area I think it's acceptable to get all messianic about, and within. It's the one true religion for me).

2/ Not so much a sentence as a thought, really -- from an article in US Airways' Attache inflight magazine, on Manhattan's premier "cheese sommelier" Max McCalman. He defines cheese as:

"the preservation of milk"

Which struck me as both true and having a touch of Braudel about it.

(Cheese, incidentally, was the one true vice of my mom-in-law Becky. And it's a substance I've often thought would be worthy of connoiseurial dedication. Maybe when I finally decide to "really let myself go"--as a regenade gesture against the body-fascist culture, of course).

Simon SDC, firin', on Wiley. Burns off the screen.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Just about the only laugh I've had this last week or so: discovering there's a weatherman on American TV who goes by the name Mike Wankum.
Lickle lick by me on DJ Clever who's spinning in New York tonight (details at bottom of the piece) with Chris from Inperspective, you should come, should be good, only $3 too

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Rebecca Press, RIP

Friday, September 03, 2004


Juvenile--Juve the Great (Cash Money)
picks: "numb numb", "slow motion", "in my life"

Fiery Furnaces--Blue Berry Boat (Rough trade)
Tries a bit too hard to be interesting. But don’t get me wrong, succeeds, succeeds.

Wagon Christ--Sorry I Make You Lush (NinjaTune)
Fear Luke may have dropped below the T.o.I (that's Threshold of Inconsequentiality) career arc wise and aesthetically (not heard the Kerrier District thing though which has its supporters) but glimmers of the old Vibert magic cling to such as "Sci-Fi Staircase," which seems vaguely descended from (if not an outright remake of) "Shimmering Haze," my favorite tune on Tally Ho!. Ghastly to hear the 303 yet again on the title track, though.

Wolf Eyes--Burned Mind (Sub Pop)

Bark Psychosis--Codename: Dust Sucker (Fire)

Laura Veirs--Carbon Glacier (Nonesuch)
Not that they’re really operating in the same region, but this Uncut Album of the Month minstrel-ette sings with a gawky poise and self-possession that puts me nicely in mind of Jane Siberry.

Large Number--The Electronic Bible (The White Label)
Not actually an album by Large Number, Ann Shenton of Add N To X’s new band, but a comp of electronic-but-not-electronica outfits, not all gold by any means, but some great stuff. e.g. Fashion Flesh’s "2nd Hand Submarine".

Kode 9 + Daddi Gee--"I, Spit" (Hyperdub)

Fatboy Slim--Palookaville (Astralwerks)
Get past the irritating Tesla-flashback inducing "long hair freaky people need not apply" opener and the almost lobotomisingly stoopid "slash dot com" one that follows, and you’ll find: a good record. Beverly Martyn, ex-spouse of one-legged John, rhapsodising about Primrose Hill, is sampled on one track, pitched down to sound like a man. Which almost compensates for the presence elsewhere of Damon Albarn in "gospel" mode.

Pixeltan--"Get Up/Say What" (DFA)

Akira Rabelais--Spellewaurerynsherde (Samadhisound)

Three of A Kind--"Babycakes"
Finally heard this today after stumbling across it on a pirate tape. After one listen, I fell, guardedly, into the pro-camp. There’s just something oddly compelling about how how desultory and drippy it is. It's like Doolally's "Straight To the Heart" with all the late 90s econo-confidence kicked out of it, the sheen scuffed and turned to shab. The listless, neurasthenic feel… the weedy, withdrawn rapping... it's like a 2step TV Personalities. If grime was punk, this is its Patrik "Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart" Fitzgerald. Actually, rather than the return of sweet-like-chocolate lover’s garage, I wonder if this record’s improbable popularity (#1 in the UK?!?!?!) is in some way a post-"Dry Your Eyes" phenomemon? Certainly the song’s musical presence is almost as faint as the backing tracks on A Grand Don’t Come For Free.

Marine--Life In Reverse (LTM)

Sandoz--Digital Lifeforms Redux (The Grey Area/Mute)

Various Artists--Volga Select Presents "So Young But So Cold: Underground French Music 1977--1983" (Tigersushi)
Weakens the case for French postpunk a bit by including three tracks (among the best things here) that are really prog: "Lighthouse" by Tim Blake (who played with Gong, Egg, and Gallic progmeisters Clearlight), "Iceland" by Richard Pinhas (of electro-prog monsters Heldon), and "Welcome (To Deathrow)" by Bernard Szajner, whos kinda Jean-Michel Jarre-y.

really feeling

John Cale--HoboSapiens (Or Music)

The Prodigy--Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (Maverick)

J.O.Y. --"Sunplus" (DFA)

Panda Bear--Young Prayer (Paw Tracks)

Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti 2--The Doldrums (Paw Tracks)
More indescribability (I might have a bash in weeks to come though)

Various Artists--Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats (Essay Recordings)
Various Artists--Favela Funk Rio 2004 (mix-CD)
I do really like this sound for the combination of avant-lumpen rowdiness with just enough exotic elements (those strange incongruous horn parts and corrugated accordion riffs) to make it refreshing. (Also really like the way a lot of the tracks seem rooted in Tone Loc!). At the same time though, kinda suspect my appetite for Favela Funk isnt gonna prove insatiable. Partly because the Woebot "shanty house" thesis is so spot on. Which means that when you strip away the surface exotica, the buzz it gives me at core IS the same thing essentially I get from ardkore/jungle/grime, or dancehall, or Miami bass/bounce/booty/crunk, or Desi, and would probably get from kwaito or Baltimore breaks (if Id actually heard either) or from any number of "glocal" sounds yet to be discovered around the world that are based around hardcore principles and techniques (unlicensed sample thievery, creole bastardisation, pills + thrills, bleeps + breaks + bass, subaltern presha, etc). So while feeling the contents of these cds as pure sound/vibe, I'm not sure they take me anywhere, in terms of thought.

Sagan--Unseen Forces (Creative Commons)
New outfit formed by Blevin Blectum and sweetheart Lesser, excellent psychedelic glitch but not nearly enough references to defecation for my liking. Theres an insanely capacious second disc, a DVD-Rom which contains a movie, nine live shows and hours of mp3s and which I havent dared even touch.

Blevin Blectum--Magic Maples (Bleakhouse/Praemedia)
"A prog-rock fantasy gone horrible awry" sez the press release! And it does get pretty convoluted and cosmically addled, especially towards the end with "Ease" and "Rommelpotted".

Various Artists/DJ Target--Aim High Music Presents Vol. 1
Various Artists --Grime 04 (Woebotnik Productions)
Fave track on both comps: OT feat Dogzilla & Syers "STD". Fragrant!

really really feeling

Dizzee Rascal--Showtime (XL)
Steadily inching ahead of Skinner.

not really feeling

Brazzaville--Welcome To Brazzaville (Web of Mimicry)
But i did keep my vow

Shystie--Diamond In the Dirt
I agree with Woebot, dont reckon much on her rushed flow; the beats lack character (well theyre made by a bunch of no-marks). And "Intro" is a skincrawlingly embarassing beat-free bleat about haters trying to hold her back and keep her down. Why should we care?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Interesting and mildly fractious wee thread on Rephlex's Grime 2 comp, not heard it yet myself, but I did notice when in London coupla month ago what one participant here takes the piss out of--all the "ethereal’/"mysterious Orient" type feminine vocals, oddly reminiscent of Dead Can Dance at times, or Trans Global Underground. Perhaps in some weird way this is the genre's attempt at pop-diva/melodic aspect. Someone else compared the vibe to Massive Attack, which fits totally with the group's post-Mezzanine use of Goth-lite femme-vox, Liz Frazer, Sinead, etc, with the one remaining Massive chap outing himself on the last album as total 4AD fan.

Martin Clark's lick here on the aesthetic of presha is pretty convincing, although often that ominousness thing can cross the line into shlock. C.f. death metal, it’s amazing how corny musics can become in their headlong flight from "da light" or elements associated with cheese/pop.

On the Rinse tapes I came back with, the rhythm side of darkdubstep seemed to be getting interestingly different, a considerable distance beyond 2step or even four-to-the-floor garage. Really industrial without actually sounding like "industrial" the genre in any of its historical stages. Clanking, centreless non-grooves, torpid and weirdly lateral in feeling; the percussion distributed around an absent drum pulse, as if along the rim of a crater; almost all the forward propulsion energy coming from the dark river of low-end. I find the sound easy to admire but not so easy to love. And a little of it goes a long way. That'd probably change in the full-immersion club situ and under the influence, though.

Personally I think the Grime title is a misnomer on those comps if only cos the music doesn’t sound that dirty, it’s actual real clinical and slick. Even the bass has this oily-shiny inorganic quality (slick as per Valdez, as Simon SD put it in his ace metaphor of seabirds stuck in the bassgloop). They don’t him Plasticman for nothing, eh?

No, the solution, to my mind, would be to lop off the ‘e’ and call the comps Grim. Or even Grimm, for added evocation of bordering-on-hoky spooky/macabre-ness. (Macabre Unit indeed--pure death metal!).

Grimm, that’s what I’m going to call the darkdubstep/Croydon t'ing from now onwards. So you have Grime and its taciturn brother Grimm.

(Few more and I'll have to do a kpunk style glossary).

PS On one of those pirate tapes the MC keeps using using the phrase "stiff beats" as a praise term--intriguing semantics in terms of its gender-coding and renunciation of swing/funk ethos. Theweleit biznizz.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Feel a bit remiss for not writing about the amaaaaaaazing Animal Collective/Gang Gang Dance/Black Dice show of over two weeks over. Work and woe (it’s been a bit of a grim summer for the Press/Reynolds clan) is one reason, but the other one is that the gig--at least the Animal Collective part of it--was indescribably good. Literally: it scrambled my critical faculties, completely paralysed that veteran reviewer’s default-mode of influence-tagging and "sounds like X crossed with Y/missing link between Z and G" type comparison. Well almost completely: there was an element to the vocals in one song early on that made me momentarily think of Meat Puppets, less for singing style as such than just the feeling it gave off--this bliss-shattered pantheistic splayed-ness of soul and psyche vaguely redolent of things like "We’re Here". Plus the song referenced a swimming pool, making me think of the Puppets' "Swimming Ground". Oh, and yes, later it did strike me the singer (Panda Bear?) might have listened to Arthur Russell's World of Echo-type stuff a bit (an impression strengthened having now heard his forthcoming solo album Young Prayer, which is excellent). But otherwise, nothing: I spent the entire gig blissfully freefalling in an adjectival void, reeling inside a glory so (yuck, I hate this word, loathe it even more than "savvy" and "smarts") sui generis that the application of predicates, tropes and reference points would have been presumptous and petty, as well as plain inadequate. And which I couldn't do anyway, cos that part of the brain was just switched off, or flooded out. So basically I’ve put off writing about it really for fear of emitting a burbling stream of superlatives. Truly, though, one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever witnessed.

Gang Gang Dance were also really really excellent, and almost as much of a thwarter of description. There’s something about vocalist Lizzi that put me in mind of Alison from The Cranes--not ‘cos they sound alike particularly, but because of a quality of being initially grating but eventually captivating, or perhaps more accurately, being grating/captivating at the same time (it’s not like you get used to the voice, it continues to set your teeth on edge all the way through). I couldn’t describe technically what she was doing (it all seemed to be sharp, or microtonal or possibly even harmolodic) but the effect really was like vinegar to the ears. The band behind her musically moved in this strange, sidling gait--the only thing I could think of was the idea of some world where all music derived from "Birthday" by The Sugarcubes. The drummer, most impressive, often seemed like he’d only ever listened to programmed rhythm, really askew and fucked-up drum’n’bass, and had taught himself to play like that on live drums, except that sometimes the drums sounded enhanced in some obscure hard-to-fathom way (there was a similar acoustica-meets-hitech element running through AC’s sound). The keyboard player, also splendid, was one minute making sounds like coral shimmering; the next, unfurling pagoda-like jags of ceremonial bombast. Gang Gang Dance were the first band to play, and the place (Bowery Ballroom, so not small) was pretty much packed from the off, and the response was really warm and supportive. (For Animal Collective, it was almost uproariously fervent).

Only bummer was that headliners Black Dice, who I’d heard such good things about as an super-intense live experience, seemed on poor form--to me it just seemed like a series of disconnected scrapes and grackling noises. The overall vibe was like bad sex, a couple trying to get it on when neither are really in the mood. After the first two bands, literally anti-climactic.
Finally listened to Metal Machine Music last night. It's kinda pretty! All those almost-melodic swirls of upper partials. On the labels it reads:

Metal Machine Music
The Amine B Ring

[the B actually a Beta symbol as in Ancient Greek alphabet]

as if that's actually the full title of the record, which is odd cos I've never seen it rendered like that in any book or album guide, or indeed read anyone make note of this part of the title. And it's there on the front cover actually, just under the word Music.

Perhaps a neurochemist can explain what it refers to. Presumably something to do with the chemical structure methamphetamine. The whole album is a symphony in praise of Vitamin M, right? Hence the loony sleevenote with the bit where Reed mocks stimulant dilettantes ("those for whom the needle is no more than a toothbrush. Professionals, no sniffers please....").

Anyway, jolly good stuff, my ears did ache a tiny bit towards to the end of Side D, I certainly can't imagine falling asleep to it like Geeta does (whose copy of MMM this is) but still--oddly lovely. Next thing you know i'll be listening to Merzbow.
Finally heard/saw something by the Libertines (the new single I think, as discussed on NYLPM recently). Jesus, it was even more feeble than I'd imagined. Vaguely reminiscent of Bradford or Easterhouse or one of those sub-Smiths sorts. A kind of shandy-skiffle sound.
anyone care to enlighten me further on:

Donald Knaack (avant garde percussionist, interpreter of john cage and marcel duchamp)

Kenneth Gaburo (american composer)

Trousered Apes: Sick Literature for a Sick Society (circa 1970 Christopher Brooker-approved literary jeremiad)
Kpunk, firin', on Portmeirion and British indigenous surrealism.

Long wanted to go there. (Shamefully I’ve never even been to Wales.)

They’re showing The Prisoner again over here, a BBC America Friday night bloc including episodes of The Avengers (yay!) and The Saint (loved it as a wee lad, worraloadarubbish though). We taped the whole Prisoner the last time they showed it here, must have been 10 years ago, a marathon on PBS during one of those weeks when they're trying to get viewers to pledge money to keep the station afloat. Twas wonderful to see it again, but nothing has ever quite recaptured the startled wonder of stumbling by chance on the series when it was repeated for the very first time--at the end of 70s, this must have been--and as a 15 or 16 year old completely unaware of its history or even existence, just totally boggling out. The intro/credits sequence must surely be the best ever.

[The only other person I know who's actually made the Portmeirion pilgrimage: Adrian Maddox. (It all connects up). He actually had the Prisoner soundtrack with not just that most vibe-setting theme tune but all the series incidental music--quite jarring to listen cos it’s all brief bursts of staccato punctilious horn music]

Still waiting for K-punk’s report on the DVD of The Survivors (another childhood fave, although when they repeated that on PBS here ten years ago, the ropey-ness of the acting was horribly apparent. Some great scenarios and images in it though).

Monday, August 30, 2004

(an irregular series applauding well-executed sentences)

1/ Baal at Erase the World . Set-up: shamelessly ardent snoggers on a bus, prompting mutters of complaint from grossed-out passenger:
"The guy turned around 'fuck off will ya mate', and turned back to his partner, her mouth still hanging open, pink-wet like a slashed sirloin, her eyes still closed, arms limp on his shoulders. He rammed his tongue in, like a key in a door".

The fourth clause is the killer eh?

2/ Adrian Maddox, Classic Cafes (Black Dog Publishing Limited), page 30
On the Pinter-esque vibe of The Tea Rooms in Museum Street, London.
"Through the thick-rimmed fug of inertia, the reek of a raw kitchen-sink existence, the rankle of lives solidified into defeat, is palpable."

The second clause's a tad OTT admittedly, and not sure about that third comma, but clauses #1 and especially #3 are really splendid.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Clever was great. Took a little while to get going (volume too low, too, and club a bit empty). Weirdly, it was something un-Troubled Watery in vibe that got me on my feet: a relick I'd never heard of "Shadowboxing" (apparently by Jonny L, a few years old but only just released). Then he dove into full-on Troubled Waters type stuff. Wonderful to hear complex-but-swinging beats, basslines that moved all around the groove rather than just riff-riff-riffing, melody and colorsound coexisting with (controlled) frenzy and physical force. Penultimate song was something utterly mad, chopped up and backwards-sounding, an antigroove (the floor went still, gobsmacked) but groovy at the same time. I later learned it was the Sileni Remix of Actual Proof's "Maybe We'll Stay".

Then Fierce. The Lil Wayne of No U Turn. And he weren't bad at all, really. For ten minutes or so it's quite invigorating, that linear rush. Some of the basslines are getting really baroque and fiddly while still essentially doom-blare in nature. The analogy perhaps being death metal. Couldn't hack it for long though.

This Interspective freebie CD sounds like it's well interesting, if praps a little clinical. It'll be a weird sensation buying a copy of Knowledge, mind.

September 17: Chris Interspective and Clever, same bill, New York City.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Nick Cave, on David Letterman, last night, doing a weird piano-and-voice-only version of "The Mercy Seat", looking just like the cover of The Good Son (minus the little girls), in better voice than ever, incredible. And I'm a decade plus lapsed Cave fan.
woebotnik, top, on speed versus slowness. i wonder whether Screw and Eno (who complained about the excess of events per second in pop music/video) would have related. in kpunkian terms, cough syrup and all the other downers are like ingesting a small dose of death. there must be some semantic connection between "stoned" and stone, as in turning to... Caillois-style mineral kingdom awareness... On Land actually features the sounds of stones and sticks (and rooks), doesn't it... funny that Matt mentions Tricky at the end cos in some ways the extreme torpor of trip hop relates to all this.... depression of all of pop's vital signs.... the approaching-standstill of "Aftermath" and "Ponderosa"... music that gives up the ghost, releases ghosts... the DJ Vadim stuff perhaps took this arc the furthest, an abysm of skunkanoid paralysis .... ah and on the Portishead first album there's some screwed-in-all-but-name sampled vocals, Johnny Ray the Nabob of Sob slowed down into this molasses mire of melancholy....
Kpunk, great, on his holiday in Wales

Glad to see Mark’s coming off the anti-children/anti-animals trip a bit. Children, they’re mini-Lukas, true psychogeographers, virtuosos of micro-perception and being-here-now. Seeing with the wide eyes of the child is the definition of grace for me (look, i am a child of the Sixties--but then so were Deleuze & Guattari). The "inner child" is the most precious part of the self. I don't think I could relate to anyone who’s really completely grown-up. Of course, children can also be a total pain in the arse, true, little monsters of selfcentredness. But it's a childlike versus childish division. Weirdly, adults who lose touch with "child-like" seem to become more and "childish", like grotesque overgrown dis-enchanted kids. The easiest remedy for encroaching syndrome is to have kids of your own.

The latter is also a very salutary reconnection with the mammalian continuum, a reminder that 90 percent of you is animal. So when when Mark writes about how in a "step towards ILG [intellectual love of God], I can now begin to see birds and animals not as some background blur but as incredibly detailed machines .." that impulse is foreign to me. Why not reverse this and see machines as incredibly crude and clumsy surrogates for Nature, the ultimate mad inventor? Machines as botched animals? But if you call ILG by its proper name, "pantheism", then sure I’m down with the programme. For me though I'd rather identify the G bit with life/energy/animation as opposed to deadness/stillness/the inanimate.

>Under Milk Wood

been meaning to reread that for years! The record with Richard Burton reading it sounds better still from Mark's description

>And Dylan Thomas, the only Dylan whose words I have ever cared about.

Not even the third Dylan, Mr Showtime?
missed this hilarious, at times almost-hallucinatory alternative pop-history fantasy, the genre's got a lot of possibilities

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

New York massive take heed! DJ Clever of Troubled Waters reknown is deejaying tomorrow night (Thursday) at Sullivan Rooms, 10 PM til 12:30 AM. I am confident that it will be very very good indeed. Not so confident about the rest of the night, ie. headliner Fierce, which if it's the same Fierce of No U Turn aeons-ago reknown suggests a heavy dose of what drove me off the d&b floor in the first place. But hush, I must stick to my vow about not slagging off the d and the b.

If this is too short notice (and it certainly crept up on me), and console yourself with the knowledge that Clever aka Brett Cleaver (god, I never noticed the pun before!) is playing AGAIN on September 17th, this time sharing the bill with Chris from London's Inperspective Records -- one of d&B's few renegade bastions of breakage and choppage. Pencil it in your engagement books, it promises to be even better than tomorrow. Location details to follow nearer the time.
just when i was thinking ILM had gone a bit, kinda, shite, it redeems itself with this absolutely crucial thread.

the answer is: Barney stole my girlfriend (sniff)

only kidding/ look, just to set the record straight:

loves: "Everything's Gone Green", "Temptation", "Thieves Like Us" (romantic associations, that one)

likes: "Ceremony", Power Corruption and Lies, Low-Life, "True Faith",. "Regret"

dislikes: Movement (not short of company there, eh?), "Blue Monday" (actually it's grown on me over the years but at the time, found it really irritating), "Confusion" (it's basically "I.O.U" by Freez, which i hated. the "Confusion" video, though, showing now on VH1 Classic, is a great snapshot of Latin Freestyle New York clubland, Hispanic kids going down the Funhouse, New Order watching the dancefloor response as Jellybean drops dubplate prototypes of the track. Possibly the only documentation extant of this scene, criminally)

indifferent: the rest

i don't think anyone could honestly say New Order contributed anything much to rave culture apart from the endless financial haemorrhage of funding the Hac's construction (Steven Morris told me they worked out it that for every person who walked through its doors, they effectively gave each one of them 10 quid!) plus putting the line "E is for England" in "World In Motion"

and yes i was mostly just trying to wind-up my esteemed colleague Mr. Lester, but also believe there is a weird not fully warranted mystique surrounding this group

okay now that urgent business is sorted!

also have high hopes of this thread
Finney, nice, on Trax reissues. Fuckers were supposed to send me some. Not that i really need any more of the stuff.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

top darkdubstep producer kode9 gotta blogg. his lick on Wonder & Kano's 'What Have You Done'
reminding him of 'Animal Magic' with Johnny Morris made me titter. new tune 'split' s'ruff too

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

For the first time I got a CD through the mail addressed to:

Simon Reynolds

I was as startled and as weirdly pleased as the day in 1984 when out of the sheer blue a record arrived in the post box (me being the contact address for Monitor). My first freebie! (Well strictly speaking not "mine" and as the stuff started trickling in there was soon some squabbling over the currant buns let me tell you). It was Danielle Dax's Jesus Egg That Wept. (Which weirdly I listened to the other day on account of laboring over a ridiculously over-extensive--my own fault--discography). Not the most auspicious start, maybe, but the feeling of joy and anticipation when it comes to tearing open the day's arrivals has never quite left me. Cos you never know.

So in a way it's like coming full circle. Back to the (if can I say this) "purity" of doing a fanzine.

(Monitor started out with a strict policy of no reviews, no interviews, just thinkpieces and manifestos. All the stuff the music press had stopped doing by '84. That policy went out the window soon after the records started arriving. We instituted a review section pretty damn sharpish!)

Oh, the CD that arrived c/o Blissblog? Welcome to.... Brazzaville (Web of Mimicry). Your guess is as good as mine. But I shall dutifully listen to it in honour of its symbolic-ness.
old news in Britain I'm sure but in this household we love love love LOVE LOVE this show . julia davis you rock my world.

Monday, August 16, 2004

in this household we love love love LOVE LOVE this show. by some distance the most enjoyable thing on American TV at the moment. except for a British import the missus has something on, to which i'll link tomorrow

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The people at VH1 Classic are scholars. Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman" (one of the few real house records to make the US charts ever?), into Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" (set me drifting on memory bliss, except I don't actually remember it from the time, so it must be the fact that its groove is the rhythm matrix from Todd Terry's "Can You Feel It"/"Party People"--the latter was in my Top 20 for 1988) (plus there's this woozy vocal bit--"feel the house music's steady steady pounding" that was sampled in 2 Bad Mice's "Hold It Down", so it's sort of false memory bliss syndrome I guess, associational drift) (at any rate a great lost moment when hip hoppers loved house music, a potential alternate history/parallel universe fork in time, if the track could have been more than a novelty hit and hip house really took off), then into M.A.R.R.S. "Pump Up the Volume" (weird to hear brief plumes of polychromatic feedback rear up courtesy of Rudi Tambala & Alex Ayuli) (and this time Kieran didn't freak, he danced), then into one of its sample sources, the Coldcut remix of Eric B & Rakim "Paid In Full" (or am I get it backwards, did 'Cut sample MARRS? or both sample the same rap group?) (Ofra Haza turned out be to the Yeminite equivalent of Barbara Streisand or Celine Dion, didn't she? That's one of the things that's always put me off getting into world music! That and the story about an West African heavy metal group who went "world music" when they realised they was a market there!), then into... I'm not sure, cos i had to do an errand or put Kieran to bed. But they know what they're doing, those VH1 Classic folk.