Sunday, May 16, 2004

Anybody out there happen to know if Normal Position, perpetrator of the intriguingly titled album Rave Killed The Romance, is in fact Position Normal? Apparently the record's got lots of children's voices sampled on it which sorta convinces me it must be those guys...
Neologist supreme Philip Sherburne has a go at coining some terms for that anxiety-of-missing-out music-fiend syndrome

And Tiit Kusnets has a couple of cool suggestions:


"the harrasment of riches"

although they're more re. the excess of supply/backed-up-with-yer-stacks/audio-bloat sensation than the anxiety per se

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


various artists, fuzzy boombox v. 2 (fuzzybox)

greg davis, curling pond woods (carpark)

areal records/various artists, bi sneunzehn (areal)

the mountain goats, we shall all be healed (4AD)

charalambides, joy shapes (kranky)

the caretaker, we’ll all go riding on a rainbow (V/Vm)
makes me think of seances for some reason -- eerie, sort of position normal from beyond the grave, no solid form whatsoever, just tenebrous emanations

stone love, new years eve, 03/04 (yard tape)

sandoz, digital lifeforms redux (mute)

nao wave, post punk from brazil (comp, label tba)

dna, dna on dna (no more records)

martina topley-bird, anything (independiente)
good to hear that shortcake-crumbling-in-the-mouth voice again. She’s got a slight lisp, hasn’t she -- I never noticed that before. lisps rule.

matthew dear, backstroke (spectral)

D12, world (shady/interscope)
Killer tune: “american psycho II”. And the single of course.

Petey pablo, "freek-a-leak"
Lil jon produced chip off the usher ‘yeah’ block, right down to the teknoriff that could be da hool/rave creator at their most effectively massive-pandering

M83, dead cities, red seas & lost ghosts (mute)
Killer tune: “noise”. apparently influenced by tangerine dream although not apparent on this track. but definitely a reference point to note down for this year's Uberhipster Index (oh yes, it's annual, believe)

dj dara, the antidote (breakbeat science)

hakan libdo, clockwise rmxs ep (shitkatapult)

!!!, louden up now! (touch and go)
it’s all about the drum sound. pure groove, everything else is superfluous

really feeling

ivan smagghe presents death disco (eskimo recordings)
most exciting mixcd I’ve heard in many a moon and apparently this isn’t even his best mixcd. Killer tune: kiki, “luv sikk”. almost enough to re-engage me vis-a-vis dance culture! kind of what i thought archigram would sound like. dramatic, boombastic, somehow symphonic.

MarkOne/plasticman/slaughter mob--grime (rephlex)

The return of faceless techno bollocks. The thing about this stuff, the reason I can see it might actually gain ground on the pirates and with the massive, is a/ the danceability and uptempo NRG b/ the dependability. See, stuff that has vocal and lyrical content, when it’s mediocre, it’s a helluva lot more aggravating than mediocre instrumental/tracky stuff. Something about average MCing with samey lyric content (that overdose of guntalk/misogyny thing simon silverdollar was complaining about a while back), it’s really fucking grating in the way that samey sublow/croydon sound just isn’t. somehow the verbal element really rams the impoverishment of imagination right in your face. At the same time--and everybody knows this, don’t they?--when you compare each style’s highest heights and absolute peak exponents, the MC stuff (proper grime, as commonly understood in other words) is just a whole level above the tracky stuff. “Hard Graft” (here excellently reversioned as “industrial graft”) was one of my faves last year but you compare it with “boys love girls” or “birds in the sky” and it’s like….. nah. The return of vocals (songs, song-fragment, MCs, whatever) is THE defining post-rave paradigm shift from circa 1998 on -from 2step to folktronica to green velvet to electro/nu-wave to (some) microhouse to grime to… -- and I don't seem much sign that’s about to change any time soon. (although the radical defacialisation-as-intensification shift as in the birth of acid house etc would be even more radical in today's supaceleb culture than it was in '88 i spose). but back to croydon sound and Grime -- as faceless techno bollocks secondary tier biznis goes, this comp is most defintly ruff. good on headphones, good in dark bass-dense confined clubspaces.

the eternals, rawar style (aesthetics)
untaggable -- hints of various post-s (-punk, -rock --there’s some links to tortoise in terms of past drummers, who engineered the records in the studio etc), of the loopier side of hip hop/trip hop (maxinquaye's weirder, more swordfishtrombones-y side), maybe even the faintest hint of 2-Tone at its most filmic (more specials, dammers going loco in the studio) … sometimes the elements don’t quite gel but all the more enjoyable in a not-quite-get-your-head-around-it way… I know that singer/keyboarist/sampler-controller Damon Locks is a fan of basement 5 AND funboy 3 which seems germane somehow although they don’t actually sound anything like basement 5 and only a tiny bit like funboy 3. Killer tune: “bewareness”

Richard h. kirk earlier/later (mute)
lives up to nick gutterbreaks praise, esp. the second disc of early days stuff. and worth the price just for the front cover --photo booth pic of kirk as a teenager looking like this sort of glam kid gone feral/reverted to hippie -- bowie meets peter the wild boy

twista, “overnight celebrity”
still don’t care for the sentiments overmuch, but what a production, that violin lick, luvvit

nina sky feat jabba, "move your body"
this year’s Lumidee? (except it’s sung in tune) [sorry didn’t mean to reopen that wound]. sonixly this is like.... ooh, luscious jackson meets bleep’n’bass meets diwali (except less frantic). vocally it’s sexy without being self-demeaning inna pole dancing styleee or self-goddessifying inna insufferable froideur/hauteur beyonce-stylee, just this wonderful understated confidence and… not even sass, just self-possession… and it’s a song for and about the girls

colder, again (output)
killer tune: “where”. a brilliant update of gang of four but in a much more post-electronica studio-sculpted way that really kinda shows up some of the more literal resurrections of the andy gill guitarsound these last few years

ruff sqwad, pirate show april (?) 04

new brand flex, pirate show apri (?) 04

desi desi desi
no messing about here -- full-on, straight to the pleasure centres, ruthlessly entertaining, and very very shiny. Well they’ve been blinging it for centuries, the indians, haven’t they.

david sylvian/ryuichi sakamoto, “world citizen” (samadhisound)
totally ambushed by this one--it’s a straight up, totally plainspoken, direct to the jugular let’s-not-mince-words-shall-we protest song about everything that’s happened since 9/11 that then goes into a sort of utopian plaint -- sort of "Imagine" for Wire readers, which sounds vomitous admittedly, EXCEPT the music’s not really avant and the production’s nothing like what you’d expect (hard to see where sakamoto’s contribution resides and it’s nothing like that last sylvian album which I never managed to get into i must shamefully admit), no this is sort of lush AOR/studio-folk, almost like tracy chapman for a post-compression era (i'm not making this sound very enticing am I?) totally radio-ready, you could imagine it being a big hit if any station in this country had the guts to play it. I dunno, if anybody else sang this maybe it would totally bypass me but the idea of David Sylvian being so affected by the events of the last couple of years and emerging from his little cloud of serenity up in vermont or wherever it is and feeling like he just had to speak out… I found it really touching, and the "world citizen” concept is a lovely trope to base the whole song around. In some weird way it’s like a musical parallel to the Pillbox. Anybody else, it might seem hectoring but in his still suave-voice, "world citizen" works.

sorta kinda feeling (a bit)
the beta band, heroes to zeroes (regal/astralwerks)
there’s something wrong with this record but enough of what used to be right (mainly persisting in the vocal melodies and great time-capsule-from-1966 singing) to make you not quite ready to give up on it. hate records like that! I’ve not got the space for lingerers! the closets are chockablock

not feeling

radio 4, stealing of a nation (astralwerks)
c.f. the sylvian record, except this time I didn’t tear up…. One certainly shares their concern, feels the rage, and appreciates the fact that a neo-postpunk group’s actually trying to supply some actual, like, content and political edge, but… to be brutally honest it all comes over a bit midnight oily. The vocals remind me of big audio dynamite or even jesus jones; the production is overslick, like their aim is to be the Linkin Park of neo-postpunk, and (unlike !!!) the un-swinging groove isn’t punk-funk, it’s dance-rock -- subtle difference, but the chasm between gang of four and INXS resides therein.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Jon at Worlds on music overload and being a bit backed up with yer stacks:

"When that happens, I run and hide, and contemplate employing someone to listen to the music I own, reporting back to me on its good and bad points, on whether it’s something I’d dig. Sometimes I think we all need someone like that. Sort of music pre-digestion, if you will."

Word! Hear hear! What that man said! If only!

On a related topic, an email-ee called Karl asked me to coin a phrase to describe an emotion familiar to many readers I'm sure:

"a type of anxiety over the amount of fantastic art, music etc out there, the
fact I have missed out on so much, the thought that potentialy my favourite
track is only out there..."

as i told him practically my whole life exists within the penumbra of that anxiety! (although having a kid has a remedial effect--combination of not enough time/relearning how to live in the now). not just records but books too. at any rate i've been scratching my head but can't think of a good term. Any ideas?

Friday, May 07, 2004

Talking of Sheffield folk, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh would be turning in their graves (if they were actually dead) if they knew about this:

London's newest night launches at the most exciting venue in the capitol, bringing the thrill, the glamour and the enchantment of seductive entertainment.
At Egg this Saturday, the cream of clubland can anticipate a line up they've only dreamt of, with unique surprises, a live element, and a DJ line up that will leave London's glamourati begging for more...

The Terrace with Too Big for the Penthouse
Pumping US House

Rob Marmot (Dusted)
DJ Marble (Penge)
Hoxton Whores
Al Jay & Vinyl Richie....

"Glamourati"?!?!?! Blewaaaaghrrghghghgh....
Very nice piece by Nick Gutterbreakz on the Richard H. Kirk Earlier/Later Unreleased Projects Anthology 74/89 (Grey Area Of Mute) CD which is out anyday and which I'm panting to hear. I'm not quite as obsessive about Cabs-related output as Nick but not that far behind him. And weirdly it's quite a recent development. I really liked the Cabs at the time, had a fair few things by them, some vinyl, others taped off friends. And there were certain tracks like "Black Mask" and "Sluggin"/"Secret Agent Man" and swathes of Covenant that really stood out for me. But I wasn't like an obsessive fan by any means. But now, I dunno, through doing the book or something, in these last three years, I just really fell in love with the Cabs--as Sound and as Spirit-- to the point where I want all of it, the juvenilia and solo side project marginalia.... last year, if Methodology: Attic Tapes had been a new release it might have beaten out even Dizzee as my year's favorite listen (was amazed how little love that record got in the critpolls and blog roundups, praps most people didn't actually hear it?) ... yeah I really feel Nick's Kirkmania.... cos there's just something that imbues even the scraps and half-finished stuff... Something heroic about Cabaret Voltaire. Culture warrior bizniz innit.

PS. still looking for 1980's Disposable Half-Truths....
Talking of obsessive record collectors, I wrote this talk "Lost In Music: Obsessive Record Collecting" and delivered it at the first EMP conference a couple of years ago. And now it's reappeared, in a much longer mix, in the EMP #1 anthology which is just out on Harvard University Press. This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project , edited by Eric Weisbard. An excellent collection. And there's an event next Thursday around the book at the New School in NYC (details below), I'll be making a rare PA along with some of the other contributors, but instead of doing the bleedin' obvious and talking about pop desire, glocality, authenticity, constructions of "the real" or any of that bollocks, this is a showcase of our other talents--Daphne A. Brooks, for instance, is a gifted juggler, Geoffry O'Brien will be doing some fire-eating, Eric Weisbard will be sawing Ann Powers in half, acrobatics from Kelefa Sanneh... you get the picture. Fun for all the family. Children welcome.

Thursday, May 13, 7:00 p.m.
$5, Free for students.
Tishman Auditorium, The New School, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
Discussion with guests: Daphne A. Brooks, Robert Christgau, Garry Giddins,
Chuck Klosterman, Geoffrey O'Brien, Robert Polito, Ann Powers, Simon
Reynolds, David Sanjek, Kelefa Sanneh, and Eric Weisbard. Presented by the
New School Graduate Writing Program.

TICKETS: By email to:
or by calling The New School Box Office at
(212) 229-5488. For information, call (212) 229-5353, or email to: .

Thursday, May 06, 2004

It's on blud

Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead traditionally have an adversarial relationship. But when a threat comes from outside--like, for instance, Aylesbury--emnity gets forgot and Dacorum Council* unity prevails. Seeing as I'm "local," MurdaMan from Hemel Def Sqwad has stepped up to the mic to do battle. This goes best with a certain
Purple Haze riddim.

M. Woebot loves Desi, Desi
Man got lotsa rekkids, rekkids
He'd go without food
To buy vinyl, that dude

His wife she be bitchin'
'Bout vinyl addiction
Domestic affliction
From basement to kitchen

"Obsession not healthy
Get rid of some LPs
I'm sick of the dust, see
Old covers so musty"

M. Woebot loves Desi, Desi
His house is real messy, messy
Rare records are strewn
'Cross the living room

On Woebot he natters
About obscure platters
Nuff knowledge he scatters
On riddims and chatters

Enthusiasm infector
One serious collector
Afro-doc director
Accomplished selector

M. Woebot loves Desi, Desi
His house is real messy, messy
They've run out of room
Got too many tunes

Really appropriately
And kinda symbolically
First met him in M&VE
Not sure how he recognise me
Single Column pic in Melody?
Camden branch, 94 probably
Chasing ardkore and so was he!
Through email got friendly
Sent his comics across the sea
My favorite was "Record Thief"
Veiled autobiography?
Thought “there but for God's Grace goes me!”

M. Woebot loves Desi, Desi
His house is real messy, messy
Likes music that's rude
With avant-yob attitude

Animates and draws cartoons
Hunts down bare rare grime tunes
An expert on Norse runes
Blows up Lulu's balloons

M. Woebot loves Desi, Desi
Man got lotsa rekkids, rekkids
He'd go without food
To buy vinyl, that dude

In related news, God's Gift is now on the case doing a remake called "Tribute to 32 Bloggers"

* FACT: Dacorum once had the highest homicide rate in the U.K. And they say I'm not "street" enough to write about Grime...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

MC MC combines two of my favorite things--rock criticism and alternative history (as in The Man in the High Castle, Bring The Jubilee, Pavane, etc) with this witty speculation on what would have happened if Joe Meek hadn't topped himself. Hope this becomes a flourishing micro-genre of sf-meets-popcrit. And Danger Mouse and his ilk get on the case to actually make these parallel universe albums...

Monday, May 03, 2004

The grim backstory to NASA REWIND. DB shouldn’t have to walk away from throwing a great party so horrendously out of pocket. I’m just staggered he managed to play such a terrific set under the circumstances. Jason Jinx is organising a benefit event for DB, which will A/ be a blinding party B/ be a chance to show nuff love and respeck to this founding father of the US rave scene and since-day-one crusader for hardcore continuum bizniz in this country. If you’ve enjoyed DB’s deejaying over the years, the events he’s organised, mix-CDs like History of Our World, Breakbeat Science, etc, you really should come down and suppor the event, plus you'll be having a great time into the bargain. Further details to follow when they’re sorted.