Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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.

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